4 Tips for Setting Goals with Kids

English: MICANOPY, Fla. (Aug 10, 2010) A Drug ...

English: MICANOPY, Fla. (Aug 10, 2010) A Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) summer camp attendee from Naval Air Station Jacksonville climbs a rock wall during a goal setting exercise at Camp McConnell in Micanopy, Fla. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles White/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good Afternoon,

As we start to focus on the quickly approaching school year, I would like to dive into 4 tips that will keep you and your kids on track.  Setting goals is nothing new, and you may already employ a great strategy to help your kids work towards what they want.  If you have a plan in place, perfect!  Use the comments section below to help others and chime in.  If you don’t have a goal setting plan in place or would like to revamp your current plan, here you go.

1.  Plan It Out

  • What do you need to meet your goal
  • Is there a time line
  • What is the result
  • Can you break it into smaller goals
  • Can you watch your progress

2. Break It Up

  • Short term plans (days or weeks)
  • Middle term plans  (weeks or months)
  • Long term plans (months or years)

Goal Setting

Goal Setting (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

3.  Communicate

  • Verbally
    Everyone involved has knowledge of the plans and goals
  • Non-verbally
    Lists, charts, pictures, and any other way to keep you focused and on track
  • Seek out helpers and cheerleaders to guide and help you along the way

4.  Set Goals For Anything

  • School
  • Sports
  • Financial
  • Organizational
  • Chores
  • House Projects
  • Daily Routines
  • Behavior

It may take some time and extra effort to sit down and determine a goal and course of action.  Keep at it.  The more practice you and your child have the easier it will be to start down the path of a goal.  Realistic goal setting is a life skill that will benefit your child forever.  It will also get you out of the conversation about gifts, money, new skateboards, etc.  Give your child an opportunity to feel in control about earning rewards as well as feeling a sense of accomplishment.

How does your family set goals?  How do you encourage your child to work towards something?  Leave comments and suggestions below.

Good Luck ,

Katherine

Site Update and New Additions!

Hello,

Lately, I have been busy adding lots of great content to this site.  In the next few days and weeks I will be expanding this site in hopes of turning it into my official website!  I have BIG news about my near future as well as what that means for my Family Coaching business.  Stay tuned to see what all the commotion is about and if you like what you see or have a suggestion, I want to hear about it.

In addition to the revamps here, I have also started making a mark in the social media world, which was completely daunting to me until last week.  Now that I have finally reached a sense of understanding, look for daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  If we haven’t connected on those sites, I would love to!

If after reading the blog posts and connecting with me on other sites, you’re still not finding the information you are looking for, please reach out!  My intent is to make this site as user-friendly and content rich as possible.

Thank you to all my friends, family, and followers.  A new chapter is about to begin and I’m comforted by your support and love.  I’m thankful that we are on this wild ride together.

Talk to you soon,

Katherine

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Jobs for Kids By Age (Article Review)

Good Morning,

I am a big supporter of kids helping out around the house.  Whether you offer rewards or simply expect your kids to pitch in, this list is a great place to start.  It easily breaks down jobs by age and gives several ideas in each age bracket.  If you start at a young age, these household skills as well as feelings regarding family participation will be better developed.  Long term this means less fighting, nagging, and whining.

What chores do your kids do?  How early did you start a chores system?

I would love to hear your story and address any questions or concerns you have about kids and household jobs.

Have a Great Week,

Katherine

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7 Tips to Successfully Introduce the New Puppy to Your Young Children

Came across this gem today as I was posting articles to Pinterest. As a dog owner and advocate of the family pet, I really liked how the author talked about meeting the dog’s needs as well as the kids’ benefit to helping with the new pet, like reading books, keeping the area free of debris, taking turns, assigning chores, etc. I read lots of good articles about this topic but this one jumped out at me as one that really thoughtfully summed up the steps to take and the reality of having puppies and kids.

Enjoy,

Katherine

 

8 Tips for Step Parents

Good Afternoon,

I believe I have the two BEST step-parents in the entire world.  It absolutely goes without question that I am their child and they love me as if I were their own.  It has not been easy or fun at times, but the hard work and commitment to our family and to each other has been 100% worth it.

Let me make clear the statement, “not easy or fun”.  I was not easy or fun.  The truth is that I was rotten.  I pulled out all the stops when it came to bad behavior.  My parents both remarried the same year and in a matter of months I went from being the oldest child to the third at my mom’s house and the oldest at my dad’s house, with a step-mom who had no kids and had never been married.  It was a little rough.

Let’s fast forward a few years and get to the part where we are a happy family.  Most importantly, I’d like to explain how we got here.  As I mentioned, it wasn’t easy and it took several years, almost 10, to patch up the old hurtful feelings and move on.

The list I have compiled contains the most important aspects of bringing a family with step-parents together.  Read it, digest it, and use the strategies offered.

1.  Time.  It is unrealistic to build a solid relationship or to patch up the past quickly.

2.  Communication.  I believe communication is the key to successful relationships in families and otherwise.  Talk it out, share your feelings, listen to others, and match your body language to your words.  Be explicit and clear with your words and motions.

3.  Plan.  Whether it’s moving in, talking to the kids about marriage, changing the rules, or anything else, thinking ahead and making a plan of action will relieve lots of stress in the moment.  Family meetings are a great way to get everyone on board and committed to the plan going forward.

4.  Be Flexible.  Taking things one step at a time will help to reduce hurt feelings and push-back regarding a new plan.  If things don’t go well the first time, re-evaluate and try again.  Assess the situation from your families’ perspectives and needs and go from there.

5.  The Other Parent.  Be respectful of your child’s other parent.  Talk about them in a neutral or positive light in the presence of your child.  Do not argue, bicker, or bring up old baggage out of respect for your child and the relationship they have with that parent.

6.  Collaborate.  The most important member of your team is your child.  The other members of that team need to collaborate in order for your child to succeed.  Make that happen.  Extend an olive branch to grandparents, teachers, coaches, friends, neighbors, ex-spouses, etc.  Put your pride aside and do what’s right for your child.

7.  Commit.  It takes a huge commitment of time, effort, and heart to make it work.  Juggling all the components listed above while living it day-to-day is difficult.  Commit to your kid, commit to yourself, commit to your partner, and focus on the future of your new family.

8.  Goals.  Set some guidelines and goals to help you along the way.  Make a plan of action and go for it.  Start small and take baby steps in the beginning.  Personal, couple, and family goals are all good components that help keep the ball rolling in the right direction.

Looking back on the first few years as a new family and knowing where we are now, I never thought it possible.  I look back on the time spent trudging through the mud together and think of how awful it felt in the moment.  How angry I was, the horrible things I said and did, and the silent treatments I thought would really work.  Thankfully they didn’t work.  We were in it together and we stayed in it together.

Image  My step dad and dad walking me down the aisle.

Good Luck,

Katherine

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What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents

A teacher friend of mine posted this article on Facebook.  I really liked how it played out situations that happen too often in parent-teacher conversations.  The best take away advice I got from this article,”We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don’t fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer.”

Have you had conversations like this regarding your child?  How did you resolve the issues with the teacher?  How did you come to terms about your child’s behavior?  Do you have a partnership with your child’s teacher and school.  Chime in and let me know.

- Katherine

 

Living with Celiac Disease

Good Afternoon,
Today I bring you a guest post from a dear friend living with celiac disease.  She is very involved within the celiac community and has great suggestions as well as product recommendations.  A big thank you to Katie and her family for sharing their experiences and wisdom.

I am a mother that has celiac disease, and I am raising two young boys who at this time do not have celiac disease.  Of course, I realize that it may come on at any stage of their lives.  I was diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago and for the last 3 years I have been the VP of Programs for the Denver Celiac Sprue Association.  This has resulted in my planning all of our chapter meetings, gluten-free picnics, and I am the person in charge of the Incredible, Edible Gluten-Free Food Fairs that we put on in Denver each year.  The Denver CSA has a membership of over 700, so I am always around people with Celiac Disease, people living with gluten intolerance, or talking with parents of children with celiac disease.  With my experiences, I know how hard it can be to have the disease.  I believe it would be even harder to have a child that is the only one in the family with the disease.  I am always happy to help, if I can, with your situation.  My e-mail address is vpprograms@denverceliacs.org

Personal experience and tricks to dealing with celiac disease while raising kids 

  • I need to eat gluten-free but my husband and children do not.  We do picnics at the parks often and I have noticed that I have gotten sick more often lately.  The only thing I can think of is that I am feeding my kids wheat at the same time that I am eating my gluten-free lunch.  I have started waiting to eat until after I am done feeding them and have felt a lot better lately.
  • Initially it was difficult dealing with this much gluten on a daily basis but I have gotten used to it at this point.  I always just make sure to make the gluten-free meal first and then deal with the wheat separately.
  • If we make cookies, cakes, muffins, pizzas, etc. I always make them gluten-free so I can eat these treats with my family – we do not even have regular flour at our house anymore.  It makes it easier than making two of everything and I have worked at it and found recipes that everyone likes now.
  • There are so many great gluten-free products on the market now days that it makes things a lot easier.  Some of my very favorites are Rudi’s and Udi’s breads, Pamela’s Pancake Mix, Tinkyada pasta, Schar USA products (can be found at Walmart), Chex cereal, and Think Thin protein barsThe Last Crumb Bakery has amazing gluten-free flour called Cheatin Wheat that I have used for several years with all of my favorite recipes and it works great!
  • It is always great to have support so if you have not already, look at joining the Denver Celiac Sprue Association. We have events throughout the year and it is fun to talk with others going through the same things that you are.

    6th Annual Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food Fair™

  • If you are a parent of a child with Celiac Disease, the Denver Celiac Sprue Association also has Cel-Kids and Cel-Teens group that puts on gluten-free events for the kids.  Check out the website for more info

Lots of families share Katie’s story and are living with Celiac disease or have a gluten-free diet.  If you have questions, please contact me through this blog or leave a comment below. 

If you know someone who is living gluten-free please share this blog with them. 

Good Luck,

Katherine

Keeping Rules and Expectations Consistent when you have Guests

Note:  This week I will be re-posting an earlier blog.  I feel that the topics covered will especially help families during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Good Afternoon,

Today I will be talking about hosting guests at your house.  I remember when I was growing up…if we were bad under normal circumstances, we would get the “usual” punishment, but if we were bad when we had guests or were guests, the punishment was so much worse.  I knew the second my mom made “that face…” I was doomed.  I am laughing as I write this, just thinking about my parents and how mean I thought they were.  A little fun turned into a lot of trouble pretty quickly.

Below are some basics for preparing your kids to host guests, whether it be their friends, out-of-town family, or your boss.  The ideas here cover families with kids ranging from toddler to school age.  Use the ideas that best apply to your family.  While I understand that you have had guests in your home before now, a quick reminder is always nice on how to handle talking with your kids about hosting guests.  If you are struggling in this area, now is the perfect time to institute some of the below before the holidays.

Communication
Obviously you want to let your children know that you are having guests.  Start by telling them who is coming.  If it is someone they do not know, tell them how you know this person.  Talk to them about what it means to have guests.  This means talking about the expectations of their behavior, including how they act, where they play, and what they say.  If there are other kids coming remind them of the importance of sharing their toys.  Give them feedback throughout the evening about how they are doing.

Consistency
If you have followed this blog at all you should by now see a common theme: consistency.  Above all else, the rules should not change no matter what.  It ultimately does not matter who is at your house.  If your kids break the rules, follow through with the usual punishment.  Many parents, like mine, even increase the punishment when there are guests at the house.  Ultimately, you want for people to feel welcomed and safe in your home.  Keeping the same high expectations for behavior lets your children know that they cannot get away with unacceptable behavior when guests are over.  I have turned down a few invitations to homes where I know that the kids are wild and the parents do nothing about it.

Involvement
As always, get your kids involved in preparations for guests.  If you are hosting out-of-town guests have them help clean rooms, make beds, and prepare meals.  Kids love to show off their artwork.  To keep them busy while you get ready, have them create pictures and clay sculptures to show off or give to your guests.

Guests come to your house to see you and your family.  Make it easy for them during their visit by keeping routines and rules consistent.  Talk with your kids before, during, and after, and give them feedback on how they did.  Throw in special treats if they met or exceeded your expectations.  Always involve them from start to finish.  If they know the plan and how they fit in, they will have a great chance to live up to your expectations.

I am certain that all of you reading this will either have guests or be a guest this holiday season.  Have fun!

If you found this blog helpful please subscribe/like/re-tweet/share it.  I have also added lots of good pins to my Pinterest boards, so check them out too.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Ways to Foster Honesty through Conversation

Listen to your kids

Listen to your kids (Photo credit: Bindaas Madhavi)

Good Afternoon and Happy Halloween,

So many newsworthy events have been happening lately.  The East Coast weather is on everyone’s mind, the elections are in their final days, and the holidays are just around the corner.  These three things don’t usually have much in common, but as I started thinking about this week’s post all three came to mind for the same reason: talking to your kids honestly.  There are numerous situations where you just wish your kids would stop asking questions, or you hope that they don’t notice something, or you thought they had forgotten about a certain topic.  Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.  Today I would like to offer strategies that help you talk to your kids in a comfortable way when you are in an uncomfortable situation.

Communication During a Crisis

The goal of communication during a crisis situation is get the most information out with the least amount of effort.  There are dozens of different types of crisis situations.  You may have time to prepare and plan, or you may have to act at a moment’s notice.  Being mentally prepared can help in all crisis situations.

  • Talk in an assertive but non-threatening way using the simplest words possible.
  • Keep your voice at the lowest volume possible when giving directions.
  • Give directions in short clips instead of a long train.
  • Give information about the situation that is honest and to the point.
  • Allow your kids to tell you their feelings and ask questions, if there is time.
  • Identify with their emotions in yourself, “I am also feeling scared.”
  • Give them honest reassurance.
  • Model behavior that shows leadership and logic

Communication about Adult Matters

Kids are smart and curious.  They want to know about the goings-on in their parents lives.  Over the past several months there has been lots of conversations about the elections, the economy, women’s rights, finances, health care, etc.  Kids are barraged with ads on TV, mail at the house, conversations they overhear, and billboards all over town.  It is not surprising to me that they are interested and curious to know more about these topics.

  • Decide what information is appropriate for your child to know.
  • Allow them to ask questions in an environment that is non-judgmental and honest.
  • Allow them to have opinions that differ from yours.
  • Ask them follow up questions to further the conversation.
  • Talk about adult topics in simple ways.
  • Relate information back to their personal experiences like earning an allowance, being sick and seeking medical care, incentives that are important to them, etc.
  • Talk to them about what it means to be president and how our country is different from other countries in this way.
  • Encourage conversations about character and what it means to be a leader.
  • Practice the, “no thanks,” conversation to have with phone and door-to-door solicitors.

Communication around the Holidays

Holiday time is usually very stressful.  Tension and anxiety are high, positive communication breaks down and behavior tends to follow.  Lots of families have had a tough year financially.  Hosting guests for the holidays and the spirit of giving can add to the feeling of being overwhelmed.  Having a plan in place to talk to your kids about these things now can save you time and frustration later.

  • Talk to them about budgets and money.
  • Reinforce behavior with conversations and reminders of expectations.
  • Practice conversation starters to use with guests as well as follow-up questions.
  • Practice honest ways to show appreciation towards others, especially in uncomfortable situations.
  • If you give to charities, talk to your kids about why you choose that charity and why it is important to give to others.
  • Start conversations about family traditions, what they mean, and how they got started.

Building a relationship with your kids that is both open and honest is a huge job.  What it boils down to is showing what honesty looks like through your actions towards them and others.  Kids are going to ask lots of questions either way, having those questions directed towards you is the goal.

I would love to hear from you! 

  1. How do you teach your kids about honesty?
  2. What are some situations where you felt you did or did not handle the conversation correctly?
  3. How do you mentally prepare for uncomfortable conversations?

Also, I have started an account on Pinterest just for my readers.  I invite you to check it out and follow me as I add helpful pins for all areas of parenting.

Good Luck,

Katherine

A Perspective on Home Schooling

Good Afternoon,

First, I want to apologize for this delay in post.  It was supposed to come out last week and it did not happen.  We have had some major work done on our house and then a huge leak in the basement and I had to focus on that instead of getting a post ready for you.  I am thankful the things at the house are back to normal and I am able to get back to blogging.  Thank you for your patience and I hope you enjoy this week’s blog.

Casey Lleras has home schooled her three children for the last 3 years and has put lots of time and effort into sorting out the information that is available to parents today.  While I support learning in any way, shape, and form, I wanted to give you a real perspective on a current hot topic.  Thanks to Casey for taking time out of her very busy schedule to help answer questions, give guidance, and tell her story.

Why do we home school?

I never pictured myself homeschooling and neither did my husband.  We had our oldest child attend preschool in our community and then kindergarten at the local public school.  In first grade we met many situations that led us to believe that the school would never meet the expectations that we had for our child’s education.  The discipline for kids that were bullying was not where we thought it should be, and the communication when there were problems was non-existent. We knew that we needed a change and private school was not an option because of finances, so we decided it was best to bring our daughter home and try homeschooling.  We tried it for the first year, holding to the commitment very lightly.  What surprised us is that we fell in love with homeschooling.  Not only that, I got to see the sparkle in her eye for myself when she learned something new.  It has really been a fun experience for us and therefore, we continue.

Homeschooling is not for me?

I always hear this from parents.  All I can say to this is, “You do not know until you try.”  If you have a college degree, I would say you are MORE than capable.  I thought that I could not do it, but I tried and have been very successful.  The pressure of making sure that my kids learned all that they were supposed to learn in a year was a very heavy burden at first.  Instead fearing this pressure and considering it a burden, I have realized that it is a privilege to be home with them.  The pressure that I was feeling was there because I wanted to do a good job.  So to ensure that I do the best job that I can, I get organized, I ask lots of questions to other homeschooling moms and public school teachers and I stick to the plan.  I soon realized that I was able to handle this kind of pressure.  Since I have home-schooled I know exactly where my kids are in all subjects, and it is easier to direct them because I know what they are learning.

Accountability

I also think that it is very important to have some accountability.  We register our kids with an online university.   These online universities are different in every state, so you would have to research them for your area.  We send in a weekly report to a teacher that is assigned to us about what has been accomplished each week.  We also have to publish a monthly report that makes sure we are progressing and meeting the learning goals that are set as a standard by the state.  The standards are the same for public school.  It is a lot of work if you have multiple kids.

Will your kids become socially weird?

This question and thinking cracks me up.  If you stay home and never ever leave your home, this could be the case.  We personally have not met this state of “weirdness” that people describe because we are a very active family.  We are very active in church, sports, and in our community.  If anything, I have noticed that they are more engaged, more interested in talking with people, and they do it quite well.  We have been watching for “weirdness” in our kids because of homeschooling and we have not seen any yet.  I will keep you posted.

We have talked to many people about homeschooling and the weirdest thing that we have discovered is that kids are actually learning something.  They are not getting away with the minimum requirements or effort and their full potential is being revealed.

What curriculum do we use?

History / Reading

·         Sonlight!  They provide books that go along with what you are studying and brings the history ALIVE that you just read about in the history book.  These books have you read the history book, then you read a story book related to the ideas presented. It is wonderful!  The history really comes alive in the story.

Geography

·         Memorized the US states and capitals.  My kids learned two new states and two new capitals every week and then they would review the ones that they learned the previous week.  By the end of the year, they knew them all, no problem at all.  My first grader did this too!  I was so shocked.  I did not learn these until 7th grade.  It was perfect to add to our learning plan for the year since we were studying American History.

·         Memorize 7 continents

·         Memorize the countries in Africa

Handwriting

·         A Reason for Handwriting – This incorporates scripture into handwriting.

·         Handwriting without Tears – This was not our favorite, but a popular option that many of our friends use.

Spelling

·         www.K12reader.com – This is a great website for spelling lists for all grades.  It does seem a little simple for my kids, so we often change words or add works from the dictionary to make it more difficult.  For example, my 4th grader had the word ‘dog’ on her spelling list.  I decided to change it to dogmatic.  It was perfect because she did not know what it meant, so I had her look it up and write down the definition in her own words.

Language Arts

·         www.K12reader.com has great resources for language arts.

Reading Comprehension

·         http://bookadventure.com/Home.aspx – This is a great website that is free.  It allows your kids to take tests on the books that they read, so that you can be sure that they understand what they are reading.

Science

·         http://www.apologia.com – They have great textbooks for kids

·         http://www.gravitaspublications.com– Real Science 4 Kids is pretty good.  We love the chemistry books most.

Math

·         Teaching Textbooks – This is a computer program, but we realized that this is not a mastery based curriculum and the kids seemed to need a little more practice before the next lesson was taught.

·         Horizons – We use these worksheets to ensure that the mastery happens and it seems to work really good for us.

·         www.xtramath.org – This is an incredible website that helps your kids master their math facts!

Foreign Language

·         Rosetta Stone – We are using the computer program that they offer for Spanish.  It is wonderful, even my 5-year-old can do it.  It is pricy, but it is worth every penny.

If you home school or do extra work on any subjects at home, what are your favorite websites and books for teaching and learning?  If you have other questions or would like more information, please email me or post a comment below.

Good Luck,

Katherine