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Games To Play

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With all the challenges of raising each individual child it is helpful to share a wealth of ideas and knowledge. From getting your child to go to sleep or come home on time, these are options I have pooled from multiple parents and proffesionals. If your having a particular problem and running out of ideas give these a glance. Be sure to keep in mind that every child has individual needs, setting positive examples and encouraging positive behaviors and choices will result with more positive results, don't push a child into something, as each child will preform them when they are physically and mentally ready.
*This started out as a personal website and has become some what of a community project, I have added this section as many parents love to exchange tips and ideas that worked for their child and thought it would be a good idea. Every child is different so sometimes you need to try many different options before you figure out someting that works. Friends and family have swamped me with ideas which they would like to include. Everyones opionons are different, please take what you need and leave the rest.*

Bath Time Games
MealTime Games                                                    
- keep serving vegetables and new foods even if they reject it at first, it usually takes repeated exposure to a food before its excepted.
- Don't add salt or sugar to make an infant eat it, it seldom makes a difference and is unhealthy. By feeding food without them a child will grow to enjoy the taste of food not the sugar or salt.
--make designs like trees out of broccoli, funny faces on pizza or sandwiches, or use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of thinnly sliced potatoes for picky eaters
-dont bribe a kid by saying "if you eat your veggies, you'll get candy or desert" this ensues that dinner isn't yummy and they must eat the bad before recieving the good.
- let them help pick out fruits and veggies when shopping.
- Let children pick out a recipie a week and cook it together. (you'd be suprised what a child will eat when they make it themselves.)
- Let your child decorate their own placemat.
- Have your child help set the table.
- healthy lunch ideas can be quick and convienient:
  :cheese comes in fun shapes like suns, moons and stars not just the traditional sticks. Avoid kraft singles, velveeta, or other "cheese foods" which are mostly oil. If you're child is extremly partial to this style cheese try buying soy cheese slices which appear similar but are much healthier.
 :vegetable sticks with dip are fun, tasty, and healthy.
 :use whole wheat bread for sandwiches
 :Substiture cookies and chips with crackers instead. They come in many flavors from whole wheat, bbq, to ranch, or even grahm crackers.
 :Pass the Hi-C, fruit punch, or kool-aid and buy 100% fruit juice boxes for lunches. If your child doesn't like veggies try Vruit juice boxes, they're fruit/juice blends.
 :don't forget the protein. Milk comes in hand sized take along containers perfect for lunch and come in regular, chocolate, and strawberry flavors.
 :Don't be afraid of the PB&J but do buy "natural peanutbutter" and make sure there is no added salt or sugars. Also try buying jellies and jams only sweetened with fruit pectin (natural sugars found in the fruit) not with added corn syrup or sugar.
Dinner time is a great time, and sometimes the only time you may have with your child at this age so make an effort to always have a meal together, ask questions, and catch up :)
- Be sure to set a time period for children to be home so that they will have time to make it to dinner, unless other wise agreed upon.
- Tell your child they must cook a meal once a month from one of your cook books (so you know its healthy). Help them gather the ingredients and help when asked but don't be pushy, and praise them for what they do even if its not perfect.
- keep bottles of 100% juice in the refrigerator instead of pop. Keep take a long size bottle of juice, water or vitamin water for healthy and tasty substitues kids can grab when on the go. 
Reducing Stress    
See this article for great information to help recognise and reduce stress a child experiences.                           
to reduce personal and family stress
1. be sure that activities and toy are age appropriate: this will reduce the frustration of both you and the child if they are unable to complete a task and will avoid broken items.
2. If you are loosing your temper leave the room and slow your breathing: This will help you prevent a temper from going over board and scaring or injuring a child. as well it will give both you and the child time to reflect on the incident.
3.Go for a walk or soak in a bath. If things are getting overwhelming let the other parent, a grandparent, or friend take your child for a bit if you know someone who can.
4. Light some scented candles or burn some incense: the warm glow and cool colors of a candle as well as the relaxing scent can help set the mood for a day.
5. Take a nap with your child. dont feel bad about putting something off for a little bit and taking a nap when your child is sleeping, Being well rested really affects someones mood.
6. Meditate together Meditate as a family (if your child is old enough) or alone
7. Turn on some music. try some slow relaxing classical or some upbeat happy child songs to change the mood in the house instantly, be sure to sing along.
8.get a cold drink. this goes for both adult or child, cooling off with a drink is nice as a quick break, or get a warm one of some soothing tea (avoid black teas and coffee, aim for white teas, green tea, camomile or anything with a name promoting relaxation)
9.Excersize regularly: Excersizing makes you more energetic and releases hormones which make you feel happier, these 2 factors will make it easier for you to deal with stressful situations. As well sometimes it feels good to release tension by punching or kicking a punch bag
10: Talk about it: use your words to express how you feel to the person who is making you angry, sad, or worried. State feelings in polite, firm, and not overly aggressive or passive ways ("I feel angry when you yell at me, please stop yelling").
11: Keep a diary or journal: writing in a diary will let you express your feelings when you have no one to talk to or just cant share them. It will also let you reflect on your feelings and actions.
12: Smile: studies have shown smiling often, even if you arn't very happy, will make you feel happy more often.
13: Start laughing: just burst out laughing for no reason. this will make you feel better and will lighten the mood of others, especially children.
14: Think about yourself: be sure to spend at least 30 minutes a day just being lazy, doing a hobby or whatever you want to do.
15: Keep things neat: Don't focus all your time on cleaning, but (like above) dedicate 30 minutes to cleaning every day. This will always be something you can say you accomplished in a day, as well the lack of clutter will reduce stress from steping on toys to finding your keys.
16: Call them up call a friend on the phone and just talk.
17. Redecorate: Add a bubbling fish tank, some plants, and mirrors. These will increase the peaceful setting of a room. Try painting the walls calming colors such as cool blues or purples.
18: Cleanse when stress builds up often cleanse the house of energies and then relax and cleanse your mind. practice blowing out the negative feelings and breathing in positive light.
19: Pamper yourself: give yourself a facial or do your nails.
20: Add some time: plan to arrive somewhere 15-30 minutes before you get there. sudden things that would make you late (missing oyur childs show, forgotten items, ect) will be able to be taken care of and you will still arive on time.
21: Think ahead: think a head the night before (or ealier) to plan for future events. Get all the things you need ready in advance and try and imagine any problems you may run into and how to fix them.
22: Do something for someone else: This can be a welcome break, appreciated by others, can be done alone or with others and make you feel good about yourself.
23: Count: count to 100 (10 isnt usually enough for adults)
24: Take time for family: family is so important, spending time iwth family will help you focus on the joys in your life and what is important. It gives you time to share feelings and your love for each other. With children it also helps you see the simplisity of life and what really matters.
25: Break the routine: Routines are comforting for children but after a long period can become repetative and tiresome for adults. Try adding a new twist to routines without breaking them, sing a different song at bedtime, Walk to the ice cream store instead of around the block, slide with your child at the playground, ect
26:.Nurse your infant: Human milk contains tryptophan (an aminoacid which makes you sleepy) not only will it calm your child but when your nurse your body releases this hormone into your system making you feel relaxed. It is also relaxing to cuddle when nursing.
27: Simplify: make a list of situations or activities that make you most stressed. sit down with the family and express your feelings and brainstorm together ways that could make these times go smoother, be more simple, or how to get added support during them.
28: Don't procrastinate: Managing your time wisely is very imporant. Procrastination often can lead to more stress as things you put off pile up, being to rigid can also lead to more stress when something takes longer then planned. Learning to work hard and flexible and recognise opportunities is very important. If its story time and your child is playing happily alone go do the laundry, if you are about to mop the floor and your child keeps say "look mom" then put the mop down or an hour. Try to plan a schedual leaving lots of time for family and some time for yourself or at least make a list of the important things that need to be accomplished that day.
29. make sure your expectations are reasonable. Remembering children are only physically and mentally developed to do things to a point, keep your expectations resonable, this will help you be prepared for problems as they arise.
Also keep in mind remember no matter how much you'd like them to be, young children and infants ARE depandant.
Some common misconceptions parents expect:
-a child of 3 months to sleep for 9 hours when sleeping through the night is medically defined only as 5 hours.
-Know oyur childs temperment. Some are more shy, some are very sensative, some are very active, others are quiet. Each child has different temperment and needs, don't feel bad if you give your child more then what is the norm. DOn't expect your child to be mentally  or physically ready to do something just because it's what other babies are doing.
- Their two year old not to throw tantrums or to begin big kid tasks. toddlers (as well as teenagers) all go through a phase, often called 'the terrible two's' the age of 2-3 toddlers are often torn between being the baby or becoming a big kid. Displaying their indapendance is very natural as is holding on to the baby attachment a child has with his parents. Tantrums are a natural part of toddlers learning what is acceptable behaviour  and how to work through their emotions. Encoure a child to do their best but do not force 'big kid' actions as each toddler will preform them when they are physically and mentally ready.
-Children to take care of themselves or to want to play alone for hours at a time,
-a child under 3 to hear you the first time you say something or for a child under 18 months to leave something alone when you have told them 'no''. Infants and toddlers Myelin is just forming. Myelin is a dense, fatty substance that helps neurons send and receive messages faster and more clearly, with the lack of Myelin it is normal for a toddler to be very slow at acting out your requests, repeat yourself up to 5 times. As well the brains frontal lobe, which controls inhibition (aka self control) does not begin to mature until an infant is 18 months of age (and does not become fully mature until around 22 years of age or older) as well Myelin devleops slower in the frontal lobes then any other area. Because of this fact toddlers cannot often leave objects alone even when they know they are not supposed to touch them. Child proof your house with saftey devices and leave only age appropriate items with the reach of your child.
Bedtime: Infant games
Bedtime: toddlers/children
 A great way to get children to sleep in their own bed is through meditation. It helps them relax and forget things that may worry them  so they can fall asleep. There are many different books on childrens meditation. (see resources) One of my favorites is Starbright--Meditations for Children by Maureen Garth (there are 3 others by this author) These are pictureless stories and visualization techniques that encourage immagination, calm fears and help children of all ages feel safe when sleeping. This is great for any age toddler and up, even teenagers if they arn't to macho to think its cheesy (they do seem so a bit at first but children have many fears of things adults don't understand) these books seem very pagan but do mention angels in some of them (not all) you should have no problem skipping this or rewording this to anything you wish (mom/dad/spirits/faeries/whatever you believe) even with I would reccomend these books to anyone, give them a try!!
- Give your child a backrub, but they have to have their eyes shut for it.
- buy or make a dream catcher and tell the native american tale of how these work.
 small flashlight. 
-- Make sleeping fun by having your child draw out their dreams in the morning (this can also help reveal night time fears)
-Give them a hug and tell them you will be back in 5 minutes to check on them. Do this every 5 minutes until they are asleep. If they are sleepy they will usually fall asleep within 5 minutes, If they are still awake at first, seeing you will reassure them that you keep your word and they are ok.
-Tell them you want to play a game. they need to lie down and not be quiet and you will go out and time them, stay out and let them fall asleep. In the moring tell them they won and give them a small prize. if you walk past/check on them during this game and they are stillawake tell them "you are doing great you've been quiet for 5 minutes."
-Tell them a night time story in the dark. Make up a story or memorize the basics of one and improvise instead of reading one. This will avoid a child trying to look at pictures and will let them relax in the dark. This will also let their immagination be the illustrator.
Making the decision to nurse is usually pretty simple for many, however actually doing it can be somewhat more difficult. First we go through a lists of positives then we will try and tackle a few issues.
Here is a very comprehensive list of information on nursing, every issue is covered. Here is a good but small question and answer sight on nursing. 
Be sure to eat Healthy when nursing just as you did when pregnant, avoid alcohol, caffine, and artifical sweeteners. Be sure to chosoe fresh fruits and veggies and crackers as snacks instead of foods lile chips and pack a healthy lunches to avoid the fast food/low nutrition craze when on the go.
-Stop in to a local LaLeche Leauge meeting. There is most likely one near you as they are the largest international nursing orginazation in the world. The meetings are free with trained teachers covering every subject and a great way to meet parents.
Cleaning Up
-getting kids their own cleanup toyswhen little makes fun out of cleaning.
-Have a double sink? Pull up a stoll, wash dishes on one side and let your little onesplay with strainers, funnels and plastic dishes on the other side in the bubbles.
-put on some music and dance and sing while you clean
make cleaning a game. try putting away all of one color or see who can finish first
-Make a chart with weekly chore on it and catagorize them. (such as simple cleaning: dusting, picking up the hall, putting cloths in hamper. living room: pick up the floor, sweep, vaccume,) have each child complete one chore a week fromeach section on the list based on first come, first serve. for each they comeplete put a sticker by their nameon the chart. atthe endof the weke letthemchoose a reward fromla list you compiled (stay up and extra half hour, extra computer time, $3.00 etc)
- make a chore card game: take old playing cards and get blank address labels and write chores on them that you need done weekly (draw pictures to if you wish) have every member of the family draw cards from the deck until they are all gone (make sure they are all age appropriate, you can remove or add chores depending on the age level or if you dont need some thing done that week) when all the cards are claimed let everyone try and trade chores for ones they prefer (dont make anyone trade, the point is for kids to understand there are some things they must do but at the same time there are some they prefer tom ake it more fun) then go off and do your chore cards. Throw in a ONE free card to let them op out of 1 chore, their choice, if they draw it or a "dirty work"card for the job everyone hates to do.
Respect and Empathy
Learning Empathy is at the base of many things. To teach respect, manners, kindsness, and help avoid arguments a child needs to learn empythy for others and to think for themselves. relating to how others are feeling and thinking aout consequences of their actions will help curb all negative behavior before it starts.- Help children to get involved by donating, volunteeering, visiting a nursing home or cleaning up a park.
- Give them books that promote positive behavior. )see recources) Keep in mind though that some kids, especially teenagers, don't like characters who are 'goody-two-shoes.' As well "superhero" charecters teach children you so need special powers to make a difference, that doing something good has to be a big act like deffeating a bad guy instead of something simple like holding the door for another) and that you deserve to be famous with huge praise if you do something great. Look for books about ordinary characters who perform acts of caring and concern.
- Few children today are able to see and understand so clearly what their parents do to earn a living, spend a day and take them to work and have them help out around the house. Describe how money works., and give older children an allowence for completeing work.
Odd Situations
Curbing rude behavior before it starts
-Its never to early to teach manners. The best way to teach a child manners is to start early and to have them yourself. Try to say please, thank you, excuse me, ect. to your child around the house as well as your partner.
-watch the shows your child watches. Children pick up rude behaviors from shows even if they are shows meant to teach good manners. Children pick up on negative behavior a lot faster then good behavior and younger children may miss the point to a show. watch the show and if you see a correlation in actions cut out that show. If its a show they really enjoy talk about situations that occured in the show that are bad and what they Should have done or mention the good behavior so that your child will notice it as well (say "boy that was sure nice of him to share that" etc.)
- Point out when another child has done something nice and say, “Wasn’t that a nice thing to do?”
- Kindness to animals can be taught at an early age by showing babies and toddlers how to pet and be gentle with stuffed animals.
Encouraging manners
-Talk to your child about feelings and how everyone has them. If your own child is teased by another, encourage him not to respond by teasing or getting angry.
-- Teach children to be polite by not talking when someone else is taking or on the phone. Have them blow a bublle in their cheeks (by puffing their cheeks) tell them not to pop their bubble until you ask them to. Praise them if they do.
-For older children some areas offer etiquette classes, these not only teach manner but can help increase self-esteem.
- No matter what their age be sure to have your child send thank you cards for gifts and kind actions done by others. Thie can be even more fun by letting your kids make thier own cards (use card stock paper, cut in half and folded in half. Decorate with stamps, markers, stickers or scrapbooking items. Buy invitation size envelopes sold whereever you usually buy envelops.)
- Play the "mind your manners" board game (avalible at specilty/learning stores) this game is good for children and toddlers and is simple enough you can expand upon it and talk about each situation card. Also there are many cards so if you remove 1 or 2 you dont want no one will notice. Other manner games are avalible to at shops that you can play as a family.
-Infants all have individual temperments but under 18 months of age there is not much you can do to avoid a tantrum. Most often with infants it is usually because of a struggle when an infant wants something (like a breakable object) or doesnt want something (like a diaper change) in these cases it is best to give a very brief reasoning "That could hurt you" and distract them with something else such as another toy, a song and dance around the house, ect. Baby proof your house to help avoid tantrums.
-. The more random the better to catch the infant off gaurd and distract him. Try to offer support and understanding and rest assured for most infants who do this it is just a phase.- talk about feelings during the day and let them familiarize themselves with many words to express themselves.
-let them make choices to let them feel more incontrol of their life so battles of control will not arise as often (use multiple choice questions "carrot or orange" not "do you want to go to bed now?")
- Ask them how they are feeling.
Bath Time Games
While some children love bath time others dred it, or may like it one day and not the next. - Make bathtime fun by bringing toys into the water
- playing in the bath can be learning time too with measuring cups, funnels, water wheels, and "wet books"
- Add some bubble bath. Having a bubble bath can be a fun change of pace to lure your little one in. Be careful not to use bubble bath every time though as repeated exposure can cause urinary track infections.
- let them add a few drops of food coloring to the water (don't go over board and don't add it to the rinse water).
- Be gentle to the eyes. Protecting your childs eyes doesn't always end with tear free soap, lots of children are sensative to having water in their eyes. Foam bath hats are a great way to keep the water out of a childs eyes and off their face and are buyable at most stores. Wash clothes don't work well to protect the eyes as they absorb water and often the child still gets upset.
- Gerber foaming bath soap is lots of fun with out the mess
- Bath mits shaped like animals are great for interactive play with your child.
- For stubourn bath times Let the child pick out some special toys for the bath that arn't regular bath toys (ones that wouldn't rust/break in the water.)
- Bath crayons are great toys for children and are made of soap so wash off easily. For best results wash away within 5 minutes of drawing with. (tip from others who have used them: don't buy 'Crayola' bath crayons- they are very hard to remove. Do try 'Alex' brand bath crayons: they are simple to remove)
- Use your wrist, elbow, or other part
- warm up their clothes before they get out
- water temputure  how your child will preffer one tempeture usually within a few degrees (ex: while the excepted range is 95-100 they may get to cold with anything under 98.)
- Make yourself a bath apron to keep dry and dry your little one with by taking a big towel and sew a large ribbon or twill tape to a short end. Space 2 peices of the ribbon (one on the right one on the left) and tie it behind our neck so its comforatble and cut off the excess.
Learning Disipline
Disipline and learning go hand in hand, It is important to help a child learn from each situation and what is expected. If you teach children How to behave you won't need to punish them for misbehavior.
- use 'I' sentances instead of "you" sentances when angry. 'You sentances are often procived by others as orders, insults, or guilt trips and can significantly lower a childs self-esteem. By using "I" sentances with your children not only will you help them understand how you feel and what you expect but it will give them an invaluable tool when older. Most relationship experts agree that 'I' sentances are the way to talk to your partner when angry so your children will have learned how to express their feelings and work out problems easier in future relationships.
 "You" are all dirty, don't come in here : "I" think you need to go wash your hands berfore you eat dinner.
 "You" are so loud I can't get anything done : "I" can't hear the person on the phone when there is so much yelling.
- talk about the problem and the consequence. tell them what they did wrong AND discuss the situation. how were yuou feeling? what were you trying to acomplish by doing this?? did it work?? what were the results from your actions?? what could you have done instead?? help them if need be think od what they should have done instead. (this important part is often forgoten, parents point out the displeasing behavior but don't tell them how to correct it. For toddlers keep your explinations short but do tell them what they should have done instead as they cannot talk things out as well.)
- Compramise! A child of any age is more likley to follow your requests if it is something you both have compramised and agreed upon.
- teach cause and effect. Remind kids that each action has a reaction. Help them think about consequences from their actions in the near future as well as the far future so they will learn to think before they act.
- Encourage empathy and respect. by exposing children to differences among people, and empathy for other peoples feelings, for animals, and caring for all living creatures they will be less likely to lash out at others or break other rules you have regarding these issues.
- Talk about what your child watches. If you see your child showing situations you don't agree with but believe your child is old enough to watch the programing then discuse the situation during the commercials or later that day. (ie: 'did you think that was nice of him to do?" "what would you have done?")


Telling Lies

Teasing and Bullies


Internet and Video Games

Money Matters


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An it harm none, do what ye will.