You know the saying- bigger kids bigger problems? I never really believed it. Actually- I’m thinking until the middle school/high school years this likely does not start to apply. I may not get as many hours of sleep a night as I should but to this day I like my somewhat uninterrupted (Peter still comes to our room in the middle of the night these days!) sleep. I stand by my opinion that the newborn stage is the hardest. I even find it harder than the terrible twos and chasing a toddler around. I prefer to chase a kid around all day but be able to sleep at night.
Having a 6 and almost 8 year old though I can say things have gotten easier in some respects, however different ages come with different challenges. Second grade homework is going to be the death of me. I am basically a taxi driver on the afternoons and weekends going from school, dance classes, baseball etc. Our kids social calendar is far busier than ours. I would not have it any other way though! I know one day when we have an emptier house and more time to ourselves I will look back and I will miss the chaos. It will seem as if it all just went by so fast!
If there is one thing I will never take for granted though it’s being the one to pick up my kids from school. Initially, my dad picked them up most days and don’t get me wrong- I do think a grandparent being able to do this is great too! When I first had kids I worked full time (I am part time now) and I’d never really thought about how we would handle extra curricular activities such as dance and baseball. I think I assumed these would all take place after 6PM to accommodate working parents! Hahah Now that I actually have children I know this would be a bit late for a school night. I’ve also learned schools and activities don’t cater to working parents. Between the extra curricular activities and homework intensifying as the kids have grown and the COVID situation forcing us into more flexible work schedules as well as working from home, I ultimately became the one to pick up the kids from school and I truly LOVE to do this!
We recently had a phase though where Natalia specifically was coming out of school EVERY SINGLE DAY with complaints, all kinds of negativity and drama that I did not think I would need to deal with until the middle school years. Suddenly seeing the kids come out of school and our car rides home became something draining. A few weeks ago though, I was given an idea that has really changed our car rides and the attitude with which the kids come out of school!
I cannot take credit for this idea. This discussion came up in my prayer group one day since apparently the negative attitudes are common in girls. One of the wonderful ladies in our group speaking from her own experiences mentioned that when her kids start with this negativity, she tells them that the conversation can go back to what is bothering them BUT first- let’s talk about a few good things that happened at school today.
That very day I told the kids we were starting a new tradition! When we get in the car they need to tell me 3 good things that happened at school that day. This simple prompt to get them into the routine of thinking positive has COMPLETELY changed our car rides home!
Not only do they come out of school with a good attitude but the conversation is now a positive one no matter what bad things may have happened at school. I realized that this also gets them to tell me things about their day that they usually would not think to tell me. It gives me an insight into what they are doing at school and some of their classroom procedures.
It’s been such a great exercise that I had to share in case it can help anyone else! The power of positivity and gratitude is amazing!
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