Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Big Three: Tantrums, Fussing and Whining

By Elizabeth Pantley
Author of The No-Cry Discipline Solution

If you ask parents to list the most frustrating discipline problems during the early childhood years, you would find that these three items appear on every parent’s list. They are so common that I refer to them as The Big Three. All children master their own version of these behaviors, some are more talented in one area over another, and they appear and disappear at various ages and stages – but every parent has to deal with them!

Controlling their emotions
Most often tantrums, fussing and whining are caused by a child’s inability to express or control his emotions. When a child is stressed in any way he’s more likely to lose control. Tiredness, hunger, boredom, frustration and other causes that ignite The Big Three can frequently be avoided or modified. The best way to use this knowledge is to watch your child carefully. When she begins a meltdown, try to determine if you can tell what underlying issue is causing the problem. Is it past naptime? Is she due for a snack? Is the puzzle too much beyond her ability level? Solve the base problem and you’ll help your child gain control of her emotions.

Handling tantrums, fussing and whining
No matter how diligent you are in recognizing trigger causes, your child will still have meltdown moments. Or even meltdown days. Children are human beings, after all. Young humans, without the experience and wisdom that will grow over time. And all children need the guidance of a strong adult to help them gain this experience and wisdom – they can’t do it on their own. The following tips can help you handle those inevitable bumps in the road along the way. Be flexible and practice those solutions that seem to bring the best results for your child in any given situaiton.

Get eye-to-eye
When you make a request from a distance, yelling from room-to-room, your child will likely ignore you, if he hears you at all. Noncompliance creates stress, which leads to fussing and tantrums – from both of you. Instead, go to your child, get down to his level, look him in the eye and make a clear, concise request. This will catch his full attention. Plus, you will know that he really did hear you and can get him to verify that he understands what you need him to do.

Tell him what you DO want
Avoid focusing on misbehavior and what you don’t want him to do. Children hear far to many Nos, Don’ts and Stops. These negative words bring more resistance from your child.  Instead, explain exactly what you’d like your child to do or say in a positive, specific way. It gives him simple instructions to follow. So instead of saying, “Stop bickering over your toys!” a better choice is, “I’d like the two of you to find a fair way to share your toys.”

Offer the freedom of choices within limits
You may be able to avoid problems by giving your child more of a say in his life. Children crave independence, yet we must remain in control of this growing need. You can do this by offering choices between two or three things that you will accept. Instead of saying, “Put your coat on  right now,” which may provoke a tantrum, offer a choice, “What would you rather do, wear your coat or bring along a sweatshirt?” Children who are involved in their own decision making are often happily cooperating without even realizing it!

Validate his feelings
Help your child identify and understand her emotions. Give words to her feelings, “You’re sad. You want to stay here and play. I know.” This doesn’t mean you must give in to her request, but letting her know that you understand her problem may be enough to help her calm down. Follow the validation with a brief explanation and instructions, “The bus leaves soon, so take one last turn down the slide before we leave.”
Teach the Quiet Bunny
When children get worked up, their physiological symptoms keep them in an agitated state. They become tense, their breathing becomes rapid, and their You can teach your child how to relax and then use this approach when fussing begins.

You can start each morning or end each day with a brief relaxation session. Have your child sit or lie comfortably with eyes closed. Tell a story that he’s a quiet bunny. Name body parts (feet, legs, tummy, etc.) and have your child wiggle it, and then relax it.

Once your child is familiar with this process you can call upon it at times when he is agitated. Crouch down to your child’s level, put your hands on his shoulders, look him in the eye and say, let’s do our Quiet Bunny. And then talk him through the process. Over time, just mentioning it and asking him to close his eyes will bring relaxation.

Distract and involve
Children can easily be distracted when a new activity is suggested. If your child is whining or fussing try viewing it as an “activity” that your child is engaged in. Since children aren’t very good multi-taskers you might be able to end the unpleasant activity with the recommendation of something different to do.

Invoke his imagination
If a child is upset about something, it can help to vocalize his fantasy of what he wishes would happen: “I bet you wish we could buy every single toy in this store.” This can become a fun game.

Use the preventive approach
Review desired behavior prior to leaving the house, or when entering a public building, or before you begin a playdate. This might prevent the whining or tantrum from even beginning. Put your comments in the positive (tell what you want, not what you don’t want) and be specific.

When it’s over, it’s over
After an episode of misbehavior is finished you can let it go and move on. Don’t feel you must teach a lesson by withholding your approval, love or company. Children bounce right back, and it is okay for you to bounce right back, too.

by Elizabeth Pantley http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth
The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Reusing an Old Barn Window

Living on an old farm, I always have a great variety of old materials that I can use for crafting.


I found a whole stack of these windows just sitting in one of our old farm buildings a couple years ago. I dug them out, cleaned them up and I was planning on making some sort of cold frame or small green house with them. Turns out, old and extremely weathered windows don’t hold up to any sort of construction very well. I set them aside and moved on to my next projects, figuring that I’d find a use for them sooner or later…

I’ve wanted some sort of message center for our kitchen for a while now and it hit me that this would be a great way to repurpose these windows. Because I still wanted to hold on to the weathered and distressed look of the windows, I didn’t bother using primer. By skipping that step, the paint really soaked into the wood showing off the grain and cracks. I used a bluish teal color for my base and then a thin coat of white on top. I finished it off by sanding the edges and adding a couple coats of polyurethane.
I used some fabric covered cork to replace the window panes. I just cut an old corkboard to the sizes I needed and then used some spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the cork. I used my hot glue gun to fasten the panels to the window.
I painted a hanging basket for our mail and used a couple thumbtacks to hold it on one of the panels.


On another panel I used my glue gun again to attach a magnet strip. Then I glued some fabric on one side of another magnet and we use this to hang small items like business cards.

I used some little screw-in hooks on the sides to hold keys and some bigger hooks and a dowel on the bottom for a towel rack and apron hanger.

I love the distressed look of the wood and the fabric is the perfect color. The only thing I might have changed would be to make a chalkboard panel using a thin piece of plywood or panel and chalkboard paint. There’s always next time. :)


Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Fun!! Lulu's In The Fluff Giveaway

Welcome to Friday Fun! A new feature from Country Drawers featuring a new giveaway or sale item each Friday.

This week, we're giving away one 45/90 bag of Lulu's In The Fluff regular formula detergent as well as three samples!

We love Lulu's In The Fluff at Country Drawers! It's gentle enough for our sensitive skin but strong enough to get the grease stains out of the farmer's (Mr. Country Drawers) pants. We even use it on our carpets and furniture.

The giveaway ends tonight (2/24/12) at midnight CST and is open to residents of the US and Canada. Canadian winners will be responsible for the actual shipping costs of their prizes.

Fill out the form below to be entered:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2000 Facebook Fans Giveaway

I'm so excited that we have made it to 2,000 likes on Facebook!

You like us, you really like us. Okay, that was a little cliche. ;) But, really, I am so thrilled that we've come this far. People thought I was crazy for opening up a cloth diaper store in our little area and I'm proud to say that we are still thriving and growing almost two years later. That's all because of you - our wonderful customers.

To celebrate this milestone, we are giving away a $30 Country Drawers gift certificate to be used online or at our Cambridge, Nebraska! Follow the directions on the form below to enter: