There are various methods for teaching a child how to do household tasks and motivating her to be involved in the daily work of maintaining the family home. One that's worked well for me is this: Show the child how to solve a problem she created, and then extend her new skill into routine maintenance. … Continue reading How to Get Preschoolers to Help with Housework
Next week, I'll be starting a new job! That's great news in general, but it means I only have two days left to savor my daily bus ride with my four-year-old Lydia, bringing her home from preschool. My new job's location makes it too difficult and time-consuming for me to get to Lydia's school by … Continue reading Two Books for Me, Two for My Four-Year-Old
After I wrote about a stranger's astonishment that my four-year-old daughter understands what I read to her, and the book involved happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my mom sent me a link to an article about the recent controversy over whether Wilder's books are appropriate for today's … Continue reading Cultural Sensitivity and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Well, it's happened with the second child: That moment when a total stranger interrupts my reading aloud to voice the opinion that the child is too young to understand what I'm reading. Here's how I described this phenomenon when my first child was 4 years old: I must say, I got far less flak from … Continue reading Our kids understand books because we read them books!
Lydia and I were riding in the back seat of our car, along the highway at the beginning of our family's Memorial Day vacation. Lydia was looking out the window at the passing cars and suddenly turned to me. LYDIA: Mama, do you know about a tater-totter? That's a car but with two wheels in … Continue reading Tater-Totter: A 4-year-old’s Traffic Safety Invention
Both of my children have gone through a sequence of behavior toward food that's familiar to a lot of parents: They started out eagerly sampling the foods their parents eat and liking almost everything! Then, around the third birthday, they became much more particular and soon established a short list of acceptable foods, just a … Continue reading My 3-year-old’s 3 Favorite Foods
I love the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and have treasured the experience of sharing them with my children. Little House on the Prairie was the first chapter book that interested Nicholas enough for me to read it to him. His sister Lydia's first chapter book was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of … Continue reading Little House on the Prairie: Too racist for children?
On the way home from preschool on Monday, after we got off the bus in our neighborhood, Lydia stopped to examine a pine tree in the tiny yard of an apartment building. I took this opportunity to get some photos of her looking cute in her winter gear (she'd insisted on wearing two hooded cardigans … Continue reading The Urban Nature Experience All Children Deserve
It's Dr. Seuss's birthday! This is the day to enjoy reading a Dr. Seuss book, no matter how old you are. Stop by your local library and look for one you haven't read before! That's how we found Scrambled Eggs Super! (reviewed here). If you've never read I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew … Continue reading Easy Costume for Dr. Seuss Day
This isn’t really a blog. It’s a constantly expanding reference book. Most years, the most popular articles are more than a year old--they've had more time for other sites to link to them. I've made two Top 17 lists here: The articles written in 2017 that were most popular, and the articles that were overall … Continue reading Top 17 Articles of 2017
Are you the parent struggling to leave your child's school each day as he clings to your legs, screaming and crying? Is every morning a struggle to get yourself ready for work and your kid ready for childcare, while she delays in every way imaginable until you're shrieking in frustration, and then she looks at … Continue reading Coping with a Clingy Child
My three-year-old Lydia and I recently enjoyed a picture book from our local library, Jacob's New Dress by Sarah & Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case. Jacob is a preschool boy who enjoys wearing dresses from the costume box but is criticized by his classmate Christopher. His mom is kind about his hurt feelings, but when … Continue reading Every school needs a Jacob!
Lydia, three years old, informed me that this is NOT called a soap dish. It is a soap bench. You can see her point. Immediately after this pronouncement, she stood up and started dancing. MAMA: Don't dance in the bathtub. It's slippery. LYDIA: I am just showing you how horses dance. (slips a little; casually … Continue reading Horses don’t dance in the bathtub.
Many things in our home previously belonged to our relatives. I claimed many books, dishes, pieces of furniture, and framed artwork from my grandparents' homes after they died. Daniel's parents and grandparents have given us household items that they don't need anymore but that are still useful. Making use of these things in our home is a way … Continue reading The Dishwasher Ladybug
Our two-year-old Lydia has always been the type who takes a while to wind down, but in the late spring after she stopped nursing, she went pretty easily into a relatively smooth routine of listening to several stories and then saying good night and lying alone in her bed in the dark listening to a … Continue reading Bedtime List: How to organize a child’s routine
Our two-year-old Lydia loves poetry! Most young children enjoy hearing rhyming, rhythmic words, but Lydia is particularly fascinated. We have many picture books with rhyming text--like the wonderful works of Dr. Seuss--but we've also found several longer poetry books that she enjoys and so do we. Poetry is very helpful in getting children interested in … Continue reading 4 Great Poetry Books for Young Children
When our son Nicholas was 2 years old, we drove from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma, stayed a while, and drove back. In each direction, we spent 3 days in a row on the road for about 8 hours a day of actual driving time, plus rest stops. My cousin who has older children gave me two … Continue reading Secrets to a Happy Road Trip with a Two-year-old
One of the hardest, most humbling things about being a parent is those moments when your child communicates with you using strategies that you've used with him or that he's seen you use with someone else--and you shouldn't have. We all have times when we do something to try to get another person to do … Continue reading Cooperation, Communication, and Consequences
Happy Earth Day! Before I get to my main topic, I've got some special offers to tell you about... First, instead of buying anything, check out the beautiful photographs in the Capture Conservation photo contest sponsored by the Student Conservation Association! UPDATE: The sale on PlanetBox stainless steel lunchboxes has ended, but check out our … Continue reading Some Plants Are For Eating
We thought Becky Bailey's book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline was a mixed bag that contained a few good techniques; this is one of them. Bailey talks about it in a more long-winded way, but I boiled it down to this formula, which I've found easy to remember and therefore to actually use in … Continue reading The X, Y, Z Method of Child Discipline