Having a sense of humor is really important in my family…we love to laugh at and with each other.
But I don’t want my kids to turn into a bunch of bullies who laugh at other’s expense.
So, we have talked a lot about what is funny, and what is NOT funny.
As my kids vocabulary grows so does their love of words like “doodie-butt” and “doo doo face.”
Name-calling is apparently the funniest thing in the world according to my 4 year old, next to telling someone they smell like fill-in-the-blank.
So, I am turning the tables on all-things-silliness.
If my four year old decides to call me a doodie-butt in a silly moment. I will look at him with a serious face, and calmly but sternly tell him… “Hurtful words aren’t funny, but I love when you are silly. Try calling mommy ‘honey bunches’ when you want to be silly. Okay CUTIE PIE HONEY BUNCH!” And I throw a name right back at him that is “silly” or “cute” but not offensive.
If my four year old decides to tell me that I smell like something stinky. Again, I look at him (without freaking out like I am a thirteen year old in defense mode…come on parents- we are the grown-ups here) and just seriously, calmly, and sternly tell him “I love when you are in a silly mood, but it is FUNNY when you tell mommy I smell like something that doesn’t really stink. Sooooo, let’s try: ‘You smell like cinnamon.'” (Cue the huge laugh like that was the funniest thing we have heard in forever). “Or… “You smell like SUGAH, sugah (also known as sugar).” HAH!
And finally, we like to tell stories around here. Stories that people relate to, and then we put a spin on them with some slight exaggerations and expressions thrown into the mix. I usually make facial expressions like “REALLY?!?” and ask questions like “What happened next?” or “What was that like?” to get my kiddos to make some funny associations.
These little exercises have made a big difference in our kid’s perceptions of what is funny, and what is not okay.
My son now REGULARLY asks me “Mom, is that funny?”
“Mom, is that silly?”
“Mom, is that a mean word?”
We want our kids to keep their sense of humor and not lose it all together from the parent police.
So for us, it just boils down to funny is silly but not hurtful.
I was going to wait til’ Monday to share this with you, but I couldn’t wait any longer and I wanted to give everyone enough time before Halloween to make this happen in your neighborhood if you wanted to.
We wen’t “boo”ing in our neighborhood all morning and it was a blast!
Two days ago we were surprised by a basket of Halloween goodies on our doorstep… I still don’t know who did it but it was so fun!
Whoever “boo’d” us colored jack-o-lantern faces on oranges, gave us two little craftivities, jack-o-lantern stickers, pencils, gummies, glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth, and bib for our baby girl. They did a great job! The little seasonal sticker activity was so cute…
I couldn’t wait to keep this going because I knew how much fun we would have putting the little treat baskets together and delivering them.
But, I couldn’t find the template so I made my own, and wanted you to have it!
So, Sean Patrick helped me pick out some little pumpkins and then we went to family dollar and got a jack-o-lantern bucket, a little scarecrow, some spooky ring pops, and colorful sharpies (to decorate the pumpkins).
Then I encouraged Sean Patrick to carry the goodie basket to their door, knock, and tip toe away and watch from the car so it could be a surprise.
We had so much fun…he was running!
And if friends caught us outside it was fun too!
I hope you make the time to do this… It doesn’t have to be fancy…. You could drop off a little ziploc of something with the printable and it would still be fun for the whole family! You still have time before Halloween!
Disclaimer: the friend already had the chalked word “Boo!” but I would totally ask a neighbor if they wouldn’t mind and do that because it looked so cute!
I have been practicing a few guidance techniques lately that I wanted to share with you….
Show of hands…. how many of you ask “WHY?” to your young children on a regular basis wanting to know his/her intent for their behavior?
(raising my hand)
Here are a few examples of my very own “Why?” questions…
1) “Why did you hit your sister?”
2) “Why did you pee on your dresser?”
3) “Why did you throw that food on the floor?”
Well, the answers are usually
1) “because she was pushing me.”
2) “because I thought it would be fun.”
3) “because I didn’t want it any more.”
Okay soooo there are teachable moments that follow these instances of course. But lately, I have been practicing a tip that I think is from “Parenting is Heart Work” to ask more WHAT questions rather than “why” questions.
OHHHHH that makes SOOOO much more sense.
It gives my kids time to reflect on WHAT they just did and not try to figure out why they just did it.
So instead, I have been taking Sean Patrick’s hand and in a calm, loving (non-condescending) voice saying
1) “What did your hand just do?”….. “What are our hands for?” “Are they for hitting?” “What can you do next time to solve your problem more calmly?”
2) “What did you just do to your dresser?” “Is the dresser for tee tee or the potty for tee tee?” “What should you do next time you need to tee tee?”
3) “What did you just do to your food?” “Is that where your food goes when you are done?” “What should we do with our food when we are done?”
This makes the teachable moments so much more interactive and impressionable trust me!
And I am sure you are all still stuck on number 2 haha
Well, another tip I am learning from “Parenting is Heart Work” is to stay calm and NOT be reactive by showing sorrow instead of anger. So when Sean Patrick peed on his dresser I put the palms of my hands and my fingertips together like I was praying, put my pointer fingers up to my lips and CLOSED my eyes with frowed eyebrows (try this right now to see what I am talking about).
I held that position for about 15 seconds and didn’t say anything. Sean Patrick started asking me WHY questions haha “Why are you sad mom?” (still no response) “I’m sorry I tee teed on my dresser!” (still in prayerful pose) “I will never do it again!” (still praying to stay calm) “Why are you sad?”
Then I responded. I am sad because you tee teed in your room so now it will stink. I am sad because you tee teed on your clothes and now it all needs to be washed. And I was hoping that you knew where you are supposed to tee tee every time.
In this instance I didn’t need to ask him the WHAT questions because he acknowledge WHAT he did when I was in prayer pose. And he decided that he was not going to do that again which is what I would have asked him as well.
He didn’t do it again, and in fact he came up to me the next time he tee teed and said “Mom I tee teed in the potty and not on my dresser… Are you proud of me?”
Haha “Yes big boy, yes I am very proud that you made a good choice.”
I have been so excited to see my son associate amounts with numbers lately. He is starting to understand that a number is not just a bunch of shapes (one looks like a line, zero looks like a circle, etc) but he is starting to have Number Sense.
Sean Patrick’s first attempt to make “three” with his fingers
Sean Patrick is 3 and a half and I realized we have used his age in association for almost everything we do:
Three minutes in time out
Three treats as rewards
Three bedtime stories
Three minutes on the timer in preparation for bedtime or leaving the house
Three crayons out at a time while he is coloring
Three kids in our family! (Number three is three months now but I loved this pic)
You get the picture 🙂
Because there is so much consistency and exposure to the AMOUNT three, Sean Patrick knows every combination that makes up three:
I was JUST upstairs telling him bedtime stories before his nap and after the first one I told him, he held up one finger and said “That was one, two more please.”
My husband has done a great job playing “How many fingers am I holding up?” with him because he will play it fast and fun and if Sean Patrick messes up then they count to see how many he is really holding up. (That is a common core standard by the way- recognizing that the last the last number said when counting is the number that represents the group counted!)
So, if you haven’t tried this yet, start making a habit of associating as much as you can with your child’s age. This year Sean Patrick will learn ALL the ins and outs of “what makes three” and even if I introduce him to “what makes four” and “what makes five” when he is ready, he will really have fluency to compose and decompose these familiar numbers!
Sean Patrick is obsessed with my husband’s bedtime stories… and now I am obsessed with them, because he let me in on his secret.
My husband, Patrick, has been weaving subliminal messages into the imaginative night-time stories he tells Sean Patrick.
His stories about animals in forests or athletes on the field all have hidden messages in them that encourage patience, perseverance, integrity, problem solving, etc. It’s genius! Books always have morals and lessons so why shouldn’t our bedtime stories right?
Sean Patrick likes to be the main character in the stories we tell him; So, Patrick might tell him a baseball story where Sean Patrick is up to bat and misses but he doesn’t get upset or give up, he just tries again.
Or, an alligator might have Sean Patrick’s fishing pole so he has to wait until the alligator falls asleep to get it back like waiting until a friend is done with a toy before taking it back.
I have started to weave subliminal messages into my teaching tips too…
My recent story was about a boy named Sean Patrick who had the strongest alligator chomp (his pencil grasp) that he could chomp down on a wild crayon but the crayon could never break free from his super strength. And when he would write letters they would come alive…. the letter S would slither off of the page like a snake and he would have to catch it with his alligator chomp before it could get away.
Can you tell we are letting our imaginations run wild over here?