February 25, 2012 by
How often each day do you make eye contact with your loved ones?
Take notice and you may be surprised that it’s less than you think.
When you’re busy preparing a meal and your child is telling you a story, take a moment to stop cutting the onions and look them in the eye and smile while they talk to you.
That moment of eye contact is a connection. They know you are listening. Your minds have connected. They matter. Your children are especially deserving of your eye contact. Don’t be stingy with it.
In the 21st century, where some days screens are in front of our faces more often than human beings, it’s important to validate the experiences we share. All it takes is just a little eye contact.
One thing that I have impressed upon my kids since they were quite little, and also upon my students, is the importance of eye contact when thanking someone. If you do not make eye contact when saying thank you, it dilutes the value of the compliment. If you look someone in the eye when you thank them, they know that you mean it.
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February 19, 2012 by
I didn’t have a fancy gadget like this for potty training. But, I’m sure this would do the trick for any child old enough to pull the cord!
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy:
February 14, 2012 by
photo credit: flickr
If you don’t believe in your authority who will? Children are quick to pick up on fear, inconsistency and uncertainty. It’s like they can smell it.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. They can’t.
So my advice is “fake it until you make it.” Be firm. Be loving, but be firm. Don’t let their cute, sad little faces cause you to bend the rules. Don’t allow whining and tantrums to weaken your resolve.
You are the parent. That’s right – You. You make the rules and it’s up to you to be sure that they are adhered to.
I bet some people don’t even realize that they don’t believe in their own authority. They just think that people don’t take them seriously, or don’t listen to them. Or worse, that they have bad children. shudder
The fact is that we teach people how to treat us. If we allow our children to disrespect our rules, then we have allowed them to dilute our authority. We have taught them that we are not serious about laying down rules. We have shown them that we don’t believe in our own authority.
I imagine that all of this came to be during the time that we were in school. Something changed in society. Children were given more freedom and adults less. So, in the end we have parents acting like children and children who are out of control (literally: No one is controlling them.)
I urge you, as the next generation of adults and parents, to take your role in teaching discipline very seriously. Teach it by example as self-discipline. Teach it by direction as rules and consequences. If you don’t…who will?
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Love and Rules. or Counting or The Time Out Space
February 13, 2012 by
It’s always nice to have people give you positive reinforcement. Last week at gymnastics when the boys were getting their street clothes on. The instructor waved me over to speak with him. I don’t know him at all, but the kids like him and they seem to be learning lots.
He wanted to thank me for enrolling my boys in the program. (They just started taking gymnastics at the end of the summer. I was tired of worrying about the possibility of them breaking their necks while trying to learn to do “flips” on their own without proper instruction or a spotter.)
I told him a dutiful “your welcome” and expressed that they enjoyed themselves and were learning lots from him.
He went on to say that he wanted to tell me personally how much he appreciated their influence on the class. He told me that they are always in good spirits and keen to work hard and that he really liked their presence because they were able to keep the boys in the group focused and on-task.
“They’re great!” he said. ”They cheer the other boys on, and urge them to try harder. And the best part is when some of them start to act up and get a bit silly, they’ll say something like ‘come on guys…let’s smarten up, we’ll get more turns on tramp if we listen to Ted.’ I don’t even have to say a thing. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
A proud mama moment for me, indeed.
The boys had participated in the gymnastics summer camp program for a week. I signed them up late, sort of on a whim. They enjoyed the first week so much that I looked into getting them in for a second week. It was booked of course. So, I left my name and number with the desk in case anyone cancelled at the last minute, they wrote my name half way down page two of the waiting list. I told the boys not to expect to get in, since it was full with a long waiting list.
When I got home, 15 minutes later, there was a message for me to call the camp coordinator. She told me that she had made space for the boys. She said that there wasn’t really room, but that they were such good kids that they would be “easy extras” to have.
Proof yet again, that if you’ve got a positive attitude and are well-behaved you’ll get more opportunities. It really all does boil down to Love and Rules.
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.)