Category Archives: child rearing

Getting Kids Ready for Summer with Logic! (with Video)

Remember all the big plans you used to have for summer? Remember is being the end of summer and you got none of those things done? We have all been there (many, many times) but there is a logical way to avoid the regrets and heartbreak of lost summer goals. Well, it HELPS to not lose the summer goals. I am not magic! 

Goals are not magically met and plans don’t magically happen. We need to help our kids learn to develop these skills. It might save them years of frustration and they might actually get all those things done that we never did! 

Just take your kids through setting a goal and discovering the steps needed. I like it all outline style! Let’s go through my daughter’s goal of learning to swim.

Goal: Learn to Swim

I. Talk to Swim Teacher for Lessons
    A. Have some times available from Mom
II. Supplies to have
     A. Swimsuit
     B. Sunscreen
     C. Goggles
     D. Towels
III. Practice
     A. Talk to Dad
     B. Set time on the calendar

Here is another example!

Goal: Babysitting

I. Get Diaper Experience
    A.Talk to Parents to ask to let to help
    B.Research diaper changing and issues
    A.Figure out rates
    B.Transportation availability schedule (hey, I have a life too;)
III.Get Customers
    A.Make a flyer
    B.Distribute it to parents of kids





Dealing with the Playtime “I Don’t Know What to Do”s


(This is a sponsored post by Pley, the awesome toy set subscription service. Netflix for blocks (and maybe Polly Pockets soon too).)

“I don’t know what to play with.” Admit it, you have heard that from your kids. I think it drives every parent crazy, but especially here in the United States where we know that our kids have and do so much! An “I’m bored” in my house is often met with a response about how I always have baseboards that need cleaning. But being over whelmed with toys is not necessarily a problem that just comes from ungrateful children. They really can have so much available to them that they don’t know how to focus or how to clean up. How many times have you found your kid in a trashed room of toys with them walking around aimlessly? Come on, I can’t be the only one;).  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  How I have always gone about my kids and toys is like toy rotation. But less of hiding things away and more about being intentional. 

So lets take an infant. You put them in a play pen full of toys and walk away. They sit in the middle and fuss or cry, right? You wonder why they don’t just pick up a toy and start playing, right? Well, if you sit them in an empty play pen and hand them 1 or maybe 2 toys they are less likely to fuss. Seriously. I heard about this in a Babywise or Growing Kids God’s Way tape before I had any kids. I remember having this frustration with my siblings when they were little. So I had kids… I experimented on them. Yes really, I am that person. But I wanted to know if it was a fluke or actually a thing. And it seemed to be a thing. 

This method is also considered really good for development. I mean if you think about it, you are giving them 1 thing to focus on. That means they really figure out everything they can do with it. If they can do something else with it. And it teaches them how to focus and work something out to its end. I know, it sounds way to deep for an infant. So lets jump ahead to that 3-10 age. 

As part of our day, since the kids were mobile, we have always had some “go away from me and play” time every day that we are home. So you send a kid off to play, or a group of kids as it is in my house, and they can’t settle on what to do. They flit from thing to thing or can’t agree on anything! So I would always say, “Go play in the kids’ room. You can play with this or this. Which one do you guys want to do?” They tell me their choice and go play. No fighting and no whining. And of course at these ages I am not going to hand them one single rattle but a theme. They pick a set like the kitchen set, Lincoln Logs, Legos, or dolls. Often we would also get 2 who play with one thing and 2 who would play with the other. 

Sometimes they will stick with these things for an hour or a week so they really get a chance to delve in to a project. Here is the other secret power of this. You can always make 1 of the suggestions something they don’t play with often. It can help them rediscover a hidden gem. It also can be a way to discover when something can move on to a home that wants it more. 

Now that my kids range from 8-14, they do this to themselves. If they are heading off to play they will say, “I am going in the game room to play…” Not so much to ask permission but to let me know that they are getting into an activity and to let their siblings know in case they want to join. 

That is it, really. That is my secret to kids playing and learning to focus. When you hear it, it sounds so simple. Yet, if you have never seen it modeled you may never have tried it. Try it out with your kids! Let me know how it works for you. 

Oh, 1 extra benefit to mental development, not being bored, and not fighting? They at most have 1 set of things out (per kid) to clean up. So it makes the end of the day so much easier!!!

And if you are a Pley subscriber, you have 1 special set of toys that they can play with at a time! Once they fully explore that set, you just send it in and get another one!!!

pley-card-logo-v3(Disclosure: This piece was sponsored by Pley but all thoughts and opinions are mine alone!) 



How You Know You are Raising Whovians

I know that NerdFamilyDad and I are raising our children different than many people but it is shocking some times to see it come out;)! We aren’t trying to raise Whovians per se but it is great that they are!!! And so much fun seeing my kids viewing the world through geeky child eyes!

The final Jeopardy question was read by Alex: “The hero of this 1993 comedy says he’s “been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted and burned””

The NerdPie yells out, “Captain Jack Harkness!”

Also my kids are sure that Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years is all about Rory Williams waiting for Amy Pond. They don’t even know what Twilight is much less that the song was on its soundtrack;).

I declaring a parenting win;).


10 Tips & Truths for Potty Training

10 tips potty training

1) There isn’t a way to potty train! There is not 1 magic method or tact that works at a certain age or with every kid! This is just hints and tricks.

2) Go with your instincts! You are the parent and know everyone in the situation best!

3) At about 2 years old, put out the potty chair if you are going to use one. They get curious;).

4) Wait for the kids to show some sort of interest before you get serious. This isn’t a die hard rule but a good rule of thumb. I have heard of kids developing potty issues when they are rushed! This doesn’t mean you can’t try it, just don’t demand. No matter what we want, we can not actually make a child use the toilet.

5) Spring/Summer is a great time to potty train! It is warmer so they can run around in undies. And when there are accidents there is just physically less clothes to wash! And you can send them outside so if there are accidents they aren’t on your couch;).

6) One popular tact is the all in theory. Usually a 3 day model is effective. It means you toss all you diapers and go straight undies. Plan on being home at least 3 days straight!

7) Another popular tact is the gradual. First set up times to try every day. A firm schedule on this helps! I usually schedule them around sleep and food. So when they get up, go to the bathroom. When they wash up to eat, try going to the bathroom. Focus first on the trying then the actually going! Our rewards started with letting them wear pull ups so they didn’t have to lay down and get changed.

8) Bribery works! But be thoughtful. Food can be good but consider if that is a path you want to go down. We also would change what the reward was worth;). Once they master one thing make them perform more for the same reward. Once my youngest could stay dry all day she no longer got 1 gummy bear every time she peed. Then she had to poop to get a gummy bear.

9) Age and potty training varies by kid. Boys tend to potty train later and with more effort than girls. It isn’t always true but often is. But just because 1 girl was interested at 25 months doesn’t mean the next girl will.

10) With out other factors, kids don’t go to kindergarten in diapers. Chill!!! It will happen eventually;).

6 Steps to Teaching Chores

6 Steps to Teaching ChoresMy goal as a parent is to have self sufficient kids, preferably by high school so we can test out those adult powers before they leave;). But how do you get a child from toddler to responsible? Not over night!

Chores and responsibilities are not something I usually reward on but growth I do! Here is a way to help your kids grow and at the same time, lighten the load on you too!


1)Pick 3 age appropriate chores/responsibilities that you would like your kids to have.

2) Find a reward. This will take about 1 month to fully earn or monetary pay out every week.

3)Make or print a daily chart. You can get templates here and you can even get some from Chuck E. Cheese that you can turn in for tokens!

4)Create a reward/even/loss statistics. For example if you have 16 checks nothing happens good or bad. If you have more than 16 you get your reward and if you have less than 16, there will be a consequence.

5)Make sure you demonstrate each chore/responsibility exactly as you expect it to be done!

6)Go for a month! After that, the 3 chores become part of your expectations and you get 3 new chores to learn!

These chores can be anything from throwing away the dirty napkins after dinner, brushing their own teeth or hair, or mowing the lawn. You shouldn’t have to remind them to do the chores if they are to get a reward!

Kindergarten Didn’t Make Me Cry

I am very proud of myself. My youngest (and last) kid officially started kindergarten when she was promoted to the kindergarten Sunday School. Since we homeschool that is our promotion day. While it felt very weird to have my baby start kindergarten, I didn’t cry.

Today is the big back to school day in my area and it made me once again think about the fact that all the kids are growing up and yada yada.

Then it happened…. I was checking to see if the baby had brushed her teeth. She is a thumb sucker so her front 2 teeth are always a little wonky (I sense a big orthodontics bill in our future) but today it seemed more than usual.

Her front tooth is super wiggly!!!! I mean as in “it will be out this week” wiggly. I immediately started to tear up and cry.

Reading, drawing, dressing herself was all fine. I was not (am not) ready for my baby girl to big enough to lose her teeth! Apparently, that is the bridge to being a big girl.

Yes, I am a big, giant, squishy wimp. Please tell me I am not alone!!!

The Ups and Downs of Zelda

Let me preface this with the fact I have never denied. Kids are a little nutty. But even knowing that I am often surprised by them and how they handle things. Take this morning for example….

We have a loft set up with Legos, K’Nex and a Super Nintendo for the kids to play in. So my 6 year old has been playing a ton of Zelda on the SNES so this morning I told him that he couldn’t play Zelda with out my permission. I wanted him to build some cool stuff with Legos and take a video game break. Then the other kids were stoked because he had been sucking up all the video game time. He wasn’t thrilled but no melt downs or anything.

So cut to play time in the loft. Since the kids are out of my sight I am sensitive to sounds. So when I hear the 4 year starting to cry I call all 3 kids who are in the loft downstairs to me to find out what is going on. The Nerdpud wants to play the  6 year old’s profile on Zelda and he said no. I totally backed him up on this.  There are only 3 profile slots on Zelda so this is always a little of an issue. NerdPie, my 8 year old, had said her sister could play on her profile and I thought that was great. But the 4 year old was still teary. You could tell she was flipping through arguments to use (because she kept starting sentences and trailing off) and then she had a moment of truth. She exclaimed, “But he has all the cool stuff!!!” I held firm and she shuffled off and found a way to play for 30 minutes in spite of her disappointment;).

Last Zelda story of the morning. While the baby was playing Zelda the 8 and 6 year olds were building away with the Lego’s. We now have a variety of Zelda fairies through out the loft along with the wizard and a sliding door for the sanctuary.

Kids, they are kind of crazy but a lot of fun;).


How much support is okay?

I am a big believer that children should not have to take on their parent emotional problems. I personally was relied upon too much as a child for emotional support. The Kelly Clarkson song Because of You really resonated with me. I had a lot of adult problems and emotions dumped on me that I wasn’t equipped to handle. At this point I think of overcome those issues. But we do want to teach her children empathy, compassion and humanity. And we want them to show it. But do we want their compassion and support? Where is that line?

I was reading the ever inspiring Danielle Smith today. She recently lost a well loved friend to cancer and she is writing about the comfort her seven-year-old daughter was giving her. She talked about not expecting to receive something like that from her daughter because she thinks of her herself more like the supermom who heals her children’s hurts. As I’m reading this very sweet piece I really relate to Danielle because that line is always so fuzzy.

I commented about what a blessing and a gift this time it’s for both of them. but I wanted to expand on that beyond the size of a blog comment box. As a mom, it is my job to teach my children compassion and humanity. But it is also my job to teach them what it looks like to live this life with strength and dignity. We tell our children when someone is hurt to stop and help them up and brushed them off. We tell them when they are hurt it is okay to come sit with Mommy have her brush off their ouchies and kiss them and tell them that it all will be okay. But do we really want our children to no longer accept comfort once they are too big to fit on our laps? I think we all answer with a resounding no.

So that means we have to teach them by example. The example that even as adults is okay to cry, it is okay to be loved, it is okay to be comforted. I think that Danielle has a beautiful opportunity (that she is using). She has the opportunity to see that the compassion she so carefully taught her children to have for the world is really there. She gets to see that her daughter not only heard her words, but has seen Danielle’s actions and now actually knows how to comfort someone. Danielle’s daughter now knows it’s okay for Supermom to cry. It is okay for her to need a hug in sorrow. She knows that when she’s a mom is okay to hurt. She will know that she grows up her pain and her heart will remain to be the most beautiful part. And isn’t that the greatest lesson we really want to teach our daughters?

I think it’s wonderful that a child can have a good enough example in their lives that without our asking for their compassion they give it freely. And in that it brings us healing. That isn’t relying on a child too much, that is living life and teaching them to live life also.

And as a side note, when we feel self-conscious for letting our frail humanity show and forgetting to put on our cape that morning remember… Supermom got tangled her cape trying to hard. Moms of Steel are hard to love.