PRACTICAL PARENTING ◽ HOME
Kids push us, pull on us, beg us, and look at us with those big eyes they have as they ask for all the things they want…over and over again. Sometimes, we’re strong and firm, and other times we just give in, because we’re exhausted! And still other times, we feel like we’re alone on this parenting island, having family life that’s so weird and strange right now! However, it’s not true. There are some things that kids do and say and request that are across the board, so maybe it’s helpful to read a few:
“Can I sleep in your bed?” – It’s so cozy with the kids, but EVERY night gets old! We used to designate Friday nights as family togetherness night, and we all slept on sleeping bags or in the same bed, for fun. That was our answer, “Wait til Friday.” So maybe you can figure out an answer that works for you and yours! After all, sleeping with mom/dad for comfort is not a bad thing at all…for a little extra security in these insecure times.
“Just one more piece of candy?” – You know, all the holidays are coming up, and candy will be on every shelf, on commercials, and in the minds of every one of your children. Some parents keep a stash and dole out one piece a day and others
just say no. I think moderation is good. It’s probably not wise to have a bowl sitting out for grabbing, but a piece or two a day? I think that’s a good solution for the kids and for Mom, as well! What’s your favorite candy?
“I need a drink of water” – That must be the most commonly asked question before bedtime in every house across America. It’s funny how we urge our kids to drink water, but then we don’t want them even drink one sip, once they’re in bed! This can be nipped in the bud, with an established routine of a cup by the sink with their toothbrush (small) that’s used after brushing, and they can have their last sips IN THE bathroom, and not once they’re in bed. Soon they’ll quit asking…won’t they?
“Can I have a sleepover?” – Once a kid has had their first sleepover, either Mom vows to never have one again, or the child wants one every weekend, or both! Sleepovers (in my opinion) are the worst! If your daughter sleeps over at a friend’s house, there’s the worry of parental supervision and the grouchy attitude next day, after your child returns home! If you host the sleepover, there’s the noise and the mess and the talking way past midnight. Perhaps, look at the calendar and pick a night that works at YOUR house so you can monitor, and go over non-negotiables (like bedtime and messes) and write it all down – like a planning board! You could even use a bulletin board for inspo and meal planning, etc. Set a limit on the number of girls/boys (maybe 3?) and be firm. And just plan to be tired, with nothing on the schedule the next day, until all have recovered.
“Do I have to eat that?” – I remember watching my son sit at the table for a couple hours until he tried and ate one bite of some food I insisted he eat. He used to show up at dinner and snarl at the array set before him, if it didn’t include chicken and fries. Some parents cater every meal to their kids’ appetites, others insist on making them eat everything on their plate, and still others are somewhere in between. I remember feeling pressured when I listened to other moms and watched them pack perfect lunches (with all the food groups) and then feel bad that my kids were eating hamburgers from McDonalds. I say do what works for YOUR family. And if pizza is the best for one night, you can always introduce that new veggie the next. Kids will grow up and will develop more sophisticated taste buds. My son now eats salads and all sorts of food – who knew?
“Can I buy a toy?” – Now that we’re not in the stores constantly, maybe this request has subsided. However, if your kids are on social media, I’m sure they’re seeing all sorts of things they want! Finances might be tight, and we just can’t get as many treats for the kids as we’d like. Or…maybe we want to give them more to make up for all the chaos in the world! It’s October, and Christmas is coming, so perhaps let the kids once a week peruse online catalogs and make wish lists. And as for buying toys now, what does it hurt to get them a treat now and then? I think it’s a wonderful thing, just because they’re your kids, to treat them with a surprise – whether it’s an Icee on a drive, or a stop with masks on - in the Dollar Store - for a junky toy. So what if it won’t last? Their joy and smiles will…
Kids are going to ask questions and bug us and want things until they’re on their own (and then they maybe still will!) It’s part of being a kid, and our response is part of being a parent. Loosen up, smile at their questions, laugh out loud, and just do your best to give in or stand firm…however YOU feel like you need to do for that day.
You’re gonna make it, after all…