Here are a few ideas about how to love your kids, even while you are doing your best to lead them to better things, like say, a clean room…

1 Be Quiet

So much of our mother-yacking becomes so much background noise and does nothing to help our children attend to what we are saying. Do your best to clearly say what needs to be said once. Then move forward with what needs to be done.

2 Be Together

Instead of sending your son or daughter off to tackle the job they need to do, consider tagging along and calmly helping them get started. Some kids need direction all along the way, while others may just need a prompt. I remember a wise mother saying that to get her children interested in a new book, she would read the first chapter aloud with all the drama she could. Often, she said, they would be ready to read more on their own after that!

3 Be Patient

When our son who has high-functioning autism is working on a job, he takes breaks in between the small tasks. I used to come unglued wanting him to pick up the speed, but now I know that if I stay present and enjoy the breaks with him, he keeps coming back to work some more. A few days ago, he cored and peeled {with our handy dandy apple corer/peeler} a whole cookie sheet of apples for a batch of apple sauce. The breaks in between were listening to a song from Hook or watching a scene from Batman. Then he would come back. Your young kids may have the need for breaks. Hey, maybe we can learn to take a break now and then too!

4 Be Kind

Remember the boundaries of kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM? Sometimes as parents, we forget that we get far more cooperation from our troop when we treat them with respectful kindness. Even when they choose differently than we want them to, even when they get home late, even when they leave their bike on the ground behind the car, we still need to be kind. Think of the times you feel that someone would be justified in yelling at or criticizing you when you make a poor judgement call. No, no one wants to be treated poorly, even when they’ve done something foolish. In reality, we have all done foolish things.

5 Let Boundaries Speak The Loudest

Being kind doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for bad behavior right? So, say you find your child’s bike behind the car as you’re pulling out to go to a meeting and you have to stop {hopefully before you hit it} to move it out of the way. Pretty frustrating, particularly if you have discussed this no no with your family and you know that they know better! Do you scream and berate your child for being thoughtless or for not following the family rule about putting bikes away? Nope. You let the consequence do the talking. You might show the child where you found the bike and you might talk to them while you are putting the bike in the shed where it will stay for the week {or whatever your family’s consequence is for leaving bikes out.} The bike that is unavailable will be the sad consequence, not the mistreatment of your child.

6 Decide Together

In order to let consequences talk, they need to exist and be known! Teach in calm moments. Talk together about what happens when problems arise. Talk after the consequences are put in motion. Teach and talk and validate and listen. We’re all learning together.

I hope these ideas will be helpful to you as you go about your days.

This stage of life, when children are home and growing flies so very fast. I pray you’ll enjoy as many fleeting moments as you can, with the perspective that this time will go by and be a memory before long. And also with the knowledge that by being a parent, you are learning as much or more than your children are! Family life is an education for everyone. Maybe the most valuable education there is.

Much love to you today!

Jacque

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