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How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

May 2, 2017 at 7:28 PM • Posted in Coping, Creative FunComments Off on How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

Hello, Kansas City! Emotions can be tough to navigate, and even harder for kiddos. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, shares some tidbits of a rough patch in her and her son’s life, and what they did to cope. They opted for simplicity with a Calm Down box. Take a look!

 How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a
Calm Down Box

Several months ago I was looking back through some old photos and was brought back to the photo below.

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

The photo served as a bitter sweet memory….. it reminded me of when my son and I became just the two of us and no longer the three of us. This was a very hard time for the all of us… he lost his comfort, his familiarity of having both parents under the same roof, his routine, his home, and feeling of being a family unit. His whole world was torn apart without his say so.
For the first time ever he had to deal with adult emotions within himself, yet was still only a child.
I attempted to create a place for him to feel comfortable talking, expressing emotions, and being able to be heard. He attended weekly check-ins with the school counselor, went to a divorce support group, had very supportive grandparents and aunts and uncles, and his father was amazing with communicating with him. Yet, he was still struggling with a web of confusing emotions.

Who could blame him?

I wanted to let him know he was not alone. None of us wanted this, and we would still be a family — just a different family then what he was used to. I spent hours thinking of what I could do to create a safe place for him to express himself. We lived in a very small apartment, so I knew space was an issue. However, I knew this was a necessity for his emotional well-being.

While I was attempting to find a solution I remember my favorite childhood hiding place was my closet.
The moment I thought of that it was as if a light bulb went off….. so just like that we created his Calm Down /Chill out closet. I put a little art table in there and then took him on a “Calm Down Mission”.

We spent the day finding things here and there that made him feel calm, safe, understood, and loved. We had so much fun together. I wanted him to know that emotions are normal… it is okay to be pissed off, to cry, to be angry, and not understand why things are happening.

He went into store after store, finding things to put in his “calm place.” We returned home with smiles on our faces and a memory that would last us forever. We both agreed that all of the items we bought would be strictly for his calm down space. They could only be used when he felt frustrated, angry, sad, etc. They were not meant for everyday use. He did a great job at sticking to this.

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box
We also agreed that he could access his calm down place on his own at any time (no explanation needed).
After all, this was his place to escape not mine. He absolutely loved this idea. He used this “safety zone” for over a year. We added things here and there… but for the most part his comfort items remained the same.
I am so glad that we created something that allowed him to feel but more importantly allowed him to heal.

If you are thinking of creating a “Calm Down Space” or “Calm Down Box” for your child I highly encourage you to make it with them. Remind yourself this is for their comfort, emotional health, and for THEM to come to terms with things. This is not for you to pick a part. Let them be in control. Trust me, that in itself will help them heal.

Here is what my son put in his calm down box…

How to Help Your Kids Deal With Emotions Using a Calm Down Box

• Bubbles
• Puzzles
• “I Spy Book”
• Scratch and Sniff stickers
• Stress balls
• Blank journal
• Colored pencils
• Special writing pen
• Silly putty
• A pin wheel
• Doodle books
• Activity books
• Framed Family picture
• Family photo album ( mostly of pictures of us laughing and having fun)
• Blank index cards

I am looking forward to hearing what you and your children come up with! Here’s to building happy and healthy hearts through one family at a time! Connect with me on Facebook for inspirational posts over at Living Life With Leah.
From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

Work It Wednesdays: How This Mom Embraced Her Swimsuit Body

April 26, 2017 at 10:09 PM • Posted in Mom FunComments Off on Work It Wednesdays: How This Mom Embraced Her Swimsuit Body

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! Although the weather says otherwise, swimsuit season is upon us. Just the thought of it might make your stomach turn, but our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie shares how she embraced her swimsuit body on her recent vacation. So, while you’re dreaming for warmer weather, take a look!

Work It Wednesdays: How This Mom Embraced Her Swimsuit Body

So I just got back from a 10 day long cruise to the Caribbean. And it was absolutely every bit as fantastic as I thought it was going to be. When you take one vacation every 8 years, its bound to be great, right? So, anyway, I found myself, as a lot of us do, sort of dreading the whole swimsuit part of being on a cruise.

I have come to peace with my body in recent years, but swimsuits are just something I am not naturally comfortable in. My large muscular thighs, nicknamed Thelma and Louise, are way too good of friends and chat with each other all day, which makes chaffing an issue. And then my smallish chest for my build, again something I have come to accept and even love, makes it hard to find the right fit. The swimsuit struggle is real. So I ordered some suits that I loved from Amazon and packed a couple of my old ones from last summer, and took my overly exhausted, desperately in need of a break self to Puerto Rico and got on a boat.

I love warm weather and I love the water. I love hanging out on a beach with my feet in the sand and a good book. This is my idea of heaven. And my idea of heaven includes swimsuits. Ironic? Yes. But there you have it. I have always admired people who have the confidence to rock suits that I never would. Tiny bikinis, one piece suits with tons of cut outs, you get the idea. I have also always admired people who had the confidence to take pictures in their swimsuits. I am the self-proclaimed queen of the selfie, but full body pictures fully clothed are not always my jam, let alone in a swimsuit. I tend to take lots of pictures of the view from my beach chair, or pool chair and then a festive selfie that at most shows off my shoulders with a fun caption like “Summer has arrived!” Now my love of selfies doesn’t necessarily stem from a lack of body confidence, but more of a “I know the best angle from which to take a picture” sort of mentality.

I’m getting to the point of this post, I promise. Day three of our cruise we got to spend the day in gorgeous, breathtaking, awe inspiring St. Lucia. Our excursion for the day included a tour on a speed boat and a day at the beach with lunch and rum punch provided. While we were enjoying our rum punch on this gorgeous beach with the Pietans in the background, a man rowed up in a canoe filled with fresh fruit he had picked himself that morning. Now, blame it on the rum punch or on the thrill of vacation, but as the day went on, and after I had purchased not one, but two delicious fresh fruit and rum smoothies from said fruit man, I asked if I could have my picture taken with him.

And I was in my swimsuit!

Gasp—shock—awe—what?!?!? And then, without even a second thought, thanks to free wifi on the beach, I posted that picture. A full length shot of me in a swimsuit standing next to a man who easily could have won physique competitions. Now, in years past, I would have looked at that picture and decided that my legs looked too big or it was from an unflattering angle or that I looked sad and out of shape next to a man with that physique. This time, I posted it! On Facebook! For people to see!

And do you know what happened next? Nothing. Well, not nothing. People commented about the caption about the beautiful man and his cancer fighting fruit smoothies and the rum involved. Not one comment about my suit and how I shouldn’t be posing in it, or what I looked like in it. And it was liberating. I didn’t overanalyze, I didn’t question, I just posted. I was enjoying my vacation and wanted the world to know. I was not a model in a suit, but I was me, in a suit on a stunning beach in St. Lucia. And I looked happy. I looked relaxed. Thelma is out there in front, showing off her muscles and her strength, but instead of cringing or wondering if I looked too big, I smiled and thought “I love this place!”

I am not saying I will spend my entire summer taking full length swimsuit shots for the world to see, but I am telling you that I am done obsessing over how I look in pictures and what I look like in a swimsuit. My body is mine, and its been through a fair share of battles and surgeries and yo yo diets and sizes. But its stuck with me so far. 15 years from now, I’m going to wish I had the body I have today. I’m not going to spend the next 15 years wishing it away, or hiding it. I am healthy and I am happy and that is what I see when I look at this picture. And what I see is really all that matters. It took a lot of time to get here, but I have arrived!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

How to Embrace Yourself Even When You’re a Hot Mess!

March 30, 2017 at 6:48 PM • Posted in CopingComments Off on How to Embrace Yourself Even When You’re a Hot Mess!

Hello, Kansas City! We’re bringing you a personal (and fun) post for you from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie, today. Parenthood and life is just hard sometimes, and many of us feel like we’re being pulled in a million different directions. Connie reminds us all that it’s okay to be a hot mess — we’re all in this together. Take a look…

How to Embrace Yourself Even When You're a Hot Mess!

How to Embrace Yourself Even When You’re a Hot Mess!

In a society full of people who make parenting and life and working all look so easy, I am that girl. The girl who is always late. The girl who’s clothes are comfortable first, and cute..maybe. The girl who drinks sometimes and sings terrible karaoke. The girl who needs to carry post it notes to write down what she is leaving the room for so she won’t forget by the time she gets to her destination. The girl who says exactly what she is thinking, when she is thinking it, instead of thinking about whether or not it should be said. The girl loves passionately and gets excited about everything. I am that girl. And I am proud of it.
Embracing your inner hot mess can sometimes be a struggle. We all have that one friend who makes it all look so easy. Her hair is done, her clothes match, her kids look adorable and her house is clean. Ha. I am so not that girl. You can choose one or the other. Either I look put together or the house does. I have two signature looks: homeless and Sporty Spice (minus all the scary makeup and platforms). My fancy outfits usually involve leggings and Chucks. I sometimes feel like I have so much going on in my head that I will never get it all done, so I sit on the couch for an hour just pondering the complete craziness of it all and realize that I’ve just made myself late for whatever the days obligation happens to be.
I love my children fiercely and unconditionally and I try so hard to always be patient and present and the best possible mother I can be. But I also sometimes feed them microwave pancakes for dinner and yell at them for something minor because I’m stressing about something else that has nothing to do with them. I like to think that by being the imperfect mess that I am, I am teaching them to just be who they are.

Apologize for their mistakes and move on with it. Life is too short and parenting is way too hard to stress over every misstep and bad day.
I am emotional and excited about everything. Yay tshirts have armholes! Hooray, my favorite song is on the radio! QT white peach tea makes my day. I am basically a 3 year old. I am the girl who dances at the bowling alley after she throws the ball, or at the gym between sets, or in the grocery store aisle. And let’s not get started on the dance parties in the car. My car stereo is often on max volume, especially if the sunroof is open, and my kids and I are car dancing all our cares away. Now, my dance moves are not especially dignified, and I am okay with that. I’m having fun and that is all that matters. Being emotional and easily excitable means that I am often undignified and wound up. But it also means that I am genuinely enthusiastic about life and the people who are in mine.
I can’t keep track of where I am supposed to be and when. Ever. I am constantly late, not because I am inconsiderate or think that I am above being on time, its because I genuinely cannot get it together sometimes. I couldn’t figure out which shirt to wear with what leggings, and then I didn’t realize that my daughter hadn’t brushed her hair yet, and she isn’t currently wearing shoes, nor can she find shoes because her room is a disaster. And my son is dressed, but his shirt is too small and has some of his breakfast stuck to it and he’s got blueberry pancakes on his face. Then I step outside and realize I have no shoes on. Once I get the shoes, I realize I left the gift for the party or the water bottle for practice or the check for dance, and I have to run back inside and get it.
I am that girl, and I am okay with it. I have to be, because try as I may, I can’t change who I am. I will always be the girl who trusts first and gets burned later, and who shows up late to your party, but with a very thoughtful gift, and who’s kids are sweet and thoughtful and sometimes dirty or rocking some bed head. I am that girl who is doing the best I can and loving every minute of this crazy life I lead. My kids are happy and loved and just like me as far as the hot mess factor goes. I am not the girl people come to for fashion advice or tips on how to have it all together. I am not the girl who feeds her kids well balanced meals all the time. I am not the girl who never yells or cusses or drinks. I am not the girl who has mastered the art of motherhood, or adulthood even for that matter. I am however, the girl who knows how to embrace this crazy life and just enjoy it. I am the girl who can laugh at myself, apologize when I need to and defend my friends whenever they need it. Life is hard.

Parenting?!?!? Crazy hard. Having it all together, all the time? Impossible. So just embrace the mess. Own it. Know that not everyday is going to be perfect, but sometimes it’s the imperfect days that we cherish the most. And know that I see you, rocking your oversized sweats and t-shirt with baby food all down the front at Walmart, just trying to get through the day. You are my people.

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Creative Way to Teach Your Son about Dating

February 16, 2017 at 10:10 PM • Posted in Mom ResourcesComments Off on A Creative Way to Teach Your Son about Dating

Hello, Kansas City! Dating can be a confusing and intimidating subject to cover with your kids, as they get older. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Leah, has a great idea on how to teach your adolescent or teenage boy about dating. Take a look…

A Creative Way to Teach Your Son about Dating

A Creative Way to Teach Your Son about Dating

 

Nine years ago I was blessed enough to make an amazing friend named Lora. At the time, Lora and both had sons playing on the same T Ball team. I knew upon first meeting her that her friendship would impact my life. I was so right. Lora is an amazing mother who truly inspires me on a daily basis. I come to her often seeking advice on raising my teenage son. We meet up usually once a month, have dinner, let the boys hang out, and catch up on life.
During those times we often exchange stories about parenting, talk about ways to better our lives, exchange cooking tips, encourage each other, laugh a lot, and simply just get each other through whatever we are going through at that time.

 

Since our boys were born literally a day a part they are often going through similar situations … which typically gives us a lot to talk about. Lora and I often talk about how to give them tips and support on being a teenager, how to treat others, how to teach them responsibility, friendship, education, etc.

 

During one of our discussions we got on the topic of when they will start dating. We both discussed how important it is that our boys learn how to “date” first. We wanted to make sure they knew how to treat a date properly, how valuable a woman’s reputation is, how to respect her, how to hold the door for her, how to hold a conversation, etc.

 

Lora came up with a beautiful idea to take our boys on a series of dates. We both wanted a way to show them how to date properly. We knew this would take more than one date and more than one talk. We also knew that this would truly teach them life skills most men are never taught. We wanted the boys to see that dating is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The boys both surprisingly were excited about the idea.

 

A Creative Way to Teach Your Son about Dating

 

On our first “date” we took the boys to the movies. We instructed them on proper behavior while being on a date at the movies. While we drove there we also gave suggestions on how girls like to be treated, talked to (in person and on the phone), and tips on how to ask a girl on date, to let the girl pick the movie, etc.

 

We also on our own went over tips on knowing if a girl is worth pursuing, how to treat a girl once you decided you liked her, and things to never say to or about a lady.

 

A Creative Way to Teach Your Son about Dating

 

On our second “date” we took the boys to a fancy dinner. We let the boys pick where we ate. I had my son call and make us dinner reservations. He decided he wanted to put on his “best outfit” for our date. It made me smile to see how excited he was it.

 

While on the “date” we encouraged the boys to open the restaurant door, pull out the chairs for us, proper dining etiquette, to let us order first, to wait to eat until we started eating, gave them topics to talk about, things to never say on a date, how to break the silence if that were to happen, how to greet her parents, how to treat her friends, how to act as a couple in public, etc.

 

A Creative Way to Teach Your Son about Dating

 

I feel that both boys learned a lot from our dates. Honestly, I think we all did.

We both plan on continuing to teach our boys how to be gentlemen. We are planning on having a series of ten date’s total. On each “date” different topics will be covered on how to “date”. We will be going over how to act on group dates, what to do if a date suggests things you aren’t ready for, how to break off a bad relationship, how to know if they are not right for you, things you should not accept from a date, how to resist peer pressure in dating, how to know you are ready to date, etc. I am personally looking forward to many more dates with them.

I think one of the most important jobs as a mother is raising a man that you can be proud of. I think it is safe to say we both have done that or are trying our best to do so. I am so blessed to not be alone on this journey of raising a man who knows how to treat a lady. Thank you Lora for the beautiful idea and for our beautiful friendship.

For more information about Leah feel free to follow her at

http://www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One

January 28, 2017 at 8:02 PM • Posted in Coping, Mom FunComments Off on Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One

Happy Weekend, Kansas City! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great advice on the necessity of having a mentor. I think a lot of us can agree that life really does take a village, and Sarah has some great ideas on not only why we need a mentor, but how to find one. Check it out…

Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One.

 

Why We All Need a Mentor and How to Find One

 

Do you ever wonder how someone else would handle this situation? What other parents would do to combat the crying child in Target? Maybe you just want to bounce ideas off another person at work; someone who won’t judge or criticize you for badmouthing the guy who keeps stealing your lunch! I think about these things all the time. With my best friend 3 hours away and my Mom, Aunt, cousins and other wonderful women a phone call away, it is really hard to get that much needed face time with them; unless you actually use Facetime, which we all know can sometimes freeze if we go into bad reception!

The human resource department in my office is always about us getting this person that we can talk with; the biz calls these people mentors. As I was listening to another presentation about how we all need one of these I started thinking about all the “mentors” in my life and the fact that I have needed several and at different stages.

To begin, let’s define what a mentor is so we are all on the same page. According to the dictionary a mentor is 1. Experienced advisor and supporter, usually older and more experienced who advises and guides a younger person. A counselor, guide, or teacher. 2. A trainer, a senior or experienced person in a company or organization who gives guidance and training to a junior colleague. So why is it that we need mentors…?

…At age 20?

 

What an age! Think about it you are going through so much. It could be college and then getting a job, finding love and having babies. And that isn’t even the order most of us go in! Those 10 years of your 20’s are so dynamic. And you can argue with me till you are blue in the face but everyone is going to change during this time. What a perfect time to have a person that maybe has been there before, or someone going through the same things that you are.

…At age 30?

 

Thirties stink! And I would have never said that in my 20’s. I was positive that when I got to the big 3-0 that everything would change. My colleagues at work would start to treat me as an adult instead of a crazy, drinking-all-night, coming into work hung-over 29 year old. I would be married by 30, have kids at 31 and 33 and we would be a perfect family. Ha! I am not too concerned with the timing of everything; it is how all of those things changed me yet again. Living with someone who saw me pluck my eyebrows and bleach my upper lip was a huge thing to get used to. Pretty sure I wore makeup to bed the first few months of our marriage. I won’t go into how kids changed me (we will save that for another article!). Work was still the same, only now I had this pressure of what I was going to do in 5 years and I had no way of knowing. This is when I was blessed with a wonderful boss who actually realized before me that I was floundering and talked to me about it. I hated crying in her office; but it was a breakthrough. She became my mentor that I still talk to today about everything. And she still has the best advice and “open door” policy. Does it matter that she is in an entirely different point in her life? No! She has been through what I am going through, she has had the arguments and heard the comments from the corner office, she has been at the point of force-feeding her kids (not really, but close!) and I get all the benefit from it! I get it, you still know it all in your 20’s so you don’t need someone to help you through; but take this advice—get a mentor in your 30’s!

…At age 40?

 

Made it through! A few more wrinkles, maybe a little extra weight that creeps in, a strange ache in your head after just one glass of wine—welcome to “over the hill”! If you have kids they are probably doing things on their own now or at least spending he majority of their time in their rooms! In any case you have a little more time on your hands. Maybe work takes up a little more of that time; and now that you have the time to devote are the options still there? This mentor (and maybe it is a totally different person than at age 30) will come in handy to have those conversations with about a possible reentering of the workforce. In your 40’s you are starting to get to that place in your life where you are taking care of two generations and possibly under the same roof! You still may have kids in the house but as parents get older they are going to need a caretaker as well. This is going to require some counseling and support from someone who has been through it before.

…at age 50?

 

Welcome to an empty nest! Oh yeah and for women that amazing time of body changing called puberty in your 50’s aka Menopause. And for men, these changes that are coming with this full 180 are going to change him as well! Kids are probably out of, or close to being out of, the house and now it’s just you and your spouse. You have been dreaming about this for years and what you would do! But on day one you are sitting on the couch just staring at each other! Most will run and hide, some may find a hobby, those still in the workforce start burying themselves in work. All these activities may seem to help for a while but it isn’t going to last long term and in actuality most people don’t want it to. Start having coffee once a week with your mentor and talk these things out. It gets you out of the house and gives some direction to the changes going on in your life.

So here are some of the things that I am sure you are thinking.

 

“I don’t need a ‘mentor’ I just need to talk to my best friend.”

 

Ever heard the term “It takes a village?” We need mentors (counselors, guides, teachers—whatever you want to call them) at every point in our lives. Best friends are great and are needed just as much, but they know what happened in the village before it became a village. In other words, they are too close to the situation in some cases. A true mentoring partnership typically is someone older who has been there and can be that unbiased opinion.

“No one is calling to mentor me!”

 

“I checked my email, made sure my cell was on and still no one is calling me to ask to mentor me!” Yeah because it is up to you to make your village! No one is going to probably knock down the walls to try and get in and vice versa. You are going to have to ask to let people in. Trust me, this gives me more anxiety than anything, but a great place to find these people? At school drop-offs, playdates, at work cafeterias or PTA meetings, you have a room of men and women who are there just like you with shut doors so they can’t get away! I would have to guess that most will be more than happy to talk with you. I probably would advise not starting too in depth but eventually getting up to that point. In the long run this relationship and friendship will be worthwhile.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

The Life That This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For

November 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in HolidayComments Off on The Life That This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For

We here at iFamilyKC are continually blessed by and thankful for our Mom Squad Ambassadors. Brigette is one of our newer members and I think we can all agree, she’s fit right in. Today, she shares with us a heartfelt and honest look into being thankful for the very air we breathe. She overcame an extremely difficult time, and talks about finding gratitude through it all. Take a look…

Check Out What This Kansas City Mom is Thankful For

 

For many, this time of year seems to bring out our love for one another, our compassion for the less fortunate and our thankfulness to the ones we love. And that is great! We should all make sure that we spend time thinking about others and the things that they go through or how we can help.

When asked to write about something I was thankful for, so many reasons flooded my head. I have my husband that is my rock, my kids who are my “why” and of course my family for all they have done. It was obvious! But there is something else that I am just as thankful for, and to be honest… probably more thankful for. My life.

 

Just hear me out.

 

A few months ago, I was in my very first severe car accident. Sure I had been in a few fender benders (1 was my fault) but never anything serious. As my husband and I were moving our things back to Kansas City after living in Dallas for years, we got caught in some pretty icky weather. There were no flash floods, no lightening or severe weather warnings, just enough rain to slick the roads and make you want to curl up and watch movies. Long story short, as my husband and I were headed back into town, we hit a slick spot and it caused our car to hydroplane. Everything happened so quickly and all I could do was scream out for my husband as we spun out of control down the highway. Thankfully, no one else was close enough to be effected by the mishap and we only walked away with a few sore spots and headaches.

 

After going through something so terrifying, I couldn’t help but think. What if that was it for me? What if my time on this earth had come to an end? How would my husband get a long? Or, how will my kids be able to comprehend that mommy wasn’t there? My family means the world to me and if something were too ever happen to them, well… I can’t even imagine what that would be like.

 

Sure I always wake up thankful for another day, thankful for those around me, but knowing that my life could have ended that day has made me even more thankful for my life. Thankful that I have another opportunity to strive to be the best wife I can be for my husband. Thankful that I have the opportunity to be the best mom for my kids and Thankful that I have another opportunity be someone that family, friends and even strangers can trust, to help when I am able, pick them up when they are down and to be encouraging when things get tough.

 

Yes, I will always be thankful for those around me, but I am even more thankful that I still have the opportunity to be a part of their life and the chance to do my part by filling their life with even more love.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

brigettev8

emailsignupforblog3

5 Ways to Encourage Children to Read at Home

September 24, 2016 at 7:01 AM • Posted in Educational Fun for Kids, Mom ResourcesComments Off on 5 Ways to Encourage Children to Read at Home

Hello, Kansas City! With the school year back in full swing, any parent knows the importance of reading. Reading begins a lifelong relationship between kids and learning, and is the foundation of success. Our Mom Squad Ambassador lays out 5 simple ways to encourage children to read at home. Start early and the benefits will reap for years to come. Check it out!

5 Ways to Encourage Children to Read at Home

 

5 Ways to Encourage Children to Read at Home

 

Reading is probably the single most important thing a child can learn. Opportunity knocks when I child has mastered reading. So, what are some ways you can encourage reading in your home? Check out these tips and feel free comment with your own suggestions!

 

  • Make reading fun

    Go to the library and get your child their very own library card. This is a huge deal for kids and they will love it! Let your child choose books at their reading level and ones they are interested in. Kids will be more likely to read if the book is something they like.

 

  • Read together

    A few times a week before bed my kids and I gather up a few books and pile in my bed for some reading time. I recently started reading some small chapter books like Charlotte’s Web and The BFG to the kids.

 

  • Set the example

    I love diving in to a good book! You show your kids how much fun and exciting reading can be by reading yourself.

 

  • Rinse and Repeat

    Well maybe not rinse but definitely REPEAT. Kids love to read the same books over and over again. Repetition is important because they memorize the words in the book and can eventually master putting the sounds together to form words.

 

  • Start early

    This may sound crazy but I started reading to my children when they were in the womb. I would read my books aloud instead of silently. If you have the opportunity, take your kids to storytime at the library. MCPL offers storytime from birth to school age and also a family storytime. We started taking my daughter to storytime around 6 months old.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdErinV2

 


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Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments

September 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom ResourcesComments Off on Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments

What a great week this has been. We’ve spent it by celebrating the moms in our lives, giving advice, and supporting those mom’s getting ready to embark on the journey of parenthood. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Stephanie, wraps up this series with a great post about one key idea: Cherish the little moments. Enjoy!

 

Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments

 

Celebration of Motherhood: Cherish the Little Moments

 

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know the overwhelming emotions of seeing those two little lines on the pregnancy test. For me, I think I went through every emotion possible within seconds of finding out.

 

I was 20 years old, living with my fiancé (now husband) in a little apartment in Independence. We both had decent enough jobs but knew we were going to have to make some serious changes before we brought a baby into this world.

 

When I first took the pregnancy test at home I didn’t believe it. My now husband knew instantly – at least that was his way of explaining my moodiness (haha!) I remember calling the doctor and setting up appointments for blood work and repeat tests to make sure the at home test was right.

 

After confirming, I remember the whirlwind of telling our family and friends and seeing their excitement. I wish I could tell you I remember all the doctor appointments and when I felt him move for the first time and all those fun things… but I don’t.

 

My oldest, Zack, will be 7 next month and I can hardly believe it. It seems like he should still be my baby and I should still be on maternity leave with him. Instead of crawling around on the floor with him, we are practicing sight words and doing math problems. No more showing up to work in spit up covered clothes… instead we’re rushing out the door to get to Tae Kwon Do, soccer or school.

 

These last few years have gone by so fast and it blows my mind how quickly they keep going. While it is easier said than done… we need to slow down and cherish the little moments in life.

 

From iFamily to Yours,
ifammomsqstephv4

 

 

 


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Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

September 10, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom ResourcesComments Off on Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

Sleep, glorious sleep. It’s the wonderful thing that often evades when we first become parents, and the 18 years that follow. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has some fantastic steps on how to get your little one on a great sleep schedule. Take a look!

Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a
Sleep Schedule

 

If you don’t have a newborn, this post is going to be a real snoozer for you because today I’m giving out advice on how to train your baby to love sleep as much as you do.

 

When I was asked to write a blog post about advice for new parents, I really had to think for a bit. Our oldest just turned 6, our middle guy is 4 and our “baby” turned 3 this summer, so I should be full of advice. But here’s the deal, I barely remember those newborn days. You hear that new parents? It’s going to seem like an eternity (lack of sleep does that to you), but in the grand scheme of things it’s a very short period in your life and theirs, and I PROMISE you will make it to the other side.

 

One thing my husband and I became quick pros at was how to get our babies to sleep. Outside of eating, sleeping is my favorite activity, so the faster I could get my kids to sleep during the night, the happier I was going to be. This advice won’t work on all babies, but it worked like magic on our babies, who were all sleeping soundly throughout the night around 8 weeks. Hope it helps some of you.

 

Five tips that MIGHT help your baby be a great sleeper.

 

Set a schedule

Put your baby to bed immediately following his last feeding at about the same time every night. We’d do this pretty late, after 11PM in hopes to buying ourselves some quality sleep in the prime sleeping hours. Our babies usually got pretty drowsy after eating but if yours needs some extra help going to bed, try giving him or her a bath. Babies are usually pretty alert during baths which can wear them out. And who doesn’t love to rest once they’re all clean, warm and snuggly?

 

Swaddle that baby

The swaddle is easily in my top five products for newborns. I can’t say enough about this product. If you don’t have one, buy one (actually 3 because you know, $H*t happens) and wrap your baby up like a Chipotle burrito. Sure, you can go the old fashioned route and just use a regular blanket but babies tend to turn into Houdini in the middle of the night and one loose arm will wake them (and you) up.

 

Change first, feed second

When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, always change her first. When she’s feeding there’s a good chance she’ll fall asleep while feeding or at least be nearly asleep. Changing her after you feed her will cause her to wake up and want to party.

 

Keep the lights off

Start training your newborn from day 1 what’s day and what’s night. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, keep it all business. Keep the lights off, keep it very quiet, change the diaper, feed her, swaddle her, turn on the sound machine, put her back in bed and tip toe out of there.

 

Teach your baby how to fall asleep by herself

It’s tempting to always want to hold your baby and let her fall asleep in your arms first, before placing her in her crib, but it’s important they learn how to fall asleep on their own without all the help, too. Don’t be afraid to put an awake baby down to sleep. Turn on a mobile and sound machine and she’ll start to pick up clues that she needs to go to sleep

Like I said, it’s been too long since I was dazed and confused and spit on and peed on and had no sleep and woke up at every little movement on the baby monitor and wondered if I’d ever get a good night’s sleep again … so I’m sure I’m forgetting some great tips, so please share yours. What worked or is working for you and your newborn?

Celebration of Motherhood: How to Establish a Sleep Schedule

 

Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.

 

From iFamily to Yours,
iFamMomSqdBeckyV2

 

 


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A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

September 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Coping, Mom ResourcesComments Off on A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges


Hello, Kansas City! Any parent knows that life as well as parenting comes with it’s fair share of trials. To continue celebrating mom’s and motherhood this week, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, reflects on her family’s challenges and how they managed to overcome. So, if you’re in a tough spot, or have been in the past, this post is for you. Check it out!

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

 

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

 

Motherhood. The biggest challenge you will ever face and the most rewarding experience, indeed. My own journey is a bit unique compared to some. I became a mother when my husband (then boyfriend) received custody of his son, who was 9 at the time. We had been dating each other for 3 years and I was 22. I had no idea about being a mother. I just knew in my heart we had to get him out of the horrendous home life he was in at the time. I won’t sugar coat it. It wasn’t easy. But we got through it. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a mom, it is that at times things are going to be extremely challenging, but you get through it.

 

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

 

Fast forward to 2009, we were blessed with a baby girl. As you can tell from her picture, she was a wild and crazy baby. And now she is a wild and crazy 6 year old. Life with two in the house was a chaotic, beautiful mess. From a screaming baby to a moody teenager, I’m not sure how we made it through it, but we got through it.

 

We found out in 2011 we were going to be parents again. Or so we thought. We suffered a terrible loss and again in 2013. But here we are. We got through it.

 

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

 

In 2015, our beautiful rainbow baby boy was born. And also, in the same year, we were given the title of “grandparents.” We were blessed with a grandbaby girl 4 months after our youngest son was born. We are living a crazy, strange life and we are getting through it.

 

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

 

My point of all of this is that we are not alone in our journey as moms. New moms take note: some days are going to be extremely hard and that is ok. Give yourself a break. Take your sweet bundle of joy that won’t stop screaming for hours on end to grandma’s house for a few hours. Have a date night with your significant other. Do something for yourself. You are doing a wonderful job! And I’m here to tell you, you will get through this.

A Celebration of Motherhood: Overcoming the Challenges

 

 

From iFamily to Yours,
iFamMomSqdErinV2

 

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