Often we forget children need transition time… between events, tasks, and even normal day to day activities. It’s almost as if children accumulate and store pent up energy that needs to be expelled, before they can settle into another task. Ask any school teacher or provider, they will attest to this collective time between one activity and the next. This time is often missed as we try quickly to get them to bed, brush their teeth, or even sit down for a meal, and it often ends in frustration and angst. Transition time doesn’t have to be long but realized and naturally built into a child’s day. Doing this not only makes life as a parent easier (who learns to expect this rather than get frustrated), but it also allows the child the time to release the energy, and mentally and physically prepare for the next thing.
As adults, we often experience rain as cold, wet, disruptive, and time to spend indoors… but to a child rain is a wonderful sensory experience. Children love to feel water fall and touch their skin, catch raindrops in their mouths and hands, dance and splash in the puddles, and get wet on purpose! Children do not care about staying dry or “warm”. As adults we often forget the pleasure in the changing weather and wonders of Mother Nature, let alone experiencing the sensory pleasures of it. Let your children be free to run in the rain, feel nature, experience life with their bodies, and find adventure in the everyday things. © Jodi Healy
As a mother, often the littlest accomplishments by our children become our greatest successes. After 7 years of buckling 3 children into their car seats (every day, every car ride, every child), each time one started doing it themselves I felt like I won the lottery… And yesterday my youngest, my 3 year old, was gleaming ear to ear as I hopped in the back seat to do buckle him up, and he had done it himself. While these moments are bittersweet of letting go we also regain our independence, as they gain theirs. We forget how much we do daily in our role as a caretaker, and it isn’t until one of those “jobs” is removed do we remember how much, and how it once again feels, to only have to buckle ourselves… © Jodi Healy
Yesterday I brought my 5 year old daughter to the lake to see the melting ice, and today my 3 year old son. I generally just let them go, watch, and follow their lead. My daughter wanted to explore. She wanted to collect things like clam shells, slide/”skate” on the ice, touch the water, ice, and stones, take her shoes off (at 23 degrees), and climb to the top of the largest rock. My son wanted danger and excitement. He wanted to throw rocks, break the ice, make a sand castle, sink into the deep mud, and walk on the ice (to break it). While there were similarities the experiences were completely different. My daughter putted around while my son spent the majority of his hour trying to break things. We often suppress this desire to dominate in boys and discourage girls from the physical freedom we allow boys. As a parent it is important to recognize there are differences between the natures of and in the development of boys and girls, that these are strengths each innately have, and to ebb and flow as a parent to support them to do what they feel naturally (safely). – Jodi Healy
Who knew my mission to find a spot for my weekly reminder list would turn into the ideal place for practicing school math!
The kitchen chalk wall is now the go to surface for spontaneous artistic expression (for my 3 year old), math practice (for my 8 year old) and the main accessory for playing “school” (both kids together). It took mere days to prep the surface, paint two coats and allow the chalkboard paint (purchased from Home Depot), to set and be ready for chalk!
I can’t say enough about this easy DIY project – watching both my girls enjoy it daily makes the bit of chalk dust clean up all worth it! – Mandy DeBurro
Today I brought a small shopping cart along and empowered my 5 and 3 year old to help pick and carry groceries (taking turns). Half way through my 5 year old said, “Mommy my legs aren’t even tired.” Not only did they get exercise (rather than sit in my cart the whole time bored and full of pent up energy I have to deal with later), they were so proud of themselves. When my 7 year old came home from school my 5 year old bragged she did the shopping! I personally hate grocery shopping and add children to the mix and it often can be unbearable… but I learned by engaging them in the responsibility, making it an activity we can do together, it can be a peaceful experience instead and a great learning one too! – Jodi Healy
With the constant visual stimulus we are all subjected to (through television, digital media, smart phones, digital billboards, IPADS, etc), we often forget the benefits of just listening, pure audio. Children love to listen to music, people talking, and hearing stories! Listening is an important part of development for reading, cognition, problem solving, and more. I found one of the best opportunities I have for this is driving in the car. I figure since we spend so much time there, I could do something positive with that time; expose them to different types of songs, cultures, music, and stories. My children love listening just as much as watching a movie, and I feel good I am doing something educational. They learn and listen quietly, while I have a chance to make those necessary phone calls! A win win situation. – Jodi Healy
A mother’s life is constant sacrifice; she leaves the door open when she goes to bathroom so she doesn’t miss a sound, she shares the last piece of the coveted chocolate she found, she loses that extra hour of sleep so desperately needed because someone crawled in her bed, at the crack of dawn, she hangs up the call with the friend she misses terribly to change a diaper, she is the last to shower because she has to help with the other ones, she turns off her music to play something more appropriate, she cries in the emergency room but not because she is the patient, she goes outside instead of checking her email because someone wants to play on the swing set, she skips a needed night out because someone has a fever, she gives up her afternoon runs because soccer practice begins, she stands up while eating because someone always needs a refill, she records her favorite TV shows because she is too tired at night to watch them, she spends the last five dollars in her wallet to buy someone a snack instead of her coffee, she gives up her career to stay home and be a mother, she puts her dreams on hold because there just isn’t even time to think about them… One can never truly understand how much a mother gives of herself… until one becomes one… © Jodi Healy
Rather than trekking through 3 feet of snow with little feet to go sliding (who would sink, get boots full of snow, and wet feet), we created our own “luge”! The plow and winter left us with huge mountains of snow in our driveway. Simply using a shovel I made steps on one side for easy climbing and dug out a slide on the left. I continued to add snow on the pavement as the kids slid down, and “viola” we had our own easy to access slide. - Jodi Healy