Moonday! (This year in homeschool preschool…)

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Last school year I was a little obsessed with educating my child. I felt like I needed to spend every moment of his life educating him, but not always on the important things. I was working so hard to “make” him learn his letters, colors, etc… Yeah, I was terrible. Totally not age appropriate first of all, and planning things for him to learn truly bored him. He’d be interested in something else, so the things I wanted to teach him… well he couldn’t stay focused, and got very frustrated with me, which makes total sense. This year, I wiped that crazy board clean and decided to 100% follow his lead.

The first thing I decided to do was set up a “classroom” so that he would have a place to go to focus, and we could still do normal preschool activities like go over the calendar, read books, sit for puzzles, and go over our letters and numbers. These aren’t going to be forced things, but they are available, and if he chooses to do them himself, great! He often does. He loves puzzles, he loves matching games, and he is actually really interested in putting letters together and finding different letters out of a set. Part of the problem last year was that our schedule was always set, I would force him through the activities, and we would be in the living room or kitchen which was set up for other things as well. This year he will have a learning sanctuary that is his choice. It’s also a good way to keep all of his craft supplies, sensory buckets, and blocks in one place.

Now the next thing I did was realize that he had to already be interested in what I wanted to teach, so I decided that every Saturday we’d talk about the things he likes. Trees, weather, space, the ocean, firemen… whatever it may be, is what we will focus. Which leads me to…

Moonday! Last week Caleb let me know that he thought the moon was really awesome. I turned that into a whole week of learning about the solar system, but all he really wanted to learn about/play about was the moon and stars, which is completely understandable since he can actually see and somewhat understand them. At the daycare I work at, I did Moonday (Monday) with all of them, and want to share how it went with you all.

We started when I got there learning about gravity and the difference between gravity on Earth and the moon. We did this in a very simple way. I brought a bunch of Styrofoam balls and asked the kids to each grab a regular rock. We talked about how those rocks, Earth rocks, were heavy. Then I explained that on the Moon they would feel more like the Styrofoam balls and be very light. We played “moon rock toss” and tried to get the balls into a bucket.

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Next was snack time! Let me just add, this was delicious, and it’s my new favorite snack… We started with a rice cake base, smeared with cream cheese, layered with banana pennies and some little pieces of kix. One of our kiddos couldn’t have the cheese, so we used sun butter on her’s instead of the cream cheese, but it still looked really great.

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Then, I had each of the kiddos make their own telescope. I had prepped this activity so that the kids would each have a different color telescope, and wouldn’t have to spend the time painting. Instead they just each got a sticker sheet of stars to decorate the way they would like to.

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From there we went over to the rug and had a blast with this sensory bucket I set up for them. First of all, the bucket itself has a spot for each of the kids to set their wrist so they aren’t fighting for a spot or pushing one another, which I thought was great and a super bonus. Then I stuck on some star stickers, poured two bags of black beans in, added some of the white beans, about 15 glow in the dark stars, clear stones (because space is cold and full of ice!), and these awesome astronaut, ufo, spaceships, and jet erasers that I got at the Dollar Tree. Each child was assigned a different thing to find, and then they were able to just explore freely. They were so wonderfully focused on this bucket, it was a great time to call them over one by one for the big craft of the day…

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These were so much fun, and showed the personality of all of the kiddos. Just looking at them the other teacher and I knew exactly who made what. First each kiddo painted the back ground with their chosen combo of blue and purple. One little girl’s favorite color is blue, and only used blue. Caleb loved mixing colors, so used more purple than the others, because he likes swirling the two paints together. Then they each picked a glitter to sprinkle over the paint before it dried. After it all was dry, they got to glue on five of the glow in the dark stars and a cardboard moon however they wanted. I had painted the moons in an attempt to save time. We have such a limited amount of time the kids can stay sitting, that sometimes we just can’t let them do every part of a craft alone, sadly. Lastly I trimmed up to edges, and these lovely crafts were finished!

Along with these activities we used the sunlight to show how the moon rotates to make different phases, goes around the sun, and the size with little models of the Earth and moon I painted. We sang songs, pretended to be astronauts, and learned the sign for moon and stars. It was an excellent day of learning, play, and creativity, and it was all influenced by Caleb’s love for the moon and stars.

Trust your kids. They will learn if we follow their lead. I’m so incredibly sure of that. You can learn the alphabet during fun activities, you can help them learn their name using sensory boards, themed puzzles, and songs… Children learn through play. When you take the play away is when the learning stops. Trust your kids.

You Are Loved!

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Personal Comfort and Full Term Breastfeeding

10341476_10204002812850433_3854694459968414088_n^^ Joyce, a fellow full term breastfeeding supporter and friend of mine. ^^

Breastfeeding until your child wants to wean is wonderful. It’s this great bond between mother and child, helps their health, and it’s great for most moms as well. The reality though is that not EVERY mother feels this way. Some moms work really hard to nurse for even the first six months because they feel so uncomfortable. They don’t feel relaxed or comfortable with having another human sucking on their breasts. It’s not something that nature or normality is going to change. That’s okay. You tried and even breastfeeding one day is better than not breastfeeding at all.

What I want to talk about though, is what happens when your child is old enough to understand and tell you they want the boob, but you aren’t as comfortable anymore. Mayim Bialik, one of my favorite attachment parenting role models, mentioned that breastfeeding doesn’t work when either party is uncomfortable. She nursed full term with both of her children but it was on her terms and there is nothing wrong with that. When you nurse and feel uncomfortable you end up stressing. That stress gets passed onto your child and you both end up frustrated. There is no point in nursing by then if it’s just going to hurt your bond. Take a step back, think of what is best for you both, and go with it.

On the other hand, don’t let others make this decision for you. I have a friend who really loved nursing her two year old. Other than me, who only has a nine month old, gave her support on the situation though. Because of this, she decided to wean. We were talking about it just the other day and she really regrets and misses it. Her daughter seems fine with it and there has been no real change there, but personally she wishes she was still nursing. This is a very personal decision. The benefits of breastfeeding don’t just disappear at two years. There is no medical reason to stop. The only ones who can make the decision is you and your baby.

If you every need support, please feel free to message me.

My email is sami.jordynn@gmail.com or you can message me on facebook and twitter.

I am here for you to answer any of your questions.

Thank You for Reading!

How to Not Raise a Princess (or in my case, Prince)

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^^ My Friend’s ADORABLE 13 month Princess ^^

Children do not spoil, food does. That doesn’t mean you can’t accidentally entitle children causing them to believe the world revolves around them and that they will always get exactly what they want. Here are three easy steps to avoiding this.

1) Don’t make your child share and don’t let them expect other children to share with them. I went on a play date recently and Caleb’s friend, who is two and a half, was playing with a doll. Caleb wanted it and went to grab it from her. Her mother jumped to tell her to share and I said no. Don’t worry about it. It’s her’s. I don’t want Caleb to think that just because he wants something, he will get it. That isn’t how life works. You don’t get a car that belongs to someone else just because you want it. There were plenty of other toys so I just redirected him and he was fine. She was a happy little girl because her toy, that belongs to her, wasn’t taken away from her. She was already sharing all of her other toys and that is going above and beyond to be gracious in my mind. I wouldn’t want my one special thing taken away either.

2) Don’t be afraid to say no. I know, shocking after my introducing the idea of no post. It’s true though. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down. Times for that are like when you’re in a store. If your child is screaming for a cookie, and they’ve already had enough sugar, tell them no. Don’t reward screaming and disrespect. Instead, because we all know that the screaming doesn’t stop just because you say no, redirect. I talk about it again and again. Offer something healthy if you can afford it. Oh look at this super awesome apple. Honey you can pick out something yourself if you want but it can’t be a cookie and you can’t eat it right now. This way, their want is understood but you are leading to a better decision.

3) Money is not the only thing that makes a child happy and more over it shouldn’t be the main source of their happiness. Sadly, so many parents use money to stop crying and to make up for lost time. That’s the best way to make a child spoiled because they will forever need more to fill a much more important spot in their life. Kids don’t naturally want stuff. They just want you! The more QUALITY you time they have the less material items will mean. This means that even if you work, the time you have with them matters. Cuddling, talking, asking questions, can make your child feel loved and wanted and that need for things doesn’t even come up.

 Thank You for Reading and Good Luck My Lovely Readers

Music is an Amazing Tool

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A woman named Sharon Novak, who is a children’s song writer and performer, post a great article on her website that inspired me. Her article was about the value of group music classes for toddlers. I will link to her post at the end but I’m writing today because I’ve been inspired. Music has a great teaching value on Toddlers, but also has an amazing affect on milestones for babies.

The picture above is a great example of this. Corey sat on one side of the bongo, Caleb on the other, and Corey would hit his side. After watching his daddy made the sounds, Corey would copy him. He was still so little then and it helped him learn how to use his hands. It was a real cause and effect and a great bonding moment for them as well.

Even from birth music helps with the littlest, most important things. There was this amazing study done on premature babies. When given a pacifier it would activate lullabies to be played. They would calm considerably. These babies that were played the music had an even more amazing result though. They began to gain weight much quicker than their NICU counterparts.

Playing music has been shown to improve math skills. The best time to try getting a person into learning something new is when they are a baby and their interests are just now being developed. This can be as simple as a toy guitar or drum. It’s something to make them interested in learning the real thing in the future.

Another bonus is speech development. Lullabies are great because they often show simple rhyming patterns and have a lot of repetition. Like with anything, repetition is the way to learn how to speak. When a child hears the word moon over and over they start trying to say this interesting and wonderfully sung word. I personally learned how to sign through songs. I would pick a song, learn the signs to it, and later I’d remember the signs because of the song. It’s like learning a dance. It’s always easier with the music.

The real point is, bring music into your baby’s life. It can be a great way to bond and soothe your child. Caleb HATES being on changing tables. Sometimes in public we have to use them. The only way I can keep him calm is by singing Let it Go. He will smile up at me and I can get the job done.

Thank You for Reading!

http://www.musicforkidswithsharonnovak.com/news-from-sharon/the-value-of-group-classes-for-toddlers/

Peacefully Disciplining a Toddler

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^^ My Friend’s Adorable Three Year Old ^^

Today I was asked by someone on another site, “How Do You Discipline Toddlers?” I’m sure you all know that I don’t have one but what you don’t know is that I have a pretty good answer and many good role models to help me answer this question. No matter what age, this is a good way to look at it, but toddlers bring a whole different factor in, and that is their inability to understand that they are doing anything wrong.

Between the ages of two and four the main thought process a toddler has is based on discovery. Cause and effect play into a lot of what they do. If they wear this outfit, crazy as it is, they thought it was pretty and people will applaud them for it. This helps develop their ability to make decisions but their bases on that decision is impulse versus background knowledge. They don’t consider that pink and purple go well together because they are complimentary or considered girly. They simply see it, think ooo pretty, and put it on.

This goes right along with them “misbehaving.” I can’t use the words “being bad.” No child is bad. Children do not mean to give us a hard time, they simply have a hard time themselves. There are only so many words they can use to describe their feelings and needs and this often produces a lot of frustration. One way to get that frustration out is by “acting out” in their own way which can show in a tantrum or doing an action they have been told not to just to get your attention.

Rather than telling these children, who have feelings and just want your love and attention, that they are bad, the absolute best way to remedy a situation is to redirect. If they are throwing a fit ask them why. Try to understand what the problem is. Ask questions. Are you hungry? Are you hot? Are you tired? Is there a different game you would like to play? Children often get overwhelmed trying to figure out what they want so if you give them options at least they have a base to try to explain what is going on with them. If this doesn’t work and they continue having a hard time, it is your job to make the decision for them to do something else. Set them up with something fun. Completely ignore what they were doing before and show them something productive and fun that they can do instead.

Something I’ve seen work wonders is the “Relaxing Jar.” You take a mason jar, fill it with water, a bunch of glitter glue, regular glitter in different sizes and shapes, and a squirt of food coloring. These work instead of time outs. They are not a punishment. They are a way to let the child chose to calm themselves down. You let them hold the jar and turn it upside down. Ask them to watch the glitter fall from one side all the way to the bottom. It’s amazing how quickly the child will get focused on it and forget there even was a problem. I’d say this is a last choice for me because I’d prefer to fix the situation and validate the child rather than just distract them but whatever works for you instead of getting mad is great.

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Once your child is older you can restrict things. They will be old enough to understand why you are doing it. At the toddler age though, the only thing taking away their property does or putting them in a corner does is create resentment. They aren’t thinking, oh I did this so now I’m in trouble. They are simply thinking, mommy and daddy are mean. This makes them much less likely to want to come to the parent when they do need help because they don’t trust they are going to get what they need or the respect/validation they crave.

So, take some time to help your child work through their troubles instead of putting on the dictatorship hat. It will benefit you both by removing the frustration from the situation. Kids are not out to manipulate or hurt you. They are so much more innocent than that. They are just learning how to act, so give them a good role model to learn from.

Thank You for Reading!

 

Cry it Out? No Thank You!

cioThis is one post when I have to admit, I am judging you if you do use the cry it out method. I’ll be honest. I’m 100% against it. There are zero positives in support of it. On the other hand there are a billion reasons why you shouldn’t use it and there are many other ways to soothe a baby in a healthy and supportive way that helps build confidence rather than making them miserable.

I’ve talked about my son being confident. He is held, coddled, breastfed, worn, and shown love whenever he needs it. When he would “fuss” before a nap or when he’s tired I would rock him and soothe him. Then, he’d go to sleep. Why would he not fight it? Because I didn’t force him to. I didn’t say, I’m the parent and the boss and you have to sleep right at this moment so I’ll make you stay in here alone to cry which does nothing but upsets you more and lose trust in me knowing I wont come give you the soothing you are begging for. Instead, because I would go to my fussing child, who like any baby knows that mommy or daddy is the most important person in their life, he realized that he could trust me to make him feel better. A baby’s natural instinct is to need mom and dad. They aren’t being bad. They don’t know any better and why would they? They spent the first nine months of their life inside of mom. Why would they know the outside would be any different? They wouldn’t. My son knows that he can go off and play but if he is hungry or tired his needs will be met right away because I’ve gained that trust and through it he has gained the confidence to not need to be in my arms 24/7. He doesn’t have to fight for it so doesn’t seem so needy.

Here on the other hand are a few of the terrible affects Cry it Out can have on a child:

1) Science has proven that excessive crying causes blood pressure to rise causing the blood to flow slower through the brain and make it so much harder to breath for the child permanently. Science also shows that parents who use the CiO method are 10x more likely to have children that develop ADHD.

2) The emotional and physical development can be stunted making it harder for them to become independent people.

3) The saddest in my opinion, is that although the crying may eventually stop, it isn’t because the needs or problem have been resolved. The crying stops because baby has given up hope. All this does is create a distant child who isn’t close with their parents.

4) There is no parent child trust relation. The child is less likely to come to the parent in time of need. This includes when they are a teenager in danger of going down the wrong path.

5) When you don’t respond to cries the child becomes less self assured. This has been shown to stop them from becoming more out going, creative, popular, and well-adjusted people.

6) Half of the time, it doesn’t work at all. The baby will just keep going, crying on and on, creating much more stress for everyone involved.

7) Even if it “works” it isn’t a permanent fix. Parents have to do it again and again, listening to their child suffer over and over.

8) Children have the same feelings we do. Just because we think they wont remember ten years from now doesn’t mean those feelings of abandonment wont hurt them over time.

9) Something terrifying is that the rate of SIDs goes up with cry it out families. Due to the crying causing stress and trauma, children often fall into a deeper sleep and stop breathing. Not only are they in their own sleep space where you risk not catching it, but it’s much more likely to happen.

Now, I understand that not everyone is going to co-sleep. I understand not everyone will find their grove. But please, don’t let your baby cry it out. There is no benefit. It is completely unnatural and it’s a real way to torture your child with. I can tell you first hand that the CiO method does not work the way so many people believe it does. Instead it makes life harder in all aspects. You will have a fussier, less energetic and confident child on your hands. Just give the peaceful approach a try. I know you have things you have to get done and that nap and bed time can be important, but over all shouldn’t your child come first?

Thanks for Reading Everyone. Let Me Know What You Think.

5 Great Extra Bonuses of Breastfeeding

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Most of us know about the obvious benefits like healthy and how easy it is… here are another five that seem like a “Christmas Bonus” to me.

1) The Milk Drunk Face- Who can resist the half closed eyes and smirk after a good belly filling?

2) Not having to carry around an entire cooler of purified water/baby food.

3) The endorphins released in the mummy’s body are better than any anti depressant/anxiety on the market.

4) It’s a great excuse to sit down and relax instead of cleaning.

5) There is no better way to bond with and comfort your baby, especially when they are fussing because daddy had to go to work!

Thanks for Reading Lovelies!

“When Are You Going to Give Him Real Food?” – The Question that Doesn’t Stop

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I hear it pretty much every time I nurse my LITTLE man in public. People always assume that all I do is give him the boob and in a way they are right. What they are wrong about is my almost nine month old needing to eat solids the same way we do.

Breast Milk has every single nutrient that your baby needs. This includes iron. This includes Vitamin D. Even though doctors will tell you, without testing your little bundle of joy, that they need to supplement those vitamins, they are incorrect. Breast Milk will always be the most complete source of nutrients that you can give your child. More over, the WHO recommends that you breastfeed for a minimum of two years. That means, don’t stop at one. Don’t even stop at two. Just go as long as you can. Once they start loosing teeth then you really do have to stop or the sugar in your milk will rot their teeth. Other than that though, feel free to nurse your child.

The thing is though, I didn’t want to force food on my child. On the other hand, Caleb loves food. So yes, I don’t take out a jar of baby food wherever we are to feed him. Even if I did, Caleb wouldn’t eat it. He hates Purees now. If I am eating in public then my son will eat whatever we eat. I hand him some, he does what he can with it, and we call it good. If we are eating dinner at home, he gets his own portion. He’s constantly eating. It’s our choice though to have the boob always come first. Until my son turns one, or maybe a little longer, I’ll be giving him my booby milk as his main source of food. That is my choice.

You all have a choice as well. You could feed your child every meal and use baby food and what not. That’s okay too. It’s what you and your child are comfortable with. We are comfortable with the way we do it and it’s just one more way for us both to be comfortable.

Thank You for Reading!

The Forced Stay at Home Mummy

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About two weeks ago a friend of mine (who along with her family is pictured above) posted a link on Facebook about being forced into being a stay at home mom. It really got me thinking and sympathizing. This isn’t something I have to worry about. It’s not something that affects my family but for so many people, not just moms, it really can be hard on them.

For me, I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom and luckily have a man behind me that wants that as well. When people ask me why I don’t work sometimes I lie. I’ll tell them that it is more cost effective, that we can’t afford child care, that I’d only make enough to pay for day care and what’s the point of that. Even though for me it’s really just an excuse to spit out for the more judgmental people, for a lot of women it’s the truth.

On average in America day care costs around $200 a week. The average pay check for a WOMAN, yes this is specifically for a woman because we are still paid less than men, for a part time job is $225. By the time you pay for transportation to and from work and day care, extra snacks, possibly formula, and clothes that extra $25 is more than spent. In fact, you might just be in the negative. Because of this there is a shocking amount of mothers being forced to stay home.

Then someone brought up state assistance. It’s hilarious how many people insist that if you’re broke enough to not afford child care you will get assistance. The issue is that the state doesn’t just look at mom’s income. Dad could be making $450 every two week and that small amount of money would disqualify you from state assistance. So lets look at that. $750 for rent, and you’re making $900 a month. $100 for heat and electric. $50 for food, transportation, paper products… there is no extra money. So of course this leaves it up to the mother to stay home at least until the child goes to school; or never if you’re homeschooling like me.

This is the part that I really had to think about though. Why wouldn’t someone want to be a stay at home mom? Well, that was a dumb question for me to be asking. Just because this is what I love to do, even I need a break sometimes. Some days when my son goes down for a nap, if his dad is here, I’ll go for a walk. An hour is long enough for me to clear my head and feel like an adult again but some people really need more than that and they need to feel like what they are doing is more. Working a job, especially one you’ve spent so much time going to school for, is what some people are meant to do. I’d rather mothers go to work and put their children in day care so that they have the calm and patience to come home to these kids and really get the most out of them. I’ve had cousins who I really wished would go to work and let someone more qualified raise their children.

I’m not saying that all the moms who want to work are not ready for kids constantly or bad moms or anything like that. I’m just saying that sometimes when you get your choices taken away it can put a huge strain on you. When you once had all the ambition in the world to do this specific job or go to school and that choice is taken away, some resentment is going to build up one way or another. That’s an unfortunate truth of today’s economic circumstances.

Thank You as Always for Reading! Tell Me What You Think!

Why Are You Touching My Child?

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Don’t you just hate that? You take your precious bundle of joy out and all of a sudden it’s like the world just wants to poke and prod him.

Oh he’s so cute, let me put my nasty hands all over his hands that in about two seconds will be in his mouth to show you I find him cute.

No, just no. Even worse to me, this one time a really strange lady came up to us in the library smelling like cigarettes and instead of touching Caleb started touching his toys! Like at least when people touch him I can wipe him down, but she was touching his teething toy that is fabric and I can’t exactly just wipe that down. People for some reason feel like they have every right to touch our children. Why is this? Would you just randomly walk up to an adult and start playing with their hand? No. You wouldn’t. You would have more respect for them and if you really for some reason wanted to touch them, hopefully, you would ask. So why doesn’t our children get that respect?

My son has shown again and again that he has no interest in being touched by a stranger. He pulls his hand or feet back or even pushes them away. It amazes me when the person will try again! I usually pick him up and walk away at that point because as always, my son comes first. My son has been very healthy so far and I wouldn’t want someone else to risk that. This includes other children. Parents have given me death stares when I stop their children from touching him. The reality is though that I have every right to keep my child safe not just physically but emotionally. He gets mad when strangers try to touch him before he has the time to get used to them. He shouldn’t be forced to let them touch him. That takes the trust he has in me and buries it.

So, next time you see a child, don’t touch them without their permission!

Thanks for Reading!