Monday, 16 January 2012

Positive Parenting And Using Incentive Programs

I'm a big believer in reasonably rewarding your child or children with incentives. It's worked in my house for years. However, it is not a one size fits all process. You will have to find out what leverage or incentive works best for your child.

With my son, his leverage is using tv or video games. My daughter can be more complicated. Usually a small treat or dollar store type toy works best. But there are many ideas you can use. I've also used a bag with "coupon" type of rewards that worked really well. A coupon or ticket might say "bake with mom" or "pick a game of your choice."

There are all types of sites that offer free printables for incentive charts. I found this Kidz Pointz website that offers a ton of great incentive charts and other resources. Some other great home reward suggestions listed by age group are listed on this site.
Whatever task or behavior change you are trying to bring forth, make sure to be consistent, pick an incentive program that your child gets excited about, and make a big deal about praising the positive behavior.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Coping with Child Anxiety

If you are a parent with a child who suffers from anxiety, you know how frustrating it can be. You want to help your child but you don't know how and it leaves you feeling desperate while your heart is aching for them.

This is how I felt nearly a year ago when my son began having panic attacks and severe anxiety around bedtime. The one thing I did know was that I was going to find the resources to get him help. A good place to start is your pediatrician. Our pediatrician was very helpful in referring child psychologists to contact. Even before our initial appointment the psychologist recommended some very useful books and workbooks.

A wonderful book is called Freeing Your Child From Anxiety by Tamar E. Chansky, Ph.D. And there are two workbooks that my son and I did together from "What-to-Do Guides for Kids." We used What to Do When You Worry Too Much and What to Do When You Dread You Bed. These are great tools for kids in overcoming anxiety using cognitive-behavioral techniques in a very child friendly way.

They are illustrated and interactive. In the "worry" guide, it compares the worry thoughts to a tomato plant that keeps growing and growing because you are tending to it. Just like worries will grow if you pay too much attention to them.

No matter what the anxiety is, know that it will be a process, and you will need to take little steps, and be VERY patient in helping your child deal with his or her fears. The resources along with the therapy have been completely helpful! No more panic attacks and sleeping soundly back in bed - hooray!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Owls Are Back

Owls are so popular these days. I don't know if it's a cyclical thing or not - remember those macrame owls from the seventies?

One of my very favorite hobbies is rubber stamping and making my own greeting cards. I have to say that I think Stampin' Up products are the very best for their card stock, inks, stamps, punches and accessories. Everything color coordinates so nicely. They even sell fabric now.

My friend and neighbor, Rachel is my Stampin' Up demonstrator and I'm in her stamp club that meets once a month. At the last stamp club we made these adorable owl calendars (magnet on back). I was soooo excited about these owl calendars I got a little over zealous and decided to make 8 of them as holiday gifts. Well, the holidays are over and I've only made 4 so far. There is no stamping involved but it's a bit tedious putting that cute little owl together. I still love how they turned out!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Instant Snow!

This week my preschool class is learning all about winter. Living in Richmond, VA you don't get to experience a lot of snow. And even if we did, the fun would be mostly limited to outside, but instant snow making kits are excellent for inside winter fun in sensory tables, tubs or buckets.

You just add water to the snow polymer and like magic it puffs up into play snow. It has a soft texture and even feels a bit cold like real snow. If you put it in the freezer for several hours it will feel even more like real snow. It's super easy and the kids love to watch the "magic" happen. You can buy "blizzard" kits online or you can just buy the instant snow powder. Here is an example of the blizzard kit we have for our classroom. I know I sound like an infomercial, but even adults have a hard time not playing with it.