Working 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.

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.

Teaching Kiddos To Spread The Love

love; beautiful hands of children holding green heart shapeThe holiday season is coming! In my house, it starts with Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, and topped off with Christmas & New Years. Those are the big guys, anyways.

We love giving and receiving gifts, dressing up for Halloween & trick-or-treating, and giving lots of thanks.

Along with eating lots of food. 🙂

I also live for decorating.

More importantly, this year I’m excited to incorporate some “giving back” into our holiday traditions. To me, it’s important to teach our three-year-old that there are other people in this world, and some of them need help. My husband and I want her to experience the privilege of giving first-hand and see the joy in helping others.

Here are some causes you can be part of, or donate to, if you want to spread the love this holiday season (or any time of year):

  1. Donate that extra Halloween candy to our troops.
  2. Donate to Toys for Tots.
  3. Donate or volunteer with the Salvation Army’s Christmas Angel Tree.
  4. Sponsor a child. There are lots of organizations to choose from, find one that resonates with your family.
  5. Donate food to or volunteer to distribute food at a local food bank.
  6. Go through closets, bookshelves, and toy boxes and donate things. Here’s a big list of who needs/accepts what.
  7. Make Care Kits for the Homeless. This is something little ones can help with, and it can be stored in your car for times when you see someone in need.
  8. Make a card to send to out of town family – we can serve loved ones in addition to strangers.
  9. Make a jar of hearts for dad, mom, sister, etc.
  10. Contribute to or pay the bill of the person behind you in the check-out line at the grocery store.
  11. The next time you go out for a meal, pay another table’s bill.
  12. Pick up trash in your neighborhood.
  13. Deliver Meals on Wheels (we did this one Christmas day when I was a kid).
  14. Make Chemo Care Packages for a local oncology center or for someone you know going through chemotherapy.
  15. Contact a local foster care agency and make care packages for their children. Often children arrive at the center with nothing and have great needs.
  16. Write letters and send care packages to service men and women.

(Lots of these ideas came from Pennies of Time & FeelsLikeHome)

Which cause do you like the best? Which one are your kids most excited about? What other ways does your family give back? I’d love to hear, so leave a comment below!

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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.

#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.

A working mom’s guide to leaving the house

I’ve always spent a LONG time getting ready in the morning. After all, I waited 32 years to become a mom, which meant a decade of taking my time doing my hair, wandering around my house, throwing in a load of laundry, trying on a dozen outfits to find the “right” one for the day. Most days, I felt rushed.

Ha. Those were the days!

And then I became a mom. Now I know what RUSHED really means. Packing myself, my daughter, making sure the dog is fed and the house is in order, not to mention those nine months I was nursing and had to fit 45 minutes of  nursing and pumping into my schedule… it’s enough to stress a girl out. Those blissful, quiet mornings I had pre-baby seem like a lifetime ago.

Thank goodness for helpful husbands. And to-do lists.

But mornings don’t have to be chaotic, and with a little planning ahead, it can become your favorite part of your day.

5 Ways to Make Your Mornings Less Stressful

1. Fully get ready before the kids wake up. Even though it means an earlier wake-up call, having 30 minutes to get myself ready without worrying about taking care of anybody else is such a treat. It reduces my stress and makes me more efficient. I try to save time by taking a night shower and just wetting my hair the next morning, which saves me 20 minutes. Also – try dry shampoo (obviously invented by a tired mama).

2. Wash dishes and pre-fill sippy cups or bottles the night before. When we were nursing, I had to supplement with formula. We would pre-measure our formula into tiny containers (I used the smallest ones that came with my pump) and store them in our cabinet so we could easily grab-and-go. The same goes for food – pack lunches the night before.

3. Pack the diaper bag the night before. Leave it out so that all you have to do is drop your cooler of food/drinks into it in the morning and take it straight out to your car.

4. Pick out everybody’s clothes the night before. I realize my own mother tried to teach me this about 25 years ago, and I’m just now heeding her advice, but it really does save time. Don’t wear anything that needs to be dried/ironed in the morning – if it’s not ready to go, wear it the next day.

5. Since you’re already ready when the kids wake up, use breakfast time to multi-task. Our one-year-old LOVES to sit in her high-chair and take her time eating her breakfast. I use that time to unload my dishwasher, put everything I need by the door, pack my car (if my husband can stay and keep an eye on her), and take care of anything I forgot to do the night before.

With some planning ahead, mornings can go from stressful to sweet. Be sure to squeeze in a few minutes for yourself – whether you get to savor a cup of coffee or eat something healthy, just a few minutes of peace will make everybody’s day better.

Moms – what other tips do you have to help your mornings go more smoothly?

Bethe 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.