By Rosa Eschholz
For millions of parents around the world, the day does not end with the school bell. There are still pictures to be painted, songs to be sung and games to be played. This all adds up to keeping children happy, safe and out of trouble. But, parents have to steer away from going overboard.
After school is not baby-sitting:
After school activities thrive only if it is backed by sufficient parental involvement. What would a soccer match be without parents cheering their little heroes from the sidelines?.
Research and choose:
Instead of convenience being the decisive factor, find out things that will interest your child. Once you select a program, get the fine print and find out what you have to contribute.
Many children attend piano classes, followed by ballet and squeeze in some time for play dates in between just before they rush home in time for bed. This rigor is too much for a child. So, go slow.
When to quit:
Often, parents enroll their child in an activity to discover that he may not be the prodigy they thought he would be. This is the time to let go. Your child may not become the next wonder-kid. But, let him cultivate an interest that he enjoys. Remember, happiness and fulfillment are all that matter.
By Elizabeth Bourgeret
Children are not all the same. Ok, sure, that sounded a little harsh at first, but think about it! How many parents comment:
"My kids are complete opposites!"
"Of my two daughters, one is a princess and the other is a tom-boy!"
"If only I could cook one thing for the whole family!"
And that is delightfully and happily how it is supposed to be! You do not have to treat each child the same. There cannot be the rule that "all children will be created equally!" That's impossible!! Each child has their different needs, learning styles, cravings, discipline issues... In our busy lives as Momma's we have to make decisions on the fly. From moment to moment. And we have to trust that in the long run, everything is going to even out on its own. Our children want to be treated as individuals not the same as every one else.
Your children have a keen sense of what they feel is "fair" in doling out treats, rewards, and punishments! Don't get caught up in their courtroom! You'll go crazy trying to keep the scales even! And I'm pretty sure that it is an impossible task!
A friend of mine who takes in foster children had a teenage girl. And every time my friend had to get something for one of the other children, she thought she should get it too. One got a haircut, she wanted a haircut. One got new shoes, she wanted new shoes. One got a sucker from the bank, SHE wanted one too! It became so overwhelming for my friend, that I was brought in to talk with the teen. We had to work out as a family that sometimes other kids will need things before she would. And the same goes for her. That she might need a new dress while the rest were doing just fine on their dress inventory. She was so afraid of missing out or not getting what everyone else was that she demanded everything!! Eventually, she realized that she was loved just as much as the other kids and that if she took a step back, she was not being fair with her foster siblings.
Life isn't fair. Sometimes one child's shoes will wear out before a siblings. It's just how things go. And if the toddler got to go to the library with Momma for the afternoon without the older sibs, that's okay. Everyone will get some Momma time (or library time!) eventually!
Keep in mind, in the end, it is our job to prepare them to leave the nest and be ready to live out in the real world... which we all know... (say it with me) is not fair. Life is not fair and we, as adults have to learn to deal with that. And, as preparation, we have to teach our off-spring that. In smaller doses, of course.
So, Mommas. Don't stress yourself out trying to keep everything fair and equal. You love all your children. Every one is your favorite.
by Elizabeth Bourgeret
Ok, mommies, we can't bubble wrap our children and sadly, we can't fix all their broken parts. As much as we'd love to protect our precious babies (even the ones that are grown and out of the house) we can't. How do we know when to let them "learn their lesson" or learn the hard truth about consequences?
There is no easy answer, but it is a part of life, of parenthood that is difficult for all involved.
As mommies, we all have this overwhelming urge to keep our children safe from any and all harm. And while that is a noble thought, it is just not possible. Nor is it healthy. We need those scars, bumps and bruises to help mold and shape us into the adults we are meant to be.
When we allow our children to learn from their mistakes, it helps to create a sense of self-confidence. When they figure their way out of a mess or problem that is slightly stressful, they become better equipped to tackle the next challenge that comes along. But if, on the other hand, we are there to constantly rescue them, they develop the attitude that they can't cope without an adult to oversee all of their actions. And while that may seem harmless while they are little, that "training" stays with them as they grow into adulthood.
Learning to walk is a basic example. Every child must learn to walk. We know they are going to fall. We know that they might scrape a knee or bonk a head or squish a finger. But it's something that they MUST do to get them to the next level. Now imagine, in our attempt to protect them from ever getting hurt, we never let the fall. We just carried them everywhere. Flash forward a few years... that adorable little baby is starting to get a little heavy- to say the least! But come on... every parent looks forward to the day they never have to buy another pack of diapers again! And the longer term result of carrying your child, is that they never walk, they never run, they never get potty trained, they never ride a bike... This is perhaps an extreme and overly obvious example, but it's really the beginning for the rest of the child's growing and learning process.
Resist the urge to fight your child's battles. They may come home a little bumped and bruised, but they will learn that the fire is hot and not to touch it again. This is so important to do while they are young, because their battles only get tougher as they get older. And I'm sure it is every parent's wish that they're child to be self-sufficient. This begins when they are young, so when they become teenagers, they know that the consequences of their decisions are all of their own doing. They learn taking responsibility for their own actions and decisions, even at an early age and thus limits the "blaming" attitude.
If they run out of allowance, don't give them more money. Don't teach them that the rules don't apply to them.
If they break something, they are in charge of cleaning it up... and maybe even replacing it, depending on their age. But for sure acknowledging and apologizing for the act. (if applies)
If they don't finish their homework, don't call the teacher to get them out of whatever "punishment" was handed down.
If they crashed their bike because they rode where they were not allowed to go, they don't have a bike. Or they are in charge of its repair.
I'm not suggesting to abandon them to their own devices. You are there to mold and train them. They get their base of right and wrong from you. They are put on this earth to see how far they can bend the rules... Of course you will be there for them. And you can be sympathetic and understanding, but keep in mind that they take their cues from you.
Being a parent isn't always convenient, but for whatever suffering we may go through, we will be able to sleep better at night knowing that our grown children are out there making good choices... and if not, they know that they have to "suffer the consequences".
Let them "suffer" through the smaller consequences while they are still under your protection so that when they are out on their own, they will already know what to do.
Start today. At whatever age they are. No more rescues. No more bailing them out of trouble. Build their confidence in their decision making skills and develop their cognitive thinking. Cause and effect. Think about the lessons you have learned over the years. The most valuable ones coincided with failure, I'll wager. Think back on your scars and what you have learned from them. While I understand that it is sometimes a painful thing to "watch", someday, they will thank you for it. Okay, no they won't. Lol! But you'll know that confidence that your grown child exhibits, has come from you stepping just one step back.
by Elizabeth Bourgeret
As parents we have such busy lives! Working outside the home. Working inside the home! Cleaning, cooking, organizing, coaching, referee-ing... sometimes it's easy to lose touch with our youngsters. I'm not talking about simply making contact, or barking out orders, or reminding them about soccer practice, I'm talking about really committing to them and reminding them that even though your life is hectic and crazy that they are the most important part of your world. Here's five tips that will instantly connect you with your child in the midst of chaos.
1. One on One Time! This is so important to carve out a bit of time for each child. Sometimes it can only be a bedtime story before they get tucked in or it could be as extravagant as a date night once a week! Find something that you can both enjoy. Even though they may fuss about it at first, I promise you, underneath that pout, they are happy for that time with you and it will stay in their memories long into adulthood. This is the perfect opportunity to get involved in some of the things that they are involved in. It might not be your cup of tea, but imagine the support your child will feel when they see you at their band practice or you're cheering from the sidelines at the skateboard park or playing their favorite arcade game with them while munching on some cheese fries. Step out of your comfort zone mom, and really try to see what your chid sees in their activities, music, movies, games and more!
2. Praise!! No one ever gets enough praise. Make sure it is sincere and honest (because they can tell the difference) and don't go overboard, but every once in a while, slip in an extra "I heard you practicing the piano the other day. You're really coming along." or a "great job on your science project. Your's was my favorite." Maybe even a "Thank you for helping your brother pick up the toys," would work nicely.
3. Be respectful. Do your best not to yell at your child in anger. Sometimes, you just can't help it, but try to regulate your emotions and discuss things on an even keel. No one likes to be yelled at or disrespected. This does not mean that your child does not have to abide by the rules. Make sure there are consequences and they are utilized consistently. And when yelling does occur, perhaps allow yourself a moment to compose before continuing the conversation.
4. Eye contact. When speaking to your child make sure you get eye contact. This allows you to see what they are feeling, and it also gives you that they are indeed hearing you. When making a request of your child, make sure that eye contact comes with a nod or affirmation so you both know you're on the same page. Same goes for you, mom. When your child is trying to communicate with you, stop what you're doing and make that all important eye-contact. Put down the phone, turn away from the computer, turn off the television. Give your child your undivided attention. It will show him that he is important to you.
5. Play! Play with your child! Let down your guard and laugh and tickle and sing and wrestle! This has so many benefits to all involved! It releases stress, lowers anxiety, boosts your oxytocin levels and changes attitudes! I know it might have been a long day and all you want to do is sneak off to bed, but give your child a few moments of playtime!!
Being a parent is a tough job. And it really isn't for everyone. And even with a multitude of options, books, magazines, websites, well-meaning co-workers, there really is no rule book about exactly what is the best way to raise your child. There is one that comes pretty close though. And while it doesn't cover topics like internet access or loud music or hiding in the clothing racks while mommy is shopping, it does cover many of the basics. God's Word is the book we use here on this website as our foundation. All things come from there.
Being a parent is a thankless, full-time job that doesn't have regular hours, vacation time, sick days and a lot of the time, not even assistance, so we need a good, solid support system that helps us emotionally and intellectually get through each and every day. And that is what we here at Momma's Kids hope to provide.
Stand with us as we stand to support you, make you laugh, encourage, offer helpful hints, scriptural foundations, and a few moments of coffee time as you make your way through your parental duties. You have the most important job on this earth and if we all stick together, maybe we can make it through with doing to much damage to our offspring as well as ourselves!
So, stand your ground as you're pulling the sucker from your hair. Stand your ground when you face off with your toddler at nap time. Stand your ground even if you have to hover over your fifth grader to get his homework done. And stand in faith that your teenager will make the right choices today and everyday. Stand in faith that your grown children know you did the best you could with the information you had. Stand in faith that they will make you proud as they find their on way out in the world.
Stand strong in the face of life, love and parenthood.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. -Ephesians 6:13
When people say they don't think kids should get allowance, it disappoints me.
We pay allowance...but we call it commission.
We have 5 marble jars on the counter. One is the "Honey Pot". When the kids accomplish a task, they earn a marble. At the end of the pay period, we count the marbles and exchange them for cash. Each is worth 25 cents.
They have to do their chores no matter what. They earn marbles for the following:
INITIATIVE (doing chores without being asked)
GOING ABOVE and BEYOND (doing something extra)
If I have to tell them to do their chores, they don't get a marble for initiative. If they intentionally hurt another child, they have to pay that child a marble from their jar. It's like a fine for disobeying laws in the real world.
Ok...so with investing....we have the 401-Dad plan. They can set an intention. My girls each want an iPad mini. They know how much it costs. If they save 50% of the cost, my husband will match their savings. Even if they earn every single marble, every single day, and they save every penny, it will take close to 18 months for them to earn the iPad. It takes goal setting, drive, dedication, and focus. Do you see the benefit or learning these skills early?
We budget for this like any other bill and we sacrifice certain things like fancy cell phone plans and cable TV to make this possible. In total, we know that our kids can earn a collective $90/mo. That's if they do everything right, every day (doesn't always happen). On pay day, we put $90 in small bills into an envelope. Whatever they didn't earn at the end of the month, goes back to the bank.
Even if you can't afford $90/mo, I'm sure you can come up with a plan that suites your budget. Make the marbles worth 5 or 10 cents instead of a quarter. Make them a little hard to earn. Set up a 401-Dad Plan that will match up to a certain amount...like $20. It's worth it. Too many adults have never learned to manage money and it lands them into a mess.
Take them to the store and teach them to read price tags. Teach them to plan and to shop sales. Help them understand the worth of a dollar.
Kids need to learn that work = money and they need to learn how to save, give, invest, and spend wisely. It NEEDS to start early.