As you know I’ve named this year “Encouragement” and have been trying to focus on noticing and pointing out to the children where they do well and how that blesses all of us.
I’m not wanting to become a constant “You can do it” cheering section but rather to help them to see how the good choices that they make have good consequences. I thought that by doing this they would be more likely to choose what I wanted them to (obedience, speaking kindly etc.). What I didn’t expect was how much it would change the entire atmosphere of our home!
For the past month now I have been trying to make real positive statements about them both to them and to S when he comes home. Pointing out to everyone in the family what a blessing it is that F chose to be quiet and stay in his room during naps so that I could rest,or making sure that S sees Su’s neat handwriting on her school papers. I’ve also started giving some rewards for these good choices (if we as adults like tangible results from our efforts aren’t they even more important to preschoolers?).
I try hard not to let these be bribes or “something I deserve because I did X”. Instead I want to have an atmosphere of mutual blessing. “F you blessed me by being quiet during naps, I will bless you by letting you stay up for an extra story before bed.”
I have also been encouraging the children to encourage one another, and “love each other with their words and voices”,although trying to model that for them has been difficult,the last couple of weeks when we have all been sick with an amazing lingering cold.
Still I am amazed by the way in which their willingness to work has improved, and how the number of conflicts between children and between children and parents has decreased. Su in particular has gone from being fairly reluctant to do “boring jobs” like clean up toys to on a couple of occasions this past week volunteering to pick up the living room. F has been having far fewer meltdowns (in part because we’ve been managing transitions better-but that’s another post) and W (if possible) is even more of a cheerful family clown.
And Me? I find that I am enjoying them more, which means I enjoy mothering more and am less worn at the end of the day- a good result for us all.
“Encourage one another- and build each other up.” I Thessalonians 5:11