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Useful Tips For Parents Of Neurodiverse Children

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Whether your child recently got diagnosed, your healthcare provider gave you a hypothesis or you've been at it for years, it's impossible to know everything. For neurotypical parents, it's important to educate yourself on as much as you can in order to best meet the needs of your child or children. Here are some tips to help you do that.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a licenced professional in specialized education, neurological studies or anything like that. These are just tips based on my experience. Please consult your child's doctor before making any decisions.


Stimming. Stimming is the repitition of physical movements, vocal sounds and words, moving objects, and eating certain foods. Not every neurodiverse child does this, but it is very common. It can be anything at all. You will begin to recognize a certain action is how your child stims by noticing the repitition of it. This is how neurodiverse people self-stimulate. It's perfectly normal. 


Sensory overload. For people who have sensory processing disorders, they can become overwhelmed very quickly depending on what sense they are most sensitive with. This could be all senses, a few, or one. They can have a hard time focusing with so many different types of sounds around them, even what neurotypicals would consider small sounds such as a ticking clock or dripping faucet. Some people also are sensitive to touch, or with certain textures. They don't like to be held, touched or to wear clothes. Neurodivergents can also get too hot or too cold and it will be very uncomfortable, especially in an office or a classroom where they aren't permitted to leave their seat often. They can also be sensitive to bright lights, and even get migraines as a result of it. 


Often what can help is, when they are overwhelmed, to offer a dark and quiet place for them to take a sensory break. If they aren't sensitive to touch and they ask for it, you can give them a tight hug which will help their bodies regulate. If they are sensitive to touch, a weighted blanket can help. 


Introverted. Neurodiverse children and even adults will often be introverts. They prefer to be alone and to their own thing. This is often because when they are alone, they can control their environment and know not to do things that will overwhelm them. They can always adjust the thermostat to how they like, put on a tv show on mute with captions, install black-out curtains, and not be afraid of being over-stimulated. Some of them have trouble understanding social cues, expressions and phrases, so limiting human contact saves them from that frustration. 


Healthcare professionals and teachers will strongly insist on developing your child's social abilities and knowledge. You will need to be your child's voice in these situations. Yes, it is very important tnat everyone learns how to properly communicate, but be sure that the teachers, doctors, and everyone else gives your child space when they are overwhelmed. These interactions should also never be forced. You want your child to want to socialize, not see it as a negative thing.


ABA. ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis.This is a form of ''therapy'' that has been found to be abusive to neurodiverse children. You can look it up, but there have been many instances where ABA ''therapists'' have allegedly forcibly made a child smile, physically holding their cheeks up, Even when that child is sad or angry and they don't feel like smiling. They will offer toys to the child if they do what is asked of them, and take it away when it's not. Therapists are trained to physically move your child into positions they want your child to do, or things they want your child to do. They also ignore the child's needs and wants. If your child is getting tired, upset or over-stimulated, the therapist will never address this. They will most likely ignore it and continue the exercise. You can google ''aba abuse'' to read more about the multiple issues surrounding ABA. If you are thinking of signing up your child for this, please don't. 


Autism Speaks. Often portraying themselves as the place to donate for autism research, Autism Speaks treats people with autism as if they have a missing piece, like they are not whole as people. They see an autism diagnosis as a sad one, and search for a cure. This is incredibly damaging to people who live with autism or any kind of neurodiversity. Autism should be celebrated, not pitied, and people should be accepted how they are. Embrace your child's differences and teach them not to dislike the things that make them unique. It's incredibly important to place kids on the path of self-love. They cannot think something is wrong with them, because that is simply not true. If you choose to go with an organization or make a donation, please don't go with Autism Speaks. Listen to neurodiverse people and they will tell you. You can also easily look it up and see which places are inclusive and positive.



Flapping. This has often been discussed being one of the main symptoms of autism. In fact, not every autistic person flaps their arms or hands. In fact, lots of neurodiverse children never will flap their hands or arms. For those who do however, it's often because the child is excited or happy. Some parents call this happy-flapping. It's equivilent of a child jumping up and down for joy. In fact, some children may do both at the same time. It's an incredibly adorable display of joy that melts any parent's hearts.


High-Functioning. This is a term thrown around a lot by parents of children with autism, as well as the words low-functioning and severe. For some reason, in parenting circles it has been seen as some type of competition as to which child is most different. Parents seem to feel the need to extract pity from people because their child has autism. It needs to stop. High-functioning autism doesn't exist, it's just autism. These are terms made up by parents and other people to make their child's autism seem ''less severe'' and puts a lot of pressure and expectations on the child to be ''more normal''. It also invalidates the child's needs and makes them feel like they should be put on the back-burner for therapy such as speech therapy or physical therapy should they need it. Parents with children who talk or are potty-trained will be bashed by other parents who say ''you have no idea how hard it is'' in order for the bashing parent to seem like a super-hero for raising the child they wanted and chose to have. It needs to stop and to change direction completely. Parents need to uplift and support each other whether their kids have autism or not. Enough with the labels, which only enhances the ableism. 


Every Spectrum Is Different. There are no two people who have all of the exact same symptoms and who's neurodiversity presents exactly alike. In fact, the criteria used to diagnose people with autism is meant for autistic boys, not girls. Girls meet an entirely different criteria. With that in mind, some girls do get diagnosed despite this. Don't compare your child to others; just because they don't have the same symptoms doesn't mean that the doctors are wrong. If you have two children with autism it's important you meet their different needs. Both kids will be very different and need different things. 



Have any other tips? Comment below!

11 Things To Expect When Your Daughter Has Short Hair

Posted by Live Love Mom on October 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Recently, my 4-year-old daughter told me that she wanted short hair. I wasn't sure if she was serious, but she kept insisting. I showed her different short hairstyles and she chose one. ''Mom this one! This one! Please, cut my hair up to here, please please please!''


Other than a trim and her dad giving her bangs, she's never had a haircut. I looked at her long and beautiful, golden curls and felt some sadness. I didn't want to let them go. I had been told before, once they are cut they may never grow back again. The moment was fleeting, and I realized that this is her hair on her head, and she should be able to make decisions about her own body (that aren't life and death). So you know what? I told her yes.


We headed upstairs and I have a professional hair-cutting kit and I put the smock around her and sat her on a dining room chair in the bathroom where there is a full-length mirror. She grinned ear-to-ear and giggled, she said ''I'm so excited!'' I kept asking her if she was sure, and she kept saying yes. So I combed her hair, pinned up different sections, and cut the back layer to the length she wanted. She saw her hair fall on the floor and squealed in delight. ''I can stop if you want. Are you sure? Do you still want me to do this?'' I asked. ''Yes mom stop saying that and cut my hair!'' So section by section I cut it until it was the length she wanted.


She looked at herself in the mirror and grinned so much her cheeks started to hurt. She said, ''Mom I am so beautiful, I look like a princess!'' I told her yes you are. She absolutely loved her haircut and still does. I'll never forget how happy a simple haircut made her.


I didn't expect it to look so gorgeous on her, but it does! Her face shape is perfect for it, and her thick hair frames her face well and there is even a part that curls still by her ear. She says she loves braids so I've braided the hair out of her face in a short one and she is just as happy as when I braided her long hair. 



 

1. Mistaken for a boy

''His hair is getting a little long, it's time for a haircut,'' I heard a stranger say. That day she was wearing an orange shirt and tan shorts (gender-neutral). I'm glad she didn't hear it, or she must have thought it wasn't about her.

''Why is he in a dress?'' Well first off there is nothing wrong with a boy in a dress, secondly why do you care what a stranger is wearing, and thirdly short hair doesn't mean boy.

I was surprised I was getting these remarks because her hair really isn't that short.

 

2. Hoping she doesn't hear the comments

The last thing I want is my little girl to be hurt or confused. I am thankful she has a happy-go-lucky attitude and if she does hear, she corrects the person. ''I'm not a little boy, I'm a big girl!'' 

Another mom asked me if I cut her hair because my daughter had lice. I informed her that you don't need to cut hair to help with lice anymore, and no, my child has never had lice. 

 


3. Having the other parent freak out

If you're a single parent, the other parent might freak out. Girl's hair is seen as a precious sign of femininity and I have no idea why, but parents often never cut their kid's hair other than a little trim, even if their daughters beg them to. Some girls have to wait until they are 18 years old before they cut their hair, or they get it cut by a friend, or they do it themselves. 

I remember the first time I cut a bit of my own hair off, my mother started crying when I showed her the hair I had cut off. My 6 year old had cut a little bit of her hair off and she expected me to freak out but I didn't. I told her it was her hair and it was fine. Her father however...he told her and my 4 year old that they need his permission to cut their hair. I told them privately that this isn't true, it's their hair and they can decide whether they want to cut it or not.

 

 

Even my husband looked at my daughter before she cut her hair and said ''please don't cut your hair, I like long hair.'' To which I looked at him and replied ''Then grow your hair long, your preference doesn't matter on someone else's hair.'' Men are taught to value feminine aspects at a young age such as dresses, skirts, pastel colors, long hair, lipstick, everything that people would call ''girly girl'' stuff. It can take years to unlearn these things. So with a little help I taught some people that they should never pressure my kids to keep their appearance a certain way to please someone else. No one ever asks this of boys and I won't have it.

 

4. Adults may not be so nice

''Why would you cut your hair?'' and I've heard ''Did you cut her hair as a form of punishment?'' and also ''Did you force her to cut her hair?'' Of course the answer is no on the last two counts and the first, well it's nobody's business but my daughter's. 

 

5. Grandparents will react

''Her hair is always in her face! Why did you cut it so short that she can't wear a ponytail?' How are you supposed to do her hair? Now I can't braid her hair anymore or make cute pigtails!'' Well her hair isn't anyone's plaything or possession. I stand by my daughter's decision to have her hair cut in the length she desired.

 

 

6. People you don't know will think you're crazy

Strangers will comment things saying I am trying to force masculinity onto her, or that I wanted a boy so I cut her hair and make her wear boy's clothes. Some have said I am blind and can't tell my kids apart so I had to cut the hair of one of them. Others will cite articles where parents or teachers abusively cut a girl's hair as a punishment and accuse me of doing the same. They will say I want to make her appear younger because I can't accept the fact that she's no longer a baby. It's really horrible how seriously people take a haircut.

 

7. Her hair will be talked about everywhere

There are positive comments out there of course. ''What gorgeous thick hair she has!'' ''What a beautiful bob!'' and she has been compared to Ruby Rose on the set of OITNB. She will also put on a crown and a princess dress and say that she is a beautiful princess and no one dares say otherwise.

 

8. Her hair has been a teacher

 

I feel like this was a very important step in teaching her about consent. I always tell my girls that their bodies are theirs, and they get to decide for their bodies. She had decided to cut her hair, and I did it. When she was younger she wanted her ears pierced (later changed her mind so we took them out), so we did it. I won't change anything about her appearance unless she asks. I remember people giving me and my friends a real hard time about them getting their hair cut, and quite frankly it's ridiculous. It's dead protein strands attached to a scalp, and it always grows back.

 

I also think that this helps teach her about gender roles and how they are fluid. Girls aren't required to have long hair, and boys aren't required to have short hair. We are fortunate to have members in my family where the ladies have short hair and my brother has longer hair, I want her to know that it's okay to be herself and not worry about the little box of femininity society try to trap her in.


9. Kids may say mean things

She hasn't been to school yet at her age, but it's bound to happen. There is a child in her daycare who has hair on the longer side and she was told that she looks like him. But not once did she tell me she wants to grow it back. She did come home crying from daycare once when she told me that a kid told her she wasn't pretty. I gave her a big hug and I told her that this kid is wrong. She said her daycare teacher heard what the boy said and he was reprimanded. Parents, teach your kids to be nice and not to be bullies, especially at such a young age. Thankfully I am always able to console her, and her teacher and friends and family boosted her confidence again by telling her how beautiful she is.


10. You need to be creative with hairstyles

Longer hair is easier: wash it, brush it, put it in pigtails, a bun, a ponytail or a braid and you're done for the day. Not with short hair! You need to pull back the hair from her face and secure it with a hairband. You can braid this as well so your daughter can have some braids. You can also do small pigtails. If some hair still falls in her face or her hair is too short to be kept back in ponytails, you can always add barettes to keep her hair away, or hair clips or bobby pins. You can also put on a headband or a bandana. There are still lots of possibilities and let your child choose as well.


11. You may need to brush her hair more often

The first time I cut my hair as a child, my mother told me that I would need to brush it more often. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but just in case it is I've listed it here. Since the hair can't be tied back in one long braid, it will move around a lot more as your daughter runs around, so it will get messy faster. You may have to comb or brush her hair accordingly. However, I have found that personally with my daughter, brushing once a day is fine and she hardly gets any knots. It depends on the length.


 

All in all, hair is just hair! Let your child choose which hairstyle they want. If they ever don't like it, their hair will always grow back!

How To Get Kids To Get Dressed

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

By: Dr. Stephanie McEndree




We all have had at least one child who would rather be naked or in their underwear or diaper all day, every day! It makes it easier for them to lift up their knees as high as they can, do jumping jacks, or whatever else they have set their minds to do. However, there are times where kids have to suck it up and put some clothes on, especially in NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE places. Unfortunately, trying to get them dressed is a whole other story. Meltdowns happen, tantrums are thrown, and kids refuse to clothe themselves. It can take forever to get your children finally dressed, and at that point they are kicking and screaming, or peeling their clothes right back off. So how can you get your kids clothed when the just do not want to be? Read on to learn more.


Here are some tips that my husband has come up with to help get kids dressed.


Help them. Even if they do not need the help, sometimes it will be enough to see you involved and willing to help, that they will cooperate. Put the shirt over their heads and help them put their arms through the sleeves. Place the shoes at their feet and hold them so they can balance as they slip their feet in. Open the waistband of pants so they can slip their legs in easier. Whatever it is, in my experience, they should cooperate.


Do not announce. Depending on the child, if you announce it is time for them to get themselves dressed, they will bolt. My girls love to run away and hide if we tell them that it is time to get dressed. In our cases and cases like this, it is best not to annouce that it is time to get dressed, or that they have to dress themselves. It works better for us if we say in the beginning of the day that they will need to get dressed later today. 


Involve them. Include them in the decision making process. Bring two different shirts and ask them to pick one. Do the same with pants and shoes. This is especially important when kids are at those ages that they are becoming more independent and assertive. They will not want to follow directions because they want to be their own person and lead their own life. So treat them like a big kid and let them choose what they would like to wear between two options.


Offer their favorites. Find their favorite outfit, or clothes in their favorite color, or favorite shoes. Kids are more likely to get dressed (even by themselves if they can) if you offer them their favorite outfit. I always get a big grin and gleeful shouts when I find my kids favorite outfits. What my kids hold very precious is their dresses, but especially ones that I make for them myself. Maybe your girls love a dress their grandma got for them.


Check the temperature. If it is hot outside and also too hot in your house, it is normal that the kids do not want to get dressed. They do not want to overheat. Turn down the thermostat and turn on a fan or the air conditioning. This way, if the room is comfortable enough the kids will not feel like they will overheat if they get dressed. If it is winter outside with snow out, simply point out to the window and show your kids that it is cold outside, so they will need to get dressed to stay warm.


Keep in mind that these tips may not work for every child. These tips work great for my kids, and they may work for yours as well. If you have any more tips to add, comment below!

Tips To Get The Kids To An Appointment

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree




Children don't always want to leave the house. However, if they have a doctor's appointment or a dentist appointment, they need to leave the house. Some kids have an introverted personality, and that's okay. However, to be able to care for them medically they need to go to appointments. Here are some last-resort tips to get the kids out of the house. 


If they are doing an activity, wait til they are done. If it's something that can be done soon and you are good with time, let them finish their puzzle, eat their breakfast or watch their tv show episode. Kids are less likely to protest, or at least not as much, if they're finished with whatever activity they were doing.

Start getting ready. You need to get ready ahead of time so it doesn't take a long time to get to your destination. Make sure you have your hair combed, teeth brushed, you're fed and hydrated and fully dressed before you move on to your kids. This avoids kids throwing their clothes off while you are getting ready and you have to start over again.

Do as much prep work as you can. Load the vehicles with the items you need such as the diaper bag, snacks, drinks, etc. That way you don't have to go back in the house once the kids are in the car and ready to go. If you're going somewhere up to an hour away or further, you will need milk for young babies and probably some water and a snack for school-aged kids. If your vehicle takes a bit to warm up during the winter, you can throw some blankets in there too to put on the kids' legs to keep them warm.

Get the kids ready. Get them dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed, and have them go to the bathroom before you leave. If you have a baby, change their diaper and feed them before taking off. Make sure they ate their latest meal and/or snack. Put on their coats and boots if it's winter, a windbreaker if it's spring or autumn. 

Pick them up and put them in the vehicle. Of course if they're too big to be picked up, hold their hand and let them know you're going to the car. They may start to protest, but it's what's best for them to go to their medical appointment, so they need to be in the vehicle. They will probably start figuring out that they're going somewhere they don't want to be. Buckle them in their car seats, then sit yourself down, and you can start driving. I find that often once you start driving, after a few minutes they calm down.

If they don't, once you have arrived at your destination, take the time to open the door of the car and talk to them softly. Give them kisses and hugs and explain that going to the doctor or dentist is necessary. Encourage them to speak calmly to express why they are upset. Validate their feelings and praise them for vocalizing their needs. If they say it's because they were cold, offer them a blanket. If they were hungry, offer them the snack, and some water if they are thirsty. 

Show them the play area. Once you arrive, there is often a play area in the waiting room of every dentist or doctor. Show them the play area and encourage them to play while they wait. There are often toys, books and a coloring station to keep your kids happy and entertained. If it's winter, be sure to remove their coats and boots first. Then, you can take a seat in the waiting room and wait within view of the kids. You did it mama!


What tips do you have to ge the kids out of the house for an appointment? Comment below!

Make Homemade Chalk Paint

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 15, 2020 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Rebecca Norris



Posted this for my kids but this is a fun, easy activity that I just had to share!


 

How to make Homemade Chalk paint


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Food coloring of your choice
  • Cups
  • Measuring cup
  • Bowl
  • Paint brush


Instructions:

  1. Measure 1/2 cup of corn starch in a measuring cup.
  2. Empty the corn starch into the bowl.
  3. Measure 1/2 cup of water in a measuring cup.
  4. Pour the water into the bowl.
  5. Mix the corn starch and the water together in the bowl.
  6. Pour the mixture into the different cups
  7. Take the food coloring and add a few drops in a cup.
  8. Choose another color of food coloring and add a few drops in another cup.
  9. Repeat until you have all the cups with different food coloring.
  10. Mix the cups individually to form the chalk paint.
  11. Grab a paint brush and get painting on the driveway, sidewalk or cement paths!

Here is the result! My daughter painted a beautiful unicorn! Try it out with your kids and let their imagination run wild. What will they paint? A jungle safari? An ocean with whales, sharks and dolphins? The desert with camels? Sit back, drink some coffee and enjoy watching the masterpieces unfold!



How To Celebrate Your Kid's Birthday During Coronavirus

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 5, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree




Having a birthday during the pandemic can really throw things off for planning. You might have had a birthday party already planned, but you had to cancle due to the virus. Or, your child may have one coming up and you want to make it special. Here are some ideas on how you can have a great birthday party for your child without breaking quarantine.


Your backyard. It's safe and weather-permitting, you can do lots of fun stuff outdoors with your child. If you have more than one, you can set up some games they can play together outdoors. If not, join in on the fun and play with them. You can have a picnic outside, hit a homemade pinata filled with candy you bought at the grocery store. You can open presents outside too, and play with whatever you already have for them outside; trampoline, swingset or sandbox.


Indoors. This is a great choice for all weather. You can spend time together in many different ways! You can make paper decorations, bake a cake and decorate it together, and much more! You can also play some fun games such as pin the tail on the donkey, twister, board games and more. You can also video-call friends and family so your child gets to talk to them and spend some time with them. You can have a family movie marathon with your child's favorite tv shows and movies and cook some popcorn. Read them their favorite story at bedtime, use a bath bomb at bath time. Any way you can think to make the day special, do it. Your child may remember this birthday as the most fun yet!


Not sure what to do or how to keep your child happy or busy on their special day? Here is a list of activities you can plan and do during your child's birthday.


Pinata
Pin the tail on the donkey
Bake a cake
Decorate a cake
Movie night
Board games
Picnic
Puzzles
Scavenger hunt
Treasure hunt
Talent show
Twister
Card games
Costume play
Pretend play
Story time
Painting
Drawing
Arts & Crafts
Making paper decorations


Got any more ideas for kids' birthday activities? Comment below!

How To Encourage A Picky Eater To Eat A Healthy Meal

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 12, 2020 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (4)
by: Stephanie McEndree



Some kids can be particularly difficult when it comes to which foods they eat. Most kids would prefer to eat junk food all day, but this is not what is best for them. It's important to give them more than empty calories throughout the day and get their nutritional needs met. Whether they are picky eaters or have sensitivities to certain foods or stimulus, these tips can help you get your children to eat some foods that are good for them.


Make the food. Cook or throw together the meal that you want your child to eat. Make sure it's nutritious and aesthetically pleasing. A plate with white rice, eggs and mashed potatoes is pretty bland to the eye. Make it colorful and exciting, such as carrots, green beans, red peppers, etc. You can add some apples, grapes and oranges for breakfast foods or a healthy snack. Either way, it needs to be prepared right. Be sure to make more than what your child will eat to ensure the next step.


Start eating the food u want them to eat. If you have issues with them eating at the table, be sure to sit at the dining room table first. Then, slowly start eating the meal. Be sure to only take a few bites so there is plenty left for your child. Take small bites and make it obvious to your child that you're eating. 


Exaggerate the good taste. Rave about how good it is, hum while you chew with your mouth closed. If your child isn't already curious, now they should be. In fact, most kids will come up to you and ask you to share, or say that they want some, or straight up steal the meal! It's a subtle way to get them interested, and encourage them to eat more nutritious food and sample a wider variety of foods.


Make it fun.  Kids like to play, so why not make it fun with dips and sauces? Offer some honey to dip the fruit, some jelly for toast, or some dip for celery and carrot sticks. This enhances flavor and exposes the kids to ways they can make their foods unique. It can also be the turning point for a child to be interested in your food and want to eat it.


Got any more tips? Comment below!

How To Encourage Kids To Use Educational Toys

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 10, 2020 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree



Kids often enjoy games and toys that aren't that educational, and will often go for those first. While free play is crucial to the development of young children, it's also advantageous to give them the biggest variety possible. With educational toys and games, parents are able to focus a child's learning on a particular area they need to perfect. Whether it's a toy or a game, here is how to keep your child's attention and get them interested in what you want them to do. Some children need more encouragement than others, and simply requiring them to do something brings about tantrums and meltdowns when it comes to playtime. Here is a more gentle and subtle approach to take.


Get out the toy. It's good to get the toy or game out as obviously as possible. You want to peak your child's curiosity as well as get them intrigued with what you're doing. This is often the case with young children, they always want to know what their parents are doing. If your child is indifferent, that's okay. You still have more steps to do.


Announce you're going to play with it. This is often enough for elementary-aged kids to swoop in and say, me too! Or for more demanding kids to swoop in and grab it, then play with it or run away. However, it is also often that this merely peaks the child's curiosity. Some will continue to do what they were doing, especially if they are very concentrated.


Hint that you need help. If it's a game, you can say aloud that you need help in a vague way. If the kids don't volunteer, you can try asking your child for help, or their opinion. For example, ask where they think a puzzle piece goes. This should engage the child and draw them towards you and what you're doing and encourage their participation. Be sure to continue interacting with the child so that they stay interested.


Hint that you'd like to play with someone else. You can say out loud that you don't want to play alone, that you'd like to play with someone else. Some children may then volunteer themselves. If they don't, you can always ask them directly if they would play with you. If they don't want to, you can ask if they would like to play with you later. If they say no, then it's probably best not to force it. However, I've found that this generation of children tend to want to play with their parents more than my generation. So, they should be happy to play with you.


Do the activity together. Once you have the child's attention and they decided they want to play with you, go ahead and play the educational game or with the toy together. Some simple games and toys are considered educational, such as building a tower with blocks. This is a popular way for doctors to assess a child's development. You can also use toys that help children practice buttoning, zipping, tying things such as shoe laces, onesie snaps, or coats. 


Got any more ideas? Comment below!

Cheap Easter Goodies To Get In One Store

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 9, 2020 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (1)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With Easter right around the corner and us moms wanting to be safe, it can be hard to get the easter shopping done. It doesn't seem like a priority with what's going on right now in the world. With very young kids, they probably won't notice that easter didn't come this year. However, when you have older kids they will definitely notice. Here is what you can do to make it a wonderful easter without breaking the bank.


Backyard easter hunt. For people with special needs kids, introverted kids, or who simply don't want to make a trip somewhere else; a backyard easter egg hunt is perfect. Keep an eye on the kiddos while they look around your yard for some chocolate eggs!


Indoor easter hunt. This is great no matter the weather outside. Hide easter eggs all around the house and help your kids find them!


Egg painting. Paint some hard-boiled eggs or eggs with the yolk removed for some cute easter decorations. Watercolor paints or regular paint can be found at your local dollar store as well as paint brushes.


List of materials to get at your local dollar store for easter:



Chocolate bunnies. They come in milk chocolate and in various sizes, and some are in the shape of trucks, chicks and more. Pick up one chocolate bunny per child at your local dollar store and save big bucks on mall prices. Your kids will still get the chocolate they crave and you will have more money in your purse.




Paint and paintbrushes. Get these at your local dollar store for a couple bucks or less. Have your kids paint easter eggs at home with the eggs you probably already have in your fridge. 




Coloring books. There are often coloring books that are easter-themed around this time of year. Pop by your local dollar store and get one for the whole family, or one per child if you feel like splurging. You can even use the paint to paint the pictures instead of coloring them.




Chocolate eggs. They come in small bags at the dollar store and are under $4 each. These are a great alternative to the chocolate bunny as you can make sure the kids don't have too much at a time since they are seperate doses of chocolate. You can get them as well as the chocolate bunnies if you want!




Plastic eggs. You can get these easily at the dollar store and place the aforementionned chocolate eggs inside for a cute easter egg hunt! You can use them again next year too, so no waste.




Jelly beans. For the kids and even adults that prefer sweets to chocolate, these are also cheap and available at the dollar store. You can put them in plastic easter eggs or just put small packs around the house for the kids to find. Yum!


Any other ideas for materials found at a dollar store? Comment below!

Co-Parenting Dos and Don'ts

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 6, 2020 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Melinda Humpherys



You might be a single mom like me, and not be with your child's father anymore. It can be a challenge to co-parent with someone that you aren't with, especially when they hold a grudge. If you need to go to mediation, I would definitely recommend it. However, if you think you can come to an agreement, here are some co-parenting dos and don'ts to serve as a guideline.

DOS

 

  • Work as a team. Come up with a co-parenting plan. Talk about how you want to raise your child, the values, morals, discipline and religion are just a few of those things. Some won't always agree, but it's good to set down a baseline when you can.
  • Communicate. If you're on bad terms, just communicate about the kids. Make sure doctor's appointments, homework assignments, and results are always told to each other. You need to be up to date on your child's life to best be able to give them a good life.
  • Allow the other parent to see their child. You both made that child together, and barring some worries about the child's safety, you should always permit your child to see both parents.
  • Make a childcare plan. If you'd rather watch your child during the dad's days when he works than a babysitter, say so. Be sure to be comfortable vice-versa if you want to ask for such an arrangement.
  • See each other as little as possible. Exchange the kids by their schools; drop them off at school or daycare, and have the other parent pick them up on their days. This avoids confrontations in case one or both of you are not happy with the other, and your kid won't beg to stay with the other parent.
  • Keep a record of all exchanges. Write down the custody schedule and keep a record of it. If the other parent starts bad-mouthing you on the phone or by text, make a record of that as well. You can use it if you choose to go for full custody.
  • Keep up with the ex in-laws, especially if your ex has no relationship with them. This way your child can keep seeing his or her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Family is very important.

 

DON'TS

 

  • Call each other names. No matter what went on in the past, you need to be polite for your child's sake. Even if they can't do it, keep your cool. If they are upsetting you, feel free to walk away or hang up the phone, or stop texting. Remember, your mental health comes first.
  • Put up with any crap. If they become abusive towards you or overall unpleasant, feel free to put a stop to it. It's not good for you or your child.
  • Get jealous. Your ex will date again, and your child will eventually refer to that person as their step-mom. Don't get jealous, and don't be mean to this other person. Be polite, and realize that you can never be replaced. See it as an extra person to love your child.
  • See each other outside of kid-related things. You don't want to confuse your relationship or re-create romantic moments that you might end up back together. This will destablize yours and your child's life. You are exes for a reason. Keep it that way.
  • Do all the work. You need to keep your ex responsible for their part of the parenting. They need to take care of your child when it's their time. You shouldn't have to provide food, diapers, clothes, etc. for their time unless specified in a custodial plan. If your child is going without, file for full custody immediately. If you're going to do all the work, you might as well have full custody.
  • See his friends. If they were his friends first, let them go. You don't need to be involved in your ex's life anymore. Stick with your own friends. You don't need to be adding more tension.
  • Stalk him. Don't bother checking up on him on social media or ask everyone what he's doing. Your child will notice, and it might give them false hope that you will get back together. He isn't your concern anymore. Focus on your own life and your child's life.

 


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How To Balance Motherhood And Dating

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 5, 2020 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Melinda Humpherys



It can be tricky to know the rules for motherhood and dating. There is no rulebook for this, and every mom has a different opinion. Here are some tips picked up along the way by single moms everywhere.


Meeting the kids. Don't let your date meet the kids for as long as possible. This is essential to keep the lives of your kids secure and stable. You want to know for sure and be certain that things will work out with your date in the long run before introducing them to your kids, so if you do break up, your kids aren't crushed about it.


Background check. Check to make sure your date doesn't have any recent criminal history, especially anything dangerous such as violent crimes, drug crimes or crimes against children. Trust me, you don't want that around your kids.


Demeanor. Make sure you pick someone who is kind and patient. You want to show your kids what a healthy relationship is all about, and how a woman should be treated.


Tell your kids. Let your kids know that you are back to dating again, so it doesn't come as a surprise when you do introduce someone. Be sure to have them talk about their feelings with this news.


Stability. Learn from my mistakes and be sure you pick someone that has their life together. Make sure they have a job and their own place. The last thing you want is to be supporting a leech as well as your children. No one falls in love faster than a man who needs a place to stay. Be very vigilent. 


Family. Pay close attention how your date treats their mother. This is often indicative of how he will treat you, and will show how he's been raised. 


Friends. A man who treats you the same way whether in front of his friends or not, is a real green flag. This shows he isn't too proud to treat you well and his friends don't find him ''cool'' if he acts like a jerk.


Listen. Does he express differing views from your own? Does he say that it's all his ex's fault for the breakup? Does he seem hung up on his past? These are all things to look out for. When you do visit his place, check to see if it's very messy. You don't want someone you will be picking up after as well as yourself and your kids.


Have fun. When you make time away from your kids to go out, whether with him, friends or family, be sure to have a good time. It's good to be out of the house, so enjoy it!

 

 

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How To Find Time For A Social Life

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (6)

by: Stephanie McEndree



Being a mother keeps everyone extremely busy. Between working and parenting, it seems impossible to find time to catch up with friends or family. So, how does anyone find time to maintain friendships? Here are some tips below.


Gather information. Make sure to note everyone's schedule such as work, extra cirriculars and more. This will help you find out when is best to spend time together when you aren't busy, whether it's just you and one friend or a group of friends.


Make it a habit. Especially with your mom friends, it's good to see each other regularly. Set up a playdate, even just getting together at a local park and sitting on the park bench chatting while the children play. It's also a great option because you're not limited to when you can get time apart from the kids, and you can do it once in a while on weekends when no one works. 


Set aside time. Even if it's just a 5 minute phone call at the end of the day, make sure to carve out those precious minutes out of your day to connect with your best buddies. It will improve your mood and uplift your spirits, guarenteed.


Plan ahead. Choose about one day a month to have your partner watch the children, or to have a babysitter. Get together with your friends and go out together. Even if it's just going to a friend's place to watch a movie together, it'll get you that social time you've been craving.


Scout local events. There are local events you can attend together with your families. It's especially easy if you live in the same town or at least nearby. There are yearly carnivals, festivals and grand openings you can all attend.


Take a class together. If your kids are signed up for the same sport, for example, you can all chat during the games while cheering your kids on! If you drop off your kids for practice, you and your mom friends can get some coffee nearby while you wait until practice is over. You can also join parent-child activities such as cupcake-making and ceramic mug painting.


It's important you keep open-minded and keepa spot in your schedule open. With some flexibility, anything can be accomplished.


 

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Time Management Tips For The Working Mom

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree


Whether you work from home or you work outside of the home, it can be tough to manage your time. Add children to the mix, and it seems impossible to get things done. Moms are expected to make a decent income, have a great career, take care of the children, cook, clean, and even have time for herself. It can get pretty overwhelming and seem impossible. 

To help you figure out how to balance your time between working and parenting, here are some time-management tips to get you started.

 

  1. Have a routine. Routines are key for any child no matter what the age, and it will help you pick out time slots to do everything. It's okay if some things take more time to accomplish, as long as you roughly stick to the routine and schedule, it will work wonders.
  2. Hire some help. If you are a single parent and work outside of the home, you may need to think about investing in a daycare, a babysitter or a nanny. If your parents are retired and nearby, you could always asked them to look after your children while you work. You can also hire a cleaning lady if you need help keeping the house clean, even if it's just once every other week.
  3. Set up an office space. For those who work from home, have a computer room or an office set up in your home you can retreat to. Have your partner care for the kids while you work. This way you can concentrate on your job without being interrupted. 
  4. Pre-make meals. It'll be easier for you to feed yourself and your kids if you can just grab a meal. Make some sandwiches for lunch, bag up some snacks so they're ready. One night a week, you can meal-prep during naptime or after the kids are asleep and freeze meals for dinner.
  5. Take advantage of naps. Naptime is when you can get some cleaning done, or even some well-deserved alone time. Take a break from work if you can, and indulge in some me-time. or get your chores done.
  6. Give the kids chores. It's a great time to give children age-appropriate chores so you aren't cleaning all by yourself. Have them help you with dishes, wipe up counters, sweep and mop and put their toys away. Have some food available in the pantry that your kids can get themselves when they're hungry. Teach them to be a bit more self-sufficient if they're old enough.
Got any more time management tips? Comment below!

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Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 28, 2020 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With the forced isolation due to the coronavirus and multiple countries shutting down, it can be hard to keep your kids entertained. Especially since many parents are homeschooling, it's a challenge to find activities to do that are both fun and educational. 


I was scrolling on my newsfeed on facebook and I saw that one of my friends from high school, Emilie, posted a photo of her kids holding a scavenger hunt sheet while outside sitting in a wagon. I told her that this is an awesome idea! I just had to blog about it. Which family couldn't use some creative ideas right now? 


The best part about this nature scavenger hunt is that you can practice social distancing, get some fresh air and some exercise at the same time. If your kids are toddlers, you can put them in a wagon. Your babies can go in a stroller and your big kids can walk. Print out a sheet for the whole family or one sheet per child, or even just write out a list. Make it a competition for bragging rights if you want. The possibilities are endless!


Don't feel like taking a walk outside, or feel it's too risky? No problem! Make it a backyard scavenger hunt. It's the perfect way to get the kids outside while also keeping them in view and away from potentially sick people. It's also easier to keep an eye on them, and it's safer for them especially in a fenced yard. Here is the backyard scavenger hunt sheet.



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Parenting Hacks During Coronavirus

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With the mass panic happening, there is a shortage of resources. It's taking a while for grocery stores to replenish stock, and when they are replenished, people panic-buy all over again. Here are some tips that can stretch out your grocery store trips even longer and you can become more self-sufficient. 


Cloth diaper. If you don't own any, go out and buy some. You won't have to buy disposable diapers over and over again, it's better for the environment, and you won't have to worry about getting diapers when there aren't any in the grocery store.


Cloth wipe. Use washcloths to wipe your baby when you change diapers. They are washable, reusable, and you don't have to worry about there being a shortage at the grocery store. You can buy some at the dollar store if you don't have enough at home.


Breastfeed. If you have recently given birth or are currently breastfeeding, continue to do so. You won't have to worry about a formula shortage at grocery store, plus you pass your immunity on to your children when you breastfeed. This is especially important during flu season and during pandemics.


Homeschool. Since daycares and schools are closed, feel free to homeschool your children. Send a message to their teacher asking what they need to know to succeed in their next grade and teach them that. There are also countless resources online you can scour. Be sure to make it as fun as possible so the kids still feel like they're on a vacation.


Grow your food. If you already have a garden, great! If not, you can buy some seeds at the dollar store to plant in your garden. Plant veggies, fruits and herbs. It will feed you and reduce your trips to the grocery store by giving you some fresh produce.


Do you have any other tips for parents to make social isolation and being self-sufficient easier? Comment below!


 

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BTW: You ARE A Single Mom If you are Married

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree




I have seen the argument over and over, especially on the internet; what defines a single mother? Coupled with different definitions and cultures, it can be hard to come up with one answer. Here is my take on it.

 

In the “Single Parent” page on Wikipedia, it says “A single parent family is a family with children that is headed by a single parent.”

 

Now, when you are no longer with the child’s father, this is always the case. Sure, if you have a boyfriend he may help you out, but the child is completely and legally your responsibility.


Marrying someone else doesn’t make them the father of your children, especially if the father is still in the children’s lives. Barring adoption or termination of rights, your ex’s name will remain on the birth certificate. Therefore no matter the custodial arrangement, in your home you are the only parent resposible for that child. You do all, if not at least most, of the child care alone.

 

Why is this even up for debate? It’s often due to jealousy because other single moms who are in no relationship feel the title belongs to them alone, and they wish they had more help with their own kids. It’s fine to feel that way, however it isn’t fine to minimize another woman’s struggles just because she has a boyfriend or husband. She has the same struggles as the others; no child support, doing most if not all of the child care, court battles for custody, late nights, mounting bills and more. Let’s not try to diminish other mother’s experiences or invalidate them because they happen to have a boyfriend.

 

The question itself is also sexist. No one has even asked this question about a man. Also, seeing her as “better off” when she is coupled with a man, is also sexist. Women are portrayed as sad or crazy if they are single, but desirable and successful if married.

 

So what is the true definition of a single mother? It means a mother who is not in a relationship with the child’s father. It’s that simple. Let’s not make it more complicated than it needs to be.


 

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Homeschooling During The Pandemic

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 23, 2020 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)
by: Rebecca Norris

Reminder: When making a schedule during this time as home, you don't need to be rigid with times! Let your child lead their own learning in their own time. If some activities run shorter or longer, that's ok!


NASA Video & Photo Library

https://images.nasa.gov/

 

Netflix documentaries

https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/blog/44-netflix-documentaries-you-can-add-to-your-homeschool/

 

Adventure Academy

Buttonwood Park Zoo animal encounter @11am

https://www.facebook.com/BPZoo/

 

Virtual Field Trips

https://adventuresinfamilyhood.com/20-virtual-field-trips-to-take-with-your-kids.html

 

Virtual Museum Tours

https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en

 

Daily drawing

https://www.youtube.com/user/studiojjk

 

Free science lessons

https://mysteryscience.com/school-closure-planning

 

Scholastic daily lessons

https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome/grades-3-5.html?promo_code=6294&magazineName=classroommagazines

 

Fluency & fitness

https://fluencyandfitness.com/membership-home/

 

Storytime from space

https://storytimefromspace.com/

 

National Park virtual tours

https://totallythebomb.com/heres-33-national-park-tours-you-can-take-virtually-from-the-comfort-of-your-home?fbclid=IwAR0iXV2V6ZR0wCbj6b0ZimMav1QRormsRR3RphZUPmymGwyp1Kyk-P4RZ2c

 

Cosmic kids on Amazon Prime and YouTube

 

New England Aquarium at home events & activities

https://www.neaq.org/visit/at-home-events-and-activities/?fbclid=IwAR0_SigFvqL2bGRlFa2BTBB5IPCrzzfpnH7lWB1NaU9cOWc3wZseQUE0Tk0

 

Art lessons

https://homeschoolhideout.com/art-lessons-on-youtube/

 

Music Lab

https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments

 

Daily science experiments

http://www.clubscikidzmd.com/blog/

 

Zoo School every Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm!

https://www.facebook.com/RWPZoo/

 

Marine Biology Camp

Mondays and Thursdays at 2pm

https://www.facebook.com/OceansInitiative/

 

13 zoo live streams

https://www.holidaypirates.com/travel-magazine/13-zoos-that-offer-live-streams-see-giraffes-koalas-pandas-tigers-penguins-more_35765

 

25 min kids workout

https://youtu.be/dhCM0C6GnrY

 


 

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Making Watercolor Planets for Homeschooling

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 23, 2020 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

By: Rebecca Norris


During homeschool, you can wear whatever you want! Yay for fuzzy sweatshirt, earmuffs and no pants! Also, we're making watercolor planets.


To make the watercolor planets, its super easy to make.


 

  1. Let your child paint varying sized circles
  2. Then cut out the varying sized circles (planets)
  3. Take a black piece of paper and use some paint to make stars (either dots or splatters) 
  4. Then, glue on your planets!

 


If you're running low on craft ideas or supplies, Michael's is offering curbside pick up!




My daughter, aged 9, made a google classroom for our weeks home together lol She's even adding her own assignments for things she wants to learn!


Take this time to be creative with your children! Don't make them sit at a table with worksheets. Watch videos! Do experiments! Make crafts! Teach them life skills! Let them explore the world through different modes! 


 

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What To Teach Young Children At Home

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 20, 2020 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree



I saw this image circulating around facebook lately. For teens, this is the perfect post. Now with me having young children, I had to shake my head at this. However wonderful ideas these are, it’s very hard to teach these things to my three-year-old. So I started to think….what are some things I could do to teach my young children some life skills? What are some age-appropriate lessons that young school-aged kids can’t learn at school? Well, here is what I came up with.

 

Babies


 

How to feed themselves with utensils (6 months +)

How to walk

How to build a tower with blocks

How to play patty-cake, miss mary mack

Teach to hum nursery rhymes

Teach how to use toys (shake the rattle, etc)


Toddlers


 

How to wipe up spîlls

How to wash their hands

How to brush their teeth

Potty training

How to put puzzels together

Teach about consent

Teach small patterns (blue, yellow, blue, yellow)

Teach nursery rhymes


Preschoolers


 

How to play jump-rope

Learn their address

Learn their phone number

Learn about the seasons

Teach emergency strategy (such as hands and knees during a fire)

Teach stop, drop and roll

Teach to set the table

Teach to wipe tables or counters

Teach to put dirty clothes in the hamper

Teach to wash themselves


School-aged kids


 

Learn which country they’re in

Learn which province or state they’re in

Learn which city they’re in

Teach the food groups

Teach the food pyramid

Teach to knit

Teach to crochet

Teach about patterns

Teach light math (addition and subtraction)

Teach to load dishwasher


 

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5 Minute Cleaning Tasks and Chores

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 20, 2020 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


Here is a pin made by mom blogger Maman s’exprime (french for Mommy Expresses Herself) by a mom, for moms. What great tasks organized per room, that take 5 minutes or less. These tips are great for homemakers, stay-at-home moms and housewives. These tips also simplify life of the super-woman who works full time yet also cleans and cooks in her household. Looking for tricks on how to get some cleaning done as a single mom? Look no further!


 

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