Bed time routine is starting and your child needs a bath, they’re oozing dirt out of their little fingernails and you can smell the summer dust all over them. You’re having a super, hard time getting them to get into the bath. You’ve tried your whole arsenal of tricks and nothing is working, so now what? We like to call this, “the small and big choices”. Getting into the bath is a small choice, choosing to sleep at grandma’s house (big choice), picking pj’s (small choice), picking skating over swimming for Fall (big choice). Each choice, big or small has a result. Learning about “choices and results” is a very important step some of us sometimes leap past.
The other night Ollie wanted to sleep at his grandmother’s house (she had given the ok, the ball was left in our court). We passed the choice onto the O-man, and told him that’s an example of a big choice he got to make.
Essentially the little choices we make easily, without whining, complaining, crying, swearing (oh yes, the O-man has mastered the F word – we’ll save that for another post) – little choices lead us to making big choices, all by our very selves!
A lot of toddler/preschooler temper tantrums result from them feeling like they have no control over their own lives because so many decisions are made for them. Offering your child choices, big or small, whenever possible helps them to feel like they have more control. Letting them pick their own outfits in the morning, making choices for breakfast (within reason), picking the order of morning chores, etc – lets them feel like they have control of their life. If they’re part of making both, small and big decisions they begin to understand the concept of consequences. Life is about a series of choice and results and if we could all learn that from an earlier age we may have fewer regrets in our lives.
So my little man turned 4 (well actually not till the 19th but that’s just a small technicality). He’s currently quite confused about how old he really is, either way he wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Party this year and thus I had to get a little bit more acquainted with the four green guys. I was pretty aware of the basics but didn’t know about some of the details, which Oliver informed me about it as we went along. The most ironic thing is that he hasn’t even watched the show, he just knows them from observations. The first craft we did to get the ball rolling was his turtle shell.
Check out our instagram post for details on how to make it. Ollie wore the shell the entire day that we made it, went “ninja-ing” around all day, and then on the actual day of his party, he had zero interested in wearing his shell, go figure.
Next we planned an obstacle course and a scavenger hunt (both TMNT related). For the obstacle course we hung skipping ropes from the ceiling and then tied streamers between them, the kids had to go over and under the streamers without touching them. Then they crawled through two tunnels, walked a tight rope and then jumped over some pylons. Some of the kids were really into it, others not so much. The scavenger hunt only seemed to interest a couple of kids, which reminded me that keeping things simple is sometimes the best way to go. Visit our IG page for the details about the scavenger hunt.
As for the decorations, well my good friend the dollar store came in super handy. I purchased everything there, including the contents of the loot bags. For the loot bags, I cut construction paper for the headbands and then glued on googly eyes and drew mouths. The cups were super easy, bought green ones, then tied on streamers and glued eyes onto them. I thought for sure the kids would fight over who got which colour but they didn’t even seem to care. The balloons were also another quick and easy craft, all you need is green balloons, streamers and permanent marker. Lesson learned from this party – stick to the basics, don’t go over-planning, sometimes just opening the presents and playing with your new toys with your buddies is the best way to celebrate your 4th birthday!
You make a parenting booboo, now what? You know you screwed up, but how do you fix it?
Here’s a perfect example of this: 5 weeks after my daughter was born, I ventured out to run some errands with both kids in tow and ended up in the dollar store. My son who was almost 3 at the time wanted every plastic, colourful thing he could get his hands on and after a million no’s he asked me for a police set, I was half asleep and didn’t even look at the package and what it contained. The next thing is, we’re walking down the street and my son is holding a black gun shooting it at strangers. Ok, so I screwed up. Now what?
I had said he could get the package. If that wasn’t bad enough, we then also bought him some water guns. We weren’t letting him watch violent television shows so, why not let him be a little kid, let him play cowboys and indians, cops and robbers or whatever other good guy versus bad guy game he wants. BIG MISTAKE. In the end we had to take the guns away (obviously).
I think what made this transition easier for him is that we owned our error. We told him we had made a mistake, we had done something wrong and it was our fault. We repeated several times that “mommy and daddy made a mistake”. The lesson for him, or so we hope he learned: mistakes can happen, people make them, take responsibility for your actions, be honest about your behaviour.
Seriously we never get anywhere in relationships until we’re able to take responsibility for our behaviours, own your sh*t – remember you’re human and that means you’re going to make mistakes, be forgiving of others and especially yourself.