Sunday, March 28, 2010

Parenting Tip #32 Thank You!

The music teacher at my children’s school once showed me a piece of paper he had folded up in his wallet. It was a thank you note from one of his students many years ago. He said he kept it so that on the “bad days” it can remind him why it was he became a teacher.
How can we teach gratitude to our children? Probably the best way is to model it for them. Our children need to hear us say thank you. Around the home we can say thank you to children who quickly obey, or do their chores, or are kind to a sibling. They can hear us say it to our husbands. Outside the home they can hear us say it in the grocery store, in the library, at school, Church, everywhere.
Besides saying “thank you”, how else can we teach our children to express gratitude--by writing down our thanks on paper. When expressing thanks, we should be specific. A daughter-in-law wrote me a wonderful note of thanks and listed all the things she had noticed I had done and prepared for their family when they visited us. That meant a lot to me to see that she had noticed and appreciated my efforts.

You can even teach your baby/toddler to say thank you by signing the words.

My grandmother was from Sweden and as a child we liked to say “Tack så mycket”. Want to say thank you in a different language? Check out this site:

Go to this link for a wonderful true experience of how a thank you note impacted someone’s life.

Share with us ways you have taught your child to express thanks. And, last, but not least-- THANK YOU for reading my blog!

Music Tip #32 Where's Baby? Chant

Here's a fun chant that you can say with your toddler, using a cloth, scarf or small blanket. We said it at our Baby Signing Class using sign language for some of the words.

Where's Baby?
One little baby boy [girl]
Singing through the day.
Two little baby boys[girls]
How they love to play!
Three little baby boys[girls]
Eating with a spoon.
Four little baby boys[girls]
Looking at the moon.
My little baby boy[girl]
Loves to hide from you.
Cover up my baby
'Til Mommy [Daddy]
says Boo!

Use the cloth/blanket during chant to tickle, play, eat and hide baby.
Repeat using the words girl or/and Daddy.
Words to sign: One, two, etc, baby, boy, girl, singing (which is the sign for music),play,eat,moon,mommy,daddy.
From Baby Sing and Sign by Anne Meeker Miller

Here's another fun chant to say with your baby, toddler or young child. Place him on your lap and bounce him as you say:

Two little sausages frying in the pan.
One went POP!
The other went BAM!

On the words Pop and Bam you can bounce your child high, or tip her to the side or whatever! Say the chant several times in a row, getting faster and faster. You can whisper the chant, then say it loud. Use lots of variety and have lots of fun!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Parenting Tip #31 What Part of No Don't You Understand?

What part of NO, don’t you understand? Have you brushed your teeth and made your bed yet? Have you finished your chores? Piano practicing done yet? Because I said so!
The above questions/statements are common in a mother’s repertoire of everyday conversation. But one week many years ago, I was sick and tired of saying the same thing over and over again to every child. So I got ingenious—I wrote each statement on a piece of construction paper, punched two holes at the top, then threaded a piece of yarn through the holes and wore the stack of papers as a necklace around my neck. Woa-lah! Everything I needed to say all day was right there hanging around my neck. Now instead of wasting my valuable breath, I just went up to a child, whipped through my papers until I found the right saying and held it in front of his eyes, smiling gleefully while he read my question. Then I pointed him in the right direction and went looking for another child.

We had a lot of fun that week. If I didn’t happen to be wearing my “necklace” and an incident or question arose, I ran and quickly put it on my neck and showed my comment without uttering a sound.

Looking back on that week, if I had the chance to do it over again, I would add some pages to my necklace. I would add “Thanks for doing your chores” and “You’re awesome” but most important I would add a page saying, “I love you!” and I’d be sure to put that one on top.

Music Tip #31 Music expresses that .....

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” Victor Hugo We all know music is tied to the emotions. Music helps us release feelings, helps express joy, sorrow, pain and happiness. Music is beneficial for our brains, our health, our memory and well being.

Music is being widely used successfully with handicapped and autistic children. It bridges the language barrier and builds a form of communication not available to children and parents before. It opens the door to language and social skills. The following are just a few of the sites I found online that give examples of music helping autistic children.

If you have further information or first hand experience, please share your comments with us.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Music Tip #30 Sing and Sign with your baby

I'm teaching a really fun class at ASU for toddlers and their parents. The class teaches ASL signs to babies/toddlers through music. I'm sure lots of you know the benefits of teaching sign language to babies--and a lot of you have probably already done it. I found a great book that has lots of ideas, songs, pictures of people/children signing and lots of games, books to read your baby and tips on using the songs with your baby. Plus it contains the CD of all the songs. And it only costs $1.99. I ordered a book, thinking the CD must not come with it, but it does! The shipping cost more than the book ($3.99), so if you know some friends who might like a book/CD too, you could go in with them and share the shipping price.

Here's the link:

Well......I just checked out the website, and now they're charging $5 for the book!! What happened???? There are some used ones though for less than a dollar. Take a look at the site if you're interested.

Parenting Tip #30 Why 2 Parents are Necessary

My son was out of town for a couple of days. While he was gone, my daughter-inlaw had quite an adventure when she took the 3 kids to a restaurant by herself. Here is the email she sent, which was pretty funny:

"Ben is out of town and I decided to take the kids out to dinner. We decided to try the brand new K.F.C. They had a buffet and I thought cool I can feed me and the kids for $15. Now for those of you who are gagging at the thought of K.F.C you have to understand.....When you live in a town as small as ours if a new business opens up its a big deal. So my first mistake was assuming that I could handle three kids at a buffet by myself. Let's just say that chaos theory doesn't even begin to describe my kids. By the time my kids have finished their first helping and have gone back for seconds I am barely sitting down with my first helping. My kids of course are bored [while I try to finish my meal].

That's when the real fun begins. Connor decides to eat a small starlight mint. Then he pesters Elise during which a squabble ensues and Connor swallows the mint. Next Connor is gagging and screaming because the mint get's stuck halfway down his throat. So Maya decides to start screaming and jumping up and down on the booth seat. I grabbed Connor to take him to the bathroom so that if he actually Vomits the other people don't lose their food too. During which time Elise watches Maya while Maya bounces and says "Connor's Gonna Die!" I am still trying to decide if that was in a worried tone or a gleeful tone as Elise insists.....

So Connor and I are in the bathroom. He's gagging and freaking out but he can still talk and breathe. I am trying to decide if the mint is still stuck or if he thinks it is still stuck. After a minute of this gagging stuff I decided that I should probably get help so I start to drag Connor out of the bathroom...As we leave the bathroom Connor give's one more gag and throws up the mint and his dinner right outside the bathroom door. I hustle Connor back into the bathroom towards the toilet. I grab paper towels and clean the mess up as best as I can. Connor then says he feels better and we go back and sit down. Now my food is cold but hey, I paid for it and I was going to eat . After three kids and having pretty much every body fluid known to man tossed my way and then cleaning it up I have developed nerves of steel and a cast iron stomach.

Half way through my dinner Connor blurts out, "Hey, mom what's an x-rated movie, and why would naked people getting shot be funny? How old do you have to be to see an X- rated movie? Why do you have to be that old to see one? What's the difference between X-rated and R-rated? Do you know that two kids in my class have seen R-rated and X-rated movies? I still don't understand why sticking your middle finger up is bad; what does that mean anyways?" I was never so relieved to leave in my life. I am also Super happy that Emergency services did not need to be called, nor a trip to the E.R. It also made me realize how much I miss Ben and his support."

And THAT is why 2 parents are necessary!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Parenting Tip #29 The Self-Control Club

For two weeks I had been focusing on helping my children use more self-control in their lives. I wanted them to use their time more wisely and stop fighting with each other. But one Sunday night I was feeling very discouraged and felt that the “Self-Control Club” idea I had started had flopped as I listened to fight after fight all day.

I was talking to one son after he had just had a fight with his sister, who was in the other room crying. I told him what a failure I felt I was and that no one was learning self-control. He indignantly said, “No, sir, Mom. I’ve learned self-control. If I hadn’t had self control right now, Faith (his sister) would be dead! But I controlled myself and didn’t beat her up!” Ah, children!

Looking back through the years to that experience, what have I learned? That my son HAD learned a little bit of self-control and a little is better than none at all. I learned that as parents we have to keep trying to teach our children little by little. I learned that it takes time for children to learn to control themselves, their choices and impulses and as parents we must allow them time. We can’t get discouraged and just give up. It is our duty and responsibility to teach our children. And re-teach them. Again and again. And then when we see a tiny bit of improvement, we can pat ourselves on the back and say, “Wow, they actually were listening to me!”

Music Tip #29 The "do" pitch

We’ve talked about the sol, mi and la pitches. There is another pitch I want to teach you but first you need to sing “Ring Around the Rosies” to yourself. What were the main 3 pitches? Of course, sol mi and la. But what about the very last pitch of the song, the one that goes down very low. What pitch is it? It’s “do”, as in doe, a deer a female deer…(from the song Do, Re, Mi). Not counting the early preschool songs that only contain sol, mi and la, most songs end on the pitch “do” because that is what makes the song sound finished.
Mary Had a Little Lamb, London Bridge, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, hundreds of songs end on do. It is the first and last note of the scale. It is the tonic note and it sounds complete and right to end on it.

ASU Class 3rd Week

We had a special guest come visit our class on Saturday. Greg Phair brought his son, Matthew, and his trumpet to play for us. The children didn't react at first because Greg had his mute on, but as soon as he took it off, all heads turned to him (except ______, who was too interested in the balls).

Greg played an old folk song, Old Black Joe, then joined in playing some songs we danced and moved to such as the famous "Ring Around the Rosie" and "Bought Me a Cat".

It's fun to see some of the toddlers signing. Now if only I could capture them on my camera! Parents, that's your challenge, take a picture of your child signing.


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