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    May 19, 2015
    Dealing With Spoiled Kids

    No one wants to admit it, but the fact is that some kids are straight up spoiled. It can be even harder to admit it when it’s your own kid! You probably didn’t notice it happening, but one day you realize that your child acts disrespectful to you and other adults, whines, and throws fits over not getting what they want. Well, congratulations. Realizing there is a problem is the first step in fixing it. Don’t despair, your child doesn’t have to be like that forever. There are actually plenty of ways to de-brat-ify your kid. Check out this post by Becky at Your Modern Family for tips on “un-spoiling” a child:

    -Be consistent. Every time that they ___, they get ___.  (ex: every time that they talk back to you, they get put into time out.)

    -Set expectations for your child before starting the day.

    -Don’t buy your child unnecessary things, and cut back on what you have.

    -Use chores and allowance and teach them to buy things for themselves.

    -Teach your child to give to others.

    Photo Credit: Greg Westfall 

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    May 14, 2015
    Helping Your Child Develop Healthy Self Esteem

    When you feel good about yourself, you’re happy. That’s just a simple fact of life. But, if you constantly feel criticized, and are told you aren’t good enough, you aren’t going to be happy. And the number one person who influences your child’s self esteem is you! Having positive self esteem helps you deal better with negative circumstances in life, allows you to be more resilient, and allows you to know yourself better. For tips on raising kids with positive self esteem, read this post by Sue Lively at OneTimeThrough:

    -Respect all feelings, even the sad or angry ones. Your children have a right to feel them.

    -Fulfill needs for attention, love, and connection so they feel valued. Children do not spoil from receiving too much time and attention.

    -Parent in an authoritative, not authoritarian way. Be firm, but still do your best to respect your child’s wishes.

    -Encourage rather than praise. Instead of calling them smart, say, “Wow! You worked so hard on that assignment!”

    Photo Credit: Kiran Foster 

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    April 27, 2015
    Houdini Baby? How To Keep That Diaper On!

    My nephew went through a phase where, after almost every nap, he’d take his diaper off! Talk about unpleasant- especially if there was something in it. Making sure he was in a onesie, and it was completely buttoned before he went to sleep, worked for us, but some babies even manage to wiggle their way out of that! If your baby is a master of escape, check out this post by Jackie at Happy Hooligans for her Houdini-proof way to keep diapers on sleeping babies:

    -You’ll need a pair of one piece, footless pyjama sleepers .  You may already have a pair, but if you don’t, you can cut the feet off a footed pyjama sleeper.Now, put the sleeper jammies on your child BACKWARDS!  Yep, that’s right! With the zipper at the BACK! Chances are your child will not be able to get out of the backward jammies no matter how hard she tries.

    Photo Credit: David Goehring 

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    April 22, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Chore Magnets

    Photo from Etsy

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    April 20, 2015
    Taming Tantrums

    My nephew is one year old, and he had his first tantrum the other day. Over a jelly bean. I had no idea what was going on, and thought he just didn’t want to take a nap. But, when I pulled him out of his crib, he was completely inconsolable. He laid on the floor, kicking and screaming and hyperventilating. It was so bad that my dad and I were thinking of taking him to the ER! We seriously had NO idea what was going on. Then, my nephew spotted the bag of jellybeans that he had been eyeing before I had put him to bed (about an HOUR earlier) and pointed to it. I gave him one…..and he cheered right up.

    I was dumbfounded. I had never seen him act like that. While it was a relief that he had stopped, I was more disturbed by the fact that I had no idea how to handle it. That’s why I found this post by Jodi Durr at the Meaningful Mama. Here are her tips for helping upset kids calm down. They will work for older kids (that can talk), but I still found it helpful:

    -Go outside and yell, stomp, and jump

    -Have them draw a picture of how they feel

    -Encourage them to use words to express emotions

    -Turn on soft music

    -Talk. Try to get to the root of what is bothering them.

    Photo Credit: Citril 

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    April 14, 2015
    Getting Your Kids Organized

    In some areas of my life, I’m extremely organized. I live by schedules, calendars, and to-do lists. It’s the only way I know I’m getting everything done! In other ways, though, I’m extremely disorganized. Mostly in my home. I just don’t really have any interest in cleaning and keeping everything together, nor the time. However, I have been trying to change this. Being physically disorganized can really hurt you- especially if you misplace an important document or something else serious. Being organized also saves you more time in the long run, so you don’t have to hunt down missing items. The best way to acquire new habits is when you’re a child, so check out this post by Erin at My Mommy World. Here are some tips for helping your children grow into organized adults:

    -You have to teach them how to organize. They will not automatically know.

    -Don’t influence them to keep things they don’t want to keep. Let them throw things out, unless it is a family heirloom.

    -Encourage a clutter free lifestyle, even when it is hard to declutter.

    Photo Credit: Emily May 

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    April 6, 2015
    Helping Your Child Out Of Her Shell

    In the debate of “nature vs. nurture” when it comes to human personalities, I’m firmly on the side of nature. Yes, environment plays a big part in who you are as well, but I believe that you’re just born a certain way. Either you’re shy, outgoing, or somewhere in between. You have natural talents- you may be a great singer, but can’t draw or paint at all. You’re either tightly wound up, or super relaxed and carefree. You really can’t learn to be another way- it’s just who you are. That being said, I’m always looking for ways to improve myself- I try to make myself be more outgoing, assertive, and adventurous, since I’m naturally pretty introverted. If you have a withdrawn child, you may be looking for ways to help get them out of their shell. There’s nothing wrong with being shy, but being afraid of new experiences will make you miss out on life! That’s why I love this post by Jess at Bring the Kids. Here are some of her tips on how to help your child become more adventurous:

    -Lead the way- Kids are going to want to do what you do. If you hike, swim, kayak, and ski, the kids will follow!

    -Repetition- Go on adventures with your children often.

    -Not pushing- Never make a child do something they’re not comfortable with. Forcing it will just make them refuse to try anything.

    -Praise accomplishments- Praise him for being brave, for trying something new, for being safe, etc. 

    Photo Credit: pbkwee 

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    April 2, 2015
    Helping Your Child Enjoy School

    I work part time as a substitute teacher, and the school system has a serious issue. Nevermind the rigid standardization of classes, the over-emphasis of testing, and the fact that most “learning” is simply the memorization of facts. The biggest problem? Most students simply don’t care (though this is probably CAUSED by the previous issues). I only teach middle and high school, and you’d be surprised (or not…) at how many students just straight up do not do the work. And thanks to certain laws, teachers can’t fail these kids. Everyone passes anyway, so what’s the point of putting effort in?

    But, this mindset is absolutely toxic. Apathy and zero work ethic is not going to help you in college or in the work force. The best way to fight this is by catching it as early as possible. Being involved in your child’s education is key.

    Some kids have low academic self esteem- a “fixed mindset” (thinking they aren’t smart enough, will never “get” certain subjects, thinking that school is pointless). They believe that you are either smart, or you aren’t, and there is no way to change it. Of course, that is absolutely not true, and there are ways to fix this mindset. Check out this post by Kelly at Idealist Mom for tips on helping your child become a better student:

    -Instead of saying “you’re so smart,” say, “you worked really hard!”

    -Ask them tons of questions. How did they come up with that idea? What was the most interesting thing they learned today?

    -Know that the brain is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised. Do word problems, riddles, etc.

    -Celebrate failures, look at them as opportunities to learn from mistakes.

    Photo Credit: Ilmicrofono Oggiono 

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    March 30, 2015
    The Best Books For Single Parents

    Being a parent at all is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Being a single parent is the difficulty of parenting, times two. My sister is raising my nephew by herself, and the amount of work she does is absolutely astronomical. She’s lucky to have myself, and our parents to help her out. Even with the extra babysitting, not having another adult living with her puts all the work and responsibility on her shoulders. Talk about pressure! But it is possible, and millions of people do it every day.

    \I firmly believe that reading about any situation always helps shed light on it. Books can lend you their advice and experience, and they help you know that someone else has been there (and survived). That’s why I love this post by Debolina Raja Gupta at Mom Junction that has a list of the best books for single parents:

    -Single Parenting That Works By Dr. Kevin Leman

    -The Single Mother’s Guide To Raising Remarkable Boys By Gina Panettieri And Philip S Hall

    -A Complete Guide For Single Dads By Craig Baird

    -A Complete Guide For Single Moms By Janis Adams

    -Surviving Single Parenting By Dawn Isenhart

    Photo Credit: Parker Knight 

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    March 23, 2015
    Dealing With Unwanted Parenting Advice

    No one gets more unsolicited advice than new parents. For some reason, people think it’s totally acceptable to put their noses in other peoples’ business when dealing with kids. Maybe it’s because they feel like they’ve been there before, and most of the time it is pretty well meaning. Sometimes it’s even STRANGERS that feel like they know better for your kid than you do. But for the parents, well, usually nothing is more annoying and unwanted. Read this article by Katie Joiner at Happily Ever Mom for the most common pieces of “advice” you will get as a new parent:

    -People think you just have no clue. Be prepared for, “you don’t know what you’re in for.”

    -People will stop and swoon- which is especially awkward for shy parents.

    -People will stop and stare rudely-  Just let it go.  You’re allowed to live your life as usual…even with a baby

    -Most advice from strangers has nothing to do with you and your baby. Instead, it comes from their experience with their babies.

    Photo Credit: Derek Swanson

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