Author: Lala
•Sunday, November 30, 2014
(By Carl)

As most of you know, small children demand a lot of time and attention and tend to monopolize a couple's social life. It can be stressful and exhausting taking care of them, especially dealing with whining and complaining.

Some of the resources we have read about helping children be happy suggest that some one-on-one time with the children is important. They need to feel like they are heard and have parents who listen and care so they can be happier and more cooperative and pleasant.

We have been having a lot of family time the past half-year. We are trying to do one-on-one time (which is difficult for Lala at home with three kids, and Talia climbing on everything). In a broader sense we are simply accepting that the kids need attention, that this life phase will only come once, and that it makes for happier parents to intentionally invest the time with kids instead of making the kids demand the time and attention.

   

Above, Lala on mother-daughter date nights with Rianne and Mikelle. With Rianne it was a Sanderlin school family night with fun activities (she had a lot more fun than her expression would suggest). With Mikelle it was playing at the park downtown and getting a treat. On one of my (Carl's) outings with Rianne, she wanted to help me pick up litter downtown and had a blast with it.

One way I can have more fun, happy time with the kids is with our new morning routine. I have often been taking the kids to school in the morning via a walk on the Pinellas Trail and a bus ride on the PSTA route 23. We have had some very fun and silly mornings this way. After dropping off the kids at school, I can take the next bus to my new job downtown.

  My new commute

A morning when Lala and Talia came to see us off

People usually ask if I save money by taking the bus. It's possible, but the downtown job location and the bus commute really are lifestyle choices that make me happy.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we took a trip to the aquarium in Sarasota. On the way back we stopped at a park near the Skyway Fishing Pier. We saw a beautiful sunset, though the kids completely ignored that because they just wanted to stand on the rocks and sing. 

Lala at the park at sunset

Tonight we listened to Christmas music while the kids and Mom set up a tree and decorated it.
Festive evening

We usually have the kids in bed around 7 pm for something like 12 hours of sleep (which means we're home early). We give them healthy food (usually), time to run around and explore and play, we roughhouse and be silly, teach them lessons about science and language and Jesus, let them draw and help cook, and go on outings. We're trying to set aside time for dates as a couple, too. It can be rewarding and fun, and we think we're doing a decent job for them.
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1 comments:

On December 5, 2014 at 11:36 AM , Jenny said...

What a beautiful family. You are doing a wonderful job