Tag Archives: discussion

Roundtable Discussion – Boredom Busters

23 Jun

A couple weeks ago, Lori wrote a great blog about Boredom Busters (click here to read it).  I loved it – I always enjoy peeking inside another mom’s head to see what cool ideas they use to keep their kids entertained.

I wanted to expand on Lori’s list a little bit, and encourage everyone to throw in their two cents.  Summer is the time when all of us need a hand in filling the long days!

What are some creative, free OR inexpensive things you do with your kids?  Here’s my list.  I think I’m going to print it out and let my kids pick one every day until we’ve done them all!

  • Summer reading club at the library
  • Read It Again kits at from the library
  • Learn a new skill (for my 5-year-old, we’re going to work on tying shoes and cartwheels)
  • Spraygrounds
  • Arlington Museum of Art (it’s free, they only ask for donations)
  • Bowling (we signed up for kidsbowlfree.com – you just pay for shoes)
  • Roller skating (the Arlington Skatium on Cooper has a “cheap skate” night for $1.99)
  • Levitt Pavilion concerts
  • Summer movie series at Studio Movie Grill or Cinemark (cheap tickets)
  • YMCA (my kids love going there while I exercise, and we often swim there together)
  • Keep a summer journal
  • Make giant bubble wands
  • Angry Birds sidewalk chalk & water balloon game (found here)
  • Make lemonade
  • Start up correspondence with a pen pal
  • Go on a scavenger hunt (even in your own house!)
  • Have a picnic (even in your own house!)
  • Go outside, sit on the shade, and blow bubbles
  • Bake cookies
  • Make puzzle planks (found here)
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in slices of watermelon
  • Have a family jam (everyone play a different instrument!)
  • Go fly a kite
  • Play follow the leader, freeze/melt, head, shoulder, knees, & toes, or I Spy
  • Fill up a box with objects around the house that all start with the same letter
  • Explore outside with a magnifying glass
  • Make a living room fort
  • Cut out pictures from old magazines and make a collage
  • Paint a picture outside
  • Play dress-up
  • Play with playdough
  • Do a puppet show
  • Trace your bodies on giant pieces of paper and draw in some clothes
  • Have a water balloon fight

Roundtable Discussion – Kids and Movies

22 Mar

My daughter came home from school with a note recently which read:

Your child is invited to a Good Behavior Party Friday; kids will be watching a movie and are encouraged to come in their pjs: pickles and popcorn will be served.

Sounds like a ton of fun, but right away, my blood pressure shoots through the roof.  The school my daughter attends had the parents sign permission slips at the beginning of the year, either allowing your child to watch PG rated movies, or stating parents must be notified prior to viewing a PG rated movie.  The problem for me was that I will not approve ANY PG rated movies for my 5-year-old, and really I want to be notified and approve of the G movies they plan to show her too.

Let’s face it, G and PG movies just are not what they used to be.  I once saw a documentary I would recommend to any parents struggling with the same issue called: “This Film is Not Yet Rated.”

When my friends and I compare notes on what we will allow our children to watch, I understand I land completely on the conservative side of this spectrum.  My kids have seen less than 15 movies total, in their entire lives, which is OK with me.  They have only been to the movie theater to watch documentaries at the museum or Curious George.

So, when my daughter’s teacher tells me the two choices are Horton Hears a Who (G) or Despicable Me (PG), I automatically go to my favorite referencing site: www.commonsensemedia.org.  After reviewing the choices in more detail, I don’t like either, quite frankly.  My biggest objection is the language.  I don’t care for her to hear characters calling each other names like “idiot”, “boob”, and “stupid”.  But, my daughter has great behavior, and should not be punished because her mom is strict about movies.  I tell the teacher I’ll approve of Horton but not Despicable Me.  She says fine, that’s the one she’ll show.

One of the things that troubles me, is that the school picks one movie for kids K-3rd grade to view.  So, those kids are ranging in ages from 5-8.  What’s appropriate for an 8 year old might not be appropriate for a 5 year old.  There are definitely things I would let my 5 year old watch that I wouldn’t let my 3 year old see.

I am really curious to know what other moms think about movie ratings.  Do you let your children watch movies?  What do you base your decision to allow them to watch a particular movie?  The rating?  Whether it looks cute and you yourself want to see it?  Does anyone else have the issue of the kids watching PG movies at school?  If so, how have you handled it?  Please feel free to weigh in!  Sometimes I feel like a complete lunatic.  Perhaps I am!  Let me know what you think!

Roundtable Discussion: Please, Please, PLEASE Eat Your Peas!

20 Jan

I can’t be the only mom experiencing this.  Lately, it is a huge struggle to get my kids to eat their meals.  They’re up constantly, roaming around, playing, and basically making me nuts.  Usually around 30 minutes into the ordeal, I’m shouting “Get back in your chairs!” and basically tearing my hair out.  At breakfast, it always takes me from the “Let’s tackle this glorious day!” attitude to the “I’m running away to join the circus!” attitude.

And I’m not talking about them not eating things they don’t like.  It’s not like I give them a plate of brussels sprouts and then get surprised by their sudden lack of appetite.  I’m talking about regular, simple stuff I know they like.  Peanut butter on waffles.  Mac & cheese.  Fruit.  (And please, no one reply that your kids think brussels sprouts are better than m&ms, or I may really lose it.)

To be fair to them, they’re not complaining about the food.  They’re just NOT eating.  They’re climbing all over their chairs, telling jokes, singing songs, and wasting away half the day.  They’re just having too darn much fun to get the job done, and as a result, we’re missing out on life!

What do I do?  Set a timer?  Send them to time-out?  Make them sit there until every bite is gone, no matter how long it takes?  Stop feeding them altogether??

I need some suggestions on how to make this less painful!

Holiday Bribery – Roundtable Discussion

13 Dec

Even though we do the whole “Santa thing” in our house, I really don’t like bribing my kids with presents in order to ensure their good behavior.  (I’m not saying that I’ve NEVER bribed my kids – I wish!  I remember months of my daughter demanding – and receiving – a lollipop every time she pooped on the potty.  I don’t care, it worked.)

For some reason, I just don’t like the idea of saying, “Hey, you need to behave or Santa won’t bring you any presents.”  Something about that rubs me the wrong way.  You shouldn’t refrain from hitting your brother just because you want a new bike!  So I basically try…and try…and try…to encourage good behavior simply because it’s the right thing to do.

And now, as many of you know, the world has been introduced to the Elf on the Shelf –  Santa’s little minion who hides around your house, spies on your kids, and then flies back to the North Pole every night to give behavior reports.  Good old-fashioned creepy Christmas fun!

So the kids are supposed to behave because the elf is taking notes, Santa is making a list, and they hope to get presents on Christmas morning.  While this may influence kids’ behavior in December, what about the rest of the year?

How do you handle your “holiday bribery”?  Do you push the Santa idea to keep your kids in line?  We’d love to hear from you!

Roundtable Discussion – Sleepovers

1 Nov

Out of the blue the other day, my almost-5-year-old son said to his friend, “When I turn 6, will you come to my house for a sleepover?”

It kind of surprised me.  We’ve never really talked about sleepovers – well, I might have mentioned them once or twice, but it was just in passing, and I always put them off for “when you’re older.”  I wasn’t even sure he had an interest in them until this question popped up.  (I guess he decided that 6 was the magical “older” age!)

My husband said he thought it was a great idea – in fact, why wait?  But I have to admit, I’m not so sure about it.  Would another kid this age even want to stay at our house all night?  I’m not sure my son would want to stay anywhere else but home.  And what about the parents?  Is anyone willing to part with their little ones this young, trusting them for an entire night to someone else?

I’d love to hear from some parents with older kids.  At what age did you start letting your kids have sleepovers?  Did it turn out fun, or (gulp!) traumatic??

Roundtable Discussion – Firing Your Pediatrician

11 Oct

Shortly before my first child was born, my husband and I interviewed a pediatrician that came highly recommended to us.  Lucky for us (we thought at the time), we loved him!  After about 12 months, though, that love turned into…hmmm…not quite hatred of course, but definitely confusion and uncertainty.  He had a very laidback manner – perhaps too laidback – that would often result in us walking out of appointments feeling like we weren’t any wiser about how our son was developing or how we were doing as parents.

A great example of his attitude:

Me:  “Should we use organic milk?”

Doc (shrugs):  “It’s your money.”

It took me a while to decide what – if anything – I was going to do about the situation.  I really don’t like confrontation, so I was worried about what his office might say to me if I told them I was going to a different doctor.  Would they grill me?  Ask my why I was leaving?  Demand to know what the problem was?  I dreaded the possibility of having to deal with all that.

I don’t remember what finally gave me the courage, but I did eventually decide to replace him.  No one in his office ever said anything to me.  In hindsight, I think it probably happens all the time, and they don’t care.

I then repeated the process of interviewing doctors, like I did when I was pregnant, but I don’t feel that really got me any closer to finding my perfect match.  In my opinion, you never know how you’re going to click until you actually use them.  I ended up going with a pediatrician whose name I had heard from several different moms.  I figured word-of-mouth must really be worth something.  (And wouldn’t you know it, I later found out that word-of-mouth on my old doc was terrible!  I wasn’t the only one who had kicked him to the curb.)

I think many people dealing with physicians (of any specialization, not just pediatrics) feel a bit powerless to challenge anything the doctor says or does.  After all, they’re the experts!  But since we must be the best possible advocates for our children, it’s important for us to come out of our comfort zones and make sure we’re getting everything we need from our pediatricians.  We must feel comfortable asking questions, and they must be able to give us answers we can rely on.

My story has a wonderful ending.  We LOVE our new pediatrician, and can’t say enough good things about her.  I’m so glad I made the switch!

Do you have a story about a dreadful pediatrician?  Did you fire him/her?  Or are you in a situation right now where you’re questioning whether your pediatrician is the right one for you and your kids?  Tell us about it!

Roundtable Discussion – Kids’ Allowances

1 Oct

I think all parents can agree that it’s important to teach children responsibility when it comes to handling money, but how do we go about doing that?  Typically, most children first experience the power of earning and spending from getting an allowance.  But what should the guidelines be for doling out cash to our little ones?

I’ve heard that many parents give their children an allowance for doing household chores, but the counter-argument to that idea is that children should do chores not for the expectation of receiving money, but because they are members of the household.

Some parents just give their children a regular allowance, with “no strings attached.”  Some require their children to save and donate certain portions of any money they receive.

My kids are 4 and 2, and I haven’t started giving them an allowance yet.  With so many options, I’m not sure how I want to go about it!

What kind of allowance arrangement have you implemented within your household?

Please share your ideas – we want to hear from you!

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