Some lessons are hard to teach.
To really give these gifts to a child you have to live them.
This is a great idea to help live gratitude daily within a family!
I originally stole the idea from Martha Stewart (don't most good ideas come from her) and then Pinterest (where the rest of the good ideas come from). But the prompt was "i love you because..." which implies that love is conditional based on behavior or actions. Not the message I was looking for.
You just frame a pretty piece of paper along with a prompt that you can hand write or print off in a funky font. I used "today I am thankful for...".
You need a glass marker (Vis a Vis) or a dry erase (but dry erase mandates using a wet napkin then a dry one).
Each day at breakfast we take a minute and take turns thinking of what we are thankful for. Mom and Dad get a turn too and so do I. Even though my little one is just 2 - she gets it. And I love that while her thankfuls are usually for her balloon or her stickers, mom and dad's are more global. This demonstrates in a very real and non preachy way that it is good to be grateful for family but some days it is equally important that we are grateful for a chocolate cookie.
I also love the way this routine makes us think of good things at the beginning of the day. It doesn't take long and it includes the whole family.
Because I chose paper that matches the kitchen colors and made it kinda pretty, mom doesn't mind keeping it out in the area where we all pass by it many times a day.
This is one way to show appreciations, how do you teach this lesson??
Recently my friends and I tried this great idea we "borrowed" from some mommy bloggers. And it is a GREAT idea for all nanny groups big or small.
Google Busy Bags and you will get a whole bunch of ideas for these homemade bags of fun! The idea is that they are simple activities that are made that kids can do with some direction or on their own. Preferably they will become self sufficient with them even if at first they need help.
Bags range in complexity from simple matching games or letter activities to more complex math games etc.. They are hopefully self checking so that kids can see the correct answer themselves.
Now you could make busy bags yourself and many people do. But it can get pricey and can be a lot of work to make individual bags. To get a whole bunch of bags fast- we organized a swap.
Each person in the swap makes 2 different kinds of bags. We started an email thread so we could tell everyone as we picked which bags we were making. Then we made bags for each person participating. In our group there were 7 people, we each made 2 different bags and 7 of each so we all walked away with 14 different great bags!!
I keep the bags in a drawer in the kitchen and the Caterpillar (my 2 year old) begs to do them. I introduced them one at a time and made sure that she understood each bag's activity before starting on the next one. Now she can get out something fun while I tidy the kitchen or while we are waiting for mom to come home.
Our favorite bags are the iSpy rice bottle, the fishing game, the hanging clothes game and the letter matching cards. We still haven't tried all the games we have!!
I can't wait to do this again. It was fun and cost effective- for about $50 we got the materials and walked away with so many great and fabulous learning activities that are great for transition times, waiting times and independent play.
Let me know if you have done this or if you want to try!!!
Here are some great links!
Walking by the way Blog
Motherhood on a Dime
Money Saving Mom
AND here is a link to my pinterest board where I have loads more ideas!!
Thinking about technology....
A friend of mine posted this article- I figured it was the standard article about internet safety and warning of some new way kids were in danger using social media.
I was half right. The article does warn of the new way kids are using instagram to hold beauty pagents. It is alarming and the author made good points. But I stopped short when she said that her kids had to share their passwords until they were 13. What? Then she goes on to say these kids including hers that were on instagram were in 4th and 5th grade.
I had the standard nanny reaction You know- we all love kids and most of us rail against thee kids using tech. In fact I am always boring people about studies that show that TV is so harmful for young children and have been very strict with my former charges who wanted Facebook pages or the like.
BUT I am going to challenge us to think about this for a minute. Technology is this funny thing- it doesn't go backwards. Just because it is dangerous to drive a car, we probably will never go back to the horse and buggy. Just because it is more comforting to communicate face to face- cell phones are not going anywhere. In fact recent studies have indicated that almost all U.S. kids under the age of 2 have a digital footprint already.
So if the new technology we are integrating into our society at a rapid clip is here to stay- shouldn't we be teaching kids to use it from the very start? We all know a 2 year old who can work an iPhone to get to the pictures they want to view or play a game. Shouldn't we also be teaching kids how to use it to learn? to get information?
As we teach manners and social norms to our young children, should we also be teaching them how to communicate online? Should we be teaching kids at 4 and 5 the right way to phrase things, the emoticons you need, to get along with others in a digital world? Because in light of the intense bullying and easy misunderstandings of kids in middle school- it might be too late by then.
When we teach kids about how to evade that white van at the playground and how to use their instincts about strangers perhaps we should be teaching them to detect online predators and find safe communities to interact with on their devices.
I am not so sure when is too early and when is too late. But I think it is time to start thinking of technology in some new ways. I mean we all know that we can not tell kids to eat vegetables and healthy foods and then eat Cheetos and drink soda for lunch. We know what that yields. So if the digital world is one where our kids are going to live (and it is) then we need to give them opportunities with boundaries to make mistakes and learn in a safe way.
I am still puzzling this all out. What about you??
a simple line
Need an idea for quick and simple motor skill play? Great here is a simple one- make a line!
We just put a long line on the floor with masking tape. Can be on carpet or hardwood (but check in a spot first that the tape doesn't ruin hardwood in your home)
Then we hop on the line, hop over the line, skip on the line, dance on the line - you get the point. This is a great way to work on language skills as well as you can talk about over, on top of, as well as action words like crawling, skipping, hopping, tip toeing.....
Encourage kids to try some other deceptively simple tricks. Like keeping both feet on the line like a tight rope. Or try putting objects on the floor and having child stop while walking (or running or skipping) and pick up object without moving their feet. This is a tough skill for those 2/3 year olds!
Try putting on some music and asking kids to move on the line in response to the music. Is it fast or slow? Does it make you want to do something funny as you move or does it encourage you to move like a ballerina?? You can talk about rhythm and the effects of music on mood.
For older kids practice changing directions on line, make the line turn or be wavy. Ask the older kids to make up activities for the younger kids!
This activity increases equilibrium and helps kids coordinate movement. It works large muscles and also is helpful for the connections between their will and their movements. As you use music it can be a great way to incorporate some emotional words into the play and help them use their body to indicate mood.
One of the most interesting parts of the job is that we are getting a glimpse.
Stay with me.... this will be a happy thought to get you thru a long Monday!
The road to being an adult is perilous. It full of challenges that we see coming and many that hit us from behind with no warning. There are mountains to climb and valleys to enjoy. But it is a journey.
But as a nanny for young children I get to glimpse into the future of that journey.
I stare into those gorgeous eyes and wonder will her love of order and need to have things be just so make her a good organizer. A wonderful mother of a large family or a CEO of a huge company? Both?
I watch his love of animals and wonder if it is just a passing phase or a passion that will lead him to wild adventures thru Africa.
I see her struggle to explain her emotions and see a glimpse of the wife, friend and mentor she will be.
We are lucky to be doing what we are doing. We have to be ever present so we aren't looking away when we catch those glimpses.
Mondays are a good day to love being a nanny!!!