Jack’s First Babysitting Job

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It was a busy Tuesday evening yesterday. Dylan had to be to Scouts at 6pm at the church.  Cayden and his bunch of Scouts were helping someone move. Matt was working late.  I was trying to feed everyone dinner before we had to get out the door and we were cutting it close on time.  I sent Ashlyn to walk Dylan to the church so she could help him find his group.  I decided to drive Cayden to the house he was helping at (so I knew where he was and so that he could find it) which left Alison, Megan and Jackson still eating dinner.  I asked Jackson if he could watch the girls for a minute while I drove Cayden to the house.  

He stopped eating mid-bite.  

No way. 

Alison stopped eating mid-bite.

No way. 

She started quizzing me.  No mom? (I’m driving) No dad? (at work) No Cayden? (Scouts) No Ashlyn? (walking Dylan) No Dylan? (Scouts) Just Jack?

Yes.

This was seriously a 5 minute thing. Let them all finish dinner. Jack will keep them from getting into trouble.

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This is what I came home to. Jack and the girls, snuggled up on the couch, reading a book. Even after I got home, he kept reading and reading and reading! Matt came home from work and the girls were still in place, listening to Jack.

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I think he was absolutely thrilled with his “job.” After reading they took it to the floor and they rough-housed and he tickled the girls.

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Jack is such a happy guy! His happiness is contagious.

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It made my evening to see them all getting along.  

It made me think a lot about our home environment.  How can I encourage this?  As I was lying in bed, going through the day, I had this distinct impression that I can parent with encouragement or with the threat of punishments.  I mean, really, you have to dole out punishments and it is totally appropriate (today at Costco- Alison was in “Costco timeout” for running and hiding from me). BUT I think a lot of good behavior comes through positive reinforcement instead of relying on the fear of punishment.  Don’t get me wrong- I’m not advocating parenting where the kids are the ones calling the shots. I’m not. I’m just saying, I need to remember to parent with love.

I do have to play this card, though- homework before Wii, Saturday chores before playing, etc- so that’s kind of like “Do this or else….” I guess it all comes down to love and logic versus threat and intimidation. I waffle between love, impatience, “Do this or else,” and just about any strategy- but I hope love is there the most. All of these thoughts were a good reminder of how parenting goes on the good days.

I’m not known for being eloquent or stringing my thoughts coherently, and I know this thought doesn’t really have to do with Jack’s babysitting moment, but I’ve been thinking about parenting a lot today….. How to help that happy feeling in the home stay that way.

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One response »

  1. So Cute!!! Way to go Jack! My parenting thoughts lately are very very similar. I’ve chilled out a lot – something I’ve needed to do and stick to as much positive as possible. But I hear you – it doesn’t always work – just most of the time.

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