Many days I struggle to get things in my ‘to-do’ list done while juggling my 2 & 4 yr old’s play time wishes. After all, they don’t stay little forever… and then…all I will have is an illusion of how it used to be… and wonderful memories.
Can we just play all day long? We could, but then the house would be a wreck, we’d have no clean clothes, no food to eat, bills would go unpaid, mommy’s business would be non-existent, and I would get zero exercise (this makes a healthy, happy mommy). I think this is what I have struggled most since becoming a parent; finding ways to get what I need to get done for the day and raising happy, balanced kids who don’t feel like they are a second priority. Thus, the board room was created at the Fuentes-Schneller house.
Before I go to bed, I create my to-do list for the next day. In the morning, while the kids eat breakfast (not always at the table) I go over the things in my to-do list that they are going to be dragged along to (like exercise or grocery). As I bring up the items on my list that they are going to be involved in, I make sure I bring up one thing that will be positive in the experience. For example:
Mom: Alex, today we are going to go to the grocery store. Will you help mommy pick out some of the things we need to cook yummy meals?
Alex: (Reluctantly) OK….
Mom: And you know what? We can write a treat (or snack) for Alex in the list. Would you like to pick out a treat for Alex?
Although he is 2 and can’t read, I take my pen and write down “alex treat” or “alex snack” on my list. At the grocery, when he pics a couple jelly beans from the bulk dispensers I cross it off the list.
The same thing goes on when I tell him that we are going to the gym. I state, that while mom exercises to feel strong, healthy and happy; he can play with his friends and have a great time (or something along those lines).
My children no longer get ‘choices’ (well not as many). I’m the parent. I run the show. I am no dictator, but I have realized that they operate much better this way. In almost every decision or activity in the to-do list there is something in it for them. Other times, it’s their daily contributions to the family (like picking up their toys or taking care of the pets) that they must do without a reward.
I have learned that it’s more appealing when I say: “lets get your homework done so you can spend time outside in the playground.” Do we still have rough moments? Absolutely. Especially bed time.