Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Conquering the After Holiday Clutter

If you are like me, you have a difficult time sitting down to relax when the room is covered with toys or in disarray.  So, the holidays definitely bring some added clutter (to say the least).  Here's what you should do..

If you have time off from work (or your husband has time off work) take advantage of the time to spend with family.  Stop thinking about what you need to put on Craigslist, what you want to give to Goodwill or where you're going to find a home for all these toys.  Instead, put a dent in the organization, but use the majority of your time to enjoy time with the kids, spouse, or yourself!

Day Off (Scenario 1) 
Spend 4 hours organizing, trashing, and going through toys
Make lunch
Watch a t.v show
Spend 10 minutes playing with your children
Start laundry
Start dinner
Build resentment

Scenario 2
Spend 2 hours going through toys
Delegate some work to spouse or kids
Get a pedicure
Play with kids for 1 hour
Start dinner

Scenario 3
Spend 1 hour going through toys
Throw the rest of toys in the basement (out of sight, out of mind) and worry about it later
Play with kids for 1 hour
Lunch with a friend
Spend 1 hour going through toys with help from kids/spouse
Start dinner

What scenerio works best for you?  What are your goals for the day? If your goal for the day is to completly reorganize the toy room than Scenerio One is probably the best (minus the resentment) but if you are trying to spend time with the family or get some needed time to yourself than DO IT!  Now is the time!  Don't worry...the pile of toys will be there later!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Favorite Holiday Jokes!

Which of Santa's reindeer has bad manners?  Rude-olph!

What do elves learn in school?  The elf-a-bet

What Christmas carol is a favorite of parents?  Silent night

What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Frosted flakes!

What does a cat on the beach have in common with Christmas? Sandy claws

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?Frostbite!

Where do snowmen go to dance? A snow ball!

How many presents can Santa fit in an empty sack? Only one, after that it’s not empty any more!

What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinselitus!

What often falls at the North Pole but never gets hurt? Snow!

What is the best Christmas present in the world? A broken drum – you can’t beat it!

Why was Santa's little helper depressed? He had low elf esteem!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Distracting or Rewarding Negative Behavior?

If you're a parent than chances are you know that the skill of distraction can be very useful when parenting your child.  When your child sees something that he wants (but can't have) it's often helpful to avoid the situation by showing your child something that is acceptable.  However, we need to be careful when we are distracting that we are not accidentally rewarding negative behavior.  Here's an example...

Sally is throwing a temper tantrum at the grocery store because she wants a toy and her Mom tells her that she can't have it.  Her Mom gives her a cookie to distract her (inadvertently rewarding the negative behavior).  While Sally's Mom feels that she is not giving into the behaviors becuase she didn't give her the toy, Sally is learning that if she throws a tantrum than she will get a treat. 

Although distraction is often necessary (to avoid difficult situations) we need to be very careful about when and how we do it.  It is very important that children learn that they can't always get what they want.  Although it's difficult to say no when a temper tantrum might be the result, it's important that we teach our children healthy boundaries and not getting when you want is part of life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Avoiding Power Struggles

I have learned this lesson so many times and yet I continue to fall in the trap.  You know the deal, there are many sayings that basically give the same message..."it takes 2 to tango" "letting someone live in your head rent free" or my favorite, "never wrestle with a pig in the mud, you will get dirty and the pig will like it."  All of these sayings have the same message, you can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution!  So, what does this mean for you as a parent?  We have choices!
Recently in the media, the producer of Two and a Half Men, Chuck Lorre, did his first interview since Charlie Sheen was fired.  Despite all the drama that Charlie Sheen created in the media about the "feud" between him and Lorre, I was shocked to hear that Lorre believed there was no feud among him and Charlie Sheen.  He fired Sheen and then continued with the show, never trying to mend the situation or clear the air.  Basically, there was no air to clear because Lorre was focusing on other things.  The feud was one that Sheen was having with himself! He could have chosen to be part of the drama Sheen was creating but instead he choose to step aside and focus other things.  I think this is a great lesson for us all! SO, how can this be a lesson to parents?
Children often create "drama" to get attention or to avoid something they don't want to do.  Basically, we have the choice as parents to argue or not to argue.
It takes two people to argue and children will argue if they can (or because they can):) Of course, some arguing (or discussing) is inevitable, but remember that children often do things because they CAN and if you participate than you may be contributing to the problem instead of the solution!  The next time you find yourself in an argument with your child, try to figure out another way to solve the problem or evaluate your role in the situation!  Sometimes, it really does take 2 to tango!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Here we go a charging, a charging, a charging....

My husband and I were talking about Christmas the other day and he said, "well, you know we're up to close to $1,000.00 on Christmas already"  I said "no way! I have been so good about finding deals and spending wisely!"  Then it occurred to me (after I added everything up) that he was right!
I bought tickets for Disney Princesses on Ice with Sienna. I thought I was spending wisely because the coupon was for $18.00 each but when you add the fees, parking, and food....we could easily spend $100.00 on the entire thing.  Then there's the presents, I don't have a large family but I really thing we need to start doing a Pollyanna because that ended up being about $500.00.  Then there's Christmas cards, stamps, pictures with Santa, Christmas tree, wrapping paper, appetizers for Christmas eve (and of course stocking stuffers!)  All of these things wouldn't be a problem if it was in our budget but we did not put away money in a Christmas savings account and so.....here we go charging.
SO, maybe I'm not the best example of how to save money this holiday season but what I am learning is how to place more importance on the true meaning of Christmas (spending time with family, looking at Christmas lights, and watching great Christmas shows) and less importance on Santa, what the Jones' have, and what people will think of me.  Next year, I will try to spend wiser and remember that spending quality time with the people I love is what matters most!