Just recently the kids and I completed 5 stages of a road trip for our PCS from Hawaii to North Carolina. The last leg of our trip was over 800 miles, two days and 15 hours of driving. I am flying solo and needed all the help I could get dealing with three children under the age of 6 with ASD. And guess what? We all survived. Which means there was a small glimmer of doubt in my mind we wouldn’t. I did picture a few times strapping my children to the top of my car like a hood ornament. But saner minds prevailed and all my children carried out the road trip in style in the back of the car. However, it was not without it’s moments of “are we there yet”. So how did I not throw myself out of the moving vehicle due to incessant complaining and fighting?
First, I prepared them. I got on my iPhone and plugged our route into an driving app- Waze. It told us how long it was going to take, all road hazards and police on our route and the route. The kids were able to scroll around the map and see the towns and other things we would pass. It gave them a plan; they knew what to expect.
Next, I made a roadtrip basket. We have some new to me stores on the mainland called Five Below (where everything is under $5.) they had some foldable, collapsable and flimsy baskets. The metal got crushed and dented; but the basket still works and it was only $5.
I filled the basket with age and skill level appropriate travel games like Candyland, Old Maid, Go Fish and a normal deck of cards. I added in coloring books, Crayola mess free markers, picture books and mess free snacks (think squeezable applesauce, snack traps with goldsfish and cheese and cracker packs). I stuck the basket within reach of my oldest and with the instructions they must ask before getting a snack and he must help his sister get what she needs. Bug being the hard core rule follower was great at his job. I played into his skill and told him it was an important job. He loved being responsible and it calmed him down knowing he was in charge of that situation.
The last thing I did was almost the greatest and cheapest. I found two suction cupped baskets at Walmart. They are used for sticking bars of soap or toothbrushs in while hanging in the shower. Inside them I places the kids mess free markers and headphones. This way the smaller items must likely to get lost where contained. They also used it as their trash can and to hold other items. I have seen them in much larger sizes. I stuck them to their windows and bam! They had everything they needed at the fingertips.
Of course there was fighting, but at least for the most part there was silence.
I came across an awesome facebook post today about how one mother is intentionally limiting her kids’ use of electronics. She wants them to hone social skills, the art of conversation, and not miss teachable moments because they are too buried in technology to interact with her. Her post can be found here. A lot of what she said resonated with me. We try to monitor and limit our kids’ use of technology (i.e., our oldest is able to play angry birds once his homework is done, etc…) but I know it is a crutch I use at times. Recently we were at a friend’s BBQ and the kids had played outside for the first hour or so we were there. After eating, I let them go in the house and watch a movie. She didn’t have children of her own yet, so there wasn’t much for them to play with beyond what we had brought with us. I think of that type of technology use as “survival,” so to speak. I definitely don’t want to give the impression that my kids never have screen time, but I like to think that it is a reasonable amount for a 4 and 6 year old.
The other day we were heading home from one of our many appointments (speech and OT) and the kids were upset because they wanted to watch a movie on the DVD player in our van. “Look out the window,” I told them, “watch the movie called ‘Life’.”
They didn’t understand what I meant, but they did hush up and we did not watch a movie on the way home. Instead they chatted, fought over some toys in the backseat, and sang Farmer in the Dell. And I felt good about that.
Thoughts? How do you limit your kids’ use of technology? Are there certain lengths of time you follow? Certain games you encourage over others? Have a great day!
We have all been there before; thrusted into a situation with a family member who makes some comments about your children or family. Most common “well your cousins son does that and he’s fine”, “it’s just a phase”, and “they will out grow it”. I feel like I need to carry around my children’s medical diagnosis to shut some people up. When visiting family I constantly feel defensive about my kids diagnosises. I get tired, hurt and annoyed with the constant snide comments and family playing doctor with their own diagnosis.
So what do you do? You can argue and pull out the paperwork and explain in great detail how their constant farting nosies they make is “not a boy thing” it’s called a stem. You can educate people until you are blue in the face, but after six years I have learned to save face and my breath.
It’s hard. It’s more than hard; it is almost damn near impossible for me to keep my mouth shut. Not to mention you can read me like a book. I was very good in theater. I have a tendency to get very defensive about topics I know a lot about. So I have to press my lips together and bite the inside of my mouth to keep from being the next breaking news story.
My momma taught me that if I have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. At my age I still heed that warning. Sometimes it’s better to just say nothing to the people you love. Take what they say with a grain of salt and all those other euphuism we have all acquired over time.
So next time your faced with a family member who just keeps digging at you, slap a smile on your face and put a song in your heart and remember that they are just family.
I have never had a house where I’ve had too many kitchen cupboards. I’ve had kitchens of all different layouts and sizes, but it seems I could always use more cupboard space. I love buying pretty platters and serving bowls but finding a way to store all of them can be hard. Another problem I always have is what to put in those little cupboards over the microwave. I’m short so I can’t stack stuff too tall and I definitely can’t reach the stuff in the back unless I haul over one of my kitchen chairs. When I moved into my current house this past fall, I was able to solve these two dilemmas with the same solution. I had the aforementioned small cupboards to fill, nowhere to put my cake platter, or this collection of cute little parfait, fruit salad type bowls.
Then I got an idea. What if I put the cake platter in first, then put the little bowls on top?
I could use the platter as kind of a lazy susan, and turn it to reach the bowls that I wanted. Plus, it freed up the bottom of the cabinet for more storage.
Problem solved. Happy lady who doesn’t have to give up any of her pretty dishes because she doesn’t have anywhere to put them. 🙂 What are your best secrets for kitchen storage? Have a good one!