Saturday, April 6, 2013

Good Kids? Since You Asked....

So, we're at the horse barn the other day.  All of us.  Ryan and her entourage of four brothers.

Ryan riding Quadrille at Open Day

"You're kids are always so good," they told me. 

"What's your secret?"

Turns out on this particular day I had bribed them with lunch at KFC's afterward. 

My boys do behave fairly well, most of the time, in public though.  So if KFC's isn't profound enough for you, how about these little parenting gems?

Two class councillors and a star of the week!

1.  I spend time with my children.  I enjoy spending time with them.  We play board games.  We play sports games.  We read.  We do art projects.  We talk to eachother around the dinner table.  We spend a lot of time together, and then when we don't, they know how to amuse themselves.  Creatively.  Without a television, an Ipad or a computer game.

2.  They are allowed to roughhouse and be wild and run around the soccer field and park.  I don't expect them to be sitting quietly with their heads immersed in a book all the time.  They can be silly.  They can jump on eachother and sit on eachother and throw things at eachother.  Outside.  At the appropriate time.  (Usually at home and usually all afternoon!)


Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith showing off their grammies  (Never Say Never!!!)

3.  But then when I DO expect some behaviour and cooperation, my standards are high.  They are given time to be children.  They have time with family.  And then there are times when they need to listen and be patient.  This is hard.  This sucks.  But this is life.

4.  We take them places starting at an early age.  They go to music group or playgroup or singing at the library.  They learn how they are expected to behave in a group.  We go to sit-down, family restaurants every now and then.  And we teach them how to behave there.  We go to kids' theatres and shows in the park.  We go to museums and we go to amusement parks.  We don't expect them to behave for three hours at the opera.   We sit through child theatre.   Which teaches them to appreciate the arts at their level.  And I certainly expect that they can manage to play quietly, safely and respectfully for an hour at the barn. 

We are a family!  I got all my brothers and me.

5.  We do a lot of family stuff together.  Sometimes it is about soccer and baseball and the boys.  Sometimes it is about Ryan.  Or Mommy running.  Or a few of us run as a family.  It is not always about them, but it is about us. 

Of course, there are times I want to throw my daughter out of the house, via the second-story porch.  And there are days - like yesterday - where I can't even get a decent breakfast into her. 

I'm not perfect.

But I think I'm a pretty good mom.

Pretty in pink.  Surrounded by crazy!

The biggest secret isn't KFC's.  It's the time I spend with my kids, the time I take to be with them, to play with them, and to speak with them.  They aren't a chore to be gotten out of the way, they are my life. 

It's important to remind myself of that sometimes.

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