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He Gets To – Why Can’t I?

If you’re the parent of a preteen and you haven’t heard those words come out of your child’s mouth, they will.  (Be honest – a few years back you said them to YOUR parents.) As preteens are starting to put together a better sense of self and their place in the world, they often question what they see as unfairness.  If a friend has certain privileges or possessions that they do not, they can feel they are being denied something they have a right to.

When your child expresses this frustration in an accusatory way, it can easily put you on the defense. It’s a natural reaction for a parent but it generally just sets up an atmosphere of further conflict. Taking a little time to ready yourself for these questions can help you to keep a cool head and yet maintain your own standards for your family.

All families have their own rules, expectations, and financial considerations that play a role here. Some parents allow “riskier” behavior and later regret it, while some feel strongly that allowing some controlled risk is an important step in the growth and decision making process for children. When you can let go and to what degree is a very personal decision that comes with knowing your child’s abilities, reactions to peer pressure, daily environment, etc. Your job is to make the best possible decisions for your own child about what this looks like.

When you set boundaries and limitations for your children, it’s a sign of love, concern, and parental responsibility. Children obviously don’t always view it as that. Be calm, firm, and consistent. Practice a few of these statements to say to your child:

“This is what works for our […]

By |July 21st, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

Preventing Summer Slide

The last day of school. The LAST DAY of SCHOOL! Most of us remember that amazing feeling that the whole summer was stretching out ahead of us, and life was GOOD. While summers are a great way to relieve some of the pressures and expectations of the school environment, it can work against some children who may find school more challenging. A little planning can keep your child from losing too much ground on their hard-earned academic progress while still experiencing the joys of summer. You might want to consider some of these tips:

Summer Camps – Some are designed to be heavy on specific subjects like math or science, but many summer recreational camps and programs incorporate academics into their program in fun ways.
Library Reading Programs – Most communities fortunate enough to have a public library run programs for children to earn prizes or other incentives for summer reading.
Book Clubs – Connect with a few of your child’s friends’ families and start a book club for your kids. Let the children take turns selecting titles to read. Schedule a meeting time to discuss the books and incorporate treats that reflect a theme related to what they read.
Summer School – Don’t rule it out! Many summer school classes are packed with fun activities while still supporting your child’s weak subject areas.
Vacations – Assign your child some questions to research about your vacation destination. Along the way, show them how to calculate distances travelled, estimate arrival times, track fuel expenses etc.
Little Free Libraries – Map out locations of Little Free Libraries in your surrounding area and visit as many as you can. Select books to read and then pass them […]

By |June 27th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

My Child Has No Interest in Sports

Parents often express concern when a child shows no interest in sports. Is that in fact a problem? If you have this concern yourself, one of the first things you may want to do is to take an honest look at why it bothers you. Did you play the sport yourself and enjoy it? Were you envious of others who were athletic if you were not? Do you feel it builds character? Is it a good way to be sure your child stays active and gets exercise to maintain good health?

Not all adults participate in sports or even enjoy being a spectator. Likewise, not all children have an interest in sports. According to a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports cited by the Washington Post in 2016, around 70% of kids in the U.S. stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because “it’s just not fun anymore.” That statistic gives us a lot to think about as parents.

If your primary concern is that your child gets some physical exercise, it’s a real concern in this time of sedentary children and a high rate of childhood obesity. Look for options that might appeal to your child. Many children shy away from competitive activities but might enjoy a sport or active hobby that involves bettering their own scores or times. Sometimes, the barrier for children is that a parent is too intense or intimidating about participation. In the heat of a game, many parents exhibit some over the top behavior that can cause a child to feel pressured or embarrassed. Your answer to more exercise for your child could lie is something as simple as being a more active family – taking […]

By |June 13th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

Leaving Your Child With a Babysitter the First Time

When you become a parent, you experience a lot of “firsts” in your life. The first night your baby sleeps through the night, the first time the child runs a high fever, the first time your child takes a step on their own. One “first” that can cause a lot of parental anxiety is deciding when you are ready to leave your child with a babysitter for the first time out as a social being again, or when you are ready to break in a new babysitter.

All situations are different and we’re all different in our comfort level for doing this. Following are a few things to think about to help you ease into this next part of your life.

How old is the babysitter and how much experience have they had? In some cases, you may want to hire the person first as a “mother’s helper” and be in the home while they care for your child. By doing this, especially with a very young or inexperienced babysitter, both you and the sitter can ease into the situation.

Keep it short at first. Start out by having the babysitter there for an hour or two while you run errands, meet a friend for coffee, etc. Try not to have the time include putting the child or children to bed until they are more comfortable with the babysitter. While many children enjoy the company of a new babysitter while they are actively involved in playtimes, bedtime can bring on fears or renewed separation anxiety. If children are old enough, you may want to pre-plan an activity for the sitter to do, like a movie or new board game.

Provide pertinent instructions and information.  Does your child have […]

By |May 16th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|

When “Because I Said So” Doesn’t Work

Some children seem compelled to argue about everything. Every. Little. Thing. As parents, that can be incredibly irritating and extremely frustrating. When we bring that little baby home from the hospital, we envision fields of daisies, puppies frolicking about, and sweet little children who smile and immediately do whatever we ask with a big hug and an adoring look.

Flash forward ahead a few years and things could look very different. If you have a child who argues, you’re not alone. Children love to be right. In their minds, they’re the smartest person they know. For some it’s just a part of developing their independence and learning all about who they are and what they can do. Others just seem to have an overwhelming need for power. Grownups appear to have a lot of power and children set out to challenge those grownups in order to pick up some power for themselves.

Arguing with your child is a no win situation. Calmness is your best defense. A power struggle is not very rewarding when the second party refuses to engage in that struggle. Be that second party that refuses to engage. State what you need calmly and set reasonable consequences if your child does not cooperate. Acknowledge that you understand your child may not like what you are saying but repeat that you have made a decision that will stand. Remind them that you make your decisions because you love them and want them to be safe. If possible, walk away and give them time to comply without hovering over them. Standing over them and pushing for an immediate response often results in a child just digging in deeper. Likewise, avoid making “deals” or your child […]

By |April 20th, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|