Do you have a kid who complains about doing homework? Fights with you to start it? Doesn’t stay on task. Try this. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and for 10 minutes your child does homework. When the timer goes off, set it again for 5 minutes. During the 5 minutes your child can do whatever they want. When the 5 minute timer goes off your child is back to homework for 10 minutes. And this goes on and on until the homework is completed. Don’t mention this to your child, but eventually they will ask to skip the timer because they want to ‘just finish ALL their homework.’ And yes, during the timer you will hear a lot of moaning and groaning, ignore it. They are doing it for attention.
Every Wednesday Harvey has a 20 word spelling test. Each week I have him write out all 20 words and tape them in my calendar. I always have my calendar with me. If Harvey is with me we can squeeze a quick spelling word session in ANYWHERE. This little trick is also teaching Harvey he can take a few minutes where ever he is and get a few things done if he NEEDS too.
Take 20 minutes this weekend and go through you child's clothing with them. Help them organize their drawers and closet. If you have a budding fashionista, teach them how to put together a few new outfits out of what they already have. Spray stains with stain master (I use OxiClean) and see if you can get them out. Get rid of clothes that are trashed. Donate, sell or pass down what isn't worn or doesn't fit. And make a list of what they need and how many. Hop on line, and buy it. REMEMBER . . . OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT BORN KNOWING HOW TO DO OR WHEN TO DO things like organize their closet . . . WE TEACH IT TO THEM.
One of our little angels has cavities, lots! We follow the rules, we take the children to the dentist every 6 months, the kids brush, but still . . . cavities. After our last visit I thought, 'how can I get these kids to do a better job brushing.' Me checking on their technique from time to time wasn't doing the trick. Then I though, what about youtube, haven't people built homes following youtube videos? Surely, my kids could learn to brush their teeth better. I pulled up a few videos and have let the kids watch them. It's been great. I could actually tell Teddy's teeth were cleaner and Murphy was jacked because she seemed to really understand it. The great thing with the videos is they use HUGE models of teeth and massive brushes. It's really easy for kids to understand. Here is one of the videos.
A while back I had planned to make a beautiful salmon with roasted potatoes for dinner. It was cold and rainy outside and the meal would have been delicious. Just as I was about to start cooking dinner and destroying a beautifully, cleaned kitchen I thought 'skip it.' Let's go out to eat. Let's do something fun. So we went to our local bowling alley Grand Central Bowl bowled a frame and ate dinner. When we got home the kitchen was still spotless and the kids were exhausted. Drumroll please . . . and it was a SCHOOL NITE.
Don't worry, I'll help you out with a little reminder. So here it is . . . . get new toothbrushes or change out your toothbrush heads. I'll remind you to do this in three months.
December 1st is around the corner. If advent calendars are part of your family holiday tradition make sure you add that to your Thanksgiving grocery list. For the past few years I have been making the kids advent calendars. I fill small inexpensive gift bags with the following; a coupon for me to make their school lunch, a special coin, a small pack of perler beads, socks, underwear, gloves, a coupon for extra dessert after dinner and the list goes on and on. I have a good time with it. And if I get in a pinch money and candy are my back-up.
In Portland, Oregon we are suppose to have a winter like last year. Lots of cold, lots of snow and if you were a Kelleher you were without power and a furnace for a while. Brrrrrr! Get yourself organized and start digging through your winter gear now. See what fits and what doesn't fit. Call your friends and plan a clothing swap. I already got the kids jackets, I only had to buy 4 new ones this year. This weekend I will be checking gloves, hats, ski pants, ski socks, ski boots, mittens/gloves, long underwear, etc. I'm going to make a list of what I need and see who might have some hand-me-downs before I head out shopping.
At the kids (M, T and H's) old school there is a terrible flu going around. The children (or parents) are in bed with a fever and aches for 5 days! We will have to hire in-home care if it strikes to greater than 30% of the Kelleher population. Per my typical protocol I try and get as prepared as possible. I ordered two breakfast trays, I know I should have had these already. I bought out everything the acupuncturist had to offer me, stopped by the naturopath and got probiotics and I went to New Seasons and loaded up on anything that said cold & flu. I'm nuts, but I would rather have it on hand than need it at 3AM.
I also learned a new trick from our wonderful nanny Gerhaldine. When anyone has a fever, give them a hot bath with a splash of vinegar in the tub (1/2 cup to 1 cup should do the trick). I have had success knocking out fevers with three kids this past month.
Tomorrow is the BIG start to advent calendars. These are such a big deal to me because I loved them when I was a kid. As you know I got the little kids the lego advent calendars to cut down on their sugar intake. But, I was really struggling for Ian's calendar (14 year old boy). I thought about gift cards, candy is fine, but he doesn't eat much of it, socks - he doesn't need 25 pairs and then it came to me! Lottery tickets. I am going to get him 25 lottery tickets today. He'll love it! I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good (cheap) scratch-n-play lottery ticket! XO
Next Monday is December 1st. If advent calendars are part of your family holiday tradition make sure you add that to your Thanksgiving grocery list.
I read a lot. I enjoy biographies, history and stories about random stuff. I have read books about the rats in NYC, coal (yes the stuff we burn) and Hershey's history. I am always so impressed by the struggling and suffering people endure. And how this hurdle or that hurdle or whatever horrible situation someone faces they still power on. I worry often that my children do not suffer enough. Every morning my children climb out of their warm bed, throw their pjs in the laundry so they can be cleaned after one night, put on clean clothes, go downstairs to have whatever they would like for breakfast, grab their cute backpacks and head off to great schools to get educated. Would I change any of this? No. But, I think often how and where can my children gain some grit, some struggles, some work ethic. How and where can my children face some tough stuff and overcome it and feel on top of the world? I try to give my kids natural situations where they feel a little pain. Saturday I had all four of them outside for hours picking up leaves. Their hands were cold, their noses were running, when they fell it hurt worse because of the cold, but when we counted up 24 leaf bags filled to the top we had cheers, smiles and high fives. I want these guys to know they have it good, I am pretty sure Ian is figuring it out. The other day Teddy threw his jacket on a table at a restaurant and it landed on a candle. His jacket caught on fire. He knew I was upset because it was careless. As I was fixing the jacket that night with duct tape, Ian asked what happened. I told him the story and that Teddy asked for a new coat and Ian started laughing. He knew there would be no way I would be purchasing Teddy a new coat. So I think Ian is getting it a little bit. I love our kids so much, and I try not to let my love interfere with their opportunities to live whether it be good living or tough living. XO
P.S. Teddy won $10 and a box of licorice for selling the most raffle tickets for the school in auction in his class. And I was thinking to myself I should continue the celebration and take the kids out to dinner to celebrate and let Teddy choose where we go. Then I thought again, why not let the accolades he got from his class, the $10 and the licorice be enough? Because it is enough. I told him I was proud of him, he earned it. He dressed up in his school uniform on the weekends and went door knocking to sell his tickets. And he sold his plus two other kids in his class. Just something to think about . . .
Teddy and Murphy take tennis lessons a few days a week after school. The lessons are very mellow, close to our house and the kids have a lot of fun. Lately when I pick Teddy up from school he always asks what we are doing. If he has tennis he pitches a fit. I have been ignoring his behavior. Normally Teddy has a blast at tennis, and I use to always think ignore his attitude when I pick him up from school. He will perk up once he's at tennis. Then I thought to myself, why should I be treated poorly for picking my son up from school and driving him to tennis? And last Thursday I changed my tune. We pay a lot of money for his tennis lessons. I had mentioned last week that I didn't like his attitude about after school activities when I picked him up from school. I told him there needed to be a change. And I asked him if he wanted to continue with tennis and soccer. He said yes. So I picked him up from school yesterday and he hummed and hawed about tennis. I said, 'no tennis today.' He was stoked, he said I'm going to watch TV in the lobby. I told him he would be sitting on the bench watching his tennis lesson. He sat their quietly and watched tennis for 45 minutes. He didn't ask to join, he just sat their and watched.
After tennis, we talked about it a little bit. He said sitting on the bench was boring and he didn't want to sit there again. I want him to understand it's not free, it's an opportunity and a privledge to go. I want our children to respect their lives. I'm not going to drive kids all over town for activities they bitch and moan about doing. I am not going to pay a bunch of money and waste a bunch of time to push a child to do a sport/activity they are bitching and moaning about all the time.
The following Tuesday I picked Teddy up from school and he asked what we were doing and I said tennis. He smiled and kept on walking to the car. His attitude has been that way ever since.
So what's my take away here? This is not my first time at this circus. Ian use to bitch and moan about going to soccer. And this was a time when I was pregnant, had an infant and a one year old. Loading those two and myself in the car and then picking up four other boys for soccer carpool was a lot of work. I finally said to Ian, he either stops with the bad attitude or finds his own ride to soccer because I'm not driving him to soccer anymore with his attitude. He didn't bitch and moan about it again. It's your call parents, but you do not and should not be carting children to activities they are complaining about, life's too short.
Yesterday before dinner there was some heavy clean-up to be done in our house. Picasso had 'her' way with the basement. And Teddy had Murphy and Harvey in baby forts in his room after that. Murphy cleaned up the basement and was quite a little machine running masterpieces up and down the stairs to me, putting everything back in drawers, cabinets etc. When it was time for her and Teddy to march up to his room (Harvey needed a little time to himself) the cleaning started right away followed by the screaming. I was trying to get dinner ready and fast, my team was melting down because of the time change, but I knew I had to head up stairs to help. I felt seven different emotions on the way up the stairs . . .
- Irritated, I was going to burn tenderloin.
- Tired, this was my 50th time in my referee shirt today.
- Mad, just clean it up!
- Happy, I wasn't screaming at them yet . . . I smiled.
- The smiled calmed me down.
- I started thinking . . . and climbing the stairs slower.
- And it came to me.
Mostly likely no one was doing anything wrong. Murphy had just mastered cleaning up the basement and I knew she was in cleaning mode. And Teddy is pretty particular about his room. So I thought rather than someone not doing their job neither was doing their job the way they thought the other person should be doing it. And sure enough that was their complaint. Ahhhh . . . I gave them both separate jobs. Murphy was in charge of putting away her stuff. Teddy could tidy up his room. Bliss. They came down 10 minutes later proud of their work and ready for dinner.
There are so many schools of thought on how to teach your kids about money, it can kinda be overwhelming. I go back and forth about how to teach it and since I flip flop on the topic I try to keep it all simple. The other day Teddy could donate $2 to the school fundraiser and would be able to participate in 'free dress' and not wear his uniform. I use to give Ian $2 for this every time. I decided to spin it a little different for Teddy. I told him he could dig $2 out of his piggy bank for the school fundraiser and not wear his uniform. Or he could wear his uniform for free. He chose to wear his uniform for free. Yes, yes, yes . . . I realize I missed the opportunity to teach Teddy about giving back. But, if Teddy doesn't have any money when he is older because I failed to teach him any lessons about money he won't have any to give back.
Harvey is our two year old. Over the past month he has shown signs of being a perfect two year old. When he doesn't get his way he screams and cries. For example, last night when it was time to head up for showers Harvey stared screaming and crying. I said it again, politely "guys let's go it's time for your showers." Harvey was still screaming and crying about something I couldn't understand. Instead of yelling at both of them (Teddy was down there too) from the top of the stairs, I went down to see what was going on. From the stairs I could see Teddy quietly standing there playing with my headphones. I chewed him and he high tailed it upstairs. I said to Harvey, "let's go, time for showers." He came towards the stairs screaming with huge tears down his eyes. "I clean basement, mama . . . I clean basement, mama." You know when you have those 'I'm a great parent moments.' I had one last night. I was so happy I went down stairs to see what all the crying was about. I had a two year old wanting to clean up his mess. So next time your little one is freaking out, don't be so quick to punish. Remember you are working really hard to raise smart, thought full, etc, etc, etc kids . . . they may be on their way to all these great traits sooner than you think!
There are three things that are absolutely impossible to get children to do.
- Go to the bathroom.
- You can't force your child to speak.
I think it's high-time we all stop this madness. Just model good behavior folks. Use the bathroom with the door open so your children can see you. Speak politely to your children, husband and those around you. And eat healthy food. Eventually your child will pick up these habits. It's all about modeling!
P.S. I have so much more I would like to say about this and soon I will. In the meantime get on your armor cuz I ain't gonna be polite about how I say this stuff!
Sometimes saying less is the best option. All four of our children started four different schools this year. We just didn't really talk about it. A few days before school we got school supplies and the day before school we packed up backpacks. All four kids went to their new schools without a tear in sight. I'd say we are lucky, I know we are. But I would also say that since we did not talk about it much it did not create unneeded and unwanted stress. We did not put any thoughts into our kids head, instead we spent the end of the summer enjoying the end of the summer. We talked about school AFTER it started. I think this lesson goes for anything new your child is going to have the opportunity to experience. There really is little if not, ZERO NEED to discuss something new your child is going to experience. No need to fill your child with thoughts about how great it will be. No need to do a test run of tennis lessons! Our children are famous for finding ways to disagree with us. So think about how great you tell your child tennis lessons are going to be, they can think of 1,001 reasons why it's not going to be great. So just let it be folks. Let your child experience something for themselves the first time. And if your child shows up to their tennis lesson and they are scared or nervous or screaming, give them a hug and let the instructor deal with it. Your child will be OK. You paid a lot of money, go get a latte and let your child scream to the tennis instructor. Think about it the instructor probably has more mileage dealing with screaming kids on their court then you do! Sure you know your kid, but these are learning moments folks. These are what you have trained your kids to succeed at. Let them succeed, let them live, let them experience. It's OK if life ain't great all the time, life is happening and we are growing and we are experiencing and we are learning. I say let your kids suffer a bit. Let them try out something new without a full court press of experiencing it before it happens. Just let it be. We don't get to go on a job interview with our future boss once to try it out and the second time for the real interview. So zip it moms and dads . . . let your kids live.
P.S. If it sounds mean to leave your child kicking and screaming with someone else . . . think about how much you have probably left your kid alone kicking, screaming and crying at home. Your children know how to do this, they are pros. And this time you are leaving them with a trained and paid supervisor. They will be OK!
Give your child the opportunity to be independent! They will improve their confidence! And take chores off your hands. TODDLERS . . .
- Purchase shoes and clothing they can put on themselves.
- Place stools all over the house so they can reach light switches, toys, books, jackets, etc.
- Let them put their toast in the toaster.
- Let them butter their own bread.
- Have them put their clothes away.
- Let them help you pack lunches.
- Have them carry their own school bag.
- Give them chores.
- Give them allowance.
- Let them choose their own haircut and color.
KIDS . . .
- All of the above and . . .
- Let them pick their own after school activity.
- Let them do their own homework . . . ALONE.
- Let them call their friends to organize play dates.
- Let them plan their birthdays.
- Let them choose whats for dinner and help cook . . . once in a while.
- Let them order their food at restaurants.
TWEENS . . .
- All of the above and . . .
- Let them be.
- Celebrate their independent thoughts.
- Celebrate their choices.
- Give them choices.
- Get them a phone, just give it with rules.
- Have them discuss issues with their teachers on their own.
TEENS . . .
- All of the above.
- Have them pay for the their phone.
- Let them screw up.
- Let them date.
- Let them be in a bad mood.
Please share your idea for letting your kids be independent. You can share you ideas with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or I am finally on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Organize-Your-Life/774294762634477
The other night we had some great friends over for dinner. I made a Chicken Chili Verde Soup. It took most of the day to make, but oh it was worth it. During the dinner or cooking or cleaning or somewhere along the line I looked outside to check on the kids and Teddy was walking around with our friend's phone pushing buttons. I'm pretty sure her phone was locked (haven't we all learned this lesson), but still. I quickly went outside and told him to put it away, from our stairs so I had to speak loudly. No big deal. I didn't really punish him, I just told him to put it back. He was bummed and embarrassed. Teddy is a pretty sensitive kid which is awesome, if I only had 1/4 of his sensitivity. But, he gets really bummed out when he gets in trouble. So it had me thinking, I'm going to change my program. I'm going to take the extra 20 steps to walk over to Teddy or which ever kid and quietly tell them to change their behavior. This really is how the world works. At work when you screw up, they don't say it over a loud speaker. You meet in a private conference room, trust me I know! At school when you get in trouble, most of the time it is discussed in private. So I am going to give my disciplining privately, I'm going to whisper and speak to them privately. I think this will go well. I think it will be a lot of extra work for me, but I think it will go really well. I will keep you posted . . .