We mothers love our kids so. We know our children well, but even so, sometimes we think they can do things they can’t and think they can’t do things they can.
The kids do not care.
I’m telling you… they just don’t.
What do they not care about?
The big grand things we plan for them.
The minute you put on a chipper voice and an exaggerated smile and try to lure them into enjoying whatever grand activity you’ve planned for them, the sooner they would just rather eat dirt then lie down in it.
It isn’t that kids don’t like fun things. They do.
But really, when it gets down to it, kids are uncomplicated. They don’t need or want fancy things. They like the simple pleasures in life. We parents project onto our kids what *we* like and then wonder why they don’t seem to be acting quite right.
Moms put an immense amount of pressure on themselves to be perfect and do perfectly and look perfect. It’ll never happen, but we still aim for it. That’s the bad news.
The good news is this… we can stop aiming so high because kids don’t need Shock and Awe. They just need Your Love and Attention. Oh, and some cuddles.
Things We Think They Hate… That They Actually Love
Here is a list, in no particular order, of things we mothers assume kids hate that they actually love. Things they need. Things they want. Even though they aren’t able to tell us this in so many words.
Research is nearly unanimous. Children love routine. The end. They may not love every single aspect of your daily routine, but they love knowing what’s next. They love being able to say, “After breakfast we do chores, after chores we play!”
Whether you have a routine by the clock or using the South African method, keep your routine going. If you start to find your child being disobedient, fighting transitions (going from one part of your day to the next) or being uncooperative, you may have a routine problem.
“My child doesn’t like routine,” you might be saying, but I want to respectfully submit it’s probably you who doesn’t like *maintaining* the routine. There’s a difference. But, if you choose a routine that works for all parties, you’ll begin to love it.
Benefits of routine:
- promotes confidence as children know what’s happening next
- keeps children well fed and well rested
- it helps mama fit in the important things
- it makes gaining cooperation for undesirable activities (naps, chores, etc.) a lot easier
Imagine this… you get a new job and your employer gives you zero training. Instead, every time you do something that isn’t quite right, you get in trouble. Soon, you’ll be terrified that your every effort will result in discipline.
Instead of feeling freedom you feel stress and anxiety. Why? Because you can’t possibly please your boss if you don’t know what they want.
Kids are no different.
Lack of boundaries actually causes insecurity in children. So what are boundaries? Essentially, boundaries are what your child can and cannot do. These will be the house rules, the daily expectations, and will align with your values. You don’t need to have tons of rules to raise a responsible child, but you do need to communicate the rules you have to your family.
They will feel free and happy knowing they are able to choose the right way instead of feeling stressed or nervous you’re going to ALL OF A SUDDEN discipline them for something they didn’t anticipate.
Prevent the All Of A Sudden In Trouble Stress by simply explaining to your children what you expect or don’t expect. Total freedom can, in fact, sabotage your child’s self-confidence building.
Benefits of boundaries:
- provides safety for your child
- helps your child feel secure in your expectations
- removes the need for lecturing, the kids already know the rules
- allows your child the opportunity to choose well
“Wait a minute,” you are saying, “My kids HATE sleeping!”
I will respond to that by saying this: they may hate going to sleep but they love being well-rested.
I have 5 kids and they don’t always skip and run to bedtime singing songs, but they know they need it. When one starts acting fussy or inconsolable, inevitably another child says, “He’s tired.”
In our family, we’ve established a clear link between tiredness and undesirable behavior. No one is able to behave at their best when they’re exhausted.
I’ve written a slew of posts on how to help your kids sleep. We mothers may not like staying home a lot to let them nap, and we may not want to take the time to teach healthy sleep habits, but we all want our children (and ourselves) to enjoy the benefits of rest. It may seem like a pipe dream, but those with well-rested kids know… kids who go to bed are much happier.
Benefits of sleep:
- better attitude
- better emotional control
- positive benefits for their health and weight
- boosts learning and increases attention span and focus
“I don’t want to fold towels, mom. I WON’T DO IT!” my 4 year old son told me one day.
I calmly (I try to be a calm mom, though I don’t always succeed) put the towels in his room and told him not to come out until they were done. He fussed, flailed, and resisted for probably 20 minutes. Then he got down to folding, did a fabulous job, and called from the doorway…
“Mom, I did it! I folded the towels, come see!”
I met him there, praised him for his work, and we went about our business. Afterwards, he felt proud of the job he’d done. He even asked for a couple more chores to add to his list.
We mothers have to be sure our children’s momentary resistance doesn’t convince us of their permanent opinion.
Toddlers and preschoolers are notorious for changing their mind. Think about exercise. You may not “like” it but it’s good for you and afterwards you feel good. Kids actually enjoy contributing to the family.
Why kids like chores once they get over it:
- they feel useful
- they learn new skills which increases self-confidence
- a sense of belonging comes with helping the family
- they get to spend time with you
Staying at Home
“I just want to stay at home, mom, I don’t like errands,” my son told me on the way out the door.
“Me either, baby, but sometimes we just gotta do it,” I said.
I hear this often from my kids… they just want to stay at home and play. Sure we go places, we do things, we see people. We don’t hole up at home and lead boring lives.
Okay maybe we do lead boring lives. But here’s the kicker… the kids like it. Yesterday the kids made veggie and fruit stew, they ran through the water hose, they jumped on the trampoline, they made dirt pies, and they just played.
Why staying at home is good:
- it’s free
- kids don’t have to sit still and be quiet like they do in public
- they are calmer and more at peace in familiar surroundings
- they have the space and freedom to use their imagination
So all in all… kids aren’t as fancy as we think. Yes, they’re demanding and require a lot of physical and mental energy, but they are simple. They may act like they like the newest or latest toy, but we all know how that goes. Three days later they’re over it. Kids don’t necessarily like Big Grand Gestures…
They like simplicity.
They like attention.
They like you.
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