January 23, 2012 by
The Read Aloud Handbook
There’s nothing like snuggling up together to enjoy a good book. The trouble is that sometimes it’s hard to choose a good book to snuggle up with!
My go-to source for selecting new family read-alouds is Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook. This book is chock full of reading suggestions for all ages and interests. We’ve discovered many gems within its pages, some of which we’ve read multiple times.
Books to be shared out loud need to have a certain literary value to be enjoyable. Sure, you can read The Diary of a Wimpy Kid out loud. But, it’s much more fun to read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen or The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.White or the Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.
Pick up a copy of this book and you’re sure to find many, many hours of family reading pleasure ahead of you.
January 22, 2012 by
Have you heard parents counting while they wait for their child to comply with their instructions?
I don’t believe it in. I believe in children doing what they are told to do. Children should do what you said because you said it, not because you started counting to 3. It’s like a threat. (And sometimes a hollow one, don’t get me started on that one. That’s another post!)
“Give Mommy your toy.” Mother is gather playthings so they can leave to go home. Child continues to play with the toy.
“Mommy said, give me your toy.” Child continues playing and ignores her.
“Give me your toy…..(big pause)…. Mommy’s going to count…..(pause)…One (big pause) …..twooo (longer pause)….” Child plays with toy and either does or doesn’t hand over the toy. Regardless of whether or not the toy is handed over this whole interaction was a waste of time and it only teaches kids that you only mean what you said if you count.
Honestly, I’m always a little embarrassed for the Mom using this “technique.” To me, she is demonstrating that she hasn’t taught her children to respect her words only her threats of punishment.
Here’s how I got results with young children.
- “Give Mommy your toy.” Child continues to play with toy.
- I get down on their level, look them in the eye and say. “Did you hear me? I said give Mommy your toy.”
- If they don’t do so immediately, I put my hands on their arm above the wrist, and make them pass me the toy.
- If the child was looking at me when I said it the first time and I’m sure they heard me, I skip the middle step and simply make them do it.
- If I am met with defiance or negative attitude, there is a time out immediately or at the soonest opportunity. Delaying a time out for long is not effective for young children. You just seem like you’re doling out random punishment.
Believe in your own authority. If you don’t, you can be certain no one else will – not even a two year old.
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Believe in Your Own Authority or I’m Sorry I Can’t Understand what you’re saying ( a post about whining.)
January 21, 2012 by
Both parents are partners in parenting. I know thisblogisforwomen…so men probably won’t be reading it. But, I do believe that we teach people how to treat us. And, if we want to have an equal partner we have to be an equal partner. This means that we have to carry our half of the load. And we have to expect the other partner to carry their half.
By being partners we gain so much. The children are a project that we work on together. We should make decisions together about our objectives. Do we want them to be followers? Do we want them to be leaders? The world needs both kinds of people. Do we want them to follow their heads or their hearts? Do we want them to be obedient or defiant? Do we want them to be respectful? Do we want them to be kind? Do we want them to be helpful? To we want to shelter them or let them fend for themselves? What kind of friends do we want our kids to keep company with? It’s important to discuss values with your partner in parenting.
We also share more than parenting roles. We demonstrate adult behaviours and interactions to our children. Do we want them to grow up to find a mate that they fight with routinely? Do we want them to have their own interests and hobbies when they are adults? Do we want them to see that each parent is a complete individual with unique gifts and talents or that there is no I in team? By demonstrating cooperation, compromise, independence, support, vulnerability, love and responsibility in the home we are modelling these things to our future adult children.
Showing your children that you are part of a successful adult partnership is the way to teach them to find one for themselves one day. Regardless of your situation. I don’t live with my children’s father. We were married for 17 years but for the last 3 we’ve been separated. We are still able to demonstrate to the children that we work together for the greater good that is our family.
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy Believe in your own Authority and I’m Sorry I Can’t Understand What You’re Saying
January 19, 2012 by
The Time-Out Space should be the most boring place in your house where your child can be safely left alone. For toddlers it might be inside a playpen, or in their crib with no toys. For preschoolers my favorite place was the landing of the stairs. Other ideas might be in the hallway with bedroom doors closed.
The Time Out Space should be devoid of entertainment and distractions and other people. It should be completely boring; a good place to think about your actions; a good place to realize that what you were doing before was more fun than being here; a good place to make a plan for how to improve your behaviour and get back into the game; a good place to cool off from flaring emotions.
I use the Time Out Space as a place for punishment. When this is the case I set a timer and tell the child that they can return to find me when the timer goes off. When the timer goes off and they come to me we discuss the incident that led to the time-out and plan a strategy for avoiding such an unfortunate incident in the future. (Timers make things easy. In case you haven’t noticed, I like easy. With a timer keeping track of the time-out, I can go do something productive, or just relax without watching the clock – I’m not the one being punished, after all.)
If the child comes to find me before the timer has rung then I return them to the spot and say:
“Oh, no, I’ll have to start the timer over again. Back you go.” It doesn’t take very many times of this happening before they learn to stay in the time out spot on their own.
Guidelines for how long to time a child out:
1-2 years: up to a minute
3-4 years: up to 3 or 4 minutes
5 years and up: up to 5 minutes. *No more than this.
*The point is to have time to miss the fun. The time out is not the punishment, missing out on the fun or interaction is the punishment. My kids didn’t need long time-outs to adapt poor behavior into good behaviour. They hated being on time-out. A one minute time-out was the longest I ever needed.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like to read Counting or “1-2-3 Now I Really Mean It” or When to Teach Your Baby the meaning of ”No.”
January 18, 2012 by
My last post, the one about cranky people, reminds me of the tactic I use to get cooperation for unpleasant tasks. If my child is uncooperative when it’s time to practice the violin, or do some schoolwork or a chore – I banish them from participation.
You are banished!
I don’t actually say that. But it’s what I’m thinking.
What I do is point out that we need their cooperation to complete the task at hand. If they fail to be cooperative I send them to their time-out space. In my house it’s the landing half-way up the stairs.
“Please try to have a good attitude about doing this math we’ll get it done a lot more quickly if you don’t complain about it.”
“But it’s so hard! I hate math. I can’t do it.”
“You’re right. With that attitude you can’t do it. I believe that you can do this math, and I can help you figure it out, but not with a negative attitude. So, go sit on the landing and come back when you’re ready to do your math. Remember I’ll help you if you’ve got a positive attitude.”
If they’re gone a long time I go check on them. Maybe they’re upset and need to talk about it. Perhaps they can’t find their way to be positive about the task at hand, and they’re just plain cranky. In this case I have them go to bed for a while (see the cranky post.)
There are times when it is futile to try to complete the task. There really isn’t much point in trying to learn while in a negative state of mind. It only teaches you to resent the subject. In this case I give them an option. Not a fun option but an option. “OK, well why don’t you go clean your room and we’ll look at the math later.” A snack can sometimes be in order in this case as well. Uncooperative feelings can also come from being hungry or on the verge of hunger. An apple or some raisins might be just what they need to perk up and have the energy to participate properly.