Saturday, September 21, 2013

Repost: Six Ways to Discipline Children -- That Work!

What's the best way to discipline children? Get tips from the pros by reading this WebMD feature by Joanne Baker.


It’s hard to deny the importance of discipline. "Discipline has to do with civilizing your child so they can live in society," says psychiatrist Michael Brody, MD. Yet many kids repeatedly test their parents’ limits. When it comes to disciplining children, there is no quick fix and no magic bullet.
If you, like many parents, have tried to discipline kids who don’t want to listen, this article is for you. WebMD asked parenting experts for tips on how to discipline kids without being a drill sergeant, or a pushover.
Discipline Tip # 1: Reward Good Behavior
When punishment is the centerpiece of discipline, parents tend to overlook their children’s best behaviors. "You’ll get a lot further with positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement," says Mason Turner, MD, chief of psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. Rewarding good deeds targets behaviors you want to develop in your child, not things he shouldn’t be doing.
This doesn’t mean you should give your child a pound of chocolate every time he picks up a paperclip. "There are grades of positive reinforcement," says Turner. "There’s saying ‘good job. I’m really glad you did that,’ when your child cleans his room." And there are times when your child does something extraordinary that may warrant a larger reward.
Discipline Tip # 2: Be Clear About Rules
If your rules are vague, or discussed only when one has been broken, your child will have a hard time following them. "It’s up to the parent to make clear what’s expected of the child and what isn’t," says Brody, who chairs the Media Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Be sure to explain the rules of the house when you can speak clearly and your child is not too upset to listen.
James Sears, MD, a pediatrician in Southern California, suggests practicing discipline when it works for you. For instance, when you have 30 minutes to spare, interrupt your child’s game and tell her you need help with something. If she helps, great, do a quick and easy chore together and let her go back to her game. If she throws a tantrum, you have time to deal with it. "If you do that every once in a while, your child will understand that when Mommy says I need to put my toys away, I need to do it," says Sears.
Discipline Tip # 3: Neutralize Arguments
How do you deal with a child who wants to argue into submission? Steer clear of no-win arguments.
Instead, "go brain dead," advises Jim Fay, co-author of Parenting with Love and Logic.For instance, if your child says, "This isn’t fair," say, "I know." If your child says, "All of my friends get to have this," say, "I know." Or you can use the phrase, "And what did I say?" to enforce rules you have already discussed with your child. Sometimes the less you say, the more clear your point becomes.

Discipline Tip # 4: Buy Yourself Time
You may have read that children need to experience the consequences of their actions as soon as possible. And maybe you’ve heard that parents should be calm as they discipline children. In reality, you may not be able keep your cool and react right away.
"Buy yourself time to calm down before you deal with the situation," suggests Fay. You can tell your child, "Wow, bad decision. I need some time to figure out what I’m going to do about that." When your emotions are in check, express empathy for your child first, then deliver the consequences. Empathy gives your child room to connect his behavior to the outcome. "You don’t have to get angry at kids, you don’t have to yell. Just allow it to become their problem," says Fay.
Discipline Tip # 5: Be Consistent About Rules
Sometimes sticking to the rules is as challenging for parents as it is for kids. Sears sees too many parents turn the other cheek when their kids talk back or otherwise act out. "Parents just are not consistent in enforcing rules," he tells WebMD. Not enforcing your own rules puts everything you say into question. "If kids don’t know what to expect from their parents, they never really know what the rules are."
You may want to back down for fear of ruining your child’s fun. Keep in mind that kids benefit from limits. Rules and structure give children the security of knowing their parents are watching out for them. As kids get older, you can take a more flexible approach. Around the ages of 9 and 12, kids should get "a little leeway to test out the rules," says Brody. "But always be very careful about safety."
Discipline Tip # 6: Model Good Behavior
Like it or not, your children are watching you. You can dole out as much advice as you want, but your personal conduct makes a more lasting impression than your words. "The number one way human beings learn is through imitation and copy," says Fay. If you want your child to be honest, make sure you practice honesty. If you want your child to be polite, let her see your best manners, at home and in public.
The fact is, raising disciplined children is not easy. Despite your best efforts, there will always be good days and bad days. For evidence, look to the experts we interviewed for this article. Even after years of working with families, all four shared stories of their own children’s meltdowns or misbehavior. "As a parent, you’re constantly pushing your own limits. It’s the toughest but the greatest job I’ve ever had," says Turner.


Ingrid Callot gives sound advice on motherhood through her Twitter account.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Repost: Tips for Cleaning House with Young Children in Tow

Involving kids in doing household chores is a challenge that every parent faces. Learn some tips on how to make your kids interested in helping you with chores by reading this article by Christie Burnett.


I am a big believer in involving young children in household chores (that are suitable to their level of development) as I believe that these early experience can help to instill positive habits for healthy living for many years to come. And toddlers and preschoolers make fabulously willing cleaning helpers when you make the cleaning experience fun!

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Here are four ways to make cleaning time fun…

  1. Make it a game: Adding a playful element like seeing who can match the greatest number of sock pairs or having a race to see who finishes their respective packing away chore quickest, helps to make cleaning and packing away interesting and engaging for young children.
  2. Give your child fun tools to use: We have a cabinet with long glass shelves which Immy loves to dust. She carefully removes all of the photos and other trinkets displayed and then comes her favourite part of the task – spraying water on the shelves with a small spray bottle! She then wipes the shelves clean with a cleaning cloth. The simple act of giving her a spray bottle of water makes the task great fun. I know other children who love the novelty of using the vacuum like a grown up, or sweeping the floor with a short handled broom.
  3. Add music or singing to your cleaning tasks: Turn up the volume on some catchy music or sing a simple song like, “This is the way we mop the floor, mop the floor, mop the floor,” which can be adapted to almost any cleaning task.
  4. Use a timer: Set an old fashioned kitchen timer for three minutes and set a simple cleaning challenge for your preschooler.

What sorts of tasks can young children do?
I think children from the age of two can be involved in any of the following tasks, with varying levels of assistance and supervision depending upon their age;

  • Dusting
  • Putting dirty laundry into a hamper
  • Folding laundry: Folding small items like tea towels, matching socks or even finding separating all of their own underwear from a big pile helps to reduce the time you need to spend with the laundry.
  • Putting away laundry: Make it easy for your child to put away their own clothes by making it clear which drawer is for which type of item of clothing and not having too many clothes in each drawer.
  • Unpacking the dishwasher
  • Tidying up toys: Separating toys into their own containers and labeling the containers can make packing away toys easier for young children.
  • Sweeping up mess: Spending a little time teaching your child how to use a dustpan and brush now can save lots of time in the days to come.
  • Cleaning up spills: Keep a basket or drawer in the kitchen (which is easy for your child to access independently) for cleaning cloths that can be used for wiping up drink spills. A small spray bottle of water kept nearby might be useful as well.
  • Setting and clearing the table: At three years of age, Immy has been setting our table for some months now. And older toddlers and preschoolers can help to clear the table of dishes and condiments as well.
  • Cleaning in the bathroom: Wiping down sinks and counters, scrubbing the ring around the bath and cleaning the shower screen are all tasks which young children can help with.
Some final advice for keeping your child engaged and involved in household cleaning tasks are;
  • Be consistent about your expectation that they will help.
  • Work alongside them. Children are more likely to be involved if you are too.
  • Keep tasks as independent as possible for your child and resist the urge to do over what they have done (yes, you may have to let go of standards just a little!)
  • Rotate chores to keep it interesting.


    Get more tips on parenting and home-making from this Ingrid Callot Facebook page.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September: A glorious time to do gardening

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Every year when September comes along, I sometimes feel my interest for gardening declining a bit since I am inclined to think that the growing season is just close by. However, right after summer is a very crucial time to do backyard gardening to ensure a bountiful garden in the year ahead. September is a great time to plan, purchase seeds and materials, and plant for next spring's garden. Plus, the sunny weather can inspire homeowners to do all sorts of gardening. In my own home garden, for instance, I expand it with a different kind of plant every now and then. Here are some plants that I found to be perfect for home gardening this time of the year:


I agree with this BBC article that planting native hedges makes a unique garden feature. Hedges not only produce a varied range of berries and flowers, but they also attract birds and insects into the garden.

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Spring bulbs

Spring bulbs, like daffordils, tulips, and crocuses, are best planted in autumn. This article from The Telegraph provides some tips for planting bulbs.


Yahoo! Voices suggests planting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, English peas, and potatoes in September or October, and you can expect a harvest in about two weeks.

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By spending quality time in the garden and planting at this time of year, you can reap the wonders of nature and learn to appreciate home gardening.

I’m Ingrid Callot, and I love planting in my very own little garden at home. You can read up on related topics by following me on Twitter.

Operation crafty: DIY creations out of used materials

Hello! Those of you who have been following me online know that reducing, recycling, and reusing old items is how I celebrate the environment. These three Rs benefit not only Mother Nature but also my family’s savings. As a bonus, I get to be crafty and creative. The following ingenious ideas have inspired me in making something old into something worthwhile again:

Ice cream containers (like those from Breyers® )

Summer might have made you consume more ice cream than you’ve ever imagined – I know I have. And because the hot season is over, you can make good use of those old ice cream containers. They are great for organizing small things, including hardware items, handicraft items, and children’s toys. They can also be used as ribbon or thread organizers. Ice cream containers can also do well in the garden as seed containers or alternative flower pots.

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Milk cartons

You can plant seeds in them after cutting off the top, poking a few holes in the bottom for drainage, and filling with potting soil and vermiculite. A milk carton can also serve as a cooler by placing a glass or bottle of drink inside and filling the carton with water and placing it in the freezer. This is a more creative way of serving cold beverages than just placing them on an ice bucket.

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Wallpaper samples

You can use them as a cabinet or drawer liner to make things slide out more easily while giving your cabinet a richer look. Wallpapers can also be used to design bookmarks, gift boxes, greeting cards, and even recycled jar lids.

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With a little imagination and source of inspiration, getting crafty can turn old things into a piece of art. All these you can do while making Mother Earth smile with gladness.

I’m Ingrid Callot, domesticity queen and lover of everything DIY. You can get more of my ideas on related topics by following this Facebook page.