Monday, August 31, 2009

Parenting Tip #3 - Having Patience

I was pregnant with my fourth child and lying on the couch watching my 3 boys wrestle, play and of course, fight. I didn't know at the time I was anemic. I had little energy, was tired all the time and a little depressed. I thought to myself, "how am I going to get through this?" I said a fervent, private prayer asking for patience.

I eventually did get more patience, but it wasn't the way I expected. I continued daily praying for patience until one day I learned that the way to have patience with my children was to enjoy my children. I began watching my children and noticing things about them. How they interacted with each other, how they problem solved, how they thought and came up with solutions. I learned about what stage they might be in ( and how that caused them to act certain ways. As I watched and learned, I became more patient with them. I enjoyed watching them and loved to see how their brains worked things out.

I learned that to have patience with my children, I needed to learn more about them, why they acted the way they did. I needed to enjoy them as they were at the moment. I needed to enjoy the journey, to savor them as they were at this moment in time. My love for them increased and amazingly, I had more patience!

Music Tip #3 - Sing Instructions

Don't you hate it when you ask your children to do something, and they ignore you? You think, "what? are they deaf-- disobedient-- why won't they listen and obey me?"

The problem: They're kids. They hear your voice so much, that sometimes they tune you out, especially if they hear you ask them to do something they don't want to do.

The solution: Sing. Sing your instructions, then whisper your instructions. Now you've caught your children's attention and hopefully they'll quickly follow through with what you've asked them to do.

This can work for toddlers learning to put away toys (Barney's clean up song or teens who need to clean their bedrooms or wash the dishes, etc. Try singing in an opera voice, or country style, or with a proper English accent.

As parents, we need to "lighten up" and have fun. Singing makes for family fun.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Parenting Tip #2 - John, John, the Atom Bomb

My younger brother John, was the typical two year old that got into everything. But instead of growing out of it, he just got better at it and would make one mess after another. My mother would be so frustrated that as soon as my Dad would get home from work she would tell him all the things Johnny had done that day. And when Grandma and Grandpa came to visit (they lived right behind our house), they would get the full blown stories of Johnny spilling flour all over the floor, and Johnny doing this and that. My mother even wrote a song about "John, John the atom bomb" and each verse highlighted all the diasters and messes he had made. My brother, Johnny, became quite the center of attention.One frustrating day, however, my mother was at her wit's end. She didn't know how she could go on much longer with a child like Johnny. Suddenly a thought came to her, "Johnny is getting so much attention by doing all these naughty things, of course he's going to keep doing them." She decided she needed to change Johnny's image. So each night when my Dad came home from work, she would tell him of the wonderful things Johnny had done that day (boy, were they hard to come up with some days!). And when Grandma and Grandpa asked about Johnny's latest exploits, my mother replied, "Oh Johnny has changed. He's the sweetest little boy now. He helps me around the house and picks up his toys."

And guess what? Johnny did change. He became that sweet little helpful boy and grew up into a wonderful man and has been a great father to his six children. My mother first labeled him as a "terror" and that's what he became. But when his label changed to sweet and helpful, he changed too.

Be very careful of the labels you put on your children.

Music Tip #2 - Diaper Song

Does your baby twist and turn and not lay still while you change his diaper? Does your two year old run all around the house with you chasing behind, trying to change her clothes? Try adding music to your child's routines and see if they help get the job done.

Just singing a simple nursery rhyme like "Jack and Jill" or "Here we go round the Mulberry Bush" will catch your baby's attention so you can complete that diaper change with less struggles. Add some silly words to add interest, "Here we change your diaper, sweet baby, your diaper, sweet baby, your diaper, sweet baby. Here we change your diaper, sweet baby, and now you're ready to play."

Don't want to chase your two year old around the house to get her to get dressed in the morning? Make up some words and sing while you're helping her get dressed. Try singing this to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb": First you put your green shirt on, green shirt on, green shirt on, first you put your green shirt on and then I'll tickle your tummy!

How else can you use music to catch your child's attention so daily routines will flow smoother?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Parenting Tip #1 - Training Wheels

Aaron, my third child (and third son) was learning how to walk. It was so fun watching him take a few steps, fall down, then get right back up and try again. My oldest son, Benjamin age 4, was watching his brother fall over and over again and said, "Momma, Aaron needs training wheels, doesn't he?"

Do you ever wish you could have "parenting training wheels"? After failing over and over again as a parent, have you ever just wanted to give up? But watch your toddler as he/she learns to walk. He tries over and over--and eventually learns to walk. We, as parents, can learn to take a step at a time toward good parenting skills and soon we, too, will be riding a two wheeler minus the training wheels!

By the way, this is Aaron today (and he has three children of his own). He really should take those training wheels off because he's a GREAT parent!

Music Tip #1 - Musical Temper Tantrums

Each week I will be posting a parenting tip and a music tip--something that might help you and your child in the daily routine of family life. You don't have to sing well or be musically inclined to enjoy the benefits of these tips. Just try them and see if they help!
Did your child wake up on the wrong side of the bed--nothing you do seems to be what he wants? If your child is having a hard time--no matter if he is 18 months or 8 years old--try singing. This is such unexpected behavior from you, that usually your child will stop crying or at least quiet down and listen to what is happening. Sing a favorite song, folk song, make up nonsense words, whatever. Sing out of tune, in tune, sing loud then whisper. Use variety. Add some tickling. Then some hugging. Get your child busy doing something else and hopefully you'll have averted a major meltdown.
Husbands: Maybe you should try this on your wife the next time she is having "one of those days"!

Feel free to comment and share your experiences with us.


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