BY MARIA LUISA SALCINES
Parents, don’t blame your kids for bedtime drama and morning attitudes. How do you enforce curfew? If screams and threats are what it takes to get them into bed, I urge taking a breath and trying a new method.
Look at what changes you can make to end your day on a positive note. When an environment of peace exists, genuine connections are promoted effortlessly.
Bedtime routines set the tone for the following morning, be it optimistic or glum. To relax, we require transition time — a concept forgotten among families of today.
There is pressure in our culture to have something to show for the time spent with your children, causing parents to feel as if they need to schedule every minute of their child’s life.
Some experts believe parents enroll their children in activities from a place of anxiety, not necessarily with the mindset of their child’s well being. Parents worry their child will miss out, or fall behind their peers.
What parents should concern themselves with is the fact their child needs balance and independence. The activities they participate in do not define them.
Exhausted children will misbehave; exhausted parents will overreact.
If the majority of your time in the afternoon is spent in your vehicle, driving your child from practice to practice, it is apparent these activities have become the focus of family time.
One way to figure out if your child is doing too much is by asking yourself, “Does my child drag her feet when I drop and pick her up? Does my child have constant headaches from not getting enough rest? Are they unusually moody?”
If you spend every night nagging your children to do their homework, rush through dinner and bath time to get them into bed, you are missing good old-fashioned family time.
Your children need you. Period. They need your hugs, the conversations you have during dinner and the cuddle time before bed.
If you don’t have time to do this, your family is doing too much. The focus of time spent together is on quantity, rather than quality.
Extracurricular activities are beneficial for your children to an extent. Experts, however, believe elementary and middle school children should be having fun, not constantly competing.
Parents are responsible in making sure their children have time to do homework, get enough sleep, play with their cars or read a book, and yes, even watch a little supervised television.
One of my favorite quotes is from clinical psychologist Paula Bloom. She said, “Parents need to teach their kids to balance human doing with human being.”
When your children look back on their childhood, consider what you want them to remember. Is it stressed out parents always exhausted and yelling while driving them to activities? Or memories of happy times spent at home doing nothing in particular, yet enjoying one another’s presence?
Up to you.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily, Instagram @mlsalcines or contact her on her blog FamilyLifeandFindingHappy.com.