Teaching Kids A Sense of Humor That Isn’t Insulting

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.

What’s your take on this?

 

5 Backyard Soccer Games For Kids – Thanks to U.S. Soccer Star Kristine Lilly & Dr. Pepper Snapple

Are there any parents out there lost in summer?
Some days I’m lost in the best ways….playing and swimming the day away with my three kids.
Other days, I’m lost in an August daydream when I will have even a few hours to run errands alone.

Even though I might get a little antsy some days for a little reprieve, I really admire (and am inspired by) moms who have not allowed their work load or daily tasks to drown out what really matters as a parent… making time for family.

So, it’s not very often that you get to spotlight a mom who has accomplished so many life goals as an athlete and entrepreneur (read bio at the end of the post!).  AND she also shares tips for moms like me, with young kids, to make time as a family (perfect timing in light of summer and the World Cup!).

U.S. soccer legend Kristine Lilly, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Play Ambassador for Let’s Play, an initiative led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide, shares tips below on how she transforms the soccer drills she learned on the field into fun games that keep her kids active all summer long.

1. Dribble Relay

o Set up some small orange cones or plastic cups in a zig-zag pattern.
o Divide your family into two equal groups and give one person from each team a soccer ball. Have the team members stand on opposite ends of the yard.
o To begin, the team member with the soccer ball has to dribble around each cone to the other side, tag their teammate and pass them the ball.
o Then, the teammate has to dribble the ball back through the cones and race to the other end of the field. The team to complete the obstacle course first, wins!

2. Kick-out Keep-away

o Great for a large group of kids, give all players a soccer ball (or any type of ball they can kick around) except for the person who is “it.”
o Set up four cones or plastic cups on each corner of your “field,” and when the game begins, all players dribble their ball while the person who is “it” tries to kick each ball out of bounds.
o When a player’s ball is kicked out of bounds, he/she is eliminated. The last player with a ball wins!

3. High-Five Goals

o Set up a couple of markers to signify a “goal.”
o Pass the soccer ball to your child, and have them kick it back to you.
o After three kicks back and forth, tell them to run over to you and give you a high-five, and then kick the ball into the goal. This is a great game for little ones!

4. Sideline Sprints

o Put a mark on the lawn or driveway about 15 yards away, or whatever distance works best for your space.
o Run to the line and back five times.
o Next, do five jumping jacks and count them off together out loud.
o Continue the sequence, but this time, run to the line and back four times, and work your way down to one time. It is a great workout game for parents AND kids, and helps little ones learn how to count.

5. Hydration Station

o It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re playing outside in the heat. I like to keep a small cooler filled with cold water or juice in the fridge so I can easily grab it and during outdoor play in the summer.
o Just make sure your kids don’t drench the “coach” after they score a goal!


Kristine Lilly



Kristine Lilly is a mom and an American soccer player who last played professionally for the Boston Breakers women’s professional soccer team. She was a member of the United States women’s national soccer team for 24 years and has appeared in more international matches than any other player in the sport, appearing in her 352nd and final match against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in November 2010. She is the founder of the Kristine Lilly Soccer Academy and author of an e-book, Girls Soccer: My Story. Lilly lives with her husband and their two daughters outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

DIY Rain Chain



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Head’s up!  Father’s day is THIS WEEKEND, not next like I kept telling myself.  My son had this brilliant idea to buy my husband some outdoor speakers for Father’s Day, which I really thought was a great idea (something I would enjoy too), but have you checked out the prices for those babies?  Yeah – it’s like the cost of formula for a year.  Not gonna happen.

Keep on brainstorming… Well, one thing my husband and I have always wanted is a rain chain… especially the copper ones that hang from beautiful, expensive copper gutters that we don’t have (as seen here in this video).  And those can be upwards of $100 or more… also not going to happen.

So, I decided that we are going to forego the pretty copper and make our own!  And I always say, “who can resist something handmade by kids?”  Let’s take a zero off of that $100 and make something similar for $10!

Supplies:  6 or more small terra cotta pots, 2 – 36″ extender chains for hanging planters

My kids and I picked up these small terra cotta pots from the Dollar General for $1 each.  They thought these were beautiful with the flowers painted on them… but I thought “eek!”  we can paint that… which they were ok with since I mentioned they would be the ones painting them.

 

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We bought 6 of them (because that’s what they had) and it makes a pretty decent length for a rain chain in my opinion.  We also purchased 36″ extender chains for hanging planters from the Dollar General which was $1.50… so we got 2 of them and got to work!



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Make sure that your pots have holes in the bottom because that is essential for this project for the chain to go through, and for the water to drain as well (because this is also a functional project).

The chain links are supposed to be bigger than the hole so your pots do not slip down the chain.  But how do you get the chain through the hole?

Using pliers I removed the link where I wanted my pot to rest.  I took that link and squished one side down which was the perfect size to go through the pot.



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I put about 5-6 links between one pot and the next.



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Then my kids wanted to do some more painting so I let them have at it 🙂



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This project probably took us about 30 minutes.  I will probably also get a large saucer and put some river rocks in it to collect water on the ground.  A nice little . to the !  (But then this would be more than a $10 project).

Extra:  Extra tip means extra $$.  If you want to seal the paint, use a clear matte acrylic spray paint that you can find at stores that sell spray paint (Walmart, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, etc.).

Happy Fathers Day to all of you Daddy Teachers and to all the Mommy Teachers who play both roles!

Mommy Needs to Journal

The other day I was talking with a good friend of mine (who is also a mom of young children) about how we used to spend time in the mornings journaling. (I can’t imagine what could be distracting us nowadays. Hmm.)

I really miss it.

I miss that time to reflect on what God is teaching me.

I miss that time to be still and quiet.

I miss the slow sips of coffee that I actually enjoyed.

But, I wouldn’t trade it for the joy my kids bring to me every morning. The pure, wild, joy they bring.

My friend mentioned that Sally Clarkson wrote a blog post once about journaling with her children every day, and I made a decision to do the same.

A week went by.

No journaling.

The lovely picture of journaling with my kids was still in my head.

Then, the Sunday morning service was about Re-discovering growth.  Colossians 2:6-7

This verse made me think back to when I first started to journal.

Now I wanted to journal, about how I used to journal.

At this point, I didn’t even just want to journal anymore,  I needed to journal.

After reading Casey’s post this past weekend about purposing worship with the kids every day I knew I needed to stop thinking about it, and just GO get the dang journals.


journals from dollar general


So, when I came back from the store, it was really exciting that my kids actually LOVED their journals and wanted to journal right away. “I’m so exciting!”  was the two year old’s reaction.

We journaled about the Sunday morning message – to WALK in Jesus in the way which we have been taught / are learning to do.

 

I traced the kids feet in their journals and I wrote the letters spelling out WALK inside their footprint.


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I described to them how I make a cross while I drew one (it’s like a big rectangle “T” with one rectangle going up and down and one going across.)

I wrote Jesus’ name while singing the letters in his name to the tune “Bingo” and then gave them the pens and told the kids to write on top of my writing and/or to draw anything they want to on their own personal journal page.


journal entry about walking with Jesus


While they did this, I jotted down my own reflection in my journal.

I would have liked this to last 30 minutes, but I was content with two.  I finished the entry later that night after the kids went to bed.

I hope we keep it up.

Leave a comment if you have any ideas for journaling with your kids or tips for finding time to journal yourself.

 

Summer School Supplies and Schedule



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Where did the Spring go???  Summer crept up on me and has already been filled with vacations and summer camps.  I have yet to have a single day where we are home long enough to even catch up on house chores, yet I need to organize our summer, like YESTERDAY, or else I will go bonkers.  I need a plan and a calendar of events – that’s the teacher side of me – and a nap – that’s the exhausted Mommy side of me.

I have to say, our lack of a routine has brought out some pretty ugly behaviors in my kids (and myself unfortunately – just being honest here since we’re all friends), and I am going to put an end to that.  So I am going to throw a lot at you guys at once so you can see our complete summer schedule, “school supply” list, and what we are learning this summer!  If any of you are out there treading water like I am, I know that you’ll start floating along as soon as a schedule/routine/plan/ANYTHING is in place!

Here is our schedule for days that we don’t have anything planned:

1.  TV goes off at 8 am

  • This gives Mommy enough time to wake up from my slumber, get the required amount of caffeine pumping through my system, and hopefully whip something like bowls of cereal up for breakfast (I am not a morning person).

2.  Worship!

  • This was a great idea by my friend, Kim!  She sets aside worship time for her kids and they choose how they want to spend that time!  They can create artwork, listen to music on a kid-friendly CD player, read their Bible, journal, dance, etc.  It is a great way to instill personal time with the Lord as a necessity from an early age.

3.  Outdoor play and snack

  • I am banking on no rainy days this summer!  But if it does rain, we will probably pull out some toy bins that I will reserve for rainy days only.  Other than that, you can catch us outside in the sprinkler!

4.  Learning Activity and Lessons

  • More on this below!

5.  Clean up and Chores

  • This summer I am introducing more chores to my 4 and 6 year old:  sweeping, dishes, laundry, vacuuming, toilets, bathroom and more!  Before they were helping out here and there, but now they will be carrying a lot more weight around the house.  I do plan on having a daily schedule for this, but haven’t quite gotten that organized yet.

6.  Lunch

  • In my mind I have a picture of us all singing and making lunch together, but, let’s face it, I will be making lunch while they probably pull out all the toys they just picked up.

7.  Naps/Reading

  • My boys have the option to either take a nap or have quiet reading time in their bed.

8.  Designated Electronic Free Time

  • This time will be earned minute by minute this summer!  More on that below.

After this, Daddy should be home from work and we will probably spend more time outside, working on dinner, and picking up for the evening.

This schedule will already have to start off really flexible as we have several weeks of camps and swim lessons that last the remainder of June, but at least my teacher self is more at ease with our plan.

SUMMER “SCHOOL SUPPLIES”

Now, that same teacher side of me also had to purchase some “school supplies” for this summer.



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  • Big chart paper – the kids love when I teach and draw on here like we are in a real classroom!
  • Journal Notebooks – I am hoping that each day we will spend a few minutes either drawing pictures (my 4 year old) or writing a short journal entry (my 6 year old) to keep up these skills for when they enter Pre-K and 2nd grade in the fall.
  • Craft Supplies – these were all impulse buys that I will figure SOMETHING to do with them… pipe cleaners, card stock, a large roll of Kraft paper, colored clothespins (after I thought, “really, Casey?  Was that a necessary purchase?”), markers, colored pencils and crayons
  • Behavior Chart supplies:  dry/erase poster, PLAY MONEY (more on this later), stickers, and picture frames (not pictured)
  • Adventure supplies:  magnifying glasses – my kids love to go exploring and we can only find one magnifying glass, so we got new ones.

Our crafts this summer will probably be super easy and consist mainly of card stock, pipe cleaners and random colored clothes pins (gee, I wonder why?).  With our busy, unpredictable schedule this summer (is this how it is with older kids?!?), I will be creating on the fly!

WHAT ARE WE LEARNING ABOUT THIS SUMMER?

Last summer, each week we studied a different subject matter that my kids were interested in: ocean life, community, seasons and weather, and more!

THIS summer, however, I am switching things up a bit and we are going to focus on positive behaviors that we typically talk about here and there, but we will take the time to explore them in depth.  These behaviors, or VIRTUES, will be taught and explored through role plays, crafts, songs (that we probably make up), journaling, drawing/painting, puppet shows, Bible verses and more!

VIRTUES:

  • KINDNESS
  • RESPECT
  • OBEDIENCE
  • RESPONSIBILITY
  • SERVICE
  • HONESTY
  • THANKFULNESS
  • SELF-CONTROL
  • COURAGE
  • CONFIDENCE
  • HUMILITY

GOOD BEHAVIOR + CHORES = ELECTRONIC FREE TIME

I am going to preface this part with a disclaimer:  every one has different parenting skills and not every one will agree with the method that my husband and I have chosen for the summer as rewards for our children’s behavior and house duties.

Some people believe that you should not reward behavior with extrinsic motivators (stickers, toys, play money, etc.), but in our case, our children are really having a hard time listening the first time we tell them to do something.  We are pulling this one specific trait out that we want to fix and will be rewarding them for listening the first time with $1 in play money.  When they have successfully learned to do so, we will slowly replace the reward with high fives and positive talk.

Our goals for our reward system this summer are to teach about responsibility, positive behaviors, earning privileges and MATH: money and time.  $1 corresponds with 1 minute of play time on their electronic entertainment of choice:  video games, computer, or TV.  This will help us enforce that these are all SPECIAL privileges, and that listening and behaving appropriately will help them earn those privileges.



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Now, I feel SLIGHTLY more prepared for the summer!  Do you have a summer schedule?  Please share with us your plans!!!

 

 

 



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