Creative ways to spell L.O.V.E.

My husband and I celebrate 25 years of marriage this year!

What has enabled our union and our boys to thrive?  The glue is called love, in its many spellings 🙂
Love as L.A.U.G.H.
Love as L.I.S.T.E.N.
Love as L.E.A.R.N.

Love as L.A.U.G.H.

My husband has an amazing sense of humor.  When tension rises, he brings humor into the situation which enables us to communicate respectfully and productively once again.

Laughter gives us just those nanoseconds needed to let steam diffuse before we explode.  Phew.  It’s nice to be nice.  I hate myself when I act and look like a raven pecking at my kids (or something worse)

Learn to laugh at yourself:

What situation gets you M.A.D.?  Imagine you just landed from Mars and saw someone in that exact situation, what would they see, hear, and smell?  Could there be something funny about that?love love love and listen

Love as L.I.S.T.E.N.

Soooo much easier said than done.  Through my parent coaching I have become more aware of my own TOTALLY FLAWED behavior.

My most common blooper is to “listen” with my mouth open.  The children call it “giving lectures.”  Yet as tots become teens, connecting with our kids means giving them space to grow.  When I speak less, they share more.

[bctt tweet=”When I (parent) speak less, the children share more. Love is spelled L.I.S.T.E.N.”]

Learn to listen:

Write down some of the words you tell your partner and children.  Hand the list to them and ask them to read these words out loud to you.  Stand 2 meters (2 yards) away from them.  Step forward if those sayings motivate you to closeness.  Step back if those words aggravate you.  Compare your ending position to where you started out.

Invite your loved ones to add to the list and try this again.

ONCE you have shown your loved ones how you listen, invite them to “hear with their feet” too.
love love love and learn

Love as L.E.A.R.N.

Together time gets a boost during vacations.  Our family thrives on physical exercise and some kind of discovery.  It’s one of our values to embrace diversity, to move beyond our comfort zone, to choose being wonder-filled.

We ask our children all the time to stretch their knowledge (learn at school), to stretch their effort (one more bite of dinner, please), to stretch their patience (just one minute longer….)

Discovery as a family enables me to model the attitude we hope to grow in our kids.  As I struggle through my own learning, I also gain in empathy with my kids.

Learn to encourage:

It is also encouraging to cheer someone on while at their side.

Haven’t you done or been in the situation where well-meaning people act like this:  they advance faster than you and turn back to encourage.  With the distance between you, they have to scream at the top of their lungs, “KEEP IT UP.”  Their words shouted in the distance sound fumbled.  Their body language looks angry (we shout better with feet apart and a certain facial grimace!)

When we are learning we are vulnerable.  Encouragement through proximity truly passes on the message, “We’re together in this.”

Which L.O.V.E. will you apply today?

THAT is THE question!!!!

 

Cover photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

 

Boys jumping for ball

Enjoy Kids NOW. They grow up!

Dear SoSooper (and previously Home Is Fun) readers,

For eight years I (Denise) blogged on Home Is Fun and shared photos and life in a diversity-filled couple with four energetic boys, all born within seven years.

Time has flown. As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, shares, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

[bctt tweet=”The days are long, but the years are short. @Gretchen Rubin”]

Boy-and-baby
“Fragile? What’s that mean?” Welcome home, tiny tot!
Terrible (and terribly funny) two's.
The terrible (and terribly funny) two’s.
Family-vacation-small-kids
Is this “vacation” or “extra work”?
Boy-guitar
When the guitar is bigger than they are…and nonetheless, the sound still rings out loud and strong! “Do you like my song, Mommy?” “I love you, darling. :-)”
Family-first-ties
First time wearing ties. Mixed responses…like to most novel experiences. Throughout Mom & Dad still put their best face forward.
Boy-electronics
When the generation gap stops being a concept but a daily reality.
"You can do it, darling."
“You can do it, darling.”
Kid_powder_skier
When finally all that practice pays off. After innumerable falls (and try-overs) they assert, “It was hard. And I did it!”
Family-pyramids
When the family encourages seeking adventure together…
Boy-extreme-sports
…and Mom & Dad worry when the children seek their next challenge to overcome.
Graduation
And in a few short years, they fly on their own. It’s what we hoped for them all along. Bye bye baby. HELLO NEW RELATIONSHIP!!!
Brothers hug
There was a time when I was in the energy-management business: expend theirs & conserve mine…
Boys grow up
…now the future’s so bright…they take the shades off for the photo 🙂

May YOU enjoy YOUR children NOW.  Before they grow up.

(And take pictures, no matter how bad a photographer you are. I did!)

Try spending 5 minutes this week simply observing one child without à priori. Just watch him/her.

Better yet.  Admire him/her.  

(Choose to do this for your “problem” child.  It’s transforming 🙂 )

This works for teens as well as for tots. They might engage you and ask you to join in a game. For these five minutes let them know that you are admiring them and will join them in a few moments. You can even invite them to put on the timer!
Parents who have done this exercise marvel at their children. They are indeed beautifully and wonderfully made!

For more family news, we celebrate 25 years of marriage! (Read about the glue that keeps us together.)

 

Cover photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Anger Management – Transforming Moods like Winter into Spring

Business took me to the Swiss Alps for an early morning meeting, so I chose to travel the night before and mix work with pleasure, decision-making with mountain hiking.

A light snow fell upon my arrival in the evening dampening both my body and my mood.  Anger?  No.  Apprehension?  Yes.

In Paris attire (albeit with walking shoes), I trudged one half hour through the wintry wet to settle in for the night.  My plan:  early to bed and early to rise.  Hike three hours from my mountain village to the town in the valley in time for our 10:30 meeting.

Winter outside.  Without Anger Management, winter lurks inside the soul too.

Winter magic clothed the trees in the morning.  Gentle flakes transformed these grey giants into lace.  Grey lace.  The sun had yet to shine of these latent beauties…only to destroy their flaky glory.

Snow on trees
Grey lace of snow dusted trees in early morning light.
Smoke from the chimney
Still cuddling by the fire…at breakfast time! Someone got up EARLY.

Camera poised I set out to capture their beauty…and slid on the thin layer of black ice that paved the road.   Immediately my focus was brought low, literally to the ground.  From high and wondrous thoughts to fear and frustration…and annoyance multiplied over the loss of my moment of magic.

Isn’t that the same with our moods?

We can be flying high with soaring spirits and CRASH down to earth…or worse.  Anger management, where are thou?!

How Sweet is Home?!

My kids’ behavior can do that to me.  I think “Home Sweet Home” only to discover “Jungle Wild Jungle.”  Strewn shoes, coats, and backpacks block my way to the front hall closet so that I no longer feel welcomed home.  Next the sound of video games accost my ears…on a weekday when the children are supposed to be reading, writing, and “arithmetizing.”  You probably get the picture.

Great mood.  Yucky temper.  In one second.  Anger management, HELP!

[bctt tweet=”Great mood.  Yucky temper.  In one second.  Anger management, HELP!“]

The Neuroscience of Anger Management

Neuroscience reveals that our brains are incapable of reasoning during moments of high stress.  We’re stuck in emotional responses, subservient to fight or flight.  It’s like the connections between our logic and our feelings has been interrupted.  In order to find solutions, be creative, and even understand the folk speaking to us, we need to reconnect the upper and lower spheres of our brain (the cortex and pre-fontal cortex).

Anger management is a physical phenomenon whereby broken communication pathways rejoin.  By calming down, a person allows this uniting process to reoccur in our brains.  (FYI, full upper and lower sphere connectivity in the brain is capable as of 25 years of age.  Kids and youth can nonetheless get close.)

Dr. Jane Nelsen, in her book on Positive Discipline, refers this reintegration moment as a “Positive Time Out.”  I cherish the name given by parents in one of my Positive Discipline classes: “I want my Cozy Corner.”

Anger Management in Action…
Literally Walking into It 🙂

My hike down the mountain led me to Cozy Corners of my soul.  Reconnecting my rational thinking with my disappointments of today (they’re not that huge, after all) and my hopes for tomorrow (they’re totally attainable still!!).  Bye-bye vexation.  Hello expectancy.

First I noticed the sun tinge the tips of the snow-frosted trees.  Light and warmth will soon melt the ice below my feet.  They will also melt the glaze on the trees.  Tough moments also hold their magic.  The glass is also half full.

Snow on trees
Tree tips reaching for the light. A ray of hope…
Snow on trees like lace
The sun did come out tomorrow. Bye-bye ice…and farewell lovely lacy trees.
Winter into Spring
The Dividing Line : Winter into Spring & Early morning into Daytime

Even anger holds its treasures.  Consider frustration as a sign that something should change.  Fury may even fill us with the energy to explore an alternative behavior.

Managed Anger Makes Room for Positive Emotions

My enthusiasm grew with the anticipation of a fear-less walk.  So did my patience.  Like Annie in the musical, I could bet my bottom dollar that the sun would come out…even sooner than tomorrow.

Hope heralds forbearance, a valuable resource for every parent and child.  Is “now” always the best time?   Think of when you last called the children to eat dinner.  NOW!  Remember when your precious one wanted admiration…while you were on the phone.  NOT NOW!

With every step down the mountain, Spring grew and grew.  Trees lost their white hue and adopted a green undertone until I reached places where plants paved the soil and petite bright green leaves fluttered above.  The ground burst with lilies of the valley about to bloom.  “Do they grow better in mountains?” I mused…

By now the sun poured through the branches and colorful flowers cheered my route.

Dents du Midi in Spring
Spring budding in the Alps
Carpet of lilies
Do lilies of the valley blossom earlier in the mountains?
Tulips in vegetable garden
Tulips and veggies. The good garden.
Dents du Midi in spring
Spring blooming in the Alps…and you & me bursting with anticipation & joy?! It’s my hope 🙂

Again, my thoughts soared to hopes and beauty and wonder.  This time with additional thankfulness that I had passed through the icy uncertainty so that I could fully embrace the benefits of Now.

Anger Management Tips for Today & Every Day

“Apply this to your life,” thought I.

You too?

Here is what my winter-to-spring walk showed me about anger management:

  • It is O.K. to be frustrated. Annoyance is a sign that something should change.
  • Glum spirits hardly enable change to happen smoothly or effectively.
  • Calm down before seeking resolution to a problem. The perspective will be TOTALLY DIFFERENT and opportunities will be found.
  • A great way to calm down is to think of or do something that brings joy.
  • Challenge may not be enjoyable. Having overcome one does feel awesome!

P.S. On the train ride home, I regaled in the fluorescent yellow fields of “colza” (rapeseed for high in omega 3 oils!)

Colza or Rapeseed
Cool Colza !

Planning familial des tâches ménagères – Hourrah! Vacances pour tout le monde

Vacances = plus de plaisir 🙂

Vacances = plus de cuisine, de nettoyage … et de corvées!

Quand les tâches domestiques tombent toutes sur maman et papa, les vacances prennent un air de travail.

Lorsque la famille ENTIERE participe, les vacances resplendissent de joie 🙂

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Boys bury brother in sand
Du sable sur la plage…et dans la douche !
Child planting seeds
Plantation dans le potager…semence de terre dans la maison !
Trotinette-cross
Tapis d’herbe…l’herbe sur la moquette !

Créer un planning familial des tâches ménagères

Et si on transformait un défi en opportunité de partager de l’amour ?

Vos enfants qui laissent trainer des jouets, des vêtements, et même des miettes, vous les aimez.  C’est leur comportement inapproprié qui vous rend dingue !  Dites-le.   « Je me sens aimé(e) quand vous aidez avec les tâches ménagères. »

Les enfants se sentiront appréciés et valorisés. Tout le monde profite de ce partage !

Créer plus de temps pour jouer … pour tout le monde.

Avec notre planning de tâches ménagères « spécial vacances, » tout le monde  met la main à la  patte,  et le travail est plus vite fini.  On commence TOUS à jouer plus tôt!

Le planning “Hourrah! Vacances pour tout le monde” est d’une efficacité incroyable.

Consacrez-y 10 minutes maintenant et gagnez un temps fou (et une liberté grandiose) pendant toutes les vacances.

Dans l’immédiat, clarifiez les attentes et invitez les enfants à choisir leurs corvées.   Tous les jours pendant les vacances, Papa et Maman bénéficient d’une aide quotidienne pour les tâches ménagères.

Qui aurait pensé que le planning de tâches ménagères pourrait apporter tant de satisfaction mutuelle!  C’est un système juste et clair pour tous, qui prend en compte l’intelligence et le besoin d’appartenance de vos enfants.

Nos chéris reconnaissent l’injustice quand ils se rendent compte qu’une personne fait tout le travail.   Ils n’aiment pas quand la vie n’est pas juste pour eux non plus.

Quand on leur offre une responsabilité, nos petits se sentent grands.  «Je suis importants.  Je contribue.”

Planning taches menageres pour vacances

Le « travail difficile » concernant les tâches ménagères est de convaincre les enfants à les faire.  Le planning des vacances facilite cette corvée.  Une fois que les bambins ont participé à la mise en place du planning, le suivi est facile.  Il se peut que les enfants nécessitent un petit rappel.  Quand on leur rappelle qu’il s’agit d’un planning qu’ils ont choisi, les jeunes accueillent ce memento sans rébellion.  « Ah oui, c’est vrai.  Ma tâche pour aujourd’hui… »

Les enfants se sentiront encore plus impliqués lorsque vous leur déléguez le suivi. Quand “JEAN, C’EST TON TOUR DE mettre le couvert…” sort de votre bouche, cela peut sonner comme la sirène de maman/papa-police.   Lorsque c’est un membre de la fratrie, ce même message prend un ton raisonnable, voir même responsable!

Planning des Taches Ménagères – Facile à Créer et à Personnaliser

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Télécharger la fiche pré-rempli des tâches ménagères. Nous l’avons appelé “Vacances pour tous.”

Inviter les enfants à se rassembler autour de vous.  Demander 15 minutes de leurs temps…vous pouvez même mettre la minuterie.  Voir leur laisser le mettre !

Revoir les taches proposées.  Discutez-en.  « En faut-ils d’autres chez nous ?  Qui veut faire le dessin ou prendre la photo pour l’inclure sur le planning ? … »

Attribuer chaque corvée à une personne par jour.  Voici des exemples :

  • Les enfants trouvent un moyen de distribuer les taches. La famille fait le point trois jours plus tard pour confirmer que le système fonctionne comme souhaité.
  • Les corvées sont attribuées au hasard. Cela peut-être un jeu rigolo (tirez des noms d’un chapeau…)
  • Les taches sont sélectionnées pour le premier jour. Une rotation est mise en place pour les jours suivants.  Chaque personne fera chaque tâche à un moment pendant les vacances.
  • …. Surprenez-nous et partager votre manière de faire (voir les commentaires ci-dessous)

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Témoignages

[av_testimonials style=’grid’ columns=’2′ interval=’5′ font_color=” custom_title=” custom_content=”]
[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Jeanette, mère de 4 enfants’ subtitle=’Quand les Petits enseignent aux Grands’ link=’http://’ linktext=”]
Merci SOOOO beaucoup pour ce planning des corvées. Nous l’avons utilisé pendant les vacances d’été, lorsque 16 personnes étaient à la maison: mes beaux-parents, le neveu adulte de mon mari, et nos quatre filles … Ce fut un mélange d’âges et de cultures familiales.

J’ai organisé des équipes de deux personnes. Notre fille aînée a été jumelée avec son cousin de 24 ans.  Elle lui a appris à mettre la table!

Mon mari a été surpris d’être mis au travail … et d’être rappelé de «faire ton travail” par sa fille!

J’étais détendue (presque … nous étions tellement nombreux).
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[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Hugo, adolescent’ subtitle=’Pensées de vacances’ link=” linktext=”]
Bonjour Denise,

Souvenez-vous de moi? Je suis l’ami de votre fils. J’ai pensé à vous (avec le sourire) pendant les vacances!

Mes parents ont fait votre truc pour les corvées en vacances et je pensais à vous!  Après tout, il est normal d’aider … un peu. Nous avons chacun choisi des tâches à tour de rôle.  Tout semblait juste. C’était une bonne idée.

J’espère que vous avez passé de bonnes vacances aussi. À bientôt.
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[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Rayan, garçon de 7 ans’ subtitle=’Merci aux photos’ link=” linktext=”]
Salut. J’aime les images. Elles m’ont appris à bien mettre la table. Ma mère ne m’a pas dit comment mettre la table ; elle m’a montré les photos.  J’ai copié.  Et j’ai bien fait mon travail !  Ma mère m’a félicité. 🙂

Post-scriptum Ma mère m’a aidé à écrire cela.
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[av_testimonial_single src=” name=’Diane, adolescente’ subtitle=’Fini les injustices’ link=” linktext=”]
Bonjour.  J’ai fais du baby-sitting pour une famille qui avait ce planning afficher sur le frigo. Pour préparer le dîner, c’était FACILE car j’étais aidé avec la bonne humeur !   Les enfants m’ont expliqué leur système et chacun savait quoi faire.  J’ai pris une photo de leur tableau et je l’ai mis en place chez nous.

Fini les demandes injustes de mes parents pour aider lorsqu’ils le voulaient.  (J’avais arrêter de traîner dans la cuisine avant le repas parce que j’allais être mis au travail !)

Maintenant, nous (mon frère et ma sœur aussi) savons qui fait quoi et nos parents sont beaucoup moins sur nos dos…presque….
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Home is still fun with SoSooper

Thank YOU, faithful Home Is Fun readers, for having helped me grow.

I now coach parents (individually, in groups, and via the Internet) using an approach called Positive Discipline and even lead workshops in the professional realm.  The name, Home Is Fun, just does not cut it in the office, so we’re changing.

logov2_smWelcome to SoSooper.  We turn bloopers into opportunities for super relationships.

SoSooper provides effective tools for parents to overcome challenging situations with solutions that are simultaneously firm and kind.

You can now find your parenting tips on SoSooper…and with a French friend and younger mom, we are launching the site in French!

Be a Product Tester

I have joined a start-up incubator, the Founders Institute, to move from dream stage into tangible and downloadable products.

Would you like to test them out or to find out more?  Send us a message below.

We added your name to the SoSooper newsletter list.  Look out for our messages in your inbox.  And please pass them on!

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Happy Birthday Wishes – Million $ Dollar Birthday Chair

One of our favorite Happy Birthday wish is to seat that special person in The Birthday Chair.

High Bang for Buck Happy Birthday Wishes

Boy blowing up balloons for birthday party
Wishing himself a Happy Birthday! “Can I help decorate the Birthday Chair?”
Happy birthday chair
Happy Birthday Wishes for ME!
Brother giving happy birthday wishes
Happy Birthday Wishes serenaded with the kazoo!

This balloon-decorated chair gets big bang out of little time, energy, and funds…and it does it every year. For less than $1, your precious child feels like $1 Million!

Decorate one chair BIG TIME: at least 6 balloons and as many streamers. The chair goes in the middle of the room where the kids (of all ages) gather for the presents.  At Birthday Cake time, he gets the star seat.  It’s the throne on which he reigns during the Birthday Story Telling.

Make it ultra special by kindly yet firmly reserving it for the birthday child; it’s part of letting him know he is one precious kid.

Happy Birthday Wishes – Telling the Birthday Story

Do you know what happened the day you were born? Loads of people—and surely your child—want to know about theirs.

Regale your precious one with nuggets of news.

“Dad admired you first. Mom could not see past her tummy!”

“When I took you in my arms, I discovered an additional love. It wasn’t sharing the love I had for others; it was MORE.”

“You were almost born in the taxi!”

Easy Peezy Happy Birthday Wishes

– Tie up balloons into bunches of three.

We use extra-long strands of ribbon and curl the edges…à la gift wrap.

Why 3’s? One three-balloon group has LOADS more impact than three singles. Try it; you’ll be convinced too.

By the way, florists recommend displaying flowers in odd numbers (think 13 red roses, but not next to the balloons).

– Use multiple colors, sizes, and shapes of balloons.

(If you’re using long balloons, include two long ones in your bundle of three, and choose your colors intelligently. Word from the embarrassed wizened!)

– Tie the bundles to the chair so that balloons are visible from all angles…think photo opportunity.

– Throw curly-cue party streamers on top of the concoction…even better, get the siblings or your child’s friends to do so. The Birthday Chair will gain in precious-ness.

The kids revel in the Birthday Chair every year. Grandma does too.

Birthday_Wishes_Grandma_3
Grandma, in her Birthday Chair, sharing her happy wishes…at the liberation of Paris after WWII!
Birthday_Wishes_Grandma
Oh, the Happy Birthday fun for kids of all ages in the Birthday Chair.

Improve Communication Skills by Speaking Your Message in Multiple Ways

“What did he say?” inquired the American.

“Qu’est ce qu’il a dit?” asked the French. (It means, “What did he say?”)

We roared with laughter all the more at their mutual translations AND growing frustrations.

“What did he say?” “Qu’est ce qu’il a dit?” “WHAT did he say?” “Qu’est ce qu’il a DIT?”

They did not change words, just the volume.  Even so, we could barely hear them we were laughing so loudly.

Here is the moral about communication skills:  If the message isn’t getting across, say it differently.  

[bctt tweet=”If the message isn’t getting across, say it differently.”]

Skateboard championships at base of Eiffel Tower
International skateboarders compete looking out onto the Eiffel Tower
French communication skills: a show
Behind Notre Dame
Teenager commemorating Napoleon
Showing off Napoleonic attire.
World map made of flowers
A globe made from flowers, covered in glass. Alive and fragile.
New York City skyline taken from Empire State
From the top of the Empire State Building
Times Square in New York City
Times Square in New York City
Teenager at Wall in DC
At the Vietman Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

Improve Communication Skills by Re-Phrasing Your Message

Do your kids respond, “WHAT?” to “I love you.”  Try, “Daaaaahling, you are so precious to me.”

Repeating the message with different words is a fundamental communication skill taught in multi-cultural contexts.

Are you feeling the generation gap too? Our children are from another culture!  When you don’t understand your kids, ask them to rephrase for you.  Teach them effective communication skills.  “Whatever, Dad” does not cut it.

Hone Communication Skills Using Varying Love Languages

Chores need to be done and calling out her name is not generating the desired response.

  • Is she sensitive to touch? Go to her, give her a 30 second shoulder massage, and tell her it’s time for the chores.
  • She responds better to gifts? Write her a note and fold it up into a paper airplane to remind her dishes are waiting and need to be done quick as air mail.
  • She loves shared moments. “Honey, while you put the dishes in the dishwasher, I’ll ____ (choose from your looooooong list) in the kitchen with you.”

You come up with the ideas for affirmation and acts of service or learn more about love languages, these highly effective communication skills.  They are fascinating.  And they make a difference.

Communicate by Captivating Additional Senses

Have you noticed how at work we “sell ideas” by engaging multiple senses.  PowerPoint is this communication tool par excellence.  Receivers SEE and HEAR simultaneously.

Yet at home we speak instructions (sell ideas?!)  When that does not work, we use more voice.  (Reinvest in our losing strategy?!)  And, if you are like many parents, we scream!

Ooooops.  How does that rank in modeling positive communication skills?!!

Try these Power Pointers show-and-tell guides for your children. Some folk need to see to believe.  The kids may have heard parents repeat it 1000 times, when they see the photo of children brushing teeth, they respond, “Oh, yes.  I do have to brush my teeth.” 

Maybe your child needs to touch it to understand it. One mother walked into her child’s room, tied a string to his bed, and walked out unrolling the string. He got up and followed her! (Pied Piper or Wacky Mother. Either way, it’s worth discovering.)

Improve Your Communication Skills

Hummmm.  This might be embarassing.

Do you sound like a broken down record?  Try to express the same message in a multitude of ways:

  • You probably already tried asking nicely (a.k.a. The Command)
  • As a question
  • With simpler vocabulary
  • As a game (“Time to brush teeth.  Race you to the bathroom!”)
  • Without words (a kiss, taking her hand, and walking to the bathroom together.  When (!!) she resists, pause, smile, get eye contact, and start up again.)
  • With humor (“Dear Wall, Do YOU hear better than my kids?  If I had a magic wand….”)
  • With love.  “Thank you, sweetheart.”

Encourage Appropriate Behavior in Kids: Parenting Tips inspired by Snow!

It has been snowing all week.  Every day.  All day.  Every night.

We go to the mountains to have snow, but deeeeep down, here is my real wish:  I awake every morning to optimal ski conditions.  Abracadabra.

Snow fall, ski slope grooming, and snow plowing would have all happened during my sleep 🙂

Do parents have a similar wish for their children’s good behavior?

Mom or Dad ask for a clean room.  Like magic children’s toys are put away, the floor in spotless, the books are neatly stacked on the bookshelves, the bed is made, and the desk is cleared and ready-for-work.  “Aussitôt dit.  Aussitôt fait.”  Say the word, and it’s done.  Just to our liking, no less!

No need for any teaching, training, or follow through!

We moms and dads must have received our parenting tips straight Mary Poppins and Nanny MacFee.  Or maybe our children were born with an innate understanding of what parents consider appropriate behavior…

Ski cabin "Shelter" in snow
“Abri” means shelter

Children skiing and falling in snow

Cars covered in snow

Appropriate Behavior – Down to Earth Parenting Reality

Just as we adults benefit from training in our jobs, children benefit from training in order to be able to behave well.

[bctt tweet=”Like adults who get training in our jobs, children benefit from training in order to  perform well. “]

Think about it.  Did our sons and daughters clean their room in the womb?  Did our babes learn proper table manners at the breast?

We parents often teach through discipline.  We tell our kids what is wrong.  “Your room is messy.”  “Elbows off the table, please.”    

How do they find out what is desirable behavior?  Is there a more appropriate and encouraging way than through trial and error?

Would you like your boss to keep on telling you, “NO,” until you get it right?  How motivating is that?!

Snow Inspired Parenting Tips for Teaching Kids

1. Enjoy the magic of NOW

Earth stills when snow falls. 

Sounds are muted.  Senses are chilled.  Worries from the office seem faaaaaarrrrrr away.

These extraordinary apprenticeship years of our kids are precious and last such a short while.   Sooner than later our kids graduate and move out.

What life skills and talents do our children take with them as they go out on their own?  THIS is our parenting vocation.

My mother is celebrating a BIG birthday and we are writing her letters of thanks.  I realized that I have many more memories with her AFTER having left home than while I was a child.

The birthday parties I recall through photos.

Here is what I remember through experience and which lives in my soul:  the ambiance of love, the assurance that she had time for me, and her belief in my potential (especially when I acted out of line).

These qualities are communicated by savoring the present.  The magic of small successes.  Noticing appropriate behavior.  Appreciating hard work.  Encouraging me to persevere.

Aren’t those life skills you wish to pass onto your darlings?

Happy grandma cuddling children

Loving grandmother keeps grandkids coming home

 

Admiring grandmother taking photos

2. Slow down before crashing

I love skiing FAST.

Except when there is no visibility and I wonder if I am about to speedily crash and plant my face into fresh powder.

When it snows, it is time to slow down.  Just a tad.

When your child misbehaves, might it be an invitation to shift into a lower gear? 

  • What is the cause of the inappropriate behavior?
  • Do the children even know exactly what is expected of them?
  • Do they have the capability of carrying out those tasks?
  • What could help them succeed even better?

In manufacturing circles, we refer to a bottleneck: THE operation that slows the entire process down.

No matter how much we improve other aspects of the manufacturing cycle, the process will only improve when we address THAT critical juncture.

Where is the weak point in your child’s ability to carry out your request?  Slowing down helps you observe your sweethearts and identify their appropriate behavior “bottleneck.”

Are they not listening to instructions?

That’s a sure guarantee of misbehavior!  So, the parenting issue to address is getting their attention before giving instructions.

Bend down to their level, make eye contact, smile, and THEN stipulate, “Honey, it is time to clean your room.”

Do the toys not have a home?

Playthings are tumbled into a box.  To reach that one desired game, your child rummages through the entire stack (a.k.a. dumps them all over the floor).  The issue is too many toys or finding a better way to store games.

“Sweetheart, you like a comfy home.  Your toys want to be more comfortable too.  Here are two boxes: toys-at-home and toys-on-vacation.  Do you want to choose which toys go on vacation this week or should I?  YOU can change every weekend!”

Slowing down helps identify your child’s unique bottleneck.

3. Break down the big job into smaller steps.

When it snows, visibility is reduced which renders many skiers less comfortable on the slopes.  That’s when we CONSCIOUSLY rely on ski technique:  bending down further to propel us through the turns in heavy snow, maintaining supple knees to  absorb obstacles we no longer see, keeping our body weight correctly balanced over the skis…

Many of these gestures we do without thinking…until it snows and we once again recall and apply our technique.

In a similar way, when training the kids, why not break down a large task into its many smaller bits.

If our initial instructions (ex. clean your room) seems foggy to the kids, let us help them return to their comfort zone by reviewing the individual steps required for success of the total “project” (and securing appropriate behavior can seem like a PROJECT).

A clean room means

  • Nothing on the floor
  • The bed is made…and nothing is hiding under it
  • Clothes are put in the appropriate drawers
  • Toys and books are placed their assigned home
  • The desk has space to be able to work correctly

Appropriate room cleaning behavior: make bed

Appropriate room cleaning behavior: stack books

Appropriate room cleaning behavior: clear desk

Think of our children’s tasks like a gourmet dish.  There is a recipe to follow.  Step by step.

If it’s good enough for the best chefs in the world, I’ll give it a go in our home too 🙂

4. Specify the criteria for “acceptable behavior” and “very well done.”

After snowfall, some slopes get plowed and others are left virgin.  Different strokes for different folks.

A good skier can master the smooth surfaces even with minimal visibility.  An excellent skier dances through the powder.

“Sweetheart, a cleanish room is when the bed is made and the clothes are off the floor.  A super-dooper-totally-awesomely-amazingly-clean room is when you also put your socks in the sock drawer, your shirts in the shirt drawer….”

5. Celebrate performance

A steaming hot chocolate and warm (greasy) fries taste especially delicious when coming in from difficult ski conditions.

“Darling.  Well done.”

Teen boys and kids warming up from skiing

Upon leaving our mountain chalet, we clean up.  Kids help with the chores.  During one vacation with my sister and her family, our Make-A-Loud-Fuss son resisted doing his job:  to clean the bathroom sink & mirror.

She taught him the secret to super-shiny-bathroom-cleaning (Spray the chrome with window cleaner.  It sparkles!) and off he went.

He made the chrome sparkle.

My sister rounded up the crew of siblings and cousins and they ALL marched to the bathroom to recognize a job well done.

Since that day, Mr.Fuss REQUESTS bathroom cleaning.  He is the recognized family expert on appropriate bathroom cleanliness.  We have delegated to him the responsibility of coaching his brothers on quality control.

That’s a win-win situation!

Children parade to congratulate appropriate behavior
Ready? Set. Go! checking out the spotless bathroom.

Children parade to check out clean bathroom

Proud teen and admiring brother
Our cool dude still takes pride in “clean.”

Helping our Kids Learn Appropriate Behavior

How would you and your family’s life be different if you took a fresh look at a “bad news” situation?

  • What one special thing can you appreciate about this time of life right NOW?
  • What is REALLY happening? Slowing down enables fresh observation.
  • What behavior do you, the parent, desire? What are intermediate steps?
  • How can you help your children differentiate between good and great?
  • How will you encourage REPEATED excellent behavior?