Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Need Advice....

I've been waiting for this week's edition of Works for Me Wednesday for awhile now. Typically Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer has people list all sorts of tips and advice that they want to share with the blogging world. But this week is the second time she's doing it backwards and you get to post something about which others can give you advice and tips!

I have a couple of things I would love to get some feedback on, all kid related....

1. Teaching thanfulness. I know this is a pretty broad topic, but with me it has to do specifically with my almost four year old daughter Ella. Recently we've been dealing with some major attitude issues and alot of it is about her wishing she had the same bike as her friend, or not having a dress or pair of shoes that she sees someone else with - it really goes on and on about trivial things. She says things like "this is so unfair" or "that's so horrible" - and she's not even four!!! I want her to be thankful and grateful for all the things she has and not be so wrapped up in possessions. Short of telling her to be thankful and doing things like Operation Christmas Child does anyone have any creative ideas for helping her see how good she's go it? OR is this just something we have to deal with because she's a preschooler and figuring things out and not that uncommon. I just don't want a child growing up obsessed with having things that everyone else has (make for tough teenage years) and being materialistic. Again, I know this might be alot to worry about with someone this young but it's frustrating to have her saying that it's so unfair that she doesn't have a bike with a basket like so-and-so, her bike is sooooo much cooler than my bike......

2. Any ideas or tips on how to remove craft paint (the kind you buy at Michael's or AC Moore for less than a buck a piece) from clothing??? Is it hopeless?

3. Chore Chart/Behavior Chart. I've been meaning to start a chart for Ella (and Catherine, just over 2, not sure if she's old enough yet) with some daily responsibilities and perhaps one for her behavior. I'm hoping it will help curb some of the issues I've been having with her acting out being stubborn about silly things. The thing is I get stuck in the details. How much is too much? Do you reward after each day or at the end of the week? Do you add up all the ways they cooperated and they have to meet a certain amount each day/week? How do you handle the times (because with us there will be many) when they don't cooperate? Anyone will to give examples with specifics would be greatly appreciated. Also, it has to be simple or it won't last in our household.

Thanks for taking the time to help me out here!!! Post your own questions or go help others with their's by clicking here.


Lizzie said...

Hi Megan :)

Oh, a subject dear to my heart, LOL. I've got a couple posts up on my blog if you're interested:

http://lizzieshome.blogspot.com/2006/12/chore-charts-pocket-money.html (you may have to copy/paste that if the link doesn't wrap)

Our Chore Chart as described there has sort of morphed from a chore list into a general run-through of their day with checkboxes next to each item (I haven't yet reposted using the new pictures, LOL - it's on my 'never do' list though) but the Values Chart remains pretty much the same. It is very, very simple. You come up with a list of rewards (sitting down with your child), and I guess 'house rules' or 'values' as we call them. We have stuff like 'be helfpul', 'do your chores quickly', 'be responsible' and so on. They get a tick each time they show one of the values WITHOUT BEING PROMPTED AND WITHOUT ASKING FOR A TICK AFTERWARD, LOL. The whole idea is to promote thinking of others first, and not just working because they think they're gonna get something out of it. At the end of ten ticks, they get to choose from the list of rewards (you can read what we chose in the above post). Laminate it, then use a dry-erase marker. Makes an enormous difference :)

Hope that helps!


Nancy said...

The thankfulness thing is a tough one-- since it has to do with the heart and, well, we all know what our hearts are like, particularly without Jesus. I'd encourage you to continue to verbally model thankfulness, even if it seems it doesn't make a difference. Shaping her attitude will take years of such modeling, I would think.
One tangible idea I've seen, but haven't used yet, is perfect for the month of November, but could be used any time of the year. I think it's called a Thankful Tree and I believe it came from a book you can find on Amazon called All Through the Day, All Through the Year: Family Prayers and Celebrations by David B. Batchelder. (Who was involved at Pine Springs, which I worked at with your brother Mike way back in 1998, by the way.) You can get a branch and stick in some sort of pot or you can make a paper tree and put on a wall, depending on how much room you have. Each day, every member of your family writes something they are thankful for on a construction paper leaf and hangs/sticks it on the tree. It gives a visual representation of many of the blessings your family has. It also focuses on what you have rather than on what you don't have.

Jane said...

For the paint stains try either Murphys Oil soap which once got Testers model paint and tar out of jeans at our house. Or, Goop (in the auto supply section of the grocery store) that has removed all sorts of stuff for me. You need to work both right through the fibers of the fabric, but its amazing what these two products can remove.

Robin (the PENSIEVE one) said...

Hey Megan,

Using "thankful" words A LOT is helpful; my children are 10, 13 & 15 now, and they're very grateful children, and for years I have not had to prompt them to say "thank you" to me or anyone else, I think in part, b/c these words were so common when they were your daughter's age. She's watching what you do and say.

Also, I'm including a link to a post I wrote this week about a T'giving (new) tradition of ours that would be perfect for her age (with your help). If you have time, you might just agree :).


Milehimama said...

I just commented on another blog with this! Maybe I should blog it.

We have 5 of our kids old enough to help with chores, and I was going nuts trying to remember who did what/earned what/etc.

So we made a chore chart and it's companion, the Privilege Ladder.

The chore chart is a bulls eye and has chores listed. Each kid has their own color thumbtack. If Pink is on Unload the Dishwasher, than Pink Girl has to do that.
Schoolwork is on there too!

When they are done they can move their tack off the chore and under their name.

The privilege ladder currently has 6 levels - they started at level 6 but get busted down due to poor attitudes, etc. If they raise their hand in anger to someone else, they automatically bust down to level 1. They go up a level by completing all of their chores without Mom nagging, going to bed peacefully, or doing extra without being asked and good attitude, etc. Sometimes their tack goes up and down quite a bit in a day!

Our privilege levels are:
Level 1 - Extra chores. Read. Play in bedroom (we don't keep toys in the bedrooms usually)
Level 2 - Snacks, draw. (They don't get snacks if they are on level 1. Snacks are not necessary but are a privilege!)
Level 3 - play outside, play in playroom (where the toys are)
Level 4 - Watch TV, crafts, scissors and glue, playground privilege (our church has a slide and swings area), ride bikes
Level 5 - Computer time, Go to Boy Scouts, go to other group activities, Baking with Mom, Earn treats for extra work.
Level 6 - Playdoh, go to store or errands with parents, allowance payout, use markers and paint.

The children get an allowance each week (to teach them about money) but they can't actually get paid unless their room is clean and they are on level 6. Mom holds it until they are qualified for payout.

The privilege does not mean they automatically get to watch TV - just the TV time is available if Mom finds a show for them or gets a movie, etc. Store/errands does not mean that I will drop everything and run them to Target, but that if I happen to be going to the grocery store, they are allowed to come with me.

The privilege ladder might help with the thankfulness problem. At our house, using markers is a privilege. not a right. Riding bikes - privilege. Even snacks are privileges!

My 3 1/2 yo is in charge of cleaning the small table (Little Tikes plastic one), clearing off table, picking up the bathroom floor, putting books on the shelf, and so on. They really can do a lot! I also have "fun chores" on the chart for the kids, like "help Mom with dinner" which they LOVE because they like to cook.

Crafty P said...

Great stuff, Megan! I'll have to refer back to your comments. I have no advice.
Well, maybe. When the boys were younger we taught them to say " No, thank you" instead of just no. It sounds so much better that way.

November is the perfect month to work on that virtue!

ps. I am NOT done with Christmas shopping, yet, just got it started, that's all!

mego said...

Thanks for all the feedback - I'll make sure and visit your blogs later tonight - alot of good things to think about so far!!!

Just today Ella started crying because her friend got a digital camera for her birthday and she wanted one as well! I think I need to get my Thankful Tree going!!!

jen said...

Modeling thankfulness (out loud, which can sometimes feel really weird) might help.

The other thing you could maybe try is to remind her that she can save her money (birthday or Christmas money and any allowance you give her) to get the things she wants. That has helped our kids to understand that they can't have everything.

Anonymous said...

Hey Megan! My name is Rachel and I am life long friends with The Crafty Pumpkin.....and my hubby is on YL staff, so there's a good chance our paths have crossed at some point. Anyway, I often am amused by your blogging and thought I'd add my two cents for the advice column.

When my now 4 year old complains, whines, etc about something being better than what he has, I suggest we throw out the item that he has. i.e. "Mommy that bike is waaaay cooool, can i have that one instead?" "No, dear, but if you don't like the one you have, put it next to the garbage." "No thank you , Mommy." Done and done.

Also, we went through a terrible whining phase that was sooo frustrating. We made a very simple star chart, and if he made it through a day nicely, he got a star. After collecting 5 stars, he got to pick a prize out of a bag filled with dollar store goodies. He could clearly see the stars and how many he had and needed. It worked quickly.

renee marie kovalik said...

you have tons of advice your way megs! being that we're not quite there yet, i don't have much to offer you, but you will do a great job at teaching her, i know you will. She has her unpleasant moments (like many 3/4 year olds!), but she has so many sweet moments as well :)
I know we'll do a chart of some sort with Nolan within the next year or so... I definitely think simple is best, and I like the very clear idea of putting a sticker or star next to a chore they did, or something nice they did for someone else... I also like the idea of quarters or little prizes for completing a certain amount of chores/nice acts per week so they can feel rewarded or save their money to buy something they want...
for now we're trying to just teach nolan to say "no thank you" instead of "no" "thank you" "please" "your welcome" etc., and if we ask him to do something like pick up toys or clean something up, we tell him he's being "mama/dada's helper" and he loves that. i hope to continue the "helping" when baby Mia comes along and he can really help me out with getting certain things! (we'll see though...) :-)
I look forward to seeing what works for you and Ella!

Jodie said...

Megan - I don't really have any advice per say. I'm mostly just commenting here because I'm so glad to know we're not the only one dealing with a greedy preschooler! Ewan is horribly greedy. I hate to even say that but it's something we're growing increasingly aware of as he gets older and more demanding with his "need" of new stuff. I'm honestly ready to call off all Christmas gifts because he's so focused on and excited about the specific toys he's asking for! Agghh! We've taken it on with a slightly different angle (from thankfulness) - we're focusing on what's going on with his need for something "new." We all know that it feels good to get new things but it can get addictive... so we're dealing with his addiction of feeling like he needs new stuff basically... the 4 year old version of course.... Here's to trial & error!

Jenn said...

Hi Megan--it's Jenn (renee's SIL). I love the topic of this blog--I also have no advice yet because we aren't quite there yet with Alex, but I'm very concerned about this as she gets older! I love the idea of a thankful tree, and as the kids get older I hope to work to get them to focus on giving to others and getting the joy out of doing nice things for other people instead of getting so caught up in receiving gifts. I'm sure that is a tough thing to do with young kids, but I'm at least going to try! Good luck! I'm sure that just the fact that your conscious of this and working on it with Ella will definitely help.

mego said...

Thanks everyone for commenting and sharing some words of wisdom with me! I bought construction paper so we can make leaves for a Thanksgiving tree (thanks Nancy!) and I'm trying to organize my thoughts into developing a responsbility chart for Ella. Lizzie (1st comment) has examples and photos of what they use on her website...

Rachel - where on staff are you and your husband? What position is he? We are still very tied to the YL world - crazy to think we may have met without knowing it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing with me. A whining chart is something that could be very beneficial to us.

Jodie - let me know how things go with Ewan. I feel like Ella has a hard time with the "whys" - sometimes it feels like we're talking in circles and she doesn't get it. I'd love to hear how Ewan is processing things.

Jenn - Thanks for stopping by. I hear so much about you and Alex from Renee so it's been fun to connect through your blog. Alex kind of reminds me of Ella - very smart and adorable but always pushing the limits - am I right?

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