Diverse Books

If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know that something I feel is extremely important to teach my kids is empathy and being able to take the perspective of others. One of the best ways to do this is through excellent children’s books. Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading

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(Don’t) Play With Your Food

This post was first published by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

You know the question is coming…yet you’re hoping…hoping this time will be different. You’re hoping you can avoid the fight, hoping for a calm, peaceful meal where everyone eats everything you’ve prepared. Yet, just as you expected…the question comes: “Mom/Dad I’m full, can I get down?” You look at their plate and see what you always see…fruit and anything with sugar gone without a trace…veggies, grains and other healthy food clearly untouched. How can they be full? Continue reading

Playing to Learn

This post was originally published by the  Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

Somehow September is just a few days away and for many kids school is right around the corner.  The long and warm sunny days are giving way to cool and short autumn days, and in the northwest of course, the rain will return.  When the weather starts to turn and the daylight hours dwindle it can become more difficult to encourage kids to go outside and play.  Add in school work for the older kids and many schedules getting busier in the fall and winter – it seems like the opportunities for kids to have uninterrupted play start to dry up.

However, play is the most important thing a kid can do.  Play is where they learn more about their world.  They learn about their friends, they learn how to pretend, and they begin to learn who they are and what they enjoy.  Play is vital to the development of a child and having fun should be a kid’s number one job.  Whether it’s learning how to share when playing with a big group of kids or learning how to be someone different through role play – the lessons that are learned through play stick with them long past childhood. So what’s a parent to do when the school year starts and the daylight hours are fewer?

Take advantage of each little opportunity for play.  Playing sock puppets while getting the kids dressed or being silly by putting pants on their head reminds them that it’s ok to stop and have fun. Going out for a leaf hunt helps kids discover lots of different colors, shapes and textures and can be an early way to start learning to categorize and group objects.  And don’t forget to encourage them to jump into the big pile of leaves you just raked up as a reminder that even chores and responsibilities can be completed with a side of fun.  As children grow older grades, activities and responsibilities can create a lot of pressure and take some of the joy out of being young.  While your main job as a parent is to help guide these little people as they transition into adulthood, another big responsibility is reminding them that it is always ok to take time to have a little fun.

This is fatherhood…

Uniquely Loved

From the moment I found out I was pregnant with my second child I knew that she was going to be completely different from her older brother. Strike that. From days before I could even get a positive pregnancy test I knew things were going to be different this time. Continue reading

The Only Parenting Hack You Will Ever Need

This post was originally published by the Today Parenting Team here.

The internet is full of lists on how to be a better parent. Lists that promise to make your life easier if you just follow these simple steps, follow these rules, do these things. This is not one of those lists. This my friends is the only parenting hack you will ever need.

Are you ready? Continue reading

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Step by Step

Dad, it’s not about you. You can’t give your kids everything they need anyway. It’s about being there, doing the best you can, loving them with all your heart, and then surrendering their lives back to the Creator. –Jay Payleitner: 52 Things Kids Need From A Dad Continue reading

What’s In A Name?

This originally appeared on the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub Blog here.

When you were thinking of names for your child…what was important to you?  Was family and tradition the deciding factor?  Did religious meaning or historical figures have a role?  Perhaps you were thinking of close friends or just wanted your child’s name to sound unique.  Whatever their name, your child seems to take special note whenever they hear it.  Before they can even speak or recognize most words they understand their name and that when you use it your attention is directed to them. Continue reading