Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category


(Parenting) Alternate Form of Affection

Brothers and sisters can sometimes be overzealous in their demonstration of affection toward their siblings. It can provide the parent with a difficult dilemma when they watch their child protest their sibling’s well-intended hug or the playful tackle. We know that it does no good to tell the recipient to just deal and it is important for the kids to learn to look for and respect the other child’s boundaries. However, when there is a positive attempt towards affection from one of the siblings, it can also be damaging to shut the giver down. Relationships grow through giving and receiving and interacting and that must be encouraged.

Alternative solutions are sometimes more obvious than others, but when you witness one of these interactions between your kids, do your best to rechannel the affection. Suggest an activity that they can participate in together, give them a common cause, or simply suggest another way that physical affection might be demonstrated. If the recipient is old enough, they could also be a part of the conversation.

Another important key in these tricky parenting situations is to keep your parenting positive. You correcting them with frustration or irritation in your voice or by using punishment will only succeed in growing resentment between the kids. Not only will their attempt at affection or interaction have been rejected by the desired recipient (their sibling), but they will have been punished by you for even attempting it. Affirm them for their desire to interact with their sibling and help them to learn how to interact in ways that they will both enjoy.


(Family Acitivities) High/Low

Relationships are built on conversations, whether they are big or small.

Over dinner, have each person give their high point and low point of the day. This gets conversation rolling and it also gives you a unique insight into each person. You learn about the things that are important to them and how they are affected by various situations and they learn the same things about you.

*Tip – Remember that the more transparent you are with your kids, the more transparent they will be with you.


(Comic Relief) Spiders

It’s scary out there….


(Comic copyright Baby Blues Partnership)


(Crafts) Cottonball Snowman

Bring the snowy-day activities inside where it is warm with this super easy winter craft!



Pipecleaner (or other item of your choice)


Draw an outline of a snowman on a piece of paper (three circles). Bend and glue the pipecleaner on the middle circle for the arms (you could also use sticks, straws, popsicle sticks, etc). Gently pull and loosen the cottonballs and then glue them onto the paper, filling in the sketch. Glue on raisins for eyes, nose (opt), mouth, and buttons.


(Living Love) Childhood Traditions

Traditions are important to a child and the warmth of those memories carries far into adulthood. A sound, a taste, a smell…it can take us back in an instant.

Ask your spouse what some of their favorite holiday traditions were as a child. What are the details of that tradition that made it so memorable? Then find a way to work at least one of those treasured traditions into your own family’s holiday activities. It is a unique gift that you can give to both your spouse and your children. The best traditions are those with a story behind them, because it makes us all realize that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Creating new family traditions is an adventure. Carrying on old traditions is enrichment.


(Parenting) Dollar Store Treasures

The joy found in giving is a life lesson that we all desire to impart to our kids and there is no substitute for first-hand experience. Christmas provides many teaching opportunities, one of which is right under your own Christmas tree.

The joy of giving comes to life in a child’s heart when they are able to give a family member a gift that is from them. One that they picked out, that they wrapped, that they were excited about giving, and that they handed to the eager recipient.

It can be hard, though, on our already tight Christmas budgets to add in another level of gift-giver funding, and depending on the age of the child, unrealistic to expect them to foot the bill. Younger children can also become frustrated by their lack of understanding the impact of price tags in a large store.

Take your child on their own little shopping spree…to the dollar store! Here everything is within budget. Your child can browse the aisles and find gifts for everybody on their list. With the ability to choose anything in the store, they are freed from restrictions and given lease for creativity. It is absolutely wonderful to watch them get excited as they find items that they believe fits what the recipient loves and then eagerly anticipate the giving of the gift. It is a simple opportunity that can bring the joy of giving to life for a child.

Tip: Be sure to choose a dollar store where everything truly is one dollar.


(Comic Relief) Boys and Their Toys

Those of you with little boys will appreciate this…

Chistmas Shopping

(Comic copyright Baby Blues Partnership)


(Crafts) Paper Snowflakes

Classic crafts are the best! In addition to personal memories, you also get culture’s history and traditions that brighten the package and reinforce the experience. As a bonus, they are usually some of the easier projects to complete.

Paper snowflakes are among the top classic winter crafts. You see them everywhere during the holidays! Hanging from store ceilings, taped to classroom doors, or adorning Christmas trees. They are magical in their simplicity.

To create a paper snowflake, simply fold a square piece of paper into a triangle. Then fold it into a still smaller triangle, and repeat several times. Cut out triangles, half circles, slits, or whatever shape you dream up, along the edges of the final folded triangle. This is wonderful for young kids whose cuts aren’t “perfect” – it simply adds to the uniqueness of their snowflake. Then unfold! Watch the wonder in your child’s eyes. snowflakes


(Family Activities) Alphabet Game

Car games are a great way to pass the miles, but they also provide an opportunity for fun family interactions and lasting memories. What was your favorite road trip activity as a child?

The Alphabet Game is a fun and classic road trip game. To play, each player silently works through the alphabet (in order) by finding each letter outside somewhere (possibly on a sign, store front, or license plate). The player to finish first, wins!

Variation #1: For younger children, you can work through the alphabet together and out loud. This is a great activity for practicing letter recognition!

Variation #2: Work your way through the alphabet by finding an object that starts with each letter.


(Parenting) Counting to 3

We have all witnessed or experienced first hand the classic parental warning of counting to three. While I have sometimes seen it to be effective, I have more frequently seen the child try to push their limits as far as possible (i.e. waiting until “3” to do what has been requested) or the parents displaying increasing emotion as the count goes up. The rapid “1, 2, 3″ warning gives the child only enough time to feel either panic or rebellion, but not enough time to truly reconsider their actions. Ultimately, these behaviors usually do not produce the desired or effective response and the cycle continues.

Adding a simple twist to your count can introduce clearer communication and a calmer, more effective response.

If your child is not responding to something you have asked of them, simply state, “That’s a one.” Give them a moment to respond. If they still do not respond appropriately, give them a second warning with a calm, “That’s a two.” Give them a moment to respond. If they still do not respond appropriately, calmly state, “That’s a three”, immediately followed by the parental action you judge to be fitting in correcting the behavior.

This approach keeps the spirit of the interaction calm, yet clearly defined. The clear plan keeps the parent’s emotions low and the effectiveness up. For the child, it gives them defined and predictable guidelines as well as a brief opportunity to reflect on their action and change course.

*Tip – Give you and your child an adjustment period as the new count and expectations are established. Changes can take a little bit of time before becoming truly effective. Before long, you will find your child changing their behavior at the count of 2, and often even at the count of 1.