Mothering Monday: Knowing and following through on limits

Right now I’m listening to my 2 youngest sons and my husband playing some game in the living room that involves fighting, rolling around and tackling each other.  I can tell they are having a great time, but I’m pretty sure I’ll hear crying soon because it always ends in tears.

One of the biggest challenges of being a mother of 3 boys is knowing how much rough housing to allow.  Some of my friends don’t allow any.  For me, I see how much fun they have and how much energy they spend so I do allow it.  But I wish I knew the perfect point to say, “Ok, time to stop.”  I seem to only recognize that point too late when someone gets hurt.

Other areas are easier to set limits on such as sweets, tv watching, video game playing.  You can come up with realistic guidelines and follow them.

Oh wait… here are the tears… imperfect son #3 just came crying into my room.  Funny thing though, he didn’t get hurt rough housing, he somehow got hurt trying to lie down on the couch.

Back to the sweets, the TV, the video games.  My problem isn’t knowing how much to allow, my problem is following through on the guidelines I set up.  After allowing way too much this summer, I’m going back to a chore chart / ticket system.   I have a chore chart on the fridge with “jobs” that all 3 boys need to do to earn stars.  Jobs include normal things like picking up toys (inside, outside, and in the porch), making their beds, setting the table, clearing the table, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, bringing the cans in.  But I also put things on the chart like brushing teeth, reading 30 minutes, playing outside, Bible time, no yelling.  That way it holds them accountable for doing the things they are supposed to and me accountable to enforcing it.

They then earn stars and have to earn a certain amount to have any screen time the next week.  The more stars they earn, the more screen time they get.  Screen time includes TV, video games, DS’s, and computer time.  I found these great tickets on a site that they turn in for an hour of screen time.  This makes it easier for me to keep track of how much I’m allowing.  It also helps them make better choices for themselves.  They’ll ask to watch a show on TV, I’ll remind them that it costs a ticket and they decide it’s not worth it.  But my dilemma becomes does it count as screen time if they are watching someone else play a video game?  What if their Daddy is watching the Phillies and they sit down to watch it too, should that cost a ticket?  I guess it’s really not as easy as I originally was saying.  But doesn’t that pretty much sum up mothering?  Not as easy as we all thought it would be?

♥Becki, imperfect mother

P.S. I’d love to hear what you’ve found that works for you!


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