J A N U A R Y
My oldest is only three and a half so this list is a looooong way off exhaustive. Let’s call it more of a draft manifesto. And it is what I personally have found to be true, but different strokes for different folks right?
1. Routine is KING.
This was the best advice I ever received from an older friend with kids long before I had mine. Studies show that children (and many parents - I’m one of them) thrive on routine. With routine, children know what to expect. It gives them boundaries and a sense of security that the world is consistent. Sure, there are plenty of weekends when I throw caution to the wind but mostly, sleep, food and activities occur pretty much at the same time every day in our household and it keeps us all sane (mostly).
2. No snacks after 3pm means they actually eat dinner!
This is such a no brainer but obviously I’m a slow learner. I’m sorry to my friends for all the afternoon play dates when I would put out a ‘little’ grazing board FULL of snacks at 4pm for our kids. I thought I was being a cool Mum host. Now that I’ve learnt this trick, my pantry is closed for business from 3 - 5pm and I’m sure my kids think we’re experiencing a famine.
3. Kids don’t need constant stimulation or entertaining.
In fact, when left to entertain themselves, my kids prove to be their most creative, happiest and adventurous. It's the afternoons when the TV is off and I’m busy in another room that I discover a fortress being made with the couch cushions, a concert going on with pots and pans or them running an Italian restaurant out of the cubby. Let them discover how to hang out with themselves and make their own fun I say. We did.
4. I hate playing on the floor
This is far from a new discovery but one I’m constantly reminded of. I would rather catch two trains and a bus across town pushing a double stroller than sit down and build Duplo. I would rather do 50 laps of crazy dancing around the house with drums and the tambourine until our legs ache than sit down and do a puzzle. I suppose that is why Dads exist.
5. My kids are different people with different needs.
As my kids are pretty close in age, and both boys, I tend to parent them a bit like twins. If it works for one then surely for two right? But recently I discovered by sheer accident that my littlest LOVES having his own bath - no bossy big brother snatching all the toys and room to actually kick his legs without his toes going up his brothers bum. So, while it pains me most nights to bath them separately instead of together, the sparkle in his eye at having the bath all to himself is so worth it.
6. Toilet training was one of the most emotionally draining things I’ve ever done.I delayed toilet training my oldest for a long time and as a result, he’s gotten it down pat in no time BUT the rollercoaster of emotions that came with every wee and poo was so…intense! No one warned me about the emotional highs and lows of watching your first born learn to control their bladder and bowel. I REALLY felt his joy every time he made it to the toilet and absolute disappointment and failure every time he didn’t. It felt like a competitive sport. I even took a photo of him on the toilet doing his first poo. Yep.
Other notable mentions - Dry Shampoo is a Mum’s best friend, playgrounds without swings are the best kind and don’t EVER play songs on your phone from the soundtracks of movies they have seen because as soon as you are all in the car, they will request them on REPEAT until you want to throw them and the phone out of the window.