My son is 3, which means he’s suddenly eligible for all sorts of extracurricular activities (otherwise known as energy-burning-so-he-doesn’t-run-circles-around-the-house activities).
So there he is … signed up for everything I could get my hands on. Gymnastics: One night a week. Swim lessons: Two nights a week. Soccer: Practice one night, and games on the weekends. Yes, he’s only 3.
There may be a misconception here that I’m sort of a stage mom. A “boys-need-sports” stage mom. But really, I just want my toddler to be active from an early age and to experience various sports so that he’ll be open to more than just one activity. I don’t want him to get into couch-potato mode.
I just know that all the running around can leave me a bit running-ragged. My son seems to enjoy it but ends up pretty cranky by the time it’s time to go home or leave the activity. Carrying him kicking and screaming through the gymnastics facility’s parking lot makes me wonder if it’s really worth it.
Any thoughts? Do you have your young children in sports? How do you make sure you have enough down time in your child’s day? Comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie Harris, author of the new book “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With (Adams Media, September 2008),” has plenty of tips for parents seeking solutions for morning time struggles between children and parents.
Several are listed in today’s Life section of The Oklahoman. Here are more of Harris’ tips to transform stressful mornings:
1. Decide what the best morning routine is for everyone. Make a chart. If you have a white board, write each agenda item with a box next to it for your child to check off when done.
2. Pick out clothes the night before.
3. Make lunches the night before.
4. Go over the next day’s schedule the night before.
5. Remind children to get backpacks ready before the bedtime routine starts — don’t expect this to be done without reminders unless you have an especially organized child.
6. Establish a rule that anything you have to do concerning homework is done the night before or it doesn’t get done.
7. Get up earlier and get your personal routine done before waking the children.
8. Ease your child awake with a smile and a back rub — unless she uses an alarm clock.
9. If you’re creative, prepare a “fancy” breakfast menu to present to your children when they get up. This can be a once in awhile option.
10. If things are not going smoothly, even silently acknowledge everyone’s agendas.
11. If your child is cranky, validate how hard some mornings are to get going and that you often have the same problem. Each day is different.
12. If there is a particular problem your child is dealing with, acknowledge the problem, and offer help and support without trying to fix it.
Bonnie Harris founded The Parent Guidance Center (now The Family Center) in Peterborough, N.H. in 1990, which is dedicated to parent education and support. She is the director of Connective Parenting and has designed and taught parenting workshops and counseled parents for 20 years. Sign up for her e-newsletter by going online to www.connectiveparenting.com.
What is it with the time between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.? It totally moves at warp speed? Like it’s running for its life from rabid Russian mob bosses carrying venomous snakes and that dancing baby from “Ally McBeal.” Noon to 3 certainly doesn’t move that fast. Noon to 3 is like 6 to 9’s hippie cousin. I need noon to 3 from 6 to 9. Noon to 3 would sit lazily in his beanbag chair reading Daniel Quinn books and coloring with 6 to 9’s 3-year-old, while answering the little kid’s rapid fire questions all cool, calm and collect. Hey hippie cousin why are you wearing Jesus sandals? Because they are made of hemp and it is sustainable. What is sustainable? It means that it will keep things going and if we are not sustainable then we’ll use up every thing and there won’t be any fish left in the ocean for your grandkids to eat sushi. Do you like to fish hippie cousin? Sure I like to fish little dude. Will you take me fishing hippie cousin? Where will we go? What color will your fishing pole be? How come that beanbag chair is purple? …
6 to 9 tends to be irritable, short-tempered and just plain ugly. 6 to 9 says stop asking me questions I need to get X done. I don’t have time to color right now we have to be at X place by X time. No I can’t go fishing with you, I have to go to work. Now go to bed.
But why? Why on God’s beautiful green earth does 6 to 9 move so incredibly fast? It takes everything in me to get home, food down my kid’s throats, baths, books, some semblance of play in and to bed before 9. And really a 3-year-old should probably be in bed by 8.
Some nights I get them all tucked into bed and realize that we didn’t even play. We didn’t laugh. We didn’t just do nothing together. No one chased anyone around the couch and down the hall. No one found a frog or firefly. No one did something for the very first time.
So, Universe here is my plea. Please speed up noon to 3 because you are aware of how much nothing I can cram into that span of time and put the breaks on 6 to 9 so that I have more time to do nothing with my family.