Posts tagged parenting
No attitude, No problem.

If they don’t have an attitude, we don’t have any problems.

Do any of you have tiny humans who act like teenagers already? If you’re parenting anyone who’s in the 2-7 year age range, it may feel like that.

Aria loves to make dramatic exits from our room when she’s annoyed. You’ll hear, “I’m going to my room” and see her stomping all the way to the door that she grips tightly to slam it shut behind her. When did our three year old turn into my thirteen-year-old self?!

It’s easy to lose your cool when speaking to your attitude-prone child. But, it’s important to remember that if you don’t correct their behavior, it will be up to other adults, caretakers, and teachers to try to instill better behavior in your kid.

Here are the 5 things to do to eliminate tantrums and hissy fits with small kids.

  1. Talk calmly and clearly. Acknowledge when their behavior is bad and clearly state that you are giving them one warning which is their opportunity to correct themselves.

  2. Do not repeat yourself. After the one-time warning, send them to their room. Time alone with no toys or stimulation is super effective. Increments of 5 minutes usually works well depending on the severity of the attitude.

  3. Set expectations and don’t waiver. When you set a punishment for behavior, be consistent with the way you reprimand them. They will remember the negative consequences for bad behavior.

  4. Reflect. Talk to them about the situation that happened and offer a solution you would have preferred to see. For instance, if they’re yelling, demonstrate them the voice level that is appropriate.

  5. Rewards. Rewards should be given if your kid uses good coping and reasoning skills to de-escalate their attitude on their own.


What I’ve learned…

If you had any type of attitude growing up, your child will serve it back to you tenfold. Instead of raising your voice, or saying the same thing twenty times, try these 5 tactics. I’ve found that in motherhood, nannying, and teaching that they are super effective, especially if you consistently use this method.

Switching Roles: Mom's Going To Work

Life with a newborn isn’t easy. Newborn babies mean extremely long nights with no consistent hours of sleep, diaper changes in a pitch-black room, and breastfeeding on demand every 2-3 hours. I’m so used to being the primary caretaker for our babies and kids. My entire day was scheduled around pick-ups and drop-offs but that’s all over now. I took a nanny role which requires me to be away from the kids most of the day. My husband who was always the daytime worker, now he’s going to be the hands-on superstar daddy because we’re switching roles!

With Aria, I had the luxury of working remotely from home for the first two years before she went to school. This time, I had only 8 weeks before I had to go back to work. Ugh, playtime with my chicken nugget is over! It was the hardest thing ever to imagine being away from my little baby for 38 hours out of the week. I’m dreading all of the things I’ll miss if I’m at work whether it’s his first word or him learning to scoot around. I will actually cry if he walks for the first time while I’m away.

The hardest part about going back to work is working out the logistics for childcare. He’s too little for us to feel comfortable going to a large daycare center. I’m horrified about the types of stories I see and read about regarding child care staff members harming or neglecting babies who are too young to speak or defend themselves.

Luckily, Dezmond is a business owner so we were able to work out our schedules so that I could work until 6 and he will work evenings and weekends. That way, the kids will be with one of us throughout the day and not in the hands of a stranger. Aria is also old enough to be going to school full-time (until 3:30) so that allows him to focus his time on our cluster-feeding baby. I can’t say that switching roles doesn’t come without heartburn. We had to put in fool-proof systems in place so I wasn’t worried about the house burning down with all of them in it.

Here’s what I did to help daddy prepare for full-time diaper duty

  1. Put everything in designated bins. Keeping yourself organized is key to making sure things go smoothly. For instance, we have 6 main bins. Diapers/wipes, burp cloths & linen, lotions and creams, daytime clothes & undershirts, jumpers, and outerwear/socks/shoes.

  2. Label everything. You can never be too thorough! Avery brand makes labels of all sizes that you can write on yourself or print them out on your home printer. Stick them on and reinforce them with clear packing tape on the front of your bins to “laminate” them.

  3. Make a baby manual. I have an entire PDF I created in Canva that’s full of info every new child caregiver would need. There’s a morning checklist, a health information sheet, a “where is it” location guide, emergency contact form, and diaper bag checklist.

  4. Re-stock the baby bag at night. Make sure that the bag is stocked with 8-10 diapers, a change of clothes, extra socks, a pacifier, a burp cloth, an empty bottle, changing table pad, and a pack of wipes. We also keep a lavender essential oil roller and natural dissolvable chamomile tablets for Sire just in case of fussy days or when teething begins.

  5. Pre-make bottles at night. Make sure you make 3-4 bottles and fill it with the desired amount of breastmilk or formula. I pump during work so that’s what he’ll eat until he runs out of it and then the rest of the day until I get home he eats Organic Similac bottles and resumes breastfeeding when I get off.

It’s going to feel super weird for the first couple weeks, but I know I’ll get used to it. The most important thing to remember is that he’s healthy and he’ll be fine for a few hours each day while I have to work. I know he’s in good hands with his daddy who magically has a newfound respect and appreciation for stay-at-home moms and understands that work productivity can be drastically impacted when you have a small baby. Who woulda thought?!

I’m with you.

For all my working mamas, when did you go back to work and where did you find help with childcare?

Walkin On Sunshine With Mom-Blogger Martine Etienne
It kills to see how society is so quick to judge you instead of being empathetic, as long as it is not their child they could care less
-Martine Etienne

Martine is an adventure-seeking mama that globe trots around the world in seek of lush new places and incredible libraries to explore with her two kids. Even though home is currently in Boston, MA, Martine's rich Haitian culture influences her world of food and fashion. This savvy "expert" thrifter advocates for Autistic children through organizations like Autism Speaks to spread awareness about how autism affects children and the families that support them.

Q & A

1. Your Instagram shows you have an incredible eye for capturing the outdoors! Where is your favorite nature spot to visit with your kids?

My favorite nature spot with my kids is the Crane Estates which is located in Ipswich Massachusetts. I love this place because of its lavish green spaces and the amazing views.


2.  I think being outdoors really grounds us to the earth and each other. What role does embracing nature play in your parenting? 

 I want my children to grow up not being fearful of nature. It helps the kids with observation and also helps them to create, it encourages imagination which my daughter is always doing. It gives them a sense of wonder, to me that is important. They both have their own sense of adventure my son if he sees a snake will pick it up and play with it , my daughter will not. My daughter can walk into a lake without hesitation, my son will not. At the end of the day I want them to be comfortable with nature and also be aware of what they can expect.


3. I think it’s amazing you are a fierce advocate for children with autism. What is your biggest struggle as a parent with an autistic child?

My biggest struggle as a parent of a child with autism is being judged when my son throws a crazy tantrum and having to explain his situation. It kills to see how society is so quick to judge you instead of being empathetic, as long as it is not their child they could care less. I simply wish that people would educate themselves more about autism and know that people on this spectrum are just like us. It is just that they respond differently and if society could embrace that fact, the world would become a better place.


4. What do you do to educate and promote awareness about autism to people who are unfamiliar with autism?

I promote awareness by attending the Autism Speaks walk in Boston which is happening on the 15th of October on the Boston Common, it is my second year doing it. I always share articles about autism on my page. I also invite them to some of the groups that I am part of which consists of mainly autism moms/dads. This way they will kind of get a glimpse of what we as autism parents go through on a daily basis.


5. What would you say to other moms and parents whose children are newly diagnosed with autism?

I would say to them be strong as it will be not an easy road. They will loose friends, family members because not everyone has the patience to deal with a child who has autism and also wanting to be around them. I would say find their tribe, people that share the same struggle as they do, that way they will not feel less of a human. Also get closer to their providers work together for the sake of their child. Get the best help they can get, I can honestly say that if it weren't for my son's team, early intervention, ABA services, his doctor, his school, he would not be where he is today. I will tell not to give up when it gets too tough, I felt that way i know it is not a good feeling but hang in there they are doing great.


6. I love that you blog often about your love for books and libraries. Why is it important to you to share about literacy and reading?

It is important that they read because it enhance the little knowledge that they have and expands their curiosity and enriches their brain. Reading creates communication between us.


7. What are your family’s favorite books to read together?

We love reading the cat and the hat series but our favorite one is IF I RAN THE RAIN FOREST by Bonnie Worth.


8. Your brood is sharp! Not only are they smart, they are super fashionable! Where do you guys go to browse for outfits?

Lol, thank you. I have discovered a few brands here on instagram like Minirodini I love them  because every season they come up with a different kind of print. I also love NUNUNUWORLD for their comfortable 360 dresses and the smell , their clothing smell amazing. For my son I mostly use h&m because that is the only place i can find a great colored pants and i love their style. Add target, walmart, gap, etsy and some small shops around town.


9. Culture is very important to you and your family. Where are you all from? What do you do to root your culture into your children’s foundation?

I am from Haiti but specifically the beautiful city of Les cayes located in the south. We cook mostly haitian food, we celebrate the haitian flag day by sending them to school in the cultural outfits, which reminds me I I have to get new ones, and we speak the language which is Haitian Creole. They do not quite understand it fully but they are getting there. There are other cultural stuff that they need to know  which will happen when I take them to Haiti.


10.  Why did you start blogging? What do you hope people take away from you and your family’s experiences?

I started blogging to share my affordable to free adventures in or around New England with my family and to let parents know that you do not have to break the bank to take your kids out. They are beautiful and very educational national parks around, free museum days etc... There so much that they can do which can enrich their children lives at no cost. I want to encourage them to take the kids out as much as possible. It is and experience that they will never regret and will pass along to their children as well.

Follow Martine Etienne on Instagram at @aokis_chronicles

Help! I'm a 24-year Old Mom, Can Anybody Hear ME?

Hello, mic-check? Is this thing on? I fall into to categories who need a lot of self-expression: I'm a woman and a writer. As a woman and a writer, I'm constantly looking for outlets to express my emotions. Painting helps, an occasional drink or two. Setting time aside to exercise or play soccer helps. The most important outlet for me is therapy for my depression and anxiety. This helps me cope with the realization that most people do not care what you and I go through as a mom in our twenties.

I've always been a social person. At this particular age in my life I still know and talk to lots of people outside of social media, people who are probably dealing with things in their own lives. Especially the kid-less friends of mine because they can go where they want, when they want. I sometimes miss those care-free days. You'll text friends while in crisis mode and they might hardly notice at all. Sometimes they won't respond! How is it possible to be so not relatable or understood in the era of the "girl squad" phenomenon? (Is a "girl squad" even a thing?) Personally I think it's saved for the Instagram group shots.

These are some of the things you may experience as a 24-year old mama misfit:

  1. You can could count on my hands the friends you have who have their own child or every single one of them lives in a different state or district.
  2. Playdates are the new happy hour when you're in your twenties with a kid-in-tow.
  3. You'll stop getting invited to things at least 75% of the time. People will assume you're busy or won't ask because they might not be thinking of you at all.
  4. Family will try to drive you crazy. Everybody wants to see your baby but few will come get them themselves.
  5. Personal dreams feel like they're harder to obtain and further away. You'll work all day, send some emails coordinating around food, sleep, and activities for baby and it'll be 6:30 before you know it.
  6. Your partner may think you're losing your mind sometimes. People forget that stress can literally kill someone! Being a mom is a job where there's no clocking on or off. Kids constantly need something and that is completely independent from your demands as an employee (especially if you work multiple jobs like me), a homemaker, and a wife. My nights out are once every two months or so and it takes strategic planning to get that time alone!
  7. Appointments and shopping are instantly a thing of the past. The last time I got my hair done at a salon was over a year ago! I have split ends, a piece that has completely broken off, and my hair is currently brittle from the summer heat. I better add some extra conditioner a couple times a week because $100+ at the salon is out of the question. I won't even start on my eyebrows that haven't been waxed in months.
  8. Date nights slow down and you opt for movie nights in. My partner and I love some movies ya'll but we've seen about 1,000 on demand flicks in the last 7 years. Vacations? Forget about it. Our honeymoon is the first vacation in three years we've been able to afford. 

The point of this isn't to rant because I could all day. I took on the task of being a stay-at-home mom but there are days I feel like I'm on a deserted island and everyone else is a ferry boat distance away. 

There are days like today where I force myself to do nothing besides keep Aria happy and do little tasks I've been putting off for months just to restore some sanity and happiness for the little things in life. 

DSC_2770 Edit.jpg
#Diversebook4diversekids Podcast 10

This week I am serving up books all about identity! Being a kid is hard when you're still learning what it means to be yourself. These books talk about everything from gender in a way kids can understand, to embracing diverse families, overcoming personal anxieties, and discovering what makes us special. Sometimes being "special" means others may not understand us!

1. Who Are You? The Kid's Guide To Gender Identity By Brook Pessin-Whedbee

This is an amazing resource for parents and children so they can talk about the difference between gender and sexual assignments that we are born with. Pessin-Whedbee explains that gender is part of our identity which is unique to each of us. This is a important book to discuss when talking to kids about understanding their bodies better. To buy a copy of this "Who Are You", shop here.

2. Love Family By Norah Barrett Cooper

One of my favorite stories to date! Cooper has a book with illustrations as vibrant of the message. To this family, their time spent together represents how much they love each other. Love Family is a story about a family who invites their relatives over and they spend the day coloring, playing, and dancing while their food cooks. The wait is well worth it to enjoy delicious food and the company of loved ones. To buy a copy of "Love Family", shop here

3. The Tail of Max The Mindless Dog: A Children's Book on Mindfulness by Florenza Lee

This is a story about a dog named Max who thought up crazy ways for him to keep his tail safe from hurting it again and again. It bothered him so much, he wasn't able to play at recess with the other kids and dogs. One friend shows him that he can calm down by breathing to relieve his anxiety and his urge to tail chase. Max learns to enjoy playing again. He even gets picked to play baseball and hits a homer for his team. To buy a copy of "The Tail of Max The Mindless Dog", click here.

4. Sugar Foote and The Magic Crown by Anitra Ferguson

Sugar Foote and her family prepare for a garage sale when suddenly it starts to pour down rain! Their garage sale couldn't happen so her Papa called it off. Sugar Foote and her Nana go through old boxes in the attic to pass the time. In the attic, Sugar Foote finds a crown that helps her learn stories of queens from the past. Through the dialogue with past queens, Sugar Foote discovers that she herself if a queen too! To buy a copy of "Sugar Foote and the Magic Crown", click here.

5. Jazzy and The Bullies by Latriece M. Spires

Jazzy and the Bullies is about a girl who moved to Arkansas and starts a new school there. Although she's made some friends and has a favorite teacher, she has trouble adjusting to her new school because of a group of girls who laugh and mock her. On a trip to visit her grandmother, Jazzy seeks advice about how to deal with her "bully" problem. Grandma teaches her that Jazzy can have a better experience in school just by changing her attitude! To buy a copy of "Jazzy and the Bullies", click here.

#Diversebooks4diversekids Podcast 9

This week's podcast for #diversebooks4diversekids is a collection of curated stories from authors from across the country. 

1.  The Remembering Wall by Laura Sterling. "The Remembering Wall" and Laura Sterling's second book following her debut book, "Under My Bed". This book is about a diverse community of people who come together to make their city prettier by covering the grungy graffiti walls with beautiful mural that they create together. To buy a copy of this book, shop here.

2. When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner. "When God Made You" is about how each of us was born exactly the way God designed us to be. Not only were we a part of God's plan the whole time, he delights in seeing us thrive and spread love to other people. To buy a copy of this book, shop here

3. White Bear's Big Adventure by Marie Cheine. "Big White Bear's Big Adventure" is about a white teddy bear that was given to a patient named Angel who was born with illnesses that cause her to need lots of treatments. On one trip to the hospital Angel is going to receive an organ replacement that will give her a chance at a better life. Bear gets separated from Angel and has to find his way back before Angel realizes he's missing! To buy a copy of this book, shop here

4. Popcorn Behind the Bush by Grace LaJoy Henderson. "Popcorn Behind the Bush" is about a curious and independent little girl named Gracie who uses her problem solving abilities to figure out where the mailman has left a gift that her grandma had sent her. This is the first of 6 books out of "The Gracie Series". To pre-order a copy of this book, shop here

5. Love is by Diane Adams. "Love Is" is about a little girl who raises a duckling into a duck. She realizes that love is the patience it takes her to feed, bathe, and take care of a baby and love is letting it go when he needs to fly with other birds like him. This book is for any pet-owner or parent who have to learn that loving and raising a baby-especially when you have to let go-isn't easy. To buy a copy of this book, shop here.