Have you ever noticed that your kids seem more needy and whiny when you have something time sensitive that you need to accomplish? Have you ever considered that maybe that’s not a coincidence?
Last Saturday was one such day for me. We just moved into our house the week before, so I was still unpacking and finding a home for all our stuff. On top of that, I was expecting 30 guests for dinner the next day and was cooking and cleaning like a madwoman. Of course, my little Peanut girl decided this would be the perfect opportunity to attach herself to my leg and get into everything she shouldn't be getting into. I kept trying to distract her with toys and even (gasp!) TV, but nothing was working. She just wanted Momma. Somewhere in between peeling 10 pounds of potatoes and scrubbing rust stains out of the toilet, I gave in. I took her to her room and read her a half dozen of her favorite books, played peek-a-boo and even had a little sing-a-long starring the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Guess what? My needy, whiny toddler morphed into a happy, contented toddler and played happily in her room for the next hour. I was able to fly uninterrupted through my list of chores - talk about a return on my investment!
I now have a theory that encouraging independence in a child is not developed by leaving them alone, but by spending time with them. I’ve been putting this theory into practice all this week and it’s working like a charm. Whenever I have something pressing that I need to complete, I make sure Peanut has at least 20 minutes of “Momma time” and then she’s content to play by herself or at the very least just happily follow me around.
The moral of the story? When you’re in the middle of a crazy busy day, don’t neglect the littlest ones in your life. Twenty minutes of your time could transform your entire day.