Little Home, Big World

…what would Ma do?

How (and why) To Vote With Your Kids April 22, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids,Opinionated — bethanyjoy @ 11:43 am
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I was a wide-eyed 7-year-old in 1988, trailing my parents through the crowds at a local arena along with my older and younger brothers. We weren’t there for a hockey game, though – this was a “family field trip” and we were there for a real-life lesson on voting. At the time, I was still trying to make sense of how this had anything to do with the colorful signs all over my neighbours yards, and didn’t realize how that simple trip would impact my life – but I’ve never missed voting in a provincial or federal election since the day I walked in on my 18th birthday with ID in hand to vote for the first time, and it has a lot to do with those early memories. I wasn’t the only one to feel the importance of that day – my younger brother, Eric, is now 23 and running as a candidate for the Green Party, and attributes his interest in politics to that same trip.  Just as I’m passionate about getting out and voting, I’m equally convinced it’s important for us parents to involve our children in the process as much as possible.

We need to teach our kids responsible citizenship in the same way we teach them to brush their teeth

– through example and endless repetition.

(A little nagging never hurts, either. 😉 )


Here’s how (and why) to vote with your kids:

Ride in Style

  • HOW: Keeping infants in carseats, slings or carriers works great. Use your parental powers of persuasion to convince toddlers and preschoolers that the stroller is the sweetest ride around.
  • WHY: You’ll need at least one hand free.

Timing Is Everything

  • HOW: If your kids are preschoolers or younger, pick the time of day they’re happiest – whether that’s right after or during a nap-in-the-carseat – and hit the polls.  If your children are in school, PLEASE consider either voting this weekend in the advance polls so you can take them along, or waiting and going to vote after school or in the early evening on May 2nd.
  • WHY: Waiting to vote during meltdown hour will make the experience memorable in a whole ‘nother way. 😉 Older kids need to SEE you vote, not just talk about it. They do what we DO, not what we say…

Forewarned is Forearmed

  • HOW: Take emergency rations (cheerios, how we love thee!) and entertainment (crayons and coloring book, a few quiet toys). Make sure YOU have all your necessary ID ready and easily accessible, and that you know where you’re going before you leave the house.
  • WHY: Murphy’s law of parenting says if you’re ready to wait, you won’t have to.

Manners Matter

  • HOW: Explain the rules before hand – inside voices, stay by mom/dad, etc. Depending on where you vote, they *might* have to stay a couple of feet behind you on the “white line” or some other mark when you actually vote.
  • WHY: Going over expectations beforehand makes any outing smoother – and we want this one to be positive!

Teamwork

  • HOW: When your friend/neighbour/mother-in-law offers to watch your kids at home so you can vote, politely counter-offer with an invitation to go WITH you and the kids to vote.
  • WHY: You’ll have extra hands to help, and your kids will see even more trusted adults participating on election day – and you never know, maybe you’ll encourage your helpers to vote, too!

Talk, Talk, Talk

  • HOW: Start now – talk about the different candidates in your community, how voting works, why it’s important. Hold mock “elections” at home – vote on what’s for dinner or dessert, which movie to watch, etc. On voting day, explain each step of the process as you go.
  • WHY: As with tooth-brushing, it takes a lot of repetition and explanation to communicate the importance of voting. When children understand the concept on a small scale (yay, chocolate ice cream won tonight!) they can begin to grasp the larger scheme as well. Educating them about the process of going to vote increases the chances that when they’re eighteen, they’ll actually go and do it – because by then they aren’t going to want to listen to your advice. 😉 Give it now, while they still will.

Take Your Village

  • HOW: Team up with another parent or couple, carpool, arrange a big playdate for all the kids while the adults watch the results of the vote trickle in. Offer a ride to people in  your community who need one, and TALK to your fellow parents about the importance of voting while you watch the kids at the park, wait outside school, and watch the t-ball game. Don’t like conflict? Stay away from the “issues” and just try to motivate the vote.
  • WHY: We’re not just cogs in a machine or parents sitting on park benches. We are Canada, and it is vital that we make our voices – ALL OF THEM – heard.

May 2, 2011

Be there. Show you care.

VOTE.

I’d love to hear any other tips or suggestions you might have – how do YOU involve your kids in voting? Any strategies for going to vote? Leave a comment! And if you found this post helpful, pass it on to your fellow parents, and do what you can to motivate the vote around you! Make a difference.

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Just Another Day April 13, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids,Writing — bethanyjoy @ 8:37 pm
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1 cup of coffee

2 lunches packed

2 children taken to school

2 others brought back

1 more cup of coffee (ok, I’ll admit to 2)

1,980 words written

2 block towers built and kicked

3 sinks of dishes washed

1 handful of bubbles hurled

3 meals made and shared

1,560 stitches knit

8 little snacks prepared

2 loads of laundry processed

5 chapters of a favorite book

1 child taken to ER

1 prescription filled

1 of 30 doses given

1 blog post shared

Just another day in an ordinary life.

A little bit crazy, and a little bit fun.

A  little bit excitement, and a little bit dull.

A little bit of wonder, a little bit of fear.

Just another day. Just another year…

 

Things I’ll Miss April 5, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids — bethanyjoy @ 4:10 pm
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Marbles in the washer,
Toothpaste on the mirror,
Legos stabbing feet as I chase away bad dreams.

Endless cries of “Moooommy!”
Snacktime every hour,
Water spilled across the table, half of dinner on the floor.

My opinion being gospel,
My stories being loved,
“I need a Mommy snuggle!” whenever I cease to move.

Hugs that end with giggles,
Rubbing kisses into my cheeks,
That moment of blissful silence when they’re finally asleep.

 

Making Time: A Pep Talk In Pictures March 30, 2011

Filed under: Blahging,Kids,Simplicity,Writing — bethanyjoy @ 9:48 am
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Some days, I feel like this:

Other days, I feel like this:

 

What makes the difference?

What lights you up inside?

Find out, and make it happen every day, even if only for a minute or two.

Trust me, it’s not being selfish. It’s being smart. Charge your light, and let it shine…

because everyone in your world will feel it if you don’t. 😉

 

Unplugged Kids: Finger Knitting January 12, 2011

Filed under: D.I.Why,Kids,Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 12:14 pm
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Is it just me, or is it growing increasingly more difficult to get kids “unplugged”? Not that it’s surprising, given the way technology has taken over life in general…in the process of putting together this post, I used my cellphone/camera and netbook, internet, and multiple apps. Ironic, no? Well, it is what it is! 🙂 So, this is the first techology-produced post in a series of posts designed to help us get our kids doing more low-tech activities. Once you’re over the inherent contradiction there, I hope you’ll give the following activity a whirl!

Unplugged Kids #1 – Finger Knitting

  • Why Try? Finger knitting improves fine motor skills, gives you an excuse (not that you need one!) to snuggle up together on the couch for a few minutes and provides an opportunity for your child to experience the thrill of “making something” – collars like those shown above or scarves for stuffies are a BIG hit at my house – C&E made the ones in the picture in less than 20 minutes. Added bonus? A children’s therapist shared with me a very helpful tidbit of information: activities that involve the hands in rhythmic, side-to-side motions are incredibly calming for kids. Even my bouncy-tigger boy loves finger knitting – it’s one of the few activities where he will voluntarily sit still. 🙂  
  • Age Range – 4+ (A 3 year old with excellent dexterity could probably manage, but my kids all figured this out at the same age they learned to read.)
  • Level of Difficulty: Easier than getting them into their snowsuits!
  • Materials Needed: thick yarn (bulky, bright and fuzzy seem to be popular with the kindergarten crowd) – once they’ve figured out the technique, you can mix different yarns by holding two strands together. But for starters, choose something thick and fluffy.
  • How To: I was going to do a tutorial, but then I thought, “Hey, self, save yourself some time and just link them to the awesome tutorial that you used to teach yourself!” So, go check out Pretty Ditty’s Finger Knitting Tutorial for a great step-by-step visual. (You can also achieve the same result by wrapping the second row of yarn around your fingers above the first in the same manner – ie, looping it around each finger – and then passing the bottom loops over the top ones.)
  • 

Let me know if you give this a try! I’d also love to hear any suggestions you have for Unplugged Kids activities – what quick, easy, simple projects or activities work for you and your kids?

 

#5 – Knit Bry A Sweater – Done! October 31, 2010

They are fabulous, aren’t they? From left to right we have Harry Potter, Rockstar, Fairy-Princess and Ron Weasley.

Something else that’s fabulous? I can cross off another item off my 30 Before 30 list – Bryan has a sweater! (And so does Joey. And they’re freaking HUGE sweaters; can I have brownie points for this, can I, huh, can I?!)

Lots of knitty-gritty (haha…get it? Yeah. This is why I shouldn’t be posting at 10pm) details are on my Ravelry project pages here and here.

Also…see those stupendous, authentic Quidditch brooms? We made those, too. AND the Rockstar’s guitar. AND the cool round corners on the pictures.

Yep. Am totally rockin’ the creative wave…

…and NANOWRIMO starts in 2.5 hours!

🙂 Cheers, all!

 

Pocket Hugs September 15, 2010

It has been a busy couple weeks. Joey and Bry are back in the swing of school – Grade 3 and 1, how did that happen already?! And I’m cramming to try and finish up the online course I’m taking…I’d rather be blogging, but there’s only so many hours. Just wanted to share a little something that we’re finding helpful this year, in dealing with some separationa anxiety issues.

Theirs, not mine. But I will probably be a wee bit of a basketcase when C&E start classes tomorrow…

Anyway; enough with the blahging. Here’s a nifty little pattern for crocheted hearts; it’s quick, easy, and you can whip up a pile of them in an evening. I highly recommend stockpiling them, as they have a tendency to disappear in the washing machine.

To use, make a big show of “charging” the heart full of hugs and kisses, then tuck it in your child’s pocket as part of your heading-to-school routine. Anytime they’re feeling sad or worried, they can hold the heart and get a hug.

Simple, but they love it!

(Thanks to Meleesa for the suggestion of a heart when I deliberating over what to make!)

 

 
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