This was originally published July 6, 2006. I am reposting it in honor of Works-for-Me Wednesday, The Great Parenting Advice Edition (and yes, my post from last July was originally titled "Great Advice"). I'm sure that there will be great advice to be found on everything from potty training (and unfortunately, I'll be reading that advice), to sibling rivalry and chore charts, so click on over.
A very wise friend once shared with me a strategy that she used in parenting: "If you don't want to be doing it in two weeks or two months, don't do it today." I have had the opportunity to implement this many times, choosing a short term battle over fixing a problem I've created later.
This week, I am battling. Kyle has decided that he likes dinosaurs. On two different occasions, I was picking out some summer pajamas for him. The first time I asked him, "Do you want baseball, or trucks, or dinosaurs?" "Doe-daur. Roar," was his response. The next week when I saw some on sale and knew that he still needed another pair or two of summer PJs, I asked him again, "Trucks? Basketball?" and I threw variety aside and added, "or Dinosaurs?" "Doe-daur. Roar." He liked those that we bought at Costco so much, that he wanted to hold on to them on the ride home, instead of putting them in the back with the rest of the stuff. That first morning that I tried to take them off, he struggled with me, trying to pull the shirt back down. "No. Doe-daur." At first I thought, "Well, he could wear this today. It doesn't look that different from a T-shirt." But then I thought of the advice. Did I really want him wearing this particular shirt every single day for a week? This battle has continued, but he only pitched a real fit once or twice, and it ended by the time he came downstairs and watched Big Bird and had a Pop Tart.
What I like about this advice, is that it's tailored to your preferences and reminds you to think. It's not advice based on what worked best specifically for you, such as, "Never let a child sleep in your bed." It causes you to decide beforehand if you want a child sleeping in your bed. If you do, great--scoot over. If you don't, then don't do it "just this once." When my daughter had moved to a big bed, she actually stayed in bed and called for us to come get her, just like when she was in the crib. But once we started letting her get up herself, that inevitably led to her getting out and coming to our room when she woke at night. Each time, I took her by the shoulders and led her back upstairs to her own bed, where she went back to sleep. For a while, I probably did this several times each week, or maybe several times a night, but after the habit was broken, she never did it again.
What's the best advice you have received or that you give out most often?
End Original Post, but Begin Post Script: I had forgotten some of these Kyle-isms. Yes, I remembered that he loved those PJs and fought me when I tried to change the shirt, but I had forgotten that he held them all the way home. Thank you, little Snapshot blog for preserving these memories.