If you have a toddler, you know the battles can be mighty.
Why are we fighting over eating peas?!? How can you be terrified of your car seat? And why are the echos of your screams so loud in an indoor pool?
More importantly: How are we going to get past this?
Let me just admit this up front, this idea wasn’t 100% mine. I wish I was this brilliant at motherhood…
It all started with an article that made it to my phone. Maybe it was a social media post or maybe it was the rabbit hole we call “Google”. But I stumbled on this article from a local writer, Regina Brett: “No kid-ding – ask your kids the right questions”.
Of course, all three questions listed were fantastic, but the one that jumped out to me was “How were you brave today?”
This was two years ago, when my 3 year old was just starting to hone in on her personality (timid) and the #metoo movement wasn’t even a glimmer in the public eye. So, encouraging a daily brave act wasn’t something on my current “to do” list.
Like any mom who hides her Pinterest addiction, I went to the craft store, bought a poster board and stickers and assembled a chore chart. One of the few chores listed: do something brave.
“What’s brave?” I remember her little voice asking me.
How do I explain this?
“It’s doing something you’ve never done before. And maybe you’re a little afraid, but you try it anyway.”
Was that simple enough?
It was for us. Over the next few weeks, my little Scarlett would do anything for that sticker next to her “brave” chore.
Swim lessons used to be met with hesitation. Her little feet would barely shuffle toward the edge of the pool and the look on her face told me she wasn’t even going to attempt blowing bubbles underwater. She was scared. I was frustrated.
But with the daily encouragement of bravery, pretty soon she was jumping in from the side. She would run to me afterwards and tell me how brave she was.
Dinner was a total 180. Foods that seemed “yucky” all of a sudden became a new challenge to tackle. I told her trying new foods counted toward being brave. And she won many a sticker.
The battles became fewer. Her attitude became more confident.
She just turned five. Her little sister is on the verge of turning 3. And so now we have new and more extensive chore charts. But #9 … “Do something brave”.
Laying this groundwork early is hopefully setting the stage for when she steps foot into kindergarten next week. And again when she starts high school. And when it comes to climbing that proverbial mountain, maybe that confidence will be deep down inside, a part of her fabric and personality. And my hopes as a mother is that it launches her into an amazing adulthood. After all, she’s certainly earned more than a sticker.
This was originally posted on Lionheart Lamb Blog