In an earlier post, Five Things I Expect from my 5-Year-Old, I wrote about five important things that I think that a five-year-old should know about or know how to do.
That got me thinking about Peanut and what he expects from me. What do kids expect from there parents? Do they align with some of our expectations? Here are five things that my five-year-old expects from me.
Mom, I may not always be the best behaved at home and I need you to be ok with that.
The hubs and I have expectations about behavior and have rules at our house. We don’t always see eye to eye on where we fall on the spectrum from easy going to strict, but we try to fall somewhere in the middle. Sometimes we may lean to one side or the other depending on the misbehavior. Don’t get me wrong. I am not excusing bad behavior or turning the other way. I am simply reminding myself that Peanut has been at preschool and daycare all day long, where a whole new set of rules and expectations are set for him to follow.
A dear friend of mine shared with me something her mother would say about her as a child, “she’s used up all her good for the day.” I really believe this to be true. Kids are expected to sit, listen, share, play with others, be helpful, etc., all day long. If they have been working hard at complying with these expectations, they come home exhausted! Some days, Peanut comes home with rave reviews of his behavior that day and the hubs and I know we may be in for an overly active boy that night. We still hold him accountable for the same rules and expectations at our home, but we may have more patience with him.
Mom, I am not a baby, but I’m also not a big kid, and it’s hard to be stuck in between.
Peanut is growing up and I am reminded of it every day. As a mom, I wish he would stay little forever, but I know that he can’t. Peanut thinks he is such a big kid, and he is a big kid compared to Pickle, who is two, but he isn’t a big kid yet. He’s trying to find his way from baby stuff to bigger kid stuff. I know this phase has only begun, because I remember going through it myself. It was the year Toy Story came out and they had puppets of the characters in the kid’s meals at Burger King. I got Hamm, the piggy bank, and I was so excited that I slept with it. But I felt like I was being a “little kid” by doing so and remember feeling torn between being a “little” and “big” kid. And it was hard.
I can only imagine Peanut sees some of the toys, shows, clothes, and shoes he wore when he was younger and feels proud to be a “big kid.” It is hard for any kid to transition from one age to the next, so it’s important for parents to be aware and understand that this is hard for our little ones.
Mom, I WANT expectations and rules. I am little and learning how to be the best little kid I can be, but I WILL make mistakes.
When I was making a list of all the expectations I have for Peanut in preparation for my post, Five Things I Expect from my 5-Year-Old,I was surprised that some of them seemed a little unrealistic. I still have these expectations, but I shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t always go the way I think they will. Since Peanut is the oldest, I expect him to set a good example for Pickle and to help me out with her. I think it’s ok to have this expectation for him, but I NEED to realized that he is still little and learning. He may not always set the best example for Pickle and THAT’S OK. Parents need to understand that kids WILL make mistakes and we should use them as teaching tools. Let’s give kids a chance to know an expectation, practice it, make mistakes, and learn from them.
Mom, I will have many questions and I need you to answer them the best way you know how.
Kids are naturally curious about the world around them and it’s our job to foster that curiosity. Kids are going to ask A LOT of questions, and it’s important for us to answer them, even if we’re tired, busy doing something else, or if it’s the 5,000th question of the day. One of my fondest memories of my grandmother was how she answered one of my questions as a child. I was always curious about why the night sky would turn pinkish red. She answered that Mrs. Clause was baking cookies for Santa and the Elves. I remember asking her, “even in the summer?” And she replied that it took her all year to bake enough cookies to keep them all fed. Every time I look up at a pink/red sky, I remember my grandmother. I have started telling Peanut this in hopes to continue this tradition that my grandmother started with me.
It may not always be easy to turn something into a kid-friendly answer, but it’s SO IMPORTANT for kids to have conversations with their parents from early on.
Mom, I’m getting older, but I still need you to help me discover who I am.
This is one of the toughest jobs for parents. There are so many outside pressures for boys to act a certain way and girls to act another way. I know parents feel the pressure from other parents and family members who have their own ideas on how to raise children. You know your child the best. You are doing what you think is best for them.
If you’ve read 5 Frugal Ways to Put Life Back into Dinner, you know that I take Peanut and Pickle to E.C.F.E. (Early Childhood and Family Education) classes. Peanut has been going since we was about 18 months old, and we started Pickle just after she turned one. These classes offer a variety of activities for children to explore. Our class always has a craft area that connects to the theme of the week. The crafts are always so cute, but Peanut would NEVER do them. From little on, Peanut wouldn’t do any of the art projects. At first I would push him to do them because I WANTED him to do it. But after a few times of him clearly having no interest, I gave up. He just wasn’t a little kid who was into doing the craft. He would rather play with the cars and the trucks, or play with Play-Doh. And he was so much happier when I just him be him. I needed to let him be him. Simple.
Now that he’s gotten older, he enjoys drawing, writing, and painting. But I know that if I had continued to force him, he wouldn’t have discovered on his own how much he enjoys doing these things now. All kids are different and it’s hard not to feel pressure or “mom guilt” if our kids do not live up to some expectation of the perfect kid.
It’s our job to let our kids have many experiences and let them decide what they enjoy. We have to help them discover who they are and who they are not through these experiences. It’s not up to us who they will become, but it is up to us to support them and provide them with understanding as they grow up.