Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bring It: Two questions on parenting

It's your favorite time and mine: time to give me parenting advice!! I have two questions, which may or may not be related.

1) For those of you who have two kids who are old enough to play together, I'm assuming that they fight and bicker. How much do you intercede as a parent? Do you let them work it out on their own? Or go running everytime one of them screams "Mom! He pushed me! She took my car! It's my turn!" or just plain old crying.

2) How much of the time are you engaged with your kids in play? I guess what I'm asking a given day, how much of the time do you encourage or let them play on their own and how much do you organize their play and get down on the floor with them?

All thoughts are welcome and appreciated!


bluedaisy said...

I like these questions and am interested to see what other people think. For my 2 cents:
1. It really depends on what's happening. I intercede if one child is clearly being bullied by the other. I also intercede if there is a smackdown going on. Other than that, sometimes I watch/listen to how things are going & I might make a suggestion about how to work out the problem. And then there are times when I am SO sick of bickering, I just tell them to figure it out or don't play together...90% of the time, they figure out something.
2. With baby #3 in the mix, I am not very engaged...although I make an effort to do a little something each day. If the boys are happily playing together, I make a specific effort to stay out of it. If they seem bored or bickering alot, I get them started with some sort of idea or game (eg. making a 'parade' with all of the trucks)or cooking something in their kitchen. Nothing too fancy!

Pam said...

I'm not consistent at all. Some times I leave them to it with a friendly warning of "I don't want to hear crying or bickering or screaming". If they hurt each other I intervene but I do try and stay out as much as possible. I'm also trying to get the oldest to teach things to the youngest but haven't had too much success on that one. All he teaches is "no biting Danny!"
On the second point, I try to keep them occupied and I do try my best to keep the TV off. We dance, play hide and seek, play in the garden, go the the park. I am not good at sitting down and doing school-type work or crafts. We do read to them every single night, without exception. Our babysitter is also a no-TV person so that helps. I do my best, but if I'm honest I don't have the desire to play with blocks and stuff like that. I'd prefer to do activities with them, outdoors preferably. Jack will play by himself a bit more now too.

Giselle said...

Ugh...I wish I was a no tv person. But then I think that I am alone with my children from 6 am when they wake up until 6 at night when my husband gets home...and only one of the 3 takes a nap. So that's 12 hours every day of every week trying to think of activites, keep them from killing each other or themselves? I'm sorry, but the tv gets turned on sometimes. And I will not feel bad about it. Everybody deserves a break...mommies and kids included.

However, we do not keep the tv on all day. There are large chunks of the day where it is kept off. And unfortunately, I am usually involved in the play. Either helping get something started, cleaning up after the activity, playing pretend (barf), etc. Just this summer the older two have been playing well together. And as to whether I intercede or not? It just depends on their moods, to be honest. Some days they are in cooperative, enjoyable moods, and I feel confident that I should stay out of it and let them work it out. Other days, I jump in as soon as I hear an argument begin, because I know it will escalate to dangerous ends.

Mostly, I think I just let them work things through. I am notoriously unsympathetic. But my eldest is also quite diplomatic and I kind of get a pass on that.

Whew...long comment. Don't even know that I said much. ;)

Pam said...

Can I please add that I don't want to sound like my kids don't watch tv. As you know Emily, Jack is obsessed with Spongebob Squarepants. The only tv that's banned from my house is Barney and I'm getting to the end of my rope with the Fresh Beat Band. Every time I see them I wish I could drop them in a vat of burning oil. On that note, have a fab weekend :-)

bluedaisy said...

I came back to read comments & OMG Pam, I am with you on the Fresh Beat "Band"...


From old neighbor Steph -
#1. I just picked up Siblings Without Rivalry, love it!! Even tho it's geared for help with bigger kids, it has some GREAT stuff, so good I can only read a couple pages at a time and I'm going to buy it.
#2 We've talked about this one. I try to do a little time (25 minutes?) a day playing...outside the going places with them somewhere, and reading, etc at night. Maybe I should up that...sigh, always refining the parenting, huh?

Kelsey said...

Hey Em - I'm really late with this. Sorry!

1) I think you noticed that I wrote about this on my own blog. I am a minimalist w/ intervention unless someone is getting hurt. I was that way with playground spats, too. This is their practice for working out conflict. Yes we have to model the resolutions sometimes, but I'm a huge believer in space for kids to sort some things out on their own.

2) It varies but I am often near my kids and talking w/ them, without actually playing with them. I do board and card games, puzzles, and read books but I don't do a lot of playing with their toys with them. I do more if it w/ Michael on the occasions that Harper is gone. AGAIN I think kids need space to be creative and learn to come up w/ their own ideas about how to keep themselves busy. Unfortunately the execution of this philosophy seems to mean their stuff is always EVERYWHERE in the house.