Negotiating for a Different Choice

What do you do when you give your children a choice and instead of one of your options they come up with their own option? One mom explained how frustrated she felt when her 4-year-old son did this. Whatever she choices she offered, he always wanted something else.

She solved the problem by giving him another choice; she could choose or he could choose. He always decided he wanted to be the one making the choice!

Practicing Gratitude

How is practicing gratitude built into your family routines? Do you give thanks before meals? Do you have a gratitude jar on your table for family members to leave notes of thanks? My favorite gratitude practice is thinking of three things I’m thankful for before getting out of bed each morning.

Brené Brown has actually researched gratitude. In The Gifts of Imperfection she explains what her research has revealed, "When it comes to gratitude, the word that jumped out at me throughout this research process is practice. I don't necessarily think another researcher would have been so taken aback, but as someone who thought that knowledge was more important than practice, I found these words to be a call to action."

Knowledge is helpful but all the knowledge in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t put it into practice. Gratitude takes practice. How do you and your children practice it?

When are children able to imitate you?

How old do children need to be before they start imitating others? Surprisingly, babies are born ready to imitate!

Andrew Meltzoff, one of the authors of The Scientist in the Crib, found that newborn babies only hours old could imitate him sticking out his tongue. Look out mom and dad ... your baby is ready to watch and imitate you right away!

Here is a fun video showing a dad whose twin babies are imitating his dancing in their own way:

Rhymes and Songs for Young Children

One of my children’s favorite activities when they were young was attending Story Time at our local library. Miss Theresa, our librarian, was excellent at keeping the children’s attention while also making them feel special and included.

Thanks to the King County Libraries for capturing some of these favorite rhymes and songs in videos. You can watch these videos with your children or watch them yourself so you can teach your children new songs and rhymes. There are over 900 rhymes and songs so you’ll have plenty to choose from!

Finding a Solution Instead of Issuing a Consequence

A mom explained how worried and angry she was when her teenage son did not come home from school one day and failed to let her know where he was. Although he has a cellphone, he forgot to call and let her know he was staying after school to work on a project.

When he came home, she told him the consequence for his forgetting to call was that he would not be able to choose any TV programs for the next week. He would have to watch whatever the other family members had selected.

How would this situation be different if instead of searching for a consequence to fit the crime, they looked for a solution? What solutions might work? Perhaps he could set an alarm on his cellphone for 5 minutes after school ends to remind him to call if he wasn’t coming straight home. Or he could write his after school plans on a calendar at home. He could leave a note on the kitchen table in the morning if he planned to stay late.

There are lots of possible solutions to help ensure the problem doesn’t occur again. If you were in this boy’s shoes, would you prefer having a consequence or coming up with a solution?

Excellent math, science, history tutoring - free!

A number of parents have shared their frustration over watching their kids struggle with math and science. There's now a solution!

I recently learned about the Khan Academy from my husband who is an 8th grade science teacher at a private school in Seattle. As part of the teachers' ongoing education, he attended a workshop where he heard Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, speak.

Starting the Khan Academy

Khan began tutoring his nieces and nephews in 2004. Since he was in a different city than they were, he talked them through the problems while using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad to show them what he meant.

He was excellent at explaining math concepts and soon he had more students than he could easily handle given his full time job as a hedge fund analyst.

A friend suggested that he capture what he was teaching in Youtube videos. This was the beginning of what is now a library of over 2,600 videos available free at the Khan Academy.

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

What were your parents like?

How were you raised? What did you like about what your parents did and what things do you want to do differently with your own children? What type of parenting did your children's other parent experience?

It's unlikely that both of you experienced similar childhoods. That means that unconsciously you will each be parenting from a different background. If you both remember loving how your parents treated you, you will have an easier time parenting because you can simply repeat what you learned from your parents.

However, if you are like many, there are things you absolutely want to do differently with your own children. For example, I knew I didn't want to spank my kids even though I was spanked. We also knew we didn't want to put extreme academic pressure on our children like my husband had experienced.

Changing your parenting to be different than the way you were raised takes work. One wonderful way to explore other ideas for parenting is through taking a parenting class or reading and discussing parenting books together.

My husband and I took parenting classes and read books. It was the best investment we've ever made!

Who controls what?

When you find yourself in power struggles with your children, consider what you actually control versus what your children control. If you are trying to control something they ultimately control, then you will probably lose.

For example, one parent who helped out at her child’s preschool noticed that the adults were often struggling with the children over putting on their jackets before going outside. The kids would complain that they weren’t cold and then refused to cooperate in getting their jackets on.

The adults decided to change the situation by creating a new expectation that all children would take their jackets outside with them but they could either hang them up outside or wear them. If they hung their jacket up outside, they could always put it on if they got cold.

The children were much more cooperative given their new authority over whether or not to put on their jackets. Everyone was happier!

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