Archive for the ‘Understanding your Sizzler’ Category

Why Can’t She Keep Her ROOM Clean?

August 15, 2014



Sizzle Bop Mom, Cori, has had it with  her daughter’s disorganized bedroom. Her frustration is apparent in her note. So take a look, then keep reading for some solutions we’ve found successful.

Dear Carol,

I have an 8 yr. old daughter who has a difficult time with performing her tasks completely & thoroughly and it makes me crazy. For example, if she goes to change clothes, the first outfit will land on the floor or bed or someplace else other than the drawer or hanging up in the closet. There are times that I will tell her to put a brush or hairclip away and it doesn’t always make it to the proper place. It may land someplace close to where it belongs, but doesn’t always get to the designated spot. 
Another thing, I let her re-arrange her drawers. Upon opening one drawer I found pajamas/jeans/a shirt/skirt…all in the same drawer.  All of these get me very frustrated with her and I don’t want to be.  I want to be understanding of how she processes different things but I just don’t understand it.      

PHOTO-Carol Off-Center LEFT

Dear Cori,

It’s certainly difficult when a very ordered mom is parenting a very distractible child. Two people could not be less alike. So, BOTH parties need to bring much grace to the game just to survive. But along with that, I think you have to attack this from two different angles.


Angle One: Equip Your Child
There’s no doubt that your child needs to learn skills that keep chaos at bay. But the strategies that will work effectively for this kid may be very different from those that will work for others. Consider some of these.

  • Ditch hangers and drawers–Many distractible folks are happier in a room with lots of shelves in the closets instead of drawers. And loads of pegs or hooks instead of hangers. All their pants are folded, on a single shelf, and they can see them all at a glance. Have them create their own organization plan, and then LABEL everything. Because sadly, even THEY will forget their own system. (Trust me on this. I actually have a drawer labeled “underwear.” Sad but true.)
  • Tie it down–I grew so weary of the inability to find a hairbrush, since I knew darn well we owned about 3,000 of them. So once my kids passed the toddler stage where I had to worry about cords, I began tying down anything I could. If I ever found myself looking for the same thing over and over again, I considered tethering it to something. Here are a few.

PHOTO-Tethered Scissors

PHOTO-Tethered White Board Eraser

PHOTO-Tethered Hair brush


And you should know, just in case my girls pop into the van as we head out for church on Sunday and they tell me they didn’t have time to brush their hair. . . I have a brush tethered in the van. Cha ching!

  • Melinda Borings Hair Dryer Wars Solution— Two daughters, one tidy, the other one a bit, well, less so, shared a bathroom. One loved it when all things were in their place. The other, well, less so. The big item to create the war between them was the hairdryer. Read a post  HERE from our good friend Melinda. of and learn how a simple solution ended the war.
  • Pinterest ideas–We have bunches of creative ideas on the CHORES BOARD on our Pinterest page. Cori–I think you’ll especially like the Uh-Oh-Chores Pocket idea.
  •  MORE options can be found on our blog. Here we address the very real problem of simply forgetting to do things. Take a look at this idea packed post called “I-Forgot-My-Chores Strategies.”

Angle Two: Shift Your ThinkingPHOTO-Absent minded Professor Word photo

  • Pick your battles. Ask yourself “Is this really a crisis? Or just an annoyance.” Will this child truly be unable to go through adulthood with this behavior. And sometimes the answer is, “Well, yes. But I won’t like it.” This is a good time to remember the beloved caricature of the absent minded professor. We’ve all met one (or seven) whose filing systems involve stacks of papers and towers books on the floors, files in an order that only “a beautiful mind” could follow, and a daily disheveled appearance that denotes a particular disregard for fashion. He isn’t going to win any prizes for most Zen working space. But is he functioning? Yes. It may be worth releasing this child to be more like this professor. And, of course, step away from the area of chaos singing “Let it Go!” at the top of your lungs. 🙂


  • Test It: This idea comes from Cynthia Tobias, author of “You Can’t Make Me!”. She claims that we need to constantly ask ourselves “What’s the point?” Do we want them to be organized OUR way simply because it’s OUR way? Or do we want them to be able to find things they need. Tell your child that you don’t care what their room or other spaces look like, as long as they can function. In other words, if you ask them to find object X, and they can find it within 2 minutes, then we’re good. The point is NOT was the item retrieved from a neatly stacked group of similar items on the third shelf. Rather, the point is, given their own system, can they find it. Not everything should be dismissed as “not important.” That’s not where I’m going. But it is worth putting some time and energy into deciding just what IS important, and choosing carefully where you make your stand.

When You Shouldn’t Reason with Your Child

April 22, 2014

PHOTO-Boy Crying CROPPED Dreamstime PurchaseThis was one of those parenting epiphanies.

One of those life changing “Ah ha” moments.

One of those moments when a light bulb is switched on in my head providing me with illumination, of understanding, that previously had been totally invisible to me. And it all started with a simple request from my three year old son.

“Mommy, please, turn back time.”

His reasoning was quite simple. He wanted to replay an event and change the outcome.

I will admit that I have since rethought the possible error in such early and intense exposure to Star Trek.  But nonetheless . . . there it was.  A request for Mom, all powerful, all knowing Mom, to please turn back time.

I assumed I could simply explain that time cannot be turned back, by me or anyone. And with this new and reasonable information, and all would be well with my child.

Feel the power of logic.

Are you guessing at what came next?  It would be a gross understatement to say that he did not believe me. I tried again to explain the impossibility of complying with such a request. And with each additional statement I made, he grew more and more agitated. Frankly, it’s a gross understatement to use the word “agitated”. Washing machines agitate. This was more like a food processor…on steroids. (more…)

No Sarcasm. Not Today.

January 2, 2013

PHOTO-Carol and Emma ChristmasSo often I post semi-snarky comments about life with Sizzlers. It’s always tongue-in-cheek. And it’s a good let-off-valve for all the stress that these intense kids can bring into our lives.

But this evening, I’m struck by how much I adore this child. How her unique and quirky ways add so many layers of wonderful to my life. Life would be so much LESS. . .less of everything, if she’d never been in this family. And what’s more, I wouldn’t even have known what I was missing.

I love that when she has those million-and-one thoughts in her head, I’m the one she wants to share them with.

I love that when she opens her mouth, it will seem (more…)

The Best Teaching Advice No One Ever Told You

October 17, 2012

Be quiet. That’s right. Stop talking sometimes, especially at critical thinking moments. This is one of THE hardest things for me to do. Here’s how I typically get it wrong.

“So Glenn, you’ve got two fractions and you need to divide one by the other.”

He begins to think. He’s working it out in his brain. He’s sorting. Accessing. Processing.

But before he’s able to complete the newly forming thought, a little mommy bird begins chirping in his ear.

“Do you remember?”

“What’s the rule again?”

“Think. There’s something special you need to do.”

“How does that little math rhyme go again?”

Peck. Peck. Peck. (more…)

Homeschool or Public School? Terrified Either Way.

September 5, 2012

Letter Week continues here at Sizzle Bop.

Yesterday we took on LETTER ONE–the issue of learning to Wait Before Speaking, a very tough skill for Sizzlers to learn. We’ve gotten some nice feedback from you on that one. (Thanks, by the way.)

Today, let’s hit a tougher one.

LETTER TWO –Should We Homeschool or Public School? I’m Afraid Either Way!

Here are key pieces of a letter from Carri–

. . .My son (with a severe case of ADHD and mildly autistic) will be in 6th grade this next fall and our schools here are terrible for middle and high school. I have always wanted to homeschool, even before our kids were born, but the challenges with my son were so over whelming that I just did not have the strength or courage to do it. I was scared. I am still scared.

. . .I fear that I will fail him if I send him to public school. I also feel I will fail him if I homeschool him.

. . .He’s also very small for his age. This is also a problem, and I fear it will become worse. . .

. . .I just don’t know what to do. I have no support in this decision. My husband trusts my judgment but is gone a lot for work, so the decision is mostly mine. I could really use some words of wisdom from someone who knows a little about what I am facing. A few encouraging words or some kind of answers to the millions of questions I have. I would really appreciate any help you have time to give.

And now for an answer. . . (more…)

Sizzlers, TV and Hoarding

January 14, 2012

television Pictures, Images and PhotosMy Sizzler watched the TV show about hoarders with studied focus. She stared frozen as the show shared the lives of people who collect things to such an extent that they can no longer move through their homes. Stacks of newspapers, unopened packages, garage sales finds, dirty dishes, and mountains of clothes are piled often to the ceiling, creating tunnel-like paths through their homes.

My daughter watched, unblinking at the screen, while the camera painstakingly worked its way through a woman’s home. Apparently, years ago this mom had suffered the loss of two children, only six months apart, and her inability to cope had sent her into a hoarding downward spiral. Suddenly, my eleven year old turned to me in utter seriousness, put her hand on mine and said, “Don’t ever do that. Just don’t. If, heaven forbid, I were to die. . .<insert big pause> . . .take up knitting.”

I laughed out loud. Her concern was so heartfelt. Her face so serious. Yet, the idea of me as a hoarder. . . (more…)

Another Day, Another Milk Jug

March 2, 2011

My child looked absolutely green. “What’s wrong?”

“Ugh, <insert impressive moan> I feel terrible.”

“Why is that?” I intoned.

“Because I drank four cups of milk and I think I might puke.”

“Why did you drink so much milk?”

“Because Amelia was here.”


“I wanted to show her how cool it was to jump on the empty milk jug and shoot the lid clear across the room.”

“Ahhhh,” sighs the all knowing mother. <insert impressive but hidden smirk>

So. . .what’s your Sizzler been up to lately?

You Are Not a Fish

February 13, 2011

My young daughter was bolting in my direction. I could tell, even from 15 feet away, that she was very agitated. She clearly had something on her mind and it was equally clear that I was gonna to hear about it. She stopped abruptly in front of me and began her angry download.

“That boy is such a jerk. We were playing chess and he was making up rules and telling me I was wrong and saying all kinds of stupid things. I’d move my piece and he’d say it was a dumb move and that I didn’t know how to play and then he’d just knock a piece over and say he won. He was just so STUPID! He didn’t know ANY of the rules of chess. He just acted like he did. It made me so mad!”

She was a whirling swirling cloud of angry.  And while her frustration was reasonable, her level of anger was not. I knew she could stew (and spew) for a very long time if I didn’t help her calm down and find her center again. So, summoning my small reserve of Yoda-like wisdom. . . (more…)

Mean Adults- Part Three

September 8, 2010

porcupine Pictures, Images and PhotosIn this series about dealing with adults who are mean to our Sizzlers, we’ve discussed how to change the situation and how to change the Sizzler themselves. But what about the offending adult?  Is there anything that can be done there?  (more…)

Mean Adults- Part One

September 6, 2010

porcupine Pictures, Images and PhotosWhen you have a highly distractible, pinging off the walls kind of kid, it doesn’t surprise you that other kids can sometimes be a bit mean.
But what do you do when the prickly offender is an adult?
Say. . .

   a Sunday School teacher?
   a clerk in the store?
   a grandparent?

Then what do you do?