If you follow me on Instagram, you can see lots of cuteness surrounded my kids and their stories. To some of you, it may look like life with them is always smooth and effortless. Some of my followers have messaged me and asked me to write my motherhood tips and how to make siblings love each other as much as Katya and Leonix do.
As much as I am obsessed with motherhood and in my dreams would want to have many kids believe me sometimes the struggle with these two munchkins is real!!
Here are a few ways I’ve been able to conquer some of the most challenging battles as a mother.
TIME OUTSIDE OF HOME
I’ve been blessed with my kids and how much they get along. Before Leonix was born, Katya needed my attention 24/7, but something switched in her once she had her baby brother. They love each other’s companionship. Katya is truly the best sister with the biggest heart and soul.
When I am not working, I try to spend as much time as possible with them outside, on a bike ride, museums, park or simply going on walks. I believe spending more time in nature and away from the house has strengthened their relationship and keeps them close.
We are blessed with amazing friends and love spending time together. However, because Leonix and Katya are both in school or camp full time, they don’t see their friends much during the week. Therefore the majority of the time I try to have Katya and Leo together. This way they will play with each other and they usually do. Its the most beautiful thing. Of course, we do playdates too but mostly on weekends.
Traveling has also affected the connection they built with each other. We love exposing them to different cultures and getting them out of their comfort zone. Read about our trip to Spain and how I traveled with the kids here.
A few months ago, I was fortunate to reconnect with my best friend from Ukraine, Victoria Prooday, who is an Occupational Therapist, Psychotherapist based in Canada. She gave me a few tips that completely changed my life as a mom that I am now happy to share them with you…
Leo is a very early riser, like a 4-5am wake-up call. So what did I do? I definitely didn’t wake up with him, but I couldn’t let him cry either, so I gave him my phone, of course. This is how he got into YouTube and learned all his numbers and letters. I knew deep inside that putting such a little human in front of a crazy blinking screen is not healthy, but I just needed my sleep to stay sane.
Victoria Prooday changed it all…she explained the impact of this on his little brain and behavior. Which totally made sense, because at some point Leo started having lots of tantrums that were very hard to manage. Ever since that talk with Victoria, Leo and Katya haven’t seen a device at all and now they don’t care about it. And let me tell you, they are a lot happier and they don’t miss it at all, even Katya said it in these exact words.
Leo still wakes up early, but instead of giving him my phone, I plan activities for him before I go to bed, stickers, legos, crayons and let him figure it out. Magically it works – most of the time.
As a result of Leo being stimulated with an iPhone, he couldn’t sit in the car. Every stop or green light he would scream out of his lungs – pretty much the entire hour of the drop-off. Victoria Prooday suggested an easy breezy solution and I am not sure how I didn’t think about this before. We have a little box with toys and snacks in the car. We start each ride with the I spy game. As soon as Leo gets anxious I reach for the box. And again, it works like magic.
Victoria Prooday also suggested starting every day with a written schedule that I do with both kids almost every morning. This routine dynamic helps the kids to know their limits and anticipate what their day will be like, rather than ask for different things throughout the day as usual. For example, if Katya were to ask to go on a bike ride, I might say it is not on the schedule today, but we can talk about doing it tomorrow. This way of negotiation and scheduling has helped me tremendously when it comes to day-to-day activities with the kids.
I have been following Victoria Prooday blog religiously and it has literally changed my life as a mom.
TUNING INTO MY KIDS AND NOT A HANDBOOK
Some of us read about how to raise your children, break habits, etc. For me, its more about tuning into the way my children act, and this has been a success while raising them.
For example, Katya was very addicted to a pacifier. I couldn’t figure out how to break this habit until I noticed how she started caring about her physical appearance. She was constantly looking into mirrors and fixing her hair, so when we had to address her pacifier habits, I took this information into account. I googled some photos on the internet of kids with really bad teeth… and showed Katya what could happen if she continued with this habit. After that photo, Katya never took a pacifier again. Some of my friends have said I traumatized her with the photo, but I followed my instinct and it worked for us.
GET THEM INVOLVED
I try to do as many activities as possible together, including yoga, cooking, and cleaning. You will be surprised how much they love this. I used to do everything on their behalf or having a nanny do the job, but not anymore. They learn so much when they are involved and it builds their confidence.
These days, Katya and Leo can serve their own breakfast and also clean up after themselves. How nice is that?!
When appropriate I bring Katya to my events so she can explore and get inspired. I can tell that she loves this.
With that being said, every family is different, so these tips may not be for everyone, but these methods have helped me so much when I run into battles raising my children. It’s the hardest, but the most rewarding job to have.
Do you have any golden motherhood tips to share? I would love to hear them, please comment below.