|Posted by Live Love Mom on October 5, 2021 at 9:50 AM||comments (94)|
by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie Noircent
1. Park. Take your kids out to a park nearby and watch them play. You can even join them and swing next to them or chase them around the playground.
2. Picnic. Pack a nice homemade lunch, even just sandwiches, and eat on a blanket outside with your family. Most parks also have picnic benches you can use to eat on.
3. Pool. Plenty of neighborhoods have free community pools. Grab your family and your bathing suits with some sunscreen and towels and you're good to go.
4, Water park. Some neighborhoods also have parks that spray water so kids can cool down in the summer.
5. Dog park. Bring the family dog along and go to the dog park. You can pet dogs and interact with fellow dog owners.
6. Pick flowers. Find an empty field full of wildflowers and pick them together as a family. You can fill vases with them at home, tie them in ribbon and offer them to neighbors, friends and family.
7. Nature Park. Many nature parks are free, even some national parks. Go for a walk and enjoy the natural beauty. Nature reserves and nature preservations are also free to explore and protect species of animals as well.
8. Hiking. Go to your closest hill or mountain and go for a hike. Go as high up as you safely can and enjoy the breath-taking view.
9. Watch the sunset. Whether the sunset or sunrise, cuddle together under a blanket on the porch drinking some hot chocolate and watch the sky be painted with the most vivid and gorgeous colors.
10. Bird-Watching. Whip out those binoculars and watch birds. Try to identify or guess which types of birds they are. Even visually impaired people can participate by listening to the chirping and bird calls and try to guess which type of bird it belongs to.
11. Play games. Bust out the dusty board games or card deck that you haven't used in a while. You can also take out puzzles and do them together.
12. Volunteer. It can be as simple as babysitting for friends or family who need a break, or as big as volunteering in a soup kitchen or pet shelter. You can also organize a neighborhood cleanup. You can also organize a talent show to perform for at a local nursing home.
13. Donate. Go through your clothes and your children's old toys that they never use and pack them up. You can donate them as hand-me-downs to family and friends, or to a discount store.
14. Scavenger hunt. Make a list of items and have a scavenger hunt. You can do one while driving and stopping to find things on the side of the road, or you can do it in one single area.
15. See the lights. If it's around November and December, drive around and look at the Christmas lights. If it's October, look at the Halloween decorations.
16. Potluck party. Throw a potluck party and invite your friends, family and neighbors. You can share in food, drinks, laughter and games and have a grand old time.
17. Go camping in your backyard. Have a campfire, roast marshmallows and hot dogs, and have some singalongs. Pitch a tent if you own one and sleep under the stars.
18. Have a bonfire. Got any old wood that needs to go? Burn it in a bonfire and enjoy the blazing warmth that comes with it.
19. Try a new recipe. There are websites that come up with recipes according to what you have in your fridge and cupboard already. Type in the ingredients you have and you'll find some yummy recipes waiting to be made!
20. Pick fruit. People who own fruit trees in their backyard often have an over-production problem. Some will offer to let the public pick fruit for free. You can also go over to your friends or family's places where they have fruit trees or bushes and pick there.
21. Forage. Look up edible plants and weeds that are common and teach your kids about them. Dandelion and clover are two examples.
22. Plant indentification. Teach yourself and your family how to identify different plants, especially the harmful ones. You don't want anyone getting poison ivy by accident!
23. Bake. If you have the ingredients, bake something sweet. You can make cookies, brownies, cake, cupcakes, muffins or pie and you can make it all together.
24. Have a play date. Invite your friends or family over that have kids of their own as well. Let the kids play and have some much-needed catching up and adult conversation.
25. Fish. If you already own fishing gear, go to a local river, pond or lake and fish. Public water bodies are free. Just make sure you have a fishing permit or license if that's required in your area.
26. Visit the beach. Grab some towels, bathing suits, sunscreen, sunglasses and hats and you are good to go. You can bring some plastic buckets and mini-shovels if you have them so the kids can make sand castles.
27. Have a movie marathon. Choose a series of movies, pop some popcorn and cuddle up with your family so you can all watch them together.
28. Star-gaze. If you have a telescope, star-gaze as a family and identify constellations and planets. There are also shooting stars in August, so be sure to look out for them. Even without a telescope, put a blanket on the ground with some pillows and look up at the sky.
29. Ride your bikes. Go cycling down the neighborhood together. You can drive somewhere so you can bike in a scenic location such as by a body of water.
30. Sign up for an online class. Some are just for fun, while others can actually improve your resume. Harvard even offers free online classes, so go sign up now!
31. Visit the Fire Station. Call ahead of time and schedule a tour. Your kids will love sitting in the fire truck and seeing what goes on behind the scenes.
32. Plant a garden. Whether you have land or some spare flower pots, plant some flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables or fruit. Watch them grow year after year and teach your kids how to grow their own food.
33. Dance like no one's watching. There are plenty of bars and clubs that don't have a cover fee. Go out with your friends and have a girl's night and dance to your heart's content!
34. Play charades. Invite your neighbors, friends or family over and play charades. Guess what the other person is acting out!
35. Write a letter. Whether you want to send a letter to the military overseas, a friend or family member, do so. There are even penpal websites where kids ask to have another child to write in another country or state. This is free if you already have stamps lying around, if not then send an email.
36. Visit your city's website. They often list attractions and upcoming events, most of which are free.
37. Go to the library. You can check out books for free as long as you return them on time, and some even let you rent a few movies for free as well.
38. Watch a local game. Some practice games of college or high school football or baseball is free, so stop by and cheer them on.
39. Give podcasts a listen. Look up podcasts on your favorite subjects and find some that you are interested in. You'll have something to pass the time and you can even play it while you wait out traffick on weekdays.
40. Listen to an audiobook. You get a free audio book a month on kindle and you can listen to them for hours so you can keep your hands free.
41. Introduce yourself. Talk and get to know your neighbors. You just might make some new friends!
42. Teach yourself something. Learn to play an instrument, to knit, crochet, or another skill. You can even learn a new language on free apps like FreeRice or DuoLingo. You can learn oregami, a new dance from an online tutorial, or how to quilt. The possibilities are endless!
43. Take pictures. Memories are the best things to look back on. Take photos of places you visit, your kids playing, or a couple's selfie. Always take pictures.
44. Museum. I've heard of some museums being free, or having free days. Call and inquire about them, or visit museum's websites to see when those days are.
45. Zoo. I read that some zoos offer free days as well, or ''open to the public'' you just need to ask around and do your research.
46. Play a sport. Get your kids together and play a sport together. It can be football, soccer, kickball, or anything you want.
47. Make a time capsule. Find a shoebox and gather items you think will be fun to see years from now. Tape it up and bury it, or hide it somewhere you'll remember to check in a few years.
48. Look at photo albums. Sit down with your family and show your kids their baby pictures. You can look at memories together from when you and your partner first got together, your wedding album, anything really.
49. Host a film festival. Sort of like a potluck, but everyone brings their favorite movie instead.
50. Try yoga. Use something as simple as a bathroom mat, and look at a Youtube tutorial video and strike some posts. Remember to breathe slowly to keep yourself nice and calm and relaxed.
51. Build some paper airplanes. Teach your kids how to make paper airplanes and fly them together indoors.
52. Make paper snowflakes. You can print out different types of designs from online and cut them out with your family. Tape them to windows or to string and to the cieling for some free decorations.
53. Read a book. Develop a love of literature in your child and have them pick up a book and read it. You can read one to them, or have them read one to you.
54. Make a blanket fort. Use everything you can find; pillows, blankets, chairs, couch cushions and more! Make a big fort together and crawl in there together. You can also let your kids play around in it for a while so you can curl up with your favorite novel for a bit.
55. Call someone. Call your friend or a family member and check up on them. Reach out to everyone and catch up and talk about anything. They will greatly appreciate it.
56. Have a yard sale. Gather some items you are no longer using and sell them at a yard sale.
57. Make cards. Grab some paper, markers and crayons and make some cards with your kids. Send them for birthdays, well-wishes or holidays. They're much more special when they are hand-made.
58. Take a nap. Get some rest and nap while your children nap. You'll feel refreshed, energized, and ready to run after those kiddos again once they wake up.
59. Make a family tree. You can do some light research on your genealogy and find out where you and your kids came from. You can do your spouse's as well so your kids will have a full picture of their ancestry. You might discover some surprising things!
60. Turn on the sprinklers. Put on your bathing suits and run around the back and front yard and cool off on those hot summer days.
61. Try meditation. Teach it to your children as well and see if this is something you all enjoy together.
62. Go to a religious service. Whether you go to church, temple or anywhere else, it's free and full of community and faith.
63. Exercise. If you and your spouse start exercising together, the kids are sure to join in. Use your own body weight as resistance, such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges.
64. Blow some bubbles. Some soapy water is all you need! If you already have some in the house, even better! Go outside and blow some bubbles and watch your kids go crazy running around after them.
65. Write it down. Find a notebook you haven't used yet and start a journal. You can also make one online such as a private blog or just a file you keep on your computer. It can be just to keep track of what you do each day, or you can write down thoughts and reflections.
66. Massage night. After the kids are asleep, your partner can give you a massage. In return, you can give them a massage as well. This is a great way to unwind and connect as a couple.
67. Join a book club. They often have some in your local library, and if they don't, you can always start one of your own.
68. Watch TV. You can start a new tv series and watch it together as a family, or just you and your partner once the kids are asleep.
69. Make a castle. Grab some leftover cardboard and empty toilet paper rolls and make a castle out of cardboard with the kids.
70. Video game console. Nintendo 64, game cube, Playstation 1, Playstation 2, Xbox; they're all incredibly old. If you still have one, take it out and play your favorite game. You can also teach your kids how to play as well.
71. Make snow angels. Lay in the snow and make some snow angels with your kids! You can fondly look at them in the morning while you drink your coffee.
72. Snowball fight. Make some snowballs and throw them at each other! You can even build walls out of snow to hide behind and duck attacks from the other end of the yard.
73. Pillow fight. Grab some pillows, jump on the bed and whack each other. This is sure to make everyone laugh and have a great time!
74. Water gun fight. Grab some water guns and have fun getting wet to cool off in the summer heat!
75. Catch fireflies. Go out at night with some jars and catch some fireflies. Watch them glow in the jars and enjoy their beauty and take some pictures. Remember to release them soon after.
76. Start an ant farm. Grab a jar and fill it up with sand and then place a few ants inside. Wait a few hours or days and you will see the ants start to dig tunnels. This is a great educational oppurtunity for your kids too. Remember to set them free afterwards!
77. Attend a festival. Medieval festivals are free, all you need to do is walk around and enjoy the sights and smells. You can even dress up for the occasion.
78. Watch a parade. Often there are free parades such as on independence day or christmas. They are always free, even in neighboring towns. Go as a family, and bring folding chairs so you can sit up front and rest your legs.
79. Make impromptu costumes. Grab some sheets and use them as capes, use underwear as hats, or whatever you want! The more creative, the better!
80. Build an ingloo. Grab some of the snow outside and start packing it together to make bricks. Bonus if you already have a plastic playhouse outside, just put snow around it to make it look like an igloo.
81. Start an art project. Pick up some egg cartons, empty paper towel rolls, and cereal boxes and make an art project out of it.
82. Make a snowman. Big or small, make a snowman together as a family. Grab some branches, a carrot and some buttons to make the face, arms and nose. Add a scarf and a hat and you're done!
83. Go sledding. Grab a sled if you have one and go to a hill. Sled with your kids and have a blast!
Got any more ideas? Comment below!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on April 15, 2021 at 9:30 AM||comments (10)|
- Turkey Sandwich. Add some mayonnaise, some lettuce or some sliced tomatoes. You can customize it any way you want and any way your kids prefer it.
- Ham sandwich. You can mix it up with some ranch dressing to keep it moist and add some onion and lettuce.
- Baloney sandwich. Combined with some mustard and you have a timeless classic.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. With the protein in peanut butter and a fruit serving in the jelly, it's packed full of flavor and is even healthier with whole-wheat bread.
- Tuna sandwich. Mix it up with some mayonnaise and put it on some toasted bread.
- Wraps. You can offer your child wraps that are made of chicken, hummus, even beef or steak. They are fun to eat, and you can sneak some veggies in there such as cabbage, kale or lettuce.
- Burritos. They're like wraps, but have lots of flavor packed in them. Put in some rice, beans, and your child's favorite meats and you're good to go!
- TV dinners. It comes in a box already, and your child can just heat it up in the microwave and have a fancy dinner all to themselves! They can have anything from pasta to meats and side dishes.
- Quesadillas. You can cook them the night before school and put them in some tupperware. Put some chicken or beef with some cheese and sliced peppers and onions and you're good to go!
- Salads. I'm talking about pasta salads, potatoes salads, tuna salads, anything that doesn't have to do with lettuce. You can put anything in there and the kids will love it!
- Veggies. You can make a bag of sliced carrots and celery with some dip. Try out different sauces so you can figure out which ones your kids prefer.
- Fruit. Put in an apple, an orange, a pear, a banana, or any fruit you think your kid would enjoy. If they're younger, it's best to go with fruit you don't have to peel or cut. A bag of grapes, blueberries or raspberries works too.
- Nuts. Include your kid's favorite nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts or sunflower seeds. This of course is if your child and the school has no allergies.
- Crackers. Whole-grain are the healthiest, but you can also go for more popular brands like Ritz if you know that's what your child will eat. They can spread some cream cheese, sliced cheese, hummus, or anything.
- Meat jerky. Kids hate meat sandwiches? Throw in some jerky for a chewy, protein-packed snack.
- Cheese. Whether it's cubed or sliced, kids love cheese. You can pair it up with some crackers or baguette bread if it's a spread.
- Granola bar. There are granola bars, breakfast bars, protein bars and more that you can offer to your child for snack time at school.
- Applesauce. They come in so many flavors like strawberry, blueberry, even carrot and of course apple. Get a variety pack and have your kid taste them and pick out their favorites.
- Fruit Juice. Get them a dose of fruit with the most common drinks given to kids; there are so many different flavors to choose from and they're relatively cheap!
- Milk. You can find cartons of milk, or even small milk bottles you can give to your kids. Some come in chocolate or strawberry flavor, so even the pickiest of children get their daily dose of calcium.
- Yogurt. Drinkable yogurts guarentee your child gets their probiotics and calcium all on one flavorful beverage. Once again plenty of flavors to choose from.
- Smoothie. You can make these at home, or you can buy some that are sold in small bottles or big jugs to pour from. You can sneak some veggies like carrots in there along with some fruit to guarentee your child gets their fill of the most important food groups.
- Vegetable juice. They come in cans and can be opened with tabs just like a soda. Often in tomato juice flavors, you get at least one serving of fruit per can.
|Posted by Live Love Mom on March 26, 2021 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
By: Rev Dr. Stéphanie Noircent
Chocolate egg hunt is one of the most popular activities parents set up for their kids. It's a scavenger hunt either conducted outdoors or indoors depending on the weather. Kids hunt by looking in hiding spaces for easter eggs and gather them in their baskets.
Painting Eggs is often done with families together. Grab some eggs bought for this purpose. You can poke a small hole on both ends of the egg and blow out the yolks so it doesn't go to waste. Then, simply use some watercolors and paint the shells with your kids. It makes for a cute centerpiece for the dining room table.
Egg Relay Race is so much fun! You take some boiled eggs and put them on spoons. Put the handle of the spoon in your mouth and the first person to get across the finish line without dropping the egg wins! Kids can hold the spoons in their hands if they want to. I say use boiled eggs because even if they fall, the shell protects it and you can still eat it afterwards. No food waste!
Seeing the easter bunny is another thing kids enjoy doing. Go visit the mall and you're sure to get a photo-op with the easter bunny. The kids will love it and it will be a magical moment for them.
Easter baskets are a way to sneak in a few gifts for your kids. You can fill them up with goodies like treats, toys, and more. People often take photos of kids with their easter baskets as well.
See an Easter Parade together with your family. Take folding chairs if you have them so your kids and yourself can have a place to sit. Enjoy watching the floats, music and dancing together as a family and enjoy a good time together!
What are your family traditions for Easter? Comment below!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on March 18, 2021 at 9:45 AM||comments (1)|
- Snacks are put as #1 for a reason. You don't want to have to stop every hour just because your kids are hungry. Keep snacks close by so you can give them to your kids when they're hungry.
- Water is always needed and necessary. You and your kids both need to stay hydrated throughout the trip.
- Juice boxes are always useful, especially since kids don't always enjoy water. Give them a serving of fruit while they quench their thirst after a salty snack.
- Diapers and wipes if you have babies or toddlers who aren't potty-trained yet. However, wipes come in handy even if your kids are potty trained as they can clean hands or wipe up any spills.
- Blankets because kids get cold fast. Pack a thin one if it's the middle of summer, and let them cuddle up to it if they sleep in the car.
- Toys are essential. Try to get some that don't make noise and aren't hard so the kids can't deafen you or whack their sibling with it. Stuffed animals are best.
- iPad so the children can play on apps and games to keep them entertained. One per child is ideal if possible, or you can hand one to the child that's still awake while the others are napping.
- Cash is always useful, even coins for when you find those candy vending machines. You can use the bills in the vending machines when needed, pay for a hotel room, and much more.
- Stroller is a great idea if you have kids who can't walk yet, or they can't walk far or for long. You can go for a stroll and enjoy the scenery while the kids nap or relax.
- Changes of clothes in case the children spill anything on themselves, soil themselves, and also just in general. Road trips often end up in staying somewhere for at least a few days, so you want you and the kids to be able to change clothes daily.
- Potty is a good idea if you are potty training your kids, or if your kids are potty trained. If there are no rest stops nearby and your kid has to go to the bathroom, you can pull over on the side of the road and have your child go in the potty. You can then empty the contents in the ditch and rinse it clean with water from a bottle or wipe it clean with a wet wipe.
- Toilet Paper for above situations, your kids need to be able to wipe themselves.
- Tissues for those runny noses, tears or unexpected bloody noses.
- First Aid Kit in case anyone gets injured. Include lots of bandaids for scraped knees and elbows.
- Shampoo is of course to keep your hair and your kids' hair nice and clean.
- Soap is to use for washing both yourself and your kids.
- Lotion in case any members of the family have dry skin or just like to wear some and smell good.
- Deoderant is something that no one must leave behind. You don't want to be stinking up the car on your road trip!
- Toothbrush to keep your teeth and your kids' teeth clean. Make sure everyone has their own toothbrush.
- Toothpaste can be brought along too. If your kids dislike the strong taste of mint in regular toothpaste, be sure to bring along a tube of kid's toothpaste as well.
- Floss to keep the gums clean and stave away germs that cause bad breath. You don't want to be that person who's breath stinks up the car.
- Mouthwash kills harmful bacteria in your mouth, freshens your breath and keeps your mouth clean. There are alcohol-free types for children and for those who can't handle the sting of the stronger ones.
- Hairbrush or comb, depending on your hair type, is necessary to keep hair from getting matted. If possible, have each person bring their own. If you have any kids with long hair, bring some hair ties for them as well to keep the hair out of their faces.
- Camera so you can take photos of your trip together as a family! This is especially a good idea if you are going to stop and see the sights along the way.
- Medications if anyone is taking any. You should also pack over-the-counter medications such as pain medications to relieve headaches and pains.
- Lip Balm especially when you are going to an area that is dry, or a place you've never been before, or a windy spot. You will wish you had brought it along and your lips will thank you.
- Sunscreen to stave off those sunburns the family can catch after spending time outdoors in the hot sun. Even in the winter, apply a thin layer to the face to keep yourself and your kids protected. The snow tends to reflect the UV rays and makes skin damage worse.
- Bathing suits if you plan on going to the beach, a lake, or even a swimming pool or water park. You don't want to have to go in your underwear because you forgot your swim trunks.
- Towels do you can dry yourself after you've had a shower or went for a swim.
- Bug repellant is great for when you're going in the woods, or outside in general outside the winter months. Trust me, you would rather not be scratching itchy red welts for your entire trip and neither would your kids.
- Cards such as your credit cards or bank cards as a good backup method to pay for expenses such as gas, food and lodging.
- Passports are only needed if you're crossing borders, but if you are, make sure the whole family has one.
- Portable DVD Player is a godsend. You can have your kids all watching the same movie and it keeps them quiet for a few hours. You will appreciate it so you can concentrate on the road.
- Coats for when it's autumn or winter, if not, bring raincoats in case it rains. You want to be prepared for any scenario to avoid your kids getting sick.
- Hats to keep the sun off of your scalp and face, or winter hats to keep your head and ears warm.
- Mittens or Gloves during the colder months to keep your hands warm while you are outside.
- Scarves so the frigid air doesn't sneak into your coat and freeze your neck and chest.
- Boots to keep your feet dry as you trudge through the snow, or to wear on rainy days.
- Snow Pants for road trips in the winter so the kids can enjoy playing outside and making snowmen, or go tubing or skiing.
- Camping Gear if you're going camping so you have everything you need.
- Bicycles so the kids can ride their bikes in the driveway or in parks you drive to so they can get some fresh air and exercise.
|Posted by Live Love Mom on January 28, 2021 at 7:05 AM||comments (1)|
by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree
Depending on their age group, children can be extremely attached to their parents; sometimes, too much. There are years where they have great seperation anxiety, and that's okay. They want to be near you because they know that's where they will be safe and loved. Once they start outgrowing this phase however, it's time to start thinking about teaching and encouraging your child to engage in independent playtime.
Whether you work from home or just need a break, it's important to encourage your child engages in independent play. This allows them to focus on the task at hand and accomplish it with better results. There are many more benefits to independent play, including:
Self-reliance. Your child learns that they are able to trust themselves to do certain tasks that they need or want to do. They learn that they are capable of playing alone and spending time by themselves.
Emotion regulation. Children get to take sensory breaks from the loud voices of people, the blinding bright lights in buildings or the bright sun in their eyes, many people touching them and handling them, and unfamiliar smells. They are able to self-soothe and keep calm, lowering their blood-pressure.
Cooperation. Kids learn how to cooperate with themselves. They learn that they can control their body and it develops their hand-eye coordination. They also learn about cooperation through building towers with blocks, and how objects have to work together to maintain balance and support one another.
Better learners. Children are better able to notice things like cause and effect, patterns, shapes and colors when they are alone. Focus and concentration are key, and they are able to develop these things when they are able to have time to themselves.
Self-confidence. Kids can build their confidence as they get to be whoever they want while they play. They can run around pretending to be a super-hero and saving the world. They get to perfect their fine motor skills and gross motor skills and become more confident in their abilities.
Creativity. School-aged kids can use this time to develop their imaginations and express themselves. They can act out scenarios in pretend play, or with dolls or action figures. Kids often treat their dolls the same way they are treated, so it's also fun to watch your kids tuck in their toys the same way you do.
Patience. When you are unavailable and it's time for independent play, children learn that they need to wait until playtime is over to have access to you. They also learn patience when stacking objects and trying not to make them topple over.
Social independence. Children have the ability to learn to be socially independent, and having some independent playtime really helps to fine-tune these skills. They will be comfortable being in social situations where they would rather keep to themselves. They won't feel pressure to interact with others when they don't have to. They also develop a sense of belonging and importance which is crucial for asserting themselves and forming bonds with people around them.
Self-awareness. Babies aged six months and up start to learn how to coordinate their bodies, and at a certain age they discover that their hands belong to them, and that they to what is asked of them. With solo playtime, they are able to explore and experiment with how their bodies can move according to the brain commands they execute.
Self-help. Kids are able to develop problem-solving skills and will be more self-sufficient and independent. They will learn that they can get up and get the toy they want, and not rely on a parent to hand everything to them. They will also learn to experiment with a toy they're not sure how to operate until they are able to work it the way they want to.
Freedom. Children get to be themselves! They get to call all the shots. They don't have to share or adhere to anyone else's wishes or requests. They can do what they want and play what they want, when they want, where they want. This helps the children to relax and reduces stress.
Decision-making. The most basic of decision-making skills are acquired through independent play. Kids don't have adults telling them what to do right now, so they have to pick their own game they'd like to play and which toy to use. They also get to weigh different options and choose which is best for them.
Self-motivation. For babies who can't crawl yet, having a toy roll out of reach will motivate them to start moving towards that toy. Your babies may learn to crawl or walk this way! It also helps them feel safe and secure so they feel like they have control over their own life.
Concentration. Free of distractions, this allows for the child to focus 100% on their playtime. With this level of concentration, they are able to do things better and even learn how to execute new movements.
Self-discipline. They get to feel a sense of achievement and success, knowing they did this all by themselves with no help. They also get to learn how to be self-disciplined.
With all of that in mind, how can you encourage independent play in your child? Here are some tips you might find interesting. Feel free to pick and choose which ones would work the best for your child and your familial situation.
- Bring them to a new place. They will be taking in everything around them and are bound to take off and explore their surroundings. Babies, kids and children always want to experience the world around them.
- Make sensory bins. You can offer sensory bins to your child that they will really enjoy. You can even choose those that work on fine motor skills such as making red tape, pompoms at the bottom of the bin and have the child fetch the pompoms with tweezers.
- Give them a water table. If your child loves water, they will love a water table. They often come with wheels, toys and cups so the children can learn how to manipulate water all while having a blast.
- Offer them substitutes. If they can't get enough of your car keys, get them a plastic set they can play with, or a spare set you don't need anymore. Same with light switches, doorknobs, a phone that doesn't work, or anything else they seem to be fascinated with.
- Start playing with them. This works with an especially clingy child who can understand what you are saying. You can start playing with them, then let them know that you are going to the bathroom. Wait until the child is well immersed into their activity so they are less likely to follow you.
- Get craft supplies. Offer your kids pipe-cleaners, construction paper, scissors, glue, tape, pompoms, glitter, markers, tissues, string, anything you think they can make fun crafts with. You can even give them specific supplies for a specific project and play a video showing them on how to make that craft.
What are you waiting for? It's playtime!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on December 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM||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!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on October 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM||comments (3)|
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!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on July 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM||comments (5)|
Translated from french
A dad comes home after an exhausting day at work. He just wants to watch his soccer game without having to endure the cries of the kids or take care of the housework. But that day, his wife couldn't take it anymore and left him. Her world breaks down when she leaves him alone with her children. Here are these words:
" My love,
two days ago we had a big fight. I came home tired from work. It was 8:00 pm and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch to watch the game.
When I saw you, you were exhausted and in a bad mood. The kids were bickering and the baby was crying while you tried to put him to bed.
I turned up the volume on the TV.
‘Would you mind giving a hand and getting involved in your children's education?’ You said to me upset by turning down the TV.
Exasperated, I replied: ‘I spent my day at work so that you could spend yours at home playing dolls.’
The tone is raised. You cried because you were angry and tired. I told you cruel things. You shouted, saying you couldn't take it anymore. You left the house crying and left me alone with the children.
I had to feed them and put them to bed. The next day, you didn't come back and I had to ask my boss to have a day off to take care of the little ones.
I became aware of the whims and tears.
I realized what it was like to be everywhere at the same time, all day long, without having a free moment even to take a bath.
I realized what it was like to heat the milk, prepare a child and put the kitchen away, all at the same time.
I realized what it was like to be stuck all day without talking to someone over the age of 10.
I realized what it was like not to be sitting comfortably at the table, enjoying a quiet lunch on my break time, because you have to run after the kids.
I was so mentally and physically tired that the only thing I wanted was to sleep for 20 hours straight. But I had to wake up after 3 hours because the baby was crying.
I experienced two days and two nights in your own skin and I can tell you, I understand.
I understood your fatigue.
I understood that being a mom is a perpetual sacrifice.
I understood that it was more tiring than sitting in my chair for 10 hours or making financial decisions.
I understood your frustration at having abandoned your career and your financial independence so that you could raise our children.
I understood your doubts that our economic security no longer depends on you, but on your partner.
I understood the sacrifices you made by never going out with your friends, forgetting your exercises or not sleeping an entire night.
I understood how difficult it was to be trapped and to have to watch the children when you missed what was going on outside.
I also understood why you were susceptible when my mother criticized the way you raise our children, because no one knows better than a mother what is good for them.
I understood that becoming a mother means occupying one of the most important roles in our society. What no one recognizes, appreciates or remunerates.
I am writing this letter not only to tell you that I miss you, but also because I do not want to spend another day without telling you that:
"You are very brave, you do it perfectly and I admire you."
This very moving letter was shared more than 110,000 times on Facebook. To all the moms who have cared for or are still caring for us and who do so much for us, so much so that we take it for granted, this letter is for you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
|Posted by Live Love Mom on July 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM||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!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on July 14, 2020 at 9:00 AM||comments (6)|
by: Dr. Stephanie McEndree
It's important that kids learn at a young age where food comes from. This allows them to learn early what is edible, where to get fresh foods (such as a farm, orchard, or marketplace), and how to grow your own food. It's an important step to future self-sufficiency, and allows your children many years to perfect their green thumb and learn as much as they can. It's also the perfect way to get them to interact with nature, teaches them teamwork with you and their siblings, and teaches them patience to wait for the crops to grow.
Bring them to the store. Whether at a farmer's market, the dollar store or the grocery store, take your kids with you to purchase seeds. Show them the packages that show photos of the crops. Ask them what they would like to grow in the garden. Definitly pick up some radish seeds, as these can grow and be ready in as little as 3 weeks. Pick up some seeds of veggies and fruits that your kids enjoy and that you know you could use in your meals.
Re-use leftovers. You can plant an onion, potato, lettuce, chives, celery and garlic back into the ground. Simply soak them in water until they begin to sprout, then plant them in your garden. You won't have to buy these vegetables ever again. Show your kids how to do this and have them help you. Stumps won't ever go to waste and they will know how these foods are renewable and can be harvested many times.
Keep the seeds. For fruits such as tomatoes, apples, oranges, peaches and plums, you can save the seeds after you've eaten the fruit. Dry them out in the sun for a few days and plant them in your yard where you could use a tree. In about 5 years, the tree should bear fruit. A single tree can produce hundreds of fruit, so be sure to plant what you have an appetite for. If you live on a ranch or a farm or have a good amount of land, consider planting your very own orchard. It can even be a source of income if you advertise yourself as an orchard and pickers pay per pound. If the seeds aren't cooked, you can even plant nuts to grow nut trees.
Give a science lesson. If you want to go all out, get a soil testing kid and test the soil. Do this with your kids and show them what the results mean, and what other possible results mean. If your soil is deficient, buy the nutrients necessary and put them in the soil with your kids. Be sure to weed your garden to give ample space for your crops. If weeds are persistant and you don't mind these chemicals possibly getting into your food, you can buy some weed killers in a spray form that should kill the weed down to the root. It won't come back, but you do need to cut down some weeds as soon as they appear, such as dandelions with flowers, before the seeds get all over your garden and they keep your food from getting the sun, nutrients and water that they need to thrive. Show your kids a world map color-coded according to the zones. Show them which zone you're in and teach them the crops that are best planted in that zone. If the list is too long, tell them what won't thrive in your region.
Teach about edibles. Unless your kids have already been in the boy scouts and know how to identify leaves, show your kids which foods are edible. You can plant some herbs such as sage, basil, mint, oregano, rosemary, parsley, etc. and show your children that they are in fact edible. You can also plant lettuce, even different kinds of lettuce, to teach your kids that these are fine to eat and how to grow them. My kids just rip off a leaf or two when they are hungry and lettuce is growing in our backyard. You can also show them that dandelion leaves are also edible and can be harvested. You can also grow rhubarb and teach them that those leaves are not to be eaten, just the stalks.
Plant together. After you've weeded your chosen spot for the garden, you'll need to get rid of grass if any. Sometimes, especially around trees, some grass dies and doesn't grow back. You can transplant the grass over to those areas. Be sure to water it, as it will get some transplant shock. The reason the previous grass may have died is that the tree absorbs all the water there, so keep watering it to keep it alive. Once the grass is cleared, rake the soil. Dig the appropriate sized holes needed for the different types of seeds, and plant them with your kids. Bury them, and have your kids help with the watering. It can be added to their chores, but this chore comes with a tasty reward at the end. It also teaches them about concequences; if your kids don't water the crops appropriately, the plants will die. If they take good care of it, they will thrive. It also rewards hard work, dedication and patience, especially when it's the foods that kids like.
Harvest together. Reap what you sow together. For underground plants such as potatoes, carrots and radishes, dig around the plant to reveal to your kids the tasty treats underneath. Then, dig out the veggies and give your kids a taste. They should be very proud of their harvest. Then, rinse your bounty and cut away the bits you don't need, and plan a meal with it. Your whole family can enjoy the harvest and celebrate it's success. As for fruit, you can pick them when they are ready. I have found that birds, squirrels and other rodents seem to enjoy the fruits such as strawberries and raspberries and they eat them sometimes before they are ripe. I would suggest putting chicken wire over at least the strawberries so no one can get to them, or keeping one strawberry plant in a pot you put outside during the day and inside at night. Also, while you're at it: teach your kids how to prepare them, and some meals you can cook with what you harvested.
Plant perennials. You will only have to plant them once, and harvest them for a lifetime. I live in a 4b region, so I would suggest: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apple trees, plum trees, rhubarb, mint and chives. All of these grow very well and have come back every year (of course the tree itself stays year round). You can always do some research on which perennials are the best for your region and are easiest to plant and care for the first year.
Got any more suggestions? Comment below!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on May 15, 2020 at 9:30 AM||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
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup water
- Food coloring of your choice
- Measuring cup
- Paint brush
- Measure 1/2 cup of corn starch in a measuring cup.
- Empty the corn starch into the bowl.
- Measure 1/2 cup of water in a measuring cup.
- Pour the water into the bowl.
- Mix the corn starch and the water together in the bowl.
- Pour the mixture into the different cups
- Take the food coloring and add a few drops in a cup.
- Choose another color of food coloring and add a few drops in another cup.
- Repeat until you have all the cups with different food coloring.
- Mix the cups individually to form the chalk paint.
- 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!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on May 5, 2020 at 9:00 AM||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.
Pin the tail on the donkey
Bake a cake
Decorate a cake
Arts & Crafts
Making paper decorations
Got any more ideas for kids' birthday activities? Comment below!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on April 18, 2020 at 8:15 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Live Love Mom on April 12, 2020 at 8:10 AM||comments (4)|
|Posted by Live Love Mom on April 11, 2020 at 7:05 AM||comments (6)|
I have heard and seen over and over on social media, the phrase ''put your marriage first always'', and to put their kids in second place. Having been raised in that exact environment, I have to wholeheartily and completely disagree.
As some of you know, I am no longer with my children's father. The relationship was toxic, and I am very thankful that I ended up out of it. If I had stayed in that relationship and stuck to the ''put your relationship first'', then I would maybe still be with him. I would have taught my children that it's okay to stay in a relationship you are unhappy in, and that it's okay to be mistreated by someone. They would have learned that this is how you treat someone that you love, and it would have reflected on their future relationships. Growing up in a toxic environment like that is good for no one, especially the children. Can you imagine growing up in a place where it's tense in the air, mommy is crying, and daddy is yelling? It's not something I wanted for my children, nor for myself. They say, happy mom, happy baby. So I did what I had to do, and I let go for good.
Now, having grown up in an area where my parents prioritized their marriage, I felt second-best during my highest moments. My dad made it clear that my mom was more important to him than me, his own flesh and blood. I remember crying to my grandmother about it. I remember feeling like, no matter what anyone did or what happened, they would stay together. And I was right.
My father started hitting me. My mom, prioritizing her marriage over her kids, stayed in the marriage that entire time. She never left him, she never called therapists or child protective services for help, never even came to comfort me when he was done. She just let it happen. It has affected me very negatively. I harbor a lot of anger not only against my father, but against my mother for not protecting me or leaving. She should have taken me and left. But she loved him too much, and was financially dependent on him. And she learned to put her marriage before anything because in the end, when the kids left the nest, she probably didn't want to be alone. She probably figured she was spending the rest of her life with my father, not me.
Now as women we are raised that divorce is for losers, that we have to stay in a marriage no matter what. We are accused of not trying hard enough, of giving up too easily, that we should stay for the good of the children. As women are raised and conditioned to believe that being married and staying married is the ultimate goal, men are getting better and better at hiding their abusive tendencies. They wait until after the wedding to show signs of abuse, or they wait until the woman is pregnant, or he has alienated her family and her friends away so she is isolated and completely dependent on him. It's a gradual process, and it is a vicious circle. Women who have been raised in an abusive household will more than likely end up with someone toxic.
I decided to break the cycle. I want better for my children, and I will keep that mentality the rest of my life. Because in the end, could you live with your children hating you? Your children will most likely outlive your spouse, and they are the ones who will take care of you when you get old. They are all that will be left of you when you are gone. Do you really want to send them out into the world with emotional baggage already? You can get a new lover or partner anytime, but you can never replace your child.
My advice to you, as someone who was raised in an abusive household and someone who had children with someone that was abusive towards me; put your kids first. At the first sign of foul play towards you or your children, run and never look back. Do it for yourself as well as your kids. You and your children deserve to be loved, happy, and most of all safe. Make the right decision.
|Posted by Live Love Mom on April 10, 2020 at 6:55 AM||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!
|Posted by Live Love Mom on April 6, 2020 at 9:30 AM||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.
- 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.
- 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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|Posted by Live Love Mom on April 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM||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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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|Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 10:30 AM||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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|Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 2:05 AM||comments (118)|
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