When is it OK to leave your child home alone?

I was born in the 1970s, and raised in a lower-to-middle-class suburb. Mum and Dad ran their own business and they both worked long hours. This meant that when I was a kid, I let myself into the house every afternoon after school, and I was free to play anywhere in the neighbourhood until my parents returned home from work. I spent the afternoons riding my bike down to the park or to the shops with my best mate Andy. 

I did all of this from about the age of seven or eight. But a lot has changed since the latchkey generation of the 1970’s and 80’s. Today Australian parents are often unsure or confused about when it is OK to leave children home alone. 

 

What does the law say? 

The Queensland Criminal Codesays it is unlawful to leave a child under 12 years old for an “unreasonable time” without proper supervision and care. However, Queensland is the only state that explicitly gives a minimum age and the concept of an “unreasonable time” allows for a fair degree of flexibility and interpretation. 

In other states, there’s no specific age, but law firm Slater and Gordon have analysed the comparative laws and determined that even without a minimum age given, each state still requires parents to provide their children with adequate safety and supervision. 

So what is reasonable time? What is “proper supervision?” And is there a right age to leave the kids at home? 

Let’s be really clear about this. It’s a BIG deal. Parents risk fines and even (ironically) gaol time for leaving children unattended – not to mention that if something goes wrong, our kids’ wellbeing and even lives may be at stake, so this is something we need to get right. 

I can’t give you an age, but I can suggest some guidelines. The laws tell us that a “reasonable” amount of time depends on the context. As a start, courts will consider factors such as the age of the child, the length of time unattended, the reason she was left unattended, and the capacity of the child herself. 

But these factors are only a start. As parents we have a lot more to consider. 

 

How to know if your child is ready 

As your first step, check how your child feels about being home on her own. If your child is frightened talk to her about it. If she is scared of something specific, like what to do if someone knocks on the door or the phone rings, perhaps you can help her work through that fear and give clear instructions to keep her safe. Alternatively, we might recognise that staying home alone could be a scary experience. Wait until she is older and more confident. 

If your child feels ready, the next thing to consider is the context. How long will you be gone? Where will you be? Is it day or night? It might be reasonable to leave a 10 year old for a few minutes while you pop next door to borrow something from your neighbour, but maybe not to leave the same child for two hours while you go to dinner in the evening. Think about whether there be any siblings around. Even if your child feels ready to be on her own, she may not be ready to also look out for a younger child – or perhaps you have two kids who are old enough to be left alone, except when they’re with each other! 

There are a few other things to consider: 

Check that your child can physically manage on their own – that they are tall enough and strong enough to open doors, turn locks, and complete simple tasks, like organize whatever food they might need. Consider different scenarios. If something happens, would your child know what to do? If someone trips and falls, or cuts himself while slicing a sandwich, would they know how to help or who to call? Is there anyone nearby who could help in an emergency? Are they capable of ringing 000? 

Next, think about the specific rules that apply in your own home. Do you have a pool? If so, what are the rules about swimming with no adults present? Can your child watch television or use the iPad? Is your child permitted to open the front door to strangers, or to anyone? Are friends allowed over (important if you have teenagers!)? 

Make sure that your child has demonstrated the ability to make safe decisions – to stay home alone, they need to be grown up enough to think through what to do if something unexpected happens or what could happen if they don’t follow the rules (drowning if you have a pool!). 

How you will monitor your child’s behaviour. Are they following the rules? Are they home when they say they will be? 

Finally, once you decide it is the right time for you and your child, figure out how you can support them. Get home when you say you will. Arrange to phone them or for a friend to check on them. When your child feels confident and safe, you will too. 

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Why do teenagers become “allergic” to their parents?

Dear Dr Justin 

My son is 14 and up until recently we have always been close. When he got in from school he couldn’t wait to tell me about his day. But everything has changed. Now he seems angry and hostile all the time, and nothing I do ever makes him happy. What can I do to connect with him again? 

Kids don’t tend to be particularly talkative at the end of the school day. That makes sense in many ways. As adults, we aren’t typically bursting with desire to talk through things either. We usually like to decompress and have a little bit of time to ourselves before we start to open up again. 

The teen years, however, are notable for this. Often a previously sweet and loving child turns into an argumentative, rebellious young person. You find yourself wondering where you went wrong, where this angry teenager came from? 

Teens and parents do clash, but it doesn’t have to become an “allergic” relationship! 

Underlying cause 

As hard as it is to experience, it is developmentally appropriate for teens to pull away from their parents. It’s called identity development, and it’s essential for our adolescents to do this to become fully functioning adults, to develop their own sense of who they are and to create their own personalities, with individual opinions, ideas and experiences. But the process can be difficult. Especially for the parents! 

For some teens, they feel that the best way to become ‘themselves’ is to say no to all the other humans around them (and parents are the humans they deal with the most). This leads to opposition, frustration and retaliation. Parents need to understand that this behavior is part of the process of growing up, but it isn’t personal. And just because they may not like us at the moment, doesn’t mean they don’t love us. 

A passing and not permanent fixture 

Mark Twain might have said it best when he said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” 

Dr Carl Pickhardtdescribes these teen years as “an unwelcome change” but one that is a “passing and not permanent fixture”. Your teen will grow through this stage, and will love you again. It may take seven years, as Mark Twain says, but it will happen. The most important thing is to maintain a good relationship with them during this time. 

How to get through the teen years 

Getting through these years is really tricky. I’ve got three teens and three on the way so I am facing these issues every day. My advice is not just based on science, but on real life. Here are my rules for getting through the teen years: 

Rule number 1 –

They need love, so stay close to your kids. They want us and need us to be involved in their lives, even if they act like they don’t. Being involved doesn’t mean constantly telling them what to do though. In fact, this is the time when the parent-teen relationship should become less authoritarian and more egalitarian. If our teens feel that we are constantly telling them what to do, giving them correction and direction, it doesn’t work out so well. 

But our teens still need to know that they are loved. Researchshows that teens deal best with the great upheavals of these years when their parents take the time to listen and talk to them. Create opportunities for communication, such as family mealtimes or driving to school, training, work, or other activities. 

Rule number 2 –

They need limits. No teen wants limits, but boundaries keep them safe. Strong parents are careful to set sensible limits, but not in a way that feels like they’re having something done to them. Rather, we want our teens to feel that we are working withthem. Create natural and realistic boundaries, with their input, so they feel secure but still have the space they need to feel a sense of independence. And though we shouldn’t make too many hard and fast rules, we need to stand by the ones we do make. 

We can still keep them safe. We do this by watching their moods closely, getting to know their friends, and paying attention to how they are doing at school and in their activities. 

Rule number 3 –

They need laughter, so have fun together! One of the best ways to develop a more equal adult relationship with your child as he grows is to find a mutual interest. Find an activity that you both love and do it together. This lets you get to know your teen in a new way, and equally important, allows your teen to get to know YOU in a new way. Best of all, it is an opportunity to feel close to each other again. Play music together, loud. Sing. Play games. Wrestle. Find ways to laugh, and do it often. 

And a bonus rule: Rule number 4 –

Ensure there are other trustworthy adults they can turn to. Our teens may not feel comfortable coming to us with their problems right now. We need to make sure they have other supportive adults they can go to. This could be a teacher, a family member, or a coach. 

By incorporating these rules, we can stay close to our teens, even when they are feeling “allergic” to us. 

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How to get your children to really listen

As parents, sometimes you feel like you can talk and talk and your child just doesn’t listen. Sometimes they may just have a blank look on their face. Or worse, they do the complete opposite of what you’ve asked them to do!

Kids seem to come with an inbuilt instinct to resist direction from their parents, or to do the opposite of what they’re told. In fact, this ‘counterwill’ is innate to all humans; we are hardwired to be oppositional. Counterwill is ‘the developmental forerunner of a child’s sense of autonomy,’ and in that sense, a very important stage in our children’s lives. Our challenge, as parents, is to work around that innate instinct.

When your child seems to be ignoring you, it is easy to slip into anger and frustration. We might find we resort to shouting just to get our child’s attention! Most of us don’t like shouting – either as the giver or the receiver. Research shows that yelling can be just as harmful as smacking or hitting. The effects on our children are almost always negative. We ignore the reasons for their lack of attention. We damage our relationship with them. And it’s not like we’re making them feel more motivated to do what’s right by yelling. There are better ways.

So how do we get our kids to really listen?

This is one of the most common questions that I get from parents. So if you feel you talk until you’re blue in the face, and still your child doesn’t listen, you’re not alone.
Here is what you do:

First – speak softly.

If someone starts speaking really loud or yelling at you, your immediate response is usually fight or flight. You just want to get away from them. Our children are no different. So when we get louder, they listen less.

On the other hand, the more softly a person speaks, the more closely everybody else listens to them. We want to hear what we might be missing out on! And unless your child has a genuine physical ailment that affects their ability to hear, they will respond in the same way.
There’s a simple test to prove this theory. Stand in the doorway of the room your child is in and in a nice quiet voice say, “Who wants ice cream?” I guarantee their ears will prick up! They’re not deaf.

Second – consider your timing.

Let’s face it; parents can sometimes be pretty rude when it comes to wanting things done straight away. We often tell our kids to do something and expect them to jump to it without considering what they are doing. And while what they are doing might not seem important to us, it is often deeply important to our child – even if it is “just playing” (remember, play is the most important thing your child can be doing).
If your child is right in the middle of something that matters to them, take a minute to see it from their perspective. Address the issue, calmly, quietly and civilly. If your child is deeply engrossed in a book you could say, ‘I see that this book is important to you. Why don’t you finish that page first, but then I want it done.’

Of course there will be times when you can’t wait, when it really does have to be done right now. But usually you’ll find there is a little time to give to your child.

Third – use the ‘gentle reminder’.

This is my secret weapon, and it’s what I do when my own kids aren’t listening. I walk over to them and take one of their hands gently and hold it in between both of my own. I’ll then say their name very softly and look them in the eyes. Then using just one or two words I remind them what I’m after. I’ll say, ‘Ella, the towel,’ or ‘Abbie, your shoes.’

This gives the kids credit for having a brain. They have to think about what it is I’m after. Ella might think about how she must have left a towel on the floor. Abby might think about where she’s left her shoes, and where they are meant to be.

I’m not angry, I’m speaking softly and kindly, I’ve looked them in the eyes, and asked them to do it. I know I’ve got their attention and they’ve heard me. They’re listening.
And then I just wait. I just stand there holding their little hands and smiling at them (and sometimes feeling a little silly!). Pretty soon they say, ‘Oh sorry Dad’ and off they go to hang up their towels or sort out their shoes.

So when your kids aren’t listening to you, which WILL happen, try these three things. Speak softly. Your kids will hear you better. Consider your timing. Remember that sometimes our agenda is really not that important (and sometimes it is). And use the ‘gentle reminder’. Touch them, make eye contact, say their name and use a short verbal cue.

And if all that fails, you can always say ‘ice cream.’

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The Not So Sweet Truth About Sugar

For decades, we were told that limiting fat intake was the best way to take care of our health. However, we should be paying attention to our sugar intake, too. While eating diets low in fat, we have (unknowingly) consumed more and more sugar, and sugar is linked to a host of problems.

The Not So Sweet Truth About Sugar

How Sugar Hurts Us

Moms are aware that too much sugar is harmful. We offer our children treats in moderation. We balance desserts with colorful greens. We know to swap the soda for a cup of green tea, but some days you may find yourself tired, overworked, and reaching for the instant energy rush found in sweets. Those midday pick-me-ups are linked to risks beyond empty calorie consumption and tooth decay.

To protect ourselves against heart disease, the leading killer of mothers, we must uncover the truth behind some of our favorite foods: Many of them, even those marketed as “healthy,” are just as sugar-laden as a slice of cake.

The Hidden Threat of Sugar

Our best efforts for health are being sabotaged. From canned soups to whole wheat bread, dried fruits to granola bars, sugar is called by many different names and is in more places than we might think.

The Chobani Blueberry Yogurt cup we enjoy for breakfast? 15 grams of sugar.

Our lifesaving morning Starbucks run? A Grande Vanilla Latte has a whopping 35 grams.

Those healthy zucchini noodles tossed in marinara for lunch? 8 grams of sugar per one cup of sauce.

Dinner of grilled BBQ chicken breast with a simple salad? 13 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce, and 5 grams hidden in our salad dressing.

You would have consumed 76 grams of sugar in one day, 51 grams higher than what is recommended by the American Heart Association.

On average, moms are eating 6935 teaspoons of sugar a year, most of which aren’t even derived from delicious indulgences.

What We Can Do to Watch our Sugar Intake

Pay attention to nutrition labels
Advocate for your health by checking the sugar content on everything – even foods that don’t necessarily taste sweet. Every 4 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon.

Know the sugar lingo
Remember, even if a sweetener is marketed as a “healthy alternative,” your body will break down the sugars just the same. White sugar, raw turbinado sugar, maple and organic agave syrup, and calorie-free options like Splenda or stevia, all lead to the same blood sugar spikes.

Swap the sugary coffee rush
Nix the flavored creamers and try low-sugar coconut or almond milk in your coffee, instead. If you find yourself stirring in one to two teaspoons of sugar, try cutting back and adding in cinnamon and nutmeg, or a pumpkin spice blend. Experiment until you find a flavor that you love.

Satisfy cravings naturally
When your sweet tooth calls, reach for nature’s candy. Keep a variety of fruits washed and readily available. Though it might take time, your taste buds will begin to adjust, and even thank you.

For an evening treat, try a tart, green apple sliced and topped with almond butter, with only 1 gram of sugar per serving, and sprinkled with a bit of shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips.

Opt for whole foods
Eating a diet rich in whole foods can minimize unwanted sugars. Fill your pantry with foods that support clean eating. When you shop, try to stick to the fresh produce and meat aisles and limit boxed and ready-made snacks.

Making your own dressings and condiments, pasta sauces, oatmeal and granola also allows you to control just how much sugar is being added in.

Allow some flexibility
A mom can protect her health without being rigid. Knowing to look for hidden sugars, and doing our best to limit them, allows us more freedom to enjoy birthday cake and a latte every now and again. Remember, one day of indulgence won’t compromise your overall efforts.

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5 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Hard Boiled Eggs

After you’ve dyed Easter eggs, you may find yourself with a surplus of leftover hard boiled eggs on hand. We run into this problem frequently in the spring, when our backyard chickens are laying a large supply of eggs. Hard boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, can be refrigerated and are safe to eat for up to one week. If you’re wondering what to do with the extra eggs, here are 5 ideas on how to prepare and serve them as well as a summary on their healthful benefits.

5 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiling and poaching have shown to be the healthiest methods of preparing eggs, as they don’t require oil or butter for cooking. Hard boiled eggs are full of vital nutrients, from muscle-building protein to metabolism-boosting B vitamins as well as vitamin D and iron. Eggs are also protein-packed. One hard boiled egg packs six grams of protein. They’re also a great food to help fight fatigue!

 

Here are 5 creative ways to use up those leftover hard boiled eggs.

 

Deviled Eggs

This is a favorite way use leftover hard boiled eggs because creating deviled eggs is extremely versatile. You can add so many exciting flavors, herbs and even bits of bacon or other meat to the mixture that these eggs go far beyond appetizers or snacks. One easy trick is adding a bit of hummus to the mashed yolks. Another easy hack is to add a bit of guacamole to the mashed yolks.  Here are a few other delicious ideas for your next batch of deviled eggs.

Bacon Blue Deviled Eggs With Roasted Garlic And Asparagus by How Sweet Eats

Deviled Eggs With Beets And Smoked Salmon by Little Broken

 

Egg Salad

Egg salad is great because you can eat in on a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich. An easy addition to egg salad is to chop a little celery and green olives to throw into the mix. Another healthy addition is to add chopped avocado to the mix and substitute plain yogurt for the mayonnaise. Here are a few more:

Crab Egg Salad Recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen

Tarragon Egg Salad by Simply Recipes

 

In Salads

Sliced hard boiled eggs can turn a leafy green salad into a protein-packed meal, or be used as a substantial ingredient in other types of salads. I love adding hard boiled eggs (along with bacon) to spinach salad. Here are a few that are quick and easy to make.

Green Bean And Egg Salad by Diethood

Cobb Salad by I Heart Naptime

 

Pizza

It sounds strange, but given the right ingredients, you can slice or crumble your hard-boiled eggs on pizza toppings for a truly scrumptious flavor pairing. Here are two yummy ideas:

Portuguese Pizza by Mutt And Chops

Hard Boiled Eggs Pesto Pizza by The Zoe Blog

 

Hack The Classics

Repurpose those hard boiled eggs by substituting them in a classic recipe that you may already make. For example, traditional Eggs Benedict calls for poached eggs, but try using hard-boiled instead. Here’s how:

Hard Boiled Eggs Benedict Recipe by Home Cooking Memories

We all know you’re supposed to add an egg to cookie dough, but it’s usually a fresh egg, not hard-boiled, unless it’s this recipe:

Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies by Cookies And Cups

Tell me your favorite way to use leftover hard boiled eggs in the comments!

5 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Hard Boiled Eggs

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How much sport is too much for our kids?

Hi Dr Justin

I have a ten-year-old daughter who is a very good swimmer and competes at state level. This year she increased her training to an hour a session, and there is pressure on her to train throughout the year. She loves it but I am worried she will burn out. What should I do?

Experts and parents are increasingly questioning – are our kids doing too much? Our kids are overscheduled, our expectations are too high and our kids are missing out on the important work of childhood – play.

Sports, especially competitive sports, come with extra worries. Where there used to be a focus on fun, there is now an emphasis on competitive success. And with the drive for success comes the increase in training. It is not uncommon for six and seven-year-olds to be ‘training’ several times a week.

Participating in sport does provide a lot of benefits – development of self-esteem, socialisation, academic improvement and physical fitness. When done right, it enhances feelings of competence and promotes wellbeing. But the focus on competition means kids are starting to train harder from a younger age. This can cause problems for our kids.

Every year millions of children are injured playing sports – more than half from overuse of muscles that aren’t developed enough for the kinds of activities that they’re doing – again and again. Because our kids are still growing and developing they are more prone to stress fractures, tendinitis, degenerative conditions and damage to growth plates in their bones.

To avoid injury, the American Academy of Pediatrics believes kids shouldn’t specialise in a sport until they have reached adolescence. And young athletes should have at least one to two days off per week so they can recover.

Too much of one sport (or of any one thing!) can also lead to a decrease in a child’s wellbeing. We need to make sure we aren’t pushing our kids because we think it’s something they need, regardless of their feelings. Sport should be about having fun and learning, not about being the best (or even good!).

Unhealthy competition can negatively affect our kids as well. U.S. education expert Alfie Kohn says, ‘When we set children against one another in contests – from spelling bees to awards assemblies to science “fairs” (that are really contests) … we teach them to confuse excellence with winning, as if the only way to do something well is to outdo others.’

For me this is one of the critical considerations. Studies show that competitiveness can undermine resilience as kids judge themselves on their ability to be better than others. It seems that pressure to do well takes the focus away from plain and simple enjoyment of an activity for the activity’s sake. But isn’t that what our kids are supposed to experience?

There is also the risk of burnout. Approximately 70% of kids quit organised sports by the age of 13, mainly due to burnout. They’ve just had enough. They loved swimming because it “used to be fun”, but now it’s all about training, and times, and competition and winning.

And kids who specialise in a single sport before the age of 16 have a much higher risk of burnout. Watch for signs of burnout – inconsistent performance, lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment and being uncooperative with coaches and other players. Also more generalised signs like fatigue, depression, anger, irritability, lack of ability to concentrate, not wanting to engage with friends or family and difficulty sleeping or eating can indicate a child who is burning out.

So what can we do?

As a baseline rule, before the age of ten participation in sport should be limited and all about fun. Once the kids get to ten, let them choose what they’d like to participate in. This is when it becomes our job to help them balance the competing demands of sport and the joys of being a kid. Further, avoid specialisation. Encourage them to play a variety of things to see what they like most. Then if they want to get serious, they can do so from about Grade 8 or 9.

Find the balance

Make sure the sport is enhancing your child’s wellbeing and not just helping them to ‘get ahead.’ Ensure your child knows you care about them more than you care about whether they won their last race. And make sure your child is excited to participate. Everyone goes through periods where they lose motivation, when persistence is required, but they need to want to be there.

Keep perspective

As parents we are responsible for having (and teaching) perspective. Sport can be great, but make sure it’s not about competition, comparison or being enough, but about exploration, learning and creativity. Kids also need time for friendships, cultivating other interests or just hanging out.

Set limits

Finally, set limits. Follow the recommendations and limit training sessions to three times a week. Make sure your child has the summer holidays off from any sports at all. Remember, the entire focus should be on letting children be children.

You know your child best. If she loves to swim, encourage her in her pursuit of it. But ensure she also has time for friends, is getting enough sleep and has free time to explore other interests. Make sure she is not overdoing it, or putting herself at risk of an injury or burning out.

Her schedule may not be overwhelming yet, but with the push for year-round training, it may quickly become so. Remember you can say no (and sometimes should!) to the coaches and to your child. She’s a kid, and needs time for that as well!

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What to do when your child is the bully 

Hi Dr Justin 

We have a ten-year-old daughter and we’re worried she is a bully. There have been several incidents at school where she has targeted innocent kids, calling them names, making fun of them and even kicking and pushing them. We believe we’ve taught her better than that. We are devastated and feel completely lost – how should we react, and how do we move forward? 

Finding out your child is behaving horribly towards others is painful! Especially when you have intentionally taught her otherwise. 

When our kids act in challenging ways we often focus on the specific behaviour, hoping to nip it in the bud. That’s like a gardener attacking the leaves of a difficult tree. It’s a short-term fix, but it doesn’t address the real problem – the roots of the tree. It takes digging and dirty work to get to the roots. In the same way, addressing just our child’s challenging behaviour won’t fix it. We need to get down to the roots – underneath the surface – to best help our child. 

What is going on in your child’s life? 

As parents we need to first consider what is going on in our child’s life. Are her home and school life working well? 

At home, our children need clear limits and to feel accepted and loved. They need attention from us (the good kind!), even when we are busy or distracted. Most importantly, we need to make sure we are spending good quality time together as a family. To a child, love is spelled T-I-M-E. 

At school, our children need to feel safe. They need to have friends, and to feel they can keep up with class work (or can get help if they need it). Outside of school, they need hobbies, sports or other interests, of their choosing. They need to have places to go where they feel competent and where they can develop safe and positive relationships. And they need to feel that they have some choice and volition in their lives. 

Learning how to empathise 

Researchers have discovered that most bullying prevention programs and techniques don’t work. But there are some things we can do that don’t usually crop up in the anti-bullying programs. 

The best way to do reduce bullying behaviour is to teach our children how to empathise with others. But in order to empathise with others, kids need to develop strong emotional intelligence. They need to be able to understand how they feel, and develop the skills to regulate their own big emotions. Then they can begin to understand how others feel, and identify the right way to act. 

This is a complicated process, but one that is extremely helpful in getting to the root of the problem. But we also need a strategy that tackles the problem immediately. I’d suggest this five-step process: 

The Five-Step Process 

First, engage your child in a gentle way. If you are upset, take some time to compose yourself and ask your child to do the same if necessary. We don’t parent effectively when we’re upset, and our children don’t listen well when they’re upset. And when we are gentle and understanding, we are also modeling the behavior we are asking for. 

Second, give your child credit where you can. This is not about making excuses for them! But when we appreciate good intentions and sincere striving, we can understand our child’s point of view and can guide them more effectively: ‘You just wanted to play with one friend without being interrupted.’ 

Third, draw attention to the victim’s distress: ‘When you told your friend to go away, she felt sad.’ This step helps our child to feel what others are feeling. Our aim here is to train our children’s hearts. This is delicate work! Heart surgery can’t be done with sledgehammers. 

Fourth, we build emotional intelligence and empathy by asking her to see the victim’s point of view and to take on her perspective: ‘I think your friend just wanted to be with you.’ 

Steps three and four focus on the heart (distress of the victim) and the mind (the victim’s perspective).  The heart and mind working together is a very powerful tool! 

Fifth, once your child feels understood (and is calm and peaceful), help her think of ways to make amends: ‘How could we help your classmate feel included without ruining your game?’ When your child is calm and her heart is right, she will be more creative and empathetic. 

This process WILL take a lot of time. Parenting in these challenging situations is not quick or convenient, but is, instead, a large and continuing sacrifice. It may take several rounds of the five-steps before your child is ready to show compassion to others. But ultimately you will have empowered her to develop useful and positive strategies for coping with challenges. 

Go for the roots, not the leaves, and with careful, loving, tender work, you’ll help her grow to a considerate and loving young woman.

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Why a Weighted Blanket from Dr. Hart’s is The Ultimate Calming Tool

Dr. Hart’s weighted blanket has been such an awesome addition to our home. I have wanted to try a weighted blanket for a while now, so I can’t wait to share our experience with you!

For a limited time, my readers can get a special discount on a weighted blanket!

Weighted Blanket from Dr. Hart’s
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

My daughter absolutely loves it, and so do I. I see a second one being needed in our future! I’ve always been a person who wants to sleep under 2-3 comforters no matter the time of year. I just like the feeling of security. The weighted blanket gives that same feeling without making me too warm during the night. It’s helping me get to sleep faster and enjoy more restful sleep during the night!

My middle daughter has always had sensory issues. It’s a struggle to find clothing she will wear. Everything is either too tight, too scratchy, or just not what she wants. She also has trouble calming down. She is always bouncing around, even when doing something calm, like homeschooling or a movie. She was a huge thumb sucker. That has improved, but we’re still working on it!

I was hopeful that a weighted blanket would be helpful to her, but also wondered is she would like it due to her clothing issues. Luckily, she immediately loved the Dr. Hart’s weighted blanket. The cover is micro plush and super soft. In fact, there have been a few times this week where she went to find it to help calm down. She thinks it feels like a hug. 🙂

As an added bonus, she loves snuggling with our kittens. They also seem to love the blanket, so that means more snuggle time for her!

More Dr. Hart’s Blanket Info

Who would benefit from a weighted blanket?
If you want to sleep better, help relive stress, reduce sensory issues, or just relax at the end of the day, you should give it a try!

It’s easy to care for!
The Dr. Hart’s Weighted Blanket can be washed on the gentle cycle or hand washed and air dried. The cover can be washed and dried.

Can kids use a weighted blanket?
Dr. Hart’s recommends the blanket for people 50 pounds and up.

Weighted Blanket from Dr. Hart’s is The Ultimate Calming Tool

Weighted Blanket

The post Why a Weighted Blanket from Dr. Hart’s is The Ultimate Calming Tool appeared first on Healthy Happy Thrifty Family.

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Making Forky Characters for Toy Story 4

As soon as we saw the Toy Story 4 trailer, the kids started begging to make Forky! We did it and put our own spin on them too! These would be such a fun craft station for a Toy Story party!

Making Forky Characters for Toy Story 4

Making Forky from Toy Story 4 – Supplies

Forky DIY Supplies

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The body is a spork. You’ll need craft popsicle sticks for the feet. The arms are a pipe cleaner. We used modeling clay to attach the feet to the spork and to create the eyebrow and mouth with colored modeling clay. Forky has two different sized google eyes. We made one forky with the correct colors and then got creative with his pals.

Making Forky from Toy Story 4 – Directions

Use colored modeling clay to form the eyebrow and mouth. Use glue to attach the eyes, mouth and eyebrow. We used regular white school glue. Then attach the pipe cleaner to the middle of the spork. Forky has 3 fingers.

Create the base using modeling clay. We cut our popsicle craft sticks in half for the feet.

Forky has a rainbow sticker on his right foot that we recreated with a sharpie.

Here are the other fun Forky friends we made!

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