Taking the Winner and Loser Out of Sports Gives Children a False Sense of Accomplishment

When I was growing up we had winners and losers in sports.  Gold, silver and bronze in dance competitions.  Today things are different.  My children have many participation trophies from their days of beginner sports.  If a team doesn’t keep score, does that mean the kids are unaware whether they won or lost?  I have had many heated debates on this subject and I can tell you my children have learned so much from sports and the participation trophey has nothing to do with any of it.


As a former rep soccer mom I understand why they do not keep score until the age of thirteen years old.  The purpose is player development.  There are many coaches that are still fixated on the win.  The end result is most important, and the process is not the main focus. I watched a girl score a beautiful goal, from the half way line.  It was an unbelievable goal, but she was not a team player.  She took the ball down the field on her own and scored the goal as though she was the only one on the field. This player was never substituted out, but instead was left in the rest of the game.  The whole point of playing on a team is working together.  This girl was rewarded for scoring a goal, it didn’t matter how she did it. We weren’t keeping score… Apparently. Clearly this team was, and winning was the main focus. I’d much rather have my team lose because the players had tried new positions, or tired to kick with their non-dominant leg. 

Winning is fun. It’s quite an accomplishment to bring home a medal and know your hard work counted. It makes you work harder to get it next time. But for many this doesn’t matter. The child that comes in 23rd or 53rd at the school cross country meet for example, still tried something and finished. Would a participation ribbon really be that bad? Especially since that child was too worried to run for the past two years and finally signed up. 

What matters is that they are part of something. They have fun and learn something while doing it. Its being proud of putting in an effort, and having your family come and watch and cheer you on. 

It’s not a black and white answer. Focus on the process, and the effort given. The end result is a bonus… Or not.

Organizing My Day with a Paper Notebook

Yes I said paper. I’m going back to my old school agenda and making lists in a notebook. 

In my line if work I talk about executive functioning on a daily basis. I also promote self care as the first step for parenting success. Through my own journey I have learned that the two topics go hand in hand. 

6 & 8 are a struggle for me. When I was in school I had an agenda. I planned things out because I had to. I don’t have deadlines and specific homework I have to write down and remember in my personal life. However my life is full of commitments, events and chores that have to be done. But instead of writing things down and setting my own deadlines, I was flying by the seat of my pants. I felt like I was in a state if chaos most days. This method was not working. When I finally realized the root of my problem I made it a goal to fix it.  The funny thing, is I had a plan at work. I just wasn’t transferring the skills to my home life. 

I started with making goals and writing down lists of things I wanted to get done. I bought an agenda and started filling in my commitments. I would use the whole month page to write things down such as: what days I had to drop the kids off to different sports, birthday parties and appointments. I wanted to see the whole month at a glance.

I wanted to see the whole week at a glance on the following pages. I used those pages to write specific tasks or appointments for each day. I wrote a master list. I would choose three things to accomplish a day from the master list. It helped me prioritize and empowered me to keep going.

It seems so simple, but it works! I’m no longer feeling overwhelmed, or like I’ve forgotten something. I have recently learned about the Midori travelers notebook. It enables you to keep everything you need all in one neat and compact place. That will be my next purchase. Right now I have a seperate bullet journal and agenda. 

What I have learned is that the more organized and clutter free you are, the more time you have. I have made time for me because I had a plan. It motivates me to keep going. I’m a work in progress, but I can see first hand how the hard work is starting to pay off.

How Was Your Day?… Fine, Learn Anything New?… Nope

Me:How was your day today?  Child: Fine. Me: Learn anything new?  Child: Nope.     Me: Do anything exciting  on your break? Child: No.

And there goes my attempt to find out how my kids day went. I used to give up. Then I tried a different tactic. When we sat down for dinner I introduced a new “game”: Highs and Lows. Everyone participated. I started with myself. Each person shared their high and low for the day.

At first my son didn’t want to participate. Instead of getting upset (I was disappointed, but kept it to myself. I didn’t want to give attention to the behaviour that frustrated me). I went on to my husband and so on. After everyone was done sharing, my son remained silent. A few minutes later he said “I want to share my highs and lows now”. 

This has turned into an everyday ritual at the dinner table, and it’s usually initiated by the kids. It may not take off so quickly at your house, but don’t give up. Always give them the option to participate, but if they don’t want to answer don’t make it a big deal. Eventually they’ll want to join in.

If the dinner table isn’t an ideal time for you, it can be done in the car on the way to practise or on the walk home from school.  This is a nice way to find out about your child’s day. To get them to open up, show them you care and that you’re interested in what happens in their lives. This will work for all ages, even your teens. 

This is a nice way to open up communication in your home. It’s a fun way to get to get to know more about your child and teen. It’s also a good way to show how even when things don’t go well in your day, you can find one good thing that did go well. 

The truth is, the snoring has been a blessing in disguise. PLEASE DON’T TELL MY HUSBAND!

Before children I could sleep through anything; oblivious to the world around me.  That all changed after I gave birth.  I was easily awoken by a cry, a whimper, or the drop of a soother onto the floor.

As my children got older, I learned how valuable uninterrupted sleep really was. Lately, this has not been my reality.  It’s not my children keeping me up, it’s my husband! His snoring is making me feel like the mother of a newborn.  Remember that broken sleep that made you walk around like a zombie the next day?  It’s happening again, but now it’s my husband waking me through the night.

The truth is, the snoring has been a blessing in disguise.  PLEASE DON’T TELL MY HUSBAND!

My frustration with his snoring has forced me to leave the room.  Leaving the room was a nuisance. But it turned into a positive.  The snoring gave me an excuse to crawl into bed with my children, for a peaceful night’s sleep.

When your children reach milestones of independence it can be bittersweet. Despite this new freedom I have as a mother, I still have a hard time watching them mature.  I often wish I could have one more day with each of them as a baby, a toddler and a preschooler.   I tried to take it all in at each stage of their lives, but time has always moved on, whether I’ve been ready for it or not.

My daughter is eleven and my son is eight, but when they are sleeping they turn back into the little babies I had; the babies that have grown into smart, independent and charming little humans.  Before I turn off the night light I stare at their peaceful faces.  I breathe in their youth, their innocence and their positive energy.

Most days I put in my ear plugs, and try to get to bed before the snoring starts.  But now and again, I crawl into bed with my babies and anticipate waking up to their adorable, groggy faces.

There are things in life you can’t control.   I can’t control the snoring, or my children growing up.  I can control how I react.  I can get angry, or I can go  cuddle with my kids instead.  I have to continue making time to have quiet moments with my children.  The snoring has opened my eyes to missed opportunities.

Maybe I should be thanking my husband.

I’m Not Rewarding My 9 yr old for Something My 5 yr old Can Do!

I tell them what to do they just don’t listen! They should know how to do this by now! I’m not rewarding the 9yr old for something my 5yr old can do. 

Sound familiar? 

Some children are born resilient, others are not. If they have physical, mental or cognitive delays this slows down thier capabilities to deal with life. Something that may seem simple for us, isn’t for our children. When they say they won’t do something, it may be because they don’t know how. They may tell us that or they may shut down or act out. If they do say “I don’t know how to do that!” How do you respond? 

“Oh yes you do!”

“Don’t give me that excuse!”

“Whatever! Forget it, I’ll just do it!”

Or

“You don’t? I thought you did? How can I help you?”

The last statement can open doors for you and your child.

1. They will feel heard

2. They will feel like you understand

3. They will be given the skills to do something new

4. They will learn that speaking up and sharing what they need will give them results.

I know it seems like a lot of work. I know your thinking they should just do as they’re told. But they need help. Children don’t usually articulate what they really need or are struggling with. 

” I feel like I can’t do anything right. My sister is perfect and I’m a loser. I can’t even make by bed right, you always fix it.”

If this happens in your home, you get a gold star! Listen to your kids. Don’t jump in with advice or try to correct them. When they are opening up you want them to keep going not shutdown or act out. Listen to understand, not to respond. 

This may take more than one conversation. 

Once you understand the concerns, then you can make a plan together. When you work together and gather everyones ideas, they feel included. This is especially helpful if you have an oppositional child. The idea might be great, but you came up with it… So I don’t like it! If it’s their idea they’re more likely to follow the plan. 

When they do well, reward them. It could be as simple as a high five, a sticker on thier hand or an extra 15 minutes of screen time. Be clear with what behaviour you want to see. You can reward with acknowledgement alone. If they need more of a motivator, then work with them on that. After three checks you get a reward, for example. 

Some children need more help but if we teach them how to do things and acknowledge their efforts you will see more of that good behaviour. 

To teach a new skill

1. Show them how to do it

2. Do it together

3. Watch them do it

4. They do it on their own

Incorporate a visual to help.

Good luck you can do it!

I Just Don’t Understand Youth Today

The idea that youth today are not what we were like, is something I hear on a regular basis. At work, on social media, and in everyday conversations with parents. I challenge this comment whenever I hear it. Do you really think things are that different? We didn’t have as many electronics, which does complicate teen life more, however I don’t think there are many differences. My grandmother had her first child at sixteen… But it wasn’t considered teen pregnancy because she was married. 


This MEM says it all.We forget what it was like. We forget the poor decisions we made. Out parents used to tell us that we have to be more responsible, respectful and make better choices. If we had electronics like we do today dont you think youd be on them as well? I have neck strain from looking at my phone too much. Checking my email, texting and checking social media. I have a job, I take care of my home and live an active lifestyle… And still go on electronics. We are so quick to judge the youth of today. 

My kids play outside, hang out with their friends, play sports and can carry conversations that are not via text message. When i go to the park, or go for a run there are people and children everywhere. They are not ALL inside on their tablets or phones. We are so quick to generalize. If this is an issue for your children then it’s up to us to help them make changes. Go for a hike with them, put your phone down. Have a jar filled with family fun and pick a day or two that you focus on family time. They may complain or say that old people dont get it. They may argue with you that this is how all teens communicate… Nope I’m not buying it. Its much easier to stay in your room and feel connected. But real parties dont happen online. When a child lacks social skills, and they are allowed to stay in their room, what motivates them to try something new? Avoidance becomes how they deal with uncomfortable things; it’s the easy way out. Many adults do the same. It doesnt make it ok. 

This quote from Aristotle proves each generation appears worst than the one before. Are we just too hard on our youth? I say yes. I look out into world and see a lot of good in our youth. There are many polite, socially polite and enthusiastic kids out there. Think back to when you were younger. Can you relate to their joy, inexperience, confusion, sorrow and impulsivity? They struggle just as we did. They get distracted with electronics just like we do. We should be working together and focusing on the good. I see so much potential, I just think their needs to more action and less complaints. What will you do make a change? 

Work less, play more: Why a bit of fun is good for you – Chatelaine

http://www.chatelaine.com/health/play-good-for-your-health/?DFIX

Free play is such am important part of a child’s emotional, physical and social development. We used to have more free time and play as children. Now I feel that most activities require much more of a time commitment. Finding the right balance can be tricky, but worth the effort.

image

The same can be said for adults. I always talk about the importance of self care for parents.  If you are stressed out all the time, it doesn’t take much for your head to pop off. I love the idea of putting more play in your life! This article by Chatelaine, hits the nail on the head. Play is beneficial for all ages. The best part of playing is it doesn’t feel like work.
I started playing tennis again and I love it. It’s so much fun. I laugh a lot and I’m working out. Children are running around and playing all the time. They don’t hit the gym or go for a 10 km run.

So spread the word, put more playtime in your day. What does play mean for you? Sports, board games, crafts, hobbies.

Get out and play today! You deserve it.

image

Let Them Fight Their Own Battles: Learning To Back Off

image

We were put on this world to protect our children. No one warns you how hard it will be to watch them get hurt emotionally. Being excluded, getting picked on, made fun of, rejected; the list goes on and on.
I had the experience early on in my daughter’s life to fight the mama bear urge.

image

In junior kindergarten one the girls in the class made a sun catcher for my daughter. Another girl liked it as well. She took it from my daughter and brought it home.  I desperately wanted to intervene and tell the child to give the gift back! The next day in the before school program, I initiated the conversation for my daughter. I stepped back and let her do the talking. It doesn’t seem like much, but that was the beginning of teaching my daughter to stand up for herself.

When it comes to friends and fitting in, it can be more of a challenge for some. Even if your child doesn’t have these issues, they will experience hurt feelings in more ways than one.

image

When our child gets hurt there are a few ways to react.
1. With anger
2. Devaluing their struggle
3. With empathy

With empathy is the best choice. It’s hard when things don’t go as planned. Don’t tell your child not to worry about it. They are worried about it! Wait to calm down yourself before talking about it. Give them a hug. Validate them.
In most cases the next steps are up to your child. If the neighbours child no longer comes over to play, don’t get involved. The parents don’t need to talk it out with the children. Have your child ask the other child what’s up. If your child didn’t get invited to a party, don’t text the parent how upset you are and demand everyone be included.

I’ve dealt with this at home and at work. One boy said the whole class got invited except him. I validated his feelings of hurt and confusion. He really thought they were friends. I asked him if he felt comfortable asking why he wasn’t invited. He followed through, and the next week told the group only three children were invited. His friend felt bad he couldn’t invite him, but he could only invite three people.
I was told about about mother of twins that demanded both twins get invited to the party. She even got the school involved. This kind of behaviour will start wars.

Life is a bitch. I remember what it was like. If I could write a letter to my younger self, I would say not to worry about those judgemental girls. I would make better friends and continue to do so into my adult life. But when you’re in the moment, living the struggle, these words do not bring much comfort. What do I do now? 

Teach your child how to react. How to be assertive. How to learn from the bad things and move on. You cannot control other people. You can control how you react. This comes easier to some. It needs to be taught and then practised. Be a good role model. Then step back and let them try. It’s not an easy thing to do, but the results are worth it.

image

My Child Became A Teenager and We Don’t Talk Anymore

image

Parent: I had no idea you wouldn’t be completely sedated for the procedure. You’re in grade twelve you should be fine with this.

Teen: What does my age have to do with it? I’m not ok with this? I didn’t think I’d be awake!

Parent: I had a c-section to have you. So you can do this. I’m not rebooking anything, this is happening today.

                    * * * * * * * * *

Teen shares what is bothering her.

Parent: Why would you be upset about that? You have no idea what I have to deal with.

                  * * * * * * * * * * *

Parent: That was so much fun, I’m glad we spent time together. Isn’t this so much better than your stupid electronics?

                 * * * * * * * * * * *

Parent leaving message on teen’s cell phone

Parent: Please call me back. You didn’t come home last night. Do you know what you’re doing to me? You can’t act this way! Call me back, we need to talk.

                  * * * * * * * * * *
Teen: You never listen to me! You don’t even care about me!

Parent: What do you mean I never listen to you? I’m listening to you right now! And if I didn’t care about you, you wouldn’t be driving my car or wearing the clothing I bought you!

                 * * * * * * * * * * *

Did you catch the theme in each senerio?

If you put yourself in the teens shoes would you feel understood? Would you want to open up to your parent?

The focus was on the parent and their feelings…. only. When you apologize and add a but, it’s not really an apology. To say you’re concerned and then put down their feelings doesn’t make the concern genuine.

Some teens might act out, scream loader to be heard, swear or blame you or others. Some teens shut down. They refuse to speak. They smile all the time so no one asks them questions. They will deny issues or respond with “I don’t know?” When pushed to open up.

What happens if they open up? Will their feelings be denied? Will we jump in with advice or criticism?

I urgue you to step back and think about your encounters with your child. Practice active listening. Just listen. Give them some empathy “Wow that sounds frustrating.”

If you only talk because there is an issue, why would they want to talk to you.

Work on your relationship. Ask them to join you for a walk or a trip to the coffee shop. They might say no. But don’t give up on them.

Relationships are give and take. If we want them to open up, we have to show them we care. Listen to understand, NOT to respond.

I’m Supposed To Be The Manager of My Home, So Why Am I Doing EVERYTHING?!

Have you ever had one of those days where it’s 9am and your stress meter is already on over drive?
Your throat is sore because you’ve been yelling all morning. You spent way too much time trying to convince someone that school will be fun today. More time is wasted finding matching socks for your kids and signing trip permission forms, while making lunches.
Driving to work with a pounding headache, you try to put some makeup on and blare music in an attempt to calm down as you start your day.

So many of my mornings were spent in chaos. I was fighting fires and just trying to get through most days. I had so many emotions. Resentment, frustration, helplessness, irritation and fatigue. I felt like the 1950’s housewife that had to do it all in the home, but I had a job as well!

image

I’m not a great housewife. I can cook and bake, but I hate cleaning! Cleaning in my parent’s house was a Saturday thing. It took up so much time. My mom would make me clean up before I could go out. So I have a negative affiliation with cleaning. It wasn’t part of my everyday routine in my own home. I could go to bed with a messy kitchen.
Many of my friends couldn’t do that, and that’s why they have clean homes. I didn’t expect my kids to clean up on a regular basis. I would just leave it, until it got too messy, or I was having people over.

image

One day after a particularly bad morning I decided to stop fighting fires and make a plan for having more organized mornings. I was trying to do it all, and it wasn’t working.

image

I sat the kids down and told them I needed help. I was tired of the fighting. I knew they could do more. I put together visuals so they would know what they needed to get done. We planned to make lunches the night before. They set their alarms a little earlier to have more time. I was still around to help, but I let them do most of the work.
One day my son got frustrated with me and said ” We do better when you aren’t around. Can’t you go back upstairs?”.

I didn’t argue or get upset. I stepped back some more, and I’m reaping the rewards! They do everything on their own now. No more screaming matches. No more frustrating morning. I’m proud to say my children are independent little beings.

Chores have become part of our new routine. It’s not perfect. Most days my home is still a mess, but it’s getting better. I have less resentment that I have to do it all, because I’m finally getting more help.  And yes, I had the same conversation with my hubby. Now we work together as a family unit to get things done. The quicker we deal with the chores, the more family time we have together.

I’m glad I made a plan. We fall off the wagon often with chores, but I make sure we go back to the plan, or make necessary revisions.

* If you are looking for free visual charts check out my favourite free websites:
http://www.kidpointz.com or http://www.dltkcards.com