2020 Prime Day Deals for Parents!

What is Amazon Prime Day?

It is Amazon’s biggest and best sale of the year. Way bigger than their Black Friday deals, as it includes 100s of thousands of products at incredibly steep discounts. It is usually in July, but was moved back this year because of COVID.  This year it starts on Tuesday October 13th at (12amPST) 2am CENTRAL and ends at end of the day on Wednesday  October 14th.  It’s a great time to buy items you’ve been checking out or get a head start on birthday and/or Christmas gifts. These are some of the best prime day deals for parents listed this year. 

Even though it’s a two day sale, things get put on sale at staggered times, AND many items are only on sale until supplies last.  So it’s beneficial to grab items as they come on sale. There are SO many items and they all come on sale at different times, which is what can make it overwhelming. This is the third year I’ve written this post and have been told time and time again that it is really helpful.

How Does this Post Help?

I put in the research to look through everything and pick out the best parent/baby/toddler/home items that I think you all would like.  Most items I have used/tried, know other parents that love them, are well respected brands or have amazing reviews.  

It will help you save time researching and make sure you can snag some of the best items on sale quickly. I’ll also list what times they come on sale. You may want to add it to your cart before the time- but don’t push buy until the sale time starts!

I will be updating this post all through Tuesday and Wednesday. New items will be listed that come up and I’ll strikethrough sales that have been sold out.  

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, please read my disclosure policy for more information. 

Amazon Prime Day Deals for Parents

Requirements

There is a catch though! You have to be an Amazon prime member to qualify for these deals. We have been prime members for a long time and it pays for itself in the free two day shipping, the free Kindle books I take advantage of and the kids shows that my boys watch on Prime Video.  Tons of other features as well. 

If you are not a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial to take advantage of these deals! And just cancel after, if it is not something you want long term.

These are some of the deals for parents that are worth checking out. I’m writing the times in CENTRAL because that is the time zone I am in. Also, as I write this- the amount of discount is not yet listed on all the items. Only the time it is going to go on sale. Reflect on which items make the most sense for your family and if the discount is enough to purchase now or wait until another time.

Updated on 10/14   9:00pm CT

  • Organized in categories and then listed in order of when they come on sale. REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT ON SALE UNTIL AFTER THE TIME LISTED. You could add to your cart, but do not purchase until they go on sale officially. 
  • No times mean they are already active.
  • Strikethrough items already sold out.

Baby/Toddler Feeding Items

Active

Sold Out

Nursery & Toddler Room Items

Active

Sold Out

Baby/Toddler Car & Travel Items

Active

Sold Out

Kitchen & Home

Active

Sold Out

Toys & Games

Listed the age on some to make it easier to decipher which ones would interest you! 

Active

Sold Out

Amazon Devices and Electronics

*all early access-sales have started.

Services

 

I’ll keep updating with more items that become available. I hope this helps you narrow down some of your options!

15 Simple Self Care Activities for Moms

Self care. It’s something that gets thrown around a lot these days. Especially towards moms. Traditionally moms have been expected to prioritize everyone else first, while multitasking seamlessly everything that is on their plates.  We know that is not a sustainable or healthy way to live, but it’s hard sometimes to break that mold. And in these uncertain times, self care is even more important. I don’t know about you, but we have serious quarantine fatigue over here. It’s been 8 weeks and the monotony of having everything in our lives happen in one place is beyond exhausting. So it’s a good time to review some simple self care activities for moms and make sure we are fitting those in to our routines.

These are important junctures, for me at least. Because if I am being worn down to my last thread or ounce of energy- nobody in my house is going to benefit from that. Instead of focusing on how difficult and scary this phase of life is, we could also use it as a time to pause and think about how we better take care of ourselves. It’s most important now. Especially in the most stressful moments when it seems we have even less time. When you think about everything you have to do, maybe something has to go to fit in yourself.  

self care for moms relaxingUnfortunately, we get pushed down to the bottom of the priorities. School has to happen, work has to get done, the house needs to be clean for us to live here, we need clean clothes to wear, everyone needs to eat 3+ times a day. And the list goes on.  But there has to be a way to find time for ourselves. Even if it’s 5-20 minutes a day, and fitting in longer stretches 3 times a week. 

I wanted to create a resource of real ideas that work for people. So I asked my friends and moms on social media for their favorite self care activities to compile this list. There were some common themes and also very individualized ways people make time for themselves.

Self care does not have to take up a lot of time, nor cost a lot of money (even though a spa day would be amazing). Taking care of ourselves daily is found in simple moments that refuel us. Fill your cup so you can continue being the badass mom you are. 

I’m planning on sustaining what I have started and picking 2-3 more activities to integrate into my life. You don’t have to do it all at once! Take baby steps and incorporate as you can.

self care exercise for moms

Exercise.

The majority of the moms and women I spoke to mentioned exercise, so it has to be mentioned first. Rightfully so, as movement gives your body bursts of serotonin. If you’re groaning right now. Don’t! It can be as simple or as involved as you want- just moving your body more. Many mentioned their favorites- walking, taking bike rides, and virtual classes like dance, weight lifting, yoga and HIIT.

This is one activity that I have been able to maintain during our quarantine days for at least 2-3 times a week. And it has helped tremendously in my mood and patience for homeschooling. 🙂 My FAVORITE way to exercise has always been dance classes.10 years ago (!!!), I specifically searched for a place in Chicago that offered dance fitness and strength training classes. I have been going to Mazi Dance Fitness ever since. So crazy, because it feels like a different life-I hadn’t even met my husband yet!

When the shelter in place went into effect, they launched their Mazi On Demand. Thank goodness! Because it’s my happy place and I needed that outlet. But the best thing is that anyone can try it out now, not just those that live in Chicago. I have a code for any of my readers that want to give it a try. It is also run by two amazing sisters that are also moms, so they get it.

There is a 14 day free trial, and you can use the promo code “URBANMOM” to get 25% off the monthly membership ($14.99/month) when that is done. Or use the code “URBANMOMYEAR” to get 25% of the yearly membership of $99/year. Whichever you choose- you’d get 25% off of as a one-time discount. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear what you think about it.  It’s exciting to be able to “dance” with more women, even if it’s virtually. 

Sleep.

This is one I’m adding for myself. I’m so tired when my kids go to sleep, but then I get a second wind with all the alone time and stay up too late. Sometimes I’m productive, other times I scroll mindlessly on the gram. No bueno. When you repeat this pattern too many times, it does not end well. From my personal experience. So this is on my list, go to bed earlier. Simple. 

Learn a New Skill or Practice an Old Hobby.

Learning something new sparks a different side of us that unfortunately lays dormant most of the time. If you are not sure what to do, think of things you did as a child that made you happy. That is one of the reasons I looked up dance fitness as an adult, because it was something I did all the time with my sisters. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start knitting, gardening, or calligraphy. It could be anything! 

Dress Up.

I’m not great at this one either. And I’m not planning on going full makeup or real clothes, while I’m stuck at home. But it is one that I am focusing on. When I make a little more effort in the mornings, I feel better. Usually it’s taking 5 minutes to do a face mask, or putting on my nicer leggings (ha!). (Real pants are overrated when you are simultaneously working from home and taking care of three kids.) That is what works for me, if putting on a dress makes you happy- please do it! 

Spa-like Treatments.

Give yourself a manicure or pedicure. Exfoliate, deep condition, put on a relaxing face mask or take a bubble bath. You don’t have to fit in a full spa day to get a little therapeutic tlc. Light some aromatherapy candles and put on relaxing music. All those things together will make you feel like you are in a real spa. 

self care activity for moms getting outside

Get some Fresh Air.

Take a walk or just read a book outside. Play with your kids or just sit on a blanket while your kids play. There are tons of proven benefits of Vitamin D and being outside. 

Connect with Friends.

If you’re like me and you can get lost in your daily grind, this is an important one. Especially now when we can’t physically see our people, staying connected is even more important. Schedule some zoom or facetime calls to make sure you have time to connect with loved ones. Having zoom calls with friends and other moms has filled my cup many times. Even if I feel exhausted when I am getting on. 

Organize and Make To Do Lists.

This can be self care! Especially if being organized brings you peace. Just make sure you write down some activities for yourself when you are getting your life organized. Actually integrating these into your daily schedule will make them more likely to become good habits. If organizing brings you peace, organizing projects around your home will probably bring you lots of joy.

Gratitude.

Sometimes if I am especially stressed and I have a full day ahead of me still,  I just sit down and think. Sometimes I jot them down. Just being grateful and listing what you love. It’s not easy to get off the stress train, when you are on it. An easy self care activity happens with a mindset shift. Think of all the things you are grateful for, you can jot them in a journal or onto a post it note to hang up in your home. Our thoughts are a powerful thing. 

Take Out Activities.

It’s not always about adding something new, but eliminating something that makes you feel worse. If you find yourself spending time on things that aren’t necessary to your life or bring you sadness- it may be one of your best self care activities to eliminate it from your life. For some people, this is browsing social media- either late at night or for long stretches of time. 

Date Night.

Solo or with your significant other! Sometimes a silly movie on my own is what I need and other nights a chance to connect with my partner without our children helps us refuel from our long days.

self care activities for moms

Do Something you Love.

Read a good book. Get lost in a long puzzle. Make a tiktok dance challenge video. Go on a hike. Watch a new show. Eat poptarts alone in your room (one of my friends shared this with me on Instagram and I cracked up. I like the idea of having my own favorite snack stash that won’t be devoured in one day by my kids!) 

I love reading and have recently tried Kindle Unlimited. (aff) I was skeptical at first if I would find anything I like but I have been pleasantly surprised. My favorite feature is the majority of the time you get the audio and e-book to easily switch back and forth. I like to listen when I am doing household jobs, but I rather read when I am in bed or taking some time for myself. 

Listen to Something Inspiring.

I love a good playlist or audio book when I’m doing dishes or folding laundry. Many people also love podcasts. I’ve added a few recommendations to my podcast collection. Saving a story or song you love can add something special to otherwise mundane household tasks. Or just as a background to relaxing on a rainy Sunday. 

Fresh Flowers or Plants.

If keeping plants alive brings you stress, this may not be a good self care tip for you. 🙂 I love adding touches to a space that add life and freshness and nothing does that like a plant or nice flowers. It is still something I am learning about, but there are many plants out there that are easy to take care of. Definitely start with those if this is a new venture for you. Candles or aromatherapy diffusers can also brighten up a space, or make it more relaxing. 

Do Nothing.

Why are moms always having to do stuff?? I wrote a Don’t Do List recently, because I was kind of over this supermom culture where we are expected to do it all. Maybe your best self care is to do nothing. But not with your phone. Just sit and chill. Maybe take a nap, you deserve it. 

If you have any more self care ideas that have worked for you or other thoughts you want to share- feel free to add them in the comments!

 

Homeschool Schedule, Activity Ideas and Resources!

The world is just crazy right now. That is the only way I can really sum up everything going on.  Currently, I’m in the second week of having the two older boys home from school, practicing social distancing and trying to create some sense of normalcy around this obscure time.  I created a homeschool schedule from the start, because that is just how my brain works.

Before we jump into any of that, remember this is SURVIVAL. This isn’t a period of time that will be your new normal forever.  Before you do anything, give yourself GRACE. Lots of it. I’ve had some great days with my boys, and some days like today when they didn’t want to do anything I had planned.  And that’s okay.  We’ll start over tomorrow. 

This time looks different for everyone. Some of you are working from home, some still have to go to work, others can manage this time with both parents and others with only one. Because of this, what works is not a one size fits all. You can see other families’ schedules and activities, but at the end of the day, you have to decide what works best for your family.  

I almost didn’t write this post, because there are so many schedules and ideas going around.  But I have found inspiration in all those things and love seeing what everyone is doing at home. So I want to share what is working for us, not to give you a fail free formula but maybe some ideas that will make your days in quarantine a little easier. 

This post covers routines and schedules, including our sample schedule, activities and resources as well as Amazon links to some of our favorite educational toys.  You can scroll down to whichever section you are most interested in!

Routines & Schedules

If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time, this isn’t a new topic for me.  Babies and children work better with a schedule, or at least a general routine for how their day will go.  This was affirmed during our first quarantine weekend a few days ago.  My kids were so much more whiny and frustrating when they had a “free day”. 

Most importantly for me, I argue with them less with a routine.  One day last week my 3 year old Ellis got up from his nap around 2:30, which I have as quiet time until 3. Options are to read a book, he can color, do a puzzle or any calm activity. He asked his brother to race cars with him in the basement. My 5 year old Miles walked over to our routine (written on an easel) and explained to his brother that it was still part of the school day and quiet time.  That he would play with him at 3. I guess he’s my son, huh? 🙂 

While Ellis was upset, he grabbed something to do quietly. It is a bigger fight with him when it is new and unexpected.  Most importantly, routines help tremendously with screen time. They know when they can watch tv or play with tablets.  They don’t ask for it all day, because they know exactly when it’s allowed.  All in all, it really helps with behavior, emotions and the flow of the day. 

Routines for Babies and Toddlers

There is a series of blog posts on sample schedules for babies and toddlers. They are separated by specific ages as babies change so much within months. If your daycare is closed or your nanny isn’t coming because of social distancing, these schedules may be a helpful framework to start with. 

Sample Schedules- Newborn to Two Years Old

Each schedule has a list of activity ideas, key milestones, some of the best educational toys for that age, in addition to a sample schedule.  Being creative with activities is especially helpful for toddlers during this time. Scroll down to the next section for activity ideas and resources. 

Routines and Schedules for Older Children

A great way to approach a schedule with older kids is to try and replicate what they were doing at school. It doesn’t have to be exact, but schedule lunch, recess and any other activities you can at the same time they do them at school. This helps keep some normalcy to their daily school lives, even if just a little. 

Side note: it’s also extremely hard to work from home and have conference calls with your children in the background. Especially if they are young and can’t work on something independently for too long. Each family’s situation is unique. You should decide what works best for you. It’s worth repeating that. Don’t feel pressure to create something that is not sustainable. This schedule is for you as much as it is for your kids. 

Our Current Schedule

This is the routine we are following during the Covid-19 school closure.  I have 3 boys- a 5 year old in Kindergarten (Montessori school, so officially he’s a 3rd year in 3-6), 3 year old in his first year of 3-6 Montessori or preschool and a 12 month old that was used to having me all to himself. 

Exercise: My boys are rambunctious so having a morning workout has been excellent. Even if it’s something simple, such as yoga and meditation. We use youtube for this: Cosmic kids yoga or zumba for kids- sometimes we do both!

Lunch and Outside Time: At school they go outside at 11:30 and have lunch at 12.  We kept that same window, but made it longer. I am having them help make their lunches and giving them more outside time to run and get as much fresh air as possible.

Related Post: How to Set Up your Kitchen for Cooking with Toddlers

Socialize: Facetiming with friends during or after lunch has been a great way to stay connected with classmates and family that we are not seeing on a regular basis. 

Naps/Quiet time: My 3 year old and 12 month old consistently take their afternoon nap at 1, so that has been fairly easy to maintain. My 5 year old gets independent work time or we work one on one on his sounds and pre-reading work.

Ideas for the other sections of our schedule are below! 

Activities and Homeschool Resources For Toddlers

(18 months-2 years old)

Related Post: 10 Simple Finger Food Meals for One Year Olds

In addition to the age specific schedules and activity ideas, here are some other resources for creating a schedule for this age group. If they are in daycare, following some of their routines will also help with the transition and sustainability of this time at home. 

Top Indoor Toddler Activities– great post for some quick ideas to get started. 

Create Magical Spaces– amazing inspiration for fort building or reading corner nooks.  It’s a perfect time to build forts and other things you normally don’t have time to do with your kids as you run from one activity or event to the next. 

Busy Toddler– This website is a mecca for toddler activity inspiration or you can also follow her on Instagram where she shares her best resources for having fun with toddlers.

*Scroll to the next section for some of my favorite educational toddler toys. 

Activities & Resources for Preschoolers

(3-4 years old)

Related Post: 15 Essential Books on Kindness for Toddlers & Preschoolers

I’ve found lots of great free printables on this blog called Life Over C’s.  Everything from alphabet work, to math and science, including these DUPLO number pages that were a hit at my house. Gave me the idea to use even more LEGOS for their work, like the addition problems my older son is doing in the second picture. 

homeschool schedule for temporary school closure

Make homemade playdoh! Not only was this a great science experiment, we talked about how the consistency changed as we added ingredients. My kids also played with it for hours, integrating sea animals and building structures of all kinds.

How I Organize my Preschooler’s Day & Activities

For my preschooler, I have a two hour work window in the morning from 9am-11am. Originally, it was 3 but that was just too long.  We’ve done this about  7 days now. Some days are better than others, depending on his mood. He rather be running and jumping and playing outside.

Working on practical life (prepping snacks and lunch), the alphabet, numbers, counting and map puzzles have been his primary focus.  

I saw an alphabet activity that another mom shared recently. She wrote out the alphabet on individual pieces of paper. One huge letter on each sheet. Then laid them out in a row, almost like a frog’s lily pads. Then her daughter jumped from one to the next. Saying the letter sound and something that starts with that letter. I love how it includes movement and would be a perfect fit for my son. 

Make your work window around what works best for your child. My 5 year old can work on 1-2 things during this window. But I set up a bunch of short activities for my 3 year old. He usually naps from 1-2:30, so he’ll work on quiet activities or games when he wakes up.

Activities & Resources for Elementary Aged Children

This article has TONS of online resources for kids in various subject areas including Kahn Academy and BrainPop.

Most schools and teachers are offering amazing homeschool resources to help you during this time. Definitely take advantage of those. Since my boys are in a Montessori school, the majority of my research has been specific to that pedagogy. Mostly because that is how they are learning at school and I want them to experience continuity.

The following post has affiliate links, please refer to the disclosure policy for more information.

We’ve also used educational games and play as they are young. This pack of map puzzles from Amazon was a great activity- we built the puzzles, talked about the world, drew them out on paper and then used our animal toys to discuss where they were from. Lots can come from one simple activity that you extend. 

My kindergartner has a 2 hour work window in the morning with his brother (9am-11am) and a 2 hour window in the afternoon by himself (1-3pm). A couple times in the afternoon I’ve let him use his tablet for phonics apps, it’s like a game but he is spelling and rhyming words the whole time.  We have also worked on his handwriting, reading and overall language skills during this time.  He needs quiet and concentration for this work, so it’s the best time to do it while his brothers are asleep. If he finishes before the two hours, he plays quiet games like magnet pictures, puzzles or LEGOS. Some of our favorite educational toys and resources are listed at the end of this post. 

In the morning, he works on math- addition and subtraction so far. And we’ve also tried lessons that his teacher shares via her daily blog post and google drive handouts. 

Chores and Expectations

We use chore charts and routine lists to integrate chores and daily expectations for the kids. They work well in getting a habit established in kids, especially young kids. And they also create a clear outline of what they are supposed to do when. 

Miles (5) is in charge of setting the table and cleaning it after everyone clears their own plate. Ellis (3) feeds the dog breakfast and dinner. They both make their beds in the morning (we need to work on this more 🙂 ), as well as help fold and put away their laundry.

We choose not to pay them for chores they do everyday. It’s something I learned from my oldest son’s teacher. Doing chores should be an expectation for their daily lives. Their home is also theirs- it’s a place to take care of and be grateful for. I think about them as adults, that instilling these habits within them now will carry over to adulthood.  Hopefully.

We do pay them for extra chores. Other times they have helped with bigger household chores, like deep cleaning the bathrooms or shoveling snow (not much help there, lol). Extra stuff like that we give them a small allowance. 

Master List of Age Appropriate Chores– from toddlers to teenagers. If you need age appropriate chores for your kids. 

Routine Lists– Have kids monitor their daily progress with a morning, afternoon and evening checklist. Each of my sons have two checklists. One for upstairs where their room is and one for downstairs in the kitchen. 

Daily Routine Chart– If your child loves to have something to pick up and move, rather than check things off a list- this is a perfect starting point. Miles used this routine chart when he was 2 and 3. 

Educational and Concentration Toys

Toddlers

  • Boley 12 Piece Safari Set– These animal sets are perfect for speaking and vocabulary building.  You can talk about the animal names, they can set up a safari scene, you can also buy another farm set and categorize which ones go together.
  • Busy Board Activity Binder– Working on practical life tasks are a perfect toddler toy. They are building skills, but also love learning how to figure it out, this one has buckles, zippers, tying work, and buttons.
  • BeginAgain Dinosaur A to Z Puzzle– I love the entire line of puzzles from this brand! They are all wooden, beautifully made, durable and a great “next step” puzzle.
  • Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks– Never underestimate the power of simple natural wooden blocks for endless open ended play and building. Works on motor skills, creativity and early engineering skills.
  • Magna Tiles 100 Piece Set– These magna tiles are all the rage and for good reason! There are really endless amounts of possibilities so it helps your 2 year old use various skills at one time.
  • Do a Dot Art Markers– Great introduction to marker play and creative design. Helps develop hand eye coordination and art creation in a simple medium before advancing to more complex drawing. There are lots of alphabet and number printables you can download where toddlers use these markers to practice.

Preschoolers and Kindergartners

All of the toddler toys also apply to preschoolers, as most are open ended and can be enjoyed for multiple years. Personally experience this twice over now with both of my oldest.

  • 5 Continent Puzzle Pack– We used this our first day of homeschooling and I’ve recommended them to various people. The boys do the puzzles but then they trace them on paper and color in the countries. The kindergartner then writes out the names of the continents and oceans. 
  • Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard– Perfect for younger preschoolers. The pegboard activity is great for creativity and fine motor skills.
  • Imagination MagnetsStill one of our favorites after owning it for two years. Fun pattern play that ranges in difficulty from easy to more difficult.
  • Floor Puzzles- These large puzzles are a great conversation starter as well! Like this Melissa & Doug Solar System Puzzle or Massive Dinosaur Puzzle or this beautiful Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle.
  • LEGOS-No list is complete without mentioning LEGOS. They are a great quiet time activity, help with concentration, following instructions and early engineering skills. Start with DUPLO sets and move up to the older sets around 4 or 5. The LEGO city collection is a great starter set or the LEGO and friends has lots of characters and adorable scenes.
  • Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly GardenThere is nothing better than the real thing to help stimulate the minds of your little budding scientists. In this garden, you get 5 caterpillars, all the food they need and a mesh habitat to grow your butterflies. So cool!
  • Qwirkle– All this social distancing will also make room for family game nights. Preschool is the perfect age to get started!  Qwirkle is one of my favorites. Involves strategy and pattern play that make it fun for adults and kids.
  • I Never Forget a Face Memory GameMemory games are a classic and perfect educational game for preschoolers and kindergartners. We start out with a small amount and move on to bigger “boards” the more we played. And this memory game in particular is beautiful! Another option is the Life on Earth Matching Game that has more animals and plants instead of faces.

 

15 Essential Books on Kindness for Toddlers & Preschoolers

 One of my son’s best friends has leukemia.  She was recently diagnosed a few months ago. (Before I continue, her mom knows I’m writing about this. She gave me the idea of sharing one of their many pictures together.) Also, know she is going to be okay and is currently in a 2 and 1/2 year treatment plan.  She is a strong, brave and incredibly intelligent young girl.  We are lucky to have her in our lives! Helping my son navigate this change in his friend reminded me again how books are truly powerful,  especially books on kindness.

While acknowledging that nothing Miles has gone through is even remotely close to how this is impacting his friend’s life, it’s a great reminder on friendship and kindness. Navigating a friend getting sick is a difficult experience for an adult, let alone a 5 year old.  She missed school for a long time and then because of her medicine, she looks differently and is more tired. Amongst many other side effects. The only way I can describe his overall reaction to her is fear. Fear of change and uncertainty and an unclear picture of what is happening. 

There were a few interactions that made me aware of his fear and uncertainty. At this point, she has not lost her hair yet from chemotherapy.  One day, Miles goes up to her and says, “I don’t like bald people.” Yes, it is heart wrenching to hear that he said that to her. This is his best friend. I don’t think it was malicious.  He is scared of how she is going to look because it’s different than what he’s used to, and also scared of what it means.  This does not make it okay by any means, because it probably hurt her feelings. I had to pause and reflect on why he chose to say certain things. Her  clapback (response) was absolutely the best though! She responds, “Your dad is bald. So you don’t like him!?”. Which is very true. Lol.  

Miles proceeded to ask his father if he was scared when he lost his hair and if he had cancer also.  All these things were clues that he had not fully grasped what was going on with his friend and needed to talk about it more. Even though he was telling me otherwise.

Why I didn’t buy books initially

I have bought books for so many things in his life- potty training, becoming a big brother, kindness, embracing diversity etc. I initially didn’t buy any books to talk about his friend! Serious mom fail. Since this is a classmate, they were talking about it a lot at school. He seemed like he was getting an overload of information.  If I brought it up, he’d say “I know, I know.” I concluded that he was receiving a lot of information and I should back off. 

I should have known then, that me talking or his teacher talking is very different than reading a book! A book gives them imagery and a story they are not personally involved in.  Taking out the pressure of how he was supposed to be or act or say, was very beneficial for Miles- and most kids. 

All the information he was hearing actually got confusing and overwhelming, so he started shying away from the topic instead of embracing the change.  They were told at school to be careful around his friend- that she can catch colds easier so don’t share snacks with her.   At one of our playdates, he had an uncharacteristic response to sharing with her. He didn’t want a lollipop she brought to share with him. This kid doesn’t turn down sweets nor does he have emotional reactions to things like that. It was a wrapped lollipop- which is not the same as sharing a lunch or opened snack that they have at school.

It dawned on me that he really did not understand what was going on. Why sharing this snack is okay- how he can’t catch cancer- how his friend is the one that can catch colds and fevers from him. As a result of him not having a full understanding, he started to come off as unkind. All these things happened around the same time- the comments about the hair and snack sharing. 

I truly feel that the majority of the world would be kinder to each other if they understood each other more, and empathized with each other’s differences.  But that could be an entire post on its’ own!

Turning Point after Reading some Books

So I finally bought a couple books about children that got cancer and/or more specifically, leukemia. Almost immediately I saw a change in how he spoke about his friend and what she was going through. In the books, they were very clear about how the child was feeling- how cancer is something you fight- especially as a community. He internalized how he has a role to play in helping his friend fight cancer. 

A few days later on the playground, a couple girls said that his friend looked “fat”. One of the visual side effects of taking steroids, is that she looked different than before.  Miles turned to them and said, “My friend has cancer and you hurt her feelings!”.  

Miles is by no means perfect. He will probably still say the “wrong” things sometimes, but I do think he showed up as a friend at a time when it mattered. I know it meant something to her, that she didn’t have to fight all these changes and reactions by herself- at least not every single time. And I hope he will continue to show up like that in the future. 

Books 100% made the difference- so important and powerful. 

Why Should we Read Books on Kindness?

In general, one of the biggest values in our family is kindness- not just saying nice things to their friends- even though that is an important first step. But also being a peacekeeper in their classroom, an includer if someone new wants to play with them, and speaking up if someone else says something mean- even if it’s not to them.  It is something that shows up in small ways, not just something you focus on when something more difficult happens (like a serious illness). 

Kids develop and prefer acts of compassion at a very young age.  As they enter daycares and schools- they are immersed into large groups of kids with differing personalities.  The lines become blurred and they need guidance on how to approach the world. 

This is why young kids are especially open to learning about kindness and compassion. We need to teach them the importance. How to identify emotions and feelings.  How to encourage appreciation of others that are different than them and empathize with someone else’s perspective or feelings. 

Many times when we talk, it can go in one ear and out the other.  As my example above reminded me! Books give them imagery and another world that makes a lasting impression. Kids remember them like they are living them in real life. They give our kids the language and context they need to fully embrace a concept or big change.  

This made me reflect on all the books I’ve gotten for the boys that I absolutely love and feel they make a profound impact.  Books on different types of kindness that will become essential parts of your home collection. 

Related Post: 10 Best Children’s Books to Diversify your Library

This post contains affiliate links, please read our disclosure policy for more information. 

Best Toddler and Preschool Books on Kindness

books on kindnessBe Kind– Perfect introductory book on kindness. Expressive pictures and descriptions on simple acts of kindness. Shows kids that kindness is not a difficult feat to achieve, it’s not huge gestures, but little acts in your daily life that can make a huge difference.

be kind books for toddlersShould I Share my Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)– If you do not have an elephant and piggie book, run and get one! My boys think they are soooo funny. And they always deliver a great message through a fun and engaging story by these two lovable characters. Our first that we loved was “Waiting is not Easy”. 

books on empathy for preschoolersThe Rabbit Listened– Beautiful book! Makes kids reflect on listening to their loved ones, instead of automatically offering what they think would be best in a situation. Good reminder that everyone needs something different to feel better when they are sad. 

Book of Empathy for KidsI am Human– This book was recommended to us by my son’s friend and her mom.  They were reading it and she exclaimed that he looks like my son Miles.  And he does! This book describes all the ways being human is always a work in progress. We all have great and challenging aspects of ourselves. It describes how it’s okay to make mistakes, pointing out good choices to use as responses to those mistakes. 

Books for kids giving to othersLast House on Market Street– Appreciating what we have, enjoying the different people in our communities and giving back. This book reads like an ordinary day between a boy and his grandmother, but paints a beautiful illustration on appreciating all the people around us and the power of giving back in simple ways. 

books for preschoolers kindnessThe Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade– Encouraging story about a girl that is little, but fierce. She notices all the bullying and unkind things around her.  One day, she chooses to speak up and her small voice makes a huge difference.  Perfect example of “see something, say something”. Even if it’s not happening to you. 

toddler books on feelingsTaking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that make me Happy– Great first book on feelings and identifying the things that make us happy- all the little things throughout the day. Good precursor to a book directly on kindness, as identify feelings and how different situations make us feel differing emotions. 

feelings book for toddlersThe Way I Feel– Another essential book for toddlers on identifying and naming their feelings. The one listed above talks about being happy, while this one explores a variety of emotions. Uses imagery and verses to describe different characters’ feelings and what made them feel that way. Also a great conversation starter, you can ask your kids if they can identify a time or thing that made them feel that same way. 

empathy books for preschoolersA Sick Day for Amos McGee– A man works at the zoo and has 5 different  and close animal friends. Shows how we can be friends with people that are different than us, and different animal species also! After the man develops a cold, the friends all repay his kindness and friendship with the same in return. Demonstrates diversity and kindness beautifully. 

working through conflict books for kidsTalk and Work it Out– This book is for older kids, maybe 4 and up. It gives kids specific language for how to deal with conflict with their friends or classmates or siblings.  Kindness is essential in handling conflict, but very hard for kids to think through what that looks like when they are upset that their friend took their toy or doesn’t want to play.  This book will give them tools to work through peaceful conflict with friends. 

books for kids on including othersStrictly No Elephants!– Great message on being includers. Little boy is excited to attend a pets’ club with his pet elephant. But he wasn’t allowed in. After feeling sad, he encounters a girl with a pet skunk. They eventually form their own club with other non traditional pets. But everyone is invited to join. Even those in the other club.

Stick and Stone– Perfect book for toddlers on being a good friend and sticking up for each other. Uses rhyming sing song verses to show the power of loyalty and a subtle anti-bullying message that is influential for young readers. 

Same, Same but Different– Kindness is also rooted in understanding and accepting differences.  This is a great book on long distance friends that live in different countries, and while there are so many differences because of that. They find all the ways they are similar. 

The Barefoot Book of Children– A book for learning about the children of the world.  Learning about differences creates empathy and acceptance- key elements of kindness! Also a great conversation starter about differences in a safe space. You can observe what your child brings up or you can ask them questions about what they see in various pictures. 

books about friends being sick for kidsHow do you Care for a Very Sick Bear?– Our last essential recommendation for books on kindness. Explores the friendship between two bears, showing kind and gentle examples on how to be a good friend through sickness. Describes how they may feel and simple gestures that young kids can do for their friends. Your child doesn’t need to have a sick friend to enjoy this book, instills the value of kindness even when things change and are difficult. Great addition to any home library. 

The Absolute Best 2 Camera Baby Monitor

You’re about to find out which is the best 2 camera baby monitor on the market! Save the headache of buying the amount of monitors I have, that eventually all give out. Even if you only have one child, you can use it with just one camera, or get a second for a playroom, or already be prepared when you have a second baby! You buy the monitor with one camera and add a second (or third or fourth!) separately. Yep, up to 4.  Seriously the best. 

Our Baby Monitor Journey

Ugh.  I haven’t had a bunch of baby video monitors because I love buying them and go on wonderful shopping sprees. They just stop working or aren’t user friendly. My family consists of 3 boys. I have an 11 month old Rhys, he’s my third boy.  My older two sons are Miles who is 5 and Ellis who is 3 and 1/2. Ever since I was pregnant with Ellis (4 years ago), I started researching, and then purchasing video monitors that could have 2 cameras.  A 2 camera baby monitor was and is important to me. I can see the nursery and toddler room simultaneously but only carry around one monitor receiver. 

At this point, I think we’ve gone through 4 or 5 different monitors since our very first one when Miles was born. It’s beyond time I share my experience with you all, and tell you the absolutely best one.  Because you’ll save money not having to re-buy the same product 4-5 times like I did.  

We started with video monitors from the beginning.  And audio monitors to bring on trips or have as a back up. It’s comforting to be able to see your baby in their room.  Hearing them sleep in the beginning, to seeing what they are up to in their crib later on, and finally to see if they are getting out of their toddler bed after transitioning.

Even now, my two older boys share a room and if one of them has a bad dream or has wet the bed, we know because of the monitor.  Yes, they are old enough to get up and walk to us. Sometimes it’s nice to hear them having a hard time and meet them where they’re at. It’s also super convenient to hear and talk to them through the monitor.  For example, their brotherly interactions while in bed are adorable to hear, but I can also press the microphone and tell them it’s time to stop telling jokes and go to sleep.  At night, I have the monitor set up to switch back and forth between their room and the nursery. 

Which Baby Video Monitors Did Not Work?

These are my experiences, but I also have a lot of mom friends and my history is not unique.  Our first video monitor was a Motorola MBP36S wireless video monitor, and it is capable of having multiple cameras.  It worked okay at first, but after a short time- it would always lose the signal and beep obnoxiously.  We lived in a small condo at the time. Even though it claims to cover a 590 feet, we never experienced that to be true. 

Since we had already purchased it, we decided to keep trying to make it work.  Like positioning the monitor closer to the room to keep the connection, even though that kind of defeated the purpose of having a baby video monitor in the first place.  Then, it finally gave out- when it started losing its’ charge quickly or not charging at all when plugged in. 

Next, we had the Summer Infant Video Monitor.  Which worked fine, until it didn’t.  I replaced the power cord more than once.  Eventually, it stopped turning on completely. Now that I have a camera that works well, I realize it didn’t have that long of a reach either before the connection would get lost.  Finally, my parents got a different monitor to have when we visited.  That one had a terrible image resolution and died within the first year as well.  Even without consistent use. 

When I was pregnant with my third, I was super annoyed that I was shopping for a monitor again.  I did tons of research and wanted to get one that would actually last me until I didn’t need a monitor anymore.  I wish I knew about it earlier!

This post contains affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure policy for more information. 

Okay, okay. I’m sure you’re anxious for me to tell you about the monitor I actually LOVE.  After tons of research, we landed on the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor.  The reviews alone will tell you how amazing this camera is. Now that I’ve had it almost a year,  I want to give you the real mom reasons why this should be your first choice from the beginning.  

Absolute Best 2 Camera Baby Monitor 

Best 2 Camera Video Baby Monitor The Camera

The Infant Optics DX-R Video Baby Monitor initially stands out for a variety of reasons. One feature is that it’s one of very few baby monitors that has an interchangeable lens.  Based on the room size or the position of your camera, you can choose the original lens, a zoom lens or a wide angle (sold separately). The original lens zooms in even without the special zoom lens, and it’s also capable of panning and tilting very far angles either up and down(120 degrees) or side to side (270 degrees).  See my sons’ room below. This is pitch black at night when they are sleeping.  I can span over to each of their beds, depending on who I need to check on. 

2 camera baby monitor night veiw

baby monitor at night

As you can see on the pictures above, the cameras also pick up the temperature in the room. This was so useful for us when we moved into our new house! The air and heating system was not working evenly, but we were able to make sure our boys’ rooms were okay via the monitor reading. 

baby video monitor interchangeable lensRight now we have two cameras. (The second camera is bought separately) One set up in the shared boys’ room and the other in the nursery. We have contemplated adding a third in the basement.  This baby video monitor can add up to 4 cameras. The boys often play in the basement, while I can’t be there. Either I’m making dinner or doing other things around the house.  Right now the 2 oldest are fine alone, but one day my youngest will start joining them. It will give me peace of mind to peak in on them if I am cooking dinner or other household chores upstairs. 

The Monitor

baby monitor camera viewThe Infant Optics video monitor has an excellent picture quality.  I can see the rooms clearly and the picture quality at night is great.  My baby Rhys likes to play a little before falling asleep, and sometimes he gets fussy before falling asleep. Lately, he’s been sticking his leg through the crib, and I can see that clearly in the monitor. I’ll go in and help him adjust, while if he was just playing and nothing was wrong, I’d leave him alone.   

The range has proven to be excellent.  It’s listed as a 700 feet range on the website, but all I know is that I haven’t lost the connection. We live in a 2 story house with a basement.  All the bedrooms are upstairs and my husband and I often watch a movie or hang out in the basement after the boys are all asleep.  The monitor does not lose connection at all, which is super important because I can’t hear the rooms well from the basement at all.  We also have a yard and I can go out there with the older boys while the baby Rhys sleeps.  I’ll put the monitor on the deck while I play with them. It doesn’t lose the connection even though it’s outside of the house! 

Waking up and playing after nap.

Many baby monitors have a 2 way communication talking feature, but it’s a feature that has proven to be necessary as babies become toddlers. Young babies will find your voice comforting, giving you a minute to make your way to their room.  Or you can remind toddlers to settle down into sleep. Most times that is all my boys need to hear- I’ll tell them really quickly through the monitor that it’s time to stop talking and get some rest.  Other times, I’ll go in there also- but it works enough that I always use it first. 

I usually keep the power cord in our room when I take the monitor downstairs, because I rarely need it to keep the monitor on.  I have it in battery saving mode the majority of the time which is about a 10 hour battery life in power mode or 6 hours when fully displayed. It’s a lifelong rechargeable battery, not anything you have to repurchase. It will make a loud annoying beep before it runs out of battery and turns off. Which is good so you know it’s turning off, even if it’s not in eye sight. 

Scan mode switches between the two rooms.  You can’t have both rooms showing at the same time, but I don’t mind this. For that to be possible, you’d have to choose a room to have sound for and the other room to mute.  When it scans, the monitor goes back and forth between seeing and hearing each room. 

Possible Cons

One con that other parents have mentioned is that the monitor only comes with one camera, and you have to buy the second and subsequent cameras separately. The good thing is that it makes a good monitor for people that only want a one camera video baby monitor, it’s not just great for the multiple camera features.  And as your family or needs grow, you can get buy the separate camera units. 

Other reviews have mentioned interference with cell phones near by, but I have not had this problem.  This could have been an issue with older models, since I have my phone and the monitor right next to each other on my nightstand every night. It does not use wifi, which means there is no app but I also believe this is why the connection and range are great and remain consistent. 

Finally, this isn’t the cheapest 2 camera baby monitor, but it’s also not the most expensive.  It’s exactly what you need. The fancier models have more features, they might be nice to have but you don’t need to spend the money if it’s not in your budget.  And the cheaper models I’ve already described. They tend to break often or have inconsistent performance.  Not worth it when you think how long you’ll use the baby monitor, especially if you have to keep replacing them. 

Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments! 

15 Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make

A few years ago, I started the tradition of making homemade gifts with my boys.  Originally the idea was that it would be gifts from them to various family members.  I want them to think about giving as an integral part of the Christmas season- not just always talking about what they want from Santa.   They were 1 and 3 the first year we made gifts, so the original  post was born- Gifts Toddlers Can Make.  A lot of those ideas can easily be made by older kids- probably even better and more independently.  But I also found a few fresh ideas that had to be added to our vault of homemade gifts kids can make.

These gifts have been well loved! And we’ve started incorporating their teachers as additional recipients. The idea of creating something with a few craft supplies and lots of love and intention really embodies what gift giving is all about.  The first two years we made fridge magnets and thumbprint keychains that you can find in the first post.  This year we are taking on shower steamers that are listed below.  

There is something so special about homemade gifts! Get your toddlers involved in the season of giving with these20 gifts toddlers can make.There is something so special about homemade gifts! Get your toddlers involved in the season of giving with these 20 gifts toddlers can make.Other things we are trying to incorporate every holiday season is purging some of what we have- either donating or throwing away toys that aren’t used. Also, volunteering and giving back to the larger society as a whole.  Hopefully some of these values stay with them into adulthood. 

Related: 20 Simple Gifts Toddlers Can Make, The 31 Best Toddler Gift Ideas & The Ultimate List of Preschool Gift Ideas

Lavender Heart Shaped Bath Bombs Spa like gifts are actually really easy to make! And inexpensive.  When you think of teachers and grandparents- a little relaxing bath product is always a great idea. Most people love them but don’t always buy it for themselves.These heart shaped bath bombs are adorable with their lavender pieces and relaxing essential oil scent. 

Citrus Sugar Scrub– This has 3 ingredients! Your kids can help you mix them together. Find cute jars to store them in and decorate with a ribbon and label.  Most importantly, it will be well loved!

Tissue Paper Votive Candles– these are simple, inexpensive and have a really nice lasting effect!

Hand Shaped Ring Dish You’ll never regret making a mold of your little ones’ hands.  One day, it will be so shocking that they were ever that small. 

Gifts kids can make heart necklacesPaper Heart Necklaces– We get A LOT of art home from school these days.  It’s hard to keep it all, but something that is wearable or has a function is super fun and something to be cherished forever. 

Washi Tape Wooden Bracelets– Another idea for wearable art! This one is very child led, if you are looking for a truly independent gift activity for the kids. 

Shower Steamers– These are our gift for this year. I’m excited about them! Make sure you listen to the instructions about adding water slowly. We already ruined a couple of batches.  The boys thought it was hilarious though- because they look like volcanoes and keep growing over time.  So not a total waste. Lol

gifts preschoolers can makeJewelry or Trinket Dishes– There are two posts that describe how to make these trinket dishes. Jewelry with flower paper or trinket superhero paper.  It’s a great idea to customize for different family members or teachers- deciding on how to paint the trays and what paper pattern to add. 

Painted Flower Pots– I love gifting flowers and plants- especially to teachers.  It’s such a nice addition to any room in the house, outside or in a classroom.  Can never have too many! Kids can paint these pretty independently as well. 

Sea Glass SunCatchers– These are beautiful additions for a kitchen window or breakfast nook- when the it catches the sun- it’ll draw amazing light all over your room.  Sweet way for grandparents to always think of their grandkids when they see that everyday. 

bath salts gift kids can makeHomemade Bath Salts– Yes, I’m still in love with all these easy spa like gifts that I personally think we all need! 

homemade gifts by kidsGingerbread Jar Cakes perfect for your budding baker and easily gifted in the mason jar. Win win! This reminds me of my baby shower- my sister and friend gave everyone Strawberry Shortcakes in a mason jar as the parting gift.  Oh my! They were such a perfect gift at the end of a long day.  I wouldn’t be mad if I left every party with a mason jar dessert. 🙂 

Peppermint Bar Soap– 10 minutes for a perfect Christmasy scented soap.  Done! Easily customizable with colors and other scents if desired. 

Sharpie Art Tile Coasters– If you haven’t noticed already, I love art gifts that are easily used around the home.  Your kids can paint a picture for someone on any day, but making them into household items that can be used is extra special. 

DIY Canvas Print– With a printed picture and a little glue, your kids could make their own Canvas art piece.  I love how this looks- would be a great addition to most modern home decor. 

Best Black Friday Deals for Parents!

You are probably getting tons of emails and notifications about Black Friday. As I reflected on how to structure this post, I want it to be worth your while- i.e Helpful in pointing out some good deals, and not just listing all the sites that have sales.  I’m going through some of the big retailers, and pulling out specific discounts and deals that I think make great Black Friday deals for parents. 

What I will not be including is every site that has a discount.  Because those are everywhere.  You can pretty much assume that Gap and OldNavy will have huge discounts like 50% off and more.  That is applied on the whole site and not really much more I can tell you that is helpful.  If you have a favorite brand, chances are they are having some kind of sale!

Related Posts for Gift Inspiration: 35 Baby Christmas Gifts Most Loved by Moms, 31 Best Toddler Gift Ideas, Ultimate Preschool Gift Guide 45+ Ideas

It can be a little overwhelming to see everything all at once. Before you start shopping, I would create a list, even a basic one- of what exactly you are looking to buy this season.  This way you have a plan for budgeting your money. It could be gifts for your family, but also it could be for yourself. If you are expecting a baby or looking into home upgrades in the near future, it’s a good time to purchase big ticket baby items and large electronics that are heavily discounted. 

I’ll share specific products from Amazon and Target, and other big retailers.  Since they have so much on sale, I’ll pull out the ones with the biggest discounts, best reviews, most loved and fit into great toy or game categories. 

Happy Shopping!

This post contains affiliate links, please refer to my disclosure policy for more information. 

Amazon

 Baby and Toddler Feeding Items

Toys & Games

Amazon Devices

Target

Deals are valid all day Thursday online but in stores from 5pm Central on Thursday November 28th until Saturday November 30th.  As supplies last.

Kitchen/Home

Baby

Toys

  • Baby Einsteins Sky Explorers Walker– Intro walker your baby is sure to love.  Especially trying to keep up with older siblings!
  • Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage Playset– I have two big Hot Wheels fans. They can play with their sets for hours- putting them together and racing each other. This is a great deal for a Hot Wheels fanatic. 
  • Nintendo Switch- Free MarioKart Game– If you have a 5 or 6 year old, maybe you are considering their first gaming system.  Nintendo is the way to go for young kids.  They don’t always do that many discounts- but saving on the game is about $50. 
  • White Mercedes Kids Ride On Car– 38% off. My boys just played with one of these at my parents’ house and they had a blast.  
  • LEGO City– 21% off, this line is perfect for intro LEGO players, 5+ years old- but my oldest got his at 4 years old and loved it.  
  • Strider Sports Balance Bike– 28% off, 18 months and up. People rave about starting on balance bikes! 
  • Huffy 12″ Bicycle– if you prefer a traditional tricycle over the balance bike, this is purely a preference. 
  • KidKraft Ocean Front Playhouse– $100 off, large wooden playhouse, perfect for the backyard or large basement. 
  • VTech Smart Shots Sports Center– $10 off, but also part of a huge selection of toys that is buy one, get one 50% off. 12 months and up. 

KiwiCo Monthly Subscription Crates

Subscription boxes are a nice alternative to traditional toys. KiwiCo crates are monthly subscription boxes delivered around the same time each month right to your doorstep.  They are creative, hands on, fun and learning based. Each box has 2-3 activities, and you pick the package based on your child’s age. I have two energetic boys and they really enjoyed doing these together.  We’ve tried the Koala and Kiwi Crates- since they are 3 and 5. 

That’s $39.95 for 3 months, $17.95 for 6 months (2 months FREE), and $159.95 for 12 months (4 months FREE)!

Little Passports

Little Passports Subscriptions-Save up to $40! It’s a subscription for ages 3-12. Helps kids learn about the world by picking different themes and subscriptions. You get a monthly box with new topics to explore.

Sale Details:

  • $10 off a Monthly Subscription
  • $20 off a 6 Month Subscription
  • $40 off a 12 Month Subscription

Promo Code: BESTDEAL

Valid through: 12/1/19 11:59PM EST

The 31 Best Toddler Gift Ideas!

Toddlers learn the widest range of skills in the shortest amount of time than any other age range! Probably why they are so spirited, that is a lot of work. But thankfully for us parents, they work on a lot of those skills while playing. These toddler gift ideas are all about helping our little people thrive in everything they are learning. These ideas include open ended play, pretend play that is new and exciting for young toddlers, skill building like vocabulary and puzzles and just overall fun that can be enjoyed for years to come.

I’m including 12 months- 35 months (1-2 years old) in this gift guide.  Since so much changes in this age, I’ve listed more specific age requirements in the description if applicable.  Some of the toys are perfect for the young 1 year old toddler, others are best for 2 years and up.  Finally, they are organized into categories. Hope this guide helps cut down some of your gift shopping time! 

Related Posts: Daily Schedules and developmental milestones for toddlers can be found on the main  routines and schedules page. Split up into specific age ranges. 

This post contains affiliate links, please refer to my disclosure policy for more information. 

Related: The Ultimate List of Preschool Gift Ideas and 35 Baby Christmas Gifts Most Loved by Moms

Learning through Play Toys

safari animal set for toddlersBoley 12 Piece Safari Set

Toddlers are working a lot on speaking and vocabulary. These animal sets are perfect for so many different types of play.  You can talk about the animal names, they can set up a safari scene, you can buy another farm set and categorize which ones go together.  I love putting these in our diaper bag for when we are on the go, they work great waiting at a doctor’s office or other random places where you need something to do. 

Busy Board Activity Binder

Working on tasks that we find simple, are actually some of the best toddler toys. I have made some travel busy bags from household items that were LOVED by my boys- especially from 15-24 months. This activity binder has everything you need for a perfect travel toy- buckles, zippers, tying work, and buttons. 

Board Books for ToddlersLittle Feminists Board Book Set

Books are the best way to introduce lots of different topics to children- it’s never too early! This set is adorable and teaches your young children about amazing women throughout history. Great for babies-toddlers (longer length books for preschoolers)

 

Melissa & Doug Take Along Shape Sorter

Shape sorters are a perfect gift for the young toddler (12-24 months).  It’s easy to take along to a restaurant or weekend trip, but also play at home.  Identifying shapes and the motor skills associated with playing will guarantee lots of great play with this toy. 

puzzles for toddlersAwesomeCube Wooden Puzzles

Beginner wooden puzzles are a great introduction to puzzles. They are good quality, have bright colors, and are just hard enough that it will take your young toddler some time to play and figure them out. 18 months- 3 years old

BeginAgain Dinosaur A to Z Puzzle

I love the entire line of puzzles from this brand! They are all wooden, beautifully made, durable and a great “next step” puzzle.  Better for 2 year old toddlers and older, after they have mastered matching puzzles, they can move on to forming a picture with pieces. 

Lots of Pretend Play

pretend play toddler giftsPretend & Play Doctor Kit

This age is the beginning of pretend play and toys that fall into this category are perfect for this age.  As their vocabulary grows, their ability to create and tell stories bursts.  It’s a pretty cool milestone to observe.  Start writing them down! You’ll love looking back at these as they get older. The doctor set is our first one in this category.  Can be any other kit for pretending to be a  profession that they really like.

teepee tent gift for preschoolers

Teepee Tent for Kids

Hideaway spaces are perfect for the imagination.  I love how this teepee tent comes with a carrying bag, decor, and fairy lights! It’s also waterproof, which is everything with kids. It’s a great place to read with your kids or have them tell stories to each other.  Possibilities are endless. 

Melissa & Doug’s Pretend Play Kitchen

I love how neutral this pretend kitchen is. We ended up moving ours out of the playroom and into the kitchen and it’s nice when it’s not an eyesore to move around your home.  My boys stopped playing with theirs as much, but I turned it into a real kitchen station for them and it’s serving a whole new purpose.  

toddler gift ideas cleaning setLet’s Play House- Pretend Cleaning Set

I always see this pretend cleaning set recommended. You might also see it everywhere.  And it’s because- it is that good.   It’s simple, inexpensive and kids love it. Not sure why it really makes kids want to help.  My 3 year old son loves this broom ( and has since 20 months when we got it) ! He grabs it whenever he makes a mess and tries to help. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Dress up Costumes

Pretend and imaginative play is not complete without some dress up costumes. You can get a pack of 6 or pick out the ones your child would be most interested in- maybe a fireman suit or a pack of princess dresses.doll house preschool giftWooden Doll House

Perfect wooden doll house that is good quality and fully furnished. This traditional 3 story dollhouse, is award winning and sparks role play imagination among friends. I like that it’s gender neutral, and anyone can play with it. 

wooden tool box toddler gift

Hape Fix it Kids’ Tool Box

A tool box is part of the idea that they can “help” you around the house through pretend play.  And we all pray that it lends itself to real helping later on.  🙂 But seriously, kids love to mock us, feel part of the family and feel important.  These types of toys do that. 

Active Play & Building Sets

basketball hoop toy for 2 year oldLittle Tikes Basketball Hoop

Your toddler is really working on hand eye coordination and this basketball hoop is a fun way to work on it! Can go indoors or outdoors. 

Mega Bloks First Builders Deluxe Set

Mega Bloks are a great way to start building before toddlers are ready for the LEGO Duplos that are for 2 years old and up.  My boys started with Mega Bloks around 15 months. And they still played with them after we got more LEGOS.

wooden building blocks for toddler giftsMelissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks

There is nothing like simple natural wooden blocks for endless open ended play and building. The quality is also exceptional and can be passed down to multiple kids or given to another family when your kids outgrow them.

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.LEGO DUPLOS

No gifts for toddlers list is complete without mentioning LEGOS. Start with DUPLO sets for 2 year old toddlers. They’ll graduate to the traditional sets at 4 or 5 years old.

building toys for toddlersMagna Tiles 100 Piece Set

These magna tiles are all the rage and for good reason! Higher price than other toys but we have built some pretty amazing structures with these- there are really endless amounts of possibilities so it helps your 2 year old use various skills at one time. And it grows with them through at least 5 years old or more. There are other sets you can add and expand your collection- they include vehicles and other shapes that help them build completely new ideas.

little tikes slide for toddlersLittle Tikes Slide

Perfect addition to a large playroom.  I’ve also seen them set up with a ball pit at the end- hours of fun!  And really, who doesn’t want a slide?

How to choose a toddler learning tower, kids kitchen helper or Montessori learning tower? 9 different options to research and choose from! Details optimal age range, benefits, as well as pros and cons of each. Everything you need to make the right decision for your family.

Toddler Learning Tower

These aren’t exactly toys, but I’m a HUGE fan of toddler learning towers.  After having a second son that always wanted to help and at least see what I was doing, a safe tower to be involved was a perfect addition. This is the original, but I have a whole post on everything toddler learning tower– what it is, why you would want it and other options out there. 

 

Riding Toys are Great Toddler Gift Ideas

Fairy Cozy Coupe

Riding toys are a big hit at the toddler age, or anything that resembles a car.  So I have a few different recommendations.  When we didn’t have a playroom, my sons would chase each other around the kitchen island with theirs’.  Even better if they can ride outside or in a basement. The cozy coupe is a well loved option or a motorcycle type riding toy. 

PowerWheels Thomas and Friends

Most PowerWheels are for 3 and up, but this Thomas ride starts at 18 months.  If you have the space and a Thomas fan, this will probably be their favorite gift ever!  It’s so fun and will make them truly feel like train conductors. 

Step2 Whisper Ride Cruiser

This is a great alternative to a stroller.  When we lived down the street from the park, we’d always take the car instead and it was a favorite for both my boys (third is still pending since he’s only 8 months, but I’m sure he’ll feel the same!) 12 months and up.

Schwinn Roadster Tricycle

This beginner’s tricycle is a must for younger siblings especially. They’ll have a little chance of keeping up with their older siblings. Great for 2 years old and up- it takes them a while to get a hang of pedaling so nice for them to have something now before they are full bicycle age. 

Fun & Musical Gifts for Toddlers

robot doll toddler giftFisher-Price Dance and Move BeatBo

There are just some toys that are purely fun.  I couldn’t leave this guy off my toddler gift ideas list, because this singing and dancing robot doll was so well loved by both my boys! It was also fun for me to watch them dancing and singing along with the robot. Now I buy it for a lot of my friends and their baby’s first birthday. Great gift for young toddlers 12-18 months.

Construction Trucks for ToddlersGreen Toys Construction Vehicles- Set of 3

Construction vehicle set that is environmentally friendly. Yes please! Great first set of vehicles as they are not sharp or heavy, since young toddlers still like to put things in their mouth and throw things up in the air. 12 months- 2years old

SmartKids Musical Instruments Toddler Toys

Musical instruments are exhilarating to young toddlers.  I know, I know- the noise is not always pleasant. Lol. But you could store them and take down when you are up to hearing their beautiful musical percussions!gifts for toddlers train setWooden Railway Set

A large train set really leads to hours of play- with setting up the tracks in lots of different ways and then playing with the trains. We’ve acquired at least 3 different sets that my boys put together. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

If you have avid train set fans, than a train table may be the right route to take. A train table keeps all the tracks together and organized. It is one of the first toys that my boys (at 2 and 4 years old) played together for hours without any arguments or destruction. So I would suggest it a lot when they were looking for something to do.  

Alarm Clock Lamp for ToddlersEcho Glow Smart Lamp

I’m really excited about this new Echo Glow lamp (comes out 11/20/19)! You do have to already own an Alexa compatible device like an Echo Dot to be able to program it. After you have both, you can set lighting cues to help with routines or rainbow countdowns. I don’t like alarm sounds at all. Having my kids pick their favorite song and color to wake up to sounds so much better!

Creative Play

creative play toddler toyHape Wooden Kid’s Art Easel

Gifts for toddlers wouldn’t be complete without some art items. Even though this play will truly flourish for many preschoolers. An easel is a great toddler gift that sparks creativity and is easy for you to help them draw shapes or letters. As my oldest son Miles started practicing writing, he would use the easel to practice and easily show us what he was working on. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.

Do a Dot Art Markers

Easy to use and put away! Great introduction to marker play and creative design. Helps develop hand eye coordination and art creation in a simple medium before advancing to more complex drawing.

Ultimate List of Preschool Gift Ideas- 45+ Gifts!

There are A LOT of toys out there.  This Christmas 2019 gift guide for preschoolers will help you sort through all the madness and find some quality preschool gift ideas.  These are investments and should be good! So what makes a toy worth recommending? These are some of my biggest factors. They need to be good quality, can be played with for years, lots of open ended play and educational or skill enhancing toys. What are the best ages? Preschoolers are 3-6, so if you are searching for 4 year old gift ideas- than you are in the right place. 

Some of these were featured in my toddler guide, because they follow those requirements I listed above.  A great toy lasts for years- so something can be bought for a toddler and they learn more and more ways to play with it. But if you haven’t gotten yet as they enter preschool age- it’s still very much worth getting! 

Related Posts: 35 Baby Christmas Gifts Most Loved by Moms and The 31 Best Toddler Gift Ideas!

These are some of my favorite choices and there are a lot of options on this list! To make it easier, I’ve organized them into categories.  What you decide to buy will depend on what your child is interested in. This list does not mean they need ALL of the things of course. One other tip that I have found helpful is to send the list to the grandparents and aunties you know will be getting your little ones a gift!

This post contains affiliate links, please refer to my disclosure policy for more information.

Creative Play

Crayola Washable Paint and Paper Set

Nothing says creative play more than making art! My kids love to color, paint, and draw. I have a craft station packed with all the supplies and it’s perfect for them to grab what they need without my help.  I love that this case has all they would need to sit down and paint. Easily transported to grandma’s house or outside to play. 
Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.

Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard

Perfect for younger preschoolers. The pegboard activity is great for creativity and fine motor skills. Progresses in difficulty by matching the pictures and then creating their own pictures with the color pegs.Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.

Do a Dot Art Markers

Easy to use and put away! Great introduction to marker play and creative design. Helps develop hand eye coordination and art creation in a simple medium before advancing to more complex drawing.imagination magnets for 4 year old gifts

Imagination Magnets

Fun pattern play that ranges in difficulty from easy to more difficult. Carrying case also makes this a perfect travel toy! It is engaging and interesting. I remember when Miles could only master the first few cards and now can fly through the more advanced puzzles. This is still a favorite in our house after owning it for 2 years.

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Play-Doh Arts & Crafts Activity Table

The ultimate quiet time sensorial toy.  This activity table is great for kids playing independently and a Play Doh Creations Chef Kit is the best start set. An amazing tip for multiple play doh players is to buy a few $1 shower curtains from Dollar Tree. Lay it on the ground before play and it catches all the extra remnants that escape during play and clean up.

creative gross motor gifts for 3 year oldsHABA Geo Shape Tack Zap Imaginative Design

My son goes to a Montessori preschool and became obsessed with the hammering work they have there. I haven’t seen another game quite like this one. Children use real nails and a wooden mallet to create designs on a cork board. Comes with lots of shapes and design ideas.

Educational

Book as Preschool GiftsThe Wonderful Things You Will Be

Books should be part of every Christmas or birthday.  It’s always a good opportunity to replenish their shelves and instill the fact that books are just as fun as every other toy they receive! This book is beautiful, with a similar message to the Places You’ll Go but a great update to the classic story. 

The Last Stop on Market Street

Amazing story about seeing the beauty in the everyday, appreciating everything you have and giving back to your community. 

stem toys gifts for preschoolersBotley the Coding Robot

Helps develop early STEM skills with screen-free play. Children use the remote to program Botley and send him on his way through command sequences and obstacle courses.

Elecfly Kids Microscope Kit

Spark curiosity by using a real microscope. It is easy to use, yet works really well.  Focuses and zooms, changes lighting and includes a science kit with 25 slides, petri dish and lots of other accessory. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Floor Puzzles

These large puzzles are a great conversation starter as well! Like this Melissa & Doug Solar System Puzzle or Massive Dinosaur Puzzle or this beautiful Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle.

Building Enthusiasts- Magnets, LEGOS, Blocks and More!

best building toys for preschoolers magnet tilesMagformers Deluxe Magnetic Building Blocks

These magnetic blocks are a step above the Picasso Tiles. In addition to the magnetic building blocks, it includes car pieces and other accessories. Gives kids the ability to build cars, robots and expand their imagination. We have multiple sets of magnet tiles and they are one of our favorite open ended toys- both my 5 and 3 year old can play with these for hours!

wooden building blocks for toddler giftsMelissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks

These are like the ubiquitous preschool toy.  But they have to be mentioned. There is nothing like simple natural wooden blocks for endless open ended play and building. The quality is also exceptional and can be passed down to multiple kids or given to another family when your kids outgrow them.preschool building toys

kid k’nex 

Oodles of Pals building set lets you make lots of different designs- of varying sizes and difficulty.  k’nex also makes amazing models for older building enthusiasts, starting at 7 or 8 years old if your little ones love this set. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.LEGO DUPLOS

LEGOS- Traditional for Older Preschoolers

No list is complete without mentioning LEGOS. Start with DUPLO sets and move up to the older sets around 4 or 5. The LEGO city collection is a great starter set for smaller LEGOS or the LEGO and friends- lots of characters and adorable scenes.

Our house has exploded with LEGOS after Miles’ 4th birthday. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but that boy will concentrate so hard on putting together a Lego space shuttle or city vehicle.  It’s pretty amazing to watch. Having the right storage makes having a LEGO fan a lot more manageable. 🙂  We have two of these case storage organizers and they work perfectly. Don’t know how we were managing before them. Maybe not a gift, but definitely worth mentioning if you see your kids becoming avid fans. 

 

Outside Rides & Active Play     Scooter for kids gifts 

Micro Maxi Deluxe Kick Scooter

Age 3 or even age 2 is a perfect time to start on scooters and tricycles.  I looked at a lot of different scooters, because I wasn’t sure that this one was worth the price tag for this particular brand. In the end, I decided it definitely was. The quality is one of the best and can be shared through multiple kids or passed on to friends. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Strider Balance Bike

Gifts for preschoolers outdoor toysSchwinn Elms Tricycle

In the same vein of scooters, getting started on bike riding and more excuses for outdoor play is always great.  You can decide if you want to go right into balance bikes or start with a tricycle that can transition to a two wheeler. Many parents have raved about how easy the transition is to a regular bike from a balance one. And it grows with your child from 18 months to 5 years old.

gifts for preschoolers bounce houseLittle Tikes Bounce House

If you have the space for it, why not?! Guaranteed to be lots of hours of play and is also perfect for birthday parties at home.  Great price and lots of good reviews.  My friend has it in her basement also, so it’s not strictly an outside toy. 

Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower

Active kids need somewhere to burn energy! These can also be coined successful nap inducers. My sons’ school just sent out an email recently on how the playground was open before school started.  They have noticed that kids, especially little ones, focus so much more on their work if they’ve had a chance to burn some energy first.  Which is when I realized that we needed some climbing fun for our home as well!

 

Science Experiments

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden

There is nothing better than the real thing to help stimulate the minds of your little budding scientists. In this garden, you get 5 caterpillars, all the food they need and a mesh habitat to grow your butterflies. So cool!

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Activity Set

Another great gift for the little Scientists in your life. Real hands on experiments that kids can conduct with easy to follow beginner activities. Also introduces a lot of science terms and tools.

Board Games

board games for preschoolersQwirkle

Family game nights is something that we have started recently and preschool is the perfect age to get started! You probably hear about the classics, but there are some other games that are a lot more fun for us adults to play as well! Qwirkle is one of my favorites. Involves strategy and pattern play that make it fun for everyone. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.I Never Forget a Face Memory Game

Memory games have been a really fun activity for us to play with our 4 year old. We started out with a small amount and moved on to bigger “boards” the more we played. And this memory game in particular is beautiful! Another option is the Life on Earth Matching Game that has more animals and plants instead of faces.

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

No reading required as toddlers compete to get their squirrels fed. Helps with color recognition, beginning matching skills, and of course turn taking and how to win/lose. My 3 year old always picks this one out and my 5 year old still enjoys playing it with  him and the whole family. 

Little Red Riding Hood board game for preschooolersLittle Red Riding Hood Game

Puzzle game that is ideal for working on logical thinking skills, problem solving and spatial reasoning. Kids use  puzzle pieces to create a path from the little red riding hood to her grandma’s house . Has varying levels of difficulty so your child can play with it for years to come! It is part of a line of games from SmartGames with more advanced games for older kids- all with great reviews.Hoot Owl Hoot

This is a nice change as it’s a cooperative game. There are no winners and losers, which was hard for my boys to accept at first.  Which confirmed why it was a great addition to our collection, they work together to get all the owls to the nest. Teaches that there is not only one way to play a game. 

Imaginative & Pretend Play

teepee tent gift for preschoolers

Teepee Tent for Kids

Hideaway spaces are perfect for the imagination.  I love how this teepee tent comes with a carrying bag, decor, and fairy lights! It’s also waterproof, which is everything with kids. It’s a great place to read with your kids or have them tell stories to each other.  Possibilities are endless. 

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Fort Boards- Fort Building Kit, 90 Jumbo Blocks

Okay, okay. The traditional materials for building forts is imaginative and free. BUTTT, these are super amazing. Your kids can build really cool forts of different shapes, which doubles up this toy as a building kit but then also have endless hours of imaginative play after they construct them.

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Pretend Play Toy Kitchen

Imaginative play is strong at this age. They come up with some of the funniest scenarios. I’ve bought a pretend kitchen for my boys as well- this is great for any gender! Don’t forget the accessories though. No play kitchen is complete without some food and cooking utensils.

Grocery Store/Lemonade Stand

You can add to the pretend kitchen, and set up a little store.  This grocery store/lemonade stand is a perfect addition to use more pretend food and practice pretend selling to friends and siblings.  

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.Dress up Costumes

Pretend and imaginative play is not complete without some dress up costumes. You can get a pack of 6 or pick out the ones your child would be most interested in like a fireman suit or a pack of princess dresses.doll house preschool giftWooden Doll House

Perfect wooden doll house that is good quality and full furnished. Traditional 3 story dollhouse, that is award winning and sparks roleplay imagination among friends.

Miscellaneous and Fun!

Ultimate list of preschool gift ideas includes toys in various categories for your science enthusiast, builders, creatives and masters of imaginative play.KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

Our train sets are constantly played with and a train table keeps them all together and organized. It is one of the first toys that my boys (at 2 and 4 years old) played together for hours without any arguments or destruction. So I suggest it a lot when they are looking for something to do. 🙂 Still true as they’ve gotten older!

Hot Wheels Criss Cross Track Set

I’m not really sure what category Hot Wheels fits into, but I do know that my boys are obsessed with their tracks.  It’s also the first thing they usually play with when they have friends over.  Tons of time racing cars, each other, and adding tracks together from various sets.  This criss cross one is still the all time favorite though. 

camera for preschooler giftVTech KidiZoom Digital Camera

Takes real digital pictures! And at a great price, this is such a fun beginner camera for kids to play with. Also has a selfie mode, collages and cool photo effects to play with. This is on our Santa list for this year!

 

My I Don’t Do List: Changing Perfect Mom Culture

Mom burnout is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  I wholeheartedly agree that it’s time we change the “perfect motherhood” era. I’ve said it before, but how do I help and actually put actions behind my words? That’s the hard part.

We are in an age of motherhood that can be debilitating.  It is the age of the supermom and moms are feeling it in so many unhealthy ways.  Two of my favorite articles on the topic: one was from Motherly, where they describe how self care isn’t enough- because moms are plainly burnt out. And the other was a mom that created an “I don’t list” that inspired this post. 

Before we continue, this is not to negate the importance of self care or diminish the amazing accomplishments women and moms are making in this country. But to highlight that when the expectations are so unreasonable, self care and acknowledgment is not enough. We are constantly chasing this ideal of motherhood where we do it all perfectly without the help of anyone. It’s a culturally induced overwhelm, where we feel discouraged with managing our home, work and children. And simultaneously, not supporting each other as women and mothers.  

Picture Perfect Motherhood

A big reason for this reality, is that we are constantly shown picture perfect images of other moms’ households and children online.  I’m guilty of putting that out there as well. Not intentionally, but that is naturally what you share on social media.

I was recently chatting with another mom at a birthday party- we have a mutual friend so only really interact on social media. She describes how I’m such a good mom because she sees all the places I take my kids to, the blog I write and meal preps I sometimes post about. 

I felt really bad about this. I did not want to make her feel like I was more “successful” at this motherhood thing than she is.  Because I’m not. We have different realities, children, many things that I don’t do in the background that she is unaware of. And that is not my intention when I share on social media. 

We CANNOT compare our real life to someone else’s online squares. It can be so easy to do, but it’s not realistic nor helpful for anyone.  You can use it as inspiration, or a way to connect with friends you may not see on a regular place, but not as a standard for how to live your life.

It took some time for me to convince her that in no way do I have it all together! And I do not want to be putting off that image at all. I don’t think to put the other side of my life on social media, but maybe I should. Nobody thinks to share their baskets of unfolded laundry on Instagram. It’s not really what the platform is for, but I can create a counter narrative to what you may see on my Instagram.  

Create an “I Don’t Do List”

As I mentioned above, I was inspired by another article on the idea of creating an “I Don’t Do” list. One way I want to move forward is knocking down the image of perfect motherhood and supporting my fellow moms as much as possible. This won’t happen overnight or easily, but I thought this was a good way to start. 

I encourage you to create your own list! It was really therapeutic to write out.  Even if you don’t share it with anyone. I am not perfect.  I don’t do it all.  And that’s okay.  It’s not healthy for ourselves, our children or our spouses to push ourselves to a limit that is beyond reasonable.   

And I say all that to you, but also to myself.  This is not something I’ve been thinking of, plainly out of curiosity. It’s in my thoughts, because it’s heavy on my heart. It affects me as well. The anxiety of keeping it all together follows me around too. And it’s time that some of that went away. 

My List

There is even more I could add to this list! Haha.  Remember it’s not a comparison though, there are many things I do that others think are ridiculous.  Like my overly themed birthday parties, those are fun for me. So if you do something on this list and it brings you joy, by all means!! And vice versa. 

  • I don’t wash my hair enough. (Which is why it’s in a bun most of the time. Lol)
  • I don’t make my kids wear outfits that match. My 3 year old dresses himself and looks crazy most of the time. 🙂 
  • I don’t clean my bathrooms. (Don’t get too grossed out, my husband does or a cleaning lady if we are feeling feisty)
  • I don’t write cute notes to my kids in their lunch boxes everyday. It’s enough of an accomplishment to get them fed. 
  • I don’t do two school pick ups so my 3 year old only goes half day. 
  • I don’t say no to Mc Donald’s all the time ( I do sometimes, but thought I would never let my kids have it. Oh, pre kid ideas!)
  • I don’t do after school activities that require me to be in traffic for over 30 minutes. (Which took out gymnastics for us)
  • I don’t always get up with my kids on Saturday. (I lay in bed with the baby and let the older two have a free for all- insert shocked face emoji)
  • I don’t iron. Like ever. If my dryer can’t get the wrinkles out, than it’s not worth it! And I still put it on- *face palm*
  • I don’t exercise enough. This ebbs and flows, feel better when I do just doesn’t always happen.
  • I don’t fold my laundry right away. Sometimes it stays in the basket and never gets put away at all.
  • I don’t wake up before my kids everyday.  
  • I don’t always pick organic. Especially if our budget is tight at the time. 
  • I don’t meditate or do yoga or destress in a healthy way that doesn’t involve wine.
  • I don’t send cute family picture Christmas cards. 
  • I don’t work full time.
  • I don’t always respond to my kids’ behavior with positive and emotionally supportive responses.
  • I don’t speak Spanish to my kids, even though I could.
  • I don’t floss daily. (Sorry dentist. I make my kids brush their teeth though! And that is not easy!!)
  • I don’t always follow my well laid plans.
  • I don’t make my 5 year old practice piano every day, even though I knew that is what I was signing up for when we set up the lessons.

Do I feel guilty sometimes? I’m working on it.  Remember, I’m very much part of this culture as you are.  It’s a work in progress, but I’m learning to let go.  Be okay with my choices, enjoy a movie with my kids when I should be meal planning. It’s all part of the ride and we should be enjoying it.

I’d love to hear what’s on your I Don’t Do List!