We just wrapped up a series of parenting classes through our church. It was WONDERFUL!
My favorite part about the entire process is that I feel like we gained some wonderful friends in the same season of life, which is something we've been really feeling the void on. It's hard when your friends have kids who are older (thus more flexible) or don't have kids at all (and they're thus more flexible). We wanted friends who have kids that can play with J and can understand when we say we can't stay because nap is coming up. They'll understand that nap shall not be breached unless there is an imminent attack from space. Nap is important. (Can you tell I try not to miss J's nap?!)
The series was also great for providing much needed validation on what we're doing right (even if it doesn't work all the time) as well as direction on how to change in order to improve on what we're doing. I'm going to give you a few nuggets they taught.
1. First Time Obedience- It's a must.
Your child isn't in charge of your home. They don't get to decide when and where to obey- you do. Yes- they're a valued member, but they're not the adult and ultimately they're still in training on how to even make a decision, much less make a wise one. This means no counting to three when you're expecting obedience. (Made my teacher heart happy to hear that one... I hate the counting thing.) You're giving your child extra time to decide whether or not to obey for you. Are you going to count to three when a car is coming and they need to stop? No- you'll need them to obey the second you say STOP!
2. Freedom isn't a right when they're little.
Your job is to gradually release your grasp as they grow up, not to give them a ton of freedom and then struggle to hold onto them when they're teens. Right now, we're supposed to be giving them structure, rules, guidance, and room to make mistakes and learn consequences. When they're teens, if we've done this, it should mean we can give them more of their freedom without having to worry about what sort of decisions they'll make (as much) because they've been trained on actions/consequences/expectation.
3. You're doing it wrong. And so is everyone else.
This made me feel so much better! Hearing where everyone was struggling let me breathe a little, like- YESSSS! No one else is perfect so I'm not terrible! It gave me some slack to know that it's ok if I'm on a learning curve just like J is.
4. Parenting is a team effort.
We'd seen this in our own family a bunch and this just reaffirmed what we want to be- a team. That does NOT mean we think alike or agree all the time, but rather that in front of J- we're unified. We want him to see a parenting team that's there for him 100% but that's going to be unified in holding him accountable 100% as well.
One thing I'd never really considered until I heard it from the class was having the afternoon time (once I'm home) be more structured. I'm currently working on a schedule for once we're home from school. So far, here's what I've thought of for activities:
*Music / Songs (20 min)
*Reading Time (20 min)
*Art / Crafts (15 min)
*Outside (15 min)
*Chores (15 mi)
*Words (10 min)
*Sorting (10 min)
I'm thinking of having some of these for MWF and some for TTh instead of all of them each day. We already do 20-30 min of tv at night plus Bible time, so that's pretty structured already. Plus- he'll have already been at school all day where they'll have done most if not all of these things.