Monday, September 23, 2013

Halloween Goodies II

Here is my annual preschool Halloween books and movies post!  Some repeats here as they are always good classics!  I always buy 1-2 additional Halloween books every year, I just love this season.  And we are all ready for that Fall season with Pumpkin spiced everything and cooler weather!


1) For babies and toddlers Five Little Pumpkins ($5.39) 

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.  The first one said, "Oh my, it's getting late."Get ready for some wicked fun as these five pumpkins run and roll! My children have loved this sweet rhyming book the past few years and love that it's a board book.

2) For Preschoolers:
Little Critter: Happy Halloween, Little Critter!  ($6.29)
My preschooler loves this book!  It has lift the flaps in it too and she loves all of the different halloween characters.

3) We love the If You Give A Mouse book series, and haven't read this one yet, but plan on ordering it!  My preschooler and toddler will love reading this one.

It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! (If You Give...)  ($6.12 Board Book) The mouse decorates all of the pumpkins in the pumpkin patch with different faces.

4) For all ages:
The Hallo-wiener ($5.71)

This one is close to our hearts because we have a little Dachshund at our home and tells a great Halloween story, kind of like the Ugly Duckling.

5) There is the always popular : Haunted Clubhouse (Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) (6.29$) 

6) We love the 'night before' series and especially their  The Night before Halloween ($3.59)
'Twas the night before Halloween, and all through the house, All the creatures were stirring, except for the mouse. The monsters had gathered to plan and prepare, For the trick-or-treaters who soon would be there?."

7) Doc McStuffins Boo to You!   (7$) This one is a touch and feel book and my 4 and 2 year old love this episode on TV and also enjoy this book too! And it's a great board book to take in the car and not worry about it getting torn up.

8) And one more for the preschool and school aged kids: Room on the Broom (6.29$). We love this book at our house and there is an App on the iPhone too that's super fun and cute.  

The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch's hat, then her bow, and then her wand!  Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom.  But is there room on the broom for so many friends?  And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?

TV Shows and Movies

Halloween season isn't complete until they've seen a few Halloween cartoon specials and movies. Don't forget to DVR some of the ones coming up for free, and the Disney Jr episodes like the Halloween Doc McStuffins.

1)Spookley the Square Pumpkin  ($9.98) About a square pumpkin who is different and feels left out, but then saves the day after a storm hits the pumpkin patch!

2) The All-Time Classic!  Look for this one on TV and DVR it, if not order it here: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Remastered Deluxe Edition) ($10.99)


3) This one I haven't seen yet, but looks really cute!
Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest ($9.96)

4) Thomas Halloween. Need I say more if you have a preschooler who loves trains?
Thomas & Friends: Halloween Adventures (free for Amazon prime streaming, or $9.99)

6) And for the older child, like an Alice in Wonderland Halloween adventure (but mostly for kids 10 and up)
Coraline ($6.99)


So there you have it. My picks for your little ones this Halloween.  Have fun getting in the spirit and Happy Halloween!
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Power of the Hug

I don't know when the power struggle began, but lately my husband has been asking for hugs from our preschooler and she flat out says, 'Not right now Daddy.'

I kind of wasn't paying attention when it all started, because it was usually when he was leaving for work and in my house that means breakfast time, which is complete chaos.  And then it was when he was coming home from work asking for a hug, and I was either about to cook dinner or just finished feeding the girls = more chaos.

But I soon started to notice a few times that our daughter was shrugging him off.  I felt bad for him so badly wanting affection from his little girl and her turning it away.  So I sat there and said to myself, "Okay, she is 3 years old, I think she is getting a little bit too much power here."  Side note, my daughter has always been a huge momma's girl.  First born, what can I say?

Now, I totally agree that you should teach your child that hugs and kisses are okay if you feel like giving or receiving one, and if you don't, then that's okay too.  I have written before about how kids can say 'no' to hugs and should not be punished for it.  It's their right to give and receive them.

But my husband asking his 3 year old daughter if she wants a hug every time my he wants to give or receive one, seemed a little absurd.  Sorry husband if you are reading this right now, but I had to go there.

So I talked to him about it later that night and told him that by asking her over and over again if she wants a hug, might be giving her way too much power for a 3 year old. I am all for giving choices and empowering children and increasing their self-esteem, etc.  But sometimes, we have to be in control and have the power.  I told him he could take or leave my advice (because how hard is it to be married to a child counselor, right?) but he actually thought it made sense and was going to try it the next day.

So I told him to just matter of factly give her a hug, whenever he felt the natural urge to hug.  Not to overthink it.  And it worked!  He went over to her as he was leaving for work and she was playing with her dolls, gave her a hug and she was happy and went on playing. No crying about it and no more power struggles.

We both agreed too that if at any time she says "no", to just reflect, "okay, you don't want a hug right now, that's okay, thanks for telling me" and move on with your day.

Giving too many choices to young children is overwhelming for them.  It can cause them to feel out of control, the exact opposite of your goal.  Children need limits and they need boundaries to help them feel safe.  Plus, too much power can create unnecessary struggles and tantrums.  Ha, reminds me of the classic line "but why NOT mommy?...Because I said so!!"
Saturday, September 7, 2013

Back to School Help

My little girl started her first day of Preschool last week and I have to say, it went down really well. No tears, and no meltdowns.  Of course I can't take all the credit, we do have the SAME teacher as last year, and the same school.  Luckily at our school her teacher teaches the 2 year olds T/TH and the 3's on M/W/F, so she was able to have the same amazing teacher.  It made for a really smoooth transition.

But what also helped was a little prep work. I am a little late on posting these tips, probably would have helped more last week for people to read about.  But better late than never:

1) Reading some school jitters books.  We still will be reading these the first few weeks  months as she goes to school.  She LOVES all books related to school.

Her favorite is the Llama Llama series: Llama Llama Misses Mama (from 7.99$). Llama goes off to preschool and misses his mama, but learns at the end that his mama always comes back for him. This is also good for daycare, Moms Day Outs, etc.

We also love reading  I Love You All Day Long (6.29$) about a little pig that doesn't want to go to school when he wakes up, but his mom explains through his day at school all the times she loves him, "I love you when you spill your juice". My little girl loves hearing this super cute story that teaches that even when your mom is not with you, she still loves and thinks about you all day long.

And of course we love the book series, 'The Night Before...' We still read The Night Before Mother's Day, one of my daughter's faves.  The Night Before Preschool (3.65$) is a sweet story about a boy not able to sleep the night before school, and I know that my child will continue to ask for it for it each night before bed the rest of the year :)

2) School Lunches.  Enough said right? Don't we all struggle with what to pack for our little picky nibblers?  If you are also like us, we have to pack a nut-free lunch, so no PBJ for us.  Sunflower butters so far have been the best alternative, but my daughter still isn't a huge fan. So we are left with finding alternatives to PBJ sandwiches for her lunches.

The first step is to pack the lunch the night before. If you aren't doing that already, then you need to start. It will make your life a WHOLE LOT easier!  And pack that sippy cup and put it in the fridge too.

For lunch ideas, I usually throw in raisins, applesauce, cheese sticks, crackers (bunnies), fruit such as blueberries, grapes, and strawberries.  But I had to research some blog sites to get some really good tips:

We love Weelicious.  Click here for her great school lunch ideas.  Some of her suggestions I think are a little more wishful thinking for the picky eaters.  If only my child would eat some of the goodies she has like a vegetable!  But I loved this idea of sushi sandwiches, that I would probably modify to make pimento cheese:

And we also bow down to The Pioneer Woman. She is just awesome, and wish I had her kitchen, then maybe I would be able to do more cooking.  She posted here recently for some great lunch inspirations.  

One of my faves she posted isn't for lunch at all, it's for the mornings you are rushing to get out the door with your kids and don't have time to sit down and feed them breakfast.  You know, the days where your toddler refuses to get dressed, doesn't want to brush her teeth and doesn't want you to brush her ratted out hair. So you are late and only have time to hand her a muffin in the car.  These muffins are packed with goodness like walnuts, raisins, flaxseed, bananas and applesauce.

And lastly, I found a good Lunch Box gallery of photos for inspiration. Like Pinterest on speed.  Here's one of 324 photos for lunch box ideas:

3) And for the last tip, it's all about organization.  Getting your child dressed, brushed teeth and hair, fed, and out the door.  As far as getting dressed, in our house it has to be pink or she will refuse to wear it.  We have found that picking out an outfit the night before is the best defense. One of the best organization ideas I found online was buying a shoe organizer at Target/Ikea, cutting the bottom off to fit your closet, and putting coordinating outfits in each hole (shorts/tshirt/socks). That way, you can avoid meltdowns and have your child pick out an outfit from the cubby to wear that day (the night before). And it helps to have your partner get your child dressed and not worry about them not matching :)  Or you can do what my friend does and have your child pick out an outfit the night before and sleep in it, that way they can wake up and go!

Do you guys have any other tips for preschool success?  

And yes, I know I didn't even get into the 'mental health' of preschool children getting off to school- what to do when they have the tantrums, crying spells, pleading you not to leave them at school, or begging not to go home.  You've become experts at that now right? You just pick them up and shove them in the car with a muffin in their mouths, turn up the radio and drop them off.  Just kidding.  But for some tips, you can read about my post on tantrums here. And remember to validate their feelings, and be sensitive to their clingy goodbyes. If you are anxious at drop off, they will be anxious too. Remember that they were babies only a couple of years ago, and still are learning how to regulate their feelings :)

Happy New School Year everyone!