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Rock Motherhood

  • Small (But Critical!) Steps for Raising Confident Kids

    “I can’t! I can’t!” he shouts as he tries to write the letter F. I can see tears of disappointment welling in his eyes. He puts the marker to the paper again, but for a second time isn’t happy with the product. My son is learning to write his name, and it has proven to be a learning experience for both of us. The word “can’t” makes me cringe.

    I begin to question why he’s being so hard on himself. Do I praise him enough? Does he feel inadequate? Like any negative feeling my child experiences, I want to solve it immediately. However, thats not how it works.

    Self-confidence is learned and developed over time through small achievements and a realistic perception of skills and abilities. It’s an essential behavior to cultivate in our kids, and subsequently set them up for their happiest lives.

    By teaching our children to believe in themselves, we set them up for success. We can start with words of encouragement, but self esteem can be instilled in a variety of ways, big and small. Here are a few small (but critical!) steps for raising confident kids.

    Use Words of Encouragement or Affirmations

    Affirmations work for kids and adults alike. We all begin to believe what people tell us about ourselves. Feel free to reference the guide below for a list of everyday affirmations to boost a child’s confidence.

    Choose Your Praises Wisely

    I am all about using affirmations in any form, but its important to note that using affirmations that include born with traits such as “you’re really smart! or “you’re so beautiful!” sends the message that we only value traits that kids are born with (attractive, smart, etc) and doesn’t convey the notion that anything can be accomplished with perseverance, hard work and dedication.

    Praising an accomplishment (and acknowledging the work it took complete it) establishes the fact that it was their hard work and practice that propelled them to achieve their goal, and that by setting goals we can push ourselves further. It’s also good to remember that confidence is gained in the process of goal actualization.

    Examples:

    Instead of “You’re really smart!”

    • “I’m so proud of you for practicing writing the letter F and working so hard to write your name!”
    • “Your strength and determination lifted you to learn to write your name! Your hard work really paid off!”
    • “I love how much effort and energy you put into learning to write the letter F!”

    In addition, throwing out too much praise can inundate your child’s ego, and could potentially minimize the value of the praise. If we reinforce every small deed our kids carry out, the praise will become less meaningful and thus, less impactful. Save big praises for accomplishments and achievements.

    Step back and Let them Build Resilience

    Remember the first paragraph of this post when I felt the need to eliminate my son’s problem and cancel the name-writing activity altogether so as to prevent him from feeling incapable? I feel that urge all the time. But by allowing kids to experience hardship or discomfort, we give them the opportunity to create solutions to solve their problems. These problem solving skills will be vital in all facets of their lives including our ever so important relationships, and will come in handy when they face the inevitable obstacles life will throw at them.

    When we reinforce a child’s resilience, they  learn to bounce back after a perceived failure. Step back and let them come up with their own plan for overcoming obstacles, rather than mow them down.

    Model Self Love and Positive Talk

    Have you ever caught yourself in a moment of negative self talk? I have. I’ve thrown out the phrases “I’m so stupid,” or “I look awful today,” in front of my kids not realizing the weight or impact of those words. It is true that kids are sponges, and if we model negative behaviors, they will too. Try to eliminate the negative self talk for yourself  (it impacts parents too!) or at least attempt to ban it when in the company of little ones. Confident mommies and daddies raise confident kids. Lead by example!

    Examples:

    Instead of “Today sucked.”

    • “I’ve had a tough day, but tomorrow will be better. I can feel it.”
    • “Today may have not have been the best, but there were a lot of small positives, and I’m choosing to focus on those.”
    • “I will bounce back tomorrow.”

    Let Them Take Healthy Risks

    A healthy risk is defined as a behavior in which the positive reward outweighs the harm in a given situation. Much like building resilience, when kids engage in healthy risk taking behaviors the outcome is worth the parental internal struggle. Risk-taking behavior enables a child to build confidence and strengthens decision making skills. It’s a positive tool for discovery, perception and developing a child’s personal identity. Being able to assess the risk in any situation is a crucial life skill and is important in helping children make good choices.

    Examples of Healthy Risk Taking Behaviors:

    • Getting up on a stage and singing a song
    • Asking a stranger to be their friend
    • Paying for their treat at the ice cream shop
    • Helping measure ingredients in the kitchen

    Try this…

    Every morning I allow my son to be my barista. He fills my mug with water, pushes the buttons on the coffee maker, and adds my sugar and cream. Sometimes it ends with a spill or a coffee that is slightly too sweet (risk) but it has become a morning task and he loves it.

    In the process of making my coffee, he’s mastering skills and learning a recipe which makes him feel important and needed. Little did I know, I’d been allowing my son to engage in a simple healthy risk behavior, and it’s been a small step for building his confidence.

    We hope through this article you’ve discovered new ways to boost your child’s confidence. If you’d like to read more about child development, see 5 Simple Tips for Taming Tantrums

     

     

     

     

     

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  • 3 Easy Ways to Teach Kids Phone Numbers

    A few months ago, I shared a project to help teach children their address. It ended up being a fun and creative way to get my 5 year old to memorize the specifics about where we live. Because the hands-on activity was enjoyable for him, he caught on quick and I thought it would be a great strategy to implement similarly when teaching him other life skills, like learning important phone numbers!

    These days we’re likely to just tap on a name in our phone without needing to remember any numbers, but theres no denying that learning and memorizing important phone numbers is a great life skill to have. By teaching your child important phone numbers, you are helping them to be self-sufficient and confident – and it could possibly be life-saving.

    Here are 3 easy ways you can teach kids important phone numbers

    1. Make a bracelet!

    Picture of phone number bracelet activity

    This simple project was a hit with my son! Wearing a bracelet with an important phone number is a great reminder for you child and they’ll easily be able to recognize and recite it after repeatedly seeing it. Additionally, wearing a bracelet with an important phone number can be a smart safety plan for family outings, such as an amusement park and (god forbid) you were to get separated.

    Creating the bracelet is simple: Just use an assortment of bead colors, number beads and some elastic string. If you want your child to learn multiple phone numbers, you can even use alphabet beads to include the persons name in the bracelet. Besides being a helpful learning activity, creating the phone number bracelet strengthens fine motor skills as well.

    2. Play a match gamePicture of craft stick phone number activity to memorize phone number

    With two common household items, you can create this craft stick phone number activity. Using a popsicle stick, write your important phone number down and write numbers 0-9 on clothespins. Play a matching game and see if you child can match up the numbers. If you have multiple numbers you would like them to practice learning, label the popsicle sticks on the opposite side (i.e. “Mimi’s Phone,” “Police,” etc). You can even test your child, like flash cards, to see if they can match the contact to the phone number.

    3. Practice dialing important numbers (free worksheets below)

    Picture of practice phone number dialing
    Practice makes perfect – and we created a free worksheet bundle that you can use with your child to encourage phone number memorization. The worksheets are a great visual for your child to see what exact numbers in sequence they need to plug in and includes a pretend phone sheet to practice dialing those numbers.

    Download the FREE printable for this activity below!

    Picture of printable phone bundle to teach kids their phone number

    If you liked this project, you might enjoy this post where we share teaching your kids their addresses!



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  • Happy Earth Children’s PRINTABLE Earth Day Activity

    As a self-proclaimed tree hugger it’s important to me that my kids understand the importance of Earth Day and why it’s vital to the future of our planet to set aside time to care for it. This activity is a simple and effective way to have that teachable moment on what keeps Earth healthy and thus, happy. On the opposite side, it highlights the actions that impact our environment in a negative way.

    Watch as they sort & learn the small ways we can reduce and reuse to protect our precious planet. We’ve included the FREE Happy Earth Children’s Earth Day Activity printable. It’s available for download at the bottom of this post. Happy Earth Day!

    Picture of Happy Earth Printable activity for Earth Day learning and creating.

    You will need:

    • Scissors
    • Glue
    • Blue or green construction paper
    • The Rock It Mama Earth Day printable (Two-page download at the bottom of post)

    Directions

    Glue the sorting chart page on either the green or blue construction paper for aesthetic purposes. Next, cut the two earths first and have your child distinguish between the happy earth vs. the sad earth. Glue both earths on the top of each side of the T chart.

    As each graphic is cut out, have a conversation about the picture and what is taking place. Explain why each picture either makes the Earth happy or sad based on what is occurring. Lastly, have them glue the graphic on the correct side of the T chart.

    Cutting Happy Earth printable for Earth Day learning activity.

    Just look at that focus! (Insert heart eyes)

    He’s well on his way to becoming a passionate environmentalist. Need more fun ideas for appreciating nature and the world around us? Add these 7 Nature and Exploration Ideas for Kids to your list!



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  • 5 Simple Tips for Taming Tantrums

    I came across this quote from author L.R. Knost not long ago and it has become my mantra for calming meltdowns, tantrums and anything in between.

    “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our job to share our calm not join their chaos.”

    Tantrums are a completely normal part of child development. It’s how our little ones express themselves over anything from discomfort to simply not getting what they want. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exhausting, frustrating and down right chaotic to try and diffuse them. Sometimes the response that our children need the most is the hardest to offer in the moment.

    In my experience, the most effective method for disarming a tantrum is a calming, positive approach. Here are 5 Simple Tips for Taming Tantrums that may help to deescalate meltdowns and preserve your sanity.

    1.) Remain Calm

    It is entirely true that children feed off of our emotions. If we treat a child’s tantrum with fierce anger and frustration it is possible to intensify the tantrum rather than mitigate it. Try to remove all emotion and focus on yourself, especially the guilt or embarrassment which can heighten feelings of overwhelm (remember, every parent has been there!) Your child isn’t trying to give you a tough time, they’re having a tough time.

    2.) Use Positive Language Alternatives

    Avoid the use of “no” if at all possible and try these positive language alternatives.

    3.) Try a Calming Diversion

    Does your child have a favorite book or comforting blanket? Offering these items could help console a child during a tantrum. Other tools could be a calming jar (such as these), relaxation activities such as deep breaths or yoga poses, essential oils, and songs. When the meltdown occurs in a public place without access to these tools, try removing them from the environment in which the situation began. If your child runs, throws or hits during a meltdown assess surroundings to ensure safety before approaching.

    Hugging is an excellent use of diversion, but always ask if they need a hug beforehand. Studies have shown that proprioceptive input through hugging is extremely helpful for regulating the senses and helping tame a tantrum. Something as simple as a tight squeeze can provide a sense of calm & return your child to the moment.

    4.) Observing and Learning

    Is there a pattern or trend for where these tantrums occur? Say, in the toy section at Target or when deciding on what to wear in the morning? Research indicates that events leading up to a tantrum can be critical to whether or not it actually occurs. Noticing where and when your child is likely to have a tantrum is essential in diffusing or avoiding it altogether. Maybe bypass the toys next time at the store, or offer options on outfits in the morning so your child feels in control. Another thing to keep in mind is choosing battles wisely. Ask yourself this question:

    Will this decision impact my child down the road?

    Examples: Something like, wearing a helmet on the tricycle could potentially have long term effects and is probably a battle to be fought. Forcing a child to hug a relative before they leave (and thus inducing an incident) is likely not life altering. Maybe have a conversation later about hugging and why we show affection instead of ensnaring yourself in an emotionally escalated situation.

    5.) Consistency and Not Caving

    A sure-fire way to keep the tantrums coming is to cave or give in to the tantrum. For example, if a child melts down in the candy aisle begging for a lollipop, giving her the lollipop will underline the negative behavior and reinforce it for next time. If the child is denied the lollipop repeatedly, it’s possible for them to learn that a tantrum in this particular instance will not get them what they want. Be consistent and confident with your choices as you know best for the child, not vice versa.

    Hey mama, taming tantrums can be tough! Check out our Mental Health Task List to encourage self care and preserve your sanity!

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  • 7 Nature Activities and Exploration Ideas for Kids

    Picture of natures activities

    With the cold weather letting up, now is the perfect time to get outdoors! We’ve put together some fun, yet simple activities that incorporate nature to encourage creativity, learning and exploration!

    Flower Petal Suncatcher

    This adorable idea by Messy Little Monster gets the kids out to hunt for different kinds of flowers to create their own suncatcher. This is a great way to encourage pattern building and putting a picture together, while making a beautiful piece of art to show off at home!

    Backyard Dollar Tree Fairy Garden

    Decorate your backyard with a fairy garden. Your children can use their imagination to come up with what they think a garden fairy would love at a home. In this project, Glitter on a Dime was able to find cheap accessories at Dollar Tree and then used existing branches and plants to create their landscape design.

    Nature Scavenger Hunt + Free Printable

    This is such an adventurous activity and one you can knock out while taking a nature walk. Encourage your children to find all the items on the list, which prompts them to use their senses (sight, touch, smell, sounds) and identity color and shapes. My son loved this scavenger hunt and we plan to do many more in the future!

    Spring Outdoor Challenge + Free Printable

    Picture of Spring Outdoor Challenges for Kids

    Activity by We’re Parents

    This challenge looks incredibly fun! We’re Parents put together this Spring Outdoor Challenge which gives you and your little one 10 places to go, 10 things to find and 10 things to take pictures of. This is not only a spring challenge to get your kids outdoors and active, but is a great bucket list for spring!

    Cardboard Tube Bird Feeder

    What’s a nature activity without making a DIY bird feeder? This simple activity can be made with common households items and brings more of the nature to you! We love making this easy tube bird feeders and seeing all the different bird species that stop by, you’d be surprised how many there are!

    Stick Craft Nature Paintbrushes

    Nature can create some amazing art. Encourage your child to go on a nature walk and collect different materials with interesting prints. Then make your paint brush and experiment with paint and see what crazy types of patterns your nature paint brushes make!

    Park Bingo + Free Printable

    Picture of Park Bingo

    Activity by Coffee & Carpool

    Make the most of your park visits by turning it into a Bingo game! Use this game by Coffee & Carpool to discover new parks!

    Do you have any nature activities that you love to do? If so, feel free to share, we are always looking for new ideas.

    If you enjoyed this post, you might like these indoor crafts for preschoolers.

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  • The Best Baby & Kids Pajamas Under $20 on AMAZON

    I am that extra mom that coordinates my kid’s pajamas with holidays, books, hobbies, you name it. And because they’re always growing out of their jammies (and we wear them a lot in this household) I’m constantly checking around for good deals on quality sleepwear. Furthermore, Amazon offers some great brands for super cheap and admittedly I LOVE the convenience. Below I’ve listed my favorite brands and what I have found to be the best baby & kids pajamas under $20 on Amazon! Happy shopping (and hopefully sleeping!)

     

     

    Picture of the best children's pajamas under $20 on Amazon

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

    I can’t get enough of these puppy PJs from Spotted Zebra and I just ordered them for my son! Bonus buy – these are less than $10 and come with the short sleeve option which I love.

       

    How cute are these Bunny sets for Spring? Order now in time for the Easter holiday and have the kiddos open their baskets in style, or have the bunny bring them on Easter morning.

       

    We are a books-to-bed family and nothing gets my oldest pumped for reading like pajamas that match the book we snuggle up to at night. Purchase the books along with the PJ set and it serves as an awesome gift as well. Click here for Llama Llama Red Pajama and here for Brown Bear Brown Bear.

      

    Leveret is one of my FAVORITE brands because of the adorable patterns and the no slip footies. My youngest son is beginning to pull up on everything and the extra grip is a safety plus. I’ve ordered several pairs, and in fact have a matching pair for myself! They also come tag-less for littles with sensitive skin. I have featured the mermaid pattern here but be sure to look at the other patterns available.

    Burts Bees – not just the creamy chapstick in your purse! These are 100% organic cotton and also have the no slip footies. More patterns available for this one as well.

       

    These Avauma sets are the most expensive on the list but I love how cozy and simple they are. These thermal pajamas will stay warm on cold nights and hold their structure well through many rounds in the washing machine.

       

    We hope you found some new Pajamas to lay the kids down in at night! Be sure to check out our 10 Easy Easter Crafts and Activities for Preschoolers

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