Wednesday, June 27

Picking your Battles

When you announce that you're pregnant, especially for the first time, the whole world believes they have a licence to offer you their advice ... and they do, by the bucket loads. In fact, the best piece of advice I think I was given, was not to listen to all the advice you'll be given and trust your instincts! Oh the irony!

Anyway, one thing that came up time and again was 'Pick your Battles'. Little ones can be incredibly trying, especially when they are experimenting with the whole independence thing but just in general really! If we fought to the end, every little incident that occurs, parents would be even more exhausted than they already are when bedtime comes around each day! Having the wisdom in those 'moments' isn't always easy and I'm the first to admit I don't always pick the right ones ... but I'm learning!

The reading gene has definitely been inherited by both our munchkins ... in fact we've just got back from the library! Abigail has a book shelf at the end of her bed, that until recently was packed tight with just some of her book collection. After we say goodnight, she used to read an extra book or two and then fall asleep but as the days have got longer and the nights have got lighter she seemed to take that to the extreme. A couple of weeks ago, almost two hours after bed-time, we found Abigail still wide awake with ALL the books from her shelf piled high on her bed (the week or two previous to that, it had slowly been becoming a regular occurrence). She had read through each one, page by page and put them neatly in a pile!

While we don't want to discourage her love of books, we really need bed-time to be observed. This was one battle we didn't want to turn ugly and backfire though, so we hatched a plan. That night we emptied our books from the bottom two shelves of our bookshelf in the living room and the following morning told Abigail about a really exciting new home for her books! She was ecstatic, her own space on Mummy and Daddy's shelves ... and straight away set to the task of moving all the books out of her bedroom, filling them up. It was like we had told her it was Christmas or something!

The plan worked perfectly! No, I-want-my-books-in-my-bedroom tantrums and now no reading marathons at night either. A few weeks on, she still hasn't twigged that it was actually a consequence rather than a treat to have her books moved. Every night she's still enjoying picking a couple of books to read in bed, for once we've said goodnight. I keep waiting for it to click but I don't think that's going to happen. Mission well and truly accomplished! (Abigail, if you're reading this once you've grown a lot older, sorry sweetheart ... but needs must!)


  1. Very wise parenting! I'm not always great about picking my battles, but I try. I think you are creating an excellent pathway for her to become a life-long reader. I may institute this idea with Ava. She often takes a while to fall asleep at night, and this may help her to unwind after she's tucked into bed each evening. Thanks for the great idea!

    1. The Missionary Mum25 July 2012 at 21:53

      Thanks Kendra ... one month later Abigail still hasn't worked out that we one-upped her!!