Help Prepare your Child for Preschool

Making the transition from being home to going to preschool can be a hard time for children.  There are some things you can do to help ease that transition.

  • Talk to the teacher about how your child handles change.
  • Visit the classroom before the actual start of classes.  Take pictures to look at with your child after to help familiarize them with the room.
  • Talk with your child about the transition.  Try not to convey your feelings about the transition.
  • Celebrate the last day at home with a special treat.  This gives you an opportunity to acknowledge the change through a small ritual.  This can be continued the last day before school starts each year.

Do you have any ways you prepared your child for preschool?  Please share!

Ashley Myers


I decided early on that we would take a family vacation every summer, no matter what our financial situation was.  We booked inexpensive trips like camping at the Jersey shore or driving to Tennessee and camping nearby so we could go to Dollywood.  We drove to Florida and stayed at an inexpensive condo outside of DisneyWorld.  It lacked the convenience or the “status” of staying in DisneyWorld, but my kids had a great time on a shoestring budget!

We cooked out on the grill on our camping trips, saving on meals.  We shopped at a local supermarket and ate sandwiches.

We went to local parks, the zoo, visited friends, went to the pool.  I did backyard Olympics with my children and their friends and we did crafts together.  They swung on trees, rode their bikes and played with friends.

Angela DiCicco

Mother of 3, Grandmother of 2

Tips for a Container Garden!

Want to dabble in dirt but don’t know where to begin?  Want a beautiful garden but not the work that goes behind it?  Consider a container garden.

Lisa Stadler of Stadler Nursery begins with soil…..

When choosing plants, it is important to know what type of sun you have to work with.  Certain plants do well in shade while others need partial to full sun.  Some suggestions are…..

  • Plants can be as attractive as flowers if well chosen for their textures and variegated colors.  They have the added bonus of looking lovely all the time even without blooms.
  • Stadler suggests “Cram, cram, cram” so that your garden container looks lovely now rather than waiting for the plants to spread out their own which could take weeks.  She prefers to cover all the dirt with plant material.
  • Consider unusual items such as herbs.
  • Place something tall in the center.
  • Surround an annual such as a Gerber daisy with perennials so when the annual is over the perennials will continue to grow.
  • Stadler also suggests we get over our “economy” mindset.  While annuals can be expensive some las as long as six months.  Perennials run a 50/50 chance of not surviving the frost so in the end annuals may be money well spent.
  • Container gardens are perfect for decks, porches, apartments, hanging baskets.  It’s not necessary to have a huge landscaped area.  Just begin with one or two containers.  Fill with dirt.
  • Fertilize.

A container garden is perfect for children to get involved with.  Have them help water and prune the flowers!

Do you have any suggestions for planting a container garden?  Please share!

How to Prepare your Pets for Welcoming a New Baby.

So you have a little one on the way and you already have a couple of furbabies at home.  There are a few things that you can do to help prepare them for the arrival of your baby.

– Start with noises babies make.  Youtube is great for this.  Look up babies crying, screaming, laughing…. Play the video so that your furbabies can hear.  Start with only a minute or so and gradually increase the time.

– Set up the nursery early.  The sooner you set up the nursery the less new stuff the pets need to adapt to.  Personally, we allow our dogs in the nursery (not in the crib).

– Play “doll”.  Pick up a baby like doll and play with them.  Hold them, rock them, even change the diaper.  This helps the pets to be able to understand that something is changing.  You can even have the video of a baby crying, then pick up the doll and stop the video.  This lets the pets know that you will take care of the baby.

– After the baby is born, but still in the hospital, take a blanket or outfit that they have been wearing and bring it home. Let the pets smell the new scent.

– Once you are home, pay attention to your pets first.  It has been days since they have seen you and they need some love.  Once you have shown them attention, introduce the baby to the pets.  Personally, we kept our son in the car seat, with our hand on it to pull it up if anything were to go wrong.

– Remember that your pets need love too.  Make sure to take a few minutes out of your day to pet or pay attention to them.

We have 2 dogs at home that were the center of our attention for several years before our first was born.  We really made sure to pay attention to them when our son went down for a nap.  Our older dog, didn’t really care and our younger dog has a special bond with our son.  They love to play together and curl up next to each other.
Always remember – NEVER leave the baby alone with your pets.  Even if you think they are gentle, they are still animals and can be unpredictable.


Christmas craft: What can you do with old Christmas cards?

Seems such a waste to throw away beautiful greeting cards from friends and family that took the time to write and send them.

So what can you do with those cards?  Upcycle them!  These are great indoor activities for children:

  1.  Make gift tags.  Why spend money on new ones when you can make your own?  Here’s a video to show you how it’s done:
  2. Make a village.  Better  Homes & Gardens has their version here:
  3. Frame them!  These are works of art.  My cousin gave me a beautiful card which I framed and hung in the hallway.  Every time I looked at it I thought of her.
  4. Make sewing cards for young children to practice their small motor skills on.  Just punch holes around the outside of a card.  Cut a long piece of thick yarn, tape the ends so it is sturdy and doesn’t unravel.  And show your 3-5 year old how to sew!
  5. They make adorable home-spun ornaments. Let your children decorate them with sequins and glitter.  Punch a hole in the top, add fancy ribbon and hang.
  6. I love this one – reuse them as Christmas cards for next year!  Using the card front, cut a pleasing shape or design.  Fold a piece of construction paper in half. Glue the card front to the folded piece of construction paper.  Add your own sentiment inside or use the one from the previous card!
  7. Donate old Christmas and greeting cards to a nursing home or preschool.

If you have an idea for reusing old cards, share it with us!

Angela Di Cicco



Positive Parenting

Positive Parenting is not something that you can fake, it is something that parents have to believe in.  You discipline in a gentle and respectful way as opposed to disciplining out of fear.  You encourage your children.  Parents believe in every opportunity to teach their children instead of punishing them.  By teaching them you are helping them develop responsibility, honesty, respect, and confidence.  You are able to work with them for a solution to the problem, instead of just telling them what to do.

“Positive parenting, at the very core of it, isn’t about what you can and can’t do in terms of disciplining, teaching, and guiding your kids. It isn’t even about having the perfect relationship (as there will always be breaks and repairs; such is life). It’s not about techniques or tools, whether or not to use time outs or time ins, consequences or problem-solving. All of those things stem from the practice of what is at the very core of this philosophy, but they are not THE philosophy itself. What it’s really about is the way we view children, their emotions, their needs, their motives. It’s about seeing them as human beings, worthy of respect and unconditional love, delicate, impressionable, who have as much to teach us as we have to teach them. When THIS sinks into your heart, the practice of positive parenting naturally flows from it. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  (Positive

My mother believed in positive parenting.  She believed that children are human and deserve respect.  You can discipline a child without putting fear into them.  We never had the “Do you want me to get the belt?” question, where we do what she wants out of fear of getting hit.  We had an encouraging house where my mother would say, “If you tell me the truth, then I won’t be mad.” and truthfully she wouldn’t.  She would be mad if we lied on top of whatever we did.  She understood that children are learning and make mistakes.  They are testing boundaries and seeing how far they can go.

Children only know what we, as adults, are teaching them.  They learn through hearing, seeing and doing.  As parents, we need to model the behavior that we expect from our children.  We can not expect them to be perfect all the time, even we as adults aren’t.  So when we talk to them about the behavior we want, it is just reinforcing the actions we are already taking.  For example, have you ever heard the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”?  This is a classic example of adults expecting their children to do something that they themselves don’t.

Positive is a wonderful website that has great information on positive parenting.  I know, I found some great information and some better ways to execute my beliefs!

Punishment: What to do Instead

Last week we found out what punishments really teach children.  So what are we suppose to do instead?  Below is the same list with alternatives to parent positively.

  • If your child hits another child, do not hit them as punishment.  This only teaches them that it is ok if you are bigger than they are. Instead, use your words and inquire about the incident.  Most children hit out of frustration.
  • If your child hurts another child, do not force them to hug/kiss, say “I am sorry”, it isn’t genuine and it only teaches them that it is ok to lie.  Instead, explain to them that hurting other children is not appropriate.  Tell them to use their words instead of hurting them.
  • If your children are bothering you, do not send them to someone else.  They learn that you can’t handle them.  Instead, explain to them the reason why they are being sent to someone else.
  • Avoid comparing  your child to another child, they will then compare themselves to others.  Instead, tell them what you want them to do.
  • Don’t tell your child to “be nice,” or “be gentle”, it is too vague. They may think they are being nice.  Instead, be direct and tell them what you want them to do.  For example, change “be nice to the dogs,” to “please pet the dogs softer”.
  • If two kids are fighting over a toy, don’t take it away.  They will never learn how to negotiate that way.  Instead, be the mediator.  Help them solve the issue and share the toy.  Or ask them how much longer they want with the toy. Put a timer on to measure how many minutes they said.
  • Avoid using food for anything other than nurishing their bodies.  This puts value to food and could cause eating disorders.  Food should only be used as a source of fuel.
  • Avoid using any physical punishment, it only shows them that violence is ok.  Instead model the behavior that you want.  If you don’t want them to hit, then don’t do it yourself.

How do you handle some of these situations?


Punishments: What They Really Teach Children

Positive parenting is the belief that a child can be disciplined in a positive encouraging way without punishments.  Punishments, like time-out, spanking,  only show children unnatural consequences to their behavior, it does not tell them why it is wrong, nor does it allow them to figure it out themselves.  Punishments only stop the immediate behavior, they do not teach what behavior you want.  Below are some common punishments and what they teach children.

  • If they hit another child, do not hit them as punishment.  This only teaches them that it is ok if you are bigger than they are.
  • If they hurt another child, do not force them to hug/kiss, say “I am sorry”, it isn’t genuine and it only teaches them that it is ok to lie.
  • If they are bothering you, do not send them to someone else.  They learn that you can’t handle them.
  • Do not compare them to another child, they will then compare themselves to others.
  • Don’t tell them to “be nice,” or “be gentle”, it is too vague. They may think they are being nice.
  • If two children are fighting over a toy, don’t take it away.  They will never learn how to negotiate that way.
  • Do not use food for anything other than nourishing their bodies.  This puts value to food and could cause eating disorders.
  • Do not use any physical punishment, it only shows them that violence is ok.

So what are you suppose to do?  Come back next week for tips for each of these!


Repurpose Children’s Artwork

I can only imagine how many different pieces of artwork each child does in their life time.  For me, I think where am I going to store it all?  Here are some ideas to repurpose them without throwing them away!

  • Use it for wrapping paper.
  • Frame it- You can even change the picture from time to time.
  • Turn them into greeting cards.
  • Turn them all into a scrapbook.  (Organizing tip: Have one book per year)
  • Use it as writing paper and send to someone special.
  • Take it to someone in a hospital or nursing home.
  • Laminate and turn into place mats.
  • Use for a binder cover.
  • Use it to cover textbooks.

Reference:Things to Do With Toddlers and Twos by Karen Miller

Do you have any other ideas to repurpose your child’s Artwork?  Please let us know!


Tips on Preparing a Stimulating Activity

Infants, toddlers, and children learn using all 5 senses.  They have a very short attention span, so when preparing an activity it needs to be stimulating.

  • They love to use more than one sense, so create an activity that will use 2-3 senses.
  • Children love to get involved and interact, make sure it is something that they can participate in.
  • Create it based off of your child’s interest.  They will be more likely to play longer if it is something that they are interested in.
  • Make sure that the activity is age appropriate.  One that is too difficult, to fast or to slow will bore them.
  • Children are attracted to bright colors.  Does it offer multiple bright colors?
  • Fun and different materials.  Children love to explore and something new is always exciting to them.

Reference: Creative Activities for Young Children by Mary Mayesky

Do you have any tips on preparing a stimulating Activity?  Please let us know.