Our Thoughts on Discipline — Stop YELLING!

7 Sep

I know, I know… it’s impossible isn’t it?  And no, we’re not yell-free at our house — we wish.  This article to me is more of a reminder of why we shouldn’t yell and I’ll sure as heck try to not yell – because funny thing is, I know it doesn’t work – yet it slips out anyways when the Ms. Hannigan in me rears her ugly head.  I remember a time when I was child-free looking at other parents yelling at the kids in the store/park/etc. and thinking “that is NOT going to be me”.  Well alas, just the other day at the library no less I found myself seeing my toddler try hopping down stairs while distractedly looking around and for some reason the yell just ripped out of me “STOP! What are you thinking?!?!” echoed through the silence – ugh.  Worse, since the toddler is a bit more rambunctious than my older child, I find myself yelling at her more than I ever did  her older sister… so what do you think happened?  My munchkin is more of a yeller :0/ – I’m not going to take all of the credit for this, but I’m certainly not faultless (waaaaaaah) – I see my hubs raising his voice in exasperation at well… BUT we are trying to change.

What we do believe in is modeling, we have to model behavior we want our children to have, there is no way around it (save for boarding school – haha).  We also aren’t aiming to be perfect parents by any means, you know where I categorize this?  Parenting as a way for me to become a better person, and being a better person means getting a hold of my temper and dealing with things in a more even-tempered way.  The truth is, what I realize now is that it is sometimes not the act itself that makes me yell but something else that isn’t even my child’s fault – like when I don’t get enough sleep the night before, or when I’m so busy with a million and one errands I need to get done.  But yelling doesn’t solve anything, and it certainly doesn’t make me feel better.  So goodbye yeller mom!  Hello zen mom with a cup of coffee in her hands 😉

10 Ways to Stop Yelling

overwhelmed parent
Breathe

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Sometimes all it takes is a moment to cool down.

You told your child to pick up all his toys and get ready for bed. Five minutes later when you check in, the toy cars are still all over. You feel your blood start to boil. You’re on the verge of losing it. Turn around, close your eyes, and breathe. Take a moment to collect yourself — and your emotions. Michelle LaRowe, author of A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists, says, “Take a time-out. If you’re worked up, you’re only going to work up your child. Before addressing your child, take a deep breath and think through what you’re going to say, calmly.”

child jumping on couch
Address the Behavior

We all have good kids; sometimes their behavior just stinks.

When you’re teaching your children to ride their bikes, do you punish them when they don’t get it the first try? Of course not. You encourage them, support them, and give them guidance. Rex Forehand, Ph.D., author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Third Edition, with Nicholas Long, Ph.D., says that disciplining your children should be the same way. “When we think about teaching our children, we usually go about it in positive ways, that is except for behavior,” Dr. Forehand says. “For some reason we think that punishment should be our teaching tool.” It doesn’t need to be. When your child hits another child during a playdate, it’s easy to react with yelling, “Stop! Don’t do that!” Instead, Dr. Forehand suggests focusing on addressing the specific behavior and taking the opportunity to patiently teach your child why hitting is wrong.

mother talking to child
Mean Business Without Being Mean

Instead of yelling, use a firm, but soft, I-mean-business tone when giving behavior directions.

Direction that makes the most impact on a child is actually one that is stern and even somewhat gentle, says LaRowe. “When you speak in a calm but firm soft voice, children have to work to listen — and they most always do. The calmer and softer you speak, the more impact your words will have,” she says. Not only will your child most likely grasp your instructions faster, you won’t have to lose your voice trying to convey it.

mother talking to child
Help Your Child Explain Feelings

Before you lose your cool because your child has misbehaved, figure out what is causing the behavior.

One of the biggest reasons toddlers misbehave is they simply haven’t learned an alternative approach to displaying their feelings. “Our goal as parents should be to teach our children how to effectively express themselves by validating their feelings without validating their behavior,” LaRowe says. Next time Tommy pushes a friend who just knocked over his blocks, stray away from the tempting ridicule of yelling “No! Don’t do that!” LaRowe suggests instead explaining why the action is bad. “Tommy, I understand you are mad that your friend knocked over your blocks. It’s okay to be mad, but when you are mad you tell your friend ‘I’m mad;’ you don’t push.”

toddler in timeout
Have Clear Rules & Follow Through

Not carrying out your threats will result in them testing you — and you getting angry.

“Jenna, please turn off the TV.” Five minutes later, Jenna is still watching TV. “Jenna, I mean it, turn off the TV or you will sit in time-out.” Five minutes later, Jenna is still watching TV. “Jenna, I mean it …” Empty threats and nagging won’t work on your children, and eventually they will call your bluff. And when they do, it’s likely parents will find themselves frustrated and yelling. But this is easy to avoid. Have clear rules. When you state a consequence, follow through.

mother talking to her child
Give Praise for Okay Behavior

Parents praise their children for good behavior, and scold for the bad, but what about the in-between?

Children love getting attention from their parents, sometimes even if it’s bad. “Parents tend to give attention to their child either by praising them for good behavior or punishing them for bad behavior. And at times a child will take either or,” says Dr. Long, who advises to ignore your children when they are acting badly, such as whining to get attention. “If you yell at them, you are still giving them the interest they wanted, and therefore they will continue to use negative behavior to get a reaction from you,” Dr. Long says. If you praise behavior, even when it is just okay, then your child will be more likely to repeat it because of the way you took notice.

child hugging mother
A Strong Bond Makes Discipline Easier

The stronger your relationship is with your child, the stronger your discipline will hold.

At this age your child wants to be close to you. Take advantage of it and reaffirm your bond with your child. Not only will it strengthen the relationship between parent and child, but your child will then have a greater respect for you. According to Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Third Edition, the closer you are to your child, the less likely your child is to act up, even though no child is perfect. “A child who has a strong relationship with a parent is more prone to accept the discipline offered by a parent,” Dr. Long says.

toddler discipline

Are you hurt when someone yells at you? Of course; so why wouldn’t your child be?

“Our goal as parents should be to teach our children and to build them up, not to tear them down. When we yell at our children we risk damaging their self-esteem and sense of self-worth,” LaRowe says. Consider how you’d feel if your boss yelled at you. You’d likely be embarrassed and hurt. LaRowe points out that often you don’t have a chance to process what your boss is saying because of how it was said. The same goes for your child. You want to be able to teach him what is acceptable and what is not without making him feel shame or embarrassment.

mom putting toddler to bed
Good Eating & Sleeping Habits

Healthy children are the happiest children.

Parents underestimate the power of what a well-balanced diet and a good sleeping schedule can do for a child’s behavior. If you think about it, what are two of the major underlying problems that cause toddlers to act up? Hunger and fatigue. Well-rested, well-nourished children who are on predictable schedules tend to have fewer behavioral issues. On the flip side, the better your sleeping and eating habits are as a parent, the more likely you are to keep your cool longer — and catch yourself before you start yelling.

Stop Sibling Squabbles
We’re Not Perfect

No matter how hard we try, sometimes we will slip up and yell. And that’s okay, as long as we know how to make it right.

Your child has been driving you up the wall all day. You have tried to keep your cool and follow all the steps, and yet you still feel your temper escalating. And then, one small mishap from your child, and you lose it. You raise your voice, and there’s no taking it back now. Dr. Forehand and Dr. Long suggest talking to your children when you’ve calmed down after yelling. “It’s important to explain that Mommy or Daddy didn’t mean to raise their voice, and that they didn’t mean to get mad,” Dr. Forehand says. “Explain to them that it frustrates Mommy or Daddy when they don’t listen, and ask them to do better, and that you will, too.”

Copyright 2010 Meredith Corporation.

shim


parents
http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

3 Golden Rules for Good Behavior

23 Jun

I would like to think that my kids exhibit good behavior – at least most of the time 😉 = this article has a couple of things that we already practice that works really well – especially when you have toddlers.  My favorite, and I did this with both daughters – was letting them feel in control sometimes.  It is not as hard as it sounds and it is not about spoiling them or letting them ‘get their way’ – it is really about handing them the reigns (within limits of course) and this is better done one on one with a child – so I would do it mostly when I only have one child with me.  For example, at a park I would tell her to go where she wants and ‘mommy will follow’ — by follow I don’t mean disappearing or walking far from them – it just means literally letting them go where they want even if we’re holding hands – I have to admit I have the most fun when we do this – I don’t feel the need to ‘suggest’ what is next – she literally points and I go – we’ve explored bridges, picked up rocks, ride on the swings (for what felt like hours) — funny thing is, you would think that after two hours or more of calling the shots they would get all pumped up with toddler power…but on the contrary, I find their mood to get so much mellower and that they actually take ‘suggestions’ so much better after it.  I think it is common sense really – wouldn’t you get crabby as hell if you had someone tell you what to do ALL DAY?  I know I do/would 🙂

For my 6-year-old, I do a modified version of this in airports – I tell her we have – say 30 minutes or an hour before boarding and we can walk anywhere she likes but she has to find our gate.  She studies the airport maps, follow the signs for gate numbers, we go window shopping, she runs around a bit – and she LOVES it.

The singing the author of the article below mentions also reminds me of how we manage to lighten tense moments, I know this sounds weird but sometimes we (or I) sing what I would be nagging about!  It works like a charm most of the time – it is funny and it changes things up a bit – gets particularly interesting when the kids sing their reply back, like Glee – the off-key family edition 🙂

I think its unrealistic to expect perfection or constant good behavior from any child.  God knows I’m barely keeping it together as an adult!  BUT there is a line between letting your kids experiment with different behaviors and hopefully coaxing them into picking the right ones.

3 Golden Rules for Great Behavior

We cut to the chase and tell you what you really need to know to have a well-behaved kid.

By Nancy Rones

Parents

Sometimes desperation is the mother of invention. At least it was for me when I finally figured out how to get my son to stop his terrifying habit of bolting from the safety of my clutches in the parking lot. Our struggles had been epic: I’d reach for his hand, his shoulder — or even his jacket hood. And he’d wriggle free and run ahead like a fugitive; the chase would end with a semi-hysterical mom (that would be me) half carrying a crying, squirmy boy. Harrowing, to say the least.

Then I had a moment of clarity about how to make hand-holding more agreeable: Channeling The Black Eyed Peas, I’d sing, “I gotta feeling… that today you’re gonna hold my hand…,” while grabbing his little fingers and swinging them to the beat. Corny even by my low standards, but hey, it worked. Cranking up the silliness factor to avoid a battle of wills is one trick. But with so much advice out there, your toddler could be a tween before you’ve sorted through it all. There is, however, something of a secret: Although there’s no playbook, most experts stand behind these three rock-solid discipline rules.

 1.  Stay Calm!

Guide your child toward better behavior using direct language and an even tone of voice. “Little kids, especially those under 6, are still learning how to listen and interpret the meaning behind your words,” says Kathleen Cranley Gallagher, Ph.D., director of the Family and Childcare Program at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. So focus on making your point clearly. “Crouch down to your child’s eye level and use short statements,” says Dr. Gallagher.

If your toddler has just torn her brand-new The Very Hungry Caterpillar pop-up, say something like: “Gentle hands with books.” It’s much easier for her to understand what you expect when you tell her what you want her to do — as opposed to what you don’t want (“We never rip pages of books”), explains Dr. Gallagher.

If you’re feeling a little too fired up to play the role of Mellow Mom, silently count to ten or take a few deep breaths before diving in. It can also help you chill if you remind yourself that most bad behavior isn’t born from disrespect. “Kids are supposed to test boundaries — that’s how they learn,” says Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author ofSuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years. There are many reasons why your daughter may have taken all the clothes out of her drawers or that your son decided to use a permanent marker to draw on his younger brother. “Children get lost in the moment of what they’re doing; what’s motivating them isn’t usually a desire to make you angry,” says Dr. Berman. “Taking it personally will make it harder for you to be calm.”

There’s no need to get all fake nice and completely hide your frustration. You’ll be delivering a mixed message if there’s too much disconnect between your affect and your words. But yelling doesn’t work either. An intense tone could scare your kid and prevent her from hearing what you’re saying. “When you’re screaming, your child has to untangle the emotion from your words, which makes it that much harder for her to absorb what you’re trying to say,” says Dr. Gallagher. Also, kids (like all of us) become desensitized to yelling; if you’re able to keep your angry voice to a minimum, your child will pay attention when you truly need it — for example, to stop her from running into the street or knocking over a hot drink.


2.  Set Limits

Having a few basic rules and being prepared to follow through with consequences if one is broken is the way to teach your child how to handle the frustration of not always getting what he wants — as well as teaching him to take responsibility for his actions. “Your kid might not always be happy about a specific edict, but knowing that there are lines that he can’t cross will help him feel loved — and motivated to cooperate,” says Dr. Berman.

The key is to be both fair and age-appropriate. “Your first priority should be setting limits that relate to health, safety, and basic respect,” says Dr. Gallagher. That means things like always being buckled into the car seat no matter how short the ride and using an inside voice while his baby brother is napping are nonnegotiable. Be choosy about the other “nos.” It might be nice to have a 4-year-old who says “excuse me” before he interrupts your conversation, but excessive regulations will make the key ones harder to enforce.

When your child breaks the rules, consequences provide an opportunity for him to learn the right behavior — and some self-sufficiency along the way. No matter how old your child is, a consequence should be immediate (don’t cancel a playdate that’s three days into the future), related to the “crime” (if he keeps throwing Legos he can’t play with them anymore today), and consistent (every time your kid forgets to wash his hands he has to put down his sandwich and go to the sink — no matter how hungry he is). Once you’ve established your zero-tolerance policies, you may need to add other bad, irritating, or rude behavior to your list, but don’t do it in the moment. Take 24 hours to think through your commitment to regularly and effectively enforce your limits. The more thought and effort you’re willing to expend on a rule, the more likely your child will be to follow it.

3.  Encourage CooperationCreating an easygoing vibe, where rules don’t feel hard for your child to follow, can prevent a lot of bad behavior. “When my kids go wild around bedtime, I’ll ask, ‘Do you want to act really silly for two minutes or three?’ Just recasting a directive as an option creates less resistance,” says Wendy Petricoff, a parenting coach in Charlotte, North Carolina.So create options wherever you can: Will it be the purple skirt or the blue dress for school? An apple versus a banana at snacktime, or when it’s time to leave the playground should we skip or hop our way out? Even if offering choices makes the going a little slower, your child will feel like his opinion matters, and it will help smooth the way when you can’t give him options. “Young kids are in a constant struggle between being dependent and wanting autonomy,'” says Dr. Berman. “So try to find ways to help your child feel more powerful by allowing her to have some sense of control.”When you do anticipate pushback, go for the laugh — putting a diaper on your head can go a long way toward getting a defiant toddler to stay still for changing time. And don’t forget to reward the good, cooperative, cheerful attitude you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Make sure you offer lots of positive attention and hugs when your child remembers to pick up his toys, pats the baby gently, or beats you to the front door when it’s time to leave the house. It’s all about setting your kid up for success, so everybody wins.Originally published in the June 2011 issue of Parents magazine.Related Features:

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http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Happy Father’s Day 2012!

17 Jun

This is absolutely the best Father’s Day e-card I ever got…so I just had to share it.  My amazing, creative and wonderful wife really surprised me with this and I can almost NOT stop watching it 🙂  Happy FAther’s Day to all you fellow hands-on dads!!!

Happy Father’s Day ecard/slideshow!

Gifts You Can Give Your Child Without Spending Money!

12 Jun

I always thought that “I” would never be the parent that would shower my child with material things – I envisioned home-made crafts and lessons on the value of money, etc. etc. Fast forward to now and I’m surfing the web for that Barbie doll that SINGS … this article hit home for me, not only for its tips, but really more as a reminder that what we truly give our kids as parents is really a part of our ‘selves’ — and hopefully our best ‘selves’ and not our worse parts.  I know, I know – sounds cheesy and what do I know?  My child is almost 6 – not quite old enough for me to make lofty conclusions.  What I do know is that every time she is polite to people, appreciative of what she has, or beaming with pride with what she has accomplished – I feel HAPPY being a part of her achieving that feeling or becoming that much better of a human being — and THAT is better than free, it is priceless!

The 6 Best Gifts You Can Give Kids Without Spending Money

As you’re doing your shopping this season, don’t lose sight of the things that truly matter.

By Leslie Garisto Pfaff

Parents

There are days when being a mom seems like one endless pop quiz. The baby’s crying when she should be napping. Do you wait to see if she can soothe herself or rush in to rock her? Your preschooler is defying you. Do you calmly explain the rules again or give him a time-out for not listening? And if you choose the wrong option (to these and a thousand other dilemmas), could you scar your kid for life?

Relax. These little dramas aren’t as important as your big-picture approach to being a mom. We’ve zeroed in on the factors that really make a difference in your child’s life.

Make him feel capable.

You’re probably an expert at boosting your kid’s ego with pep talks, praise, and encouragement. However, it’s a lot trickier to stand back and let him handle challenging tasks on his own. “Kids who learn to work things out for themselves are far more likely to try new things, take risks, and grow up to be effective problem-solvers,” says Jim Fay, coauthor of Parenting With Love & Logic. They’re also better equipped to face obstacles head-on rather than retreat at the first sign of adversity.

Smart Steps If you see your child struggling to connect toy train tracks or do his homework, don’t jump in to help right away. Instead, show him how to come up with his own solutions. So when your 4-year-old is upset because his front-loader toy won’t pick up dirt, ask him what’s wrong and how he can fix it. If he’s stumped, try offering a suggestion (“Do you think it would work better if you found softer dirt?”), and then let him try it out for himself.

While there’s nothing wrong with praising your child sometimes, you’ll do more to boost his confidence by asking him to explain his accomplishments than by gushing over them. Rather than saying, “What a great tower!” you might ask him, “How did you build it so high without it collapsing?”

Also let your child know that new and challenging projects may not always work out at first, but that sticking with them is the surest path to success. Ever since her 6-year-old daughter, Lillian, was a baby, Rachel Tayse Baillieul, of Columbus, Ohio, has been open about her own everyday failures as well as her triumphs. When she spilled sugar while refilling the canister recently, Tayse Baillieul said, “Oops — I goofed. I think this would be easier if I did it more slowly.” Her objective is simple: “I want Lillian to know that making mistakes isn’t just okay, it’s also one of the best ways to learn.”

Share your values.Sit down with your partner and discuss the qualities you’d both like to see your child develop. Kindness, tolerance, responsibility, honesty, and persistence are good for starters, suggests Michele Borba, Ed.D., a Parents advisor and the author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. The key is not just to talk about them but to live them.

Smart Steps When you’re reading or watching TV together, point out how a character embodies a positive trait (“Wasn’t it generous of Dora to give half her sandwich to Diego?”) and explain the term to your child (“That means sharing what you have with others”). Even if your preschooler is too young to grasp a concept like empathy, you can still bring it up in simple terms: “It was kind of you to let your cousin have the first turn at Chutes and Ladders. That shows you think about other people, not only yourself.”

You need to be a role model too. If you want your kids to be honest, don’t let them catch you making up an excuse to your in-laws when you turn down their dinner invitation. “Ask yourself, ‘If my child watched me today, what values would she have learned?’ ” advises Dr. Borba.

Watch your words (and tone).Even the most patient parent loses it occasionally. But if you’re about to snap at your child, remember this guideline: Speak to her in the same respectful manner you’d talk to a friend or a coworker. If you do that, she’ll be far more likely to listen, and she’ll always feel comfortable coming to you for help or guidance. “The way you talk to your kids predicts how they are going to talk to you,” explains Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years.

Smart Steps Try to see things from your child’s perspective. If she freaks out because she can’t find her favorite stuffed animal, you might be annoyed that she’s overreacting. But rather than saying, “Oh, calm down — it’s got to be here somewhere,” show her that you get how she feels (“I know you’re sad because you want to play with Mr. Bear, but he’s hiding right now. Why don’t you see if Dolly can help us find him?”).

Nurture your relationship.”Happy couples give kids a sense of security and predictability,” says William J. Doherty, Ph.D., a Parents advisor and the author of Take Back Your Marriage. While your kids might say “Yuck!” when they catch you and your husband kissing, PDAs and lovey-dovey talk provide them with a blueprint for developing their own healthy relationships down the road.

Smart Steps Carve out regular couple time — even 15 minutes a day after the kids are asleep can keep you in sync. A biweekly date night is even better. “Not only does going out alone benefit your relationship, but it also sends your kids the message that you enjoy each other’s company,” says Dr. Doherty.

Chrissy Smith, of Landaff, New Hampshire, believes a good marriage is central to the well-being of her kids, Siobhan, 9, and Emma, 3. “When Tom and I get annoyed at each other, we make a point of laughing about it later,” she says. Although you should try not to argue in front of your children, when you do disagree let them see you make up. That way they’ll realize your relationship is strong enough to weather the occasional storm.

Manage your own stress.Your child learns to cope with challenges and disappointments by watching how you do it. Dealing with pressure or anger in a productive way provides a prototype for him to follow and also creates a home environment that seems stable, predictable, and safe — and, by extension, a sense that the world is all of those things too, says Robert Epstein, Ph.D., author of The Big Book of Stress Relief Games.

Smart Steps Start by becoming a more organized planner. Clearing your calendar the day before the school bake sale (so you’re not up past midnight finishing the muffins you promised to make) and saving money every week so you’ll have enough to pay for a family vacation are two steps that might make you feel more in command. Look for ways to reduce unnecessary tension. “Simple things, like cleaning out your kitchen cabinets so you don’t have to search for items, or replacing a throw rug you’re always tripping over, can make a big difference in your outlook,” says Dr. Epstein. If you feel overwhelmed by work or by caring for your child, consider a relaxation technique such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, or find a friend or a professional you can talk to.

Of course, it’s also helpful to remember that life doesn’t always go as planned. Neil McNerney, a family counselor and dad from Reston, Virginia, recalls swaddling his newborn, Max, exactly as the nurse had instructed, only to watch in frustration as his son wriggled out of the blanket like an infant Houdini. “I knew right then that he wasn’t going to do what I wanted; he was going to do what he wanted,” he says. As Max grew into a stubborn toddler and then a headstrong preschooler, McNerney came to realize that while he could guide and teach his son, he’d never truly have control over his behavior. He and his wife, Colleen, have taken comfort from that insight ever since.

Kiss and tell.Many studies have shown that children who feel cherished by their parents tend to be more secure and self-confident than those who don’t. “Kids have a universal need to feel loved,” says Parents advisor Kyle Pruett, M.D., coauthor of Partnership Parenting. Acts of affection will do more than reassure your child: Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that they’ll actually cause her to release oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone” that offsets negative and stressful feelings.

Smart Steps Say “I love you” every day when your child leaves for school and goes to bed. There are plenty of wordless ways to convey the same sentiment. Wrap yourself and your child in a blanket on a cool evening as you read together, slip a little note into her lunch box (“Enjoy your sandwich. Can’t wait to see you later”), or give her a fluttery butterfly kiss.

Kate Burch, of Norman, Oklahoma, uses the power of touch to let her daughters, Ashton, 8, and Sydney, 5, know they’re adored. “I tickle them awake in the morning, and we cuddle on the couch after dinner,” she says. The routine has become as essential to Burch as to her kids. “During a busy day, these moments reduce my tension and make me smile — and you can’t say that about too many other things in your day.”

Originally published in the December 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

Related Features:

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http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

12 EASY Time Savers!

4 Jun

I always thought that when I quit my job I’d have oceans of time open up in front of me like Moses and the Nile.  HA…There never seems to be enough time!  I like what this Parenting.Com article says — in short, organize, you can’t do everything, and don’t be so hard on yourself 🙂  Reminders most of us moms/parents need — I’ve started realizing that time is also a way of thinking – do you let time manage you or do you manage your time?  

When I feel like I’ve been herding my family all day, I take a one minute breathing break and make time ‘stop’ – and that really helps – I make time stop by becoming hyper aware of things around me – I take a deep breath – try figuring out the birds chirping, the leaves rustling, I look around and take mental ‘pictures’ of my surroundings – funny – someone gave me this suggestion when it came to my wedding – she was saying how fast it goes by and needing to stop time by pausing and looking around soaking everything in – and that is what I do once in a while now!

I know this post is supposed to be time savers – but I look at this two ways – doing things more efficiently by saving time, but also savoring what time you have so it matters.  With my kids growing like weeds, I know this time is fleeting (sob) so I try spending the time enjoying it rather than stressing about rushing towards something else or by heaping more expectations on myself – i.e. how I spent a couple of hours cutting and glueing felt so that my daughter would have her name on skewers that I would then place into the fruit salad as a centerpiece for her birthday celebration in school…and we ended up not using them (eye roll) – the kids were so busy rushing towards the food it didn’t matter.  Ugh, we all throw away time in more ways than one…

12 Ways to Stop Throwing Away Time

Clock
Forget Fashion Whims

Avoid the whole trying-to-pick-out-the-perfect-outfit morning madness. At the beginning of the week, Mommysavers.com founder Kimberly Danger sorts out seven outfits with her kids and puts each one together in a sweater rack or shoe cubby. This saves time in the morning and also short-circuits potential arguments about what to wear.

 
Gift
Buy Gifts When You See Them

Don’t run to the store every time your child gets a birthday-party invite. Instead, stock up on one-size-fits-all kid presents whenever you spot a sale. Keep your treasures on a designated closet shelf so there’s always something you can pull out, wrap, and give.

 
person watching TV holding TV remove
Watch Only the Good Stuff on TV

There’s no reason to sit through commercials — record your favorite shows, then fast-forward through the ads. If you must watch television in real time, hit the mute button and, during the breaks, sort the mail or catch up on magazines.

 
cookie dough
Stop Competing with Martha

Who says the cookies you send in for the preschool bake sale need to be from scratch? There’s a reason grocery stores sell refrigerated dough. And when you are baking, don’t underestimate the power of aluminum foil. You can line any baking dish or cookie sheet with it, and then you don’t have the hassle of scrubbing pans.

 
desk items
Stay Organized

Touch mail no more than twice. Don’t let paper pile up on the kitchen counter — put all the flyers and catalogs you know you’re never going to look at in the recycling bin; as you receive monthly bills, throw away the outer envelopes and place the bills in a to-be-paid folder. Same goes for e-mail: Answer it immediately, then delete.

 
Bowls
Don’t Be a Short-Order Cook

Forget asking your kids what they want to eat. As they’re debating ham and cheese versus PB&J, you could have already packed the lunchbox and sent them out the door. As for dinner, don’t even think about making different foods for each member of the family. Kids can eat what the grown-ups are served. Or fix a bowl of cereal.

 
teenager vacuuming
Ask the Babysitter to Pitch In

As long as you’re paying the teenager down the street, ask her if she’ll fold some laundry or straighten the toy shelves while she watches TV after the kids are asleep.

 
Keys
Join the Car Pool

Sure, it’s tough to entrust your child to someone else’s minivan. But if you don’t share the driving with friends, you’ll end up living in your vehicle as you ferry your child to school and sports and other activities. (And think of the money you’ll save on gas.)

 
coupons
Be Smart About Comparison Shopping

Sure, every penny counts, but when you’re running from store to store to get the best price on a sack of potatoes, the gas alone isn’t worth it. Save money the old-fashioned way — clip coupons and make just one trip.

 
mother and daughter folding laundry
Get the Kids to Help with Laundry

Even a 3-year-old can master a simple sorting system. Set up a couple of baskets — one for whites, another for colors — in his room. Also, teach kids that clothes can usually be worn more than once before they need to be washed. This doesn’t dawn on most of them until they go away to college and start doing their own laundry.

 
Stack of labeled containers
Plan for Leftovers

If you’re spending the time to whip up dinner, double or triple the recipe and freeze it. You get two or three meals for the same time it took you to make one.

 
Diapers
Don’t Be a Slave to the Changing Table

It seemed so necessary when you bought it, but that changing table isn’t the only place you can do diaper duty. Keep a few clean diapers and changing pads stashed throughout your house to save you from running back and forth to the nursery.

Originally published in the November 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

 

shim


parents
http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Beware the obsession of Glitter Nail Polish!

30 May

Ok, so I am the dad of two wonderful girls.  My oldest (Julia) is turning 6 in a couple of weeks and my youngest (Stella) is 2.5 (but thinks she’s 5-6 like her big sister).  So, when my wife was giving herself a mini-pedicure this past weekend, she also told our 6 year-old she could have her toe nails painted and did a coat of pink and then a clear glitter coat…well, what’s good for the 6 year-old is good enough for the 2.5 year-old who then insisted on “my turn!”  So, this was the very first time Stella had her toe nails painted and we did just the clear glitter coat.  While my wife started Stella’s toe nails, for whatever reason, Stella decided she wanted “Daddy do it” – so there I was putting glitter nail polish on my preschooler!  I was the only one in the household without nail polish on and it made me almost paint my nails – NOT.

At any rate, it’s been a few days and the nail polish on both girls has started to chip off.  Julia doesn’t mind…but tonight during Stella’s bath she looks at her toes and starts to cry, almost inconsolably, about the shiny being off her toes!  OMG, so we had to promise her that we’d paint her toes again to stop the crying, finish her bath and get her dressed in her PJs…and she held us to it!  Asking/demanding right away for “Daddy do it.”

So I told my wife she created a monster, by letting our 2.5 year-old get her toe nails painted with glitter polish.  Now Stella is obsessed with Sephora Jewel Top Coats Sugar Plum Fairies Gone Wild glitter polish!

Just another one of my true life stories as a Dad of two daughters 🙂

Staying Active as a Family

29 May

With summer break just around the corner, this has been top of mind for us.  Sad to say – we aren’t the most outdoorsy family – my wife and I went on an ‘easy’ one hour hike and it ended up taking two hours because we got lost.  We are trying!  I think becoming parents really shines a huge magnifying glass on what little issues one might have – and in our case – we’re not great exercisers or sporty people.  It’s easy to fall back to what you’re used to and leading your kids the same way – so we’ve been a lot more cognizant of raising our kids differently (although the last time our 5-year-old went hiking – she couldn’t quite understand why we were outdoors walking to no particular destination lol – we still got some work to do ;0) )  For this summer my wife and I have identified some goals – like swimming for our 5-year-old and maybe golf too, and lots of splash pad/playground time plus dance class for our toddler. There is fun in activities, learning, and also time to just veg out.

Hope you guys also have a great summer!

Staying Active as a Family

Family at the park

Keeping your family active can tax your imagination but it doesn’t need to tax your budget. Vacations, museum and zoo visits, movie nights, and craft sessions all have their place in your schedule but lively playtime has the added benefit of being healthy for everyone. The idea is to have fun, keep moving, and spend time together.

child and father on titter totter
Grounds For Action

With so many opportunities for children to participate in organized sports and events, it’s important to allow time for unstructured fun. Perhaps the easiest way to keep your family active is to take them to a playground; walk if possible for a little extra exercise. Teach children to use the equipment safely and encourage them to stretch their skills under your supervision.

Boy riding his bike
Riding High

Bicycling is a sport that kids and adults can enjoy together most months of the year. Start with short rides with frequent breaks for young children and make sure they understand good biking etiquette and the laws that govern public byways. More towns and cities are constructing bike paths that provide safer family outings for all ages and abilities. Be sure that all bikers wear well-fitting protective head gear.

Playhouse
Build It, They Will Come

Kids love to build things and the bigger, the better! Constructing forts is an activity that works indoors or out but outside gives you and your budding architects more scope. Not only does it foster problem-solving skills but it fuels the imagination as well. All the items you need can be found around the house: blankets, chairs, old rugs, leftover plywood, cardboard boxes. If you have a clothesline, you’ve already got a jumpstart as these make great armatures for draping blankets.

boys on scavenger hunt
On the Hunt

Stage a scavenger hunt for the whole family. You can make your list of common items for players to find from things found within your house and yard or you can enlarge it to encompass the neighborhood. For a neighborhood hunt, alert your neighbors or invite them to join the fun and make it a family competition. Team the youngest players with adults for safety.

playing in lawn sprinkler
Get Wet

Sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best and they are often right outside your door. On a warm day, set up the lawn sprinkler or an inexpensive water slide, get everyone into swimsuits and let the fun begin. Even an effortless activity like this can have a powerful influence on the lives of young children and strengthen family bonds when shared with parents and older siblings.

Family swimming in pool
In the Swim

Swimming lessons are a great way for kids to get healthy exercise and learn how to enjoy water sports safely. But when the lessons are over, get the whole family in the pool together for games like water volleyball or basketball or just unstructured silliness and splashing around. Getting parents and older siblings in the pool, too, will help younger kids develop confidence and safe habits in the water.

potato sack race
Backyard Olympics

Organize a backyard track meet and get the neighborhood involved if you can or plan one in a nearby play park. Use talcum powder to set up race lanes in the grass and place flags at your start and finish lines. Run sack races and three-legged races pairing older and younger participants so that everyone has an equal chance to win. Set up a measuring stick and see who can jump the highest and the farthest. If you have a set of horseshoes, see who can toss them the farthest; use flags to mark everyone’s best try.

toddler wearing star sunglasses
Stage Right

If building a fort isn’t up your child’s alley, how about a backyard theater instead? Children love dressing up and pretending, so why not give them the chance to act out their favorite stories? Let everyone, even the youngest actor, get involved in the planning and finding elements for the stage and costumes. Your backdrop can be as unfussy as a blanket hung from a clothesline or a canvas painted with scenery.

Kids playing with red ball
Play Ball

Organized games and sports can fill a summer and are important for building teamwork and sportsmanship, but impromptu ball games in the yard or neighborhood can also help build skills and confidence in a less stressful environment and build family relationships at the same time. Rotate positions during the games so that everyone has a chance to expand their abilities.

boy washing car
Washed Up

Give the family a chore that’s also fun — a car wash. Pull out all the vehicles — even the little red wagon if it’s a bit dusty — grab the hose, and fill buckets with soapy water. Even toddlers can wash the lower panels of a car or the tires. Encourage safe water fights but make sure that everyone gets a turn with the hose! Hand around car towels to buff everything (and everyone!) to a squeaky clean shine.

Mom and daughter on nature hike
Take a Hike

Walk a nature trail at a local or state park. Have your child spot unusual plants (don’t allow them to touch them unless you’re sure they’re safe and never allow your children to pull up plants or flowers). See what animals you can find and identify. Bring a field guide to birds, binoculars, and a digital camera to record your success. Take along some compact refreshments to keep everyone quiet and focused on the task, but be sure to hang onto all disposables until you get home.

Copyright © 2009 Meredith Corporation.

shim


parents
http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.