Looking For Something Different To Hand Out This Halloween?

Over the years I have seen a lot of candy come home with my children after an evening of Trick or Treating. Sometimes, we would get little surprises in their treat bags, when people had given out something more creative. There have been Halloween pencils, Dracula teeth or mini decks of cards pop out over the years. One year they all came home with a brand new toothbrush thanks to a dentist living in the area. I loved that one although they were not quite as excited about it. The best was when my son was about four years old and came home with a Doctor’s Kit. I was totally surprised and my son was thrilled! It meant more to him than any of the candy and he played with it long after the candy was gone.

Trick Or Treating Can Be More Than Just Candy!

Trick Or Treating Can Be More Than Just Candy!

Turned out one of the families in the neighbourhood had collected all the small toys their children did not use any more and put them in a large bin to give out on Halloween to the children they knew. There was everything from small stuffed animals, toy cars, trucks, Barbies, small books, bouncy balls, dolls, restaurant toys and whatever else they could find stuffed into the bins for kids to choose from when they came trick or treating. The neighbourhood kids loved it and their house quickly became a must stop every Halloween Night!

I thought it was a brilliant idea, not only was it healthier for the neighbourhood children collecting treats but the house got a good clean out at the same time. I tried it the next year with the surplus toys my children were finished with. They were happy to let them go especially when they realized their toys were going to a new home and not just being tossed. We would sort through their rooms together before Halloween and they could choose what they wanted to pass on. The smiles and surprised looks their old toys brought to some of their friends coming to our door made it all worth while. We always had a little bit of candy to give out too just in case the parents didn’t want their child to have another toy!

Am I Really A “Helicopter Parent”?

The Helicopter Parent... Could You Be One???

The Helicopter Parent… Could You Be One Too???

I had never even heard the term “Helicopter Parent” before until my daughter in grade 12 at the time accused me of being one after I came home to pick up and deliver my son’s school project to him that he had forgotten. Slightly embarrassed, I had to ask her what it was to which she smugly said, “Mom, a Helicopter Parent is a parent who takes care of everything for their child! They hover over their children like helicopters making sure everything is always just fine. How is James ever going to learn to remember to take his homework if you keep bringing it to him?” She had a good point. When I read up on it a bit more I didn’t think I had all the traits of a Helicopter Parent but there were a few. Sure maybe I requested certain teachers each year for my children or I helped them sometimes a little too much with their homework when they asked or maybe brought their forgotten lunch and homework down to them once in a while, …ok, all the time.

Was I really being a Helicopter Parent? I didn’t do Everything for them; I wasn’t following them around hovering and watching over their every move so they never got hurt or experienced disappointment? I didn’t control everything in their life only a few things. I started to think about it. Maybe I was a bit of a Helicopter Parent. After all how was I really helping my child to learn for themselves if I was doing all these things for them? How was I empowering them to make their own wise decisions in life or to learn from their mistakes? Maybe if I stopped delivering my son’s homework to him he would smarten up and pack it the night before. If he didn’t get my idea of a perfect teacher maybe he would get the experience he needed with a different teacher.

In reading more about it I read about College professors complaining about parents coming in to tell them they are giving too much homework to their child and their child was overwhelmed. There were managers telling stories about parents coming in to ask for raises for their children, complaining their child was being worked too hard or treated unfairly and they wanted the manager to make changes to improve their child’s work experience. I know being a parent we all just want the best for our children in life and if we could, we would fix everything for them but when is enough, enough!

Sometimes it is tough to know the difference between guiding our child and taking over for them. When we take over we send the message to our child that we don’t think they can do it themselves. Not only do they not learn how to make decisions for themselves but they lose their self confidence and coping skills relying on us or others to fix things for them. If a parent fixes everything the child may never learn how to deal with their own mistakes or disappointments in life.

I realized as hard as it was to watch my babies make mistakes sometimes I had to let them fall on their own so they would know how to pick themselves up again and keep going when I wasn’t around. By rescuing them all the time I was not letting them experience their life lessons so they would keep repeating their mistakes knowing Mom would take care of it instead of getting the lesson and moving on. The next time James called me from the school to bring down his homework I told him he would just have to run home at recess and get it as I was out. He never forgot it again. It wasn’t as much fun going back for it himself as it was to inconvenience mom to bring it down to him.

I learned something very important through my daughter’s simple comment. We can guide and teach our children the best we can but ultimately they will have to figure things out for themselves. If we keep preventing situations from happening in their life they will never learn their life lessons and will always be fearful of taking risks and failing in life. I wanted to empower my children and teach them to have enough confidence in themselves to take risks. To do so I had to take a step back and watch, sometimes guide but ultimately let them experience the natural consequences of their behaviour and do it themselves while they were at home so when they grew up and left they would have the knowledge to take on lifes challenges on their own!

For more information on Helicopter Parenting check out this recently published article “How to avoid being a Helicopter Parent” by Jennifer Chung in the Toronto Star.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada

The Hands On This Turkey Remind Us To Be Thankful For More Than Just The Food That We Eat...

The Hands On This Turkey Remind Us To Be Thankful For More Than Just The Food That We Eat…

Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey and stuffing. It is truly a time to appreciate everything we have in our lives. Gratitude is something we can never show enough of. So, take a moment this Thanksgiving with your family let everyone reflect on all they have to be grateful for in their life. While you are sitting down for dinner or after dinner by the fire have everyone share some of the things they love about their life. It will always create a precious memory and everyone will feel great afterwards.

Some of the things I am Grateful For….

Fresh Cranberries From The Field For Our Cranberry Jelly

Fresh Cranberries From The Field For Our Cranberry Jelly

  • I am thankful for my family who has taught me so much about life.
  • My wise husband who helps me see the humorous side of life.
  • My children for teaching me so much about love, patience and empathy
  • My perfect job that gives me the flexibility I need to juggle home, family, and work.
  • My friends for their love support and shoulder to cry on when needed.
  • My parents who taught me from a young age the power of thinking positive and how what I envision in my life I will create.
  • My brother for his love and patience with me even when I didn’t deserve it.
  • My kid’s elementary school which through the years has taught me to speak out, organize events, and given me a sense of community unlike any other school I have been too.
  • Karma for what we put out in this world really does come back to us tenfold. Keep it good.
  • My home and neighbourhood so full of fun and friendships.

There is so much to be grateful for in our lives if we just stop and appreciate it once and a while we will feel so much better about ourselves and our lives.

Family Game Nights

Great Idea For A Cold Winter's  Night...

Great Idea For A Cold Winter’s Night…

With the sun setting earlier and evenings getting colder Winter is fast approaching and family activities are starting to move indoors. I don’t know about you but if my family had their way they would be watching shows, video gaming, painting or reading all winter long. All great activities but sometimes a change is good. Last year we started a new activity to mix things up a bit.

Once a month we would host a Family Games Night at our house. The kids would invite their friends over and some of our neighbours would drop by with their kids. Everyone would bring a snack to share to keep it simple and we would have a massive Family Games Night. There would be Wii Just Dance livening up the basement, Dominos, Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Aggravation, Apples to Apples, Charades and any other game you can think of to play. Games nights quickly became a family and friend favourite. Everyone had such a great time and all ages could participate. It was the perfect “What to do” on a Winter Night solution.

Family games nights became so popular we started hosting them more frequently throughout the winter months. If you have never tried one I would highly recommend it. They are a fun way to brighten up the greyness of winter and bring some fun and laughter into your home.

Check It Out!

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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