It’s that time of year again when us parents can tempt our kids into behaving just a little bit better with the threat that “Santa’s watching,” or the like.
A bit conniving, perhaps, but I look at it this way: After all the time and money I’ve spent sneaking around Christmas shopping, I deserve that little bit of a break anyway! Admittedly, I do most of my shopping online – I work full time and care for two kids on my own, so there’s no way I have the time or energy to get to the stores. But that still means I have to stop home before I pick up the kids and hide whatever mysterious packages have arrived on my porch.
We put up our tree right after Thanksgiving, and it seems to serve already as a reminder that everyone should be on their best behavior. I’ve said it before, and I’ll stand by my sentiment: I really do have great kids who get along with each other and most everyone else most of the time … but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their moments, of course.
I was sitting with my little guy the other day as he was admiring our decorations and fantasizing about all the great things Santa is going to bring him (in his mind). I asked him, jokingly, “do you really think you’ve been good enough this year for Santa to bring you all those things?”
He thought about it for a few seconds, and answered, matter of factly, “no.” Well, at least he knows enough to realize he’s not getting EVERYTHING he wants! Ha! But, now I was curious, so I asked him “What do you think you could do to behave better?” He lit up a little when he answered me. “I could listen more and follow directions the first time!”
Well, true, that’s something we’ve been working on in some ways … sometimes I feel like a broken record telling him to put his shoes on (over and over) before leaving for school. I often find myself having to specifically remind him to “use soap” when he takes a bath.
That very evening, he put away all of his laundry (a chore that usually takes a lot of convincing) and got ready for bed himself (bathed, teeth brushed, PJs on). He even picked out a book and let me know he was “all ready” for me to read with him.
He’s now determined to show Santa he can be extra good to make up for other times when he was “only mostly good.” If only the kids remembered that Santa is ALWAYS watching. They should be extra good ALL year!
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly.