Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: parenting (page 1 of 3)

Setting Boundaries: With Your Family Members (Including Your Kids)

One of the places where it is hardest to set boundaries is with your family! Trust me, I know, and I have a very loving, wonderful family. This includes in your marriage or partnership, with your parents and siblings, extended family, and gasp…your own children. Here are two ways that I have attempted to set boundaries and what has happened. We’ll call these case studies. (Are there case studies on blog posts? If not, here’s a first!)

Case Study 1: Adult Family Members I tell a member of my immediate family NOT to talk about certain things in front of a person we all commonly know. The reason for this is because it will lead to trouble for someone else we both love very much. I know, I know what you’re thinking. Why talk about the subject at all if I’m worried? My answer to this question is two-fold: I have to trust people to listen to me when  I set boundaries, AND there are some subjects and situations I have to talk about, and the only people who truly understand are immediate family members.  So what happened after I set the boundary and shared the information?

At an event, I actually hear the family member I confided in talking about the subject to the person I didn’t want to know. Ugh.

Now what do I do?

I set a boundary, and it was crossed. This family member passionately believed the right thing was being done, but it was still a boundary that I made that was not respected. I could have jumped up right then and there and said, “Stop! I told you not to say anything!” (I didn’t do this, although I wanted to.) What I did was later, when I felt calm: I addressed what happened and explained again why it is important to not talk about the subject, but my family member didn’t apologize.

So…now I have a new boundary. If I don’t want someone to know, I don’t tell this person. Do I feel upset? A little, but I also feel proud of myself for creating a boundary, addressing it, and figuring out that in this circumstance, this family member’s own feelings and passions overpower my boundary.

Case Study 2: Our Kids Kids are constantly pushing boundaries and rules–according to child experts, this is normal. Maybe this is true, but I want to raise a kid who respects other people’s boundaries. This example is going to seem silly, but it is a harmless example about my daughter I feel okay sharing with the world 10 people who read this post. Also, I think this kind of thing happens to parents every day of our parenting lives, and it can wear thin on our patience. So stick to your guns, parents!

Her grandma and dad sing to her at night. Her grandpa hums. I read, we say our blessings, and then I snuggle with her. She says: “I want you to sing like Daddy and Grandma.” I say, “I don’t sing.”  This is not 100 percent true, of course, I do sing, and I have sang to her before when she was younger or sick. But I absolutely do not want to make this a part of our nighttime routine. I am exhausted by the time she goes to bed, and I don’t want to sing since I don’t enjoy it. I explain this to her and show her how what we do at night works for both of us. And she has people who sing to her on other nights.

Now, my daughter is strong-willed, which will be a great quality WHEN SHE IS OLDER. So, a few times since this singing discussion, she has brought up: “Why can’t you sing?” “I want you to sing.” Tears, silence. I explain it again, in a kind way, and now I am definitely not backing down. I have set a boundary (simple as it may be). Yes, my people pleasing mom side is really fighting me on this one, but this is a lesson–she needs to respect this boundary. We already have a nighttime routine that works, and that we both like and can manage, and I’m not changing it now.

So far, the boundary has stuck. . .

How about you? How do you set boundaries with your family members?

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Let’s Be Realistic About Screen Time: We Are The Parents

Recently, one of my friends posted on Facebook that her kids think she is the absolute worst when she makes them turn off the screens this summer. She posted her frustration that it’s a constant battle and that she is tired of being the bad guy when she wants them to “play.” She received a myriad of responses, as posts like this often do, and most were in agreement with her and said they faced the same attitude at their house. She got a few funny ones–hide the chargers, throw them outside with a ball and don’t let them come back in until they kick it. And then there were a couple that I felt were a bit harsh and asked her to look at her own screen time.

Okay, okay, I just posted a contributed post about being a good role model on the roads, and I don’t disagree that parents are role models, but come on…we are the parents. If we want to binge watch Netflix shows, we can. And in the same breath, we can tell our kids to get off their screens. We. Are. The. Parents. We are in charge.

People also like to start the screen time conversation with…”Well, when we were kids, we couldn’t wait to get outside.” Everyone nods their heads and tells some unbelievable story about how they received 39 stitches on their knees and were right back on their bikes an hour later. True, but that’s because we didn’t want to watch soap operas and Dynasty with our parents.  (Love Boat was a different story.) We didn’t want to be forced to clean our room again or listen to our moms talk on the wall phone to Aunt Ida for an hour about all her ailments.  We didn’t have Netflix or 24-hour Disney shows or tablets with tons of games or the ability to chat with our friends even while our moms talked to Aunt Ida on the phone. When we say, “Well, when we were kids…”, we are comparing apples to oranges, and that never does anyone any good.

Yes, tablets and streaming shows can be addictive. Yes, too much screen time is not good–for anyone. More studies are in agreement with that statement than in supporting screen time. I also face the battle at my house with KT’s tablet. And I have friends who claim their children only watch one TV show a day and have never touched an iPad–well, bully for them. I find it terribly hard to believe, especially when it’s 100 degrees outside, and you don’t have a pool in your backyard, and your children no longer take a nap, and you have to fix something for dinner, and your kids are tired of their toys, but…maybe you really have an iron backbone. 

What I’m saying (yes, what is she saying?)–most parents today are facing this same “screen time” dilemma. SO let’s share what we realistically do with screen time. At my house, KT is usually on her tablet two hours a day on the weekends (maybe longer if I have a freelance project to do) and she probably watches an hour of TV, along with watching Master Chef or Nailed It with me. So let’s say she averages three-four hours on the weekends. When she has school, it is lower–probably one hour on the tablet and one hour of TV.  Is that too much? Probably.

Is that all the screen time I have? Not even close, especially since I am a writer. Am I going to let Katie say to me: Well, you have 8 hours of screen time and watched 5 episodes of Frasier, so turn off the screen. Umm, no. I. Am. The. Parent.

I don’t stop drinking wine in front of her, and I’m not going to. She can’t cuss. She can’t stay up past her bedtime. She can’t eat as many snacks as she wants. Can I do all those things? YES! Can I teach her moderation and responsibility? YES!

Maybe what we should be telling each other is…hey, it’s hard. Our parents thought it was hard, too. Every generation has had their own struggles, concerns, and worries. Screen time and not being able to have unsupervised outdoor play are two of ours. You can do this. Your kids may say you are terrible, but you know you’re not. You know you’re doing the right thing. Give them a hug and a kiss and tell them life isn’t fair, and you’re not their friend. You’re their parent and you love them.

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Which Toys Can Help With Physical Development?

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photo above: Fun with friends. Image source

Living in a digital age puts a lot of pressure on parents to help their children develop safe and effective online skills. Coding is the new hot subject at many schools. Kids seem to know more about the world thanks to the explosion of easy-to-access information out there. But aren’t we forgetting something? All that time spent in front of a screen used to be the time we spent out in the backyard when we were kids. Will the children of today struggle with physical development?

There are plenty of great (better than when we were kids) toys out there that can be used to help your little one physically develop. Most children are naturally active; so if you have something they can ride or kick or throw, they’ll be keen to use it. In fact, many of these toys can help them develop mentally and emotionally as well. For example, a fast-moving ball is heading in a particular direction. Your child has to recognize that and predict where it will end up to reach it in time. In many activities, teamwork plays a big part here, too, helping to develop friendships and cooperation.

 

From the moment they can walk, you can provide a wealth of different toys to help your little one improve their balance. A good trike for a 3-year-old can help a child develop pedaling skills too. Steering needs to be practiced and can be learned by trial and error. What’s really great about kids moving on wheels is the role play that can go with it. As an example, children can become mailmen and bring you a parcel!

Once your children have mastered the art of pedaling and balancing, they might be ready for a proper bicycle. Cycling together is a fun way for the family to spend time together. It keeps you all fit and develops balance well, too. Best of all, it helps to tone every part of the legs!

Trampolines are excellent for developing strong core muscles and leg strength. Recognizing the relationship between effort and result is important here. Bouncing around is a lot of fun for children, and this activity burns a lot of calories too! Bouncing on a Pogo stick requires balance as well as strength and coordination to bounce. Of course, a space hopper might be an easier place to start!

Have you ever used a swingball set? This is tennis for a small place. It can be played with two people or practiced alone. Either way, it can be lots of fun and a great way to spend more time with the kids. Best of all, it hones the hand-eye coordination and builds strength in the arms. To build strength in both arms, a child can play on some monkey-bars or use a climbing frame in the garden. If you’re nervous about your child climbing, layout some play mats underneath.  Toys in the garden that help your child to increase their physical activity can be great for physical development too. You don’t need a lot of room, although you might need to supervise quite closely!

What do you get up to with your kids in the backyard?

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Packed Lunch Pleasers: Creating a Balanced Lunchbox

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During a day at school, your child has a lot of work to do and concepts to focus on. From the time they spend learning new things and soaking up information, to their fun on the playground with their friends, they’re constantly working and burning energy. This makes the food they eat incredibly important, and it’s something you may want to consider when packing your child’s lunch. To help you out with this, let’s explore some of the elements, which should be included in any balanced lunchbox. 

  • The Main Course

The main course of their lunch is the most important of all. This part of their meal not only needs to satisfy their nutritional requirements, but also has to be good enough for them to eat all of it. Sandwiches are a typical choice here, as they are easy to make healthy, while also including various food groups. Besides sandwiches, though, you could think about some pasta or rice dishes, which can be served cold without causing any complaints. Your child needs protein, fiber, and vitamins to make it through their afternoon, and this course can help with all three.

  • Some Additional Snacks

Of course, you’ll probably want to put more than just one item in their lunchbox. Along with the main course, most parents will also include some snacks in their kids’ meal. Chips are a very common choice, here. But, in reality, these aren’t the best for a child at school. Instead, crackers, vegetables, and other healthy snacks can take their place. It’s best to make sure that nothing in their lunch is too heavy on their stomachs. Otherwise, they could struggle to move around after lunch or stay awake in the classroom.

  • Something Sweet

Most lunchboxes will also include a sweet item or two, giving your children the chance to take on some instant energy. The way that you deliver this sort of treat is incredibly important to consider. Too much of the wrong sugars can lead to hyperactivity in children, and this is not what you want during their school day. To avoid this, fruits, yogurts, and other healthy sweets can be used, replacing chocolate bars and candy. Most kids will be happy to munch down on these kinds of treats. It’s just a matter of making the change, even if you have to think outside of the box to do it.

  • Drinks

Finally, it’s time to think about the drinks you send your child to school with. While they’re learning, they will need to remain hydrated to keep concentration levels up. To make this easier, fruit water and diluted drinks can be used as a healthy alternative to fruit juices and sodas. Not only will this help your children in the quest to stay hydrated, but it will also keep them happy, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to try some new things in your children’s lunchboxes. Of course, the food they eat can impact your child’s education if he or she has trouble concentrating because of hunger or lack of nutrition. So, it’s worth creating a healthy lunch for your child! What have you found that works for your child’s lunch? 

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Having Fun With Your Kids

Say what? Why is having fun important? Besides providing meals, clothing, shelter, and education plus taking our kids to the dentist, doctor, and school, we should also have fun? Yes!

This post is inspired by our activities over the weekend and my subsequent thoughts. I’m being a little silly because of course, you know that having fun with your children is important. But let’s also be realistic–a lot of parenting is not fun. Even the things kids think are fun, like children’s museums, playgrounds, cartoons, are not fun for the parents–not really anyway. 🙂 You probably wouldn’t choose to go to the pumpkin patch with  face painting and bouncy houses if it weren’t for your kids. That’s all I’m saying.

Katie just before BINGO

But on Saturday and more and more, Katie and I are finding activities that we both enjoy, that we both have fun with, and that we are doing together.

I was thinking about how much parents adore and treasure those little newborn babies up until they can walk and talk and have to be entertained. Then there are a lot of parenting challenges to face every day–potty training, tantrums, 3 meals a day, bath, fights over bedtime, etc. But at 6,  I feel Katie is the most fun ever because now she can participate in activities that I actually enjoy, and we can do them together. Over the weekend, we played…B-I-N-G-O.

We were at a small festival for our community, and one of the activities was Bingo. I might not have encouraged her to play if it wouldn’t have been so hot outside; but because it was, and I wanted a break from the heat, we wandered into the school and found ourselves in a Bingo game with prizes–food prizes, like popcorn, candy, potato chips, cake mixes, and more.  What fun! We laughed; Katie almost cried until she won a game; we smiled; we got excited; we made jokes. We enjoyed ourselves–both of us.

This has happened a few other times this summer, where we were both engaged in what we were doing, and it wasn’t just me the parent watching her the kid doing something.

I encourage you, especially if you are a parent of an elementary school -aged kid or above, to find those activities for your family right now, too. Maybe it’s a mutual game you like to play. Maybe it’s a painting class. Maybe it’s a show on television (we also love to watch Masterchef).

And I know it doesn’t seem possible to love your child any more than you did when he or she first was born. But I swear, I love her more and more every day. I just love her little personality, the way she looks at the world, her hopes and dreams, her creativity, and it makes me excited as a parent, which is what gets us through all the times when we are wondering how we will ever manage to do this parenting gig.

What activities do you enjoy doing with your child?

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Keeping Your Sense of Self When You’re a Mother and Wife

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It’s fair to say, as women, we have drawn the short straw in many respects, and there’s no doubt we have it tough at times. Along with growing, carrying and giving birth to our babies, in most cases, we’re their primary caregiver, too. And as wonderful and special as this is, it does mean that everything else in our lives can be twice as hard as we’re fitting it around our children. One thing many women struggle with after having kids is losing their sense of self or identity. You’re no longer just you, you’re a mother. Your new name is “mom,” and your new role is of a parent and sometimes wife. But just because you are these roles (and as enjoyable as they are), it doesn’t mean you have to totally lose the person you once were. Keeping your own identity is important; here are a few ways you can go about it.

 

Take Care of Your Appearance

As a busy parent, the way you look often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities. In the morning, it’s probably all about getting your little one up and washed, fed and dressed. But you don’t have to give up on yourself entirely, and actually making a small effort with your appearance is one of the best things you can do for your self-esteem. Perfect a super quick makeup routine- some foundation, bronzer, and a sweep of mascara will instantly make you look your best without being too done up. Every now and again, visit the hairdresser. Have a style cut, which is easy to maintain and quick to do in the morning. The trick is to work with your natural texture, for example, instead of shoving it into a ponytail. If your hair is already straight, run it over with the straighteners for just a minute or two. This will make it look tidier, get rid of any frizz or fluffiness, and allow it to sit better. If your hair is curly, you could scrunch through with some mousse; it won’t take long, but you’ll feel much better being well presented. You probably have your comfy “mom uniform” that you wear to run errands and get stuff done around the house; but a few changes here could make all the difference, too. Instead of a tracksuit, for example, a pair of leggings with a jersey skater dress and a long cardigan would look cute but be just as comfortable. If you run into anyone you know or catch sight of yourself in the mirror, you’re likely to be far more confident, too.

Exercise

Keeping fit is useful when you have energetic children to look after! It will allow you to play with them far more easily and generally keep up. You probably don’t have all the time in the world to hit the gym five days a week, but there’s plenty you can do. Go on a power walk with the pram, or take a ball or frisbee to the park and run around with your kids. Instead of driving shorter distances, walk them instead, and go on family bike rides. You’ll maintain your figure and the endorphins will make you feel good.

Maintain a Social Life

You might have hung up your dancing shoes long ago, and a night out with friends these days might not be to a nightclub or bar like it once was. But keeping friends is so important; find activities that you all like to do now that you’re mothers and wives. Whether it’s play dates with the kids, brunch on a weekend, or an afternoon tea, keeping those connections there is so important. There are of course other ways to keep in contact with friends too; you could use a postcard app to send any funny or sweet pictures as a postcard right to their house. You could talk on the phone, video call, or of course, use social media. But having that support and friendship group around you will help you keep a grasp of your own identity.

Go Back To Work

One way you can keep and maintain your identity is through your job or career. As a parent you might not necessarily want to go back full time, when you have children to look after. If that’s the case, how about part time? You could even start a home business or do some freelance stuff online. Either way, maintaining your career interests is a good way to go, and bringing money into the home will make you feel good.

Image source

 

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Cutting The Cost of Parenthood

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From the moment you first find out you’re pregnant and that initial flush of joy fades, all moms-to-be find themselves asking the same question, “How am I EVER going to be able to afford this?” The good news is that nobody’s ever ready for the trials (and joys) of parenthood; and while of course some expectant parents are financially better off than others, it’s worth remembering that parents of all kinds of incomes have been getting by for as long as the human race has been around. That said, there’s no denying that a child can put pressure on your domestic finances. With the average cost of raising a child to the age of 17 approaching $240,000 , it’s enough to make any parent-in-waiting balk.

The good news is that the cost of parenthood can largely be ameliorated by a combination of ingenuity, thrift, invention, and common sense. While the default setting for many new parents is always “worry”, cutting financial costs is one of the many ways in which moms and dads can make life easier for themselves. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Never replace when you can repair

We live in a culture of disposability, where the pervasive logic is that when something breaks, it should be replaced rather than repaired. This is a shame because with a wealth of knowledge available to new parents through digital means, you can learn to fix just about anything from torn clothes to broken toys. While kids grow out of clothes quickly, you can learn to make alterations that can significantly expand their lifetime, and it’s worth looking into different types of embroidery machines. At a younger age, when kids grow emotionally attached to their clothes yet haven’t learned to be fashion snobs, this is particularly useful.

Plan your meals and batch cook

Whether you’re a parent or not, one of the surest ways to waste money is over-reliance on takeout and restaurants. Sure, everyone loves a treat after a hard day’s work, but a home cooked meal can rival anything bought at a restaurant at a tiny fraction of the cost. You can make a family night in just as special with candles and music without paying ludicrous restaurant prices.

You can also make substantial savings at the supermarket by shopping smart and avoiding impulse purchases. You can plan your week’s meals and shop accordingly, plus save time and effort by cooking in batches and making a bolognese or curry sauce, chili, or lasagna that will last the family for several meals. Reducing meat and dairy and upping the veggies will ensure that your weekly shop lasts longer, too.

Get creative with vacations

Family vacations are often perceived as way more expensive than they need to be. A great family vacation requires only three things; fun, family, and love. Everything else is bells and whistles. Taking a road trip not only saves on expensive flights, but allows your family much more freedom and control over your vacation, reducing the risk of stress and things that can go wrong.

Mom and son photo at the top of the post found here

 

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Advice From Grandma: I Am Listening

Grandmas love to spoil grandkids and love to give advice. If some of you follow me on WOW! Women On Writing or Facebook, you know that I’m currently watching Gilmore Girls from episode 1 to the reunion show (exclusively for Netflix, that takes place 10 years later in good ole Stars Hollow). This is the best show for an example of “Grandmas love to give advice” because Emily Gilmore constantly shares her wisdom and her unwanted opinion with Lorelai, her daughter and mother of a teenager/young adult.

Don’t worry–my mom (thankfully) is nothing like Emily Gilmore; but when Katie was first born, she loved to share her advice. And daughters can be stubborn–Why do we not listen more? Most of the time, the advice is solid, comes from the heart, and can be quite true.

In my case, we lived with my mom the first 10 months of KT’s life, so that’s another reason why she often shared her opinion from: “You can’t let that little thing (her grandchild) cry it out” to “I never breastfed you. Why are you killing yourself to do this? Give it up.” So, we didn’t always agree on everything…but here are a couple of solid pieces of advice, where I think she is exactly right AND I want to pass on this wisdom to you.

  1. When I had you, I wish I wouldn’t have worried so much about my house being clean.   I have taken this one to heart. No, we don’t live in a pigsty, but I definitely don’t clean as much as my mom used to when I was  younger. I try to keep things neat as possible; but if my daughter seems like she needs my attention or something fun to do pops up, I will put cleaning aside for another day. The dirt is not going anywhere!
  2. Meals time should not be stressful. My mom did not force me to eat food I did not want to eat. Now some of you might not agree with this philosophy–and you take this stance instead: Kids will eat if they are hungry enough. But I have raised Katie like my mom did me, where food is concerned. Is she the best eater? No. But she does eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and we are adding to her main dishes all the time. Recently, without complaint we added to her diet: salad, pasta salad, Morning Star veggie patties and turkey (she ate this before but she would complain). As I grew older (once I hit first grade like my daughter is now), I started eating more foods, and now I eat just about anything (within reason). So at mealtime, I give her food I know she will eat. I add foods every once in a while–she must try it and rate it, but  I make sure there is other food on the plate that she will eat. By the way, 9 times out of 10, she tries the new food before eating anything else.
  3. Enjoy every moment because they grow up too fast.  Not exactly original–I know…but it’s good advice. And I try to remind myself of it constantly because already it seems like I blinked and went from breastfeeding to driving her to school for first grade.

What advice do you take from your parents about their grandkids? 

 

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A Lesson for The First Time at the Ocean: Get to the Root Problem

This summer, Katie and I went on a fabulous little trip to visit one of my best friends, who has a condo in Ocean City, Maryland. And this was Katie’s first time to see the ocean. It was her first time on a beach. It was her first time to go into the ocean. And it was the least favorite part of her trip.

How can this be? I love the ocean. I receive energy and rejuvenation from the sound of the waves and the seagulls. The air feels crisp; and in spite of the sand, which I grant you can be an annoyance, I love the way it feels at the ocean.

And the first night, Katie did, too.

Ironically, there was a storm rolling in, and we only had a few minutes for the girls to play, but this was by far her favorite experience at the ocean.

The next day, when the storm had rolled on through and it was bright and sunny, we were in a different spot on the beach, the waves crested quite high, and they knocked her right off her feet. She didn’t like it. But somehow I convinced her, rather easily, that the next day, nearer to the condo, it would be better, and so she trusted me and stayed excited to go in the ocean.

I probably don’t have to tell you that the next day, nearer to the condo, the waves knocked her over again; and this time, she was done. She had a full-fledged “I hate the beach” meltdown, and I couldn’t get her to do anything. I couldn’t get her to stop crying. I couldn’t get her to walk on the beach and look for seashells. I couldn’t get her to wiggle her toes in the sand or build a sandcastle. The only thing she wanted to do was leave the beach. Luckily, we were only 5 minutes from the condo, so we could easily do this; and after I tried and failed, that’s what we did.

But I was angry. This is not one of my best parenting moments. I didn’t want to leave the beach. I had been waiting for months (since we made these plans) to jump in the ocean with her and experience this with her. I had been waiting to enjoy one of the places I love that I don’t get to visit often, living in the Midwest, and I was ready to relax. None of that happened, and so most of my anger came from frustration that things didn’t work out the way I expected them to.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! 

Once I calmed down and she did, too, I realized that I wished I would have handled the situation differently. It turns out her meltdown mostly came from fear–she was scared of the ocean. And let’s face it, the ocean is a big, scary place, where a lot can go wrong. And my anger wasn’t anger at her not enjoying the ocean, it was that I was disappointed it didn’t all go as planned–and that, my friends, seems to be where a lot of our anger and unhappiness comes from all the time.

When we decided to be parents, we also decided that a little person is in our care, and their needs come before ours. I made the right decision, of course, to take her back when she wouldn’t calm down, but I wished I would have found out sooner how she was reasoning and how scared she was, and maybe everything would have worked out differently. Maybe I could have convinced her to look for some seashells with me and had a contest to find the biggest or prettiest one.

So what did I learn? First, I learned that my daughter (and probably a lot of your children, too) have a reason for their behavior. Most of the time, they are not difficult for the sake of being difficult. They are scared, tired, hungry, worried, and so on. And if you can get to the root of the problem, maybe you can diffuse the situation somewhat by taking care of that root problem. Second, I have to watch my expectations. I am dealing with a six-year-old, super smart, strong-willed, beautiful child, and she is not going to like the same things I do. I don’t have to sacrifice everything I like because she might not, but I do have to be realistic in that some things adults just like better than kids.

It all goes more smoothly when I let go of expectations and just be.

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Siblings Sharing Spaces: How Can You Make a Joint Room Work?

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When you have a larger family or a smaller home, chances are your children may have to share a room. And while this can be a source of arguments and friction at times, there are actually plenty of good points to it as well. Young children can get scared sleeping alone, so having a sibling in the room with them can allow them to relax and sleep better. As they get older, space will become more of an issue, and you may need to move or extend your home to allow for this. But while they’re little, sharing is a great option. However, there are some things you may need to consider so that it’s a room that works for both children, who will likely have different personalities. Here are some points to bear in mind.

Creating a room to fit two personalities (link to photo)

Decide on The Color

If you’re lucky, you will be able to find a color that both kids love, show them some paint swatches, and see if you can come to a happy compromise. Otherwise, there are other options you could consider. For a really fun feel, why not split the room in half and paint each half in the color of their choice? If you didn’t want to go that bold, you could stick with white or another neutral and then let them choose their own accessories in colors of their choice. Another way is to pre-choose a selection of colors that work well together and allow each to choose from this. That way you know that both will complement, and each child feels as though they have gotten some input.

Show Both Personalities

As well as choosing their own color, there are other decisions they could make too, which would bring in their personality. How about choosing their own bedding or their own soft furnishings and accessories , like prints and art? They could each have a shelf and decide how they want it to be displayed. Doing this helps each child to connect with the room, and enjoy using it, even though they are sharing. If you encourage kids to reach a agreement in some places and let them choose their own styles in others, you will create a bedroom that both will love.

Use The Space Wisely

The reason your children are probably sharing in the first place is that you don’t have a huge home with lots of space. But with two kids (who are known for owning far too much stuff), it can be a struggle making things work in a fairly small room. The key to getting this right is finding the right storage. You can do this by utilizing wall space with shelves, finding the right furniture, and even choosing the right beds. Sites like Cuckooland have tons to choose from. If you go with a bunk, you will save space; or you could choose cabin beds with storage underneath. Instead of two wardrobes, you could buy one larger one and split it in half, which could save on floor space. Tall sets of drawers provide lots of storage without using too much floor space. Use baskets and bins in cupboards and drawer dividers in drawers–it will make the absolute most of the room you have and allow you to stay organized. Have a think about what would work best in the room, and the kind of storage each child will need. Most people will need a bedside table, a set of drawers, and a wardrobe for example.

Divide It Up

If the room is fairly large, there are ways you could create some division to the room. This is especially important as children crave more privacy as they turn into teenagers, and it gives them the feel of their own space. You could use a curtain or a large bookshelf. You could even have a room divider screen fitted. If you’re not in a position to extend or renovate your home, this could be one way to keep both children happy while you’re all under the same roof.

Creating a shared bedroom for siblings can be tricky, but if you allow them to get involved and ensure both of them have a say about how the room looks, it will be a space they both enjoy and can hopefully live harmoniously in for many years to come!

 

Have you had to deal with a shared bedroom dilemma? How did you overcome any difficulties, and what tips would you give to parents in the same position?

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