Archive for the ‘Cleaning’ Category

A preschooler’s day is all about moving from one activity to another one. Sorting and putting away toys at the end of play time helps give a clear ending to the activity and a sign that something new is about to happen. Just as they do at preschool, set up bins at home and label them with pictures of blocks, Legos, and dolls. Work with your child to correctly clean up and put away each toy in its correct spot. Remember to keep them working those little fingers. 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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Creating Transitions

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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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Preventing fights from flaring up in the first place is the best way to promote harmony in your family. Start by referring to your children as a team as often as possible. (“You guys are such a good clean up crew.”) or (“You two are quite the silly dancing duo.”) This gets you in the habit of praising their positive interactions. I myself will sometimes go the other way at poking fun at them. (“Your singing together sounds like chickens squawking during a fire alarm.”) Not only does this make them laugh, but it also moves them to defend their Ariana Grande like abilities to me, as a team.

Siblings who feel like they are working together, rather than being against each other, will naturally help each other out. Set up some situations in which your kids join forces, such as building a fort or making cupcakes. In order to earn playtime have them do chores together, such as clearing the table. The younger kids can clear the dishes and the older ones can stack and wash them. Then work as a team to dry them and put them away. If you have a dishwasher, give it the night off to do this. Working together, it will take no time at all. 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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Indoor triggers can cause the symptoms we usually associate with spring. Here are some tips on how to combat the sniffles.

  • Identify the cause. If you or your child frequently show the classic signs of allergies, like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes, check with a certified allergist. They can help you get to the root of the problem and will be able to suggest solutions.
  • Fight the dust mites. Some people are allergic to these microscopic critters who live in dust and are often found in bedding, mattresses, pillows, and carpets. Use mattress protectors made of finely woven material to prevent dust accumulation. Vacuum your carpets often.
  • Put Rover out. Keep your cat or dog out of your bedroom if you are allergic to animal hair. Symptoms can get worse at night. Consider buying a high efficiency furnace filter that will extract hair and dander particles from the air.
  • Get rid of mold. Basements, attics, bathrooms, or other areas of the home that are often damp can be a breeding ground for the fungus. Keep bathrooms clean and dry and avoid letting damp clothes or towels pile up.
  • Clean carefully. Dust, animal hair, and mold can be stirred up when you sweep or vacuum. Consider wearing a N95 high efficiency face mask to protect yourself against an allergic reaction.

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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ACHOO!

One in five cases of food borne illnesses happen in the home. Do not let germs crash your Thanksgiving table!

  • Soap up. You have heard it a million times before, but washing your hands with soap is key, because it binds to germs, allowing them to be rinsed off with water. Choose liquid soap with a pump; bar soap left on a dish can harbor bacteria.
  • Wait to stuff. If you fill your turkey with stuffing, do so just before putting the bird in the oven. Leaving uncooked food out for an extended period of time while prepping can increase the chances of germs multiplying.
  • Take its temperature. Cook the turkey thoroughly, until the meat is no longer pink, to avoid the possibility of salmonella. (You can see recommended cooking times at usda.gov.) To be totally safe, use a meat thermometer and check the temperature in the breast of the bird, not the fat or bone, which could be higher. It should be at least 165 degrees when you take it out.
  • Double rinse. Even if you are using a pre-washed salad, wash produce again for 10-20 seconds, because germs and pesticides can linger on the leaves. The same goes for fruits and veggies. If you buy a head of lettuce or cabbage, remove the outer leaves and then wash.
  • Trace your steps. After handling raw meat, clean all surfaces, such as the kitchen faucet, sink, counter tops and cutting boards. Use warm water and soap, followed by a bleach solution. (One tablespoon of bleach to one quart of water.) Make a note of the routes that germs travel. For example, if you touch the raw turkey and then open the fridge, clean the fridge handle as well.

Following these steps will give you the best chance of having a germ free holiday and allow you to enjoy spending the time with your family and friends. 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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Sure the door is closed on your closet and can conceal a lot of stuff, but paring down will make the morning rush a bit easier.

  • Remove everything from your closet and hang up only your ten favorite pieces. Pack the rest into bags, as if you were moving and take out additional items only as needed. At the end of the season, consider donating what ever remains.
  • Collect any items that have sentimental value but are not being worn and add them to the keepsake bin you set up. Even better yet, preserve the memories with a pic and donate the pieces to charity.
  • Purge your closet of any pairs of shoes that are uncomfortable and put the rest on a rack.
  • Repair all of the clothes that have missing buttons, minor tears, broken zippers or undone hems or you can finally take them to the seamstress.
  • If you just do one thing, establish a labeled donation box in each closet for any outgrown, ill fitting or out of style clothing and weed out items as you go.

Also, check out how to clean your pantry.

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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