Me in a Tree

Archive for September, 2013

30Sep

What do I do?

What do I do?

Parents put many expectations on themselves to be the best parents they can be. However, along the way, parents do fail – it’s just part of being a parent. There are moments where parents fall in to potholes, but that is okay. Here are the five most common parenting potholes and what parents can do to deal with them.

1.       Assuming that children are just small adults

Kids are kids. They should not be expected to have the maturity or emotional capacity that adults have. Changing your perspective and understanding that your kids are not little adult copies will allow you to communicate and understand your kids better.

2.       Comparing and labelling kids

Parents may call their child “the good one” or the “the smart one”; however, this only places children in boxes. When you put a label on a child, you will get subsequent results. Try to recognize all the traits in your child, and affirming their special qualities will help raise well developed children.

3.       Giving in to consistent demands

When parents set rewards or consequences for their children and don’t follow through, they lose credibility and respect with their child. The child perceives this as the parent not being serious. Stand your ground as parents. Follow through on rewards and consequences.

4.       Not taking charge

One of the most common parenting potholes is to let kids run the show. From unreasonable demands to tantrums, there are many ways where parents simply let their children become the bosses. Kids are more secure when they are guided by their parents, not the other way around. Work with your partner to develop a good strategy to raise well rounded children.

27Sep

Me in a TreeIn an age where fast food restaurants lurk on nearly every street, the health of our population has become compromised. It is not a secret that childhood obesity is a problem in our society. Since the 1970s, childhood obesity has risen immensely, resulting in heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, among other diseases (StatCan).

However, this is a preventive issue. Parents can help combat and prevent childhood obesity by making a few changes. These changes can help children make smart decisions about healthy eating and take charge of improving nutrition.

One of the simplest things families can do to improve the health of not only the children, but the whole family is to – if not already implemented – have family meals regularly. Studies have shown that when families eat together, they tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, and children do tend not to be overweight (WebMD).

The majority of our food in North America is largely made up of monocrops: soy, corn, and wheat. These are often corporately grown and manufactured in to packaged food products. However, only consuming a selected variety of food is not healthy and may correlate to a rise in obesity in children. Eating a large variety of food such as fruits/vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy is part of a balanced diet, which produces good eating habits.

However, the very best thing parents can do is be a role model for their kids. When parents eat carrot sticks, children are more likely to follow suit. It is important for parent to be aware of the food that they buy and prepare for their children. Buying healthy snacks and placing them in an easy-to-reach area, kids are more likely to develop proper eating habits.

26Sep

parenting video game pledge today

It’s hard to believe, but Me in a Tree just turned one year old. We began Me in a Tree justparent tested parent approved award winner 12 months ago, with the goal of building stronger families using our online tool full of games, applications, and resources that help you with the hardest job in the world: parenting. We’re proud of all we accomplished in just one short year: and want to do so much more to build stronger families. And you can help!

Not only is parenting the hardest job in the world, it can also be the most rewarding. And the most frustrating. And the most challenging.

The new Me in a Tree video game will take all your favorite MIAT games and apps mobile: so you can make the most of your precious family time when you’re away from home. But to do that, we need your help.

Simply, we need money to build our Me in a Tree mobile video game so that families around the world can continue to build stronger families.

MIAT Video Game fund project

There are 2 ways you can help Me in a Tree build stronger families today:

1. Pledge Today                                                          2. Gift a Pledge

to someone you care about and who cares about building stronger families world-wide.

How does it work? We are partnering with Kickstarter and have launched a project pledge drive to raise $114,600 – and we only have 34 days to raise the money. The project runs until October 16.

A Pledge Gift to the Me in a Tree video game project is a great gift for someone you care about:

• Christmas gift

• baby shower gift

• anniversary present

• teachers gift

• birthday gift

Pledge today: You are rewarded for your pledge! Pledge rewards include:

Me in a Tree video game to build stronger families

tools and resources to build stronger families

Me in a Tree brings families together with fun tools and resources

that create a happy home.

25Sep

choatic morningFor many parents, getting out the door with children and all the day’s supplies is the most stressful time of the day. It’s a constant challenge to get out on time, without yelling and damaging that all important parenting relationship that we work so hard all day to establish. Here are some of the biggest issues that parents face, whether they are corralling toddlers or teens.
• Lack of time and organization. Items get lost and valuable time is spent looking for them. There is no specific place for these items to be kept. (keys, papers, money etc)
• Power struggles over clothes, lunches etc. Give the kids the control of what to wear and eat. Hide the junk food and let them choose from healthy food choices from the four food groups. Parents still have control over what is bought and brought into the house.
• Teens that take too long in the bathroom. Sit down and problem-solve with them. Do they need a clock in the bathroom?
• Kids that don’t “listen” to directives. Get eye contact with them. Realize that small children under age five, only comply about 40% of the time and that is normal behavior. Get more organized or streamline the absolute necessities that have to be done, at least until they are older and more capable to follow directions.
• Get yourself ready first so you look pulled together and presentable. The kids can go in whatever state they end up in. (Remind yourself that you are not responsible for how they look.)
• Kids can get caught up in their game/TV show and don’t want to leave. Warn them before that they only have a certain time to watch and get their agreement before the show/computer goes on.

• Tips for getting out of the door alive!
• Let the kids sleep in their next day clean clothes so you don’t have to nag them to get dressed.
• Sweatpants and T-shirts work great for this.
• Have snack bags in the car with juice boxes, fruit, and granola/nutrition bars for the children who hate breakfast.
• Have a “door” centre in the form of a desk, box, or sorting cabinet that holds keys, backpacks, paper sorters and everything one needs to bring out the door for the next day. Thus, when school field trip forms are signed, they go to the “door” centre or in someone’s backpack. When a project is done, it goes to the “door” centre to be sure that it is taken out the next day.
• Buy socks in all one size and solid color as much as possible. Have a clean sock/mitt/hat bucket that all the kids can draw from and then it’s much easier to do laundry without the necessary sorting.
• Buy 20 or 30 little re-sealable, spill proof lunch boxes and store chopped vegetables, nuts, crackers, cheese and meat cubes in for after-school driving, lunches, and snacks for siblings at practices, etc.
• Spend one night a week assembling the boxes, for fridge storage, and you have “grab and go” snacks all week.
• Limit clothing choices by removing most of the clothes in the child’s drawers and keep only what they love to wear.
• Have spare bags at the “door centre” so you can grab one and fill with the hats, mitts and coats that the children refuse to wear, but need as soon as they get chilled in the car.
• Buy duvets and covers so even little children can make a bed presentable by shaking and smoothing.
• Hospital corners are so hard! Take photos of the morning routine and upload them to photo processing sites to make a picture book.
• Cuddle up at night and go through the book of what kids should be expected to do in the morning. Read and talk about it like a picture book.

Judy Arnall, BA, Certified Family Life Educator and toastmaster speaker offers webinars and conference breakouts on every family life topic from babies to emerging adults. http://www.professionalparenting.ca
Judy Arnall is Me in a Tree Advisory Board Member.

20Sep

 

Me in a Tree

Time is the best gift

 

 

Time is the most evasive, yet precious commodity (yes, commodity) this world has. There are many buyers competing for your time: bosses, other companies, friends, extracurricular (or work) activities, sleep, and even your kids. There are so many hours in the day. How does a parent allocate the hours they have?

Obviously, you are going to give the most time to what you care about the utmost. Between work obligations, extracurricular activities, and other things, the people you care about the most – your children – often get to spend the least amount of time with you. However, in order to form a strong, long-term bond, it is imperative that you spend time with your children, as this facilitates a healthy and strong development. Do things with your children, not just for them. Play with them. Talk with them.

Do one thing that you and your child like to do one-on-one. Make a date to do that activity one every two weeks, once a month, or however often you decide. Build this activity in to your calendar, so you never miss that special time with your child.

Life will present you with so many opportunities to spend quality time with your children. Discover those opportunities, and seize them. For instance, if you have to cook dinner, why not get the whole family involved. Children can be very helpful in the kitchen. Finding the time to give to your child should be a chore, but it should be a priority. Make the most of their childhood: play with them; talk to them. It will make the difference.

19Sep

angry kidAngry Kids

Kids get angry, period. They are human, and the anger they experience is often an outward expression of an underlying emotion. Every human communicates based on perception. Your child may perceive that his friend stole his toy and feels obligated to let his friend know his frustration. Underlying the anger is just that, another emotion like frustration, hurt, or disappointment. It can troubling to see your child expressing his anger, but learning to deal with anger in a healthy way will benefit you and your child.

You will need to help your child acknowledge that anger is simply an outward expression of another emotion. Help your child learn the language, so he or she can fully communicate what is actually going on beneath the anger. When your child knows what the primary emotion is, he or she can take steps to deal with the underlying problem.

The goal, then, becomes for your child to constructively solve the problem under the surface. You can help your child feel safe to communicate his emotions, and guide him to a viable solution to the problem. For instance, you may help your child acknowledge his own contribution to the problem.

You should stay calm and closely connected when your child is angry. Your child doesn’t need you to send them to a “time out” or for you to get angry at them – this only reinforces what he or she is feeling. Instead, empathize, and say something like “I know that boy stole your toy. I can see that you are mad”. This way you can diffuse the anger and come to a proper resolution sooner.

13Sep

Often I am asked what I can do to help my kids have a successful school year. Is it implementing a regular homework routine? Staying in touch with my kid’s teacher? Sending them off in the morning with a full belly? Checking on their grades more regularly? Yes these are all great habits to follow but holding a family meeting (or family huddle as we call it) once a week, will prevent many issues from arising and give you peace of mind about your kid’s needs and how to support them.

In each meeting, you should cover homework, bedtime routine, school projects, upcoming tests and lunches. It’s important to talk about each of these issues and find out how well your child is managing their time, their routines and what you can do as a parent to support them. Use your meeting time to go over their schedules for the week, ask the kids what they need from you — from a ride to practice on Wednesday to a clean uniform for Saturday’s game. This kind of planned communication in your family huddle, can prevent a lot of the last-minute stress and frustration and ultimately help your child have a much more successful school year.

13Sep

                 The Race is On!MIAT Video Game fund project

 

For one year Me in a Tree has provided online tools and resources families need to grow stronger and communicate better. Tools you know and love such as The Family Huddle, My Duties and The Gratitude Journal are fun and friendly ways for families to develop goals and problem-solve: working together as a team and strengthening their family bond. Me in a Tree families want it to be easier to use MIAT’s games and tools: even when they are not at home in front of their computer.

Introducing the Me in a Tree Video Game: a mobile version of Me in a Tree that you can take with you in the car, to restaurants, on a picnic: all the places where your family gathers and spend time together.

Sound fantastic? It will be, with your help! For as low as $1 you can help build stronger healthier families.

We have launched a Kickstarter* project to raise funds so that the MIAT Video Game becomes a reality. With Kickstarter, we maintain control of the content, quality and direction of the MIAT Video Game while raising money to produce our video game.

How can you help? We have just 34 days to raise $114,600. (insert pledge tree image)
Your pledge can put the Me in a Tree Video Game in the
hands of parents who are working to build stronger families.

Pledge today: You are rewarded for your pledge!Me in a Tree video game to build stronger families
Pledge rewards include:

• Wallpaper: Me in a Tree Wallpaper – $5
• 3 Months Membership: 3 months membership to
Me in a Tree online tools and resources – $20
• 1:1 Consultation: personal Skype consultation with
Me in a Tree parenting experts – $50
• iPad Cover: exclusive Me in the Tree iPad case – $70
• Animation Cell: Me in the Tree Limited Edition
signed Cell – $200
• Become a Character in the Video Game: an animated
character in the Me in a Tree video game will be
named after you – $1000
• Family of Characters in the Video Game: a family in the
Me in a Tree video game characters will be named after
your family – $3000

Pledge Today and make a difference to families around the world who will benefit from the Me in a Tree Video Game.

Pledges make a great gift: Looking for the perfect gift for someone you care about? Gift a Me in the Tree Kickstarter pledge in their name:

• Christmas gift
• Baby shower giftMIAT Video Game fund project
• Anniversary present
• Birthday gift

Don’t keep our funding campaign a secret: tell your friends and family about the Me in a Tree Video Game pledge.
Act today: the pledge campaign ends October 16: pledge today!

* What’s Kickstarter? Kickstarter is an innovative way to raise funds for creative projects. Since 2009 artists, educators, novelists, designers and other visionaries have used Kickstarter to launch their projects.

tools and resources to build stronger families

Me in a Tree brings families together with fun tools and resources

that create a happy home.

7Sep

Ever been frustrated with your partner because he or she didn’t listen listening skillsto you that one time, and that other time, too? Of course you have – every marriage experiences this. If both partners in a marriage defensively listen to each other, they create distance. However, when both partners listen to each other empathetically instead of defensively, they foster a closer connection. This involves learning how to actively listen. Here are a few principles:

Stop what you are doing. If you try to listen while you are doing something, the probability of you getting distracted is pretty high. Stop, and give all your attention to your partner.
Establish eye contact. Your partner’s big pools of brown eyes may be dreamy, and looking directly at your partner can create a space of active listening.
Don’t interrupt. This is a biggie! Let your partner finish his or her story or thought before you respond. Interrupting is a danger zone fraught with miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Repeat what they said in your own words. This ensures that not only did you hear what he or she said, but that you also understand it.
Practice empathy If your partner had a rough day, and you perceive their lack of active listenership or uncharacteristic communication, try to see their point of view. This is very proactive and beneficial. It also establishes the concept of being understood, which is extremely important in active listening.

Not sure where to start? Try asking your spouse how their day went, and put these active listening principles in to action.

Sources:
How to Actively Listen to Your Spouse