Aug 29, 2019
We have two young boys, 4 and 7, and from the time that my second turned about 2 years old they have been bathing together. After a year or so of being in the bath together supervised, we felt comfortable leaving them in the tub alone to play. We are a no TV family but this gave us the same effect. We suddenly had ten to twenty minutes of uninterrupted time in the evening without the boys!
It was awesome, but short lived. After a while they figured out that without a parent around they could do all sorts of mischief including fight, splash, yell, dump soap out and throw their bath toys. Of course, being the autocratic father I was back then, I set rules (see Why Rules Inhibit Thinking ) that only served to shorten the bath time since every time a rule was broken the bath would end. When we moved to a new house that had a Jacuzzi bath tub, a whole bottle of soap was dumped and the jets turned on. The resulting suds made it out the bathroom door before detected. The days of bathing together were coming to an abrupt end.
Problems like these tend to create opportunities. Around the same time, my wife had been trying to increase the Genuine Encounter Moments, or GEMS, that she was giving our children and so she came up with “Mama time!” As one son spent time playing in the tub, the other gets her undivided close affection and attention. My oldest tends to spend it snuggling with her reading a book and my youngest usually wants to play a game. The net result is a smooth transition to bed as both have gotten some of that attention that they so need to develop. With their emotional bank accounts full for the night, there was no fighting to go to bed. Afterwards, she was more relaxed and less drained by the bed time process.
It probably goes without saying, but never leave your child in the tub unattended if they are not old enough to manage it safely.
For Mama time (or Dada time) avoid activities that don’t allow for close attention. Try to avoid shopping or running errands together and instead do activities that slow life down, create a lot of touch and eye contact, and create a close connection. Simply sitting on the couch and talking about their day while holding hands or cuddling works wonders.
Think about what opportunities you have to create some individual focused time with one of your children. This is worth doing even if you only have one child. Here are some ideas that might work in your home.
For more information on Genuine Encounter Moments, watch this great video lesson.
For more information on Encouragement Feasts, watch this great video lesson.
All Topics community confidence conversations emotional self reliance emotions hero intelligence joy of parenting learning modeling navy seal navy seal father parenting preparing for the future preparing you child resistance rites of competence rites of passage self esteem space tantrums tone of voice