Over the past week, our days have been consumed with our daughter’s constant demands of “I WANT” everything-and-then-some-more.
“I want to have watermelon.”
“I want you to help me with my school work RIGHT NOW!”
“I want to go for a bike ride.”
“I want you to play with me!”
“I want to have a snack.” (AKA t-r-e-a-t….because we literally just finished lunch)
“I want to play on my ipad”
<Insert exhausted look here>
Does this sound like your home too?
I get it!
It’s hard for kiddos to navigate this pandemic when we’re forced to stay home more than we would like, when activities are limited, and when our human need to socialize is restricted.
But with the nicer weather, we have certainly been getting out of the house and doing more. We even planned a hiking trip to the mountains and that DID NOT go as expected! You can read about it here.
Often times, when our children act up it’s because they’re seeking attention, yet hubs & I are certain she is not lacking in spending quality time together with us.
As a matter of fact, knowing how challenging it is for kiddos right now, FULL ON #momguilt has kicked into high-gear, so aside from the absolutely must-get-done need-to-meet-a-deadline type tasks, all my other time has been spent doing things with our daughter because her dominant love language is quality time.
So we’ve been pretty intentional about carving out time together as a family throughout the day just to make sure her bucket is filled-up.
Sometimes I wonder if the behaviors are a manifestation of her deeper needs as she navigates the different lifestyles, rhythms and family values between 2 homes in our co-parenting arrangement.
Or perhaps our parenting guilt and ALL that we’re doing to compensate for this abnormal way of pandemic life is not serving any of us.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely normal for children to be asking for things and I’m happy to see that we’ve cultivated such a safe home environment for her to feel comfortable to express her desires and wants.
1>> Focus on GRATITUDE and APPRECIATION:
Have pauses in the day to stop and express your gratitude and appreciation for the things you do have and for the things that you get to do.
It’s amazing how a simple comment like “Wow, I’m so grateful that we have this board game to play together” or “I’m so grateful we have this yummy meal to share” helps to shift your mindset out of the egotistical want for more and more (and never being satisfied), to a state of deep appreciation for all that you ARE blessed with.
2>> Co-create the day together:
Being child-centered where your kiddo gets to making decisions on what they want to do, or eat, or play with is great because it helps children build up their self-confidence and leadership skills. But don’t let them call the shots on EVERYTHING!
When you’re asking them “Just tell me what you want?!?” and give in to all that they ask, you’ll find that they’ll often get even more agitated and frustrated (not the feeling of contentment like you secretly hoped)….because they’re not yet ready for all that responsibility.
So offer choices they are capable of making and do things through-out the day that are focused on your needs too. When you create opportunities that also focus on your wants during the day it helps your child learn about taking other people’s needs and desires into consideration. This helps them learn that not everything is always about them!
3>> Set boundaries:
Voice your needs, be clear with your expectations, and follow through with what you say. Set boundaries for yourself in what you’re OK and NOT OK with, so when emotions are pushing your buttons to react you can go back to staying true to you.
Find a secret hideout in your home where you can escape for a couple minutes of alone time to re-calibrate. Or tag team with others in your home where kiddos can be under their care while you sneak away to get things done that you need/want to do.
As much as you want to be there for your children ALL.THE.TIME, you need time away to focus on you, even if your kiddos have big feelings to show you they DON’T like it! Remember your needs matter!
In a world crippled with ego, where the need for instant gratification is like a drug fix, where selfies and the desire for everyone to “look at me” is our way of life…..
How do we raise children who go against the grain? Children who are confident in their own skills and abilities, who are outward-focused rather than inward, who are grateful for what they have and all they have been given, who desire to contribute to the lives of others as opposed to selfishly focusing on themselves…..?
We’ll continue the conversation over in our online positive parenting community. Come join us!