Batteries: Are they friend or foe? As a mom of two, THAT is a serious question.
My current conundrum is the battery operated toy. If you are like me, you have them coming out of every nook and cranny of the house. I think I could get a full-time job just ordering, stocking, and replacing batteries. And you know you need special screw drivers for different toys. And then your toddler wants to "help" change the batteries, and you are worried that this fun "learning" experience will become an eye-gouging one.
I have to wonder how much time these toys, which are meant to encourage my children's development, actually function as distractions. I want to see beyond the nifty rift and flashing lights and have more quality time with my children. We as adults often have this struggle in our own lives too. It's hard to tune out the many conveniences that were meant to enhance our lives but somehow contribute to their chaoticness.
Last year, I heard an expert advise her audience of exhausted parents to “make a minute matter.” Gigi Schweikert told us a secret: Children really have no concept of time. She encouraged us to stop what we are doing three times a day and give a solid minute of full attention to our children. Sometimes, that is all it takes for them to feel listened to and valued.
It’s amazing something so simple could be a building block for something so important. Certainly, there is a time and place for pretend picnics on the floor, extended story time and snuggles, and lengthy investment in our children. But on the days when the laundry pile is toppling, bills need to be paid, or work needs to get done, we now have some ammunition.
What do you want to do with your minute?
I don’t want to change batteries in a toy that will end up at the bottom of a bin in two weeks. I want to look into the wide eyes of my children and show them that they matter in little moments throughout the day.
So to all parents of little ones: One solution for making our lives less chaotic is to Put. The. Screwdriver. Down. Hold a hand. Give a hug. Engage their little voices. Seek to understand their world. And maybe even bring on the old fashioned puppets.