Friday, January 21, 2011

Hurray for the Library

I love the library. Even though I like to buy books, I like to go to the library. I like to explore new books, we "rent" all of our videos there and we love the fact that we can go to several museums and zoos for free.

My schedule for watching my niece and nephew changed a little, so now i have Fridays free, so the past two weeks I've taken Nils to the library for story time in the morning. Though Nils doesn't really talk while he's there and I have to move his arms for him to the actions of the songs (which is what he wants to happen), he enjoys going. Whenever I ask him if he wants to go to story time, it's an enthusiastic yes. We've attended story times at several libraries over the years. Each is different. Generally there are stories (surprise, surprise!), songs and finger rhymes. We've seen videos, colored pictures and made crafts.

We've only been in our neighborhood for just over half a year, but most of the librarians know me and Nils by now. It's nice to have a place where you're recognized. Even last summer, right after we moved in, there was a boy at the library who took to my boys and always wanted to hang out with them if they were there.

I also love that my kids are readers. The library fosters that. Nils loves that they have wooden "puzzles" and comic books. Anders loves the comic books and dinosaur books. They both love when there are fun videos checked in (we don't have cable, but they've gotten to know The Wonder Pets, Backyardigans and Batman: Brave and the Bold).

So invest in your local library if you haven't. Get to a story time if it works into your family's schedule (some libraries--like the one near us in British Columbia--even had pajama story time in the evening).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More from Kevin Leman

Here's Dr. Keven Leman's Top Ten Countdown to Having a New Kid by Friday:
  1. Be 100% consistent in your behavior
  2. Always follow through on what you say you will do.
  3. Respond, don't react.
  4. Count to 10 and ask yourself, "What would my old self do in this situation? What should the new me do?"
  5. Never threaten your kids.
  6. Never get angry. (When you do get angry, apologize quickly.)
  7. Don't give any warnings. (If you warn your child, you're saying, "You're stupid. I have to tell you twice.")
  8. Ask yourself, "Whose problem is this?" (Don't own what isn't yours.)
  9. Don't think the misbehavior will go away.
  10. Keep a happy face on, even when you want something else. (Taken from p. 289 of Have a New Kid by Friday)
Hopefully, some of those grabbed your attention to implement with your kids. I encourage you to pick up his book to find out more of what those mean and how to put them into practice.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Have A New Kid by Friday

If you haven't read a book by Dr. Kevin Leman, I encourage you to do so. He's been our go-to-guy for issues of parenting, relationships and marriage. My wife used a video series of his back when she was leading a moms' group, and it was very insightful.
So, when we were having a recent bout of the battle-of-wills in our house, we finally decided to get a copy of Have a New Kid by Friday from the library. It's a wonderful book--I actually just ordered used copy online. Basically, I only wouldn't recommend reading the book if you're completely happy with your child's behavior all the time or if you're not willing to put any effort into parenting. The book is laid out in five easy chapters (Monday - Friday) that give steps for preparing to change your household.

Monday: Observe your household. Ask yourself what areas in your relationship with your child are most troublesome. Decide where you'd like things to be. Be willing to act and stand by it.

Tuesday: Look at attitudes, behavior and character (yours and the kids). Realize that the kids are getting their behaviors from somewhere, and their parents are the most logical source. Be willing to change your actions.

Wednesday: Evaluate your parenting style (authoritarian, permissive or authoritative/responsible) and how your child responds to your style. Look at steps you can take to be more balanced in your style.

Thursday: Look at Acceptance (unconditional), Belonging (emphasizing it within your family) and Competence (spurring them on). Stop praising your child (which links their worth to their actions) and invest more in encouraging them.

Friday: Evaluate your plan and where you want to get to. Think through how you usually respond and how you intend to now. Do it.

The bulk of the book looks at specific issues (from bed wetting to manners to fashion), helping work through how to approach them.

That may be a trite summary, but I hope it encourages you to check the book out if you want to improve your relationship with your kids. You're in control--make your home a place where everyone enjoys being.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wanting Some Attention

Nils [coming down long after being in bed]: I had a dream.

Me: Have you been asleep yet?

Nils: No.

Me: Then it wasn't a dream.

[long pause]

Nils: I had an idea...