I was scrolling through my newsfeed and saw a video of a mom, Morgan Tucker, as she “tackles” her 2-year-old, Zaydek Carpenter after he sprinted onto the field during a pro soccer game. It was a lighthearted moment, with a commentator even saying: “A young pitch invader was quickly scooped up by their own personal security detail without incident.”
— Sam Greene (@SGdoesit) August 8, 2021
I think all of us parents have experienced some form of embarrassment or humiliation as toddlers and even older kids just carry out their antics. We come to expect and acknowledge that kids can and will do the most embarrassing things. It’s not that they always want to or even intend to make a scene. It just sort of happens. In those moments, it seems as though the whole world is watching and judging you and your child.
These things happen, and there was no harm and “no foul,” as they say. The pair still had a good time at the game, and if Zydek is anything like my youngest, he might have just enjoyed the fact that he achieved his goal of running out onto the field, despite the fact that he was “caught.”
The event certainly set off a whole firestorm of comments on social media, with Dannyboy saying, “Mom deserves a red card for that reckless tackle from behind.“ Since most of us have experienced something like that with our own kids or even with one of our siblings, I’d like to think that we can understand and commiserate with the unlucky person who is tackling the two-year-old.
Mom deserves a red card for that reckless tackle from behind 🤣
— Dannyboy ❤🇨🇦⚽️ (@Dannybo47921132) August 8, 2021
As it so happens, I was also the oldest sister, so I was the one called upon to run after my cute little brother whenever he tried his own antics. My sister was no better. When she was two, she wandered off at the packed mall during the Christmas rush. She said she’d been trying to find Santa, but she managed to walk right by Santa’s Village and end up at the extreme other end of the mall, where a kindly store employee at Sears called the mall security to come and collect her.
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We always managed to find our way home sooner or later. It’s my hope that my kids will always do the same. Besides, there does appear to be a somewhat finite range of years when our kids tend to carry out those antics. I can’t envision my 10-year-old running out onto a soccer field now unless it was some sort of prank.
Still, we’ve had a set of spoken AND unspoken rules that we’ve developed over the years. I wish I’d had them when I was a big sister running after my wayward siblings, but it’s a “live and learn” kind of situation. Many of the “rules” are just a matter of store etiquette, but they also include proper ways to behave in public, no matter where they are or with whom.
My Parenting Rules
Respect Personal Property
It’s not acceptable to touch, play with, or break any items in a store or in someone’s home. Accidents can and do happen, but it shouldn’t be a problem if everyone keeps their hands to themselves. Of course, that’s ALWAYS easier said than done. There are so many tantalizing temptations in stores. Particularly when my kids were little, you could see the struggle on their faces. They wanted to pick up the items in stores, to jump on the couches, or just to poke the object on the shelf. Some days, it takes all of their energy to restrain themselves.
The whole thing stems from the parents that let their kids run wild & allow them to touch everything they can. Store employees cannot keep up with cleaning & disinfecting if curious little hands are not contained. A lot of parents don’t care to teach kids manners & etiquette.
— Jennifer Blair (@_gabbylyn) April 3, 2020
No Hide-And-Seek In The Store
Hide-and-seek has its place, but that place is not in a department store that’s full of people and clothing. My little brother was a huge fan of hiding under racks of clothes in the department store, and, yes, I was tasked to find him. I think most toddlers try the hide-and-seek game at least once. While it’s probably one of the most fun activities possible for kids, it can be frustrating and even dangerous for kids to wander off on their own.
Follow The Plan
Every outing is an adventure, which means that there are certain expectations and tasks we must complete. For our own sanity as much as anything, we have a plan before we go to a public place. We talk about what we’re doing, where we’re going, and anything we need to remember along the way. Even the CDC will tell you that structure and planning are important for kids. As they note, “Consistent routines and rules help create order and structure your day. Things go more smoothly when you and your child know what to expect.”
Prepare For The Unexpected
There will always be times when the line is longer than expected, or you have to wait to pick up the package, or you can’t find what you’re looking for. If they don’t have something to occupy their fingers and attention, they will find something. So, it’s best to come prepared with drawing materials, a toy to play with, or other tools of distraction or entertainment.
As a mom, I’ve learned I need to expect the unexpected with kids (aka prepare for the worst, hope for the best!)
— Belinda (@belindaaramide) November 17, 2017
Check In Along The Way
As we progress, we talk about what we’ve accomplished and what we have to do next. They understand the process better now, not only because we’ve done it for so long, but also because they understand what is expected of them. That wasn’t always the case, But we’ve always talked it through, and I still find myself saying, “Geez, that did not go as expected.”
Sometimes your best laid plans will evaporate into chaos or confusion. Take a deep breathe & restart tomorrow. Be upfront with the kids when things don’t follow the plan. Sometimes you teach content and sometimes you model persistence – do that with grace and all will be well
— Mary Clair Wright, NBCT (@heymrscoach) August 24, 2021
The truth is that life and plans don’t always go as we’d like them to. Oftentimes that just means we have to roll with the punches and figure out ways to move forward through the unexpected. It doesn’t help (in fact, it makes things 100x worse) if we, as parents or older siblings, freak out with the antics of a toddler. It’s the perfect opportunity to try out those breathing exercises, find that calm in the storm, and carry the toddler off the field.
What are your thoughts on the antics of kids? Did it ever happen to you as a parent or older sibling? Sound off in the comments below.
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