Intentionality has become an important part of my life since I had children. When the triplets were first born, I wasn’t entirely sure what kind of mother I wanted to be. But I knew that however I decided to raise my children, I wanted to do it on purpose.
Oddly, a huge shift in my parenting style came after reading a book about de-cluttering. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo helped me to decrease the amount of stuff in our home. But it also pushed me to look beyond physical things.
I wanted to be more focused on the quality and value of the things that I allowed to consume my time, energy, and resources. Gradually, I began to remove things from our lives that didn’t jive with the vision that my husband and I had for our family.
Just like you de-clutter your closet in order to create space and increase the visibility of the items that fit you best, you can also de-clutter your parenting life.
What does this look like? It’s going to be different for every family. Our family decided to forego many things in order prioritize the items that make our lives run more smoothly.
More specifically, we have prioritized a consistent schedule and household routines above many other things. We are opting to resist the siren call of 3-year-old soccer, t-ball, and ballet in favor of allowing our children to get to bed at a consistent hour each night.
As much as I would love to see my kids donning baseball caps or spinning about in leotards, I know that they function best on a consistent sleep schedule. A solid 11 hours of sleep helps to improve their mood throughout the day. They are also more amiable when they understand their daily routine.
With both my husband and I working, we wouldn’t be able to put them in activities until later in the evening. That would disrupt this delicate balance. As they get older, we will be able to explain to them when and why the routine changes. Also, they will be able to function on slightly less sleep. Until that time, we will keep things just as they are.
Not only do we limit activities outside the home, we also carefully choose the physical items that come into our home. We avoid toys with batteries and lights that create chaos during playtime. We attempt to keep their wardrobes reasonably small. Every six months, I participate in a local consignment sale. This allows us to purge the clothing that doesn’t fit and the toys that are no longer developmentally appropriate.
While managing time and things is important, the biggest key to parenting with intentionality has been clear and open communication between the parents. We discuss discipline, expectations, and desires concerning our children often. In this way, we are able to parent as a team. We know what to do when most situations arise because we have already discussed it.
For instance, when one of our children doesn’t want to eat what is being served, we don’t quibble about what to do. We remove their plate and allow them to leave the table. There are no second meal options, bargaining, or bribes. Neither of us thinks twice about it because the decision was made in advance.
My husband and I have discussed the attributes that we would like to see most in our children: respectfulness, work ethic, and creativity. As a result, we stress manners, praise effort, and allow open-ended play whenever possible.
These are the things that have worked for us, and they may not be right for you.
If you want to decide what you can do to make your parenting more intentional, consider doing an audit of a day with your children. Think about whether or not what you are doing throughout the day is by choice, or if it is simply habit that you fell into somewhere along the line. Are the things that you’re doing with your children helping them to become the kind of people that you would like them to be?
There is no single right way, but purposefully making choices, whatever they may be is important for establishing your family dynamic. For us, when we are making family decisions with intentionality in mind, our days are a little bit more satisfying and a whole lot smoother.
If you enjoyed this post, you might like these as well:
Living Peacefully with Toddlers: Introduction: The first installment in the Living Peacefully Blog Series.
Living Peacefully with Toddlers: Cultivating a Peaceful Environment: Using techniques learned in the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne to create a calm home environment.
Living Peacefully with Toddlers: Post-KonMari Home Tour: A tour of our home from top to bottom.
Living Peacefully with Toddlers: Montessori at Home: How we’ve incorporated Montessori principles into our daily routine.
Hello there! I’m Krysta. If you’re new to The Thoughtful Mom, welcome! And thank you for stopping by.
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