One of my favorite things to do is listen to wise people share their stories, and life experiences. One man that does this each time we see him is my kids great grandpa. I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a man in my life, and my boys life. My children have 4 great grandparents alive! How awesome is that. I learn so much from each of them and truly cherish their words of advice.
A couple months ago we were at a baptism and my two oldest were sitting by each other next to their great grandpa. They were goofing off as usual, giggling and the situation was slowly escalating. It ended as usual with someone crying. This kind, gentle man leaned over and whispered some fabulous advice to my boys and I’m so grateful I heard it. He said, “It is good to have fun! Having fun is important. The trick is learning to know when to stop.”
I thought, oh man that is brilliant.
If you think about it, how many times do your kids get in trouble because they didn’t stop in time. They continue to test the limits until it was too late and someone ends up getting hurt physically or mentally. See if any of these examples apply in your home that happen A LOT in my home.
My older boys like to pick on their younger brothers. It always starts out as fun and games with gentle tickling to start out with. Because of all the laughter this escalates and the tickling gets a little harder. They begin to underestimate their strength and it ends in a wrestling match with someone getting hurt.
This can even happen with older children. What happens when your kid says something funny? They end up repeating themselves over and over and over again, to make more people laugh. What happens? It actually does the opposite and becomes annoying and not funny anymore, ending in someone unhappy.
Yesterday we went to the pool and my boys wanted me to come dive with them in the deep end. After a couple splashes in getting me wet I agreed and went diving with them. It was a great time, and I loved it! I then informed them that I needed to go back to the shallow end to watch my 3 year old. They didn’t like it but reluctantly let me go. About 20 minutes later they all come to the shallow end and started jumping in front of me, creating huge splashes, all the while saying, “Mom come play with us!”
Now I know this was completely innocent and they were just wanting to play with their mom, in which I complied and dunked a couple and threw them in the water. However, after about the 5th time asking them to stop, I had to get a little upset for them to actually stop. They were not paying attention to when too much was too much. One child ended up taking a break out of the pool for 5 minutes because of not knowing when to stop.
These scenarios are just a few, but it happens all the time. So how do we teach our kids to know when enough is enough. It takes time. I have been teaching my boys this since great grandpa told them this little piece of advice and I am slowly seeing some of my boys recognize when it’s time to stop. It is a skill that needs to be practiced. It teaches them to be aware of their surroundings and other’s feelings. If I am watching my boys play and can see the situation getting a little sticky, I will calmly (most of the time calmly HA HA) remind them,
“Okay you are having lots of fun, but when do you think you should stop before it turns into a non-fun situation?”
This question reminds them and helps them think about what is going on. If you remind them enough hopefully this becomes ingrained in their minds. Does it work all the time? No it doesn’t. Kids still find plenty of times where they leave their brain at the bottom of their laundry basket. I have noticed that it has helped them become aware of not only themselves, but those around them. They now finish my question by saying, “I KNOW I KNOW, I need to know when to stop!”
What are some ways you have found in teaching this to your kids??