A Few of My Favorite Tips
Recently, I had the opportunity to present for and chat with a group my friend coaches and I wanted to share a few of the tips that I shared with them. You may have also seen these over on Instagram :).
Tip #1: Take Time Stepping In - Ever rushing to make a meal or do a chore as your kiddo asks (one million times) for a snack? Walked through the door and been asked to be “Elsa; no, Anna; no, Lilo; no, Simon the bunny; noooo, a cat; no.....”?
Have you watched this happen to your partner or another caregiver in your family’s village?
It is not easy to step from adult brain to imaginative play. It is not easy to be present trying a new recipe, or simply trying to sip some tea, while remembering which character you are today or where that specific hair clip or shoe is...
One of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves and model for our kiddos is to wait to step in until we are actually ready.
This might sound like, “I will help you when I am done drinking my tea”. This may take reminding yourself partner to take a breath before walking in the door (or out of the bedroom office) from work.
Is this always going to go over easily for kiddos? For all the adults in the situation? Nope. And, it models boundaries and shows that we all have needs that need to be listened to. It also gives us more opportunities to actually be there, with each other, rather than distractedly doing 2466 things. To me, 5 minutes late and all there in the play or in the conversation is better than 25 minutes of spacey frustration on everyone’s part.
This tip is inspired by Dr Timothy Dukes’s The Present Parent Handbook.
Tip #2: Embrace your Differences, Communicate Clearly - Once you’re grounded in your values, it’s pretty cool to see what different adults bring to our villages of child-raising.
It used to make me SO nervous when Will would toss HG around, when their favorite game was to poke her over from sitting, etc. Then, I listened to this great podcast episode (I think an episode of Hi Mama App's Preschool Podcast) about how kiddos gain different perspectives on the world just through how different adults hold them. I snuggled HG in close, Will tended to have her facing out (or in the air 🤣). So many times in this pandemic I’ve thought, “HG needs to be around an adult that’s just not us for a minute”. We learn so much about ourselves, each other, and the world through our different relationships. I also know I couldn’t handle being in a relationship with some exactly like me, and that would be so much extra-ness for HG. Therefore, I sure as heck don’t need to control what Will does with HG (nor can I 🥰).
That said, if multiple adults are involved in child-raising, getting clear on values we operate from and pet peeves makes things go way more smoothly. If you watched my recent videos in my stories, you may have seen I save “no” for safety issues to make my “no” powerful and to reduce conflict. This is a pet peeve Will and I are working on. His is HG not responding to us... which if I’d paid attention to him earlier might have been less of a frustration now 😬.
As far as values, I recommend trying the VIA Character Strengths Survey and comparing your top 5 character strengths. If you’re raising kiddos w a partner, identifying from your unique values what is central to your family is super helpful (no more than 3-5!). We need to know what we are about so we can be consistent with each other, kiddos, and adults outside of our home.
Tip #3: No Experience is Wasted - When HG was little, I’d occasionally get bombarded with, “Wait, you do WHAT with your kiddo in tow?” when I’d sub yoga classes w HG on my mat. And, on the other end I’d get, “Um, scarves? That’s not a gift. The same book EVERY night? Strange...”
Early childhood development is fascinating! Brain 🧠 development is zooming along with almost toooo many neural pathways being made. No experience is wasted - even if it’s repeated over and over.
New experience? Cool! More types of input to sift through later! (And less limits on what fulfilling things we adults get to do.)
Helping sweep (and doing so rather poorly 🤣🤦🏼♀️) for the 25686th time? EVEN BETTER! Cool gross motor skills and a chance to learn life skills!
Looking at childhood with the idea that “no experience is wasted” is empowering. It lets us:
•Do household tasks together rather than cramming them in at nap time or after bed. This means we get more rest, time to work, and/or time to be with other adults. AND it prepares kiddo’s for life. So many tasks have legit educational benefits (I’ll dig into some in my next post).
•Express our big feelings to our kiddos. Showing how we work through big feelings gives kiddos tools to do so too.
•Keep things simple. Kiddos crave repetition. It’s what helps brains get organized We can repeat play, use visits to a nearby place, household tasks, stories, AND routines. Repetition creates security that lets kiddos explore. They know where we are & what is likely happening next, this means they can more fearlessly try something new. Repetition most of the time makes novelty special and easier to come back from.
•Saves us money and is more sustainable because we don’t feel obligated to get new, flashy toys.
I'll dig more into this next month! Stay tuned next week for my FREE Month in Moments calendar. March's theme is Daily Doses of Science. Want even more materials and resources? Join me on Patreon and you can choose to get access to monthly units of play and learning. March is Tinker like a Thinker featuring women in STEM and more!