Monday, August 09, 2010

simplifying life with kids (part 2)

Here are a few more pointers in the ongoing quest to simplify our lives while raising kids:

(7) Don't schedule too much
* At this stage in our life, this hasn't become much of a problem for us. My kiddos are only 2 and 4, so we haven't quite reached the stage of non-stop practices, recitals, sleep-overs, etc.... BUT my goal is to remember how valuable down time is for a healthy childhood and to stop myself when the urge to over-schedule rears its ugly head.

(8) Have Dedicated Family Times
* For us, this is dinnertime and the weekends. During dinner, we talk about our highs and lows and name 3 things we are thankful for.
* I want my children to have fond memories of mealtime and sitting around the table as a family, so I have made an effort to keep things more peaceful at the table......which is not easy when a certain 2 year old refuses to sit in his seat and throws food at his sister, and when a certain 4 year old continually irritates her brother by kicking his seat and taking food off of his plate. I have tried to maintain my patience, speak in a gentle tone and minimize time outs during is a work in progress!!

(9) Simple Clothing
* For me, this means buying "outfits" or clothes that are easily interchangeable whenever possible.
* I also try to go through closets and drawers every couple months and donate what we have outgrown = NO overstuffed drawers or closet rods!!
* One thing I need to work on in this area, is being more discriminating when choosing which clothes to SAVE. I have big plans of having a quilt made for both kiddos out of their "special" outfits, but one box a piece should really be enough.

(10) Always Bring Snacks
* I have found this to be an invaluable tip many, many times but there are still times when I forget to bring snacks, and I always end up paying for it!
* I recently bough a cute basket at TJ Max with a little chalkboard label on the front that I put in the pantry and stocked with pre-packed snacks. This has served 2 purposes: the kids are able to get their own snacks in the afternoon (limit 2) and I can easily grab a couple packages on our way out the door for the diaper bag.
* Always pack 2 of each snack to minimize bickering over who gets what and Always bring water bottles

(11) Keep an "Emergency Kit" in the Car
* I have done a version of this in the past, but really need to be more consistent. Items to include: baby wipes, change of clothes, little activities/reading material, a towel, sunscreen, bug spray, small first aid kit

(12) Communicate as a Family
* I still think my kids are a little young for a very structured Family Meeting time, but as they get older, I love the idea of having a regular time to come together as a family to talk about prayer requests, household issues, to plan trips and fun outings, to compliment and thank each other, and to discuss ways in which we can improve as a family.

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