Keep Kids Reading This Summer with our Kid’s Fire Tablet Giveaway!

Written by Author, Misty Black

We want to help motivate kids to read this summer, so I’ve teamed up with 4 other authors to offer you a chance to win a Kid’s Kindle Fire Tablet. Plus, everyone who enters will receive all 5 eBooks FREE. Details below. ENTER TO WIN HERE

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Let’s learn more about the authors in this giveaway.

Misty Black is a best-selling children’s book author and mother of three. She wrote Can Quilliam Learn to Control His Temper? and Punk the Skunk Learns to Say Sorry. Her focus in her Punk and Friends Series is to help children learn the social skills needed to navigate their big emotions. You can follow Misty on social media by searching Misty Black Author. The third book in this series, Brave the Beaver Has the Worry Warts focuses on helping children deal with anxiety and worry. It will be released next month.

Lauren Mosback is both a children’s book author and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is the award-winning author of My Sister’s Super Skills, the first in a series of books that introduces children to important coping and wellness skills that increase their self-esteem. Lauren lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three young children. She loves adventuring with her family and strives to continually learn, grow and write!

Dr. Brie is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arizona. She specializes in strengthening the parent-child relationship. Dr. Brie has presented at numerous conferences, workshops, and conducted trainings around the US. She is the author of I Will Always Love You.

Lauren Jumrukovski is a licensed school counselor turned blogger at www.theysayparenting.com and author of They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book.

Her book is a firmly guilt-free guide for parents and parents-to-be focused on intuitive parenting and on the emotional side of being a parent. What works for one parent may not work for another, and that’s okay. Every child is different and there is no one right way. “They Say” is full of ideas for navigating the hearsay and common parenting tough spots, but reminds parents to feel confident in the decisions they make for their families. Through heart-felt, funny, and relatable stories, readers will see that we aren’t alone in our feelings and experiences.

April Cox is an award-winning author and founder of Little Labradoodle Publishing. The Little Labradoodle series of six books include two picture books and four coloring/activity books. “My goal is to provide beautifully illustrated books with characters that kids love while re-enforcing core values in a way that is fun for the whole family. Her award-winning Puppy Pickup Day can be found here.

As you can see, this is a great line-up of authors, counselors, and mothers who truly care about your children. So don’t just enter because you want a free tablet (which I know you do😉) but join in because you want your child to grow up to be the best person they can be.

Click on the King Sumo link here and simply enter in your best email to join. Plus receive extra entries for sharing (all details included in the link).

Ends 5/29 at 5 PM EST. Awarded at 6 PM EST. Final results will be emailed. No purchase necessary. Not affiliated with Amazon.

Happy Reading!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 30+ Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items or My Author Journey: Writing My First Book

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30 Plus Fun Craft and Activity Ideas for Kids with Household Items

Here is a list of over 30 fun craft and activity ideas you can do right at home with household items. I love these activities as they don’t require an extra trip to the store, or purchasing any materials, because most of these items you can find right in your house. Win! Many of these activities also involve upcycling!

These fun activities for kids were compiled from some amazing bloggers! Simply click the links below the blog title for more information and full activity/ craft instructions!

You will find activities for kids of all ages! Have fun!

From Artsy Fartsy Mama Blog:

Free Printable LEGO Challenge Game

Super Soft Two Ingredient Play Doh

From Finding Myself Young:

5 Minute Toilet Paper Roll Houses

From Picklebums:

DIY Cardboard Tube Construction Toy

From Crayons and Cravings:

Sponge Paint Toddler Art with Homemade Paint

From Mom in the Six:

Flashlight Games

From The Play Based Mom:

Rainbow Toast: A Fun Breakfast Activity

From A Cotton Kandi Life:

How to Make Plastic Yarn (Upcycled Grocery Bag Craft)

From Little Learning Moments Blog:

Sticky Note Hunt

From the Feeling Nifty Blog:

The Easiest No Sew Sock Bunnies

From the Who Needs a Cape Blog:

DIY Water Bottle I-Spy Game

From The Dad Life Lessons Blog:

How to Make a Dollhouse Out of Cardboard

From The Printables Fairy:

Origami Fortune Teller

From Go Science Kids:

DIY Magnetic Marble Run for the Fridge Door

From Mud, Paper, Scissors Blog:

Cheerios and Pipe Cleaner Bird Feeder

From Red Ted Art:

Toilet Paper Roll Giraffe Marionette

Making Watches with Toddlers

How to Make a God’s Eye Weaving Craft

From the Four to Love Blog:

3 Printable Indoor Scavenger Hunts

From Enjoy the Eco Things:

How to Make an Easy Dollar Tree Barn

From the Moms Who Save Blog:

Frozen-Inspired Princess Wands

From Projects with Kids:

Printmaking for Kids Using Recycled Materials

From Bitz & Giggles:

Make Your Own Lava Lamp

Slinky Fish Craft

From Best Toys 4 Toddlers:

Ice Art Scene

From the Animallama Blog:

DIY Milk Carton Bird Feeder

From Team Cartwright:

At Home Chemistry: Cleaning Pennies with Ketchup

For more fun activities, check out these additional ideas:

From Toot’s Mom is Tired:

Let Celebrities Read Books to Your Kids

From Moms and Munchkins:

Indoor Scavenger Hunt Ideas

From Savoring The Good:

A Complete List of Free Disney+ Coloring Pages

And finally, many additional activities from,

A Mother Far From Home:

Easy Screen-Free Activities for Kids at Home

I hope you have found lots of great activities to try out right in your own home. I will leave you will one of my favorite mottos:

Remember, when in doubt… Play!

I hope you enjoyed these activities for kids with household items! Let me know which activities you want to try with your children in the comments. I would love to hear how the activity went!

To learn more about. me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Creative Gifts for Creative Kids of All Ages or What Makes a “Good” Parent, It’s Not What You Think

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Creative Gifts for Creative Kids of All Ages

Gift and Activity Ideas

I’ll be honest, gift buying for my children isn’t easy these days! Looking around my house, there are just so many toys! This year, I wanted to find a special gift for my children’s birthdays, one they would cherish for a long time, but I was also looking for gifts that wouldn’t cause additional clutter.

There is a lot of discussion about offering experiences over toys when it comes to gift buying, and I love the idea behind this, but what if there was a way to capture both in one gift? I have found a few gifts which do just this. They are small, they inspire creativity, and they encourage children to get out and explore all at the same time!

My children love being creative. Give them some tools, art supplies, craft items, and they couldn’t be happier. I can relate as a blogger. I am constantly snapping photos and the kids see me take them. In fact, they are my subjects most of the time. I was so happy when a wonderful company, Father’s Factory, gifted us some of their items to try. Check out these amazing gift ideas that my kiddos cannot get enough of. These are some of their favorite gifts of all time. I will share the gifts they love and also some neat craft and activity ideas for any child who loves creating and exploring! You can rest assured that I only recommend products that I know and love.

The WoodCam

Wooden Camera

First, is the wooden digital camera. These wooden cameras are made by walnut and cypress wood and they take real photos. There are 4 built-in filters, so my children can easily take photos in color, black & white, and sepia. I think there is something special about not being able to see the photo they take until they return home and upload them onto the computer. It encourages the art of photography and there truly is a magic around capturing little everyday surprises with my kids. It allows us to enjoy the moment we are in rather than focus on taking the “perfect” photo. Father’s Factory shares that “in a world of ‘instant’ and ‘now’, these are perfect for teaching children patience, understanding delays, and even how to deal with disappointment.” I have experienced this. My oldest daughter understands her camera more and more each time she ventures out. At first, she may not have captured exactly what she had in mind, but on the other hand, some of the photos she took came out way more beautiful than we imagined.

We actually built the camera together and it only took a minute.  There is a built-in lens, but the WoodCam also comes with two additional lenses for more fun. One is a fish-eye lens, and one is a wide angle lens and they pop on and off with a magnet. This one even comes with an SD card.

activities for kids

Activity Idea:

activities for kids

Grab a camera and head to your local park, or even out to your backyard with your child. We went to a local park and took photos of the scenary and the animals, and it was one of our favorite outings so far. Here are a couple of photos my daughter captured directly from her Father’s Factory cameras on our first outing:

The PaperCam

This Digital Camera is made with recyclable paper and it also comes ready to be assembled. Not only is the outside made out of paper, but it comes unassembled and you can put the camera together with your child. What an amazing experience it was to see how a camera looks on the inside and then to use that very camera! Talk about inspiring the love of photography! It only takes a couple of minutes to put together.

You can connect both of these digital cameras to the computer through the included USB cable, and upload and view your photos.

Activity Idea:

Print your favorite photos either from your camera or from theirs. Your child can use them to make their very own scrapbook. For her birthday, my oldest daughter asked for a scrapbook and supplies to go along with her camera. She has had so much fun choosing the photos she likes and then adding stickers and designs to her very own scrapbook. This is such a great way to make memories last a lifetime.

Wooden Toy Cameras

Wooden toy camera

This Polaroid Style Wooden Toy Camera is a high-quality wooden toy camera with a kaleidoscopic lens and a magnetic detachable flash. My youngest has so much fun with the kaleidoscopic lens and putting the flash on and off. This camera includes 5 InstaFun drawing cards to encourage pretend play.

Activity Ideas:

My three children have all enjoyed drawing a polaroid style picture on the provided InstaFun cards and pretending they were taken by their camera. We were able to erase the colored pencil and crayon marks from our cards and use them again and again.

Another idea is to take your toddler out to a local park or farm (even your backyard), and have them play pretend with their camera. I took my youngest out with her toy camera and she had so much fun telling the sheep to “say cheese” and trying to get them to “smile” for her camera. I caught it on video and I know that is a video and an experience I will cherish forever.

Wooden Toy Camera

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: What Makes a “Good” Parent? It’s Not What You Think

Check out my book here: They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book

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What Makes a “Good” Parent?

Are you a “good” parent?

I was watching “This is Us” the other night. The mother was talking about rocking her early-waking baby. She was so excited to snuggle and listen to her favorite music on her headphones while she watched the sunrise. It was so sweet… but, there came that feeling sneaking in again that I often feel… 

I didn’t like that. I don’t like that still. I hate when my kids wake up early. I must be a bad mom…

This happens to me a lot. The negative, self-questioning, accusing thoughts creep in, and I find myself asking: Am I a bad mom?

Why do we have thoughts like this? Why do we let the things we see and hear—the things we see on TV, on social media, the things our friends are doing—make us question ourselves?

It’s hard not to. The advice and opinions are everywhere, and when it comes to parenting, we will never find a one-size-fits-all manual. 

We will find articles with titles like, “The best parents do these things,” or “What you should never say to your child.” Well, you know what, who made them the judge? Who made them the parenting expert who knows exactly what is right for MY family and MY kids? These articles don’t leave me with answers. They leave me with lots of questions about whether I am doing anything right.

So, ARE you a good parent?

YES! You are! Ask yourself these questions:

Do you put your child to sleep/ help them sleep— whether it be in their room or yours, whether you let them cry it out or rock them ‘til they’re out?

Do you feed your child— whether it’s formula or breastmilk, or even teeny meals between LOTS of snacks?

Do you love your child— even after they grab your almost full coffee and sling it across the table, or take a crayon to your walls? [Yup, speaking from experience].

Do you clothe your child— whether they dress themselves, in expensive clothes or in hand-me-downs? Or, even if your child is dressed better than you (as you just barely made it out of the house)? 

Yes?

How often do you lose your patience? Some? A lot? A ton? 

Well, how often did you teach your child something, even if it was that you made a mistake? There is so much value in that.

You are doing all of these things?? THAT makes a pretty great parent!

So, what makes a “good” parent? It’s impossible to put into words, but I guarantee it’s not about how we feed, clothe, discipline, put our kids to sleep, or how we compare to others, or even how patient we can be. It’s all about love.

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes” or Top Educational Toys for Babies and Toddlers: Play to Learn

Check out my book for more about not always having to listen to what “They” Say: They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book

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Top Educational Toys for Babies and Toddlers: Play to Learn

Looking for a fun AND educational gift for a baby or toddler? Look no further! We have found the perfect Block Set and monthly Play Kits from Lovevery, a child development toy company! Their goal, much like my goal here on this blog, is to “help every parent feel confident.” Their play products “are designed by child development experts and distilled to their simplest, purest purpose: to be exactly what children need at each stage.”

As a Lovevery affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

First, check out Lovevery’s amazing Block Set which is fun for all ages!

Did you know blocks teach children about structure, balance, physics and math in a way that no other toy can? They provide a foundation for early learning. Early experiences with blocks help children develop spatial, language, cognitive, and problem-solving skills!

The Lovevery block set is the most comprehensive block set ever! It comes with an activity guide which shows us exactly how we can play with blocks with our children at each and every stage.

I didn’t realize just how much my children loved blocks, until we received this set and I was able to check out the accompanying guide which showed me ideas of how children can use blocks in play at each age and stage. These blocks are now a go-to for my one, four, and six year old, and we have spent hours playing with them.

There are so many ways to learn with these blocks:

Explore cause and effect, force, magnetism, velocity, and gravity by rolling the wheels down a hill.

Plan ahead and reach a goal by making a car or wagon.

The magnetic wheels make it super fun and easy.

Develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination at the same time. and experiment with pattern play by threading beads.

Learn about rhythm by making music.

Upon opening the box, my littlest one immediately began drumming with the sticks and dancing along.

Learn how to sort and categorize—and how things fit together spatially by sorting shapes.

Practice equilibrium by finding how things stack, balance, or fall.

Use the wooden people/ figurines to imagine, talk about feelings, and even build empathy.

When they are a little older, build confidence, strength and balance by setting up a small hurdle to jump over!

Plus make paths, count towers, make letters, sculpt feelings, build a house, or a city… the options are endless.

I started playing with these with my youngest, and soon, my older two had jumped in.

My son (4) cannot get enough of engineering different buildings and using the magnetic portion of the wheels to make all kinds of fun creations (you can see one of his creations above). My oldest daughter (6) loves to set up the blocks to make a store, a restaurant, and a house, and then play with the doll shaped blocks included. She has since even added in her own little dolls for more play.

I would highly recommend the Lovevery Block Set to any parent. What a great set of blocks which will grow with your child! The set would also be a great gift for a toddler or even for a baby shower… baby’s first set of blocks!

Another favorite from Lovevery is their monthly subscription Montessori-based Play Kits!

We have tried “The Companion Play Kit” for our 22 month old. This box is full of toys designed for toddlers to use from 22 to 24 months of age. I am sure we will use these toys well beyond when my littlest turns 24 months.

The kit has been perfect for our little one. She can use all of the toys now, and there are so many ways she can continue to grow by using and playing with each.

Included in the Play Kit is a play guide. Here is a snippet from the guide under, “Real Life is Where It’s At”:

“Right now, her brain is craving real-world experiences: she wants to be involved with whatever exists around her and use her developing senses to understand what things are and how they work. She wants to take in the smell of the laundry soap, tip the cup over and watch how the thick liquid pours into the machine, open and close the dryer door over and over, feel the dampness of clean laundry, work to pull warm, dry clothes out herself, and heap them in a basket.”

This is another reason I love the company, Lovevery, so much! Did you hear that? Toddlers are happy and learn SO much by just doing what we are doing and helping us! No more guilt for doing chores over playing with our children. They are learning just as much from simply working along side us.

In addition to descriptions and guides for every toy in the box, which teach multiple ways to play, there is an entire section on “Real Life Play.” In this section, many additional activities are shared which you can complete with regular household items!

Check out all the ways these toys teach:

Stemming from my school counseling background, I just love a toy that teaches! And, these toys teach in so many ways!

Learn about executive functions and learn to control impulse behavior by playing pretend with Little Quinn.

Show your toddler routines can happen even in unfamiliar places with the “Bea Gets a Checkup” Book.

Learn about perceiving, categorizing, and comparing with the Animal Match.

I love that this activity can help practice animal sounds, which are the beginning of language. You can also practice matching from left to right, to train the eye for when your child eventually starts to read!

Practice “coloring” with the Carry-Along Kit.

And, the accompanying stickers help your toddler work on the pincer grasp too!

Practice Bilateral Coordination with the Buckle Barrel.

This neat tool teaches using both hands together, finger dexterity, the pincer grasp, and hand-eye coordination as your child buckles and unbuckles!

Teach sizes, stacking, and transfer objects using the Stacking Dripdrop Cups, Tweezers and Felt Stars.

These cups are fun to stack and also encourage water play! Transferring the felt stars with the tweezers helps develop fine motor skills and concentration as well! Triple win!

Strengthen the muscles and skills needed for writing with the Mosaic Button Board.

Use simple two-piece puzzles to help your toddler learn what puzzles are all about!

Or, use the chunky puzzle to teach spatial skills! Lovevery shares that early puzzle skills are a predictor of spatial skills in preschoolers! You will find lots of tips like this in the play guide!

Learn how to process and manage emotions by reading the book, “Graham Turns Two.”

There you have it! A Lovevery Play kit is an excellent gift idea for any baby, toddler, or mom! Or, subscribe and receive a box full of educational toys every two months (babies) or three months (toddlers) for you and your little one. Who doesn’t love high quality, educational toys to explore with their baby or toddler? I would highly recommend the company, their toys, and their amazing play guides which help us moms feel confident as we raise our little ones into who they will one day become!

Shop Lovevery now, by clicking here!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Are Parents Setting Themselves Up to Fail? Or 10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes”

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10 Things I’ve Learned From My Parenting “Mistakes”

This is a guest post by Ivana Davies from Find Your Mom Tribe

If there is one thing that parenting points out to you, it’s your own inadequacies and shortcomings. I started on this road of parenthood, overjoyed and expectant, vowing to be the best mother that I could possibly be. I was going to serve all organic, vegan, non-GMO, restaurant-quality food. I was going to make my own soap. I was going to have the energy to play with my kids anytime of day, anytime of night. I was going to remain patient and steadfast in my discipline. I had dreams of writing books to inspire other parents to be their personal best, and I was determined to prove that having it all was possible.

Then reality hit. Dirty diapers, half-empty bottles of rancid formula, soiled clothes, crumbs everywhere, and my struggle with post partum depression were staring me in the face as I attempted to bridge the gap between daily life with my little loves and the unrealistic expectations I’d set for myself. Just when I thought I had a handle on things, life threw me another curveball, and I had to figure out how to deal with my own shortcomings and rise above them to be the best parent that I could be – at that time.

Let’s face it – we all make mistakes. We make mistakes in life, we make mistakes in parenting, and having a bit of compassion for ourselves as we move through the process and become more experienced is essential if we are going to give our kids the best. The key to surviving any parental mishap is how you own up to the mistake, and how you clean up after yourself. Not even parenting classes can prepare you for everything. You will make mistakes – it’s unavoidable. Your child did not come with an instruction manual, and you have to figure out what they need and what suits them best. Take these valuable nuggets that I’ve learned from my many mistakes, and maybe you’ll make a few less as you navigate these exciting waters with me. Jump in!

Lesson #1 – A little dirt is okay

Just make sure Junior isn’t taking handfuls of sand out of the sandbox. If your wayward toddler is exploring the kitchen floor and finds some Cheerios, don’t freak out. Think of it as an opportunity for them to build up their immune systems while enjoying a delicious snack. Make it a goal to intervene a little faster next time, and soon you’ll be beating them to the punch.

Lesson #2 – Let sleeping kids lie

I used to think that the only quality sleep that could be had by my children was in the crib surrounded by the best blankets, orthopedic structures, and stimulating mobiles. I was dead wrong. I soon learned that if my child fell asleep in the car seat while I was shopping for groceries, I should NOT disturb him upon arriving back home. I let him sleep to his heart’s content where he fell asleep, knowing that he was safe and comfortable. If only I could get in a good nap in any location…….sigh.

Lesson #3 – My kids WILL imitate me

Thoughts, actions, behaviors, words…..your little ones are like sponges. They will soak up what you do, and they will imitate you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; if there was ever a reason for raising the bar on your own language choice, behavior, and habits, it’s that. Think of what you want your kids to become, and what habits you would like them to form. They are watching you….so, model those behaviors, and you will soon see them performing them as well.

Lesson #4 – I need to relax when I hear curse words

Let’s face it – any kid in the public education system these days is FAR more knowledgeable than we were at their age. Think of the most vile string of curse words you could piece together, and they have probably not only heard it, but said it as well. If they let this stuff fly, don’t freak out. Calmly explain that there are other, more intelligent language choices that they can use to express themselves, and encourage them to see how creative they can get when it comes to expressing their emotions in healthy ways.

Lesson #5 – My kids will at some point be responsible for their own comfort

I can preach all I want about the dangers of frostbite and cold extremities, but when I drop them off at school, all bets are off. At some point, they will have to take matters into their own hands and protect themselves against the elements. If they are freezing because they forgot to put on a hat and gloves, so be it. Maybe next time they’ll remember. That won’t stop me from continuing to preach, though.

Lesson #6 – I will make mistakes when packing their lunches

There will inevitably be a mistake made when putting condiments on a sandwich. I might still be half asleep when I throw strawberries into a container, failing to see that one of them has begun to mold. Did I forget to pack your favorite kind of chips? Forgive me…..I was tending to the fifty other things you asked me to do this morning. It’s a wonder we can get out the door sometimes; there will be mistakes made, but when all is said and done, they are fed and clothed adequately about 97 percent of the time. Get over the other 3 percent, kiddos. Such is life. Love ya!

Lesson #7 – Kids will pit your partner against you

In houses that practice dual governance, you may be called upon to make disciplinary decisions that your partner might not agree with. Your kids know how to play this perfectly; take Halloween candy, for instance. If Mom says “no”, it is likely that Dad will say “yes” especially if he is engrossed on his computer. The more frequently you can talk to your partner about some non-negotiable rules for success, the less likely it is that your kids will try to put one over on you.

Lesson #8 – I wiped my kids way too late

My third grader is still asking me to come in and give her the once over after a messy bathroom episode. The truth is, most kids should be wiping themselves sufficiently by the time they are five or when they enter school. If we continue to perpetuate this, they will not gain the skills that they need to care for themselves, and infections are likely to develop as a result of improper wiping. Do a periodic check if you must, but insist that your kids start taking this over as soon as possible.

Lesson #9 – You will forget to do important things

With the sheer volume of information coming home from school, it is likely that you will miss important dates, important permission slips, and requests for money that impact your child. Teachers are forgiving, and your kids may not be. Do your best to keep up with this information coming home from school and coaches, and apologize for missing information. Forgive yourself, repair the situation, and move on. Life is too short to cry over spilled milk. 

Lesson #10 – You will lose your cool, you can count on it

Regardless of what kind of kind, patient person you normally are, parenting can sometimes stretch you to your very limits. You will be sleep-deprived, caffeine-deprived, and pulled to your wits end with the demands that our little ones make on our time, our bodies, and our souls. You will lose your cool with them, and you might even say and do things that you regret later. Be real, admit your mistakes, and repair the damage; no relationship is quite as important as that of parent and child. Commit to the process of seeing this through to adulthood (yours and theirs!), and there will be a richness of relationship that you can enjoy for years to come!

Author’s bio:

My name is Ivana Davies, and I’m an educator turned stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 7-year-old girl and a playful 5-year-old boy. Since I didn’t have a clue about raising kids, I had to learn it all the hard way. I managed to find so much information online, and that inspired me to turn to blogging to share my experiences and struggles as a mom. Being a mom is not easy. In fact, it can sometimes be pretty isolating. My blog, Find Your Mom Tribe, is here to help you connect with other moms, as well as to share mom hacks, information, and tools to help you on this parenting journey. You can catch up with us on Facebook and Pinterest.

You may also enjoy: Are Parents Setting Themselves Up to Fail?

About Lauren

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Are Parents Setting Themselves up to Fail?

I’ll be honest, I have really struggled these last few weeks. Our family has been sick off and on. The kids continue to pass illness back and forth, and it is draining to say the least. We all know how hard it is to get a true sick day as a parent. Most of the time we just end up pushing on at our own expense.

Thoughts have crossed my mind like:

Other parents aren’t losing their cool.

Other parents aren’t crumbling under the pressure.

Other parents aren’t breaking down into tears. 

Other parents don’t snap at their child. 

I know my situation could be so much worse, but somehow, THEY are still holding it together. Why can’t I?

Sometimes we create this unrealistic standard in our minds based on our assumptions. The pressure to live up to this impossible standard can be paralyzing. This is still a challenge for me even though I hear stories every day where other moms tell me they feel the same way, or where other parents tell me thank you for sharing this (whether it’s here or in my book), because they have been there too! Even still, I struggle with the pressure. I just wanted to share today that the truth is we aren’t alone in our feelings no matter how much it can feel like we are. We aren’t the only parent out there who has lost their cool, snapped, or broken down.

So, here is what I am going to do:

I am going to keep trying to remind myself that I am not alone.

I’m going to remind myself to stop basing my self-worth on assumptions I have made about others and about what I am missing in comparison.

I will continue trying to accept myself for who I am as a person and as a mom.

And, most importantly, I am going to let the tiny reminders I see each day confirm that I am enough and that I’m doing just fine… when my kids smile, when I see them contently playing, when they calm themselves down all on their own, when I see love in their eyes. We know the signs are all there. We just need to watch for them and take note.

I hope you will do these things alongside me.

People ask me a lot, “How do you do it?” People may think, She must have this all together… after all she wrote a parenting book. But the truth is, I don’t! And that is exactly WHY I wrote the book. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling alone and feeling like we need to live up to the unrealistic expectation of perfection. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling like we are alone. 

I’m tired of us parents feeling like we don’t measure up.

It is all based on the lies we allow ourselves to believe (or the lies we tell ourselves) and the assumptions we make.

The truth is, when we try to live up to an unrealistic standard we have created in our minds, we are setting ourselves up for failure!

Let’s break this train of thought down, and be comfortable in who we are. Then, we will truly be able to shine.

If we stop setting ourselves up for failure, we will finally be able to see our success. 

Check out my book here: They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

You may also enjoy: Bullying Hurts, How to Prevent It and How to Stop It or Author Interview- Lauren Jumrukovski on Blaif Magazine

To learn more about me and by blog, check out: About Lauren

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Author Interview: Lauren Jumrukovski on Blaif Magazine

I am super excited to be featured on Blaif Magazine this week, talking about my personal experiences as a parent and my new book, They Say – Not Your Average Parenting Book.

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. 

“Becoming a parent comes with a lot of challenges, the biggest one being understanding when to listen to “what they say” and when to ignore it and follow your gut. Lauren Jumrukovski, author of They Say: Not Your Average Parenting Book, tells us everything about the constant struggle between doing what they say and what you think is best and the reasons why she chose to write this unconventional parenting book!” – Blaif Magazine

On this interview, I am sharing about one of my biggest parenting mistakes, how I protect my heart as a mom, when I realized listening to what “they say” wasn’t always best for my children, parenting choices I admire, when I have received judgement as a parent, and more!

“Second is recognizing that our children aren’t out in the world stumbling along blindly. We have taught them so much through their lives thus far that they can use as they navigate the world on their own. And when they falter, they know they can come to us and we can continue to teach them more.” – Lauren Jumrukovski (Author Interview for Blaif Magazine)

“I hope my book will encourage parents to be confident in their decisions, and also to realize that just because we choose to parent differently that doesn’t make any of us wrong. It would be amazing to live in a world where there is no judgement and where we all support each other and build each other up.” – Lauren Jumrukovski (Author Interview for Blaif Magazine)

Read the full interview on Blaif Magazine: Interview with Author Lauren Jumrukovski

You can grab a copy of my book here: They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

To learn more about Lauren and her blog, check out- About Lauren

You may also enjoy- Bullying Hurts: How to Prevent It and How to Stop It or Top Products for Moms!

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Bullying Hurts: How to Prevent It and How to Stop It

As a mom, when something hurts my child’s feelings, it tears my heart apart… no matter how small. Being licensed as a Pre-K through 12 school counselor, it used to break my heart when I learned of bullying in my office. We know bullying can cause many devastating effects, so I find it so important to take bullying seriously. All parties involved – the person being bullied and the person who is doing the bullying – need support and can benefit from learning coping skills and opening up about their experience and feelings. 

What is bullying?

Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as, “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Bullying can be verbal, physical, social or cyber bullying.

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Preventing Bullying: 

The last thing we want is for any child to be bullied, therefore, preventative measures are very important. It is the best-case scenario to prevent bullying from happening in the first place. 

Here are some ways we can help prevent bullying:

Help Your Child Develop Self-Esteem

First, you can see even in the definition of bullying that it involves a power imbalance. Oftentimes bullies target someone they perceive as weak. On the other hand, I have found bullies themselves often bully others because of a lack of confidence or a lack of self-esteem.

We can teach our children to be confident in themselves for who they are. We can help build their self-esteem: It’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to be different. And, it’s okay if someone doesn’t want to be our best friend. Let’s face it, as hurtful as it sounds, there will come a time when another person does not care to be our friend. This does not make us any less of a person. I think it is important for our children and teens to recognize this as well. 

We are huge readers in our house. Here are a few books which teach self-esteem, confidence and feeling comfortable in one’s own skin:

It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny, by Marilyn Sadler

Thelma the Unicorn, by Aaron Blabey

Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All), by Lori Orlinsky

I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem, by Jamie Lee Curtis

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet, by Dr. Seuss

Point Out Your Child’s Strengths

We can teach our children to be confident in themselves and their individual qualities by pointing them out. Even when our kids are young, we can catch them doing something good and mention it. As they grow, we can point out their positive qualities as well. I think it is important to not only point out what our kids are great at, but also what they are working hard at. We can compliment when they try, when they are working towards something, or when they don’t give up on something.

Teach Kindness

Teaching our kids to be kind is invaluable. We can compliment them when we see them do something kind and give compliments which focus on their heart rather than only on their physical attributes. Although we use both types of compliments in our home from time to time, I try to continually squeeze in that they are beautiful on the inside. Kindness makes beauty. 

Not only can we encourage our kids to be kind; we can encourage them to be inclusive. It is important for kids to understand that they are not required to like everyone but that they are required to be respectful to everyone. Being respectful may even mean including someone even if they aren’t your close friend. I started talking with my children at an early age about looking out for someone who is sitting alone, or playing alone, and I encouraged them to check in with that child. 

We can teach kindness by modeling it. We are modeling kindness even when we don’t realize it. For example, have you ever stopped and held the door for someone on the way out of a restaurant? Do you say thank you to the cashier or associate at the store? Our kids pick up on these things. 

Teach Empathy

We talk about empathy quite a bit in our house. Kids can learn by trying to put themselves in other people’s shoes and imagine how they might feel. Talk about events which actually occurred, or tell a story. Then ask, how would you feel if this happened to you? How do you think that person felt? Here’s an example: how might a child feel who didn’t get invited to a birthday party? Books can help teach empathy. One of our favorites is, The Berenstain Bears and The Golden Rule. Another great one is, The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts.

Keep Open Communication with Your Child. 

Ask them about school. Often times, when asked “how was your day?” children will say, “fine,” “good,” or something along these lines. I like to try to get creative with my kids to get them talking. Here are some ideas which have worked for us:

Play a game of questions. 

We like to do this before bed at night. We set a number of questions and ask away. Often the questions end up being would you rather questions, like “would you rather touch a worm, or eat spinach?” Kids get pretty creative! But, I love that I can squeeze in questions like “what was the best (or worst) part of your day today?” 

Best, Worst, and Weirdest 

My husband actually came across this idea, and we tried it and love it! We usually do this during dinner or before bed at night. We go around and each have to share about the best, the worst, and the weirdest part of our days.

Sometimes just keeping communication open with your child will allow them to open up to you when something is wrong.

What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied:

Here are some strategies I used when working with students which can be helpful if you have a child experiencing bullying. 

We can talk about these strategies with our children now. If bullying ever takes place, they will have a whole tool kit at their disposal and they will have an idea of what to do. The following strategies can be used alongside reporting the bullying to an administrator, teacher, or to school personnel.  

Fake It ‘til You Make It 

Have you heard of this phrase? As I mentioned before, bullies tend to bully those who they perceive as weak. Therefore, confidence can be key. Even if a child doesn’t feel confident, they can “Fake it ‘til they make it.” They can keep their head up, shoulders back with good posture, and look up and at others. 

Make a Joke and Brush It Off

When an act of teasing occurs, one can make a joke of it and change the subject, or simply brush it off. The less the victim seems to be affected, the more likely the bullying is to stop. For instance, let’s say someone was making fun of my new haircut. I could say, “Yea, I probably shouldn’t have let my baby sister cut it,” laugh and move on. Sometimes, this will be enough to end the comments, stop the conversation, and allow the child to walk away. Another option is to change the subject, or turn and begin talking to another student.

Safety in Numbers

This leads me to my next strategy: Safety in numbers. Encourage your child to walk with a friend. They can even tell the friend what is going on and they can help diffuse a situation if it arises. 

Avoidance

Sometimes, avoiding the bully completely is the best answer. The child can attempt to only go near that person if an adult is close. In the hallway, the child can take a different route. 

Ask Them to Stop 

When bullying occurs, tell the bully to stop loud enough that other students or a teacher will overhear (without yelling). It is also important to make sure not to say anything inappropriate, or both children could end up in trouble.

Name the Behavior

A child can simply name the behavior after it occurs: “That’s bullying. Stop!” Sometimes naming the behavior as bullying can make the bully stop and evaluate what they are doing. 

Diffuse the Bullying

For this strategy, you keep saying “So” or “So what” over and over until the conversation ends. For example:

“Your hair looks horrible.”

“So.”

“That’s the worst haircut ever!”

“So.”

“So, you look ridiculous.”

“So what.”

… at some point, sometimes the bully will get frustrated and walk away.

This strategy also decreases the likelihood of the bullying to occur again because it portrays confidence. This also takes the power away from the bully.

Respond By Being Kind

Have you ever heard the saying, “Kill them with kindness?” This is another one. Most bullies are bullying because they are having their own issue. Maybe they are being bullied themselves. Maybe they lack confidence. Maybe they are jealous for one reason or another. Responding by being kind might confuse the bully or surprise them into stopping. It also exhibits confidence and can make one less of a target. 

You can role-play with your child and practice these strategies. They can even practice these by looking into a mirror. If they practice their responses, they will be more confident when faced with a true issue. For the younger ones, drawing, storytelling, or playing with dolls can be great ways to role play situations.

We can teach along the way as our children grow. We don’t always want to take on the problem and solve it for them, especially if it’s small. Guide them and practice with them as small situations occur. They may be more likely to come to us if they are facing something difficult. 

Of course, if your child is showing signs of sadness or if they do not seem like themselves, go talk to someone and get help. Most schools have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. School personnel can be a huge help. Simply being aware of the situation will allow the school personnel to intervene if an issue occurs. 

I always reminded my students, there may be something going on in that student’s life which is causing them to act this way. In order words, I might say, “They are the one with the problem, not you. Just because they say something to you or about you doesn’t make it true.” A lot of times students felt there must be something wrong with them when they were being bullied. Helping them see that they are not the person with the problem helped. 

What If My Child Is the Bully?

What if my child is a bully? Many of the tips in the “preventing bullying” section above apply if you find your child is bullying others. Often times, children who are bullying are experiencing some sort of bullying or are lacking confidence themselves. I believe having a conversation with your child and checking in with their feelings is very important. Here are some questions you could ask your child.

When talking with your child about what happened, try to use “what” questions rather than “why” questions. Questions that begin with “why” typically lead to a feeling of being blamed.

For instance, instead of, “Why did you do that?” you could ask, “What happened?” or “What was going through your mind?” 

As mentioned earlier, you can help your child use empathy:

  • “How do you think she felt when you called her stupid?”
  • “Imagine someone said that about you. How would you feel?”
  • “If you would feel sad if that was said to you, what made you say it to them?”
  • “How did you feel right before you made the hurtful comment?” 

(Getting to the bottom of whether they were feeling sad, angry, annoyed, jealous, and so on can be helpful).

Creating a “feeling wheel” can be helpful for the younger ones. Simply draw a circle. Have your child color in the circle, with different colors representing different feelings. This can help get a conversation started about how to appropriately handle our feelings. 

Here are some other great questions to ask overtime. You may find at certain times children are more open to talk than others. Try talking to them at different times during the day and see what works best. My children are more likely talk right before they go to sleep at night. 

  • How do you feel when you are at school?
  • Do you like school?
  • Tell me about your best friends.
  • Has anyone been bugging you?
  • Do you ever feel sad at school?

Of course, if your child does not want to open up or talk with you about bullying, setting up an appointment with the school counselor, or an outside counselor can be invaluable. Counselors can help children practice empathy, teach coping skills, and help children identify and work through their feelings in healthy ways. 

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Top Products for Moms

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Top Products for Moms!

Over the past 6 years, between three kiddos, we have tried out lots of products! I have narrowed it down to our absolute favorites and shared them all on our new Amazon storefront!

Check out our storefront here: They Say Parenting’s Favorite Things

As an Amazon Associate and Amazon Influencer I earn from qualifying purchases. You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Some of our favorites included in our storefront are:

For Mom:

The best instant iced latte!
The Wet Brush
Our favorite double decker diaper bag
…and more!

For Baby:

The Happi Tummi – incredible for calming gas pains!
The best cradle cap brush
Our favorite diaper creams and ointments
The most convenient cabinet closures ever (baby proofing)!
Our favorite sippy cups
…and more!

For Children: 

The easier way to store stuffed animals!
Our favorite full potty seat covers
A conditioning spray which also prevents lice!
Our favorite hooded towels
…and more!

Plus, a link to my newly released parenting book, toys and games, items for the home, pregnancy, and fashion! Check out all of our favorite things here: They Say Parenting Amazon Storefront

To learn more about me and by blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Looking Back – When My Heart Went Off to Kindergarten or Parenting with Grace





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