Today I didn't make it to a morning mass with the kids. Hubby was serving one of the masses and my son's birthday party is this afternoon. I'll be going sans the small ones this evening instead.
So I have no experiences or ideas to draw on from today. I want to, instead, share some general information that will help on any day. Sundays, mass especially, is a day we ask more of small kids. That makes expectations even more important.
Coming up with an expectation is more than half the battle. It's like coming up with a goal. If you make a goal to triple your salary this year, most people will not meet that goal. If you make the goal to lose 30 lbs this month, most people will not meet that goal. The same applies to our expectations for our children. If you expect a 2 year old to sit, quiet and still, for an entire hour that expectation will not be met. Developmentally a 2 year old does not have the ability to sit still and quiet for an hour. Any other day of the week you are happy if they do that for 15 minutes in front of an interesting, toddler friendly TV show.
Just as you cannot lose 30 lbs in a month, they CANNOT sit still that long. CANNOT is the key word. It isn't that they won't, it's that they can't. One is deliberate and one is not. Would you punish your husband for something he cannot control? What if he started getting grey hair and you didn't like it? Even though it may not be something you want seen in public, it also isn't something he can control.
There are things a toddler can do though. They can look through a book. They can sit down. Once you have realistic expectations you can teach them to your child. You can remind them of the expectations before you go somewhere. You can remind them when they forget. Kids do forget, just as adults forget. If you expect anyone to never forget anything then your expectation is unrealistic. Kids are learning and may need more frequent reminders as they learn. Hurting them, embarrassing them, and punishing them will not make them remember faster.
The great thing about having realistic expectations is that you will not get upset as frequently because they are not being met. By getting upset less you are more easily able to keep your cool longer. Keeping your cool is a wonderful example to set for your children. That is a skill that will help them throughout life. Because, "You get more bees with honey".
To help set realistic expectations you have to understand the developmental level of your child. The book series "Your .... Year Old" has a book for each age. The books are short and easy reads. They cover a child's emotional, social, and physical development though. You would want to know what you were in for before you climbed a mountain. Raising kids is even more important than that. Why not be prepared?