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    Family Team Building Activities: Everything You Need to Consider

    While team-building activities are often associated with workplaces, they’re also beneficial in strengthening family bonds. Spending quality time together is invaluable during the formative years and can spark strong family relationships that last a lifetime. First, I will elaborate on the benefits of team building games. Then I will provide some key considerations to keep in mind when organizing family team building activities. Finally, I will also offer lots of fun ideas for developing teamwork skills.

    One of our family team building exercises is to make homemade Chinese dumplings from scratch. It is a great exercise to learn to follow directions and work together. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor over a nice meal together.

    Benefits Of Team Building Exercises

    There are many tangible benefits of team building exercises. That is why companies often employ team building in order to get a more productive work force with higher retention rates. Team building games can help increase engagement and improve communication between team members. Learning to work together towards a common goal with a set amount of time can encourage creative thinking, problem solving, and allow each of the group members to showcase their own particular talents.

    A team building event can help individuals to make deeper connections. Developing a greater understanding of each other, our motivations, and our strengths can help future interactions go more smoothly. All of these same benefits apply to family team building exercises.

    In modern family life, everyone can get so busy. That is why it is important to schedule in a fun activity for the entire group. This can help to improve communication skills, critical thinking skills, and social skills. It also serves to make sure you have fun memories that cement you together as a whole family.

    Tips For Organizing A Team-Building Activity For Your Family

    This water obstacle course was one of my favorite family team building events. We competed in small groups and my son and I yelled encouragement and tips out to each other.

    Scheduling regular family team-building activities can be as simple as setting aside an afternoon once a week or once a month. Here are a few things to consider when planning your family team building game or activity.

    Age Groups

    The first consideration when planning family team-building exercises is the age groups involved. The activities for a family with young children will look different than a family with teenagers on the cusp of graduation. Finding activities that work for all age groups is a must when planning family team-building exercises.

    Fortunately, there are many shared activities that can help strengthen your family bonds, even if younger children can’t actively participate. Events like sharing meals, playing games, and having conversations model the desired behavior to younger family members so they’re ready when the time comes to take a more active role.

    Small Groups or All-Inclusive

    Another important consideration when planning family-focused activities is whether they’ll always feature everyone in a large group or if you’ll include smaller groups. For example, you might plan a few whole-family activities for one month and one-on-one time during other months. Breaking into smaller groups is a great way to bond with older children after young siblings are born and strengthen individual relationships.

    Scheduling small group activities or one-on-one time does add some complexity. Small groups may have fun competing against each other at the same team-building activity. However, If you have a young child under 5, this could mean looking for childcare and vetting a sitter so you can find out if they’re trustworthy and reliable. 

    Self-Managed or Supported

    Another consideration when planning family bonding activities is whether you’ll be taking a DIY approach or hiring professional services for support. For example, you can plan a scavenger hunt yourself or pay service for a unique scavenger hunt experience. Similarly, you can plan to cook together at home or hire an instructor for a virtual cooking lesson.

    There are pros and cons to each option. Self-managed activities allow you to keep costs low and control the event. Supported activities allow you to delegate some of the planning and learn new skills. 

    At-Home or Away

    Adding a combination of home activities and away activities can help keep things fresh when planning events. If you’re a busy family on the go all the time, planning at-home activities might be more relaxing. Conversely, if you’ve spent a lot of time at home over the past few years or work remotely, getting out of the house might be better for everyone.

    Complexity and Frequency

    Family team building doesn’t have to include an elaborate event or monthly schedule; there are many things you can do every day to strengthen family bonds.

    Sharing a meal from preparation to clean-up a few times per week is a simple way to share time as a family and teach the value of contributing. You can also create simple routines and traditions, like everyone sharing a good thing and bad thing about their day.

    Equality and Buy-In

    As a parent, it’s natural to want to take the reins and plan everything. However, you’ll get more buy-in and commitment if you give everyone in the family a chance to choose an activity. This democratic approach to planning family night teaches fairness and equality. 

    If you plan a monthly “away” activity, let a different person decide what that will be each month. If you have weekly activities like board games or movie nights, let a different person pick the game or movie each time. Setting boundaries and expectations beforehand can also help guide this process.

    Ideas For Fun Team Building Activities

    House of cardsEscape room (especially great for families with older kids)Obstacle course with time limitIcebreaker games (you’d be surprised the things you may not know about your own family members!)Trivia questions night (where you break up into evenly matched teams)Write a family mission statementGroup juggling challengeFamily game nightHuman knot gameDuck Duck Goose (great for families with little kids)Treasure hunt Pictionary or charadesCard gamesBlindfold half of the members and pair off with a direction giver to retrieve an object (practices following verbal instructions)Trust fall (if kids are old enough and safety precautions are taken)A Perfect SquareTwo truths, one lie (Teens love this one. Each family member will tell 3 facts about themselves and the others guess which one is the lie.)Simon Says Red Light, Green LightPuzzlesLazer tagPaint ballDodgeballCommunity service activityEach family member can teach a new skillPrepare a feast with everyone contributing (Example, make a hot dog bar and have everyone provide two favorite toppings)Capture the flagWork together to accomplish an ultimate goal (a clean living room, planting flowers, creating DIY gifts for each other)JengaTandem kayaking or canoeingPut on a play scene together or play a musical piece as a group


    With these simple tips and ideas, you can schedule meaningful family team-building activities to improve communication, life skills, and family bonds. Getting the entire team involved in fun games, can only produce great results! What is your favorite family team building activity?

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    Mindful Parenting Quotes and Checklist

    Let’s talk about Mindful Based Parenting. Specifically, what it means and how it can help bring calm to the chaos of parenting. I will share some key mindful parenting strategies to help you incorporate this new practice and a checklist to keep you on track. The idea behind this Mindful Parenting Checklist is to help you adopt some new parenting habits that will make your parent-child relationships less reactive. The practice of mindfulness can help your parenting and family time become more purposeful and enjoyable.

    Before, I jump into the Mindful Parenting Checklist, I want to answer the basic question, “What is mindfulness”? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., who credited with initiating the popularity of mindfulness in the West, “Mindfulness is actually a way of connecting with your life…paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” It is basically the idea that we need to be more in the present. We should pay attention to the moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future. It is a way of being focused around awareness of the current time rather than anxiety of the future or depressive rumination.

    What is Mindful Parenting?

    So with that said, “What is mindful parenting”? It is the practice of applying the same principles of attention to the present with our children. It was well put by Jon Kabatizinn in the Huffington Post, “Mindful parenting involves keeping in mind what is truly important as we go about the activities of daily living with our children…For us to learn from our children requires that we pay attention, and learn to be still within ourselves. In stillness, we are better able to see past the endemic turmoil and cloudiness and reactivity of our own minds, in which we are so frequently caught up, and in this way, cultivate greater clarity, calmness and insight, which we can bring directly to our parenting…Just bringing this kind of sensitivity to our parenting will enhance our sense of connectedness with our children.”

    Mindful Parenting Techniques

    If that was too much of a mouthful, mindful parenting, in its simplest terms is about awareness. It brings your awareness to your needs and your child’s needs in the present moment staying focused on that. Mindful parenting is the slowing down of your thoughts and by cleansing your mind. It is about thinking less and panicking less and being there in the moment for yourself and your child more. To begin the practice of mindful parenting techniques, you may find it useful to write a personal mission statement. Doing so can help you determine what is most important to you in your family life.

    Basically, we can all get caught up in the hectic schedules and stress of daily life. However, practicing mindful parenting strategies can help make life calmer, happier, and healthier. We can turn a moment of stressed out panic to get out the door and anger at the kids for not being ready into speaking and moving in a purposeful way that communicates our expectations without panic, stress, judgement, and fear. Mindful parenting will still encounter times of strong emotions and conflicting needs but because of your connection to the present moment for you and your child, your actions and words will likely have more kindness and wisdom in them. This mindful approach breeds more positive behavior and potential benefits for both parent and child.

    Be present in the moment.

    Mindful Parenting Example

    “Say you’ve put a lot of energy into making dinner after a difficult day, and your baby starts screaming and is inconsolable just when you are about to sit down and enjoy it. That’s a perfect opportunity to bring mindfulness right into that moment and see how attached you may be to having a peaceful dinner. What are your options? You can flip out and be immature and not be in resonance with whatever your child is experiencing, or you can realize this it what it means sometimes to have baby or a toddler. Life itself is the curriculum. When you give up your attachment, you won’t relate to your child with resentment.”  –

    Next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, try responding in new ways. A parent’s ability to help their child with emotional regulation may be limited if he or she has not learned to do so themself. The first step in avoiding negative parenting behavior may be to use a mindful way of calming oneself before demanding that your child is calm. Simple ways include taking a deep breath and trying to breathe out your frustration before responding. Having an emotional awareness to our own reactions will help us be more understanding of our child’s feelings and needs as well.

    Mindful Parenting Quotes To Inspire You

    I read a quote once that I will always remember because I thought, “You know what? That is so true. And my being there fully in the moment and really listening to my child matters.” I hope it inspires you too. Here it that mindful parenting quote:

    “Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”― Catherine M. Wallace

    Here is another of my favorite mindful parenting quotes:

    “Use anger as a wake-up call to unmet needs.” -Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships

    This quote is so instructional and so useful for all of our relationships. Whether our child is feeling angry or whether we are feeling angry, it is a good time to pause. Take a moment to examine why they (or we) feel that way and what needs are going unmet. This will allow you or your child to communicate feelings and needs in a productive way.

    Another great mindful parenting quote:

    “Getting in touch with conscious behavior we change our attitudes so that we are not ruled by instincts, habits, and someone else’s beliefs.” -Nataša Pantović, Conscious Parenting

    This one speaks to make conscious decisions in our parenting rather than reacting. For example, you child is not doing what you said. You could assume they are defiant and need to be punished. Or, instead, you could question them further to see what is upsetting them and causing them to ignore your request.

    Mindful Parenting Checklist To Help Guide You

    The Mindful website, reports that, “according to new research, children who experience mindful parenting are less likely to use drugs or get depression or anxiety.” It is generally agreed that mindfulness and mindful parenting are successful at promoting well-being in several ways. To bring mindful attention and awareness into your interactions with your child really seems to set the stage for you to be a good parent.

    Here are some ideas to help you become a more mindful parent. I have presented them in checklist format so you print it out and go over it occasionally. Otherwise, we all know that it can be hard to remember everything and to implement new habits. The Mindful Parenting Checklist will help you make the progress that you want to make.

    How To Bring Mindfulness To Parenting

    Establish a daily mindfulness practice for you and your kids such as sitting in simple meditation for  5-30 minutes every day.   During your meditation practice, bring awareness to your breathing and sustaining it over time.Bring more awareness to your mind and body in key moments. This is more easily done when you have a mindfulness routine such as mentioned above. You get better at this with practice.Mindfully manage stress.  Just taking a slow, intentional, deep breath can allow you to pause and refocus your attention on the present.Be mindful of what’s unfolding in your life and your children’s lives.  Honor your needs and their needs as best you can. Don’t get mindlessly caught up in reactions to surface behaviors.See young children as they are, not as who you want them to be. Meet your child with more acceptance.Cultivate kindness and compassion in the moment for yourself and for your child.Be in the present with open-hearted, non-judgmental attention.Be less attached to outcomes.When a conflict or difficult situations occur with your child, pause and take a breath. Ask yourself, “Am I just reacting here or am I responding with purpose?”Mindful parenting should include listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it. Allow them the opportunity to express their own feelings.

    Printable Checklist

    I don’t think you will use this checklist every day indefinitely. However, I do think you will find it useful to use everyday for about a week. It will help you get into a better routine. Then you can reduce to once a week for awhile to help make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.

    Again, this Mindful Parenting Checklist is intended to help you implement new habits into your daily routine. It is not something you should stress over. Don’t try to check off every box, every day.  Rather it is just a useful tool for your mindfulness training. It will cause you to slow down and be present in the moment. When used properly, it should help with stress reduction and managing negative emotions. Mindful awareness in everyday life will lead to positive changes and less anxiety.

    The image above is a partial capture of the full printable Mindful Parenting Checklist.  You can go to google documents and print the whole page there.

    Parenting At Its Best

    It has happened to all of that we find ourselves going through the motions. As your child talks to you, your attention may wonder and you are off thinking about the stuff you need to get done. Wouldn’t you rather be enjoying the experience of being with your child? Be there to truly listen and respond with joy, humor, or just true attention. Mindful parenting isn’t just for when things are going wrong, it is for when things are going right too! It is being there in that moment and giving your child your full attention. It seems so basic but in this multi-tasking, multi-device, over-stimulation world, we have to get back to basics sometimes.

    Your child wants your attention more than anything else. In fact, we all appreciate those moments when a person is truly giving us their full presence. It is the greatest gift. Make your mindful moment awareness for good things too!


    So tonight, when you tuck your child in, try mindful parenting. Put aside your worries and preoccupations and just enjoy your exchange with your child. When you look at them, really see them. When you listen, really listen. And when you tell them you love them, think about how much you really mean it. I bet you enjoy mindful parenting! It feels good.

    If you are interested in mindful parenting but you feel like you really need some help, you may want to check out MamaZen. It is the #1 mindful parenting app ‍‍for mothers who want to raise happier kids!

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    How To Be An Autism Advocate

    There are a lot of challenges that parents of autistic children face. One such challenge is the fact that special needs children often get pushed aside when it comes to their education. This may happen when their diagnosis information has not been properly shared or when the school district is short on resources. An autism parent advocate is someone who is checking to make sure their autistic child’s needs are being met. This will need to be on a continual basis over the weeks, months, and years. Autistic children are often not properly taken care of in the public schools education system. This is because they need an educational advocate to help them get what they need. As an autism advocate, it is your goal to create a positive, collaborative relationship with the school system to ensure your child’s needs are met.

    The 3 Ways You Can Best Advocate For Your Autistic Child

    Helping to increase autism awareness is often the mainstay for autism advocates. This is because information and knowledge are one of the best ways to combat ignorance and false perceptions. Knowing what to expect and how best to deal with it makes things smoother for everyone. As ADA says, “Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder. It affects how people communicate and interact with others, as well as how they behave and learn”. Understanding this basic information helps other people begin to understand your child better.

    Because autistic children often have difficulty with communication skills, it is important that they have an educational advocate. The main goal is to develop a partnership with the school and teachers so that you can work as a team. When you have a special needs child, you may need to lobby for them to get their needs met at every level of their education. Unfortunately, without an advocate, they don’t have much of a voice and can sometimes be neglected by school administrators. In this article, we will go over several ways that you can advocate for your autistic child. 

    1 – Be Proactive

    If you have done a free child autism test and then followed up and gotten an official diagnosis, you are now armed with the information you need to help advocate for them. Make sure to share the official diagnosis with the school administration and teachers. Be friendly and learn their names because they will be your partners in this process.

    It is really important to be proactive in getting your autistic child’s needs met and not simply reacting to things. When you have specific concerns or requests, it is a good idea to set up a meeting with the school. This will provide a way for you to express those concerns and get the administrators on the same page. Be as prepared as possible and set the tone of the meeting. Make sure that the administrators understand what your position is and that they will need to figure out how to meet your child’s needs. 

    2 – Be prepared

    Before any meeting or communication, you should have done some research. Find out what your child’s rights are in your state. There are some guarantees that the school needs to give you based on the local regulations of wherever you live. When you know your state laws and rights, you have a better standing to make sure that the school is doing at least the minimum they are required to do. 

    The Autism Speaks organization states that “The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) … mandates that the state provide all eligible children with a free and appropriate public education that meets their unique individual needs”. Visit their site to learn more about possible early intervention programs and special education services.

    You should also be prepared with any documentation from doctors that will outline what your child’s needs are. This gives you specific things to ask for which have their basis in a clinical standpoint. Have any reports or suggestions for the school done by professionals to bolster your case. 

    3 – Communicate well

    Ambiguity can really hurt your chances to get what your child needs. It is extremely important that you know how to communicate well. Try to make your point understood without any room for miscommunication. With this purpose, you may want to write your ideas down before hand. In this way, you can be sure to present your requests in an organized fashion.

    It’s helpful not to use emotional language, not only to keep things professional, but also to clearly articulate what it is that you need to have happen. Emotions are natural, but will get in the way of proper communication. On the flip side, the school will sometimes use language that is vague or confusing. Be sure to ask for clarification of unknown terms anytime you encounter them. Ask a lot of questions to be sure that you understand what is being said. In this way, you can then clearly articulate what you want to say in return.


    Children with autism have special needs and may struggle to communicate well with teachers and parents. As an autism advocate, it is your role to be proactive. Read up on your child’s diagnosis. Be familiar with all the diagnosis information and materials that the doctors provide. Be sure the school has this information as well so they came come up with an individualized education plan (IEP) to suit your child.

    If you encounter any difficulties with the education being adequate to meet your autistic child’s needs, schedule IEP meetings with the school administration and/or teachers. Come prepared with a good attitude to recruit these people as partners to better understand and meet your child’s needs. This may be an ongoing process but have faith. There are so many great teachers out there and you are helping your child progress. If you are struggling with the process you can sometimes hire a special education advocate to help you. Addressing the developmental disabilities will help improve the quality of life for you and your child.

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    You may find it useful to check out AwesomismMom– a site by a mother of an autistic adult who has been through it all. Building a autistic community with appropriate supports will help you get through the rough times.

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    List Of Essential Baby Clothes For Hospital

    Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your new baby. You must be ecstatic about the big day! Yet, do you know which kinds of clothes you should have in your hospital bag? If not, continue reading as we discuss the most vital clothes you must pack for the baby’s delivery. First I will discuss the details of the essential baby clothes for hospital bags. Then I will provide a brief baby hospital bag checklist to sum it all up at the bottom of this post.

    What Kind Of Baby Clothes Must Be In Your Hospital Bag?

    Most hospitals will provide basic clothes for your newborn while at the hospital. Most often this will be a plain white t-shirt (for easy access) and swaddle blanket. So technically, in most cases, you don’t have to bring any baby clothes for the hospital or birth center. Hats and socks are other baby clothing items that the hospital may provide. However, you may prefer to bring your own. Hospital provided ones are usually very plain, thin, and rather cheap quality. Therefore, lots of people want to bring a newborn baby hospital outfit for baby to wear while they are there as well as a baby coming-home outfit.

    Essential Newborn Baby Clothing

    Comfortable clothes are essential for baby’s arrival. They will be the most important item in the baby’s hospital bag.

    Sleepsuits or Onesies

    Onesies are often considered the most basic, top choice item when packing clothes for baby. Given that typical clothes will keep moving, exposing your child’s skin, securing them with onsies or sleep suits are very useful. They are also great choices because they don’t squeeze baby’s waistline and a comfortable baby is a happy baby. Sleepsuits (also known as sleepers, Sleep & Plays, romper jumpsuits, or sleeper pajamas with built in footies) will ensure your child is comfortable and warm when sleeping during the night. You can get some of the best baby sleepsuits and adorable onesies from leading online outlets like Pixels or nearby physical stores.

    Sometimes it can be good to have a few different sizes. Some babies are born tiny barely fitting newborn clothes while others are born quite large and fit 3-6 month onesies!

    Hats And Socks

    Baby’s head is a large source for heat transfer to hats can help baby regulate temperature better. Ensure to pack some hats and socks for your newborn. It might be cold in the hospital, so you’ll need to keep your baby warm. If you have a baby girl, you may even want a soft bow baby headband- these are great for perfect baby photos!

    Baby Coming-Home Outfits

    That is it for the essential baby clothes but some people like to pack special baby coming-home outfits as well. They tend to go a little fancier for bringing baby home. You might want to consider some of the below items or you can just stick with a going-home outfit with a matching hat.

    Shirts, Pants, Or Dresses

    You may want to try some shirts and pants for the baby. When selecting these clothes, settle for loose, soft ones because you don’t want to hurt your baby’s soft skin with tight clothes.

    Although these clothes are adorable, they can be hectic to put on and take off and may even be uncomfortable for the baby. To avoid such instances, consider choosing:

    Stretchy Leggings And Soft Jeans: These clothes are easy to put on and pull out and won’t press your newborn’s tummy. Babies are vulnerable to indigestion, and tight clothes can only worsen the matter. To ensure the clothes aren’t to blame for your child’s bad mood, dress them in stretchy, flexible clothes.Stretchy Dresses, Tops, Or Tunics: Stretchy dresses, tops, or tunics are easy to go over the head and pull down over the body. Avoid buttoned clothes, especially those with lots of buttons at the back, because they can be difficult to remove.


    Vests are great because they can keep your baby from risk of feeling a cold or wet by soaking up the first layer of milk spillage or regular spit-ups. You can use a short-sleeved vest during warm weather and a long-sleeved one for cold weather.

    Besides keeping your baby warm, some vests, such as kimono vests, ensure that diapers stay in place. Additionally, vests protect a baby’s skin from inevitable milk spills and spit-ups absorbed by the outer layer of clothing.

    Jumpsuit Or Cardigans For Warmth

    A newborn should always stay warm. Therefore, it’s essential to pack a jumpsuit or cardigan if you will be traveling home in cool weather. Consider dressing up your newborn with cardigans if you want to be flexible on whether to keep your baby’s sweater buttoned or unbuttoned. However, if you want your child to stay warm all the time, settle for jumpers, especially in the fall or winter.

    Other Baby Necessities

    Here are a few more essential items to go ahead in stick into baby’s diaper bag so you’ll always be ready.

    Blankets And Swaddles

    Although hospitals provide blankets to keep you and the baby warm, carrying one or two from home is a good idea. The extra blankets will act as substitutes once some become dirty. Besides, the hospital’s blankets might not be as comfortable as you’d want them for the newborn; thus, it’s best to bring your own.

    You’ll also need some blankets to protect your baby against the cold when leaving the hospital. Bringing your blankets and swaddles is also useful as nurses will teach you to swaddle your baby correctly the first time. This will ensure you’ll be confident when swaddling your baby, even after going home.

    Burp Cloths

    These are small rectangular cloths that prevent your child’s frequent spit from making it to their clothes, thus preventing them from getting dirty quickly. It’s therefore important to pack some as you’ll need them eventually.

    Dribble Bibs

    It would help if you packed several of these. They’re triangular or rounded cloths placed around the baby’s neck to prevent their clothes from soaking up in spit-ups. Dribble bibs are often fastened with velcro or poppers for easy removal.

    Diapers And Baby Wipes

    Although these baby needs are already at the hospital, it’s a good option to pack a few diapers and baby wipes just in case you should need them. These essentials will surely come in handy and are useful should you plan to go elsewhere after checking out from the hospital. 

    Baby Hospital Bag Checklist

    If you are wondering how many baby clothes to bring to hospital, it depends on your length of stay. VeryWellFamily points out that, “For an uncomplicated vaginal birth, you can expect to stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours; however, most people stay for about two days. If you’ve had a C-section, your stay will be three to four days in most cases. So most people bring 2-4 outfits in their hospital baby bag.

    2-4 sleepsuits or onesies2 socks2 hats1 going-home outfit1 warm jumpsuit for going home if at all chilly1 baby blanket for taking your little one home1 burp clotha few diapers and wipes

    This list is a good starting point. New parents should also make sure the car seat is installed before bringing baby home from hospital.


    When packing for your child’s delivery, their safety should be at the top of your mind. Thus, you’ll be needing essentials to keep your newborn warm and secure. With the information presented here, you now know what to pack as the due date approaches for your new bundle of joy. Remember to pack your baby’s needs in well advance, just in case they come early! Birth is such a miracle and blessing. Congratulations!

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    Scared of The Dark [How To Solve This Common Problem]

    Somewhere after the long days and months of late-night feedings and diaper changes, and dealing with crying babies, you might experience a new kind of trial. Young children are often afraid of the dark. This fear primarily manifest itself as a kid who doesn’t want to go to sleep. The question then becomes why are kids scared of the dark and how to help them get over fear of the dark. Don’t worry this is a phase that can be handled so you can both get back to your respective beds! Here is advice to share with your children on how to not be scared of the dark.

    Why are kids scared of the dark?

    You’ve probably seen movies, where there’s a young child who’s absolutely convinced that a monster is hiding in his closet or under his bed, and refuses to go to sleep. It turns out that kids often have a fear of the dark and/or a fear of monsters hiding under the bed. This means they they often don’t want to go to bed by themselves or at least without a light on. It seems to be a common phase most children go through. Why is this the case?

    Well, darkness means we have very limited visibility. This is where the fear begins to creep in. I remember thinking I won’t be able to see what is coming for me. This is precisely the reason that fear of the dark seems to be hardwired into us. In fact, according to Science Alert, “our fear of the dark is an evolutionary trait that we picked up to survive real-life predators stalking the night”. This means it is entirely natural and normal for kids to be scared of the dark.

    Add to their fear of the dark the fact that children have excellent imaginations and you can see how they may imagine that the darkness is concealing monsters or attackers. Their minds create excellent realistic images of the things they think of. This can be very frightening for kids to overcome. They feel they need a light or an adult to protect them from lurks in the darkness. Extra sources of darkness and fear maybe the closet or under the bed.

    Secrets For How To Not Be Scared Of The Dark

    If this all sounds familiar, I have some advice on how to deal with kids who are scared of the dark. They need reassurance that this is a normal phase they will get past. You can explain to them that you will help your child overcome their fear of the dark. Tell them you will share your secrets for how to not be scared of the dark. This will help them buy into the whole process.

    Take Comfort: It’s Probably Just a Short Phase

    Most children are only scared of the dark for a little while. However, it may feel like an eternity when you are currently living it. Luckily most kids, find this is a short stage that they’ll grow out of. But there are still things you can do to help them get over their fear of the dark.

    A big reason why kids end up scared of the dark, or believing there are monsters under the bed, is because they have wild, active imaginations. It’s not hard to believe that the rough, dark outline of a sweater is actually a terrifying goblin ready to strike. That is, if you’re a toddler.

    I found that one of the best things to do is to stick to only calm, soothing TV shows and entertainment before bed. It should be happy, upbeat stuff. Have you ever noticed how dark and scary most Disney movies are in some places? When they lay down for bed, they will likely begin to think of the things they saw or read during the day. So make sure they are getting activities right before bed.

    Only say calming things right before bed. Leave off things like, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Don’t say things like, “You have a big day tomorrow.” Try things like “Sweet dreams.” Say things like, “I love you and I will see you in the morning.”

    How to get over fear of the dark with a bedtime routine that works!

    Create a bedtime routine.

    Setting up a bedtime routine is crucial. What you do here is up to you, but some ideas could be: a nice bedtime story, a warm bubble bath, singing lullabies and even just sitting in bed with him until he falls asleep. A consistent bedtime routine works wonders!

    Here are several more ideas for you if you need some extra help. Try them out and see which work for you.

    Get a night light.

    A nightlight can do wonders for making them feel more secure. They’re really cheap and you can find one at Target, Walmart, or even a dollar store for a few bucks. You can also try a motion activated night light so it only comes on if something moves. Nothing is moving if it is not on! Or a solar powered one that will cut on and off automatically with the darkness is great for older children who still need a bit of reassurance.

    Leave the door ajar.

    Leaving the door open slightly could be helpful. Not being completely isolated in the room does a lot to ease their anxiety and worries.

    Play soothing music. 

    Soft, gentle music or using a nice sound machine can help, too. Complete silence can make matters much worse for a kid who’s scared of the dark. Soothing music can help keep their imaginations calm.

    Sleep training clock.

    These types of clocks feature lights that tell kids when it is time to get up and time to sleep (parent sets those times). They also have night lights and soothing music built in so they perform many functions at once. The Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Sleep Trainer clock is the most popular on Amazon and has a 4.5 star rating with almost 15,000 reviews. Affiliate link below.

    Reassure them.

    Simply tell them that there’s nothing to be scared of. There are no monsters or demons lurking in their bedroom, and nothing is going to hurt them. You are right next door if they really need you.

    Calm them.

    Use DIY lavender pillow spray to help them feel calm and relaxed and talk them for a bit as they get sleepy.

    Give them a stuffed animal.

    A stuffed animal can sometimes serve as a trusted friend to watch over them and keep them safe. Plus, just cuddling will help them feel soothed. If you happen to have a cooperative cat or dog, they make serve to make your child feel less alone and vulnerable.

    Set Up A Check Up. Tell them you’ll come to check on them every 5 minutes. Then, you start to space it out more: to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and hopefully they’ll be asleep before long.

    Share the bed, if need be.

    Letting them share a bed with you isn’t always an awful idea. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand. A better idea is to stay in their bedroom. That way, they don’t get used to the idea of staying in yours. You can leave when they fall asleep and you are reinforcing the idea that there’s nothing to be scared of in their room.

    Summing Up Ideas To Conquer Night Fears

    In conclusion, nighttime fears are very common in young children, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do to make them go away. For most kids, it’s just a phase they’ll quickly grow out of. We just need to help them along the way a little bit.

    Just try to have patience and not loose your cool. I know it can be frustrating to deal with, but it’s important to keep calm. Don’t get upset at your son or daughter! With a little patience and understanding, and positive reinforcement, I’m sure they’ll be over their fears before you know it!

    Do you have any other tips or tricks to help toddlers who are scared of the dark? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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    How To Encourage Imaginative Play

    Playing with toys that encourage imagination and pretend play, is not only fun for kids but it can also be a means for their growth and development. When your child acts out a scene between their dolls, they are exploring the possibilities of behavior. The are realizing that imagination and creativity are good things. They are learning to be free in their own minds. Imaginative play helps children explore possibilities.

    “In the world of child development you may hear us use phrases like ‘critical thinking skills’ and ‘creative problem-solving abilities’ when referring to our goals for your child’s cognitive development. What we are really talking about is… imagination”. –

    Encouraging Imaginative Play

    If you want to encourage imaginative play in your child, it is often as simple as allowing them to imagine things instead of accidentally belittling their imagination. If your child is engaged in flying their airplane around the room, and you ask them why they are being silly, they learn that type of imaginative behavior isn’t valued. Other examples of imaginative play may include using a cardboard box as a race car or having a pretend tea party. This type of fantasy play should be encouraged.

    Perhaps, the very best way to encourage imaginative play for toddlers, is to engage in it with them. Set your adult worries aside and embrace your imagination. It doesn’t have to be complex. When my kids were little and they were having bath time, I once used my fingers as puppets because there were no bath toys. That tradition took root and we all have our very own finger puppets, each with their own name and personality. We role play conversations and events and have fun being silly. They know anything they can dream up is interesting to me. They know pretend play can be silly and fun and that it has a special place. The values of such imaginative play are many.

    Benefits of Imaginative Play

    Physical play has always been an important part of a child’s development. They need active play to develop their bodies. In the same way, children’s pretend play helps them to develop their minds. It is through play that their imaginations can be expressed in a vivid manner. A playful manipulation of ideas can actually develop their senses, way of thinking, and values. It gives children a chance to try out different roles that they may have in the future.

    This type of play can also help them develop their social skills and language development. Creative play allows them to practice social interactions and when they do so with others they can see the results of their social behavior in a safe setting. In this way, they begin to learn self-regulation skills. If you observe a child engaged in imaginative play, you may get a clue to the things they are thinking about and insight into any positive or negative feelings they may be processing.

    Many toys today are made in such a way that they help enhance children’s development. Toys that encourage imagination may not only help a child’s social development and cognitive skills but they also enhance his language skills as well. Very good examples of educational toys that encourage imagination can be found below.

    Imaginative play is extra important for preschool age children as well as early school-agers. In Scientific American, Jerome L. Singer and Dorothy G. Singer state that, “Systematic research has increasingly demonstrated a series of clear benefits of children’s engagement in pretend games from the ages of about two and one half through ages six or seven.” 

    Imaginative Play Toys

    Here are five good choices of toys that encourage imagination but there are many, many more options.  Think of leaving out the toys that need batteries to encourage pretend play.

    Kids Play Kitchen

    Young children love to participate in various activities. They often would ask what you’re doing in the kitchen and much as possible try to do it themselves. Kids play kitchen are just the right toys that encourage imagination in children. Play kitchens will teach them basic household chores and responsibilities like washing the dishes, and even develop their interest in cooking or baking. Some of these play kitchens already comes with a counter, a grill or burner, an oven, ice maker, a few cupboards, cabinets, towel racks, refrigerator, storage spaces, and a sink just like a real kitchen would look like. Others also include some toy kitchen utensils like plates, cups, spoons and forks, knives, pans, and with toy foods like fruits, vegetables, and meat.

    Pretend Play With Dolls

    Dolls are a very popular toys that encourage imagination as well as the dollhouses that come with dolls. Children often like to mimic what their mothers or older women do in taking care of babies. Dolls, mini-dolls and dollhouses are also excellent ways in teaching children close family ties and taking care of members in the family or society. This type of make-believe play is great for testing out different scenarios and developing emotional intelligence.

    Workshop Play Set

    The best way to enhance your child’s motor skills and interest in arts is by exposing them to various handcrafting activities. The workshop play set is just the perfect toy to encourage imagination and enhance their different abilities. This set will definitely develop their imagination to create new things and understand how things work. Most workshop play set already includes a table, a bench, and some materials and safe tools for building.

    Medical Play Set

    For kids, pretending to be a doctor would be fun especially when playing with friends or even with dolls. A medical play set can include a doctor costume and a handbag where all medical accessories are placed like a toy stethoscope or thermometer. These are toys that encourage imagination and teach kids about teamwork and leadership.

    Open Ended Building Blocks

    Another of the great imaginative play toys are building blocks. From wooden building blocks for younger children to Legos (without the instruction booklets) for older children, they can be great for open-ended play. Some of the benefits of imaginative play of this type are that they learn principles they can apply in real life. They learn that sometimes things fall, and that sometimes we have to try again and again to get things the way we imagine them. They also learn that building things takes time and focus. Play time is full of life lessons! Blocks are a great way for kids to test different ideas and learn how things work.


    Don’t underestimate the power of good toys that encourage imagination in developing the minds and skills of your children. Their toys may be an initial step to what they will become in the future. Their early childhood games may allow them to become creative individuals which typically make great problem-solvers.

    I hope you found this interesting and were convinced of the important benefit of early pretend play. Kids can use anything for imaginative play from open-ended toys to imaginary play friends. The imaginary world is calling! What are your favorite toys that encourage imagination?

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    How To Increase Breast Milk Naturally At Home

    Breastfeeding mamas often place a lot of emphasis on how much milk they are producing and tend to worry about whether it is enough for their baby. Keeping track of nursing sessions or pumped bottles can be stressful! However, it’s helpful to consider the quality of your milk in addition to your breast milk production quantity. In most cases, your body does a fantastic job of including all the nutrients your little one needs. This is assuming you are taking good care of your own health and body. Here are five suggestions for how to increase breast milk naturally at home.

    These breastfeeding tips from one mom to another are meant to help your body perform its best. However, this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is important to speak a qualified doctor if you have any concerns about yourself or your baby’s health or weight. Furthermore, you may also find a professional lactation consultant helpful.

    5 Breastfeeding Tips For Producing More Milk For Your Baby

    We’ve rounded up a few helpful tips on how to produce more breast milk—hopefully putting your mind at ease and assisting you in having a long, successful breastfeeding journey! 

    If you have a breastfed baby, fed either by nursing or pumping, milk production is probably at the forefront of your mind. These easy-to-incorporate tips should help with both breastmilk amount and composition. It is a common concern for a new mom to worry about low milk supply. The good news is that there are natural ways to boost production of breast milk.

    1. Increase Milk Removal.

    The number one solution for how to produce more breast milk is increased milk removal. More milk removal can be done by nursing more often or pumping more often. Pumping can refer to an electric breast pump or a hand held breast pump.

    Milk production is based on supply and demand. If you skip a pumping or nursing session and milk isn’t removed from your breasts, it signals to your body that it doesn’t need to produce as much. Similarly, your body is signaled to produce more if you increase removal! The key is to remember to achieve a “let down” with each removal. A letdown is the trigger your body needs to maintain or increase its supply.

    Try offering a nursing session more often, or adding additional pumping sessions. You can find out more about how often you should nurse or pump for your child’s specific age by talking with baby’s doctor or lactation expert, and reviewing these guidelines.  

    2. Consider Power Pumping.

    If your baby isn’t interested in breastfeeding more, you can always power pump or pump in between sessions. Power pumping typically follows a set of guidelines. They are: pump 20 minutes, rest for 10, pump 10 minutes, rest for 10, pump 10 mins. You may want to consider adding in a pumping session if you still feel like you have milk leftover after nursing, you miss a feeding, or you simply want to boost your supply. 

    Power pumping essentially fools your body into thinking that the breasts are being drained of milk quickly and often, telling it to make more milk ASAP! Emptying the breast to get that rich hindmilk helps to produce high-fat content bottles as well.  

    3. Focus On A Healthy Diet.

    One of the most important breastfeeding tips for producing more milk is that a well balanced diet is best. Carefully considering your diet can not only help with production but in making your milk fattier too. For mothers wondering how to make breastmilk fattier, think about a typical day of eating. Calorie-rich breastmilk is supported by healthy dietary fats like avocado, salmon, seeds, and eggs.

    You should absolutely be staying hydrated. It is a good idea to have a water bottle handy at all times to ensure you are getting enough fluids.

    You could also consider adding lactogenic foods, lactation treats, drinks, or breastfeeding supplements to increase milk supply. There are various galactagoguesnursing mothers can use, from lactation cookies to lactation teas. Some may be more successful for you than others.  

    Popular dietary additions include: 

    A bowl of oatmealFenugreek seedsFennel seedsGingerBrewer’s yeastAshwagandhaAlfalfaGarlicSpirulinaCumin seedsRaspberry leaf tea

    Safety Notes:

    Blessed thistle and milk thistle are thought to be a good way to boost milk production, however, they are likely unsafe while pregnant. Be sure to check with your obstetrician or pediatrician before ingesting anything if you are pregnant or your baby will be consuming your breastmilk. Also, it is best to try home remedies that you are familiar with first. For example, if a simple bowl of oatmeal might help, then you can avoid trying herbal supplements that you are unfamiliar with. You don’t want to risk an allergic reaction. Therefore, stick to things you know your body does well with.

    Photo Credit: Katie Emslie

    4. Nurse From Both Breasts.

    This tip can be a bit “hit-or-miss,” but it works for some mothers. Generally, you want to drain a breast for your baby to receive the rich, fatty hindmilk. However, if your baby only takes one side at each feeding, your overall supply might be lower. 

    Instead, you can try waiting until your baby naturally slows or stops during a feeding and then offer your second breast. Stimulating both breasts each session should boost your supply. Using an electric double pump can be worthwhile if you pump your breast milk. Simultaneously removing milk from your breasts has effectively increased milk production for some women. 

    5. Get Hands-On.

    If you’re having trouble achieving a letdown while nursing or pumping, you could be failing to remove milk from your breasts effectively. Breast massage and warmth might be able to help! An easy way to do this is with your hands. 

    You can use your hands while you pump with an electric pump. Nursing mothers can use a breastfeeding support pillow to help free up their hands. Then, gently massage your breasts with warm hands. This can help trigger a letdown sooner and relax your body, letting the milk flow. Consider using a warm washcloth or compress on your breasts just before nursing or pumping if this is too tricky. 

    I personally had problems with getting enough milk when I was pumping. Skin contact with my baby was helpful if baby was nearby. When apart, I found that warmth on my nipples before pumping helped a lot. In addition having a photo of my baby close by was the best way to stimulate the let down or even to picture baby in my mind and imagine she was breastfeeding.

    A Bountiful & Beautiful Breastfeeding Journey

    We hope these tips have been helpful in how to increase breast milk naturally at home and improve its quality too. New mothers should also remember to relax as stress is detrimental to milk supply. We know it’s not always easy, but hopefully, your breastfeeding journey will become smoother and less worrisome by implementing some or all of these tips. Know that any amount of breastmilk for any length of time is beneficial. You’re doing fantastic, breastfeeding mama! 

    I wish you a healthy supply of breast milk! Have you tried any of these breastfeeding tips for producing more milk? Which ones work well for you?

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    Breaking Barriers In Honor of International Women’s Day

    Every year, March 8th is set aside to honor women, girls, and their limitless potential on International Women’s Day. This global day of celebration has been in existence since the early 20th century. It seeks to bring awareness to various causes related to gender equality and women’s rights. International Womens Day is a great way to honor women who have broken bias and allowed us all to have more freedom. It is also a great way to empower young girls and inspire them in breaking barriers to their own success.

    Today I am excited to have Ramita Anand share a guest post with us for International Women’s Day. She is the founder of the educational mentorship program Elevate.RA. She is also the author a new book, Girl Elevated, (my affiliate link is below). This book is the culmination of more than 15 years of work in education and special learning support. She aims to break the cycle of self-doubt and insecurity that hinders girls both personally and academically.

    What Does International Womens Day Mean To You?

    by Ramita Anand

    For the first several decades of its existence, International Women’s Day was celebrated differently in many countries. In 1977, the United Nations adopted it to help turn it into a mainstream global holiday. For the last several years, the organizers have created a yearly theme to help focus advocacy, policy, and charity work. This theme helps create a shared focus or topic that celebrants can rally behind. This is essential since the lives and experiences of women and girls are so different depending on where they live in the world. 


    This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is breaking biases, and imagining a gender-equal world free of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. For many girls, these biases come into their consciousness when they’re young and color their behavior for the rest of their life. Research has shown that many of our most influential biases are already in place before elementary school. Fortunately, they can be unlearned.  

    Helping Our Daughters Unlearn Gender Bias

    In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, let’s talk about the biases that most affect our daughters. Let’s take a look at how we can empower them to fight against the stereotypes and labels that so often get in the way of their success. 

    One of the biases that I’m so passionate about overturning is that a learning difference or challenge means that a girl cannot succeed in formal education. Even though girls are equally likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability like ADHD or dyslexia, they are less likely to receive specialized treatment under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). It was recently revealed that 18% of male students received special services under IDEA. However, only 10% of female students receive the same.  

    As a parent, you can be your daughter’s advocate to help her get the services she needs. Additionally, there are many programs and tools designed to help girls access their strengths and navigate any anxieties they have around their education. 

    4 Ways to Help Empower Young Girls To Break The Barriers

    There are lots of forces out there in the world trying to tell our daughters that they are less intelligent and less capable than their peers, especially if those peers are male. 

    Many parents struggle to understand how to empower young girls to break down barriers and stereotypes that are unjust. Today, I’ll share some of my best suggestions for ways to empower your daughter and help her thrive, especially if she’s dealing with a learning difference. 

    Be an advocate 

    Many times, girls with learning disabilities don’t find out until later in life because the diagnosing criteria are based on more noticeable symptoms exhibited by boys. If you suspect that your child is having a difficult time and may be struggling with a learning disability, be their advocate until they can get the appropriate help.    

    Involve your child in decision-making as early as possible 

    A great way to help your daughter feel more empowered to tackle her studies despite her learning difference is to get her involved in the decision-making process as early as possible. Explain to her the benefits of specific actions, and show her how they can help. This will help her feel more in control of her own academic future. 

    Keep lines of communication open 

    Encouraging your daughter to share her thoughts and feelings with you on a regular basis will help her develop much-needed emotional intelligence. As you learn more about her day-to-day life and how she is handling her learning disability, it will help you better advocate for their needs. 

    Be positive

    Our kids take many of their cues from us, especially in the early years. If they can see you being positive and forward-thinking instead of giving in to frustration, it will help them model these behaviors in their own life. 

    This International Women’s Day, take the time to reflect on how you can embody the themes of this year. Use them to help your daughter embrace her power.  

    Thanks again to Ramita Anand, founder of Elevate.RA, an educational mentoring service. I hope you found her message to be an inspiration. It is so important to support girls in breaking barriers that are unfair and hinder their success. Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence disproportionately affect our girls. Therefore, I really appreciate her tips for fighting against this common problem.

    I am thankful for all the women who fought to the break the barriers that stood in our way and provide women with equal rights. What does international women’s day mean to you?

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