Let’s face it, it is nearly impossible to eat healthy as adults, let alone trying to nurture children. There is always some birthday or holiday party with cake, candy, or ice cream. Even when I go to the bank they give my children lollipops. I refuse to be a maniac and constantly say no (it is what it is, sugar and chemicals). Or we are just running late and Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds unfortunately is the easiest snack (I hate when I feed my children these things but it happens and I have learned to forgive myself). In general the food we have access to is junk, plain and simple. Even if you buy and eat 100% organic (which I do and try) the products are out of our control. However, what gives me peace of mind is the two things I taught them and can control; taking vitamins and drinking a lot of water. At least I know they are getting basic building blocks they need and purifying their bodies daily (we are 90% water and drinking it flushes out the toxins and chemicals). These fundamental things have kept my children extremely active and healthy. I buy organic vitamins but simple Flintstone vitamins are great too.
Why don’t schools teach children how to be entrepreneurs? This year I bought a $15.00 table at a local church fair for my three children, who were 6, 4, and 3. Weeks before and til the fair, I had them “create” or find things to sell to make money. Yes, 6,4,3. My 6 year old was the one who sat the longest at the table but they all had a part. I would not let them buy anything from other tables unless they made money from theirs. My 4 year old said, “no one stops at our table”. I said, “make them”… And you know what, they did! There was nothing spectacular that happened or any one profound moment, but the exposure and experience in retail, exchanging money, and having to generate business were lessons enough. And they were so proud when the things they made did sell (and realized how hard it was)…
Some toys are simply timeless, not just because they are a great invention but because they provide children the opportunity to create, and continue to create over and over. Legos are one of those wonderful open ended toys that should be part of every household; large ones, small ones, any ones! My 7, 5, and 3 year old have always loved to play with them (large ones when risk of choking was an issue, and now smaller ones). I am amazed at what they create and it is fun to join them!
Boys love babies too! My 3 year old son, who adores motorcycles, loud noises, rough play, trucks and cars, also loves babies as much as my daughters. We often forget, with the constant gender conditioning in the media, that toys are really gender neutral to a child. Boys absolutely have different tendencies than girls, but much less than I believed, learned, or was taught. Children just want to explore and play whether they are a boy or a girl.
Today was “bubbles baby bathing day”. By the end my 5 year old was naked in the water table with the babies, but water, cups, and bubbles create an amazing sensory, touch, and wonderful pretend play experience for a child. Cut up a sponge or rag into small pieces (children love things their size, like little bars of soap), add a few measuring cups, measuring spoons, or anything they can use for pouring and washing, dishwashing soap and water, AND your child will have HOURS of fun! If you don’t have a water table, a bucket or sink works just as well. Bubbles never get old. Make sure to have dry towels handy. 🙂
Movement is a critical part of every child’s day. I have found if my children do not get at least one hour of movement, running around inside or outside, they pick on each other or fight. It’s almost as if energy builds up inside of them and has to get out! It also helps break up the day and playtime. Summer is easier when the weather is warm but it is a myth cold weather makes children sick. I bundle them up and send them out even if they only last 20 minutes. But, one of the best things I did was clean up my unfinished basement and convert it into open space. Here they can throw things, make a mess, ride bikes in the winter, roller blade, play tag, or just run! Duct tape on the floor also makes a great track for them to follow and is easy to do!
Rotating toys save time and money. Too many toys are actually overwhelming for a child, especially very young children. Often you will see a toddler dump everything out on the floor rather than take one and play with it (even older children will do this, I have been there and we spend all our time picking up). Less is best! They do not need 25 options. Putting two or three different activities out each day helps them focus and actually learn how to play. It will also give you a break with this type of routine. All toys seem new everytime they are rotated! Put them away where they are not easily seen or accessible. A train table or main table is a great addition where the child gets used to going and can play standing.