Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ten ways to enjoy the holidays with your kids

1. Make sure their needs are being met. Schedules are sometimes hectic, and besides making sure they are fed, clean, and sleeping enough, make sure they are feeling loved, special, and valuable.

2. Give choices. "What do you want to wear today?" is too overwhelming, so you may want to ask, "Do you want to wear your Giants jersey or your 49'ers?"

3. Set clear boundaries. You don't want to bribe your kids, but frame special treats or incentives in a way to motivate them to be more cooperative. Instead of telling them if they are "good" we can get an ice cream, motivate them to get ready on time by suggesting that if they are in the car in "15 minutes, we'll have time to stop for ice cream. If your late, we won't have time to stop."

4. Ask for, and model the behavior you want. Ask for their help and advice and let them be a part of planning the activities (helping them feel valuable).

5. Plan breaks during the holidays when they can have alone time. We all need our space and our kids need time away from siblings and parents.

6. Make time for each child. During the holidays when kids are out of school, make a point to spend some special time with each child. They need it (as well as you!) more than you will ever know!

7. Throw a frisbee or football at reststops if traveling by car. If going over the river and through the woods, stop often and get out and give everyone a break.

8. Catch them doing something good! Encourage your kids if they are playing nicely or if they are helping around the house. Be specific to what they are being encouraged for.

9. Play together! Have a game night. Bake cookies together. Go caroling. Light the fire pit and make s'mores.

10. Make sure your needs are met. If you are not taking care of yourself, you won't have the energy to keep up with your kids. These suggestions are good for year round parenting as well. Happy Holidays!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

The best time to bond with your child

1. Early in the morning before we start our litany of what they need to be doing. With young children, you may want to have a special chair that you sit in together before they need to start their morning routine. It is best if this is done away from their bed.

2. Upon learving. It is helpful to have a goodbye routine that is unique to each child.

3. Upon returning home. Again, having a welcoming rountine specific to each child to help the child feel that he belongs into a safe, secure and loving space. Be sure your face "lights up" when you see your child, whether you are coming home or he/she is returning home.

4. Bedtime. Creating an unhurried routine that helps the child feel close and connected. Make sure each child has their own special time, with you. Having to share you with their sibling isn't satisfying. Being put to sleep by a stressed, tired adult, whose intention is to get them to bed so they can have sometime for themself is not nurturing. And remember, I know it is difficult, but remember to always squeeze some time in for yourself so you have energy left to connect with your child at bedtime!

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