Breakfast Choices

Every single morning my kids want to eat goldfish for breakfast.

I didn’t say that it happens, I just said that that is what my kids want…every.single.morning.

I do like to let my kids make choices about what they would like to eat for breakfast and for lunch (not-so-much dinner), but I typically like to give them a variety of options to pick from.

Telling my kids, “Goldfish is a snack, pick something that you want to eat for breakfast: cereal, oatmeal, eggs, etc.” just wasn’t cutting it, so I decided to make a visual.

My printable functions kind-of like a menu for the kids.  It shows them what they can pick from when we are in a hurry (which is a lot), and of course I will make the take-your-time printable when I have, well, time.


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I got this idea when Casey wrote a post in August and she set up some breakfast options in a basket…


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I am including the Breakfast Choices PDF Template with both “on-the-go” and “take-your-time” templates that you can glue the box-top images that you would like to use in the spaces, draw/color your food choices, or take pictures and add them to the templates. (When I update this and complete it, I will be adding it to the member’s page).

I would love to see what you come up with!

Share pictures with us on Facebook if you have any morning solutions of your own.

Simple Chore Chart Checklist – Tidying !

I would classify myself as a “clean as you go” mom.  I am NOT a clean freak but I do like a tidy house.

I play with my kids and I pick up after my kids (admittedly)  a lot.

With three under three, tidying up after my little tornadoes is an ongoing discipline.  But as I approach the ages of chore-chart readiness I wanted to give my little ones a bit of familiarity with the responsibilities they can handle, and those that are age-appropriate.

So, I made a simple checklist of the things that I would like them to be responsible for…. to pick up:

Shoes (We have a shoe basket)
Toys (Toy Chest)
Cups (Sink)
Clothes (Hamper)
Trash (Can)
Books (Book Bin)



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I printed my checklist two per page and then laminated it (I have an affordable self-laminator from Walmart) and put this on our fridge with a square of small stickers held by a magnet nearby.

I introduced this checklist by saying that from now on when we are responsible and pick up after ourselves we get a sticker for each thing we pick up.  Then we picked up one of each item and put it where it goes, getting a sticker for each one.



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Letting him take the sticker off helps develop his fine motor skills!

Now every time my kids pick up and put away something I give them a sticker to put in the box beside the chore.  I give my kids stickers now even if I encourage them to clean by singing or ringing a bell… not just if I “catch” them cleaning, but if they do it without me asking I give them two.

Every time my kids put a sticker up, I say “Oooh we are going to fill up all the boxes and we will be able to see how hard we work.”  This week our “trash” box is getting full so I asked Sean Patrick what he thinks we pick up the MOST of and what we needed to pick up MORE of so that I can keep him familiar with important math terms.



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I am not giving him some big reward for filling up the boxes at this time because I want to get him accustomed to working hard because it pleases God not just to get the incentive. 🙂

[Click HERE to become a member for just $5.00 and get unlimited access to ALL The Mommy Teacher Printables including this one!

OR CLICK HERE to purchase this Tidying Chore Chart individually from my TeachersPayTeachers Store.]

 

Daily Devotions: Week 4

We are absolutely loving our daily devotions!  The kids are finally not protesting them anymore (before they just wanted to run off to watch TV after homework), but now they jump up and down asking what type of activity we are doing (not every day, but some)!  This week, we even did a science experiment as one of our activities!  Have you ever related God to oil?  Haha… maybe it was a stretch, but the kids loved it and totally got my analogy, so that’s what matters!

When my husband got home, the boys couldn’t wait to tell him what they learned which sparked my husband’s Daddy Teacher side (he taught math, science and engineering to high schoolers before he became a mechanical engineer).  He ended up creating a science experiment that will be my next post in a few days.

Day 1:  An Adventure with Me

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” -John 14:20

If you have any matryoshka (nesting) dolls lying around your house, this verse can be perfectly portrayed by using those dolls.  If not, any type of nesting toys such as blocks or cups can be used just fine.  For your older child, you can label the big nesting doll “God,” the next size “Jesus,” the next your son/daughter’s name, and the next “Jesus” again.



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This one took some convincing for my 3 year old to understand that God was not an LSU football player, and to get past the fact that each doll has a “shirt” (top) and “pants” (bottom).



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Me: “Leyson, so where is Jesus?”
Leyson: “He is wearing my pants.”
Me: “No, he is inside you. Inside you.” ::sigh::

Next lesson: the difference between “where” and “wear” and maybe we’ll just use nesting blocks instead of the nesting dolls. 😉

“For in him we live and move and have our being.’  As some of your own pets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'” -Acts 17:28

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.”  -Colossians 2:6-7

Day 2:  Never Changing

“God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

The devotion talked about all of the distractions we face daily…hourly…and how one thing always remains the same:  God.  He is a constant in our lives.  While we are growing and changing, He is the one thing we can count on to always be there for us.

Today, I wanted to do an illustration on things that change and things that remain the same.

Materials:  2 bowls, oil, water, food coloring

I pulled out 2 bowls and filled one with water and one with oil.  I explained to the kids that we are like the water, always growing and changing, learning new things, adjusting to new situations.  James added food coloring to our water to see how the water automatically changed to blue.



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Then I explained that God is always the same, always there for us.  He is not going to be changed or influenced by distractions like we are.  He is not going to walk away from us even when we mess up.  His love for us remains the same.  Leyson added food coloring to the oil and the oil did not change.  It did not spread and turn the oil blue like it did the water.



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“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10

Day 3:  I Am the Light

“I am the light of the world.  The person who follows me will never live in darkness.  He will have the light that gives life.”  -John 8:12

Today’s discussion was about the Light that fills our hearts and the darkness that can overtake it, if you let it.

Materials:  black paper, pencil, glue, glitter, tray or box with sides (to limit the mess)



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Draw a large heart on the black paper.  Talk about how hate, jealousy, rudeness, disobedience, dishonesty and disrespect can all darken the heart.  Let your child paint the inside of the heart with glue and fill it with glitter.



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Talk about how Jesus’ love for us and our obedience to follow Him will fill our hearts with light.  My kids had a great time waving their hearts around to see the light dance against the glitter.



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“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” -Psalm 32:7

Day 4:  No Other Friend Like Me

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  -John 15:13

We pulled one of our favorite Disney songs to help us with today’s devotion.  We compared the love and friendship that Andy and Woody have with each other to our relationship with Christ.  We also closed our eyes and listened to the words of this song describing their friendship and talked about how that relates to us and our BFF, Jesus.

“I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  -John 15:14-15

Day 5:  Depend on Me

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”  -Ephesians 6:10

God is the ultimate superhero – putting it in 6-year-old boy terms here.  He is super duper strong, like an ant.  We discussed how strong ants are in comparison to their bodies, and how big and heavy the things they carry can be.

Materials:  stirring straws, cheerios, glue

We pretended our fingers were little ants and made dumbbells to pump some ant iron and show their strength.  Cutting the straws into 3 inch pieces, we slipped cheerios onto each end.  James decided 3 cheerios on each end was about what an ant can carry (he thinks he is Wikipedia and knows everything).

Then my 6-year-old know-it-all decided to multiply the weight that the ants can carry times a million trillion billion because that’s how strong God is.



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“The God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:26-27

If you are doing Bible studies with your kids at home, we would love to hear from you!  Are you following a specific kid’s devotional or study, or making your own up as you go along?  Comment below to tell us all about it!

Catch up on previous weekly devotions below.

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1

 

Summer Break Part 1: Summer School

Happy Summer, Mommy Teachers!!!  Oh wait, MOMMY teachers don’t get a summer break!  For those of us with school-aged kids, we get to spend extra time with our big kids too – which means extra busy bodies in the house.

It is really important to me to maintain some type of schedule during the

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summer or the kids and I could easily fall into the routine of staying in our pajamas, never leaving the house and then by 3 o’clock everyone is completely stir crazy.  Because of this, I am mapping out a daily schedule that includes play dates or errands, Bible study, school time, free time and more so my children will never have the opportunity to say, “I’m bored” or “Mom, when can we play the Wii?”  They will have one opportunity per day to either play the computer or video games.  Summer is a time for kids to unplug (for the most part – I mean, let’s get real… even Mommy enjoys her Mario Kart).

It is also important for school aged kids to stay on track for their next school year.  Many kids have to play catch up at the beginning of each new grade level because they forgot most of what they learned the year before.  As Mommy Teachers, it is our job to bridge the gap between grades on both an academic/cognitive level and a social level.

On an academic and cognitive level, this can be achieved by simply doing activities to reinforce what your child learned the previous year (think back to all of those homework assignments your child’s teacher sent home) or visit the website for the Common Core Standards which is what each child should know by the end of each school year (these have been adopted by the public school systems of most states).  And if your child had a super awesome teacher like my kindergartner did, chances are they will have sent home a packet for practice this summer.

Now, I am not particularly a fan of “hand outs” and worksheets, however, the 2 months off of school can break kids of the social behaviors that they learned in the classroom this year.  Social behaviors aren’t just interactions we have with other people, the are also what is expected of us when we are in different social situations such as sitting in a classroom, standing in line, and waiting our turn.   Just think about how those things prepared us for sitting at our office desk, standing in line at the grocery store, and waiting our turn to use the ATM machine.  So, in this case, a handout or worksheet a day, where your child sits correctly in a chair, pulled up to the table (not on the floor) is more than just working on maintaining academic knowledge; it is helping them retain that social behavioral expectation that they will need for the fall when they have to sit quietly at their desks to do work.

I recently made a trip to our local school supply store (it’s like the IKEA for teacher supplies – ah-may-zing!) and purchased a few summer school supplies for my kids.  Now, you can absolutely find free templates for a lot of these worksheets online (there are plenty on The Mommy Teacher alone), but my printer is B-R-O-K-E-N and this was cheaper for me than replacing the printer.

I bought 2 Summer Bridge Activities workbooks (on

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e for each of my boys) that are specifically designed to align with the common core standards, reward charts, stickers, lined paper, and lined journal paper.  For every page they finish in their workbooks (or for when they work extra hard on a particular activity) they each get a gold star sticker (highly coveted).  When they fill up the chart we will take a trip to Jump Zone (their choice) as a reward for all of their hard work.

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The lined paper is to specifically practice handwriting (one area that my 5 year old struggles in) and the journal lined paper is to practice writing paragraph stories and drawing a picture of what happens in that story (a kindergarten skill). Many kids will write a story of say, going to the store, and they draw a picture of  a tree.  This summer we will practice creating complex stories and adding detail to our drawings.  My ultimate goal is to make this activity FUN for my 5 year old because he absolutely despises writing and drawing (totally my husband’s child).  I may have to ::gasp:: resort to bribing for this one!

* This weekend I will be following up with posts about our summer schedule and weekly themed curriculum, so I apologize for the clumped posts, but summer starts today and I’m already off schedule!  Eep!

House Rules



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I recently wrote a post about a Routine Change for our after school schedule that I posted on our chalkboard door.

I also posted our house rules on that same door, in plain view to remind us how to behave throughout the day.

1. Be Respectful
2. Be Obedient
3. Be Honest
4.  Be Kind
5.  Be Positive

I once visited a classroom that had just two rules:  be respectful and be obedient.  Brilliant!  I mean, you really don’t need much more than that because those are two rules that any type of disobedience can fall under.  I call them “umbrella” rules.

I decided to use that in my house.  Once your kids get a full understanding of respect and obedience, they are extremely effective for toddlers.  However,  those are BIG words for little kids, so don’t expect them to immediately understand them.  However, if you use the same language a few times while modeling each of the behaviors, then your 2 year old will start telling you all about the appropriate behaviors he or she just displayed.  (They also may start questioning you about your appropriate or inappropriate behaviors – but that’s all a part of the learning process).

How to teach your kids about respect and obedience:

-Define the new vocabulary

Respect means you are being nice and talking nice to your mommy, daddy, siblings, friends and other adults.  “

Obedience means you listen the first time and always remember the appropriate behaviors you should be showing at all times.

-Model the new vocabulary

“‘Mommy, may I please have some milk?’ is a very respectful way to ask for something.  Can you say that?  ::wait::  Great!  I love how you used your manners and talked to me in a sweet tone.  I appreciate you showing me respect.  That was a very respectful way to ask me for something.”

“If I tell you to please pick up your clothes, a respectful response should be, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and then you show your obedience by picking up your clothes right away.   Listening the first time every time is a great way to be obedient.”

-Show the opposite behaviors and define them

“If I tell you, ‘Gimme some milk!’ Is that showing respect?  No.  That is called disrespect and it is not allowed.  How can we rephrase or say it again in a respectful tone?  ::wait::  That’s right!  You say, ‘May I please have some milk?’  I love how respectful that sounds.”

“If I ask you to pick up your clothes and you don’t look at me, don’t listen to me, or tell me, ‘no,’ that is called disobedience and it is not allowed.  Instead, what should we do?  ::wait:: You’re right!  Be obedient!  We do the task right away!  The VERY first time you are asked to do it!  But first, how do we show respect when asked to do something?  ::wait::  You’re right.  We say, ‘Yes, ma’am.'”

-Model different scenarios of respect, disrespect, obedience and disobedience and have your child label each

“Is this respect or disrespect:  ‘Moooooom I wanted to play with that toy!’  ::wait::  “Right.  Disrespect.  Do we allow disrespect?  No.”

“Can you please throw this away?  Yes, ma’am! ::throw trash away:: Was that obedience or disobedience?  Right!  Say, ‘great job, Mommy!  Thank you for being obedient!'”

-Have your child generate responses from cues

“How can we show respect to our friends?  ::wait:: You’re right… share our toys!  Great idea!”

“If I ask you to clean up your spilled milk, what would you do to be obedient?”

-Praise and repeat language

“Thank you for being respectful!”

“I love how you were being obedient!  You listened the very first time!”

-Frequent Reminders

“The way you said that was disrespectful, can you please change your behavior and use a respectful tone?”

“I have already told you once to do _____.  You have not done ____.  Is that being obedient?”

Sure, kids slip up from time to time, but by effectively setting your expectations for behavior and being consistent with praising and correcting, your child will likely choose to meet those expectations.

Now after having these rules for a while, I began to notice a few behaviors that my child was displaying that I still wanted to change.  It was necessary for me to set aside a few more rules to clarify which behaviors I did not like, even though these rules can also fall under the first two big umbrell

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a rules.

3. Be Honest
4.  Be Kind
5.  Be Positive

My kindergartner, bless his little imagination, can get himself into a lot of trouble with the stories he tells.  He is definitely the “dog-ate-my-homework” kid, so we instated the “be honest” rule.

He and his toddler brother were also starting to pick on each other around the same time.  Sure, they were both being respectful and obedient toward Mom and Dad, but were they showing the same courtesy to each other?  No.  So we instituted the “be kind” rule.

Our last rule is to “be positive.”  Sure, we can all have bad days (even Mommies and Daddies), but our newest rule is to take a few minutes to yourself to reflect, and then when you return to be with the rest of the family, you must come with a new and improved new attitude.  And it must be positive.

After all is said and done, I have been rewarding my kids with tally marks when

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they follow the rules.  We set a goal for our family:  100 tally marks = a trip to Kart Ranch (similar to Chuck-E-Cheese).  It’s been way more positive than punishments for not following the rules and they have been more obedient all around, knowing that there is a reward – a positive consequence – at the end.  Just a little encouragement for them.

What kinds of rules do you have in your home?  Which behaviors do you want your kids to change?  What new rules would you like to add to your list of expectations for your kids to follow?



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