Following on from little helping hands, I realised that I needed to mention as it happened to me today with wee woman, that its well and good allowing them to help but you also have allow them and yourself time to do the helping and that isn't always available. When I said willing and able, I should have also said you need to be too. When I said you need to give them space and time to learn new things, you also need to not be trying to get somewhere when they decide now is the time to be independent.
What happened today was wee woman wanted to help with her shoes, great but she didn't want to put them on , she wanted to wander around the house and hide them. All of them, so when it came time to actually leave the house for playgroup , there were no shoes to be found. I spent a longer than I had factored in amount of time, trying to find two shoes, any two shoes at this point that were a left and right , so we could go. I hadn't allowed time for this and that was a rookie error on my part. I forgot for a minute ( pun intended) about BC/AC expectation level. BC- Before children and AC- after children. BC we had all the time in the world, or organised in to an orderly fashion and we were responsible for just us. Now AC its like herding cats and time seems to disappear.
You see they have no idea of time management and that certain things are time dependent. So we need to mange our time and then theirs accordingly. My mistake this morning was not remembering my two golden rules when it comes to time One is the 15 mins rule. This is where you factor in a good 15 mins extra time to achieve anything with them involved, either inside or outside the house. Getting dressed with them in room, getting them dressed, eating , cleaning up, etc, etc . BC that 15 mins was for traffic or a quick take away coffee somewhere. Now AC it's for trying to get her downstairs without her taking an every room detour or every toy has to come too. Or to stop her wearing her brothers shorts on her head. It's for the Mexican standoff that will inevitably ensue when she wants to do something herself and is taking a mins tickling away at a rate knots time to do it when we are needing to be somewhere. I forget to breathe , to find a pockets of time to draw on for her to express herself.
My second school of thought is feck it, relax! So we are 10 mins after playgroup started, it's ok. Notice I didn't say late. Yes, its nice to try to be punctual and those who have kids will understand that you were never actually going to be 90% of the time and those without kids will just have to mutter and tut to themselves. My ISH plan on sleeping and routine filters down to everything in a parents life. We will get there when we get there. That also goes with Childs development. Everyone is winning their own race. Some walk first, some talk first, everyone catches up sooner or later. The important thing is that they do it. When, is up to the child. No matter the prompting from us.
Which leads me nicely back to getting things done, I've found encouragement is the best tool a parent can have, and sometimes the only one. As we will all find, you cant get them to sleep if they don't want to , cant get them to eat if they don't want too ( no child EVER starves if food is on offer, even if it looks like they have eaten like a bird and pecked at it )! Or move any quicker to the destination required. Somehow they can either turn in to stone and plant their feet or an ironing board with core muscles of steel in a carseat or pushchair or a jelly fish with no bones at all if you're trying to get them to sit somewhere or get them dressed. They literally slide out of your arms. Our expectation of them have to be adjusted to suit the situation and sometimes at a moment notice. We need to encourage them to do what ever it is and allow them space to do it in.
Importantly though in all if this , we need to factor in free time. Give yourself a whole hour , afternoon or morning, what ever , to do nothing and see what happens. To sit on the floor and play, or just be nearby while they play. Watch gossipy morning tv or sit in your pjs with baby tv on , on the background. Your routine needs have a free day or hour pencilled in to see what comes up ? Both parties will feel better for just taking your time. Your kids will anyway so may as well stand back and take time for yourself. I packed the car while she re-found her shoes, finished my coffee and was actually ready before her. I usually do it other way round, her shoes and coat them mine. We made it to playgroup and everything was fine.
Parents have enough pressure from society about what we are supposed to be doing with our wee ones, we don't need to pile it on with when we are supposed to be doing it. Im totally one for having something to do , even if its nothing of a day. But I totally believe in all things parenting that we need to adopt the mantra - In our own time !