7 Tips to Help Keep Your Family’s Resolutions

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New Year’s Resolutions aren’t just for moms and dads. They’re for families too!

 

I know what your thinking. It is hard enough to keep my own personal resolutions and goals. Why would I want to set goals with my family too? Why? Because setting goals together, and working towards those goals, brings us closer as a family. It builds trust, unity, and is a great opportunity to teach our children values and skills.  

 

So, Whether you have a word of the year, make New Year’s resolutions, or just have a few goals you want your family to work on this year, here are a few tips to help your family stick with those resolutions so you can grow and improve together.
1. Make your resolutions something that YOUR FAMILY really wants. Your family’s goals and resolutions should NOT be something you think you should do as a family. Or something that you are doing just to keep up with what you see on Pinterest, the internet, or that your neighbors are doing. Honestly evaluate what is best for your family. One of the biggest mistakes families make is making resolutions to keep up with “the Jones’ “  Don’t worry about what other families are doing.
2. Make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than you stomach. AKA, don’t set too many goals. In fact, two or three is perfect for your family. Too many and they get hard to keep and focus on.
3. Goals should be specific. For example, “Save money”, is a good goal. But it is not specific. “Save 5 dollars a week” is a better goal. Being specific makes the resolutions more do-able and makes it easier for everyone to understand what is expected.
4. Leave room for forgiveness. No family is perfect and there will be many times when we falter on our resolutions. That is normal. The difference between those families who reach their goals and those who don’t, is the way they react to set backs. Instead of throwing in the towel, problem solve. Then you can rebound and get back on track.
5. Include the entire family. It is easy to think that successful family goals are only achieved by the parents. But family goals should include the entire family. Including our children provides opportunities for us to work together, hold one another accountable, allows us opportunities to teach our children, and gives our children the chance to see success and failure. Not to mention, each member of our family has great ideas. I can’t tell you the number of times that our children have come up with the solutions to family situations. Including them also lets them know that they have a voice in your family. Knowing that they are heard makes them feel loved, important and understood. (Which also leads to kids being better behaved.) Not to mention that kids are great at keeping us accountable. :)
6. Create short term goals to keep you accountable. We hear this all the time, because it is true. As a family, set a resolution, and then set short term goals to help you along the way. Your family will be much more likely to achieve your goals that way.
7. Make it fun and celebrate! Whoever said resolutions have to be boring? Find fun ways to achieve your goals and celebrate your milestones along the way. This also helps to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind…because a year can seem like a really long time.
Looking for a fun way to set resolutions for your family? Create a vision board! Have each member of your family sit down with old magazines, newspapers, markers and crayons, even the computer. Have everyone cut out or print off pictures, words, phrases that represent what they see for 2014 for the family. Put them all on a big piece of cardboard. Then, step back and evaluate the themes that are most prevalent on the board. Use the common themes to create two or three resolutions to best benefit your family this upcoming year.
And remember, everyone’s resolutions look different, just like our families. And that is okay.
We would love to hear what your family resolutions are for this year?
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Family Game

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What a wonderful time of year! Now that the presents have all been opened, What is next? Playing with our family and friends of course. Here is a great game for you and all of your holiday guests.  This would be perfect for your New Year’s Celebrations. 

game-night

You Will Need…

Vaseline
Bowls for each player
Cotton Balls
A way to keep time

Setting Up…

Have everyone sit in a circle around a table or on the floor. Place a dab of vaseline on the tip of each player’s nose. Put a bowl in front of each player and a pile of cotton balls next to the bowl or scattered loosely in front of them on the table.

How to Play…

The object of the game is to place the cotton balls into the bowl using only your nose. Hands should be down or behind your back when you play. After 1 minute, the player with the most cotton balls in their bowl wins the prize. So, you are essentially “shoveling snow”, or cotton balls with your nose. 

We like to play by taking turns one at a time so that we can watch each other. We use one bowl, each player takes a turn and then counts how many cotton balls they got. We dump the cotton balls out and the next person takes their turn. 

You could easily play in teams also. Depending on how many people were involved. 

Don’t forget to TAKE PICTURES. These are memories you don’t want to miss. 

Happy Holidays to you and your family. Enjoy spending time with one another!

Have a question or just want to say hello.

Four Tips For Handling Christmas Chaos

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Here we are. December.

It should be the most wonderful time of the year. Yet so many of our families are over scheduled, tired and stressed out. We head into January exhausted, missing out on the real meaning of the season.

It can seem as though there is so much to get done. But all that “stuff” can actually keep us from the wonderful holiday season we dream of. Here are four tips to help make all your dreams come true this holiday season.

family christmas story

1. Identify Your Vision

Take a few minutes by yourself, to write down what you want for your family this holiday season. If you could have the ideal December, what would it look like? Think through your traditions and activities and how you spend your time. Imagine an ideal and then put that on paper.

It is so easy for all of the requests and parties and activities to take over and keep us from actually enjoying our time together as a family. We all fight it. We look around and see all the things other families are doing and think, “We need to do that too”. Really we don’t.

Trying to do too much actually keeps us from spending any quality time with our families at all. And rushing and multitasking actually keep us from our goals. Not to mention, seeing all the wonderful ideas online can become a distraction and stress, making us feel like we have to do EVERY tradition and make every recipe.

Establish your vision. Do away with traditions that are not making your family stronger. Commit to fill your family holiday time with those things that bring you closer together.

 

2. Create a tradition that helps you spend time together each and every day.

We want to do this every day of the year, but especially during this magical month, make it a goal to spend time together each and every day. Design a tradition or ritual that happens every day, so you guarantee that the season doesn’t take over your family life.

For us, we have an advent calendar that has a different scripture reference to read each night coupled with an activity. They are not long. It only takes a few minutes, but it guarantees that our family will sit together for at least 10 minutes each night. It gives us a chance to put everything away for just those few minutes to be a family.

We should have these every day of the year, but during this holiday season, instead of letting the demands take over, plan family time into your life and make sure it happens.

 

3. Go easy on the gifts.

Gifts are great, but they can also take away from the sprit of the season. Consider cutting back. Even taking some of the money you would spend on gifts and instead, put it towards a family vacation, or a night out together as a family.

Research actually shows that what we do together as family, specifically, family vacations and activities, mean more and have a longer lasting impact on our children than gifts. Which means the camping trips will make for better memories than the new skateboard or Wii game. It really isn’t about the gifts. It is about our time together.

 

4. Let go of perfection, it’s a family affair.

This one is really hard for me. I want things to look a certain way, so I have a hard time letting the kids help with things. For example, the ornaments on the tree have to be evenly distributed. Positioned a certain way. Right? You know what I mean. But when I let the kids help, that doesn’t always happen and I find myself sneaking back down to the tree to rearrange when they are asleep.

When I don’t let anyone else help, because I want things to be perfect, I give myself more work and exclude my family from making memories. Which goes against everything I want for the holiday season.

So what if there are two snowmen ornaments on the same side of the tree. So what if the frosting on the cookies isn’t perfect. What is more important, the frosting, or the memories our family makes as we frost together? Let it go and let your family get involved. It will lighten your load and bring you closer to one another.

This time of year is meant to be most wonderful. Time to get back to basics and really remember the reason for the season.
What is your favorite tradition to do with your family?

Have a question or just want to say hello.

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Thanksgiving Game

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so grateful for all of you. What an amazing community here on The Idea Room. Thank you Amy, for all you do for all of us!

Many of us will be with family and friends this week. Visiting and eating and enjoying each others company. But waiting for the turkey to be carved can leave us wondering what do to and how to entertain the kids. Here is a great game for you and your family to play around your Thanksgiving table. Perfect for adults and kids alike.

Thanksgiving-game

 

Hand Tap-Double Tap is the name of the game and all you need are your own two hands.

How to Play: As you sit around the table, have each person cross hands with the person on each side of them, so that everyone in the circle has one hand from each neighbor in between their own hands.

Choose one person to start and decide which direction you want the game to go, to the right or to the left. Remember, play is based on hand position, not the position of the person.

Have the person start by tapping the table. The taps go on from hand to hand, as players watch and make sure to only lift their hand on the correct turn. If a person single taps, play continues onto the next hand. If a person double taps, the play reverses direction.

If a player’s hand moves when it is not their turn, or if they forget to tap for longer than two seconds, that player’s hand is out. The game continues until a winner remains.

This game is so much fun, and a much bigger challenge than it sounds. It gets pretty funny to watch everyone try and remember when it is their turn to tap, when their hands are in front of someone else. This game is also really fun to play on the floor, laying on your stomach in a circle. Or even on your knees.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with your family and friends.

 

Have a question or just want to say hello.

 

Teaching Children Gratitude

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Thanksgiving Heather Johnson

It is the season of Thanksgiving and we have gratitude on our minds. Unfortunately gratitude is not always on our children’s minds. Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to our kids. It is a learned trait, not necessarily something we are born with, and they need our help to develop the skill.  Today I will share some tips for teaching children gratitude.

Aside from all the fun activities, crafts, and service projects we do with our kids this time of year, here are five things we can do year round to help raise more grateful children.
Start saying “NO”.
Giving our children everything they ask for and want, is not going to help them be more grateful. (This is a good thing to remember with Christmas around the corner.)  Have you ever had your child beg you for a new toy? You finally give in, only to have them play with it for a few days and then start begging for something else?
The more we give our kids, the less they appreciate what they have. So cut back! Kids don’t need treats every time we go to the store, or a toy every time they see a commercial on TV advertising something new. Kids need our love and our time and opportunities to learn and grow, not more things. At first it might be hard to say “no.” We need to do it any way. Even if there are temper tantrums and tears. Over time this will help our children come to appreciate what they do have and realize that happiness is not built on getting more “stuff.”
Don’t compare.
Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of Joy”, and he was exactly right. Comparing ourselves to others teaches our kids that we are not grateful for what we have or who we are.
Stop talking about material things. 
It is easy for our conversations to be centered around material possessions.
“I wish we had that new car.”
“We really need a new couch before we have people over.”
“That new shirt will make you look really cute.”
As innocent as the statements sound, when our kids hear us talking about material things all the time, and how we need them, or how they define us or make us look a certain way, it sends them the wrong message. We have to be very careful with what we say.
Always say “Please” and “Thank you”
Raising grateful children is all about being a grateful parent. Do we use good manners? Do we say please and thank you? Do we write thank you notes when someone gives us a gift or serves us? Kids watch everything we do. If we are complaining about what we don’t have, and how we wish we had more, they will feel the same. If we don’t express gratitude, then neither will they.
Don’t spare them work
As much as we didn’t like chores and responsibilities when we were children, work is a necessary part of raising moral children. Instead of sparing them work, we need to give them opportunities to work. We need to stop teaching that work is bad and play is good. They are not opposites of one another. Work teaches us to appreciate what our bodies and minds are capable of. And teaches us to be grateful for what we do have as a result of the effort we put into getting it. Work teaches us to appreciate.
Grateful children are more polite and a lot more fun to be around. They get along with their playmates and have an easier time sharing with others. Grateful adults are empathetic, see other’s perspectives and solid research has found that adults who are grateful are happier all around. Gratitude is a valuable life skill, no matter our age.
This time of year, let’s remember that gratitude is not a seasonal skill. We teach it to our children each and every day of the year.
What toy have you gotten your child after they begged, that they never played with again? (For us, it was a telescope for our son. In two years I think he has only looked through it 3-4 times :(. But he wanted it sooooo bad.)
Is it hard for you to say “No” to your children? Why?
Have a question or just want to say hello.

How To Build Self Esteem in Your Child

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self-esteem

Over the past few years, a hot topic in parenting has been whether or not parents should focus on building their children’s self esteem.

As a teacher and as a parent, I am a firm believer that part of my parenting responsibilities include helping our children build a strong self esteem. Yes, that is part of our job.

Did you know that kids who have positive feelings about themselves have an easier time dealing with conflict and the pressures of life. They are also happier, more optimistic and find more joy in life. Research is also showing that a healthy self esteem is the greatest defense against bullying.

When children have positive self esteems they feel in control of their lives and know how to stand up for themselves. They feel more confident in making their own decisions and are better able to maintain healthy relationships as they get older.

Children with low self esteem don’t feel like they can handle challenges and feel frustration and anxiety when faced with life challenges. They regularly feel that they are not good enough and can’t do anything correctly. They fell more depression and tend to withdraw in situations. Not to mention that low self esteem leads to behavior problems, poor school performance, trouble with friendships and relationships with adults.

Anything I can do to help our children feel better about themselves, I want to do!

How can we help our kids increase their self-esteem? Here are some suggestions.

Teach Our Children How to Handle Conflict and Failure - Life is full of conflict and we all have to deal with failure. We need to teach our children how to deal with these hard things. It will empower them. They need to know that it doesn’t make them lesser of a person to fail. But instead teach them how to deal with it.

Provide Challenges For Our Children – We have to provide challenges for our children, that they can overcome. When they overcome small challenges, it builds their belief in themselves. They take those beliefs into new situations and feel strong about their ability to do hard things.

Set Our Children Up For Success - Help your child develop talents and acquire skills that they enjoy and excel in. Provide opportunities for them to participate in activities that encourage cooperation instead of competition.

Don’t Set Our Children Up To Fail – Embarrassing our children to “teach” them will not help them feel better about themselves. Imposing unrealistic expectations and challenges so they fail will not make them fell better about themselves either.

Show Love – Always do all things out of love. Be attentive, show affection and when there is need for discipline, always follow with an increase of love. Withholding love should never be used as punishment or as a result of a child’s mistake. Never ever withhold love.

Be Careful With What We Say – Our children are very sensitive to everything we say. We need to be careful with the words that come out of our mouths. 90% of what we say should be uplifting. The other 10% can be disciplinary. Even when our children don’t succeed, we should still praise them for the energy effort and skill they put forth.

Be a Good Role Model – We can’t say negative things about ourselves. If we are always putting ourselves down, and saying negative things about our abilities, we will raise children who feel the same way. We need to be good role models and speak positively about who we are, what we look like, and the effort we are putting in to our own lives.

Create a Safe Home Environment – It is vital that our children feel safe at home. Watching parents fight and argue makes for depressed children. When children bring home problems from school, express concerns and ask questions, we need to be patient and listen. They need to always know they can express themselves at home and they will be respected and cared for, regardless.

Spend time with our children – Stop multitasking. As mother’s we are trying to juggle so many things while we listen and spent time with our kids. We need to put everything down and come down to their level. Look them in the eye and make sure we are in the moment. Kids know when we are pretending to pay attention, but our minds are else where.

Stop Labeling Our Children – All of us are searching for an identity. It defines us and helps us relate to other people and figure out where we belong. Our kids will live up to our labels, good or bad, we need to be careful.

Give Positive and Accurate Feedback.

We cannot underestimate our influence on our children. They look to us for all things. How wonderful to know that we can help them believe in themselves. We can help them build positive thoughts and feelings about their abilities. Starting young will make their lives more manageable and set them up to be strong and adjusted adults.

What an important job we have.

How do you help your children build their self-esteem?

Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On PinterestFacebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends. 

Tips For Helping with the Homework Battle

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Homework-Battles

School brings so much fun and excitement. It also brings juggling schedules and homework. With homework usually comes battles. Lots of homework battles. One of the most common struggles we tend to face, is getting our kids to do their homework, minus the moans and groans and tears.

Given that homework is necessary and an unavoidable part of school life, here are a few tips to lessen the stress and give you some homework help.

First, evaluate your child’s schedule and how much sleep they are getting. Homework meltdowns often happen because our children are over scheduled and tired. With so much on their plate, they don’t have time to be children. They don’t have time to play, to imagine and to pretend. All necessary for a healthy childhood. Not enough sleep will also elicit a quick break down. Kids need sleep. Their bodies are growing and changing and we need to make sure we help them get the rest they need.

Establish a routine.

Work to tackle homework at about the same time everyday. Remember, routines bring predictability,  and predictability brings safety and security. It will help our children when they know what to expect and what is going to happen. This can be different for each child. For example, our son needs time to wind down after school. When he comes home he needs to eat, decompress and tell me about his day. Forcing him to sit down and start on his homework right away creates major homework battles. He can’t focus, drags his feet and is easily frustrated. Our daughter is the exact opposite. She wants to walk in the door and immediately take care of all of her homework. If she is forced to wait, she feels anxiety and frustration. Knowing how they both think and what schedules work best for them is half the battle. This routine should also include clear expectations. No electronics, no television etc… Make that clear long before the routine is challenged.

Join them.

Simply being in same room as your child while they are work can help cut homework battles and the time it takes to get things done, in half. You don’t have to be talking to your children, or doing their work for them, but sending them off to their room to work by themselves usually means hours of battling your child to stay focused.  Kids don’t want to be left alone. Homework is lonely enough. Do something while they are working. Even better, do something that helps your child see that what they are learning and doing is relevant in the real world. Balance a checkbook, pay bills, read, plan your meal schedule or grocery list for the week. What ever you do, try to stay close and be available.

Wrangle the younger kids.

It can seem like torture for a child to be sitting and doing homework while their younger siblings are laughing, watching TV, and playing around them. Why not make it a quiet time for everyone in the house and have younger kids color and look at books. Younger siblings usual long to be like their older counterparts as it is. Make them feel special by including them. Not only will it make it easier for the child doing the homework, but it will start good homework habits for your younger children.

Be helpful.

This doesn’t mean we hover over our children or give them all the answers. But we need to make it clear that there are no dumb questions and that we are available if they need help. When they do come to us for help, we need to be patient. Never make your child feel dumb or silly, or that they should know the answer. This will deter them from asking for help in the future. Not just about homework, but about other topics of discussion too. When we help, refrain from giving them the answer, but instead ask questions that lead them to discover the answer on his own.

Don’t overreact to the Drama.

There is going to be homework drama. There will most likely be meltdowns and even tears now and again. First and foremost, we have to stay patient. We have to keep our cool. Don’t yell or threaten. Refrain from telling your child “you don’t get to watch TV unless you get this done.” Watch how hard you push. Instead reference the possible outcomes. Such as the fact that not doing homework will bring bad grades, which has repercussions. Or ask how they will explain to their teacher that they didn’t do their work. Once you work to calm them down, offer to help.

Helping our children establish good and positive homework patterns when they are young will bring lifelong benefits. With a few modifications and changes we can make it a better experience for the whole family.

How do you deal with homework battles?

 

Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On PinterestFacebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends. 

 

 

 

Helping Kids Deal with Back-To-School Stress

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Stress of School

Whether your children are in public school, private school, charter school, or homeschool, a new school year can stress out our children.

Unlike adults, kids don’t understand they are feeling stress, or know how to handle it like adults do. In fact, because of their lack of life experiences, they really don’t even understand they are feeling stress.

As parents, it is easy to miss our children’s stress cues. We can mistake signs of stress from our children for defiance and misbehavior. 


The most common signs of stress are…

Increase in crying, throwing fits and temper tantrums

Unwilling to do anything or try anything

Frustration

Anger

Lack of Patience

Misbehaving

Disobedience

Lots of crying

Tired

Behavior that is out of the ordinary

Trouble sleeping

Back to school stress can come from many sources, but the two main sources of stress for our children are unfamiliar situations (like a new school class or when a parent goes out of town) and pressure to perform (such as school tests, social pressures and extracurricular competition). All children feel pressure. Even our little ones. Pressure to share their toys, eat all their food and go to sleep. Both of these sources are very prevalent at the start of a new school year. There is so much uncertainty. I know that uncertainty can stress me out. Why wouldn’t we assume the same happens to our children.
As parents, it is our job to help our children not only deal with the stress, but to also help them recognize what they are feeling so they can start learning how to handle it. 


Here are a number of ways we can help as the new school year gets underway. 


1. Start with Ourselves

When we are stressed out, we pass that on to our families. Did you know that children who are constantly surrounded by stress are more likely to be overweight, and even small babies sense and respond negatively to our stress. We have to evaluate our own lives, make sure we are not over scheduled, get control of our stress and set a good example. Plus, our kids learn from us. They learn how to handle stress by watching US handle stress. What are we teaching them?

2. Give them a Voice

Our children do not understand what stress is. They are limited in their life experiences and knowledge. They don’t always understand what they are feeling, or what to call the emotions they experience because often times, they have never felt them before. It is our job as parents to help them. We need to give them a voice, give them words to express their emotions and help them understand the frustration that overtakes them.

Compare this concept to a time when you have been sick. I know for me, when I head to the doctor, I don’t want something to be wrong, BUT, having a diagnosis makes me feel better. It lessens the stress.

It is the same with our children. We need to give them a diagnosis. Not only will this help them as they experience the stress, but, as they have more experiences, they will be able to pinpoint their own emotions.

3. Role Play

Unknown situations bring stress. Instead of sending our kids into situations blind, take time to act out and discuss situations before they happen. This will help our children feel much more prepared and giving them knowledge will lessen their fears and stress. Take time to role play situations. That way, when they are in the unknown situation it will be like auto response and they will have more confidence in what they should do and say. This is one of the best ways to lessen the stress of a new school year. Talk about and role play all the new experiences our kids are going to face before they encounter them.

4. See their perspective

Consider how we feel when we are stressed. Now imagine being little, with limited understanding and experiences. On top of that, having very little control. If we will put ourselves in their shoes just for a minute we will quickly have sympathy for their situation and be more understanding and patient with their behavior.

5. Listen

Our kids need to talk to us. Not all children are ready to talk at the same pace. We need to be there, ready, whenever they are ready to talk. When our children know they are heard, it relieves stress.

6. Eliminate

Children should really only have one or two extra curricular activities. They don’t have to do it all. And parents shouldn’t be over-scheduled either. Even if our kids want to do a million things, it is too much for them to handle. More importantly we need to make sure they have time to play, to create, to imagine, and to spend time with our family.

7. Be Active Together

It has been shown that exercise helps us handle stress. The same applies for children. But when kids are always in front of technology, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to be active. Get moving together as a family and watch everyone’s stress melt away.

8. Go To Bed

Possibly one of the most important ways to help our children deal with the stress of a new school year, and even avoid it, is to make sure they get enough sleep. Everything is worse when we are tired and life is much harder to deal with. Make sure kids get enough sleep. Get them on a schedule and make it a priority.

Stress is apart of our lives and our children’s lives. A new school year can bring out the worst. Helping our children now will not only lessen the stress they experience as children, but also teach them the tools they need to handle stress as they grow too.

How do you help your children deal with stress?

 

Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On PinterestFacebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends. 

 

Playdough Pictionary Game


While buying school supplies for our older kids this last week, play dough made it into the cart too. Most of us have play dough around the house somewhere. Instead of making pancakes and snakes, put it to use with this fun family game. This is perfect for kids and adults of all ages. In fact, my husband and I love to play after the kids have gone to bed.

 You Will Need…

 PLAY-DOUGH 

Different colors is really fun, but one color will work just fine also. 

 LIST OF WORDS 

I have included a list of words for you at the end of the post to get you started. Add other words you think would be fun, or that would work for your family. 

 

How to Play 

Divide into teams.

Give each team play-dough. We like to give each team a few different colors.

Print off one copy of the words (listed below) for each team.

Cut the words into strips and put them in a bowl or baggie.

When you say “GO”, one person from each team will choose a word out of the bowl. They will attempt to “SCULPT” that word for their team using the play-dough. They cannot talk, make noises, use actions, or anything else. They can only use the play-dough. The rest of their team is trying to guess what they are making.

Once someone on their team has guessed, the next team member pulls another word out of the bowl and begins to sculpt.

This continues, everyone taking turns sculpting, until all the words in their bowl have been guessed. The team to do this first, wins.

*VARIATIONS* 

Instead of going through the whole bowl of words to win, you can set a timer. When time is up, the team with the most words guessed, wins.

Small teams, such as teams of two will work just fine.

If you are playing with just two or three people, take turns sculpting for the whole group, and keep score as individuals. (Set a timer, sculpt, and if your word is guessed in the time frame, you get a point. The person with the most points at the end of the game, wins.)

If your children are small and can’t read yet, instead of words, draw pictures and put those on the different slips of paper. Or even create a separate bowl that holds the picture clues. When it is an adults turn, they pick from the words. A child’s turn, they pick from the picture clues.

If you have a really big group. Put one person in charge of the list of words. Send one “sculpter” up from each team to get their first word. They have to run back and sculpt. As soon as their teammates correctly guess the words, a new person from their group runs up to the person with the list and they given their next word. This lets teams run and move around and adds even more fun to the game. The team who successfully gets through the whole list first, wins.

List of Words (print off one copy for each team. Cut the words into slips of paper and put in a bowl or baggie)

Octopus

Engagement

Ring

Truck

Balloon

Music

Apple

Tree

Cat

Shoe

Telephone

Dragon

Bee

Thinking

Rain

Grapes

Blocks

Rectangle

Group

Submarine

Deer

Igloo

Bow and Arrow

Flower

Dog

Guitar

Rectangle

Blocks

Light Bulb

Door

Train

Wand

Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On PinterestFacebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends. 

 

Stop the Summer Fighting–Part 2

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stop the summer fighting part 2



Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of Stop the Summer Fighting



Now that we better understand how our children are developing and why they might be fighting, it is time to take a look at the things we can do as parents to help with all the sibling squabbles.



First, evaluate your own behavior.

Do you play favorites?

Do you take sides?

Do you expect more from one child than another?

Do you have unrealistic expectations?

Do you compare your children and their accomplishments?



Take a minute (or 10) and really think about these questions. I know for me, I naturally put more pressure and expectations on our son, who is the oldest. I also find myself asking our daughter to give in to her younger sisters because she is a peacemaker. If I am not careful I cause resentment and one of our children gets hit with more than their share. The result, arguing and fighting.



Don’t promote competition.

  • Avoid promoting competition amongst siblings.
  • We shouldn’t label our children. (Remember, you gave them a name when they were born. Use it. Don’t replace it with “the smart one”, “the nice one”, “the pretty one”, or the slow one.”Labels can have terrible, long term consequences. 
  • Have your children work together. But don’t make everything a competition or race. We try to never say, “who can get in bed the fastest?” Instead, if they want to race, it is against themselves, or how fast they did it last time. We also have our children work together to accomplish jobs. Our daughter who is younger holds the trash bag while our son dumps the trash in the bag. Our daughter puts the clean silverware away, while our son puts the plates and bowls away. 
  • Praise your children when they get along.
  • Acknowledge each child’s special talents. Kids are different. That is good. Recognize what each of your children are good at and help them cultivate that talent. It will make them feel special.
What else can we do to keep arguments and rivalries at bay?

As parents we need to butt out. The more involved you are getting with your children’s arguments, the more they will argue. Kids need to figure out how to solve their own fights. If you are going to get involved, do it before the argument gets heated. Look for ways to keep the arguments from happening, but once they do, allow some space and let your kids handle it.If you have to get involved because the conflict is too escalated, be fair. Don’t take sides. Take the middle ground and only share your opinion when your kids can’t figure out a resolution.

Spend alone time with each of your children. A few minutes every day is the best, but at least once a week your child needs just you. Make this alone time special. Do what the child wants to do. Listen, praise, love, enjoy one another’s company. Families are busy so the best way to do this is to evaluate how your family time is spent. I spend one on one time with our daughter when our youngest is sleeping and our son is at school. Alone time with our son is spent each night after our girls go to bed. Most of our alone time is at home. Every few weeks we schedule something special to do with each of them away from home.

Distract. Parents can tell when their children are about to loose it. We know when arguments are escalating, when fights are going to break out, and when buttons are being pushed. When you see tempers are rising, distract and separate.

When there has been a fight or argument, let each child tell their side of the story. Children need to know they are being heard. Give each child equal time to talk and explain. As one child talks the other child or children should be expected to listen and not interrupt. When they are done, repeat what they have said so it is clear that you have heard them. Once you have heard all the versions, ask “What can we do to solve the problem?”. Don’t ask “who started it,” or “what happened.” This won’t help the situation or future situations.

Help your children develop friendships outside their siblings. Don’t let friends take over your family, but kids need sibling AND friends. When one of your children has friends coming over, give them space from other siblings. Especially as your children get older.

Role Play. Ask your children”…. how would you feel if….?” questions? This is important when you are trying to minimize arguments also. Help your children see other points of view.

As families, if we don’t help our kids deal with their feelings they will keep them inside and start to resent their siblings. Holding family meetings is a great way to go about this

. Set a time when everyone can sit down and work through things that “aren’t fair”, or that are frustrating. We have a family meeting once a month. The kids talk about all the things that are bugging them. It is controlled, casual and treats always follow. There is laughing and negotiation. Both are necessary in families. We start the meeting by saying nice things first. At the end everyone gives everyone else a hug. Another way to set these meetings up is one on one with a parent. My husband sits down with our kids once a month also. It is amazing what they tell him. They are honest and open and it provides a lot of insight into what we can do better as parents. Both of these situations allow our kids to express how they feel and to be heard.


Encourage children to solve their own problems.
-To do this, teach children to be respectful. That means no name calling, and take turns listening and being respectful while the other person talks. Everyone gets a turn to talk.
-Teach children to talk about how they are feeling, not blame others. “I get angry when you take my toy.” “I get hurt feelings when you say mean things to me.”
-Teach your children to only state the facts.
-Teach your children to solve the problem. In our house we tease that we don’t want to hear about the problem unless there is blood. :) When they come running to us, we encourage them to go back to the “scene of the crime” and work things out. Funny how they take care of things themselves nearly every time. With some practice they will feel much more confident taking care of their own issues.
Lastly… here are some quick rules for arguing. Consistency with these things will bring positive behavioral changes.

  • Don’t tolerate name calling, hitting or hurtful behavior in your home. Make consequences for these behaviors before hand and ENFORCE them. Enforce them every time.
  • No tattle telling. When my kids come tattling I always stop them and say, “unless this is something nice that will keep your brother or sister out of trouble, I don’t want to hear it.” 
  • Don’t get involved. Unless I was there and saw what happened, I really try to stay out of it.
  • No yelling. Again, yelling has consequences. Enforce them. 
  • In our home we also have a rule that you can’t take someone else’s things unless you ask. This has taken care of a lot of our sibling arguments.

It is hard to accept, but a lot of arguments in our homes are perpetuated by us. Yikes! It would do our families good to take a step back now and again and evaluate our own behavior. It can be eye opening.



Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On PinterestFacebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends. 


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