Discipline is a hot topic in my house right now. Since I live in an intentional community and my son is the oldest of the children, it is also something of a fishbowl environment.
My now 18-month-old son is testing the limits in all new ways, challenging, finding his boundaries, and seeing how far he can push me. At the same time he is very mom-centered, demanding, and clingy. We are definitely going through another season where I frequently tell myself “this too shall pass”.
I am all about savoring the moment. To me Christmas is all about flavor. It is the culmination of the flavors of life, food, fun, family, friends, and sometimes even fights (come on it’s like the cayenne of flavors). And gifts! I am not really a huge gift person but when it comes to Christmas, I love giving and receiving gifts. There is something about it that just makes me want to squeal, which is not really a normal Jasmine-ish response to life in general. Back to flavors. Flavors all come together in the Christmas cookies, candy, traditions, dinner, games, and music.
Christmas can also be a tricky season as far as discipline goes. Come on now, I know that you know what I am talking about. There are presents stacked under the tree, there are cookies and sweets everywhere, there is family, noise, and activity. It is very hard to stay disciplined during this season and it is the same for our children.
I am struggling with trying to keep my son from eating too many cookies and not enough real food, but I am not going to kid myself, he is not the only one struggling to keep his hands out of the cookie jar! He is very much in the toddler picky stage and right now all he wants are cookies. So what is the solution? A less sugared, healthy choice of a cookie! We have made no-bake peanut butter fingers with powdered milk, organic peanut butter and a bit of honey along with coconut and raisins or whatever other kind of fruit we feel like adding. This makes for a great protein-packed, lower-sugar option. Muffins are also another great choice! Make them as healthy and sugar-free as possible and don’t skimp on the sweet goodness of added dried fruits! I am not refusing to let my son enjoy the Holiday sweetness but am finding creative ways to minimize the sugar highs.
Since it is cold outside, we have been spending more and more time inside and my very active child has become incredibly creative in ways to occupy himself. I must say that some of these things are not the safest of choices! So what do we do about this? Bundle up! It’s time to head outdoors! It seems to work wonders for us both, even if we are only outside for 10 minutes when our cold fingers, face, and toes once again hit the warm indoor air we both seem to mellow and melt.
And then there are just some times when discipline of some sort needs to happen. I have to trust myself in front of my family and/or friends; I know what is best for my child and that I am acting on a bond that we have forged since pregnancy. My son and I know each other and for the most part we understand each other and when it comes time to discipline in “public” mommy knows best!
Nap and bed times have a little give to them during this season but we do not let them break. This is not the time to break all comfortable habits because these habits are the little solid things in a child’s life that keeps things stable. So instead of running around like a chicken with our head cut off, maybe we should take some time to pause as well. Instead of being frustrated that we are not getting more done or that someone wants to go shopping etc., we may pause and take time to savor the flavors of the season. We may find that a rest is all we needed to have a wonderful Holiday!
Sometimes we only see discipline as correcting something that is wrong but discipline as defined by the dictionary is also a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior. Discipline is also self-control and the Holidays are a great time to demonstrate to children a healthy and joyful self-discipline.