The Most Helpful Skill My Husband Has Taught Our Children
Every morning the sweet pitter patter of my son Natan's (3) feet come into my room at 6:30AM and never a minute later. Shortly thereafter, I hear Shoshana (5) follow behind him and in the distance I start to hear Daniella (20 months) calling for me to get her out of her crib.
The first words that come out of my two older children's darling little mouths are "I'm Hungry. I want Breakfast". EVERY SINGLE MORNING. I get it, their tiny tummies just did a 12 hour stretch of not eating so yes, I would imagine they are very hungry.
Their requests for food before my eyes have opened started to get to me. I realized the reason it was bothering me is because the request for food is an all day event in our household. They are huge snackers and grazers. Whatever I do to try and get them to eat a full "meal" just never works so I have accepted the fact that they eat smaller more frequent portions of food. So in efforts to not have my morning start with the words that I will be hearing all day, I made a new "rule" that before they ask for breakfast they needed to say "Good Morning" or "Hi Ema" (Ema is Hebrew for Mom and is what they call me) or something else aside for the request for food. It worked for like a minute. Mostly with my eldest Shoshana. Natan never really grasped this new idea.
So it goes, continuous requests for breakfast at the crack of dawn. I would wake up and begrudgingly start to fix something for breakfast. In this same time I would make my coffee. The coffee that I dream about all night and look forward to so much in the morning. So I made a second rule. This time it stuck. The rule was when I am drinking my coffee no one is to ask me for anything until I was done. Unless of course there is an emergency or something that is very important. This rule actually began to stick. They now know not to ask me for food or whatever else it is during the moments of sweet glory liquid consumption. '
Then as any other day goes I get up from my coffee break and continue on with the days 2,394,723,978 tasks. Usually resulting in cleaning the kitchen, getting the house ready for daycare children, and catching up on left-over chores from the day before. I started feeling very swamped and naturally the last place I would even bother to pay attention to is the kid's room. Why would I make their beds? They are just going to get into them again at night and mess them up. Why would I organize anything in their room? It will literally be destroyed in a matter of minutes. So when it came to their room, it was the least of my priorities.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and in swoops Aba (Hebrew for Dad) like a U.S. Marine Drill Sergeant. He herded all the children into their rooms one morning and instructed that everyone needs to make their bed every morning before they ask me for breakfast. I hear the moans of "I don't know how to do it." As I'm sipping my coffee and quietly laughing to myself, "Good luck super Dad" I thought. As if they were actually going to stick to this.
So his next response to their moans were "Great. I'll teach you." I start choking on my coffee at this point because he started to give step-by-step instructions on how to make their beds and they were actually loving it! What the heck kind of kid enjoys chores? Apparently mine do. The lesson continues and I quietly peek in on what is happening in the room. All the kids (even Daniella ) are on their beds making the blankets flat, fixing the pillows, tucking in the sheets. They actually did a decent job! After their beds were made my husband had them each separate their clean laundry from the laundry pile. Everyone went into the clean laundry basket and took out which clothes were theirs and put them on their beds. He then showed them how to fold and put away their clothes and they actually did it! My jaw was on the floor at this point.
Since their first lesson of room tidying I now tell them every morning "Go make your beds" and without a fight and with complete excitement they run to their rooms and get the job done. Now every day their beds are made and their room is picked up and tidy without having to be on their case about it.
I obviously have to give all the credit for this to my husband. He works A LOT and I am the primary parent in our household. Meaning I deal with the day to day child rearing duties of our children from wake up to bed time. He is like the special forces unit. He comes in during dire times and the children really respect him and listen to him. He talks to them a lot and is always very thorough and patient when it comes to explaining things and chatting with them. It's his specialty. He also gives them complete ownership over the situation which is another reason why they have grasped onto this new routine in their lives.
Now that their beds are made every morning and their room is clean it has created much more serenity for them and ME! They are able to play freely in their room and it has become so much more of their sanctuary. As for me, I walk by and expect to see a disaster and it's not. That moment gives me the peace of mind knowing my children have learned a new and important life skill and also one less task that I have to think about.