February 6, 2013

How to Unspoil Kids

In my last blog post, I gave you a few ways to determine if you have a spoiled child. However, I didn’t give any tips for how to unspoil a spoiled child. If you have determined that your child is a tad bit spoiled, then it’s important to get it reversed as soon as possible. Right now, it may be inexpensive to spoil your little one as a small toy, ice cream or movie rentals may be all it takes to make her happy, but once she gets a little older she’ll start wanting expensive electronics, fancy dresses (and other clothing) and regular trips to the movies. So, how do you go about unspoiling a child?

1.      Look at yourself. Young children don’t become spoiled on their own. It takes adults to spoil a child. Therefore, the first step in unspoiling a child is to take an objective look at yourself and figure out how and why you’re spoiling the child. For instance, do you buy him things when you feel guilty? Is it because you don’t want to deal with a temper tantrum?

Next, figure out in what way are you spoiling your child. For example, do you buy toys? Take her places like the movies, amusement park, skating, etc.? Or do you have a tendency to do everything for her when she’s big enough to do it on her own? Once you figure out why and how you’re spoiling your child, you’ll be able to move on to the solution.

2.      Set clear expectations. The next thing you need to do is sit down with your child and tell him what your expectations are for his behavior. You need to stop the “If you promise to be good, I’ll buy you a toy” bargaining tactics. Instead, have a list of clear expectations, as well as, a list of the consequences for not meeting those expectations (aka “rules). Now, you can give your child an incentive for striving to meet your new expectations like renting a movie on Friday night if he has done a good job of following the rules (without complaining, whining or throwing a fit) throughout the week.

3.      Just say “No.  For some reason, many of us think that when we tell our children “no” that we have to give a good reason for telling them no. The reality is that we’re the parent, and that’s they only reason our kids need when we say “no.” So, don’t fall into the trap of explaining yourself every time you deny your child something. Eventually your child will understand that when you say no, it means no and there’s not going to be a 10 minute discussion/persuasion session over it. 

4.      Set up a chore/payment system. Finally, if you really want to unspoil your child then start teaching her the value of money. Have a list of weekly chores that she can do and at the end of the week pay her once all of the chores have been completed. This will teach your child that money doesn’t just “grow on trees” and that it has to be earned. It will also encourage her to appreciate her toys more when she uses her own money to buy them.

February 5, 2013

Stop! Make Plans NOT to Have Plans

I’m not sure about you, but it seems like I always have my sights set on the upcoming weekend. It isn’t that I don’t have a number of activities during the week to look forward to, it’s just that the weekend always holds the promise of no “work” and getting some good old R&R in. However, once the weekend actually gets here, it is usually jammed packed with even more things to do, places to go and people to see so the dream of rest and relaxation are generally extinguished before Saturday morning ever arrives. Sound familiar?

Well, this weekend I actually took a day off. Friday night my husband and our children drove a couple of hours to meet relatives for lunch and do a little shopping. On Saturday, we had plans to get up and take my husband and our oldest son to get a haircut, wash the car and clean the house before meeting friends for dinner and entertaining them at our house afterwards. Well, the car wash wasn’t open because it was too cold and cleaning took up more time than we thought it would, so we didn’t have time for haircuts. However, we did have a good time at dinner and entertaining afterwards with our friends.
But, before we knew it, Sunday was here! Seriously, WHAT happened to the weekend? On Sunday morning we got up and got ready for church. Normally, we will hurriedly eat a bowl of cereal before heading out the door for church, but I decided that I didn’t care if we were a little late, we were having a “traditional” breakfast at the table together. So I prepared eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast.

On the drive to church I received a text from my workout buddy asking me if I wanted to go work out that afternoon. Honestly, I did want to work out because I hadn’t been to the gym since Thursday, but I knew that the afternoon would go by fast after church and I was tired of running all over the place. I wanted to spend the afternoon at home with my family. So, I declined. After church we went and ate pizza with friends for lunch and then headed home.
We actually spent the rest of the afternoon (and evening) together at the house. So, what’s the point of this blog post? I know you don’t really care about how I spend my weekend, but the point is that I made a point to clear my afternoon on Sunday (after church) to ensure I could be at home with my family…getting that much needed rest and relaxation. Sure, I didn’t get to work out, my son still needs a haircut and I still need to go to the grocery store, but, here I sit on Monday morning feeling more refreshed and rested than I’ve felt in a long time.

Sometimes we just need to take a break and the weekends are our only time to do it. So, why do we overbook these two days? It’s Monday, you have four days until the weekend is here…make plans right now NOT to have plans on one of those two days. Slow down and enjoy life with your family. If you continue to rush through life trying to make appointment after appointment, you’re going to wake up old and gray wondering where the years went…so slow down!