Tackling Organizing Your Child’s Room

3
Dec
2013

 Organizing-Childrens-Room

Chapter Twenty:

A few key sentences that got my attention:

“Her heart was in the right place, but the more she “organized,” the more overwhelming the project became.”

…organization isn’t a skill that is taught once, then caught forever.  It’s an ongoing process to teach children how to categorize items and make discriminating decision about what should go where.”

“The Bible teaches that it’s better to give than receive (Acts 20:35)  One way to help your child apply this lesson is to build times of giving into your year – ideally before a time of receiving gifts.”

Start your child on a lifelong habit of keeping track of upcoming events and responsibilities on a calendar.”

The big one for me:

“There are no right or wrong organizing practices.  What works well for one child won’t work for another.  Become a student of your child, and understand how she thinks  What would make the most sense to her?  How does she process information?  Armed with that information, you’ll be better equipped to bring order to your child’s room.

I honestly think going in to organize a child’s room is the worst!  I hate it!  Talk about being overwhelmed.  With my personality type I can get easily distracted with “their” stuff and not understanding how important simple items are to my children.  Things that seem to be such non-sense, are important and I have to be careful to not just go directly to my reaction of throwing things out.

I really liked how Glynnis gave steps in helping us navigate our children’s rooms.  Creating zones is a great tip and strategy to help them develop habits about where items go and will also help build skills on doing this as they get older.   Consider simple storage options that are easy for little hands to operate.  Baskets are great, drawers tend to me more difficult.

We’ve managed to have a book shelf in the closet of our kids’ rooms which opens the space in their room allowing for more play area.  The same is said for putting the dresser in the closet as well.  This works really well until they are about 12 or so, when clothing tends to be more on hangars and takes more room in the closet.

I love to label items and using pictures is a great way to help your child who is not at the age to read.  This simple step makes it easier for them to see where things belong and they can be encouraged to clean up on their own and do not need your help after a few times of ‘together’ clean up.

If you have not gone through toys and clothes lately, this is the perfect time to purge those areas before more comes in your home!

Consider these questions, answer them in your journal, comment here or you can leave your comment on the private Facebook page.  

  • Does Glynnis’ Step by Step Plan outline seem like a realistic plan of action?
  • Do you have a system for keeping school papers and sharing them with other family members?
  • Do you have a calendar in your child’s room or at a place he was refer to that is just his?

Don’t forget to jump over and listen to the last call in our series – I just got off from recording the call with Myra and it was perfect!  A wonderful way to wrap up our study and enter the Christmas season too!

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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…]

4 Tips to Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Child

5
Sep
2013

4 Tips to Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Child
School’s back in session and things are beginning to look a bit more serious. Gone are the carefree days of summer, now everyone is back to work, back to a routine, and back to responsibility.

As moms, we are born encouragers. We want our kids to succeed. When kids succeed, they feel good about themselves, which feeds into self-esteem and more. So what steps do we take to get them on track to being their best?

Children will do what is expected of them. If you set high expectations for your children, they will generally live up to those expectations. Expect very little of them and they will give you very little.

As a parent, it is important to find the right balance of setting expectations that are high without setting your child up for failure or causing undue stress on them when they are unable to reach those expectations. It is a balancing act and you know your child best and can make the appropriate guidelines for him. We too often doubt ourselves. I talk about this in my book, Become the Confident Mom You’ve Always Wanted to Be, and how we truly need to believe in our own instincts as moms and the knowledge only we have about our children.

Here are a few things to consider when setting those high expectations for your child.

Your child is an individual.

Look at your own child’s strengths and weakness, interests and talents. Set your expectations based on the individual. There are many charts, averages, statistics, and data that are out there to tell you what the average child of a given age should be able to do, but no child is simply average.

Each child is unique.

Most children do not fit neatly into any given mold and their unique abilities should be considered when you are setting high standards for them. Consider developmental norms along the way, but remember that your child is one of a kind.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way with having children from three different sets of parents in my home. I used to be under the thought process that every child was pretty much the same if you parented them the same. Well, I can now say, that is completely untrue! Parenting, personality, nurture, nature – it all plays a role in how your child functions and what strengths and weaknesses he will have. Being aware and open to this is important.

Don’t set your expectations based on yourself.

You may have been lousy at math as a child, so you subconsciously expect your child to be lousy at it too. Your child will undoubtedly live up to that expectation. This really relates to looking at your child as an individual. It is important to avoid setting expectations that are too low simply because something was difficult for you as a child.

Be clear and consistent.

Give clear expectations for the long-term and set milestones along the way. Show your child what is expected for the future. Perhaps going to college is a long-term expectation, but be sure to break the long-term goal into short-term goals along the way. For example, strive to maintain good grades and complete homework assignments regularly. Celebrate the short-term achievements and allow your child to enjoy the success. They will learn that they are able to reach the expectations that have been set for them.

If cleaning a room up before moving on to playing with things in another room is your “norm” – then make sure that is something that is clearly related. Be sure to be as consistent as possible with expectations too. So many misunderstandings occur everyday simply because we do not communicate well. I not only find this in my relationship with my kids, but it certainly comes into play with my husband.

Erase the all-or-nothing attitude.

While it is important to set high expectations for your child, be sure to let him know that falling a little short of them doesn’t mean he is a failure. When you reach for high standards, you still make great progress, even if you don’t exactly hit the mark. We can easily fall into a pattern of perfection if we do not learn to appreciate and applaud the journey to make progress.

The work that took place while reaching for those standards is valuable in itself. Praise your child for the effort and the accomplishments reached along the way, being specific with characteristics that you see along the way rather than general praise, like a “good job”. Instead recognize when they’ve taken extra time to complete a task with skill or used problem solving skills to fix their own mistake.

Parents who set high expectations, communicate those expectations clearly, and encourage their children to reach for them along the way do a great service for their children. Their children learn that they can do more than they may think, hard work pays off, and they are loved no matter what they do.

As moms, we play a huge role in teaching our children how to be the best they can be!

Back to School Topics with Teens

13
Aug
2013


There is a lot to be considered with Back to School Expectations and I talk about this in my Back 2 School Survival Guide,  but with teens you have a few areas that may not be relevant for younger kids.  It is important to set boundaries beforehand so they know what is expected as they continue on with their high school studies and into college.  It is critical to address topics before the issues become a point of battle.  Clearly defining expectations and consequences gets everyone on the same page.  Parenting teens changes the playing field a bit and being prepared will help you a lot!

Curfew

A specific curfew should be set on school nights and weekends.  This has been helpful for us to implement so that we are not caught off guard with certain situations that leave us feeling unprepared.  School night curfews are fairly easy, but this can become more difficult when your teen enters the job market.  If they are choosing to have  a job, then making sure you can set expectations for both curfew in regard to ‘fun’ activities as well as ‘job’ activities.

This past spring it was interesting to see how our son who had recently gotten his first job learned to balance his responsibilities at home, his studies and his commitment to his boss.  No amount of lecturing on my part really could help him.  I asked if he’d like my suggestions, but nagging him to do his school work and or to go to bed early on nights he wasn’t working were not in his best interest.  Allowing our kids to fail is hard, watching him get up tired and weary in the morning because of choices he had made with his time was hard, but that truly is the only way to learn.  Experience versus lecturing.

Homework

This can be a huge area of contention for students and parents.   I have a strategy that has worked well for us with our older children.  At a certain point in your child’s student career you have to be willing to hand over the reigns to them.  This can mean something different for different kids and families and you certainly will know your child best.  For us it worked well to slowly transition all areas of managing their own school work to them – which began at the end of elementary school.  Instead of having a certain “homework” time period set aside, they were given the opportunity to do it on their own time frame, as long as it got done.  When they blew it, they fell back under my rules and regulations.  After a while they were given the chance to try again.  It only took a short while, but they managed to do their work on their own and learned a valuable time management skill.  They also learned about making choices and how a wrong choice on their part could affect them.

I cannot express enough that it is a process and you slowly give the reigns over.  I am so happy to say that with our second high schooler, he has proven himself to be responsible, realizes the outcomes of his sometimes poor choices and he takes responsibility for them rather than blaming others.  In my opinion your child has to take complete ownership of their high school career, otherwise they will get to college and continue to look to you to manage their time and may have the perception that they can blame you when things don’t work out.

After-School Employment

With regard to an after-school job, I think it needs to be made clear that if school work begins to suffer due to the extra time taken to fulfill a job commitment, then they will have to give notice to their employer.  Keeping the priority on school first and foremost is where the focus needs to remain.  These years prior to college are critical for teens to learn time management skills, prioritizing what is important and what should take their time and also managing money.  Take it from a mom who has sent one off to college and seen some mistakes I’ve made in the process, you will want to do what you can to help foster these skills.

Report Cards

This is the defining moment.  If your teen brings home a report card that signifies he or she is not doing well, things start to get ugly.  Why not decide ahead of time some expectations before the school year begins.  This could be as general as an expectation for a ‘C’ in certain classes or other criteria.  You know your child best, so decide what area they are strong in and set those expectations and perhaps have different expectations for areas they struggle in.  Encouraging them to do their best – period.

When a report card comes home with less than desired outcomes, we’ve found it very helpful to sit down and have an adult conversation with them, no accusations, no condemnation, but rather a joint discussion on reasons why the grades are low and find ways they can be improved. In the course of the discussion, we’ve had two way communication that has resulted in our child coming up with problem solving techniques on their own, rather than us just telling them what they should do.  When you allow your child to have some control over a situation and the outcome you are giving them a powerful skill.

One thing I love to share with other parents who have teens, is to be clear on what your goals are when you send your kids off on their own after they graduate.  I want a self-sufficient adult who can problem solve, feel confident that they can come to me for help when their ideas run dry and know that I will be their biggest supporter, regardless of their progress.  Believe me, we’ve been challenged in this area this past year and it is hard.  We can take the time to build skills in their lives, but the results may be less than what we truly desire for them.  Remember, just because your child may make choices and performs different than what you feel they should doesn’t mean you should do anything less but love them.

We can love our kids BIG and still make choices to not help them continue to make the same mistakes.  If you have a teen or young adult child who is trying your patience and keeping you on your knees, know you are not alone!

What area with your teen causes the biggest conflict?

 

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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?

 

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