Daily Parenting Tips


Daily Parenting Tips  

What kind of parent do you want to be? Or grandparent, teacher or caregiver?

A GREAT one!

You can be exactly that – just “Decide and Practice.”

DECIDE what you are going to think about the kids in your life.

DECIDE what you are going to feel about the kids in your life.

DECIDE how you are going to act with the kids in your life.

Then, PRACTICE.

To help you decide and practice, we will be publishing a tip each day inspired by our featured picture book.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.  Read our whole conversation about each picture book on our Picture Book Conversation page.  Just “mouse-over” the page link on the left and select the picture book you are interested in.

Let us know which tips you like the best or any others you think of that you want to pass along to others.

Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice

Give a Gift of Exploration #3 (11-22-15)

PicturebookParenting gift suggestion: Because exploration encourages us all, at any age, to grow up, consider a gift this holiday that encourages exploration.

For small children: A tablecloth fort or playhouse. You can buy one or make one. When you play with the fort or playhouse together, be sure to leave interesting things in the fort or house for your little explorer to find.

For school-age children: A bicycle that can lead to all sorts of exploration of places to go and people to play with.

For you: A bicycle that can lead to all sorts of exploration of your own capacities and places to go.

For other holiday gift ideas:

Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited

www.youngexplorers.com

www.smithsonianstore.com

www.nationalgeographic.com

Read more about exploration:

One Way Kids Grow Up: Exploration

Give a Gift of Exploration #2 (11-19-15)

PicturebookParenting gift suggestion: Because exploration encourages us all, at any age, to grow up, consider a gift this holiday that encourages exploration.

For small children:  A peek and find toy – one with parts that open and close and have places to store things.

For school-age children: Art supplies – with lots of colors to choose from and no limits like “staying in the lines.”

For you: Lessons for something you have always wanted to do. A dance, flying, or golf lesson, for example.

For other holiday gift ideas:

Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited

www.youngexplorers.com

www.smithsonianstore.com

www.nationalgeographic.com

Read more about exploration:

One Way Kids Grow Up: Exploration

Give a Gift of Exploration (11-17-15)

PictureBbook Parenting gift suggestion: Because exploration encourages us all, at any age, to grow up, consider a gift this holiday that encourages exploration.

For small children: A kid-friendly bowl – one that won’t go anywhere when she begins eating with her hands and making dinnertime a full-body experience. There are some that have suction cups and some that are spill-proof due to a gyro action. Check them out.

For school-age children: A musical instrument. You can buy them second-hand or rent them to reduce your cost while your child explores whether he is really interested.

For you: A musical instrument that you once played and want to get back to or one you have always wanted to play but never had the opportunity.

For other holiday gift ideas:

Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited

www.youngexplorers.com

www.smithsonianstore.com

www.nationalgeographic.com

Read more about exploration:

One Way Kids Grow Up: Exploration

Next Parenting Reminder and gift idea will be on November 19, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

One Way Kids Grow Up: Exploration (11-15-15)

A VIOLIN FOR ELVA by Mary Lyn Ray

(Available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.)

There was no violin for Elva no matter how much she asked for one as a child. But, Elva never gave up on the idea of playing the violin. For years she would pretend she was playing. For years she would pretend she was getting ready for a recital. When Elva was all grown up, she still dreamed of having a violin. “‘I’m too old now,’ she told her dog.” But, Elva didn’t really believe she was too old. In her senior years, she finally bought herself her long desired violin. She took lessons. And, she played in her first recital. She finally was “making music” – her long-held dream.

Parenting Thoughts

The First Stage of Exploration54 Sidebar 3

Kids naturally explore. It is part of their growing up. It is through exploring that they take in new information, develop a love of learning, and become more independent and confident in themselves.

Believe it or not, a child becomes a little explorer as early as 6- to 18-months old. You will know he is in this stage when you see him:

  • Creeping and crawling;
  • Pulling everything down;
  • Opening up every drawer and cupboard;
  • Eating with his hands;
  • Running ahead of Mom and Dad on the sidewalk and in the store aisles60 Sidebar 2

Your job as a parent at this age is to encourage the exploration while making sure both your child and your important things are safe. When your child feels safe, that is when he will be the best explorer. And, the more he is successful at exploring at this age, the better learner he can be when he gets to school. After all, school is just one big exploration.

A Second Stage of Exploration

Another time that kids focus on exploring is when they begin trying out every new thing 60 Sidebar 1they hear about – playing all the sports, trying out every musical instrument, and dabbling at all sorts of hobbies.
At this point, they are trying out everything, but sticking to nothing. This might be as they begin elementary school and maybe again as they begin middle school.

It’s normal for kids at those ages to start a lot of things, but not always want to finish what they start. They are in a phase of discovery – figuring out what turns them on, what floats their boat, what they are good at, what makes them a star.Blog9 Sidebar1

Your job as a parent at these ages is to give them plenty of opportunity to explore and to teach them what their responsibilities are as explorers. They can be free to jump around from activity to activity, but “middle-jumping” should be discouraged.

For example, if you pay the money and make the time to support their “try outs,” they need to finish all the lessons paid for. They can jump out of the activity at the next sign up, but not in the middle.

If they become a member of a team, they need to meet their “promise” to their team members and not ruin the experience for others by jumping off. Again, they can jump off the team at the end of a season and never join again, but not in the middle.

Eventually, kids will settle into activities that they are good at and that spark their dreams and imagination. Then, your job as a parent is to help them develop their skills and talents. Our post on December 1 will be about that very thing – the development of a skill in our children.

Adult Exploration

While you are thinking about exploration stages for your kids, also think about your own exploration – just like Elva did in A VIOLIN FOR ELVA. Ask yourself, “What do I wish I had done when I was young?” Follow Elva’s example. Keep your dream alive. Make your “music” no matter how old you are.

Read More

Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1

Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2

Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3

Your Child is a Star!

GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson

SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR, Jean Illsley Clarke

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, and David Bredehoft

 Surf the Internet:
  • music and kids
  • sports and kids
  • hobbies and kids
  • grit
  • perseverance
  • determination

Teaching Skills = Love with No Strings Attached (11-13-15)

Chores help children learn skills. Teaching children skills = love with no strings attached.

PICK UP YOUR SOCKS by Elizabeth Crarycan help you know what chores are reasonable for your child’s age.

When teaching your child the skills needed to do a chore, break the chore down into parts.

For example, making your bed = straightening the sheet, straightening the blanket, fluffing the pillow and smoothing out the top cover.

For young children, have them do just one part for a few days and when it is done well most days, move to the next part.  On any days when it is not done well, calmly ask that they do it over.

Read more about love with no strings attached:

Love with No Strings Attached

Danger: No Rules (11-11-15)

Not enough rules for your kids is the same thing as loving them with dangerous strings attached.

A “rule party” (instead of a “pool party”) can help.

  • You meet with some other parents that you trust to talk over good rules and consequences that make sense.
  • Each person brings a family rule that is a challenge for them and everyone gives ideas for how to clearly state the expectation in a way to be right for the age of the child in mind.
  • The group brainstorms about what type of consequence would make sense.
  • The group discusses ways to help for a parent to stick to the rule and the consequence and not look the other way.

Remember, you are in charge of your family. All the ideas you hear are for you to evaluate and make the final choices about what you think will work for your family. Announce this as one of the party rules at the very beginning.

Read more about rules and consequences:

Love with No Strings Attached

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 1

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 2

Is Your Child’s Behavior Bugging You? (11-9-15)

What has been bugging you about your child’s behavior?

Make a “rules” chart with your child about that topic. If the child is very young, use pictures.

Include what happens if the rule is not followed.

For an older child give him a chance to help determine the rules and what will happen if each rule is not followed.

Read more about rules and consequences:

Love with No Strings Attached

Kids and Sharing, part 1

Kids and Sharing, part 2

Sticking to the Rules

Danger: Ignoring Bad Behavior (11-5-15)

Excusing or ignoring bad behavior is the same thing as loving your kids with dangerous strings attached.

Are your rules and consequences a good fit for your child?

Consider what rules most children that are your kids ages are able to follow.

Also consider your kids maturity – especially if there is a lot of “correcting” going on and they are in trouble a lot.

If you need to, dial things back a little. Try some expectations and rules that are usually for slightly younger children. Then, watch for signs that your kids are making good decisions about their behavior and add some new privileges and rules to see what they11 can handle.

Read more about love with strings attached:

Love with No Strings Attached

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 1

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 2

Danger: Doing Too Much (11-3-15)

Doing too much for your kids is the same thing as loving them with dangerous strings attached.

How much do you do for your child? Is it the right amount for her age and maturity?

Consider the amount of attention you give her and how involved you are in everything she does. Do you do things for her that she should do on her own?

Do you often save her from being distressed or frustrated? Do you give her what you think she needs even before she asks

Are you trying too hard to make her love you?

(These signs of doing too much for children are taken from HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

If you decide that you do too much for your kids, remember you are doing it out of love, but also remember that you can balance that love. You can do what your kids truly need but not more than they need.

You can make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love.

Read more about love with strings attached:

Love with No Strings Attached

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 1

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 2

Love with No Strings Attached (11-1-15)

Featured Picture Book

HOMEMADE LOVE by Bell Hooks

(Available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.)

Girlpie was one of the many loving names Mom and Dad gave their little girl. She was the apple of their eyes, the center of their universe. But, …“there is no all the time right.” So, Girlpie also learned about making mistakes right and making “peace again.” She felt always safe. She knew she would always be held up by her parents. Love with no strings attached – that was Girlpie’s story and the story of HOMEMADE LOVE.

Parenting Thoughts

What does “love with no strings attached” look like?
  • Loving your kids no matter what. No matter if they follow all the rules all the time. No matter if they win or lose the game. No matter how they look. No matter what they can or cannot do.59 Sidebar 2
  • Loving your kids just because they are your children, alive, and deserving of love and respect.
  • Teaching your kids the skills they need to become independent.
  • Having high expectations of your kids, so they can learn to be sure of themselves and hopeful about their future.
  • Teaching your kids how to make up for their mistakes, so they know they will always be loved. Teaching them to do more than just say they are sorry and to also do something to take care of the person they hurt.Blog 5 sidebar
  • Saying no in a straightforward way when you need to. Making sure your discipline is about protecting and teaching your kids rather than punishing them.

What does love WITH  strings attached look like?59 Sidebar 1

Letting your kids be the center of attention and rule the household.

Giving your kids so many things that they are never satisfied and don’t really know how to enjoy things.

Failing to set rules that fit your kid’s ages and maturity so they can know how to get along in the world and stay out of trouble.

Excusing or ignoring bad behavior so your kids never learn that their behavior has consequences.Blog4 Sidebar 2

Saving your kids from paying the consequences of their actions or feeling normal sadness and disappointment.

Always saying yes and allowing so many privileges that your kids are never sure they are safe and can take care of themselves.

Read More

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 1

Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 2

GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson

SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR, Jean Illsley Clarke

AM I DOING TOO MUCH FOR MY CHILD? Elizabeth Crary

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, and David Bredehoft

 Surf the Internet:
  • self esteem
  • overindulgence
  • discipline
  • natural consequences
  • logical consequences

Halloween Joke (10-31-15)

A Halloween joke (from Rita Rudner – stand-up comedienne):

“All my life, my parents said, “Never take candy from strangers.’

And then they dressed me up and said, ‘Now go beg for it.’”

Whose Rule Is It Anyway? (10-30-15)

Talk with your child about “house rules” that are different from house to house.

  • What are the rules at Grandma’s house?
  • How are they alike or different from yours?
  • What about any differences between you and another parent, including a stepparent, if that applies?
  • How about differences at an aunt’s house or an elderly neighbor’s house?

Talk about what that is like for your child to have different house rules to manage.

Talk about why it is important that he be able to follow different rules in different situations. Use examples of when you have to follow different rules, even though you are all grown up.

Read more: Being the Center of the Universe

A “Rule Party” Can Help You with Discipline (10-28-15)

See if a “rule party” (instead of a “pool party”) helps you with your discipline.

Meet with some other parents that you trust to talk over good rules and consequences that make sense.

Each person can bring a family rule that is a challenge for them and everyone can give ideas for how to clearly state the expectation in a way to be right for the age of the child in mind.

Then, the group can brainstorm what type of consequence would make sense.

Lastly, you could discuss ways to help yourself stick to the rule and the consequence and not look the other way.

Remember, you are in charge of your family. All the ideas you hear are for you to evaluate and make the final choices about what you think will work for your family. At the very beginning, announce this as one of the party rules.

Read more: Being the Center of the Universe

Danger: Not Enough Consequences (10-26-15)

Not enough consequences is a danger to children growing up as healthy, happy adults.

Has something been bugging you about your child’s behavior?

Make a “rules” chart with your child about that topic. If the child is very young, use pictures. Include what happens if the rule is not followed.

For an older child give him a chance to help determine the rules and what will happen if each rule is not followed.

For more understanding about consequences take a look at Kids and Sharing, Kids and Sharing, Part 2, or Sticking to the Rules.

Danger: Not Enough Rules and Too Many Privileges (10-23-150

Not enough rules and too many privileges is a danger to children growing up as healthy, happy adults.

Think about the rules and consequences at your house. Do they fit with what rules most children your child’s age are able to follow?

Also consider your child’s maturity – especially if there is a lot of “correcting” going on and your child is in trouble a lot.

If you need to, dial things back a little. Try some expectations and rules that are usually for slightly younger children. Then, watch for signs that your child is making good decisions about his or her behavior and add some new privileges and rules to see what your child can handle.

Read more: Being the Center of the Universe

Next Parenting Reminder will be on October 26, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Danger: Doing Too Much for Your Child (10-21-15)

Doing too much for your child can be dangerous to children growing up as healthy, happy adults.

Think about how much you do for your child and how involved you are in everything she does? Is it the right amount for her age and maturity?

  • Do you do things for her that she can and should do on her own?
  • Do you often save her from being distressed or frustrated?
  • Do you give her what you think she needs even before she asks?
  • Are you trying too hard to make her love you?
(These signs of doing too much for children are taken from HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

If you decide that you do too much for your child, remember you are doing it out of love. Also remember that you can balance your love by doing what your child truly needs but not more than she needs.

You can make the adjustments you think you should to balance your love.

Read more about doing too much for your kids: Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2

Next Parenting Reminder will be on October 23, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Danger: Too Much Time and Attention (10-19-15)

Too much time and attention can be a danger to children growing up as healthy, happy adults.

  • How often does your child control what the family does and when and how the family does it?
  • How many family decisions is your child controlling?
    • Where Grandma sits at the table?
    • Where the family goes on vacation?
    • Where you go to eat dinner?

If the answer is yes to many of these questions, consider taking back your family power. Reduce the number of decisions your child is asked to make. When your child does get to make a decision make sure it is about something he or she should have control over (What do you want to wear today? Grandma is sitting here, which of the other seats do you want?).

Read more about attention: Fighting for Attention

Next Parenting Reminder will be on October 21, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Check Daily Parenting Tips for hundreds of past helpful reminders.

Being the Center of the Universe (10-15-15)

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT by Jean Reidy

(Available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.)

In LIGHT UP THE NIGHT a little boy discovers he has a whole universe at his fingertips. He describes his universe in big terms like a “galaxy of stars so bright….” He describes his universe in medium-sized terms like “… my country, with highlands and plains, with farmlands and cities and highways and trains.” And lastly he describes his universe in the closest of terms like “… my cozy bed, under my blanket, white and red, ….” By the end of the story the little boy has described his whole special universe – from a great big world to countries and towns to his very own neighborhood, home, and cozy bedroom.

Parenting Thoughts

What’s good about being the center of the universe? 
  • Children need to know that their world is big and that they can be in the very center of it with all its wonder and possibilities. Being the center of this huge universe will feed their imaginations. It will lead to wishes and dreams. It will be the source of mysteries and puzzles to solve.45 Sidebar 1
  • Children need to know that their world is small and that they can be safely wrapped up right in the comfy and cozy center of it. Being the center of this small universe will make them feel comfortable and safe. It will lead to their having the confidence to explore their world. It will be their source of discovery after discovery.
  • A child needs to know he is the apple of someone’s eye – that he is right in the center of someone else’s universe. This will make him feel loved and appreciated. It will lead to trust in the world, other people, and himself. It will be the source of his knowing how to love and be loved.37 Sidebar 3
What’s the danger in being the center of the universe?
  • Too much time and attention – so much so that the child is taking on responsibility and decisions he is not ready for.
  • Too many things – so much so that he isn’t learning what is enough, is never satisfied, and doesn’t really know how to enjoy things.56 SideBar 6
  • Not enough rules and too many privileges – so much so that he is unsure of himself and feels overly dependent on someone else to take care of him and save him from his own mistakes.
  • Not enough consequences – so much so that he has trouble making up for the things he does wrong and finding ways to feel OK about himself.Blog4 Sidebar4

Read More

Fighting for Attention

Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess

GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson

SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR, Jean Illsley Clarke

AM I DOING TOO MUCH FOR MY CHILD? Elizabeth Crary

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson, and David Bredehoft

 Surf the Internet:
  • self esteem
  • overindulgence
  • discipline
  • natural consequences
  • logical consequences

Controlling Monsters (10-12-15)

Monsters are not real. Because they are just pretend, your child can make them be whatever he wants them to be.

To help your child deal with bad dreams, explain to him how much power he has over monsters by using his imagination.

He can use magic wands, light sabers, magic potions and all sorts of pretend powers to make monsters be what he want them to be.

Have your child draw pictures of himself using his pretend powers.

Tell him you will remind him of his pictures anytime he has a bad dream.

Read more about monsters and sleep: Getting Kids to Sleep.

Our next new post will be on October 15, 2015 (www.picturebookparenting.com).

Not-So-Scary Monsters (10-9-15)

One way to deal with bad dreams …

Ask your child, “What if you had a bad dream about big hairy monsters? How could you turn that monster into a not-so-scary monster?

Take turns suggesting what the “nice” monster will be like. For example:

  • “My monster will be teeny tiny.”
  • “Mine will have no teeth. His name is Gummy.”
  • “My monster will be furry and cuddly.”
  • Mine will be so sleepy he can’t wake up no matter how hard he tries.”
  • “My monster has will have no legs. He just weeble-wobbles on his very round behind.”

Tell him you will remind him how to do this anytime he has a bad dream.

Read more about sleep: Getting Kids to Sleep.

Why Your Child Is Not Sleeping Well (10-7-15)

If you want to try to improve your child’s sleeping, start a journal that records how well your child sleeps each night.

On nights when she doesn’t sleep well, note any possible causes. For example:

  • Late naps
  • Food or drink in the evening
  • TV, Internet, or bedtime story topics before bed
  • Arguments late in the day
  • Exercise or lack of exercise
  • School problems that day
  • School assignments coming up
  • Other _____

Keep your journal every day for 30 days. Set up a reminder for yourself to see what the journal tells you at the end of the 30 days.

Are there certain things that lead to sleep problems over and over again? How can you make changes in those things?

Read more about getting kids to sleep: Getting Kids to Sleep.

Next Parenting Reminder will be on October 9, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

The Dream Jar. (10-5-15)

To get ideas about interesting ways to handle bad dreams, read THE DREAM JAR to your child (author: Lindan Lee Johnson). You can borrow it from the library or purchase at bookstores, including online.

Because the story is about bad dreams, it is best to read it to your child during the day, not at bedtime.

Read more about getting kids to sleep: Getting Kids to Sleep.

Next Parenting Reminder will be on October 7, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Pretend and Real are Different. (10-3-15)

Make-believe develops your child’s imagination.

When you play pretend with your child, show him the difference between pretend and real:

  • Tell him  you are having fun “pretending.”
  • Agree at the start to play pretend for a certain amount of time; when the time is up, say you are done “pretending.”
  • When you stop pretending, say what has changed – you put away the dress-up clothes, the table is a table and no longer a fort, you put away the play dishes and got out real dishes with real food for lunch, etc.

Read more about pretend play: That Special Gift – Part 2.

Next Parenting Reminder will be on October 5, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

All About Monsters (10-1-15)

ELMER AND THE MONSTER by David McKee

(Available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.)

Elmer, a patchwork elephant, travels the forest watching all the forest animals run from an unseen roaring monster. Elmer is fascinated but not sure he believes there really is a monster in the forest. He needs to see for himself. His animal friends, however, think, “Just imagining it is horrible enough ….” When Elmer finds the roaring creature, he learns that a roar does not always equal a monster. In fact, he learns that the imagined, heard-but-not-seen “monster” is only roaring because he is afraid of all the other heard-but-not-seen forest animals that have been roaring and running away from him. He has been imagining that they were all roaring “monsters.” Once all the creatures came together they could only “laugh at their own silliness ….” at assuming everything that roared was a monster.

Parenting Thoughts

Five very important things about monsters

Monsters are not real. Monsters are not real. It is important that we avoid talking about them or doing things that say they are real.

picture credit: http://www.zazzle.co.uk/scary_monster_lurking_under_the_bed_round_sticker-217109248302412417

Chasing bad monsters out of the bedroom, spraying magic potions, or casting a spell on monsters can tell a child that you believe the monsters are real – just as the child fears they are. It says you think you need to protect the child from a real monster. Why else would you be slaying the monster?

Being afraid of monsters is real. What children are feeling about monsters (fear, anxiety, anger, etc.) is real. Your child needs to know you believe he is afraid. It’s OK to comfort your child and help him find ways to comfort himself, while at the same time you are telling him monsters are not real.

Monsters are pretend. Children need to know the difference between pretend and real. 56 SideBar 4So, when playing pretend with your child, be sure to say things like, “I like to play pretend with you, so who will slay the pretend dragon first?” Or, “I’m done pretending now, let’s be our real selves – no more monsters allowed.”

Monsters can exercise our imagination. Pretend play is like exercise for our imagination. 45 Sidebar 1Just like you have to exercise your muscles to be able to run a race, children need to exercise the imagination part of their brains to become creative, artistic people – which are the type of people most needed in today’s world. Pretend play is what children need to develop their imaginations. It should be encouraged as long as it is clearly explained as not for real.

Monsters can be scary or nice. Monsters are not real, so your child can make them be any way she wants them to be. Here are some things that can help her outsmart or out-imagine her fears. Blog24 Sidebar1With the help of a little imagination, a big hairy monster can become teeny tiny, toothless, all furry and cuddly, so sleepy he can’t wake up no matter how hard he tries, or a monster without legs that weebles-wobbles on a round behind. Especially when monsters are part of a scary dream at night, a child can learn to turn the dream into a fun, safe, comforting dream instead. A child can use her imagination to make the monsters be anything she can think of that would be the opposite of scary.

Read More

That Special Gift – Part 2

Getting Kids to Sleep

GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson

SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR, Jean Illsley Clarke

 Surf the Internet:
  • self esteem
  • developmental tasks
  • make believe
  • pretend play
  • fear of monsters
  • getting kids to sleep
  • getting babies to sleep
  • child sleep problems
  • bad dreams in children
  • nightmares in children

Making a Plan to Buy Something Special (9-29-15)

Think of something your child is very anxious to have – something that it’s OK with you for him to have.

With your child, make a plan to make that purchase – down the road. Decide who is paying (you, your child, or both of you). If both of you are sharing the cost, decide how much each is paying.

Have your child plan for how he will get the money and when he will have enough. If you are sharing the cost, explain how you will get your part of the money (save a little at a time, not buy something else, etc.) and when you will have your part.

Together:

  • Track your progress to meet your goal;
  • Go shopping when the time is right; and
  • Celebrate.

Read more about being able to wait: Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 1Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 2

Check Daily Parenting Tips for hundreds of past helpful reminders.

“In a Minute” (9-27-15)

What if you can’t do what your child asks right when she asks?

It’s OK to tell your child she has to wait. Tell her you are glad to help her, but she will need to wait until you can get to it.

  • Tell her why she has to wait. (You need to finish what you are doing; you need to go or do something first; etc.)
  • Tell her how long it will be – be realistic about how much time is involved. Don’t say, “in a minute” unless you really will be ready in one minute.
  • Check in with her in exactly the time you said, even if you aren’t quite ready. You can arrange for more time, if you need it. This is very important. It makes her willing to wait. It builds her trust that you mean what you say and that she can depend on you.

Read more about being able to wait: Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 1Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 2

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 29, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Check Daily Parenting Tips for hundreds of past helpful reminders.

No Waiting and Overindulgence (9-25-15)

Overindulgence is harmful to kids.

Write out your personal definition of the following ideas:

Too Little: _____________________________________

Enough: _______________________________________

Abundance: ____________________________________

Too Much: _____________________________________

Share with your family and see how they define them.

Next week, take a look at these again and see if you want to change anything about your definitions.

Read more about being able to wait: Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 1Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 2

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 27, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

No Sadness and Overindulgence (9-23-15(

Are you preventing your child from feeling sad? This can be a form of overindulgence.

Pay attention to times that your child is sad or disappointed. It doesn’t have to be about something big. It can be because he has to wait for something, can’t find something he wants to play with or wear, a friend can’t play, etc.

Notice what your first reaction is. Do you want to try to talk him into feeling better, get him focused on something else, or give him something he likes to eat?

Stop yourself.

Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson. Instead of your usual response, try letting him know that you are noticing that he is sad or disappointed. Hold him, hug him, or pat him.

Read more about being able to wait: Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 1Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 2

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 25, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Money Can Burn a Hole in a Kid’s Pocket. (9-21-15)

You can help your child learn about money.

If your child is old enough, establish a money management system for him. Set some rules about what happens to money that he receives for allowances and gifts.

Decide on what percentage of each allowance or gift will be for the following.

  • Free spending: decide whether you will have approval of what this is used for or not; if so, only judge for matters of safety or morals, not the wisdom or maturity of his choices.
  • Savings for needs: for example, college fund or summer vacation
  • Savings for wants: for example, new bike or lego set
  • Charity: of child’s choice

Read more about being able to wait: Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 1Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 2

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 23, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Needs and Wants Have Different Wait Times. (9-19-15)

You may need to wait longer for wants than for needs. You can learn to tell the difference between what you need and what you want. Try this.

On one side of a piece of paper list needs.  On the other side list wants. Think carefully about the things listed as needs. Ask yourself why you need each thing. Be honest with yourself.

Needs are things that are necessary for a safe and healthy life. Wants are things that add pleasure and interest to life. If the needs items don’t measure up when you think about it, move them to wants.

Read more about being able to wait: Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 1Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 2

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 21, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips)

Going to School Means Children Must Wait. (9-17-15)

You can help your child deal with missing special things because of school.

Make a list of the special things you know your child will miss while at school (blanket, toy, TV show, mom-time, a friend).

  • Assure her that her toys will be in their usual place waiting for her return. If there is a younger child still at home, let the school-age child make some toys off-limits.
  • Record a favorite TV show for when she can watch it.
  • Plan for special one-on-one time with mom or dad. Watching a favorite TV show together would be a good idea.
  • Plan for playtime with a missed friend.

Read more about being able to wait: Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 1Teaching Kids to Wait – Part 2

Consequences That Make Sense (9-12-15)

You can select consequences that make sense when your child misbehaves.

Think about a time recently when your child broke a rule. Answer these questions.

  • What was not allowed? Be specific. (He cannot take toys away from his sister – her toys or his own toys.)
  • What is expected of the child instead? (He must get Mom’s help to get his toys back from his younger sister and to use her toys he will have to get her agreement.)
  • What will happen, if he doesn’t follow the rule? Does that fit the situation?
  • Think of a consequence that makes sense and is related to the broken rule. Consequences are best when they teach, rather than just punish. For example, in the taking-a-toy-away situation you could consider: he can’t play with the toy he “took” – even if it is his – and he will need to play in a different space than where his sister is. You can make the toy available again in a few hours or days depending on the age of the child.

Read more about consequences: The Benefits of Art, Choices, and Discipline: Part III.

Check Daily Parenting Tips often for more helpful reminders.

Next new post will be Sept. 15, 2015 on teaching children to learn to wait – something Betty Bunny was having a hard time with in our featured picture book, BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE.

Becoming a Good Problem-Solver (9-10-15)

You can help your child become a better thinker and problem-solver.

Find a book, video, TV show, or website about writing, solving puzzles, reading, discovering things, etc.

Read or watch and then share something you learned with your child – maybe you’ll learn enough to share a new fact every day for a few days.

Read more about children’s struggle to solve problems: Sneaky or Clever, Which Is It?.

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 12, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Reacting to Sneaky Behavior (9-8-15)

Being sneaky or tricky can be the start of something good – learning to think in clever ways.

Think about the last time your child was sneaking a treat from the kitchen or trying to trick his sister into giving him a toy. Assume this was his way of trying to be “smart” about getting what he needs or wants – learning about what it means to be clever.

Make a list of how you could react knowing that you want the end result to be that your child is a good problem-solver.

Think of all the ways you can let him know that learning new things is OK and that thinking of solutions is OK. Make sure all the ways on your list keep your child safe. Problem solving without the help of an adult can be dangerous.

Pick one of your ideas to try the next time your child is being sneaky or tricky. Celebrate that your child is learning to be clever and smart.

Read more about the need for attention: Meet Kids Where They Are.

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 10, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Paying Attention to Good Behavior (9-5-15)

You can give attention for good behavior rather than misbehavior.

Think back to the last time your child misbehaved. Do you think she might have needed attention? If so, make a list of ways you could give her attention in the future – at times when she is not misbehaving. For example, special time with you or a chance to be the center of attention and show off her talents.

Choose an idea from your list to try. It may prevent some misbehavior in the future.

Read more about the need for attention: Meet Kids Where They Are.

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 8, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Matter-of-fact Discipline (9-3-15)

You can be matter-of-fact about rules and their consequences.

  • When you need to correct your child, practice being calm and matter-of-fact.
  • Don’t raise your voice. Speak calmly. Explain exactly what you want done in a matter-of-fact way.
  • If you need to insist on a consequence for bad behavior, stay matter-of-fact. No big crisis.
  • Remind your child that you both knew the rule and the consequence. This is just the way it is.
  • Say something like, “I’m sorry you decided to do that and will miss your TV program tonight. I hope you’ll make a better choice and be able to watch tomorrow night.”

Read more about the need for consequences: Sneaky or Clever, Which Is It?

Next Parenting Reminder will be on Sept. 5, 2015 (Daily Parenting Tips).

Sneaky or Clever, Which Is It?

Featured Picture Book

BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE by Michael B. Kaplan

(Available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.)

Betty Bunny is a handful. She is so in love with chocolate cake that she vows, “I am going to marry chocolate cake!” She tries every way she can think of to get as much chocolate cake as she wants. After a noisy, angry tantrum because she couldn’t eat just chocolate cake for dinner, her mother sends her straight to bed. Mom does, however, give Betty Bunny a second chance to be patient. She saves her a piece of cake in the fridge for the next night. But, Betty Bunny just can’t leave the cake behind in the fridge while she goes to school. She finds a way to have it with her all day. But, by dinnertime it is no good. It’s just a big chocolate mess. Mom saves her yet another piece of cake for the next night, hoping she will be patient this time. Betty Bunny remembers not to do what she did the day before, but patient she is not. Instead, still unable to wait, she cleverly, but disobediently, comes up with yet a second sly way to remove the cake from the fridge and have it with her every step of the way to school.

Parenting Thoughts

Sneaky Can Lead to Cleverness

Don’t you want to think of your child as clever, innovative, inventive, and smart?

57 SideBar 3Well, here’s the interesting thing about that. All the characteristics we want our children to develop have an upside and a downside. The seeds for the upsides (being clever, innovative, inventive, and smart) start with a walk through the downside of being sneaking, getting-around-the-rules, manipulating, and disobeying.

The problem children have getting to the upside is this. When they are very young, they take what you say to be exactly what you say. If you say, they can’t “stand” on the couch, that is different to them than “jumping” on the couch. If you say they can’t walk across the street to Alphonso’s house, they don’t see a problem riding their tricycle across to Alphonso’s – just like Betty Bunny from BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE saw no problem taking the cake from the fridge a second time – as long as she didn’t repeat the first day’s mistake.

57 SideBar 4

I remember taking Darling Daughter to meet a family friend whose name was Mrs. Green.  I kept telling her ahead of time that we would be going to see Mrs. Green – wanting her to be prepared for meeting another adult.  She told me when she was older that she fully expected to meet a lady with green skin.

Children’s brains are working overtime to figure things out. They are searching for how they can get their needs (or wants) met – even if those needs are unsafe or unreasonable by adult standards. For example, they are all the time trying to figure out what the limits are – what they can and cannot do or can or cannot have. If they can’t do or have one thing, what can they do or have instead?

When you put a childrens’ determination to get what they want together with their taking everything you say as exactly what you say (nothing more and nothing less), it is easy to get the downside – sneaky, getting-around-the-rules, manipulation, and disobedience. The good news is that consequences for the downside behaviors – delivered by parents – can guide them to the upside. Children can learn that the downside behaviors don’t really work. Then, they can start trying upside behavior to see how that works. The next thing you know, they have become clever, innovative, inventive, and smart kids.

57 SideBar 2

Parent reactions to sneaky behavior

It is up to adults to avoid reacting to the downsides in ways that stop children from continuing to figure out how to get to the upsides. When we see the downsides, we can correct and teach without making the child feel like a failure. It is up to adults to avoid reacting to these dark sides in ways that will stop children from continuing to figure out how to reach the the upside.

Yes, they are trying different ways of getting what they want – some good and some not-so-good. Yes, they are learning through trial and error – finding what works best. Yes, they are tripping up and making missteps, but adults can show them how to move forward in the right direction.

Yes, parents need to deal with downside behaviors so children learn what behaviors are not going to work. But, parents can also stay calm and under control by remembering that this not-so-good behavior is training their children’s brains to find clever, innovative, inventive, and smart ways to get their needs met. So, that sneaky little five-year-old is going to eventually learn that sneaking doesn’t payoff.

57 SideBar 1But, continuing t think and find clever upside ways to get what he wants will payoff. Who knows, your little cookie thief may end up as a renowned lawyer or famous architect.

To be continued …

Check back on September 15th for parenting thoughts about teaching children to learn to wait – something Betty Bunny was having a hard time with in our featured picture book, BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE.

Turning Off Boredom (8-31-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Three things your child could do to turn-off boredom:

  • Create a “Boredom Box” – toys, books, or activities that are just for times when he feels bored.
  • Make up jingles or songs about the boring situation he is in – like, “Johnny Jimbo went to town riding on his (bikey or desko). He stuck a (stick or pear) in his shirt and said it was his (lunchee or phono).
  • Tell his teacher what he is interested in and ask if he could read about, write about, or do math about that. You could help him have that conversation with a teacher.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Connecting School to What Your Child Loves (8-30-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Help your child think about school in terms of his special interests or talents.

  • Explain how math connects to building things, if that is what she likes to do.
  • Explain how much more he can learn about his special interest, if he is a good reader.
  • Explain that he can play an instrument, take art classes, or be on a sports team at school.

If your child is going to daycare or preschool, talk about how you are glad he is learning to get along with other people. Give examples in your own life where getting along has helped you do things you love to do.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

The Back-to-School Push to Grow Up (8-29-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

  • School pushes your child to grow up. But, growing up is hard to do. Growing up happens one step at a time and sometimes with one step forward and one step backward.
  • Let your child know that you notice and like how he is growing up.
  • But at the same time, remember your child still needs to be “young.” He might want to be cuddled or still have a special blanket or stuffed animal. He might want to play with old toys he liked when he was younger. He might have a tantrum or whine about something. Don’t worry, he’s using his grown up behavior at school where it is needed most right now.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

How to Ask About School (8-28-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

School is your child’s experience. Be careful about how much questioning you do about his school day.

“How was school today?” can be too big of a question.

Try something more specific like:

  • What was lunch like?
  • Recess?
  • The bus ride?
  • What was one thing you liked or didn’t like at school today?

If your child just won’t give details about school, let it go. Give her a chance to own her experience and not have to share every single thing. Just make sure she knows you are available to talk – anytime – about anything.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Get Physical on School Days (8-27-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Physical activity in the afternoon or evening of school days will help the next day at school be more successful.

When your child has had physical activity after school on one day, pay attention to whether she sleeps better and has more energy getting ready for school the next morning.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Think a Minute (8-26-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Children can learn to think and feel at the same time.

Play the “Think a Minute” game. It is good practice for children to get used to thinking even if they have worried, scared, or mad feelings. Try to do step #1 yourself before you try playing the game with your child.

  1. The child is asked to think about something specific –– the school bus, a new teacher, the classroom, lunch, etc. Tell her she has to see if she can “think” about this for one whole minute.
  2. Find out if this was hard or easy and whether any worries entered the child’s mind while she was thinking.
  3. Try again every so often to see if it gets easier to think for a whole minute.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

The Power of Asking for Help (8-25-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Asking for help is a powerful thing to do.

“Asking for Help” is a game in which you take turns thinking of different ways you can ask for help in different situations.  At this time of year you can make all the situations be school situations.

  1. Describe a situation (You can’t find your classroom.)
  2. Take turns writing down an idea about how to get help with that situation.
  3. Post the ideas in an obvious place at home.
  4. Ask your child which ideas he likes the best.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

After-School Plans (-24-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Plan how after-school time will go. Make a poster that describes the plan. Use pictures for a young child.

  • Agree on what time your child is to be home.
  • Agree on what she can do after school and whom she can do it with.
  • Make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency.
  • Go through this process with each child. Make a plan that is for each child individually.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Just Because You Are You Messages (8-23-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Children lots of care-about-you messages at home because they are getting an overdose of you-did-a-good-thing messages at school.

On several days before and during the first days of school, make an effort to give your child 5 special messages about how much you care for her. (“I want to have fun playing with you today;” make her one of her favorite foods.)

Make them be messages she deserves just because she is a human being and needs to be cared about, not messages she has earned by being good or by following the rules.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

What Was Back-to-School Like for You? (8-22-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

”What If” is a game where you make up situations, and then take turns suggesting what to do in the situation. “What If” encourages a child to think about what he should do when faced with certain situations.

  • Take turns describing a school situations For example, what if you have trouble finding your classroom?
  • Take turns coming up with suggestions.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Difficult Back-to-School Situations (8-21-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

”What If” is a game where you make up situations, and then take turns suggesting what to do in the situation. “What If” encourages a child to think about what he should do when faced with certain situations.

  • Take turns describing a school situations For example, what if you have trouble finding your classroom?
  • Take turns coming up with suggestions.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Comforting Back-to-School Fears (8-20-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

  • Almost all children feel some fear about going back to school.
  • Your child is never too old for you to comfort him.
  • Children of all ages like it when a parent quietly strokes their arm, or forehead or hair while they are watching TV or are falling asleep in bed.
  • If you try this and your child objects, just stop, don’t be offended, and try again another time.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Back-to-School Feelings of Loss (8-19-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Most children miss certain special things while they are at school. What will your child miss while at school (blanket, toy, TV show, mom-time, a friend)?

Some ways to help with your child’s feelings of loss:

  • Tell her that her toys will be in their usual place waiting for her return.
  • If there is a younger child still at home, tell her that her toys will be protected – and make sure they are.
  • Record a favorite TV show so she can watch it after school.
  • Plan one-on-one time with Mom or Dad.
  • Make a plan for playtime with a missed friend.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Back-to-School Meals (8-18-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Having your breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack planned ahead of time can make the day run much more smoothly.

  • For breakfast, choose things that don’t require too much effort – things that can be frozen ahead and thawed out overnight or microwaved in the morning.  (An egg can be fried solid (no liquid yolk), refrigerated and turned into an egg sandwich in the morning.  Fast food restaurants do it all the time.)
  • Agree on what will go with the child for lunch. Food or money?  If food, what food?  Come to an agreement about what the child will eat. Give choices while planning, but not too many choices.
  • Have after-school snacks ready.  For a young child, make it something immediate without much preparation.  If you won’t be at home, make sure things are available and that everybody knows (child and caretaker) what foods are allowed.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Plans for School-Day Mornings (8-17-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

A morning plan can make everything run much more smoothly on school days.

Ask your child in what order he will do things (dress, eat, etc.).

  1. Make sure your child has his own alarm for getting up in the morning, if he is old enough.  Agree ahead of time about what you will do to get him up, if he doesn’t get up with the alarm. (Will you come into his room? How many times?)
  2. Make a plan that is for each child individually.
  3. Make a poster that describes the plan.  Use pictures for a young child.

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Are School Supplies Too Much? (8-16-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

  • Do your child’s school supplies and clothes right for his age and ability? Too old or too young?  Give too much screen time?  Help or not help getting enough physical activity?  Enough creative time?  Enough play time with others?  Does he take care of his supplies and clothes?  Are they the supplies the school said were needed or more than that?
  • Do your child’s supplies require so much of your money that other needs or other people are losing out?  Could you get what is needed for less money?
  • Are your child’s supplies what your child really needs or what you want him to have? (Maybe you wanted them when you were a child; maybe you feel guilty that you work a lot; maybe you want your child to be popular.)
  • Are your child’s supplies or clothes harmful? (Could they hurt another child, or are they harmful to the environment?)
(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for using these types of questions to help us not overindulge our kids.)

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Back-to-School Messages (8-15-15)

This Parenting Tip is a reminder about things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.

Children need more care-about-you messages at home because they are getting an overdose of you-did-a-good-thing messages at school.

Pick a day to keep track of the types of messages you give your child. (Care-about-you = I’m so glad we can be together tonight.” “You are fun to be with.” “Let me fix you your favorite snack.”)(You-did-a-good-thing =“You stayed right with your homework today until you got it done.” “You were a real star at the soccer game.”

Did you give a lot more care-about you messages than you-did-a-good-thing messages?

Read more about back-to-school: Lessons Learned about Back-to-School.

Asking Your Child About School (8-14-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a princess in spirit and in action, your child needs to gradually become independent.

Practice:   Think about the questions you usually ask your child about school. How much does she talk about school? If she is not talking as much as you would wish for, make a plan to try some different questions.

Try smaller questions. Try breaking down the questions by being more specific. What was lunch like? Recess? The bus ride? What was one thing you liked or didn’t like at school today? Pay attention to what questions work best for your child.

If you still get no details, let it go. Accept that it is your child’s experience. Give her a chance to own her experience and not have to share every single thing. Just make sure she knows you are available to talk – anytime – about anything.

If there is something you particularly want or need to know, ask it in detail.  Did you have all the supplies you needed?  Did you have the right colors in your crayon box?  Did you see so and so or play with so and so?

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Get Physical and Be Ready for School (8-13-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a prince in spirit and in action, your child needs to meet his physical activity needs.

Practice:   Make sure your child gets a chance for some physical activity in the afternoon or evening on as many school days as possible.

Pay attention to differences in his behavior around sleeping and getting off to school in the morning on days when he has had the activity and days when he has not.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Thinking and Feeling about School (8-12-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a princess in spirit and in action, your child needs to think and feel at the same time.

Practice:   Play a game with your child. Ask her to think about something specific –– the school bus, a new teacher, the classroom, lunch, etc. Tell her she has to see if she can “think” about this for one whole minute.

Ask whether it was hard or easy to think for a whole minute and ask what thoughts she had during her minute. Repeat this every so often and notice whether it gets easier to think for a whole minute. This is good practice for her because when you give her the situation, she may have fears sneak into her mind without her even realizing it.

This is an opportunity for her to learn to still use her brain and think even when she is upset. When she uses her brain she can more easily focus on real things and not any imagined things that could be part of her upset feelings.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Helping Your Child with School Fears (8-11-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a princess in spirit and in action, your child needs help with her feelings, including fears about school.

Practice: Trust your belief that there are things about school that your child may be afraid about. While watching TV together or as your child is falling asleep, silently and gently stroke her arm or forehead or hair. If she objects, calmly stop and don’t be offended. Try again another time.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Asking for Help at School (8-10-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a prince in spirit and in action, your child needs to learn to ask for help at school.

Practice:   Play “Asking for Help” with your child. Take turns thinking of different ways you can ask for help in different situations.  Make all the situations be school situations.

See how many different ways to ask for help you each can think of by taking turns.   Write the ideas down and post them in an obvious place at home.  Ask your child which ideas he likes the best.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

After-School Rules (8-9-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a princess in spirit and in action, your child needs to learn after-school rules.

Practice:   Plan how after-school time will go. Explain the plan to your child. Make a poster that describes the plan. Use pictures for a young child. For an older child, involve her in the plan.

Agree on what time is reasonable for her to be home. Agree on the rules for what she can do after school and whom she can do it with. Make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency. Go through this process with each child. Make a plan that is for each child individually.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Sharing Your First Days of School (8-8-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a prince in spirit and in action, your child needs to feel all of his feelings, including fear about the first days of school.

Practice:   Share with your child what your first days at school were like or what an older brother or sister experienced when he or she first went to school.  Be sure to include what helped in each situation.

If your child wants to, let him ask an aunt, neighbor, friend or grandparent what his or her experience was like.  If you are part of that conversation and being afraid or nervous doesn’t come up, be sure to ask specifically whether the person had any fear, nerves or concerns and how he or she handled it.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Special Messages for School (8-7-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a princess in spirit and in action, your child needs to know how much you care about her.

Practice:   Give 5 special messages to your child. Make them about how much you care for her. (“I want to have fun playing with you today;” make her one of her favorite foods.)

Remember, these are not messages the child has earned by being good or by following the rules. They are messages deserved just because she is a human being and needs to be cared about, especially during these first days of school.

Repeat on several days before and during the first days of school.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

What If You Can’t Find Your Classroom? (8-6-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a prince in spirit and in action, your child needs to learn the skills he needs to manage school situations.

Practice:   Play ”What If” with your child. This is a game where you make up a situation and your child suggests what to do in that situation. It encourages a child to think about what he should do when faced with certain situations. If he has trouble coming up with ideas, you can make suggestions by letting your child take a turn at asking you the question.

Make all the situations be school situations. For example, what if you have trouble finding your classroom?

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

School and Feelings of Loss (8-5-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a princess in spirit and in action, your child needs to feel all of her feelings, including sadness.

Practice:    Make a list of the special things you know your child will miss while at school (blanket, toy, TV show, mom-time, a friend). Make a plan with her about a few of those things so she can count on these pleasures at other times. For example,

Assure her that her toys will be in their usual place waiting for her return. If there is a younger child still at home, let the school-age child select an off-limits toy or two. (For more about personal toy space, see Kids and Sharing, part 1 (http://wp.me/p2MePX-aH)

Make a plan for taping a favorite TV show and for when she can watch it.

Make a plan for special one-on-one time with Mom or Dad. (Watching the favorite TV show together would be a good idea.)

Make a plan for playtime with a missed friend.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Healthy Food and School (8-4-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a prince in spirit and in action, your child needs to meet his needs for healthy food.

Practice:   Schedule a meal-planning day.

Make breakfast plans that ensure your child gets a nutritious breakfast each day before school.  Choose things that don’t require too much effort in the morning when everything is so hectic. Try to think of things that can be frozen ahead and just thawed out overnight or microwaved in the morning.  Remember that an egg can be fried solid (no liquid yolk), refrigerated and turned into an egg sandwich in the morning.  Fast food restaurants do it all the time.

Make lunch plans. Agree on what will go with the child for lunch. Food or money?  If food, what food?  Come to an agreement about what the child will eat. Give choices while doing the plans, but not too many choices.

Make after-school snack plans.  For a young child, make sure the plan is for something immediate without long preparation required.  School can make a child over-the-top hungry. If you won’t be at home, make sure things are available in the fridge or cupboard and that everybody knows (child and caretaker) what foods are allowed.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

A Morning Plan for School Days ( 8-3-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide: To be a princess in spirit and in action, your child needs to feel all of her feelings and still be ready to do what is expected.

Practice:  Plan how the mornings will go on school days.  Explain the plan to your child. Make a poster that describes the plan.  Use pictures for a young child. For an older child, involve him in the plan.

Ask him in what order he will do things (dress, eat, etc.).  Make sure your child has his own alarm for getting up in the morning, if he is old enough.  Agree ahead of time about what you will do to get him up, if he doesn’t get up with the alarm. Will you come into his room? How many times?

Go through this process with each child.  Make a plan that is for each child individually.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

School Supplies: How Much Is Enough? (8-2-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide:  To be a prince in spirit and in action, your child needs to learn what it means to have “enough.”

Practice:  Survey your child’s school shopping list. Answer these questions. (Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for connecting these types of questions with knowing what is enough.)

  • Do these clothes or supplies help my child grow and develop based on his age and abilities?  Are they too old for him?  Too young for him?  Do they encourage too much screen time?  Do they encourage enough physical activity?  Enough creativity?  Enough play with others?  Does he take care of his school clothes?  Have I stuck to the supplies the school has identified as needed or have I added more?  Why does my child need more?
  • Do these supplies or clothes require so much of my money or so much family time and attention that other needs or other people are losing out?  If so, can I get what is needed for less money?
  • Are these supplies or clothes about what my child really needs or do I need or want him to have them for my own reasons? (For example, I wanted them when I was a child; I feel guilty that I work a lot; I am afraid without them my child won’t be popular.)
  • Are these supplies or clothes harmful to others? (For example, they could hurt another child, or they are harmful to the environment.)

Use your answers to these questions to help you know whether your child has too much in the way of school clothes or supplies and what you want to do to correct that.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Appreciation for Being You (8-1-15)

We understand that some of our readers are from countries that have royal princesses and princes. We respect the important history and official roles of those royal princesses and princes. These parenting tips are designed to help us understand how an ordinary person can become a lovable, capable princess or prince – both in spirit and in action.

Because these parenting tips are inspired by our featured book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING and because August is back-to school month for many kids, these tips are about how your child can return to school as a lovable, capable princess (or prince).

Decide:  To be a prince in spirit and in action, your child needs to be appreciated for just being who he is.

Practice:  Pick a day to keep track of the messages you give your child.

How many were about how much you care? Theses are ones deserved by the child just because he is a human being and all people need to be cared about. (“I’m so glad we can be together tonight.”)

How many of your messages (things you said with words and things you said with actions) were about something the child did? (“You stayed right with your homework today until you got it done.”)

Think about whether there are enough of the I-care-about-you messages. Remember, you need enough to balance out all the you-did-a-good-thing messages that are or will be happening at school. If you think he should have more care-about-you messages, add more of those over the next few days.

Read more about lovable, capable princesses (and princes): Becoming a Lovable and Capable Prince or Princess.

Making Costumes Fun Year-Round (7-31-15)

Have a costume parade. 55 Sidebar 1You can use old Halloween costumes or you can make new costumes out of things you have around the house, including old newspapers and craft paper. Don’t give out any candy at your parade – so this doesn’t just become an early Halloween. For a bigger parade, ask neighbors to join or dress up stuffed animals and dolls.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Training Pets (7-30-15)

Plan to take your child to see animal training classes. Talk to the workers about what types of animals can be trained, how long it takes, and how important the owners are to the success of the training. If you own a pet, decide whether training classes would be helpful for your pet and family members. If you do not own a pet yet, decide whether you want to arrange for training classes for your pet if you get one at some point.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Bringing Stories Alive (7-29-15)

28 Sidebar 3

Draw a story. Have your child draw the pictures for a story. It can be a story your child tells you (or has told you in the past) or one you tell your child. Even older children can enjoy doing this if they have any interest in art. They might prefer to use photographs, make a movie, or cut out magazine pictures to illustrate the story.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Your Child, the Storyteller (7-28-15)

Help your child tell you a story. Notice the types of characters he chooses – children like him, superheroes that can’t be real, or animals that come to life. Notice what the problem is in the story and what feelings are in the story – is someone mad, scared, happy, sad? About what? Notice how the story ends – good, not so good, or not at all. If the story doesn’t end at all, you could talk about possible ways it might end and let him choose the way he likes best. If your child is old enough, you could have him write his story or use a keyboard, if he is old enough to learn this important skill.

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See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Sunday Sundaes (7-27-15)

Make your own ice cream sundaes. Set out several ice cream flavors and toppings and let each person make their own. Once their sundaes are built, let each person tell the group what it is and what it is going to taste like – as though they were the star of a cooking show.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

What Does Your Child Wonder About? (7-26-15)

Play “What Do You Wonder About?” 45 Sidebar 1Pick a state or country to learn about. Ask your child, “What Do You Wonder about Alaska (or any other state or country he might be interested in)?”  You’ll need your computer or some books to find answers to his questions. Here is how you play.

  • You each take turns asking the question, “What do you wondered about …?”
  • After each question, the person being asked the question makes a guess about the answer and the other person agrees or disagrees.
  • Then, look up the answer together in a book or on the computer.
  • If the question is too complicated to easily find an answer, break it down into parts and try to find an answer to just part of the question. Over time, keep looking for more information to add to the answer until your child is satisfied with the answer. Remember, young children like simple responses, so don’t dig more deeply than your child seems to need.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Designing a Room (7-25-15)

Make a new room. Choose a spot in the house – child’s bedroom, play area, TV room, etc. Tell your child you are going to play being “designers.” Together, take all the moveable stuff out of the room. Tell your child he can decide where to put things back into the room. Tell him you will leave the room “his way” for one day to test how it works, and when the test is over, you will be in charge of what to do with the room. Take before and after pictures. Be sure to check in with your child about how the room worked during the test period.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Acting Out (7-23-15)

Let your child choose a favorite story and act it out. 55 Sidebar 2Pick out just one small section of the story, if your child is young. You can do several sections with older children. You can have neighbors join or you can each play different parts. Make up costumes from things you have around the house – just different hats can work, if that’s all you have. If you are playing more than one part, having a different hat for each part can help you switch from one to another. Perform the “play” for your family or neighbors. Be as fancy as you like – with tickets, refreshments, etc.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Build and Play (7-22-15)

Build a tent or fort. It can be in or out of the house. You can use a real tent or blankets, tablecloths, and furniture. Let your child decide what the tent or fort is all about – a secret “mom and me” club, hiding out from monsters, a lab for making a power potion, etc. Once the fort is done, play pretend together. Let your child know when you start playing pretend and announce when you are done pretending.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Jokes (7-21-15)

Ask your child to tell a joke as his “ticket” to each meal and for each ride in the car. For young children, ask them to make a silly face or a silly sound. For older children, you can find knock-knock jokes, riddles, and plays on words at the library or on the Internet. Read some jokes to your child and let him repeat them through the day or print them for your child and let him read them through the day.

Examples:48 Sidebar 1

Q: Knock, knock—-Who’s There?—-Who—-Who Who?  A: Is there an owl in there?

Q: What gets wetter the more it dries?  A: A towel.

Q: Why can’t your nose be 12 inches long?  A: Because then it would be a foot!

Q: What has one head, one foot and four legs?  A: A Bed

Q: How many letters are in The Alphabet?  A: There are 11 letters in The Alphabet

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Puppet Fun (7-20-15)

Have a puppet show. For puppets you can use stuffed animals, dolls, hand puppets, marionettes, and even old socks that you have drawn faces on. The show can be inside or outside. A stage can be a chair, table, rock, box, etc. Make up the story and name the show. Perform it for the family or neighbors. Be as fancy as you like – with tickets, refreshments, etc.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Scream for Ice Cream (7-19-15)

Make homemade ice cream. 55 Sidebar 3It’s National Ice Cream Day in the United States. You can find recipes in most cookbooks, at the library, or on the Internet. If you want an adventure, try making ice cream the old fashioned way in a tin can. Or, use an ice cream maker, if you have one or can borrow one. Some recipes don’t require any special equipment – they just go directly in your freezer. Little known fact: it has been reported that there are over 1000 different ice cream flavors.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

My Game; My Rules (7-18-15)

Help your child make up a new game. It can be a physical game, like a ball game or running/jumping game. Or, it can be a card or board game. If starting from scratch to come up with a new idea for a game is too difficult, try making changes in a game your child already knows. How else could Chutes and Ladders be played? Or baseball? Let him make up whatever rules he wants as long as they are not unsafe or hurtful to other players and are set BEFORE the game is played (not to be changed during the game).  Be sure to play the game after it is created. Discuss how well your child liked the game and whether it could be even better with some additional changes in it.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

Make-Believe Art (7-17-15)

Do an art project with your child that is about adding something to his dress-up stuff. 45 Sidebar 4It could be making hats to go with clothes he has. It could be making “extras” like magic wands, tools, etc. It could be whole costumes made out of craft paper or newspaper. It could be props like ovens, hideouts, or walls made from cardboard boxes or blocks. Be sure to play together to try them out once they are made.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

What If I Could … (7-16-15)

Ask your child a “What If” question about something she is not yet able to do. For example, “What if you could go to school every day like big sister? Or, “What if, you could fix your own snacks when you were hungry?” Listen to your child’s answers and enjoy her imagination. You can also get clues about what preparation she needs in order to do what you have asked about.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

A Treasure Hunt (7-15-15)

Have a treasure hunt. Hide one or more treasures (candy or trinkets). Use different colors of chalk to write clues on the sidewalk. Make it very simple or more difficult depending on what your child can handle. You can use pictures for non-readers. If you invite neighbors to your hunt, have different colored treasures and clues – one color for each child so they each have the fun of finding their own treasure and they are not rushing to be the first to find a single treasure. If a child is having difficulty, let him ask someone for help.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 4

A Picture Says 1,000 Words. (7-14-15)

Let’s shoot it. Have a photo shoot. Gather lots of fun things for the kids to wear and stand beside to have their photos taken. Dress-ups will work great for this, but even if the kids have grown out of their own dress-up clothes, you can find some things in your closets for them to use. You can also use places to create fun pictures like under a chair or table in the family room or in a tree in the yard. Be sure to display the pictures afterwards. It can be either a paper display or a digital display.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

Boo-Boo Kit (7-13-15)

Let’s get prepared. Help your child make his own Boo-Boo kit. This is a collection of things he can use to help himself when he gets hurt. It is not to replace the family first-aid kit. It is something extra to encourage your child to be responsible and confident about  taking care of himself as he grows older.

1.  Pick out a container. It could be plastic, cardboard, cloth, or even a paper bag. Let your child decorate it with crayons, markers, or paint. Make sure he can open and close it easily.

2.  Work together to find things to put in the Boo-Boo kit. Make sure they are safe things that he will be able to use himself if he gets hurt – special band aids, muscle wraps, stuffed animal, a small toy, a book. Don’t put in anything (for example, medicines or creams) that could be dangerous, if he were to get in the kit without you there.

3.  Decide where to put the kit. Make sure he can easily get to it.

While working on this kit together explain what things you think he can do for himself when he is hurt. Remind him that if he were hurt, two people would be ready and glad to take care of him – you and him.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

It’s Good to Show-Off – Sometimes. (7-12-15)

Let’s show off. Blog9 Sidebar1Help your child organize and perform a “kids show” with kids from the neighborhood. Younger kids may need you to be the director, come up with the plan, and help them rehearse. Older kids can develop their own plans and get ready. If they need help, you can offer to set up a place for the show and notify an audience (other parents and neighbors). The show can be as simple or involved as you want. If you want to make it very real, the kids can even make tickets and snacks. Clap and celebrate at the end. Tell each kid why you are clapping – you loved his song … her dance made you feel happy … he made you laugh … she had such a great smile.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

“Doing” Art (7-11-15)

Let’s do “Doing” art.  Make a list of things your child can do by himself. Come to an agreement about the things he thinks he can do and things you think he can do. Let your child draw a picture for each thing on the list. A picture can be as detailed or as simple as your child wants (and is able) to make it. He can use pencils, crayons, paints, cut out pieces of paper, pictures from magazines – whatever type of art your child likes. For example, a shoe can represent him being able to tie his shoes or a big smile that he can brush his teeth. For younger children, you can be a helper. Have your child tell you what he wants to have on the page, and you can do the drawing. Attach the pictures together to make a “book.” Make each drawing be a separate page. Have fun giving the book a name. Be sure to share it with friends and family. You can also keep it and add to it over time.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

Scavenger Hunting (7-10-15)

 Let’s go-a-hunting. Plan a scavenger hunt. 54 Sidebar 3The younger children may need it to be in their house or yard. Older children could have it be throughout the neighborhood. Also for older kids, you can have them use their camera to take a picture of what is on the scavenger hunt. This makes it possible to use more interesting things even though they can’t be disturbed or moved – like a green car, an oak tree, a blooming rose, sleeping cat, or a for sale sign.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

Tea Time (7-9-15)

Let’s have a 4:00 party. Have a tea party. 31 Sidebar 1bTry to follow the old-fashioned “rules.” You can find them on the Internet or at the library. Be sure to talk about “manners” for tea parties – for example, how to set the table, serve the food, and use “please” and “thank you.” You can invite other kids and adults or just dolls and stuffed animals. Don’t forget to include the boys. No reason they and their superheroes can’t attend. By the way, the “proper” time for tea is 4:00 pm. But, if you can’t arrange your party for that time, have fun with the fact that it is 4:00 somewhere else in the world. For example, it is 4:00 pm in Rome, Italy at 10:00 am Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

Preparing for the Not-So-Good (7-8-15)

Let’s play “What If.” Play “What If” about “not so good” situations. You can play it anywhere – in the car, on a bus, in a waiting room, at a restaurant. It takes no equipment other than brains and willingness to use them. Ask a “What If” question and take turns answering it. For example, “What if you and your brother were really, really mad at each other? Or, “What if it rained almost everyday on our vacation at the beach?” By listening to your child’s answers you can learn how well prepared he is for difficult situations. By offering your own answers you can make sure your child has heard some good ways to handle those situations. It is important that you do not “correct” your child’s answers. Instead, set some rules ahead of time. For example, “Your answers cannot include anything that would hurt another person or thing.”

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

Having a Pet Party (7-7-15)

36 Sidebar 2If you don’t have a pet right now, make plans for what the day will be like when a pet is added to your family. Consider the needs of the pet when you plan your celebration. Make sure the activities and the food are all good for the pet. Remember that people food is often not good for pets, and certain types of play (for example, fish out of water or birds out of cages) can be bad for a pet.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

Sound Alikes (7-6-15)

Let’s play “Sound Alikes.” Take turns thinking up words that sound alike but have different meanings. For example, “dear” and “deer.” Or, “see” and “sea.” Once two “sound alikes” are suggested, continue adding more, if you can think of them – like add “C” to “see” and “sea.” By the way, these are called “homonyms.”

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

MYopoly (7-5-15)

Let’s go past “GO.”  Create a MYopoly board. MYopoly is your very own personal monopoly game. Make up your own monopoly board where all the properties fit a topic your child is interested in. For example, for younger children, all the spaces could be “treat” shops around where you live (ice cream, candy, cupcakes, etc.) or all the parks and types of play equipment (jungle gyms, swings, etc.). For older children, the spaces could be baseball properties – like ballparks around the country and the transportation to get there (trains, planes, or busses) or the properties in your neighborhood (houses where their friends live, stores, parks, etc.) Use your imagination. Draw the board and make (or collect) tokens that fit the theme.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

Celebrate! (7-4-15)

Celebrate something important related to the country you live in or the culture you are part of. For example, celebrate the Fourth of July (Independence Day) in the U.S.  54 Sidebar 2Enjoy your celebration to the fullest, but remember special days are not always “perfect.” But, even when events aren’t prefect, they can still create wonderful memories. At the end of the day, be sure to talk over all that was good about it.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

Wheel Out the Fun (7-3-15)

Let’s wheel away. Plan a “wheels parade.”  Gather neighborhood kids with their bikes, big wheels, scooters, wagons, skates, and anything with wheels.  Let them decorate their wheels (colored paper, ribbons, poster, flowers, balloons, etc.) and then parade around the neighborhood.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

The Power of No Words (7-2-15)

Let’s read without using words. Go to the library and ask the librarian where to look for books without words. You can ask to see some by Barbara Lehman or David Wiesner as a start. When you tell your child the story represented by the pictures in the books, use words, character names, and details that are familiar to your child. On some pages you can ask your child to tell you what is happening and help tell the story.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3.

A World of Art (7-1-15)

Do a “My World” art project with your child. Use whatever type of art your child likes – drawing, sculpting, painting, dancing, singing, photographing, etc.). The idea is:54 Sidebar 1

1.  Your child should be at the center of the “world” being created;

2.  The “world” should include who and what is most important in your child’s day-to-day life;

3.  The “world” should show how those important people and things look next to your child – are they close, far away, big, small, bright, faded, etc.?

4.  Be sure to display the finished product.

See more activities at:

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2

Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 3

What If Your Child is Scared? (6-30-15)

Play “What If” about something scary. You can play it anywhere – in the car, on a bus, in a waiting room, at a restaurant. It takes no equipment other than brains and willingness to use them. Ask a “What If” question and take turns answering it. For example, “What if your neighbor got a new dog that scared you? By listening to your child’s answers you can learn how well prepared he is for that situation. By offering your own answers you can make sure your child has heard some good ways to handle the situation. (Your answers should not include “Don’t be afraid.” Accept that your child is afraid and offer ideas for what to do about those feelings, like “slowly walk away.”)

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

A Silly Food Gamer (6-29-15)

Turn the “silly food” you thought up into a game like Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game. You can see how it is done at Summer Fun or from the book, PETE’S A PIZZA by William Steig. Get ready for lots of giggles and fun. And, decide ahead of time how many games you’re willing to play, because this one is a game you’ll be asked to do over and over.

  • You and your child will take turns being the main ingredient of the silly food you have made up. The other person will be the “cook.”
  • The “cook” will gather all the ingredients that you and your child made for your silly food.
  • The “cook” will assemble all the ingredients by chopping, stirring, kneading, tossing, and patting the “food.” (This means you will knead, stir, and pat your child as though he is a food – and he will do the same to you.)
  • The “cook” will cook the “food” – in a stove, skillet, grill, etc. (under a chair for a stove, in a box for a skillet, etc.)
  • The “cook” will serve the silly “food” – on a plate with gravy, in a sandwich, on a stick, etc.
  • Switch roles as “food” and as “cook” and try the game again.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

How about Worm Pudding (6-28-15) 

Make up a silly, nonsense food like Worm Pudding, Goop Balls, or Sticky Icky Buns. You or your child will pretend to be the main ingredient of the silly food you have made up. Figure out what else you’ll need to add to the main ingredient for your silly food. What can you use to represent those things? For example, confetti for sugar; raisins for ants, blanket for gravy, etc. Make the things that will represent the ingredients you will need. Be sure to name your silly food and to let your child know how creative he is. After you have all the drawing, cutting, coloring, sculpting, and collecting done, plan a day to use all your “ingredients” to play a Silly Food game.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Pets on Parade (6-27-15)

Plan a pet parade in your neighborhood. Talk with your child afterwards about what he learned about different kinds of pets. Were they under control? Were they well taken care of? Which ones did he like best and why? Which ones did he like least and why?

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Chalk It Up to Art (6-26-15)

53 Sidebar 1

Use sidewalk chalk to create an art gallery. Talk about all the different types of pictures your child thinks should be in his gallery. Plan the different locations on the sidewalk. Let your child draw the pictures. Have a “showing” of the art with neighbors or relatives. It may surprise you that this activity will be interesting to your older children as well as your toddlers.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Teaching Your Child Empathy (6-25-15)

Go to the park or some other place where children play. Talk with your child about how other children you see there might be feeling. If any of them are sad, talk with your child about how to make them feel better.

For example, if a child falls down, your child could offer a bandage. If a child is sad that he has no playmate, your child could offer to play. If a child is upset that he sees others having snacks and he has none, your child could offer to share.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Lights, Camera, Action (6-24-15)

Let your child use a mobile phone, ipad, or video camera to make a movie.

  1. Talk with your child about what he wants his movie to be about; what the message of his movie is; and who he wants to see his movie.
  1. Plan the things he will need pictures of to get his message across.
  2. Shoot the movie according to the plan; review the movie; make changes and additions, if needed.
  3. Plan a “showing” for those people your child said he wanted to see his movie.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Fun with Geography (6-23-15)

Pick a place – your own state or country, an interesting city, etc. Read about that place at the library or on the Internet. Make a list of the interesting things about that place. What it is near; what it is famous for; who lives there – people, animals, plants; what the weather is like; etc. Have your child draw pictures about the things she learns about.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Make it. (6-22-15)

Make a gift for someone. While making it, talk about the person you are making it for and how much you think he might like it. Also talk about how much fun it is to spend this time together making the gift. Wrap it. Send it, or deliver it.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

All about Dad (6-21-15)

37 Sidebar 3Work with your child to think of three things that Dad says or does that are really good for your child. They can be things that help your child grow up well (for example, when he reminds him of his chores without getting mad) and also some things that are just a lot of fun for your child (for example, when he runs races around the house with her). Share with Dad what you come up with and wish him a Happy Father’s Day. (Making a drawing of the things is a fun way to share.) If your child’s Dad isn’t in his life right now, celebrate a grandpa or a male friend, relative, or neighbor who acts like a dad with your child.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Sail the Seas. (6-20-15)

Make cardboard boats and try them out on some water – a pond near your house, the bathtub, the pool, a big barrel. Talk about why some boats worked and some did not. Make some more boats trying to improve on the ones that didn’t work the first time.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

A “No-Rules” Meal (6-19-15)

Work with your child to plan a “no-rules” meal. It can be healthy – or not so healthy. It can be just fun. It’s OK if it is something that has never been served before. For example, cereal for dinner or four different flavors of ice cream – one with nuts, one with fruit, one with sauce, etc. Or think up a color scheme and then think of foods to match – something yellow, white, blue, and green.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Green Thumbs (6-18-15)

53 Sidebar 2

Plant something – flowers, herbs, vegetables. Assign your child a chore to take care of the plantings – water, weed, or harvest.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Let’s Rhyme. (6-17-15)

Help your child make a rhyme. Read him rhymes to help him get the idea. You can find things at the library or on the Internet. For younger children, start by finding words that rhyme with their name. For older children, show them how to use the Internet to find words that rhyme. After your child finishes his poem, have him draw a picture to go with it. Post the poem and picture where they can be seen.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

A Game about Asking for Help (6-16-15)

Take turns thinking of different ways to ask for help in different situations. Make all the situations be about summertime. For example, “You aren’t sure where you need to go in the library to be part of the summer storytime. What could you do?” Or, “You want to play with your friend who lives across the street, but you aren’t allowed to cross streets by yourself. What could you do?” Take turns thinking of different ways to ask for help. Who would you talk to? What would you say?  Write down the ideas and post them where they can be seen. Ask your child which suggestions she likes the best. Be sure to let your child know that asking for help is a powerful thing to do.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

All about Grandparents (6-15-15)

Use your local library or the Internet to find out about grandparents in your culture and also in other cultures. For younger children, you can find the facts and share what you learn. For older children, you can help them find the facts and read all about it. Talk with your child about how his grandparents are alike and different from what you are learning about other cultures. Arrange for your child to share what he learned with his own grandparents, or if that is not possible with some older relatives, friends, or neighbors that are like grandparents to him.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1 and Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 2.

Making It a Yummy Day (6-14-15)

Bake a cake or cookies. Let your child help decide what flavor, color of icing, and decorations to use.

Share the results with a relative or neighbor.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Seeing Is Learning. (6-13-15)

Arrange for a field trip or tour of a place where your child can see people (and maybe talk to people) who are working at a job that she plays about when she is pretending or if she is older that she seems interested in as a future occupation.

It can be a virtual tour by looking for a TV or video that is about that job.

Talk over all that you learn. Art or writing projects are great ways to make a record of an experience.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Word Games Can Be Fun. (6-12-15)

Play an alphabet word game. Start with the first letter of your name and name a place or thing that starts with that letter.52 Sidebar 3

The next person takes the next letter in the alphabet and does the same thing. Take turns back and forth until you have done the whole alphabet.

You can name a category first, if you like. For example, each word has to be an animal, fruit, street name, food, etc.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

A Fun Way to Remember (6-11-15)

Make a calendar with the birthdays of relatives and friends that are important to your child.

Use the calendar to send cards. You can have your child make a card on the birthdays as they come up.

Or, if the child is old enough, you could teach him how to send e-cards or notes.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Pet Play (6-10-15)

Take your child and a pet out to play. If you don’t have a pet, borrow a neighbor’s pet.36 Sidebar 1

Where to take the pet will depend on the type of animal. For many it might be a park. For others it could be your yard or just letting them out of their cages in the house for some free playtime.

Cautions:

* Be sure to select a place that will be safe for the type of animal.

* Be sure birds are protected from predators and from flying away.

* Some pets can’t be “taken out to play” at all because moving them is dangerous to them – like fish.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Talent Showtime (6-9-15)

Sing, play music, or dance together. Plan a “show” that you can perform for your family or neighbors.52 Sidebar 1

When you are willing to show your talents, you teach your child it is OK to be talented and to enjoy your talents.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Feelings Can Be Fun. (6-8-15)

Play a feeling faces game. You can find examples on the Internet. (Search for “feelings faces games.”)

47 sidebar 2You can purchase a game you discover, use one available online, or get ideas about how to make a homemade version.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Play Ball. (6-7-15)

Teach your child to play ball against a wall.

For younger children, use a nerf ball. For older children, if the weather permits, use a hand-sized rubber ball against the house or garage door outside.

If you’re rained in, try bouncing against a basement wall.

Count how many times your child catches the ball. Catching in a row is the most difficult, but you can make it easier by counting catches over a certain period of time. Make the time pretty short for younger children or those new to the game.

For older children, spell words with a letter for each catch. With more than one player see who can spell a whole word without missing a catch. Make it harder by letting one person be the thrower and the other person be the catcher (and speller). This would be a lot like playing H-O-R-S-E in basketball.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

It’s “Unbirthday” Time. (6-6-15)

Have an un-birthday party for yourself, your child, or a friend or relative. Let your child help prepare the party.52 Sidebar 2

Make sure your celebration includes THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS by Lewis Carroll where the “unbirthday” party idea started.

Also include “The Unbirthday Song” from the ALICE IN WONDERLAND movie.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Nursery Rhymes for All Ages (6-5-15)

Read your child some nursery rhymes – even if he seems to have “outgrown” them. You can find them in library books or on Internet sites.46 Sidebar 2

For younger children, have them do an art project about one they like. They can draw, paint, make a sculpture, or make up a song or dance.

For older children, ask them what they think the nursery rhyme meant when it was written, or what they think it could mean if someone wrote it today. For example, what could the water stand for that Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch? Who could the three men in the tub be and what were they doing there?

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

What-If? (6-4-15)

Play “What If” about an upcoming vacation or special outing. You can play it anywhere – in the car, on a bus, in a waiting room, at a restaurant. It takes no equipment other than brains and willingness to use them.

Ask your child a “What If” question like, “What if we went to Grandma’s house for our vacation?” Let your child imagine himself in that situation.

By listening to his answers you can learn how he feels about the situation, what he likes or doesn’t like about it, what to expect of him in the situation, and what preparation he may need to be comfortable or successful in the situation.

You may need more questions to get him thinking – “What would that be like for you?” “What would you do there?” “What do you think you would like the most?” “Do you think that is a good idea?”

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Story time (6-3-15)

One person starts the story by writing a sentence or two on a page.

Each person afterwards takes a turn to add another sentence or two one by one.

If both younger and older children are doing the activity, let the younger child dictate her idea about what happens next and have an adult or older child write it for her.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Play the Pizza Game (6-2-15)

You can find directions for Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game at Summer Fun. You can get a more elaborate idea of the game from the book, PETE’S A PIZZA by William Steig.31 Sidebar 2

Get ready for lots of giggles and fun. And, decide ahead of time how many games you’re willing to play, because this one is a game you’ll be asked to do over and over.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Backwards Can Be Fun. (6-1-15)

Do something backwards today. Wear pajama’s until lunchtime. Eat lunch foods for breakfast and breakfast foods for lunch. Walk backwards for a certain amount of time. Wear your clothes inside out.

See more activities at Summer Activities for Children (2015), Part 1.

Summer Is a New Beginning (5-31-15)

DECIDE:   New beginnings can be fun.

Practice:   Today, have a great first-day-of-summer celebration with children you care about.

If it can’t be an all day event, take a short amount of time and let everyone know that this time is special – just for having fun together. No cell phones. No computer devices.

Let your kids know how much fun you are having with them. Let them know you plan to have more times like this through the summer.

Put something up in the house to remind everybody of the fun you all had together (picture, decoration, etc.).

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

QUIZ: The Hardest Parts of Disciplining Your Child (5-30-15)

DECIDE:        The Parenting Highway can help you be the disciplining parent you want to be.

PRACTICE:   Which discipline lane in the parenting road gives you the most trouble?

  • Are you too rigid about rules, not updating them for today’s world or for your child as he grows up?
  • Do you criticize your child rather than teaching him what you want him to be and do?
  • For young children, do you set rules that you know are right for their ages and abilities?
  • For older children, do you talk to them about rules and consequences before you decide what rule would be best?
  • Do you stick to your rules and have consequences for not following rules?
  • Does “anything go” at your house – are there too few clear rules or consequences?

Today, whichever lane is hardest for you, think of one way you could do better. For example, if you often find yourself giving in, looking the other way, or making excuses for your child when he breaks rules, make a plan to follow through.

You might put a reminder on the fridge for yourself. Something like “Rules and consequences are good for kids.” You might ask someone else in the house to pay attention to whether you are enforcing consequences and let you know how you are doing over the next few weeks.

Tell your kids you want to get better at this, so they are prepared for more consequences. This also is a lesson for them that people can be what they want to be by making a special effort.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Dealing with Boredom (5-29-15)

DECIDE:        To help your child deal with boredom.

PRACTICE:   Today, have a talk with your child about boredom. Explain what it is and what it feels like.

Share your experiences with boredom and how you have dealt with it.

Ask your child if he has ever been bored. Pick a situation where he has been bored and together think of ways to handle that boredom.

Examples:

  • He could have a box of toys, books, or activities that are just for times when he feels bored. His “Boredom Box.”
  • He could make up jingles or songs about the boring situation he is in – like, “Johnny Jimbo went to town riding on his (bikey or desko). He stuck a (stick or pear) in his shirt and said it was his (lunchee or phono).
  • He could tell his teacher what he is interested in and ask if he could read about, write about, or do math about that. You could help him have that conversation with a teacher.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Thinking Like a Scientist (5-28-15)

DECIDE:      All kids can be scientists.

PRACTICE: Today, give your child a problem to solve. For example: you have to clean up dog food on the floor every time the dog eats.

Ask your child the following questions to help him solve whatever problem you give him.

  • What is not working or what needs to happen? What have you seen or heard that makes you know this.
  • What do you think might solve the problem?
  • How can you test whether you are right?
  • What can you do, if you are not right?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Thinking Like an Engineer (5-27-15)

DECIDE:        “Engineering” is a way of thinking, not just a job.

PRACTICE:   Today, see how many times you can use the word “engineer” or “engineering” around your child today – even if he is too young to understand the word. You are laying groundwork – planting seeds.

You could say, “I love how you are “engineering” those blocks to fit in that small space.” Or, “See if you can engineer a solution for that ball that keeps falling off your T-ball holder.”

Your child might surprise you and ask what “engineering” is. Then you can explain in very simple terms. (For example, “That is when you are solving a problem or thinking hard about things or making up new things.”)

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Using Math to Think about Things (5-26-15)

DECIDE:      All kids can use math to think about things.

PRACTICE: Find something that your child is doing today that you can connect  to numbers and math.

For example, when he helps you cook, you can count things or divide things into parts (for young children) or cut a recipe in half or adjust the cooking time (for older children).

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Helping Teachers Know Your Child (5-25-15)

DECIDE:      Teachers need to know the interests and talents of their students.

PRACTICE: Today, plan to talk to your child’s teacher about his special interests and talents. Call for an appointment; put it on your calendar.

When you are with the teacher, suggest that the teacher try to offer your child reading, math and/or science activities that connect with his interests and talents.

If you think your child dislikes school or is bored at school, share that with the teacher.

Let your child know how much fun you had telling the teacher all about him and his special interests and talents.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Does Your Child Think School is Useful? (5-24-15)

DECIDE:      Education should be useful.

PRACTICE: Today, make sure you know what subjects or activities your child is involved with in school.

Think about what his interests and talents are. Are his school subjects ones that fit his interests and talents?

If not, can you arrange other types of lessons (at community centers, local colleges, or with volunteers) that will get him enthusiastic about learning.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Turning Off “Hot Buttons” (5-23-15)

DECIDE:        You can turn off a “hot button.”.

PRACTICE:   Today, learn more about the child behavior that you listed yesterday as one of your “hot buttons.”

Look it up on the Internet or in this blog – see the “What Can We Help You With” on the home page.

Think what you want to do to deal with your “hot button” now that you know more about it.

If you didn’t make a “hot button” list yesterday, make one today. List your “hot buttons” – child behaviors that get you especially angry, afraid, or nervous. For example, when your child cries, or throws a tantrum, or refuses to do homework.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Knowing Your “Hot Buttons” (5-22-15)

DECIDE:        “Hot Buttons” can be controlled.

PRACTICE:   Today, list your “hot buttons” – child behaviors that get you especially angry, afraid, or nervous.

For example, when your child cries or throws a tantrum or refuses to do homework.

Think about what you can do to turn off one of those hot buttons when it pops up. For example, count to 10, take a deep breath, remind yourself that it is a hot button and that you can control it.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

QUIZ: Knowing Your Career Plan (5-21-15)

DECIDE:        Career planning is a helpful activity.

PRACTICE:

  • How did you get into the occupation you are in?
  • Did you plan it? If so, was that helpful? If not, do you wish you had done more planning?
  • Were you guided into it by a parent, teacher, or other adult?
  • Was it a good choice for you? Why or why not?
  • Was your education right for your occupation or did you have to back up and fill in educational gaps?
  • Is there anything you learned on your path to an occupation that could help your child with his future career planning?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Knowing How Your Child Is Doing at School (5-20-15)

DECIDE:        You need to know how your child is doing at school.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about how your child is doing at school.

What are his grades or teacher reports like? Have they been about the same all year?

Did your child improve or drop off during the year? Are there certain subjects or activities that he does better in? Why do you think that is?

Is your child happy to go to school? If not, why do you think that is?

If you can’t answer a lot of these questions, make a plan to find out the answers.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Boredom (5-19-15)

DECIDE:          Boredom can be overcome.

PRACTICE:    Today, think about a time you were bored – the last time you were in school, at a work meeting, on a bus, train, or plane, reading your child’s bedtime story for the umpteenth time, etc.

What did that feel like? Were you able to overcome it? How?

Is boredom keeping you from fully taking part in things, enjoying certain people, or being enthusiastic about things? At work? At home? In your community?

 Pick a situation where you often are bored. Think of a way you can make that situation less boring.

  • For boring activities, can you make the time shorter?
  • For boring people, can you spend some time finding common interests with those people so you have something interesting to talk about or do together?
  • For boring tasks, can you find a new way to do them or work at speeding them up?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Mathematics and Problem-Solving (5-18-15)

DECIDE:        Mathematics and problem-solving are important activities.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about what mathematics and problem-solving you do in your daily life? At work? At home?

When was the last time you used math? Balancing your checkbook? Creating a budget? Measuring for new furniture?

When was the last time you had to solve a problem. List 5 steps you took to come up with a solution? Share those steps with your child.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

QUIZ: The Hardest Parts of Taking Care of Your Child (5-17-15)

DECIDE:        The Parenting Highway can help you be the nurturing parent you want to be.

PRACTICE:   Which nurturing lane on the parenting highway gives you the most trouble?

  • Are you too harsh with your discipline or do you use destructive talk or name-calling?
  • Do you have strings attached to your love – expect children to earn your love by being popular, beautiful, on the honor role, or a star?
  • For young children, have you let them know you know how to take care of them and like doing so?
  • For older children, do you ask what help they really need or do you always make that decision for them?
  • Do you give your child too many things and too much attention?
  • Are you there when your child needs you – in person and in spirit?

Today, whichever lane is hardest for you, think of one way you can do better.

For example, do you often find yourself multi-tasking to the point that you aren’t really “there” – even when you are physically there?

Make a plan to spend time concentrating only on your child at certain points everyday – in the morning before work, at dinner, on the way home from school, at bedtime, etc.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

Inventing or Innovating (5-16-15)

DECIDE:        Inventing or innovating are important things to do.

PRACTICE:   Today, read about “inventing” or “innovating.” Look these words up in a dictionary or on the Internet.

How do you do these things in your daily life? How could you give your child more opportunities to do these things?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

We Never Forget Our School Years (5-15-15)

DECIDE:        School is an important, unforgettable experience.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about when you were in school. Think about a specific grade in elementary, middle, or high school.

Why did you pick that grade? Was it a great year or a not-so-great year? Why?

Looking back, what made it great or what would have made it better? Is there anything about that year that is similar to what your child is experiencing now in school?

How can you help your child have a great year like you did, or how could you help your child avoid any of the problems you might have had in school?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 3.

School Should Be Useful (5-14-15)

DECIDE:      Your child should be able to use what he learns in school.

PRACTICE: Ask your child what he learned today in school. For whatever he shares, talk about how that might help him with something he is interested in.

For example, if he says he learned to play a game, you can say that learning the rules and how to follow them will make more people enjoy playing all sorts of games with him.

If he says he learned to stay away from Joey, you can say that learning about people will help him get along well with the kids on his soccer team.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Many Careers for Your Child (5-13-15)

DECIDE:      Your child will likely have many careers in her future.

PRACTICE: Today, ask your child, “What are three things you want to do when you are older?”

Encourage her to think they are all possible.

Tell her what type of training and education will be necessary. Plan to take her to see those careers in action.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Artistic Talents (5-12-15)

DECIDE:      Exploring artistic talents is good for your child.

PRACTICE: Today, help your child learn about artistic talents. Spend some time together looking up famous people with artistic talents.

Find out when and how people started getting involved with their special talent and how they got good at it. Find out what it is they like so much about it.

Ask your child what else he would like to know about art?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Thinking about a Plan B (5-11-15)

DECIDE:      A Plan B is good to have.

PRACTICE: Today, watch someone whose special interest or talent became his career – a cook on a TV show, an athlete at a sporting event, a doctor, the weatherman on TV.

Talk about what that person might have done, if he wasn’t able to be a cook, athlete, doctor, or weatherman. Could he have written a cookbook? Been a coach or sold sports equipment? Invented a new medicine? Been a science teacher?

Talk about why a Plan B is a good idea – not to stop a person from following his Plan A dreams but to make a person know that he can deal with whatever happens. Talk about how education is an important part of both a Plan A and a Plan B.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Happy Mother’s Day (5-10-15)

DECIDE:      To celebrate that you are working to be the parent you want to be.

PRACTICE:  Having a Happy Mother’s Day.

Every time someone wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day, let it be a reminder to you that you can be the parent you want to be.

Remember, if you are reading this blog, your are working to do just that. Think of all the progress you have made, since you started reading (or will make, if you are a new reader).

If you are a male, acting as both mother and father, wish yourself a Happy Mother’s Day as well. You deserve to celebrate both Mother’s and Father’s Day.

If you are from a country that doesn’t celebrate Mothers Day today, celebrate anyway. You deserve it.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Making a Career Map (5-9-15)

DECIDE:      In today’s world the path to a career is not necessarily straight.

PRACTICE: Make a map of your own career history.

What was the first thing you did, second, etc. until you got to what you are doing now?

Think about how many points there are on your map. Think about what caused each point to happen and whether each point has a connection to the next.

Share your map and what you learned with your child.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Plan B is a Good Thing (5-8-15)

DECIDE:        Having a Plan B is a good thing.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about a time you had a Plan B in case a Plan A didn’t work out. Was it related to a career? An event you were planning? A project at work?

Think about whether having a Plan B was a good idea and why. Share your experience with your child.

Talk about what it means to have a Plan B and why that is a good thing. If your child is old enough, ask her whether a Plan B would be good for her? About what? Help her develop one.

It could be as simple as a Plan B in case it rains on the day she is planning to go to the pool with all of her friends. Or, Plan B if they don’t have chocolate marshmallow nut ice cream on the day you go to the ice cream shop.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Physical Talents (5-7-15)

DECIDE:      Exploring physical talents is good for your child.

PRACTICE: Today, help your child learn about physical talents. Spend some time together looking up famous people with physical talents.

Find out when and how people started getting involved with their special talent and interest and how they got good at it. Find out what it is they like so much about it.

Ask your child what else he would like to know about physical talent?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Take Your Child to Class(5-6-15)

DECIDE:      To teach your child more about one of his interests or talents.

PRACTICE:  Look for a class about one of your child’s interests or talents. Arrange for him to take the class.

If the class you find is too expensive, try checking out community center classes. Or, sometimes you can find a volunteer who might be willing to share his interest or talent with your child. Universities often have student volunteer groups or there might be someone at work, in your neighborhood, or at your church.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Mind-based Talents (5-5-15)

DECIDE:      Exploring mind-based talents is good for your child.

PRACTICE: Today, help your child learn about mind-based talents like inventing, solving problems, and discovering things. Spend some time together looking up famous people with mind-based talents.

Find out when and how people started getting involved with their special talent and how they got good at it. Find out what it is they like so much about it.

Ask you child what else he would like to know about mind-based talents?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Learning More About Your Interests and Talents (5-4–15)

DECIDE:      To learn more about one of your interests or talents.

PRACTICE:  Look for a class about your interest or talent. Make a plan to take the class.

If the classes you find are too expensive, try checking out community centers, local universities that allow community members to sit in on classes, or a volunteer organization where there might be someone willing to share his interest or talent with you.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Knowing about Careers (5-3-15)

DECIDE:      Knowledge about careers will help you as a parent.

PRACTICE: Today, find out about a career your child might be interested in. To get ideas about which career to look into, ask your child, “What are three things you would like to do when you are older?”

Find out what people do in that career, the skills they have to have, the education and/or training they need, what job openings will be like in the future, and the average salary.

You can use the Internet to get information. (In the United States, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) is a good resource.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Others Are Interested Too (5-2-15)

DECIDE:        To help your child develop his special interests or talents.

PRACTICE:   Today, make arrangements for your child to meet someone who shares his same interest or talent – either an adult or another child.

Help your child have a conversation with that person. If a talent is involved have the new person demonstrate his.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice it. (Each day’s activity will also be posted on the Daily Parenting Tips page for easy access.)

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Education Should Connect (5-1-15)

DECIDE:      Education is important for your child to develop his special talents.

PRACTICE: Today, talk with your child about how his schoolwork connects to one of his special interests or talents.

You can explain how math connects to building things. You can explain how much more he can learn about his special interest, if he is a good reader. You can explain that he can play an instrument, take art classes, or be on a sports team at school.

 If your child is younger and still in daycare or preschool, you can talk about how you are glad he is learning to get along with others at school because that is so important to everything he will want to do as he grows up. Give examples in your own life where getting along has been a good thing.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 2.

Artistic Talents (4-30-15)

DECIDE:        Your child could have a special interest or talent that has to do with art.

PRACTICE:   Today, find a book, video, TV show, or website about “art” interests or talents.

Read or watch and then share something you learned with your child – maybe you’ll learn enough to share a new fact every day for a few days.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Becoming More Talented (4-29-15)

DECIDE:        You can become even more talented.

PRACTICE:    Plan a time you can practice something you are talented at. Put the date and time on your calendar.

If it is a time and place your child can be with you, invite her along.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Sharing Your Child’s Talents (4-28-15)

DECIDE:        To put a spotlight on one of your child’s special talents and interests.

PRACTICE:   Today, ask your child questions about or to demonstrate one of his special talents and interests. Let him tell you what he knows about his interest or share what he can do.

Tell him something you really enjoyed hearing or seeing about his talent or interest.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Physical Talents (4-27-15)

DECIDE:        Your child’s could have a special interest or talent that has to do with physical activity.

PRACTICE:   Today, find a book, video, TV show, or website about “sporty” interests or talents. For example, something about baseball, fitness, biking, running, etc.

Read or watch and then share something you learned with your child – maybe you’ll learn enough to share a new fact every day for a few days.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Using Art to Show Your Child’s Talent (-26-15)

DECIDE:        Art can help your child develop his interests or talents.

PRACTICE:   Today, have your child make a “ picture book” of facts about one of his special interests or talents.

You can have children’s books, videos, TV shows, or websites available for him to find facts he can use.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Connecting Talents to Playtime (4-25-15)

DECIDE:        To encourage one of your child’s talents or interests.

 PRACTICE:  Today, if your child is young, play pretend with her using clothes and props that are related to one of her special talents or interests. For example, if she is interested in bugs, try to make a homemade costume that makes her look like a bug.

Then, play with her in ways that a bug might actually act. Is it a stinging bug that people are afraid of? Is it a bug people like to catch? Is it a bug that builds a house? Is it a bug that likes flowers?

Involve your child’s imagination in the clothes, props, and pretend play. “Keep it real” by announcing that you are pretending in the beginning and that you are no longer pretending at the end.

If your child is too old for pretending, try making up a game that involves his special interest or talent. For example, you could make up your own monopoly game where all the properties are baseball properties – like ballparks, trains, planes, or busses going to the parks, sporting goods stores, etc. Use your imagination.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Others Have Talents to Share. (4-24-15)

DECIDE:        Others can teach your child about using and enjoying interests or talents.

PRACTICE:   Take your child with you to have a conversation with a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or relative about any special interest or talent they have or had.

Be sure to ask when he got interested and how he developed his interest/talent.

Ask if he ever earned his livelihood using this interest/talent.

If he knows your child well, ask what he thinks your child’s interest or talent might be. if he hasn’t seen any clues in your child yet, ask how a child his age could safely check out his interest  that he has just shared with both of you.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Mind-Based Talents (4-23-15)

DECIDE:        Your child could have a special interest or talent that has to do with thinking or problem-solving.

PRACTICE:   Today, find a book, video, TV show, or website about “mind-based” interests or talents. For example, writing, solving puzzles, reading, discovering things, etc.

Read or watch and then share something you learned with your child – maybe you’ll learn enough to share a new fact every day for a few days.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Late Bloomers Rock (4-22-15)

DECIDE:        Age doesn’t matter when it comes to talents and interests.

PRACTICE:   Look up some famous people who started developing their talent later than would be expected – late bloomers, so to speak – artists, athletes, business people, or stars.

Share a couple of interesting stories with your child.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Letting Your Talents and Interests Grow (4-21-15)

DECIDE:        To learn something new about one of your interests or talents.

PRACTICE:   Today, find a book, video, TV show, or website about one of your interests or talents. Read or watch.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Sharing Your Talents (4-20-15)

DECIDE:        Your talents or interests are worth sharing.

PRACTICE:   Today, share one of your talents/interests with your child. Demonstrate a talent or share what you know about one of your interests.

Be sure to tell your child when you became interested in this topic and how you developed your talent or how you learned what you know.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Updating Your Child’s Talent List (4-19-15)

DECIDE:        You can discover your child’s talents and interests.

PRACTICE:   Today, watch your child closely – with your list of talents and interests from yesterday in mind. See if you see things that make you think you are correct. Even little things can be clues that you are right.

For example, if you said your child is really interested in building things, but you didn’t see him building anything today, don’t cross that off of your “talent” list. If today he is asking a lot of questions about how something is put together or how tall something is, that could be a clue that he has a special interest in building things and would be a reason to keep that on the talent list.

 If you see anything new today that you think belongs on the list go ahead and add it.

 If you didn’t make a talent/interest list yesterday, do it today and then start watching your child to see how good your list is. Your list should be three things you think your child does really well – better than you would expect for his age. Or, is really interested in – more than in other things.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Your Child’s Talent List (4-18-15)

DECIDE:        Your child is talented and has strong interests.

PRACTICE:   Today, make a list of three things you think your child does really well – better than you would expect for his age. Or, things your child seems to be especially interested in – more than in other things. Tomorrow you can check on how good your list is.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Using Your Talent (4-17-15)

DECIDE:        You can enjoy your talent/interest.

PRACTICE:    Look at your revised talent/interest list from yesterday and pick one topic to focus on.

Plan a way to get more involved with this talent/interest. For example, plan a block of time every week or month that is for you to think or do things about your talent/interest.

Put that time on your calendar for the next 6 months.

If you didn’t make a talent/interest list yesterday, do it today. Your list should be three things you do really well – better than many others. Or, things you are especially interested in – more than in other things.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Updating Your Talent List (4-16-15)

DECIDE:        You can know what your special talents and interests are.

PRACTICE:   Today, use this checklist to see if your talent/interest list from yesterday needs adjustments.

  1. How much have you been involved in each activity or topic in the last 6 months (doing, reading, watching)?
  2. If not very much involved in some topics in the list, how much do you wish you could be more involved?
  3. How often do you talk with others about each topic?
  4. How much do you enjoy each topic or think you would enjoy it if you got involved with it again?
  5. What activities or topics are taking up most of your time these days?
  6. Do any of those activities that are taking your time bringing you enough enjoyment that they belong on your talent/interest list?
  7. Do you earn your livelihood from any of the topics on your list?

Remove anything from your list that you think is mostly leftover from days gone by – if you are not really involved in it anymore – if you are not longing or planning to become involved with it again – if you don’t really enjoy it anymore.

Don’t remove things that you haven’t made time for or are rusty at if you still want to be involved with them. If you thought of anything new today that you think belongs on the list, go ahead and add it.

If you didn’t make a talent/interest list yesterday, do it today and later in the day, use this checklist. Your list should be three things you do really well – better than many others. Or, things you are especially interested in – more than in other things.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

Your Talent List (4-15-15)

DECIDE:        You have special interests and talents.

PRACTICE:       Today, make a list of three things you do really well – better than many others. Or, things you are especially interested in – more than in other things. Tomorrow you can check on how good your list is.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Your Child’s Special Talents, Part 1.

The Greatness List (4-14-15)

DECIDE:        To celebrate greatness.

PRACTICE:   Work with your child to make a “Greatness List.”

Examples: Big Brother Greatness List, Mommy Greatness List, or Picnic Greatness List.

Post the list.

Over time, you can use the list for art projects – write, draw, or dance about something on the list.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill. (4-13-15)

DECIDE:        Rhymes are fun.

PRACTICE:   Read your child some nursery rhymes – even if he seems to have “outgrown” them. You can find them in library books or on Internet sites.

Ask him what he thinks the nursery rhyme means.

Have him do an art project about one he likes. He can draw, paint, make a sculpture, or make up a song or dance.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Learn by Doing. (4-12-15)

DECIDE:        To learn by doing.

PRACTICE:   Plan a trip to a place different than where you live.

It can be a vacation-type trip to another state or country, if that is in your family plans for a time coming up.

Or, it can be something much more simple like a trip across town to a community different than yours (for example, a part of town where a different culture is found like Italian, Chinese, Greek, or Jewish).

Use the Internet or books to look up things about where you will be going.

When you return, have your child write about his trip, draw a picture of what he saw, or make up a story or poem about the trip.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Playing “What Do You Wonder About?” (4-11-15)

DECIDE:        To help your child ask questions and find his own answers.

PRACTICE:   Today, play “What Do You Wonder About?” Pick a state or country to learn about. Ask your child, “What Do You Wonder about Alaska (or any other state or country he might be interested in)?”

You’ll need your computer or some books to find answers to his questions. Here is how you play.

You each take turns asking a question. After each question the person who asks the question makes a guess about the answer and the other person agrees or disagrees.

Then, look up the answer together in one of your books or on your computer.

If the question is too complicated to easily find an answer, break it down into parts and try to find an answer to some part of the question.

Over time, keep looking for more information to add to the answer until your child is satisfied with the answer. Remember, young children like simple responses, so don’t dig more deeply than your child seems to need to.

Tomorrow’s Preview:  Hang on to those books and Internet sites.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Connecting with Grandparents (4-10-15) 

DECIDE:        To help your child connect with her grandparents.

PRACTICE:   Today, make an appointment for a time when your child can connect with her grandparents in person or by phone, face time, Skype, email or snail mail.

Remember, most grandparents still appreciate old-fashioned mail like cards and letters.

It will be fun for both the grandparents and the child to look forward to the “date.”

If your child cannot connect with her grandparents, help her think of someone who is or can be like a grandparent to her – a relative, friend of the family, someone in your neighborhood, at church, etc.

Plan a way your child can let that person know she enjoys and appreciates him or her.

Tomorrow’s Preview:  You’ll need some books or Internet sites about geography.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Grandparents Day at School (4-9-15)

DECIDE:        To spread the word about how important grandparents are.

PRACTICE:   Today, find out whether your child’s school celebrates “Grandparents Day.”  If they do, ask to help out.

Arrange for your child’s grandparents to participate – even if it is from afar. They could send a letter or a picture for your child to share.

If your school doesn’t have such an occasion, see if you could help start one. It could just be in your child’s classroom to begin with, so it wouldn’t take too many permissions or too much preparation.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Grandparents Are Special (4-8-15)

DECIDE:        Grandparents are special.

PRACTICE:   Today, have a talk with your child about her grandparents.

Ask her what she likes to do with her grandparents. Ask her why she likes to be around them. How do they make her laugh? Does she know their favorite color or favorite food? Their favorite game or vacation spot?

Talk about whether any of these things are the same things that you or your child also like.

Are there things that you or your child “got” from grandparents – like red hair, dimples, a temper, or a talent?

Celebrate how lucky people are to have grandparents in their lives – or people who act like grandparents.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Your Child’s Poem (4-7-15)

DECIDE:         To teach your child about rhymes.

PRACTICE:    Today, help your child make a rhyme.

You can read him rhyming books to help him get the idea.

You can start by telling him what rhymes with his name.

When he has come up with his poem, have him draw a picture to go with it. Post the poem and picture where they can be seen.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Remembering Your Grandparents (4-6-15)

DECIDE:        To remember your grandparents.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about your grandparents, even if they are no longer alive.

Think about what you loved to do with them when you were young. Think about why you liked to be around them. Think about how they made you feel.

If your grandparents are still around, share these thoughts with them either in person or in writing. If possible, also share your thoughts with your parents.

Tomorrow’s Preview:  Have some children’s rhyming books or internet sites available.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Rhyme It. (4-5-15)

DECIDE:        To find a new way to say what’s on your mind.

PRACTICE:   Today, try your hand at writing a short poem.

Start by writing down your idea – what your message is. Then try to say it with rhyming words.

Remember, it is OK to use a rhyming book or an Internet site for help – or ask a co-worker, friend, neighbor, or child.

Share your poem with your child. Be sure to tell him what it was like to write it – hard, fun, made you proud to finish it, etc.

Post your poem where it can be seen.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

What Are Other Grandparents Like? (4-4-15)

DECIDE:            To help your child appreciate grandparents.

PRACTICE:       Go to the library today and get some children’s books about grandparents of your culture and other cultures as well.

Read them to your child and talk about how his grandparents are alike and different from what you are reading about other cultures.

Arrange for your child to share what he learned with his own grandparents.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Love Is Everywhere (4-3-15)

DECIDE:       To celebrate how many people love your child.

PRACTICE:   Today, sit with your child and make a list of all the people who love her.

Let her suggest some, and you suggest some. You can both talk about how you know each person loves her.

Celebrate how loveable your child is.

Tomorrow’s Preview:  Plan for a quick trip to the library.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Art and Geography (4-2-15)

DECIDE:        Art can help your child learn geography.

PRACTICE:   Today, read MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FLORIDA to your child and point out the interesting things in the book about Florida’s cities, animals, weather, and fish.

Have your child draw pictures about those things. You can look up the animals and fish on the Internet so she can see what they look like.

Have her make-up a pretend fish that might live in Florida.  Have her draw it. Have her give it a name. Have her tell you all about the fish and what it is like. Ask her why Florida would be a good place for that type of fish to live.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

“Fooling” Can Be Fun. (4-1-15)

DECIDE:        To have fun with your child.

PRACTICE:   Today is April Fool’s Day. If you live where this is celebrated, play a harmless practical joke on your child and laugh together afterwards.

(Example: “Honey, the car is broken; you’re going to have to walk to school this morning.” After the child becomes very alarmed say, “April Fool’s Day! You don’t really have to walk.”)

Be prepared. Your child will likely try to pay you back. As long as the jokes are harmless and in good fun, they make family connections that are “priceless” – as the commercial says.

If you aren’t familiar with April Fool’s Day, read up on it and share what you learn with your child. He may want to try it – just for the fun of it.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY GRANDMA LIVES IN FORIDA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Grandparent Greatness.

Asking for Help When You Are Hurt (3-31-15)

DECIDE:      You need attention when you are hurt.

PRACTICE: Think about the last time you were hurt. Did someone help you? How? Was it the type of help you needed?

Make a list of things that you think are helpful for you when you are hurt.

Plan to ask for those things the next time you are hurt. Remember, asking for help is a powerful thing to do. You can believe that many people want to help you.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Teach Your Child to Help Others (3-30-15)

DECIDE:      You can teach your child how to help others who are hurt.

PRACTICE: Think back to a time your child was with a friend who got hurt.

If you helped him help the friend, remember how you did that.

If you didn’t help him help the friend that time, think about how your child could help a friend if it happens again. For example, he can get bandages or offer a toy to play with.

Make a plan to try the things you thought of the next time your child is in this situation.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Make a Boo-Boo Kit (3-29-15)

DECIDE:     There are some things your child can do for himself when he is hurt.

PRACTICE: Let your child help make his own Boo-boo kit.

Pick out a container. It could be plastic, cardboard, cloth, or even a paper bag. Let your child decorate it with crayons, markers, or paint. Make sure he can open and close it easily.

Work together to find things to put in it. Make sure they are safe things that he will be able to use himself if he gets hurt – special band aids, muscle wraps, special little stuffed animal, a quiet-time small toy, a small book. Don’t put in anything (for example, medicines or creams) that could be dangerous, if he were to get in the kit without you there.

 Decide where to put the kit. Make sure he can easily get to it.

While working on this together explain that if he were hurt, two people would be able and glad to take care of him – you and him. Explain what things you think he can do for himself when he is hurt.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Me-Time for You is Good for Your Children (3-28-15)

DECIDE:           You deserve attention.

PRACTICE:       Set aside some time for yourself today – don’t say you can’t. It can be just 15 minutes, if it has to be – although it would be better if it were 30 minutes or an hour. But, you can work yourself up to that, if you need to.

Do whatever feels good for that 15 minutes. Sit quietly, exercise, read, watch TV, listen to music (or dance to the music).

Don’t allow interruptions. Arrange a time when the kids are with someone else or after they are asleep.

Start with once or twice a week and work your way up to every day and for longer periods of time. If you don’t feel some benefit from this “me-time” after doing it several weeks, try changing what you do during your time. You need an activity that will recharge you.

If you have been ignoring yourself for too long, you may have to practice not feeling guilty before you can enjoy your time. You may have to re-learn what things you like, before your activity actually feels good.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Just-Right Attention When Your Child Gets Hurt (3-27-15)

DECIDE:      You can give a just-right amount of attention when your child is hurt.

PRACTICE: Think about last time your child was hurt. How did you help?

Did you ask what your child needed, if she was old enough?

Did you help her take care of herself in some way?

Did you give her some extra attention? If so, what kind and how much?

 Make a plan for how you want to help your child the next time she is hurt. Here are some guidelines:

*Ask your child what she needs, if she is old enough.

*Think whether there is something your child can do to help herself.

*Think about what would be the right amount of attention – attention that would let your child know you care but also show her that she is able to take care of herself.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Everyone Needs Attention (3-26-15)

DECIDE:         That all human beings need attention.

 PRACTICE:    Today, make a list of what adults do to get attention. For example, pick fights, be affectionate, talk a lot, play competitive games, arrive late to everything, etc.

Think about when you have done any of the things on your list. Do you think you needed attention? If so, what makes you think so?

What did it feel like to need attention? What did it feel like to get it? What did it feel like to not get it?

Make a new list of other things you could do to fill your need for attention. Be sure to add, “Ask for it.”

Try one of the things on your new list and see if it works.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Sharing Your Empathy with Your Child (3-25-15)

DECIDE:      To help your child develop empathy

PRACTICE: Think about a time when someone you knew was hurt, and you did something to help that person feel better.

Share your story with your child. Make sure you include how it felt to see that person hurt, what you did to help that person, and what it felt like to help that person feel better.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Children Can Help Someone Who Is Hurt (3-24-15)

DECIDE:        Children can learn how to help when someone is hurt.

PRACTICE:   Read BOO HOO BIRD today. With your child, make a list of the ways Boo Hoo Bird was helped. If your child is young, you could draw pictures of the different ways.

Ask your child if he thought Bird had more help than he needed. Ask him what he would have done for bird, if he were there.

Let him know that it is a good thing to help people when they are hurt and that they might need some special attention right then.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Quiz: Too Much Attention for a Child That Gets Hurt? (3-23-15)

DECIDE:        To give your child the right amount of attention when he is hurt.

PRACTICE:    Here are questions you can ask your self in order to know what the right amount of attention is when your child is hurt.

  • Does the amount and type of attention you give keep him from doing for himself what he is able to? Keep him from growing up? Does the amount and type of attention you give keep him dependent on you beyond what is really necessary?
  • Does the amount and type of attention you give (money and time) mean that other people in the family are losing out?
  • Is the amount and type of attention you give what your child needs or what you need to do for your own reasons (for example, you wanted more attention when you were a child; you feel guilty that you work a lot; you like the feeling of being needed)?
  • Could the amount and type of attention you give hurt another child or be harmful to the environment? (Examples: others can be hurt if you stop meeting responsibilities to others or start blaming others for the injury to your child.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Teaching Your Child Empathy (3-22-15)

DECIDE:       Children can learn to care about how others feel.

PRACTICE:   Today, go to the park or some other place where children play and talk with your child about how other children in the park might be feeling.

If any of them are sad, talk with your child about how to make them feel better.

For example, if a child falls down, your child could offer a bandage. If a child is sad that he has no playmate, your child could offer to play. If a child is upset that he sees others having snacks and he has none, your child could offer to share.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Children Can Know What They Need (3-21-15)

DECIDE:        Your child can learn to know what he needs.

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child is hurt or feels sad or disappointed ask him if there is anything you can do for him? Ask him what he needs. Ask what will make him feel better?

If he answers, “No” or “I don’t know,” accept the answer. Don’t suggest things. Let him know you are there for him, if he thinks of anything. If he asks for something you can’t do, suggest another close option.

For example, if he says he wants a chocolate sundae, you could offer something more nutritious with an added feature like making a special place for the two of you to share a nutritious snack.

If you have a very young child, you will need to think for him and decide how to comfort him, but as you offer cuddling or toys to play with, go ahead and ask him what he needs. It sets the stage for him knowing that what he needs is important and he will one day be able to say what those needs are.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Be Happy (3-20-15)

DECIDE:            You and your child can learn to be happy.

PRACTICE:       Celebrate the United Nations International Day of Happiness today.

Write down what you think happiness is. Ask your child the same question. See how much your answers are alike and different?

Make “happiness” lists together. Your list should include 5 things that make you happy (ones that you can control – not winning the lottery) and 5 things you think make your child happy.

Your child’s list should include 5 things that make him happy (ones that are really possible – not getting something big like a puppy or a bicycle) and 5 things he thinks will make you happy. For a young child you can make suggestions and have him pick the things he likes the best.

Each of you pick one thing from your list and make a plan to do it. Include in your plan when this will happen. You may need to help your child with his plan.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Give Your Feelings a Name (3-19-15)

DECIDE:           Naming feelings can help your child understand them.

PRACTICE:       Read a story to your child today. Name the feelings in the story.

When children can name their feelings:

* They begin to understand that everyone has feelings.

* They see that feelings come and they go.

* They feel more in control of their own feelings.

* They learn to care about how others feel – which is the beginning of having empathy and compassion.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Extra Attention Days (3-18-15)

DECIDE:        To give your child extra attention.

PRACTICE:   Today, make plans for three different “extra attention” days this month for your child.

Make today be one of those days.

Put the other two days on your calendar.

Here are some examples of “extra attention” days. Plan an activity time (for example, playing at the park, after-dinner time to throw the ball around in the yard, coloring together). You could cuddle up to watch a TV show or movie together. You could plan a special lunch or dinner of your child’s favorite foods.

Think of things that involve your child’s favorite things.

Throughout the month remind your child of the things you have done together. Talk about what fun you had and how much you loved being with him.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

It’s Easy to Be Green (3-17-15)

DECIDE:        Other cultures can teach us important things.

PRACTICE:   Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today with your child.

Read some books, watch a movie, or surf the Internet about the Irish or St. Patrick.

Talk to your child about how the Irish culture is alike and different from your culture.

Find a map and show where Ireland is and what the route is from there to where you live.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

What You Need is Important (3-16-15)

DECIDE:        You can know what you need and want.

PRACTICE:   Today, think how many times recently you have answered a question about yourself with, “I don’t know.”

Why do you not know? Do you really not know what you want for dinner, where you want to go on vacation, or whether you want to buy a new couch or not?

Or, have you spent so much time ignoring or denying what you need and want that now you can’t even identify what those needs and wants are? Are they hidden underneath the many other things and people you deal with in life?

Make a promise to yourself that the next question like these you get, you will answer it, even if it is not your best answer. This will be a start at letting some of these thoughts fight their way back into your mind.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Feelings Faces (3-15-15)

DECIDE:        Children need to be able to tell how others are feeling.

PRACTICE:   Today, search the Internet for “feelings faces games.”

Either purchase a game you discover, use one available online, or get ideas about how to make a homemade version.

Play it with your child. Use the game faces to teach about feelings.

Ask your child what feeling would go with each face. Tell stories about why a person might look (or feel) that way.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, BOO HOO BIRD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at When a Kid Gets Hurt.

Learn Something New about Your Child (3-14-15)

DECIDE:        To learn something new about your child today.

PRACTICE:   Play dress-up with your child today.

What workers does he like to dress up as? What superheroes are his favorites? What types of “power” does he pretend to have when playing a hero?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Encouraging Your Child to Be Funny (3-13-15)

DECIDE:        Children need to develop a sense of humor.

PRACTICE:   Laugh with your child today.

Look for something he says or does that is funny to you. Laugh and let him see you laughing.

Tell him what you thought was funny. Thank him for making you laugh.

For young children, you will need a way to “turn off” the silliness. Young kids love to make you laugh but don’t know when to stop the fun.

Think ahead about how you will signal the child that funny time is over. You could say, “I need to get back to my cleaning, we’ll laugh some more later.” Or, “Things are usually only funny the first time. Let’s stop now and try some more later.”

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Career Awareness for Kids (3-12-15)

DECIDE:        Career awareness is good for children at all ages.

PRACTICE:   Today, check with your child’s school about anything they do through the year to show kids about jobs and occupations that real people do.

Field trips? Sharing days when parents and volunteers come to talk to the kids about what they do? Art projects?

If you are interested in this sort of thing, volunteer to help out with the school’s programs.

If your school is not involved in this sort of thing, think about how you might be able to encourage them to get involved.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Making People Laugh (3-11-15)

DECIDE:        You can be funny.

PRACTICE:       Make an adult friend or relative laugh today.

Afterwards, think about what you did and why it was funny to the person.

Was it physical – how you looked or what you did with your voice? Was it what you said? Had they had an experience like the one you were talking about?

Remember what was funny, so you can make people laugh often.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Pretend Vs. Real (3-10-15)

DECIDE:        Children need to know the difference between pretend and real.

PRACTICE:   Play make-believe with your child today.

Emphasize the difference between pretend and real.

You can do that by telling him you are having fun pretending, agreeing that you can pretend for a certain length of time, saying you are done pretending when the time is done, or pointing out what is different when you stop pretending – you put away the dress-up clothes, the table is a table and no longer a fort, or you put away the play dishes and get out real dishes with real food for lunch.

Remember that playing “What-If” is a form of make-believe for older children.Make up a “what-if” situation and see where it goes.

For example, what if you stopped loading the dishes in the dishwasher every night? If he answers with some fantasy like a fairy would come and clean the dishes, remind him that he needs to give “real” responses and ask for another idea.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Talking to Grandparents about Work (3-9-15)

DECIDE:        Grandparents know a lot of important things.

PRACTICE:   Have your child talk to grandparents today about the work they do now or did before they retired.

For grandparents far away, you can write a letter, email, telephone, or Skype.

If grandparents are not available to you, try someone else among your friends and neighbors who are like grandparents to your children.

Let your child plan a short list of questions he would like to know about his grandparents’ work. For example, what they liked or didn’t like about their work, why they chose that job, how they learned to do the job, whether the job paid a lot of money.

Thank your grandparents for sharing, and tell them a couple of things that impressed you about their work.

Have your child write them thank you notes.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Jokes (3-8-15)

DECIDE:        You can make your child laugh.

PRACTICE:    Tell your child some jokes today.

For a very young child, you can be physical (for example, tickle or play peek-a-boo).

For slightly older children, you can try making up silly sounds like “squiggley-wiggley” or “boogey woogey.”

For older children, you can try knock-knock jokes or riddles.

And, for the oldest children, you can try puns and plays on words like “What a hair-brained idea the hare had in the famous hare and tortoise race.”

Note – This is no joke: Tonight is the night you set your clocks back an hour to go on Daylight Savings Time. Just a reminder. I don’t know about you, but I need all the reminders I can get.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Learning about Work (3-7-15)

DECIDE:        To help your child think about jobs and careers that interest him.

PRACTICE:   Today, arrange for a field trip or tour of a place where your child can see people (and maybe talk to people) who are working at a job that she plays about when she is pretending or if she is older that she talks, watches, and reads about.

It can be a virtual tour by looking for a TV or video that is about that job.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Laughing Together (3-6-150

DECIDE:        Laughter is good for your child.

PRACTICE:   Watch or read something funny with your child today.

For older children, you can let them pick out a video or book. For younger children, you can pick something out.

Pay attention to what makes your child laugh so you can help put more laughter in her daily life.

Relax and see if you find some of the same things to be funny. Laugh together as much as you can.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Take Your Child to Work (3-5-15)

DECIDE:        Your child should know about your work.

PRACTICE:   Today, make a plan to take your child to work with you.

The official “Take Your Child to Work Day” is April 23 this year. Plan ahead to do that.

And, maybe in March you can arrange with your supervisor to have your child with you for a short period of time on an agreed upon day – even just an hour would be interesting for your child.

While your child is at your work be sure he gets to see (or maybe even try) the real things that you do at work.

Remember that it is good for your child to know what it is you like about work.

If we are not careful, it is very easy to have our children only hear us complaining about work. This will not help them understand why we leave the family to go to work everyday nor will it help them look forward to being a worker themselves one day.

To be prepared for tomorrow’s Parenting Tip: Have a funny video or book on hand.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Being Silly (3-4-15)

DECIDE:        Being silly is good for you and your child.

PRACTICE:   Play make-believe doctor with a young child today. Make up silly illnesses like a bumpy tummy or a loosey goosey lip. Give silly treatments and medicines like bug juice or giggle goo. Take turns with the child being the doctor. Be sure to laugh, if the child tries to be like you and make up silly illnesses and medicines.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

It’s OK to Laugh (3-3-15)

DECIDE:           It’s OK to Laugh.

PRACTICE:       Make a list of things that make you laugh. Are the things on your list:

Mostly things you see or are they things you read or just think about?

Many or few?

Mostly about children?

From when you were younger or are they also things that you experience now?

Work this week at enlarging your list. Notice something new around you that you find funny.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

Make-believe for Adults (3-2-15)

DECIDE:        Make-believe is great fun for adults.

PRACTICE:    Today, think about the last time you pretended with other adults. Attended an adult Halloween party, went to a Mystery Dinner Theatre, played a board game in which you had to act like an assigned character, played charades, etc.?

Were you able to enjoy it or did you feel out-of-place and self-conscious?

If you freely had fun, celebrate that you captured that feeling and held on to it from childhood.

If you were uncomfortable, why were you?

Make a list of beliefs that would help you feel the joy of make-believe. For example, do you truly believe you can flip the switch when you need to – between child-like fun and being a responsible adult? Do you believe people will think badly of you, if you have child-like fun?

Pick something on your list to work on. One approach would be to talk to friends you respect who seem to be good at “playing.” Ask them what they think makes it possible for them to live well in both the world of work and the world of play.

Follow Nike’s advice and “Just Do It.” – over and over until it starts to feel more comfortable.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

The Gift of Laughter (3-1-15)

DECIDE:        Laughter is good for you.

PRACTICE:   Watch or read something funny today. Listen to yourself laugh. Think about laughter as a wonderful, comforting, refreshing gift.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, DOCTOR TED.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Make-Believe and Funny: Two Good Things.

More Than Just a Toy (2-28-15)

DECIDE:        Toys can be more than toys.

PRACTICE:   Today, teach your child to play ball against a wall.

For young children, use a nerf ball. It won’t bounce too wildly. It can be used on a wall or door inside the house.

For older children, if the weather permits, use a hand-sized rubber ball against the house or garage door outside. If you’re snowed in, try bouncing against a basement wall.

This game is a useful one for when children need to play alone. It is also a game that builds eye-hand coordination.

You also can teach your child numbers or words with this game.

Count how many times your child catches the ball (Catching in a row is the most difficult, but you can make it easier by counting catches over a certain period of time. Make the time pretty short for young children or those new to the game.)

Spell words with a letter for each catch. With more than one player see who can spell a whole word without missing a catch. Make it harder by letting one person be the thrower and the other person be the catcher (and speller). This would be a lot like playing H-O-R-S-E in basketball.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Teaching with Stories (2-27-15)

DECIDE:        Storytelling is a useful parenting tool.

PRACTICE:   Today, start a fun activity for the whole family – round robin story writing.  One person starts the story by writing a sentence or two on a page and each person afterwards takes a turn to add another sentence or two one by one.

If both young and older children are doing the activity, let the young child dictate her idea about what happens next and have an adult or older child write it for her.

If there is something you want your children to learn from the story, weave it in when it is your turn.  For example, have the main person in the story fail at something and not give up or do something very kind for someone else in the story.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

How Should I Act? (2-26-15)

DECIDE:        Your child can learn how to act by seeing what happens in stories.

PRACTICE:   Read a story to your child today. Talk about how the people in the story acted.

Were they mean, silly, smart, polite, a leader, a bully, friendly?

Talk about what happened when the people acted this way. Did others laugh at them, get mad at them, run away, become a friend?

Ask your child if he has ever had something like that happen to him.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Your Child Can Think for Himself (2-25-15)

DECIDE:           Your child has his own ideas.

PRACTICE:       Make up stories with your child today.

Pick a subject – the first day of summer, a snow blizzard, a trip to the zoo, etc.

Each of you take turns telling a story about the same subject. Talk about how your stories are alike. Talk about how your stories are different.

Take notes about your child’s story. Or, if your child is old enough have him write his own story – with you helping him as needed.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Learning about Work (2-24-15)

DECIDE:        It is never too early to learn about work.

PRACTICE:   Read a story to your child today.

Talk about the occupations in the story. (For example, a parent, doctor, farmer, teacher, superhero.)

Talk about what responsibilities were part of each occupation and how a person can learn to do those things.

Remember that in today’s world, children will likely have many occupations in their lifetime.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Learning to Follow Rules (2-23-15)

DECIDE:        Children need to learn what happens next.

PRACTICE:   Read a story to your child today.

Stop every few pages and point out what happened first, second, third, etc.

If your child is old enough, ask him to tell you what happened first and then after that. Every so often ask your chid what she thinks will happen next.

Knowing that one things causes the next thing is necessary for children to learn to follow rules.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Tracking Screen Time (2-22-15)

DECIDE:        Screen time should be limited.

PRACTICE:   Start today to keep track of how much time your child spends:

Reading or being read to;

Watching T.V.;

Using some other type of “screen” (like LeapFrog, ipod, computer, phone, etc.); or

Playing with real live people.

When you see the amount of time spent in each of the above activities, ask yourself if you think this is the best use of time for your child.

Is he getting information different ways or mostly through screens? Is he playing with real live people or spending his time alone playing with people only through screens?

The average screen time for children and teens is seven hours a day. But, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not more than two hours per day and none for infants and toddlers (under 2-years-old).

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Creativity (2-21-15)

DECIDE:        To encourage your child to create.

PRACTICE:   Today, collect hats in your house.

Count them.

Organize them by size.

Organize them by color.

Take turns telling stories inspired by each hat.

Let people wear the hats at dinner and repeat your stories for everybody’s enjoyment while eating dinner.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Its Fun to be Silly (2-20-15)

DECIDE:       It’s fun to be silly.

PRACTICE:  Today, make a list of words that your child knows. Create a paper deck of cards each with one of those words on it. For young children, you can draw pictures on the cards to go with the words.

Use the deck to tell a silly story. Shuffle the “cards,” and then deal five words to your child – for him to use to tell a story.

Before you deal to your child, take five words yourself to show your child how to tell a story with them. For example: “girl,” “dog,” “eat,” “sit,” and “apple” can turn into, “A girl sits down to watch her dog eat a big red apple.”

If the child is very young make each group of five words be one whole story. If your child is old enough, keep dealing new rounds with five new cards and add on to the story. For example, “bed,” “car,” “mad,” “see,” and “yellow” could be added to the first story, ”But the girl gets mad because she sees a yellow car driving away with her bed on top of it.”

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Art Brings Stories Alive (2-19-15)

DECIDE:        Art can bring your child’s ideas to life.

PRACTICE:   Today, have your child draw pictures to go with the story he told yesterday.

If he didn’t tell a story yesterday, have him tell one today.  Then, draw pictures to go with the story.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Story Ideas in Unusual Places (2-18-15)

DECIDE:        To spark your child’s imagination through storytelling.

PRACTICE:    Tell a story together with your child today.

One person can start. Then, each of you can add parts to the story.

For young children, you could use a hat as a “tool.” Tell your child that today you are pretending that all your story ideas are in your hat.

Let him look inside for details. Jimmy and the bear lived where? Look in the hat and pretend you can see in there that they live on a farm.

Let your child look in the hat to see other details. Ask your child questions. What did Jimmy and the bear want to do? Let your child look in the hat to find an answer.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Naming Your Feelings (2-17-15)

DECIDE:            Naming his feelings can help your child control them.

PRACTICE:       Read a story to your child today. Name the feelings in the story.

When children can name their feelings:

They begin to understand that everyone has feelings.

They see that feelings come and they go.

They feel more in control of their own feelings.

Learning about feelings is the beginning of learning to care about how others feel – which is the beginning of having empathy and compassion.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

A Word for the Day (2-16-15)

DECIDE:           Words are the key to being a good reader.

PRACTICE:       Teach your child a new word every day this week. Display a list of the words you come up with.

Think of as many ways as you can for your child to learn the word:

Spell it with magnetic letters

Listen to you say it several times each day

Say the word himself several times each day

Point the word out in books you read to him or he reads to you

Hear from you about what the word means and how it is used.

Draw a picture about each word.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Snuggling is the Best (2-15-15)

DECIDE:        Snuggling is good for children and adults.

PRACTICE:   Read a story to your child today and snuggle while you do it.

Remember snuggling is not just for babies. Find ways to “snuggle” with older children as well.

You could sit side-by-side “snuggled” into a comfy couch or make a soft, “snugly” place on the floor with a blanket and big pillows.

The idea is to be close enough to touch each other and both have comfy things you love all around you.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MR. ZINGER’S HAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at The Importance of Storytelling.

Balancing Your Love on Valentine’s Day (2-14-15)

DECIDE:        To ask your child to be your Valentine.

PRACTICE:   Today, give your child two valentines, one with a message that says she is able to do something very well (can also be a rule that she is good at following) and one that says how much you enjoy her – just the way she is.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Helping Your Child Get Better at Doing Something (2-13-15)

DECIDE:       To help your child get better at doing something.

PRACTICE:  Together with your child, make a goal for getting better at something he really wants to get better at. Make sure the goal is something that he can likely be successful at within about three weeks.

Make a plan with him for what he will need to do and how much practice it will take for him to be successful. Ask him what you can do to be helpful. Would it help if you did it with him? Watched him do it? Just celebrated each time he practiced?

Celebrate his success at the end of the three weeks.

If he does not reach his goal, help him re-look at the goal and make adjustments that are needed. Then, encourage him to try again.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

QUIZ: Do You Do Too Much for Your Child? (2-12-15)

DECIDE: To let your child do things for himself.

PRACTICE: Today, think about how much you do for your child and whether it is the right amount for her age and maturity.

Consider the amount of attention you give her and how involved you are in everything she does.

Do you do things for her that she should do on her own? Do you often save her from being distressed or frustrated?

Do you give her what you think she needs even before she asks? Are you trying too hard to make her love you?

(These signs of doing too much for children are taken from HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

If you decide that you do too much for her, remember you are doing it out of love, but also remember that you can balance that love. You can do what your child truly needs but not more than she needs.

Make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Get Better at Doing Something (2-11-15)

DECIDE:       To get better at doing something.

PRACTICE:   Make a goal for getting better at something within three weeks.

For example:

  • If you wanted to be a faster or longer runner – you would decide how much you should improve your speed or distance within the next three weeks.
  • If you wanted to play a certain piece on a musical instrument, you would decide what part of the piece you will be able to play well within three weeks.
  • If you wanted to give yourself more relaxation time, you would decide how much time you will set aside each of the next three weeks.

Make a plan for how you will reach the goal you set. Celebrate your success.

If you do not reach your goal in the next three weeks, re-look at your goal. Make any adjustments you need to, and try again.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Learning How to Stick with Things (2-10-15)

DECIDE:        To teach your child about determination.

PRACTICE:    Today, tell your child a story about a time you learned to do something – ride your bike, play basketball, sew, cook, etc.

Explain what it took to learn. How much time and practice it took.

Talk about what it felt like to finally be able to do it. Share what you did when you felt like giving up.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Quiz: How Good Are Your Compliments? (2-9-15)

DECIDE:          Quiz: How good are your compliments?

PRACTICE:     Do your compliments give the facts telling exactly what it is you like?

Do you truly believe what you said?

Have you NOT used the words perfect, always, or never?

If you can say yes to all three questions, you are doing well. Keep it up.

See Correct; Don’t Criticize – Part 2 (http://wp.me/p2MePX-9q) for more information about compliments.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

The Art of Valentines (2-8-15)

DECIDE:       To make valentines.

PRACTICE:  Today, bring out the supplies you gathered on February 1 and make some valentines.

Use your journal notes to remind you and your child of some things to say on your cards.

Use your time together to talk about all the things you appreciate about each other and other family members.

Be sure to make valentines for grandparents too (or those in your family that act like grandparents to your children).

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

How Do You Like to Hear Compliments? (2-7-15)

DECIDE:           How you like to receive compliments.

PRACTICE:      Ask two people to help you with this practice.  The compliment you will practice today is “You do many things well.”

Stand, relax and say out loud, as though you were talking to yourself, “You do many things well.”  Listen to your own voice.

Next, ask one of your helpers to stand across from you, look you in the eye and say, “You do many things well.”

Last, ask your two partners to talk about you while you listen in – overhearing them.  One should say to the other, “Did you know that (your name) does many things well?”

Listen to them talking to each other about you.

Now, think which way did you most like to hear the compliment – your own voice, told directly to you, or overhearing it?

Share your answer with the people you live and work with.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Safety First (2-6-15)

DECIDE:       To pay attention to safety.

PRACTICE:   Think about the chores or tasks that you expect your child to do – put toys away, remove dishes from the table, take trash out.

Make sure he can do these things safely without climbing up on things, getting into electrical cords or outlets, or dealing with shelves and containers that are unsteady and could fall over.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Celebrate Your Child’s Skills (2-5-15)

DECIDE:       To celebrate something your child can do for himself.

PRACTICE:   Pick a skill your child has shown recently – cleaned off the table, brushed his teeth, got a good grade in math, cleaned up his toys –  celebrate it today.

Make a big deal about it at the dinner table, plan a special afternoon snack to celebrate, make him a “Yeah for You” greeting card that can be put up for all to see.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Teach Your Child a Skill (2-4-15)

DECIDE:       To teach your child to DO something.

PRACTICE:   Think of something you do that your child seems interested in (cook, fold laundry, wash the car, draw, sing). Today, begin teaching him to do it with you.

Break the skill down into parts. Teach one part at a time. Let him do each part as many times as he needs to in order to be good at it, then move on to the next part.

Enjoy each step along the way. Celebrate each part that he learns to do well.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Make Your Compliments Useful (2-3-15)

DECIDE:       To give your child useful compliments.

PRACTICE:   Focus on one thing you like about your child.  Each time he shows you that thing today, tell him exactly what you liked about it.

For example, if you like that he makes you laugh, every time he makes you laugh today, take a minute to tell him specifically what it was about his behavior that you enjoyed.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Encourage Your Child to DO Things (2-2-15)

DECIDE:       To give your child “doing” messages.

PRACTICE:         Give your child five (5) special messages today that are about things he has done well.

It could be a skill he has shown you. It could be following rules. It could be grades he has earned at school.

Your messages can be words or actions. Examples:

“Thank you for doing your chores right on time.”

Set up an art project telling him how much you enjoy his art.

Give him a high five when you see him do something well.

These are messages that tell your child he is good at doing important things.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Getting Ready for Valentine’s Day (2-1-15)

DECIDE:       To be ready for Valentines Day.

PRACTICE:   Let your child help you gather the things you will need to make valentines together.

Mark February 8 on your calendar. Make a sign for the fridge to remind your child of the date you are going to make your valentines.

Over the next few days, you and your child start a journal where you can write down things you each want to say on your valentines. If your child is young, when he thinks of something he wants to say on his valentines, have him tell you what to write in the journal.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 2.

Using Art to Learn Your Child’s Wishes (1-31-15)

DECIDE:       Art is a way your child can share his imagination and wishes.

PRACTICE:  Together with your child make a list of things he wishes he could do. Some might be all pretend – like flying or touching the moon. Others might be real things he can’t do now but wishes he could learn to do – like play soccer or ride a bike.

Once there is a list, let your child draw a page for each thing. A page can be as detailed or as simple as your child wants and is able to make it. He can use pencils, crayons, paints, cut out pieces of paper, pictures from magazines – whatever type of art he likes.

For example, a stick figure in the sky can be him flying or a wheel could represent his bike. For a young child, you can be his helper. Have him tell you what he wants to have on the page and you can draw it for him.

Attach the pages together to make a “book.”  Have fun giving the book a name. Be sure to share it with friends and family.

If he made a book earlier this month (Art about What Your Child Can DO), he will now have one that is about what he can already do and one about what he wishes he can do.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Messes Can Be Good (1-30-15)

DECIDE:         Messes can be managed.

PRACTICE:    Today, if your child makes a mess – spills food, knocks over something, drops toys, breaks something – let him clean up the mess on his own as much as he can.

Depending on the mess, his age, and his abilities, he may be able to do all the clean up or just part of it.

It’s important that he learn that he is able to deal with his mistakes and that he learn to be responsible for his mistakes.

If the mess involves the breaking of a rule, first calmly deal with the clean up and then as a separate matter, deal with the correction.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Say No to “Perfect” (1-29-15)

DECIDE:          There is no such thing as “perfect.”

PRACTICE:     Today, listen for how many times you say “perfect.” Plan to remove that word from your talk tomorrow.

Instead shoot for excellence. “That was excellent!”

Shoot for your personal best. “I did that better than I’ve ever done it before.”

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

It’s OK to Make Mistakes (1-28-15)

DECIDE:       It’s OK to make mistakes.

PRACTICE:  Remember the last time you made a mistake trying to do a task. Did you figure out the problem and eventually correct it? If so, celebrate that you learned from making that mistake.

If you just gave up, the next time you make a mistake plan to stick with it until you figure out what went wrong and find success by trying it a different way.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Letting Kids Struggle (1-27-15)

DECIDE:           You can help your child by letting him struggle.

PRACTICE:       Today, when your child is having trouble trying to do something or solve a problem, encourage him to keep at it and find a solution.

This might happen as he builds with his blocks, does his homework, or tries to make something work right (toy, TV, computer, etc.)

When he asks you for help, instead of taking over for him, ask him questions that will get him on the right track toward a solution.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Powerful Children Ask for Help (1-26-15)

DECIDE:       Asking for help is a powerful thing for your child to do

PRACTICE:   When your child asks for help today, tell her you are happy to help and are glad she asked.

Tell her that when she asks for what she needs, she is powerful.

Point out how easily she got you to give her some help. This is more powerful than yelling, whining, or throwing things when she needs something.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Learning to DO Things (1-25-15)

DECIDE: To organize toys so your child can learn to clean them up.

PRACTICE: Together with your child, make sure you have a safe, reachable place for your child’s toys.

Use shelves, bins, baskets, boxes that can be marked for certain types of toys (stuffed animals, dress ups, cars, blocks, small stuff, etc.)

Use signs and bright colors to mark the containers. Your child can help with that.

Make a rule about cleaning up the toys. Will your child do it by himself or will you both work on this together each day? When will clean up happen? Remember that it will be easier for the child to clean up several smaller messes through the day than one big one at the end of the day – especially for younger children.

Be sure to tell your child what a “good job” looks like. (Everything off the floor? Everything in the right container? Both the play area and his bedroom?)

Remember to make all your arrangements, rules, and expectations based on your child’s age and abilities. Make sure he can be successful.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Becoming Independent (1-24-15)

DECIDE:       To let your child fix lunch.

PRACTICE:  Today, make a list of lunch menus that your child can fix for himself – or can fix mostly by himself. Post the list somewhere in the kitchen.

Let your child pick one of the menus from the list today and make it for himself for lunch.

As you have lunch together, celebrate what he was able to do for himself.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Asking for Help (1-23-15)

DECIDE:       It’s OK to ask for help

PRACTICE:  Ask for help today.  When someone offers the help, accept it willingly.

Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”  Thank the person.

Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Getting Better at Balancing Your Love (1-22-15)

DECIDE:       You can get better at balancing the ways you love your child.

PRACTICE:   Keep track of what you say to your child today – with words and actions.

How many messages are “I-care-about-you” messages?  Theses are ones she deserves just because all people need to be cared about.  (“I’m so glad you are home with me today.”  “Come get cozy with me.”  Make him one of his favorite foods.)

How many messages are “you-did-a-good-thing” messages?  (You stayed right with me at the store today.”  “Your picture has beautiful bright colors in it.”  Go to school to meet his teacher.)

At the end of the day, think about what you learned. Did you give the two kinds of messages in equal doses?

If this is the second time you have kept track this month, were you more balanced this time? If so, celebrate and keep up the effort.

If not, work on the balance and keep track again in about a week to see how you are doing.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Your Child’s Chores (1-21-15)

DECIDE:        It is good for your child to do chores.

PRACTICE:   Today, think through whether your child is doing enough chores – or the right chores for his age and maturity.

Ask yourself these questions.

Is my child around the age that many children do this? Don’t base your answer on what older children in your family did or what you did as a child. Talk to other parents you trust who have dealt with this decision over the last ten years.

Does your child have the skills needed for the chores he is doing or that you are thinking about assigning him? Does he know the safety rules about the chores? Can he operate any needed equipment (trash cans, toy box, etc.)?

Based on your answers, decide whether it is time to change up his chores as you start a new year.

If so, assign the new chores. After a short while, review how things are going. Celebrate what he is doing well.

If things are not going well, think about what adjustments you need to make – different chore, assign only part of a task, make there be consequences for not doing the chore, etc.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Teaching Your Child a Skill (1-20-15)

DECIDE:  Your child needs to learn to DO things.

PRACTICE:   Today, ask your child if there is something he wishes he could do. Make sure he understands that you are asking about something he can do as a real person at his real age – not as an imaginary person with super powers.

If he comes up with something appropriate for his age, plan to begin teaching him that skill. Break the skill down into parts and teach one part at a time.

For example, tying shoes means putting the shoes on the correct feet, pulling the laces tight, and tying a bow.

For a young child, have him do just one part for a few days. When it is done well most days, move to the next part.

When he does a part many times in a row, celebrate that part.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Becoming a Good “Chooser” (1-19-15)

DECIDE:       Your child can learn to be a good “chooser.”

PRACTICE:  Today, give your child some choices to make. For example, let her pick out her clothes in the morning, decide where to go for dinner, pick a family activity for the weekend.

Remember, for a young child, it is best to limit the number of choices. Do you want ham or cheese for lunch? Will you wear red or blue pants?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Art about What Your Child Can Do (1-18-15)

DECIDE:       Art is a way your child can tell and think about the things he can do.

PRACTICE:  Together with your child make a list of things he can do by himself. Be sure the list includes what he thinks he can do. You can add some things if he agrees.

Once you have a list, let your child draw a picture for each thing. A page can be as detailed or as simple as your child wants (and is able) to make it. He can use pencils, crayons, paints, cut out pieces of paper, pictures from magazines – whatever type of art your child likes.

For example, a shoe can represent him being able to tie his shoes or a big smile that he can brush his teeth. For young children, you can be a helper. Have your child tell you what he wants to have on the page, and you can do the drawing.

Make each drawing be a separate page. Attach the pages together to make a “book.” Have fun giving the book a name. Be sure to share it with friends and family. You can also keep it and add to it over time, if you wish.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Balancing Your Love for Your Child (1-17-15)

DECIDE:       To balance the ways you love your child.

PRACTICE:   Today, give six special messages to your child.

Make three (3) be about how much you like who he is.

The messages can be words or actions. (Examples: Say, “I want to have fun playing with you today” or make him one of his favorite foods.)

Remember, these are not messages the child has earned by being good or by following the rules. They are messages deserved just because he is who he is.

Make three (3) be about how well he does things – uses his skills or follows rules.

The messages can be words or actions. (Examples: Say, “Thank you for doing your chores right on time” or set up an art project telling him how much you enjoy his art.) These are messages that tell your child he is good at doing important things.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

Is Your Love for Your Child Balanced? (1-16-15)

DECIDE:   To balance how you love your child.

PRACTICE:   Keep track of what you say to your child today – with words and actions.

How many messages are “I-care-about-you” messages?  Theses are ones he deserves just because all people need to be cared about.  (“I’m so glad you are home with me today.”  “Come get cozy with me.”  Make him one of his favorite foods.)

How many messages are “you-did-a-good-thing” messages?  (You stayed right with me at the store today.”  “Your picture has beautiful bright colors in it.”  Go to school to meet his teacher.)

At the end of the day, think about what you learned. Did you give the two kinds of messages in equal doses? If not, give more of the missing kind tomorrow.

Every so often, keep track again and try to stay as balanced as possible.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Stories Can Teach (1-15-15)

DECIDE:    Stories help children see the importance of being able to DO things.

PRACTICE:   Today, ask your child to tell you a story about a person, animal, or thing that can DO something special, important, or fun. Tell him the main character can be real or pretend. When he’s done ask him what he liked best about his story. Tell him what you liked best.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE THINGS I CAN DO.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Need to DO Things, Part 1.

 Happy Holidays 2014

Holiday Break 2014

Holiday Cookies (12-14-14)

Decide:    To have fun baking with your child.

Practice:   Today, bake cookies for the Holiday.

Let your child select the type of cookies to bake, including how to decorate them.

Arrange your space so he can be messy without ruining anything.

If he wants to, have him put his name on a cookie and set it aside so it can be his at the Holiday meal.

Let him help package some cookies for a neighbor or relative. Let him help deliver them.

Be sure to tell him how much fun it was to bake with him today.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

It’s a Mathematics Kind of Day. (12-13-14)

Decide:    Your child can be good at mathematics.

Practice:   Count with your child, today.

Explain to your child that today’s date in the US is 12-13-14 – all the numbers (day, month, and year) line up in order. This won’t happen again for 89 years.

For young children, use toys to sort and count or read a counting picture book.

For preschool children, practice counting to 100 or as far as the child is able.

For older children, ask how many times the date lined up like this before and help them find the answer. Remember to give clues rather than just telling them the answer. You can use your local librarian or the internet for help.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Asking for Help (12-12-14)

Decide:    It’s OK to ask for help, especially during a busy Holiday month.

Practice:   Ask for help today.

When someone offers the help, accept it willingly. Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”  Thank the person.

Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Holiday Art (12-11-14)

Decide:    To have fun doing a Holiday art project with your child.

Practice:   Today, make a Holiday decoration.

Pretend you are artists. Dress like artists. Make up a fun name for yourselves as artists-for-the-day.

Your project could be something for a Holiday tree, the Holiday table (place cards, centerpiece, napkin rings, etc.), or a special place in the house – perhaps your child’s own bedroom.

Remember that art develops imagination and decision-making. Let your child make lots of decisions – what to make, what colors to use, where to put the decoration.

Also remember that chores teach a child responsibility and what skills he has. Make sure he takes responsibility for some part of today’s clean up that is right for his age and maturity.

Be sure to tell your child how much fun it was to be an artist with her today.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Its OK to Be Talented (12-10-14)

Decide:    To have fun singing with your child.

Practice:   Today, sing the songs of the Holiday with your child. You can do it in your own living room, at your place of worship, or door-to-door in your neighborhood.When you are willing to show your talents, you teach your child it is OK to be talented and to enjoy your talents.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Telling a Holiday Story (12-9-14)

Decide:           To encourage your child’s imagination through storytelling.

Practice:         Today, create a round robin story writing.  One person starts the story by writing a sentence or two on a page and each person afterwards takes a turn to add another sentence or two one by one.

If both young and older children are doing the activity, let the young child dictate her idea about what happens next and have an adult or older child write it for her.

If there is something you want your children to learn from the story, weave it in when it is your turn.  For example, have the main person in the story fail at something and not give up or do something very kind for someone else in the story.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Sharing New Holiday Toys (12-8-14)

Decide:    To make a rule about sharing new Holiday toys.

Practice:   Talk with your child about what to do if he doesn’t want to share one of his new Holiday toys.

Explain that some of his toys need to be for sharing, because he will have friends and relatives coming to his house to play.

Let him select and put those toys he is willing to share in a special place where other kids can get to them to play.

Let him select toys that are extra special and not for sharing. These will likely be all of his brand new Holiday toys – and maybe a few older ones that are extra special.

Consider this rule. Not-for-sharing toys need to be stored away from where the kids play. If your child wants to play with a not-for-sharing toy, he can sit by you or another adult and play with it by himself.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Organizing Toys before the Holidays (12-7-14)

Decide:    To prepare your child for new toys as holiday gifts.

Practice:   Make today an “Organize the Toys” day. Put toys into these three categories:

Toys I play with often: Put these toys in the storage spaces where toys are usually kept.

Toys I can give up to make room for new ones: Put these toys away. Let your child know that later on you will be donating these to families where children don’t receive new toys like he does. Now they can have fun with these toys because he is done with them and will be receiving new ones.

Toys that need a rest: Put these toys into a storage box and put them away for a while. On your next clean up day bring them out. They will be like new toys and can be put back into play. Other toys can then go into the “tired” box.

NOTE: How much you need to be involved in deciding which category toys should be put into will depend on your child’s ability to let go of things and to understand what the categories mean.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Getting an Energy Boost during the Holidays (12-6-14)

Decide:    To let “me-time” give you the energy to keep up with holiday activities.

Practice:   Set aside some time for yourself today – don’t say you can’t. It can be just 15 minutes, if it has to be – although it would be better if it were 30 minutes or an hour.

Try working yourself up to that full hour, if you can’t do that much right now.

Do whatever feels good for your 15 minutes. Sit quietly, exercise, read, watch TV, listen to music (or better yet, dance to the music). No Holiday shopping or menu planning!

 If you have been ignoring yourself for a long time, you may have to practice not feeling guilty. You may have to re-learn what things you like, before your me-time actually feels good and re-energizes you.

Plan to do me-time on a regular schedule. Put it on your calendar. And, don’t  think of it as “down” time. It is definitely a “pump you up” time.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Holiday Gift Idea #2 (12-5-14)

Decide:    To give your child a holiday gift that encourages her to share.

Practice:   Give a two-for-one gift. In other words, give two of the same thing. 

When you give her the twin gifts, explain that one is for her and the other is for her to give to someone else – to share. 

One thing that helps children learn to share is knowing that they have enough. 

She will have one of her own. So, she should be very able to share and feel those good feelings that go with sharing.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays (12-4-14)

Decide:    To help keep your kids calm and healthy during the busy holidays.

Practice:   Make a master plan for meals that covers the 14 days before the Holiday.

Knowing what your plan is and being able to plan ahead for the grocery shopping should mean more nutritious meals and less fast food during this busy time. During the holidays children especially need regular routines for food and sleep.

Consider making meals ahead and freezing them – another way to be sure that children maintain their regular routines.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

2014 Holiday Gift Idea #1 (12-3-14)

Decide:    To give your child a holiday gift that shows all the ways you love him.

Practice:     Select two containers that will mean something to your child.

For example, a container that is a special shape (football, tiera, lego, soccer ball), one that is a favorite team’s colors, or one that is covered with bling.

Label one container: BEING. Label the other: DOING.

In the BEING container put slips of paper telling him what you love about him. For example, how fun it is to be with him or how kind you think he is.

In the DOING container, put slips of paper telling her all the things she does really well. For example, she does her chores well or is great at math.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

You Are Special Too (12-2-14)

Decide:    To believe that your loved ones want to give you a special holiday gift.

Practice:  Make a list of gifts that would please you this Holiday. Share it with your loved ones.

How can you get it to your loved ones, who may not be in the habit of asking adults for gift lists?

You can email it with a message like, “I took some time to think about what would make a good Holiday gift for me. I would love for you to do the same thing and share it with me.”

Or if you don’t want to spread your list beyond your own household, you can quietly post it on the refrigerator or in another obvious place. No explanation required.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Making a List and Checking it Twice (12-1-14)

Decide:    To learn what your child wants for a holiday gift.

Practice:   Help your child make a list of what he would like to receive for the holiday.

Talk to him about how many requests would be enough and what types of gifts are reasonable cost-wise.

If Santa is part of your holiday, your child’s list could be a letter instead.

If Santa is not part of the holiday, post the list on the refrigerator or in another obvious place. Or, you could ask to whom he would like to email the list.

Help him believe that it makes people happy to give him a gift.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the importance of traditions in children’s lives.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Thinking about what traditions are important in your family? See Holiday Traditions Revisited.

Being Thankful for Helpers (11-30-14)

Decide:    To be thankful for helpers during busy holidays.

Practice:  Assign a new chore to your child. Make sure it is 1) right for her age and maturity and 2) a real help to the family with all the special demands on time and attention during the holidays.

PICK UP YOUR SOCKS by Elizabeth Crary can help you know what chores are reasonable for your child’s age.

Break the new chore down into parts.  For example, making your bed = straightening the sheet, straightening the blanket, fluffing the pillow and smoothing out the top cover.

Remember to show your child how the chore needs to be done to meet your expectations.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Being Thankful for Laughter (11-29-14)

Decide:    To be thankful for shared laughter.

Practice:  Play a Food Game. Select some favorite family food – perhaps one you ate for Thanksgiving or some other special family meal recently. Here’s how to play.

*  Have your child lie down and pretend he’s the main ingredient. For example, like he’s a pile of dough.

*  Add other ingredients like oil, seeds, spices, vegetables, etc. on top of the child.

*  Be creative about using real things as your pretend ingredients. Water could be milk or oil. Discs of paper could be chopped vegetables.

*  Pretend to knead, mix, or shape the ingredients.

*  Finish your “dish” off with toppings like icing, parsley, etc.

*  Put your “human dish” in the oven. You could use the sofa or under a table as an oven. Make sure your oven is an open, airy space that won’t scare the child.

*  Take your “dish” out of the oven and slice it up for eating. Use your hands. No real knives – not even for pretend. And, be gentle. No Karate chopping.

(This Food Game is inspired by the picture book, Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig. You can read this book to learn about Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game.)

 Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited

The Fun of Giving (11-28-14)

Decide:    To be thankful about giving as well as receiving.

Practice:  Plan a shopping trip for your child to buy holiday gifts for others. It’s a good time to teach some good practices about shopping.

*  Try to narrow the options to two or three before you go.

*  Decide what store(s) you will go to.

*  Be sure your child is not hungry or sleepy at the time you plan to go – even older kids.

*  Go over with your child whether he will pick the gift on his own or whether you will have final approval.

After the trip think about what worked well and what would have made it better.

If your trip is successful, celebrate having a nice gift and having fun picking it out.

If the trip was unsuccessful, decide what went wrong and how you will improve on it. Then, plan your next trip.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Celebrating What You Are Grateful For. (11-27-14)

Decide:    It is good to give thanks.

Practice:  Have a thankful celebration today.

Enjoy it to the fullest, but remember special days are not always “perfect.”

But, even when events aren’t prefect, they can still create wonderful memories. At the end of the day, be sure to talk with your kids about the day and all that was good about it.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Asking for Help (11-26-14)

Decide:    It’s OK to ask for help as often as you need to, especially during a busy month like this one.

Practice:  Ask for help today.

When someone offers the help, accept it willingly. Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”  Thank the person.

Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Being Thankful for Food (11-25-14)

Decide:    To be thankful for food.

Practice:  Today, cook with your child. 

Let your child collect ingredients, read directions if he can, measure ingredients, stir, pour, and taste test. It can be a day of fun and learning. 

At the end of the day ask him what he learned.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Giving Yourself Time To Be Thankful (11-24-14)

Decide:    “Me-time” will help you feel thankful.

Practice:  Set aside some time for yourself today – don’t say you can’t. It can be just 15 minutes, if it has to be – although it would be better if it were 30 minutes or an hour. Try working yourself up to that full hour, if you can’t do that much right now.

Do whatever feels good for your 15 minutes. Sit quietly, exercise, read, watch TV, make a list of what you are thankful for this month, listen to music (or dance to the music).

If you have been ignoring yourself for a long time, you may have to practice not feeling guilty. You may have to re-learn what things you like, before your me-time actually feels good and re-energizes you.

Plan to do me-time on a regular schedule. Put it on your calendar.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Giving Thanks for Quality Time (11-23-14)

Decide:    To be thankful for the time you spend with your child.

Practice:  Today, do an art project with your child. 

Make something you can use at a family meal – perhaps at your thanksgiving meal this month, if you are planning one.  If not then, perhaps at a weekend family meal. 

You could make placemats, place cards, a menu, a picture of what your child is thankful for, etc. 

When you compliment her on her art, be sure to tell her something specific about it. For example, “I love the colors you chose.” Or, “It makes me happy to see the fun faces you drew.”

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Giving Thanks for Nature (11-22-14)

Decide:    To be thankful for nature.

Practice:  Today, go for a nature walk. Consider your own neighborhood. It can be full of nature that you may not be noticing from day-to-day.

Take a magnifying glass on your walk, if you have one. Collect leaves, stones, and other treasures along the way.

Don’t forget to look up as well as down. You may find interesting things on fences, tree trunks, etc.

Let your child decide what he wants to bring home. Bring a container and make a rule that only what fits in the container can come home. That should help control bringing home too many things or things that are too large.

When you get home, talk with your child about his choices. What did he like about these things? Think of things to do with his treasures – display them, take pictures of them, include them in drawings or paintings, make a table centerpiece out of them, etc.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Money and Kids (11-21-14)

Decide:    Kids need to learn about money in order to appreciate it.

Practice:  Today, begin a money management plan for your child. Set some rules about what happens to money that the child receives for gifts. Decide how each gift of money will be used. How much will be for:

*  Free spending. Decide who will have approval of what this is used for? If you will have final approval, decide only on the basis of safety or morals, not the wisdom or maturity of the child’s choices.)

*  Savings for needs. For example, a college fund.

*  Savings for wants. For example, a new bike or computer game.

*  Charity. Consider letting this be a charity of the child’s choice.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Asking for Help (11-20-14)

Decide:    It’s OK to ask for help.

Practice:  Ask for help today.  When someone offers the help, accept it willingly. Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”  Thank the person.

Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Being Thankful for Your Childs Imagination (11-19-14)

Decide:    To be thankful for your child’s imagination.

Practice:  Today, let your child make up a new recipe by combining things you have in your pantry. 

For example, jelly on pretzels or cheese on chocolate. 

It may surprise you how good some weird, unheard of combinations can be. Have a taste test to decide if it is a recipe worth serving to the whole family – maybe for your thanksgiving celebration, if you are having one later this month.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Being Thankful for Your Child’s Talents (11-18-14)

Decide:    To show you are thankful for your your child’s talents by showing them off.

Practice:   Today, organize a kids “show.” 

Have kids make tickets. Give them a curtain and pretend stage to use while they practice. 

Plan to have the kids show off their talents when you are together with friends and relatives later this month.  

When the kids do their show, clap and celebrate at the end. Tell each kid why you are clapping – you loved his song … her dance made you feel happy … he made you laugh … she had such a great smile.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Staying Connected (11-17-14)

Decide:    Your child needs to stay connected to the people he is thankful for.

Practice:  Today, arrange a special meeting between your child and anyone he might be missing this month. It might be a parent, grandparent, favorite relative, or a friend who has moved away.

Arrange for that person to make a video and send it to you as a special surprise for your child. Or, plan a “computer meeting” with that person by arranging to Skype or do FaceTime with that person.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Different Ways to Give Thanks. (11-16-14)

Decide:    Everyday can be a day of thanks.

Practice:  Today, plan a small celebration based on what you learned yesterday about giving thanks in other countries and cultures. 

Talk with your child about how your small celebration is alike and different from how your family celebrates being thankful each year. 

When it is time for your usual family celebration, have your child tell family and friends about today’s celebration.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Giving Thanks (11-15-14)

Decide:    Giving thanks feels good.

Practice:  Go to the library with your child today and look for how different countries and cultures celebrate being thankful.

How many have a holiday like USA’s Thanksgiving?  What are some of the details of different celebrations?

With young children, you can use what you learn to make pictures, costumes, or props that are part of these other holidays.

If your family celebrates a thanksgiving holiday, at that celebration you can have your child talk about what he learned today.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by the idea of being thankful.

The Holiday Season is upon us. Looking for a clever gift idea? See Holiday Gift Ideas Revisited.

Reading Books Without Words. (11-14-14)

Decide:    To “read” books without words.

Practice:   Go to the library and ask the librarian where to look for books without words. You can ask to see some by Barbara Lehman or David Wiesner as a start.

When you tell your child the story represented by the pictures in the books you selected, use words, character names, and details that are familiar to your child.

On some pages you can ask your child to tell what is happening and help tell the story.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

What Does Your Child Want? (11-13-14)

Decide:    Your child knows want he wants.

Practice: Today, if it is close to a gift occasion for your child, have a talk with him about what his favorite toys are.

What is the favorite thing he already has? Why does he like it so much?

Has he seen anything on TV, in a catalog, or among his friends that he would love to have?

If he names something that you could not purchase, talk to him about what else would be like that and would be fun to play with. For example, if he wants a new bicycle that you can’t afford, could you paint his old one or get some cool add-ons for it?

If no gift occasion is coming up soon, you could have the same conversation about things he might save his own money for.

You might also come up with some extra jobs for him to earn money for something specific that he wants.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Shopping with Kids (11-12-14)

Decide:    To help your child learn to make shopping choices.

Practice:       Plan a shopping trip for your child to purchase a gift for someone.

Try to narrow the options to two or three before you go. Decide what store(s) you will go to. Be sure your child is not hungry or sleepy at the time you plan to go.

Go over with your child whether he will make the choice on his own or whether you will have final approval.

If the trip is successful, celebrate having a nice gift and having fun picking it out.

After the trip think about what worked well and what would have made it better.

If the trip was unsuccessful, decide what went wrong and how you will improve on it. Then, plan your next trip.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Money Management for Kids (11-11-14)

Decide:    To help your child learn about money.

Practice:       Today, if your child is old enough, establish a money management system for him.

Set some rules about what happens to money that he receives for allowances and gifts.

Decide on what percentage of each allowance or gift will be for the following.

Free spending: decide whether you will have approval of what this is used for or not; if so, only judge for matters of safety or morals, not the wisdom or maturity of his choices.

Savings for needs: for example, college fund or summer vacation

Savings for wants: for example, new bike or lego set

Charity: of child’s choice

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Your Cild’s Story (11-10-14)

Decide:    Your child has stories to tell.

Practice:       Today, help your child tell you a story.

Notice the types of characters he chooses – children like him, superheroes that can’t be real, or animals that come to life.

Notice what the problem is in the story and what feelings are in the story – is someone mad, scared, happy, sad? About what?

Notice how the story ends – good, not so good, or not at all.

If the story doesn’t end at all, you could talk about possible ways it might end and let him choose the way he likes best.

If your child is old enough, you could have him write his story sometime or draw pictures about the story. You could also have him use a keyboard, if he is old enough to learn this important skill.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

The “Un-birthday” (11-9-14)

Decide:    Un-birthdays are real.

Practice: Have an un-birthday party today. It can be for yourself, your child, or a friend or relative.

Let your child help prepare the party.

Make sure your celebration includes THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS by Lewis Carroll where the “unbirthday” started.

Also include “The Unbirthday Song” from the ALICE IN WONDERLAND movie.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Pat-a-Cake; Pat-a-Cake (11-8-14)

Decide:    To bake a cake as fast as you can.

Practice:       Today, work with your child to bake a cake together.

Let the child help in every way possible.

Start with gathering the ingredients. Talk to your child about where the ingredients come from. Talk with your child about what ingredients are most healthy.

Teach some mathematics when measuring ingredients. For a young child, you can count while stirring.

Plan the decorations on the icing and let your child help with both the design and construction.

Be sure your child is with you when you present the cake to a special person.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

The Gift of a Story (11-7-14)

Decide:    Stories can be gifts.

Practice:  Today, make up a story for your child.

Your story can get an important point across. For example, a story about how a teddy bear couldn’t find anywhere to sleep in a little boy’s room because it was so messy.

Or, your story can be about something especially interesting to your child. For example, a story about how a horse turns into a super hero.

Look for the delight in your child’s face. Most likely he will beg for more.

Stories truly are gifts.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Teaching Your Child To Say Thank You (11-6-14)

Decide:     To teach your child how to say thank you.

Practice:    Today, work with your child to write some thank you notes to people who have given him a gift or done something nice for him in the last month.

If your child is too young to write the notes himself, have him tell you what he wants to say and you write it for him.

Write it just the way he says it, so the receiver knows it is truly from the child.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Saying Thank You (11-5-14)

Decide:    It is important to say thank you.

Practice:   Today, write some thank you notes to people who have given you a gift or done something nice for you in the last month.

It’s not too late to send a note. The receiver will be delighted.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Handmade Gifts (11-4-14)

Decide:    Handmade gifts are great.

Practice:       Today, work with your child to make a gift for someone.

While making it, talk about the person you are making it for and how much you think he might like it.

Also talk about how much fun it is to spend this time together making it.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Round Robin Storytelling (11-3-14)

Decide:    Storytelling is a useful parenting tool.

Practice:   Today, start a fun activity for the whole family – round robin story writing.  One person starts the story by writing a sentence or two on a page and each person afterwards takes a turn to add another sentence or two one by one.

 If both young and older children are doing the activity, let the young child dictate her idea about what happens next and have an adult or older child write it for her.

 If there is something you want your children to learn from the story, weave it in when it is your turn.  For example, have the main person in the story fail at something and not give up or do something very kind for someone else in the story.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

Enough is Enough (11-2-14)

Decide:    You can teach your child what is “enough.”

Practice:    Make today a clean up day for toys.  Decide how much space is enough for toys (a certain shelf or cupboard, a certain area in a room, a toy box, etc.).

You may want to limit toy space in several spaces in your house: a bedroom, family room, garage, etc.  This could apply to both the shared play space and the personal space from How to Organize Toys.

Once the amount of space has been identified, let your child help get it set up doing things like washing, decorating and labeling the areas.  Help the child select toys for each space.  Explain only what will fit in these spaces is allowed.  Decide whether the rest will be donated or stored away for a while.

NOTE: How much you need to be involved in deciding which category things belong in depends on your child’s ability to let go of things and understand what the categories mean.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

A Gift That Keeps On Giving (11-1-14)

Decide:    To give a gift that keeps on giving.

Practice:       For your child’s next special occasion, wrap up books (and CD’s) from the library as a gift – if your child is able to understand, without being upset, that this is not a keep-it-forever gift.

It’s a great way to stretch the gift budget. Your child will have fun opening the gift, and lots of fun for days after.

As you read the books to your child over the next days and weeks, explain that these books are a gift that keeps on giving. They are borrowed, and each time you return them you get to pick out more.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 2.

A Just Right Halloween (10-31-14)

Decide:     You can have fun with your kids.

Practice:   Today, plan a Halloween celebration for adults and children together.

Plan to go trick or treating with your kids.

Or, plan a neighborhood tailgating party in a nearby parking lot complete with costumes and treats.

Or, plan whatever type of fall celebration works for your family.

Involve the kids in the planning. Be careful to not make it be “too much.” Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Birthdays Are Important (10-30-14)

Decide:     Birthdays are important.

Practice:   Plan your child’s birthday today – even if it is many months away.  Think about how you can celebrate it in a balanced way.

First, what would make him feel he is special just because he is your son?  What would make him feel how much you love being with him and enjoy your time with him?

Second, what would help him know how much talent you think he has?  What a star he is.  How famous and successful you think he will be?  How much you appreciate the hard work he puts in to be able to do all the things he can do?  How much you appreciate his good behavior?

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

A Birthday Calendar (10-29-14)

Decide:   Birthdays are worth remembering.

Practice: Do an art project with your child today – make a calendar with the birthdays of relatives and friends that are important to your child.

Use the calendar to send cards. You can have your child make a card on the birthdays as they come up.

Or, if the child is old enough, you could teach him how to send e-cards or notes.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Following The Birthday Party Rules (10-28-14)

Decide:      To help your child plan a real party.

Practice:     Today, work with your child to plan a party for a friend or family member. Use the “rules” for good parties from “Birthday Party Rules” (10-19-14).

For example:

The number of guests that should be invited

How to invite guests so no one’s feelings will be hurt

What entertainment is just right and not too big and expensive for the occasion

What to tell the guests about the types of presents that are best for the occasion

This will be good practice for when it is time to plan a party for your child. He will understand some of the thinking that goes into the planning.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Quiz: Is Your Child’s Birthday Party Too Much? (10-27-14)

Decide:      You can know whether your child has too much.

Practice:  Today, think about your child’s last birthday party. Answer these questions. (Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for connecting these types of questions with knowing what is enough.)

    • Did the party help your child grow and develop based on his age and abilities?

Did he learn about appreciation? Or, was there so much happening that he couldn’t focus on appreciating what others were doing for him?

Did he learn that love was about stuff or having fun?

Did he learn to create fun by using his imagination? Or, was he dependent on toys with bells and whistles to keep him constantly amused?

Did he take care of his gifts?

    • Did the party require so much money or so much family time and attention that it took away from things that needed to be done for others in the family – including myself?

If so, could I have had a nice party with less money and less of my time and attention?

    • Was the party about what my child needed or what I needed or wanted him to have for my own reasons?

For example, I wanted parties when I was a child; I needed to impress others; I felt guilty that I work a lot; I wanted my child to be popular; or I wanted my child to love me.

    • Is anything about this party harmful to others – including the environment?

Use your answers to these questions to help you know what types of parties are too much and what you want to do to correct that this year.

(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for connecting these types of questions to overindulgence.)

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Children Know What They Like. (10-26-14)

Decide:      Your child knows what he likes.

Practice:    Today, ask your child about recent parties he has been to. Have him tell you what he liked best about them – and anything that he didn’t like.

What would he wish would have been different?

Laugh and enjoy the good parts with him. Tell him you are going to remember what he likes and doesn’t like when you plan your next party for someone.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Keeping it Real. (10-25-14)

Decide:      To help your child keep it real when it comes to anticipating special events.

Practice:    Today, think about your child’s last big event.

Did you talk a lot about it ahead of time? Did the event get too much attention or just enough for him to be well prepared and enjoy the time waiting for it to happen?

When you imagined together what it was going to be like did you create over-the-top descriptions for him? Or, were you pretty down-to-earth?

When the event occurred was it a good time for the most part? Or, was it a bit of a disappointment?

If disappointing, do you think you or your child expected too much of it – expected it to be perfect and it wasn’t?

Or, was it just disappointing because events can fall short for all sorts of unexpected reasons.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Prepare Your Child For New Experiences (10-24-14)

Decide:      It is important to prepare your child for new experiences.

Practice:   Today, think of the next birthday party your child will be attending. Have a conversation about what that will be like and what behavior is expected of him.

For example, if he is meeting new people, tell him some things he could say. Practice the conversations, just the two of you.

If you expect him to shake hands, show him how to do that.  Compliment him on how he does it.

If you are preparing for his party, practice saying thank you.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Saving Your Child From Sadness. (10-23-14)

Decide:      Preventing your child’s sadness can be a form of overindulgence.

Practice:   Pay attention to the times that your child is sad or disappointed today. It doesn’t have to be about something big.

It can be because he has to wait for something, can’t find something he wants to play with or wear, a friend can’t play, etc.

Notice what your first reaction is.

Do you want to try to talk him into feeling better, get him focused on something else, or give him something he likes to eat?

Stop yourself.

Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson. Instead of your usual response, try letting him know that you are noticing that he is sad or disappointed. Hold him, hug him, or pat him.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

What Makes a Great Party? (10-22-14)

Decide:      You know what makes a great party.

Practice:    Today, think about the best parties you have been to. What did you like best about them? Were there any things you wish would have been different? Share your memories with your child.

If you enjoyed your event, celebrate that you met your goal – to enjoy the day even if it was not “perfect” in every way.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Events Can’t Be “Perfect”. (10-21-14)

Decide:      To enjoy an “unperfect” event.

Practice:     Think about an upcoming event that you are looking forward to.

Imagine what it will be like, but don’t paint a “perfect” picture in your mind. Things can go wrong.

Instead, paint a picture of yourself having fun even if things are not exactly as you might have hoped for.

When you think about the upcoming event, focus on the things you have control over. For example, the people you will be with or that you will have some time off work.

After the event, think about whether you were disappointed. If so, ask yourself whether some of that disappointment came from your expecting too much of the event?

If you enjoyed your event, celebrate that you met your goal – to enjoy the day even if it was not “perfect” in every way.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Appreciating What You Have (10-20-14)

Decide:      To appreciate what you have.

Practice:     Today, get out your list from “Needs Vs. Wants” Parenting Tip (10.15.14) and write why you appreciate what you have from that list – from either the needs side or the wants side.

If ideas come into your mind about things you wish you had, push those thoughts out of your mind. Today is going to be about appreciating what you do have, not wishing for more.

If you have any trouble concentrating on what you have and not thinking about what you wish for, say to yourself, “How can I be happy with more, if I can’t be happy with what I have?” Ask yourself if you have anything extra of the things you have that you could share with others.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Birthday Party Rules (10-19-14)

Decide:      To plan a pretend party.

Practice:     Today, work with your child to plan a party for his stuffed animals, dolls, or super heroes.

Make some “rules” for good parties.

For example:

The number of guests that should be invited

How to invite guests so others’ feelings won’t be hurt

What entertainment will not be too big and expensive for the occasion

What to tell the guests about the types of presents that are best for the occasion

This will be good practice for when it is time to plan a party for your child. He will understand some of the thinking that goes into the planning.

Today’s Parenting Tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Practice for Knowing What Is Enough (10-18-14)

Decide:      Your child can learn the difference between needs and wants.

Practice:     Today and for the next seven days, repeat the “Teaching What Is Enough” Parenting Tip (10-17-14)

Notice if your child gets better at asking for the right amount.  When he is accurate, tell him you are glad you can count on him to know what he needs.

Know that in the beginning he may often over state or under state what he needs.  Once he realizes he will get what he needs, he will stop asking for too much.

Use these ideas to help him get better at checking in with his tummy and telling the difference between what he needs and wants.

    • If he says he needs one of something, show him how small that amount is. Agree to let him try that and ask for more, if he needs to.
    • If he says he needs lots of something, give it to him with an agreement that you will help him check in with his tummy halfway through. When you think he has had enough, you can tell him that and suggest that he save some of his helping for a later time that day or for the next day. Put it away with his name on it.

If food is often leftover from what he has asked for, point out that a smaller amount would have been more correct about what his tummy was telling him.

For young children, set some limits ahead of time. For example, for finger foods tell the child he can take what he needs, but not more than what he can hold in both hands.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Teaching What Is Enough (10-17-14)

Decide:      You can teach your child what is “enough.”

Practice:    When you offer your child food today, ask him to check in with his tummy and tell you how much or how many he “needs.”

Don’t ask how much or how many he “wants;” that’s a different matter all together.

Give him just what he says he needs – no more and no less.  If he returns wanting more, ask how much more he “needs.”

Let him push this to his limit – that is how he will learn what is enough. He needs to know enough will be there for him.

However, if you think at some point that giving him more will be unhealthy for him, you can stop and say, “I don’t want you to be sick; you have had “enough” for now.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

What Does “Too Much” Mean to You? (10-16-14) 

Decide:        Overindulgence is harmful to kids.

Practice:       Write out your personal definition of the following ideas:

Too Little: _____________________________________

Enough: _______________________________________

Abundance: ____________________________________

Too Much: ____________________________________

  •        Share with your family and see how they define them.
  •        Next week, take a look at these again and see if you want to change anything about your definitions.

Use the Comment section to share your definitions with us here at the blog.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Needs Vs. Wants (10-15-14)

Decide:        You can know the difference between what you need and what you want.

Practice:      Today, think about the difference between your needs and your wants.

On one side of a piece of paper list needs.  On the other side list wants.

Think carefully about the things listed as needs. Ask yourself why you need each thing. Be honest with yourself.

Needs are things that are necessary for a safe and healthy life. Wants are things that add pleasure and interest to life.

If the needs items don’t measure up when you think about it, move them to wants.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Birthday Parties, Part 1.

Knowing How Child Deals With Sadness (10-14-14)

DECIDE:   Your child can handle sadness.

PRACTICE: Pay attention to the times that your child is sad or disappointed today.  Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson.

Notice what your child does to make himself feel better. Does she hug her blanket, cry for a while, get busy with something?

Celebrate that she has found ways to deal with her feelings.

Remember this the next time she feels sad or disappointed, and let it help you avoid jumping in and trying to protect her from every sadness.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

Responsibility Talk for Your Child (10-13-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child talk the talk of responsibility.

PRACTICE:       Today, listen for times your child gives things power instead of himself.

For example, when he says, “The game won’t turn on.” Or, “The crayon made a mark on the wall”

Correct any statements like this. Ask what he did in each situation. (“Were you having trouble turning on the game?” Did you mark on the wall with the crayon?”)

Have your child repeat the sentence taking the responsibility. “I can’t turn the game on.” I got a mark on the wall.”

Remember that by talking the talk of being responsible your child can start to better understand what it means to be responsible.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

When Your Child Feels Sad (10-12-14)

DECIDE:   Your child can learn to know what he needs.

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child feels sad or disappointed ask him if there is anything you can do for him? Ask him what he needs. Ask what will make him feel better?

If he answers, “No” or “I don’t know,” accept the answer. Don’t suggest things.

Let him know you are there for him, if he thinks of anything. If he asks for something you can’t do, suggest another close option. For example, if he says he wants a chocolate sundae, you could offer something more nutritious with an added feature like making a special place for the two of you to share a nutritious snack.

If you have a very young child, you will need to think for him and decide how to comfort him.

As you offer cuddling or toys to play with, go ahead and ask him what he needs. It sets the stage for him knowing that what he needs is important. One day he will be able to say what those needs are.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

Your Child Can Do Better (10-11-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child keep better track of his stuff.

PRACTICE:       Today, talk with your child about the last time he lost something. Think why that happened.

Was he paying attention to other less important things? Did he have too many things to keep track of? Was he expecting you to keep track of it for him?

Is there something he can do to make this not happen again? Make a checklist of items needed each day for school? Have a special place for things (like a backpack)? Check his backpack before bed each night?

Pick a solution and see if he can do it for a solid week. Celebrate if he does. If not, think if there is a better solution and try another week.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

Feeling Sad is OK. (10-10-14)

DECIDE:   Feeling sad is a necessary life lesson.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about whether you were allowed to feel sad when you were young.

If you believe you were permitted to deal with sadness as a child, think about what you learned from those experiences.

How do you use as an adult what you learned as a child? Celebrate the opportunity to learn those lessons.

If you believe you were not permitted to deal with sadness as a child, think about how you were protected from sadness. Were you talked out of it, given things to take your attention away from something sad, or kept from even knowing about sad things that happened in your family?

Ask yourself whether you are doing those same things with your own child. Make a new decision whether you really want to do that.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

People Power (10-9-14)

DECIDE:   To use words that say you are responsible.

PRACTICE:       Today, listen for times you give things power instead of yourself. For example, when you say or think, “Things are falling into place.” Or, “The pencil fell on the floor.”

Correct any statements or thoughts like this. What did you do to make things work out. (“I got some help with my project and got it done on time.”) Who dropped the pencil? (I dropped the pencil.)

You usually can correct your thinking about responsibility by using the word “I” in your sentences.

Remember that by talking the talk of being responsible we can start to be and feel more responsible.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

You Can Do Better. (10-8-14)

DECIDE:   You can do better the next time.

PRACTICE:       Today, think about the last time you lost something. Think why that happened.

Was your purse or briefcase open? Did you have too many things in your hands? Were you distracted? Were you in too big a hurry?

Was there something you could have done differently to make it not happen? Kept your purse or briefcase closed? Checked for your credit card before you left the store? Assigned a special place in the house to always keep your phone?

Pick a solution and see if you can do it for a solid week.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

When Your Child Loses Something (10-7-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child walk backwards through his mind.

PRACTICE:       Today, when your child misplaces something, talk with him about where he has been step-by-step.

Then, re-walk to those places to see if you can find the missing item.

If that doesn’t work, try thinking back to the last place he remembers having the item. Walk forward from there.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

Whose Feelings Are They? (10-6-14)

DECIDE:   To be responsible for your own feelings.

PRACTICE:       Today, think about the last time you were mad or sad.

Did you blame those feelings on someone else? (“Jane made me furious.”) Did you talk yourself out of your feelings based on what someone else might say or think? (“I have to act like nothing’s wrong because my boss will not like it if I am upset.” Or, “I have to act happy because I don’t want my child to see me sad.”)

Today if you feel mad or sad, tell yourself it is OK to feel all of your feelings. Own your feelings.

Feelings are not good or bad, they just are. You feel mad or sad because you (for many different possible reasons) are reacting to some situation.

Instead of blaming others for your feelings, spend some time deciding what is the best way for you to deal with those feelings.

Decide to react differently to the situation? Talk out your feelings with someone? Problem-solve the situation you are reacting to?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

Replacing Something Lost (10-5-14)

DECIDE:   Preventing your child’s sadness can be a form of overindulgence.

PRACTICE:   Think about the last time you “replaced” something your child lost or damaged.

Thinking back on it, do you believe replacing it was a form of overindulgence? Here are some questions to help you figure that out.

Did replacing it keep your child from learning something he needs to learn (for example, how to deal with feelings or take care of his things)?

Did you replace it to make yourself feel better or to look like a better parent?

Did replacing it hurt anyone else or the environment?

Did you have enough money and time or did replacing it mean other needs or other people lost out?

Remember when we overindulge (which we all tend to do), we do so because we love our children.

But, it is better for them and us if we learn other ways to show our love and care.

(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for connecting these questions to knowing about overindulgence.)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

Discipline: “Don’t Do ….” (10-4-14)

DECIDE:   To give direction to your child when he is in danger of losing or hurting something important to him.

PRACTICE:  Today, if you see your child doing something he shouldn’t try these directions.

“Don’t do this.”  For example, “Don’t hold ‘Stuffy’ out the car window.”

“Because of this.” For example, “Because the wind could make it hard for you to hold on to ‘Stuffy.’

“Do this instead.” For example, “Instead, hold ‘Stuffy’s’ face up to the window inside the car. He’ll get some air but be safe inside.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

What Is Too Much? (10-3-14)

DECIDE:   Overindulgence is harmful to kids.

PRACTICE:         Write out your personal definition of the following ideas:

                 Too Little: _____________________________________

Enough: _______________________________________

Abundance: ____________________________________

Too Much: _____________________________________

  •             Share with your family and see how they define them.
    • Next week, take a look at these again and see if you want to change anything about your definitions.
    • Share your definitions with us here at the blog.  (Use Comment Box.)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

When You Lose Something (10-2-14)

DECIDE:   To learn to walk backwards through your mind.

PRACTICE:       Today, when you misplace something or find you can’t remember something, try walking backwards through your mind.

If you misplace something, think about where you have been. Then you can go back to or call any places where you might have dropped or set down what you misplaced.

If you can’t remember something, think about what other things you thought about or talked about recently. Those connections, may trigger the thought you are trying to remember.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

Feeling All the Feelings (10-1-14)

DECIDE:   To let your child feel all of his feelings.

PRACTICE:        Today, think about a time last week when your child was sad or frustrated.

Did you try to talk him out of those feelings? How? Make a plan to not do this the next time he is upset.

Plan to sit with him. Talk about how he is feeling and what he can do to make himself feel better. Hug him – but let him work through his feelings on his own.

Take note of the next several times he is upset and how well you are able to avoid talking him out of his feelings. Are you getting better at it? Remember, practice makes us better.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PLAIDYPUS.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids Keeping Track of Their Things.

When Your Child Is Sad (9-30-14)

DECIDE:   To celebrate your child’s ability to handle sadness or disappointment.

PRACTICE:   Pay attention to the times that your child is sad or disappointed today.  Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson.

Notice what your child does to make himself feel better. Does she hug her blanket, cry for a while, get busy with something?

Celebrate that she has found ways to deal with her feelings. Remember this the next time she feels sad or disappointed, and let it help you avoid jumping in and trying to protect her from every sadness.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Empathy (9-29-14)

DECIDE:   Children need to be able to tell how others are feeling.

PRACTICE:   Today, search the Internet for “feelings faces games.”

Either purchase a game you discover, use one available online, or get ideas about how to make a homemade version.

Play it with your child. Use the game faces to teach about feelings.

Ask your child what feeling would go with each face. Tell stories about why a person might look (or feel) that way.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Your Child’s Personal Power (9-28-14)

DECIDE:   Being powerful does not mean having power over others.

PRACTICE:   Today, sit with your child and make a list of ways he can be powerful.

Don’t let him put any ideas on the list that put down other people or hurt others.

Congratulate him for thinking of good ways to be powerful.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Children Can Know What They Need. (9-27-14)

DECIDE:   Your child can learn to know what he needs. 

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child feels sad or disappointed ask him if there is anything you can do for him? Ask him what he needs. Ask what will make him feel better?

If he answers, “No” or “I don’t know,” accept the answer. Don’t suggest things. Let him know you are there for him, if he thinks of anything. If he asks for something you can’t do, suggest another close option.

For example, if he says he wants a chocolate sundae, you could offer something more nutritious with an added feature like making a special place for the two of you to share a nutritious snack.

If you have a very young child, you will need to think for him and decide how to comfort him, but as you offer cuddling or toys to play with, go ahead and ask him what he needs. It sets the stage for him knowing that what he needs is important and he will one day be able to say what those needs are.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

What Is Your Child Good At? (9-26-14)

DECIDE:   Responsibilities and chores help a child know what he is good at.

PRACTICE:   Today, give your child five messages that say she is able to do many things well, including following your rules that are meant to keep her safe.

Make some messages be words. Make some be just actions. Examples of these types of messages (feel free to use them or to make up your own):

“Way to go – tell me how you got this B on your test.”

On a chores chart, mark chores done on time and done well,

“Your bed looks neat and comfortable today.”

“Thank you for sticking to your curfew.”

“Will you show me how you keep the dog so quiet?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

What’s Good about Saying No? (9-25-14)

DECIDE:   Saying “no” can be the start of something good – independence and thinking for oneself.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the last time your child was saying no, resisting, or refusing. Assume this was his way of showing he had his own ideas. What he was really saying is, “I’ll do it my way, thanks very much!”

Make a list of how you could react knowing that you want your child to learn to think for himself.

Think of all the ways you can let him know he will have to do as he is told, but you are glad he is learning to think for himself.

Pick one of your ideas to try the next time your child is saying no, resisting, or refusing.

Celebrate that your child is working toward thinking for himself.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

No Strings Attached (9-24-14)

DECIDE:   To love your child with no strings attached. 

PRACTICE:   Think about whether you send the message that you are only pleased with your child when he looks, sounds, or acts a certain way.

Do you spend more time with him when he is doing the activities you approve of? For example, when he plays football but not when he plays soccer; when she does ballet but not so much when she plays volleyball; when she plays with legos but not so much when she wants to play house; when she does her chores, but not as much when she doesn’t?

Do you show your disapproval for things he doesn’t have much control over? For example, how tall he is, how much he weighs, the color of her skin, or how clearly she speaks?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Needs Vs Wants (9-23-14)

DECIDE:   You can know the difference between needs and wants.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the difference between your needs and your wants.

On one side of a piece of paper list needs.  On the other side list wants.

Think carefully about the things listed as needs. Ask yourself why you need each thing. Be honest with yourself.

Needs are things that are necessary for a safe and healthy life. Wants are things that add pleasure and interest to life. If the needs items don’t measure up when you think about it, move them to wants.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

You Can Ask for Help (9-22-14)

DECIDE:   It’s OK to ask for help.       

PRACTICE:   Ask for help today.  When someone offers the help, accept it willingly.

Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”  Thank the person.

Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Invisible Responsibilities (9-21-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child understand your responsibilities.

PRACTICE:   Using what you learned about “invisible responsibilities” from the Parenting Tip on September 16, talk to your child about the responsibilities you meet on a regular basis.

Pick one of your responsibilities like cleaning the house or taking care of your pet. What are the tasks involved? How much of your time do those tasks take? Share this info with your child. Share how you make yourself do those tasks even when they are hard. Share why you are glad you do those tasks.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Teaching Your Child Empathy (9-20-14)

DECIDE:   Children can learn to care about how others feel.

PRACTICE:   Today, go to the park or some other place where children play and talk with your child about how other children in the park might be feeling.

If any of them are sad, talk with your child about how to make them feel better.

For example, if a child falls down, your child could offer a bandage. If a child is sad that he has no playmate, your child could offer to play. If a child is upset that he sees others having snacks and he has none, your child could offer to share.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Saving Your Child from Sadness (9-19-14)

DECIDE:   Saving your child from feeling sad can be a form of overindulgence.

PRACTICE:   Pay attention to the times that your child is sad or disappointed today.

It doesn’t have to be about something big. It can be because he has to wait for something, can’t find something he wants to play with or wear, a friend can’t play, etc.

Notice what your first reaction is. Do you want to try to talk him into feeling better, get him focused on something else, or give him something he likes to eat?

Stop yourself.

Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson. Instead of your usual response, try letting him know that you are noticing that he is sad or disappointed. Hold him, hug him, or just be with him.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Chores That Fit (9-18-14)

DECIDE:   Responsibilities and chores need to fit the age and maturity of your child.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the age and maturity of your child.

How much freedom do you give him? The right amount for his age? Does he handle it well or get himself in trouble too often?

Does he do regular chores? Is he responsible about doing them? Does he do them well enough to meet your expectations?

Do you expect him to learn the life skills that most kids his age are learning?

If your answers show that your child is mature enough for the responsibilities and chores he is expected to do, celebrate. Use this information to decide what responsibilities and chores your child is ready for in the future.

If your answers show that your child is not very mature yet, think about whether his responsibilities and chores should be changed to fit his age and maturity better.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

No Excuses from Your Child (9-17-14)

DECIDE:   Responsibility includes saying no when you mean no.

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child answers your request with an excuse or with no answer at all, try to get him to be responsible and give you a straight answer. Here is an example of how to do that.

ADULT:  “Will you take the dog for a walk?”

CHILD:  “Later.”

ADULT:   “Will you do it before or after your TV show?”

 CHILD:  “I don’t know.”

ADULT:   “Will you do it before the TV show, yes or no?”

What the adult wants from the child is a plain “yes” or “no.” His answer then becomes something the adult can hold him to – there is no wiggling out of his responsibility.

Remember this is only for requests that the child can say no to. If he is required to do something, it is better to tell him what is required, not to ask if he will do it.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Who Knows Your Responsibilities? (9-16-14)

DECIDE:   Responsibility should be both seen and heard.

PRACTICE:   Today, make a list of “invisible responsibilities” in your household. Invisible responsibilities are ones that adults do that children are not aware of or paying attention to.

If you are not sure what might be “invisible,” ask your children some questions:

Who washes your clothes? How often?

Who cooks dinner?

Who cleans the bathroom? How often?

What are the things that Mom and Dad do to take care of our pet?

What are the things that Mom and Dad do to make sure we have a house to live in?

Also ask yourself, how often your children thank you for meeting these responsibilities? This could be a sign that even if they know you are meeting them, they are acting like they are “invisible.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Caretaking Is Good. (9-15-14)

DECIDE:   Taking care of people and animals is good for kids.

PRACTICE:   Today, play house with your child (boy or girl). Your goal will be to “take care” of people and things.

When you are cleaning your pretend house make comments about how that helps the people who live there. When your child is cleaning, ask him why he wants to clean.

When cooking pretend meals, make comments about how much the people will like the food. Talk about healthy food and how you want the people who eat your food to be healthy.

Suggest that your child ask what people want to eat or plan for things he knows they like.

When cuddling a baby doll, talk about how wonderful that feels for both you and the baby. Ask your child how that feels for him and how he thinks the baby must feel.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss.

Pet Play (9-14-14)

DECIDE:   Pets can be fun.

PRACTICE:   Today, take your child and your pet out to play. If you don’t have a pet, you can borrow a neighbor’s pet.

Where to take the pet will depend on the type of animal. For many it might be a park. For others it could be your yard or just letting them out of their cages in the house for some free playtime.

Cautions:

* Be sure to select a place that will be safe for the type of animal.

* Be sure birds are protected from predators and from flying away.

* Some pets can’t be “taken out to play” at all because moving them is dangerous to them – like fish.

Don’t just watch the playtime. Be part of the play. Afterwards, talk about the fun you both had – and that the pet had.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Pet Training Classes (9-13-14)

DECIDE:   Training classes can be helpful to a pet and it’s owners.

PRACTICE:   Today, plan to take your child to see animal training classes. Talk to the workers about what types of animals can be trained, how long it takes, and how important the owners are to the success of the training.

If you own a pet, decide whether training classes would be helpful for your pet and family members.

If you do not own a pet yet, decide whether you want to arrange for training classes for your pet if you get one at some point.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

When You Lose a Pet (9-12-14)

DECIDE:   The feelings that go with the loss of a pet are important life lessons.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about a time you lost a pet. Were you allowed to feel sad?

If you didn’t have a pet, think about a relative, neighbor, or friend who lost a pet. Was that person allowed to feel sad?

If you believe you were permitted to deal with the sadness of losing a pet as a child, think about what you learned from that experience.

As an adult, how do you use what you learned as a child? Celebrate the opportunity to learn that lesson.

If you believe you were not permitted to deal with the sadness of losing a pet as a child, think about how you were protected from sadness. Were you talked out of it, given things to take your attention away from the loss, kept from even knowing about what happened to the pet, or was the pet quickly replaced?

Ask yourself how you would want to handle the loss of a pet with your own child, if it became necessary.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Child Being Responsible for a Pet (9-11-14)

DECIDE:   Your child can benefit from being responsible for a pet.

PRACTICE:   Select a chore that is necessary to take care of a pet that you own now or may own someday.

Break the chore down into parts.  For example, cleaning a cage = removing old paper, washing the cage, adding fresh paper.

Remember to talk about how the chore needs to be done in order to meet your expectations.

If you own a pet now, assign a new pet chore to your child – one he has the skill and maturity to handle. Break it down into parts and talk about how the chore needs to be done to meet your expectations.

For a young child, have him do just one part of the chore for a few days. When it is done well most days, add other parts.

Be sure to celebrate work well done.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Having a Parade. (9-10-14)

DECIDE:   To checkout some pets in action.

PRACTICE:   Today, plan a pet parade in your neighborhood.

Talk with your child afterwards about what he learned about different kinds of pets.

Were they under control? Were they well taken care of? Which ones did he like best and why? Which ones did he like least and why?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Choosing a Pet (9-9-14)

DECIDE:  To get to know the animal you choose as a pet.

PRACTICE:   Today, have a conversation with someone who has a pet like one you would like to have or the one you already have. Include your child.

Discuss what works well about having that pet and what is difficult about having that pet.

See what ideas you and your child can think of to solve any problems identified. Can family members make changes? Can the animal be trained?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Pet Rules (9-8-14)

DECIDE:   It is important that children understand what is required to take care of a pet.

PRACTICE:   Today, make a pet “rules” chart with your child. If the child is very young, use pictures.

Chores are important for children. They help them see their part in the family, learn skills, and develop responsibility. Be sure to include everyone on your rules chart that takes responsibility for a pet.

If you don’t own a pet yet, make it a chart about how you will divide up responsibilities someday, if you do get a pet.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Pets That Fit (9-7-14)

DECIDE:   It is important that pets fit well into the family.

PRACTICE:   Talk to your child about how important it is that a pet fits in with the family.

Make a selection of dog, cat, fish, etc. that you might consider owning someday. Then, use the Internet and books to check out the different breeds or species for that type of animal.

Select a few examples that appeal to you and write down how that breed or species acts. Talk together about whether that animal would fit with your family.

If you already own a pet, check out that breed or species in books and on the Internet. Write down how your pet acts and talk about whether that is like what you read. If not, use this as an opportunity to talk about how everything we read is not necessarily a true fact.

Talk about whether your pet fits well into your family. If you come up with problems discuss how you can adjust to the pet and how you can train the pet to fit better with the family.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Pets Up Close and Personal (9-6-14)

DECIDE:   To learn how your child acts with different pets.           

PRACTICE:   Today, plan a visit with your child to a pet store or animal shelter. While there, talk with the workers about the care needed for different pets and the usual behaviors of those pets.

Ask your child what he likes and doesn’t like about different pets. When you get home, make some notes about what types of pets seem to be the best fit for your child.

If you learn that the pet you have is not the best fit, think about ways you can change that. Can you help your child adjust to the behaviors of your pet? Can you train your pet to be a better fit with your child?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

A Child’s Pet Quiz (9-5-14)

DECIDE:   To learn what type of pet your child wants.

PRACTICE:   Today, let your child answer the questions you answered on September 2 (9-2-14 Daily Parenting Tip).

See if your child answers the same way you did.

Have him think about the pet you own or a pet he would like to have.

    • What type of cleanup is required?
    • How much space is needed?
    • How much people attention will the pet need?
    • What do you expect to get back from the pet (cuddling, protection, playtime)?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

A Pet Birthday Party (9-4-14)

DECIDE:   To celebrate pets.

PRACTICE:   Today, plan to celebrate your pet’s birthday or day of arrival to the family.

If you don’t have a pet yet, make plans for what the day will be like when a future pet will arrive.

Consider the needs of the pet when you plan your celebration. Be careful not to make the celebration be too much for the pet.

Explain that the type of celebrations that people have are not good for animals. In fact they can be dangerous for animals.

Especially be careful about foods. Some foods are dangerous for some animals.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Asking a Neighbor about a Pet. (9-3-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child understand more about pets.

PRACTICE:   Today, help your child ask neighbors whether they have a pet. If they do, have your child ask why they selected the pet they have.

Possible questions:

    • What type of pet do you have?
    • What breed or species do you have?
    • What is it like to take care of your pet?
    • What do you like about your pet?
    • What do you dislike about your pet?
    • What type of pet would you get if you got another pet?
    • If you don’t have a pet, why not?

Help your child do some math using the answers. For example, what answer was given the most? The least?

Did men answer differently than women? Grown-ups differently than children?

How many did have pets compared to those who did not? Was it close to the 9 out of 10 that Dr. Melson, says is usually the case?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Taking a Pet Quiz (9-2-14)

DECIDE:   What type of pet you want.

PRACTICE:   Today, think of a pet you might want to have. Answer these questions about your choice:

    • What type of cleanup is required?
    • How much space is needed?
    • How much people attention will the pet need?
    • What do you expect to get back from the pet (cuddling, protection, playtime)?

Don’t make up answers. Do some checking to make sure you know what your choice of pet is really like. If you learn things about this possible pet that you think will be a problem, think of a second choice.

Notice over the next week whether you know anyone who has a pet like your first or second choice.

If you already own a pet, answer your questions about that pet and think about whether it is a good fit for your family. If your answers say it is not such a good fit, think about how you can adjust to the pet and how you could train the pet to adjust to your needs.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Read about Pets. (9-1-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child learn more about pets.

PRACTICE:   Today, read books about pets with your child. If you already have a pet, find some books about your type of pet.

If not, ask your child what type of pet he wishes you had and look for books about that animal.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PICK A PUP.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Kids and Pets: The Basics.

Watch Out for Crooked No’s.* (8-31-14)

DECIDE:   Encourage your child to mean what he says.

PRACTICE:       Today, write down all the ways your child says he “doesn’t really mean it.”

For example, when asked to do something, he says he will do it before bedtime, or he says OK but never follows through.

Think about how you feel when he doesn’t follow through.

Imagine what those statements will be like if he continues to use them as he grows up – how will they sound at school or at his workplace? Will they help him be a successful adult?

Think about how you can start requiring him to answer “yes” or “no” to you when you ask or request him to do something. Remember that asking for a yes or no answer means you need to be OK with a “no” answer. If no is not OK, don’t ask. Instead, tell him what is expected.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Cleaning Up Is Not Always Good. (8-30-14)

DECIDE:   To respect the creative work of your child.

PRACTICE:       Today, look around your home and note how many things of your child’s you can see that are “in progress.”

Are legos half-built? Trucks lined up in a row that seem to be there for a reason? A brick pathway across the floor going to some unknown place? A half-painted picture?

Take the time to ask him about the projects. Find out how many he is done with and how many he has more plans for.

Ask him for ideas about how to make sure:

* His things are safe

* Other people are safe getting around his things.

* His things are ready and waiting for him the next time he wants to play

Be sure to compliment him on his creativity while you are discussing his projects and how to keep them safe and cleaned-up.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Mean What You Say. (8-29-14)

DECIDE:   To mean what you say to your child.

PRACTICE:       Today, write down the “I don’t really mean it.” statements you make to your child. For example, “In a minute.” “Maybe.” or “Sure.”

Listen for how many times you say these things today and how many times you follow through afterwards.

Did your child ignore that you didn’t follow through – as though he knew you wouldn’t? Did your child act disappointed when you didn’t follow through? Did he pester you with more requests?

Make a list of other things you could say to avoid these meaningless statements. For example, “I can’t answer you right now. Ask me later.” Or, “It will take me until the big hand is on the three to be ready to play with you.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Children Can Know What They Want. (8-28-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child know what he wants.

PRACTICE:       Today, ask your child some “What do you want?” or “What do you need?” questions.  Do not accept an “I don’t know.” answer.

Have him stop what he is doing until he responds. He will likely want to come up with an answer so he can get back to his activity.

When he answers, thank him and tell him something you like about his choice – it is interesting, a new idea, sounds good, etc.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

When Cleanup Makes You Angry (8-27-14)

DECIDE:   To respect your own creative work.

PRACTICE:       Today, look around your office and your home and note how many projects of yours are “in progress.”

Have you been working on bills? Are recipes laid out for dinners this week – or when you actually get to them? Does your desktop have half-written notes on it?

What would it be like for you if someone came along and cleaned everything up?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Anger and Other Feelings (8-26-14)

DECIDE:   To make the connection between anger and other feelings.

PRACTICE:       Today, think about the last time you had a hard time getting into a conversation.

Were you angry? What else did you feel or think in that situation?

Were you feeling left out? Worried that you were missing an opportunity? Feeling unloved? Embarrassed?

Write down what you did at the time.

Put up with not being included? Raised your voice? Walked away? Felt angry for quite a while. Convinced yourself you didn’t care?

Thinking back to the situation, were there some better things that you could have done at the time? What will you do the next time this happens to you?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Tell; Don’t Ask. (8-25-14)

DECIDE:   To learn the difference between telling and asking.

PRACTICE:       Today, notice how many times you tell your child what is expected of him. For example, telling him to come to dinner, get dressed, feed the dog, etc.

Think about exactly what you said. How many times did you “tell” him in the form of a question? Are your ready for dinner? Will you feed the dog?

Think about how you can change these statements next time so that the child realizes he does not have a choice.

When he has no choice, you could say things like, “Come to dinner now while it is hot.” Or, “Feed the dog on time so you can watch your TV show tonight”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Yes or No? (8-24-14)

DECIDE:   To require yes or no answers.

PRACTICE:       Today, require a yes or no answer from your child when you ask him to do something.

Will you bring the groceries in? Will you move your things to the family room? Will you let your sister have some extra time on the computer?

To build responsibility, if your child answers yes, insist he follow through.

If he says no, accept the no. Remember to only require a yes or no answer if you are willing to accept a no.

If no is not an OK answer, don’t ask – just tell your child what you expect.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Encourage Your Child’s Thinking. (8-23-14)

DECIDE: To encourage your child’s thinking.

PRACTICE: Notice how many times today you tell your child what he likes or dislikes rather than asking his opinion.

Telling sounds like, “You are going to love the new burgers we are having for dinner.” Or, “I picked out our TV show for tonight. I’m sure you will like it better than our usual one.”

Asking sounds like, “I found a new TV show for you to watch. I am anxious to see if you like it.” Or, “Should I have these burgers again; did you like them?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Think for Yourself. (8-22-14)

DECIDE:   To know what you know.

PRACTICE:       Today, notice how many times someone asks you what you think or feel about something.

What was that like for you? Was it easy or difficult to respond? Why do you think it was easy or difficult?

Was it different depending on who was asking you – friend, relative, stranger, boss, employee?

How often did you think or say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t care?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Mean What You Say. (8-21-14)

DECIDE:   To mean what you say to other adults.

PRACTICE:       Today, write down any answers you give adults at work and at home when they ask for something – answers that really say, “I don’t really mean it.” For example, when you answer “In a minute.” “Maybe.” or “Sure.”

Listen for how many times you say these things and how many times you followed through afterwards.

Were there people who seemed to not even hear you – like when they heard your answer they didn’t really expect you to follow through?

Were there some people who were disappointed when you didn’t follow through?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Teach Cleanup. (8-20-14)

DECIDE:   To teach your child to clean up.

PRACTICE:       Today, make begin to include your child in cleaning up his toys and activities.

If he has not had to do this before, let him know that you have decided this is a good thing for him to learn.  Also explain that it will help protect his things and give his projects the respect they deserve.

You can have regular “clean-up” times in the day. With young children it is best to have several throughout the day.

When there is a daycare provider ask him to follow your same schedule. Or, if your daycare has it’s own schedule for clean-up, try adopting that same schedule at home.

Clean-up time is also a great time to admire any creative projects your child has done. That makes clean-up time have an extra bonus for the child and not just be an unwanted task.

For young children, you can make a chart that shows how clean-up is done – when, by whom, and where things go.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Know What You Want. (8-19-14)

DECIDE:   It’s OK to know what you want.

PRACTICE:     Refuse to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” today.

If you are asked what you want, force yourself to answer with a choice.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Think for Yourself. (8-18-14)

DECIDE: To think and feel for yourself.

PRACTICE: Today, notice how many times someone tells you what he believes you think or feel about something – or what you should think or feel.

What was that like for you? How many times were they right?

How did you respond? Did it matter to you who was telling you – friend, relative, stranger, boss, employee?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Blowing Off Steam (8-17-14)

DECIDE:   It can be helpful to blow off steam.

PRACTICE:      Make yourself a “fuss box” today.

You can use a cardboard box open on the top and on one whole side (a three-sided and no top box).

Make it large enough that you can stand in it and rant and rave about anything you are upset about.

When you are done step out and say out loud one thing you will do about the situation that you are upset about.

If you feel silly at first, just keep using it over time until you feel the benefit of blowing off some steam.

(Thanks to author Jean Illsley Clarke for the fuss box idea. Also see Parenting Tip for August 9 for information about a fuss box for children.)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Are You Cleaning Up Too Much? (8-16-14)

DECIDE: Who should clean up after your child.

PRACTICE: Today, make a list of each time you clean up after your child.

Make two columns. Mark who did the clean up next to each thing on the list: “Me,” “Child with Help,” or “Child Alone.”

If you were to repeat this list in September, would you want it to look different? How many of the clean-ups did you do? Were there more things that your child could have cleaned up – at least with some help? Were there any things your child cleaned up by himself?

What do you think your child has learned so far about cleaning up after himself? Do you have a plan to teach him more?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Letting Children Be Heard (8-15-14)

DECIDE: Children can be heard and not just seen.

PRACTICE: Today, make sure your child is with you when you are having an adult conversation – even if it is just a two-person conversation. Plan how you will help your child feel included.

For example:

* Take short breaks from the adult conversation every so often to talk to your child.

* Talk to your child ahead of time and let him know that this is an adult conversation and that he is expected to either play on his own or be a listener. Also let him know about how long you will be having this conversation.

* Give your child a silent signal for when he needs to talk to you – like a tap on the arm.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 2.

Rate Your Responsibility “to” Children. (8-14-14)

DECIDE:   What it means to be responsible to your children.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about this statement: “You are responsible to your children not for them.”

Ask yourself what that statement means to you – especially what it means to be responsible to your children.

Think about what your job is as a parent. Write down what things you can control as a parent.

Can you control what you teach them, how you teach them, and the rules and consequences you use to encourage them to do what is right?

Can you control whether they always do what is expected of them?

Are you being a responsible parent when you give up on your child or ignore their misbehavior?

Can you still be responsible to them even when they mess up – which they will certainly do?

Rate how much you are responsible to your children.

Not enough – I find myself giving up when they misbehave. I don’t know what to do about or am afraid of their angry outbursts.

Somewhat – I let them know I love them and also follow-through on rules and consequences some of the time, but not as often as I need to.

Very much – I work hard at making sure they feel loved and at making sure they know life skills and how to behave. When they don’t respond, I keep on trying and finding new ways to teach them.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Rate Improvement Dealing with Anger. (8-13-14)

DECIDE:   How much better you are getting at dealing with your child’s anger.

PRACTICE:  Today, think about the last time you dealt with your child’s anger.

Rate your responses. You can score ½ points, if you think you were between ratings (1½, 2½, 3½).

1 point: I really don’t think about this as a problem. I was glad to avoid a tantrum – even if it meant I ignored the situation or gave-in to my child. It was easier on everybody.

 2 points: I knew and accepted this was a problem, but it didn’t seem like the biggest problem I had. I knew I should enforce rules. I tried to talk myself into staying in charge, but just couldn’t face the tantrum.

 3 points: I knew it was important to follow through with rules and not give in. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I tried to be matter-of-fact about sticking to what I expected my child to do. I didn’t feel guilty afterwards.

Compare your rating today to your rating on August 7.

Do you have a higher number today? If so, celebrate. You are making progress.

If not, remember you can repeat things as many times as you need to.

Try thinking about this rating again in a week and check your progress again

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Children Can Learn How They Feel. (8-12-14)

DECIDE:   Your child can learn to know how he feels.

PRACTICE:   Today, search the internet for “feelings faces games.”

Either purchase a game you discover, use one available online, or get ideas about how to make a homemade version.

Play it with your child.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Rate Your Responsibility “for” Children. (8-11-14)

DECIDE:   What it means to be responsible for your children.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about this statement: “You are responsible to your children not for them.”

Ask yourself what that statement means to you – especially what it means to be responsible for your children.

Think about a time your child’s behavior embarrassed you.  Write down some of the reasons you were embarrassed.

Did you think others would judge you as a bad parent?  Did you think you were a failure because you thought you had taught your child to never make the mistake that she made?  Did you think you should and could control what your child did or did not do?

 Rate how much you take on the responsibility for your children.

A little – once in a while I find myself feeling embarrassed, judged, or a failure.

Somewhat – I find myself feeling embarrassed, judged, or a failure more than I want to or think I should.

Not much – I mostly concentrate on loving and teaching my children. Even if they don’t respond every time, I keep on trying. This is how I am responsible to them.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

When Faced with Child’s Anger (8-10-14)

DECIDE:   To get better at reacting to your child’s anger the way you want to.

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child is refusing to do what he is expected to do, don’t back down no matter how much you might want to in order to keep him calm.

Insist on the expected behavior.

Remember that the more you hold the line, the less afraid you will feel about his angry responses.

The anger will pass, but the lesson learned by the child will last forever.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Letting Children Blow Off Steam (8-9-14)

DECIDE:   Your child can feel all of her feelings.

PRACTICE:   Make a “fuss box” for your child today.

You can use a cardboard box open open on the top and on one whole side (a three-sided and no top box).

Make it large enough that he can stand in it and rant and rave about anything he is upset about.

Put the box in an open but out-of-the-way place in the house.  Add some pillows that your child can punch.  Show him how to use the fuss box.

When you see him acting upset today, tell him to go use his fuss box for a few minutes.

When he leaves his fuss box he needs to tell you one thing he is going to do about the situation.  It needs to be something that won’t hurt anybody or any thing. (Thanks to author Jean Illsley Clarke for the fuss box idea.)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Thinking and Feeling (8-8-14)

DECIDE:   You can help your child think and feel at the same time.

PRACTICE:   Make a sign: ”THINK.”

Post it in your kitchen or other high-traffic part of your house. When your child asks what it is or what it means, tell her it is a reminder that you can use your brain to tell you what to do even when you are very happy, sad, mad, or even scared.

Give her an example.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Rate Improvement Dealing with Anger. (8-7-14)

DECIDE:   How much better you are getting at dealing with your child’s anger.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the last time you dealt with your child’s anger.

Rate your responses. You can score ½ points, if you think you were between ratings (1½, 2½, 3½).

1 point: I really don’t think about this as a problem. I was glad to avoid a tantrum – even if it meant I ignored the situation or gave-in to my child. It was easier on everybody.

 2 points: I knew and accepted this was a problem, but it didn’t seem like the biggest problem I had. I knew I should enforce rules. I tried to talk myself into staying in charge, but just couldn’t face the tantrum.

 3 points: I knew it was important to follow through with rules and not give in. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I tried to be matter-of-fact about sticking to what I expected my child to do. I didn’t feel guilty afterwards.

 Compare your rating today to your rating on August 2.

Do you have a higher number today? If so, celebrate. You are making progress.

If not, remember you can repeat things as many times as you need to.

Try thinking about this rating again in a week and check your progress again.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Do You Hold a Grudge? (8-6-14) 

DECIDE:   Anger is temporary.

PRACTICE:   Today, make a list of five times you were angry recently.

 In each case were you angry for a short while or did you have trouble shaking it? If you don’t really remember, count it as “for a short while.”

 Did who you were angry with make a difference in how long the anger lasted? Which lasted longer – anger at those you cared about or at those you didn’t  know vey well?

Think about whether you had a chance to blow off some steam in each case. Did that make a difference about how long the anger lasted?

Based on what you learned from your list, write some advice to yourself about dealing with your anger in the future.

 Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Thinking and Feeling (8-5-14)

DECIDE:   You can think and feel at the same time.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about a time when you felt angry and were able to use your good thinking to deal with it.

Perhaps you removed yourself from a situation that was dangerous or perhaps you found a safe way to blow off steam.

Celebrate that you were able to think even when you felt so angry.

If your child is old enough and the situation is appropriate, share your experience with your child

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Feelings Can Be Good or Bad. (8-4-14) 

DECIDE:   Any feeling can be good or bad depending on your reaction to it.

PRACTICE:   Today, make two lists. on a piece of paper.  Label one “Helpful” and the other “Harmful.”

On the “Harmful” list, write a note about a time you were angry and did something you wish you hadn’t.

On the “Useful” list, write a note about a time when anger led you to find a solution to a problem.

Repeat for other feelings (happy, sad, scared, etc.).  See if you can write about 10 different feelings.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Child’s Anger. (8-3-14)

DECIDE:   You won’t be afraid of your child’s anger.

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child is refusing to do what he is expected to do, don’t back down no matter how much you might want to in order to keep him calm.

Insist on the expected behavior.  Remember that the more you hold the line, the less afraid you will feel about his angry responses.

The anger will pass, but the lesson learned by the child will last forever.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Rate How You Deal with Child’s Anger. (8-2-14)

DECIDE:   How you want to react to your child’s anger.

PRACTICE:   Today, think of several recent angry outbursts by your child. Think of times when she didn’t want to do as she was told, and you failed to enforce a rule because you were afraid of or embarrassed by her anger.

 Rate your usual responses in these situations. You can score ½ points, if you think you are between ratings (1½, 2½, 3½).

1 point: I really don’t think about this as a problem. I’m usually just glad I have avoided a tantrum. If I ignore the situation or give-in to my child, it is easier on everybody.

 2 points: I know this is a problem, but it doesn’t seem like the biggest problem I have. I know I should enforce rules but usually just can’t face the tantrums.

3 points: I know it is important to follow through with rules and not give in, but I just don’t know what to do when tantrums start. I feel guilty when I give in or lose my own temper.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

Your Reaction to Anger (8-1-14)

DECIDE:   You can deal with anger.

PRACTICE:   Today, think of three times you have been around angry people recently – adults or children.

What was your reaction? Did you ignore it, feel afraid, get angry right back, or deal with it in some direct way? (Include removing yourself as a direct way.)

Make a three-column list. List the situation, your reaction, and how you felt when you reacted that way.

Did you feel like a child? Like an adult? Like a responsible person? Unsure of yourself? Proud of yourself?

Make a plan for how you want to handle these situations in the future.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THAT MAKES ME MAD!.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at What You Need to Know about an Angry Child, Part 1.

I Like Who You Are. (7-31-14)

DECIDE:    It is important to tell your child how much you like who he is.    

PRACTICE:   Today, give five special messages today to your child.

Make them about how much you like who he is.

The messages can be words or actions. (Examples: “I want to have fun playing with you today;” making him one of his favorite foods.)

Remember, these are not messages the child has earned by being good or by following the rules. They are messages deserved just because he is who he is.

Mark your calendar with several “Extra Five” days through the summer. Use these days to repeat this activity and give five special messages to your child on those days.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

People Change. (7-30-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child believe people change.

PRACTICE:   Today, talk with your child about what last summer was like for him and for you.

How big was he? Has your size changed? What could he do? Not do? Are there any changes in what you can do?

What is different about him this summer? About you?

Are there things he is glad about? Are there things about last summer that he misses? What are the changes like for you?

Make the point of your talk:

  • Change does happen.
  • Most of the time, change keeps things interesting and fun to look forward to, especially since you can often work toward changes that you want. For example, if you want to be a better baseball player, you can work at that. If you want to have a vacation, you can think about what could be arranged that would work for your family.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Rate Improvement at Discipline That Fits. (7-29-14)

DECIDE:    To get better at discipline that “fits” your child just right.    

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the different types of rules and consequences you used with your child over the past week.

Think about whether your rules are left over from a day gone by – from older children or even from your own childhood. Can you really explain why your rules are what they are or are they automatic?

Are you using enough rules or are you just looking the other way on some matters? Likewise, are you enforcing consequences when rules are broken – most of the time, some of the time, or hardly ever?

Figure out whether your rules and consequences are right for your child’s age and maturity. Remember that an older child can need “younger” types of rules, and a young child can be ready for “older” types of rules.

Put a number to how much you have been using rules and consequences that fit during this past week. Do you think it was 50%, 75%, or 30%?

Compare this number to the one you had on July 22. Has it gotten higher? If so, celebrate. If not, plan to make changes and keep working at it.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Making Up for Mistakes (7-28-14)

DECIDE:    To teach your child how people can make up for their mistakes. 

PRACTICE:   Today, think about a time when something you did or failed to do hurt another person, and you did something afterwards to make that person feel better.

Tell your child a story about that memory.

Make sure the story includes how it felt to hurt that person, what you did to make it up to that person, and what it felt like to make that person feel better.

Tell your child that making it up to the person was important even if what happened wasn’t done on purpose. It still hurt the other person.

Tell your child that when you do something that hurts someone else, you are still a good person. Trying to make the person who was hurt feel better shows that you are a good person.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Encourage Imagination. (7-27-14)

DECIDE:   To encourage your child’s imagination.

PRACTICE:   Today, video your child when he is pretending.

You can use your phone, iPad, or video camera. Show him your film.

Tell him specific things that you like in the film – the way he created his costume, the smile on his face, the way he acted out his part.

If you have a video of yourself pretending as a child, show it too. Talk about anything you remember about what it was like to pretend.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Stop Bullying Now. (7-26-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child decide he doesn’t like what happens when he uses bully behavior.

PRACTICE:   Today, think honestly about whether your child uses bullying behavior.

Does she order her friends around?  Threaten to not play, if friends don’t do as she says?

Make fun of his friends?  Physically fight with others?

Make a rule that playtime is over when you see these behaviors. Now is the time to start making sure they don’t payoff for your child.

Make sure you enforce the rule in a matter-of-fact way. “I see that you are being mean and are scaring or hurting your friends, which is against our rule about playtime. Playtime is over. Tomorrow you can try again to play without being mean or too rough.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Career Awareness for Kids (7-25-14)

DECIDE:    Career awareness is good for children at all ages.    

PRACTICE:   Today, check with your child’s school about anything they do through the year to show kids about jobs and occupations that real people do.

Field trips? Sharing days when parents and volunteers come to talk to the kids about what they do? Art projects?

If you are interested in this sort of thing, volunteer to help out with the school’s programs.

If your school is not involved in this sort of thing, think about how you might be able to encourage them to get involved.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

When Children Pretend (7-24-14)

DECIDE:    To encourage your child to talk about what he is thinking.    

PRACTICE:   Today, interview your child when he is pretending – or right after. You might want to wait until he his wrapping up, so you don’t interrupt his creativity.

 Ask him his name, how he came to be who he was, what he likes about being who he was, what he was thinking while he was playing, what it felt like to pretend what he was pretending.

Ask if there are things he wishes he had to make this activity more fun.

If there are, think about how you and he could arrange to add a few things – finding them at a second-hand store, a dollar store, hunting around the house for what is needed, borrowing something, or organizing an art project to make something.

Thank him for sharing with you.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Good Ways to Be Powerful (7-23-14)

DECIDE:   To help your child see many good ways to be powerful.

PRACTICE:   Today, talk with your child about how people act powerful. You can use games, movies, books that he is familiar with as examples.

Put a few ideas on a list. Not more than 3-5 different examples for young children. You can use more for older children.

Cross out any idea on the list that puts down other people, hurts others, or uses power against others.  If the list has gotten too small, help your child think of some more things to add that show power used for good – without overpowering others.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Does Your Discipline Fit Your Child? (7-22-14)

DECIDE:    To consider what discipline really “fits” for your child.    

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the different types of rules and consequences you use with your child.

Think about whether your rules are left over from a day gone by – from older children or even from your own childhood.

Think about whether you are using enough rules or are you just looking the other way on some matters.

Are you enforcing consequences when rules are broken – most of the time, some of the time or hardly ever?

Figure out whether your rules and consequences are right for your child’s age and maturity. Remember that an older child can need “younger” types of rules, and a young child can be ready for “older” types of rules.

Put a number to how much you have been using rules and consequences that fit your child. Do you think you are 50%, 75%, or 30% in tune with your child’s age and maturity?

Plan to make changes that will make that number be as high as you want it to be.  The Parenting Tip on July 29 will give you a chance to see if you have made improvements.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Three Things Your Child Wants to Be (7-21-14)

DECIDE:    To help your child think about jobs and careers that interest him.    

PRACTICE:   Today, arrange for a field trip or tour of somewhere your child can see people (and maybe talk to people) who are working at a job that she plays about when she is pretending.

It can be a virtual tour by looking for a TV or video that is about that job.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

An Art Project (7-20-14)

DECIDE:   Simple, hand-made things can be great fun.

PRACTICE:   Today, do an art project with your child that is about adding something to his dress-up stuff.

It could be making hats to go with clothes he has. It could be making “extras” like magic wands, tools, etc.

It could be whole costumes made out of craft paper or newspaper. It could be props like ovens, hideouts, or walls made from cardboard boxes or blocks.

Be sure to play together to try them out once they are made.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Powerful Does Not Mean Overpower (7-19-14) 

DECIDE:    Being powerful does not mean overpowering other people.    

PRACTICE:   List ways to be powerful.

Cross out any idea that puts down other people, hurts others, or uses power against others.

Try one of the ways on your list today.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Learn Something New about Your Child. (7-18-14) 

DECIDE:   To learn something new about your child today.

PRACTICE:   Play dress-up with your child today.

What workers does he like to dress up as? What superheroes are his favorites? What types of “power” does he pretend to have when playing a hero?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Playtime Rules (7-17-14)

DECIDE:    Playtime rules can help children learn how to think and act toward others.    

PRACTICE:   Make a playtime “rules” chart with your child. If the child is very young, use pictures.

    • Make one rule be about taking turns. For example, If more than one child wants to play with the same toy, an adult can keep a list of those that want the toy and use a timer to make sure those on the list get a turn.
    • Make one rule be about toys that are not for sharing (something a child brings to your house that he doesn’t want to share or your child’s comfort, extra special, or brand new toy that he can’t bear to share, but needs it near him).  One possible rule for that situation: That toy must stay with an adult and the child can have it only while he is sitting next to the adult.

For the next several days, stay with the children at playtime and enforce the rules chart.

When there is a problem take the children to the chart and remind them of the rule that helps with the problem. You may need to do this several times while children get used to the rules.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Accepting Your Power (7-16-14) 

DECIDE:   To accept your power.

PRACTICE:   Make a list of five things you have power over. And, while you’re at it, make a list of a few things you do not have power over.

Re-look at your lists sometime during the day and think about how true they are.

Do you really have power over all the things on the Have Power list? If not, move them to the Do Not Have Power list.

Can you think of any ways you actually do or could gain power over some of the things on your Do Not Have Power List? If so, move those to the Have Power list.

Celebrate the things you have power over. You are a powerful person.

Save your lists so you can continue to work on moving things around as you make new decisions.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

Make Playtime Unreal. (7-15-14)

DECIDE: Dress-up clothes and things are good for children.

PRACTICE: Today, collect dress-up stuff for your child. Things to consider: animal things, superhero things, cultural things, and things people wear and use for work.

The things don’t need to be “real.” Kids have great imaginations and can make things be what they want them to be with simple additions like a ribbon on a stick for a magic wand or a picture of a flame on any red hat for a fireperson.

If you already have dress-ups for your child, perhaps a couple of new additions would renew his interest.

Or, perhaps what he has just needs to be cleaned up and organized. When toys become scattered and messy, children can lose interest. Being able to see them and get to them easily is an invitation to play with them.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 2.

No Labels Allowed. (7-14-14)

DECIDE:   No labeling allowed.

PRACTICE:   Think about the last time you heard your child put a label on someone. “He is bossy.” Or, “She is stuck-up.”

Think ahead about what you want to say to your child the next time you hear this type of labeling from him. Some questions that you can use in your discussion:

    • Why does your child think this?  Does your child have real reasons?
    • Is this person like this all the time or some of the time? Is your child that way sometimes too? Would he want everyone to think he was always like that?
    • Could this person learn to be different? How? Could our child help him?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Do Your Rules Fit? (7-13-14) 

DECIDE:    Parenting is often about controlling trial and error.   

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the following questions to help you decide if your rules and consequences are a good fit for your child.

Do they fit her age? Are you expecting her to do things that most children her age seem able to do? Are your rules ones that most children her age seem to be able to follow?

Does she stay out of trouble most of the time? Or, is there a lot of “correcting” going on? If so, don’t think so much about her size or age.

Size can matter about some things like whether to expect her to fix her own snacks, if she can’t reach the food. But, maturity can be more important in decisions about rules and consequences.

If you need to, dial things back a little. Try some expectations and rules that are usually for slightly younger children. Then, watch for signs that she is making good decisions about her behavior and give her some new privileges and rules to see what she can handle.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Powerful Children Ask for Help. (7-12-14)

DECIDE:    To teach your child that asking for help is a powerful thing to do.    

PRACTICE:    When your child asks for help today, tell her you are happy to help and are glad she asked.

Tell her that when she asks for what she needs, she is powerful.

Point out how easily she got you to give her some help. This is more powerful than yelling, whining, or throwing things when she needs something.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Put a Spotlight on Your Child. (7-11-14)

DECIDE:    To put the spotlight on a preschooler.    

PRACTICE:   Today arrange to get the book, MY BOOK ABOUT ME by Dr. Suess for a preschooler who is important to you.

You can purchase it at bookstores or online and let the child own it – and, write in it, draw in it, and otherwise make it all his own.

If this doesn’t work for you, borrow it from the library and copy some pages for your child to write and draw on.

The book makes the child the star of the book and lets him think about all sorts of things that are just about him. It even asks for a self-portrait – a great item for a keepsake album or scrapbook.

Be sure to share the fun. Help him know what to do with the pages. Celebrate what he learns and shares about himself.

Share some things about yourself too as you move through the book with him.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Being Powerful. (7-10-14)

DECIDE: Asking for help is a powerful thing to do.

PRACTICE: Ask for help today. When someone offers the help, accept it willingly.

Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.” Thank the person.

Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

If you have a chance to ask for this help in front of your child, do so. He needs to learn about this power as well.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Facts Can Destroy Criticism. (7-9-14)

DECIDE:    You can use facts to destroy labels that are bad for you.    

PRACTICE:   Write down negative names you have been called.

Go back through them and use a fact to prove them wrong.  For “irresponsible,” you could write about all the times you take good care of your kids which is a very responsible thing to do.

Be sure to destroy the original list so you can be clear that you are changing those messages.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

How Much Do You Do for Your Child? (7-8-14) 

DECIDE:    You can know how much your kids can do on their own.    

PRACTICE:   Today, think about how much you do for your child and whether it is the right amount for her age and maturity.

Consider the amount of attention you give her and how involved you are in everything she does.

Do you do things for her that she should do on her own? Do you often save her from being distressed or frustrated?

Do you give her what you think she needs even before she asks? Are you trying too hard to make her love you? (These signs of doing too much for children are taken from HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

If you decide that you do too much for her, remember you are doing it out of love, but also remember that you can balance that love. You can do what she truly needs but not more than she needs.

Make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Are You Alike or Different? (7-7-14) 

DECIDE:  Learning about what is alike and different is good for adults..

PRACTICE:   Today, think about how you are alike and different from other people.

Make a short list of people you know well and respect. Write what things you share with those people and what things you are very different about.

Review the list of things that are alike. Celebrate that you share those things.

Review the list of things that are different. Ask your self whether they are things you would like to change and be able to move off the “different from” list. If so work on those things.

Ask yourself whether your differences are OK and serve a good purpose. Perhaps those people would wish they were more like you about those things.

If you find differences you are glad you have, write down why each one is good and in what way it helps you in your life.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Learning Measurement (7-6-14) 

DECIDE:   Measuring is fun to learn. 

PRACTICE:   Today, think of a fun measurement game or activity. You can measure how tall stuffed animals are, the size of the TV, draw around people’s feet or shoes and measure the outline, etc.

Talk about what you learn. Put the emphasis on what matters about these sizes.

Will they change? Why or why not? When is bigger better, and when is smaller better? Why?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Names Matter. (7-5-14)

DECIDE:   Names matter.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about why you named your child as you did.

Share those reasons with your child. Make sure she knows how important she is to you and how her name shows that.

For example tell her she was named after one of your best friends, who is one of the kindest people you know.

Tell her you can already see that she shares that with your friend. Tell her all the ways you see that she is kind too.

While you are thinking about this, what do you know about your name? Who could you ask?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Make Today a Celebration. (7-4-14)

DECIDE:    To make today a day of celebration and excitement. 

PRACTICE:   Plan an outing with your child that celebrates something important related to the country you live in or the culture you are part of. For those in the U.S., that would likely be a Fourth of July celebration today.

Enjoy it to the fullest, but remember special days are not always “perfect.” But, even when events aren’t prefect, they can still create wonderful memories.

At the end of the day, be sure to talk over the day and all that was good about it.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

What’s Special about People and Things? (7-3-14) 

DECIDE:   There is something special about every person and thing.

PRACTICE:   Play a sorting game with your child today. With young children your game can be very simple – sorting colors, shapes, sizes of things.

If the child is old enough you can also talk about even when two things are the same color, there still may be differences. For example, the shade of the color may be different or the evenness of the color might be different. You can also point out that two things of the same color may be very different about something else like shape.

You can also talk about “sorting” with even older children. You can make it about games, cars, musicians, friends, etc. It can teach the same lesson – differences can be OK and sometimes you want to be different on some things for very good reasons.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

“My World” Art Project (7-2-14)

DECIDE:    Children learn through art.    

PRACTICE:   Do a “My World” art project with your child, today. Use whatever medium you and your child want to (drawing, sculpting, painting, dancing, singing, photographing, etc.).

The idea is to have the child at the center of whatever is being created and to capture all the other important people and things that surround him. He will learn and have fun selecting who and want is most important and how they look next to him (close, far, bigger, smaller, bright, faded, etc.).

Be sure to display the product.

It’s OK for you to do your world as well. It’s probably been a long time since you have thought of yourself as the center of your world. You are in many ways – just not all ways like you may have thought when your were a preschooler.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

“How Big Am I?” (7-1-14)

DECIDE:   Size is important to children for lots of reasons.

PRACTICE:   Today, make sure there is a place to keep track of how your child is growing.

    • A wall. Some walls today are painted with chalk paint or the paint is washable so can be drawn on and updated regularly.
    • A doorjamb. I’ve know of houses where these remain forever as part of the history of the house.
    • A paper chart of some sort. They are fun to make or can be purchased at reasonable prices.

Put your measurements in a place easy for the child to see whenever he wants to. This is all part of the child feeling important and understanding how he “fits” into his world – which by preschool age he is quite sure he is the center of.

Others will love to see your ideas for what you use and where you display it. Use our comments section to share.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MY VERY BIG LITTLE WORLD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Preschoolers – Who Are They? Part 1.

Give Back to Your Community. (6-30-14)

DECIDE:   To give back to your community.

PRACTICE:    If you are part of any community or church festivals this summer, suggest a “booth” where kids can take a turn being the star of a Food Game for the price of a ticket.

Plan your booth around Mr. Steig’s Pizza original Game (Summer Fun), your special version of Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game (6-21-14 Daily Parenting Tip), or your own special, family Food Game (6-26-14 Daily Parenting Tip).

For extra money-making opportunities:

    • Sell Mr. Steig’s book (PETE’S A PIZZA) at a slight profit over what you can buy it for in bulk.
    • Arrange for each child’s participation to be recorded in a movie or picture and sell it for a small fee.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Share Your Fun. (6-29-14)

DECIDE:   To share your summer fun with loved ones that can’t be with you.

PRACTICE:    Make a movie of you and your child playing one of your food games (links).

You can use a video camera, phone, or iPad.

Share the video with loved ones that can’t be with you.

Plan for telephone time or electronic FaceTime to all talk together about what fun the game was,

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

It’s OK to Show-Off. (6-28-14)

DECIDE:   It’s OK to show-off your talents once in awhile.

PRACTICE:    Today, make a plan to “demonstrate” a children’s game: Mr. Steig’s original Pizza Game (Summer Fun), your special version of Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game (6-21-14 Daily Parenting Tip), or your own special Food Game (6-26-14 Daily Parenting Tip). You and your child could demonstrate it together at a neighborhood gathering, family celebration, or community event. Be prepared for all the kids that want a turn.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

An Art Project (6-27-14)

DECIDE: To celebrate your child’s creativity.

PRACTICE: Today, do an art project to make the parts for your new Food Game (6-26-14 Daily Parenting Tip).

After you have all the drawing, cutting, coloring, sculpting, and collecting done, plan a day to play the game with all the new, fun, “real” parts.

Be sure to let your child know how creative his game and his game parts are.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Make Up a New Game. (6-26-14)

DECIDE:   Creativity is fun.

PRACTICE:    Today, make up a new Food Game like Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game. Use the original game for inspiration (Summer Fun).

You can make your game new and special for you and your family by selecting a different food to prepare – something your family loves to eat or something that is just silly and not even a real food – like Worm Pudding.

    • What will be the ingredients? What real or constructed things will you use for playing the game?
    • What will you have to do to the ingredients (stir, knead, toss, pat, etc.)?
    • How does this food cook? In the stove, in a skillet, on the grill, etc.?
    • How is it presented to the diners? On a plate with other things, in a sandwich, on a stick, etc.?

When you play this new game, don’t forget to let your child have a turn being the “cook.”

Our readers would love to hear about your Food Game. Use our comment section to share.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Ask Grandparents. (6-25-14)

DECIDE:   Grandparents have something special to offer your child.

PRACTICE:    Today, talk to your child’s grandparents about a family food that has been special in your family. Use the telephone or FaceTime if they are not nearby.

Talk about the ingredients, how it is cooked, how it became associated with your family, and any special memories that are connected to eating or cooking it.

Consider turning this food into a Food Game (link). Consider including grandparents in creating the game.

If you don’t have grandparents available for this activity, you can talk to relatives, neighbors or friends who knew your child’s grandparents.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

When Your Child Feels Gloomy (6-24-14)

DECIDE:   Relaxation can help with your child’s gloomy feelings.

PRACTICE:   Today, sit with your child and figure out two different things that he thinks would be relaxing for him.

Assign one of the ways to each of the next two weeks and practice every day.

Figure out if your child needs you to help him practice or not. For example, he will need help for a massage, but not necessarily for listening to music.

At the end of each week, check in with him to see whether the idea has helped him deal with gloomy feelings. If so, ask him how and when he will use it in the future. If not, see if you and he can make the idea better or think of another idea.

Our readers would love to hear about your successful ideas. Use our comments section.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

June 23, 2014:

DECIDE:   Preventing your child’s sadness can be a form of overindulgence.

PRACTICE:    Pay attention to the times that your child is sad or disappointed today.

It doesn’t have to be about something big. It can be because he has to wait for something, can’t find something he wants to play with or wear, a friend can’t play, etc.

Notice what your first reaction is. Rather than talking directly about his feelings, do you want to try to talk him into feeling better, get him focused on something else, or give him something he likes to eat?

Stop yourself.  Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson.

Instead of your usual response, try letting him know that you are noticing that he is sad or disappointed. Hold him, hug him, or pat him. Ask him what he thinks would help him feel better?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Art for a Game (6-22-14) 

DECIDE:   Art is good for children’s imaginations.

PRACTICE:   Today, do an art project to make the parts for a Pizza Game. You can follow Mr. Steig’s original game (Summer Fun) or a Pizza Game you made up yourself (6-21-14 Daily Parenting Tip).

After you have all the drawing, cutting, coloring, sculpting, and collecting done, plan a day to play the game with all the new, fun, “real” parts.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Make Up a New Game. (6-21-14)

DECIDE:   To have some summer fun.

PRACTICE:    Today, make up your own version of Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game (Summer Fun). Below are some ideas about ways you can make it your own. Another nice addition is to let your child take a turn as the pizza maker.

    • Add new ingredients to the dough – things that are particular to your family (perhaps a spice) or something silly like bugs that tickle your tummy.
    • Select different toppings that your family especially likes – or make some up that are weird like “jiggle jots.” What on earth are those?
    • After the pizza is in the oven, try poking and prodding it a bit to see if it is done.
    • Do some math problems to figure out how to slice the pizza. If there are 5 people to eat, where should you slice to give everyone a fair piece? Should it be even rounds like refrigerator cookies? Should it be like a turkey with drumsticks and wings?

Our readers would love to hear about your special Pizza Game. Use our comment section to share.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Career Awareness. (6-20-14)

DECIDE:   A lot of learning can happen in the summer.

PRACTICE:    Today, arrange for a field trip to a pizza parlor.

See if one in your area will let you and your child come behind the scenes and be able to talk to workers and see them doing their work.

In the kitchen, notice the amount of ingredients needed and what the the safety rules are.

When you interview the business folks, ask things like what they do all day and in what ways they depend on other people like suppliers, bankers, etc.

Be sure to talk to the customer service folks about how they keep their customers happy and what is most difficult about their jobs.

Don’t forget to take some time to eat some pizza and see what it is like to be a customer after seeing what goes on behind the scenes.

Talk over all that you learn that day and record it for sharing when your child returns to school. Art or writing projects are great ways to create “show and tell” items.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

When You Are Gloomy (6-19-14)

DECIDE:   You can learn to relax to help with your gloomy feelings.

PRACTICE:    Today, make a list of 4 ways you can help yourself relax.

Assign one of the ways from your list to each of the next four weeks and practice every day.

Be sure to share your experiences with your child. You can help her learn that relaxing is something you can learn to do with practice and that it can help with gloomy feelings.

At the end of the last week, go back to your list and decide which ways worked best for you. Keep using those ways every time you feel sad.

Our readers would love to hear about your successful ideas. Use the comments section.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun

Feelings Faces. (6-18-14) 

DECIDE:    You can help your child understand his feelings.      

PRACTICE:    Today, search the internet for “feelings faces games.”

Either purchase a game you discover, use one available online, or get ideas about how to make a homemade version.

Play it with your child. Use the game faces to teach about feelings.

Ask what feeling your child would associate with each face. Tell stories about why a person might look (or feel) that way.

You can also have your child draw the faces and name them. This can lead to an even deeper understanding by the child.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Play William Steig’s Pizza Game. (6-17-14) 

DECIDE:   Make-believe is great fun for kids.

PRACTICE:    Play Mr. Steig’s Pizza Game with a child today. You can find directions at Summer Fun. You can get a more elaborate idea of the game from the book, PETE’S A PIZZA by William Steig. Get ready for lots of giggles and fun. And, decide ahead of time how many games you’re willing to play, because this one is a game you’ll be asked to do over and over.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Played Make-Believe Lately? (6-16-14)

DECIDE: Make-believe is great fun for adults.

PRACTICE: Today, think about the last time you pretended with other adults. Attended an adult Halloween party, went to a Mystery Dinner Theatre, played a board game in which you had to act like an assigned character, played charades, etc.?

Were you able to enjoy it or did you feel out-of-place and self-conscious?

If you freely had fun, celebrate that you captured that feeling and held on to it from childhood.

If you were uncomfortable, why were you?

Make a list of beliefs that would help you feel the joy of make-believe. For example, do you truly believe you can flip the switch when you need to – between child-like fun and being a responsible adult? Do you believe people will think badly of you, if you have child-like fun?

Pick something on your list to work on. One approach would be to talk to friends you respect who seem to be good at “playing.” Ask them what they think makes it possible for them to live well in both the world of work and the world of play.

Follow Nike’s advice and just try it – over and over until it starts to feel more comfortable.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Dads Are Important. (6-15-14)

DECIDE:   Dad’s are important.

PRACTICE:    Today, think of three things you think your dad did or said that were really good for you as a child.

Write them down and think about how you can do or say those things to your child.  Be grateful that your dad did or said those things.

If you can, tell him you appreciate those things.

If you have trouble doing those things for your child, ask someone you trust to help you get better at them.  Promise yourself you will keep practicing so you will get better at them.

If you are not a dad, share this parenting tip with your child’s dad or some other dad you care about.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PETE’S A PIZZA.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Summer Fun.

Extra Attention Days (6-14-14)

DECIDE:   To give your child extra attention.

PRACTICE:   Today, make plans for three different “extra attention” days this month for your child.

Make today be one of those days.

Put the other two days on your calendar.

Here are some examples of “extra attention” days. Plan an activity time (for example, playing at the park, after-dinner time to throw the ball around in the yard, coloring together). You could cuddle up to watch a TV show or movie together. You could plan a special lunch or dinner of your child’s favorite foods.

Think of things that involve your child’s favorite things.

Throughout the month remind your child of the things you have done together. Talk about what fun you had and how much you loved being with him.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Be Matter-Of-Fact about Discipline. (6-13-14)

DECIDE:   You can be matter-of-fact about rules and their consequences.

PRACTICE:    Today, when you need to correct your child, practice being calm and matter-of-fact.

Don’t raise your voice. Speak calmly. Explain what you want done in a matter-of-fact way.

If you need to insist on a consequence for bad behavior, stay matter-of-fact. No big crisis.

You both knew the rule and the consequence. This is just the way it is. For example, “I’m sorry you decided to do that and will miss your TV program tonight. I hope you’ll make a better choice and be able to watch tomorrow night.”

This is not a large dose of attention. It just says, “The rule is the rule and I know you can learn to follow it.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

I Care about You. (6-12-14) 

DECIDE:    Messages about how much you care about your child are important.    

PRACTICE:   Today, give 5 special messages to your child.

Make them about how much you care for him. (For example, say, “I want to have fun playing with you today,” or make him one of his favorite foods.)

Remember, these are not messages your child has earned by being good or by following the rules.

They are messages deserved just because he is a human being and needs to be cared about.

The good feelings these messages create are like money in the bank for your child. He can draw upon them whenever he needs an extra dose of your attention.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Does Your Child Have a Special Interest? (6-11-14) 

DECIDE:    To learn about your child’s special interest.    

PRACTICE:    Today, think about what your child gets really excited about and wants to spend most of his time thinking about.

Music, sports, bugs, skateboards, cooking, drawing, etc.? Take some time today to learn about it. Read about it.

Talk to your child about it. Ask good questions that show you are learning from him.

Let him know you are impressed by what he knows and can do.

Think about how this interest affects how your child thinks and feels about the world around him. Does he see more of some things and not much of other things? Does he feel excited about and interested in what the world has to offer?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Taking a Break from Growing Up (6-10-14) 

DECIDE:    To let your child take a small break from the pressure of growing up.    

PRACTICE:    Today, look for any signs that your child needs a break from the expectation to grow up.

Does she want her back rubbed, her hair combed, her favorite food? Does she want to be hugged or to play with toys from her younger days?

These are things that all children need once in a while no matter how old they are. They gives children a break from learning new things and acting more and more grown up.

It is important to meet children where they are and help them take a break from the pressures of growing up.

Cuddle them, pamper them, and let them act younger once in a while. Start today with your child or a child who is important to you.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Learning to Learn (6-9-14) 

DECIDE:   Getting into things and making messes are the start of something good – learning to learn.

PRACTICE:    Today, think about the last time your child was getting into things (pulling things off shelves or going farther in the neighborhood than he should) or making a mess (playing with his food or turning his room upside down).

Assume this was his way of being an explorer – learning what the world has to offer.

Make a list of how you could react knowing that you want the end result to be that your child wonders about a lot of things and loves to learn.

Think of all the ways you can let him know that learning new things is OK; trial and error is OK; and using his hands, eyes, nose and ears to learn is OK.

Make sure all the ways on your list keep your child safe. Exploring without the help of an adult can be dangerous.

Pick one of your ideas to try the next time your child is getting into things or making messes.

Celebrate that your child is learning to learn.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Pay Attention to Good Behavior. (6-8-14)

DECIDE:   To give attention for good behavior rather than misbehavior.

PRACTICE:    Today, think back to the last time your child misbehaved. Do you think she needed attention?

If so, make a list of ways you could give her attention that are not connected to her misbehavior. For example, special time with you or a chance to be the center of attention and show off her talents.

Use one of the ideas on your list with your child. It may prevent some misbehavior in the future.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Discipline Quiz (6-7-14) 

DECIDE:    You can select consequences that make sense when house rules are broken.    

PRACTICE:    Think about some behavior of your child that is bugging you.

Create your rule by answering these questions. What is not allowed? Be specific. (He can no longer refuse to get up for school in the morning.)

What is expected of the child instead? (He must use his own alarm clock and be up and ready by 8:00 every day.)

What will happen, if he doesn’t follow the rule? Will he lose a privilege or be required to do something? Think of something that makes sense and is connected to the idea of getting up on time.

Consequences are best when they teach, rather than just punish. For example in this situation you could consider the following.

Any morning he is late, you will shorten his bedtime so he gets enough sleep to be awake on time the next morning – 20 minutes late in the morning means 20 minutes earlier to bed.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Children Test How to Get Along with Others (6-6-14)

DECIDE: Learning to get along and still be your own person isn’t always pretty.

PRACTICE: Today, think about the last time your child was being whimpy, bossy, tricky, or sneaky.

Assume this was her way of testing how to have friends and still be her own person. Assume she needed to see how people would respond to her.

Make a list of how you could react when she is doing these things – knowing that the end result you are looking for is a child who is able to get along with others while still being her own person.

Think of all the ways you can let her know that being whimpy, bossy, tricky, or sneaky won’t work.

Pick one of your ideas to try the next time your child is testing out how people will react to her when she is whimpy, bossy, tricky, or sneaky.

Celebrate that your child is figuring out the best way to be.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Less Attention for Misbehavior. (6-5-14) 

DECIDE:    To discourage misbehavior.    

PRACTICE:    Today, think of the last time your child misbehaved. What did you do at the time?

Assume the child needed attention and that need was leading him to misbehave.

Did your reaction give your child a lot of attention? What could you have done to stop the misbehavior without too much uproar?

Remember the less attention associated with the misbehavior (while still insisting on consequences for the misbehavior) the better.

On the other hand, attention given when the child is behaving well – even better.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Use Your Big Muscles with a Child. (6-4-14) 

DECIDE:   To learn from a child in motion.

PRACTICE:    Today, play with a child using your big muscles. The child can be yours or any child you know and care about.

See what the world is like when you are on the move – when you are rolling on the ground, tumbling, and climbing.

Does the world seem different when you are being physical? How do you feel? Is your mind shut down or energized and ready to go?

Remember that children can move and think at the same time. You can learn about all sorts of things, even letters and numbers while you are moving together.

The child may be more open to learning this way than when you try to teach him while he is in a chair or at a desk.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

What Is Good about Saying No? (6-3-14)

DECIDE:   No-saying is the start of something good – thinking for oneself.

PRACTICE:  Today, think about the last time your child was saying no, resisting, or refusing.

Assume this was his way of showing he had his own ideas. What he was really saying is, “I’ll do it my way, thanks very much!”

Make a list of how you could react knowing that you want your child to learn to think for himself.

Think of all the ways you can let him know he will have to do as he is told, but you are glad he is learning to think for himself.

Pick one of your ideas to try the next time your child is saying no, resisting, or refusing.

Celebrate that your child is working toward thinking for himself.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Everyone Needs Attention. (6-2-14) 

DECIDE:   That all human beings need attention.

PRACTICE:    Today, make a list of what adults do to get attention. For example, pick fights, be affectionate, talk a lot, play competitive games, arrive late to everything, etc.

Think about when you have done any of the things on your list. Do you think you needed attention? If so, what makes you think so?

What did it feel like to need attention? What did it feel like to get it? What did it feel like to not get it?

Make a new list of other things you could do to fill your need for attention. Be sure to add, “Ask for it.”

Try one of the things on your new list and see if it works.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

Learn from a Toddler. (6-1-14) 

DECIDE:   To learn from a toddler.

PRACTICE:    Meet a toddler where she is today. She can be your toddler or any toddler you know and care about.

Most likely she will be on the floor crawling to and fro. Get down on the floor with her.

If she wants to crawl, crawl with her. If she wants to touch, taste, and smell things, you do it right with her.

Think how the world is different when you are at her eye-level and when you taste, feel, and smell everything around you.

What is better about the world from there? What will be more difficult about the world once crawling turns to walking? What will be better?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, GEORGE UPSIDE DOWN.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Read the whole story at Meet Kids Where They Are.

May 31, 2014:

DECIDE:    You can help your family adjust to new summer time schedules.

PRACTICE:    Make a summer “rules” chart with your child. If the child is very young, use pictures.

      • Make one rule be about chores. Chores are important for children. They help them see their part in the family and understand that they are not the center of the universe in the family.
      • Make one rule be about playtime and sharing (Kids and Sharing and Kids and Sharing, part 2) For example, if there are toys that cannot be shared, they must be stored in a private play area where invited guests do not play.

For the next several days, stay with the children at playtime and enforce the rules chart.

When there is a problem take the children to the chart and remind them of the rule that helps with the problem. You may need to do this several times while children get used to the rules.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 30, 2014:

DECIDE:    To know why you say no to your child.

PRACTICE:    Today, think about the last time your child asked to be able to do something on her own and you said no.

Ask yourself why you said no. Were you too busy to think about it? Were you scared when you thought about your child doing that on her own?

Was your child younger than an older child was when he did this – or older than you were when you were allowed to do that? Had your child shown you in some way she wasn’t ready yet?

If you decide you said no for good reasons, celebrate that you were being smart about it.

If you decide you should have thought more about it, take that opportunity now.

If you decide she is ready, talk to her about trying it for awhile to see if she is really ready.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 29, 2014:

DECIDE: You can know how much your kids can do on their own.

PRACTICE: Today, think about how much you do for your child and whether it is the right amount for her age and maturity.

Consider the amount of attention you give her and how involved you are in everything she does.

Do you do things for her that she should do on her own? Do you often save her from being distressed or frustrated? Do you give her what you think she needs even before she asks? Are you trying too hard to make her love you? (These signs of doing too much for children are taken from HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

If you decide that you do too much for her, remember you are doing it out of love, but also remember that you can balance that love. You can do what she truly needs but not more than she needs.

Make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 28, 2014:

DECIDE:     To establish a new chore for your child for the summer. 

PRACTICE:    Select a new chore for your child.

Make sure it is 1) right for her age and maturity and 2) a real help to the family with all the special demands on time and attention during the summer.

PICK UP YOUR SOCKS by Elizabeth Crary can help you know what chores are reasonable for your child’s age.

Break the new chore down into parts.  For example, making your bed = straightening the sheet, straightening the blanket, fluffing the pillow and smoothing out the top cover.

Remember to show the child how the chore needs to be done to meet your expectations.

For young children, have them do just one part for a few days and when it is done well most days, move to the next part.

On any days when the chore is not done well enough, calmly ask that your child do it over.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 27, 2014:

DECIDE: To enjoy an “unperfect” event.

PRACTICE: Think about an upcoming event that you are looking forward to.

Imagine what it will be like, but don’t paint a “perfect” picture in your mind. Things can go wrong.

Instead, paint a picture of yourself having fun even if things are not exactly as you might have hoped for.

When you think about the upcoming event, focus on the things you have control over. For example, the people you will be with or that you will have some time off work.

After the event, think about whether you were disappointed. If so, ask yourself whether some of that disappointment came from your expecting too much of the event?

If you enjoyed your event, celebrate that you met your goal – to enjoy the day even if it was not “perfect” in every way.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 26, 2014:

DECIDE:     To remove the word “perfect” from your conversations.    

PRACTICE:    Count how many times you say the word “perfect” today.

At the end of the day, remember several of those times and think what else you could have said instead of “perfect.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 25, 2014:

DECIDE:    Imagination is a useful tool.

PRACTICE:    Today, do an art project with a young child.

Ask the child a “What If” question about something the child is not allowed to do yet. For example, “What if you could go to school every day like big sister? Or, “What if, you could fix your own snacks when you were hungry?” Have fun drawing all the different answers he can imagine.

You could have him ask you a “What If” question too, and you could draw your answers.

When you are both done, have fun talking about your pictures.

If the child is too young to do much explaining, you can tell him what you see in his picture. Remember, this is a time for you to understand his imagination, not for you to tell him where he is right or wrong about the situation.

Appreciate whatever he draws, and remember they are just thoughts, not real actions.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 24, 2014:

DECIDE:     You can make a good decision about when your child is old enough.       

PRACTICE:    Today, think about a privilege you have been considering allowing your child to do on his own.

Ask yourself these questions.

    • Is my child around the age that many children do this? Don’t base your answer on what older children in your family did or what you did as a child. Talk to other parents you trust who have dealt with this decision over the last ten years.
    • How does your child handle his emotions? Does he lose his ability to think when he is mad, scared, or very happy and excited?
    • Think about your child’s decisions recently. Is he following house rules, telling the truth, thinking for himself instead of doing what friends say?
    • Does your child have the skills needed for this privilege? Does he know the safety rules? Is he able to phone you? Can he operate needed equipment (keys, bike, etc.)?

Based on your answers, decide whether your child is ready.

If so, start allowing it a few times and then review how things are going.

If not, be clear with yourself and him what you need to see from him before you can say yes. Promise yourself and him you will review his progress again soon.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 23, 2014:

DECIDE:    To help your child keep it real when it comes to anticipating special events.    

PRACTICE:    Today, think about your child’s last big event.

Did you talk a lot about it ahead of time? Did the event get too much attention or just enough for him to be well prepared and enjoy the time waiting for it to happen?

When you imagined together what it was going to be like did you create over-the-top descriptions for him? Or, were you pretty down-to-earth?

When the event occurred was it a good time for the most part? Or, was it a bit of a disappointment?

If disappointing, do you think you or your child expected too much of it – expected it to be perfect and it wasn’t?

Or, was it just disappointing because events can fall short for all sorts of unexpected reasons.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 22, 2014:

DECIDE:    Healthy hassling can be a good thing.    

(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for writing about healthy hassling in SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR.)

PRACTICE:   Today, explain healthy hassling to a child and try it out with a “What If” game. Be sure to work with a child who is mature enough to think about things in a variety of ways. Explain to him that healthy hassling:

    • Is a way to exercise our thinking muscles. It is not about someone being right and someone else being wrong.
    • Does not allow name-calling or criticizing.
    • Requires signal for stopping so that you can easily stop if you begin to feel angry or upset.

If the child agrees to the hassling, ask a “What If” question and start hassling your child’s response. Here is an example of how it might sound.

ADULT:            “What if you went on a chore strike – no more dinner dishes for you.”

CHILD:             “I like this idea. I have better things to do.”

ADULT:            “Yes, but we wouldn’t have any dishes to eat on.”

CHILD:             “We could eat on paper plates.”

ADULT:            “That would cost a lot of money. We would have to stop spending money on some other things. Maybe allowance.”

CHILD:             “I could sell some old videos and make a paper plate fund.

ADULT:            “I have to go now, but I thought your ideas were very Interesting. Let’s talk again sometime”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 21, 2014:

DECIDE:   To prepare your child for an upcoming experience.

PRACTICE:   Today, think of some new experience coming up for your child. For example, a new daycare provider, swimming lessons, meeting someone new, playing baseball for the first time.

Take some time to prepare your child.

Pretend she is in the situation and practice what she can say and do.

Be direct about telling your child what is expected. For example, if she is going to new daycare for the summer, show her how to ask for help.

Pretend you are her and role play the situation.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 20, 2014:

DECIDE:    There is no such thing as “perfect.” 

PRACTICE:    Pay attention to when you use the word perfect.

When you catch yourself saying these words, stop and think, “Really?”

Can an event really be perfect? Can a person really be perfect?  Can anything a person does really be done perfectly?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 19, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can know what your child is ready for.

PRACTICE:    Today, think about the age and maturity of your child.

How much freedom do you give him? The right amount for his age? Does he handle it well or get himself in trouble too often?

Does he do regular chores? Is he responsible about doing them? Does he do them well enough to meet your expectations?

Does he control the family by making decisions like where to go to eat, what to watch on TV and where to go on vacation?

Do you expect him to learn the life skills that most kids his age are learning?

If your answers show that your child is mature enough for the things he is allowed and expected to do, celebrate and use this information to decide what privileges your child is old enough for as he continues to grow up.

If your answers show that your child is not very mature yet, think about whether his privileges and responsibilities are right for the maturity he has.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 18, 2014:

DECIDE:   To learn more about healthy hassling.

(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for writing about healthy hassling in SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR.)

PRACTICE:   Today, explain healthy hassling to a friend and ask her to try hassling you, so you can see how your child might think and feel when you hassle him.

Agree on a signal to use when either of you is ready to stop hassling. Remind your friend that healthy hassling:

    • Is to exercise your thinking muscles. It is not about someone being right and someone else being wrong.
    • Does not permit any name-calling or criticizing.
    • If either of you begins to feel angry or upset, it is time to use the signal and stop.

If your friend agrees to hassle, you make a statement about a topic (the neighborhood garage sale, a household project, etc.). For example, “I’m not going to participate in the sale this year.”

Have your friend suggest another way to think about what you said. The idea is for your friend to challenge your way of thinking and suggest other ways to think about things.

Go back and forth a few times so you can see how healthy hassling feels. Here is an example of how it might sound.

YOU:                “I’m not going to participate in the sale this year.”

FRIEND:          “So you don’t need to make more room for storage in your basement?”

YOU:                “I could use the storage, but I’m tired of doing all the work all by myself.”

FRIEND:          “You won’t be able to have any extra spending money for household projects, if you skip the sale.”

YOU:               “I’ll just take the money from our household account.”

FRIEND:          “Your husband will be thrilled about that, I’m sure.”

YOU:                “I think I’m done.”

FRIEND:          “OK. That was interesting. Thanks for asking me to do it with you.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 17, 2014:

DECIDE: To plan ahead for a holiday celebration this month without overdoing it.

PRACTICE: Plan a special activity for an upcoming holiday – a trip to the community pool, a family picnic, attending a parade – something that will happen yet this month.

Think about how you want to prepare your child for the event. You may want to involve your child today in the original planning, but once the plan is made, decide when you want to start talking about it again.

Avoid talking about it all month long, but at some point remind him of the plan and talk about all the fun you can have.

For some children, the night before is soon enough, so they don’t get over-excited with days of talk ahead of time. Other children can handle several days of talk providing you keep it real.

Make sure you don’t talk about it as though it is going to be the all-perfect day. It’s more important that children learn that the event doesn’t have to be prefect for you all to still have fun.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 16, 2014:

DECIDE:   Preparation can lead to success.

PRACTICE:    Play ”What If” with your child today.

This is a game where you ask your child what he would do in a situation. For example, “What If you forgot your lunch money for school?” It encourages your child to think about what to do when faced with certain situations.

Today, make all the situations be about a privilege you think your child is just about ready for. For example, “What if you received an allowance every week?” or “What if you were allowed to walkdown our sidewalk to your friend’s house?”

By listening to his answers, you can learn about what he likes about the situation, questions he might need answers to, or things he is worried about.

Be sure to follow-up with other questions that will help him be prepared and successful like, “What if Johnny wasn’t home when you went to his house?”

Also, spend some time imagining together the fun parts of the situation – but don’t overdo. Remember, all experiences have good things and not-so-good things about them. No experience is perfect.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 15, 2014:

DECIDE:   To learn to break chores and privileges into parts.

PRACTICE:    Today, think of a chore or a privilege your child is just about ready to do on his own. Break it down into parts.

For example, making your bed = straightening the sheet, straightening the blanket, fluffing the pillow and smoothing out the top cover.

Being allowed to cross the street = knowing the safety rules, following the rules you set for the child, knowing how to get back home, telling time, and being able to call you if help is needed.

For young children, have them do just one part for a few days and when it is done well most days, move to the next part.

On any days when a chore is not done well, calmly ask that the child do it over. On any days when a privilege is not handled well, remove the privilege and decide what the child needs to do to show you he can handle all the parts.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, IF I CROSSED THE ROAD.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 14, 2014:

DECIDE:  To help your child stick up for himself.

PRACTICE:  Today, if you see your child being put down or unfairly accused of something, help him stick up for himself.

      1. Help him honestly figure out whether any part of the put-down is deserved or any part of the accusation is true. If so, help him accept responsibility for that and find a way to make-up for any harm done to others.
      2. Help him speak up to the person accusing him. Show him how he can tell a person to stop without doing any hitting or name-calling.
      3. Let your child know that he can count on you to help him with this situation. All he has to do is be completely honest about the situation with you.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 13, 2014:

DECIDE:  To be clear about what it means to be “nice.”

PRACTICE:  Today, write down on a piece of paper what you mean when you tell your child to be nice. Or, when you expect yourself to be a nice person.

For example, should she never say no? Be polite? Share toys? Be humble? Help others?

Now look at your list and think whether you should add or subtract from the statements. Are they things that a people can actually do and still stick up for themselves?

For example, which of these statements is more realistic? “Never say no.” Or, “When you say no, do so respectfully.”

Which is a better? “Always help others?” Or, “Help others when you can.”

The important thing about defining “nice” is to make sure the person is able to stick up for himself and still be a nice person.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 12, 2014:

DECIDE: To show your child you will protect him from bullying. 

PRACTICE:  Today, if you see your child being bullied, step in and let the bully know you will not allow him (or her) to bully your child.

Tell the bully to cease and desist. If any toys are involved, demand that the bully repair or return them or else you will take more serious steps to protect your child.

Tell your child he can depend on adults to help him when he is being bullied. (For example, teachers, youth leaders, parents, neighbors, and other relatives.)

If your child is older, you may need to negotiate with him about when and how much you should be directly involved in talking to the bully. He may prefer to handle things on his own.

If this is the case, be sure to talk over a plan so you know that how your child is planning to stick up for himself will be safe.

If today is not a day when you observe any bullying, think back to a bullying incident you remember and imagine how you could have stepped in at that time.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 11, 2014:

DECIDE:   To celebrate that you are working to be the parent you want to be.

PRACTICE:  Having a Happy Mother’s Day.

Every time someone wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day, let it be a reminder to you that you can be the parent you want to be.

Remember, if you are reading this blog, your are working to do just that. Think of all the progress you have made, since you started reading (or will make, if you are a new reader).

If you are a male, acting as both mother and father, wish yourself a Happy Mother’s Day as well. You deserve to celebrate both Mother’s and Father’s Day.

If you are from a country that doesn’t celebrate Mothers Day today, celebrate anyway. You can celebrate again when your country celebrates.

I think we should celebrate every time a country somewhere is honoring Mothers – we deserve to pat ourselves on the back as many times as possible for this very hard job we do .

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 10, 2014:

DECIDE:  To help your child develop all of his interests and talents.

PRACTICE:  Today, make a list of the opportunities your child has had to learn about different skills and occupations.

Look at your list and see if they represent both men and women.  If not, plan to begin introducing your child to some skills that represent mostly men (for example, construction workers) if she is a girl or represent mostly women (for example, hairdressers), if he is a boy.

Think about whether your attitudes about what boys and girls “should” play with are so strong that they are preventing you from offering opportunities to your child. If so, work on your attitudes.

Start today by introducing your son to something like cooking or by going outside and throwing a football around with your daughter.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 9, 2014:

DECIDE:  To stick up for yourself.

PRACTICE:  Today, if you think you are being put-down, unfairly criticized, or bullied, stick up for yourself.

      1. Honestly analyze whether you are responsible for any part of the situation. If you are, accept responsibility for that and find a way to make-up for any harm done to others.
      2. Speak up to defend yourself regarding any parts of the situation that you honestly are not responsible for. (“I have heard that you are saying that I lied about the report. When can we talk so I can explain the true story?”)
      3. After you have offered the true facts, directly ask the person you’re having trouble with to stop what he is doing. For example, “Will you stop telling people I have lied?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 8, 2014:

DECIDE:  To help your child avoid tattletale behavior.

PRACTICE:    Today, play “What If” with your child about tattling.

Take turns asking whether situations are tattling or not. Examples: “What if a neighbor friend tells Josie’s mom that Josie is hitting her little brother? Would the friend be tattling?”

Or, “What if Lance runs to his babysitter to report that his sister is using bad words? Would Lance be tattling?”

Don’t make your child part of the situation. He will have an easier time answering the question, if it is not about him.

After your child responds, tell him what you think. Examples: “Josie’s mom is glad to know about the hitting because she doesn’t want to see the brother get hurt. This is not tattling.”

Or, “Lance seems to be trying to get his sister in trouble. This is unnecessary tattletale behavior.”

Also give your child a chance to give a What If situation and ask you whether it is tattling.

Go two or three rounds. More examples will help your child learn what tattling is so he can avoid that behavior.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 7, 2014:

DECIDE:  You are a good person even though you are not perfect.

PRACTICE:  Think about a time when something you did or failed to do hurt another person – even if you didn’t mean to hurt that person.

What would have made that person feel better? Think of something more than just saying you were sorry.

For example, if you trampled your neighbor’s plants – in addition to saying you are sorry – you could have given her some new plants or have done the work of planting some new seeds for her.

If there is something that is still possible to do in the case you think about, make a plan to do so.

Remember, you are not only caring for the person who was hurt, you are also caring for yourself by proving to yourself that you are a kind and loving person.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 6, 2014:

DECIDE:  To allow your child to play with both “girl toys” and “boy toys.”

PRACTICE:  Today, look at the toys your child plays with most often.

Does your son play only with boys’ toys? Your daughter with girls’ toys? Are these the only toys he or she is interested in?  Or, are these the only kinds of toys you approve of for your son or daughter?

Ask yourself whether your child is getting a full opportunity to develop all his interests and talents. Would he learn about more skills and occupations, if he played with other types of toys?

Would adult relatives and neighbors make fun of your son (or daughter) if he (or she) played with girls’ toys (or boys’ toys)? If so, talk with those adults and explain that you want your child to be free to experience all sorts of play. You want him (or her) to develop his (or her) interests and talents fully.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day

May 5, 2014:

DECIDE:  To assure your child you will not let him hurt himself, others, or things when he is angry.

PRACTICE:  Today, if you see your child hitting, pushing, throwing, etc. help your child calm down and let him know you are protecting him from hurting himself, others, or things.

If he is young, you may need to use your friendly muscles to remove him from the situation or stop him from using his muscles to hurt people or things.

You can use time-out or time-in as tools for helping him to calm down. See the book TIME-IN by Jean Illsley Clarke and Cary Pillo for more about how to use time-in.

You can use a fuss box. Jean Illsley Clarke talks about the fuss box in her book, SELF-ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR.

If today is not a day when you see him acting out his frustration, think back to a time he was and imagine how you could have helped him calm down at that time.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 4, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child know the difference between tattling and asking for help.

PRACTICE:  Today, have a conversation with your child about tattling.

Explain that he should go to an adult for help when he needs it, but he should not tattle on others just to get them in trouble.

These two things are different. Reporting something important to an adult is not tattling. Tell your child that he can tell the difference by asking a simple question. When you come to an adult to tell on someone, “Are you hoping to get that person in trouble?”

If yes, you are tattling. If you come to an adult because you are hoping to get some help with a problem or are really afraid about something, you are not tattling.

For example, when he reports that Jonah is eating more candy than he is supposed to, he is hoping to get Jonah in trouble. When he reports that Jonah is riding his bike in the street after being told that it is very dangerous, he is just getting help from an adult because he is scared for Jonah.

This is also an important conversation to have with a teenager. Ask your teen, “What makes a teenager a snitch or a tattletale?”

Give examples of situations where teens should be telling adults about problems – which would not be tattling or snitching. For example, when they hear about weapons at school or kids that plan to hurt themselves or others. This is not being a snitch or tattletale.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 3, 2014:

DECIDE:    To use time-in.    

PRACTICE:  Today, when a child does something that deserves a “time-out,” try “time-in” instead.

Sit the child down with you in a calm out-of-the-way place and get him to think about the situation. Stay with the child and help him think about what was not working and what would work better.

This is different from time-out where you separate the child from the situation and insist he be alone while he calms down.

Children do not usually use time-out to do much “thinking.” Their feelings get in the way. They are too busy trying to calm down.

To think through what was happening in the situation, children often need an adult’s help. Adults stay with the child with time-in and that is why it can be useful for thinking how to do better.

For more information about time-in: TIME-IN: WHEN TIME-OUT DOESN’T WORK, Jean Illsley Clarke and Cary Pillo

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 2, 2014:

DECIDE:   To teach your child that people are good even when they are not perfect.

PRACTICE:    Think about a time when something you did or failed to do hurt another person, and you did something afterwards to make that person feel better. Tell your child a story about that memory.

Make sure the story includes how it felt to hurt that person, what you did to make it up to that person, and what it felt like to make that person feel better.

Tell your child that making it up to the person was important even if what happened wasn’t done on purpose. It still hurt the other person.

Tell your child that when you do something that hurts someone else, you are still a good person. Trying to make the person who was hurt feel better shows that you are a good person.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

May 1, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child deal with conflict.

PRACTICE:    Today, if you see your child being taken advantage of, help him.

Do not take over and save him. Instead, find out what he needs. Get a toy back? Get a turn with a toy? Not be called names?

Once you know what his problem is as he sees it, talk with him about what words he can use to get his reasonable needs met. Help him see how to stick up for himself and let the other person know what he needs.

Tell him you will help him say the right words. You will go with him to talk out a solution with the other person.

If today is not a day when you see such a conflict, think back to a conflict like this that you remember. Imagine how you could have helped him with the conflict at that time.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 30, 2014:

DECIDE:   To assure your child you will not let her hurt things or people when she is frustrated.

PRACTICE:   Today, make a “fuss box” for your child.

You can use a large cardboard box open on the top and open on one whole side.

Put the box in an open but out-of-the-way place in the house.  Add some pillows that your child can punch.

Show her how to use a fuss box. Stand in it yourself and complain loudly about something and punch pillows.

When you are done, say you feel better and are glad you didn’t hurt anyone or anything while you were frustrated.

When you see your child acting out his frustration by hurting people or throwing/breaking toys, tell him to go use his fuss box for a few minutes.

(Thanks to author Jean Illsley Clarke for the fuss box idea.)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 29, 2014:

DECIDE:   To connect with a “parenting partner.”

PRACTICE:   Think of a person you can comfortably talk to about your child – someone whose good thinking and kindness you respect.

Ask that person to become your parenting partner and role play with you about how to communicate with your child.

Have your friend pretend to be you, the parent, while you pretend to be your child.

Have your friend say things to you (as though you were the age of your child) about how much she cares about you and enjoys being with you.

Listen to the message as though you were your child. See what you think and feel when you hear it.  Would it help your child?

If so, remember that good feeling and plan to say things like that to your child.

(Jean Illsley Clarke calls this type of role play “Four Ways of Parenting” in SELF-ESTEEM: A FAMILY AFFAIR.)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 28, 2014:

DECIDE:   Birthdays are important.

PRACTICE:   Plan your child’s birthday today – even if it is many months away.

Think about how you can celebrate it in a balanced way.

First, what would make him feel he is special just because he is your son?  What would make him feel how much you love being with him and enjoy your time with him? That you love him with no strings attached?

Second, what would help him know how much talent you think he has. What a star he is?  How successful you think he will be?  How much you appreciate the hard work he puts in to be able to do all the things he can do?  How much you appreciate his good behavior?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 27, 2014:

DECIDE:   To increase the size of your circle of help.

PRACTICE:   Today, make two lists. One list is your “in-the-circle” list.

These are people you know care for you and that you already feel comfortable calling upon when you need specific types of help or just need someone to talk to.

The second list is your “add-to-the-circle” list. On this list put some names of new people that you would like to add to your circle of support – because you have great respect for them or because you like them and you think they like you too.

Make a plan to spend more time with one of those persons on your second list. Get to know that person and be open and real with them, so they begin to understand and relate to you.

After awhile, ask yourself whether that person would come to you for help and whether you would be comfortable going to them for help if needed. If so, add that person to your circle of help and celebrate.

Then, update your add list and reach out to another new person. The larger your circle of help, the better care you will be able to offer yourself and your children.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 26, 2014:

DECIDE:   To balance how you love your child.

PRACTICE:   Keep track of what you say to your child today – with words and actions.

How many messages are “I-care-about-you” messages?  Theses are ones he deserves just because all people need to be cared about.  (“I’m so glad you are home with me today.”  “Come get cozy with me.”  Make him one of his favorite foods.)

How many messages are “you-did-a-good-thing” messages?  (You stayed right with me at the store today.”  “Your picture has beautiful bright colors in it.”  Go to school to meet his teacher.)

At the end of the day, think about what you learned. Did you give the two kinds of messages in equal doses? If not, give more of the missing kind tomorrow.

Every so often, track again and try to stay as balanced as possible.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 25, 2014:

DECIDE:   “Me-time” will help you take better care of your children.

PRACTICE:   Set aside some time for yourself today – don’t say you can’t. It can be just 15 minutes, if it has to be – although it would be better if it were 30 minutes or an hour.

Try working yourself up to that full hour, if you can’t do that much right now.

Do whatever feels good for that 15 minutes. Sit quietly, exercise, read, watch TV, listen to music (or dance to the music).

If you have been ignoring yourself for a long time, you may have to practice not feeling guilty. You may have to re-learn what things you like, before your me-time actually feels good and re-energizes you.

Plan to do me-time on a regular schedule – every day, few days, week, couple of weeks, month. If you have to space it out to every month, make sure it is a whole morning, afternoon, or evening each time.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 24, 2014:

DECIDE:   Your child should know how important he is to you.

PRACTICE:   Today, think back to when your child was born.

What did you say when you first saw him? First held him? What was your reason for selecting your child’s name?  Share these memories with your child.

Even if you think your child is too young to understand, tell him anyway. He’ll pick up on the tone of your voice and the look on your face. He’ll hear the “importance” behind your words.

You can also ask other family members and friends to share their memories of your child as a new baby in the family.

If you happen to have an adult child expecting a baby, be sure to share these memories. They can be very helpful to expectant parents who are wondering whether they will be able to bond with their new babies.

Realizing how important they were to you when they arrived will reassure them that they too will be able to fully accept and welcome their new baby.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 23, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s OK to know what you need.

PRACTICE:   If you are asked what you need today, force yourself to answer with a choice. Refuse to say “Nothing” or “I don’t know.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 22, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help a new mom be better able to take care of her baby.

PRACTICE:   Today, plan to give a baby present that is especially for the new mom. Assume the new baby has enough onesies, rattles, and blankets and shift your attention to mom.

Give her a gift of your time – you will watch the baby while she sleeps or takes a nice long bath (not so she can go to the grocery or clean the house). Give her a gift of a soft cuddly robe or a throw to wrap up in when feeding the baby or stealing a minute to herself on the couch.

New moms run on empty – not enough sleep, food, relaxation, or appreciation. (Babies don’t let you know you are doing a good job in the beginning.) Helping moms fill those gaps will help them take good care of their babies.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 21, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can help older brothers and sisters deal with their mixed emotions when a new baby arrives. 

PRACTICE:   Today, search the Internet for “feelings faces games.” Either purchase a game you discover, use one available online, or get ideas about how to make a homemade version.

Play a game with the faces that is all about what it feels like to have a new baby in the house.

Each player should pick out four faces that represent how he has felt since the new baby arrived (or thinks he will feel when that time comes). Hold them in a hand like cards.

Each player should take a turn laying down a face in front of him – any face he chooses.  Any other player with the same face should lay his down as well.

Everyone with that face turned up should take a turn answering these questions: “Do you ever feel like this? (Or, do you think you will when the baby arrives?) When do (or will) you feel this way? What can you do when you feel like this?

Start a second round with the next player putting down another face. Do enough rounds that all faces have been put down.

Note how many players picked the same faces, so children learn that others – even adults – feel the same things they do.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 20, 2014:

DECIDE:   To tell your child he is safe and important.

PRACTICE:   Today, notice when your child is taking out his frustrations on other people or things.

When you see that behavior, begin giving your child messages throughout the rest of the day that say he is loved and cared about.

Make some messages be words. Make some be just actions without words.

How many can you give before bedtime? Feel free to use these examples or to make up your own:

    • “I love you oodles and oodles.”
    • Hug him (not in public, if he is a teen).
    • “Let’s have some you-and-me time.”
    • “How can I be so lucky as to have you for a son?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 19, 2014:

DECIDE:   To take care of yourself so you can take better care of others.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the times it has been hardest for you to willingly take care of others.

When you have not had enough sleep? When you were sick? When you wanted to be somewhere else or doing something else? When you felt unappreciated? When you thought you were being asked to do too much?

Remember what those feelings were like, so you will recognize them when they happen again.

When you are in that situation again, plan to attack the real problem – get more sleep, treat your illness, take some time to do something else, let others know you need to be appreciated, set limits on how much you can do.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 18, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can help your child learn to be responsible for getting his needs met.

PRACTICE:   Today, notice whether your child is taking out his frustrations on other people or things.

When you see that behavior, let her know you think she must be frustrated about something.

Don’t ask why he is acting the way he is. Instead, ask him what he needs.

He may answer, “Nothing” or “I don’t know.” If the child is old enough, accept that answer and don’t suggest things. Just let him know you are there for him, if he thinks of what is making him so frustrated.

If he responds by asking for something you can’t help with, suggest another close option. For example, if he says he wants a chocolate sundae, you could offer something more nutritious, but add the feature of sharing the snack together in a special place.

If the child is too young to say what he needs, when you see his frustrated behavior, you will need to think for him and suggest what he might need. For example try cuddling him, offering him some food, or helping him take a rest.

With whatever you offer, let him know you could tell from his frustrated behavior that he needed something. You can tell him you are glad you both figured out what he needed so he wouldn’t continue hitting his sister, throwing his toys, being mean to the dog, etc.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 17, 2014:

DECIDE:   “Special time” can make a child feel important.

PRACTICE:   Today, plan some “special time” with a child – a time when you can give your undivided attention.

If there are other children, arrange for someone else to manage them or make sure they are occupied. (It could be a good time for a video, or the special time could be when younger children are asleep.)

Don’t answer the phone during special time. Kids love knowing they are number one on your agenda.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 16, 2014:

DECIDE:   When you are well taken care of, you can give better care to your children.

PRACTICE:   Ask for help today.

When someone offers the help, accept it willingly. Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”

Thank the person.

Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 15, 2014:

DECIDE:   Older brothers and sisters have mixed emotions when a new baby arrives.

PRACTICE:   If you have just welcomed a second (or more) baby into your family – or you are planning to – take some time today to talk to the older sibling(s).

Make it a private, quiet time when you can give your full attention. Talk about all the good things about having a new baby around as well as the difficult things that this means.

Be sure to talk about the scary parts. For example, worries about losing first place in the family and about getting needs met.

If you are not yourself welcoming a new baby, is there a child you care about who could benefit from this conversation? If so, ask the parents if it is OK for you to talk to the child. You and the parent could do it together or you could do it alone – whatever is comfortable.

Just knowing that not-so-good feelings are normal and understood can be helpful to children.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, PHOEBE & DIGGER.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 14, 2014:

DECIDE:   To improve on loving your child like Goldilocks – not too much, not too little, but just right.

PRACTICE:   Today, observe the different ways you have loved your child over the past week.

Think about the times you hugged, took care of, and just enjoyed him.

Do you hug and kiss the amount of times that are right for his age – also when and where it is a good time for him? Do you decide how and when to take care of him if he is hurt, upset, or sick – even when he is able to take care of himself?

Figure out whether the love you are giving is just right for his age and maturity. Remember that an older child can need “younger” type of care (You decide when, where, and how.), and a young child can be ready for “older” type of care (The child asks for what he needs and does some things for himself.).

Put a number to how much you have been giving love just right during this past week. Do you think it was 50%, 75%, or 30% of the time?

Compare this number to the one you had on April 7. Has it gotten higher? If so, celebrate. If not, plan to make changes and keep working at it.

Repeat this activity in two weeks.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 13, 2014:

DECIDE:   Your child’s behavior is a chance for you to teach and for her to learn.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about this statement: “You are responsible to your children not for them.”  Ask yourself what that statement means to you.

Think about a time your child’s behavior embarrassed you.  Write down some of the reasons you were embarrassed.

Did you think others would judge you as a bad parent?  Did you think you were a failure because you thought you had taught your child to never make the mistake that she made?  Did you think you should and could control what your child did or did not do?

Write down what you could have done if you were thinking mostly about being responsible to your child (not for your child).

For example, should you at that moment shown her what was expected and waited for her to do it?  Should you have removed her from the situation to teach her a lesson and to be respectful of the others in the situation?  Should you have decided what was a reasonable consequence and made sure you stuck to it?

Think about whether any of these reactions or others you might think of would have saved you some of your embarrassment.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 12, 2014:

DECIDE:   To become a better rule and consequence maker.

PRACTICE:   Today, arrange to meet with some other parents that you trust to talk over good rules and consequences that make sense.

Have a “rule party” (instead of a “pool party”).

Each person can bring a family rule that is a challenge for them and everyone can give ideas for how to clearly state the expectation in a way to be right for the age of the child in mind.

Then, the group can brainstorm what type of consequence would make sense.

Lastly, you could discuss ways to help yourself stick to the rule and the consequence and not look the other way.

Remember, you are in charge of your family. All the ideas you hear are for you to evaluate and make the final choices about what you think will work for your family. Announce this as one of the party rules at the very beginning.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 11, 2014:

DECIDE:   Consequences are good for all people.

PRACTICE:   Think about the last time you had to pay a consequence for breaking a rule.

Did you pay a penalty for being late with a bill? Did you miss an event because you didn’t register ahead of time? Did you get corrected for something at work?

Did you resent paying the consequence or did you feel some relief that you were mature enough to accept the consequence? Do you think the consequence will help you avoid the problem the next time?

If you find you are resentful and figuring ways to not get caught again. Ask yourself why that is? Ask yourself if that is how you want your children to approach rules and consequences?

If you find you can see some benefits to having paid the consequences, be sure to share that with your child.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 10, 2014:

DECIDE:   To get better at discipline that is not too rigid, not too soft, but just right.

PRACTICE:   Today, observe the different types of rules and consequences you use with your child.

Think about whether your rules are left over from a day gone by – from older children or even from your own childhood. Can you really explain why your rules are what they are or are they automatic?

Are you using enough rules or are you just looking the other way on some matters? Likewise, are you enforcing consequences when rules are broken – most of the time, some of the time or hardly ever?

Figure out whether your rules and consequences are right for your child’s age and maturity. Remember that an older child can need “younger” types of rules, and a young child can be ready for “older” types of rules.

Put a number to how much you have been using just-right rules and consequences during this past week. Do you think it was 50%, 75%, or 30%?

Compare this number to the one you had on April 3. Has it gotten higher? If so, celebrate. If not, plan to make changes and keep working at it.

Repeat this activity in two weeks.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 9, 2014:

DECIDE:   “Anything goes” is not good for kids.

PRACTICE:   Think about whether you experienced “anything goes” as a child.

Did you have chores you were expected to do?  Were rules enforced in your household?  Were you often saved from feeling frustrated, disappointed or paying consequences for mistakes?  Were you excused even when you were at fault?

If you think this was your experience, know that parents who take this approach do so out of love, often not realizing how important it is to balance their love with strong expectations.

Knowing they did the best they could with what they knew and understood, you can decide to take a different approach with your children without disrespecting them.

If you decide you did not experience “anything goes,” celebrate that you had balanced love in your life. You can decide you want to take that approach with your children too.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 8, 2014:

DECIDE:   Children need rules that have consequences.

PRACTICE:   Think what has been bugging you about your child’s behavior.

Make a “rules” chart with your child about that topic.

If the child is very young, use pictures. Include what happens if the rule is not followed.

For an older child give him a chance to help you determine the right rules and what will happen if each rule is not followed.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 7, 2014:

DECIDE:   To love your child like Goldilocks – not too much, not too little, but just right.

PRACTICE:   Today, observe the different ways you love your child.

Think about the times you hug, take care of, and just enjoy him. Do you hug and kiss the amount of times that are right for his age – also when and where it is a good time for him?

Do you decide how and when to take care of him if he is hurt, upset, or sick – even when he is able to take care of himself? Figure out whether the love you are giving is just right for his age and maturity.

Remember that an older child can need “younger” type of care (You decide when, where, and how.), and a young child can be ready for “older” type of care (The child asks for what he needs and does some things for himself.).

Put a number to how much you have been giving love just right. Do you think 50%, 75%, or 30%?

Plan to make changes that will make that number be as high as you want it to be.  The Parenting Tip on April 14 will give you a chance to see if you have made improvements.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 6, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can be matter-of-fact about rules and their consequences.

PRACTICE:   Today, when you need to correct your child, practice being calm and matter-of-fact.

Don’t raise your voice. Speak calmly. Explain what you want done n a matter-of-fact way.

If you need to insist on a consequence for bad behavior, stay matter-of-fact. No big crisis. You both knew the rule and the consequence. This is just the way it is.

For example, “I’m sorry you decided to do that and will miss your TV program tonight. I hope you’ll make a better choice and be able to watch tomorrow night.”

This doesn’t sound like “You are a terrible person for breaking the rule.” It just says, “The rule is the rule and you can learn to follow it.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 5, 2014:

DECIDE:  To set rules and consequences just right for your child.

PRACTICE:   Think about your child’s age and maturity.

How good is she at following rules? Does she make good choices about her behavior?

In the areas where you think she is mature enough, sit with her and make some family rules and decide on the consequences that will best fit the situation if the rules are broken.

In areas where you think she is too young to help decide these things, you should develop the rules and consequences and talk them over with her so she fully understands them.

Be careful to enforce these rules. It is typical for children to test rules when they are first put into place.

If you are doing this for more than one child, consider each one as an individual. Even children the same age can’t always handle the same expectations.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 4, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can select consequences that make sense when house rules are broken.

PRACTICE:   Think about some behavior of your child that is bugging you.

Create your rule by answering these questions. What is not allowed?

Be specific. (He can no longer refuse to get up for school in the morning.) What is expected of the child instead? (He must use his own alarm clock and be up and ready by 8:00 every day.)

What will happen, if he doesn’t follow the rule? Will he lose a privilege or be required to do something? Think of something that makes sense and is related to the idea of getting up on time.

Consequences are best when they teach, rather than just punish. For example in this situation you could consider: any morning he is late, you will shorten his bedtime so he gets enough sleep to be awake on time the next morning – 20 minutes late in the morning means 20 minutes earlier to bed.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 3, 2014:

DECIDE:   To discipline your child like Goldilocks – not too rigid, not too soft, but just right.

PRACTICE:   Today, observe the different types of rules and consequences you use with your child.

Think about whether your rules are left over from a day gone by – from older children or even from your own childhood.

Think about whether you are using enough rules or are you just looking the other way on some matters. Likewise, are you enforcing consequences when rules are broken – most of the time, some of the time or hardly ever?

Figure out whether your rules and consequences are right for your child’s age and maturity. Remember that an older child can need “younger” types of rules, and a young child can be ready for “older” types of rules.

Put a number to how much you have been using just-right rules and consequences. Do you think you are 50%, 75%, or 30% in tune with your child’s age and maturity?

Plan to make changes that will make that number be as high as you want it to be.  The Parenting Tip on April 10 will give you a chance to see if you have made improvements.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 2, 2014:

DECIDE:   Rules are necessary for all people.

PRACTICE:   Think about how many times in the last few days, you knowingly broke a rule.

What was your reason? Did you convince yourself that the rule was no good or shouldn’t apply to you?

Would you want your children to know you broke the rule? If not, plan to act differently in the future and share with your child why you are following the rule, even though it is difficult to do so.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

April 1, 2014:

DECIDE:   To have fun with your child.

PRACTICE:   Today is April Fool’s Day. If you live where this is celebrated, play a harmless practical joke on your child and laugh together afterwards.

(Example: “Honey, the car is broken; you’re going to have to walk to school this morning.” After the child becomes very alarmed say, “April Fool’s Day! You don’t really have to walk.”)

Be prepared. Your child will likely try to pay you back. As long as the jokes are harmless and in good fun, they make family connections that are priceless – as the commercial says.

If you aren’t familiar with April Fool’s Day, read up on it and share what you learn with your child. He may want to try it – just for the fun of it.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 31, 2014:

DECIDE: “Grit” is a good thing.

PRACTICE: Grit is something that helps a person keep trying to reach his goals – even when big things are getting in the way or when loss and disappointment are involved.

Spend some time today thinking about how much grit your child or a child you care about has developed so far in his life.

Observe his behavior throughout the day or think back about his behavior over several days. Make a list of the times he kept trying to accomplish something even though he had a lot of difficult things to deal with.

Put a star next to any times that were so difficult that you think most kids would have given up. Review the list when you are done and give the child a 1-10 “grit level” rating. Here is the rating system:

1 = “Not much grit; he needs to practice coping with sadness and frustration and work on not giving up.”

5 = “Quite a bit of grit; he overcame a lot of things and is ready to learn even more ways to deal with barriers.”

10 = “Excellent amount of grit; he can overcome most things and knows he is capable of overcoming barriers.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day

March 30, 2014:

DECIDE: You can give directions without asking “OK?” at the end.

PRACTICE: Refuse to put “OK?” at the end of your directions to children today.

When you tack “OK?” on the end of a statement, the child’s answer can be “yes” or “no.”

Only use “OK?” if “no” is an acceptable answer.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 29, 2014:

DECIDE: You can help your child learn to be responsible for saying no when he means no.

PRACTICE: Today, when your child responds with a crooked no (for example, makes an excuse or avoids a question), work with him to be responsible and give you a straight answer. Here is an example of how to do that.

    • “Will you take the dog for a walk?” says the adult.
    • “Will you take the dog for a walk?” says the adult.
    • “Later,” says the child.
    • “Will you do it before or after your TV show?” says the adult.
    • “I don’t know,” says the child still avoiding a straight answer.
    • “Will you do it before the TV show, yes or no?” says the adult insisting on a straight answer.

What the adult wants from the child is a plain “yes” or “no.” His answer then becomes something the adult can hold him to – there is no wiggling out of his responsibility.

Remember, don’t ask your child if he will take the dog out (or do anything else), if he has no choice. Don’t push for a straight yes or no about something the child is required to do. Only push for a straight yes or no when you are asking the child about a true choice, and you are willing to accept either answer to your question.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 28, 2014:

DECIDE: You don’t need to persuade or coax children to follow your directions.

PRACTICE: Count how many times you say “OK?” today tacked onto the end of a direction you were trying to give a child.

For example, “It’s time to get dressed now, OK?”

What was your number for today?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 27, 2014:

DECIDE: To be responsible for saying no when you mean no.

PRACTICE: Today, when you hear yourself give a crooked no (for example, making an excuse or saying yes and not following through), stop and think about how you could face up to the situation.

Gather your courage, talk to a friend you trust if you need to, and use your good thinking to come up with a way to be straightforward.

If you decide to say yes, make sure you follow through and celebrate that you are a responsible person.

If you decide you need to just say no, do that and still celebrate that you are a responsible person.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 26, 2014:

DECIDE: “Grit” is a good thing.

PRACTICE: Grit is something that helps a person keep trying to reach his goals – even when big things get in the way or loss and disappointment are involved.

Spend some time today thinking about how much grit you have.

Make a list of all the times you kept trying to accomplish something even though you had a lot of difficult things to deal with.

Put a star next to any of those times that were so difficult that you think most people would have given up.

Review the list when you are done and give yourself a 1-10 “grit level” rating.

Here is the rating system:

1 = “Not much grit; need to work on not giving up and believing I can cope.”

5 = “Have quite a bit of grit; can overcome a lot of things and am ready to learn even more ways to cope.”

10 = “Excellent amount of grit; can overcome most things and believe strongly in my own abilities.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 25, 2014:

DECIDE: To say no when you should.

PRACTICE: Think about every time you say yes today and figure out whether you really mean it.

Will you actually follow-through and do everything you have said yes to, or was your “yes” really a “crooked no?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice it. (Each day’s activity will also be posted on the Daily Parenting Tips page for easy access.)

Read the whole story at The Benefits of Art, Choices, and Discipline: Part II.

March 24, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can give directions to children rather than asking them questions.

PRACTICE:   Today, refuse to ask questions (Are you going to take out the trash?) when you mean to give your children direction (Take out the trash now.).

If you catch yourself ready to ask a question, or hear a question come out of your mouth, back up and try again.

Even if, you have actually asked the question, you can say, “That’s not what I meant to say.” Then, give the straightforward direction you meant to give.

Remember, children will want to test your authority, especially if they are not used to getting straightforward directions.

Insist on good behavior and use consequences for rules broken.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 23, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can recognize your child’s crooked no’s.

PRACTICE:   Today, write down all the ways your child says no without actually saying no.

For example, when asked to do something, he offers an excuse or acts like he doesn’t hear you.

Think about how you feel when you hear those crooked no’s.

Imagine what those crooked no’s will sound like if he continues to use them as he grows up – how they will sound when he is an adult? Will they help him or hurt him?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 22, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can know what you need and want.

PRACTICE:   Today, think how many times recently you have answered a question about yourself with, “I don’t know.”

Why do you not know? Do you really not know what you want for dinner, where you want to go on vacation, or whether you want to buy a new couch or not?

Or, have you spent so much time ignoring or denying what you need and want that now you can’t even identify what those needs and wants are? Are they hidden underneath the many other things and people you deal with in life?

Make a promise to yourself that the next question like these you get, you will answer it, even if it is not your best answer. This will be a start at letting some of these thoughts fight their way back into your mind.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 21, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can recognize crooked no’s.

PRACTICE:   Today, write down your crooked no’s – all the ways you say no without actually saying no.

For example, you offered an excuse when asked to do something, or you said yes but didn’t follow through hoping no one would notice.

Think about what kept you from saying no directly.

Think about whether you should find a way to say what you mean.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 20, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s OK to say “no” as long as it is respectful.

PRACTICE:   Say “no thanks” to something today. Do it respectfully and think through why saying no was the right thing for you to do.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice it. (Each day’s activity will also be posted on the Daily Parenting Tips page for easy access.)

Read the whole story at The Benefits of Art, Choices, and Discipline: Part II. 

March 19, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can insist on good behavior even when a child is saying no.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the times recently when your child was saying no.

How many of those times resulted in your insisting he do as he was told?

Did you avoid punishing him or criticizing him for saying no while still insisting on cooperation?

For all those times, think about how you handled him and celebrate that you did what was helpful for your child.

If there were times you backed down and didn’t insist he do what he was told, decide to do differently the next time.

Remember that as children get older their no-saying can become very disrespectful. This should not be tolerated. There should be  family rules about disrespect – rules with consequences that are enforced.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 18, 2014:

DECIDE:   To think about what it means to say “no.”

PRACTICE:   Today, think back to your own childhood and what you heard about saying “no” – things said to you or others around you.

Was it a no-no to use that word. Were their punishments associated with the word? Did you hear, “How dare you talk to me that way.” or “You little rascal, you have a mind of your own.”

Did you hear, “I hear you complaining, but you have to do as I say.” or “Now, honey, you don’t really mean that.”

Whatever words you remember, think about whether they are helpful to you now. Is that how you want to think about “no” from your children or is it how you want to feel when you are deciding whether to say no yourself in your adult world?

Write down some phrases that would be more helpful to you today as an adult. For example, “Boy, you really mean “no” all right, but you’ll still have to do as I say.” (parent to child) or “I am sorry to hear no, but I respect your reasons for refusing.” (adult to adult)

Keep these more helpful words where you can remind yourself of them. Use them when you are having trouble hearing no from your children or saying no as an adult.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 17, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can overcome fear of your child’s anger.

PRACTICE:   Today, think of a time when your child said “no,” and you failed to insist on what you expected her to do because you were afraid of her anger.

Make a plan for how you can overcome this fear.

Do you need to learn more about anger and how it comes and goes and is a normal part of a child’s growing and learning about life?

Do you need to “just do it” and practice dealing with “no’s” in a matter-of-fact way, even when your child is having a tantrum about it?

Stop and repeat this activity every few weeks to see, if you are finding yourself less afraid of the anger and more able to insist on good behavior.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 16, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s OK to use your authority as a parent.

PRACTICE:   Today, track how many times you are asking children questions when you want to give them direction. “Do you want to go to the store with me?” when you mean, “We are going to the store; get your coat on.”

Or, “Can you clean up those toys? Instead of “Clean up the toys now.”

Write down some of the questions you have asked and then re-write them as the direction you intended.

Plan to use directions from now on.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 15, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s OK for children to say no as long as they do what they are told to do.

PRACTICE:   Pay attention to how you feel when a child says no or refuses to do something today.

Think about what you want to do in each situation that will recognize that children say no because they are thinking for themselves.

For example, you could calmly, but firmly, insist the child do what is expected without punishing or criticizing the child for saying no. Be sure to insist that he must do as he is told.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 14, 2014:

DECIDE:           To help your child learn about money.

PRACTICE:       Today, if your child is old enough, establish a money management system for him.

Set some rules about what happens to money that he receives for allowances and gifts.

Decide on what percentage of each allowance or gift will be for the following.

  • Free spending: decide whether you will have approval of what this is used for or not; if so, only judge for matters of safety or morals, not the wisdom or maturity of his choices.
  • Savings for needs: for example, college fund or summer vacation
  • Savings for wants: for example, new bike or lego set
  • Charity: of child’s choice

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 14, 2014:

DECIDE:           To help your child learn about money.

PRACTICE:       Today, if your child is old enough, establish a money management system for him.

Set some rules about what happens to money that he receives for allowances and gifts.

Decide on what percentage of each allowance or gift will be for the following.

      • Free spending: decide whether you will have approval of what this is used for or not; if so, only judge for matters of safety or morals, not the wisdom or maturity of his choices.
      • Savings for needs: for example, college fund or summer vacation
      • Savings for wants: for example, new bike or lego set
      • Charity: of child’s choice

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 13, 2014:

DECIDE:           To do art with your child.

PRACTICE:       Today, do some art with your child.

Give your child a choice of two types of art. For example, drawing or sculpting.

During the activity, let your child direct how the activity will be organized. Will you both work on one project or each have your own?

Let your child decide what he will produce and how it will be produced. Do not give advice or criticize his work.

If he asks for help, direct him by asking a question. “Should I use sky blue or navy blue?” “Which one do think you will like the best on this when it is done? Celebrate the results. Display the results. See your display plan from March 12.

 Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 12, 2014:

DECIDE:           Art is important for children.

PRACTICE:       Today, think about a way you can easily display your child’s art.

Tell your child about your plan.

Remember to plan for different types of art. Not everything will be able to be put on the refrigerator.

Also remember to plan for having enough space. What will you do over time as the amount of art grows and grows. How will you make room for new art?

Use our comment section to share your ideas with other parents.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 11, 2014:

DECIDE:           Art is important for school children.

PRACTICE:       Today, contact your child’s school to learn how art is included in the school’s program at school.

Set up a time you can meet with his teacher to talk about your child and how he responds to art.

When you see the teacher, tell him what you have observed about your child and art. What does your child like the best? What does art bring out in him? Joy, concentration, pride, etc.?

Ask the teacher if more art could be done at school.

If you learn that the teachers need more help in order to offer more art at school, offer to help or let other parents know that help is needed.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 10, 2014:

DECIDE:           To teach your child an art skill that you have.

PRACTICE:       Today, decide on an artistic skill that you have.

Plan to teach your child how to do this type of art.

Keep the time short, if your child is young or your child is only mildly interested.

Be sure to teach in a hands-on way. Let the child try the things you are talking about after you demonstrate.

Celebrate your child’s attention and any first-level skill he shows.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 9, 2014:

DECIDE:           To help your child appreciate art.

PRACTICE:       Today, plan an art appreciation activity with your child.

Go to a museum, dance performance, concert, or get some children’s library books about some form of art.

Ask the librarian to help you locate books that are pictures of finished art or of performances and that are right for the age of your child.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 8, 2014:

DECIDE:           To help your child learn to make shopping choices.

PRACTICE:       Plan a shopping trip for your child to purchase a gift for someone.

Try to narrow the options to two or three before you go. Decide what store(s) you will go to. Be sure your child is not hungry or sleepy at the time you plan to go.

Go over with your child whether he will make the choice on his own or whether you will have final approval.

If the trip is successful, celebrate having a nice gift and having fun picking it out.

After the trip think about what worked well and what would have made it better.

If the trip was unsuccessful, decide what went wrong and how you will improve on it. Then, plan your next trip.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 7, 2014:

DECIDE:           Art is important to all people.

PRACTICE:       Today, do an art project that interests you. It can be some form of art you are good at or some new artistic skill you want to explore.

Afterwards, think about what it felt like to do this project. What characteristics (perseverance, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving, focus, etc.) were required of you?

Share your results and what the experience was like with your child.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 6, 2014:

DECIDE:           To trust your intuition or conscience.

PRACTICE:       Today, think about the last time you heard a nagging little voice inside.

What was it about? Did you listen? Why or why not? Looking back, are you glad you did or did not listen, or do you wish you had acted differently?

Make a plan for what you will do the next time you hear that very important voice.

If your child is old enough share your thoughts about this with her.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 5, 2014:

DECIDE:           To improve the choices you give your child.

PRACTICE:       If you need to give better, fewer, or more choices to your child. Today, give choices based on these rules.

      • For young children, give only two options at a time.
      • For young children, give choices only a few times in a day.
      • Make sure all the options you give are all acceptable to you.
      • For older children, help them learn to use pros and cons to help make their choice.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 4, 2014:

DECIDE:           Chores are good for children.

PRACTICE:       Today, arrange for your child to do an art project and introduce cleanup as a regular chore that will be expected from now on. PICKING UP YOUR SOCKS by Elizabeth Crary can help you know what activities are reasonable for your child’s age.

Break the cleanup chore down into parts.  For example, cleanup after putting on a show = putting dress-up clothes back in their containers and putting props and audience seats back where they came from.

For young children, have them do just one part for a few days (for example, just the clothes) and when it is done well most days, move to the next part.  You can gradually add a few of the props, but if the child is young, he will probably always need some help, especially with the seating.

On any days when his part is not done well, calmly ask that he do it over.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 3, 2014:

DECIDE:           Choices are good for children to have.

PRACTICE:       Today, track the choices you are giving your child.

Note how many options you give at one time.

Note whether you give specific options or are asking general questions like, “What do you want to wear this morning?

Note how many different times you give choices throughout the day. Are all your options really OK with you or are you caught hoping your child will pick what you want him to?

If you give no choices today, repeat this activity tomorrow.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 2, 2014:

DECIDE:           To appreciate art

PRACTICE:       Today, plan an art appreciation activity.

Go to a museum, dance performance, concert, or get some library books about some form of art. You can ask the librarian to help you find books that are pictures of finished art or of performances, not how-to books.

If you bring books home, make sure your child is aware of them and is allowed to look at them, if she wants to.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

March 1, 2014:

DECIDE:           Art brings out certain characteristics in your child.

PRACTICE:       Today, arrange for your child to do art.

Observe how she responds.

Is she focused? Is she neat and planful or all over the map about what she is doing? Is she happy? Does she become overwhelmed? Does she work a long time? Is she proud of what she produces? Does she work alone or prefer to work with others?

Also spend some time today thinking about how your child responds to other forms of art? What is her favorite thing to do? How can you tell that is her favorite?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, MORRIS THE ARTIST.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 28, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child appreciate his siblings.

PRACTICE:       Today, have your child finish the statement, “The thing my sister (or brother) does for me that I love is _______.”

Talk about what your child says.

Talk about how special it is to have someone you can depend on for special things.

Give examples from your own life.

Ask if it is OK to share what your child has said with his sister (or brother). Share it, if you get permission.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 27, 2014:

DECIDE:   To give your child a Dream Jar.

PRACTICE:       If you haven’t already, go to the library and borrow THE DREAM JAR.

Read it to your child  – during the day, not at bedtime so you have time to make a Dream Jar for him.

Explain what a Dream Jar is and how it can be used.

For an older child, make a list together of things that make him happy and that he likes to spend time thinking about. For a young child, you can make the list for the child.

Turn the list into an actual Dream Jar with notes in it about these happy things.

Tell your child you will help him use his Dream Jar if has a bad dream.

You can see more about Dream Jars by scrolling down to “Dream Jars” in our “Getting Kids to Sleep” blog.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 26, 2014:

DECIDE:   To connect with your sister or a best girl friend.

PRACTICE:       Today, connect with your sister(s) or your best girl friend in person or by phone, Face Time, Skype, email or snail mail.

Thinking about what you remembered about her on February 24 (Parenting Tip), let her know how much you appreciate all she has done for you over the years and how much you depend on her.

Let your child know how much you enjoyed making this connection with her Aunt today.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 25, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child be able to use a Dream Jar when he has a bad dream.

PRACTICE:       If you haven’t already, go to the library and borrow THE DREAM JAR.

Read it to your child – during the day, not at bedtime, so you can talk about what a Dream Jar is.

Explain what a Dream Jar is and give examples of how it can help deal with bad dreams. For example, it can remind us to use magic wands, light sabers, magic potions and all sorts of pretend powers to make monsters be what we want them to be and to stay in control of our own safety.

Suggest your child draw some pictures of him using these powers.

Tell him you will remind him how to do this anytime he has a bad dream and he can remember these pictures when he is using his Dream Jar and making up Dreamy Dreams.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 24, 2014:

DECIDE:   Sisters and best girl friends are special.

PRACTICE:       Today, think about the best gift your sister(s) ever gave you – at any age – when you were children or as adults.

Think about what you depend on your sister(s) for? What is it that you rely on her for?

Share these things with your child so he can understand how important his Aunt is to you.

If you don’t have a sister, think about a best girl friend who seems like a sister to you.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 23, 2014:

DECIDE:   To teach your child about a Dream Jar.

PRACTICE:       If you haven’t already, go to the library and borrow THE DREAM JAR.

Read it to your child – during the day, not at bedtime so you have time to talk about what a Dream Jar is.

Explain what a Dream Jar is and how it can be used. You read more about Dream Jars scroll down to “Dream Jars” in our “Getting Kids to Sleep” blog.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 22, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can help your child control her sleeplessness.

PRACTICE:       Today, start a journal that records how well your child is sleeping.

On nights when she doesn’t sleep well, note any possible causes. For example, late naps, things she is eating or drinking in the evening, TV, internet, or bedtime story input before bed, arguments, exercise, lack of exercise, etc.

Keep your journal every day for the next 30 days.

Set up a reminder for yourself to analyze your journal at the end of the 30 days.

Look for a parenting tip about hap to do the analysis next month.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 21, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your baby learn to put himself to sleep.

PRACTICE:       Today, begin letting your baby learn to put himself to sleep, if you have shared this plan with other adults in the household.

If you have not shared this plan with other adults in the household, see yesterday’s Parenting Tip. Do that activity today and begin the following plan tomorrow.

Because babies need to know they are going to be taken care, set a limit on how long you will let your baby cry before you calmly and quietly go in the bedroom to check on him and reassure him.

Be sure everything in the baby’s room and crib is safe for him to be alone in.

Keep track of how long he cries each evening, so you can see that the length of time and intensity is becoming less and less.

When it gets very hard for you to listen to the crying, try to distract yourself. For example, try exercising to some quiet music (Be sure you can hear that the baby is OK.), or if there is another responsible adult in the house, take turns taking a walk around the house as a break from the crying.

If you don’t have a baby, share this idea with someone you care about who has a baby.

You see more about this approach by scrolling down to “Babies Putting Themselves to Sleep” in our “Getting Kids to Sleep” blog.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 20, 2014:

DECIDE:   Babies can learn to put themselves to sleep.

PRACTICE:       Today, if you have a baby, talk with any other adults in your household about how you plan to leave your baby in her crib at sleep times even though you know she will cry for awhile.

Explain that you plan to do this so she can discover ways to calm herself down and fall asleep.

Explain that you know it will be hard to let her cry at first.

Explain that babies need to know they are going to be taken care of so you will set a limit on how long you will let her cry before you calmly and quietly go in an check on her and reassure her.

If you don’t have a baby, share this idea with someone you care about who has a baby.

To see more about letting babies cry, scroll down to “Getting Babies to Sleep” in our “Getting Kids to Sleep” post.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 19, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child be able to use Dreamy Dreams when he has a bad dream.

PRACTICE:       If you haven’t already, go to the library and borrow THE DREAM JAR.

Read it to your child – during the day, not at bedtime so you have time to talk about and draw pictures of Dreamy Dreams.

Explain what a Dreamy Dream is and give examples of how to turn a bad dream about big hairy monsters into a Dreamy Dream. For example, the monsters could be teeny tiny, toothless, all furry and cuddly, so sleepy they can’t wake up no matter how hard they try, or monsters without legs that weeble-wobble on round behinds.

Suggest he draw some pictures of these imaginary good and fun monsters.

Tell him you will remind him how to do this anytime he has a bad dream, and he can remember these pictures in the Dreamy Dream that he makes up.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 18, 2014:

DECIDE:   To control your sleeplessness.

PRACTICE:       Today, start a journal that records how well you are sleeping.

On nights when you do not sleep well, note any possible causes. For example, taking a nap late in the evening, things you are eating or drinking in the evening, TV or internet input before bed, arguments, exercise, lack of exercise, etc.

Keep your journal every day for the next 30 days.

Set up a reminder for yourself to analyze your journal at the end of the 30 days.  Look for a parenting tip about how to analyze it next month.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 17, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can teach your child to relax.

PRACTICE:       Today, sit with your child, if he is old enough, and figure out two different things that he thinks would be relaxing for him.

If your child is young, you can think of the things that you think will help your child relax.

Assign one of the ways to each of the next two weeks and practice every day.

Figure out if your child needs you to help him practice or not. For example, he will need help for a massage, but not necessarily for listening to music.

At the end of each week, see whether the technique was helping him learn to relax. If so, ask him how and when he can continue to use the technique.

We would love to hear about successful ideas. They might help someone else. Use our comments section.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 16, 2014:

DECIDE:   To teach your child about Dreamy Dreams.

PRACTICE:       Today, go to the library and borrow THE DREAM JAR.

Read it to your child – during the day, not at bedtime so you have time to talk about what a Dreamy Dream is.

Explain what a Dreamy Dream is and give examples.

Play the “WHAT IF” game. Ask him, “What if you had a bad dream about big hairy monsters? How could you turn that into a Dreamy Dream?” You can offer some examples like monsters who are teeny tiny, toothless, all furry and cuddly, so sleepy they can’t wake up no matter how hard they try, or monsters without legs that weeble-wobble on round behinds.

Tell him you will remind him how to do this anytime he has a bad dream.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 15, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can learn to relax.

PRACTICE:   Today, make a list of 4 ways you can help yourself relax.

Assign one of the ways from your list to each of the next four weeks and practice every day.

Be sure to share your experiences with your child. You can help her learn that relaxing is something you can learn to do with practice.

At the end of the last week, go back to your list and decide which ways worked best for you. Keep using those ways every time you feel stressed, especially when you are having trouble sleeping.

We would love to hear about successful ideas. They might help someone else. Use our comments section.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, THE DREAM JAR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 14, 2014:

DECIDE:   To ask your child to be your Valentine.

PRACTICE:   Today, give your child two valentines, one with a message that says she is able to do something very well (can also be a rule that she is good at following) and one that says how much you enjoy her – just the way she is.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 13, 2014:

DECIDE:   To spread the word about how important grandparents are.

PRACTICE:   Today, find out whether your child’s school celebrates “Grandparents Day.”  If they do, ask to help out.

Arrange for your child’s grandparents to participate – even if it is from afar. They could send a letter or a picture for your child to share.

If your school doesn’t have such an occasion, see if you could help start one. It could just be in your child’s classroom to begin with, so it wouldn’t take too many permissions or too much preparation.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 12, 2014:

DECIDE:   There are different rules for different situations.

PRACTICE:   Today, talk with your child about “house rules” that are different from house to house.

What are the rules at Grandma’s house?

How are they alike or different from yours?

What about any differences between you and another parent, including a stepparent, if that applies?

How about differences at an aunt’s house or an elderly neighbor’s house?

Talk about what that is like for your child to have different house rules to manage.

Talk about why it is important that he be able to follow different rules in different situations. Use examples of when you have to follow different rules, even though your are all grown up.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 11, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child get his questions answered.

PRACTICE:   Today, play “What Do You Wonder About” with your child.  You’ll need your computer and the resource books you gathered on February 8.

Here is how you play.

You each take turns asking a question about something you wonder about.

After each question the person who asks the question makes a guess about the answer and the other person agrees or disagrees.

Then, look up the answer together in one of your books or on your computer.

If the question is too complicated to easily find an answer, break it down into parts and try to find an answer to some part of the question.

Over time, keep looking for more information to add to the answer until the child is satisfied with the answer. Remember, young children like simple responses, so don’t dig more deeply than the child seems to need to be satisfied.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 10, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s OK for your child to ask questions.

PRACTICE:   Today, invite grandparents to dinner – or someone you know well that is like a grandparent.

Use this time to have conversations about what their lives were like when they were children.

Let your child ask as many questions as she wants to.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 9, 2014:

DECIDE:   To make valentines for Valentine’s Day.

PRACTICE:   Today, bring out the supplies you gathered on February 2 and make some valentines.

Use your journal notes to remind you and your child of some things to say on your cards.

Use your time together to talk about all the things you appreciate about each other and other family members.

Be sure to make valentines for grandparents too (or those in your family that act like grandparents to your children).

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 8, 2014:

DECIDE:   To encourage your child to ask questions.

PRACTICE:   Today, gather some resource books so you can play a game with your child called, “What Do You Wonder About?”  Examples of resource books: a child’s dictionary, BIG BOOK OF WHY, 5000 AWESOME FACTS, EVERYTHING DOG, HORSE, or BUG.

Ask your librarian to suggest a few that answer questions children are interested in.

Plan to use what you gather, when you play the game with your child. Directions will be in the parenting tip for February 11.

It will encourage your child to get answers to his questions.

 Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 7, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child connect with her grandparents.

PRACTICE:   Today, make an appointment for a time when your child can connect with her grandparents in person or by phone, face time, Skype, email or snail mail. Remember, most grandparents still appreciate old fashioned mail like cards and letters.

It will be fun for both the grandparents and the child to look forward to the “date.”

If your child cannot connect with her grandparents, help her think of someone who is or can be like a grandparent to her – a relative, friend of the family, someone in your neighborhood, at church, etc.

Plan a way your child can let that person know she enjoys and appreciates him or her.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 6, 2014:

DECIDE:   To celebrate how many people love your child.

PRACTICE:   Today, sit with your child and make a list of all the people who love her.

Let her suggest some, and you suggest some. You can both talk about how you know each person loves her.

Celebrate how loveable your child is.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 5, 2014:

DECIDE:   To connect with your grandparents.

PRACTICE:   Today, connect with your grandparents in person or by phone, face time, Skype, email or snail mail. Remember, most grandparents still appreciate old-fashioned mail like cards and letters.

If you cannot connect with your grandparents, make a connection with someone who is or can be like a grandparent to you – someone at work, in your neighborhood, at church, etc.

Let that person know you enjoy and appreciate him or her.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 4, 2014:

DECIDE:   Grandparents are special.

PRACTICE:   Today, have a talk with your child about her grandparents.

Ask her what she likes to do with her grandparents. Ask her why she likes to be around them. How do they make her laugh? Does she know their favorite color or favorite food? Their favorite game or vacation spot? Talk about whether any of these things are the same things that you or your child also like.

Are there things that you or your child “got” from grandparents – like red hair, dimples, a temper or a talent? Celebrate how lucky people are to have grandparents in their lives – or people who act like grandparents.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day

February 3, 2014:

DECIDE:   To remember your grandparents.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about your grandparents, even if they are no longer alive.

Think about what you loved to do with them when you were young. Think about why you liked to be around them. Think about how they made you feel.

If your grandparents are still around, share these thoughts with them either in person or in writing. If possible, also share your thoughts with your parents.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 2, 2014:

DECIDE:   To make valentines with your child next week.

PRACTICE:   Let your child help you gather the things you will need to make valentines together.

Mark February 9 on your calendar and make a sign for the fridge to remind your child of the date.

Over the next few days, you and your child can share a journal where you write down things you want to say on your valentines. If your child is young, have him tell you what to write when he thinks of something he wants to say.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, EMMA’S QUESTION.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

February 1, 2014:

DECIDE:           To help your child appreciate grandparents.

PRACTICE:       Go to the library and get some children’s books about grandparents of your culture and other cultures as well.

Read them to your child and talk about how his grandparents are alike and different from what you are reading about other cultures.

Arrange for your child to share what he learned with his own grandparents.

January 31, 2014:

DECIDE:   “Grit” is a good thing.

PRACTICE:   Grit helps a person keep trying to reach his goals – even when big things get in the way or loss and disappointment are involved. Spend some time today thinking about how much grit you have.

Make a list of all the times you kept trying to accomplish something even though you had a lot of difficult things to deal with. Put a star next to any of those times that were so difficult that you think most people would have given up.

Review the list when you are done and give yourself a 1-10 “grit level” rating. Here is the rating system:

1 = “Not much grit; need to work on believing I can cope and on not giving up.”

5 = “Have quite a bit of grit; can overcome a lot of things and am ready to learn even more ways to cope”

10 = “Excellent amount of grit; can overcome most things and believe strongly in my own abilities.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 30, 2014:

DECIDE:   Feeling sad is a necessary life lesson.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about whether you were allowed to feel sad when you were young.

If you believe you were permitted to deal with sadness as a child, think about what you learned from those experiences. How do you use as an adult what you learned as a child? Celebrate the opportunity to learn those lessons.

If you believe you were not permitted to deal with sadness as a child, think about how you were protected from sadness. Were you talked out of it, given things to take your attention away from something sad, or kept from even knowing about sad things that happened in your family?

Ask yourself whether you are doing those same things with your own child.

Make a new decision whether you really want to do that.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 29, 2014:

DECIDE:   Stories are ways to learn about your child.

PRACTICE:   Ask your child to tell you a story.  After the story, ask questions about what she liked about the story she told.

Tell her what point you got from the story and ask if that is what she wanted you to think about.  Discuss the story.  For example, if she tells a story about a kid who gets to do whatever he wants, ask her what it would be like at home if that kid never had any rules to follow.

Suggest things that wouldn’t be good for the kid in that situation.  For example, would he make himself sick eating too much candy?  Keep the discussion about the kid in her story, not about your child.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 28, 2014:

DECIDE:   To tell your child she is capable.

PRACTICE:   Today, give your child five messages that say she is able to do many things well, including following your rules that are meant to keep her safe. Make some messages be words. Make some be just actions.

Examples of these types of messages (feel free to use them or to make up your own):

“Way to go – tell me how you got this B on your test.”

Make a chores chart.

“You look great in that skirt.”

“Thank you for sticking to your curfew.”

“Will you paint me one of your beautiful pictures?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 27, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can know the difference between what you need and what you want.

PRACTICE:   Today, think about the difference between your needs and your wants.

On one side of a piece of paper list needs.  On the other side list wants.

Think carefully about the things listed as needs. Ask yourself why you need each thing. Be honest with yourself.

Needs are things that are necessary for a safe and healthy life. Wants are things that add pleasure and interest to life. If the needs items don’t measure up when you think about it, move them to wants.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 26, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can select consequences that make sense when house rules are broken.

PRACTICE:   Think about some behavior of your child that is bugging you. Create your rule by answering these questions.

What is not allowed? Be specific. (He can no longer refuse to get up for school in the morning.)

What is expected of the child instead? (He must use his own alarm clock and be up and ready by 8:00 every day.)

What will happen, if he doesn’t follow the rule? Will he lose a privilege or be required to do something? If thinking about him losing something, make sure it is not something on the “do not take away” list you made on January 23. Think of something that makes sense and is related to the idea of getting up on time.

Consequences are best when they teach, rather than just punish. For example in this situation you could consider: any morning he is late, you will shorten his bedtime so he gets enough sleep to be awake on time the next morning – 20 minutes late in the morning means 20 minutes earlier to bed.

January 25, 2014:

DECIDE:   To tell your child he is loveable.

PRACTICE:   Today, give your child five messages that say he is loved and cared about. Make some be words. Make some be just actions.

Examples of these types of messages (feel free to use them or to make up your own):

“I love you oodles and oodles.”

Hug him (not in public, if he is a teen).

Stroke his arm or shoulder while watching TV.

“Let’s have some you-and-me time.”

“How can I be so lucky as to have you for a son?”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 24, 2014:

DECIDE:   To teach your child what is “enough.”

PRACTICE:   When you offer your child food today, ask him to check in with his tummy and tell you how much or how many he “needs.”  Don’t ask how much or how many he “wants;” that’s a different matter all together.  Give him just what he says he needs – no more and no less.  If he returns wanting more, tell him he has had “enough” for now.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 23, 2014:

DECIDE:   Some things belong on a “do-not-take-away” list.

PRACTICE:   Make a very short list of a couple of things that are so near and dear to your child that they should not be taken away as a consequence for misbehavior.

For example, a special toy because of who gave it to him, the blanket she sleeps with every night, something gotten by overcoming serious obstacles.

Avoid these few things as consequences when you are establishing house rules. Find other consequences that make sense for the behavior the rule is about.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 22, 2014:

DECIDE:   It is important to prepare your child for new experiences.

PRACTICE:   Today, think of a new experience your child will be having soon. Have a conversation about what that will be like and what behavior is expected of him.

For example, if he is meeting new people, tell him some things he could say. Practice the conversations, just the two of you. If you expect him to shake hands, show him how to do that.  Compliment him on how he does it.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 21, 2014:

DECIDE:   To celebrate your child’s ability to handle sadness or disappointment.

PRACTICE:   Pay attention to the times that your child is sad or disappointed today.  Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson.

Notice what your child does to make himself feel better. Does she hug her blanket, cry for awhile, get busy with something?

Celebrate that she has found ways to deal with her feelings. Remember this the next time she feels sad or disappointed, and let it help you avoid jumping in and trying to protect her from every sadness.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 20, 2014:

DECIDE:   “Grit” is a good thing.

PRACTICE:   Grit helps a person keep trying to reach his goals – even when big things are getting in the way or when loss and disappointment are involved.

Spend some time today thinking about how much grit your child or a child you care about has developed so far in his life.

Observe his behavior throughout the day or think back about his behavior over several days.

Make a list of the times he kept trying to accomplish something even though he had a lot of difficult things to deal with.

Put a star next to any times that were so difficult that you think most kids would have given up. Review the list when you are done and give the child a 1-10 “grit level” rating. Here is the rating system:

1 = “Not much grit; he needs to practice coping with sadness and frustration and work on not giving up.”

5 = “Quite a bit of grit; he overcame a lot of things and is ready to learn even more ways to deal with barriers.”

10 = “Excellent amount of grit; he can overcome most things and knows he is capable of overcoming barriers.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 19, 2014:

DECIDE:   Your child can learn to know what he needs.

PRACTICE:   Today, when your child feels sad or disappointed ask him if there is anything you can do for him? Ask him what he needs. Ask what will make him feel better?

If he answers, “No” or “I don’t know,” accept the answer. Don’t suggest things. Let him know you are there for him, if he thinks of anything. If he asks for something you can’t do, suggest another close option.

For example, if he says he wants a chocolate sundae, you could offer something more nutritious with an added feature like making a special place for the two of you to share a nutritious snack.

If you have a very young child, you will need to think for him and decide how to comfort him, but as you offer cuddling or toys to play with, go ahead and ask him what he needs. It sets the stage for him knowing that what he needs is important and he will one day be able to say what those needs are.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 18, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s OK to ask for help.

PRACTICE:   Ask for help today.  When someone offers the help, accept it willingly.  Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”  Thank the person.  Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 17, 2014:

DECIDE:   Preventing your child’s sadness can be a form of overindulgence.

PRACTICE:   Pay attention to the times that your child is sad or disappointed today. It doesn’t have to be about something big. It can be because he has to wait for something, can’t find something he wants to play with or wear, a friend can’t play, etc.

Notice what your first reaction is.

Do you want to try to talk him into feeling better, get him focused on something else, or give him something he likes to eat?

Stop yourself.

Remember that learning to deal with sadness is an important life lesson. Instead of your usual response, try letting him know that you are noticing that he is sad or disappointed. Hold him, hug him, or pat him.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 16, 2014:

DECIDE:   To help your child practice empathy.

PRACTICE:   Today, go to the park or some other place where children play and talk with your child about how other children in the park might be feeling. If any of them are sad, talk with your child about how to make them feel better.

For example, if a child falls down, your child could offer a bandage. If a child is sad that he has no playmate, your child could offer to play. If a child is upset that he sees others having snacks and he has none, your child could offer to share.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 15, 2014:

DECIDE:   To “read” books without words.

PRACTICE:   Go to the library and ask the librarian where to look for books without words. You can ask to see some by Barbara Lehman or David Wiesner as a start. When you tell your child the story represented by the pictures in the books you selected, use words, character names, and details that are familiar to your child. On some pages you can ask your child to tell what is happening and help tell the story.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, A BALL FOR DAISY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 14, 2014:

DECIDE:   You will not allow bullying behavior.

PRACTICE: Think honestly about whether your child uses bullying behavior.

Does she order her friends around?

Threaten to not play, if friends don’t do as she says?

Make fun of his friends?

Physically fight with others?

If you see these behaviors often, now is the time to start making sure they don’t payoff for your child.

Make a rule that playtime is over when you see these behaviors. Make sure you enforce the rule in a matter-of-fact way.“I see that you are being mean and are scaring or hurting your friends, which is against our rule about playtime. Playtime is over. Tomorrow you can try again to play without being mean or too rough.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 13, 2014:

DECIDE:   Your child can learn to have empathy for others.

PRACTICE: Today, search the internet for “feelings faces games.”

Either purchase a game you discover, use one available online, or get ideas about how to make a homemade version.

Play it with your child. Use the game faces to teach about feelings.

Ask what feeling your child would associate with each face. Tell stories about why a person might look (or feel) that way.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 12, 2014:

DECIDE:   Birthdays should be fantastic.

PRACTICE: Plan a birthday week for the next family birthday.

Plan seven small gifts or celebrations, one for each day of the week that the birthday falls within.

For example, for a young child:

1) a trip to the park,

2) an ice cream treat,

3) a small toy,

4) a special present on the actual birthday,

5) a dinner of his choice,

6) some arts and crafts time, and

7) a family bike ride.

Make a card for each gift or make a special calendar so your child knows he is in for a whole week of celebrating what a great person he is. Include yourself in this practice.

If you are the next birthday in the family, arrange for seven days of celebration – plan some small way each day to remember that the world is a better place because of your arrival in it.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 11, 2014:

DECIDE:  To love your child with no strings attached.

PRACTICE: Think about whether you send the message that you are only pleased with your child when he looks, sounds, or acts a certain way.

Do you spend more time with him when he is doing the activities you approve of? For example, when he plays football but not when he plays soccer; when she does ballet but not so much when she plays volleyball; when she plays with legos but not so much when she wants to play house?

Do you show your disapproval for things he doesn’t have much control over? For example, how tall he is, how much he weighs, the color of her skin, or how clearly she speaks?

If you answer yes to these questions, make an effort to cut those strings that are attached to your love. Offer your love on a “no matter what” basis. (See Benefits of Balanced Love)

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 10, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s important to talk to your child about bullying.

PRACTICE: Think about whether there have been any changes in the way your child acts or feels related to going to school?

Is his work at school improving or going downhill?

Does he show any signs of being worried or afraid – loss of appetite, easy to fly off the handle, unable to sleep?

If you notice any unusual behaviors, talk with your child to make sure he isn’t faced with things at school that he doesn’t feel he has control over or is afraid of.

Keep your own feelings under control and be very matter of fact about your questions. Ask short questions; don’t dig for answers.

It may take several conversations, because children may not talk about these things easily.

What is important is that they know you care about their safety and happiness and will help them deal with any problems they might be having. After that sinks in, they may give in and talk about problems.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 9, 2014:

DECIDE:   To accept the things that you can’t change.

PRACTICE: Using your “Acceptance” list you created on January 7, pick an item to work on and practice strengthening your acceptance.

Select and item on your “Acceptance” list, and every time that situation comes into your mind, push it out. The minute it creeps in, force yourself to think of something else.

You can concentrate on a silly word, a phrase, a song, or some problem that you know you can solve. Or, you can do meditation, deep breathing, or some other type of relaxation.

The important thing is that you make yourself redirect your thinking every time. It may be exhausting at first, because the thoughts of the loss will creep in endless numbers of times in a day, but it should get easier over time. You are exercising your concentration “muscles” just like you would have to exercise your leg muscles, if you were preparing to run a race.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 8, 2014:

DECIDE:   You can help your child learn to be powerful without being a bully.

PRACTICE: Sit with your child and make a list of ways he can be powerful.

Don’t let him put any ideas on the list that put down other people or hurt others.

Congratulate him for thinking of good ways to be powerful.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 7, 2014:

DECIDE:   To increase your power.

PRACTICE: Using the “Do Not Have Power” list you started on January 2, think about whether there are ways you can gain power over things on the list.

If so, make a plan to take the first step toward gaining that power and moving that item to your “Have Power” list.

For the rest of the items, put those items on a new list titled, “Acceptance.”

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 6, 2014:

DECIDE:  To help your child develop empathy

PRACTICE: Think about a time when something you did or failed to do hurt another person, and you did something afterwards to make that person feel better.

Tell your child a story about that memory. Make sure the story includes how it felt to hurt that person, what you did to make it up to that person and what it felt like to make that person feel better.

Tell your child that making it up to the person was important (even if what happened was an accident and wasn’t done on purpose). It still hurt the other person.

Tell her that when you do something that hurts someone else, you are still a good person. You show that when you try to make the person you hurt feel better.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 5, 2014:

DECIDE:   It’s OK to be powerful.

PRACTICE: Using your “Do Not Have Power” list that you started on January 2, ask yourself if those items are on the list because you really don’t have power over them or because you don’t use the power you have.

For example, at first glance you may think you have no power over what goes on in your work setting. How much of that is true and how much of that is because you are not using the power you do have?

Are you afraid to let yourself show your power?

Do you use your power by speaking up, starting new things, offering new ideas, carefully saying “no,” disagreeing when it is right to do so, standing up for yourself, or asking for what you need?

If you answer no to most of these things, pick one of them to try. Think ahead about how you can start doing one of these things in safe, appropriate ways.

Practice until you are ready to try another way and until you have become comfortable with many of these ways to use power.

Be sure to move items to your “Have Power” list if these behaviors help you get power over them.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 4, 2014:

DECIDE:   Too much attention and power is not good for children.

PRACTICE: Today, think about how often your child rules the roost at your house.

How often does she control what the family does and when and how the family does it?

How many family decisions is your child controlling?

Where Grandma sits at the table?

Where the family goes on vacation?

Where you go to eat dinner?

If the answer is yes to many of these questions, practice taking back your family power. Reduce the number of decisions your child is asked to make, and make sure when she does get to make a decision it is about something she should have control over.

What do you want to wear today?

Grandma is sitting here, which of the other seats do you want?

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 3, 2014:

DECIDE:   Asking for help is a powerful thing to do.

PRACTICE: Ask for help today.  When someone offers the help, accept it willingly.  Relax and tell yourself, “You deserve the help.”  Thank the person.  Pass it on tomorrow by offering someone your help.

Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, WILLOW FINDS A WAY.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.

January 2, 2014:

DECIDE:   To accept your power.

PRACTICE: Make a list of all the things you have power over. And, while you’re at it, make a list of the things you do not have power over.

Pull out your list tomorrow and think about how true it is.

Do you really have power over all the things on the “Have Power” list? If not, move them to the “Do Not Have Power” list.

Do you actually have power over some of the things on your “Do Not Have Power List”? If so, move those to the “Have Power” list.

Do this analysis again each day for several days until you are satisfied you have the right things on the right list.

Celebrate the things you have power over. You are a powerful person.

Save your lists so you can continue to work on moving things around as you make new decisions.

December 15, 2013:

December 14, 2013:

DECIDE:   To tell your child she is capable.

PRACTICE:       Today, give your child five messages that say she is able to do many things well, including following your rules that are meant to keep her safe. Make some messages be words. Make some be just actions. Examples of these types of messages (feel free to use them or to make up your own):

“Way to go – tell me how you got this B on your test.”

Make a chores chart.

“You look great in that skirt.”

“Thank you for sticking to your curfew.”

“Will you paint me one of your beautiful pictures?”

December 13, 2013:

DECIDE:   You can know the difference between what you need and what you want.

PRACTICE:       Today, think about the difference between your needs and your wants.

On one side of a piece of paper list needs.  On the other side list wants.

Think carefully about the things listed as needs. Ask yourself why you need each thing. Be honest with yourself.

Needs are things that are necessary for a safe and healthy life. Wants are things that add pleasure and interest to life.

If the needs items don’t measure up when you think about it, move them to wants.

December 12, 2013:

DECIDE:  To tell your child he is loveable.

PRACTICE:       Today, give your child five messages that say he is loved and cared about. Make some be words. Make some be just actions. Examples of these types of messages (feel free to use them or to make up your own):

“I love you oodles and oodles.”

Hug him (not in public, if he is a teen).

Stroke his arm or shoulder while watching TV.

“Let’s have some you-and-me time.”

“How can I be so lucky as to have you for a son?”

December 11, 2013:

DECIDE:   You can teach your child what is “enough.”

PRACTICE:    When you offer your child food today, ask him to check in with his tummy and tell you how much or how many he “needs.”

 Don’t ask how much or how many he “wants;” that’s a different matter all together.  Give him just what he says he needs – no more and no less.

If he returns wanting more, tell him he has had “enough” for now.

December 10, 2013:

DECIDE:   You can control your competitions.

PRACTICE:       Think of a competition you are involved in – a sporting activity, work situation, personal relationship. Ask yourself whether this competition is controlling you or you are controlling it.

Here are some ways to know. It is likely controlling you, if you answer yes to many of these questions.

Are you thinking about it too much?

Feeling angry about it when you think you are not winning?

Spending too much time feeling afraid you are going to lose?

Beating yourself up when you think you are losing?

Thinking your competitors are bad, worthless people?

On the other hand, you are likely controlling it and making it work for you instead of against you, if you answer yes to these questions.

Are you enjoying the excitement of being in competition?

Do you enjoy and respect the people you compete with when you are done with the task?

Are you a better person or a more skilled person because of this competition?

If you decide you are in control, celebrate. If you decide instead that competition is controlling you, make a plan to turn things around. Work on gaining control of any insecurities and fears that prevent you from healthy competition.

December 9, 2013:

DECIDE:   You deserve attention.

PRACTICE:       Set aside some time for yourself today – don’t say you can’t. It can be just 15 minutes, if it has to be – although it would be better if it were 30 minutes or an hour. But, you can work yourself up to that, if you need to.

Do whatever feels good for that 15 minutes. Sit quietly, exercise, read, watch TV, listen to music (or dance to the music).

Don’t allow interruptions. Arrange a time when the kids are with someone else or after they are asleep.

Start with once or twice a week and work your way up to every day and for longer periods of time. If you don’t feel some benefit from this “me-time” after doing it several weeks, try changing what you do during your time. You need an activity that will recharge you.

If you have been ignoring yourself for too long, you may have to practice not feeling guilty before you can enjoy your time. You may have to re-learn what things you like, before your activity actually feels good.

December 8, 2013:

DECIDE:   To help your child get to know someone better

PRACTICE:       Select someone that your child seems to have trouble getting along with. Someone she acts jealous of or envious toward.

Arrange some one-on-one time with that person and your child. Or, arrange for your child and that person to work on a school or neighborhood project together.

After each time your child plays or works with the person, talk about what things he learned about the person – what he likes about the person; what’s fun about the person; how the person helped the project turn out well.

Ask whether your child feels better about the person than he used to. If he does, have him talk about why. If he doesn’t, ask why not and help him see how many of his reasons are facts and how many are feelings based on old or imagined things.

December 7, 2013:

DECIDE:   To teach your child about competition.

PRACTICE:       Watch a sporting event either live or on TV and discuss the feelings you see.

Imagine what the players are feeling. Talk about what you think happens after the game is over. Are the players actually friends?  Do they have dinner together afterwards?

Ask her if she has ever competed against someone she really liked and respected. Let her know that competition is something that is best turned on for the game and turned off afterwards.

December 6, 2013:

DECIDE:   To get to know someone you have felt jealous of

PRACTICE:       Review your December 2 practice in which you uncovered times you felt jealous. Today, ask yourself who the other people involved were?

Select one of those people to get to know better.

Arrange some one-on-one time with that person during which you can learn more about the person. For example, what she likes; what her future plans are; any challenges she is dealing with.  Or, arrange to work on a project together at work, at church, or in the neighborhood.

Pay attention to the contributions she makes to getting the project done and making it a success. Also, accept any compliments she pays you during the project work.

After you have had the opportunity to socialize or work with this person, think about whether you trust her more.

December 5, 2013:

DECIDE:   To let your child do things for himself.

PRACTICE: Today, think of something you are doing for your child that you can teach him to do for himself. For example, can you teach him to tie his own shoes?

Clear his dishes from the table after meals?

Make his bed?

Use an alarm clock to get up for school?

Don’t expect him to be able to do it immediately, but start the learning process today, stay with it everyday until he can do it well, and don’t forget to celebrate his success.

December 4, 2013:

DECIDE:   To give your child not too much and not too little attention.

PRACTICE:       Write down how much of your time is spent focused on your child.

Do you have enough time left for personal time or couple time with a partner?

Are you looking over your child’s shoulder to make sure she is doing her homework and getting it done perfectly?

Do you go to all your child’s sports practices?

After you have made your notes about your time, consider whether this much of your attention is helping your child become independent or whether it is making her so dependent on you that she won’t be unable to do much of anything without you.

If you think your child needs more independence, and you do too, make a plan for dialing back how much you are involved in every aspect of your child’s life.

December 3, 2013:

DECIDE:   You can know how much is enough.

PRACTICE:       Write out your personal definition of the following ideas: (and share with us here at the blog)

Too Little: _____________________________________

Enough: _______________________________________

Abundance: ____________________________________

Too Much: _____________________________________

When you find yourself wanting more than what you have, think of these definitions. Analyze whether you actually have enough of what you need.

December 2, 2013

DECIDE:           To counterattack jealousy.

PRACTICE:       Today and for the next few days pay attention to any feelings of jealousy you may have. Are there times you feel yourself tightening up with anger and resentment at work or at home? Think about what the fear behind that anger is about.

What are you afraid you might lose?

Is it someone’s affection?

Recognition of your abilities?

A job?

Once you have an idea about what it is you fear losing, ask yourself why you think you are in danger of losing it. Have you lost this before and decided you should expect to lose it again? Have you decided you don’t deserve to have what you want?

If your answer to either of these is yes, begin working on making a new decision. Stay focused on real here-and-now facts, not your fears, and don’t let past experience tell you what your future will be. Working on claiming your personal power can help you make these new decisions.

December 1, 2013:

DECIDE:           Adults will be in charge of your family.

PRACTICE: Write down the types of decisions your child makes day-to-day.

Do adults choose their own seats at the dinner table and in the car or does your child tell adults where they should sit based on his desire to be in the window seat or next to a certain person?

Who decides what the family will watch on TV in the evening?

Who decided where your last vacation was going to be?

Who decided what restaurant you went to on your last night out?

If the answer to many of these questions is “my child.” Consider whether this is too much family power in the hands of a child. If so, make a plan for ensuring that family decisions are made primarily by the adults in the family – with the involvement of your child only occasionally when it is appropriate for his age.

November 30, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider connecting a gift to your child’s special interest or talent.

If art is his thing, consider time at the local make-your-own-clay-sculpture shop or an art lesson at the local college of design.

If dance or music is his thing, consider tickets for the ballet, symphony, or a touring concert.

If she is interested in the theater, try tickets to a travelling Broadway show or acting lessons through a children’s theater association.

And then there are the sports enthusiasts. Consider tickets to their favorite team’s game or maybe a team shirt or hat signed by a favorite player. If the team happens to be a local college team, think who you know that could help you get the signature. Someone you know from work or the neighborhood may know someone at the college who could help. Another way to make the arrangements is to just be at a game and stop and talk with one of the college administrators or sports media representatives.

November 29, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider a “party-in-a-box.” Gather all the things your child will need to host an “unbirthday” party – invitations, favors, the supplies for activities, etc.

An “unbirthday” party is one that celebrates other than a birthday, graduation, or holiday. It’s a party just for the fun of it.

Make sure the supplies are right for your child’s age.

Let her decide what kind of party she wants to have and who to invite.

Spend time together planning the party and record the fun with pictures or videos. Next year at holiday time you can bring out the pictures to enjoy this gift all over again.

November 28, 2013:

Gift Idea:  If your child is missing someone at this holiday – a parent, grandparent, favorite relative, or a friend who has moved away – consider arranging for a video to be made and sent to you so you can wrap it up as a gift for your child.

Or, plan a “computer meeting” with that person by arranging to Skype or do FaceTime with that person. To make a gift out of the meeting, ask the person to send a note about the meeting ahead of time. Then, wrap the note up as a gift.

November 27, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider wrapping up picture books from the library – if your child is young enough to not be upset by the fact that it is not a keep-it-forever gift.

It’s a great way to stretch the holiday budget and still have a gift to open and lots of fun on the holiday and for days after. As you read the books to your child over the next days and weeks you can explain that these books are a gift that keeps on giving because they are borrowed and each time you return them you get to pick out more.

November 26, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Plan a mini-celebration of a winter holiday other than the one that is usually celebrated by your family (for example, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa).

Go to the library and find out all the details of that holiday’s celebration and see how many you can do. When your family’s usual holiday arrives, have your child tell some family members or neighbors what he learned about another holiday and some of the ways you celebrated.

November 25, 2013:

Gift Idea:  If this is the year that your child figures out Santa’s identity, consider starting the “special secrets club.”

When he let’s you know his discovery, swear him in to this special club. Make up a special handshake or pinky swear to agree that he will keep the secret from all younger children who haven’t made his discovery. Make a big deal about being part of the secret and having the fun of being part of the special club. Make sure he understands that being in the club doesn’t change any of the fun and gifts you have planned for him. Instead, it doubles the fun because he can help with all the secrets for everyone else.

November 24, 2013:

Gift Idea: Consider giving something that is usually a no-no.

For example, sugary breakfast cereal that you always say no to at the store, soda pop that you always say the child is too young for, or a movie at the movie theatre that you always say you are too tired to do.

November 23, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider having a toy clean up session before the holiday to make room for new ones. Either donate some toys or retire some to a storage box for a while.

November 22, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider letting your child help wrap the holiday gifts.

Remember, you can make wrappings out of almost anything: paper bags, scraps of fabric, parts of old shirts or sweaters that are outgrown, rubber bands, hair ribbons, shoestrings, etc.

Imagine a gift wrapped in the front of a cast-away shirt with a pocket right on top of the gift. Some small little treasure could be hidden away in the pocket as an extra surprise. See how clever you can be. Share your ideas with us.

November 21, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider starting a money management plan before the holiday.

Set some rules about what happens to money that the child receives for gifts.

Decide on what percentage of each gift will be for

      1. “free spending” (decide whether you will have approval of what this is used for or not; if so, only judge for matters of safety or morals, not the wisdom or maturity of the child’s choices),
      2. “savings for needs” (for example, college fund),
      3. “savings for wants” (for example, new bike or computer game),
      4. “charity” (of the child’s choice).

November 20, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider planning a shopping trip for your child to buy holiday gifts for others.

It’s a good time to teach some good practices about shopping.

      • Help the child decide on just a short list of essential people.
      • Assign an amount of money to each present on the list so you know you are looking for a $1 gift for Sister Sue and a $5 gift for Grandma.
      • Require that the child contribute all of the money needed (if he has a savings for this) or some portion of the money needed (if she has limited ways to earn money). When the child has only a little money, you could match every dime or quarter that he contributes in order to make the budget doable.
      • Don’t spend your shopping time hunting for a good idea for each gift. Instead, talk about ideas ahead of time and write down a couple of good ideas for each person. Then, you can go directly to the right store and the right departments within the store and avoid frustration.
      • Have fun.
      • Stop for a special treat when you are done.

Also remember that you can decide to make your presents instead of buying them and have just as much fun doing “crafts” together.

November 19, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider asking people you know what gift they received as a child that they really loved and still remember. The answers should give you some great ideas. And, you will have the fun of bringing smiles to all the faces of those you ask.

November 18, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider giving twin gifts.

Make sure both Mom and child or Dad and child both get the same gift, so the fun of the gift is not just the gift itself but also the fun of doing something together. My hairdresser told me once that one of her best gifts was when she and her Dad both received go-carts. The go-carts were great, but she also loved the time with her dad. You would be surprised how many adults like to play with kid things like Legos, Erector Sets, or Lincoln Logs. Try giving a set to the child and a more advanced set for Mom or Dad. How about twin coloring books? You can give one with young-child pictures and one with grown-up designs. Kids love it when adults color with them.

November 17, 2013:

Gift Idea:  Consider a special way to wrap any money you might be giving as a gift.

One year we gave our money gift all in one-dollar bills. We taped them together at the narrow end and stuffed the whole string of dollars into an empty square-shaped Kleenex box so that when she pulled out the first dollar it just kept coming and coming and coming. Getting the gift was part of the fun, not just spending it.

November 16, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider a lesson for something you think your child would really be good at or has shown he wants to know about.

I did this one year for my oldest daughter. It was the era of “Top Gun,” the movie. She had watched it more times than I could count. I gave her a flying lesson as a holiday gift, and she was hooked. She dropped her fine arts major in college and switched to aviation. Just be aware that the lesson can also have the opposite effect – a person can find out something they thought was going to be great just isn’t going to be right for them.

 Very young children may not be ready for a lesson, but they could be taken on a field trip where they could see and talk to real adults doing something they are fascinated with – playing a sport, making ice cream, dancing or singing on stage, working at a fire house, etc. (Most fire houses have “Touch a Truck” days when they let neighborhood kids climb up on the fire trucks to explore.)

November 14, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider giving a lot of something – give something in abundance.

Day-to-day we want to give our children enough without giving too much. But, one of the ways we understand about enough is seeing what more than enough is like.

Having more than enough is fun when it happens only once in a while. If it happens all of the time, you learn not to even appreciate it. Instead, you need more and more to be satisfied.

 Instead of giving your child one candy bar as a treat for that one special day, give her several candy bars and label them for future days or weeks (for example, for every Friday during the holiday month).

Bundle two or three hot wheels into one package or a couple of shirts in different colors, so he can be wowed by having not just one, but two or three of something he really likes.

Remember, do this only with one gift and only for a very special occasion.

November 13, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider making a gift that will last through years of growing and memory-making.

It might be something you sew, construct, paint, sculpt, carve, glue together, etc. – it can be anything your child will enjoy at the age he is right now.

Remember, children don’t need things to be perfect.

I remember making cloth dolls, stuffed bears, doll clothes, dress-up clothes, and framing a picture of great granddad as a college quarterback – all of different quality based on my skills at the time. Some of these things have travelled through my children’s college dorm rooms, newlywed homes, and job relocations and are still being kept – no matter how ragged – so they can be handed down to a second generation.

Make this the year you give an heirloom – something that is as much about long-time memories as it is about the fun of now.

November 12, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider setting aside some time on the holiday when the house is full of family and friends to show old movies of past holidays.

Children love to see their favorite adults as kids.

They also love to see themselves from years past and hear about what they were like when they were younger.

They also love to see themselves receiving past gifts. It reminds them of favorite toys and the fun of days gone by.

November 11, 2013:

Gift Idea:   If you ever have bought gifts of clothes for a teenager, you know how difficult it is to get the fit, the color and the style all right.

My favorite teen gift story comes from the mother of one of my daughter’s friends. She bought clothes for her daughter, brought them home, blindfolded her daughter and tried them on her. The mother would decide what looked the best and fit the best and return the rest. When it was time to give the gifts, no disappointments about fit and no returns necessary.

I have to admit I never tried this myself – just too much like a sitcom for me, but I hope it brought a smile to your face as it did mine each holiday.

November 10, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider having a theme for the holiday.

 You can make up a list of possible themes (for example, rainbow, juicy, soft, or beach). Put the themes on a slip of paper and let your child pull one from a hat.Whatever is selected can become your theme for that year’s holiday.

Each person will get at least one present representing the theme (a ball cap with a fruit logo on it for “juicy”). It makes gift shopping like a scavenger hunt to find something the person will like and that also fits the theme.

You can use the theme to decorate the house (cuddly snowmen in every room for “soft”). You can use the theme to plan the menu (a bottle of wine labeled Sandy Winery for “beach”). You can use it to set the table (use all the rainbow colors).

If you try this, please share your ideas in the comment box.

November 9, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider that some boys like typical girl activities like art, cooking, designing, etc. – even a doll to play with. Likewise, some girls like typical boy activities like cars and trucks, sports, building things, etc.

If you are interested in giving a girl toys usually given to boys or giving a boy toys usually given to girls, make sure both parents are OK with that.  If not, think about whether the child will be able to have fun with the toy, if someone in the family is possibly going to make fun of her or stop her from playing with the toy.

November 8, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider your child’s holiday list.

Answer these questions.

    • Will the things on the list help my child grow and develop based on his age and abilities?
    • Are they too old for him?
    • Too young for him?
    • Do they encourage too much screen time?
    • Do they encourage enough physical activity?
      • Enough creativity?
      • Enough play with others?
    • Does he take care of his things?
    • Have I added additional things to the list?
    • Do the things on the list require so much of my money or time and effort to purchase them that other family needs or other people in the family are losing out?

If so, can I get what is needed for less money or effort?

Can I get less and still give enough?

    • Are the things on the list about what my child needs or have I added things that I want him to have for my own reasons (for example, to make him popular or occupied when I am busy)?
    • Are the things on the list harmful to others (for example, could they hurt another child or are they harmful to the environment)?

Use your answers to these questions to help you know whether your child’s list is too much and if so, what you want to do to correct that.

(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for connecting these types of questions with knowing what is enough.)

November 8, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider your child’s holiday list.

Answer these questions.

      • Will the things on the list help my child grow and develop based on his age and abilities?
        • Are they too old for him?
        • Too young for him?
        • Do they encourage too much screen time?
        • Do they encourage enough physical activity?
        • Enough creativity?
        • Enough play with others?
        • Does he take care of his things?
        • Have I added additional things to the list?
      • Do the things on the list require so much of my money or time and effort to purchase them that other family needs or other people in the family are losing out?

If so, can I get what is needed for less money or effort?

Can I get less and still give enough?

      • Are the things on the list about what my child needs or have I added things that I want him to have for my own reasons (for example, to make him popular or occupied when I am busy)?
      • Are the things on the list harmful to others (for example, could they hurt another child or are they harmful to the environment)?

Use your answers to these questions to help you know whether your child’s list is too much and if so, what you want to do to correct that.

(Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for connecting these types of questions with knowing what is enough.)

November 7, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider how much you give your child and how much is enough.

Do you give him things he hasn’t asked for?

Do you give him more than he asks for?

Does he appreciate what he has?

If you decide that you give too much, remember you are doing it out of love, but also remember that the best love is balanced – balance means enough, but not too much.

Make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love – and your gift giving.

November 6, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider getting the name of a family who needs help with holiday gift purchases from a local charitable agency.

Make sure you know the names and ages of children in that family.

Let your child pick out a gift for the child in that family and help wrap it with the child’s name on it.

When celebrating your holiday, be sure to talk about how that family might be enjoying the gifts you gave them and what fun they are having – just like your family is having.

November 5, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider something special the child has been asking for throughout the holiday season – even if it is very simple and doesn’t seem like much of a present, remember it means something special to the child.

If you are buying for an older child who doesn’t ask (or pester) so much anymore, check in with his best friend about what he thinks your child might like – swear the friend to secrecy. Even if the friend doesn’t live up to the secrecy, your child will be appreciative that you went to such lengths to please him.

November 4, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider opening a gift every hour or at each meal.

After opening a gift, take the time to talk about who gave it and why that person might have selected it.

Take a picture of it with your child and send the picture as part of a thank you note.

November 3, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider playing a scavenger hunt to find a special present.

Hide it in the house and give clues to help the child find it.

November 2, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider clothes.

Dress up clothes (try making them yourself or buying them at a thrift store), athletic gear with a favorite athlete or team on it, or some famous brand name item.

Here’s a clever way to give a brand name item. Wrap up two handmade decks of cards. One deck has brand names on it. The other deck has items available under those brands. Have the child select one card from each deck and that is his gift – an IOU for that brand name item. For example, a child might pick “Levi” and “shirt” or “Nike” and “sweats.”

Just make sure all the items are made by all the brands.

November 1, 2013:

Gift Idea:   Consider personalized certificates. You can make them yourself – for special playtimes, trips to the park, a movie, a free pass on a chore, late bedtime or curfew, house party, or a makeover – depending on the age of the child.

October 31, 2013:

Decide:   You can have fun with your kids.

Practice:   Have a great Halloween celebration today with children you care about.

Let your kids know how much fun you are having with them.

Put something up in the house to remind everybody of the fun you all had together today (picture, decoration, etc.).

 October 30, 2013:

Decide:   You can help your child think and feel at the same time.

Practice:   Make a sign: ”THINK.” Post it in your kitchen or other high-traffic part of your house.

When your child asks what it is or what it means, tell her it is a reminder that you can use your brain to tell you what to do even when you are very happy, sad, mad, or even scared.

Give her an example.

October 29, 2013:

Decide:   You can think and feel at the same time.

Practice:   Today, think about a time when you felt afraid and were able to use your good thinking to deal with it.

Perhaps you removed yourself from a situation that was dangerous or perhaps you faced a fear and overcame it.

Celebrate that you were able to think even when you felt so afraid. If your child is old enough and the situation is appropriate, share your experience with your child

October 28, 2013:

Decide:   You can overcome fear of your child’s anger.

Practice:   Today, think of a time when your child failed to follow a rule, and you failed to enforce a consequence for his failure because you were afraid of his anger.

Make a plan for how you can overcome this fear.

Do you need to learn more about anger and how it comes and goes and is a normal part of a child’s growing and learning about life?

Do you need to “just do it” and practice dealing with rules and consequences in a matter-of-fact way, even when your child is having a tantrum about it.

Stop and repeat this activity every few weeks to see, if you are finding yourself less afraid of the anger and more able to stick to your rules.

October 27, 2013:

Decide:   You can deal with anger.

Practice:   Today, think of three times you have been around angry people recently – adults or children.

What was your reaction? Did you ignore it, feel afraid yourself, get angry yourself, or deal with it in some direct way? (Include removing yourself as a direct way.)

Make a three-column list. List the situation, your reaction, and how you felt when you reacted that way.

Did you feel like a child?

Like an adult?

Like a responsible person?

Unsure of yourself?

Proud of yourself?

Make a plan for how you want to handle these situations in the future.

October 26, 2013:

Decide:   You can help your child learn to say what he means.

Practice:   Today, when your child responds with a crooked no (for example, makes an excuse or avoids a question), work with him to be responsible and give you a straight answer. Here is an example of how to do that.

 “Will you take the dog for a walk?” says the adult.

 “Later,” says the child.

 “Will you do it before or after your TV show?” says the adult.

 “I don’t know,” says the child still avoiding a straight answer.

 “Will you do it before the TV show, yes or no?” says the adult insisting on a straight answer.

 What the adult wants from the child is a plain “yes” or “no.” His answer then becomes something the adult can hold him to – there is no wiggling out of his responsibility.

Remember, don’t ask your child if he will take the dog out (or do anything else), if he has no choice.

Don’t push for a straight yes or no about something the child is required to do.

Only push for a straight yes or no when you are asking the child about a true choice, and you are willing to accept either answer to your question.

October 25, 2013:

Decide:   To say what you mean.

Practice:   Today, when you hear yourself give a crooked no (for example, making an excuse  or saying yes and not following through), stop and think about how you could face up to the situation.

Gather your courage, talk to a friend you trust if you need to, and use your good thinking to come up with a way to be straightforward.

If you decide to say yes, make sure you follow through and celebrate that you are a responsible person. If you decide you need to just say no, do that and still celebrate that you are a responsible person.

October 24, 2013:

Decide:   You can recognize your child’s crooked no’s.

Practice:  Today, write down all the ways your child says no without actually saying no.

For example, when asked to do something, he offers an excuse or acts like he doesn’t hear you.

Think about how you feel when you hear those crooked no’s.

Imagine what those crooked no’s will sound like if he continues to use them as he grows up – how will they sound when he is an adult? Will they help him or hurt him?

October 23, 2013:

Decide:   You can recognize crooked no’s.

Practice:  Today, write down your crooked no’s – all the ways you say no without actually saying no.

For example, you offered an excuse when asked to do something, or you said yes but didn’t follow through hoping no one would notice.

Think about a fear that is keeping you from saying no directly.

Think about whether you should overcome or outsmart your fear of saying no and find a way to say what you mean.

October 22, 2013:

Decide:   You can help your child fight a fear of failing.

Practice:   Work with your child to pick something he wants to learn to do. Pick something you both think he can learn to do very well.

Explain that practice is how people get to be good at things. Give him lots of examples that he will understand (famous people, relatives, friends).

Today, help him make his first attempt to learn how to do it. Remind him it’s OK to not be very good at it right away.

Plan a practice schedule so he understands it will take lots of practice.

Notice the little things he is good at from day one and point those out to him.

Use the word “excellent” often. Avoid the word “perfect.”

Celebrate each little success along the way and point out that practice is what makes a person really good at something.

October 21, 2013:

Decide:   You can practice as much as needed to be successful.

Practice:   Think of something you want to learn to do. Promise yourself you will be successful.

Today, make your first attempt to learn how to do it.  If it is something you need a teacher for, arrange time for your first lesson.

Today, you can read about it or try some part of it on your own.

Tell yourself it’s OK to learn a little at a time.

Plan for multiple practice times on whatever time schedule that will work for you.

Share your experiences with your child and celebrate your successes.

October 20, 2013:

Decide:   You can have fun with your kids.

Practice:   Today, plan a Halloween celebration for adults and children together.

Plan to go trick or treating with your kids.

Or, plan a neighborhood tailgating party in a nearby parking lot complete with costumes and treats.

Or, plan whatever type of fall celebration works for your family.

Involve the kids in the planning.

October 19, 2013:

Decide:   You can help your child know he is clever enough to outsmart his fears.

Practice:   Today, talk with your child about something he is afraid of.

Talk about it in terms of what she wishes she could do.

Make a list of ways she could get what she wants without having to face what she is afraid of.

Help her try her ideas until she finds something that works.

For example, if she is afraid to go trick or treating because she is afraid of the scary masks, how else could she be part of trick or treat? Is there a no-masks way to do trick or treat? Could she take Mom or Dad with her? How else could she go around, up, or over her fear?

October 18, 2013:

Decide:   You can help your child understand that some fears can be overcome.

Practice:   Today, talk with your child about something he is afraid of that is not a danger to him.

Suggest to him a way he could overcome the fear. What would he need to practice?

If he is willing, make a plan for him to practice what he needs to in order to overcome his fear.

For example, if he is afraid to walk to a neighbor’s house to play with a friend, help him practice the walk until he is sure he knows the way. If he is afraid to climb the jungle gym, help him practice until he knows he can do it without falling.

October 17, 2013:

Decide:   You can outsmart some of your fears.

Practice:   Today, think of something you are afraid that is not a threat to your health or safety.

Think if there is a way you can outsmart the situation.

Think of ways you could get what you want and still avoid your fear.

Gather your courage. Perhaps talk with someone you trust.

Pick one of your ideas and try it.

For example, if you are afraid to ask your boss for a raise, could you get his attention with a special project or talk with someone else with the power to promote you?

 If you are afraid to ask your doctor about some symptoms you are having, could you write them down and send them to him ahead of your appointment or bring them with you in writing to the appointment?

October 16, 2013:

Decide:   You can fight some of your fears.

Practice:   Today, think about a time when you overcame a fear.

How did you know it was OK to try to overcome it and not something so dangerous that you needed to just run away?Write down some of the clues that led you to face it straight on.

How did you overcome the fear? Write down the steps you took, including how long it took and whether you had any help.

If appropriate, find a way to share your experience with your child.

October 15, 2013:

Decide:    You should pay attention to your fear.

Practice:   Today, think about something you are afraid of. Decide whether it threatens your health or safety.

If it is hard for you to figure this out, talk with a trusted friend.

If you decide it is a serious threat, make a plan to get away from what you are afraid of.

Remember what this felt like so you can use it as a clue to help you know in the future when you should listen to your fear and get away.

October 14, 2013:

Decide:    Your child should have special memories with his dad.

Practice:   Today, plan for Dad to tell/show how much he misses his child.

He might be away at work for the day, away on a business trip, or live away from his child permanently.

If you are Dad, think of how to let your child know you miss him. You could tell him on the phone when you call to ask about his day. You could tell him in the car when you pick him up from school or daycare. You could tell him during playtime when you get home.

If you are not Dad, ask Dad if he will do this. If that is not possible or advisable, arrange for some other important male to tell him how much he is missed (Grandpa, Uncle, family friend, neighbor).

October 13, 2013:

Decide:    Your child should have special memories with her dad.

Practice:   Today, arrange for Dad to get involved in the Halloween costume your child will wear.

If Dad can help make the costume, great. If Dad can dress up and go trick or treating with the child, great. But, at least get Dad involved in helping with ideas about what the costume will be.

If you are Dad, let your creativity shine. Remember what it was like to be young and have a chance to dress up and march around the neighborhood getting candy. Make sure your ideas are safe for the age of your child.

If you are not Dad, ask Dad if he will do this or arrange for some other important male to do it (Grandpa, Uncle, family friend, neighbor).

October 12, 2013:

Decide:    Your child should have special memories with his dad.

Practice:   Today, arrange for Dad to share one of his hobbies with his child (music, building something, computer games, cooking, etc.).

If you are Dad, plan to show-off what you can do. Make sure it is something that your child can share safely. And, plan to do it every so often, so it will become an important memory for your child.

If you are not Dad, ask Dad if he will do this or arrange for some other important male to do it (Grandpa, Uncle, family friend, neighbor).

October 11, 2013:

Decide:    Your child should have special memories with her dad.

Practice:   Today, arrange for Dad to fix a no-rules meal for your child.

Anything Dad wants to fix – it can be healthy or just fun. It’s OK if it something that has never been served before.

If you are Dad, feel free to plan a meal that is you through and through. And, plan to do it every so often, so it will become an important memory for your child.

If you are not Dad, ask Dad if he will do this or arrange for some other important male to do it (Grandpa, Uncle, family friend, neighbor).

October 10, 2013:

Decide:   Your child should know how important he is to his dad.

Practice:   Today, think back to when your child was born.

What did Dad do?

What did Dad say?

What was/is Dad like with the baby?

Is there something about the baby’s name that connects to Dad?

If you are Dad, share these memories with your child.  Even if you think he is too young to understand, tell him anyway.  He’ll pick up on the tone of your voice and the look on your face.

If you are not Dad, you can share what you remember about what Dad was like when your child was born.

October 9, 2013:

Decide:    Your child should have special dad-things going on in his life.

Practice:   Read BECAUSE I’M YOUR DAD and everyday for the next 26 days see how many of the things mentioned in the book you can do for/with your child.

If you are Dad, start working your way through the book, page-by-page.  Where you need to, use the general idea on a page and feel free to change it so it works for you.

If you are not Dad, ask Dad to get involved or ask other important adult males to help (Grandpa, Uncle, Coach, family friend, neighbor).

October 8, 2013:

Decide:    You can be the parent you want to be.

Practice:   Today, think of three things you think your dad did or said that was really good for you as a child.

Write them down and think about how you can do or say those things to your child.  Be grateful that your dad did or said those things.

If you can, tell him you appreciate those things.

If you have trouble doing those things for your child, ask someone you trust to help you get better at them.  Promise yourself you will keep practicing so you will get better at them.

If you are not a dad, share this parenting tip with your child’s dad or some other dad you care about.

October 7, 2013:

Decide:    You can help a child receive compliments from his or her dad.

Practice:   One way to receive a compliment is second-hand. Today, make sure your child gets a second-hand compliment from her dad.

If you are Dad, tell Mom or some other family member something great about your daughter, and ask that person to tell your daughter, “I heard from your dad that . . . .”

If you are not Dad, talk to Dad about his child and with Dad’s OK, share what he says with the child.

October 6, 2013:

Decide:    You can learn many ways to give your child compliments.

Practice:   Today, think about the following three ways to give compliments.

Your child might like to hear it directly from you – “You look beautiful in that dress. It lights up your eyes.”

Or, she might like to hear it in her own voice – “I love this dress on me.”

Or, she may want to hear it second-hand – you ask Dad what he thought of her in her dress and after he says he thought she looked great, you tell her, “Dad said you were so pretty in that dress.”

To make sure you understand the different ways, listen for examples and practice giving all three types of compliments. You can learn more about this in Correct; Don’t Criticize Part 1 and Part 2.

October 5, 2013:

Decide:    Children need soft and loving behavior from their dads.

Practice:   Today, keep track of how often and in what ways your child was kissed, hugged, cuddled, soothed, etc. by Dad.

If you don’t see enough happening like this, talk to Dad and see if you can encourage more of this behavior. Assure Dad that men are very good at this, if they give it a try and get some practice.

October 4, 2013:

Decide:    Dad can be soft and loving with kids.

Practice:   Today, if possible, make a plan for Mom and Dad to take turns putting your child to bed.

If this is new for either Mom or Dad, talk over what soft and loving things your child likes and are part of his bedtime routine.  Agree that both Mom and Dad will keep doing those things in their own ways – and maybe add some of their own as well.

Make sure the plan for taking turns can continue and become something the child can count on.

If the child objects because it seems different to him, insist that this is what is best for the family and assure him that bedtime will still be a special time.

October 3, 2013:

Decide:    It is important that daughters believe their dads think they are beautiful, smart and have special talents.

Practice:   Today, think of your daughter or another young girl you care about.

How is she beautiful?

In what ways is she smart?

What special talents does she have?

If you are male, tell the young girl you are thinking of the answers to these questions.

If you are female, ask her Dad these questions.  Get his permission to share what he said.  Then, tell the young girl you are thinking of what you heard from her dad about her being beautiful, smart and having special talents.

October 2, 2013:

Decide:    Kids should have playtime with both moms and dads.

Practice:   Today, think about how your child can have playtime with both Mom and Dad. Plan some regular playtime for just Dad and the child and other playtime for just Mom and the child. Make it a plan that can be repeated week after week, so separate playtimes becomes a regular thing.

October 1, 2013:

Decide:    Dads play differently with kids than moms do.

Practice:   Today, observe moms and dads playing with kids – or observe preschool teachers, coaches, babysitters, etc.

Do you see any differences between how men and women play with the kids?

If so, what are those differences?

Do the differences matter to the kids?

Is one way better than another?

Send your answers to the blog by using the comment section at the bottom of the page or completing our poll in the picture book conversation from 10-1-13.

SEPTEMBER 30:

Decide: You can teach your child how to make up for hurting others.

Practice:Think back to a time your child hurt another child or broke something that belonged to someone else. If you helped him make that up to the other person (other than just saying he was sorry), remember how you did that. If you didn’t help your child make it up to the other person that time, think about how your child could make it up when it happens again. For example, he could have gotten bandages or offered a toy to play with. Make a plan to try the things you thought of the next time your child is in this situation.

SEPTEMBER 29:

Decide: It’s important that your child can do things for himself.

Practice: Today, think of something you are doing for your child that you can teach him to do for himself. For example, can you teach him to tie his own shoes? Clear his dishes from the table after meals? Make his bed? Use an alarm clock to get up for school? Don’t expect him to be able to do it immediately, but start the learning process today, stay with it everyday until he can do it well and don’t forget to celebrate his success.

SEPTEMBER 28:

Decide: It’s OK for your child to grow and learn at his own speed.

Practice: Play ”Special Worlds ” with your child today. This is a game where you describe a “special world” and the other person says what it would be like to live in that world. It encourages thinking about what kind of world you want to create for yourself. Today, describe something like this: “In this special world, kids can learn as fast or as slow as they need to. They just keep trying until they get it. Some take a long time to learn to clean up their toys or use the potty and some learn that very quickly. “

 Then, let your child take a turn to make up a special world. You say what it would be like to live in that world. Pay attention to whether there are things you can do to make his real world special in the ways he is imagining. Send the special world ideas from your game to us here at the blog. Others may be able to use them.

SEPTEMBER 27:

DECIDE:            You can know how much to do for your kids.

PRACTICE:            Today, think about how much you do for your child and whether it is the right amount for her age and maturity. Consider the amount of attention you give her and how involved you are in everything she does. Do you do things for her that she should do on her own? Do you often save her from being distressed or frustrated? Do you give her what you think she needs even before she asks? Are you trying too hard to make her love you? If you decide that you do too much for her, remember you are doing it out of love, but also remember that you can balance that love. You can do what she truly needs but not more than she needs. Make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love. (These signs of doing too much for children are taken from HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

SEPTEMBER 26:

Decide: Your child should learn to make up for harm done to others.

Practice: Think about a time when something you did or failed to do hurt another person and you did something afterwards to make that person feel better. Tell your child a story about that memory. Make sure the story includes how it felt to hurt that person, what you did to make it up to that person and what it felt like to make that person feel better. Tell your child that making it up to the person was important even if what happened was an accident and wasn’t done on purpose. It still hurt the other person. Tell her that when you do something that hurts someone else, you are still a good person and you show that by trying to make the person who was hurt feel better.

SEPTEMBER 25:

Decide:  You can make up for harm done to others.

Practice: Think about a time when something you did or failed to do hurt another person – even if you didn’t mean to hurt that person. Imagine something that would have made that person feel better – something more than just saying you were sorry. For example, if you trampled your neighbor’s plants – in addition to saying you are sorry – bring her a new plant or do the work of planting some new seeds for her. If there is something that is still possible to do in the case you thought about, make a plan to do so. Remember, you are not only caring for the person who was hurt, you are also caring for yourself. You are proving to yourself that you are a kind and loving person.

SEPTEMBER 24:

Decide: You can know what is good discipline.

Practice:Today, think about how you discipline your child. Are you setting the right amount of rules and the right type of rules for the age and maturity of your child? Are you sticking to your rules? How much freedom do you give him? The right amount for his age? Does he handle it well or get himself in trouble too often? Does he do regular chores? Does he control the family by making decisions like where to go to eat, what to watch on TV and where to go on vacation? Do you expect him to learn the life skills that most kids his age are learning? If you decide that your discipline is weak and undependable, remember it doesn’t mean you don’t love your child. Instead, it means that you need to balance your love. You need to have higher expectations for your child and to teach him more of what he will need to know to become more and more independent. Make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love. (These signs of weak discipline are taken from HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

SEPTEMBER 23:

Decide: It’s important that my child thinks his teacher likes him.

Practice: Today, ask your child to think of all the ways his teachers let him know they like him. If this is a hard question for him to answer, you can suggest some ways. For example, do they smile at him when he comes into the classroom? Give him some extra help with problems? Laugh at funny things with him? If your suggestions still don’t give him any ideas. Ask him to look for things the next day and talk about it again tomorrow after school.

SEPTEMBER 22:

Decide: How much you should give your child.

Practice: Today, think about how much you give your child and how much is enough. Consider things like clothes, toys, lessons and activities. How much do you give? How much is enough? Does he get to do a lot of special things that other kids don’t? Do you keep him entertained most of the time? Is he learning to entertain himself? Do you give him things he hasn’t asked for? Do you give him more than he asks for? If you decide that you give too much, remember you are doing it out of love, but also remember that the best love is balanced – enough, but not too much. Make the adjustments you think you should and balance your love. (These signs of giving children too much are taken from HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts.)

SEPTEMBER 21:

Decide: You can help your child believe making mistakes is part of learning to do better.

Practice: Talk with your child about a time he made a mistake recently. Ask him what he did after making the mistake. Cover up the mistake so no one would know? Walk away and give up? Feel bad for quite sometime? Ask him to imagine that there is this special world where everyone believes mistakes can help a person learn to do better. Ask him how he thinks people in that special world react when they make a mistake. Ask him if he thinks he could react that way the next time he makes a mistake. Tell him you can’t wait to hear how that works for him.

SEPTEMBER 20:

Decide: It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you don’t give up on making it right.

Practice: Think about a time you made a mistake recently. Think about what you did. Cover up the mistake so no one would know? Walk away and give up? Feel bad for quite sometime? If you truly believed making mistakes is part of learning to do better would your reaction have been different? How do you want to react the next time you make a mistake? Share your thinking with your child.

SEPTEMBER 19:

Decide: You can be matter-of-fact about rules and their consequences.

Practice: Today, when you need to correct your child, practice being calm and matter-of-fact. Don’t raise your voice. Speak calmly. Explain what you want done n a matter-of-fact way. If you need to insist on a consequence for bad behavior, stay matter-of-fact. No big crisis. You both knew the rule and the consequence. This is just the way it is. For example, “I’m sorry you decided to do that and will miss your TV program tonight. I hope you’ll make a better choice and be able to watch tomorrow night.” This doesn’t sound like “You are a terrible person for breaking the rule.” It just says, “The rule is the rule and you can learn to follow it.”

SEPTEMBER 18:

Decide: You can do things as many times as you need to in order to do them well.

Practice: Think of something you want to learn to do. Today, make your first attempt to learn how to do it. If it is something you need a teacher for, use today to read about it, try some part of it on your own and/or arrange time for your first lesson. Tell yourself, it’s OK to not do it perfectly the first time. Commit to multiple practice times on whatever time schedule works for you. How long do you think it will take you to be good enough to show others what you have learned? To have others say you are good at it? To teach others how to do it? Keep track and see if you were right about how long it will take you. Remember, if you truly believe its OK to do it as many times as you need to, you’ll be successful.

SEPTEMBER 17:

Decide: Overindulgence is harmful to kids.

Practice: Write out your personal definition of the following ideas:*

Too Little: _____________________________________

Enough: _______________________________________

Abundance: ____________________________________

Too Much: _____________________________________

    • Share with your family and see how they define them.
    • Next week, take a look at these again and see if you want to change anything about your definitions.
    • Share your definitions with us here at the blog.

SEPTEMBER 16:

Decide: Children need rules that have consequences.

Practice:  Think what has been bugging you about your child’s behavior. Make a “rules” chart with your child about that topic. If the child is very young, use pictures. Include what happens if the rule is not followed. For an older child give him a chance to help determine the rules and what will happen if each rule is not followed. For more understanding about consequences take a look at Kids and Sharing,   Kids and Sharing, Part 2 or Sticking to the Rules.

September 15:

Decide:         Your child’s behavior is a chance for you to teach and for her to learn.

Practice:     Today, think about this statement: “You are responsible to your children not for them.”  Ask yourself what that statement means to you.  Think about a time your child’s behavior embarrassed you.  Write down some of the reasons you were embarrassed.  Why were you embarrassed?  Did you think others would judge you as a bad parent?  Did you think you were a failure because you thought you had taught your child to never make the mistake that she made?  Did you think you should and could control what your child did or did not do?  Think about how all of the reasons you were embarrassed might connect to you being responsible for your child.

 Write down what you would have felt or done if you were thinking mostly about  being responsible to your child.  For example, should you at that moment shown her what is expected and waited for her to do it?  Should you have removed her from the situation to teach her a lesson and to be respectful of the others in the situation.  Should you have decided what was a reasonable consequence and made sure you stuck to it?  Think about whether any of these reactions or others you might think of could save you some of your embarrassment.

September 1 – 14:

To help you decide and practice, we will be publishing a tip each day inspired by our featured picture book, I WILL LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.  Read the whole story at: Love Your Kids No Matter What, Part 1.

Let us know which tips you like the best or any others you think of that you want to pass along to others.

Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice it.

SEPTEMBER 14:

Decide:  Your child can like learning important things.

Practice:   Today, think of three things you want your child to learn in the next few months.  For example, if he doesn’t go to school yet, it might be things like using the potty, cleaning up toys, or riding a tricycle.  If he is in school, it might be things like sitting still through story time, doing math problems or making the basketball team.  Ask yourself what it will look like for him to gradually be successful.  For example, he might start by cleaning up his toys without complaining only if you help.  Then, he might start picking up the toys without your help at least some of the time.  Eventually, he will do the task on his own most all of the time.  Step-by-step he will learn.  Make a chart that shows how many times he cleans up with your help and on his own. Celebrate as he makes progress.

SEPTEMBER 13:

Decide:  Storytelling is a useful parenting tool.

Practice:   Today, start a fun activity for the whole family – round robin story writing.  One person starts the story by writing a sentence or two on a page and each person afterwards takes a turn to add another sentence or two one by one.  If both young and older children are doing the activity, let the young child dictate her idea about what happens next and have an adult or older child write it for her.  If there is something you want your children to learn from the story, weave it in when it is your turn.  For example, have the main person in the story fail at something and not give up or do something very kind for someone else in the story.

SEPTEMBER 12:

Decide:  “Anything goes” is not good for kids.

Practice:   Think about whether you experienced “anything goes” as a child. Did you have chores you were expected to do?  Were rules enforced in your household?  Were you often saved from feeling frustrated, disappointed or paying consequences for mistakes?  Were you excused even when you were at fault?  If you think this was your experience, know that parents who take this approach do so out of love, often not realizing how important it is to balance love no matter what with correcting and teaching children.  Knowing they did the best they could with what they knew and understood, you can decide to take a different approach with your children without disrespecting them. If you decide you did not experience “anything goes,” celebrate that you had balanced love in your life.  You can decide you want to take that approach with your children too.

SEPTEMBER 11:

Decide:  Storytelling is a useful parenting tool.

Practice:   Ask your child to tell you a story.  After the story, ask questions about what she liked about the story she told.  Tell her what point you got from the story and ask if that is what she wanted you to think about.  Discuss the story.  For example, if she tells a story about a kid who gets to do whatever he wants, ask her what it would be like at home if that kid never had any rules to follow.  Suggest things that wouldn’t be good for the kid in that situation.  For example, would he make himself sick eating too much candy?  Keep the discussion about the kid in her story, not about your child.

SEPTEMBER 10:

Decide:  Kids need to be loved in a balanced way.

Practice:   If you haven’t started a “love” journal yet, start today. (SEPTEMBER 1 Decide & Practice) If you already have a “love” journal, make a new entry today.  Then, read through the earlier pages of your journal. Notice how much wiser you have become.  You are becoming an expert on the idea of balancing love.

SEPTEMBER 9:

Decide:  Storytelling is a useful parenting tool.

Practice:   Today ask a family member, neighbor or family friend to tell you and your child a story about ….  Make it be about something that connects with a problem you are having with your child.  For example, “Tell me about how your kids went from fighting all the time to being good friends.”  Or, “Tell me about the time you couldn’t find Alex in the grocery store.”   When you are alone with your child talk about the story you heard together and what you think the point of the story was

SEPTEMBER 8:

Decide:  Chores can help keep love balanced.

Practice:   Teach your child a household chore today.  PICKING UP YOUR SOCKS by Elizabeth Crary can help you know what chores are reasonable for your child’s age.  Break the chore down into parts.  For example, making your bed = straightening the sheet, straightening the blanket, fluffing the pillow and smoothing out the top cover.  For young children, have them do just one part for a few days and when it is done well most days, move to the next part.  On any days when it is not done well, calmly ask that they do it over.

SEPTEMBER 7:

Decide:  Storytelling is a useful parenting tool.

Practice:   Today, start a fun activity for the whole family – round robin storytelling.  One person starts the story with a sentence or part of a sentence and each person afterwards takes a turn to add to it, one by one.  If there is something you want your child to learn from the story, weave it in when it is your turn.  For example, have the main person in the story show how honest he is or have that person or animal make a good decision about something.

SEPTEMBER 6:

Decide:  You can help your child learn how to behave.

Practice:   Today, take your child with you on an errand where he will meet a new adult.  Explain to her ahead of time what will be happening.  Tell her you will introduce a new person to her.  “John, this is my daughter Jillian.”  Explain exactly what her behavior should be.  “Look right at John’s face and say ‘hi.’”  Play it out a couple of times, if she is pretty young and this is new to her.  After you are done with your errand tell her what you thought went well.  If there is anything that needs to be corrected, tell her why it was a problem and what she should have done instead.  Assure her she will have another chance to practice meeting new adults.

SEPTEMBER 5:

Decide:  Books are useful parenting tools.

Practice:   Today, pick a problem you are having with your child.  Go to your local library to find a book that deals with that problem.  The librarian should be able to suggest books about all sorts of issues for all ages of children.  You don’t have to tell the librarian why you want it or that it has anything to do with your family.  Read the book yourself first to make sure it is saying what you want it to say about the problem.  If it is right for you and your family, read it to your young child or if it is for an older child place it in his room.  Don’t overdo the effort to get the older child to read the book.  The more he thinks it is his idea to take a look at it, the more likely he’ll read it and get the point you are trying to make.

SEPTEMBER 4:

Decide:  Birthdays are important.

Practice:   Plan your child’s birthday today – even if it is many months away.  Think about how you can celebrate it in a balanced way.  First, what would make him feel he is special just because he is your son?  What would make him feel how much you love being with him and enjoy your time with him?  Second, what would help him know how much talent you think he has?  What a star he is.  How famous and successful you think he will be?  How much you appreciate the hard work he puts in to be able to do all the things he can do?  How much you appreciate his good behavior?

SEPTEMBER 3:

Decide:  You can balance how you love your child.

Practice:   Keep track of what you say to your child today – with words and actions. How many messages were I-care-about-you messages?  Theses are ones he deserves just because he is a human being and all people need to be cared about.  (“I’m so glad you are home with me today.”  “Come get cozy with me.”  Make him one of his favorite foods.)  How many messages were you-did-a-good-thing message?  (You stayed right with me at the store today.”  “Your picture has beautiful bright colors in it.”  Go to school to meet his teacher.)  Were the two kinds of messages balanced? If not give more of the missing kind tomorrow.

SEPTEMBER 2:

Decide:  Storytelling is a useful parenting tool.

Practice:   Today, pick a problem you are having with your child.  Make up a story that gets your message across about this problem.  Find a quiet time to tell your story – maybe dinnertime for older children or bedtime for younger children.  For example, for a young child having sleeping problems, you could tell a story about a doggie or kitty that is afraid to sleep in the dark and how the problem was solved.  For an older child, you could tell a story about peer pressure and how to deal with it.  It might be a story about you when you were young, or it might be about a made up character – just not about your child directly.  Let us know which tips you like the best or any others you think of that you want to pass along to others.

SEPTEMBER 1:

Decide:          Kids need to be loved in a balanced way.

Practice:     Today, start a journal about the two parts of love.  (See“And Calm Fell Over the Household.” for more on the two parts of love.)  One part means caring for and caring about your kids just because they are who they are.  The second part means teaching your kids to be independent and capable of taking care of themselves.  Write what this idea means to you and how it fits or doesn’t fit into your life as an adult and as a parent.  Begin today and write at least a sentence or two or three every day this month.

August 15 – 31:

To help you decide and practice, we will be publishing a tip each day inspired by our featured picture book, OLIVER AND HIS ALLIGATOR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.  Read the whole story at: First Days of School.

Let us know which tips you like the best or any others you think of that you want to pass along to others.

Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice it.

AUGUST 31:

Decide:  You will be involved in your child’s learning.

Practice:   Today, choose ways you want to be involved in your child’s learning. Here are some choices; add some of your own.

      • Check in with his homework every night. Is it done? Is it done correctly?
      • Read with your child several times a week. Read to him (no matter how old) or listen while he reads to you.
      • Play games with your child a few times a week.
      • Set rules about the amount of screen time allowed.
      • Serve nutritious food.
      • Plan for some physical activity time each day.
      • Meet his teacher and go to school for parent events.
      • Tell him often why learning is important.
      • Talk to him about his career interests and abilities and how that connects to what he learns in school. Don’t ask what he wants to be when he grows up; ask instead what are three things he wants to do when he grows up.
      • Other – added by you.

AUGUST 30:

Decide:  School is your child’s experience.

Practice:   Think about the questions you asked your child about school last week. How much did he talk about school? If he is not talking as much as you would wish for, pay attention to the suggestions in our August 15 post. Search “How to talk with your kids” and click on “continue reading.” Make a plan to try some different questions next week. Pay attention to what questions work best for your child. Bottom line, give your child a chance to own his experience and not have to share every single thing. Just make sure he knows you are available to talk – any time about any thing.

AUGUST 29:

Decide:    Messages about how much you care about your child are important.

Practice:   Give 5 special messages today to your child. Make them about how much you care for him. (“I want to have fun playing with you today;” make him one of his favorite foods.) Remember, these are not messages the child has earned by being good or by following the rules. They are messages deserved just because he is a human being and needs to be cared about, especially during these first days of school.  Repeat on several days before and during the first days of school.

AUGUST 28:

Decide:   Releasing physical energy can help your child deal with being afraid.

Practice:   Today, make sure your child gets a chance for some physical activity in the afternoon or evening. Repeat as many days as possible. Pay attention to differences in her behavior around sleeping and getting off to school in the morning on days when she has had the activity and days when she has not.

AUGUST 27:

Decide:  You can help children learn to think even when they are scared.

Practice:   Play a game with your child. Ask her to think about something specific – something related to going to school – the school bus, a new teacher, the classroom, lunch, etc. Tell her she has to see if she can “think” about this for one whole minute.  Ask whether it was hard or easy to think for a whole minute and ask what thoughts she had during her minute. Repeat this every so often and notice whether it gets easier to think for a whole minute. This is good practice for her because when you give her the situation, she may have fears sneak into her mind without her even realizing it. This is an opportunity to train herself to still use her brain and think even when she is scared. When she uses her brain she can more easily focus on real things and not any imagined things that could be part of her fears.

AUGUST 26:

Decide:   To increase the messages you give your child that say you care about her.

Practice:  Keep track of the messages you give your child today. How many were about how much you care? Theses are ones deserved by the child just because he is a human being and all people need to be cared about. (“I’m so glad we can play be together tonight.”)  How many of your messages (things you said with words and things you said with actions) were about something the child did? (“You stayed right with your homework today until you got it done.”) Think about whether there are enough of the I-care-about-you messages. Remember, you need enough to balance out all the you-did-a-good-thing messages that are or will be happening at school. If you think she should have more care-about-you messages, add more of those over the next few days.

AUGUST 25:

Decide:    Comforting your child will help him deal with fears or concerns about school.

Practice:   Today, while watching TV together or as your child is falling asleep, silently and gently stroke his arm or forehead or hair. If he objects, calmly stop and don’t be offended. Try again another time.

AUGUST 24:

Decide:   Natural consequences are helpful.

Practice:   Share with your child what your first days at school were like or what an older brother or sister experienced when he or she first went to school.  Be sure to include what helped in each situation.  If your child wants to, let him ask an aunt, neighbor, friend or grandparent what his or her experience was like.  If you are part of that conversation and being afraid or nervous doesn’t come up, be sure to ask specifically whether the person had any fear, nerves or concerns and how he or she handled it.

AUGUST 23:

Decide:    You can help your child believe that it’s OK to ask for help.

Practice:   Play “Asking for Help” with your child today. Take turns thinking of different ways you can ask for help in different situations.  Make all the situations be school situations. See how many different ways to ask for help you each can think of by taking turns.   Write the ideas down and post them in an obvious place at home.  Ask your child which suggestions she likes the best.

AUGUST 22:

Decide:   Planning ahead can help your child deal with scared feelings about school.

Practice:   Today, plan how after-school time will go. Explain the plan to your child. Make a poster that describes the plan. Use pictures for a young child. For an older child, involve him in the plan. Agree on what time is reasonable for him to be home. Agree on the rules for what he can do after school and whom he can do it with. Make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency. Go through this process with each child. Make a plan that is for each child individually.

AUGUST 21:

Decide:    It’s OK to be afraid.

Practice:   Share with your child what your first days at school were like or what an older brother or sister experienced when he or she first went to school.  Be sure to include what helped in each situation.  If your child wants to, let him ask an aunt, neighbor, friend or grandparent what his or her experience was like.  If you are part of that conversation and being afraid or nervous doesn’t come up, be sure to ask specifically whether the person had any fear, nerves or concerns and how he or she handled it.

AUGUST 20:

Decide:    Preparation can help calm fears.

Practice:   Play ”What If” with your child today. This is a game where you make up a situation for the other person to suggest solutions for. It encourages thinking about what you should do when faced with certain situations. Today, make all the situations be school situations. For example, what if you have trouble finding your classroom?

AUGUST 19:

Decide:    You can help your child deal with missing special things because of school.

Practice:    Make a list today of the special things you know your child will miss while at school (blanket, toy, TV show, mom-time, a friend). Make a plan with her about a few of those things so she can count on these pleasures at other times. For example,

      • Assure her that her toys will be in their usual place waiting for her return. If there is a younger child still at home, let the school-age child select an off-limits toy or two. For more about personal toy space, search “personal zone,” click on “continue reading” and scroll down to “Playtime Sharing.”
      • Make a plan for taping a favorite TV show and for when she can watch it.
      • Make a plan for special one-on-one time with mom or dad. Watching the favorite TV show together would be a good idea.
      • Make a plan for playtime with a missed friend.

AUGUST 18:

Decide:   A child’s physical needs are important.

Practice:   Make today a meal-planning day.

      • Make breakfast plans that ensure your child gets a nutritious breakfast each day before school.  Choose things that don’t require too much effort in the morning when everything is so hectic. T ry to think of things that can be frozen ahead and just thawed out overnight or microwaved in the morning.  Remember that an egg can be fried solid (no liquid yolk), refrigerated and turned into an egg sandwich in the morning.  Fast food restaurants do it all the time.
      • Make lunch plans. Agree on what will go with the child for lunch. Food or money?  If food, what food?  Come to an agreement about what the child will eat. Give choices while doing the plans, but not too many choices. I wish I had been part of this type of planning when I was in school.  My mother used to put uncooked hot dogs in my lunch.  Even today the thought of it turns my stomach – although my kids think its pretty funny.  To them this sounds like having to eat some rare food like some kind of a bug.
      • Make after-school snack plans.  For a young child, make sure the plan is for something immediate without long preparation required.  School can make a child over-the-top hungry.  I used to greet my kindergartner at the front door with a spoonful of peanut butter – straight up, not on anything.  It made the difference between it being my child that returned home or some wild child I didn’t know coming to my door.  If you won’t be at home, make sure things are available in the frig or cupboard and that everybody knows (child and caretaker) what foods are allowed.

AUGUST 17:

Decide:    Planning ahead can help your child deal with scared feelings about school.

Practice:  Today, plan how the mornings will go on school days.  Explain the plan to your child. Make a poster that describes the plan.  Use pictures for a young child. For an older child, involve him in the plan.  Ask him in what order he will do things (dress, eat, etc.).  Make sure your child has his own alarm for getting up in the morning.  Agree ahead of time about what you will do to get him up if he doesn’t get up with the alarm.  Will you come into his room?  How many times?  Go through this process with each child.  Make a plan that is for each child individually.

AUGUST 16:

Decide:    You can know whether your child has too much.

Practice:  Today, survey your child’s school shopping list. Answer these questions. (Thanks to Jean Illsley Clarke for connecting these types of questions with knowing what is enough.)

      • Do these clothes or supplies help my child grow and develop based on his age and abilities?  Are they too old for him?  Too young for him?  Do they encourage too much screen time?  Do they encourage enough physical activity?  Enough creativity?  Enough play with others?  Does he take care of his school clothes?  Have I stuck to the supplies the school has identified as needed or have I added more?  Why does my child need more?
      • Do these supplies or clothes require so much of my money or so much family time and attention that other needs or other people are losing out?  If so, can I get what is needed for less money?
      • Are these supplies or clothes about what my child needs or do I need or want him to have them for my own reasons (for example, I wanted them when I was a child; I feel guilty that I work a lot; I am afraid without them my child won’t be popular)?
      • Are these supplies or clothes harmful to others (for example, could hurt another child or are harmful to the environment)?

Use your answers to these questions to help you know whether your child has too much in the way of school clothes or supplies and what you want to do to correct that.

AUGUST 15:

Decide:   You can grow up over and over again.

Practice:   Today, think about the last time you felt nervous or afraid about going somewhere. Think about how you got past your concern. Share your experience and your solutions with your child.

August 1 – 14:

To help you decide and practice, we will be publishing a tip each day inspired by our featured picture book, KATIE AND THE PUPPY NEXT DOOR.  Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.  Read the whole story at: Kids and S