July 31, 2012

Toddlers and Anger Management

Okay, it’s truth time: How many of you have a toddler that seems to spin out-of-control at the slightest frustration? I have to admit, this is a quality my son possesses. It’s one that my husband and I are working diligently to get under control, especially since he will be entering pre-k in the next two months. I know we are not the only ones who are dealing with this problem, so I thought it would be beneficial to write a blog post with a few tips for how to help your toddler learn better anger management skills. My husband and I have been practicing these for a little over a week now and have already seen an improvement in our son’s behavior. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful too.
1. Stay calm during a tantrum/emotional outburst. It is incredibly easy to let my son’s angry outbursts cause me to become angry too. However, if I’m angry when dealing with my son’s outburst, how will I teach him how to control his anger? The first thing my husband and I have had to do is learn how to remain calm during an emotional outburst from our son. This hasn’t been easy, believe me. But, it does help remedy the situation quicker.

2. Walk away from the child. We have also learned how to walk away from our son when he’s in the middle of a tantrum. There are two reasons for this. The first is that we now have a rule in our house where we won’t solve a problem until everyone is calm first. Obviously, in a tantrum, our son isn’t calm. The second reason for walking away is that it immediately takes away the attention our son is receiving from his tantrum. If there isn’t anyone there to pay attention to his outburst, why should he continue doing it? If you try this, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your child stops the behavior when he/she realizes you’re not watching.

3. Talk about our feelings and how to handle them. Another thing we do is talk about our feelings and how we handle them. My husband and I have started using real-life experiences to tell our son how they make us feel and what we need to do to calm down. For instance, if my son does something that makes me angry, I’ll say, “What you did has made me angry. I’m going to go in my room now and calm down before I talk to you.” Not only does this let my son know that I’m angry, but it also tells/shows him how I’m going to handle my feelings. Young children learn best by watching the adults around them, so if you want your child to learn how to handle his/her anger, be good role models yourself.

The tips above have proven to be helpful for my husband and I and hopefully they are for you too. One thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter if you’re at a wedding and your little one is dressed up in her little flower girl dress or if you’re at home and your son is in his pajamas – be consistent in how you handle the tantrums. If you aren’t consistent, then your child won’t learn how to handle his/her anger in a consistent, positive manner.

July 25, 2012

How to Teach Young Children How to Save Money


At some point, we realize (or we should) that our job as a parent isn't just about providing food, clothing and shelter for our children, but it’s also about teaching them how to become responsible individuals so that they will be able to make smart and responsible decisions once they leave our homes as adults. One of the things we have to teach our children if we want them to become responsible adults is how to save money.



I’m not sure about your children, but my 4 ½ year old is beginning to understand the difference between a penny, nickel, dime and quarter. He doesn’t understand the value of each, but he is able to tell us the names for each respective coin. My husband and I have been thinking for a while now that we need to begin teaching him what it means to save money and the importance of it. After all, he needs to understand the value of money and how we have to work for it and save our money in order to afford the things he enjoys, right?

Most young children understand that before they can leave the store with a new toy, mommy or daddy (or whoever is with them) has to give the checker something first. They just don’t understand that it’s money or where it comes from or the value of it. This is what I want to begin teaching my son, because I know in a couple of years his “wants” are going to be more expensive and he’s not going to have an appreciation for them if he doesn’t learn how to save up for them and pay for them himself. Below are a few tips I found while researching how to help children start saving money.

1. Use visual aids. Young children won’t get excited about saving money if they aren’t able to “see” that they’re making progress. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a clear jar where they can drop their coins into as they receive them. They’ll like watching the money jar fill up with coins, which will get them excited to continue putting money into it.

2. Create a goal chart. This is one idea I hadn’t thought about, but it makes sense. If your child wants a new holiday dress, shirt, toy, or any other item then help your child find a picture of the item they want, as well as the price. Figure up how many weeks of saving it will take your child before he/she will have enough money to buy the item. Get a piece of paper or a small poster board and glue the picture to the top of it and make enough squares for every day/week to symbolize how long your child has to save to reach his/her goal. Let him/her put stickers on each day/week so he/she can see how close they’re getting to reaching the goal!

3. Consider matching contributions. This is another idea I hadn’t thought about. If you give your child an allowance and require that he puts $1.00 in the “Save” jar, $1.00 in the “Church” jar and then the rest can go in the “Spend” jar, then consider rewarding him for putting extra in the “Save” jar by matching the amount of money he puts in the “Save” jar over the initial $1.00 you require. This will help him grasp the concept of earning interest and matching 401(k) programs, which will help in the future.

After all the research I did, the main thing I learned was that it’s important to make saving money fun for young children. When something is fun, they will want to continue to do it. This is why helping them find something to save for is beneficial – it gives them a goal to shoot for, which makes the whole process fun. In addition, I learned that it’s important for parents to lead by example, therefore, we should have a coin jar of our own where we put lose change, so our kids can see that saving is normal.

July 18, 2012

Preparing an Only Child for a New Baby


For the majority of parents, teaching an only child, or first born child, how to handle a new baby is something that we have to go through. This is something that I am going to have to go through in a couple of months as I have a 4 ½ year old son and will be delivering another baby boy at the first of August. I am starting to see that my son will have quite a bit of adjusting to do when the new little guy arrives as he’s not used to younger children following him around and messing with “his” toys. As a result, I have been doing a lot of research and have started to prepare my son for the arrival of his baby brother.


I know that I’m not the only woman out there who is about to go through this and so I thought you may find it beneficial to read a few tips for how to prepare your only child for a new baby sibling. Below are some of the ideas I have found and began to implement.

1. Get the child involved as soon as possible. Many experts believe that it’s best to get your first-born child involved in the pregnancy as soon as possible. For me, that was after I was already past the 12 week mark. My son is one who doesn’t like surprises, so telling him early was something we needed to do. To help him get excited about the new baby, we made sure that we included him in on the name-choosing process. We allowed our son to pick out the middle name for his brother. We’ve also taken him to several stores with us and let him pick out some little boy’s outfits for the baby as well as several toys. I think this has definitely helped him get excited about the upcoming arrival of his new baby brother.

2. Bring your child around younger children for play dates, etc. This was a good tip for me, because my son hadn’t been around many kids younger than himself. Taking him to school (3 year old program) was an adjustment this year but those were still all kids his own age. Luckily, I have a friend who just had a baby and another who has a 1 ½ year old little boy. Bringing my son around the baby is great because it has helped him get an idea of what it’s like to have a baby. It has also been good to set up play dates with my friend who has the 1 ½ year old because my son is learning how to handle himself around a young toddler who is following him around.

3. Do things with your first-born child alone. This is a tip that we will begin to implement right after the baby is born. As a first-born, only child my son is not used to having to compete for our attention. However, that will change the minute the new baby arrives. So, to make sure our son still feels loved and needed, my husband and I will take turns taking him out by himself so we are sure he gets the one-on-one time he needs. We also plan to take him to dinner, the movies or something similar at least once a month as a couple while his baby brother is with my parents for a few hours.

Thank you for reading this article.  Remember to visit us at Kids Formal for all your children's formal wear.

July 7, 2012

Traveling to Long Distance Weddings by Car

How to make kids feel comfortable during long distance drives.


Every once in a while we all travel to a beloved friend or family member’s long distance wedding by car. This is especially true for those who have young children at home as the price of gasoline is much cheaper than plane tickets are in today’s economy. Plus, it’s easy to make a vacation out of a trip to a long distance wedding and do some fun things with the kids while you’re away from home.

So, once you’ve gotten the vehicle packed with all the necessary wedding items (formal dress for you, little girl’s dress for your daughter, a boy’s suit for your son, an adult suit and tie set for your husband plus all the formal shoes and hair accessories), it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to keep your children entertained during the trip. Below are a few suggestions to help make the ride more bearable.

1.    Bring Reading Material and Coloring Books – The first thing you need to pack are some of your children’s favorite reading books. You may also have success by purchasing a few new books that they haven’t read and surprising them on the trip with them. If your children are too young to read on their own, then pack some coloring books and crayons to give them something to do.

2.    Play Games – Another great way to keep children entertained during a long car ride is to play games with them. Of course, these games have to be games that can be done in the vehicle. One of my son’s favorite games to play during road trips is “I Spy.” While I easily get bored with the game, my son will happily play this game for 30 minutes to an hour! A great game to play with older children on long car trips is the license plate game. Give each child a piece of paper and pencil and have them write down each new state license plate that they see on the ride. You can either put a time limit on the game or wait until you reach your destination to see who saw the most (different) license plates.

3.    Buy a DVD Player – Once of the great things about living in 2012 is now we have portable DVD players for vehicles. While you won’t want your children glued to the DVD player the entire drive, these nifty “gadgets” make it possible for adults to enjoy a conversation with each other during long-distance vehicle trips. I’m not sure about you, but if I’m able to get an hour break of the constant chatter coming from the back seat during a trip, I’m much more pleasant to be around – portable DVD players make this possible!