Let’s face it, kids can make things complicated. They don’t mean to, it’s just something that comes with the territory. Here are a few things that I’ve found particularly helpful in managing our lives.
- Physical Activity: There is a lot of pent up energy just dying to escape those little bodies. As parents, we get to steer that energy toward outlets. Boredom, or being cooped up all day, can easily lead to running through the house screaming – over and over again. Especially in the winter, getting outside for a walk, going to an indoor swimming pool, ice skating, sledding, or simply running in circles in the front lawn can be the difference between a content child and one teetering on the edge.
- Self-sufficiency : This one tip could simplify your life greatly, over time. It will make things more complicated in the short term. The idea is to teach your kids to do things for themselves as they get older and more capable. Teaching them to do something themselves instead of just doing it yourself takes time and can be a little frustrating at first, but it will pay off for years to come. Kids are usually able to do far more than you give them credit for if you take the opportunity to explain and practice the activity with them a few times. For example, my four year old has learned to vacuum, pick up his toys, put his shoes on, and set the table. Whereas my two year old has learned to pick up her toys (after a little coaxing), fetch her diaper and wipes, and throw out requested items into the trash.
- Quiet bedtime routines : Kids thrive on routine, and no routine is better than the one before they go to sleep. Many children, including those who follow bedtime routines, have trouble getting to sleep. Having a regular routine before bed helps alleviate sleeping troubles while providing comfort. The routine might consist of cleaning up, showering, brushing their teeth, getting into their pajamas, and reading a book. Reading aloud to them just before bedtime is a great idea, because it quiets them down after a day of activity, it gives you quality bonding time together, and it gets them into the habit of reading.