Frustrated with Morning Routines?

Schedules. I know. As a parent of small children or even school age children, we cringe when we hear the word. It seems impossible to bend those little wills to co-operate and stay on a schedule. And then, we all know, we feel like failures, slaves to this impossible task master, Schedule.  As a homeschooling parent you may not think we use a schedule, but a good working routine is key to homeschool.  So how do we do we get everything done before we have to leave or start school?

First of all, after reading Positive Discipline: The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving Skills I learned that Children need to do something to contribute to the household before breakfast. So a morning act of kindness or morning job was added to our routine. We also have our children say prayers, make their beds, get dressed, pick up their room, and have a ten minute scrpiture-study. Then we have breakfast and do the dishes. Thus we have the house mostly in order before we start our lessons. 

I quickly saw the benefits of  requiring jobs before breakfast.  Breakfast was at a set time and only available for a certain amount of time. Then we just had to say “When your routine is done you may eat breakfast.”  This helped a lot, but I had a hard time dealing with the sadness of  someone not getting breakfast. I saw a lot of time being wasted still.  So how could I eliminate the waste of such a precious asset?

As I observed my children I realized that they were getting distracted while picking up their room, or while walking from job to job. Now some parents don’t want to remind their children to get jobs done and then just let them suffer the consequences.  But I for one appreciate a reminder when I get distracted, and believe that we help our children succeed when they have an occasional, appropriate reminder. So how could I remind and refocus my children without nagging?

I tried timers, but children have no concept of time. If they are too hot or bored and you have them wait for something, a minute feels like an hour. If they are having fun being distracted, they are shocked when their timer rings. So they needed something that helped them know how quickly time was passing.

A neighbor friend gave me the answer. She had come across a musical morning routine. Check it out here:

This “game” really changed how my kids got through each morning.  After a couple years the music became old, and we also had some other things we wanted done in the morning, so we decided to try making our own.  We made a list of things we wanted to have accomplished in the morning.  Then we took a few days and timed how long it took for each thing to get done. Then we found songs that the kids liked listening to and assigned a task or two to each song.  Then we let the kids listen to it and told them what each song was for. The next morning we turned it on after prayer and they started their jobs! They would come running in occasionally to ask what they were supposed to be doing in this song.  When we gathered for breakfast we took a minute and inspected all their work, and asked what they read in scriptures. Wow! In roughly thirty minutes they had all their work done and were ready to eat! We kept the musical routine going through breakfast and dishes.

Now, it doesn’t always work like that. I have to do an inspection everyday and make sure they are done before they get breakfast. If they aren’t, they have to go finish while we start eating. But it is a great tool for getting the day started on a good foot!

I hope this helps you in your Daily Life!



A Day With Us in Homeschool

How do you homeschool all your kids?
I hear this question once in a while. So I decided to give you a realistic view of what our homeschool day looks like in general. We have a flow we try to reach for everyday. Sometimes it gets done early, sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes there is problems, and sometimes things flow smoothly. And always we are felxible to meet the needs of those around us.
My day starts fairly early. Between 5 and 5:30 A.M. I get up, usually with a crying baby who needs a bottle. After he gets his bottle, he is usually ok to go back to sleep alone, but sometimes he just is wakeful and fusses unless I am holdong him. On those mornings I may go back to sleep, or read for a bit while he cuddles. Other times I use that time to shower, dress, and excersize. I then go make food for my husband before he goes to work.
I start some music by John Williams because he is the composer we are studying this term. I like this time to give the kids to just lay in their beds and relax before starting the day. Sometimes one or two willl come out for a good morning talk, which is always nice too.
Around 6:45 I get the kids up by playing our “Call” song. I play it on the piano, and when they hear it they know the family is being summoned into the living room. Once there, we have a family prayer, read an encouraging thought, recite memorized scripture and sing either a folk song or hymn we are learning. It all takes about twenty minutes, but it starts our day on a good foot. We then start our “Morning Routine” music. In about twenty or thirty minutes the children are dressed with prayers said, beds made, hair combed, a morning job called a family blessing, done, and sciptures read (that one is for children over eight). They are at that point welcome to come eat breakfast which their sister made as her family blessing. We also have assigned buddies for the children over eight. If they can, the big brother/sister helps the younger one get their routine done. I fill in as necessary. This particular morning, I start asking who has their routine done find that my five year old and nine year old aren’t done with everything. So after the blessing I take them back to finish. I help my five year old sort her laundry while my nine year old follows me reading her scriptures out loud so I can help her understand them.
After breakfast, everyone helps clean up. “Many hands make light work” is one of our favorite sayings (except my five year old says “Many hands make lots of work!” Haha.
As they get done we pull out violins and practice for half an hour. Even Mom! We are all learning from an online program.
Most days they get done and still have time for a small break before lesson start. We start a family history or science lesson at nine o’clock, or as close to that as possible. This morning we are about fifteen minutes late. The good weather held everyone outside as long as they could. In fact, we only started then because I take the reading book outside, and start reading. There is inside actvities too, but by the time we get there they are engaged and ready to come in. The youngest children usually color a picture while we read, but this morning they wanted to stay outisde. So every few minutes I peek outside to check on them. This way I was able to rescue the poor cats who were getting sat on.
We get done with our focus lesson, and get a snack out to eat while we read our historical novel that correlates with the history we are covering. This is everyones favorite part of the day. Afterwards, the older two get out sentences they need me to dictate them, and I corral my five year old for a short phonics game. This morning we put all the phonics cards on the floor, and put a pretzel stick on each one. The ones she sstruggles with we put two or three sticks on them. She chooses which ones to jump to, say the sounds, and eat one stick until all the sticks are gone.
After her games, I read a book from my preschool list to her. Today it was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. She has also been enjoying working through The Good and The Beautiful Pre-K book.  So she does some of that while I start helping my seven year old with language arts. We decided to do The Good and Beautiful language arts this year to hellp us get out of the rut we were in. It has definetly been fun! So Today my son dictates me a story. He does a good job! He dictated two pages! We did get interupted once because the two youngest girls fought over some playdoh (their choice of activity while I helped the others). So I stopped writing long enough to help them talk to each other and communicate through their problem. I was pretty proud of my seven-year-old’s story in the end! It had dialog, and sensory sentences (yes I prompted him some but the majority of the words were his.)
Well, because his story took so long I don’t have time to read him his math chapter out of Life Of Fred: Cats. So he takes it into his own corner to read alone -he is an extraordinarily good reader for his age, and I don’t worry about him. So I move on to help his nine-year-old sister.
She would like help reading her Life of Fred: Goldfish, so we move into the living room to do so in the comfort of the couch. Before we go, I quick look at what she has in Language arts. A spelling rule, which means dictation. So I just grab along a boogie-board and her book to dictate after out math. We sit on the couch, read, write some words that use the spelling rule we learned, and read some poetry out of language arts.

From there I am almost done. The little girls are getting hungry, and it is lunchtime. My ten year-old son is all I have left. Today he only has some reading and a page of sentences to diagram. He loves the diagraming and is good at it. So I look at the reading for him, and quick help him with some vocabulary excersizes. Then he finishes his work as I find some lunch for everyone. Today it looks like sandwiches and chips are the winner. Often there is leftovers, but anymore there isn’t enough left from a dinner to feed everyone for another meal. So sandwiches and sometimes soups are my go to for a quick lunch.
As everyone finishes up eating, about ten minutes after we started, I remind them to quick sweep their areas. Within a few minutes the front porch, the entry, the family bathroom, the hallway, and the kitchen cupboards are straightened amd clean. I work with the little girls to clean up the playdoh mess that I forgot to follow through on earlier, and clean up lunch. From here, in the past I had quiet time, but we got out of that routine. I would like to reinstate it, but haven’t yet. So it is pretty much free time. I use this time to do laundry, clean places that need a “mom” cleaning, and whatever else needs done. If I am lucky I get a few minutes to blog! At four o’clock the alarm on my phone reminds us it is time to start dinner. My ten-year-old is on dinner tonight. He likes to make baked beans. So I cut some of the sausages for him while he mixes the pork and beans and other ingredients. It bakes for forty minutes and dinner is ready. My husband gets home from school, and we gather everyone to eat.
After we eat everyone helps clean up. Tonight, since dinner was so early, the kids have time to go play for a bit before our bedtime routine. But at seven I put the youngest three in the tub, and tell the others to get ready for bed as bedtime snack will be served in ten minutes.
Tonight bedtime snack is just graham crackers and a little milk. The kids love dipping them! While we eat we read a chapter out of the New Testament. Tonight we read Luke chapter 6. One of my favorites. Each child has their own New Testament/Psalms and Proverbs book. They are handed out free at our local festival every year. We just found a good use for them. I keep them in a basket on the cupboard and put the basket on the table when it is time to use them.
When our chapter is done, we have a family prayer, brush teeth, and I read out loud while everyone listens from their beds. I hold the yearling on my lap while he drinks a bottle and listens.
Another day is done! I tuck the last kids in, and have a few minutes to call my own before another day starts rolling again! Its just Daily life!

Child training: obedience

“The representative of God …… did not say ‘You shall choose God’s service now; and if you deliberately refuse to do so God will break your will so that you do do it’; but He said ‘….Choose ye this day whom ye will serve’ (Joshua 24:15)” ~ Hints On Child Training by H. Clay Trumbull
“Many parents and teachers use the phrase ‘I’ve told you a hundred times.’ They need to realize that it is not the children who are dense. Children know what works for them. Adults need to learn that telling a hundred times is not effective.” ~ Jane Nelson “Positive Discipline
“Now, if the parent realise that obedience is no mere accidental duty, the fulfilling of which is a matter that lies between himself and the child, but that he is the appointed agent to train the child up to the intelligent obedience of the self-compelling, law-abiding human being, he will see that he has no right to forego the obedience of his child, and that every act of disobedience in the child is a direct condemnation of the parent. Also, he will see that the motive to the child’s obedience is not the arbitrary one of, ‘Do this, or that, because I have said so,’ but the motive of the apostolic injunction, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1: Home Education, p. 161)
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.” Titus 3:1

We all know that obedient children make our lives more smooth, and the days easier. But if you are anything like me the question of how to “make” them obey looms between the dream of obedient children and reality. I wanted to share some things I have found helpful in teaching my children to obey. But first I want to mention that these work better with young children. I am pretty sure your teenager will hate you (and me!) if you try these on them!
Obedience is more of a childhood habit you want to teach while they are young. As they grow older obedience is born out of respect for the authority making the request.

  • First, when my children are small, I teach them the “obedience game”. I state a command and they obey. At first the commands are simple and essential like “Stop! Walk.” “Sit. Come. Go.” As they get better and more capable I give instructions “Go to the fridge and open the door, look what is on the top shelf and come back to tell me.” “Pick up all the pink toys you can find between here and the door and count them.” We practice obedience this way so that when we are out in public or in the middle of the day, I can expect them to listen and know what to do. I give them lots of encouragement as they accomplish each task. “That is good stopping! you followed all those directions! Good job!” I try to focus on the job they did, with honesty, and not what I feel about it. So no “Thank you! I am so happy you obeyed me!” as this can teach them to depend on outside acceptance and praise rather than how they fell about themselves.
  • In the course of our day, when I need a child to do something I always call them to me first. I have learned that if I make a request from across the room I am setting both of us up for failure as they stop listening after one word or so, so ai have to make that one word count. I also have a game where they learn to look at me when I say their name. If, in the moment, they choose to ignore I remind them that we need to practice looking when I say their name. And then I say their name five to eight times, each time telling them to look away again. If they don’t come when I call, or are too involved in a game to respond to their name, I go to them, touch them and tell them to come. While they are with me, we practice responding to their name and then remind them that they need to come when I call. Then I allow them to return and practice coming to my call several times. All of this before I make my request. It probably doesn’t take as long as it sounds, and even if it does I feel it is an investment well made.
  • When they come to my call, I always look them in the eye to make my request. It shows respect for them and me, and it teaches a good habit. It also ensures that I have their attention.
  • I then make my request and have them repeat it back to me by asking “What did I just ask?” or “What are you going to do now? This helps with their follow through. If up till now they have only been going through the actions, they finally get their mind and heart involved by repeating what their plan is now.
  • There is always times when you don’t follow all these steps, or even through the steps, obedience is not observed. When you feel guilty that you didn’t do it right, does this justify the child in not obeying? No. These times you can take the child aside and explain to them that you require obedience always. That they need to remember the good habits you have taught them, and implement them in their lives so that they can become useful and pleasant people. It can also be a good time to talk about obeying cheerfully and the quote from Titus 3.
  • One more thing that you can do in moments where they don’t listen or obey is a do-over. Simply say “Wait! lets try that again!” Try for eye contact and state your request again. Hopefully you will have a better outcome. If not, it may be time for a bigger talk about what is bothering them. (By the way, this one applys well for teens!)
  • As always thanks for reading! Here’s to hoping for more obedience in your Daily life!

Preschool at home?

I have been asked often about how I start my youngest children’s education.  Truth is many are afraid of teaching their own children at home because they don’t know how to give them a good education. But I personally believe that anyone can teach their own children, especially the younger grades. More than that. I believe that we, as parents, can be their best teachers. Why? Because small children only learn from people they feel connected to. They have to feel a personal connection  with their teacher before they can open their mind and heart to learn from them. Trying to succeed can be scary. They need to be able to trust this person asking them to try, trust that if they fail they will be loved and supported still. Charlotte Mason (author of The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason ) called a child’s education “A parent’s sacred duty to God and to that child. That said a preschool education is a fairly easy one to give.

Preschoolers are naturally curious, and always trying new things. Some that amaze us, some that require our patience. We want to cultivate this natural curiosity, and give it direction. We want to celebrate every accomplishment. At this tender age we want to cultivate the love of learning. Learning must mean at least three things: –
– Connection (Positive attention and connection from the teacher)
– Fun (Hands-on, fun experiences)
– Success (enough chances to feel succeeful)
The most important goal at this age is to help them fall in love with learning. So when a child does something wrong, it helps to use gentle language and say “Almost, try again”, or “That is a good try! Lets try it this way.”
The skills I expose them to at this age are, cutting with scissors, gluing, sorting, recognizing numbers and letters, counting, tracing, listening to a story, finding things in pictures, identifying colors, and some physical skills such as crawling, catching a ball, jumping a rope, and skipping.
Here are some things I like to have that help the children discover these skills.

This fun game gives the children a chance to sort, recognize and corelate numbers, find and identify shapes and numbers, and match them up! It is a great favorite at my house.

Lacing cards are great for helping children coordinate their little hands and fingers. Even toddlers love to try to get the lace through the holes. This can also help teach patterns.

These are a great way to intrduce puzzles. At only twelve peices they are not too long that the child wants to give up, but not so easy that they get easily bored. And four come in one box! One of my two year olds used to pack this box around every where he went. Then he would sit for two or three hours ptting them together, tearing them apart, putting them back together!

With these wipe off dice you can make up endless games. Just write a letter, number, or dot of color on each side and toss it! Whatever it lands on have the child identify. Super fun!

These blocks are so much fun! They help the child match, and think creatively about spaces. These and other skills they teach, are important for math success later.
As for tracing and writing, I teach cursive first, and have my preschoolers make sandpaper letters. But other options are

The other thing I do for scissor skills  is give them the ads from the grocery store, and have them cut their favorite things out. Or one day we will cut all the red things, another all the blue. We even fold papers in half and glue ( the things we have cut out on to pages labeled with the right color.
One more thing: collect lots of good literature! Good stories and beautifully illustrated books to read them. Have a great time incorporating learning into your Daily Life! Check out our post on favorite bunny books!

Just thought I would share my favorite treat to keep on hand!

My Story: The Meaning of Discipline

When I first started parenting, I felt  was in uncharted waters. Not only had I never had my own kids before, I had definite ideas of how I wanted to parent that were very different than what  saw a lot of around me. As I went throught those first few years, I swung like a pendulum, from permissive, to authoritative and overbearing. I could never feel secure about what I was doing and Though I could see my goal, my perfect picture, I couldn’t see the road to get there.

I loved parenting books and read several trying to find my guiding style. I first had the opportunity to look into love and logic. I took classes, and started implementing it with my 18 month old daughter.  I can say this, it definetly brought results! Ones I wasn’t sure I liked. I still wasn’t the mom I wanted to be. I Found myself spending too much time thinking of consequences, and then not wanting to follw through on those consequences because they felt unfair to me! I kept at it, thinking it was the only way to discipline without spanking. When my daughter was four years old she didn’t like me. She didn’t even acknowledge when I said her name. And she certainly wouldn’t do anything for me.  I realized it was time to throw out the idea of discipline and go to reaching her heart once more. I didn’t even ask her for anything, I just filled her poor, empty, dry, little cup. Within a month or two she started responding to me again, and even doing things I asked.

I am not saying Love and Logic is bad, I am saying for me, the way I was using it, was. I manipulated my little girl in the name of discipline until she was so hurt that she wouldn’t even listen to me.

I looked for something else. I admired my friend’s children’s behavior, and talked to her.  She spanked. I felt torn. I knew I didn’t want to spank, but I wanted kids that obeyed like hers did. I finally decided to give it a try. I read the books she handed me and dove in. It was wonderful!…… for the first few months. The kids obeyed, I hardly ever had to spank. It did help me feel a little more empowered as a mom, which I needed at the time. But I still didn’t like the mom I was. And it only got worse.  I realized I couldn’t spank anymore when I would feel calm at the beginning of the spanking only to lose control during it, and hate myself after.

So I threw all ideas of discipline out. I prayed, which I should’ve done more of before. I decided that the most important thing  was to keep my Heavenly Father’s Spirit with me. So anything that didn’t produce His fruits (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperence) wasn’t ok anymore.  I didn’t let myself get caught into anymore books to read but I prayed to find the path I still knew was hiding somewhere. I was determined to find it even if I had to pave it.

I began to study the meaning of discipline. I found that it came from the latin word disciplus  which meant ” to teach”.  A disciple was a willing convert. How I wanted my children to become willing followers! But I needed to take the time to convert them. And how do I do that effectively?

Next I thought about this “rod” spoken of in Proverbs. I felt there was more to it than just a stick. I felt it was reasonable to asssume it was talking about a shepherds rod, and imagined a shepherd with his sheep. Now, a shepherd does not hit the sheep with his rod, or they learn to run away from him. (Could that apply to children as well?)  They only use their rod to guide the sheep. I was liking this train of thought,and wondered what else the shepherd uses the rod for. I imagined a shepherd walking up a steep mountain, using his rod for stability and strength.

“So the shepherd also uses the rod for himself!” I thought. Thats when I realized the rod was talking about the Word of God. It felt like an major epiphany, and I was excited. If I took the true meaning of discipline and put it next to this I got “Discipline is to teach the Word of God.” What a statement! It completely changed how I looked at discipline. It is not about making a child suffer so they “won’t do it again.” It lined up perfectly with everything I had learned.

About the same time I started homeschooling. I felt it was not for the education, but that it was very important to keep my kids close to me. When I heard the term “attatchment parenting”, I decided that was worth looking into, as it was what I was after, right? I prayed about what book to buy to learn from and decided on Attached at the Heart Publisher: iUniverse Star. I related to every principle in this book and wanted to know more. It mentioned Positive Discipline as a way to discipline the children in a way to preserve that connection, and it gave some principles as guidelines. I needed more, I knew. So I prayed to find more material on it. Within the next two weeks sometime I went to a booksale of discarded books. There on the table was the a book titled Positive Discipline: The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving Skills. It was the best fifty cents I ever spent. This gave me a starting place. It put into wordsw every goal I had made for myself and it gave me a pathway to get there. I suddenly felt I really could be the mother I wanted to be! It wasn’t just a vain hope. I kept looking for supporting information and came across If I Have to Tell You One More Time...: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Remindi ng, or Yelling. This held a plan on how to apply the information without being overwhelmed. It helped so much in making a huge change in how I responded to situations and in the atmosphere in our home. I was finally training myself to be the mom I saw in myself! I am far from perfect, and so are my kids, but I have so many more tools now. And just as with physical work, and the tools that make it easier, I feel these tools have encouraged me and made my job more enjoyable. I hope you too can find more tools to help in your Daily Life!!

How I potty trained my daughter easily

Potty training can make the most stalwart parent tremble. I know, because I was one. I confess, life gave me the neccesary experiences to make me a little gun-shy. But I did gain humility! And a lot of understanding.

My first daughter was not quite two when she showed interest in the potty and I figured she was ready. Besides we had another baby in diapers by then.  So we began. I gave her a small m&m when she went to the potty and I gave her the chance every 30 min. She did great!  She told me potty, she kept her pants mostly dry, and I felt like a succesful parent……… For two weeks.  Then her accidents became more frequent. It annoyed me, and I hated that it hurt the bond we had had through the process. So began the accident battle that lasted FOUR YEARS!!

My son came along, but I wasnt going to try until he was older. I had heard boys were harder, so I waited. I had also heard that it was good to catch the window of time that they were interested, so I didnt wait too much longer. Since I was still struggling with accidents in my daughter I sought more counsel from other mothers. I decided to try putting a large T-shirt on him and leaving him bare.  I might have been lucky but he did NOT like making a mess on the floor. So he quickly learned to go to the bathroom where I had a little potty set up for him.  He was trained in two weeks and did not regress as my daughter had done.

My third child, my son was trained in nearly the same way by his grandma while I was on a trip.  He also did not regress or have accidents. I started to feel a little more confident in the potty training arena again.

Then my second daughter turned two and again showed signs of being ready.  I tried the same tactic that had seemed to help my sons be so successful. It seemed to work magic again and she had enjoyed it. ……… for two weeks.  Then she apparently decided it was not just fun, it was work to go potty. And again we were in a battle of wills and accidents for another year. Again our relationship was damaged. Again I hated it.

My third son was potty trained quite easily and I decided that the saying about boys being harder was absolutly wrong.  So far my girls were much harder. Impossible might be a better word.

So my darling third daughter and sixth child I was not going to tackle so early. At 22 months, however she had different plans.  I would find her playing in the toilet with her cothes off more than once a day. She told me potty all the time. she loved to go sit on it. In the middle of church service she would say “Mommy! I need the potty!” Everyone would look at me, expecting me to take her, and so I would.  I was rather annoyed and I decided to train her as she seemed so determined. I put her in a long dress and left her bare, but took her to the bathroom every half hour.  She seemed to purposely wait until she was in the kitchen, just after we had tried to go potty, to make a puddle on the kitchen floor. And her brothers thought it was so funny. It was a really bad combination. She got tons of attention for having accidents, and nothing I could do could out weigh it.  I tried to put her back into diapers only to have her take them off and make puddles for her siblings to laugh at. It was a nightmare, and I felt helpless.

I decided to try a new approach. By this time she was two and a half, and my patience was thin. I tried to not let it come between us and strove to not react negatively when I changed her.

One day I had a lot of energy and was teasing her and laughing as I changed her. I said “I Love you!” as I let her go. She turned around to say “Yep, but you dont like me when I wet my pants.”  I felt shocked. She must’ve still gotten the vibe of my feelings of frustration that I had tried so hard to hide.

Since I was learning a lot about positive discipline a couple months after the afore mentioned incident, I decided to try talking to her about her accidents. I started by saying I was so proud of her for trying to go potty and keep her pants dry. (Even though it didnt feel like she put forth effort, I still tried to acknowledge her possible efforts.) Then I said I noticed that she had some accidents. how did she feel about it. She sighed like she was emotional and said “I just am playing and I dont want to miss anything. Then my pants are wet even though I go potty!” I gave her a hug and said it is really hard to miss the playing while you go potty. I added “I know that you will get better at leaving your play while you go potty so your pants can stay dry. You are getting big and thats what big girls do. I am so glad you are trying to be big.” After our talk she did an AMAZING job of keeping her pants dry. She still had about one accident a day, but I could tell her efforts were doubled.  She started doing preschool with me this year and that helped her feel bigger and more successful as well. So her accidents are more rare now, and when she starts again I know she needs a shot of confidence. A reassurance that she is getting big and that I love her for who she is, not what she does. Can you blame me though for being a rather burned out when it came time to think about potty training my next daughter, who came right after her?

I had no motivation to start potty training my youngest girl. We had a great relationship and I was afraid of letting it be damaged again. So searched out a connected way of potty training. Meanwhile she learned to take off her clothes and diaper, signs I used to look for to determine readiness. I read enough that I was determined that she could potty train herself when she was ready, and I mean really ready.

I started by just talking to her about going potty, and taking her in with me when I went. I told her that soon she would be big enough to go potty like me. Sometimes I would ask her if she wanted to try to sit on it, and accepted her answer whether it was yes or no. I wanted to respect her on everything. There were times I felt a little discouraged and like she would never be interested in it, but I never let myself pressure her.

One day she said she didnt want to wear a diaper. She didnt like diapers she said, so I asked if she wanted to try wearing panties like a big girl.  She said yes. I helped her sit on the potty, put panties on her, and got her dressed. A few minutes later she had an accident. She cried, and said she didn’t like panties. “Panties make me pee!” she stated. I did not tell her it was not the panties fault. I just laughed.

It took her a couple weeks before she was ready to try wearing panties again. Most mornings I would ask her if she wanted to wear a diaper or panties and then respect her choice. I told her to not worry. Soon she would be ready to wear panties and go potty ike a big girl.  After a couple weeks she tried again, only to have another accident. But it didn’t take her as long to recover, and a couple days later she was back in panties. This time she did well. She even told me “Mom! I was going to pee but I stopped it!”

“Oh good! Then did you go potty?”

“No. I didn’t” She said, still holding herself

“Well after you stop it you have to go really fast! ” She said “ok” and darted off. Only  a few days later she was dry, and taking herself to the bathroom. I occasionally ask her, mostly if we are in a store, or outside, so she remembers to go. I don’t have to set any timers, she is completely self motivated to do it. Yes she is a little over three, but it was worth it to wait for her to be wanting it and doing it herself. I feel I didn’t do hardly anything to train her, and we both felt good about the process. It was respectful, peaceful, and connected.  She is now secure in her Daily Life.


Toddler Times!

Do you have a toddler? Then you know what its like to watch your little angel baby turn into an independent, control loving, person full of their own ideas and ambitions, which I might add, seldom line up with your own.  It can be a daunting, frustrating, and even hurtful experience. The intimate and beautiful bond you have shared becomes broken and lost, and it feels like they are just trying to push your buttons. The good new is they are not. They are simply trying to get their needs met in the best way they know how.

All behavior  is communication. When children act out they are trying to tell us something. They may be trying to say they are anxious, or scared. Or perhaps they need teaching or a boundary to feel secure. And of course we all know they need love. The only thing is they ask for it in the most unloving ways!

I do not claim to be a parenting expert, but I have have a passion to share what I have learned through books (lots of them!) and through my eight kids experience, even though I am still learning. So my goal here tonight, is to share my favorite responses to common toddler misbehaviors.  If you have questions, or if I left out the behavior you are struggling with please comment and let me know!

Obedience: Or rather disobedience, right? Toddlers love power. They love to test how much power they have, and how much you have.  So they run from you instead of come when you say. Or just say “No!”. They are wanting to see how you will help them obey. When they see us stand red-faced, angry, and helpless they feel powerful, maybe too powerful. They know they are misbehaving. They essentially don’t feel good about themselves and need our help to feel better. They know we are mad and even if they are laughing, they are scared. They need us to stay calm, cool, and collected while we handle them.

My children will usually cry even if I gently pick them up and bring them back to the place I was when I called them, but that is okay. I usually gently talk to them and say they need to come when mom calls. I can even say I am scared when they don’t come, or take the opportunity to teach that Heavenly Father wants them to learn to be obedient.  Then I take time to train the response I want. After they are done crying, and they are ready to try again I set them up for success by telling them they need to go back to where they were and come this time when I call their name. So they return and I call “Alyssa, come!” This short command is easy to hear and follow. If they come I am overjoyed and openly show them they were successful. A quick celebration with lots of hugs and “high fives” and then I ask then to run back and do it again. We repeat five or seven times.

If they do not come they may need a hand to hold while they walk to where you called them again. And another try. If they obviously know what you want  it can be a signal that they need something besides knowledge. They need motivation. The only motivation that really lasts is attached relationships.  So as soon as possible find five minutes to hold them and read a book. Or play a quick little tug of war over a blanket or pillow. Then as you settle back down, or close the book, ask if they are ready to try coming again. Soon they will come every time on the first call. I can still call my ten year old’s and they come right away.

Attention: It is so frustrating to be ignored. At first I didn’t know how to respond when my child ignored me. Now it is still frustrating, but I go to them, place my hand on them, and say “I need you to look at me when I call your name. Let’s try that again. Alyssa! Oh good job you looked at me. Look over there. Alyssa! Great you remembered!” We repeat in a fun way, looking at different areas about ten times.

Tantrums: These are the times when it can be hard to keep calm while our child melts down, -sometimes even in public!- And we feel a range of emotions ourselves including helplessness.  We cannot make that child stop crying. The thing is that their little brains are overwhelmed with feelings of loss and disapointment.  If we are honest with ourselves we have these moments too (sometimes right as our child is disolving into sobs!) and it takes all our efforts to hold ourselves together too. Realizing this in the moment can be helpful, as thinking helps get our brains in a more relaxed state, instead of in a reactionary one. Think, what do you wish someone would say or do when you feel this way? I would probably like to hear something like “Its okay. I love you. I know you are dissapointed. I know you wanted to stay and play more.  Its so hard to leave when we need to. Do you want to say goodbye? Don’t worry, I will help you out to the car.” And then either carry them or lead them out, while they tell you (through sobbing) exactly how they feel.

Cleaning up after themselves: It is important that Toddlers learn to pick up the toys they use, and the clothes they take off. It helps them feel capable. And when kids feel capable, they behave better. (Just like when we parents feel capable and successful as parents, we find it easier to behave well too!)  Teaching this skill can be as easy as showing them where their dirty clothes go. But with some kids, it takes more practice. More success. So do it over and over until they feel succesful at it!

Most other behaviors can be taught with the same idea of setting them up for success and repeating.  I base my ideas off the methods put forth by Jane Nelson.

If you want more ideas here is two of her books targeting toddlers and preschoolers. Good luck with your toddlers in your daily life!

My Favorite Bunny Books

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I love Bunnies! Don’t you? They are so soft and cuddly. Sitting down to read a good bunny book is one of my favorite moments. I love it when an author can write a beautiful story with something to learn about bunnies.  Here are my and my kids’ top ten favorite bunny books!

This is a beautiful book that reinforces family values. It has a charming story, with darling pictures. What do you think the baby bunny will grow up to be?

This is a classic. We love to read this one out loud and let the lesson of obedience be taught through Peter’s poor decisions.

This is a darling book for toddlers and babies. It is touch and feel, and interactive in many ways. A great book to help children to fall in love with reading!

And if you love that one as much as I did, why not try the whole set?

Here is the follow up on the tale of Peter Rabbit. When he and his cousin try to rescue his clothing left in Mr. Macgregors garden!

This is another really sweet one, written by Margaret Wise Brown. Its prose can lull a child to a state of peace! As well as give you a chance to talk about why a bunny can’t live in the places in the book.

Side note: As I sit here writing, my four year old came up to me to see what I was doing.  When she saw the book pictured here, she exclaimed “That’s the book you have! its the really cute one!” So there you have her opinion too!

This one is another fun interactive one. My preschooler loves to find all the bunnies hidden in the pictures, while I read the poems.

This is a sweet cute little book fun to read with toddlers and babies. It has only a few lines on each page which makes it great for smaller children.

This is another classic by Margaret Wise Brown. Written in such poetry that it can sweep the children right off to dreamland!

This is a fun interactive book again by Margaret Wise Brown (I really like her children’s books in case you couldn’t tell!) The child gets to make sounds as you learn what sounds the bunny hears.

Here is one more by Margaret Wise Brown. Another sweet tale of a little rabbit who almost swallows a bee.  My kids wanted to make sure I added this one.

I hope you have lovely holidays with lots of Bunny cozy moments!!

Have fun reading with your  children in your Daily life!

10 best Read aloud Bedtime books

Our family LOVES to read. Aloud, Quiet, while eating, when supposedly doing work,or sleeping, you name it. I personally enjoy reading, so it is one thing I do with my children for bonding time. I try to read especially at night while they are lying in bed. It gives me a little control over when they settle down and go to sleep. But more important it gives us something good to think about as we drift off to dreamland.

Once I mentioned cutting out the night reading. My oldest firmly disagreed. “No! thats like your six-on- one time with us!” While I laughed I also marveled at how personal reading can be, even when its not to only you.

Reading can also be like a secret tool. If the day starts to get crazy, you feel you have little control left, and you are about to want to yell, start to read outloud instead. Don’t worry if the kids are listening or not, just read.  Watch what happens!  (If nothing happens, try adding some enthusiasm, Some questions, some “WOW! This is neat!”

That said I wanted to share a few of my kids favorite books with you today. Thanks in advance for using the links I provide as it helps support our blog! (Make sure you check the prices of the used version of the books if the new ones are too expensive!)

This is my two year olds absolute favorite book for me to read out loud to her. She loves to re-state the last line of the book "Oh, I am so embarrassed!" This book will have you both laughing as Grover thinks of many ways to try to stop you from turning pages and getting closer to "the monster at the end of the book".

This timeless classic is a Favorite of many generations. You will enjoy learning the benefit of hard work along with your children.

This is a heartwarming story of the curious little monkey who makes paper boats out of the newspapers he is supposed to deliver. As a bonus it gives the instructions to make paper boats as well! You can have a fun project after your story time and lots of good memories. If your family really likes this curious little monkey get the whole set!



After I learned about A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning(TM) I learned how important good literature is to children so I doubled my efforts to read even bigger books to them.

This is a big hit with my four-to-six year old’s. It is full of beautiful illustrations by Ruth Sanderson. Your children will love to just look at the pictures while they fill their mind with good and beautiful things.

Some others that fill their minds with beauty, peace, and love are
 The classic story of sharing,

 a wonderful story about tempers, and how to deal with them.

 This is a cute story in rhyme about how many jobs this tree has!


 This timeless classic is worth reading every night. 

 Another classic whose wonderful rhymes will lull your child off to dreamland.

 This book is full of stories that teach about the animals you are reading about, as well as life lessons in a humorous manner. My children love it as much as i love reading it to them!

 This story is by the beloved author of "The Little Princess" and "The Secret Garden", Frances Hodgson Burnett. This story may be a little less known, but is no less beautiful. It is a lovely story about how goodness and love help people become their better selves. Remember to check the used version if the price is too steep on this one! I recommend this edition because of the beautiful pictures by Judith Ann Griffith) 

Tha’ts all for now, but I wish you the best in your bedtime story choices! Happy Reading!

Parent book list!

Hey there!

Today I am going to give a review on the best parenting books I have read. Hopefully it willl give you something to go off and make your own reading list for the summer! (Quick tip: if you want your kids to read through the summer, and read for enjoyment, model it! Read quietly to your self and let them see!)

Note: Please use the links I provide as they will help support the Daily Life Mom!

:This is a great study into attachment parenting principles.  This was the first book I bought and read on this subject. It is very good. It is filled with scientific research as well as real life examples. It is well thought out and well written. It goes over the eight principles for raising children in an attached manner, and why those principles are so important.  This book also gave me other titles to begin my study on positive discipline and attachment parenting.

  This was the second awesome book I read on this subject. See, in Attached at the Heart: Eight Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children; they mentioned positive disipline as number seven of the attachement principles.  They gave an outline of what positive discipline is, but i needed examples.  I needed instructions! Only a couple weeks later I found this book at a book sale. It was the answer to my prayers!  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it gave me everything I needed to start implementing it into our lives.  My favorite quote from this book is “Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, we must first make them feel worse?”

This book helped me organize my thoughts on how to use and implement positive discipline.  Amy McCreedy gives a good step-by-step way of changing how you parent.  After all we all change only a step at a time! I really loved how in her steps “Logical consequences” was number 11!  There is so much you can do instead of an imposed consequence.  She also has a parenting style quiz to help you pin point where your strengths and weaknesses are.  It is full of strategies and examples as well as explanations of the principles.

This book I read only recently.  But I really enjoyed it! It is a great one to read with our partner because she gives a list of questions at the end of every chapter to discuss and get to know each other better as well as understand why we parent the way we do.  It isn’t a book of strategies, more of how to change your parenting paradigm.  It has a lot of personal growth challenges in it.  It was well worth the reading!  Especially if you are having a hard time knowing where to start changing your thinking.  if you find yourself constantly falling into the same holes, this book can help you understand why, and how to avoid them better.  This is a great resource!!

I hope you have found a gem or two on this list!  Good luck on finding time to read in your Daily Life!