Parent with Purpose this Holiday Season

Make Halloween a learning, interactive time for kids.


pumpkinFor those of our reader families that celebrate Halloween, we wish you a safe evening filled with lots of yummy treats, fun tricks, cute kiddos in costumes, amazing pictures and happy memories!

We are so excited to announce

That our newest little one has emerged at 8lbs 5 oz and 19 3/4 inches long
 and has already fluttered his way into our hearts!
 

Butterfly kisses, giggles, and fun
The JOY of having another one has just begun!!!


Can't wait to share more about pregnancy and babies in the upcoming months!
-Amanda

Waiting for a New Sibling to Come Home: After School Express


We are so very excited here at The Educators' Spin On It!  Someone very special has arrived!  We'll have to wait for Amanda to share more details with you once she's ready but I thought I'd share I was the lucky one to stay home with Amanda's little ones while she went off to the hospital to have a baby!

 
Here's the question...  What do you do at home while you're waiting for a baby to arive?  We found some fun things to do that I thought you might find useful as you may have siblings waiting with family members to bring home their newest sibling. 

Keep routine as normal as possible. 
It's already the most exciting thing that ever happened in their lives, keeping their routine familiar will help them maintain calmness.  Before your anticipated due date, write up a daily schedule of what your children do each day.  That way no matter who's with your children while you're at the hospital they'll know what to do. 

Talk about their own birth stories
It's important for them to know where they were born and what cute stories you have associated with their birth.  A simple activity before baby arrives is to write a book together about when they arrived.  Then while they are asking quesions at home they can read their own stories and probably answer a lot of their own questions.   

Look at baby albums together
Older siblings can begin to have worries about what the new baby will look like.  Truthfully I think it's because they want to know if the baby it will look like them.  It's fun to pull out their own baby albums to see how they looked when they were first born.  It's important to point out that we all look very different from when we were first born.  Keep them out on the table the first few weeks the baby is home so that they feel just as special as the new baby. 

Make something for Mommy at the hospital
Create a special picture or card for mommy to hang up in the hospital room.  Since Owls seem to be the theme for Amanda's baby.  The kids created special owl family pictures. 

Visit the baby
Once you get the call it's time to pack up and go visit the new baby!  Have a special outfit set aside for this day that they've selected with you.  It's a visual cue for them to know it's time and the baby is here.  Plus that means you've already prepped for those adorable first shots of the baby and their siblings.  It was so much fun to get the call and tell them the baby had arrived! 

Sibling Gift at the Hospital
Have a special gift for your baby's siblings at the hospital.  It makes a special memory for them to take home and remember their visit with and to also know that you still love them very much.  Books can be a good gift since it will also keep them occupied at home while they are waiting for the baby to arrive. 

Create an easy Transition Home
Leaving the hospital can be one of the most difficult things for small children.  They just don't understand why Mommy and Daddy and new baby can't come home yet.  Prepping them before you go in is a good tip.  A simple we're going to see the baby for a little bit and then we'll leave so the baby and mommy can rest and then we'll be back to pick them up soon or have dinner with them soon.  Then once you arrive at home I used some pictures I had taken at the hosptial and I video to help them feel like we brought baby home too on our minds.  They even said goodnight to the baby on the screen as they went to bed. I assured them we'd be back in the morning to visit the baby again!  Prebought snacks or sibling gifts can be a good thing to take home in the car that Mommy packs. 

Make something for Baby at  Home
We created a special Name Banner for the baby once we found out his name.  We cut up triangles and then glued letters onto the triangles.  Then we hung it up together. They had so much fun making it together and it really made them excited about his name.  We alos created a dot stamp with the letter in his name to hang on his door. 

 

Reading Books about Welcoming a New Baby
Anytime you can read about what's happening in your child's own life it's a great way to help them understand what's going on.  It gives them a chance to discuss any concerns they may have and also introduce concepts they have not thought about. 

Talk about expectations and safety rules
It's important for children to hear what's expected of them around the new baby and have them talk about it with parents and also those moments before baby arrives home.  Make a simple book with your child about expectations and illustrate it together 

Most importantly give them time to play and be a kid
Having baby and baby items available for role playing will help them with many of the feelings that are going through their thoughts.  Even a train sets, doll houses are ways to role play what's happening.  Just having time to go outside on in the yard is important too. 

 

Soon enough before you know it it will be time for the baby to arrive at home!  Many thanks to Amanda's family for allowing me to be a part of such a special time in your life!  
 
Click below for More Tips for Sibling Connections to new Baby during Pregnancy



  
 

Now you know what we've been up to after school this week!  We'd love to hear what you've been up to. Don't forget to visit Last Week's Afterschool Roundup of our Favorite Fall Activities.
 
 
 
We would love to have you link up your School-Age Posts (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including, crafts, activities, playtime and adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school or on the weekend! When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board or Feature on our After School party next week!

Link up your afterschool activities! We'd love to see them!


Halloween Playdate (or party) for Toddlers


Have you ever left a toddler playdate at someones house and thought - WOW, that was a ton of fun!  We had a great time, my child had a chance to socialize AND learn!

Well, I just did and it was really something worth sharing with all of you!  I honestly canNOT claim any of it as my own!  The hostess did most of the AMAZING decorations and learning stations while other moms brought snacks, activities and games.  Me (9 months pregnant at the time) brought some snacks to add.  Yes - we all must not be on our A game all the time!!!  But let me tell you, this mommy did an amazing job of making our playdate so successful!

So what made it such a great playdate?

For one....There was learning stations set up around the room designed for toddlers. Each station focused on a different skill.  She had labels written out (LOVE THIS for early literacy!) and all the supplies needed to complete the activity at each station.  The hostess made several and other moms added theirs to the mix as they arrive (doing it this way is helpful because then everyone helps to make the playdate a success)

Station 1: Decorate a gourd with play dough!
(My sons' creations!)

 Station 2: Make a counting book using themed stamps.
 Station 3:  Match the shape and color on the Jack-o-lantern.  Using a "pin the nose on the pumpkin" poster, some amazingly creative mom changed it up so we could talk about shapes and colors with our kids.  A "FUN" game turned into learning activity in moments!!!
 Station 4: Color Matching activity
 For 2... Then, no perfect playdate is complete without a craft for kiddos (and parents) to take home. 
 For 3... A good playdate must always have snacks!  Festive snacks are great, but healthy is too!!!  This momma had snacks on the deck - a great idea for messy tots!


And then, last but not least, the hostess had all these AMAZING little things around her house to make the playdate extra special!!!

REALLY cool decorations like this
She had masks and horns and wigs and wands on all of her pictures.  I really had decoration envy!!!  They were adorable!!!

And notes for the kids on the wall like this...
 and extra little treasure like this...
 all ready for the kiddos! 

Doesn't this make YOU want to host a playdate???  I promise, toddlers are easy to please!  Just remember

1. Set out age appropriate activities with all the supplies needed out before the kids arrive.
2. Plan for kids to make and take at least one craft
3. Have healthy festive foods

and

BONUS - set out something special for kids to find, take, or look at.
And DOUBLE bonus - bring your camera and have a friend take a picture of you and your child =)  That way you can both look back and remember all of your fun times!!!!

Hope you are able to celebrate the season in a special way with your toddler and friends too! 

The Positive Roles of a Mother in Law: Snapshots of Parenting with Purpose

We have all heard the saying "monster-in-law". The derogatory phrase used to refer to a mother-in-law who happens to be a monster. I feel terrible for anyone out there who has a monster-in-law, it sounds awful. I, on the other hand, am extremely fortunate to have a wonderful mother-in-law, a woman I admire and more importantly that my children adore.
 

The role of a grandparent can be so important in a child's life. There is something about a grandparent's unconditional love that can truly help build a child's self esteem.  There are few things I enjoy more than watching my girls excitedly await the arrival of their Grandma Lou. The moments before she walks through our door  are filled with giggles of anticipation. Once Grandma Lou is in the house it's all about my girls sharing every little story, about every little thing that has been happening in their lives...Grandma Lou just sits back and listens. She is genuinely interested in what they have to say. These are the moments they will always remember. As they grow, they will always remember how present their Grandma was in their lives.
Grandma Lou tries to make it to every one of their performances; school, dance, soccer, whatever. And if she can't make it, she always follows up with a phone call to see how the event went. Her presence is so important to my girls. I suppose that is one of lessons that their relationship with their grandmother teaches them...the importance of being present. It is one thing to live your life day in and day out, but if you are truly present with those around you, they will know that they are loved. 
What I have learned from Grandma Lou is that children need a positive influence and a positive voice in their lives. Her positivity shines through. While life has not always been easy for Grandma Lou, she has faced many challenges, she has always remained positive. When I think of all the difficulties and challenges that my girls will face as they grow up, I hope that I can hold on to this lesson from their grandmother.  


My daughters are so very fortunate to have a fabulous woman in their lives. I am very fortunate as well. My mother passed away 3 years ago and Grandma Lou has become a welcomed guiding light in my life. My only wish is that my girls will take the valuable lessons their grandmother is teaching them into their own lives and someday become amazing grandmothers as well. 
In my "previous life" I was a mental health professional...in my current life I'm a stay-at-home mom with 2 beautifully adventurous kids. I share everything that lands on our kitchen counter over on my blog, Kitchen Counter Chronicles. Swing by and learn how we are greening their lives; what we are crafting; what we are cooking and what we are reading. While you will often find the girls and I inside the kitchen, you will also find us out getting our hands dirty, exploring and learning outdoors. I also tweet at @kcchronicles and can be found on Facebook and Pinterest.



Kim's "Spin On It"
We were so excited that Jenn from Kitchen Counter Chronicles emailed us her Snapshot. We know her best from joining up with her each month in our Around the World in 12 Dishes. and we are both a part of the Kid Blogger Network.  This past months we've enjoyed her Outdoor Pumpkins and Leaves Blog Hop and her Halloween Books and Activities. 

Thank you so much Jenn for sharing about your Mother in Law, Grandma Lou on our Snapshots of Parenting with Purpose.  It's so much fun to see how your children interact and engage with her.  You can see how much they love and cherish each other and how you value her as an important role model in your own life.  What a treasure she is to your family!  Grandparents truly are a blessing in our lives and it's often times something we forget to stop and say thank you to them for all that they do for our children and for us.
As I always say to Amanda without my inlaws I wouldn't have my husband and I am so thankful for that.  I am grateful each day for who they are and for bringing him into this world so that I could be so very blessed with my husband and my children.  It's sad but true, as my son reaches 20 this year, soon enough I need to start taking notes of what a good mother in law does for my future daughter in law and grandchildren.... OH MY did I just say that out loud ????
Want to share your own Snapshot? 


More resources for Snapshots of Parenting with Purpose
Giving One on One Attention to Children from Toddler Approved 
Importance of Male Readers from Learn with Play at Home
Importance of Everyday Moments from Familia&Seoul 

We would love to feature you in a future blog post and inspire the word to be better parents! E-mailing us your snapshot of parenting with purpose gives us permission to share your story with others with hopes that it may inspire =) If you do not want us to share your awesome parenting moment with others, but want to tell us, just let us know in your e-mail and we will read it, but not share it!

Kid Bloggers Go Pink!


We invite you to join us today as kid bloggers join together to GO PINK for breast cancer support.  We're sharing on our blogs various ways that you can help to support research for the cure.  We're sharing simple ways we can support each other as we fight breast cancer with our friends and family members.  We participated in Small Hands Creating HOPE ProjectMama Smiles opened up this project to benefit the American Cancer Society.  If you donate $15 you also get a free ebook full of kid friendly crafts. 

Websites for Information for Talking to Kids About Breast Cancer 
As we look at our children, words are sometimes hard to find to explain what's going on when a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer and going through surgeries and treatment.  We found a few website with resources for talking with your child about cancer.   





Books for Children About Cancer
Reading with your child about a topic is a great way to help them understand and also to understand that it's sometime that happens to others too.  Here are a few books about Talking with Kids about Cancer.  
Kids Friendly Crafts to Teach and Show Support to Loved Ones
Here's a kid friendly way to support Breast Cancer Research. Here are some ideas for cards and for volunteering to support cancer patients. We decided to paint a pink pumpkin and talk about Breast Cancer with our daughter this year.  We talked about what types of words of encouragement could we give to someone.      




Here's where its' your turn.  Let's work together to increase funding for breast cancer research.  Let's join together to encourage support for the women & men who who surround our lives every day!  October 22 is Breast Cancer Awareness Day.  We're hosting a Go Pink Blog Hop. We invite you to share your Go Pink Themed posts about how you are reaching out into your community,  into your own homes and even at playgroups to provide support for this cause.  
 

 
 Kid Bloggers Go Pink is cohosted by
10 Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer
  • One out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer… that’s one every three minutes.
  • One woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes… nearly 40,000 women each year.
  • Monthly breast self examinations and annual clinical exams and mammograms in women 50 years and older could prevent as many as 30 percent of those deaths.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends women begin annual screening mammograms at age 40. Women should begin breast self examinations as early as in their 20s.
  • Breast cancer death rates have been steadily decreasing due to increased awareness of the importance of early detection and because of improved treatments. Today, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
  • Between 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to inherited genes. Women who have inherited these genes are 80 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. If your family history includes close relatives on either your mother’s or father’s sides who have had breast cancer at an early age, you may wish to seek genetic counseling to learn if you are at higher risk for breast cancer.
  • If your mother, sister or daughter have had breast cancer, your risk for it more than doubles. Genetic counseling and aggressive surveillance/treatment may be recommended by your doctor.
  • More than 85 percent of women diagnosed do not have a family history of breast cancer… that’s why breast self examinations and annual exams and mammograms by your doctor are so important to early detection, treatment and survival.
  • You can reduce your risk of breast cancer with simple lifestyle choices… maintain a healthy weight… exercise regularly, even if it’s just a brisk walk 20 minutes each day… eat healthy foods…. and drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Tobacco use is clearly linked with many kinds of cancers and other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, consider quitting. 

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