Rainy Days…

Walking home from school one wet, rainy day...

Walking home from school one wet, rainy day…

Sometimes a moment is just so cute it needs a poem to go with it…

Puddle Jumpers

Pitter, Patter,

Pitter, Patter,

Walking, holding tiny hands.

A little boy and girl

Come home from school

Stepping on soggy land.

Snuggling close,

Loving the weather,

Another puddle ahead.

One more time

Let’s jump together

Sploosh!  We’re getting soaked.

We’re almost home

There is not much time

A few more puddles to go.

Wait!  Look a river!

We’ll pretend we’re boats

And we can chug real slow

While the river carries us home.

by Karen

Take a moment to enjoy the small things in life. I always loved walking my children home from school. It was a time for us to connect and for them to explore the neighbourhood around us, play on the playground for a while and when it was raining find a good puddle to jump in together. When we got a big rain storm a huge lake would cover part of the field at their school. It was on those days that I would put on my rubber boots and rain slicker and join them in the puddle fun wading through the lake and splashing in the puddles.  We would always come home soaked, get changed and then have a nice hot chocolate and snack. It is moments like these that build great memories. To this day my kids still love running in the rain.

Temper Tantrum

Sometimes it's easier for mom to take a timeout...

Sometimes it’s easier for Mom to take a timeout…

Temper Tantrums – Always keep a good book in the bathroom, you never know who will be needing it.

When a child is tired and upset he or she will not always stay put for a “cool down time”.  There is no perfect way.  One time my oldest daughter Marie was four years old, way over tired and having a totally out of control crying temper tantrum.  I had tried everything I knew at the time with none of it working. Rather than duct taping her to her bed which is what I wanted to do in that moment. I locked myself into the bathroom with a book and Marie pounding and sobbing on the door outside calling mommy, mommy, mommy at the top of her lungs.  I told her as calmly as I could from my side of the door, that I would not open the door until I had heard 5 minutes of silence on the other side, then plugged my ears and read my book. I could still hear her through my plugged ears so knew she was safe but still not calm.

After about 15 minutes it was finally quiet on the other side of the door and I was able to come out and suggest (now calmer myself) that we cuddle on the couch for a bit to talk about it.  She was exhausted and curled up in my lap, we cuddled and talked now both much calmer and worked out what was happening for her. Then she wanted to go to bed. It turned out all she really needed was some time with mommy she was just too tired to express it. By taking the cool down time myself I gave her and myself the time we needed to gain control of our anger so we could work things out in a calmer frame of mind.

 

Sibling Rivalry- Understanding the Jealous Sibling

Jealous Siblings –  Children can be our greatest teachers…

"No I don't want to Play!"

“No I don’t want to Play!”

We think when we have children that we have a lot to teach them, but it is really the other way around we are constantly learning from them . It is no coincidence that our children are our mini me’s.  I finally understood my relationship with my brother after I watched my two youngest children interacting. Anya was 21months older than James and had been an angel baby until the day James was born and then she was consumed with jealously. It didn’t matter how many times we explained that love was not a piece of cake and there was less cake left over with each sibling that came along to enjoy it. Love grew with each person to love and got bigger so there was enough for everyone.  She just could not get it and wanted James out of her life. Her kisses would leave teeth marks on his forehead, blankets and toys were left on his face, pushing, shoving, hitting, the list was endless.

When James was around 2 years old and was following Anya around everywhere wanting to play with her I finally got it.  They were just like my brother and me. James loved Anya so much he wanted to be with her, act like her even to be her. Anya wanted nothing to do with him and would push him away or hit him for no reason. Yet still all James wanted was to be loved by her.

I finally saw my brother for who he was. Like James he was a little soul who looked up to and loved his sister so much he just wanted to spend every minute with her.  I had treated my brother the same way Anya treated hers. I wished I could go back and change the way I had treated my brother but all I could do was change the future.

I explained to Anya how much her brother loved her and how he just wanted to be with her every minute of the day; he was only copying her because he wanted to be just like her. When she was mean to him I would have her do something nice for him afterwards to make up for the way she had treated him and we would talk together about how it felt to be him and what was happening for her that she was feeling angry or jealous. I also made extra efforts to spend some quality time with her each day laying with her at night so she could get the mommy time she was missing and including her in taking care of James so she could learn some empathy toward him. It was not easy for her going from being the youngest to the middle child and she just wanted to have mommy and daddy all to herself again.  Their relationship did not change overnight but slowly she started to get it that even though her brother was not going anywhere, she was still loved too and he was kind of fun to play with sometimes. I had a long healing talk with my brother too and apologized for all the hurtful things I did to him when we were children.

Birthday Parties on a budget!

I get to plan my OWN Birthday Party!

I get to plan my OWN Birthday Party!

By the time my youngest son was 7 years old my husband and I were tired of all the large fancy birthday parties. We had done them all, pool parties, fairy parties, gymnastic parties, park parties, bowling parties and more. By the end of the party we had laid out $250 – $350 and come home with an exhausted overwhelmed child.  And if we invite every child who has had our child to their birthday party we would have to invite half the class. I grew up with very small in the house parties, no more than 3-5 friends and I turned out fine. Since when does a birthday party have to be such a production?

We were planning on going to Disneyland the year my son turned seven,. To give the kids an opportunity to save some money for their trip we offered them a deal where we would give them a budget of $100 towards their birthday party. They could decide when and where they wanted to have it, plan a budget for it and whatever was left over they got to keep for their trip.  They had to pay for the activity and goody bags.  We would cover the cake and food if it was Pizza or Hot dogs served at home if they wanted to eat out they would have to pay the difference.

It was amazing how all of a sudden when they had a vested interest in their party they went from wanting the $15 -$20 per person party to planning a party at home or not having a party at all just a couple of friends over for cake afterschool. It was also a great learning experience for them as they planned their budget. They discovered that the dollar store maybe the cheapest place to buy goody bag toys and candy but not the best. Sometimes the local toy store could have a sale on and they could get a nicer item for $2-$3 each. They investigated the price of a bowling party  vs a swimming party and learned they could take 3-4 kids swimming for $2.25 each then if the party guests came home to eat it would only cost them $9 plus about $15 for goody bags, $24 for the entire party so they got to keep $76 for themselves.

It was a great learning experience and empowered my children to take charge of their own party.  They realized they could do all kinds of things for next to no money so they could keep most of the money for themselves. My son that year chose to just have a few friends over afterschool to play outside and have some cake. He spent $10 on goody bags and kept the $90 for his trip to Disneyland.  The plan your own party idea worked out so well we all decided to keep it in place every year. The kids loved the extra money and mom and dad loved the budget.

Parents can set the budget at whatever amount they are comfortable with.  Over the years my children have had swimming parties, sleepover parties, Bike scavenger hunt parties and bowling parties etc.   Everyone has had a great time and they have always finished with some extra money in their pocket.

Cool Down Time – What do I do when my child is Angry?

Don’t give up. Keep trying different ideas. What works for one child does not always work for the next.  Parenting children is not a cut and dried task. You can’t put Parenting into a box a “One method for all and the child will turn out perfect idea”.

If only you could put parenting in a box....

If only you could put parenting in a box….

One thing I can tell you is, when a child is angry or having a Temper Tantrum they all need a cool down time. (Don’t we all)  How or what that cool down time looks like for each child may vary. Some children might need to be alone to cool down, others might do better with a snuggle with mom or dad on the couch. It depends on the situation and how upset the child is.

Sitting down and being curious about their feelings always worked best. In Step Parenting they teach Phrases that started with “Could it be your upset because  ________? Fill in the blank with whatever the current situation is…Max was hitting you, Mommy couldn’t play right now, We had to leave the park or whatever you think the source of the problem is. That one phrase opens the door for the child to identify and share their feelings with you and if you guessed wrong and it was maybe something that had happened earlier in the day it opens the door for them to correct you and share what was really upsetting them. Children just want to be heard and being curious is the first step to discovering what is causing their frustration.

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Disclaimer

The information on this site is based on the personal experience of the author. There are no guarantees of a perfect method to raise a child, it is all trial and error. Please feel free to try some of the suggestions on this site and let me know how you make out. If you would like to use any words or pictures from this blog please contact me for written permission. © 2013

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