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3 Tips for Happier Pre-School Years

October 27, 2015

It doesn't happen often, but yes, sometimes we do things we didn't think we would.

What have you done for the first time - because - you are a parent?

 

For the Explorer types, parenting can be a lot of fun because the whole world re-opens before you: books to read, places to go, that five-stone game you didn't quite master as a child...

I thrive and even find myself breathless trying to keep up with all the 'good stuff' we can do! Children's art festival, picnics, playdates, indoor and outdoor play, museums, library, wildlife reserves...as Dr Seuss says, 'there's places to go and things to see'!.

Hey, if you can, don't take on a full-time job just yet, because these few precious years won't come round again, ever. The pre-school years (if you don't make the mistake of filling it up with structured enrichment) is an amazing time to bond, bond, bond!

What's the big deal with a strong, abiding bond? Things are built on it. It's called a Foundation. Loose pieces not quite fitted don't provide the same foundation.

Back to exploring, doing, going out. Just a little sense I learnt in 3 D's:

1. Don't Exhaust Yourself.

Doing stuff is not collecting stars to say you are a better parent. Don't go rushing off to all and sundry activities. Don't get all worked up that you missed that event (especially if it's free) as you gaze at the happy faces of your friends' kids on Facebook.

Tired = grumpy = inattentive = no fun to be with!

 

2. Develop A Plan

A plan is a good way to provide some boundaries. Your plan should include: how much time/energy is required. What is the budget? How many activities per month is healthy for you? Are there specific interests or opportunities you want to seize? When my children were young, I had a chart something like this:

 

I made a list of things to do and then see if it fitted my time/energy, budget and schedule. I also thought about whether I was genuinely interested / willing to be interested to do those things; because really, what's the point of plonking them somewhere while we are busy with our devices?

As the children grew older, I encouraged them to plan for the holidays using something similar.

Time is too precious to squander away in front of the TV or just idling. Their minds and hearts are hungry to grow and are being shaped by what they do or don't do.

 

3. Dat Was Fun!

Never make the mistake of turning everything into 'learning'-- you know, quizzing them. 'So, what did you learn?'. Unfortunately, the school system will make learning take on a negative hue so you will be adding to the burden on their little shoulders. I am huge on learning so this is sometimes an area where I go overboard. I would fret if an activity wasn't really 'useful'. O what a killjoy I can be!

Children have a way of sniffing out fun and liveliness... so just relax and see the fun in it all. Besides, learning is always happening and is most effective if you are genuinely interested and invested in it.

One of our favourite memories is making a big deal of post-rain puddles. We take time to put on raincoats, pick out an umbrella...all to jump in the puddles that formed, and then coming back to a warm bath and snack. Or how about a walk to nowhere in particular for half a hour?

A cautionary note: it's very important to take note of how your child feels about changes. Some kids don't do well with changes, new activities and unfamiliar people. Clearly, that won't be fun. So don't push it. And did we say, parenting is about first-time stuff? Well, for some of us, it will be a first to be genuinely still interested in that story we have read fifty times, "sing that song again?"... Learn to enjoy a regular trip to the playground with endless minutes on the swing. Seriously, if you have a kid who loves the regular stuff over and over; it's a gift as you can actually use that as down time. {do you have any idea how hyped you are most times?}

Well, 'dat was fun!' is the attitude that goes far to bond you! Remember, happy parents produce happy children!

Of course, Explorer types are typically married to Entrenched types who prefer the world of safety, the familiar and planned-way-ahead. In the early years of parenting, the differences in a couple actually get accentuated. Very few couples agree on how to raise their kids, what to spend time on, where to go... even who to hang out with (especially if it's with 'other parents').

So yeah, not always a happy camper I. But I'll talk about that another time.

Your turn:
1. What are some ways you enjoy bonding with your child(ren)?
2. If you basically an Eeyore, how can you lift your spirit and theirs up?

 

 

About the Author

 

Jenni came to Christ, was nurtured and ordained in the Presbyterian Church. Jenni’s passion is to live with authenticity and help others have a rich, enjoyable walk with God so that God’s living reality infuses all their lives. Jenni is a preacher, mentor and writer. Jenni & her husband Philip serve the wider Body of Christ through their ministry Churchlife! Resources where they focus on helping local churches surmount challenges (www.churchlife-resources.org). She is proud mom to a mighty teen and a little warrior. They are part of Kingdom Community Church.

 

​Follow Jenni's personal blog for more of her writings here.

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