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    December 1, 2014
    Common Parenting Phrases… That You Should Stop Saying

    Everyone knows that you shouldn’t curse around your kids, because they pick it up! You also shouldn’t say anything that will damage their self esteem, or scar them for life. Most people are aware of this. However, there are other phrases that EVERY parent says (me included) that are actually harmful as well– some are very surprising! No, your kid won’t be emotionally ruined if you use them, but alternative ways of wording things are sometimes much better. Check out this article by Michelle Crouch at for the phrases:

    -”You’re okay.”- Try giving him a hug and acknowledging what he’s feeling by saying something like, “That was a scary fall.” Then ask whether he’d like a bandage or a kiss (or both).

    -”I’m on a diet.”- Watching your weight? Keep it to yourself. If your child sees you stepping on the scale every day and hears you talk about being “fat,” she may develop an unhealthy body image. Instead, encourage healthy eating habits and how fun exercise is!

    -”Be careful.”- Saying this while your child is balancing on the monkey bars at the playground actually makes it more likely that he’ll fall. “Your words distract him from what he’s doing, so he loses focus,”

    -”Don’t talk to strangers.” Since the vast majority of child-abduction cases involve someone a kid already knows, you might also adopt McBride’s favorite safety mantra: “If anyone makes you feel sad, scared, or confused, you need to tell me right away.”

    Photo Credit: Ian D. Keating 

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    November 20, 2014
    “So, How Was Your Day?”

    We all ask it- to our kids, our spouse, everyone close to us. We ask because we care. We want to know what they’ve been doing, and how they’re feeling. But the question usually gets the same response: “It was good,” or “Eh,”. I know that I definitely want more details than that! But when you ask the same question every day, you’re going to get the same answer. Check out this post by Clare at The Little Design Corner for alternative questions that will really get your family talking:

    -Who are you sitting next to at school at the moment? Who would you want to sit next to?

    -Did you break any rules? What were they, and why did you break them?

    -What was your favorite part of school today?

    -What learning part is the most fun? What is the most boring?

    -Who seems really funny/interesting that you haven’t gotten to know yet?

    Photo Credit: Frank Juarez 

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    November 18, 2014
    Activities With No Screens

    These days, it’s extremely easy to just plop your kids down with a TV, iPad, computer, or phone, and just let the screen babysit them. I know, I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Sometimes, you just need a break- and that’s totally fine. But, when your kids are just staring at a screen for hours and hours a day, every single day- that’s not so fine. Kids of all ages (adults too!) need activities that actually help stimulate the brain. For a great list of activities that don’t involve screens, but also keep your kids busy, read this post at Artsy Craftsy Mom:

    -Get crafty- paint, color, glue, relax!

    -Read to kids

    -Let them help cook

    -Play outside

    -Play indoors with a board game, puzzle, card game, or blocks

    Photo Credit: Balu 

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    November 17, 2014
    Getting Your Baby To Sleep

    I’m a huge fan of a certain skit comedy show that pokes fun at the city of Portland and its ultra hip residents. In one of the skits, new parents struggle with a crying baby and are trying different methods of getting it to stop. One of them is seen reading a book called: “Crying it Out, and Other Ways to Ignore Your Child”- which I thought was hilarious. When I babysit my nephew, and he’s being grumpy and fights his sleep- my dad’s advice is to always “put him in his crib and let him cry it out”. I always hate doing that. His crying absolutely breaks my heart, and I usually don’t last more than five minutes without going to get him. That’s why I was super glad when I found this post by Katie at Clarks Condensed, for gentler ways to get your child to sleep- that don’t involve crying it out (ignoring your child):

    -Develop a sleep routine- nightly rituals will always help a child sleep, if you stick to it and help them develop a habit

    -Comfort- I think it’s important to make sure your child is comfortable and knows you haven’t abandoned them. Make sure they are in a clean diaper, are warm and comfy, and give them a stuffed animal.

    -Wear their blanket so it has your scent on it

    -Have “wind down” time- read a book, snuggle together, play some music. Anything that will help them relax before bed.

    Photo Credit: Laobc 

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    November 11, 2014
    Deployment Help For Kids

    The men and women in our military are extremely brave, and the people they leave back home need to be brave as well. As a kid, it’s tough if one of your parents is gone for long periods of time, especially if they’re out doing dangerous things. Yes, you feel proud of them, but deployment can also be a sad and scary time. If your spouse is in the military, and you’re at home with the kids, there are ways to help them (and yourself) through it. Check out this post by Carlie at About One:

    Make a Video: Have the deploying parent make a video speaking to each child.

    Get a free quilt or pillow from Operation Kid Comfort.All you have to do is supply some photos of the deployed parent. 

    Make a Deployment Countdown Chain: For us, we always make a paper chain once we are 90-days out from the end of a deployment. 

    Read books about deployment.

    Take a family photo together and give each child one to put near their beds.

    Photo Credit: The US Army 

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    November 10, 2014
    Baby And Daddy Bonding

    As a mother, you carry your child for nine months. For a while, they are a part of you. They know your voice, and respond to your touch. If you breastfeed, you are also their primary (if not only) feeder. With all the connection that babies and their moms have, it can be hard for dads to compete. However, there is a way for dads to get a better bond with their newborns: talk more. Check out this post by JJ at the Belly Itch Blog:

    The report also discovered that mothers responded 88% to 94% of the time to the babies vocalizations, while dads responded only 27% to 33% of the time.

    But you dads can change all that, the study suggest, by simply talking to your babies more and perhaps doing so in a higher pitched sing song-y way that moms do and pairing your talking with eye contacts as moms tend to do.

    Photo Credit: Richard Leeming 

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    November 3, 2014
    Is Your Child Being Bullied?

    Bullying is an extremely hot topic right now- especially with the rise of cyberbullying and related suicides. Most schools have put a “zero tolerance” policy in place when dealing with bullies, but that’s not enough. Preventing bullying needs to start at home. It’s extremely necessary to teach your children the importance of empathy, compassion, diversity, and kindness. Teach them to put themselves in others’ shoes before acting, and there will be less bullies in the world. But, what to you do if your child is claiming that they have been bullied? Read this article by Hilary at Pulling Curls to determine if that is what they are experiencing:

    -Ask them how their day was

    -Ask them if the mean comment was true- if someone says they stink, do they need to take a bath? It can still hurt, but they will help your kid build a thicker skin.

    -Give them a hug

    -Are mean comments consistent, mean-spirited, and harmful? If so, you may be dealing with a bully. Talk with the teacher to determine the best course of action.

    Photo Credit: Eddie S 

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    October 20, 2014
    Temper Tantrum 911

    One of the most emotionally draining parts of being a parent is dealing with temper tantrums. Every kid has them (some more than others), and it’s important to know how to deal with them- both for the health of your child, and your own sanity. While it can be extremely difficult, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. Read this article by Rebekah at The Golden Gleam for more temper taming tips:

    -Serve as a coach: help your child understand her feelings; acknowledge that they are normal and valid

    -Define peace: act as a peaceful example

    -Let them know you love them, as much as possible

    -Give them more control and responsibility, but show discipline when needed

    Photo Credit: Citril 

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    September 15, 2014
    Showing Your Child That You Love Them

    Just like a relationship with a significant other, relationships with your family need you to put effort in them in order for them to thrive. With family, it can be easy to just assume that they know that you love them. And they do! But every once in a while, it’s nice to give them a reminder. Showing your kids a little extra love will do wonders for your relationships, and lets them know that they’re always on your mind. Read this post by Kristina Manscill at Mothers Niche for some ideas:

    -Always eat family dinner together

    -Know Your Child’s “Love Language” and Find Ways to Express it Often.

    -Take the time to be silly, to be messy, and to take in life’s simple pleasures. 

    -Get to Know Their Friends and love them as your own. 

    -Discover their Talents and Put Them to Use. 

    -Surprise!  Find fun ways to shock them with your love.  Love your children with surprises! Do something they wouldn’t expect.

    Photo Credit: THOR 

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    September 4, 2014
    Asking Vs. Telling

    Discipline is always hard for me. I love kids, and I hate confrontation. So, dealing with discipline problems with children is pretty much my worst nightmare. My golden rule is to treat kids with as much respect as possible– like they’re real people! When I need them to do something, I always ask. But, sometimes, just “asking” doesn’t cut it when you need kids to follow instructions. As much as they need respect, kids also need discipline. But how do you know when to ask, and when to tell? Read this post by Heather at Mamas Spot for advice:

    I have a tendency to ask my kids almost everything. “Do you want to put on your shoes now?” “Should we have macaroni and cheese for dinner?” “How about you go brush your teeth?”

    These are questions that present a problem if they are answered with no, because they are not really choices. If we’re going outside, we need shoes. If I’m preparing mac and cheese for dinner, that’s what we’ll be having.

    By setting limits with your children using clear and nurturing language, you are in actuality providing children with the safety and consistency that they need to have all the freedom you want them to have.

    Photo Credit: Andrew Taylor 

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