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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!

In honor of all mothers

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

Author Unknown
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.

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!

Teach Kids To Grow Their Own Food

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 14, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

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!

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!

Precautions To Take When Going Out With Kids During The Pandemic

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 18, 2020 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Stephanie McEndree



Wear a mask. Have the kids wear a face mask as well as yourself. With coughing, sneezing or even talking launches airborne particles of the virus into the air up to ten feet away, it's better to prevent than to treat. Even if you don't have medical-grade surgical masks or N95 masks, a cloth mask or bandana is better than nothing. 


Wear gloves. Put on gloves on the kids hands as well as your own. Be sure not to touch your face while you have these gloves on. Discard them at the trash can by the grocery store's doors after you leave. This way you avoid cross-contamination on your vehicle and other objects you touch every day.


Social distance. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between people at all times. The only exception is the people you live with, and health professionals such as a doctor that has to examine you. There have been lines outside grocery stores before being allowed to go in. Maintain a distance of six feet between those people and yourself and your kids. 


Bring wipes. Use clorox wipes or similar to wipe down shopping carts, as well as door handles and light switches. Not only are you protecting yourself and your family, but you are also protecting others and minimizing the spread of the virus. Remember, baby wipes are not anti-bacterial and contain no anti-viral properties.


Disinfect groceries. When you get home, wash the reusable bags and wipe down grocery boxes and bags. As more and more people are infected every day, it's important to keep things clean. A box of cereal can be touched several times a day per person, so can the milk or juice carton. Keep things on the safe side and wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe.


Wash your hands. Wash their and your hands when you get home. Be sure to use warm water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. You can sing songs to help you remember, such as singing ''Happy Birthday''. This is also a great time to teach younger kids proper handwashing techniques and hygiene if you haven't already.


Order online. Some grocery stores offer an online cataloge of groceries that you can order in advance and have them delivered the next day. This is especially useful if you are a single parent or if one of your family members are high risk. 


Got any more suggestions? 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!

Put Your Kids Before Your Marriage, Here's Why

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 11, 2020 at 7:05 AM Comments 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.



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!

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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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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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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If You Kicked Out Your Gay Child, You Failed As A Parent

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Stephanie McEndree





It has been scientifically proven that being LGBTQ+ is real, and you cannot choose to be that way, you are born that way. Homosexuality is observed in dozens of animal species, proving that it is in fact natural. Transgender has also been proven scientifically to be very real, and not at all a form of illness. It is no longer a matter of personal opinion, these are facts that have been proven. 

Your child came out to you. They trusted you enough to reveal a part of themselves. They just wanted your love and acceptance. As a child, that is one of the basic neccessities. A child needs the love of their parents and to feel safe and secure in their environment. If you kick your child out of your home for whatever reason, you failed as a parent. But you especially fail as a parent if you kick your child out of your home for being gay or LGBTQ.

To those who have or want to kick their child out of their home for being gay, bi or transgender, I implore you to let your child back in and not to kick them out. They need you right now. In a homophobic and transphobic world, your child needs your love, protection and comfort. There are millions of child suicides every day, and suicide rates multiply when the child is LGBTQ. It is primordial for you to be there for your child at this time, and for the rest of their lives.

When you decided to try for a child, or to keep the child you were carrying, you were consenting to have a disabled child, an LGBTQ child, a child that is different from you. You consented to have a child, no matter what, and be there for that child. It is wrong for you to go back on that because the child is different from you. It is a disservice to your child as well, who deserves support and affection.

If you are a LGBTQ person reading this, I love you. You did not deserve to get rejected. You are who you are, and that person is unique and beautiful. This too shall pass. You can make your own family related to you by love. It's going to be okay. There is a whole community out there that will be there for you. Just know that I support you, and so do many people. Remember to love yourself, and continue to spread the joy that is your life. You are worth it. You are worthy. You are enough. 

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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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To My Ex: Coparent With Me

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Melinda Humpherys


To my child's father:

I wish you would look past my flaws and stop bringing them up. Ever since the day our son was born, it stopped being about you and me. It became all about our little boy, and we no longer mattered.

Yes, you and I didn't last and we broke up. But we still made a child together. We need to work together to parent that little boy, because that is what's best for him. Our son deserves both of his parents.

I want you to know I never wanted this for us. I never imagined our son would have two homes, two toothbrushes, two bedrooms, two birthdays, two sets of clothes and toys. I thought you and I would be together forever. I don't know how our breakup will affect him, but I hope it will have no impact since we broke up before he was born. At the same time, it's important that we come up with a parenting plan together. 

Our son is a smart, lively little boy. He loves to play and he loves to laugh and he eats a lot. He is getting so big. These years are the most precious for any child and we need to treat them as such. No matter what happened in the past, we need to stand together now. We need to be on the same team for our son. I know you love him as much as I do, so we need to do this for him.

To my ex, I know you don't like me. I know you harbor some hard feelings about us breaking up. I know you don't feel comfortable about my husband being around our son. But remember, you have a wife too and she is around our son all the time. I wish you would give me the same respect as I give your wife. Our son has four adults that love him so much. The more love, the better in my opinion. He has a dad, a step-dad, a mom and a step-mom. He is one lucky kid to have so many people he can fall back on and can take care of him.

I know you feel your position as father threatened because our son has a step-dad. I want to let you know that you will always be our son's father, just like I will always be his mother. Nothing can ever change that. In the end, our son needs everyone to get along to be happy. It's better we split up then stay in a relationship that we were both unhappy in. I don't want that for him, to learn to stay in an unhappy relationship. i know you don't want that either.

So let's come together and give our son the best childhood he can have. Let's spoil our little boy and shower him with love and affection. Let's offer him stability and comfort so he can feel secure in this big world. Let's have him feel safe and loved no matter what. Let's come together, for our son.

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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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Top 6 Indoor Games

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 9, 2019 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree


Now that the weather is getting colder, it’s time to think of indoor activities for the kids. This is especially difficult when you have young children under schooling age.

 

It all depends on how much space you have inside your home.

 

1. Bathtub fishing: Buy plastic toy fishing kits that are sold at the dollar store. Fill up your bathtub, and put the plastic fish inside. Give the fishing pole to your child, and let them fish away! You can add bubbles in the bath to “hide” the fish and make it more of a challenge to find them.

 

2. Ball pit: Buy a small inflatable pool at the dollar store, and a bag of plastic balls at Walmart. Inflate the pool and fill with the balls. Place your child inside the pool or next to the pool and have them play with the balls!

 

3. Living-room camping: Erect a tent, whether a camping tent or a fort or a teepee made with blankets and pillows, in the living room. Place sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and flashlights inside the tent. You can include a picnic basket and have a meal or snack (s’mores are a great idea) inside! Prepare a series of flashlight games like making hand puppets with the shadows, light beam battles, or pretending your flashlight beams are the same as from ghost busters. Couple this with pillow fights and ghost stories and your camping idea will be a hit, no matter if you sleep in the tent that night or not!

 

4. Blow bubbles: Buy a bubble bottle at the dollar store, or fill a container, bathtub or small inflatable pool with soapy water. For a bottle filled with bubbles bought at the store, simply give one per child and one for yourself, and blow bubbles! You can also blow bubbles yourself and have your child run around to catch them! For a bathtub or pool with soapy water, have the child stand barefoot in the middle of the pool or tub. Use a hula-hoop and place it over the child and immerse the hoop in the water at the childs’ feet. Then, lift up the hoop around the child and watch your child be immersed inside a tube shaped bubble! Your child can then, inside or outside of the tub or pool, use several objects to make bubbles like hula hoops, keychain loops, coat hangers, or anything that has a hole in the middle!

 

5. Disco night: Choose various accessories to set the mood like over-sized colorful glasses, feathered boas, neon wigs, silly hats, and colorful clothing. Plug in a colorful light, preferably one that turns and/or blinks. Turn off all other lights, and watch the lights change. Turn on your child(ren)’s favorite tunes, and have a dance party! You can also turn on a dancing video on the television or computer and try to follow along.

 

6. Play tents: Buy children sized play tents and tunnels at Kids R Us. Set these up where you have the most space; your living room or child’s bedroom. Connect the tunnels to the tents, and watch your child(ren) crawl and run with joy! If you have some, you can also place child sized furniture inside the tents so they can pretend it’s their own miniature house!


 

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