Child Care

Spending More Time With Your Kids

We’ve all heard the clichés about spending “quality time” with our children. If you’re like most people, you probably nod your head in agreement but really don’t think too much about exactly what that looks like in your own situation.

Face it – we all think of ourselves as busy people and it’s easy for days to slip away from us in the middle of the practical obligations of work, laundry, grocery shopping, car repairs, paying bills, and otherwise maintaining our households. The other reality? Childhood is a short period of time and we don’t get any do-overs.

So, what’s the answer? In the middle of all the parental responsibilities, don’t forget to have some fun with your children. Think about your own favorite childhood memories. Write down ten things you loved to do and resolve to make some of those happen again. This isn’t about money or expensive trips. It often really is all about the little things. Camp in your backyard. Cook together. Have a pillow fight. Play with water balloons. Stage a family talent night. Go on a mystery destination car ride. Go for ice cream in your jammies. Go fishing. Have a scavenger hunt. Do a family movie night. Visit all of the Little Free Libraries in your neighborhood. Volunteer together. Practice random acts of kindness. Have a picnic. Go to the beach!

Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby to us) said it well, “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.”

Now go have some fun and create some amazing memories!




By |March 26th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

Discouraging Inappropriate Language

Parents frequently express concern about how best to handle it when their sweet faced child suddenly bursts out with language that is blush-worthy. Do you ignore it? Do you punish for it? The answer isn’t simple and can depend on the situation.

First off, take a look at the term “inappropriate.” Different homes and different cultures may not agree on what that means. You have to determine what is and is not acceptable for your child based on your own thoughts as a parent. Is it “bathroom language?” Is it racially demeaning, discriminating or otherwise hurtful? Is it obscene?

When you have clear ideas about what you consider unacceptable from your child, next look at why the language is happening. Oftentimes children will test boundaries and set up power struggles around language because they see a significant reaction when they use the words. Sometimes inappropriate language comes as a result of frustration or anger. In some cases, children will try out extreme language to gain attention from peers. Zero in on what is happening in your child’s life at that time that may be behind the language issue. Listen to them and offer your help problem solving.

The age of the child will also help determine how best to respond. If the child is a preschooler or elementary age child, start out by simply stating that you do not use that language in your family. Stay calm and repeat that message if necessary. Sometimes removing yourself from the room is helpful. “I don’t like hearing those words. I’m going to read in my room for awhile. When you are ready to use polite words I will be happy to talk to you again.”  Older children who continue […]

By |February 21st, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

The Interrupting Child

It never seems to fail. As soon as you start an adult conversation with someone, your child appears and begins demanding your immediate attention. While you no doubt find this behavior extremely annoying, the bottom line is that many adults are frequent “interrupters” too. If we want our children to grow up to be polite people with solid social skills, we can start to teach some basics early on.

Babies and young toddlers rely on adults for everything. When they have a need, they often try to make that known to us immediately and we generally respond right away. As children grow into two and three year olds, they can already start the process of seeing that sometimes there is a brief wait for the attention of adults. A great technique to begin teaching at this stage is the “hand on the arm.” How does it work? When the child approaches you and begins interrupting you, show them how to place their hand on your forearm (which you make easily available to them.) Teach them that this is their way to politely tell you they want your attention.  Next, you put your other hand on top of the one they have on your arm. Tell them that that’s YOUR signal that you will be with them in a minute. Practice, practice, practice. It won’t happen overnight, but they will begin to use the technique if you consistently reinforce it. At first, try to respond very quickly to them when you get their “signal” but as they get older and more adept at it, you can gradually increase the time before you respond to them.

One last thing? Be a good example yourself. Try to become more […]

By |January 30th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

My Child Ignores Our New Baby

Families often worry that when a new baby comes into their family, their toddler or preschooler will be less than welcoming. Siblings can often exhibit a great deal of jealousy when a little bundle of joy takes over the spotlight that they previously enjoyed.

But what about the child who shows no interest in the new baby and basically ignores them? It happens more often than you think. It’s normal to envision your little one with a heart bursting full of love and affection for the baby but the reality is that many siblings don’t find the baby terribly interesting for the first few months at least. Toddlers and preschoolers are generally pretty active and babies just don’t have much to offer as playmates.

There are some things you CAN try to spark some connection between siblings. It’s sometimes helpful to give the older child a baby-related job. Depending on the age of the older child, they can be asked to count how many diapers you have stocked in the diaper bag for an outing, fold the baby’s washcloths when you do laundry, or pick out the outfit the baby will wear from a few you have pre-selected.

Some parents also find it works well to compliment the older child, such as “The baby LOVES you! Look how you can make them smile/laugh. “Children often take pride in being the chosen person the baby responds to.

It goes without saying that it’s important to find one on one time for the older child to remind them how important they still are. Children are less likely to resent a baby brother or sister if they still feel they are a key part of their family. It can be useful […]

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

Gift Overload

Before you know it, the holiday shopping frenzy will be starting. This is a great time to plan ahead if you feel that gift-giving  for your children got a little out of hand last year. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season and spend far more than we should on gifts. Parents often find that when their children receive an abundance of gifts, it creates higher and higher expectations each year. The more gifts received, the less children seem to appreciate each individual one. In addition, when excessive spending occurs, a great deal of stress for adults can follow when reality hits and credit card bills arrive in January.

For some families, the issue may be other relatives or family friends who “over-gift.” For others, they themselves are the source of the avalanche of presents. Take a good look at your feelings on this topic and create an action plan now so you can be better prepared.

First up, communicate with those friends or family members who buy gifts for your child. Tell them very directly that while you appreciate their generosity, you are trying to scale things back a little to help your child be more appreciative.  Ask if they have something in mind already or if they would welcome  a suggestion of something your child might enjoy. If the person lives near you, an alternative to a gift could also be spending time together, like a movie date or meal out somewhere that the child enjoys.

For yourself, follow your own advice and keep purchasing reasonable. Make lists and write down every gift purchased so you have a running list of what you have already bought. Set a budget for […]

By |October 23rd, 2017|Child Care|0 Comments|