The Four “F’s” of Summer Parenting

26
Jun
2014

Summer-Parenting-Strategies

I brought back a popular post from a few years ago to share with you.  I am away at the International Young Living Convention in Salt Lake City and honestly, I had all good intentions about writing a blog post for you all – but it didn’t happen.  I am sorry.

There is so much learning going on for me, about new oil blends released and amazing new products that I am trying soak in every single minute of learning so I can share more ‘oily news‘ that I know will bless your family.  So I pray for grace and for the new readers you will see this as new information and for my lovely treasured blog followers, let this be a gentle reminder for you.  🙂

Here are my four F’s of parenting for a  summer full of fun and less frustration, and yes, they are good all during the year too!

Be Firm

Clearly state expectations and consequences and adhere to them when your child acts inappropriately.  It can be easy to allow behavior to escalate or get out of control in the summer when you do not clearly state expectations and also remain consistent.  We tend to slack off a bit when things are more relaxed, but we all know the end result – not necessarily good.  Make sure you keep consistent and your kids will have a much better idea of how much they can trust what you say and if you mean it.

Fair

Consequences should fit the crime.  Have a few consequences that are in your back pocket so that you can easily respond to situations rather than allowing things to slide by.  In the case of recurring behavior, consequences should be stated in advance so the child knows what to expect and your consistent follow through is key to your child making better choices.

Fun

Even though summer can often lead to more work for us moms, find your own groove to create a routine that will allow you to be the “fun mom” and enjoy making those great memories instead of always being stressed over wet kids running through the house or eating s’mores for dinner!

Flexible

Learn to go with the flow – you will provide a great example to your children when they see things not going as planned and you are willing to quickly change gears.  If you have an outside activity planned and you wake up to rain, make sure you  have a back up plan you can quickly engage without a lot of drama!

Summer is a time to enjoy a change of pace from the school year. It’s an opportunity to focus on different interests or activities that you don’t have as much time for during the rest of the year.  

The Need for Consistency in Parenting – 5 Tips

17
Dec
2013

Consistency-Parenting-Tip

Consistency: how many parents sigh or roll their eyes when they hear that word?  I know, I get it a lot.  That’s because consistency is tough, and most parents don’t feel like they are nearly consistent enough.  This is probably the most critical topic that I cover when I begin coaching a mom and we work out a plan to get things back on track in the home.

I thought that it might be a good time to cover a few basic guidelines when it comes to parenting our kiddos, especially with us embarking on Christmas break soon, having the possibility of traveling, visiting family and getting things out of ‘whack’!  We all know what no routine does to everyone’s behavior!

No one is consistent 100% of the time. But aiming for consistency the majority of the time is not unreasonable or impossible.  As Hal Runkel says in ScreamFree Parenting and what I share in my online coaching program, we need to be ridiculously consistent!  It is hard, but it is worth it!

Here are some tips on how to be more consistent as a parent and understanding why it is important.

Why Be Consistent?

What’s the big deal about consistency anyway? The point of all this consistency talk is simply this: if kids know the consequences of a behavior, and there’s no area of doubt, then they’re probably more likely to modify their behavior. BINGO!  That is what you are trying to help them learn, to make better choices!

Consistency puts action behind your words; it shows your kids that you do mean what you say. It gives your words power, and prevents you from having to take action every single time (often a different action every single time, which gets exhausting). So it pays to deliver!

“It comes down to integrity: meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise.”   –  Hal Runkel

The Role of Planning

Planning ahead is important for consistency. Determine what your expectations for your kids are, from the broad (doing well in school) to the specific (behaving in the grocery store). Armed with your knowledge of your kids’ idiosyncrasies – you know what sets them off and you know the “problem areas” – come up with a plan of action based on their behavior and the behavior you expect. Then calmly implement your plan…consistently.

This strategy has helped me immensely over the years.  Different children, personalities and unique issues are prone to wear us down as moms, but we can use our minds and think ahead to trouble areas and try to avoid them.

Involve the Other Parent

Whether you are in a traditional marriage or not, if Mom and Dad are both in the home, it’s important for them to be on the same page regarding discipline and expectations. So a good idea is to sit down with the other parent and discuss your plans of action. Having both parents on board with the plan of action, expectations, and consequences just adds to the consistency.  If you do not have this, do not think things are doomed.  You will just be doing what you decide to do and cannot worry about the actions of the other parent.   Allowing them to dictate what you do is not a good idea.

Involve the Kids

Really? Yes, involving the kids is a healthy idea. Let them have a voice in the consequences, and make sure they understand the expectations. It’s not really fair to spring the consequences and expectations on them unexpectedly; it makes more sense for kids to follow rules if they know the rules (and the consequences of breaking them) ahead of time!  Having a family meeting to set up expectations is a great way to get everyone on board.  Allowing discussion on family rules and expectations as well as consequences for not following them is a great way to share in the process of working together for the whole good.

Consistency Is Not the Same as Inflexibility

There’s really no need to be rigid and inflexible for fear of appearing inconsistent. Sometimes, flexibility is required, and that should not undermine your consistency if you go about it the right way. For example, explain the change to your child – if it’s an exception to the usual rule, let them know why and that this is not going to be a habit. Or maybe one of the consequences does need to be adjusted; talk it over as a family and agree to make the change together.

This is not being inconsistent; it’s being flexible and willing to make changes where necessary, which is likely as good a model for your children as being consistent!  Learning to be open and allowing for different circumstance to enter into your thought process is one way you show your children that you can be realistic and reliable as well.

“Consistent enforcement of consequences is the single most effective application of authority in the parent-child relationship.”  Hal Runkel

Do you have trouble with consistency?

Back To School Study Habit Tips

16
Sep
2013


Are you in the midst of battling homework and setting up expectations for the school year?   It can be rough, especially if you have a child who is dead set on trying to make his own path and go against all your rules.  I talk in detail about homework, setting up a homework station and more in my Back 2 School Survival Guide and wanted to share a few ideas for those who might just be experiencing some frustration right about now!

When we were kids, if we didn’t do our homework there were severe consequences.  I can remember being grounded so many times – do kids even get grounded anymore?  Today, with TV, video games, sports and other distractions available for kids to put off studying and completing homework assignments it is even more important to encourage and expect strong study habits at the beginning of the school year.  When you take the time early to set up those expectations and consistency, it will pay off. [Read more…]

Four Tips to Better Consistency

6
Aug
2013

You find yourself exhausted and instead of going to battle with your 6 year old about not running around the house jumping up and down on the furniture, you just decide to let it go.  Yesterday your toddler had to finish eating their lunch before having any afternoon snacks, but today – even though you said it, you don’t feel like following through.

Sound familiar?

As we venture into the Back to School season, I thought it would be the perfect time to re-focus on one of the most important strategies a parent can use in their home.  Consistency.

Consistency:  conformity with previous attitudes, behaviour, practice, etc  (source)

Consistency is key to successfully teaching your child right from wrong when disciplining them as well as creating a trusting relationship between the two of you.  If you say one thing one day and the complete opposite the next, it is hard to create a set of concrete expectations.  Your child is not sure when you really mean what you are saying or if they can get you to change your mind.

Being consistent keeps small misdeeds and bad behaviors from later becoming bigger issues and escalating into worse behavior.  Your child understands what has happened in the past when they’ve made a certain choice when you are consistent and issue the same answer or consequence again.

You have to stand firm and mean it when you say, “Turn off the television,”or “no dessert after dinner because you didn’t eat your dinner.”

“It comes down to integrity – meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise.”  Hal Runkel, author – ScreamFree Parenting

 

Consistency teaches your child there are defined consequences for their choices and inappropriate or unacceptable actions or behaviors. Inconsistency when disciplining makes you directly responsible for your children’s misbehavior and doesn’t teach them how to be responsible for their actions.

OUCH!  

Can you look back and see when this has happened in your own parenting?  I know I can.  When I fail to step up to the plate and be consistent, things quickly fall apart.  My child learns a new way of manipulating me, which doesn’t do anyone any good.

Consistency is one prime principle covered in the Becoming a Calm, Cool and Confident Mom Online Course.  Often times  I try to make my parenting journey more difficult, trying to find quick and easy solutions to the behaviors that frustrate me, but I lose the basics.  Making sure I am consistent is one area I need to constantly keep focused on.

Consistency is about being strong and standing firm, even when doing so is extremely difficult or exhausting.  Yep, we moms know – those long days and endless battles can completely take us down.  It is easier to just ignore behavior or allow the “easy” solution, even though it goes against what you truly want to build in your child.

How do you re-focus on your ideal to be consistent?

Evaluate Honestly

What areas are you battling and struggling with right now with your child?  We cannot change our kids or make them do anything, but you can change how you act, respond and effectively parent.  What can you do differently to not feed into the defeating pattern that is going on?  I know for me and my youngest, I have to re-evaluate my  ability to slow things down for him when he begins to become very emotional.  He has trouble regulating his emotions and I can feed into this inability with my reactions.

Yet, if I am the one acting like a grown-up and able to slow his motor down and keep things from escalating, we have a much better outcome.  I have to honestly look at what my part is in the behavior pattern and how I can best help him learn techniques to manage his emotions.

Staying Calm

When you are practicing consistency it is imperative that you remain calm in your approach.  If you raise your voice and go off the deep end, you lose all credibility with your child and the situation will often go downhill much faster.  When you are able to display a calm demeanor when dealing with your child, your words will go ten times farther.  Do you find when you whisper that your kids are more receptive?  If you have not tried this approach, do so today.  If I see a situation cumulating into a bigger mess, I will lower my voice and kneel down close to my child and it breaks that escalation.

Standard Responses

Think of certain patterns that happen in your home and come up with set phrases that you can draw from.  Instead of getting caught up in the battle, you will have a set phrase tucked right in your tool belt.  In our home right now, one of our phrases is, “Worry about yourself.”  I cannot tell you how many frustrating situations have been avoided because I grab that phrase and kindly dish it out. We also use the word, “Maybe” quite a bit in our home, this keeps me from committing to something that I may not be able to follow through on.  When you say yes to something and then are unable to follow through, it sends a clear message that your child cannot trust what you say.  No one wants to set that kind of tone.

Careful Consequences

Don’t let your anxiety drive your word choices.  In the midst of a situation, it is okay to think about what you want to say and what kind of consequence is realistic.  I know, in my early years of parenting, I would often go off the deep end and make ridiculous statements about my kids, “having no TV for a week,” or something just as ludicrous because I was trying to get the shock factor in my favor – it never worked and honestly, made me look really ineffective as a parent.

Your child will consistently test the boundaries and ‘push the envelope’ with you to see if there’s any play in those consequences. By standing firm you are showing there is not and that you expect them to do nothing less than take responsibility for their actions.

There are no shortcuts to consistency.  Providing consistent discipline is exhausting, frustrating and certainly not the easiest way to do things.  It is difficult.

How might your increased consistency improve your relationship with your child?

 

FamilyFunFriday150

All Fun and Games

17
Jun
2013


summer-gotoguide-450x90

Welcome to the 30 Days of Summer – Go-To Guide for Moms!

Day Seventeen

Learning never ceases during the course of our lifetime – we are always obtaining new skills.  It can be difficult to find creative ways to keep your child learning during the summer.  A lot is written about that familiar “summer slide” that so many kids fall into if intentional steps are not taken.

During the summer break kids need to be motivated to learn as much as they can. This doesn’t call for drastic measures and having no fun – you can have summer fun and learning all at the same time! Here are some examples of how this can be achieved.

GAMES

Word games, such as Scrabble, come in small sizes, like this travel portfolio {we’ve had this version for over 10 years!} which are suitable for beach and road trips. Kids love it! It stimulates their vocabulary and engages them in friendly competition. It also enhances their math skills, as they have to add the points every round. Boggle is another portable word game that kids love. They can manipulate the letters, make words, and add up points. This is a great game to take on a camping trip or to the beach.

There are board games that allow the kids to work on words and sentences. There are computer games, which involve critical thinking. Do you have other games on hand that help in these areas?  These games can be competitive, and reinforce group work, and cooperative learning, as well. Using these types of games keeps the stimulation of the kid’s minds at work. It’s critical to keep the thought process flowing, so they are prepared for the following school year.

Another board game, which involves critical thinking, is checkers. The entire family can challenge each other. This promotes social stimulation. Suduko is a game involving math and numbers. They have a kid’s version, which can be utilized on a rainy day or when there is some down time.  These are great quiet time activities for kids.

The advantage of utilizing and playing these games is learning, even though the kids do not realize it. In this way, while they are having fun over the summer, they are actually preparing for the fall term. Learning not only stimulates their minds, but also reinforces the skills they are taught throughout the school year. In addition, there are some great sites for computer savvy kids you might want to look at.

Here is a great list for FREE math activity game sites.

Summer fun and learning can co-exist by utilizing these games and word play. Without realizing it, your kids will be ready for the next phase in their school career, because time was taken to teach and have fun at the same time – they won’t even know they are learning!!

What do you do to stop the summer slide? 

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