Thursday, September 11, 2014

Parents Should Quit Humiliating Kids As Punishments On Social Media

Every single day you hear how a parent posted a video on Facebook or through other social medias to publicly humiliate their children as a sort of punishment. This bothers me on so many levels. Is it they think they will get all of this media attention and fame? I really think these parents need to realize this is a form of bullying.

Recently one really pushed my button. It was a mom that sold her daughters birthday present, which happened to be a pair of Taylor Swift concert tickets, online because her daughter was acting like a brat. First of all you humiliated her by going public then to make it worse she started name calling. She said her daughter is too spoiled and didn't appreciate the tickets. Well geez I wonder who spoiled her? Now you feel its time to give her a lesson by letting the world know all about it?! Now that you decide to start setting limits you thin she is magically going to start to appreciate things and not throw any fits?! Not to mention the trust issues you created with your child among many other emotions of anger, disappointment, resentment, embarrassment and so on. There are many better ways to handle that mom, like starting with a discussion.

I have 3 kids and luckily our older son now in college never really warranted a severe punishment. We have had some serious talks though and had to punish him based on the situation. Its starts at home by talking with your child not posting it to the freaking internet! Its about understanding why they made their choice and how to move forward. Its about giving support to one another and if needed seek outside counseling. There are several people most likely in your immediate life willing to help like family members, friends, teachers, doctors, neighbors, counselors at school, or if needed professional counselors. Working together through the situation as an united group to help sort through these struggles. Parenting is like trial and error or process of elimination! We constantly learn new ways to handle situations and better to deal with our emotions.

As parents we should set good examples like handling situations in a positive way. How would she like it if her daughter posted personal things about her parenting methods or something she felt should be in confidence? I suspect sh would be very upset and embarrassed and she is an adult and would have a hard time dealing with it. How does she think her teenage daughter with sky high emotions will handle it? We preach to our kids to be kind and think about their words and actions and how they make others feel. We should show compassion and stick up for others.

I hope these parents start to think about the short and  long term consequences these kids are going to deal with. Truly I hope they start to put the needs of their children before their own selfish reason to make a public point. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Happened to Playing After School? Endless Camp and Activities Overload!

So this summer I tried repeatedly to line up play dates for my girls just to be told that between sports and summer camps they couldn't fit it in. So your 5 and 7yr old have such a packed summer schedule they cant fit in a play date to run around our backyard and just hang out?!

Towards the end of the school year I went over all the camp options and asked my girls which ones they wanted to do. I told them to pick a couple between 10 options! So I signed them up for a half-day week long art class, a nature camp and farm camp. They did the art camp together then each did their own camps respectively (one nature and one farm). I wanted to leave plenty of time for just regular play. I did not want my summer to consist of getting up and rushing out the door early every morning then bring back cranky kids to rush and make dinner on the go while driving to practice! I wanted to enjoy my summer and explore and have fun. We had a great summer!!!! But so many of my friends were non stop having kids in multiple things and then complain they have no time. Or we could not fit in a couple of hours of good ol' fashion play time where they just run around without scheduled activities! Seems like that summer is a thing of the past. Now its a competition to see how many camps and activities you can sign your future prodigy up for.

Now that school is back in we limited the girls to 1 activity. Our older daughter made the top select team around here that consist of 2 practices per week with games and tournaments on the weekend. Our other daughter is not in anything at the moment but looking to start gymnastics here soon. When my kids get off the bus its homework time and snack. Then hopefully some good playing outside with the neighbor kids. Being that our girls are only in the 1st and 2nd grade I feel its important they get enough rest for their bodies and minds so I try not to overload them. Ive contemplated introducing a musical instrument that would only be 30 minutes once a week but other than that its a 1 at a time activity-sport rule.

I am not trying to raise the next superstar I am just trying to raise happy and healthy kids. I encourage them to try new activities just to open their minds to new possibilities. If they don't have fun then at least they tried something new. I don't want to join the unspoken "How Does She Do It All or the Im Too Busy With Running Around Like A Maniac" club. Now I am not judging as each family should do what makes them happy and feel its best for their family. Im simply saying that is not what I want for mine. Even my own friends I always try to listen and encourage them for their choices but choose to have more time doing other things with my time. Between school, their 1 activity, being with my family (parents, uncle, ect), weekend games, going over to friends house, having them over for dinner we keep so busy I cant imagine adding on much more!!!! Its amazing how busy we are!!!!

I sure hope I can keep on this path. As kids get older I understand they get more involved and they can maintain their healthy habits and understand their limits more so than a 6 and 7yr old. As long as my kids are happy, healthy and kind I am very happy. As long as we for the most part stick to our routines (ready for bed by 8 then 20 mins reading in bed by 8:30) I feel they will have the sufficient amount of sleep to learn new information for the next day of school. Now sometimes this doesn't happen but for the most part I try to aim for that. Like I aim for healthy eating habits and treating people with kindness and respect. Those are the moments I am grateful to have more time just being at home.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Negative Body Talk In Front of Our Daughters

As a mo of two girls I always try to avoid talking about my appearance or things that are wrong with it. We all have our imperfections and things we want to change or work on! I sure know I do! But I am always conscious about how I word things so my daughters won't hear me talking negative or being unhappy that way I am. We are constantly telling them they are beautiful the way they are and don't need to change. But if we are doing it they receive mixed signals. I know it is hard, especially when you haven't had much interaction lately with another adult, or while out the subject comes up, or someone makes a comment. We all have our struggles and don't need to be judged by others, we should support one another and encourage to be happier and healthier.  And we should set positive examples while discussing our images when our girls are within ear shot. I never really understood the importance until the other week after swimming lessons we went to the girls bathroom and changing area where there were about 5-6 girls and some moms. The one girl, I would guess around 9 or 10,  I overheard telling her friend that she needs to go on a diet. Her friend asked her what she was talking about. A kid told her she was fat and said she always hears her mom saying she is fat and looks bad and needs to go on a diet so she should as well. And also hearing the mom say maybe i should skip some meals altogether so I can look good in a bathing suit. Listening to this broke my heart-she feels she is not good enough and recalls hearing what her mother says and do was her example and wanted to follow her lead. Mind you she was not overweight, she did have some chubbiness here or there but I thought she still looked great.

I was thinking to have that much stress about her body at such a young age was horrifying. She should not have to think badly of herself and want to change. I would hope more she would be healthy and positive. Maybe hearing her mom say I don't feel as good as I should so I am going to exercise and eat healthier. Those are great way to word it and talk about how you will do that, even turning it into family activities where you can have fun and exercise. The emphasis should be on how we can feel better and not just look better.

Having 2 daughters only 17 months apart will bring on some interesting issues...hope I am prepared!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Getting Kids to Understand Other Kids With Disabilities: What Can They Do and Learn From It?

I have 3 children and not 1 of them have a disability, however, that doesn't mean I don't want them to be unaware not understanding. All through school I always volunteered with the disabled children, I have a soft spot for down syndrome-my cousin has down syndrome, and I always enjoyed my time with them. I had 1 boy named Stan that would never leave my side and only let me walk him to class. After about 12yrs or so I came back to visit my old town and there I was in a grocery store hearing someone just call me name over an over-not even taking a breath of air. I looked around and there he was, my Stan! He remembered me through all my changes and never forgot me. It hit me than if you give yourself to someone or something you can make a difference.

When kids see other kids with something they are not sure about they can stare or make faces or point. I teach my kids not to do any of those, but do encourage them to ask them to play and if old enough ask them why they are in a wheelchair. I would rather my curious child be active with them and ask questions so they can better understand.

For instance one day we met a boy about my older daughters age that was completely blind. After we got home I asked her to walk around with her eyes closed using only her other senses to get around. Then I asked her about her experience and what she thought he went through on a daily basis. I did it as well as a reminder we all see or hear or feel things in our own unique way.

As people I encourage my child to embrace and not judge. I want them to be inviting and not to keep people they feel at arms length because the look different.

One day I knew my son had listened when on his 4th grade field trip to the government building. My son was a star hockey player and friends with just about everyone. About midway through the trip a boy from another class with down syndrome, it was a small school so everyone knew one another, came up to my son and started to hug him and hi old his hand. I could tell he was comfortable with him. Then when they all sat down he sat right by my son. Once did he ever push him away or not hold his hand or not hug him back. He was happy to hold his hand and get that hug not caring about any other classmates and what they might think. I was so very proud and thought about how people probably viewed him-just into sports and nothing else. They could not be further from the truth.

Then again he made me proud when he took Kung-Fu in the inner city where for once he was the only boy in the school that was caucasian. He never once asked me to change and he embraced some new culture. He even went with me to help in the soup kitchen not far from the studio. I even caught him sneaking extra rolls to this mother with 2 small children.

So before we judge someone we should consider we don't know them or their circumstances whether they are disabled or not. We should teach our children to embrace one another because they are children, not because they seem different. We should teach them that yes, everyone is different but that doesn't mean we should treat them different.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Children Now Expect Praises and Clapping After Every Little Thing!!

So I have 3 children that I always support and encourage, but the other day when my older daughter who is 7 did this dance move and I told her good job. She then looked at me and said, "Mom you didn't clap for me?" It made me realize that kids now of days expect praises and claps for every little thing.

I love my children very much and provide a very positive and nurturing environment, but realized I may have gone overboard. I want them to always try their best while we support them and tell them good job when warranted, but what about when they don't do so hot? If we clap at every little thing, when they are older how will learn to take criticism, work harder because they could do a better job? Sometimes I find it hard not to offer my praise, but to what limit? I want them to have a healthy outlook and work hard for what they get. I want them to be resilient and appreciative. I want them to think about not only themselves and continue to be good citizens and support their community.

So if my daughter does something like miss a ball I will tell her that it was a good try and keep trying. Then when she actually hits the ball it certainly calls for celebration. But should I do it for every little dance, twirl, catch, hit, and so on. Im staring to think no, but how do I handle telling her the truth in a positive way without crushing her? To my point I think it will be good for her to instead of clapping at every little thing instead tell her she is doing a good job and to keep trying. If the next time she asks me why I didn't clap I will simply tell her every little thing doesn't deserve a clap but it does deserve encouragement and pride.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Winning and losing-Is it Really A Good Idea To Teach Them Everyone Wins and Never Loses??

We have been to the bazillion youth athletic games where after the game everyone walks away with a win. But I wonder what that will do to them when they apply to a school, go to a job interview, do a real race or play real games where either you loose or you win?

I am a parent to 3 kids, and my son is naturally completive like my family where our 2 girls are more like their dad-not so much! I also have coached youth sports for several years where everyone is just playing for fun. As a coach and a parent I want to introduce fundamentals of the game, learn to respect each other, coaches and refs, be a good sport and encourage one another, and good manners  and teach them safety. Now like I said there is not an official win or loose titles, but my girls could tell you every time how many goals each team had and if they won or loose. They do know who wins and who looses, its how they deal with it that counts. Now for the most part when you shake hands after the game everyone says good job, however, there are those few that feel the need to yell that they won and you didn't. When this happens the kids just look at them while the parents get visibly upset. Then they will tell us that wasn't very nice and thought there wasn't any loosing.

My son is older now, but in the late 1990's his school participated in relay races where there was a first, second and third place, along with participant ribbons. They always tried hard and some would win and some would loose. Or no matter if it were a chess tournament or science fair-there would always be a winner. But now they only have team races were there is no winner and loser. I wonder how this generation will hand things down the road?

I always use encouragement and be positive when coaching and parenting. I always try to focus what we are doing and what could we do differently the next time. I would even say after the girls said they were sad they lost, although not technically, I would ask them why that was and what we could learn from it. So is it really better to not prepare the kids for later on in life on dealing with winning and losing? Are we doing the right thing by sheltering them now and hoping they handle it better as they get older? Or did we always have it wrong by not have a winner and loser?

Just something Im thinking of................

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dealing with Siblings-One more advanced than the other-the time I lied to make one feel better

We have 3 children an older boy a sophomore and two girls on 17 months apart (5 1/2 & 7). All 3 kids are different-they look different, they act different and all their milestones are different. SO when our younger daughter turned 2 we quickly understood just how advanced she is- she already knew her ABC's, counted to 20 and could tell you a word that began with every letter. We also learned she has incredible memory abilities-like when we play memory and there are 30 cards she will remember where they all are-even beating us sometimes on an online one that has a timer. Then there is her older sister that needed more time to retain information and couldn't make connections so easily. When they started pre school the teachers noticed quickly of their differences and tried to celebrate one without hurting the other always giving lots of encouragement and support. When they began independent reading we quickly realized we needed to separate them-the older one would struggle and the younger would just ramble on and on. She was coming home and telling me aha can spell metacognition. So separating them was key to not have them feel competing while giving them each the different support they need-we also had to do this with worksheets-our younger one would be done while the older one was on number 3.

Kids talk about what they do in school and love to share when they learn something new. When the younger one took her kindergartner pre test she got like 97 out of 100 right-most things that she had not even learned she just figured it out. One day we were talking about it, we thought we were alone, but sure enough her older sister asked what she got. IN the moment I just lied telling her they did about the same. It was just one test and they would soon forget about it. I know this may have been wrong, but in that moment she had this look on her face and I could not for the life of me tell her she did not do so well (I think she got more like in the 60's, which was still above average). I just thought that if she thought she did as good it would build her confidence and she wouldn't no any different. She never did but I always remember that moment.

As she gets older she understands more and more her sister is advanced-talk about putting her in the gifted and talented program or bringing home chapter books 6-7 levels ahead. Our kindergartner only goes a half a day so when she brings home her book we read it and I put back in her backpack so the other one doesn't read what level it is-she always wants to know. When our first grader moves up levels she is so excited and talks about it as we praise her for her hard work. The younger one doesn't care much about what level she is on.

They are so different and I like their strengths and their weakness. I love the fact that no matter how different they really are they still love each other and support one another. We will continue to rally behind them helping where it needs and challenging as well. I think its important to show pride when they accomplish something and encourage when they need a little help. I am more worried as they get older and hope this doesn't pout a wedge between them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Get Outside to Learn and Have Fun! Great, Educational Activities To Do With Your Little Ones!!!

Spring is here and that means its time to go outside and enjoy the weather!!! Our kids were born and raised in Minnesota so if its over 30 degrees thats nice and we play play play!!!! But now that its warming up I am breaking out all the fun toys and activities for lots of outside fun!!!

Bubbles are a must-Use this as a counting opportunity.

1. Each time they pop a bubble have them count!
2. We also purchased those butterfly nets from the dollar store and had to swipe up the bubbles!
3. If you have a bubble machine put it need your drawing or just about walking one and this motivates them to get moving:)

Chalk also a must! So many things you can do

1. Create a dot-to-dot picture help them learn their numbers or letters
2. Draw a plain body and have them add on the body parts
3. Fill in the blanks are a good way to build sentences. So if you write d_d have them fill in the missing letter
4. Sight words are fun with chalk makes it more entertaining
5. Make a good old fashioned hopscotch-good for agility and number counting
6. Playing hangman is also fun-helps to piece the letters together and form words

Plastic Eggs-also a favorite

1. Put sight words written on paper inside the eggs-they remember them more when they are hands on
2. Great to use for counting addition and subtraction
3. Play toss the egg and count how many times you catch them without dropping and then each time ask them which number was higher and lower
4. You can write letters on them and have them  place them on an object that begins with that letter-T on the tree, a for an apple

Plastic Sand Buckets: Love them always

1. Create a carnival like game by writing a number on each from 1-5. Grab some tiny plastic ping pong balls. Try to have them throw them in order and count forward then again backwards starting at 5
2. Or maybe tell them to throw two balls into bucket 2 and three into bucket.Then have them take them out and count them
3. Have a few buckets out and put some objects under each one. Cover them up with the bucket and see how many they remember

Hula Hoops-I still love these!

1. Throw a few right next to one other and have them skip and count as they jump in each one
2. Count how many times you can swing them on your arm or waist
3. Put objects in each one and have them count them and tell you which has more or less-when kids are hands on they retain the information

Plastic Food and Dishes-an inside-outside favorite

1. Create an outdoor tea party-have them bring their stuffed animals or dolls
2. Create a dinner setting but don't put them all out, like leave out a plate, cup or fork and have them find the missing pieces and put them in their place-good problem solving
3. Play grocery store and have them add up the food
4. When old enough give them plastic coins and have them figure out how much they owe-if all the food is $1 and they have 5 things let them think about it and tell you how many coins they need to pay

Bug Nets, Magnifiers, Butterfly Houses, Plastic Bug Catchers

1. Grab grass, bugs, leaves, sticks and have them look at it through the magnifier. Ask them if its different than they thought, ask if they saw something you didn't see before, bugs are fun to do that with-have them count the legs!!!!
2. That is good for them to learn to be gentle with the bugs and place them back gently after they take a look-thats my policy anyway.
3. Butterfly nets are fun to watch the butterfly grow-talk about the different life cycles how it started in a cocoon and turned into a beautiful butterfly-it was fun to watch it grown then unleash to watch those wings go!

Leaves and Sticks-still great!

1. Leaves are great for sensory-have them crunch them up and tell you what they feel like
2. Sort them by color or size
3. Make letters out of the sticks

Water and Rocks!

1. Have them sort by size and color-or add them up
2. Make fun shapes
3. Take regular paint brushes with a bowl of water and let them paint away-we would sometimes use real paint which is fun
4. Stack them up until they fall-ask them along the way what they think will happen-saty there of fall-problem thinking
5. Put water and safe dish soap in a bucket, hand them a washcloth and let them wash their toys or vehicles-my girls would wash their cozy coupe, trikes, whatever they could get their hands on
6. Water tables are fantastic for imaginary play and sensory

Other Fun Things!

1. Grab some confetti and spread out here and there and send them on a treasure hunt!
2. Hide some gold coins or small trinkets in the sand and let them find the treasure
3. Balls are great for large motor skills-and throwing and catching can also be an opportunity to count each time you do it

I hope you enjoy this list and get outside!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Listen To Your Body-When I Almost Died

As we get older we come to really understand our own body and signs. Now wether we act on them quickly is another. Like when Im getting a sinus infection or flu-I know what medicine I need to get through it, but on more severe cases I would put things off and see how it goes.

We have 3 healthy children, but after the birth of my third I almost died. When she was about 5 days old I noticed my feet and ankles were pretty swollen. I called the OBGYN office and they told me its common to get that after birth. Then one night I could hear and feel fluid in my lungs. I knew something didn't feel right but I chalked it up to just having a newborn and 17month old.

She was one week old and I went into seizures and had to be rushed to the ER. My heart was pounding so fast it was skipping beats, which isn't good. After being in the Intensive Care unit for a bit they transferred me by ambulance to another hospital more equipped to deal with this. I even got a Mayo Dr., which was the best. They told me I was having rapid heart beats that were dangerously high and needed to control to get them more evenly. After several treatments and medication they were able to stabilize my heart and spent the next week in the hospital.

That day in the hospital where my mom is holding our 17 month daughter freaking out about what they would do with a teenage son, 17 month and 1 week old-my hubby sure felt that stress, having that if I don't make it talk was scary. They told me they were not sure if they could get it under control in time. I was breastfeeding and the ER Dr. said we need to treat you and you will no longer be able to do that between the test and medications. This made me very sad but I knew I had no other choice. In the midst of my going in and out I asked to feed her one last time and cherished every minute of it. I cannot even describe the feeling of looking at your family and knowing this may be the last. Its gut wrenching and puts things into perspective.

For the next 6 months I would wear heart monitors with leads all over and send my signals every day by phone and take the heart medication that made me so tired. Thank goodness my husband is so hands on and my mom stayed for over a month as I was not physically able to take care of the 3 children.  There is nothing more saddening than when my  3 month old baby would jump out of my arms for her daddy. It was that moment when I realized I had not bonded with her. Needless to say I really stepped it up pushing myself to do more. Now she is 5yrs old and is my glue, even more than our other daughter which I didn't think was possible.

 The point is I had that gut feeling something was not right and instead of listening to my body I went along with others telling me its normal. I knew it wasn't normal for me and still I didn't listen. Had I acted when I started that feeling it may not have escalated to the point of beating so fast it was going to stop. As a mother of 3 and a wife I tend to put myself on the back burner, but not until a life threatening situation comes up do you realize that you can't afford not to act immediately. I understand I am a very important person in our family and like to have everything going, but if I take the time when it starts it may not get worse and take more time in the long run. So when you have that gut feeling don't ignore it, even if it turn out to be nothing, don't ignore it. A peace of mind is a great thing to have. Enjoy your life and take care of yourself.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Even More Tips and Tricks I wish I knew Before Having Kids! Ha-For those requested this I hope you like it:)

Here is my latest set of Tips and Advice-Hope you like it and find it useful:)

82.  We have all been there our kids start to loose their teeth and your scrambling to find some cash! When our first daughter started to loose hers I went to the ATM and have "tooth fairy" money stashed so no more forgetting or rushing out in the night!!! You can grab other things and do the same-little trinkets and such

83. To keep lunches fun I use cookie cutters for their sandwiches, cheese, meat anything that will work. They love it and other moms come up to me and say thanks now I have to do it:)

84. And addition to that I love to leave "love notes' in their lunch bags-sometimes a poem, or fill in the blank or just an encouraging note

85. Counting needs to fun and hands on for your child to understand-so we used pretzel sticks an animal crackers-=they loved to eat them when we subtracted:)

86. Other fun uses for cookie cutters-playdough!

87. Play dough-we love to make the homemade kind and add food coloring, a liquid spice for scent and glitter for the sparkle. They can help make it!

88. Dips can be a great way to introduce certain foods, like veggies or fruits, crackers, whatever you think will work! Try to make it fun and their mind more off of the idea they don't even like it!

89. Speaking of...try not to say in front of your child that you don't like the food-let them figure it out instead not trying based on your opinion. Now that my kids are older I can say that without them not wanting to try it.

90. School projects are for kids with guidance needed from parents-not a competition who s is better than who's-teach them to be proud of their work and teachers always know when the student did it or the parents>>>i know this from being in the class

91. When your child starts to understand kind words and hurtful words show them what I call the crinkle heart note. Again this is visual and smaller ones can grasp-Cut heart out of any paper and ask them to tell you hurtful words-each time you will crunch it up a bit and say thats how you make their heart feel. Then on the back have them say kind words and un crinkle it showing them how their heart feels better and more full

92. So at bath time our girls love to play kitchen-so I put an extra plastic tea pot, spoons, cups, plates and fake food and they will sit in their for an hour-I love it!

93. Also have 2 very girlie girls that love hair accessories-I always keep extra pony tail holders and a brush in the car (ponies in my purse as well) and downstairs in the kitchen for mornings we are running behind or one breaks! Huge time savor!

94. Keeping their rooms clean was always a daily activity-try to make it fun by shooting baskets, or organize by colors, or tell stories before they return to the castle. My girls 5 and 7 love to organize and the 5yr olds room is always spotless! My 7yr old on saturday mornings will dump everything out just to re organize. I made it more fun instead of a dreadful chore

95. Looking people in the eye when talking is so important, and respectful. At a young age I always told them to look my and others in the eyes and now its automatic. Now their older and I explain it helps us become better listeners and show appreciation for others words

96. I am strict on manners-if they don't say please they will wait until they do and thank you same way-nothing else until said. We still work on that but they get better as they get older. So we bought some manner cards and that was all it took for them to see it as a game and that visual aid where they can see their expressions and affected them. They still do them for fun

97. Lice is always an ongoing issue no matter your status. Best way is for kids with longer hair to put up in ponies or however you like. After we spent 6hrs and $700 for treatment was all reason I needed! Kids can't help but hug each other and they jump onto clean hair.

98. Selling-when kids are selling something for an association please have them do this themselves-of course with your supervision. I will stand back a bit and have them knock on the door, say their name and tell them what exactly they are selling. Great practice for communication skills-and always say thanks when the place the order and when you bring them back their orders. Our son know in college is very good at communication skills-he was always invited to the adults activities because he could hold and interact with the conversation-and was always polite.

99. Going to the doctors or dentist can be frightening-I would use their stuff animals and we would play doctor on them so they could see what was going to happen-my kids hardly ever cried even for their shots and was able to sit pretty still.

100. Kids have awesome imaginations-we like to use cheap things around the house like lawn chairs, buckets, watering cans, and make a house to take care of. Also we loved to bring their kitchen set and table and chair set on the deck on nice days to switch it up!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why Did I Give In?!!!!!!!

So it was Friday night and I should have known better than to ask if the girls wanted to go out for dinner. They are 5 1/2 and 7 and just finished a week of school. From past experiences they are exhausted and seldom feel like just sitting there for an hour or two after sitting in school all day. As the question came out of my mouth I already regretted it. The fighting became about where we are going. Then the tears came flowing and my frustration building. Now I take my part in the blame as I knew it would turn in to that, but I did have my selfish reason-my hubby was gone all week and mamma wanted to go out! turned ugly fast. I am strict on the 1-2-3 counting method. 95% of the time I don't even get to 2 or 3 because I implemented this discipline technique when they were toddlers and totally get what comes if I get to 3. I don't go on and on about what they did, I just simply count. Ill quick explain what they did wrong and ask them if they could have handled it better and if you were in the wrong you need to go look the person in the eyes and apologize. Well we were beyond that. We told them if they didn't stop yelling and crying we would just stay home. We tried to get them to compromise but they wouldn't have it. So after telling them in my very frustrated voice we are just going to stay home since you could not come to an agreement where we go for dinner. Well the 5 1/2yr would not give up. She just kept on crying so I found myself coming up with excuses. I knew I was in the wrong, but man I just couldn't help myself. Usually I am very strong and strict, but not this time. This time I knew it would be a mixed signal and would eventually come back to bite my in the as@! I finally suggested I go through the drive thru and bring home the chili she so badly wanted. Excuses started flowing out of my mouth like a song! First came she was very tired, then came she was so good up till now, then came her sister pushed her buttons and vice versa, then it came down to the real truth-mom just really wanted to go out and get out of the house for dinner. Yep I came clean. Ugh the inner me was dreaming what the hel@ are you doing? You solo know much better. But as soon as I suggested that she instantly turned the yelling and crying off and replaced it with a smile. Man did I feel some type of relief, as I was still going to get out of the house for only a bit to listen to my songs on the IPOD and not One Direction or Taylor Swift. I had my own victory but as far as my children go, I sent the wrong mixed signals-if you cry and scream loud enough and mommy wants to do it we can get away with it. I call this "Parent Suicide" I just did what I fought so long and hard not to do. This proves we all have our breaking moments where we give in no matter the consequences we will later face. I am not just a mom and a wife, but a women that need to get out and socialize. I am selfish and sometimes I think that is OK! ha!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Message All Kids Can Understand: How Negative and Positive Words Can Affect Us

We do the paper heart where we cut out a heart and write things that we did that may have hurt someones feelings and then we crumple up a little more each time we add to it. Then on the other side we write positive things we did or say to others and un crumble word by word. I started this when our girls were younger so they had a visual how our actions and words affect others, both in positive and negative ways. Even I do it as I am a mom but still make mistakes. It helps guid them to grow, even me, and in the future deal with things easily.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Parents Taking Over Their Child's Art Projects-Let them do it themselves for goodness sakes!!!!

So I approach Valentine and all other art projects, like making their boxes and valentines, by letting them get messy and have fun. I don't give them direction and make it the elaborate one of the class. I just want them to be creative and know it is theirs, all theirs!!! Its not a competition, its a creative outlet that they can be proud of. 

Today I was in my youngest daughters class for her valentines day party and oh my some of these parents must have spent hours making it elaborate and perfectly placed. My kids were assigned to do it, not me, so I let them do whatever they want. Now sometimes they will need assistance with opening something or cutting and I am always more than happy to assist and be there to support them as a family project, but I won't do the work for them. Some of the kids made comments that their box looked stupid now. I told them they all did a great job and made a point to ask them if they did it all themselves and when they said yes I told them great job!!! 

It should be a bout fun, trying something new, be messy and creative, take pride in their work. I seriously don't have the time with 3 kids to worry about my kids  making the best art projects, but I do have enough time to watch them smile when they told me they did it all by themselves:)

Friday, February 7, 2014

More Tips and Advise-Wish I knew these before I had my kids! Would have helped me!

This is my second set of tips. These may be small or even known already, but maybe there is another part of it you didn't think about. Its great to share information. I come from a very diverse perspective. I was or am:
1. Single mom
2. Young teenage mom
3. Married and Divorced mom
4. Mom of two under two mom
6. Blended families mom
So I can relate to most peoples struggles and situations. Its important that we really listen to one another without judgement and offer support.

61. Kids always love to help around the house, even if you don't! Ha! When I am cleaning and I will give them their own cloth and spray it with a safe cleaner of course and let them go at. May not be perfect but they feel good to contribute.

62. With 3 kids I spent a lot of time at the beach and parks. I carry a large mesh bag that holds all our sand stuff and can shake everything out instead of collecting bottom of a tote bag.

63. Then I kept a garbage bag in the trunk and threw it in there to prevent sand from going everywhere!

64. I always keep an extra towel in my car to wipe off those dirty feet! Hate marks on the back of my seat.

65.  Staying in their beds-Yes this is simple but really it was the only thing that worked for me-I would just keep walking them back no matter how many times or crying. If repeated enough they will get it. Most of us give up though before that happens because we are so sleep deprived.

66. When getting my toddlers out of the car in the parking lot it was always stressful. I developed a rule they had to have 1 hand touching the car at all times. I told them to put their "Superglue" on and stick! Making anything out a game usually works!

67. Auqadoodle Mats were great. If I was in the kitchen I would lay it down next to me so I could watch them-and only water in the pen so not messy. We would make big tic-tac-to board. which larger squares made it easier for them to draw the x or o all by themselves.

68. Laundry  is that inevitable chore most of us loath, except me I actually find it relaxing! My mom told me a long time ago if you did one load everyday you wouldn't spend your weekends doing laundry. She was right. Throw a load in first thing in the morning, put in dryer afternoon or after work then when kids go to bed turn on a show and fold! I have friends that dedicate sat or sun and I rather have more free time!!!

69. Halo Sleep Sacks were the best! Just a onesie and zip that baby up! Those little, fragile limbs move a mile a minute so that made it way easier for changing, leaving the difficult cute ones for when you go out.

70. Another of course one, but one that always saved me was always have a snack stashed in your purse for long lines or waiting for a table.

71. Babys first birthday cake is fun but messy. I would throw an extra large trash bag and put under the highchair so after they were done made super easy cleanup, well the floor anyway:)

72. Water noodles are very versatile. ON a rainy day we would bring them inside and line them up side to side and grab plastic water bottles and a ball and play indoor bowling.

73. Strollers are great, but sometimes hard to maneuver. I loved my front and back one while my friend hated her side to side one. We would be in s a store and she couldn't fit through the isles! Even some doorways were super tricky.

74. Another rainy day activity to keep busy, we would bring outside in! Our girls loved to use their sidewalk chalk and draw on construction paper. It makes really bright colors.

75. I always had 2 pairs of extra socks in my car for those McDonald or play area places. After having to buy them a few times it finally hit me!

76. Easy craft is making homemade crayons. I bought some silicone cups in hearts, flowers and all different kinds and they would make them for their friends, or put in goody bags.

77. Sorting through seasonal items is challenging. When putting away the seasonal shoes, mittens, hats and scarfs, I would use a rubber band to tie the pairs together, or if one of us has 3 hats for instance put those together. Saves time sorting through them when time ti get them out.

78. Hanging plastic jewelry bags have been a godsend for a mother of 2 super girlie girls with a hundred different ponytail holders and barrettes. So sort them out and put matching ones, sets, or same color in all the different pouches. Now instead of taking 10 minutes to find the ones they want they get them right away. We have ours hanging on the door rack in their bathroom.

79. When they were working on fine motor skills, especially cutting, I would just have them cut out tons of things from magazines, or just draw lines on plain paper.

80. We have 1 daughter that is Left Handed, so after struggling to teach her writing or even cutting, I am Right Handed, I learned to sit across from her instead of side by side. They learn easier if they are mirroring you.

Friday, January 31, 2014

60 Parenting Tips I wish I knew Before I had my kids! These Tips that made my life easier!

I am a mother of 3 awesome, but sometimes difficult children, ages 20yrs, 5yrs and 7yrs. I had my son at only 17 and didn't have my others until my early 30's and they were only 17 months apart! So at the same time I had a teenager and two under two. The way I parented when I was a teenager is much different when I was married and stable. I handled situations much different and was able to learn from my past mistakes. Having 2 under 2 is challenging, but thanks to family, friends, teachers and yes even strangers, I learned how to find my rhythm. I am a true believe that every family needs to do what best works for them. My way may not be the right way, but it did work for me and that was important. Also, do not judge other families if they do things differently as we have no idea of their situation. We need to be more supportive to others instead of giving them a nasty eye when their kids are screaming. I learned a wide range of parenting between being a teenage mom then of 2 toddlers that I picked up valuable tips and tricks along the way. Now some of these are obvious or some you heard before, but if you can learn even one more thing that helps you I will be happy. After making the same mistake over and over I finally found a different way to do it!After several people told me I should share I finally felt it was time to give it a go, so here I go.

I don't just want to offer advise, but to start great conversations and learn more myself along the way. Everyday may bring a new challenge and I have to learn how to handle that without steam coming out of my ears! I never pretend my family is perfect, so when I see that mom at the grocery store paying the clerk with one hand and holding on for dear life to the child screaming and kicking, I just say I know exactly how you feel. Or if a child comes over for a playdate I tell the mom "kids are going to be kids. They will get wild, may not share, may hit and act out. But that is ok they are just being them so no need to apologize. Unless there is blood or something harmful I don't want to tell you anymore how your kid did this or that. And don't ever say your sorry to ask me to help you out. I wouldn't offer if I didn't truly want to do it. I would not have survived without the help of many.

When a new mom walks into a group just go say hello and make her feel welcome. I don't understand why women can be so freaking catty! I don't care if my friend is hotter (am i not confident in my relationship or think my partner is so vain?), smarter (they may be more knowledgable-great teach me something, richer (I love what I have and will tell you how much I like yours) religious (i may not agree but I respect that and will always keep an open mind). The fact that they want to tear each other down is just plain sad. If you are nice and kind I will love to be around you. But we as parents need to be more supportive and encourage each other and share information.

I amazed that little tips and tricks helped me keep my sanity.  Here are just a few to get started:

1. I always park right next by the shopping carts so I can put my kids straight into the car without taking my eye off of them. I used to park at the closest spot but didn't like having kids in the pouring rain while I unloaded because I didn't want to leave them in the car while I walk my cart back.

2. When kids were toddlers my must have products were the Snack Trap and Bottle Links. I would have an extra link and attach the snack trap on one and the other on their zippy cup or bottle. I would attach them to a cart in the store which kept them occupied and not having to constantly pick them off the floor! I did the same thing on the carseat, stroller, highchair.

3. Stick to a schedule. Kids really thrive on a schedule, even on weekends. Of course you won't always be able to do this, but the more I stuck to it the better we all adjusted. And they knew what to expect so less nagging.

4. Instead of bulky diaper bags and a purse which are super heavy or too much it will knock over the stroller, carry a larger cross body bag, which allows both hands to be free and when you bend over it doesn't fall. I learned you don't need to bring everything, just the basics.

5. Pacifiers were tricky as our youngest daughter would make herself sick when we took them away. We finally cut off the tip and it worked the first night. Thanks for that tip!

6. When I was loading and unloading the 2 under 2 in the car or into the stroller I would get the toddler settled in first, as they were the ones that could run away.

7. I was screaming at them one day and saw my face in the mirror. I didn't like what I saw so I have learned to breathe and stay calm. Now I am not saying I still don't yell, but I do it differently than before.

8. Time out was so tough until I used the 1 2 3 method. After about two weeks all I had to do was get to 2 and they stopped. Rarely they made it to 3 and when they did it was a friendly reminder! Ha! When I was carrying or dragging them to their room or spot I would go on and on instead I would say "you hit your sister and that is not OK" and then when time out was over they had to look the person in the eye and apologize.

9.  When our kids were infants, from the first bath, I always poured water all over their face. Of course they would cry, but soon would get used to it and love it. I have seen several kids ages 3-4 who cry when their head gets wet and the parents become frustrated.

10. When my older daughter was 17 months old and I was breast-feeding her infant sister I would have a basket with some books, toys and a snack. This way I could feed the baby with one arm and have the other one free to include my other one. Also, I would intentionally leave a burp cloth or bottle out of reach and ask my favorite helper to get it. She loved being the helper.

11. Scissors are the most valuable product!! I use scissors to cut their noodles, pizza, bread, chicken or whatever. It is way easier then using a knife and a fork. Then when they got older they enjoyed doing it themselves.

12. Potty training is always tricky. All 3 of them learned at different ages. I did learn though it was easier for me to skip the training potty and go straight to the real thing. It is hard sometimes for them to make that transition and can go backwards. And I would have them flush the toilets in public bathrooms and watch the tornado! The noise becomes familiar and less scary when they are the ones sitting on it!

13. We loved to make homemade play dough so I learned to cover the entire surface with aluminum foil for super easy clean up. We also used it for painting and carving pumpkins.

14. We always loved to also make homemade volcanos. We used baking powder and vinegar and to add pizazz we would add food coloring. The kids had a blast and my sink was clean from the baking soda! Or I would use my aluminum baking pan to put under the cups for outside and easy cleanup.

15.  To beat winter blues I would fill the sink with water and put cups and waterproof toys. They loved this and would do that for an hour. I put down a big towel under their chair for the water that would most definitely spill!

16. I always had crayons in my purse and at the doctors office this became my main entertainment. We would draw pictures and play games on the long, white paper they use to cover the tables. I would even draw out the outline of their body and add body parts.

17. I would put approved snacks within their reach along with their zippy cups and bowls. They enjoy and feel good about getting their own snack together.

18. In the kitchen I always had a drawer just for them filled with bowls, plastic spoons and a chef apron.  They would use them to cook or as instruments.

19.   I also can thank enough the makers of the baby gate with extensions and built on activities. I could put them ion their and run to the next room without worrying if they crawl too far or the dog jumping on them.

20. Thank goodness also for their wagon! Even as they got a bit older they would still get tired and want us to carry them or not want to walk out to our car what seemed like the next city!

21. Whiteboards are awesome, but for especially in the car. They had a board, marker and small eraser with magnets and a cloth. They would do that for a long time.

22. I had one of those mesh organizers hanging from the passenger seat so I could always grab a wipe real quick instead of rummaging through the bag. I would also keep extra snacks and hand sanitizer in there.

23. I would always make sure I have everything on the changing table so I would not have to leave the baby alone as they can roll off.

24. My daughters were climbers and would constantly get out of their crib. One day I walked in and my 2 year old was hanging from one arm upside down! The crib net was great and kept them safe in their crib.

25. I use my phone camera for everything, but comes in handy when they have a snack or food they love when your out so you can remember.

26. I always carried an extra pair of pants and underwear along with a ziploc bag so when they were soiled they wouldn't touch anything else!

27. I used to make them dress alike but I soon learned I could just put them both in the same  brighter the better color to spot them faster.When park playgrounds get busy it came in handy

28. When reading books. even when they can't yet hold the book, move your finger under the word from left to right. It will help them later on.

29. When they could start eating solids I would keep giving them different flavors and textures and let them play in it-it would end up in their mouth. Sometimes I had to keep trying to eat it so I would keep offering until they just started to eat it.

30. Timers can work wonders for toddlers learning to share. Sharing doesn't always come naturally but they learn that when it goes off they need to switch.

31. For picky eaters, my one daughter is the picky one, always try a dip of some kind. It can fun and make it taste better!

32. Also I used to present the food in a fun way, like make a face out of the fruit and pretzels for hair. I used to put a hole in the mashed potatoes and then add the "lava" which was gravy. Kids can be easily manipulated!

33. The hardest was sticking to your word! When they would misbehave in the store or out somewhere you would tell them if they don't stop acting out you will leave. The earlier you stick to your guns the better. I finally learned this when our younger daughter was 3! After a few times she knew I really meant it.

34. Teaching counting can be fun. I would use fruit or pretzel sticks to add and subtract. They could eat it when they subtracted!

35. LeapFrog videos were instrumental learning they alphabet and letter sounds. Of course I was working with them but that video sparked their interest and by the time our daughter was 2 she knew all her alphabet and letter sounds. By 3 she was telling us words that started with each letter.

36. Make it a game for clean up. Have basket or container where they can "score point" I found when you made it a game they were more willing. It saved some of my famous yelling!

37. Ten minute clean up before bed is still my thing. I just go to bed easier if we declutter and have one thing less on my mind.

38. When they started reading I would put words on index cards them tape them all around the house and see how fast they could find them. This was great for learning sight words.

39. Speaking of learning sight words, the BOB books were the best. I recommend them!

40. When they are young I would drop them off with grandma or put them in the church nursery to help the anxiety of leaving. If you do it right away they get used to it and wont always scream when you leave. That doesn't always work but it did help some!

41. When our daughter started pre school I put an alarm clock in her room to get her moving to avoid the screaming match.

42. I invested in a balloon machine and extra balloons. When it was raining or too cold we would blow some up and play volleyball.

43. Hanging Wall folders with dividers are in my kitchen right when you walk in. They each have their own where the put their papers from school. Then the ones they really like I grab a hole puncher and put it in their Special Project folder, otherwise known as a 30-ring binder!

44. Or sometimes I would take a picture of it and print it out so they can still see it. You can lame mate it or not, some even made a book. With 2 small kids in school, its impossible to keep them all!

45. Now that my girls are in Kindergarten and 1st grade I keep a boot tray in the mud room with their gym shoes. It saves a lot of looking on gym days!

46. They also have their own cubby and a basket on top. They walk in the door and automatically hand they backpack and coat, which saves time in the morning. I use the baskets for their hat and mittens, which also save time.

47. When it snows we put food coloring in a spray bottle and let them "decorate" the snow.

48. When they were learning how to walk I would bring in or use outside a bubble machine. They really wanted to catch those bubbles!

49. Our girls are lucky and can read in the car. We have a book light for when they want to continue reading in the dark.

50. Car games can be fun. My favorite is build a story. Someone starts off then we all take turns building on to it. We have some crazy stories!

51. Try and put things out the night before, like lunches and clothes. This is a huge time saver and avoids arguments in the morning about what they are wearing.

52. Our younger daughter went through some really bad stomach issues. We would be out somewhere when she would just start screaming at the top of lungs from her tummy hurting. Now obviously we give our kids water, but I learned that really increasing her water intake helped pass things softer and more often. That worked better than the meds the dr gave to her.

53. If you have an extra large cardboard box turn it upside down and let the kids color all over it. Sometimes we even cut holes in it for a little clubhouse.

54. Younger kids don't have a sense of time so we would create the old fashioned chain links out of construction paper and each day she would remove one. She was able to count down the days until the big event!

55. I put those stick on labels on everything. Their backpacks, zippy cups and anything that will travel with them.

56. When you bring sand toys to the beach or at a park it can be confusing which ones belong to who. So with a sharpie marker I put our name on them and then there is no doubt.

57. I always make sure to have hand sanitizer in the backpacks and lunch bags.

58. Choose a different word each week and Monday you give them the definition write it on their lunch napkin and each day have them come up with a different sentence using that word. On Friday they should be able to spell it correctly and build their vocabulary.

58. My girls love to play kitchen during their bath so I always have some plastic dishes and teapot in there and they have a blast.We also love the drop in color fizzes and create different colors.

59. We like to make our own sidewalk chalk and paint. Its fun and easy to make. The girls love mixing up all the different colors!

60. We like to play carnival games, so we use sand buckets and plastic balls and put numbers on them 1-5. Just like the carnival the more they get the more tickets (we made our own out of construction paper). Also we put some hula hoops on the ground and they would jump from one to the other. Easy and simple!

These are some of the tips and ideas that helped me along the way. I hope they can help you!