It’s so important for kids to make friends and learn how to be a guest. Here are 10 rules for visiting friends’ homes.
Recently a neighbor child stopped by to play. My kids were excited to have a guest, and it was fun for them to play.
Within a few minutes of arriving, the boy told me he was hungry. Dinnertime was approaching and I wasn’t going to feed my kids that close to dinner so that’s what I said. (*Please note: I know this child is well fed at home. If he wasn’t, I would’ve reacted differently)
He started wandering through the house and opening closets and such. I politely asked him to not open things without asking- that’s what I expect my kids to do at their friends’ houses. He stomped off to another area and did the same thing.
About this point, I told him I wasn’t trying to be mean, but at our house, I expect guests to follow our rules. I let him know he’s welcome to visit, and shared with him what I expect.
I honestly wasn’t sure how he would react but he looked surprised and said, “you’re the meanest mom in the neighborhood.”
It probably didn’t help that I started laughing.
So, maybe I’m mean but my kids are expected to use their manners at their friends’ homes.
Rules for visiting friends’ homes
- Remember to say please and thank you.
- Take off your shoes. Not every family does this, but it’s better show respect.
- Looking in rooms without permission. If you aren’t invited, don’t go there.
- Looking in the fridge, cupboards, closets, or drawers.
- Don’t ask for or help yourself to food. Have a snack before heading to a friends’ house. If they offer a snack, it’s fine to accept. It’s not fine to walk in the door and start nagging everyone for food. (This doesn’t mean I never give kids food…)
- Putting feet on or jumping on furniture. It isn’t allowed at home, so it seems like it would go without saying, but make sure they know it’s not okay at other homes either.
- Bringing along a pet without prior permission.
- No rough-housing inside.
- Remember certain toys may be off limits. Some are special or really expensive so plan to leave those alone.
- Be kind to friends’ siblings. They like to play too! Include them and treat them as well as you’d like to be treated.
What do you teach your kids for visiting friends? Please share!
Here are more ideas for your home!
School picture day can be a great way to create memories. Use these tips to help the day go smoothly. We all want fabulous pictures!
Picture Day Clothes
- Pick a color that looks great on your child.
- Stay away from busy patterns or logos.
- Avoid words/phrases. They can look cluttered and some of the words or letters could be cut off and look awkward. Even if you’re doing a full length photo, keep in mind the mini pictures on the class photo will be cropped.
- Be sure clothes are clean and iron if needed. Even small wrinkles are accentuated in photos.
- For small kids, consider sending an extra shirt in their backpack- just in case.
- Dress weather appropriate. You might love their new sweater but if it’s 90 degrees out, you could end up with a red face and an overheated look in the picture. Not to mention wet, sticky hair. Check the weather forecast to be prepared.
- Choose clothes that your child will be comfortable in. If they’re itchy, self-conscious, or distracted by their clothes, it will probably show in their portrait.
More things to consider
- Jewelry is fun but be careful not to go too big- you want the focus to be on your child’s face. Same goes for watches, scarves, and other accessories.
- Choose a flattering hairdo that’s on the sturdy side. If there’s a little wind or pictures are after recess, what will still survive?
- Hopefully pictures will be taken early in the day, but you never know. Avoid packing lunches with foods that could be really messy or stick in their teeth. No grape juice, broccoli, oranges, celery, chocolate, pudding, or foods that are easily spilled.
- Styles come and go but avoid extremes you might regret by the time their pictures arrive.
- Good sleep the night before and breakfast in the morning will help avoid cranky and grumpy pictures.
- Relax! Don’t put too much pressure by giving your kids 20 things to remember. If your kids have fun during their picture, it will show through and give a better boost to the end result. You might remind them of a happy time to think of during their session.
Yes, I said 12 then added an extra tip!
What has helped you on school picture day? Please share!
While you’re here, check these posts out!
Parent-teacher conference can be a great tool for you, your child, and your child’s teacher. Taking time to consider what you’d like to discuss with the adult who spends many hours with your child can be helpful for everyone.
Here are eight ways you can make the most of parent-teacher conference.
1- Review your child’s recent work.
By looking through work from the couple weeks prior to the conference, hopefully you’ll have an idea of what the teacher might be planning to talk to you about.
2- Look for patterns in the areas your child needs to work on, as well as their success areas.
3- Make a note of anything you might have questions about
How can you supplement teach at home, do they need a reward system in place, etc.
4- Ask your child how things are going and if there’s anything they wish they could say to their teacher.
Hopefully we’re talking to our kids each day, but by letting them know you’re preparing to visit with their teacher, they may have extra things to say.
5- Go in with a team attitude!
This is the person spending hours with your child each day. You definitely want them on your side.
6- Be willing to work with the teacher.
It’s easy to get defensive or upset if things aren’t going as planned- this is your kid, after all! Most teachers truly do want what’s best for your child, so try to find a way to work with them.
7- Have a post-conference chat with your child, even if they were in the room during your meeting.
Talk to them about the things the teacher said- good and bad. See if you can find a way to address any trouble they’re having. It was at this point in the process I discovered my child can’t see the chalkboard! The teacher mentioned his copy work wasn’t as perfect as she would like and in talking to my child, his desk faces away from the board, and he’s at the back of the class. No wonder he’s having a hard time! And who knows? Maybe we need an eye exam. That hadn’t even crossed my mind before!
8- Consider a follow-up chat with a teacher.
Sometimes after I let things mull over for a few days, I think of ideas that could help or questions I may have. If you find yourself in this situation, see if the teacher is willing to spend a couple minutes with you to address those items. If you don’t really need another face-to-face meeting, you could write a note or make a quick call.
What have you tried that has helped with your parent-teacher conferences? Share below!
Alone on the Playground: How to help kids make friends
Can we sit together for family dinner?
No parent wants their child to come home and say nobody will play with them, but unfortunately it happens. And it’s heartbreaking.
There are SO many things that affect how kids make friends. Relationships at home can be a big component, along with individual character traits and experience.
Here are a few things to help ease kids into making friends.
- Role play with kids at home. It’s a safe environment- your kids know you love them. Take turns pretending to be the child wanting to make a friend. “What’s your name? Would you like to play with me?” Sometimes it’s a matter of just knowing what to say. At home, kids get used to just playing together without introductions or asking.
- Talk to kids about listening. People like to talk about themselves and when you’re looking for friends, it can help others open up to you if you’re willing to listen to what they have to say instead of dominating the conversation.
- Look for opportunities to play one-on-one or in small groups. It’s a good way to help kids find a comfortable footing before they’re in a bigger crowd.
- Work on sharing. It’s hard to share, for some kids more than others. Most kids have a hard time playing with kids who are more reluctant to share. This doesn’t mean they have to share everything- just work to find something that’s they’re okay with others playing with.
- Help kids think about how others might feel. Example: You won the game so you’re really excited, but your friend is sad and having a hard time because they lost. How can you be happy about winning but still be courteous to your friend? Could you try to help them be happy too or at least not make them feel worse?
- Teach kids to consider situations when they’re looking for kids to play with. Are they in the middle of a game or just getting started? Do they seem like they’re playing nicely or would you be more comfortable looking for someone else to join? Do you see any other kids looking for someone to talk to? There might be others who are feeling left out or awkward that would love having someone to play with.
- Work with kids to avoid overly big reactions that might make other kids uncomfortable. Part of this could be as simple as avoiding problematic situations in the first place.
- Try to create a happy, stable environment at home. Life is full of ups and downs but having a secure foundation to fall back on can help kids feel more confident, which can help them form true friendships.
Has your child struggled with making friends? What has helped at your house?
One child has his interests. Another has hers. Finding something to create together can strengthen relations- and get rid of the “crankies”- all around!
Kids have so many interests and so many things going on, sometimes it’s hard to find common ground or something to keep relations strong. It’s easy to focus on what’s annoying at the moment (“he’s looking at me” or “she breathed on me”) but you can often change the mood by finding something to create together.
Here are some ideas:
- Paint rocks
- Bake cookies
- Make up a silly song
- Create holiday decorations
- Pots and pans band
- Paper bag crafts
- Experiment with food coloring
- Sock puppets
- Paper airplanes
- Countdown chains
- Macaroni necklaces
- Finger paint
- Play dough
When things get stressful or you want a way to connect with your kids, CREATE!
What are some of the favorite creative activities at YOUR house?
I’d love to say I’ve never lost it as a mom, but unfortunately, I can’t. I get tired, cranky, and overwhelmed just like my kids. What I CAN do is try to avoid “trigger” situations in the future and have a plan in place- just in case.
So the other day, I totally lost it. We had a lovely road trip that included my daughter throwing up five times, overly warm temperatures, smelling vomit for seven hours, and a seat that left my back aching for days. Needless to say, it felt very long. Well into the day, something happened that pushed me over the edge. I walked away and tried to squash it, but when I was pushed again, something set off my release valve and out it all came.
I wasn’t mad at my kids but unfortunately they saw it. This isn’t something that happens often in my life, but when it does occur, it’s epic. My kids wondered what was wrong and asked how they could help, which I appreciated, but mostly I wished they hadn’t had to ask.
Have you ever lost it?
Here are 7 steps to help in the future.
1- Create a Trigger List. If you lose it or feel yourself getting there, write down what’s triggering you. Is it a person, or too little sleep, hunger, or several things put together? Keep this somewhere you can access it.
2- Go through your list and think about the situations you don’t handle as well. Single out the aspects you have control over and those you don’t. Write them down and look for any patterns.
3- Consider the things you can control. Maybe you need to be better rested or fed. Maybe there are people or places you should avoid. Maybe there’s a change you need to make.
4- Look at the things you can’t change. Maybe there’s a family member causing strife, or something at work. Not all triggers can just be erased from life. Break things down even more and see if there are small, specific things you can try to deal with that will help you handle the bigger issues. If possible, specifically structure those times to help focus things on a more positive note. Maybe the way your co-worker chews her gum makes you want to scream- could you listen to music to help drown her out? Be creative and willing to experiment.
5- If there’s anything your family or friends can help with, let them know! Maybe seeing socks on the floor is a major issue for you or negative talk affects you in a major way. Unfortunately they can’t read your mind so help them.
6- Take care of you! We all get busy taking care of everyone around us, but sometimes you need to take a few minutes for self-care. You could do something big, or something less glamorous, but do something. When my kids were small and I was feeling extended beyond what I thought I could handle, I’d take a extra minute in the restroom (or 10 seconds if that’s all I could manage) and listen to part of a song that brought me peace and buoyed me up so I could get through the next while.
See some ideas for self-care HERE.
7- If you’re still struggling, make a priority list. Write down which things are A) crucial, B) important, C) nice but could live without, D) why was this on my list in the first place, and E) love but it isn’t the right time in my life. Compare this to your trigger list and see if there are triggers that you could eliminate from your life right now.
8- Keep trying and focus on the positive! This is an ongoing process as our situations change. Re-evaluate and make changes if needed.
Okay, I’m trying but I lost it. Now what?
1- Apologize if necessary. Maybe you were totally in the right and nothing needs to be done or maybe you need to make amends or apologize for the way you handled something.
2- If your kids were involved, make sure they know you still love them. Spend time doing something happy with them and, if the situation is appropriate, let them what you were struggling with at the moment.
***To clarify, by saying “losing it” here, we’re not talking abusive behavior, just those moments when you feel overwhelmed and struggle to contain it. If you’re having issues with more severe behavior, look for resources in your area. There are people to talk to who can help!