Prepping Your Kids for The World Of Preschool

 

Preschool Preparation

 

Preschool is a major milestone not just for the child, but the entire family.  If this is your first child heading to preschool, the process can be overwhelming.  There’s a combination of happiness and concern. Take into consideration that your child may be feeling the same.  For example, they may be concerned about being separated from the family for the first time. The good news is that now we live in a time where there are more resources and info than ever to help you make a smooth transition. Here are a few to keep in mind: 

What Do I Need To Know?

This article assumes you have chosen a preschool that you want to visit. Be sure to do your homework and pick a place that meets the needs of your child.  Also, although everything looks good on paper, there is still going to be an unfamiliarity factor with your child.  As a result, visit the preschool with your child before it actually starts. Speak with the facility, and ask if it is possible for you to do a tour together.  Meet the teacher and tour the playground for a bit. Some preschools do a “preview visit” where parents and children in the incoming classes can meet.

Also, talk to your child during the preparatory process about what they are feeling. This doesn’t mean brushing aside their concerns with general statements like “don’t worry, you’ll love it.” Instead, actually hear what’s worrying them and use information to try and alleviate their concerns. Simply saying that you’re going to be there to pick them up or that their teacher will be nice is not enough.  Furthermore, let them know that other children have the same feelings they have. Even adults have concerns. By verbalizing this, you can also come up with suggestions to help them avoid feelings of worry. Additionally, these feelings may be nonverbal.  So, you need to be attentive to see if your child is clinging or becoming withdrawn as preschool approaches.

What Do I Need To Do

Along with talking to your child, there are also more things you can do to get ready for the new environment of preschool. While there may not be a full academic curriculum for preschool the way you may expect for other school levels, there are going to be a lot of different learning experiences and stimuli for your child.  As a result, one of the best things you can do to prepare them is give them an idea of what to expect.  One of the best options is reading children’s books about preschool, that cover potential situations in ways they understand.

Another thing you don’t want to forget is there will be a new social dynamic. This is likely the first time that your child is going to be around a large number of other children.  As a result, try to add in more children for your play dates.  This may help your child to get used to this type of interaction.  Also, if being away from you is a concern, consider having them sleep over at a place where they feel safe.  For example, their grandparents or an aunt or uncle.

Of course, there is also the logistical piece of preparation as well. Part of going to preschool means your child having a regular routine.  So, you will want to start putting the foundation together as soon as possible. This may mean getting your child ready for a bedtime earlier, practicing washing their hands before eating, addressing toileting needs, and eating at the table. As a result, set out clothes and prep breakfasts the night before.  These steps will save you a headache on those busy mornings. Be sure to check with the preschool about what your child will need to bring.  Discuss possibly bringing a transitional item from home to help them feel at ease if you feel they need it.

Preschool can seem like a daunting change for your entire family.  However, it is a time where your child begins to take the steps that will guide them into formative years. So, the best thing you can do as a parent is stay informed.  Most importantly,  prepare.  A good plan means less worries and more fun for everyone.

How To Delegate Appropriate Chores for Kids

 

chores for kids

Please note that the title of this blog does not ask if children should do chores. As members of a family unit, of course, they should contribute. We’re going to tell you how to choose appropriate chores for kids of various age groups.

Preventing Pitfalls

Perfection is an unattainable goal. So, don’t expect it. Instead, take a more casual approach to chores and the way your kids accomplish them. As long as they make an honest effort, don’t discourage them by nitpicking the job they do, as per parenting pros at WebMD.

Next, don’t put off assigning chores to the kids who live in your house. If any child is earning an allowance, they are old enough to manage at least a few simple household errands.  For example, little kids can put their toys away and place their worn clothing into the hamper.  Elementary school age kids can scoop the litter box and feed the dog.

Most parents use an allowance as a tool for their children to learn money management.  Kids do well when they’re taught the value of a job well done too.   So, don’t always rely on money as proof of their contribution.  An allowance as compensation for chores rarely works on young kids who are not money motivated.

However, lavish praise and be consistent.  Express your happiness while your kid is actually doing the chore. This builds positive momentum and keeps your kid in action. Let your children know that you notice their efforts, and be sure to tell them they’re doing a good job, suggest Mom magazine.

Be Specific

Instead of telling your child to go clean your room, tell the exactly what you want them to do.  For example, put your dirty clothes in the hamper, put away your books and toys, or place your toys in the toy box,” is a much better way to give your kid the message. These are appropriate chores for kids that are young too.  Teach them how to make a bed before telling them to make it. Show them how to do the dishes before sending them into the kitchen to clean up. Make a chore chart and don’t micromanage. You want your kids to learn the joy of a job well done. Teach them to do it right, and let them get on with it.

Assign age appropriate chores

There’s no point in telling your toddler to wash the family car or take out the trash. You can, however, kindly instruct a teenager to do the same. Adolescents are able to manage most household chores sans supervision. They may not smile throughout the process, but they’re certainly capable of doing more chores than their younger siblings.

Teens who are newly licensed to drive may actually enjoy chores like using the family car to pick up needed items at the grocery store. Assign the chore of picking up their little sister at dance class, and you may even find your teen asking for more chores, suggests Mom magazine.

Make Chores Fun For Everyone

When you tell your kid to clean the bathroom, provide them with eco-friendly, nice smelling, biodegradable products. If they are not choked by fumes, they may welcome cleaning the tub and toilet. Stock up on a sweet selection of planet pleasing cleaning items from CleanHappens.com.  Make sure these are appropriate chores for kids who will be responsible with the products.

From the age of five until they reach adolescence, most kids are able to contribute time and energy to household chores. For a third or fourth grader, assign daily chores such as making their own bed, unloading the dishwasher, and feeding the family pet.  Other appropriate chores for kids this age may include things like folding and putting away laundry, emptying trash cans and sweeping the kitchen floor.

Seasonal Chore Charts

If your family lives where leaves turn orange in autumn and spring brings April showers, you can assign seasonal chores to your kids. In the summertime, kids can wash and vacuum the car. In winter, they can shovel sidewalks, suggests VeryWell magazine.

Most importantly, show them how you want the job done and always enforce safety rules.  Aside from that, tell your kid what to do and let them do it.  Avoid nagging your teen. Offer kind and encouraging guidance, instead.

Finally, insist that your teen do their chores before they go out with friends.  Setting priorities is a good way for them to learn management skills too.

About the Author: Jack Gould is a hands-on Dad who is proud to call himself a house husband. His articles talk about parenting, raising strong, independent, healthy and happy kids.

Motivating Children and Getting Them Out of a Funk

 

motivating children

 

Do your kids need a bit more motivation in their lives? These days, it can be hard for school age kids to stay focused on academics and household chores.  If there were tips that helped kids try harder in school, you’d want to know all about them, right?  Today’s your lucky day.  Here are a few tips on motivating children and get them out of their  funk:

A few tricks that worked for other parents

Every mom and dad wants their child to thrive. However, kids experience phases when they simply don’t feel motivated. Trouble is kids don’t always ask for help in such times. Fortunately, we’re going to tell you about some proven methods that are sure to help your kid feel more like themselves. Don’t expect a miracle, but do enjoy the results.

Kids who become frustrated easily may be especially reluctant to tell their parents what’s going on. Start a friendly conversation with your child, and be quiet when they speak. Listening is an important tool in your parental strategy.  All kids want to know that they are being heard. Let your kid know that they can talk to you about anything at any time. Doing so may help your kid have a more positive outlook on life in general, says Tutor Doctor.

Little changes and small successes

Creating a pleasant homework space where your kid doesn’t feel pressured may help them focus and enjoy schoolwork more.  Spruce up a cozy space and fill it with reference books.  Furthermore, decorate the walls with posters of their favorite music groups.  Stock the desk with plenty of office supplies.  Homework can be fun if your kid doesn’t feel pressured.

Don’t overdo it to the point of insincerity, but be sure to praise your kid often. Celebrating small successes like a B grade on an important test can help an unmotivated kid realize their past accomplishments.  It may also motivate them to even more important successes.  Praise often to encourage more of the same.

Optimism and artwork

If you approach life with optimism and forge ahead despite setbacks and disappointments, your kid may take a similar positive approach. Encourage your kids to persist in the face of absurdity.  Encourage them to laugh every time you can. Allow your child to fail gracefully. Doing so may help them move through life in a more balanced and happier way, say parenting pros at the Child Development Institute.

Encourage art in your kid’s life. Permit them to download a free coloring book app and watch their mood improve exponentially. Kids who engage in artistic and musical endeavors tend to fare better and may use their “blue mood” to create beautiful works of art.

 

motivating children

 

Unfortunately, everyone feels down in the dumps now and then. But, with your encouragement and our tips on motivating children, your kids may adjust and cope with life’s little disappointments.  If a “funk” lasts for more than a few days, consult your pediatrician or family doctor.

How To Pick The Perfect Tree For Tree Houses

 

tree houses

Building a treehouse is great fun and a great experience for families. However, it’s important to realize that not every tree is perfect or suitable for a treehouse.  Furthermore, if you have plenty of trees to work with in your backyard but you’re unsure of which tree to use, this expert guide will give you the top helpful hints.  Here’s a few tips:

Best Practices When Choosing A Treehouse Tree

  1. Look For Tree Damage

First, while all trees grow equally, not all trees are suitable. It’s important before making any decision that you check the tree for damage. Damage can come in many forms.  Some things to look for include:

  • Dead trees where the branches break off easily.
  • Rotting or infection of funguses that may compromise the integrity of the tree down the road.
  • Lightning damage or other damage during a weather event.
  • Trees that look limp while others around them are blooming well.
  • Damage from white ants, damaging insects or bugs that are eating the tree.

These are some of the key areas to look for in order to avoid choosing a tree that may be dangerous at a later time.

  1. Height Of The Tree

Next, consider the height of the tree and the first set of strong branches. While you don’t want to go too high, having some height gives the effect of freedom.  As a general rule, try to avoid going higher than 3 feet.  This distance will help to reduce the risk of major injury if a fall occurs.

Next, treehouses that are built an average of 3 feet or less in height will also feel less impact from windy conditions.  The higher the treehouse, the more wind speed and swaying motion it will be susceptible to.  Consider the impact of the wind before you build the treehouse.

Consider the tree house door when building.  If you can, try to build the treehouse in a curved effect to allow the wind to glide over it better. This will help reduce the sail effect that can be experienced with a square treehouse.

  1. Branch Thickness

The thickness of the branch is also important, because it ensures the treehouse is supported well.  Furthermore, the additional weight of both the building and the weight of the children must be considered.  The right branch should be thick enough to be able to place up to four attachment screws or bolts into it.

Additionally, the tree branch should be thick enough to secure the base of the tree house.  It should be solid enough to support the treehouse floor when positioned in the center of the branch.  Use support beams if the branch is not thick enough to support the tree house. The bigger the branch, the better the treehouse support will be.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the right tree for your kids tree house, these are some of the most important things to consider. By taking your time to choose the right tree for tree houses, you’ll be able to really keep your children safe.  So have you found a suitable tree yet?

 

About the author Daniel Stone:

Daniel has worked in the management, cutting, and caring of trees for the last 20 years. He works and helps run Bellarine Trees and is passionate about the environment and tree worker safety. He has a wife and two daughters and he enjoys playing tennis in his spare time.

Disobedient Children Are Hazardous

parenting tips, parenting, disobedient children

 

Do you have children who are disobedient? Did you know that disobedient children can become hazardous?  Children want things their way, but they have a limited way of expressing their emotions.  As a result, they act out by crying, screaming, hitting, or using other avenues. They go as far as they can by testing our limits. They want results, they want you to give in and allow them to have their way. There’s good news, disobedient behavior should pretty much disappear by the time children reach their teens.   At least the screaming, hitting and crying. Prepare for a new set of behaviors to appear. That is behaviors that are typical of teens.  You should know, if disobedience becomes a habit with your child, you need to take appropriate action.

First of all, teaching your child to obey rules and to be respectful is a part of parenting. Good parenting will require you to teach your children to obey rules. Additionally, children must display respect at home and school, while driving, playing on the beach and every other area of their life.  They must understand that disobedience can lead to:

  • Poor relationships
  • Becoming an underachiever
  • Poor grades
  • Problems with the law
  • Disrespect of others
  • Violence

If your child becomes disobedient and is displaying any of the problems above, you may want to assess what’s happening in your home. Children will also act out if they’re feeling stressed, unloved, or witnessing problems at home. Children may also act out if:

  • A parent is absent or not involved
  • Alcohol or drugs are abused
  • Rules or boundaries are not established
  • Family members yell and scream
  • Lack of money is causing problems
  • Problems are solved using violence
  • Physically abused is being endured

Additionally, children will act out and become rebellious and disobedient if there are problems at home. Most importantly, ignoring your child’s disobedience and problems in your home will not make them go away.  Seeking counseling is a good way to help resolve problems before the child becomes out of control and encounters legal problems. As a result, they must understand the importance of obeying rules and the consequences they will encounter if they choose to disobey.

Years ago, my daughter and I attended counseling sessions. I accepted the fact that I didn’t have all the answers. It helped me tremendously to see things from a teenager’s perspective, and become a better parent during her teenage years.

Although I have parented successfully, I don’t consider myself to be a child expert by any means. I also know that schools, churches and many employers offer family counselors to assist families when they need help. Last, don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek it if you need it.  Once their child becomes hazardous, many parents wish they had reached out.  Don’t be a parent who looks at things in hindsight, deal with the problems when the occur. You and your child will be thankful for your insight.

You may also like Teaching Your Child Responsibilities

 

 

 

 

6 Character Traits To Teach Your Children

character traits, children's traits, developing character

 

First, children aren’t born with good character and it isn’t hereditary.  Parents should teach character by being a good example.  Helping to develop your children’s character is essential.  A person’s character is the essence of you are, so children must learn that their character will surface in all areas of their life.

There are 6 areas of our character that parents should focus on. They are:

Be Trustworthy – Teaching children to be honest is a must. Being honest is an important character trait.  And it must be implemented in all areas of life.  Stealing, deceiving, cheating or being unreliable are big elements of becoming trustworthy.  Next, being trustworthy helps to build a good reputation, which is important in life.

Be Fair Teaching children that they must play by the rules is another important character trait.  Their are rules/laws for going to school, driving, and swimming on beaches and in pools. They must be followed are their will be consequences.  Additionally, children must also learn to not take advantage of a situation or another person.  It is not right to do so.

Be Respectful Teaching your children good manners is every parent’s responsibility.  Furthermore, children today are rude and disrespectful. Saying thank you, please, or excuse me seems to a thing of the past?  Why do they interrupt their elders or not hold the doors for people entering or exiting a store or building?  Manners are a part of daily life, however, it seems that they are no longer important.    

Be Responsible – Teach your children the importance of honoring their word.  If they say they’re going to do something they must live up to it.  Teach children to think before they act.  Also, self-control is imperative to good character and they must strive to be an example to others.

Be Caring – Displaying kindness toward other is a big part of developing character. Children should help others  and be forgiving when others upset or hurt them. Because the world is unfair at times, we must forgive and move forward.

Be a Good Citizen – Most importantly, children should learn that obeying the law is essential.  Furthermore, teach children to get involved in their community and neighborhood.  You may like the post Why You Should Teach Your Children To Volunteer.

Finally, helping to develop your child’s character must start at an early age.   Many traits make up a person’s character.  Children should be raised to be good people.  However, they are not expected to be perfect.  Strive to lead by example and help your children to make good decisions.  Loving unconditionally should be something parents do every day.  Telling them that you love them unconditionally is just as important. In conclusion, they will remember the conversations and examples they were shown during their character development.

Why You Should Teach Your Children To Do Volunteer Work

volunteer work, mentors, role models Are you involving your children in volunteer work?  Why, don’t you think it’s important?   I believe volunteer work is very important to  children for many reasons.  As parents we need to teach children that community is more than a place to live.  It’s a place to give as well.

I taught this value to my daughter. I realized that becoming a volunteer was not only important to the community, it was important in life.  I’m from a small town, giving back and helping others was the norm.  To this day, I’m proud to say that I’m from my hometown.  If there’s a death in the community or someone is having a difficult time, the town comes together.  Those who grow up are so proud. Each generation passes down the trait of giving.

Furthermore, here are other reasons for children to get involved in community service or volunteering:

  1. College Applications –  Administrators like to know that you are not only intelligent, but you also find time to give back to others.
  2. Scholarship Applications – Scholarships helped finance my daughter’s education.  She stood out among students who were competing because of her volunteer work.  Volunteer work is socially and academically acceptable.
  3. Helps Build Leadership Skills – Working with leaders helps teens learn leadership skills. Leadership skills can be used in camps, tutoring, church, college campuses, and many other places.
  4. Networking – Volunteer work allows teens to network with administrators, managers, and other people who can give them a reference for future jobs, scholarships and college applications, and possibly be hired with the company in the future.
  5. Learn To Give To Those In Need –  Volunteering gives teens an opportunity to see that there are people who are less fortunate than them.  Hopefully, seeing others who are less fortunate will help them to appreciate what they have. 
  6. No Pay Learning To Work From The Heart Volunteer work doesn’t pay monetarily, but it teaches the importance of helping others without receiving anything in return. 

Last, it’s important that teens get off of their electronics and learn about how the world works outside the comfort of home. They will learn to work for what they want in this world, and volunteering can help give them skills they will need in the future.

Also, be sure to subscribe before you leave. You don’t to miss upcoming parenting tips and more.

Teaching Children Responsibility

tips to teach children responsibility

 

Teaching children responsibility starts at an early age and it starts at home.  A child learning to be responsible will will increase their chances of being successful.  Learning responsibility started at an early age in my house.  We had conversations on why it was important and demonstrated negative results when being responsible wasn’t taken seriously.  Here are 5 ways that I used to install responsibility:

Assigning Chores This includes putting toys away, helping with dishes, cleaning their room and eventually getting a job around the age of 16 for the summer.  Yep my daughter had a job. Did she need to work, no.  I could financially support us, but it was a great way for her to learn about what it takes to hold down a job and build confidence. Getting to bed timely, getting up timely and reporting on time is a life long lesson.  Additionally, these skills need to be learned and embraced. Doing chores also included going to school and doing home work. In my home you  either go to school or get a job.

Playing Team Sports/Activities I put my daughter in organized activities at the age of 3. It was a little majorette group with drummers, so cute. At the age of 5, we switched to ballet. Ballet dancing requires discipline, and so does being successful in life. Organized sports or activities can include football, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, whatever your child likes.  If your child is not into sports, try a painting or karate class. The important thing is that they learn about discipline and being a team player.

Volunteer Work – Doing volunteer work is a good way to learn about responsibility. Feeding the homeless, working at a food bank, reading to seniors at a nursing home is a good start. If they like farming, horses or gardening, have them volunteer on a farm or equestrian center.

Serving As A Role ModelBeing a role model can be rewarding. Children learn about leadership, and the importance of setting an example so others will want to follow their lead. Being a tutor, mentor, active in the church etc. makes a great community role model.

Having A Role ModelBeing your child’s role model is just as important as teaching them to be a role model. Children look at everything we do. We just think they aren’t listening.  Furthermore, it’s important that your child see you doing the things that you wan them to do.  For example, reading, taking courses on-line or at your local university, cleaning, cooking, handling money wisely, and most importantly spending time with them. It’s important that boys have a positive male as a role model and girls have a positive female as a role model.

Finally, how do you teach your children responsibility?  Do you use the same techniques for your sons and daughters?  We would love to add your tips to our list.  As we know, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. 

 chore charts for girls football-chore-chart-1 super-heroes-chore-chart-1

Finally, motivate your child with our chore charts.  We have ballerina, football, basketball, a princess, princess castle and superman.  You can download the charts here.  Print them and lets start getting those room cleans, toys put away and everything else on their lists.  Check back, I will be adding other charts.

 

Kim Cattrall’s Parenting Advice

Image-Defining-Motherhood

How do you define motherhood?  I read an article on-line that discussed an interview with Kim Cattrall from Sex and the City week that has me baffled and a little annoyed I may add. I thought I would share this post with you, and maybe you will understand why. For some reason Kim Cattrall believes that she is a parent, but she has no children. How does that work?

In her words, “I am not a biological parent, but I am a parent. I have young actors and actresses that I mentor. I have nieces and nephews that I am very close to.” She goes on to say that there are ways to become a mother and you don’t have to have your name on the birth certificate. She also stated that she didn’t change diapers, but she helped her niece get through medical school and she helped her nephew get through a rough time. She considers those motherly things. Hang tight, I’m picking myself up off the floor. I’m wondering if I got the mothering thing all wrong.

[Read more…]

5 Safety Tips For Latch Key Children

 

 

Did you give birth to a Latch Key Child?  Schools are back in session and some parents will be leaving their children alone for several hours after school for many reasons. Some parents are single mothers who can’t afford the expense of child care, many families have both parents working outside the home, others because their children are old enough to take care of themselves for several hours and than we have those who can’t find after school care.  What ever the reason, there are approximately 15 million Latch Key Children in the U.S. so don’t feel that you’re a bad parent or that you’re alone in your decision.   

My daughter was around 10 when she became a latch key child.  I’ve always hated that term, but it is what it is.  I was a single mother at the time and I was trying to purchase a home. I was saving every penny that I could, so I asked my daughter if she thought she could stay alone for several hours to cut out child care expense and she jumped at the opportunity. The bus stop was 500 yards from my front door and I had neighbors that would step in if there was an emergency. I felt guilty initially, but I realized that I wasn’t the only parent who had a latch key child. I soon released the guilt and became comfortable with my decision.  

Many parents question the appropriate age for leaving children unattended. The ages vary from state to state, so if you’re considering leaving your child alone be sure to check out the legal ramifications. You will also have to assess your child’s maturity level and their ability to follow directions as well as the safety of your neighborhood.  Think about the time frame that your child will be alone.  If it’s more than a few hours, you may want to find another option in my opinion. My daughter was home for 2 hours before I arrived. That was the longest 2 hours of my life.  

We decided to do a trial run and if we were comfortable we would implement the plan.  Here are the safety tips that worked for us:   

1.  Rules Must Be Established – No friends over, do not answer the phone or door unless it’s for people who are checking on them, do not leave the home to play in the neighborhood etc. It’s also important that your child understand that they can’t tell people that they’re home alone and why. It’s imperative that your child understand the rules.    
 
2.  Establish a Routine – You must give your child a routine. In my home it was to come straight home, let me know that she was home and that start on her To Do List. Today there are nanny cams and home monitoring devices that allow you to see what’s happening in the home while you’re at the office. There are also devices that allow you to turn off the alarm system remotely and reset it once your child gets inside the home. Skyping is a great idea too if it’s allowed in your office. 

3.  Create a To Do List –  Keeping your child occupied is important, they won’t have time to think too much about being alone.  I created a list of things for my daughter to do once she arrived. She could get a snack, no cooking allowed, and turn on the television, radio etc.  Yes, sound is nice here. Homework had to be completed and her room orderly before I got home. If homework was completed, she could watch her favorite movies or television show. 

4.  Establish Emergency Procedures – .Make sure your child knows to call 911 if an emergency arrives and has a list of phone numbers for neighbors or relatives who are close by. My neighbor agreed to check on my daughter as well and my daughter knew that she could go next door if needed.  

5.  Give Lots of Hugs and Praise – Let your child know that they’re doing a great job following the rules and how much you appreciate the fact that they’re growing up and helping to contribute to the household by being responsible. Children love praise and they deserve it. 

The experience actually build confidence in my daughter. It also made her understand responsibility and the importance of following directions. Did you raise a latch key child or do you currently have one?  What were some of the rules that you implemented?  They could be of benefit to other parents.