Creating order out of chaos OR Turning over a new leaf

This kept them occupied happily for quite a while one day

This kept them occupied happily for quite a while one day

The order out of chaos is the kids; the turning over a new leaf is for me.

After the boys playing quite often so beautifully together, it has of late reverted back to me being a constant referee. Not interested, sorry boys. I know you can play well together, so do it, please.

Sadly not as simply as saying that, so I’ve come up with some strategies.

1. I’ve noticed that they’re a lot happier with each other’s company when they’ve been enjoying it. So strategy number one is to spend the first half of the afternoon (from when Sir A wakes up – Lord B is at Montessori four mornings this week and will being doing every morning from next week, so mornings are already sorted!) doing things with them that they both enjoy and can do together.

Examples: train tracks, making towers to knock over (will try to get them to make them for each other, too), playing in the sandpit, going to the park, going for a walk. Hopefully I’ll come up with more ideas as time goes on. The main issue is always Sir A’s lesser fine motor skill ability, which makes him “clumsy” and ruinous of many things. Usually completely accidentally.

2. I’ve had this idea a couple of times but not got far in implementing it, mostly cos it pains me so. But it pains me more to never get anything done because I’m constantly refereeing. Strategy number two is getting them to help me with my work. How Montessori of me.

I’ve noticed lately that Lord B won’t do things for himself because he’s too busy holding his trains and cranes and 3 cars (and dropping them and getting frustrated every 30 seconds). This irks me greatly. Today I put a stop to it. He waited too long to go for a wee and his undies got a little wet. He then wanted me to get some fresh clothes for him and put them on for him (bit small for me). I refused. He was unimpressed. I got as far as getting him to get some shorts from the clean washing outside, but he wouldn’t put them on and wouldn’t get undies.

I wouldn’t do it either. He had a meltdown. Eventually we came to the compromise that I’d lay them flat and he’d put them on. We did the undies, then he did the shorts complete by himself, with no fuss.

Next he had to put the wet clothes in the wash. “You can do it.” “Why thank you, how generous, but no.” I put them in his hands and directed him to the white washing basket. He went off without fuss.

When it was time to water the garden I gave them the option of helping or playing cooperatively. They chose to play. It was not cooperative. Thankfully Lord B had the sense to take himself outside, but with the toy they were fighting over. Sir A ran upstairs to Daddy to tell his woes.

One plant needs to be done with a watering can so I filled it up and asked Lord B if he wanted to do it for me. He went off happily. He hasn’t cooperated with that for a while.

(Hoping he’s got the message now of being able to do things for himself, but no doubt there’ll be plenty more fights in the next few weeks. Hopefully not at inconvenient times.)

Then I had to sort out the water kefir, so I enlisted them to remove the raisins (Sir A didn’t get it and tried to get rid of the grains too, which was not pleasing, so I had to take what I needed for the next lot and left him to play with the rest) and then to measure the sugar and raisins and mix it all up. Took longer than if I had done it myself without children around, but they learnt stuff and cooperated with each other and me and like I could have done it in one shot if I left them to play unsupervised.

Outcomes I’m hoping for

  1. More child participation in household chores. They’re old enough for plenty, especially Lord B.
  2. Taking more responsibility for their toileting. It occurs to me that I usually get fresh clothes and put the others in the wash if there are accidents, just cos it’s quicker and easier. If they have to do it themselves they might realise just weeing when they need to is easier. If they help with the laundry more often that might help too (though they quite enjoy that, so maybe not…)
  3. Them learning how to do more for themselves, and more to help me.
  4. Them learning to work better as a team.

Of course we’ll see how long this all lasts since it largely relies on my perseverence… but I’m hoping it’ll be so worth it for my sanity that I’ll have few temptations to quit. No doubt I’ll keep you posted.

6 Responses to “Creating order out of chaos OR Turning over a new leaf”
  1. AfricanKiwi says:

    oh this sounds so familiar!haha I have been doing the choice thing for a few weeks now & it helps massively with avoiding meltdowns, theirs AND mine!(one of them refuses or objects to a request so I give them a choice of 2 ways etc in which to accomplish what I want done & it has been working like a charm!)Even with Roman’s eating(or refusal to eat more like it) he now knows he has to make a choice between what he would class as 2 less desirable foods on his plate & try it. He doesnt always like what he tries but he does now eat apples & oranges like a pro haha

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