For the last couple years I always sat back amazed at my sister Becca who would dissolve problems between our oldest children who are not even two days apart in age.
When our kids would fight over a toy she would start singing “You can take a turn, and then I’ll give it back” and they would almost immediately jump in singing and taking turns became a game.
When they got mad she would start singing “If you’re feeling mad and you want to roar… take a deep breath and count to four – 1 -2 -3- 4.” And they calmed down and started counting.
When we were about to leave the park she would sing, “It’s almost time to go, so choose one more thing to do. That was fun and now we’re through.”
I learned techniques similar to this in my under-grad and my teaching experience so I always sat back amazed that she would handle guidance in such an age-approriate way!
After about six months of enjoying her little songs, we finally discovered “Daniel Tiger” (The PBS TV show) I finally made the connection, calling my sister on the phone saying, “BECCA! Hahah I am just now figuring it out! I love it! You stole (“borrowed”) those guidance techniques from the show – you are so smart!”
It’s funny because experts help write kid-friendly series to make them educational and some people treat TV like it is the devil. Or, you feel like you are a bad parent if your kids watch TV – NOT TRUE! There are plenty of shows (especially on PBS kids) that are beneficial for kids – especially when you watch them, pause them, discuss them, dialogue with your kids about them, and even use some of the same tips in your parenting.
I tell Sean Patrick all the time not to take things out of someone else’s hands because he doesn’t want to be a swiper (Dora).
Or if he wants all the toys to himself I tell him to share like Jake not to be greedy like Captain Hook (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)
Here is a guidance song that I didn’t know as well, but it is something we experience every day with our little ones:
And here is another on feelings:
Are there any quotes/songs from TV shows your kids watch that have helped your parenting?
…and a complete new behavior modification system to discourage future closet explosions.
I introduce to you…
The Room Rating
(located right outside of their bedroom door for those times when it is so messy I can’t even walk into it)
Green: Mommy approves!
Yellow: Slightly messy. You will have to clean it before bed.
Red: Total wreck. You may not come out of your room until it is clean.
or, according to my husband,
Green: Mommy approves!
Yellow: Daddy approves!
Red: Just shut the door.
I was looking for a dry erase board to put on my clipboard, but found this doodle pad instead! And then I thought that this is pretty genius so I don’t have to leave a marker within reach of the kids… I’d definitely have another mess to clean up! I used Command strips to secure it to the clipboard.
Check back in with me in a week and let’s see if we stick to this! So far, the kids are excited about trying to keep it on green! Green = Clean! Say it with me! Green = Clean!
Everything is nice and neat, and labeled by size and article of clothing so that they can read the tags on their clothes to determine who they belong to. Once they are sorted, they know exactly where they need to go! Definitely encouraging some independence (and help around the house) here!
4T, 5T, XS = L’s clothes
6+, S+ = J’s clothes
Oh, and another thing new we’re trying? Bins for BIG TOYS and bins for small toys.
No more organizing by type of toy for us. It was just taking way too long to clean. The new rule is that if it is larger than your hand, it goes in the bin for BIG TOYS. If it is smaller than your hand, it goes in the bin for small toys.
And BONUS x 2! All these labels are GREAT for increasing print awareness for my 4 year old and encouraging reading for my 6 year old!
I read about Little Free Libraries in a local newspaper and fell in love with the idea. The basic concept is that a Little Free Library belongs to the community, and anyone can take or donate a book. When you’re finished with the book you can return it to any LFL location around the world or pass it on to a friend.
The first decision was where to put it. People locate their LFLs near their church, school, home, or place of business. We decided to place ours in our front yard because our house is located at the entrance of our neighborhood and faces a street with lots of pedestrian traffic, so we thought our Little Free Library would be used by neighbors and passersby. Having it at our house also makes it easy to maintain, and it’s fun check out the latest activity!
Next, the design: there are so many possibilities for how to design your library! You can buy a pre-made one from littlefreelibrary.org, use their plans to make your own, or create your own unique design. My dad built ours from plans on the LFL website and painted it to look like our house.
Choosing books: some LFLs have a specific theme, like children’s books or hobby books, but we live in an eclectic neighborhood with young families, retirees, college professors, and lots of college students walking by, so we filled our LFL with a variety of books. We included novels, travel books, hobby books, children’s books, etc. We’ll keep an eye out for what kinds of books people seem to like and try to stock more of those types of books. We’re also planning to have a party to invite friends and neighbors to visit our LFL and bring a buck and a book to help keep it stocked.
Before placing the books in our LFL we imprinted each one with our special LFL seal (ordered from http://www.littlefreelibrary.org) so that when the books are passed on people can see where they came from. We couldn’t imprint the thick pages of children’s board books, so we just placed a sticker inside those.
We also placed a notebook in our LFL for people to write comments, suggestions, reviews, and requests. Reading the notebook is a fun way to feel connected to the people who enjoy our LFL.
To teach people about our LFL we posted our LFL plaque and some basic instructions, and I printed fliers with more detailed instructions and placed them inside the library for those who wanted to know more.
During the installation several neighbors stopped by to ask what it was and offer to donate books.
A few hours later we went outside to admire our LFL and noticed that someone had already donated a book! It’s exciting to walk outside and see what people have taken from and added to the library. I’m looking forward to when my son is old enough to choose books to donate to and borrow from the library. For now he just has fun opening and closing the door.
Erin Walker is a teacher, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, and soon to be stay at home mom. She earned her B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from Louisiana State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from University of South Florida. She’s taught at University of South Florida in Tampa, FL; Saint Joseph’s School in Shreveport, LA; and Catholic High School, Saint Joseph’s Academy, and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. She currently works as a Selection Consultant in the telecommunications industry. She lives with her husband, 15 month old son, and two dogs, and is expecting a baby girl in July. She very occasionally blogs at firstyoumakearoux.typepad.com.