October 22nd, 2014
All kids seem to know that money is something you get from the cash machine. If you lose or break something, you just go buy another, and if you need more money you get it from the machine, right?
So I've decided it's time to start giving my 5-year-old some spending money. She already has a piggy bank, and occasionally we take it to the bank to put into her account. Now, I've also given her two jars, labelled 'Spend' and 'Donate'. The 'Spend' money, she can take with her when we go out, and she can buy things for herself. The 'Donate' money, she can choose which charity to give it to. The piggy bank will be for saving.
(I gave her $3, today, and after swapping jars for a while, she finally decided to put $2.75 into the 'Donate' jar, and 25 cents into the 'spend' jar. She said "Some people don't have enough money to buy food, and I already have lots of toys, so it's good to give most of it away!")
Anyway, I'd like some advice about how to help her learn about money:
- How much spending money do you think is appropriate for a 5 year old?
- Should I let her have free-rein with the 'spend' jar, or should I stop her if she wants to spend it on overpriced junk?
- Of course, I want her to be generous, but not just give her money away willy-nilly, and there needs to be some balance. Any suggestions on this?
Any ideas on how to help her to start learning good financial skills would be helpful, please. I'm new to the whole 'allowance' business.
January 20th, 2013
Every day it seems like we hear of another story that makes us shake our heads.
Now I hear about a 5-year-old kindergartener who was suspended from school for telling a friend that she was going to shoot her . . . with a pink toy gun that blows soapy bubbles. The context of the discussion is still somewhat unclear, but the little girl was suspended for ten days (later dropped to two days) and labeled as a “terrorist threat.” Yep, a five-year-old is now a threat to the greater good of society.
January 20th, 2013
Bullying. It’s a real concern and no one can deny that. I’m sure most of us even have a story or two about a bully from our own childhood, but are we overusing the word? It seems like everywhere I look, people are talking about how a child is being bullied, but when you look at the actual incident, it’s more like a one-time thing where a child is being . . . well, a child. The two-year-old who bites in preschool, the three-year-old who’s still pushing and shoving to get their way, the four-year-old who doesn’t want to play with another kid and says so. Our these behaviors acceptable? Of course not, but they are normal behaviors in young children.
November 12th, 2012
With winter upon us, keeping our children entertained can be a little challenging. It really can be a pain getting the kids loaded up in their winter gear to send them outside, and while some love the cold and love playing in it, others don’t. So what's a parent to do?
August 20th, 2012
I don’t know about anyone else, but laundry in my house is never-ending. It is a battle; one missed day of a load or two can set us back for days. I’d do anything to see an empty hamper for more than five minutes, but nope, just as soon as it is empty someone changes their clothes, gets dirty, or has an accident.
Now I have to admit that I am lucky because I have older kids who wash and dry while I fold and sort. Over the years I have learned a few tips, and even when my mountain looks insurmountable I believe that these few things make a difference.
July 30th, 2012
The death of a beloved pet can be a very sad and scary time for children. Pets are more than just animals. They are family. Helping children cope with the loss of a pet in a healthy way can set the stage for other losses in their lives. Here are some key thing to think about when a pet dies.
* Be honest, as hard as it is. It really is the best thing to do.
* Avoid saying that the pet “went to sleep.” This can be confusing to the very young.
* Let them ask questions and answer as honestly as you can within their age range.
* Help the child cope. A memorial or a scrapbook is a good way to help them remember the good times.
Recent events in my own family have reminded me of how a pet's death affects children.
Eight months ago, my dog gave birth to nine puppies: two long-haired brown ones and seven short-haired black and white ones. My kids wanted to keep one so badly, but we already had three dogs and keeping one more just seemed like overkill. My 8-year-old daughter thought otherwise.
July 25th, 2012
Lying. The big L. All parents have been there or will be there at some point: when their little one looks up at them and says “No, mom, I didn’t just break the plate.” The plate we clearly saw them drop.
Why do young kids lie? Why do older teens lie? I think the answer is the same at any age.
A few of my children are quite good at it, a few I have to pay closer attention to, and then there are the two who can't lie to save their lives. I mean, bright neon letters pop out of the top of their heads screaming “liar.” They would not be the people you would want to be in charge of national secrets.
In most cases where young children lie, it’s to tell stories. They want their adventures to sound better than they really are. My 5 year old is the king of this one. Vegetarian vampires were his favorite for quite a while, and they were always intertwined with something that really happened . . . only better.
In many cases, as long as young children understand the difference between fantasy and reality, it shouldn’t be a problem. But what if they are just straight out lying? What then?
July 19th, 2012
Circumcision. You’re either for it or against it. It’s a big decision that parents have to make when they hear “It’s a boy!” The information out there can be very overwhelming for not just first-time parents but veteran parents who are rethinking where they stand on the issue as well. Where it was once a given that sons would be circumcised, things have changed.
As with many things, what was once held as fact is no longer true: information changes, research advances, and our parenting is forced to adapt. It is definitely not one size fits all.
July 8th, 2012
Potty training. Those words can strike fear in many first-time parents. When should we start? How do we start? Is our child ready? Should we use rewards? Should we start with pull-ups or go straight to underwear? Those are just a few questions that will run through every parent's head.
Even as a veteran parent, I think it can be a bit confusing. I admit I am not the best about bottle breaking (that is my parenting weakness), but I'm a pro at potty training . . . or so I thought.
Every one of my children was potty trained right after their second birthday. I was armed with a carpet cleaner and every room had a potty chair. I was good to go. Sure, the first day or two was messy, but after that they would catch on. Within a week they would have it down pat and short of an accident here and there, they were potty trained.
Then came my last child. A beautiful little girl who challenged every notion I had ever had about potty training.
June 26th, 2012
Summer for kids means many different things. For the young it involves a survival kit that comes out only once a year. In this kit are items like bubbles and sand buckets, pools and Slip 'N Slides, finger paints and sidewalk chalk. That is of course unless you live in a small town in Colorado, where the home owners association has decided to put a temporary ban on sidewalk chalk.
Why? Their concern is that the art is distracting and disruptive to neighbors. I have to admit, I don’t get it. Sure it’s a little colorful and I can even see it being distracting, but disruptive to neighbors? There is no noise involved while a child sits on the ground and thinks about what their next work of art is going to be about. There is no noise involved as little hands draw out their latest creations. Compared to many other summertime activities, this one seems pretty mild.