We usually tend to re-evaluate our lives after every New Year by coming up with new resolutions in an aim of becoming a better person. After our trip to Italy, I learned new things about our children, and it hit me hard in realizing how fast they are growing. Since we had a somehow smooth communication with them, I wanted to maintain this peaceful attitude along the coming school year. I want to have them cherish the moments even if we are in our stressful early morning routine mixed with school work, homework, evaluations, and afterschool activities. When we as parents dread all of this, imagine the impact it has on our children. Like us, they need time and reassurance after those easy and relaxing kind of unorganized summer breaks.
That is why I have planned a new project for this year, and I am coming out with a practical summer resolution. I thought of sharing my ideas with you in the hope that it might be helpful for you too. I also hope this will create an opportunity for you to share your ideas so we can all help one another in having a splendid and relaxing school year.
Talk to you child:
I sat with the boys last week and asked each one of them how they feel about going back to school. I had them write down their worries and concerns. We had a short discussion about how we can manage these fears. For example, my eldest son said that he knew he had a lot of work to be done this year, and he might get bored. While we talked, I maintained eye contact and encouraged him in finding ways on how he has to manage his work in order to overcome his uncertainties.
Set the rules:
During our vacation, I realized that reasoning is the only way to have them involved in certain duties. I want them to learn to take the initiative of carrying their responsibilities on their own. That is why, I prepared a set of questions for them to answer, and from these answers we established a set of new rules, that if followed we can exhibit a peaceful house. I do believe that it will be helpful since they are the ones who came up with the answers; not forced or imposed.
I made sure that the questions were short and concise, so they do not get jaded with what we are doing. Here is what I asked them to answer:
- List three to five changes you need to make to become a better person:
- List three responsibilities you like to help mommy with at home:
- How can you help the twins grow?
- What school subjects you need to work on this year?
- What is your goal for this year? You can choose three areas – Academics, Sports, Friends.
I had them type them down and added a few related pictures for them so they can be easily visualized.
This year, unlike before, we agreed on setting a specific time for reading with their dad. They usually read before bed time or in the afternoons when there is no particular work to be done. Recent studies show the importance of having the dad involved for only ten minutes every night. I know it will not be easy for us with all five, but we are determined on having it work.
Set the time:
This is an old method which we have used for a while and then by time we just got too busy to apply it. As children grow older, they are more aware of time and they can learn how to manage it if they get the chance to practice time management at an early age. It is a simple and an efficient method. For example, you can set the phone for 15 minutes of puzzle building. When the time ends, the child is free to choose to continue or to stop and have it finished the next day.
I have mentioned this before, but patience is the key for a successful parenting. It not only gives us the chance as parents to enjoy our children, but it also helps them mature beautifully, feel loved, and most importantly feel secure. With all the patience I have, I admit that sometimes I just feel that I have had enough. Many are the times when I have the twins tugging on my pants and the boys arguing about some trivial issues, yet I know that this is all part of growing up. If we learn to calm this inner agitation, we will spread it over to them as well. Yelling does not lead to any positive result.
No matter how busy I am, the minute one of my elder boys comes to talk to me or ask me to do something in specific I would leave whatever I have at hand and do it. I took this from my mom who has always been and still is a great shoulder to lean on. Most importantly is that you should do it with passion, and you should not feel annoyed to be interrupted as they are only little for a while.
One important matter I am working on is to completely remove my smart phone when I am around the children. We can easily get bound by its wicked magnetism, and I want to set the good example for them to follow later on.
Set a schedule:
Unlike the previous years, this time I feel I need to have a typed schedule on the fridge. I do not know if it is a matter of age, or a matter of having five, or both, but I need to visualize my life. In the schedule, I have included the activities they have during the week and what they can do during their free time. I feel I need to have them learn to be organized or chaos will demolish us.
Express your feelings:
Hugging them and expressing my love towards them is the oxygen I strive on. I always show them how delighted and proud I am to have them in my life. At the same time, I explain how certain mischiefs make me unhappy, angry, and ask them to help me surmount them. I do apologize from my kids if I say something or talk to them in a mean way. I clarify that for us to have a calm house we need to understand our duties towards each other. I strongly believe that through communication we can deal with a lot of issues and raise mature problem solving citizens.
Since we will be spending a lot of time in the car, I will continue to do what we did during the summer; loud music, sharing jokes, telling them short stories etcetera… After all, we build memories every day, and I want them to possess warm and special ones of their childhood.
When it comes to parenting there is no right or wrong method, but there are many tips which we can use and modify to fit into our routine. My grandmother always repeated a proverb that says, “Raising kids is like grinding on pebbles”. What a painful simile, yet it is true. Raising children, specifically, in this day and time is one of the hardest occupations a parent can manage.
For this year’s “Back to School” and back to routine, I wish you and myself strength, patience, cheerfulness, success, and mostly gratitude. After all, we are fortunate with all the blessings we have been offered.