Sometimes my husband and I like to dream about our retirement. Our kids like to remind us that we will still have kids in the house for years. They think they are funny. I just remind them that they cannot stay here in our house forever. But, hey, when you spread them out like we do, it sometimes seems like they will. Stay forever, that is.
It is easy to group them. The girls, the boys, the olders, the youngers. And, yes, sometimes I do fall into that trap. But I try not to. Each one of my kids, and no doubt, yours, is an individual with individual wants and needs. They are not the same and should never be treated as such.
We avoid a lot of worldly psychology mumbo jumbo around here, but I will have to say that this concept works for us. Know your kids and what makes them tick. What makes them happy. What makes them feel loved. Just like my husband’s needs are often different than mine, so are the kids. When I know what makes them feel loved, I can more readily speak to their hearts.
Yes, this is hard. And again, I only have four. I know many of you moms are blessed with more and this is more challenging. When the kids were younger I use to tuck each one in to bed at night and that was our special time together. Now that they are older and often up later than their tired mom, I have dates with each of them. I try to rotate through them one at a time on Fridays and do a mom date. Sometimes it is lunch out, sometimes it is a trip to the Walmart toy aisle, (bet ya can guess which one that is for!) but it is just an hour or so of undivided attention from mom. They love it and so do I. I also know of mom’s who never leave the house without one kid in tow – their helper for the day. If it works for you, go for it. Though sometimes I must admit a trip to the grocery store ALONE is better than the spa! 😉
I think it is important that we remind our kids that each age has its privileges. To avoid the “they get to do everything” complaint, we make sure that with certain ages come special rights of passage. From something as simple as “you get to sit in the front seat now” to the special date with dad and being presented a promise ring, there is always something to look forward to.
Really! It is challenging to parent a wide range of ages sometimes. I know. For family movie night we have been known to watch Veggie Tales, and then after little man goes to bed, watch The Hobbit. How easy it would be to relax our rules and group them all together, but we MUST remember not to settle for ease over wise choices. Same thing goes for books, bed times, and other activities. We have seen kids grow up too fast by default because they are the youngest of several. I would urge you not to let that happen – let them be kids for as long as you can. Time will fly by without you rushing it, I promise!