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Category Archives: To Parents with Love

Parenting advice from someone who has been there.

Should I Give my Child an Allowance?

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Piggy Bank Savings

          An allowance is an amount of money given on a regular basis for the purpose of helping the person cover business or living expenses, according to Dictionary.com. Of course, we do not envision our children flying out on a business trip or even paying for their own housing any time soon.  However, the idea of giving our child an allowance is one that we often ponder as our child begins to get older.  We wonder if giving our child money is the right thing to do. At what age should allowances begin?  How much should we give and how often? Finally, how will an allowance benefit the child?

          Many financial gurus like Paul Lermitte, believe that parents need to teach their kids about money.  Since money is something that everyone eventually must use and manage, it is important for parents to introduce healthy habits and attitudes about money. In his book, Allowances: Dollars and Sense, Mr. Lermitte discusses six dangers associated with not teaching your children about money. These include financial dependency, destructive values, debt, loss of confidence, teaching the wrong thing, and family conflict. Lermitte outlines several universal principles that parents need to understand in order to teach their children financial responsibility.

          The age of the child and the interest will determine when a parent should begin lessons on money. If the child understands the concept of money and that it is used for the exchange of goods, then the child is ready for an allowance.  This could mean, depending on your child’s ability, at age four or five the child is ready for small doses of money management. Generally, most kids are seriously ready around the age of eight. By this time, they have learned basic money denominations in school; they can count change and dollars on their own. The child may even have friends who are already receiving allowances and may ask about it.

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme! Children need to learn money sense.

          Figuring out how much of an allowance to give your child can be a daunting task. Some people say that you should allot one dollar per age of the child. Others say you should give what the child’s friends are getting. However, realistically, it would be wiser to review what you already spend on them.  Of course, we are talking about extras like toys, entertainment, etc. and not living expenses like housing, utilities, and the like. Make a list with your child of all the expenses you expect your child to pay with his or her allowance. David McCurrach states in his article, “Give ‘em an Allowance!”, that you should, “Keep in mind the fact that kids have three uses for their money-spending, saving and sharing. Consider all three areas when you are coming up with the amount. In addition to setting the allowance, this process puts an end to the constant  requests to buy this and that and to give them money to do whatever their hearts desire.”     

          Tying allowance in with daily chores can be beneficial as long as it is distinguished between chores that a child must complete to be a part of a household, and chores that receive pay.  For instance, making his or her bed, brushing teeth, and picking up toys after playing are responsibilities that the child must do to be a productive member in the family. It is the extra chores that can be incorporated into the allowance system. Jobs like pulling weeds, washing the windows, and babysitting younger siblings, to name a few, that a parent may wish to put a dollar figure upon.  Remember, that in the adult world, people are paid to do a job outside of their responsibilities at home. This same rule should loosely apply to your child.

          The benefits of introducing an allowance to your child outweigh any fears a parent may experience in teaching the values of money. The child is given the opportunity to try and fail with money decisions in a safe environment with a financial planner nearby-You! Since elementary schools do not teach financial management, it is up to the parent to make sure a child learns good habits and skills. An allowance system is a perfect way to achieve this goal.

Below, are a few interesting places to further investigate the idea of giving an allowance to your child.

Allowances, Dollars and Sense, by Paul Lermitte – Web site and book.

Give ‘em an Allowance!”, by David McCurrach- Article

“Age- Appropriate Chores”, from Family Education-Article and hand chore chart you can print.

Allowance Calculator”, from Pediatrics.about.com-  Useful tool to decide an allowance amount.

Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children by Neale S. Godfrey – Book

Money Sense for Kids, by Hollis Page Harman- Book

Bibliography

“Age Appropriate Chores”. (200-2012). Retrieved from Family Education: http://life.familyeducation.com/allowance/jobs-and-chores/34438.html

“Allowance Calculator”. (2012). Retrieved from Pediatrics.about.com: http://pediatrics.about.com/od/toolsandcalculators/l/bl_allcalc.htm

Crites, P. A. (2012). Should you give your child an allowance? Retrieved from University of Nevada: http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/cy/2000/fs0045.pdf

Lermitte, P. (2012). Book One: Allowance, Dollars and Sense. Retrieved from Paul W. Lermitte, Family Business specialist: http://www.paullermitte.com/books/book-one-allowances-dollars-and-sense

McCurrach, D. (2012, 1 28). “Give ‘em an Allowance”. Retrieved from Kids’ Money for Parents: http://financialplan.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.kidsmoney.org/allart.htm%23Fea1

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

25 Activities to Keep the Summertime Blues Away

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It is summer vacation, and the kids are home from school. Once the initial excitement wears off, what will you do to keep those Summertime Blues away?  Here are some ideas to keep the kids active and have some fun while you are doing it.

1. Plan a visit to your local museum.  It is air-conditioned and interesting.  Call ahead or check the museum’s website to see if there is a discounted day or “free” day to visit. This will help to keep costs low.

 2. Pack up a cooler with some sandwiches and drinks; grab an old sheet, blanket or beach towel; and head for your nearest park for a picnic.  The kids love eating outdoors, and they can also play at the park.

 3. Visit a local Zoo.  Many Zoos allow coolers and have outdoor picnic areas, so bring your own lunch and enjoy the animals.

 4. Take a walk in a nature center or a forest preserve near your house. 

 5. Plan a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt complete with a map and prizes.

 6. Have an old-fashioned water-balloon fight.

 7. Collect some rocks on your nature hike, picnic, or walk around town.  The rocks should be no larger than your palm.  Clean them up and spend an afternoon painting them.  Homemade “Pet Rocks”!

 8. Rainy Days are no problem.  Plan to have a “Rainy Day” Movie Festival.  Set up the Family Room or Living Room with chairs, make some popcorn, and watch your favorite movie together. The Library is a great resource for DVD’s and Video Cassettes.

 9. Backyard Camping can be a blast.  Set-up the tent in the back yard, and if you have a portable fire pit, cook up some Smores and tell stories around the campfire. 

 10. Service projects can be fun and can help teach kids to think beyond themselves.  Try picking up garbage on your street.  Plant some marigolds or other annuals in small clay pots and give them to the neighbors.

 11.  Have a game day.  It can be outdoor games like “hide and go seek” or indoor board games.

 12. Make hand puppets and put on a show.

 13.  Play in the sprinkler, go swimming or to the beach.

 14.   Set-up a time to visit with the local Fire Department or Police Department for a tour of the facilities.

 15.   Visit a Botanical Garden.  Check and see if there is an ongoing exhibit.

 16.  Spend the day at the local Library. They often have summer programs for children.

 17.  Make chocolate chip cookies together.

 18.  Take the kids fishing.

 19.  Have the kids help you wash the car. Get buckets, sponges, towels and clean away while having fun.

 20.  Go for a bike ride.

 21.   Volunteer to help at an animal shelter for the day.

 22.  Teach the kids how to play Croquet, badminton, or tennis.

 23.  Create a time capsule. Use a container with a lid. Place items in the container that represent summer. Maybe add a few pictures or post cards from your adventures. Close it all up and put it away to open next year.

 24.  Tie-dye items like T-shirts. Allow children to choose their own colors.

 25.  Use some sidewalk chalk and create a hopscotch board.  Have everyone play.

Useful Links:

Chicago Museums Free Days- www.chicagokids.com/free.html

Places for Kids New York- http://www.ny.com/kids/

How to play hopscotch- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopscotch

How to make a time capsule-YouTube Video–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5eL81RXxXE

USA Zoo List by state- http://www.officialusa.com/stateguides/zoos/

Volunteering Ideas for kids- http://parenting.kaboose.com/raising-children-who-care.html

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

 

Parents Who Don’t Parent

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It is a shame that children do not come with instruction manuals when they are born. 

Although, most parents figure out how to raise their children quickly, using advice from books and magazines, grandparents, and good old common sense there are some parents who just do not have a clue. Possibly, they were a product of bad parenting themselves, so they do not have a good model to base their parenting skills on with their child.  Whatever the reason, it seems that these parents and their children have the ability to upset any unsuspecting person in their immediate range.

Case and Point:

     Calvin, an unruly child, comes to school in kindergarten. This child does not share, talks back to the teacher, and bullies other students.  A meeting between the parents and the teacher is set up, and the teacher explains the problem to the parents.  Rather than supporting the teacher, who is trying to help Calvin, the parents blame the teacher for not giving Calvin enough attention.  

     This scenario continues with Calvin and his parents all through his elementary education.  Each time Calvin’s transgressions are revealed to the parents, they deny that it is Calvin’s fault.  The denial becomes quite ridiculous; however, there is no amount of documentation can convince them that Calvin is a terror in the classroom.

     Calvin is suspended, receives detentions, other students fear him, and teachers tremble when they find out he is in their class.  Every time Calvin’s parents come to school to save him, they reinforce his bad behavior.  According to Calvin, the teachers are just mean.  They do not like him.  They just pick on him. It is never Calvin’s fault.

     In high school, the same pattern continues.  Calvin’s parents fight about Calvin’s treatment at the school board meeting, they write nasty letters to the editor of the local newspaper, and they even accuse a teacher of abusing Calvin.  The school asks him to leave. His parents register Calvin in a new high school, but it is not long before the same behaviors become evident.  Poor, poor Calvin.

The story of Calvin is one that could have been avoided, had his parents taken the advice of his kindergarten teacher and all the other adults who tried to tell them there was a problem.  If Calvin’s parents had used common sense and taught Calvin to be responsible for his actions, he probably would have stopped the behavior.

Children are not born knowing right from wrong.  It is up to the adults in their lives, generally their parents, to teach them these lessons.  A child, who never receives consequences for his or her actions, has no measure of what is good behavior or bad.  It is a free for all in the child’s mind. 

Carolyn Turner states in her article entitled, How to Help Children Learn from Experience, that “…everyone learns from their mistakes, even adults. It’s often called “learning the hard way” and usually the most effective lessons come from bitter experience.”  Giving Calvin some “hard loving” would have afforded Calvin’s parents more time to enjoy his experiences and less time fighting his battles for him.  For Calvin, learning from his mistakes would have made him a happier, better-adjusted child who could be independent and successful.

When parents fail to parent their children by allowing them to escape the consequences of their actions, they set the child up for failure.  Sometimes, not only in childhood, but also in life.  Someone will have to pay for mistakes made, and if it is not the child, then it will be the parents. The probability that Calvin will be going to mom and dad to get him out of jams later in his life is very large.  Therefore, it will not be his fault he wrecked the car, failed at his marriage, or worse yet, that his child is a monster.

Making good choices and being responsible for one’s actions are characteristics that human beings do not arrive in this world possessing. Every incident in a child’s life is an opportunity for a lesson.  It is up to the child’s parents to grasp those opportunities and use them to raise a happy, responsible child that is a joy.

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lying Eyes

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Pinocchio was a wooden boy who made his father’s job easy.  Whenever Pinocchio lied, his nose grew longer.  If only parents and teachers had the benefit of a growing nose to warn them that a lie was coming. There are strategies that can help parents and teachers avoid the potential lies from their children and get to the truth.

1.  Avoid asking questions.  If you suspect a child of lying, do not ask questions like why? or did you?  State the act you suspect them of doing directly.

Example:  “Adam, I do not want you to swear like that, again. I am disappointed in your choice of words.  There will be no more TV for you this evening”

By making the statement, the child has less time to make up a lie. The statement catches the child off guard, and generally, he or she will admit to the act.  If the child truly did not swear, the reaction and body language will let you know that the child is innocent of the crime.

2.  Pay close attention to eye contact.  Liars will avoid direct eye contact.  One way to tell if the child is lying is to observe whether the child looks at you when you confront him or her with the offense.  If the child is young, this strategy is telling, however older children may be accomplished at lying and look you directly in the eye.  Nevertheless, there are still little telltale signs such as erratic blinking or moving the eyes from side to side to identify a lie.

3. Watch for body language.  Blushing or red flushed skin can be a sign that the child is not giving the whole truth.  Some children will touch their nose or face when they are lying, while others will fidget and wring their hands.  Lying makes people nervous and this nervousness is a good sign that something is not right.

4. Is the child being overly defensive?  Often, when a liar is confronted their first reaction is to be defensive.  The child may blame another for the infraction or try to make the adult feel guilty for asking.  This should make the adult stop and ponder what the child is trying to hide.

5. Catch the child in the act.  The best way to catch a liar is to observe them doing the act. This may take a bit of patience and time on the part of the adult, but it is a good way to stop an habitual liar when other methods are not working.

The ultimate goal of parents and teachers should be to teach the child that lying is not the answer.  If the child learns to admit when he or she has made a mistake and how to accept the consequences, the instances of lying can be eliminated as well as the unacceptable behavior.  

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Mega, Extreme Dinosaur Lover

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My grandson has been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was two years old.  He knows every name, in Greek and Latin terms, and every tiny description and fact about dinosaurs.  He has a robotic T-Rex, and scores of triceratops, Diplodocus, and velociraptors, sitting on his shelves in his bedroom.  He reads encyclopedias of dinosaurs and watches every movie ever made about them.  He is infatuated with these extinct creatures.

For his birthday, my grandson’s parents took him to the Field Museum to see the exhibit that housed the famous T-Rex, Sue.  They spent the night at the museum, sleeping amongst the dinosaurs in their sleeping bags.   My grandson met with other kids who were also enamored with dinos and they ran and giggled as the huge beasts watched. He was in heaven.

I do not remember ever being so besotted with any one thing in the same way my grandson is smitten with dinosaurs.  I know my son loved choo-choo trains when he was little, and then he liked fire engines, Lego’s, Nintendo, and… However, my grandson does not seem to be willing to leave the dinosaur craze behind him.  He has become interested in Godzilla, but it is only a made up creature similar to a dinosaur. Oh, and he likes Lego’s now, but he made me buy the new dinosaur collection.

A friend of mine insinuated that maybe there was something wrong with my grandson’s fanatical love of dinosaurs.  However, I do not agree.  I think it is great that he is able to stick with one thing and really study it.  His preoccupation keeps him entertained and using his imagination.  What could be so bad with that?

Who knows? Maybe he will grow up to be a scientist, zoologist, or a paleontologist.  Possibly, with his skill and passion for looking in-depth at things, he could find a cure for cancer or unearth answers to world problems.  Or else, he could become an awesome Dad who can have interesting conversations with his own son about dinosaurs.  Whatever he does with his life, I am sure that he will do it with zeal and curiosity, and I will be extremely proud of him.

Do you know any children who are obsessed with something?  Feel free to share your story.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

It is Okay

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When our children misbehave or have a bad day, as parents we often think it is somehow our fault.  You ask yourself if you are strict enough.  You feel embarrassed and inadequate around other people who see your child misbehaving.  It is a gut wrenching worry that makes you feel like you are a failure.

The fact is…there are days when your child is not at his or her best.  Murphy’s Law says that it will inevitably happen at the hockey game, grandma’s house, or the grocery store.  People will see, offer advice, or look down their noses.  But, those people, (whose child has had bad days, too) are really not important.  What is more important is that you have handled the bad behavior with a consequence that fits the crime.  That you have consistently expressed that the behavior is not acceptable, and then, let the incident go.

What we forget as parents is that kids are not born with the innate ability to distinguish between right and wrong.  It is our job to teach our children to behave.  And, as long as we are doing just that, then there doesn’t need to be embarrassment, self-loathing, or belittling of our parenting skills.  You are not a bad parent if your child misbehaves.  Bad parents are those who do nothing, or worse, defend their child when he or she behaves badly.

Finally, the rule is…if you are parenting, then you cannot be a bad parent.  Peace…

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Parenting Everyday

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Consistency, consistency, consistency!  You ground them, you yell, you show your displeasure, but it still does not seem as if your discipline measures are working.  What should you do?

Many parents, teachers, and specialists have spent many hours worrying and debating over subject of discipline.  The answer, however, is simply consistency.  No matter what your discipline style may be, if you consistently administer it, you will see results.

The biggest mistake that anyone who lives or works with children can make is not being consistent.  Kids are very intelligent, and they know, no matter the age, how to play the system.  Therefore, if your system is inconsistent, then the behavior will be inconsistent, too.

How does one become consistent?  Easy, every time your child breaks a rule, written or unwritten, you consistently give a consequence.  You may wish to think about what consequences are appropriate for each rule that is broken and the age of the child.  For instance, if your child comes home late from visiting a friend, then the child should have an appropriate consequence.  Maybe the child has less time next time he or she wishes to go to a friend’s house.  On the other hand, if a child does not complete his or her homework, possibly less TV or gaming time should be taken away.  The point here is that it really does not matter what consequence is chosen.  What matters is that you give one for every infraction.  Eventually, one will not be needed.  Your child will know what is expected and do it.

Now, this is not so simple.  Often it requires a great effort to have a whiny, grounded child sitting in your living room with the TV off. However, if you can persevere, your angst will be short-lived.  Your child will take your rules seriously and try to abide by them.

That is not to say, that your child will never misbehave or break a rule.  Undoubtedly, it will happen.  However, if you have been consistent with your discipline, your child will move quickly to the correct road.  The simple fact is that it is the parent’s job to keep their children traveling as straight down the road of life as possible.  If the child veers off the road, the parent’s responsibility is to put them back on the road, consistently. Eventually, the child grows into adulthood able to make good decisions and choices.  The whole reason for parenting in the first place.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
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