Summer is quickly approaching and one of my family’s favorite things to do in the summer is be outside but the summer heat here in Florida is brutal!
Not only are we forced to huddle indoors during peak hours, but our central A/C unit also runs overtime trying to cool our house. I’m not complaining over here… I adore living in Florida! It’s just that we need to be creative to enjoy the summer without getting overheated or paying a ridiculously high utility bill.
That’s where the NewAir Portable Air Conditioner review comes in. This simple to use portable air conditioner was a delight to use in our home and works efficiently and quietly to keep our home cooled.
Why would we want to use a portable air conditioning unit when we have central heat and air?
4 Reasons to Buy a Portable Air Conditioner
1 | Save On Your Utility Bill
We love to bring the outdoors inside in the warm months (which is almost all year here!). We have a large sliding glass door that takes up an entire wall and our favorite thing to do is open that door all the way and let the fresh air in and allow the kids to play freely outside on the porch and in the back yard.
This is too costly because our central A/C would go nuts running constantly! Now we simply raise our thermostat way up (not totally off) so it wasn’t constantly running all day trying to cool the house.
If you have a two-story home, it can lower your home’s cooling costs by running your unit upstairs where heat rises.
2 | Cool Your Garage
If you love working in your garage, workshop, or other outdoor space but hate how overwhelmingly hot it gets during peak times of the day, running a portable air conditioner can help reduce both the heat and humidity.
This is great for working comfortably but also fantastic if you work on projects like DIY painting or other projects. By keeping your workshop cool, it’ll help your projects dry better and faster without bubbles or warping.
3 | If You Have an Addition that Doesn’t Cool Properly
Many older homes have additions that never seem to cool properly causing your home to cool inefficiently. Using the NewAir air conditioner in that space will keep it delightfully comfortable and help keep the rest of your home running more efficiently.
This also works for rooms that heat up due to a large sun-facing window.
4 | If you have an Older Home
If you live in an older or even a historical home, chances are, you may not have central heat and air. And frankly, window units are very heavy, hard to install in the window, and don’t look very nice from the outside. This portable air conditioner is the perfect way to cool your home without the hassle.
How Does the New Air Conditioner Work?
Before I share how this air conditioner works and how easy it is to set up, I want to disclose that I was sent the NewAir Portable unit in exchange for an honest review. No further compensation was exchanged and all opinions are my own honest experiences.
Now, let me share how easily you can cool your home!
After you remove it from the box, you need to choose a location near a window and slip in the window bracket. This will allow you to place the output hose out of a window.
Then you’ll need to open the hose and connect it to the outlet window and the unit itself. This is a very quick process!
The hose is simply removing the hot air from the room and pushing it out the window so your room will cool faster and most efficiently.
Then all you’re left with is a refreshingly cool space! Our living room is an extremely open and large space and our unit keeps it cool just fine, even with the sliding door open!
The Coolest Features of the NewAir Air Conditioner
The unit is on casters and can be easily wheeled from room to room.
Installation is super easy and takes about 15 minutes altogether.
The unit has a digital thermostat that makes setting your room’s temperature super easy.
The unit has a remote control so you can easily change your settings from the couch!
It runs very quietly. We used to have a window unit in our older home because the A/C would go out frequently and it was extremely loud!
If you’re excited to get your hands on one of your own units, just use this ____ discount code to get ___% off your unit! It’s time to start enjoying the summer.
If you live in a solder climate, I would suggest purchasing the similar unit with a heater so you can get use out of the NewAir unit all year long!
If you’re a busy mom trying to do your best as a mom, wife, home manager, chef or food fixer, business owner or whatever titles you carry, you’ll seriously love this epic list of amazing parenting blogs for every season of motherhood!
I love the age we live in where so many real moms can start a blog and help other moms with their struggles. Even the wildly popular blog Scary Mommy was started by a regular mom who wanted to share her humorous view of parenting with the world… and it paid off big time!
There are many, many mom and parenting blogs out there. Some are just personal diaries of that mom’s own parenting adventures. But there are many others that create content that skillfully balances their own life and experiences with the purpose of helping others solve their biggest parenting challenges.
The sad thing is too many of these rather amazing blogs aren’t as well known as they should be. And that’s the purpose of this post – to spread the good news of these great and sometimes lesser known parenting blogs.
And because I found most of these bloggers on Pinterest, I’ve included their Pinterest profile page links with each blog so you can easily follow them on Pinterest as I do. You can follow me on Pinterest here!
So when you find yourself in a rare moment of quiet, pop over to one of these great blogs on parenting to help you find the solutions to your biggest parenting and mom challenges.
Kelly is a busy mom and family therapist who shares a wealth of knowledge and personal experience of raising kids without losing your joy or mind in the process! There are many very helpful posts to help moms get rid of anger and yelling, stop living on mom auto-pilot, and learn the simplest ways to connect with your family despite busy schedules.
This blog is full of practical parenting advice, hence the name! Corinne talks to you like you’re a close friend and her advice is so simple to follow. Plus, if your kiddos are struggling with sleep issues at any age (I know I am!) she’s a bit of a sleep guru and has even written 4 books on the topic! Here’s my favorite post on toddler sleep issues!
Raluca is a fun traveling mom who’s passionate about peaceful parenting. If you’re a mom on the go, this is the blog for you. Here you’ll learn how to reset your relationship after a parenting mishap, get your kids to want to clean up their toys, and lots of resources on enjoying traveling with kids without losing your mind.
If you’re a mom who’s looking to get healthier but don’t know where to start… Erika’s your new best friend! She is a very down to earth mama who wants to live a healthier lifestyle and wants to help you achieve your health goals too. You’ll learn how to use essential oils for your family, get the tastiest healthy recipes your family will actually eat, and find hacks to help you destress as a busy mom!
Erin created her lovely blog to share mom survival and thriving tips to help moms stop feeling overwhelmed and find more balance in very simple ways. And she should know… she was a working mom to four kids under four! We could all learn from her! Plus, she shares recipes, home organization hacks, and lots more mom and parenting advice!
Brandi has created a blog after my own heart, and I’m not just saying that because we share the same name! She shares amazingly helpful parenting advice that stems from a practical and loving biblical foundation. Learn the best way to handle things like unwanted back talk and how to make time to connect with your kids. She even gives advice on how to take parenting advice from the internet in this wonderful post!
Elna @ SmartMomIdeas happens to be a busy mom of twins so she knows all about juggling as a mom! She shares her best tips on raising twins, advice for first-time moms, and literally everything in between to help you be your best at this mom life. You’ll walk away from her blog feeling just a little smarter than you did before.
I just love the resources Nina gives on her blog. Her posts are so easy to read and her tips are extremely practical and always involve a positive parenting approach. If you have little ones and find yourself asking yourself, “what do I do now?” you must read this blog. You’ll learn easy “what to do when” tips like what to do when your two-year-old wakes up at night for hours, what to do when your baby goes on a bottle strike, or how to survive the newborn days with a toddler.
Sammy’s blog is a great resource for moms looking to go deeper with their kids. She has so many inspiring posts that help moms learn practical ways to build more confidence in their child, help alleviate homework related stress, and even how to overcome the dreaded toddler tantrum in public! Oh and she shares tons of super easy and tasty recipes too!
This blog is a powerful one for parents who want to go beyond the day to day parenting stuff and are looking for simple ways to raise self-motivated and positive kids. She shares insight into why positive affirmations are great for kids and us, how to get your toddler on a chore routine that works, and how to develop a healthy growth mindset in our children.
Rachel’s been blogging for many years and has created some amazing posts to help moms make their mom life so much easier! She’s even created some great courses on baby sleep and developing child routines with your kids. I love her posts on the one thing to keep doing to encourage good behavior and how to cope with the dreaded mom burnout.
Stacey has literally thought of everything in her blog. She even has a page entirely dedicated to slime making recipes! You’ll also find super easy family recipes and tips to help you become a better parent and love yourself as a mom which is so important. I love this post on how to help your child develop better concentration which is so helpful.
Krystal is truly an amazing lifestyle blog made perfect for moms. And don’t you just LOVE the name! She touches on so many important issues like confidence and thriving in your everyday life. Good stuff! She also shares a wealth of parenting tips like how to return to work after your maternity leave. And offers the most practical advice like why having family dinner nights every night isn’t necessary.
Frances’ blog is really named appropriately because when you arrive there you feel inspired to live better. She shares tips on how to parent with more intention with posts like how to be more kind to your child and also what to stop worrying about as a parent. She even has a great post with videos from celebrity moms sharing their natural beauty routines. Love it! She’s also a wonderful author of a ton of great books!
Lauren is a military wife and mom as her blog’s name reveals. She’s passionate about helping military moms cope and thrive in military wife. As a military brat myself who lived all over the world growing up, she provides really great information. But she doesn’t just write for military moms but all moms. She shares posts like how to handle back talk, how to get your kids to eat their vegetables, and how to raise truly kind kids.
Alison is a passionate mom of six pint-sized treasures! She loves being a mom and sharing all her experience and wisdom with other moms. My favorite posts are 5 ways moms accidentally create cranky toddlers, the secrets to keeping your house clean with kids, and how to win your child’s heart and why it really matters!
Becky is a former teacher and child therapist and mom of four kids. Her blog is a lifestyle blog that provides tips and resources for parenting, motherhood, marriage, saving money, recipes, and more. My favorite posts are how to help our kids overcome worry, what to give your kids instead of toys, and why it’s not the best idea to put a TV in kid’s rooms.
This blog is a wonderful resource for moms wanting to be a better mom and manage their busy homes. You’ll find posts on parenting tips like getting your baby to sleep through the night, activities for kids and how to be more frugal and save for money. But one thing that sticks out is the extensive amount of posts on the subject of infertility or rather “fertility.” We suffered with infertility for over 4 years before getting pregnant the first time and would have loved to read this blog back then! These are must-reads if you’re dealing with any fertilitity issues.
Brenda started her blog as a way of helping other moms through the daily challenges of pregnancy and baby and toddler life. These are probably the most stressful stages for new moms! You’ll learn how the easiest ways to tire your kids out before bed, how to survive labor without an epidural and self-care routines for moms who suck at self-care.
I just love Kermilia’s blog with all the mom life topics she covers like how to transition from co-sleeping the easy way (been there!), finding real joy in stay at home mom life and creative ways to keep your toddler entertained with a new baby. She even has really helpful posts on starting and running a blog!
Jo Ann has so many creative and helpful posts to help moms solve their biggest problems and enjoy life a whole lot more. From overcoming homework battles to raising kids that aren’t materialistic you’ll find posts to help you be a better mom. She even has an entire style section with posts to help moms look and feel more stylish and put together. Gotta love that!
Aly’s blog is so much fun! If you’re not one of those super crafty moms, you’ll suddenly feel like you want to be when you see all the stuff you can create with and for your kids. There are so many helpful product guides for new parents and endless activity ideas to keep your kiddos happy and entertained. She also shares great parenting tips like how to raise non-picky eaters from birth and amazing organization hacks for stress-free mornings.
Raising children into happy, kind, and well-adjusted adults is a huge task and part of the enormous adventure of motherhood… and the struggle too. As parents, it’s our responsibility to effectively prepare them for adulthood and do our best not to screw it all up – a parent’s worst nightmare.
I think part of the reason there are so many kids and adults that don’t fall into the happy, kind, or well-adjusted category is because as a society we’ve got our priorities mixed up.
We’ve become distracted parents trapped on the hamster wheel of busyness seeking mindless entertainment and endless ambition. Too often our kids are right there… but we’re too busy and distracted to notice.
And though we may be doing good work like running a business or a blog like this one that keeps us constantly connected, do we know what cost we’re really paying to have this life? Or better yet, what cost our are kids paying?
Do we have a true sense of what’s most valuable?
The Need for Present Parenting
Distracted parenting is a huge problem in our modern homes today.
Sure, there are many parents working outside the home and not physically there for their kids every minute of the day. And while we could try to question those parents’ choices on whether they work too much or not enough, that’s not my focus here.
Working to provide an income for your family by working outside the home is largely unavoidable for both parents in most homes today. It’s a part of our modern fabric. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that!
My real focus here is to explore and expose what we’re giving our kids in the fringe hours… before and after work and all the spaces in between.
What we’re doing when we’re on the couch at home with our kids.
What we’re really paying attention to from the sidelines at our kid’s soccer game.
What we’re showing as our top priority to our children day in and day out.
Distracted Parenting in Action
What do our actions say to our kids?
That we’re too busy to put down our laptops and phones to actually have a meaningful conversation?
Or do our actions tell a better story that our kids are the most important focus in our lives and that they matter and deserve the respect of our full attention?
I’ll be honest, even as I write this I’m struggling with conviction because I do not have this down perfectly. So, I’m largely writing from experience and truthful reflection of my own choices.
One day my daughter was sharing a story about a difficult situation she encountered at school that day. Ring the alarm – we’ve got a win! My preteen daughter is baring her soul to me!
But instead of fully listening that day… I was overwhelmed with a very busy week and needed to finish delivering all the laundry throughout the house.
She was met with my back and my less than engaged um-hmmms most of the conversation until Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks and showed me in a second how disrespectful I was being to her. I’ll say this… I stopped, apologized, and never did that again!
It was never intentional, but I just got caught in my busyness.
I want my children to always feel respected, loved, and valued as I make small and big sacrifices every day to put them first by putting away my phone and sitting with them whenever I can. I want my kids to want to share with me first!
Present Parenting Starts with Us
It all starts with us. Even when our teen acts like they’d rather be anywhere but with us, we need to stay put. In times like this, our actions will replace our words.
When they see us at their games actually watching them play instead of staring at our phones it makes a difference. There was an article written about College Athletesand shared the impact their parents made that contributed to their success early on. And a resounding response was when they’re parents made a comment with these 6 simple words, “I love to watch you play.”
Notice it wasn’t, “I love to be at your games.”
Look, I don’t get it right all the time. No one does! The point is that we’re aware of it and make it our biggest priority to be present and fully aware when we’re with our kids.
Now let me quickly bring some balance here. I’m not saying you can’t sit at your desk and work on a project if your kids are home and must sit and stare at your kids for hours or play legos on the floor until you drop from boredom.
Honestly, a little “present time” goes a really long way. In fact, if you take a moment to really connect and have fun with your child every day, they’ll stay full and you’ll find that they often run off and do their own thing.
Your kids need you first to feel full, satisfied, and ready to take on the rest of the day. If they feel like they’re competing with your work, your phone, or anything else; they will either do one of two things. Hunt you down and totally overwhelm you, or retreat and isolate themselves because they feel unloved and unconnected.
The latter is extremely dangerous and if you find that your child is constantly isolating themselves, do your best to show up and be present right now. If this has been going on for a while, enter cautiously.
They’ve most likely already put up walls so just be cool about it and don’t act weird. You know how we can be!
4 Ways to Become a More Present Parent
The first step in becoming a more present and positive parent is to be aware of all the things and habits that work as barriers to present parenting. Things like our routines and work schedules and our phone habits. These done the wrong way can really stand in your way. Here are a few practical tips:
Create Work Boundaries
I shared that I’ve always worked from home since I became a mom. I’m very grateful for this but really had no clue how to balance my family and work time effectively. I was constantly doing everything all at the same time. I made myself crazy… and probably my kids too.
This led to yelling and constant frustration. I wasn’t creating meaningful connections with anyone or anything. But I got smart and learned over time to create boundaries and schedule both my work time and family time. I try my hardest to schedule my most focused work tasks around my kid’s sleeping times.
And when I’m working when the kids are awake, my mindset is ready for interruptions and noise so I’m not irritated when it happens. I also make sure they are doing something fun before I start. Here’s a post that’s full of fun ideas to keep your toddler busy and occupied while you’re working.
Schedule One on One Time
I’ve found that scheduling intentional “no-work” time with the kids where I can be totally focused is very helpful. Doing this changed everything! My kids feel like they’re are getting “me” every day and I’m actually able to slow down and really see them.
I also put down my phone and put away the laptop when my kids are home from school and it’s family time. I’m not perfect at this, but I try to keep them out of sight, for the most part, during this time. When I used to try to cram in some extra work during this very busy time of day… it always ended in disaster.
Ask Plenty of Questions
Finally, one of the best ways to foster connection and effective communication with your kids is by asking questions. Asking your kids questions is one of the most powerful tools a parent can use because it gives you access to their heart. And that’s what we want!
Asking a question is a powerful way to show you care about someone. Kids love to unload their day and tell you all the things that happened along the way. However, as kids get older they can seem to get less conversational if we don’t keep them connected.
One reason children stop talking and sharing is when they’ve been rejected one too many times in conversations with us. When they’re sharing something personal and we are absently mindedly responding with uh huh, uh huh and they know we aren’t listening. Or we’ve cut off the conversation in some way.
This has happened to me personally with my husband numerous times. When I’d be talking or opening up about something personal and he would chime in about something else, be on his phone, or not giving me his full attention.
It’s never intentional, but we all miss it sometimes. I know that I’m an adult and that though these responses are not the best to experience, I know how to offer grace. Our kids don’t always understand that rude behavior doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. It just means we made a bad choice.
The funny thing is, when I’d bring those times to my husband’s attention, he’d be totally surprised and unaware that he did them. That’s because he really is an amazing husband who’s just human. And because those moments made me feel rejected and no longer wanting to connect… your kid may feel the same.
This is why being totally focused helps to prevent these situations.
Watch for Individual Needs
If your child is asking to spend more time with you or mentions they’re starved for your attention, listen and make the adjustment. Count it as a blessing that you have a child that will even ask for your attention.
One of my children falls into this category and at times her need for my attention can feel overwhelming. But I know if she feels empty, I’m missing it somewhere. It also means I’ve fallen into passive parenting instead of intentional parenting and need to make the adjustment.
It’s easy to think that this high emotional needs child is a challenge, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I know if I can make winning her heart my highest priority, I’ve won the battle for my child. On the other hand, if I don’t pay attention, her heart is vulnerable due to her desire for connection.
I want you to know this post was meant to inspire, not to condemn. If you struggle in any of these areas, you’re human and now have the opportunity to make a change.
The world isn’t offering free passes to our kids when we mess up as parents. We have a responsibility to show up every single day because it means everything to those precious kids of ours. And change is never too late if coming from our full heart!
But on those days when all you can do is grab nuggets in the drive-thru for dinner on the way home and let your kids play their XBOX until bathtime, just know we all have days like that. And it’s OK.
If our mindsets are primed for connection with our kids on most days, your children will stay full for the days when time is very, very short.
How do you connect with your kids? Share your best tip in the comments below!
It’s flu season and you know what that means… germs! So what’s a mama to do when she sends her kid to school and doesn’t want them coming home with colds, bugs, and the flu?
The answer is to naturally build up their immune systems!
You may be asking yourself, “Why does my kid keep getting sick?”
The answer is our magnificent bodies have the ability to fight off harmful invaders on its own. But those soldier anti-bodies need to be strong in order to work effectively.
One of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy and able to fight off infection is to eat healthy immunity-boosting foods. Specifically living foods filled with phytonutrients.
Our kids and ourselves need to be eating as much of these foods as possible and ditching the starchy and sugary snacks and treats as much as possible.
I offer apples, oranges, strawberries, and grapes as snacks instead of allowing them to grab some crackers or a granola bar. If they are still hungry they can have some greek yogurt with granola. Usually, that’s enough to hold them over until the next meal. If I let them choose a snack, they gravitate right to the packaged snacks that I buy to pop in their school lunches as a treat.
Another important way to increase your child’s immunity is to give them a nutritional supplement like a multi-vitamin. Just be careful of all the additives and unnecessary colors that are added to vitamins. There have even been problems with children’s vitamin labels not matching the vitamins inside, resulting in dangerous overdoses in children.
I found these natural vitamin gummies to help keep my kiddos cold-free. My kids had very few colds and no flu during a very harsh flu season last year. And to top it off, I forgot to give them their flu shot!
18 Natural Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immunity
Here are 18 healthy food recipes to keep your kiddos healthy. Use these methods to build their immunity to prevent colds and flu and also use in the event they do catch something to speed their healing and recovery time!
Which recipe are you most excited about trying? These are some super simple and natural ways to help ease the burden of the winter cold season. If you have your own recipe, please share in the comments below!
Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? Puzzles are a challenging and fun way to help toddlers learn basic foundations like letter and number recognition, learning shapes and colors, and increasing fine motor skills.
And because the term toddler can mean anything between a 2, 3, or 4 year old, I’ve separated this list into helpful categories to help you find the perfect puzzle for your toddler. Because that’s a big range when it comes to puzzles!
There will be obvious overlap, so use your own judgment when it comes to choosing your own toddler’s puzzles from this list. And there’s also a general toddler puzzle section that features puzzles that are perfect for toddlers of any age!
Puzzles for Toddlers of All Ages
Custom Wooden Name Puzzle
This custom name puzzle is perfect for all ages because name recognition is so important early on. These brightly colored names are so cute to help your little one learn and recognize their own name. Plus, all names can be made!
This fun puzzle encourages toddlers to match up the colorful pegs and place them into the matching colored spaces in the puzzle. This is great for 3 and 4 year olds but be aware of the little pieces which can be a chocking hazard.
This is a great first jigsaw puzzle. Each puzzle in the set has 9 wooden, easy to hold pieces. This is great for older toddlers who can see pieces and combine into a big picture. Some 3-year-olds would also love this puzzle.
This amazing 3D form dinosaur puzzles brings the fun of these creatures to life. Toddlers get to put together their own 3D dinosaurs to play with. This is best for 3 and 4 year old toddler who are able to understand how the pieces fit together.
When you’re expecting your first baby or second or fifth there’s a lot of stuff to consider buying for your precious bundle of joy. And there also are a lot of things you absolutely do NOT need. And after having three kids, I’ve learned a few things!
And wasting money and taking up space in your home when adding to your family is totally unnecessary. You really can live the minimalist life and be mindful of your budget when having a baby.
This list will give you the goods on what goods you really need and which ones you need to leave at the store!
That’s because that super sweet and cuddly first year of your baby’s life is literally going to fly right by! And so much of the baby gear that’s usually recommended isn’t really going to get used that much or not at all.
Start with Your Baby Registry
One of the first things you need if you’re pregnant is a baby registry. Why? Umm, to tell all your family and friends what you really want so they can buy it for you! But you already knew that, so moving on.
Amazon is the largest retailer in the world and millions of people are ordering their every need on Amazon every single day. And that goes for gifts too!
So while you’ll definitely have fun signing up for your Target Baby Registry you may not know that Amazon has a Baby Registry too. It’s totally FREE to sign up and you get a really awesome free gift shipped to you as well.
This is a huge incentive for gift shopping because while your best friend is ordering her groceries to be shipped, she can add your baby shower gift and have it gift wrapped too. And you can add ALL of these amazing products so easy!
So it’s like doing her a favor! #winwin
Now on to our list of only the baby essentials you really need and the ones you don’t.
Baby Essentials You Must Have
1 – Newborn Pack and Plays
By the time I had my third baby, I didn’t want a bunch of large baby gear that I had to get rid of in the first year. I quickly realized that buying a sweet little bassinette isn’t necessary.
With the invention of beautifully designed newborn friendly pack and plays, this is all you need for your newborn’s first bed. They’re small enough to fit by most bedsides like a bassinette but will do so much more.
The reason I love these so much is that the newborn sleeper is perfect for snuggling your little one in softness while safely keeping them on their backs. As they get a few months older, it’s amazing how quickly they can start to roll in their sleep.
They also have a changing table that allows you to do quick changes in your room instead of needing to run to the baby’s nursery in the middle of the night.
And the best part is, as your baby gets older you can remove the newborn sleeper and changing table and have them sleep in the crib attachment. And finally, you’ll still get use out of them as a playpen for many years after! It’s simply one of the best new baby essentials I can think of!
We love convertible car seats because your infant car seat isn’t going to last you passed the first two years. And if we’re focusing on our budget here the convertible car seat is totally the way to go.
All of these car seats come with a newborn attachment that safely keeps your newborn snuggled while in their seat. And this particular seat is perfect because it transforms as your child grows up to 100 pounds!
The only time I would recommend buying an infant carrier car seat is if you have multiple children. And only if you feel that taking your baby out of her car seat every time would be too overwhelming.
We purchased a convertible car seat with my first daughter and loved it. We then purchased an infant carrier when we had our second daughter and it was convenient. But it was also very heavy to lug around too.
I would suggest investing in a comfortable baby carrier and wearing your little one everywhere. It’s super easy and keeps your baby close!
3 – Infant Carrier
I just love infant carriers! They are perfect for doing things in the house and comfortably getting around out of the house. And if you have multiple children they are a lifesaver!
There’s just one problem, many parents are getting it wrong. There’s a huge danger of hip dysplasia in babies and infants by using the wrong carrier.
Most of those carriers that dangle the baby either front or rear facing are usually the culprits. Read here to learn how to prevent hip dysplasia in infants with common baby products.
The good news is there are many great baby carriers to choose from that will keep your baby safe and comfortable and won’t wreck your back either.
I love Ergo because they’re all about the comfort of both baby and mama! This wrap style carriertakes some practice but once you get the hang of it you’ll never want to stop using it. Plus, it takes up almost no room which is a HUGE plus!
Though I loved wearing my baby’s everywhere, I still had plenty of opportunities to use our stroller! Especially as they got older and heavier.
We chose this particular stroller that we loved so much because it had all the storage and perks of the bigger strollers but you could basically lift and operate it with one hand. I had tons of jealous mom friends when they saw how light it was.
You can buy the stroller on its own or the infant carrier and stroller combo if you’re opting for an infant carrier car seat. And if you are, I highly recommend you purchase the matching stroller. You’ll thank me later!
Whether you are breastfeeding or not, chances are your baby at some point will need to drink from a bottle. And you want to be prepared!
There are many, many bottles to choose from and bottle feeding is very personal to each mom based on your feeding desires. If you are exclusively breastfeeding and want a bottle that’s very close to breast, you may want to invest in Comotomo Natural Feeding Bottles.
They are on the pricey side, but if you don’t plan to use bottles often, you could get by with just a few. And the benefits of avoiding nipple confusion likely outweigh the investment.
If you are exclusively pumping or are formula feeding like I did, you can feel free to choose a great bottle that focuses on helping baby drink and digest their milk without painful gas. I personally used these Philips Avent bottlesand loved them!
I recommend buying the larger 9 oz bottles instead of the newborn 4 oz bottles. It saves money and you can just change the nipples from slow flow for your newborn to the older stages as your baby is ready.
6 – Swaddling Wraps or Blankets
Swaddling wraps have certainly come a long way since just a few years ago. I used to be firmly on the swaddling blankets side of the swaddling debate.
That’s because the first swaddling wraps on the market didn’t really achieve that snug swaddled feel that the blankets did. However, these swaddling wraps are simply amazing and make swaddling a no-brainer for tired parents!
Check out this video if you’re feeling clueless about swaddling your little one to sleep.
7 – Breastfeeding Pillow
Whether or not you are planning to breastfeed, you need one of these breastfeeding pillows! I literally used this handy pillow to prop up my little newborns all day long. The Boppy pillow’s shape seems to make them feel snuggled and keeps them calm.
And because of its portability, you can take it anywhere you go. I actually pumped for the first month because he had to be admitted in the hospital for Jaundice at 4 days old.
This complicated our breastfeeding plan, and I ended up using this pillow to lay him on while I was pumping.
This pillow also gets a lot of mileage as it works perfectly for propping up your little sitter.
8 – Burp Clothes and Onesies
A couple of things that you simply can’t live without as a new mom are burp clothes and simple onesies. Your washing machine will be full of these every single load, so you can never have enough.
These burp clothes have a unique curved flap style that seems to stay in place on your shoulder better. Plus, the designs are very cute!
These simple gray uni-sex onesies are perfect because white seems to really hold on to spit up stains and they work perfectly under baby’s outfits when you actually leave the house.
9 – Must-Have Bath Time Essentials
Obviously bathing your baby is something you’ll be doing every day or at least every other day. So, having a simple bathtub is important. This baby seat is what I used for all three of my babies and it easily fits into your kitchen sink or bathtub.
It still cradles your newborn and when you’re done it folds flat. It ends up taking no room at all and it’s very inexpensive! Perfect for the minimalist mom on a budget.
This very cool tub dam is not something I’ve used but, wish I had one when my kids were babies. It saves a ton of money and water. Probably one of the coolest baby products I’ve ever seen!
What did we miss on this baby essentials list? Let us know in the comments below what your absolute must-have baby product is!
I’ve been a work at home mom for over 11 years now so I’ve learned a few things about productivity hacks!
I know because I’ve raised 3 babies and even homeschooled my two older children for 2 years; all while working from home. I’d like to say I feel like Superwoman, but sleepy from the 7 Dwarfs is probably more accurate most days. But I’ve learned a few tricks along the way and many productivity hacks to keep me working and the kiddos happy and busy.
There have always been early mornings and late nights, but it’s always been worth it. And you won’t find me complaining about it – ever. This life is one that I chose. I can choose to do anything else if I want to – but for now, I’m right where I want to be.
But one issue I struggled with early on was productivity. It’s HARD to be focused on your work or business when you’re raising a little person (or several) who basically need you for EVERYTHING – at least in the beginning. So how do you keep from being ineffective as a mom and business owner?
You learn along the way and take advice and help from others also in the trenches of work-at-home motherhood. So, I’ve decided to put together the ultimate list of all the BEST productivity hacks that I could find from other business moms like myself and share them with you!
Productivity Hack #1 Get up early
Getting up early is essential – since the kids don’t wake up until 6:30 or 7… getting up at 5 allows me to get at least 90 minutes of work completed before everyone’s feet hit the floor. I’ll admit that I find it hard to get up at that time, but it feels so much better to know that I’m ahead of the game before the day even begins.
When you work from the comfort of your home, you can wear anything you want. I often have friends tell me, “I’d love to work at home in my pajamas.” Being clad in flannel may make you comfortable, but it can be detrimental to your productivity. It doesn’t provide the transition that you need to move from sleep and relaxation to getting things done. Getting dressed provides the kick in the pants your brain needs to get into the work groove.
Action step: If you’re still in your pjs, go freshen up and get dressed. You don’t have to wear office attire, but putting on a nice shirt, jeans and shoes will help you feel ready to tackle the day. It’ll also be much less embarrassing to answer the door for the UPS deliveryman. Trust me.
Productivity Hack #3 Work When You’re Most Productive
To do this, you need to be aware of when your high-energy times are and try to schedule time blocks during these times. Then, make sure you’re working on the most important things on your to-do list during these times.
First of all, it’s always so much easier to work on something important — or difficult — when you’re able to think clearly.
Also, if you’re working on stuff when you don’t have a whole lot of energy, you’re more likely to make mistakes. And it’s always more time consuming and costly to fix something later than to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Pro-Tip — I split my to-do list between high and low-energy tasks. This way I always know exactly what to work on during my high-energy times as well as my low-energy times, so I’m not having to go back and fix mistakes the next day.
Productivity Hack #4 Set Your Daily Tasks with Quadrant Planning
My brain is usually going a mile a minute trying to remember all the things I need to get done in a day, in a week, in a month.It helps me to write lists and prioritize how urgent the tasks are.I created a planner page for myself that helped me decide what was important to do and when.I love that I can magnet it to the fridge and when the week is done, I can assess what I finished and what needs to go on next week’s list.
If my phone or computer is beeping at me all day, it’s hard for me not to check out what’s going on. I get distracted, I get nothing done, and then I get stressed because I got nothing done. So I eliminated the blinking and the beeping, and it changed my world.
I hesitated before using the term “self-care” because it’s such a worldly buzzword right now. But the fact is that the need to recharge is real.In fact, God, who made us, also commands us to to rest one day each week. How can we rest? By meditating on His word.
Taking a walk in His creation. Going for a swim in His oceans. Or just sitting with the family He blessed us with and enjoying their company.
When we run ourselves into the ground without taking the time to recuperate and rejuvenate ourselves, we can not live the full lives that we should live as stay-at-home moms. So make rest a priority.
Productivity Hack #7 Create a Routine for Your Kids
Like us moms, kids need routines to feel accomplished, too. An intentional routine can also cut back on the amount of times we hear, “Mom, I’m sooo bored.” By creating a routine for our kids, we are teaching them early about productivity and setting and accomplishing goals.
I suggest creating a monthly calendar that is easily accessible for the whole family. This will hold all of the events that are going on for everyone in the family. Then, create a list of things that need to be completed on a weekly basis. You can break this down into tasks for each day and assign a particular person for each.
It’s also at this time that I plan my stop time. The time in which I will stop work for the day. This is an extremely important habit to have. You need to have a stop time as a work at home mom. Otherwise before you know it, you’ve worked for 16 hours a day for 4 days straight because you forgot to stop working each day.
A sparkling clean house, a successful home-based business, and a five-course dinner on the table every night looks great on Pinterest, but it’s not reality. Trying to do everything yourself — and all at the same time — is a recipe for disaster.
I write a list of everything I still need to get done before Monday and then a separate list of things that can wait until the following week. I also spend some time thinking about how my schedule will be laid out and which tasks I can batch to save time. That way when Monday morning hits I know exactly what I need to be working on. These planning times are so ingrained in my schedule that I don’t even have to think about them! They are a daily and weekly habit that makes my life run so much smoother and really helps with my productivity.
Productivity Hack #11 Create Systems and Processes
This is one of the single most important parts of being productive. You need to be organized and know what needs to be done when. This means starting with creating systems, processes, and workflows. Every part of your business should have a process.
Try your best not to work in front of your kids so when you’re with your kids, you’re fully present. Don’t stick around on your computer or answer emails when you can be outside playing with them. Limit the use of your phone and especially social media which is a time suck and distraction from being present (I myself need to work on this!). Close the office doors and do not go back in until they’re asleep during nap time and at the end of the day.
Productivity Hack #13 Be OK With Not Getting it All Done
Somehow we’ve developed this idea that having it all means having to do it all. Or that it means having it all at once. It doesn’t mean either one of those things! And believing that we have to have it all at once or do it all equally well is just setting ourselves up for epic failure. At any given moment my bathroom vanity is messy, I have a number of unfinished projects around the house, and I still need to get in my 30 minutes of daily exercise. Over time I have learned to be okay with things getting done in their own time. So many of the deadlines and ultimatums we face as working moms are self-imposed. One of the best gifts that we can give ourselves is room to breathe and space to just not get things done.
If there’s not enough time to get everything done, then there’s nothing you can do to change that other than to eliminate things from your schedule and to-do list. Which things on your to-do list feel really important but aren’t actually all that important? It’s okay to do less, and if you really can’t eliminate anything on your to-do list, then it’s time to hire an assistant to help you!
We love our children dearly, but talking to them doesn’t count here. If your kids are the only humans you speak to all day, you might start saying things like “No no” or “that’s mommy’s drink” to a potential client, which could be embarrassing, or possibly even cost you the job.
So call your mom, call your friend, or pick up the phone and call a client instead of shooting them an email. They will appreciate the personal connection, and you get to practice maintaining your social skills. It’s a win-win.
There will be days when you need to be at your most productive and distraction-free. Seek assistance from other stay-at-home moms. If there are a few of you who work at home, consider pooling money together to hire a babysitter to watch all of your kids for a few hours. Having that additional support will mean you can focus your attention on your work knowing your children are being cared for.
There are seasons of life when it is tempting to burn the midnight oil. I always regret those late nights the very next day. It’s so much better for our bodies, minds, and spirits to hit the sack by 10:00 at the latest. That sleep before midnight is the best, so grab it whenever you can. By 6:00 the next morning, you’ll be feeling like a million bucks, and you’ll be able to energetically and enthusiastically accomplish so much more. (And a cup of coffee doesn’t hurt either!)
I’m not about to tell you to avoid doing anything around the house during the workday. Heck, having your work breaks (you need to take a break anyway!) double as time to get chores done is one of the #1 benefits of working from home. The trick is to not become distracted by all that needs to be done around the house. What helps me is to set aside 5-10 minutes every 1-2 hours to take a break from work and then I use that time to take a break from my computer screen and throw in a load of laundry, chop up some veggies for dinner, or tidy up a bit.
Without a designated workspace, I am distracted by the dishes that need to be washed or the dust I glimpse on the television screen or that one little thing that will just take five minutes. Before you know it an hour has gone by. My article still needs to be written, and I haven’t called my source to interview them. Even if it is just a corner, creating a work space signals to your brain that it is now time to work.
Finally, at the end of every day (and there should be an end), feel good about what you were able to accomplish and celebrate. There will always be more work to do so don’t fret about what you weren’t able to complete. Simply clear your desk and prepare for the next day.
Wow! This was an awesome list straight from the mouths and hearts of moms who are in the beautiful trenches of work-at-home motherhood. I hope these tips and tricks helped you in your quest to become even more productive amidst the sounds of little feet running by. 🙂
Please leave a comment below and share your productivity hacks for how you stay on track with your business goals and still rock is as an awesome mom. Let’s keep this list growing and growing in the comments below!
I’ve always been fascinated by “that couple” who seem genuinely happy in every situation in their marriage. The ones who constantly hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes at every opportunity. I wonder if they really have a healthy marriage. I wonder if they’ve ever had a real fight, or are even wired to fight at all. I know I am.
My husband and I have had more than our fair share of fights over the course of our 17-year marriage. Not major blow ups but a few strong, emotional disagreements.
I’ll probably never be able to go home with that couple to see how things really go down in their home. To see if it’s all an act or if there’s genuine love holding them together. And if they really are that good.
Whatever the truth is, one thing’s for sure about ALL marriages – they require hard work. There’s not one single couple that’s immune to this fact, even “that” couple.
But enough about them. Lol
Two Enemies of a Healthy Marriage
One is much easier to spot and widely known. The other is much more subtle and unexpected. It will invade your marriage like a parasite – sucking the life out of it without you ever knowing until it’s too late.
The widely known enemy to marriage is selfishness. It’s not always easy to fight and overcome, but at least you know it when you see it.
The unexpected enemy – the one with the superb skill of the sneak attack – is complacency.
Just like selfishness, every marriage is vulnerable to the parasite of complacency if you don’t know how to guard yourself against it. But before we can effectively protect ourselves, we need to know what complacency really is.
What is Complacency?
Complacency is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some danger or defect.
When I read this definition it brings to mind someone laying in a hammock with their eyes closed thinking about how their life seems perfectly, perfect. While their enemy quietly makes their approach.
Complacency may seem harmless – a lot less than selfishness. Right?
Let me tell you, it’s a lot more harmful because it works like a Trojan Horse. Once you let it in, it’s already done its damage. When you feel complacent, you have this overwhelming sense that you’ve arrived. You finally did it! You’re no longer “working at it.” You’ve become finally “that” couple.
This is exactly where my husband and I got to in our marriage. We fell in love in our teen years and quickly became inseparable. We got married very young and were never, ever apart. Outside of normal disagreements, we always enjoyed being together. We really considered ourselves best friends.
Then, drumroll, please … we started having kids. Nuf said there, right?!
It’s not to say our children messed up our marriage. But we fell for the trap of complacency and had no clue we were headed for danger.
Looking for great books to help you strengthen your marriage? I highly recommend these books and authors:
We had the feeling we were “that good.” We didn’t need to take intentional date nights when our children were still little. After all, I just couldn’t hand over my angels to just ANYONE. So, my babies took precedence over my marriage.
And my rockstar husband said, “no problem”. He’s a good man who’s always trying to relieve my stress and make my life easier, so letting it ride seemed like the right to do.
We continued like this three kids later with less and less #TeamUs time. All the while, we rolled with it, feeling none the wiser about the whole thing.
What we didn’t see happening was the slipping away in our hearts. We went about each day in our quiet comfort totally unaware that we went from wishing we had more time together… to get used to our regular routine… to finally not caring so much about it.
Not in an “I don’t want to be married” kind of way. But in an “I forgot how good it used to be” kind of way.
It became easy to not have to work at anything. To just foolishly believe our healthy marriage was divorce-proof. Even though we took a solemn vow to stay committed to each other till death do us part, doesn’t mean we don’t equally have the responsibility to cultivate and nourish our marriage as well.
Now going back to “that couple.” The truth is, if their marriage is indeed the real deal than I’ve got shocking news for you – they’ve put in real work to get there. And more importantly… to stay there.
There are 3 lies that couples tend to believe that set them up for failure down the road. If you can recognize them early, you’ll be armed and ready when complacency tries to show up in your marriage.
Lie #1 Your marriage doesn’t require work
Maybe you want to replace the word work with another like nurture. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same. Every single marriage requires attention to keep it healthy and strong. The moment you think you’ve arrived; your strong marriage is in danger. Maybe not tomorrow, but later down the road.
This is a lie that invaded my marriage. We felt the whole date night thing was kind of clique, so we didn’t take them seriously. What we failed to realize was it doesn’t matter what we label them – it only matters that we do them. Having one-on-one alone time on at least a weekly basis is a must for all marriages.
The point is, find something you both enjoy and do it together. It doesn’t have to be a “date” at all. Just be you.
Lie #3 Putting the Kids First is OK While They’re Still Little
God created an order for families – God, Spouse, then children. Outside of the necessary taking care of your children, placing them before your spouse can have devastating consequences.
Your husband was there first and he’ll be there with you after they’re gone. If you’re struggling with this one, think of it like this; placing your marriage first will keep your marriage healthy. That’s something your children will be thankful for later. My parents divorced after I was already married with my own children. Simply put… I was devastated.
Your children would rather you take time apart from them if it means they don’t become yet another family torn apart by divorce.
Pray and ask God to show you any areas in your marriage that may have slipped or are vulnerable to complacency. Watch Him give you the wisdom to come back together and leave any trace of complacency behind.
Share your testimony of how you personally overcame a trial or challenge in your marriage in the comments below!
Ever wonder how to get your kids to hear you without yelling? I know, it’s frustrating! But this simple strategy really helps to get your kids to listen without screaming your head off. You have to work it… but it really works!
I’m not talking about when you shout upstairs for your kiddos to get in the car because you’re running late for school for the third time this week.
Or when your 12-year-old’s friend who lives down the block stops by and you kindly let her (and the whole house) know to come downstairs. I’m kind of loud in general… maybe you are too.
I’m talking about when your toddler decides to morph into Captain America for the hundredth time this week and starts throwing his shield across the living room and you kindly ask him to stop. At which he shows no visible signs of hearing and therefore you remind him again a little louder this time.
Bam! The shield slams into your wall once again and there goes your sanity and here comes the yelling.
This was me… every single day for years.
I knew something had to change because I wasn’t enjoying being a mom which I knew wasn’t right because I loved being a mom. But I just couldn’t figure out how to break the vicious cycle of yelling and regret.
Then through prayerful observation and help from my husband who could see what was going on all along, I saw that I was the cause of this cycle – not my kids. And that’s what I want to share with you in this post.
Do I still have a set-back every now and then and yell at my kids in anger? Sure, but those are infrequent and much less than they used to be. If you find yourself losing your temper frequently with your kids, I strongly encourage you to read and try these tips.
They really do work!
Why Yelling Doesn’t Get Your Kids to Listen
The first step to getting your kids to listen when you’re disciplining is to not be angry. Feels impossible, right?
I mean, sure they “hear” you, but our goal is for them to listen which isn’t the same thing.
Even if you need to step away, it’s important to release or control your personal frustration before diving right in. That’s because disciplining when you’re angry undermines your authority.
I’ve come to learn something along the way. Yelling really never worked, and kids lose respect for yelling parents.
I thought it was working because when I talked normally, no one ever moved. Until I broke out in a nice yell. That’s only partially true because they simply learned to respond to the yelling.
Not only does disciplining when you’re angry undermine your authority, but you’re also teaching your child how to have loose and untamed emotions by watching you. Ouch!
Yelling like a lunatic and saying hurtful things to your children can have lasting consequences. And whether they tell you or not… those words run deep.
Our yelling is really more about us than it is about them.
This is so, so important for us as parents to let sink in. When we get overwhelmed at the situation and break out into a yelling fit we are acting no different than our toddler who drops to the floor in a temper tantrum.
And when we feel tempted to have a mommy tantrum… we need to give ourselves a mommy timeout.
This is really important to allow us to cool down so we don’t let our emotions take over and do or say something we’ll most certainly regret. And need to apologize for!
Lax Parenting is your Enemy
Lax parenting – without firm and consistent boundaries – opens the door to being challenged by your child at some point… really every point.
And we have the tendency be most lax when all is well and we’re having a stress-free day. Little things get overlooked over and over again. We’re afraid to make any adjustments so we don’t rock this peaceful boat we’re in.
For example, you’re in the grocery store with your toddler and things are going great. #MomWin
He asks if he can walk, and since you only had to run in for a couple things (another #MomWin) you let him walk.
In a nano-second, he starts to touch things. He’s just touching and not knocking things over… so what’s the big deal you tell yourself. Deep down, you’re terrified to do anything to end this no-chaos bliss thing happening. So you don’t tell him to stop.
But wait!! Here’s the kicker, he’s just mentally and physically recorded that it’s ok to touch stuff at the store.
Fast forward to your next trip to the store when you need to grab a cart full of stuff (no #MomWin). To top it off, your son didn’t get a full nap today and you’re so exhausted you think you might need glasses.
This time your son reaches out to grab and pull down every item he can get his hands on. You’re embarrassed, frustrated, and headed for a melt-down.
The key to setting boundaries is making them consistent. In the Good Times AND in the Bad! They need to know what to expect EVERY single time.
The Importance of Staying Consistent
Children desperately need consistency to learn. Not only do they need to know what to except, but that expectation you need shouldn’t change every day of the week. And we can’t be wishy-washy.
I use to be the Queen of the Threat. I’d rattle off statements like, “Do you want to go into Timeout?” or “Do you want a spanking?”
When in reality, I didn’t plan on following through. I was banking on the “threat” doing its job. But the truth is, our kids are just too smart for that. They can see right through our weakness. I think they can smell it too!
Here’s a quick tip – make sure to think about the punishment when you’re not emotional. If you rattle off that your teenager is grounded for 6 months… if it doesn’t fit the crime, you’re going to be in a dilemma.
Do I let her off the punishment early or make her stick it out just to prove a point?
Either way isn’t the best scenario.
Firm doesn’t mean harsh.
Not only should our discipline be consistent but it also needs to be firm. They need to know you mean business.
But by the same token, they shouldn’t be afraid of you. I know, this kind of goes against many old-school parenting methods. But instilling fear is never helpful. There’s a clear difference between firm and harsh.
You may feel this is beneficial when your children are small, but as they get older – they need to know you’re there for them.
Think of all the crazy things young people have to deal with in our current times. Having a parent who blows their top over every little thing will keep your child from confiding in you – when they need you and your wisdom the most.
Let me also mention, that when I say harsh I’m not talking about spanking either. Spanking, done in a loving environment, without anger, can be a very effective discipline tool. And should only be done in love. Although it can clearly be misused and over-used.
Harsh discipline is done when we’re angry and led by our disappointment, embarrassment, guilt, or some other emotion. And can happen in every form of discipline from timeouts, lectures, mean words, shaming, and spanking.
The whole point of discipline is to teach our children what’s right and wrong. And we do this out of our love.
Discipline Should Come From Love
We see so much destruction in the news today, and I wonder how many of those individuals had no boundaries in their formative years.
Discipline, done the right way, is an act of love. It’s one way we keep our kids safe.
The Bible provides so much practical wisdom on correction and discipline. And the focal point always comes back to love. Proverbs 3:11-12
It’s our job, really our privilege, to shape our children’s lives in a positive way. Giving them the best possible chance at life by teaching them the proper way to conduct themselves.
I want to emphasize here that the actual form of discipline and punishment you choose is not as important as being consistent and doing what you say.
Not only that, but each child is different and will respond differently to various forms of discipline such as timeouts, removal of privileges, and so on. There is no cookie-cutter formula that’ll work for every kid.
This is an on-going process and one where we need to fully depend on the Grace of God to do well. And rest in that same Grace when we miss it because we all do!
Do you have some tried and trusted methods for getting your kids to listen? Share them in the comments below! We’d love to hear them!
We’ve all been there, you ask your kid to sweep up the floor after dinner while you go into the kitchen to start loading the dishwasher. You come back to see that your very capable child chose to use the “spot-cleaning” method under your dining room table.
You take one look and know full and well he was rushing so he can get back to playing Fortnite as promised. Point blank – he didn’t even come close to trying his best. And moms have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing when our kid did their best at any moment.
I have one simple request in my home and that is when my kids put their hands to doing something, that they do their best. Notice I said their best, not the best. As your kids get older you tend to know when your kid is rushing or fluffing something off and when they’re actually struggling and need help… if you’re paying attention, that is.
Beyond our “mom-sense,” this is where having a strong relationship and connection with your child plays a huge role in parenting. Asking lots of questions helps you to see where your child is to figure out how you can actually help them do their best.
Why Should Kids Do Their Best?
It may seem like there’s a lot of emphasis on doing their best which as I stated earlier shouldn’t get mixed up with doing the best. That’s because the result of a person’s individual effort isn’t nearly as important as the process of effort they put in to actually achieve those results.
For example, it’s more noteworthy when a student works diligently to learn and stays accountable to do their school work and still brings home C’s on average. In contrast to a student who barely studies beyond glancing at a few pages prior to his tests and doesn’t take school seriously but still manages to bring home straight A’s.
The second student is likely to have a bent where learning and memorizing materials come more easily. Whereas the first student may not and might even be struggling with a learning disability or concentration issues that make learning more challenging.
Which child should be praised? The straight A student or the C student?
It is my personal belief and how I chose to parent my own children that praising results is a huge mistake over placing effort front and center.
The Dangers of Results-Driven Parenting
I remember growing up and having friends who did very well in school and also worked very hard but were scared to go home if a B showed up on their report card. This type of results-driven parenting can produce harmful stress in children which can contribute to depression in kids and teens.
When we focus on our child’s results – their grades, accomplishments, and whether or not they win in the game we are setting expectations for our child. And expectations are actually a really good thing. In fact, they’re the keys to getting kids, or anyone for that matter, to do their best.
But result-driven expectations are focused solely on ability and outcomes rather than the effort the child actually put into the process to succeed. When putting the sole focus on your child’s natural abilities or the outcome of a goal, it can be frustrating because these things are hard for your child to control.
Another problem with ability expectations is that if children attribute their successes to their ability-“I won because I’m so talented”-they must attribute their failures to their lack of ability-“I’m failed because I’m stupid.”
An unfortunate side effect of performance and results focused expectations is that we often unknowingly put labels on our kids. They could be more positive labels such as smart, driven, and high achiever. Or they might be less positive labels such as picky eater, shy, hyper, or learning disabled.
Even if we don’t outright call our children by these labels, we do so in subtle ways. For example, if your child is extremely shy you may introduce her to her new teacher by saying, “this is my daughter Cassie. She’s very shy so she may need some time to make friends.”
This innocent introduction is merely a parent’s gentle way of protecting their child from rejection or judgment… Our way of “helping” our kids along. But we often do more harm than good because our kids consciously and subconsciously grab hold of these labels (good or not so good) and live up to them.
She’ll naturally find herself holding back when in the presence of new people and because she’s been wearing a label of being shy, she most likely won’t push herself to grow in the healthy behavior of building positive relationships in her life.
Dr. Robert Rosenthal did exhaustive research on the topic of expectations of others and labels. He was fascinated to see how humans functioned when given arbitrary labels and whether or not those labels could change a person’s behavior. His research was on experimenter expectancy effects and the Pygmalion effect.
The Pygmalion effect is the scientific name for a self-fulfilling prophecy which is when a person believes something about themselves so strongly that they subconsciously work hard to make it a reality in their life, even if it’s not actually true.
This is so very important for us as parents to understand because it will help us set the right type of expectations for our children so they can most effectively achieve their best in life.
How to Set the Right Expectations for your Child
Whether we like it or not, we’re always establishing expectations for our children. They learn to anticipate our reactions to grades and performances and on a deep level work to meet those expectations. But setting the wrong ones can be detrimental to our children.
Focusing on their natural talents and gifting may seem like a good thing but if not guided properly can lead to an unhealthy sense of self-worth if their gift suddenly stops working or they’re prevented from using that gift for unforeseen reasons.
We need to be sure their identity isn’t wrapped up in their gifts and personal achievements.
Rather the healthiest and most effective expectations we can give our children are Effort Expectations. This is when we help our child focus on the process – the magic that happens in between the goal and the desired outcome.
When children (and adults) stay focused on the process of how we’ll achieve our goal we work harder and lean in at a higher level. The best part is, we know how hard we worked and if we come shy of that goal we still feel a high sense of satisfaction in how far we progressed.
When we only look at the endgame, we feel anxious and have a strong fear of failure. Those negative feelings are majorly reduced when we’re too busy putting the work in to achieve our goals.
An Experiment in Expectations
Now that we understand how to have the right type of expectations for our kids lets dive back into the science of why healthy expectations are so powerful.
Dr. Rosenthal conducted an experiment to test his theory on expectations. He had teachers give their students an IQ test that was labeled the Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition which basically measured whether a child was “ready to bloom” or not.
To protect the integrity of the experiment the teachers had no previous experience with this test and no knowledge of the experiment itself. After completion of the test, students who scored in the top 20% of this test were labeled as “ready to bloom.”
The teachers were given a list of children who scored in the top 20%. But here’s the twist, they were actually given a list of completely randomly selected names that fell in all scoring ranges.
At the end of the school year, all the students were retested to determine if any changes took place in their IQ scores. The results showed a tremendous increase in IQ scores in one group. Can you guess which one? Yep, the randomly selected “ready to bloom” students scored much higher whereas the students who weren’t labeled remained the same.
This is profound because it proves how powerful expectations are in the hands of teachers, parents, and other leaders. These teachers were told these students were above average (even though most weren’t).
As a result, they began to teach them as above average. In turn, when these children were talked to and interacted with as “above average kids” they simply rose to the occasion. A powerful concept indeed!
This is why we as parents must be aware of the labels we give our kids and the words we speak into our children. The bible says it this way:
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
It also says that life and death are in the power of our tongue. In other words, we have the ability to speak life into our children through the words we speak and the labels we give them. We can highlight labels that hold our kids back or encourage them to rise above those labels.
When we expect the best from our kids, you better believe they’ll be inspired to rise up to them!
Let me close with a personal example. This understanding of expectations doesn’t merely effect children, it’s for us too. We’ve all been in a situation where a boss, a friend, our parent, or even our spouse didn’t believe we were capable in some way.
It can feel demoralizing and extremely de-motivating. On the other hand, when we have people in our lives that believe in us, even more than we believe in ourselves, it can help us feel powerful and inspired to rise to what they see in us.
If you’re reading this and know you’ve been putting labels on your kids or doling out tons of results driven expectations do not feel hard on yourself. We’ve all done it. What’s more important is taking steps to change the narrative your child has been hearing.
Also, a parent’s job is to protect our kids, so never allow others (grandparents, teachers, etc.) to put negative labels on your child either. Simply tell them nicely that we don’t want to label our kids so please refrain from using that term with our child. It’s that simple.
Let me urge you to look beyond the surface labels in your child like talented, shy, picky eater, class-clown. And help them discover their purpose and achieve their dreams. Work to inspire them to push beyond their safe place and discover a place of their own greatness.