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Archive for January, 2013

21 Parent Savvy Pinterest People to Follow

top 20 parent savvy pinterest peopleI don’t know about you, but I’m a certified pin-addict! I love finding excellent parenting advice, creative play ideas, unique learning tips, inspiring craft projects, and so, so much more all in one convenient location where I can organize them and have them literally at my fingertips whenever the need arises.

Here are a few of my best Pinterest ‘finds’ I thought I’d share with my readers:

l,r,knostI’m L.R.Knost, author of Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages and Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood, the first two books in the Little Hearts Handbook parenting series, and children’s picture book, Petey’s Listening Ears, and founder/director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. Check out Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources‘ Pinterest boards, where you will not only have access to the excellent parenting resources I’ve discovered, but also all of the articles from this site organized into board categories such as  Gentle Parenting/Discipline and Gentle Parenting/Babies and Toddlers. So easy and convenient!

 

imagination soupMelissa Taylor@Imagination Soup is the author of Pinterest Savvy~How I Got 1 Million+ Followers (link coming soon!) which shares the in’s and out’s and do’s and don’ts of Pinterest for everyone from the Pinterest newbie to the veteran pinner and also of Book Love~Help Your Child Grow From Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader which has excellent literacy tips, tools, and techniques. Her Pinterest boards offer everything from parenting tips to book recommendations to children’s crafts and activities.

 

Dr Laura MarkhamNext up we have one of my favorite parenting authors, Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting. Dr. Laura is a clinical psychologist and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. Her Pinterest boards offer informative articles, tips, and ideas for parents of infants through adolescence.

 

Dr. Lynne KenneyLynne Kenney, Psy.D. is a mother of two, a practicing Pediatric Psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ author of The Family Coach Method and co-author with Wendy Young of Bloom: Helping children blossom.

 

 

not just cuteAmanda Morgan, who holds a Master’s degree in childhood development, is the author of Parenting with Positive Guidance. Her Pinterest boards at  Amanda Morgan @ NotJustCute offer creative and unique learning ideas for early childhood education.

 

 

living montessori nowDeb Chitwood is a Montessori educator and writer with a ton of ideas and resources to share which she’s organized beautifully onto her Pinterest page at Deb @ Living Montessori Now. A must-follow for homeschoolers and educators, as well as parents.

 

 

moving smartTo child development expert, author, and international speaker Gill Connell of Moving Smart, a moving child is a learning child. Check out her Pinterest boards to “Find out why all those wiggles and giggles matter!”

 

 

kidlutionsWendy Young, LMSW, BCD is a Child and Family Therapist and co-author with pediatric psychologist, Dr. Lynne Kenney, of the book Bloom: Helping children blossom. Wendy is also the creator of Kidlutions: Solutions for Kids which offers helpful resources such as innovative play therapy activities and crafts for parents and educators.

 

 

play at home momPlay at Home Mom is a group of moms, educators and therapists who provide resources for positive parenting and playful connection. Their motto is “Changing lives one PLAY at a time!”

 

 

 

rachel miller“Mama to a vanful” Rachel Miller offers bright and colorful Pinterest boards with tons of play ideas, educational activities, and tips for family fun.

 

 

 

tinkerlabFeatured on PBS Kids, Baby Center, Apartment Therapy, and more, this artsy childhood educator and mom, Rachelle @ Tinkerlab, offers Pinterest boards that abound with child-led arts and crafts and activities.

 

 

childhood 101Passionate early childhood teacher and writer, Christie Burnett @ Childhood 101, has Pinterest boards with everything from family friendly recipes to fine motor activities to fun ideas for family play and connection.

 

 

smiling like sunshineYou’ll find a little bit of everything parenting-related on SmilinglikeSunshine‘s Pinterest boards. From learning through play to breastfeeding and babywearing to toy and book recommendations, it’s like a parenting smorgasbord!

 

 

educator's spin on itThe Pinterest boards from The Educator’s Spin on It are chock full of educational activities, crafts, and ideas. Excellent resource for us homeschoolers, as well as for school teachers, early childhood educators, and more.

 

 

harpercollins children'sIn their own words, HarperCollins Children’s Pinterest team describe their mission this way, “We’re HarperCollins Children’s Books, and we’re here to help parents, teachers, and librarians discover great reads for kids, from picture books to middle grade.” From book recommendations to ‘Meet the Author’ boards to book-related activity ideas, parents and educators can find excellent resources here for literacy and learning.

let's lasso the moonZina :: Let’s Lasso the Moon offers Pinterest boards of “simple activities that elevate everyday moments into family traditions and memorable adventures.” With boards such as ‘Growing Creative Kids’ and ‘Lifetime Love of Learning’ you’ll be sure to find unique ideas for your little ones here!

 

 

hippiehousewifeFrom homeschooling to crafting to natural living, the Hippie Housewife has a little of everything parents need to raise happy, healthy children.

 

 

 

delightful children's booksDelightful Children’s Books offers children’s book reviews, recommendations, and activities as well as homeschooling ideas, crafts, and more!

 

 

 

PlaydoughtoPlatoMom and National Board Certified Teacher, Malia {Playdough to Plato}, shares playful learning activities for kids, holiday fun, and hands-on early literacy activities.

 

 

 

spd blogger networkFor our extra special kiddos who need a bit of extra special parenting, here is the link to the SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) Blogger Network‘s Pinterest boards that contain a wealth of tips, activities, and articles to give those of us blessed with sensory kids the resources we need.

 

 

mama smilesMama Smiles – Joyful Parenting‘s Pinterest boards are chock full of ideas for “finding joy in everyday parenting through creativity, learning, and play.”

 

 

 

I hope you find as many helpful and creative ideas on these Pinterest boards as I have, and don’t forget to stop by Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources‘ boards and snag a few pins along the way!

*Top Little Hearts Posts

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


In a Word

l,r,knostLast year instead of making a list of resolutions for the new year, I joined with a group of people who were choosing one word to focus on for the year ahead. My word was live. It was time for me to delve fully into life again after a long, painful season of losses in my life that included a loss of triplets three months into my pregnancy followed the very next year by giving birth to my stillborn son, Sammy.

And so this last year that is what I’ve done. I’ve lived…fully and wholly and completely. And I am equal parts grateful, satisfied, exhausted, and overwhelmed by it all.

Part of the reason I became overwhelmed last year was the constant challenge of trying to juggle my writing with homeschooling my children and nursing a little one and taking care of a household and being a wife and daughter and mother and business manager, etc.

I felt torn all the time, writing books and articles in my head while homeschooling and then planning homeschool projects in my head while I was writing, and on and on. I didn’t feel like I was giving anything my full attention, and the juggling was keeping me on the brink of exhaustion and overload on a daily basis.

So as 2012 was ending and 2013 was beginning with all of its promise and newness, I prayed about what my one word focus for the year would be, and the word that flashed into my mind immediately was intentionality.

I spent some time savoring and dissecting the word, feeling it out and examining it, and I liked it. I liked it a lot. So I sat down and drafted a provisional daily schedule for myself, setting aside specific blocks of time for writing and blocks of time for homeschooling and blocks of time for family, etc.

I’m not a schedule person normally, and I’ll be very flexible with myself in keeping to this timetable, but it has been incredibly freeing to know I have alloted time for each of the priorities in my life. When I’m homeschooling, I can focus my full attention on my little ones because I know I’ve set aside time for my writing, and when I’m writing I don’t feel guilty because I know I’ve alloted time for homeschooling and all of the other important people and things in my life.

It’s a beautiful synchronicity of freedom and order that is making my life easier, more productive, and far more relaxing than it’s been in a long, long time.

Intentionality~What a lovely new year’s gift to myself! (And a timely one, as well. I’ve got several books slated to be released this year including children’s books and Little Hearts parenting handbooks, and I’m working on another novel which looks to be a one to two-year project. Oh my!)

happy jarMy older children are thinking about their word for the year, but with my littler ones, I’ve given them the word ‘grateful.’ We have a Happy Jar, and when they start complaining about things (as children will do 🙂 ), I listen to them until they’ve fully expressed their feelings (so they feel heard), then we process through those feelings together, and, finally, I ask them to share two things they are happy about which I then write down and put in the Happy Jar. We’ll all be adding to the Happy Jar throughout they year and, at the end of the year, we’ll pull out the notes and read them to remember to be grateful for the good things in our lives.

The idea of sharing this with my little people is to equip them with the ability to cope with the inevitable disappointments and troubles they will encounter in life and to work their way back to happiness through the gateway of gratitude. It’s a healthy life lesson that builds our relationship in the present because they know they can trust me with their feelings, and will serve them well throughout life, too!

Related posts:

12 Steps to Gentle Parenting

It is Time

Suffering in Silence~A Mother’s View

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support and Resources

I Spy…A Bad Mom

The Story of Us~25 Years and Counting!

Mona Lisa Smiles

Motherhood~The Timeless Tapestry

The Cost of Being Mom

Love in the Time of Cosleeping

My Awesome Hubby

From Behind the Curtain

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


12 Steps to Gentle Parenting: A Year of Baby Steps to a Happier Family

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[Reprinted from Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages by L.R.Knost. Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood and The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline also now available on Amazon and through other major retailers.]

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notebook paper 12 STEPSIt’s been said that it takes twenty-one days to make or break a habit and that change comes easiest and lasts longest when it’s undertaken in small, bite-sized chunks. Those same principles apply when trying to transform your parenting, as well. Simply resolving on January 1st that, from that day forward, you are going to be a gentle parent and trying to change everything all at once is just setting yourself up for disappointment, frustration, and, more than likely, failure followed by that age-old enemy of peace…mommy guilt.

Instead, try setting yourself up for success by taking a year of ‘baby steps’ to create real, lasting transformation in your parenting. Here are 12 steps you can start any time of the year, not just on January 1st, that offer practical, effective guidance to help you on your journey to gentle parenting. Keep in mind, though, that failure is a natural, normal part of change, so remember to give yourself grace when you fail. (Also, giving yourself grace is good practice for learning to extend that same grace to your children, which is a hallmark of gentle parenting!)

 

January (Step 1)

notebook paper SLOW DOWNSlow down! ~ Gentle parenting is, at its core, based on a strong, healthy parent/child connection, so intentionally including time in your life to build and maintain that connection is vital. Start the year off by examining your daily and weekly schedule and looking for things to reduce or eliminate. Add up how much time your children spend in school, sleeping, in daycare, with babysitters, at sports practices, in music lessons, etc. and look at how much or little time is left over. Time for your family to connect, time to play, time to simply be, are just as important as those activities, if not more so! Eliminate and reduce what you can, and look for ways to build connection into the things you can’t eliminate. For instance, if your child has homework each night, why not sit down and work through the homework with them? As humans, we learn better through interaction, anyway, so you’ll not only be connecting, you’ll be enriching your child’s education in the process! Another area that might benefit from a connection ‘rehab’ is that morning rush to get ready and out the door. Try getting everyone up a half hour earlier to ease the morning stresses that often lead to conflict and can result in a parent/child disconnect.

 

February (Step 2)

notebook paper LISTENListen! ~ Once you’ve slowed down enough to breathe, it’s time to stretch yourself and grow as a parent. Like most changes in life, it won’t come easy, but the rewards are well worth it. Fred Rogers said, “Listening is where love begins,” meaning that when we listen, we really get to know someone, learn about what motivates them, and understand their thoughts, hopes, dreams, hurts, disappointments, etc. All behaviors communicate underlying needs, and what we learn about the inner life of our children by listening to them will help us to focus on the needs behind the behaviors instead of simply correcting the ‘symptoms’ (i.e. the behavior).

As a parent, it may seem instinctive to insist that our children listen to us so that our guidance and/or correction can be heard. In fact, the number one complaint I get from most parents is, “My children just don’t listen!” to which I respond, “Do you?”

The reality is that if a child doesn’t feel they are being heard, then even if they stand silently ‘listening’ while we lecture or rant or even just talk, the child is simply rehearsing in their brain what they want to say rather than actually doing any effective listening. As the only adults in the parent/child relationship, it’s up to the parent to be the first to listen, to really listen, because we are the ones with the maturity and self-control to be able to patiently wait to be heard.

 

March (Step 3)

notebook paper LIVE ITLive what you want them to learn! ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” Consciously, intentionally, and consistently living out how you want your children to turn out is the most powerful and effective character training there is. If you want your children to be kind, be kind. If you want them to be respectful, respect them. If you want them to learn self-control, model self-control. If you want them to be compassionate, treat them with compassion. If you want them to feel joy, enjoy them. If you want them to feel valuable, treasure them. The bottom line is, your children are always watching and learning, so make sure what they see in you is what you want to see in them!

 

April (Step 4)

notebook paper BREATHEBreathe! ~ We all get overwhelmed by the seemingly endless demands of life at times, so this month remind yourself to relax and consciously focus on enjoying your children. It’s just a fact of human nature that when we enjoy something, we pay more attention to it, value it, and treat it better. Applying that fact to parenting, it makes sense to be intentional about taking time to laugh and hug and simply be with our children. Here’s a ‘bucket list’ full of ideas for simple, memorable fun to share with life’s most precious treasures, your children!

 

May (Step 5)

notebook paper READBook it! ~ It’s been said that our treasure lies where our time, attention, and love is invested. While having special family outings and activities is a wonderful way to enjoy our children, it is in the daily routines and busyness of life that the parent/child connection can often suffer the most. One of the best ways to stay connected with our children is to build time into each day to invest in them, and one of the best investments is in a love of reading.  A love of reading is born on the lap of a parent, in the soothing cadence of a mother’s voice reading the same beloved story night after night, in the rhythmic sway of a rocking chair, and in the comfortable rustle of well-worn pages being turned one after another after another. A quiet bedtime routine that includes a nighttime story will not only help bedtime to be happier and smoother, but will also incorporate vital time for you to reconnect with your children at the end of every day.

 

June (Step 6)

notebook paper YESTurn your ‘no’s’ into ‘yes’s’! ~ In any home, like in any civilized society, boundaries are necessary for everyone’s safety and comfort. With gentle parenting, setting limits focuses on connection and empathetic communication rather than control and punitive consequences. This month try setting limits using gentle parenting by turning your ‘no’s’ into ‘yes’s.’ Instead of “No, you can’t have ice cream until after dinner,” try “I know you love ice cream. I do, too! We’re getting ready to eat right now, but what flavor would you like after dinner?” This invites cooperation instead of triggering opposition, another hallmark of gentle parenting!

 

July (Step 7)

notebook paper PLAYPlay!~ They say that the family that plays together, stays together, and there’s great truth to that. Play is the language of childhood, and through play we get to know and connect with our children on their turf, in their native language, and on their terms. It’s a powerful moment in a parent’s life when they suddenly see their sweet little one as a separate, intelligent, worthy human being who can plan, make decisions, snap out orders, and lead other humans on a journey through an imaginary rainforest or on a trip through outer space. This month, try taking on the role of follower in your child’s land of make-believe, and you’ll discover a whole new world in which your child is strong, confident, and capable, and you’ll come away with a deeper connection with and appreciation for the person, not just the child.

 

August (Step 8)

notebook paper EAT WELLEat well! ~ Along with all of the exercise you’ll be getting playing with your child, take stock of the kinds of food you’re providing to fuel their little engines and enrich their minds. Good nutrition may not be the first thought that pops into people’s minds when they think of gentle parenting, but studies have shown that many behavior issues and sleep problems have their root in unhealthy eating habits, nutrient-poor diets, and food additives (dyes, preservatives, etc.). Children, especially littler ones, don’t take change well as a general rule, and changes to the foods they eat are on top of the list of changes they’ll resist. As a gentle parent, working with, instead of against, our children will help to make eating healthy a fun family project instead of a food fight. Try letting your children help you make weekly menus and shop for the fresh ingredients you’ll be using, and let them help you cook, too. If they feel like a part of the change instead of a victim of it, they’re far more likely to cooperate. If you have picky eaters, don’t hesitate to serve them the same foods you normally do, just with a few added healthy ingredients slipped in to make them healthier. For ideas on ways to make healthy changes more fun, click here.

 

September (Step 9)

notebook paper LAUGHDon’t forget your funny bone! ~ Often the best parenting advice is simply~Chill out! Relax! Laugh a little, for goodness’ sake! Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in ‘fixing’ our children that all we see are problems. We start focusing so much on preparing our children for their future that we forget to let them live in the present. One of the main problems with that is that children are, by their very nature, creatures of the ‘now,’ living fully immersed in each present moment. G. Mistral said, “Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.” This month, pull out your dusty, old funny-bone, the one that used to keep you in stitches when you were a child, and laugh, on purpose, every day with your child. You’ll be amazed at how a good belly laugh can turn even the worst day into something a little easier to handle and how much a giggle-fest can heal the little rifts that tend to occur in the parent/child connection throughout each day.

 

October (Step 10)

notebook paper BUILDIf you build it, they will come! ~ A shared project can offer a real chance to get to know your child on an entirely new level, so this month find something to build together. Choose something they are interested in, whether it’s a model rocket or tree fort, and watch them blossom as they learn and build and grow. Your role is supportive~finding the materials, helping to read the instructions, offering suggestions or help when they struggle, etc. Simply being there through the process will enrich your connection with your child and offer you valuable insights into their interests and learning style, which will provide tools for you to use when helping them with their homework or homeschooling them.

 

November (Step 11)

notebook paper GRATITUDEGratitude is an attitude! ~ Teaching our children to be grateful involves far more than simply instructing them to say, “Thank you.” We all want to be appreciated, and children are no different. Modeling the things we want to see in our children is the single most powerful mode of instruction, so living a life of gratitude ourselves goes a long way toward raising our little ones to be happy, grateful humans. Openly appreciating our children, telling them what we like about them, and thanking them for the things they do is a sure-fire way of inspiring an attitude of gratitude in their little hearts. This month, be intentional in finding things to praise in your children. Don’t be falsely enthusiastic or use “Good job!” as a brush-off to get them to leave you alone. Instead, honestly tell them what you like about them. Tell them ‘thank you’ when they remember to brush their teeth without being told or help their little sister with her block tower. Let them know you think their artwork is beautiful and don’t hesitate to give them a pat on the back for a job well done when they straighten their room. Remember, it is the hungry child, not the satisfied child, who craves food, and, in the same way, it is unmet needs that lead to attention seeking behaviors and unspoken approval that can create ‘praise junkies’ as the unpraised child seeks to fill the very human need we all have for validation.

 

December (Step 12)

notebook paper CELEBRATECelebrate! ~ Take time this month to give yourself a pat on the back for working toward your goal of becoming a gentle parent. Congratulate yourself for all that you’ve accomplished and take stock of your successes as well as your failures. Don’t focus on your mistakes. Simply learn from them, forgive yourself, and move forward. Look back at where you were as a parent a year ago and compare that to where you are now. Don’t worry if you haven’t come as far as you’d like. Life is for living and learning and growing, and another year is about to start with a chance to move forward into a new beginning. Everything you’ve invested in your children in the last year has been worthwhile, and everything you’ll invest in the coming years will build on the foundation you’ve begun. So take this month to celebrate you and to enjoy the return on your investment!

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Do you see a theme throughout this gentle parenting ’12-step program’? Getting to know and enjoy your children as individuals, intentionally focusing on building and maintaining a strong and healthy parent/child connection, and living what you want your children to learn are the bedrocks of gentle parenting. Walking through these steps, revisiting them when you find yourself struggling, and appreciating the incredible, miraculous gifts that each individual child brings into the world will keep you growing as a gentle parent day after day, month after month, year after year. Live. Laugh. Love. Enjoy!

Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages

 

Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages by L.R.Knost now available on Amazon

*Also published in  The Natural Parent Magazine

Related posts:

Practical, Gentle, Effective Discipline

200 Ways to Bless Your Children with a Happy Childhood

The Color of Change

The Bookshelf~To Read or Not to Read

The Seven Wonders of the World of Childhood

Testing the Boundaries~What’s a Parent to Do?

Picky Eater? Here’s Help!

100 Ways to Tell the Difference Between a Child and a Weed (in case you were wondering)

I Spy…a Bad Mom!

It’s Okay to Praise your Child

25 Reasons NOT to Keep your Children Busy

L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.


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