Month: September 2014

#grateful

Mom Encouragement

I am so guilty of overusing this hashtag. Okay – maybe I’m just an over-hashtag user all around, but this one is my favorite.

Know why?

I’m discovering the freedom – like twirling in an open field on a cool day – that comes from choosing to be grateful. Not a feeling of gratitude, nor a judgement that you’re better than others – but the perspective that is gained from a conscious, objective thought about what is good in us and around us.

The other day, no lie, my three year old told me that she was grateful to be my kid, and grateful to be with me as we sat together in her chair.

Nothing else in this natural world can quite compare to those little, high-pitched words coming from that teeny person with an amazing mind.

Because this is a post about being grateful, I won’t talk about how dramatic and emotional I tend to be – I’ll just be grateful for the tenderness I’m wired with, and say that those words deeply moved me there, in that chair. 🙂

After putting this little pixie-haired girl to sleep, the tasks that awaited me were a little less precious than the moments before them: packing lunch, making sure I had each food group covered, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, and having a good cry.

My sweet hubby peeked over at me in the kitchen and gently reminded me to, “Do today.”

#grateful.

For being here, now. In my home. On that chair. With my baby.

For a life partner that gently brings me back to reality and assures me that I can do this thing called life.

Life is attitude and perspective and choices and grace. I choose grateful. I choose to be grateful for a brain that works well enough to feel overwhelmed. Grateful that trees are green and not red. Grateful for counter tops big enough to make lunch on.

I challenge you – busy, working, tired, joyful, gracious, loving reader – find it wherever you can and cling to it because choosing to be grateful will help to keep your mind in check and life in perspective.

What are you #grateful for? Leave a comment – I’d love to know!

 

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LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.

Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

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A Toddler-Safe Play-Doh Recipe

Today is National Play-Doh Day. Did you know that Play-Doh was first invented as a wallpaper remover? Or that more than 2 billion cans of Play-Doh have been sold, weighing the equivalent of 2,000 Statues of Liberty? That’s a lot of Play-Doh! (For more fun Play-Doh facts, check out this article.)

I have such great memories of playing with that soft, gooey mess as a kid, so I thought this would be a great excuse to introduce it to my own 14-month-old little girl. I love finding fun “science experiments” for her to do on the porch that let her get messy and be creative. Because she still puts everything in her mouth, it was important to me to make something safe for her to eat (it has a LOT of salt, so I wouldn’t recommend letting your little ones chow down on it, but a few licks won’t hurt them).

a

I followed this recipe with simple ingredients I keep in my pantry. The prep took about five minutes (one change – next time I would add a little more water), and I added some yellow food coloring to make it fun (and because I thought red might stain Wrenn’s clothes).

b

A few tips:
1. We do all messy projects on the back porch. They key is to take freezer paper and painter’s tape and tape down a place for your little one to play. This makes clean-up so much easier and keeps dirt out of your Play-Doh.

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2. Dig up some utensils that make the playing more fun. For my 14-month-old, I pulled out some different shaped plastic toys along with some baby forks and a spatula so she could practice chopping, cutting, and making pictures with her Play-Doh.

3. Toddlers have short attention spans, but don’t worry – this Play-Doh can be saved in a zip-loc bag and reused again and again. However, instead of saving mine, I called my mom friend who lives one street over and offered to give it to her kids (ages 3 and 5 – they LOVE Play-Doh) as an unexpected treat. Because with motherhood, we might as well share the love, right?

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Bethe LCA SigAbout Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.

Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.

“How Was School Today?”

How Was School LCA

Well parents, school is in full swing – I’m right in the middle of grieving the loss of summer independence and dreaming of my fall decor. The way I see it, the back-to-school emotions of us caregivers can be placed on a spectrum, which ranges from ugly tears about spending less time with our babies (however old they may actually be), to literally dancing with a heart of joy because we get to spend less time with them.

Come on, let’s be honest. Where do you fall?

I have a three year old, so I’m a little more toward the ugly tears end, but she has yet to shed one tear about “school.”  It can’t be all bad… right?

If you have a verbal, school-aged child, you’re well aware of the response we can sometimes get from our dear ones when asked,

“So, how was school today?”

If you don’t have a verbal child, but they still attend some sort of Mom’s Day Out program or Childcare program, I strongly encourage you to still talk to them about their day. I am a big advocate of talking to your child from day one. The experts agree about this too. I digress.

Now, my question is usually full of excitement and wonder. My daughter’s response, however, is sometimes not. Sometimes I just get excited mumbo-jumbo flowing freely from her pink lips. Other times, I get a shrug of the shoulders along with some grunting noise. And sometimes, I literally get her saying (with slight attitude) “nothing!”. Pictured above are just a few of the faces I can expect to see from my daughter when asked about school.

So, to curb the grunting-nothingness that I sometimes get from my involved mom question, I do some digging ask some more pointed questions. Side note: I’m learning that my three year old does better with specific questions or commands. She needs some direction. Go figure. My guess is that this is true for children of all ages. Heck, I think it would help me keep my house more clean! For example: Instead of telling my daughter to go clean her room, I take it task by task. I’ll start with asking her to put all of her shoes in the pink box. If that is still too general, we go for the shoes with purple on them first, or the shoes with velcro. No wonder parents are exhausted! 🙂

Why not apply this method to asking about a school day, so we can really get to know our little (or big) ones, communicate genuine interest in their lives, and help support and guide them?

I’ve seen a couple of lists floating around about how to ask your kids about their day. Here’s what works for us (sometimes). Keep in mind to adjust for the age of your child. Obviously, your 17 year old isn’t playing on the playground or sitting at circle time, per say.

  • What was your favorite part of your day?
  • What was your favorite thing you did today?
  • Who did you play with?
  • What did you play with together?
  • Did you play on the playground?
  • What did you play on the playground?
  • What did you eat (or usually not eat) for lunch?
  • Who did you sit by at circle time?
  • What books did you read?
  • What’s your favorite book in the classroom?
  • What songs did you sing?
  • What was the hardest/most frustrating part of your day?
  • Did you disagree with anyone today?
  • How did your friends make you feel today?
  • How did you listen and obey your teacher?

Be cognizant of how your child is wired, and be sensitive to what “state” they’re in. They may be exhausted and/or overstimulated as soon as they’re done with school, and want quiet to decompress for a minute. That’s good; it’s their personality and part of what makes them, them. Help your child (whatever the age) to identify this in themselves, learn what to do about it, and then respect and celebrate that piece of them. Ask them at another time: dinner, while getting on their level and playing with them, while you’re getting bedtime cuddles, or taking away their phones for the evening.

If we’re having a “nothing” day at our house, my daughter will usually unload at dinner or during bedtime snuggles. Last week, at the dinner table (I really value family dinners), I asked her who her new friends were at school. She told us they were Shelby and Carson, that she loved them, and they were her best friends. So sweet! I asked her what she loved about them, and she literally said, “Their heart and their spirit.” WHAT?! My three year old said that? Which TV show did she learn THAT from? 🙂

My hope is that this post spurs some of your own ideas about ways to connect with your child and develop a genuine trust and relationship with them. Comment and let me know what works in your house – I’d love to hear!

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About Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.

Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.

At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.

To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.