Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, we all face similar challenges each and every day.
Ultimately, all moms have the same goal — to ensure our kids are safe by creating an optimal learning and growing environment as best we can. It can seem crushing at times. Between juggling school work, extra-curricular activities, household chores, and events with family and friends, it feels like every single minute of the day is booked up.
That doesn’t leave room for personal time for yourself. We do our best, but most days it all boils down to being able to do whatever we can to survive. Even though a lot of us are glad when the kids go back to school in the fall, that’s when the real business of being a mom kicks into high gear with all of the activities.
So, how’s a mom to keep from losing her sanity when school starts back?
One of the best ways you can gain order in your house is to set routines early. I know that a lot of people hate routines and talk about how stifling they are. Trust me when I say that routines will be your saving grace and will help you keep your sanity most days.
And the earlier you can do this, the better off you will be. Sure, there will be a lot of days when the routine may be thrown off track. Add flexibility to your routine as deviations in routines can cause upset otherwise. You need to be able to roll with the changes.
Why have a routine in the first place?
Because it will be that pattern of stability you can go back to when you need it. If the routine is already ingrained, it will be a lot easier to adhere to overall.
One of the biggest issues with scheduling time is from sports or extra-curricular activities. As parents who did not have these opportunities growing up, we work very hard to make sure our kids have the chance to take part in them. As they grow up, these activities allow them to explore what’s around them so they can figure out for themselves what they do and don’t enjoy.
Providing Stable Routines Help Children Grow in Their Independence
Besides expanding the boundaries of their world to include school, sports, and clubs, this is also the time when they are really settling into their own opinions and personalities. They’re not only looking outwardly, but also inwardly to assert their independence. Establishing a stable routine helps children confidently begin the process of taking on and increasing responsibilities.
It’s important to establish rules, boundaries, responsibilities, and discuss good and bad choices early on. We do this with the understanding they’ll take these life lessons to heart later on when their decisions will have greater consequences. We let them do as much for themselves as possible. I’m a firm believer in promoting their independence as a life skill so they don’t need to rely on others as they get older.
Of course, things aren’t always going to be perfect because nothing goes as planned every single day. Some days will be better than others, but one thing is certain—different challenges will come and go. All that we can really do if we want to be successful parents is to give our kids tools so they can tackle the challenges that will come their way in the next phase of their lives.
I took our kids to Gymboree classes where they interacted with other kids and enjoyed hands on play, music and singing.
4 to 5 Year Old’s
Now they can start to have a little more structure in their physical activity. Consider signing them up for team sports like T-ball and basketball. (Obviously, the basketball is going to have to be modified so they can reach the basket.)
Some hard core golf players have their kids start playing golf at this age. Miniature golf is fun for the kids!
Pay special attention to how the coaches handle these kids. At this age, it’s about learning the rules of the game and how to play without too much of a competitive edge. Avoid heavy contact sports and consider something like football if it is no-touch, flag football.
6 to 9 Year Old’s
Once a child is regularly starting school, their ability to concentrate and focus for an extended period of time should be increasing.
Their physical maturity with hand-eye coordination and vision should be more acute. This is the time for more team sports such as football, soccer, softball, and baseball but it’s also a good time for athletic classes.
Two good recommendations that stress flexibility and motor skills are gymnastics and martial arts. And, if you haven’t already taught your child to swim, now’s the time. If they excel at this, you may want to consider signing them up for a swim team.
10 Year Old’s to Teens
At this age, your child may have gotten a taste for different sports and found one that they really like.
Their bodies are more resilient, so you can consider contact sports at a more competitive level such as football, hockey, soccer and lacrosse as well as those which focus more on hand-eye coordination such as basketball, baseball/softball, and volleyball.
If your child prefers solo sports, the teen years is a perfect time to continue with, or sign up for events such as gymnastics, skating, martial arts, archery, swimming/diving, or track.
Know There Will Be Cuts and Scrapes
Just be forewarned they’re going to get cuts and scrapes along the way. This is just a function of being a kid and being active. Make sure the league or school they’re playing for has a concussion protocol that they follow for more serious injuries.
The important thing is to talk to your child and find out what they’re interested in.
It’s going to be difficult for your child to exude confidence if you don’t as well. Kids are like sponges that soak up everything around them. And they look at their parents to be the role models they will base themselves on. You need to be as confident and self-assured as possible.
Promote confidence building activities
Help kids with their confidence by encouraging them to take part in activities that build confidence. Sports are only a part of this, but an important part.
In addition to that avenue, encourage your children to play outside and be more active. This type of play can keep them from becoming mindless couch potatoes, but it also encourages them to explore and discover things for themselves—a major plus for anyone hoping to gain confidence.
Give them praise…
When you ask many parents what they wished their parents had done more of, it’s to tell them that they were proud of them. You know the type— “You got an A-, why wasn’t it an A+?” instead of “Wow, that’s a great grade, I’m really proud of you.” If your child isn’t acknowledged for his or her successes, they won’t be confident in their own abilities and achievements.
…but also help them make improvements
Now, if you’re going to give praise, make sure that it is legitimate. A kid can smell a false compliment at 100 paces and it doesn’t do them any good. Make sure that when you praise them, you also tell them how they can improve. Help them make these improvements. Self-advancement comes from learning from your mistakes.
Let your kids fail
This may seem counterintuitive but hang with me for a second. If your child fails and feels miserable for that failure, their self-esteem will be dashed and their confidence will be crushed. But if you point out that everyone fails, and they should look at it as a learning experience, they’ll be able to handle the trials and tribulations of later life without losing their confidence.
Prepare your kids by giving them the gift of confidence
We all want what’s best for our kids. But you can’t coddle them and protect them forever. At some point, you must let them loose on the world and hope that they flourish. But if you help them to build their confidence early, they will have the poise they need to succeed.