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At bedtime do you feel as if you sound like a broken record, repeating things like, “Why don’t you have your pajamas on?”  And “Have you brushed your teeth”?

Recently I was leaving a neighbors house about 8:30 in the evening when I heard the dad ask his young daughter, “Did you PFB?” My curiosity got the best of me and I said, “May I ask what that means?” He told me it stood for Prepared For Bed. He said, for them it felt so much easier to sum all the pre-bedtime activities into this acronym.

So if you get tired of repeating your list every night, write a list of things that fall into the PFB category. Then give your children the responsibility of getting themselves ready without nagging from you.

Then remember bedtime is always more fun with a story.

Every 24 Hours…

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Full time parenting can often feel so daunting. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my children and parenting but at times I felt like what ever I did would be undone almost before I could turn around.

One idea I heard, liked and have adopted is to do one thing each day that will not get undone in 24 hours. Dirty dishes, a mopped floor, a clean (cute) washed face –these can all get dirty almost immediately after they’ve been cleaned.

On the other hand, things like reading, trying a new recipe, learning a new skill or craft, teaching your child to tie his shoe, or telling your child a story about when you were young are lasting. Doing things that add to our ability or knowledge can make us feel like we’ve accomplished something that will stay with us for years to come.

So whenever you’re feeling buried by routine or mundane household or parenting tasks, improve yourself and your kids by doing something lasting.

Motives Behind our Actions

Why do we do things?  I know that I work because I need money.  Sometimes I eat because I know I have to.  I eat ice cream because I adore it.


I listened to a talk by Brad Wilcox 4 weeks ago.  He explained something and it has crossed my mind almost everyday the past 4 weeks.  I know something is worth thinking about and considering when it pops into my mind that frequently and consistently.

He talked about the reason people do things.  There are 3 reasons:

1)   Behavioral.  We know what the consequences are and we want the positive consequence or we want to avoid the negative consequence.  Ex) We get to work on time because we don’t want to get fired.  We go to the gym because we want to be healthy/skinny/fit.

2)   Social.  We feel like it’s what we should do.  We know that making a certain choice will make others proud of us.  Ex) We get good grades because our parents will be proud.  We go to church because it’s expected of us.

3)   We are acting as agents.  We do it because we want to. Ex) We eat ice cream because it tastes delicious!

It would be delightful if our children and students did things because they wanted to.   Since that’s not the case our job as parents and teachers is to provide consistent discipline so they learn to act behaviorally.  We should also talk to them often and let then know what we expect and voice when we are proud of their good choices.  The hope is that eventually they’ll start making great choices because they want to!  I know that I am still working on the drive behind some of my choices (I would be really happy if I could love running… I think it’d be delightful to go running because I love it! As it is, I just don’t run at all.)  Readers, what do you think?  Do you have any wisdom or experiences to share?


There is a student here at this school and he LOVES to ask “Why?”  The teachers joke that he could ask that all day long.


I remember my mom telling me about when my oldest brother was little.  They were driving down the road and there was a man carrying his bicycle.  In one hand he had one of the tires, in the other hand he had the other tire connected to the rest of the bike.   My brother saw the man and the following conversation ensued:

Brother:  What is that man doing?

Mom: I think he’s carrying his bike to be fixed.

Brother: Why?

Mom: It looks like one of his tires is flat.

Brother: Why?

Mom: Maybe he rode over something sharp.

Brother: Why?

Mom: Maybe it was something so small and he couldn’t see it, or maybe he ran over something sharp because he wasn’t paying attention.

Brother: Why?

Mom:  He could have been looking ahead to see if the light was green or red instead of looking at the ground.

Brother: Why?

Mom:  He would have been looking at the streetlight so he could tell if he could go through the light or if he needed to stop.

Brother: Why?

And so forth.


I’m sure many of you have had similar conversations.  While it may feel frustrating to you, children are just trying to figure out the world and how it works.

As an extension of this idea I find that kids like to know the reasons for doing things.  In my experience as a teacher I have had greater success when asking students to do something when I tell then the reason behind the request.  When I walk my classes down the school halls they sometimes get noisier than I like.  If I say, “Our line is too loud, please turn your voices down/off” the line would get slightly quieter.  I would have greater success when I would say, “Our line is getting noisy.  I see that some of the classroom doors are open.  If we keep talking we are going to disturb other classes who are learning.  Please stop talking in line.”

There are countless examples I could give from the view of a teacher, but this also works at home with your kiddos.  Instead of saying, “Get out of the street!”  you might try, “the street is for cars and bikes and the side walk is for people. If you stay in the street you could get hit by a car or bike and it could hurt you really bad.  That would make me fell so sad. Please walk on the sidewalk where you will be more safe”.

I feel like it is easy to assume that kids can draw conclusions about why we are asking things, but that is rarely the case.  Until about 8 years old kids brains are not yet wired to think abstractly.

So next time a child asks you “why?” over and over and over…. Remember that they aren’t intentionally driving you crazy—they’re figuring out the way the world works.  And who knows, maybe as we think about why people are doing things more consciously we may be a little more understanding and patient with others who think differently than we do.