Friday, June 26, 2009

Parenting Tip #1 - Bring Me Your Pillow

From time to time, as the mood (and memory) strikes me, I thought I'd share some parenting tips of things that worked for me over the years, mostly to correct my own deficiencies.

One of those deficiencies is my memory. At 67, I'm not afraid Alzheimer's is setting in when I forget something vital, because I've always been that way. I remember, when I was 26 and teaching 5th grade, I sent one of my students to the office on an errand, promptly forgot I had sent him, loaded the rest of the students on a bus, and took off on a field trip to the museum. Needless to say, I didn't get voted Teacher of the Year that year.

With that kind of track record, how was I going to teach my children responsibility?

"Mom, can me'n Sam play croquet?"

"Can you remember to put it away this time? Remember how last time you played you forgot, and the home teachers tripped over a wicket in the dark?"

"Yeah, I didn't know you knew how to make a butterfly bandage out of a band-aid. That was pretty cool."

"Don't change the subject. Do you promise to put the croquet set away when you're finished using it?"

"Yeah, mom. I promise."

"Okay. Put your pillow on my bed."

After the child puts his pillow on my bed, he can play croquet. When he goes to bed (earlier than Mom), he'll know by lack of pillow that he needs to put away the game. If he chooses to sleep without a pillow instead, I will know that when I retire and will roust him out of a warm bed to go out in his jammies in the dark and put away the croquet set. It usually only happens once, and he has learned that Mom will follow through...if she can remember.

This little trick relieved a lot of stress in our house, and even now, when our cusp-of-middle-age daughter comes to borrow a tool from her dad's shop, she'll ask, "Should I bring you my pillow?"
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Monique said...

That is an awesome tip! Thanks

Michele Holmes said...

What a clever idea! I'm going to try this.

Stephanie Black said...

Liz, that's brilliant!

Valerie Ipson said...

I love this idea. I have 8 kids and can just imagine 8 pillows piled up on my bed!

Another bed- related (but not necessarily just kid-related) tip my sister taught me is to not make her bed till she says her morning prayer. That way if she doesn't pray, she'll know it every time she passes her unmade bed. It's been a great way to get in the habit of morning prayers and daily bed-making! This won't work for kids who will just leave both bed and prayers undone, but it works for me.

Kari Pike said...

Love this! I am going to pass it on to my married kids, too! Liz you are such a wise woman...and I admire your multiple talents. Thanks!

Cami Checketts said...

That is a great tip! I'm afraid it wouldn't work at my house because my kids never know where there pillows are and usually end up in bed with me!

Chas Hathaway said...

What a great idea. I'll definitely have to use that one. Amazing what power a little thing like a pillow can have.

- Chas

Anonymous said...

What an awesome idea! :-D I can definitely use that one.

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