Smoothing out the morning routine

Many children are starting back to school next week and will be adjusting to a faster morning routine in order get out of the house on time. It’s far less stressful for both parents and children when parents do not feel the need to nag their kids in the morning around things like getting dressed and brushing their teeth.

As parents, it’s important to let our children be responsible for their own morning routines. For young children, it may be helpful to have a morning routine chart they can refer to or check off as they get each thing done. You can print this morning routine chart which has both pictures and text. Some families find it helpful to have a rule about no TV or games until the morning routine tasks are done.

May your family enjoy many pleasant mornings together!

Saying what you do want

It's easy to get into the habit of telling our children what we don't want them to do instead of what we want them to do. If you read “Don’t think of a red fire truck” most people will automatically think of a red fire truck. When you want your children to change their behavior, try telling them what to do instead of what not to do.

Saying what we do not want:
  • Don’t run!
  • Stop yelling.
  • Don’t give me that look!
  • No throwing cars!

It's better to say what we do want:
  • Please walk.
  • Please speak more quietly.
  • I’ll be happy to talk to you when you are looking at me in a respectful way.
  • You can push the cars on the track.

Save money - give your child an allowance

It may seem counterintuitive to give your child an allowance in order to save money but it works! Anything extra your children would like at the store can now be their responsibility to purchase. When they ask to buy something, you can say "Sure, as long as you have enough money."

By the time children are 3 or 4 years old, most are ready for an allowance. Having their own money helps children learn about the value of money. They learn important skills like delaying purchases until they’ve saved enough money. Another benefit of an allowance is that it can end begging at the store since you can always agree to let them purchase an item if they have the money for it!

Is my child developmentally delayed?

Recently I’ve seen a number of parents posting questions about whether their child is developmentally delayed or potentially autistic. This is certainly an upsetting prospect for any parent.

It can be very helpful to know the developmental milestones a child should be reaching at different ages. Although children develop at various rates, they all should reach certain milestones in how they play, learn, speak and act. There is great information about developmental milestones on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

This site has separate pages listing developmental milestones for 3 months, 7 months, and 1 – 5 years old (click links along the righthand side). Each age lists appropriate behaviors for social, emotional, cognitive, language and movement along with behaviors that may warn of a problem. If you suspect your child may have a problem, it's important to see a pediatrician to help rule out anything serious or to develop an appropriate intervention.

Watching you and learning

I just saw Rodney Atkin's "Watching You" video last night. It's a great song with a wonderful message for parents.

Being your child’s biggest fan

Watching the Olympics has reminded me of how challenging it can be to be the parent of an athlete. My daughter’s gymnastics center brought in a sports psychologist to work with the girls on the “head game” part of gymnastics. She also spoke to the parents about our role in supporting our daughters in gymnastics.

Her clear message was that we need to be our child’s biggest fan and avoid focusing on how well she performed that particular day. She explained that we would be the most helpful to our daughters by continually cheering them on and not analyzing what went wrong with their routines. Let the coaches do the corrections and work with the girls on their technical skills. Our job is to cheer our daughters on through the good times and the bad.

Parenting mistakes

Today I read Craig Playstead's article titled "10 Big Mistakes Parents Make". The first two mistakes listed are spoiling kids and inadequate discipline. I've certainly seen plenty of examples of those mistakes along with the disastrous consequences.

What parenting mistakes make your top 10 list? It can certainly be helpful to learn from others mistakes so we can avoid making those same mistakes!

Biting toddlers

Children biting can be one of the more stressful and embarrassing behaviors for parents. Since it is a fairly common behavior for toddlers, it is wise to have thought through how to handle the situation before it arises.

It’s natural to feel angry with the child for biting. However, showing anger will focus the children’s attention on your anger instead of on their poor choice in biting. One simple, effective response is to say to the biter “uh oh, how sad you decided to bite” and then carry the youngster off to their room for a short time out. When done consistently, even young children quickly figure out that every time they bite they end up in their rooms. It took our 10 month old son only a few times to learn this and he stopped biting his sister!

The Priceless Parenting course will give you the skills to deal with toddler biting plus whatever other challenges come your way!

Fostering Growth using the Mentoring Parenting Style

What is your normal parenting style?  Do you give your kids orders?  Do you do a lot of things for them that they are capable of doing thems...