It is natural for parents to want the best for their children. Sometimes, in our quest to give them the best, we lose sight of what is in the best interest of our children. Some time back I mentioned that I was experiencing behavioural difficulties from Gavin. The real wake-up call was when he tore a book at school, but it had begun long before that. It started with the were potty training regressions and the increased baby-like behaviours which I didn’t pay too much attention to because they were quite mild. Then the behaviours escalated and we started to experience backtalking, increased tantrums, and open defiance at home. After several discussions with the teachers at school, the problem was believed to be due to sibling rivalry.
In order to make it up to Gavin, I tried to schedule more special time with him – special classes that involved just him and me (without his baby brother around to distract me). At home, I tried to pay more attention to him. I made sure I remembered to tell him, “I love you.” We shared hugs, we had rough and tumble play, and we had story time. Even if we didn’t get to do everything he wanted, I made sure he had some dedicated time alone with me.
Although his behaviour improved and the teachers reported that things were definitely better at school, we still had the occasional incidents cropping up at school. Since I cut back on Gavin’s extra-curricular activities, I have found an even greater improvement. Gavin’s switched from the flexi-hour program at school to half day and I think the extra time at home with Gareth and me really makes the difference.
The reduction in extra-curricular activities has not only been good for Gavin, but it has also given me a lot more breathing space. Perhaps that’s all he really needed – more time at home with Mum and Gareth? Perhaps the fact that I am not rushing the kids to extra classes is also making the difference because I’m less fatigued and stressed. Instead of worrying about whether the children are getting enough sleep and trying to schedule their days to optimise their sleep routine, I can relax a little. After all, don’t they say that “happy Mummy equals happy children”?
With the extra time on our hands, Gavin and Gareth spend more time together. Now we have time to do pretend cooking, play dough, water play, painting, etc. Just today, I bought some packet cookie mix and we made chocolate chip cookies with James imprinted on them. The cookies looked pretty pathetic (which is why I haven’t bothered to take any pictures), but Gavin enjoyed the process, and that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
I spoke to Gavin’s teacher at school and I’m glad to hear that Gavin’s behaviour is pretty much back to normal. The arrival of a sibling is a very trying time for a child. It is often recommended that parents hold off trying to do too many new things because the adjustment to a sibling is already a big event in itself. So perhaps what Gavin needs is just time to really settle into his new role as older brother. Once he is really comfortable in that role, we can reintroduce the extra-curricular activities.
With all the Ip Man fever about lately, hubby’s been keen to send Gavin to learn Wushu. For all his advanced mental development, I’m afraid Gavin’s physical development has always been somewhat deficient. Anyone know any Wushu schools to recommend? Gavin’s probably still a little young, but I figured it doesn’t hurt to be on the lookout.