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Creative Birthday Party Ideas

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Children’s birthdays are always a milestone worthy of celebrating. Young children in particular love receiving the special attention, getting showered with presents, gobbling up birthday cake, and being surrounded by their friends and family. It’s easy to get caught up with trying to keep up with the neighbors or outdo yourself from the year before. However, it’s not how much you spend on the party the kids are going to remember. The memory they will hold close is about the time spent with you and the fun they had celebrating.  Here are four creative birthday party ideas your child will love without having to spend a fortune.

Around the World
Consider taking your child and his friends on an adventure around the world without ever leaving your backyard.  Do a little research and discover easy children’s games from around the world. Set them up at different stations they can “travel” to and learn a new game. Show them on a map where they are going and tell them the name of each country. Create passports for them and have a stamp for each “country” they visit. This can be a keepsake they can take home with them to remember the party. Prepare different sweets and snacks from around the world, as well, and use a baking bowl to make the cake. Put two halves together to make a whole sphere, decorate it like a globe, and top it with an airplane and a flight path. The kids will have a ball while learning about the world outside their country.

Candy Land
Remember the nostalgic game from your childhood? Bring it to life for an amazing, magical wonderland of a party. Use bright colors, giant oversized lollipops and other candy props for decorations. Use different sized glass or plastic containers to fill with  a variety of candies, and use cake plates to add height when arranging others sweets such as cupcakes, macaroons, or brownies.  Their eyes will go wide with wonderment at the mountains of candy. Make a brightly colored path to travel through the room, and use the old game board as inspiration for other decorations. Create a candy station where guests can make their own goody bag to take home with them. You can even have a station where they can create their own edible candy necklaces using string licorice and gummy lifesavers or sweetened cereal.

Teddy Bear Picnic
Every child has a favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal, so why not invite them to the party, as well? Have a backyard picnic set up for your guests and their bears to share their favorite picnic food. Play “pin the tail on the bear” and “going on a bear hunt.” Have bear relay races where the kids have to run on all fours, or see who has the loudest bear roar. Decorate cupcakes with teddy bear shaped cookies or gummy bears.

Ladybug Garden Party
Use your child’s thumbprint, red ink, and a black marker to create ladybugs on your homemade invitations to your garden party. Ahead of time, buy some inexpensive clay pots and paint them red with black polka dots, and purchase some pansies, marigolds, or other hearty flowers and some potting soil. Help the guests plant their own flowers to take home with them as a keepsake. Decorate the cake as a ladybug, or serve red and black polka dotted cupcakes.

No matter which party you plan, make sure child is the focus on his or her big day. They will feel special, know they are loved, and have a wonderful memory to last a lifetime.

Hilary Smith is a freelance journalist based out of Chicago. Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary attended St. Stephen's Episcopal School and Northwestern University's school of journalism. Upon graduation, she turned her love of technology into a freelance writing career. After becoming a mother, she began focusing on writing about family and parenting in the digital age.

 

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Another Successful PAMP Family Day is in the Books

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, August 1, 2017

We love our PAMP parents and our favorite event to celebrate all of the families who make up PAMP is Family Day. Held annually in July, Family Day is our way to provide members with a day of outdoor fun for both kids and parents.

This year was no exception. With plenty of key and activity sponsors, hosting tables with attractions ranging from bubble blowing to prize wheels and shooting soccer balls to water tables, Family Day kept everyone fully entertained on Sunday, July 30.

This year, PAMP switched it up by booking award-winning children’s performer Andy Z to sing songs and get everyone up and moving throughout his two shows. As with year’s past, princess magic shows were also part of the Family Day entertainment.

Longtime PAMP member (8 years!) Lori Dinitz said she decided to attend after seeing that Andy Z was performing.

“I’ve been to this event a couple of times before and I know it’s a really fun event for the kids,” she said. “I was extra excited to see that Andy Z was performing … We love him and we love all of the activities. We like the animals – the petting zoo and ponies, and we like the food. We love the food. We had a great time.”

While many PAMP families have been to the event before, there were some families attending for the first time, and some people who happened upon the event and decided to join, like Carmen Rasmussen.

“I’m a grandma and I’m visiting because these little munchkins just moved here,” she said of her grandchildren aged 7, 5 and almost 3. “We were on our way to the Magical Bridge and I saw this … and I thought, ‘what a great way for them to connect.”

Carmen signed the family up for a membership and was extremely interested in getting to meet the vendors, given the family’s recent arrival to the area.  

“This is a great event with great resources,” she said. “It’s good stuff for them to have. I found daycare. I found nannies. I found dentistry because when you’re new in town you need to know where to find all of that stuff. I think it was meant to be.”

PAMP would like to thank our key, activity and partner sponsors for helping make this year’s event so great!

Key Sponsors:
Forever Smiles Pediatric Dentistry  
Jefunira Camp 

La Petite Baleen  
Pandia Health 
Party with 630 

Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto and Pristine Orthodontics  
The Village Doctor 
Town & Country Resources 

Activity Sponsors:
Super Soccer Stars, Sweetgreens, Roovillage, SnipIts, Stratford School and Lighthouse AI

Community Partners
Friendly Pony Parties, Earth Baby, Palo Alto Library, and CuriOdyssey

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Meet PAMP Co-President Alice Chao

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 24, 2017

As one of the only returning board members from 2016-2017, Co-President Alice Chao has decided to expand her commitment and responsibility by stepping into a larger role.

Having served as the Membership Chair last year because of her background in public opinion research, Alice has been a member of PAMP since December 2015.

“I had heard about PAMP while I was pregnant, but didn’t find a need for it then,” she says. “When my daughter was about 6 months, I was ready to engage my community more, so I decided to join PAMP. It was at this time that I was also looking for a cleaner and searching for potentially a new nanny, so I had some concrete goals to achieve initially.”

With her daughter now 2, Alice feels she will be able to help maintain and improve the services PAMP delivers, from events to individual playdates.

“In Palo Alto, Menlo Park and surrounding areas, we have a lot of organizations and resources that offer wonderful services to mothers and families,” she says. ‘In order to best serve PAMP members, I would like to ensure that our services are what is needed. If they can be improved upon, then we should do it. And, if we need to pivot some events and offer entirely new events to fit new needs, then we should.”

Alice says her favorite events are Family Day and Preschool Fair, which both demonstrate how substantial the PAMP community is and the type of resources PAMP can offer to its members.

A resident of Mountain View, near the Los Altos border, Alice enjoys taking ballet classes whenever possible, and says her daughter loves Dora the Explorer books that she often reads in Chinese and English.

“I’m excited for all the new board members this year,” she says. “The majority of our board is new, so it will be exciting to get fresh eyes on our work.”

 

Tags:  board of directors 

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Making Room for Baby Number Two! 6 Tips to Help Your Toddler

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 24, 2017

Once the excitement of pregnancy with your second baby wears off and reality sets in with the baby’s birth, you may find yourself understandably anxious to help your toddler adjust to their growing family.

It’s helpful to remember that no matter how “prepared” they are, toddlers can be expected to have some anxiety about the changing family dynamics. When a new sibling arrives home some toddlers are excited; others ignore the new baby, mom or dad; and some even appear oblivious.

Your toddler is suddenly hearing “just a minute” more than usual: “Just a minute—I have to feed/change/calm the baby.” Parents can reassure their toddler by “talking” to the baby for the benefit of the toddler: “Just a minute Baby, it’s Big Sister’s turn to read with Mommy.” This can help your toddler see that everyone has to do some waiting, and this helps to level the playing field rather than singling out Big Sister.

Here are a few more strategies suggested by moms and dads in our 2nd Time Parents Drop-In Groups and classes to help ease the transition from a family of three to family of four:

  1. Try to keep your toddler’s routine as much the same as possible. For example, if your toddler went to daycare/preschool before the new baby, continue the same schedule, even while mom and dad are home on parental leave. This will give you precious bonding time with the new baby while protecting your toddler from seeing you holding your newborn “all the time.”
  2. If you know some of your toddler’s routine will change when the baby comes, try to ease into those changes as soon as possible during your pregnancy. Examples are changing morning or evening routines to include more dad-time, spending more time with grandparents, playdates, and childcare.
  3. Schedule some “special time with Mommy” (call it whatever you like i.e. “Mom and Emma time”) every day and let your toddler choose what you do together. It can be a short time, even 15 – 20 minutes playing in her room, or longer, such as a trip to the park. Let your toddler know when you will be having your “special time” that day (i.e. when baby takes his nap or after toddler’s nap or when Dad gets home).
  4. Have a “busy bag” with special toys and books that is only taken out when Mom is “busy” with baby (for instance, feeding) and put away once Mom is free.
  5. Enlist toddler’s “help” with baby by having her “go get the diaper,” “read” or sing to baby during feeding and diaper changes.
  6. Baby’s crying upsets many older siblings. Remind your toddler that crying is baby’s way of telling us that (s)he needs something.

This article was reprinted with permission from Parents Place. Parents Place holds a weekly 2nd Time Parents Drop-In Group every Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the big playroom where older siblings are welcome to play while parents discuss sibling relationships, baby and toddler growth and development, feeding, sleeping, etc. Groups are led by Cherie Zappas Tannenbaum, NP, IBCLC, a Family Nurse Practitioner, Lactation Consultant and Coordinator of Babies & Beyond at Parents Place.

 

 

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Hooray for Family Day!

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2017

With Family Day only a week and a half away, now is the time to fill in all of those last minute details that may be holding you back from signing up for PAMP’s biggest event of the year.

Held annually, Family Day is a free, fun-filled day for PAMP members to mingle with other PAMP families, make new friends and enjoy food, fun activities and awesome entertainment. Each year, PAMP tries to lock down an incredible kid-friendly performer and this year is no different.

PAMP has booked award-winning children’s performer Andy Z. Andy Z has been seen playing all across the Bay Area, bringing his entertaining and storytelling music to thousands of children over his 15 year career. If you haven’t seen Andy Z live, now is your chance. Register now for Family Day on Sunday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m at Palo Alto’s Mitchell Park. Andy will perform at 10:45 a.m. and noon.

Family Day is also a great opportunity for the kids to participate in crafts and other interactive activities. Check out the list of sponsors and what they’re hosting below

Friendly Pony Parties: As always, Friendly Pony Parties will provide the barnyard animals for the petting zoo and pony rides to our PAMP families.
Earth Baby: Hosting a diaper station

Key Sponsors:
International School of the Peninsula
La Petite Baleen: Arts and crafts
Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto/Pristine Orthodontics: Face painter, balloon twisting and magic
Party with 630: Bubble machine, cotton candy and coloring
Jefunira Camp: Several stations of fun and games (think bubbles and Play-Doh)
Pandia Health: Origami
The Village Doctor: Three games to play and a ducky pool
Town & Country Resources: Water table, facepaint and natural Play-Doh
Forever Smiles Pediatric Dentistry: Tooth brushing activity and wheel spin

Activity Sponsors:
Super Soccer Stars: soccer activities focusing on skill development for children ages 1-7
Sweetgreens: Coloring table with veggie illustrations
Roovillage: Water table activity
SnipIts: Crazy, fun hairstyles with color streaks and product and temporary tattoos
Stratford School: Visor craft
Lighthouse:Prize wheel

Members – even though the event is free, please RSVP here and be sure to select your choice of food. 

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Yoga for Kids: Friendly Poses for Morning

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kids today are faced with an incredible amount of stress from a very early onset. From the time they can walk, it seems pressure is applied for parents to get them started in sports and enrolled in the best preschool. By the time they are actually in school full time, children themselves are already feeling stressed out and the need to be the best at everything they do. This only grows as they get older and feel the pressure to be the best reader, the best student, the most popular kid, the best soccer or lacrosse player.  We forget they are just kids. One of the best things we can do for them is help them get their day started right.

Too often we are rushing here and rushing there and have little or no time to talk with our children about what their dreams were the night before or what’s coming up that day at school.  Mornings should be a peaceful time to take a deep breath, greet the day with a positive attitude, and practice a routine that gets them ready to conquer the day. After a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, one of the best we can do for our kids in the morning is get them involved in a simple yoga practice.  It is pretty commonly known that yoga builds muscle, improves posture, reduces stress, enhances mood, and increases focus in adults. These benefits are even more meaningful for children when taught correctly and practiced regularly. Yoga has been shown to help children mentally, physically, behaviorally, and socially.  It teaches skills that support them at home, in the classroom, on the playing field, and in their relationships. In turn, these are skills they will be able to carry into their adult lives.

One of the primary aspects of yoga is teaching mindfulness. This influences children by cultivating a peaceful mindset, enhancing concentration and focus, teaching tools for stress management, reducing anxiety, and encouraging kindness. What better way to set the tone for their day?  For example, yoga teaches children to utilize deep breathing, to clear their minds of negative thoughts, and to have patience with their poses, which carries over into teaching patience and acceptance in other aspects of life. Although these things won’t happen in one day, they will happen over time with regular practice. Your child can learn skills to help them cope with their everyday challenges and keep any stress they feel in check with a positive attitude.

Further, yoga has been shown to increase self-esteem and body awareness as young children learn what their bodies are capable of doing. By maintaining and increasing flexibility and strength as they grow, they become more confident and self-assured while also learning self-discipline.  Posture and muscular development improves, as well as their overall physical and mental health. 

The benefits of yoga for children are plentiful and simple to implement. In a few short minutes at home with you, they can start with the simplest poses such as child’s pose, cobra, mountain, tree, and downward dog. These are easy for children to master and are packed with benefits. As your child becomes more involved and their skills increase, you can add more poses and create your own routines together. Ultimately, they will be able to continue with an independent yoga practice they can carry into adulthood and use to practice a positive, gainful, and thoughtful lifestyle.

Hilary Smith is a freelance journalist based out of Chicago. Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary attended St. Stephen's Episcopal School and Northwestern University's school of journalism. Upon graduation, she turned her love of technology into a freelance writing career. After becoming a mother, she began focusing on writing about family and parenting in the digital age.

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Child Sleep Series #3: Your Baby at 10-11 Months

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The most noticeable change in your baby this month is likely the increase in mobility.  Cruising furniture, pulling up to standing, … oh and how’s that back of yours?  Sore yet?  If not, it is coming.  All kidding aside there’s a lot going on right now.

So what’s happening sleep side?

There are a series of PAINFUL early morning wake ups, also known as EWUs, that are happening right now.  By early morning, I mean in the 5:00 am range.

What is causing these killer early mornings? 

1.    Teething.  Most kids experience an influx of teeth at this age.  The central incisors (top middle) and the lateral incisors (sides) are making an appearance.  You may get over one set, and then next set come in.  This can lead to months of teething.

When your baby surfaces from a sleep cycle, she uses her self soothing skills to relax back down into sleep.  These self soothing skills could be sucking her thumb, rubbing her lovie, sleeping in a favorite position.  But if you still have a sleep crutch, then she needs you to help her by sucking on a bottle or a nipple, a pacifier or being rocked back to sleep.

When she’s teething, she surfaces from a sleep cycle, often around 5 am, and she is distracted by the discomfort in her gums and is unable to relax back down into sleep.   This can happen at 5 am, but also mid nap.  Short naps, where your baby was sleeping longer previously, is a classic teething sign.

2.  New Motor Skills.  Your baby may be crawling or pulling up to standing, but no doubt, she has some new motor skill that she is working on. 

Motor development can affect sleep in the same way that teething can.  When she surfaces from a sleep cycle, she may be excited about that new skill and can’t stop thinking about it.  Kind of like you and I might wake early one day and get excited about the pending vacation we are taking that day, or maybe a big presentation at work.  This distracts us from falling back asleep.  

Motor development may manifest as an early morning wake up, but is also commonly seen with MOTN, which are middle of the night waking.  You may catch your baby “playing” in her crib happily for up to an hour some nights!  Not much you can do about this but turn off your monitor  :)  We can’t control these bursts.

By 10-11 months, your baby should have dropped down to 2 naps by now and the good news is that she’ll be on this nap schedule until about 15-18 months, when she’ll drop down to 1 nap.  You can read more about that transition here: The Toddler 2-1 Nap Transition .  Finally a little bit of consistency in your ever changing schedule. 

Total Sleep Goals

 She still needs 11-12 hours of overnight sleep and 1.5-3 hours of daytime naps, for a total of 14 overall hours,  to be considered well rested.

Her maximum awake time, the time she can comfortably stay awake for, is 3-3.5 hours between sleep periods.

If you like what I have to say, you are always welcome to join my FREE Helping Babies Sleep Support Group where I moderate discussions, and you can post questions about anything sleep related.  This community is here to validate your experiences, and support you in your questions. It takes a village.

Sarah Mitchell has a Bachelor of Kinesiology from McMaster University and a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.  She has always been interested in health and the human body.  Having children of her own uncovered a new passion, helping parents get their children to sleep.  Her 1stchild would not sleep, which led her down the path of researching everything she could about baby and toddler sleep, and now she wants to empower you. She coaches parents and blogs at Helping Babies Sleep. www.helpingbabiessleep.com/blog/www.facebook.com/helpingbabiessleep, twitter: @sleepcoachsarah

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Meet PAMP's New Events Manager

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Updated: Sunday, July 2, 2017

PAMP has a new events manager!

Although only on the job a couple of months, PAMP Events Manager Rita Patel has taken no time to jump right into her job. Within her first couple of weeks, she was the friendly face members saw greeting them at the most recent Fun at the Farm Day.

Currently, Rita is hard at work planning this year’s Family Day and will play a major role in putting together the 2017 Preschool Fair in November.

“I am currently working on Family Day, working with the caterer and sponsors to create a really fun family experience,” she says. “My job is to manage all events and activities. My goal is to ensure that PAMP families have a great experience at events.”

Rita says her favorite part of the job is two-fold, as she loves working with other staff members and meeting members.

“My favorite part of the job is working with the dynamic staff and board members at PAMP,” she says. “Each person has a skill set that enhances each other, which allows us to work together and enhance all that PAMP has to offer. My other favorite part of the job is meeting all the wonderful PAMP families at events.”

Originally from the Northeast, Rita says she loves living in the Bay Area since it’s only a couple of hours away from both the beach and ski resorts. When not completing her PAMP-related duties, Rita enjoys cooking, traveling and is starting to dabble in Ikebana, or Japanese flower arranging. Be sure to welcome Rita when you’re at the next PAMP event!

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Prepare for a Safe Summer: 4 Tips for Kids to Handle Predators and Risky Situations

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ahhh, the carefree days of summer … the word summer still conjures up a great number of positive associations for me, as I hope it does for you. As a child summer meant barbeques, long days at the beach or pool, and nights spent biking around with friends (after dinner!) because it was still light out.

But, if you’re a parent, it is unlikely that your summer days are carefree. Summer has become a crazy balancing act of keeping your kids entertained and safe 24/7, all while trying to keep up with the regular demands of your work and home life. This means most children will spend far more time unsupervised, watched over by new or unfamiliar adults, or being allowed greater independence in activities in general. All of these scenarios can pose an unanticipated risk.

Children need to be taught how to manage this increased independence and what to do if they find themselves in an uncomfortable or scary situation. Below are some tips to help you keep your children safe from predators. Please keep in mind that you want to educate and empower your child! Use of fear or scare tactics will not be helpful in the long run.

  1. You must let your children know that they can come to you with any worry or issue without being criticized or dismissed. This means truly listening and being “present” (e.g., using good eye contact, tuning into the feelings underlying what your child is sharing, and summarizing what has been said for clarification).

  2.  Teach your children to trust their gut instinct and identify their emotions. If their inner voice is telling them that something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, they should remove themselves from the situation as quickly as possible and tell you or another trusted adult what happened. You may want to help them develop a list of “safe” adults and places to go to. Explicitly teach them how to tell if someone is “safe” or not, perhaps role-playing a few scenarios. They should be taught that, even if they know someone fairly well, they should trust their gut if something feels uncomfortable.

  3. Teach your children to be assertive and recognize that it is okay to say no to an adult, and even run away, if something feels wrong or strange. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends teaching kids the phrase “No, Go, Yell, Tell” in order to help them remember what to do in such situations.

  4. Make it a goal to regularly teach your children problem-solving skills. You can help them develop these skills over time by doing the following:
    • Consider daily challenges and identify problems together.
    • Model calmly thinking through these problems and encourage your child to do the same.
    • Brainstorm solutions together and then encourage your child to try them out.
    • Check-in about how well the solution worked or what he or she might do differently next time.

With practice, these skills will help them make good choices in both dangerous and more routine situations.

Robyn Matlon, M.Ed., M.A., Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist with specialized training in play therapy, child development, attachment, depression, anxiety, complex trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She can be reached at Parents Place in Marin County: 415-419-3625 or RobynM@jfcs.org.

This blog was reprinted with permission from Parents PlaceWith over 30 years of experience, the Parents Place integrated approach sets it apart. Parents Place believes that parenting is the most important job you can do, so they help you do it better. Learn more  here.  

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A Witching Hour Guide: Getting Safely – and Happily – from Kansas to Oz

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Do you dread the time between when your kids get home from school and dinnertime? Are fights, yelling and crying more inevitable than death and taxes? Then you, my friend, have fallen victim to the deep, dark and mysterious black magic of the witching hour. Before you call your tax adviser, I’ve got some concrete advice to help break the nasty spell. No longer will you be the Wicked Witch of the West. Just keep these tips in mind, tap your glitteriest red shoes together and say it with me: “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home …”

  • Break it up (the monotony and the time that is, not your marriage or household). Every preschool has a scheduled routine for the day; these little guys need it, and you need it. Break two-hour increments into four half-hour segments. Definitely include a downtime and give young children two to three choices for what to do during each time period. Give them something to look forward to.
  • Make a list. Involve kids in making a list of activities they enjoy; help them refer to it when they need ideas or re-directing. Art and books are no-brainers. (I would say that limited amounts of time on an electronic device or watching a mellow TV show are acceptable, but I live in the East Bay, and I don’t need hate mail.) Every so often, add new activities to the list. Your child will have new interests every few weeks; get books on those subjects from the library.
  • Articulate great expectations. Confidently tell your children what kind of behavior you expect. If you’ve got work to do and need them to play quietly for a bit, tell them how long it will be and what you’ll do after. Remember to be supportive and convey that you believe in them. (If you do it in a negative, threatening way, you’re setting everyone up for failure.) The more you establish the fact that there is a plan and some structure, the less chaotic things will be. Try not to get too frustrated when they inevitably slip up. If you feed their drama with your own, you’ll only get lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
  • Nip it in the bud. When you start to hear the tone of the play getting sassy or too rambunctious— before it’s clear you’re not in Kansas anymore—remind them of your expectations. Review their choices and give them the opportunity and responsibility of making good decisions (if they only had a brain?). Instead of focusing on punishment and blame, convey that you believe they can work things out through honest communication and respect.
  • Try to engage. Have a heart. You’re no Tin Man and don’t be a Cowardly Lion. No matter how busy you are, you have enough time to play with your children. Even if you can only spare 20 minutes, tell them clearly you have time to spend with them. Get hands-free and dive into their world. Relax and enjoy them and watch them magically become relaxing and enjoyable. For you are Glinda, the Good Witch of the North.
  • Applaud their efforts. It’s so easy to only say something when you need to discipline or re-direct. Attention energizes. Make a conscious effort to thank them and applaud them when you see they are helping you out and behaving respectfully. Help them see that when they make good choices, everyone benefits and feels better. Because, because, because, because, because—because of the wonderful things he does.

We all long for a place where there isn’t trouble, somewhere over the rainbow. By now you know parenting isn’t always a romantic love story. No doubt it will be an action/adventure, but you can help it be less of a suburban drama. Anytime things start spinning out of control, take charge. Huddle up and make a plan. Be the director in your own family classic. Like Dorothy, you may awake to find that you needn’t look any farther than your own backyard to find your heart’s desire. Because if it isn’t there, you never really lost it to begin with.

This article was reprinted with permission from www.parentcoachtom.com. Tom Limbert is a published parenting author and Parent Educator at Parents Place. Tom has been working with young children and their families since 1992, including 10 years at Stanford's Bing Nursery School. He has a Master's degree in Education with an emphasis in early childhood development, is the co-creator of Studio Grow, and the Director of Woodside Preschool. Tom's first book, Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time, has over one hundred inspiring quotes and includes a Foreword from Hall of Fame QB Steve Young. He's working on another gift book for dads with Chronicle but his most helpful book is What They Won't Tell You About Parenting.

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