The Importance of Flexibility in Parenting
With each step of my kids' development I am learning the importance of flexibility and strategy adjustment. So often I'll feel a panic arise when a discipline or bedtime routine suddenly goes very wrong. A specific routine used to guarantee a smooth ride into blissful sleep for my child, but all of a sudden it has begun to consistently fail us. A discipline strategy used to ensure obedience but now suddenly my toddler is immune. These little humans of ours are constantly growing and changing at a rapid pace. It makes complete sense that we need to adjust with the ebb and flow of our child's emotional and psychological development. I frequently need to remind myself in times where routines are shaken up, that it may not be related to sickness, teething, or behavioral issues. The cause may simply be due to a developmental transformation. Strategies must be adjusted as you go. As much as I wish I could find the key strategies for daily smooth sailing and never have to change things… that is not reality! Things can change as quickly as a couple weeks. Also there are those times where you need to approach scenarios differently because they become sick, or those teeth are popping up, etc. This doesn't mean that what you're doing is a failing. It's simply time to alter course. Be ok with some flexibility. Routine. I love routine. And kids thrive under structure. However, if you become such a stickler with the routines, there's no room for spontaneity or flexibility. We took our son to the zoo for the first time this summer. It's a bit of a drive for us there and back and we knew we wanted to not feel rushed. We had to be flexible and know that a proper nap may not (and it certainly did not) happen. And that was OK! If I was so stuck on making sure we were home and he could nap in his bed and his time, the zoo trip probably would not have happened and we would have missed out on some fun memories. If bedtime or mealtime needs to be shifted for a day once in a while, there is no harm in that. Change is inevitable in life. Situations change, you change, and our kids change. Keep a watchful eye out for those times of transition, and allow yourself to be flexible. I've had lots of moments where going off schedule or having things not work the way the used to become a big catalyst of stress. And what an unnecessary stress it is! We can shift our perspective from seeing the change as chaos to a thing of beauty.