Monday, September 20, 2010

Sitting Still

As I sat in training for 2 days, I had a bit of insight in regards to my kids' behavior and my expectations of their behavior. I can often let things go and recognize when they are just being kids. But I know there are times that they need to sit still and be quiet and that I could definitely be more patient in my response to their antsiness. As I sat in training and the minutes ticked into hours and I stifled a yawn, I looked down and realized my leg was shaking. If I stopped my leg, my foot would twitch. If I made myself stay still, I would suddenly starting bouncing both legs up and down. Thankfully, we would soon have a break and I could get up and walk around a little to get that excess energy out. Maybe that's what I need to do with my kids. Maybe the next time we are in a situation where they need to sit still but just can't seem to do so, maybe they need to just go for a little walk to get some of the jitters out of their muscles. One of our favorite parts of the book "It's Hard to Be Five" by Jamie Lee Curtis is the little boy talking about school and how you have to sit still. Still sitting still. SIT STILL! The kids and I still recite that part of the book and end in giggles as we all make the most frustrated, inwardly exploding face we can muster. It's hard for little kids to click into still mode. It's hard for adults to click into and stay in still mode. So maybe being a little more aware of when there is energy to let go... maybe being tuned in to what is going on with these little people at the times when "still" is expected... maybe the results would be better if I tuned in to their needs instead of getting caught up in my own. That's what I did at bedtime last night. It was 7:00 and time for reading books and putting on pj's. But I could tell they had extra energy to burn. I knew that trying to put them to bed at that point would mean kids bouncing off the walls and goofing off and not being able to sit and settle down. So we went out and took a walk around the block. About 1/2 mile. They ran and laughed and chased. Zach would pretend to fall down over and over and just laugh at himself. We took Sassy with us and we all enjoyed our evening stroll immensely. And when it was time to come inside, the kids put on pj's without a fight. They climbed up to hear some Winnie the Pooh without any demanding or pushing and shoving. They sat quietly, intently, calmly while I read to them. Bedtime happened without fights and demands. I changed my expectation based on my own experience and got better results for it. What other situations are we putting unrealistic expectations on kids? How often am I demanding that my children behave in a way that even I can't consistently be counted on for? And how can I recognize it and do it differently? Photobucket

11 comments:

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Makes sense to me. Sometimes it's not ADD but rather unspent energy. Cheers to making bedtime less eventful.

Kerri said...

This is so true. Great reminder to work on understanding why our kids might be acting a certain way. I just had a realization that I need to spend one on one time with my 4 1/2 year old....I'm pretty sure he's acting out towards me because we haven't sat down just him and I in a while.

Have a great day!

Mandi said...

That's so great that you're able to recognize little things like that and turn them into learning experiences to make yourself a better parent. Maybe next time Alexsa has one of her moments, i'll take a step back and think "WWLD?" :)

Mandi said...

That's so great that you're able to recognize little things like that and turn them into learning experiences to make yourself a better parent. Maybe next time Alexsa has one of her moments, i'll take a step back and think "WWLD?" :)

Mandi said...

grrr...

Flartus said...

I normally resist comparing dog stuff to kid stuff, but you asked and Rosie's all I've got. :)

I recently read something on a horse blog that made me realize Rosie needs more structure and direction. It took one evening to see a change in her when I told her what to do, rather than letting her dance around or act jittery because I think it's cute. (eye roll)

Can't believe I fell into that "let them have freedom" mode. Great for humans, not so good for a non-dominant pack animal.

Liz's Mom said...

I similar insight came to me many years ago when I had a full blown ear infection as an adult. At first the pain was horrendous and quickly interfered with sleep. After antibiotics were started i was surprised to discovered that the pain did not go away quickly as when I had strep throat. The second day I had this incredible urge to move as if to try and move away from the pain. It was mindless energy. As an adult it was easy to channel the energy into cleaning the house--as a child in school, it would have been ancy-pants. It took 6 weeks before all of my hearing came back. Every teacher and parent should somehow experience an ear infection as an adult so they know how their child/students is/are feeling. If you can't, cut this out and add to your "save" file--the one where you put things that you intend to read again later but don't. :-)

Eternal Lizdom said...

Mom, I remember you talking about that ear infection. I had enough of them as a kid and that bad one as a teen that I know how awful they are. But it serves as a good reminder. I've thought about that when I've had a stomach bug and how awful I feel... and then to imagine being 3 or 5 years old and not even being able to understand what your body is doing to you!

Flartus, I should write a blog post about my dog handling philosophy someday. I sometimes get embarassed to tell people our training techniques- we sound like weird dog people. But we firmly train our dogs to be pack members and follow the pack pecking order.

Geez, Mandi, I get it already! ;-)

Kerri, I had a similar realization with my youngest recently- he got so excited by the idea of one on one time. Now, when one child gets invited to do something special (playdate or birthday party), we make sure the other kid gets special time with the other parent.

Garret, so true! And it would sure be nice if they could just recognize that for themsleves and express it. Ha!

C. Beth said...

Great post, Liz--very insightful. thanks!

~ Lori ~ said...

Seriously....THIS is the vent? I don't see this post as so much of a "vent" as a good reminder. Here's the thing...I forget that my kids are kids...and when I get irritated 'cause they're acting like kids I wish I could kick myself in the head! Just today Avery suddenly turned into a whiney, complaining, nothing-is-right-with-the-world diva and I was about to LOSE it! Then I thought MAYBE...just MAYBE I should feed her some lunch. Guess what? That Subway kids meal was like diva-repellant...sweet lil Avery came back and we went about the rest of our day.

All I could think of was DUH...what kind of horrible Mom am I??? But, we just forget how hard it is to be a kid sometimes...we forget their little tummys need to be fed more often than our own...we forget that all the running of errands is hard on little feet...we forget that it's hard to sit still and pay attention and keep all of that enthusiasm capped down deep inside. We just forget...doesn't make us bad parents, just human. Thanks for the reminder!

kbiermom said...

So true - empathy is essential to parenting, just as it is in most relationships :)