Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

December 12th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Elf on the Shelf

Every night we have an elf that visits our house and watches our children, reporting back to Santa whether or not they are being good. This year our oldest has decided to start writing letters to our elf.  The elf’s name is Alex, and he hides somewhere new each night, but sometimes he gets into a little bit of trouble. Check out some of the fun times our elf has already had this holiday season.

He brought donuts for breakfast, including mini ones for himself.

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He played in my table decoration and made a mess.

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He drew mustaches on the boys’ photos with dry erase marker.

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He brought us a Christmas puzzle and started putting it together.

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Sometimes he likes to snuggle with Santa during his visit.

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Other times he just wants to hang out in the boys’ stockings.

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Do you have an elf? What does he like to do?

 

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October 17th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Halloween Safety

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Halloween is such a fun holiday for kids! They get to dress up in costumes, trick-or-treat with friends, and get free candy. But with all that comes some concerns that you should discuss with your kids ahead of time. Safety first! Here are some things to think about, whether you’re taking your kids or they’re heading out with friends:

Costume Safety (For Parents)

  • If you are trick or treating in the dark, make sure the costume is visible. Give your kids a flashlight or flickering necklace hold or wear while they’re out. There is also reflective tape you could add to the costume.
  • Make sure the costume fits and isn’t hanging onto the ground, creating a tripping hazard. Also make sure any eye holes are big enough to be seen through.
  • Any props like guns, swords, etc. should be evaluated as to whether they are really needed for the costume.
  • Make sure any hair spray or makeup has been tested beforehand. Sometimes cosmetic substances like that can be irritating to the skin.

Trick or Treating Safety (For Kids)

  • Stay in the neighborhood (parents and kids should discuss boundaries beforehand). Be careful when crossing the street. Watch for cars and obey any traffic signals.
  • Never enter someone’s home, even if they invite you in.
  • Only go to each house once.
  • Don’t be greedy, take only one piece of candy (or two if the homeowner says you can) and leave the rest for other trick-or-treaters.
  • Stay with your group and/or adult or parent at all times. Don’t wander off.
  • Use manners – always say “thank you” after receiving your treats.

Candy Safety (For Parents)

  • Check your children’s candy to see if anything has  been tampered with, or if there is anything they are allergic to or should have because of certain dental or health issues. It’s generally a good idea to discard anything homemade or in unsealed bags.

Be safe and have lots of fun!!

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September 29th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Teaching Children to Give

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As the holidays approach, it is easier to incorporate giving into your life and teach children to do the same. Here are some ways that you can give every day, all year long!

Giving comes in so many forms. It can include money, gifts, food, and service. Here are a few ideas to help your children become more charitable.

Help Neighbors

  • Rake leaves
  • Take their dog for a walk
  • Spend some time chatting with them
  • Cook them a meal or dessert

Donate Clothing or Toys

Go through items you no longer need and give to friends or family going through hardship, or drop off at a place that distributes to the needy.

Stop Collecting Birthday Gifts

Instead of actual gifts being brought to parties, ask for guests to bring items that can be donated. Include your child in picking a favorite charity.

  • Pet food – Humane Society or Rescue Mission
  • Books – Shelter or School
  • Winter Items – Shelter for Kids
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Non-Perishable Food Items – Food Pantry

Help The Elderly

Teach your children to help the elderly complete tasks that have become more difficult to them, whether it is yard work, window cleaning, etc.

Complete Random Acts of Kindness

This can be something as simple as putting an extra coin in a parking meter, to something like buying a meal for the person behind you in the drive thru. Teach your children to lead with a giving heart where they are always thinking of others.

Deliver a Smile

Giving doesn’t always have to be to poor or needy people. You may know of a family that just needs a smile. Surprise them with basket of goodies, a special drawing or card, or even just a hello as you pass them in the store.

Giving is easy – spread some joy around!

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September 22nd, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Adjusting Negative Attitudes

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All kids complain, pout, or get angry at some point or another. In the morning, at the store, sitting at the dinner table, anywhere!!  It’s okay to complain every now and then, but constant complaining needs to be dealt with. .

“That’s mine!”

“I want that, NOW!”

“I don’t like that!”

“That’s unfair!”

“Leave me alone!”

Sometimes, little ones are just trying to test the limits and may outgrow the “phase.” This negativity can permeate your entire family and other children can pick up the habit. Here are some ways you can help them adjust their attitudes.

  • Explain that sometimes complaining is helpful, but most of the time it isn’t. Teach them constructive ways of showing their emotions and explaining how they feel.
  • Enlist everyone in the family to help change a negative attitude in one child.
  • Show them how they are acting and when they start complaining, do it back to them. Change your tone to the tone they use. My kids hate it when I start whining to them! Sometimes they don’t even realize what they’re doing.
  • Challenge them to not complain for a whole day or even just a whole hour. Then try to do it for longer periods of time!
  • Pick one problem to work on at a time.

With a little bit of persistence you can make an impact on your child and their negativity. Attitudes affect everyone in the family, so it’s important to nip issues in the bud.

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September 15th, 2014 at 10:31 am

100 Days ‘Til Christmas

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Can you believe there are only 100 days until Christmas? You are probably booing me right now….but with little kids, the more preparation time you have the better! Plus, the more you have done once Thanksgiving approaches, the more you can actually enjoy yourself during the month of December.

Here are some ways to get organized and prepared ahead of time:

Start your Christmas shopping list now. List each person that you need to buy for. If you have any ideas, great, list those too! Make sure to assign a dollar amount to them also.

Determine your Christmas budget. Add up the dollar amounts from your list above, but be sure to add a little extra. There are always gifts that come up last minute that you forget about.  Think about decorations, food, and all the other things that go into celebrating the holiday season.

Plan out items you need to make. Do you need to plan out your Christmas cards? If you have the picture you are using then you can get your card made and printed. They can be signed and ready to send out at a certain time. Are you making any gifts? Can these be started early? Make a list of things you may need to make these items.

Clean out your kids’ toys. The presents your children receive can take up a lot of extra space that you might not have,  so take the time now to start weeding out the old ones. Donate toys that they’ve outgrown or are are no longer interested in, and throw away  broken toys or toys with missing pieces that cant be replaced to make some room for the new ones. While you are doing this, take into account what things your children already have so you don’t buy something similar.

Start writing lists. Write a list of clothing needs, grocery lists, cookie choices and recipes, cleaning expectations, and more! Make your own holiday notebook to keep all these lists organized.

Christmas goes a lot smoother when things are organized, so get a head start today!

 

 

 

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September 5th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Family Connection

Family Connection

Everyone should put aside some time to reconnect with their family each day. Dinner time is a great time to do this when you are all sitting at the table together. For many families, this is one of the only times during the day that you can actually have a full conversation. However, as kids get more involved in school and activities, and parents have obligations outside of the home, sometimes dinner isn’t always a full family gathering. Here are some tips to make sure you’re connecting as a family:

  • If someone is missing for dinner, you should still gather the rest of the family around the table when they do eat. Serve dessert to everyone else while the late family members are eating dinner, that way you’re still eating together.
  • Evaluate your day to determine the best time family time for your family’s schedule.
  • Build a daily review into your bedtime routine with the kids.
  • Go on a family walk and talk while getting exercise.
  • Gather the whole family for a different meal. If everyone is around during breakfast and it isn’t as hectic as later in the day, that may work better.
  • While driving kids places, talk to them while they are traveling in the car with you.

Some days, the only time my husband and I get to talk with my nine-year-old is while he is showering before bed. He chats from the other side of the shower curtain. Active kids are busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to talk! Find what works for your family and enjoy those conversations!

 

 

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September 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Rewarding Kids’ Good Behavior

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One of the best ways to have children behave appropriately is by focusing on rewarding them for good behavior. I find that my kids LOVE to receive little “extras” and it motivates them to think about their actions. Positive reinforcement can often yield better results than punishment.

Here are some great ways to reward behavior:

Give Praise – This goes without saying, really. Simple things like saying “Thank You’”, “I Love You”, and “Good Job”, can sometimes go a long way.

Special Items Or Toys – Have a box filled with little trinkets for the children to select from.  When they acheive something we have been working on, or when they go out of their way to do something nice, they get to choose an item from this box as a reward.

Sweet Treats- Reward them with a piece of candy or another treat that is out of the ordinary. This isn’t the best thing to do right around bedtime, but every now and then i let my kids have ice cream in the morning when they’ve behaved well!

Reward With Activity – Use favorite activities or special trips do as a reward. A bounce house place, the zoo, a museum, miniature golf, the water park, etc. are great options for letting kids know they’ve been behaving well.

Give Your Child More Privileges – Kids love to do what they’re usually not allowed to, especially when older children and parents can do them. For example, children love to stay up past their bedtime. Allow them to stay up later usual, watch a “big kid” movie, etc.

Show With Affection - Reward them with some extra snuggle time on the couch or even a big hug.

How do you reward good behavior?

 

 

 

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July 25th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Labeling Your School Supplies

With 32 days left of summer vacation, my family needs to start thinking about school and getting school supplies. Buying the supplies are the fun part, but the labeling of them can take forever! You can go the simple way of labeling with initials or first name using a pen or marker, but I wanted to share some fun ways to label your supplies without all the hassle.

Print some labels like in the picture above. I love these little labels to print names and attach to items. They can also be found in neon colors. I have found that you sometimes need to cover with tape when labeling crayons and markers and others things that are curved.’

Check out these Property of stickers. These would be great for books, folders, and other large items.

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Your child can really add personality to their labels when you print these personalized labels.

 

Mabel’s Labels offers labels for school supplies, lunch boxes, and even clothing and shoes. These offer a great alternative to the printed labels because they are made with labeling items as a sole purpose.

If you have the ability to cut vinyl lettering you can label things like this. This would take a bit of work but makes a big statement. Check out how they labeled pencils with vinyl.

Once you decide what option you are going to use stick a good movie on the tv and go to town! It’s a tedious task, but once you see all those labeled items you will feel like you really accomplished something!

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July 14th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Making Summer Memories

 

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Summer is flying by way too fast! We’ve barely crossed some of our favorite things off of our summer bucket list, like going to the pool, visiting the zoo, and taking a vacation! That is what summer is all about to us – making memories.

One of my favorite summer memories is the local kite festival. We would always pack a picnic lunch and our favorite kites. They would have kite demonstrations and everyone, amateurs and professionals alike, would launch their kites at the same time! What a sight…it was just a good family event. The first year we went my youngest was only a couple weeks old so it was fun to see him grow older each year and to watch my oldest learn how to fly his own kite.

Some of my other favorite memories include:

  • Strawberry picking
  • Just watching the boys chat on the patio
  • Family basketball H-O-R-S-E tournaments
  • Sitting by the fire making s’mores

That’s the thing about summer…memories can be made in the simplest of moments.

What memories have you made this summer?

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June 23rd, 2014 at 10:50 am

Bike Safety for Kids

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Just this weekend while my son was riding his bike, he wiped out and got some bad scrapes on his elbow. Of course, I found this out after I cleaned off the mud from the huge puddle he fell into. My first tip is for parents (one I need to follow myself) – ALWAYS make sure your first aid supplies are stocked and on hand. You can never have enough bandaids (in every size), antibiotic cream or antibacterial/alcohol wipes. It’s summer and kids (especially boys) are prone to injuries, so be ready!

Accidents happen, but there are safety measures that can be taken to help prevent or lessen the degree of injuries. One of the most important areas to protect is your child’s head. Helmets provide protection for your face, head, and brain…I don’t think I need to mention why this is crucial!

Make sure your child’s bike is the right size for them. All too often, children ride bikes that are too big or too small for them, which increases the likelihood of accidents. If your child stands straddling the bike, there should be 1-3 inches of space between them and the top bar. If not, its time to move up to the next bike size.

Make sure wheels, handlebars and seats are tightly fastened to the bike. Add air to the tires if they need more. Check the chain and oil it regularly. Also check that the brakes are working correctly.

If your child is riding with you on the street or sidewalk, make sure they have bright clothing on, even in daylight. Also make sure shoes are tied and clothing isn’t too loose that it would get caught on anything. Sneakers are the best to wear when bike riding because the treads grip the pedals.

Define what area around your neighborhood is appropriate for your child to ride. This can change as your child gets older. Go over safety rules and make sure your child checks for cars backing out of driveways, and is mindful of road signs. Also teach them about obstacles like sticks, puddles, rocks, and other children! Discourage them from doing “tricks” with their bikes like jumping obstacles, bumping friends’ tires with their own, or racing down steep hills.

With these guidelines, children can be a little safer on their bicycles!

 

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