Family Night Idea: Mother Son Date #GlobieFamily

Harlem Globetrotters

Last Friday was our mother son date night at the Harlem Globetrotters!  We had originally planned on three moms and sons but one mom couldn’t make it.  Two of us headed up with three excited kids.  I will tell you, the hour car ride up to the game was a challenge with our crazy boys in the back.  There was a brief second where I thought of dropping them off somewhere in Hartford where they couldn’t find their way home…I said a BRIEF second, don’t judge me!

On our way to family night at the Harlem Globetrotters

The boys

Once we got there we sat down we didn’t have to wait long for some music to come on and dancers started getting the crowd pumped up!  The dancers were honestly amazing.  I love stuff like that.  The Harlem Globetrotters came out and all have some great moves during their warm ups.  I couple of times I heard our boys says, “Wowwwwww!”  Since they are all on the same basketball team in middle school, they know how hard it is to handle a basketball like that.

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The game itself was fun too.  Our boys are old enough to know some of it was orchestrated and knew the Globetrotters would win but the whole performance is geared toward keeping the kids involved in everything that was going on in the court.  The Globetrotters are definitely trained to make this an experience for kids and families.

Jen _Tracy_pp_pp

The Moms

The word I think I would use to describe the experience is wholesome.  It’s not a word I use a lot but a Harlem Globetrotters game is so family friendly for kids of all ages that “wholesome” is the perfect word for it.

Boys in front of court

One of the things that surprised me is how young some of the kids were that came.  I had actually been waiting to take my son when he was a little older but this game is something that would be for any kid of any age.  I even spotted some little girls that were in their princess outfits enjoying it as much as the sports-oriented girls. So it is an event for kids of all interests and types. A Harlem Globetrotters game is much more about kids, family and fun than it is about sports.  There is definitely something for everyone and I would recommend it for any family to put on their bucket list to at least do once.  Every kid should be able to say they’ve seen the Harlem Globetrotters!

HG Boys sitting in stands_pp

“The Harlem Globetrotters love seeing families laugh together during our games, and would love to see your family when we come to a city near you. If you’re looking for an awesome event the whole family will enjoy, get your tickets followto the Harlem Globetrotters “You Write the Rules” tour. Your family’s smiles will start before you even get to the game because this year, your family can vote at harlemglobetrotters.com, and decide rules for the game like two balls in play at the same time that could affect the final outcome. After the game, Globetrotters will stay on court to sign autographs and take photographs with your kids. The only thing better than finding an event the whole family will enjoy, is getting a great deal on it. Save $7 per ticket* by using the promo code “TOGETHER“. Get ready to experience a show your family will remember for a lifetime!

*Discount available on select ticket levels”

 **This is a paid post but all opinions are my own.**

Ways Children Learn through Music

Music education is so important in a child’s life.  While I was a preschool educator I was also a Kindermusik teacher and I would often integrate Kindermusik into my classroom.  It was amazing how children would respond to learning through music.  Many children who found it difficult to grasp certain concepts would all of a sudden master them when exposed to the concept in a musical way.  Many times I was astounded at the result of music on my students.  Here are some ways children learn through music:

Language and Literacy Memorizing songs will help children learn new words as well as help them determine how the word should be used in a phrase or sentence. Repetition of words helps reinforce and increase the child’s vocabulary. Rhyming songs help children become aware of words and their sounds. Music also has structure and order as does language.

Social/Emotional Music encourages taking turns, helps listening and attention skills, and helps children interact and socialize with other children. It can also help with self-control as the child will have opportunities to sing loud and then be quiet as well as follow instructions. Many studies have shown that music education helps to increase confidence and self-esteem.

Motor Skills Music and movement classes have children moving along with the song which increases gross motor skills and coordination. Playing instruments improves fine motor skills.

Math and Science Children learn to count as well as multiplication and division (to figure out how long the note is). Complex patterns and order are important math lessons learned through music.

Do you feel music education is important?  How do you incorporate music into your child’s life?

Dealing With Angry Parents

I wrote a post called “Judging Moms” and had a reader post this comment.  It’s a great question because there is such a fine line between not judging another moms and our social responsibility to stand up when we see something that is truly wrong taking place right before our eyes.  As anyone who has read my blog knows, I am a huge advocate of not judging one another BUT I also believe in reporting behavior that may endanger a child.  I believe that many kids who end up seriously hurt or worse killed by their parents could have been saved if someone had spoken up on their behalf.  Protecting a child is more important than any other message I could possibly send here.

Less Than Perfect Parents,
Good reminder. I try hard to remember that you never know the whole story and that most parents are trying their best to do the right thing. We all mess up from time to time, or have to “get through” certain stages where our children may not want to bathe, have their hair combed, eat healthy foods etc. I guess the only time I have a really hard time NOT judging is when I’m around parents who yell a lot or spank. It’s upsetting to my daughter and really ruins the whole play environment when parents do this (or put their kids in “time outs” and let them scream while other kids are trying to play), so… just wondering since I struggle with this — do you think it’s ok to tell another parent that I don’t appreciate their behavior? Or is that “judging” too?
Liberal Mama,
I think this is a tough topic.  We want to protect our own children, we don’t want to see another child being treated badly or even abused, yet we don’t want to offend another parent.  Here are a few of my suggestions:
First of all, if a parent is getting out of control and you suspect or witness abuse, do not hesitate to report it.  You may save a child’s life. There are many professions that are legal mandated reporters, which means that they legally have to report suspected abuse.  I think that morally we are ALL mandated reporters whether or not the law dictates that.  Here are two great resources for reporting abuse:
1.      This is a hotline that serves the U.S., its territories, and Canada: 1-800-4-A-CHILD.  For more information check out their website.
2.      This is a list of phone numbersand websites for each state in the U.S. to call if you suspect abuse.
My second point is from Grandma K of Guilt Free Parenting, if what the parent is doing is losing their cool and creating a tense display but not crossing the line into abuse, you can look at it as a learning opportunity for your daughter.  I know I’ve done that with my son.  When he’s gotten upset by a parent yelling at their child I’ve said, “Everyone loses their patience sometimes.  That person is not a bad person but do you see how hurtful it is when we yell at someone.  We do that because we are mad at the other person but when we yell we actually make ourselves look bad.”  You can then discuss other ways that you can express anger without losing patience.  An important lesson for children is for them to understand that anger itself is not bad and there are constructive ways to express it.  You could also talk about how to apologize when you do lose your temper.  We ALL lose our cool sometimes and knowing how to apologize is an important skill.
Third, remove your daughter from the situation.  If it’s so bad that your daughter is really getting upset just walk away.  I know it seems that the obnoxious parent/child is controlling your day but if you are at the park you can just walk to another area and have just as good of a time there.  Plus if the parent is angry enough they may take it out on you in front of your daughter.  That would ruin your day more than watching them yell at their child. 
Consider putting yourself in the other parent’s shoes.  I know for me, my son had some major behavioral problems when he was about three.  We’d be out somewhere and he would start with his animal behavior.  I’d get more and more embarrassed as he got out of control and I couldn’t stop him.  I felt like the worst mother ever as I felt the other parents staring at me while their angelic children played quietly.  The more embarrassed I got the more enraged I’d get.  What was wrong with him that he acted like that?  What was wrong with me that I couldn’t control him?  Why was every other child perfect and I had a demon from hell?  Why was I such a terrible mother that I couldn’t stop him AND I lost my temper?  Many times I was able to wrangle him back into my car and take him home but there were also times when I finally lost my cool and let him have it in public. I didn’t care who saw or if it bothered them or not.   A few times I let him cry it out in public because I had my goddaughters with me and I didn’t want them to be punished by leaving the park because he had done wrong.  When a parent is to that point, they already know what they’re doing is wrong so pointing it out probably won’t help.  I think most of us can relate to losing our cool with our children, I don’t think it’s ever something we do on purpose or something that we are proud of.  I can also tell you that I was usually a loving, understanding mom.  I usually held him close and spoke sweetly and gently to him.  I don’t believe in yelling or spanking so I usually didn’t scream at my son, but I’m sure the people who only witnessed my parenting for that brief moment in time probably felt sorry that my son had a crazy shrew for a mother.  If they chose that moment to point it out to me things probably wouldn’t have gone too well.
Fifth, also from Grandma K, is to ask yourself, “What do I hope to accomplish by bringing this to the other parent’s attention?”  Bringing up another parent’s moment of bad parenting will probably only enrage them further.  They may leave you and your daughter in peace but the kid who’s getting in trouble may end up really getting it once they get home.   Also, they may end up screaming at you which will only upset you and your daughter further.
If you really feel that you want to talk with the parent here are some really great tips to help to calm an angry parent:
1.   Start by smiling and being friendly!  Make sure you are judgment free!  People can pick up on that!
2.   Start by showing understanding.  Saying something like, “It’s amazing how fresh kids can be at that age huh?  My child has embarrassed me by {throwing a tantrum, not listening, running away, or whatever else their child is doing}.  Luckily we all have gone through it and we all understand.”
3.   Next, compliment their child.  “Your daughter sure is beautiful though even when misbehaving.”
4.   Make a small joke to lighten the mood.  I often put the compliment and the joke together with something like, “Your daughter sure is beautiful.  Kids are so lucky they’re cute the way they misbehave.  It’s the only thing that saves them sometimes!”
5.   Offer to help but don’t act like you’re doing them a favor.  “I’m going to push my daughter on the swings if your daughter would like to come play with us for a minute.  My daughter does so much better when she has another child to play with so you’d really be helping me out.”
Thanks for the great question Liberal Mama!  I love anything that makes me think and creates good dialogue between parents.  What do you guys think?  Do you have any good tips when dealing with screaming parents or kids?

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Ways to Laugh with Your Child

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. 

~Victor Borge
      One thing I am so guilty of as a parent is being an overachiever.  I spend a lot of time accomplishing things and helping my child accomplish things.  I spend plenty of time with my son but much of it is studying, helping with homework, practicing piano, cooking healthy foods, cleaning and doing chores, practicing for whatever sport he’s involved in that season or driving him around.  In this day and age how much time do we give to our children just doing nothing or being silly?  I have a few activities that I’ve been doing with my family that is accomplishing absolutely nothing but having fun and bringing on some laughter.  Actually I’m lying, some of them do help kids learn skills, which I’ve listed here,  but I PROMISE that’s not why I’m doing them!!!  To tell you the truth I think pretty much any activity you do with your child is teaching them SOMETHING, whether you’re trying to or not.

1.    Buy a joke book

       Read the jokesto your child or if they’re old enough, take turns reading the jokes to each other. (Helps, obviously, with reading aloud and reading comprehension)

2.    Have a silly photo shoot

       Take pictures making silly faces and poses. (Teaches kids you are weird and not even slightly cool-don’t worry, they were going to figure that out anyway)

3.    Tongue twisters (Helps with language development)

·         Double bubble gum, bubbles double.
·      Which watch did which witch wear and which witch wore which watch?
·         An Ape hates grape cakes.
·         Rubber baby-buggy bumpers.
·         Black bug bit a big black bear. But where is the big black bear that the big black bug bit?

4.    Mad Libs (Teaches parts of speech and reading aloud)

Mad libs are a word substitution game invented in the fifties. The game is played by creating a word list that is inserted into a story. After the new words are inserted into the story it usually creates a wacky and hilarious story that brings laughter to all listening.
You can buy books and do them by hand but here are a few online ones too:
What do you do to get silly with your kids?