Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: easy parenting tips (page 1 of 2)

Only the Boring Get Bored–Tell Your Kids This Summer

(contributed post)

If you’re a parent, you’ve no doubt heard your kids utter the words “I’m bored” at one time or another. Some kids say it more than others, but it’s pretty common for them to say it at some point. What do you do when your kids say this? You might give them something to do. Maybe you tell them to go and play a game, or paint a picture.

However, giving your kids things to do all the time can stop them from using their own creativity and imagination. It’s normal for them to ask for something to do, especially once they’ve started school. After all, they’re told what to do all day long there: stand in line, do this equation, draw this picture, don’t do that, etc. They may feel like the same should be happening at home. However, their time at home is their opportunity to do what they want to do (within reason).

If you always give them something to do, they’ll rely on you. They’ll say they’re bored all the time. They’ll stop discovering new things that they like to do all on their own!

Make sure you tell your kids that only the boring get bored! They aren’t bored, and there isn’t nothing to do. They’re simply uninspired. Provide your kids with what they need to come up with their own activities and games.

Make sure your kids have the following:

Materials For Drawing And Painting

Drawing and painting can be quite a therapeutic activity for kids. Making sure they have various materials for drawing and painting can be a way to ensure they always have something to do. You could even make sure they have coloring books.

Something For Writing

Some kids like to write poems and stories. Maybe you could get them an old school typewriter, so they’re not always on the computer getting distracted. Plenty of pens and notebooks can be great, too. You never know what they might come up with!

Books

Books are a fantastic way to get kids improving lots of skills, from reading to listening and even communication skills in general. Kids that develop a love of reading while they’re young usually have it while they’re older, and this can be very beneficial for them in their school work. Books are like watching a TV show in your head, so they encourage imagination.

A Musical Instrument

An ear for music can be tough to develop when you’re older. It’s so much easier when you’re young. Encouraging your kids to play a musical instrument could help them to develop confidence and allow them to see what they are really capable of. Sites like Easyukulelesongs.com are designed to help anybody learn songs quickly and easily. Your kids could be playing their favorite songs in no time.

A Garden Area

Kids should be spending time outside. The sunshine and fresh air is important! Give them a place in the garden they can play. It might be a sandpit, a mini park, or even a vegetable garden they can tend to.

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5 Best Kept Secrets About Parenting

Today, I am honored to have Erica Johnson blogging for me. She is the main editor for Inner Parents and a very proud mother of two who’s passionate about the latest parenting tips & baby products. She wants to share with us (practical parents) the 5 best kept secrets about parenting. So, here’s Erica:

5 Best-Kept Secrets About Parenting

by Erica Johnson

Everyone has parenting secrets they’re willing to share. You’d think that between your family, your workout crew, your co-workers, and your social network that by the time you become a parent, you would know all there is to know. Years later, you may realize that there are some best-kept parenting secrets everyone keeps to themselves — or maybe it’s that you have to discover your own. Here are five good ones.

Secret One: Breastfeeding is Easier Than You Think

Not every mom can breastfeed, and not every mom wants to; but if breastfeeding is your choice, you discover pretty quickly what a lifesaver it is. Despite a steep learning curve, it’s ultimately a snap. Breast milk is always the right temperature. You don’t have to wash bottles. You never need to make a trip to the convenience store at three AM–it’s always right there.

Secret Two: Time Flies

Sometime during your child’s first year, you’ll swear that you will never have time to read a book, paint your nails, or even take a private pee until your child has graduated. The secret here is that when your child really has graduated, you’ll wish you could trade a few of those books or nail sessions for just one more hour of your grown kid being a little one again.

Secret Three: Kids’ Books Are Awesome

One of the most delightful treats of parenting is re-reading those books you loved — and discovering new ones. From the hauntingly evocative illustrations of Chris Van Allsburg to the glorious world of Harry Potter, children’s books are amazing, and it’s great to have a good excuse to browse that section of the bookstore.

Secret Four: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

New parents worry about Disney princesses. (Is Snow White a good role model?) They worry about birthday parties. They worry about cloth or disposable. Want to know a secret? These issues aren’t that important. What’s more important to your child are the hours you played with them, taught them, went places with them. Odds are, your child will remember that day you both built houses out of orange peels and rocks in the yard better than they remember the expensive birthday party you threw.

Secret Five: Let Go and Let Grow

One secret about parenting is that your whole job is to make yourself irrelevant. (We don’t want an adult child who still needs parenting!) To do that, we have to let our kids fail. That doesn’t mean giving them the car keys when they’re eight, but it does mean that we give kids age-appropriate control: we let them do their own homework, choose their own clothes, get that weird haircut. It’s tempting to step in and fix things, but don’t. A child who experiences age-appropriate natural consequences becomes an adult who’s prepared to take responsibility.

 

Thank you, Erica, for this thoughtful post! If you are interested in reading more parenting articles, check out Inner Parent at the link above. Or follow Erica on social media: Twitter    or     Pinterest

 

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Preschool Preparation: Everything a Mom Can Do

(contributed article)

Every mom is secretly terrified at the thought of sending their little one off to preschool. There are so many emotions flying around, and it is so easy to forget what we need to do to help them through this milestone. A few stages of preparation with your child will help them to become accustomed to the new lifestyle. It will also help you come to terms with the fact that your baby is growing up and gaining his or her independence. Be brave and let’s get through together.

Perfect Personalization

Get your child fully ready for their first day by getting together the essentials. They’re going to need a list (that is longer than their arm) of supplies, so get them involved and excited during the process. You will need to get them a proper school bag, which will make them feel super grown up. There are beautiful ranges online, such as Nicki’s gucci backpacks, which will make your little one feel really special. Allow your child to help pick out their lunchbox and clothing too, so they feel part of the preparations. The more personal everything feels to them, the more excited and less nervous they are likely to be.

Crafty Kitting Out

Start doing some DIY projects together to help with the preschool prep. You could make homemade name tags for their new backpack, lunchbox, and coat. Add a picture of their favorite animal or pick out their favorite color to create the perfect look for them. You can also personalize their water bottle or pencil case with homemade decorations. It’s so easy for kids to get their things mixed up when they start a new school, so make theirs stand out and add a real homemade touch to all of their belongings.

Lesson Learning

Try to mimic a classroom environment at home and teach your child the basics before they start preschool. Simple classroom techniques, like listening and following multi-step directions, will prepare them for everything that school has to throw at them. Even simple arts and crafts sessions at home will be an awesome building block for their creative and cognitive development.

Helping At Home

Be the best support for your child when they are at home. Once they have started school, they will have a million things they need to keep up with, and it can be overwhelming at times. Keep them calm and create a supportive atmosphere for them at home. Get involved with their school activities, such as bake sales or sports days. Offer to help out at functions and events if you can, so that your child feels the connection between you and their education. Help them out with any homework they might have, but still allow them to make mistakes and learn from them. Make sure you attend regular meetings and conferences with teachers, so that you are aware of any problems they might be having. The teachers will have your child’s best interest at heart, so work with them as much as you can.

It’s a difficult step for everybody, but with a little planning and preparation, your little superstar will breeze through their first year of preschool.

 

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4 Tips For Kids’ Birthday Parties (Practical Parenting)

KT turned 7 yesterday, so it has been a week of celebrating, including a kids’ birthday party. She has been planning her birthday party since January, changing her mind constantly on theme and activities. To be honest, I didn’t listen too carefully to what she was saying because I know this about her–she often changes her mind, as kids that age do, because their world is changing: they finish one grade, go through their summer, and start school again with different friends, interests, and favorites. Also, let’s be totally honest here, I don’t love kids’ birthday parties. Last week’s party was a result of love for my daughter and a wish to give her what she wanted for her birthday, creating a positive memory she will have for a lifetime.

So, we came up with a theme after doing an Internet search for popular birthday party ideas and themes. We decided on a pet adoption party–no worries, I’m not totally crazy–the pets were not real. Whose parents would have sent their kids to a REAL pet adoption party? KT’s friends each adopted a small, adorable, brightly colored stuffed dog, which I found on Amazon here.

When you read the following tips below, remember, I try to be practical. I was trying to do this party on a budget. I don’t have a huge house, and I don’t love to throw birthday parties. (You’re wondering if the kids even got to have fun, aren’t you? 🙂 )

Here are the 4 tips:

  1.  Kids’ birthday party invitations are ridiculous. You receive 8 to 10 invitations in a pack, and they are small and expensive. So, this year, I ordered a set of 36 dog notecards for $9.99 and used Word to create what goes on the inside of the invitation. I copied that information four times on one page and printed it. Katie and I cut out the four squares of info per page and glued them in each notecard to create the invitation. In my opinion, these were cuter and easier to read than most party invitations, and of course, way cheaper than $4 to $5 for only 8 to 10 invitations.
  2. Who to invite? This is always a challenge with KT’s school friends. We have family friends with kids whom we definitely invite. But what about her school friends? Because I don’t have a huge house and because her birthday is in late October (so who knows what the weather will be), we have decided each year to invite only the girls from her class. It’s important to be inclusive, but you can’t invite so many kids that there will be no room for them to have fun, and you won’t be able to afford the treats!
  3. My friend gave me some of the best advice: “Basic stuff is what kids like most. Play. Pinatas. Balloons.” She also said, “The important thing is that KT has fun and enjoys her party.” This told me–get into the mindset of my child. I didn’t need fancy activities or decorations or even snacks. For activities, KT and I planned some cute things to do with the dogs: fill out an adoption certificate, which I printed free from some website; dog houses, which were paper bags that kids decorated with markers; and collars/leashes, which we made out of pipe cleaners. We did an obstacle course with the dogs, decorated a cookie (not dog themed at all), and played pass the hot doggie (potato) to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” It took about 10 minutes to come up with all of this, and the kids had fun–even though it was INSIDE (Did I mention the weather was awful that day?). We sang happy birthday, ate cake and treats, and  opened presents.  I tried to make the treats kid-friendly and not too sugary (besides the cookie, cake, and ice cream, of course): grapes, pretzels, cheese sticks, crackers, Gogurt.  After all of this, the two hours (which is PLENTY LONG) was almost up, so kids did a little balloon play until parents came.
  4. You must ask for help. As a single parent and only child with elderly parents, I had to ask for help. KT’s godmother and her daughters who usually help were going to be out of town, so I asked some of my best friends, who have kids, and my cousins to help me, and they did. I definitely could NOT have done the party without them. I had 5 adult helpers, with 3 that I had specific jobs for, and I needed this many, especially because…you guessed it…we could not be outside. I had some snacks and adult beverages for them and thanked them profusely during the party and after.

KT had an amazing time, and I’m happy that I could throw this party for her. It’s fun to see her classmates and little friends with her, and all in all, the party was a success. If you have tips that have worked for you, please let us know in the comments. Let’s help each other throw practical, fun parties for our kids!

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Having Fun With Your Kids

Say what? Why is having fun important? Besides providing meals, clothing, shelter, and education plus taking our kids to the dentist, doctor, and school, we should also have fun? Yes!

This post is inspired by our activities over the weekend and my subsequent thoughts. I’m being a little silly because of course, you know that having fun with your children is important. But let’s also be realistic–a lot of parenting is not fun. Even the things kids think are fun, like children’s museums, playgrounds, cartoons, are not fun for the parents–not really anyway. 🙂 You probably wouldn’t choose to go to the pumpkin patch with  face painting and bouncy houses if it weren’t for your kids. That’s all I’m saying.

Katie just before BINGO

But on Saturday and more and more, Katie and I are finding activities that we both enjoy, that we both have fun with, and that we are doing together.

I was thinking about how much parents adore and treasure those little newborn babies up until they can walk and talk and have to be entertained. Then there are a lot of parenting challenges to face every day–potty training, tantrums, 3 meals a day, bath, fights over bedtime, etc. But at 6,  I feel Katie is the most fun ever because now she can participate in activities that I actually enjoy, and we can do them together. Over the weekend, we played…B-I-N-G-O.

We were at a small festival for our community, and one of the activities was Bingo. I might not have encouraged her to play if it wouldn’t have been so hot outside; but because it was, and I wanted a break from the heat, we wandered into the school and found ourselves in a Bingo game with prizes–food prizes, like popcorn, candy, potato chips, cake mixes, and more.  What fun! We laughed; Katie almost cried until she won a game; we smiled; we got excited; we made jokes. We enjoyed ourselves–both of us.

This has happened a few other times this summer, where we were both engaged in what we were doing, and it wasn’t just me the parent watching her the kid doing something.

I encourage you, especially if you are a parent of an elementary school -aged kid or above, to find those activities for your family right now, too. Maybe it’s a mutual game you like to play. Maybe it’s a painting class. Maybe it’s a show on television (we also love to watch Masterchef).

And I know it doesn’t seem possible to love your child any more than you did when he or she first was born. But I swear, I love her more and more every day. I just love her little personality, the way she looks at the world, her hopes and dreams, her creativity, and it makes me excited as a parent, which is what gets us through all the times when we are wondering how we will ever manage to do this parenting gig.

What activities do you enjoy doing with your child?

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Keeping Your Sense of Self When You’re a Mother and Wife

contributed article

It’s fair to say, as women, we have drawn the short straw in many respects, and there’s no doubt we have it tough at times. Along with growing, carrying and giving birth to our babies, in most cases, we’re their primary caregiver, too. And as wonderful and special as this is, it does mean that everything else in our lives can be twice as hard as we’re fitting it around our children. One thing many women struggle with after having kids is losing their sense of self or identity. You’re no longer just you, you’re a mother. Your new name is “mom,” and your new role is of a parent and sometimes wife. But just because you are these roles (and as enjoyable as they are), it doesn’t mean you have to totally lose the person you once were. Keeping your own identity is important; here are a few ways you can go about it.

 

Take Care of Your Appearance

As a busy parent, the way you look often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities. In the morning, it’s probably all about getting your little one up and washed, fed and dressed. But you don’t have to give up on yourself entirely, and actually making a small effort with your appearance is one of the best things you can do for your self-esteem. Perfect a super quick makeup routine- some foundation, bronzer, and a sweep of mascara will instantly make you look your best without being too done up. Every now and again, visit the hairdresser. Have a style cut, which is easy to maintain and quick to do in the morning. The trick is to work with your natural texture, for example, instead of shoving it into a ponytail. If your hair is already straight, run it over with the straighteners for just a minute or two. This will make it look tidier, get rid of any frizz or fluffiness, and allow it to sit better. If your hair is curly, you could scrunch through with some mousse; it won’t take long, but you’ll feel much better being well presented. You probably have your comfy “mom uniform” that you wear to run errands and get stuff done around the house; but a few changes here could make all the difference, too. Instead of a tracksuit, for example, a pair of leggings with a jersey skater dress and a long cardigan would look cute but be just as comfortable. If you run into anyone you know or catch sight of yourself in the mirror, you’re likely to be far more confident, too.

Exercise

Keeping fit is useful when you have energetic children to look after! It will allow you to play with them far more easily and generally keep up. You probably don’t have all the time in the world to hit the gym five days a week, but there’s plenty you can do. Go on a power walk with the pram, or take a ball or frisbee to the park and run around with your kids. Instead of driving shorter distances, walk them instead, and go on family bike rides. You’ll maintain your figure and the endorphins will make you feel good.

Maintain a Social Life

You might have hung up your dancing shoes long ago, and a night out with friends these days might not be to a nightclub or bar like it once was. But keeping friends is so important; find activities that you all like to do now that you’re mothers and wives. Whether it’s play dates with the kids, brunch on a weekend, or an afternoon tea, keeping those connections there is so important. There are of course other ways to keep in contact with friends too; you could use a postcard app to send any funny or sweet pictures as a postcard right to their house. You could talk on the phone, video call, or of course, use social media. But having that support and friendship group around you will help you keep a grasp of your own identity.

Go Back To Work

One way you can keep and maintain your identity is through your job or career. As a parent you might not necessarily want to go back full time, when you have children to look after. If that’s the case, how about part time? You could even start a home business or do some freelance stuff online. Either way, maintaining your career interests is a good way to go, and bringing money into the home will make you feel good.

Image source

 

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Advice From Grandma: I Am Listening

Grandmas love to spoil grandkids and love to give advice. If some of you follow me on WOW! Women On Writing or Facebook, you know that I’m currently watching Gilmore Girls from episode 1 to the reunion show (exclusively for Netflix, that takes place 10 years later in good ole Stars Hollow). This is the best show for an example of “Grandmas love to give advice” because Emily Gilmore constantly shares her wisdom and her unwanted opinion with Lorelai, her daughter and mother of a teenager/young adult.

Don’t worry–my mom (thankfully) is nothing like Emily Gilmore; but when Katie was first born, she loved to share her advice. And daughters can be stubborn–Why do we not listen more? Most of the time, the advice is solid, comes from the heart, and can be quite true.

In my case, we lived with my mom the first 10 months of KT’s life, so that’s another reason why she often shared her opinion from: “You can’t let that little thing (her grandchild) cry it out” to “I never breastfed you. Why are you killing yourself to do this? Give it up.” So, we didn’t always agree on everything…but here are a couple of solid pieces of advice, where I think she is exactly right AND I want to pass on this wisdom to you.

  1. When I had you, I wish I wouldn’t have worried so much about my house being clean.   I have taken this one to heart. No, we don’t live in a pigsty, but I definitely don’t clean as much as my mom used to when I was  younger. I try to keep things neat as possible; but if my daughter seems like she needs my attention or something fun to do pops up, I will put cleaning aside for another day. The dirt is not going anywhere!
  2. Meals time should not be stressful. My mom did not force me to eat food I did not want to eat. Now some of you might not agree with this philosophy–and you take this stance instead: Kids will eat if they are hungry enough. But I have raised Katie like my mom did me, where food is concerned. Is she the best eater? No. But she does eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and we are adding to her main dishes all the time. Recently, without complaint we added to her diet: salad, pasta salad, Morning Star veggie patties and turkey (she ate this before but she would complain). As I grew older (once I hit first grade like my daughter is now), I started eating more foods, and now I eat just about anything (within reason). So at mealtime, I give her food I know she will eat. I add foods every once in a while–she must try it and rate it, but  I make sure there is other food on the plate that she will eat. By the way, 9 times out of 10, she tries the new food before eating anything else.
  3. Enjoy every moment because they grow up too fast.  Not exactly original–I know…but it’s good advice. And I try to remind myself of it constantly because already it seems like I blinked and went from breastfeeding to driving her to school for first grade.

What advice do you take from your parents about their grandkids? 

 

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Siblings Sharing Spaces: How Can You Make a Joint Room Work?

Contributed Post

When you have a larger family or a smaller home, chances are your children may have to share a room. And while this can be a source of arguments and friction at times, there are actually plenty of good points to it as well. Young children can get scared sleeping alone, so having a sibling in the room with them can allow them to relax and sleep better. As they get older, space will become more of an issue, and you may need to move or extend your home to allow for this. But while they’re little, sharing is a great option. However, there are some things you may need to consider so that it’s a room that works for both children, who will likely have different personalities. Here are some points to bear in mind.

Creating a room to fit two personalities (link to photo)

Decide on The Color

If you’re lucky, you will be able to find a color that both kids love, show them some paint swatches, and see if you can come to a happy compromise. Otherwise, there are other options you could consider. For a really fun feel, why not split the room in half and paint each half in the color of their choice? If you didn’t want to go that bold, you could stick with white or another neutral and then let them choose their own accessories in colors of their choice. Another way is to pre-choose a selection of colors that work well together and allow each to choose from this. That way you know that both will complement, and each child feels as though they have gotten some input.

Show Both Personalities

As well as choosing their own color, there are other decisions they could make too, which would bring in their personality. How about choosing their own bedding or their own soft furnishings and accessories , like prints and art? They could each have a shelf and decide how they want it to be displayed. Doing this helps each child to connect with the room, and enjoy using it, even though they are sharing. If you encourage kids to reach a agreement in some places and let them choose their own styles in others, you will create a bedroom that both will love.

Use The Space Wisely

The reason your children are probably sharing in the first place is that you don’t have a huge home with lots of space. But with two kids (who are known for owning far too much stuff), it can be a struggle making things work in a fairly small room. The key to getting this right is finding the right storage. You can do this by utilizing wall space with shelves, finding the right furniture, and even choosing the right beds. Sites like Cuckooland have tons to choose from. If you go with a bunk, you will save space; or you could choose cabin beds with storage underneath. Instead of two wardrobes, you could buy one larger one and split it in half, which could save on floor space. Tall sets of drawers provide lots of storage without using too much floor space. Use baskets and bins in cupboards and drawer dividers in drawers–it will make the absolute most of the room you have and allow you to stay organized. Have a think about what would work best in the room, and the kind of storage each child will need. Most people will need a bedside table, a set of drawers, and a wardrobe for example.

Divide It Up

If the room is fairly large, there are ways you could create some division to the room. This is especially important as children crave more privacy as they turn into teenagers, and it gives them the feel of their own space. You could use a curtain or a large bookshelf. You could even have a room divider screen fitted. If you’re not in a position to extend or renovate your home, this could be one way to keep both children happy while you’re all under the same roof.

Creating a shared bedroom for siblings can be tricky, but if you allow them to get involved and ensure both of them have a say about how the room looks, it will be a space they both enjoy and can hopefully live harmoniously in for many years to come!

 

Have you had to deal with a shared bedroom dilemma? How did you overcome any difficulties, and what tips would you give to parents in the same position?

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Practical Moms Unite: Traveling with Your Child

So the 6-year-old and I went on a trip during spring break, and I’m just now posting about it. No, it’s not because I need to recover–it actually went quite well. But I thought now would be a good time to talk about some practical tips for traveling with your child or children with summer break just around the corner.

First, don’t go to Disneyworld. HA! Just kidding. My friend Camille is planning a huge family trip for her 2 kids and hubby this summer. Did you know you can get someone to help you plan your Disneyworld trip? I don’t mean a travel agent–I mean another mom who likes to figure out where you should eat dinner and what parks you should go to and when! Now, this is practical. If you want more information about this, send me an email, and I’ll put you in contact with Camille. (margolynndill@gmail (dot) com)

KT at Legoland

Anywho, here are my actual practical tips for traveling with a 6-year-old:

  • Don’t overbook your days: If you do, both you and your child will be exhausted and not have fun. In my opinion (since you are reading my blog, you’re gonna hear my opinion), you need one big thing on the trip (like an amusement park) and the rest smaller activities that don’t have a set schedule. Here’s what our itinerary looked like:

Leave St. Louis at 4pm on a Monday night. Drive 2 hours to Columbia, MO. Eat dinner that I packed in the car.

Go to the first hotel  and go swimming that night. (Because this is what kids actually care about –hotels and pools)

On Tuesday, eat breakfast and go swimming. Check out of hotel and drive to Kansas City (2 hours). GO to next hotel and take showers there after check-in. Walk around the Plaza in Kansas City since it is a beautiful day and eat dinner somewhere.  (We didn’t have a specific time we had to be anywhere, so no rushing.) 

On Wednesday, OUR ONE BIG DAY–eat breakfast and go to Legoland. Make the reservation around 10:30 am, so we don’t have to get up early and rush. Eat dinner in the hotel room with food brought from home. Go swimming that night at the hotel pool.

We sat outside here at Crown Center for a while. (photo by Mark Goebel Flickr.com)

On Thursday, eat breakfast, check out of the hotel, and go to Crown Center and Hallmark’s Kaldeioscope, which is free! Eat lunch and drive home. 

  • You need a hotel room with a refrigerator and microwave when traveling with kids. You should also look for hotels that have free breakfasts and indoor swimming pools, so your child can swim regardless of the weather. After a long day at Legoland, being able to eat the food I brought from home and relax in the hotel room, as well as that night just go swimming for an hour, made both of us happy and not so tired or cranky!
  • Schedule activities as much as you can in advance and look for online coupons and deals. We got an amazing deal for Legoland because I had a buy one adult, get one child free Legoland coupon from McDonald’s. We saved $18 on Katie’s admission. We also would’t have been able to get into a session of Kaldeioscope if I hadn’t checked out online first how it all worked. Many children’s activities and events have special deals for people who buy their tickets online in advance. If you are military, you probably already know that you can get all sorts of deals on kids’ admissions to museums and other fun stuff. Check out the Blue Star Family website here.

Remember to ask yourself: What is your big goal (s) for this trip? These were mine:

  1. Take Katie some place for spring break, where she and I can spend quality time together and BOTH have fun.
  2. Don’t exhaust us.
  3. Don’t break the bank.

 

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Practical Moms Unite!

Here it is. My new series on the blog–Practical Moms Unite.

Every time you see this symbol, you will know that a Practical Moms Unite post is coming! 🙂

So what is a practical mom (parent, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc, etc)? I’m focusing on practical moms because that is what I know best. But this does not mean I am excluding any of these other most-important roles. Anyway…

The definition of a Practical Parent is:

An adult who cares for a child/teen 17 or younger and who also keeps the big goal in mind. It is a person who tries NOT to allow little, unimportant, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses details get in the way of everyday living. It is remembering what being a parent should mean AND remembering who YOU are as a person (and that is not just a parent).

Let’s break it down a little!

  • What is the big goal? I would guess we all have specific different goals for ourselves and our children. But most of them probably fall somewhere in the range of: We want our children to grow up to be productive members of society as well as being kind, loving and successful people.  For example: if this is the goal, is it really that crucial to get those Troll cupcakes for the 3-year-old birthday party if you can’t afford them?
  • What are little, unimportant, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses details? Anything that causes you great anxiety that does not fall in line with the goal. These are a lot of the unnecessary pressures we put on ourselves as parents, like instead of bringing a bag of cuties and cheese sticks when it’s your turn for the soccer game snack, you spend hours on Pinterest to find a cute idea for soccer snacks and stay up til midnight making them.
  • What should being a parent mean? Again, we all have different definitions, but my guess is most of you will agree that being a parent means loving your child with your whole heart, providing boundaries for them to learn and be successful in, and fulfilling their basic survival needs. Maybe that sounds too simple. There are thousands of children that don’t get those things, so it’s not that simple.
  • What does it mean remembering who you are as a person? This is the problem with social media. We compare ourselves to what everyone else is doing. When you look at your friend list, you can pick out the baker, the crafty one, the smart mom, the athletic one–this might be you, but it might not. SO then why do you expect to parent like all these friends? How many of us have seen a photo of someone doing something on Facebook or Instagram and thought: I should be doing that with my child. But should you? Do you like to bake? If yes, great, then make a birthday cake with your child. If not, then buy it at Walmart. You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be a good parent.

I don’t want to alienate anyone who loves to make crafts or throw themed-parties. If you LOVE that, if you get ENERGY from it, then my point is you should do it. But if you don’t, as a practical parent, don’t beat yourself up over it. Your child doesn’t have to have that to reach the big goal. 

So that’s a little take on Practical Moms Unite.

What’s your big goal as a parent or grandparent?

What do you like to do with your child? or for your child?

 

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