April 2nd, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
How many times have you heard the words “They did it, not me!” as your child points toward their sibling? If you have a 5-10 year old, probably often.
Most parents don’t like it when their kids are constantly telling on each other. Instead, we would prefer them to learn problem solving skills when it comes to sibling rivalry. We also want them to take responsibility for their own actions and deal with the consequences.
Tattling and finger pointing waste time. It hurts the whole family and causes an atmosphere of defensiveness. And in the end, it makes the problem that much more difficult to solve.
Understanding why children tattle, can help us diffuse the situation better next time. Maria Montessori found that children tattle because they are trying to figure out the difference between right and wrong. The result is, they have to question everything.
Between first and second grade is a prime time for this stage of development.
When children tattle, they are looking for a confirmation that the thing they are tattling about is wrong. They don’t need to see a punishment imposed on the offender, they just need to know if their anger toward the other person for the wrongdoing is justified.
Helping our children understand the differences between “Tattling” and “Reporting” can help them in the thought process of whether or not they should come to you to tell.
You can use the following lists when discussing this with your child.
It’s purpose is to keep people safe
They need help from an adult to solve the problem
It is about something important
It could be a harmful, dangerous, or threatening situation
The bad behavior is purposeful
It’s purpose is to try to get someone in trouble
They usually can handle the situation by themselves
It’s not really important
It is a harmless situation
The behavior is accidental
If we can understand why our kids are tattling and help them understand when the situation deserves your attention, hopefully, we’ll have less tattling and more time to give them the good attention they deserve.
March 26th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
Many characteristics of your gifted child may be causing difficulty at home and at school. Do any of these instances sound familiar?
They are bored with routine tasks, and refuse to do their homework because it’s boring.
They have difficulty moving into another topic because they get so involved in what they are doing.
They are self-critical and are impatient with their failures.
They are also critical of others, even you, their parent, and their teachers.
They often disagree vocally with others including adults.
They make jokes at inappropriate times.
They show intense emotional sensitivity.
They may overreact, get angry easily, or be quick to cry if things go wrong.
They may seem not to be interested in the little details of things.
They don’t like to get their hands messy.
They refuse to accept authority, are nonconforming and stubborn.
They tend to dominate others.
As you can see, sometimes a gifted child is thinking so far above and beyond the mundane that they miss the mark when it comes to common courtesy. Many times they suffer from plain old boredom. Your bright child may be exhibiting these traits if they are bored.
They may have a poor attention span.
They may daydream frequently.
They may have a tendency to begin many activities but the inability to follow them through to completion.
Their judgmental development may lag behind their intellectual growth level.
They have an intensity that may lead to power struggles with authorities.
They have a high activity level; they may seem to need less sleep.
They have difficulty restraining their desire to talk and they may be disruptive.
They seem to question rules, customs, routines, and traditions.
They lose their work or forget to do their work because of disorganization.
They may seem to be careless.
They have a high sensitivity to criticism.
Keeping your gifted child “entertained” with appropriate activities will help them focus and use their abilities for good rather than disruptive or difficult attitudes or behaviors.
Service is a great way to encourage your gifted child to “look outside the box” and help someone besides themselves.
Having them help you out with chores and jobs around the house will also give them a purpose and a sense of accomplishment. Be sure to make sure that the chores don’t become “boring” by switching them up often, or adding something a little different.
Click here to read a related article: Your Children Crave Responsibility – Give It to Them
Gifted children can bring challenges into your life, but if you look for the good and steer them in the right direction, you’ll find that the rewards far outweigh the tough times.
February 5th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
If you could have one wish what would it be? Toward the top of the list I’m sure we could find world peace. A grand idea, but it all has to start somewhere. How about in our homes?
Sometimes we may think that our efforts of teaching our children to be nice are futile, but the other day my daughter’s teacher pulled me aside and told me a story that brought me hope.
The teacher had brought signs for the kids to hold that were attached to popsicle sticks. Problem was, she happened to be 1 short, so everyone was able to hold one, except for the last little girl. The teacher told this girl that she would be able to help by holding up a different picture, but this little girl was upset that she didn’t get one with a popsicle stick. The teacher had greatly underestimated the worth of that popsicle stick to a 5 year old girl. The girl started crying as the teacher tried to calm her. Then my daughter stepped forward and offered the girl her sign on a stick. How pleased I was that she would do such a nice thing.
Now don’t get me wrong. That same evening she was antagonizing her little sister by taking her favorite bear away from her. But having her teacher comment on the difference my daughter had made to her day seemed to dampen my reaction to the later offense.
Teaching our children to be nice is something that takes time and patience. The biggest thing for them to realize is that kindness has value. It’s easy to think that the world isn’t fair, or they are being cheated out of something better by being nice, but in reality, everyone benefits when someone is nice. Here are some ideas to help your children be nicer.
Be nice to your kids.
Treat your children with respect and encourage them to do the same. There should still be discipline, but use words instead of force.
Pay attention to your kids.
Spend quality time with them. Let them know that you love them. A person is more likely to be nice if they feel good about themselves.
Model good behavior.
Let your children see you being nice. Volunteer, help your neighbors, and treat others with dignity and respect.
Use kind language.
Don’t treat someone nicely and then come home and talk bad behind their back. Everyone has a different idea of “good” words and “bad” words. I would suggest that any words that are not nice, are also “bad” words.
Reinforce good behavior.
When you see your child being nice, make a big deal out of it. Sometimes you may have to look long and hard to find something, but when you do, praise them heavily for it, multiple times.
Give your children chores.
There was a study from the University of Minnesota that showed children that did housework had better feelings of responsibility and self worth in their later years. Who would have guessed that chores could make your children nicer? MyJobChart.com couldn’t prove it till now, but we’ve known it all along.
Read about being kind.
We all know the importance of reading to our children. Add some books about kindness to your reading schedule and then discuss them.
Encourage them to make friends.
When you have a friend you tend to do things for them out of kindness. You also tend to sacrifice more for them than a stranger.
Get a pet.
A pet can make everyone happy. Except for maybe cleaning up after it, and then it will reinforce how to care for something that doesn’t always reciprocate it.
November 6th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice
Consistency is one of the most important factors in successful parenting. Being consistent teaches children what to expect. When they know what to expect they can predict what the consequences of their actions or behaviors will be. When they understand the consequences they tend to think more about their actions or behaviors and make better choices. And kids making better choices is fundamental in them developing into a responsible and mature adult.
Being consistent is just as important when you are reinforcing good behavior as when you are punishing bad behavior. When you consistently reinforce good behavior and make a point to notice when your children are cooperating or being nice, then the behavior will happen more often. Your child should definitely feel that your love is consistent and unconditional. And when you always follow through with a certain punishment for a negative behavior, then they can count on the consequence, and the behavior will stop.
Inconsistency makes children unsure of themselves and their surroundings. It makes them confused. When children are insecure or confused they tend to manipulate the situation or tease others or take advantage of the unclear situation.
It’s about the inevitability of the consequence, not the severity. Don’t think that the punishment needs to be severe for them to learn a lesson. If the punishment fits the offense, the most important thing to stop the bad behavior is to be consistent with the punishment. Being consistent will help them form patterns for them to grow from.
Now, being consistent doesn’t mean that you have to rule with an iron fist and be totally inflexible. But the key is to make flexibility the exception rather than the rule.
At MyJobChart.com we can help you be more consistent on chores with reminders sent to your email or phone. Lets face it, being consistent can be hard so every reminder helps.
October 9th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice
Self-esteem is how you value yourself. It can change from day to day, or year to year.
It is an evaluation of your own self worth. It is tied to your beliefs and your emotions. It is not based on fact, rather what you believe and how you feel about yourself. Having a positive self-esteem is important because it can influence the outcome of relevant situations.
Having a positive self-esteem comes from two ideas, feeling capable and feeling loved. Feeling good about yourself can be like wearing armor. When a difficult situation arises or negative pressures present themselves, that armor can protect you and make it easier to handle the conflicts. When you feel good about yourself you tend to smile more and enjoy life. You tend to be more realistic and optimistic. You are more likely to take responsibility for yourself and your actions. If you have more self-worth, you have firm beliefs in certain values and principles and you are secure in supporting them. You look to the future, learn from the past, and live in the present. You trust yourself and are able to resist manipulation. We all want our children to have a positive self-esteem.
The opposite would be negative self-esteem. If you don’t feel good about yourself you tend to face challenges with anxiety and frustration you don’t have good self-worth. You are passive and withdrawn and depressed. You tend to speak negative about yourself and give up easily. Your attitude is overly critical and pessimistic and you are generally disappointed in yourself. If your child displays negative self-esteem as any of these qualities, don’t give up, you can help.
How Parents Can Help
Is there anything parents can do to help their children have a more positive self-esteem?
Be Careful What You Say – Reward their effort and completion, not just the outcome. Encourage them by showing support.
Be a Positive Role Model – They will mirror what they see, so if you are constantly saying “I can’t” so will they.
Be Affectionate – Provide a safe and loving home environment where they can try new things, possibly fail, and not be criticized for it.
Encourage them to Better Themselves – By dressing nicely, having good hygiene, practicing good posture, working out regularly, and even walking faster, a persons personal outlook can improve.
Help Them Stand Out – When you compliment others, sit in the front row, or speak up, others notice you in positive ways and that will increase self-esteem.
Give Them Opportunities to Help Others -Encourage them to become a mentor, to volunteer and contribute to your community or your family in some way. This will help them be more sensitive to others and make good choices, not just choices that everyone else would make.
Our online job chart at MyJobChart.com is one of the ways you can give them an opportunity to help out with the family. By giving them responsibility and having them help with chores they can feel a sense of accomplishment and worth.
If you have examples of how you have encouraged your child to have a more positive self-esteem of themselves we’d love to hear about it. Please be sure to leave a comment.
August 28th, 2012 - Category: Kids and Reading
Do you ever feel like you have to drag your child away from the video games to grudgingly get your kids to read? Reading may seem like a past time in your home, but with the benefits it can bring to your life, and your child’s life, it shouldn’t be.
The more you read the more you know. Encourage your child to always have a book they are reading, whether for class or outside of class.
Find times that would otherwise be wasted and offer them a book to read instead of being bored. Keep a couple of books in the car for drive time. Stash one in your purse to pull out while waiting for appointments. Everyone’s ready to go but mom? Instead of turning on the TV for five minutes, have some books left out on the end table, ready for kids to read.
Reading can be more fun if your child chooses the book they want to read. Encourage them to stay within their reading level, and you can offer suggestions based on their interests or needs at the time, but ultimately, they are more likely to read if it is something that they choose. The more your child reads the better their vocabulary, the higher their test scores, and the better they will be able to think themselves through classes and situations.
Reading will enrich your child’s life, strengthen their mind, and help them better understand themselves and others. Reading is the price for success in school, work, and life. Kids and reading should go together more often. It always helps when they get rewarded for reading. Consider using MyJobChart.com and reward their reading in any amount.
Enjoy a book yourself. If your child sees you reading it will rate higher on their priorities as well. It’s never too late to learn something new. You’ll probably enjoy it more than you thought.
Reading a book together will also strengthen your relationship with your child. It will give you opportunities outside of the normal parent/child scope of conversation, where you can relate to, and question their thoughts and reactions to the book. A struggling relationship can be nurtured by talking about items that aren’t among the things you usually fight about.
The two words, kids and reading, may not be in your families vocabulary, but investing some time in encouraging them to read may reward you, and them, with a brighter future. If you don’t believe me, read a book, and see for yourself!
June 14th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice
If you have kids you have probably had an experience like this. Someone gets mad and the next thing you know, there is a hole in the door!
Not only is this something that needs to be repaired but this is a great “teaching moment” for that child. We had an experience like this just the other day with one of our sons. He is 7 and is just a sweet kid. This is one of the rare times that he let his temper get the best of him.
His Mom experienced it all first hand and called me on the phone to let me know about it and to ask if I wouldn’t mind fixing the door. I told her that I would work on the door and also talk to him when I got home. She preempted my “talk” by telling me that he had already punished himself enough and was tormented by his actions. He was REALLY sorry. So I decided I would just give him a hug and tell him that these things happen and we can learn from the experience and determine never to do it again.
Today I got a message from him using the www.myjobchart.com message board system. It simply said, “Dad, sorry I broke the door”.
Yes, it melted my heart.
Check out this feature and maybe you can have a similar experience (hopefully, without the broken door … maybe just the nice note!)
Login as a parent- go to manage rewards- and watch the video tutorial entitled message board.
November 16th, 2011 - Category: Behavior Advice
Every parent wants their children to be grateful. After all, grateful children are a lot easier to please, tend to be more helpful, and are more pleasant to be around. But how do you teach children gratitude? Or is it something they just have to learn for themselves?
The other day we overheard a conversation between a mother and daughter. The daughter asked her mom for a new toy. When the mom said no, the daughter started making a fuss. Expected, right? Most kids make a fuss. But it was the mother’s reaction that surprised us. She smacked her daughter on the hand and said, “Be grateful for what you’ve got.”
Now, we may not be the experts, but we hardly think telling a child to be grateful – at a moment they are feeling disappointed – is the best way to handle the situation.
Here are some ideas we’ve come up with for teaching children to be more grateful:
1) Make them work for what they want. We can all accept the idea that if we’re given everything, we’ll never learn to appreciate it. Doing chores and taking part in family responsibilities goes a long way in helping children realize that not everything in life comes easily. And if you have your children earn their own money, toys, or other rewards through helping with chores, they’ll learn to appreciate both the chance to the work and the things they buy.
2) Show them how lucky they are. If you’ve ever gone to a homeless shelter, hospital, or government-sponsored after school program, then you’ve seen people who are in some pretty tough circumstances. Now, unless you’re totally heartless, you wanted to help. Why not have your children round up some old toys or clothes and then go with you to donate them? The gratitude of the receivers should help your children feel more grateful for their own circumstances.
3) Encourage/insist they donate. If you’ve been using myjobchart.com, then you know children can donate some of their earnings to worthy causes (like Operation Smile). You could set up charity as a requirement and then encourage your child to research what charity they might like to donate to. Or, give them the option of donating their time at special events or service projects.
4) Reinforce the feeling once they experience it. Let’s say your child is saving their allowance to buy a basketball. But then, on their birthday, grandma brings a basketball as a present. As soon as your child realizes he no longer has to use his chore money to buy a basketball, talk to him about it. Say things like, “Isn’t that great that you can have a basketball and still keep your own money?”
5) Tell them how grateful you are. Even if you have assigned your children chores, thank them frequently for getting the chores done. Mention your appreciation when a neighbor or friend does something nice for you. If you’re a person of faith, let your children see you pray and express gratitude. Children learn by example.
Gratitude is not a trait you can force on someone. And unlike learning how to cook or clean or become financially responsible, gratitude isn’t something you can just learn one day. As a parent, it is your responsibility to encourage your children to learn positive traits. We think the five listed above will help. In what other ways can you help your children develop gratitude? Feel free to comment below.
August 16th, 2011 - Category: Kids and Reading
We’ve already written a few articles about the benefits of kids reading. And in those articles we gave you all kinds of facts about how kids that read perform better in school. So we’re not going to rehash that information. Today, we want to focus on how difficult it is to get kids to read.
Sure, you may have a child or two or even three who read voraciously – perhaps to the point that you wish they’d get outside and do something else. But not all of us are that lucky. For many parents, just putting kids and reading in the same sentence sounds like wishful thinking.
So what makes the difference between the two? What would cause one kid to want to read and another to do everything they can do avoid it?
Here are some thoughts:
Your attitude toward reading is going to affect how your children feel about it. If they see you pick up a book once in a while, they may engage in the same behaviors. However, if you’re like most parents, you come home from a long day of work and just want to vegetate. So you flip on the t.v. instead. That’s understandable behavior. But if that’s what you’re determined to do day in and day out, then expect the same attitude from your children.
Also, many children seem to have preconceived notions that reading is boring, or tough, or a waste of time. It’s important for parents to make a positive correlation between reading and their kids. One way to accomplish that goal is to give them something enjoyable to read. If they’re not into the classics, don’t hand them Robinson Crusoe.
Getting kids to read is as simple as buying them a monthly magazine subscription. “Highlights” has some great stories for younger children. And once your kids hit those teenage years, feel free to give them “Seventeen” magazine or something similar. No, fun magazines may not stimulate your child’s intelligence. But any kind of reading is going to be beneficial to your children.
You may also want to try playing some games. Scrabble and other word games may encourage your child to read a little more often and pick up a larger vocabulary. Seeing their parents take an interest in them can really do a lot to help encourage kids. You may ask them to help you complete a word puzzle or crossword. Play spelling games in the car and try to just have fun with words.
If nothing else works, then add reading to your child’s chore chart. When reading becomes a chore and they refuse to do it, go ahead and make it a chore. Whether they enjoy it or not, at least your children will be getting the full benefits of reading.
Don’t make the assumption that just because your kids are in school they are learning everything they need to know. Get your kids reading more now. And if you have to make reading a part of the chores, then by all means try it.
February 8th, 2011 - Category: Kids and Reading
It’s every parent’s dream – to have a child that loves to read. But for most parents, that isn’t the case. Many kids would rather do just about anything else than read a book. But as a parent, can you ignore the benefits of getting your kids to read?
Studies have shown that children who read more have better language skills. They tend to do better in math, history, and other school subjects. They learn concentration skills. And children who read are more likely to achieve greater success in life.
So now we get to the heart of the matter. You want your child to experience the benefits of reading. They may have other plans. So should you make reading a chore? And go so far as to include it on their chore chart?
Well, if they’re not going to read on their own, then absolutely. Make it a chore. Like cleaning their room or taking out the trash, kids will learn valuable skills from completing their chores that will help them later in life. But here are some ideas for helping your child achieve success with their reading chores:
Set specific goals. Unlike doing the dishes or vacuuming the house, there is no natural stopping place for reading. For reading to work as a chore, you must clearly identify how long the child should read, what they should read, and have some plan in place to test their comprehension. (Having a book open for 20 minutes doesn’t mean your child is actually reading it.)
Let your child choose what they read. You don’t want to be a dictator, and it would be really great if your child learned to love reading on their own. The best way to foster that possibility is to let your child choose something of interest to them. Of course, after the tenth comic book, you may need to step in and give them something else to try for a few days.
Logically reward your child for reading. Although most the jobs on your chore chart may be rewarded with an allowance, reading is different. Sure, it can be lumped into the allowance category, but you may want to consider additional rewards. For example, after reading Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia, you may have a family movie night. Let your child tell you how things were different in the book than in the movie. Extra rewards tied to reading will show your child how much you value the time they spend in front of a book.
Always have new things to read. Theoretically, chores should make life for the parents easier. But when it comes to reading, you may need to do a little leg work. Frequently take your child to the library. Let them see the choices they have and allow the librarian to get them excited about a story or new book. Giving your child the freedom to explore and choose books on their own will encourage their efforts.
Several articles we’ve read say that forcing a child to read doesn’t work. They should be guided toward choosing books over video games or television. But how many children are strong enough to withstand the appeal of Mario Cart or Wii Tennis?
It may turn out that your children love to read…they just love their Playstation more. If you make reading a chore, you get your children in the habit of building life-long skills. If they never learn to like reading, what can you do? You tried. But at least they’ll still receive the benefits of having read during that assigned time.
At least, that’s our belief. But we want to know your opinion. Do you think reading is an acceptable chore?