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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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    September 2, 2014
    Baby Books

    My nephew is almost seven months old! Time sure does fly. I’m lucky enough that I get to see him every day. I have a pretty unconventional work schedule, so I watch him during the day while my sister is at work. It can be tiring, but it’s pretty rewarding as well. I try to do as much with him as possible to help foster his mental, social, and physical development. We sing songs, play games, go outside, do tummy time, and I talk to him constantly. But most of all, I read to him. Of course, he’s too young to understand, but the more words he hears, the better off he’ll be. Also, reading from a young age will show him that reading is fun. Hopefully he’ll be a lifelong reader! But what do you read to a baby? I have a book of nursery rhymes, bedtime stories, fairy tales, a book about colors, and a few more fun, interactive ones that he loves. For more reading inspiration, as well as the different types of baby books out there, check out this post by Chanda at Pink Oatmeal:

    -The “crinkly” book is how it is referred to in our house.  This book is nice and soft for C to touch and makes a crinkly sound when manipulated. 

    -Finger puppet books are a ton of fun

    -Board books with few words on the page

    -Books with repitition

    -Touch and feel books

    Photo Credit: Devin F

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    August 28, 2014
    Turn Off The TV!

    These days, you never go more than a few minutes without looking at a screen. I’m always on my computer, my mom and sister are addicted to their phones, Dad has his Ipad, and the TV is on all the time, if only as background noise. Before I had a laptop and TV in my room, I would read all night. I’d go outside and take walks. I’d write stories and draw and paint and play instruments. Now…I still write, but mostly I binge watch shows on Netflix and spend hours on Pinterest. I have to make a special effort each day to limit my screen time. If you have younger children, this is especially important- both for their mental and social development. Read this post by Katie at Double The Batch for some things you can do as a family instead of being glued to electronics all day:

    -Prepare a meal and eat together

    -Go on a hike or a short walk

    -Have a reading marathon

    -Pictionary or other board games

    -Building contests- forts, sugar cube towers, block castles… you name it!

    Photo Credit: Alan D 

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    August 26, 2014
    Anxious Kids And What To Do About Them

    When I was a child, I was extremely outgoing. I would talk to anyone about anything. I was confident and loud and I didn’t care what anyone thought of me! Then, sometime after puberty, everything changed. Maybe it was because we moved into a new state where I knew no one, but I became extremely withdrawn and self conscious. Or maybe it’s just because that’s part of growing up. I still struggle with being shy today. Either way, I know how it is to be around (and BE) an outgoing kid, and also a shy, anxious one. As a parent, it can be like pulling teeth to get your introverted child to engage in social situations. My advice? Don’t force anything, and only make them do what they’re comfortable with. For more help on dealing with anxious little ones, read this post by Kristina at Toddler Approved. Heck, most of them can even be applied to shy adults:

    -Stay in close proximity when around new people. 

    -Have low expectations and allow for choices… recognizing child is just trying to hold herself together. 

    -Recognize that the new faces, routines, situations can be uncomfortable/stressful/scary and acknowledge that verbally and offer emotional support. 

    -Encourage people to give child space and wait for him/her to come to them/initiate interactions with them.

    Photo Credit: Billy Rowlinson 

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    August 21, 2014
    Books For New Siblings

    Adding a new member to the family can be an emotional time for kids you already have. They’ll experience a wide range of feelings: excitement, joy, maybe even fear, or uncertainty. Maybe jealousy. There are plenty of ways to prepare the older sibling for the transition from only child to big brother / sister. One of my favorite ways to cope with life changing events is through books! It can help to know that another person has gone through what you’ve gone through (even if they’re fictional). Check out this post by Lauren Wayne at Hobo Mama for her favorite “big sibling books to prepare for baby,” as well as reviews for each book:

    What Baby Needs

    (written by William Sears, Martha Sears, & Christie Watts Kelly; illustrated by Renée Andriani)

    I’m a Big Brother

    (written by Joanna Cole; illustrated by Rosalinda Knightley)(There’s a companion book called I’m a Big Sister.) 

    On Mother’s Lap

    (written by Ann Herbert Scott; illustrated by Glo Coalson)

    Sophie and the New Baby

    (written by Catherine Anholt; illustrated by Laurence Anholt)

    Photo Credit: Jencu

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    August 19, 2014
    Simple Parenting Hacks

    Teaching kids good habits is much harder than it looks. When I was younger, I hated eating veggies, and refused to clean my room or help with chores. My parents tried all the tricks in the book: they tried grounding me, taking away privileges, giving rewards, and setting ultimatums. Usually, it worked. Now I eat a little healthier (only because I know it’s for my own good now; I STILL hate veggies), and I pick up after myself like a real adult! However, I know my parents would have had an easier time if they had seen some of these Buzzfeed hacks:

    -Hide healthy vegetables in desserts and smoothies. Try spinach brownies or zucchini crisp.

    -Teach saving habits early with a compartmentalized piggy bank. (seen in picture)

    -Change the wifi password and make them do chores in exchange for it

    -ANY chore can become a game. Get creative!

    Photo Credit: Buzzfeed

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    August 7, 2014
    Dinner Time Conversations

    One of the most important parts of bonding as a family is having dinner together, at a table, distraction free, every night. In fact, the reason I think I am so close to my family is because my parents stuck to that principle so hard. I don’t remember ever experiencing awkward, silent dinners; there were never any lulls in conversation. Probably because we’re all so talkative! However, if you have a more reserved family, or you’re just now trying out eating together, it may be a little awkward. What do you talk about, beyond “How was your day?” For some family dinner conversation starters, check out this post by Natalie Wright at Organized Mom (she suggests throwing them in a jar, pulling one question out per meal, and discussing it):

    -What did you do today that you are proud of?

    -What did you dream about last night?

    -What makes you happy when you’re sad?

    -What is your favorite book?

    -What is your favorite thing about the person next to you?

    My personal favorite? This: Tell us something new that you learned today!

    It lets kids review things from school, and lets all family members learn from each other.

    Photo Credit: Scott & Elaine Van der Chijs 

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    August 5, 2014
    Strengthening Sibling Relationships

    One thing that has always baffled me is siblings that aren’t close. Maybe it’s just because my sister and I are basically attached at the hip; she’s my best friend in the whole world, and I know she’s all I’ll have when everyone else is gone. I see her almost every day, I love my nephew (her son) more than I’ve ever loved anyone, and we’ve always been inseparable. That’s why it kills me when I talk to some of my friends, and they say they aren’t even on speaking terms with their sibling, or they just don’t ever visit with them. I understand that sometimes, things happen, and you have to cut toxic people out of your life. But simply not caring about your sister or brother? I can’t even fathom that. Sibling relationships are some of the most important you’ll have in your life. As a parent, it’s your job to encourage these bonds from an early age. For some tips, read this post by Krissy Sherman Bonning at B-Inspired Mama:

    -Teach respect

    -Encourage empathy and understanding

    -Model positive sibling relationships

    -Don’t leave anyone out

    -Let them fight, and help them make up

    -Create a sibling book together

    Photo Credit: Carmella Fernando 

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