This summer has been the Summer of Pom Poms. I am not sure why it took me so long to discover how great Pom Poms are but alas here we are.
My son loves Pom Poms! They are a toddler activity that is guaranteed fun. Besides just being a fun, entertaining activity, Pom Poms have helped my son develop some pretty important skills.
Benefits of Playing With Poms
I have been a teacher for 10 years now. Before that, I worked with preschoolers at a Summer Day Camp and babysat regularly.
Entertaining kids, planning schedules, and creative play are passions of mine that I have studied in my undergraduate and graduate programs and researched extensively.
BUT, I never realized how beneficial and wonderful Pom Poms are until now!
Lauren Barrett Writes is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.
My 7 Pom Pom Ideas-Let’s Get Rolling
1. Pom Pom Bath
This one I have to admit I borrowed from Busy Toddler. After seeing it on her Instagram page a few times and my friend sending me the link to this activity, I decided to give it a try and see what all the hype was.
Well, a Pom Pom bath is a hit! My son did not want to get out of the bathtub. He loved scooping and dumping the Pom Poms using plastic cups.
All I did was buy a few bags of colorful Pom Poms and dump them in the bathtub. I put in some cups and my son did the rest.
The clean up is super easy too. Get a colander and scoop up the Pom Poms. They dry pretty easily.
Warning: Depending on the kind of drain you have, the little Pom Poms can go down the drain easily.
Pro Tip: Don’t show or tell your child how to play with the Pom Poms. Let him figure out and then sit back and be amazed at your toddler’s creativity.
Skills working on: Independent play and creativity.
2. Color Sort
I was skeptical of whether my son would actually enjoy this next activity, but he did once he understood what to do.
I took some painter’s tape and made a big chart on our floor. 4 rows and 4 columns.
Then, I showed him how to sort by colors. This red one goes here. Does this yellow one go with the red one? No. The yellow one goes here.
After modeling what to do, I took a step back. This is important. Resist the urge to want to correct every wrong one. I wanted to see what he would do.
And guess what? He didn’t get it right at first or the next time. But after a few more repeated attempts and modelings, I happened to glance over, and he was doing it.
I heard him whisper to himself when he would find a wrong color with a sort, No, and then he would correct himself.
Skills working on: Independent play, categorizing, colors
This next idea is one that you might have to sit down and play with your toddler, depending on his age level.
I bought a big die from the Dollar Store and wrote the numbers 1-6 on it. Then, I put all the Pom Poms in one large bin. I used the graph from the previous activity (4 by 4 chart made with the painters tape).
I would have my son roll the die. Together, we would say what number it landed on. Whatever that number was, we would count out that many Pom Poms and place them in the chart.
After a few rounds of doing it together, I always like to step back and see how my son would do it on his own.
Pro Tip: Once you take a step back, don’t correct or ask questions. Just narrate and use a strategy called Parallel Talk or Tracking.
Skills working on: Independent play and counting.
4. Pretend Play
It’s time to get imaginative on this next activity and encourage that pretend play.
When encouraging pretend play, you often want to mix items from the real world with pretend items.
What I did was take some of our real frying fans and mixing spoons and then I combined those with the Pom Poms. The Pom Poms became our “meatballs.”
My son loved mixing the Pom Poms in the frying pans and pretending like he was making something. He has one of those toy kitchens and after a while he brought the Pom Poms over to that to “boil,” “fry,” “bake,” and “serve” them.
Pro Tip: This is a great time for a 10-minute time-in. Sit with your child and let him take the lead, joining in on the fun. After the time-in step back and let him continue playing on his own.
Skills working on: Independent play and creativity.
This next activity was a big hit with my son. I think he could literally play with this activity for hours.
What I did was have two muffin tins side by side, but you could use two bins or pots or whatever you have around the house.
In one of the muffin tins I put all the Pom Poms and for an element of surprise wrapped it in tissue paper. The other tin was left uncovered. This got Henry interested in what was going to happen.
I instructed him to break, tear, or rip through the tissue paper to see what he would find. Then, I showed him how to scoop the Pom Poms from one bin to the other.
And kids love this! Eventually, he began scooping the Pom Poms into his dump trucks and that was fine with me.
Pro Tip: Have your child scoop and sort by color from one tin into the next.
Skills working on: Independent play, fine motor skills, and sorting.
This one is very similar to the previous one, but instead your toddler is going to use tongs.
At first, this one was hard for Henry to grasp. Literally. But with a lot of encouragement and modeling, he eventually got the hang of it and had a blast pinching Pom Poms from one muffin tin to the next.
You can do this in a number of ways. For starters, you can have your child use tongs to grab Pom Poms and transfer them from one muffin tin to the next.
Or you can use tongs for the color sort and counting.
Or you can do a whole new activity. Busy Toddler has a similar activity called Animal Tape Rescue. But you can adapt it for Pom Poms.
Get a bin and fill it with a little water. Food coloring is optional for added fun. Add in the Pom Poms. Then cover the top of the bin with painters tape, leaving little slits for your toddler to reach in and “save” the Pom Poms.
Warning: This is not easy, but it is a good workout for little hands and perseverance.
Pro Tip: Really build it up that this is a rescue mission.
Skills working on: Fine motor skills and creativity.
7. Frozen Pom Poms
Want an easy activity on a hot day? Freeze the Pom Poms. It’s that easy and makes for a great water table and sensory bin activity.
Another Busy Toddler favorite, all you have to do is put two Pom Poms in one ice cube tray and add a little water. Freeze it. And bam. That’s it.
Then recycle those bins and cups and spoons and tongs and let your toddler decide how she wants to play.
Skills working on: Independent play, creativity, and fine motor skills
What activity are you going to try with your toddler today?
As much as all parents hate toddler tantrums and do our best to avoid them with all the positive parenting strategies out there, tantrums are inevitable and will show up from time to time.
We've all been there. Toddler is in the store and sees something she wants.
She has to have it...NOW!!
We set our boundary of "no" and then hold it despite the mounting tears welling up behind your toddlers eyes. A wail escapes.
It's happening! A meltdown. In the middle of the store.
Before it starts to escalate to defcon 5, what do you do?
Try this positive parenting hack that will almost guarantee to calm a toddler tantrum in under 2 minutes.
Validate the Magnitude
Parents, you are going to do your best to remain calm despite the stares you might be getting from strangers. I highly suggest you close your eyes and take four deep breaths.
You are going to validate the magnitude of your toddler's tantrums. Your toddler is having BIG feelings right now, and we, as parents, want to recognize that.
I first heard of this from Dr. Becky at Good Inside.
First, you want to OK the feeling.
"You're feeling sad, angry, frustrated because you want the doll you saw. It's okay to feel sad, angry, frustrated."
Then, you are going to hold your boundary.
"But I said you can't have a new toy today. I'm sorry that makes you sad."
Now, you are going to VALIDATE the MAGNITUDE
"How sad are you right now? Are you this sad? [Hold hands close to your body like you are measuring something] Are you this sad? [Continue to stretch your hands wider] Wow! You are this sad? [Stretch your hands really wide] That's really sad!"
Another way to frame it that works well with my toddler is to pick two points and gradually stretch those points to be farther and farther apart.
"Are you as sad from the tippy tip of your head down to your itty bitty toe? Are you that sad? Or are you as sad as the top of the ceiling all the way down to the floor? Are you that sad? Wow! Or are you as sad from the top of the tree where the birds are all the way down to the dirt with the worms? Are you that sad? Are you as sad from way out to the sun all the way back to earth? That sad? That's really sad!
Usually after one or two distances, my son's tears subside as he looks at me in curiosity. He's processing his level of sadness. And before long, his tantrum is over.
Why it Works?
By validating the magnitude, we are letting our toddlers know that we are taking their feelings seriously and telling them that what they are experiencing is a big deal.
Our kids feel heard.
Another thing, according to Dr. Becky, is that we are taking something abstract (the feeling) and making it concerte which is less confusing to toddlers. That's why I also like to use sign language when teaching my toddler about his feeling or in the middle of his tantrum.
Our toddlers feel seen and understood, so...
They start to calm down.
And you can carry on in peace with a whole room full of parents impressed by you.
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Parenting in the summer looks a lot different than it does in the other months of the year.
In fact, authors Shari Medini and Karissa Tunis of Adore Them Parenting, have a whole book, Parenting While Working From Home: A Monthly Guide to Help Parents Balance Their Careers, Connect with Their Kids, and Establish Their Inner Strength, dedicated to each month of parenting. Check it out.
Whether you are a teacher off for the summer, working from home, a stay at home parent, or a parent going into the office, summer has a whole new vibe to it even if your kids are too young to be "off in the summer." The days are longer, more people are outside, and the workload of the other months seems to die down once Memorial Day hits.
For that reason, I like to create a theme of the day for each day of the week, so the hot summer days don't drag on. Although I know that there occasionally will be days when things pop up like vacation, family visits, and unavoidable appointments, I try to stick to this schedule throughout the whole summer.
Kids like predictable routines. They thrive off it, so when they know what's coming they are more likely to cooperate and have better behavior. You can even create a schedule in Canva for each day of the week and show to your kids the night before.
You can do a theme for all seven days of the week or just stick to the 5 days during the week and let the weekends be a free for all. You can double up on some days because you really enjoy one particular theme. Whatever you do, it's okay! The idea behind the themes is to be low stress and change things up.
Since my son is younger and still naps, we usually follow a morning routine, including my own morning routine, of breakfast, play, snack, walk/run, playground, and lunch before his nap and then hit up the theme in the afternoon. But whatever works for you is the way to go.
For your older kids, get their input and ideas for summer themes for the week. Need help with some suggestions? I have 7 ideas below that I have/will be using with my son this summer.
1. Water Day
Water day is a kid favorite. It's exactly as it sounds. On this day, we are going to do an activity that involves water. Here are some ideas for the day:
2. Art Day
On this day, expect to get messy. Plan ahead by having mats, towels, or cardboard boxes to put down on the floor and a bucket of water to scrub up afterwards. Head to art store to get some inspiration and here are some art ideas too:
3. Museum Day
Beat the heat and get indoors on Museum Day. Head to a local museum and let your kids wander around. Better if it's free. Some places to go:
4. Home Day
Home day is a day to catch up on things around the house or just lounge around. Some ideas on Home Day:
It's a day where your kids might get more screen than normal and everyone might stay in his or her pajamas all day. No guilt allowed on this day.
Get your kids involved in the chores too. For a list of age appropriate chores click here.
5. Library Day
Another way to stay cool is to go to the local library. Besides having a number of books to read, the library has a lot of programs to entertain kids throughout the summer. Check them out!
Can't leave the house? Create library day at home by
6. Cooking Day
A fun way to spend an afternoon is by adorning an apron and whipping up your favorite dish in the kitchen with the help of your kids.
Before beginning, lower your expectations and then lower them some more. Remember cooking day is all about having fun and teaching your kids some basic cooking skills like measuring, mixing, and stirring.
Head here to check out some kid friendly recipes.
7. Park Day
This is a theme you might want to do in the morning to avoid the afternoon scorcher. It's as simple as it sounds. Head to a park on this day. If you live in a big city, you can choose a new park each week.
At the park, delight in the walking trails, toss around a frisbee, or have a picnic. In my opinion, parks are some of the best things cities have to offer.
Other activities to do:
I hope these ideas can you some inspiration to begin the Theme of Day for those dog days of summer.
Since doing the day of the theme, I get excited for the next day instead of lamenting on what I am going to do all day. I am thrilled for you to join the Theme of the Day club!
As always leave a comment below if you have any questions! And continue dreaming up those themes.
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I just need 20-30 minutes to work on something important, I think as I stare lovingly into the eyes of my 2-year old son.
If this is you, I have got you covered with 10 fun activities that will leave you guilt-free and your child learning.
Read the full article on Lisa Tanner Writing and take the quiz to see what type of mom you are right now.
1. Gel Clings
How do set it up.
I have a whole article on these toys.
4. Play Dough Animals
How do set it up.
5. Food Coloring Ice Bucket
How do set it up.
6. Card Drop
How do set it up.
How do set it up.
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When I received the Hatch as a gift for my baby shower, I never expected to love it so much. Read a full review here.
But I was surprised to learn that there are more ways to use the Hatch other than what it is marketed for - a sound machine to lull a child (and a parent lol) to sleep.
It has done a great job at that with my 2-year old toddler In fact, so well, I don't see us quitting it anytime soon. However, as I have been using it, I realized that it has a number of surprising ways to use it for any age with your children. And if you want to get creative, you can even adapt these strategies for yourself or other adults.
Here are 5 ways to use the Hatch.
1. Morning Wake-Up Call
The Hatch has different colors and sounds, and with the program feature you can program it to change colors and sounds at different times. Even if your child isn't using the sound during the night, you can program a calming sound and color (ie. light blue and birds chirping) as a morning wake-up call.
Your child can be conditioned to learn that once that sound or color comes on, he can get out of his bed and room and come get you. Or you will come get her out of the crib. Or your teenager has to get out of bed on the weekend. Or you need to get up yourself. Or, or, or.
The research-based calming sensation of both the sound and colors make it much easier to get up. They aren't jarring and abrupt. But, rather, a gentle easing into the day.
A cool feature is that you can program the color or sound to get brighter and louder, which is great for anxious kids who are impatient to get out of their room.
Pro Tip: Have the sound and light come on and then gradually have it get louder and brighter over a 15 minute period, so your eager child doesn't feel as if he is waiting forever.
2. Quiet Time or Time-Ins
If your child has stopped taking naps, I highly suggested implementing quiet time, and I also recommend doing time-ins regardless of your child's age.
During the quiet time or time-in period, have the Hatch set to one color. I would use red as that signifies that no one can move or leave the designated place. When you have decided that quiet time is over, the color will switch to a new color, like green, and all parents or child are free to move or leave.
Pro Tip: Play soothing music, like the lullaby sound, to keep your child relaxed and playing quietly in her room.
3. Homework Time
Not all kids find doing homework enjoyable. Some absolutely detest it. So to make it a lot less daunting and a more pleasurable experience use the Hatch.
A 2017 study suggests that white noise and other soothing nature sounds can improve your kids learning, memory, and overall mood. Put on the pacifying melodies and gradually lower the sound and dim the lights to indicate that homework time can end.
Pro Tip: Program the Hatch for Homework Time for no more than 30 minutes. After that, the optimal time for attention starts to decrease.
4. Play Stations
Set up play stations around the house. For example, an arts and craft station, an open-ended toy station, a reading station, an exercise station, a water station, or an outdoor station.
Then, program the Hatch for each station for about 10 minutes. When a station ends, a sound or a certain color will change on the Hatch indicating it's time to move onto the next activity.
Pro Tip: Do not have any of the other toys or objects from the other stations out in plain sight until it's time for that station to begin. Otherwise, your young kid will be distracted. A child is more likely to play with a toy when there are fewer toys around.
5. Nighttime and Naptime Routines
The goal when getting a child ready for bedtime and nap is to create a consistent, calming environment. The Hatch helps with this. Research shows that the colors pink, green, and blue promote rest, tranquility, and peace, so turn off the lights in your child's room and program the Hatch to switch on those colors. Then, program the Hatch to play soothing melodies that signal your little one's sleepy cues. Viola! Sleepy toddler. This works for adults as well!
Pro Tip: Choose the lullaby or running water sounds. They are calming, but not strong enough to put your kid to sleep. Once you put your child down, switch to a stronger sound like the white noise or wind.
The Hatch is such a versatile tool that I highly recommend investing in. It grows with your child and even can be used with parents who are empty nesters. It can calm, signify transitions, and even promote learning and memory. It's my favorite product and worth every penny.
Tell me in the comments if you use the Hatch and how you use it!
This article contains affiliate links of some of my favorite products. Purchasing them is at no extra cost to you.
Spring andliteracy! Two of my favorite things. Being a teacher and having my Master's in Reading Education, I sometimes go a little nuts with buying books or checking out books from the library for my son.
But with spring approaching and warmer weather in the forecast, I thought what better way to combine some of our favorite spring books, literacy activities, and the outdoors all into one neat, little spring package. We are all tired from being cooped up inside and on our computers, so let's get off our devices and outdoors with this ultimate spring literacy guide for toddlers and preschool aged children.
1. Become a Meteorologist With Usborne Weather Books
Spring brings a variety of weather from sunny, rainy, windy, and even snowy days depending on what part of the country you live in. What better way to talk about the different weather patterns your children see, then with Usborne's collection of weather books.
They have the Windy Day, Rainy Day, Sunny Day, and Snowy day. Read these books with your little ones and then spend the rest of the week having your child be a meteorologist and getting outside to track the weather. Use the premade template below or make one of your own.
2. Go on an Alphabet Easter Egg Hunt with Llama Llama Easter Egg
With Easter being one of the premiere events of the spring, it is only fitting we take our kids on an Easter egg hunt, but instead of chocolates and candies inside the eggs (save those things for actual Easter), put magnetic letters inside of eggs.
First, read Llama Llama Easter Egg or any other of your favorite books that feature an Easter egg hunt. Then, take your magnetic letters and put them in plastic eggs. For preschool aged kids, hide the eggs around the yard. Your kids will have to hunt for the eggs to find the letters that spell their names or any other word (Spring, Easter, Jesus, etc). You can add in a time limit or have kids compete against one another for bonus fun.
For the younger toddlers, simply have them open the eggs with the letters in them. Your toddlers can try to match the magnetic letter to pre-drawn letters or identify the letter. Either way, your toddlers will delight in the element of surprise of opening egg after egg.
3. Sign Language Scavenger Hunt with Sign Me Up
Spring is the time to try new activities. One of my favorite activities is sign language. I've already written a lot about the benefits of teaching sign language to your children as well as my favorite sign language resource, SignMeUp. So now, let's get outdoors and practice our sign language skills.
First, expose your children to sign language with SignMeUp or ASL Nook. Then go on a walk around the neighborhood trying to check off all the things you can you find on a premade list (see below). Once you find the object, have your little one sign the word. For repeated exposure to a word, make sure you are signing and saying the word yourself, having your kid sign and say the word, and showing them the picture, written, and real life form of the word. Multiple connections for the win.
For an added level of competitiveness, split off into teams. Some kids can go with Mommy and some kids can go with Daddy. Whoever can find the most words on the list wins!
4. Go on a Little Blue Truck's Springtime "Drive"
Little Blue Truck is always going on an adventure throughout town and stopping to see his friends. With Little Blue Truck's Springtime, you can too.
Before going on your own cruise, read the book first. Little Blue Truck is a favorite in our house. The books teach sounds, rhymes, onamonapia, and repetition, and they have some beautiful illustrations.
After reading the book, step outside into Little Blue Truck's world and recreate the drive he went on in the story. Have your little one hop into his own mode of transportation: the stroller, Cozy Coupe, Power Wheels, or a tricycle.
Along the way, Blue sees Sheep, Duck, Goat, Cow, Pig, Bunny, and Hen. You, too, will place stuffed animals or pictures of these animals throughout your yard or neighborhood. As you go on your stroll, stop to collect the animals and talk about what sounds they make. Have them hop into your car with you.
End the drive back at the house for a Springtime Celebration with all the animals. Have spring snacks and talk about what you saw on your "drive" as a sequence of events activity.
5. Batter's Up with My First Book of Baseball
Spring brings baseball, and baseball is a favorite in our household, so to honor America's favorite past time what better way to slide into spring with a little baseball literacy.
Start off by reading My First Book of Baseball and talking about all things baseball. Then head to the diamond, real or makeshift, and hit a homerun with this fun activity. You can do it a number of ways.
I hope these books and activities bring joy and a breath of fresh air to a long winter. Let me know what ones you tried and if your kids liked them in the comments. For more activities, subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest info.
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I truly believe that a good night's sleep and a perfect morning routine really set the stage for the rest of the day, especially for us moms. Whether we are spending the day rounding up the kids for a fun family outing or trying to get some work done around the house or at our actual workplace, perfecting our morning routine leads to overall better productivity, confidence, success, and happiness.
That's why I am happy to share my morning routine, which is helping me reach my 2021 goals. After some trial and error once my son came along, I finally feel as if I have nailed it down. While the actual times and order of the steps might have to be adjusted to fit your lifestyle and family dynamics, you will still gain some knowledge on how to set the tone for the rest of the day.
Maybe it's by doing one of these five steps and gradually working your way up to doing all five. Or maybe it's doing some during the weekdays and none on the weekends or vice versa. Either way, you are about to make some positive changes into your life by continuing to read.
Ready for some BIG changes into your life? Consider purchasing The Add One-A-Day 30 Day Challenge. 30 lifestyle changes to implement throughout your whole day.
1. Wake Up Before the Kids
Once your kids get down a solid sleep schedule and are not waking up at all hours or at the crack of dawn, this will be more feasible. Right now my son seems to fully wake anywhere between 7:00 AM - 7:30 AM. That means I aim to up and out of bed by 6:30 when I am not working (I have to be up earlier when I am working). I like at least a half hour to myself before my son wakes up. An hour is ideal.
By now, I have gotten so used to waking at this time, it has just become natural. But if you are just starting out, trying setting your alarm just ten minutes before your kids wake and then work your way up.
The key is to take 5 deep breaths, count to five, and just get up. No hitting the snooze and falling back asleep. Science shows that once you are awake in the morning and then fall back asleep, your body will actually feel more tired throughout the day.
I understand that this will not happen all the time. Listen to your body. At this point in my life, I normally let my body naturally wake me up when I am not working. Since I have gotten into the habit of rising around 6:00, most of the time I am fully awake by 6:00/6:30 (or sometimes even earlier), so I get up.
Other times, I might need the extra sleep, so I stay in bed until 7:00. When this is the case, I still allow myself 15-30 minutes of time to myself even if my son is awake. He is usually happy sitting in his crib talking to himself and playing with his stuffed animals. So no guilt there.
The times when I don't get up before my son, I can tell throughout the day. I feel as if I am playing catch up. Do yourself a favor and try this today!
2. Practice Gratitude
The first thing I do after I get out of bed is list four things I am thankful for in my designated gratitude journal. In the past, I have rattled them off in my head, but lately, for me, I have found it to be more meaningful and intentional to write them down.
The thing about practicing gratitude is that it can be as trivial or deep as you want it to be. Somedays, I write my husband or my son or my parents and other days I am super thankful for chapstick or my mouthguard I wear at night (How dare those Gen Zers say Millennials are old with their side parts and skinny jeans!).
Practicing gratitude is one of the key components to happiness and starting your day off happy is sure to be a catalyst for the rest of the day. It's hard to be upset when you're counting your blessings.
3. Partake in Quiet Time
It's easy to jump right in after you list your four things of gratitude and be flooded with all the noise. The noise from social media, work emails, the news, podcasts, etc. It's a lot so early in the morning.
That's why I like to take author, Matthew Kelly's advice and spend some time in the classroom of silence. For me, this could be 10 minutes of prayer, doing a crossword puzzle, reading a book, or eating breakfast in utter and total silence without checking my phone. I had my students try this, and they were amazed at how much they liked it. It's kind of weird and cool to actually listen and be aware of yourself chewing your food.
For you, your quiet time could look completely different. That's fine. Just try to spend at least 10 minutes blocking out the chaos of the outside world and tune into your own thoughts before the noise smacks you in your face in a few short minutes.
You'll head out into your day much calmer and relaxed. A clear head.
4. Drink One Glass of Water
Ahh water. It's so good for us. I have often heard that sleep and water are two of the most important things you can do for yourself, yet so many of us are not doing it.
That's why I like to start my day off with drinking one glass of water. I just chug it, and I instantly feel better and more refreshed. It's amazing how much one glass of water can do for us - our skin, our mind, our digestion, our circulation, and our body temperature.
Remember to continue drinking water throughout the day!
5. Review Your To-Do List
I believe that your to-do list should be created the night before instead of wasting time in the morning to do it. That way, you can have a plan of action in your mind the night before, and as soon as you wake up, you are able to execute it right away.
But I do like to spend a few minutes reviewing it, so I can have a clear vision of my day fresh in my head or revise any unrealistic expectations based on how I am feeling in the morning.
Get a good planner and get into the habit of writing down your daily goals. Schedule in those things that you want to accomplish no matter how big or small they are.
On Sundays, I like to get up and review the scriptures ahead of time for mass that day. I schedule it in into my planner, so I don't forget. And when something is written down, it carries more importance.
So maybe you should start writing down your morning routine, so you can remember to do it and so you can feel the satisfaction of crossing it off.
6. Make Your Bed
Finally, I like to have a bed made in the morning.
There have been studies that show that people who make their beds sleep better and have a more positive life. For me, it shows that I care and appreciate keeping my space neat and tidy. When my space is organized, I am organized. Plus, my bed just feels better sleeping in after it’s been made.
Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations, agrees. In a famous 2014 commencement speech at University of Texas at Austin, the Admiral said it best. “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another," he said. "By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Sometimes, I have to make my bed once my son is already up, but that's okay. I feel accomplished and in control of the day once I have done it.
Try it and see how you feel.
As Moms, we are busy and have so many thoughts running through out head throughout the day.
We need those few moments to ourselves in the morning to mentally prep for the day without any distractions.
With a little bit of practice, this morning routine will be perfect for you and if the rest of the day goes horribly wrong, you can rest in the knowledge that the morning went well because you were able to control it.
See you out there,
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Our parents always told us not to gossip. Teachers reprimanded us. Friends would ditch us if they knew we were talking behind their backs. TV created a whole series on the perils of gossiping.
But when you become a parent to a toddler, throw out any preconceived notion you have ever had of gossiping because gossiping is about to become your best friend. In fact, gossiping is one of the best positive parenting strategies I have undercovered as a mom.
What is gossiping?
Gossiping is exactly what you know it to be - talking about someone. However, when it comes to our little ones, this time we are going to do whatever it takes for them to hear us.
Yes, you heard that right, you want your toddler to overhear you talking about them while pretending that you don't even notice they are there. I'm talking about doing your best exaggerated whisper yell, hands cupped to your mouth, most dramatic imitation of gossiping possible to whomever or whatever (Daddy, a stuffed animal, a toy)
But here is the catch. You are not not going to drone on about all the things they did wrong. You are going to reiterate what they did well by using concrete examples.
"Psstttt, Teddy, guess what Henry did today? When Mr. Dinger went off, Henry went straight upstairs to get ready for bed without even crying!!! Can you believe that? Should we clap for Henry?"
This doesn't mean that you should avoid all mentions of any negative behavior your toddler does. You just want to put the focus on building your child's self-esteem while focusing mostly on the positive.
Why gossiping works?
I first heard of this strategy from the book, "The Happiest Toddler on the Block," by Dr. Harvey Karp. Dr. Karp says that gossiping "green lights" good behavior. He goes on to say that gossiping should start around 15-18 months. Why?
It's the same for adults. What do you prefer more: Your husband directly telling you that you are doing a good job as a mom or you overhearing your husband bragging about what a good mom you are to his parents? I would bet that most people would choose the latter.
That is because a direct remark to your face could be considered just a nice remark that he has to tell you because he is your husband, but the fact that he said it to someone else not in your presence must mean he really means it!
Toddlers feel the same way. If it's being whispered as a secret, Mommy must really mean it. It must be important, and I should pay close attention.
Gossiping fills up a toddler's self-esteem cup. It's hard being a toddler. They are often told "no" or they are forced to stay in very strict boundaries. Overhearing all the things they did right makes them confident in themselves and more likely to continue doing those actions.
How I do gossiping with my son?
Gossiping can be done anytime throughout the day, but I make a point to especially do it before bed to recap the day.
While we are sitting in the rocking chair having finished reading our nighttime books, I make a point of noticing the teddy bear that sits on Henry's nightstand. I call him Gossip Bear.
"Psst...Hey Gossip Bear, come here. I need to tell you what Henry did today."
I bring the bear over and make a point to turn away from Henry and face the bear instead. I then proceed to whisper about some of the good things Henry did that day while sprinkling in one behavior that I would like to curb.
"When Mommy told Henry screen time was over, Henry only cried for a little bit. He then went over to play with his kitchen. I was thankful Henry did that. Henry also learned to put some of his toys away when it was time to clean up. That made me smile, Gossip Bear. However, Mommy wants Henry to stay in his pack-n-play at Grandma's house. No more climbing out. Henry needs to sleep, sleep in order to play later. He needs to stay in crib. No climbing out."
Henry's ear have perked by this point, and I can tell he is absorbing every word. It's rather cute if I do say so myself. Finally, I ask Gossip Bear if we should clap for Henry and we both do.
But we are not done. Gossip Bear has something to tell me. I make believe Gossip Bear is whispering something into my ear and then proclaim, "Of course, Gossip Bear, you can give Henry a kiss and hug goodnight." Gossip Bear walks over to Henry and in his own voice asks for a kiss and a hug which Henry is excited to give. The end and as simple as that.
Start using gossiping throughout the day whenever you see your kiddo doing something you want to encourage him to keep doing, and you will sure to see a transformation in behavior. Who said gossiping is always bad?
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I love Instagram because there truly is a beautiful side of the platform that is empowering women to reach their highest potential and live out their dreams. Instagram is allowing women to start their own businesses and build a career out of doing what they love.
I'm a mom, and I have started following some accounts that have given me tools, resources, information, laughs, and hugs when I needed them the most in motherhood. Follow these women today!
1. For Sleep
For all things baby and toddler sleep, follow TakingCaraBabies. Cara is amazing! She has a gentle and soothing voice that feels as if she is enveloping you in a warm embrace.
At times, I swear she is speaking directly to me. But most importantly, her advice works wonders, and we all got so much more sleep because of her!
2. For Tantrums and Feelings
Toddler experts of BigLittleFeelings, Kristin and Deena whose tagline is tame those tantrums, are here for you when you feel like you are in a nuthouse with your toddler. They are funny, relatable, and full of a wealth of knowledge.
I love their non-judgmental advice and definitely feel as if their tips are working as I enter into the toddler years with my son.
3. For Speech and Communication
Speech therapists and sisters, Brooke and Bridget, of SpeechSisters, are two women you want to follow today. They give you the confidence you need to help build communication and speech with your child.
I love that they support sign language, make fun videos, and give fun activities to try at home with your kiddos.
4. For Potty Training and Feelings
Dr. Jazmine McCoy of TheMomPsychologist is someone you want to follow if you want to feel empowered. She's smart. She's cool. And she knows what she is talking about.
I recently bought her potty training book, and I'm looing forward to reading it. Follow her today!
5. For Food and Eating
Jennifer Anderson of Kids.eat.in.color is your go-to girl for getting your children to eat their veggies and turning mealtime meltdowns into a more pleasurable experience for all involved.
So much of her advice worked for our family, and I still go to her page routinely when I want positive advice that doesn't shame at all. Check her out!
6. Car Seat Safety
Michelle of safeintheseat is a nationally certified car seat expert. Her account is very informative but promises to be a judgment free zone. She gives you much to think about when it comes to all things related to car safety for our little ones. Making sure our kids are safe in the car can be one of the most important things we do as moms.
7. Being a mom
Bryce Reddy of mombrain.therapist is perfect for all things and feelings related to motherhood. Her cute infographs that she posts are relatable and informative. She is there for you if you are feeling overwhelmed and is all about self-care.
After every post, I find myself saying, "This is so me." It's nice to know that you are not alone, and her account will definitely make you feel space and like you have a community of moms all around you.
Dr. Helen of the.dentistmom runs an account for all things related to teeth. Sometimes I feel as if kids dental care gets overlooked in my day-to-day, and it's nice to have this site to have as a quick guide when I need an answer.
She's adorable. She's smart, and she's someone you need to check out.
9. Toddler Play
Susie Allison of Busy Toddler has got you covered on activities and playing for toddlers. She has affordable ideas to get your kids playing. Lots of her suggestions can be found with everyday items around the house.
She's perfect if you need to occupy your child for a few minutes because you need to get some things done. Each of her ideas spark the imagination or help foster creativity and fine/gross motor skills. Check her out if you need some sanity back into your life.
10. Raising race conscious kids
Shanicia Boswell of blackmomsblog is a great site to visit for not just Black moms but all moms. She talks about motherhood, raising racial sensitive kids, and pregnancy. She keeps it real.
I'm so glad I found this woman on Instagram, and you should too!
There you have it! 10 wonderful accounts run by women that you should follow today! I love women empowering women!
2020 wasn't a normal year. That's the biggest understatement of the year. Maybe some of you really thrived and maybe some of you really struggled to just survive. And both of that is ok.
There is no need to feel guilt if 2020 was full of many blessings, and there is no need to feel shame and embarrassment if 2020 was downright hard, and you got nothing you wanted to accomplishment. Instead, let's look to lift each other up this upcoming year.
If you are looking to set goals for the new year, I would like to share how I set my goals for the year in a few easy steps. You can also sign up to take the Add One-A-Day 30 Day Challenge to help you stay on track with your goals.
Step 1: Get a planner
I'm still old school and need to write things down. A good planner helps me stay organized and on track with my goals. My husband purchased Christy Wright's planner for me for 2021. I highly recommend this planner if you are a lover of all things organizing and planning.
Step 2: Break down the different areas in your life.
Divide your life into all the different areas of your life that give you purpose and meaning. For me it might look like this:
Step 3: Decide which area to do a Dedicated Year.
Each year have picked one area of my life that I feel as if could use some extra attention and focus, then I set a bigger goal for that one particular area than all the other areas of my life, and I use the most of the year or the whole area to dedicate my time to working on that goal. Hence, the title "Dedicated Year."
In the past, I have done a dedicated year for being a runner. I signed up, trained for, and ran a half marathon.
Last year, I did a dedicated year as a writer and reader. I started a running, updated website, blogged consistently, submitted my work for publication, and wrote a book. I read 50+ books, many related to parenting and race.
The year before, I focused on being a mom by slowing down, clearing my schedule, and letting go. I struggled a bit with this. I had to tell myself that it was okay that I wasn't focusing as much attention on my career as I was in the past. That's why I wanted to dedicate the year to that area of my life.
This year, I think as of this moment, I am committing to the Wife area!
Step 4: Set your big goal for that area of your life.
Since this is an area you want to work on for the whole year, you can set one big goal for the year or many micro goals throughout the year. For example, it might look like this:
Dedicated Year Area: Wife
Goal: James and I will go on 12 dates (inside or outside of the house) in one year without any friends and without our son.
To help me reach this goal and focus on being a better wife this year, I would also read books related to marriage or perhaps sign up for a class.
Whatever I do, this is the area where I will be paying the most attention to.
Step 5: Set smaller goals for the other areas of your life.
Here is where you can set smaller goals for the other areas of your life. You can choose all of the areas or just a few. Up to you. I recommend setting no more than 2 goals for each area because otherwise it's overwhelming.
Here are mine:
Step 6: Write it down.
Write your goals down and, this is important, put them where you can see them, so they are on your mind. Christy Wright's planner is useful in helping you break down your goals setting a plan for how to reach them. You can also read more on how I do this here.
Good luck with all your goals! May 2021 be a happy and healthy year. One where we all emerge from the darkness.
See you out there!