Busy. That’s about the only way to characterize the school age years.
For many of us this time is a blur, a flurry, a fleeting rush of lunches, laundry, homework, sports, sleepovers, tears, laughter and so much food prep and cleanup!
Is there even time to enjoy them?
This is the challenge. School age children are loads of fun but demand so much work. How do you live each moment so that you will not regret being distracted by the day to day responsibilities?
I confess to reaching back in my archives and seeing much distraction. But maybe we can agree on some key strategies.
1) Slow down and listen. Kids have lots of stories and questions. A parent who takes time in the moment is golden. Rushing your kids through life won’t make things better for either of you.
2) Laugh. If you can’t see the fun in a bundle of energy who has no front teeth but still manages to eat you out of house and home, and terrorize a sibling or two think again.
3) Relax your expectations. Of course you want to raise good kids, competent and helpful kids. But you’ve had 25+ years to work on that yourself (you’re not perfect yet either) and they’re just beginning. Try to give them the grace you’d like to be given.
4) Instead of comparing seek rather to understand. Not only is each child different but yours will be different than the neighbor or the cousin. The exploration of each personality is like mining for jewels.
5) Maintain good friends. If you spend time talking with other parents and are honest you will see that 95% of what you worry about is common. You’re not alone.
6) Be grateful for the season you’re in. The teens are around the corner. It will take another skill set to navigate that. Even though you feel you’re often not adequate, you are learning and gathering wisdom.
7) Be patient–with yourself first of all. Then you can offer it to your children and your spouse. The world needs patience. It’s a rare commodity worth pursuing.
There is not a parent in the world who does not experience regret. Someday you’ll look back on these tumultuous years and you will remember not so much what you did but how you felt about it. They will too. Make it worth remembering.