Tuesday, October 7, 2008

5 minutes

What have I learned about parenting this week? The power of preparedness. I've always been a fan of boy scout style preparedness, but recently, I learned a new kind--preparing my toddler for change.

Toddlers are notorious for having short attention spans. They go from one thing to the next at superman speed. But they also have a propensity for obsessive focus, and a reluctance to have that focus interupted. I've been waging battles over me leaving, time to put away the puzzle and get changed, or come inside.

Yesterday morning, when I was getting ready to go, I started putting toys in the Pack-n-Play for Jack' s entertainment when I leave. Predictably, he immediately threw himself backward (careful not to thump his head on the floor) and complained. I still needed to put on shoes and collect my bag. When I was ready to leave, I gave Jackson a lengthy squeeze and snuggle, then set him down. He waived happily as I left. Well, Eureka. This morning, I gave Jackson plenty of warning and love before saying goodbye. He good naturedly sat down, and spread his blankets over his lap, then gave me a kiss goodbye.

It's fabulous!!! I'm applying the 5 minute rule to everything now. Tonight, we had the playdough out before bedtime. Instead of keeping track of time in my head, I said, "OK, 5 more minutes, then we have to put it away and get ready for bed." We played somemore, then he helped me put the playdough back in the jar. I let him carry the jar upstairs, and closed it repeatedly, so he could reopen it. Midway through the diaper change, he found something more interesting, and the jar disappeared.

Now what I need is an engaging egg timer to help me enforce my new plan.

Kristin, I have posted some new political rantings on my new blog "Other Musings" link at right (I have soo got to pick up some html skills!)

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