1. What am I doing to improve as a parent….

    I am really trying to curb the tv addication my son has. It is just so easy for him to plop down in front of the TV while I run around and get stuff done. I'll let you know how that's working for me.

    I am carving out one day a week that we just get together and do something as a family. Well, it's just the two of us but to do something special. Go to the zoo, go to the park, etc etc etc. And that has been something very nice.

    I am also intent on reading him the 50 books he should read before he reaches kindergarten. Yes, there are 50 books. Apparently, Walter the Farting Dog did not make the list. We do read on a regular basis so it's not impossible to make the list. I don't know why we have to read "these" books when we already read but I figure I get some parenting brownie points so when I feel like I've been a slacker, I can say. "he read the 50 books before he was in kindergarten books". Actually, he LOVES being read to and that is something I use to motivate him (you can read when you finish this) and it is also wonderful when he is wound up as something that helps him relax. Plus, it's our bonding time which, well, working outside the home and living crazy lives, this is our time.

    Oh and the one thing that I am working on to improve my parenting…trying to take care of myself. See, if momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy. I'll let you know how that one working out for me.

    And if a chore list will make my life better…please forward ideas. I would like to start by not being my son's remote control.

  2. These are awesome suggestions, Sandy! (Don't beat yourself up too much over the reading thing, but good for you for making it a priority.)

    Honestly? I think money management is one of THE most important skills we can give our kids, especially in this world that tells them they can have whatever they want if they just borrow for it. And it does no good to just "tell" them what to do. They have to practice it–and make mistakes–to get it right when they go out into the world. We started giving our girls a small allowance when they were about 4 years old just so they could practice giving to God, to savings, and spending a little. Today we give them a much bigger allowance and expect them to pay for pretty much everything out of it (clothes, entertainment, etc.). We still expect them to tithe and to save. And I think they're doing pretty well with it!

  3. The allowance thing. $5 per week. You earn a dollar a day around here for keeping your room clean and displaying a cooperative attitude–which means do whatever I deem important with a great attitude. It's working.

    I am also paying $10 for straight A report cards. Nothing for anything less. They've all raised their grades.

    I don't aspire to read aloud every night but I am doing it more. My baby loves a book in the bathtub…not kidding. "Don't rinse until I read another page, mr!!" I am declaring 4-dinner time electronic-free for me. I focus on my kids during this crazy time. Tonight's the first night in a long time I turned my laptop on in the evening. Hopefully, this will change but if not, it will wait.

    Capturing/creating moments for quality conversation with my growing children. This means staying up really late with a bunch of tweens so they know I'm a safe place to land when they fall and rocking a sleepy 5-year-old boy for hours in the evening instead of kissing him and hurrying off.

    Love that even allowance issuing is the same at our houses!! Mine all have running totals of the allowances promised and failed because my chore system was too hard for me to keep up with!! lol

  4. Lisa: I love this: "Capturing/creating moments for quality conversation with my growing children. This means staying up really late with a bunch of tweens so they know I'm a safe place to land when they fall and rocking a sleepy 5-year-old boy for hours in the evening instead of kissing him and hurrying off." Wow. That challenges me, big time.

    Ana: 50 books. Whoa. That's impressive. And yes, taking care of yourself is very, very important. I place that as a very high priority.

    Shelly: I've always admired your parenting style and almost called my post "Intentional Parenting" but then remembered I read that somewhere before…:)

    I love you ladies!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Sandy-
    Wow! Intentional parenting. I feel as if I'm barely getting by right now, and have really felt that my kids have been suffering as my husband & I are dealing with a sudden loss and the repercussions there…What a wake up call!

    As for allowances: I tell my kids that nothing comes for free in this life, so you aren't getting something just for existing. As far as chores go, this summer my kids who were 9&10 at the time were responsible for many, many chores. The chores were weighted for payment. One day their job would be to vacuum and weed a flower bed. The next: dust and another flower bed. Another day: Sweep & mop and yet another flower bed. The catch? Shoddy work must be repeated for no extra payment. If you whine and complain the entire time, then you will still do the chore, but I will dock your pay. (which in no way reflects real life, but is a great way to teach attitude) My flower beds and house looked great, and my kids had money to spend!

    I work four days a week, and the thought of them sitting home doing nothing with the babysitter was enough to make me cringe. I know the sitter (who was a 17 year old) would totally let them veg all day long. So, I gave them chores, and that even included practicing math and mandatory outside time.

    A funny/sad story: My youngest claimed I "do nothing around here. We do all of the work." My husband overheard and said, "Oh, let me know how that statement works out for you." I decided to do nothing for her for an entire week. I didn't set her place at the table. I did not tuck her in. I did not make her breakfast. I did not do her laundry…NOTHING. If she asked me for anything, I said, "Remember, I don't do ANYTHING for you." I actually lasted only two and a half days before I felt guilty and started doing all of those "Mom" things that she considered "nothing." She has never said that again, and probably never will.

    Who knew I was going to hijack your comments section and write practically a blog post?

  6. Let your older ones read to Eliana when you are in a time crunch. This works great at our house – and it's precious to see them looking over a book together:)

    The other night I read TWO Berenstain Bears books to my youngest before bed. And worked on TWO Awana verses with him. Typing one-handed as I pat myself on the back;)

    You're ideas are great – love the no electronics day. I could see that being a great summer thing to do as well.

    As for Intentional Mothering here? We try to use kind words and attitudes, learn about life skills and working together on chores, money and time management. Some days are better than others:)

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