Friday, 19 April 2013

The Importance of Involving your Young Children in Household Duties

Our children have responsibilities around our home and understand that they need
to do these items because they are part of the family. Just because they know that
they have to do them doesn’t make them whine any less. So we do pay them. Over
the years payment the form of payment has changed. In the beginning, all that was
needed were words of praise. Then it moved to stickers, then small toys and now
for the older children, we are onto money. I’ve learned that the key is finding what
motivates your children. And often it is different things with each child. Right now,
my older children are motivated by money. With my youngest, screen time appears
to be the big motivator. It is also important to change up the duties. A new task can
be exciting to children.

You can begin this process of involvement from the time they are infants. When
you are folding laundry or grocery shopping, you can talk to them about what you
are doing. Talking to them helps them to feel involved and you will be amazed how
much they learn from listening to you and watching you. Next thing you know you
will have your 18 month old helping you sort the clothes by color and switching
the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Then comes folding the towels at 3 or 4
and so on. Another great task is to let your children make their own beds. This can
be frustrating because in the beginning, they usually look like a mess. Whatever
you do, do not remake the bed. They are doing their best and you don’t want to
discourage them.

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The last two weekends in our house have involved some small house projects. My
4 year old son helped my husband take down all the towel bars in the house that
needed to be replaced and fill all the holes with Spackle. He was truly enjoying the
time with Dad and getting to use the screwdriver. The next weekend he was asking
what was on their list was for the day and when can they get started.

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The bottom line is that you need to have your children help with the household
chores. Not only does it teach them how to do the actual tasks, it also gives them a
great sense of accomplishment and pride. In the beginning things move slower and
can be a little frustrating but it will pay off in spades in the end.

What chores do your young children do around the house? What do you use for
motivators?

 - Sarah

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Stomach flu, and LICE and work, OH MY!

Well if you read my post right before spring break, you saw the potentially large
list of fun our family was going to have over the spring break holiday. But things
don’t always happen as you plan. The break began with one daughter home
from school on the last day before vacation (yes, my last day to get things done
without my entourage.) This is the same day that my husband returned from
his long three-week business trip. The next day another daughter came down
with the flu that resulted in two solid days on the couch. Rejoice! It was Easter
Sunday! Only it was not so joyful for me. I ended up in bed all day with the
flu. My wonderful husband rose to the occasion and had a great day with the
children. Two days later we were all feeling better and ready to pack in as much
fun as possible. And then. LICE. That set us back another two days by the time
I scrubbed my house from top-to-bottom and laundered everything in the house.
This left us with four days for fun!

The next four days we really did try to pack in the fun. We had a sleepover, a
trip to the local shopping mall, lunch out at California Pizza Kitchen, outing to a
trampoline house, another lunch out at Chili’s, a soccer game, a movie night, a
family tennis game, a day at the beach and finally Sunday brunch at one of our
favorite local hotels.

The vacation did not turn out how I had planned it but in the end we had a great
time. We all caught up on some long needed rest. We spend a lot of family
bonding time together. While my husband worked the whole week, he was home
for dinner every night and put our son to bed every night.

Life gets so busy. I think our week was a higher power telling us we needed to
slow down. And I appreciate that.

- Sarah

Friday, 29 March 2013

The Spring Break Bucket List – Kids vs Mom

We decided this Spring to have a Staycation. I was a little worried that the kids would be disappointed since their friends are jet-setting to places like Hawaii, Mexico and Spain to name a few.  My husband will be return from a three-week trip around the world days before Easter and I am exhausted from being the taxi driver to two different schools, numerous sports practices and games, endless birthday parties and all the other rewarding mom duties.  Needless to say, the entire family is over scheduled and exhausted. Much to my surprise, when I told the kids we were staying home, they were excited. This was a relief. Now every mom knows that a day or two of down time is great and then the kids start to get a little wiggly. So in an effort to be prepared, I sat down and made the list of things I wanted to do over the break. Then I gathered the children and asked them to do the same.

Here is the Kid’s list:

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Here is the Mom’s list:

Clean out all closets – take items directly to Goodwill
Spring Cleaning from ceiling to baseboards
Sleep until we wake up – yes, no alarm clock
Family walk with the dog on the beach everyday
Read AT LEAST one book
Watch a “grown up” movie
Go on a date with my husband
Organize all my desk files
Walk a mile downtown with the family and have lunch
Go two days without getting in my car
Be physically active as a family everyday
See an old friend

When I look at these lists I don’t see many commonalities. I was happy to see some
items on their list included spending time together and minimal funds. The one
thing I did notice is that we all wrote down exactly what we wanted to do. My goal
is now to combine these lists over our ten-day vacation and try to end the vacation
in a somewhat restful state.

Please share with us your Spring break plans.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Saucy Sarah’s Recipe Share – Spanish Rice from MAD HUNGRY

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Mommy Brain *!&**!!**LOL#!**

Do you have a Mommy Brain?

Last week my sister in law was in town and we were driving my son to preschool. It
was a very busy morning and I was rushing around. We took my husband’s car and that
is something I rarely do. On the drive to school, I was sharing a story with my sister in
law about a time two summers ago when I lost my phone. It was a busy summer day
and I was packing all the kids for an afternoon swim meet. I checked my list and we had
everything so we loaded into my husband’s car. I felt good. I actually had everything
and we were going to be on time! When we got to the swim meet I panicked because I
could not find my phone. My husband was in China and I knew he would be calling soon
and I hate missing his calls. I was certain I had it with me. I remembered grabbing it off
the kitchen counter on the way out the door. I searched the car. I searched all the swim
bags. I borrowed a friend’s phone to call my phone. Nothing. No phone.

About four hours later on this beautiful hot summer day, the swim meet was over. We
packed up our gear and headed to the car. When I was loading all the kids and gear back
into the car, I found my phone! It was on the roof of the car. I must’ve set it down when
I was buckling the kids into their car seats. By some miracle, I drove 10 miles to the
swim meet and it did not fall off the car. I was so happy! And I felt very lucky!

Going back to today, my sister and law and I get to the preschool and walk my son into
his classroom. On the way back out to the car, my sister in law bursts into hysterical
laughter. I don’t understand what is so funny and then I see it. My phone. It’s on the
roof or the car AGAIN! Well, having just told the story of what happened two years ago,
we laughed for a solid 5 minutes. I was feeling extremely lucky!

As moms, we have all been there.

Please share your best Mommy Brain story today.

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Monday, 4 March 2013

The National Day of Unplugging…. Oops, Missed It!

The National Day of Unplugging was March 1 – March 2. It is the day we are all
supposed to unplug and go outside, read a book (not on an ereader), or engage
in activities without technology. It came and went in our house without any
attention. It wasn’t until the morning of March 3 when my 4 1/2 year old son,
Bob, was demanding another game be loaded onto the ipad that I realized how
out of control our technology issues have become. We have rules in the house
for the older kids, no TV or computers until after all homework, piano practice
and chores are complete on Mondays through Thursdays. And then it’s only
Animal Planet on TV or educational games on the computer. On the weekends,
it’s a free for all. And Bob, doesn’t really follow any of the technology rules and
it is because I don’t make him. It is easier for ME to get things done when he
is watching TV or busy on the ipad. But on March 3, I had enough. I took him
to his room and pulled out two boxes I had hidden away. These were boxes of
Playmobil toys that my sister-in-law handed down to me. They belonged to her
sons and she thought Bob might like them. I immediately hid them because I
remember all the small toys and pieces inside those boxes. What a mess! But
this morning, I was ready for a change. Bob was so excited when I pulled out
the boxes. He sat down with my husband and put them together and then had
nearly TWO hours of play with them!

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Seeing Bob have all this fun made me ask myself, why do we let our small kids
watch TV, play with the ipads and computers? They seem to have more fun
when engaged in other activities or just playing outside.

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I am setting a personal challenge to myself this week to set technology limits for
Bob this week AND enforce them.

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What technology limits do you have in your house for your little ones and do you
enforce them?

Sarah

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Friday, 1 March 2013

Introducing Saucy Sarah!

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We are delighted to introduce, Saucy Sarah, one of our Joovy family members and new contributor to the Joovy Blog.

Meet Sarah:

I am a wife, mother, volunteer, sister, friend, aunt, daughter and so much more!  I am a stay at home mom.  I met my husband almost 17 years ago.  Many things have changed over the years…from me having three babies and becoming a stay at home mom to my husband starting a business.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a sounding board for my husband but over the last year, with our youngest approaching five, I have slowly (very slowly) began to help out in the family business. It has been extremely exciting and fulfilling as well as challenging as I attempt this balancing act.

With my posts, I intend to share with you all of the knowledge I have gained through the years from preparing for baby number one to bringing home baby number three or four (yes, I am still hoping for one more baby in the future) and all the joys and challenges in between.  I will share stories, recipes, holiday fun and discuss issues that still baffle me like how to raise children with a good work ethic and a sense of humility today. I’m certain there will be a few surprises for all of us too!

I hope you will continue to look for my posts.  And I look forward to your comments and discovering and laughing together.

Sarah