Chances are, we’re all going to spend a lot of time indoors this weekend. Here are some easy and creative indoor activities for kids; a video to help teens learn to face the uncomfortable; and positive parenting tips to keep us on track through the snowbound hours.
This was on my list of the top five crazy-making behaviors when my daughter was in elementary and middle school. “I caaaaan’t!!!” she would wail pathetically, and what, I wondered, can I do about that? Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure, asked several parenting experts, “What advice do you have for dealing with feigned incompetence in previously capable, competent children?” Their answers, in Lahey’s New York Times Motherlode post, cover a broad range of reasons kids collapse in a despairing heap and effective ways parents can respond.
This might be the most-often-heard question in PEP classes: “But if I give positive attention to the tantrum [or hitting, or fighting, or making a mess, or . . .] doesn’t that just reward the misbehavior?” No, the “reward the misbehavior” idea misses the point, says relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman, co-founder of The Gottman Institute. According to Gottman, says Rebecca Eanes in this article at Creative Child, children make “bids” for emotional connection. Sometimes a bid is skillful and sweet: “Will you play with me?” Often, the bid is not so skillful — it’s a tantrum or other misbehavior — but the message is the same. Why doesn’t giving positive attention to a negative bid result in more misbehavior? “By giving a positive, loving response to the bid no matter what form it comes in,” says Eanes, “we fill our child’s emotional bank account and build connection. A child with a full bank is less likely to make bids in negative ways.”
Have some pieces of cardboard and ribbon around the house? Make “monster feet”! That and the “Mad Scientist” bath are two of the ideas by Lauren Knight, at The Washington Post‘s On Parenting blog, that you can probably implement without a supply run. Some ideas, such as the cardboard play house, are a bit more complex and, therefore, you can engage older children in making them for younger ones.
Want to use some of the snowed-in time for non-screen fun with educational value? Just print out copies of the Periodic Table of the Elements and follow these detailed instructions by Karyn Tripp to set up a “Battleship” game, with a video showing you how to play. Can’t get the sheets laminated before the blizzard hits? No problem; your sheets just won’t be re-usable. You can find plenty more ideas and dozens of free printables and resources at Tripp’s site, Teach Beside Me.
“Nobody tells high school students and college students that life is uncomfortable,” says best-selling author and advice columnist Harlan Cohen. His stories and three questions for developing resilience and dealing with life’s uncomfortableness make this 15-minute TEDx Talk worth watching and sharing with your teen or young adult.
Compiled by the PEP Blog editor.