30 Play Ideas for June

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1 comment

Here are 30 fun, connecting activities to do with your kids! Have a wonderful June!

1.  Make slime! Here is how.

2.  Have fun with this free picnic play printable.

3.  Play bubble pool!

4.  Run in sprinklers.

5.  Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt.

6.  Go to your local library for story time.

7.  Put coloring in a bucket of water and stretch paper across a fence - fill water guns with this colored water and then let them spray paint!

8.  Take a nature walk, and let the kids take pictures of things they find interesting. Create a nature book with the photos.

9.  Check your local movie theater. Often they have free kids' movie days!

10.  Fly a kite.

11.  Hide all the army men, mini animals, etc. in the sand box - have an excavation.

12.  Go fishing.

13.  Camp in your back yard.

14.  Sculpt with homemade salt clay.

15.  Visit your local fire department.

16.  Act out their favorite bedtime story.

17.  Make homemade Popsicles.

18.  Go fishing!

19.  Choose one of these summer crafts to do.

20.  Make a craft for dad!

21.  Have a water balloon fight!

22.  Draw a hot wheels track on the sidewalk and race!

23.  Take them to a FREE workshop or craft event. Home Depot, Lowe's & Michael's have great workshops that allow kids to build and create cool projects.

24.  Have breakfast outside in your pj's.

25.  Make bath time special. Here are some ideas!

26.  Make mini volcanoes.

27.  Grab your nets and go Creature Catching.

28.  Make Dino fossils out of play dough and toy dinosaurs. Imprint and then let it dry.


29.  Play flash light tag at night.

30.  Find a new park to visit.

I'll Give You an Example

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 1 comment

"Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” - Albert Einstein

“A good example has twice the value of good advice." - Anonymous

"He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.” - Francis Bacon

“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” - Anonymous

“Juvenile delinquency would disappear if kids followed their parent's advice instead of their example.” - Anonymous

“Nothing is so contagious as example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like.” - Francois de la Rochefoucauld

“Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” - Edmund Burke

"Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be." - David Bly

"Your children will see what you're all about by what you live rather than what you say." - Wayne Dyer

"Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners." - Anonymous

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An obvious truth: Children follow our example.

The reason so many parents struggle with "problem behaviors" has little to do with "discipline" and a whole lot to do with their example.

We say to them, "Talk respectfully to me!" but then we yell at them. We say, "Hitting is not nice!" but then we spank them. We say, "Clean up your room!" but our garage is a wreck. We say, "Don't snatch!" but we take away their toys when they do something we don't like. We say, "Watch your temper!" but we slam doors.

We teach them the unwanted behavior through our example, and then we have to try and clean it up with our "discipline."

Here's the thing. The reason so many wonderful positive parenting sites focus on teaching parents how to manage their own behavior, how to calm down in a storm, how to show compassion rather than anger, how to respond rather than react, is because they know that the example WE set is going to go farther in teaching our children proper behavior than any discipline technique, tool, or program we will ever learn.

But here's the other thing. It's HARD. Simple, but HARD. Because most of us weren't taught good emotional intelligence when we were kids. Our brains are wired to react, to yell, to lash out, and to turn this around so that we can truly BE who we want our kids to BE, that means we have rewire our own brains. How? By consistently taking those deep breaths to calm yourself before you speak, consistently walking away when you're too angry, consistently responding with sensitivity and compassion. Consistently. Time after time after time until the new pathway is made and it becomes our automatic response.

If we can consistently set the example of regulating our emotions, of calming before we speak, of speaking with kindness and consideration, of responding with compassion, we can bypass that whole "correcting in them our bad example" mess.

But wait. Am I saying we have to be perfect? Surely we are allowed to get upset from time to time. It's human, right? Right. I'm not saying we have to perfect at all. To err is human. We don't have to be perfect, but neither do they. Let's not hold them up to a higher standard than we can attain ourselves. Let's not be so quick to reprimand them when they yell or stomp away. Let's allow them to be human, too.

Let's focus more on our connection and on the example we're setting, and the need for correction will lessen.  I wish you all a connected, playful day. <3

Self-Compassion Through the Rough Patches

Thursday, May 10, 2012 2 comments
Helper - B4

Positive Parenting isn't about perfection. Thank goodness for that! I, for one, have been far from perfect lately. I've yelled. I've slammed doors. I've had tantrums. There have been times when my child has needed my compassion and my empathy, and I didn't have it to give. Not to him. Not to myself. I wallowed around in my guilt for a while. Berating myself for failing. Shaming myself for not being able to self-regulate.  "I'm the author of a positive parenting website! I should be better than this!" "I know better!" "I suck." "My kids deserve better." Blah blah blah.

Enough already.

I'm human. I mess up sometimes. Just like my children, I'm still learning how to be in this world.

I found this post from Hippie Housewife so inspirational. So real. She says:
I'm so tired and everyone needs me and I just want to be taken care of instead. Meals cooked, house cleaned, someone tucking me into bed and sitting beside me until I've drifted off to much-needed sleep. And most days I get by. I nap when I can and I gratefully eat food cooked by a kind husband. I try to keep a quiet schedule. I let some things go. Even so, some days get the better of me and I bumble my way through them, so very human in my weakness.
But those days don't define me. They don't define my children's childhood, either.
Then I read this post, and it slapped me upside my head. In a good way. I'm pretty terrible at self-regulating. One of the gifts I didn't receive in childhood, apparently. I'm more determined than ever to teach my kids how to do this so they don't have these same struggles when they're 30-something.

I've attacked the problem in my typical fashion. Research. Jot down ideas. Form a plan. Make a schedule. I'm nothing if not meticulous. Pardon me while I rewire my brain. I should have that put on a T-shirt.

There is a lesson to be learned in the rough patches, and if we learn it, internalize it, and put it to use, then we didn't really fail. We grew. And growth is good. Dr. Laura Markham says, "You can't simultaneously feel bad about what you've done and feel good enough to do better." My first step was to stop feeling bad about what I've done, to wrap my arms around myself and whisper, "It's okay. You're a good mama. You're good enough."

"Understanding alone cannot prevent disrupted connections from occurring. Some will inevitably happen. The challenge we all share is to embrace our humanity with humor and patience so that we can in turn relate to our children with openness and kindness. To continually chastise ourselves for our "errors" with our children keeps us involved in our own emotional issues and out of relationship with our children.." --Daniel J. Siegel

Once I stopped chastising myself, I sat in meditation for a while, letting the compassion flow in like it was coming from a fountain. I apologized to my children, who said "That's okay, Mom." Children are golden. Bless them. 

If you find yourself off path, struggling, and in the midst of a rough patch, know that you are not alone. You are not a failure. You just need a little self-love. As important as it is to be loving and empathetic with our children, we owe as much to ourselves. We're all learning as we grow. 

Try these techniques and meditations to bring yourself back to peace.