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Out and About with Kids - Issue 136
January 22, 2010
Hi there! ....

Today I have released my new e-book - Blending Life and Lessons. This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle. Read more

This week our daughter Naomi, turned 13. What celebrations! I never cease to be amazed at how much learning goes on when we have a party. For years now the kids have done most of the organising for each other’s parties. They cook and decorate the cake, plan the theme, food, games and design the invites. They set up everything and they run the party themselves (I tend to have a cuppa with my friends - the other mothers!) When they plan a party not only do they have to work together and consider each others ideas and preferences there are a lot of practical skills being worked on too. With this party this week the kids used a couple of computer programmes to make invitations and then flashcards for a game, a thesaurus to find synonyms for ‘bizarre’ (which was the theme for the party), they made a huge game board (like Snakes and Ladders) on the floor which used some spatial awareness and thinking skills, they made a huge dice, they thought through a practical sequence to the games to play, considered little people as well as the kids their own age, and I am sure there was more. These things alone covered math and language as well as people and organisational skills. So the next time you are floundering in your homeschooling – let the kids throw a party and let the learning begin!

Live life with your kids!

Out and About with Kids

Taking our children out in public can often be a negative experience. There’s a lot to do to get ready and then the child embarrasses you or hassles you and no one has a good time. We are left wondering if it is all worth it!

I’ve listed some generic type of situations we find ourselves in where our children misbehave and we don’t quite know what to do next: Shopping, doctor’s appointments, church, visiting friends, travelling especially by plane, playgroups, local café / restaurant

A child is likely to

  • bite, hit, pinch, pull hair
  • annoy, tease, or bully other children
  • disobey instructions
  • disrespect other people
  • damage property / toys
  • don’t eat their food
  • throw tantrums
  • get stubborn and simply refuse to co-operate
  • have emotional meltdowns
  • become clingy, shy, insecure (or seemingly so)

There are several aspects to dealing with these behaviours
  1. They are just kids and these things will happen
  2. What happens at home will be reflected when we go out
  3. We have to do our part

They are just kids and these things will happen
If this is just normal childhood behaviour why do we cringe, get embarrassed and over-react? This is something that you are going to have to answer for yourself – in fact you may already know why and you may have more answers than I list here.

Could it be that -

  1. You react because you want to make a good impression on the people you are with. It is important that people think you have it together and think well of you.
  2. You get exasperated because you feel out of control.
  3. You get annoyed because you have this goal: you just wanted to have a good time, have a break, get something done
  4. You get frustrated because you know you’ve told them the right thing to do before – they seem oblivious to all your previous instruction.

Instead of these reactions we need to know what our goals are, what our standard for behaviour is and how we are going to get our children there. If we are not sure, we need to find help, do research and come up with a plan. When we are intentional and secure in our goals, we will be more likely to live them out regardless of where we are.

We need to be committed to giving our children unconditional love. This means, regardless of how many times they stuff up, how many times we are disappointed, frustrated, or even at a loss – we will show them love. How many times when we are out and about do we ensure that our love is showing? We must find a place where we can balance love and acceptance with instruction and training.

What happens at home will be reflected when we go out
This is a tricky one to discuss because we don’t really want to highlight the fact that things at home aren’t what we wish them to be. But the truth is that training has to be done in the security and boundaries of our home life. Oddly enough our children often throw a spanner in the works by acting completely out of character when out and about. Your training at home will show in the way they respond to correction in these situations. Either way, the bottom line is that we must be training at home.

How can we be training for these social situations?

  1. Teach obedience and self control as a way of life
  2. Role play – a great way to walk through social situations
  3. Be familiar with sign language / signals to communicate reminders to your children
  4. Give consistent instructions at home, and out and about
  5. Be consistent with consequence and follow up at home and in public
  6. Teach your children to show respect to others

We have to do our part
To be fair to the child not only are they expected to act like a well behaved child but we should act like well behaved parents. Do we?

No social situation ever takes us away from the responsibility of being a parent. We represent our family where ever we go – even when our children are not with us. But when they are with us, we have to be the parent; it is always a hands-on role.

What happens that is that when we get out and about we have extra things on our mind, and our parenting sphere plays second fiddle, our vague connection with our family comes to a crashing holt when our child ‘suddenly’ does something inappropriate. If we were acting like well behaved parents, we would be aware of our child before this happened. Aware of what their needs were for them to behave correctly in this situation. I am not saying that we can avert every negative behaviour but we can certainly stop it in its tracks from becoming habitual behaviour.

Some questions to ask ourselves when we are considering taking our children out of the house-

  • Is it realistic to take my child out? Are they hungry, ready for nap, or already overstimulated?
  • What is their attitude like today?
  • Considering where I am going, am I going to be able to be a parent? Can I relate to my child, help them, continue training them, correct them, and love them?
  • Are my expectations realistic? Do I have a plan?
  • Will I follow through with training and consequences?
  • Am I prepared to pull the pin and come home?

These questions are not aimed at making us decide to stay home every time, to always use a babysitter, and to avoid social situations with our children. On the contrary, we can aim to have our children join us in any family life activity but we need to see the seasons of life. We need to take a season to train our children, to give them the skills necessary to be with other people, and then we can enjoy a social life with them beside us.

Website Updates
NEW! Blending Life with Lessons e-book - This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

Heart Focus Parenting - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Live life with your Kids Blog
Do you read my blog? Live life with your Kids Blog is where I jot my thoughts throughout the week and share things happening in our family. You are welcome to visit!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
  • Be a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Family Life – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • A Homeschool Thought – Discussing homeschool issues

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