Friday, August 24, 2012

4 Easy Ways to Ensure a Successful School Year

1. Setting a routine. Start setting a bedtime routine now by getting your child to bed at a certain time. Getting them back in the routine will teach them what is expected of them and help their bodies adjust to the change.

2. Get Excited! Talk to your child about their new classroom, teacher, and/or friends. Ask them what they are excited about most or what they are most nervous about. It's often helpful to focus on making the new school year itself exciting by asking about books or classes (instead of things like clothes or material objects).

3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Read through any information that you receive right away and do your shopping promptly so that things aren't crazy the day before school starts. Go through school supplies and/or clothes and purge old things to keep it simple. Help your child find a special space for them to do their homework. They can make this space their own with a cork board, bulletin board, and supplies.

4. Provide your child with realistic expectations. Think ahead about what you want your child's school year to be like. What do you need to do to make sure that happens? Setting clear expectations ahead of time will provide your children with ample time to prepare. Of course, consistency is key! So, start thinking now about what you want the school week to look like and what you need to make sure it happens. What are the usual problem areas? If mornings are normally crazy, waking up earlier might be the answer. Perhaps your child is old enough now to start taking out their own breakfast or utensils. Are there any modifications you can make to help them help themselves (such as moving the plates to a lower cabinet)?

Enjoy these special days. Although the first days back to school are filled with mixed emotions, they won't last forever and one day we will miss these special times! Take pictures and tell your child how you feel! Don't forget, enjoy the moments!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

How to Enjoy Playing with Your Child

The most important and valuable thing to a child is playing. It is how they learn, discover, and enjoy the world. But playing does not come easy to many adults so if you get bored playing legos after 30 seconds don’t feel guilty….but don’t pick up your cell phone to check your messages either!
There are times when playing is work (and just something you have to do as a parent) These are the times when hearing your child play the same song on their piano 55 times is utterly agonizing! However, as parents we must put on our happy face and pretend that what they are playing is beautiful.  Having a sense of humor in these situations and will get you through the agony but here are also times when we can learn to find enjoyment in playing with our children…Here’s how..

      Music can help pass time and add some enjoyment to your activity. Put on some happy music and dance around while you play with your child. Be cautious about putting on the t.v because this will change your focus to something other than spending time with your child.

      Think about this...How do you feel when you are doing something you enjoy and someone notices and asks you about it? You feel good, right? So does your child! Playing is a great opportunity to learn about your child. Ask him or her to tell you their favorite color, favorite train, why they like what they are playing, or if they can teach you something about their activity. Show that you're interested in them.

      What activities did you enjoy as a kid? What hobbies do you enjoy now that could be transformed to be kid friendly? Whether you enjoy fashion, running, or cooking…find a way to make it a fun activity to do with your child...chances are they will start liking it too.

4.    BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT YOUR CHILD CAN DO AT HIS/HER AGE. I remember trying to read books to my first child when she was a baby as she squirmed out of my arms and I felt so discouraged and thought she would never read with me.  I also remember trying to teach her to play Candyland as she was doing somersaults (clearly she was too young!). Pay attention to your child’s ability to participate in an activity and know when to throw in the towel. Just because a game says that it is for kids ages 3+ does not mean that your child is ready and capable.

5.     GIVE A CHOICE. If you ask a child if they want to play a game while they have a choice to watch a t.v show, they will probably say they would rather watch a show. I often tell my daughter that she can finish watching her show-then it will be play time with Mommy. Remember to act excited and be present. If you need to, set a timer and guard your time with your child from checking facebook statuses, talking to a friend or watching t.v...these are things that can wait until later!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Tattletale Child

Every child is different and special. Some children tend to be trouble makers, some are quiet, some are loud, some are inflexible expect perfection, while others tattletale.  Every child has different abilities and different personalities that make them unique and special.  If we learn to channel each child's personality to be a gift instead of a problem then we can teach them to be resilient and successful.
The tattletale child can be challenging because they appear to be the one always bringing light to problems.  When a child is constantly worrying about other children's problems and "tattletaling" it's helpful to simply say, "That's not your worry".  This allows the child to stay focused on playing or minding their own business.  Another way to help this child is to channel their desire to be a leader and give them responsibilities such as helping to clean or organize things.  Also, teach them what situations are an emergency that requires adult intervention and what issues should be left alone.  Being a leader is a good thing but children often need help learning when it's appropriate to lead and when it's better to stay focused on their own activities.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

QTAYK: Would You Rather...

Get to know more about your child's interests by playing a game of "Would you rather..."  Here are some questions to get you started...

Would you rather be a firefighter or a policeman when you grow up?
Would you rather eat a fried Oreo cookie or a fried pickle?
Would you rather live in the North Pole or Hawaii?

If your kids are older...
Would you rather be blind or deaf?
Would you rather be 4'5" or 7'5"?
Would you rather be the worst player on the best team or the best player on a great team?

Get creative and ask as many questions as you like then encourage them to ask you questions!
Have fun!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

ADD Single Mom

Here I sit on a Saturday morning in a quiet house.  The kids are with their Dad and I slept til 9am and woke up on my own without anyone crying or asking me to get something for them.  Pretty nice actually.  Then I start my morning-walk the dog, get coffee, and then things start to go crazy.  As I walk through my house from one room to another I seriously think of 5,000 things I am going to do with the 5 hours I have to myself today.  I'm in a bit of a transition right now.  I am starting a new life on my own and really want to create the best life possible for myself and my kids.  But litterally a million things are going through my head at every given second.  Life is crazy sometimes! Well, better get back to that to do list!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

You don't have to like it-you just have to eat it!

We sat down to dinner tonight and my daughter says, "I don't like this kind of cheese." I responded, "That's ok. You don't have to like it, you just have to eat it." She paused, looked at me and ate the pizza.  It made me think about how we are raising our kids in this day and age.  Are they under the belief that they do have to like everything? Where do we draw the line?
OK, I'm a martial artist so I guess I can be a little tough but the question remains, how many things in life do you HAVE to do as an adult that you DON'T enjoy?  I can name about 10 off the top of my head.  I don't like drinking water.  I don't like running on the treadmill.  Cleaning the house sucks.  Let me tell you how fun the laundry is!?
My daughter asks me to put chocolate in her milk and gives me a hard time when I give her water to drink.  So, how can we raise children who don't think that they must ENJOY everything?  How do we raise them to understand that life isn't easy...but it is rewarding if we try hard?
Children always want things that are pleasing to them...don't we all?! And of course we would rather have ice cream than brocolli if we have the choice.  But raising children to understand that we must do things we don't like is essential to building resiliancy and character.  What are some ways that you can teach your child to "get er done" when life hands them undesirable circumstances?

Friday, August 3, 2012

QTAYK: Summer Olympics

Questions to Ask Your Kids....

I'm starting a new series called Questions to Ask your Kids.  Today's questions are about the Olympics...What sport would you compete if you could be in the Olympics? How long do you think they train every day? Where is the Olympics taking place? Where is London? How long would it take to get to London? Who's the youngest Olympian?

When these questions spark curiosity and great conversations with your little are some more great things to look at with your kids...