SELF CARE FOR PARENTS
I didn't however, support our children to have more than one major out of school activity at a time each.
For example gymnastics was three afternoons a week at one stage. It was when it was required to attend two morning before school and Saturdays as well as the three afternoons a week I decided it was too much of a family commitment to continue, especially as my eldest son was going into a Selective High School where there was a lot of additional homework too.
At that time tennis and touch football were considered more manageable options.
T.V. and computer time was a privilege in our household, not a right.
I certainly didn't get to watch it if my jobs weren't done.
I can recall my Year 1 son being asked to get his home reader. But instead of being cooperative he dragged his heels. After fifteen minutes we were still having a power struggle.
The next day I explained that he had fifteen minutes before his favourite show came on the T.V. If he went and got his reader and did his ten minutes of reading he'd get to watch all of his show. But he chose not to cooperate.
I explained that I was not being a good mother if I let him behave like that and not learn to read. It was his responsibility, every day, to get his home reader and come to me ready to read.
The next afternoon I did the exact same thing, with the same time constraints, and he read within the time frame perfectly.
Not only did he get to watch his show every afternoon as he wished, but by the end of the year he became one of the best readers in his class and winning the Academic Excellence Award.
Children can contribute to the cooperative running of a household, or they can hijack it... Big time.
If your family has routines, it's likely your children will benefit from the predictability and structure, as well as you. They'll have the organization in place to support them, their health, their schooling and their interests.
In our family we exposed our children to a number of activities including playing musical instruments and involving in a variety of sporting activities.
My lack of ability to do it all was magnified by the fact my husband had lost his sight due to a surfing accident and obviously could no longer drive. But because he still worked I spent a lot of time driving everyone around.
We had one rule in the house during these years time... and it was co-operate. And it applied to all of us.
Most of the time it worked well. And we worked on the rule of natural consequences.
For example, if they chose not to cooperate in the morning I had less time available to play in the afternoon.
I explained that his show was on and that he was missing out. But he thought he'd try to negotiate his way out of his commitment.
Then he grizzled. 'It was too hard. It wasn't fair.' And the time ticked on... After another five minutes of grizzling and whining he saw that I wasn't going to change my mind.
I explained that he had to learn to read, and it was his responsibility.
My husband and I had learnt to read. His older brother had learnt to read. And he knew to read the level of books he wanted to he needed to learn to read himself.
Reading became an absolute joy in his life as he used it to independently learn whatever he wanted.
And only by adhering to a regular routine made it possible.
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