Have a question, concern or problem regarding your child's behaviors? Send me an email and I will do a blog post about it! You will always remain anonymous! tkmiller81002@yahoo.com

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fit Friday: Water is my new best friend

So my goal for the year is to get flat abs. Before I became pregnant with N I was the smallest I had ever been weight wise, but I still had a gut because I drank diet soda like it was going out of style. So I prepared myself during my last trimester that as soon as N was born I was going to cut soda completely out of my diet. Because I mentally prepared myself the switch has become a breeze! I have only had a half of a diet in the past 3 weeks since N was born and that was because I didn't prepare myself before leaving the house and we went out to dinner and water wasn't an option (crazy right!).

Anyways since I have had N I have lost 30 lbs (which is definitely helped by nursing and eating right) and a lot of that is credited to water. I average 8 glasses of water a day and I have seen a huge difference in how I feel and look. My skin feels smoother, I feel better, and surprisingly I don't have nearly as many energy crashes as I did when I drank soda regularly. I also feel like I am more likely to make the healthier options with food because I'm not putting a ton of sugar or sugar additives in my mouth all day.

Here are some interesting facts about how water helps you lose weight according to an article from weightlossforall.com you can read the whole article here:

1."Water can help your metabolism burn calories 3% faster."
2. "help(s) to subside your hunger so you can better manage your portion control"
3. By drinking water during your meal it will help you feel full faster and you will eat less
4." If you want to gain the benefit of increased energy and metabolism a good guide is to drink one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight. A person who weighs 200 pounds should drink around 100-ounces (12.5 cups) of water in order the gain the weight loss benefits of water." (that I had never heard before)
5. "Drinking water before, during and after exercise will keep energy levels high and help muscles recover after training."
6. "Water is one of the most vital substances our body needs."

If you don't like water, add crystal light to your water or buy flavored water! Just watch the calorie content because it adds up!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Growing Healthy Self-esteem

A few days ago a reader commented and asked how to teach her child to be more confident. I know this child personally and I know the parents of this child so I have been thinking a lot about this. There are a few factors to consider when it comes to kids who lack confidence.

The first is their personality type - some personalities are very outgoing and others are more timid. Does being shy mean you lack self esteem? Not necessarily, I am a very outgoing person and have put on a good show at times in my life that I was full of confidence and self-esteem when really I lacked both. Just because a person makes a lot of friends does not necessarily mean they are full of confidence, they could be codependent and lack the ability to be happy on their own and therefore have learned how to make friends with others. So bear in mind that just because your child is shy they may have a very healthy self esteem and are completely o.k. with themselves and their ability, they may just be uncomfortable with getting out of their comfort zone - which is not a confidence issue, but more of learning that sometimes life is uncomfortable.

The second thing to consider is their temperament - this means how they react to people, changes, and environments. There are three different types of temperament: easy, slow to warm up and difficult. A person with an easy temperament is a go with the flow kind of person. They can adapt well and quickly to change, they tend to be more easy going with life, people enjoy being around them. A slow to warm up person is one who likes to sit back and observe and gradually adapts to changes, new circumstances, new surroundings, new routines. A difficult temperament resists all change, all new things, all new people. If things aren't the way they like it then they are not happy with it. It is important to understand what your child's temperament is and your own because this is not something that a child can control or change. I will do a more in depth post about temperament but if you want to know more before then you can go here to read information about working with children based on their temperament.

The last thing to consider are the individual issues of the child. Are they developmentally delayed in any way? are they a perfectionist? Are they afraid of making mistakes, are they often bullied, are they highly intelligent, are they a minority? All of these factors are going to play into a child's level of confidence and will need extra help in overcoming  them.

So how to help children gain self-esteem? This information is from a handout I received in my Human Growth and Development class and so I am going to post it like a handout and then have you ask questions about what you don't understand otherwise this post will be very long. I have a sick 2 year old so I will be by computer all day to answer questions - just leave a comment and I will try to answer within the hour. (I have to feed a newborn and nursing and typing is pretty difficult).

  • Child must have a sense of self
    • There is a need for belonging and significance in the life of others.
    • There is a need for a sense of personal power and autonomy 
    • There is a need for life skills and this include the power to manage their own behavior and relationships with others
    • Every time you 'over-function' or take responsibility for a child's feelings of self-esteem they will 'under-function!'
  • Teach Skills
    • Help child face challenges and build their own competence
    • Expectations must be age appropriate
    • We must know what is age appropriate for each child - and allow for individual differences.
    • Role-play with kids different scenarios to help them learn social skills
  • ACCEPT THE CHILD YOU HAVE - not the child you wish you had
    • learn to manage your criticism
    • be realistic
    • Help children soar with their strengths 
  • Provide Structure  
    • Provide safety and security
    • Engage in authoritative teaching and parenting
    • Have a schedule  
  • Invite Cooperation 
    • ask children for cooperation
    • look for solutions instead of assigning blame
  • Really listen to the child - and listen with your lips together!
  • Use Encouragement, not praise
    • Reward individual children for their effort
    • Articulate children's success for them
I hope this helps you all!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Motivation Monday: Be an example

I have been thinking a lot lately about teaching my children, and the things that come naturally when teaching them and the things that are a little bit harder to teach them and as I have been thinking about this I have realized that the more I am already doing something in my life, the easier it is to teach them and vice versa. For example, I enjoy a clean house, I don't like living in filth, and when I say clean I don't mean a picked up house, but a really clean counters scrubbed, floors mopped, shelves dusted clean house. I don't always have a house that is this clean because I have four children and I don't think they should be neglected just so I can have a spotless house all the time, but I love cleaning my house and seeing it sparkle. Because I love that so much, I have been able to teach my kids to clean, and enjoy cleaning as well and the way I did that was by being an example to them. If my kids are cleaning, most likely my husband and I are cleaning as well - we might not be cleaning what they are cleaning, but we are all cleaning as a family. How unfair would it be to them if I expected them to clean all day and wasn't willing to do the same? In fact, my kids will often comment on how much they love having a clean house as well! The same principle applies to hygiene, eating healthy, being active, and reading to name a few. If I already have those habits instilled in myself it is a lot easier for me to teach those habits to my kids.

Now the same principle applies when it comes to the harder things to teach, if I don't have the knowledge or the habits already formed it is a lot harder for me to teach my kids those things. For example, I struggle with reading my scriptures every day; I try to do it every day but it seems like something comes up, or I fall asleep, or I forget and so it is hard for me to teach my children the value and importance of daily scripture study. One thing my husband and I have done is incorporated nightly scripture reading in with story time at bedtime and because we have made that part of the routine my kids will remind us to read them, so as a family we are working on creating that habit together. Another thing I have a hard time teaching my kids is gardening. The other day we went to home depot to get some parts for a toy my husband bought and while we were there the kids asked to look at the plants. After looking we walked out and J asked me why I didn't buy any plants. I told him it was because I kill plants, I am the worse at keeping plants alive, and he was so sad because he really wanted to go home and plant some plants in the backyard. I am a horrible gardener - I literally know absolutely nothing about gardening and therefore I cannot teach my kids how to garden. We can learn together - which I might do next year when I don't have a newborn baby whom I love to cuddle all day - but because I don't have that knowledge I cannot share it with them.

So big deal right, I can't teach my kids how to garden and am not the best at teaching them to read their scriptures every day, but what does that have to do with anything? Really nothing, it is the principle that matters - you cannot teach your kids something you don't do. Kids learn from watching others, especially those older than them and adults and they will mimic what they see, so if you want your kids to grow up to be a healthy, normal, well rounded adult that means you have to be a healthy well rounded adult. If you want your kids to learn the value of family, you need to show them how much you value family. If you want them to learn how to clean and be clean, you need to clean and be clean. If you want them to be a hard worker then you have to be a hard worker. If you want them to have a good marriage you need to have a good marriage. The list goes on and on and on.

So my challenge for you this week is to really look at yourself, what are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you value? Do your actions match the words you are preaching to your kids? Make a list on a piece of paper of the traits you want your kids to have as they grow up and then rate yourself on how well you have those traits - no one has to see this but you so BE HONEST!!! Then after you have taken a good hard look at yourself, determine one thing you want your kids to learn and you don't know how to do and make a commitment to learn how to do that. It might be something like learning how to cook so you can teach your kids, or it may be learning to forgive and forget. Remember kids learn from our actions more than our words so as parents we need to be make sure our actions match our words!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Right now I am in a pretty nasty mood, I am tired, I am frustrated with my husband, I am just grumpy. I normally have one day of postpartum depression and well today is it and after four kids I know that for me the only 2 ways to get myself out of a nasty funk are 1 take a hot bath and 2 to focus on all of the good things in my life. I can't have a hot bath for 4 more weeks so that option is out. However, I am a firm believer in the power of the mind and if I sit and wallow in my (completely justifiable by the way) misery then I will continue to be miserable, but if I choose to focus on the positives then I become a more positive person.

(DISCLAIMER: postpartum depression is incredibly serious, and if you struggle with any type of depression I strongly encourage you to seek medical advice because depression is very real and can mess up a lot of lives if it isn't treated, I just know myself very well, and know what works for me).

As I was cleaning up after putting the kids to bed I was thinking about how miserable my day was (my husband was gone pretty much all day knowing I was exhausted from the lack of sleep I had last night, and he did things today that I would've appreciated him not doing) I finally stopped and thought, get a grip Kim, this is what life is going to be like when he goes back to work, so you better figure out how to handle it (the difference is he has no choice but to go to work, whereas today was completely optional). Anyways, I realized that today was the first day since N was born that I didn't spend a good chunk of the day holding her in my arms, so that is where I am going to start my list of things I am thankful for.
These are not in order of importance, just as they come to me.
1. I am thankful to have a newborn daughter who completes our family, who is healthy, happy, and truly the definition of perfection.
2. I am thankful to have three other children, who all bring such different elements to our family, who are unique and perfect in their own special ways.
3. I am thankful for the blessing it is to be a mother, to be able to carry a child in my womb, and bring them into the world, I know a lot of women who would give anything to have that blessing and it isn't one I take lightly.
4. I am grateful to be married to my prince charming, even if he turns into a toad every now and then, he is my perfect match and I am grateful to be his wife for eternity.
5. I am thankful for friends who I can call and text and complain and they make me laugh! I have some amazing friends and am thankful for everything they do for me.
6. I am thankful to have a home that is large enough for my family and that I can afford.
7. I am thankful that I can be a stay at home mom, it is not something a lot of women can do and I know I am blessed to be able to do that.
8. I am thankful for the blessing it is to have a highly intelligent daughter that could run our house if needed to. Tonight she drew a bath for herself, gt pjs for her brothers, read them a bedtime story while I was calming down a fussy baby, and is just an amazing helper. I hope I never take advantage of her willingness to help!
9. I am thankful for the Savior and that I can always lean on him when I am too weak to stand on my own.
10. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to raise God's children and teach them about Him and His Son in not only my words but also my actions.

What are you thankful for? What helps you get out of a nasty funk?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Motivational Monday: getting motivated

Man life with a new baby is tiring! My husband is still home and helping out a ton, but waking up in the middle of the night to feed my princess and then getting up and helping my husband with the house and kids is really exhausting. Right now all I want to do is go lay in bed, with a good book, and read until I fall asleep and sleep until it is time to feed N again. But I digress that isn't an option because my hubby took N to the hospital for her PKU test and I am here with my boys, who are my current motivation for staying awake.

As I was thinking about what to blog about today I was thinking about how hard it is to get motivated to do something (clean the house, exercise, etc) and how a lot of times my sheer drive alone pushes me forward, I want to have a clean house, hot bod, well behaved kids, and so in spite of the voice in my head that says; "go back to bed, you deserve it" or worse for me sometimes "it's no big deal to spend all day on the computer, your kids are behaving" I force myself to put the laptop away, to get up and get going and it always amazes me at how once I get going I can keep going and get so much accomplished. Right now it is harder as my body adjusts and recovers from birth, so I learn my limits and focus on my main purpose in life - to be an amazing wife and mom - and it keeps me going.

What motivates you to get up and get going? Do you have an expression you recite to yourself? Do you give yourself mini-breaks? I am genuinely curious about the different ways you stay motivated in life!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fit Friday: How to lose 20 lbs in ten days

I have tried a lot of workout programs and diets and the one I have found to be most successful at losing 20 lbs fast is . . . are you ready . . . give birth to an almost ten pound baby! That's the only way that I know of that you can lose weight fast, otherwise it is a long drawn out process!

Getting healthy is key in my opinion to being an involved parent, before I became pregnant with N I weighed the least I had weighed in a long time (probably since my freshman year in high school) and I found that I had so much more energy and could do so much more with my kids.

My personal goal right now is to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight by August 15 that is 3 months after N turns 6 wks and I can start really working out, and that is how long weight watchers gives me to get back to my lifetime goal. From there my other goal is to get flat abs within a year from the day she was born so every Friday I am going to post about my progress and things I am doing to help me reach my goal!

I strongly encourage you to set a goal to get healthier and set a date for when you want to achieve that goal, then make a plan to make it happen!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Work it Wednesday: Teaching kids how to use scissors

Before I got into my third trimester of my pregnancy I volunteered every Wednesday in M's Kindergarten class. I strongly encourage all parents to volunteer every once in a while in their child's classroom - it is highly educational. Wednesday's are center days and so I would often be put at the art center to help kids with their art projects. I was amazed at how many students did not know how to use scissors! My son J is getting closer to entering Kindergarten and so I want to make sure he has all the skills he needs to help him be as successful as possible when he goes to school so today I had the kids do the following activity - the best part is that it takes very little money and very little time to put together. The first thing you are going to do is cook about 1/3 to 1/2 package of spaghetti noodles. You aren't going to be eating them so they don't have to be cooked all the way - I boil mine for about 8 minutes. Drain it and place it on a cookie sheet.

 Next add food coloring to the noodles and blend

 Until it looks like this:
 Next get out bowls, scissors, tongs, or child play tweezers and let the kids have fun cutting up the spaghetti or picking it up with tongs and placing it in bowls. This is a great fun way to increase the muscles in their hands needed for cutting the right way! And it is edible so if your 2 yr old puts it in his mouth it's no big deal :).
2 yr old using tongs (I don't think he is ready for scissors just yet)

6 yr old - a pro at cutting, but still loves the extra practice

4 yr old still getting the hang of it, doesn't hold the scissors quite right but he is getting better!
I bought the spaghetti on sale for .49 and only used a third of it, had food coloring on hand so the total cost of the activity was less than 2 quarters and it provided a solid half hour of entertainment for my kids!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: When kids hit

All kids hit, whether you spank your kids or not it doesn't matter, all kids at one point or another in their life are going to hit someone else. Just like all behaviors how you as a parent respond to the hitting will determine how long the "hitting" phase lasts. Typically boys hit way more often than girls because boys are less verbal and more physical, but girls still hit. There is a great article here that talks about how to handle when your kids hit.

To add to the article, I am a firm believer that you do not punish hitting with hitting. When my kids choose to hit other kids then they choose to no longer be able to play with their friends or siblings. Depending on the level of "pain" they inflicted will determine how long they cannot play. Typically I tell them that they cannot play until their friend feels better, so if the hurt kid cries for five solid minutes then my kid will sit out from playing for five solid minutes. I do have my kids tell the friend they are sorry - but sorry is not enough! Too often I have had another kid hit one of my kids and they think that just because they said they were sorry that is enough - likewise with the parents, I have had mom's look at me and say "sorry my kid hit yours" and they think that makes it o.k. Now occasionally it is o.k. if it is a mild hurt - but if your kid hit my kid hard enough to leave a mark, cause them to bleed, or cause other serious injury sorry doesn't cut it.

If my kid makes another kid bleed, they will help clean up the blood and they are done playing and we will leave. If we cannot leave then they will sit on the couch until it is time to leave, because that is serious and kids need to know it is not o.k. to hurt our friends. If it is an accident, i.e. they were both running and ran into each other and the kid fell and got hurt so they are bleeding my kid will sit out until the bleeding is under control.

One thing I disagree with in the article is having the parent apologize for their child - as soon as my kids can talk they are taught to say they are sorry.

What do I do when other parents aren't o.k. with my discipline style? This rarely happens because my kids are disciplined when my kid hurts another kid, but I always talk to the other parent about what happened and we usually come up with something that works for both of us. What do I do when I am not o.k. with another parent's discipline style? It depends on how often my kid is hurt by the other kid, if every time we get together the kid is hurting my kid and the mom does nothing about it, or just makes the kid say sorry and nothing more then we will no longer play with that kid, they will not be welcome at my house and I will not take my kids to their house.  Also I do teach my kids to hit back. My kids know that it is not o.k. for them to hit someone, but if someone is hitting you then you have every right to defend yourself and hit back and they will not be punished for that, and when the kids both come crying about what happened ad find out one kid hit and then the other kid hit them back, I just say, "well sounds like you worked it out, next time maybe you could use your words instead of your fists, but if you don't want to get hit then don't hit first."

How do you handle it when kids hurt other kids?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Motivational Monday: I didn't sign up for this . . .

I am going to change direction of this blog a little bit, don't worry it will still be focused on parenting advice but I am going to have it be more focused. Every Monday is going to be a post directed at parents specifically. A lot of parenting issues stem not from our children but from ourselves as parents so expect Mondays to be more for you!

My first installment of Motivational Monday is going to be directed at my LEAST favorite expression among parents and that is that "they didn't sign up for this!" I cannot tell you how many times I hear this from so many people, in fact in the last two weeks I have had multiple friends on Facebook make this their status and it boggles my mind that people would say this. I don't understand where this thought process comes from, maybe they haven't been exposed to hardships from children as much as others, or maybe they really just thought life with kids wouldn't be that difficult and trying, or they just like to complain about how hard it is, either way I am hear to tell you that the minute you chose to have a baby you signed up for all of the drama, hardships, frustrations, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and love that comes from being a parent!

I think I have never thought this because compared to a lot of other people my life is pretty easy going. Of the 6 living kids in my family 4 of us have kids and I am the only one who so far does not have a child with special needs, I have 2 nephews with autism, 2 nephews with FASD - one of which doesn't have fingers on his left hand, and 1 nephew with speech and other learning disabilities. So for me the little issues that come with parenting, like a sick kid, or a kid who cries non-stop for hours on end, or difficulty finding a babysitter or good friends for them are nothing compared to my siblings who have it so much harder than me. I am also very aware of how fragile life is, my youngest brother passed away when he was 3 1/2 years old from an accident so I know that any moment could be the last moment I have with that child before something fatal or life changing could have with them. Having that perspective makes it so I never think I didn't sign up for this, instead I think it could be so much worse.

So here is a list of things you sign up for when you have kids - and anyone can leave comments adding to this list in case I forget something

Sleepless Nights - kids wake up in the middle of the night for a variety of reasons - scared, hungry, sick, peed the bed, the list goes on and on and so getting a god nights sleep is nonexistent from the moment the child is born till they move out of your house. Enjoy the good nights you get but don't be shocked and complain over the bad ones, it comes with being a parent

Sickness - kids get sick, they puke, they have runny noses, they break bones, they get nasty coughs, they get rashes and as heartbreaking as it is - unless your child doesn't have a serious disease - it will pass, it is part of parenting and you will deal with it and then move on. Yes it is hard to see your kid sick, it breaks your heart but welcome to parenting, it is hard.

Attitude - everyone has one, including you, so get used to it and learn how to teach your kids to control their attitudes, but dishing your attitude back at them is not going to make it any better.

Messes - kids make messes, it is how they learn, they never outgrow it, just ask a parent of a teenager, all you can do is teach them to clean up after themselves and accept that sometimes life is messy and that's why we have washers, vacuums, and mops!

Noisy - kids don't come with mute buttons, unfortunately sometimes, and the more fun they are having the louder they get. Also the more their needs aren't being met the louder they get so invest in a good pair of ear plugs and don't attempt to watch TV when the kids are awake.

Your wants are second to theirs - Parenting equals sacrifice and there are going to be things that you are going to miss out. You are going to miss parties if your kids are sick, you're going to have less free time, you're not going to be able hang out with your friends, you're not going to be able to go out as a couple as much as you did before you had a baby, you're life now revolves around your kids and their needs and while your needs are important there will be times when your needs come second and theirs come first.

This is just a small list of things you sign up for when you are a parent that I have found most people complain about, and there are a whole lot more that I can't think of because I have a newborn baby and I am drugged up so if you would like to add any feel free.

While everything I listed are all negatives there are a thousand more good things you sign up for when you choose to be a parent and I choose to treasure the good things because I know there is opposition in all things and in order for me to really love my children I know there has to be some bad thrown in with the good. It is all in our attitude!

Friday, April 8, 2011

New baby . . . Tired Mommy!

On Tuesday at 4:03 p.m. I delivered a beautiful and healthy baby girl and I am now one tired mom! I sit down with this baby and within minutes we are both sound asleep. Luckily my hubby is home and he takes care of my other kids, because newborns are exhausting!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Having a baby!

So Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. I am going to be arriving at the hospital to be induced. There is of course a chance I will go into labor naturally I have been having some pretty awesome contractions in the last little bit, but for now I am planning on Tuesday. So I thought it would be fun for everyone to post their labor stories! If you have had a kid leave a comment and tell me about your labor!

I have had three kids and all 3 were very different.

My first I went into labor at work and was only having back labor so I didn't know I was in labor most of the day, then my boss figured it out and drove me to the hospital - sure enough I was dilated to a 4, completely effaced, and ready to go. I wasn't ready at all, I didn't have a bag packed, the car seat was still in the box, and the security guy was installing our security system at the time. Luckily the security guy had 7 kids so he told T what to pack and he met me at the hospital.

My 2nd was another complete surprise, I was 36 weeks and sitting in Sunday School when I felt a little pop, I quickly booked it to the church bathroom where my water broke! Again, I didn't have a bag packed and so I had to have my in-laws pack my bag and bring it to the hospital.

My 3rd tried to come too early so they put me on terbutaline which is horrible medicine to stop contractions, and I ended up not going into labor at all on my own so they induced me.

3 pregnancies, 3 different labors and 3 different personalities! Here's hoping Natalie's delivery is uncomplicated and quick!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Autism Awareness Month

This month is autism awareness month and to increase awareness my sister in law did an amazing post on her blog that focuses on the parent's perspective of autism. My sister in law has two boys with autism, both completely different from each other. She is an incredible woman, who has an amazing talent for expressing her love for her children even though they aren't your "normal" children. She inspires me every time I read one of her blog posts and I hope that after you read her post you can be a little more sensitive to those who have children with any type of disability - not just autism! Check out her post here