Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Something you want, something you need...

I was making the round through my online news sources and reading the comments on an article found something that stuck with me.  When asked how she kept things "even" amongst the children in her family, this mother replied they each got four gifts: 
something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.
Love this!
We've added a couple of new pages to the sidebar over on the right for quick reference.
Here's a link to a list of great classic toys.  You probably saw some these under the tree when you were a kid, and there are reasons why they are still around!
Toy Ideas!
And here are some great places to shop for toys that are off the beaten path (brick and mortar and online options).
Toy Resources
Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Daily 15

As we are approaching this busy holiday time of year, let's remember that it is still all about the simple things that are children need most. Not the extravagant toys, fancy clothes or shiny new bike, but simply, your time. Once again, our friends at Williamson Parent reminded us of this so we thought we would share it with you. It is your daily 15...15 things to do on a regular basis with your children.
1. Take a walk together
2. Cuddle on the sofa
3. Say "I love you" often
4. Read together
5. Maintain a loving bedtime ritual
6. Talk at breakfast, at the dinner table, in the car
7. Listen but don't lecture
8. Refrain from judgment
9. Have a catch
10. Give lots of hugs
11. Go on one-on-one dates or outings
12. Cook together
13. Volunteer together
14. Get down on the floor and play, work a puzzle or play a game
*15. Tell them about you and let them know you are not perfect!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  ~W.J. Cameron

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks...

We came across this very timely article in one of our favorite local magazines, Williamson Parent. It is titled, "Experience the Season of Family and Friends." It is short and sweet and just full of just good ole fashion ideas of raising thankful kids and instilling gratitude. We know this time of year is can go by in a flash, and it is so easy to forget why we celebrate these special holidays. So we hope you will put down that holiday to-do list for just a moment to read this article and remember to give thanks.

Experience the season of family and friends.

Giving Thanks PDF Print E-mail

Written by Susan Day   

Raising Thankful Kids
While America toils in discontent, NOW is the time to remind ourselves what we should be thankful for: our lives, our health, our children. Yes, the economy is bad, but children don’t really understand these things. What they DO understand is Mom’s and Dad’s stress. Or that this year things aren’t quite as easy at home as they were in the past. Finding ways to raise thankful, empathetic children is harder than ever. But two easy steps you can take are in giving thanks audibly on a regular basis and in encouraging empathy. Learning to say, “Thank you,” comes from parents modeling this to their children. Empathy is a bit trickier. No matter how many sermons you give on “poor, starving children in the world” when your children don’t eat dinner, the quickest way to get kids to tune out is to lecture them on how they should feel. What we CAN do is encourage them to think about other people’s feelings. Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D., author of Raising Ethical Children (Prima Lifestyles) says that in talking with children, it works best to ask them to respond to the question, “How would I like it if the situation were reversed?” Whether the issue is not bothering to write a thank you note to grandma for a birthday gift, or speaking rudely to a friend, asking, “How would you like it?” is a powerful question, far more effective than any parental pronouncement.
Instilling Gratitude ...
We live in a “me, me, me” society that makes it easy to get sucked into a black hole of thankless living, says Drew Leder, M.D., author of Games for the Soul: 40 Ways to Find Fun and Fulfillment in a Stressful World (Hyperion). Because of this, gratitude is counter cultural. For children to be grateful for what they have, parents need to begin early — as soon as verbal interaction begins — and continually reinforce it throughout adolescence. This is an ongoing operation that requires constant support and encouragement.
The bottom line, Leder says: Our children learn from everything we say and do. If we cheat, they’ll cheat. If we lie, they’ll lie. If we complain about all the things that we don’t have and choose to ignore what we do, then so will our children. Ingratitude is contagious and we risk raising ungrateful children if we’re not careful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let's Get Messy!

Does your child immediately gravitate to the first mud puddle they see and make the biggest splash? Or if you have a mobile 1 year old that likes to dump the dog’s water bowl all over the nice clean floor or fling their food at you during dinner time? Oh yes! I am sure we have all been there and done that. So when you are just about to lose it, remember they are learning.  I recently read an article that said kids learn to understand the world from what they see, touch and taste.  So when they are playing with their food, they are discovering different textures. Then, when they are splashing through mud puddles or splashing water all over the walls in your bathroom, they are learning cause and effect. So why not join in! Let them experiment with the water in the bathroom. Get all different size containers for them to pour water into and different size and weight objects to discover float or sink. If they want to play with food, fill a Ziploc bag with pudding and let them squish it and for the older ones, you can practice “writing” their letters with their finger. Less mess, but fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Kids spell love T-I-M-E.  ~John Crudele

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Fun Fact

Did you know....

Children laugh about 400 times a day, while adults laugh on average only
15 times a day.

           Make sure you laugh today. It will make that 2 year old meltdown go away or whatever stress you may have. Then, if that doesn't work, indulge in some chocolate. Works everytime!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nashville Nov/Dec Happenings

Nashville Zoo Happenings Join the staff and other Zoo characters for story time during the month of November.Come dressed for the weather. Snacks will be provided. Stories are geared toward 3-5 year olds, but all ages are welcome.
Nashville Childrens Theatre Happenings
Junie B. Jones is back at Nashville Children’s Theatre just in time for the holidays! Room One has lots of fun plans to celebrate the season, like Secret Santa, elf costumes and singing joyous songs. However, Junie B.’s nemesis, Tattletale May, is ruining her holiday glee. To make matters worse, Junie B. draws Tattletale May’s name for Secret Santa! Disaster! Except maybe — just maybe — Junie B. Jones will give Tattletale May exactly what she deserves.

See link below for more details and showtimes

The Frist Center Happenings
Every month, The Frist Center has exciting family events for you to enjoy. So get out of the box and try something new with your children this month.

Franklin Theatre Happenings
The newly renovated Franklin Theatre shows children’s movies every Saturday at 10 a.m. and some Sundays so check out their calendar for movies and upcoming events. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning and then afterwards, walk on over to Sweet CeCes for a yummy treat or have lunch at Mellow Mushroom. Yum! 

Cheekwood Happenings


November 25 - December 31
Let the holidays begin as Cheekwood showcases the sights and sounds of the season with lavishly decorated grounds, artfully trimmed trees, and unique holiday activities. Cheekwood is enchanting, entertaining, and educational this holiday season – celebrate with us! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

If I could raise my child all over again...

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.

~Diane Loomans, from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

Monday, November 7, 2011

7000 days

I love a good book, and when a friend told me about me about this wonderful book she had been reading by Andy Savage I was all ears...that is, until she gave me the number.  7000 days.  That, she said, is how many days you get with your child at home until they go to college.

I don't know what else she said. I don't even remember the name of the book. All I know is that this is first time in my life that I have really stopped to consider just how finite this active stage of parenting really is.

I flashed back to when my daughter was a newborn, sleeping those days away between feedings.  The whirlwind days that zipped by on vacations that always seemed to short. Then to the long days that blended into sleepless nights and into the next groggy day like stretched taffy about snap when she was sick with ear infections or reflux or what some other kid gave her.  The days she spent with grandparents when I just had to get away, finding peace and sanity in airports and hotel rooms with "the girls" from college or my husband.  And now the days when we rise in the dark, leave home at 7:30, return by 3, and have a good five hours together as a family before we do it all over again, 5 days a week, most of the year.

It's the ordinary day as a mom that I revere the most.  When she was five years old, in our church pre-kindergarten, and off on Thursdays.  We would wake up lazily, linger over waffles, meander over to school by 9:30 on a school day, or wander upstairs to the playroom otherwise.  Playing games, goofing around, the dress-up clothes, the simple lunch at home.  No homework, no "best friend" drama, no report card.  Just tips to Target and doctor's appointments and life, and it has been a blessing.  Each day of it.

As I emerged from the fog of this trip down memory lane, my inner skeptic woke up.  7000 days?  Not possible. So I did the math myself.

If she goes to college by 19, that is 365 days a year times 19 years equaling 6935 days (wow).
Then I thought about it from our perspective here at Hands on Mom, focusing on the preschool years, and figured that, for kids who go to kindergarten by age 6, that's 2190 days (really wow).
A limited time to make an unmeasurable difference in the lives of our children, as only a parent can.

I leave you with this beautiful video on the wonder of an ordinary day.  It is 8 minutes long, it is an ad for a book (and this sharing was totally unsolicited), and if you have a beating heart in your body you will need a tissue.

We invite you to comment on your most memorable ordinary days as you take your own trip back in time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Fast Fact

60% of the energy a baby expends is concentrated in the brain.  By the time a baby is 3 years old, they have formed 1000 trillion connections between neurons.
-Univ. of Denver

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grocery Store Games

      Grocery shopping with your child may not be your favorite activity, but with a little preparation and a lot of patience, you can make this shopping trip fun and a great opportunity for learning. On the way to the grocery store, create a memory game like “we are going to Publix and we are going to buy a huge piece of bread that can take us to the beach.” Make your descriptions really silly and elaborate, adding more items to the list and see what they can remember. Let your child help you push the shopping cart for a little while. Give them their own shopping list with pictures and give them clues on where they can find the items. You could play, “I Spy.” “I spy a red fruit that is round and juicy.” “Do you see it?” Have them help you take the items out of the cart or let them help you put the items away when you get home. You can even go as far as sorting the items by type or size depending on the age of your child. So when you are dreading that trip to the grocery store, just remember these simple little games and just have fun! You will be surprised how much you can teach your child in just that little trip to the store and back. 

      Things to Remember:  The grocery store is a rich resource for teaching descriptive words, reading, numbers, math, and memory skills.  It might take a little longer with the wee ones in tow, but you are accomplishing so much more than shopping.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Child-Centered Play

      Playtime is learning time! To your child, fun and play go hand-in-hand with learning. So let your child choose an activity or toy. Let her lead and resist the temptation to correct her or lead her. It is all about discovery and exploring the world around them. Children need to be able to learn to figure things out on their own and learn more complex reasoning skills as their brain develops. So get down on the floor and just play with your child. See the world from their perspective. And as you play with your child today, give them the freedom to roam and the encouragement to experience the world around them…in their own way! 
      Things to remember:  let your child choose the activity, follow their lead, see where it takes them!