This weekend was a blast for my family. My wife and I drove the family from Toronto, where we live (Canada’s largest city) to a very small town 5 hours away called Petawawa. We have friends who live up there, and 4 families gathered at their house for a weekend party. We had seven kids in total, ranging from 3-7 years old.The kids had an absolute BLAST. They had a bounce house setup in the basement, so the indoor fun was enormous. But we also had about 3 feet of snow outside, and this town of Petawawa is well suited to outdoor activities provided that you bundle up with the appropriate winter clothing.
We went sledding at a huge hill overlooking the local golf course. It was probably the best sledding hill I’ve ever been to. My kids didn’t complain once about the hike back up the hill to go for another ride to the bottom. At night on New Year’s Eve, we even got to take them for a horse-led sleigh ride through the woods. We sat on bundles of hay. It was awesome.
Between outdoor fun and indoor fun, the kids were kept very busy. At some point in the weekend one of the adults in our group said, “Wow, the kids are all really well behaved!”
You know why? Because they were not looking for attention from Mom and Dad, and being ignored. They had our attention during the outdoor sledding, and they had each other’s attention when playing in the house. They were all having fun.
Funny thing about how having fun often translates to great behavior …
My oldest daughter cried this weekend – and the reason was she was sad about leaving to drive home this morning. I practice what I preach, and I got down to business by entering her world. I said things to her like, “You’re sad because you don’t want to leave, sweet heart. I know. I don’t want to leave yet either.” I just acknowledged her feelings and continued on with packing up the car. It wasn’t some magical mood-cure for her, but she got over it fast and it was better than getting upset at her. That would have gotten me nowhere.
Anyway, the lesson here is to realize that when kids are busy and having fun, it takes away reasons to misbehave for the purpose of getting attention. So if you’re suffering behavior problems in your house, consider whether or not it might be due to lack of attention that your kids get from you, your spouse, or anyone else. Then see if you can find ways to inject more fun in your lives.
Oh, and that bounce house my friends had in their basement? It was AWESOME. I want to buy the same model but I measured my basement and unfortunately it won’t fit. But I might pick it up for the summer season when it can go in the backyard. This is the exact model they had. Easily fit 4 kids at a time. Easily. The brand is Little Tikes, a well known brand. There is also a larger model available if you have a gigantic house or yard.
For further reading, you might want to check out Santa Claus: How to Introduce Toddlers to This Big Man and What Exactly are Terrible Twos.