Parenting Tips Needed? There’s a Berenstain Bears Book for that

As I’ve mentioned before, we love reading together. We did 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and have read and own many Berenstain Bears books. Upon looking at the back cover of any Berenstain Bears book, I realize what an awesome collection there is to address many circumstances that kids may experience. Many valuable lessons and parenting tips can be learned from this sweet bear family.

Berenstain Bears Books

So…what’s going on in your family? I’m sure there’s a Berenstain Bears book for that!

Here are some of the titles available:

  • New Baby
  • Go to School
  • Go to the Doctor
  • Visit the Dentist
  • Moving Day
  • The Sitter
  • Go to Camp
  • Get in a Fight
  • In the Dark
  • The Messy Room
  • Trouble with Money
  • The Truth
  • Too Much TV
  • Mama’s New Job
  • Meet Santa Bear
  • Too Much Junk Food
  • Forget Their Manners
  • Learn About Strangers
  • No Girls Allowed
  • Too Much Birthday
  • Get Stage Fright
  • The Week at Grandma’s
  • Go Out for the Team
  • The Trouble with Friends
  • The Bad Habit
  • Trouble at School
  • The Bad Dream
  • The Double Dare
  • Get the Gimmies
  • The In-Crowd
  • Too Much Vacation
  • Trick or Treat
  • The Slumber Party
  • The Prize Pumpkin
  • Trouble with Pets
  • Don’t Pollute (anymore)
  • The Trouble with Grown-ups
  • And the Golden Rule

And we even have a cute mini-storybook called The Berenstain Bears and the Wild, Wild Honey.  More titles are available in that format as well.

While we don’t read the Berenstain Bears every night, I do like to pull out specific titles every so often to help remind my kids of good behavior!  In particular, I’m thinking of the Golden Rule book!

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5 Ways You Know You’re Getting Older

I don’t know HOW this happened, but I’ve been feeling, well OLD lately!  It’s been creeping up on me a few times in the past few months:

1. An 8 year old tells you that you look like the mom from iCarly.  This happened over summer.  She added to that saying, “but you’re nice.”  Umm…thanks?!

2. Names of things change – no more brontosaurus, it’s actually apatosaurus. I’m learning from story time right along with my two and four year old!

3. There are fewer planets: see ya Pluto!  I’m not sure where that puts my amazing solo during the “Oh Pluto” planet song during a fifth grade assembly.  Somehow I still remember the words (some sung by other dear friends):

“Isn’t it lonely?

To be the only.

The last planet on the rim.

And it ain’t so nice.

Being just rock & ice.

Oh Pluto.”

It goes on to talk more about “from the cold blackness where I sit,” but that’s all I remember from verse two.

4. Your game has declined.  For me this means my basketball and volleyball skills peaked 15 years ago! One mean-spirited former colleague once told me that I won’t be able to play basketball and volleyball when I get older, so I should really take up golf. Given that my alumni team took second place in our basketball tournament, I’m STILL managing to play the sport I love. (Cue image of me thumbing my nose at said former colleague)

5. You’re not the youngest at work anymore.  I guess working with people almost ten years younger than you CAN make you feel old. They don’t understand your childhood references like He-man or She-ra (obviously an important topic at work) and may not know Axel Rose (true story). I find myself looking at my boss, who is part of my generation, and just smiling at the reaction to some of these “generational difference moments.”

I can clearly remember my first jobs in my twenties.  I was the nerdy one showing up with the company issued work badge at the regional office, showing up so early that I had to just sit in the very small lobby, and wait for someone to come and let me in past the key-coded door.  That same person who punched in the code and let me in the office area immediately noticed my badge and said, “We don’t use these here.”  Rookie mistake.

I remember being SO tired during long work days and afternoon meetings.  Perhaps I ate too many carbs and the low lighting needed for Power Point presentations made conditions ideal for some good head-nodding, fighting-a-nap maneuvers.  Horrible! I was mortified that others noticed, so I made sure to caffeinate prior to such meetings. I shared this story with some older and wiser friends, and they just laughed, teasing me about being a young’in and remembering those days themselves. Fortunately I outgrew this and adjusted to long work days and meetings of many kinds.

After much learning in my early twenties, I am now comfortably in my thirties. I enjoy remembering those kid-free days of my younger colleagues. Despite my “old feelings,” I wouldn’t want to go back, as I’ve truly embraced all of the roles that are part of me as an individual, wife, employee, and mom.

Do you have “old moments?” How do you cope?

All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing: Positive Reinforcement

As I see so many parallels between my professional background and parenting techniques, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing. After describing parental rebranding, I would like to move on to another commonly used parenting tactic used to shape desired behavior: positive reinforcement.

Psychology and Consumer Behavior were two of my favorite courses in college.  It is so interesting to learn how our minds work and how we can influence behavior. While the super power of mind control remains oh so elusive, we marketers and parents alike have to work with our current arsenal of tricks.   I commonly turn to operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning is

“…the process of altering the probability of a behavior being emitted by changing the consequence of the behavior.”[1]

When the desired behavior occurs, positive consequences are presented to increase the chances of that behavior occurring in the future.  This is positive reinforcement!

In marketing, you will see frequent purchase incentives, such as buy 5 get 1 free, rebates, coupons, or $ off by referring others to the site. I recently received a $15 credit on Zulily after one of the friends I referred made a purchase.  I happily returned to the site and made a purchase and will continue to do so with that positive reinforcement.

My BEST parenting example of positive reinforcement is potty training. We have been cheering and potty-treating our way to underwear. See this post for our real life story about potty training.  We started with a continuous reinforcement schedule, so every successful trip to the potty earned big sister a potty treat.  Now we are on a fixed ratio schedule for #2’s, so every fifth successful trip to the potty earns a special adventure to the store to choose a small “poopy present.” Big sister now refers to Target as the “poopy present store.” Nice, huh?! Our treat system has been extremely effective, though my son in diapers has also benefited from getting his own treats too.  Eventually we will phase out the treats, saving them only for dinnertime bonus – another form of positive reinforcement for eating well.

How do you use positive reinforcement as a parent?