The Secret Languages of Families

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed my toddler for my Rockin’ Granola blog.  Lucy has recently had a language explosion and with that has come all of the charming mispronunciations and adorable “toddler speak” that go along with being a bubbly two year old.

The post sparked a few comments from other parents about their children’s mispronunciations as toddlers and how some of those phrases have worked their way into the fabric of the family language.

The more families I talk to, I find that, more often than not, each one has their own set of code words, mispronunciations, and inside jokes that are specific to their family.

It is always interesting to me to find out where these words and phrases come from and how they have evolved within each family.

Mispronunciations: Who is Influencing Whom?

We’re probably all familiar with those baby phrases and cute toddler mispronunciations.  It seems that inevitably, a few of those phrases and words stick with a family and we all end up adopting the child’s way of saying certain things – sometimes even long past toddlerhood.

Though of course,  I do endeavor to teach my children the proper way to pronounce words, inevitably I will catch myself asking the kids if they want an “abocado” (avocado) or “bumpa chips” (taco chips).  Sometimes I wonder who is influencing whom!

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Teaching Little Ones How to Handle Money

The following post is by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

As the years change, so do our goals. In 2011, with the economy still on its way up, a common new year’s resolution is to budget better and spend wisely. We work hard to pinch every penny, but it’s just as important to impart our knowledge and experience (the good and the bad) onto the next generation.

As Dave Ramsey, a well known financial personality says, “Parents are not just responsible for providing food, clothing, and shelter for their kids. They are also responsible for teaching their kids about life—and life includes handling money.” If we don’t teach our children how to properly handle money, someone else – or some other crafty ad campaign – will.

A common way to to teach little ones the value of a dollar is to create a reward system based on a set of simple, kid-friendly responsibilities.

When to Start?

I believe it’s important for kids to start doing simple household chores before they receive a  reward – perhaps as early as 3 or 4 years old.  Tasks such as sorting and putting away silverware, feeding the pets, “folding”  the towels (don’t aim for perfection!) are fun, age-appropriate jobs for eager little helpers. It sets the tone that some jobs are not paid – they are simply responsibilities for being a part of the family. Kids who help around the home gain self-respect and take pride in a job well done. They learn early on that other rewards, such as allowance, are secondary benefits.

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Simply Silly: Kid-Approved Puns, Knock-Knock Jokes, and Tongue Twisters

The following post was originally published in February 2010. I’d love to know:  what is making you and your kids laugh this week?

“Mommy, why did the chicken cross the road?” my son Max sets up the joke, a huge grin on his face. Then, with the kind of humor that makes sense only to three year olds, he delivers his punch line, “because he wants a cookie!”

Wait. What?

At our house we’re used to the fact that Max’s jokes don’t make sense to the rest of us. (In this case, it probably means that he wants a cookie).  Max doesn’t care whether or not his jokes make sense, he just wants to laugh and he wants us to giggle along with him. And, it doesn’t take much to make Max laugh. Nonsensical knock-knock jokes and silly words like ooga-booga or even kiwi are belly-laugh material.

Not only is my son discovering the things that he finds funny, but he has discovered that he has the ability to make other people laugh, too. Those knock-knock jokes and silly exclamations show that he has learned a new way to communicate with us: though humor.
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Weekend Links

And, speaking of Valentines, if you are purchasing Valentine cards this year, I would love it if you considered my friend Katie’s cards.  Some of you know Katie from her time as the editor of Simple Organic.  She and her family are raising money for their adoption and have designed some printable Valentines as a fundraiser.  You can check them out at Katie’s blog here:  The Foxes Thanks!

I’m spending the afternoon with my knitting and some football and packing my suitcase for Nashville.  I’m getting very excited to meet some of you at Blissdom later this week!


What We’ve Been Reading

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

With all of our talk about reading this week, I thought it might be fun to share with you what books my kids and I have been enjoying. Now that the holidays are over, we’ve savoring the slower pace of evenings and weekends.  It is the time of year for cocoa, cookies, and curling up beside the fireplace with a few good books.

Our favorites so far this winter …

Family Favorites

Cooking Together

I’m not sure that Cooking Fun: 121 Simple Recipes to Make with Kidshas made it back to the bookshelf for months. This book has been living on our kitchen counter.  Rae is a contributor to Simple Kids, and if you’ve been reading for long, then you know that my oldest daughter is an especially big fans of her books.

Cooking together is a favorite family activity and lately we’ve been making Rae’s snickerdoodles, sponge cake, pancakes, and I do believe that rice pudding may have to be on the menu sometime this weekend.  Rae has recipes for all seasons, but we’ve been focusing on comfort foods and warmth during these Winter months and her recipes have been perfect.

History

Our whole family has been enjoying the Little House on the Prairie series.  We’re using these books as our bedtime reading with my oldest. Eyes were wide when Laura, Mary, Baby Carrie, Ma, and Pa were in a cabin with only a sheet on the door between the family and a wolf pack. Every day Jillian tells me what a good dog Jack is and we have discussions comparing her childhood with Laura’s.

I loved the Little House series myself as a child, so I’m doubly enjoying my child learning to love the same stories.  My husband never read the books growing up, and it has been neat to watch him fall in love with them as well.

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