Getting Ready For School: Day 9

Getting Back To Our Daily Routine:

After a lovely and relaxing long weekend, it is not always easy getting back into our daily routine. They were doing a lot of complaining and resisting.  I wanted at the very least get them back into our morning routine because I had company coming over today and we weren’t going to do much after lunch. My plan for today was name writing activity and then they would clean up their very messy room.
This mornings activity is a game of memory. Francisco keeps saying “this game is not good for me. I’m too busy to play.” He refused to play but he was not allowed to leave table, he had to watch me and Sofia play.

 

Cleaning Up

During the weekend I don’t stress the kids about cleaning up their room as much as I do during the week.  This means on Sunday evening or Monday morning we need to clean their room.  When I say we I mean I give instructions and they clean up.  It has not always been easy to get my kids to clean, and sometimes we still have a bit of a struggle but like everything else its about consistency and patience.

There are several things you need to think about when cleaning with your kids:

  1. Their age, you can start cleaning with your kids as early at 18 months.  They understand basic directions and they can pick up toys and put them in baskets or a toy box.  Of course you can’t expect them to clean up large amounts of toys, its about teaching them the habit of putting away toys after using them.
  2. You need to have their toys organized in a simple way so it is easy for them to clean up.
  3. Be consistent, always make them clean up after playing with a toy or at a certain time of the day.

Temper  Tantrums:

When my oldest son was 3 we went through a time when he had a full on temper tantrum every time we had to clean up.  He would cry and lay on the floor and refuse to clean.  I knew if I gave in and just did it myself he would always throw and tantrum when it was time to clean, so I was patient and I would calmly help him clean.  He wouldn’t be allowed to do anything else until he cleaned up. (I never bribed him, you shouldn’t give them rewards for tasks that are everything responsibilities) I would sit with him and hand him toys and ask him to place them in the bins.  Sometimes it would take 5 minutes to clean up 15 blocks, sometimes it would take a half hour.  After about a week of never, and I mean never backing down the tantrums stopped.  Again its about consistency and patience, if you fight the hard fight from the very beginning and stick with it you will see progress.

Monday Morning Clean Up:

These days when its time to clean up their room I start by sweeping all their toys that are on the floor to the center of the room.  I put on some upbeat music and we dance  little.  Then I have a seat and I start giving them instructions.  It can be overwhelming for young kids to clean up a lot of toys, and just telling them to clean up is not enough.  I give them small tasks and clear instructions.  This weekend they played a lot with their new table top stove, there were kitchen toys and play food everywhere.  The first thing I had them do was pick up all the play food and place them in a basket, then they picked up all the kitchen toys and put them in the crate.  Of course they got side track a couple of times but I reminded them of their tasks and they got it done.  Yes it would have been much faster to clean up their room for them but I am not their maid and at ages 3 & 5 they need to have responsibilities around the house.

“Mami I can’t clean the table, it makes me hot.”

Summer School Activities Have Been Cancelled Today. 

Today’s summer school activities have been cancelled due to the consumption of too much champagne yesterday during date night.  I had A much needed night out  with my husband and friends downtown by the water, where we  watched a beautiful bright orange full moon rise over Brooklyn. All summer school activities will commence on Monday, I hope everyone has a great weekend. 

My Shitty Life!

poop emojiWhen you read the title of this post you might think that I feel life is not going well.  On the contrary, my life is literally full of shitty moments because I am a mother of three children under 5.  Let me explain further, we are a family of 5 and I wipe the asses of 4 of the 5 people that live here on a daily basis (this includes my ass).  My oldest son and my daughter are both potty trained thank goodness, but they have not mastered the art of wiping their assess.  I am constantly asking them if they went poopy so I can go and check if they did a good job wiping.

My son had become really good at leaning himself up which makes sense because he is older.  He is also the kind of kid that has never liked getting his hand dirty.  One day several months ago I noticed something on the walls next to the toilet.  I had no idea what it was, I just wiped it off and kept living my life. Then my father came home from picking up my son and told me that his teacher caught him wiping poop on the bathroom walls.  WTF!!! of all the things my kid could be doing he is wiping shit on the walls.  That is when it hit me the stuff on the walls I had wiped off the week before was poop.  knowing my son he got poop on his fingers while wiping his ass and wiped it off on the wall, so I asked him that is exactly what happened.  The next day I went to his school and explained to his teacher why he put poop on the walls, that was a strange conversation.

Sofia is a different story.  When she was really little she use to poop in the tub all the time, you had to watch her.  Now that she is potty trained the main issues are wiping and getting to the toilet in time.  Sometimes she gets so caught up in playing that she doesn’t make it to the bathroom.  Last month this happened, she waited too long and she not only pooped on herself, she left a trail going to the bathroom because she had on no panties.  The poop just fell out of her shorts, I ended up stepping in it and it got everywhere.

Rafael is still a baby so I’m just changing diapers for the next year or so, that can’t be helped.  I can’t wait until all of my children are capable of wiping their own assess, and I only have to worry about wiping my own ass.

Getting Ready For School: Day 8

I introduced the game BANG!and while Sophia was so excited to play Francisco was not.  I think his frustration and moodiness started when I changed how he was going to write his name.  Francisco is the kind of kid that needs and likes consistency, and once he gets use to a routine deviating from that routine makes him very anxious.

 After the BANG! meltdown Francisco needed time to relax and collect himself.  I let him sit and watch some TV while I got Sofia ready to go outside.  Some might think that I shouldn’t have forced him to play  the game if he was upset, but if he was in school he  might not have a choice.  A teacher will ask him to play even if it’s for five minutes.  I know his feelings and anxiety are very real, but sometimes he needs to be pushed so he can realize that he will be okay.

Going outside was something that made Francisco very excited.  When I mentioned that he needed to get ready to go backyard he jumped up and said, “is the ice frozen?!?” Doing the excavation made them very excited to play with ice.  I made sure all the ice trays were filled so they could have lots of ice to play with.

After lunch I let the kids play on their own and I cleaned the house.  I think this is going to be part of my new routine, Wednesday afternoon might be a house cleaning day, it gives me and the kids a break.

Getting Ready For School: Day 7

I am pleased to say that the kids have really become use to our morning schedule and have even started making activity request.  This morning after they got dressed I was going to set them up with a game while I put Rafa down for his nap, Francisco asked if he could use his iPad.  Of course I said no, then he said we will play Starfall, I was impressed that he knew just the right thing to say to get what he wanted so I let them play with their iPad’s for 15 min.

img_5381Yesterday I read log about an ice excavation summer activity.  I’ve been wanting to do this activity for a long time and I was inspired by the blog.  I immediately collected a bunch of little toys and found a tupperware (I have a lot of “tupperware”) that was split in two so I could make big cubes of ice with toys in them.

Today I set up the toy ice cubes with salt, a spray bottle with hot water, a wooden hammer, and a cocktail muddler in one of our water tables in the back yard.  I would have to say that is is one of the best summer science activities you can do with your kids.  When they came outside they were so excited. I have have never seen them so determind to do anything.  img_5410

They spent over an hour playing with ice.  Once they finished excavating all their toys they asked for more ice, so I took all the ice out of my freezer.  It was fun watching them explore and discover, there was a point where they were literally watching ice melt in the sun. To say the least they had a really good time, and they want to play with ice tomorrow.

After lunch and naps we cleaned up their room (I gave directions, they cleaned up).  They played with their Lego’s for a bit and I was able to go into the living room and play with Rafa.  They also did a little work in a new workbook,  they worked on a couple of pages and it was time for me to start making dinner.  It was a fun day, and I made sure all the ice trays have been filled.

 

Getting Ready For School: Day 6

img_5287When thinking about this week ( yesterday I typed up and printed out a schedule) I didn’t think that my biggest challenge today would be motivating myself to stay on track with our schedule.  I am about to over share and go on a rant, so if you would like to just skip this part continue after the pictures.  Today is the first day of my period, but it didn’t effect me until around 11:00.  Ever since I had Rafael my period has changed, now I get serious PMS and feel so physically tired that I sometimes wake up feeling hungover. While making lunch for the kids I was just so tired, and then all of a sudden my back was on fire, then my legs started to feel sore.  After putting the kids down for their naps, all I wanted to do was nap.  Part of me wanted to just forget about the afternoon plans, but I didn’t want to do that.

Now, this morning I realized that I needed to go to the supermarket, after breakfast, name writing and butterfly counting we went out.  The supermarket is around 7 blocks away and I was pushing a stroller with Rafael (25lbs) and Sofia on a stroller board (35lbs) in 80 degrees.  After the supermarket there was at least 10 more pounds hanging from the stroller.  I decided to take the kids to the playground since we were out, Francisco wanted to go home but Sofia and Rafa started crying when it was time to leave.  We went home a different way and one of the blocks we went down was a bit uphill.  I think all of this contributed to how exhusted I was on this first day of my evil evil period. I’m done with my rant…Read on.

img_5315Sofia and Rafa slept until around 2:30 and I let the kids watch Umizumi until 3:00, its educational so is counts..lol  While they were relaxing I pulled out table toys and let them know that after their show was done we would transition to the table for table toys.

I turned off the TV put on music and while Sofia was excited about table toys Francisco immediately said “I don’t want to do table toys and went to his room. After explaining to him that it was table toy time and he had no choice, he decided that he would play with his Lego’s.  I set Rafa up in his highchair with some Mega Blocks and Sofia played with pattern blocks and the hexagons.  The rest of the afternoon went really well, after cleaning up they had free play in their room.  They took out their magnet puzzles and started checking for metal objects all around the house. I love when they start exploring on their own, they were so excited every time they found something that was metal.  Tomorrow I am surprising them with an ice toy excavation activity.

Me: “Why does the magnet stick to the can?” Francisco: “Because it’s metal!!”

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Tomorrow this will be 2 blocks of ice.

 

BANG! A Word Game

If you want to make a simple word game for your  kids that is fast, easy and fun you only need a few things.

Materials:

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I used an old formula can and sentence strips from the target $1 section.

  1. A container.
  2. paper of your choice to write the words on.
  3. A list of words.
  4. Sharpie Marker
  5. Scissors
  6.  Ruler
  7. Optional – laminator

How to choose your words :  Most NYC schools use the Fountas & Pinell assessment system to determine the reading level of their students.  I made my first game with the 25 high frequency words kindergartners need to learn. (Link to: Fountas & Pinell  PDF) any words can be used to make this game, you an even use math equations.

Bang gameHow to play:  The object of the game is to have the most cards at the end of the game.

  • Players pick a card out of the container and read the word.
  • If they read the word correctly they keep the word.
  • If they don’t know the word  they place the card word down next to the container.
  • If they pick the word BANG! they lose all their cards. All cards should be placed next to the container.

There are two ways to play this game.

  1. Play for a set amount of time, when the time is up the person with the most cards win.
  2. Play until there are no more cards left inside the container, the person with the most cards wins.

Playing as a math game: Instead of words, write equations on the cards.  If you answer the equation correctly you keep the card.