It doesn’t make for a best selling parenting book, and of course no one told you about it before you had kids, but here’s the brutal truth…
As a parent, you will need to do the same thing over and over and over and over and over…
I am not just talking about the daily tasks like cooking dinner, or doing the laundry, picking up those darn Legos that you picked up yesterday, and the day before that, I am talking about interacting with your kids. I’m talking about teaching them, helping them, explaining to them, redirecting them, setting limits…you are going to have to do it, say it, and teach it over and over and over again before it even begins to sink in.
Kids need to do the same thing several times before they have learned all they need to learn. And even then, they will probably revisit it all again sometime in the future before they really understand and take it all in.
Every time they do or hear something, a child’s brain and body are making tiny adjustments and assimilating new information to improve their abilities and understanding, and working on cementing that in place so they can call on the information in the future.
This is as true for toddlers who demand the same book read to them every night, as it is of school aged kids who need to be reminded again and again that if they leave their school shoes in the hallway when they come home they will not be able to find them in the morning!
I understand that my kids need to repeat things over and over. I know that I will need to explain the same limit again and again before my words have any affect, but still… sometimes the repetition makes my head explode.
The more often I have to say or do something, the less patience I have, the more likely I will let my tone change into something less than positive, the more likely I am to loose it entirely and yell.
But that doesn’t help.
What helps is remembering that parenting is all about the repeat button.
Say it again. Do it again.
The kids are not ignoring you. They are not misunderstanding you. They are not out to get you by purposely forgetting. They just need you to repeat, repeat, repeat.
Do you have a repeat button? Does it do your head in sometimes too?