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@homegrown.happiness  parenting ally ❂ promoting healthy mindsets, playful learning for the whole family ✾ wishing happiness for all through connection and contribution ❀❁✲


8 days ago

Looking for something to do with the family this weekend? Something that doesn’t cost a thing? Something that will help your children learn to cooperate? Something simple, but a lot of fun? My dear friend, Emily, shared an example of an activity she does with her children. The idea was too good not to share! She says: “I was inspired by a flower outside my kitchen window and set up a little scavenger hunt for the kids after school.” This was not their first one. Emily does this occasionally, which makes it exciting for the kids—a special treat! 👏👏👏 “Sometimes I'm more creative, and other times I keep it very simple. I used pictures and simpler words today so A could read the list more independently. FYI: all flowers were already on the ground (no pulling out living things). When the kids finish, they get to pick a prize from a prize box I keep in my room. It's filled with dollar store stuff, erasers, putty, and, well, stuff I've taken from their own rooms! 😁” How cool is that? Nothing fancy, just a lot of fun! ❤️🌿☀️ I love to hear about the creative activities you do with your children, so always feel free to share. • • • #homegrownhappiness #cooperativeplay #lifewithkids #positiveparenting #happiness #kidshavingfun #outdoorplay #creativekids #creativeparenting #treasuringlittlememories #celebrate_childhood #learningthroughplay

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24 days ago

An imagination is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Early childhood is the best time for children to start exercising their imaginations. An easy way to help them is to model curiosity and ask open-ended questions. Go on a slow walk together and look around carefully. Notice all the amazing wonders nature provides, like the treehouse entryway and tiny, talented bug pictured here. That looks like a door to me! Who do you think lives there? Where do they go to school/work? What do they do for fun? Where do you think they’ll live next? What a beautiful, lacy leaf! Can you find who created it? Who do you think taught him to do that? Do you think she did that by herself or with another bug’s help? Who helped? What else can they create? Asking open-ended questions sparks curiosity and imaginative thinking. There are no right or wrong answers. Once you and your child get the hang of it, there are no limits to the fun you’ll have together playing make-believe and strengthening your imaginative minds! Our world needs more imaginative thinkers because imaginative thinkers become wonderful, out-of-the-box thinkers and problem-solvers. #homegrownhappiness #imagination #outoftheboxthinking #happyfamilies #lifewithkids #dailyparenting #letthemexplore #positiveparenting #getoutside #outdoorplay #raisingthinkers

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2 months ago

I teach a lot of music classes for children and their parents, and I am so grateful for that opportunity. One of the best ways to bond with children is through music! A musical life is crucial (even if you think you can sing!!!) because it has numerous benefits. One of the most important benefits, to me, is that it can connect generations. I just love that! Isn’t it extraordinary to think about great-grandparents who shared a song with their children who then shared that song with their children who are now sharing it with their children? Talk about a connection! So, here’s a song we all know, thanks to a strong connections between generations. This version is from Becky Bailey’s I Love You Rituals book. It’s a nice variation on the traditional song and an easy way to make a quick connection with your child. 🎶 Twinkle, twinkle little star, What a wonderful child you are. With bright eyes and nice round cheeks, A talented person from head to feet. Twinkle twinkle little star, What a wonderful child you are! 🎹 Do you have a favorite song that was passed down in your family? Share in the comments, so we can keep on connecting! #music #musicforchildren #beckybailey

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3 months ago

Passive toys are open-ended toys. By themselves, they do nothing. They become interesting and fun only when a child interacts with them. That is why they ignite the imagination! There is no right or wrong way to use them and this allows children to think out of the box, to make choices, to become flexible and motivated by their inner inspiration. Toys that have batteries and screens, ones that beep or light up, are usually limited and simply entertain the child as he/she just sits there and does very little. The child’s brain is not activated in the same way it is when it has to imagine, problem-solve, and pretend. There are no creative limitations with open-ended play, and that is why children stay engaged longer and love them best! So, if you’re looking for ideas, here is a list of some of the best toys for young children: Wooden blocks, magnet blocks, colorful builders like K’nex or Legos, boxes of all sizes, items from nature (think sticks, rocks, leaves...), kitchen utensils and dishes, pots and pans, pretend food, animal toys, dolls and figurines, barns or dollhouses, toy vehicles, scarves, dress up clothes, and any sensory items (such as kinetic sand, play dough, water beads...). #homegrownhappiness #magdagerber #respectfulparenting

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3 months ago

Raising a “perfectionist” child, one who avoids challenges because he/she is afraid to make mistakes, can be a tricky job. We all want to raise children who strive for excellence, right? I’m not sure any parent has a sweet little baby and thinks: “I hope she makes mistakes!” “I can’t wait until he loses!” “When I disappoint her, it’s gonna be great!” But that’s inevitably what will happen, and it’s best to be prepared. Your beautiful children are going to make mistakes. They will lose and be disappointed at times, and it’s a good thing! It’s a healthy thing! It builds resilience. Resilience is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness,” and resilience (or grit, as it’s sometimes called) is necessary for true life success. People make mistakes. And if children don’t learn this lesson within the safe walls of their loving homes, then life will make sure they learn it, whether they are ready or not. It’s best to be prepared, and it’s our job to prepare them. This sweet book, BEAUTIFUL OOPS! by @barneysaltzberg is a must-have for every child’s collection, especially a child who exhibits signs of becoming a perfectionist. It’s colorful, creative, and filled with wonderful ways to move on when faced with an “oops!” Reading this book regularly will hopefully help your child learn to flip a negative into a positive. You can continue to support this idea by: * Talking out loud about your mistakes. * Making sure you emphasize how much fun you’re having while playing games together; it’s not about winning or losing. * Making sure your child loses AND practices being a good sport about it. * Breaking up overwhelming tasks into smaller steps. * Changing up your routine occasionally for something fun. We all struggle at times, but when we’re prepared and know we can flip our thinking, we can get up from a fall and handle anything! #homegrownhappiness #resilience #positiveparenting

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3 months ago

Before we gain self-control, we behave on instinct and emotion. Over time, with proper limit-setting and lots of trial and error, we gain life experiences that teach us how the world works and what is expected. Self-control kicks in when we are able to take what we've learned and use it to regulate our behavior and make reasonable choices. Self-control helps us gain control of our emotions. It is empowering. It shapes our behavior. Raising children who exhibit self-control begins at birth. It involves gentle coaching and setting limits from the very beginning. When you soothe crying children and meet their needs, you help to model the ability to calm after upset. When children are infants, it helps to talk to them out loud, describe how they are feeling, and label their emotions.  When children are a little older, set limits and explain what is acceptable behavior. Give children choices. STAY IN CONTROL WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ARE OUT OF CONTROL. Gaining self-control takes lots of practice! BE CONSISTENT and give your children time. Having a positive relationship and role model makes all the difference. Just remember, the key is to support your children as they begin to identify and label their emotions, understand when they are feeling them, and find a way back to calm. #homegrownhappiness #selfcontrol #positiveparenting

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4 months ago

According to Richard Louv, author and journalist who has written several books after spending years investigating children and their relationship with the natural world, says "When reminiscing with their families about childhood memories, grown children seldom mention the best day they spent watching TV or playing a video game. Among the memories they do recall, if they’re lucky enough to have had such experiences with their families, are outdoor adventures—even if they complained loudly about such outings at the time." These adventures can start by simply opening your front door and going for a walk around the block. No strollers... a walk (as soon as your child can toddle). 15 minutes. That's it! Of course, if you are feeling more adventurous, look for a green space or a state park near you. 🌳🌲🌳 Either way, while outside, let your little ones explore. Go slow. Let them start and stop, stray and climb. When you slow down, you notice so much more! Did you know that much of Mother Nature's climbing equipment, like boulders or driftwood, is made up of curves, so if children fall they are more apt to roll, causing fewer injuries? So, can you spare 15 minutes for a little adventure that could possibly become a big childhood memory? Our children are grown now, but we still made time for a 4 mile walk together on Christmas morning. You’re never too old to make new special memories. #homegrownhappiness #makingmemories #getoutsidemore

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4 months ago

We are our choices. Ron and I try to live with this in mind every day, so when we had kids it became our family’s mantra. Choices. Some are big; some are small, but they all guide us and give us control throughout our day. So, what happens when things spin out of our control? When life doesn’t go our way? STOP. BREATHE. REMEMBER. We are our choices. When things get out of our control, we get to CHOOSE how to deal with them. We have that power! It requires searching for ways, tiny ways, to be grateful, be accountable, and move forward. Sometimes we give too much power to the things that happen to us, especially the negative things. Negativity can push us down. It can get into our heads and make us think we’re helpless. What a bully! If we brush away those thoughts and stand up to negativity, we will get all of our power back. Overcoming negativity is difficult, but 100% doable with the right mindset!! The way we talk to ourselves matters. Positive self-talk is critical. I’m not saying just think positively and everything will magically work out. NO! You have to go deep and think about what you value, what you want, and look for ways to get there. We are our choices. We all have the built-in ability to flourish under tough circumstances. We are all capable of rebounding. Where we land depends on the choices we make. People who CHOOSE to move through tough times by taking responsibility for their choices and actions, claim adversity improves their lives. People who CHOOSE to avoid tough times by getting distracted or blaming others revoke their power and get stuck. They remain unhappy. It’s hard to choose your way back into control, and you may need to choose support sometimes, but you can do it! And if you do, the best part is your children will be more likely to choose to follow you and your positive example! #homegrownhappiness #mindfulness #mindfulkids

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4 months ago

OH NO, GEORGE! by @chrishaughton is an adorable book about self-control. George really wants to make the right decisions and behave, but does he? This is the perfect little book to read with young children to start a conversation about the fact that we are our choices. We choose how we behave. Before we gain self-control, we behave on instinct and emotion. Over time, with proper limit-setting and lots of trial and error, we gain life experiences that teach us how the world works and what is expected. Self-control kicks in when we are able to take what we've learned and use it to regulate our behavior and make reasonable choices. We have to continually practice self-control, because other factors such as lack of sleep or stress can interfere with our ability to stay in charge of ourselves. If you drive a lot, I'm sure you've witnessed some type of road rage on the highway. Those drivers have failed to control their impulses. They are operating only on strong emotions. They have have given up their control. Giving up control, even unintentionally, is scary, and fear is the cause of a lot of negative behavior.  On the other hand, great satisfaction comes from staying in control. It allows us explore a balance between what we want and what we need, which is how we learn what is important to us. We learn that we are a part of something bigger and often find that positive experiences come when we curb our desires for the greater good. Most importantly, we learn that WE ARE OUR CHOICES. #homegrownhappiness #selfcontrol #childrensbooks

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4 months ago

“There is no description, no image in any book capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them in a real forest.” ~Maria Montessori #homegrownhappiness #getoutside #naturelovers

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5 months ago

If children do not spend time with nature, why would they ever want to take care of it? 5 Tips to Help Raise a Nature-Lover: * Teach your child to notice nature. Right before this photo was taken, we noticed the leaves were curled and the soil was very dry. I explained these were two signs the plants were thirsty. “What should we do to help?” The children suggested immediately that we give them water and were super excited to take on the responsibility! * Being outside can change or avoid a sour mood, so on a daily basis, BUT ESPECIALLY if you or your child are starting to feel a little cranky, just open the door and walk. Pick a destination and walk to the same spot each time. This creates a tradition. * Since you are going to the same spot every time, let your child be the guide. Help her notice the landscape. We turn left when we get to the big boulder and then right by the evergreen tree. This is an easy way to give her some control and will help her gain confidence. * Go outside at night! It’s a whole new world in the dark. Take a flashlight and go slow. Star gaze along the way. * Spend some of the time in silence. Let your child move away from you to a spot of his choosing and just sit quietly. Resting in nature is grounding. On your walk home, you can pick up the conversation again. These simple things don’t have to take a long time, they just need to be repeated, and making a habit of doing them will help your child and YOU glean the benefits that nature provides. #homegrownhappiness #naturelovers #getoutside

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5 months ago

Children never seem to get tired of this simple song. PEEK-A-BOO, I SEE YOU, HIDING IN YOUR PLACE. PEEK-A-BOO, I SEE YOU, SMILE UPON YOUR FACE! PEEK-A-BOO! ~Old Town School of Folk Music (from the Wiggleworms Love You cd) #homegrownhappiness #singtogether #musicforkids

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5 months ago

Children have to experience conflict in order to learn how to make good decisions and work through problems. As parents, we tend to step in at the first sign of trouble, but every time we interfere, we take a learning opportunity away. Heather Shumaker, author of It’s Okay Not to Share... and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids, says, “Conflict doesn’t have to be violent. I like to think of conflict as two different ideas bumping up against each other. When ideas bump, there’s potential for aggression and hurt feelings, but also the chance for growth, collaboration, and creativity.” So, next time there is conflict in the house, rather than stepping in and getting children to “behave” or “obey,” stay close and guide when necessary, but give THEM the chance to practice conflict resolution. You may be surprised by the decisions they make. Once they get the chance to practice, children often have a way of working things out. #homegrownhappiness #letsallgetalong #problemsolving

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5 months ago

Children have big emotions. In order to help them learn to regulate their emotions, we must: 1) Let them feel them! If we keep telling them to stop, they’ll never learn how to control their feelings on their own. 2) Give each feeling a name. When you label the feeling out loud, children begin to understand and claim what they’re feeling. 3)Teach strategies to calm, such as taking 3 deep breaths, counting to 10, asking for help, etc. It helps to practice these strategies while your child is NOT in full-blown upset. If you’re looking for a little support while encouraging your preschooler to cooperate, this adorable book will help. Reading REX WRECKS IT! by @benclantoon is a wonderful way to begin a discussion on feelings and choices and how our behavior affects others. It’s a must-have in every preschooler’s library. #homegrownhappiness #raisingchildren #toddlers

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5 months ago

Children are wired to explore and they learn best through multi-sensory experiences. This is because multi-sensory experiences are satisfying. They are soothing. They refine motor skills. They even improve language skills. For example, the best way to teach descriptive words such as “wet” and “dry” is while your child can actually FEEL and HEAR (the drips/splashes) and SEE and, yes, maybe even TASTE the difference. With many senses engaged, children stay focused longer because they are using their senses to examine the materials. They are discovering, labeling, and categorizing the materials. They are figuring out how things work and starting to make sense of their world. Sensory tubs are easy to create. Simply put water, ice, bubbles, sand, cereal, cooked noodles, corn meal, etc. into a dish tub. Add little things like scoops, sponges, spoons, forks, or tiny toys that can be found on the playroom floor or bottom of the toy box. Then, the next time you want to get dinner made in peace, put out a sensory rich experience to create some quiet time for you and active learning time for your child. @stefanie_phelps #homegrownhappiness #letthemexplore #sensoryplay

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5 months ago

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~William Arthur Ward Gratitude is crucial to our well-being and our social lives. Research from a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found that “Over time, gratitude leads to lower stress and depression and higher levels of social support.” As parents, we need to bring gratitude into our own lives and set a good example. If we want to make a bad day better, we have the power. At the end of the day, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. If we focus on that rather than on how stressed/tired we are, we will raise our overall happiness set point! It takes practice, but it is possible to reprogram our subconscious to create more of what we’re appreciating. Here are some ways to nurture the gratitude mindset in yourself and your children: 1. Do not compare yourself to others. Comparisons are unfair. People are too unique to compare fairly. It’s wasted energy. It distracts us from taking charge of our own life. 2. Praise qualities, not looks. 3. Focus on simple things. We can’t improve our happiness if we take for granted what we already have: sleeping on clean sheets, laughing until your stomach hurts, when a baby holds your finger! 4. Practice PLEASE and THANK YOU. It’s hard to force some children to speak, so model for them. 5. Verbally express gratitude to your children and loved ones. Thank them often. We all want to be needed. It breeds kindness. 6. Expect children to pitch in around the house. When children participate in helping the family, they start to realize all the things we do for them. 7. Start a daily gratitude tradition at dinner or bedtime. 8. Let children be responsible for their friends’s gifts. If we do all the work—order off Amazon, wrap the gift, sign the card—they won’t get to practice thinking of others. 9. Practice writing thank you notes together. 10. Volunteer. Volunteering shouldn’t be about feeling sorry for those with less. It should come from feeling helpful. It’s about thinking of a way to make someone else’s life easier, better. #homegrownhappiness #gratitude #happyfamily

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