We’ve always tried to teach the kids that every action has a consequence, whether it’s good or bad. We have the freedom to make a choice, but we have to accept the consequences that follow that choice.
This usually leads into a discussion about “good” choices and “bad” choices. For example: hitting your brother to get the toy you wanted might not be the best choice and will probably result in no toy and a time out. However, asking him nicely if you could have a turn, or offering him a different toy to play with instead might be a better choice with more favorable results.
My kids had a ball playing with my dad yesterday. He went into ultimate Gumpo mode and took them all out in the backyard for an hour and a half. They built mountains, threw snowballs, made snow angels and my dad took turns running them around the backyard in the sleigh. When they came in he and my mom whipped together the kid meal of champions: chicken fingers and chip truck french fries. My dad had a fresh apple pie (which I stared at longingly but did not eat) and my mom made a cake. I bathed them one at a time, and when I came downstairs I found S curled up on the couch reading Christmas stories with my mom. She made it through three or four of them before I saw her eyes begin to droop.
She proceeded to flail around on the floor moaning about how tired she was. It was after 7pm, so as we were in the window for bedtime I did a secret fist pump and began the bedtime proceedings. We said prayers, went upstairs to brush teeth and get tucked in.
When we stay at my Mom and Dads, H & S camp out in their room. It’s part of the great adventure and they love it. I sometimes leave a lamp on low so my Mom and Dad can see when they come into bed, so S will bring her little sleep mask so she isn’t bothered by the light. Last night I got her tucked in, then moved to H’s bed to get him settled. By the time I turned back around it looked like she was out cold so I slipped out to put P to bed.
I came downstairs and curled up on the couch to watch a show with my parents. About an hour later I could hear someone moving upstairs, so I went up to see who it was. I found S angrily shifting around in her bed, heaving great sighs. I knelt down beside her to see what was going on, and this was our conversation:
Me: “S, what’s wrong, honey? I thought you were so tired!”
S: “I am so tired. But I keep trying to close my eyes and they just keep popping back open!”
Me: “Well, why don’t you try closing them again? Maybe they will stay closed this time.”
S: “I triiiiied that already. They won’t stay closed. They just keep making bad choices!”
She was beyond overtired at this point, so I sympathized about the bad choices her eyes kept making and tucked her back in. Then I naturally went downstairs and had good chuckle with my mom and dad. At least she’s taking our talks to heart.
I’m also happy to report that her eyes eventually stopped making bad choices and closed for good. She told me she gave them a good talking to and they finally listened.