Mama Mantra: Take Your Children With You
Posted August 14, 2021 by Prairie Wife -
Take your children with you.
To church, to temple, or the movies, or an outdoor concert, or the museum…or the grocery store.
Somewhere along the line, we were taught that it’s not okay for kids to have bad days, and bad moments.
As a mom, I have ALWAYS felt a special burden…or maybe I should say responsibility for my children’s behavior.
Perhaps it’s because I was a SAHM for 11 years, and The Cowboy traveled for 9 of them so let’s be real here, I DID do a lot of the parenting.
Or maybe it’s the fact that no one looks at a child misbehaving in public and says “Hmm wonder where her/his father is?”
9 times out of 10 it’s the mom who is blamed.
And yup sometimes kids misbehaving is because of poor parenting, but a lot of times it’s because they’re just learning how to deal with emotions and what behavior is expected of them.
I’m here to say as a mom of 5 kids and an ex-teacher with a minor in early childhood that they will NEVER learn if you don’t take them out and about with you.
I can see some of you shaking your head
Can it be exhausting? YES.
Will they maybe embarrass you? YES.
Is there a high potential for everyone ending up in tears? YES.
But your children will never learn how to handle these situations (and neither will you) if you don’t have practice dealing with them, so take your kids with you when you have to run errands.
Kids have to learn how to act in public spaces, it’s just a fact of life, and the younger they are when you begin to teach them, the easier it will be as they grow older.
There ARE a few things that can make these experiences better for everyone so below is a list of what you can do to help prepare yourself and your family.
- Make Your Behavior Expectations Clear
- Walk your children through your expectations for their behavior. Things like “there will be no tech time at church” or “don’t ask me to buy you anything” or for toddlers “you have to sit in the cart”.
- Follow Through
- Part of explaining how you want your children to act is letting them know what will happen if they misbehave. Don’t tell them you will leave if they misbehave if you have to finish purchasing groceries so you have enough food for the week.
- Be Okay With Being Embarrassed
- You name it my kids have done it. From saying a swear word at church in the middle of quiet prayer time to screaming in the aisle of Target. Don’t let them see you sweat and make sure you make it clear that the poor behavior won’t be tolerated. Yes, it’s embarrassing to be in the middle of the store aisle with a pissed-off preschooler sitting in timeout on the floor, but it only takes a few times of following through to have the rest of your trips go smoothly.
- Set Yourself Up For Success
- You know what times of day your kids tend to have the best behavior. Running errands during naptime is asking for a fail, and going to the nighttime mass without feeding your kids dinner first is going to be rough. It’s always a good idea to have some quiet toys/books and a few snacks in your purse just in case.
- Be Patient
- Give yourself and your kids grace. Sometimes you do everything right and the unexpected happens. A blow-out diaper, a screaming fit, or a teen with a crappy attitude. Try and hang in there and push through, but know you’re not the first person to drop off a half-full cart at the service desk as you drag out a hysterical kid. Once your blood pressure has gone back down have an honest conversation with your kiddos about what went wrong and what you want to see next time and try again.
Take your children with you.
It helps them learn how the world works, prepares them for school and the behavior expected there, and wait for it…it can actually turn into some quality family time!
Also, it WILL get better.
As the Cowkids have gotten older they really are able to be helpful.
Case in point…we got school supplies for ALL 5 KIDS in less than an hour last week.
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And remember, when you see a mom (or dad) out there struggling to keep it together, shoot them an understanding and supportive smile…Or a knowing “been there done that you’re doing great” wink…rather than judging them and making things worse with a snarky comment or dirty look.