Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Keeping kids busy during the summer

“Who cut their hair on the couch?”
“Why does the dog have one blue paw?”
“Where did all the kitchen chairs go?”
These and many more questions like these are not a good way to start summer vacation.
My experience as a mother of three children, including twins, has taught me that it’s easy to entertain a child, but not so easy to keep them busy. Allow me to explain the difference.
It’s easy to put on a movie for your toddler or allow your tween all the computer time they want to keep them occupied or from destroying the house. On the other hand, it takes more effort to give them opportunities to grow and develop into independent, well-rounded, active, self-sufficient young people.
It wasn’t without difficulty, but I taught my preschoolers to help around the house. I involved them in my daily chores: folding towels, mopping floors, preparing meals, etcetera.
I had to let go of some of the perfectionism. The towels weren’t always folded to my liking. The floors sometimes needed to be re-mopped, but I wanted them to learn that they weren’t too little to be an active part of the upkeep of our home and that it wasn’t all mommies job.
I’m now reaping the benefits of their early training. I have three children who are helpful, compliant, and carry-out household tasks with little to no whining.
Here are a few of my tips for keeping children actively engaged in things that will benefit themselves and the family:
Early to bed, early to rise, even in the summer
Allowing your children to set their own sleeping schedule in the summer, doesn’t do anything for them in the long run. If anything it will teach them to be disappointed adults. Sleeping-in isn’t a regular part of any productive adult’s life.
Even though it’s summer, our regular wake-up call has only been pushed back by a half-an-hour and a decent bedtime is still enforced. Everyone still enjoys a full eight hours and nobody sleeps the day away.
Fun first, then play? Really?
We’ve adjusted our schedule so that the kids aren’t helping around the house during the cooler hours of the day and then refusing to go out to play when it the temperature climbs, thus spending the whole day inside the house.
Instead, we eat breakfast and then play outside or exercise, which for kids is one in the same.
When it gets hotter outside, that’s when we do chores inside. As it begins to cool off later in the day, the chores are finished and everyone can do as the please. It may sound like putting the cart before the horse, but it’s worked for us.
Let them know what is expected and what they can expect
When Secret Agent Man decodes sensitive documents or protects State secrets, he gets a pay check.
I want my kids understand that if want something , just like dad, they have to earn it.
On a daily basis, my kids know it’s their job to take care of the pets, unload the dishwasher, set the table, and maintain the cleanliness of their bedrooms and bathroom. On top of that, each day I give them a list of other things to do around the house.
Just like a real job, the completion of everything that is expected is met with a payment. Sometimes it’s money or trips to the pool, or extra time to play video games or watch TV.
It would be easier to let them be free-range children over the summer and do whatever they feel like doing, after all, “they’re just kids.” But, then how will they ever learn the value of time, self-reliance, and how to be an asset, instead of a liability?
I think it’s worth the extra effort especially if it will help avoid more couch haircuts.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Best Bachelorette Recap on the net

I couldn't have written it better myself. So I didn't, Amanda of "It's Blogworthy" did. Comedy gold right there my friends. Clickety here to read the Bachelorette bloggy goodness.