Archive for July, 2009


(Cooking) ABC Pancakes

Being a fun parent is all about seeking out ways to turn day-to-day activities into small adventures. ABC Pancakes is a perfect example. Next Saturday morning, put this fun twist on your flapjacks.

Mix up your pancake batter as normal. Pour the batter into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and clip off one of the bottom corners, about 1/2- 1 inch wide. Gently squeeze the batter onto a lightly greased skillet into the shape of your choice and continue to follow your pancake recipe’s cooking instructions.

Get creative! You can make letters, numbers, animals, or other shapes of our choice. The kids love to make requests!

ABC Pancakes


(Parenting) Setting the Tone for the Day

The first hour that everybody is awake often sets the tone for the rest of the day. For many of us parents, it is also one of the most difficult times of the day to try to match the energy level of our children. They bound out of bed bursting with energy, creativity, and chatter. We just try to survive until we can get through that first cup of coffee.

Yet don’t underestimate the significance of that first hour of the day. Dare to be the one to set the tone for the hours to come. Here are some ideas to help you do that.

1) Greet them affectionately and with a positive tone when they wake up. I sometimes find myself complaining about how some days begin with whining, fusing, and arguing, but then I often hear the same tone reflected in my own voice. Break the cycle.

2) Spend some time participating in intentional interactions with your kids. Children are always looking for ways to interact with their parents and to explore some of their independence. Tension between us and our children often happens when we underestimate the significance of either of those childhood needs. Spend a little bit of time reading with them, doing a small craft, or playing a game. By meeting this need, even in a small way, at the beginning of the day will help free them to focus on free play and exploration instead of attempting to gain your attention.

3) Keep all forms of media turned off. The best that you can, refrain from turning on the TV or computer during the first hour or two of the day. We have all experienced the dulling of the mind that can result from too much time in front of a screen. Don’t let that set the tone for your day. You are much more likely to return to an active state if you are active initially and then have only short media interactions.

We can’t make attitude decisions for the other members of the family, but we do have the power to set the tone in our own home. Keep your attitute positive, remain active, and provide opporunities for interactions and exploration. It is hard to remain grumpy for too long when you are immersed in a positive environment.


(Family Activities) Picnic at the Pool

We’re nearing the end of the summer when the days are extra long and extra hot. Yet, while it is tempting to go into a summer hibernation, there are so many ways to take advantage of the extra time with the kids and, yes, even the heat.

One day this week, pack up for an evening at the pool!  Assemble an easy dinner of sandwiches and fun snacks, grabs your suits and towels and prepare to stay at the poolside until it closes. This can be one of the best times of the day to swim; you save on sunscreen and the crowds often thin out as you move towards dinner and bedtime.  You can even bring a deck of cards or other non-swimming forms of recreation for some out-of-the-pool breaks. Make an evening of it! It will refresh the whole family and, as a bonus, help the kids to sleep really well that night.


(Home Management) Laundry Deadline

Laundry has a way of piling up. Or of sitting in the dryer, if we’ll admit it. Have you discovered that there is this unspoken threshold during the day, past which the laundry will remain unfinished? Consider setting a laundry deadline for yourself. For example, if your threshold seems to be lunchtime, resolve to have your laundry completed for the day by 12:00. That means the last load probably cannot go into the washer past 10am (depending on the length of your washer/dryer cycles). Sound impossible? Maybe not. If your laundry isn’t getting done past lunchtime anyway, that means that you are likely folding the previous day’s laundry the next morning. You are just being more intentional about the completion of the chore.

And do you know what the best part of this deadline is? You don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.