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Getting Out of the House Quicker

If you’re anything like me, getting the kids moving before school is exhausting. From the moment the alarm goes off, I feel like a drill sergeant telling them to stop talking, quit day dreaming, or hurry up and finish eating. It’s a true nightmare just to get them to school on-time and for me to face my morning commute to work.

organized mama

Although not fool-proof, recently I’ve found some things that have helped our family come closer to an overall successful track record (with less yelling on my part ).

  • Verify the next days weather and lay out clothes the night before. My pre-teen daughter is notorious for last minute wardrobe changes, so she prepares two outfits to choose from.
  • For breakfast, I actually have the bowls and spoons out/ready to go, along with oatmeal packets or their preferred brand of cold cereal. That way, when they come downstairs, they can choose which they’d like, and I simply heat some water up or grab the refrigerated milk (along with their gummy vitamin).
  • Backpacks are now neatly placed by the door to just grab on the way out to the car. They used to be scattered wherever homework was completed just yesterday.
  • Another trick is to set their bedroom clocks for 5-10 minutes earlier than the actual time. This helps settle them into bed earlier the night before and those “extra” minutes can be spent perfecting their hairstyle of the day, swapping out matching accessories, or getting that tank of gas you were too tired to stop for after work the other day.

I hope some of these tips allow you to maximize your morning routine (if not be a lesson to your children on organization and structure). What are some of the things you do to get out the door faster in the morning?

Dogs Do Bite – Teaching Your Child How Not to be Bitten

by Tina on June 23, 2012
category: 3 – 5 years (preschooler),Practical Tips

children and dogs Whether you have a dog at present or whether you plan to get one for your household in the near future it is important that you teach your children what they need to do in order to avoid getting bitten. Even if you have no pets your children will be in contact with dogs at some point in time and need to be taught how to properly behave around them.

Dogs do not bite for any reason. Most often it happens because they are provoked in some manner and feel the need to defend themselves. This is natural instinct kicking in. When they do bite it is most often because they are fearful of being harmed.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost five million people are bitten annually by dogs in the United States. Children are three times more likely than adults to suffer a serious dog bite. The good news is that dog bites are largely preventable. It is necessary to educate your kids to avoid the possibility that a dog will bite them.

How do you do this?

Tell your children to ask for an owner’s permission to pet their dog before they go ahead and just do it

If the owner says it is okay then make it clear to your child that he or she should approach the dog in a quiet and calm manner and should take slow steps when getting close to the animal. Let the dog sniff you before you touch him. This will let you know if he is being responsive to you. If he is then pet his head, back or sides in a manner that is friendly, gentle and non-threatening.

When a dog is eating, sleeping or playing with a toy leave him alone

When he is occupied with an activity or is resting this is not the time to bother him. Teach your children that. Dogs tend to be very protective of their food as well as their toys. If they think someone is trying to take something that is theirs away from them they may bite. The same can be said if they are startled or frightened. Explain to your child that just as he or she does not like to be bothered or disturbed during meal times, play or while asleep, the same can be said for a dog.

Educate your child about the territorial nature of dogs.

Instruct your son or daughter to not try to pet a dog that is in a yard or behind a fence or one that is in a motor vehicle with the window down. Dogs are protective of what is theirs and will do everything in their power to protect their personal space. It is important to heed this warning to prevent getting bit.

Other Important Points

To prevent your child from suffering from a dog bite tell him or her that it is never a good idea to walk up to a dog that he/she does not know on the street and try to pet it. Children should stay away from stray dogs. Often these dogs are hungry or lost and are not likely to be in a congenial type of mood. If the dog approaches the child then he or she should remain calm and still. A sudden move or too much exuberance may scare the dog and can cause the child to be bitten.

It is a commonly held belief that a wagging tail means that a dog is friendly and receptive to attention. While this is sometimes the case, it is not a diehard rule.

When meeting a new dog at a friend or neighbor’s home you should never rush at the animal for any reason. Instead let the dog come to you and sniff you before you reach out your hand to touch him or her.  It is through smell that a dog starts to become acquainted with a stranger. Your scent is one of the factors a dog uses to determine if they want to come closer to you or not.

What to Do When Your Child is Wetting the Bed

Your child is wetting his bed and of course as a mother this is a concern for you. Before you start to wonder if there is there something wrong with your child you need to be made aware of the fact that bed wetting is actually quite common amongst young children. Punishing your child for doing this is not the solution and will only make a bad situation worse.

littel boy sleeping What then can you as a mother do to help your youngster to stop wetting the bed? Here we offer some helpful suggestions for you:

Make an effort to take notice of when the bed wetting occurs

Do you find that your child is more likely to wet his bed after something has upset him? Bed wetting is often related to stress and often occurs right after a child has had to deal with something uncomfortable or disturbing in his life. In some instances though it may be related to an under developed bladder or your child may not wake himself up in time to go to the bathroom.

Pay attention to how much your child drinks in the course of a day

It is important that your child consumes enough fluids throughout the day and does not fill up on too many beverages in the evening and right before bedtime. If he does then his bladder is more likely to be full when he goes to bed. Make it a rule to get your child to drink more during the earlier parts of the day and less after supper.

If you have other children who are aware of the situation then talk to them about it

Make them understand that their brother or sister cannot help what is happening and tell them not to tease or make fun of their sibling. If the child is made to feel ashamed or embarrassed by family members then the problem may get worse instead of better because now there are deeper feelings attached to the behavior.

As a parent you should not scold your child for wetting his bed

Nor should you ridicule him for what is taking place. Just as teasing from other children in the household can make matters worse so can harsh words from you. Your child wants to please you after all and he wants your acceptance. If you get after him then this will affect his self-esteem and make him feel worse about himself.

Purchase a plastic sheet to fit onto your child’s bed

In this way changing the fitted sheet after the accident has occurred will be so much simpler and more convenient for you. The plastic sheet can be cleaned very easily.

If it is your toddler that is experiencing bed wetting problems then put training pants on him when he goes to bed. If he is able to get through three to four nights in a row without wetting his bed then tell him that he does not need to wear them anymore. Make sure you keep a few pairs of training pants on hand in case it happens again. If need be then start the training pants routine over again. Just make sure that your son or daughter knows that this is not a form of punishment!

In some cases bed wetting is the result of a medical problem such as a urinary tract infection

If your child shows other symptoms of a physical problem and you believe that this may be the root of the bed wetting then take him or her to see the family doctor for a check-up.

When your child wakes up in the morning and is dry praise him for it

This will make him feel good and it will also make him want to work harder to end the habit for good.

As a parent you must bear in mind that bed wetting is a stage that some children go through

It is not something permanent by any means. You need to be as patient as possible and you need to show your child support and understanding. If your child expresses worry over the situation then be reassuring and let him know that this is something that he will overcome. Tell him that lots of children go through this and he is not alone in this.

When Another Child Steals From Yours

by Amelia on December 17, 2009
category: 3 – 5 years (preschooler),5 – 12 years (kid)

207976344_851f3a1f28 We recently encountered a situation where friend of my kids stole some toys from the house. I was in the living room while the boy was playing nearby. I noticed that he kept looking at me to see if I was watching him while he played. I saw him fold some toys in his hands and then casually get up and go out of the room.  I thought I saw him put something in his pocket.  He said he was going to go visit another friend.  My suspicion increased.  I was pretty sure some of our lego guys were in his pockets so I asked him if he had put any of the legos in his pocket. He told me no and I asked him if he was sure. He was sure.  I was pretty confident I had seen him sneak the legos away and put them in his pocket but I knew I could have been wrong.  My mind started reeling.  What should I do?  How should I handle this?  Why didn’t I ask him to empty his pockets (nicely of course)?

It turned out he left something at our house andI knew he had to come back, so I waited. My husband came home and I told him what happened. We talked about it and decided to wait for the boy to come back. When he came for his forgotten object, my husband casually asked, “We are missing some legos, did any end up in your pockets? Could you check?”  The boy felt in his pockets and said, “Oh, I guess I put some in there.”  Busted.

My husband said, “Thanks for checking.  We don’t want to lose our legos.”  And off the boy went back to his house.  After he left my husband and I realized we have several options on how to deal with this situation.

How would we want someone else to deal with our children should they steal something from another child? We would want them to be kind, but direct.  Not yell and shame.  I’m glad for his sake that he got caught.  Learning at a young age when the consequences are less costly is a lot better than learning them when the “price is higher” (i.e. stealing toys from a friend when you are 6 or 7 years old vs. stealing $$ from friends while older or stealing cars etc.) Of course a 4 year old taking toys from a friend’s house deserves a different approach to consequences than a 6+ old child.  A 4 year old may not fully understand what he/she did was wrong and need to be told directly “taking toys from a friend’s house without permission is wrong”.  A 7/8 year old is much more aware of appropriate behavior at a playmate’s house.

What should the consequences be for that child the next time he comes to our house? Possible options:

  • Tell his parents and come up with a plan together.
  • Make sure we put the legos away when he comes over to play.  (The boy likes legos a lot so I think they are a particular temptation for him)
  • Ask him to check his legos to make sure that none of our other legos “accidentally” made it back to his home.
  • Not let him play at our house anymore.
  • Be a little more direct and tell him we know that it wasn’t an accident that those legos ended up in his pockets and that he won’t be allowed to play legos at our house anymore.
  • Check his pockets everytime he leaves our house.
  • Let it go and hope he doesn’t do it again.

Some of these options are more appealing than others.  What we ended up doing was talking to his parents and let them know what happened. I talked to his mom and told her that if the situation was reversed I would want to know what was going on with my kid.  We had a good conversation (although I admit I was very nervous because I don’t know the parents VERY well and I was worried about relational consequences–would she think I was accusing her of being a bad parent?  Their faith beliefs are different from ours–would she feel like we were being judgemental religious people?  Would she think I made the whole thing up?).  I told her that her son is always welcome to come play at our house. He is a very sweet boy and he plays well with the kids.  She was glad I told her and shared with me some things going on with the boy.

My husband and I decided that we would keep the legos put away when he comes to play and that he is welcome to play at our house anytime.  I feel satisfied in the way we handled the situation.  This was one of those issues that surprised me–I wasn’t really expecting to deal with stealing at such young ages (okay, I don’t think I was even aware that I MIGHT have to deal with it one day).  It was a good life lesson for all involved.

Have you ever encountered a similar situation?  How did you handle it?

photo courtesy of pooyall

Reminding Your Kids of the “Christ” in Christmas

nativity It is so incredibly easy to get bogged down in the traditions of Christmas, all the shopping, decorating, festivities, etc, and to forget the real meaning behind the holiday.  While I’m not a Santa-fanatic, we still get gifts from Santa for our kids and let them participate in the “fun” of it, however our focus on Christmas is Christ.

I was thinking of ways to keep my children’s focus on Jesus instead of the presents and Santa and came up with a few ideas I thought I’d share.

Teach about Jesus year-round and not just at Christmas - The more your children hear about the goodness and mercies of Jesus all year, the easier it will be for them to understand the importance of Christmas.  Daily read books and the Bible with them and encourage them to pray.  Amanda gave some great tips on teaching your children to pray yesterday.

Remember to put YOUR focus on Christ and not the traditions – Your children will see what you put the most importance on and will follow your lead.  If you are more worried about presents, they will be too.  The same goes for Santa Claus, if your family chooses to participate in that tradition.  If you are constantly saying “Santa is coming”, your children will get the impression that Santa is the reason for Christmas.

Encourage your children to have the giving spirit - Remind your children that we give gifts on Christmas in honor of Jesus.  Just like the three wise kings who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus to show Him their love, we give gifts to those we love.  Make it more about the giving than the getting.  A great way to teach this is to have your child pick something out for another child who will be receiving gifts as part of a ministry.  Your child will get to learn that giving makes them happier than getting.

Read your children the Christmas Story – Reading straight from the Bible is always a good thing with your kids!  You are speaking truth and love over them when you do and you are ministering and preparing their hearts for their future relationship with Jesus.  Matthew 1:18-2:23 and Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 2:1-29 tell the story.  There are also many books that are more on toddler and preschooler levels that tell the story without all the “grown-up” and potentially scary details.  We currently have The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry and our kids love it.

Decorate your house with more Christian items than “holiday” decorations – We currently have two nativity sets out that our children love to look at and talk about.  We also made a construction paper nativity that takes up an entire wall.  I did the major cutting out and my 4 year old drew faces on Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the Angel.  He also glued the pieces together and helped me hang everything on the wall.  We also have the scriptures from Luke telling of the birth of Jesus printed out and on the wall above the nativity.  Having a toy nativity, like the one Fisher-Price has in their Little People brand, is a great way for kids to learn and interact with the story.

How do you keep the Christ in Christmas with your kids?

Photo Courtesy of Loci Lenar

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