Parenting Mistakes We All Make and How to Avoid Them

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It is really easy to blame our children’s negative behavior on our children. And there are times when their behavior is not a result of something we have done. But… there are also lots, and lots and lots of times when their negative behavior is actually a response to our parenting through some common Parenting Mistakes. Yes, it’s hard to digest, but we actually bring out the misbehavior. We actually bring out the behavior we say we don’t like. Yikes, that is tough to consider. SO, in order to make family life that much better, and if you want to see major improvement in your children’s behavior, avoid these patenting mistakes.

Parenting-Mistakes

Stop the … Paranoid Parenting

Not doubt that there is a lot of negative and horrible things in the world. Many things that could harm and hurt our children. As parents we need to watch over and protect them, but being paranoid is not a good parenting approach. Obsessively controlling our children will not make the world more safe. Constantly worrying about dangers that “could” happen only makes our children afraid. In fact, the tighter the reins we put on our children, makes the more anxious and less confident. It can also make them feel so controlled that they rebel.

Do you hear yourself saying, “Don’t touch that!” “Don’t go over there!” Stay right next to me!” “Don’t do that!” “Don’t go too far!”, “Stay close!, Stop!?

If you are saying these things All. The. Time, it needs to stop. Today’s generation of kids is more paranoid than any other. As parents we need to relax, and let our children deal with life. It is important not to pass our fears on to our kids. Constantly reminding our children of all the dangers in the world is not a good way to parent.

I have been guilty of this. Sometimes more than others. I especially run into this when something horrible happens. A few years ago there was a deadly mall shooting about 40 miles from where we live. My poor kids. They couldn’t even let go of the shopping cart at the grocery store. In fact, if I recall, I made all three of them at the time, get IN the cart. Just so I had them all close. When I watch the local news too much, I become so paranoid I am sure my kids feel like they can’t even breath. Paranoid parenting undermines a child’s ability to make their own decisions with confidence. Not a good way to go about raising kids.

Stop the …. Best Friend Parenting

Kids need parents who set rules and boundaries and don’t muddy the line between parent/adult and friend.  Remember we are their parents, the time to be friends will come later in life when they are grown adults. We need to stop avoiding making the unpopular decisions because we want our kids to “like us.” And stop avoiding disciplining our kids because we don’t want them to resent us. If you want spoiled children, seek to be their “best friend.” If you want kids who are secure, resilient, compassionate and responsible, be a parent.

Set clear limits and boundaries, and be in control. Our children need moms and dads, not best buddies. They will find those at school.

Stop the … Do Everything for them Parenting

Do you solve every one of your child’s problems? Do you finish their homework for them and do their school projects? Are you always swooping in to rescue? Do you finish their sentences and micromanage their lives? Do you answer for them when people ask them questions?

This parenting practice teaches kids to be dependent their entire lives. They grow up to be unprepared to handle life’s difficulties. Kids raised with this parenting technique have trouble developing self-reliance, problem solving and decision making. They also tend to avoid responsibility.

The goal is to be involved, lead, and teach. But not intrude, take over, or do it for them. Then your child can develop independence and live on their own one day.

Stop the … Quick Fix Parenting

Remember last time when you were at Super Target and your child threw a temper tantrum. So instead of leaving the cart and removing your child from the situation, you bribed your child with an ICEE and bag of popcorn? Maybe even a new toy. It fixed the situation that day, but in the long run it will make things worse. We are all guilty of quick fix parenting. We find ourselves willing to do anything, as long as it works right now. We warn, we threaten, and we give in.

Being tired, stressed, and over scheduled can lead to quick fix parenting, as well as being in public. :)

These techniques teach kids to act right…for the wrong reasons. It might be a temporary solution, but never brings lasting change.

We will be most effective as parents, when we take a few minutes to help our children understand what is wrong and make things right.

Stop the … Substitute Parenting

It seems that in this day and age, everything but parents are teaching kids. We are letting someone else parent our children. Media and television. Kids are spending so much time in front of the television, computer, on their phones, and with video games, parents have taken a back seat.

When was the last time you saw a T.V. show you would trust to teach your child? Young children are especially at risk because they believe everything they see and hear.

All this technology means less real time with parents. Technology takes over and as parents we begin to lose power and influence with our children.

This type of parenting makes children vulnerable to outside pressures and teaches them to rely on someone else to guide them, instead of you. They are also more likely to adopt someone else’s values.

As parents, we are the most powerful influence for teaching our children values, attitudes, morales, and appropriate behavior. We need to find more ways to be in our children’s lives. The first place to start, limit technology.

I am guilty on all accounts of the above parenting practices. Some more often than others. But acknowledging I have a problem is the first step, right? Take an honest step back and evaluate when these practices take over your parenting life. And then make a commitment to change some things up. As we eliminate these practices from our families, we will see huge changes in our children’s behaviors and attitudes.

Raise your hand if you have bought ICEE’s and popcorn at Target?

So, which practices are you guilty of? 

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Tips for Communicating with Your Children

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Share Your Stories-The Idea Room

We talk to our children on a daily basis. But communication is much more than conversations about schedules, if the chores are done, and sibling conflict. Successful communication involves honesty, feelings and understanding. It means we are having a series of talks. It means that we are starting conversations that continue over weeks, months, even years, to help our children prepare for what they might face, and what life has in store.

Although there are different styles of communication, and each of our children are different, one approach which is universally successful, is communicating by sharing stories about ourselves. By sharing positive stories that help teach our children and help them relate to us. 

When our daughter was 4, she asked me for the first of many stories. After a confusing play date with a friend she came home with lots of questions. As I was trying to help, she stopped and asked, “Mom, did you ever feel like this when you were my age”? I knew at that moment that she needed a story. A situation she could relate to. She needed to know that I understood because I had been there and experienced the same things. I shared with her a time when I had faced the same situation. It provided the understanding she needed. 

Growing up, my dad always told us stories about when he was growing up. He used stories to relate to us, teach us, and inspire us. I LOVED it. I think about his stories often and appreciate that he tells them to our children. They are being passed down through the generations and continue to bond us together through the ages, while teaching and solving problems at the same time. It seems that most, if not all the lessons and principles I was taught as a child, were taught through personal stories.

Now, my husband and I do the same with our children. Our children want to know about us. They want to hear our stories. They find strength in being able to relate to us and find similarities. It is comforting when they can realize that we were kids once too!

We have seen our family relationship strengthen as we have worked harder to weave stories into our conversations and communication. It is a good challenge for all of us.

It is easy as parents, to get preachy when we communicate. To get caught up in telling instead of listening. To try to make our “point” because there is so much more that needs to be done in our day. And to forget that these experiences are new to our children and they need us to be compassionate.  

Think back to your own personal experiences and relate to your children on a new level. 

Tips to having your own “conversations”.

  • Start early. Open the lines of communication when they are very young so they always know you can talk together about everything. Children will be prepared when situations arise and we won’t feel like we are always playing “catch up” with our conversations.
  • Remember, communication is more than just one talk. It is a series of dialogues, an ongoing conversation.
  • Share stories with your family. Focus on sharing positive experiences.
  • Sharing stories about challenges are also great, just be sure you focus on how you overcame the challenge.
  • There is room to talk about mistakes also. Focus on how you fixed the mistake, learned from it, and righted the wrong, more that the actual thing you did wrong.
  • There are some things we don’t need to tell our children. Think twice.

Research suggests that the more children know about their parents and grandparents, especially their successes and failures, the more they are able to overcome setbacks. Start communicating through stories in your home today.

Do you use stories to communicate with your children?

What is a favorite story your parents/grandparents told you when you were younger?
 
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Family Game Night

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The sun in shining here in Utah and the warmth has given me new energy to get moving and have some family fun. Whether you are enjoying sunshine, or still battling the cold, here is a great game for you and your family. It’s a little more of a problem solving game and is perfect for kids of all ages. It is also a great game to get your family to communicate and work together.

Play this one inside or outside, big group or small family, and have some fun. Remember, families that play together, do stay together!

p.s I will leave the solution to you and your family. Just remember not to break any rules. ;) Have Fun.

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What You Need

All you need are paper plates, or pieces of paper will work great also. Anything you can put down on the floor as place markers is perfect. You will be standing on them so be sure they aren’t breakable. We have even been known to use pillows and paper towels.

How To Play

  • Split players into two groups
  • The two teams should line up vertically and then the teams should face one another.
  • Put a paper plate under each persons feet, AND THEN put an empty paper plate between the first players on each team. So it would look like this.
A  B  C  (Empty Paper Plate) 1  2  3
  • THE GOAL OF THE GAME: is to get Side A to Side B and Side B to Side A, all facing forward. So you are looking to get teams to trade sides.
Rules
  1. NO moving Backwards
  2. A person can only “jump over” their own team mate.
  3. Only one person may move at a time.
  4. One spot per person, no sharing.
  5. If any of these rules are broken, the group must begin again.
STARTING ORDER
  • A  B  C (Empty Paper Plate) 1  2  3
ENDING ORDER
  • 1  2  3 (Empty Paper Plate) A  B  C

Good Luck!

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A Valentine’s Day Story

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Valentine's-Day-Story

Our first Valentines Day together was magic. The one you wait for and dream of.

I had clues stashed all around the city. They were located at all the places where we had made significant memories together. First date, first kiss, you know.

My roommate helped me hide the clues. They were big red hearts taped up with red masking tape. They rhymed.

I had ordered his favorite cologne from Germany. A few other things were wrapped and waiting. He was to scour the city following the clues and end up back at my apartment. Dinner was waiting and so was I.

The wait was unbearable. When you are madly in love with someone every minute apart seems like a million years.

I left the door barely cracked open so he could walk right in. Like in the movies. The clues worked and I can still see him walking through the door. He had on my favorite shirt. It was a pink Polo dress shirt. At 6’4″and 220, you can wear pink.

He already knew. He had know for months. He already knew that we would spend forever together. Up to this point, I didn’t know yet.

I knew that I couldn’t breathe without him, but, on the surface we came from very different places.

On the inside we were the same. Our beliefs, our hopes and dreams, we were the same.

As he walked through the door that night, in that moment, I knew too.

He gave me a big hug and kiss. We ate. And then I gave him his cologne. He still has some left. I bought a big bottle and he uses it sparingly. We can’t ever get any more. When he wears it I am immediately taken back to that night.

Then, he gave me a ring. Not a wedding ring. It wasn’t time for that yet. He didn’t know that I “knew.”

It was a beautiful band for my right hand. Three small sapphire baguettes (his birth stone) separated by two small diamonds. It cost him everything he had. He had scrimped and saved. My graduate professor noticed it the next day at school. Or maybe he noticed the giant smile on my face that I couldn’t erase.

Every Valentines Day that memory comes back. The emotions are still tender and real.

We haven’t had a Valentines Day like it since. (They have all been better.)

No scavenger hunts, no dimmed rooms with waiting packages, no pink Polo shirts.

Now, there are five children. First there was one and we took him with us to Valentines Dinner.

Then there were two so we stayed home and I cooked my husbands favorite meal.

Then came three, four, and five.

We eat a special Valentines Dinner the kids will love and cut hearts out of construction paper. There are countdown chains and glue and tape as we make homemade Valentines to be delivered to classmates. There are sugar cookies with pink frosting and too many sprinkles. And a special reading of the Berenstain Bears “Funny Valentine.” followed by the story of “how mommy and daddy met.”

Everyone gets cards. My husband writes in mine. I wait all year to read what he has to say. He knows that. He is really good with cards.

We finish by 6:30 because bed is at 7:00. Teeth are brushed, stories read, more stories read, and our girls usually sleep with their Valentines next to their pillows.

Then my husband and I work to finish dishes, I do laundry and we hope to go to bed early.

On our way to bed we check on the kids again. We straighten them out and cover them back up. We talk about them while we brush our teeth. We talk about how we will get a sitter in a few days and go out just the two of us. The few days usually turns into a few weeks, but we go. It is always special.

Then as I lay in bed I remember THAT Valentines Day. The first one. I am grateful for it. But just as soon as I remember it, it is gone. New memories flood my mind. I KNOW that every Valentines Day since has been better. They have been different but so much better.

Now I really know Valentines Day. Now I really know love. It is our children’s laughter, the crooked red cut out hearts, the messy faces. It is standing by my husband doing the dishes. It is worrying and praying together about up coming decisions. It is being tired from nursing babies. It is trying to juggle schedules and wipe tears (and bottoms). It is the humility I feel when I realize I can do better. It is my husband running into my pregnant round belly and the laughter I just heard from our daughters crib upstairs.

Valentines Day is every day now.

It is every day I get to be a wife and a mother.

It is every day that I get to make our house a home.

It is everyday as I recognize how much love abounds when two people have committed to be together for eternity.

The gifts are different too. Not so much big, shiny or imported. Not just on Valentines Day.The gifts are the kind things we do for one another each and every day.

It is coming home and seeing that my husband has emptied the dishwasher. It is his hard work in supporting our family. It is his listening ear that he willingly shares, even when I tell him the same concern over and over. It is the toothpaste he puts on my toothbrush at night.

The memories are priceless. But that night in my apartment 11 years ago, I thought I had the Valentines Day of my dreams. Little did I know, the best was yet to come.

Now I know what it is like to have a true Valentine. Void of the commercialism, void of gimmicks. My true Valentine and I have a full house and a busy life. Filled with worries and stresses and joy and laughter.

Most of all, my Valentine and I have every day together, filled with love.

I still can’t breath without him. And every minute apart, seems like a million. 

Happy Valentines Day to you and your family.  Be sure you are creating your own Valentine’s Day Story.

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Teaching Children Money Management


Money management is a vital part of a successful family. Keeping an open dialogue about money not only sets our children up for a healthier future as adults, but it teaches communication and relationship skills along the way. Use the following tips to keep your family financially strong.

money-management

First, understand that most disagreements over finances aren’t really about the money itself, but instead a result of miscommunications about expectations. One family member expects that money can be spent a certain way, on certain things, while the other family member expects money should be handled a different way. It isn’t so much about the money itself, but what the money represents and how we feel about it.

The only way to overcome this first obstacle is to make sure you keep an open dialogue and have conversations about those expectations. Be sure that everyone is on the same page. For example, if there is extra money at the end of the month, can it be spent, should it be saved? Can it be used to by “Wants” or only “Needs”? What is considered a want and need. Talk about it and include your children in the dialogue when age appropriate. They have expectations too. Maybe they expect to be able to sign up for any and all extracurricular activities that they want to, while you feel that two extra activities are expensive enough. Or maybe they feel they should be able to go skiing every Saturday, but you feel that money should be spent on other things instead. It can take quite some time for children to really understand that money doesn’t grow on trees. So talk open and often about expectations and keep everyone happy and on the same page.

There will be disagreements about money. Use the situations to teach children how to communicate, handle disagreements, listen to other opinions and compromise. These are life skills they will always need.

Respect Money. I will never forget when I was around 8, I was helping my dad with a project on the kitchen counter. There were scraps of paper and lots of bits and pieces that needed to be thrown away. As he held the trash bag, I used my whole arm to sweep the trash into the black bag. Mixed in with the papers was a penny. I saw the penny, and so did he, but I swept it into the the trash anyway. After all, it was only a penny. Well, not to my dad, he had me go right down in that black bag and find the penny. He helped as we sifted through all the scraps. He taught me such a good lesson that day. One I have never forgotten. Money is to be respected. Even a penny. It is still money and has worth. We never throw it away. We teach our children to respect money by respecting it ourselves.

Set financial goals and include the entire family in setting, working towards and achieving those goals. We all have financial goals for our families. Some of us are trying to pay off car loans, saving for a family vacation, trying to save on groceries, or maybe just trying to keep our heads above water. Although we are not looking to scare or burden our children with our financial woes, we can include them when appropriate it fun and creative ways. Get your whole family excited about what you are doing. This will teach them that handing money is not bad, how to set goals, how to accomplish goals and bring you closer together as a family.

Avoid impulse buying. This is a great way to not only save money, but is also teaches our children delayed gratification. Hopefully as adults, we are good at making smart money choices, but this is a great way to teach our children also. When they want something, instead of getting it for them right away, or letting them buy it right away, teach them to do research, cover all their basis and make sure they know all their options. The delay will not only teach them, but make their purchase even more worth it when they do finally get it.

Don’t use money to control your family members. We never want to use money to control our family members. Using it as a bribe, or holding it over someones head is not healthy. This is often common between spouses, but we do it with our children also. Steer clear of bribing kids with “5 dollars if you get an A”. Or saying, “if you don’t ______ then you loose your money.” etc… Although it might get you the results you want right then, the outcome will be short lived. This will teach our children to use money to control others and they wont do things for intrinsic reasons. (I know this is a touchy subject and there are many different philosophies, but findings are consistent that there are other ways to motivate our children that have better, long term effects.)

Don’t hide money from one another.

Teaching our children to “buy secretly” does not develop a healthy money relationship and teaches them it is okay to hide things from one another and be dishonest. Reminding them “not to tell daddy” as you are leaving Super Target wont help them in the long run. :)

Help them understand how money works. This could be through teaching them to save and spend, or even including them in some of the financial planning for the family. I know with our son, he didn’t understand the cost of things for our family. We laid out basic living expenses and then compared that to an income so he could see how the two worked together. It stopped most of the asking and begging for “wants” because now he has a better understanding of how money works. Knowledge is power.

Above all things, we want our children to understand how money works, and how to have a healthy relationship with money. This comes from setting a good example ourselves, and including our children in the family finances when appropriate.

How do you teach your children about money?

 

 

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7 Tips to Help Keep Your Family’s Resolutions

New-Years-Resolutions

 

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!

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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?

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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.

 

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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?
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