Parenting Tips: Positive Discipline, Part Four


This is a continuation of positive discipline.  See my last post here.

5.  Make-ups (Restitution)  This one requires that the child do an act of service for the person that was hurt during the misbehavior.  And it is more than just a hug or a quick “I’m sorry.”  However, the act of service has to fit the crime–meaning that you can’t require that your child clean his sibling’s room for 2o hours if he took one toy.  It is our responsibility to provide opportunities for our children to feel responsible for their acts.  We can’t force them to feel anything (aka we can’t force them to feel sorry or sad about taking a toy) but we can provide opportunities for them to serve and be responsible.

6.  Non Verbal Communication.  I wrote next to this one:  “Stop lecturing–it doesn’t work.”  This one is pretty obvious.  Don’t say anything while teaching.  It doesn’t mean you can’t use words–you just can’t say them.  Here are a few examples:  if you tell your kids no TV before your homework is finished–just put a piece of paper over the TV with a smiley face on it.  Or you could put a note in the bathroom to remind them to take their library books back to school.   A great example of this is President Henry B. Eyring’s mom as told here. Look under the heading, “Family First.”

7.  Putting Children in the Same Boat.  This also works well for tattle tales.  When a child repetitively tells on the other child, and then then you punish the one who didn’t tattle tale, you are teaching the first one that tattle telling that is a good behavior and the one who misbehaved in the first place will continue to misbehave because he acts out the way he feels how you think of him.  So with putting children in the same boat, when the first child comes to tell on the second, ask him “What do you think we should do to Billy?”  Then the tattletale will come up with some discipline he thinks is good enough to teach Billy his lesson “We should send him to his room.”  Then you suggest that  “we should do that to both of you.”

A couple of other possibilities with putting children in the same boat:

Instead of allowing the first child to pick the punishment, the parent picks something that both children will need to do together.  We are trying to teach them how to problem solve themselves, not come to the judge (us.)  Both children could make cookies together or clean the glass door or window together (one on one side and one on the other.)

You could also send them into a room together to solve their problem and they can’t come out until the problem has been solved.  In many cases, however, their is a dominant child who will “solve” the problem benefitting themselves and not the other child.  So when they come out, ask both of them if the issue has been resolved.  This will allow you to see if the dominant child controlled the communication or not.

Another way to do this is to have the tattle tale say three nice things about the other person before they tell what the problem was.  It is also appropriate to have prayer with both of the children–inviting the Holy Ghost–and to have each one pray as well.  This helps the tension fizzle and allows the Spirit to work during problem solving.


We have been sickies!


We have all been sickies around here!  Scott and I have a slight cold…Katie had these weird goopy eyes and an eye infection last week and then this afternoon we saw that Rachel is getting those same goopy eyes.  Yuck.  I am ready to be done with all of it.

And to make matters worse, the tire on our car went flat last week.  So a trip to the mechanic and a bunch of money later, we have a two new tires, a newly aligned car, and new brakes!  I am really not complaining too much…we have driven this car our whole marriage and have not had to do too many car repairs on it.  But I really don’t enjoy spending money on car repairs…or house repairs for that matter.

Sorry for the lack of updates, I am looking forward to some better posts this week.

Provident Living: Budgeting, part 3


See my first two budgeting post here and here.

Now we are getting to the hardest part of budgeting.  First, we figured out the most important categories–where we should put our money first–and then we added a few miscellaneous categories.  Now that we have added up the total and it equals what we make, we have to actually keep our budget up.  And that’s hard.  I usually visit my budget once a week to update it and make sure that I know where my money is going.  For some people, once a week is not enough.  I talked to one girl last night and she said she has to update hers daily so she knows exactly how much money she has to spend.

Why is budgeting important?  If you know where your money is going, you can stay out of debt.  And if you can put a little away in savings for a rainy day, you can avoid putting emergencies on credit cards where the interest is high.

So set up a budget, and then update it frequently.  You will find you might save a lot more money when you actually know where it is going.

(If anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to teach this during an Enrichment evening, I would love to hear them.  Leave me a comment!)

Low key day


This is how I found them yesterday after coming downstairs from getting ready.  I love that even though Katie isn’t feeling well, she still shared her blanket and put her arm around Rachel while they were watching cartoons.

We’re taking it easy today.  Poor Katie has a bad cold and an ear infection (you can see how miserable she is by looking at her eyes in the picture above.)  Hopefully the pink meds that she has to take will help kick whatever is making her sick.

So our to do list today includes lots of cleaning the house and laundry for me and plenty of movies and juice for Katie.  And probably lots of songs and stories for Rachel.


When I started this blog, it was mostly dedicated to pictures I took of my kids (or other people’s kids) and was updated sporatically.  Now my blog is evolved and I don’t post as many pictures of the girls as I used to.  On Saturday, I went with a friend and we took some pictures of my girls.  I know…very convenient…I invite someone to come take pictures of MY girls.

Here’s just a few that I really liked.  Some of the others will make an appearance on this blog later.




Parenting Tips: Positive Discipline Part Three


Here are the next two tools of positive discipline.

3.  Practice.  This is where you actually demonstrate to them how you want something done and then you practice it.  It is definitely more for children than for teenagers.   However, I think there is opportunity to use this with teenagers, but it might be more appropriately entitled role play or something.  Since I don’t have teenagers, any of you out there who do have or have had teenagers can comment!

One of the teacher’s examples included sitting in sacrament meeting.  If your kids aren’t behaving, try practicing at home how to sit in sacrament meeting.  Or if your children drop their backpacks in the middle of the room when they come home from school, have them go back outside and walk back in, taking their backpack with them and putting it where it goes.  You might also use this tool with shutting doors, turning off lights, making beds, etc.

It is important that you DO NOT do it in anger.  It is so much more effective when you are making it fun.

4.  Family Meetings.  These are to used to discuss whatever issues the family has.  They do not have to be a part of Family Home Evening (in fact, the teacher suggested not making them a part of that.)  These meetings need to happen regularly, start with a prayer, and have an agenda.  Anything can be part of the agenda–planning a family vacation, family activity for the month, problems getting jobs done, calendaring, etc.  Family meetings are not a jury/trial, but they can be effectively used for solving problems between children.  For example, if a very tidy child comes to you complaining about his sibling–who he shares a room with–has really made a mess of the room, it could be brought to the family meeting to decide how to compromise.  It was suggested to put a piece of paper on the refrigerator where anyone could write down items for the family meeting agenda.  (This is really good for tattle-tales.  Just tell them to write down their problem to discuss in the family meeting and by the time the family meeting comes around, it doesn’t really matter anymore.  Or if the problem does matter, it can be discussed in the meeting.)

The goal of family meetings is to teach children how to problem solve–basically learn how to be married and solve issues through to the end.

Provident Living: Budgeting, part 2


See my last post about budgeting here.

Now that you have figured out your most important categories and have totaled them up (and remember, the total has to equal less than what you earn), you can start figuring out how much money you have for miscellaneous categories.  (ie–FUN categories.)  However, these fun categories still have to fit within your income.

Like I mentioned, ours include entertainment, hobbies, home improvements, vacation, and saving for Christmas.  Each of these categories have been made into what we call “rolling categories.”  That means that if we don’t spend all the money we have allocated each month in that category, it rolls into the next month.  For example, if we have $50 in our entertainment budget, but we only eat out once and it costs us $25, then we take the $25 and roll it into the next month.  So next month we have $75 to spend on entertainment ($25 from last month and a new $50 from the current month).

We do rolling categories for a number of different things:

  • Car Insurance:  I hate having to budget for car insurance because it is such a big hit to our budget every six months.  But with a rolling category, we save a little every month towards it and when the bill comes, we are prepared with all the money.
  • Clothing: We rarely spend a little on clothing every month–rather, we spend a lot at once
  • Home improvements:  These are improvements we want to make on our home–painting, landscaping, tools for Scott to work on the house, etc.
  • Home association fees: Once again, I hate to have this bill hit our budget all at once.  Especially because it comes in December
  • Hobbies: This is for things that Scott and I want for our leisure activities.
  • Vacation: We don’t always have a vacation in mind, but we have money saved for when we do.
  • Giving: This category is for if we want to donate outside of tithing and fast offerings.  It can include donating to charities that we feel strongly about or donating money back to our university.  Most often for us, it includes buying really expensive cookie dough from the neighbor kids who are selling it for their elementary school.  Or buying Girl Scout Cookies, Entertainment books, helping boys out with Scouting money, etc.
  • Christmas: As Dave Ramsey says, “Christmas is not an emergency.”  It comes on the same day every year.  There is no reason to go into debt for Christmas.  So we save every month over the course of the year so that we can have money to spend for Christmas.

One of our favorite toys


Katie and I pulled out the blocks today that she received as a birthday present one year from her grandma (maybe her second?  or third?  I really can’t remember now.)  And I was reminded how much I like these blocks.  They are painted really fun colors and the best part are the little animals and people.  Whoever painted them was really creative!  The idea is really simple–the animals and people are both made out of wood doll heads or pegs that can be found at a craft store.  So if I was that creative or patient, I could make my own.

And I love watching Katie and Rachel construct buildings and imagine what the people are doing.  Rachel is more into building towers and she loves it when Scott or I build a tower and then she gets to knock it over.  Katie really likes to build houses and put the people and animals inside it.  Today Katie and I built a bridge with a pathway leading to it.  I tried to put the dog under the bridge, but she told me what there was water there.  She was ok with the duck under the bridge because ducks can swim.



Staying at zero

Remember that awesome post I wrote yesterday about staying at zero?  Yeah, well it didn’t work so well for me today.  I was more grumpy than I was happy and more frustrated than I was helpful.  My poor kids.  And I have to say they put up with me rather well.  I am so grateful for their forgiving attitudes.  I am sure that we are given children to learn from rather than to teach.

The other day I remembered to take some pictures of our daily activities.  Here’s a few of the girls first thing in the morning.  We are all about babies and strollers around here.


Katie feeding her “baby” Eliza.


Rachel going to school.