Have you ever stopped to think what the world looks like from your child’s point of view?
We love to share a child’s sense of fun when they are playing real or imaginary games. We love their sense of curiosity, although we often run out of answers to the question why? Thank goodness for the internet! Being around their energy when they are playing or investigating is good for our souls. But as children get older their days are not always filled with fun and curiosity. So what does the world look like then?
Many years ago, when I was training to be a Maths Teacher, I had to shadow an 11 year old boy as he went through his day. I didn’t have to learn all that he was expected to learn. I didn’t have to complete exercises or activities. All I had to do was be with him. That was one of the hardest days of my teaching career. At the end of the day I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was to go home and lie in a darkened room!! Does your child ever do this?
That one day had a lasting affect on me and when I am working I always take a moment to step back and look at a situation from the child’s point of view.
The Morning Routine
Recently when the children were still at school I took a look at our morning routine from the point of view of the children, a 7 year old and a 9 year old. There is never a problem getting them out of bed. In fact no matter how early I choose to meditate and then get up they are often awake and downstairs before me. After the initial morning hugs and kisses I found myself bombarding them with questions and instructions. What would you like to eat? What would you like to drink? Turn the technology off now and sit at the table. If you have finished put your dishes in the dish washer. Go and get dressed. Have you brushed your teeth? Please brush your hair. Where is your school bag? Have you got your PE kit? Put the toy away it is time for school. Get your shoes on it is time to get in the car. Have we got everything?? Phew!!!
I am sure Kathryn Mewes the Three Day Nanny would definitely call this micromanaging. I expect you may be thinking but without these questions and instructions we wouldn’t get out on time!! I thought the same initially. Then I put my Family Angel hat on and realised I needed to get the children consciously involved with the routine. I found there are…
2 Keys to Stop Micromanaging and Allowing the Children to Take a More Active Role.
- The first key is to Stay Calm – I am sure you will agree that it is very easy when we are watching the time pass to get irritated by the children when they have no sense of urgency. It is also easy to get annoyed when we feel we are saying the same thing over and over. But as we get irritated, or worse angry, the tone of our voice changes and our energy changes too. Our children then start to respond to our energy and not our words. The easiest way to get children to respond to our instructions is to stay calm and speak quietly. Actually this works with your partner as well!
- The second key is Consistency – When we ask our children to do something we need to set the intention that they will do as we ask and then not let them off the hook if they don’t. We need to be consistent with our instructions, consistent with our expectations and consistent with our praise when they do as we have asked.
Returning to my example of the morning routine I had 2 successes recently. The children now know that meal times are technology free. So, if they are using the ipad/laptop or watching the television when I invite them to the table to eat they now automatically turn them off. And recently my consistency about clearing their own dishes when they leave the table and putting them in the dishwasher has paid off too. I have to admit I wanted to shout ‘Yeah’ and dance around the kitchen the first time they did it!! Will they do it absolutely every time from now on? Probably not because they are children. Will I be disappointed when they forget? No,bless them, it is all a part of learning to be responsible and that is a process that takes time. I will simply remind them calmly and consistently every time they forget.
Now the children are on school holidays. The rules are relaxed a little, bedtimes are pushed a little and all too soon tempers are frayed a little. It would be exhausting to micromanage our children for the whole of the summer holidays so here are a few points to bear in mind.
- Routine – Routine is definitely relaxed during the school holidays but children like routine so try and keep some definition in your day.
- Relax – It is great to have activity days with the children but don’t forget it is just as important for them to have time to relax and entertain themselves.
- Refereeing – You don’t have to referee every argument that takes place. I know it seems illogical to think that they will argue less if you step back but that is often what happens.
So what does the world look like from your child’s point of view?