Being A Busy Mom: Rules and Structure

Being A Busy Mom: Rules and Structure

Being A Busy Mom: Rules And Structure

 

I have three kids. An almost 7-year-old daughter and almost 5 year-old boy/girl twins. I am a busy mom. Not more so than any other parent of three kids. How do we make it work? Rules, Structure, and Cause and Effect (this is the kinder way of saying following through on consequences). So often I see children who have all the control in their house. As parents, we are not doing them any favors by giving them that kind of freedom. In our house, there is a set bedtime, and it is early. We have no screen time during the week. We do not allow technology at a table in a restaurant, in my car or any other place where it doesn’t belong. After school or camp, my kids find other things to do that relax them instead. They have dance parties, go to the park, play outside, play make believe and dress up or they sit quietly and read or draw. They can entertain themselves. It didn’t happen overnight, but they have developed this skill.

 

I see children who have all the control in their house. As parents, we are not doing them any favors by giving them that kind of freedom.

 

As parents, we are all busy. Some of us just are better at organizing than others. I happen to be one of those people who are better at organizing than others. To me, timeliness is an important quality. Whether it is for work or just for dinner with family, I can get my kids dressed and wherever I need to be on time. I plan backwards, x number of minutes away from the restaurant, three kids dressed, three kids bathed, poof, I need x number of minutes. Simple planning.

 

Aren’t all moms busy? Why would having twins and an older singleton make me so much busier than any other mom with three kids? Frankly, I think I had it way easier. I toilet trained two at the same time. I had to introduce food to two at the same time, sleep train at the same time. Where I only had to do everything that other moms of three had to do THREE times, including being pregnant. I have the gift of three children but only had to do everything twice.

 

We do not run in a restaurant at home either. This is dinner; eat it. My children eat what is prepared for the adults. Bagels and cream cheese, macaroni or PB&J are not on the menu.

 

You are probably way busier than I am. We had to be very structured right from the beginning. Bedtime for all my kids is the same time. We have a routine and we stick to it. When we walk together to the park, we hold hands, all of us. No one runs away, these are the expectations and if they choose to be unsafe, we go home. We do not run in a restaurant at home either. This is dinner; eat it. My children eat what is prepared for the adults. Bagels and cream cheese, macaroni or PB&J are not on the menu. Take them to restaurants from when they are young and set expectations, your children will rise to the occasion.

 

Take them to restaurants from when they are young and set expectations, your children will rise to the occasion.

 

Do not make excuses like “oh, he’s a boy”. He is not just a boy. He is a child in need of structure and rules with consequences that are followed through. This is not only important for small children but older ones too. I teach high school. There is no difference in an adolescent’s need for rules and structure than a child. My students thrive on it. Whether they say it or not, they appreciate the follow through on consequences. If you do this, then this will happen. If you text in class, I will take your phone to the office. If you plagiarize, you will receive a zero.

 

Do not make excuses like “oh, he’s a boy”. He is not just a boy. He is a child in need of structure and rules with consequences that are followed through.

 

Teaching our children cause and effect now will allow them to grow into more resilient adults. Allow your children to push your limits, follow through on consequences. In return you will have an emotionally stable child. They need to know boundaries. In turn, as children, it is their job to push these boundaries. Boundaries make our children feel safe. Create rules that work in your house that you can enforce. Do not make threats you cannot follow through on. If you don’t eat your dinner, you will not have any TV time before bed. This you can enforce. Do not threaten to take TV away for a year because that is unrealistic.

 

Create rules that work in your house that you can enforce. Do not make threats you cannot follow through on.

 

Snowplow parenting has overtaken helicopter parenting. Snowplow parents clear away all obstacles for their children so that they may be successful. Yes, they may have immediate success. However, what happens when they are in high school and have to write a test. The levels of anxiety are skyrocketing because we have taken away the ability for children to be able to cope with difficulty in a healthy and constructive way.

 

Let your children fall and scrape their knee. Let them wear outfits that might be embarrassing. Let them forget their homework and when they call you from school to bring it, say “NO”. They will learn quickly not to forget it again. Let them hold coins in their pocket and do not replace them when they lose them. Let them fail so that they can succeed.

 

Want to read about our child development theories?

Does your child have a resilient temperament?

My twins were born prematurely. Were yours?

About Jennifer Schwartz

Jennifer is a wife and mother of three – a beautiful singleton daughter and delicious boy/girl twins. She spent eight years teaching high school history, geography and working as a guidance counselor.

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2 thoughts on “Being A Busy Mom: Rules and Structure

  1. Madalina

    Hi Jennifer,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, and as a mother of three too, it did resonate so well with my experience. I would however add that anxiety is on the rise in children, and adolescents in particular, for another reason too: lack of expectations in primary school, lack of structure during the school day, which changes all of a sudden when they go to high school. While in primary school all has to be fun and jolly, in high school….well “out of nowhere” kids don’t understand why their marks are so low, given that they go to school every day just like before. They never learned from their primary school teachers to bring home daily and review their notes, textbook or links, and do actual homework. The other day when I asked my son’s gr 5 French teacher why between September and now I never saw once his French coming home, she responded ” I do sometimes encourage them to bring home stuff”. The gap between their knowledge in high school vs middle school vs primary school is huge. And as the saying goes “Clarity tromps anxiety”. Obviously the opposite applies just as well: the lack of clarity increases anxiety…as long as we at home have rules, structure and expectations like the above, but at school our kids are “encouraged” instead of “expected” it is all an increasingly uphill battle.

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