Me in a Tree
29Sep

34 e

 

Every kid has moments where they whine, beg, cry, scream, mope, and are just generally annoying. It’s inevitable that kids will get on your nerves every once in a while, and even though, it may frustrate you, kids are learning to manage their emotions, which is a healthy part of development. Here are six annoying things that children do that are actually very healthy:

 

1: Throw Temper Tantrums

Kids learn to express negative emotions like anger during a tantrum. They will scream, cry, and physically express their anger. As a parent, it is best to let it happen – safely.

2: Cry Easily

Tears are cathartic and healing, despite their weak reputation. It is said that crying reduces the stress of the situation by decreasing the stress hormone level. Crying allows children to find healing when they’ve been hurt either physically, emotionally, or psychologically.

3: Act Scared

Like crying, being scared is often held in low esteem. However, allowing your children to act scared forces them to confront fear and deal with it in a positive way.

4: Dawdle

One of the most frustrating things parents face is trying to get the kids to bed or out the door – on time. Dawdling, however, teaches a child the importance of family schedules. Learning and mastering this skill takes time and patience.

5: Whine

Children are masters of getting what they what. Often, they will persist and whine until parents become so frustrated that they give in to demands. When you let them whine, they are learning limits, negotiation, and speaking up for themselves. It is important, however, to enforce that your kids are not always going to get what they want.

6: Showing Resistance

Nearly all parents have experiences when their child just wouldn’t do what they asked. Children, however, are learning to be assertive, which is an important life skill to have.

25Sep

35 a

Sometimes, going to restaurants, kids in tow, can be a recipe for disaster. We’ve all seen the rambunctious toddler running around the restaurant, the won’t-stop-crying baby, and of course the flustered and frustrated parents. To make sure your family doesn’t succumb to the “Annoying-Family-In-The-Restaurant” syndrome, consider these tips.

 

1: Choose a restaurant that is family-friendly. Here, you have more ability to teach your kids the importance of behaving properly in a restaurant. Family-friendly restaurants are great places to teach your kids good behaviours like speaking quietly, ordering appropriately, waiting patiently, and eating politely.

2: Pack an emergency kit. Kids are messy and they tend to grow restless quite quickly. Having an emergency bag will help you stay on top of boredom groans and sticky messes.

3: Give your children a choice in what they want to eat. If you order something they won’t like, you will be hearing about it through the entire meal, making your dining experience a negative one.

4: Be in control of the experience. It is wise to keep your children under control while at a restaurant. Practical ways to do this include reminding your kids to use “indoor” voices or taking restless kids out to the lobby or for a walk around the restaurant.

5: Above all, keep a sense of humour about you and have fun. Eating out with your kids is a memory-making experience. Spend time as a family and enjoy it.

 

22Sep
I'm grateful for you!

I’m grateful for you!

 

Parents, you know this scene is all too familiar: you are in the grocery store, and your kid starts screaming and acting out. It’s stressful, and when kids act out, a common response by parents is to get angry and punish their children. There are days when choosing to act calmly toward your children will be a struggle. Use these five tips to help you ease the transition to peaceful parenting.

 

1: Check Yourself

You must make a commitment to regulate your emotions. When you feel upset, stop and take note of what you are feeling. What is your body doing? Then, just breathe. When you know what you are feeling, you have more power to control it.

2: Explain

Sometimes children don’t understand why their parents are upset. Explaining what made you upset sets both you and your children up to solve problems collaboratively.

3: Connect

Positive parenting works on connection. To build trust and a cooperative relationship, you should spend at least 15 minutes per day connecting one-on-one with each child.

4: Set limits

Positive, peaceful parenting requires some flexibility; however, you will still need to set limits. The key is setting the limit before you get angry or upset. Instead, empathize with your child’s perspective. Before long, your child will want to cooperate with you.

5: Expect emotions

People have a tendency to push down negative emotions, and in order to heal, those emotions must be let out. A similar thing happens with children. When you punish them for certain behaviours, they label those resulting emotions as bad. Once you stop punishing them for bad behaviour and respond to the situation calmly, those negative emotions are likely to surface.

 

19Sep

34 d

Rich communication is filled with open and consistent dialogue. Families who exhibit great communication styles often talk about everything and anything.

 

A roadblock that many parents experience is not knowing where to start the conversation. These questions and tips will help you begin those conversations and deepen your relationship with your child.

 

  • What are the three most interesting things about you?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What scares you the most and why?
  • What is your biggest goal this year?
  • If we had a special day together what would you want to do?
  • What do you think makes a family close?
  • What is your favorite family tradition?
  • What do you think the biggest problem in the world is? How about in our country?
  • How do you feel when someone is angry with you? How do you act?
  • Do you think there is a such thing as peer pressure? Do you ever feel peer pressure? Do you think some people are more susceptible to peer pressure than others? Why do you think that is?

 

For more ideas on conversation starters, check out this list on www.meinatree.com Family Huddle.

 

17Sep

36 d

 

As a parent, you don’t want to think about your child stealing. However, children tend to have poor impulse control; when they want something, they will take it. As a result, stealing can become an issue for parents.

 

Kids steal for a variety of reasons. Here are a few:

  • Poor impulse control,
  • To impress friends,
  • Envy,
  • Embarrassment,
  • Risk-taking,
  • Revenge, and
  • Stress

For a description of each reason, visit Family Education.

 

However, the hard part, as a parent, is to decide how to handle the situation when your child gets caught stealing. Here are a few tips:

 

Make it clear that stealing is an unacceptable behaviour. It is not okay, and you will not tolerate it.

 

Try to find out the reason your child is stealing. Talk to him or her. Discover the motivation. Be careful not to interrogate, ridicule, or embarrass your child. This will only cause your child to shut down and become silent. To create a positive discussion, talk with, not at or to, your child.

 

Use this as a good opportunity to reiterate the importance of values, ethics, and morality. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t make this a lecture.

 

Enforce the consequences of your child’s actions. This may require repayment or return of the item.

 

Take a step back and assess the situation. Does your child have a history of stealing? Are there stressors in your child’s life that are causing him or her to steal? If stealing is combined with other types of misbehaviour, you should consider seeking professional help.

27Aug

green lunch

 

It seems like yesterday when your children were celebrating the beginning of summer. Now, you are preparing for another busy school year ahead. With the start of school, there are challenges that many families face regarding organization. Homework and after-school activities fill up your family calendar, and it can be difficult to keep abreast everything. Here are a few ideas to get your family organized and ready for the new school year.

Ease in to the school year schedule. Begin to get your children prepared for the school year routine by adjusting bedtimes that are indicative of the school year. Also, plan meals and snacks to orientate your child to the new routine.

Create and calendar. Having one comprehensive document, like a calendar, in a central location is a great way to keep track of all the events and activities that inevitably come up during the year. This way, everyone has access to it, can add to the calendar, and keep themselves organized.

Plan before you shop. An informed shopper saves money and time. Be prepared with your children’s clothing sizes, school supplies list, and any other items they may need for the school year.

Practice. There’s nothing wrong with a little dress rehearsal. Before the school year starts, do a practice run with your kids, going through the routine and getting your kids to school on time.

 

15Aug

lemonade_stand

Summer means, sunshine, sandals and sprinklers. The expectancy of summer is palpable, especially with school-aged children. Unfortunately, the excitement dwindles, and children can become bored during the summer months. To beat the summer boredom and heat, here are five activities that your children will love and won’t break the bank.

 

  1. House swap. Taking vacations aren’t always a possibility for families. From hotels to eating out, going out of town can be quite expensive. A fun way to take a vacation that is budget-friendly is to swap houses for a week or two. Find friends or family to swap houses with, or connect with other vacation-savvy families on home exchange websites.
  2. Rainy day crafts. For the days when the weather isn’t nice, find activities that allow your children to use their imagination and creativity. There are craft stores, such as Michaels, that offer inexpensive classes so you and your children can spend the day making wonderful art and crafts.
  3. Art walk. Children love to draw, paint, and sculpt. Find a local art walk and spend the day exploring the different colors and styles. It’ll be a fun and educational activity for you and your children.
  4. Make frozen treats. Prepared frozen fruit pops or ice cream can not only be expensive, but loaded with sugar. Stock up on seasonal fruit, chop up fruit, place them on skewers and freeze them. You can get your children involved. And, when you need to beat the heat, you have tasty and healthy frozen treats on hand.
  5. Go outside. Children today have too much screen time, especially during the summer months. Turn off the TV and encourage your children to go outside. Encourage them to get active and entertain themselves in other ways such as playing games or reading.

 

2Aug

gift of time

Over the summer, kids lose much of the information they learned during the school year. Summer should be a break from school, but not a break from learning. One of the best ways to help your child continue to learn and grow academically is to encourage them to read as much as possible during the summer. Here are a few tips to make summer reading educational and enjoyable for your children.

 

  • Read aloud with your children. This is a great opportunity to bond and make memories.
  • Choose a fun location to read: the park, patio, beach, or just in the house.
  • Make sure reading time is distraction free, and turn off the TV when it’s time to read.
  • Have a variety of reading material around the house.
  • Let your kids choose what they want to read.
  • Create a family book club. Read the same book as your child every once in a while, and then discuss it.
  • Get the experience of reading books while you are on the go. Many libraries have voice recordings of books.
  • Take your child to the library regularly. Aside from having an extensive selection of reading material to choose from, libraries will often offer summer reading clubs or other events and activities.
  • Subscribe to magazines that your child would be interested in.

 

Reading is a great way to keep your child’s mind active during the summer months when they are away from academic learning. Take the time to make reading fun, and your child will reap the benefits of reading.

29Jul

letting go of reins

For teenagers, summer is a time to take a break from the fast-paced life, to hang out with friends, go to the beach, or find other activities. However, the summer is also a breeding ground for bored teenagers. Here are a few tips to keep your teen from getting bored.

  1. Schedule activities. In a calendar, pencil in your family vacation, summer camp, or any day camps that your teenager will attend. If there are major gaps of free time, find some fun activities to fill them.
  2. Get a job. Gaining work experience is so important, especially or a teenager. Whether working retail at the local mall or scooping ice cream or babysitting, a summer job will not only teach your teen responsibility and work ethic, but it will also be a fun way to spend the summer.
  3. Volunteer. Engage your teenager in activities that are meaningful. There are many opportunities to volunteer in your area: serving meals in a soup kitchen, organizing a charity fundraiser, reading to children.
  4. Join a sports team. Summer is a great time to get outside and get active. There are many sports clubs and teams that provide teens with an outlet to get active and having fun. You can tailor the activity to what your teenager enjoys: baseball, soccer, basketball, dance, etc.
  5. Leave some free time. Teenagers can’t be on a schedule all the time. Allow time for them to do activities that they want to do, like reading, drawing or listening to music.
7Jul

Me in a Tree

With the coming of summer, you can say good-bye to all the school-related responsibilities like parent-teacher conferences, school projects, or homework. And, you can say hello to an entirely new set of responsibilities like summer sports, camps, and “free time” management.

When kids are out of school, they have more free time; however, try to retain as much structure as possible because kids thrive when they are aware of expectations and events. Of course, the key is to include enough structured time and free time to achieve the elusive balance.

A great way to think about adding in some structured balance is to think of a sandwich. The morning is like the bottom bun, a sturdy, structured routine to start the day. Get as many tasks and chores as you can done in the morning, so that you free up the middle of the day to play with friends, read a book, or spend free time however you like.

The middle of the day is like the filling. You can do what you like. Change it up from day to day. Go to the museum, park, zoo, or your local pool. Let your kids choose the activity for the day.

 

And you top off your day with another set of routines, like the top bun. Family dinners are great routine. They allow for better connection between the family members, but studies have shown that meals tend to be more balanced and healthy, among other benefits.