Family Tips

Read these 66 Family Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Kid tips and hundreds of other topics.

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organize

GROUP ACTIVITY

When you have children of various ages and have to find something that everyone would enjoy to keep them happy, consider these activities that are enjoyed my many.

1. Go outside for a walk. Collect leaves, grasses, rocks and other "treasures". At home, glue them into a large piece of paper making a collage. Enjoy the sandbox outside or in winter play in the snow.

2. Puzzles are fun. Have a variety of puzzles on hand of various difficulties.

3. Have a story time. All children love to hear a story.

4. Music time! Put on your favourite music and let the children dance. Even babies love to move to the music.

5. Creative art time. Cutting and pasting, fingerpainting, and painting are loved by children of all ages. You may have to simplify activities for yournger children, for example, precut the shapes for pasting

6. Bake or cook something. A great multi age activity. There is something every age child can do, like stirring or measuring. Give very young children a bowl and spoon to keep them occupied between their "jobs".

7. Nuturing is a "job" activity that can involve everyone. Water, feed or walk the dog (cat or fish). Water the houseplants. Sing to the baby.

8. Consider helping around the house an activity!
Setting the table, tidying, sort or fold laundry (I have been known to take dishtowels out of the drawer for a 3 year old to fold while I finish making a meal), and sweeping is very popular.

Even babies that cannot take part in these activities will enjoy watching, especially if you talk to them about what is going on.

   

RECYCLE PARTY FOIL BALLOONS

After you have deflated party balloons, don't throw them out. Instead, make gift bags by cutting off the small neck at bottom and taping it shut. Cut the top and put tissue paper and the gift inside. Tie shut with a colorful ribbon, or turn them inside out for a shiny foil look.

   
family activity

PREPARE DINNER

Let your child help plan dinner one night a week or month. Let them decide what to make and what they need to shop for. Then let them prepare their special meal (you will want to stay nearby and supervise and guide). At first you may get microwave hot dogs but as your child builds knowledge and confidence their menu will grow, and so will their skills and pride! The sight of the finished meal on the table will reward their planning and efforts. Serve extra helpings of praise!

   
family activity

PRIVATE TIME

Children truly need to know their place in this world, and feel secure with their parent's unconditional love. Something you can do for all of your children is to give them some private one on one time on a regular basis. This could be as simple as spending 5 minutes with each one privately as you tuck them into bed every night. Asking them about their favorite time of the day or just whispering "I love you" and giving them an extra special cuddle. You can get a bit more elaborate once a month by spending a special afternoon with each one individually. Have to go shopping? Get a babysitter for the other two children and take one with you. Make sure you rotate which child goes with you each week so they all get a chance for your company. For a very special occasion (like a birthday, a very good report card or just staying dry all week for your two year old) you could plan two hours of a favorite activity, either one on one or with the siblings, the one celebrating the occasion choosing the agenda.

   
family memories

HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD DEAL WITH THE LOSS OF A PET

If your child is very young begin by telling him that his pet is very ill. Find a story about pet loss that is age appropriate.
Answer his questions briefly, but to the point, giving him only information that is not too technical. Have a small ritual for saying good bye to your pet. This will help him grieve.
Emphasize that your pet had a lot of love and care when he was alive and explain that your pet does not hurt when they are dead. This should comfort him.
It's possible that he will not completely comprehend what you are telling him, but your conversation will comfort him because he trusts you.
If you want to put up a picture of your pet for a while after it dies, your child will be able to see the picture and interact with it, this is a psychological step between having the pet there and its disappearance from his life.
By breaking up the transition into smaller steps your child will absorb more and easier for him. Pretty soon the memories will replace some of the sadness drawing pictures of his pet or writing stories about the good times you had with it…. , I went and made a collage for her, which I look at when I'm missing her. I've also had a few dreams about her and this lets me know she's still in my heart, even though she's no longer with us 'A young boy went with his parents to be with the family dog when the dog was put to sleep. Everyone was saying how sad it is that animals don't live longer. The young boy said he knew why, 'We are all put here on earth to learn how to love and get along with others. Animals already know how to love, so they don't have to spend as long here as we do. So they go to heaven sooner.' From: Chicken Soup for the Soul.

   
rules

DO CHORES TOGETHER

Get the whole family to help around the house and do chores together. It's their home too!
Explain "how" and "why" for each chore. Encourage your child to suggest other ways of doing the household jobs, and try their way!

   
COMMUNICATING

SHOW HOW PROUD YOU ARE

Display your child's artwork, schoolwork or school triumphs on the refrigerator or on the hallway wall. Make a treasure chest together to store the special projects all children do in school. Show that you value your children and what they do. Occasionally go over their work and show them their progress, better penmanship or bigger math equations.

   
special moments

A SPECIAL DAY EVERY MONTH

Give your children a special gift. On the first day of each month have your children all huddle around the family calendar. One by one the children close their eyes and select a day to be 'King' or 'Queen' for the day, by randomly pointing to the calendar squares. On that day they choose what we will have for dinner and get special attention like an extra story of their choice. If it's not a school day, they can invite a friend to spend the night or rent a movie. It's a big thrill to the kids, and little effort for you. A great way to be sure each of your children get that little extra attention we know they all deserve!

   
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MORNING MADNESS

Are you find getting out the door in the morning is mass confusion? Kids going to daycare or school, lunches to pack, kids to dress, things to remember....you're probably wondering what you can do to make it easier. There just isn't one set answer for you, but there are dozens of little things you can do to make it easier. Here are a few things that work. Pack the night before. You can even make it part of the bedtime routine and get the kids involved. Pack their lunches after supper and put in the refrigerator until the morning. Get help from your partner. Share the load, even the kids can help. One does the dishes and one packs lunch. One bathes the children and one lays out the clothes and tells the bedtime story. Trim the edges. It doesn't matter if the socks don't match. As long as they are dressed properly for the weather they will get through the day. Pick your battles carefully. Prioritize. There are some days, and we've all had them, that you just have to get through.
The best tip I can give you is that the children take their cue from you, If you are frazzled so are they.

   
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FAMILY MEETING

Tell the kids (& spouse, if need be) "Thanks, but I'm not really Super Mom/Dad. I/we need your help. You need to learn the survival skills. Here's the list of chores. Would you like to choose which ones you'll do, or shall I choose for you?" Plus, if they have to help keep the house clean, they'll be less inclined to mess it up.

Reprinted with permission from Maria Gracia's FREE Get Organized Now! Newsletter. Get your FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak and Newsletter, filled with tips and ideas to help you get better organized, at the Get Organized Now! Web site. http://www.getorganizednow.com

   
organize

FAMILY CALENDAR

Make a family calendar and post it where it is handy to all. Add children's appointments, lessons, team practices, deadlines for homework or tests, events, and family outings. Use a calendar with large squares. Post the children's chores and responsibilities on another calendar posted in the same area. If you can combine the two, great! Have your older children add updates on their own.

   
soft-sculptured animal

RECYCLE OLD TOWELS

Recycle your old towels into soft-sculptured animal projects such as frogs, ducks, bears, etc. The advantages, besides recycling, are inexpensive, readily available, fabric that is soft, pre-shrunk, and totally washable. If you are making these animals for young children, consider embroidering the details so there are no small parts that can be accidentally swallowed.

   
rules

BE FIRM AND CONSISTENT

Like any household with children your home may have a number of "rules" for the kids to follow. These are in place for either their safety or to teach them how to behave and act. Once these rules are made, and you should be clear about what is expected (See Setting Limits in this section), you must enforce it. Inconsistencies confuse a child. If you tell them that there will be no candy bars when you go through the checkout today and you cave in to the pleading and whining, how will they know that mean what you say? Next time you try to enforce a rule (and it may be more important than the "no candy bar") they will naturally try to get you to change your mind, after all you did before. They basically learn that rules can be broken. Following through on your limits and rules is important because you are teaching your children to be able to predict and understand the consequences of their actions.

   
SIBLING RIVALRY

SIBLING RIVALRY

Parent's actions and decisions can greatly affect sibling's relationships. I have found that organizing their play area so that you don't have a lot of small pieces floating around limits the squabbles. I try to have a lot of cooperative toys that they can use together, and to have enough that they can share without a lot of problems. Yet on the other hand, it is a good idea to separate some personal items so a child can gain a sense of belonging. When siblings do argue, it is good to teach children to use their words instead of grabbing or yelling. Teaching them to work things out in a co-operative way.

   
COMMUNICATING

POSITIVE INTERVENTION

Praise, praise, praise. Sure you can correct their inappropriate behavior, sometimes over and over, becoming the "nag" they tune out. Many parents (and experts) have found that if you actively reinforce their good behavior they attract the desired behavior from their children without the negative connotation. Kids seek approval more than anything else at any age. Hug them, compliment them on their efforts. A few kind words and actions go a very long way.

   

TEACH RESPONSIBILITY

TEACH RESPONSIBILITY
Give even young children their own jobs to do. Make taking out the garbage, feeding the family pet or setting the dinner table an ongoing responsibility. Toddlers can match socks, fold washcloths and dishtowels, dust or dry the plastic cups and bowls, with supervision. Let their responsibilities grow as they do. Teaching new skills as they mature. Your home is their home and their compensation is a nice place to live and parents that aren't too tired to go to the game with them.

   
compromise

COMPROMISING

Compromising is a very important skill in the grown up world, learning to compromise, as a child is imperative to building real life skills. Making sure each sibling has time to himself or herself, and time with their parents in a one on one relationship is important. When conflicts arise, it is a good idea to consider the following questions when dealing with the issue at hand.
Is someone stressed about something?
Does he need more focused attention?
Are there self-esteem issues?
All children need to be provided with a variety of things he or she CAN have control over and enjoys doing. Giving her the opportunity to lead other children in activities.

   
SIBLING RIVALRY

SIBLING SQUABBLING

I have used this positive approach for years, and it fosters the ability for a couple of kids to compromise and negotiate a fair result to their "battle". When a squabble occurs, sit both children down next to each other, together on the couch or in two chairs facing each other. I explain that they cannot get up until they have arrived at an agreeable solution to their problem. You may need to arbitrate initially. Then back off and let them problem-solve their problem. If they can not come up with a solution, suggest some possible ideas for them. Their negotiation skills will improve with time, and you have the added bonus of not having quite so much tattling.

   
COMMUNICATING

POSITIVE FEEDBACK

Telling kids what they should do, as opposed to what they shouldn't be doing, brings a positive reflection on their behavior very quickly. For instance, use words like this to teach your children.... "use your walking feet." instead of "Don't run." "Use your indoor voices." Instead of "Stop screaming" and "Keep your feet on the floor." instead of "Don't climb on the couch." "Sit on the chair." instead of "Don't stand on the chair." "Run your truck on the floor." instead of "Don't run your truck on the table." The best rules tell children what they should do , rather then what they shouldn't do.

   

TIME TO THEMSELVES

Just remember: everyone needs some time to themeselves. I'm sure you know of sometime when you simply wanted to be left alone and go someplace quiet to think, or just relax, and so does everybody. They may hint this by suggesting politely that you leave them alone, or even making rude remarks to try to get you to leave, but it's up to you to know that your friend or family member needs to be left alone, and respect that. A good friend is not someone who sticks with their friends 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but rather someone who can understand and respect the feelings and needs of their friend.

   
anger control

3 + 10 ANGER CONTROL STRATEGY.

A very effective strategy for helping kids to calm down is called "3 + 10." You might want to print the formula on large pieces of paper and hang them all around your house. Then tell the child how to use the formula: "As soon as you feel your body sending you a warning sign that says you're losing control, do two things.
First, take 3 deep slow breaths from your tummy." (Model this with your child. Show her how to take a deep breath then tell her to pretend she's riding an escalator. Start at the bottom step and as you take the breath, ride up the escalator slowly. Hold it! Now ride slowly down the escalator releasing your breath steadily at the same time). "That's 3.
Now count slowly to ten inside your head. That's 10. Put them all together, it's 3 + 10 and it helps you calm down."

   

SETTING LIMITS

How would it be to drive where there were no traffic laws? Total chaos comes to mind! Children need clear limits to define the boundaries of their behavior. To feel secure they need to know what is expected of them from a very young age. Of course, when they are very young these limits will be easily defined by one word... safety. A toddler cannot touch the stove, cross the street or bathe alone. Soon you will find other limits to their behavior. Tantrums, throwing food or ripping up a book may be comically cute the first time they attempt it, but may I suggest you that none of these behaviors will be endearing when they are five! Our kids must try to figure out what is ok and what is not and it's our job as a parent to tell them. Kids are very smart from a very early age, and they will know by your approval or corrections what is expected of them.

   
CALM DOWN TECHNIQUES

NATURE WALKS

Going on a walk is a daily activity around my house. Making it new and exciting takes a little imagination. I've made little shoulder bags from cotton material, but it is just as easy to give each child a grocery bag, just try to make sure it has an easy to carry handle. Every neighborhood changes throughout the year. Plan "theme" walks, changing with the season or current interest or lesson the children may have.
For example:
Try collecting different
Stones, Leaves (colored leaves in the fall),
Try finding different
Bugs, flowers, birds, red things (pick any color), round things, things that start with a T (or any letter)

The following song is easy to learn.
Let the kids make up a tune as they learn the words.
Taking a walk is so much fun,
We didn't hurry, we didn't run.
We watched for birds,
We watched for bees,
We looked at all the beautiful trees.

   
SEPARATION ANXIETY

SEPARATION ANXIETY

Most children go through a separation anxiety at sometime in their development. But there are things you can do to make them feel more secure. Don't sneak out. Always say goodbye to your child when you are leaving and tell them when you will be back. Plan a routine that is comforting. Do the same things in the morning before you go. Eat breakfast together; talk about your plans for the day. This will give your child a broader range of thought about where you go and what you do while you're away.
Allow your child to bring a favorite toy security item. This will comfort them while you are away. When you get to the point where you have to go, go. You might think that an extra 3 or 4 hugs will help him but it is only a way to draw out the anxiety. Say "Goodbye, I love you, see you at 4:00 when I get back from work." And go. Never get mad or tease your child for being afraid of new people or places.

   
organize

LAUNDRY BASKET ORGANIZING

To make sorting clean laundry less of a hassle, have a separate laundry basket for each member of the family. I let my daughter pick out which color she wanted and she decorated it with bows. Each family member is responsible for putting away their clean clothes once the basket is filled.

   
anger control

ANGER WARNING SIGNS

Explain to your child that we all have little signs that warn us when we're getting angry. We should listen to them because they can help us stay out of trouble.
Next, help your child recognize what specific warning signs she may have that tells her she's starting to get upset such as, "I talk louder, my cheeks get flushed, I clench my fists, my heart pounds, my mouth gets dry and I breathe faster."
Once she's aware of them, start pointing them out to her whenever she first starts to get frustrated. "Looks like you're starting to get out of control." or "Your hands are in a fist now. Do you feel yourself starting to get angry?"
The more we help kids recognize those early angry warning signs when their anger is first triggered, the better they will be able to calm themselves down. It's also the time when anger management strategies are most effective. Anger escalates very quickly, and waiting until a child is already in "melt down" to try to get her back into control is usually too late.

   
family activity

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Summer is a good reason to celebrate. There are many ways we can make the most of this wonderful season. Here is a list of activities that you can do as a family that will allow your kids to enjoy, explore and learn about summer:
Sing around the "campfire"
Plan a summer vacation (go to local points of interest if on a tighter budget)
Go fishing (you can pretend too)
Go on a picnic (perhaps make one night a week special by planing a weekly picnic at your local park)
Make a nature collage
Read about how flowers and plants grow
Make lemonade from scratch
Go bird watching
Look for shapes in fluffy clouds
Look for rainbows after it rains.

   
CALM DOWN TECHNIQUES

CALM DOWN TECHNIQUES

There are a number of suggestions you can give your child to help him/her calm down. Children need these "calm down techniques" modeled for them to learn. They aren't born with these techniques built in to their system. Here are a few suggestions, your family may have more to add to the list:
Walk away
Think of a peaceful place
Run a lap
Listen to music
Hit a pillow
Shoot baskets
Draw pictures
Talk to someone
Sing a song
Once the child chooses his "calm down" technique, encourage him to use the same strategy each time he starts to get angry.

   
COMMUNICATING

COMPLIMENTING YOUR CHILD

There are hundreds of ways to tell your child they
have done a good thing. Here are just a few:
You're on the right track now!
You are very good at that.
You're doing a good job.
I knew you could do it.
Now you have it.
Great!
You make it look easy.
You're getting better every day.
Sensational
Terrific!
Much better!
Outstanding!
Keep it up!
Good thinking!
Keep on trying.
I like that.
I'm very proud of you
You're right.
Clever!
That's GReat!
Way to go.
Congratulations, you got it now.
That's right!
What an improvement.
You learn fast.
Good for you!
Excellent!
That's the best ever.
I appreciate your hard work.
Splendid!
Good going!
Marvelous!
Yu're doing the best you can.
That gives me a happy feeling.
I sure am happy you're my daughter/son/student/friend!

   
sleep requirements

PROPER REST

Everybody needs a certain amount of rest to function. Without it we lose our ability to concentrate, we may lose our temper faster or become uneasy. Children even more so. When they're tired they cry more, complain more, resist more and make far more mistakes. Making sure your child gets the proper rest required for their age and activity level insures a happier and healthier child.

As children develop, both the distribution of sleep in a 24-hour period and total sleep requirements change. A newborn infant requires 16 to 18 hours of sleep a night, decreasing to 14 or 15 hours by age one, 10 or 12 by age four, and less than 10 by age ten. Sleep needs further decrease as adolescence progresses, stabilizing at 7 or 8 hours in adulthood.

   
organize

NECESSARY BALANCE

No matter the age, a balance is always necessary in life. A balance between school (academic), social, excercise, and entertainment. Pushing one section of the balance too far, for example talking on the phone to your friends, or staying outside and playing basketball too long, will cause a problem somewhere else in the balance, in your schoolwork, for example. Time management skills are necessary to make sure that this balance stays intact.

   
fitness exercize

FAMILY FITNESS

There are many ways that parents can get fit with their kids. Here are some ideas:

Run/ride together: parents jog or race walk while kids ride their bikes.

Weekend or weeknight swimming: check local pools for family hours.

Table tennis in your basement or floor hockey at the local community center.

In-line skating; investigate lessons together at indoor arenas.

Basketball or volleyball games or tournaments at local community centers.

Skating, parents and kids can enjoy the same club.

Cross-country or downhill skiing: sign up for family lessons.

Bowling: there are leagues for the family.

   
family activity

RIDDLES AROUND THE CAMPFIRE

A dark, spooky, dry (and hopefully bug-free) night at camp is great for a campfire. During the day, you can collect small twigs and sticks to use as kindling, then at night, have your family gather around the fire pit with a pop and tell them some riddles. Make sure you allow them to ask yes or no questions if the riddle is tough, and I'm sure that your family and friends will have a great time. If you don't have any riddle books, and you don't feel like making up any of your own, there are plenty of sites online that have a list of great riddles to tell. Have fun!

   
puzzles

JIGSAW PUZZLES

Ever have one of those evenings where you really have nothing to do? Why not sit down with a jigsaw puzzle? Jigsaw Puzzles can be purchased for anywhere between $5-30 at any art or hobby shop, and are great fun to put together. If you're a beginner, start with a 50 or 100 piece puzzle, that should keep you busy for an evening. If you're a pro, why not try a 500 or 1000 piece puzzle? These can provide several evenings of fun. Once you get into it, I'm sure you'll agree that a jigsaw puzzle is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, or a boring evening.

   
rules

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Remember: in the adult world, saying "He made me do it", or "He forced me too" doesn't work. You have to learn to take responsibilities for your own actions. Rather than telling mom, or your teacher that your friend told you to do it, say that you're sorry, that you learned from your mistake, and that it won't happen again. This will tell them that you are mature enough to take responsibility for your actions.

   
How can I help my child have good self-esteem?

REINFORCING A CHILD'S SELF ESTEEM

Children need to be told when they have done well, and to see your personal approval. It is not enough to simply accept their achievements, they need to be made aware that you approve in order to continue to strive to do their best. Poor self esteem can result when a child is underpraised. They may begin to feel as if their efforts are futile. There are hundreds of ways to tell your child they have done a good thing. Here are just a few:
You're on the right track now!
You are very good at that.
You're doing a good job.
I knew you could do it.
Now you have it.
Great!
You make it look easy.
You're getting better every day.
Sensational
Terrific!
Much better!
Outstanding!
Keep it up!
Good thinking!
Keep on trying.
I like that.
I'm very proud of you
You're right.
Clever!
That's Great!
Way to go.
Congratulations, you got it now.
That's right!
What an improvement.
You learn fast.
Good for you!
Excellent!
That's the best ever.
I appreciate your hard work.
Splendid!
Good going!
Marvelous!
You're doing the best you can.
That gives me a happy feeling.

   
dicipline

WHEN TO DISCIPLINE

Before you even begin to discipline your children, find out the real reason why they are acting out. Are they frustrated? Are they trying to get attention? Are they disappointed? Are there deeper issues that you need to address?

   
camping

CAMPING TRIPS

A great way to pass a weekend with your family is to go on a weekend camping or RVing trip. There is much more to do at the campsite than there is at home, you'll be able to go stargazing, have a campfire, tell stories, and have fun. Campsites usually have a big field to run around or play baseball in: this is a great way to spend time with mommy, daddy, and your brothers and sisters. Why not suggest a weekend camping trip the next time you're looking for something to do on the weekend?

   
shoelace repair

FIX A SHOELACE

To fix a frayed shoelace tip - Wrap the frayed end with a small strip of Scotch Tape.

   
ANTI-BIASED CO-OPERATION

ENCOURAGING ANTI-BIASED CO-OPERATION

ENCOURAGE THEM TO MAKE NON-STEREOTYPICAL selections. If they choose or you assign chores based on the same old stereotypes, how will they achieve equality in their adult roles?
TEACH THEM HOW. Break the job down into small, manageable parts. Some jobs may need to be taught in several short sessions.
CATCH THEM DOING IT RIGHT. Positive reinforcement is still the most effective teaching tool around. Specific, realistic praise, and unexpected rewards, go a long way toward increasing the odds a desired behavior will be repeated.

Reprinted with permission from Maria Gracia's FREE Get Organized Now! Newsletter. Get your FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak and Newsletter, filled with tips and ideas to help you get better organized, at the Get Organized Now! Web site. http://www.getorganizednow.com

   
organize

GET KIDS ORGANIZED

CHART IT. Make a chart with rows for each day of the week, and columns for Chores, Homework, Activities and Assignments, and "I Want to...". Complete one for each person, or use color-coding to summarize on one chart. Then post on the fridge or keep in a family organizer. When they've completed their required tasks, they should be free to do their (reasonable) "I Want to..."s. This linking privileges with responsibilities is a crucial values lesson.

Reprinted with permission from Maria Gracia's FREE Get Organized Now! Newsletter. Get your FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak and Newsletter, filled with tips and ideas to help you get better organized, at the Get Organized Now! Web site. http://www.getorganizednow.com

   
COMMUNICATING

PROBLEM SOLVING

Ask "What if?" questions to help your child come up with positive solutions to sharing problems that commonly arise. For example, ask: "What if you wanted to play on a swing but your friend wouldn't get off?' "What if there's one cookie left and both you and your sister want it?" "What if you're starting a game and you and your friend want to be first?" These questions would depend on the age of your child, but is a good way to get them thinking about the necessary problem solving skills they need to grow up.

   
COMMUNICATING

MODEL BEHAVIOR

One way kids learn how to behave is by watching others model behavior traits, both good and bad. When your children are exposed to some of this behavior, either on television, in public or at home it makes it even harder to raise a decent and responsible young person. I believe most children strive to do their best and need to see good behavior patterns to model themselves after. How can we as parents teach our children to respect others, maintain self-control, to persevere through hard times and be fair, tolerant and empathetic? We can no longer sit back and hope our kids grow to become caring, decent, human beings. We must deliberately and passionately teach and model the traits of strong character in our kids so they really can become the best they can be and in doing so, we will nurture the qualities that enhance their moral growth.

   
special moments

CELEBRATE 'OUR' DAYS

Special times for just the 2 of you, otherwise known as one on one time. My children and I celebrated their "half birthdays" (their birthday only six months later). We took a Saturday to ourselves. Let your child choose the menu, decide on the best way to celebrate, and pick out a special book or movie to enjoy together. Make arrangements for your other children to do something with your spouse or a friend.

   
table manners

TABLE MANNERS FOR KIDS

Setting the rules in your house is a parent's responsibility. Teaching your child good table manners starts from a very young age and builds as they mature and become capable of more detail. Consider these "rules for the kitchen table" to build your child's table manners.
1. Come to the table promptly when you are called. Food tastes better when it is hot.
2. Sit at the table with the four legs of the chair flat on the floor. Sit straight, with your feet in front of you
3. Sit quietly with your hands in your lap until you are served. Or if you serve yourself: Wait for the food to be passed to you. As soon as the food is passed to you, take some and pass it on. Don't leave a serving dish beside your plate. Wait until all of the food has been offered before you begin to eat.
4. Do not talk with your mouth full.
5. Do not make biological noises or blow your nose at the table.
6. Keep your elbows off the table.
7. Try not to wave silverware around while you're eating.
8. Do not use your finger to push food onto your utensil.
9. Do not lick your fingers or wipe your hands on the tablecloth. Make use of your napkin so you don't offend others with half-chewed food oozing out the corners of your mouth and down your chin.
10. Don't stuff your mouth with food.
11. Keep the conversation pleasant. Do not raise your voice.
12. After the meal is over, clear your plate and put it in the sink. (or whatever procedures your parents set up for you.)
13. Never pick up a dish and hold it in your hand while you eat.
14. Never eat and run. Remain at the table until you are excused.
15. Offer to help with the dishes.

   
COMMUNICATING

TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT TOUGH ISSUES

Here are 10 tips on talking to your kids on tough issues.
1. Start early. Respect your children's ideas and concerns from an early age.
2. Initiate conversations with your child. Be sure to open a variety of subjects.
3. Listen to your child. Really, try not to be judgmental, they are learning.
4. Address any fears. Being open and honest about what you can do to help.
5. Create an open environment. Turn off the TV at dinnertime, and avoid distractions.
6. Communicate your own values.
7. Try to be honest. Relay your ideas and tell them why you feel that way.
8. Be patient. Your child may have to think things over and discuss the subject again at a later time.
9. Use everyday opportunities to talk. Be open to those long drawn out stories about what happened on the schoolyard today. Your child will learn you are interested in their life.
10. Talk about it again. And, again. And again if necessary.

   
COMMUNICATING

DON'T BE AFRAID TO SAY

When your child asks you a question, answer them right away. This builds their self-esteem and tells them you think their questions are important. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." Look up the answer together. Not only will they know they can turn to you when they need to they will learn that education goes on throughout life.

   
organize

A SOLUTION FOR STORING HAIR ACCESSORIES

If you have daughters that use hair barrettes and bobbles you may find them all over the place. Having a jar on their dresser works for some, but, then she may have to "dump" them out to find the pair she wants. Try this idea. She can make a nice, decorative storage utility from the following 3 ideas.
1. Hang a pretty ribbon on the back of her bedroom or bathroom door. Clip the barrettes to the ribbon. They are easy to access and use.
2. Make a dolly face from a paper plate and glue "yarn braids" to the sides of the plate.
3. Clip the barrettes to the braids and hang on her bedroom wall.
A belt that no longer fits your daughter is easy to hang from the buckle, and when the barrettes are clipped onto it. It can be hung in her closet for storage!

   
fears, tragedy

Comforting Children after Tragedy

Are you comforting your children in a manner that helps them address sudden tragedy? Ms. Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, M.A. has excellent advice for all of us. She recommends we allow children the time to express their minds. She suggests we do not offer criticism of those thoughts. And she has specific recommendations based on vast experience. Please read her article now, and apply this wisdom to a youngster today.

http://www.kid-tips.com/RscArticleV.asp?id=320

   
quote

HAPPIEST PEOPLE

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

   
COMMUNICATING

HELP YOUR CHILD LEAD

Your children develop problem-solving skills when they are allowed to do things on their own. Allow them to set up the game on game night. Encourage them to try new things.

   
organize

INCLUDE THE KIDS IN YOUR ACTIVITIES

Combine family time with chore or hobby time. Studies have shown that kids actually enjoy the time spent working with parents, even if they complain about it before and during. Additionally, it shows them their contributions are valuable-very good for self-esteem! Working together is quality time!

Reprinted with permission from Maria Gracia's FREE Get Organized Now! Newsletter. Get your FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak and Newsletter, filled with tips and ideas to help you get better organized, at the Get Organized Now! Web site. http://www.getorganizednow.com

   
baby wipes

BABY WIPES - Make your own

1 roll stroong paper towels
2 cups water
2 Tbs. baby bath liquid
To cut the paper towel roll in half, place it on its side on a cutting board surface. Leave the plastic wrap on and cut firmly using a sharp, but not serrated, knife. Remove the plastic wrap from the half you will use first. Save the other half for your next batch. A Tupperware Signature 2 Series container works great for storage. It has a flip-top lid and looks nice, but you can use any plastic container with an easy flip-open lid, about six inches high and wide enough to stand the half roll upright. Mix the water and baby bath in the container. Stand the paper towel half upright in the solution. After one minute, remove the center tube. Close the container and let stand for a couple of hours to finish absorbing the liquid. Pull the wipes from the center - use as much or as little as you need at each diaper change.

   
language

CURB INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE RIGHT AWAY

Parents are usually shocked the first time they find out that their youngster's vocabulary may include a variety of swear words or obscenities. It is important to be aware that making a big fuss over these words will most likely only increase the child's fascination with them.
The most successful treatment is to tell your child quickly, firmly, and calmly that you don't approve of those words. In this way you communicate your values to your child. If your child lives in an environment where he constantly hears these words being used by others, it is important for you to explain to your child that your values are different from those of other people.
Use this opportunity to express your own values to your child by stating firmly, for example, "In our family, we don't use swear words like that."

   
COMMUNICATING

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CHILD

The more interactive conversation and play a child is involved in, the more a child learns.
Reading books, singing, playing word games, and simply talking to your child will increase his vocabulary while providing increased listening opportunities.
Here are a few suggestions to help improve your child's communication skills:
1. Talk to your child about what he did during the day or plans to do tomorrow. "I think it's going to rain this afternoon. What shall we do?" Or discuss the day's events at bedtime.
2. Play make-believe games.
3. Read your child's favorite books over and over and encourage him to join in with words he knows. Encourage "pretend" reading (let your child pretend he's reading a book to you).
4. As your child gets older continue to discuss the days plans and events. Do not over react when you hear about aspects of your child's day that may have been handled somewhat questionably. Discuss what your child did to handle the event and what the results were. How could they have handled it differently to expect other results?
An open communication policy is the most important gift you can give your child and yourself!

   
SIBLING RIVALRY

TEASING SIBLINGS

My English teacher always says, "I consider it a blessing when I see my children arguing." To an extent, I do agree with him. Disputing and even light fighting is necessary to relieve the stress and aggravation between siblings. We must be careful to make sure it doesn't go too far, we don't want anyone to get hurt, but a lack of this disputing should tell us that there is something wrong, because we all need to relieve our stress, and arguing is the best way to do it!

   
COMMUNICATING

ENCOURAGE LIFE-SKILLS

Your children need to develop their "life-skills" over time. Start early with these tips. Good family work habits can influence school performance. Children can see that setting goals and sticking to plans can be satisfying. Set a daily routine for schoolwork, meals and bedtime. Let your child know you and others appreciate it when they are on time. Work first play later.

   
family activity

10 MINUTE PICK-UP

Control the chaos. Schedule a consistent, '10 minute Pick-up' each night. Set a timer to sound an alarm in 10 minutes.

While the clock is ticking, all family members are responsible for clearing out and putting away their belongings from the main family area.

When the timer sounds, you're all done. Give yourselves a warm round of applause for all you've accomplished.

   
COMMUNICATING

TALKING TO THE KIDS

Be sure to listen, this means always, in the car, while making a meal, while cleaning up the house… You never know when your child will want to share an important thought, idea or story with you. Sometimes the best conversations with your kids come when you least expect it. I am constantly amazed at what you can learn from a child when they "chat" with you. Without the pressure of coming up with a precise answer to "What did you do in school today?" most children are happy to express more than just what they "did". They may tell you how they felt!

   
anger control

TIME OUT FOR PARENTS

There are times all parents find themselves frustrated or angry. We are all human, after all! Turn these moments into a lesson for the entire family. Take a walk! Together (if you're up to it) or alone, a walk gives you a chance to think through your feelings and consider the consequences of the choices you have to make. Your kids will learn how to manage their own anger as well. Clearing your head before addressing the problem is modeling appropriate behavior as well! I often take a walk with someone when I have something to talk about with them. Being alone together and walking makes it easier to talk to them. I don't know what it is, maybe because it's a captive audience or maybe because you are only paying attention to them and they feel important. Whatever it is, it works!

   
organize

MAKE CLEAN UP A GAME

If you have younger children, play "Inspection Express" every evening before bedtime. Make a "hands on the shoulders of the person in front of you train." Choo-choo through the rooms, looking for things that need to be put away. Or set the timer and see who can clean up the fastest-and neatest. One family calls the old socks they dust with "Dust Puppets". Play music, singsongs.

Reprinted with permission from Maria Gracia's FREE Get Organized Now! Newsletter. Get your FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak and Newsletter, filled with tips and ideas to help you get better organized, at the Get Organized Now! Web site. http://www.getorganizednow.com

   
CARPET DEODORIZER

CARPET DEODORIZER

With the kids and animals running in and out in the summer a carpet deodorizer can be expensive. Make your own! Take a large shaker and fill it about three-quarters full with baking soda. Then spice it up with your favorite...powdered cloves or cinnamon. Sprinkle on carpet and vacuum up.

   
COMMUNICATING

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CHILD

Ask, "What's wrong?" let your children know their feelings are important. Work problems out together. Giving them a number of ideas on how to work out a problem in their lives to choose from, will help them think through to the results of their choices. In addition, when the result may be somewhat less than desired, allow them to make the wrong choice and live through the consequences occasionally (depending on the severity of the problem). For example, if their favorite jeans are not in the hamper on laundry day, don't go looking for them… They may have to wait until the next laundry day to wear them.

   
COMMUNICATING

POLITENESS

Being polite, though it is tough, can go a long way to improving your reputation with parents, and other adults. For example, your parents won't see fit to give you a later bedtime if you eat like a slob and argue with everything they say! Remember to address your parents and other adults respectfully, and to use a "sir" or "madam" where one is required.

   
COMMUNICATING

TEACHING POLITE AND KIND CONVERSATION

Here is a good way to teach your children to talk politely and kindly. Tell the kids if they want to say something it must meet these three rules.
1. Is it True
2. Is It Kind
3. Is It Necessary
Of course these 3 rules are a little difficult for young children to learn right away. However with perseverance and consistency you will prevail and teach them a very valuable skill! Truthful comments are not always "necessary" to voice.

   
COMMUNICATING

USING WORDS TO EXPRESS YOUR CHILD'S FEELINGS

Many kids display anger because they simply don't know how to express their frustrations any other way. Kicking, screaming, swearing, hitting or throwing things may be the only way they know how to show their feelings. Asking this kid to "tell me how you feel" is unrealistic, because he may not have learned the words to tell you how he is feeling! To help him express his anger, create a feeling word poster together saying:
"Let's think of all the words we could use that tell others we're really angry" then list his ideas.
Here's a few:
Angry, mad, frustrated, furious, irritated, ticked off, irate, and incensed.
Write them on a chart, hang it up, and practice using them often.
When your child is angry, use the words so he can apply them to real life:
"Looks like you're really angry. Want to talk about it?" or "You seem really irritated. Do you need to walk it off?" Then keep adding new emotion words to the list whenever new ones come up in those great "teachable moments" opportunities throughout the day.

   
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