Respectful Behavior

Respect is the most important quality for people of all ages to have.

amazingly respectful to their mom :)

If you, as a mom or dad or teacher, ignore bad behavior then you are encouraging further bad behavior. Kids are always pushing boundaries – that’s their job!! Our job as adults is to make sure the boundaries that we want are solid. If you think that some minor misbehaving is normal, you’re right! That is true. However, the reason it is called misbehaving is because it isn’t behavior that you want to have continue. So it is necessary – every time – to correct and redirect…doesn’t matter what the age of the child is. Kids will learn one of two things: either misbehaving is tolerated or misbehaving is not tolerated. Which do you think will help your children in the future?

It becomes a matter of respect. Do your kids listen to you and follow your directions? They should!! When they choose to disobey you, they are being disrespectful. It is normal for them to test your limits, but it should also be normal for you to reinforce the behaviors you do want.
As a teacher, I have often made “Gold Coins of Respect” to explain and give to kids at school.

Gold Coin of Respect

On one side of the coin is the word ‘respect’ surrounded by three words, ‘people’, ‘property’, and ‘self’. If kids can learn what it means -specifically – to respect other people, property, and themselves, then the idea of respect as a whole can be reinforced. I believe self-esteem comes from a healthy respect for ‘self’, not from other people patting them on the back for everything they do.

back side

The back side of the coin has three words from The Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, happiness. I tell the kids about the guarantee of life and liberty, but not a guarantee of happiness. We are only guaranteed the right to pursue happiness.

The Gold Coin of Respect is just a symbol to remind kids of how to treat others, how to behave, and how to go after their own happiness.

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life…that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Can you teach your children to respect themselves, to respect others, and to respect the boundaries you set for them?

Happy Parenting!
D and C

My FAVORITE Kids’ Book

     After talking about reading and kids’ books recently, I realized I forgot the one book that makes my heart flutter a bit. It matches my boys so closely, and it matches, to a “T”, my hope for brotherly love….without that nasty sibling rivalry!
The lovely book is “We’re Very Good Friends, My Brother and I” by P.K. Hallinan:

doesn’t it look cute?

aww…it’s okay, little brother

looks like we can have fun together with a brush!

buds at the ocean
now, that’s sweet…don’t tell them I told you!

buds on vacation too

I love these pages so much I started taking pics of the guys from the back.
I can’t find them all:(

can we make it?

You can find one of these photos at our website: childhood myths   check it out:)
Then some more when they are older…..

in Colorado with an incorrect time stamp!!

at Chad’s house

     This post is totally about me and my love of a particular book and even more my love of Chad and Scott, my two guys!!
I hope you enjoy it and remember to take those photos!!!

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Happiness Tuesdays

Happiness Counts!!!
I am beginning Happiness Tuesdays to tell you some things that make me happy and to share with you quotes, websites, and photos to make you happy!

Week 4, Happiness Tuesdays:
Three things that make me happy!!

1) Laugh lines – they may as well make me happy, since I have them!!
2) Bright light – Sunshine or from light bulbs, I don’t care. Light makes me cheerful!
3) McDonald’s!! Sorry , sorry, all you healthy eaters, but I love MickeyD’s  breakfast burritos and their delicious coffee…every morning…no, really… every morning!

I am giving you a couple of quotes that I agree with. How about you, do you agree also?

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”   Mark Twain
“Ring the bells that can still ring.”  Leonard Cohen

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Reading with Kids

     How important is reading in a family?  Reading is an obvious help to kids intellectually, but it is also a great bonding opportunity. From the time you read to and with little ones right through the time you encourage their reading beyond high school, both of you benefit:)
     Babies: in and out of the womb, while cuddling, helping to recognize people, places, and animals, hearing rhythm and rhyme.

board books
Gyo Fujikawa…beautiful books for baby and beyond!

     Toddlers: great learning time. They suck up knowledge!! Repeat stories often, shapes, colors, numbers – and best of all, more time spent with you:)

another of Gyo’s books

beautiful, inside and out

     Young ones (5-8ish): love humor and science – encourage both. Read stories about life skills: honesty, responsibility.

Berenstain Bears teach lots of values

read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books out loud to your kids:)

     Kids older than about 9 tend to veer away from reading or read like crazy. This is also when many parents discontinue reading to their kids before bed since the kids can read on their own, but if you find interesting books a little above their reading level you can continue to read a chapter a  night of great books to them and enjoy that “us” time so important at that age. Many kids heard the Harry Potter books before reading them themselves.

Harry Potter can lead to Stephen King later in life

     Every night at our house, I would read 1 or 2 books to the boys. They had decided when they were young that they wanted to stay in the same bedroom, so they were in their own beds with me on the floor between them reading. After books, Daddy would tell a made-up Hiawatha story, such as How the Skunk got its Stripe. The boys loved them! More great memories!
     Now, for a moment of truth: neither boy enjoyed reading in high school or college!! Yikes, how did that happen?? But once they were out on their own I would share books that I loved. I convinced them to read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code which led them to appreciate reading again. I suggested a few more that they liked and now they do read much more often. Scott likes nonfiction best, while Chad enjoys Stephen King and that genre.

a favorite before it became a bestseller

     I’m glad they have found a joy of reading, but even if they hadn’t…I would have loved every minute of the time we spent with them reading together, telling stories, and enjoying our time together as a family!!

An all-time favorite Richard Scarry book, along with
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go!!

Enjoy your reading time:)

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Homework Blues?

     This is the time of year when report cards often come home giving parents lots of information on both academic progress and the behavior and work ethic of their children.
     We’ll talk more in the future about the behavior portion of the card, but for now let’s focus on grades and work ethic. What can you find out about your children from these cards?? What age levels are we talking about…actually, all of them in one way or another!

reading should always be an option when there is no homework
no matter what the age of the children

     Preschoolers’ report cards: Look for comments on how they socialize with others, how well they listen, and how well they follow directions. You can help at home in all those areas. Watch how they interact with people and increase play group times if necessary. Make sure you follow through with consequences if the kids have a hard time listening to your directions the first time you give them or if they can’t seem to complete tasks you give them. The more you encourage them now, the easier their school years will be in the future.

     Elementary kids’ report cards: As the kids go through their elementary years keep a close eye on continuing trends over time–a hard time with math success or difficulty completing or turning in homework. Find consequences early on that help them to improve. Find specific places for homework to be done–PLEASE NOT in a bedroom filled with computers, TVs, video games, and phones. No matter how much they say they are working (and no matter how much you want to believe them) they will become distracted or disinterested. Elementary kids need constant oversight (every few minutes, not every half hour) to stay on task and to then feel the achievement of completing their homework successfully and in a minimum amount of time.
     High School kids’ report cards: If high schoolers have learned that important work ethic when they were younger, you can loosen the reins a bit as long as their report cards show what you them to. Continue to look for sudden changes in work or behavior which should result in a tightening of those reins, back to more structure and oversight.

which leads to high school graduation

Chad was working in CO during his college graduation ceremony

another high school graduation

Scott’s graduation from MSU

     There are many years of hard work and practice from preschool right through college for the kids, and lots of years of encouragement, boundaries, and discipline for the parents. But the rewards for both children and parents are huge in seeing those little guys become responsible, successful, independent young adults.

     More homework tips soon. Do you have any special questions or concerns you’d like us to deal with?? Send them along!

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Photo Memories

So, I thought maybe I would ask you, “How important are photographs to you?”  I am a crazy, over-the-moon picture nut!! Yup, absolutely, that’s me! I love taking them, I love putting them in albums, and I love getting the albums out and looking at the photos taken over many years.
My parents took tons of photos also so I’ve been collecting some of the family gems and putting them in their own separate albums. Wow, what great “historical data” and very strange clothing and customs too. The photos I’ll show you today are intended to encourage you in your quest to take more pictures of your family, posed and not.
My dad died when I was eighteen so pictures of him and our family are very precious to me. F2 and I had always taken lots of pictures, and I know my boys appreciate all the memories they bring since he died when Chad and Scott were 18 and 15. I will continue to take pictures for future memories for them and for me. They don’t even flinch any more when a camera comes out…very used to it:)

My dad’s parents lived just a block away from us
My mom with her mom and my dad’s mom in 1968
and 4 generations in 1946…yikes!


Earlier we talked about winter fun and having fun with your family. Here are some old photos showing examples.

cute, huh?
love these pics of my mom, dad, brother, and me


Don’t forget to take pictures of extended family also!

a few years apart, but still together
maybe embarrassing, but necessary;)

And when the family changes, more photos!

looks do change, don’t they?


Obviously, I’m a photo-nut!! I have photos in the computer, but I need them out where I can see them whenever I want, take my time with them, and enjoy the memories. How about you? do you take enough photographs of your family?

Happy Parenting!
D and C 





     Learning from a spot of whimsy about writing a letter of intention has really pumped me up for 2011. I have never been one to make resolutions or even set goals. It’s too easy to “fail” and then feel guilty…doesn’t fit in with my idea of being positive and sending out positive energy to others. But writing a “letter of intentions” is simply listing the things you intend to do this year – clean closets, finish writing a book, donate blood, start a family game night – whatever you’d like to accomplish. Check the list 3 or 4 times a year to see how you’re doing. The list can then continue from year to year if you wish. It’s so much more positive in feel and therefor more lighthearted and easy-going.  I actually already donated blood this year…the first time in over twenty-five years!! It felt good!
     Do you intend to have fun with your kids, both indoors and out??
Bundle up and spend time together.

ready to go out with Daddy

a very rare treat, SLOW sledding behind the bike

     Find something different to do indoors.

taking a break from skating in the basement

painting at the kitchen table

     Can you instill manners and good behavior, but still let loose and laugh with each other? You should be able to work toward that “intention”! Give it a try!!

hanging spoons at the dinner table! both boys in their appropriate college shirts!

Have Fun!
Happy Parenting!
D and C

Happiness Tuesdays

Happiness Counts!!!
I am beginning Happiness Tuesdays to tell you some things that make me happy and to share with you quotes, websites, and photos to make you happy!

Week 2, Happiness Tuesdays
These 3 things make me happy:

 1. My boys’ kind hearts…hurray, Chad and Scott
 2. Musicals, any kind…I love them
 3. A warm blanket on a cold day…mmm:)

“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”
                        Margaret Lee Runbeck

See what makes you happy and share it with your family. Ask what makes them happy. If you share some of these with me, I’ll post them once a month.

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Winter Fun

     The past few Sassy Kids blogs have been about chores, scheduling, and checklists, so today let’s have some FUN!!

winter is fun

     Winter gives all of us a chance to get outside and have some fun with our kids. From the time children are very young, they have a fascination with snow-watching it, tasting it, and playing in it. So: put down that laundry and that dusting cloth, step away from the computer and your emails, and involve yourself in some great family memories.

     Little ones love making snow angels, and they love it even more if their parents get down in the snow with them to show them how to make “big” angels :)
snow angels got smushed!

     As your children get older, show them how to ice skate or just slide on the ice in their boots–always keeping safety in mind. The whole point here is doing things with your kids.

first time for Scott with skates

     Have the family make snowmen together. Talk about how they should look and what to add to them. Making forts is always a winner, too! Remember to take photos!

same winter…..different snowmen!

     Taking the family on a nature hike in the winter is something the kids can really get into. They love finding animal tracks, watching for their homes, hearing the quiet sounds of nature, and interacting outside as a family.

getting ready for a hike

     Back home in your front yard, make a “duck, duck, goose” track in the snow. Your family can play the game with or without extra people!

     You will never regret the extra time you spend with your children-at every age level. All of it is precious. Enjoy it all!!
skiing with Dad

Happy Parenting!

D and C

More Chores

     There will always be chores to do, whether we like it or not!!?!

So helping those little ones learn to “just do it” is such a gift to them. None of us wants to do chores; but we can choose to be miserable about it, procrastinate, be stressed and feel guilty – OR – we can find a method that works for us to make doing chores tolerable. Find that method for yourself, and then try lots of methods out on your kids. Remember that all kids are different – musically inclined, athletically inclined, dramatically inclined – whatever turns them on: USE IT!
building storage shelves

     Through the Quantum Learning program that Chad and I attended, we learned about 1-song breaks. I used this method in my classroom often:) When kids are involved in their work, leave them alone; but if you notice them becoming antsy, having wandering eyes, losing concentration – use the 1-song break. You, as the adult, pick a peppy CD without showing the kids. Have them pick a number from 1-14(the number of tracks on the CD). Then play that track. For the entire song, the kids and the adult must dance or march around the room to the music, no running, no talking, no touching. The first few times you do this, you really have to tease and encourage them into it. After that, they love it! When the song is almost done, slowly lower the volume until it is silent. The kids then go directly back to work. It’s amazing how much their concentration on the task improves. Try this in a classroom or in your home!!

working on the car

     Try different methods – stop and shoot baskets, draw, read, dress up, whatever your children love to do: 20 minutes of work, 10 minutes of play. SET THE TIMER!

getting that wallpaper off

     If your children ask to help with something you’re doing: Let them!! Whatever it is they want to do gives you the opportunity to teach them new skills and spend time together:)  Who cares if the dusting isn’t done to your standards? If you can keep quiet about that, you will have helped to build your children’s confidence in themselves.

doing chores when young

still doing chores when older

     When your kids have been doing chores as a normal part of their day from the time they were little, they naturally continue expecting to do them as they get older. Let them feel the achievement and accomplishment of completing tasks.

Happy Parenting!
D and C