Pokey Little Puppies:5 Tips to Motivate Slow Poke Children

Someone the other day asked about how to get one of her slowpoke children moving in the morning. The days were starting with yelling and frustration, which set an unpleasant tone for the whole day.

While I’m no expert, I do have a pokey 7 year old who describes herself as “not made for rushing.” Here are some of the things that help keep her going:

  1. tt-mm-checklist-300Minimize the morning responsibilities. When she wakes in the morning, her only tasks are to go to the bathroom, brushing her teeth, getting dressed and brushing her hair. That’s it, and that can take 45 minutes to an hour. I wake her up about an hour before school starts to begin this process, so that I don’t have to constantly be prompting her along. (As for making beds, she does that on the weekends and when she comes home from school. I don’t ask her to do that in the mornings because then we would never leave the house.)
  2. Set timers. For homework and clean up, I set timers and make it a competition. She happens to be very competitive, and it’s amazing how much she gets done racing a timer so she can win. Most of the time, there’s no prize- just the satisfaction of winning. Homework will now last only 20 minutes instead of 2 hours.
  3. Offer a reward. There are times when I will offer a prize for winning, but that’s usually when it’s trying to get both kids to clean their rooms. Honestly, the prize they both love is more snuggle time with Mom. Other things that have worked are: winner gets to pick the movie, 10 minutes with the iPad, and an extra story at bedtime.  (Sometimes it helps to just say “When you pick up all your toys, then we can leave for the playdate.”) 
  4. Stick to a routine. Her morning and evening routines are set in stone, and she is responsible for them. Even if we are out late and I want to rush it, she insists on carrying through the routine.
  5. images (3)Enforce natural consequences. If she gets all of her responsibilities completed before we need to leave for school, then she gets a hot breakfast like pancakes or oatmeal. If she is extra-pokey, then she gets a baggie of cereal as we rush out the door to make it in time. This is the same in the evening. If she does her evening routine by a certain time, then there is more cuddle time, and I’ll read her a longer story. But if she dawdles, there isn’t enough time to enjoy the extras.

 

Top Preschool App Picks by a 4-Year-Old

kids play iPadOne of the things that motivates my 4-year old son the most is earning iPad time. I admit that if he wakes up at 6:00 a.m., I just give him the iPad so that I can get some more sleep, but usually, he has to earn it. He has to listen, obey, play fairly, speak kindly, only give nice touches instead of hitting, and pick up his toys. If he does all of these things, he can play with the iPad for 20 minutes in the evening.

Here are 5 of his favorite apps:

  1. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox: They learn colors, matching, counting, and letter sounds. He loves how each activity is a little different.
  2. Elmo Loves 123s: He really likes the videos, tracing the number, and the games.
  3. Toontastic: He will do this one with his sister too sometimes. They get to create a story and narrate it. I love hearing them do this together in the background. It’s fun listening to their different “voices” and how they create their stories.
  4. Leo’s Pad by Kidaptive: He’s not the only one that loves this. I do too! It’s fun to go together and for him to learn patterns and follow directions. The songs do get stuck in his head, and he frequently acts out the “appisodes” that he sees.
  5. Minion Rush: This has no educational value, but he does love playing this, moving onto different levels, and collecting as many bananas as he can to unlock more minions.

Feature Post: DigiMamas

Have y’all checked out DigiMamas? www.digimamas.com

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Please do! This blog is wonderful. They have tons of resources for busy moms and will make life so much easier. Check out their Freebies tab for downloadable menus and crafts and games.

My favorite page was the “Funny Stuff Our Kids Have Said.” That goes perfectly with the Comic Relief tab on the app. Kids are hilarious, and it just brightens your day when you read the things that they say.

Visit their site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest! It’s the perfect mixture of fun and helpful.

 

Kid Activities: Independent Play

One of my favorite sounds is my son in his room playing by himself. I love hearing his imagination and him completely entrenched in a make believe world. This morning, he saw me peeking in while I was getting ready in the bathroom, and he said hello, then shut the door to get back to play. I had interrupted something he wanted just for him.

kids play independentlyWhen it was time to go to his gym class, I knocked on his door and let him know it was time to leave. His room was littered with toys- cars lined up, stuffed animals sitting around a board game, Star Wars figures engaged in a fierce battle with dinosaurs on the train table, and a huge block tower. What a beautiful sight of a little boy’s world!

Do your kids play independently?

Kid Activities: Glow Sticks

Glow sticks

Santa brought the kids glow sticks in their stockings. There is nothing more fun than a glow stick. And the best part is they come in abundance at the Dollar Store.

Here are 3 of their favorite things to do with glow sticks:

1. Glow Stick Bath- Turn off all the lights and put glow sticks in the bath. Tons of fun!
2. Put them in balloons and hit the balloons with pillows.
3. Glow in the Dark Hide and Seek.

What do your kids like to do with glow sticks?

Teaching the Value of the Dollar

We were in Target last week, and Micah spotted a toy he desperately wanted- a Hot Wheels bath toy. I saw it in his eyes- he was captivated at the thought of hours spent in the tub with his race cars.

chore chartSince he is 4 years old, he is definitely old enough to start learning and understanding the value of working hard to earn money. He really doesn’t ask for much, and unless it’s a birthday or Christmas, we don’t buy either of our children toys. They have plenty. I took a picture with my phone, and when we got home, I printed up this chart for him. It has a picture of what he wants with the price tag ($25), rows of boxes that say $1, and a list of daily chores that must be completed before he can color a box.

Not only does this get him to color (this kids does NOT like coloring or an arts and crafts), but it also helps him learn several lessons:

1. Toys are not free.
2. If you want something, you need to work for it.
3. There is value in working hard.
4. Hopefully, when he works hard for something he wants and buys it himself, he will take better care of it. We’ll see about this one.

I asked my older daughter what she wanted to work towards, and maybe we could make her a chart. She already does her chores every day without complaint and does not need an incentive to do them, but I thought shemight like doing extra chores if she wanted to work towards something specific. Her response: “Either a Disney cruise or a week at the Disney resort in Hawaii.” Umm…that will be a lot of chores.