Monday, September 20, 2010
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?