Grounding Rules

I really do get that it is hard being a little kid.  You can’t find out what the story says without a grownup to read it to you, you have to really work to pay attention to your body enough to know when you need to pee, and you are constantly having to take turns with your toys and materials, even while you are still using them.

I turn down the lights when my daughter says they are too bright.  I read what my kids ask me to as soon as I’m done with whatever I’m in the middle of when they ask.  I try to check in with each kid whenever a disagreement over materials breaks out and they can’t figure it out themselves, to make sure that whatever idea I have for how to deal with it is something to which they are all amenable.

I value my childrens’ rights.  Now I’m just trying to get them to respect and value MINE. 

I’m tired of getting stood and climbed on.  I’m tired of constantly having to ask them to either shush or leave when I’m trying to watch a program.  I’m tired of having them comandeer my laptop when they already have complete access to my desktop.

I model for my kids how to get centered, and they spontaneously sing the Dora and Kai Lan calming songs to each other.  We have a rule that we have to tell each other when we are getting frustrated.  We have talked about what we each like to do to decompress by ourselves when we are getting stressed out.  Helping them each find a reliable method of coping with fear, disappointment, pain, etc, is a VERY worthwhile and important part of my parenting.  We have the Sun Salutation on our syllabus for later this month!

So, they are getting good at reporting their frustration, rather than acting upon it, but  listening when I say that *I* am getting frustrated?  Not so much.  I have to get angry to get my needs met, and that is not something I’m either proud of or satisfied with, but when I’m lying in my bed, hurting and trying to get some down time, and all three of them are bruising me and disturbing my book, my show, or my sleep?  I point out what I was doing when they came in and started making a ruckus.  I ask them – politely but firmly – to leave.  Then I invariably get elbowed or stepped on, and I get pissy.

I’m not perfect, but I have rights too.  Ensuring that they learn to respect MY need to care for myself is the surest way I know to make sure that demand the right to take care of THEMselves when they are older.  Plus, I don’t have much choice – I might get pissy when I need my time and am not getting it, but I am a kitten then compared to what I’d be if I didn’t even try to get my down time in the first place!

They aren’t even five yet; we’ll keep working on it.  Bruises fade, and I can back up my streaming video to hear those lines of dialog again if I need to do so.  I apologize when my fatigue, pain and impatience get the better of me, and they apologize for hurting me.  No, they somehow don’t yet get that their waking me up or talking through my show is rude, but they will – eventually – if I keep telling them it is.  Meanwhile, they get to see me doing the best I can, and modeling how to apologize when I slip up!

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