Day 57 May 11, 2020
It has been a while since I wrote about my children and our day. The reason that it has been a while is because they have been really doing a great job at self directing their play, activities and choosing for themselves what makes them happy. While I believe their more aggravating disputes are extremely obvious when they have little control over their lives, sometimes it's important to reign control back in. I do this when it feels like there is an increase in arguing, more requests for screens, and more declarations of boredom. The control and ultimate decision making will return to them once I feel like the nagging has decreased and they are constantly (mostly) motivated and interested in something.
This does not mean that they are without choice at all. Below are a few ways you can keep control, decrease bickering but still give them plenty of time during the day to choose.
Before going into the benefits of choice I want to reflect quickly on the lack of choice we all have had in the past two months. A lot of decisions have been made for us about who we see and don't see, where and when we go to the grocery store, and what is considered essential. Although I personally feel that I was giving mixed opinions and suggestions rather than fact based declarations for our nation at large. Stopping a deadly virus might be one of those times when I would rather seen more straightforward guidance, maybe even putting laws in place to better help navigate this hard and confusing time. Instead each of use chose, picked and decided what we thought was truth and best advice. Despite this, many of our daily choices ceased. When choices are taken away, it has a profound effect on our psyche and our emotion.
As our choices are being restored, we would have to be cautious of wanting to be in control and make sure we are making thoughtful, slow and considerate decisions for our personal families, our financial state and professional choices. None of these decisions are easy when we have to contemplate all of the mixed messages.
This also had affected our children. They can't choose who they see or play with, their house is the only place they explore, understanding the extreme effect of this virus on them is still to be seen. Offering them a little bit of control (as much as you can) to feel like they matter and will still grow to be independent of you is practice for life. Now we have them under our roof, we can supervise and support their freedom.
Decision making and being in control is extremely important for our children as well. It gives them:
A sense of autonomy
The opportunity to make the wrong decision and learn
The opportunity to make good and healthy decisions and learn
Control most aspects of their lives
Teaches skills like inner dependency
Helps them explore their interests
Learn their motivations and act on them without restrictions (without too many restrictions)
Today I decided to go back to a more scheduled routine because I felt that at least 2 out of 3 children everyday asked me to tell them what they should be doing, there were more arguments about screens and in general with one another. They have been making their own schedules for a couple of weeks now using the same cards we used in the beginning. It started feeling they were rushing through things to get to screens faster. I made it clear daily when screens would happen.
This week due to the changes in weather, more consistent bickering and less motivation to play on their own, we made a few changes. Notice in this chart their is still a lot of choice happening!
Enjoy the update!