motherhood

14 Ways to Tell Your Kids You Love Them (without saying it)

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February, the host month of Valentine’s Day, instantly makes me feel all lovey-dovey just by flipping over the page on the calendar. I start thinking of love notes, secret admirers, and who I could surprise with heart-shaped cupcakes. (zucchini cupcakes, of course.)


It would be really nice if we could live everyday like this, but life is busy.

So we probably don’t.


If we are totally honest here, many times it is the people we love the very most that get the least of our loving attention. At least somedays.

Busy schedules, endless errands, and tons of responsibilities pull us in too many directions to keep track of. Lots of times, the day ends with a little yelling, a scramble for bedtime, and an exhausted mom collapsing on the couch.


No doubt we always remember to whisper to each of our children, “I love you” before one last kiss and turning out the lights.

But February, the month of love, demands so much more!

I have brainstormed some simple but sweet ways to step up and LOVE UP those little buggers who call you Mom!


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  1. Make their favorite meal.

  2. Let them choose a movie or show they really want to see and watch it…. with fervor.

  3. Let your kiddo choose your outfit. (You might reserve this for the weekend unless the fashion game is strong in your little one.

  4. Cuddle up and just talk.

  5. Pick a recipe and cook together.

  6. Stay in their room a little longer when you tuck them in at night.

  7. Write them a note that tells them something you love about them. Leave it where you know they will find it.

  8. Ask their opinion about something. Really listen to their response.

  9. Celebrate a victory that usually goes less noticed. A completed reading log, making their bed, helping a sibling. Make it a BIG DEAL.

  10. Help them with a project like cleaning up their room or picking up toys. Hug them afterwards and tell them that you love spending time together.

  11. Dance party. (I recommend putting together a sweet playlist before hand.

  12. Build a fort. Sleep in it.

  13. Surprise them! Have ice cream for dinner, plan an after school excursion to the rock climbing park, or anything else you all find fun. Everyone likes a fun twist to the normal routine.

  14. Try adding to your “I love you’s” by saying, “I love you because….”.

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This is just the beginning! I bet you have ideas of your own, maybe even some you have tried in years past. Consider yourself invited to share your own ideas in a comment belong or even in our online moms group, The Real Moms Collaborative.

Thank you so much for reading and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

The Teachable Moments of a 3rd Grade Presidential Campaign

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Y’all might know that my son recently ran for 3rd grade class President. He was nominated by his classmates and was quite honored. In class the candidates picked their campaign teams, created posters, and brainstormed speech ideas. 

This class election was a part of the 3rd grade unit on government. The election between 3 candidates came with some basic rules of fairness and other guidelines. The teacher was clear about not making empty promises like, “I will end all testing for the rest of 3rd grade.” Not really something you should promise because it just ain’t gonna happen. 

Honestly, my son left my husband and I out of a lot of his strategizing and we really had to pry to find out campaign updates. He did finally open up when he was seeking some extra support from us for his big speech, the one he would deliver to his classmates before the vote.  

A few hours of working with my son on his Presidential speech presented us with some remarkable teachable moments about leadership that I am so grateful to have had.  Not sure when we would have had these mini conversations otherwise. 

I spent a lot of time after the speech was complete thinking about those teachable moments and how special they really were. I spent enough time thinking about them that I finally thought maybe I should share them with you. 

 

Teachable Moment #1: Breaking down leadership qualities.  

At first my son was stuck in his speech writing because he really wanted to promise his classmates something. He couldn’t get rid of tests, or homework, or behavior charts. What could he promise?

This was our first opportunity to flip the script on him a bit, to ask him to suspend the idea of promising something and instead promise that he was right for the job because he has what it takes to be a leader.  

So, what does it take to be a leader?

The answers didn’t flow as easily as I thought they might have for him. However we did eventually come up with some key qualities: 

  • Responsibility
  • Compromise
  • Honesty
  • Confidence
  • Service (this was a biggie)  

With this list my kid could start to write and focus on examples showing he had these qualities

 

Teachable Moment #2: You are not in charge

Teleconferencing with supporters. (Aka Face-timing with his cousins.)

Teleconferencing with supporters. (Aka Face-timing with his cousins.)

We all had a good laugh when my son announced he really hoped he won so he could “be in charge and make decisions”.  

Nope, not exactly the way it works, Bud.  

Imagine his surprise (and mild disappointment) when we used that opportunity to teach him that leadership isn’t about being in charge but rather about working with everyone and being of service.  

He hadn’t really thought about it that way but now that we mentioned it he could see how that made sense. 

Then he started thinking about how exactly he could work for his classmates and working that into his speech.

 

 

Teachable Moment #3: The Art of Creative Compromise

I think the teachable moments we had jumped on so far were a bit of a humbling experience for our candidate.  Positions of leadership, even 3rd grade Class President, were not about glory and unchecked power to declare lunch on Fridays will from now on and always be gummi bears and ice cream. 

So far his speech was coming along nicely with some strong examples of valuable leadership qualities. But he definitely wasn’t satisfied with that being it.   

I agreed.  

His dilemma was that he couldn’t promise anything.  

Or could he?  

Leadership means trying to work with everyone to find a compromise everyone can feel good about. Thinking outside the box is a hard thing to teach but with a few awkward examples from me, my son decided that even if the teacher’s rule meant there would usually be homework on Fridays, maybe they could at least start their homework in the last few minutes of class on Friday and get head start. 

Ah ha! Creative compromise.   

 

This candidacy was a rich opportunity to for all of us to revisit the idea of what it means to be a leader. Personally, I followed up with a bit soul searching and thought of my own role as a leader in my home, in my career, in my community. This experience made me do a mental checklist of which qualities I would like to see more in myself.  

For my son, he walked away with a much better sense of what leadership is truly supposed to be. And that even if you bestowed a leadership position, things get more challenging from there. It is work. 

I am going to say this was a meaningful experience for all of us. 

 

There are times when I mess up the whole parenting thing but I think things turned out alright this go around. These kids might possibly stand half a chance despite me. 

 

Phew. 

 

 

 

Kicking Off the School Year Right!

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images

 

Before we even begin this post, let us have a moment of silence for the end of summer. No more staying up late catching fireflies, no more sleeping in and then heading to the beach, no more flying by the seat of our pants as I do with my kids all summer long. 

(sigh!) 

It is time to start setting alarms, managing time (or at least being better about it!) and creating some awesome routines that are going to make life this school year freaking amazing. 

In the near future I will start having my mob get used to their normal, earlier bedtime and start getting in the habit of waking up at a time they would for school.

That seems like a pretty standard "get ready for back to school" routine, right? 

But there are other super simple strategies that anyone can start using now. These healthy habits will flow right into the new school year with ease and help make sure that our kids have a well organized and positive start to the school year.

Check them out and see which strategies will work for you and your kiddos!

 

          1. Lay out clothes the night before.

Whether you pick out your children's clothes or if they do it for themselves, choosing outfits the night before eliminates rushing and stressful decision making first thing in the morning.  As a mom, I see this as having one less thing to be watching over in the morning. When the kids wake up and already know what they are wearing there is less chance of arguing over outfit choices or being consulted a dozen times about what matches what. You and the kids can start the day feeling calm and in control and you can stay focused on the rest of your tasks at hand! (Like cooking a healthy breakfast!)

 

          2. Set the table the night before.

Again, it doesn't much matter if you set the table or if the kids do this for themselves but here is another task you can check off the night before when time is more available. You will be glad to not have to do this in the morning when time can be more limited. Like strategy #1 you eliminate an extra task and can begin the day in a stress-free way. Also, if the kids are setting the table it promotes responsibility and time management! (Bonus!)

 

          3. Replace late night tech time with reading

Studies have shown that late night tech time can interfere with sleep quality, how quickly children and adults fall asleep and result in daytime sleepiness. No thanks!

Time spent at night with computers, cell phones, tablets and other devices can negatively impact daytime performance for us and our children. We can make a positive difference in the quality and quantity of sleep by setting limits to late night tech time. Having a tech-free cut-off time for both CHILDREN AND ADULTS (Yes, mom and dad, you guys too!) is a healthy idea. Replace what used to be time in front of a laptop, tablet or TV with reading or even experiment with journaling, nighttime yoga or whatever works for you. Try different things and see what fits best with your family! 

 

If you are looking for ways to give your kids a solid, healthy start to the school year these ideas are a great place to start! These nighttime routines will set you up for a smooth morning so you and your kids can have an awesome day and school year! 

Now, if you also want to connect with other moms who are building happier and healthier lives, join us in The Real Moms Collaborative, a free online community for moms! 


 

Michelle Obermeier is a busy mom of three as well as a Certified Holistic Health Coach and owner of Real Moms, Real Health. She studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. In addition to giving workshops and lectures, she works with busy moms to lose weight, have more energy and implement a healthier lifestyle in their household by giving them new tools and lots of support to reach their goals. To learn more about her programs, here on her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram