July 20, 2014

Fire Safety & Preschoolers: Tips for Parents

Did you know that every day almost 20 housefires are caused by kids playing with fire, with a large number of those set by kids under age 6? That is scary stuff, especially for those of us with little ones. Preschoolers are curious and they aren't especially knowledgeable about fire, which means it could be any kid that gets her hands on a pack of matches or a lighter and thinks, Hmm, could I make a little fire with these? That might be fun! Fire safety is a lot like gun safety - you don't want to assume your kid knows what to do or will make the ideal choice in your absence.

Introducing our kids to fire safety is more than practicing stop-drop-roll and escape routes. It also means teaching them that fire is a tool and not a toy, and taking measures as parents to keep them safe.

Since July is the #1 month for fires set by kids, it seemed a good time to share some tips for teaching preschoolers fire safety. I have a post over on BonBon Break talking about just that. I hope you'll check it out!

July 15, 2014

10 Family-Friendly Things To Do in Pennsylvania {Cumberland Valley}

On with part 2 of Family-Friendly Things To Do in Central PA! The first post covered the Harrisburg-Hershey area, and today is all about the Cumberland Valley, which spans from the west shore of the Susquehanna River down to Shippensburg, including towns like Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, and Newville along the way. The area is southwest of Harrisburg and has a great mix of large towns, suburbs, and rural farm land.

There are so many great things to do in the Cumberland Valley, especially if you love to get outdoors! Here are ten local favorites.

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July 14, 2014

Life, in Pictures {July 14}

I'm a little behind on getting this post up, but it has been a busy, busy week. So many milestones....

My little guy lost the training wheels and will finally be able to keep up with his big brother on family bike rides. My heart melts at just how proud he is. Milestone.

Some of you might remember when I shared newborn photos of my Little Sister and her son last year. This week we watched him for an overnight. He is such a cutie but man, I had forgotten how much supervision toddlers require! Also, that part where they wake up crying at 1:30 am? So glad we are past that stage. (Milestones: When your family all sleeps through the night!) I love this picture of the little guy with Bee. Bee is all "Hands off the bike, kid!"

July 8, 2014

7 Tips for Handling Preschoolers' Fears & Anxiety

We had a mini-crisis on our trip to the beach a couple of weeks ago. On the one rainy day during our trip, we decided to take the boys to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. We excitedly bought our tickets at the sidewalk ticket window but then, as we headed into the building, my 4-year-old grasped the door frame, steeled himself across the entrance and announced emphatically, “I don’t want to go in there!”

In our eagerness to surprise the boys with tickets to a movie they had been begging to see, I forgot about that itty-bitty part where we had talked about seeing it at the drive-in, because my little one is scared of the movie theatre. And now there we were, tickets in hand, and he was not.going.in. Ruh-roh.

My first thought: “We just spent $30 on tickets. I am getting him in there.”

Yes, because a good momma has her priorities. 

With two boys and seven years of parenting under our belts, we've dealt with our fair share of early childhood anxieties. We've had fear ofthe Easter bunny, fear of the water, fear of vomiting. There has been fear of Elmo, fear oftrolls, fear of the bathtub, and fear of whatever is making that sound in the closet.

When Zip was little he was afraid of certain books. Introduce a "meanie" or an upsetting incident - like when the ostrich swallows a trumpet and turns blue in Curious George - and the book was promptly closed, banished back to the book shelf, and treated like the plague for the next several months. 

Bee is much the same way. For a while he covered his ears when "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" came on the radio, because Elsa telling her sister to "just go away" was too distressing for him.

Maybe it is because anxiety runs in the family a bit, but mostly I think it is because kids get afraid. Well, we all get afraid, don't we? The world is a big place and so much of it unknown, unpredictable. For preschoolers, whose imaginations run wild and grasp on reality vs. fantasy is still fragile, the world can be downright overwhelming.

So, as parents, what do we do?  We want to respect our children’s feelings and we sure don't want to traumatize them, yet we also want to encourage them to be brave and move beyond their fears. There is a fine line to walk.

Here are some strategies that have worked for us.

July 6, 2014

Our Life, In Pictures {July 6}

If there was a photo of this week's perfect moment, it would show a group of friends and family sitting on the lawn beside our house in the dark, fireworks exploding in the sky off in the distance on the 4th of July. Zip sat next to his buddy, the one he has known since they were both in their mommas' bellies, due on the same date in October. Bee curled between my legs. And we all ooh'ed and ahh'ed at what a great view we had of the annual display, right from our yard. But I didn't want to miss the expierence by going to grab my camera, so I took a mental snapshot instead.

When I started pulling together this week's pictures together, I couldn't believe how much we have done. Were all these events really from just the last seven days?

It's been an awesome week and I found myself noticing Friday night, after our friends and family had all gone home, and again Saturday when Hubby and I went out to celebrate our anniversary, just how happy and content I was feeling. It's a good place to be. I've been missing this feeling.