Me in a Tree

Archive for June, 2013

28Jun

You rush to get your kids to school in the morning, work all day, pick up your children, make dinner, and put children to bed.Me in a Tree You rarely have a moment for your partner, let alone yourself. You feel anxious and tense – this is stress. Stress is a very common by-product of our fast-paced world, and we can all benefit from a stress reduction strategy.

You don’t need to make huge adjustments to your routine in order to reduce the stress in your life. Instead, simply by doing only one thing that you love every day, you will begin to de-clutter your mind and bring some peace to your life.

Whether you like to read a book, enjoy a bubble bath, or have a conversation with your partner, it is important to take the time away from your responsibilities to just be a “human being” instead of a “human doing”.

Try and incorporate a little bit of fun into your day. Maybe start a dance party in the living room before school to get energized before the day, or wake up 15 minutes earlier to read a chapter in your book or write an entry in your journal.

Regardless of what your chosen activity is, being proactive by taking time to focus on you will equip you to handle what life throws your way later in the day.

27Jun

Psychologists propose that there are three states of anger: emotional, expression, and understanding. Me in a TreeThe first state anger is the feeling that you have when you have a need or goal not being met. This leads to the expression state where the feeling is communicated either verbally or physically. Finally, the last state involves understanding what the feeling means, and how it can be managed.

Children, especially younger ones, might not understand what the feeling of anger means and how they can manage it, so they often use physical methods to deal with their feelings. This can have adverse, long-term effects, making it important to use other methods to deal with anger.

An effective method for dealing with feelings is teaching children to use words to express and manage anger. By verbally expressing what they are feeling, children learn to process different emotions and communicate how they feel. Teach communication with words to your children this by exemplifying this method in your own life. If you verbally label what you are feeling, your children are more likely to label their own feelings, begin to process them, and manage them in a positive way.

Anger is a basic emotion that is often dealt with emotionally rather than rationally, and children experience this emotion in unique ways. By teaching them to use words to label their feelings, they get a sense of power and control over their emotions, which can develop self-confidence, self-control, among other benefits.

Sources:
Early Childhood News

26Jun

Your children will fight despite your most valiant efforts to keep peace between them.Me in a Tree Instead of constantly trying to keep that peace, it may be more effective to ignore the little squabbles, and let your children solve some squabbles for themselves.

For instance, if your son is playing with a toy and your daughter comes by and takes it from him, a problem will most likely arise. Instead of trying to solve the problem yourself, encourage your son and daughter to talk about why each wants the toy and find a solution. Leave five minutes to allow your children to work it out themselves, and then walk in with your expectations of what they need to do, and encourage them that they can solve the problem. Be alert to only ignore the issues where no physical harm has been inflicted. If squabbles become physical, you should intervene.

By allowing this space, you teach your children important skills including problem-solving, reasoning, self-expression, humility, empathy, and others.

You might also want to reward your children when they get along on their own accord. Praise works wonderfully is shaping positive behaviours. Try and be a positive role model in resolving your own small squabbles, as children imitate the behaviours they see.

Sources:
Dealing With Sibling Squabbles

25Jun

By Judy Arnall

Children are affected by natural disasters, but their level of understanding varies with their age and language ability. As parents and caregivers, we want to support them and encourage them to express their feelings and thoughts about the event. Here is an ages and stages guide to help you channel their anxiety into positive actions.

Babies: Babies don’t understand anything about the situation, but they can pick up on the anxiety you are feeling. They need attention and response to their needs from a caring adult. Continue to meet your needs and theirs.

Toddlers: Toddlers have very limited verbal ability. Often, a child’s first memory is around their family’s reaction to a significant event, not the event itself. Memories begin around age three when language abilities start to kick in. As with babies, meet their needs for food, sleep, cuddles and play on a regular schedule. Toddlers and preschoolers thrive on predictability, routines and order. The regularity of life builds their security and makes them feel safe.

Preschoolers: Preschoolers have a good grasp of language and can ask many questions. Their imaginations have kicked into high gear but they have limited understanding of how the world works. Answer all of their questions in simple, matter-of-fact language, but don’t get graphic in your descriptions. They can draw pictures of their understanding of the disaster or their feelings with plain paper and markers. They can dictate a story so you can write it. They might even act out their thoughts and feelings by playing with dolls and toys. Give positive reassurances that they are safe. At this age, children may want to put their anxieties and fears into action and they may not. They could help you collect items of need for those affected by disasters. Gift cards, toiletries, canned food, flashlights, socks and underwear, and bottled water are all very helpful for victims of any disaster. Keep preschoolers away from images and video that may frighten them. They don’t have the understanding yet to put it into context.

School-agers: Young children are black and white thinkers, but are energetic and generous. They want to put their concerns into action. They could set up a refreshment stand and give the donations. They could accompany you to help clean up. Be sure to get them a mask, gloves and rubber boots. Supervise what they pick up by working side by side with them. They could bake and cook with your assistance for those displaced out of their homes, clean-up volunteers, and first responders. They could help you set up the guest room for visitors. Supervise the media they watch. Some children cope easier with processing scary images than other children. Be sure to show them images of the volunteer spirit, and community help, to boost their optimism and faith in fellow humans. Follow all directions from authorities. Your children are watching you obey the rules, and will remember it for the future.

Teenagers: Teens are abstract thinkers and can carry many discussions and conversations about the logistics and effect of disasters. They have probably already seen the images on social media before you have, but welcome the chance to talk about it with someone they love and trust. In times of emergency, people naturally want to stay close to their reality and loved ones. Welcome their closeness. Let them cry and acknowledge their fears. Give them extra hugs as you would do to all your family in times like this. Welcome their efforts to help ando assist you in volunteering. They often come up with great ideas to fundraise and help out, so encourage their volunteerism and enthusiasm.

Support your children and your community and believe in the indomitable spirit of human love, caring and compassion.

Judy Arnall, Certified Family Life Educator, Copyright www.professionalparenting.ca
Permission granted to reprint

25Jun

Being late for a bill payment can have severe consequences, including damaging your credit score. Me in a TreeIn fact, your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score number. This number is important if you want to make a substantial purchase such as house or car. Banks look at your credit score number to determine whether they will give you a loan or line or credit.

While there are many ways to build your credit, one of the simplest ways is to pay your bills on time. Regardless of whether your credit is bad or good, paying bills on time is a good practice to observe to avoid the consequences.

Begin by paying the bills that are closest to their limit or have the highest balance. If you aren’t consistent with being punctual when paying your bills, get current and stay current while paying them off. Know the due date and be vigilant about paying the bill by that date.

Pay off one bill at a time. If you have bills flying in your mailbox, it can become overwhelming. Taking it one bill at a time, however, can reduce some of your stress over finances.

Another simple tip is to decrease your discretionary spending. Use the $4 you would put toward a latte for an upcoming bill. Decreasing small, discretionary spending keeps more of your finances available to pay required expenses.

Paying bills is as much fun as visiting the dentist, but it’s necessary. You can build a great credit score and avoid exponential interest charges simply by paying your bills by their due dates.

Sources:
Military Saves: Why You Should Pay Your Bills on Time

24Jun

Speaking up and voicing opinions are important things to learn as a child, but most children are unaware of when they should or should not speak up. Parents often send mixed messages to their children about their role in communication. Messages can often amount to “you can talk, but only when it’s convenient”. It is important that children know that they have the freedom to voice their opinions.

As your children grow older, they will develop the confidence to speak up when they don’t understand or need something, when they have an idea or opinion, or when they are communicating their feelings. Parents, in turn, must create this communication space and encourage open dialogue with their children.

The keystone to this process is lending a listening ear. Not only do children need to voice their opinions, but they also need to be reassured that their opinions are not falling on deaf ears. Listen actively, and listen always.

According to a study done by the Stranmillis University College, children want to be involved in the learning and decision-making process. They explore and investigate what the issue is, whether it is a need, like, or dislike. This active participation is beneficial to their overall development, so make it priority to involve your children in any decisions that are relevant to them.

And, besides, kids say the darndest (and often truthful) things: check out this cute video.

Sources:
Yahoo.com: The Importanice of Listening to Your Child
Uncommon Parenting: Affirming Your Child’s Voice: How and When to Encourage Your Child to Speak Up
YouTube.com: Bill Cosby’s Kids Say the Darndest Things

22Jun

Meal time is generally a stressful time for all those parents who cook.Me in a Tree Your son doesn’t like rice, while your daughter doesn’t like beans. Finding something that everybody likes is a mission impossible. While Tom Cruise can’t help you solve your meal-time problems, these helpful tips might ease the stress of meal time.

Plan meals in advance. Not only will this save time, but it will also allow you to make meals that are healthy and tasty. Also, planning meals gives you the ability to create a budget for food and stay within it because you only purchase the things that you need for the week.
If you have picky eaters, involve them. Ask your children what kind of meals that they like, what their favorite foods are, and if you are brave, take them shopping with you. You may also want to invite them into the kitchen to help you prepare. When they prepare the salad, they are more likely to eat it.
Make meal time fun. Serve vegetables with a healthy dipping sauce or create themed meals such as “Italian”, and involve the whole family in the preparation.
Prepare meals ahead of time. Sometimes, it is just easier to take a meal out of the freezer, pop it in the oven, and eat. However, you don’t have to sacrifice healthy food for convenience. Set aside one day a month or every couple of weeks to prepare a bunch of frozen meals, and meal time will be a breeze.

There are resources available such as the calendar or task list features on the online family hub, Me in a Tree, which can help you focus and plan out your meal times.

21Jun

Love Upfront

Research often shows that children who grow up in strong marriages Me in a Treeare more likely to have a strong marriages and relationships. To keep your marriage strong and teach your children some life-long lessons is be intentional about being thoughtful every day and thanking each other for selfless thoughtfulness.

Simple ways of loving upfront can include leaving thank you notes in the lunchbox or the car, and verbally saying thank you to your spouse in front of your kids.

This public display of open communication and verbal appreciation will teach your children that these behaviours are important, and they will imitate this intentional gratitude in their own relationships.

It can be hard to keep the romance alive in your marriage, but something as simple as thanking your partner for their everyday thoughtfulness has such an impact on your children.

Being verbally intentional in front of your children can extend to offering forgiveness to your spouse, admitting when you’re wrong, clear any resentment, and other open communications. These practices will teach your children, who are great imitators, to exhibit these behaviours in their own social relationships with peers and family members.

Saying a simple thank you to your spouse in front of your children is easy and can reap tremendous benefits.

Sources:
Tiny Buddha: How to Release and Prevent Resentment in Your Relationships

20Jun

Since the 1950s, the common ground between family members was the television, Me in a Treeor so various communications and sociological theories tell us. It was a grand, utopian idea: families would gather together around a box of millions of colored pixels and spend time together. But, over the years, has television had an adverse, even dystopian, effect on families?

The insurgence of digital technology has on the one hand enabled families to communicate better, but it also slices family time into smaller chunks that may not be quality time. Often, these chunks of time are spent staring into individual pods of technology, so it is a good idea to limit the amount of television or internet that your family consumes.

Families crave time together, and it is difficult to achieve with everyone’s busy schedules, but limiting time spent with technology will help you win back some time to spend with your family. There are a plethora of ways you can weave quality family time in your crazy life. Try a weekday ban on technology: no television, internet, iPods, cell phones, et on weekdays. Try making and eating a meal together.

Maybe all you need is a routine. Creating a time once a week to huddle together as a family, will increase your family time and decrease your television time. A good place to look is the “Family Huddle” at Me in a Tree. Spending less time with technology and more time with the people you love the most creates some beautiful memories and opportunities to teach valuable lessons.

Sources:
Kids Health: TV Habits
The Globe and Mail: Who Killed the Family Room: We All Did
Me in a Tree

19Jun

Parents often miss the moments when their children behave exceptionally well Me in a Treebecause they are trying too hard to be on the look-out for bad behavior. It is easy to rebuke and discipline when they aren’t behaving properly, but when children act with respect or cooperation, parents tend to overlook this.

The warm and fuzzy jar is a tool that parents can use to reward positive behavior. It promotes cooperation and teamwork, but it is also is an encouragement and reward for the moments that you notice the best in your children – picking up their toys, helping you with the groceries, or getting along with siblings.

All it takes is a pickle jar (or any type of jar), colored pom-poms, and some enthusiasm.

• Every person in the family should get a jar, so children can see the positive behavior of the parents.
• Every time someone does something nice or helpful, he/she get a pom-pom, and when the jar is full, he/she gets to choose an activity they want to do with one parent.
• For siblings, when they do something nice for each other, they get two pom-poms.

Focus on “catching your child in the act” of using their manners and being cooperative, and tell them exactly how you saw their positive behavior. For example, say “today you remembered to say thank you when mommy made you a snack”.

To make sure that the novelty doesn’t wear off and motivation remains high, pick two months in the year to do the warm and fuzzy jar.

Get the whole family involved as this can create a happier, healthier, stronger, and more respectful family, and you can have some fun while doing it. Keep in mind that when it comes to positive affirmation, the prize doesn’t really matter because the affirmation is the prize.