Disclosure: This is a post in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program. I truly believe in their mission and everything expressed will be my own opinion! #ARBB
Last month my beautiful grandmother passed away.
At the age of 92, she had a long and beautiful life, not exempt from hardships and heartache, but mostly full of beauty and joy. At her funeral her grandchildren all had their children present, (ten from ages 9 months to 17 years.) The funeral was a beautiful way to celebrate her life, and help us mourn her loss. Her illness and passing brought up many of those hard questions that kids ask about death.
Talking to kids about death is never easy, but not as hard as we (as adults) make it out to be. Children are always smarter and stronger than we give them credit for. And let’s face it- part of being alive is knowing that we must all die one day.
When we heard how ill she was, my youngest son asked me “Mommy, do you think she will die?” I had to be honest and tell him ” I really don’t know, baby, she is very sick and fragile.” My twelve year old son, who was not in on the conversation, only knew that she was ill, and so when we heard that she had passed away he took the news much harder than his younger brother.
My own father passed away a week before I turned seven. I remember vividly him explaining his illness to me and telling me he wouldn’t be here much longer. I was sad but also relieved that he had told me the truth. I still remember feeling grateful for that. Also, I remember thinking that the adults that tip-toed around him and the topic were all crazy. I remember thinking, “Why don’t they just talk to him (and me) like they normally do? He’s dying but not dead yet.” The honesty my parents showed me as a child helped me in his passing. I mourned but was not surprised or devastated at the funeral like my cousins who had only been told that he was sick.
So how do you talk to kids about death?
Be honest. (Use age appropriate measures but don’t make up things to pad the situation. Saying “Grandma is asleep” is not going to help.)
Answer the questions as they come. (Don’t give out so much info your kids are overwhelmed. Answer their specific questions as they ask them.)
Show them how you deal with pain and let them express theirs. (Cry, write down your feelings, pray, talk, cry)
Make teachable moments. (Give honest answers for illnesses or aging etc. Use your personal beliefs on what happens after we die, the soul, God, etc. as they come along.) Read some books about death and dying together to help in understanding.
Love and cherish them.
I was so glad we took our four children to their great-grandma’s funeral. I believe it helped them to see her life celebrated and to let them mourn her collectively. Knowing that they weren’t alone in their sorrow helps them begin to ease the pain.
Some great books to read together:
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages by Leo Buscaglia
Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomie de Paola
I Miss You by Pat Thomas
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie
What’s Heaven? by Maria Shriver
For more great information on parenting and child care please visit:
Disclosure: This is a post in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program. I believe in their mission and everything expressed will be my own honest opinion! #ARBB
How many times have you heard “I’m bored!” during a school vacation or even just a weekend?
Keeping kids entertained doesn’t have to be exhausting, and can be beneficial to everyone!
Here are some fun things for the kids that will help them cooperate to make holiday gifts and even learn while doing it! (Don’t tell them!)
I let the kids choose a few homemade recipes for gifts that they wanted to make for teachers and friends. (They had to cooperate with each other to make these, read and measure, and had fun! A great way to teach generosity as well.)
My children wanted to make Snow-Ball Bath Bombs and Play Dough.
These activities are a great way to get the kids using their science, math, and reading skills as well as cooperation and sensory fun!
To make the bath bombs… (This activity is safe as long as children are supervised. I recommend it for preschool ages and up.)
*The citric acid is the hardest to find in this recipe. I found mine online, but you can get it at hobby stores or you can substitute a lemon, lime, or orange powder OR can use the canning preservative that says it’s main ingredient is Citric Acid.
This play dough recipe is the best one I’ve ever found. It takes time to make and I only let my children measure and put ingredients into the pan as it is very tedious and takes some strength. It’s a great gift or just fun to have on hand and lasts a long time! Wonderful for sensory play, learning letters by shaping, and much more! Also, it’s non-toxic and safe for toddlers and up to play with.
*Put some dough in an airtight container with a couple of cookie cutters for a great holiday gift!
Having children help make gifts is a great way to play together as a family!
Disclosure: This is a post in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program. I am doing this because I believe in their mission and everything expressed will be my own honest opinion! #ARBB
“HELP! It’s almost the gift giving time of the year and I have no clue what to get for (insert name here!)”
Choosing a toy for the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow these easy steps.
1. Is is SAFE?
First and foremost ask yourself, “Will the toy last through rough play and not break or hurt the child?” Also included here would be “Is it age appropriate?”
In my house right now that mainly means “Will she swallow this WHEN she puts it in her mouth?” *Tip- to see if something is safe for young child, see if it will fit through a toilet paper tube. If it fits, it’s too small!
Toys with batteries, strong magnets, strings, and pull cords longer than a foot should be avoided unless it’s for an older child.
Personally, I try and avoid painted toys unless they are made in Europe or the U.S. (and locally made toys are BEST!)
Then, make sure you keep up with recalls here and on the manufacturer’s website.
2. Will it LAST?
Is the toy well made?
Will it last through more than one child? (Will it be able to be passed on or donated when child is done playing with it?) My kids play with some toys that were mine, my husband’s, and even their grandparents’. I’d say that was money well spent!
Also, “Will the toy grow with the child?” Will they be able to get years of play out of the gift? For example and nice set of wooden blocks will be fun for a baby, but also for an older child.
3.Does it have VALUE? (Social/Educational/Entertainment)
Some things to ask:
“Is it a toy they can play with others with?”
“Does it teach them something?”
FACT: Children learn by playing. Toys can help them learn cooperation, sharing, shapes, sizes, colors, language, and so much more!
and most importantly…
“IS IT FUN?”
4. Keep it SIMPLE!
Toys should not be too complicated to play with. Let the child use THEIR imaginations to make their stories come alive, not have the toy dictate how they should play. The more moving parts, the more that can go wrong/break also!
The best tip?
Pretend that you are the child you’re buying the toy for…
What would you think was the most fantastic gift?
Does this child love animals? (Maybe a cute animal puppet or even a zoo membership!)
Do they like things that go? (Balls, toy cars or trains, a book of paper airplane designs?)
Are they fond of puzzles? (wooden or cardboard puzzles, book of Suduko, stacking cups or blocks!)
Check out my Pinterest boards to see some great gift ideas for kids of all ages!
Disclosure: This post is the the third in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program. I am doing this because I believe in their mission. Everything expressed will be my own opinion. #ARBB
My world has changed-
In the last week someone has started to not only pull up in her crib,
but actually crawl!
At six months I wasn’t totally prepared
and have to make some changes!
1. The Lego/BobbyPin Minefield
With older siblings, the path to the playroom is paved with many dangers. All those tiny toys…in our house it’s mainly LEGO or similar toys, but in the past it’s been doll shoes or accessories. Also the big sister’s hair pins are probably not optimal for a baby-safe zone.
2. And We All Fall Down
We have two stairways in this new house. I’ve never had to worry about baby gates before, but now have to get shopping for gates for top and bottom of stairs as well as basement stairs.
3. Shock Protection
I did pick up a package of electrical outlet covers before she was born, and have them in most outlets, but looking around I’ve seen cords hanging from lamps, plugs with easy access to baby hands (and she’s strong!)
4. Safe Snuggles
The crib needs to be lowered now that she’s standing. It may seem like she’s not tall enough fall or climb out, but I don’t want to find out the hard way. Lowest setting here we come. I didn’t use bumpers because of safety issues, but now thinking about a teething guard on the top rail to prevent her from banging her head in a fall when she’s sleepy and trying to stand.
5. Cabinet & Closet Hidden Dangers
I’ve got to get door knob protectors or just a key for the bathroom closet door to keep little hands from trouble. Also cabinet locks for kitchen cleaning supplies under the sink and knife drawer. I use all natural cleaning supplies anyway, so not very worried about chemical dangers, but it’s still not a good idea to eat them!
Disclosure: This post is the the second in a series of sponsored posts as a Brand Ambassador for the ARKANSAS BETTER BEGINNINGS program. I am doing this because I believe in their mission. Everything expressed will be my own opinion. #ARBB
It seems like in the age we live in that we have to pry ourselves away from technology. Adults and teens are always checking something “important” on a cell phone or lap top. At home and school kids are glued to game consoles or TV. We’re so paranoid of strangers we don’t let them play outside without us.
We’ve been trying to get outside as a family at least one day a week. Arkansas has so many beautiful parks and trails!
This past week we went on a slow hike on the Two Rivers Park trail.
What do you see?
A few bottles of water, some snacks in a backpack, and the family was all we needed for a fun Sunday stroll.
With the older kids we played some games as we walked:
One was “What living creatures do you see or see evidence of?”
(They found people, dogs, butterflies, bees, wasps, spiders, and trails that deer had made.)
We also played “What shapes can you find?”
(My son saw vertical lines in the pine trees, angles in the bent branches and grass, spheres in the berries.)
Their favorite game was “If you were stranded in the forest, what could you eat?”
(This gave us a good discussion on what was and wasn’t edible and we took pictures to research berries and mushrooms.)
They ran and climbed trees.
For the baby there was so much to see, and hear, and smell. Learning with all the senses.
But the best part was that we had fun as a family together! Did you know that studies have shown that children who play outdoors have less stress and anxiety, better cognitive development, lessened ADHD symptoms, better vision, and more Vitamin D?
Other great ideas to get your kids outside NOW:
Lie on a blanket and name shapes in the clouds
Watch the birds at a bird feeder
Plant a garden or help with a community garden
Splash in a puddle together
Make a designated “NO TECHNOLOGY” day
Catch fireflies in a jar
Find some constellations in the stars or have them name their own