What to do When your Kids’ Needs and Your Needs Clash

When I need to be on time that’s what my kiddo’s going to refuse to get dressed.  When I need to listen to my husband, that’s when the boys are all going to need my attention.  When I need a minute that’s when no one’s going to nap.

There are going to be moments like these when your children’s needs get in the way of your own, when you’re just not on the same page.

Then there are going to be days when bedtime can’t come fast enough, when everyone needs something different at the same time.  And you can’t process it all.  Can’t meet everyone’s needs.

Then there are just going to be ways that you and your kiddo are different and need different things.  

I found once I acknowledged this, I could manage it better.  And everyone’s needs got met more often.  And peace was found (most of the time). 

Embrace Who They Are and What They Need

My kid is not one who will sit for an hour and play.  My kid is the one who plays with a toy for 10 minutes and is ready for a new one.  My kid is the one who matched all the animals on a 5 year old game the first time around (at 3), so that went by more quickly than expected.  My kid wants to run, jump off couches, and bop into his younger brother.

And I can’t keep up.  

And I get overwhelmed.

And I wanted it to be different.

And I longed for quiet, for me time, and I felt so guilty.

Then one day in a quiet moment with the just the little one, I realized a few things.

I have high energy (so I’ve been told).

I like to explore and do different activities.  I like variety.

I like to be active and productive.

I recognized myself in my son.  He has an adventurous spirit.  He was just like me.  It was an ah-ha moment.  I was able to see the situation in a new light.  Ironically we had similar needs just happened to be at different times. 

So what do I do?

I could either attempt to tame it or embrace it.

Find a Way to Balance Your Needs with Your Kids Needs

It’s tough when your needs and your kiddo’s needs clash.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance.  

First you need to recognize and become aware of what you both need.

I know I need time to myself.  So I carve that in the morning before the boys wake up.  I know I need time to do the chores and make dinner.  So I carve out some tv time for the boys.

I also know that my son needs my attention and engagement.  So I sit and play and create 18 wheeler trucks out of magnets with him.  I watch as he lines up cars and tells their stories and destinations.  I know my son needs to be active and so I try to get them out or run around the house.  We like red light green light and going to see the toy train displays.  I know he gets antsy to try something new and says no when I suggest activities, so I have a few ideas planned to do with him.  And I don’t ask.  

I plan for ways both our needs to be met during the day. If the needs are immediate we might find a way to compromise. Mommy needs some quiet so you can come sit and read or play next to me.

And I remember, we’re doing great.  

Finding balance takes time. It takes practice.  

You have to find your own way.

And you will.

You just need to embrace your needs and your kids needs and find happy and healthy ways to meet them.  Plan it if you have to.  I know I do.

Things to Ponder:

What do you need in a day? If you’re not sure, think of the times in your day when you feel most stressed/overwhelmed.  What would help with that?  For me it’s small chunks of time for quiet and time for myself to write, read, craft, and time for chores.

What does your kiddo(s) need during the day?  If you’re not sure, think about what they like to do the most or when they tend to get the most frustrated.  For us it’s lots and lots of activity. And lots of autonomy within limits / choices.  We also need quiet down time to not get overstimulated so time to read books or quiet time to play in their rooms has been great too.

When do you feel your needs and kiddos’ needs clash?  When you feel yourself getting frustrated/irritated?  Is there a pattern?  For me it’s when I need quiet or down time and they’re revving to go, when I’m trying to cook dinner and they want to play with me, when my kiddos run around and refuse to get in the bath, or when I need to get out the door and they still want to build that lego truck. 

Are there activities that you could do that meet both your needs at once? Can you plan in chunks of time to have needs met?  I found planning reading time together around the time I need a break or independent play time has helped.  I have the kids help with dinner or do an activity at the counter while I cook so they can still be near and connect with me.  I change the bath time so they play after instead of before and read to them in the bath to connect and prevent overstimulation which makes it hard for them to listen.  I plan extra time in the morning for those I just need to … moments.  

May you find how to meet you and your kiddos’ needs in a way where everyone wins.

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