Wednesday, October 4, 2017

As a mom of two active kids, I can tell you that being a full time mom is not easy! I’m sure you will agree! So I try to find ways to simplify this job (is it even possible?). The greatest lesson I learned is if you don’t teach your children to respect you, they won’t know how to do it. 
Think about the most important part of your day. What makes you feel good? What can you do in 10-15 minutes (they probably won’t give you more time) to re energize yourself? For me, it’s my breakfast with a fresh cup of coffee. My kids know that if they eat breakfast, their mom needs it too. It’s not selfishness, it’s respect and love that we want our kids to develop, and not just because I'm their mom, but because I'm a human being and also have needs, just like them. While I'm preparing their breakfast, I ask my older son to set the kids table. He brings plates, napkins, and silverware. While I’m cooking oatmeal, my coffee's getting ready. Then we all can be quiet and eat. A little tip to make this even more peaceful: turn on a quiet radio-station (my favorite one is Pandora, Canon in D). It usually makes the right atmosphere in the kitchen. Of course, there are always little things the kids ask me for that make me get up 100 times. So, I had to be creative to make my life easier and to help my children become more independent. They like it when they can satisfy their basic needs without getting any help from the adult. 
Here are my recommended tips to make our life easier:
How many times does your child ask for water? My kids do a lot! On top of everything, our water filter is in another room. I came up with an idea and purchased a large glass beverage dispenser. I put it on the low table, and fill it up every morning for the kids to serve themselves water all day long. They definitely started to drink more water. My older son now offers water to every person in my house and gladly offers it to his younger sister that will do whatever he asks her to do (even if it means for her to drink three glasses of water during breakfast). What it did for me? Less trips to get water for my thirsty kiddos. 

Messy food.
We all are very familiar with this one, right? Ten minutes of lunch turns our day into 20 minutes of cleaning: walls, floor, table, kids… Good thing we live in California, and it’s almost always warm outside. Take your kids to the park and turn their lunch into a fun picnic. Let them bring their favorite quinoa and drop every other spoon on the ground. The birds will eat it, and your kitchen will remain clean for a little longer. The most important part: you will save your energy and play with the kids instead of cleaning your messy kitchen. Those of us that have backyards, can feed the hungry birds in their backyards. After the meal, turn on a hose and wash off the remaining pieces off the ground. Use paper plates, and just toss them in your garbage bin. This is something that I don’t do every day, because we want for our children to learn their table manners and be aware of spilling water and soup. But when I really need a break, I do it!

Set up and clean up kids table.
This one you can start as early as your child can walk. In the kitchen, transform your lowest shelves into kids kitchen supplies station. Have their plates, glasses, silverware, and napkins within reach. So, when it’s time for a meal, they can actively participate and set everything up, while you are warming up food. Also, you can have a rule on putting their plates away at the end of each meal. Otherwise, my kids would keep on returning to their tables and their breakfast would last for an hour. It’s important for the children to participate in your family routine, so they feel like an important part of your family. “If we don’t put our plates away, our kitchen will be messy. Your dad does it, and your mom does. You need to do this too.” If we teach our children to help us, and they see us doing it, it is most likely  they will enjoy it too. Of course, there are days, when I hear “I don’t want to” one hundred times. Does it stop me from being consistent? No. It definitely requires patience. But somehow I still have it.  

As busy moms, we often forget about ourselves. Our children are much more capable than we think. More than that, deeply inside they want to be helpful and independent. If we teach them how to use the bathroom, we can teach them how to dress themselves, and we can teach them how to respect mom’s feelings :). Let’s support each other in this fun and challenging journey!
"To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely. The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one's self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be."M.Montessori

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