When Is My Kid Developmentally Ready to Care for a Pet?

When Is My Kid Developmentally Ready to Care for a Pet?

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

 

Pets are THE BEST! And here’s why!

Check it out- Answers to the top 4 questions asked by parents who are considering purchasing a pet for their child! 

photo of man hugging tan dog

1) Why are Pets Good for Kids?

They are fun, cute, lovable… but more then that, they teach great life lessons, including:

  • Responsibility
  • Consistency
  • Working hard even when it’s not fun
  • Being selfless
  • How to be aware of another being’s needs
  • Planning ahead for vacations or other unique circumstances
  • Lots of practical skills- cleaning up, feeding, watering, grooming
  • How to love without holding back!

Having pets is a great beginner’s experience to the responsibility and work that it takes to have a family. Your child is learning skills that will help them when they become a mom or a dad someday!

Besides these great life lessons, there are lots of opportunities for parents to talk about  daunting subjects.

  • Pets pass away. This opens the door to talk about death.
  • Pets get frisky. This opens the door to talk about sex.
  • Pets get pregnant. This opens the door to talk about birth, nursing, and other baby topics.

blue parakeet on hand

2) Am I Ready for Pets?

Of course, we all know that caring for pets isn’t easy!

Before you purchase a pet, consider the following factors:

  • Finances

Some pets are cheaper than others. Don’t just look at the price tag to purchase the animal itself. You should also look at:

  1. Food: Make sure you know what to feed your pet at various stages of life. The food a pet needs can change over time (which in turn can affect the $$$).
  2. Supplies: You know, like dishes, leashes, collars, litter boxes, filters and tanks for fish, etc.
  3. Cage/Shelter: All animals need some sort of shelter. This could include a cage, a tank, a doghouse, bedding, etc. For example, rabbits do well with sawdust in the bottom of their cage, but it must be replaced every few days. This is an extra expense that should be planned for.
  4. Toys: Toys aren’t just for fun. They also provide vital stimulating experiences to keep animals’ brains sharp. Toys are also a great way for the animal to bond with you!
  5. Education/Training: Many families pay to have their pets trained. Others pay to learn how to train animals themselves. Some attend classes with the pet so that they can learn valuable skills to implement at home.
  6. Medical Expenses: All animals need medical care from time to time. Pets, like humans, get regular checkups to make sure they are healthy. Each family will need to consider if they would like to pay to have your animal spayed or neutered, or risk the expense of a pregnancy.
  7. Grooming: If your pet sheds, you won’t have to pay to get his hair cut. If your pet is hypoallergenic, it’s likely that the animal has hair instead of fur, like a human. That means he’ll need frequent hair cuts.
  • Time

Do you have the time necessary to devote to a pet?

Different species and breeds require different time input from their owner.

Consider the following time-consuming aspects of pet care:

  1. Training: Training a pet can take years. Some owners choose to purchase animals that are older and have already been trained in order to avoid the time devotion to training a young animal. Other pet owners prefer to train the animal themselves so that they can teach the animal to behave in a way that fits the needs of the family.
  2. Exercise: Exercise is a constant part of owning a pet. It’s important to make sure your pet is exercising- don’t assume they are exercising themselves. This could mean going for walks, playing with your pet, and providing adequate space for your animal to move around.
  3. Grooming: Some animals needs more time to groom than others. Animals that shed might need less grooming, just a bath here and there. Some animals will need their hair cut regularly. It’s up to you if you want to cut your pet’s hair yourself or take him to a groomer.
  4. Medical Needs: Consider if your pet’s species and/or breed requires more medical assistance. If so, this could require more frequent trips to the vet for checkups.
  5. Physical Care: This is the nuts and bolts of daily life with a pet. Some pets will need to go outside for the bathroom, some will require clean up (like cleaning a tank or a litter box), all will need food and water every day.

Do you have time to take care of all these needs? Consider your work life, your family life, your social life and honestly consider if a pet fits into your schedule.

 

  • Medical Needs

As we’ve mentioned before, be aware of your pet’s species and breed. Some animals require more frequent medical intervention.

Can you afford frequent visits to the vet? Make sure you know the answer before your pet is sick or injured.

Need more information about medical needs for your pet? Check out a great resource What Does a Veterinary Technician Do? 

two short-coated brown and black dogs playing

  • Training

Would it be best for your family to find an older pet that is already trained?

Would it be best to train a pet yourself so that the animal is used to your home’s unique rules?

In either case, consider in advance what good and bad habits are deal breakers for your family.

  1. Potty Training: Does the animal need to know how to use a litter box or a doggy door?
  2. Behavioral Training: Does the animal jump on people? Does the animal know where “home” is? Does the animal bark, or lick, or sit on the couches, or respond to commands?
  3. How the Animal Responds to Strangers: Do you want the animal to guard your house, or welcome visitors to the door?
  4. How the Animal Responds to Other Animals: Should your pet avoid other animals, chase them away, or be friendly?
  5. Bad Habits: Are you ok with an animal that chews on things? That digs? That barks? What if the animal bites or scratches?
  • Personality

Even within breeds, there are no two animals that are exactly the same. It’s up to the family to choose the perfect pet that fits their personality.

A family with rambunctious kids might not be well suited to a lazy dog.

A family with loving, cuddly kids might not be well suited to a grouchy cat.

  • Space

How much room does the animal need?

Can this particular species and breed live comfortably in an apartment complex, or will they need a large yard to run in?

Can this dog or cat live a happy life indoors, or will they need to be outside?

Can this animal live in my climate comfortably? Is it too hot or too cold for him?

  • Long-term Commitment

In short, the question shouldn’t just be “Is this pet a good fit for me?” but ALSO “Am I a good fit for this pet?”

Once you purchase an animal, you’ve taken on a HUGE responsibility to love, care for, and accommodate for that animal’s needs. Make sure you’re ready before you take the plunge.

boy hugging fawn pug puppy

3) When Is My Child Ready to Care for the Pets?

That depends on his age and development…. But also on your child’s personality. Some children are naturally caring and do very well looking after a pet. Others need a lot more coaching.

Be aware of your child’s individual needs, but here are some typical developmental guidelines of parent/child involvement in caring for pets: 

  • 0-3 Years Old

At this age, the parent is doing all the work.

Young kids still enjoy being around pets. Their sweet hearts are full of love for pets.

Watch out for a few key things with this age group.

  1. Make sure the child and the pet are safe around each other. You don’t want a young child pulling on a dog’s tail, or a dog biting a child.
  2. Make sure the pet’s food is out of the child’s reach. This is easier said than done, but it’s important. Pet food isn’t always safe for human consumption.
  • 3-6 Years Old

As children get older, they develop new skills and capabilities that allow them to help out a little more.

In this age range, start involving your child more in the process of caring for the pet.

Your child will likely need one-on-one help from you. They can put food in the bowl, fill water dishes, and help with cleaning up after the pet.

  • 7-10 Years Old

This is a magical age where kids gain a little more independence.

Instead of mom and dad constantly monitoring the process of caring for the pet, mom and dad can give instructions and let the child carry them out on his own.

Wooo hooo!

  • 11-13 Years Old

Pre-adolescence brings even more freedom for mom and dad.

The child is able to complete all the chores required to care for a pet. The parent’s primary responsibility is to guide the child toward creating their own routine of pet care.

That means:

  1. Withhold your help. Sometimes it’s tempting as parents to step in and fix problems, but kids at this age are able to think through solutions on their own.
  2. Offer guidance when asked. Try to wait until the child approaches you, unless it’s in the pet’s best interest for you to intervene earlier.
  3. Let the child develop and carry out their own routine. Does the child prefer to feed the animals an hour later than you typically do? If it’s safe for the pet, try to let your child create a routine that works for him.
  4. Don’t let the child neglect the animal! Although the child is taking on more responsibility, be aware that they are still learning! It’s possible that the child could accidentally forget to feed the pet one day, or forget to fill the water dish. Don’t let the animal suffer, and make sure to teach the child so that they can be better in the future.
  • 14-18 Years Old

Ahhhhh, finally, parents can kick back and relax!

Your child should be fully capable of caring for a pet 100% independently.

As always, keep an eye out to make sure that the child is keeping up with his responsibilities. After all, you wouldn’t want the pet to suffer if the child slacked off.

shallow focus photography of brown and white guinea pig

4) What Kind of Pet Should I get… For A Beginner??

Are you interested in having a pet, but not sure what animal is best for your family?

Try one of these awesome beginner pets!

  1. Beta Fish: Betas need little care, as they are one of the few fish that can breathe air from the surface of the water rather than having oxygen circulated through the water. No need for fancy tanks and equipment! All you’ll need to do is feed the fish and change his water every week or two to make sure he has a nice clean environment.
  2. Tortoise: Tortoises live in dry, warm environments. A tank with dirt in the bottom will do. A tortoise needs a heat lamp, fresh water to drink, and food (usually lettuce or frozen veggies). You can touch, hold, and pet a tortoise- just make sure to wash your hands!
  3. Cat: Cats are great first pets because they are self-sufficient in taking care of their own potty needs and rarely require much training. You’ll need to supply a litter box (which will need cleaned regularly), food, water, and toys.
  4. Hamster, Rat, Mouse, or Guinea Pig: Rodents can make fun and interactive pets. They will need a cage with lots of stimulating toys and obstacles to climb. Obviously, they will need food and water.
  5. Hermit Crab: Hermit crabs are very low-key. You will need to purchase a tank with sand in the bottom. The crab will need food and water as well as some kind of shelter. As the crab grows, he will need bigger shells to move into.
  6. Dog: Dogs are a lot of fun, but a little more complex to discuss. Check out this amazing resource at The Spruce Pets called Best Dogs for First Time Owners!

Are you ready? Let’s go get a pet!!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

Who is Mrs. S… and why do people call you that? 

It’s my favorite nickname! That’s what all my students call me!

I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve worked with children from ages 0-18, some with mental illness, some with disabilities, some with Autism, and many with behavioral problems.

I also worked as a parent educator!

All that doesn’t hold a candle to my best experience with children- being a mom. Want to learn more about me? Click here! 

 

Need some time to yourself?

Check out this FREE Parent’s Guide to Self-Care to help you decompress and feel right with the world again!

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Ways to Avoid Spoiling Your Kids This Christmas

11 Ways to Avoid Spoiling Your Kids This Christmas

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated 2/13/2019

TRIVIA: How much money does the average American spend on Christmas gifts and treats? Scroll to the bottom of the post to find the answer!

My daughter is just getting old enough to really appreciate Christmas.

It’s really exciting- Santa finally means something, she’s getting involved in decorating and making cookies, and she’s really looking forward to Christmas day.

That being said, I’ve realized that with her age comes a new challenge for me. I’ve always heard it said (and I strongly believe this) that you can’t spoil a baby. They cry for what they need, and adults fill their needs. Done.

But as children get older, moms and dads have to think a little more. We have to get more intentional in our daily interactions with our children.

Parenting becomes more than just filling their needs.

So I’ve started to ask myself this question- “How do I give my little girl an amazing, magical Christmas… without spoiling her rotten?”

Of course, I don’t have all the answers… So I’ve been conducting a poll of moms that I trust and respect. This list of 11 great ideas to avoid spoiling your kids came from women much wiser than me.

I hope their advice helps you like it helped me!

What do you do to avoid spoiling your children at Christmas each year? Comment below!

shallow focus photography of red bauble on christmas tree

1)Giving As Well As Getting

Even the youngest children can give at Christmas.

Helping a child learn to share love and joy teaches them what Christmas is really for. Here’s a few ideas to get your child involved in giving:

  • Donate old toys to a hospital, homeless shelter, a church, or to needy families.
  • Allow each child to make something to give to their siblings, for their parents, or for neighbors.
  • Make treats and bring them to friends and neighbors.
  • Give each child $1-5 to spend at the Dollar Store for siblings, a friend, teachers, church leaders, or neighbors.
  • Leave food, clothes, toys, and household items for needy families– without them knowing who left them! It’s great for children to learn to give even without any recognition.
  • Sing carols to the elderly at retirement homes or to sick children in the hospital.
  • Participate in 25 acts of kindness, one each day of December until Christmas Day.
  • Help mom and dad in Christmas preparations.

assorted cookie lot

2)Give Experiences

Who says gifts have to be things??

I’ve heard some awesome non-item presents that brought amazing memories. Some even taught valuable skills for long-term benefit!

  • Give classes or lessons to learn a new skill. Someone in your family could learn:
    • how to cook,
    • how to play a musical instrument,
    • how to play a sport,
    • sewing,
    • canning,
    • gardening,
    • blogging,
    • parenting,
    • birthing class,
    • etc. Give the gift of knowledge!
  • Give a family vacation. This could be a trip to Hawaii, tickets to Disneyland or Six Flags, a cruise, or go see the Grand Canyon!
  • Give a new experience. Try snorkeling, snowmobiling, participate in an escape room, or a science kit- something you’ve never done before!
  • Give supplies needed to try a new skill. This could be charcoal or acrylic paint to try a new medium, or a scrapbook, or a sewing machine, or track cleats, or football pads.
  • Give something that the family can do together every day. Maybe a board game, or a card game, or a trampoline, or soccer goals, or Corn-hole, or camping gear.

girl playing beside body of water during daytime

3) Limit Filler Gifts

I had no idea how many “filler gifts” I buy every year.

Filler Gifts are the things that don’t really matter… they are just extras to fill a stocking up to the brim. They aren’t really necessary, and they are the quickest things to be forgotten after the holiday is over.

Who needs them?

Nobody!

Save your pennies. Instead of buying filler gifts, use the money somewhere useful.

You could:

  • get your child one more meaningful gift,
  • donate the money to a charity,
  • use it to help a neighbor who can’t afford much this year,
  • use it for a fun family experience,
  • or just save it for a rainy day.

four red-and-white Christmas stockings

4) Family Gift

If you want to treat your kids to something fun… but expensive… like a trampoline, or a basketball hoop, or a ping pong table, go for it!

But there are problems with gifting large presents to just one person. If you give one person a big expensive gift,then you’d have to get something big for each person, and that gets expensive and overwhelming fast.

Instead, make it a gift to the whole family! Something everyone can use and love!!


More Great Reads: 

Mamma’s Turkey Tips for Beginners (Like Me)

Gifts For Kids (Ages 0-18) That Will Meet Their Developmental Needs

When Life Is On A Parent’s Side- Taking Advantage of Natural Consequences

Creative Ways to Save Money

Mom and Daughter Spa Day!

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5) Something To Do, Something To Read, Something You Want, Something You Need

This is an awesome rhyme that organizes types of presents into categories.

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but there are tons of categories of gifts you could get a person. Something they wear, something they create, something they eat…

There are lots of variations of this, but the concept is the same.

It’s a great help to moms and dads to remember that presents can be more than just the “something you want” category. By purchasing gifts in many categories, you fill many needs and still fill some wants.

6) Add The Wow Factor

Remember Christmases from your childhood?

What are your favorite memories?

For me, I can only remember one or two actual gifts. Most of my memories are of the special things my parents did to make Christmas exciting!

  • I remember the Christmas countdowns that built excitement and suspense for the big day!
  • I remember making cookies and writing notes to Santa.
  • I remember hearing jingle bells outside and wondering if it was Santa Claus!
  • I remember decorating the tree, hanging stockings, putting lights on the house, and creating an ambiance of Christmas.
  • I remember making ornaments and crafts. I was so proud to see them hanging on the tree.
  • I remember going to the forest to choose the perfect tree to bring home. It was a lot of hiking in the snow, but we loved every second of it!
  • I remember sledding and building snowmen on Christmas. Then dad would always start a snowball fight. 
  • I remember the books we read and the movies we watched every year– like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Frosty The Snowman.
  • I remember acting out the Nativity scene every Christmas eve.
  • I remember the big meals with family and lots, lots, lots of treats!

I guess the point is that Christmas gifts can be more than just things.

One mom told the story of a Christmas scavenger hunt! Her mom left her clues throughout the house that led to one special toy that was hidden. She couldn’t remember what the toy was, but she remembered the scavenger hunt!

One mom told the story of various colors of string looped all over the house. Each child had one color of yarn to follow. They had to wind and climb and loop and twist to find their special Christmas surprise at the end of the string.

Experiences add to the wonder and fun of Christmas, without breaking the bank!

Santa Claus riding snowboard

7) Make Gifts Special

Keep gifts special and exciting by limiting gift giving during the year to special occasions, like birthdays and holidays.

The novelty wears off if children receive gifts frequently. It’s like eating a family-size bag of M&M’s. It’s delicious at first, but the more M&M’s you eat, the more used to them you get, until eventually you’ve had enough M&M’s and you want something different to eat.

Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy that special thing when you see it (especially if it’s on sale!!!)

Some parents buy presents all year long and keep them hidden until birthdays or Christmas! This spreads out the cost- making Christmas less of a financial stress so that you can just focus on the joy of the season.


Resources:

Click the Images Below!

-6 Pair Christmas Socks

-A Pentatonix Christmas

-How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Book)

-Merry Christmas Burlap Banner

-Elf

-Children’s Nativity

-Merry Christmas Door Sign

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8) Set a Dollar Limit or Limit the Number of Gifts You Purchase Per Person

Everyone loves to give and give and give.

It’s so exciting to see something in the store and imagine how your child’s face will light up when he sees it!!! It’s almost irresistible.

Setting a reasonable limit for your family will help you keep yourself in check. It also keeps things fair between each child.

person holding red and brown gift box infront of Christmas tree inside the room

9) If You Can Help It- Don’t Backpedal

Each parent has a chance while their kids are little to make Christmas a magical experience no matter if the child gets one present, ten presents, or no presents at all.

That being said, it’s tough to give a child twenty presents one year and then have to cut back to fifteen- or ten, or five- the next year.

The child might not understand what changed and why. If you can help it, it’s better to find a happy medium early on and stick to it.

person holding ball

10) Things Don’t Spoil Kids, Parenting Spoils Kids

This is my favorite bit of advice that I received from these wise moms.

The gifts you buy don’t have to spoil kids- as long as parents teach them the value of the things they have.

  • Teach them to take care of the gifts they get.
  • Teach them to be grateful.
  • Teach them how blessed they are to have people who love them so much that they give them gifts.
  • Teach them that those people worked very hard to get the money to buy the gifts.
  • Teach them to say, “Thank You”.
  • Teach them to become generous themselves.

boy holding Holy Bible

11) Don’t Worry About It Too Much

Christmas is so magical for cute little kids!

And they’re only young once.

So they might as well have some wonderful memories.

Of course, there’s a balance. No need to break the bank or get so much that your kids are swimming in Christmas barf.

But have some fun too.

What do you do to avoid spoiling your children at Christmas each year? Comment below!

green and red Christmas tree near yellow neon light

Enjoy your Christmas this year- and enjoy your sons and daughters while they are little!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

Share this post with all parents who want to give their kids an amazing Christmas!

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Trivia Answer: The average Amercian spends $700 on Christmas gifts and treats.

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Helping Your Toddler Understand Time and Routines- Less than $20 DIY Resource for Parents

Helping Your Toddler Understand Time and Routines- Less than $20 DIY Resource for Parents

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Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated 2/13/2019

Hey Parents,

Did you ever notice that the concept of time is really tough for kids to understand– all the way from birth up until they are like 7 or 8?

It’s a real problem, because we use time to manage everything in our lives!

  • When to wake up,
  • when to go to daycare or the babysitter’s,
  • when to the store,
  • when to eat,
  • when to nap,
  • when we come home from work,
  • when to celebrate holidays,
  • when to go to parties,
  • when to take a bath,
  • when to go to bed….

And through all this, our poor children don’t even know what we’re talking about when we say, “We will get to have bath time at 7 o’clock. Please wait til then.”

How can we help kids understand what’s coming next in the day?

It’s no fun to be thrown into things without any warning or understanding. What would that feel like to have NO IDEA what is going to happen next until someone else decided for you? And you HAD to do it?? 

I would throw a fit too!

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Case in point-

I was feeling so sad for my poor daughter the other day. She was getting so frustrated because she couldn’t understand why it wasn’t time to eat dinner.

Having a family dinner is very important to us, so I was hoping she would wait until dad got home from work. We do this every day, but those last 15 minutes are always a battle! 

There’s got to be a way to fix it. I’m done fighting this every single day! 

I did what every mom does- I complained to my friends about our problems. My awesome sister-in-law Monica (an amazing mother of four who I really look up to) gave me the best idea!

She said that she had heard of a tool that you can make at home, DIY, for less than $20 that will help children better understand time and routines.

Ummm…. YES PLEASE!!!

I took her suggestions and added my own twists. I call it our “Routine Clock.”

I’m focusing on two parts of our daily routine- eating times (snacks and meals) and sleeping times (nap and bedtime) by marking those events on the face of an analog clock for my child to see.

img_20181128_1245258072.jpg

Do you have any great ideas on how to improve this “Routine Clock”? Tell us about it! Comment below!

Step 1: Gather materials.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A cheap analog clock

Mainstay Sterling & Noble Wall Clock – Black


  • Sharpies

Sharpie 30078 Permanent Markers, Fine Point, Classic Colors, 8 Count

  • Scissors

AmazonBasics Multipurpose Scissors – 3-Pack

  • A screwdriver

TEKTON 2796 6-in-1 Screwdriver

  • Stickers, paint, or any other fun decorations your child might like!

RENOOK Stickers for Kids 1500+, 20 Different Sheets, 3D Puffy Stickers, Scrapbooking, Bullet Journals, Stickers for Adult, Including Animals, and More,Christmas Stickers for Kids.

Crayola Washable Kids Paint, Classic Colors, 6 Count, Painting Supplies, Gift

  • Not required… But there were tiny screws that are easy to lose, so my husband’s magnetic tool tray might have come in handy. I wish I had thought of it beforehand.

Titan Tools 11061 Mini Magnetic Parts Tray

Step 2: Remove the minute hand (or at least mark the hour hand).

The overall goal with this clock is for my child to watch the hour hand approach a marked time for a snack or a meal or nap time in order to visualize when those events are getting closer.

The problem is that the minute hand crosses each of the marked time slots every hour of the day, while the hour hand only crosses them once per day (once per day during the hours that my child is awake anyways…).

So I really need my child to watch the hour hand, not the minute hand. By removing the minute hand or at least marking the hour hand, my child knows which one to keep an eye on.

You’ll have to remove the clock face for this step. It was super easy to do- just take out the screws on the back of the clock.

The minute and second hands were easy to cut with scissors. I did leave a small bit of each hand so that I could set the time on the clock.

If you would rather not cut the minute hand, just mark the hour hand with a sticker or by painting it or using a sharpie to change its color. This will help it stand out so that your child knows to watch the hour hand.

Step 3: Use a sharpie to mark the times of various daily activities on the face of the clock.

Replace the face of the clock. Again- so easy, just screw the face back on.

img_20181128_130937044.jpg

I tried light-colored sharpies so that my child could still see the numbers under my markings.

As my child practices with the clock, I would like to start teaching her how the numbers correspond with the time, which corresponds with our daily activities. I really didn’t want to cover up the numbers with dark colors.

I found that the light green and yellow sharpies were TOO light. You could hardly see the color. But the darker pink and darker green were perfect!

img_20181128_131142352

****Idea- One limitation of this clock is that it still only works to help my child understand the daily routine, not to prepare for curve balls that life throws when the routine is thrown off.

If you want the clock to change based on what your plans are for the day, don’t use sharpies. Try using dry erase markers so that you can add different tasks or activities based on what new things are going on for the day!

Then just erase your clock at the end of the day so that you can put the next day’s tasks on the clock!

For my purposes, I color coded the clock using green and pink. Pink marks are for meals and snacks. Green marks are for naps and bedtime.

My child usually goes to sleep at 7pm and wakes up at 7am, so I marked from 7 to 7:15 in green to mark bedtime/wake up time. Her nap is around 1-3, so those times are marked in green.

Breakfast is between 7:15-8, lunch is between 12-12:45, dinner is between 5-6, and snacks are from 10-10:30am and 3-3:30pm. Those times are all blocked out in pink.

Marking a range of time during which we generally eat or sleep rather than marking one specific time allows some flexibility.

For example, we start lunch any time between 12:00 and 12: 45.

img_20181128_131646909-e1543527079187.jpg

Step 4: Decorate it!

I have not been blessed with a talent for drawing, especially on a curved surface like the face of a clock, so it was surprisingly difficult to make my clock look cute!

In the end, I decided I’d better go simple. I outlined each different task in black sharpie to make the time slots nice and defined, added a boarder around the face of the clock, and called it good.

But let’s be real- kids aren’t judgmental. They love you no matter what, and they’re excited about new things with pretty colors. So I had nothing to worry about.

If my little one were a little older, I would probably invite her to decorate it herself.

Oh, and I also added labels on each routine so that my awesome husband knows what’s coming up next. He always wants to help but doesn’t always know how. Win Win!

img_20181128_133807252

Step 5: Set the time.

Just follow the directions on the package!

Step 6: Put your new tool to work!

Well, we completed our clock about a week ago.

My daughter is catching on fast. I make sure to show her the clock each time a snack, meal, nap, or bedtime comes up. She is starting to point to it all on her own when we are getting close to one of those times in our day.

I chose not to hang it on the wall. Rather, I keep it on the counter.

  • Giving My Daughter a Heads Up

When a meal or nap is coming up, I hand it to my daughter (she loves to hold it) point to the color coming up. I ask her, “Do you know what’s going to happen soon?” or “Do you know what’s coming up next?”

Then we talk about it and I give her a 5-minute opportunity to finish up whatever she’s doing before it’s time to transition.

  • Helping her Understand When She Needs to Wait

It’s so much easier to tell her that she needs to wait to eat! (She doesn’t mind waiting to take a nap….)

If she’s getting hungry just a few minutes before dad gets home from work, I just show her the clock and say, “It’s not time for dinner yet, but look how close it is! Almost time!” 

Then she can hold the clock and check back to watch as dinner time gets closer and closer.

I have noticed frustration levels for both me and my child decreasing every day! It’s so nice to have a simple way to help her look forward to what’s coming up next in her routine.

img_20181128_150940892

Did you try out this “Routines Clock”? How did it go?? Comment below!

Do you have any great ideas on how to make these clocks better? Tell us about it! Comment below!

I hope this resource helps some cute kids out there!

And parents, as always, keep up the good work!

(As a total side note, I recently learned about another amazing tool to help children with time! This one is a clock that lights up green when it is “wake up time.” If the child wakes up too early, the light is off so he knows to keep resting or engage in a quiet activity until the light turns green signaling that he can begin his day! AMAZING!)

Click on the image below!
Mirari OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Vital Lessons to Teach Children About Finances Before Age 7

A Millionaire in the Making- 5 Vital Lessons to Teach Children About Finances Before Age 7

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Updated 2/9/2019

Every parent wants to raise a child to be a responsible adult.

One of the biggest challenges for parents is teaching kids how to use their money wisely. The ability to do this will determine if your child can:

  • budget to get through college,
  • provide for their family,
  • get a house,
  • stay out of unnecessary debt,
  • if they are comfortable or stressed,
  • and if they are in control of their lives.

The importance of teaching children about money cannot be over-stressed.

So how do you teach a child to be smart with his or her money?

Preparation For Parents: Get in the Right Mindset

First- Parents, let’s level with each other.

Money and kids are tough topics to discuss together. That’s because money is kind of a tough, unforgiving fact of life. And it’s your baby that we’re talking about!

It can be difficult for parents to ask their kids to do anything, well, difficult. Like deal with money.

Remember that you have a limited time to teach your child necessary skills before they are thrown to the cold, heartless world. Either you can teach them what they need to know, or life will teach them. And life is a B!*&#.

woman crossing highway during nighttime

It’s much better for your child to learn from you, not from life. You love them, you’re patient, you can give them second chances. Life won’t show any love or patience. They might get second chances, but only with extreme consequences- like bankruptcy, bad credit, and debt.

Lots of people assume that teaching about money can wait until their kids are older. After all, who wants to think about money beyond the day to day grind of saving, earning, and spending?

But, don’t waste time! Research shows that children form money habits by 7 years old. (See ‘Habit Forming and Learning in Young Children’, Dr. David Whitebread and Dr. Sue Bingham)

Let me say that again…. 7 years old!!

That’s no time at all! And the impact is huge- it will affect the rest of their lives!

So let’s get started.

Click the image below for great resources by Dave Ramsey on teaching children about responsible finances!
Financial Peace Junior Kit: Teaching Kids How to Win With Money

Junior’s Adventures: Storytime Book Set

Lesson 1: Money is Hard to Get

  • Common Mistake #1: Many parents shell out money to their kids even when the child hasn’t earned it. 

Allowances are the worst and most obvious example of this. From my point of view, an allowance is being paid just for living. No work necessary. Just stay at home, do nothing, and get paid. \

Is anyone going to pay you for inhaling and exhaling as an adult? Not at all! So don’t teach your kids that this is part of life. It’ll be confusing and frustrating when they get to the real world and realize that they have to work hard.

Some people might say that they’ll give an allowance now, and adjust to working hard for money as the child gets older. Here’s the problem with that:

  1. Kids are set in their money habits by age 7, according to research. (See ‘Habit Forming and Learning in Young Children’, Dr. David Whitebread and Dr. Sue Bingham)
  2. The child is going to resist that change, because it’s easier to get an allowance than to work hard. You’ll have an uphill battle ahead of you when you try to change a system that you created.

Instead, teach them to work hard now, in age appropriate ways. person holding coins

  • Common Mistake #2: Many parents give too much money for too little work. 

Parents, how hard do you work for your money? Pretty darn hard!

Parents, how much time do you put in for your money? A lot!

Kids aren’t ready for an adult level of time and effort, but they do need to be prepared for the level of energy and time that they will be expected to invest into making a living as an adult.

Giving children a lot of money for an easy task isn’t helpful. It’s better than giving them money for doing nothing, but it still teaches kids that money is easy to get. And it isn’t. Your job isn’t easy, is it?

Don’t adults get paid less if the job requires less skill? Or less time? Flipping burgers pays less than being a doctor. And that’s ok. Mimic this concept in your child’s life.

Find an appropriate task that challenges your child.

Don’t pay based on the task that a child completes. Pay based on how difficult the task was for the child. More time and effort=more money. The greater the challenge, the greater the compensation.

On the flip side, the easier the task, the less he gets for it.

Teach new skills that the child will need to earn greater amounts of money.

The first lesson for a child to learn is that hard work pays.

Don’t trust your kids to keep track of real money yet? Try using these educational tools! Click the image below!
Melissa & Doug Classic Play Money Set, Developmental Toys, 50 of Each Denomination, Wooden Cash Drawer, 17.75″ H x 10.25″ W x 1.25″ L

Digital Coin Bank Savings Jar by DE – Automatic Coin Counter Totals all U.S. Coins including Dollars and Half Dollars – Original Style, Clear Jar

Lesson 2: The Money You Have is Limited

  • Common Mistake 3: If the child doesn’t have enough money for something they really want, I’ll just buy it for them.

Is anyone going to bail your child out as an adult every time he can’t afford something? No! So don’t do it now. Remember, we’re mimicking real life in a more loving environment.

Teach your child that he has to wait and save for purchases. If he doesn’t save, he can’t get things he wants.

person holding pink ceramic pig coin bank

  • Common Mistake 4: If the child is going to make an impulse buy or is going to spend his money on something he’ll regret later, I’ll stop him from making the purchase in order to save him from the pain later on. 

Let the child make choices and get excited about what they want to buy.

When they get distracted by potential impulse buys, remind them of their end goal. Remind them that if they purchase something now, they won’t have the money they need for the thing that they really want.

Talking through purchases like this makes your child conscious of the choices that he or she is making instead of simply responding to his own whims.

BUT- if a child insists on purchasing something impulsively, allow this to be a learning opportunity. Don’t just save him from making a mistake. This will reinforce your teaching about saving money when the child realizes that he can’t afford something he wants later because he spent the money now.

Money hurts sometimes. It’s much better for a child to feel it buying Legos rather than experiencing this pain for the first time when he’s upside-down in a home loan.

Let a little pain happen now to avoid big pain later.

Don’t bail out your child because he’s a little sad right now. Let him learn.

Click the image below for a great resource to teach your kids about money!
Learning Resources Money Bags Coin Value Game

Learning Resources Buy It Right Shopping Game

Exact Change (2Nd Edition)

Winning Moves Games Pay Day, The Classic Edition

Dave Ramsey’s ACT Your Wage! Board Game

Lesson 3: Money is not Guaranteed

  • Common Mistake 5: Money just keeps flowing from mom and dad with no end. Even if the kid is working for it, he assumes that he has hit a bottomless well that he can dip into at any time that he wants.

focus photography of person counting dollar banknotes

A while back, I heard this story about a young family.

The oldest 3 children wanted to participate in swimming lessons during the summer. It is a great goal, and something the family had done previously.

The only problem is that swimming lessons cost $50 per child, and the family was in a tougher financial position then they had been in previous years. They simply did not have $150 to send all 3 children to swim lessons.

When the parents tried to explain to the children that there was no money for swimming lessons, the kids quickly asked “Can we work for it? We can clean in the house, or we can do things in the yard!”

The parents had to explain that, although they would love to pay the children for doing jobs around the house, there really was no money. The parents could not pay them even for working.

It would be easy to end the story here. Sad kids, no swim lessons. Still a good lesson in finances. But these were good thoughtful parents who didn’t let things stop there.

Although the children were young, the parents talked to friends, family, and neighbors to see if the children could do odd jobs around their homes to earn a few bucks here and there.

With new avenues available to earn money, the parents and kids got to work. Thanks to a combined family effort, the kids were able to earn the money for their swim lessons even though their parents did not have the cash at the time.

This is a tough experience for everyone, but it taught the children that you can’t put your eggs in one basket.

Children who assume that money is an endless well turn into adults who make purchases before they can afford them, counting on that bonus that they’ll get next quarter. Of course, we know that that bonus might not come or it might be needed elsewhere by the time next quarter rolls around.

These are adults who get into massive credit card debt or who fail to save money for hard times.

They assume that because they have a job now, they will always have that income. Jobs come and go. Income is not for sure.

Help children learn to that they must have the cash in hand before they can make purchases. No parents’ credit for kids. No debt. And if they want to be able to buy things they will need in the future, they should have a glass jar or a piggy bank to put money aside in.

Lesson 3 to teach children- Money is no guarantee. Have savings. Don’t buy until you have cash. Avoid debt.

Click the image below!
Jhua Cartoon Piggy Bank Password Electronic Money Bank Safe Saving Box ATM Bank Safe Locks Panda Smart Voice Prompt Money Piggy Box for Children (Blue)

TOPBRY Cartoon Electronic Password Piggy Bank Cash Coin Can for Children/Toy Gifts Birthday Gifts (Pink & White)

Money Savvy Pig – Blue

Money Savvy Pig – Purple

Lesson 4: Money can be Used for Good or Bad

  • Common Mistake 6: Teach kids the nitty gritty about money and forget about the ethics.

Once you become a responsible adult, you have responsibilities to your community.

Give back. Help others out. Serve your community. Be a friend and a neighbor.

Do good things with your money.

person showing both hands with make a change note and coins

That’s the only way to have a positive focus about your money. People who are focused on what their money can do for them become greedy and desensitized to others’ needs.

Teach your kids to be generous by finding a reasonable way for them to share what they have. They can give a dollar to a charity or a church, they can donate to a hospital, they can buy a small gift for someone else at Christmas.

Teach children to be giving.

Click the image below for great resources on teaching your child to save, share, and invest!
Colorful Stacking Block Coin Bank For Kids – Helps Kids Save, Share, Give and Invest – Transparent Plastic Bank Shows Cash Inside – Teaches Good Money Habits – Perfect As Kids Birthday Presents

Money Scholar Classic Sports Bank: The Piggy Bank that Teaches Kids to Save, Invest, Give & Spend Wisely

Stephen Joseph Spend, Save and Share Bank, Owl

Save Spend Share Money Jar | Three-Part Money Tin Teaches Kids Financial Management – Deposit Coins and Bills

Giantsuper Smart Beast Trio Piggy Bank: 3-in-1 Money-Wise Educational Piggy Bank …

Giantsuper Trio! Smart Coin Bank: 3-in-1 Money-Wise Educational Piggy Bank

Lesson 5: Show Kids What it Looks Like

  • Common Mistake 7: Try to teach my kid to be better than I am willing to become myself.

None of this works without a good example to look up to.

If parents aren’t willing to do all these things for themselves- avoid debt, save money, avoid impulse buys, be generous to others, wait for things you want- then the kids won’t internalize it.

Show your child what these habits look like in daily life.

person picking blue card

Point out when you do something right and why you made that choice. Don’t be afraid to teach them when you make a mistake too. We don’t need to hide our failures from our kids. If kids are allowed to see us mess up and fix our mistakes, they won’t have unrealistic expectations for themselves to be perfect, and hopefully they will learn from your mistake rather than making the same mistake themselves.

Teach the ultimate lesson on finances by being in control of your own money.

Keeping It Age Appropriate

One of the greatest challenges about teaching finances is approaching an adult topic in a child-friendly and age-appropriate way.

Those things might seem contradictory. You can accomplish both by thinking a real life adult situation that you want to teach (like money) and simplifying it.

It’s like instead of baking a cake from scratch, you are giving your kid a cake mix in a box. It’s simpler, it fits their level of understanding, but it also gets the job done in a real way.

Still have questions? Take advantage of one of these great books that will help you teach your child about money! Click the image below!

Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You’re Not): A Parents’ Guide for Kids 3 to 23

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Teach Your Child To Fish: Five Money Habits Every Child Should Master

Have fun with your little entrepreneurs as they earn their first money and make their first purchases!!!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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