Guest Feature: Helping Kids Learn Self-Care

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We here at earnestmom.com are honored to once again have, Leslie Campos of https://wellparents.com to share some helpful tips on helping our children to learn some self-care – perfect for summer down times! Image via Pexels.

Practicing self-care is an important life skill that too few people are actively taught. In our society, the pressure is on us to always be the best. But if you don’t take time out to care for yourself, that becomes impossible. That’s why it’s a good idea to teach your children to practice self-care on a regular basis, as it will help set them up for happiness and success in the future. 

Encouraging Self-care

It’s easy to tell your children that taking care of themselves is important. What’s more difficult is being a role model and showing them how you take care of yourself. Let your kids see you taking time to practice self-care. Explain to them what you are doing and why. They will see the difference that taking care of yourself makes and be encouraged.

One important element of teaching this skill to your children is prioritizing them in your life. The day can get so busy, especially when life is busy. Actively plan when you will have quality time with your children and make sure you honor that commitment. Having a routine will make keeping the habit much simpler. That includes things like having a special bedtime routine together or having a Friday movie night.

Even if you have things to get done, you can involve your children. When you’re working in the kitchen, let them help or complete other simple chores in the area. If you have work to do from home, maybe they can read a book or color at your desk while you type.

Self-care Activities

Self-care falls into four categories: emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual. The activities are used to promote health in these areas and to eliminate stress. Some examples of self-care practices appropriate for kids are:

Emotional

  • Family time. Spending time around people who you care about and who care about you meets emotional needs.
  • Positive affirmations. Telling yourself positive things helps you build confidence and develop the relationship you have with yourself.

Physical

  • Eating healthy. Beyond just feeding your kids healthy foods, teach them about foods and help them have a positive attitude about what they eat.
  • Exercise. Even if it’s just going on a walk, teach your kids to get active. Some exercise on a daily basis is the best for most kids.
  • Reduce screen time. Not only does excessive screen time damage vision and prompt headaches, but it also promotes a sedentary lifestyle that is not good for your physical health.

Psychological

  • Journaling. Take time each day to reflect on events and write them down.
  • Creating. Whether it’s a drawing, a craft, a story, music, or something else, creative work exercises the brain and develops the mind.

Spiritual

  • Meditation and prayer. This gives you a chance to reflect and connect to a higher power or simply tune in to the world around you. 
  • Volunteer. Making connections in your community and serving others is powerful.

Self-care Is Important

Self-care is more than just basic hygiene and having a hobby. It is really slowing down, focusing on yourself, and taking care of your mental health. To see how one family manages it all, check out the earnestmom.com.

How We Plan Our Summer as a Homeschool Family

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Anyone else hit summer and look for ways to have some structure but not over-structure? Me. I am anyone else. Homeschool ends, and then I feel overwhelmed – “What do I do for summer?!” I want my children to feel like they are more relaxed, and to be able to differentiate from homeschool. We will not do any formal full lessons and I will give them time to be bored because boredom is not a bad thing. I do not want the summer to pass and also feel like we have done nothing.

I have three children, 12, 7 and 4. I included them in the planning and set specific goals for each day. Now these goals will not rule our whole schedule as vacations, summer camps and other events will definitely happen but we will have a loose plan for each day. I am not sure about you but by breakfast each day my kids are asking “what are we doing today?” and they are typically not satisfied with “nothing.”

Here is what our summer schedule looks like for the months of July and August. Mondays are zoo mornings (we get a membership to the local one each year), Tuesdays are pool afternoons (we have a small pop up one otherwise it would be dedicated water play outside). Wednesdays are mornings the the museum (again we have a membership to the local children’s museum but we will also explore our other museums as well). Thursdays we will visit the library and a park nearby hosts picnics in the park with family entertainment for free. Fridays are our adventure day, we will be checking a new local park or two (we will also blog and rate our experience for those local to Erie County Pennsylvania).

Using the Notability app on my iPhone I created these fun color coded calendars (I also use similar ones for our homeschool year), I then took advantage of the $0.99 magnet deal on the Shutterfly app to create magnets as a reminder for the fridge.

This helps us have an intentional and focused summer not being limited by what we plan, but if we feel like we have nothing to do it helps to have a plan already! Let me know your tricks to keep summer fun and easy for your kiddos.

x. earnest mom

Rate My Park – Summer Series

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An Earnest Experience in Erie County Pennsylvania

All summer long, Fridays will be designated to exploring parks in Erie County PA and rating them!  The Earnest Littles and I are having a blast park hopping and seeing what is out there!  Each post will give a final rating out of 10 for the overall park and then we will break down the categories.  For each park we are looking at equipment, cleanliness, bathroom options, parent spots and picnic facilities.

Please note, the opinions given in this post/rating are our opinions alone and do not speak for the parks, the townships or anyone else.  Our intent is to give a glimpse of our experience and how much we, as a family liked the park.

McKean Community Recreational Park, 8798 Main St, McKean PA 16426

Overall Rating 8/10.  This park is large, it has a nice sized parking lot, baseball diamonds, other large sporting fields and a walking track.  It is a lovely, open green space with a nice breeze and a lovely Veteran Memorial.  All in all, we really liked this park, while we were there the kids were quick to make friends with a family who frequents, and they were so kind to invite us back to play.  We recommend checking out this park for some free fun in Erie County PA this summer!

Equipment:  The playground has a decent size climber complete with three slides, monkey bars, a crawl tube, bridge, a sliding pole and fun climbing options.  The ground cover appears to be older mulch so there was a complaint from the seven-year-old (and contributed to her rating of one thumb up and one thumb down) that she kept getting dirt in her crocs.  There is a swing section that has both belt swings and full bucket baby swings.  Ground cover also appeared to be older wooden mulch. The equipment is slightly dated in our opinion, but that did not stop is from being a fun place to play.

Cleanliness:  The park was very clean.  There was a little bit of litter from recent visitors who left their trash Juice boxes and napkins) after it got blown away from them, however there are plenty of trash cans located all over the park that allows for easy access and helps to keep it clean.  The equipment itself is kept up well, with natural wear from use it was pleasantly clean as well.

Bathrooms:  There is a decent bathroom building available for use (it was open when we were at the park).  It was fully stocked with toilet paper and soap at the sinks.  They appear to have at least two toilets per restroom (Men’s or Women’s) both equipped with a handicap option. 

Parent Spots: There are PLENTY of benches located right by the playground, a few even had shade from some nearby trees.  The benches were located all around the playground equipment as well, lots of options!

Picnic Facilities: There are so many picnic options here.  Two large pavilions (one with kitchen facilities and a ton of seating) with many wooden picnic tables fully shaded and had grills (both decently close enough to the playground) and one small one that has one wooden picnic table with handicap access.

Stay tuned for our next review.  Live in Erie County?  Have you been to this park?  What are your thoughts?

We Mix the Play Dough.

I will admit. I was not the mixing of the play dough colors kind of girl. I like things just so. Order, proper places, and keeping things neat and tidy. I like to know that when I go looking for something in it’s rightful place, it will be there. Then I had kids.

Keeping up the house, having dinner on time, kids in line, making all my own “homemade” everything, keeping all the crayons sorted and NOT mixing the play dough colors. That is how my parenting style looked, before I had actual real, brilliant, wild, breathing, crying, incredibly full of life children. I could leave a list here of all the things my imaginary kids were NOT going to do, then give the perfect counter as to how my real life children have done or are currently doing all those things.

Rigidity in motherhood for me was a fallacy. It took a while to learn that being flexible, honest with my emotions and not ‘keeping everything together always,’ was what would be best. Early on as a mom to one, I was one of the few in my group of friends and family to have children. My son was adored by my siblings, grandparents, parents, and friends; he was so loved. He grew up enjoying one on one with his father and I, and excelled in language skills holding conversations with adults by the time he was 4. He was amazing, and he is still a rock star at 11, in my honest and totally unbiased opinion but I digress. Then we had our daughter. Life changed, for the better but not in ease.

Overnight, our daughter was born and I went from a full-time working mom of one to a stay at home mom of two. Talk about learning a new way of life, I am not afraid to admit that I was wholly unprepared for the challenges as a stay at home mom but we survived. In the midst of recovery and getting settled with a new little person, we moved states. A move that took me away from my family, friends, and village; then opened wounds and showed vulnerabilities I did not know I had. Relocating is not easy, reestablishing and making a home somewhere other than the only home I knew was a bit traumatic. It was tear-filled, fear-filled and over all a learning experience. Did I mention that I like things to be just so?

Then there were three. Three years of getting settled into a new state, we were a family of five. I always heard how three changes everything, and much to my chagrin it proved to be true. Our loveable, strong, honest, loud, happy, snuggly, kind-hearted Wreck-it-Ralph came barreling into our lives. Our family dynamic changed. Breakables were placed high, but when climbing began most were eventually stored for safety. Church service is exhausting as I chase, play, distract and feed our busy little man. He is so full of life it literally bursts over everyone we come into contact with. He mixes the play dough, he mixes all the colors; then he mixes it with sand, water, food, or anything else that brings playful joy to his big old heart. Toys are dumped and thoroughly played with; passion roars from him like a lion and love comes out gentle as a bunny. He is the wild to my quiet, the chaos to my perfection, the love and life that my heart never knew it needed.

After three kids, homeschooling, a pandemic and the change to rules/opinions daily we find refuge in our home. Here it is safe, here we have order among the wild things, and we are learning to love deeper, respect more and most of all, learning to become the people God has designed us to be. When I started out in motherhood I would cry in frustration when things were not just so, when my plans would get muddled and mixed and I felt like things were out of control. Now, the phrase I often heard “blessed are the flexible for they shall not break” rings true every single day. Here, we mix the play dough colors; which is still hard for my first born as he was raised with more of a rigid mom who taught him we had to keep things the ‘right’ way, a mom who was quick to react and slow to listen. Now he has a more flexible, albeit less stressed (well sort of) mom and we are learning the power bending and not breaking together in life. In the flexibility we have found happiness, we have found resilience and now we are growing together. It is not always easy and there are fractures from past rigid moments that can make things stressful, but slowly the as we stretch old wounds they begin to flex and not hurt so much.

“When the milk is splattered all over the floor, and those little eyes are looking at your for your reaction, remember what really matters. It takes 5 minutes to clean up spilled milk. It takes much longer to clean up a broken spirit.”

Rebecca Eanes, The Gift of a Happy Mother.

I saw this truth just this week. My children love balloons, and I love to have them for fun occasions. Recently we surprised them with 22 inch balloons for a homeschool celebration. I made the rules clear, the balloons are for floating and leaving alone today and tomorrow they could have at them. Half way through the day, my youngest wild one who is 4, was sprawled out facedown on the floor crying, I sat down next to him and said “It sounds like you are feeling upset. Did something happen you want to share?” As he sobbed he cried out “I popped one of the balloons!” Immediately my heart broke, I thought ‘Oh no, is he crying because he is afraid of getting in trouble?’ So I responded, “Ok, the balloon broke. Can you tell me why you are crying?” He responded “I broke the rules and I am so sorry. Do you forgive me?” Could I have disciplined him? Sure, he did not listen and the balloon broke, but I realized his heart was already sore because he chose to break the rules and he knew it was wrong. Lesson learned.

Talk about unpacking some personal trauma – I decided to be the adult I needed when I was too scared to tell my parents my mistakes, and I often hid from them. I asked him for a hug, and as we sat on the floor, cheek to cheek, heart to heart I thanked him for his honesty, and even though he knew it was wrong he chose truth, and told him that I forgave him. I reminded him (even though he is only 4) that I am always here for him and no matter what I love him. This child who has ran naked through the middle aisle of the church, who mixes all the play dough colors has caused a great work to come upon my heart.

I am not perfect, no way do I get this parenting thing right every time but moments like that remind me how far I have grown. A decade ago, when I preferred things ‘just so’ I subconsciously placed unfair expectations on my children. I judged my mothering success by their behaviors, but slowly as we have mixed the crayons, spilled the milk, been too loud, ran too hard and broke the mold that I was placing us in – I have taken that unfair pressure off of all of us and started enjoying the ‘new’ that we create when we mix the play dough. To this day, I organize the kids books in my living room according to color. Yep. I place them in order ROYGBIV and when I sit down to relax after a stay at home/homeschool day, that sight relaxes me. No one sees it but me, and a few days later I am left to sort them again – the way I like it because I like the way it feels. In this small way, my ‘just so’ attitude gets satiated. I was not one to mix the playdough colors but I love how motherhood is molding me into something new, different and dare I say…better.

An Earnest Attitude of Gratitude.

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It is November. We have Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving that we host every year and so quickly I can get distracted by the planning (I like to really plan with a lot of care and thought our Friendsgiving to create an intimate time for the group of us that have been celebrating for the past 3 years). I am seeing on social media, people posting thankful anecdotes daily, which is so refreshing to read when I decide to scroll – especially when I haven’t been online for a few days and all the thankful posts pile up! Some have been known to cause a few tears in my own eyes.

I feel like while I am mama, teacher, cook, tidy-upper, help mate and all the other hats that I juggle through my days I miss being thankful for my life, abilities and the little things!

Someone once told me it could simply be a matter of switching up the narrative in my head. when my days get busy (especially lately when home inspection calls are non stop some days), I get caught up in the stress of what I have to get done. Earnest dad will come home after a long day of inspecting and maybe hunting, and he wants to relax. All I can see is what we have to do and I quickly get overwhelmed. There are days he comes home early and the moment I see him, I immediately think of my have to list and I don’t stop to even greet him. (I feel awful saying it but it is true).

The word of God says,

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100: 1-5

Be thankful to him, for the Lord is good and his mercy is everlasting. These words were life to me this week.

We use a curriculum that we print monthly – and it is a lot of printing! Well we start a new unit TODAY and because of the busyness and time spread everywhere, I started printing last night. And last night, nothing was going right. With lack of sleep (thanks daylight savings), homeschooling, business phone calls and energetic kids I was done. I felt, as Bilbo Baggins so eloquently put it, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” My patience, calm and thankful tanks were on empty. I went to bed and as I fell asleep I remembered the words, attitude of gratitude.

As I got up this morning feeling resting, my youngest little laid on the ground with his little fingers reaching under the door and began singing one of my favorite hymns. In my head I hear, attitude of gratitude. I go to get my morning vitamins and breaks and my little guy climbs up to sit on the counter with me (I was with him the whole time) and brewed me my k-cup (again with my support). Again, I am reminded attitude of gratitude. I need to change my narrative.

Here I sit, with my printer trying to print our workbooks we should already be working out of and there is a paper jam. Then mid print job, it cancels itself. No error information, no reason that I can see. Attitude of gratitude. So I changed the narrative. Today for homeschool we will read stories together, we will clean up the house together, we will do our supplemental subjects already printed and ready to go. We will go outside and get some vitamin D and watch our favorite squirrel at the park as he buries his acorns in planning for his winter survival. Today we will do what we can with what we have. That is all that we ever have.

Instead of telling myself I have to, today I will remind myself that I get to. I get to school my children in my home because my husband works hard and the Lord blesses us. I get to clean up with my children because all of us are healthy and able. We get to go the to park because we have an amazing set up less than a block away in our quiet neighborhood. I get to work with my technology because we have the ability to own the necessities to do so.

I sit here, printer in error state, some kids not clothed running about the house with more screen time than I would like. But we get to do all of this because of the blessings that we have in our lives. This earnest home, family and life we have is such a privilege and honor, I am working daily to keep in an attitude of gratitude and to not let the sideways, caught off guard messes throw me off. Let November be the month you work to gain gratitude, then keep it all year long. Not because you have to, but because you earnestly get to.

x. earnest mom.

Hey Mama…

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This is a reminder.

Mama, you are so loved. Even in the moments of overwhelming and complete failure, you are still the best mom your children have had. None of us has this mom-gig worked out, and that’s ok! Your children love you so much. Let them see you fail, cry, pick up your pieces and try, try, try again. Resilience is learned from example and motherhood is the perfect opportunity to show your children that we can make mistakes and still keep going.

You are not perfect, but your are the perfect mom for you children. I heard this quote and felt that the word “perfect” made me feel anxious. Let’s drop perfection all together. The only perfect person that there was will make all things new again, until then, let’s stop setting an impossible bar for ourselves and other moms. There is beauty in our idiosyncrasies, our imperfections and our quirks. Let’s revel in them, celebrate them and the ones we don’t like, slowly work to focus on the good ones. Each mama has their own motherhood journey, let’s celebrate that instead of comparing, measuring and weighing ourselves (and each other).

Nothing is as it seems. Two words, social media. If scrolling is depressing you more than inspiring you, it is ok to log off. Instagram perfect shots, Facebook perfect posts and trendy TikTok clips may seem harmless but filtered, spotless, crisp, clean snippets are not how things always are. We cannot compare our 24 hours to 24 seconds of edited snap shots. Let’s put down our phones and appreciate what is around us. Real life lives in real homes filled with life and with tiny little humans who love us so much they rather enjoy watching us poo!

None of us are getting it right 100% of the time. Life is full of mistakes, that is who we are. Things crumble and because we have emotions, we will not get things on point every time. I err daily. Daily. I am quick to speak and slow to listen, I give too much advice instead of being a listening ear, I have a hard time with silence so I feel like I need to make conversation all the time. I rewind my conversations with my children, husband, friends and family every night and make edits on how I could have said things better. Maybe I am the only one, but I am so thankful that I wake every morning with a chance to try again.

Lastly, mama taking some time for you is a good thing. I am the first one when I am away from my children to immediately feel that pang of guilt that I could walk away and enjoy time “sans children.” Mom time is needed time, not just a spa mask on Sunday nights either (though keep doing this too!). You cannot fill from an empty cup, since I cannot often just get away I find my mom time in small moments. When my husband gets home, some nights I need a twenty minuter, alone in my room. Other times (currently I have put in a formal request) I need a 24-48 hour break, alone – just myself to recenter, reconnect and refresh. We moms are integral to our homes, and when we are worn, the whole ship can start to tumble. It is okay to get away.

We are in this together, you are not alone. Please know, asking for help is a good thing too. Reach out if you need, there is no shame if you cannot do it all. Doing everything is just too much, a weight that can be shared. Lean in to those who love and support you. Be encouraged to find some fellow moms you can talk to, visit with and simply fellowship. A little MOPS plug here – find a local MOPS! You never know where your next BFF is waiting! You are doing a good job, you are wonderfully made and so loved.

x. earnest mom.

The View From Our Table: What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street

The view from our table will be a feature where we look at some fun things we have done in our homeschool.

We are the kind of homeschool family that homeschools in the summer. It is less formal and much shorter, but we are a family that is constantly learning together. One our favorite times is “Morning Time.” We often start our homeschool days at the dinner table with our basket of books. Mama reads while the littles keep their hands busy with handicrafts. We love it.

This summer we decided to read, What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street by Felicita Sala (can be purchased here – non affiliate link). This book was given to us by a dear friend who thought that we would have fun with it. We had so much fun!

Each page introduces the reader to recipes from all over the world. Salmorejo (a cold soup served with ham and boiled eggs), Little Trees (stir fried broccoli), Sole Meuniere, to name a few. Each day, we reread the book and then we chose a recipe we wanted to try. (I even discovered a mild allergy to pine nuts lol).

We had a such a blast trying flavors from all over the world and felt like we were joining the neighborhood for their pot luck feast at the end of the book. The illustrations are lovely and recipes rich and flavorful. So far this is one of the tastiest and fun books we have chosen for our morning time adventures.

If you are looking for something fun that will introduce your palate to flavors from many cultures, we highly recommend this favorite from our table. It has been a great way to try foods and cook with the three wild and three free and me!

I Am THAT Mom.

I am also human, and working on myself one step at a time.

As I prepare to write this, I earnestly feel gutted. Today, I was THAT mom. The mom that I have seen a million times; trying to keep it together as she can feel the entire façade of “everything is perfect” start to crumble and slip away. At first it was hard, but as I realized that I am human I was forced to give myself some grace.

Let’s set the stage for you. Thunderstorms kept us indoors. So movie and popcorn it is, until the popcorn maker got knocked over spilling popcorn every where and cracking the side panel. It was an accident, stay chill mama – accidents happen and its just a popcorn machine. Then children kept climbing the counter, literally I was taking children down from the countertops. Things started to calm until the hall closet upstairs was completely dissected from its contents while I was cleaning the popcorn machine. By then, the window to prepare dinner was closed, my oldest needed to go to karate and this mama was waving her white flag. It was enough.

My vehicle was parked across the street at my mother in laws and since my youngest two usually refuse pants and shoes, I needed to move the car to my driveway to save them from crossing the street shoeless (I have learned to pick my battles, shoes make it to the car in case they’re needed but I do not fight them on – in these cases I prefer peace to the fight). I called all three to the kitchen and said “get your shoes ready and stay RIGHT HERE, I am bring the car over.” They get busy putting their shoes on and I hot footed it across the street. All of the sudden, as I open the driver door there is my middle little. She startled me, then I realized she had ran across the street unassisted and that her 3 year old brother is likely right behind her. In my fear, my frustration I yelled at her. Ouch, it hurts my heart to even write that as I have been really working on my volume and tone with my children, but I was scared. Scared she could have been hurt, scared my youngest would soon be doing the same or is elsewhere outside completely unsupervised. I yelled, right at her “you scared me, and what about brother?! IS he safe?! I told you to stay in the house as I ran across the street!! Why didn’t you stay???” Ugh. We ran back to the house, and my oldest and youngest were standing right where I had asked them to stay only three minutes before.

Now I tell you, I have seen this mom around, so many times. Tired, worried, stressed, overwhelmed, scared, angry, frustrated, and yelling at her kid. Until this moment, I had always viewed the “yelling” mom as such a villain – and to all the moms I have judged before, I earnestly apologize. This is so HARD. Not that I condone yelling at children, however when I was scared, overwhelmed and worried for the safety of my children, that panic kicked in and naturally my voice elevated.

As soon as I saw all three of my children safe (my oldest is 11, so legally he can stay 3 minutes with his siblings as I drive up to get them, in case you are worried lol); I knelt down, cried and apologized instantly for yelling. I asked for my middle little’s forgiveness, I explained how scared I was but that yelling was not appropriate and I am working hard not to yell anymore. Then something surprising happened, she apologized for not listening and saw how scary that was for me. I was taken aback. I did not expect her to mirror my actions, to recognize and acknowledge her mistake and my feelings. It was messy, it was hard, but even in my mama-meltdown epic failure moments, these brilliant amazing little humans are still learning forgiveness, empathy and owning their own mistakes.

Yes, I am THAT mom. I am the mom that struggles with keeping my temper, sometimes doesn’t get food to the table on time (by the way we ordered in tonight), allows too much screen time, gives in to some demands to avoid the fight, and yells when I do not mean to. I am also THAT mom who forgives quickly, loves fully, asks for forgiveness and apologizes to show them I make mistakes too, and would protect my children at all costs. I cry in the bathroom, laugh at the dinner table and hug with everything I have got. I am 100% that mom and proud.

x. earnest mom.

Our View from Home

Last year was our very first year (like many families) homeschooling. As we prepare for our Summer Home School I am caused to reflect on the last year.

First and foremost I am incredibly grateful that we have the blessed opportunity for me to stay home with the 3wilds and to homeschool. Homeschool as I have mentioned before, had always been in the back of our minds and hearts but never took the leap. COVID gave us that leap.

As much as we loved being home together, and as much as we drove each other barking mad, we definitely experienced some ups and downs along the way. The number one lesson we took was be flexible. I am not the person to set up desks and assignments and mimic school the institution. No way. However the curriculum that we chose made us be more at the table than I would have liked. For our 5th grader we went with a free online program which required more screen time than I anticipated plus all of the supply lists. I ended up with lots of surprise lists too which was frustrating and led to us skipping some lessons altogether.

Another aspect I struggled with was consistency of scheduling. We love morning time, it is our favorite part of the day where we all gather around the table for read aloud and the kids get to do quiet handicrafts. Morning time is the best! We struggled with the follow up and continuation of the day. Constantly being pulled from and very parent involved kindergarten curriculum and an online program that just was not a good fit for my fifth grader.

We made it through the year, all of us feeling like we barely did so. We ended up having a morning time meeting where we talked about the whole year, our likes and dislikes and what could be different and then my fifth grader said, “if we do online again, I would rather go back to school.” I felt like a failure with 12 words. I failed, ugh. It took some time to reflect and see where it went wrong, when I discussed it more in depth with him, it turned out he simply hated being online (I did not like it either) and so when I offered a different approach/curriculum he was quick to tell me with that change he would rather stay home.

As much as we struggled, I was so thankful for the ease in which our days continued, no phone calls from principals or teachers, no crying kids off of the bus because they were teased, taunted and even physically hurt like we experienced in years before. I am grateful that the whole bully issue does not even touch our door step and we are free from the worry of our children being hurt or harmed by their peers for no reason other than to cause pain. Our kids of course experience their own squabbles, teasing and regular sibling interaction – but we are in control of the problem solving and discipline that comes with it.

All in all, we are ready to take on a new school year from home. With a new curriculum that is created on a scaffolding scheme and a family style approach, the kids are already LOVING their summer mini unit (more to come when we are finished and we can give an honest review).

Guest Feature: Become a Super-Parent with These Top Apps

Photo by Pixabay

3wild3free is honored to have Leslie Campos, from https://wellparents.com/ to share more brilliant tips for parents and navigating the apps that are available to help a mother out!

Let’s face it: Parenting is hard work. And if you’re a new parent, no matter how many preparations you make, you’ll still face the unexpected when it comes to caring for your new baby. That’s because babies don’t come with a manual. The good news, though, is that technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, and smartphones provide apps that can help make life with a new baby a bit easier to navigate. 

Top Apps That Make Caring for Your Baby Easier

When you’re searching for baby-caring apps, you’re best off trying singular-function ones instead of all-in-one apps. Since you’ll be spending a lot of your time caring for your baby, you want easy-to-use apps that are available when you need them. The following apps are a great place to start.

WebMD Baby

With the WebMD Baby app, you’ll get access to trusted, physician-approved health and wellness information at your fingertips. With this app, you can also track important baby information and milestones. It’s a baby book, a place to ask a pediatrician for advice, a way to track your baby’s growth and development so that you can keep them on schedule, and more. Track feedings, nursing, sleep, and diaper changes as well. 

Baby Monitor 3G

Baby Monitor 3G is a unique monitoring app that uses your devices to keep you aware of your baby while they are in the other room. In the baby’s room, you’ll place a smart device or laptop that will monitor your baby and transmit audio and video via Wi-Fi or cellular connection to your device, where you’ll see a live, real-time feed of your child so that you can monitor them remotely and attend to them should the need arise. Setup is quick and easy, and you can even use it across different platforms. There’s also an activity log to track sleeping patterns. The app is secure and reliable, and the next logical step in baby-monitoring solutions.

Day One

If you’re a journal lover who likes to track every detail of your life, the Day One app is perfect for simplifying the important aspects of your life. Keep a workout log, gratitude journal, food diary, baby journal, or anything that needs writing down. You can add photos to your entries, and a passcode to protect your journal so it stays private. You can even dictate your entries! It’s the perfect way to keep track of your daily life in a simple, easy-to-use format.

Baby Sign and Learn Lite

This app may not seem useful at first, but sign language is a baby’s first language. Before your child can speak, they still need to communicate their needs and wants to you. Mostly, they’ll do it through crying, but eventually, their little brains can understand hand gestures. Baby Sign and Learn Lite is the free version and a great starter app for teaching and learning simple signs that you’ll need most, like “more,” “eat,” “please,” and “milk.” Using this app and practicing with your child will help both of you close the communication gap, which can lead to a happier baby whose needs are met quicker.

Redfin App

Last but not least, using an app to look for a new, bigger home for your expanding family will help make the process a little easier. While it won’t replace working with a real estate agent, something like the Redfin app can help you get the process rolling without leaving your baby’s side. Not only can you use different filters to narrow the scope of your search, but you can also take a peek inside homes using the app’s virtual walkthrough feature. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, you can get in contact with a Realtor to guide you through the rest of the home-buying process.

When you’re new to navigating parenthood, life can throw a lot of curveballs, but it doesn’t have to be so difficult. No matter what you choose, your smartphone can be another tool in your parenting adventure, and there’s an app for just about everything.