Thursday, October 8, 2009

The New Routine

I've been actively working on making some changes to how I am parenting my daughter. She needs to feel praised, responsible, in charge. So I've been trying to find ways to incorporate that into our routines. We've always had that down pretty well in the morning- she generally picks out her own clothes (she completely picked out her own outfit this morning) and breakfast with minimal prompting from us.
Red Elmo shirt, green and pink plaid skirt, grey and pink striped tights, sneakers.
Picked out and put on all by herself!!

Tuesday night, I kept her VERY included in dinner preparations. I've managed to cook dinner at home every night this week (yay me!) and Tuesday night, I asked Teagan to be my assistant and help me decide on our menu and help with cooking. She picked out BBQ sauce for the chicken, rice vs pasta, and the type of rice. She poured water into the pan, added the rice. She felt like she had an important role in the family's meal preparation. Last night, I changed up the bedtime routine, adding responsibility and reward. Generally speaking, we follow a routine and not the clock each evening. Get home, dinner, a little TV and playtime, bath, PJ's, books, bed. The kids generally get to bed around 7:15. Last night, I explained to Teagan that we were going to try something new. If she made good choices all evening, she would get to stay up later than Zach- because she is older and she is the big sister. Her bedtime will be 7:30- and it is her job to help us watch the clock. After Zach goes to bed, she gets to choose how to spend whatever time is leftover. The more she is helpful with the bath and bedtime routine with her brother, the more time she will have after he's in bed. Last night, she ate double helpings of everything at dinner (pork chops, peas, dirty rice). Definitely earned a dessert treat (pumpkin muffins) and she was excited for Zach to go to bed so she could have it. After she ate her muffin, Zach was still up and having books read to him and she asked to join in- totally fine, of course. So we sat and read 2 books together. I read one and she "read" one to Zach, also. Then she headed out to the living room for her time. After getting Zach down, it was 7:20. I let her know she had 10 minutes of her own time. A few minutes before 7:30, I pointed out that the clock said 7-2-8. I let her know that if there was anything she needed before bedtime, now was the time to do it. Get a drink, go potty, pick out a stuffed animal, have a book read, etc. She could choose to just keep coloring or she could take care of those other kinds of things (she opted to get a drink). And when the clock said 7-3-0... she went to bed. Daddy tucked her in and that was it. She went to bed and stayed in bed and never made another peep. So while I am still fighting myself and having to keep reminding myself and being very aware of ways that I can include her in the family caring, she is taking to these little changes so well!

10 comments:

Strange Mamma said...

That's awesome. Way to go Mom and Dad. And way to go Teagan!

Crazee Juls said...

Very cool...and I'm sure that she feels so big and proud of herself! :)

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Tonight play time, tomorrow college. Egads.

Taryn said...

That's great, Liz! We've been trying to incorporate more responsibility into our daily routines too. It started with an "ah-ha" moment at preschool drop-off when I realized that Ethan's teacher and the co-op parents had higher expectations for him in terms of little things he could do for himself (hanging up his coat and backpack, washing his hands with supervision rather than assistance) than what I did. And they were right - he CAN do these things! It's SO easy to fall into the habit of "doing for them" because it's faster and easier in the short-term. But, I've seen him thrive lately on the added responsiblity - less tantrums and battles and more perseverance on tasks. It's really been a good parenting lesson for me.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Good observations on your part, Taryn! You know that I often talk about giving choices and all that and we've always done that, I just forgot to grow the choices with her. She wants to feel more enmeshed in and important to our family and our home. And that means including her, at her level, in the decisions we make that go beyond what she wears, brushing her teeth, etc.

This parenting thing is a constant learning curve!

Joanie M said...

Great job, Liz! I bet she feels very grown up to be able to stay up later than Zach!

Heather said...

These are great things! Congrats to Teagan for taking the initiative! That's great of her!

Teacher Tom said...

Love it. I wish more parents were so conscious about what they're doing with their kids!

Today at school 3-year-old Charlie came up to me and said he needed to go potty. I said, "Okay, you know where it is," and he ran into the bathroom. I found out later that he'd never gone potty by himself before. Ha! They can ALWAYS do more than we think.

Jason, as himself said...

My little guy behaves so much better when I involve him and keep him busy doing little tasks for me.

Mrs4444 said...

Kids LOVE structure. I couldn't have planner your routine better myself! :)