Category Archives: Kids

Reading Fiction Can Help Us Empathize Better

Harry Potter Book Cover

In the article Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Read Fiction,  it stated that “fiction readers make great friends as they tend to be more aware of others’ emotions.”

I have found this to be true. It also talked about how kids who read the Harry Potter Books tend to be better people. It seems when kids can empathize with characters, it helps them better understand people and themselves. That’s pretty cool.

We took our love for the Harry Potter books one step further and added an educational aspect to it.

My hubby came up with ‘Vocabularis Profitus’ to encourage the kids to look up words they don’t know as they are reading and he would pay them $.50 each for each word. And $.10 cents more if they use that word to make a funny sentence. 

My son is up to $35!! We might want to put a cap on this activity. #CoolDad #MakeLearningFun 

Here is the PDF if you want to check it out and use it.

Happy fiction reading everyone!

Train Kids and Stop Blaming Technology for Bad Behavior

Mac Computer Screen, keyboard, mouse and iPad.

Ever play a card game or board game with your adult friends and someone gets really annoyed you made them lose?  Some perhaps even show their displeasure with colorful words.

I was once at a Christmas party and a guy got so mad that he didn’t get what he wanted during a white elephant gift game, he stormed out and left. Umm… adult tantrum.

Kids can do the same when they are playing board/video games together too. Emotions get very heightened when in competition mode. It happens to all of us.

BUT too many keep blaming electronics for their kids outbursts. Instead we need to do that parent thing where we talk to them about how the feelings they have are normal but teach them the right way to respond. Even do some role playing with them so they are more prepared.

I recently listened to a podcast that said screen time can cause brain malfunctioning, tantrums, addictions, that it stops the thoughts in kids heads or causes them to lose control of their bodies.

That is what you call fear mongering.

Teaching people to fear and restrict stuff is not the answer. Blaming is a distraction. It’s a lazy approach.

Parenting is just plain old hard work. And people have to level up to the responsibility they have and stop blaming electronics or anything else for their child’s behavior.

We have the greatest insight into how our kids think/feel because it’s just like ours. So, honestly thinking through how we ourselves would feel in the scenarios our kids find themselves will greatly impact how we respond and train them.  And that is how we will best help our kiddos.

Photo: Unsplash

Recital Gone Wrong

Piano Recital Painting

So my kids had a piano recital recently. They both messed up. A lot.

In fact, while my girl was playing, she kept looking into the audience to find her little friends. Which she found and waved at during her performance. Several times.

My son messed up too. There were several distractions that night (kids running around and lots of crying, screaming kids.)

The thing was, they knew their pieces SO WELL, but with all the variables that night, they messed up their pieces.

Why tell you all this?

Because it doesn’t matter.

We as parents can care so much about that one moment that our kids are performing in front of others to show how awesome either they are or possibly how we as parents are.

When that doesn’t pan out, we can be SO disappointed in our kids. And then tell them. Which is not cool.

Ever give a presentation that you practiced a bunch for and then mess up while presenting it? Even though you knew it so well. Yeah, our kids have those same moments.

And I bet you didn’t have screaming kids in the background to throw you off either.

Really all the kid is really interested in is the shiny trophy and the cookies after the performances.

Which I could care less about. BUT it’s a BIG moment in the kids mind, so that is why we do these things.

If our kids put in the work and know their pieces, take into consideration that they GOT UP IN FRONT OF PEOPLE AND PERFORMED. That is not easy to do and  we need to get over ourselves when they mess up. It’s all about the experience anyways, not the minor details.

image: yourpainting.com

Washing Dishes and Programming

gender roles

Last night my son walked past his dad in the kitchen washing dishes to find me curled up in bed reading a programming book.

It’s healthy for our kids to see us not following preconceived rules commonly placed on our genders.

I asked my son what he thought about what he saw. He said, “You can be your own person; it’s perfect to be different. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Well said, little dude.

Choosing Eggs Over Kids

eggs 2

This question has been rattling in my head lately…

What does it matter if you feed your kids cage-free or regular eggs if you have a crummy relationship with your kids?

Our relationship matters first. If we are a monster mom and do not feel close to our kids because of self-imposed rules or because we are following the latest diet plan,  then worrying about cage-free eggs/organic foods is the least of our worries.

We ALL have blind spots. It’s important to talk to each other about our similar struggles with real transparency because our end result is that we want to be successful woman and thrive in ALL relationships in our lives.

I believe we need to get back in touch with our reasoning skills ladies. Looking at ALL sides of our choices is a great way to be less narrow minded on issues and helps us to be adaptable when change is needed.

In the scheme of things, those food choices are small rocks compared to having a healthy, enjoyable relationship with our kids.

Sanity restored.

 

Computer Science is for Everyone

Learning some Computer Science is beneficial to everyone.

Understanding how computers work, are built, how they compute information, how computers connect to the Internet is important.

Almost everyone has a smart phone or uses a computer. So, learning how and why they work is helpful to connect the dots.

Take a few minutes to watch this insightful short video.

 

 

 

Sylvia’s Super Awesome Mini Maker Show

Sylvia's Super Awesome Mini Maker Show

I found Sylvia’s Super Awesome Mini Maker Show because I was looking up robotics/science stuff for my kids. This girl is totally awesome and inspiring young kids.

So, check her out and share her videos with the kids.

Then, as Sylvia says at the end of each episode, “Don’t be afraid to try new things and get out there and make something.”

image: Sylvia’s Show

 

Reverse Engineer So Kids Thrive & Don’t Come Back

Kid sitting on a wall

Being a parent is insane. Harder than we could have ever imagined. And yet at the same time, hard to imagine a life without them.

You know what’s worse:

Your kids coming back to live with you.

Which usually means they are not being successful, thriving adults. That thought scares the crap out of me.

Which is why my #1 goal in life is to help them figure out early on what they are good at and throw everything I got at them to flourish that. Bam! A successful, happy, doing what they love adult. Not one that comes back and lives in my basement.

This seriously fuels me daily and gives me clarity. Decisions are made more easily. Everything I do in life, I take that goal into consideration. Every time.

Strangely enough, it makes my life easier. I already know my end result so I can reverse engineer, as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, to help me and my kids get to that end goal.

How to Homeschool in Moderation

Drawing of a scoreboard plan

I was listening to my girl Jillfit last night on a webinar and I realized even more how homeschooling is just like dieting.

Follow me on this.

1) We like plans.

We get excited about cleanses, the latest diet, and buying for them. We love to buy things and find ‘the plan.’ When that plan doesn’t work after a few months, we jump to another plan (or co-op.) We yo-yo, just like dieters.

2) How do you figure out which ‘plan’ is for you?

Become self aware & hone in on how your kid learns. Yep, that’s the secret sauce. Just like no diet/homeschool plan fits all. I have had sooo many moms tell me that they spent $500 on a science/history curriculum and it didn’t work for the kid. Some didn’t even open the box. You and your kid are not in boxes. Plus, those subjects are boring to kids. And teaching them can be boring to us. Hack that and use Brain Pop/JR.  Kids are visual learners.

3) Dieters either deprive themselves or overindulge.

What’s the middle? “Moderation. Which takes trust, time and patience.” Jill related those to diets and figuring out homeschooling is exactly the same. Because it requires you to be mindful and realistic about what will actually work. As Jill says, moderation is not sexy or hardcore, but it works.

4) Automation leads to freedom and trust.

Once you figure out the books/websites you want to use, put it in a Google Doc/Spreadsheet and put it on your kid’s computer. Have them print it out on Mondays and check off the boxes as they go. Once they are finished, then the free time/tv/online games can begin. One of your long term goals should be to have independent learners/workers and this is a great way to get them started.

5) You won’t get it right the 1st time.

Or everyday. That is just how it is for everyone. Every year you just have to be consistently engaged as it evolves.

6) Both require you to feel freedom to be successful.

Being with my kids daily is the hardest thing I do. Why? It’s hard to be around the same people everyday. And we can feel like we are alone/not doing anything.  My hack: Being preemptive about my time. I go on weekend trips by myself, go to fun events alone, purpose to use my gifts for others, pay for services like house cleaning/lawn care, etc. This homeschooling experience needs to be enjoyable (like a diet) most of the time to be sustainable.

Have patience with yourself and kids as you slowly but surely figure it out.

The tortoise always wins, simply and without a grandiose plan. The best plan is the one you do with the most satisfaction. So, incorporate realistic moderation and automation in your homeschool plan.

Here is my Pinterest board I put together about some of my own tools to hack homeschooling.

 

Will I ever be able to have a PB&J?

 

PB&J

Ever watch these documentaries:

Forks over KnivesFood Inc, Fat Head, etc.

After watching them I banished PB&J sandwiches and other food groups.

Let me explain.

I think it’s important to watch these movies. But also realize they prey on our fears. We need to create a realistic balance with food and teach our kids to do the same. Making decisions based on fear never works out in the long run.

After watching these movies I then read a billion sites related to the views presented.

My thoughts were consumed with what we ate, everyday, all day. I used to run around town to many different stores because I could only get that specific organic, non gmo, specialty item at specific stores. My life was about getting the safest, healthiest products for my family. I spend a lot of money doing this too. Then hours making the food.

As you can also imagine, eventually that lifestyle started to wear on us and affect our quality of life.  We stayed home a lot, avoided people and functions. I was only teaching my kids how to have an unhealthy relationship with food and to avoid people and places that I thought did as well. It was very tiring and lonely.

At one point my my son said to me: “Will I ever be able to have a PB&J?” It was a banished item in our home for a year. I tried to use almond/coconut flour to make bread but we know that doesn’t taste the same as regular bread. Eventually, I came to my senses. I asked myself, Would he really be taking his special bread or special pizza out with him when he is a teenager when he goes to meet his friends? No. That is so unrealistic. And labels him as a weirdo.

We slowly introduced all the forbidden foods back into their diets. He was granted his longed for sandwich. What is funny is now, since he has had it SOOOOO much at his point, he actually hates them!

So now, we go back to the simple answer: Everything in Moderation. It works. Nothing is off limits. We talk to the kids about balance and then trust them.  When we are able to eat anything we want in moderation, then it becomes less enticing too.  Which puts the control back in our lives.

So, please beware of watching movies/documentaries that cause you to feel fearful and cause you go to the fridge and pantry and throw everything away.