Archive for the ‘Ages and Stages:Tween’ Category

Check a few things off of your to do list and have some fun at the same time.

Week 4: Rock the fall style–shop Crazy 8 for the new and now looks that your kids will love. Help them express their unique style, have one less thing to do before school actually starts, and always get a good deal!

Week 3: Channel some of that summer energy into a project that will benefit your community. Community service is an integral part of most school curriculums, and it will help you and your child connect with others. Contribute to your school directly and look for Tyson Project A+ labels on participating Tyson packages. For every label that you submit, Tyson will give your school 24 cents for whatever it needs.

Week 2: Host a back to school playdate for your children and their friends to help them to get back in the swing of things. Provide healthy snacks like deliciously baked, gluten-free Pirate’s Booty, Welch’s Fruit Snacks made with real fruit, and Mott’s 100% Juice. Mix in some fun with activities like “Telephone Story”. Have each person take a piece of paper, write a sentence, and pass it to the next person on their right to write the next line until you have a one of a kind story to share!

Week 1: Play with your food. Try using Mini Babybel Original semisoft cheese to create fruit and cheese skerers and Hillshire Farm Naturals Lunchmeat to create ham and cheese roll-ups. They are sure to be exciting and healthy additions to your kid’s lunchbox!

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Back To School

Kids have a ton of a lot more stamina than you do. So your child will question, debate, argue, and oppose as long as you let them. (Bedtime battles, anyone?) Every time that you engage in this kind of back and forth exchange, you give them the opportunity to get stronger and better at it. Instead of giving repeated warnings and reminders, give one (“You have ten more minutes to play, then it is time to go to bed”) and ignore any arguments after that. If all else fails, pull out this classic on: Because I am the boss and I said so. You can also check out our post on bad habits. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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drama

Of course, you want to explain the great “whys” in life to your kid, just not when you are trying to get out of the door in the morning. So save the elaborations for a time when your child needs more guidance. When you want something to happen, like getting to school before the morning bell rings, be direct and specific. Kids need concrete information, so instead of a vague “Get ready for school,” which leaves too much room for them to dawdle, give them direct instructions: “It is time to put on your coat and your backpack.” Getting specific works well in other situations too. Instead of “I want you on your best behavior in the restaurant,” you can say, “Please use your indoor voice at the table.”

See this post on getting kids to behave. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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restaurant

If you are tired of repeating yourself without results, here is some advice that actually works.

How many times do you have to say, or beg, or even yell: “Do not put that in your nose!” “Stop bouncing the ball off of your brother’s head!” “Quit jumping from the chair to the couch!” Thankfully, there are effective ways to communicate so that your child will listen and cooperate in a flash.

Connect, then direct. Sometimes it feels like your kid is not buying what you are selling when in reality they simply can not listen to the pitch. Children do not have great multitasking capabilities. It is almost impossible for anyone, let alone a younger child to concentrate intensely on getting their train tracks to connect in a perfect oval and also listen to you tell them to wash up for dinner. Instead of competing for their attention, ask your child to stop playing for a minute, and get down to their level so you can look them in the eye. Say their name, make your request, ask if they understand, and get them to repeat it back to you.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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SINGLE-PARENT-DAY

On Facebook you shared the small things you can not help but agree to.

  • Pillow-fort night, with every pillow, blanket, stuffed animal, and comforter in the house.
  • Letting my 2-year-old choose her own outfit. It may clash and include a tiara, but hey, a girl has to accessorize!
  • Bubbles, even indoors.
  • My 8-year-olds strip of pink hair.
  • Mud puddles, always!
  • Baths, no matter what time of day. Sometimes you just need a bath to feel good.
  • Writing in shaving cream on the shower wall.
  • Indoor camping, complete with tent and s’mores!
  • Letting my 4-year-old polish my nails.
  • Breakfast in bed, just because!

Have you seen our series on NO? Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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yes

When you finish X, you may enjoy Y.

As is the case in just about every household I know with kids, no two weekdays look alike. But every day, at some point, I allow my kids to watch one TV show. It is the some point that causes the problem. My first grader, David, has difficulty figuring out when he is going to be allowed his precious TV time. Every day, the minute we walk into the house, whether it is 2 P.M. or 6 P.M., he wants to know “When can I watch TV?” And I can not stand the daily barrage of begging, whining, and pleading that inevitably leads me to say no over and over again.

This is where I instituted the when/then strategy. When all the must do activities are finished, then David can have TV time. Because David’s TV time also depends in part on his siblings’ commitments, I lay out the full schedule for the day for him. “Jenna has gymnastics today, so when we get home from dropping her off, you and Joe need to clean up the playroom, and then yes you can watch a TV show.

Once David has the information for the day, he does not feel insecure about whether TV is going to happen or not. He is no longer constantly checking in with me because he now knows exactly what needs to happen, and I find I am saying yes a lot more often. I am successfully using when/then at other tricky times of the day too. For instance, when you brush your teeth, then we can read a book together and at mealtime when the dinner plates are cleared, then we will serve dessert. Here you can check out part 1 of this series.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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“You are really growing up! From now on, I am going to let you be responsible for certain things.”

Jenna’s school bus comes at 6:50 A.M., which is just way too early for our family. I was always a bit thankful that my children didn’t rise with the sun, but the flip side is that getting Jenna motivated in the morning is a bit difficult. I am badgering her from the minute I wake her to the moment she is out the door: take a bath, to get dressed, eat, put on her shoes. Anything that she requests is met with a swift NO. I barely even have time to talk to her, as I am so busy just trying to get her ready and out the door.

However, children as young as 4 or 5 can learn to get up on their own and manage their morning routine, with a little pregame planning with your help. For example, setting an alarm clock with her, putting cups, bowls, and cereal in a low cabinet where she can reach them in the morning. Jenna is almost 10 now and I am still waking her. Right now the morning is my problem. I need to make it Jenna’s problem by turning over the responsibility .We don’t give out kids enough legitimate control over their own lives. Parents spend so much time ordering, correcting, and fixing that children do not feel in control. They need to feel empowered by making their own choices.

I suggested that we get Jenna a digital watch with a multiple alarm setting. An alarm clock or iPod can also do the job. Then we will let Jenna decide what time she wants to get up in the morning. She is to set 3 alarms: one to wake, one to be dressed and downstairs, and the final one to be out the door. When I presented our new routine to Jenna in a positive light, as a privilege she has earned. “You are old enough to get yourself up, dressed, and downstairs,” I told Jenna. “You have proven to me how responsible you can be, so we are going to get you your own special watch. Now, you are in charge of your morning.” Jenna lights up with pride and excitement. Over the weekend, together we buy the watch and write out her new schedule.

On Monday morning, to my astonishment, Jenna wakes up on her own, gets dressed herself, eats her breakfast, gets her things together, and is out the door, all on time. Because she is responsible for making it all happen, it does and we even have time to chat. The morning like the others that follow is peaceful, pleasant, and organized. It is amazing that such an easy fix created such a dramatic positive change. Now, instead of nudging Jenna through the morning routine, the alarm reminds her when to get ready, and she takes pride in feeling so capable. You can also use the alarm system for issues around bedtime, homework, making difficult transitions and more. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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morning-routine