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Involve Your Kids in Housework for Major Benefits

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Do you ever find yourself in this scenario: you have many things to get done around the house, the kids are restless, and you feel overwhelmed? You feel like you have to be in two places at once. You need to get the kids occupied and do all the household chores. Then there’s the guilt of letting the TV be the babysitter. And to top it off, at the end of the day, when it’s bedtime for the kids you feel bad because you didn’t really spend any time with them. Well there’s a solution.
toddler vacuuming
Involve the Kids!

If you involve your children in some household chores you and your children will reap many benefits:

  • spending time together
  • learning life skills
  • learning that work can be fun
  • training to be lifelong helpers around the house
  • work builds character, self-confidence, and self-esteem
  • laugh and talk time
  • housework completed
  • everyone will feel good at the end of the day


Ideas for Involving the Kids

1) Start Young. It’s never too early to start. And it’s never too late either. Just start small. Don’t expect perfection. Don’t expect speed. Expect to take your time and enjoy the time together. Add some music. Foster an fun environment. Let the goal be small successes and then build on them.

2) Cooking. Kids really love to help with cooking. It’s good to do a lot of talking and explaining. Even young babies and toddlers understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Ask them questions to let them show you how much they are learning. And give lots of praise. You’re looking for effort not perfection. Bonus: Kids who cook, will eat more healthy and varied foods!

Babies : Sit them in their high chair next to you. Talk to them and explain each thing you are doing. Give them fruit they can “wash” with a damp cloth or give them a small container of water that they can “stir” to be involved.
Toddlers: You can stand them on a chair next to you. (Don’t leave unattended) Give them small finite age appropriate tasks they can handle. Examples: washing fruits/vegetables in a bowl of water in the sink, drying off the produce, holding things, handing you things, pouring (with assistance if needed), and stirring. Keep in mind that the tasks you give them may be small for you, but for them, it is very exciting to be a part of this important grown-up task!
Older Kids: If needed, bring over a chair or have them work at the kitchen table. With older children, they’ll be doing a lot of the same things, but the difference is they can be more helpful. You can teach more complex ideas like measuring, temperature, timing and so on.

3) Cleaning, Tidying, and Gardening.

Babies : Before babies can walk it is a little harder, but there are things you can do. You can put them into a sling or baby carrier while you tidy and clean. Or you can put them into a bouncy seat, high chair or play yard. The key with this age group is to talk to them while you are working. As silly as it may seem, tell them what you are doing. The best thing you can do for your baby’s brain development is to talk to them a lot.
Toddlers: Once a child can walk they can: carry things from one place to another, throw things in the garbage (way fun for them!), hold a dust pan for you, sweep or push a Swiffer/dustmop (let the goal be “good enough” not perfection), wiping dust with damp cloth, pulling bed covers up, putting toys in toyboxes, pulling up weeds, etc. Safety tip: It’s a good idea to keep kids away from harsh cleaning chemicals.
Older Kids: Again, they can do the same things as toddlers, but you can expect a little better job. Praise for effort and give even more praise for improvements. Add music to make things fun. Make up silly songs, rhymes or raps along the way.

4) Laundry

Babies :  The main thing is to talk to your baby. Talk about what you’re doing and about anything. Sing songs. Play peekaboo as you fold.
Toddlers: Give small tasks such as: hand me the next piece to fold, or show them how to do basic folding and piling. They may only fold 3 things while you fold all the rest, but that’s OK!
Older Kids: The key with older kids, especially if this is new for them, is to make it fun. Let it be a time to talk about things. Let them guide the conversation by asking them open ended questions. Ask them about things that interest them. Then show enthusiastic and genuine interest in the topics they like and they’ll open up. Singing and music can make it fun too. (Try to keep the TV off. Let this be together time!)

5) Groceries and Errands

On the Road: Most of the time the kids come along for the ride, but are they “involved?” How can you do this? Let them be in charge of the list of errands or the grocery list. Let them cross things off the list. Let them have the important job of letting you know what’s the next place we’re going to. For young kids, they can memorize this by repeating it and asking them “What’s next?” (Bring water bottles and easy snacks in case energy gets low for you and kids: apple wedges, cheerios, etc)

When you get home, let them help you put things away. Toddlers and bigger kids can carry things into the bathroom or other parts of the house. They can carry light bags in and they can help unload the bags. Then they can organize things into categories – cans, produce, cold things, boxes, etc. All the while, talk about the things, where they go, and your plans for cooking them! Be excited and the kids will be excited too. Instead of framing the task as a chore, frame it as how important they are to the household and to you, and how much you appreciate all their help!


Compensation?

Should you pay children for helping? That’s up to you and you may choose different methods for different circumstances. This is what I do and it works for me. I try to develop a desire in my child to be “mommy’s helper” by encouraging and praising for this. I reinforce this a lot. The reward is the praise.

For other tasks that are harder to get my child to do, I put together a reward chart where he’ll get stars or stickers for completing the task. He gets very excited about that. Once he has gotten a certain amount of stars then he’ll get a reward. I leave the “reward” open and vague. Rewards can be going to the park, going to the library, going to a favorite place, maybe a special treat from the grocery store or whatever fits in easily with what we’re doing. The main idea is that it doesn’t have to be a toy, cost money, or be big.

End of the Day

Rest together and talk about the all the great things you accomplished together. Tell them how proud you are, how grateful you are, and ask them how they feel? Are they proud of themselves? Did they have fun? Are they glad they helped mommy and/or daddy who works so hard for them all week? How about you? Be proud of yourself and smile!

Good luck!


Please Share!

Please share how you involve your kids around the house! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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78 Parent Child Activities – FREE DOWNLOAD

The Challenge of Spending Quality Time with Your Kids

If you have young children, you know that the thing they want most is YOU! They want your attention. They want your teaching. And they want to play with YOU! How flattering! The love is awesome!

But here’s the hard part. Finding the time amidst all your work, home, and personal tasks on your to-do list. Then when your child finally gets your attention, you say, “OK I’m going to drop everything right now. Let’s play!” Then what happens? You probably end up doing the same things over and over again, wishing you could remember “What was that cool thing I thought of to do with the kids?”

Ok, so here is the answer to your your question “What Should I Do with the Kids Today?”
Parent Child Playing

What Should I Do with My Kids Today?

You can either just print out the list below or you can download the document to make your own Activity Cards. If you use the Activity Cards you can either select a card by interest or you can select randomly and let fate decide for you! It can make the whole process very exciting for the kids too. A lot of these activities are great to use at family gatherings too. Get everyone involved: mommy, daddy, gramma, grampa, uncles, aunts, cousins! The more the merrier!

Safety note: always supervise children and only use age-appropriate materials.

FREE DOWNLOAD: You can download this list in 3.5 x 5 index card format!: Parent-Child-Activities-List

Here’s the List:

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Best How-To Articles

Ever check out EHow.com? It’s pretty cool. The only downside to it is you can spend a lot of time there trying to find the best ones.

Well, I’ve done some of the work for you searching the site to find some of the best How-To articles there. And here they are:

LIFE GENERAL:

 

STUFF TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS:

 

DIET:

 

EXERCIZE:

 

GETTING THINGS DONE:

 

FINANCES:

 

INVESTING:

 

FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS:

 

CAREER:

 

If you found this helpful please digg or delicious this post! Thank you!

And as always, please share your thoughts below.

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How to Keep Your Child from Ever Smoking

You CAN Help Prevent Your Children From Smoking

If we can figure out what need smoking fills, then we can come up with alternatives to meet those needs in your children. We can then teach our children these skills to meet their needs well before the peer pressure to try smoking kicks in. And these skills are also good for helping them say no to drugs,alcohol, and other risky behavior.

Why Does Anyone Smoke?

Here are a list of the possible reasons why anyone starts smoking:

 

Reason Why Someone Starts Smoking Alternative to Smoking to Teach
Boredom How to Entertain Oneself
Anxiety How to Calm Self Naturally 
Peer Pressure Self Esteem and Confidence to say No
Excitement of Experimenting Safe Healthy Ways to Find Excitement
Mimicking our Role Models Be a Positive Role Model

There may be other reasons, and please feel free to comment below. I will expand now on what to teach your children so that your child will naturally know what to do when confronted with the idea of or invitation to smoke.

How to Entertain Oneself

 

Keeping the TV off as much as possible forces a child to use their creativity. But it is important to guide and support their creativity. Give them some help. Teach your child how to brainstorm about things to do. Try using mind mapping to come up with ideas. Some categories might be painting, crafts (search Google for infinite ideas), write a story, put on a play, invent something, build something. Do these kinds of things with children regularly, say at least 1-2 times per week and watch how they will start to come up with ideas on their own.

 

Also if children come up with ideas that seem too difficult to you, help them find ways to modify the idea instead of just saying no. By working positively with your child to make their vision come to life, you will bolster their confidence.

 

How to Calm Self Naturally walking in the woods

 

Teach your children how to be quiet. It is not natural for children to be too quiet or to sit still, but if you invite them to listen to nature, to discover the “mysteries” of nature, they can become quiet and really enjoy it. This teaches a kind of meditation. Anytime you can get away from modern noisy distractions and focus on one thing, you are meditating.

 

This meditating can be stretching, taking a nature walk, picking flowers, discovering “treasures” outside -even if it is “garbage” it can be made interesting by asking questions about it. Teach them to recognize how they created this calm inside of themselves by asking them how they feel once you see them calming down. This will reinforce their understanding of how to do this again in the future when they need it.

 

Self Esteem and Confidence to say No

 

Tell your child they are great. Be specific. “Joshua, you are very good at listening to things and coming up with your own questions. That is very smart of you. That makes me proud.”  Praise them often. This will not spoil a child if you also teach them humility.

 

Explain how everyone has special gifts, like Rudolph to use a simple example. Teach them to recognize this in themselves and others. Teach them to praise others in addition to having pride in themselves. This will help to develop humility and prevent bullying.

 

Role play with your child from any early age on how to say no to things that are not good for them, like smoking, alcohol, drugs, and risky behavior. Children love pretend games. Make up scenarios where another child asks them to try something bad. Have your child practice what they would say. And then reinforce it by asking your child why they would say no. And then praise them for their strength to do the right thing and their intelligence to know why!

 

children on waterslidesSafe Healthy Ways to Find Excitement

 

I believe what I call “excess energy” is responsible for a lot of drug abuse.  I define excess energy as when you have too much time on your hands and not enough work or constructive activities to fill that time. This happens a lot with teenagers.  So let’s teach our children early on what to do with their energy.

 

Start when you notice that your child has a lot of energy and they are fidgeting a lot, climbing the walls, perhaps driving you crazy? 🙂

 

If you can, drop what you are doing to get them started on an energy activity. Much like finding ways to entertain oneself, finding excitement starts with brainstorming. Let your child lead. If they are at an age where they say “I don’t know what to do” or “I’m bored” it is good to help guide them to come up with ideas.

 

What is exciting? Anything that involves intrigue or activity is usually a good place to start. Here are some ideas:

Close to Home

  • Make up a mystery game. It can be simple or complex, whatever you have time for.
  • Make up treasure hunt.
  • Hide and seek is great for little ones.

Away from Home

  • Go to the beach, waterslides
  • Go to the park
  • Play tag or some other running game
  • Play frisbee
  • Go sledding
  • Any outdoor activity
  • Silly crazy dancing contest

The important thing is to get active, have fun, laugh and then reinforce how you were able to create excitement naturally by asking your child how they feel at a moment when you see them enjoying themselves. “Isn’t it wonderful how we were able to create our own excitement! Wasn’t that fun?”

 

Be a Positive Role Model child looking up

You know what this means. Children mimick their parents, care takers and role models. Even if you have smoked in front of your child for years and think it’s too late, IT’s NOT! (That’s the addiction talking in your brain.) The impact you can have by quitting can be enormous. You know what to do. Find the method for quitting that works for you.

We also need to be good role models in how we handle our own boredom, reaction to anxiety, and need for excitement. Watch yourself how you handle these things. If over time you are more aware of what causes your knee-jerk reactions you can create new reactions that teach your children by example the good habits you would like them to mimic. And remember to talk to them about it, even invite their help! “Mommy is disappointed about not getting an award at work. What do you think I should do to feel better?” Bet they’ll surprise you and make you smile!

Start Today – A Little Today,  More Tomorrow, and So On!

The earlier you can start teaching these concepts to your children the better. It doesn’t have to be within the context of smoking either. A little bit each day. Repetition is the key to learning. And praise your children to reinforce when you see examples of them doing these things on their own. Name them. For example, “Great Job Suzy! You found a way to create excitement on your own and it is safe! How does that make you feel? Good? That’s Great!”

And when you’ve done one of these things, them make sure to praise yourself too!

Please share this with others if you found it helpful. See the email link below.

And please let us know your comments or practices that work for you!

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Peace Amidst the Chaos

Fear

I was having strange dreams last night. I can’t remember them, but whenever that happens I know that I’m worried or bothered by something. I know what caused it: FEAR. Fear of death, fear of leaving my young son parentless. What brought this on? Elizabeth Edwards announcement of her “uncurable, but treatable cancer.” I was upset by her news because I feel the pain that her family is going through. I lost my husband to cancer and I know what “uncurable, but treatable” can mean. And as I fear for the Edwards children, I fear for my own child. He only has one parent left, so I need to take extra good care of myself.

Chaos

All this fear produces anxiety. We all feel anxiety. Anxiety about our jobs, our children, our lovers, our possessions, our health, and on and on. Sometimes it is so chronic in our lives that we don’t even notice it anymore. But it is there and it is a heavy burden to carry around …all day and for me all of last night. At it’s essense anxiety is fear of being out of control. What is the antidote to this?

A New Perspective on Hope

Elizabeth Edwards’ doctor spoke at the press conference and described “uncurable, but treatable,” and later I saw Dr. Nancy Snyderman on NBC Nightly News talk about looking at this from a different perspective. Uncurable means that she’ll be living with it for the rest of her life, much like diseases like diabetes.  Treatable means that she can manage this disease and continue to live a productive life.  How we define a situation makes it either an unbearable problem or simply a challenge to work on.

A Great Gift

One of the blessings when my husband was sick with cancer was the incredible appreciation for life we found on a daily basis. Small problems were no longer problems. Even big problems couldn’t bother us. You could find us laughing every day at problems that would turn most people inside out. Even as we knew his prognosis was terminal, we had some of our happiest days together during his last year. Want to know the Real Secret? The key to a happy life is to grasp this every day whether you have a terminal diagnosis or not. Because, guess what? We all have a terminal diagnosis.

Peace Amidst the Chaos

One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “Peace is not about avoiding trouble, work and hardships. Rather Peace is the ability to remain calm in the midst of life’s challenges.” This is our life everyday. We have control over lots of things, and many things we don’t have control over. But the biggest thing we don’t have control over is the fact that we will die someday. Rather than running from that, we each need to find a certain peace about that. The way that works for me is to turn my worry over to God. I put my trust in God that he will take care of me, my son, my family, friends and the whole world for that matter. Boy do I feel a weight lift when I do that. I know that there may be times that I don’t understand why certain things happen, but when I trust in God, I find that the good emerges eventually.

Living the Lesson

So where can we implement this peace, this appreciation of life, the ability to really laugh at problems big and small? Here are some ideas:

  • If you’re late and there’s traffic, let it go. Turn up the radio and enjoy. Laugh.
  • If someone cuts you in line, tell them (in your mind) that they are welcome to go ahead.
  • When your child spills his drink all over the dinner that took you an hour to prepare, laugh! Take it slow. Roll with the punches.
  • You need to get more work done, you’re falling behind, your tense and anxious. Let it go. Plan and then do one thing at a time. One foot in front of the other. Let go of worry. What’s the worst that can happen? Find a way to laugh.
  • You lose your house in a fire. What do you still have? Your health? Your family? Take things one day at a time. Ask and receive help.
  • You lose a loved one? What do you still have? Life, memories, their spirit, other loved ones who still need you. Cry, grieve, but when you can find your smile amongst the tears. That’s how your loved one would want it.
  • You’re told you have a terminal diagnosis.  We all do. Only God knows the date and hour. Live today. Love today. Smile today.

Florida Sunset

Where will you find peace today? What will you let go? Big or small, please share your thoughts with this Learning Community! Peace to all.

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Good Parenting Resolutions

Parent Child PlayHere are some great parenting resolutions to try. Just because it’s March doesn’t mean you can’t come up with new resolutions today!

  1. No More Yelling.
    Make this a non-negotiable pledge. No matter what is happening with your child, commit to remain calm and rational. Remember that you’re the one in charge. You only lose control of the situation when you lose your cool. This practice will make you and your child much happier. (And no yelling between spouses/partners either! Children will follow the example you set. And kindness between parents makes a child feel
    secure and loved.)
  2. Get Enough Rest.
    Being a parent means being tired. It’s part of the job description. But there are many ways that you can get the rest you need to be the patient loving parent you want to be. When you get the rest you need you’ll be a better parent, but also a better friend, spouse and worker.

    1. Rest your mind by doing something you enjoy like reading a novel or chatting with an old friend.
    2. Rest your body and mind by getting enough sleep, usually 8 hours is best. Make this a non-negotiable top priority.
    3. Rest your mind by taking 10-15 minutes when you feel your energy waning to close your eyes and meditate (translation: let go of your thoughts worries for this time). You will be AMAZED at how much of a lift you get from this
  3. Say No. Say no to those things that are a drain on your time. Success in life means
    achieving your priorities. What are yours? Write them down. Then when other things come into your life, (invitations, magazines, books, TV shows, new technology, surveys, etc.) if they don’t fit in with your priorities then pass on them even if they seem interesting or if you feel obligated. You are obligated to yourself and your family first.
    By passing on things that don’t fit in with your priorities, you will avoid a lot of frustration because you won’t fall behind on the things that are most important to you. Every once in a while review your priorities and the time you have allotted for each to see if you need to update them.
  1. Play with Your Children.
    This is the greatest gift you can give to your child. When you find your child asking you for the millionth time to play or talk or take them to the park, it might be time to put the chores aside and play. Even if it is for 15-20 minutes, that can really make a difference for your child. It builds their confidence, self-esteem, and creativity. If there is something you must finish, like the dinner or the dishes, involve them. It may slow you down a bit, but it’s a great time to teach and listen to them. During playtime, let the child lead. Listen, praise, dance, sing, enjoy!
  2. Tuck Your Kids into Bed. Take time out to read, count your blessings, review the highlights of the day focusing on the positive events and the learnings from difficult things. Tell them you love them, how great you think they are, and why you are proud of them. Smile and feel the joy that parents are so blessed to have. This is the reward for all your hard work! Good job, parents!

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