Small steps to an easier morning exit

Disclosure: This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer’s Smart Mom’s Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.


With three children to get out the house, I needed an update to the ‘ getting the kids out the house’ routine. Also known as the morning exit!

Before, with two children to get to school, it was easier as they fell into two distinct camps.

One who was task driven; what do I have to do and let me do it. One who would experience and notice everything. He was easily diverted, distracted or waylaid by frankly anything.  With a third added to the mix I wanted the LO to choose the good habit of routine but risked his exposure to the his brother and his slower paced method.

Not underestimating the power of their personalities I felt it was better to have tried, tried and tried than to have never tried at all. It would do  everyone good to have a better routine, including myself.

Perhaps you’re in a similar situation with children who need to get on a school bus? Or you need to make it out the door to drive to school with everyone- no latecomers, get to the drop off at preschool, daycare, or work each weekday  morning without it turning us all into a bad version of Good cop/bad cop.

Try these 7 steps to making the routine stick with young children because who wants to start the day in a fluster of emotions everyday when there are other ways.

1. Evaluate what worked and the hotspots [Read more…]

Creating memories to cherish during the holiday season

Creating memories to cherish during the holiday season

I don’t know about you but with three boys both now in school there have been triple requests for many things. Then comes the holiday dos and obligations.

This time of year can feel like a giant merry-go-round that  you’ve ended up on and have to ride to the end of the month.

In previous years, I’ve not handled it very well. I see it coming and try and predict where to go but eventually I feel tired, overwhelmed and feel everyone else gets the benefit of the season but me.

[Read more…]

31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Thirteen} Active Alphabet Activity

 

Welcome to Day Thirteen of 31 days of Sensory Play.

I’ve talked before about often children need to run around to sit still. Getting to play activities is so much easier when they are ready to do them. Instead of just charging around the house which is often their preferred default option I like to add a little bit of mystery and change.

Usually they are busy in another room playing and I set up a few things in another room. As always the problem with gross motor activities is getting a decent picture of the action. The kids seem to move a mark speed and everything just seemed to be against us to show you.

I picked up these kitchen mats at the local DIY store as they were less than the price of a fancy cup of coffee.  Plus they lasted longer than that coffee……

We have carpet so I didn’t want too many because they might be too slippy? We have big windows and dark carpets so it’s not as easy to see either. We turned a moaning LO into a smiling little one who actively plays this game himself now.

Here’s what you do

Have your child call out the letters of the alphabet. We did a mixture of sounds of the letter and letter names. We like to get our phonics on here too! Plus is makes a nice change from the alphabet song and the LMNOP mess that happens in the middle…..sigh.

I wrote them down using the four corners and middle if needed. The LO watched as I randomly put down the letters. I used a whiteboard pen hoping it would wipe off again. It did but not so well. It would have been nice to be able to reuse the mats and put the letters into a different order.

Lay out the mats in a pattern. We chose stepping stones, hop scotch and finally some at one end of the room and the rest at the other end.

Yes he was worn out and very happy at the end of all the running around.

Call out the letter and he has to find it and stand on it. Better still get the help of that huge pile of fluffy animal pets and get the “Lion” to jump on the “ssssssssss” and eat him for dinner.

The beauty of this activity is how simple it is to make it active. It’s possible to be flexible with the letters to be upper, lowercase or a mixture. You can use letter sounds, names or both. As he masters this game we’ll at some blend sounds like ch, th etc.

We can set time limits to find it quicker and choose to place the mats on different floors of the house or different rooms to get them working hard. Keeping the letter in the head and walking over distance is hard work because there are so many other distractions around. But it helps with focus and step directions. I would go with them for some of the letters and ask questions to keep his interest or bring him back on task.

We wouldn’t do all of those things in the same session. But we can use this game over the months to add some active alphabet learning.

Now he plays my role with his fluffy pets and has taught his big brothers a game. Nothing makes him beam more than sharing something with them.

For more active alphabet activities and games see my Pinterest board.

  

Your turn

Come back and share your experiences, stories and activity.  Share your post here in the comments or share your photo on Facebook

Find the other days in this series

Next: 31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Fourteen} Sweet Potato Chips

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31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Twelve} Chocolate Dipped Spoons

 

Welcome to Day Twelve of 31 days of Sensory Play.

 

When the kids come home from school they are beat! Yours too,  I see.

After the hugs and dumping of  book bags, one of the first things they ask, “What’s for snack?”

With the evenings turning chilly and dark we all love a cosy hot chocolate. Today we’re going to take that up a notch and add a treat.

Because the normal hot chocolate looks sad and lonely

until you have…………chocolate dipped spoons.

 

Gather together your cooking chocolate, bowls and assortment of spoons. The kids were pretty keen to do this raiding the cupboards and trying to find silly spoons. Luckily we didn’t have a lot of cooking chocolate left.

We melted our chocolate in the mircowave following the instructions on the packet of chocolate. It’s hard to wait for chocolate to melt.

Stir the chocolate so it becomes a lovely drippy gloopy puddle. You get to harness that energy as they whip up the chocolate.

Now the moment comes when you choose your spoon. Dip it in and sprinkle your favourite cake toppers.

Leave the spoon on waxed paper to harden and resist eating the bits of chocolate that you find. 🙂

The next afternoon we sat down for our afternoon treat……

 

There’s nothing like sitting together and learning about their day. Sweet memories, smiles and wondering where the chocolate stars disappeared……

Your turn

  • Try a tasty drink treat.

Come back and share your experiences, stories and activity.  Share your post here in the comments or share your photo on Facebook

Find the other days in this series

Next: 31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Thirteen} Active Alphabet Activity

Grab our badge

31 Days Of Sensory Play {Day Eleven} Your home is a blank canvas for Sensory Play

Welcome to Day Eleven of 31 days of Sensory Play.

Don’t get stuck in a rut with your sensory play locations. It’s not always about new ideas sometimes it is about new locations for our favourite activities. With active boys who want to move we try and accommodate the wiggles. Keeping active and moving is something kids want to do naturally. Sensory Alphabet Activities, our ebook, still remains one of our favourite activities to do because they get to move around the house and be creative.

It is easier for me that they sit but it’s not right for them if this is what we do all the time.

Getting the balance between creativity which tips over into silliness and quiet focused activity. There’s so much in between and for different days my tolerance level changes.  The volume and energy or young ones is powerful inside a small space. Playdates seem to get that way pretty quickly.

When I had a small baby who cried and cried. Going outside released my tension and his. Now when we have activities at the back of my mind I have an escape plan that will swing the mood up or down in reserve. Many times we need to calm things down and sometimes we need to lift the mood. I choose something off this list to keep things different and appeal to our moods.

[Read more…]

Small steps to an easier morning exit

With three children to get out the house, I needed an update to the ‘ getting the kids out the house’ routine. Also known as the morning exit!

Before, with two children to get to school, it was easier as they fell into two distinct camps.

One who was task driven; what do I have to do and let me do it. One who would experience and notice everything. He was easily diverted, distracted or waylaid by frankly anything.  With a third added to the mix I wanted the LO to choose the good habit of routine but risked his exposure to the his brother and his slower paced method.

Not underestimating the power of their personalities I felt it was better to have tried, tried and tried than to have never tried at all. It would do  everyone good to have a better routine, including myself.

Perhaps you’re in a similar situation with children who need to get on a school bus? Or you need to make it out the door to drive to school with everyone- no latecomers, get to the drop off at preschool, daycare, or work each weekday  morning without it turning us all into a bad version of Good cop/bad cop.

Try these 7 steps to making the routine stick with young children because who wants to start the day in a fluster of emotions everyday when there are other ways.

1. Evaluate what worked and the hotspots [Read more…]

Evening Activities That Keep Kids Busy Playing

8 Evening Activities that keep kids busy playing while we do something else

We’re tired.
They’re tired.

We’re trying to get a lot of things done.
They seem to need us at the same time.

 

The afternoon to evening transition is typically one of the most stressful times in most of our homes.

With a little bit of preparation you can add these activities into your evening schedule. Some supervised and some totally hands- free.
Let’s discover some ways we can buck this trend and make for calmer, happier little ones and big ones.

[Read more…]

Our Media diet- Part 2

Here we are back in front of our screens.

I started writing about our family media diet and mentioned the 6 elements to our family media diet.

Do you have a media diet of things you will do or won’t in your family?

How do you moderate your media at home?

Most of us don’t have much of a plan. Ours isn’t written down- well apart from here.:)

Starting with the right intentions

Before launching into our schedules there is time to make decisions about what we’re going to do for our family and the media we consume. I really don’t suggest cold turkey. It’s hard on everyone but you will need to fill that time and change pace.

Today I’ll continue with the four last elements that make up our media diet.

[Read more…]

Friday Finds {10.08.2012}

Car race track

The hardest time is the gap between saying, “Go find something to do!” and them finding something to do. I don’t know about you but I’m so tempted to talk more and direct them.

We try and have unstructured downtime everyday. Not just  now, some random filling in time but planned to give a decent length of time to allow for creating ( and putting away or to the side).

This fine creation happened this week. I love the creativity of using the Fiddlestixand he played for a long while refining and building his racetrack.

I too had to find something to do and it worked. I said nothing.

 

___________________

Friday Finds is the place to unwind, grab yourself a comfy chair and reflect on your past week then plan for the upcoming one. With a little something to make you think, for them to do and for us to listen or watch……. We are putting ideas into action. Challenging ourselves to do a little differently. Be inspired.

Link up your posts  that fit one of these categories.

Enjoy your weekend!

Goodness for the mind: Raising Successful Children :: NYTimes.com

Activities for the body: Over and Out!: 2 Great Obstacle Courses :: Education.com

Goodness for the eyes and ears: Why Duct Tape Parenting? What’s in a Name :: Parenting on Track

This week on Raising Playful Tots podcast::  Back to school for 5 year olds and under

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Shaving cream numbers

Each child is singing a different song at home.

The LO’s current fun song of the numbers 1-10 at the top of his voice.

Plus, the LO is into Hide and seek with his own variation. When you go to find him and you are near he jumps out yelling, ” Surprise!” and scaring you out of your skin. Combining his present interests and some sensory fun his older brother (MO) and I started making a sensory number surprise bag.

First we cut out numbers from recycled cereal boxes. We wanted it to be the colourful parts.

Using a sandwich bag , we filled it with shaving foam and drop of food colouring.

Added a random number, squeezed out the air then taped down the bag to the table. ( No leaks!)

Who can resist not pushing on that bag? The MO who had to of course, making sure all the air was out.

[Read more…]

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