Parenting and discipline for children can be a very subjective topic. Some parents run a highly structured “drill sergeant” home; others choose to be more relaxed and laissez-faire. Regardless of your parental philosophy, it’s helpful to have a plan to make it through the day.
Here are a few tips that can help establish order in your house, and there is no whistle (just an egg timer):
- Give Them More Time – Unlike adults, kids can’t be rushed. If you find yourself rushing with homework, baths, bedtime routine, or morning tasks, just carve out more time. It may be less efficient, but it’s worth it for your own sanity. Or, if you know that time is going to be tight, plan ahead. For example, if you have an early morning meeting, tell your kids about it ahead of time and have them pack their bags and choose their clothes the evening before.
- Use a Chore Chart – The Melissa and Doug chore chart helps kids remember what they’re supposed to do each day. Hang it in a busy place like the kitchen or mudroom. Establishing a system where they are rewarded for completing each task also helps them become more independent.
- Establish a Daily Sweep System – Set an egg timer and give your children 15 minutes to pick up all their toys. Make it a fun game – play music, etc. Once the time is up, collect everything that’s still out and place it in a “sweep box.” The first sweep may be a bit emotional if they don’t pick everything up, but for each day you have a clean sweep, they can get a toy back from the box. Even the most stubborn children will figure it out after one or two sweeps.
- Focus on What’s Important – Take a deep breath and think about what would really make you and your family happy. Give your kids a hug whenever you feel stressed out. Walk away if you get frustrated or feel like you’re going to yell.
- Talk with Other Working Moms – Network with other moms at work. Have lunch with them, ask them what they do. Learn from veteran working moms who have older children.
Interested in learning more? Check out Focus On The Family’s Guide to Responsibilities is the great in-depth guide you can use organized by a child’s age. Also, the sweep system came from the book, From Chaos to Calm by Janet E. Heininger and Sharon K. Weiss, which includes strategies for parents of children with ADHD and can also be used for all energetic kids.