I reckon we’re generally pretty laid-back parents (well Dh is – I’m a nervy nightmare) but occasionally I wonder if we‘re a bit too strict. The girls are I were walking home from nursery tonight with some of their friends and a parent asked the girls if they were going to watch telly when they got home. I did a frantic ‘argh’ face over the girls’ heads toward the parent in question. Luckily he got the ‘parent code’ and changed the subject very quickly. Apparently all of the girls’ friends watch a bit of TV when they get home from nursery. We established a post-nursery routine for the girls very early on – home, snack, bathtime, stories, cuddles, bed – and it’s always worked. It hasn’t ever occurred to the girls that they could watch TV on nursery days as we don’t put it on in the morning either.
The other thing we discussed was bedtime stories. The girls get three stories if they’re really good (they choose one each and we choose one), two stories if it’s late (the girls choose one each), one story if they’re naughty (that Dh or I choose) and none at all if all hell breaks loose. R and G can get pretty boisterous at bath time and they absolutely love being read to so the ‘sliding scale of stories’ approach. I’ve been in charge this week as Dh is working late and the girls have made a big point of telling me that they are going to be really good (and continue to point out as they are doing so) so that they can get three stories.
It’s only when you describe our practices to others that you realise quite how tyrannical we sound. Inevitably I’m going to justify what we do but, quite simply, it works. It wouldn’t necessarily work for other people, but it works for us.