Last week on the way home from school one day I decided to count how many things my kids asked me to do. Now this was only one kid, and it was a short ten minute drive. I counted 20 things! Twenty separate but equal things that he absolutely had to do, and all of them before quiet time. Go to the park, go to Starbucks, go buy something, go to his friend’s house, go play soccer, go take pictures, go to Grandma’s, play on the IPad, make scones, count his money, buy new clothes, go to the farmer’s market, ride bikes, build a fort, dig a hole in the yard, plant some apple seeds, and a few more I can’t recall.
Sometimes I wonder at the end of the day why I’m so exhausted when we didn’t even do anything tiring- and I think this is it. To spend you’re entire day saying no to a three whiny kids will drain the humanity out of anyone!
When I get really fed up in the car I institute Mama’s Quiet Time- wherein I get ten minutes of not answering any questions and listening to my choice of music (which is usually NPR or Harry Potter in case you were wondering…). They are allowed to speak to each other politely, but are encouraged not to. If they fight, whine or yell, desert is gone. I set a timer usually so they know I’m not cheating.
I try to only pull it out when I’m really desperate, as it usually works still. But, here’s my other secret…
I started this about a year ago, when all the requests were really getting to me. I have a wipe board that I use for all kinds of things (I love them!). I write each of our names at the top (no Daddy, as this is always when he’s at work) and I make a list of every single thing we can think of that we want to do that day. Occasionally I’ll make it for the week, and pick one thing per day.
I let them list everything- even the bizarre ones, and there always are some. Then we each get to look at our list and pick our #1 and #2 things from our own list. I get 2, because hey, I’m the biggest. We definitely do everyone’s #1, and I try my hardest to do their #2 as well. If its something big like going to the zoo, then we find a time within the next week to do it. But I do try to fit in whatever it is.
This has actually worked really well for us, because it gives every one a say. They get to take ownership and control of their day, and feel really proud when we’re doing what they’ve chosen. And it brings a bit of organization to the chaos that is our life. I love giving them a sense of pride in their choices, and control over their day. And, when they start asking me to do 50,000 things again, I just direct them to the board and tell them to remember it for tomorrow.
This post was shared as Day 22 on my 100 Days of Summer board on Pinterest. Check it out for some great ideas of what to do with the kids this summer!
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