The children and I got together with some friends at the playground yesterday- our first playground date since J was born. Normally we do this every week or so if the weather permits. The playground is one designed from preschoolers and is surrounded by a brick wall so the children can play with a minimum of oversight and the mothers can visit.
Often times the conversation turns to behavioral issues that we are working on in our homes and we share ideas and tips back and forth. We talk about our plans for the summer, for school this fall (we’re hoping to put together a once a week co-op class) and just generally talk.
The best thing about these play-dates (aside from the wearing out of the children) is always the way in which we are able to encourage each other in the hard work of mothering several preschoolers.
As parents we often become so focused on the things we are trying to train or change that it is hard to notice when the training is succeeding. We tell Johnny to do something and he does it, but with a bad attitude and we hone in on the bad attitude and forget that a month ago he wouldn’t have done it at all, or the pouty face would have been a full blown tantrum.
As friends I think it is important to keep track of what behavioral issues our friends are working on and to notice when their children are responding well. A word of encouragement here can make our whole job seem easier…
When a mother says “Oh why can’t he or she ever do what I ask without whining?” we can say, ” A month ago that would have been a tantrum, keep doing what you’re doing, the whining will go away too.”
We can say, ” You must really be being consistent with not allowing X, I can see a difference.”
We all know that there are many days when it feels like our children will never get the lesson we are trying to teach, and offering a little word of encouragement can go a long way in helping us to keep on training and discipling our children.