If I get one more holiday shopping email! Even my website hosting company is trying to promote some 12 days of christmas buying spree. I have officially had enough of companies trying to convince me to buy buy buy. So I loved this: The 5 Best Toys of all Time, by Jonathan Liu on Geek Dad. Top 5 include: stick, box, string, cardboard tube, and dirt. Yup, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Kids are so so receptive to our pace and mood. Extended family, long to-do lists, activities ending for the term, and travel prep can exacerbate the demands of parenting graciously. Because not only are we dealing with all of these things, but our kids are sensing this and often respond by acting out and pushing boundaries – just when we are least equipped to deal with it!
You can look at parenting like a giant pain in the ass, or as an opportunity to find your highest self in the service of others. To find the quiet in your heart amid chaos. To learn how to listen, and to learn that listening is usually enough. To slow down and open up to your kids.
Sharp baby fingernails + uncoordinated arms = a scratched up face. Not good. While I would stick a sock over my baby’s hands, that always looked a little unsanitary, and they would pop off constantly. GuavaMitts has come up with a super cute, eco, and functional solution.
These mitts are made with Bamboo and Organic Cotton so they are super soft & anti-bacterial. The bright cotton prints are stimulating for baby’s developing vision. The fasteners are both velcro and elastic so that they double stay on and adjust to fit form newborn – 6 months. Cute. Available in single and 2 packs.
Traveling time is here, and as someone who has flown and driven from coast to coast with a growing brood, I have a few tips. Traveling with little kids takes a little prep both mentally and physically.
1) Stay cheerful: if you treat the airport like a fun place your kids will be more easygoing too.
2) Pack snacks: this is a big duh, but still worth mentioning because sometimes the act of corralling your kids in a line to buy a nasty sandwich will put you over the edge.
3) Keep a candy in your pocket: the cost benefit analysis on a lollipop vs the stress of pissing off your 200 fellow air travelers is a no-brainer.
4) Ask for help: airports are full of people with nothing to do. Put that morose looking teenager to work!
5) Don’t feel bad if your kids are loud: your job is to take care of your kids, not everyone else. Don’t pile guilt on top of the huge task of trying to entertain your toddler or get your baby to sleep on the plane.
6) Wear your baby if you can. A sling or mai tai can keep baby snug and help them fall asleep on the plane. And obviously when you hands are filled with bags it is hard to have a free hand to hoist a baby. Warning-most flight attendants will make you untie your baby during take-off and landing.
7) Go easy on the toys. I have found that the books and toys that I pack usually don’t get played with. Your life will be easier if you have less to carry; I pack one slim book and one tiny toy. A little blow up ball to roll around the terminal is fun for any age, and easy to tote.
I find research on kids behavior fascinating. Most recently I read this article in the New York Times, called Too Much Praise is No Good For Toddlers, by Jenny Anderson.
“Now, new research shows that too much praise for children as young as 1 to 3 can have negative repercussions down the road. (How did I spend my morning? Cheering on my 1-year old for the triangles she was putting into the triangle slots, and lauding my 3-year-old for clearing her plate.) …
In Dr. Carol Dweck’s previous research, she’s showed that praising children for their intelligence or abilities often undermines motivation and hurts performance. Kids who are told they are smart care more about performance goals and less about learning. Kids praised for their efforts believe that trying hard, not being smart, matters. These kids are “resilient” and take more risks.”
Breaking the praise reflex can be tough, and some parents struggle with what would fill up all of those interactions. The key is just turning off the judgments. In those moments when my kids come to me with a picture, I just look at it. And when they come running to me with a she-did-this-to-me problem, I just listen. Little people regularly surprise me with just how much curiosity, motivation, and social skills they have, and the beauty of it is that it is innate to them. A parent’ job is to give your kid the space to honor and express herself; which is hard to do if she always has one eye on her mom to see if she approves.
A great book about this topic is Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn.