Posts Tagged ‘toddlers’

Mom New-Year Resolutions

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

New Year resolutionsIt’s that time of year. Ready or not here 2017 comes.

Before we go setting ourselves up with unrealistic goals we’ll forget by month’s (week’s?) end, let’s set up something that will create a lifetime of treasures. A few themes I tend to revisit annually include:

I will set aside my smart-whatever. Maybe it’s during dinner, perhaps your phone is there at stop-lights, or after a long day you just want to chill to some Bejeweled (or whatever game is hot these days…). Commit to putting your phone, laptop, or tablet down. Use the time to connect with whoever is present, even if that just means some quiet time alone with you.

I will use kind words. We all have different parenting styles, and even within the “whatever is the trendy style” kind of parent there are many nuances. Maybe you never raise your voice and rarely use the word “no.” Perhaps you’re parenting has gotten a little intense lately. Wherever you are in your parenting style or journey, however assertive or passive, and no matter your discipline perspective, we can all use a little kind in our lives. I mean this not only in how we speak to our children, but also how we speak about them whether they are present or not, and how we speak to our own self or partner or mother about parenting decisions. Let kindness reign supreme in two thousand seventeen.

I will keep perspective. It’s not that those grandmas in the store are wrong when they say “cherish every moment” nor is the mama wrong when she says she struggles to find any joy some days. I bet there is truth to both. Instead of shutting the other one down completely, I will, nod, give a half-smile, and learn about myself or them through the comments they make. Perhaps a little more connection is what we all need, and I have an opportunity to ask a follow up question that can either shut them down or open them up.

I will take care of myself. Maybe it’s eating one less sweet (or one more!) per day or week. Similarly, more water and/or less other liquid drug of choice (caffeine, alcohol, sugar, etc.). Perhaps it’s starting to work out or finding quiet time to relax. Some of us need to focus a little more on our budget. It could be stepping up your yoga pants to real-deal jeans. I’m sure we all could do something along the lines of all the above. Pick something. Put a reason to it. Set reasonable expectations, and find accountability in friends, your partner, or even an online group.

I will do something that is not for specifically for the kids. Inventory your time and interests. What has fallen away since you first had children? What were your passions? Where did your time, money, and effort go? Reinvest yourself or invest yourself in something new.

I will dole out more grace. I know it’s fun sometimes to thrive on snarky. It is one of my mind’s instant reflexes sometimes. I think grace can build more relationships and understanding though. I don’t want to tear down someone or something else to justify myself. I can be me without pulling down on them. Grace and more grace. To myself, to others… grace.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 10 months to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

When Toddlers Capitalize on Distracted Mom Time and How to Keep Them Busy

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

img_4850I recently found myself in tears after nursing my six-month-old daughter and discovering my two-year-old standing triumphantly on the kitchen counter in the middle of a concoction of several spices that he had emptied from their jars. My eyes darted frantically across the mess, trying to devise a way to return the precious spices to their jars. I quickly realized that, unless I was comfortable with a combination of garlic salt, cayenne pepper and a bit of nutmeg, it was unlikely that any would be salvaged. So much for no crying over spilled spices.

I’m convinced that my two-year-old wanders around, taking inventory of all he hopes to accomplish when mom is occupied. Dump spices? Check. Unroll all of the toilet paper? That sounds fantastic. Smear an entire jar of peanut butter on the dog? Can’t wait. And, yes, all of those things have actually happened.

It has taken me six months, but I think I am finally to the point to, cautiously, say, I think I’ve figured out a way to navigate this particular issue… sometimes. And it is to simply Choose My Mess.

This means leaving out the box of play dough and cookie cutters and being okay with some of the hardened pieces ending up inside the trash and the colors getting mixed together. This means a gallon-sized Ziploc bag of crayons and a stack of coloring books on the kitchen floor. This means free reign on the bubbles in the backyard.

Maybe this isn’t a difficult concept for some of you. But, for me? I really like it when the play doh colors are in their correct containers, untainted by other colors. I really, really like for all of the crayons to stay in their wrappers. And, I don’t particularly enjoy bubbles dumped out into my flower beds.

But, this is a mess of my choosing. And it is a mess I prefer over dumped spices, shredded paper towels, or plant food distributed evenly across every square foot of my home.

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com. 

Whose Need Do I Meet First?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Whose needs do i meet first?Having subsequent children inevitably creates more unmet needs. Or, at the very least, needs not met at the exact moment the children feel they should be met. This was all incredibly overwhelming my first few weeks solo with my kiddos.

My firstborn did not understand why I couldn’t read the book he wanted right away. My second-born took great issue with my failure to refill his sippy cup. New baby daughter had strong feelings about being out of the womb in general. I was a mess. I quickly realized that maybe, rather than meeting needs, I simply needed to adjust my thinking.

1.     Realize that “Loudest” does not equal “Neediest”.
My oldest son has this idea that volume equals importance. Just like the patient complaining in the ER waiting room about waiting, my son thinks if he can just tell me the right thing in the right way, that will magically move him to the front of the line. This only works if you let it happen. I promise, the more times my son sees that yelling does NOT get him what he wants, he starts to try other tactics. I am guilty of doing whatever I can to shush the loud child in the moment. But I try to think of life lessons in these moments when I so desperately want to do what creates instant comfort.

2.     Use my words, and use them calmly.
So often I find myself so frazzled that I just want the noise/whining to STOP RIGHT NOW. This is when I need to calmly say, “Son, I see that you want me to refill your sippy cup. I would love to do that for you. First, I am going to feed your sister.” If he protests loudly, I suggest he sit on his bed until he calms down.

3.     Do as much as I can on the front end.
I can’t anticipate every need. But keeping a couple of bananas within reach of my oldest child, trying to keep sippy cups filled, trying to nurse my baby near a stack of books that can be read aloud while sister eats; these are things I can intentionally do that might eliminate some of the chaos.

4.     Accept that, sometimes, some things will have to wait. And waiting is okay.
I don’t think any mom wants to raise a child that grows to be a man or woman that is incapable of patience. I try to keep the adult version of my child in the back of my mind when I am doing something that seems hard in the moment but I know will pay off eventually.

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com. 

Toddler Gift Guide

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Curious what to get the sweet toddler in your life, or need ideas for well-meaning family members? As a mama of a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a six-month-old, I have a few ideas to help!

Here’s my timeless toddler gift guide:

Melissa & Doug | Wooden Play Food

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I am the world’s biggest fan of all things Melissa & Doug. Their toys never fall into the “annoying” category and the longevity of playability is incredible. I know that whenever one of my children is gifted anything from Melissa & Doug, it is a gift for all three. I specifically chose this toy, because my 4 and 2-year-old are very into all things cooking at the moment. I suspect my baby will enjoy this in the future as well!

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Hape | Blocks 30th Anniversary Edition

It’s no secret that toy longevity and playability matters to me. I am a minimalist by nature so I want a few things that can be used in a lot of ways for a lot of years. Enter- blocks! My kiddos have a set of these and it’s always what comes out when friends are over. Also, for this set of blocks, Hape is donating a toy to a child in need in Afghanistan, Syria, Nepal, China, Zimbabwe.

Green Toys Tool Set BLUE

Now, I must give the caveat that my older children are boys. But they love, love, love playing with toy tools and pretending to be just like their daddy and their grandpa. Again, a toy that is shared and loved by all and will continue to be enjoyed for years. They even have a pink set for those handy girls out there!

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Green Toys | Watering Can

My husband and I have just started dipping our toes into the world of gardening, but our kids are more than happy to help! Any way we can get them involved in one of our projects is a win for us as a family. Toddlers love to be included and they love to have their own gear. I think this is a great gift for any toddler!

I know any of these gifts will be a hit for the toddler in your life! Happy holidays!

 

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com. 

Teaching Kids to Be Thankful

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Teaching Kids to Be ThankfulYou just can’t convince me that a good fall breeze, beautiful leaves, or a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks can’t make everything better. I love hoodies and all things outdoors. This is my family’s first fall in Arkansas, so I am learning to love the heat (still) and the joys of Saturday morning soccer in the fall. With this season comes a time of reflection and thankfulness.

But how do we teach small children to be thankful? In a world where kids seek satisfaction first and think toys and material goods are the key to happiness, I am perplexed. I am only 32, but I feel like the world I grew up in was different from this one. Here are some ideas on how to teach your little ones to be thankful this fall season.

Serve Others
Thanksgiving is a time when many go without food and fancy meals. You can volunteer with your local church or other civic organization. Food pantries are a great way to show kids that not everyone has a pantry stocked week-to-week. If you have toddlers, seek an organization that will allow you to bring your little ones. If you’re still a mom to a baby, consider baby wearing. (Like we need another excuse to wear our Tula!) Many communities have Thanksgiving dinners that need volunteers. Have your kids help you make small bags to donate to local organizations. October 15 was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. My local MOPS group made small bags to donate to hospitals for moms who have experienced loss. Kids can help stuff bags, make cards, or even help deliver.

Get Crafty
Pinterest is full of fun ideas for fall crafts. Break out the finger paints, markers, and crayons and have your toddlers make small crafts for those they are thankful for this year. We recently purchased a pack of cardstock and made pumpkins for each door in our house. Everyone has a pumpkin bedroom door now. My daughter loves to make crafts for her Mimi and Grammy. If you have a baby, you can still do a fun fingerprint craft.

Get into the Conversation
One fun way to teach our kids to be thankful is to get talking. My daughter just turned 4, and it has been fun talking about who we are thankful for this fall. We were given a small wooden board from Target with clothespins, and each Sunday, we change it up. I sit with her and ask her what she is thankful for this week. I then take small post-it notes and write down her responses. This board hangs by the garage door where we see it daily and we talk about those things for the week. Her first response was Jesus, and this week it was Levi’s naps. (Her 2-year-old brother has recently given up napping.) I added a healthy baby and she even wanted me to write down Paw Patrol and Daddy’s job. It will amaze you what your kids are thankful for and how much they really do notice.

While I don’t have the answer on how to teach our little ones to be thankful toddlers, I do know it’s important that they are aware of the gifts they have. I know I could learn from Johanna and take some tips on how to be thankful for today and what I have. I want my children to grow up to be thankful, appreciative adults. I don’t want to fail them as a mom who is always wishing for more or dissatisfied with the present.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two, almost three, in Arkansas where she is thankful for Shopkins and naptime so she can blog.