Well, my 7 year old son had his first sleepover this weekend where he slept out at his friend's house. I am very close to this family so I felt it was fine, I was more worried that he wouldn't go to sleep and would be a burden to the mom, since he tends to get very moody and cranky. I was texting her until I fell asleep.
He was better behaved than I have ever known him to be and for a long period of time-he didnt come home until the next afternoon. He was the only child in the house who came when she called everyone to breakfast and he was helpful.
It made me so proud of him for being a good kid, for embracing independence and for having courage. It also taught me that maybe it's time I let go a little bit...
It's so funny you mention the letting your kids walk to school alone topic because a friend just reminded me yesterday about the woman in NYC a few years ago who got in trouble for letting her 10 year old take the subway to school by himself. I grew up in an urban neighborhood and walked alone to school my entire life - starting at age 5. I usually walked with friends but sometimes on my own. I also regularly roamed the city streets unaccompanied and yes, would sometimes encounter some strange characters, but my parents raised me to be wary, and I am still proudly paranoid. It has served me well.
I am far more cautious with my kids and I am reading more and more that the world is actually just as safe today as when we were growing up. I honestly think the media has made us crazy. I do think 9 is a little young for your daughter to walk to school unless she was with a group. 10 or 11 sounds more reasonable to me (with some lengthy role playing to prepare her for any unlikely situations with strangers that may arise). I actually just the other day was encouraging my 11 year old to walk with a friend to the local coffee shop - independence is important.
I would have brought the shoes too, maybe she can have a few chances before you don't follow up. I have gone so far as to be late for work because my kid forgot something. They're little still, why should they have that horrible feeling of not doing something right at school.
Mornings, however, are terrible in my house. I let my kids sleep a little too late-my fault, however I feel like sleep is so important at this age, isn't it? My daughter is ready to go on time, but my son I practically have to brush his teeth for him and then I start yelling. I am thinking I should let him get himself ready and if he's not then he goes in late while I run my daughter over.
Another question-we live only three blocks from school. My kids are 7 and 9. I wouldn't dream of letting them walk alone. Am I crazy? One other parent lets the oldest-her 9 year old-walk alone if the other two younger kids are not ready when she is. I hate to deny my 9 year old that independence but she would have to cross two streets. I don't know, it just doesn't feel right to me.
So I am having a total Monday today. The day started off with everyone waking up late and not really caring about being late for school, except my poor son, who is in the car ready for 20 minutes while his two sisters are straightening their hair at the time we should be at school (good thing we live about 4 minutes away).
Then my daughter realized she forgot her gym shoes as she was getting out of the car. When your kids forget something for school - homework, a book, a permission slip - do you bring it in for them or make them pay the consequences of not being responsible for their school items?
My kids' school asks parents to NOT bring in forgotten items for the kids because it teaches them responsibility, even though they might miss out on something fun. I go back and forth, depending on what it is that they forgot. A permission slip I will make a special trip for, while I might let them pay the price of leaving a math worksheet on the kitchen table.
PS: I brought in the gym shoes:-).
I go through great lengths to prepare healthy and solid breakfasts for my kids because I don't think they eat much all day at school. They complain that their lunch hour is really only 20 minutes and then they have recess. My daughter, who would gladly eat her lunch and her neighbor's, comes home regularly with half a sandwich. My son is so picky he goes right for the pretzels and his drink.
This is why breakfast is important to me. I typically have turkey bacon or Applegate farms chicken sausage, toast, milk, things like that. I refuse to have sugared cereals in our house (my own rule of thumb is if we do buy cereal, it has to have under 10 grams of sugar per serving). They are sometimes into it but many times my daughter also says she isn't hungry.
I get it. I need time to wake up before I eat. They have snack hour like an hour after school starts, so you know they will have something in their stomachs by then. I think as long as they have a drink-maybe a glass of milk which has protein and less sugar than juice, it's enough to get the day started.
As our kids get older, the fact is, we have to guide them but we can't force them to eat. They have to make their own trial and error decisions.
Let's talk about breakfast. Yes, it's the most important meal of the day, but my 3 kids have totally different eating habits. My middle daughter (the picky one) loves breakfast and would eat pancakes for all 3 meals and be happy. Definitely the biggest meal of the day for her so I don't worry when she picks at dinner (which is how we are supposed to eat anyway!). My son does not love breakfast but loads up on lunch so if he has a piece of toast or a waffle and some juice before school I am happy.
My oldest daughter (the 11 year old) who is typically a great eater has declared she "isn't hungry for breakfast" anymore. Ugh. I have explained that even if she doesn't feel like eating, she needs energy to focus on school, but it is a struggle. I think I need to bring out smoothies and maybe non-breakfast foods for her (leftovers from the previous night's dinner, a roll up) to encourage some caloric intake. Remember Carnation Instant Breakfast? I had friends in grade school who had that daily. I, of course, have never had a problem putting away any meal.
I know what you mean, but my son is SO picky that it can't be good for him. He has tummy aches sometimes and I think he must be tired. I know now, as an adult, that when I eat right, I am more motivated and can concentrate better. He doesn't get to cheat with coffee like I do, so I feel like some of the lessons I learned as an adult he can learn now and be better off.
That is my dream, reality is another story!
So along these lines of living with a picky eater and coming up with ways to make sure they are getting enough nutritious foods, do you ever think we are focusing too much on their eating?
I sometimes think back to when I was growing up and was a somewhat picky eater (ie no veggie zone) and don't think my parents agonized over if I had the apple that was packed in my lunch or ate the salad on my plate at dinner. I think there is the risk of turning food into a power struggle with kids. What do you think?
Um - can't we talk about brownies? Kidding. I am right with you - I was so outraged with the idea of sneaking spinach in the brownies when that book came out on a few levels - you were deceiving your kids, and they need to know what a vegetable is, and try it. I have gotten off my high horse a little as my kids are not the biggest veggie lovers. Rather than "sneaking" veggies into foods my kids like, I prefer to think of it as enhancing the nutritional content of their faves (I am a PR spinner at heart). One easy dish to add veggies to (pureed or chopped very, very tiny) is mac and cheese - pureed squash or cauliflower is virtually undetectable.
New question for you-how do you feel about the whole idea of hiding good ingredients in bad food ala Jessica Seinfeld? I thought about her pureed black beans that she would stick into brownies as I was mixing mine this weekend, and for the first time it all made sense to me. I was so opposed before, thinking a kid should try each food and learn about them as separate tastes, but as a desperate mom who can't get her son to eat anything out of his comfort zone, I can understand her concern with a child's nutritional intake after a while. I'm not so against this idea anymore.