Things that went well
- I made a point of connecting more with my 2 year old by just talking to her more during the day, explaining things I was doing and why and explaining why she can’t have or do things things.
- I was able to pull a home-cooked dinner out of my freezer stash, so that we were able to have dinner straight away when we got home from visiting my grandfather in the afternoon
- I let my son ‘make dessert’ while I was getting things ready for dinner, and I didn’t get angry at him for the extra mess and chaos it was creating. Surprisingly it didn’t even really frustrate me.. I was able to just focus on my end of the table, and let him do his thing at his end. This is a big thing for me, because often things like that really stir me up.
Things that didn’t go so well (and how to fix it)
- Although I didn’t explode or anything, by bath time I was feeling really agitated. The house was a mess, Miss2 spilled a big cup of water, Mr7 was taking forever to finish dinner and and then he we all had to have his ‘dessert’. Both kids were mucking around when I was trying to dress and get everyone to bed. I just always feel like no one is on my team, when I’m trying to get everyone ready for bed, or out the door, or just trying to keep the house in order. It’s always me against the kids. It’s not that I expect that much of them. But I just want us to be on the same page. e.g. Getting Ready for Bed. Mr 7 always has his own agenda. Its like his creativity comes alive at 7:30pm. I love to see him that way so focused and involved, but I’m also desperately trying to get him to bed at a decent hour.
- Since Miss2 took a lot longer than usual to get to sleep we ran out of time for reading with Mr7. AGAIN!
OK, so, I went to bed here because it was late and I was tired, but I didn’t get to write my thoughts on how to work on these issues. So now it’s the evening of the next day, and I actually tried some things today that address these issues and seemed to work well (so far).
My kids all wanted to join in chopping vegetables when I was cooking dinner, so (as I had started early and wasn’t in a rush) I let them. And I commented on how we were all working together as a team. Then when Miss2 had had enough dinner and Mr7 and I were still eating I asked her if she wanted a job. She said yes, and I gave her a little pack up job to do. She did it, and I praised her, and she seemed pleased at the idea of being given a job. And then it was time for our daily (at least I try to make it daily) 5 minute tidy. So I decided to continue in the theme of being given jobs and responsibility and being part of a team. I found something to use as a talking stick, and gathered my ‘team’ around me to discuss our strategies for the 5 minute tidy. I explained that I was going to give each of them a ‘job pile’ (a pile of things that they should be easily able to put away). I went a bit over the top trying to be all enthusiastic and team spirity. Then I gave each child a chance to say something with the talking stick if they wanted to. We had another ‘team meeting’ after bath time. My son took pretty well to this, and I think it might work for a while… he may get over it eventually. But I think it is good to keep using the word ‘team’ and encouraging the mindset that to be given jobs, means that I am trusting them with responsibility. And doing jobs and working hard means that they are contributing to our family team. I guess the general idea is to make them feel really good about doing their jobs and helping, rather than making them feel like its a mundane and boring chore. If helping out is going to also boost their confidence, that really is a win-win.