Monday, August 26, 2013

Positive Discipline

I finally finished reading the book Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D. over the weekend.  It took me a few months not because it was not a good book, but because I kept get distracted by life and other fictional books that were waiting in the wings for me to read.  I read a chapter at a time and tried to digest the information.  I will let the information settle for a bit, then I plan to re-read the book to catch things that I missed before.  I definitely recommend reading this book to my friends and family. 

I am hoping to get hubby to read the book soon.  I may have to do a reading trade.  Hubby has been wanting me to read Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey for quite a while, so that may have to be our trade.

So what is Positive Discipline?  It is the concept of using encouragement to create positive behavior in children.  “The primary goal of Positive Discipline is to enable both adults and children to experience more joy, harmony, cooperation, shared responsibility, mutual respect, and love in their life and relationships (p. 289).”  It is an interest concept that I am working on meddling into our family’s daily dynamics.  This book provides basic concepts that are like a tool box.  You can mix and match tools until you find something that works to accomplish the task at hand.

The book helped me to discover the niches that my children play in both birth order and personalities.  Thereby, helped me to determine how those characteristics can be used to help create a more positive environment for them to feel like they belong.  This book also focused on adults and how their personalities play into parenthood with strengths and weaknesses.  Suggestions for areas for adults to work on to improve the parent child relationship are also given.  A family is a TEAM effort and there is no I in team, so all members of the family need to work together to create a loving and encouraging environment.

One concept that I have been using for a few months are curiosity questions.  Curiosity questions are used to help the child explore the consequences of their choices without a lecture from an adult.  This concept helps the child to focus on solutions rather than punishment for a problem.  It helps them to take ownership of the problem or the set routine.  For example: “Princess, we need to go to the car.  What do we need to do before we go to the car?”  “Put shoes on.”  Then like magic the shoes go on instead of constant arguing and delaying tactics.  Or “Pumpkin, how would you feel if someone called you a name?  How do you think Princess feels?  What could we do different next time?”

We tried our first family meeting last night.  Pumpkin and Princess seemed pretty receptive to the idea once we got started.  We talked about what a weekly family meeting is: agenda (a list of issues that family members feel need to be addressed and solved by the family as a team), compliments (everyone needs to come with a compliment about each person at the meeting), problem solving (working as a team to help find solutions to problems on the agenda), planning a fun family activity for the future (family outing or movie night), and ending with a fun activity (like a game).  We ended the meeting by creating an evening picture routine chart for both Pumpkin and Princess.  Pumpkin’s chart is: play time, dinner time, clean up, homework, brush teeth, bath, pick out clothes for tomorrow, story time, then bed time.  Princess’s chart is: play time, dinner time, clean up, pick out clothes for tomorrow, brush teeth, bath, story time, and then bed time.  Next week we will create morning routine charts.

I do have to say that homework time seemed to go more smoothly tonight, only 45 minutes instead of 2 hours.  Pumpkin has math, spelling/phonics, reading, and memory work every evening.  First grade is quite a change from kindergarten.  Princess walked up to me this morning and told me that she wanted me to put “Pumpkin is bothering me all the time and hurting me.  Can you help me fix the problem?” on the agenda list to talk about at the next weekly meeting.  Quite cute!  I hope this helps with a few of the issues we have been having lately.  Pumpkin and Princess both love each other, but they are the typical brother and sister at times with the teasing and horseplay. 

I will slowly work on integrating concepts into our family dynamics.  We will be learning as a family, one concept at a time.  Rome was not built in a day, and family dynamics do not change in a day.  So slow and steady, we will work on encouraging our children to be the best individual that they can be. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vacation Days

This week has flown by and I only have one day left before returning to work.  Honestly, it would be nice to stay home with the kiddos.  I will miss morning time leisurely snuggles.  I will miss taking Pumpkin to and from school.  The kids have seem to have less behavior issues since they have spent time home with me.  Although, Princess has apparently started the tantrum stage.  She was crying and sulking in our bedroom earlier because Pumpkin was mopping the kitchen floor, not her.  But Pumpkin was mopping the kitchen floor because he had decided to make apple juice on the kitchen floor.  He gathered a large bowl, about six apples and the potato smasher for his unsupervised experiment.  It was not too successful and the floor was quite sticky. So we had to clean the floor. 

Anyway, during this vacation we checked quite a few things off our to-do-list: 

We took a drive north of our town, down an old rocky road to watch part of the meteor shower Sunday evening.  Since we were in the middle of no where, we were standing in the middle of the road watching the sky.  We saw the Milky Way (which we cannot see from out house), the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, the crescent moon, and a handful of shooting stars.  We let the kids lay on the hood of the car to watch the stars.  As we saw headlights in the distance, we scrambled into our car to be better protected.  A very old, old car drove by (maybe something from the 1920s or 1930s), then "Aaauuugah! Aaauuugah!"  Hubby and I burst into laughter!  Then the little car chugged off over a hill and we continued star gazing for a while longer.

On Monday the kids and I visited the children's museum.  The kids had a lot of fun.  

On Tuesday we went to the state fair.  Boy was it expensive.  A bottle of water was $3.00, that is absurd.  We did get to partake in some fair favorites: elephant ear, funnel cake, and lemon shake-up.  Yum!  Both kids got to milk a cow and we saw the Butter Cow.

On Wednesday, Pumpkin started the first grade.  We met his teacher on Monday.  Pumpkin and I went over the class expectations at least once a day every day this week since the meeting.  For example, one expectation is to be respectful of the teacher.  So I asked Pumpkin how he could be respectful and he said listen.  He was so nervous on Tuesday night that we prayed for him and his teacher and that has seemed to help.  So much so that he asked for the same thing the next night.  What a sweetie!   Anyway, I was so happy that first half day when he came out of the school to be picked up that he was not the child holding the teacher's hand.  Yay!  Oh, Wednesday afternoon and night we cleaned Pumpkin's room.  It is a miracle, I can see the floor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Thursday, Princess and I ran a few errands and she got a new pair of shoes.  We played with chalk outside and swung on the swing.  She passed out in the hallway about an hour before we were to pick Pumpkin up from school.

On Friday, Princess spent the day with great grandma and I completed a few volunteer hours as required by the school.  It was an enlightening experience and gave me some ideas that I can utilize when I return to work.

Today we visited the library and then went on our regular routine to the grocery store.  Princess wanted some Fancy Nancy books and I found a few Elephant and Piggie books for Pumpkin.  He was too busy playing with the train set to look for books today.  We even picked up a few Halloween and Christmas books too.

This week I have read the following books: 1) Daughter of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf.  It was really good and was a fictionalize journey of Mary of Magdalena that utilized facts from the Bible.  It really made me think about the miracle, awe, and uncertainty of the times when Jesus lived. I discovered Joan Wolf about a month ago and am impressed by her biblical fiction.  2) Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen Ed.D.  I only have three chapters left of the book.  It has some very interesting concepts and focuses on encouraging children not discouraging them.  I have applied a few of the concepts on the children and they do seem successful.  I have been reading this book for a while.  But once I decided to take notes restarting from the beginning, it has gone a lot smoother.  I have been reading one chapter a day during vacation.  3) A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf.  I just started this afternoon.  It is the fictional story of Esther based on the facts of the Bible.  It is definitely interested reading about the women of the Bible and getting a glimpse of what their lives may have been like.

Well things will start to get back to normal on Monday.  Pumpkin will be in school and hanging with great grandma before and after school.  Princess will start at her new daycare that has a preschool curriculum.  Daddy will be working and I will be working.  It has been nice to be on vacation and my batteries are recharged a touch.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Last Hurrah of Summer

Summer is almost over.  We have not done too much this summer, but we are trying to make the most of the time that is left.

Two Sundays ago we visited a museum in our state capitol.

Last Thursday we visited the zoo for the first time this year.

Friday was the kids last day at daycare and I am on vacation.  Nine whole days away from work!  Only happens once a year.  Too bad it is not a paid vacation, but beggars can't be choosers.

Yesterday we had a tea party, got haircuts, and decorated little plant saucers for miniature bird feeders.

Today the kids are playing in the kiddie pool in the yard, while hubby and I try to accomplish a few needed projects.

Plans for the next seven days include:
- Taking the kids to tour Princess's new daycare that has a preschool curriculum.  Yay!!!!
- Playing at a children's museum.
- Visiting the library.
- Meeting Pumpkin's new teacher and starting 1st grade.
- Visiting the state fair.
- A mommy / daughter day.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Time To Celebrate Glasses!

Yay!  It is Great Glasses Play Day today!  
Time to celebrate kids that need a little extra help with their peepers!

Did you know?

This is our second year celebrating.  Last year we wrote a poem and interviewed princess about her glasses.

Today, we celebrated by partaking in some of the suggested craft projects posted on the Great Glasses Play Day website.  I must remember to let our eye care provider know about this great site as well as the Little Four Eyes site (one of the groups behind the celebration).

First we made fun foam eyeglass cases for Princess (age 4) and Pumpkin (age 6).  Since Pumpkin does not wear glasses, we found a pair of fun foam glasses for him to wear for our fun craft time.

Princess is so excited to have a homemade eyeglass case to place her glasses in during nap time at daycare this fall.  Of course it is purple!  What other color would be fitting for such a statement of character and flair.

Next we made Princess a ladybug mask to go with her homemade ladybug cape.  Now she is really Ladybug Girl!!!!!! This was the best craft of the day. 

Pumpkin was so engrossed making an eyeglass case that he skipped making the mask.  We finished the craft session with a coloring page.

Currently Princess' prescription is:
OD: -5.25 sph, -1.50 cyl, 110 axis
OS: -5.50 sph, -2.00 cyl, 070 axis

We are definitely thankful for her glasses!  Well off I go to read Princess Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles by Jane O'Connor.

Happy Great Glasses Play Day Everyone!!!!!