Monday, November 30, 2015

Laughing Matters

Happy thoughts today!   So no teaching today.... I just want you to enjoy your children!  PLAY!
  • Build a fort, 
  • sing a song, 
  • do a puzzle, 
  • play a game, 
  • blow bubbles, 
  • face paint,
  • read, 
  • finger paint with pudding, 
  • pull them around on an old blanket, 
  • dance, 
  • play dress up, 
  • paint a fence with water, 
  • build an obstacle course with pillows and boxes, 
  • living room picnic, 
  • build a spaceship.

Best advice for today?  LAUGH!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Two Words to stop yelling, rudeness, meltdowns, and more!!

Two calm words to stop yelling, rudeness and power struggles (and more!)

I have to tell you that this idea came from my daughter.  Where she heard it first, I have no idea, but I LOVE the results she sees when she uses these words.  I now teach them in every class I teach on discipline.  Parents come back with positive results!   I would love to flood the world with these two words!

 "Try again"

Wow!   Two simple words.  

When are children are speaking rudely, excitedly, not using manners, yelling, meltdowns, not sharing, hitting, eye rolling, bad language, loud, anxious......(the list goes on) then try "try again".

Think of what results you can get.   It is a reminder that their tone, body language, or words are not appropriate and they need to stop and try it all over. When they "try again" and it's appropriate, then answer calmly with your response. Don't remind them that they were wrong the first time.  They already know this from your "try again" response.  

These words work well with all children.  They work even with the most challenging situations you and your child may be experiencing. My four year old grandson has been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and the words "try again" help him to stop and regroup and focus on what he wants to say.

The 2 word simple phrase also works with all ages; toddler to teen.  

One reason (among many) that I love these two words is because they respect both you and the child.   

Words of caution:   You may be doing this over and over throughout their childhood/teenage years. This will be common as our children are still learning.  

Good news is you will find having to use it less and less as you don't engage in power struggles.

REMEMBER:  You are actually encouraging and teaching more by using these two simple words than any lecture or yelling or power struggle ever will teach!  

Side effect: this keeps YOU calmer too and less stress and anxiety in the home.  

So....Try "TRY AGAIN" 😉 *Editors note* - Christie here (Laurie's Daughter). My son (he will be 5 in January) was diagnosed recently with Sensory Processing Disorder (read about it here!). Not only are most of his senses overloaded with more stimuli than the average person (their brains do not block out the stimuli that normal brains block out because it is unimportant or irrelevant to their current situation) he also sometimes do not receive enough stimuli to certain senses, causing SPD kids to SEEK it (you will commonly find my son watching TV upside down, simply because it adds more stimuli to his brain).The emotional reactions to said stimuli (or lack thereof) is also hard to manage for him, because his brain is trying to hard to manage all the other stimuli going on around him. Sometimes, he just gets WAY too excited about something, and usually ends up yelling too loudly, or running up to Nana and crashing into her on his way to one of his rare hugs (hugs aren't a thing usually because he doesn't like the way it feels - stimuli thing again... touch is a hard one for him). Sometimes he just doesn't know why he is sad or overwhelmed so he tries to make up reasons that he is.
ANYWAY, one time while on a trip to visit my sister, I heard her use her "try again" with her children. It worked so well! I came home and started using it on my kids (specifically my son, who was not yet diagnosed). It is WONDERFUL! Sometimes due to lack or too much stimuli around him, he doesn't know how loud his voice is, or too whiny, or too mean, or rude, etc. But if I simply say "try again", he stops and thinks "oh... how did I say that? why do I have to try again?" and it helps HIM to realize what he is doing. If I simply tell him, he can't tune out other stimuli enough to listen to me. But if HE figures it out, he does a much better job at correcting the problem himself! At first I had to explain to my older kids what I meant by try again. But once they caught on, all I have to say is "try again". And now my 2 year old knows what I mean by it, because she has seen me use it with the older kids. Awesome! Seriously, try it for a while. It will change your life!

Friday, November 20, 2015


In light of recent happenings and events in the world, this word has been on my mind as I think of children.  My thoughts are on our children and those who live in the areas that are bombarded with hatred.    I see the courage these children have on a constant basis.  Going to bed at night, some looking for food for their families, others watch friends and family die, some are dealing with death in their “peaceful” countries.  
I believe OUR children need to learn this word, COURAGE.   They may never have to deal with a war torn country (we hope, we pray) but it is around their world constantly.   Technology shows us what is happening all over the word in an instant!  We all know this.   Some of our children see this and don’t understand where these events are happening and it causes great anxiety and fear.
We need to shield our younger children as much as possible.   These little ones aren’t reading the news or going on the internet, but they see and they hear.  I learned this a few years ago when there were devastating floods in our area.  I had picked up some of my grandchildren that very day to stay with us for a week.  It was all over the radio and tv.   We watched the news all day.  As adults we are aware that often the same event is shown over and over on the news.   To my grandchildren, as they heard it while playing or saw it on tv, they thought it was happening all over again.  Every time they saw a broadcast of the floods, it was new to them.  Turn off the tv, or watch when they aren’t around.
The same thing happens when we watch events all over the world.  It may be the same event, but to young children this is happening again and again.  
Children who are in school are going to hear and see things.  They may even study these events.  This can frighten some children.  Teenagers, of course, know what is going on and there are those that are afraid (although they may not express this).
Communicate with your children.  Watch their expressions, the things they say and even the things they don’t say.    LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN to them.
I would like to add another suggestion:
We need to teach our children to have courage; courage in the words they use, courage to stand up for that which they believe, courage to face another day, and courage to look at the good in the world.  They need to have courage on the playground, courage in their families, courage in the schools, courage in their workplace, courage on the sports field, and courage in the world.
This starts with telling them what courage means.  Talk about the word often, point out times they had courage, read books, tell them stories of courageous people (including yourself).  Children may surprise you at some point how courageous they can be.  One of our young grandchildren stood up to a bully who was picking on a friend with a disability.  That is COURAGE.  If they learn courage in their little world, it is easier to have courage in the big world.  When children feel courageous they will have power within themselves; power to change the world, power to stand up to those that are mean or evil, power to do what it right.
Model courage yourself.  Be a change in the way people talk about others.  Have courage to say something when you see someone who is not being treated fairly.  Have an attitude of courage.
Having courage, even just an understanding of the word, gives our children hope in whatever circumstances they are in.   It gives them power to handle the situations they see in this world.  For some children, it gives them life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

American Thanksgiving

The American Thanksgiving Season is upon us (Canadian Thanksgiving for us was in October). With that in mind, here is a link to an adorable Gratitude Tree! I love this idea for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Hanukkah, or whatever you happen to Celebrate this season!  Such a cute idea to help get your kids in the grateful mood, no matter what you celebrate. Have you kids help build the tree, find a place for it, and have help them cut out the leaves (under parental supervision of course). Have the older kids help write the younger kids' ideas. Love it! Thanks to The R House for this adorable idea!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bridges of Communication

“Mom, are you listening?”  “Dad, can I please, please, please?”  “No one ever listens to me!”  
Does this sound familiar?  If so, then let’s talk about communication and listening.  Listening  to your children shows respect.  Why is it that we expect them to always listen to us, yet we sometimes tend to ignore the things they are saying.   Granted, I will give you the fact that you are busy, you are possibly trying to listen to many young people all day long.  I get that.  Having said that, sometimes just listening to what your child is saying is enough to stop them from constant pleading or talking.
When communicating with others, we can set up barriers or bridges.  We want the communication in our homes constantly flowing, so building bridges is ideal.  Barriers such as dams in a river, will stop that flow.  Let’s look at some examples:
Threats – “If you don’t stop yelling, I’m sending you to your room!”
Lecturing – “If you don’t finish your homework, you will never get into university, and if you don’t get into university, you will never be able to support your family.  Get that homework done because you need to get those good grades.....”
Questioning – “Why did you...”  “How come you....”
Always giving advice or solutions -  “You should do this...”
Orders – “Take that trash out now!”
Blaming – “YOU ALWAYS make a mess...”
Denying feelings-  “Don’t feel bad...”
Can you see how each of these will stop communication?

Now let’s talk Bridges of Communication:
Stop what you are doing and listen with your whole self.  Look them in the eyes.  This takes time at the moment, but may save you plenty of time when there is not power struggle or whining.
Don’t blame the child,  look at the problem –example... “I see there is a mess on the floor!”  This gives the child a chance to tell themselves how to solve the concern.
Use the correct tone/body language – When we use a good tone with our children when making requests or speaking to them,  we are showing them respect.
Often just a word or two is better than a lecture.  Children will listen better is you just say something in a few words.  “boots off”,  “clean bathroom”,  “keys please”,  “homework”.
Watch your questions.  -  It’s ok to use questions such as “how could you have handled that differently...?”  “how do you see it...?”   If you use questions at all, make them thought provoking and not questioning why they did something.
You don’t always have to have a solution – “guiding them by listening and acknowledging is often the best route to take”
Understand that they are feeling the way they do – Acknowledge they have a certain feeling, even if you don’t think they should.  They will tell you how they feel if you let them.
Remember... after listening your answer may still be “no”.  If this is the case, simply state... “I heard what you said, and my answer is no.”  The acknowledgment that you heard may be enough to stop the whining.  (They may be mad you sad no, but that is ok.  Disappointment is an emotion that children need to learn to handle)

These bridges of communication are goals we all need to strive for in relationships.  Believe me,  you want your children talking to you... not their peers.  If you don’t feel like you have that communication now, use these techniques and I guarantee you, it will get better!

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