Here is an info-graphic that you can refer to, or print up which gives a summary of how to work with your child’s behavior. It includes minor transgressions, common behavior issues as well as more major safety issues.
After years and years of parents not spending enough time with their children, we are seeing a backlash (only in certain cases) of parents not “working” in front of their children. For many, many parents, this is not a problem as their children see them working all the time, but for some parents, they have let the pendulum swing too far in one direction and that can be damaging for the child. It manifests itself as:
- I will wait until the children go to bed to clean the house, or I won’t clean the house at all.
- I won’t make a phone call or use my phone in front of my children (there’s a lot of guilt surrounding this one especially after the viral post about moms on the phone came out)
- I won’t go back to school because I don’t want to take that time away from my children
- I will hire cleaners, personal chefs, lawn-mowers, etc to do the work
Parents have a lot of guilt around how much time they spend with their children. We’ve all heard that saying about the one regret we had before dying was working too much and not spending enough time with our kids. This rings true for any parent who is working 60 hours per week and then taking home work as well. I’m not talking to those parents because I know how hard that is. I tried it and it didn’t work for me, for my husband, for my kids or for my work.
I’m talking to parents who work part-time, work from home or are stay at home parents.
I’m talking to parents who have guilt around doing work while their kids entertain themselves, or sit in a bouncy chair or do whatever while the parent gets things done.
I’m talking about this poster:
It is a sweet poster and if you aren’t spending anytime with your child, then it is a good reminder. But if it is keeping you from getting things done and it is keeping your kids from seeing you work, then throw it away and find some balance.
This means that the kids are watching you do the laundry after breakfast, instead of everyone going and playing together in the backyard.
This means that the kids are sitting on the counter while you prepare dinner.
This means that you are relaxing with your husband after the children have gone to bed rather than doing all the housework.
This means taking an important phone call and reminding the kids that they need to wait a minute while you do a bit of work.
This means talking about how mom and dad work hard to take care of the family and that’s how we earn money to buy our food and our house.
This means talking about how we take care of each other and that means sweeping the floor after eating cereal, taking out the garbage all together, putting the dirty laundry in the washer, emptying the dishes, cutting the vegetables, etc.
This means that you find balance in a crazy world of parenting, and don’t spend all your days and nights working, but don’t leave all your work for when the children are sleeping.
This means children will understand that people have purpose in a family, that clothes need to be washed and how to wash them, that food doesn’t come from a box and that money doesn’t grow on trees. Obviously, having them work with you and eventually on their own is the logical path that they will follow. But this is the first step, it’s an important step- let them see you work!
With Christmas just behind us and the onslaught of new gadgets overwhelming us, let me tell you about another great little trick.
You may have heard about the idea to put a lot of the new Christmas toys away and slowly bring them out as each month goes by. I love that idea and I want you to take it a step further. Do it all the time instead of just at the holidays.
Rotate your toys!
Almost every preschool teacher in the world does this and it is really quite simple and superbly brilliant!
If you have any storage space at all (or if you are like me and live in a small house, create storage space by building high shelves) then put the majority of your children’s toys away in that space. This space should be out of reach and out of sight.
Rotate your toys!
This way, you only have a couple of toys out with which the children can play. It may sound counterintuitive because if the children only have a couple of toys out, they are going to fight more and they are going to be bored quicker, but it actually works the other way.
Here’s some things that will happen by rotating your toys:
- Children are less stimulated and overwhelmed by the sight, noise and options of toys and will be calmer.
- The toys will be more interesting since they haven’t seen the toys in a couple of months and they will be more engaged.
- Children need to learn how to take turns with toys and once they are used to the idea of fewer toys and they have learned how to take turns, they will be able to navigate the play room more easily.
- Cleaning up toys is an issue with every child and every parent and if you have fewer toys and the children know where each toys belongs, then cleanup is easier, faster and less of a headache.
But I also feel a little guilty about it.
If you break it down, there are really only three rules for living:
*Take care of yourself
*Take care of others
*Take care of your environment (the things around you)
Any transgression can fall into one of these three rules.
Your child is grabbing the cat’s tail? No- because we take care of others.
Your child is throwing a toy? No- because we take care of our things.
Your child refuses to brush their teeth? No- because we take care of ourselves.
These work for adults too and as I remind my children, it is a good self reminder to treat myself with respect, to be good to my husband and children, and to be good to my world by remembering my reusable bags.
It is a consistent and gentle way to remind children about behavior without nagging. You can also reinforce this by noticing ways that the family is following those rules. An easy one is “Mom is working right now to help take care of the family”. But other ones that are equally as effective are “Dad is making breakfast and taking such good care of us!” or “Thanks for feeding the dog, that is taking good care of Rover” or “We don’t eat food in the living room because we want to take good care of our house.”
It honestly doesn’t get old like other more trite behavior modifiers and I really appreciate it when my husband gushes “Mama takes such good care of all of us!”
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