Weekly Household Quick Tip


This week’s task for Monday in the Weekly Household Planner:

Change Kids’ sheets

If you are reading this too late for today’s tasks, no worries.  You will be all prepared for next week!

There are differing opinions on how often bed sheets should be changed.  Personally I love having fresh clean sheets, so doing it once a week is a somewhat guilty pleasure for me.

Developing routines will make your life as a mom much easier, especially if you can get your kids involved, which is where changing sheets each week on a particular day comes into play.  If it becomes a standard operating procedure that sheets are changed on Mondays, then it will develop into a habit – for everyone.  Get your kids involved!

Do you think your two year old can’t help with changing sheets?  Think again!  What kid wouldn’t love to tear apart their bed?  Even young children can have the task of stripping sheets and pillowcases off their bed and getting them to the laundry room.  If this tasks is built into the morning routine – even better.  [Read more…]

Helping Your Child Be On Time


This post originally appeared on the Family Life Blog in December 2010.  It seems to always be an area that families struggle with – getting out the door in the morning.  So here is an encore presentation to refresh your routine!

Do you have one or more children in your home that seems to repeatedly run late?  Perhaps they run around looking for their shoes, coat or homework?  Maybe forgetting where they placed their back pack the afternoon before.  Does it raise the stress level for your entire family?  It isn’t a very good way to start your day, is it?  Think of this…..Do you run late?  Do you often forget where your keys are?  How about finding your purse or shopping list?  Do you see the correlation?  Maybe not if in fact you are a mom who is fairly organized and then it frustrates you even more that you have a child that seems to be in disarray!

If running late is a key component to your mornings it is time for a change.  You can help your child gain tremendous pride in their accomplishment of being prepared for their day and getting out the door on time in the morning.  You have heard it time and time again; learning by example will get someone much further than just being told what to do. [Read more…]

The Power of Expectations


I have had the privilege over the past couple of weeks to get together on the phone with a wonderful group of moms during my ScreamFree Parenting for Busy Moms teleseminar.  It has been the perfect balance of reviewing key principles as well as open discussion and sharing for all of us.   During our call last night we touched on expectations and raising self-directed children and I thought I would write more about the importance and power you have as a parent when you set up clear and concise expectations.

Expectations fall into two main categories: behaviors and accomplishments.  I am going to focus on behavior expectations.

  • Set realistic expectations based on the age of your child.

As a parent, you know your child best.  With that information I think you know what your child can and cannot do when it comes to behavior.  There are plenty of sources available that can help you identify what you can expect of your two year old or five year old, but still – you know your child best.  Be reasonable with what you are expecting from your child.   Do you find yourself getting upset when you are out all afternoon trying to do errands and your two year old starts acting up?  For a majority of children, that is an unrealistic expectation.  They cannot be expected to “perform” for that long of a period.

  • Do you clearly lay out your expectations?

I find this one gets overlooked – even with parents who think they are giving an expectation.  When you are leaving the house, do you spell out for your child what kind of behavior you are looking for?  Or do you say something like, “Be a good girl for momma while we are at the store.”  Is that a clear expectation?  Does a two year old know what that means, or even a six year old?  For my children I always gave very specific expectations so they knew exactly what I was wanting from them.  For example, going out to dinner in a restaurant, we would stop right before we entered the restaurant and I would list the expectations I had, sitting on bottoms, using manners like “please” and “thank you”, proper use of their utensils, and using inside voices.  Then I would also follow it up with what would happen if they chose NOT to follow the expectation.  This helped me the most, as I knew ahead of time what I would be doing if they did not cooperate and I wasn’t caught off guard or sitting there giving empty threats and not following through.

This same type of clear description of expected behavior can be done with any situation, from cleaning their room, riding in the car or even homework as your child gets older.  When you are at work or given a project doesn’t your boss give you some direction?  It is the same when you are a parent, they need your help to figure out what actions they need to display.

  • Praise generously when expectations are met!

When your child displays the appropriate behavior and meets or EXCEEDS your expectation this is where you can show your appreciation and pleasure.  By giving specific praise rather than general phrases, you will be enforcing the teaching and learning process your child goes through.  Rather than saying, “thank you for being such a good girl,”  say “you did a great job staying seated on your bottom and using an inside voice.  It was so nice to have you along.”  Can you see the difference in what your child hears from you?  You will make a much bigger impact with those specific statements rather than general ones.

As we enter the holiday season and kids are often put into new and unique situations, take the time to be clear and concise with your expectations and I can guarantee you will see a difference in their behavior and it will reduce your reactive behavior!

The Homework Battle Goes On…..Or Does It???


It is the time of year when that dreaded word “HOMEWORK” becomes a daily battle with parents – or does it? Depending on the age of your children it can cause a lot of problems, drama and opportunities for your child to engage you in power struggles. Truthfully, a lot of how your child reacts comes directly from how you approach the subject and how “little” you participate. Yep, you heard me right! I have a few observations and tips that I think are worth passing on about how we handle homework at our house as well as how this is such a key element to the development of your child.

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