Kids Stressing You Out?
Parenting is hard. Dealing with tiny humans who are emotional roller coasters is not an easy task. Oftentimes when I'm working with parents I hear similar stories of stress, time management and feeling like they just don't have the bandwidth to deal with kids. But it doesn't always have to be a battle. You can implement things that help you go from constant chaos to positive interactions with your kids. Below are some common problems clients have talked to me about and solutions that worked for them. Getting kids to do their chores/help around the house Oftentimes I hear parents say their kids are lazy or aren't doing a good job keeping their rooms clean, helping around the house, etc. It's frustrating as a parent to feel unappreciated and "like a maid." But oftentimes this is less about laziness and more about managing expectations. Example: You tell your 5-year-old to go clean their room. They cry and tell you they don't want to, or they don't know how, and you end up yelling at them and doing it yourself.
Guess what? They probably don't know how, and you've inadvertently overwhelmed them with a task they aren't equipped to accomplish. As parents, we often assume kids have the same skillset and life experience/life knowledge we have, but that's not true. So when your 5-year-old doesn't clean their room, it might be because they don't know how. Instead of giving the broad task of "clean your room," start with something simple. "Pick up your blocks and put the
m in the toybox." Kids need small, achievable goals. Kids are inherently helpful and they aim to please, but they can become easily overwhelmed if they don't know how. So by setting small, direct tasks, they can do the chores themselves.
Bedtime is a Nightmare!
It's not unusual for parents to have struggles at bedtime. Suddenly your child wants to color a picture, play with Legos, or get 100 drinks before they settle in for bed. They whine and fight and do everything they can to avoid bedtime.
The solution? Well, for starters, incorporate a bedtime routine and stick with it. Consistency is key! Create a routine that works for your family. Example: If bedtime is 8pm, start the process early. Draw them a bath, help brush their teeth, and read a book. Keep the routine simple but consistent. Eventually they will understand what the routine is and stop pushing back. However, if the routine changes from day to day or some days we give in, what we are really doing is teaching them bedtime is not consistent and is instead, "optional." The key here, again, is consistency. It may take several days, or weeks, of a consistent routine. Make it fun for them- let them pick the book to read, or the pajamas to wear. Kids do well when they have some control, and bedtime is often something they don't have control of, so if you as the parent can give them options, they are less likely to resist.
My Kids are Always Fighting!
Siblings fight. That's just how it is. But they can learn to fight less, and use more reasonable conflict resolution, with some simple changes. First, model appropriate conflict resolution. Parents who fight create kids who fight. They learn their conflict resolution and relationship styles from watching us, so model appropriate conflict resolution.
Second, encourage independent time. Sometimes kids fight because they're simply overwhelmed and overstimulated and they just need some alone time. Encourage them to separate for 30 minutes to take a breath and unwind.
Third, reward positive interaction and conflict resolution. Praise the times they aren't fighting, or are able to work out their differences calmly and effectively. Provide feedback on what they did well and help them identify and verbalize their thoughts/emotions.
Finally, buckle up for the ride. Unfortunately, no matter how much you implement the above, siblings are just built to bicker, and that's a part of their growth and development as siblings. Recognizing that, and how little you can control it, can help you as the parent to see it as "part of growing up" and not cause for your own frustration. Overall, parenting is hard, and you're doing a great job! But sometimes we need someone to help give us tips, tricks, or just vent our frustrations. Check out my blog for other additional posts or reach out to schedule a free consult!