Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Best Part of a Bedtime Routine

Getting your child to settle down and fall asleep can be a challenge but it’s never too late to establish bedtime routines and reclaim some evening time for yourself.  There are some great websites that offer step by step instructions on how to accomplish this:, and

The best activity you can include in your child’s evening routine is a bedtime story.  The website Man of the House has some compelling reasons why you should engage in this activity often.  You can read a story to your child or you can tell a story with your child.  While either choice is win-win for you and your child, telling a story can be a powerful bonding time together.  The click here for some great storytelling tips.

My children were read to a lot when they were young—even when they became teenagers we would still buddy read (take turns).  It was a relaxing way to spend some quality time together while getting a glimpse into what they were reading for school.  Every now and then they'll say, "Remember when we read together?"  It makes me smile to think of it.

Do you read to and/or with your child?  It’s the best twenty minutes you can spend each day.  Leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Helping A Reluctant Child Get Their Face Painted

Has this ever happened to you? You’re at a festival and your child says she wants her face painted. You wait in line for an hour. Then when it’s her turn, she suddenly gets shy and refuses to get in the painter’s chair.

This is actually quite common, but what is a parent to do? Because the painter has probably encountered this situation before they can usually coax your child into getting something painted, such as a design on her arm instead of her face. If that doesn’t work, perhaps you could get something small painted on you! You did wait in line patiently all that time, didn’t you?

The worse thing to do is to get mad and force your child to get painted, especially if they are crying and flailing about. Most face painters won’t paint a child in that instance. It’s not safe and there’s no need to traumatize the child any more than they already are. It’s also not good for business as it might frighten away other customers! 

Has this happened to you?  What did you do?  Leave me a comment.  I'd love to hear from you!

Later, when everyone is relaxed, you could ask your child what made her change her mind? Reassure her that it is okay to not want to get painted. Children need to feel empowered about their bodies.  The face is a very close personal space. From farther away your child felt comfortable with that concept but it probably overwhelmed her when it was her turn.

Other ideas to get her used to the idea:
--Have her watch friends get painted at birthday parties and discuss the pretty designs and how nicely they sat to be painted. She can then ask her friends how it felt.

--Hire a face painter to come to your home. In her own territory she may feel more comfortable. Again, she could watch everyone else get painted before taking her turn.

When I encounter this situation I don’t make the child get in my chair. I have them stand next to me and I just chat with them. I have them put their arm on the chair or table and I tickle them with a dry brush. I make sure I tell them they don’t have to get painted if they don’t want to. But once I put my paints away they can’t change their mind. This usually works.

If the child does decide to be painted I distract them by more chatting and before they know it, I’m done. I tell them they did such a great job. Everybody’s happy. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Parenting and Pets

A parent’s job is never done. Not only are you responsible for your children, but if you have pets it’s important to give them a good life, too. Dogs need to be trained, walked, and played with. Cats don’t usually like to be walked but they do like to be played with and, believe it or not, they can be trained, especially if there’s food involved.

Speaking of training, it’s important to train children to be respectful of pets. There’s a great website called teachkidshow that categorizes the information according to the age of the child. The website for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has some great tips on this subject as well. You will also find some great information on choosing the right pet for your family on the ASPCA website.

How you treat your family pet is crucial. As in everything else, you are the role model for your child. No matter what your pet may do—soil the rug, chew something they’re not supposed to, or the like, how you react will set the example for how your child treats the pet.

A happy, well-behaved, healthy pet is a blessing to a family. The unconditional love and affection that a pet gives back is so heartwarming. It’s worth the work, don’t you think?

Are you a pet owner? How do your kids treat your pet? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Have you seen the writing on the wall?  No, I’m not talking about graffiti or perhaps some crayon scribblings.  I’m referring to the pencil marks that show the growth or your child.  Most families have them in a special place.  Some families even incorporate the annual height measuring into their d├ęcor with an actual painted or pasted ruler on the wall.  It’s a great way to track your child’s growth. 

Isn’t it amazing how time flies?  With another year behind us, it’s a good time to look forward to the coming year.  Have you made any resolutions?  Is your child old enough to make some for herself?  Teaching children how to set and achieve goals is a great life skill.  CLICK HERE for an awesome how-to article to get you and your family started. 

Happy New Year!  May it be filled with much good health and happiness!  What are your hopes for this year?  Leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!