Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Picky Lil' Eaters -Their problem, not yours.

Tips on Picky Eaters:

Avoid becoming a short order cook. Many parents make multiple meals during dinner time trying to please everyone. Stop today! It's better to teach children to make their own sandwiches above the age of 4. They will feel far more capable and you avoid a power struggle.

Offer Choices. When they complain simply state, "You can eat what is on the table, or fix your own sandwich. What is your choice?"

Invite Solutions. Invite children to use their thinking and problem solving skills. If they complain about the food then ask, "What do you need to do about that?" Invite them to use their power in positive ways instead of engaging in power struggles. Children love to feel capable.

Share Tasks. Prevent problems by having them be part of the planning and cooking. Use the small grocery cart for them to push and gather food on the list. When they want something that isnt' on the list simply say, "That isn't on the list." Say nothing more, don't engage into a big fight, just move on and keep shopping.

Let children help. Decide together what night they may want to cook with you. They are more likely to eat what they helped cook and be more cooperative when they are involved in the planning and executing.

Respond without rescuing. Simply avoid the cry for attention that become bonfires when you feed into them. Use active listening, "I guess you don't like that" and avoid the debate! Allow your children to handle the problem. It is their problem after all. You did your job. You made a healthy plate and put it on the table. Your job is done. Their job is to choose to eat it. You can't make them do that. "You don't have to eat it. I'm sure you can make it until your next meal."

Ease your anxiety about nutrition. Give your child a good multivitamin or whole food supplement. Then relax, she'll eat when she's hungry.

Good Luck!

For great presentation and food ideas check out this link! When you make the food colourful and fun, they are more likely to eat it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Positive Time outs vs Punitive Time outs

Time Outs – Rethink it.

You hear many parents say it and think it, “I've had enough – go to time out and think about what you've done!” Under the age of 3, this doesn't have the same effect as you may think it does. Often resulting in toddlers sitting a corner, giggling, playing or continuing the behaviour that sent them there in the first place. You can teach a dog to sit, stay and roll over. You can teach your toddler to sit there and say things like “I'm sorry.” but the understanding of what they are doing and saying are just not at a developmentally capable at this age. 

Time outs can be a super effective tool when done correctly. When used to help a child (and a parent) calm down, the time out will be effective in this way. When we are frustrated and upset we are physically unable to access the part of the brain that allow use to think clearly. We must calm down first before we are able to think logically.
Time-outs should not be used with children under the age of 3 and half – 4. Until children reach the age of reason (2 and a half – 5 years old) and sometimes later, supervision and distractions are the best tools to use. Even when a child reach the beginning stages of reason, they do not have the maturity and judgment to make logical decisions. 

Parents know they cannot allow their children to play near a busy street, unsupervised, even when they think their children “know” better than to run into the street. They don't leave their young children at a park and expect them to logically reason their way home.
Young children need constant supervision. Sometimes removal, kindly and firmly, from what they can't do and guidance to an activity of what they can do is best. Show them what they can do and engage with them. If they pull kitty's tail or hit the hamster too hard, take their hand and gently pet the animal. Repeat what they can do. “Oh, we are 'GENTLE' to kitty. Show kitty gentle. This is how we pet kitty! Repeat, repeat, repeat. You have a very curious explorer to raise now, it's time to teach and repeat.

You may think they know what you want from them. You may think they are learning the skills, but remember young children can read your energy of your feelings and understand you want them to 'do something.' They may even guess at what it is you want such as, “saying sorry.” But they do not understand the logic of your arguments in the way you think they do. It is usually wiser to remove them from the situation, distract them, engage with them, feed them, change them, hug them etc. 

Punitive time outs at this age increases the probability that young children will develop a sense of self doubt and shame instead of a sense of autonomy. Which is what they are desperately seeking to do. Autonomy or independence is the skill they are now working on. They learned to walk and you encouraged them, giving them opportunities to learn this new skill. Parents now need to find a way to encourage independence.
Children do better when they feel better. Young children benefit from cooling off, especially if you go with them! One mother learned to use positive time outs successfully with an 18m old. She would say, “Would you like to lie on your comfy pillow for a while?” Sometimes he would toddle off to his pillow and lie down until he felt better. Other times he hesitated and she would ask, “Would you like me to go with you?” The concept of positive time out- a place for cooling off, was understood. It wasn't used as a punishment for a behaviour but a safe place to calm down.

Your attitude is the key to positive vs punitive time outs. They should NOT be used as punishment but as a way to help children feel better and calm down. Children do not have the capability to logically think about their actions and consequences the way adults do. (even some adults can't do it very well) This reasoning required for this is just not developmentally possible between birth and 3.

Parenting tools will not work all the time. Be sure you have more than just time-out in your pocket. Different people need different things to feel better. Some need baths, stuffies, going outside, hugs, feet massage, watching a show, going for a walk etc. You know what you need to calm down, shouldn't you help your child find out what works for them?

Think about what is age appropriate developmentally. At a restaurant for instance it is unreasonable to ask young children to sit for long periods of time, but it is not ok to disturb others. You may have to get up and take the children for walks outside a restaurant once in a while for a movement break. As your teaching 'restaurant etiquette' it will take more than just one or two visits. Try to keep these visits short. This kind of 'outside time or positive time outs' are very effective. They key is to help them develop skills with kindness and love.

Happy Parenting!~

Friday, September 20, 2013

How to teach self learning to children.

How to be a Mentor

Your child's best example of a successful thinker and self learner is you! Your life doesn't have to be perfect, so set an example of resilience and perseverance when mistakes happen.
Focus on habits of the mind that you most want your hcild to acquire and make them a priority. He will absorb the lesson of what you DO better than what you say.
Talk it out – discuss what you're doing and why. Wonder out loud. Consider alternatives out loud. Express frustration, but follow it up with how you will deal with the problem. The second part is probably more important than the first. Many of us talk about how we feel frustrated or angry but not discussing what to then do about it, which is why many of our toddlers don't know what to do with their angry and frustration.
Model useful attitudes towards projects, mistakes, goals and life. Take time to express delight and curiosity. “hmm, I wonder how that works, I wonder what that does? I want to know more about that, I think I'll get a book out at the library.” Think out loud! Slow Down! If you must do errands with your little ones, take more time and allow adventuring, learning, make it a teaching opportunity, not a rush and come home thing. Ask questions before you go. “What did you want to know about where we are going today?” “What kind of things can you bring along? Did you want some pen and paper so you can remember your questions, ideas and drawings?”
Let your daily life reflect your deepest interests, your passions, and your purpose towards goals. Talk about your passions in front your children. Get excited and share your excitement and your accomplishments. Celebrate by going out for dinner as a family and talking about how you are proud of mommy, daddy or the kids.
Everything you want for your child, could be something you want for yourself. For example I would love my children to want Playful learning, Curiosity, Expressing emotion and talents, Valuing intelligence and Community. So if I want that for them, then I must live that myself. This lesson is best and doesn't come from a text book, but from our lives. They will learn this more than anything else I try to teach them on paper because they will live it and see my living it.

THINGS you MIGHT do...

  1. Wonder out loud
  2. Express delight and interests
  3. Devote time to your interests. Invest in yourself!
  4. Share your passions with others
  5. Ask questions and make meaningful suggestions
  6. Voice disappointment, but follow up by voicing determination for yourself
  7. Reflect on your own accomplishment and share them
  8. Ask for help and offer help to others
  9. Follow through with what you say your going to do.
  10. Love yourself, this will teach your children to love themselves as well.

Y ou can help your child identify questions by helping him rephrase his wonderings, uncertainties and confusions as queries. If he wonders out loud, says he doesn't know something, or has a problem with a friend, you can help him re-frame his uncertainties and investigate. He can solve his problems with a little help, not a lot. Trust in his abilities even as a toddler/preschooler. They are smarter than you realize.
Maintain an ongoing list of questions on a large wall poster. Gently remind your child about his ideas and intentions he may have written before. Ask if he's satisfied with his results or if he want to investigate further. Encourage life long learning.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 9 - Get Outside!

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #9 – Spending Time Outside.
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about spending time outside. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of practicing yoga.

I had to laugh of the irony of this post this week because we went camping this week. We lived outside all week. It was awesome! I loved teaching my boys about nature, fire, sparks, marshmallows, hiking, stars, bats. It was a great week. I can't say enough about how important it is to unplug and get outside! The memories you create are priceless.

My children were fascinated with everything. They are 4 and 2 years old, so everything was new. My 4 year old worried a bit about bears and my 2 year old always wanted to know when it was snack time. Both loved playing cars in the dirt and going for walks. My 2 year old was running everywhere and came home with tons of scraps and scratches on his legs. Well loved camping wounds. He also got the brunt of the mosquito bites. I had brought camping story books and my 4 year old loved to compare this trip to Curious George's story and Bearinstein Bear book stories. I thought I'd have to worry about 'homeschooling' but there was so much 'natural learning' that it wasn't even a thought. My 4 year old read the signs about pool hours and where the bathrooms were. They learned about dangerous berries and 'pokie bushes.' They learned about fire safety and how to put out a fire. The 2 year was potty training, so naked a lot. Peeing in the bush is the extra benefits of having boys.

I've added some pictures here. The boys kept asking me to take pictures of them, telling me how 'cute they were.' The 4 year old really liked learning about sparks and how to write your name in the sky with a stick with sparks on the end of it. The 2 year old was fascinated with the bats daddy was showing him. The 4 year old was a bit worried the bats might want to eat him, but we explained they ate the mosquito instead. We had to read our Magic School Bus Bat book.

Overall, I wish I was still there. They were happy to be home too though.


 Realizing a little dirt in the pancakes is not a big deal.
 Daddy's cook too!
 Finding sweet hiking spots.
 Colouring, cars and characters are the new tv.
 Dirt bike riding.
 Geran won that Diago at a children's festival they had at the camp.
 Learning about fire safety.
Beach time and sinking in the mud. Science!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Some of My Favourite Things - Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting shares some of her favourite things to do outside with her kids.
Get Outside – Peaceful Parenting Challenge – Week 9  Katrina from Kalem Photography has made quite a few changes since this challenge began and wonders if you have.
Nature Promotes Parental Sanity – Amber from declares getting outside a fantastic coping mechanisms for difficult parenting days.
Week #9- Spending Time Outside – Jennifer from the Children’s Directory let the expert lead the way.
Amy from The Connection We Share takes a break from work to go fly a kite.
Week 9 - Get Outside - Amanda from Sticky Hands spends the week camping.
Week 9 – Spending Time Outside -Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat learns that her agenda isn’t always the same as her twins. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Rant - For the children

Do people value choices? Do parents value choices? How do we show our children this?
Wear that, pick up that, put that away, study this, go to this school, be in this dance class, be polite, be quiet, sit in your chair, you can't take that toy with you, don't play with the game this way, that's not the rules! The list goes on and on... this one is especially overused...

DON'T TALK BACK! (this one baffles my mind?) It's like saying, don't have an opinion, don't tell me how you are feeling, don't express how angry you are, don't show me your emotions, don't question anybody, just follow along like a sheep.

Frankly if my child says, NO! I don't want to! Of course my face feels red, my heart begins to pound, fear creeps in, and thoughts like, "Oh no, now what? He's not going to listen to me, he's not going to do what I want him to do? I no longer have a robot, I have a person. What now????"
What now indeed? You now have a 3 year old. Or 4,5,6 and so on... your baby is growing up. Isn't that awesome?? Shouldn't this be the point where we go, wow, cool, your starting to develop your own opinions, thoughts, ideas... Your starting to realize you may have choices! you have a different way to do something! You have the ability to say no. Why can't we respect this no?

Ok, so let's get more specific, cause at this point your all freaking out and thinking, but what if it's NOT safe? not allowed? not socially accepted? not this time of day? not ok to play with? not ok to eat? What if he CAN'T do it and will fail, fall or get hurt? What if, what if...

I think that we need to sit down at this point of "I don't want to. and LISTEN to him/her! Actually LISTEN. This is where you start to ASK QUESTIONS! (and not just why? they don't quite get why yet.)

Also, try to RELATE to them. Try to guess what they may be feeling and why. VALIDATE this! Don't we want to be heard, validated and understood when we say NO!???

To give an EXAMPLE:

Clean your room! "NO, I don't want to!"

Parent: "I hear that you don't want to clean your room. How are you feeling?"
(maybe they can answer, maybe not) wait it out.
Child: "I"m mad!"
Parent: "Oh you look angry, your fists are tight, does your face feel hot? Is your tummy hurting?" (Try to guess how their body is feeling. This will help them connect their physical body to their feelings and words.)
Child: "I just don't want to clean it!"
Parent: "Your enjoying playing with your trains right now, aren't you?" (Try to guess why they don't want to do it. Maybe they are busy with friends, or in the middle of something else.)
Child:  "Yeah! I love my trains, I don't want to clean it up."
(Remember they could just feel overwhelmed and not know what to clean, or how to start or they don't want to clean up what they are playing with. Think about what is important for the right now and for you and your child's relationship. It is super important to clean up RIGHT NOW? or can it wait, can you put a timer on? Decide TOGETHER on a good amount of time. You want to invite cooperation.
Parent: "Ok, you like your train, but look at your cars, stuffies and leggo, your not playing with them right now. Why don't we put those away in the bins and I can help you. You can leave your train right where it is. You don't have to clean up your train right now. What did you want to start with? The cars? The leggo?"
(Begin to give choices, ask for them to come with ideas, or the order on doing something. Ask if they need your help or if they are old enough to try to do it independently? Use that word, they like to think of themselves as very independent! Use it as a praise in other areas of your day.
Child: "Can you help me? I'll put the cars away and you can do the leggo?"

Ok, I know this is just one example and there are LOTS of other situations that occur that may not be an easy fix, but this is a start.

I want you to start thinking of your children as little people with choices, ideas and desires. Let them be deciding factors in their own lives. Maybe they like their room messier than yours, it's OK!

Start to ask more questions. What do we need when we go outside? What do we need on our feet? It's raining what else can we bring? What do we need to bring to school? a restaurant? a car ride? grandma's house? Can you show me? can you find it? Can you tell me how you feel?
What are you thinking? (a great one to use instead of why?) Many children will answer 'because' to the question of why. But when you ask what are you thinking, they may have to dig deeper and they may actually tell you! When my two year old threw a shoe at this younger brother, I asked him, "What were you thinking?" He said, "I was thinking about getting rid of the baby." It was so honest, he was feeling left out, he wanted some attention, he was feeling like he didn't like this little baby around anymore. I couldn't get angry, I did start planning some one on one time with him, however. Which worked and now, 2 years later, they LOVE each other to death.

They are little people in desperate need to be taught, understood, related with, loved and heard. Remember we didn't have children to have robots who do exactly what we say all the time. We had children to teach, and allow them to discover, explore, ask questions and even yes say no.

Good Luck!