Over the last few weeks while we have been housesitting in a ‘normal’ house I’ve been reflecting on the ways that our parenting style has been formed by the dynamics of our Tiny House on Wheels. For the most part its no different.
I’m still a SAHM, I’m still striving for the same parenting goals, I’m still making meals 3 times a day, picking up
However I realised that living in a THOW has changed some aspects of parenting. The number 1 thing that has stuck out to me as a mum of small kids is the nighttime routine.
I strive to parent gently and respectfully using communication as a vital tool. I am NOT an expert in this and get cross more than I like – its something I’m working on. Reprogramming my own responses and filling my toolbox sith helpful tools so to speak. Bedtime has always been the time that I have needed to pull out those tools more than any other time.
In an ideal situation we communicate about bedtime being soon, give age appropriate tasks and then do story (or ‘How is X made’ video is my 5 year olds current thing with Daddy bear). The line I used to pull out when needed was ‘Hey Lydia/Abi, you seem to be having a hard time getting into bed right now. I’m going to pick you up and put you in bed’. I have to tell you though that is NOT even remotely possible to pick them up and carry them back into bed when you are in a loft bedroom!
We love the crawlway/walkway between the lofts. It provides safe access between the bedrooms for the kids, removes the need for a second set of stairs or a ladder and also added a lot of structural rigidity to our home. However, once again, its impossible to carry a child through that space who doesn’t want to do bedtime. You may laugh at the image of my frustration, its funny in hindsight. However, it has certainly changed the way we parent at bedtime and required building a lot more co-operation in our relationship to reduce everyone getting cross!
It doesn’t always work of course. But the biggest tools we use to encourage co-operation is to keep communication very OPEN and allow miss 5 to make as many decisions so she claims that time for herself. We discuss at dinner time what’s left for the rest of the day (eg ‘Ok once you are done eating you can wash up and play for 15more minutes, then its time to get ready for bed ok’.) I give verbal reminders of how much time is left and then once its bedtime we encourage Lydia to pick which PJs she wants to wear, whether she wants a story with Mummy or 3min video with Daddy, and which doll or teddy she wants to cuddle.
There is another way living in a THOW on Wheels has changed the way we would parent at night time too! Lydia Co-slept with us until about 2 and then moved to her own bed. Our bedroom size/shape and the crawlway between the rooms again adds a new dynamic to being able to transfer a sleeping toddler! I’m still working this one out and hoping to use the time in a normal house to my advantage here!
For the most part Tiny Living has embraced and enhanced our values, ethos, parenting style and goals. I am so glad we did it and I definitely am not looking to reverse that decision! Its allowed us to grow, become intentional and move towards our goals. It is interesting though seeing which parts of our life and parenting have had to change to adapt to Tiny Living.
Tiny Living offers solutions to financial difficulties of the housing market, better use of land and resources, flexibility and a desire to live simply. You gotta sit and ask yourself what you want life to look like and how your THOW needs to be built for that.