Posts in Child Development
Rethink Your Toys

Not all stuffed animals are made the same. Some kids have a collection of stuffed animals. And I want to talk to you about what I look for in a good stuffed animal… and how they can be used for many different types of place.

  1. Stuffed animals are GREAT comfort items. Neither of my kids have attached to a stuffed animal, but when I was a teacher many children would have a stuffed animal that gave them consistency, comfort and a feeling over safety as they laid down for nap or left their parents to come to school. If a stuffed animal is serving your child in this way… it is something to celebrate, not condone. They are using this animal to be BRAVE with change and discomfort. This is a healthy way they are choosing to regulate. If they get older and are sucking on this animal or bringing it everywhere and you’re concerned about hygiene…. make a carrier or a bed. And have them place the animal in site, but not always in their arms.

  2. Buy stuffed animals that can be machine washed!

  3. If you have a collection of stuffed animals, you can use them in a toy rotation. Pull them out to be a zoo with blocks for a fence. Pull them out to be a pet shop, use cardboard boxes to make kennels. Use them with dramatic play.

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Take a Picture of Your Child #xoplaychallenge

I have always been a HUGE documenter. Some people may roll their eyes at this. But even if you are not one to always pull out your camera listen up.

You know when your baby is born… and everyone is taking pictures of the new baby.

Or you graduate and people take pictures, sing in a concert and get pictures.

These pictures are amazing, but someday you’ll want to look back on the every day stuff.

And kids have caught on, they know how special an event is if all the cameras are out. So why not channel that positive energy into something they do EVERYDAY.

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"hey self, this is NORMAL."


I have the safe place, I teach in the green arrow moments, I focus on social learning skills... and YET my sensitive child cries, he has meltdowns, he fights with his sibling. These strategies don't make it go away. They help us make these challenges opportunities to teach our kids and also get through them without losing our mind.

So check in with yourself during the next meltdown...

and just say, "hey self, this is NORMAL."

When these things are stopping optimal functioning to the point that you can't go about your daily responsibilities, then maybe intervention is needed to help the child learn new skills and eliminate the behavior. But still, that is NORMAL for about 20% of the population....

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Top 6 Backyard Play "Areas"

I’m very intentional on the materials that I include in my outdoor space.

Instead of getting the typical big playground/swing set.

I decided to include all the elements I valued most.

If all you can fit or want is a swing-set that’s great too!

One reason I decided against the swing set is because I don’t want to spend 10 years doing under-doggies. I’m sorry #notthatmom.

Second, there’s “rules“ typically that come with the swingsets…(don’t climb up the slide, one at a time on the ladder, one at a time on the swing, don’t walk in front of the swing, there’s not room for you right here, etc.)

I wanted play materials that allowed them to expand their imagination.

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Paralyze or Empower?

You had a bad day.

That sucks, How dare they, Such terrible luck


You had a bad day

What did you learn from it?

When you start saying things like 2019 isn't my year. This year is the worst... soon all the little bad things become paralyzing. I can't handle one more thing. instead, we can say, you know this was REALLY hard... and look at where I was to where I am now... that's empowering!



How many adults do you know stuck in this victim mentality? Are they pleasant to be around? Let's help our kids learn to reframe their story in a way that empowers.

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I'm So Glad You're Mine

Sometimes we jive a little bit easier with certain stages of our kids' development. Or certain personalities within the family. This can create competition, sometimes resentment... and all of it because of an innocent match in temperament and interests. A quick cure for this... a handwritten note to each kid once a month. Let them know I'm so glad you are MINE. Not because of anything you say or do. Not because of your grades. Not because of your interests or successes. But because you are you. And you are mine.

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Labels. Matter.

My kid is CRAZY and STUBBORN will you watch him for the day? How does this make you feel... NOPE, run.


My kid is DECISIVE and has some serious LEADERSHIP potential, can you watch him for today? Yeah, I could do that.

Let's play a game, take out a paper and write down all the negative labels you might use for your "spirited" child. And then write a way to reframe a label positively next to it. I'll get us started.

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