Raising Davis: When your kids expect parents to entertain them



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Davis has a take-charge attitude
and one of his favourite things
to do is organize our – my – day.
On a weekend or holiday, he will
want to know exactly how our
day will be spent. A simple “Mom,
what are we doing today?” may
sound innocent, but it’s a loaded
question when coming from Davis.
If I say that we may go to the park,
then in his mind, it is signed,
sealed and promised. If I casually
suggest that a movie might be fun,
then I best be planning on popcorn
and dedicating two hours to an
evening movie. Davis does not do
well with “maybe” or “if we have
time” or “perhaps later”. We are on
or we are not. He likes to know that
his day is going to be busy and he
looks to me to create the itinerary.

By contrast, my husband Paul
and I like to take the day as it
comes. We are definitely “maybe
and perhaps” kind of people. This
does not bode well for my sevenyear-
old social drill sergeant.

If Davis had his way, he would
have my entire day planned with
games, outdoor activities, stores he
wants to visit and exactly what we
will be eating for breakfast, lunch
and dinner.

He wants us to be his playmates
all day long. We have explained
to him that weekends are shared
in a family and that there are
household chores, shopping and
laundry, as well as the fun stuff.
We invite him to choose a couple
of activities that we will gladly
enjoy with him, but then ask him
to understand that a visit to the
grocery store will also be on the list.

Then I hail the miracle of the
play date. They’re easy now that
the kids are older. They can play
on their own in another room
while I can check things off my
to-do list and have some precious
“me time”. They’ll let me know
when they’re hungry or thirsty,
but otherwise, they don’t want me
around, which is fine by me!

Keeping Davis entertained all
day will not make for a tidy house,
full fridge and clean clothes,
however, I know that these years
don’t last forever. I’m glad Davis
wants to spend time doing things
with me even though striking a
balance isn’t easy. But for now bike
rides sometimes trump clean
kitchens!

Expert Advice ~ Sara Dimerman says:

It’s normal, and often appropriate, for parents to put their children’s
needs ahead of their own, such as when a child is tired or hungry, or a
parent needs to come home from an evening out earlier than he or she
had planned. However, if children learn to expect that your needs are
always secondary to theirs, they may grow up with a sense of entitlement
and elevated expectations. So, next time you rearrange a get together
with friends you haven’t seen in months because your child says he
doesn’t want you to go, think twice. It’s important that children see you
value the time you have set aside for yourself. Keeping their age and
ability in mind, children also need to understand that not everything can
be exciting, fun and child-centred all the time and that there are adult
activities that sometimes need to be managed, too, even if they’re boring.

To read more of Meghan’s Mommy Diaries, visit raisingdavis.com or follow her on Twitter @raisingdavis.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, May/June 2013.

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