Build this after school 'sandwiched routine' with your children, for less stress and more fun.
by Susie E Caron (c) 8/31/14
After school hours are some of the most difficult that both kids and adults face every day. Everyone comes home tired, hungry and filled-up or emptied-out from the day. How can parents plan to make the afternoon and evening hours less frenetic, conflict free and more fun? I recommend that you begin a new ‘pattern’, routine or schedule for those hours. This is especially important to teach very young children. because when they learn to navigate a variety of activities in a short amount of time, they will be better prepared to manage themselves as they grow older.
There are a number of things you may want to include in this pattern: a colorful & healthy snack, different times for electronic free play, chores, dinner, homework, family time, electronic time, and bed time routines. Don’t gasp! You probably already struggled to squeeze in all of these. However, you may not have named them all before. Here’s how to design an after school routine that works for you and your family.
First, make a preliminary list of the things you want to include during the hours after school. Next ask your kids to help you to plan a ‘schedule,’ (it can also be flexible) so everyone can have fun and really enjoy being together each day. As you make up a final list it is critical that you 'sandwich' the things your kids really want to do, (play outdoors or in their rooms) in between the things they must do, (like chores and homework.) This makes it possible for them to feel that you care about their needs and wants, while at the same time, you get more cooperation from them for the things that must be accomplished. Just imagine, the next time your children balk a bit at some chore or homework they’ve agreed to do in the routine that they helped set up, you can remind them, the sooner it’s done, the sooner they can move on to their next fun activity.
Have fun making this list together and post it where it can easily be read. Children can help establish how long they can play, work, etc. Of course, you can gently guide them as you both agree on the routine. I recommend you also use a timer so children can learn to regulate their time. Don’t be afraid to revisit the list with your children later, if it doesn’t seem to be working well. Activities, times, etc. can all change to accommodate the changes and events in your lives.
Whatever you do, have fun with your children. They are only children for a short time.
Please let me know about your thoughts and questions, in the comment section below, regarding this and other articles I write. I appreciate you and everything you do to raise happy, healthy, responsible kids. It's admittedly the toughest job you'll ever have, and it can be the most rewarding.
Twee’ Means You and Me.
Susie E. Caron
3 Ways to Build Your Child’s Self-Concept.
Susie E. Caron c 8/25/2014
How do children develop a healthy self-concept and healthy self-esteem?
What can parents an caregivers do to help?
Young children develop a sense of who they are and who they may become, through the messages they receive from their care givers. However, verbal messages children hear are actually only a very small part of that. Three kinds of non-verbal messages kids receive deal a much greater impact.
There are three main levels of language that greatly impact your child’s growing self-concept, and impact later development of self-esteem. These are your eye contact, tone of voice and body language.
1. Your eyes are the window to your feelings. What does your child see in your eyes? Do your eyes say things like "I love you," "I enjoy you," "You are a wonderful, and mischievous child"? Or, do your eyes convey, "I'm disappointed in you." "You are bad." "I can't stand you."
2. Your tone of voice reveals your attitude(s) toward your child.(For a quick example of this think of the many different ways you can say “Sweet Heart”.)
Your tone of voice conveys you general attitude, as well as your attitude toward your child, at any given moment. How is your tone? Is it respectful? Does it say, "I think you are a person worthy of respect?" Or, does your tone sound like "You are a foolish and difficult child.”
3. Your body posture is how your child reads your intention and sincerity. Do you turn your body toward your child when you are speaking, or do you turn away, or to the side? If you love your child, you will turn you whole body toward rather than away from your child. Even if you are providing correction, you will want to face your child from the top of your head to your toes. Otherwise, your child reads that he/she isn't worthy of your full attention and what you are saying really isn’t that important.
There's a Bonus for your efforts! Kids benefit and so do parents and caregivers.
These three levels of subtle language actually deliver quite a lot of information, which your child internalizes. When you bring your eye contact, tone of voice, and body language, all into alignment with your actual words, you help your child to develop a solid self-concept. Later, in your child's teenage years, your child’s early self-concept directly impacts his or her ability to develop a personal self-esteem. As an added bonus, your efforts to synchronize all three levels of language with your words, will also help you to feel more authentic and self-confident.
What do you think about this information? Does it make sense to you?
What will you do today to work on the messages you give your child? Please share.
Twee’ Means You and Me!
Susie E. Caron
1 Easy Way To Boost Your Chid's Self Confidence, -Make a confidence boosting poster with your child.
by Susie E. Caron (c) 8-11-2014
I hear rumblings every day. Kids and parents are gearing up for the day that children go back to school, or enter school for the first time. Everybody has feelings. Anyone can be excited or concerned. Sometimes, kids feel uncertain and unprepared. Here is a great way to help your child prepare to go to school by building your child’s self-confidence.
Make a Poster Together
About two weeks before school begins, suggest that because your child has so many good qualities, you want to make a poster together – all about your child. You will hang it in a special place in your home that you and your child agree upon.
What you will need:
A couple large sheets of poster board.
You will also need some of these:
Magazines or coloring books from which to cut out pictures.
Markers, crayons and water colors or poster paints.
Kid safe glue, scissors and invisible tape.
You can add some Fun things:
Stickers, glitter, figures and shapes to stamp on, ribbons, buttons, etc.
Set aside about an hour to help your child get started on this project. If more time is needed, you can put the project aside and work on it again the next day.
When you begin, first ask your child, “What do you think is different, funny, or surprising about you?” You can also suggest qualities you’ve observed in your child, such as patience, kindness, humor, and tidiness. You can ask about things you child likes, such as animals, sports, friends, swimming and so on. Tell them these would be wonderful to see on his/her own poster. Then encourage your child to cut out pictures and place them anywhere on the poster board. When your child is satisfied with the number of pictures, he/she can draw, paint or use markers to add anything, especially their name to the poster. Anything is OK as long as it is what the child wants. You are only there to assist and to spend some time play-working with your child.
What do you think? As always, I love to hear from you. Please take a minute to leave a comment.
Twee' Means You & Me
Susie E. Caron
Three easy steps to help children 6 and up, worry less.
by Susie E. Caron (c) 8/3/2014
Everyone worries from time to time, even children. However, when kids worry too much, parents become concerned. Here are three easy steps to help your children to conquer troublesome worries and ultimately worry less.
Step #1. Go shopping with your child to buy his or her own 'worry box.' You can get any kind of box, with a lid. It could have a slot at the top, or just a lid that opens. A lock is ok too. Let your child help because you want your child to know he/she is important. Also, buy some colored sticky notes and a nice pen.
Step #2. Instruct your child that this box is only for worries. The box will keep the worries safe every day, until "worry time". When a worry pops into your child's mind, the child must write it on a single sticky note. The note is then put into the box. One worry only - to each sticky note. The child keeps the box in a safe and accessible place.
Note: If a worry that was previously written on a sticky note comes to mind, the child is to say to the worry: " I'm not going to think about you because you are in the box. I'll worry about you when I open the box at WORRY TIME." (see step #3).
Next: Here comes the best part and it must be practiced!!!
Step #3. Once every day it is Worry Time!
At a pre-determined time, selected by you and your child,
(but never right before bed) your child is to sit down, open the box and set a timer for 15 minutes. Then one by one,the child must worry, on purpose while reading each and every sticky note item. At the end of the time, all the worries go back into the box and are not to be thought about again until "worry time" the next day. If the child doesn't get to all of them, that's ok, the box keeps them safe until worry time the next day.
How does this help kids to NOT worry? At first kids generate a great number of sticky note worries. As time goes by they notice that some of the worries no longer apply, or have been solved, or really don't matter as much as they originally thought. Those sticky notes can be thrown in the trash. That feels good! Kids (and adults who practice this) soon figure out that they can control more of what they think about. Also at the beginning, they are very committed and serious about their "Worry Time". However, as time goes by they begin to realize the futility of sitting down to worry because nothing gets solved that way. Eventually, the little worry box gets less and less use. However, most kids will keep it just to remind themselves that if they need it, their worry box will keep their worries safe, while they go on to do the much more important and fun things in their lives.
If you found this article helpful,or if you have found a way to help kids to not worry, please leave a comment below.
Keep up your good work as parents.
Twee' means you and me.
Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!