The Five Steps

Have you heard of the five steps?? No?? that’s because one of our ‘group members’…you know who you are….came up with this plan!!

When the TLG kids were probably in junior high (ish)…one of the moms made sure every one knew about the five steps of life. Are you ready? Okay, hold up your hand and use your fingers:

Step 1: Graduate from high school

Step 2: Graduate from college

Step 3: Start a career

Step 4: Get married

Step 5: Have children


The kids heard about the 5 steps all the time, especially when they were together….uh,oh…which step are we on and where are we going?? We laughed as we subtly encouraged the actions we wanted:))))

Here are some of the kids early on:

3 of these little ones are now on step 4!

so cute!

all are now on step 3, 4 are on step 4, and 1 will be on step 5 next month

The first to be on step 5, coming on Valentine’s Day!

….and MY first to be on step 4 as of August 31 this year:)

What do you think of our ‘tongue-in-cheek’ five step plan? It was a great..yet humorous…plan for our group!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Kids During the Holidays…kind, grateful??

Do your kids know about kindness and respect? How did they act at the Thanksgiving dinner table?

beautiful table, wonderful kids??

If your children sat at the table for the entire dinner, interacted politely with those around them, remembered to say Please and Thank You, and Smiled :) - Congratulations! You must have been doing something right for years!! If that did not look like your table – All of these things can be taught with you as the model. Practice now for a new look for the holiday tables:


1. Have your kids stay at the table every night until everyone is done with dinner…it’s only polite!!  And then, have them ask to be excused. No…really!! It works – the boys’ grandfather is still impressed, 25 years later, that they said, “May we please be excused?” from a long ago holiday dinner.
with Gramma and Grandad Gallimore workin’ on manners

2. Kids need to practice talking to adults, being kind and respectful. Being able to talk to you on a daily basis shows how they will interact with others. Be kind in the family also since you are always being a role model, good or not so much…


3. Please and Thank You are SOOOO important!! It is so easy to teach at home if you are constantly modeling what you want and never relaxing your expectations. Kids do what you show them they have to do! Always say please to them (not asking as if it’s a request, but just being kind) and always expect a thank you in return. Remember to reply with a You’re Welcome to reinforce that you heard their polite response:) Always say thank you to them. If you hand your kids something, keep your hand on it until they ‘remember’ to thank you. Eventually a look from you will remind them of their required manners. Please help your children to find their manners :)
Practicing manners with Gramma and Grampa Finkbeiner starts early!!

4. Smiling can be taught!!! Try it…we told our kids that fake smiles were better than real frowns. Besides, your brain reads those smile muscles as happiness – it actually makes you feel better if you smile. HONEST!! Give it a shot!

Torch Lake kids being happy!!


If you concentrate on these few ideas for the next month, your future holiday dinners could be a breeze, and your children could learn valuable lessons for their future.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes:)

Happy Parenting!

D and C


Foiling the Tantrum

Do you use this method to ‘turn off the tantrum’ in your child????

I love this!!!

A few thoughts on tantrums:

Every child will try one, but not every child continues to have them. What might help make a difference?

A great start is having the child know that “No Means No” always and forever. There will be fewer opportunities for kicking, screaming, crying fits if the little one learns early on that mom and dad mean what they say. If you give in to your child’s demands you’re teaching them to convince you to change your mind…about anything and everything. It is sort of unfair to expect them to know which things you mean if you don’t stick to your guns!


That said,  when your kid does decide to throw a tantrum (and they will)…how do you choose to respond?  My choice…with humor. Don’t panic, don’t show anger or despair….instead tease, giggle, join in…whatever will change their focus from want, want, want to ha, ha, ha! Your humor needs to be fun, not humiliating….but if they want attention, give them the kind that gets YOU what you want and distracts them form what is causing the meltdown.   Timing, of course, is important….if you have messed up their schedule of food or sleep, humor may not work. But giving in to their demand is not fair to them in the long run…because they NEED you to set the boundaries and keep them.


Just my 2 cents worth….take it or leave it. Trying to bring more joy into the world, one child at a time:))


Happy Parenting!

D and C


Summer Bedtime

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…. time to relax with the kids!!!  If the kids can remember that you are still in charge, there are still rules and boundaries, and happy doesn’t mean lazy…. the summer can be peaceful and satisfying for all.

One continuing summertime problem seems to be when is bedtime?…and if there is a discussion about it….why?

We always had a bedtime for the kids…during school, usually 8 or 9. During the summer, bedtime was later…but still scheduled. Boundaries continue to be important all year long. We, as the adults, got to decide if we had special evenings where we let the kids stay up later. But that always involved no whining or pleading to make us bend to their will….just wasn’t happening. Because they knew that wasn’t a way that worked with us, they stopped trying and began talking and discussing instead. Keeping them busy during the day does help with bedtimes in the evening!

Special evenings with sparklers, friends, cookouts, or sleepovers all became excuses for us to extend bedtimes because we wanted to, not because they whined at us.

I know when the kids get older this becomes more difficult, but our rule was if you can’t get up in the morning at a reasonable time then you must need to go to bed earlier at night!

Enjoy your summer….bedtimes and all :)


Happy Parenting!

D and C

…an excerpt :)))

In case you have no idea what we’re talking about when we talk about our book….wink, wink!!….I thought I’d show you a tiny piece so you can see what it’s all about.


The following is from a section on the Myth called “No Means Yes”…just one small section in the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it…

” Get off that couch and get back into their lives. Your “couch” is anything that may be keeping you from paying attention to your child. Our world is so full of distractions keeping parents and teachers from truly connecting with the children in their lives: long hours at work, television in every room, iPods, and cell phones, to name just a few. It is even more important to make those personal connections in spite of the hustle and bustle of a modern, technology-driven world. Children need directed teaching from parents to show them what they should do instead of yelling “no” over and over again.


  • Diane: The advantage of using physical activity to engage your child will amaze you. When Chad and Scott were very young, I spent much of my time following them around with my eyes and then, if necessary, with my feet. When kids are little, their job is to explore and discover boundaries. I loved watching them learn: what an end table handle felt like, how the material on the couch was different from the material on the floor, what you could see out a window.

But, because I watched them a lot, I could often tell when they were     curious about something dangerous like a cord, an outlet, or a piece of a plant. When my voice started saying, “No, no, Honey,” my feet were already headed that direction to help divert their attention to something else. The actual physical activity of redirecting them helped in more than one way.

My interaction with them became a lifelong one, always being concerned and aware. Some would say over-protective, but I didn’t care. The idea of “No,” even when said in a calm, quiet voice became a serious idea, not to be debated.


We include stories (the part in blue) with each section of each chapter (the part in green). If you’d like to see more here on the blog…please comment!!  You can always go to Amazon to look for “How to Break 10 Common Childhood Myths” or click on this link.

Have a beautiful day with your children…each day is a gift for you and for them!!

Happy Parenting!

D and C

Continuing to Remember Who We Are


For most of us, the first few weeks of school are complete!  I know, I’m retired now so why do I care??  Because…I think once an educator, always an educator!!


I will always be concerned with the school system – its positives and its negatives. We have wonderful children with abilities and the willingness to learn, and then we have the higher-ups who insist on old-fashioned structure…rigidity and procedures…without concerns for actual brain research that requires compassion, boundaries, and joy.  From one extreme to another and everything in between!


Please don’t get me started on the negatives because the positives are so much more necessary. Let’s all focus on what kids can and should do – inside and outside ‘the box’. America’s inventive, ingenious, and sometimes weird mentality should be encouraged because “that is who we are”…..the USA at its best!!

go for it, guys

Continuing to remember the important parts of who we are :)

being weird.....:))

Encourage your children to use their imaginations and curiosity to enhance whatever they are learning!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Organizing your Morning

School day mornings can be sooo stressful! Everyone has been there at one time or another…the age of the child doesn’t matter, the issues just change a little!


We talked in the past about organizing your evenings so that stress would be reduced in the morning….things like putting clothes out, backpack with all assignments waiting by the back door, jackets, shoes, lunches all ready to go and always in the same places.


So today, how about trying to find a calm way to get up in the morning??  Most kids do not want to wake up on your schedule…only on theirs. When they are very young they wake up before you want them to, but as they get older you feel like you need to drag them out of that bed:)


Here’s a suggestion for your school age munchkins…may be helpful, may not…but could be worth a try!


Try a countdown in the mornings:

About 5 minutes before you want them out of bed:

Go in the room….say “5 Minutes!”

Two minutes later, go back in the room…give ‘em a kiss and say “2 Minutes!”

After 2 minutes, go in the room, turn on the lights(the part my boys hated the most) and say “Up and at ‘em” and walk out of the room.  They need to believe that you trust them to follow your directions.


Check after one minute and say “Let’s go!” and start giving them their clothing, remind them to brush their teeth and have them head downstairs(or wherever yours need to be). Make sure they don’t need to go back upstairs once they’re down…it could be a stall tactic. Breakfast…not usually time for “what do you want?”…just put out what you want them to eat. Give them another 2 minute warning before it’s time to head out the door. One last reminder to grab all of their things. You be the last one out so you can check to make sure the backpacks and lunches are not still waiting to be picked up.


There will always be a morning or two that goes crazy on you, but hopefully a tip here and there can make most of your mornings happy and a cheerful way for your kids to start their day:)

busy at school

When children have calm, easy-going mornings they tend to be more successful in school. Aim for a stress-free morning:)


Happy Parenting,

D and C



A Perfect Baby Gift

Maybe this would be the perfect find if you’re looking for a baby shower gift or new-baby-home-from-the-hospital gift:


This Amazon site:  “How to Break 10 Common Childhood Myths” now allows you to look inside the book to see what tips might help you or those you know.


….and if by chance you are a perfect parent and never need any helpful hints to make your life easier – anyone? anyone? – copies could surely be shared with others:

- that sister or sister-in-law

- your children who are now parents

- teachers at your kids’ schools

- church groups

- day care areas

- dance studios

- anywhere that children and their parents congregate


Once you check out the book, or before, come check out our website and blog at Childhood Myths where you can learn about our workshops for parents and teachers and about our Sassy Kids Home Parties.


Have fun while reinforcing good habits!

We hope you'll love it and share it with others:)

Happy Parenting!

D and C

Freedom for Kids?

As you might guess from previous posts, we have always been concerned with our ability to instill the proper character traits in our kids, both as  teachers and as parents. Sometimes, we may have been seen as tough, strict, or overprotective. Even though that has probably all been true, we also were loving, supportive, and caring:)   Today, I thought I’d share with you one of the things we did with our kids that gave them some freedom  and still today has left us with wonderful memories.


When I was pregnant with Chad, before ultrasounds and knowledge of gender, we decided on painting the nursery with bright colors…yellow, orange, and red.  F2 painted the dresser yellow with orange and red drawer fronts and painted the crib yellow with orange and red spindles. The room was white, but he hand painted a beautiful artsy rainbow(ish) made of those 3 beautiful colors on one wall over the crib. Throw in a few butterfly decals and Mickey Mouse and we were all set.  (I don’t have even one picture of the whole thing, but you can get the idea soon.)  When Scott was born 2 1/2 years later, both boys were in that same room…Chad in a twin bed on the floor and Scott in the crib. This is what it looked like then…with a cute coat rack added to the wall:

pretty cool rainbow, right?


As the boys got older, we were in charge of what went in their room and how they took care of it. They couldn’t have a TV or video games of any kind in their room, and we expected that they would take good care of that room. I know, I know…I told you we were trying to make responsibility natural to them:)  But, we did decide that they could put stickers on that one wall any time they wanted to!! Yow, scary, huh? We reminded them that it might look pretty ugly if they put any ol’ sticker up there, but it was their decision. They actually did think very hard before choosing stickers that meant something to them. Here are a couple of photos over the years:

fillin' that wall right up...and doncha just love their sheets:)

changes to the wall...different sheets, awesome jammies:)

So today the boys are 32 and 30 and out of the house for quite awhile. The room has been turned into a sort of a den, a mellow room, hardly ever used…but repainted….all except one wall…I LOVE that wall. It has so many memories plastered all over it that I just couldn’t get rid of it. Here it is now:

amazing, huh?

Another view:


When we started allowing the guys the freedom to do whatever they wanted with one wall, we didn’t know it would turn out to be a memory for all of us of things that were important in their lives: vacations, toys, space shuttles ( we have stickers from both the challenger and the columbia) , changing likes and interests over the course of many years. Part of the success of that wall was that it was not allowed to venture onto any other wall….so freedom, with boundaries! It worked for us:)


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Are You Ready for the Follow-Through?

Everyone knows how important follow-through is for tennis, golf, baseball, and bowling, right?  Well, what about the follow-through for parenting?  Do you follow through with consequences? How about promises?  Does your “No” always mean “No”?
Your children, as they grow older, will find it easier to believe you and to trust you if you have been one who follows through in your relationship with them. I know that it’s so very hard not to cave in when you see a quivering lip or a big, fat tear…or when they’re bugging you to pieces with “Why not, Mommy?”….or when the darlings are throwing that proverbial tantrum in the grocery store!  BUT – stop to think what will be most helpful to them for their futures – then harden your resolve, stick to your guns, and follow through with whatever you said!

someone! wants to go back in the pool :)

Your excuses:  I get to change my mind if I want to…It’s not that big a thing…They’ll hate me!  Using excuses like these makes the parenting all about you, but the idea of parenting is to PARENT in ways that lead to responsible, independent, productive young people. Your children will appreciate the boundaries you give them when they are older and those boundaries finally make sense to them (honest); but, in the meantime, you need to be their guide and protector and teach them that you mean each and every thing you say to them.

Are you sure this guy’s safe??

Setting and keeping boundaries doesn’t have to feel stern and angry, but it does need to feel definite. When kids know what to expect and know when you’re being serious, it lets them feel secure and  happier in your everyday family relationships.

happy and secure guys!!

Can you stand up and be the parent, not the buddy?  I hope so! Let me know if you have a question or concern I might be able to help answer. Leave a comment or email me…I’d love to help:)

Happy Parenting!
D and C