Is Stress-Free Parenting Possible? – Yes, and yes.
Reflecting on How I Spend My Days – Amen to this list of ways to keep your days as a toddler parent joyful, rather than sad.
10 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Run Smoothly – If you’re not into the homeschooling vibe, don’t be put off. I find that homeschooling blogs are a great source for general, organized parenting tips. Sure, some of this may not apply, but a lot of these are a huge part of making anyone’s day run smoothly.
Making Shapes – Beautifully simple homemade toy (popsicle sticks + velcro stickers) with huge potential.
Kids Art: Conversations About Drawing – I’m at this point with Monkey’s fine motor skills. This is a good technique for dealing with the frustration of “not being able to do it”.
Video: Are Your Family’s Routines Working? – This is exactly why we have routines for everything in our house. Routines = expected, planned good times. Lack of routines = panicky, chaotic frustration.
Video: Baby Teamwork – I’m working hard on letting my kids solve their own problems more. When things like this happen spontaeously between a 1- and almost-3-year-old, it shocks me. Check it out.
One-Sided Parental Vigilance – Although I’m not on the food hypervilance wagon, I have to agree that I would like to see more studies about kids and media characters. Not all character play is bad, mind you–I spent a good portion of my childhood playing Sound of Music with a certain friend. But it makes me sad when young kids are totally addicted to characters on everything they own by age 3. Childhood (and adulthood) should be a little less branded.
Floor Block Puzzles – I really like the idea of free form puzzles. Sort of an easy introduction to tangrams.
Display Seasonal Books on a Stuffed Animal Chain – Good enough to go in the family room, I say.
Fun Leaf Projects for Kids – A plethora of ideas for fall themed crafts. I’m really loving the leaf mobile.
Are My Kids Already Over-Scheduled? – A great self-analysis post, with two great lists of 1) the reasons we overschedule our kids (and why they aren’t necessarily good reasons) and 2) the things that do increase our children’s happiness. BTW, Raising Happiness is a great blog which I think all parents should follow for a serious reality check.
As Recently as 1979, A First Grader Could… – Another eye-opener from Free-Range Kids. It makes me sad that parents prevent their kids from doing simple things which are, in any sane reality, completely safe. Guess I’m really on a freedom-for-children kick this week.
Candy Crayons – I share this on the condition that no one nearby is allow to make these until I find something to make them for. Got it?
The Top Five Formula Feeding Myths, Debunked – As a formula feeder myself, I have certainly been (unintentionally) hurt by a lot of lactivist comments. I think every mother should know the truth and get their facts straight, whether you breastfeed or not.
Dealing with Diaper Changing Disasters – Some good go-to places for the stage Sailor’s currently in, where a diaper change is the worst thing that ever happened to him. Some of this advice seems to have worked over the past few weeks, so we’ll see how it goes.
Duplo Printing – We loved painting with cars so this is the next logical step. What other plastic toys can I hit up?
Constructive Eating – I have to wonder if this would make dinner take more or less time. I think some modified “pusher” tool should become the fourth official utensil, because really, spoons can be tricky devils.
Fun Uses for Kool-Aid – Because at $.10 a pop, you can always use more.
Table manners come more easily when practicing them becomes a game – So obvious. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to compete.
And we’re back with a review on our toddler and baby road trip activities:
Organizational strategy: Wow, the “surprise packages” idea takes the cake for an idea that sounded good in theory but blew up in practice. I clearly did not think through the logistics of trying to manage 15 brown lunch sacks per child in the cramped car environment. The sacks filled up two office paper boxes (you know, the ones that reams of paper come in) and were a complete mess within hours, sending me into OCD convulsions trying to organize from the front seat.
Luckily, I had a brilliant idea before we returned home and turned one box into a divided storage compartment by cutting the sides off the lid, cutting the lid in half, and duct taping the two pieces inside the box. The result: three compartments effective at sorting toddler toys into a slightly more manageable mess in the car. And it fits perfectly on the floor between the carseats and the front seats.
As for the activities themselves: Continue reading
But My Child Doesn’t Like to Play _______ – I totally have experience with this. In order to get Monkey to play anything new, I have to incorporate the alphabet. Driving cars in letter shapes, building letters out of Legos, making food into letters . . . I appreciated the additional ideas for broadening my son’s play.
Modeling Healthy Technology Use – If you have a smartphone, this is for you.
21 Reasons to Travel Around the World with Kids . . . From Those Who Have Done It – These reasons are part of why I’m looking into travel hacking (a natural extension of couponing :D).
Button Snakes – Simple, yet effective. I will be building some of these soon.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s library hits, we’re leaving Friday on a road trip. It’s going to be our first road trip ever with Monkey (age 2.5) and Sailor (age 11 mos). If you’d been at my house the last few weeks, you might think I was over-planning for a dinky 14 hour, one day road-trip from Seattle to Salt Lake City. There are bags of toys and distractions everywhere, several new spreadsheets have been generated, and I’ve been refining the perfect mix CD of singable adult and children’s music. This might be overkill, but right now I live in fear of three words: road trip meltdown. There’s nothing that turns me into an irrational mess like hearing my kids crying in discomfort and boredom from the back seat and not being able to do anything about it.
Sure, I could probably just hand Monkey a portable DVD player with some Fraggle Rock or Word World, or even better, use my Grandma’s time-honored trick and knock them out with Benedryl (don’t worry, I won’t). But part of me says that my kids need to learn to entertain themselves on a road trip, not just send them into a coma; it’s morally beneficial, right? (Additionally, we don’t have a portable DVD player. Hey, the kids should feel blessed that we have air conditioning. Back when I was a kid . . .)
So, how do you entertain toddlers on a road trip when so many traditional road trip games depend on more observant eyes, more brain power, or more ability-not-to-drop-everything than they currently have? Continue reading
Sorry to everyone who read this post when it was published in very early draft form. That’s what happens when you mess around with publishing on your phone. Here it is in full splendor.
Family Home Evening (FHE) is a major, definable task of Mormon parenting, yet there are so many excuses for not doing it. When kids are young, it seems almost pointless since they can hardly pay attention anyway, but you know you need to get into the habit or it will be harder to start later. Then there’s the whole planning ahead thing: I don’t know about you, but I can barely keep up with sweeping my floor and cleaning the highchair, much less plan a meaningful, spiritual FHE.
So I’ve hacked FHE at our house. We pretty much rotate between the following FHE ideas which can be put together with only 5 minutes of planning right after dinner and take only about 15 minutes to execute when you add a song and prayer. Continue reading
Going Against a Toddler’s Will – Can I just say that I am so happy that someone linked me up with this blog? Her writing in consistently on par. Excellent points about necessities vs. like-to’s and being willing to make your kid cry if necessary. More about that later this week when I review the book on which her philosophy is based, Dear Parent.
10 Ideas for Creating a Sense of Family Heritage – I have totally been thinking about doing #7 for a while. (And I thought I was so unique for thinking of it.) Guess this is another hint that I should get cracking writing these books. Plus they’ll make great Christmas gifts for cousins.
Spaghetti and Play-doh = A Very Fun Match – When I first saw the title, I thought about cooked spaghetti. Totally wouldn’t work.
Activities for Melissa and Doug Lacing Beads
Alphabet Rocks – Hello! Totally cute, nature-y, and educational? 100% there.
Icy Play on a Very Hot Day
Plane Travel Sanity Laws: For the Insane Traveling Families – Loved this super detailed post on plane travel! I could have written it myself. I always forget about the bassinet thing; I’ll have to try that sometime.
Doing Everything right is an Unrealistic Goal – Just a reminder, guys.
Put your random bag collection to work by creating “activity totes” – Parent Hacks, I’m so already there. I have a park bag (towel for wet slides, waterproof blanket, sunscreen, bandaids), a library bag, and a couple quiet activity bags for my son to pull out when Mommy’s doing chores. Scroll to the comments for a great idea on helping the homeless (with tote bags!).
Treasure Baskets for Babies – I had heard of this idea before (in Montessori books I’ve been reading), and this post was a good reminder that I’ve been meaning to do this. So much nicer to have an organized place for baby “untoys” than to leave junk lying around your house, which is what happens when we do “untoys.” I’m actually going to make some portable treasure kits for Sailor for our road trip in August.
Is there a fairy in your garden? – Creating a fairy garden is one of the ideas I’m saving for that far-off imagined day when I have a girl. I love the house and swimming pools.
Sidewalk Paint – There have been more recipes for sidewalk paint floating around the internet lately than, well, something very plentiful. I like this recipe for its quick and simple ingredients. We made some spontaneously in a leftover 30 minute period before dinner. It’s that easy.
Fun Bubble Wrap “Exam” – Don’t let the word exam scare you. You could use this activity to review just about any concept with a pre-writing child.