Family Christmas Crafting: Craft #2 Ornaments

Standard

Beaded Candy Canes

craft2

 

ChrI remember when I was young, my mom put candy canes on the Christmas Tree.  It was beautiful however the ants thought they were delicious and they were all in our tree.  So here is an ant free alternative to adding candy canes to the tree.

What you would need:

*White, red, or green pipe cleaner

*Red & White Beads

Step 1: Cut the pipe cleaner in half or measure how big you want your candy cane to be.

Step 2: Place the first bead on the pipe cleaner almost to the very end. Leaving about 1/4 of an inch.

Step 3: Fold the 1/4 of an inch of pipe cleaner that is left at the bottom around the bead.  This will help secure it and the rest of the beads you put on.

Step 4: Place the rest of the beads on the pipe cleaner leaving about a 1/4 of pipe cleaner on the opposite end.

Step 5: Fold the pipe cleaner around the last bead.

Step 6: Bend the pipe cleaner to look like a candy cane.

Are you qualified

Standard

qualified

For as long as I can remember I have worked with children.  When I was in daycare myself I would assist with the smaller children.  My first job at 15 years old was being and assistant teacher in daycare.  When I was 17 I became a mentor and youth leader.  And every since then children have been in my world.  I did not know that they were the purpose of my very being.  I did not know that I would be teaching parents how to love and teach their children more effectively.

But now I know.  I have known for about 4 years now.  I have wanted to be a family coach for about 4 years but talked myself out of it.  Because I was thinking about how people would embrace me and what I would teach them.  I have never birthed a child.  I have never adopted a child yet I have been a mother.  It’s weird I know.  Sometimes it is not the experiences we have that qualify us it is simply who we are.  I was created to teach, care for, love on, and empower families.  I have a gifting for nurturing, teaching, and understanding children.  I have been graced to do what I do.  And I do it very well.  Not bragging, I’m just saying.

I said all this to say just because you are parenting for the first time, just because you are single but want to be a foster parent, just because you do not have a Master’s degree hanging on your wall, you can still pursue the dreams and calling that is on your life.  You will not rest well until you do.  Validation from others does not qualify you.  The passion and the drive you have qualifies you.  The gifts that you were created with qualifies you.  God’s calling on your life qualifies you.  You were born for this. (what ever your “this” maybe).  So go and do that thing that you have been wanting to do but talked yourself out of because you felt as though you aren’t qualified.  Take a step towards that today!

Healthy Independence.

Standard

shoes

Our jobs as parents are to mold and teach this little person that was given to us to be a functional adult.  One way that we do that is by teaching independence.  Now, I do not mean that you kick your six year old out of the house to fend for himself.  I mean preparing your child to function as an adult on his own when the time comes.  Here are some helpful tips to start teaching independence.

1. Give children appropriate responsibilities.  As adults we all know that responsibilities are one of the things that we all have day in and day out.  Your children are going to have those as well.  Having a sense of responsibility makes you feel that you have a purpose.  It makes you feel that you are needed and wanted.  Children need to feel that way as well.  When we give out responsibilities make sure it is a task that your child can successfully handle.  Do not set them up for failure. Also let them do it.  You can instruct them on how it is done but let them do it.  If Brad is responsible for the trash and he may not be coming home, it is his responsibility to get some one to take out the trash for him.

2. Let them find their way.  I know that Savanah may not make up the bed with those sharp military corners that you like. But she does get up every morning and makes up her bed to the best of her ablity.  Please do not go back and remake her bed because it is not up to your standards.  I saw a post the other day that said that 8+1=9 but so does 5+4.  We are getting the same answer but using different methods.  Same thing with your child.  They get the job completed but they may do it their way.  That is what you want for your child, for them to think for themselves.

3.Be consistent.  This is always a big thing in your parenting journey.  Children pick up on inconsistencies and they start becoming inconsistent themselves.  Be an example.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

4. Help them make healthy decisions.  Let them decide on what they want to wear shorts in 30 degree weather explain to them why this is not a good decision.  Then let them show you what would be the best thing for them to wear. Celebrate their good decisions.

5.Help your child talk through solutions. Be a listening ear.  If you let your child talk through situations they will be able to find suitable solutions or almost suitable. They may need a nudge here and there but let them come up with the solution to their problems.

6.Create opportunities for your child to be independent.  Let them choose what is for dinner one night.  Give them a part of the grocery list and let your children go in pairs to pick those things out.  Let them redecorate their room.  Give them an opportunity to be independent.

7. Set some clear expectations.  Let them know that they are an important part of this family and with that comes expectations that they must follow.  Such as curfews, unplugging at the dinner table, or cleaning their room.  Let them know what that means to you and what those things look like. Also give them instructions and make sure that they understand fully, even if you have to repeat it a couple of times.

8.Be Open.  Be open to them figuring out the world on their own.  Give them some healthy space.  Let them work through tough situations.  When they ask you what you think about something.  A good thing to say is “I will always have advice for you and I am so glad you came to me.  However, I first want to hear what you think you should do.”  This creates dialogue between you and your child creating a strong bond between you two.

9. Let them fail to their way to success.  I know that you have been through so many life failures however those things helped to groom you into the person that you are today.  The same goes for your child.  I know that it breaks your heart to see your child hurt, disappointed, or sad.  However those emotions and situations builds character.  So sometimes you have to let them fail but be right there to comfort, talk to them about what they can do differently next time, and listen to them. Which brings me to number ten.

10. Let them know you are there for them.  You are their support system.  They look to you as an example and as a sounding board throughout their life.  Let them know that you are challenging them to be the best them that they can be, but you will always be there when they need you.  You may not always pick up the pieces however you are there to give encouragement or to be their rock.

What sort of ways do you help your child become and independent child?  I would love for you to share.  Comment below or connect with us on facebook and/or twitter.

Can’t live with it, Can’t live with out it.

Standard

colorful laundry

When I am having a conversation to a mom about family and household challenges one thing that comes up with out fail is Laundry.  Now I know that we have been discussing parenting strategies and practical child rearing things, but laundry is a dark cloud of doubt that hangs over us.  We tend to feel, if I can’t get the laundry right, can I do anything right?  You are doing a great job rather you have 1 load of laundry or 4 loads of laundry to wash and fold.  Now for me the washing and drying part is simple it is the folding and putting away that slows me down in the race to clean clothes.  Laundry is not going any where if anything it will continue to multiply, until you have an empty nest then you may miss it. But, for now here are some practical tips to make laundry not so over whelming.

1. Set a schedule. When you set a schedule you can impliment it to where each family member has a certain day to have their clothes washed.  You can set a day for just whites or just dark colored clothing.  Set a time as well.  Tell yourself “I am going to wash clothes from 6:00pm until 8:00pm this week.”  Then be on it. When the washer is finished put it in the dryer and keep your cycle going.  With my washer and dryer 2 hours of consistent laundry will allow me to wash, dry and put away about 3 loads of laundry.  That may only scratch the surface but you have completed more than if you ignored the ever growing piles.

2. Gather the troops young and old.  Something tells me mom or dad that you didn’t wear that 6T shirt yesterday.  Since you did not wear all of the clothes yourself you should not be expected to wash all of them yourself.  I know that you may have a specific way of washing. And there are rules to conserving the quality of clothes when you wash them.  So let this be a lesson to your little ones.  Make it into a game.  “Let’s see how fast you can put all of the white socks in this basket.” You are teaching colors, motor skills and there is one less task you have to do yourself.

3. Use the Get To method of thinking.  We talked about this in a previous blog but just to recap when we take the get to approach to our to-do list it brings a sense of gratitude.  Think and say “I am so grateful that I get to do my families laundry.  I am thankful that we have clean clothes to wear.”

4. Do laundry often.  Just like any task if we tackle it while it’s small it will be easier to accomplish and we will feel as if we actually can do it.  It is easier to wash the mole hill of laundry than the Mt Everest of laundry.

5. Get a systematic method.  This can tie in with the scheduling and can go farther to the actual separation of clothes. Do we wash the jeans first?  Do we check pockets as we are loading the clothes or during separation?  Find out what works for you and do that over and over again. Then you will have a system that you can do with your eyes close.

6. Separate daily.  Have a basket for dark colors and  light colors.  As well as any other category that you may have.  Put them for your children’s use as well.  Then when it is time to wash one task is already complete.

Ok as always I love to hear from you. And thank you so much for reading.  Share your laundry stories and what works best for you and your family.  Connect with me on facebook and twitter.  Happy imperfect parenting.

Get to vs have to, these little words can change your life.

Standard

get to

I was listening to a motivational speaker this morning, Mr. Eric Thomas, and something that he said really struck something within me.  He said (in my own words) that there are two types of people in the world, the ones that say and think that they have to do something.  Then there are the ones that think and say that they get to do something.  Two small words that mean so much.

The have to crowd says I have to take Blake to soccer practice the get to crowd says I get to take Blake to soccer practice.  Now just let that settle in for a moment.  When we say that we have to do something for our family or our kids we turn it in to a chore or work.  Just like a great mother and father would say I have to make sure that my kids are safe.  I get that it is something that must be done.  It takes on a serious heavy tone.  Now on the other hand when we use the phrase for the everyday ins and outs of the family we tend to see it as a burden which can easily get us overwhelmed.

When we say that we get to do something, it is a privilege just like when we were younger some of the get to phrases we would say were.  I get to have a sleep over, I get to have ice cream for dessert, I get to go to the mall.  They were all things that we were excited to do.  When we use the words I get to it brings about a feeling and mind set of gratitude.  I get to cook dinner for my family today.  How awesome is that.  Some people may have lost their families so there is no one to cook for any more.  Or others may not have enough food to cook for their families.  But we get to cook for our family we get to provide them with nourishment, we get to see smiles on their faces because they are not going to bed hungry.  These are just some of the things that we get to do.  We will be grateful.

So let us change the words have to, to get to, and see how it will over flow into our children.  They get to clean their rooms what a privilege.  There are some children who do not have rooms or nice comfy beds to sleep on.  They get to go to school.  That is awesome, some children are not able to go to school because they go to work to help out the family.

Make a conscious effort to change the words that you are using.  Let me know that positive effects that it has on you and your family. Try it out today and then go to facebook or twitter and share your family’s changes.

Are you time in or time out??

Standard

time outToday I read an article on ahaparenting.com that was about a fairly new to me concept of “time-in” instead of a “time-out” approach to discipline. The article spoke on how having a space for a child to have cuddle time if she is acting out her emotions in a negative manner. Time-in says that you should let the child know that you recognize that she is having a hard time and that you understand that she is feeling some type of way. You reiterate over and over that you are here for her and that you love her. Ok great. Then the article goes on to disprove the time-out approach. It stated that it does not allow the child to properly express herself, it creates power struggles, it makes children feel as if they are bad, and it adds or gives abandonment issues. This was my summarized version you can read the complete article here.

There are some things that I agree with when it comes to time in. I like the fact that you acknowledge that your child is dealing with some feelings and emotions causing her to act out. I like the fact that it forces you not to ignore the behavior and take out some precious time with the child while it is much needed. However I do have some issues with time-in. My issues with time-in are:

  1. Most of the time acting out behaviors in a negative way has something to do with gaining attention. This teaches your child that anytime that she may be craving attention from you she can just act out in a negative way and here you will come to hug and cuddle with her. It creates an unhealthy pattern.
  2. She is ultimately getting a reward for acting out. So rules and boundaries does not matter. Do you think when she gets old enough to drive the police is going to care if she had a bad day if she is doing 98 mph in a 55 mph zone. That is why we have to teach them about self soothing. Do you think he is going to take her to a cuddle spot? It may be a cuddle spot alright.. That is why we have to teach them about self soothing.  Teach your child that there are consequences to every action.
  3. Letting your child continue to yell and speak disrespectfully to you because she needs to move herself to cry to cleanse her of her emotions. I will never tolerate disrespect. You can express yourself, even as a child, without being disrespectful. It is not a power struggle because there will be no struggle when it comes to that topic. You think that as an adult your child is going to be permitted to talk to her boss disrespectful without some type of repercussion?

I also like some aspects of time-out. I like the way that the child can clearly recognize when she has made a poor decision to negatively act out their emotions.   However I do have issues with time out as well.

  1. You most of the time are dragging the child to time out.
  2. The child sits there without any instructions and it is just a waste of time. (I do not like wasting time)
  3. Time out is not a constructive consequence.

I can look at both sides of the time methods and some things I do not agree with and some things I totally get. However I want to share my method that somewhat combines both time in and time out. I would like to call it going to the thinking chair. This is how it works.

  1. The child does some negative act of emotional expression in which boundaries have already been set and expectations have been made clear.
  2. You look at the child in her eyes. Explain to her what she did that was unacceptable. Then you let her know that she needs to spend time on the thinking chair.
  3. The thinking chair is equipped with paper, pencils, and crayons at all times.
  4. While in the thinking chair the child will think about what she has done wrong and will answer these questions with words or a drawing.
  5. The questions are: why do you think you are in the thinking chair? Why did you choose to act in that way? What made you feel like acting in that way? If you ever feel like that again how will you let mommy know about your feelings? How can mommy help you with your feelings?
  6. After these questions have been answered they will bring you the paper(s). You then sit with them with undivided attention and actively listen to what they have to say.
  7. Address all necessary concerns and validate their feelings. End with a hug and an “I love you”.

See best of both worlds. The child knows clearly that the behavior is not acceptable. You are teaching boundaries and behavior limits. You have set expectations. You have given them positive undivided attention. You have given them a way to learn how to problem solve. You are empowering them to take responsibility for their actions and to think before reacting.

Try this method and let me know how it works for your child. Please share with us on twitter and facebook.

Social Media Challenges

Standard

social media challengesSocial media is an awesome tool. I am on some type of social media for hours in a day. No I am not a slacker, it’s my job. Guess who else maybe on social media. Our children, yes, because my God-daughter is “grown” in age I give her a little space and we live in different cities now. So I am learning more about what she is doing through social media then our conversations. To me she is my sweet baby girl but on social media she can become someone totally different. Yes I am friends with a lot of my little people on facebook because it is easier to connect with them especially those that I have moved away from. I see a whole bunch of stuff and all of it is not positive or what I think they should be posting, liking, tweeting, and sharing. My timeline often becomes my prayer list.

Recently there has been some very dangerous “challenges” videos that has me very disturbed. They are popping up on my timeline because adults are blown away by the lack of common sense that our children are displaying.  So with that said let us talk about solutions that could prevent these sorts of things from happening or getting out of control. I am going to put these questions out there and as parents let us answer them together.

 

  1. What where your thoughts when you first saw the videos of the “fire and pass out challenge”?
  2. Who did you place the blame on? The child, the parents, or social media?
  3. What would you have done if your child had been actively participating in one of these challenges?
  4. Have you talked to your child about these situations that are happening?
  5. Have you let your child watch the videos and looked at their reactions?
  6. If your child is too young to understand the challenges have you taken this awareness to talk about being a leader, peer pressure, and making their own decisions? (of course in a language they will understand) Or do you think this is not relevant to the younger ones (elementary down to four years old)

 

These are just a few questions that I was curious about when I gave thought to this awful situation that is taking over our social media youth. I really want to hear your thoughts and ideas. One thing this team can benefit from is the ideas and views of others. They are safe here, because after all we are imperfect parents. Comment below, tweet me, or let’s chat on facebook.