Hi BJJ Mums, my daughter is 3 years old and i have raised her by myself since she was a baby: she always came to training with me. However when she got older and had to follow a routine and go to bed early she couldn’t come with me as much anymore (training is an hours drive away). I have always taken things for her to play with. The other day was the first time I let her have the dreaded iPad to watch TV on while we were rolling.
She’s not afraid of running around while people are rolling and doesn’t understand or see the dangers of it-because so far she was always allowed to run around. I’m very limited to how much i can train and recovering from surgery: so when i am finally there i want to be able to do as much as possible. Especially sparring.
I feel bad for using the electronic babysitter but i feel i have tried everything else.
How do you other mums do it?? What keeps a 3 yr old off the mat when everyone else is rolling??
One of the guys who is also a teacher made a comment about how ipad are not good for kids. I felt like saying if you had kids, especially one as lively as mine at training, then you might understand.
She doesnt have TV as such, she watches one program on youtube while I make dinner during the week. She doesnt know Disney or anything like that.
I felt like a really bad mum after he made that comment but it also kinda made me angry because i thought who are you to judge.
Thanks so much. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
BJJ Mums answers:
Hey Super Mum,
- The first issue are the unwanted advices. Parenting is complicated enough. Moms are constantly bombarded with conflicting ideas and beliefs from books, websites and blogs. And on the top of that, your mother, your mother-in-law, your friend, some strangers… are telling you what you should be doing (or not doing) with your child. You’ve never asked for their advice, but for some reason, they feel compelled to share it with you anyway. And they always think they know it better. Some teachers think they know better because they have studied it. Some grandmothers think they know better because they had already kids and lot of experience. Other mums know better because it worked for their kids … and so on…
There are so many people who want to direct you on how to be a good mom. Much of the advice is helpful, but a parent must remember that each child is unique. And as long as you see YOUR child happy, healthy, with a good balance between fun and duties, well educated.. you are doing it well and just have to find a polite way to handle with these unwanted advices.
You can try just ignoring it or being honest and telling them how you feel about their free advices or using the Big Lebowski style: «Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.. I can’t be worried about that shit…»
- The second issue is how to deal with a 3 years old during the training. First, some good news first, you almost got it!
Ages 2-4 are the most difficult phase to combine training and motherhood. At least, in my opinion based on my experience. When they are babies, they sleep or sit on the maxi cosi while you train. When they are older, 4 and up, they can play by themselves, draw, or just stay off the matt in one or other way.
But the ages inbetween are hard. A child between 2 and 4 is usually not able to play alone for more than 10-20 minutes (if at all). They just learned walking, so they are anxious to keep practicing and aren’t aware of the danger of walking/crawling on a mat full of BJJ fighters.
My advice is to be consistent: don’t stop going to training, you need it, not only for you (your jiujitsu and your mental health) but also for her, in order to teach her how to behave in a gym. And patience, tons of it, because until it works, it will take a lot of nerves, half-finished drills, interrupted rolls right when you had that choke… and it can be very frustrating. You have to find a safe corner /place for her and give her something to play. Every time she enters the mat, stop your training, take her back to her play zone and tell her not to do it, explain the dangers of being hurted AND explain that is your favourite “game”, that if she respects that, then you will later play with her her favourite game (even if they are young, they understand). If you are odd numbers in training, while sparring, the person making the pause can help and stay with her and play.
When people comes to my academy and see my youngest daughter (3,5y) playing outside the mat, respecting my 1,5h training and usually (not always) don’t bothering me during it, they ask how I did it. And that is how. Educating her for months and since she was a baby, to stay off the mats and to respect my training. That is my time. And later we will enjoy her time together.
- Regarding electronic babysitting…
I also used/use computers and movies from time to time for my kids. Since the trick doesn’t work for more than 30-40 min, I reserve it for sparring when I really want to stay focused on fighting and want them off the mats. I don’t use it every day, but only when I see they can not be distracted in any other way, when they have a «bad» day. There are some good educational apps (drawing, tracing letters, mixing colours) and movies/series for kids and toddles.
There are many studies whether iPads and technology are good or bad for little kids and you will find many professional different oppinions on the subject. Listen to your instinct.
I think, this is like everything else in life, it depends on the usage and length you make of it. But I don’t believe that 30-45 minutes of an educational serie or app every couple of days can do any harm to my kids. And if you are worry about radiation, then get a DVD player 😉