Thursday, July 28, 2011

Parenting Quick Tip: Don't Get Bogged Down in the Details

When you're in the middle of a struggle with your preschooler, it's super easy to get bogged down in the details, whether it's making sure the clothes match, making him eat all his veggies, or just getting OUT of the store without having a major meltdown. 

Quick tip for today: Think big picture. What am I trying to accomplish here? Getting dressed and out the door in time for school? (Then do matching socks really matter? And really, do they ever?) Making sure he gets enough veggies for the day? (Try another type- carrots, beets, peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, need I go on?) Happiness on both of our parts? (Carry her out of the store piggy-back, saddle-back, arm-in-arm). 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Parenting Quick Challenge: Summer Breeze

Find one. Just kidding. Well, kind of. Guys. It’s been over 100 degrees here for 15 days straight. Fifteen. And I won’t even tell you what it feels like. Molten lava comes to mind, not that I know what that feels like, but I do think I have a pretty good idea at this point...

Okay really though, the challenge (which we haven’t had in a while, I know, I’m slacking...) is to be like a breeze. If you’ve forgot what that’s like, here’s what one looks like:

Now let’s all do a collective groan and vent about how much we can’t wait for autumn.

Are we done? Okay.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From the Archives: Look Who's Talking!

A while ago I was having a conversation with a friend about her car radio breaking. She was complaining about not being able to hear traffic and news and just her poor excuse for a car in general. Then she paused. ‘You know,’ she said, ‘I do talk to my kids a lot more in the car now that our other alternative is silence.’

This made me think: Does this happen a lot? And why have we stopped talking to our kids while we’re in the car?  The commute to school/karate/ballet class/church/the grocery store is the perfect venue for talking (and listening) to our children. Especially for toddlers and preschoolers, having conversations with adults is important because it teaches (and gives an outlet for practicing) two important rules of conversation:

  • Question and answers – As adults, we instinctively know how this dance goes. One person asks a question, the other answers. Babies first begin to learn this when an adult asks a question they already know the answer to (“What color is this?”) and then answers it for the child (“Green!”). As children get older, they can answer questions and learn to ask other questions through practicing conversation.
  • Turn taking – I think all parents will agree that this is an important skill and the basis of learning to share. It also shows up when we talk with others. We all have the friend who (bless her heart) never learned this skill and talks your ear off while you nod along and your eyes glaze over. By practicing conversation with your kiddo, you are teaching him that the best communication happens when both people have a chance to talk.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Parenting and Happiness

A recent study that polled over 200,000 people around the globe found that parents of young children are- wait for it- not quite as happy as parents of older children. Surprised? Well, say researchers, the answers may lie in the very simple, everyday tasks that stress out parents of very young children: diaper changes, night-time wakings, temper tantrums and the like. More still, young children use resources you may not be thinking of (or maybe you are) on a day to day basis: they take time away from you and your partner, your friends, and money out of your wallet. And even though parents love the snookers out of their little ones, it's a tough job, and one that may be affecting your happiness.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, America!

Perhaps one of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to explain Independence Day to youngsters is as America’s Birthday. Below are just a few ways for you and your preschool patriot to help America celebrate:

1. Make a paper or felt flag – older kiddos may enjoy learning what the stars and stripes represent (50 states and 13 original colonies).

2. Play patriotic music and sing along! Songs like Yankee Doodle and the Star Spangled Banner aren’t just patriotic, they’re fun and a symbol or respect for our country.

3. Pick out a red, white, and blue outfit for each member of the family to wear today!

4. Color in a map of the United States and start teaching your preschooler the names of each of the 50 states.

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