Monday, May 26, 2014

Wandering around pinterest and this post about "Tricky People are the New Strangers" popped out at me. So I followed the bunny trail and read the article. It is pretty good, you should read it. The comments following will drive you batty though, so I will warn you about that.

Basically it is an article explaining to parents why teaching your child "not to talk to strangers" just doesn't work. I completely agree. We never have given that advise to AJ as he needs to talk to strangers all the time and often it is us as parents encouraging him to do so.

As he is getting older he needs to gain the confidence to speak up when needed. We encourage him to ask questions, be assertive - that means speaking to strangers often. We have stopped ordering for him in restaurants, he is the one who needs to ask if he can make substitutions or ask for a refill. When travelling last summer we went through a drive-thru and our order was wrong. I gave him the receipt and sent him back in to get it fixed. It's a little scary for him at times, but he gets better each time and is proud of himself afterwards.

We also use times when we are out to teach manners. Not just please and thank you, but things like looking people in the eye, speaking up and not mumbling, asking others questions about themselves and really listening, holding the door and looking for ways to help someone else. The Boy Scouts call it "do a good turn daily".

These things don't just occur naturally for everyone, some need more practice than others for it to feel natural. So, look for opportunities everywhere and let your child feel a little uncomfortable every now and then. It's the stretching of their wings before they fly!

Friday, May 23, 2014

It's Summer! - Part three

Part of my summer that seems inevitable is the phrase "Mom, I'm hungry." Over and over and over and over..... you get the picture. Now, I have a boy, he's nearly 11 years old and I get that filling him up takes some doing, but here is a conversation that takes place multiple times a day -

AJ: Mom, I'm hungry.
Me: You just finished eating.
AJ: I know, but I'm hungry
Me: What do you want?
AJ: I don't know. What can I have.
Me: Fruit, string cheese, yogurt, carrots.... Goes away for 2 min ...
AJ: Can I have chips?
Me: No, you already had chips today
AJ: So what can I have?
Me: Fruit, string cheese, yogurt, carrots... Goes away for 4 min ...
AJ: Do I have to have one of those?
ME: Then what do you want????
AJ: Can I have dry cereal?
Me: You already had cereal today....
AJ: I guess I'll have some fruit. ... Goes away for 2 minutes...
AJ: Mom, can I have an apple?

AAAAGGGHHHH! Every. Single. Day. Over and over. So, I came up with something that I'm hoping will help us both end this cycle.

I did some research online for the recommended daily servings in each food group for an 11 year old boy. I grabbed a stack of colored index cards: red for protein, green for vegetables, purple for dairy, yellow for grains, and blue for fruit. Each index card represents one serving, listed on one are the examples of what is a serving is for that group. On others I have post it notes to list what we actually have in the house that would be a serving.

So now, I can take away the cards for what I'm planning for dinner, he makes his own breakfast and lunch most days and will take away the cards for these. The cards that are left will give him a better idea of what he should be eating for snacks. If he is picking something off of his cards and isn't duplicating something he's already had that day - he doesn't need to ask me!

Ahhhh, I can already hear the silence! Of course, we're not there yet. It will take awhile of us working together for him to be comfortable with serving sizes, combining groups togethèr, and knowing what food goes into what group.

I want to be clear, this isn't a diet. He's not watching his weight, counting calories, etc. He is allowed to not eat all the servings, or to eat more if he is hungry. This is just a learning tool so he can have a visual clue of what he should be eating daily and to try to introduce more variety! He forgets that he has more options than chips and cereal.

I also didn't include desserts, candy, sweets, drinks, etc. He's allowed them on occassion and can ask for them - but he doesn't need a constant visual reminder!

I hope this idea resonates with you if you are in the same situation. Use it as a jumping off point and tweak it until it works - then leave me a comment and let me know what's working for you!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Summer! - Part two

I posted our summer schedule here, but now am expanding on a few things we have planned.

Part of AJ's schedule is a Daily Project. This could say "mom's daily project" because it's him helping me with whatever I want to get done that day. I have plans to go through closets, cabinets, rooms and declutter. Our laundry room needs a major clean out as does our small shed. Going through AJ's clothes and bookcases for stuff to donate. Lots of jobs that he can help with!

Another activity listed is Be Creative. Here are a few ideas of what we'll be doing:
Make abandon art (see below)
Plan and create a RAK (see below)
Make art for the hallway
Write a letter to mail
Create postcards to send
Plan a sleepover party
Science projects
Learn a new recipe
Get a learn to draw book and practice
Take pictures - scavenger hunt
Paint a project
Learn a new game

For our Be Active catagory we planned things for both at home and out and about. We are going to try and incorporate a RAK ( Random act of Kindness) each time we head out.

RAK ideas:
Hide $1 bills around the toys at the $ store
Tape ¢ to gumball machines
Gift for our mail lady
Gift for abus driver
Hand out homemade blessing bags
Hand out lottery tickets
Take a treat to our dentist office
Hand out flowers
Hide toy treasures at a playground
Tape popcorn to a redbox machine
Take crayons and coloring books to ER waiting rooms

Be Active ideas:
Wii fitness
Bike, scooter, skateboard
Night hikes
Library - Bookmans
Walk the mall
Picnic at a park
Water fight
Zoo, museums
Kidnap a friend
Chalk neighbors driveway
Abandon Art

Abandon Art comes from a group I belong to. You make original pieces of art (book markers, jewelry, clay figures, just about anything!), then when you are out you leave them for others to find. They are tagged with a card letting them know it is free and to take it or leave for someone else to find. The tag has a website where others can log in that it was found!  We plan on doing this when we go out as well, hiding book markers in library books, leaving items in bus stops, etc.

Well, I hope this gives you some ideas of fun things to do this summer. I'll be reporting back on how we are doing periodically! If this has inspired you to have a fun idea, please share in the comments. Thanks!

It's Summer!!

Today was our last day of 5th grade, so AJ's summer schedule begins tomorrow. We mostly based this on last years schedule since it seemed to work, but added a few things. AJ does so much better when on a schedule, I get asked a lot fewer questions and he knows what to expect.

We don't have a set wake up time unless we have somewhere to be. The morning part of the schedule is accomplished before lunch, his "break time" depends on how long he sleeps in and how long his morning activities take.

Make bed
Breakfast & 1\2 hour show
Personal tasks (dressed, teeth, etc.)
Dishes - unload dishwasher
Journal & writting practice - 20 min
Reading 30 min
Math skills 10 min
Fix lunch
Walk Cookie
Check recycling & trash
Daily Project
Quick pick up
** 1 hr Break**
Weekly chore
Be Creative
Be Active
Dinner prep
**Break until time to start dinner**
Feed Pets
Dishes - load dishwasher
Personal tasks (pajamas, teeth, etc.)
Read 30 min

His weekly chores this year are: Doing his laundry, cleaning his bathroom, picking up dog messes, dust and sweep, cleaning the microwave, etc.

The next post will be our ideas for the Daily project, Be Creative and Be Active! Stay tuned!