Meaghan Leahy, a parenting coach with PositivelyParenting.com, recently chatted with us — and you — and offered her advice for many of the parenting questions that came rolling in. Here are some highlights from our chat:
3-year-old doesn’t want to participate in classes
Q: My 3.5 year old daughter has been taking ballet classes for about 3 months now and has loved it up until recently. The last two weeks she has refused to participate for no apparent reason. I keep asking her why and she just says she doesn’t like it anymore. I didn’t make her participate last week but did stay and watch the other kids participate. I know not to push it but seems odd that she would just all of a sudden not like it after loving it. What to do?
A. Meghan Leahy:
This is a 3.5 year old. They are not committed to activities because their brains are too young to do that. They are here and now.
So, you can make a call here. When you take her, does she resist and then have fun? Well, keep going! Or, does she resist, sulk, fight it, cry? It may be time to chalk it up to: try again in a year or two…or not at all. This is childhood, in essence….
Q. My 10-year-old hears of people’s illnesses whether it’s her aging grandparents or her friends 12 year old sibling and worries about it. It’s always at bedtime. All my cuddles and reassurance of “you’re okay, and if you were to have an illness we’d manage it” don’t seem to be helping. What is your advice for calming her down and helping her manage these feelings when they reoccur? Thanks Meghan. I follow you regularly and think you have the most honest and helpful advice out there!
A. Meghan Leahy:
Thanks for the kind words.
Ahhh, worries. Yes. So, your sweet child is realizing that life is fragile. This is painful and necessary…and hard for us parents.
Two points: ALLOW THE FEELINGS. “Yes, it can feel scary. Yes, I have felt worried too. Yes, it is hard to hear this stuff.” There may be tears…this is good and normal. It cleanses the system.
The other point: (and you are doing this!!) Keep reasserting that, “no matter what, mom and dad will take of you, you are safe, we are here.” You may have a child who also needs to hear a LITTLE less than other kids. I am not talking about total protection…but a little more until her brain matures more…and she will get there. Good job…
Summer screen time
Q. How would you recommend handling screen time for the summer break? My kids 6&10 get TV on weekend mornings and iPad time on weekends for downtime they have with homework, sports etc. I’m ok with what they are getting now, but they will have camp-free weeks in summer, and I don’t want it to be an all-screen-desiring-all-the-time situation.
A. Meghan Leahy:
This is a parenting problem that is new for our generation. And it is TOUGH.
Gotta get a plan. The kids are old enough is make their own plans. So, say to them, “You will have these hours for tech (whatever you decide), make a list of other things you can do.” Crafts, projects, outside stuff, friends, neighborhood stuff, etc.
Hang up the plans and STICK TO THEM.
And listen, there are some GREAT APPS out there…so also help the children find some cool stuff this summer. CommonSenseMedia.org is a great resource. Stick to your guns!