This is a very tricky question to answer, because all children are different. No one size fits all, so what is right for one child is not necessarily right for another. Maybe your eldest child is very sensitive and your youngest is very tough, so how do you approach them when you need to reprimand them?
Maybe you have to adopt a softer line with the more sensitive child, and be more severe with your youngest, but then you can be accused of favouring your oldest. But of course you are not. It is completely normal that you might empathise more with one of your children, particularly if he has a complimentary character to yours, but this is not to be confused with favouritism. You are managing the situation with different strategies for each child.
So long as you avoid giving things to one child and not to the other, then you are certainly treating them all equally. It is of course possible to give something to one of them and something different to the others, but make sure they all get something which is interpreted as fair for everyone. If for example you take one child on vacation with you, and leave the other at home with grandparents, then this is definitely not fair and would certainly be showing favouritism towards one over the other. The problem would then be that you create jealousy between your children, and resentment towards each other. If you can’t take them all, then you shouldn’t take any of them.
Favouritism is to be avoided at all costs, as if you want your children to grow up and get on with each other when they are adults, then you have to be careful not to create resentment and jealousy between them when they are youngsters.
When you are away from home, maybe away on a business trip, just needed elsewhere, or even separated from their mother, have you ever stopped to ask yourself how your children feel? Of course they are probably with their mum, and having a good time, but they also need you just as much. They may not actually say it to you, but you can see in other ways how they miss you when you return.
This could be a look on their face when they are telling you what they have been doing in your absence. Or they may be angry with you for not being there, or maybe they just don’t want to communicate with you at all. This could be, in their mind, a way of telling you off because they miss you. So how can you avoid them feeling this way and turn it round into a positive situation?
The answer of course, lies in how you react back to them. It is not about bringing them a gift or a new toy to play with, although it will always be gratefully accepted, it is how you communicate to them both verbally, physically and emotionally when you see them again. It doesn’t really matter what age they are, they simply need to understand why you have to be away. So taking the time to explain why you are going away in the first place, can help significantly when you get back. It can also help them to understand why you have to be away.
So when you get back and the initial excitement of your return has subsided, try to talk to your child and tell him what you have been doing while you have been away. Explain what you have achieved while you have been absent. Tell him what benefit it is to the family and to him in particular. If he understands the reasons why, then he will more easily be able to accept when you have to be away.
Your child will always miss you when you are not there, but through some simple actions, you can lessen the impact, and make your absence much more bearable for them.
How many times have you dreaded the thought of getting in the car with your small children and wondered how you will manage them this time? Youngsters get bored notoriously quickly and it doesn’t take long for them to get noisy, frustrated and sometimes aggressive. You will have experienced that. So how can you make those car journeys not only tolerable, but enjoyable?
The answer is distraction. You will know that if your child is playing up, the only way to manage is to distract him and in a car, there is plenty around you to do this. Games always work, as does singing together. First of all, what games could you play? All around you are other cars, so you could start with ‘spot the mini’. The first person in the car, and it includes you and mum as well, to spot a mini, gets a point. If it is a yellow one, then you get two points. The first person to reach ten points gets to choose what the next car is to be spotted. This can last for as long as you want, and your child will love the challenge and the competition, particularly if he beats you and mum!
If you prefer singing to playing a game, then you could try the following. You take the distance between two points on the road. It could be between two road junctions, or villages, in fact any two landmarks are good for this. Then somebody in the car has to sing a nursery rhyme or rhymes, and time it so that it begins when you pass point A, and finishes exactly when you reach point B. You will be amazed how much your child will enjoy this challenge, singing, finishing right on time, and knowing you are listening to him. Once he has finished, he gets to choose who will sing next.
Try these, I’m sure they will help make the car a less stressful place for everyone in your family. There is nothing better than arriving at your destination relaxed and refreshed with good tempered children…………
It is a Dad’s eternal dilemma! Actually a Mum’s as well. Should you always be available to play with your child or leave them sometimes to play on their own? The answer of course, is that it is a balance, sometimes they need you to play with them and other times they should be left to play on their own. Of course it is always more interesting for them if you are stimulating and interacting with them, but time on their own is just as important.
Opportunities to discover new things without you always guiding them is invaluable. Whether it is in a play pen when they are one year old, trying to fit the round object into a square hole, or when they are seven years old and trying to build a model airplane, time on their own is invaluable learning time for them.
The most precious gift you can give your child is your time and your child, although not appreciating it consciously when he is a Toddler, will certainly do so when he is older. So sometimes you may feel guilty that you aren’t spending enough time with your child. But you shouldn’t feel bad about it. If your child really wants you to be with him, he will let you know. Children have a way of communicating how they feel about any situation depending on what age they are. Of course as he gets into his teenage years, he will probably want to do even less with you. But that’s for discussion another day.
So play with your child as often as you can, he will love it, but don’t feel bad when you can’t and he is playing on his own. If you really care about him, and you wouldn’t be reading this Blog if you didn’t, you know he will be fine.