parenting tips

My Kids Don’t Clean Up!

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Are You Raising Slobs?

I love when my house is clean and tidy.  It keeps me from feeling stressed and allows me to sit down without thinking about what I should be doing instead.

But, my family is not so concerned about how the house looks.  

It’s a constant warfare trying to get my kids to clean up their messes or pick up trash instead of step over it.  

So, for 2019, I’ve made it their personal goals to learn not to be a slob.  

Yep, this year will be the year they will learn to be more responsible and helpful.  

But guess what, they will not learn it overnight.  And, it’s going to take a lot of effort on my part.  Gasp…

However, it’s very important to me that when they are adults, their spouses do not question their slobbish tendencies.  Because guess what? That directly reflects on their parents. Yep! Guess whose responsibility it is to teach your kids how to keep things tidy and clean?  Yours!

The earlier you start the better!

But you also have to stay on top of it.  You cannot be lazy about this or they will be lazy.  Most kids are not naturally organized and tidy, unless you’ve  been working with them since they were able to clean up their first mess.  

So in the art of training, I have some tips for you.  

There is no right way to do this.  Pick what works for you and your family.  

There is a wrong way...not doing anything and just doing it all yourself.  

Here are a few things I’m going to start doing right now:

#1 They are responsible for clearing the table after supper.

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#2 The kids will alternate  washing dishes after supper while I supervise (for a little while) to ensure they are learning the correct way to do dishes.  

#3 I’m putting up signs throughout the house to remind them to :

  1. Empty the trash before it’s overflowing!

  2. Wash their dishes when they bring them to the sink!

  3. Wipe the toilet seat if they sprinkle it!

#4 I used to do this one and somehow stopped: instill a 10 minute tidy up daily before bedtime.  

#5 I also used to do this and quit (insert eyeroll): what gets left out, goes in a trash bag.  They can a) earn it back in 24 hours or b) it gets donated.

Here are some other tips from Focus on the Family.  I especially liked #1 and #6. I may import those into my plan too!  

And here are some ideas for keeping up with chores that I’ve pinned over the years!

Happy Training!!!

Dayna

P.S.

Do you also struggle with a family of slobs?  Let me know in the comments the 1 thing you want to teach your kids about tidyness.    


My Child Is Cussing at School

 So you’ve gotten the dreaded call from school….

“I need you to come into the office, so we can talk about _____’s behavior.”

“We have a problem…”

Your child has gotten angry at another student and called that student an explicit name…

You are embarrassed—angry—humiliated—scared—frustrated—(____) about walking into that school! 

The use of cuss words today is common and is all around you.  Some people are very obnoxious about their expression through cuss words and others attempt to be respectful of others and choose to only cuss in situations they feel are acceptable.

Children learn new words daily and their vocabulary is growing rapidly.  This new vocabulary comes from parents, siblings, grandparents, peers, television, and the list goes on.  They are bombarded with new words daily.  Children do not usually understand what these new words are or what they mean.  They may use them when they are angry because they heard someone else say the same word in a fit of rage.

So how do you nip this in the bud if your child uses foul language to express himself?

1. Recognize where they are learning this from.

Are they hearing you talk this way?  If so, you may just want to rethink how you are expressing yourself in front of them as you are their primary teacher.  If your child belts out a “bad” word when he drops his ice cream on the floor and his response to you when you ask where he heard that from is “You said it”-be prepared for how you react to this.  If you yell at your child for using a word they are learning from you, then what are you really teaching them?  Instead, let him learn to admit when he’s wrong and correct his behavior by stating

“You’re right.  I did say that, but it was wrong and I shouldn’t use those words.  I’m going to do better.  I don’t want you using those words because they are not acceptable.”  Be honest and admit when you are wrong.

2. Monitor what they are listening to and watching.

If we do not guide their little eyes and ears, no one will.  The things they will learn will make lasting impressions, so give them guidance and ensure they are exposed to age appropriate television and music.

3. Do not laugh.

For some, hearing a child cuss seems funny and cute.  I assure you- a child cussing is far from cute, and laughing only encourages them to continue to do it.  It’s not so cute when you are getting phone calls from teachers because your child is calling them derogatory names or cussing out other students when they are angry.

4. Help them learn to express themselves with appropriate words to label how they feel.

“You are really angry.  Tell me what happened before you said ____________.” Help them find more appropriate ways to label the person they may be name calling.  “It hurt my feelings when……” “It made me angry when…..”.

5. Replace those bad words

Give them other options that will keep them out of trouble. Using funny words can also help to decrease the anger behind it.

6. Set boundaries with visitors.

If Uncle J comes over to watch the ball game, and he tends to get a filthy mouth when his team misses a play, then let him know in your house you would need him to watch his language.  Most people are receptive of this and if not, then you may need to be choosier about who is visiting with your children.

Remember that YOU are the primary example for your child and how they handle conflict and relationships.  Think about this for a minute…

 

*Comment below and share what you will start doing TODAY to be a better example. 

Talk to You Soon,

Dayna Sykes

Licensed Child & Teen Therapist

 

P.S. Share this post with a friend who needs help in this area!

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Avoidance Causes You To Miss Out!

Do you ever avoid situations or people because it’s too stressful or painful to be in that experience? Avoidance is a natural human defense mechanism, but sometimes it can be detrimental to our own growth and happiness.  

Today, I was walking through our freshly cut hay-field to get a message to my husband and father-in-law.  While talking to a family friend who was present, I said “I love the smell of fresh cut hay, but it does not love me.”  I knew for even the maybe 5 minutes I was standing there, I was going to have some discomfort. As I walked away, I noticed itching in my legs.  Then while driving away, I could feel a little discomfort in my breathing.

You see, I am a very allergic person.  But I live in the country where I am exposed to all things I am allergic too.  Now, I could move (but I’m pretty sure I’d have to leave my husband behind), but staying here is more beneficial to me than avoiding.  

 

Not to mention how BEAUTIFUL it is where I live!  

So what is an allergic country girl to do?

Be Aware…

If you know situations cause you discomfort (maybe it’s not an allergy but more depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, panic), be aware of those triggers.  I am aware of what triggers my allergies and am prepared for the consequences of being around them.

Find the Win…

For me, I was able to see God’s beauty in this hayfield.  I took a beautiful picture of it. Being outdoors is so inspiring and calming to me.  It’s worth it to have the experience!

Have a Plan…

So let’s say you are going to be around family that triggers your depression or anxiety…  If it’s not an unhealthy relationship, and you want a connection with that person, then have a plan of how you will combat the negative reactions your body will likely experience.  

  • Know your limits and have a plan of escape.  

When I am around certain people from my past who tend to cause difficulty for me, I make sure I visit them instead of them visiting me.  This way I can leave when I’m ready instead of having them in my home wishing they would leave already and not wanting to ask them to leave.  

If your reaction is anxiety or panic, make sure you have a go-to method for calming your body and mind.  

Sometimes avoidance is good when it’s too overwhelming for you to manage.  But just remember, avoidance can become a very unhealthy way to cope, and you will miss out on some great life experiences and connections.  

Need some assistance in creating your plan?

Click Here to Download a Free Worksheet!

Then, comment below and share with me how avoidance affects your life!  

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Dayna Sykes

Licensed Child & Teen Therapist

Gordonsville Counseling & Play Therapy

 

P.S.  If you have a teen girl who struggles with avoidance and you’ve tried everything to help her break out of this, then Empowering Teen Girls Group may be just what she needs to build her confidence, boost her ability to cope with difficult situations, and learn to connect with others in the process.  

P.P.S  Do you tend to walk on eggshells around your teen and avoid her throughout the day?   Every effort you make causes her to lash out and become angry. Sign up for my free email course, “Learn to Connect Better with Your Teen”, and get 5 days of action steps you can take to better support and connect with your teen.  Just Click Here!

 

Ending the Homework Battle!

We are talking about "Back to School" here on the blog and I wanted to get you thinking about Homework.  I know-I know- who wants to think homework before school even starts?!  Right?  But I guarantee your child is thinking about it and dreading it.  In fact, it may be a reason your child is grumbling about the return to school.

I know for some families, homework is a time of chaos-yelling-tears-and maybe tantrums.  This is one time where the whole family may complain and want to just give up on school.  Let's face it, homework is not going away.  In fact, it's a vital tool for your child's learning.  I can't believe I'm supporting homework!  It is proven that practice makes skills easier and helps your child to retain what they  have learned.  If they can go home and do the work, then they've gotten the hang of the new skill.  So, how do we take the battle out of homework time?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Set a consistent time to do homework----This could be immediately after school or after a break from school.  For my family, we allow some time to play and have a snack.  Especially when days get shorter and the sun goes down early.  Children sit most of the day at school and come home wound up with energy that needs to be used.  It's ok to give them time to move.  This does not mean watching tv or playing video games.  Get them moving!  They may even be able to focus much easier after this.  Do not wait until right before bedtime to do homework!!!!  Your child will be tired and this will turn into a battle!
  2. Have a quiet place set up for homework.---This could be a desk, kitchen table, or in their rooms.  Give other siblings who may not be doing homework a busy activity so they are not bothered.  Make sure there are no distractions like the tv or ipod's around for texting.
  3. Be around for support.---If your child needs help, how do they let you know?  Do they cry out angrily "I don't understand this!!!"  Let them know when to ask for help.  This is such an important lesson to teach early because we all need support sometimes, and often those adults who have high stress levels are those who struggle to ask for help when needed.  Teach them early how to ask for help.  Walk in and check on them after about 10 minutes to make sure they don't need help and talk to them about how proud you are that they are working so hard.
  4. Don't lose your cool!---Homework can be stressful for parents too.  When my son was in 4th grade and common core math started, I wanted to beat my head on the table.  I just could not wrap my brain around the concepts he was learning.  That was a long evening of googling and texting other moms for help.  But I remained calm and it actually became quite funny.  Don't get frustrated if you don't understand and know how to support your child.  Do have some people on backup who may be able to help.  Maybe dad is good at Math and mom is good at Language Arts.   Take turns where your strengths lie or call a friend.  And if that doesn't work, simply use your own coping skills and help them to do their best.  Then, let the teacher know you are unable to help with that subject.  If your child is struggling with it, make the teacher aware so they know they will have to give them some extra support to get it.
  5. Don't allow complaining and whining.  Let your child know before school starts what your plan is to help them get homework done and make it less stressful.  Set up a reward for them to get it done when asked and not whine or throw fits about it.  Celebrate when they finish-look over it to ensure they did it correctly-give them some free-time and maybe a favorite treat to show them how proud you are of their effort and their attitude.

If you haven't signed up for my Back to School series, there's still time.  You will receive 3 emails with tips to make this year a success!  Just click here to get started!

Let us know in the comments what your homework routine looks like!

This is going to be a great year!

Dayna

 

P.S.

If you would like more Parenting Support, sign up here for a Parent Group.  Watch this video about my goal for this group.  Not sure what group is?  Read here for information.