DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, ah, August: it signals the beginning of school, which means we often hustle back into a routine after relaxing all summer.  Simply by their nature, these cycles we go through in life help establish necessary patterns to guide our days.  There are times we may feel constrained with the thought of having to follow a routine, but it is very beneficial for everyone, not only the children.  Stop for a moment and visualize how you feel when your morning goes smoothly, or when the children go to bed without a fight.  In the morning, you are on time without needing to rush or bark orders; in the evening everyone knows what to expect and cooperation is achieved!

Tips for Creating Daily Routines:

-As a family, identify the steps needed for the routine.  Begin with morning and evening plans.  Allow the children to provide input into what they view as important; their ideas may surprise you!

-Limit the number of steps to a maximum of 6 steps.  If there are too many steps, it may become overwhelming for the children.  You will find an example below.

-Use a chart or list with pictures for each step or task.  Post the list in a family-friendly spot to encourage your children to “read” them.

-Review the list with the children until they cooperate on their own a majority of the time.  Be prepared that children may need continued support and reminders even after they perform tasks independently.  (In the same way traffic signs are posted as reminders for us even after we “know” the rules and obtain our license, we are more comfortable with them and rely upon them often.)

-Be consistent with following the routines because that will reinforce them.  Children thrive on predictability because it helps them to feel empowered when they know what to expect.

Sample Bedtime Routine:

Steps: Put on pajamas; brush teeth; get in bed; read; hug and kiss; lights out.

-Lay the children’s clothes out at night.  Include socks, shoes and backpacks in a designated place.

-Begin your bedtime routine 30 minutes before your ideal time for the children to be in bed.  On average, it takes about that length of time for the children to complete all of the tasks necessary to be ready for bed.

And finally, you can transform a routine into a ritual by incorporating a family-bonding moment during the task.  For example, give eye contact and smile or hug your child during the routine and bonding is enhanced!  The positive attention will become a natural reinforcement for the entire family.

Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

For additional tips on routines see http://washington.cce.cornell.edu/home-family/parent-pages/challenging-behaviors/the-importance-of-bedtime

DLS Helps to DIY

Parents, it is already July and that means summer is here in full force!  July makes us think of being outside, beach balls, and fun-in-the-sun.  How can we make common summer activities become family bonding time?  Below are some ideas to help you:

  • Beach Ball Bonding: Get a beach ball and a sharpie marker.  On the ball, write questions in each stripe.  Have the family stand in a circle and pass the ball to each other.  When you catch the ball, answer the question your hand lands on.  Answer the question aloud for the entire family to hear.  Suggested questions include: What is your favorite color and why?  If you could have any super power what would it be and why?  What is your favorite thing about yourself and why?  What is your favorite thing about summer and why?  When you woke up this morning what was the first thing you thought about and why?  What is your favorite family memory and why?  There is no limit to the questions you can ask.
  • Bubbles With Baby: Blow bubbles with your baby nearby and encourage him/her to reach for them, and crawl or toddle after the bubbles.  In between blows, encourage your baby to look at you and engage in joint eye contact and smiling.  But be cautious about blowing into your baby’s eyes or face.  While keeping eye contact, enunciate the word “bub-ble.”  When repeating the word, touch your baby gently while talking and your child will learn the word quicker.  You could also make silly faces or stick out your tongue and have your baby copy you.
  • Balloon Toss Tango: Make some water balloons and play some lively music in the background.  Before the typical balloon toss begins, choose a partner to dance with.  Instead of holding hands, you and your partner both hold onto the balloon but try not to pop it!  Get creative about where to place the balloon while dancing such as back-to-back, hip-to-hip, etc.  While dancing, see who can go the longest without laughing.  In pairs, race with your balloon to a designated spot.  For the typical balloon toss, yell out some of your favorite things when it is your turn to toss, or say one thing you love about your partner.

Several of the ideas above can be used to enhance family bonding for other routine activities such as while riding in the car or sitting around the dinner table.

For more fun summer ideas visit:  https://www.familyeducation.com/activities-crafts/the-ultimate-summer-bucket-list-for-kids-and-families

Nina Solomon, Development of Living Skills Instructor, Ohio State University, Extension, Butler County