Sitting with one of my long time friends, she began talking about parenting and her two little ones. She has a two and a half-year old and a ten month old. “Does it get easier?” she asked. She asked this and I reflected back to the time my first child was placed in my arms. It was so foreign to me and the years seemed like they would never pass. Becoming a parent was a change to me and so was my life. There are some that it seems motherhood and parenting comes natural, for me, it was a bit different. Perhaps, because I never paused to think about my life with kiddos? I am not sure. Though as I thought about it in those brief moments as my friend was waiting for an answer and I saw my eight and a half-year old playing for the most part independently and being okay doing that, my answer to her was yes, it does get easier in some ways. As children start growing you see their inclination to want to grow up and it’s a proud moment and a sad one too. Dependence of children when they are young can be so very draining on a parent. I have three children, each about three years apart, so I never encountered children that are really close together in age. I can see how that could be a bit more challenging. Some days as parents we feel as if we are being pulled in so many directions. Fatigue and tiredness set in and any kind of break is welcome and needed. It especially becomes a little more difficult when there is a lack of family support or limited help around. Not that having some else take care of your kids is what you are looking for, just a break, a moment to breathe, to regroup is a great gift. As a parent of young children, from ages 0-5, some of the things I found to be helpful during those “Does it get any easier” days:
- Get your kid or kids outside (summer is great for this of course but winter works too! Kids love the snow!)
- Read books for ideas on how to communicate with your little one. A couple of my favorite books are, Happiest Toddler on the Block and Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
- Get the craft materials out. Kids love to get messy.
- Bubbles, kids love bubbles
- Have fun with them and give them structure. Visit my Build ME Blocks website for ideas.
What do you think? Does parenting get any easier as kids get older or does it just change?
Sitting there at the edge of the bed as my three-year old is falling asleep for nap time, I glance to the closet and see my nine-year old’s old gym shoes, sitting there, still, nothing happening. Looking at them, I think of the life my son gives to this object, he runs, he jumps, he ties them. He has used them, they have holes. He is so hard on his shoes! I can hardly believe it. Scanning the objects around me, the books, the beds, the blankets,etc. Amazing the life we bring to them. Amazing the memories we keep from them. His sweater, I take it down, it is blue, zips up in the front and I can picture him as a three-year old. Emotional, tears form and I think he will never be three again. Continue with the closet clean out, I am about to give this simple sweater away, no, I am going to keep it for 30 more years. His son will wear it. Maybe. Years ago before having children, I came home from work, my husband was traveling, alone, I was sitting on the couch, staring at the blank t.v. and thought how we give so many inanimate objects life. Without our existence they mean nothing. They are things, they sit, they don’t move. We move, we live, we give life. Objects they help us form memories, feelings, thoughts. My mind, returning to his athletic shoes, grateful they were sitting there and grateful for the journey of an inanimate object.
Summer is in full swing, the kids are out, you’ve probably visited a few places. Don’t throw away those tickets! Use them to make a summer memory bowl. Browsing through the pages of the Family Fun magazine, I came across this idea of a Summer Souvenir Bowl. What a great idea! Summertime is a great time for kids and families and when it come to an end, even though there is excitement of school starting, there are those days of wanting the summer days and nights to return. This is a great idea to remember the fun times and be able to look back on them when the summer closes and the fall begins to roll in. So, no, don’t toss those tickets, they are worth memories. In fact, this is a good idea, even for yearly keepsakes.
Much of the time I don’t recall the activities I did as a child with my parents. There are pieces here and there and events that stand out in my mind. I can’t remember a lot of the time I spent with my parents, only what they share with me. A spontaneous trip to Ikea today, I asked the kids if they wanted to go and they were pretty excited about the idea. There is a play area for the kids and it gets us out of the house for a little. I wanted to get some art organizing supplies, to encourage more art and creativity vs. the perfected art of sitting in front of the tv or other screen. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and all of its perks and forms of communication technology provides, just I am a big fan of having the kids still use their brilliant minds that they have so much room to create things in. Returning to my original thought, I turned to my kids as we entered the Ikea parking lot and expressed to them that I don’t know if I will remember the exact moment we were in the car together at Ikea or if they would remember this moment either, though I wanted them to know that I love them. It is crazy sometimes how childhood can seem like such a different life. A different lifetime from long ago, a make-believe world, a land of imagination. When they look back on events of their lives, I hope the can remember my simple message to them, I love them and I am so grateful to have the time to spend with them. Especially, in these days of hustle, bustle and time that seems to pass so quickly. I want my kids to know I love them.
Capturing the moment in a picture is something I need to do! Like all kids, my kids do some of the most random things. My three year old is a beginner potty trainer. He does his best to use toilet paper for its intended use–he also loves to wash his hands. His speech is not completely clear yet, though I could tell from his tone he believed he achieved something miraculous! I walked into the bathroom, to find the biggest ball of wet toilet paper plastered to the mirror. Water dripping down. He thought this was a magnificent achievement! I thought to myself, thank goodness they are not plastered everywhere! An A+ for creativity and the perfect ball of TP.
With young kids, bedtime can be rough. So much excitement during the day, running around, a running thought. So, how to get them to settle and look forward to bed. A little creativity, maybe? I love to hear the different ideas about kiddos and how to encourage them to take responsibility for themselves. The other day a friend of mine and I were talking. She had mentioned her kids bedtime routine had become a little hectic and it was wearing at her. She went with a “sleep fairy” idea, encouraging her kids to close their eyes for the night and to get their much needed rest. Though, the sleep fairy would not be able to come until they were sound asleep. When she did come, a little gift would be left under their pillow. She shared that this idea has been helping to have a more relaxed bedtime routine. So, if you are having trouble with kids getting to bed, give this idea a shot!
Do you have any other ideas that have been especially successful with your kids? Please share!