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Thursday:  Refining Your Plan of Action

When you begin a new program your children may just love it and are cooperative immediately, or they may not like to see such changes coming about.  To reinforce the “why” behind your desire for wanting to put this Plan of Action into place, stop a moment and just listen to the conversations going on in your home.  This will tell you so much about the level of peacefulness you already have in your environment.

I invite you to go back and read the very first blog I wrote on my site, which was in 2011.  The title of it is: Being with Children: When to Act!  When to Be Silent. This gives you some ideas on the observation process. 

FAMILY MEETING:  Plan a family meeting. Bring some specifics about the things you heard your children saying during your observation, to the family meeting. Did you see the children automatically practicing one of your Family Values when you were listening? For example, if one of your Family Values is “Kindness” did you observe the children speaking with kindness?  If so, discuss this with your children.  Brainstorm additional ways this quality can be used within the home and outside of the home.  If you feel this value needs to be strengthened, continue working on it. Perhaps have the children act out additional ways of being kind. 

If you feel the children have really learned to be Kind in most of their interactions, applaud them and applaud the Value of Kindness.  You might say, "Yeah, for Kindness! The Nelson family knows how to be kind very well!"

NOTE:  See “Action Time” below for a fun project to recognize the values your children have learned to use. 

Choose another one of our Family Values to work on this week. Brainstorm how it can be put into action.  Share ideas.

If you heard put down’s and arguing, choose a Family Value that you want to promote this week such as,   “Cooperation” or “Kindness”.  Have the children act it out again. (You can never do this TOO much!) Have the children talk about their feelings when they are treated in an unkind way, such as with harsh words or having something  grabbed out of their hands.

Sometimes, when children are having a very difficult time living up to a specific value, initiating a reward system may work.  Although you’d want to move away from this eventually, such a system does help to get some children motivated! Getting the children’s words, actions and behaviors aligned with your values is the first step and if stickers or a “goodie” bag are needed, I encourage you to start with that. 

If the children are having a hard time in cooperating with each other be sure to refer to my Blog on July 8th for details about using whatever is  happening in the moment as a special "Teaching Moment".  When you make a “big deal” about something that is going on, and deeply show your disapproval of it and why it’s so important to make better choices, this is what I call a special “Teaching Moment”.

ACTION TIME: Use a large piece of paper or cardboard and title it: LEARNED VALUES.  Every time you feel your family has learned one of your Family Values, list it on the board.  Place the board/paper somewhere special in your home.  Have the children decorate it with a special drawing.  Celebrate by having a Family Meeting to  decide how the family wants to celebrate this victory!

NOTE:  This could be a special activity for a Saturday, which I’ll tell you more about later. Celebrating together as a family is fun and strengthens the bond between family members.


*    Have a one-on- one time with your child. Go to the park or mall and “people watch”.  Observe others and see their behavior.  Have a discussion with your child on what you see.  Do you see children playing nicely? Do you see a child crying and having a temper tantrum?  Sometimes, children can learn a lot simply by watching other children. 

* When your child is playing observe his/her behavior on the playground.   Does your child treat others with respect? Is s/he  treated with respect? This teaches discernment. See my Blog from July 3 for more on this subject.

•    Continue focusing on your Values on Thursday evenings. Spend as much time as needed on a particular Value so that you feel your children have a broad foundation in using that Family Value in their daily life. When the value is well–learned, list it on your LEARNED VALUES list and choose a new value to learn about. 

•    Continue listening to your children and really "hearing" their ideas on how to learn a Value. Bringing an activity or idea to the Family Meeting and seeing it carried out, this gives the child such confidence.   You are laying the groundwork for your child to be successful in many ways in his/her life.  

NOTE:  My blogs I wrote on the 7th and 8th of July address this process in other ways.  Feel free to refer to them as needed.

   Friday:  Quiet Time for All

As a mother, I found that I did need a certain amount of quiet time in the house.  Since mothering is very demanding, I attempted to find ways to carve out time when the house was not buzzing with activity.  As they grew from being little ones to young children and into their teenage years I encouraged them to have independent activities and for them to appreciate quiet time. 

Magda Gerber and Dr. Emmi Pikler are experts on nurturing self-reliant children.  They point out that a good way to do this is by encouraging them to play independently.  I found that a good way to introduce them to independent ways of playing was by giving my children quality one-on-one time by playing with them at first.  

Children as well as adults need this quiet/alone time.  As a great spiritual Master says, “everyone needs their ‘inner space’, where there is no direction, no one telling you where to go and what to do.”  Children are asked to conform to someone else's  expectations throughout most of the day. Parents make requests of them. Teachers make additional requests.  So, it’s very important to daily have time to one’s self.



Magda Gerber, was an early childhood educator and founder of Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE).  The goal of her non-profit organization was to raise the standards of infant care and education through parent and caregiver education.

She was a strong proponent of a “passive environment”. By this she meant an environment that had  objects that children could manipulate, such as balls and containers.  She knew that from a child's interaction with these objects s/he could learn relationships such as cause and effect.  In this way the child turned a passive environment into one in which s/he was "active" and engaged.                 

When you first introduce your child to such as environment, enjoy observing the  exploration of the objects by your child.  After a time, move away from the immediate view of your child and let her/him enjoy playing alone.  The independent play time of your child will
increase over time.
RESOURCES:  www.RIE.org  (The work of Magda Gerber)

Email me for a complimentary copy of The Art of Communicating with Infants and Young Children.  sharonannwikoff@gmail.com


Much of the same philosophy works for the older child.  Good activities which will introduce them to an appreciation of quiet time include reading books, or building with blocks or doing a puzzle with your older children. Play with them. Have a good time.  If you child is “craving” your attention, you may need to have such sessions for months before he/she will want to play alone.  However, that time will come! 

When your child seems involved, walk away for short periods of time. If your child calls to you and wants more attention, willingly give it to him/her.  It’s only when your child feels totally filled with your love and attention that he/she will happily play alone. 

Begin such play times on a weekly basis, or more often if you wish.  Giving your child sufficient time in the beginning will bring you great rewards. 

   Saturday:  Working and Playing Together

Children of all ages just love to do things with you!  In addition, they like to do the work you do.  When you teach a child how to do a job, and they become confident in doing the work, they often enjoy it very much.

PLAYING TOGETHER:  Begin this part of your Plan of Action, by having a wonderful time with your children.  Take them to the park on a Saturday morning and have fun playing with them.  I’m almost 70 and continue to climb the equipment with the children, go down the slide and swing.  They love to have you play with them.


After a period of playing with them, step back and let them continue on their own.  This also can be an excellent time to reinforce your Family Values.  If your child begins playing with another child and is kind to him/her, mention this to him/her. If your little one, wants to try the monkey bars for the first time, and just hangs from them, applaud his/her accomplishment. 



WORKING TOGETHER:  Another part of the Plan of Action for Saturday is to work together.  After several weeks of having fun together, ask for your child help you with a project.  It might be sweeping the patio, picking up leaves on the grass, picking up your child’s room, or putting away the dishes from the dishwasher.  Whatever it is, do the work with the child and have fun. They learn by watching you! 

Having a regular work activity where your children can participate and even learn to handle the work on their own is very good for your child in many ways.  The important thing is to teach him/her how to do the work and then carefully observe if the task matches your child’s level of ability.  If your child is capable of sweeping then purchase a small broom of an appropriate size for your child to use. Sweep together.  Pick up the leaves together. Show him/her all aspects of the job you want him to learn.  Even better, let your child choose the work he wants to do.  If you work with your children for several weeks, one day you will hear:  “Mom, I can do this myself!"                                                                              

   Sunday:  The Gift of Gratitude

Messages from Water and the Universe by Masaru Emoto, as well as many other books, report that when water is frozen after being exposed to specific kinds of music, written words, or phrases based on Universal truths such a thank you, or love and gratitude, gorgeous crystals appeared when the water was frozen.  Likewise, when water was exposed to various energies such as a cell phone, microwave or negative words, crystals were formed but were deformed.  He has received worldwide acclaim through his groundbreaking discovery. The lesson here is that there is much power in the actions and words...GRATITUDE is one such word and action.  

Rhonda Brittan, author of Fearless Living, invites readers to write down a few things they are grateful for every evening. This is a very powerful practice.   Why not try it and see how it feels to you.


FAMILY MEMBERS: When someone in your family does something nice for someone, thank them.  Make a game of it.  When I’m  with children, sometimes I’ll say thank you for something little. And instead of saying it just once, I may say it several times in a row. Kids often will catch on and say Thank you back to me. This may go on for a couple of minutes.  We all end of laughing and it does make an impression!

FRIENDS: If a friend gives something to your child, and they don’t respond with a Thank You, take on the task yourself and say, "Thank You."  Your child will learn from this and one day will respond himself.  Also, if your child is playing with his friend, and you see they are enjoying each other so much, you might say, "Isn't it great to have such a good friends.  I'm so grateful you boys have each other to play with."

NATURE: Nature gives us so many reasons to be grateful. Every time I look at my veggie garden, I’m So grateful for the gift of soil  Plants start out so tiny, and turn into such gorgeous plants.What are you grateful for in nature?  The sky? The mountains?  Water? 
Being grateful is a powerful practice when it becomes a way of living. 

Once you are aware of this idea, you’ll find many ways to work the Gift of Gratitude into your daily life and that of your children.

In ending the 31 Day Challenge that Lesa offered us, I want to thank her for this experience.  I'm SO delighted I said YES, to her invitation to Blog for 31 Days!  During this time, I've discovered my deep passion for this work and intent to pursue it in many ways in the future. 



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