Parental Problem Solving

by sarahmfry, November 10, 2007
This parenting thing is a lot of mental work! I've been thinking recently about some of the problem-solving we've had to do. There are so many, many times in parenting when the very hardest thing is NOT having a sure solution. So I love to compare notes with other parents - to hear what works for them and what doesn't. I think that's why I love reading so much. I am inspired, challenged, encouraged and motivated to hear someone else's ideas. Here are some of ours:

Problem: Nightly arguing over who's book gets to be read first during story time (Duh - of all the things to stress over. They don't know how good they have it.) They were also fussing over who gets to get out of their carseat first. I have THREE carseats to unbuckle, and don't need the extra stress.
Ideas: We now have a different "book leader" every day. This person gets to choose the first book to be read, they get to be first to get out of their carseat, they get to choose which video, they get to choose their favorite chair. Kindof like queen for the day. Also good practice for the other kid....they get to "serve" the other person every other day.

Problem: And ungrateful, negative attitude has just crept up in one of our kids.
Ideas:Memorizing together Scriptures on gratitude. (Parenting with Scripture and Teach them Diligently have already done the work.) Focus on thankfulness (isn't it great that this problem arose in November?) Child has to say one thing they're thankful for in the morning and evening. And of course, not getting the item which was grumbled over.

Problem: A kid prone to frequent carsickness
Ideas: Never brush her off again when she says she's feeling bad in the car! The handy-dandy handled tote conatining: A complete outfit, Plenty of wipes, A "sick" bag, Bags for dirty clothes and wipes, and odor eliminator. Oh yeah - and removal of the headrest from the seat in front of her to allow a better front view.

Problem: A new scedule involving 2 parents working outside the home and a daddy doing PhD work makes it tough to have time for dates and family nights.
Ideas: A committment to alternate weeks. Date one week, family night the next. And being willing to grab whatever time we have - a quick lunch, a short walk - and make it count.

Problem: An asthma kid who ends up in the ER a lot. The medical field's answer to chronic asthma? Steriods. Her nervous system does not handle steroids well (nor does her mother!)
Ideas: Made the committment to invest in herbs. Theydon't solve all problems, but seem to boost her system enough help get her through the attacks with regular nebulizer treatments.

Problem: Kids who do not play with toys that are piled in a toybox.
Ideas: Cheap organizer bins from Walmart. One for art supplies, one for baby dolls, one for animals, one for doctor stuff. The rule is, only 2 bins out at a time. Those must be cleaned up before getting out another. Since the bins are high on shelves, random or orphaned toys are put in a larger bin to be sorted into the smaller bins later.

Problem: The constant work of training kids to clean up after themselves. I am so serious about it, I actually feel very guilty if I carry their bowl to the table for them or pick up something they've tossed aside. But it can be exhausting work. And did you know it actually makes for a temporarily MORE messy house while you're in the training process? It's tons easier to buzz through the house cleaning up all their toys, picking up their shoes than it is to try to motivate them in a positive way to do it themselves - hopefully without having to resort to discipline.

Ideas: Enter: The Housefairy. She's a good friend of my hero, the Flylady. She's also Santa Clause's sister. She flies in for a visit now and then when the kids aren't looking - leaving fairy dust behind as she checks over their room. If it is tidy, she leaves prizes. (A small toy, a quarter, a borrowed video, a "no chores" coupon, etc.) If it isn't clean, the kids know she was there because of the fairy dust (confetti sparkles) but NO PRIZE. The kids actually woke me up the other morning around 6:00 am because they were so excited that the housefairy left them a (borrowed) Strawberry Shortcake video. The kids, of course, know it's makebelieve. Just like Santa Clause - but lots of fun!

Please don't mistake this for a "Hey-baby... Look how with it I am!" attitude. Those who know and love me most can please turn the volume down on their cackling. Some of us have to work harder than others for with-it-ness. Besides, it's actually just writing down a few of the hundreds of decisions we all make every day. What are some of your solution ideas?

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