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Link Roundup – January 20, 2017

Hooray it’s Friday! Hope you enjoy these parenting links we found around the web that we thought you’d find interesting!

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image by Pete Souza

21 Beautiful Parenting Quotes From Barack And Michelle Obama via Huffington Post

A Surprising Number of Parents Still Spank Their Kids via Time

How to Boost Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence via Childhood 101

Is papadag (daddy day) the reason Dutch families are so darn happy? via Kinstantly

When Dads and Moms Share Parental Leave via National Geographic

Help Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse via Huffington Post

Why One Mom Decided to Raise Her Children Around the World via Travel & Leisure

Mom Behind Viral Pantry Video Shows Ellen What Life With Quadruplets Is Like via Huffington Post

Mom’s Brutally Honest Post Explains Why You Don’t Owe Strangers Candy For Sitting Next To Your Babies via Bored Panda

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Parenting Hacks

I love a good parenting hack and thought I’d round up some of our favorites:

Use an old t-shirt as a smock. We saw our daycare doing this when we picked Lion up after a long day of painting and cooking in the toddler room. It looked like a great idea and we didn’t have to purchase anything new; we just put one of Mr. Dolphin’s old t-shirts on over Lion’s clothes and it works wonderfully. Plus, little tiny children swimming in giant shirts is a pretty adorable sight.

Warm towels in the dryer for after bath. We don’t do this regularly, but sometimes the kids’ bath time will coincide with when we have laundry going. Throwing a couple of towels into the dryer helps a non-full load of laundry dry faster and, as a great bonus, the towels are warm for when we pull the kids out of the bath.

Wash Velcro bibs in a lingerie bag (socks too!). When we only had Lion, his tiny clothes didn’t produce a large enough load to run on their own. I would combine his clothes with ours, but inevitably, a Velcro bib would attach itself to our clothes when we ran it through the dryer. We started putting the Velcro bibs in a lingerie bag to prevent it from ruining any more clothes (we also stopped buying Velcro bibs, but many still ended up being gifted to us). Once Lion started losing socks like crazy, we threw the socks in the bag too to keep them all together.

Use a sticker in shoes to differentiate left from right. We haven’t done this yet, but I recently saw a hack that cut a sticker in half and placed the left half of the sticker in the left shoe, and the right half in the right shoe. Put the shoes together correctly and the correct image can be seen, helping kids figure out which shoe goes on which foot.

Wear a zip-up hoodie over your work clothes. My two little ones were both acid reflux spit-up machines as infants. Even when we improved the situation by switching to Enfamil A.R., Lion still spit up fairly frequently and Panda routinely projectile vomited. Most of the time, the spitting up would occur after I’d changed into my work clothes, often moments before heading out the door. I started wearing a zip up hoodie over my work clothes until the second we would leave the house to avoid having to change my clothes twice in one morning. This would also work with a lab coat.

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Swarm: If You Could Do One Thing Differently as a Parent…

…what would it be?

avatar (16)I would have taught my kids Korean from birth. Being Korean-American is such a huge part of my identity, and I wish I had done a better job of passing that down to my kids. They know a lot about the culture and food, but only a few words. I just didn’t have the patience or energy. Now that they are older (5 and 7) we watch Korean tv shows together and I’m starting to teach them the language that way. Hopefully it’s not too late!

avatar I wish I was more patient. I feel like I have so little of it and I get overwhelmed by life a lot that I lose what little I have very easily and quickly. I’m trying to work on it but it’s hard. I also wish I didn’t have to yell so much at them. I don’t like it and I feel awful, but it also works so it’s hard to stop when it gets the results too.

avatar (12) I would love to be better at playing and storytelling. It’s very apparent that my imagination is not what it used to be, and as an introvert, especially after a long day at work where I talk all the time, it’s exhausting to engage in something imaginative with my daughter, especially now that she’s 3 and a half and her imagination is running wild. I’d love to be better at making up stories, fun games, etc.

avatar (8) I would have been better about setting up good sleeping habits from the start. Bug is a terrible sleeper, and I know that part of that is my fault for holding him through the night for much longer than necessary. If I have more children I will try to set up better habits earlier in life!

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Work vs Life

I’m in a bit of a weird spot right now career wise. I’m not particularly comfortable with the situation and I feel like this is probably something that a lot of parents struggle with, so I’m going to lay it all out here and see what happens in the coming months. Hopefully, this will all work itself out, but the in between time right now is killing me.

My current job is not one that I love. In fact, most days I feel pretty ambivalent about being there. My job is relatively mundane, or it has been until recently. I am currently this.close to being done with my master’s degree, and because of this, I am forced to look at my current job and life situation and decide which direction to go. Initially, I took this job because it allowed for a flexible schedule to have time with my kids, which is incredibly important to me. However, it is not fulfilling at all, and with my educational prospects, the idea of changing jobs and perhaps moving has been coming up frequently in the past few months.

The conflict I am facing is this: If I take a new job, the likelihood is there that I will have significantly less time with my kids. I really don’t know how I feel about this. I know that for many parents, work is something they really enjoy and that makes them better parents. I think that I fit into that category somewhat, but I also feel like the right time for me to really get involved again in my career will be in a couple of years when the kids are in school and maybe don’t need me as much. Even in typing this, I feel like a whiner and a baby about it.

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Bringing the Happy Colour Back

I wrote before about how we are keeping our three-year-old in preschool while I’m on maternity leave, until summer, when she’ll be out of school and at home with me and her brother. After she’d been home for two weeks around Christmas she was asking me when she could go back to school, so even though we’ve had some bumpy big sister transitions I thought that part was going well, at least.

Until she started seriously dragging her feet on preschool mornings. No matter when we woke her up, who took the lead on getting her ready and out the door, what we offered or refused or negotiated, our mornings kept ending with her in tears, Mac Daddy frustrated and late for work, and me wondering how we were going to fix things.

Mac Daddy had a heart to heart with her one day on the drive to school. She admitted that she was trying to go slow so that we’d run out of time and she’d get to stay home, like what had happened once in the past. She knew that A and I stayed home together and she wanted to stay home, too. She didn’t want Mac Daddy to go to work. She just wanted all of us, at home, together.

Mac Daddy relayed this to me later, explaining that he had talked to her about the importance of work and school, about how we’d have the summer off together, and that she had agreed she’d be a big girl and try to be faster, but it made her feelings hurt. He was despondent.

“It’s like her happy colour is gone,” he said.

Before M became a big sister she was always quite cheerful, and I’d say she still is most of the time, but she certainly has her moments of feeling left out, jealous, or forgotten. We try hard to include everyone, from spending one-on-one time with her to asking baby brother to wait while we help his big sister, to really encouraging and praising her self-selected role as a helper. But that day, I had to wonder — was I being neglectful, unfair, mean to send her off while I stayed home with A?

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Projects for 2017

I like to set goals each year, but instead of framing them as resolutions, I’ve found it helpful to think about them in terms of projects. For me, new year’s resolutions were often forgotten a mere month later whereas projects and goals are continuing activities with concrete steps. These projects have ranged from reading 52 books in a year, to investing in time to write scholarly articles, to recalibrating my trends on consumerism/spending. I tend to throw myself completely into new projects and goals, so even though it may just be semantics to some, framing it in this way instead of resolutions has worked out much better for me! Here are my projects for 2017.

Project Finish 1,000 (Different) Books Before Kindergarten (With Lion). Lion is currently on his journey to 1,000 books before Kindergarten. He almost certainly hit the 1,000 book mark before his first year and we have decided to alter the challenge by picking 1,000 different titles. By the end of December 2016, we hit over 700 different books, an even more impressive number considering I didn’t really start tracking them until last year. He should hit the 1,000 book mark by early this year and I am looking forward to completing this goal with him. I will likely track all the different titles just for 2017 out of curiosity as to how many different books we’ll read together this year. We try to get a diversity of books from the library including board books (mostly for Panda), picture books, early reader, graphic novels, non-fiction and, most recently, chapter books! We read seasonal books, ones with important lessons, and ones with Lion’s favorite characters and subjects.

Project Pescatarian. From time to time, often during Lent, the Dolphin household goes vegetarian or pescatarian. I was actually a vegetarian for several years, until moving in with Mr. Dolphin and slowly adding meat back into our diet. There are a number of reasons to reduce our meat consumption, ranging from ethical, to environmental, to health concerns, all of which are factors for me. This year, we’re going to try going pescatarian for the first six months of 2017, with one chicken meal per week. We’ll reevaluate during the summer and see if we want to go full pescatarian or vegetarian. We’ve done a pretty good job about meal planning over the past year and I’m looking forward to focus on meal planning around a more plant-based diet. I’ve checked out several cookbooks at the library to get inspiration for new vegetarian meals, in addition to our high-protein vegetarian standbys, and have subscribed to some vegetarian blogs. As a bonus, a move to less meat and more vegetables will help us cut our budget.

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5 Every Day Ways to Promote Early Literacy

Little Lion is approaching 4, and the older he gets, the faster he is learning! Sometimes it blows my mind how quickly he picks things up. This is probably my favorite age yet. It is so much fun watching him soak up the world around him.

While this is not limited to literacy, LL is becoming more and more interested in words, sounds, and reading. As a result, I have been thinking a lot lately about ways I can encourage this learning without worksheets, flashcards, or elaborate activities that require prep and set up. Fortunately, there are lots of ways we can help our children get ready to read, and most of them don’t require a whole lot more than what you are probably already doing with your child!

CHILDREN BOOKS

1) Read together: This probably seems obvious, but so much of older children’s reading vocabulary was developed in the laps of their parents. The more books you can read to your child, the better! In the preschool years, children are learning that books contain stories and that words have meaning. Don’t worry if they want to read the same books over and over again. This is actually really good for them. Reading short, predictable books is also very beneficial. You can push them a little by going silent during the story to see if they can fill in where you left off. This is a great way to build their reading confidence!

2) When you read together, talk about the story. Ask critical thinking questions like “How do you think so and so feels right now?” or “What do you think is going to happen next?” These kind of questions help model to children how to think more deeply about what they are reading, a skill that will be VERY important as they develop into independent readers.

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