As a parent, I believe in playful discipline.
In time-ins instead of time-outs.
In finding the fun in even the trickiest task so it feels doable (not always an easy thing to do. I like to channel my inner Curious George and imagine what “fun” would look like).
So, when schools closed and shelter-at-home became a way-of-life, we were already equipped with some strategies for cutting tense moments while still feeling like we could express frustration, anger, sadness, negative emotions.
One of those ways is to give our kids some say in the routine.
Kids get told what to do A LOT!
And, let’s face it, as an adult, one of the most frustrating things can be when someone tells you what to do.
Especially when it’s your 3-year-old son telling you that you’re clearly not playing with the cars right or you cut his sandwich wrong so now he’s not going to eat it.
So, we try to find the balance.
And, during this lockdown period, one of the things my husband and I agreed to do was to let our boys pick books for us to read.
OMG! BEST IDEA ever!
Reading books for a younger target audience is SO MUCH FUN!
Yes, I’m even capitalizing that because that’s how much I want to scream this idea from the rooftops!
I love a good novel and have bookshelves full of self-help books, but the stories that our kids picked for us to read have it all:
fun and colorful characters
easy to read so you finish quickly and get the satisfaction of checking something off your list
great stories about friendships and overcoming challenges and how to navigate the world when things are out of your control
I, literally, cried after finishing Neil Patrick Harris’s 3rd book in the Magic Misfits Series. The entire series was recommended by my 12-year-old and each is really good. But the last one, in particular, cut at my heart-strings as it’s centered around one boy who feels pulled between helping his friends, making new ones, and connecting with his older siblings who were home for the summer!
And my almost-9-year old who recommended the Baseball Card series of books by Dan Gutman about a boy who travels through time to meet famous baseball players and learn about their lives.
These themes transcend age and, I gotta say, my kids absolutely LOVE not only recommending the books (and telling us what to read for a change) but also talking about them when we’re done!
It has led so many moments of magic as a family that have created memories that will last much longer than this lockdown period.
And, so, I leave you with the final line from NPH’s 3rd book (no spoilers, I promise!):
Be the Magic You Wish To See in the World.
We’re living in a messy, confusing, uncertain, destabilizing time.
But, it’s also an opportunity to create magic and wonder and fun.
Because, it’s life, now.
And we have no other choice but to live it – one day at a time.
Just as we did before and we will after.
Check out Creative Spirit, Playful Discipline!
Kids are messy. Parenting is messy. Life is messy.
But messy can be good.
To paraphrase Mrs. Frizzle, it means you’re taking chances, making mistakes, and learning.