Understanding Your Child’s Personality

There are many types of personality tests out there. You may have heard the word Enneagram buzzing around, but I think it’s more than just a new trend. Knowing your child’s personality can be the key to helping you parent and to having a happier family.

If you can understand why someone is doing what they’re doing or not doing it can help you respond in a way that is more likely to make that person feel heard and understood. What parent doesn’t want to have that kind of connection with their child?

I’m not saying that you don’t know your child if you haven’t done a personality test on them. In fact you probably can predict how they will respond to any given scenario nine times out of ten. But do you know why they would respond that way? I’m talking more than understanding if your child is stubborn or easy going. More than if they are outgoing or shy.

Which Animal Are You?

A few months ago, my son came home from school excited to tell me about his day. This is kind of a big deal. Usually when I ask how his day was his response is minimal. I’m lucky to get more than something like, “it was good,” so I was eager to hear more. But as someone who studied psychology, he really started speaking my language when he told me that he took a personality test at school.

He wanted me to take the test too and had extra so that everyone in our family could take it. That night he kept bugging me to take it until I finally did.

Then when I told him my results he just said, “Ok” and walked away. Apparently he wasn’t asking us to take the test because it was for an assignment or homework. He was genuinely curious to know. This was the point that I realized my nine year old is starting to grow up. Maybe he wanted to know what our personality type was because he wanted to understand us better.

The test that we took was The Five Minute Personality Test. It tells you which animal you are most like. When my son told me which animal he was, it made so much sense to me. It has given me more awareness of why he is the way he is. Now when I start to feel frustrated, I remember that he isn’t trying to be difficult, he’s just responding because of the way he thinks about the world. It’s who God made him to be.

Knowing your child’s personality type doesn’t mean you have to change the way you parent completely. Of course if we could all wave a magic wand and know the right way to respond to our children in any situation that would be ideal. But that’s not really realistic. I think just being aware of what your child’s personality type is and noticing when it starts to come out is key.

When people can really stop to think about where others are coming from and truly empathize that is when relationships can thrive. It takes emotional maturity and effort to do, but just reading this post is a start.

4 Types of Personality Tests

I encourage you to take one of the tests listed below and see if you can better understand who your child or even your spouse is.

Maybe next time you have an interaction with them you will remember reading this and simply pause for a brief moment to consider their point of view. Not only how they think about the situation, but how God made them to think about the situation and that he purposely made that to be different than he made you to think about it.

1. Enneagram

The official RHETI can be purchased at The Enneagram Institute for $12. You’ll get a thorough print out of your results including what you’re like at your best and your worst as well as why you get into relationship conflicts and who you are most compatible with. You can also take a free version here, but the results will not include as much detail. There is a ton of information online and social media about the different enneagram types. My favorite accounts to follow on Instagram are @enneagramashton and @enneagramexplained.

2. Myers Briggs

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator explains how people perceive the world and make decisions. It assigns people into four categories: introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving. Your result will take one letter from each category such as INJF or ENFP. This test can be really helpful in personal growth and improving relationships, but in my opinion it’s a little more complicated than some of the other personality tests I’ve taken.

3. The Color Code

The Color Code will tell you which color your personality is most like. This test is widely used in Europe by psychologists, government agencies, and universities to screen their candidates. Before you take the test, see if you can guess which color you will be: red, blue, white, or yellow.

4. The 5 Minute Personality Test

This test will tell you which animal you’re most like. I think it’s super easy to take this one to see what your child’s personality type is, because all you do is choose which adjectives are most like them on a scale of 1-4.

Once you determine which animal you are (Lion, Otter, Golden Retriever, or Beaver) then you can see what your natural strengths and weaknesses are. I found it helpful to know that my son who is a beaver, has the desire to be right. It’s also good to know as a parent that he needs security, gradual change, and time to adjust. As a beaver, he is likely to want stability, low risk situations, and tasks that require precision and planning.

When guessing how my husband would answer this test, I found out that his personality is most like the lion. The lions communication style is great at initiation communication and not good at listening. While I’m not sure that this is true 100% of the time, it does help when I feel like he never remembers things I tell him. He also needs to solve problems and wants direct answers. Knowing this about him can help me understand why he gets frustrated with me, the golden retriever, who tends to be indecisive and sacrifice results for the sake of humanity.

It may seem like our personality types are bound to clash, but you know what they say- opposites attract! At least now we can be aware that the other person isn’t trying to push our buttons. They are simply being who they are supposed to be.

Have you taken any of these personality tests before? Were you surprised to find out the results? Stay tuned for more about personality tests for kids.

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Five Ways To Encourage Your Child To Love Reading

This post is sponsored by Storytime. We will always give our honest opinions on these products and the opinions expressed on this blog are purely our own.

My kids have always loved to read. I’m not sure if it’s because they have two parents who enjoy it or if it’s because of the things below that we do to encourage them to love reading. But I know how important it is for every child’s education and development. So I’m going to share some of the things we do in our house in case you need ideas to help your kids develop a love of reading. Here they are!

Five Ways To Encourage Your Child To Love Reading

pinterest 5 ways to encourage your child to love reading

1. Don’t Interfere With Their Choice Of Books

My boys love to read books like Captain Underpants, Super Diaper Baby, and Fart Quest. Basically if it has anything to do with bodily functions they are interested. They also are only really interested in reading graphic novels. My oldest is fully capable of reading books without pictures, but any time I try to encourage him to read more challenging books he loses interest in reading altogether. So I try really hard not to interfere.

As much as I’d like for him to read the classics, it’s important that I allow him the option to choose what he reads. I don’t want reading to be one more thing that he has to do and I want him to enjoy it so it’s important for me to give him control over what he reads.

That being said I do still gently encourage other books by suggesting the ones I think he may be interested in. There have been times when he looked at a book that my youngest picked out and said it was dumb. But then when I started reading it to him, my oldest would stop reading his book and listen.

This leads me to my next suggestion.

2. Model Reading

Children learn by watching others. So if you want your kids to love reading show them that you do too. My husband and I both love to read so this is easy for us. If you don’t love reading or don’t feel like you have time I encourage you to give it a try. Maybe you just haven’t found the right book.

Goodreads is a website where you can enter in the names of books that you’ve enjoyed and they will make suggestions based on your interest. You can keep track of books you want to read and books that you’ve read too! I’ve found some books that I ended up loving this way.

A few of my recent favorite books are:

3. Never Say No To Books

Ok I never say never so instead I should say we hardly ever say no to books. If my kids bring home a flier for the book fair from school, I almost always send in money to let them buy at least 1 book. We also like to take trips to Barnes and Noble and let our kids pick out a book when we need something fun to do.

We almost never say no when they ask for a new book or when one of their favorite series comes out with a new book. The downside is that our house is overflowing with books, but I know that eventually they will outgrow some of them and we’ll pass them on to someone else.

4. Make Books Accessible

We have books all over our house. Both of my kids have bookshelves in their room that are full of books. We also have books in their playroom and there’s usually a book or two in the car. Having books throughout the house makes them more accessible and they are more likely to pick one up if they’re bored when there’s one nearby.

Many times when we go run errands or pretty much anywhere, my kids are reading in the car. Even though having books in the car makes it seem more cluttered, I allow it because it encourages them to pick one up to read every time we’re in it.

We recently discovered a book subscription service called Storytime. Storytime delivers hand-selected books to your door through the USPS that are tailored to your child’s development. These books are focused on topics that encourage social-emotional learning and help your child process major life events.

Even though my boys are into reading chapter books, they both really enjoyed reading the books that we received from Storytime and chose them to read several nights in a row. I was surprised by how much they enjoyed Those Shoes as well as the other books that were in our bag.

In fact, my 6-year-old didn’t want to send them back! The cool thing about Storytime is if you want to purchase the books, you can! And Storytime’s prices are cheaper than what you would pay anywhere else.

5. Make Reading A Part Of Your Bedtime Routine

We’ve been reading to our kids every night at bedtime since they were born. If your kids are older and this isn’t a part of your routine at night already, that’s ok. You can start small by reading 1 book or 10 pages of a book if it’s longer every night. The goal is to read 20 minutes every day, but even if your child reads for 10 minutes a few times a week that is better than nothing.

These are a few things we do in our house that encourage our kids to love reading. Do your kids love to read? If so, what else would you add to this list? Share in the comments below.

Make sure to follow us on facebook if you enjoyed reading this so that you don’t miss our next post!

How To Be Antiracist As A Mom: Part 2

It’s been a little over a year since Ahmaud Arbery was murdered. The horrific video that surfaced at that time left me feeling convicted to stand up against racism.

Not long after that, George Floyd’s murder was caught on video and shared with the world. I quickly became aware of how many countless other BIPOC have been unjustly killed for senseless reasons, when it could have been avoided. The injustices and systematic racism that minorities in our country face became clearer and clearer to me.

I felt like I needed to use my platform to stand up and speak out against these injustices. I’ve done a few bold things like posting this article on how to raise anti-racist kids.  A group where I live has been protesting monthly and sometimes weekly and I’ve participated as often as I can.

mom holding sign at antiracist moms protest that says Black Lives Matter to me

While those things may be bold, I haven’t done enough.

I still have been ashamed or scared to speak up when I should. I also allow my fears of the ramification of protesting to scare me away from committing to being there every time.

So much has happened in our country over the past year. Most recently the ruthless killing of another Black man who didn’t deserve to die, Daunte Wright.

Relationships have been torn apart as a result, because let’s face it, our country is split on the issue of racism. Nevertheless, I think it’s important for me to continue speaking out and sharing what I’m learning. I have to continue to face the discomfort that comes with this type of work and strive to do better.

So here are a few things that I’ve learned about systemic racism in our country over the past year. The racism that many have to deal with on a daily basis. I’m going to also include a few ways you can be anti-racist, especially if you’re a mom.

What I’ve Learned About Systemic Racism

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are authors are far too underrepresented in our literature.

I have done a few book studies recently, including Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum. Tatum points this out in her book, and until I read it I had never even thought about how few BIPOC authors I actually knew of.

Can you think of any or was it just me? That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. I think it’s just that we don’t know about them. Have you ever stopped to think about why that is?

  • Minorities are often depicted in stereotypical ways in media.

Think about how many movies and shows you’ve seen with BIPOC as the main characters. How are they depicted? Is it in a negative way?

Since I’ve been more aware of my own biases it’s easier than it ever was for me before to see these things. The more I’ve explored these feelings and allowed myself to feel the discomfort that comes up, the more comfortable I become in standing up and speaking out against them.

  • We need to be careful of what we say.

For example, someone recently posted this article in an online group that I’m in.  Author Elizabeth Sherman points out that saying things like “my tribe” is offensive to American Indians.

“A tribe isn’t your squad of friends, and deeming it as such erases the battles these actual tribal communities fought to be federally recognized.”

Once you start to become more aware of terms that can have racial undertones, like chief and spirit animal, you will start noticing them daily.

I challenge you to stop yourself. Find another word that says the same thing. If you forget, it’s ok. It takes time to change a habit, but don’t continue doing it without acknowledging that it’s wrong. Apologize if you said it in front of someone else and point out that you shouldn’t have said it.

  • Meet people where they are.

Another way that you can be more actively anti-racist is to meet people with different opinions and beliefs than you where they are. Just because you disagree with someone, doesn’t mean you should come at them on your soapbox. Making someone feel guilty about why they’re wrong won’t get you far.

All that will likely do is make them even more defensive and dig their heels into what they’ve already said or thought. Instead, try to understand where the inappropriate behavior or opinion is coming from.  Rather than arguing with them, ask why they think that way and become genuinely interested in their answer.

You have to understand that there are layers upon layers upon layers of generational biases that these behaviors and words are coming from. Engaging in arguments doesn’t get you very far. But understanding from a place of love and compassion will get you much further.

It’s like that saying goes, you kill far more bees with honey. I am well aware that my beliefs are not the same as everyone in our country and that’s OK. I believe God actually made us all different for a reason. He didn’t want us to all be the same.

  • Listen to Black voices.

This is probably the most important tip I can give you. I mentioned it in my previous post about raising antiracist kids, but I think it’s necessary to say it again. You can listen to Black voices in many ways like blogs, podcasts, and books. Ideally, you would have personal friendships where you can have honest and open conversations about what needs to be done to be their ally. That being said, just because you have friends who are Black, doesn’t mean that you are antiracist. That is only just the beginning.

These are a few things that I’ve noticed over the past year as I’ve set out on this journey to being anti-racist. I know that this will always be a work in progress for me and I have so much more to learn.

25 resources for moms on being antiracist with moms hugging

Resources To Promote Diversity And Antiracism

As promised, here are some resources that I’ve found helpful while exploring my role in helping to fight racial injustice and systematic racism.

First, these children’s books all include BIPOC as the main characters. I recommend ordering some of these for your family or checking them out from your local library.

The more we can support these authors and show the publishing companies that they are needed, the more likely they are to get published. Not only should Black children see themselves in books, I also think it’s important for White children to see BIPOC as characters in the books that they read.

10 Children’s Books With Diverse Characters

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The Hula-Hoopin Queen by Thelma-Lynn Godin

What If by Samantha Berger illustrated by Mike Curato

Pepper Zhang by Jerry Zhang

Honeysmoke by Monique Fields

Skin Like Mine by Latashia M. Perry

Listening To My Heart by Gabi Garcia

I’m Mixed by Maggie Williams

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

From The Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks


The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez

5 Black-Owned Bookstores To Support

Medu Bookstore in Atlanta, Georgia

Medu Bookstore has been operational in the Atlanta area for more than twenty years and specializes in culturally significant and often hard to find books. They have a list of special events on their calendar that includes lectures by Black authors and storytelling children’s books.

Good Books in Atlanta, Georgia

Good books was founded by a mother-daughter duo who want to show their love to their community and encourage a love for reading. They are based out of Atlanta, Georgia but are currently 100% online. They ship to all 50 states in the U.S.

Cultured Books in St. Petersburg, FL

Cultured Books is a pop-up children’s bookstore, with a mission to first foster a love of self by showing positive images and sharing great stories about people of color. To show children our stories don’t begin with struggle and second, to broaden world views. They host story times, book clubs, and even community events.

The Listening Tree in Decatur, Georgia

The Listening Tree is a children’s bookstore and education center who’s mission is to perpetuate a love of literacy and learning in the global community. The have a Young Entrepreneurs Program committed to bringing economic justice through proper education in Finances, Self Interest and Business Start-up.

All Things Inspiration Giftique in Mableton, Georgia

All Things Inspiration Giftique is a Christian bookstore that sells a carefully curated selection of Bibles, Christian Literature, Fiction, and Nonfiction titles, African American Literature, and more.

Adult Books About How To Be Antiracist

I think learning more about your own biases is the best place you can start if you want to be anti-racist. There is so much more to it, but you have to start somewhere. If you don’t face your racist beliefs you will never be able to make the changes that are necessary. There are many different books out there to help you on this journey. These are only a few that I have begun reading. If you have more to add to this list, I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

1.  How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

Last year I listened to a live panel that Ibram did on YouTube with the Prince George’s Memorial Library about his book How To Be An Antiracist. I learned more about systemic racism and how to go about fighting it in that hour than I have anywhere else. He is very easy to relate to, kind, compassionate, and will keep you wanting to read more.

2. Be The Bridge by Natasha Morrison

I referenced this book previously when talking about how I had never really considered the fact that we don’t often hear about Black authors. Since I was a part of this book study, it has become clear to me how little we celebrate BIPOC’s success.

If you truly believe that all people are created equal, why wouldn’t there be just as many success stories about Black people who have written books, movies, or plays than White? Maybe it’s because I haven’t been looking for them. Or maybe it’s because

3. Me & White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad

4. Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

5. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

6. This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell and Illustrated by Aurelia Durand

7. Black and White: Dismantling Racism One Friendship at a Time by Teesha Hadra and John Hambrick

8. Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

9. Let Love Have The Last Word by Common 

This book is not necessarily about being anti-racist, but it’s about musical artist and actor Common’s journey to understanding love and how it can help build communities.

10. The Color of Compromise by Jamar Tisby

There is still so much work to be done in eliminating systemic racism, and these resources are not exhaustive. But I hope they at least give you a starting point about how to be an antiracist mom.

I’d love for you to add your own resources to this list by commenting below!

 

The Best Activities For Raising Grateful Kids

Inside: 5 simple activities families can do together to make sure they’re raising grateful kids.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like as moms we spend a lot of time thinking about what we don’t have. We think “if we just had enough money to pay for private school, everything would be perfect. Our kids would get a better education and it would set them up to go to college wherever they want.”

Or we think things like “If I had a better job, I could save more money for college tuition for my kids. Then they wouldn’t have to take out student loans like I did.”

We’re always comparing our lives to others– our houses, cars, jobs, vacations. We think if we could just have what they have, we’d be so much happier.

I daydream about how much better life might be for my kids if we had a bigger house with a fenced-in backyard……Maybe my kids would play outside more and they would play less video games.

I think about what it would be like to have a vacation home on the beach. A place we could run off to on the weekends without having to make a reservation 6 months out.

Sometimes I get carried away and let these thoughts consume me so much that I forget about all that we do have:

  • We have a place to live that that has heat in the winter and air condition in the summer.
  • There’s never a time that we have to worry about when our next meal will be.
  • We’re all pretty physically healthy, besides maybe needing to cut back on having dessert EVERY night.
  • We have family living close by that we get to spend time with whenever we want to. Not to mention babysitters almost anytime we need them.
  • Our community is safe and we have plenty of friends who live close by.
  • We have a school that’s actually in our neighborhood. It has the best teachers who genuinely care and want every child to succeed.

I could go on and on once I start thinking about all the things my family has to be grateful for. But the key is making myself think about what we do have instead of what we don’t have.
I want this for my kids too. For one thing, I don’t want them to be spoiled and entitled brats who expect to get everything they want. I also want them to appreciate that we are blessed and that not everyone has a playroom so full of toys that they couldn’t fit one more.

To teach my kids gratitude not only do I have to set a good example by practicing it myself, but I also have to find ways to show them how to be grateful.Give thanks messageNovember is a great time to focus on raising more grateful kids. Since it’s the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, we’re already thinking about gratitude a lot more. Your kids will probably learn about gratitude in school. If not, there will be plenty of shows and movies to choose from that focus on it.

So instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday, like what you’re going to eat with your turkey and where you’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner, take advantage of this time to practice being more grateful.

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5 FAMILY ACTIVITIES TO HELP YOU RAISE GRATEFUL KIDS:

1. TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR

Help your family get into the habit of being grateful by making it a part of your daily routine. Pick a time that’s convenient for all of you to share what you’re grateful for. It could be while you’re eating dinner together at night or during your kids’ bedtime routine. Just try to be consistent and do it at the same time every day.

If you’re having trouble coming up with something to be grateful for, just start small. You can be thankful that you have clothes to wear or thankful that you have food in your fridge to eat.

Sometimes your kids might need you to help them come up with things they’re grateful for too. It’s ok for you to help them! Eventually, it will get easier and they will be more likely to share on their own.

2. MAKE A THANKFUL PUMPKIN

All you need is a pumpkin and a sharpie. Every day, each person in your family can write one thing they’re thankful for on the pumpkin.

Then you can use your thankful pumpkin as a centerpiece and conversation starter at Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone can take turns saying what they wrote and what being thankful means to them.

pumpkins for gratitude activity

3. TEACH YOUR KIDS TO WRITE THANK YOU NOTES

Call me old fashioned, but I love getting handwritten cards in the mail. Writing thank-you notes helps you express your gratitude to others. Besides, I just think it’s the right thing to do.

An easy way to raise grateful kids is to teach them to send a thank you note anytime they receive a gift.

When they’re younger, you can have your child draw a picture on the note and tell you what to write. Once your child can write on their own, even if it’s not perfect, let them! They’ll be practicing their writing skills without even realizing it, and that’s always an added bonus.

a grateful kid holding a thank you note

4. VOLUNTEER TOGETHER AS A FAMILY

Volunteering is a great way to change your perspective and help kids see how much they have to be grateful for.  This time of year, there are tons of great opportunities for your family to volunteer together.

Here are a few ideas:

– Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner to homeless people in your community. Many organizations are already doing this every year and they always need help on holidays.

– Adopt a family and bring them what they’d need to cook their own Thanksgiving dinner. You can make the grocery list together and even go to the store as a family to pick up the supplies. While you’re there, talk to your kids about how other families at their school might not have Thanksgiving dinner without help.

– Organize a canned food drive in your neighborhood. Your kids can help you set up a collection station or make flyers to pass out to your neighbors. Go together as a family to delier what you collect to a local food bank.

– Get creative. Think about what your family likes to do together and find ways to serve your community doing it. Helping others who are less fortunate than you is the best way to teach your kids gratitude. They probably don’t even realize how much they take what they have for granted.

Pinterest image titled 5 Activities For Raising Grateful Kids

5. FIND A GRATITUDE ROCK

It doesn’t actually have to be a rock, but the point is to find something that you can use as a symbol to remind you to be grateful. I like the idea of using a rock because you could easily put it in your pocket. Then when you see or feel the rock in your pocket, it will remind you to be grateful.

Paint or use markers to decorate your gratitude rocks together as a family while you talk about the things you’re grateful for.

These are just a few ideas of things you can do to raise grateful kids. What other activities that teach gratitude have you done with your family? Share your ideas or traditions in the comments!

It’s As Easy As Riding A Bike

Inside: Tips for teaching your kid to ride a bike.

You know that saying, “Don’t worry. It’s as easy as riding a bike!”

I wonder if whoever started saying it has ever tried teaching their kid how to ride a bike? I doubt it, because if they had they wouldn’t be saying how easy it is!

Maybe in the context of picking it back up after not riding for a while it’s easy. Your brain must store how to do it somewhere in your subconscious memories though.

Because actually teaching someone else to ride a bike is a whole different story. Until you try, you don’t realize how hard it is to put each step of the process into something a child can understand.

Maybe it’s because we’ve had 4 broken bones between 2 kids in less than 3 years. Or maybe it’s because I’m the worst bike riding instructor on the planet.

Nevertheless, we didn’t give up.

That’s probably only due to my husband and the fact that we have complete opposite parenting styles. I’m one of those moms that says, “Ok, you don’t have to.” I hate to see them squirm! Luckily my husband didn’t allow them to give up that easily.

We definitely both needed to be there though. I’m afraid he would try a little too hard to toughen them up if they crashed and started crying.

So this all started during quarantine when we were sheltering in place. Remember when everyone was talking about the random projects they were starting because we were all stuck at home?

While other people were busy baking bread and organizing their junk drawers, we were desperate to prove to each other that we weren’t going to let our kids sit around and play video games all day.

father teaching kid to ride a bike

So we made teaching our 6 and 8 year olds how to ride their bikes our project.

It took a little longer for my 6 year old, but that’s ok. He is only 6. He was way more easily persuaded to stick with it when treats were on the line.

I think he only picked it up as fast as he did because he wanted to catch up to his brother. It didn’t hurt that his brother quickly became the expert on bike riding once he figured it out and was constantly shouting tips at him.

If you have struggled with teaching your child to ride a bike, here are a few things we learned along the way that might help:

10 TIPS FOR TEACHING YOUR KID TO RIDE A BIKE

  1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT SIZE BIKE

We started my 8 year old out with a bike that our neighbors gave us. After the first day we realized that it was way too big for him. He couldn’t put his feet down to stop and he didn’t know how to use the breaks yet. Once we went back to the smaller bike we already had for him that we thought was too small, he did much better.

You can find out what size bike is best on Schwinn’s website.

2. BE PATIENT

You can’t rush teaching your kid to ride a bike. They may not feel comfortable enough for you to let go of them for the first few days.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try letting go at all in the beginning, but you don’t want to push them too far at first. You really want them to build up their confidence.

Some kids will take longer than others to learn. My son was 8 and I didn’t think he’d ever figure it out, but once we started practicing consistently, it only took a few weeks.

3. WORK ON BALANCING

There are different ways you can do this. Our oldest son was turning his bike back and forth at first trying to balance himself. For some reason he thought that was what he was supposed to do.

I told him to imagine there was a tall pole going through his body and to try keeping it as straight as he could. I said, “Imagine the pole is going through your bike seat, up your back and through your helmet. You want it to go out of your helmet and then be able to reach the sky.”

This seemed to help a little, but once we went to our neighborhood school parking lot and started practicing on the center line of the road, it really helped him to have something visual to focus on. Remember, boys are visual learners!

With my youngest son, we took the pedals off his bike so he could learn to balance. My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested this, but it actually worked like magic. He was able to use his bike like a balance bike and build up the confidence he needed to push the bike forward with his feet.

He rode like this for a few months actually. We kept asking him if he was ready to put the pedals back on, and he’d say no. But eventually he was ready. The first time we put the them on, he took off!

kid who is being taught how to ride a bike without pedals

The cool thing is, you don’t need to spend money on a balance bike. You can just use the bike that they’ll be riding once they learn!

4. BE PERSISTENT

This is definitely something we struggled with. We live on a really busy street with a steep driveway. So we had to pack everything up in the car and drive somewhere just so our kids could ride their bikes.

We made the mistake of letting months, sometimes years go by in between our practice sessions. If you can practice for a few days back to back, your child will figure it out much faster than ours did.

You could go practice after dinner instead of watching tv. Even if you go out to practice two days in a row, it makes a big difference. Then you can build on the progress you made the day before.

5. USE LOTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Again, your child needs to feel confident before they will be able to ride a bike on their own. The more positive reinforcement you give them, the more confident they will feel.

Make sure you’re pointing out every little step of progress they’re making. Tell your child how brave they’re being and that they’re doing a good job. Point out how hard it is, but that they’re figuring it out.

You may feel like you’re being ridiculously over the top at first, but you’ll be surprised how much it will help!

6. FIND A QUIET STREET OR PARKING LOT WITH A SLIGHT HILL

We practiced a lot at my mom’s house because the road we live on is super busy. Her street was perfect because it was a dead end with little traffic. We also practiced in our elementary school’s parking lot, because there weren’t a lot of obstacles to try to avoid.

Having a little bit of a hill, helps kids build up enough momentum to go once they start to balance. Too much of a hill can be dangerous until they know how to break though!

7. BRING LOTS OF SNACKS AND BAND-AIDS

My 6-year-old was ready to stop after every few minutes. Part of that is just his personality. But it was also summertime and super hot. So we needed to take frequent breaks. For some reason he was always hungry during those breaks. I mean he is a growing boy. And if you’re a mom, you know that always having snacks on hand when you go out is essential.

We also went out for ice cream after practicing a few times. This helped a lot in the beginning when my youngest really didn’t want to try to learn. We’d tell him that if he just practice for 10 more minutes, then we would go get a treat afterwards.

Band-aids are essential, because unfortunately accidents are bound to happen. If you can, dress your child in long pants and long sleeves to help protect their knees and elbows.

8. DON’T FORGET THE HELMET

This may seem obvious to some people, but it’s not something you want to forget! If you teach your kids when they’re learning to ride their bikes that helmets are a must, they will be more likely to use them when they’re old enough to go ride their bike on their own.

9. USE EMPATHY

This goes along with being patient. Make sure you’re considering how learning to ride a bike might feel to your child. Even though it can be one of the most fun activities for them to do once they learn, it can also be really scary at first.

There are times when you go too fast and it can feel like you’re out of control. I feel that way even now when I ride down steep hills.

Imagine being a child who doesn’t know how to stop yet and thinking you have no control. Once you learn how to use your breaks, this can be one of the best parts about bike riding. But when you’re still learning, it’s hard to see it that way.

Modeling empathy as a parent helps your child learn how to be considerate of others feelings too. So that’s an added bonus!

10. HAVE FUN

The well known outdoor supply store REI suggests that having fun, is the most important step when teaching your kid to ride their bike. I couldn’t agree more.

If you and your child aren’t having fun, what’s the point? If you find yourself dreading those practice runs, maybe you need to take a break and come back to it in a few weeks when everyone is ready. I promise that once your child does figure it out, it will be so much fun for everyone!

What strategies have you used to teach your kid how to ride a bike? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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The Secret To Raising Little Boys

What’s the secret to raising little boys?

Well it’s not rocket science. It’s not even really anything that profound.

It may be something you’ve already heard before.

Have you ever felt like you had to ask your child 10 times to brush their teeth before you could leave the house?

If you’re a boy mom, 28 may be a much more realistic number.

Until last week, I thought it was because my kids were annoyed by the sound of my voice and they must have been tuning me out.

I’ve considered whether their ears are super sensitive like dogs. Maybe when I ask them to do something important my voice is a super high frequency like a whistle would sound to a dog?

Or maybe they just like the sound of my voice so much, that they want to hear me say things over and over again?

I recently learned that’s not the case at all.

I heard a parenting talk by David Thomas, author of the books Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys (Tyndale House Publishers) and Are My Kids on Track? The 12 Emotional, Social & Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach.

Thomas spoke about the different developmental milestones that children reach at each age. The main point that I took away from it was that 5-8 year old boys are mostly visual learners!

Back To The Basics

I wish I had heard this tip about raising little boys sooner. Even after two years of graduate school and multiple classes on child development, I didn’t realize how differently they learn.

So many meltdowns and power struggles could have been avoided in our house!

I probably did hear this back in Child Development 101. But sometimes you have to live it before it really sinks in.

What really made sense to me was when Thomas pointed out that if your child isn’t doing what you want them to do, it’s really your fault as their parent. It’s your fault because you haven’t set up their environment for success.

It may not seem like it sometimes, but kids actually want to make us happy. They truly want to be good.

So it would make sense that sometimes when they aren’t doing what we want them to, it’s because we have made it too hard for them.

Instead of engaging in power struggles with your kids about why they haven’t done what you asked them to do a hundred times already, make it easy for them to remember.

Boys have a larger part of their brains dedicated to spatial and mechanical functioning than girls do. This is why boys need to be able to visualize things in order to learn them.

Now it makes sense to me why when my husband was starting up his business, he had had little sticky notes all over the wall in our office. Each one had a different task that he wanted to focus on in order to be successful.

Set Them Up For Success

As parents, we can help set our children up for success by using visual cues and reminders around the house.

For example, you could put up a sign with a list of the 3 things your son needs to do in the bathroom before getting ready for school. Make sure to keep it simple.

You could use a small sign that says Flush, Wash, Brush.

A simple list of what steps are needed to get ready in the morning in your child’s bedroom can go a long way! For younger kids, you could use pictures of what the steps are.

Post a schedule near your child’s virtual learning space and make sure it’s visible all day. Here are a few other tips on setting up your child’s virtual learning space.

If you walk through your child’s elementary school, chances are you will see lots of bright and cheery pictures. In their classroom, you’ll probably see lists of expectations and schedules all over the walls.

That’s not just a coincidence!

It also makes sense now why the watch my son got for his 6th birthday was one of his favorite gifts. He didn’t take it off even at night!

It was pretty nice to tell him to check his watch when he asked what time it was every 5 minutes. But now I see why it meant so much to him!

Think Before You Speak

We can use this principle to help us be more proactive.

Instead of always saying things like “stop, no, don’t, quit,” we can show our children what we want them to do. You can easily do this by removing the things from their environments that you don’t want your child doing.

During virtual learning, make sure the only things that are in the learning space are school materials.

The secret to parenting little boys

Of course, this isn’t always realistic or possible to do. But I’m sure you can help by reducing at least some of the distractions.

Following this parenting tip doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set high expectations for our kids. It is a good reminder for why yelling doesn’t get you as far though.

I’m definitely excited to try it and hopefully save my breath a little!

If you enjoyed reading this, I’d love for you to share it with others who you think might need this tip for parenting boys too!

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The Top 10 Tips For Virtual Learning Success

Inside: 10 virtual learning tips to get prepared and set up your family for success. 

2 months ago, I couldn’t wait for school to start back up.

When it came down to deciding whether or not to send our kids back face to face or to enroll them in virtual learning, I was truly stuck though.

Neither decision felt like a good one. Luckily our school superintendent decided for us.

We live in the largest county in Georgia where classroom sizes are usually at least 20 and there are almost 100 schools. Many families have children at more than one school. Those same students ride the same buses, and some teachers even travel to different schools.

All these things paired with the number of COVID 19 cases in our county being on the rise when school started, led the school board to decide it wasn’t safe for anyone to go back to school face to face yet.

I was a little disappointed at first, because it meant I wouldn’t get my days to myself back.

After being stuck at home with my family for almost 6 months, I definitely could use some alone time. I thrive on having time to focus on the things I want to do.

What mom doesn’t?

But I was also relieved that I didn’t have to be the one to make such a huge decision for our family.

Last week was our first week of virtual learning. Despite some technical issues and boredom from my 1st grader, WE SURVIVED!

I know that this semester and really this year will be a learning process for all of us. In the end, it’s something that will only make us stronger. But I think we’ve learned a few things already that might make virtual learning easier for your family.

10 VIRTUAL LEARNING TIPS

1. SET UP A DESIGNATED WORKSPACE

I definitely waited until the last minute to do this, so if you’re starting to panic, don’t. Our workspace is nothing special, but it’s a room we don’t often use. So it was easy to clear it off and designate it for school.

workspace for virtual learning

We got some basic school supplies like paper, pencils, markers, erasers, folders, glue, and a pencil sharpener. Also, if you don’t have a good pair of headphones for your child, make sure to invest in a pair!

I put everything in a small crate and stackable bins like the ones below. Then I got a simple bookshelf to organize everything and make it easy to put it all away at the end of the day.

                                              

 

2. LOG ON EARLY

This might seem obvious, but we had to learn it the hard way. Even though you’ll be at home and won’t have to worry about finding everyone’s shoes, it will still take you some time to get ready in the morning.

I don’t know if it’s just my kids who aren’t morning people.

Or maybe my 6-year-old is the only one that needs 5 reminders to brush his teeth. But you won’t be saving that much time by doing school at home instead of in person.

Our schools are using Microsoft Teams. After a few days, I learned how easy it is to create your own meeting instead of joining the meeting your teacher started. If you log on before she starts the meeting, you’ll see a meeting request pop up on your screen though. So being early definitely helps in this case.

Plus if you have issues logging on and try to email the teacher once the class has already started, she may not see your email if she’s already focused on teaching the lesson.

Being online early will help you get your day started out with fewer frustrations due to technical issues.

3. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS

Having a designated workspace is the first step in helping to minimize distractions for your students. We try not to have any toys on the table when school is going on. If I sit next to my 6-year-old doing something he’s interested in, it’s distracting to him.

My 8-year-old doesn’t want my help and tells me he’s got it, but my 6-year-old wants me next to him all day.

So I’ve been sitting next to my 6-year-old with my computer. When he asks me what I’m doing, I let him know that I have work to do too. I have a little alarm clock next to his work station that tells him the time and his daily schedule.

4. TURN OFF OTHER DEVICES

Unless you have a crazy amount of Wifi, having more than one person doing a conference call at once will more than likely cause some connection issues. I realized a few months ago that when I’m zooming it helps to turn off all the devices we aren’t actually using.

You can just turn off the wifi on your phone if you aren’t using it, but I also turn off all the ipads in the house. I put my smart watch on airplane mode and I also turn off all the smart TVs in the house. It’s crazy how many things in our house rely on wifi!

5. TAKE SCREEN-FREE BREAKS

Anytime my kids have a break in their schedule, we try to do things that don’t involve a screen.

mom helping child take a break from virtual learning

My 1st grader’s teacher told the class that they need to do something screen-free during their lunch and recess break. She also told them to read for 9 minutes before they can have screen time after school. This week, they have to read 20 minutes every day as their homework.

6. SEPERATE SIBLINGS

We started out with both kids in the dining room. Since my younger son does everything his older brother does, I thought he would get more work done if he was in the same room.

After the first day, we realized that wasn’t the case. My younger son didn’t like wearing the headphones all day and my older son figured out that his teacher couldn’t hear him speak when they were plugged in.

That’s all part of the process though, learning and adapting as you go!

We moved my younger son to the kitchen table so that they could both unplug their headphones if they wanted to. Having all of the school supplies in a small bin has made clean up at the end of the day easy.

7. BE PATIENT

Patience is not always easy, but again, we have to remember that this process is new for everyone! Especially our kids and their teachers.

Yesterday my son cried because he didn’t want to log onto school. His cousins are in town visiting and he said that school ruined his vacation.

We reminded him that he had an extra-long vacation this year and that it was time to go back to school.

I gave him permission to cry for 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes were up, I told him he had to stop and log onto school.

His school counselor taught us this little trick last year when he was having a hard time adjusting to school starting back after the Winter Break. Surprisingly, he doesn’t usually need the whole 5 minutes to cry. But if he did, he would have that time to get it all out.

8. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE

Remember that you aren’t the only one trying to figure out how to help your child with virtual learning.

Not only is it hard on the teacher, but every other student is trying to learn how to navigate something that is totally foreign to them. So far, our teachers have been very patient, and I think they want parents to know it’s ok to not have it all figured out yet.

Sometimes, it might feel like you’re failing, but I promise, you’re doing it right momma!

Child doing virtual learning

9. STAY POSITIVE

We may not realize it, but our kids take cues from our attitudes. Try to stay positive and remind them that it’s ok if they don’t have all the answers.

My kids also do really well with positive reinforcement. We use rewards often, but if you don’t find this helpful, that’s ok.

I know that having time to play video games is worth everything to my kids. So before the first day of school, I told them that they couldn’t have screen time after school if they complained.

It worked really well the first day. The next day was a little harder and I realized I had to give them some time to adjust. But after this week, I’m going to be consistent about this rule!

10. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

I know all moms struggle with asking for help, but we need it now more than ever!

Find a community. We’re all relying on social media right now to connect with other moms. It’s definitely not the same as meeting in person with your friends, but it still can help you feel less isolated.

If there isn’t already a Facebook group for moms in your neighborhood, start one. Or you can even start another one that focuses only on struggles moms of school-aged kids have.

We have one in our neighborhood called surviving the pandemic with kids. We share tips about virtual learning, but also other challenges that have come up this year!

It takes a village! 

Some parents don’t have a choice but to work. If this is you, you will more than likely need to figure out a plan for getting help before you even get started!

I can’t even imagine how hard it will be for you to juggle your job, keeping your house in one piece, and now having to help your child with virtual learning.

Just remember that any help you can give them is better than nothing. Make sure to communicate any struggles that come up with your child’s teacher.

Communicate with the school administration and the school board. If they don’t hear from you, they won’t know what your struggles are.

What other virtual learning tips do you have for parents who might be struggling with the same issues as you? Make sure to share them in the comments!

If you enjoyed reading this, make sure to follow us on instagram, facebook, or twitter so you don’t miss our next post!

And remember, sharing is caring!

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Raising Anti-Racist Kids- 7 Things Moms Can Do

I’m a mom and I’m committing myself to raising anti-racist kids. This comes from not only the way my parents raised me, but also my own personal desire for all of God’s creation to feel as if they are equals.

Here’s my story and what led to my passion for this cause:

Growing up in a small town in the South, I remember racism being prevalent. But I don’t ever remember considering myself to be a racist.

My parents were very liberal and my dad was actively involved in campaigning for the teachers’ union in our county. We attended church every Sunday and Christianity was instilled in me at a young age. I was taught to love everyone and to be accepting of all people no matter who they are, what they look like, or what they do.

My parents wanted to help others and they modeled this for my brothers and I. They opened their home to everyone and were often giving their time and money to people who were less fortunate than us.

In fact, we typically had friends spending the night for days (and sometimes even years) at a time because they would rather be at our house than go home.

I remember my mom would ask how many people would be eating dinner with us that night because she knew the chances of having extra mouths to feed was likely.

At least once a week she would say, ‘Yes they can stay for dinner, but I just need to know how many!”

I don’t ever remember race having anything to do with how my family treated people. We were friendly and kind to everyone.

My first major crush in high school was Black. When he started actually pursuing me, I remember not even really giving him a chance because I was scared. Looking back now I realize that I was afraid of what people would think if I dated him. I wasn’t willing to follow my heart and engage in a bi-racial relationship.

Celebrating Black History

Understanding White Privilege

When I went to college I decided to major in psychology, because I knew I wanted to help people. So I became a mental health counselor. The required multicultural awareness classes I took in school forced me to begin looking at some of my personal biases.

I still didn’t think I was racist though.  Because to me, racism meant hatred, and I never could truly hate anyone. I thought that if in my heart I knew everyone should be treated equally and I tried my best to do that, it would mean I’m not racist.

When I hear friends making racial comments or jokes, I don’t tell them it’s wrong. I don’t defriend those people. I don’t use my privilege as a White American woman to stand up for those who haven’t been able to for so many years.

When I watched the video of Ahmaud Arbory being shot by two White men in my own state, I was sickened and heartbroken. The lack of justice served to the men who killed him very brutally reminded me that racism still exists and is a major problem. It was like a slap in the face.

Since then I have been paying attention to the news stories that have been shared about all of the injustice people of color face on a daily basis in our country.

The stories about Breonna Taylor, and countless others that we don’t even know about because they haven’t been blasted on the news and social media.

I see them through a different lens now. I won’t pretend to truly understand, but I am pledging to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement because I truly believe in it.

HOW CAN WHITE PEOPLE HELP?

Ernest Williams, a 27-year-old Black journalist was recently quoted in an interview with The New York Times saying:

“While many have good intentions, true allyship — supporting Black businesses, deeply exploring personal bias and ferreting out ways that White privilege contributes to persistent racism — must happen in order to genuinely stand in solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed.”

But how can we do that, you might ask? What does that even mean as a mom? How can I raise anti-racist kids and help reverse systemic racism for the generations of our future?

I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a few things that aren’t that hard to implement. Some of them may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you do them the more you’ll realize pushing through that discomfort is worth it.

7 Things Moms Can Do To Raise Anti-Racist Kids

1. EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY

Every American with an education knows that Blacks were once slaves in our country. But do you know all of the details? Did you even pay attention in American History class?

Or did you push that part out of your mind like I did, because the thought of it made you feel uncomfortable? Besides slavery was abolished years ago and Black people were given the right to vote right? So what do we even need to fight about anymore?

Let us not forget that the White leaders of our country sailed to Africa in the 1600s and brought Black people here against their will to be slaves. They took away their names, took away their rights, and took away their culture. They beat them and treated them as if they were animals.

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 which freed slaves from their owners, and the 13th Amendment passed in 1865 abolishing slavery.

Even still, Blacks were not given equal rights- like the right to vote, until the Civil Rights act was passed in 1964.

That was 100 years later!!

This only scratches the surface of the history of inequality and injustice that Black people have faced. Do your own research and educate yourself on the facts. Try to really understand where the built-up anger that the Black community is expressing is coming from.

2. LISTEN

Listen to what Black people are saying. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Listen to Black people’s stories and experiences of racism. Let them speak without interrupting.

Please don’t say, “But don’t all lives matter?”

Because right now we’re talking about the racism leading to George Floyd being murdered when it wasn’t necessary. We need to listen to Black people speak about how they have been racially profiled their entire life.

Even if you don’t agree that their experience was about race, it doesn’t matter. YOU are not the one who lived it and if to them it felt that they were treated differently because of their race, THAT’S what is important.

That’s the whole point.

3. HONESTLY CONFRONT YOUR OWN BIASES

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I’ve learned a lot already just by listening to other peoples’ stories and experiences with racism. By engaging in those conversations, I’m becoming more aware of my role.

I’m remembering times in my own life where I used race to form opinions or act on my feelings without even realizing it. Like the times I saw a Black man walking behind me and sped up because I was scared. Even though that man didn’t do anything wrong.

I’m admitting to myself that I was the one who was wrong. Once you open your eyes, these prejudices are all around you.

Chances are, I may make mistakes again. I won’t pretend to be an expert on this subject, because I’m only recently owning my part.  What I am doing is committing myself to the cause.

I just downloaded White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. I’m challenging myself to read it and confront my discomfort about the topic of racism.

We consider a challenge to our racial worldview as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people.

Robin DiAngelo in “White Fragility“

“How To Be An AntiRacist“ by Iram X. Kendi is another book I’m planning to read.

4. ADVOCATE

I’m committing to stand up for others who are treated unfairly. I’m not going to be silent anymore when someone makes a racial comment that offends me. Even though I might feel uncomfortable, I’m not going to let that stop me.

Webster’s dictionary defines an advocate as someone who pleads or supports the cause of another. If you want to be a true advocate, you have to support the cause you’re advocating not only with your words but with your actions.

5. SUPPORT BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES

I haven’t been supporting Black-owned businesses as much as I could be. If I’m being honest, I might even have avoided these businesses at times for fear of feeling out of place.

Now that I’m aware, I can make a conscious effort to change this.

6. EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN

You may think that kids don’t see color and I believe that to be true. I actually tested my own 5 and 8-year-olds to see if they noticed there was a difference in people’s skin color and they didn’t.

Not long after George Floyd was killed, my 8-year-old overheard my Black sister-in-law crying when my mom was talking to her about it. He didn’t understand why she was so upset.

I explained to him what happened in age-appropriate terms. It would have been easier to say nothing happened and tell him not to worry about it, but I want him to know what his cousins are potentially facing. I want him to feel confident as a child to stand up to racism so that he always will.

Then, we watched our public library’s virtual storytime. The special guest was Stacey Abrams, a Black voting rights activist. She read the books Lillian’s Right To Vote, by Jonah Winter and A Is For Activist, by Innosanto Nagara.

                  

I wasn’t really prepared for the difficult questions my kids asked afterward. They didn’t understand why Black people were ever not allowed to vote. They also didn’t understand how people could treat someone differently because of the color of their skin.

I did my best to answer their questions and we talked about how not everyone loves others unconditionally like we do. I may have stumbled through it, but they still learned about the history of our country.

Books can be a great way to help you navigate difficult conversations with children. I highly recommend the two mentioned above. There are many others out there!

7. DON’T STOP

This is only the beginning. I know this list is not all-inclusive.

We will learn as we go that there is more work to be done. But I’m publicly proclaiming my commitment to being a part of the solution, and no longer a part of the problem in the fight against racism.

I don’t want to be silent anymore.

Will you join me? If so, help us spread the word by sharing this post on social media!

Related Post

How To Be Antiracist As A Mom: Part 2

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5 Quick And Easy Ways To Protect Your Home From Intruders

Inside: 5 things you can do now to protect your home from intruders and keep your family safe.

I never thought I’d have to write this. I wasn’t even sure if I should, but after how our neighbors reacted when I shared what happened to my family I realized I had to tell everyone.

On Sunday morning at 4 a.m., my family was violated in the worst way. We were robbed.

My husband and I had enjoyed a nice dinner out for Valentine’s Day and we got home late. We had a great time and went to bed feeling like we were on top of the world.

My mother-in-law was babysitting and she was spending the night. We don’t have an actual guest bedroom right now, so she was sleeping in the kids’ bed and they were sleeping on the couch downstairs. They love to “camp out” downstairs, so we usually let them on the weekends anyway.

The kids were literally a foot from where the intruder came in.

My husband and I woke up to our 5-year-old screaming that the burglar alarm was going off. We didn’t even hear it!

Luckily our alarm company responded right away. My husband ran downstairs and found the door to our back deck wide open. He shouted, “The police need to come!”

I’ll never forget hearing those words come out of his mouth. The alarm company dispatched the authorities and stayed on the phone with me while we waited for them to come.

My husband checked the garage and realized the garage door was open, so they must have left that way once the alarm went off.

When the police came, they asked for our IDs. We realized we couldn’t find our wallets anywhere and then we knew that they had been stolen.

We’re so lucky that’s all they took. We’re lucky they didn’t see our kids sleeping on the couch and freak out. They entered and exited our home so quickly, the kids didn’t even see them. We’re lucky for that too.

I’m angry more than anything.

It doesn’t even make sense why someone would go through all the trouble of breaking into someone’s home to steal a wallet. They used one of our credit cards to spend $87 at a gas station. What did they even buy for $87 at a gas station?

Luckily our bank recognized the transaction as potential fraud and alerted us right away. We canceled all of our credit cards before they could spend any more money. I hope that whatever they bought with that $87 was worth it!

I hope it was worth a family losing sleep because they don’t feel safe in their own home anymore.

Hopefully it was worth putting an anxious mom on edge so that she is constantly looking out the window at every car passing by.

I hope it was worth causing a dad to feel like he has to sleep downstairs with a crow bar to protect his family.

Clearly they have no heart for how it feels to have this happen to you.

I’d heard it before. That you feel violated. I’m not naive. I know that break-ins happen every day. According to Safeatlast.com, there are 10,000 burglaries in the U.S. every day.

Intruder breaking into a home

Here are a few other facts about break-ins that might surprise you:

10 Statistics About Burglaries

  • There are 2.5 Million burglaries per year, 66% of which are home break-ins
  • A burglary occurs every 13 seconds
  • According to the FBI, 65% of burglaries happen between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Homes without a security system have a 300% more chance of getting broken into
  • 65% of burglars know their victims!
  • 85% of burglaries are committed by non-professionals
  • 65% of burglaries occur during the day to reduce the chance of someone being home
  • An average break-in lasts between 8 and 10 minutes
  • According to the FBI, the average loss per burglary is $2,416
  • Only 17% of US homes have a security system

Something good has to come out of all of this though. I’m not the only one that felt like it would never happen to me. That’s why I’m sharing our story.

So many of our neighbors have gotten security cameras and alarm systems over the past 4 days. If they haven’t, they are seriously considering it.

We had let our guard down. Having our home broken into, made us realize all the things we needed to do to put it back up. Learn from our mistakes and do everything you can to make sure your home isn’t an easy target for intruders.

I’m not saying that by doing these things, your house will never be broken in to. But there was less than 1 minute and from the time our door was broken, to the time these people peeled out of our driveway. Once the burglar alarm went off, they were gone in less than 40 seconds.

5 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM INTRUDERS NOW

1. GET AN ALARM.

You can get a security system for as little as $9.99 a month. That’s the price of 2 coffees from Starbucks. Your home is 300% more likely to get broken into without it!

a security system that could be used to protect your home from intruders

2. SET YOUR ALARM TO GO OFF IMMEDIATELY IF THERE IS AN INTRUSION

We had ours set to delay for 30 seconds once the door was open when we were home, because we were always forgetting it was on and opening the garage door.

Chances are if it had gone off immediately, the burglar would have never come in our home. 30 seconds might not seem like long, but count for 30 seconds now. Think of all the things you could grab in your home with 30 seconds.

3. DON’T LEAVE VALUABLES, ESPECIALLY YOUR PURSE OR WALLET, VISIBLE TO INTRUDERS

You might think that your things are safe in your home. But we had left our wallets laying on the table with the blinds open right where the burglar broke into our home.

It only took 5 seconds for them to grab our wallets, probably even less than that. Who knows, but we think they probably shined a flashlight into the window and saw the wallets, making our home an easy target.

4. INSTALL CAMERAS NEAR EVERY DOOR

This may seem like overkill, but we HAD a camera by our front door. From what we can tell, the burglar never went in the front yard. They likely didn’t even know that we had a security system, because they went straight to the back door.

We now have a camera by every door, so at least if someone tries to break in we will get an alert.

5. INSTALL MOTION LIGHTS

We actually had a motion light near the door that was broken into, but we aren’t 100% sure that it was on. Another lesson learned the hard way.

I hope that this never happens to you, but according to statistics, 87% of break-ins are preventable. So please at the very least, don’t be naive. Know that it can happen to you and do something to protect your home from intruders now.

Share in the comments if you have any other tips to prevent break-ins.

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How To Get Your Kids To Listen Without Yelling

For the past year and a half, we’ve been taking my 5 year old to different specialists trying to figure out how to deal with his sinus issues. Apparently he takes after me with eustachian tube issues, which causes fluid to build up in his ears.

When that happens he feels like he’s underwater and can have a hard time hearing people speak from far away. He’s a boy and he’s also only 5. So it’s hard to discern when he isn’t following directions because he can’t hear me or if he’s choosing not to.

Yesterday, I took him to the ENT because I thought maybe he couldn’t hear me again. BUT, that little stinker passed the hearing test with flying colors. The doctor said his ears looked better than they did the last time we were there a few months ago. The audiologist commented that it must be selective hearing and that she couldn’t help me with that. She said if she could figure out how to she would be a millionaire.

I walked away from the appointment feeling a little embarrassed. Especially when I had just finished having a conversation with the nurse practitioner about how I have a parenting blog. But I swallowed my pride and took it as an opportunity to step back and think about how to handle the fact that my children don’t listen to me.

I’ve actually been pretty frustrated recently with both of my kids, because when I ask them to do something they whine, complain, ask “WHY“?, and try to negotiate with me about what they should do instead. My mom even offered to give them $20 to use at their school’s upcoming holiday shop if they can go a week without arguing or trying to negotiate with me.

Getting Your Kids To Listen Using Positive Reinforcement

Behavior chart that helps with getting your kids to listen using positive reinforcement

RECOGNIZE THE FEELING

It’s important to help your child see that you get them and that you aren’t totaling ignoring how they feel. Life is hard and if we teach our kids to learn how to express their feelings when they are young, we’ll help set them up for success later in life. It’s been my experience that if you ignore the fact that a 5 year old isn’t listening to you because they’re more interested in what they’re doing, it will only make things worse. He’ll just feel frustrated and will likely do one of two things:

1). He’ll stuff his feelings and end up resenting you.

2). He will have a meltdown trying to test if you’ll give in and let him do what he wants.

Instead, you can recognize the feeling and try to help your child deal with it. My 7 year old was getting really discouraged about having to restart the 7 day clock to earn the $20 my mom promised. He said that if he had to keep starting over, he’d rather just give up. So I reminded him that it’s hard to change a habit and that we could figure out a way for him to do it.

I saw that he was holding his breath and trying really hard not to argue with me when I reminded him about the deal. So I said, “That’s it! Do that, when you’re frustrated. You can put it in a bubble or hold it in your mouth instead of saying what you want to say out loud.” I also told him that he could count to 5 or count to 10 if he needed to.

When getting your kids to listen you should recognize which of these feelings they have

GIVE A CUE

We also decided that I would give him a cue if I thought he might try to argue with me about something, but that I would only do this once a day. If I had to remind him more than once then he would have to start over.

So we decided that I would say, “poop” because….well he’s a boy and that’s what he wanted the cue to be. I had to bite my tongue and not interject that I thought that was the worst idea, because I knew it would also kind of make him laugh if he heard me say poop.

Getting your kids to listen makes moms feel happy

NOTICE THE GOOD

This morning when I was helping my 5 year old get dressed, I tried this strategy. I got a good night’s sleep last night so I think I was being a little more patient than normal. Plus, we weren’t in a huge rush to get out the door like we are on school mornings so that probably helped a bit.

When my son turned off his iPad when I asked without complaining I said, “I like the way you did that without complaining!” The more times I can catch him doing what I want and point it out to him, the more likely he is to continue doing it.

Using positive reinforcement, like praise can help you increase the behavior that you want (in this case listening to you). Your child’s brain will start to connect the action with the reward. Then they will hopefully start to do it more often on their own.

I hope this helps you get your kids to listen to you. If not then hopefully at least you can appreciate my parenting struggles and maybe get a laugh at my expense!

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