Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The BOO!!!!!! game!

Why wouldn't I want to sign up to bring a game to my son's preschool Halloween party?  I mean, everyone wants that job... but my fellow preschool mommies always save that spot for last, just for me.  I never pay attention and always get the last spot.  Bring a game.  Well, I've got a fix for you!  I've just invented the best preschool party game and it can be made to suit any occasion.  (maybe I didn't invent it, please let me know if you've seen this before!)

The Halloween game is called BOO!!!

First make 3 cubes with 3 different images on them.

I found my cube pattern here.

Or you can print my BOO!!!!!  cubes.  

First break up into two teams and make a score board.  You can print mine if you want... (don't mind my drawings, we can say Cleary did it.)

Each team takes turns rolling the dice.  
When someone rolls three like images everyone yells BOO! and that team gets a point.
Kind of like a preschool Yahtzee!  Which we love to play, I came up with the idea because Cleary was begging to bring Yahtzee to the party.
Easy peasy and lots of fun!

Cleary wanted to draw his own Spider...  isn't it cute!

Just say NO! To saying no...

I'm serious.  Don't say NO! to your kids.  This is the first piece of advice I give to parents when they ask me (okay, most often it is unsolicited) what to do about their kids tantrums and anger.  I reserve 'no' for very serious cases.  I will say 'no' to my son if he is headed for the street or about to injure himself or someone else.


Let's start with just plain "No!" If your kid is jumping in the leaves (or some equally fun activity) and you tell them "No!"  just for the heck of it, just to be a fun crusher and childhood ruiner... well... I say NO to you!  No more no!

More often than just general fun crushing you are saying 'NO!' because they are doing something they shouldn't be doing and you have a good reason to tell them not to.
Well, I still don't think you should say no.  You must give them a clear direction of what you would like them to do instead.  It's really easy, actually, it's the easiest parenting change you can make with the biggest payoff.   It just takes a little practice.

When my son turned one and was learning how to run he did not want to walk anymore.  He just ran, all the time and everywhere.  Walking was for losers.  I let him run all the time and everywhere.  Except at the pool, obviously this would be dangerous.  My son and his friend were both playing with toys by the pool, they both got up and started to run.  The other mother and I yelled simultaneously; she yelled "NO!"  and I yelled "walk!"  her son kept running and mine stopped and walked.  It was this moment that made me recognize the ineffectiveness of the word 'no.'   It wasn't that her toddler wanted to break the rules, he was a very sweet kid and she was an attentive mom, he just didn't hear No anymore.  Sometimes we just have to find creative ways to say NO.

The same idea has worked countlessly, sometimes No is replaced with redirection.

My boys and my nephews LOVE to throw things, it's annoying.  When you walk into a room and realize the game has turned into lets take every toy out of the cabinet and off of the shelves and throw it across the room and you want to start screaming NO! NO! NO!  This one is easy to fix, if they pick up a toy with the intention to throw it you can either suggest rolling it back and forth if it's a ball or find a special spot to throw it in, a basket or a bin, or give them a new game to play altogether.  The main point being, do not ever say 'No!'  Don't say 'no throwing!'  and don't be cute and try and get away with 'Stop' either... I'm serious... they'll be on to you.   (Although, it is always a good idea to remind them that throwing in the house is against the rules.)

And the last instance I call being argumentative...

This is really a strange occurrence, most of the time you don't even realize what you are doing.  You think you are being reassuring and nice, but all they hear is NO!

What I suggest is affirming feelings instead of telling them they are wrong.

So, I gave Soren, my two year old, a blue balloon because blue is his favorite color but he immediately starts crying and demands that he have a green one.  Instead of saying "No, you love blue, blue is your favorite color!" or "No, I already blew up a blue one!"   "You should be happy, you get a balloon, it's so fun!" or what usually comes out of my mouth... "No, you don't even like green you like blue."   Instead I try to remember to say "YES, green is so much better, I am so sorry that we only have blue now." or "I can see why you would be disappointed.  Next time we will have green for sure."   I promise you that this reaction goes over a lot better than the argumentative one.  It is okay for him to be sad about not getting what he wants, he is allowed to be upset about it.  Allow your children to feel these emotions and console them.  We can't always fix disappointment and frustration no matter how much we want to.

I saw this happen a lot at the beginning of the school year when parents are dropping of nervous kids, the parents want to be reassuring and encouraging (I am guilty of doing this as well.)  The child cries "No, I don't want to go to school!  I hate school!"  and parents argue "No, you love school.  You love your teacher, you love playing with your friends!"  The retort becomes more angry and frustrated.  Once I realized the battle I was provoking I changed my stance to "Yes, I agree, school is sometimes not  fun.  Sometimes it's boring and I'm sorry that you have to go." at which point Cleary, my four year old, pouts a bit but the argument is over.  You could also say "Yes, I know you don't want to go, I am sorry that you have to go today, I wish you didn't have to go as well."   "Sometimes school is not fun, sometimes you don't feel like going; I am sorry, but you still have to go."  Most of the time, children just want to know that they are being heard.

Don't get me wrong, discipline is very important to me and I'm sure we have a lot of the same rules that you have.  There are many ways to discipline and we have found that peace and positivity keep our house peaceful and happy.  Just remember, NO more NO!  (See... you don't like it when I tell you NO either!)

                                                                                                                                   Peace - Nikki

*edited to add*  My 2 year olds new favorite game... "you say no and I say yes!"  He loves to pretend argue, it is really funny.  "No!"  "Yes!" "No!" "Yes!"  This complete simplification of an argument reminds me that sometimes kids just need to argue, it's part of their developing personalities.  They are practicing independence and learning how to stand up for themselves!  This game always has us cracking up, and honestly I'm always up for a good debate.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Peppy the Pink Caterpillar

We are a little caterpillar obsessed over here!  And lucky for us there are and abundance of these tiny friends to play with in the yard.

I was lucky to have the opportunity to create a beautiful pink, brown and mint caterpillar.  Kind of like this one... she is a Xystopeplus rufago.

Here is Peppy!  She was a custom request, girl caterpillar.  She absolutely loves being in the garden.  These yellow roses are here favorite.  Peppy loves the color green and she just can't get over how these light green buds transform into huge bright yellow roses!