This Bedtime Routine Printable will help your kids establish a successful independent bedtime routine! Available completed or blank, so you can customize it to fit your needs.
Last year, I had a little breakdown moment where I realized I needed to get more organized with my house-work. I felt like I was doing laundry every day and somehow the shirt my kids wanted was still not clean when they wanted it! We all know that kids don’t fully understand how time–consuming house-work and laundry can be. For me, that needed to change (and fast)! It was time to get my whole family more involved in the laundry process! So, after a few months of trying different strategies, I feel like I figured out The Best Laundry System for Families and I hope it helps you and your family too!
Hey friends! Spring sports really put a kink in my dinner routine… we had way too much takeout or quick thrown together meals! But, this summer I’m getting back to meal planning and trying to make sure our meals our better balanced. That means back to trying to get my kids to eat and try new vegetables! Problem is that 2 of my 3 kids tend to fight me on the “new” vegetables! In the past we’ve really only had a few vegetables on a regular basis – corn and asparagus. When I would make something different the kids would automatically swear to me that they HATED it! It made me so sad that the other 75%+ of vegetables my kids truly believed they didn’t like them. I knew it was my fault for not having them try more younger! So, I came up with the idea of making a Kids Vegetable Checklist!
With the checklist, my kids can mark off as they try different vegetables! This will be especially fun, because I’m growing quite a few new things in my garden this year! But even the ones that I’m not growing, the kids think it’s pretty fun to go to the store and pick something off the list! My 4 and 7 year old are LOVING this! My almost 9 year old is sort of playing along. haha!
Here is a list of the vegetables that I’ve included on it:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potato
I am aware that there are other vegetables, but I just chose the ones that are the most popular and can easily be found at any grocery store. So, there are 24 vegetables in total on the list! I did create a 2nd version of the printable, that includes an area at the bottom where you can write other vegetables in if you’d like.
I hope you that this can help your family expand their taste buds too! If you liked this printable, make sure and check out a few others that our family loves!
The first day of school can be really hard for some kids. I saw this cute idea on Tye Dye Diva and loved it. The poem is so creative! I made a printable to match the bracelets my friend made for her daughter.
Its the perfect way to help ease the first day of school jitters.
You can download your own printable here:
Major nerd alert here 🙂 We love the Science Fair! It is one of our favorite things during the school year. We also have had a lot of success with it too, both at the school level and also at the district level. Here are some of the tips we have learned along the way to help you make the most out of your project.
- Don’t focus on winning! Find a project your child is passionate about and then make sure you do it well. It needs to be something the child is passionate about because they are the ones that have to face the judges. How excited they are about their topic will be obvious to the judges. They also will be able to answer their questions better and with more confidence.
- If your child has their own idea for a project find a way to test it and if needed guide them. If they don’t have an idea try to find an innovative idea that relates to your child. Think of something you say to your kids all of the time. “You cant play video games because they rot your brains.” ” Don’t eat food off the ground.” “If you don’t get enough sleep you will be grumpy.” “Sugar after 4pm makes you hyper.” Then find a way to test that. Give them choices and let them make the final decision for their project.
- Make sure you read the directions! It is sad to walk around and see how many projects simply don’t follow the rules. Make sure you have all the steps of the Scientific Method labeled clearly.
- Make sure your project is organized, neat, and easy to read. I really recommend having your child type the data.
- Dress up a little bit for the fair. My boys usually wear casual pants or shorts and then a button down shirt and tie.
- Teach them to look the judges in the eye and make sure they are able to answer questions like, “Tell me about your project.” “Can you explain what the Scientific Method is?” Help them be prepared to explain their project in simple steps to keep the judges attention. Practice asking them questions. Don’t drill them until they are frustrated, but make sure they feel prepared and confident.
- HAVE FUN! I can not emphasize this enough. Some families take the science fair way to seriously. The contest is the smallest part of it. Helping your child to think though the Scientific method and figure out how to find answers to their questions is the real purpose.
Here are some of the projects we have done in the past:
Can Humans live on Mars?
This project was done right when the Mars Rover had been launched and they were waiting for results to come back with information on the radiation on Mars surface. We did have a bit of an edge on this project because my brother Mark was one of the Mechanical Engineers who actually helped design and built the Rover. We got to go on a tour of JPL/NASA and see the actual duplicate rover. But the point is this project was something Caleb was really passionate about. He could talk for hours on it. For his experiment we bought seeds that had been exposed to radiation. We then grew them and tested at what level of radiation it became harmful to living organisms. Then when the data came back from the Mars Rover we compared the radiation levels collected to that of our seeds.
Do Video Games Really Rot Your Brains
This was a really fun project. We picked 5 activities to test how they affected how well he could perform certain tasks. He tested playing video games, watching TV, reading, exercise, and playing Legos. After he performed those activities for 30 minutes he then took a random multiplication test and did these 2 tests published in the New York times to test how well he focused and also how well he juggled tasks. We compared how well he did on each task after the activities and then ranked them.
Rock, Paper, Scissors – Strategy or Chance
For this experiment he played 12 people 20 games of rock, paper, scissors and kept track of his scores. Then he watched some videos like this one and read a few articles about strategies, He complied a list of the common rules they said would improve his game. Then he played 12 more people 20 games and compared his percentages of wins, loses, and ties.
Does the 10 Second Rule Really Work?
For this project we bought petri dishes, Agar, and sterile swabs. We marked the petri dishes with a line down the middle and marked 1 side with an x and the other side with 10 seconds. We also marked each of them with the food we would be testing in them. We wrote the name of the one we were testing at home in black and the name of the food in red for the same foods we were going to be testing in a store aisle. Then we prepared the Agar in the petri dishes. He swabbed the food and rubbed it into the petri dish. Then dropped it on the ground and counted to ten. Then he re-swabbed the food and rubbed it in the other half of the petri dish. Then we let the bacteria grow. It helps to have a heat lamp for the bacteria to grow.
So there are a few ideas for you! Think outside the box and try to come up with a new project the judges haven’t seen before. Most of all have fun! Make sure your kids are on board and are having fun too! Its not about winning, its about learning and growing! Please tell us your cool project ideas in the comments!
A hands on way to teach your kids about honesty. This Object Lesson for Kids on Honesty opens up great dialogue and will be a lesson your kids don’t forget!
Have I told you how I am the meanest Mom ever? Its true, my kids do not have a video game system, iPod, cell phone, tablet, or any other sort of electronic device. They also don’t have any social media accounts and I don’t let them browse around on YouTube or the Internet. Being that they are 5, 7, and 10 you wouldn’t think this is too bad, but when my son was 9 he was the only one of his friends in the neighborhood who did not have his own device. 9 years old! I feel sorry for kids these days whose childhoods are being robbed by little metal devices.
I feel pretty old when I think back to the fact that we didn’t have video games until we were in High School and I don’t think my Mom had a cell phone until I was in college. That means my childhood was spent playing with primitive cardboard boxes, scrap wood and nails, and that wonderful thing called imagination. We thought playing in the house was a punishment and a Monopoly game that lasted a week was the best way to enjoy our summer. We put puzzles together – actual puzzles that you had to touch and try to make fit. They didn’t just kind of pop into place when they got close. Kids wont ever have that kind of childhood again and it makes me so sad.
I hope that parents will start to consider the consequences of fighting this new and easy trend of parenting. Sure my kids would sit perfectly in church if they had an iPad but that’s not the point. Part of what they are learning in Church is how to sit still and listen! The same concept goes for grocery shopping, doctors appointments, and even sitting in the car. Everywhere I look parents are turning vital social skill teaching moments over to little electronic boxes that entertains with ease.
My kids do play on devices every once in a while but it is a tool that I use very sparingly. When we travel we have one very old iPad that the boys get to share. They take turns, each getting 15 minutes. If they fight, the iPad is gone for the trip. That means even though they are being entertained they are still learning about cooperation, sharing, and cheering their brothers on.
The other day my oldest told me he wanted to save up for his own iPod, not for games just for music. I made a deal with him. I showed him how to set up his own playlist in iTunes and then how to play that through the Apple TV. I also told him we could burn him CD’s to listen to in the playroom, his room, or even outside. I am not ready for him to be stuck with headphones in his ears all the time and there is no need at his age (in my opinion) for him to have his own iPod.
When it comes to phones, I don’t see why kids have to have their own phone! John and I each have our own phone and then we have a third phone that we use as our home phone. There have been times when Caleb needed a phone so he took our extra family phone. As the kids get older we will add more family phones, not give our kids their own phone. It might sound like we are splitting hairs because our kids will have a phone to use, but the point is they will not feel entitled to it. We will also be able to regulate what goes on it and when people are texting. Most parents tell me that when they give their kids a phone they do so with the understanding that they can check what is on it at any time. The question is, how many really take the time to check it regularly? What girl is really going to send my boys a dirty picture of themselves when they know its going their parents phone! I will have to evaluate how this is going to change when my kids hit 16 and can work and pay for their own phone, but until that time they will have to use one of their parents old boring phones.
As for social media – thank goodness it didn’t exist when I was a teenager! I think back to myself at that age and how immature I was and yet how deeply I felt the ups and downs of High School. I CAN NOT imagine what kind of regrets I would have if I had social media back then. Part of our role as parents is to protect our children. I believe that also includes protecting them from themselves. It would be naive as parents to assume that future employers are not going to use social media before hiring an employee. Protect your kids by keeping them away from social media until they are mature enough to understand the consequences. Oh, wait some adults don’t even seem to understand that either
I see so many teenage post on Instagram and I just cringe with what they put out there and the regret I know they will feel one day. Instagram is super fun and I love it but it does not have parental controls and kids can see some extremely inappropriate and pornographic material.
I’m not naive, I know these devices are the way of the future – but that is my point the future! They don’t belong in our children’s young lives and need to be saved until they are more mature and have the ability to weigh the consequences and make good decisions. Childhood is where we learn about right and wrong and social norms and behavior. When our kids are babysat by a video game they lose those moments of teaching and watching social interaction. Someone once told me that they think its important that their kids know how to use computers because in the future he doesn’t want them to be behind. My brother Mark was an engineer for NASA/JPL. I once asked him if in his work he meets people who are super smart but cannot communicate their thoughts clearly and articulate what they are trying to say. He said all the time. Computer skills can be learned later in life, but can social skills?
Parenting is not about just keeping kids safe and alive, its also about preparing them for the future. There is not enough research on how these devices are affecting our children and their neurological development. Research is starting to come back on video games and so far it hasn’t been great. Parenting is hard, really really hard! Its hard to be on all the time and to answer all of our kids questions…which leads to more questions…which can go on endlessly! It can also be trying sometimes to listen to their long (and on occasion boring) stories they want to tell. But please don’t stop the questions and don’t stop the communication by shutting them down and numbing them out to the world.
I love my boys and sometimes they think that I am mean because I am so strict. But I want what is best for them. I want them to be happy now, but I also want them to be happy in the future! Everyone has to do what is best for their family and I certainly don’t have all the answers! My stance on electronics is not popular with a lot of parents out there but I’m not worried about them, I’m parenting my boys with a purpose. I hope other Moms will feel like they are not alone in taking a stance against the overuse of electronics.
I have very strong ideas about kids and video games. In my personal experience I can visibly see a decrease in their imagination literally each and every time they get off a device. Its like they forget how to play. I also see the opposite, the longer they play without plugging in the more creative and fun their ideas get. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that it is very tempting to hand over the ipad or throw them on the computer indefinitely because I wont see or hear from them for hours! No fighting for hours – sounds great! Even though it seems to be the harder route most days I do everything I can to keep their little minds unplugged. I don’t think we know enough about the long term effects on little developing minds to give our kids so much free access. I even see in myself since getting an iPhone that my attention span is gone! I can not just sit and wait anymore – not when there is Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest,and all sorts of other things to occupy my 30 seconds here and there. If I have to wait without my phone I feel so lost and get a little agitated. Not a good sign! If you are ready to tell me all about all the good that comes from kids playing video games take a look at the research data yourself. I’ve looked into the research and the studies that spout all the “advantages” to video game playing are really weak and overly reaching. Enough of my soapbox…
Because I have such strong feelings I have been really cautious about my kids plugged in time. I thought I was being a good Mom to make them “earn” their time. These first few weeks of summer have been pretty clean around my house because my kids were always asking to do chores! But soon I realized I was being nagged all the time for chores. And then it hit me that I hadn’t seen my boys play with their Lego’s in over a week. All they wanted to do were more chores so they could have more time on Mindcraft or the computer. It became a little obsessive.
I’m trying a new approach, one that I hope will also help them learn how to handle time and also to delay gratification, I gave a lot of thought to how much time I was okay with them playing all week and I decided on 3 hours. I then made tokens broken into 15 minute increments. I created them in their favorite games Club Penguin and also Mindcraft.
I printed them, cut them out, and laminated them.
I put their initials on the back just so there is no temptation to sneak any tokens away from their brothers
Then I glued a magnet to clothespins and clipped each of their tokens onto the magnet and hung them on the fridge. I am going to let them each decorate their clothespins.
So far its working pretty darn good. They have Mon-Sat to use their time and once it is gone, its gone. No more earning time through chores and there has been a serious decrease in nagging! They are trying really hard to space their time out. After they have played their chosen amount of time they go play Lego’s or go outside and seem so much more content. I love that they feel in control of their time and able to make choices to govern themselves within the boundaries I have set. With our daily 5 summer charts and now this system I see that they are starting to understand more how the choices they make will dictate what kind of day they will have. I can see them starting to feel responsible for themselves and I love it!
Feel free to download your own!
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The dreaded happened….I woke up yesterday morning to hear my sweet Davis say, “Mom, the tooth fairy forgot to come.” The disappointment in his face – gut wrenching. I consoled him the best I could with tales of how the tooth fairy had too many teeth to get to last night and she probably didn’t get to our part of the world last night. Surely she would start here tonight. It worked pretty well until he came home and told me that his friend (who lives right by us) lost a a tooth yesterday and the tooth fairy came to his house. Dad saved that one with, “well maybe when she was here you were about to wake up and she didn’t want to get caught.” Yes! Good save John! Davis is sure that is what happened since he said he was trying to catch her last night! Phew!
I decided we needed a note from the tooth fairy so I made up a little note, printed it, and sprayed it with glitter.
Then I rolled it up and tied it together. Our boys always get a toothbrush or floss from the tooth fairy too. I think they look forward to that more than the actual money!
You can download the letter yourself! The download includes a second blank frame so if you want to write your own personalized note you can.
Hopefully the tooth fairy will be a little more diligent tonight!
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Growing up our house was always full of kids coming in and out. One day my Mom finally got fed up with the constant stream of kids knocking asking if we could play! We came home to sign on our front door that said, “Do not knock. Kids cant play. They will be out when they can.”
It was the neighborhood joke. All of our friends teased her about it. She loved it! The peace of not having to answer the door to kid after kid, explaining that her kids were busy with chores. Now here I am some 20 years later and I NEED her sign. I don’t have her original but I made my own! Pretty sure my Mom is in heaven having a big happy “I told you so!” moment 🙂
It is so great! I hated how my kids would get all sulky when I turned their friends away. They would whine so much more knowing someone wanted to play. Now, that is not a problem! They work hard so I will take the sign down! Pretty sure this is going to save my sanity this summer too!
I made the signs purposefully bright and obnoxious so they cant be missed:)
Feel free to take control of your front door too! Its GREAT!