Joanna Anastasia

toddler

How to teach kids to share

How to teach kids to share, naturally, without the drama, and making it fun. Simple parenting tricks that work!

I really believe that teaching kids to share is also encouraging them to help each other and cooperate. That in fact, it’s about teaching them to work together, to play together and to respect each other. And it’s also helping them to figure out how to fight and how to make up after. And that in the end, it makes them feel capable and strong while helping them have strong relationships with other kids, and being assertive while staying compassionate. And I always felt that if my daughters will really learn to share, they’ll become the best of friends. That’s why I’ve been thinking a lot about how to tech kids to share, and how to make it really work in our home.

You see, I believe it’s fine it they fight, as long as they know how to resolve their issue afterwards, and in their age, most of fights happen over sharing, or lack of it. So for me, helping them to share is a part of my bigger goal: making sure they’ll have a strong relationship, and that they’ll always know how to get over a fight.

So at least once a day I’ll ask Lili to help Rose with something, “read” her a book that they’ll both hold, draw together on one piece of paper or prepare me a felt-veggie dinner together. And then, once they did something together, and once Lili helped her little sis, all that sharing thing comes a bit easier! And that way also Rose learns that it’s actually nice to share and she feels better about it too.

Of course, my kids are not angels, and they do fight over toys, even after all the sharing they do. But it never lasts long, and recently I don’t even need to intervene, as they’ll excuse themselves on their own, cuddle and find a way to play together afterwords.

How to teach kids to share

How to teach kids to share

How to teach kids to share

So here’s what I do to help them to share, naturally and on a day-to-day basics, :

1. Share one bedroom.

I really believe that because they sleep in one room, and are the first people they see in the morning, they are more used to other people in their personal space and therefore are more open to sharing. Also, since they have this time just for the two of them, when thy fall a sleep and when they wake up, they are closer together and more apt to share things.

2. Do crafts together.

I often set up a craft for the two of them do create together, on a large piece of paper. They have usually one set of paint or crayons to use, and so naturally they need to take turns. There’s no ” that’s mine” talk, since the art piece is supposed to be an effect of their work together.

I think that creating together, sharing a big sheet op paper, paint and crayons makes for a natural setting to share, where the things are less important than the act of creating, and so they concentrate on their creative play, and sharing comes along the way.

3. Playing games where they need to cooperate.

I used to encourage imaginative games where they both had a role to play: setting up a restaurant from felt food, doing puzzles together, simple game boards or pretended play. Now they are used to these and often play together without me setting anything for them.

4. Give them positive attention when they help each other.

Kids do a lot of things only to get our attention. Sharing or not might be one them. So me, I used to come to the playroom every time I heard a cry. And at some point there was a lot of crying in that room! At some point I realized that instead of talking to each other they’d cry, only so I would come and solve their problem.

So I changed my approach. I stopped reacting to cries, and when they would come to me saying : ” she took that, she did this, she doesn’t share” I’d ask: “Why are you telling me this? Was it me who took it? Ask her to give it back, tell her you’re sad when she takes things away from you” And in the end they learned to work it out between them. And they stopped crying just to grab my attention.

So now, when they play and share, I’ll pop in to the play room and say that I appreciate how they share, and I love to see them playing together.

5. Don’t force it.

Last but not the least, I try not to force it. As a friend once told me, for a toddler to share a toy, is as difficult as for an adult to share their spouse: unimaginable!

So that’s why even playing in taking turns might be very difficult for little kids. But I believe that even small kids understand when someone is sad, and they want to fix it. So instead of pushing them to give their toy to play, I would show that the other child is sad, and maybe we could make him happier if we shared for a minute. Or I’d try to show them how nice it is to exchange toys.

So while my kids are definitely not perfect they do cooperate with more ease lately. And since I implemented these ways in our every day life, they do share more and fight less over toys. And I hope these tips might help you too!

Get your kids excited about bath time!

some kids just hate bath, but it doesn't have to be that way! This one app can help you get your kids exited about it once and for all! #parenting #toddler #motherhood
Some kids just love bath time, splashing in the water for hours, and playing with the rubber duck. Others on the other hand, need to be dragged to the bath, washed while they cry and scream, and bribed to get their hair washed. And I know both types very, very well, as each of my daughters is very different when it comes to bath time!

You see, my first baby hated water. Since the very first bath, she was always crying. She stopped when she was around a year old, but only to fight me terribly on washing her hair. I had to get very, very creative to manage keeping her clean!

And then, my second, this tme water-loving baby appeared, and things couldn’t be more different. She loved splashing in the water, and cried when it was time to leave! But one thing stayed the same: washing her hair is always a struggle.

sometimes getting kids to bath is such a struggle! But sometimes a cute character can help!

So I assume there must be something about bath time that you struggle with your child as well. Some kids dislike taking bath and getting all wet, some hate the water in their eyes, some just can’t get to potty train, while others struggle with brushing their teeth and hair. Teaching kids to take care of their body is never easy!

get your kids exited about bath time

And that’s exactly why I got very exited when Olivia from Dr.Panda approached me and asked if I’d like to try their new Dr.Panda Bath Time game. Because I really did!

And what I learned from being a mom for almost five years now, is that sometimes kids change their perspective simply by seeing someone they like (like a friend, sibling or a carton character) doing something they themselves dislike and fear.

Get your kids exited about bath time.

So I’ve let my daughters explore this game, and I loved seeing their excitement over cleaning the teeth of the little panda bear, washing his face, making him go potty, and finally giving him a big bubble bath and washing his hair! They even got to wash his clothes!

They both played, and it’s no surprise that each of them concentrated on a different aspect of bath time!

As if re-living what they usually don’t like (with these cute animal characters) helped them see the other side of it. Helped them understand the necessity of it and see that it can be also fun! So my bath disliking Lili, bathed the panda three times in a row, and my bath loving toddler (potty trained this spring) have got the little panda to go potty and wash his clothes and then face over and over again.

get your kids exited about bath time

And in the evening, when it was their own bath time, we talked about the panda bear and his friends, and laughed that we’re washing, brushing and flushing just like he and his friends did! They really got exited about bath time all over again, and it made it so much more fun and easy then usually!

Disclosure: I received this product for a review, all opinions remain my own!

3 tips for parenting a strong willed child

As a mom of a stubborn and determined – aka strong-willed – little girl, I get to practice my patience daily, stretch it and finally pick my battles over and over again. Because parenting a strong-willed child, isn’t like regular parenting. It’s dealing with a child who’s more determined, more active and often more emotional than other kids. It’s parenting a child who has a drive of two and energy of three. It’s pretty exhausting sometimes.

3 best tips that have saved my sanity while parenting a strong-willed ( stubborn and determined ) child!

But it’s also pretty rewarding. And as much as it can be difficult (because the strong-willed child will always want things their way!) sometimes I think it’s for the best.

I believe that my daughter was meant to be so strong, and my job is to never break her, just guide her toward right choices. Because these stubborn kids (who, quite frankly, sometimes drive us crazy!) will grow to be the most persevering adults, great leaders and passionate workers. Grown-ups knowing what they want and how to get it.

And I really think that strong-willed children need mostly clear values, encouragement and love. And that we’re not here to break them, or to show them that they’re not in charge of their life. Because they are! ( Yes, we are responsible for them as long as they’re little, and it’s our job to keep them safe, but it is still their life.)

And if they have more drive, more passion and more energy than anyone else, then what they really need is a clear compass, so they can use their strength to do good in life and to have a place in the society.

strong-willed child

So I know that my biggest job as a mama to this particular strong-willed girl, is to help her find her purpose in life, to encourage her and let her grow. Even if it’s not always easy to be honest!

And so here are my three tried and tested tips to keep these strong-willed kids out of trouble, following our guidance yet still following their own path:

1. Listen to what your child has to say.

A strong-willed child really needs to express their thoughts and emotions, needs to be heard and acknowledged. Your child will do it ether in a form of a tantrum, either calmly and nicely! And it’s up to you to slow down, get at their high and ask them:” What do you want now? Can I help you? How do you feel? What is your idea for that?” Now, it doesn’t mean that you’ll always agree to their ideas and fulfill all their needs ( like a “need” of sweets before dinner). It means you listen, and you can talk about it. You can try paraphrasing their emotions:” I hear you’re upset. You’d like to eat more chocolate.” But if it’s against your plan, and there’s no way they are right, then look at tip 2!

2. Make clear rules and stay consistent.

Since strong willed kids want things to always be their way, they need clear rules of where they can choose, make a decision or propose a solution, and where they need to follow your lead. Because as soon as the situation is unclear, you can be assured that a strong willed child will try to take the lead! for example, we have a picture of four of our family rules, and another one of our stay-at-home day plan. So there’s no discussion about bedtime following dinner, or playing with balls at home ( that’s a no!) etc: the rules are clear and they don’t change.

3. Give them responsibilities, and ask them to help you.

A strong willed child want’s to feel in charge and capable, so instead of braking that need and turning it in to a rebellion of destruction ( you know the tantrum type of: I-don’t-know-why-I’m-upset-but-I-can’t-calm-down) give them a job to do. A responsibility. For example, when your strong willed child is at your feet whining when you cook, give them a real job to help you with. When you’re out and about, ask them to be in charge of a grocery list, or of picking the best apples, or taking care of their siblings. Depending from their age, they’ll love to be in charge of different things!

strong willed child

And I’m sure that by implementing these three simple tips, your strong willed child will be more cooperative, less explosive and overall more calm. Though, next time your stubborn kid does throw you a huge tantrum, just breathe and remember that your child is simply practicing his leadership skills on you! And that it’ll all pass!

#YourPerfect

What is perfection, and how do you deal with imperfection? Because let's face it, life with kids is messy, noisy, and tiring. One moms honest opinion. #parenting

When I was in my twenties, a notion of perfect was a gathering in some distant and exotic place with a big group of friends. I used to say that travelling far is my version of perfect. Oh, and staying up late. And it’s funny when I think about it now, but I used to hate mornings. I’m really not a morning person. I need at least two coffees to wake up. And don’t even try talking to me before seven am! But something have changed.

It may be the kids, or just settling down, but now, when it’s early, sunny and warm, and the birds are singing around and I look at my two crazy little girls, I really feel happy.
It’s the mornings with my daughters, that are my favorite moments. Especially since it’s warm enough and we can finally eat outside on our patio.

Seeing my two best people in a whole wide word, in their pajamas, with their crazy, unbrushed hair, and their morning smiles full of energy, makes me feel like I’m in a perfect place.

And don’t think they’re super well behaving and that our mornings are all calm and peaceful. Nope, we’re far from that! Actually, my personal crazy pajama duo is always very grumpy before breakfast and so eager to eat that they’ll usually spill both milk and juice. Then, they’re fighting over the purple cup. And they want to prepare their own breakfast. Without. Any. Help. And that really means mess.

But you know what? I still love it. This is my perfect. Breakfast outside with my daughters. The morning light, and their screams next to the singing birds. My toddler making a huge mess with the peanut butter. And my preschooler serving everyone milk and spilling a good portion of it on the table.

Life with kids

Though when I look at this messy breakfast table, what I really see, is my girls learning new things, I see their determination, and I see them acquiring new skills. And I love this sight. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I wouldn’t change it for anything else in the world.

My perfect isn’t clean, nor exotic. It’s not fancy, nor original. My perfect is this morning light, my daughters dirty faces, and my big mug of fresh coffee. It’s looking at their bright smiles and realizing that I got so lucky to be their mama. And the mess? Well, it’s a part of a deal.

I’d love to know what’s #YourPerfect? Be sure to share it on Instagram !

And to read more about #YourPerfect campaign, click here !

How to handle toddler meltdowns.

how to handle toddler meltdowns- 6 ways to save your sanity and teach kids to deal with their frustrations

The first time my sweet daughter thrown a real, loud and oh-so-strong toddler meltdown, I was in disbelieve. Second, third and fourth I was as speechless and shocked as for the very first time. I remember, that as I was looking at her screaming and crying on the floor, I was actually thinking that something must be wrong with her nervous system. Or that’s she’s sick. And that can’t be really happening.

And then, after these first couple of times, I was just angry. Why didn’t she talk to me, I was thinking, why does she have to scream like this? I had no idea at all how to handle toddler meltdowns. I had no idea what to do. I was just angry, anxious and I felt like a terrible mother for not knowing what to do and for actually getting very emotional too.

Fast forward two years, and here I am, a veteran in toddler meltdowns. My first-born is still capable of having a meltdown every once in a while, but at four it’s much different then at two. She screams a bit less, and usually repeats the same phrase over and over, like a broken record. It’s my younger daughter who’s in a full swing of a terrible two meltdowns now. Every day for that matter, she’ll be either dramatically loosing her breath while preparing for a big, loud cry. And every day, once or twice, she’ll be laying on the floor, screaming, or clinging to my feet while crying.

But I don’t get angry anymore. Their crying and screaming doesn’t affect me as it did. And a lot of times I just feel like laughing to be honest! their dramatic meltdowns look more like a joke to me, then a serious thing. And I feel a bit bad for them too now, thinking how difficult it must be to be them.

So the big question is: how to handle toddler meltdowns?

But actually, an even bigger one is: what is more important, stopping the screaming and the crying right here right now, or teaching your kid a lesson about dealing with their emotions?

I know that for me stopping the noise was the priority number one, but in the end the tactics I would use, didn’t really help my child calming down. Time out, would only make my daughter more hysteric, and raising my own voice would just make it all louder, and more out of control.

Because in the end, the meltdowns are a sign of a baby who’s learning to cope with life deceptions. And it’s just a phase, it’ll pass, and the terrible toddler will grow and learn how to feel and express their feelings.

So here are some of the tactics that I use to handle toddler meltdowns:

1. Stay calm and speak with a calm voice.
As long as you’re calm, there’s at least one person who’s acting reasonable. And as much as your child’s anger can affect how you feel (probably pretty bad), your calm can affect how they’ll feel (hopefully better). So stay calm, don’t raise your voice!

2. Don’t try to reason, ask many questions or explain too much. They don’t listen.
If your child is throwing an epic meltdown, explaining him why its unreasonable, and asking detailed questions won’t help, just might make him feel more confused. While a toddler is in a middle of a very emotional reaction to something that didn’t go as it should ( like a wrong color of a cup) he simply can’t reason. The emotions are overwhelming your toddler so much, that he needs to calm down before talking.

3. Time in and time out.
From my experience, the best way to calm a toddler in a middle of a meltdown is by giving him time in: cuddling, saying that I understand that she’s upset, that it’s ok to feel angry, and that it will pass. A cuddle, a kiss and a consequent calm reaction, can really do wonders.

However, as they get older, and their vocabulary gets sufficient to express their feelings even during a meltdown, sometimes time out will work too: if a child is less in a middle of an emotional tantrum, and more in a stubborn phase of anger, then leaving them alone to calm might be the best. I usually say: when you’ll be ready to talk, come back, I’ll be waiting for you. But as long as you scream please stay in your room.

4. Don’t give in.
If the meltdown started over the wrong color of a cup, or a wrong spoon, or you doing something they wanted to do, don’t give in. Ask them to express their wishes next time and promise that you’ll listen, but don’t change things only to make them feel better. Because what they’ll learn is that by screaming and crying they can have what they want. Be gentle and understanding instead, give them a kiss, but please, don’t change that cup or you’ll have to deal with a spoiled toddler!

5.Talk it over after the meltdown.
Once your sweet baby is back, and the tears have dried, talk it over. Remind them that they need to use their words when they are angry, and that “we don’t hit and throw things in our home”. And remind them that you always love them!

6. Be prepared for the early signs of meltdown.
Remember that a tired, hungry toddler is very prone to meltdowns. Keep them fueled by healthy snacks, and don’t complicate your life with sweets: giving sugary snacks will give your sweet baby a boost of energy, only to crush in a meltdown a little while after! So keep the cookies and chocolate for your sweet-craving moments, and give them more fruits, cheese or low in sugar crackers instead.

I know that raising a toddler isn’t easy, but the meltdowns are just a phase of a child learning to deal with the difficult world surrounding it. And one day you’ll wake up, and your toddler will be all grown up. So go ahead, and cuddle him hard, because it’ll all pass, the bad and the good!

How to help babies sleep better

How to help babies sleep: what to do when you're exhausted and you need help with your baby ( or even a toddler) not sleeping well!

If I’d have to describe my first couple of months as a mother in only one word, it would be exhaustion. Yes there was love, and there was amazement and pride and joy, but mainly exhaustion. Nobody really knew, except my husband, how bad it was. That for the first four months of our parenting journey, I never slept more than two hours at a time. That I cried in the middle of the night, rocking my baby to sleep, and going crazy.

And if you know me, then you know that I hate the notion of sleep training. That every time when a nurse proposed to me the method consisting of not attending my baby’s cry for 5 up to 15 minutes, I would get really angry. Because during my psychology studies, nobody ever told me that you should leave babies needs unattended, nor that you should let then cry alone in their crib. So for me, sleep training was not an option.

Then we had our second daughter, almost two years ago. Her sleeping pattern was completely different, with sleepless nights starting around the age of 6 months and persisting for over a year.

So when Kimberly from the Baby Sleep Site approached me and asked if I’d like to see what their members area has to offer, I was very curious yet suspicious. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was scared to see the cry-it-out approach as a main method. But guess what? I got smitten!

I started going through the members area, and I got really amazed how full of resources it is! If only I had that when I was a new mom! If only I got this membership as a baby shower gift ( instead of all of the tiny socks that got all lost and mismatched)! How much easier early motherhood would have been!

Help baby sleep better

Then I started reading about toddler sleep, because quite frankly, sleepless nights are not totally over for me. With my 24-month old Rose, we do get them every week or so. And it hit me, how simple the answers can be.

But getting back to the babies sleep. There are some things that I did learn over time. But how much easier it would have been if I had a resource like that at my fingertips. Do you know that your babies schedule does matter, and that even while practicing attachment parenting, you can make your babies routine work for your both babies and your sleep? That even if you nurse, and rock your baby before sleeping, you can still help your baby to sleep better, by planning more the day, meals and/or nursing sessions, nap times and bed routine?

How to help babies sleep better

There’s so much in to it, and baby’s sleep is really more complex then I thought. And I know it’s hard to get the answers when you’re exhausted because you didn’t get a half night sleep (not to mention a full night sleep) in months, or even years.

That’s why I’m so impressed by the members area: tons of articles, for different stages, from a new-born to a preschooler. Tons of recourses to help you with different sleep problems. Ebooks assessing the biggest sleeping issues. Personalized schedules for babies and toddlers (because yes, routine is a parent secret weapon, and yet it’s so hard to have one that works well for mom’s needs and child’s sleep needs!) And, the cherry on the top, there’s always an option of having a live chat with a sleep specialist!

Help baby sleep better

So while I was reading an e-book assessing my current situation, toddler sleep problems, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wished I have know about this site before! And while I’ll be educating myself more about my toddlers sleep, I really encourage you to go and have a look of what the Baby Sleep site has to offer!

Disclosure : I reviewed this product for a compensation, all opinions are 100% my own !

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