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As any parent who has more than one child knows, nothing makes parenting tougher than dealing with those times in parenting when EVERY child wants you RIGHT NOW.
What to do? How do you decide? Which child should get priority? Whose needs are most urgent? Which kid comes first? What’s a parent to do?
I found this the most difficult part of parenting. When both children wanted me RIGHT NOW I felt torn. I was so stressed sometimes that I’m sure I made some dumb choices. I struggled with the issue of perfection: if I were a perfect parent I could somehow divide myself in two, couldn’t I?
It took me a long time before I realized it wasn’t perfection I needed, it was PREPARATION and PRAGMATISM.
Yes, you can prepare your children from an early age to wait their parenting turn. From the moment the second child is born (or right away if you have twins) SPEND TIME WITH EACH CHILD ALONE. It can be just a few minutes but be sure that time gives the child your COMPLETE ATTENTION.
As soon as the children understand what you mean give these times a name. “This is Sarah’s SPECIAL TIME.” In ten minutes it will be your Special Time.” If you make this time truly special with each child it will be worth waiting for.
Find ways to help your young children understand what time means. I used a TIMER when the children were too small to tell time.
Spend the Special Time doing what each child likes best.
Provide toys or books for the other child to learn self-amusement while you are spending Special Time with the other.
EXPECT the children to learn to wait patiently and honor the other child’s Special Time. NO, it won’t happen all at once but if you teach this important patience lesson, it will happen.
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