Are you a yes man or woman? Is no the first word out of your mouth whenever your kids ask a question, no matter what the question is? Around these parts, I tend to be the yes woman. You want to spread your own peanut butter and jelly? Sure! You want to play in the rain to see how long it will take to get soaked? I'll time it! You made a home for the roly poly's in your room? Awesome! Hubby is my opposite. He is the nemesis to my yes. He is the no man. You want to play in the tub? No. You want to slide on the hard wood floor in your socks? No. You want to have dessert? No, no, no, no, no.
It may seem like we strike a pretty good balance for our kids. Unfortunately though, it sometimes feels like the kids come to me for things more often than they go to their dad. Sometimes when we are both in the same room. This is not much fun for mommy (who needs a break) or for daddy (who I'm sure feels like a blue meany)*. The end result personally is that I tend to over schedule myself. The flip side (in my opinion only) is that my husband tends to close himself off from what maybe enjoyable activities.
I think that the best option for us and a good skill to teach the kids (because we are all about teaching here) is to pause and think. When my kids ask me for something, I pause and smile. "Let me think about it for a second" is my new response. This allows me a moment to think it through. Is having a mud fight (even as a science project) really the best thing to do a half-hour before going out to dinner? Probably not. If Sergio paused and thought about his response, he may come to the conclusion that if the children have eaten healthy and well throughout the day, dessert, even if they don't finish their dinner, would not be harmful.
How often are our responses, especially to our children, automatic? Let me think about it, gives you a small break. It let's your children know you are listening and that they have been heard. Let me think about it, gives credence to the request. Let me think about it, helps control the arguing as you have given pause and thought to the request.
Next time your child or your spouse asks you something...don't say yes or no. Smile and tell them you need to think about it. Did you like this post? Don't answer right now...give it some thought.
* A blue meany can be found on the Beatles' Yellow Submarine video