Archive for the ‘Focus’ Category

Kids may pick up something because they are afraid to ask for it. They do not know what to say or they think the response will be a no. Focus on helping your child learn how to ask permission and practice it with them. You might guide them through asking a friend to borrow a bookmark, for instance, or asking a teacher if they can have a sticker. Praise them when they do the right thing in their daily activities. “Jenna, I appreciate that you asked for the crayons before taking them.” Explain to them that requesting permission does not automatically mean that they will get what they want all the time. The person may just say no. Discuss other ways that they could get what they want, for example, adding it to a birthday wish list, or doing some extra chores around the house to earn it. If they know there are other ways to get sunglasses, they may be less likely to swipe those that belong to a friend. 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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Stealing

I am sure that you have already discussed the topic before, but now is a good time for a bit of a refresher course. Rather than bringing up stealing randomly and making your child think that they are in trouble, get the conversation started by reading a children’s book together like Ricky Sticky Fingers, by Julia Cook, or watching a movie together like Despicable Me. Then ask your child what they think about the behavior of the characters. Remind them what stealing is, Stealing is taking something that belongs to someone else without asking permission. And also let them know why it is wrong. Stealing makes the other person feel sad. It may help if you give a specific example of stealing. Tell them that taking a toy car from the store without paying for it is stealing. Then see if your child can determine if certain scenarios, like putting the teacher’s pen in their backpack, borrowing a book from the library, or taking papers from Dad’s briefcase are considered stealing as well. 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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Stealing

Your little one asks for a cup of water, and just as you hand it to her, she screams “NO!” and swats it away. Why did she freak out? When she asked for water, she wanted it with her Dora cup and the straw you gave to her yesterday, not the little purple sippy cup. What is wrong with you?

For toddlers, language issues are often the cause of emotional upsets. For the cup scenario is just a classic example. Your daughter expected exactly what she got last time, but she simply did not have the vocabulary to ask for that particular cup. And even though she did not react politely, it actually makes sense, in this case, to give it to her. Look at it this way: You are meeting your child’s need, now that you have figured it out, and you might even be preventing an even bigger meltdown.

Toddlers do read faces very well, so use both your voice and your language to convey your message to them. And pay attention to your child’s nonverbal cues, such as tilting her head when she does not quite understand something you have said. At least, as much as her words, the results just may surprise you.

One last piece of advice: Instead of spending your energy cleaning up every last mess and worrying about discipline, embrace the toddler perspective more often. You may actually discover a more creative side to yourself and a more cooperative side to your toddler. 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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Sticky Fingers

 

A child’s whiny requests can wear any parent out by the end of the day. So why does your child whine or throw things or kick you? From their perspective, it works. Whining is a super effective way for an attention loving toddler. It gets you to turn around and focus on what they are saying. If you ignored their 3 previous requests to be held while you were cooking dinner, they neither understand nor cares. They resort to whining because it simply put gets you to respond. Toddlers also do not care whether they get attention for good or bad behavior. Kids will even have seizures or muscle spasms and even eye rolling or head shaking. This is just simply an action that they found to get a parents’ attention. This is what they love, so they keep doing it. When your child misbehaves, try your best to ignore them unless they are in danger or hurting someone else. If you can not blow it off,  move them away from the situation or cause a distraction. This will send a powerful message that you are not going to just respond to negative behavior. Just be careful not to reward bad behavior. For instance, if your child is interrupting you while you are on the phone and you hang up to deal with their behavior, they have gotten exactly what they wanted. Try to predict their need for attention and look for opportunities to encourage her cooperation. You just might be able to fit in a 3-minute phone call if you give your toddler a few reassuring words and kisses while you are on the phone.

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Attention-Seeking

This does not mean that no one will ever fight. Conflict and connection go hand in hand. The opposite of connection is not conflict, it is indifference. It also helps to remind kids that they are allies. If you give kids a task to do together, it will reduce the conflict. This works well with my twins, and it will work well for you too. “You guys are fighting a lot over the Legos,” I said to them last summer. ” Do you want to figure out a way to organize them so that they are easier to share?” The kids wrote down some notes, pulled some containers from the recycling bin, and separated building areas. This calling on the conflicted parties to come up with their own solutions is one of my favoeite resolution strategies.

Of course, this is not always going to work with a grubby-footed baby who is staggering joyfully around the tent, getting mud all over her brother’s sleeping bag. Or with the remorseless snatch-and-go toddler who steals every one of the Lincoln Logs that her sister lays down. But even then, you can try taking the big kid aside and saying, “This is so frustrating for you. What do you think we can do about it?” You may be surprised by the way a child will rise to the problem-solving occasion. “Let’s fill the bucket and wash her feet in it!” or “What if I give her a turn with my special farm?” or even, “I do not know. I hate it when she does that.” At the very least, but something has shifted in me. I feel a kind of awareness that there is not another, better life we are traveling toward. There is just this life here, in this car, with these kids whom I love, whose needs are different from mine and just as important. Staying connected is the key. It is where kids get the attitudes, optimisn, zest for life, and resilience that tell the story abut how happy they will be. I can not think of a better story I would rather tell.

Did you read the Story of Abundance. That post ties in greatly with this one. Check it out! 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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Conflict

 

 

Where to eat, which board game to play, what to do with a free evening: Teachable moments abound. Not only will giving your input reinforce for the kids that their opinions matter, but they will also get practice negotiating, compromising, and conceding. Especially now that the kids are older, we enjoy their illuminating feedback about how to allocate our limited resources. When Joe recently lobbied for a new couch, he wants a big, comfy one. He inspired to comparison shop online and present various budget-friendly options.  This is the big kid version of letting him pick out a passion fruit in the supermarket when he was 4, and it is teaching him the same skills, according him the same respect, and diminishing, in a small but real way, some of that powerless feeling that children must suffer from so much. Check out our other post on Including Your Kids. 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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Decision

 

 

As the kids get older compared with those younger years, everyday life takes much less effort. My spouse and I are not as tired as we were then. The kids brush their teeth on their own, pour their own cereal, and buckle themselves in the car. They no longer topple over each other’s stuff for no apparent reason.

That is most of it, of course. But there are also some things we do deliberately, things that you can do too, to make harmony the household vibe. You can cultivate communication and compromise, flexibility and kindness, courtesy and the benefit of the doubt. Or, well, harmony. Each voice is different, and the individual notes might vary, but we are all singing the same song. We talk about achievement but not enough about the power of love, connection, and harmony.

Are there breakdowns along the way? Sure there are. The kids still make weird sounds specifically tailored to drive each other crazy. I am irritated when people leave their homework and art projects spread all over the dining room table. We fight boringly about household chores. But because we enjoy each other’s company, and because we enjoy enjoying it, if you follow, we try to solve our problems as quickly as possible so we can get back to it. These are some of the methods that have worked for us. Check out this wonderful children’s book on love and harmony, I Love You Through And Through. 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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Harmony