Child Archives - MOMcircle

A (Somewhat) Healthy Halloween

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It’s officially fall, and with fall comes Halloween. For many moms and our kids, this means that our efforts for a healthy family diet disappear for a couple of nights while we splurge on trick-or-treat candy. I’m okay with this because Halloween just isn’t the same without the thrill my kids get when they come home from trick-or-treating, spread out on the living room floor, and sort through all of their candy. I remember how exciting this was for me when I was young, and it just isn’t the same with healthy substitutes for candy (no matter how much us moms would love to watch our kids excitedly sorting through fruits and vegetables!).

So, in order to keep the Halloween candy high from getting out of control, I let my kids have their fun on Halloween night, then I take the candy the next day and hand it out to them sparingly each day after for as long as it lasts. I balance this with healthy, low-sugar and low-salt meals, and only give them a couple of pieces a night after they’ve eaten all the healthy stuff. This way, my kids have all the fun on Halloween night, but it’s enjoyed in small, manageable doses afterward.

Stand Your Ground

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We hear it from virtually everyone that our children need to drink more water. Yet more often than not, no one can give tips on how to get our children to drink more water. When my oldest son was around 3 years old, we had to take him to the emergency room because he had rectal prolapse. Thankfully, it wasn’t major and was able to correct itself before the doctor even saw him, but his pediatrician told his father and I to make him drink more water. He is 3. How is it even possible to MAKE him do anything, let alone drink more water?

Yes, I can leave it in his cup and let it sit there all day, but why would I not give him something I know he will drink so he will stay hydrated? Well, that obviously wasn’t working like I thought it would. I knew he was drinking too much pop and too many sugary drinks, but how was I supposed to get him to drink more water? I’ve tried the flavor drops in the water and stopping sugary drinks cold turkey in the past and it didn’t work. I think it hurt me more than it did my kids.

So, I finally decided I was going to do what I felt worked for my family. It may not have been the healthiest way to go but it worked for us. Instead of letting the kids drink Dr. Pepper and sweet tea all day, I had to figure out a way to incorporate more water into their daily diet. So for every can of pop they had, they had to drink one bottle of water. I started out with the small bottles of water since they’re kid-sized.

Trust me, it wasn’t easy; there were times I wanted to give in because I was worried that they weren’t getting enough to drink. But I had to ask myself, “How will that can of pop help? It will just make things worse in the long run.” My advice is to stay strong and firm on your decision. It’s not always easy but in the end, it’s worth it!

After a couple of weeks of doing this (and yes, I mean a couple of weeks) all of my kids, including my 2-year-old and my bonus daughter (I don’t like the term “step”), now ask me if they can have a bottle of water when they are thirsty! It makes this momma smile ear to ear! (Don’t get me wrong, they still get a pop or glass of tea every now and then) .

When You Know Better, Do Better

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A friend shared her feelings of guilt with me about her almost five-year-old child’s recent dental appointment. Several cavities, two teeth to be capped, and a stern talking-to from the dentist for mom. The dentist asked, “Who is helping him brush his teeth?” She said her boy had been able to do it on his own since he turned three. “Nope,” the doctor said, “kids need an adult to brush their teeth for them, twice daily, until they are at least six years old!” I immediately felt myself flush with dreaded mom guilt. My girl was nearly three at the time, and while I brushed for her in the evening, I was allowing her to brush her teeth herself each morning. My friend and I agreed that we were only trying to encourage our littles to be capable and independent, but we were putting them at risk for tooth decay. Talk about a #momfail! But as Maya Angelou said: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Be Together

Posted by | Blog, Child, Inspiration, Let's Eat!, Mealtimes | No Comments

Blended families are complicated in the best of circumstances, and disagreements over where, when, and how family meals happen may seem like the least of a co-parent’s worries. However, when our electronic-free, relaxing meal times turn into a circus-like free-for-all, this momma sometimes finds herself at wit’s end! But then I remember the most important thing: We are together. We are talking about our day and connecting, practicing manners, and making memories. Her stepdad and I are showing our values to this wide-eyed little person who is absorbing every word and action. None of us want #familymealtime to be all discipline because they are only little once and therefore life should be a fun adventure for them. So, I’ve found that if I turn on a little upbeat music during dinner, we are all more relaxed, and when she breaks out into an impromptu dining room dance party, I’m more prone to join in.

Make the Most of Your Summer

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What summer plans do you have for your kiddos? Since both my husband and I work 8-5, all of our activities will have to take place on the weekends. I’ve come up with a plan for every weekend over the summer. My kids get out of school at the end of May, so that leaves us with about 10 weekends to work with. Not only do these activities build our bond as a family, but they also keep us active! (I added a “rest weekend” because rest is just as important as exercise.)

  • Weekend 1: Go hiking
  • Weekend 2: Visit the park
  • Weekend 3: Ride bikes
  • Weekend 4: Take a walk
  • Weekend 5: Rest weekend
  • Weekend 6: Scavenger hunt
  • Weekend 7: Go swimming
  • Weekend 8: Play sports
  • Weekend 9: Yoga
  • Weekend 10: Clean up the yard

Life Hack: How to Get Your Kids to Drink More Water

Posted by | Blog, Child, Feeding Time, Mealtimes, Toddler | No Comments

Do your kids like to drink water? One of my girls does, but it’s always a battle with my four-year-old. I’ve put it in big girl cup, a fun cup with a twirly straw, and a water bottle so she feels like a “big girl”. These things only worked for the first couple of times, then it was back to the drawing board.

I can proudly say I’ve found something that works and is still working! I found a water bottle with a fruit infuser inside of it. I cut up fresh strawberries and lemons, then added water. Not only does it make the water look pretty, but it tastes like strawberry lemonade. I’ve also added fresh blueberries, cherries, and limes. It’s so easy to change up! I’ve even used a clear pitcher with water and ice for home.

It goes so fast, and I rest easy knowing we’re all drinking more water. I hope this can help your family drink more water as much as it has helped mine!

Get Moving! Springtime Activities for the Kids

Posted by | Active Toddlers, Blog, Child, Fun and Games, Play Time, Toddler | No Comments

Spring is almost here, which means we get to play outside again. My seven-year-old is in dance, so I don’t worry about her getting enough physical activity, but my four-year-old tries to turn into a couch potato in the winter months. Thankfully, my husband is all about fitness (I’m trying) so we make physical activity a family affair. Here’s a list of our favorite physical activities, both indoor and outdoor:

  1. Bike riding
  2. Dance party (Always indoors because I dance like a newborn giraffe)
  3. Jumping on the trampoline
  4. Roller skating in the garage
  5. Walking around the neighborhood
  6. Indoor basketball (This is a cool trick to make your kids help with laundry)
  7. Scavenger hunt (Indoor or outdoor)
  8. “Hide & Seek”
  9. “Red Light, Green Light” w/ music (Indoor or outdoor)
  10. Clean house obstacle course (This is my personal favorite)

It’s a Game of Give and Take

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This morning, my four-year-old was in a horrible mood because of the shirt I put on her. My older daughter never acted like that. The fact is, they’re two different people with very different personalities, and sometimes I forget this. Because of their differences, I have to parent them differently, which makes me seem unfair to them.

I’m probably overthinking this, but I just want to be a good mom. I want to be fair. I want them to think I’m the best. After my daughter was upset with me this morning, I took it really hard. I felt like a bad mom. I looked her in the eye before I went to work, told her I loved her, and to have a good day. She rolled her eyes (Yes, she’s four) and she said she loves me too.

I think we mamas are really hard on ourselves. Sitting in the parking lot before heading into work, I stared in the mirror. I saw those tired eyes. I felt myself judging my parenting skills. Why didn’t I just let her wear the shirt she wanted? That’s when I decided that I am enough. I am doing a good job. She has a personality of her own, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Next time, I will let her wear the shirt she wants. And next time I get down on myself (because we all do), I will remember that this is just a season, and it may be a fuss over a shirt right now but later might be something bigger. So no matter what your hardship is with your babies, don’t forget you have the best job in the world—to be their mama.

Feel the Love

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! My kids’ school doesn’t allow Valentine’s gifts to be sent to them like they were when I was little. It makes me sad because I know how special it made me feel to receive flowers and goodies from my mom. It felt so good to get gifts in front of our friends because it showed that someone else cared about us, and we liked to show that off. I want my kids to feel that no matter what gifts they can or can’t show off on Valentine’s Day.

So, I’ve decided to start a new tradition for my kids around Valentine’s Day. I’ve made hearts out of construction paper, and every day I write something I love about them and tape it on their bedroom doors. My girls wake up to a new love note every morning, and as a result, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many “I love you, Mom”s! My older daughter even took one to school to show it off! Not only is she spreading my idea to other parents, but showing off her “gift” and getting that same feel I got when my mom sent me a Valentine.

I’ll still have a teddy bear and flower waiting for them when they get home from school on Valentine’s Day, but I think these little love notes make it even more special.

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Your Words Have Power

Posted by | Child, Feeding Time, Let's Eat!, Toddler | No Comments

Remember that your words as a mom are powerful. I have to keep reminding myself of this. When I call my daughter a “picky eater,” she becomes a picky eater because it discourages her from trying new things. When I call her a “veggie monster,” she is more likely to try the vegetables I offer. Calling your child a picky eater may discourage them from trying new things at all.

You know your babies better than anyone else, so if you’re offering foods (like vegetables) you know they won’t eat, try hiding it in foods you know they like. My daughter doesn’t usually eat spinach, but she LOVES omelets. I offered my little “veggie monster” a ham, cheese, and spinach omelet and told her “I made it pretty” and she ate the whole thing and loves spinach now! The next time, I snuck spinach leaves into our homemade pizza and she ate it happily. If I would’ve said “I know you won’t eat this because you’re picky and don’t like spinach,” I wouldn’t have gotten her to eat it.

Someday, not today, I will tell her exactly what it is. For now, I know that I am giving her the gift of a lifetime. I used the power of my words, and the trick of adding veggies to something she already likes, to create a “veggie monster”.