Some days are destined for failure, right from the start. Recently, life has been an exhausting freight train of cold coffee, puking kids, messy house, too much laundry, missing chickens, jam that didn’t set, and wasted time. Your days might look a little different, but perhaps you recognize the feeling of desperate, sinking overwhelm.
Now that spring is here, we’re spending a lot of time outdoors. We average 3-4 hours of outside time each day, barring rain or high wind. Especially with weather this beautiful, it’s so much more pleasant to be outside! Inside, there are toys, laundry and dishes all over the place and the kids’ squabbling just grates on my psyche. The girls seem to argue less when they have sand in their hair and dirt under their fingernails. Or maybe I just ignore the noise better when the breeze drowns it out. Either way, I know that we’re all happier outside.
The most frequent questions I hear about all of this outside time is: “What do the kids do?” closely followed by “What do YOU do?”. Apparently, in our project-oriented world, it’s expected that moms constantly organize some kind of a learning activity or game for our sweet babes. This is just not my style. While I will occasionally bring a messy art project outside (mostly to cut down on clean up), it’s rare that I guide my children’s outdoor play.
Here are my top four tips for making outside time easier, longer lasting, and more enjoyable for everyone. [Read more…] about Getting outside with young kids: Four tips for success
Reading aloud helps your child build language skills that affect their entire lives. It’s so important that experts say you should begin reading to your infant! And, it’s not just the quantity of words spoken that matters- studies show that using quality words and the interaction with your child are also important.
One of the most difficult things about parenting is coming to terms with all of your own bad habits and shortcomings. It’s frustrating when I see a bad attitude in Giggle, or hear unkind words from Wiggle. It’s more frustrating when I realize that they are only modeling my own behavior. Even more difficult is the fact that I just can’t seem to modify my own behavior and consistently demonstrate maturity!
UPDATED POST: Gentle reader, I originally published this post yesterday. Based on reader feedback, I have updated some verbiage and added some commentary. This process has not been easy for me, as it is difficult to hear semi-anonymous negative feedback. But as my dear friend Heather pointed out today, I invited you into my kitchen, and in addition to cooking and eating, conversation happens in a kitchen. Especially in mine.
Recently, Giggle and I were participating in a “Mommy and Me” class with other parents and caregivers and their children. A little boy, who was there with his parents, pushed Giggle over (intentionally, as she had some toy he wanted). His parents were closer to the scene and responded before I could do anything. Their method of conflict resolution was the same as is common with conflicts between preschool children. Since that day, though, I have continued replaying the moment in my head over and over, wishing I could step back in time.