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A Radical Solution to Elementary Homework

New wisdom from Heather Shumaker, author of It’s OK to Go Up the Slide and It’s OK Not to Share

Homework-blog

Homework struggles don’t happen in our house. That’s because our family opts out of elementary school homework. “What?!” people say to me. “You can do that?”

Home time is family time. Kids need time to play and reboot for the next school day, not go into overtime. Schooling may be mandatory, but homework isn’t.

When children hit school-age, sometimes it feels as if the school is suddenly in charge of your family life. Night after night parents lock themselves in battles with overtired kids. “You have to do your homework,” we say, even when deep inside we know that the crying, wiggling child stuck in the homework chair desperately needs something else. Time to just be home, relax and play. Help with family chores. Or go to bed. But we think we must uphold homework, so we do. We nag. Cajole. Fight. Beg. And as a last resort, we do our kid’s homework.

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3 Strategies for Parenting Competitive Twins (Or Siblings Close in Age)

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Twins… double the love, the fun, and the joy! But sometimes twins can be double the trouble – or at least that’s how it feels when sibling competition kicks into high gear and you’re trying to manage the chaos in “stereo.” And it’s not just twins. Parents with siblings close in age can experience the same frustration. So what can you do to help keep the peace and nurture the amazing relationship between your twins or close in age kids?

Try these 3 simple strategies to keep sibling competition at bay…

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Three Little Words to Diffuse Your Next Power Struggle

Power struggles and back talk issues? I hear ya!

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In fact, “I hear ya” is a phrase I encourage you to try the next time your child complains about doing homework, washing the dishes, taking a bath, or – whatever the complaint department problem is at the moment. “I hear ya” is a great way to respond when your child is itching for an argument.

Instead of launching into a traditional parenting lecture like, “it’s part of being a family”, or “your job is to go to school and get good grades”, or “you’ll thank me when you’re older” – just say, “I hear ya. I didn’t like doing spelling homework either” or “I hear ya, emptying the dishwasher isn’t my favorite thing to do either.”

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11 Tips to Save 5 Hours a Week in the Kitchen (Really!)

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One of the most natural places to connect with your family each day is at the dinner table. My experience and numerous studies show that eating meals together is one of the best things we can do for family—kids who eat dinner with their families more often do better in school, are healthier physically and emotionally, and develop better social skills.

But, we live in the real world and it’s not easy to juggle kids’ activities and work schedules and still have time to sit down to a real meal.

I asked my friend and meal planning guru, Aviva Goldfarb, for some easy to implement tips to save busy parents real time in the kitchen. Aviva is the creator of the family meal planning service, The Six O’Clock Scramble, and the author of a new best selling cookbook – so I trust her judgment!

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Helping Kids Kick the “Helpless” Habit

Empowering Your Child to be Capable & Self-Sufficient

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Fellow parents… raise your hand if you ever feel the overwhelming sense of irritation when your child asks you (maybe for the fifteenth time) to do something he or she can totally do for themselves. Is your hand up in the air? Take comfort – you’re not alone!

All families deal with helplessness from time to time. If feigned helplessness is a once-in-a-blue moon occurrence at your house – no big deal. We all have our moments! However, if your child acts helpless on a daily basis for things he can and should be doing for himself, it’s time to put the brakes on that behavior!

The type of helplessness we need to reign in is when kids ask (demand, whine for) us to do things they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves. Depending on the age of your child, it might be something like, “Daaaaaad, I need you to ‘butter my bread’, ‘tie my shoe’, or ‘get me a juice box.’”

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Stop Backseat Bickering in its Tracks

We parents spend a LOT of time in the car…shuttling from this practice to that rehearsal, from school to home, from doctor or dentist and the list goes on. We long for a witty rapport, pleasant conversation – and sometimes peace and quiet. But, it’s the peace part that often seems elusive. Backseat bickering and sibling squabbles reverberate off windows making us wish for a way to teleport back to the house in a hurry!

What’s a parent to do? You’ve tried yelling. Making idle threats. Or grounding them forever – but to no avail, right? Even if you can get them to stop squabbling in the moment, you know those tactics don’t work in the long run and you’re likely to hear another round by the next stop sign.

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