Choose to model slow

How you can chose to model slow in a busy family life.
I model busy without any effort.
From the boy’s perspective, I’m busy doing all the time.

The morning exit is a whirlwind of breakfast, tidying, dishes, conversation, lunches, lost things and moved things. It’s not until we’re standing in the playground do we get a sense of peace and calm. We finally catch breath.

Our Sunday easily the same thing happens with laundry, homework, lost things, moved things ( sensing a pattern in our house for lost and moved things!) tidying, food prep, eating, clear up, dishes and conversation.

I model busy without any effort.

When the kids are bored or having nothing to do how will they know what to do? Have they ever seen us with nothing to do and what do we find to do?

For Christmas we bought The Settlers of Catan. We loved it so much we went and bought two more expansion packs. These games have taught us a lot about busy. We’ve sat between 2-6 hours each time playing these games and loving it.

There was no whirlwind.
There was no catching breath.

Just all of us, laughing, teasing, noticing, listening and having conversations. I would say we were busy but in a connected slower way.

Magically, all the things of our usual Sunday still got done….well mostly. We didn’t go faster or quicker. We did all help.

Yesterday my youngest found me lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. Not doing anything. He crawled right beside me and looked at the ceiling. Probably trying to see where I was looking. “What are you doing?”

Nothing.

“Can I do nothing with you?”

Yup…..We just sat for a moment then he started talking. Soon offered a range of games, activites and books we could do together. For a moment he saw how you don’t have to be doing something all the time. I shared how I was thinking of reading the last few pages of Under Pressure
but I just wanted to lie here and think.

It’s easy for us to say and keep busy and never model to our children slow and rest.

Nothing.

It’s become quite the badge of honor to how busy we are. It’s also seen as showing off to say you’re not busy. It’s somehow lazy, entitled and condemning all at once.

If we live in a fast paced, busy, hurried lifestyle and we would like to share a slower family style. We want to enjoy the small moments. We have to embrace slow, show slow and not saying we’re busy all the time.

Choose to model slow this week.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, find more like this on the Parenting with Purpose board.

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party! This week’s hosts are denoted by the word {host} behind their link’s name in the list below. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, developing and caring for children, as well as honest posts on the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Reviews and Giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic.

All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception, please do not link posts promoting physical discipline as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs.

PS: By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on our The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.

Two things to do before you greet the kids

Two things to do before you greet the kids

Are you a lark or an owl?

Maybe it’s easier to ask, when you get out of bed do you take a little while to warm up and mellow out? Are you sparkly and chipper? or something inbetween?

Like it or not, I’ve always been an early night up early person. Having my three boys really messed around with my lark tendencies. Feeling tired and beat from the ups and downs of babyhood and toddlerhood only to restart two more times. I think many of us go through this fuzzy, irritiable stage.

During the night feeds remembering not to be bright and chipper smiling and playful when I went to greet the kids.  Otherwise we’d all be up far too long.

All that smiling gave the wrong impression to my upside down sleeping boys. Light smiles and less light. Seeing the link really clearly between how we greet the kids had a big impact on me.

1. Our children look to us to determine their initial emotions

When I was cranky, tired and exhausted and came in with that face to my child there was a cascade of negative emotion that reflected right back at me. It took a long time to make that link that I was bringing the down to the party.

2. We have the power to set the tone for the morning

Those first few words and sentences and how we say them prick or comfort our children. There doesn’t seem to be an inbetween.

Going into the boys room since no one had stirred, my intention was to wake them up. But seeing the LEGO carnage, clothes and books everywhere  without thinking I was starting with………. Oh my goodness, what happened in this room?

Not the best way to start the morning with the kids. Immediately they were on the defensive and probably irritated by my lack of understanding the ins and outs of the elaborate setup they had.

I saw mess. They say play.

I kinda blue that one. Because of that incident that happened when I had two little guys. It was big Duplo too…. not even the little LEGO that forms a thin film across their room now. I noticed I had to do two things.

– Check my attitude and my face. They need to be coordinated and matching outfits please.

I love them. They love me. It’s not intentional or personal. They are playing. I wouldn’t liked to woken up with demands, frustration and the shouty voice so I won’t for the little guys. Before I go in or when I’m greeted.  My attitude and face must be sending out the matching message.

– Smile and be happy to see them.

Who doesn’t like being made a fuss of? Well the older boys in public when their mates are about, but you get my idea. When we smile it’s hard to be cross, carry past problems over. We feel calmer and our voice is a little warmer

I really believe we often get back what we give and ouch many times it’s been prickly over here. Manners are caught. Not just the please, thank yous and after yous. What about the way we talk to each other? How we speak to adults? the simple words we use with children?  Are tone matters.

We explore this more in Creating a family haven – module 3- Ps and Qs.

Your challenge ( and mine): The next time you’re greeting your children after a long time away. Maybe it’s in the morning, after school or naptime.

Will you have your coordinating matching outfits + your smile and happy tone.

 

If you’ve enjoyed this post you might like other posts like this on my Parenting with Purpose board or share with friends who’ll enjoy the challenge.

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party, hosted by Dirt and Boogers, Play Activities, Crayon Freckles, Taming the Goblin, The Golden Gleam, Prickly Mom, and The Tao of Poop. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, and caring for children, as well as honest posts about the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Links to reviews and giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic. All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception: please do not link to posts promoting physical discipline, as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs. (P.S. By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.)

That’s your job- Gender

That's your job- Gender

According to Pew research, 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. The share was just 11% in 1960

These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers

Household makeup changes impact each generation. When you look back to what your parents do and did and compare to what happens in your home. It’s likely quite different. The conversations you have about work and family are so different.

Whether you have girls, boys or a mix children learn what they experience. What’s the gender distribution like in your home?

Earlier in this 31 days of growing family conversations we talked about redistributions of contributions in the home. As we journey through motherhood we go in and out of work. But it seems that our share of the tasks at home isn’t often revised often enough. I can’t talk for everyone but in a general statement, if you look back at what you did when you were just the two of you and what you do now with children, the contributions and tasks you do probably haven’t changed that much. But you workloads probably have changed a lot.

It’s not necessarily been deliberate. With so many things to focus on. It’s easier to pick up the slack, whichever gender, someone has to do it- right?! If you look at your contributions and tasks at home and haven’t had a conversation about it in a while have a look at starting that conversation by visiting  day 15 redistribution of contributions.

Today I wanted to look really briefly at gender. As a mother of boys it’s always been important that the boys can see themselves doing everything in the home. That they can do both now and later.

With the younger ones it’s always interesting hearing them say- “That’s for girls!” or “That’s a girls job!” You wonder where they get these ideas from. There are a few deliberate things we’ve tried to do to force a change to those statements.

  •  whoever cooks the others do clean up.
  • Everyone cooks something each week.
  • Laundry sorting starts early.
  • We learn to fold and put away our own clothes and help each other fold sheets and put on duvet covers.
  • They learn to program the washing machine, fill it, run it and switch it over to the dryer.
  • They see me fixing, adjusting their toys, furniture as well as taking out the trash and checking the oil.

That list wasn’t about being a perfect mum or family. We still have those statements thrown around in our home. Yes I do challenge them. Lightly. This doesn’t always happen. But it does happen many times.

I can’t tell if it’s less than before. It’s never been about the numbers.It’s something we battle against little by little. But it’s not a war.

The boys experience this regularly. So it’s a start.

It is about starting the conversation now with our young children that whether we’re a girl or a boy we can be effective, sensitive, adapting to situations adults. In years to come they may experience more breadwinner moms. I’d like to think that whatever comes their way they can have open and honest conversations about gender that fit with their family.

Conversations: How do we talk about gender in our home? What do our actions show ?How are we confronting gender stereotypes? How are we talking about strengths and not bashing women or bashing men? What would be on your list?

This post is day 27 of 31 days of growing family conversations.

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31 days to Growing Family Conversations

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party, hosted by Dirt and Boogers, Play Activities, Crayon Freckles, Taming the Goblin, The Golden Gleam, Prickly Mom, and The Tao of Poop. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, and caring for children, as well as honest posts about the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Links to reviews and giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic. All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception: please do not link to posts promoting physical discipline, as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs. (P.S. By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.)

Sharing childhood memories

sharing childhood memories

Go back to a golden moment in your childhood. Something that you remember or is remembered about you.

My parents have a picture of me on my bike outside a place I called ‘Bumpy’.  Whenever I see that picture I remember this place. I must have been 5 or so in the picture maybe a little older?

There are many pictures like this where my parents can tell me about what was going on. What it was like. Now in an age of Instagram and our smartphones we’re taking even more pictures. Great memories.

I’d like to think we’re connecting our children to stories their photos. I’d like to think we’re connecting with our stories and sharing stories about pictures, videos and special items we have at home. All too often we think our children will groan at our stories and maybe they will in time. It’s the way of family to know out past and our present. Let’s not leave it to family occasions for the embarrassing and funny stories or the touching  stories to come out.  Family stories aren’t just for solemn occasions but to enjoy over dinner, on car rides, during moments.

Children love to hear when we were children what we did and how things were. Things were always so different.

Sharing childhood memories

Just the other day I found a 1/2p and it lead to a whole conversation about how 20p bought us 40 sweets. 40 sweets!  At least for the sweets my boys wanted to be back in my childhood for that! Now when we pass the candy section the boys love to talk about half penny chews and how lucky we were back then. ( Cheek! back then) It was pretty special to be able to get lots of sweets.

Conversation:  Find pictures of the children when they are younger and share what they were doing? Why they were doing it? Something about their clothes? Was it a favourite outfit? Share childhood memories via a photo, video or object. Make it a talking point. Seek out opportunities to share memories that are funny, silly, embarrassing and a little naughty with your children.

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31 days to Growing Family Conversations

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party! This week’s hosts are denoted by the word {host} behind their link’s name in the list below. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, developing and caring for children, as well as honest posts on the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Reviews and Giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic.

 

All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception, please do not link posts promoting physical discipline as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs.

 

PS: By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on our The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.

Getting Physical again

We often say, if we could just bottle just a little of the energy that they boys had we would be great! Do your children have all this energy too?

It is great and I’m not knocking it. What happens to us that we can’t keep going as much as we did anymore. Yet when we look around we see such a variety in energy levels.

It’s been weird to find that if you’re tired and do exercise you have more energy. But getting up and doing more to get the energy is such a hard thing to do. Once I sit down at dinner with the boys I feel the tiredness wash over and greet me. Getting up is hard to do. I know that if I exercise during the day I will have more energy.  But it’s so hard!

Today the topic is physical. I’m focussing on physical activity rather than appearance however , I guess they are linked. After having children everything is a little different sometimes for a long while.

 

Have you used Fit bit to measure your activity or pedometer?

Have you run a 5 or 10K?

My goal: Go for a walk around the block during lunch- change of scenery, listen to something and get my heartrate up

Get out there an check out what friends and family are doing to raise their physical activity levels.

I know our kids will thank us for that.

Conversation: What are you doing or would you suggest to increase physical activity?

 

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31 days to Growing Family Conversations

Doubling up posts today.

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party, hosted by Dirt and Boogers, Play Activities, Crayon Freckles, Taming the Goblin, The Golden Gleam, Prickly Mom, and The Tao of Poop. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, and caring for children, as well as honest posts about the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Links to reviews and giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic. All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception: please do not link to posts promoting physical discipline, as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs. (P.S. By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.)

Adding a little something to the bedtime routine

How's the bedtime routine? You should try these ideas for a change

Bedtime routines.

It’s the consistency.

Finally after almost 10 years of bedtimes I’ve finally learned to embrace the fact that as a family we don’t have a regular set bedtime routine. And you know what? That’s okay for us.

I don’t know what I thought everyone else did or does. I just felt a heavy heart knowing that we really didn’t do a regular routine. But I look at why and it’s usually because of the end of the day tired syndrome along with three energetic boys and one me. We have things we do during the evening that prepare for bedtime.

I thought it would be fun to dream a little of things you could do at bedtime if you’re looking to make a change. Maybe something needs fixing, improving or you fancy a change.

Yoga for Kids: Three Moves and Poses to Try:: Metro Parent

Bedtime Meditations for Kids (Calm for Kids)  :: Amazon

20 Soothing Bedtime Crafts: Spoonful

Bedtime sensory tub: lavender dyed rice :: NurtureStore

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party, hosted by Dirt and Boogers, Play Activities, Crayon Freckles, Taming the Goblin, The Golden Gleam, Prickly Mom, and The Tao of Poop. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, and caring for children, as well as honest posts about the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Links to reviews and giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic. All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception: please do not link to posts promoting physical discipline, as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs. (P.S. By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.).

This is the picture

Fun love and laughter moments

Sometimes we need a pick me up.

Cold and flu is rampaging through the house….nighttime potty training has been a few sheet changes again last night…. on your way out of the supermarket your youngest went on a go slow that lead to a full on screaming tantrum throw down. If only you could have scooped them up but with the trolley and the bags you had to wait it out. Wait it out feeling that everyone was wondering what you would do. Sound familiar?

Why is it that these thoughts go round and round our heads in those quiet moments?

We have a lot of what if I and maybe I should haves.

All in all, at the end of the day in those quiet moments we feel badly about choices, our words, our actions.

Switcharoo!

I love this silly picture of the little one because he was being truly silly. He was being a magician and practicing his bow ( As you do! don’t you know!)
This is the picture of him I try and picture when I’m feeling low as a mother.

This is the picture that lifts my spirits.

This is the picture in my mind I keep for those moments I’m up in the middle of the night or with the eyes of the shop as he tantrums.

This is the picture that helps me respond to his moment.

What picture do you have?

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party! This week’s hosts are denoted by the word {host} behind their link’s name in the list below. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, developing and caring for children, as well as honest posts on the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Reviews and Giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic.

 

All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception, please do not link posts promoting physical discipline as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs.

 

PS: By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on our The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.

Slowly getting over the fear of the dark

How to slowly help kids get over the fear of the dark

Most children at sometime have a fear of the dark.

They want to sleep with the light on. They can’t reach the light so call for help before they step out into the darkness of the hallway or landing.

It’s easy for parents to forget how frightening fear is around darkness. It’s probably been a long time since we were so afraid of darkness. Now darkness and silence can bring the shivers back to many of us as we hear our own feet clipping along or our heartbeat.

Imagine our children….and their wonderful imaginations.

Here are a few ways to ease our children through slowly getting over the fear of the dark. It’s not going to happen overnight but take heart their fears may slowly start to ease and if we’re lucky go away.

1. Practice walking in the dark together

During the early dark evenings, while we are all in one room. The lights are off in the hallway and other rooms. Here’s the perfect time to walk with, talk about how we can get from here- lit room to the dark room and turn on the light.

Yesterday we were sitting eating our meal and the little one needed to grab a dustpan and brush from the kitchen. With the light pouring into the room he could see it but didn’t want to walk the dark walk of shame. I encouraged him to go and get it if we go together without the light on. Just the act of going with him perked him up. I don’t think he would have gone in without the light. First steps.

2. You sing or they sing

We’re a loud bustling family of five. There’s always sound going on unless the children aren’t around. The children are used to all this sound too. With darkness there’s often silence and now you hear humming, whooshing, and the mechanical sounds.

These all seem to become bigger in the darkness.

Try singing a tune as you send your child to go in and get something obvious in the darkness. Maybe it’s the book on the bed or off the table or the coat of their peg or the shoes off the floor. But keep singing. Just knowing you’re there maybe enough to go in grab and come out without the light. The next step is to get them to sing songs to themselves, quietly or hum it to dissolve the fear of the dark away.

It may seem strange to try to slowly get our children over the fear of the dark by letting them try the dark but I’ve found how powerful it is to be willing to ask them to try when the stakes are low.

Not when the milk spilled and you need the cloth quickly and the room is dark.

Instead pick a moment when you can stop reassure and encourage.
Light pollution is a bit deal in our house with the landing light and bathroom light on most nights because of fear of the dark. We have experimented with little lights and night lights. We want them to be comfortable making the short walk from bedroom to bathroom at night without feeling the fear. Still now we hear the run and sometimes when they were younger they didn’t want to make it.

What tips do you have for slowly getting over the fear of the dark?

 

Welcome to The Sunday Parenting Party! This week’s hosts are denoted by the word {host} behind their link’s name in the list below. The SPP is place for readers to find ideas on nurturing, educating, developing and caring for children, as well as honest posts on the stresses of being a parent or caregiver. Reviews and Giveaways are welcome as long as they are relevant to the topic.

All parenting philosophies are welcome with one exception, please do not link posts promoting physical discipline as this is something we would feel uncomfortable having on our blogs.

PS: By linking up you agree that your post and photos are Pinterest, Sulia, G+ and FB friendly. We will be showcasing ideas on our The Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board.

Choosing Yes and Choosing No- Sunday Parenting Party

Over the past few weeks I’ve been adjusting.

Choosing Yes and Choosing No- a parenting choice that will rock your world
Switching over my late and later nights for earlier and earlier mornings.

Who was I kidding?

I was always an early morning early night kind of gal but circumstances meant I was often up and doing things later and later at night. Once I got my second wind, who needed sleep. Except I did at the other end.

Waking up groggy and foggy, I didn’t like but I tumbled into the day. I’m not a coffee drinker so there was no pick me ups during the day to keep me. This fuzz would remain in the background. [Read more…]

Scheduled separate and special times- Sunday Parenting Party

Why creating a simple scheduled separate special times each week is so worth it

Once a week do you get the chance to just stop.

Not the end of the day flop when the children are in bed and you’ve got time to catch breath.

I’m talking about during the week with the children. A chance when you all stop and spend time together?

When I look back on my childhood I have very clear memories of having a day when we would do the same routine in the morning and the afternoons we would spend together as a family. [Read more…]

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