Nonsense Summer Days

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”  Roald Dahl

When I was a child my father would sing this little phrase before he would flip us on our beds. “One for the money, two for the  show, three to get ready and four to go…flip!

Stay-cations? Schedule  your days around a bit of nonsense:

“One for the money” Monday: Chores made fun, lemonade stands, car washes…Write down small tasks with the cash reward amount next to the task and fill up a jar. Be prepared to pay up when the job is completed. Allow a trip to the dollar store, candy store, tag sale where you can buy treasures cheap. Let them chose even if YOU don’t think it will be fun. They worked for it, let them learn about it.

“Two for the  Show” Tuesday: Today is movie day. Tell your child you want her to put on a show for you. (Children are masters at this without your help!) OR go allow your child to pick a free movie at the library. Have a movie time with friends. Watch shows that involve “cool” stories like Snow Dogs, Frozen, Happy Feet or Polar Express. Watch in the basement if you have one. Place pillows, blankets in the freezer for a few minutes of chill. BRRRR! AHHH!

“Three to get ready” Wednesday: Plan and Prep for a family outing for the next day. Have a family planning time where you decide a list of things you can do together for an outing. (Not expensive, just fun together) To have them guess tangle a room with string with  the final destination at the end. Have then untangle to discover.

“Four to GOOOOO,” Thursday: This is a family adventure day. Penny walks; Heads you go left, tails you go right. See where you end up. A scavenger hike on a bike, in a car, in a yard, in your house on a stormy summer afternoon. Use your imagination or look up what to do with kids, you your area where you live.

Other random day ideas:

Nick-Nack-Patty-Wack Monday: Learn something new today. A magic trick, a science experiment, a unique art project, a new sport, a new food. (Gak, Slime, or OOObleck are good choices in the recipes)

Tutty-Fruity Tuesday: Visit fruit stands, or go to the grocery store. Make up a new type of smoothie and drink in fun cups, or place in ice trays and make up some Popsicles. Have a family watermelon seed spitting contest. (BTW the record is 66 feet 11 inches to beat)

Whatcha-ma-call-it Wednesday: This is a silly day. Wear your clothes backwards, have a crazy dinner using different utensils, get squirted with the hose or make your own slip and slide, make it so if you say a certain word you have to do….be creative and have some fun with it…

Share this link of ideas to your friends so they can have some summer fun with summer days too…

 

 

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“Say Lovin’ Words” beyond…

Sticks and Stones can break my bones,

but words can actually destroy me.

Our children listen and watch. The way we speak about other people, issues, or living things; our choice of words, tone, and body language, will be picked up and mimicked. Adults are models for children.

“Say lovin’ words” about other people’s circumstances and about the beautiful world we live in. Be careful about grown-up issues that are too developmentally intense for children and do not speak about them when they can hear. Be careful how you speak in front of your children.

I have observed preschool girls stand with hands on hips, whispering and pointing at other little children and shun.

I have observed children say a parental script exactly down to the tone it was presented.

I have talked children back in to enjoying something in nature that was told by an adult was dirty, ugly, gross, or boring but when returned to their natural earth connection which is their birthright, they love it and love learning about it; such as holding and reveling in worms.

The world is harsh already. Teach children to  use words which contribute to a better place to live for all living things and allow them to be loving humans by you leading the way.

 

The matter of believing

My three year old grandson looked directly into the eyes of his Lightening McQueen Car (The car does have eyes) and said,

“It’s okay, I’m right here.”

Some adults feel uncomfortable with pretend. Yet it is a very real developmental stage of children.

Piaget’s animistic thought means children give life to objects that are not living. It is their brain’s way of figuring out their world. There is so much literature and statistics and theories about the why’s and reasons. Some children keep pretending well into their early tweens and this is normal behavior. To play is acting out and creating social stories about real life and how they fit into it. Some pretend play is quite involved.

But what you should ask yourself is why you are so uncomfortable with it?

In the matter of Christmas the con chatter is a BIG lie you are initiating with the Big Man in the Red Suit.

“My children are smarter than that!”

But they are forgetting that children are not adults and their brains are not adult brains. Yet, even after they tell them…their children still want to believe and question why others do.

Santa Surprise

Do you remember the Christmas when you finally figured out yourself how it works, without anyone telling you? Surprise! That was your brain growing up. So many parents ruin the beautiful surprise of wonder and fascination by worrying that if they encourage enchantment it will give children false hope.  Yet on the contrary the ones who get to believe in the magical already are using their brain muscles to learn how to believe and have faith. Their own brains figure it out when they are ready and that is the key.

Give them time to be children. Give them time to believe in enchantment and encourage it. It will be delightful for you as well as them. Santa Claus is so wonderful. But he is because you make him so…

Isn’t it fascinating that much of the world makes it so too…

How great is that!

Are you a monster?

Do you scare your child? Perhaps  not even realizing you do it?

Let’s face it the monster in us comes out in parenting no matter how great we are at it.

Which monster do you turn into most often?

1. Dracula-This is when we quietly watch our child do childish annoying things, but we are too weary, bored, or self absorbed to stop them but we accumulate the frustration like tiny droplets of blood, then in a furious frenzy that one thing tips our meter and we jump in for the bite completely unexpected. That kid never knew what bit him until it was too late–Scary!

2. The flipping Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde. This is when we are happy happy happy with our child then in an instant we turn “mad” or we are angry angry angry with our child then in an instant turn happy.  The child is constantly jittery not knowing when the monster will pop out for the scare.

3. The werewolf: When we howl and howl and howl and bear our ugly teeth and spit fowl breath over our children we think our children are getting our fierce message but if we keep making constant “noise” they tune out. But constant anger-yelping is just as bad as the bite and our kids stay in a constant state of overbearance and tension before they transform into werewolves themselves on a full moon.

4. Godzilla: This is when we grab things out of hands, kick toys out of the way, and use our strength and size to show who is superior. We are so angry we use force to thrash around while yelling and breaking things up. Our children look up with horror just waiting for the Lego towers to come crashing down or Hot wheel cars to go flying, and for them to be next.

5.  The Zombie: This is when our child has broken us to near death, but not quite. We don’t want to smile cute anymore. We don’t want to hear the little laugh or wipe another bottom. We shuffle along in a stupor, moaning and dragging,  wishing to be dead instead of hearing another version of a Silly song or picture book. If we see one more big eyed stuffed animal or step on one more action figure we will rip it to shreds.  This is when we snap and grab our child to get them to stop acting  so human…It’s usually the most dangerous parenting monster to become. It’s when we “react” with any number of surprise scares for our child. And they don’t know when it is coming.

Halloween comes once a year and we allow monsters to get loose. But parent monsters, BEWARE! WE often are the very things that create the jitters for our own little beasts.

You’re the expert

 

You may not feel it is true but you are an expert for your child.

All parents compare parenting skills.

All parents compare childhood milestones.

That chatter is everywhere and often makes us feel guilty.

Whether you are an Australian bush parent, a parent carrying a baby in the rice paddies, or a millennial parent juggling time…non of that really matters. As long as the child is safe, clean, healthy, loved, and thriving; your way is the best way to make that happen. There are as many unique parenting strategies as there are different parents.

You get your expertise in parenting with a  crash course on your first child. By the second child you are a pro. Each child comes with a whole new set of ingredients but you do have one thing– you know you can do this.

Choose the course that fits who you are as a parent and live with your way. It may not be the way parents do it in Australia or in China or even next door, but it doesn’t matter as long as your child is loved and thriving.

You are the expert parent, exactly right for your child. Be proud of yourself!

 

The Battles Begin!

Wait, what happened!

This tiny little human has a mind of its own!

And very soon the battles begin….

“You love your child and value your child’s progress. That’s wonderful and important. And I know that sometimes its easy to get single-mindedly caught up in achieving a particular milestone with your child. In your pursuit of your child’s progress, though, it is essential to temporarily relinquish any goal as soon as it causes a control battle with your child. In fact, control battles are one of the most disabling dealings you can have with your child. You want to avoid them whenever possible (except when safety is involved, of course.)” (Kaufman pg.133)

“WAIT! STOP RIGHT THERE! I’M THE BOSS AND IF I GIVE IN WHEN MY CHILD WANTS HIS OWN WAY AND TURNS TO MONSTER MODE, I RELINQUISH MY AUTHORITY AND CONTROL AS A PARENT! THAT IS NOT ONLY SCARY, BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! “

But what you do not understand is that when you are controlling you GIVE UP your control automatically anyway. 

Think about this…in your own life:

“When people…are in the throes of an experience where they don’t have control, don’t have understanding, and have too much input to process, [as all humans feel] they react in very particular ways. They put everything they have into gaining a sense of control. They seek out situations where they can exert their own autonomy, rather than having their experience dictated to them. And they powerfully resist any efforts to impose control upon them.” pg. 134

It is amazing that children have an innate fighting instinct to recognize when they feel threatened and out of control in a given situation and FIGHT to regain it no matter how big and powerful the opponent is. Even when we are taking about a tiny being who may not  walk or even talk yet,  and do not have a mature understanding of what they are doing.

“Think of a rope with a knot in it. I am holding fast to one end and you to the other. The harder you pull, the tighter the knot gets—’cause I ain’t letting go. You can never release the knot by pulling harder. The only way to release the knot is to let the rope go so that there is enough slack in it for the knot to loosen.”

“The key to understand is this: if you want your child to be less controlling (and thus more flexible and able to learn more, grow more, and ultimately achieve more goals), you have to give your child as much control as possible.”

“Most people’s first response when dealing with a controlling child is to try to “break” the child of his controlling behavior by wresting [forcing] control back from him.

Example: “YOU WILL EAT THIS OR ELSE! SIT THERE UNTIL IT IS ALL EATEN! I DON’T CARE IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT!” (And the child sits there and won’t eat…because you forced them to sit there.)

“Some of you might think: To function in the world, my child has to get used to doing things the right way, so I have to get him to do this particular thing the correct way now.”

“For others of you, the situation may be more in-the-moment  pragmatic. You might think: I just have to get my child to brush his teeth (for example), and we’ll be done. I know he’s fighting me now, but soon it will be over, and it will be worth it because he’ll have clean teeth.”

“If either of these scenarios resonates with you, it’s not only normal, it is totally understandable. You love your child,….but you have a million things you are juggling at once, and sometimes you may just be trying to get through your day.”

The problem is that going down this road with your child will end up being highly counterproductive. Asserting control over someone who is controlling leads to the person becoming more controlling, not less. You see, when your child’s control is challenged, he will feel compelled to dig his heels in and fight to reestablish control and personal autonomy.

But you see what happens is that “as you address the issue…you compromise interaction and learning long-term because you get a child who is not only more controlling but also associates learning or doing something that you want with coercion and unpleasantness.” pg. 136

The interaction between you and your child in this situation now loses harmony and the action you are both trying to control becomes contentious and negative. And when it happens over and over the control anger-meter rises, creating negative energy and unproductive growth. 

Oh they can be forced because you are bigger and stronger. But you will teach them by fear not trust and your actions will give them a very loud message. That they do not have control. Then other symptoms will appear…

anxiety

withdrawal

tantrums

delays

refusing even if they want something

This is not about allowing your child free reign without boundaries. This is not about not having them brush their teeth or sit at the table to eat. But it is about learning how to evaluate yourself as an adult and as a parent and to be the one who raises the white flag when the battle begins, because you are the more wiser of the opponents. It is about being attentive to why your child is trying to be in control because it is usually about being afraid, not understanding, not developmentally ready, or simply wanting more time. They are not trying to oppose you just to make you mad. They are telling you messages constantly with and without their words. Listen, look, empathize and give in or shape a situation to dissolve impending battles. Battles are counter productive in childhood. 

I promise you…

you will get better eaters-

better sleepers-

better and kinder players-

potty trained children-

better talkers-

children who do not bully or withdraw-

 a happier family atmosphere-

children who feel safe to grow and make decisions-

Don’t take my words or the words from the book quotes…

Try it and see for yourself….

Your life will change but mostly the life of your child who wants to feel she has control of her life too.

 

Raun K. Kaufmans. (2014)...The Groundbreaking Method that has Helped Families All Over the World. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet Fireworks

Fourth of July fireworks is a beautiful celebration except for those who are afraid of loud noises with hearing sensitivity; which is most little kids.

Here is a cool and fun alternative for your little ones to be “in control” of their own tiny firework’s show. It is a win win project for adults too because the cleanup cleans for you.

Supplies:

  • White household vinegar

  • baking soda

  • cake pan or cookie sheet with sides

  • cupcake tin or bowls

  • Inexpensive grocery store food coloring (red and blue if you only want to stay with the Americana theme)

  • small spoon

  • Extra: paper towels, small bowl of clean water if you have a child with sensory issues.

  • counter and stool or chair for your child/children to stand on

  • a ready camera on video mode!

Directions:

Bring your child to the counter and allow them to help you pour a thin layer of baking soda to cover the entire bottom of a cake pan. It looks like snow so have your child bring their cars to drive in it, or water resistant dolls or animals to play in the dry snow. While your child is doing that pour some vinegar into the cupcake tins or bowls. Have your child help you squirt food coloring in each receptacle of the cupcake tin or bowls. Have ready a bowl of clean water where you child can access it if they feel they need to stay clean and have paper towels ready if they desire to dry their hands.

Do NOT demonstrate. Allow them to discover the firework show themselves. Have them spoon some “vinegar paint” into the snow to make their own sizzling colorful fireworks. Allow the child to do it over their toys and play in it. I guarantee you will want to do it too!!!

I found that even if they pour one of their full bowls of vinegar paint in the pan with a huge sizzle, that it will continue to make little tiny sizzles for as long as the baking soda is activated while they continue to spoon another color.

It is great fun and a more gentle quiet way to celebrate the 4th of JULY for little ears.

It‘s a blast!

When done dump the entire thing down your kitchen drain and it will refresh and clean it. Rinse off the pans and spoons and wah-lah..done!

(Food coloring sometimes takes a bit of scrubbing off counters or even fingers, but it is not permanent!)

Have fun with it!