There is so much noise about parenting and what is right or wrong. Mark and I have paved our way with lots of trial and error and a whole lotta prayer. It’s one of those things that I like to keep simple. When there are fuzzy boundaries and lots of wavering, I get inconsistent and that is never good.
There are many things that we adopted from our own upbringing and a few that we put in the parenting toolbox on our own. I would say most people would consider us “old school” in regards to parenting, and I’m pretty okay with that.
+ The most important aspect of parenting is consistency. We try our best to be very consistent. I tell people often that I go to bed so tired from being consistent all of the time. When I’m not consistent, everything else crumbles. So, without a doubt, this is the most important part of our parent plan. Bedtime is consistent. There is a bit of wiggle room, but if we don’t jump back into routine quickly, then bedtime is accompanied with lots of whining from the kids and frustration for us. That is just one example. We try to be consistent with food choices, discipline, daily schedules, etc. just to keep the boat moving smoothly.
+ Family time is another great part of parenting. I think everyone has a vision of what they want their family time to look like. Some people like to go and be out and about, others want to be at athletic events, some want to play video games, and the list goes on. We prefer to be outside playing. We stay home a lot. It is easy with the younger girls to stay put and enjoy our scenery. We don’t have a ton of amenities close by, so staying home is a great option for us. If we lived close to museums and awesome libraries, then we’d totally spend our days there, but since we don’t we stay close to home.
+ Having dinner together every evening is part of our parenting. This time gives us the opportunity to share our day and listen to the kids tell stories. It is one of my favorite times of the day. I can’t wait for Mark to come home and when he does, we all sit down to eat whatever I have thrown together that day. This bit of consistency and togetherness really builds a bond between us all. I truly believe that having a set meal time for the entire family to gather is super important in the dynamic of the home.
+ One simple foundation for our parenting is to keep our yelling to a minimum. I have a tendency to actually whisper when I’m really upset. There are times when yelling is required, for emergencies or when I need undivided attention right away, for example, but I do my best to not yell. Yelling isn’t a regular occurrence and when I do feel like it is becoming habitual, I nip it in the bud right away. I want a peaceful home, not one filled with frustration and yelling.
+ Simplicity and Nature. Two things I thrive on. This even moves over into the toys I prefer my kiddos have. Now, they certainly have some really awesome plastic, noise-making toys, but I love them to have the old-school, wooden toys. It’s just that simple. They can build towers with simple blocks for hours. They got some magnetic blocks for Christmas and they love them! I feel like they allow them to use their imagination more and to create their own sounds, instead of having a battery power the sound. Instead of video games, we send our kids outside. Even if they don’t want to go out (which isn’t very often) we send them out and they end up having so much fun playing with dirt and sticks. Ella has a rock collection in the fire pit, Guinnyth has managed to transport our sweet corn under the play set (daddy wasn’t too thrilled about this one;)), and Liam moves the dirt all day, every day. Fresh air and dirt are good for them. Encourage them to love it!
As with most things in my life, I like to keep it simple. It’s just how I roll. I have simple discipline strategies that I use and don’t stray from. I keep a simple routine that helps us all get in a daily rhythm. For me, consistency and simplicity are the most important aspects of our (my) parenting strategy. We want our kids to have good memories and to always want to come back to home base. I’d love to hear what you incorporate in your parenting.