Thursday, March 22, 2012

Great Expectations

Do you want to know what the hardest thing about having multiple kids? It is setting your expectations for each one. We have a 7, 4, and 1 year old. Often, I find myself holding the 4 year old to the same expectations as the 7 year old which is frustrating for me and her. It's too much to expect her to be at the same level of understanding as her brother. While having him be the example for behavior has been good and over time she has become more mature sometimes I forget that she is ONLY 4. Then, bring the baby into the picture. At 15 months I know that she doesn't know any better. She can say a handful of words but her favorite activity is to point to something and make a screaming sound until I identify what that something is and get it to her pronto. Being a stay at home parent requires a LOT of patience and setting these expectations for your child's ages will help you get a handle on what is acceptable behavior and what isn't. I am still a big supporter of the time out. While Adam is too old for it at 7, he can now be sent to his room. Sarah, at 4, needs an immediate time out in a chair away from temptation to learn that it is not acceptable to whine and cry when she doesn't get her way. Heidi is a little young for the timeout, but when she is totally unruly and thrashes about on the ground it is always safer to at least confine her to her crib so she doesn't hurt herself. Bottom line is, make sure you have clear expectations and punishments for each child individually. Teachers at different grade levels do this to maintain control in the classroom and if you implement these expectations and discuss what you expect with each child it will help you too.

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