This is yet another list for me to collect ideas that I will use somewhere down the road, and you are welcome to as well. As usual, please feel free to make suggestions, and if it is something I think has a place on the list, I will not only add it into the post, I will give you credit via a link back to your blog (should you have one).
Description: Once in awhile, through all those suggestions that are thrown at you from everyone from the dry cleaner to the grandmothers, a couple gems float to the top. I want to remember how to be the best parent I can be, and I may not always remember the right idea at the right time. I hope this list helps me stay on top of my parenting game, even if just a little bit.
- Going to the beach? Take along baby powder - it's a miracle worker with getting sand of everyone's legs and feet.
- Bored Jar: If your child child complains of boredom, they have to pick a slip from the jar and do the activity, good or bad. It might be going for ice cream, it might be cleaning their room.
- Leave love notes on your child's pillow when they least expect one.
- Hug your child every day when they wake up and when they get home from school.
- Timers set definite boundaries. For example, with a timer, you can say, "I'm setting the timer. I want your room cleaned (or your shoes on, or the dishes unloaded) in 15 minutes. If you haven't finished by then, your correction is…." This method not only spurs on easily distracted children, but it also leaves little room for arguing about a job that isn't finished and whether the correction is warranted.Say something great about your child to someone else, knowing your child can hear you (but not necessarily with your child standing right there).
- Make fun shaped sandwiches for lunches using cookie cutters.
- Set family rules. “Our family rule is that the room has to be clean by 5:00 each day. Either you can clean it or I will. But, anything that I find laying around will go into a box in the garage and be unavailable for the next week." If your son doesn’t have his uniform for practice, he’ll learn an important lesson when he explains to the coach why he’s not prepared. If you find that your kids don’t even miss the toys or clothes that you hauled out to the garage, that lets you know they probably have more than they need and it’s time for a big donation to Goodwill Industries.
- Come up with a secret word, phrase, or hand gesture that means "I love you" so you and your child can communicate without them being embarrassed in front of their friends.
- Next time your child "forgets" to put something away, like video games or sports equipment, put it away for him. When he asks where it is, tell him that he'll just have to look for it. Believe me; he will learn that it's a lot more trouble to find something that Mom has hidden than it is to put it away in the first place.
- Ignore phone calls during quality time, and make it clear you are choosing to be with your child instead.
- Decorate your child's mirror with a fun surprise message.
- Your words help your child build self-esteem. Tell her she is beautiful. Praise specific features of her body. Encourage her to wear clothing that makes her feel comfortable. Let her choose her hair length. Allow her choices with clothing. Realize it's okay if clothing is sometimes wrinkled or mismatched. Be there with love and affection when someone teases her.
- Send your kiddo something in the mail with an actual STAMP! What could be more fun?
- If time-outs don't work, try a "time-in." This can be accomplished by sending your child to a designated spot where he must complete a task that has a definite beginning and end. This could be putting together a small puzzle, stringing 50 beads on a piece of yarn, or tracing the alphabet. A time-in diverts his energies and encourages him to focus on something positive.
- If your child likes to stomp off to his room or stomp around in anger, send him outside to the driveway and tell him to stomp his feet for one minute. He'll be ready to quit after about 15 seconds, but make him stomp even harder.
- Use a WHEN-THEN routine. “WHEN your room is clean (which means I can see your entire floor and the horizontal surfaces are clear of clutter) THEN, you can have your TV time, or THEN we’ll leave or practice, or THEN you can join us for dinner.” Creating a When-Then routine in which the room must be cleaned before a more enjoyable part of the routine occurs – creates a natural incentive. If you follow a When-Then routine every single day- there’s no need to fuss or fight about it. As my mother-in-law says, it’s the law. It’s just the way we do things around here. That’s called “letting the routine be the boss” so you don’t have to be.
- Watch what you say! Don't criticize your own body. Never make fun of the way someone else looks. Say that cosmetics make us look different or fancier not prettier. Never say, "I wish I looked like her." Don't freak out if she gets dirty. Avoid fawning over beautiful models and actresses.
- Lead by example: Limit access to media. Provide your daughter with dolls with dark and light skin. Don't always wear makeup. Provide healthy food to make it more likely for your child to have a healthy body. Encourage physically active play and activities. Wear a swimsuit even if you don't feel like wearing one, so you can swim with your child. Develop a social circle that expands outside your likely-homogenous neighborhood. Eat all foods in moderation. Provide opportunities for your child to develop her unique talents. Celebrate exercise for making the heart healthy. Celebrate acts of the heart.