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Give me your parenting tips please

(22 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 09:54:24

I need to improve. I have a 4yo and 2yo and they're overall well behaved and lovely. But I cannot be the parent I want to be. Everythign turns into a battle and I am shouty and stressed. I spend the time I'm not with them missing them and thinking how much better life will be when I'm with them again, and then when I am with them I am just countin down th mins to bedtime!

So any tips gratefully received. I seem to struggle with the basics of just getting us out of the house. We eat late, so tthen bath and bedtimes are a rush, never seem o get round to doing the 'special' stuff I want to do with them. I am going out with just DS at the weekend rto buy each of us an outfit for a wedding we're going to, and am looking forward to that

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 10:04:21

I think you have to go with the flow when they're that age and take the pleasure where you can rather than aim too high. It is mostly a long old grind getting the necessary stuff done but there will be occasional moments where you can sit back and smile. Gets better as they get older and less dependent. I've always found a schedule helps. Bedtime being especially sacrosanct so that I can have a few hours to myself in the evening to unwind & recharge the batteries. If eating late is the start of your stressed evening, would seem to make sense to bring the eating forward as a first step. As I tell my DS, I don't like shouting any more than he likes listening to me shout.... so if he does as he's told, everyone's happy

'Special stuff' is what you make of it really. Take a leaf out of Mary Poppins book and tell them tidying up is fun... washing up is fun, getting dressed is fun, following you around the garden with a wheelbarrow whilst you do the weeding is fun.... and they buy it.

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 10:16:23

well glad it's not just me.
We do need to do soenthng about bedtime, but sometimes we don't even get back until 6.15ish. Just need to be more organised. I just feel like all the precious moments (sorry grin) are slipping away!

doneitthistime Fri 30-Sep-11 10:26:43

My top tip in this situation (DC's are a bit older now and wish I'd learnt it this when DC1 was 3-4) is.....

The more shouty and stressed you are, the more shouty and difficult they will be - its a self perpetuating circle of frustration!

Try and be calm for 3 days - don't react in a shouty voice to anything. Just repeat yourself firmly but don't shout. Let natural consequences rule rather than shouting - so if they won't get ready you carry on and start to leave the house or if they mess around at bath times then don't shout, just say oh no we've not got time for a bath now we'll have to go straight to bed, and when they have a tantrum (may be a bad example if they hate baths) instead of shouting I told you so, feel sorry for them, give them a cuddle and say what a shame they didn't have time for a bath etc etc etc at tedium.

Think of nice things even if you don't mean them at that moment -eg I found school holidays a bit hard at first but I learnt that I can subtly change the direction of the day by saying 'oh great DC1 its the school holiday, I love having you around' or if my youngest is being annoying on one of my days off when I have things I need to do I'll say 'Oh DC2 I love my days off with you -its such fun to be pottering around like this'. It has an impact on them if they feel they aren't an annoyance to you..

Oh yes one another - don't invest too much in special ocassions - its really annoying and its taken me a long time to realise that little ones have no sense of ocassion - they don't understand that you've taken a day off to take them out for a special tea for starting school (sobs) or you've saved all year for a holiday full of precious moment (grits teeth)

There'll always be times no tactics will work and its as long as its isolated its not a bad thing for them to see you cross and frustrated and know that their behaviour has an impact on you too!

sorry thats an essay- am not a perfect parent AT ALL but DH have managed to calm our house down - could have written your post a couple of years ago. Unexpected DC3 on the way so we'll see how well I manage to stick to above!!!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 10:29:13

Any moment is as precious as you want it to be and sometimes you don't realise how precious until it doesn't happen any more. I don't bath my 11yo ... funnily enough smile ... and, even though it was sometimes a right royal PITA to get him in the thing, I actually look back & miss those toddler-stage bathtimes occasionally. I was thinking just the other day, watching a harrassed-looking mum battling with a car seat and buggy 'thank god I don't have to do that any more!'... but, same again, I used to quite like buckling the little guy in and seeing him grinning at me in the rear-view mirror.

So don't regret that you're not some vision of maternal perfection, daintily cutting out home-made biscuits in your flowery apron whilst your rosy-cheeked, laughing children draw you pictures that say 'We love oo mummy' and hang on your every word..... you're doing great and, one day, you'll realise it. smile

sommewhereelse Fri 30-Sep-11 10:44:06

Can they have a bath at a different time of day? And can you get away with less regularly?

We usually bath before dinner and they eat in pjs (If the 2 yr old doesn't object, stick a bib over the pjs.) My trick for bathtime is to run myself a bath. They invariably want to come in too!

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 10:45:51


TBH any occasion that is planned - like a trip away, does tend to be special, as we're not tryin to do 1000 other things alongside it, we can focus on family stuff. We went to Cornwall and it was brilliant - yes, even the two 9 hour car journeys (well maybe not the last 2 or 3 hours), so maybe I need to leanr a lesson there.
I think I need to start small - less TV, more reading. No big deal, they both love books, so it's not like I'm saying less chocoltae more broccoli.

Well defintiely try the no shouting thing. But, for example, what do you do if DS is refusing to get dressed? Actually I know the answer, I say it every day "If you don't get dressed when I ask I will dress you like a baby". Maybe it's just taking the cross tone out of my voice. It can be done either way, I don't care...
lol at me cutting out home made biscuits in my flower apron grin That's what I aim for, the reality is me shouting "GO and watch TV while I finish off the biscuits and NO you can't put your hand back in the bowl having just picked your nose"

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 10:47:17

somewhereelse, yes, i think you're right. DH cycles back frm wirk 3 days a week, and so DS often goes in the shower with him - which I love as it is quick and mess free, which then leaves DD bathless -wondr if there's something I can do to squeeze her in a quick bath another time.

Francagoestohollywood Fri 30-Sep-11 11:03:21

Baths for such small children are over rated. As long as you wash their bums after a poo, you don't need to bath them every single day!

Or you can bath them in the morning, if you are at home and they don't have other activities/pre school etc.

horribledinners Fri 30-Sep-11 11:04:07

I never shout. I'm not a shouty person, I speak calmly and firmly when i need to and have found out that my boys are forced to quieten down so they can hear me.

A moment of silence when i stand back (or even turn my back) from the situation seems to help if things get 'mental' and i can get some perspective.

If one or more won't get dressed its "Okay, school in pyjamas today then?" - life goes on. I Refuse to be 'Harrassed Mum'

Also plenty of time talking, making up silly jokes, laying on the floor etc.

Most of all, my mum told me, "Notice the feel of their little hand in yours"

And the oldest one in the book, "They grow up so quick, enjoy them"

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 11:04:52

We don't bath them every day, far from it sad We are trying to bath them more often as I feel they are somewhat neglected. Maybe should come up with a strcutred every other day bath then.
DS defintiely needs a bath/shower though as he uses school toilets and wipes his own bum grin

aStarInStrangeways Fri 30-Sep-11 11:05:50

JUst wanted to say I feel your pain. DS is 3 and DD is 9 weeks old today. I am currently a SAHM, not by choice, and spend most of every day veering between feelings of guilt and anxiety over whether I am managing to fill their precious little lives with enough magic and wonder, and total exasperation that DS won't just do what he's bloody told without annoying the tits off me blush I adore him and think I probably over-empathise with his feelings; I have to make myself remember that sometimes (e.g. when he has to get dressed in order to leave the house so that we can make those Precious Moments) he just has to suck it up and accept that I'm the boss because I'm the adult.

Like doneitthistime, I try to keep things neutral in tone when dishing out the instructions etc. as I do find it helps him to strop less manage his feelings. Inevitably there is shouting sometimes but I always follow it up with explanation, when we have all calmed down hmm along with an apology if the shouting was down to me BU.

I also agree that precious moments are what you make them. At the moment they tend to be the odd occasion where I can get in the bath with DS (used to do this all the time and he loved it, but much harder with non-napping DD in the frame), or the times when a row suddenly turns into silliness (not often! blush).

The early years are just crisis management, really. If we can get through them with our sanity intact, things will get happier...right?

An0therName Fri 30-Sep-11 11:21:07

I would say try and do a bit less - why are you late in - is it work or just being out and about? also would just feed kids and eat with DH after as kids meals can be easier and quicker - my DS1 was awful and still is if doesn't have tea in good time and in bed pretty early

mornings -do you have to be out early? things like getting stuff ready the night before and also routine help -for istanc after breakfast get dressed and brush teeth then TV - if time is really tight I would be doing getting dressed first then breakfast maybe
specialy moments - tent to sneak up on us but running round loons in the garden is current favorite

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 11:25:44

Yes, workng ridiculously long hours, which is something I am trying to change. All preparation happens at about 11pm the night before but it does mostly get done. Then we;re out again at 7.30 - which in fairness is later than it was before summer.

An0therName Fri 30-Sep-11 11:36:37

ok - then can they have their tea before they get home- at CM or nursery - and if its after 6 that they get home I would maybe do bath straight away -at least for younger one
and make sure as far as possible - which I am sure you do - that you are not trying to do too much when they are around in the week - if you just focus on them sometimes things get done quicker

SarahLundsredJumper Fri 30-Sep-11 11:42:43

I would start by deciding on a few really important boundaries/family rules that you enforce.
Mine were given 2 chances :
Sitting at the table to eat.
Brushing teeth,getting dressed,shoes on
No hitting.No rudeness.

I would concentrate on these and enforce them quietly but firmly.
This avoids the shoutyness .

So DC doesnt want to get dressed -second chance -NO . Then I would firmly take them and dress them(Ignore the screaming !)
They will learn PDQ that You mean it and that resistance is futile !

Having these rules in place meant that by the time they were 6/7 they knew the score and I did really enjoy my DC.

I will go against the grain here and say that bedtime routine is essential-lots of memories of baths,stories and cuddles to be made.
One of us would do bedtime routine and the other clear up/pack lunches etc.

SarahLundsredJumper Fri 30-Sep-11 11:47:53

Sniff -my DC are teenagers now and I still think about them all cuddled up with teddies and stories all clean from their bath< has zoned out all the rubbish days> grin

StealthPolarBear Fri 30-Sep-11 11:48:36

No CM doesn't do this, unfortumarely, the nursery they were in did and life was a bit easier then - mind you it was further away so added another 40 mins onto journey home from work.
Right, so pick rules and quietly enforce them...will work on that.

JarethTheGoblinKing Fri 30-Sep-11 11:49:48

<marking for later>

SarahLundsredJumper Fri 30-Sep-11 12:03:20

Could they have something quick for tea Stealth?

I came to the conclusion it was easier to do things like pizza and salad,sandwiches,cheese sticks,chopped veggies ,cheese on toast (all time favorite !)or beans on toast/scrambled egg on toast for littlies rather than a cooked meal.They needed to eat earlier than DH and I or there was general meltdown ! Fromage frais,custard fruit for pud.

All perfectly nutritious and quick - I would sit with them while they ate and have a chat and then bath bed etc. Would put our dinner on to cook at the same time-spag bol etc.
They are with us in the evenings as they got older.
Also you get to have dinner in peace and a glass of wine

SarahLundsredJumper Fri 30-Sep-11 12:04:07

ate with us grin

mumblechum1 Fri 30-Sep-11 12:06:01

Bringing up ds I've only really had two rules;

1. I didn't bother about trivial stuff like tidy rooms

2. If I threatened, I always followed through.

Seems to have worked with him,he's never been any bother and everyone tells me how charming he is, eg if neighbours are struggling with buggies/shopping etc he always lends a hand.

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