Going out in public with small children can sometimes be a challenge (or maybe most of the time).
I can remember frustrating and embarrassing situations when mine were small, (Oh, but I miss those days!) but may I be so bold as to say that perhaps 90% of those uncomfortable situations could have been avoided had I given more careful attention to two things: their behavior and mine?
Obedience training at home with our children is a must if we ever expect them to be well behaved in public. I mean, I hate to state the obvious, but as I’m sure you know from being in public, there are some families that don’t seem to get this! But our own behavior is another factor in this equation that we tend to overlook.
Some of us mamas are notorious for putting ourselves and our children in stressful situations that are like incubators for bad attitudes, frowny faces, and overall miserable experiences. If mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy!
While we are mastering obedience training with our children, maybe we should consider training ourselves as well! Before the next outing with the kids, let’s consider setting our minds to putting these points into practice:
- consider the goals we have on our to do list; circle those that are top priority, and be content to let the others go if time runs out
- calculate the amount of time it would take to accomplish the tasks/recreation without the children and multiply it times two; give ourselves this much time to carry it out. I realize this is not always possible; but we may find that, with a little forethought, at least it is sometimes. The bliss of driving home with most of our goals met and extra time to spare is to the mind what a massage is to the body and everybody feels it!
- be determined that any physical contact we have with our children will be done slowly and gently. So much is communicated to our kids in the way we touch them. It will help to imagine every possible scenario and see ourselves communicating love and kindness through our touch in each situation like, getting in and out of car seats, going to the bathroom etc. The same is true of our tone of voice.
- spend some time at home listening to ourselves when we speak to our kids and adjust our tone to match the heart of love we have for them. We can be determined to use this tone of voice at home and on outings. Many times a firm tone is necessary, but an angry tone used consistently, dims the spirit of a child. More than the words we say and the things we do, it is the way we touch them and the tone in our voices that reach deep into the hearts of our children. “The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.” Proverbs 26:22
- keep our vehicles stocked with water and snacks for those unexpected long periods of time spent in the car.
- expect the unexpected! Stuff happens! We can count on it. If we leave home with our ducks in a row thinking what a cinch it will be, we are living in a farce. If we imagine the worst, we will return home pleasantly surprised at only getting three boo-boos at the playground, having two items missing in our fast food carry-out, and only one blow-out diaper!
- smile! It’s not that hard. Sometimes I think we are just so focused on what we have to do we forget to smile. If we will train ourselves to remember the goodness and blessings of God and speak of them often we may find ourselves smiling without even thinking about it. It will lighten the weight of every task. We can show kindness to everyone we meet and spread a spoon full of joy with our kids watching and learning what it means to truly love others.
A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!
I’m sure you have great suggestions on this subject that have worked for you! Please feel free to share your wisdom with others by leaving a comment! =)