We live in a small house. Like, very small. Small enough so that a few extra toys on the floor feels like an inundation. And I could almost swear that those stuffed animals let in friends to stay during the night. (Because surely we didn't buy that many?!)
I've been trying to get a handle on this for, oh, a good 6 years now. But I've been going at it with new gusto and I think (knock on wood) I might have hit upon something.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking I get a small referral fee at no cost to you. Thank you!
Recently we were at the park and Kay went off to play with another little girl. They stuck a ball in a small pail and made up a game where they tried to bounce the ball and have it land on the pail. (Make no sense? It doesn't need to!)
This is just what she needs, I thought to myself.
She needs more of playing pointless games with balls? No, not exactly. She needs unstructured time to make up her own games, to explore new ideas with friends, to just be.
I was kind of struck when I came across this sentence in "Einstein Never Used Flashcards"
"Unless you are living in extreme isolation or poverty, the natural, everyday environments in which families and children find themselves promote strong brain development."
As with so many things about parenting, what works for one family is the complete opposite of what is best for another when it comes to homework. Child 1 does best when she gets her homework done as soon as she gets off the bus; Child 2 needs a lengthy break before cracking open the books.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Follett, a leader in educational resources and supplies. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. Thank you!
Suitcase? Check. Directions? Got 'em. Antsy preschooler? Yep, got that one, too!
Kay is not one of those kids who can quietly gaze at the clouds as we drive along. She likes to move and sitting in a car for more than 10 minutes is probably her idea of punishment. But we have found some ideas that work, even for her, and some other mom bloggers have added their suggestions as well.
Why do I do activities with my daughter? Why not just let her come up with her own ideas? When I was a kid, we used to play in a puddle and were HAPPY about it. We even had to sleep there! (Okay, not really - I was a spoiled city kid, but you get my drift!)
Perhaps the reasons a parent does activities with their kids is different for each person. I do it because I like to, because I hope we're making some good memories together, and because I love doing things to spend time together.
But perhaps even more important is what doing activities with kids is NOT.
It's not something extra to feel guilty or competitive about. ("I made my child a whole town out of cardboard boxes. What did you do?")
It's not something you need to be creative to do. Can't draw a straight line? Me neither. Who cares? Certainly not your child, who things everything you do is pretty awesome (except when you say, "no" - that's not awesome at all!)
You know reading to children is important, and the earlier you start the better. Unfortunately, your restless toddler must have missed that memo because she will just not sit still for a story. Or he's super-interested in books - as in, taking them off the shelf and leaving them in a messy heap.
Not to worry. You can still read to them, with just a little creativity on your part.
I would love to live in the country, surrounded by acres of green and lots of places for my daughter (and me!) to explore and experience nature.
But I don't.
We live in the city, surrounded by concrete and noisy cars. But I refuse to let that fact prevent us from exploring nature. We just have to work with what we have.
Some kids just love bath time. And others, well, don't.
For some kids, taking a bath is right up there with going to the dentist - NOT a favorite place. My trick is to make the bath THE place to be. Bring out some toys (boats or waterproof dolls work well) that can only be played with during bath time.
Here's some other ways to turn bath into fun time (or at least get through it without an argument!)
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CleanForTheHolidays #CollectiveBias
Bet you didn't think "fun" could be used to describe things like or spray mop or floor cleaning, am I right?
Kay loves to vacuum. Really. And it's all because of (wait for this one) the Vacuum Dance.
That's right, dancing around with the vacuum makes it a treat, not a chore, for this one. So much so, in fact, that if I warn her threateningly, "Careful with those crumbs or you'll need to vacuum when you're finished," it's not really a deterrent.
Grieving is such a difficult experience at any age, but for kids who may be experiencing it for the first time, it can be even worse. Last year we lost my beloved grandmother, and helping Kay cope while in such mourning myself was a challenge. Today's guest post discusses how to help kids cope with one of the worst experiences - losing a loved one.
Losing a loved one is hard on anyone, but it can be especially difficult for children, who may not fully understand what has happened. They might begin to act differently or ask very difficult questions that you aren’t sure how to answer. Even though you may be grieving too, it’s important for you to be kind and understanding as you help them work through their feelings.