Monday, October 4, 2010

The More You Give, The More You Get

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On Becoming Childwise: Parenting Your Child from 3-7 Years

This phrase, the more you give the more you get, seems to apply to many facets of life. Love, service, happiness, exercise, gardening, often times investments...something so universally applicable must have a great deal of truth to it. This phrase holds true in parenting, also.

"Like anything else in life, the more effort you put into implementing Childwise [and I would insert any -wise] principles, the more help you'll receive and the more confidence you'll gain" (page 11).

The more you give, the more you get. The more effort you put into teaching your child, the more you will see her understanding grow. The more effort you put into consistency, the more consistency you will see in your child. The more patience you give to your child, the more she will give back. The more time you give now, the more time she will give in the future.

This idea can be applied to any age group. Do you want your baby to sleep well? The more effort you give toward accomplishing this goal, the better a sleeper she will be. Do you want your toddler to eat healthy foods? The more effort you give toward offering healthy foods, the better eater she will be. Do you want your child to be well behaved? The more effort you put into teaching her how to do so, the better behaved she will be.

Sounds simple and straight forward, right?


But it isn't always easy. Rarely is it ever "easy." It might be easy if it was once a week or maybe even a couple of hours a day. But when this is your job day in and day out, day after day, it gets hard. Sometimes you want to just be lazy. Sometimes you don't want to deal with issues as they arise. Sometimes you are emotionally upset for whatever reason and don't feel like you can handle one more burden.

First, take heart. These are all normal emotions to have and part of being a parent, and I think especially part of being a mom. Easy? Absolutely not. In practice, putting all of this effort in gets tiring and is draining on every front.

Second, allow yourself some breaks every so often. Take a lazy day if you need it. There are certain things it isn't wise to neglect. Neglecting anything means more work in the future, and neglecting behavior issues can mean a lot more work in the future. Try to discern what you can let slide and what you can't. With time and experience, you will figure that out. You don't have to be superwoman. Yesterday, I was tired. I was also emotionally stressed because there was a big riff at my husband's work (everything is still good :) ). I did none of my regular cleaning. I did only basic cleaning up after meals. I didn't even make my bed! I took a lazy day. Today, I will need to do a little extra work because bathrooms aren't something you can just ignore (unfortunately), but I had a nice break yesterday and feel more energized to do some work today.

So when it comes to the idea of the more you give the more you get, try to think of it as a whole picture rather than focusing in on one moment. It is wise to be aware that taking a day off will create more work in the future. Another simple example of this is weeding the garden. I typically weeded my garden each day of the week except Sunday. But there were days that I couldn't or just didn't want to. The next day, I did a little extra to make up for it. For the week we were on vacation, I obviously did no weeding. That took a lot more time to catch up. So take breaks when you need to, but endure when you can.

This idea relates well to "More than making it through the day." A little bit of effort now will have you reaping more in the future. Definitely not easy, but definitely worth it!



mrs. martin said...

This is such a great word of encouragement! However, I need some help with the consistency part of it... "The more effort you put into consistency, the more consistency you will see in your child"
I try so hard to be consistent but it's starting to seem like my sweet little boy has different wants/needs every week! I really need some help:
He is almost 4 months old and sleeps great (at naptimes and STTN). However, his feedings are going nuts. His feeding schedule is (usually) 7, 10, 1, 4, 7. But the past week or so he has been hungry at 9a.m. then he'll nap all the way until 2! I let him sleep longer because I'm trying to get a 3/4 hr combo schedule worked out. Is that bad? Then he gets hungry again at 5 which throws off bedtime. So here are my questions: How do I work out a 3/3.5/4 hr schedules and still keep his bedtime and morning wake times the same? or do I change those? I think I am about to start introducing solids, starting with rice cereal as you suggest. Secondly, If I feed him when he is hungry rather than waiting until his scheduled feeding, how is that different from feeding on demand? I want to be consistent (and keep him from getting snacky) but at the same time, I know I should feed him if he is truly hungry. What should I do? I'm sorry this is such a long question! Thanks in advance for your help and all the help your blog provides!

trooppetrie said...

i WISH i would have found your blog years ago when we were knew to babywise

Kelly said...

I'm curious if Mrs. Martin got an answer to her question? We're in the exact same place with our 4 mo old and I'd love to know what the response to her question was.

The Garrett's said...

Same boat as Kelly & Mrs. Martin!! Look forward to hearing the answer:) Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Mrs. Martin,

I wouldn't let him sleep that much later. You can let him go an extra 30 minutes, but if you want to establish regular hunger patterns, you need to have regular feedings. The exception would be during growth spurts when you feed more often.

Feeding on hunger cues during a growth spurt is filling a need. Growth spurts only last a week or two, so it is an exception and not a norm.

This is an example of how I would work a combo schedule:


You have a 1.5 in there...I think it is important to keep beditme consistent--more important that keeping it a 3 hour interval.

I haven't ever done a full schedule like this. I usually just wait until they are fully ready for a 4 hour before switching, but you could do a 7/10:30/1:30/4:30/7 which would give one longer period and keep you with a 2.5 instead of a 1.5 feeding interval.


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