Tag: parenting tools

Creative ideas to help little kids with school anxiety: 7 small items that can make a big difference.

Preschoolers or kindergarten students often feel really nervous about their first day of school. Or their first month of school. Even older kids may feel anxious about a new teacher, new friends, or just getting back into a more rigorous schedule after a long and lazy summer. While family discussions should help ease their worries, I also love the idea of giving kids a little gift that can help ease anxieties about going back to school, like these seven items I put together here. But hey, whatever works for your kid — that’s the very best idea of all....

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Don’t toss it yet! 7 brilliant hacks that give second life to your baby gear.

I’ve racked up quite a bit of baby gear as a mom of four. From diaper bags to bottles to wipe warmers, I could fully stock my own Babies R Us resale outlet! But now that my kids are beyond the baby years, it’s time to purge. Because no parent needs leftover diapers after the kids are potty-trained. Or do we? So I looked around and found these 7 smart hacks for repurposing old baby gear before you go all KonMari method on your kids’ nursery. You might be surprised which items are worth keeping around. At top: Rainbow water...

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Raising curious kids: Expert tips from Brains On host Molly Bloom | Spawned ep 80

This week, we are talking about the importance of curious kids — how to raise them, how to keep them that way. And there’s no better person to join us for this chat and answer our questions than Molly Bloom of Brains On, the popular science podcast from Minnesota Public Radio for kids and parents. She’s offering some great tips like how to answer kids’ tough questions, why kids today may be more curious than in years past, and why it’s so important for parents to let our kids know that no, we don’t always have all the answers....

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Bandages to heal kids’ emotional boo-boos: Helicopter-y or helpful? | Thinking: Parent

This post is written by guest contributor Anna Caudill, Executive Director of PALS (Post Adoptive Learning Services) and adoptive mom of two. Recently, Dutch bandage company Hanasplast created a limited time box of Hearts bandages designed to “heal emotional wounds.” Now before I became a parent, I’m pretty sure I would have laughed at the idea. In fact, some parents are probably laughing at the idea now. You’re upset? Here’s a popsicle. Moving on… My friend Kate, an associate editor at Cool Mom Picks, told me that her first reaction was to roll her eyes, thinking of the bandages as...

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6 essential sleepaway camp packing tips to keep you organized and sane (if not a little sad)

If your kid is going to sleepaway camp this summer — especially if it’s for the first time — your family is probably dealing with a lot of organizational kerfuffles right about now. Not the least of which is packing. Even though your camp will send its own checklist of “what to bring” and “what not to,” you’re still going to have plenty of questions. So we rounded up some sleepaway camp packing tips to help make it all much easier. That way, there’s less time to worry, and more time for what really matters: Lots of pre-camp hugs....

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Should your kids be watching 13 Reasons Why? 15 must-read articles to help you figure it out.

Okay, parents. Let’s talk 13 Reasons Why and whether your kids should be watching it. Because, no doubt, your kids are doing just that. And now that it’s been picked up for a second season on Netflix, the question about whether your kids should watch it won’t be going away anytime soon. Now personally, I haven’t watched the series yet myself because after checking with the Common Sense Media review (which has a suggested age of 16+) and talking with my own trusted parenting friends, I’ve decided my 11-year-old is too young. Also, we’re getting word about entire schools sending out warning letters to parents,...

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8 tips to compliment your kids in ways that are meaningful and empowering

As parents, we’re our kids’ biggest fans, right? That’s why a lot of us tend to compliment them. A lot. Whether it’s the first time they learn to ride a bike, the masterpiece they created in art class, a stellar report card, or even that time they remembered to clean up their toys without being told, we want to praise them like we should, as the song goes. But it turns out, those positive words and our best intentions can have some unintended consequences. And I know, that seems like such a backward way of thinking. Related: Should every kid get a trophy?...

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A clever idea to get kids in the kitchen on their own, no nagging (or even talking!) required.

My boys have been cooking alongside me ever since they were little. But now that they’re older and I’d love for them make their own breakfast, prep their own snacks, and put together their own lunches from time to time, I’m finding it harder to get them into the kitchen on their own. One issue might be that I call the kitchen my kitchen. That can’t help. Another issue may be all my yapping (that’s code for nagging). I want them to be autonomous, but it’s impossible not to chime in on everything from their snack choices to the kitchen rules, which they...

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Great news! NPR is releasing their first-ever podcast for kids!

NPR is the only thing I ever listen to in my car — unless my kids want to hear “It’s Raining Tacos.” On repeat. (Because of course not every episode of Spawned is entire kid-safe.) So I was absolutely stoked when I heard that next week, May 15, NPR is going to release a podcast for kids ages 5 to 12 that highlights the wonders of science, technology, discovery, and inventions. Stunningly, this is the first-ever children’s program in NPR’s 47-year history. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I have a feeling this podcast will be worth the wait. Related: 5 cool TV...

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3 tips for keeping a gratitude journal with kids that’ll make them happier, healthier, and more thankful too

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about how transformative gratitude can be for your psyche. Studies are cropping up everywhere showing that being intentional about thankful has huge health benefits, from better sleep to less anxiety to rewiring your brain for positivity. And it even works with kids. So, last month, I decided to start a gratitude journal with my daughter. After just a few days, I noticed a big improvement in my daughter’s attitude. In fact, one night she told me, very simply, “I’m so glad we’re doing this. It makes me happy.” And no, I hadn’t pitched her on...

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Is my child gifted? Helpful advice and online resources from an educational expert.

I still remember when my son’s then first-grade teacher asked if they could test him for the gifted program in our school district. I looked at her and asked, “Are you sure?” I just thought my sweet, curious boy asked a lot of questions. Like, a whooooole lot. But gifted? Even after he was identified as qualifying for our program, navigating next steps was extremely challenging. I had to understand my rights with the GIEP (Gifted Individualized Education Plan); find him educational support outside of school; and then figure out how it would impact his siblings and whether they should be tested too....

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If toilets could talk: 9 funny things every parent wishes our homes could say to our kids.

We’re happy to be working with our sponsor Brother to bring you this post If we had a nickel for every time we told our kids to put away their shoes or pick up their toys, well, we’d be writing this from our yacht in the south of France while Jeeves served us lunch. Sorry to disappoint you but none of us are writing this from our yacht in the south of France. Yet.  But, what if our actual furniture, appliances, and garbage bins could talk? Or at least, leave notes for our kids, to give us a little break from the...

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Thinking about adopting? Here’s how to get started, from a parent who’s been through the journey.

If your family has been thinking about adopting, I’m here as a BTDT mom to help. This year, my family grew by one more child when my husband and I adopted our daughter, a spunky 2-year-old from South Korea. It feels like we’re experts on adoption at this point, having waited a full three years to get her home, but it doesn’t feel that long ago that we were totally clueless about where to start. I’m not going to lie, the process is long and bumpy. And it can be exhausting, both emotionally and physically. But without hesitation I’d highly recommend it to anyone who feels...

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A penny for your thoughts? This new card game helps kids process those hard emotions.

When I look back at some of my biggest parenting fails, most of them have occurred when I haven’t taken the time to consider my kids’ emotions or help them process their worry, anger, fear, or whatever else it is they are experiencing right in that very moment. That’s why I’m loving the beautiful new card game illustrated by Jaime Letourneau, A Penny For Your Thoughts, created to help kids talk about emotions. I spent some time this week playing this game with my most passionate — read: unpredictable — child at bedtime, and I saw an almost immediate positive impact in his (or her,...

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30+ fantastic open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t get a yes or no answer.

If you’re not getting much more than a “yeah,” “nope,” or “fine” when you ask about your kid’s day at school, it might be time for some new conversations starters. (Trust us, we’re right there with you.) So we set out to collect dozens of smart, easy, open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t just get a yes or no answer. We’ve thrown these out around our own dinner tables, and have been surprised by how much these 30+ questions really got our kids talking. So, here’s to engaging dinner conversations…with the whole family. Top photo by Jon Flobrant via Unsplash   Open-ended questions about feelings We...

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The one word that made me a better parent. Hint: It’s from Bob’s Burgers.

My kids are 8 and 10 now, and I tend to think of them as tiny adults. They can mostly keep themselves alive without any assistance from me. But they’re still careless when it comes to noise, mess, and responsibility. In other words, they still act like, well, kids. Which means that I get pretty annoyed with them. Easily and often. The kids left a mess in the kitchen. The kids didn’t feed the cats. The kids piled Transformer parts and clean clothes in their dirty laundry baskets. At the end of a long day, it’s easy to lose my cool when the kids...

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3 simple ways to find more one-on-one time with your kids, no babysitter required.

As a single mom of four kids, you can probably imagine how tough it is to give my kids individual time, at least without hiring a babysitter and spending even more money on dinner or a movie. Turns out, you don’t have to spend money — or even need a second adult in the house — to give your kids the one-on-one time they love and need, where they’re getting your absolute, undivided attention. In addition to Stacie’s terrific post on how she turned after-school snack time with her kids into meaningful together time, check out my own 3 simple ways I’ve learned to...

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Are you paying your babysitter enough? 9 surprising stats about childcare.

One of the questions parents are always asking each other is, “how much should I be spending on my babysitter or nanny?” The answer is so tough. The last thing I want to do is underpay someone with the important job of taking care of my kids, but I know that rates depends on the experience of the sitter, whether it’s a part-time high school student or an experience, trained full-time nanny, and of course, where we live. Related: 21 inspired ideas when you’ve only got a two-hour date night So I talked to the folks at UrbanSitter who recently conducted a national...

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Dr. Harvey Karp answers parents’ biggest sleep questions. Yes! | Spawned ep 68

On this week’s episode of the Spawned podcast, we are excited to welcome Dr. Harvey Karp, of Happiest Baby on the Block fame, though he virtually needs no introduction. We’re so excited he joined us to answer some of parents most difficult questions about sleep, whether they’ve got newborns or, uh…tweens. We appreciate his common sense, non-judgmental approach to sleep, not to mention some of the tips that saved our own lives when we were new parents. (If you know his genius 5 S’s, you know just what we mean.)   Listen now! And don’t forget to subscribe to Spawned with Kristen...

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Could this simple idea finally make potty training easier for parents?

I tried reward charts, treats, and downright begging when it came to potty training, and my daughter was having none of it. So when I heard about Pee-kaboo potty training stickers, created by a stay-at-home mother of two who lives in my own town (go New Jersey moms!) I was like, whoa. Could this be the help that desperate potty training parents have been looking for? Related: 9 terrific baby gift ideas to help baby (and mom) get more sleep The cool thing about these reusable stickers is that you can only see the cute designs — after they’re peed on. Kind of like the plus...

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