miracle behavior charts

We use a behavior chart at home. The one we like to use is similar to this:

We use it for 5 year old S. I like that we can switch out the behaviors and write in our own depending on what she needs to work on a little. We have a reward system set up too. But ours isn’t as good as her teacher’s.  It’s like the one at school is a miracle! And you know what the reward is that all the kids strive for? LUNCH WITH THE TEACHER. Brilliant.

It’s a vertical chart with colors. Everyone starts out the week on the color green, which is in the middle of the chart. Throughout the week, she tells you to move your clothespin up or down depending on what is going on. You help a friend tie her shoes – you move up . If you are on purple (3 colors up and the highest on the chart) at the end of the day Friday, you eat lunch with the teacher one day the following week. If you are on red (3 colors down and the lowest on the chart) – you get a call home from the teacher.

The kids LOVE it. They talk about it constantly. And we’re almost 2 months into the school year and there is no sign of it wearing off. It’s like a miracle.  Part of it is not wanting to disappoint the teacher, but part of it is that amazing rewards.  Kindergarten teachers sure know what they are doing.

I think I’m going to give something like this a try in my home!

 

this kindergarten thing

I was extremely apprehensive about my daughter starting kindergarten this fall. For one, she’s my oldest so there was a bit of a “letting go” struggle on my part. Additionally, she turned 5 at the end of August (in our state, the cutoff is September 1). So she is the youngest in her class. And in this day and age where “redshirting” is so common, I couldn’t help but wonder if I should be keeping her home until she was 6.

But she (and we) have adjusted quite well.  She comes home happy and energized (this was surprising for me, I was sure she’d be exhausted). When I ask her about the best part of her day, she sometimes says “I don’t know mama, kindergarten is so much fun my whole day was the best part!” (which is awesome to hear). She is learning A TON. She went to preschool for 2 years so she knows letters, sounds, and basic sight words – but she’s so proud of how she’s learning to make her letters the right way, the difference between “I am” and “Am I” as well as learning French.

She takes the bus (that was another huge area of worry for me). But somehow, she manages to get to school and back just fine and LOVES that as well.  As a child, I remember loving the bus ride too – so it’s no wonder.

I just hope she continues to love learning.  I’ve noticed at the bus stop, the kindergarten and first graders are the most excited to go. Once the kids hit around 2nd and 3rd grade – they seem to not enjoy it as much (no doubt because there is a little less playtime). Our state is a common core state – so there is definitely more structure than I would like for a 5 year old, but somehow the school has managed to make it fun.

So I’m thrilled S loves it. And I hope her love of learning never fades!

Daily Prompt: Enlighten

via Daily Prompt: Enlighten

I think kids have a way of doing this. Enlightening you.  I feel like before my kids were born, I definitely enjoyed life. My husband and I spent may years traveling, hanging out in coffee houses, and just relaxing.

But after kids came along, we started to sort of see things through their eyes. And I feel like doing so gave us some sort of enlightenment. As far as what is real, what is not…what is important, what is not. What our priorities should be, and what they shouldn’t be.

I feel like we have a great balance today, thanks to them. Kids have a way of centering you, and in our case, enlightening us as to what our focus in life should be.

mom guilt and vegas

I feel like I have a different kind of mom guilt these days.

My husband and I were in Vegas a couple of weeks ago.  We went back and forth between going Fri-Sat or Sat-Mon.  A lot of things factored into where we ended up (Fri-Sun); a work presentation I had to make on Monday, coordinating with my sister’s flights, and childcare since this was a kid-free getaway. One of the things we considered doing if we stayed through to Monday was the Route 91 festival, since I am a huge country music fan and it would have been a dream come true.

So we ended up coming home Sunday night. And we all know what happened late that night, when hubby and I and most people in the country were tucked safely into bed.

In the midst of this horrific event we are all still processing, I’ve been reading the stories of the helpers. The heroes.  And I’ve been feeling a tremendous amount of what I’ll call “mom guilt” because I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not the typical feeling I get of sometimes wishing I could do better for my kids (have seen a fall coming) or of wondering if I’m doing the right thing being a working mom. I mean that I think I would have run if I was there so that I could make it home to my kids.

That hit me hard. All of these people, these helpers, that stopped to shield other people or get them to safety…they all have families and many had kids. And who knows, maybe I would have done the same thing. But when I saw those people running, I felt like I would have been one of them. And it makes me feel like I need to do some soul searching and as cheesy as it sounds, become a stronger person. That if I had run instead of stopped to help, it would be selfish.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s something that I’m constantly thinking about. Some have told me “no, knowing you, you would have stopped immediately if someone needed help.” But the truth is, in the moment, would I have? Or would I have gone into self-preservation mode picturing my kids waiting for me back home?

I hope I never have to make that choice. But watching the story on the news unfold over and over again, and feeling that it hit so close to home for many reasons, has really made me think.

my time

I always stay up WAY too late. My husband is constantly telling me, “you need to get to bed early today. You’re so tired…don’t stay up to late tonight!” But the reality is, I need it. The time, the quiet, the wind-down. My kids are usually out by 8.30 each night. Then my husband and I sometimes eat if we didn’t eat with the kids (a few times a week, this is our way of having mid-week date nights; we put on a movie or a show and eat at our own pace, and talk). Then, it’s time to pick up the house, pack lunches, fold laundry, the usual.

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By the time ALL of that is done, it’s about 10. After that, you’ll find me in the bedroom, either sitting in bed with my laptop (like I am now) or sitting in my favorite chair. I usually don’t go to sleep until about 11.30 or midnight…and my alarm goes off around 6.20.

I wouldn’t trade it.  I know I’m probably getting an hour less of sleep each night. But without that time…without a few quiet minutes (or an hour) to myself, I don’t get a chance to just be ME.  Not mama, not a wife – just ME.

And isn’t that an important part of being whole? I LOVE my role. I love waking up every Saturday and making homemade pancakes or waffles for the family. Love taking my kids to their weekend activities. To birthday parties. To visit relatives.  But we all know that taking time for ourselves is critical to being our best selves. Yes, I do things for myself outside the home – an occasional girls night, mani pedis, etc. But the 60-90 minutes of sleep I may sacrifice recharges my batteries every day.

So yeah I may be a little tired the next morning. But, I know it also means I’m my best self.

 

what others think

via Daily Prompt: Irrelevant

Today’s daily prompt is actually something that I was thinking about last night. Sometimes I need a reminder that what others think is irrelevant.

Now, I’m not talking about being rude or insensitive to people.  I’m talking about decisions I may make for what I believe is in the best interest of my family.

My 18 month old goes to bed at 7. To early? It’s right for my family.

I still pick my 5 year old up if she’s crying. Too old? It’s right for us.

My kids are only in a couple of weekly activities. Not enough? I’m not interested in over-scheduling.

So this is a good word for today. Irrelevant. 🙂

She didn’t call for me

I tucked her in as usual….after a nice, full family Saturday. We had a great day…pancakes for breakfast, soccer, and fun outside with neighborhood friends in the afternoon.  
As I finished the dishes in the kitchen and watched the monitor flip between her and my 18 month old (yes, I still keep a camera in my 5 year old’s room) something stopped me. I realized that she hasn’t called me back after tuck-in in a few weeks. 

It used to be EVERY night. Sometimes twice. Three times. Sometimes she couldn’t sleep. Sometimes she was thirsty. Sometimes she had to go to the bathroom. It was one excuse after another. And I’d be lying if it said it didn’t get a little irritating as I wore a path up and down the stairs and to her room and back. 

But now that I realize she hasn’t called – I sort of miss it. Maybe because in a way it let me see her again before I’d miss her all night. Or maybe because I see this as a step towards independence. First getting on the bus to kindergarten…and now this. 

So tonight I’m a little sad. But proud of her. But I do feel her slipping away….just a tiny bit.