40+ Ways to Connect with Your Child Today

Lots of easy positive parenting ways to connect with your child today  I’m excited to share a special guest post by Rebecca Eanes celebrating her newly released book: Positive Parenting: an essential guide

Building and maintaining a strong connection with our children takes focus and work, but the benefits are worth the effort. When children are securely connected with us, they have higher self-esteem, behave better, are more cooperative, and are happier overall. I know we live in a busy world and sometimes it’s difficult to carve out an hour for playtime when dinner needs to be made, dishes are piled high, the inbox is full of messages that need responses, work calls are coming in, and the laundry is everywhere! Connecting doesn’t have to take a lot of time. There are many small things we can do throughout the day and night to strengthen the bonds we have with our children.

  • Give a cheerful morning greeting. Rather than start with a “Hey, hurry up!” try a special morning greeting for each child, like “rise and shine my sunshine” or “good morning doodle bear, I’m happy to see you this morning!” This slight change in greeting can shift the tone for the whole morning.
  • Make it a point to show affection before breakfast. A hug, a rub on the head, a kiss on the cheek – take just a couple of seconds to be affectionate with your child because little moments add up to lots of love.
  • Do something a little special at breakfast, like a note beside their cereal bowl or fruit shaped in a smiley face on top of their oatmeal.
  • Notice something good about them before breakfast and say it out loud. “Your outfit looks nice today” or “Thanks for making your bed this morning. That was helpful.”
  • Make up a secret handshake or hand symbol that’s just for the two of you.
  • Say a blessing over them before they head out the door.
  • Never let them leave without a hug.
  • Put a note in their lunchbox that says “I’m so glad you’re mine!”
  • If your child has a cell phone, send a text to say “I’m thinking of you and smiling!”
  • Do one of their chores for them.
  • Bring them a snack or drink without them asking.
  • Make a comment on what they’re working on when you pass by. “Oh, are you about to beat that level?” or “How’s the homework coming? You’re being so diligent!”
  • Always greet them with a smile, not a question first. “Hi sweetie, I’m happy you’re home!”
  • Make their bed for them and leave a note on it. “Made lovingly by mom.”
  • Block out 10 minutes of time and say “I’m stopping what I’m doing and giving you 10 minutes of my full attention because I love you! What do you want to do for 10 minutes?”
  • Blow up balloons and cover their floor with it “just because.”
  • Offer to rub their back, feet, or shoulders for a few minutes.
  • Choose a topic of conversation at dinner, such as new movies, vacation plans, or best books to avoid awkward silence and shrugs after “how was your day?”
  • Turn some music up loud and dance in the kitchen for 10 minutes while the food is cooking.
  • Begin an afternoon or after-school tea time. Get darling little teacups with saucers and sit down together for a few moments of civilized engagement. Don’t like tea? Put water in the teacup. They’ll probably still think it’s fun!
  • It’s affirmation time again! Notice something good about your child and speak it out before dinner is over.
  • Do a chore alongside your child. Remember how the dwarves did the dishes in The Hobbit? They were singing and laughing and just having a good time doing it. Try that, but don’t toss the dishes around like they did unless you’re very, very good!
  • Do a quick, fun science experiment together. Mentos and Coca Cola or vinegar with baking soda are cheap, easy, and fun.
  • Re-work the homework hour with soft classical music and fresh cookies from the oven. They’ll appreciate the effort and change in atmosphere.
  • Read a chapter aloud from a classic novel.
  • Invite them into your world to learn something new about you. Tell them about a book you’re reading or invite them to do yoga with you.
  • Take a walk together after dinner.
  • Play a round of Uno or a card game of your choice. One round doesn’t usually take too long, but it gives everyone time to gather and unwind.
  • Leave love notes everywhere. Bathroom mirror, bedroom dresser, pillow top, under their shoes.
  • If you have little kids, play on the floor with them for 10-15 minutes uninterrupted. If your kids are older, build a Lego creation or join them in their interest for few minutes.
  • Ask questions that are more specific than “how was your day?” Try “What’s one thing you learned today?” or “Tell me something nice that happened to you today.”
  • Grab a flashlight and go under covers together to tell stories.
  • Make bath time with little ones a special time by adding bath crayons, lots of bubbles, or new bath toys, and play with them for a short while instead of hurrying through the routine.
  • Spend 5 minutes daring each other not to laugh as you each make silly faces, tell jokes, and make silly noises.
  • Say yes to an invitation to play that you’d usually turn down.
  • Play the favorites game by asking “What’s your favorite ___” back and forth quickly until you run out of ideas. You’ll probably learn something new about each other.
  • Tell them stories from your childhood.
  • Talk to them about their family heritage. If you don’t know much about your ancestry, explore it together.
  • Hold them in your lap and rock them like their still babies, even if their limbs are sprawled out all over the place!
  • Arm wrestle each other.
  • Give a piggy back ride to bed or a horsey back ride to the tub.
  • Spend “special time” with each child at bedtime. Sit on the end of their bed or lie down beside them and just listen to what they have to say. If they say nothing, just hold them.
  • Tuck them in with a special prayer or blessing every night.
  • Always kiss them goodnight.

Rebecca Eanes is the creator of www.positive-parents.org and author of The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting. In her new book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, Rebecca shares her hard-won insights on giving up the conventional parenting paradigm to reconnect heart to heart with her children. Because parenting is about so much more than discipline, Rebecca hits on important topics less spoken about, making this more than a parenting book.

It’s a book about building lasting family bonds and reclaiming joy in parenting. Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide is out now. This post contains an affiliate link.

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40+ Ways to Connect with Your Child Today.. Guest post: Rebecca Eanes of Positive-Parents.org

Simple Parenting and Play Planner

Simple Parenting and Play Planner  with two weeks of giveaways.

 

I’m really excited to share with you the Simple Parenting and Play Planner as a brand new way to have your space and a place for taking action on your family haven.

What is the Simple Parenting and Play Planner?

  • Place for parents to catch their dreams, values and ideas and gently lay them out, evaluate and make them happen.
  • Space to focus on the things that matter in YOUR family. Set your agendas. Discard the rest.
  • Guardian of what you hold clear and dear in your family. Your play intentions, your family intention and you.
  • Opportunity to get ourselves, our spouse, our fun back on track after the shifts and changes of motherhood.

There’s this mismatch between what we do and what we want to do.

For whatever reason

  • we didn’t get to do that play activity we wanted to do.
  • we want to have better conversations about the school day or do that seasonal activity but we were too late ordering the parts or getting the time off to go.

We wish parenting was easier like menu planning that we can pick our best loved recipes and choices and use them over again. The thing about menu planning is when it works well it’s usually because we planned.

Meal times are more relaxed and calmer. But we don’t do this type of planning for play and creating the family haven we want.

Spend a moment in your Simple Parenting and Simple Play Planner– picking one area so we don’t go into overwhelm and use this focus to work on feeling happier about your parenting and play.

You don’t have to plan the life out of things. You’re always able to free flow, simplify, fly by the seat of your pants. Those things don’t change about you. The Simple Parenting and Play planner works with your family- is used in your family regularly.

This is a simple, intentional way to connect with your ideas, values, rhythms and routines on a regular basis without feeling guilty.

sample pages Simple Parenting and Play Planner

On Monday 31st March, we start the Simple Parenting and Play Planner- on tour!

This is cool for you as this 51 page planner will be visiting 10 blogs where you’ll learn a little bit more about the planner AND have a chance to win a copy.

So not just one copy but 10 chances.

Here’s how it works……

Check out the list below for each of the stops. Visit each blog and enter into the giveaway.

Monday 31 March    My Healthy Beginning

Tuesday 1 April        The Mom Writes

Wednesday 2 April    RainyDay Mum 

Thursday 3 April         Megan Flatt

Friday 4 April             Pickle Bums

Saturday 5th April       Bliss Beyond Naptime

Monday 7 April           A Free Spirit Life 

Tuesday 8 April           Simple Kids**Today**

Wednesday 9 April      Mama Scouts

Thursday 10 April       Plannerisms

Friday 11 April           Raising Playful Tots

I’ll be updating the posts here on Facebook and Instagram so be sure to follow me there.

If you’re curious to find out more about the planner you can check out Simple Parenting and Play Planner

Good luck!

 

10 fun places to read aloud with the kids

10 fun places to read aloud with the kids

Cuddled up on the sofa is our best place to read aloud together. But as they get more wriggly and jiggly we’ve discovered some other fun places to read aloud.

  1. Bathroom– got to love the echo and the chance to ham up your story telling. Whether clothed and bringing in chairs or a bathtime treat.

Bathtime

    • Local park– sitting on the rug surrounded by openness and a good book. Beware you’ll attract new curious listeners.
    • [Read more…]

27 Parenting Podcasts for the 21st Century parents

You can’t have failed to notice how many ways we can find information. Podcasts have become a really important way that you will learn, are entertained, inspired, take action and grow. Podcasts are produced by enthusiastic hosts passionate about their subjects. The parenting world has a range of podcasts which are a perfect way to listen to information and be part of a community connected without boundaries. They offer comment on current issues in a way that leaves you thinking long after the show is over and urge you to take some action.

Podcasts in general take a huge amount of time to produce and in the parenting world this coupled unpredictable nature of it with more kids coming along, new directions, maternity leave over and normal life there is a tendency to see your favourite show on hiatus or podfade.

The podcasts listed here are in no particular order. They were all current for 2012. Visit the website or better yet download a show and let the host know what you think. They will appreciate it.

Podcasts of 2012

[Read more…]

Solutions for tackling tricky toddler emotions

Solutions for tackling tricky toddler emotions

Strong emotions are a big bug bear when you’re in a playful home or are they really? Our aim as parents surely is to train, teach and allow opportunities of growth. We allow ample unstructured playtime to build creativity; structured activities to encourage skills and further learning; outdoor skills to connect with nature and so on. However, since our children come with varied temperaments, there is that potential to clash. This power struggle of who wins and who loses is a big problem in most of our playful homes. Mostly because we rely on previous experiences and default scripts we are often surprised that really come out of our mouths.

Full-on temper tantrum cry session
{Image Credit}

We can all think of a sticking point in our playful experiences at home and wish we had a tool or trick to just fix it, and fix it forever. Tricks don’t last over time. Although they can get you through situations they often start you down a path that leads to more problems. A better solution is to arm yourself with ideas, tools and solutions that you marinate with overtime and gradually introduce into your family.

Remember, you only have to succeed the last time. 
Brian Tracy

What we know to be true with toddlers

[Read more…]

31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Twenty Three} Problem solving

Some days you just get blown away by the simplicity of a message. Today was that day.

Do you ever find yourself  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. What about the children do you see that in them? How do you get them to move to a point where they can set simple goals and achieve them. Concentrate and persevere in an age appropriate manner.

I’m a totally a visual person so really appreciated Dr Becky Bailey  demonstrations and explanation on the importance of developing the executive state in the frontal lobe. Before you switch off thinking oh no brain science how will this impact my child let me encourage you with a few highlights. [Read more…]

31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Ten} The Power of Questions

Power of Questions

 

The Power of Questions:

Every now and then I’m reminded about how I need to give my son’s choices.

Choices that I can live with. Not any old choice.

I eagerly absorbed the principles and practices of Love and Logic, after attending a course in 2004. The power of choice seemed like a really good idea. I felt I was ahead of the curve. It worked.

Our next child threw us the curve ball and now we looked at 123 Magic. We now had a mix of ideas. I was glad for the different ideas as it made me think. There you go made me think so I needed to make sure that if I wanted to raise thinking children I needed to give them opportunities to make them think.

This is not new. None of us like to be told what to do all the time. However in our time pressured society we just don’t have the time, usually to give choices. I’ve talked about our walk to Nursery and how I needed to slow down and effectively smell the coffee. Today I want to talk about how the power of questions can really change your children’s outlook.

The biggest battle of wills

They don’t want to do or have what you are offering because you are only telling them. With their new voice, No is the best word in the world. They see the power. We need to give them chance to say, Yes!

Love and Logic, if I remember rightly, encourage as many choices as you can. We never thought that made total sense for our family.Partly because we’re just not able to think of at least two choices for everything we want to do at the time.  You have to think carefully.

Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt here?

Neither shirt is a problem to you.

They are more playful when they feel like they’ve had a say in their environment. So are we. It involved a change of mindset for us to think this way constantly.

Oatmeal or cereal?       OJ or milk?          This book or that book?

Learning can be either passive or active. Passive learning is when the parent is responsible for all learning conditions. Parents direct and children comply. Passive learning is easier for parents to do than active learning, but less beneficial for children….. Active learning is not only more exciting for children but usually results in better intellectual development

Ready to Learn: Goldberg

It starts simply with things like choosing which socks, and even this can seem like a hassle but they really love it. It’s part of the power we can give away. It continues with choices about food and learning how to express preference clearly and nicely, whether they be negative, neutral or positive. It continues with dinner games and question cards and leads to full discussions and learning about our children.

Communicating our values

Values are communicated and if we don’t’ hear what our children are thinking we have no chance of communicating our values to them in a way that they’ll be able to take on new information and make good choices about to do with these thoughts. I’m sure you’ve had the experience that what came out of your mouth was alien to what you thought you’d ever really say or even believe. But in the saying you realized it and perhaps changed or did something about it.

Yesterday we were reviewing our chore list for the umpteenth time. I want it to work. They want it to work. It breaks down regularly. After listening to a show about entitlement I decided to battle the chore problem yet again.
This time I added a time element….. It boiled down to having three chores and them deciding when to do them. Immediately they both sussed they didn’t need to do each chore each day. They had to decide when they would do it, how often etc. They asked me a lot of questions. Do I expect they will be perfect? No. But here’s a great opportunity to try out their decision-making process.

Last evening, over dinner, I asked how their chores went for the day. Proudly the oldest gave me his reasoning of why he’s decided to do his that way. His middle brother was listening. The middle one gave his very different version. I was able to ask how did it work for you? ( In true Dr Phil fashion!) We had an interesting dialogue about the struggles and they asked and each gave different answers.

Decision- making and the power of questions

At that moment, for the briefest of time, it didn’t matter if they had done the chores. Here they were actively discussing decision-making; the pitfalls of their brother’s ideas and congratulating them on what they did. I loved the process. The chores, to be honest were executed pretty well but they are a long work in progress.
It’s not always like this but I really believe the foundation of choices and active learning helps them to make decisions. They know we have each others back and we’re not afraid with our advice if we’re not sure.

How do you translate the power of questions into your family?

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.

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The Power of Questions

Cultural Exchange

cultural-exchange-UK aMelissa over at Chasing Cheerios mentioned a Cultural Exchange  just before the Summer. It sounded a great idea.

The idea was to send a package out that represented your country to a group of people. Melissa coordinated the whole thing. We were in a group of 6 people. 6 packages- how difficult would that be?

Naturally life gets busy during the summer. My husband was back after a year deployment so life was hectic. The kids also spent a large portion with Grandparents. I didn’t want to send activities for them to do. Hanging out with the Grandparents was all that was required.

So September rolls around and back to school. Again super busy. The boys and I worked really  hard on finding UK things and what they wanted.

 

This is what we selected for our package. Each one was a little different.

  • ELC money in Euros and Sterling
  • Twining fruit Tea. (We’re big fruit tea drinkers but we were thinking of the kids- no caffeine!)
  • Mini chocolate digestives ( I had to buy a second packet the first packets got…er..um eaten)
  • Love hearts and traditional sweets
  • keyring with a tourist attraction from the UK/London. Here we have the traditional phone box. Not many of these around.
  • Make a flag activity
  • Information pack about the K including recipes
  • Drawn picture of a Beefeater costume.

Imagine that duplicated 6 times. It was an interesting time at the post office sending these off.

Next the wait…….

So far we’ve received one from Arizonia and one from Japan.

The boys are beyond excited to open them up. We unpacked them at Dinnertime.

If you get the chance to participate in an exchange….do!

There are lots of physical swaps online. I spoke about the International Postcard Swap  on the podcast recently.

Have you participated in any swaps? Share the links below

 

Collage and sculpture inspirations

Collage and Sculpture

 

On a recent visit to an Art Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. I was delighted to come up against these wonderful collages or sculpture by Shalom Tomas Neuman.
Love how everyday toys, electronic items are used to create really zany pictures.

You can see more about the work here,
Collage a

Art at home does not’ have to be about pen, crayons and paper. Hope you’re inspired from your environment too.

What art work have you taken your little ones to see that you would recommend?

 

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Finding LEGO

 

Lego-mess a

It’s probably something that most of us can relate to in the popular book, Too Many Toys by David Shannon, of the poor dad stepping on LEGO pieces.

LEGO this summer has come into its own with all the boys. With our age span from 3 to 8 now we have many different types.

 

On a recent visit to Jen of Muminthemadhouse the LO played with her boy’s LEGO Space set. It was a rare and not forgotten treat.

All the way home he talked about the “Plane” meaning shuttle. Other peoples LEGO is so exciting and it makes you think and create in different ways.

We’ve been happy to find huge tubs of it a car book sales lately. While I’m happy for the boys my heart aches for hoovering around that stuff. So far the grand finds have been at their Grandparents’ house so they are getting the pleasure of LEGO. I know in a few weeks though that all most of  that LEGO will be making it’s way back here.

What keeps me sane with LEGO?

Letting go!

I know that LEGO will be around the house. It’s really not the biggest deal. We live in our home and always have. I expect to see that kids live in a home and one of their things is that they drift and leave stuff. I love that active play in them to do this.

Listening

Have you listened to your kids, when they don’t know you’re there, playing with LEGO? It’s a joy! They so totally get into it and absorbed. The situations and scenarios they play out are long and complex. Yes some of them are based upon familiar characters but I’ve seen a lot of crossover from books, real life and just imagination.

Time

LEGO has been a huge hit this summer and 3 little boys have sat, squirmed and rushed around for huge swathes of time inside and out setting their own play. They’ve completely got lost in the play and can’t believe it’s meal time or anything else. That’s a great thing! It’s how I remember summer being.

Lego IIa

Light flash!

Today I hit upon and idea that just works well for me. Hoovering is hard.I don’t want to suck up those little extra pieces but it happens, at times. So I found a box and as I was tidying the room for hoovering I dropped the pieces in there. I did this for two rooms. Look at the booty I found!

 

I think the boys will love me! More Lego is like ice cream- you just can’t have enough!

It’s a simple tip that perhaps you already did but it’s saved my sanity. I don’t feel so annoyed and frustrated at all these little pieces.

Sometimes WE choose the toys that suit US as parents for ease of use, lack of pieces, quick, expensive, electronic, no mess because it’s EASIER for us. It’s not that we do all the opposites of those listed we have our days too when we need to do differently.

 

What I’m trying to do though is find a way for the boys to participate in unstructured and the messy and make it work in our home. Intentionally finding a way to make play opportunities work that are ideal and welcomed because they allow the kids to shine and play in ways that will surprise.

This box…. sets me on the road.

Photo credit: justmalia

Do you have any LEGO storage tips for me?

P.S I would love to do this for the boys room. What a creative way to store LEGO!

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