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Posts Tagged ‘parenting styles’

Our family moved to a new community when my daughter was 14 months old. It was tough to be a stay at home mom and figure out how to meet new people. I decided to try a local LeLeche League meeting. My daughter and I had a solid breastfeeding relationship going (and yes, she was a nursing toddler). I just felt drawn to meet other mothers in similar situations. One of the best finds from attending this meeting was hearing about a Wednesday playgroup. I got the information and called the woman who organized the activities.

playground

It was fall season, but the group of moms and toddlers meet every Wednesday morning for two hours with varied activities each week. One week they would do an outdoor adventure, one week they would meet at someone’s home and play with the toys there, and the other two weeks of the month, they would meet at a preschool room of a local church. Such a schedule evolved, as the mothers wanted to avoid spending time at the local McDonalds during those months of poor weather! They meet at local parks during the summer months.

At first, I wondered what a playgroup would be like – would I get to talk with other mothers and visit about parenting ideas? Would my child make new friends and learn different social skills than she got when we were home alone? I soon realized these were high expectations. At the playgroup gatherings those first few months I had to stay pretty close to my daughter as she wanted that more than playing with other children. More than once I wondered if we were getting anything out of it, but the chance to interact with other families made me keep going back each week. Slowly, as my daughter grew up and her confidence blossomed, she was able to play on her own or with others. The mothers could talk a little until a fight broke out about toys, or a child began to do something dangerous.

I began to see it as a new fact of life that seldom were sentences (yet alone conversations) completed without interruptions from children’s needs. The same group continued to meet weekly and time passed into years of attending playgroup. The children watched each other grow up, learned from one another, and the mother’s friendships deepened. As new families would join, we could learn from one another, hear different perspectives on parenting, and see the diversity in children’s behaviors (that was helpful for me – the mother of one!).

One five-year old boy told his mom, “The play is for the kids and the group is for the moms.” He was sure correct on this, as the playgroup gatherings were like a form of therapy and sanity for us all. It’s been seven years now and although schools have forced us apart, our playgroup still comes together for social gatherings several times a year! I’ve been grateful and thankful for this group of families helping me along my parenting journey.

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It’s hard to say "no" to this face!

It’s hard to say "no" to this face!

I have a 28 month old. I don’t want to call it the terrible twos  because she’s just being independent…right? I love that she has a will of  her own, but boy, is it ever a challenge to get through everything these days! In the morning, it’s a struggle to pick clothes that are  acceptable to both of us. Throughout the day, it’s a (not fun) game trying to get her to pick up her toys.

The other night, I asked her to pick up all her magnetic letters and either put them on the fridge or in the old coffee can. She refused. I then asked her to help me do it. She just sat there and watched me. OK, I know I can’t do it for her because that is just setting myself up for the next 15-20 years of continuing to “do” for her. I decided this was a battle I was going to win and was prepared to do whatever it took to make it happen. Now I had to get tough and tell, not ask, her to do it. She still refused. I wrapped my hand around hers and helped her to pick up each letter and then released her hand making her drop it, but all that did was entertain her. She just thought it was funny. Finally I told her if she didn’t cooperate she had to go to bed. She still refused so I hauled her to the bedroom. She cried and said, “No, no”. When I asked if she would pick up her letters she said she would. I brought her back to the kitchen. When I sat her down she again refused. After going back and forth a couple of times with longer periods of time in the bedroom she finally gave in and picked everything up.

I know this process was significantly more painful for me than for her, but at least I won this round. She’s been a bit better about it this week. Next week, I’m sure there will be a whole new battle. I’d love to find out if anyone has a fun ways to teach kids to pick up after themselves.

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