For my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary, the song “Remember When” by Alan Jackson played over a slideshow as pictures of my grandma and grandad over the years flashed across the screen.
With family and loved ones gathering to watch, I remember how touching the moment was. The song itself was nostalgic and evoked emotions from the people in the room, especially older couples. A few people were wiping tears from their eyes. But, as a young teenager, I didn’t fully grasp the song. I couldn’t.
Then, 15 years later I became a mom. One random day, when my son was a little over a year old and walking everywhere, the song came on and played throughout our house.
And the lyrics hit me. Hard. I finally understood and could feel throughout my whole body their beautiful meaning. I sat there on my kitchen floor and sobbed tears, letting the words of the song absorb me and allowing myself to remember when.
Remember when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
I went back to the day of my grandparents’ wedding anniversary and imagined what they were feeling as they stood arm in arm. Both of them in their 70s, had experienced the loss of their parents and other family members and friends throughout their life together. But out of death, came new life. The birth of kids. The birth of grandkids. And even the birth of great grandkids.
I then recalled how much my life had changed since that day. My grandparents both have passed away, one not far after the other. But not too long after their deaths, my husband and I welcomed our first child into this world and were thrown into the blissful chaos that is parenthood. Our lives, now forever changed, disassembled, and rearranged, revolved around the little boy we fed, changed, bathed, held, and rocked every day.
Remember when the sound of little feet
Was the music we danced to week to week
I flashbacked to my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. Every Sunday, my grandma would cook a huge dinner and have the family over to all eat together. I loved going because it meant spending time with my cousins. We would scarf down our food as quickly as possible so we could be excused to go play. We would run up and down the steps to the basement and inside and outside playing tag, hide n seek, and any other imaginative game we had invented that day. When it was time to leave, we would begrudgingly gather our shoes and jackets to put on and then give a peck on the cheek to each of our grandparents who were probably still scrubbing dishes and picking up our mess. They did this week after week after week.
Now, I know why. The sound of little feet. As I sat on the floor listening to the lyrics, my son ran around laughing and playing. Pitter patter. Pitter patter went the sound of his feet. And I remembered when all those times those feet ran to greet me when I came home from work. All the moments those feet ran down the hallway to show off how fast they were. All the moments he and his other little friends ran throughout the house tearing it apart. The music we danced to week to week.
I continued listening to the song, and I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of sadness. Those weeks to weeks were going by too fast. My husband and I had too many “remember whens” with our son already.
“Remember when he would bite our noses when he was a newborn because he thought he could get milk out of them.”
“Remember when he could fit on our chests, and he would sleep there peacefully.”
“Remember when he would smash the food in his face.”
“Remember when he would eat his toes.”
Those were all over.
The song was wrapping up and the tears were still flowing down my face. The last verse played gently out.
Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when
My final recollection from the day of my grandparents’ anniversary was the joy on their faces and in their smiles and laughter as they watched all of their memories being shared on their screen. They had a lifetime to look back on and remember all the beautiful ups and downs. And they were glad.
The song ended, I wiped my tears, and went to chase after my son. Pitter patter went the sound of his little feet. I smiled because, for now, that was still the music I danced to week to week. And I am forever grateful for that.
8 MINUTE READ
This article was originally published on a Fine Parent
I was a shy kid growing up, evidenced by hilarious home videos at gymnastics or Easter egg hunts, where I would walk hesitantly from station to station or gingerly stroll as I collected a grand total of two eggs.
While most of the other kids were going wild, being adventurous, and jumping into the action without a care in the world, I preferred to hang near my parents. I would stick close to a comfort person while I assessed the situation and in large groups, I would rather listen than be the one to chime in. I can still be like that now as an adult (although I have, thankfully, long stopped clinging to my parents’ legs).
I still remember situations throughout childhood in which I would overhear other parents say, “Ohh, is she shy?” their voices dripping with sympathy or pity. Every part of my insides would cringe and I would want to disappear.
Fast forward to the present and I now have a two-and-a-half-year-old son who reminds me of the same child I was, clinging to my parent’s leg. He hangs out by my side at birthday parties to assess the situation before jumping in to play with the other kids. As he navigates a playground, I can see him assessing the ins and outs of each slide before taking the dive down.
How big is it? How do I get up to it? How do the other kids go down? When he eventually goes down the slide, he will almost always run back to me to “check in.” He has clung to my leg on more than one occasion.
Yes, my son is a lot like me, but I am refusing to let anyone call him shy. If you also have a child who is hesitant to jump in or needs a little extra comfort in social situations, we can use reframing to change our attitude and reaction to shy behavior.
Reframing is an amazing technique that may not be specific to parenting but can be a powerful way to think more positively about our child’s behavior or find the “silver lining” of a trait that is easily assumed as negative. Reframing allows us to view a behavior with understanding and positivity.
Read on to understand why we should stop calling our kids shy and ways in which we can reframe our mindset on shyness.
Stop: Putting Our Kids in a “Box”
When we label our kids shy, especially when in front of them, we place them into a box, essentially communicating, “this is what you are, so this is how you are supposed to act.”
Whenever I was labeled shy as a child, I would, in fact, become more shy. Never once did I suddenly become more gregarious or adventurous right after someone said I was shy.
Labels do not necessarily all have to be bad. For children with disabilities, identifying the disability with a label can potentially open the door for support they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
However, giving our child any one-dimensional label based on a small part of their personality or one specific behavior suggests that the characteristic is a fixed trait or that personality cannot be fluid. The danger with this suggestion (even if not intentional) is that children are observant and will often absorb the labels they hear adults call them–which can be difficult to shake off.
I often think about when I was younger, and I heard people call me shy. The little voice in my head would scream out, “But I’m not always shy! When I’m with the neighborhood kids playing wiffle ball in the streets or performing plays with my cousins, I’m not shy! I’m loud and silly and funny. I wish you could see me then. But right now I feel stuck in being shy because you called me out on it.”
Reframe how we think about labels:
Clinical psychologist and mom of three, Dr. Becky Kennedy, says in her podcast that parents should be mindful of what we label our kids in their presence.
Rather, she advises us to talk to our child about how they can be different things in different situations to avoid having our children feel stuck in one label. Instead of thinking of our children as shy kids, we can think of them as diverse and flexible in their personality, depending on the situation they are presented with.
For my own son, this conversation has sounded something like this:
When you go to the park and see all the other kids playing, you feel cautious and curious, right? You like to see how the kids are playing and what there is to play with before jumping in. You really want to play with them, but you feel a little nervous at first because you don’t know what to expect. That’s okay. You can feel two things.
But then sometimes when you are at home with other kids, you are loud and go wild like a silly monster. You dive right into playing and making a mess.
I see you are different at different times.
Using this tactic can be a good reminder to us parents that we should never get stuck on just one small part of our child’s personality because we will miss out on the huge rainbow of traits they possess!
Stop: Believing Cautious Behavior Isn’t Normal
It’s not unusual for parents to jump to saying “they’re just shy,” as an explanation of a child’s hesitant behavior. Reality is that being cautious in the face of unfamiliar situations, environments or people should be totally acceptable behavior from our children. So why do we say it?
It’s most likely that the quick label of “shyness” when a child is simply showing caution or hesitancy is more about our own emotions than our child’s. If shyness has caused your child to hesitate in responding to adults, it may be easily misinterpreted as disrespect–which may elicit feelings of embarrassment or shame towards the child’s behavior. This could be especially true if perceived disrespect is a parenting trigger for you!
The problem with a quick explanation of shyness, especially when in front of our child, can suggest to our child that they are flawed or have a deficit. A fast statement that may be the automatic result of our own emotion can suddenly become a suggestion that our child should be embarrassed by a perceived flaw.
Reframe how we think about cautious behavior:
Being shy in new situations or around unfamiliar people can be a wonderful strength for children; indicating that they are in tune with their emotions regarding safety and have the self-awareness that their own comfort level is increased when allowed to first observe their surroundings.
Cautiousness or hesitancy in new situations does not automatically indicate an introverted personality type that will lead into adulthood. Introverts strongly prefer a certain amount of solitude, while children who exhibit shyness in new social situations may be slower to warm up but most likely seek the company of others.
We can reframe how we think about cautious behavior by focusing on the positive aspects often associated with shyness, including doing well in school, behaving and following rules, and listening attentively to others. In fact, shy kids are most often considered by caregivers as easy children to look after.
Stop: Believing Shyness = Lack of Confidence
Shyness sometimes gets confused for a lack of confidence in a child. From my own experience, I can say that although I could be shy, I definitely wasn’t lacking confidence; and I can see that my son does not lack confidence either.
Dr. Becky goes as far to say that shyness is confidence and I’m one hundred percent on board with this message. To explain this, she gives an example of two sets of parents who came to her for advice. The first set of parents had a toddler and were lamenting about how shy he was during birthday parties and how they wished he could have the confidence to join his friends on the soccer field.
The other set of parents had a teenage son. They were concerned about how their son got suspended at school for following the crowd. Their strife was over how they wished their son could say ‘no’ to what his friends were doing and realize that their behavior wasn’t for him. Why couldn’t their son be more confident?
Wow that example is powerful. As parents, we want our kids to grow up with the ability to have a voice of their own and to say no when they feel something isn’t right.
And when our shy kids don’t join in with all the other kids, they are, in fact, asserting confidence in the situation. They are confident enough to listen to their own bodies and feelings. Right now, I don’t feel comfortable doing this, so I am not going to.
This is true in my situation. I grew up with the ability to say no in the face of peer pressure, try hard things, and make positive friendships.
Reframe how we think about confidence:
Next time our child exhibits signs of shyness, we can remind ourselves that shyness may be a sign of moral excellence and the ability to be hesitant until what is happening aligns with their moral standards. This is a hugely beneficial skill for children as they grow older and experience peer pressure.
Confidence doesn’t have to mean being the first to jump into the action. Confidence is knowing how you feel inside and listening to that feeling. It’s knowing how to say no in the face of peer pressure and picking the friends that you feel comfortable around.
When we notice our child being shy, we can be proud that they are listening to that voice inside of them. “Right now I don’t feel comfortable, so I am just going to observe first.”
How to Handle Shyness with Your Child
Reframing our mindset of shyness allows us to have a healthier attitude towards our child’s hesitant behavior. As we are the largest influence on our children, this alone may positively impact our children to take the risks we want them to take.
When a child starts showing signs of shyness, parents can do a few things to help encourage them to join in on the social fun:
To confront this issue, Dr. Becky reminds us that we can be upfront about the issue of safety and talk to our children about what they can expect when going out. Familiarize the unfamiliar.
My job is to keep you safe. I assessed the situation, and I think it is safe to go to your friend’s birthday party at the playground. I looked up the playground online. Do you want to see what kind of things that will be on the playground? Ohh look at the slide. You will have to climb up here to get to it. What do you think of that?
Shyness doesn’t have to be a label that we stick on our child when we know that our children possess such beautiful and vast arrays of traits and characteristics.
Even if our child is shy at times, it may just be an indicator that they are deeply in tune with their body and feelings. We can foster that as a strength and provide support to our children by reframing our mindset of shyness!
The 2-Minute Action Plan for Fine Parents
Take a few minutes to contemplate or journal the following questions:
The Ongoing Action Plan for Fine Parents
If you find that you need help rethinking your child’s shyness, try out the following for the next few weeks. It may be helpful to write down what you want to remind yourself to turn to and post it somewhere visible in your house:
Financial literacy is so important for kids to know.
54% of parents rated their teenager's knowledge of money management as either "good" or "excellent," but 78% percent of the children of those respondents rated their own knowledge of money management as merely average or even poor.
And only 26% of 13-21 year olds surveyed said that their parents taught them how to manage money.
I’ll be honest, my financial literacy tapped out around middle school. My parents and grandparents did a good job of teaching me to save money, give money in a generous way, and work to earn money.
But beyond that, I didn’t learn the intricacies of money that are so important to know.
That is until I met my husband who is well-versed in financial literacy partly due to learning from his own mistakes.
Thanks to him we have taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class, listened to the Ramsey Show Podcast on every road trip, and started financial couples counseling.
Now, my goal is to make sure my high school students, especially students of color, and my own son are learning about important financial literacy topics.
And most importantly, teaching them to pass this knowledge on to their own children and friends, so they are building a legacy of wealth and financial literacy.
In today’s blog, I have 15 important topics to teach kids about financial literacy at every age and stage.
Lauren Barrett Writes is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
Table of Contents
Download the chart here
15 Important Topics to Teach Kids About Financial Literacy at Every Age and Stage
Toddler Years: Ages 2-3
# 1 What is Money
At this age, teach your toddler what money actually is by identifying the names of dollars and coins (one dollar bill, five dollar bill, ten dollar bill, penny, nickel, dime, quarter).
This is a good age to get a pretend cash register and play store or restaurant. Have your kids give you items or make you food from their pretend kitchen. In return, give them money.
# 2 Wants and Needs
At the toddler stage, 2-3 year olds can start to learn what they need to live vs. what they want to have.
As a parent, you can gather some belongings (food, clothes, toy cars, toy house, legos, etc) and sort those things into two piles: wants and needs.
When you take your kids to the store, you can discuss whether what you are buying is a want or need.
This is the financial literacy they need in order to make smart buying decisions as they grow up.
# 3 How Money Works
To expand upon #2, teach your toddlers that your wants and needs cost money.
Take them to the store with you and show them the price tag for an item. Explain that this tells you how much something costs and how you have to pay for it before leaving the store.
With the cash register at home, set up a restaurant and store. Make a menu with how much an item costs or a store with price tags on various toys.
Model examples of when you have enough money, you can buy something and when you don’t have enough, you can’t buy it.
Preschool Years: Ages 3-5
# 4 How to Earn Money
Kids ages 3-5 can start to learn ways to earn money.
Talk to them about how when you go to work, you earn money.
When you sell old toys and clothes, you can earn money.
When you do extra chores around the house, you can earn money or an allowance.
When you start a business, like a lemonade stand, you can earn money.
When you provide a service for someone else, like raking leaves, you can earn money.
# 5 Saving vs. Spending vs. Giving
The 3 jar system is a good way to teach your preschoolers about the three ways you can handle money.
The money they earn or are given can either go into three categories: save, spend, give.
Help your kids learn that some money they should save for something big. Some money they can spend right away for something small. And some money they should give to help others.
# 6 Online Banking/Shopping
In a digital world, a majority of people are buying things online and using credit or debit cards or apps where you can exchange money (PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Cash App).
With this new technology, it is easy to spend money recklessly because you have nothing tangible to see decrease.
This can be hard for little kids. That is why we hear so many stories of kids aimlessly racking up hundreds of dollars on their parents’ Amazon accounts.
Once preschoolers have an idea of what money is and how it works, start the discussion of online banking and shopping.
Some accounts on your phone and computer are set up to a credit or debit card and money goes away when you buy something.
It might even be a good time to introduce key words like: decrease, increase, greater than, and less than.
You can even show them on a number line that when you buy something online or swipe a card, the money you have decreases.
When you earn money through work, the money you have in your bank increases.
Elementary Years: Ages 5-10
# 7 Adding/Subtracting/Multiplying/Dividing Money
In the elementary years, schools will work on these basic math skills with kids, but you can reinforce this skill at home.
Work on buying multiple items from the pretend store or restaurant. Kids will have to practice adding money in that way.
# 8 Making a Profit
Learning that how much you spend should be less than how much you earn is called a profit is very valuable. The elementary years are a time to learn that.
The best way to teach this is for experience.
Growing up, we practiced this a lot through the lemonade stands and carnivals we did in the summer and the pose with a large pumpkin and makeshift hayride we hosted at our house during the fall.
These events were good learning opportunities.
Other experiences you can do with your kid to learn about a profit:
Calculated how much you spent with your kids to get everything set up and then how much money you made. Subtract the difference. That is the profit.
Remember to teach your kids that your time is worth money too. Although you might have made a profit, was it worth it for the amount of time and work you put into it?
That’s important for kids to learn to enhance their financial literacy skills.
# 9 Comparison Shopping
Discounts. Sales. Thrift shops. Deals. Shopping around.
Teach your kids to research before you make a purchase, especially a larger one.
Include them in on a purchase you want to make for a household. Show them how you Google the product and compare prices from different websites or stores.
Make sure you point out that something might be cheaper, but the overall quality is poor compared to something more expensive.
Middle School Years: Ages 11-14
# 10 Creating a Budget
Around the middle school years, kids should actively create a budget or participate in one at home.
Kids should learn the difference between fixed and variable costs within a budget.
Have your tweens record things bought into the budget after an outing to the grocery store.
We use the EveryDollar App for our budget.
# 11 Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards vs. Cash
By this age, kids ages 11-14, probably already know what a credit card and a debit card is. But if they don’t, now is the time to teach them.
However, what is more important is to know the pros and cons of using each of these forms of payment.
Bring up what interest is when related to credit cards.
Then, allow your middle schoolers to come to their own conclusion with each.
Ask prompting questions like why might you prefer debit cards and cash over credit cards? What are some rules to remember if you ever use a credit card?
One of the critical elements to financial literacy is allowing kids to have the ability to think and infer when it comes to money instead of being passive users and spenders.
# 12 Saving for College
Going into debt for college has become the norm and acceptable, but it doesn’t have to be.
Starting the discussion around saving for college should start early and be discussed often. The middle school years are the time for that.
At this age, kids can learn about 529 plans, scholarships, work study, grants, and the dangers of taking out too many loans.
They can start exploring the cost of college and the difference between in-state tuition, out-of-state tuition, and community college tuition.
They don’t need to have a major and where they want to go to college decided at this age.
They just need to know the cost of college, how to save for it, and why they don’t want to graduate with mounds of debt.
High School Years: Ages 14-18
# 13 Taxes and Insurance
Teenagers need to have financial literacy in this area, but most don't. I know I didn’t at that age.
Here’s what they need to learn.
And the best way for them to learn is to be actively involved in the finances at home and engaged with open and honest conversations with the family.
# 14 How to Save and Invest
Teenagers are not too young to save and invest for the future, even retirement.
Here’s what they need to learn:
Financial Peace University could be a good gift to give your highschooler to learn this important financial information.
# 15 Buying a Car Vs. Leasing and Buying a House Vs. Renting
Teenagers need to learn the pros and cons of each of these actions.
Again, this is a conversation to have with them or an area that will be covered in Financial Peace University.
Wrapping It Up
Money doesn’t have to be such a taboo and daunting subject that we avoid discussing with our kids of all ages.
It should be something that we start teaching our kids early and building upon at every age and stage.
Although there is a lot to learn when it comes to money, these fifteen important topics are the building blocks to having a well-abled, thoughtful, generous consumer as a child who has rich knowledge of financial literacy.
And financial literacy is so important…
“My hope is that with increased financial capability, more of us will be able to transition from surviving to thriving. Resulting in sufficient resources to support our own ever-changing, highly subjective pursuit of ‘happiness’.”
-Travis Cook, Education Specialist, Utah State Board of Education
So about a month ago, I felt like the bedtime routine with my son was dragging on and on and on. We would deal with toddler tantrums, or we would have to read a million books and he would have to say goodnight to his dump truck and turn on and off the light and, and, and, and.....
Sometimes, I don’t mind. I love to soak in those cuddles and love my son’s love for reading.
But sometimes, I am ready to wrap.this.thing.up.
Don't get me wrong, I love some snuggles, but after a long day of work, I really wanted to have some time to myself and my husband. Those things aren't selfish. They are essential to the makeup of the self-care of a busy mom.
So if this is you, what to do?
In today’s blog, I have 7 easy tips to eliminate toddler tantrums at bedtime.
Lauren Barrett Writes is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
Table of Contents
7 Easy Tips to Eliminate Toddler Tantrums at Bedtime
In today’s blog, I have 6 easy tips to eliminate toddler tantrums at bedtime and cut 10 minutes out of the routine.
# 1 Use a Timer.
Toddlers with big feelings aren’t going to understand that play is just over and all of the sudden they have to stop and go to bed.
At least, they won’t understand on their own. They need some help.
Introducing the timer.
Before bed, use a timer to establish when it is time for bedtime. "Okay you are on the clock, you have 5 minutes left to play. When Mr. Ringer dings, we are all done."
Then, you set the timer and every minute or so, you remind your toddler “You’re on the clock.”
When the timer goes off, excitedly proclaim, “Mr. Ringer! Time to put everything away.”
Preparing your kids that play or TV will end soon, will help eliminate toddler tantrums at bedtime. It won't feel so abrupt to them, and over time, they will be conditioned to know what that timer means.
I like to give my toddler some control too when the timer goes off. I will give him the remote to turn off the TV or hand him a toy to put away. Something very specific and goal oriented that I can praise him for doing that will make him feel in control and special.
# 2 Set the Mood.
Sleep hygiene is so important for adults and kids too. Just like it’s hard for me to go to sleep right after exercising or being on my phone for a while, kids can’t be expected to go to bed after watching a stimulating TV show or vigorously playing.
That’s why it is so important to set the mood in order to eliminate toddler tantrums at bedtime.
Setting the mood can look like this:
By setting the mood, we are preparing toddlers for sleep and getting them to feel tired. Therefore, they are less likely to have a meltdown when we announce it’s time to go to bed.
Why? Because they are already feeling sleepy.
# 3 Set Boundaries and Stick With Them
When the dinger goes off, be firm and stay within your rules. "Ok, the TV is going off in 5-4-3-2-1. Bye, bye, TV. Goodnight."
The first few times, your toddler might throw a tantrum or cry or beg for more. It might be tempting to give in and give them “just five more minutes.”
But hold firm.
The more wiggle room you give them, the more they will continue throwing fits to get more TV because they know that that works.
Simply shut down the play or the TV, take a deep breath, and allow for the cries and tantrums. They are a healthy release of emotions.
I like to say, “You’re sad that the TV had to get shut off. You didn’t want that. Right now we need to go up to bed to get ready. Can you help me pick out a book about a truck?”
You set the boundary and hold firm, but you also empathize and redirect with a choice.
After a while of doing this practice, you will start to eliminate toddler tantrums at bedtime.
# 4 Explain What Will Happen Before Bedtime
Oftentimes the actual going to bed is what sets your toddler off. They don’t want to stop playing and miss out on any excitement.
Therefore, shift their focus away from bedtime.
Explain to your toddler what you are going to do BEFORE bed. Instead of "It's time to go upstairs to bed," say "It's time to go upstairs to take a fun bath, read two books, and sing our song."
This will get your toddler excited and decrease those bedtime tantrums.
# 5 Implement a Checklist
Toddlers are visual. They also like to help out and have responsibilities.
Implement a checklist of the nighttime routine. "Ok, let's look at the checklist. Let's see what's first. Oh! First, we take a bath....Ok, bathtime is finished. Let's check it off and see what is next."
Carry around a laminated checklist or have it hanging in your toddler’s bedroom.
Point to each one and have your toddler check off each routine after it’s completed. After a while, you can even ask them what comes next in the routine.
For additional positive parenting, play the fool with your toddler. Every now and then, mix up the routine on purpose and have your toddler fix your mistake to make them feel confident and in charge.
“Okay, now it is time to brush your knees….Ohhh, your teeth. Not knees. Silly me.”
“Okay, first we will put on your pajamas, and then we will get a bath.”
Your toddler will be giggling in no time and forgetting all about why he didn’t want to go to bed in the first place.
# 6 Gossip About Your Toddler
Gossip about your toddler before bed. Share the news how well your toddler is following the bedtime routine and how she listened to the dinger.
Toddlers like to hear how well they are doing especially when they overhear praise from Mommy and Daddy to their favorite stuffed animal.
With continued praise, those bedtime tantrums will gradually decrease.
# 7 Reinforce with Sign Language
Finally, reinforce everything with sign language. Sign language reduces tantrums and increases comprehension.
Some key phrases to sign:
Wrapping It Up
Some key takeaways to remember...
1. When toddlers throw a tantrum right before bed, they aren't doing it to be defiant. They don't want the fun to end.
2. Stick to a consistent routine to trigger your toddlers' sleepy cues. Toddlers likes predictability.
3. Show empathy for your toddler. It's hard always being told what to do.
Check out my checklists for life's hard moments. 👇