I had thought that I depended mostly on having a routine and sleep-trained kids to survive taking care of three young kids by myself. Then when Gingerbreadmum initiated a blog train on SAHM survival tips, I started observing the kids and myself more closely, and I realised I actually do have a few more tricks up my sleeve to share! Without these, routine and sleep training also cannot save me ah…
Despite their tantrums, I guess I do have well-behaved and obedient kids. (But I never say they are perfect hor.) I know this for a fact, because if they are not, I would not be able to do this. OK, so other than the usual parenting advice to be firm and consistent and fierce (personally, I say this is very important. Mummy is no pushover. Don’t even try me.), what else???
From very young, I used my voice to control the kids. Like, once they could actually control their own movements. ‘No, don’t touch that.’ ‘No, no bite bite.’ Don’t underestimate the babies, they can understand very well! (they just acting blur.) When Meimei started climbing up the stairs at the grandparents’ double-storeyed house, I remained on my chair (about 2 metres away) and told her sternly ‘No. Come down.’ She would turn to look at me (to see whether I mean business?), and I would repeat the instruction if she tries to continue climbing. If she took no heed, I would then walk over to remove her to the bottom of the stairs and repeat in a harsher tone.
It might not always work now that she is only 13 months old, but this is training in progress, and I do see it working most of the time. It might seem dangerous to leave her on the stairs, but actually she is only one or two steps up. Not likely to sustain any serious injuries if she were to fall down from that height, and I think the potential gains outweigh the risks.
A Safe Environment
In order to cook and do housework in peace (ok, strike that, it’s to do any housework at all, peace or no peace), and also because of my personal adversion toward always hovering over the kids, I choose to work on the environment. When Meimei started to climb onto the sofa, I barred her from the living room by setting up the playyard as a fence (the boys climbed over instead. The stool is to help Didi get over.)
When Meimei got older and more competent at climbing (sigh), I removed the playyard and put out more playmats instead. So far, she has only fallen down once, which is pretty good considering I am rarely free to sit around with the kids and guide/guard her. And hey, kids need to fall to learn how not to fall again!
The two brown playmats were from other parts of the house. And see the legs on the arm of the sofa??? With this kind of role model for Meimei… !!!
The boys like to look outside, so I make sure they have sturdy (wooden) chairs at the windows.
Most parents say they want their child to be independent, and the key is providing accessibility to what the child needs to exercise his independence and emerging skills. For example, if you would like your child to use drawing/painting as a way to keep himself occupied while you are busy, you might need to place the materials where he can reach, without needing your help.
When I realised Kor Kor was capable of pouring drinks for himself, I cleared a bottom drawer for the kids’ utensils. Previously, I had to pass the cup to him even though he took the carton from the fridge himself. Now, he just takes the cup himself and even helps to pour for Didi!
But Meimei helps herself often to these ‘toys’, oops
With safe stools, the boys can wash their hands safely without any help from me. I even bought a stool for my mum’s house so that they can also go to the toilet on their own there, hee hee.
Impose Rules For The Older Kids
The boys often zoom around the house on their ride-on cars, which might seem rather dangerous for a toddling baby. But I have always told the boys that as the drivers, it’s their responsibility to be careful of the pedestrians. And to date, they have never bumped into Meimei.
Sometimes, while the boys are playing with something, they call for me to ‘take Meimei away’ as they do not want her to disrupt their play (or destroy their block tower or Lego building). I remind them that Meimei is still small and instead of removing her, they should play at the dining table or the study table where she can’t reach. Now they are used to it and do not
bother me ask me to help carry Meimei away anymore : )
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There are many variables in every situation. And since I do not wish to engage a maid or rely too much on extended family, I have to work on the other factors like the environment and the kids themselves. I have to say a big THANK YOU here to my three children, because I really cannot do this without them being well-behaved and forgiving kids.. Special mention to my eldest.. because the younger siblings take his lead and fortunately for me, he is a good role model. Mummy loves you all and Daddy deep deep!
The next mom on Survival Tips for SAHM blog train is Michelle. She is a former fashion model turned mompreneur to Lauren and another baby girl due in July this year. She sold her food business to spend more time with her daughter because she doesn’t want to miss any precious moments and milestones in her child’s life. She is currently writing an ebook, blogs at The Chill Mom and runs a maternity concierge business to help new mom cope with pregnancy and beyond. In tomorrow’s blog post, she has turned to Lauren to guest post for her. Check out what sort of tips her 19 months old toddler has to share!
This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home mums share their survival tips. We hope that you’ll find our tips useful and remember that you’re not alone!