No 4 in our series ‘Using positive discipline’: Routines for yourself.
Looking after a small child is hard work and if we have to look after washing, cooking and cleaning it can get overwhelming. If you are lucky enough to be able to get help with this great. If not – get more accepting of dirt and simple food! And if you are employing someone to look after your baby, clean, wash, cook and iron do not expect perfection – that is deeply unfair and will mean that your baby gets neglected and the bathrooms get attention instead...
Look for the times when things get difficult, when you might lash out at your child because you are trying to do too many things at once. And then try to do some of the things at another time!
Some ideas – but you adapt them to your needs!
Try to do things like making beds as you get up and have a simple but healthy breakfast to give yourself energy for the day.
You can try to do all your cooking (Yes, Even for supper), cleaning and washing early in the day. You will feel fresher and little one will too. Let your little child participate according to his/ her age. For instance a 2 year old might love to ‘wash up’ the breakfast dishes (play with them) while you quickly prepare meals for later or wipe down surfaces. A 9 month old may like to investigate the pot or plastics cupboard or the vegetables you are preparing. Or let them look through the laundry basket...or help to load the machine or put things in the washing bowl.
And let meals be simple to make and don’t overdo on chores either!
Just let baby be where you are while you work (and ‘help’) and s/he will find it interesting and won’t get lonely.
Children amazingly get used to your routine of doing things early especially if they know that it means you will be more focused on THEM later. But they simply get used to the idea – it becomes ordinary life and are often not as tired and needing your full attention in the early morning. And you can relax if your chores do not overwhelm you.
Let the dust gather and just do the essential things about the house. Put away ornaments if they are getting irritating to keep dusted. One parent can do a blitz on the house on the weekend while the other takes the child or children out for a walk or to the park or just plays with them in the garden.
Why bother - and what does it have to do with positive discipline...
The point here is that babies and toddlers need your undivided attention for as much as you possibly can manage! So get chores out of the way so that you can spend plenty of happy time playing, going for walks, visiting friends, visiting the library and looking at books, having interesting outings like the park, zoo or even a museum and so on...
Babies and children need your undivided attention because they need to create a good relationship with you. They need to feel worth your attention. We all judge how much others value us by how much time they spend on us... Babies 'blame' themselves for parental lack of care. They feel that they have 'failed' or 'done wrong' when their needs are not met. And the need for a loving relationship with a caregiver is paramount.
So protect and foster their growth of self- esteem by letting them see how much you value them in all ways. And they will later want to protect and maintain this feeling between the two of you and THIS will create a child who can learn from positive discipline environment to become self disciplined!