It seems like just the other day, but now that I think about it, it must have been about a year ago when I sat at a table at a friend's house discussing a topic with our small group leader. I told him that there were two things I didn't like about how I parented...or...two things I feel like we should do differently in our house. His simple response: "Well...change it!" The conversation was a little more than that, and he expounded on that statement with how and why, but I just sort of took those three words and ran with them!
The two things were:
1. My kids aren't very good at picking up after themselves.
2. My kids watch a movie each night to fall asleep.
The truth with both of these is that I take full responsibility for it because I enabled them to not pick up and to have those movies at bedtime. I felt guilty thinking I wasn't teaching them how to be good little people in our home and how to fall asleep like normal (whatever normal means).
The first one comes from being too particular as a mom and not having the patience to teach them how to do it. I mean, really. How long does it take for a mom to pick up a kid's room vs. how long it takes a 4 or 5-year-old to do it?! So instead of being patient about it and teaching them, I just had a tendency to pick it up for them. Not so bad when it's only one kid and he's only 2 or so, but add a few more kids and a few more years and this becomes a nightmare! If I learned anything from my years of watching Dr. Phil (which I don't anymore because his content has changed a bit!) it's that kids are resilient. They can change and re-adapt, even in their own home.
Caleb was the easiest to teach this to, I'm not sure why. It's probably because he now has to earn his privileges. I'm not sure if some would consider this bribing? Some things he just has to do because he lives here, but other things we reward him for doing. I think deep down he wants to please his mom and dad, and he knows that helping around the house is one thing that definitely makes mom happy!
Sarah has been more difficult, she can be very bull headed (even though in other areas of life, she seems to be my easy kid). When she's told to pick up something, it's almost like the end of the world is upon her. But we keep with it. Don't you love it when you say, "Yes, you will put your flip flops away or you will sit in time out," and the child would rather sit in time out than put away their shoes? Yep. So we have to be a little creative with her. (And for my spanking fans, there are times when she won't even do it if she was spanked...so that's not a solution for everything.) There have been times when clean up time is a family effort, and if she wants to participate in the family outing/treat/time outside aftewards, she has to clean up! Is that bribing?
Gabriel is still pretty young, and when he sees his big brother helping, he tends to help, too. This makes me very thankful for Caleb's willingness to pick up!
Now as far as the second thing, I have no idea when we started letting the kids watch a movie to fall asleep! When Caleb was 3-years-old (and Sarah would have been 1), my parents gave him a very cute Cars tv for his room. I went back and forth about being ok with a tv in the room, but in the end I decided it was fine and that I would limit the time they watch an occasional movie or the time they played on a game system (back then Caleb had a V-Smile). I am now considering taking it out altogether. But as far as ending the movie at bedtime thing, we sort of went cold turkey. This upset Sarah the most (why do I keep saying she is my easy kid?), but we just told her we wold keep the hall light on so she wouldn't be scared. She still sleeps in the "boy" room because she wants to wait until her baby sister arrives to transfer to the "girl" room...or so she says!
That was another reason I knew we needed to end this bedtime ritual. I do not want two tv's going at night!
So if there is something you want to change, you can do it! Really!
Is there anything you want to change, are working to change, or have successfully changed in your home as far as habits with the kids or your parenting?
Dear Exhausted Mothers of the World:
1 day ago