Children’s Grief Awareness Month

When sitting down to write about this very important topic, I hesitated. Where do I start? What should I focus on? There’s so many feelings that come with grief. And that’s when I knew, it’s important to acknowledge them all….starting with our own emotions and reactions.

To help children, we must first be honest with ourselves and how we feel. Without first exploring this, we can’t truly see any walls we may put up when it comes to helping children. We need to be honest with ourselves and take a look at the wave of emotions, thoughts, and realizations that we go through when someone we know dies. Seeing ourselves more clearly will allow us to enter into conversations with children who do not possess the coping mechanisms or ability to decipher their emotions.

Because when children lose someone they love, they need our support, our love, and our help. They need us to be honest with our word choices about death, but compassionate and gentle with our approach. No adult wants to have children experience grief, but it happens. Their tears and heart ache will trade places with anger, fear, loneliness, and perhaps even self blame at any moment.

It’s important to note that even though they are stages to grief, they do not go in any specific order. Once again, grief has no order. Grief hits unexpectedly, and the “stages” come and go, interchange, and jumble with however someone is feeling at that moment.

Every child is different with how they experience grief. The best thing we can do is to be present, support them, and love them.

The Grief In My Heart

In the quiet times, when I least expect, it finds me.

It tugs and pulls, and climbs up to the surface – gasping to come out.

It’s grief – and its different for each of us…but it’s there.

This year has been hard for everyone. Some of us have lost someone we love. Some of us haven’t been able to hug those that are still here. And all of us have struggled at some point with isolation, routine, and trying to stay positive for those around us.

But it’s hard! And in those quiet moments when I sit in silence, an unexpected companion shows up. And I let myself FEEL all that I’ve worked so hard to ignore this past year. And with a deep exhale, I cry. Because life is so different. But it’s OKAY to cry – to mourn how things were, what I miss, and what I’ve lost. I’m writing all of this to let everyone know it’s okay to cry. To let yourselves feel isn’t being weak – it’s being in tune with your emotions. It’s letting out what’s been hiding for a while. And maybe once it’s out, you can take a cleansing breath, and begin the day again. I hope that you can.

Friday Faves: The Extraordinary Gardener by Sam Boughton

Happy Friday! Today I want to share with you The Extraordinary Gardener. It is a gentle, sweet book both written and uniquely illustrated by Sam Boughton. This story is about a boy named Joe, who lives in a world of gray. Joe loves to go into his imaginary world filled with vivid color, plants and unique animals. Joe gets an idea and decides to plant a seed, water and care for it. One day, it blooms and changes the world he lives in. My kids and I really enjoyed this story. I hope you give it a chance and it finds it’s way into your home. I’m sure you’ll like it! Enjoy!

Friday Faves: My Shape Is Sam by Amanda Jackson, Illustrated by Lydia Nichols

My Shape Is Sam by Amanda Jackson, Illustrated by Lydia Nichols

Happy Friday everyone! I have SUCH a special treat to share with you today! I am so excited! My Shape Is Sam by Amanda Jackson is a truly wonderful book. Sam is a square who lives in a place where each shape has a job. He’s a sturdy stacker, but longs to roll like the circles. One day he rolls and continues to roll til his edges smooth out. (There is so much detail that went into this book, even the corners of the pages are rounded!) He loves it, but the other shapes aren’t sure what to think. He follows his heart and when asked what his shape is, he says my “Shape is Sam”. It’s a book about being different and wanting to follow your heart and true self. With wonderful illustrations by Lydia Nichols, this book teaches kids about shapes and shows them that being different is okay. What a great lesson that can be applied to many different aspects of life! I finished reading this to my kids and they immediately asked for me to read it again. It’s new to the shelves so please check it out! Happy reading everyone!

Apprehension and the Unknown

As parents, we try to make the best decisions for our family. We research, ask around, and follow our instincts that tell us what will work best. But, we don’t always know how it will work out. I’m in one of those positions today. My son is attending his second year of preschool, but because of our family’s schedule, he’ll be in the afternoon class. As I sit here I’m wondering if this was the best choice. Will he have the energy he needs? Will he meet new friends, since everyone else stayed in the morning classes? I know I’m worrying unnecessarily, but it’s what I do!

Life is like that. Nothing is certain or comes with directions when raising kids. Yes, there are valuable books out there, but nothing that pertains to your exact situation, or the personality of your child. We just need to trust ourselves that we’re doing our best, and the best for our children. So to all of those parents who are wondering and worrying, I’m right there with you. What are you worried about?

Watching Football With Kids

Free craft to keep them busy!

Happy Saturday everyone and welcome to FOOTBALL SEASON!!!! We are just a little excited about it over here! The weather is absolutely perfect, overcast with a cool breeze, really makes it feel like Fall. If you’re parents with young kids you may be thinking, how are we going to watch the game? I hear ya. Getting to watch anything with kids is sometimes impossible! They need attention, or food, or a new diaper, or want to play, or are getting in a fight with an older sibling. It can be rough!

I wanted to share a website with you that has these really great FREE printable playdoh mats. My kids love playdoh! I found these mats last year and the kids really got into it. You can let them add beads, leaves, flower petals and any nature the gather from outside. Let them be creative! Will this keep them occupied through the whole game… no. But it could allow you a little viewing time. Because let’s be real, kids cannot be occupied for 4 hours straight without parent intervention.

What you need to do is google : picklebums playdoh mats. It will bring up the page with lots of free options to print. I tried to do a direct link, but because the post is a few years old, it wouldn’t work. But you can still find it really easy, just like I did today. One tip is to laminate them, which I didn’t, but instead used a clear photo album page and slid the play doh mat inside. I hope this helps and……GO BUCKS!

Pressure, Pushing Down on Me

Good morning everyone! Is it just me, or does it feel like today’s society moves faster than ever before? That’s probably because it is. There is so much that we are expected to get done in a day that sometimes, I’ll admit, I’m already tired at the day’s beginning. Thank goodness for coffee! (Or tea if you prefer.)

Whether you’re a stay at home parent, a working parent, or someone who is single, there are obligations that you have to fill. There is work to be done at the office, deadlines to meet, kids activities/sports practices that you need to get to, housework, late night studying in college or to better your existing career. Pressure is always there, but we need to make sure we aren’t putting too much of it on ourselves, or on our kids.

I sometimes forget that my kids are only 4 and 6, and then am completely shocked when they act their age. Kids acting like kids you say? I know, like I said, somehow it shocks me! I have to remind myself that their little bodies can only handle so much activity, even if it’s a really fun one that they’re enjoying, it needs to be managed. Ah, time management, and not in the usual sense. I am really trying to be an energy detective, looking for clues if my children have had enough in hopes to prevent a meltdown. No one every likes to experience the full force of a child’s frustration. And, prepare for a spoiler alert, kids don’t like it either! It doesn’t make them feel good to completely lose control, not have the energy to settle down, and then face repercussions for a situation that they don’t have the ability to navigate. We, therefore, are their navigators.

I am a work in progress regarding this issue. But being aware of this, and to look for areas that need tweaking is the first step. As for the other steps, that I’ll cover another time. I’m tired! May you all have a wonderful day, and may your coffee, or tea, see you through!

Learn to swerve

Hi everyone! Here in the mid-west it’s raining and in the mid 60s…it feels like fall! I have to admit, I do love a rainy day. It’s an opportunity to cozy up, slow down just a bit, because let’s be honest, you can’t exactly run in the rain. (Well, I guess you COULD but would you really want to?) You can still be super productive, but there’s an ease to the day. It’s almost as if you have to have realistic expectations since you can only get so much done. Extra errands become less necessary. I’ve already rearranged my day because the thought of taking my youngest in and out of the car to various stores in the rain just seems ridiculous.

Life is like that sometimes. We have a set plan for our day or week and then something unexpected happens and we have to adjust. It is in this adjustment that we can either succeed with grace, or fail. I worked as a nurse for 16 years, and I’d go into the unit with my set plan and mindset for the day. Which is funny because the minute I entered my first patient’s room that all changed. I HAD to adjust to my patients, to their expectations, fears, disappointments, successes, or regressions. You prepare yourself as much as you can for your day, then see it shift once it starts.

This shifting occurs all the time as a parent! I’m actually laughing at myself because there have been mornings when I’ve gotten up extra early, got ready head to toe, and have lunches packed all before my kids wake up. Once their feet make it downstairs, any of my preparedness is out the window, blown away by the storm that is children. It’s not all bad, it’s just that they are people too, with THEIR own agenda and THEIR own internal schedule. They aren’t robots set to obey all commands.

So today, be kind to yourself. Life doesn’t go to our specific plan. If it does, consider yourself lucky! But if you’re like the rest of us, remember that it’s going to be okay. Let the rain come, bring your umbrella, and shift when you need to!

Friday Faves

Happy Friday everyone! We made it! (Insert celebration dance here!) I have a super cute book to share with you today. Ally-Saurus and the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey is a book about Ally (who refers to her self as Ally-saurus) and her friends who have a great time playing in their shared world of make believe. That is, until Maddie comes along and starts telling everyone the “new rules” she has just made up. It’s a delightful story that gently teaches kids about bossiness and the need to respect each other and our differences. A great message, with cute and unique illustrations makes this book my pick for the week. Enjoy!