For families with young children, the winter months can seem like the most punishing time of the year: shortened days, cold temperatures, and snow days all drive kids indoors. How do we keep our kids happy, healthy, and active when we are already struggling to do the same for ourselves?
It can be done – use these tips to hold the winter blues at bay for your family:
Turn off the TV. It’s easy for our kids to weather the winter storms by enjoying all their favorite shows, but Jacob watching four straight hours of SpongeBob is doing him more harm than good. A little TV is fine, but other activities will be better in the long run to keep them mentally and physically fit. Set limits with your kids, then encourage other pursuits, from puppet shows to hallway bowling to creating masterpieces from dried pasta. Still stumped? Plenty of websites offer fun ideas for bored kids and their parents. If it’s too cold for outdoor time, schedule a visit to a local YMCA or play place to go swimming, shoot some hoops, or even just run around.
Remember Routines. With cold weather zapping everyone’s energy, and snow days throwing off our whole schedule, it’s easy to give in to laziness or chaos. Combat this by making it a point to stick to set routines each day—even when bad weather cancels school or quells activities. When the expectation exists that household chores and homework continue to be done daily, they’ll be no need for questioning or quarreling later.
Encourage Enthusiasm. Keep the winter blahs out of your home by maintaining a fun environment. Cold weather and shortened daylight hours often take away some of our kids’ favorite outdoor activities—which can be pretty disappointing to little ones. By encouraging any of your kids’ positive indoor pursuits, finding ways to get everyone active and staying upbeat yourself, you can make great strides in keeping your family happy and healthy, no matter how chilly it is outside. While most of us still won’t look forward to winter, it helps to find some ways to survive—and even thrive.
How do you manage winter with your kids? Visit our Facebook site and tell us about your favorite strategies and activities!
Editor’s note: The question had to be to be asked at least twice, because I’ve asked it at least a hundred times since I’ve had kids. I only have 2 boys- neither or even old enough to go to school full time- and they are both MASTER WHINERS!!! And the notion that girls whine more than boys is a complete and total MYTH.
If you have one of these whiners living in your house, this is not a post you’ll want to skip.
Here’s what my favorite Parenting Expert, Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions has to offer on this common question (yea, just getting really repetitive now) WHY DO KIDS WHINE?:
Because we, as parents provide a PAYOFF! When kids whine – we DO SOMETHING and that something offers a payoff that makes the behavior continue.
When children whine, cling or display other annoying attention-seeking behaviors, they are trying to achieve a particular goal, or payoff. These irritating, frustrating, maddening behaviors are actually symptoms of a deeper issue.
All humans are hard-wired with two basic emotional needs – attention and power. The whining and attention-seeking behavior the whining child is displaying is intended to fulfill those two needs.
They get results
We also have to remember that children only continue behaviors that “work for them.” That is – they continue behaviors that get results. For a child who whines, clings and displays attention-seeking behaviors, she realizes that “Hey, this is a pretty effective way to get them to pay attention to me” or “Hey, this is a pretty effective tactic for me to get my way”…the child learns that whining provides a payoff. This behavior – if left unaddressed – will continue well into the teenage years.
Every time you pick up a whining child you’re providing a payoff for the behavior. He doesn’t hear your frustrated tone or your annoyed remark. He only knows that whining got him what he wanted. Parents essentially “train” their children that if the child is persistent with their whining, they will eventually get their way. This behavior “works” for the child and so she continues it. When this happens, the parent typically responds by picking up the child to make her stop, or, they respond with a reprimand such as “don’t hang on me”, “don’t be so whiny”, or even “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Better than nothing
Whether the adult response was positive or negative, it fulfilled the child’s need for attention, and therefore the behavior resulted in a payoff. As the frequency of the whining and clinging increases, the parent’s response is almost always a negative reprimand. The child really wanted positive attention; but negative attention is better than none at all. And the cycle continues…whine/cling –> adult reprimand –> attention basket filled with negative attention –> child repeats (“maybe if I keep doing this, I’ll eventually get the positive attention I need) –> parent repeats with negative reprimand, etc.
Here’s the deal…children WILL have their needs for attention met – one way or another. If we don’t fill their attention baskets in positive ways – they will use negative attention-seeking behaviors. They know this works!
What kind of attention are you putting in YOUR kids’ basket?
Amy McCready is a wife and mom of two teenage boys. She founded Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc. in 2004 and developed the popular and successful Breakthrough Course that has changed the lives of thousands of parents through in-person seminars, speeches and online parenting training webinars. For more parenting articles and tips like the one above, visit Amy’s blog.
Definition of a “crazy” person: Someone who does the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Definition of a crazy parent: someone who does the same thing over and over again with their children, but doesn’t understand why there are NO results.
My definition of crazy “entertainment” is a TV show like Supernanny, which engages viewers by showing frustrated parents dealing with out of control children. But all ends well after Nanny Jo Frost swoops in, and by the time the credits roll, she has transformed the desperate parents’ bad habits that led the family to be “crazy” enough to even qualify for reality show casting.
But not everyone has access to a Reality Show superstar.
You just need the craziness to stop… because you may very well be close to losing your mind.
Enter Amy McCready
My friend Amy McCready is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc., and has been invited onto the Today show, Rachael Ray, MSNBC, CNN, etc., to share her tips on empowering both parents and children to change their bad behavior into positive behavior.
I’d been eagerly awaiting the publication of Amy’s book If I Have to Tell You One More Time…and now that I’ve read it, I can tell you that it’s everything it promised to be: a step-by-step guide on how to parent “without nagging, reminding or yelling”, (yep, I’m guilty of all three.) Amy’s book is an easy-to-read, easy-to-use “toolbox,” filled with ideas on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes that can turn you into a “crazy” parent.
Everything is covered here, from misunderstandings to meltdowns, and she not only presents new ideas but also offers new insights into methods that simply don’t work anymore. Amy makes a good case that the “Time-Out” for example, which has become hugely popular, isn’t as effective as we all think it is.
Amy’s approach is to avoid the “self-defense” mechanism that gets triggered in kids, which leads to defiance, arguments and the inevitable “power struggle” (which leads nowhere at all.)
Amy’s latest book focuses on the central idea that every human being has a basic need to feel powerful-with children being no exception to the rule. And when this need isn’t met in positive ways, kids will resort to negative methods, which often result in some of the most frustrating behavior they exhibit. If I Have to Tell You One More Time…provides the knowledge and tools parents need to address the deeper issues that inspire their children to misbehave.
Amy doesn’t just offer up the theory behind the method; she provides practical information, including:
23 proven tools with step-by-step instructions on how to use them, when to use them, and even the words to say.
Real-life examples of common misbehaviors, and how to address them
Quizzes to help parents discover their parenting style and unconscious habits
Answers to frequently asked questions from parents
Simple and concise, this revolutionary program will help you navigate the inevitable challenges that all parents encounter. Whether you’re dealing with a willful two-year-old or a power-seeking twelve-year-old, If I Have to Tell You One More Time… provides the tools that parents need in order to raise respectful, well-behaved, and well-adjusted children.
Read this book and rediscover the joy of parenting!
In case you haven’t noticed, “Less is more” is not only economical, it’s the latest trend. With good reason. With the unsteadiness of the economy people are beginning to feel more comfortable with those who are also behaving with frugality. Your clients want to know that you appreciate the need for living within tighter budgets and that their hard earned dollars are not supporting frivolous spending or unnecessary expenses for flashy arrogance.
Where the high rise office in the business district once may have appeared impressive to clients, it now may appear unmindful to the financial challenges of our current society. Setting up your place of business in a home doesn’t necessarily indicate a flailing business as it once did, but instead, it indicates common sense and that the business is smart for making the choice to conserve.
We are a quickly evolving culture, and the one thing that we all have going for us is the ability to empathize with one another. It’s the primary reason we need to make the decision to support those who have chosen to provide products or services out of their home. Small businesses need you as much as you need them. By working together and utilizing our power as consumers, we can rebuild an economy that works in our favor.
If you are a parent who has a product or a service to offer as a way to earn extra revenue, there is simply no excuse for not being listed in the Our Milk Money business directory.
Our Milk Money is still the largest parent-owned business directory in the world, and it was created by a mom just like you. Besides being a free service (thank you for donating!) it has been a proven way to network with other parent entrepreneurs for over a decade. (Move over, Linkedin!)
Therefore, the benefits of listing a business or two, or three, is available to anyone who fit the criteria of “self-employed” parent with an approved online application form.
People ask me all the time, it seems in disbelief, “What’s the catch?” The answer is simple. I realized that the fee itself to join our effective mission and all of its potential was far less valuable than the involvement and enthusiasm of the members themselves.
It quickly became apparent that when you erase the complications of money and fees, parents and business enthusiasts congregate with sincerity and passion rather than skepticism. The moment we made our decision to provide benefits free of charge, the directory grew more than 1600% within 5 weeks! The excitement spread like a contagious wildfire. How can you make the most of your membership of Our Milk Money? Start by joining.
Create a profile. Tell others where to find you. Connect with other parents and shop their businesses. Remind them to return the favor (wink, wink). Oh, and you can always be a business blog contributor, or request a spotlight on your business… or just YOU.
Work at Home Parents who are constantly on the go between their business and their families run more of a risk of “breaking down.”
A written schedule can help to keep you accountable to all your responsibilities, including yourself.
Schedule work time for yourself that you know you can count on, such as while the kids are at school or during nap time, but remain flexible.
Break tasks down into categories and dedicate 1 day of the week to each category. Marketing and PR on Monday, Social Networking on Tuesday, Blogging on Wednesday, etc.
Plan quality time with the kids each day. Put those super multi-tasking skills to work! Kid time and house chore time can go hand in hand. Get creative and make a game out of the daily chores.
Don’t forget to eat and sleep. You may laugh, but these are often the first things to go for a busy Work at Home Parent. The body needs food to stay nourished and sleep to stay refreshed, and both will contribute to more productivity and alertness.
Wind down time: In addition to going to sleep at a decent hour, you must give yourself at least 1/2 hour of “wind down” time before bed. Read a book or do a crossword puzzle. But do not work. Just like a computer, your mind needs to adequately shut down and reboot for the next day.
Self -employed Parent Enthusiast Ally Loprete is the Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, a nationwide online business directory of self-employed parents, and the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, on The Toginet.com Radio Groupwhich can be downloaded on iTunes.Ally is on a mission to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of leaving a full time job to start a new business, while running a full time household and raising kids. She is resolute about creating a haven in which parents across the nation will continue to thrive and obtain the support they need in their personal journeys. Visit more at www.ourmilkmoney.com. Private coaching is available at www.thislittleparent.info