February 14, 2012

Simple Ways to Tell Your Child, "I Love You!"

If you’re a parent you probably do something special on Valentine’s Day to show your children them how much you love them.  Sometimes those little reminders go by the wayside the rest of the year. Here are some simple ways to keep that message alive all year long.


·         Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make their toast or sandwich.

·         Tuck a love note into their backpack. Write a short note or draw a smiley face on a napkin and put it in their lunch box. Slide the note under their dinner plate or place it under their pillow.

·         Give your child coupons redeemable for things like a half hour of your undivided attention, their favorite dinner, playing a board game with them, etc. Send your child on a scavenger hunt around the house to find those coupons.

·         Write a letter to your child and mail it. Children rarely receive mail so when they do it’s special.


I was just thinking about you and

what I was thinking is you are so__________


·         Hang a calendar above your child's bed. Each day write one thing one positive thing about your child or one positive behavior your child did. At bedtime you share what was written. It sets a positive tone and it's much easier for both child and parents to fall asleep knowing the day ended on a positive note.

Don’t limit showing love to your child to Valentine’s Day. Make it a part of your everyday routine.

February 8, 2012

Family Game Night

Looking for a fun activity to do as a family instead of watching TV?  Schedule a family game night. If you're tired of the games you already own or you're looking for something different I have a suggestion for a game that the entire family can not only play but can help assemble.   

If you're like most families you have all kinds of little toys lying around the house. Ever step on a Lego in the middle of the night? OUCH! You probably have a junk drawer overflowing with items you're afraid to toss out because you might need them someday.  
Send your family members on a scavenger hunt around the house to gather those items together and put them into a shoe box. You've just assembled a Story Starter Game! 

The directions for this game are simple. Lay out the objects so everyone can see them. Decide who will go first. That person selects one object and uses it to start a story. For example, "Once upon a time there was a race car." The next person selects an object, sits it down next to the race car and adds another line to the story. "The race car noticed a stop sign up ahead." Family members continue selecting objects and adding to the story until all the objects have been used.

A variation is to put all the objects inside a paper bag. Each family member randomly pulls out one object at a time and the story is told in that order. 

The Story Starter Game is suitable for both children and adults. Even the youngest of children can participate. The story will be different each time you play. You can use it while traveling and think of what fun it would be to use it at a family reunion.  

Put the cell phones down, turn off the computer and video games, and gather the family together for Story Starter Game Night.  

February 7, 2012

Equal or Fair?

There's a big difference between "equal" and "fair." It's impossible for parents to treat their children equally and it wouldn't be fair if you could. As a parent have you fallen into the pattern of what you do for one child you do for the other? Do you try to treat your children equally when it comes to attention, time and things?

Perhaps it's time to look at treating your children fairly instead of equally. Equal and fair are not the same thing. Treating children equally means you treat them exactly the same. Treating children fairly means you take into account the individual needs of each child.

For example, your youngest child needs a new pair of shoes. His sister says, "I didn't get a new pair of shoes. That's not fair!" It's important to point out that her sibling outgrew their shoes and needed a new pair so that was fair. Getting a new pair of shoes, when they're not needed, simply because a sibling received a new pair would be equal treatment not fair treatment and in our family we believe in being fair.

Using a fair approach instead of an equal approach might be something you are not currently doing or perhaps you are challenged with doing it as consistently as you would like. Take a close look at why you treat your children equally instead of fairly. Ask yourself some questions. Do I not want to hurt my child's feelings? Does it bother me to see my child disappointed? Am I afraid my children will think I love one of them more than the other? What message am I sending to my children when I treat them equally all of the time?

I encourage you to take small steps in changing the way you treat your children. Strive to treat them fairly and not equally.