A Tour of My Home: How We Live In Real Life

I love when my home is organized and clean. Before kids, I was able to see to it on a pretty regular basis. But all that changed when we had babies. They had so much stuff, and the stuff just accumulated. As they’ve gotten older, we’ve been able to get rid of bassinets, cribs and baby gates, but now we have a ridiculous amount of toys, games and collections.

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Creative Play Ideas with Paper Cups

When we traveled this summer, I kept our toy bag quite limited. I challenged myself to work with everyday items to use as toys for the kids when we were there. I even made a Pinterest Board with easy activities to do while traveling. Once we got settled, I took inventory of what was ready in the condo and went shopping for other basic items. One of the first projects we made were coffee filter sun catchers, very easy because we had coffee filters in the condo.

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You are a Social Detective Book Review and Group Activity Ideas

You Are a Social Detective is a great introduction to Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking, written especially for kids who struggle in social situations. The book is divided into 3 different sections. Whenever I use this book as a teaching tool, I read one section at a time.

The first section focuses on having different kinds of smarts, including school smarts and social smarts. It discusses how we use social smarts all the time, whenever we are around others. This is so important for kids to understand. You need to be using your social smarts anytime you’re around others. This section also focuses on expected behaviors and the consequences of those actions. If we do things that are expected, other people feel good and want to be around us more.

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10 Strategies To Help Kids Calm Down

As a school counselor, I often had kids come into my office in a heightened state, and it was my job to be able to help them calm down and get back to work in class. I had lots of items in my room to help achieve that. It’s always easier for kids to talk about what’s bothering them when they’re doing another activity or playing a game. As a mom, I know that there are lots of things that can help my kids reset when they are having a hard time, or getting into arguments or just have on their cranky pants. Here are some of my favorite items to help kids calm down and get back to the green zone.

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RAK: Gifts for Dance Class

My daughter loves to dance, and for years she kept asking if she could take lessons. Finally, when she was in Kindergarten I signed her up for a local tap, jazz and ballet class. I found a great small business that was right around the corner from us. This place seemed perfect! The teacher, Ms. Amy,  is wonderful and she sets a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. She even keeps extra tap and ballet shoes we can use. It’s so thoughtful. We’ve been going ever since. The classes are small, and both years the dance teacher’s daughter has been in my daughter’s class. The teacher and I have become friendly over time, chatting about our kids, schools, etc.

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9 Books to help kids manage their anger

I’ve mentioned before that my son sometimes has really big feelings, and I wrote about 3 things we’ve done at home to help him manage those feelings. One of the interventions we use is reading books. We love books in general, but I find them super helpful when working with children as a mental health professional. It’s such a great way to start a conversation or introduce some different strategies to them. Here are several of my favorite books to use to help kids learn to manage their anger.

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DIY Calming Glitter Jar

I like to make calming jars with kids because not only is it a fun activity, it’s also a useful coping strategy that can help a child calm down and relax. Calming jars can be used as a way to take space when things get a little overwhelming. Just shake the jar and watch it. There is something very calming about shaking the bottle and watching the glitter or other materials slowly settle down. At our house, we use them at bedtime and as a way to relax.

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The Zones of Regulation

The Zones of Regulation were created by Leah Kuypers; it’s another great tool to help kids learn self-regulation skills. This framework is designed to help kids notice what they are thinking and feeling, how their thoughts and feelings affect their behavior and learn to self-regulate. I absolutely love teaching the Zones of Regulation to kids. It’s such a great visual for them to see what zone their feelings are in and learn ways to get back to the green zone.

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