Thoughts on a thriving life.
Read most books or articles on parenting and you will read something about the importance of schedule. The benefits of a schedule being that when kids know what is coming, they know what is expected of them and this has positive effects on their behavior. And it’s true. Kids respond better when they know what is expected.
Here’s the problem. Strict schedules are hard to follow. Daily life throws our neatly planned schedules curve balls every day. With our babies, a new sleep schedule, teething, or an appointment during a regular nap time is enough to throw the schedule off. The older our kids are, the more things to throw it off: classes, play dates, school events, sports, birthday parties. The list is endless. So how do we give our children the consistency they need while living present in the curve balls each day brings?
The answer is simple. We shift from being locked into a schedule to creating family rhythms that help our children know what to expect no matter when it happens.
When I brought my oldest home from the hospital, many of the books I’d read said to put him on a schedule. So I set the alarm on my watch to go off every three hours as a reminder to start the feeding, diapering, awake-time, sleep cycle again. The watch became my master and I its slave. I became more concerned with keeping my baby on the schedule than being in tune with his needs and the circumstances of the day. Three days into it, someone wisely took the watch off my wrist and challenged me to start paying attention to life. I found that when I paid more attention to the rhythms I was creating for my son and less to the schedule we were trying to keep, everyone was much happier.
All of us have different parenting styles. Some of us thrive on having a strict schedule. Some of us thrive on having no schedule or structure at all. Both extremes have strengths and struggles. Too much schedule and we become locked into that schedule that we miss out on the unexpected adventures of a day. Too little schedule and chaos easily pays us a visit.
I have learned that keeping a schedule is far less important than establishing a rhythm. Rhythms are the way we do life. From the consistency in the way I respond to my children when they struggle with a choice to the expectations I have of them at the dinner table to the love and affection I shower on them everyday, these rhythms create a safe environment where my children know they are loved and how life is done.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your family rhythms:
If you struggle to find the balance between schedules and rhythms, I’d love to chat with you. As a PCI Certified Parent Coach, I work with parents on discovering their parenting strengths and applying those strengths to help them build family rhythms that help their family thrive. Click here to schedule a free 30 minute phone consultation.
Read any a preschool parenting book or talk to any professional about how to get through the preschool years successfully and they will most likely mention the importance of offering choices to preschoolers. Over and over again we are told to offer choices to our children rather than telling or demanding that they do something. But something I’ve learned along the way is that how we offer choices to our kids is as equally important as offering choices to our kids.
Why is it important to offer choices to kids? As parents, our job is to teach our children. A critical part of this job is teaching them how to make decisions. I don’t know about you, but I want to raise children who are confident, children I can trust to make a good decision. Right now my kids are 5 and 7. Most days I don’t think about what life will be like in ten years when they are 15 and 17 or in twenty when they are out of the house and establishing lives of their own. However, by teaching them how to make decisions now, I am helping build a solid foundation for us to work from later in life.
Here’s another important developmental reason to offer choices. Offering choices builds self-awareness and self-esteem. When children have ownership of their choices and understand the consequences of their choices, they are building an internal script of confidence. We are teaching them that they have the ability to be in control of a decision and to be successful.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when offering choices to you preschool aged kids.
As a Parent Coach, I often hear parents comment that they offer their children choices but they still feel like they are always fighting their children to do what they want them to do. I can offer thoughts like I did above but I don’t know you, your kids or your family. That's what I love about Parent Coaching. When I work one-on-one or in a small group with people, I get to hear each clients story and help them discover the strengths that are equipping them to be the best parents for their children! I'd love to chat with you about any struggles you have and work with you to build the groundwork for a thriving life. Send me an e-mail or schedule a free phone consultation to find out how Parent Coaching can help you!
As a woman, mom, friend, and lover of Jesus, it is my desire to live present and wholeheartedly in each moment of my life. Daily Rhythms is full of thoughts, encouragement, parenting information, and my personal journey in living wholehearted in the daily rhythms of life.