Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tricking My Toddler into Using Fine Motor Skills

There was a short time ago that my little buddy would do any project I wanted him to do.  But then he became a quintessential boy, meaning that he now wants to spend all his time playing football, chasing the dog, and pestering his big sister.  Unfortunately I've noticed that he could really use some help with his fine motor skills.  He holds his crayon in a fist, which is exactly what big sister did until I worked with her.  She is totally cured now though, and I attribute it all to our little "projects".  

So, I've decided I needed to get even more creative with fine motor action.  I found an old coffee can and told him we were going to make animals.  He chose to make a green bird (his favorite color), which he had a great time creating.

After he was done, I then gave him a bunch of poms and asked him to "feed" his bird.  He happily agreed and started out with the tongs.  I know for certain that if he didn't get to feed a bird, he would have just walked away to find his football, but I tricked him into working on his fine motor control, so I was thrilled!

He even got bored with the tongs and we graduated to tweezers, which is the first time he has been able to make that happen.  Just look at those little hands working their magic!

For more ideas on improving fine motor skills with your preschoolers and toddlers, please check out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn.  If you have ever tried to cook dinner while your kid clings to your leg and cries, this is the book for you!  We give you a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that you can do activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity.  Kids behave better when they are given challenging projects to work on, which will in turn give you more free time to do the things you really need to do, like washing dishes, paying bills, and relaxing so that you can be a better Mom!

Did you enjoy my post?  Don't forget to vote for me by clicking the banner below.  You can also enter your email address below to receive all my updates!  I really appreciate your support!!

Want to see all my posts?  Put your email address here to become a subscriber!
Enter your email address:

Monday, March 11, 2013

An Experiment for Picky Eaters and Fed-Up Moms

I have many talents, but cooking isn't one of them.  I can't tell you how many times I will make dinner, try to feed it to them, and then inevitably about 10 minutes after we're done they will say, "Mommy, I'm hungry!  Can I have some cereal?"

My kids have always been picky eaters but lately things started to get really out of control.  Here are some of our bad habits:

  • They snacked often throughout the day, and I let them, as long as it was healthy like cheese, fruit, or yogurt.   
  • Since I'm not a great cook, I knew they wouldn't want to eat what I made.  Instead, I often just made them chicken nuggets or frozen lasagna.  Plus, they often had to eat before Daddy got home since he got home late, so I would just wait and eat with Daddy too
  • They often wouldn't even try what I made if it looked bad
  • I didn't exactly make them eat enough vegetables.  Fruits?  Yep!  Vegetables?  Not so much
However, I was at the book store, and I noticed that my favorite author came out with a new book.  On a whim, I decided to spend the money and I'm so glad I did.  The French have a whole different perspective on food.  

I won't get into too much detail, but it's totally worth reading and the book basically talks about how French kids don't snack.  Period.  They get breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner.  Nothing in between.  She says that it's much more peaceful, knowing that all day long isn't an opportunity to eat.  Amen, sister!  I hate having to stop what I'm doing to pour out a bowl of healthy cereal at 9:45, one hour after breakfast.  The French have a totally radical view on food that is completely different than ours.  They let them help cook, even from a very young age.  I mean, they really let them.  There is a story in the book about a four year old ladling out the muffin mix into the pan.  The beauty of this is that kids are more invested in what is prepared so they are more likely to try new things and actually like them.

I kept thinking:  She hasn't met my kids though.  I'm sure they won't want to help me cook, and plus I kind of hate the idea of their hands in my food and them making a mess.  But, I decided I would embrace this concept and see what happened, because first of all they hardly eat any real meals, and second of all, I detest cooking, so I thought if I could make the whole thing more fun, my life might improve.

The results were so extraordinary that I am going to have to break this into several different posts.  But here is the result of my first day:

First, we made spaghetti.  I allowed my daughter (age 4.5) to get up on a stool and help me stir the raw hamburger meat.  At first, she was reluctant to help, but I kept telling her what a good Mommy she would make one day if she could learn how to cook and she quickly got on board:

Then she helped me pour the sauce into the pan with the meat and she stirred it all up for me.  As the French do, I advised her to smell the different smells and really appreciate the process.  I explained everything to her along the way and she was fascinated.  Then she helped me clean up and even thought that was really fun.

After we got the dinner all ready, we decided to make blueberry muffins for dessert.  I decided to really go the distance.  I allowed her to actually spoon the batter into the cups, just like it says in the book.  I was amazed.  It took her a long time and she did make a little bit of a mess, but she was meticulous and she did every single one:

So, when it was time to eat, I held my breath.  Sure enough, she ate a ton of spaghetti, which she usually refuses to even try.  My little guy ate all of his spaghetti too and then they got to have muffins for dessert!  And best of all, I had a great time.  The afternoon was fun and cooking dinner was enjoyable for once!  So, day one of my experiment was a huge success.  Now it's time to move on to the 2nd part of the experiment...snack time...stay tuned!

Did you enjoy my post?  Don't forget to vote for me by clicking the banner below.  You can also enter your email address below to receive all my updates!  I really appreciate your support!!
Want to see all my posts?  Put your email address here to become a subscriber!
Enter your email address: