Training vs. Discipline

Scurrying through the dining room to complete a quick 15 minute pick-up session before supper, I turned to my 5-year old daughter for assistance.  “Could you put that brush in the bathroom, please?” 

My request was met with a very nonchalant, “It’s not mine.”

SCREEEEECH!  Somehow those words hit me like fingernails on a chalkboard.  After teaching tweeners for eight years, I do know what that sounds like!  De-cluttering no longer important.  Time for some training.  Let me be the first to admit that my normal reaction would be to give her the evil eye, say “do it” in a not-so-tender-mommy tone and huff on to my other pre-dinner responsibilities.  I don’t know what made me stop this time, but I’m glad I did. 

So began a quick talk about what would happen if mommy only took care of her messes…  how everyone needs to contribute to the family for us to run smoothly… and, of course, the proper response when I ask for her much needed help.  “Yes, mommy” would be an appropriate choice, along with some followthrough.

So we practiced.  Task completed.  No more hairy brush on my dining room table.  “Thank you.  And now I need you to put the doily (currently used as a headress) back on the table where it belongs.”  Before I had put the period at the end of my verbal command, out came the popular excuse  “That’s not where it was…” along with a stunted explanation of exactly where the doily had been discovered. 

Hadn’t I just talked about this?!?  Again, I could have disciplined for disobeying and talking back (and trust me, it’s my go-to method entirely too often), sent her to her room to stew about it, and done it myself… but in another moment of patience and sanity (two in one day!  WOW!) I chose to train my daughter, even as she walked away.

Stop right there.  Come back.  Let’s try this again.

“I need you to put the doily back on the table where it belongs.”

“Yes, mommy.”

Ahhhh, temporary relief for a Mama’s ringing ears and frazzled mind.

Discipline is easy less time consuming in the present, but training will pay off in the future.  It will make my life simpler someday.  Right?  Anyone? 

For more Living Simply Saturdays, visit Keeper of the Home.

Embrace the “Littles” Years

My challenge for you today:  embrace this time with your littles.  Don’t fight it.  What a wonderful gift we’ve been given to be everything to our children.  What an opportunity for growth and learning (for us and them!) just by including and encouraging them in the daily routine.

Read more of my Mommy Monday guest post at Happy to be at Home.

Cleaning With the Kids

I’m a guest poster again this week at Happy to be at Home.  The topic?  Cleaning with the kids.  Those of you who know me in person… quit laughing!!!  Cleaning is definitely not my forte, but the kids and I do have a few strategies to get it done together.  Go check it out!

Ready to fold some clothes!

Get Movin’ With Your Monkeys

 Get Movin With Your Monkeys


Head on over to Happy to be at Home to read my Mommy Monday guest post, and to see why this ridiculous picture was intentionally taken…

Join Them!

My kids are great teachers.  They teach me how to slow down.  They show me what really matters.  They help me get back to the basics and focus on the Finer Things.

Children are all about simplicity.  Feed me.  Clothe me.  Love me.  Feed me.  They like to be fed, too.

I had a couple of choices when my little scavengers bellied up to the apple crisp bar yesterday.

  1. Scold them and move them and get them busy on something else so that i could get something done.
  2. Join them!

I joined them.  🙂  There were plenty of apples to go around, our morning snack was taken care of, and we had lots of fun!  Oh, and the apple crisp turned out perfectly yummy, too!  And for those with a keen eye, that would be a sports bra around my baby’s neck.  She had started folding laundry for me in the other room.  Such good helpers I have!

Check out Living Simply Saturdays at Keeper of the Home.

Don’t Miss the Moment

“I really don’t want to go out there, but I don’t want to miss the moment.”

So out he went, after a 12-hour day of teaching and coaching training, inspiring, and encouraging a spirited group of teenagers.

Out to join a previously solitaire game of football (we have an extremely talented 3 year old… he can play the quarterback and receiver and linebacker all at the same time).  A game played strategically?  coincidentally? just outside the window where daddy was taking a break after his busy day.

Out he went.

For that, I am a grateful wife and mommy.  My kids’ daddy knows what’s important.

I am also grateful that our 5 year old girly-girl, who often encourages her brother to dress in a tutu and practice ballet moves (I’ll spare you the picture), is tough enough to join right in.

And I’m so grateful that my camera batteries were charged and my memory card wasn’t too full of blog pictures *cough* to capture the fun.

They grow up too fast.  Don’t miss the moment.

Go check out more Gratituesday!

Face Time with Memory

When our first-born was a baby, Lance and I would sometimes talk about how much fun it will be someday when she was ready to play board games. We’d reminisce about the games of our own childhoods: Trouble, Monopoly, Life, The Farm Game, etc.

“Someday” has definitely arrived! We do have a challenge on our hands, though, because the skill levels of our 5 year old, just now 3, and 1 year old are vastly different. One game that we love that we can all enjoy at the same time is Memory.

The game is labeled for ages 3 to 6, but we think it’s fun for all ages… with a few adaptations.

  • To accommodate young attention spans, we don’t play with all 36 pairs (good thing, since I doubt all 72 cards are ever in the box at the same time!)
  • Our kids (the older two) each look for 5-10 pairs to play with, then we arrange those face down.
  • The one year old can be temporarily entertained by the remaining cards.
  • We arrange the cards in rows in a rectangle, rather than scattered randomly. That seems to help us (and I do mean us) keep track of matches better.

  • When we’re playing with just the 5 year old, we add more cards.
  • Our three year old enjoys his own “solitaire” version: he scatters the cards face up and finds the pairs… an important preschool skill. “Look, mom! It matches!” (I don’t homeschool, but if I did I’d keep this game handy for him while I worked with my school girl! Except… maybe I wouldn’t have him use his sister’s Disney Princess version) 😉

Memory has proven to be a versatile, fun game for our whole family. Check out Happy to be at Home for more Face Time ideas!

Let Them Play!

A couple years ago I was enjoying a conversation with a kindergarten-teacher friend of mine.  As a teacher myself, I was excited to hear about her first few days with her very first class.  I don’t remember much of our conversation now, but the following statement has stayed with me to this day:

“My biggest struggle is that I have to teach them how to play pretend.”


She had all sorts of fun centers set up in her classroom:  kitchen, dress up, cars, etc. and her students didn’t know what to do with them!  How very sad and disturbing…

In my five short years as Mommy, I have learned a few things.  One is that I can’t (and shouldn’t, and don’t want to, and won’t) fill their every waking hour with stimulating activities and bright, educational toys.  Also, I can’t give them my undivided attention all the time.  And… that’s OKAY.  GOOD, even.  Children need to learn to play on their own, to solve their own problems, to create fun when they are… (I hate this word)… bored.

One of my very favorite things as Mom is to “hide” and watch my children playing together.  I’ve even been known to be busy or just plain ignore their requests for help (not all the time, of course), like when they ask for newspaper hats… it’s much more entertaining to see what they’ll come up with on their own.  Dancing newspaper capes, anyone?

Okay, so maybe I could have rescued my son from the beauty shop chair, but then I wouldn’t have any good pictures to show his future bride!


Every once in a while, if I squint just right, I even catch my older children nurturing my younger children.  What a bonus for play time!

My oldest starts kindergarten tomorrow.  Although I worry a little about her asking too many questions or getting sassy or wanting things her way all of the time (ahem)… I do NOT worry about her not knowing how to PLAY!

Give your kids some space and give yourself a break.  Let them play!