Parenting

How to Make Grandparent Child Care Joyful for Everyone

How to Make Grandparent Child Care Joyful for Everyone

How to Make Grandparent Child Care Joyful for Everyone

Whenever I tell another mom about my grandparent child care arrangement, I’m met with intense envy.

Your mom and your in-laws watch your kids while you work part-time? You are so LUCKY!

It’s true that my situation allows for the best of both worlds; I love that I’m home with my kids two days a week, but I have family-based child care the other three weekdays so I can focus on my teaching and writing. 

According to recent data, I’m far from the only mom with this kind of situation. 

As of 2010, a staggering 2.7 million grandparents in the U.S. were responsible for the basic needs of at least one grandchild living with them. A Census survey also found that grandparents are the primary child care provider for 30 percent of working parents whose children are younger than five. More →

Creative Ways to Use Deli Meat in Kids’ Lunches—That Aren’t Sandwiches!

Creative Ways to Use Deli Meat in Kids’ Lunches—That Aren’t Sandwiches!

Creative Ways to Use Deli Meat in Kids' Lunches—That Aren't Sandwiches!

“Can I have something different for lunch today, Mommy?” my 4-year-old asked.

When your picky-eating, routine-loving preschooler requests to switch up the lunchtime menu, you know you’re officially in a lunch rut.

That rut is pretty common at this point in the school year. We parents are feeling more tired than creative, and prepping and packing lunches is just another task we want to get done and out of the way.

Plus we want our kids’ lunches to be nourishing and nutritious; not just anything goes! Which is why when we find a suitable lunch option—one that meets the holy trinity of pleasing our kids’ picky palates, keeping them full through the afternoon, and providing them with essential nutrients—we tend to serve it over and over and over again, until they’re downright sick of it.

More →

The Secret to Raising a Daughter Who Feels Beautiful {Printable}

The Secret to Raising a Daughter Who Feels Beautiful {Printable}

The Secret to Raising a Daughter Who Feels Beautiful

“Awww, you look so pretty!” I squealed to my toddler after getting her all dressed up in her special outfit for Easter.

“Pretty, pretty!” she echoed, looking down and pointing to her dress. “This dress makes me pretty!”

I stopped dead in my tracks. 

The DRESS makes you pretty??? Where’d you get the idea that the dress has anything to do with it?

It was the last thing this feminist mama wanted to hear coming out of her daughter’s mouth!

How Did We Get Here?

Since then, I’ve been asking myself over and over again how my daughter—who is not yet two years old!—has already developed an association between the word “pretty” and her clothing.

Why does she hear the word “pretty” and immediately look down to see what she’s wearing?
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9 Things To Do When You’re Overwhelmed By Motherhood

9 Things To Do When You’re Overwhelmed By Motherhood

9 Things To Do When You're Overwhelmed By Motherhood“Honey, did you get more cookies at the grocery store?” I called to my husband as I rifled anxiously through the pantry. 

“No, I thought we just bought some,” he called back. 

Turns out, we had just bought some—but I had already polished them off in what was becoming a dangerous nightly ritual:

Step 1: Get the kids to bed. Rush them through their nightly routine to be done as quickly as possible.

Step 2: Fly down the stairs to the kitchen. 

Step 3: Eat all the cookies. (And scroll through my phone mindlessly while inhaling them.)

Fortunately—due to my history with emotional eating—it didn’t take me long to realize something was going on. That uncontrollable urge for more and more sweet stuff is always my first indicator that something is askew. 

I was overwhelmed by motherhood, and every night I crammed cookies into my mouth to try to deal with it. More →

What You Absolutely Must Know Before You Leave Your Child Home Alone

What You Absolutely Must Know Before You Leave Your Child Home Alone

This is a guest post from Patricia Dimick.What You Absolutely Must Know Before You Leave Your Child Home Alone

You’ve spent years schlepping your child along everywhere you go: running errands, visiting family and friends, and sometimes even work.

And now you think you’ve reached the point when they can be left at home alone…but you’re just not sure.

Here are some things to keep in mind—about your child’s developmental stage and the laws regarding unattended minors—before you decide to take that step.  More →

Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts That’ll Bring Tears to Her Eyes

Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts That’ll Bring Tears to Her Eyes

Thank you to Lat & Lo for sponsoring this article.Thoughtful Mother's Day Gifts That'll Bring Tears to Her Eyes

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that seems to carry a lot of weight. 

That’s probably because moms do so much, yet their contributions are frequently taken for granted. They’re the pillars of the family—holding everyone else up, keeping everyone else together—but too often their service and sacrifice is under appreciated. 

Which means that when Mother’s Day rolls around, the pressure is ON.

It’s important to get it right—especially if the words “thank you” have gone unsaid over the past year. If your gift is so thoughtful it actually makes her eyes well up? Well, then you have definitely gotten it right!

So whether you’re a partner who wants this Mother’s Day to be extra special for the mom of your children, or a mom yourself looking for unique ideas for your own mother (or perhaps a list of ideas to send your husband as a major hint!), there’s something here that’s sure to tug at the heartstrings.  More →

Tips for Celebrating Spring With Beautiful Family Portraits

Tips for Celebrating Spring With Beautiful Family Portraits

Thank you to Portrait Innovations for sponsoring this content. Celebrating Spring with Beautiful Family PortraitsLots of people consider spring their favorite season of the year, and understandably so. The emerging flowers, the warmer temps, and the longer days tend to leave us feeling bright and energized—ready for new beginnings and open to new possibilities.

All that excitement makes spring the perfect time to get some updated family photos. 

Last week I headed to my local Portrait Innovations studio for some spring-themed portraits of my two kids. Here’s how we made the most of our photo session—and how you can capture the joy of this season in your own family portraits. More →

4 Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

4 Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

I’m convinced that one of the toughest trials of parenthood is dealing with a sick child.

First there are the messes. Since kids are just learning the fine art of coughing into their elbow and wiping their nose with a tissue, it’s pretty much expected that the yuckiest parts of their illness will end up on their hands, their faces, and their sleeves—and most likely yours too.

Then there are the emotional struggles. Nothing tears your mama heart apart like the sight of your child feeling utterly miserable. When I was sick as a child, my mom always told me she wished she could be sick in my place. I thought she was crazy then—why would anyone WANT to be sick???—but I totally get it now.

Of course, be careful what you wish for, because having a sick kid in the house inevitably leads to germ-sharing. Without fail, the moment your kid finally starts feeling better is the moment you come down with it yourself. And parents don’t get sick days!

If you’re currently swimming in a sea of your child’s used tissues, arm yourself with these easy tips to help your kiddo (and yourself!) make it through to the healthier side.

4 Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

1. Drink up.

It’s always important to keep kids hydrated, but even more so when they’re feeling under the weather. Fever, diarrhea, and vomiting cause children to lose large amounts of water and salt, and they must replenish that.

If water isn’t appealing, try liquid-heavy foods like a soothing cup of chicken soup. If your child has a sore throat, cold drinks and Popsicles will not only hydrate them, but also feel good going down.

2. Combine symptom relief with a mother’s touch.

Coughs and colds in children can be especially tough to manage because there aren’t many options available for little ones. What’s more, a persistent cough can make it difficult for kids to fall or stay asleep—a nightmare for all involved!

When your child really needs some relief from their cough due to cold, one great place to turn is Vicks® VapoRub™—the #1-selling children’s cough and cold product for kids ages two and up.* Vicks® VapoRub™ is a topical cough medicine with medicated vapors that can be rubbed on your child’s chest, neck, and back to help relieve symptoms. The medicated vapors last up to 8 hours. (In other words, all through the night!)

Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

As if the fact that IT ACTUALLY WORKS isn’t enough, there’s another big bonus: Since it’s applied topically, your children not only get relief from their cough symptoms, but they also get to feel you putting it on them.

This is so important because for many kids, there is nothing more soothing than their parents’ loving touch. Just when your kids need you most, they get to physically feel you comforting them—increasing your bond as you help soothe their coughs so they can breathe easier.

3. Relax the screen time rules.

Most of us worry about giving our kids too much screen time, and with good reason! But when they’re sick, you can throw the rules out the window without an ounce of guilt over it.

Why? Because what our kids need most when they’re sick is REST. Ordinarily we don’t want them spending a whole afternoon in front of the television; we want them up and moving and playing and learning. But when their bodies need stillness to recuperate, extra movies and shows are actually a good thing.

4. Be gentle with their irritated skin.

It’s easy to tell when kids have recently recovered from a cold because their noses are usually red, raw, and sore.

That’s because constantly wiping their nose with a regular tissue quickly leads to skin irritation, and it can be quite painful for our little ones! Parents can reduce that irritation by using a warm, wet cloth instead of a dry tissue. Gently rubbing some petroleum jelly around their noses can also help heal any dry or chapped skin.


What’s your best tip for soothing a sick child?

*P&G calculation based in part on value sales data by The Nielsen Company through its Retail Scantrack Services in the US market to which P&G subscribes for the Respiratory Care Category for the 52 week period ending 06/04/16. Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should KnowTricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

Learn more about Vicks® VapoRub™ and pick up a coupon here! And be sure to connect with Vicks® VapoRub™ on social media to stay up-to-date on products and offers: Facebook |YouTube

Dear Mama, Do It Anyway

Dear Mama, Do It Anyway

One mom shares what it felt like to really stay present with her child, despite her unending to-do list.“Mommy rub Lily’s hair,” she said, almost matter-of-factly.

I had laid her down in her crib as usual, but tonight my 1-year-old wasn’t going right to sleep like she usually does.

Instead she popped back up and made her request in that achingly sweet voice only possessed by kids just learning to talk.

“Mommy rub Lily’s hair,” she said again, this time nodding her head yes, perhaps hoping I’d imitate her and nod yes as well.

“Would you like me to stroke your hair before you fall asleep?” I asked, although it was an unnecessary clarification.

“Yes! Yes!” she replied excitedly.

One mom shares what it felt like to truly stay present with her child, despite her unending to-do list.

Gently rubbing the back of her head, stroking the baby-fine hairs that reach only a little past the base of her neck, is something I’ve been doing more and more recently—but never as part of our bedtime routine. Yet she was requesting it now, with a clearness and specificity that made her seem much older than her 20 months.

I want to tell you that I immediately saw the moment for what it was: an opportunity to steal some extra cuddles with my baby-who-is-no-longer-a-baby.

But I did not. More →

Healthy Meals for Kids: Get Inspired by These 5 Global Cuisines

Healthy Meals for Kids: Get Inspired by These 5 Global Cuisines

This is a guest post from Patricia Dimick.Kids Won't Eat Healthy? Try Taking a Global Approach! Get inspired with these 5 cuisines.

Getting our kids to eat healthy food is perhaps the single most common struggle of parenting.

“My son won’t touch vegetables,” one mom says.

“Well, my daughter is surviving on crackers alone right now!” another chimes in.

“I’m so sick of spending an hour making a healthy dinner that the kids refuse to even taste!” cries yet another frustrated parent.

For many families, dinnertime has become less about bonding and more about fighting over how many bites the kids will or will not take tonight.

And yet, you keep trying, don’t you? You keep making an effort to give the kids in your life nourishing, nutritious food. Because you know how important it is.

Here’s a new strategy to try: Stop the fighting. Stop the begging and the pleading for just one more bite. Instead, put that frustrated energy into infusing your family meals with a little more creativity and fun. 

One exciting (and educational!) way to do that is by drawing mealtime inspiration from cuisines around the world. Here are some ideas to get your kids eating and enjoying good, wholesome food from beyond their own borders. More →

An Easy Solution to the Struggles Over Children’s Clothing

An Easy Solution to the Struggles Over Children’s Clothing

This is a guest post by Sara Upton.

An Easy Solution to the Struggles Over Children's Clothing

Battles with your opinionated preschooler over the day’s outfit. 

Mountains of laundry to sort between the kids. 

Clothes they outgrow faster than greased lightning. 

When it comes to kids, sometimes clothing feels like a necessary evil; they have to wear them, of course, but it sure can cause a lot of fuss!

But what if there were an incredibly simple way to make the process of obtaining and selecting children’s clothing a whole heck of a lot easier? 

What if there were a way for kids to explore and celebrate their own personal style that kept the entire family happy? 

More →

A Quick Fix for Cooped-Up, Wound-Up Kids (That’ll De-Stress You Too!)

A Quick Fix for Cooped-Up, Wound-Up Kids (That’ll De-Stress You Too!)

A Quick Fix for Cooped-Up, Wound-Up KidsI first caught it out of the corner of my eye: a flash of something white moving across the living room at an alarming speed.

I turned to see my 4-year-old spinning around as fast as he could while whipping a stuffed Dalmatian along with him—undoubtedly just winding up to throw it.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I started to protest, but it was too late. “Puppy dog” (as my kids so creatively named the Dalmatian) slipped out of my son’s little grip and went flying across the room—and smacked my 1-year-old in the face.

She was fine, of course. More stunned than anything else.

I felt frustrated with my son for playing too rough indoors, and muttered something about how he could have really hurt his little sister or broken something expensive (like the TV—gasp!).

But I quickly softened when I considered the circumstances that led to the dog-spinning incident:

A few days of cold, winter weather that limited outdoor play.

Hours spent hanging out in the same 2 rooms of the house, with the same old toys.

Pent-up little kid energy that just had to get OUT. 

It was definitely time for mama to intervene. 

So I did, with a strategy I always keep in my back pocket for moments like these—moments when the kids are experiencing that dangerous combination of being too cooped up and too wound up at the same time: More →