Parents

The Power Of Choice

powerofchoiceHave you ever stopped to think about how many choices you make in any given day?

If we’re talking about me, I make choices from one end of the importance spectrum to the other, multiple times a day. Too many to count, really.

And I might argue that everything we do involves a choice on some level. What do you think?

My spectrum ranges from which creamer I want in my coffee to if I’m going to work that day, or how fast I want to drive. One choice has minimal consequences (except if you encounter me pre-coffee) while the other two have more weight on them.

What about the little ones in our lives – how many choices do they encounter? I’m sure every home looks completely different, yet somewhat similar. Maybe you let your little one choose what to wear, what they eat for breakfast, or how they wear their hair.

What about the choices with more weight on them? Did they choose to share? Maybe you let your second grader choose their consequences from a list. Are they learning to obey their teacher at school? Maybe they’re choosing to be unkind to their friends at school.

Back to the volume of choices we make as adults – it’s a lot. I would say that the ability to think critically about the choices you make, weighing consequences and responsibility and how others may be/are affected, is a really good thing to know how to do.

It’s one thing, among many, we’re doing as parents and caretakers, really – teaching little ones how to think critically, make educated choices, and teach them that actions have consequences… good and bad.

Something we do in our home is identify choices. It’s pretty simple.

For example, a little one chooses to throw her peas on the ground, so she chooses to be on her hands and knees picking them up. And she is told that. We use the word “choice.” If a bad choice is made, the consequence follows suit.

What about the good ones? Yes! I love the good ones – don’t we all? One chose to clean their room, so they chose to live in a clean, peaceful room! 🙂 One chose to work and study really hard, so they chose to make the dean’s list or get straight A’s.

Think about your day-to-day. What are some things you do to give your little ones the ability to make a choice? How do you teach them about making choices? In what ways do you celebrate and foster your little ones’ developing autonomy? (Hint: It’s probably more than you think.) I’d love to hear!

In my home, it’s my responsibility as a parent and an adult to know how much power, choice, and freedom to give my three year old. At the same time, it’s my job to know where to set limits for her because kids fail without proper limits and boundaries. They need them, and they need them clearly communicated.

Limit setting is an entirely separate post. Look it up if you get a chance. If you’re sick of saying “no, no, no” – try changing the way it’s being said. It may seem like semantics, but it might do wonders to change the dynamic in your home. Instead of “Don’t stand on the chair,” try “The chair is not for standing on, it’s for sitting on,” with a redirect of “You can choose to stand on the floor or on the stool.” It teaches them the boundary while giving them a choice. Albeit a forced choice, but they’re still learning how to make choices. And if they choose to disobey, well then they choose themselves a consequence.

Here, here, and here is some research about children, choices, and a parent’s role as “coach.”

Here’s to raising well-adjusted adults, one day at a time!

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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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Oodles Of Local Holiday Events

LCA Holiday1

There is plenty to do around this time of year! We don’t want to cram the holidays full of “doing” at the expense of enjoying this holiday season, but it’s fun to enjoy some festive things with the family along the way.

Our first Lionheart Children’s Academy is located in Arlington, TX, so here are some events going on in and around Arlington that are fun for the whole family:

Arlington

Check out the Spirit of Arlington website for a big ol’ list of events going on in Lionheart’s backyard!

Fort Worth – Sundance Square

Here is a great list of events going on in downtown Fort Worth at the beautiful Sundance Square.

Grand Prairie

Here’s a calendar of Grand Prairie’s events including lights, live events, and Santa!

Mansfield

Here is historic Mansfield’s calendar of holiday events.

Hurst

Hurst has Santa’s Mailbox, tree lighting, and much more! Check out their calendar here.

Euless

Euless has a parade of lights, breakfast with Santa, and a historic park Christmas celebration – find their calendar of events here.

Bedford

If you’re in Bedford, they’ve got a tree lighting at the Historic Old Bedford School and a community wide decorating contest! Get the details here.

Grapevine

Grapevine, TX claims to be the “Christmas Capital of Texas,” so it’s probably worth checking out!

Irving

If you’re in Irving, you won’t want to miss the Holiday Extravaganza! Get the details here.

 

We hope this Christmas season fosters togetherness in your family – how ever big or small it may be!

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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.

 

Exploring The Great Outdoors: Fall Edition

Down here in the south, it’s finally cool enough to get outside and enjoy the outdoors! Here are some basic, free, and educational fall activities we’ve come up with. Let us know which are your favorites and feel free to add to our list in the comments!

 

Objectives: sensory experiences – motor skills, talk with them – language development, laugh with them – emotional development/relationship building, let them explore the outdoors and their developing autonomy – building confidence

  • Crunch leaves in hands.
  • Walk through leaves barefoot.
  • Smell leaves.
  • Walk and talk about what you see, hear, and smell outside (wind, cool weather, trees, birds).
  • Go to a new outdoor place or park to explore (it could be the next street over in your neighborhood).
  • Talk about the wind, let them see it blow the leaves or your hair.
  • Take them on a wagon ride and narrate your walk, what you see, whose house you’re passing, or even which foot your walking with. Talk the whole way.
  • Let them explore a plant store by smelling, touching, and exploring (on a slow afternoon and within eye shot, of course).
  • Find favorite leaves and practice sharing them with each other – taking turns looking at and holding.
  • Make sensory/sound boxes with things you find outside – take an old kleenex/shoe box, fill it with rocks, tape it up and see how it sounds/feels different than a box with leaves or acorns in it.
  • Throw leaves. You could include some directives in this activity to develop listening skills, following directions, and directions such as up/down – “throw the leaves up in the air,” throw the leaves down to the ground,” throw the leaves while running,” etc.

 

preschool

Objectives: Autonomy, independence, problem-solving skills, gross and fine motor skills, communication, identification, classification.

  • Glue leaves. Let them use the glue and take the lead.
  • Cut leaves with scissors. These are my three year old’s favorite scissors (with adult supervision, of course). This is good for motor skills because the scissors actually cut but are not too sharp and have a blunt tip.
  • Color on leaves.
  • Trace leaves.
  • Talk about/identify colors outside. Talk about two colors that come together to make one color.
  • Talk about the wind and the weather changing: why the wind blows, why the weather changes, opposites.
  • Talk about the autumn season – leaves changing, holidays coming, going to grandma’s house.
  • Talk about things/people/actions/emotions you’re grateful for.
  • Play “I spy” outside.
  • Throw leaves.
  • Rake leaves/bag them up.
  • Let them collect things: acorns, leaves, rocks, pine straw, pine cones, pumpkins, different gourds.
  • Talk about the different shapes, sizes, weights, and colors of collected things: compare and contrast, challenge them to find two of the same and two different.
  • See if things sink or float.

 

school age

Objectives: critical thinking, experimenting, problem-solving, communication/language development, relationship building, community awareness.

  • Science experiments: How different objects fall at different speeds – talk about gravity & velocity, how far you can throw things – do heavier things travel a longer distance, newton’s laws (in language they can understand).
  • Have a scavenger hunt.
  • Walk and talk about what makes the seasons change.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • If you live by the beach, bundle up and go for a cool walk on the beach to experience it at a different season.
  • If you live by the mountains, go on a cool hike.
  • Talk about the coming winter season and where snow comes from/how it’s made.
  • Plant flowers, herbs, and autumn plants, and teach them about plants/photosynthesis.
  • Talk about and explore in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Lay on the ground and do some cloud watching using your imaginations.
  • Clean up the front yard.
  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood/a local park.
  • Clean the outside windows.

 

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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.

Local Pumpkin Patches & Tips for Making the Day Fun

pumpkinpatch

I’m pretty sure that my parents never took me to a single pumpkin patch when I was growing up. I just don’t remember it being a thing for us Texas kids. But now, well, by golly, a fall pumpkin patch is an important rite of passage for today’s kiddos, and it’s a permanent part of my fall to-do list.

Last October, my little Wrenn was only three months old – unable to even sit up on her own, much less have any idea what a pumpkin patch was all about. But I called my sister anyway and asked if her family wanted to meet us so we could take pictures for each other. A few lessons I learned as a first-time pumpkin patch mom:

1. Bring a change of clothes. My little one had a blow-out diaper the minute we got to the pumpkin patch, so we had to go with Outfit #2. Just assume it will happen to you!

2. Set low expectations. For us, it wasn’t exactly easy to capture awesome photos of our little one, since she couldn’t sit up on her own. We did a few obligatory photos of her lying on a blanket surrounded by pumpkins, and a few quick family photos. My one-year-old nephew fell and hit his head on a pumpkin and cried. My colicky baby had a meltdown. There was a lady’s rear end in the background of my favorite family photo. It just happens… so keep your sense of humor!

3. Invite another family so you can take each others’ pictures. My little family of three rarely gets a picture together that isn’t a selfie. By bringing friends, you can help each other out so that MAYBE you can capture a frame-worthy moment. Or, at least a moment that you can laugh about later.

4. Enjoy the memories. I hope that once Wrenn is a little older we can make it a special family outing, where she can pick her very own pumpkin to decorate. It’s an easy, inexpensive family outing, and a fun tradition we can create. In the meantime, I’m excited to bring her back this year, now that she’s 15 months old and can enjoy running around the pumpkin patch, enjoying the fresh air. Even if she still has no idea what’s going on.

Don’t know where to go? We found some resources to help you find a local pumpkin patch in Tarrant County:

DFW Child’s List of Best Pumpkin Patches in DFW

Pumpkin Patches Sorted by County

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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.

 

#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.

13 Things new parents stress about that seem silly later

I’m so glad I’m not the only first-time mama who stresses over silly things! I remember my first night after we brought our daughter home from the hospital, and I cried to my husband, saying, “How will we EVER sleep AGAIN?” so dramatically after an hour of us constantly getting up to check the bassinet, five feet from our bed, to make sure she was still breathing.

(PS – I discovered the answer. EVERYTHING gets easier. And you get so tired, that you WILL sleep again. You know, between all the feedings.)

Now that I’ve got one year of parenting under my belt, I like to think that I’ve settled down a little (maybe?), but I decided to survey my fellow mom friends on Facebook to see what things THEY stressed about with their first child that, upon looking back at it, seem kind of silly.

13 THINGS

1. I stressed about the importance of a monthly photo during her first year, with the exact same backdrop and the perfect outfit. I managed to take that monthly photo on time maybe once or twice, but by the last few months, I would take her monthly photo the night before she turned a month older. And you know what – IT DIDN’T MATTER. I didn’t use those photos at her party, and I still have hundreds thousands of photos of her first year. –Me

2. With my firstborn, I made sure she took naps at the exact same time every day, and went to bed at the exact same time whether she was tired or not, because heaven forbid we get off a schedule – which led to a lot of rocking and walking and bouncing and screaming. Now with my boys, I’m much more relaxed on the schedule and put them down when they are ready to lay down. Everyone is much happier. –Jacquelyn, mom of 3

3. I thought for sure Kid #1 was an amazing eater due to me making 98 percent of his food, but I did the same thing for Kid #2, and she’s a horrible eater. I have to sneak veggies in her smoothies and food! Sorry to all of the moms I gave food advice to – I’m so embarassed now! –Jenny, mom of 2, with 1 more on the way.

4. Potty training. I was determined to have my first child potty trained by the age of 2, before her sisters arrived. Then with the twins, I didn’t even attempt potty training until they were 4 years old. They basically trained themselves. –Lindsay, mom of 5

5. I used to get so obsessed with what my daughter would wear to church, and how cute she looked, and that she was perfectly nice and neat. The bow all the way to the diaper cover HAD to match. Then the boys came along… I tried to continue that mindset, but inevitably they would get dirty on the way to the car headed to church! Now they are 10, 13, and 15, and I would just LOVE to have those days back! And I promise, how “perfect” they looked would not be an issue – they’re precious just the way they are! –Amanda, mom of 3

6. Nursing. I’m proud I nursed and will do it again with my second, but if I have to give a formula bottle on occasion, I will not cry from an insane amount with guilt. At least, I hope I won’t… – Sarah, mom of 1

7. C-Sections! I used to get jealous of all the mamas out there who were able to deliver the “natural” way. Even though I spent 20 hours in labor and pushed for two, I ended up needing a C-Section.  I felt like people judged me because I couldn’t have a baby the “real” way! The process was as smooth as butter the second time around – I picked the date, time, and was even rested, showered, and had on makeup. I’m way past caring what people think now! My third C-section is scheduled for August, and I’ll be pampered and ready this go-round too! –Christy, mom of 2, with a third on the way

8. I’m embarrassed to even say this. I was cleaning out and organizing pictures and videos today of my son when he was a baby. We had 50 videos of him practicing crawling, standing, walking, (insert milestone), with both of us in the background saying, “Come on! Come on! Come on!” I’m pretty sure I recorded him, you know, just in case today was the day. I was laughing so hard at myself – my son didn’t walk until after his first birthday. With my second child, I’m trying to get her to NOT do these things, and she’s doing them earlier. Go figure!  –Staci, mom of 2

9. I was always comparing my kids to others in regards to what words they knew. My girlfriend’s daughter knew every letter of the alphabet and could point to the letter if you said it. My daughter thought every letter was a “C” at one point. Looking back, they were all smart in their own way, and I shouldn’t have worried so much. Kids just pick up on certain skills sooner than others. -Stephanie, mom of 2, with #3 on the way.

10. Two words: Swim lessons. –Whitnae, mom of 1

11. Oh, I don’t even know what to say, except “poor Evie.” Expectations were so high for her, and she rose to Every. Single. One. Napping, speaking, potty training, reading, etc. And then the four boys came and drop-kicked all my standards and gentlemanly fantasies into the abyss of gross things. And then they did a victory dance. And then they farted. –Rebekah, mom to 5

12. My son was fast at everything… except learning his colors. I had myself completely convinced that he was color blind! I’m serious, I researched and grieved for months that he would never be able to see all the beautiful colors God made in the world. Then one day, he asked for a toy, and I said, “which one?” He said, “the red one.” Turns out, he’s not color blind, just stupendously stubborn to do things in his own time! –Marci, mom to 3

13. Professional baby photos. Child #1: every three months for two years. Child #2: every six months for two years. Child #3: once when he was four. –Jackie, mom to 3

Don’t you just love finding out that you’re not the only one? That all of us have at least a few “crazy mom” moments, whether you have one child or five? I guess I don’t feel quite as guilty for feeling a tiny pang of jealousy when I found out Prince George took his first steps before my daughter (she’s two weeks older than her future husband).

What about you? What silly thing did you fret over with your first? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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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.

Keep The Shark From Circling

iStock_000020564784SmallWe’ve all experienced it: the bored child.

I’m not sure about yours, but mine literally walks around in circles whining. Sometimes the circles are around me, or the cat, or the dining room table. I’m laughing out loud thinking about the words I just wrote because, to the outside world, the scene really sounds like something straight out of Calvin and Hobbes. All the while, I’m remembering how torturous it can be when I’m just trying to make a healthy dinner to feed the precious growing girl who’s circling me.

Like a shark that’s about to devour its prey.

Here are a few things that work in my house to help keep the joy-filled shark from circling:

1. Relocate: Hide toys & make it a game to find them, rotate them by putting some away in the closet for a month then swapping them out every once and a while (mine loves to re-discover her old baby toys), or the favorite in my house… put inside toys outside.

2. Water: Sounds messy, and it can be, but it’s just water. I’ll take water over whining ANY day. I get two of the biggest Tupperware containers I have, put them on either side of my sink, put a towel on the floor, and a stool in front of the sink. Then add anything that’s not a toy but safe from the kitchen (spoons, measuring cups, plastic bowls) to the water. Instant and free water table!

3. The Big Helper: PJ loves to help me cook. Sometimes I have to pray for three extra doses of patience to make it happen, depending on the day, but it’s usually a fun memory! I let her use small cutting boards, smaller utensils, and pieces of what I’m cutting so she can mutilate till her heart’s content. This is a great way to spend some quality time together, cure boredom, introduce new foods, and practice motor skills.

Not everything works for everyone, but this is what works in our house (most of the time). What works in your home? Leave a comment… I’d love to hear!

 

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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.

If Moms Played Like Three-Year-Olds

Children And Mothers Eating Jelly And Cake At Outdoor Tea PartyThe other day, my three-year-old told me about playing on the playground with her friends. She was pretending to be the big sister and her friends were pretending to be the mom and the baby. Adorable, right? Also, I’m very excited about the imaginative and role-playing she’s engaging in!

She gave me the play-by-play. Walking up to them, she said, “Hey. Can I play with you?” They kindly replied, “Of course!”

And the rest was history.

If only life was that easy. I think, in some ways, it can be.

Picture us moms on the playground saying to one another, ” Can I do life with you?” and “Of course you can!” Think of what a sweet and genuine community of moms that would be. No judging, no comparing, no one-upping. Just doing life together, being real, encouraging, supporting, affirming, and helping one another be the moms we are wired to be.

Here’s a challenge: Next time you’re around other moms you haven’t met before, introduce yourself.

I dare you 🙂

One thing all moms have in common is the fact that we have kiddos. Whether we birthed them or adopted them, it’s one thing we share. An easy conversation starter is to ask about another mom’s kids. Talk about how old their kiddos are, what their names are, or how many kids they have.

Boom. Instant friends.

LCA Sig

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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.