Routines, And Why Your Kids Need Them

routinesHaving routines is so important for children and families.  Routines are like an anchor, keeping you and your family grounded, steady.
Routines can be simple, like brushing your teeth before you go to bed and reading a story.  Routines give children something to count on, something that makes them feel safe.  Routines lead to happier, healthier and better behaved children generally.
To set up routines for your family, start simple.  Some families need more structured routines, while others need looser, freer routines. Be flexible.  If something is not working, don’t be afraid to change it.   Make sure that you allow for some downtime.  Being willing to re-evaluate from time to time gives you the freedom to create a routine that meets the needs of your family.  Don’t over schedule yourself or your family.  That can just create more stress.
Make routines that fit your family.  Family routines are very personal and each household’s will be unique. The only “right” routine is the one which works the best for you for the place where you are today.  Don’t try to keep up with the “Smith’s”.  You will drive yourself and your family crazy if your routines don’t fit.
And lastly, plan and organize!  This can be tough if you are not the organizing type.  A family calendar is a great way to organize your family’s life.  For our family calendar, each family member has their own color.  The calendar is kept in a location where everyone can see it.
It is never to late to start a routine.  I think you will find that routines=family harmony!

Here are a few websites with more information about routines and a couple of Pinterest ideas for family calendars:

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/importance-routines-preschool-children/

http://pintsizedtreasures.com/why-your-kids-need-routines-25-days-to-a-happier-home-day-21/

 

 

Traveling with Kids

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Are you planning on heading out of town for a summer trip?
Are you flying or driving?  Traveling with kids can be an undertaking!  I have found that if I over prepare, we usually have a successful trip to and fro.  And by over preparing, I mean extras of everything.  Extra snacks, extra batteries, extra toys, and so on!

Depending on the age of your child(ren), how much can they be involved in the process.  Can they have a camera or are they able to journal about the experience?  Discuss your expectations with them ahead of time.  What should they expect to happen while traveling and how you expect them to behave.

Make sure they wear comfortable, layered clothing.  Cars and airplanes have variations in temperatures and potentially many people to accommodate.  Wearing a sweatshirt or light jacket they can pull off and on is great.  Recently I saw a family at an airport waiting to board their plane and they all had the same colored outfit on.  It was a family of 7!  I am sure it helped the parents and older siblings to keep an eye on the younger ones in a busy place like an airport.

Don’t give them lots of sugar!  Make sure that snacks are well balanced so they don’t get that “sugar rush” or “sugar drop”.
Do any of the kids need medicine?  Make sure it is handy at all times.  In case of delays or problems popping up unexpectedly.

And one of my favorite tips…have plenty of WIPES!  Even though I no longer have a child under 8, I have wipes in my purse, in the car and in my travel bag.  You just never know when you need them!  And usually when you do, you need a lot!

Head over to our Pinterest page for destinations, tips, blogs and other travel related pins.

Safe travels!

 

Building Forts

Did you build forts as a child?  We did!  All over the house.  Sometimes my mom would help.  Other times, she would cringe because we would pull every cushion or pillow off of the couches and chairs throughout the house.  Building forts meant more to us then just creating a space for ourselves.  And as a parent, I now see the significance of fort building for more than a quiet space for my kids.  It is engineering, construction, imagination and so much more.

The other day I saw this great Pinterest Pin about fort building.  Take a look!  Great stuff.
One thing I want to stress…you do not need a kit to make a great fort!  One of the fun parts of building a fort is the trial and error about what pieces of furniture or ways to keep the sheet up that make it so fun and adventurous!  Click on the photo for the Pinterest Pin or here to go directly to the story.

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How to Diffuse a Temper Tantrum or MELTDOWN!

I am sure we have all experienced this…

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If not with your own children, perhaps you have witnessed one in the store.  As a parent, they are infuriating.  As a witness, it can make you uncomfortable.  Some people will sympathize with the parent of the screaming child, others judge and shake their heads.  They might be saying to themselves, “My child would NEVER do that!” 

At any rate, it can be a catastrophic event for all involved!  Most toddlers cannot form complete sentences or be able to put their feelings into words.  That is a huge frustration for these little ones and therefore, tantrums can occur. 
So what can you do to diffuse this tantrum or meltdown?  What has worked for me in the past is to redirect the child.  You can do this in many ways.  You can ask them to do a job.  For example:  Could you hold Mommy’s keys, I can’t load this in the cart with them in my hands. 
You can act SILLY!  Dancing or singing or doing something to make them laugh is enough to break their mood. 
You can ignore them.  This can be hard!  Especially if you are in public.  But sometimes you get lucky and ignoring it, they may stop.
You can leave the scene.  Get out of line or leave the store.  Please keep in mind to do this calmly.  If you quietly leave the store, you are letting your child know that you are in charge and in control.

Here are some other articles that you may find helpful:

http://www.empoweringparents.com/category-Outbursts-And-Temper-Tantrums.php
http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/relationships/temper-tantrums-00100000098724/
http://www.parenting.com/article/how-to-defuse-a-tantrum—-fast

Hopefully you will find some helpful hints about diffusing tantrums and MELTDOWNS in this post! 

 

 

Parenting Advice from a “Non- Expert”!

I often get asked for parenting advice. Not sure if it is that my kids are 15 and 12 and people think I have all this experience?  Or that both of my kids are awesome, polite, smart, funny and seemingly well adjusted? I don’t know. But here are a few pieces of advice I would like to pass on.

1. There is rarely a quick fix to your parenting problems.
You will get lots of advice, solicited or not, from people you know, those you don’t know and those you don’t want to know. And for the holy grail of baby advice, the Expert Opinion, the sheer volume of books and articles offering you the answers to even the most specific kiddie questions will wow you. Each expert will likely offer a definitive answer for anything you need to know. So what if they all contradict each other?

Problem:  Our baby isn’t sleeping through the night?
Random and conflicting advice you hear:  “Let him cry it out or he’ll be mommy-dependent and never leave home.”
Or
“Don’t let your baby cry herself to sleep or she’ll have insomnia, fear of intimacy and an aversion to good colleges.”

Problem:  Potty training problems?
Random and conflicting advice you hear:  “Stay at home for three days and let your child pee and poop on everything in sight or they’ll wear diapers to their high school graduation”
IF doesn’t sound like fun, there’s always,
“Let your child potty train when he or she is ready or she’ll end up living with you until she’s 43.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all expert advice is to be avoided. But you should use it like a good anti-depressant, only when really needed.

2.  Much of those baffling things your baby will go through are phases.
The baby who will only fall asleep if being held vertically at a slight 45 degree angle while you do a version the Cupid Shuffle and simultaneously whisper “Shhhhhhhh” in a steady monotone until you feel lightheaded — that’s a phase.
Not sleeping through the night, pacifier addiction, embarrassing tantrums and any other number of things that can drive usually rational adults to the brink of insanity — all phases. Meaning they pass, never to be thought of again because you’re so busy dealing with the next confounding thing.

3.   You will always feel guilty.
No matter what you do with regards to your little angel, it’s never going to feel like you’re doing enough. That old friend guilt will sit on your shoulder and whisper in your ear, “I can’t believe you let Sally watch  Baby Einstein for an hour so you could shower AND wash your hair.”
There is no beating this. Just accept it and once in a while take a step back and say, “I’m working my butt off here. Can’t I get a little appreciation?” And then answer yourself. “Yes, you can. You are a great mom. You are doing a great job.” Repeat until it makes sense.

4.   All babies are different. I know, shocking.
One-size-fits-all advice, therefore, doesn’t work. Beware of moms of older kids (like me) telling you what you absolutely have to do, try, buy.
Parenting advice, from experts, friends and relatives, is like making soup. Take what you need – a dash of your mom’s wisdom, a chunk of your mother-in-law’s suggestions, a few spoonfuls of your best friend’s must-read parenting book, a dollop of an article you read online and then, for the base, pour in your own intuition. And know that you are doing the best you can and your baby will turn out to be a loved, well-adjusted adult even if he hasn’t met the latest email milestone from that obnoxious parenting website that never fails to make you feel inadequate.

 

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