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“Date Night”

mother and son photo

When I mention “date night” to my husband, he gets a very happy look on his face! In this article, I’m talking about a different kind of date – one between you and your child.

I encourage you to “schedule dates” with your children on a regular basis. A “date” is defined as a “one-on-one outing between parent and child.”

That’s ONE parent and ONE child. The benefits to date nights/days with your kids are as follows:

  • While family time is important also – one-on-one dates give the child an opportunity to have mom or dad ALL to himself. He doesn’t have to compete with a sibling or your spouse for your time and attention. It’s a HUGE dose of positive attention!
  • The “outing” gets you “out of the house” and away from the distractions/demands of the home and office and allows you to focus on each other.
  • Strengthens the relationship between parent and child
  • Provides memories that the child will remember into adulthood

A date night doesn’t have to be elaborate or cost a lot of money. It can be going to a park or taking a hike.

There are only three “requirements” for your date night/day:

  • planned in advance – gives you and the child something special to talk about and look forward to
  • the location is “out of the house”
  • something the child will enjoy doing

Today (Friday), Brent and I are going on a date to Sbarro for lunch (his fav) and to the new LEGO store at our local mall! (He has birthday money burning a hole in his wallet!)

I sent him this silly “email invitation” earlier this week:

Dear Brent,

I would be honored if you would join me on Friday, July 10th for lunch at Sbarro and a trip to the new Lego Store at Crabtree Mall.

Can we make it a date?

Please RSVP if you can attend.

Cordially yours, Your loving mother

Here was his response to my invitation:

Totally with a capital T, I can’t wait!

And another email yesterday:

Hi Mommy,

I can’t wait for tomorrow. It’s going to be a blast. Thanks for taking me.

Love, Brent

mother and son photo

I encourage you to plan a date with each of your children. If you have several children – have one date per week and rotate them throughout the month. Your kids will love it and you will be creating memories they will keep forever!

3 Great Reasons to Play With Your Kids

Oh, the happy day it is when our children are old enough to play independently or with a sibling – right?

Breathing room! A few minutes to yourself!

FREEDOM (well, almost).

I get it! I’ve walked in those exhausted shoes! And it IS a wonderful thing when kids are independent enough to play on their own. And, it’s important for their development.

What’s also important, however, is to make sure we play WITH our kids on a daily basis.

You know…eye-to-eye, on the floor, forgetting about your to-do list, not having another care in the world except having fun with your child.

“Play” is whatever your child likes to do for fun. Toddler time can be tossing a ball, finger painting, or breaking out the blocks. Teen time might be a round of Uno, a turn at an Xbox game, or playing catch in the backyard.

In case you need a little convincing, here are 3 great reasons to play WITH your kids…

1. It’s a chance to create an emotional connection: Much of the daily interaction between parents and kids consists of “ordering, correcting, and directing.”

Drink your milk.
It’s time to take your bath.
Stop hitting your sister.
(Fill in your favorite here.)

When parents order, correct, and direct, they are operating from the “Parent Ego State” (telling someone else what to do) and this type of interaction often invites the “flight” response in our kids, resulting in power struggles.

When parents play on the floor and have fun with their kids – both the parent and child are operating in the “Child Ego State.” The child ego state is where emotional connections are made.

It doesn’t require a long time to create emotional bonds – but being INTENTIONAL about spending play time each day with your child in the “child ego state” will do wonders for strengthening emotional connections. You’ll also create memories you’ll both treasure forever.

2. You’ll have fewer attention-seeking misbehaviors: When parents play WITH their children, they proactively fill the child’s attention basket in positive ways.

Children have a hard-wired need for attention. If parents don’t provide sufficient POSITIVE attention, children will resort to negative behaviors to get it such as whining, clinging, helplessness, sibling fighting, etc.

When parents implement consistent playtime WITH their children – attention-seeking misbehaviors begin to fall off the radar screen!

3. You’ll have more cooperative children! As parents fill attention baskets in positive ways and emotional connection increases, children consistently become MORE COOPERATIVE at other times during the day!

When the child’s core emotional requirements for connection and attention are met, he or she doesn’t feel the need to “fight us” to get negative attention and is more cooperative when asked to do things throughout the day. Now that’s a beautiful thing!

Life gets busy – sometimes crazy busy –  and it feels like there’s not enough time left in the day to get it all done – play time included.

What I can promise you though…is that when you take just 15 minutes a day to fill up those emotional buckets for your kids – you’ll actually have MORE time, because you’ll be saving yourself from power struggles, sibling battles, chore wars and the rest!

How’s that for a win-win?

Learn the positive parenting tools to get more cooperation and less complaining – with no nagging, yelling or punishing from you! 

Join me for an upcoming FREE online class:  Get Kids to LISTEN Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.

Allowance – When and How Much?

allowanceParents always ask about allowance – when to start it and how much to give.

First – when to start…

You can begin allowance when the child begins to have a very basic understanding of money, usually around 4 or 5 years old. Or earlier, if every trip to Target includes a “can I buy a toy?” discussion.

How much?

Some parents use the $1/year rule, however, a more effective strategy in determining how much cold, hard cash to give for allowance is as follows:

In determining your child’s weekly allowance, you should ask yourself three questions:

1. What do I expect him/her to buy with that allowance? (Savings, charitable contributions, lunch money, spending money, activity money, etc.)

2. How much will he/she reasonably need to do that? (Keep in mind any money they receive from grandparents, etc. during the year.) In the teenage years, consider giving a lump sum (not too much) for the purpose of buying clothes. The child can make the decision on how that money is spent. She can buy one pair of designer shoes or three pairs of fashionable, yet reasonably priced shoes. Once the money runs out, that’s it. Do not give in and “float a loan” until the next allowance date.

3. How much will make him/her just a bit uncomfortable? We don’t want children to be too comfortable or they will lack incentive to work harder! Again, in the teenage years, less money is better than more. It helps them to find a job and it will perhaps make them think twice about spending money on cigarettes and drugs.

More on allowance later. There’s a lot to talk about on this topic. How are you using allowance?

I like this lady

I was in the grocery store this past weekend and ran into a woman who recently graduated from one of my in-person courses.  Her young son was with her and she introduced me as the lady who taught the parenting course she took a few months back.

The small boy said “Hi” to me and then looked at his mother and said, “Mommy, I like this lady.”  The mother inquisitively looked at her son and asked why.  The boy answered, “I like her because she taught you how to do our special one-on-one time.  I like our one-on-one time.”

“Mind, Body & Soul Time’ is the first tool we teach in Positive Parenting Solutions Online.  It is the first of 30 tools you will learn to help you address your children’s misbehaviors.  The lady referenced earlier has young children but the principles in the course and the tools to correct the misbehaviors apply to children that range in age from 1 to 17.

Can I borrow $25?

This sounds like a strange heading doesn’t it?  Well, read on and you’ll understand why.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah sure, what is it?” replied the man

“Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man asked angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me…how much do you make an hour?”

“If you must know, I make $50 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.

“Daddy, may I please borrow $25?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I don’t work hard everyday to put up with such selfishness.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and closed the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. “How dare he ask such questions only to get some money”, he thought to himself.

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:

“Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really doesn’t ask for money very often”. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep, son?” He asked.

“No daddy, I’m awake”, replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man.

“It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

“Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

“Daddy, I have $50 now…can I buy an hour of your time?  Please come home early tomorrow.  I would like to have dinner with you.”

The father was devastated. As he eyes welled up with tears, he put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness and scheduled dinner for the next evening.

-Author Unknown

This is just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life.  We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us…those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of your time with your children.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

If you have gone through Positive Parenting Solutions Online, you know the power of ‘Mind, Body and Soul Time”, the difference it can make in your child’s life and how those misbehaviors disappear as you fill their attention baskets.

If you have not yet enrolled in Positive Parenting Solutions Online, take a closer look at what you will learn and how it will make a difference in your life and in the relationship you have with your children.  ‘Mind, Body and Soul Time’ is just one of over 25 tools you will learn.

YOU are the greatest gift you can ever give them.

Thank you for the commitment you are making to your family!

Is Time Out a good discipline technique?

Parents are often quick to use “Time Out” as a discipline tool because it is a widely used practice.  Physicians, teachers, and other parents frequently recommend “Time Out” as a way to correct common misbehaviors.  The problem with this thinking is, “Time Out” most often increases the intensity of the power struggle.

“Time Out” is not the same as removing the child from the situation.  For children under the age of 3, using one or more of the Remove and Redirect strategies are most helpful:

· Remove the object

· Remove the child from the environment  (This is not “Time Out”)

· Redirect the child’s attention

· Redirect the child’s activity

After the age of three (and even younger for some children), they understand that they are “independent beings” and using “Time Out” will only intensify the power struggle.  We cannot impose our will on another human being – even a child.  When we try to exercise power over a child, they will naturally fight back.  How can we possibly force a child to stay in “Time Out”?  Some children who are less “spirited” may do as they are told and remain in “Time Out” for the prescribed time – but what are they learning about their misbehavior? Are they sitting in “Time Out” thinking about their poor choice and about how they will do things differently next time?  Probably not!  Most likely they are “stewing” over how unfair it is that Mom or Dad sent them to “Time Out”!

How is “Time Out” related to most misbehaviors?  In most cases, it isn’t.

For consequences to be effective and to provide learning for future behaviors, they must meet the criteria of the 4 R’s.

You will learn about the 4 R’s as well as many other tools to address misbehaviors by enrolling in Positive Parenting Solutions Online.

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