More good parenting books

01_5http://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Parenting-Extraordinary-Calmer-Happier/dp/0345507983/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423851016&sr=1-1&keywords=simplicity+parenting
Simplicity Parenting is a good book on the “preparation of the spirit” for teachers about which Montessori taught. If teachers need “preparation”, how much more do parents??? As a parent, your deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses are explored.

The premise of this book is to simplify and what that means, and how.

One point in the chapter Rhythm: “Involving kids in the food preparation will also help ease the transition to the table. If you’re pulling a child away from play, it is easier to pull them into an activity than to pull them into a chair. :Come on, Emma, I need you to give these peas a bath.” There are three areas where kids can exert control and win: eating, pooping and sleeping. More to the point: not eating, pooping or sleeping. When hauled out of play, kids can be ready for a fight. You sit them down to a plate of food and they’ve found a fight they know they can win. You can’t make them eat, it’s true, but with a little ramp building you can even the odds.

Involving everyone in the cleanup is an ideal way to ramp down from the meal to the evening rhythms and activities. This continues the democracy of the meal: if you eat it you might help prepare it, but you surely help clean up from it.” (pp. 115-16)

It’s all what you’re used to

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(This really is about parentingl bear with me!)

Recently, our very fancy dryer died. It has a fatal computer error. It needs a new computer, which costs $200. Talk about First World problems! My dryer is not happy without its own computer! I am old enough that I know that one does not need a computer to run a heating element and a turny thing. I am contemplating a dumber dryer, for sure. My husband wonders why this is aggravating me so much; what’s the big deal?

In the meantime, I am enjoying my drying rack. It is better (vinyl covered) than my old one, the wooden one I had for years when the kids were younger. (The mildew on the wooden one was off-putting. Otherwise they are identical; great designs are hard to beat.)

Before my children were born, we had no washer or dryer. I went to the laundry mat, and brought the clean clothes home to hang them up. Nice weather: outside; bad weather: inside. Then, after child #1, my mother bought us a washer! I still hung up all laundry, even cloth diapers. After child #2, we got a dryer.

With the dryer demise, I have revived the drying rack. As I said, I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy every minute of it: not the scratchy towels, or the lint issue, or what to do when your favorite shirt is hanging damply when you want to wear it, or the wrinkle issue, or the get-up-and-hang-something-up issue. But I enjoy it nevertheless. And I think I enjoy it because I am used to it. That is, I did it every day, for years, even if that was 30 years ago.

We also have a drying rack at school. I am now contemplating bringing wet napkins and towels from home to hang up. Talk about inconvenient! However, when we have done this, inside and out, the children LOVE it. They love, love, love it. They fight over who can hang things up, and who can take them down. They do this with all “practical life”, but, I will admit, they have more interest in the novel jobs. However, if we did this every day, there would always be a child who did not mind helping. Unlike adults, who know that it is silly to hang things up if you can dry them in a dryer. (I am not arguing the energy efficiency issue here.)

That is to say, children enjoy tasks which involve their bodies, a bit of skill learning, that are obviously useful and needed, and that you (adult person) will do with them, at least initially. They really do. They will sharpen pencils, fold napkins, sort socks, squeeze orange juice, grind peanut butter or flour, any old boring thing that needs doing.

And, if they are used to doing them, these chores become habit, and can even be enjoyable. They can space out a bit, socialize, and do these boring old jobs with some satisfaction, like me with the drying rack.

Please take time to teach and allow your child to learn to do the needed, boring jobs that make your household work, whatever they are. They will value learning a skill, being part of the family, contributing, and will have more boring things to enjoy as adults.