Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Love and Logic - A must read for parents!

I am in the midst of reading: Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years and I must admit, I think I'm a believer.

Here's what the book is all about (at least as far as I've gotten):
  • Choices: In any situation that doesn't really matter to you, giving your kid two acceptable choices and letting her decide. "Would you like to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt?" "Should we go inside now or in five minutes." The premise is that you teach your children to make decisions and then, when something does matter and there shouldn't be a choice, you are more likely to not have a fight if the child has felt like they've had some control over other decisions.
  • Making Mistakes and Learning Consequences: The book talks about asking your child questions and letting them think through the answer. For example, instead of saying, "don't go into the road, you'll get hit by a car," asking the child "what do you think might happen if you went into the road without holding my hand?" Obviously you'd never let your child go into the road by herself, but this helps them learn about consequences. There is an emphasis on the importance of letting kids at an early age make mistakes, because the consequences of mistakes at the age of two are usually much less severe than the consequences at the age of 16 (wrecking a tricycle versus wrecking a car). The book says that you should look forward to having your toddler screw up because that provides teachable moments.
  • Enforcing: The book teaches you to sing the "Uh-Oh" song when a child does not obey the first time. The Uh-oh signals that something went wrong and that discipline is about to come. And the emphasis is on discipline with empathy. "Uh-oh, it's very sad that you wasted your carrots and threw them all on the ground, you need a little rest in your room." Then doing a time-out in the room until the child has settled down. At the end of the timeout, you give the child a big hug and move on.
  • Enforceable statements: I really like this one. For example, besides using physical force, you can't make your kids pick up their toys or stop fighting. But you can say "feel free to keep all the toys that you pick-up" and whatever doesn't get picked up, you put away where the child can't get to until they earn them back. In the instance of the kids fighting, you can say "I charge $2 to listen to you fight, would you like to pay me with money or by doing chores." I think this is so clever!

I've been reading the book for just a few days - it's a quick read - and I've already seen some of the methods work. For example, last night, Emma was playing on her swingset outside and we wanted her to come in because Kate needed to go to bed. Obviously she didn't want to come in. But we asked her if she wanted to come in to read a book or play in the playroom. She came in with no fight!

Or instead of asking her if she wants a banana for her fruit - where she'll often just say "no" - we ask her if she'd like grapes or a banana. It takes away the option of saying "no."

Instead of asking her to put on her coat, we gave her a choice of which one to wear. And she put it on without saying a word.

And it's fun trying to figure out choices you can give her - even silly ones - like "do you want me to tickle your belly or your feet." The book definitely emphasizes the importance of having fun with your kids, which builds up a cycle of trust. Trust you're gonna need when the child becomes a teenager!

I'm sure there are a lot of different methods out there - for example, I also just finished reading 1-2-3 Magic, which I think has some good ideas, too - but I'm really digging this one. Highly recommend!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Emma!

Emma turned TWO last Tuesday. Happy Birthday, sweet, precious little girl!

We celebrated with a crayon-themed party at our house that turned out to actually be a lot of fun. We had about 12 kids ranging from 3 to 17 plus a bunch of parents. It would have been extra crazy, except it was absolutely beautiful outside so we sent the kids out to play on the swingset once they finished eating.

Here are a few pictures.

I found these inflatable crayons on Amazon and they were a hit! Sent one home with each child as a party favor (along with a little bag that included a coloring book and crayons).

We put paper over the dining room table and let the kids go to town with the crayons. And it served the dual purpose of helping keep the table clean!

Reused the birthday sign I got off Etsy for her 1st birthday party. I wish I could have had crayon themed cupcakes but it was going to cost too much to get a special order. So we topped them with little plastic crayon toppers from Amazon.

Emma with her cousins, Matthew (3) and Anna (2).

Cute shirt from Old Navy (with a cute girl wearing it).

Getting a little help from Mommy with the candle. Even though we discussed what she needed to do when the cupcake came, she froze under pressure.

On the playground in our backyard.

Enjoying the bag more than the presents. I think her favorite gift was a Melissa and Doug easel from Grandma. Mommy and Daddy got her a dollhouse.

All worn out at the end of the party. A two hour+ nap followed, which is very unusual for this little girl.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Being a martyr

I find myself, on a regular basis, being the martyr in the household. Weird, huh? Let me explain.

Example, husband offers to help me with something...I say, "no, I can do it" even though I would actually love some help. Why do I do this? It most certainly is not a positive thing because it only puts me in a bad mood and thinking "I do everything around the house." Do I want hubby to force me to let him help with something? Maybe. I guess I don't know what I want. I think part of it stems from my own independence, thinking I can do everything (or wanting to do it because I want it done my way).

Anyone else ever do the same thing or am I just a weirdo?

Recently I've been thinking a lot about some of my personality characteristics that I don't particularly like. This is just one of them. Perhaps some warm spring weather will put me in a better mood!