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How to Establish a Curfew with Your Child

If your child falls asleep like this every night, you may need to impose a curfew.

If your child falls asleep like this every night, you may need to impose a curfew.

Eventually, you will no longer be able to just plunk your child in a crib and turn off the lights. When this time comes, you may want to establish a curfew to ensure a good night’s sleep. Or, maybe you want to establish a curfew for an older child, who has never had one. Either way, it’s best to make establishing a curfew as painless as possible.

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For a Young Child

This method is for when your child has just grown out of being carried to bed whenever you want. By establishing good habits now, it will be easier for you later on.

  1. Decide on an appropriate curfew. This should take into account when your child gets sleepy, age, and how long they typically nap during the day. Younger children need more sleep than older children or adults. But each child will vary in how much sleep is needed and you need to take this into account when making your decision.

    • This step should not involve your child.
  2. Tell your child about the curfew. Explain what he/she will have to do prior to that time––for example, get pajamas on; take a bath; brush teeth. Explain that if he/she is not ready to be in bed at the appointed time, there will be consequences.
  3. Make the consequences clear to your child. Some examples could be:
    • You will have to go to bed 15 minutes earlier tomorrow.
    • You will not get dessert tomorrow.
    • You could also explain “conditional consequences” such as, if you were late because you were playing with Thomas the Tank Engine, you won’t be able to play with Thomas the Tank Engine during the hour before you are supposed to be in bed.
  4. Help your child get to bed on time. At this age, children likely won’t be able to bathe themselves or brush their own teeth without supervision. Just gently suggest that they should go take a bath, and remind them of the curfew.

    • Make sure that you or another responsible person are always available to supervise the child’s pre-bed activities. If this part slips, the child will not take the curfew seriously because it will seem you’re not doing so either.


For Older Children

  1. Decide on an appropriate curfew. This should take into account when your child gets tired, age, and what time they wake up in the morning.

    • Depending on the maturity level of your child, you may want to involve him/her in making this decision. Remember that a child is more likely to respect a decision in which he or she has taken a part.
  2. Tell your child about the curfew. Explain what he/she will have to do prior to that time––for example, get pajamas on; finish homework; brush teeth. Explain that if he/she is not ready to be in bed at the appointed time, there will be consequences.
    • Alternatively, for older teenagers, you may want to make curfew the time they must be home by. If you choose to do that, you may want to also make a time by which they must be in bed and that they also must be quiet and respect the other householders’ need for sleep/quiet time.
  3. Explain what the consequences will be. You may wish to say that you will decide on appropriate consequences when the time comes. However, having consequences clearly spelled out in advance creates a sense of consistency and fairness, rather than giving out arbitrary consequences that the child may feel are out of proportion to the broken curfew instance.
  4. Explain what he/she will need to do in order to get an extension of a curfew. As the child gets older, it is reasonable to expect that not every night will be the same bedtime. Extensions might be given in such circumstances as:

    • When asked for, a day or two in advance, for a specific reason.
    • By calling and explaining why you will be late.
    • For a permanent extension, they should prove that they are not tired during the day, and have no problem getting up. By this stage, it is best to shift responsibility for meeting deadlines, getting somewhere on time, etc., onto the child.
  5. Help your child get to bed by the appointed time. Younger children may need a reminder about the time, especially in the beginning. However, even older children can do with being reminded of the time, especially when deeply involved in something they’re enjoying.
    • Sometimes, you may wish to go to bed before an older teenage child. In this case, ask them to turn off the lights and be certain the doors, etc., are all locked. Inform them that you’re going to bed for the night and that you expect them to be in bed by their curfew.


Edit Tips

  • If you notice your child is having a hard time meeting the curfew due to a large amount of homework, this may be a sign that the curfew should be moved later, at least temporarily.
  • Make the consequences suitable for the age of your child.
  • If your child asks for an extension prior to the day they want one, consider granting one. It will make the child accept the curfew better, even if they do not like it.
  • As your child gets older, the curfew should get later.
  • Give your child a little bit of leeway. Going to bed two minutes late should not cause dramatic consequences, and if an older child got home late because of torrential downpours that caused major traffic, this should not be a problem for you.
  • Explanations about consequences for older children are best focused on tiredness and how it spoils opportunities to do things that require focus and energy. For example, by explaining that a decision to stay up late the night before means a child is too tired to enjoy an outing today, the child quickly learns the benefits of getting enough sleep to have plenty of energy for the day’s events.


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How to Teach the Multiplication Tables to Your Child

Many children struggle with learning their times tables–as their parent, you may feel like it’s your duty to help. After all, they’ll need quick multiplication skills to help them even throughout high school and college. You’ll need time, strategy, and patience to help your child work with and enjoy the quest of conquering these figures. Here’s how.


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Multiplication Table Practice



Teaching the Skills

  1. Commit to a time. Sit down with your child when both of you are ready to make a dent into the subject. If you are preoccupied with work or if your child is too tired or hungry, learning won’t occur as quickly as you want it to. Sit down for 30 minutes and don’t allow any distractions for either of you.

    • Energy and enthusiasm are very important for both of you. Turn off your cell phone(s), TV, and sit down at the dinner table with some munchies and attack those numbers.
  2. Start with the fact families of 0, 1, 2, and 3. When memorizing, it’s important to rehearse a small portion of facts before attempting to learn the entire chart. Remember: Your child isn’t counting; they are simply memorizing. Presumably, they already know the basic concept of multiplying.
    • If your child is unfamiliar with multiplying, put it in terms of adding. That is, 4×3 is 4+4+4.
    • Ask your child to bring you their math book and any resources they’ve been given. You’ll be able to see exactly what they are studying and the teaching method used in their school.
    • Have a chart or number line handy showing the numbers 0 through 100. A chart will give you the answers by correlating the row with the column. A chart is better for those just starting off as the answers are quicker to find.
      • A number line is a bit more work. You can have your child circle the multiples of a certain number in pencil or code each number and its multiples with different colors.
  3. Explain how the commutative property makes everything easier. Show your child that each answer repeats, so, technically, they only have to learn half of the chart (score!). 3×7 is the same as 7×3. When they’ve learned the fact families of 0, 1, 2, and 3, they already know 4 numbers each of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
    • After your child has mastered 0-3, move onto 4-7, and then 8-10. If you want to go above and beyond, work with 11 and 12, too. Some teachers will include a few harder problems for a bonus or to gauge where each child is at.
  4. Discuss patterns in the whole chart. It doesn’t all have to be rote memorization with no clues or hints. The chart will easily point out things to look for.
    • All the multiples of ten end in zero.
    • All the multiples of 5 end in either 5 or 0 and are half as large as the multiples of ten. (10×5=50; 5×5=25, or half of 50)
    • Any number x 0 is still 0. No matter what.
  5. Know the tricks. Luckily, math is full of shortcuts. Teach your child these tricks and they’ll be impressed and, hopefully, quite thankful.
    • To memorize the 9′s tables, use your fingers. Spread them all in front of you, palms down. For 9×1, put your left pinky down. What do you have showing? 9. For 9×2, put your second finger down (the left ring finger). What do you have showing? 1 and 8. 18. Put your third finger down–2 and 7. 27. This works all the way up to 9×9 (8 and 1. 81).
    • If your child can double a number, the x4′s will be easy. Just double the number and double it again! Take 6×4. 6 doubled is 12. 12 doubled is 24. 6×4=24. Use this to make the answer become automatic. Again, this is about memorizing.
    • To multiply anything by 11, just duplicate the number. 3×11=33. Two 3′s. 4×11=44. Two 4′s. The answer is in the question, just twice.
      • If your child is a math genius, teach them this trick to multiply 11′s by double digit numbers. Take the double digit number and split it up. 11 by 17 is 1_7. Add the double digit number together and put it in the middle: 187.


Memorizing the Answers

  1. Do speed drills. Now that your child is familiar with the entire chart, drill them. Drill them over breakfast, during commercials, and for a few minutes before bed. As you progress, get faster and faster and faster.

    • At the beginning, start in order. As you get more and more convinced that they have it down, start mixing it up. They’ll slow down initially but then should spark right back up to where they were.
  2. Make it fun. By this point, you both may be wondering what those squiggles in each number really are. Spice it up for the both of you with games and contests.
    • Have your child make a set of flash cards. Write the problem, like 4 x 9, on the front and the answer, 36, on the back. The act of writing out the multiples will provide another repetition/reinforcement. Use a timer to see how many cards they can go through in a minute. Can they beat that score tomorrow?

      • You could also do this with a blank chart. That’s an easy way to monitor which ones they’re struggling with.
    • Grab a deck of cards. This game is similar to War, but with multiplication. You each get half the deck to place face down in front of you–don’t look at the cards! Each player flips their first card simultaneously–the first person to say the answer based on the two numbers gets both cards (the object of the game is to win them all). If the two of you flip a 7 and a 5, the answer to shout out is 35. For Jacks, Queens, and Kings, you can use 11, 12, and 13, use them as 0′s, or take them out entirely.
    • Say a number, like 30. Can they list all of the possible combinations that multiply to it? 5 x 6? 3 x 10?
    • Say a number, then ask for the next multiple. For example, start at 30 and ask for the next multiple of 6. Or start at 18 and ask for the next two multiples of 9. You could even start at 22 and ask for the next multiple of 4, even though 22 is not a multiple of 4. Be tricky once they have it.
    • Try multiplication bingo. Your child fills in a six-by-six grid with whatever numbers they want. You read off a problem like “5 x 7.” If they have 35 on their bingo card, then they mark it off. Continue until someone has a “bingo.” What’s the prize they could win?


Rewarding Your Child

  1. Use incentives. You don’t have to use money or material goods–that may spoil their love of learning. Of course, snacks, drinks and offering things they like to do are always good ideas.

    • Save the big rewards for school tests. Once they can perform under pressure, you know you’ve been successful.
  2. Praise your child. Don’t forget to pause and have fun between serious repetitions of the facts. If you’re happy with their success, they’ll be more likely to want to be successful. Show them how awesome they’re doing with verbal recognition.
    • If they’re going slower than you think they should, relax. Negativity may make them shut down. A bad mood can kill any learning ability. Encourage them to press on.
  3. Take breaks. No child can learn for hours on end. When you sense that they’re wearing down, take a break. You probably need one, too.
    • After a break, quickly review what they’ve already learned before moving onto new facts.


Checking Their Progress

  1. Utilize online materials. Once the paper and pens are put back and the initial hurdles are over, go online for quizzes and games to see how much your child has retained.

    • Of course, it’s possible to write out quizzes yourself and you’re more than welcome to do this–but simply being on a computer may make your child feel like it’s less of a test and more of a fun challenge.
  2. Ask about their scores. You’ve done all this work at home–now how has it gone at school? If your child isn’t volunteering this information, just ask! They should be proud of good grades; if they’re grades aren’t so stellar, you can review with them more to have better results next time.
    • It’s always an option to call the teacher and inquire about the curriculum. An involved parent is always appreciated.


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Edit Tips

  • Be kind and patient. If need be, just work with one combination for a few days until the child completely understands.
  • Try to teach to the school’s method. If you learned a different way, start with the school’s method first. If it’s working, stick with it. If it’s not, use yours.
  • Pushing larger numbers too quickly causes confusion and frustration. Work up to them gradually to make learning multiplication seem easier, but press forward toward firm and steady improvement. And, do not be afraid to be advanced even if only a little at a time.
  • Advanced for later: the squares of the 10′s are very similar to the basics of 1 squared is 1 and 10 squared is 100. It is easy enough to see that 20 squared is 400, 30 squared is 900, 40 squared is 1600, etc.
  • Point out that adding can be done two ways: 2 + 1 = 3 and 1 + 2 = 3. The same goes for multiplication.


Edit Warnings

  • Understand that the child should not truly be counting. Rapid responses will only be formed by memorization. Counting allows for the knowledge to form initially, but it should be an unnecessary step once engrained.
  • Do not tire your child out by working on too many rows or patterns at a time — remember to laugh and take short breaks in between lessons.
  • Never, ever use the word “stupid,” “lousy,” or any other labels. Do not use it to refer to your child, yourself or the material.


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How to Make a Valentine’s Day Bag for Your Child

Your child will delight in making this old fashion Valentine’s bag for holding lots of fun filled Valentines that they receive at school. It’s simple and useful, making it a great school project for kids.


Edit Steps

  1. Set up a work area with all items needed for this project. See “Things You’ll Need” below for the supplies.
  2. Lay the Valentine’s bag on a flat surface. Using either the colored pencils or crayons, write the words “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Do this on both sides of the bag.
  3. Use the construction paper to make some decorations for the bag. Draw and cut out a few (small) pink and red hearts.
  4. Glue the hearts on the bag. Add decorative Valentine stickers if desired.
  5. Add a handle too. The old fashioned Valentine bags didn’t have handles but if you would like to have a handle, there are two different ways to make it:
    • Hole punch handle: Make a handle by punching a hole to each side of the bag, about an inch (2.5cm) down from the top. A hole puncher can be used, or use a sharp object able to make small holes. Then, run the ribbon through the holes, and tie off on each side. More ribbon can be tied on to the side to give the bag more appeal, such as using ribbon of a different color.
    • Strip handle: Alternatively, cut a strip of construction paper (in pink or red) to make a handle. Glue each of the ends to each of the sides of the bag, namely the inside of the bag. Leave to dry before using.
  6. Finished.


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  • The bag should be lightweight enough that it can be carried by the handle, but if it is heavy or weighted down, it can be grabbed from underneath.
  • If you so desire, you could write the child’s name on the bag, giving it that personal touch.
  • If you choose not to go with a handle, you may still want to punch some holes (in the bag) and just add ribbon to each of the sides; you could use several different colors, such as pink, red, and white. Use a case knife or sharp side of a scissor blade to run across the ribbon to get it to curl up.
  • The ribbons could also be tied into bows if preferred.


Edit Warnings

  • Don’t go overboard on the glue; apply a thin even coat to the area that glue is needed.
  • Supervise any use of sharp instruments to make holes in the bag––an adult should do it if a hole puncher is not being used.


Edit Things You’ll Need

  • Small white lunch bag
  • Arts and craft colored pencils or crayons
  • Colored construction paper (red and pink)
  • Thin (red or pink) or both ribbon (optional)
  • Scissors
  • (Elmer’s) white glue or craft glue
  • Decorative Valentine’s stickers are optional


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