11/21/08

Best Routines for Children

. 11/21/08

Many parents across the world struggle when it comes to juggling their children, careers and family chores. For many it is a constant battle and guilt plays a huge part - should parents go out to work or should one stay at home to care for the family?
Mother of four Colleen Langenfeld knows how difficult family life can be. She has set up a website to help parents and talked to us about how parenting issues are the same wherever you live.
"It doesn't matter what path we've taken we still feel guilty and wonder if we've done the right thing or if we're doing enough. Just let that go. Whatever you've decided you've decided and you've decided it because it's what is right for your family. Family should always come first I think," she said.
"I'm a firm believer that parenting takes time just like everything else does. The kids are only little for a small amount of time and these other things we can pick up again," she added.
However, Colleen admits that deciding to be a stay at home Mum can be a lonely life.
"There are not so many women at home nowadays so it's the support network. For the women who do stay at home, they still need that adult support network, not only for their sanity but also to learn how to be the kind of parent they want to be."
Colleen believes that structure and routine is the best way to get family life back on an even keel.
"There's usually an agenda that parents have for the evening. Homework, activities, dinner, there's an awful lot to do. It's the end of the day and we're all tired. Adults are tired but your kids don't have the maturity to deal with all that stimulation and I think that's where some of the chaos comes from. Most of the women I talk to are looking for a way to calm that down. I think that planning is key to this.
I suggest that people actually keep a log for a week and write down where their evenings go, exactly what they do to try and accomplish things so they can see for themselves what they're doing and where their time is going. Then they can make better decisions about that and they can start to say that homework needs to get done, dinner needs to get done by this time and so on. The more time you can spend with your family is something that can't be taken away. I think that it's key to character development. We all need to learn how to do jobs but it's also important for family as well. The kids know what's expected of them."
However, Colleen admits that putting her ideas into practice can be difficult.
"Children need to know that you mean what you say. I have been known to call kids home from friends homes and say you didn't do this one little thing and they don't forget the second time. I don't do that because I want to make my kids unhappy, I do it because I know it works. Kids are looking for structure, they feel safe and secure with structure."

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