Category Archives: Time Together

Would You Rather?

It’s just a little game we play… oh, ALL THE TIME!  The children love it – it’s a great conversation starter, it gets that brain muscle working, and offers just another moment of connection between you and your children.  In our house we all take turns thinking of questions and answering them. Here are just a few on our most recent ones:

“Would you rather drive a garbage truck or a steam roller to school?”

“Would you rather wear your brother’s clothes all day or your Dad’s clothes all day?”

“Would you rather eat broccoli for breakfast or eggs for dessert?”

“Would you rather have wings so you could fly or be invisible?”

“Would you rather be a princess who wears a brown dress with tons of sparkles, or a pink dress without sparkles?”

If you’re real good, you may be able to sneak in a few real questions – Would you rather have carrots or snap peas in your lunch tomorrow?  Would you rather take a shower or a bath tonight?

 

Time In, not Time Out

Here’s the scene:

It’s 4:00pm we just got home from school, and daycare.  We have an hour before dad gets home and from then 30 minutes until we eat dinner, then it’s off to the bedtime races with an attempted lights out at  7:00pm sharp.  It’s like clockwork every single day.  The dinner plan?  Not quite sure yet.  Maybe chicken and some form of vegetable like every other night.

Within minutes of walking in the door, my youngest is pining for me, my oldest is nagging me with a script she needs to me say for yet another pretend princess game, and my middle is already in tears because he can’t find his red car.  I scoop up the littlest one and haul him around on my hip, say the lines my oldest feeds me for our pretend game as I walk into the playroom to help the middle guy.  I remember (who knows how) that I saw the red car in the laundry room wrapped up in a rag (he was sleeping) and so I decide to be the hero and go and get it.

“Darby will you please play with Pierce for just a minute while I go get Hewitt’s car?  I will be right back.”

I race upstairs and before I get to the top, Hewitt is crying again, then Piece starts in, and Darby is off wrapping up her baby bear in the other room so she can take a nap.  I come downstairs thinking I saved the day, and hand Hewitt his red car.  Immediately he throws it across the playroom and shouts, “No!  different car!”  I feel my internal temperature rise along with my rage.  Take a breath, walk away.  He proceeds to melt down and I ignore him as I pull the chicken out of the fridge, set it on the counter, all while baby is still on hip.

I wanted to put Hewitt on the steps and tell him he was in time out for throwing, and for yelling but I didn’t.  The truth is he’s really to young to understand time out, and on top of that, realize that he’s in time out on the stairs for something he did in the playroom.  Out of desperation, I took another breath, went back in the playroom and started building a ramp (a sure win in his book) out of blocks.  After just a minute or two, he came and sat next to me, and we happily built together for 30 minutes.  Darby eventually joined in, and Pierce was happy just to be with everyone.  Dinner was a little late but my kids were happy.

Time Out

Later that evening I reflected on my choice, my choice to have a time in rather than a time out.  I wondered, does time out even work?  Does it teach the lesson that needs to be taught?  Perhaps it offers the parent a little short term reprieve but in the long run is the problem really being solved?  Am I being the parent I want to be?  I googled a little and came across this article.  Positive discipline can be tricky.  Not giving attention to negative behavior can also be tricky.  Finding the patience and compassion for time in is tricky for sure, but most often what everyone needs.   Next time your kiddos need a little guidance think about how much time in they are really getting.  My guess is, less than desireable behavior is a call for some attention, for some time in.  Sadly, time in can be a very challenging thing to keep up on, but the rewards are endless.

 

 

The Rainbow Duocorn

Rainbow-Unicorn-rainbows-37463952-358-358“Once upon a time there was a rainbow unicorn with special rainbow powers in her golden horn.  Her name was Sara Rainbow Rainbow Sara (no hyphens or dashes, and yes that is her whole name).  She was friends with a fairy butterfly named Ruby, but Ruby didn’t have any powers.  One day Ruby wasn’t being very kind; she decided to steal the powers from Rainbow Sara Sara Rainbow’s  golden horn.  This made Sarah Rainbow Rainbow Sara very said, because she couldn’t fly anymore without her special powers.   She was also said because her horn became not golden anymore.   Sara Rainbow Rainbow Sara had a talk with Ruby, (but not with a peace flower because they didn’t have one) about how it made her sad when she stole her powers.  Ruby decided she wanted to fix their friendship so she flew into the clouds and landed in a field of flowers and found another golden sparkling horn.  She brought it back to Sara Rainbow Rainbow Sara and gave it to her.  Sara Rainbow Rainbow Sara was so happy and her powers came back!  The fairy butterfly and the unicorn were friends again.  And also because she had two horns now she turned into a rainbow duocorn!”

The above story is one that was told at our dinner table just a few nights ago.  Storytelling, real story telling is an art.  There are national conferences you can attend, courses you can take, it’s a real serious matter.  By no means do I consider myself to be a storyteller but I can say that my skills have improved since becoming a parent.  Telling stories has been one of my daughter’s most favorite ways to spend time together.  She loves when we read to her, and play pretend with her;  but tell her a story, and she’ll melt into your arms and listen so intently it makes you want to keep the story going on forever.  We tell stories about when we were young, about when she was a baby, about silly things our pets did when we were kids… all kinds of things.

Now that Darby is a little older, we sometimes ask her to tell us a story.  In general it’s been mildly successful, that is, until a few nights ago when we decided to cooperatively tell a story.  We were all sitting around the dinner table.  Darby started the story off, shared a few lines, and then pointed to one of us to continue from where she left off.  We all took turns and ended up with the story of The Rainbow Duocorn.

It may not make perfect sense, but that story is chock full of things – current events in her life, her likes, her struggles.  It was an opportunity for us to really listen and tune in to Darby.  The truth is, we ended up with a lot more than just a story.  We had a family dinner where everyone was engaged, sharing, laughing, and smiling.  There was creative thinking, cooperation, turn taking, and respect.  There was listening, there was eye contact, there was connection.  Maybe there were special powers in the golden horn after all.