Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tips for new parents (part 1 of ...?)

We never found a diaper disposing device that was worth the money. They all required lots of cleaning and got disgusting anyway. We eventually settled on a simple metal trash can with a lid, lined with a garbage bag. We put dirty diapers into plastic bags and tied them shut before putting them in. Produce bags and newspaper bags were pretty useful for this. If this seems wasteful to you, consider how much plastic is in a Diaper Genie. You're going to throw that away eventually.

Find ways to spend time with your kids where you have no agenda. The biggest source of stress and conflict is trying to get kids to do things. It's even worse if there's a deadline. Often it seems like I spend all my time with them trying to get them to do things. It's also why I'm often better with other people's kids. I have no expectations of them, and I have no agenda for them. All I'm interested in is the current moment.

The least difficult way I've found to get the kids to do things is to be very predictable. They are more willing and more diligent doing things when they know what's coming. For example, Uma and Kieran get the newspaper before breakfast. They have to do a basic room pickup after waking up. Bed follows stories follows bath follows dinner. Any time there's a deviation, we try to make sure they have ample and repeated warning.

Chores should also be tied to objective events. It's best (but not necessary) when they are a logical consequence of some preceding event. For example, after meals, you clear your dishes. Not "because I said so," but because that's just the thing you do. Making kids do something "because I said so" would be convenient, but it doesn't work all that well. That's probably a good thing in the long run. You want them to be driven by internal motivations, not the imposition of your will.



Blogger Amanda Bindel said...

and what is the approximate expected arrival of number three? I keep waiting for a picture to appear in my feed as I think it is pretty close.

July 24, 2011 at 8:09 PM  

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