Sunday, 3 June 2012

Stepping Back

As parents, we all want our children to be independant. Sometimes that means you have to take a step (or three) back.

Everywhere we go I am observing other parents for new ideas of how to help my own children. What I see most though, are parents who are frustrated and exasperated by their childrens behavior. And usually, the behavior is not even that severe.

We need to have realistic expectations of our children. They are kids, not hobbits. They are going to jump around, they are going to shout, they are going to act silly. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own stress from daily life (bills, relationships of all kinds, getting to the bus on time, etc) that we easily forget that our children need room to breathe and just be a kid.

Here are some of my favorite ideas to keep my own children busy while we wait for the bus:

1 Piece of Chalk
1 Mini Bottle of Bubbles (they have cute party favor ones at the dollar store, 4 or more to a package)
1 Mini box of 4 Crayons (see above)
1 Tiny Coloring Book (make your own!)
1 Bouncy Ball
Play I Spy
Collect Pinecones for Crafts

Sometimes my children get a little too silly when I need them to stay with me, so I will tell them to stand in one sidewalk square. That is their space (for instance when our son and daughter are fighting). They each get one square of the sidewalk to stand in, but they can do whatever they want in the square!

I really relate to those frustrated parents. It is really easy to feel powerless with our children, especially when trying to go through lifestyle changes. In our house right now we have decided to veto time-outs. We now use our "cuddle corner" instead. How is that going? So far, not so well!

Earlier today the two of them were bickering back and forth and calling eachother names (just being silly).  My husband and I would get involved and say things like "we don't call names in this family" or "stop bothering your sister!" After about ten minutes of trying to interfere and intercept, we decided there was nothing we could do and ignored the behavior. Let them figure it out themselves for a change. *gasp!* I know, right?

Here's the thing. They spent all of two more minutes of this behavior before our son went and got his magnadoodle that said "I (heart) You Too" and shared it with his sister, and they wrote loving messages back and forth to each other.

You do not have to be perfect, who is? Desfinately not me! So be willing to make mistakes, and don't be afraid to take a step back. We need to let our children learn how to solve problems. Life is an experiment, grab that lab coat and get to work!

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