Thoughts On Washington Parenting


Blog posts written by our friends and members on issues of interest to parents everywhere. Find out more about us at


Dad & Me

by guest blogger Tim Ryan
parent education professional

Have you ever walked into a place and thought to yourself, wow, this looks like a fun place to be? That's exactly the feeling you get when you arrive at the Dad and Me class at Bellevue College. Now in its 6th year, this dynamic class for dads and their kids 2 1/2 to 7 years old is going strong.

What you will witness are dads and their children totally engaged with each other doing interactive art projects, science experiments and a variety of other fun learning activities. Unique in the sense that it is just guys and kids, Dad and Me offers the chance for dads and other significant males in kids' lives to spend quality time together on a Saturday morning with a program designed just for them. Bellevue College was the first to start this innovative class in our local area.

The dads in attendance are also given the opportunity to attend parent education sessions while the kids are engaged in play-based activities. The class also puts a special emphasis on out0-of-the-classroom experiences as well as talks from expert speakers in the field of early education. Come check us out at the Children's Learning Center on the Bellevue College campus.

For additional information, please visit

You won't regret being a part of this engaging and educational experience!

(c) 2012 by Tim Ryan

Views expressed by guest bloggers may not be the views of Washington Parenting Education Network or all of its members. Guest bloggers are wholly responsible for the content of their posts.


Finding the Flexibility of Family Routines

by guest blogger Lauren Leiker
parenting educator at Parenting Aware

As adults we tend to choose one or the other: relentless routine or freeing flexibility. We find great comfort in either knowing exactly how our day will move along, or in knowing that we can choose as we go. The truth is, however, that there is necessity in life for both routine and flexibility and our aim should be to understand where each belongs in our lives. Furthermore, as parents, we must aim to raise our children to understand the significance of each and the relationship between them. Routines provide great benefit to parents and to children. Also, practicing routines in the family setting is necessary for children to understand the benefit of routine and its place in their lives. They will apply this practice and understanding in adulthood. And, for parents, it is never too late to make positive changes in life! In the end, the true test of a healthy routine lies in the ability to comfortably stray from it on occasion.

Some routines you may have already adopted, or may want to consider:

· Bedtime

· Mealtimes

· Quiet time

· Getting ready in the morning

· After school activities and homework

· Chores

· Family meetings and activities

· Special parent/child time

Routines can be daily, weekly, or monthly. Routines with your 2-year-old will be different than they were when your child was an infant, but still, equally as important. As children get older and schedules grow busier, it is necessary to frequently re-evaluate your routines and adapt them to new family schedules. For example, during soccer season, Monday’s afternoon routine might have to be different than Tuesday’s, but every Monday should look and feel the same, if possible. When soccer season ends, you can re-evaluate the routine. Also, if you suddenly find you are not getting out of the house to work and school on time, it is likely time to alter the morning routine to better fit everyone’s needs. Older children can and should be a part of this process.

Benefits of routine for children:

· Children who have normal daily routines are better able to deal with stressful events, such as a new sibling, a divorce, a move, or the illness or death of a loved one

· Routines teach healthy habits like exercise, washing hands, brushing teeth

· An organized and predictable family environment contributes to a child’s sense of security

· Routines teach basic work skills and time management

· Routines teach the significance of relationships and responsibilities.

Benefits of routine for parents:

· Organization and predictability lowers stress

· Routines help you complete your daily tasks more efficiently

· Consistency in routine reduces time spent nagging and “directing” your children

· Routine leaves time for self care!

· Regular and consistent routines help you to focus on the positive and contribute to your sense of being a well-parenting

Some routines involve holidays or special time with loved ones. Because these routines tend to carry more value and sentiment than the mundane tasks like brushing teeth or putting away laundry, they are defined more appropriately as rituals. Rituals, too, are an important part of a child’s life because they teach the significance of family history, tradition, and relationships.

Routines provide great benefits to families. Having routine schedules defines the routine expectations and responsibilities parents want to teach their children. Understanding these expectations and responsibilities clarifies the family’s value system. Involving children in re-evaluating the routines as they get older breeds trust and respect and communication. The positive family relationships that are created by consistent and healthy routines allow for flexibility. As children get older, they can be given the flexibility required by adolescence. Families can enjoy a spontaneous outing. A low-stress family environment makes it easier to re-calculate when a day doesn’t go routinely. In the end, the true test of a healthy routine lies in the ability to comfortably stray from it on occasion.

(c) 2012 by Lauren Leiker

Views expressed by guest bloggers may not be the views of Washington Parenting Education Network or all of its members. Guest bloggers are wholly responsible for the content of their posts.