When I had my fourth child, my oldest wasn’t yet in Kindergarten. I had four kids all at home with me, which was quite exhausting and depleting of my “me” time. There wasn’t a second of the day that I wasn’t needed in some way, shape, or form. Some evenings when my husband would walk in the door, I’ve given him a high five and drive to Sonic just to get out of the house for a bit.
It is so easy to get caught up in everything going on around us, especially now with three kids. School schedules, appointments, dance lessons, playdates, and all of the other things taking up time in our lives with small children. Honestly, I am still working on the balancing act. Not only do I have three children to balance, I have my duties as CEO of the household, and my writing. And my spiritual life and my social life, which are also both very important to me. I do have some dedicated one on one time. I take the 3 year old with me to run errands on the weekends so that we have some girl time. Every night before bed I say prayers with each child individually and I read for about 20 minutes with the two older children. Usually separately so it is their own time with me. We have dinner as a family each night and the 5 year old tells us all about his adventures and his day. I’m sad to say at this point, that’s about where it stops. I am terrible at balancing in general! I am focusing on doing projects with the kids, but we usually do them as a group. But even though I’m not able to spend a large amount of individual one on one time with them, I do make sure to pay them each individual attention. We get into tickle fights, play hide and seek, dance, or I just snuggle with them and tell them I love them a million times a day.
Goals for my little ones tend to focus on developing routines and habits that make our life function a little more smoothly. To do this, I use checklists, rewards charts, repetition, and a little bit of good ole fashioned bribery! (ahem, I mean positive reinforcement!) Even at the ages of 5 and 3 there are so many things that they can accomplish. I set goals for the kids mostly to help them develop the habits I would like to see them carry through life. (Picking up after themselves, helping with chores around the house, reading, even down to making it through the day without hitting or fighting). Even though I stay at home with the children, I do not want them to get into the habit of me doing everything for them. So we instituted some checklists to start developing habits early on. There are some really great free checklists out there that are perfect for small children because they are picture charts and certainly age appropriate with attainable goals/responsibilities. These are two of my favorite, that you will literally find printed out and taped to the kids walls: Routine Printables (after school, bedtime, etc) at Get Snazzy and The Family Chore Charts which can be downloaded free at Power of Moms.
In order to set the goals with the kids and make sure they understood, we had a little “meeting” and I explained the charts and expectations, the reward system, and what everything meant. Then, over the course of the next few days, I walked them through it. There was some trial and error followed by adjustments. Some things worked, some didn’t. It’s a goal for my son to make his bed every day, but we found we never had enough time to do it before school, so he does it before he plays with his friends after school. I have found that as long as the goals are attainable and I am consistent in my expectations, the kids do a great job at following through! They work best with very specific directions. They are only 3 and 5, so they do need plenty of reminders, but overall they are doing great with their tasks and goals!
I really struggled with finding what motivated and worked with my 4 year old, so I am hoping God gives me a pass on this one. If not, I am well versed and educated in the area of discipline. When Averie was 2 years old, I dragged my husband to a Love and Logic seminar. If you aren’t familiar with their theories and methods, I highly recommend checking them out. Click here to learn more about positive discipline methods.
Thus, not only is the time out removing them from the situation, but they connect the consequence (not being able to participate) with the crime (whatever it may be). We also limit the time out for age in minutes (2-year-old time out for 2 minutes). Time out isn’t the only discipline we use, but it seems to be the most effective. Disciplining is tough because all children are different, and sometimes certain consequences don’t work….but it’s always best to be consistent whatever your method(s) may be.
I am part of an AWESOME mommy panel with Cassie from Two In Diapers and Julie from Naptime Review, and a fabulous group of moms! Each Saturday, we will bring you fresh new ideas and advice about motherhood.
At what age and how did you begin disciplining your babies?
Welcome! I’m Julie over at Naptime Review. I am a mom of 2 wild, crazy and beautiful girls. My oldest turns 4 on Christmas Eve and my baby is 15 months old. This is how I fight the battle of getting my preschooler dressed:
Well, every morning after my 4 year old wakes around 8 a.m., she comes in andquietly wakes me with a kiss. We then go into her room and she asks,“Mom, you are so wise and know what the weather is like today. Could youplease advise me on what is appropriate to wear? I can’t wait to get out of mypajamas and start my day.” I then give her an adoring look and find her awell–matched, unworn, weather–appropriate outfit for the day. We quickly getdressed and brush our teeth without any arguing. All the while, the baby isquietly entertaining herself in her own room.
So do you buy any of that? It is all a BIG FAT LIE! Our mornings are hectic,stressful, and sadly some screaming and yelling takes place. Some things thathave helped elevate some stress (although not much) are: laying out our clothes the night before, giving her only 2 choices, andnot letting her leave her room until she is dressed… but the biggest thing thathas helped reduce stress is to not sweat it so much. I try my best to keepmy child well groomed and in matched clothes but sometimes, I just give up! Aslong as her teeth are brushed and she is prepared for whatever the weather is,I did my job. So what if she is wearing a Christmas dress to preschool? Sowhat if she is wearing the same thing she wore to school last week? So what ifher shoes or leggings don’t match her outfit? I just have to let it go…
Anyway, I can’t wait to read all the other tips and hopefully implement somegreat stress reducing strategies. As my daughter and I are fighting over wardrobe,I think, “Oh man! She is only 4. What is life going to be like in 10years??” I am in trouble! I better educate myself or start drinking.
Hi! I’m Cassie from Two In Diapers, and I’m a mommy to three sweet babies, ages 4, 3, and 18 months. This is how I fight the battle of getting my preschooler dressed:
Lucky for me, this isn’t much of a battle in our home! My littles are neither picky about the way their clothes feel nor the way they look.
Bentley (age 3) occasionally complains that something is itching or hurting, which I think is mainly because of his eczema. In that case, I try to fix whatever the issue is. If it can’t be fixed, I let him change. It happens so rarely, though, that it’s not really an issue.
Emily (age 4) only sometimes has strong opinions about her clothing. I’ve learned to try to give her choices whenever possible, but to only give her choices in which I would be ok with any of the options. For example, I will pick out two or three shirts and two or three pairs of pants, and then let her know that she gets to pick what she wears – out of the choices I’ve laid out. I feel like this helps build her confidence and decision-making skills while alteaching her that I trust her ability to choose for herself.
I also try to let her pick out her entire outfit all by herself on the days that we aren’t going anywhere. She loves those days!
My son Christian is in first grade this year, and he’s in the stage of wanting to pick out his own outfits (which is a whole other battle!), but he takes so long to actually get dressed and ready that we end up leaving the house late almost every morning. Last week I attempted waking him up 10 minutes earlier and insisting he keep his eye on the time while eating breakfast. So far so good! He’s learning tell time, so it’s fun for him!
As for my toddler, Isabella, getting dressed is becoming a daily battle. She is a wiggle worm and the changing table she once fit so perfectly on, is becoming a thing of the past. I sternly tell her that she could get hurt and keep my cool. Keeping calm is key! Can you relate? What’s worked for you?
Love to hear from you!