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Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, Anyone who has kids understands that life with children is a bit chaotic. I am a mom with three small children, ages 4 to 8. I have read articles and books and watched YouTube videos, trying to get as much help as I can to guide my children, not order them around or preach to them. But calmly leading them isn’t always possible when I’m trying to get the house cleaned up and supper cooked while they are running around making a lot of noise. I would like to share what I have learned, though, with other mothers who might be in the same situation.

I get so focused on the things that I need to do that I sometimes get impatient with my children. When I see myself doing that, I take a deep breath, get down on “child level” and call them to me. Our catch phrase is, “Remember, families work together.” Then I ask for suggestions about how we can get supper ready together. (I always focus on just one thing at a time with them.) The idea is to get each of them to suggest one thing they can do – set the table, put out napkins, take the bread to the table, etc.

With a bit of practice, it usually works wonders. They really want to learn to do grownup things; they just need guidance and patience to show them how. It even works with grocery shopping when I give each one a grocery aisle and an age-appropriate list (with photos as well as words). It’s amazing sometimes how helpful they can really be at their ages when we focus on one thing at a time (and how to do it quietly and politely). Mom

Dear Mom, What wonderful insight! Thank you for sharing.

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

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