Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Choices, Revisited with Video Clip

Giving choices to kids as a form of discipline, is something I've talked about several times (here) as I love the principal behind it:  It empowers kids to make their own choices!

But as I have started giving my toddler choices, I've realized how important it is and how easy it is to forget to use the word 'choice' when giving them.  Just the other day during snack time, I thought I was giving my child a choice, "you can have the wheat crackers or the cheese crackers".  And then I thought to myself, what the heck am I doing, where is the word 'choice' in here?  Ugh.  Yep, I'm a counselor that teaches this principal to parents, and I forgot.  So I quickly said, "you can choose to have the wheat crackers or you can choose to eat the cheese ones, which do you choose?" (and let me add here that she was wanting cookies, not one of her snack choices :))

Here is a refresher on giving choices to kids:

-you give 2 choices to your child

-use the word 'choose' in there so they know THEY are making the choice and not you

-don't just use the word 'choice' when talking about choices with them, be specific.  Like don't say, "make a choice.."  or "that is not a good choice" without explaining what the choice actually is.

-and if your choice involves taking away something, if they are young use half a day such as "you can't watch Dora for the rest of the morning", or " the rest of the afternoon."  As telling them, "you won't be able to watch Dora for the rest of the day" is too long for a 4 year old.

So since my child is now 2 (28 months to be exact), I decided to dust off my old VCR and pop in the Cookies, Choices and Kids VHS tape to show my husband the Oreo Cookie theory so he can start using it.  This is the video I talked about here.  I first watched this video 15 years ago and loved it!  It's not the best quality and super old, but I decided to record it on my phone from my TV (I know, super technologically savvy) to show you all the main principle in it so you can see what I'm talking about.  Not the fanciest way to do it, but when you have a newborn and a 2 year old at home, cutting corners is my new way of life.

If you want to order the full DVD (which I recommend) you can order it here.  Also, if you click on the link, there is a video clip of it on there as well (click on 'view video' at the bottom).

Just a quick background on the clip.  The man speaking is Dr. Landreth, the father of child-centered play therapy, retired professor but still presents at workshops up at UNT.  He is speaking in front of a group of moms about giving choices and the video is circa 1992.

How has choice giving worked for you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One More

Okay, so I am still debating about those monthly subscriptions I posted about here.  AND I just came across a new one that I am adding to the list and thought I would share with you, in case you were trying to decide too :)

It's called Little Pnuts and runs 25.00$ a month.  It's geared for children aged 0-5 and it comes with a box filled with 3-5 age-appropriate toys.  They claim to be the best in sustainably made, ecologically friendly, organic, and naturally made toys. They don’t offer battery operated toys, nor, the traditional big brand market toy.

Super cute!  Sigh.  Which one do I go with?  Decision, decisions.

I also recently got rid of my phone land line and was super happy to be saving my family 30$ a month, yay! Only to come across these monthly subscriptions that I CAN NOT resist.  So if I get one, it's putting the 30$ to good use now right?  I mean, our phone line was only being used by telemarketers anyway :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Immediate Gratification

Do we give in too fast with our kids, or do we try to teach them to delay gratification? I know I've discussed this before here, but it comes up again and again for us in our family.  As I was reading one of my baby books last night, the authors debated this question with newborns.  They wondered if picking up a newborn baby at every cry taught them to be spoiled or if it taught them trust-that we were always there for them?  Ahem, I prefer the latter theory.  Sorry, but I don't think their brains are mature enough to be manipulative or enough to learn how to wait.

But what if you have toddlers or school aged kids, do you always give in to their wishes?  If you're out shopping and they beg for the sugar cereal, do you buy it for them? Or what if your kids beg to be taken to the park. Do you do what they say because it is a healthy and fun activity, or do you say no because you want them to learn that they can't always get what they want?  Or what if you are out and they ask for a candy bar, and they haven't asked for one in a long time and have been doing really well in school and behaving well at home? Hmmm....

I guess the big question is, at what point do you feel like you are giving in to your kid's every demand?

With toddlers, I know it is easy to give in because they whine sooo much and you just don't want to listen to it.  And if you set limits, they will continue to ask and ask and ask even when you say "no".  It's a hard age AND it's even harder to say 'no' since they are so cute at this age.

So in our house, it's taken some practice and trial and error.  My little girl whines at times but it's hard because she isn't quite at the age yet where she will understand the limit, "I can't understand you when you whine, please ask me in your normal voice," or the ignoring technique for whining.  She doesn't understand what the word 'whine' means anyway, plus she just started really talking, so I don't want to set a limit on her speaking right now.  So when she whines, "mommy, I want milk!" I usually tell her she has to ask me in her 'nice' voice, and to her that means saying, "please." :) So for now, that's all she can handle.

I definitely don't want a little Diva on my hands in the near future either.  You know, the demanding, spoiled little kids that get whatever they want, mini Verucas.  They're the ones that most kids don't want to play with because they don't know how to share, and it's all "me, me, me".   I know we will have a lot of work cut out for us to avoid this and it will take a lot of patience.

But since I don't think you can spoil a little newborn baby, at what age do you start setting limits and not giving in to every demand?  When they start crawling, or walking?

I think right around the age they can start getting into stuff, like electrical sockets or pulling on lamps is good practice to set limits, even though they don't understand it, but just saying it so they can get used to hearing, "I know you really want to pull on that lamp, but it's not for pulling on because it can fall on you," and then move it (aka child proof) so they won't be tempted again.  So a little here, a little there, so they get the idea.  And then increase it as they get older.  But still keeping their developmental level in check and not expecting too much at their young age.  No, an 18 month old should not be expected to pick up every toy off the floor at clean up.

So what about the crying and not picking them up debate? I still haven't stopped doing that and my child is 2.  Well, not if you count the 10 minutes of off and on crying during her sleep training, but that's a whole other issue.

What do you guys think? At what point is picking them up and coddling them spoiling and where do you draw the line?  Hmmm, that gives me an idea.  With so many discipline questions I get from readers, I am thinking I may start doing a few child parenting book reviews on here, even though my fave is still How to Talk :)  Stay tuned....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Monthly Goodies

I LOVE getting things in the mail.  When my Amazon Mom stuff arrives each week, I get so excited.  Even if it's just a box of baby wipes, I love hearing the UPS truck stop outside my house and dropping the package at my front door!  Even my little toddler gets excited and always exclaims, "open Mommy, open!"

So when I heard about these new monthly kid subscription packages that companies are mailing, I was doing a happy dance and couldn't wait to sign up. Little packages with goodies inside for my kids AND they come every month?  Just too cute!  And I love that each package is a surprise.  I can just see us getting the package and my 2 year old's eyes lighting up as she rips it open.

Problem is that there are a few too many to choose from, how do you decide?  I've researched and found the best ones below.  If any of you have subscribed and have feedback, please let us all know about it in the comment section below:

1) Citrus Lane: (25$/mth): Children's toys and beauty/bath products


With Citrus Lane, you get a box every month for $25 filled with cute and practical products recommended by real parents. It's like having your own team of personal shoppers dedicated to finding the best products for your child.  Each month they send you a box centered around a theme you and your child can enjoy.  The box changes each month based on the season.  It will always be geared for your child's age and stage.

2) Wittlebee (39.99$/mth): A children's clothing care package

This kit is all about cute kid's clothes.  Fill out the online profile about yourself and your child, and then then they'll create your custom box. You then receive about 100$ worth of children's clothing each month, but for only $40 a month!


3) Bluum: (11$/mth) A care package for moms and babies. (Sign up online as there is now a waiting list)

This company had me at 'there is a special treat just for mom inside each box.'

Each month, the bluum box comes with toys and baby/kid beauty products and is tailored to your babies age, development stage and your personal preferences. As your baby grows up, so does the product selection.  Past boxes have included things like:

  • Creams (Stretch Mark, Rashes)

  • BabyFood (Organic, Natural, Dried)

  • Wipes (SuperGoop Sunscreen, Teething Wipes)

  • Toys (Rattles, Plush)

  • Learning (Books, Smartphone Apps)

  • a surprise for the mom!

4) Spark Box Toys: (3 options from 34.99$ to 22.95$) 4 educational toys in each box Netflix style

This company works like Netflix.  They send you a box of high end educational toys (they say that of the 29 brands they use, only 8 can be found at Toys R Us), and then once you are done, you return them and they will send you a new box of toys.  That way you are trying out new toys and when your child gets bored, you can then return them and get a new box.  The ages they offer are from 6 months of age up to 4 years old.

- Free shipping and no late fees.  They require a 2 month commitment and then you can cancel at anytime.

-You can get a box every 4 weeks for $34.99 a month, every 6 weeks for $ 27.95 a month or a box every 8 weeks for $22.95 a month

5)   Little Passports ($12/mth):  A package filled with educational material from different countries

Little Passports is like a ticket for a global adventure. Your child will get a box each month filled with materials to help them learn about a country's geography, history, culture, and language in a fun and memorable way. This monthly package is geared for children aged 5-10 years old.  This service sounds really cute and such a fun educational experience for kids!

6) Kiwi Crate ($19.99/mth) An arts and crafts box

Each month, a box arrives for your child aged 3-7, that has arts and crafts supplies geared to a theme such as dinosaurs, flowers, colors, etc. The crates that are delivered each month are designed around fun themes and filled with all of the materials and inspiration
for hands-on projects.  AND the other great thing about this company, is you can add on an additional child for $7.95 a month, so no more fighting over who gets to do the activity each month!  Click on the link above to see sample projects from each month.

7) Gift Lit (cost varies depending on the plan)  A monthly book subscription

This subscription service is described as a 'gift' book service and offers books for babies on up to adults.  As an example of their baby category, you can select board books, educational books, new baby parenting books, or bedtime stories.  If you select board books, you get one book a month for $7.50.  If you choose bedtime books (more classic hardbacks) it is $18 a month.  This service is different in that it's not a surprise each month, but is good in that you as the parent can log on and see what book is scheduled to arrive and you can always change it if needed.  The only thing I don't like about this one is that shipping is not free, it's 5$ a month.

8) BabbaBox ($29.99 a month or $299.99 annually) A monthly service filled with educational and fun activities for kids

Each box comes with 2-3 activities for children aged 3-6 years.  Each month there is a different themed box complete with all of the supplies needed to complete the projects, plus they also give instructions for additional downloads and games.

The box pictured above was for the theme 'gratitude' and came with the following:

-A camera and photo album to take pictures and show what they are 'thankful for..'

-A Serving Tray: kids create their own serving tray to serve others first.

-Thank you cards: decorate, write special messages, and send thank you's with our pre-stamped envelopes included.

-Hot Pad: paint stamp a special message on this hot pad to gift.

-A beautifully illustrated book titled Giving Thanks that takes you on a nature walk with a dad and son.

9) Wonder Box  ($19.99/mth or $58.99 billed every 3 months plus an extra gift) An activity box for Kindergarten readiness:

This monthly service comes with a fun educational activity box geared for children ages 3-6.  Each box comes with 3 projects hand-picked by experts, plus extra treats. The picture above was for the theme, 'Once Upon a Time' and included a puppet making project, a cape project for imaginative play and story cards to help teach sequencing.  Each box also tells you what skill your child is learning such as gross motor, number sense, etc.

So there you have it, a complete list of the kid subscription services.

But what about more mommy packages?  We need pampering too.  That's where companies like Birchbox and Glossy Box come in.  I was on the list last year to get into Birchbox bandwagon and finally got in this year but still debating on getting it.  For those that haven't heard of that one, it's a box full of beauty samples, and me being a product junkie, it has been hard to pass up for 10$ a month!  And Glossy Box is another new one where you get 5 sample products a month for 21$ a month and are more fancy high-end products than Birch's.

Would love to hear which ones you've tried or heard good things about.  Sigh. Decisions, decisions.