Category: Guest Post

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Embrace Routine

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
– Mike Murdock

If someone would have told me years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, that I would plan my day so thoroughly and thrive on a routine as a mama. I probably would’ve rolled my eyes and politely smiled. I remember reading child psychology books when I was in college and being fascinated at the fact that children literally thrive off of routine and familiarity. It was fascinating to read about studies done and brain development.. all pointing at the importance of a routine and how it comforts a child to know what to expect.

I am a lover of lists and a creature of habit myself, so it came naturally to me to implement routines with my children when I became a mama. Although routine is needed in a child’s life, it is natural and normal to be spontaneous once and awhile. Of course, that’s life! The balance is teaching your littles to embrace routine but it’s okay to steer in another direction some days.

Family routines make transitions easier, sets reasonable expectations, and gives the little one ease when it comes to trying to “predict” what his/her day will look like. Whether little ones are waking up in the morning before school, settling down for mealtime, going outside to play or getting ready for bed, they need routines to establish good habits. Children don’t have a lot of control in their lives, but routines can give them a sense of organization, stability, and comfort. All families can benefit from some type of routine to establish normalcy, a way to get things done, and a sense of security.

Children often fear the unknown – whether it’s the broccoli on their plate – or a big life change like moving to a different house or gaining a new sibling. While change is a learning opportunity, it can also be stressful for children. A normal routine brings comfort and consistency to a child’s life. Routines help with behavior management, planning ahead, and literally help the little ones feel safe and secure. You may have a few different routines you follow, such as morning routine, nap time routine, or evening routine, and that’s wonderful! Routines are different than schedules, this is important to know. Don’t confuse a rigid schedule with a routine. Routines guide the family with a general idea or rule.. there is plenty of wiggle room with a routine! A few positive things that occur from having a routine: little ones sleep better, they cooperate more, they find comfort in the expected, their behavior is better, they are more confident, less stressed, and repetition and predictably of routines fosters learning in little ones.

So, embrace routines and remember to allow for flexibility and sensitivity. Only you know your family inside and out, so you know what will work and/or not work for your family. A routine is meant to help your family, not hinder it. Be sure your routine is healthy and positive for your little ones and other family members. Breathe and find comfort together. Be well.

– Jessica Smith, B.S.

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Embrace Kindness

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
– Desmond Tutu

Kindness

While traveling home, my son, Benjamin and I pulled off the highway to stop for coffee and a treat. The local coffee shop wasn’t very busy and only had two young men working… which seemed logical. Benjamin and I were second in line and behind us was an elderly couple. As we approached the cashier, we made some friendly small talk and stated our order. All of this took, maybe, a few minutes. The elderly couple behind us started saying, “Can we get helped soon..? We’ve been here for like an hour!” After another minute we were handed our coffee but were still waiting for Benjamin’s drink. The couple proceeded to sigh profusely and state, “geez they need some help back there or what!?” Benjamin leans into the counter and whispers to the young man, “I’m sorry they are being mean, they should know to be kind to people trying their best.” As we left the man behind the counter proceeded to ask the couple, “Sorry about the wait, may I help you?” to which they responded, “geez about time!”

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year

“The light in a child’s eyes is all it takes to make Christmas the most magical time of the year.”
– Unknown

Winter walkEvery year, when the Holidays roll around, I say to myself.. This year is my favorite year with our little ones. Their ages, their excitement, their overabundance of kindness.. it’s so special to witness this magical time of year through their eyes. As much as Holiday cheer is abundant this time of year, there are those in need and those who are struggling silently. Below are some ways to help gently spread a little love and Holiday cheer to those around you. Be sure to involve your littles, lead by example, and make new family memories by helping those in need.

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Embrace the Change of Seasons

“All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried.”
– Donald Miller

Pumpkins
Hello, Fall. Fall is here in Maine which means cooler temperatures, pumpkin flavored everything, fuzzy socks, local fairs, and obligatory pictures of adorable littles picking apples. We watch as families settle back into a school routine, beach toys are put on the shelf in the garage until next summer, and Halloween costumes line the store aisles with their bright colors and spooky masks.

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Embrace New Beginnings

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
– Seneca

laughing
I didn’t expect this day to come so soon. I find myself daydreaming about her first steps, her first belly laugh, her first sleepover at Nana’s house. When I sit on the floor and play with her now… I think about how she loved backing up into my lap with a book when she was two, or how she snuggled on my chest while I rocked her, or how she would play with her kitchen set for hours at the age of three. So many moments. So many milestones. So many chapters.

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Embrace Self-Care

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, you are worth the effort.”
– Deborah Day

Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.

Self-care is define as “care provided ‘for you, by you.’ It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self-care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.”

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Embrace Nature and Outdoor Play

“Children are born naturalists. They explore the world with all of their senses, experiment in the environment, and communicate their discoveries to those around them.”
– The Audubon Nature Preschool

When our children move on, we hope they remember how much fun it was to explore and investigate

From expressing creativity, individuality, and imaginative play to running freely, bare-foot to making messes without the worry of dirtying the home… there are numerous reasons little ones benefit from outdoor play. In addition to fun and positive reasons, there are also many health benefits that make outdoor play beneficial for littles. Psychologists believe that a child’s brain develops at a much faster rate when outdoor play is incorporated than for those who play strictly indoors.

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Embracing Your Inner Child

“We nurture our creativity when we release our inner child. Let it run and roam free. It will take you on a brighter journey.”
– Serina Hartwell

Sleding

Our “inner child” is the source of our vitality and creativity. The concept of our “inner child” is that deep within each of us, is the memory of the child outgrown, and this “inner child” continues to live and interact with the present, even as it reflects the past. Developing a relationship with your inner child can heal emotional problems from childhood as well as help you embrace your inner creativity and imagination.

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Embrace Forgiveness – Part 2

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

mother and sonMy eight-year-old son had an altercation at school last week that left us feeling deflated as a family. He came home from school with a swollen, bloody lip because a boy punched him in the face at recess. Remaining calm and focused was immensely important as I listened attentively to what my son said that afternoon. As a parent, teacher or health care worker, it is important to listen, stay focused, and remain calm when talking about bullying or altercations with a little one. Once we moved past the fact that he would heal physically and there was no long term damage to his lip… we then began discussing his emotional health and spirit. We talked as a family about the confusion he was feeling, the hurt, the sadness, and the next steps.

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Embracing Change in the New Year

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
– Charles Darwin

Maine Wildlife SignAh, change. Do you embrace this beautiful and inevitable constant in life: change? Without change… life is stale, limited, and minimal. Without change… there isn’t growth. Babies are born, littles turn into adults, adults grow into elderly folks… and the circle of life continues. Relationships end, new chapters begin, love comes and flows. Nothing is untouched by change; even in nature, a flower doesn’t live forever, regardless of how beautiful it is. Yet each year, we are blessed with more gifts, joys, and love… all while being faced with challenges, hardship, and lessons.

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