Category: Parenting

10 Kid-Friendly Ideas for Your Tiny Backyard

10 Kid-Friendly Ideas for Your Tiny Backyard

As the weather warms up, all I want to do is send my toddler outside to play! One of the challenges of having a 300 square foot patio as a backyard has been finding activities that will keep my son entertained (and that will fit!) in our small area.

Since we don’t have space for conventional backyard ideas like playhouses and swing sets, we have had to get creative in finding activities that my son will love this summer. Here are 10 things that my son does every day in our tiny backyard space:

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5 Reasons Why Bribes Don’t Work for Kids

5 Reasons Why Bribes Don’t Work for Kids

We’ve all done it at one point or another…bribing our kids to gain their cooperation. “If you finish your dinner, you can have a cookie.” “Be a good boy at Grandmas house and then we can go to the park.” “If you do your homework, then you can have some TV time.”

It is so easy to fall into the trap of bribing our kids, because it seems like the quickest way to gain their compliance. Parents say “it works” because it gets kids to do what we ask, but bribes can have long-term negative effects on our children’s motivation and behavior. Here are 5 reasons to stop bribing your kids and what to do instead:

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12 Tips for Babies and Toddlers who Scream in the Car

12 Tips for Babies and Toddlers who Scream in the Car

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I think most moms would agree, there is nothing more stressful than driving in the car with a hysterical child.

Ever since my now 2.5 year old was an infant he has absolutely hated his carseat. Within moments of pulling out the driveway the screaming and thrashing would start, and as a mom I felt powerless in knowing that I couldn’t soothe him. The louder his screaming, the more stressed out I became, and it led to a vicious and miserable cycle for both of us. There were times that my son screamed so hard that he would cough, gag, or stop breathing for a few seconds. It was absolutely terrifying.

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Top 5 Wooden Learning Toys for Toddlers

Top 5 Wooden Learning Toys for Toddlers

As a preschool teacher and mom of a busy toddler, I have spent more hours than I’d like to admit trying to figure out the most useful, sturdy, bang-for-your-buck learning toys. With so many toys on the market, I look for ones that will grow with my child and help him build up his attention span and problem-solving skills. Basic concepts like colors, shapes, letters and numbers are all things that can be learned through play when your child is provided with the right learning materials.

In terms of quality and durability, I have found that wooden toys stand up to the test of time far better than plastic toys. Wooden toys simply last longer and (contrary to popular belief) they don’t have to be more expensive! Here are my top 5 favorite learning toys for toddlers under $25:

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One Strategy to Make You a More Patient Mom

One Strategy to Make You a More Patient Mom

I’m here to tell you about one extremely simple strategy that you can start using immediately to help make you a more patient mom.

Have you ever noticed that some days you seem to be able to handle anything your little ones throw your way, while other days a single glance can set you off? There are, of course, many factors as to what makes a mom lose her patience – fatigue, sleep deprivation, being overworked, not having enough support (just to name a few).

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Healthy Habits for Your Child’s Screen Time

Healthy Habits for Your Child’s Screen Time

I’ll be the first to admit that our family hasn’t always had a realistic or healthy relationship with screen time. Prior to actually becoming a parent, I had so many ideas about the kind of mom I would be and the rules I would have about screen time for my kids. Because the research on screen time is always evolving, I thought it would be safer to ban it all together while my son was young.

I thought I had it all figured out… and then motherhood actually happened.

Suddenly all my ideas and expectations about screen time went out the window when the sheer exhaustion of parenthood set in. Like many parents, I was looking for a way to get five minutes of peace… whether it be a sip of coffee, a bathroom break, or anything that doesn’t involve redirecting a toddler tantrum.

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7 Positive Ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining

7 Positive Ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining

Whining is one of the most irritating things that young children do, and it can push any parent to their absolute breaking point. Kids whine for a variety of reasons: they could be tired, hungry, sick, frustrated, or looking for attention. If parents give in to whining (think, toy or candy bar at the store), then kids learn that whining gets them what they want. The key to overcoming this habit begins in the calm moments where we as parents can come up with a plan to address our children’s whining in positive, non-shaming ways.

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3 Effective Phrases to Use with Strong-Willed Toddlers

3 Effective Phrases to Use with Strong-Willed Toddlers

Parenting a toddler is a lot like being a hostage negotiator: it takes planning, strategy, and some out of the box thinking. When we ask a toddler to do something, 90% of the time the reaction is a Big. Fat. NO. Eating dinner, getting strapped into the car, taking a bath, going to bed; almost any daily task can turn into a battle of wills when it comes to toddlers. At times, toddlers are so committed to saying “no” that they say “no” even when they mean “yes.” For example:

Parent: “Do you want your eggs?”
Toddler: “No!”
Parent: (takes eggs away)
Toddler: (crying) “I want my eggs!!”

Sound familiar?

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Helping Your Child Transition Smoothly Throughout the Day

Helping Your Child Transition Smoothly Throughout the Day

Transitions, or moving from one place, person or activity to the next, can be so difficult for young children. During transitions is when we start to see small children have big behaviors, and it’s because moving from one thing to another can be scary and unpredictable. Change feels overwhelming to them, especially when they don’t have any tools to cope.

Imagine that you are in the middle of watching your favorite TV show, enjoying a glass of wine and some chocolate. Your spouse approaches you and asks you to stop what you are doing immediately and take care of the dishes. This is likely how your child feels every time you ask them to stop playing, leave the park, or come to the dinner table. Had you known ahead of time that you would need to take care of the dishes, it might not be quite as difficult to get up and do it. But there’s no avoiding it, transitions are a natural and necessary part of life. The key is equipping our children with the tools and strategies they need in order to make these transitions more predictable, and therefore, more tolerable.

Here are 8 simple ways to help young children prepare and participate in the many transitions they experience throughout the day: Continue reading “Helping Your Child Transition Smoothly Throughout the Day”