by LISA on FEBRUARY 22, 2012
I call out, “Deep breath!” Then everyone stands up and we all take long, slow breaths while we raise our hands over our heads. Then we let the air out slowly while we lower our arms. The whole movement is very slow and purposeful. We might do that a few times, then go back to our regular day.
We all stop what we are doing and do 20 jumping jacks. This is especially good when they seem to have extra energy and need to use it. It’s hilarious to see the littler ones trying to coordinate their arms and legs
The Color Game
If its not raining I take a stack of construction paper (each piece a different color), some tape and some tacks (I used to leave these in a drawer by the front door) and take it all outside. I tack or tape a whole piece of the paper to trees, the car, a bush, the front door….making sure they are spread out but I can see all of the colors from my chair (that I have set in the middle of it all). Then I sit in the chair and gather all of the kids around me and I say, “Ready……RED!” Then they have to find the red paper and run to it. Once they are all there I call out another color and we keep doing it until they are exhausted. Sometimes I modify the game by calling a kid’s name with a color. You can let the older ones go faster with this version.
Play Stations in the Kitchen
Fill the sink half full with water & utensils, fill a 9×13 pan with rice, another with straws, a plastic bowl with beans. Set it all on the kitchen counter (table, whatever) and set the timer for 5 minutes. They play at each station for only 5 minutes then they switch. You stay in the kitchen
with them the whole time giving attention to their made up games. In 20 minutes it’s over.
I keep toys tucked high up in a closet for just such an occasion. Pull them out of the closet and set the timer for 30 minutes. Once the timer goes off….the toys get put away for at least a month. That’s the only way they will work the next time.
Play a Game
We’ll all sit and play something unbelievably dull, like Go Fish or a simple board game. Sometimes all they need is for you to stop and give them your full attention for 15 minutes.
Music is a-MAZing for this kind of problem. If I don’t have the time to play games or make pans of rice in the kitchen, I will turn on some fun kid music and we’ll all dance around to one song. Mommy dances too (and Daddy if he’s home). One song can reset everyone’s attitude.
Sometimes we all just need to do something wild and completely unexpected. So I will give each child 3 pieces of construction paper and we’ll stand in a circle and when I say, “GO!” we all start tearing up our paper and throwing it on the floor. We jump around and scream and laugh and giggle and fall down and throw the paper around for about 5 minutes. Then I say, “STOP!” and we have to clean it up as quickly and silly as we can.
Lie on the Grass
Often, when it’s not too wet, cold, hot….we go outside and lie on the grass. Everyone takes turns telling what they see in the clouds or, if there’s no cloud, I will ask them a question and we take turns answering. Sometimes we will do it on the trampoline instead of the grass.
These are not get-clean baths. These are play-baths. 15 minutes in the tub with a few toys and no washing hair. Just time to stop everything and play in the water.
Read a Book
If everyone is tired I will grab a book and read it aloud in an unusual way…with an accent, like a monster, while acting it out, hanging upside down off of the couch….something that makes it different.
Sometimes everyone just needs Mom for a few minutes. So we’ll hold hands and walk around, outside if possible but inside works too. I’ll say something like, “Tell me what you liked about today,” and we’ll walk and talk and touch for a few minutes.
I’ll line them up in front of me and zing them with questions. They have to answer really quickly and if they take too long I say, “Zing!” and they have to fall down and get back up again. (If you’re not feeling creative, just think of a favorite book or movie and ask them questions about
that, “What’s the name of the character that_____,” “Who had the last line in the movie?” “What color was ____ wearing when she was running?”, etc.) This is especially good for nursing moms that need to sit for a few minutes and the older kids are needing attention.
Color Their Name
I write their name in really big, puffy letters and they get 3 Crayons to color it in. No sharing, no trading…just 3 colors…GO! If they like to write, they can draw your name and you color it.
Have a Snack
You sit with them and talk for just a few minutes. Don’t set them down and walk off. Just sit there for a few minutes and toast your glasses together and say, “To a better day!” and eat a little something.
The Whisper Game
I say, “Let’s plat the Whisper Game!” and set the timer for 5-10 minutes. That whole time you sit and talk but everyone has to whisper. Do what you can to make it silly and animated, like lean to their ears or tiptoe around the room while you’re whispering.
I sit on the couch and and gather them around, with an arm length between them. Then I call out animals and they have to act like that animal until I change the animal. I might switch it up by calling out a specific child’s name with an animal.
This one is good to do after any of the other activities. We all move and talk in slow motion. I will walk around and they follow me and do what I do….all in slow motion. Then I give them turns being the leader. This is fun, but it takes the energy back down and you’re ready to go back to normal
Drink Something Green
I put green food coloring in either lemonade or water. I gather everyone in the kitchen and give everyone a glass of “Green Goop” and we all drink it at the same time. We drink it as fast as we can and be silly. If it’s been a really rough day, burping is a must.
I have everyone put shoes on their hands and crawl around until I say stop. Then they have to freeze like a statue until I say go. Sometimes I’ll call out pieces of furniture for them to crawl to. We’ll do this for about 15 minutes then stop and put the shoes away.
The Mystery Game
Fill a few “lidded” cups with 10 mystery items each (I use leftover yogurt containers). In the first cup put 10 beans, in another 10 toothpicks, in the third put 10 cotton balls, and so on. Cheerios, rocks, paper clips, macaroni, marshmallows, Cheetos, safety pins, etc. In a separate bowl put one of each item (a bean, a toothpick, a Cheerio, etc. all in the same bowl). Put lids on the cups and line them on the counter. The child has to figure out what is in the cup by shaking it and taking the matching item out of the bowl and setting it on the cup lid. Once they have figured it all out they can eat the little snacks in the cups. If you have more than one child doing it, they can take turns or you can make a set for each child.
Yarn Obstacle Course
Place several chairs together in a random pattern around the room. Using a ball of yarn, wind the yarn from chair to chair. The children must stand in one corner of the room and get to the opposite corner, touching every chair but not touching the yarn. Once everyone has made it all the way across, you cut all of the yarn into little pieces and they have to throw the pieces away as quickly as possible only carrying one piece of yarn at a time.
©2012 The Anchor Group
“Why does my child listen to you and not to me,” I was recently asked. Lack of consistency immediately comes to mind. A parent absolutely must stick by what they say…EVERY TIME. Yes, I now it’s a pain in the ass. Yes, I know it gets tiring being the “bad guy” all of the time. But if you want a child to behave you simply must stick to your guns.
There are few principles of parenting more important than consistency. Living in a predictable environment is comforting to children. It makes them feel secure. This is achieved when parents conform to a regular pattern of rules and routines. When children live in an inconsistent environment, where rules are enforced one day but not the next, and when bedtime is at 8:00p.m. one night and 10:00p.m. the next night, they become confused. They also act out more and are more difficult to discipline.
ARE YOU AN INCONSISTENT PARENT?
It may be something that you never thought about. Do you make rules, but after an infraction you let the kids slide by without consequences? Do you say “no” to a request, but then back down and relent to a “yes” if your children persist and whine? Do you and your spouse disagree on the rules for the children? Does one spouse say “yes” and the other say “no” to the same request from your children? Do you make threats to your children, but you never really intend to follow through? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there’s probably room for improvement in the consistency department. With a firm tweak here and there in your parenting practices, you’ll notice a positive change in the behavior of your children. However, if you have been inconsistent in many ways for a long time, it will take patience and time as your children test your newly defined boundaries. Hang in there!
TYPES OF CONSISTENT PARENTING
–Consistency of Rules
Explain your rules carefully and clearly to your children. Make sure they understand. Then explain the consequences for each rule. Most importantly, enforce the rules and consequences CONSISTENLY. Yes, that means each time!
–Consistency between Parents
Present a united front to your children. Spouses need to communicate with each other about rules and consequences for the children. Children always look for a kink in the armor between the parents, so make sure you agree on the rules. Children learn how to play one parent against the other, so parents should confer and agree on rules, requests, and discipline before sharing their decision with the children.
Many family events require routines: bedtime, chores, meals, bath time, and school mornings. Children love routines (predictable events). For example, a child’s bedtime may involve getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, using the toilet, story time, prayers and a bedtime song. Bedtime should be at the same time each evening. When routines are consistent, children respond better.
–Divorced or Separated Parents
Continuity is important to children, especially during and after a divorce. When children alternate between two residences after a divorce or separation, the transition is made easier when similar routines are maintained. It’s extremely important for divorced parents to agree on a child’s bedtime, rules and discipline, nutrition and family routines (as mentioned above). The more things that are consistent in the two homes, the better for the child. No matter how contentious the relationship of the ex-spouses, the focus and needs of the children need to receive top priority.
DISCIPLINE IN 3 EASY STEPS (an excerpt from KID TIPS, by Tom McMahon)
1. EXPLAIN YOUR RULES CLEARLY
Children need firm limits; they actually find security in having boundaries. Explain your rules clearly and in a way the child can understand. For instance, to avoid misunderstanding, I often ask my six-year old to repeat what I have explained. Of course, don’t expect too much from your toddler; she cannot comprehend the meaning of rules and limits.
Children will respond better to rules if you explain the importance and reason for the rule. Try to remember how you felt when your parent gave you the old “Because I told you so” explanation.
2. EXPLAIN THE CONSEQUENCES
If your child balks at one of your rules or requests, explain what the consequence will be for not obeying. This offers your child a choice and, at least in our house, limits the verbal arguments. For example, my wife recently asked my daughter to pick up her toys by noon the next day. If she didn’t, my wife explained, “I’ll pick them up, but you won’t see them for three days.” This gave my daughter a choice: either pick up the toys or face the consequence.
3. BE CONSISTENT
My daughter decided to test my wife by not complying with her request to pick up the toys. As promised, promptly at noon the next day, my wife boxed up the toys. My daughter, wide-eyed in disbelief, watched silently as her mother disappeared with the toys. Since then, my daughter has picked up her toys when faced with a similar decision.
This example illustrates a key concept about discipline which babies have learned by their first birthday: A rule is not a rule unless it is enforced consistently. They quickly and skillfully learn how to test their parents and how to determine which rules they must take seriously.
Gamification [n]: the use of game design elements in non-game contexts.
Gamification has tremendous potential in the education space. How can we use it to deliver truly meaningful experiences to students?
That is the standard question in any goal setting or personal development workshop. If you could define what you want, then you could achieve it. And you believe that. So you define what you want. You follow a goal setting workshop. You make up a list of everything that you want including:
And you make up a plan to achieve that in maybe 1,5 or 10 years. We all have been to this, right? Raise your hand and say “I” (okay I raised my hand now and said “I”). Come on, you can do it too. It’s save here. But the problem with all of this goal setting is, that you are focusing your attention on the external world (yes even with health). This being stuck on the external focus will never show you, what you really want. It will just present you lots of means or ways that you think will lead you to what you really want.
Everything that you wrote on these goal setting lists is just a means to something much deeper inside you. But it covers up what you really want, and therewith makes it impossible for you to realize your true desires.
How Do You Find out, What You Really Want?
It’s simple. In fact, it is so simple that all children know how to do it. It is one of their favorite games. It is called playing: “But why,…?”. If you have kids, you know how stubborn they could be playing this game with you. If you give them an answer, they follow up with just another “but why…?”. Although you might get irritated by this, use it to your own advantage.
Play the “But why…?” game with yourself. Ask yourself: “But why do I want it?”. Why do I want money, fame, love, etc.? Then you come up with an answer: “I want more money, so I can be free and can buy a great car”. But don’t stop there. Remember the children. “But why do you want to be free and have a great car”.
Don’t stop after following with a “But why do I want that?”. Drill down your level of answers. Keep going. You will at first come up with a lot of superfluous answers, but insist like a child until you reach the root, until you find within you, what you really want out of it.
What You Will Find Deep Down the Rabbit Hole?
Each “But why do I want it?” will bring you further down into the rabbit hole, that is built from your reasons, that you constructed to justify your wants.
It is like all these reasons are like clothes around your body, or wrappings around your mind. They might cover you, but they are not the real you. The don’t belong to you. They hide the real you from being seen. Strip yourself from all these reasoning, those false wrappings around your true desires.
What you will ALWAYS come to, if you dive deep into the rabbit hole, is that whatever you want to achieve or have, is only a means to the root cause of all your desires.
YOU WANT TO BE HAPPY.
That’s it. There is nothing more. Maybe you want to avoid pain, but that is just the flip side of wanting to feel good and happy. Because you can play with your “want to avoid pain” another round of “But why do you want to avoid pain?”. It will also lead you to your desire for happiness.
Why We Must Make It Hard for Ourselves to Feel Happy?
Okay – now we found out, that all that you have written down on your goals list is just a means to your real want to be happy. What is left then is the question: “Why do you need the means? Why not go for feeling happy directly?”
Because we associate feeling good as something that we are not worthy, unless we have earned it. Feeling good is something you must work for, that you have to give something upfront, before you can experience it.
It is this perverse combination of being happy, not feeling good enough, and thinking that we must earn the good things in life that causes the greatest grief, stress, anxiety and turmoil in the world. Whether that Belief System (aka BS) was installed by your parents, society, the church or your tradition doesn’t matter.
As long as you think that you have to do anything in the external world to deserve happiness you are bound to pain, frustration and will never achieve happiness.
And you know this already deep inside. What happened as you got the car, house, new job, lover, new toy or whatever, that you were so longing for? Yes it felt great for a while. But after a while your fascination dropped. The high that you felt when you got it, vanishes with time. Always. And that is so frustrating to you. You were running for that high of happiness, and now it vanishes, again. So you go out and hunt for another goal, hopping to catch that feeling again and this time hold it. But of course this will be boring after a while again. And so you will keep repeating that vicious circle.
Wanting – Getting – Satisfaction – Being Bored – Dissatisfaction – Wanting
It is like you were in a donkey race and someone was presenting you the carrot of happiness right in your front view, while at the same time giving you the stick of frustration and unhappiness to make you run even faster. You can’t win that race. If you get into it, you lost it already. The only way is to get out of it and see, that you were tricked (or tricked yourself) into a false belief system (BS).
How to Get What You Really Want?
Going for external goals will never make you happy.
Happiness is your birthright. You can decide to be happy. Here and now. There is nothing you need to do for it. You can’t earn happiness. You can’t buy it.
You can simply BE it – NOW. Decide to be happy – for no reason.
And out of that happiness, you can decide to do some things, that you enjoy doing. Not because you want to feel happy through them, but because you want to do them out of your happiness. There is nothing wrong with goals, if you set them because you enjoy the process of getting there. But don’t confuse a goal with what you really want, your real drive behind it all.
The source of all your wants, all your power is not in the outside world. It is within you. And it is waiting for you to remember just that.
Did you know that conventional, store-bought finger-paints can contain toxic chemicals like toluene, ethylene glycol, petroleum-based waxes, polymers, and artificial colors that can be easily absorbed through your child’s skin? Even the brands labeled “non-toxic” can contain these dangerous ingredients! (How this is legal is anyone’s guess.) And if that weren’t enough, genetically engineered soy, corn and wheat byproducts are also common ingredients too, which can be an unexpected disaster for the allergic child.
You can use coconut flour for the paint, or almost any type of fine flour that isn’t too heavy. (coconut flour is pretty gloppy!) The paint colors are made with India Tree Natural Decorating Colors, which are made from vegetables, though you could easily make your own colors from turmeric, beet juice and more. You do need to use more natural coloring than you would with regular, chemical food dyes, and the colors are not exact when you mix them, but they are completely non-toxic and non-allergenic. I find their earthy pastel shades rustic and charming.
Here is a bit more information about what is in India Tree colors:
Blue: Deionized water, glycerin, red cabbage
Red: Beet juice, citric acid
Yellow: Deionized water, glycerin, curcumin
On to the fun of making the finger paint…
Allergen-Free Non-Toxic Fingerpaint
- 1/2 to 1 cup of flour (Your choice; coconut flour gets pretty gloppy.)
- 2 cups pure water
- India Tree Natural Decorating Colors Set (or you could experiment with using beet juice, turmeric, red cabbage and other strongly colored foods)
- Small sauce pan
- Cups to put paint in.
- Scoop or ladle
Cook/stir over medium heat just until thick & shiny. It only takes a few minutes. See in the picture how the mixture is sticking to the sides of the pan? That’s what you want.
Stir in additional flour, if needed, until you reach the desired paint consistency.
While cooking flour/water, set up your cups and dyes.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the paint and put it into each cup.
Grab your dyes
Now get creative! Put at least 6 drops of color into your paints to make sure they are vibrant and bright.
I used about 10-15 drops in my paints.
Now stir and see what you get.
A little bit about my credentials. I have successfully raised 3 children; 2 boys & 1 girl. They are almost 30 now and 2 have children of their own. I currently live with a 4 yr. old.
This blog is the result of not only living with a young child again, but is also from a recent conversation I’ve had. Yes indeed, I have little nuggets of wisdom to share.
Thank you for all who will join in the conversation of this blog. I am not here to preach AT you, but to share with you what I learned from raising kids, first as part of a couple, and later as a single parent. The core truths are the same no matter what the makeup of your families are.