Jennie here: Now that the dust has settled after the start of the new school year, I wanted to blog a bit on a topic that has definitely been a challenge for me as a parent. Those of you that know me, know that I am a boy mom to Reilly (age 9.5) and Robert (age 6). I love them more than anything, but honestly y’all, I have struggled SO much with finding appropriate ways for my kids to interact physically.
Years ago, one of my favorite clients likened raising her boys to raising bear cubs. At the time, I totally giggled as the phrase conjured all kinds of mental images of bear cubs rolling around, wrestling, and biting each other.
Now that my boys are older, I totally get it and she was 100% right to all of it:
the rolling, the wrestling, and the gnashing.
Most of the time, it starts fun but then it always, ALWAYS ends badly. Always.
Because I do love a good plan, I reached out to my village to see if I could find some ideas and strategies on how to channel the crazy sibling energy. My village is awesome y’all, and they armed me with a list of ideas to bring to the conversation with the boys.
We know that kids all of ages need to feel needed and included. I feel very strongly that the sooner we can include kids in conversations around things that aren’t working in our family, the more invested they are in helping us to solve the problem. I love to have these conversations because it gives me the chance as a parent to model: asking for help, making a plan to solve a problem and collaborating, among others. My boys are well-versed in the practice of ‘Family Meetings’ so over dinner one night, I presented the problem and asked for their ideas. I let them know we needed to come up with a plan for things they CAN DO, instead of wrestling. I had my list of ideas and together, here’s what we came up with (Reilly came up with the title…he’s obsessed with Yoda):
As we were building our list of CAN DO’s, I also I tapped the resources of my boys amazing Occupational Therapists, Ms. Tammy and Ms. Susan, to see if they had any ideas. Tammy and Susan mapped out a few “safe” ways to wrestle—I’ve included pictures of Reilly and Robert “modeling” these since visuals are always helpful.
Hip to Hip High Knees with Hands Shoulder to Shoulder
As with any problem, we had to circle back and tweak some things, by clarifying what was working and what wasn’t. We discovered after experimenting with the Bumper Balls, we had to set some ground rules to avoid injury (such as: body slamming while the person is on the ground doesn’t work, etc)—but all in all it was an activity that worked: the boys had smiles on their faces, no one was crying, and they were exhausted afterwards.
Mission accomplished…for now.
We look forward to seeing you soon and please let us know how we can best support you!
Jennie, Claire, Dana and Kristen