Baby Brother is Enjoying the Summer with Kushies

This post was brought to you by Kushies.  All opinions are mine.

Being the third child is hard.  Scoff if you will, but I was the third child and my older brothers might see it differently, but being the baby has it's challenges!  The constant noise, physical battles, living up to older siblings' reputations, and having to wear hand-me-downs is what we babies of the family have to suffer through!  Okay, okay, so it wasn't that bad.  And, I was a the first born girl so I did get new clothes.  But Baby Brother is the third boy and while he does not care what he wears, it is nice to have some new things from time to time….especially cloth diapers!

Throughout our cloth diapering journey, I have continued to hear great things about Kushies.  Their diapers are adorable, but for whatever reason, I never tried them, until now.  We tried the Kushies Ultra Lite "All in One" diaper, in White Crazy Circles.  The outer shell is lightweight and waterproof.  It has a hook and loop closure system, which usually I am not a fan of, but Kushies makes it work  because of the positioning and length of tabs:

Kushies all in one diaper

This diaper is less than $20, which makes it easy on a family's budget.  It features six layers of 100% cotton flannel with a super absorbent soaker layer inside.  And the best part is….this diaper contains a patented built-in flap that can be folded up for boys or down for girls for extra absorbency.  The infant diaper fits babies 10-22 pounds and sells for  only $14.49.  The toddler version is $17.49 and fits from 22-45 lbs.

Kushies all in one cloth diaper

I had no clue that Kushies offered WAY more than just cloth diapers, too.  If cloth diapering isn't your thing (or even if it is,) you should visit the Kushies website to see all the wonderful things going on!  Baby Brother loves this Little Lizard Romper by Blue Banana.  It is soft and super adorable.

Blue Banana RomperAnd don't forget the perfect summer accessory…sunglasses!  These Kushies blue sunglasses are fit him well and keep his eyes protected from UVA and UVB rays.  The lenses are scratch resistant and the arms are flexible and virtually unbreakable.  And it's true that my children have big heads, (95 percentile, y'all!) but these sunglasses even fit D, who is three.  They are less than $6 and fit for quite a while, so I will be looking to Kushies for more sunglasses in the near future.

Kushies sunglasses

Find out more about Kushies and see all the great things they have to offer for your baby.  Follow Kushies on Twitter and Facebook, too, to stay up to date about new products and sales!  Check their products out on Amazon, too.

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The Reward System That Has Helped Our Kids’ Behavior This Summer!

Around the middle of May, I began to get concerned about the boys' behavior.  I was looking at a summer with all three kids after the Captain ended his year in half day pre-k.  He is 5 1/2 and definitely acting like a 5 year old boy who has been surrounded by other 5 year old boys for months!  Thankfully no bad words have come up, but the potty talk and laughing incessantly at "poop" and other words were common, and he was teaching D, who is 3 1/2, just how hilarious they are.  There was also the disobeying, defiance, and being mean to each other that was driving me crazy.  Something had to be done.

Daddy is gone a lot during the summer because he is a youth minister.  Camps, trips, and other work engagements keep him busy and so I knew I had to do something to stop the negative behavior and get us all working together so we could have a great summer.  I began to think of what I should do…and then I remembered something that works brilliantly with all kids:  rewarding positive behavior.

When I was a teacher, I tried many things – treats, treasure box, encouraging words, and more.  But the one thing that got the best response from my class was when I gave them a sticker for any outstanding positive behaviors.  Soon, the whole class was trying to earn a sticker with their positive behavior that, while the negative behaviors didn't go away completely, they definitely decreased!  I saw this same phenomenon a couple of years ago when the Captain brought home a "Shine God's Light" sticker chart from VBS.  He was supposed to earn stickers by doing positive things for others, like praying for them, giving them something nice, or just doing something thoughtful for another person.  He was so excited about this chart, but for a (then) 3 year old, there were a LOT of spaces to fill.  You can't tell from this picture, but this was about half full:

Shine God's Light!

It took him about two years to fill up this chart, but when he did, we rewarded him with something he wanted:  a new basketball.  He didn't know he was working towards a basketball, but when the chart was full, he happened to want a basketball, so that's what we gave to him for his positive behavior.  I always prefer to get the kids something as a reward, not "just because," so I go that route whenever possible.  $15 for something he wanted, to reward him for two years of doing great things.  Pretty good deal, if you ask me!

So back to our current situation.  We needed to do something!  I was pretty much done with sticker charts, but I remembered that we had some aquarium stones and of course, lots of different sized jars!  I worked with the boys to make up a list of ways they could earn stones and informed them that they would be working TOGETHER to accomplish one goal.  Here are the four ways we came up with to "Shine God's Light" and earn a stone for the jar:

Ways to Shine God's Light

 They had to come up with what they wanted to work towards together, and when the jar was full, they would both get to enjoy the reward.  This has helped with the competitiveness and while it is sometimes hard to agree on something they both want, they really do work together!  The first goal they wanted to work for was to get the "Frozen" DVD.  Once I handed out the first stone, they were on a roll.  Their behavior really changed almost instantaneously.  Now, of course, they're still humans and we all make mistakes.  I just focused on correcting their negative behaviors but really rewarding their positive behaviors.  The boys were telling each other to "please move" and "thank you!"  They were obeying the first time (this one is the hardest and will continue to be the hardest because no one really likes to stop what we are doing and do something someone asks of us.)  It took about three weeks for the boys to fill the jar and when they did, we went out and bought the "Frozen" DVD the same day.  

reward jar

When that goal was met, the boys talked together about what they wanted to do next.  Another movie?  no.  A toy?  no.  They had been asking to do something special as a family, particularly asking to go to iT'Z, which is like a nicer, more pleasant experience than Chuck E. Cheese's and has a rock climbing wall, bowling, and more.  I'm not a huge fan of either place, but hey, if they want to work for a trip to go there, I'll be happy to reward their positive behavior.  So, I told them that the little short jar wouldn't really work because a trip to iT'Z is more expensive than a DVD.  I took a taller jar out of the cabinet and showed them and they agreed that they could work towards filling up that jar and earn the trip they had been wanting.  

(This also is a great way to delay an allowance in our house.  The Captain, especially, gets money and it burns a hole in his pocket.  He will waste it on anything and everything he sees if he doesn't have some guidance.  The stones in the jar have some "value" to them, but they're not monetary.  They can see that the jar for the DVD was shorter than the jar for the trip to iT'Z, so they can grasp the concept that some things cost more than others, but there is no handing out money.  There is no "you do this chore, I pay you $$."  An allowance will come in the future, but for now, this is a great intro to an allowance.  It's a reward for good behavior, not payment for a task.

This was our "Shine God's Light" jar a few days ago:

The positive behavior reward system that really and truly worked for our kids and really made them think and be aware of their actions.

Rewarding positive behaviors definitely takes effort on my part, and it's not fail proof, for sure.  They still act up and are still naughty at times, but their behavior is light years better than it was just two months ago.

Rules for earning a stone:

1.  You can't ask for a stone.  example:  "I cleaned my room, can I get a stone?"

2.  You can't get a stone for yourself.  Our cup of stones sits on top of the fridge so they aren't tempted.  (This is when the noise of a stone in a glass jars comes in handy….Mommy hears all!)

3.  You can suggest that your brother gets a stone if you see him doing something good.

4.  We can't take stones out.  I have been guilty of threatening them with this on bad days, but it's just not a good idea.  They earned them and they shouldn't be taken out.  Discipline and rewards for positive behavior should be two separate things.

5.  Stones aren't used for bribes or making deals.  No "clean your room and I'll give you a stone!"  Nope, it's "Wow!  You cleaned your room the first time I asked without complaining, thank you, you get a stone!"  Likewise, they can't say "Hey Mom, I'll pick up my toys if you give me a stone."  Scheming doesn't work for stones!

6.  All stones are of equal value.  Share a bite of your cookie with your brother?  One stone.  Spend an hour working with Mommy in the garden to keep her company?  One stone.  Get a diaper for Mommy because you knew she needed help, even though she didn't ask?  One stone.  Simple!

Some people will argue with this whole idea and say that kids should do what parents tell them "just because."  I've heard people say that kids should mind their parents all of the time and if they don't, they (get a spanking, get time out, etc.)  I DO believe that negative behaviors need consequences, but I'm telling you….kids aren't born with the ability to obey and need to be taught.  I prefer to teach them in a positive way because it gets better results.  Sure we discipline when needed, but for us, an appropriate mix of the two works really well.

This is a great way to help the kids learn about how others feel.  The boys have both gotten stones for helping other people and not even doing it just to get a stone.  Once they got used to helping others, it becomes more natural.  

If you want to go beyond showing your kids how to "Shine God's Light," and teach your kids about God's love, check out "Simple Ways to Bring Jesus into Your Child's Daily Routine."

 

 

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What a Weekend – Birthday Party Fun!

We celebrated the boys' birthdays this weekend with lots of family and fun stuff to do!  The Captain turned 5 last week D will turn 3 in December, so a double birthday party is always easier on everyone, it seems.  Especially since D's bday is so close to Christmas.  He doesn't mind one bit though….lots of fun, attention, presents, and cake!

The day started off with a baby shower for Baby #3 with a few lovely ladies from church.  It was a fun time with los of delicious food!  Then we went to the Captain's soccer game at noon, and last but not least, their big birthday party!  The boys decided on their own theme…."Wild Kratts" for the Captain and "Go, Diego, Go!" for D.  I found a great Wild Kratts birthday package on eBay, complete with games and creature power vests.  Both of the boys love "Wild Kratts," so they were thrilled!

boys birthday party

What a super fun day!

Now the next event is Baby #3!  Stay tuned!

 

Wordless Wednesday: Box Boys

boys

Wordless Wednesday: Superheroes

boys

Wordless Wednesday: Brothers

This past weekend, we went to my parents' house and I went through some old dolls and toys.  This was about the extent of the brothers playing with my dolls:

tub

21 Days of Prayer for Sons

My sweet friend Michelle just told me about this fantastic project, 21 Days of Prayer for Sons, hosted by the MOB Society (For Moms of Boys, By Moms of Boys).  I'm up for a challenge, and we all could stand to pray more and my sons could always use more prayers for them, so I'm participating.  Go to the MOB Society if you'd like to learn more or participate, there's still time!  

The project entails downloading or buying a (short) book as a guide and commit to praying the prayers in the book for the next 21 days.  Anyone want to participate with me??