This post is brought to you in collaboration with Weldon – a service we are thrilled be able to promote to our readers.
You’ve made it through the week. You’ve packed the lunches and unpacked the snacks, you’ve gotten kids on and off buses, you’ve made it to extended day pick up on time. You’ve shoveled dinners into uncooperative children and shlepped them off to Scouts/Dance/Drama/Basket Weaving. The last thing you want to do is find time to fit in one more thing.
Except that you can’t quite wrap your head around a whole Saturday at home with nothing on the agenda. “She has so much energy!”, “He needs the structure!”, “She gets so bored!” “He’s going to drive me crazy!”
Maybe your child needs another activity. But maybe not (probably not). Your child probably doesn’t need anything else. Could it be that it’s actually you that needs something? Hear me out.
We used to parent in community with others much more regularly. Extended families lived near each other and saw each other often; we got together with the neighbors and everyone ended up at church on Sundays. We spent significant time in the company of other families – watching and learning from one another. These days, many of us are more isolated. Many of us don’t regularly see how other families interact, how other children behave. As a result, we don’t always have a yardstick with which to measure what is and is not normal behavior. Our expectations aren’t always appropriate, and we don’t have the opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other, learn from each other, and support each other.
Weldon is a service that is designed to fill that void. Mark Burrell, the founder of Weldon, dreamt up the concept after realizing how often he was calling his sister – a school psychologist – to bounce ideas off her and ask her advice about the various issues he encountered with his young children. He realized that many parents don’t have access to this type of expert guidance and instead find themselves either winging it in the midst of difficult behaviors or seeking out advice from people (often online) who don’t actually know that much about child development. In collaboration with his sister, Mark developed a service that would pair parents in need of advice and support with fully vetted child development professionals who could give them real, actionable advice and feedback about their parenting concerns.
Maybe that’s what you need to get through Saturday.
You have limited resources. Financial and Emotional. There’s only so much you can take on. Let the kids be bored. Let the kids fight. Let the kids be home. Don’t fill your family’s plate with more, more, more; fill your own capacity to cope with the normal, everyday challenges of parenting small people.
And I have to tell you, friends. As I was trying to finish up this post my five-year-old came in.
“I’m bored!” he exclaimed.
“We’ll go to the pool in a few minutes – go get your swimsuit on!”
Five minutes later, “Buddy, please get your swimsuit on!”.
I remembered my recent chat with a Weldon Pro. I’d wanted to discuss his disobedience and frequent refusals to anything I asked him to do. I remembered the Pro’s suggestion that I start by asking him to do something simple and enjoyable before springing the more demanding tasks on him.
“Hey buddy, can you spray down the table?” (Is there a five year old on this planet who doesn’t love to use a spray bottle?).
When he came back, beaming with pride after spraying down the table, I beamed back.
“Amazing! Thank you so much – you’re such an awesome help to me, now run right upstairs and get that suit on so we can go to the pool!”
Five minutes later?