Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | December/January 2020/21

Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | December/January 2020/21 2362 2362 The Flyer Magazine

All parents have a number.

Number of grey hairs.

Number of times you’ve sworn under your breath, before saying, “Yes Dear.”

Number of opportunities to hide from the kids for five minutes.

But this number is different.

It’s a number your kids know as well. This number is the amount of times you’ll let kids get away with something before you snap. It’s the number of times you say, “Stop jumping on the couch,” before they actually stop. It’ll be one number less than you spitting the dummy, yelling, or threatening to take the iPad away.

It’ll be one less, “Stop that now,” before they know they’ve crossed the boundary fence and into the “Badlands”.

Kids work out the number pretty quickly, and which situation it applies to. It’s a number they’ve worked out because as parents we are busy and tired and overworked and underappreciated. For example, my kids have picked up that my number is generally three. However, this can change.

Three times asking before I hear them.

Three times of me saying stop before they’ll stop.

Three times of me saying I’ll be there in a minute before I turn up.

What’s your number?

Mine’s different, however, for my kids, it depends on their age, sex and stage. In a world that wasn’t filled with 2020s that number would be one. I ask the kids once to do something, I hear them the first time, my one minute would be an actual minute and not a “Mexican minute”. However, I’ve seen different parents have different numbers, depending on circumstances, which can be hard for kids to then gauge when the parent will snap. Therefore both child and parent are in this tense tightrope walk when it comes to behaviour and expectation.

As I stated before, it’d be great if it was always one – the first time you ask them to do something they do it (sometimes this does happen).

The first time you ask them to go have a shower they do it.

The first time you say get ready for school, they get up, make breakfast, get dressed, make their bed, brush their teeth, make their lunch, pack their bag and head out the door. However, with my four kids I’m pretty sure this has never, ever, ever happened, even though they are generally pretty good kids.

So here’s my advice:

Be consistent (this gives them confidence), even if the consistency is the number 10, which let’s face it with seven weeks school holidays is probably the number.

Be present – the number will continue to grow if you are on your phone, which is what I struggle with.

Be prepared to follow up with what you said if the number is breached.

How hard can all this be, right?!

I’m going to post lots of school holiday ideas and activities to follow on my Instagram during the school holidays and, hopefully, some ideas to keep you sane.

Be safe

Be kind

Shaun

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