Thursday, September 18, 2014

18-24 Month Index

These are posts that I feel are highly pertinent to children in the range of 18-24 months old. 

Discipline (see also Discipline Index)
Gear and Toys
Independent Playtime
Learning Time
More Than Making it Through the Day

Playtime (see also "Independent Play" above)
Potty Training

Thumb/Finger Sucking

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Family Scripture Study

    image source
    I believe it is important to teach your children the gospel at home. It is nice to have church, and a lot can be and is learned there, but the bulk of the learning should be done at home. What better way to do this than through the scriptures? We can't really know the scriptures unless and until we study them. We can't really follow the teachings and laws of the Lord until we know what those are. The scriptures give us examples of how to live. We can apply the teachings in them to our lives today. They contain standards for moral living. They teach us of the life of Jesus Christ. What a powerful tool!

    We study the scriptures as a family each day. Here is some info to get you going.

    For us, family scriptures works best as part of our bedtime routine. Pick a time and place that you know you can be consistent and do it most days.

    Our church has these great children's scripture stories for each book of scripture. We used to read a chapter from those and then a page in the actual scriptures. The stories are nice for children because it gets them familiar with the scripture stories.

    Then we got hectic at night and frankly lazy and went to just reading the scripture stories. This is nice and fine, but I feel like it was a "good" version of a "good, better, best" scenario. Good to be reading something, but I felt like it would be better to read the actual scriptures if we were going to cut something.

    So we now prioritize actual scriptures and cut the illustrated book if we need to cut something out. 

    I love having children read from the actual scriptures. Anyone who can read gets to read some of what we are reading that night. We first started this when Brayden was in Kindergarten, and I was amazed at how much reading from the scriptures boosted his ability to read. It is an ultimate fringe benefit of having your child read even just one verse a night; your child will become a better reader. 

    Having your child read will keep your child following along. You can each have your own set of scriptures to read from and take turns reading.

    As I was thinking about writing this post, it occurred to me that we should be having a prayer before our family scripture study. It can invite the spirit and calm us all down after we have been trying to get ready for bed (does anyone else get grumpy at bedtime?). We can also ask that we can pay attention and learn what we need to from what we are about to read. It turns scripture reading into a scripture study time.

    We end with our family prayer. We all kneel down and take turns saying a prayer each night. 

    It stands to reason even from a logical level that if you are reading scriptures as a family each night, you will as a whole find you have more love and peace in your home.

    Let me caveat, doing something like this with young children (and probably even old children) is not always happy, peaceful, and/or picturesque. Sometimes the kids won't sit still. Sometimes the kids can't stop giggling, poking, or moving around. Sometimes you will feel the precise opposite feeling from peace. 

    This is one of those things that you work on day by day and get those payout moments every so often. One day, your 6 year old will suddenly bring up that scripture we read a few months ago--a night you remember distinctly because you were positive your 6 year old was not paying attention and you wondered why you even bother with this whole thing. Children listen even when you are sure they are not. 

    I will encourage you and say that most of the time, our older three children (9, 7, and 5) are quite good during scripture study. Brinley (2) is still in that rough age where it is work to get her to be quiet, still, and not a distraction. Efforts do pay off some day.

    Do you have family scripture study? How do you do it? What time of day works for you? What benefits have you seen?

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Brinley Toddler Summary {25 Months Old}

    Brinley doing football drills at Utah State after
    a team scrimmage
    This is a summary for Brinley from 24.5-25 months old.

    We had a breakthrough! I was thinking about how Brinley is quite obedient. When I put her down for her nap, I told her she wasn't allowed to cry when I put her in her bed for nap. She said, "No crying?" and I replied, "That's right--no crying." She replied, "Okay." And she didn't! I did the same routine, just added "no crying" to it and it has stopped the crying. It is so fabulous!

    Eating is good, though she is eating smaller amounts. 

    She has always been adventurous in her eating. One day, I made salsa using ingredients from our garden. I let her try it. She took one bite and said, "Nope. Sorry," and she pushed her bowl to me. Then I took the bowl and she said, "Don't like it." So funny! 

    Playtime has been really good. The older children started school during this time. I thought she would be devastated to lose them. She loved having them around during the summer months and loved to play with them. She hasn't really batted an eye, though. I take her on a walk each morning and we go with other moms in the neighborhood, so she sees several children then. Then she does some independent playtime. Then she gets done with that and it is about time for McKenna to come home from Kindergarten, so it hasn't been to lonely for her. She has been flexible about it. 

    A big event for us during this time period was a funeral. My husband's grandpa passed away. People often wonder if they should bring children to a funeral. I think it depends on how close you were to the deceased and the culture of where you are. For us, family members bring kids. There is always a nursery available for young children, but not everyone uses it. I don't feel comfortable bringing young kids to a funeral of a person who went to my church, so I try to find someone to watch my kids in those instances. For family, however, kids are there.

    Brinley went to the nursery. We kept the older three with us. Brinley got upset at some point and the nursery workers brought her to us, so I took her out in the hall. I fully expected her to be fine in the nursery, so I had nothing to entertain her. I got her calmed down and took her back in the service, but it was a bit trickier since I had nothing. If I had it to do over again, I would have kept her diaper bag with me instead of in the vehicle. Also, I would bring snacks. My husband's grandfather left strict instructions to end at one hour, but that didn't happen, so lunch happened quite late. 

    It went fine, but it would have been smoother if I had prepared better for circumstances that I felt sure wouldn't happen. Better safe than sorry, right? Especially on an occasion like this.

    Most of this time was the older schedule, so I will stick with that.

    8:15 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
    8:45 AM--Get ready
    9:00 AM--Walk/Bike ride
    9:30 AM--Outside Time
    11:00 AM--Independent Playtime
    12:00 Noon--Lunch
    12:30 PM--Learning Activity
    1:00 PM--Free Play
    1:30 PM--Nap
    5:00 PM--Free Playtime
    5:30 PM--Dinner
    6:00 PM--Family Time
    7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
    8:00 PM--Bedtime

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Quotable Mondays: Discipline

    image source

    Today's quote is:

    "Discipline is helping a child solve a problem. Punishment is making a child suffer for having a problem. To raise problem solvers, focus on solutions, not retribution." L.R. Knost

    This quote is saying that rather than getting "payback," you should be using discipline to help solve a problem.

    A lot of times, we get offended or our pride hurt by our child's actions. We react to their actions with anger rather than what is best for the moment. It is important to think before you act. Give yourself a time out if needed to cool off and get your head where it needs to be. 

    Always remember, your child isn't out to get you. Your child is a little more selfish than that, frankly. When your child disobeys, it is to satisfy your child's own wants, not to say, "Ha! I am going to get mom good on this one!" Some actions are done to get your attention, but again, it isn't to get to you, it is to get your attention. Get you to pay attention. 

    Your job is to help your child learn what was wrong and have a proper consequence to help your child remember to not do it again in the future. Remember, solutions, not retribution.

    See these posts for more:

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Personalized Water Bottle {Giveaway}

    You will love today's giveaway. Today's giveaway comes from This is a website that sells personalized items. They have bathrobes, baby toys, seasonal decor, home decor, clothes, dishes, backpacks and bags, jewelry, photo gifts, and much more! They have gifts for holidays, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, housewarming, christening, and more! There are so many great ideas if you have someone who you have a hard time thinking of a gift for. With Christmas coming up, you will want to check it out! Here are some fun things I found:

    They asked me to choose what to review and what would be the giveaway item, and after much looking, I decided to go with a water bottle. They have quite a few options! This is Kaitlyn's first year in school that she can have a water bottle in class, so I got one for her. She is my obsessed with animals child, so I went with the owl design.

    I didn't read the description of the water bottle, I just thought it looked good and ordered it. When it came, I was shocked (in a good way)! It is made of white aluminum, has rubber on the bottom (so it isn't loud and doesn't slide around), and it has a stopper with an O ring attached so you can hang it from a duffle bag or back pack if you like. Kaitlyn loves it. I expected a plastic bottle for the price since it is personalized. It is much better quality than I expected!

    I am planning to get one for each of my children. This is fun for taking to dance class, soccer games, school, in the car, or even just to keep by the bedside. And after the quality of it, I am eye-balling gift ideas for grandparents for Christmas.

    You can enter to win your own personalized water bottle today! You will love it! Enter below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
    • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
    • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight September 19, 2014.
    • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
    • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
    • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
    • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner)

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    How to encourage excellence without it being "never good enough" {Guest Post}

    by Rachel Norman

    I have a niggling feeling most of us Babywise moms have something in common: we have high standards.

    I'm not talking impossible or unrealistic standards, but high ones nonetheless. We don't want to push our children beyond their abilities or make them feel they must earn love and attention, but we do aim high.

    A positive result of encouraging – or requiring - your children to aim high is they learn to work hard, push through fears, and rarely are they lazy. A negative result of requiring excellence (done the wrong way) is children feel their efforts are never good enough.

    I don’t think I’m alone here when I say that I want my kids to do the best they can, but I never want them to feel that they can’t ever do good enough for me. No way!

    In a nutshell, it all boils down to one thing: whether we require a result or we require their best effort.

    If one child makes all A’s, you might throw a party. If another child makes A’s and B’s, but you know they tried their hardest, you should still throw a party. There will be times when we put in our very best effort and don’t meet success. That is life. We don’t want our children to think they must nail everything they try for us to be proud. Rather, we want them to feel we are proud of them for giving it their all and reaching high.

    Here are some ways we can promote excellence without leaving our kids feeling nothing is ever good enough.

    1.     Let each situation be it’s own.

    When a child comes home from a ballgame or a test and brags about their efforts, do not say phrases like, “That’s great, but next time you could try even harder!”  That deflates children’s spirits and leaves them asking what exactly must they do for you to be fully proud of them.

    If you know they didn’t try hard or were lazy, that’s another story. But if they tried hard, let it be. If you see room for improvement and know they’d value your opinion, save it until there’s another ballgame or test. There will always be another ballgame or test, there’s no need to belittle their effort this time because its effects will carry over.

    2.     Give heavy emphasis to effort.

    The book Nurture Shock states that children who were praised for their effort actually tried harder and found better results than those praised for their intelligence or IQ. Let that sink in. Kids will intrinsically know when they’ve done well at something, so they need far less flowery praise and flattery than we might think. What they don’t know intuitively is how important working hard is.

    When doing activities around the home be sure to praise children’s efforts. It’s okay to say, “I don’t think you’re trying very hard right now” if it’s true. I honestly think I know my children very well because of Babywise. The consistency and routine in our home allows me to easily recognize when my kids are off. I can tell the difference between fussiness and sickness, emotional distress or a tantrum.

    Use your knowledge of each child to determine if they’re trying hard, and if they are, let it be enough.

    3.  Focus on persistence and consistency.

    The character traits of persistence, endurance, and consistency should be highly valued in your home. So many trials and troubles in life require our endurance, and if we aren’t used to putting in effort adulthood will be a big challenge. When children know that it’s okay to fail, and that the important thing is getting back on the horse, they won’t feel their love is tied to their actions.

    They may think you are perfect, so feel free to dispel them of that notion. Tell them it took you years to learn how to cook well, that the first few garments you sewed fell apart on the first wear, or that you applied for 25 jobs before you found a good one. Be human and let them know that overnight success is a myth.

    4.  Give grace.

     There will be times when they try hard and fail. There’ll be times when they don’t try hard and fail. The key is to create an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and grace. You don’t condone outright disobedience or laziness, but that doesn’t mean you think they must be perfect.

    Understand that a child’s greatest need is to feel loved and accepted by you. Of course they need to be prepared for adulthood, but part of how they’ll enter adulthood with security and confidence is if they know you are proud of them.

    Be free with your specific praise, always praise effort, and at the end of the day, just tell them you love them for no reason at all.

    Rachel blogs at A Mother Far from Home on parenting and motherhood. For a free copy of her ebook 20 Things A Mother Should & Shouldn’t Expect and a copy of her Turnabout Burnout report, visit her blog and sign up for weekly practical tips to raise your little ones. 


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