toddlers

Do you have plans for the summer? Help for parents who work from home

“Bees’ll buzz, kids’ll blow dandelion fuzz
And I’ll be doing whatever snow does
In summer
A drink in my hand, my snow up against the burning sand
Prob’ly getting gorgeously tanned
In summer”

Even Olaf the snowman is excited about summer!!!

Every home in America that has school-aged kids or teachers living in them is counting down the days until summer vacation.

As exciting as it is for everyone, it doesn’t take long until the whining begins,

“I’m bored!”  (In our family the use of the word “bored” is actually treated the same as profanity)

“What can I do?”

“I’m hungry!”

I truly believe my kids eat twice as much in the summer and I KNOW I do more dishes.

For parents who work from home, which my husband and I do, it can be even more difficult because your kids and all your friends and neighbors often think you are available to entertain.

Last summer I was geared up for being a perfect work-from-home mom.  I had centers, I had been collecting educational activities, I had my husband on board, I had created a daily schedule, and we even began practicing the schedule before the school-year ended.

But it was still hard!  There was a little too much bickering and I heard a little too much of the whining I was hoping to avoid.

I will do a few things differently this year:

1. Send them to camp (not for the whole summer but  4 weeks to space out the summer so we can appreciate each other when we are back together again.)

2. Use an adjustable daily schedule like this one I made

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Adjustable Daily Summer Schedule

Last year I think our schedule was too rigid; if we had a change in the schedule I couldn’t communicate that as easily to the kids.  This new schedule has some firm spots (like resting time, mealtimes, and chores) but much more room to move things around for a rainy day, a playdate, etc.  I have a few more posters that I can swap out too!

(Here’s another blog with a great schedule idea:  http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/05/how-to-make-your-summer-at-home-with-kids-count-part-1/#_pg_pin=498031)

3.  Utilize SOME paper plates (sorry environmentalists out there but I can only mentally handle doing dishes if its under 3 hours a day!!!)

4.  Be more realistic!  I’m sure this will not be perfect, but I will learn and tweak as I go.

What are your strategies for keeping summer fun, productive, and free of whining?

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Why I Switched to Cheap, Ugly, Diapers

Potty training is one of the most dreaded tasks of being a parent of young children.

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I have done it three times. With each tot, there were times it definitely felt like I was drumming up a lot of activity for no good reason.  Collectively, my kids have had accidents in every space in my home, in every car seat, in grocery carts, on other peoples’ furniture, and at school.  It has taken a lot of perseverance and cleanup to get to the point I am now: three potty trained kids.

During those training days, it was a true challenge for me mentally to see my kids come close to mastery only to revert to daily accidents.

I’m not gonna lie to you.  Pull-ups made it worse!

(I am so happy I figured this out before I started training baby #3, the little general.)

Even though my older two were beginning to master the  potty around 20 months, they were required to wear a pull-up at preschool to save the teachers from constantly cleaning urine (understandable) until some official mastery was reached.  So I purchased those little cartoon-covered big-kid diapers for school.  And, for my own convenience, began using them some for naps, bedtime, and long trips.

Unfortunately, my kids LOVED them.  They were fascinated by the cool designs and how the fresh pee would change the diapers by revealing drawings with special disappearing ink (?) or something.  They really started reverting and although they would use the potty when they were told, they never felt motivated to go it on their own.

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Before making the connection that the pull-ups were largely to blame, we tried everything!  Potty charts, prizes, dvd’s about going potty, prizes,  story books, prizes, staying outside naked, and prizes.  It seemed everything had some  positive impact but nothing would stick.

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That’s when I brought home the generic, white, probably even slightly uncomfortable diapers.  That did the trick!

Approaching age 3, they were ready developmentally and emotionally to transition to underpants even for sleeping and trips.  So once the option was potty or bulky white diaper, they were ready to move on!  Both big kids were “officially potty trained” at age 3.

You can imagine that when my littlest baby began showing interest in the potty at 18 months we did things differently and reaped different results.  We have never given her a pull-up.  Yes she still has an accident every now and then but she only gets ugly, cheap diapers for nap and bedtime, so she is very motivated to use the potty regularly during her awake times.  She has been “officially trained” since she was 20 months and I couldn’t be happier!

 

P.S.  I do recommend the potty-training in 3-days initiative as well!  But whether you try that approach or not save your sanity and wallet and forego the pull-ups purchase