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. 

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. 

 

Toilet Training – Part 1

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Toilet Training Part 1

For Part 2 of the Toilet Training series with Heather Johnson, go here: Toilet Training Part 2
Summer is just around the corner, and in our house that means…..time to toilet train the two year old. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

For most moms, just the thought of toilet training makes us anxious and stressed. But it doesn’t have to. With some preparation, patience and planning, toilet training can be a great experience for the whole family.

Today, in Part 1 of the two part series, we are going to talk about ways to know your child is ready to be trained and what you can do before you train them to help them prepare.

Our goal in training our children should be more than just getting them to go in the toilet. Our goal should be to teach them to go to the bathroom by themselves. We want them to have the same independence as an adult, and be able to go without the need for reminders or continual help.

There are a few things you can start to do when your child is very young, 12 months +, to help them prepare.

  • Teach your child to follow instructions. Very young children CAN follow directions. Give them the opportunity. Give your child instructions to follow and don’t let the instructions go unfulfilled.  Offer praise when they obey.
  • Teach your children the words you are going to use when you train them, and be consistent. Simple words and commands like dry, wet, stand up, sit down. This is also a good time to make sure you and your spouse, or anyone else who is going to be around while you are training, use the same words so there is no confusion. It is important for everyone to use the same words so your child doesn’t get confused. Will you say potty, pee pee? What words will you use for body parts? These are good conversations to have in advance so you can start using the same words from the beginning.
  • Let your child help dress and undress themselves. Especially when it comes to pulling up and down their pants. They probably wont be able to do it themselves, but allow them to be part of the process and encourage them to help.
  • Let your child watch you and other family members, use the bathroom. Explain to them what you are doing. “Mommy is pulling down my pants so I can go to the bathroom.” When you are done, let them close the lid and flush the toilet. Get them excited about the process.

One thing that is always tricky, is figuring out if your child is ready to be trained. Training too early can cause problems, and training to late should be avoided also.

Research shows that as a child grows older, the lack of toilet training causes greater strains and tensions on family life and on the relationship between mothers and their children.

And, when you have older children who have yet to be trained, this usually means that there have been past training attempts that have failed. Past failures can lead to children going in their pants on purpose so they can get attention. (We will talk about this more in the next post.) When a mother sees that her child has wet their pants again she is usually upset and expresses disappointment to the child. The disappointment causes the child to feel they are no longer a source of happiness to their parents, but instead frustration.

There can be a lot of baggage in the relationship if past attempts have failed. If you have had unsuccessful attempts toilet training a child, it is a good idea to consider having someone else train your child. Grandparent, father, close friend…) Handling toilet training the wrong way can lead to parents having to “mend” past hidden damage.

How do you know if your child is ready to be toilet trained? Most children 20 months and older can be trained. But every child is different. There are three readiness tests you can use to determine if the time is right.

1. Bladder Control

* Does your child urinate all at one time, or “dribble” throughout the day?

* Does your child seem to know when they are about to go to the bathroom?

* Does you child stay dry for hours at a time?

If your child does all three, they have passed the test. Even if your child doesn’t tell you they are about to go, they might still be ready to train if they do the other two.

2. Physical Development

* Can your child walk from one room to another easily and without assistance?

* Does your child have enough coordination to pick objects up easily?

3. Understanding and following directions

* Ask them to follow you to another room.

* Ask them to copy you.

* Ask them to touch their nose, eyes, and mouth.

* Ask them to bring and object to you.

* Ask them to stand up

* Ask them to sit down

If your child isn’t able to follow the above instructions, you will want to work with them on following instructions before you start training. It could be that they are too young so they don’t understand yet. If they are older, then it could be that they are being stubborn. If you know they understand what you are asking, but still refuse to follow the instructions, address this before you start to train.

Here are some tips to help you teach a stubborn child to follow instructions.

  • Be sure you have the child’s attention before you give instructions.
  • Make sure you are next to your child before you give instructions.
  • Do not give a second instruction until the first one has been completed.
  • Provide gently manual guidance within a second or two after the instruction is given if the child doesn’t follow on their own. (Help them)
  • Don’t let a temper tantrum stop you from seeing that the instructions are followed.
  • When they follow instructions, be excited and enthusiastic.
Use these rules as you go about your everyday life and tasks. When your child follows instructions, give them the readiness test again and if they pass, they are ready to be trained.
Toilet Training Part 2 will get juicy.  For Part 2 of the Toilet Training series with Heather Johnson, go here: Toilet Training Part 2
We will talk about….
  • What toilet training and control have in common and how to get kids to give up the control.
  • The importance of parental commitment. We can’t turn back.
  • My very FAVORITE method for toilet training.

 

 

Have you had a good or bad experience with toilet training?
How did you know your child was ready to be toilet trained?
 

Have a question or just want to say hello.

 

Discipline – Enforcing Consequences

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips” here on The Idea Room. I realize that today is a Wednesday and usually Heather’s series runs every other Thursday here on The Idea Room. I had to make a little rearrangement this week so you get her a day early! Here’s Heather in her own words…

–Amy

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Parenting is hard. Especially when we have to discipline. Our kids will make mistakes, and we will have to enforce consequences. 


Although there isn’t a cookie cutter consequence for every situation or misstep, there are some important guidelines that will really help us as parents.

The most important thing to remember…Don’t EVER, EVER withhold love as a consequence. When a child gets in trouble they will often rush in for a hug and for affection. Don’t refuse them. Give them the hug, show affection and love and then enforce the consequences. 

Other important suggestions…
  • Make it clear before the misbehavior happens, that there are consequences for bad behavior. The time to talk about it is when no one is doing anything wrong. When kids are young, they often don’t know they have done anything wrong until they get in trouble. Set clear consequences if the expectations are not met.
  • Do not use physical force as a response to physical misbehavior. Example, if your child hits you, don’t hit them back. This is especially confusing to small children. A child will process the situation as “You just told me not to hit and then you hit me, I don’t understand”. In the long run it will not teach the right lesson. 
  • After you give a warning to your child, if the behavior doesn’t immediately change, clearly state the consequence and then enforce it. There is no need for you to justify, explain, or negotiate. Enforce the consequences and then explain later when things have calmed down. 
  • Don’t give idol threats. If you say “if you yell at me again you will go to your room,” and they yell at you again, You Better send them to their room. I learned this the hard way with our daughter. After an idol threat, she looked at me and said, …” you said that last time, but you didn’t do it.” Yikes. Learned my lesson that day. Now I make sure to follow through. 
  • Don’t give in. Enforce the consequence. Giving in sends the wrong message. Your kids won’t ever take you seriously if you don’t enforce the consequence. 
  • When appropriate, you can allow your kids to have a say in their punishment. Make sure they are reasonable and adequate. 
  • When trying to establish consequences, first consider the offense. A good place to start is asking yourself, “what would right the wrong?” Then consider “what would teach the correct principle the child needs to learn?”
  • If you like to use time-out, consider the Time-Out Rule: 1 minute in time-out for every year your child is old. (A five year old=5 minutes). Don’t use time-outs for children under 3.
Now that we have some general suggestions, here are three specific things that can be done when you need a consequence. 

1. Loss of Privilege.
Take a minute or two and think about each of your children. What do they value? What means the most to them?

For our son, it is television time.
For our daughter it is playing with friends and running errands with me. 

It is these privileges that are the first to go when they misbehave. 

Just be sure that the privilege you take is something you can control, like toys, cell phone, computer, tv, playing with friends, etc.

The key is to be CONSISTENT!

You can consider using a Privilege Chart.
Take pictures of the things your child can’t live without. Your child looses one privilege starting from least favorite to most favorite when they misbehave or talk back. Realize that their chart will change as they get older. 

2. Natural Consequences, let them take their course.
Most actions have natural consequences that occur. Let these natural consequences teach and don’t feel like you have to “save” your child from the consequence. It is the perfect time to help your child understand that our actions have consequences. When we make good decisions, our consequences are positive. When we make poor decisions, our consequences are negative. 

We experienced this with our son not too long ago. Despite plenty of ability, time to finish, and help, our son wouldn’t focus to finish his homework. He knew that if he didn’t finish by bedtime, that he would have to go to school with it unfinished (he can’t stand not having his homework done.) Our son didn’t believe us. He was certain we would let him stay up as long as it took.  We stood strong and he ended up going to school with unfinished work. He had to suffer the natural consequence of his actions. Boy did it teach him a lesson. The natural consequence did far more to teach him then a consequence we would have set. 

2. Whining Chair, Time away, time out, being sent to another room…call it what you want. 
The lesson to teach when we have to remove our children from the situation is…“if you are going to misbehave, then you can’t be apart until you change your actions.” A child who is not listening, who is yelling, talking back, or treating siblings unkind, needs to be removed from the situation. 

Just remember to stay strong, you don’t have to explain yourself. 

Remember, it comes down to what works with each child. Trail and error will help as you learn to understand each child. As parents, we need to stay calm and collected. We need to be confident and in charge. Above all, we need to be consistent. 

It won’t be perfect every time. A bad day doesn’t mean that all is lost. We will have plenty of opportunities to enforce consequences, we just need to stick with it. 

Remember above all…ALWAYS follow the reprimand with an increase in LOVE, ALWAYS. 

How do you enforce consequences in your home?
What is your leverage? What can’t your child live without?


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Finding Family Time

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room.

  Here’s Heather in her own words…

Amy  {The Idea Room}

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At the start of every new school year, I start to wonder, can I really do this again? Packing lunches at dawn, homework, baseball practice, teaching, nursing a new baby, piano, dance, grocery shopping, rushing home to get dinner on the table, the kids in bed, just to start it all over again the next day? 


I miss the slow pace of summer and being together as a family all the time. Finding family time during the school year can be a big challenge. I am not the only parent concerned about the rush that the school year brings. Questions are always coming in from concerned moms about how to focus more on family and less on the hectic lifestyle that they are living. 


As your thoughts turn to the new school year, I offer some suggestions to help you find more quality family time.

#1: Limit Your Children’s Activities.
Limit your kids to one, maybe two, after-school activities. Shoot for one. This may be a harder decision for you than for your kids. We tend to want our children to be involved in everything and learn every skill and talent. Kids also feel pressure from teachers and peers to be involved in lots of different activities. Choices have to be made. Think of it this way: Teaching your kids to make choices is an essential part of a parent’s job. These activities build skills and give kids a sense of what they can do. But time spent with the family gives them a sense of who they are. Plus, if your kids are always away from the family at their different activities, they can’t be spending time with the family. Don’t over schedule your kids. 

#2: Limit Your Activities.
As parents, we need to limit our activities. A good rule of thumb, no more than one night out for each parent, per week. When we are gone all the time we can’t be there for our families when they need us. The rituals that build closeness- bedtime stories, walks after dinner, playing games, talking-can’t happen when Mom and Dad are always gone. Don’t over schedule yourself. This doesn’t include Date Night. Date night is essential to keeping marital relationships strong and on track. 

#3: Turn off the T.V.
Turn the TV off during meals, especially dinner. In fact, consider turning the TV off Monday through Thursday. You will love the difference it makes in your home. There will be less contention. There will be more talking amongst family members. More will get done around the house and you will appreciate the calm atmosphere. There will be more time for homework, reading, talking and playing. There are better things for families to do than spend excessive amounts of time watching TV.  Plus, having the TV on in the background adds another level of noise and stress. 

#4: Eat Dinner Together.
Set a standing time for dinner and stick to it. Make it clear that all family members are expected to be there to eat together. This could be one of the most important rituals you have with your family. Do what ever it takes to sit down together. Make it special. Light candles, set the table, use special dishes. Don’t discuss discipline issues, don’t answer the phone, turn off the TV. Make it a safe place where every family member feels loved and accepted. If dinner is impossible for you to eat together, eat breakfast together. Just try your best to eat together everyday. Even one day a week is better than never.

#5: Get Some Sleep.
Set a bed time for your children, and for you. 10 pm or 11pm at the latest (for you of course.) Stick to it. When we are rested we feel calm. When we are calm we are better able to deal with our families. We are more calm, more clear headed, more loving and compassionate. I know what you are thinking. “I have too much to do and I only have time when everyone is asleep.” I hear you. I understand. I am the same way. Regardless, getting the sleep we need will bless our lives. If we are not over scheduled we will be able to admonish this suggestion. Do what needs to be done, and let the rest go. It will still be there in the morning, promise. 

#6: Read Together.
Whether it is at night as part of your bedtime ritual, or during the day, find time to read with your children everyday. We read stories every night before bed. We also like our reading tree. We take a blanket and a book outside and sit below our favorite tree and have reading time together. Great bonds are created when we sit down and read together. 

#7: Cook Double.
Dinner is one of the hardest times of the day. Everyone is tired, hungry and there is much to do. Simplify your meal prep so that you can spend more time with your family and there will be less stress. One way to do this is to cook double. Double your recipes, freeze, and save half for another night. It is worth finding a dinner plan that works for your family. Plan ahead, try to prepare, and simplify. It is not so much what you are putting in your mouth, but that you are doing together. 

#8: Plan a Fun Family Activity Every Week.
Friday nights are perfect for a family activity. They don’t have to be expensive. Family Volley is loaded with family activities, a new one is posted every Friday. Be creative. Check out what your communities and cities have to offer. Take a hike, play a game and make a homemade dessert. Anything together. I know a family that goes out every Saturday night together. The children take turns planning the activity. They are given a 5 dollar budget. They have been carrying out this tradition since their children were very small. The children have become so creative, most of the time they don’t even need the 5 dollars. These weekly activities give your families a chance to regroup, and reconnect. 

There is a great analogy that I like to use in class from Stephen Covey. 
Pretend that you are trying to cut down a tree. Next to you is someone else trying to do the same thing. You work and work and never take a break. Never the less, the person next to you finishes before you do. You question what they have done. 
“How is it you finished first? Especially when you took breaks every hour?”

The response, “I might have taken a break every hour, but what you didn’t see was that during each break I sharpened my saw.” 

We often think that our families will function better if we put our noses down and never take a break. That is not the case. We need to take a break and sharpen our saws. Take time to spend with our families, engaged in fun, interactive, meaningful activities. We will be more productive, and happier. 

These 8 suggestions will make a HUGE difference in your family. If we want to protect our families from the 24/7 world that is trying to take over, we must decide to make our home and families our fortress. We have to be intentional with our families time. Family time will not happen unless we make it happen. 

HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOUR FAMILY TO BE TOGETHER?
ARE YOU GLAD THE KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL?
Have a question or just want to say hello.

Great Ideas for Getting Your Kids to Work

It’s time once again for Heather from Family Volley to share with us some Parenting Tips as part of her “Parenting Tips Series with Heather Johnson” here on The Idea Room.  I for one, really enjoy all her great tips and advice on things that most of us as parents struggle with.  Here’s Heather in her own words…

–Amy

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Happy Thursday, it’s Heather from Family Volley. Before I share a few great tips to get your kids more excited about work, I wanted to thank you for all the support last week. Your comments were much needed oxygen. It is comforting to know that there are so many of us fighting the same fight, and that we can get through it. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

 
Hard to believe an hour earlier this room was spotless.

Is work a scary word at your house? Does it immediately elicit moans and groans from your children? It doesn’t have to. Here are three quick tips for getting your kids to work, with a good attitude. The last one is our family favorite.

1.  Listen First–Is there complaining when you mention it is time to clean up? Children don’t always feel like they are heard. SO, listen to them for one minute. What do I mean? Give your children one minute to complain. Let them whine and complain as much as they want for those 60 seconds. Once the 60 seconds are up, it’s time to get to work.

2. Use Labels –Do you ever hear your kids say, "I don’t know where that goesssssss?" Kids are very visual. Take pictures of the toys that go in each bucket or space. Post the pictures on the front of the storage spaces so it makes it really easy for your kids to SEE where things go. You don’t have to take pictures of every toy, just a few of the toys that can represent. You can also include the name of the object for older kids who can read. If your child likes to draw, have them draw pictures of their toys.

3. MAGIC ITEM! My FAVORITE!–when it is time to clean up, I pick a MAGIC/SECRET ITEM in whatever space we are cleaning. Our kids RACE to find and put away the MAGIC ITEM. Whoever finds and puts the MAGIC ITEM away, gets to choose what’s for snack or dinner, or which park we will visit. If it is Monday, the one who finds and puts away the MAGIC ITEM gets to choose what dessert to have for FHE. I always make sure that what they get to choose benefits and affects all the kids. They love this game. It is like a scavenger hunt. I have fun picking new MAGIC ITEMS every time we clean. If the room really needs attention, like our playroom, then I will pick a few MAGIC ITEMS. Sometimes I announce the MAGIC ITEM right when it is put away. Other times I wait until everything is put away and then announce with a grand "ta-da."

p.s. We can’t expect our kids to work at the same speed as we do. The best way to get your kids to work and clean is to slow down and work and clean with them. 

 p.p.s. And remember…if we groan about work, so will our children. We have to have a good attitude about the work to be done.

Want more suggestions for getting your kids to work?
DO YOU THINK THE "MAGIC ITEM" GAME WILL WORK AT YOUR HOUSE?
If you give it a try, let me know how it goes?
HOW DO YOU MAKE WORK FUN FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Have a question, or just want to say hello?
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