BY TRACEY CLAYTON
Being a mother of three kids certainly puts you in a faster gear, and if you didn’t use to multitask before, you will certainly have to start. There are many of your children’s needs to be met, you need to take care of their physical, emotional and cognitive needs, as well as their play time. It can easily get overwhelming and stressful if you are not well organized and really know your priorities. We all learn as we go and we often need to change our course to make life easier for everyone. This is what I have learnt from my experience of being a mommy of three little girls.
Being lenient means trouble
We all know it is very difficult to be strict with your kids, especially if you are a mom and they make cute little faces at you. However, discipline is a must just because the lack of it can snowball into complete anarchy in your household. It is important to set rules, let the kids know these can’t be broken, and then apply reward and punishment accordingly. It doesn’t have to be harsh, but it has to be felt. For example, if one of the kids’ aggressive behavior is tolerated even a couple of times, soon the others will try to get away with it and you might end up with a little battlefield that’s out of control. Muster up the strength to be a good disciplinarian and cut problems at the root.
Praise them more
Kids yearn for acceptance, approval and words of praise. We usually notice when they do something wrong and criticize them much more often than we praise them. Make a point of focusing on their accomplishments and good behavior as well. Also, when you praise one kid, try to think of good things to say about the other kids as well, in order not to make them feel less worthy. They take things personally, get jealous easily and think they are not good enough. When you say something nice about them, mean it.
Use everything to instill values
It is easy to let your kids play on the computer, watch cartoons and movies. You can switch your brain off for at least a little while. I have allowed cartoon characters, princesses and superheroes to become the focus of my kids’ lives. However, I have been thinking about a good way to make this work to my advantage. I started thinking about the reasons these characters are good role models and I came up with some basic values I can teach my kids: they fight for justice, they protect the poor and the weak, they are always well dressed and there is a distinct difference between the goodies and the baddies. So now, before we take the kids to amusement parks or organize superhero parties, this is what we talk about: Spiderman is cool because he can fly, but he flies in order to help people in trouble, and that is why he is a true superhero.
Keep it simple
It seems that nowadays the parental role of a provider and caretaker has gained a new dimension – that of an entertainer. Never, in the history of the world, has there been a larger selection of toys, games and gadgets available for kids to play with, and never have kids been more bored with their lives. The more toys they have, the less entertained they seem to be. I have realized they are simply over-stimulated, so instead of buying more and more toys at a rapid pace, I have decided to cut down on buying toys for them. We donate the toys they don’t play with anymore and I don’t replace them with new ones. Instead, I let the kids get creative and come up with their own games. They draw, do crafts, they go outside much more, they sing and dance, they play with paper cups, pots and pans and the good old ball. I plan to continue moving in this direction.
What our kids need most are our time, love and attention. No amount of modern gimmicks can replace quality time with your kids, and a good balance of love and discipline will give them a healthy and safe place to grow and develop. It is ok to keep it simple!
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing. She is contributor on High Style Life and her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” Find her on Facebook.