Falling in love with your family

Tips for the first day of school,  5 foolproof tips getting your little one to go to school with a smile, parenting tipsIn a Nutshell: Here’s a couple of tips that may help reduce the drama as homebodies go to school.

A decade ago, my first child walked into his Kindergarten classroom with a nonchalant “Bye, Mom” and a quick wave.  I was the one biting my lip until I could sob in the privacy of my car.  Other partings have been a little more…well…let’s just say it’s a shame Kindergarteners can’t register for classes in the drama department.  I’ve had one kid who would become near-hysterical, and another who would cry so pathetically in the back of the car that I felt I was sending him in to be eaten by wolves.  I’ve decided there is a very elite club of Those-Who-Do-Not-Go.  You didn’t do anything wrong if you have one–I’m convinced some kids come out of the womb as card-carrying members.  If you happen to be parenting a member of this club, here are a couple tips that may help get them through that door.

1) Watch your own emotions.

Having already admitted that I cry when my kids go to school, the first suggestion is to mind your own emotions.  Parents are powerful social transmitters of emotion to their children, and kids often look to us to see when they should be anxious, excited, or scared.  Be careful about saying things like, “What am I going to do without you?” or “I’m going to miss you so much!”  A child may internalize that you won’t be okay without them.  Be cheerful, upbeat, relaxed, and excited for your child’s new experience…and save your tears for the car.

2) Talk it out.

Don’t fall in the “suck it up” trap.  School is a big step for shy kids, and they are having very real emotions even if it doesn’t make sense to us.  Talk through their concerns.  Maybe they are worried about using the bathroom at school, or they may be concerned that you won’t be there to pick them up on time.  Take time to dig a bit.  Sometimes children just need to verbalize their fears and get reassurance.

3) Practice, Practice, Practice

Consider practicing saying goodbye.  This may seem silly but it is a winner for kids who do fine once you are gone, but have a hard time separating.    When one of mine was refusing to get out of the car at the drop-off, we drove back to school later that evening.  We had decided that big boys who go to school deserve a Chuck-E-Cheese token each morning.  I had already picked up the tokens, and told him when he had 5, we could go play.  We practiced giving one hug and two kisses (what he decided he needed) and saying goodbye.  He walked to the school doors and waved.  At home, I pretended to give him the token.  If there was a day we had a scene at the drop-off, I took him back later that evening to practice again.  It was a rough for a few days, but he never had another hard separation after that first trip to Chuck-E-Cheese.

4) Enlist help.

To solve my daughter’s shyness, it took a nice helper at the school who offered to walk her to her classroom.  My son had a sweet guidance counselor at his school that let him come visit her in her office first, before going on to his classroom.   If you communicate the problem to your child’s teacher, they may have a special job your child can help with before the other kids come in from the playground, or another great idea to help your child transition more easily.  I promise–they’ve seen it before.

5) Be creative!

Whether it is Chuck-E-Cheese tokens, hair bows, a special lovey tucked in their backpack, extra kisses to save for later, or a heart in their lunch, you can find something that will work for your child.  Brainstorm with your spouse, ask friends, or ask your child.  He may have a great idea.

As I write this, my now 12-year-old is standing by me, laughing at our recollections of his oh-so-sad  Kindergarten self.  He said that he kept, and still has, one of those Chuck-E-Cheese tokens from his Kindergarten year.  So, if your mornings are spent prying a little one off your leg at the classroom door, don’t worry too much.  I have it on good authority that your little homebody is probably going to turn out to be one marvelous kid.

What have you done to help children adjust to school?

Here is a little poem I wrote a few years back as I was feeling sentimental about sending off of my Emma for her first day of school.

One Week Before Kindergarten

By: Alison Moulton

                I see you from the window

As I do dishes

Again—

Sunshine soaking your hair

Mud soaking your dress

As you pet the cat and eat garden peas.

Crack

Peel

Chew

Pet

Again and again

For an hour or more.

You know your letters

And how to write your name.

You know what to do if someone tries

To take your lunch

Or pull you from a swing.

We’ve practiced all this.

But bells will soon ring

And lines will form.

You will try to find your place

And kids will laugh and cut

In front

Before the teacher sees.

So stay outside, love,

Soak up another hour of light

And garden

And mud.

Cross-contaminate your little hands

With peas and cat hair.

The sanitizer dispenser

Will be posted

By your classroom door

Next week.

So soon.

Too soon.

Falling in love with your family by Alison

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summer boredom buster idea, #summer, #boredom, #kids, #easy, #summeridea, #keepingkidshappy, #summervacation

Summer Boredom Buster Idea

We are only a couple of weeks into summer break and if I hear “I am bored!” one more time I am going to go crazy!  I have one child that is the biggest user of the word, but all of my kids have claimed to be bored more than once.  For the sake of my sanity, and my children not being sent away to boarding school I came up with this idea.  I had seen it a few years back via pinterest, but couldn’t find it again to save my life!  Oh well, I just made my own version.

The idea is that the child must have done everything on the list before he/she can claim to be bored.  I made it easy to read and will hang it on my fridge so no one can claim to forget.  This week will be the test to see if it actually helps.  I know that not all of the items on my list are pertinent to everyone, but it is a good starting point to help you brainstorm some ideas of your own.  Good luck!  If you try it, let us know how it works out for your family!

More activities, projects and fun things to do with your kids.

Dirt and Worms ~ Fun summer recipe for kids
 Make your own Crayons ~ Activities to do with kids
Be a Back Yard Detective ~ Activities to do with kids
Wiggle Worm Game ~ Games to do with kids
Make your own Bean Bag Toss ~ Games to do with Kids
Watch a Local Race ~ Frugal Family Activities to do
Corn Starch Gak Science Project to do with kids
Color Collage with ads from the paper
DIY Chime Set ~ Music Fun For Kids
Recipe for Homemade Slime
 Under the Sea Art Project for kids
Balloon Barrettes DIY Kids Fashion
Lady Bugs made out of an egg carton
Exploding Soap ~ Microwave Science For Kids
Horse made out of a pop bottle
Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids ~ Paper Turkeys
Easy Kid Games ~ Turn Easter Eggs Into Reading Games for Kids
 Math Games For Kids
Learn to tell time ~ Time Games for kids
SNOW-DAY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS ~ SNOWMAN COOKIES
NEW YEARS EVE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS~ “GOODY BAGS”
DIY~ MEMORY MAKING CHRISTMAS DECORATION
LEAF BUILDING FORT ~ HOURS OF FUN FOR KIDS!
SHARPIE TIE DIE SHIRTS ~ EASY SUMMER ACTIVES FOR KIDS
FIREWORKS ~ JULY 4TH CRAFTS FOR KIDS, QUICK AND EASY
VALENTINE CRAFT FOR KIDS ~ HIDDEN MESSAGE HEARTS, QUICK AND EASY
GROUNDHOG DAY PUDDING CUP SNACKS
FROZEN DRINKS
 Frozen Popcorn
Frozen Snowball Pops  
FROZEN Rice Krispy Treats
 Blue Jello Cake Recipe
HOW TO MAKE MEMORY PLATE
EDIBLE PAINTED BREAD 
Magical Moving Milk Science Experiment 
How to make Flubber
Lava Lamp Bottle
Cloud Clay -2 ingredients to make the softest clay EVER 

Firework Tie Dye shirts for the 4th of July

Summer boredom buster – Kids Drawing Game 

Play Time With Dad ~ Dad Race Car Track

 DON’T EAT STEVE! FREE PRINTABLE MINECRAFT PARTY GAME 
HOW TO MAKE ICE CREAM IN A BAG 
DRAWING ON THE TRAMPOLINE WITH SIDEWALK CHALK
PAINTED FIREWORKS ~ QUICK AND EASY 4TH OF JULY CRAFT IDEAS
DIY Bleach Art Pillowcase
Matchbox Car Water Races
Water Pinaqua ~ Beat the heat water games
BAT CAVE SHIRT ~ PLAY TIME WITH DAD SHIRT #BATMAN 
FROZEN SNOWFLAKE HEADBANDS, QUICK AND EASY DIY CRAFT #FROZEN

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Fun, creative ideas for your fall and kids.
Bookmark, save or Pin those ideas you want to do later.

12 ideas to make Valentines Day Fun for the Whole Family, Family game ideas, Family reunion ideas, Family Valentines tradidtionsTwelve ideas to make your Family Valentines better

Valentines day candles, easy, thrifty Holiday decorations, #holday, #valentinesday, #valentine, #thriftyvalentinedecorations, #thrifyvalentines, #decorations, #candles, #scrapbookpaper

Valentine’s Day Candles

conversation hearts Valentine's banner, #valentinesday, #valentine, #banner, #garland, #valentinesdaydecorations, #conversationhearts, #thriftycraft, #easycraft, #quickcraftConversation Hearts Banner

Kleenex or tissue box cover, storage for that ugly kleenex box, BOOKs or STUDY room decorShabby Chic Kleenex tissue box

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Updated: 12 ideas to make Valentines Day Fun for the Whole Family, Family game ideas, Family reunion ideas, Family Valentines tradidtions

One of the most important characteristics of a happy family is the ability to play together.  Any holiday is a good excuse for a party, but Valentines Day is an especially appropriate time to put a little effort into making your family feel special.  Sometime in February, have a fun party for the whole family.  Here are some ideas for a super-thrifty Valentines Day Celebration!

Food

You don’t have to spend any more money on a Valentines Day meal, just think pink and heart-shaped.

Breakfast: Make a pink strawberry smoothie, French Toast cut with a heart cookie cutter, or heart-shaped biscuits.

Lunch: Cut out sandwiches with heart cookie cutters.  If you have different sizes, cut the bread with a large heart, ham or turkey with a medium heart, and cheese with a small heart.  Stack them together for a fun, open-face sandwich.

Dinner:  Try your favorite meatloaf recipe on a cookie sheet, shaped like a heart.  Or, make a homemade pizza with heart-shaped dough.  Even a dinner of canned tomato soup can be dressed up with homemade or store-bought breadstick dough shaped like a heart.

Dessert:  Anything looks fancy layered in tall glasses!  Try alternating layers of brownie bits, French Vanilla pudding, and cherry pie filling; yogurt, granola, and strawberries; or angel food cake, real whipped cream, and raspberries.

Put on a tablecloth, sprinkle conversation hearts around the table, and light some candles.  I love how little eyes sparkle in candlelight!

Games

(For younger kids)

Heart Attack: Cut out paper hearts from colorful Valentines paper or cardstock, then cut them in half with zigzags, curvy lines, etc.  Mix up all the halves and let them put the heart puzzles together.

Love Bag:  Glue or decoupage small pictures of family members on cardboard, foam board, or heavy paper.  Laminate them if you have access to a machine.  Put them in a bag and take turns picking a picture.  Tell something you love about each person as their picture is drawn.

Make Pink Butter: Before dinner, put 1 cup of cream and a couple drops of red food coloring in a pint jar.  Screw the lid on tight.  Then take turns shaking it.  After several minutes, solid butter will form, surrounded by liquid.  Discard the liquid and empty the butter into a dish.  Salt lightly and enjoy on your heart-shaped biscuits or breadsticks.  This is a great way to keep little hands busy while you cook!

(For older kids)

Girl’s Name, Boy’s Name: Each person is given a paper.  On the top of the page, write the name of any girl (it works best if the people playing all know who she is).  Fold the paper down so the name is covered.  Pass the paper to the left.  Without peeking under the first fold of your new paper, write any boy’s name below the first fold.  Fold over the boy’s name and pass the paper. Repeat for these categories: Where they were, What they were doing, What she said, What he said, How it all ended.

After everyone writes each answer, pass one more time, then take turns unfolding the papers and reading the crazy stories.  (As the paper gets passed around, you just may end up with Vanna White and Justin Bieber at Yellowstone National Park, knitting.  “How much are snow cones?” she asks.  “I think I’ll cut my toenails tomorrow, ” he replies.  They end up buying a pig farm and become amateur photographers.)  We loved to play this when we were little!

Poor Kitty: This quick game is a favorite around our house when we need a good laugh.  Sit in a circle, one person in the middle.  He is the Kitty.  The Kitty goes up to one person in the circle and mews, three times, and tries to make the person laugh.  After each mew, the person has to pat Kitty on the head and say, “Poor Kitty” without laughing.  The others in the circle are the judges.  If the person laughs, they are the Kitty.  If they don’t laugh, the Kitty chooses another person to mew to.  Here are some of the Kitty faces some of my kids (and a couple cousins) came up with the last time we played.  (Warning: Objects in this picture are much cuter than they appear!)

Poor Kitties, Indeed!

Hopefully this will help jump-start your plans for a wonderfully thrifty Valentines Party for your whole family!  Add your comments below and share your plans to make Valentines Day fun!

If you like this idea be sure to check out our list of OVER 25 Valenitnes crafts, DIY, Recipes and ideas.

Valentines ideas, recipe, DIY, Crafts, Printables and more.  Everything you need to make Valentines day special, Fun Valentines Ideas

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One of the best things you can do is spend alone time with the person you love. A great example is a fun camping date night – even if it’s on the floor by the TV. Add a two person sleeping bag and a great tin foil dinner over a campfire or oven and you will always remember it! Whether it’s the fall cool weather or spring flowers – a great date night will really bring you closer together!

two person sleeping bagAmerican Trails Ozzie and Harriet Double 2 Person Giant Sleeping Bag, 80-Inch x 66-Inch

Normally around $70 – Right now this two person sleeping bag is on sale at 32% OFF – As low as $47.41 and free shipping

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2 person airbed air mattressIntex Classic Downy Queen Airbed with 2 Pillows and Double Quick Hand Pump

Normally around $50 – Right now it’s 49% off – As low as $24.99 and free shipping

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  • Inflatable Queen airbed, includes two inflatable pillows and hand pump
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This is a great post Alison wrote a few years back, since we just had our 5th baby I thought it was great advice and worth sharing again. 5 ways to help younger siblings deal with a new baby
My sister just had her second child.  Like most parents, they’re trying to figure out how to help their daughter adjust to this new little critter.  Whether there are one or seven siblings who greet the newcomer, here are 6 ways to help older children have a great experience sharing the throne.
1. Prepare
One way to start preparing your child is to begin reading new baby literature.  One classic is Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats.  Amazon has (only!?!) about 1,600 more.  Your local librarian could also help you find a whole stack of books on the new baby theme.  Keep reading these books through the transition stage.  They’ll help your child know what to expect, and give a voice to complicated emotions they may be feeling. 
Another helpful preparation tip is to start shifting some of your parenting duties to others.  If you are always the one to read bedtime stories or give baths, encourage your spouse take over a few of those duties before the baby comes.  If your child will be sleeping overnight at Grandma’s while you are at the hospital, let them have a sleepover a few weeks before.  The fewer new things that occur with the baby’s arrival, the better.
Let your child help you prepare by picking out the outfit you bring the baby home in, helping decorate the nursery, or buying baby supplies.  Get them involved and excited from the beginning.    
 
2. Baby Talk
      One of the most important things a baby needs in the first months is lots of face-to face conversation.  This helps them recognize your face, read expressions, and learn the patterns of speech.  But, no one said what you have to talk about!  Babies at this age respond to expressions and voice tone; the words don’t mean anything yet.  Instead of putting your older child through hours of listening to how beautiful, precious, and sweet the new baby is, occasionally tell the new baby how wonderful their sibling is and all the exciting things the baby will learn from them.  You’ll give your older child a great boost of self-esteem, and give your baby the verbal communication they need.   
 
3. Take Time for One-on-One
     Even though your days and nights will be filled to the brim, take at least a few moments a day to snuggle your other child, play, read a story, or sing a song.  Don’t assume they know how much you still love them.  Tell them often.  In the early days, when your time becomes more divided, they need to know without a doubt how much they are still loved.
 
4. Expect Regression
     After giving my second a child sponge bath in the sink, I found my two-year-old sitting in there, fully clothed and cooing like a baby.  Can you say regression?!?  Other kids wanted to suck a pacifier again, drink from a bottle, or wear diapers.  One crawled back into the old crib, and another started talking baby talk.  Don’t be surprised if potty training takes a step backwards, they suddenly don’t like their big boy bed, or if they snitch the baby food.  Kids are pretty creative in their coping methods, but with each strange behavior, they’re just processing things their own way.  Relax about the regression and just take pictures (the one of my son in the sink is a classic!).  It will soon pass.
 
5. Keep up the Discipline
     Just because your little one has been dethroned, doesn’t mean he doesn’t still need some royal discipline.  Even when you are tired, stick to your rules and consequences.  It will help your other child feel secure and know that life is still predictable. 
     If you have resorted to harsh discipline in the past, consider learning some more tools.  Speaking in anger and hitting your older child at this stage is particularly damaging.  Think of how they see it…Mom snuggles and kisses this new kid, but when I make too much noise she yells at me. This is a tender stage, and your anger will only encourage resentful feelings.  Control your temper, teach clearly, and give consequences when necessary in a firm, neutral voice.  Give your child a chance to practice the appropriate skill, and end the interaction with love.
6. Make a Nursing Basket
     One of the most helpful things is to have a small basket of new little toys or activities to take with you whenever you need to nurse or do something for the baby.  Only pull it out when you are busy, so the novelty will last through a feeding or task.  It will help entertain your older child for a moment when your arms are full.
Bringing home a new baby can be an incredibly sweet time for a family.  It can also be a stressful survival experience.  Hopefully these tips will help the transition and set the stage for great sibling relationships!

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