I think its safe to say that most of us in life just aim to please…
and this couldn’t be more true with our sweet children. A lot of their happiness stems from knowing what they can do to make us happy, and delivering on it. Too often, a wide communication gap leaves them confused, and both of us feeling frustrated and disappointed! The good news? There’s an easy fix.
That communication gap can also be described as the “grey” area in life. And, I’ve found that, the less grey area we have to muddle through, the more positive our interactions with each other . Making things a bit more “black and white,” gives crisp, clear guidelines to work with. And, delivering on those things makes for a happy parent and happy child!
Read on to learn for things that have made a BIG difference in our home.
1. Set a (loose) schedule
Once you have a loosely set schedule in place, chat with your kids about what the day has in store! They’ll love the communication, and knowing what to expect in the upcoming day. When there is time in our day for a fun little outing, I like to give Emerson, my four-year-old daughter, two options to choose from. “Today, would you like to go to the park or the library?” Knowing that her opinions matter too helps put her in a the mindset of mutual respect and cooperation. Most children thrive from having routine in their lives. It’s good for their body clocks too (and your ability to depend on nap time.)
2. Morning/Evening Routine Chart
This is such a great tool for children, starting at about age two or three. At this age, kids like knowing what’s expected of them, but don’t like being told what to do. A picture chart empowers them to know, even before they can read words (ending that dreaded morning power struggle). Here’s an example of the charts we use each day. I laminated ours, so we can use it weekly. Laminators are so easy to use, and so convenient. At under $35, this investment paid for itself in no time. Using permanent marker keeps the check marks in place (and can be easily removed by wiping the sheet down with rubbing alcohol before a new week begins). Check out the laminating machine that we use here.
I laminated ours, so we can use it weekly. Laminators are so easy to use, and so convenient. At under $35, this investment paid for itself in no time. Using permanent marker keeps the check marks in place (and can be easily removed by wiping the sheet down with rubbing alcohol before a new week begins). Check out the laminating machine that we use here.
3. Visual Serving Guide Plate
Ever get tired of telling your kids to eat their fruits and veggies before they can have dessert? I do! These visual serving plates are GREAT! I love them for me, because it helps keep me in check to be sure I’m feeding my children healthy, balanced meals most of the time. They’re great for Emerson because she knows she has to finish those fruits and veggies before she can even think about dessert. It’s also helping to instill the habit of eating a well-balanced meal with her. You can get them from Amazon, by clicking here.
4. Give all of their belongings a “home.”
Take the guesswork out of clean-up by working with your little one to give everything a “home” within your home. I talk about this in greater detail in my post about clearing clutter, which you can read here. Living by this rule makes clean-up time so much easier. It may take time for children to learn where each thing belongs, so have a bit of patience! This has also been a sanity saver in the instances where I may be the one to put something away as well. And, when it has to be retrieved from it’s “home”, it reinforces where it belongs. Win/win.