Me in a Tree

Archive for August, 2013

30Aug

Get your family started on the path to better communication!

Building a stronger family can be challenging, even for the most dedicated parents.

• Create greater harmony with a weekly Family Huddle

• My Duties Calendar is a simple monthly overview of all the chores and responsibilities to be completed on any given day

• on the Family Calendar enter all the family’s activities, appointments and schedules

• Things to Do is full of fun activities, events, workshops and volunteer positions that are available in your community for you and your family to experience

Parent Support has a Parent Talk forum, resource center, blog, and Ask Eva column where parenting support and help is available at your fingertips

Me in a Tree: Where parents can get the help they need.

29Aug

Every marriage is subject to the squabbling, bickering, andpractice fair fighting to teach your children – let’s be honest – fighting. However, when parents fight in front of their kids, they may be having an inadvertent, negative influence on their child’s development. Research has shown that children who grow up in violent, disruptive homes are more likely to be depressed, antisocial, or even violent themselves. However, this doesn’t mean you need to stop fighting altogether – in fact, fighting is good for a marriage. Just fight right.

Let it out. Don’t hold in your emotions for the sake of the kids. This can lead to unspoken tension, which may escalate the situation. So, if you are upset with your partner, for whatever reason, communicate your feelings. Use “I-statements” compared to “you-statements”, which can seem confrontational and accusatory.

Fight fair, and make up afterward. If you do fight in front of your child, make sure to follow up with him or her. Tell them the reason for the fight, the fact that you both reconciled, and maybe take the opportunity to teach your child about how people can disagree on certain things, but remain together. You can communicate the messages that fighting doesn’t end a relationship, and it takes work to maintain one.

The reality is that you will disagree with your spouse at some point (or on many points), but the good news is that you can have some control over the impact that your disagreements have on your child. By being honest with each other and with your child, you can create a positive, teachable opportunity for you child.

Sources:
Fight the Right Way: parenting.com

28Aug

Creating a  close family is the result of having clear plan, online parenting resourcesa commitment to each other and a willingness to work together to make it happen. It’s a choice: creating a close family is a conscious decision to tackle and master the hardest job on the planet: being a parent.

Raising compassionate and successful children to adulthood takes resources, tools and information:

  • Talking to and sharing with one another more
  • Managing your time more effectively
  • Creating more time for family
  • Reconnecting with your spouse
  • Understanding your family’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Restoring balance and peace in your family
  • Being more organized
  • Teaching your children the things they need to know as they grow up
  • Reducing stress
  • Teaching teamwork
  • Building self-esteem
  • Having more fun as a family

Me in a Tree creates close families through interactive games and activities your whole family will love.

27Aug

All parents struggle with setting rules, expectations, setting boundariesand consequences that their children will adhere to. There are many reasons why children don’t follow rules, from unrealistic expectations, being physically tired, rules and expectations being made out of aggression, to not adhering to the rules yourself. If the task seems impossible or they perceive the parent as being too aggressive, the child is more likely to outright ignore the rules and expectations; however, there are ways parents can combat this.

The first thing, and the most important, is to know that when parents set rules, expectations, and consequences, it is up to them to model the behaviour. Children learn by action first, and if they see their parents not abiding by the rules or enduring the consequences of breaking the rules, the child is more likely to think that the parent is not being serious with expectations and consequences.

Establish firm boundaries and limits. Parents might need to tell their child multiple times what is expected, acceptable, and what the consequences are for stepping outside those limits are. However, children will learn what is appropriate behaviour, and will learn to respect those boundaries.

Set reasonable consequences. Children often respond to task-orientated consequences. For instance, if a son did not clean up his room like he was expected to, the parent may elect to relinquish television privileges until he cleans his room.

Don’t risk too little, rave too early, or rescue too quickly. It may take time, but setting realistic expectations and reasonable consequences, children will learn to not only respect the boundaries and limits, but also the parents.

Sources:
3 Mistakes We Make Leading Kids
How to Give Kids Consequences That Work

24Aug

Trying to strike that balance between work and life MIAT Family Calendaris very hard, if not impossible. At work, you are expected to be in the office at a specific time, you have a list of things that you have to do during the day, and everything is generally structured. At home, that is not the case. Instead, things get messy when you’re children want to play and toys end up everywhere.

One of the first things you should do to achieve this balance is to create a family calendar. Write down everything your family has to do in a week, or even a month. Set goals, and establish a plan of action.

Communicate your expectations at home and at work. If you have to pick up your child at daycare, communicate that with your boss. Establishing a clear channel of communication will help you communicate your thoughts clearly and is the first step to achieving the balance between family and work.

Share the load with your partner. Delegate tasks. Divide up the responsibility of picking up your children from school or daycare. This will make things easier on each of you.

Establish a network of support. Whether your support network involves your colleagues, family members, friends, or neighbours, reach out to those close to you.

Setting expectations, goals, and coming up with a plan will yield extraordinary benefits. It will help you become a less stressed and more productive employee and a more available parent. It may be hard work, but it will be worth it.

23Aug

While doing some research for this family life tip,Me in a Tree I came across a blog from a mom who expressed a concern she heard at a parenting conference she was attending. One of the parents at the conference was talking about how his child reacted negatively to change and transition in daily life. What this particular parent realized was that his child didn’t have a schedule or a “travel itinerary”.

Unexpected changes are inevitable in life, but there is a certain degree of planning that parents can do to ensure that their child has a sense of daily stability, and to strike a balance between all the aspects of life. One of these ways is to make a family calendar, entering the entire family’s activities for a month. Everything that your family does should appear on the calendar: play dates, school tests, trips to the zoo, dentist app, appointments, work lunches, Family Huddles, etc.

Family calendars are something that the entire family can get in on, too. During the last week of the month, gather the entire family together, and write everything that each family has to do during the next month down on the calendar. Place the calendar in a highly visible area, like the refrigerator, so everyone has access to it.

A family calendar is a simple tool that parents can use to help their child (and themselves!) achieve some stability and balance in their daily life. If you need more information about how to start planning your family calendar, visit Me in a Tree.

22Aug

These days, we face a staggering fact: Me in a TreeThere are primary school aged children with – wait for it – cellphones! Unfortunately, the fact of our modern world is that we are becoming quite fast and furiously an “I want” society. A new phone is released on the market every few weeks; the next hottest toy hits shelves, and your child has to have it, or you become embroiled in the next big craze – like the Tamagotchi of the 90s or the Snuggie of 2012, remember those?

However, while preparing for this post, I came across a blog that listed 15 things that children should value more than possessions. Things like valuing honesty, hard work, justice, nature made the list. But so did the more tangible things like family members and friends. It was refreshing to read this blog post, and think about what we value now. Television, internet, e-readers, and cellphones would all make a top 10 list of things that we valued in our modern world.

But, what if families turned off the television and put away the cellphones for, say, a week? What would happen? I imagine houses smelling like chocolate chip cookies, children experiencing the joy of running through the sprinkler on a hot day, and families laughing together. This is oversimplifying things, but even if families set aside one day a week or every two weeks and spent time together as a family sans technological distractions, it is possible that children can learn to value things like friendship, honesty, family, and other things.

21Aug

For those of us who have grown out of adolescencenpeer pressure and teens and have moved on to the wonderful world of adulthood, replete with its responsibilities, peer pressure as teenagers experience it is (hopefully) a thing of the past. The reality that peer pressure is perhaps the most stressful thing about being a teenager is very apparent. As your child moves beyond his or her dependence on mom and dad, peers become an important part of their development. Your child starts to choose his or her own friends, and those people whom your child has chosen harness a huge influence over your child’s decisions and choices.

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, facing the influence of friends is a major step in becoming adult-thinkers. This article also says that not all peer pressure is negative, as the stigma might suggest. In fact, it might spur teenagers to study harder, eat better, and other positive things.

However, the influence of parenting should not be underestimated. As the article states, authoritative parenting, or “warm parenting with strict boundaries” is associated with children who are strong independent thinkers.

There are plenty of things parents can do to help their teenagers deal with peer pressure:

Assess friends. It’s okay to express your opinions about your teenager’s friends. Do it out of love and respect.
Create an open channel of communication. Talk to your teenager about who he hangs out with. Become interested in what your teenager is interested in.
Set rules. Yes, your teenager may think you’re zapping her freedom, but ultimately they will give your teen a stable framework for understanding the world.

This not an exhaustive list, and dealing with peer pressure is very subjective. Ultimately, create a dialogue with your teenager. Start when they are young, and that will make a world of difference.

20Aug

Getting rid of the clutter in your house is not a chore that anyone likes. declutter to destressFrom overflowing drawers to busting closets to laden-down shelves, clutter can easily add stress and frustration to your life. However, de-cluttering is actually very simple.

If you have five minutes:

• Look in your fridge or pantry and discard any outdated items
• If you are watching your favorite television show, use commercial time to gather newspaper bits, magazines, and other trash, straighten pillows, and maybe even vacuum
• Put misplaced toys and other belongings in a laundry basket and tell your family members to sort through what is theirs

If you have an hour:

• A good method is to sort into three piles:

o A – always use (put these in a place easily accessed)
o B – occasionally use (place these items out of sight until you need them again, e.g. Christmas ornaments)
o C – not used in a year (either donate or throw out these items)

Develop an organization system. Keep most used items in plain sight. Use boxes for toys, label them, and teach your kids to place their toys back where they came from.

One of the best ways to de-clutter is to get the whole family involved. Get your children to go through their toys, and decide which ones they want to keep or donate. Don’t try to de-clutter everything at the same time. Decluttering in little chunks reduces stress and leaves you time to spend with the people who are important to you.

17Aug

You know the feeling. Your to-do list runs from Montreal to Vancouver,Coping strategies and back again: the grandparents are coming down for a visit, and you are in charge of dinner; you have to take your kids from baseball to picnics to ballet; you have a tight deadline on a project at work and you feel pulled in a million directions. Life demands a lot out of us, and sometimes, it seems that everything happens all at once. It almost goes without saying, but this is what being overwhelmed generally feels like. However,  a magazine article offered five tips to cope with being overwhelmed by life.

1. Write down everything you are worried about. Having it all laid out in front of you may help clear the fog, and distance you from what you are stressed about.
2. Organize your list into larger chunks, and will help you see more clearly.
3. Prioritize your chunks.
4. Start tackling the chunks. Taking action can be the cure to feeling overwhelmed. Once you’ve completed one thing, you will feel productive – and maybe a bit like a superhero (anything’s possible).
5. Focus. One of the worst fuels to feeling overwhelmed is thinking about the things that you are not doing; instead focus on the task at hand.

Don’t be afraid to seek help, or talk to someone if you are stressed out. Sometimes, talking it over with a friend over coffee or a trained professional is the beginning to managing stress.

Life will inevitably get in the way of your plans, but you possess the tools deal with when life gets too overwhelming.