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It’s simply impossible to simply impossible for us to grasp; that our offspring are HAPPY. They just ARE. And because we have lost this ability, we have a tendency to try to improve their lives; better games, better meals, better activities; and just “happier.” We clean, we plan, we upgrade, we do more, we presume we know their unspoken desires and over prepare.
And what happens? We get a raging headache for all of our laborious drudgery.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given was this: “If they are happy, let them be”
KISS; Keep It Simple Stupid!
It took a long (embarrassingly so) long time for this to sink in so that I actually grasped it. Now, we live it all day, every day. For many adults (including me) it are often incredibly difficult to come to terms with that all of our little minute efforts will not elevate our children’s lives. What a nasty pill to swallow. But it won’t. Here is a short checklist of situations we need to let go of control in:
☑ Napping child in carseat
– Move them inside to their bed for a ‘better’ nap. NOPE! This has worked *TWICE* in 5 years of parenting with 3 kids, don’t do it, it’s a trap! (Keep in mind; car seats are not a safe place for a sleeping infant outside of the car! That little level bubble on the side needs to be observed at all times; some parents learned this lesson the hard way.)
☑ Wet diaper at midnight
– Let that babe sleep; NEVER ever wake a sleeping child. (teenager = different story) The ONLY time this is a ‘rule’ to break is if they decided to leave you a nice smelly present in that butt wrapper. Ew.
☑ Art time
– unless they are on fire, drowning, or in the process of falling off the mountain; back off! Laying their crayons in rainbow order may please your designer eye, but it messes up their process. And NEVER append to their work of art; the consequences may be dire…
☑ Their polka dot shirt, plaid pants, and neon striped shoes
– What, you don’t like their style? At least they are covering all that needs covered. Setting some loose ground rules (and letting all else slide) will pay off in the long run when they end up being more sneaky than you can account for.
☑ Food on their plate
– Children deserve autotomy. Just as you would be pissed if someone smothered your scrambled eggs with siriacha and sugar as you are sitting there; your kiddos deserve a say on what gets added to their plates. That’s not to say that you should let them choose cupcakes and lollipops for their meal either. Our personal philosophy is that they eat what we eat, they must try 2 bites of everything, and they only eat until they are full. We don’t force plate clearing; but if they are hungry 20 minutes later, they get re-served dinner, hehe.
☑ Transitional Object (IE – that dirty monkey beanie baby, crocheted blanket, or even, the dreaded pacifier)
– Please, just let this phase be a pleasant phase. They are attached to the item, and I promise, they will eventually outgrow it. (Or be teased by their peers and then it’s out of your control anyway.)
☑ Your shelf of books/dvds/pans/non-breakable object within their reach
– Ok, so Jam had a media shelf he cleared daily of DVDs, Lea loved dumping her toys, and Van loves emptying the bottom two shelves of our library. No, I didn’t(don’t) like it. BUT it gives them a sense of power and easy entertainment. Plus, it only takes about 2 minutes to fix it.
☑ Their hair
– It’s not always going to be brushed, smooth and/or clean. They are kids, it’s fine. A little bit of dirt never hurt anyone. (Besides, in such a beauty centric society, it’s really not a bad thing to let the kids see that not every instant needs to be coiffed and glamorous.)
☑ Their interests
– Just because you loooooooved My Little Ponies, Care Bears, and Strawberry Shortcake (Am I showing my age here?) Doesn’t mean that your little flower will. She may prefer Curious George, Doc McStuffins and Minnie Mouse. Let them be their own person!
☑ Their bedroom
– This one is hard. Children as a whole are not cleanly things. You can try to teach them and get a routine going; but at the end of the day, play is a learning experience, and they have years and years ahead of them to clean their space.
Sometimes letting go is painful, and other times it’s cathartic;
regardless, your children deserve to be treated with respect and most important; love.
Just let them be Kids!