Hiring a babysitter?

It's hard leaving your kids with someone you don't know well. How do you know who to trust with your precious children?

You can feel better about the babysitter you've hired if you've asked her or him some important questions. By interviewing possible candidates, you will be in a better position to compare candidates and choose the one that best matches your family.

This babysitter interview questions form has some questions you may want to ask. Are there other questions you always like to ask?

Your Kids + Technology = Dangerous Territory

Digital technology has made parenting increasingly more difficult. Once upon a time you knew when your kids got a phone call because you heard the phone ring may have even answered it before passing it to your child. Today your children are likely to have their own cellphones and you may be unaware of who they are talking to and when.

With the help of digital devices, your children can be seriously misbehaving in your own home and you may be completely ignorant of it. Prior to digital technology, it was unlikely that your pre-teen kids would be breaking the law without you noticing anything. Now some parents are getting a rude awakening when the police show up at their door because their children have committed a felony online!

Getting Into Serious Trouble

If your children have access to computers, connected video games or cellphones, they are a click away from committing a crime. Most children do not understand just how legally serious their online actions are taken.

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Bullied for Pain Meds

A mom told the story of her 11-year-old son’s first day back to school after breaking his ankle. As he got off the school bus, he was immediately approached by a number of kids he didn’t really know who asked him what medication he was taking for pain. Why did the care so much? Because they wanted some of his drugs!

His mom was shocked that this had happened. She allowed herself to be the “bad guy” and had her son tell those kids that his mom had the drugs locked up. He could only have one at a time and had to take it immediately in front of her. That was the end of them trying to bully him for the drugs – thank goodness.

Be aware that if your child takes medication for pain, ADHD or any other condition, they are at risk for being bullied for some of their drugs.

Mean Mommy or Pushover Mommy?

A mom expressed how torn she felt between being strict with her 5-year-old son and letting him have what he wanted. She often found herself yelling at him especially when he was demanding something while she was busy trying to take care of his 1-year-old brother. While she didn’t want him to remember her as the “mean mommy”, she also didn’t want him to grow into a rebellious teen who would get into lots of trouble.

How could she balance these competing desires? The trick is learning to set limits with her son while remaining calm and relatively pleasant while doing it. Is this possible? Yes! You can read hundreds of parenting books like I did to figure it out … or take an online parenting class condensed version and learn it in 6 hours! The beauty is that you can start today!

Joy and Wonder From Children

What joy or wonder have your children brought you? Have you noticed moments or things because of them that you otherwise would have missed?

One of my favorite pictures of my son when he was young is where he has stopped to look at a slug. He’s totally engrossed in watching this slimy creature … something I would certainly have missed had I not been walking with him! His joy in watching the slug caused me to slow down and also enjoy that moment.

Now that he is a teen, he often shares his joy for music with me. He has introduced me to wonderful music that I would not have heard if not for him. What joy do your children bring you?

Getting Preschoolers to Bed

One mom wrote about the horrible time they was having trying to get her two boys, ages 2 and 4, to bed. They've tried all these things and nothing has worked:
  • separate rooms
  • reading them to sleep
  • comforting them to sleep
  • rubbing their backs
  • ignoring them
  • yelling
  • taking privileges and toys away
  • sitting in their room with them
  • sitting in the hallway and taking them back to bed if they come out
  • taking them back to bed without saying anything or making eye contact

The boys were not getting enough sleep and then were crabby the next day. Mom and Dad were frustrated and ready to find some way to get more sleep for everyone.

I explained what worked well with our kids at that age - and she found it worked for her kids too!

We told our children it was bedroom time at 8:30. By that time they were ready for bed, stories were read and we left. They could still look at books quietly in their beds if they wanted to.

We explained if they needed to use the bathroom or get a drink of water, that was fine ... just sneak in and out of their room so we don't see them. However, if they need us that's still fine, they can come and get us but then tomorrow night they have to go to bed 15 minutes earlier.

They couldn't tell time at that age but the idea of going to bed earlier the next night caught their attention and they stayed in their rooms!

Boredom Busting Activities

Researchers report that the average child spends over 7 hours a day with TV, computers and video games. However, children whose parents set limits on media spend far less time.

It can be difficult to limit your kids' media because it keeps them entertained and out of your hair! Who wants to deal with hearing your kids complaining about being bored?

You'll be in a better position to handle this complaint if your children have already filled out a "My Boredom Busting Activities" chart. You can challenge them to fill out at least two pages with activities they enjoy - not including TV, computers and video games!

Hang their completed charts in their rooms. When they complain they don't have anything to do, suggest they check their chart for ideas.

Birthday gifts - when you wish it was yours

A mom shared that every time her 4-year-old attends a birthday party he gets sad because he's not the one getting gifts. She tried reasoning with him and explaining why only the birthday child gets gifts. This hasn't seemed to help.

Reasoning doesn't work well with young children because they really don't have the ability to think logically yet. This ability develops around age 8.

I suggested that instead she try comforting him by labeling his feelings: "You're sad because it's not your birthday and so you're not the one getting the gifts. You really would like a present too wouldn't you?" Although he won't be getting a present, Mom's compassion and understanding will help him deal with his emotions and feel better.

Am I a bad parent?

During a recent parenting presentation we discussed alternatives to yelling at kids to get them to behave in a different way. One mom then asked “So if I yell at my kids, does that mean I’m a bad parent?”

No! It means you’re human and like everyone there are ways you can improve the way you react under stress.

None of us are all good or all bad. Each of us can point to interactions we handled very well with our children and ones where we “blew it”.

It’s important not to get stuck harshly judging yourself. Instead practice telling yourself things like
  • “I am good enough.”
  • “I am loveable.”
  • “I am capable.”
These affirmations will help you operate from a place of strength and do your best parenting!

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...