Blog Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Sed molestie, velit ut eleifend sollicitudin, neque orci tempor nulla, id sagittis nisi ante nec arcu. Follow Along Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per...
You've laid out all the supplies. You planned out each step. You know what it's going to look like and where you'll proudly display it. And then the toddler enters the room. No matter what you do to prepare, you will inevitably face the same mistake with all toddler...
...Without completely losing your mind When you tell people you're working from home with your kids, do they say "I don't know how you do it?!" If you're honest, you probably don't know how, either. While the extra time with your family can be so rewarding, finding a...
While The Lion King taught kids all about the circle of life, explaining their place in the world can be much more difficult. These Earth Day activities for kids give us the opportunity to show how our choices can impact those around us, and help them appreciate our...
For a kid, their birthday party is the social event of the year. They spend 365 days dreaming of when it's their day. But as the time comes closer, it may become a bit overwhelming to narrow down all the ideas. Before you pick any party themes, make sure you ask...
There's something about wreaths that just make a home feel put together. You can incorporate elements of the season or holidays, and proudly display on your door, over a mantel, or - as is the case with our spring wreath - in my daughter's bedroom. It's surprisingly...
Picture this: It's a sunny day. The kids have been cooped up in the house (with entirely too much screen time) for so long, and you think you know what would be fun? If I took them to the playground. You sound the alarm, let them know the plan, and then it begins. No...
With warmer weather finally on the horizon, the rainbow craft kit is here to brighten your days. I love this kit because it allows for so many variations to fully customize. You can even split the layers to create two full products! With a blank canvas (made from 110#...
Since having kids, your dinner menu has probably changed quite a bit. Even the best eaters might refuse to even try your famous chicken piccata. So if you find yourself in new food territory, picking a complementary drink may take some trial and error. Luckily I've...
Do you write out a long list of goals and intentions at the beginning of the year? For the first time I decided to give each month a theme to concentrate on. Breaking them down by month allows me to narrow my thinking and avoid feeling overwhelmed and burnt out when...
You’ve laid out all the supplies. You planned out each step. You know what it’s going to look like and where you’ll proudly display it. And then the toddler enters the room. No matter what you do to prepare, you will inevitably face the same mistake with all toddler art projects.
What could possibly go wrong?
The paint might spill. Clothes get stained. Perfectionist children freak out that their drawing isn’t what they wanted.
Yes, these all are very real things that happen during a toddler art project, but they are pale in comparison to the true problem.
While we want to believe we are the best parent ever – and really, we are – we are all destined to make the same mistake: not letting go. As soon as the project begins, our instinct to help with every step kicks in. But we must resist and give control back to the kids.
My daughter gets extremely frustrated when she is disappointed with her art. She’ll beg me to do it for her. She becomes so upset that she quits; I get it, I really do. This is why I usually go ahead and draw whatever she is asking me to.
Does that actually help her? Yes and no. Yes, she continues to learn that I will be there to support her. But it also tells her that she doesn’t need to learn from her mistakes, that someone else will come along and fix them for her. Granted, she’s five, and it’s not like drawing a penguin is a huge life lesson, but we are planting the seeds for their confidence and personalities.
There’s another way our hesitance to let go during art can rear its ugly head. We want to jump in because their interpretation of the project doesn’t match up with our vision. If you’re Type A, it can be difficult to watch your kids to use too much glue or pick the entirely wrong color for grass. I’ve learned, as we’ve done more and more toddler art projects, that simply going with the flow takes the stress away. Instead of saying “You know the sky isn’t brown, right?” ask “That’s a unique choice! What made you think of it?”. Who knows, maybe they have a fun reason. Or, maybe that’s just the crayon closest to them. For the record, always get the Ultra Washable crayons and markers. You don’t even need to ask how I know.
At the end of the day, we choose to do toddler art projects because they’re supposed to be enjoyable for everyone involved. But when we are asked, or feel compelled, to jump in and take over, take a moment to decide if that truly is what’s best. You will probably find that your kid is more than capable of creating something wonderful on their own (even if it’s a bit more unconventional that anticipated).
Are you guilty of not letting go during projects? Share in the comments below!
When you tell people you’re working from home with your kids, do they say “I don’t know how you do it?!” If you’re honest, you probably don’t know how, either. While the extra time with your family can be so rewarding, finding a bit of sanity amongst the chaos can be a huge challenge. Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can make your life easier.
If there is one thing I struggle with, it’s creating boundaries. When your office is now your living room, it’s difficult to shut off when the workday is done.
Make your office hours clear – with yourself and your family. Let your kids know that when it’s go time, you might not be readily available to get their 10th snack of the day. Allow them to be a bit more independent – maybe that means setting up a basket of applesauce pouches they can get on their own. I find myself somewhat surprised when I see how much my 2-year-old is capable of doing without my help (although, I’m also surprised when I realize what he gets himself into without my help).
Depending on the age of your kids and your living situation, you might be able to create physical space for when you are working from home. If you have a dedicated office, decide how much access you want your kids to have. Consider setting up their own little corner with some quiet activities, or let them know the office is completely off-limits. Be clear and consistent to avoid confusion (and interrupted Zoom calls).
Find a (flexible) routine
If you’re working from home and your kids are not in a structured virtual school, try to create daily routines to maintain sanity and expectations. Decide how organized or loose you want to be with them.
I like to set up one virtual activity for the day, and let the rest of their schedule organically fall into place.
Outschool has been incredibly helpful for me to create a schedule. Evelyn loves to choose her classes (she almost always picks dancing or drawing), and it gives her the chance to remember what it is like to be in preschool. Luke is still a bit too young to focus for an entire class, but I know soon he’ll be ready. Bonus: use my link for $20 off your first class!
Set up stations
One of the best things we have done is turn our formal living room into a playroom. We don’t have an open concept home, but the living room opens into my office (former dining room). I can work while the kids play right next to me, but not right next to me.
Use baskets, tables, shelves – whatever you have readily available – and set up little stations in your home. We have a small art table where they can do crafts. A box of train tracks to build. Costumes to try on. A bucket of Legos (which inevitably end up all over the floor, and despite the promise to clean them up, somehow that task always falls to me).
Giving dedicated space, no matter how small, seems to help remind kids what they have to play with.
Lower your expectations
Let’s say that one again, just in case you missed it: lower your expectations. You will have to adjust. You will have some really hard days. Your kid might get more screentime than you want.
Guess what? They’re (probably) not going to be broken.
Let them be bored
This is my bonus tip, and frankly, my favorite. There are days where I struggle hard to find ways to keep them entertained when I have meetings and reports and tasks up to my eyebrows. I can be quick to toss them ABC Mouse, hope that they’ll learn a thing or two, and get back to work.
But then, there are moments when I observe them just sitting. Playing quietly by themselves or together. Lost in their imaginations. Not forcing fun can lead to some of the best games.
There will always be added challenges when you are working from home with your kids. But being able to be present in their day is something to not take for granted.
What tips do you have for working from home? Share in the comments below!
While The Lion King taught kids all about the circle of life, explaining their place in the world can be much more difficult. These Earth Day activities for kids give us the opportunity to show how our choices can impact those around us, and help them appreciate our world a little bit more.
How can you introduce Earth Day to kids?
Sure you can show the CBS Earth Day special from 1970, but if your kids are anything like mine, I’m guessing it won’t hold their attention like Paw Patrol can.
I find the most engaging way to teach is by doing. Let your kids interact with the nature that is already around them.
Take a nature hike
I use the word hike very liberally since I’m in Kansas and our hiking isn’t exactly top-tier. Maybe it’s more like a little nature walk in your neighborhood. Point out all living objects that you can observe along the way or make a scavenger hunt. Use your time outside to recognize how many living things share one small area, and how they depend on each other.
If you’re in the city, you might not have thriving flora and fauna to examine, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely void of life. Pigeons: they may not be anyone’s favorite, but they are able to thrive in conditions that most animals can’t. Trees: to break out your 6th grade science memory and talk about how they make us oxygen we use to breathe.
Start an up-cycling challenge
For those that are good at planning ahead, start to save all (not gross) recyclables for a week or two. Then on Earth Day, break out your favorite craft supplies, set a timer for 1 hour, and see what they create. Teach the importance of reusing rather than adding more trash to landfills.
Families with older kids can put on a Project Runway competition. Give them an old shirt, fabric paints, tie-dye, scissors – maybe even some crystals, because the 90s are absolutely back. Put on a fashion show and pick the winner.
Collect flowers to press and dry
“What would Martha Stewart do?” While this phrase can apply to help guide your life in so many ways, for Earth Day it might mean you should press some flowers. Flowers are a beautiful result of photosynthesis; share how we need the air to be clean so the flowers can grow.
As a kid, I have fond memories of turning pressed flowers into bookmarks. Once they have dried, you can laminate them to preserve into a classic Mother’s Day gift – so bonus, no need to wonder what to buy grandma!
If you don’t have fresh flowers nearby, you can get creative with fake flowers. Make a beautiful spring wreath that you’ll want to display all season long.
Build a solar system
It may seem counterintuitive to make a solar system on Earth Day, but it’s a good time to pause and think about our global position. Because this is a day to recognize the importance of our world, it only seems right to recognize how we are a part of a larger galaxy.
Get creative with your solar system! You can make a classic 3D model with foam balls, or use things from around the house. Basketball Sun, tennis ball Saturn – you get the idea. Or share your solar system by drawing it on your sidewalk so the neighborhood kids can get to learn and explore, too.
Make Earth Day a time to reflect on everything around you. Explain how small, sustainable changes – like reusing old items – can make a big difference. By trying some Earth Day activities for kids, it will become a day your kids will look forward to every year!
Do you have any Earth Day activities for kids? Share them in the comments below!
Picture this: It’s a sunny day. The kids have been cooped up in the house (with entirely too much screen time) for so long, and you think you know what would be fun? If I took them to the playground. You sound the alarm, let them know the plan, and then it begins. No matter how many times you have been here before, you seem to have forgotten the difficulties of a simple outing. Before you know it, you’re processing the 5 stages of going to the playground.
Hurray! The kids are psyched, they’re chanting “you’re the best mom ever!” And you know what? You really feel like you are.
And so the struggle begins. I don’t want to go potty. I don’t want to put on my shoes. Why can’t I bring 3,528 stuffed animals? The questions, the roadblocks, and you have begun to resort to bribing your way out the door. You offer snacks. You suggest riding bikes. You promise to bake a cake when you get home just as long as you. get. out. the. freaking. house.
You’ve done it. You left the house, you’re on the way. Everyone is happy, laughing. Deciding what they’ll do first. The slides are extra slidey. The swings are extra swingy. Life is good. You’re back to feeling like the best mom ever.
4. Bargaining (part 2)
Time is up. Got to get back home. You’ve tried to ease into the transition as calmly as possible “3 more times down the slide then we have to go.” Everyone agrees to this, and you’re sure this will be an easy exit. Not so fast. 3 slides come and go. “Ok, one more time, then we really have to get back.” Pretty soon you’re back to pulling out all the stops. You promise a movie. Chocolate milk. You start thinking what wine pairs with the chicken nuggets you said you would make. Anything. But they just won’t budge, and you know the meltdown is coming. Then you pinky promise to come back tomorrow, and reluctantly, they take the bait.
You’ve made it. On the way home everyone finally calms down and says what a great time the playground was. You’re a little worse for wear, but you feel like you have accomplished something amazing. Quality time, in the sun, away from the TV. You’re back to thinking you’re the best mom. And then you remember…you promised to do it all again tomorrow.
Since having kids, your dinner menu has probably changed quite a bit. Even the best eaters might refuse to even try your famous chicken piccata. So if you find yourself in new food territory, picking a complementary drink may take some trial and error. Luckily I’ve done the hard work for you (and dry January has come to a close). May I present my favorite food and wine pairings for toddler approved dinners.
I’m ready to pour
Cheeseburger and Syrah
Even if somehow your kid has managed to eat the cheese right off your burger how and WHY?, a bold red like a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon helps emphasis the peppery notes in the meat
Mac and Cheese and Pinot Gris
Pretend that box of orange pasta is it’s sophisticated cousin, fettuccine alfredo. Pour a glass of white and enjoy
Chicken Tenders and Fries and Champagne
Let me be frank: I could answer Champagne for each and every dish. It’s just good. But I really like it with something heavier (and greasier) like tenders or nuggets
Pepperoni Pizza and Chianti
Every time we make a (gluten free) pizza at home I’m left trying to sneak a piece before the kids catch me, or else I just get stuck with their crusts. But regardless of the state of my slice, I think a classic Italian Chianti works well with it
Can I get that info in a cute little picture?
Why, of course! Heck, you could even print, laminate, and keep it on your fridge for easy reference.
Maybe it’s not quite as exotic as you are used to, but just remember that in about 15 more years you’ll be able to get back to your favorite meals. Until then, think of each dinner as the opportunity to figure out the best food and wine pairings.
Have you discovered any surprising pairings since becoming a parent? Or maybe something that does not work at all? Share them in the comments below so we can all benefit!