Did you know that the second week in March is National Bubble Week? Bubbles are a fun, cheap, and enjoyable activity for kids of all ages. I am always amazed at how excited my students in speech therapy lessons are when I pull out the bubbles. They are a great motivator for drill work and also encourage children to talk, take turns, and practice blowing. My own kids love bubbles too. In the long days of winter, they love to fill up the bathtub with bubbles and a bubble wand. Here are some great ways to celebrate National Bubble Week with your kids.
Make Your Own Bubbles
There are many different recipes to create your own bubble solution. I found the easiest recipe that requires no measuring.
You Will Need
1 gallon bucket
Dawn dish detergent
Food coloring (optional)
1. Squirt Dawn soap into bucket. The more soap you put in the better the bubbles will be. Pour food coloring in the soap if you would like colored bubbles. A colored bubble solution is best for outdoor bubble blowing, as the food coloring will stain carpets, furniture, and clothing.
2. Fill the bucket up with water. Increase the water pressure as you fill it, to increase the bubble froth.
3. Give your child a bubble wand and have some fun!
With colored bubble solution, hang a large piece of paper outside on a fence, between trees or on lay it on the ground. Have your child create a picture by blowing the colored bubbles at the piece of paper. This is a great activity to teach your child about colors and get a bit messy in the process. For an indoor version of this activity, pour different colored bubble solution into cups and give your child a straw. Show your child how to blow bubbles onto the paper. (This version of the activity should not be done with younger children, who will likely drink the bubble solution.)
Teach your child how to blow a bubble with their hands together in the shape of a circle. For inspiration, check out all the different Youtube videos. I love this little girl’s bubble tricks.
Blow the Biggest Bubble Ever!
Create a giant bubble wand with a few simple steps, or find a large bubble wand at a craft or department store. Teach your child about size concepts such as big/biggest, small/smallest, huge, giant, etc.
Patience is one of those essential life skills that all parents hope their children will develop as soon as practically possible (even if that means a parent is being a bit impatient), and for good reason. Kids need to learn how to wait for things. Whether a toddler is waiting for mom to help tie a shoe or a school age child is trying to work through a difficult math problem, things don’t always come easily and/or immediately. Sometimes we just have to wait.
That said, it should be noted that some children are inherently more patient than others. Some seem to be able to wait, while others squirm with discomfort after thirty seconds of waiting.
It’s important to recognize that personality does, in fact, play a role in a child’s ability to wait for things and that patience, like many other things, is a skill that needs to be taught.
The truth is that we all live in an instant gratification world these days. As much as we might think that we model patience, every time we order something via Amazon Prime or instantly download books to our Kindles we send a very powerful message: You don’t actually have to wait very long. And while some conveniences certainly do make life easier, we all need to find balance if we want to teach our children how to wait.
4 tips for cultivating patience:
Sometimes a child gets hurt and a parent runs to the child’s side because the child truly needs help in that moment. That’s important. We want our children to know that we are there to help them. Other times, parents run simply because a child has called out. This isn’t always necessary.
Part of teaching children to wait is resisting the urge to jump every time they call our names. Sure, we want to help our kids and support them through frustrating moments. But we also want them to learn to keep trying while they wait.
Timers can be very useful when it comes to teaching young children to wait. When your child becomes impatient with a task and starts yelling for help, say that you’re setting a timer for three minutes and resist the urge to get there before the timer beeps. Chances are your child will have solved the problem before you even arrive.
Digital timers and egg timers are also a great way to give kids a feeling of control over the waiting period. When they can visualize time passing, they can begin to understand that they are capable of waiting.
Use reflective listening:
Waiting can be very frustrating. Think about how it feels to be stuck in traffic when you’re running late for a meeting or how it feels to sit an wait for an appointment after showing up exactly on time. Even adults struggle with patience at times.
Kids often lack the language to convey their feelings about waiting, which is why they resort to whining, repeated questions, and tantrums. Help your child find the language to describe their feelings by reflecting upon the situation. What you hear as whining is more likely you’re child feeling frustrated. Saying something like, “It is really hard to wait in this line, it feels like it’s taking forever and we would much rather be playing”, acknowledges your child’s feelings while teaching your child how to communicate in a more adaptive style.
Do long term projects:
When little kids have a plan in mind, they like to execute it immediately. Sometimes that works, but other times it doesn’t. A 24-piece puzzle, for instance, can be completed fairly quickly, but a 100-piece puzzle takes time and patience.
Long-term projects teach kids to take things one-step at a time instead of racing to the finish. When a project can’t be completed in one sitting, kids learn to put more thought and consideration into each small step.
Find a project that you can do with your child and talk about each step before you begin. Establish a timeline together and work out a plan (these are all skills that will come in handy as your child progresses in school). Fun examples include:
Building a fairy house
Building a castle from Legos
Create a “waiting toolbox”:
Adults know how to pass the time, even if they do become frustrated when waiting. Most kids, on the other hand, don’t know how to wait. What do you do when you’re stuck in line at the grocery store or sitting in unexpected traffic?
Teach your kids a few strategies to get through the boring moments. Remember family road trips before you could watch TV or play games on the go? Try to tap into those memories to find some strategies to pass along to your kids. Examples:
Sing silly songs
Play I Spy
Think of words beginning with each letter of the alphabet
Make up stories together (each person says one line at a time)
Make a favorites list
And don’t forget about the importance of imaginary play. Kids who engage in imaginary play learn to tap into their creativity during times of stress and/or frustration, including when they need to be patient.
Our 2-year-old has resorted to sleeping in our bed after being fully weaned from breastfeeding. He is quite the restless sleeper, and he frequently wakes both my husband and me up with his tossing and turning. The other night, he woke me from a dead sleep with a swift kick in the head. He tends to sleep horizontally, so he kicks my back most of the night, so most mornings, I wake up with a very sore back. We are two months into this new sleeping arrangement and are desperate for a better night’s sleep. In an effort to get both our sanity and our bed back, here are some strategies we have implemented over the past few weeks.
Establish a consistent bedtime routine
We really fell out of a consistent routine when the holidays hit, but we are working to getting back into a routine with my son. He just recently dropped his afternoon nap, so he really needs an early bedtime. Kids do better with transitions when they are told ahead of time what will be happening. After dinner, we start reminding him that it will soon be bath time. Once in the bath, we use a timer to prepare him for the end of his bath two minutes before we drain the water. Once we put on his pajamas, we read stories for about 15 minutes, and then it’s lights out.
My toddler isn’t attached to any one particular stuffed animal or blanket for comfort, but he does have a few favorite animals, and they seem to rotate each night. (He likes to be piled up in the middle of at least 5–6 of them.) If your child does not have a comfort item, it may be helpful to have him or her go to the store with you and pick out a special bedtime blanket or stuffed animal.
Many children at this age are afraid of the dark, but cannot express this fear. Ease your child’s fear by putting a night light in their room. My toddler loves the Cloud B Twilight Turtle, which projects stars on his ceiling.
Even in the midst of pure exhaustion, you have to stick with the plan to teach your child how to sleep in their own bed for the entire night. This will not be a quick and easy. They WILL try to press your buttons, and they WILL have tantrums that last for what seems like eternity. Just know that this will pass, and the end result will be worth it.
Is your toddler in the middle of potty training? Is there a big family event coming up, such as the birth of a new sibling or a family vacation? During such times of transition, adding one more new thing to your toddler’s ever-changing world is not a great idea. Step back and wait it out until the event is over and then start the process.
If your child stays in their bed all night, reward them with small prizes from the sleep fairy the next morning. My son is highly motivated by bouncy balls lately. For every night he stays in his room, he gets to pick a bouncy ball from a big jar we filled up.
The word “imagination” often triggers visual imagery of little kids running around in costumes taking on various roles or playing with cars and dolls or other favorite toys. Imaginary play is one of the benchmarks of childhood, and kids love to get lost in their imaginations.
Between rigorous academics, structured after school activities, and increased screen time, kids today are busy and spending less time engaging in unstructured play.
So do adults. Adults use the imagination to solve complex problems, think creatively, and take a break from the daily stressors life has to offer. The very reason that adults have the ability to tap into this important cognitive skill is that it is developed through the art of play during childhood.
It should be, anyway.
Childhood has changed over time, and kids today don’t necessarily have enough time to engage in imaginary play.
In fact, some kids aren’t even sure where to begin when it comes tapping into the imagination. They file complaints of boredom as they wait for a structured form of entertainment to emerge. It’s time to get kids back to the business of play. And it has to begin at home.
3 ways to encourage imaginary play:
Create the play space:
Kids need a clean and organized place to play. They need easily accessible toys and props that inspire creative thought. Think beyond the princess and doctor dress-up outfits and try to provide options that truly fit your child’s interests and personality.
Too many toys at once can overwhelm kids and cause them to check out. If your child is having trouble getting started, consider pulling out one or two options for consideration. Whatever you do, don’t throw a bunch of toys on the floor and walk away.
Learn to live with the mess! Imaginary play often includes props, art supplies, and even snacks to match the theme. Try not to place too many restrictions on messy play to allow for creative thought.
Yes, this means supervising cleanup at the end of each day to ensure that the space is available the next day. As overwhelming as a playroom might appear at the end of a particularly creative play session, it is actually a sign of a great day of play. And cleanup is simply part of the process. Make it fun and the kids won’t see it as such a burden.
The very essence of unstructured play is that it is child-led. But every once in a while they might need a little inspiration.
Sometimes older children get stuck in a debate about what to play, or can’t really pinpoint where to begin. Once they have a concrete idea, they are likely to jump right into planning and executing the play, but getting started can be a challenge.
Idea sticks are a great way to inspire imaginary play without forcing your child to play out a certain theme.
Write simple story starters on extra large Popsicle sticks and place them in a jar in the play area. Story starters might include things like, “One day I took a trip to the moon …” or “We boarded the ship and set sail …” Provide a setting and an action and let your child take over from there.
See new places and learn new things:
Every time you take your child somewhere new, you open your child up to new imaginary play material. I recently took my five-year-old son to the La Brea Tar Pits for the first time. He’s been playing saber tooth tiger and “stuck in the tar” ever since!
You don’t have to plan a huge outing for your child to learn new things and find new material, but it does help to break from routine. New playgrounds, new walking paths, and new museums are all great ways to expose your child to new stimuli.
And if you truly can’t get out to check out new locations, take a trip to your local library and stock up on some “new” reading material. Books about animals, countries, and space are all great resources for inspiring imaginary play.
Preschoolers are sweet, innocent, fun, and engaging. They learn new skills at an alarming rate, and they seem to pick up new phrases overnight. Even the quiet ones listen carefully to the language that surrounds them and mimic interesting words and phrases.
While all of this learning is fun to watch, it can be shocking when a preschooler repeats undesirable words and phrases. Yes, sometimes preschoolers curse.
Sometimes little kids stumble upon bad words purely by accident, as in through rhyming. They are working on language constantly, and sometimes words sound interesting. Others times they hear an older sibling or parent curse and think it’s funny. Regardless of the cause of the unpleasant language, little kids aren’t trying to hurt or offend anyone in the process. After all, they are only working on verbal skills.
Here are 4 tips for breaking the cycle of preschool cursing.
If you become overly embarrassed or make a scene every time your child curses, there’s a good chance the behavior will be repeated.
Preschoolers respond well to positive reinforcement, but they also respond to negative reinforcement.
Your child will quickly learn that bad words are good words to use when he or she wants attention.
Remain calm and quietly redirect your child in the moment.
Parents love to joke about the embarrassing things kids say when they’re out in the world, but it’s important to maintain your composure in front of your child. If you laugh out loud when your child curses, and then tell all of your closest friends about the incident, your child will think the behavior is funny. Funny words are worth repeating, right?
Preschoolers don’t pick up on sarcasm, and they view the constant retelling of the incident as a positive. Naturally, they will repeat the behavior in front of a crowd in an effort to make people laugh.
Model appropriate language
If you say it, your kids will say it. Yes, parents experience frustration at times, but we have to watch our own language and choices. It’s perfectly acceptable to verbalize feelings of frustration, but use appropriate language when you talk about frustrating situations.
If you happen to let an undesirable word slip, and you’re certain that your child heard you, apologize and talk about it. Tell your child what you should have said instead. Be honest. Even parents make mistakes.
Provide funny alternatives
When kids get into a loop, it can be hard to get them out of it, particularly if they are being reinforced for the behavior. Consider providing some funny alternatives to change the word choice.
Preschoolers are often known to be jokers, and funny words can trigger laughter in both kids and adults. Come up with some funny replacement words and phrases and exaggerate your responses to those words to show your child that funny doesn’t have to be bad.
While it is important to consider your potential audience when diving into difficult adult topics, showing kids that disagreements can be resolved in a calm and peaceful manner can actually be a very important life lesson.
Parenting is hard work, and conflicts can arise between parents at times; and sometimes curious little kids find their way toward the argument, even when you’re fairly certain that they aren’t paying any attention. Isn’t it amazing how a child can appear completely engrossed in a Lego project until a conversation seems grown-up and therefore off limits?
Kids face conflict regularly. Perhaps a best friend makes a new best friend for the day. Maybe the usual soccer players suddenly want to play kickball instead. What if a friend takes something without asking and then denies it? Childhood is full of what adults consider minor conflicts, but what kids consider really big things. Kids need the tools to cope with, and resolve, these complicated situations and modeling healthy conflict resolution at home is a great place to start.
3 tips for modeling healthy conflict resolution:
Parenting is full of busywork. There is always somewhere to be, something to do, or something that somehow didn’t get done the day before. Even with the best routines in place, parents often find themselves running to catch up and having quick conversations on the fly.
When difficult topics arise within the family (whether they are child or marriage related), it’s very hard to have meaningful conversations in very small amounts of time. Create time to discuss the hard stuff. Yes, it’s more fun to enjoy the time you have together and avoid the stuff that lurks beneath the surface, but that stuff won’t just go away on its own. Make time to have the hard conversations so that emotions don’t bubble to the surface when the kids are listening.
And when those negative feelings that trigger arguments do arise in front of the younger members of the family, take the time to acknowledge the feelings and state the problem (in age appropriate and family-friendly terms) before the conversation becomes inflamed.
Use active listening skills:
It’s difficult to be a good listener when you’re feeling angry. Often people find themselves thinking of what to say next to drive a point home instead of listening to what the other person is saying. If you want your kids to learn how to hear others out, you have to show them how to do it.
Make eye contact while your spouse is speaking. Ask follow up questions in a calm voice. Repeat statements for clarification. Count to three in your head before blurting out a response.
Once the conflict is resolved, talk your kids through this process so that they understand the steps you took to stay calm.
Take a time out:
Some arguments get caught in a loop and it can be hard to resolve them in a single conversation. That happens with kids, as well. The truth is that taking a break to regroup from a contentious conversation is often the best way to start over.
Declare a time out if the conflict seems to be stuck in a loop. Set a timer for ten minutes and take a quick walk outside or use the time to do your favorite relaxing yoga poses. Clearing your head gives you the opportunity to think logically.
We all enter the new school year with great intentions of getting the morning rush down to a science, but by mid-year it can be hard to keep it up. Sometimes a fine-tuned routine starts to unravel one minute at a time, and the next thing you know you are racing the clock each day to avoid being the parent of the chronically late child.
Morning stress is no joke. When we are constantly racing and rushing, we actually tend to exhibit signs of stress. We get impatient. We get headaches. We snap at our loved ones. And we risk projecting our stress levels onto our children.
If we want to give our kids the best chance of a calm, fun-filled day of learning, we simply can’t send them out the door with tears in their eyes because the morning stress was just too much to bear.
A few shortcuts can help save you precious minutes in the morning, and so can age appropriate responsibilities for your kids. The truth is that when you make getting out the door on time a family effort, family members learn to help and encourage each other along the way.
Try these 3 tips to decrease morning stress:
Take care of you:
Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night person doesn’t really matter in the real world. Your kids, and possibly your job, don’t really care which category best fits you. You have to learn to take care of your own needs so that you’re not stressed out and barking at your kids by 8 am each morning.
Get to bed on time. I actually set alerts on my phone as reminders to stop what I’m doing and start my bedtime routine.
Create a bedtime routine. You have one for your kids, right? It helps them stay on task and relax into sleep, right? Do the same to meet your own needs and your body will soon adjust to a better, and more relaxed sleep cycle.
Get up early. Set ten alarms if you have to, but get yourself out of bed and be functional at least twenty minutes before your kids.
Working moms – follow your own rules and get your bags and lunch packed before you go to bed. Every second counts.
Eat a healthy breakfast. A brain fueled by protein is brain that can regulate emotions. It takes two minutes to make oatmeal (not the instant kind). Just do it.
Actually, get a timer for each of your kids. This just in: Kids drag their feet in the morning. You can do all of the usual beat-the-morning-rush techniques (pick out the outfit the night before!) and follow them around shouting out warnings in minutes, but still they will find a way to spend 17 minutes in the bathroom.
Those loud, ticking old-fashioned kitchen timers are great for kids. Kids love to beat the clock when they think it’s fun, and beating the timer is much more fun than trying to compete with mom’s warnings every three minutes.
Teach your child how to set the timer for ten minutes for the bathroom, five minutes for shoes and socks, etc. Better yet, let them determine how much time they need for each task and set the timer according to their personal needs (my daughter needs much more time to get dressed than my son, for example).
Kids love to feel responsible and helping the family with morning tasks is a great way to get kids involved in the effort to decrease morning stress. Consider a list of rotating jobs to be completed every evening.
Backpack checker: Instead of taking the natural consequences approach to making sure the homework is packed up, consider empowering the kids to help each other. The nightly backpack checker can double check each backpack to make sure that homework, library books, and other essentials are packed and by the front door each night.
Weather reporter: It’s one thing to have them choose their outfits at night, but it’s another to get them to choose outfits that are appropriate for the weather. This job entails checking the weather app and helping others (parents included) choose clothes that will work for the next day (no more sending them back up to change).
Snack packer: All snacks (even the ones that need to stay in the fridge until the last minute) can be labeled and placed in reusable snack bags at arm’s reach the night before. Let the snack packer ask each child what they want and pack it up!
Lunch helper: Get a little help packing up those lunches before bed. Little helpers are great at washing, drying, and packing up fruit, filling water bottles, and packing dry snacks into the lunch bag.
Bathroom checker: You know what can really cost minutes in the morning? Running out of toilet paper, or tissues, or toothpaste, or clean towels. Have a bathroom inspector run through a bathroom checklist each night to make sure all necessary supplies are there in the morning.
Last weekend, I went on a three-day, cross-country trip for work. Typically, this would be no huge deal for me. Sure, I miss my kids when I travel, but I know they always have a lot of “boy time only” fun with Daddy when I’m gone. This time was different, though, as I am still exclusively breastfeeding my youngest son, Ryker, who is 8 months old.
Even though Ryker is my third baby, I have never traveled alone during the first year of one of my babies’ lives. I am a full-time working mom, so pumping is just part of my everyday, work-week life. Most days I pump just barely enough milk for the following day. Thankfully, I stockpiled about 100 ounces of milk in the deep freeze during those first few weeks of Ryker’s life, so I had enough for the three days I was gone.
I was most anxious about pumping and maintaining my milk supply while gone. I was also nervous about the logistics of pumping during my 9-10 hours of travel while flying from Maryland to California. After a lot of research, planning, and careful packing, here is how I survived and managed to bring home around 80 ounces of pumped milk.
To help reduce stress and anxiety, I created a list of all the supplies I would need so I could pump while traveling. Here is what I packed:
Breast pump (double electric), all parts, and charger
If at all possible, keep all of your pump parts together in one bag. Mine got separated after boarding the plane because I overstuffed my carry-on bag. (Typical.) Since I was super rushed to make my connecting flight, I ended up leaving my flanges on the plane! I didn’t realize this until I unpacked at the hotel and was ready to pump. Thankfully, I wasn’t too far from Target, so I was able to purchase another set. It would have been a disaster if I would have left behind the other parts, though.
If you are staying at a hotel, be sure to contact your hotel ahead of time to make arrangements for a fridge. If a fridge isn’t available, you can still keep your milk cold using ice. You will just need to replenish it as it melts in order to keep your milk at the proper temperature. Breastmilk can be stored at room temperature for 4-8 hours or in an insulated cooler (at 59 degrees Fahrenheit) for 24 hours. Check out KellyMom for more information on breastmilk storage guidelines.
Determine if the airport you will be flying out of or having a layover at has a nursing room available. Not all airports are created equal. Since most airlines require that you check in for your flight at least 90 minutes prior to its scheduled departure, it is very likely that you will need to either pump at the airport or pump in your car once you get there. The airport I flew out of didn’t have a dedicated space for nursing moms, but it did have rocking chairs scattered throughout the terminal, so I was able to use a rocking chair and pump discreetly using my nursing cover.
The San Jose airport, however, did have a very nice nursing room with a sink and a bench, so I pumped there before boarding my plane to come home. Unfortunately, the airport I had a layover at did not have a nursing area, so I pumped right at the gate. By this point into my trip, I was very confident in pumping in public and had no desire to stand in a bathroom to pump.
TSA regulations treat breastmilk as they do liquid medications, so you are allowed to bring breastmilk in quantities greater than the typical three ounces. Empty bottles and ice packs are also permitted. When I went through security, I just let the officers know I had breastmilk with me. They instructed me to just place it in one of their bins and put it through the X-ray. I was not required to open up the bag for them to do a screening check, but it is possible that you will be asked to do so.
Aim to get a window seat so you only have one person next to you. I flew on an airline that doesn’t do assigned seating—only assigned boarding zones. On my way to California, I managed to get a good boarding zone and a window seat. Sadly, on the way home, I got stuck with the middle seat, but I managed just fine. You will most likely feel uncomfortable and nervous the first time you pump, but once you get through the first time, it gets easier and less uncomfortable. Don’t worry about the noise from the pump because it honestly can’t be heard over the plane’s engines. I was able to not flash my fellow seatmate just by using my cover.
If your flight is three hours or longer, you will likely need to pump once, if not twice, while in the air. The logistics of setting yourself up to start pumping is a bit tricky on a plane, but it’s very possible. Assemble all your parts first. Then place the parts with the attached bottles into the seat pocket in front of you. Then put on your nursing cover and hands-free bra. I had a bit of a hard time zipping up the bra in a cramped space, so you could put the bra on in the morning—it’s just not the most comfortable thing in the world. Once the bra is on, connect the parts and turn on your pump. Now sit back and relax, because the hardest part is over.
Once you are finished pumping, detach all the parts. I found it helpful to put down my tray table to set the bottles on top of instead of juggling them between my legs. Just watch out for turbulence! Then pour the expressed milk into a storage bag and clean all pump parts using the quick clean wipes.
Since I was changing time zones, I used the timer on my phone to count down to my next pumping session. That way, I didn’t have to calculate the time zone difference. Once I arrived at my destination, I then just adapted to the current time zone.
I’m happy to say that I managed to stick with a decent pumping schedule during my entire trip. During my three-day trip, I pumped over 80 ounces of milk and maintained my milk supply. It was quite an adventure, and it gave me a new appreciation for moms who exclusively pump. I was beyond ready to nurse Ryker to sleep on Saturday night when I walked through the door!
The word “no” is a very powerful word, especially for little kids. Toddler resistance is a more formal term for what really amounts to a young child asserting his or her right to just say no. This phase can come on suddenly, leaving parents confused about the disappearance of the once mellow personality that accompanied them to and fro. In good news, it often disappears just as quickly.
When toddlers discover that they have a will, they like to exercise it as much as possible. Most toddlers don’t have any control over their lives, and this can make resistance that much more appealing. Before you scratch your head and wonder why on earth a toddler should have any control, it’s important to redefine what control means in toddler language. Toddlers want choices sometimes. They wear what you buy them, they eat what they’re told, and they live by carefully crafted schedules. Where’s the so-called independence in that?
It’s important to find the cause of the resistance and make some toddler-size changes to help break the cycle of negativity.
It’s important to find the cause of the resistance and make some toddler-size changes to help break the cycle of negativity.
Use “No” with Caution
It’s possible that your little naysayer hears a lot of “no” throughout the day and wants to try it out. It’s a powerful word coming from a parent, after all, so it only makes sense that toddlers want to get in on that at times.
There are times when it is the only answer that will suffice. When it’s a matter of safety, “no” is the best answer. But when it comes to behavioral correction, it’s actually better to be more specific. ”No” can mean anything, but “Be gentle with the cat. Pet the cat. Don’t hit the cat.” is much more specific, and does more to help correct the negative behavior.
Watch your own use of no and try to find appropriate alternatives to help decrease the use of it in your home.
There are many things that toddlers can’t choose, but there are reasonable choices that help them work toward independence while gaining some control over their lives. Use a journal to track the pattern of negativity. It’s likely that your toddler resists the same things each day.
Once you’ve established the pattern of negativity, you can brainstorm reasonable choices to help your child stay positive and feel more in control. Choosing the fruits or veggies and helping wash them, for example, is a great way to decrease mealtime stress. Choosing clothing (even if that means going to the grocery store in dress up clothes) can decrease the stress related to getting out of the house. Find choices that work in your home and start giving your toddler some options (only two though, any more than that and your toddler will get overwhelmed).
Toddlers don’t know a lot of words, and they really like to use the ones they do know. Your toddler might get stuck in a pattern of yes-or-no thinking simply because she doesn’t know what else to say.
Model other ways to communicate feelings and needs. Teach your toddler to say “no” in a nice way by adding a “thank you” on the end. Toddlers can become frustrated fairly easily because they struggle to communicate their thoughts accurately. Help them verbalize their thoughts and ask questions to understand the problem.
While many kids are lucky enough to enjoy close relationships with their siblings, sibling rivalry can crop up at any time. In fact, sibling rivalry can even continue into adulthood! Not to worry. A little rivalry and arguing among siblings is a perfectly normal part of child development. And although the bickering and yelling can be frustrating for parents, learning to work through conflict at home actually helps young children hone their social interaction skills.
Siblings argue for a variety of reasons and at various stages of development. While younger kids often seek parental attention and admiration, older kids tend to argue to assert their independence. Changing needs, individual temperaments, and the general level of conflict in the home (watch your words, parents) all play a role into how and how much kids argue.
Fostering sibling relationships by focusing on the positive helps kids internalize an important message: Siblings are forever. Sure, arguments occur, but that doesn’t mean that a sibling relationship is full of conflict. Working together through the ups and downs of family life helps kids understand that sibling relationships can very powerful and also very consistent.
It’s best to avoid all comparisons between children. All kids are different, and they each have their own unique strengths. Comparisons between siblings, even with things like manners and behavior, set kids up to argue and harbor feelings of resentment.
No matter the age of the siblings, one thing is certain: It’s best to avoid all comparisons between children. All kids are different, and they each have their own unique strengths. Comparisons between siblings, even with things like manners and behavior, set kids up to argue and harbor feelings of resentment.
It’s also important to note that the way that parents cope with and resolve conflict rubs off on their kids. If you’re a yeller when angry, expect to hear a lot of yelling. If you tend to internalize your feelings via the silent treatment, your kids will do the same. Model the conflict-resolution strategies that you would like your children to use.
Sibling rivalry solutions age 8-12:
Establish safety rules (e.g., no hitting) but give them time to work through it.
Acknowledge the source of the conflict and ask each of your children to brainstorm three possible solutions.
Factor in 1:1 time with each child.
Build up and focus on each child’s strengths.
Acknowledge positive interactions and occasions when siblings helped one another.
Let kids have their own belongings. Siblings don’t need to share absolutely everything. Have a special toy box foreach child.
When you intervene, listen to both sides carefully. Chances are you only really heard or witnessed the end of the argument. Help each child verbalize his/her feelings first, then talk to both kids about conflict resolution.
Teach kids to stop, think, then act.
Give kids alone time. Older children sometimes need time alone. Respect that. Don’t force them to interact with siblings when they crave downtime.
Above all, focus on the positive. Talk about the fun things you do as a family and tell stories about your own sibling relationships. Chances are you had some funny experiences as a child, and sharing your memories helps normalize your children’s feelings.
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