tactics

An Absolutely Brilliant Cure For the Bedtime Stalls

by Samantha on November 25, 2015

Netflix and Dreamworks offers parents a five-minute solution to bedtime stalling tactics

DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.

Ummm….this isn’t my first rodeo. Really.

Yet my twin boys seem to think that it’s a free-for-all when it comes to bedtime. Yes, they think that their various “reasons” (read: excuses) will prolong the inevitable just a few precious moments longer.

Here are some beauties:

  • “I’m not tired!” (usually stated when their eyeballs are almost rolling back in their heads and the distinctly shrill, whiny tone of exhaustion has taken hold)
  • “I’m thirsty/hungry!”
  • “My head/foot/eyeball hurts!”

Get the picture?

It’s pretty clear that anything and everything is fair game in the quest to extend bedtime for even five minutes longer. “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” a wise man once said. He must have had kids.

Not surprisingly, bedtime excuses are universal. According to a global poll by Netflix, a full 61 per cent of parents have the pleasure of listening to the various excuses and bedtime stalling tactics provided by their kids. To this end, it’s probably no surprise then that 79 per cent of parents worldwide are willing to make compromises with their kids at bedtime, spending an average of 20 minutes per night negotiating with them to go to bed. That’s a lot of lost sleep, frustration and tears for all involved.

In an effort to support exasperated parents and wily children, Netflix has come up with the brilliant idea of how to give in to your child’s demand of “five more minutes” by giving them…well…five more minutes!

In partnership with DreamWorks Animation, Netflix has launched the new Dinotrux 5 Minute ‘Favorites,’ the perfect solution for parents who are at the end of their collective ropes.

Because of this option, bedtime now looks like this (at least it does in my house):

Me: “Time for bed. Let’s brush your teeth then get tucked in.”

Boy #1/Boy #2 or both: “My leg hurts!” “I’m thirsty!” “I’m not tired!”

Me: “Okay - how about I give you a very special treat: time to watch a whole Dinotrux show on Netflix and then right when it’s done, you go right into bed. Deal?”

Boy #1/Boy #2 or both: “Okay! Thanks, Mommy!!” (both boys walk away and park themselves in front of the TV, thinking they’ve won the bedtime battle, laughing to themselves; I sit tight for a mere 300 seconds, knowing that the bedtime follies will be ending momentarily).

At this point, there may actually be time for some adult Netflix time once the kids are in bed. What could be better than that?

Here’s a short video clip to show you what to expect from these five-minute shows:

And in case you’re not sure which bedtime staller category your child falls into, here’s a handy-dandy chart, based on Netflix show characters to help you successfully pinpoint your little darling’s style (These shows are great entertainment for the whole family when there’s more time to be had watching shows. Maybe a Friday or Saturday night movie night?):

5 more minutes

If it’s not immediately clear, I think that these mini-shows are a stroke of genius and a huge help to all of us parents who have struggled to get our kids into bed every night. Check them out and let me know what you think!

#5MoreMinutes

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Article outlines the personal stories of moms who became parents over the age of 40


On family, over the ages.

The November, 2015 edition of Toronto Life magazine peers into the lives of women who have bucked convention and have gone on to become moms at the ripe old age of 40+.

Who are these women and what were they thinking, really?

We may feel that attitudes towards the raising of children have changed drastically over the years, but you’d be surprised at how far we still have to go. Society’s preconceptions about what is an “acceptable” age for becoming a mother hasn’t changed as much as many of us would like. And while medical technology has advanced the cause for those who may have had difficulty conceiving in previous times, attitudes towards older women having children still has a long way to go.

Read the stories of women who have become mothers past the age of 40, along with my own journey to parenting children over four decades in this edition of Toronto Life.

If you’re able, pick up a copy and read the full feature or if you’re not able to, stay tuned to this blog where I’ll update this post with a link to the digital version of the story (which is not online yet, but will be).

**UPDATE** Here’s a link to the full article: “The Mid-Life Mom’s Club

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Do you have a unique or unusual journey to parenthood? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

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Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

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How to have fun and stay active with the kids in spite of your exhaustion

Active Kids

Whew! Just looking at this picture tires me out! How about you?

If you’re like me - or so many other parents out there - the ability to keep up with your kids is a challenge to say the least!

With the trend towards parenting by the over-35 crowd, it’s no wonder that there’s a collective feeling of exhaustion that exists amongst those parents who just want to put their feet up and chill in front of the TV. The stress ratchets up a notch or two when your child insists on a physically-challenging activity that may not only tire you, but injure you as well.

Thankfully, there are options for those who, for whatever reasons, be it age, physical limitations or otherwise, are not able to literally keep up with their kids. Read on for simple solutions that won’t put a damper on the fun.

 Five Tips For Tired or Older Parents

1) Set your own goals - You’re NOT 25 and nor should you behave like you are, or expect to keep up with those 10 or more years younger than you. Yes - the young, energetic moms and dads may be able to physically race after their kids but you, dear parent, are likely more financially stable, more patient and less worried about the minutia of day-to-day life. For these reasons alone, march to the beat of your own drum and leave the (literal) running around to those who have the energy to do so.

“March to the beat of your own drum and leave the (literal) running around to those who have the energy to do so”

2) Get in shape, within reason - Physical fitness has been proven to provide the stamina and energy required for running after active kids. Do something that is healthy but not stressful on your body. Keeping tip number one in mind, set your own goals and make plans to be healthy within the range of your own abilities (not anyone else’s). Consider yoga, walking or low-impact cardio activities that will get your blood pumping without causing any physical pain or damage.

3)Think “quality” not “quantity.” - So, you’re not up for another three hours of touch football following your two-hour hike through the local trail? No worries - it’s not about how much you do with your child, but rather how memorable and fun each activity you do with them becomes. In other words, it’s perfectly fine to hike with your child for half-an hour as opposed to two hours. Similarly, play that game of touch football but end it before you start feeling those physical strains, aches and pains.

4) Encourage non-physical activities - Fun and games doesn’t always have to include running, jumping, climbing or dancing. Make some new memories with your kids that don’t include a physical element. Do what you did when you were a kid: play board games, cards, go for walks or lie down outside and gaze at the stars on a clear night.

5) Meditate and be thankful - You’re in a place where so many would like to be - you’re “mom” or “dad” to a child/children and there’s nothing more amazing than that. It’s all about quality, not quantity. Use mindfulness to help you both appreciate  the positive things in your life (like family) as well as to calm your mind when the stress of parenting gets to be a challenge on various occasions.

And yes - I am both an older and a tired parent. Read all about it here:

What Makes a Family?

What do you do to keep up with your kids? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

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Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

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How to keep the kids busy during the autumn months

Five Fun Family Festivities For Fall

School is well underway and fall is in full swing. No more lazy days of summer; nowadays, the kids are antsy on the weekends after a long week of reading, writing and arithmetic. As a result, when the weekend comes, they’re looking for fun activities that will keep them stimulated and entertained. On the flip side, parents need outlets for their kids that will keep them busy and stop them from saying these dreaded two words: “I’m bored!”

In the spirit of the falling autumn leaves, here are the top five family activities that will keep the younger set occupied and engaged during the autumn months.

1) Get Outside! – There’s nothing better than the cool autumn air to make you feel alive. Now’s the time to get outdoors with the kids and enjoy everything the season has to offer. Raking and playing in the leaves, going on a hike or nature walks with the family to enjoy the fall colours, bike riding through the park and more – these are just some of the things that parents can do during the changing season. Though it may be cool outside, the kids still need to burn off energy. Engage them by encouraging outdoor activity that is both entertaining and engaging. Examples include apple picking, horseback-riding and more.

toddlers-apple-picking

2) Limit Screen Time – With the fall colours in full view, it seems a shame to have kids staring at screens, whether it’s TV or digital games. During this time of the year, put parameters on how much TV/video game/gadget that your child has, and replace the technology-based activities with more seasonally-friendly items. Getting outside, making plans with friends and family or even participating in old- fashioned board games are ways of engaging your child without pixels of any kind.

no cell phone sign

kids in leaves

3) There’s No Place Like Home – Why does it always seem to be the case that the times that we visit our hometown attractions is usually when we have out of town family or friends in tow? During the fall season, due to the cooler temperatures, it’s a great time to investigate your local museums, galleries, and kid-friendly indoor playgrounds and locales. Check your local listings such as your community paper (print or online) and make a date. Become a tourist in your hometown. It’s fun!

Here’s a picture of a famous landmark in my hometown of Toronto - the CN Tower!


CNTower

4) Fall-Inspired Cooking – The fall food bounty is in full swing, so why not take advantage of the seasonable fruits and vegetables that are now available? Think apple and pumpkin pies, squash soup, and similar goodies that speak to your kids’ interests – and their tummies. So much good eats to be had – get cracking and get cooking! What kid wouldn’t love to prepare then tuck into this sweet-potato mac and cheese dish? (For the full recipe, visit Yummily’s Fall Recipe page)

Sweet-Potato-and-Spinach-Mac-and-Cheese-from-Naturally-Ella (1)

5) Crafty Kids – With fall colours well underway, it’s also a great time to engage the kids in arts and crafts that have a seasonal flair. As a huge fan of dollar stores, my kids and I love to take a stroll through the aisles to see what items can be found that will add to our artistic pursuits. In addition, engage your kids by letting them help you make their own Halloween costumes with inexpensive dollar or thrift store items, as well as existing items that you already have at home.

 

arts-and-crafts-table

What other family activities do you do with your kids during the fall season? Tell me about them in the comments section below!

Want more of my parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!


Images courtesy of www.thebump.com, www.7-themes.com, www.ingvihrannar.com, www.sheknows.com

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IN THE NEWS: Picky Eater? Don’t Sweat It!

by Samantha on August 28, 2015

Follow these simple tips when packing your child's lunchbox


School lunches can be a headache for parents who have the good fortune [*sarcasm*] of having a picky eater on their hands. Worrying about whether your child has eaten during school hours, or envisioning them hungry and miserable is the fear of many parents.

As we send out kids to school with the hopes that they’ll eat what we’ve packed in their lunches, we often spend much of our day stressing about whether they’ve actually eaten any of the various items that we’ve packed in their lunch boxes. The sheer stress and anxiety felt when we unpack these same lunch boxes at the end of the day to reveal that our precious child has eaten very little - and sometimes nothing - for a full school day is almost too much for one to bear. As a mom who admits to having just a few “issues” with food and kids [read: I’m afraid that they will starve when they’re not within the range of my gaze], finding a solution has been of pressing importance.

 

Picky eater boy

Surprisingly, I’ve found that trying to get a substantial, nutritious meal into your child while they’re at school isn’t completely impossible. As a matter of fact, the good news is that there are ways of getting your picky little eater to actually eat. By employing a few creative (and sometimes sneaky) strategies, you’ll be guaranteed to experience an empty lunchbox and to breathe a sigh of relief that your child has actually eaten their lunch.

I was recently asked by The Toronto Sun to provide some simple tips and strategies that parents can use to help their picky eaters to eat what is packed in their school lunches every day.

You can read the article and tips here:

Back to School Ideas For Picky Eaters

Check out my tips and advice and let me know what other strategies you have used in the past to get your kids to eat their lunches.

And on a lighter note, in the spirit of the subject at hand, here you go:

Eat It - Weird Al Yankovic

 

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Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

Image courtesy of http://ryot.org

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Totally Groovy, Dope, Old School Shows on Netflix, Dude!

June 30, 2015

Everything old is new again on the streaming service DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. Try to explain the concept of “Saturday Morning Cartoons” to a child who’s […]

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Are Parents to Blame For Picky Eaters?

June 20, 2015

Whose fault is it when kids refuse to eat what’s put in front of them? We’ve all dealt with the picky eating habits of our kids at one time or another. Whether it’s a disdain for broccoli or a dislike of asparagus, most parents have had to negotiate with their children about certain types of […]

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Under Pressure: Celebrity Culture and Kids’ Need to Conform

April 25, 2015

The “Kylie Jenner Challenge” highlights the worst insecurities in tweens and teens Have you heard of the #KylieJennerChallenge? It’s a hashtag that’s become the call to action for young women who want to emulate the full-lipped look of the reality TV star. One of the famous sisters on “Keeping up With the Kardashians” and the […]

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Separate But Equal? Should Twins Be Separated at School?

April 18, 2015

What’s the best course of action for educating twins? Should Twins be Separated at School? There comes a time that, as the parent of twins, one has to make a crucial decision: Should I keep them together or should I separate them? This is a particularly pressing decision to be made in the case of identical […]

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VIDEO: CBC Marketplace - Checkout Charity Episode

March 2, 2015

CBC investigation reveals more questions than answers on this increasingly popular tactic Hmmm…seems as if I’m not the only one with questions about the charitable donations that are being requested at the checkout. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that the trend towards “checkout charity” is one that gets under my […]

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