everything I wish I knew before I started middle school: a letter to my rising 6th grader

what I wish I knew before middle school | teachmama.com

what I wish I knew before middle school | teachmama.com

Maddy,

I have a hard time believing it’s time to send you off to the wilds of middle school, but here we are, my friend.

It seems like just yesterday your aunts and I sat on the back porch with you, making felt flowers and blinging out your backpack for kindergarten.

Sending you into the building that first day, watching your little pink backpack bouncing down the hallway, was one of the hardest things I did up to that point.

But you were ready.

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

You were prepared for the adventure, eager to start that next chapter.

And like most everything you do, you rocked it.

Just like you’ll rock middle school.

But this time, instead of sending you off with homemade flowers, I’m sending you off with advice from some friends.  Our friends. Tons of great people we know from near and far.

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

Tons of people who have walked this walk before and who were willing to share what they wish they knew before they started middle school. So instead of hearing a boatload of advice from your boring old mom, you can take it from a bunch of other smart, cool, super-wise people.

Pretty much everything they said holds true for your dad and me, too.

So here’s what I wish I would have known before I started middle school.  (And here’s what we all want you to know):

  • You are smart and funny, caring, thoughtful, beautiful and brave. You have always been compassionate insightful and responsible. Just bring those things and everything else you have to share and you will be just fine. Middle school is big and fun and new, exciting and kind of confusing sometimes. Some big changes ahead. Lots of new friends, teachers, activities, choices. Guess what? Everyone around you is growing and changing at different paces and experiencing a lot of the same things as you, so don’t worry, you are not alone! Make new friends (but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold) that are as awesome as you and talk about what you are feeling and going through…I bet they can relate! Keep your chin up.  Three important things I learned from my three awesome older sisters before starting middle school: 1. Be kind even when those around you are not – you won’t be sorry. 2. Go with your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not & may get you in trouble. 3. Don’t bother with boys who act like jerks even if you think they are cute. When in doubt, call an aunt. You rock, and you are so incredibly loved.  -Aunt Katie

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • There will be kids that make fun of other kids and try to ‘seem’ cool and try too hard to fit in — they are usually missing something in their life. Don’t change who you are for anyone. Always be true to yourself. -Uncle Will
  • I wish I hadn’t ‘ditched’ my little sister in favor of school friends during middle school. God had given me a built-in BFF! – Stacey Ferguson, JusticeFergie.com
  • There will be moments that your world may seem like it’s ending. It’s not. These years are but a blip in the awesomeness of your life that is to come. -Erin Lane, AParentingProduction.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Kids can be mean. Stay strong and no matter what–Be Yourself. -Teri Edwards
  • I wish I had known that some of my friends would pull away from me when we got into middle school, and it was going to hurt. Alot. And sometimes middle schoolers can be just plain mean….which is especially hard when the meanness is coming from some of those former friends. I wish I had known that the meanness was more about them and not so much about me. I wish I had known that if I could just hold on, that things would be brighter and get better. And I would find new, wonderful friends…many of whom would still be my friends when I am old and gray! -Lauri Black

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

 

  • Find a passion outside of school. I didn’t have a great group of friends in middle school–they were flakey and fickle, but I did have a lot of success with sports. I didn’t put all my energy into maintaining social relationships–I worked at other things and got a sense of fulfillment from my work on the soccer field and lacrosse field. I didn’t judge my worth by what my friends thought of me. I’d like to think the current WORLD CHAMP TEAM USA GIRLS felt the same. They probably had little time for time-sucking social dynamics. Find something outside of school (could be church, music, acting, collecting fossils) that makes you feel vibrant and happy. If you wait on others to validate you and make you feel successful it could be a very, very long wait. Oh, and don’t buy shoes thinking you’ll break them in–you never will. You’ll just get blisters and miss out on the fun. -Nicole Feliciano, CEO Momtrends Media.
  • Teenage boys will say anything VERY convincingly to get what their crazy stupid hormones want. And your crazy stupid hormones will want to believe it. Don’t. – Bon Crowder, MathFour.com
  • Don’t get a radical hair cut. You will never regret standing by a friend, but you will always regret NOT doing the right thing. Remove yourself from drama, and have friends outside of school. -Rebecca Levy, KidzVuz.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • These next few years you will be faced with a lot of change; you, your friends, expectations, school, etc. The person sitting next to you will be faced with similar challenges. You are never alone. Talk with someone who will listen and be there to support you. -Christine Quinn
  • The only thing I really remember about middle school is that I was tiny, a late bloomer and had no idea what the more developed girls were talking about half of the time. I longed to be cool and taller! I only wish I would have known I would grow taller than everyone else a few years later. LOL! So maybe my input would be, no matter where you are in the girly development phase… we’re all in the same boat together soon enough. Enjoy your childhood years as long as you can! There’s nothing wrong with taking your time to grow up. Just be confident and act like you know what’s going on… even if you really don’t:-) FYI – I still take this advice. Half of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing. ha! -Amy Locurto, LivingLocurto.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

 

  • Be nice to your teachers! They are moms, dads, sisters and brothers who have feelings too. -Meredith Gordon Donate
  • Always remember that you’re never too old for a kiss and a hug to your mom and dad before and after school. -Audrey McClelland, MomGenerations.com
  • Be YOU! The next few years those around you in middle school will be discovering just exactly they think they are. Friends will get closer and friends will pull away sometimes even within the same day. Stay true to the person you know you are and how your parents have raised you to be. Find ways to express your talents an discover more about yourself through clubs, school projects, volunteering and activities outside of school. Always know that your Mom and Dad believe in you and think you a rockstar! -Kim Vij, The Educators’ Spin On It

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

 

  • Drink lots of water and get into a beauty routine that involves washing your face before bed…. puberty might make your skin a hot mess for the next few years, just know you’re not alone! also…. call your AUNTS at ANY TIME of ANY DAY for ANY REASON whatsoever…. I promise we’ll be here for you. -Aunt Jenny
  • I loved elementary school.  What I didn’t realize and I wish someone had told me is that I would love the middle school years even more!
    -Grandpa
  • It’s a tough time in your life not sure what you are feeling and why. Talk to your parents about those feelings . They can help and do understand for they were once your age. Be yourself!! -Sara Collins Carlson

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Later, when you talk to people about middle school, you’ll be surprised at just how many of them felt awkward and uncomfortable and like they didn’t fit in. Even the “cool kids.” You are not alone in whatever you’re feeling. -Christie Matte, QuirkyFusion.com
  • Don’t dwell on people that don’t like you, instead, remember that there’s plenty of people out there that will like you for who you are. In addition, I wish I’d participated more in school activities. And last, have a code with your parents so that you can tell them anything and you won’t get in trouble. -Jackie Silver Confrey, Amazing Life Lessons With Jackie

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Don’t worry about what other people are thinking about you. They aren’t! They are only thinking about themselves. -Candice Kilpatrick, MomMostTraveled.com
  • Consider a pen pal. Perhaps a friend that moved away or a childhood friend you trust. Someone who may not go to your school but who you can be open and honest with. If not to someone, perhaps to a diary. Write about the little things that excite you or that bother you. The littlest of things may just be the biggest to you at the time. Sharing your experiences with someone you trust can help with the journey. -Liz Deery

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • I wish I had known what a great resource teachers could have been. My friends bonded with some of our teachers and got a lot of support, but I was always too shy. Also, don’t assume it’s going to be awful! There’s a danger of the self-fulfilling prophecy with so many people talking about how awful middle school is. (Coincidentally, I have a Maddie entering 6th grade in the fall, also!) -Kakki Reynolds Lewis, KatherineLewis.com
  • The kids who are cool in middle school are rarely the kids who are cool as grown ups. Doesn’t make it any easier I know, but your day will come!!! -Danica Kombol, Everywhere Agency
  • Try your best to be nice… Even when it feels hard …be a loyal friend… Don’t keep secrets from mom and dad and follow your heart. Fitting in isn’t as important as being yourself, although that’s hard to understand now. Being you is the best part about being you! -Jennifer Flamish Lang

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • 1. You are loved.
    2. You have boundaries because you are loved and we want the best for you. Experience is “a” teacher, not the “best” teacher.
    3. Choose friends wisely. It’s takes time to make “good” friends. Don’t rush it. Watch a “friends” behavior over time.
    4. Be a good friend. Stand up for what is right even when it’s not popular.
    5. Stay connected to family (including siblings).
    6. Mommy and Daddy are praying for you everyday. You are smart. You are kind. You are beautiful.  -Kinta Jones, Mom of 3 (rising 9th grader, 7th grader, and 5th grader)
  • To not worry about being in with the cool crowd- look for friends who are your friend for you and stand by you! -Melissa Northway, DandelionMoms.com
  • Yes, you will meet new friends, but it won’t be a chore. Yes, there will be be the popular crowd, which my children never strived to be in. It all comes in time! You will meet good friends. They will be friends throughout high school. – Jodi Siarkas, JodiSiarkas.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Learn everything you can about hormones because they are about to RUN YOUR LIFE. Pray for yourself and your momma too! -Donne´ Allen
  • When you kiss someone for the first time it will be wet and awkward. Afterward, your heart will flutter a bit. It is normal. Boys and girls can be mean. Sometimes boys say mean things because they think you are cute and don’t know what to say. Girls tend to be mean because they are insecure. It is difficult to understand this when you are experiencing it, but true.-Christine Quinn

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

  • Friendships may wax and wane. Your best friends, or your whole circle, may change, or not. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make new friends, or try something new. A new school offers a great chance to do that. What seems normal for everyone else may not be normal for you. The other kids are rarely what they appear to be anyway. They just look like they have it more together from the outside. Most people have the same insecurities and just want to be liked. People will remember your kindness, and you will be rewarded for it. (Having had a child enter middle school, high school and college, this is pretty much the advice I have given and that has been acted upon. It holds for every transition.) -Suz Lipman, Slow Family Online

what I wish I knew before middle school teachmama.com

middle school advice _ teachmama.com

  • Remember that you’re a team–mom and dad are all going to Middle School for the first time. .Good friends can be males or females. Girls tend to be more wicked in MS than at any other time in their lives. Boys need a friend who’s a girl to let them know when they’re being gross. .Be nice to the caf ladies–It may mean some extra fries.. A please and thank you will go a long way! Always pack your things the night before. Even plan what you’ll be wearing the next day. Getting up in the morning is difficult enough! The last thing you will want to do is be running around looking for things in the morning! Don’t make your parents have to bring something you forgot into school! Don’t be afraid to be a leader. Sometimes, you may need to be a follower. Never, ever, ever follow, when you know you should be leading! Be nice to the custodians… They are the ones who’ll open your jammed locker. If you see a piece of paper on the floor, pick it up! Be nice to the secretaries. They will lend you lunch money if you forget your money on the kitchen table! Just be nice to everyone. Just enjoy school and your life! As it is said, ” You’ll never pass this way again.” – Carolyn Roman, Spanish teacher 38 years

Maddy, you’ve totally got this.

We’re proud of you and we love you more than you will ever know.  Always remember that no matter what, as long as the stars shine and this great, big world turns, you will have an army of friends and family and behind you, ready to catch you when you fall and give you a high five when you rock it.

You are prepared for this adventure, and we are all excited for you to start this next chapter.

Let the fun begin!

xoxo

mom & dad

 

Huge and happy thanks to my many friends and family members who helped write this post. I couldn’t have done it without you. 

Do you want to download all of this awesome advice and print it out for your little love? I don’t blame you.

You can download it here: middle school advice _ teachmama.com

And if you choose to share it–which we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

 

talk with kids about emotions: ‘inside out’ mini-book and card game

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

sponsored post

 

 

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

With an 11, 9, and 8 year old, you’d think that we would be over talking about and identifying emotions over here, but we’re not.

In fact, after watching the Disney*Pixar film, Inside Out with my family this summer–and getting a sneak peek of the movie at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference–I realized that as we move swiftly toward the teen years, understanding and talking about emotions is more important than ever.

So I created this cute little Inside Out Mini-Book and card game.

It features the five characters from Inside Out with some space to add some new ones. No, you guys, I’m not asking you to invent new characters for the movie.

Rather, I’m talking about adding other faces for emotions that weren’t included in the movie–emotions that your kids are experiencing.

It’s all about using the movie as a teaching tool. Let’s not just watch the movie and be done with it.

Let’s watch it with our kids and use it as a continued, constant anchor for conversations about emotions.

For real.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Talk With Kids About Emotions–‘Inside Out’ Mini Book and Card Game: 

I’ve shared in the past how important it is to talk with kids about their emotions because when kids can pinpoint how they’re feeling–and share it with their parents–precious time and energy is spared.

And we, as parents, can better support our little loves.

However, identifying emotions is a lot easier for some kids than others–which is no surprise for any parent reading this, I’m sure.  Identifying emotions is sometimes difficult for adults, too, right?

So here’s what we’re doing–

1. First of all, we watched Inside Out.

If you haven’t heard, Inside Out is kind of an interesting, unusual movie. It takes place in the ‘command center’ of 11-year-old Riley’s mind. Rile deals with all of the things that most tweens deal with on top of a big move from her home in the midwest to San Francisco.

With each step and decision, Riley’s emotions–Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust–play important roles.  It’s so unique, it’s unbelievable. We loved this movie, and not just because we have an 11-year-old girl under our roof. This movie rocks.

Check out the trailer below, or head to the theater if you haven’t already seen it.

Like it and want a bit more?

2. We created the Inside Out Mini-Book.

The mini-book isn’t something we’ve taken out every single day and read through; it’s not like that.

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

It’s really just a little, quick flip book with each character–Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust–each on a page.  I kept it small because my kids love tiny things and because I want it to be small enough to fit in my purse, a backpack, or a desk drawer.

I also left a few pages blank aside from an open circle. Here, I figured we could draw in faces of emotions that we want to include.

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

 

You can download the Inside Out Mini-Book here: mini emotion cards _ teachmama.com

inside out mini book

mini emotion cards _ teachmama.com

 

If you choose to share this document–and we hope you do!–please consider sharing this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

And the cool thing is that if you’re not into the Inside Out Mini-Book, then you can totally print out the cards and play Inside Out Memory with them instead.

Just print out the pages on cardstock so you can’t see through them and play.

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

Really. Super-simple.

And a great way to use what you’ve seen in a top-notch movie for continued learning at home.

It doesn’t matter what you play or how you play it. Just keep the cards–or book–out and the conversation flowing.

 

3. We will continue the conversation. 

Really, emotions are something to talk about continually with kids. And it’s important to stress that no emotions are wrong–that it’s okay to feel sad one day and joyful the next, that it’s normal to feel angry one minute and fearful another.

It’s about learning how to deal with those emotions when they arrive on the scene that’s the hard part.

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

The cool thing is that the producers of Inside Out really, truly put so much more time, effort, and energy into developing this movie than you’ll ever know. 

At the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, we had the chance to hear first-hand from the producer about how much time they put into its development.

Did you know that the whole movie began because of the changes that writer Pete Docter noticed in his own 11-year old daughter? Really. He wanted to figure out what was going on in her brain and what sparked the changes he was noticing.

Check out the photos below of producer Jonas Rivera explaining the background of Inside Out:

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

. . . and here he talks about the development and creation of characters:

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

 

It’s a movie well worth seeing, friends. But even more than that, it’s worth using as a continued opportunity to chat with our kids about emotions!

 

fyi: I am proud to be a part of the Fandango Family Digital Network and will share a movie-related post quarterly. Parents, check out the deets on Cinderella, including information about the cast and crew, from our friends at Fandango.   Share your #fandangofamily moments for others to see, or check out the Fandango Family Facebook page for fun posts and contests.

I am proud to work with Disney as well. All of the Cinderella images are courtesy of Disney.  Thank you!

need something fun and unplugged for kids?

tabletop surprises week 4 teachmama.com

tabletop surprises week 4  teachmama.com

Friends.

We’re rocking and rolling this summer.

We’re doing just about everything we can to keep ourselves smiling and sane in between 50 thousand swim and dive meets. And though it’s so fun, just about every year we hit a wall come mid July.

Before we know it, though, summer swim and dive will be over, and we’ll (sob!) be getting ready for a new school year.

So like we do every summer, we’re playing with some tabletop surprises so that Maddy, Owen, and Cora can find their own time through the day to explore the fun I’ve got planned.

Tabletop surprises keep the kids active and engaged. And most days, it gives them something unplugged to do in their down time.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Need Something Fun and Unplugged for Kids?

This week we

 

Monday:

watercolor day! #tabletopsurprises #summerfun #artsycraftsy #paint #painting #watercolors

A photo posted by amy mascott (@teachmama1) on

  Tuesday:

watercolor day! #tabletopsurprises #summerfun #artsycraftsy #paint #painting #watercolors

A photo posted by amy mascott (@teachmama1) on


Wednesday:

  Thursday:


Friday:

     

What did you do that really rocked this week? We’d love to hear it!

 

______________________

 

Join us!

 

summer fun for kids | teachmama.com

Check out our summertime fun posts: 

 

Find something fun to do this summer by following our summertime fun board: 

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board summer fun & cool for kids on Pinterest.
 

Share it!

fun summertime learning for kids: tabletop surprises

anchored: finding hope in the unexpected: a book for all parents (giveaway! #AnchoredHope)

anchored: teachmama.com

anchored: teachmama.com

 

Confession: There are days I don’t appreciate my life the way I should.

I stress over a sink full of dishes, crumb-covered counters, and unmade beds.

Some days, when I hear my kids bickering, I want to poke my eyes out.  When I watch four people walk by a pile of clothes on the stairs, I want to weep. (I mean, can’t someone take them upstairs?)

But reading Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, by Kayla Aimee, has brought me down. It’s grounded me during these long summer days when trying to work with three kids home all day makes me feel like I’m getting nothing right and doing everything wrong.

Anchored has reminded me to really, truly appreciate all that I have because really?  This is a good life.anchored | teachmama.com

anchored: finding hope in the unexpected: a book for all parents

Actually, it’s a great life.

And I have so much to be thankful for.

I know this–believe me. I am grateful, but we all need reminders sometimes, don’t we?

I’m thrilled to be able to share this gift of a book with my you, my friends, many of whom are parents yourselves.

And I even have a fun giveaway for you.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected:

Really, Anchored is a book for everyone, whether you’re a parent or not. This is a story that reminds us to look for hope in unexpected places.

It’s a story for anyone who has wondered, ‘Where is God in this?’

My friend Kayla Aimee tells the story about her journey to motherhood after struggling with infertility for years.  She tells her story about being a mom to a micro-preemie.

A micro-preemie, friends.

Do you even know what a micro-preemie is? I didn’t until I met Kayla.

A micro-preemie is a baby born under three pounds and before 26 weeks.  Can you even imagine?

anchored | teachmama.com

anchored | teachmama.com

Kayla gave birth to Scarlette Vonne at 25 weeks. Scarlette was one pound, eight ounces.

Twenty-five weeks. One pound, eight ounces.

I had known much of Kayla’s story before reading this book, but I had not a clue about the details. The challenges. The victories. The stress that the experience placed on her family, relationships, and her faith.

Kayla is not only one of the coolest women I know; she’s smart, savvy, beautiful inside and out, and to boot, she’s hilarious. And she’s a rockstar writer.

anchored | teachmama.com

So this book gracefully weaves together her story, a story that may seem foreign to many but to which so many of us can relate.  Everyone should have this book on his or her bookshelf.

We may not be parents of a micro-preemie, but each one of us has undoubtedly experienced some sort of challenge in our life that has pushed us, stretched us, or leveled us, forcing us to reach high for strength and to hang tightly to our anchors.

 

I am thrilled to be able to share with you an opportunity for your own copy of this book, along with a cool little extra to top it off.

————————————————————-

GIVEAWAY: A signed copy of Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, by Kayla Aimee and an 8×10 art print painted by Ruth of Gracelaced.com!

Anchored_D

Do you want to win a signed copy of Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, by Kayla Aimee and an 8×10 art print painted by Ruth of Gracelaced.com??!  Yes, yes you do.
——————————-

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to throw your name in the hat:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This giveaway ends Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at midnight ET and is open to folks here in the US only. Winner will be chosen by ‘Rafflecopter’ and will be notified on or around 07/15/15.  Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.

——————————-

But wait. There’s more! There’s something for everyone here!

AnchoredPrintable2a

Even if you order this book on your own, you’ll be able to download the attached printable art from Gracelaced as your free gift. Awesome, right?

Pair the book with the artwork and some of the goodies below, and you have a really awesome gift for a mom, sister, friend, neighbor:

 

fyi: This post was inspired by Kayla Aimee’s new book, Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected. Order your copy of #AnchoredHope today to receive a free e­book and art print by clicking here

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.

help kids stay in touch with friends when school’s out: autograph sheet

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

I can’t even believe it, but school’s almost out for my kids.

Though I’m totally psyched to begin our tabletop surprises this year, I’m also always a little sad when the school year ends.

It means my kids are getting older and that time continues to move . . . quickly.

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

This year, especially I feel like I’m having a difficult time as Maddy moves into the wilds of middle school leaving Owen and Cora behind in elementary school. It has been a true joy for me to have all three kids in one school for the last three years.

And I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the fact that I began this blog even before Maddy started Kindergarten. Insanity.

But also awesome, I know. I have so much to be thankful for–that is a fact.

So I’ll spare you the waterworks–that will surely come on Friday at her Fifth Grade Recognition Ceremony (sob!)–and instead I’ll share something that I created for all three of my little loves so that they can stay in touch with their buddies through the long summer months.

It’s pretty cool. And it’s something they’ll just shove in their binder for the last few days, pull out before and after school and maybe at lunchtime.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Help Kids Stay in Touch With Friends When School’s Out–Autograph Sheet: 

This is a super-easy and fun sheet, and the emphasis here is that kids will write their phone number or address so that they can communicate over the summer.

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet teachmama.com

If kids are old enough and their parents permit it, then hopefully kids can write down their email address or instagram name.

Any way they want to stay in touch, they share.

help kids stay in touch with friends when school's out: autograph sheet

Download the printable and help kids stay in touch with friends when school’s out: help kids stay in touch with friends when school’s out: autograph sheet

If you choose to share this printable–and we hope you do!–please link to this page instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

It’s simple and easy.

And when I showed the kids today, they were pretty happy. And I’ll be pretty happy mid-summer when they ask for a playdate with a pal and I tell them to reach out and plan it themselves!

 

How do you keep kids connected with their pals over the summer? It’s not easy–so I’m open for ideas and suggestions!

Need a few ideas for summertime fun? Join us!

summer fun for kids | teachmama.com

 

 

Are your kids still in school?

Do you want them to do a little ‘thank you’ writing to their teachers? Definitely check out this post over on Scholastic Parents:

end of year thank you  teachmama  pinterest  scholastic

live focused: may is the month for YOU — get started with these ideas

live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com

 

Friends, it’s taken me a bit to get to this important post this month, but here it is.

All year long we’ve been focusing on living with intention, making our time on this earth really count.

We’ve covered organization, friendship, clarity, and growth, and now, mid-year, we’re looking at ourselves.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Live Focused–May is the Month for YOU:

live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com

(Here I am, enjoying my very first butterbeer. . . a dream.)

We’re all busy, this I know for sure.

But when was the last time you really took time for you? When have you recently carved out time in your schedule for doing something that you truly love to do?

If you’re not sure or you can’t remember, then it’s time to make a change.

And if you’re rolling your eyes and feeling defeated before you even begin, then you really, really need to make a change. Because you know what? It’s okay to take care of ourselves. In fact, it’s a necessity.

It’s just that often it seems like we’re moving at such superhuman speeds that we can’t find the time.

Here’s this month’s printable to add to the others. Use it.

live focused: may self teachmama.com

Here’s the May printable to add to your other #livefocused printables: live focused printable may 2015

(If you choose to share this printable–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!).

Identify your anchors.

What’s holding you back from doing what you really love? These are the ‘anchors’ that are keeping you stuck in place–and anchors come in all shapes and sizes.

live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com

Is your anchor time? You can’t find enough of it to do what you want?

Is your anchor money? You feel like there’s no extra money in the budget for you to ‘splurge’ on things for you.

Is your anchor fear? Exhaustion? Confusion? Frustration? Embarrassment? 

Really, there are a million anchors–a million reasons–for you to not do what you’d like.

But there are double that many reasons for you to do more of what you like.

The number one reason to do more of what you like is that you will feel better and do better when you take time out for you. Okay, so that’s two reasons. But whatever. You get what I’m saying.

It’s true.

My good friend Jessica Turner’s Fringe Hours is an incredibly helpful resource for women who are trying desperately to reclaim time. To find something for themselves in that time. To carve out even minutes during the day to do what they love, even when there’s a pile of laundry to be folded and bathrooms to clean.

Jessica created a Fringe Hours Manifesto that you should consider printing and keeping close:

live focused: focus on SELF teachmama.com

You can print the Fringe Hours Manifesto here: Manifesto-Printable

(If you choose to share this information–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Or go ahead and visit the Fringe Hours page directly. Thank you!).

If you haven’t found a copy of The Fringe Hours, you can grab one from Amazon or from DaySpring.  And definitely check out Jessica’s Fringe Hours site for the awesome Time Tracker, wallpapers for your phone, and more.

Good news– DaySpring is having a rockstar Memorial Day sale– 25% off entire purchase with code 25MEMORIAL.  (Treat yourself to the book and some of the other awesome products like notepads and journals!)

 

Remember what you love to do.

It’s hard, especially when you’re in the throes of life, to sometimes even know what you love to do. I get it.

I remember, when Maddy, Owen, and Cora were young, feeling like the only thing I ever wanted to do with my free time was sleep. Like close my eyes and rest. I was that tired.

277261_TurnerPins_Batch13

But once I started running, doing yoga, writing this blog (really!), things turned around. I had more energy. I felt a renewed zest for life. I rediscovered the spring in my step.  I was a better mom, a better wife, a better friend and daughter.

This month, take time to figure out–or remember–what you love to do. We’ll give you some good ideas as a starting point.

How about:

Do something for you.  Really. It’s okay.

I’m no expert–believe me, I didn’t write the book on this–but I can tell you what I’ve done for me that’s made me really happy in the recent past:

1. I’ve just recently tried Stitch Fix. And I love it.

My second ‘fix‘ came today, and Maddy turned to me and said, Mom, I love how happy you are when your Stitch Fix.

She’s right. I am happy.


Stitch Fix makes me happy, and I don’t care if that makes me sound like a brat.

What is it? Stitch Fix is like having a personal shopper–really–where five items are sent to you, and you can keep or send the items back. It’s AWE-some. You pay $20 a month, and you fill out a detailed description of your style. Then your items land on your doorstep.


Whatever you want, you keep, and that $20 goes toward the cost; if you buy all five items, you get 25% off the total cost and your $20 stylist fee goes toward your purchase.

Jewelry, handbags, tops, skirts, dresses, tanks–it’s awesome.

 

——————————————-

2. I started doing Beachbody–the 21 Day Fix and PiYo. And I love it.

I tried the PiYo DVDs last year because I’ve been a longtime fan of pilates and  yoga.  And I even tried Beachbody Shakeology and after a bit of trial and error, I really came to like it.

No Weights. No Jumps. Just Hardcore Results. DEFINE YOURSELF with PiYo!
21 Day Fix. Simple Eating. Simple Fitness. Fast Results.
So now I’ve been rocking out to the 21 Day Fix each morning (okay, or about 4-5 mornings each week), and some mornings I’ll mix it up with a little PiYo or a run.  And I try to have a shake every other day. It was an investment in me, and I feel so much better for it.

More importantly, though, I feel so much stronger for it.

And the cool thing is that several of my friends are working hard as Beachbody coaches–guiding people to better health and fitness and getting paid for it. Awesome.

Smart women working hard–changing lives and earning some extra money.

——————————————-

3. I started using döTERRA essential oils. For real. (Don’t laugh.) And I love it.

I’m sure you have friends or family members who are into the essential oil thing. And if you don’t, well then, we should talk. . . (cough).

I’m kidding. Kind of.

OilSingles

But essential oils are simply ‘natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants.’

Take a minute to check out my little ole essential oil page; know that the videos are super helpful. Though I’m not a full-fledged oil expert, I have been using them with my family for about six months. We’ve seen some really great changes.

I’ll write more about them later, but I really just like having options when someone in our family isn’t feeling 100%. I like the excitement of looking up the ailment in our essential oil guide, trying the oil, and experiencing results.

I like that there is an oil for just about everything–anxiety, stress, indigestion, pain, and insomnia. I like that the oils can be ingested, infused, or used topically. I like that there are boatloads of supports out there for newbies to this world, and I like that so many women are making a killing selling them.

I like that you can buy them at really reasonable prices, so even if you aren’t sure about them, you can give a few a try and not break the bank.

——————————————-

Oh friends. Let’s get this started.

Finally.

Here’s to hoping that you do end up carving some time for YOU this month. Please tell me where, when and how you’re doing it and remember that each person who shares his or her successes is an inspiration for everyone else!!

 

 live focused in 2015 self teachmama.com sq

Are you in? Let me know, friends. I need to know I’m not walking alone on this journey!

  • share any of the photos here on your facebook page
  • share any of the photos here on your twitter or instagram page
  • share any of the photos here on your google + page or blog!

Tweet this:

  • tweet this: I am ready for some ME TIME this month! Join @teachmama and me: #livefocused
  • tweet this: I am psyched to join @teachmama in her #livefocused 2015 adventure! Join me: http://ctt.ec/warK2+
  • tweet this: Do YOU want to live a more focused, intentional life this year? Join the #livefocused crew: http://ctt.ec/ad7NC+ @teachmama
  • tweet this: Make this year COUNT. Get focused. Live intentionally. http://ctt.ec/aq9Vy+ #livefocused @teachmama

Check it all out video-style:

 And? If you don’t already subscribe to teachmama.com’s YouTube channel, you totally want to!

live focused 2015 teachmama.com b w collage

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click below for #livefocused archives:

ive focused in 2015 organization teachmama.com sq

live focused in 2015 friendship teachmama.com sq

live focused in 2015 clarity teachmama.com sq 2

live focused in 2015 growth teachmama.com sq 2

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

teaching kids to say ‘thank you’ to everyday heroes

teach kids to thank everyday heroes teachmama.com


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teach kids to thank everyday heroes  teachmama.com

 

Too often those important people who do everyday jobs are forgotten.

Even though they work hard to make our days brighter and lives easier, many times days go by when they don’t get ample thanks. And they deserve it.

So our focus this week is to to just that–thank our everyday heroes.

We’re teaching our kids as frequently as we are able to say ‘thank you’ to the people who work hard every day, around them.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Teaching Kids to Say ‘Thank You’ to Everyday Heroes: 

Much like we did with our Surprise Notes for the Neighbors way back when, our Thank You Notes for Everyday Heroes will be the same: quick, easy cards of thanks.

 

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

Just simple tokens of gratitude for the people who do jobs all around us: the postal carrier, the delivery person, the newspaper deliverer, and the folks who work at our bank, dry cleaner, gas station, and grocery store.

Even though our teachers get recognized with Teacher Appreciation Week, our everyday heroes rarely get any regular thanks.

This is just one way that we, as parents, will do what we can to teach our kids workforce appreciation.

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

It’s simple. But it’s really powerful. Really!

 

The Thank You Notes for Everyday Heroes are here: 

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

You can download the pdf here: thank you brighten day notes _ teachmama.com

(Please, if you choose to share this–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!)

 

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

We will simply put these cards in a small plastic bag, sign them with a smiley face and a first name, and hand them out as we need them. Keeping them in the car may be the best way to do it!

 

Here are a few ways to get started thinking about our everyday heroes: 

Check out the “1 in one hundred million” site–it’s a site created by Kronos that’s devoted to sharing the personal stories of people who do the many important and too-often unrecognized jobs upon which we all rely.

In these videos, ordinary people in the workforce share their stories. It’s a great resource to be used as a starting point for your kids.

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

teaching kids to say 'thank you' to everyday heroes | teachmama.com

Or depending on where in the world you live, the videos and resources may really give your kids a more clear sense of what kind of jobs are out there.

Each month “1 in one hundred million” site releases a new video profiling a person’s story. They’ve covered a firefighter, a trauma nurse, a produce manager at grocery store, a union electrician, a hotel front desk agent, a restaurant server, a teacher, and a baseball bat maker, who was a former MLB pitcher.

 

Want a bit more about how to teach kids workforce appreciation?

Check out:

teach kids workforce appreciation  teachmama.com

 

kronos: workforce appreciationfyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Find Your Influence, and as always, ideas and opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator. Find out more at 1 in one hundred million. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of their videos and follow #WorkforceStories and #1in100MM!

 

haircare stress and kids: eliminate the stress with these three tips

stress free haircare for kids | teachmama.com

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stress free haircare for kids | teachmama.com

I have always been a fan of short hair on little girls.

Always.

I just think it’s super cute and easy and fun. I kept Maddy and Cora’s hair short with little bangs for years and years, which is why now, they insist on having long, long, forever long hair.

They always want long hair. Always want to wear it down. Always takes 20 extra minutes in the morning to get the perfect pony or perfect braid, and it causes a boatload of stress.

Thankfully we’ve got a few ways that can help eliminate–or control–haircare stress.

Three tips that I really, truly think will help your familia.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Haircare Stress and Kids– Eliminate Stress with These 3 Tips:

Now, be aware that eliminating is a strong word and that it may take a little bit of time, effort, and energy on everyone’s part before the stress of haircare is totally eliminated. But know that with a few little ‘tweaks’, haircare stress can at least be controlled.

1.  The Fancy Brush.  

haircare stress and kids: teachmama.com

haircare stress and kids |teachmama.com

You can read all about the Fancy Brush here.

Though we’ve graduated from the Fancy Brush to the Wet Brush, both girls have one of their own, and they both do take good care of them.

 

2.  The Products.

haircare stress and kids | teachmama.com socozy

We have only been introduced to this line of products recently, but we have fallen hard for them: SoCozy haircare for kids.

The SoCozy line is a line of haircare products for kids created by Cozy Friedman, the owner of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, which is a premier children’s hair salon in New York.  Fancy, right? The thing is, they’re actually solid products that really work.

According to Cora, the combination of Cinch and Behave makes the perfect pony. She’s been using the combo herself for the last few days.

haircare stress and kids | teachmama.com socozy

haircare stress and kids | teachmama.com socozy

Haircare products not your thing? It’s cool. I get it.

Then at least check out SoCozy Boo! Boo! is lice prevention shampoo, and the description is a riot: scares away lice. . . naturally. I’ll take it. Sign me up.

Can there be a rule that every kid in school must use SoCozy Boo!?  Please?

Take a quick look at a professional stylist telling me how she made Cora’s perfect ballerina bun:

We had the chance to hang out with the Cozy Friedman at a local event last week at Make Meaning in Bethesda.

It was a ton of fun.

stress free haircare for kids | teach mama

stress free haircare for kids | teach mama

stress free haircare for kids | teach mama

stress free haircare for kids | teach mama

stress free haircare for kids | teach mama

Check out all of the photos from our event:

Cozy Friedman first opened Cozy’s Cuts For Kids, a premiere children’s hair salon aimed at redefining the entire children’s haircut experience, in 1992.

Now, 20 years and multiple salons later, Friedman introduces SoCozy salon formulas for kids – the first ever premium line of hair care products made with the finest ingredients gentle enough for kids. Offering non-toxic products with no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, propylene glycol and free of gluten, wheat and nuts that perform at a salon level with packaging that appeals to kids and parents alike.

SoCozy celebrates all hair types and solves a range of common hair care problems faced by children. For more info visit www.SoCozy.com.

 

3. The Nighttime Ponytail.

haircare stress and kids | teachmama.com pony

 

Really, this is the most simple tip ever: have your kids sleep in ponytails at night.

It’s amazing how much it helps eliminate hair chaos in the mornings. Fewer tangles.  Hair manageable.  Happier kids.  Happier parents.

And? If the girls want to get a little crazy, make it a braid at night with damp hair. The waves will make just about any Disney Channel star green with envy.

 

How do you manage haircare stress for your kids? What works, and what doesn’t? I’d love to know!

Do you want to see if SoCozy and the crew are making your way to an event in your town?

Check out the SoCozy blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram  | Pinterest

 

fyi: This is a sponsored post, written as a partnership with SoCozy and Target. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator and a mom whose had her fair share of haircare stress–with kids who are only 11, 9, 8 years old. 

teach kids workforce appreciation: celebrating those who make our day brighter

teach kids workforce appreciation | teachmama.com

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teach kids workforce appreciation | teachmama.com

We have always taught our kids to be thankful for each and every person who makes our day a little brighter.

And those people include family and friends, neighbors and teachers, but it also includes our newspaper deliverer, and the grocery cashier. Our dry cleaner and mail carrier and the folks who take away our recyclables and trash.

We could be pretty cranky if we had to cut the grass at our favorite playground, so we are thankful for the people who manage the grounds.

We’d be miserable if we had to cut Brady’s fur, but thanks to our groomer, we don’t have to.

When our garage door breaks? Thankfully, we have someone to call. If we need help adding a new light fixture?  The electrician can come lend a hand.

All of these people help to make our day brighter.

All of these people are part of our workforce and deserve to be celebrated.

And it’s really something that needs to be explicitly taught–or modeled–to our children.  Three easy ways, friends.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Teach Kids Workforce Appreciation–Celebrating Those Who Make Our Day Brighter: 

Here are three easy ways that parents can help instill an appreciation for all those in the workforce:

1. Model gratitude and thanks for those in the workforce.

teach kids workforce appreciation  teachmama.com 1

This is super simple: say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to those people who help you at checkout lines, who support you on the phone, who greet you as you walk into stores, and who perform service-related tasks.

So often I see people forgetting this simple act of kindness, acting as if the work that these folks do is not as important as it is.

Hopefully, we can change that by modeling gratitude.

 

2.  Teach children about all jobs so that they know how hard others work.

teach kids workforce appreciation  teachmama.com 1

When we know better, we do better, right? Take time to really teach kids about all different types of jobs so that they learn how valued each and every job really is.

This, too, is easier than you think.

Check out the “1 in one hundred million” site–it’s a site devoted to sharing the personal stories of people who do the many important and too-often unrecognized jobs upon which we all rely.  Here, ordinary people in the workforce share their story.

I love it.

Created by Kronos, each month “1 in one hundred million” site releases a new video profiling a person’s story. They’ve covered a firefighter, a trauma nurse, a produce manager at grocery store, a union electrician, a hotel front desk agent, a restaurant server, a teacher, and a baseball bat maker, who was a former MLB pitcher.

celebrating all jobs in the workforce  teachmama.com 3

celebrating all jobs in the workforce  teachmama.com 3

I love that this series profiles just one of the one hundred million, often under-appreciated, people in the workforce. Hopefully this series will help everyone to better appreciate those people who often make our day brighter.

Find out more about this cool campaign here: 1in100million.com  |  #1in100MM |  #WorkforceStories

3.  Take some local, behind-the-scenes field trips.

teach kids workforce appreciation  teachmama.com 1

I know this option isn’t always an option depending on where you live, but this is one of my kids’ fondest memories of growing up: take local field trips.

For years I wrote about how we took ‘behind the scenes’ tours of our local pizza place, fire station, flower shop, and recycling center. We visited so many places with our moms’ group that I truly believe it helped show my kids how important our community members really were.

Often, all you need to do is give the business a quick call beforehand, and the people there are more than excited to show a family around. Try it.

 

How do you help to show your kids that everyone in the workforce deserves to be appreciated? I’d love to hear it!

 

 

 

2547-201503241952345821fyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Find Your Influence, and as always, ideas and opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator. Find out more at 1 in one hundred million. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of their videos!

 

how to have a family meeting: what works for us

how to have a family meeting: what works for us

how to have a family meeting: what works for us

 

Oh, friends.

How things change as our kids get older, right?

After years of doing what we can to give our kids choices, listening to them, doing all we can but ultimately having the final say–our kids have expressed to us that they want more of a voice in our family.

I get it.

So we’ve been having Family Meetings.

We have only recently begun to have regular Family Meetings, and though they are not perfect, I do think they help.’

We’re still learning. Aren’t we all?

Here’s the skinny. . .

How to Have a Family Meeting–What Works for Us: 

It’s been simple.

I created a pretty basic Family Meeting Sheet.

And any time anyone wants to call a Family Meeting, he or she may do so.

The first time we held one, I clipped the Family Meeting sheet onto a clip board, and I set it on the table.

And as the kids came and went through the day, they filled it out.

By the time the meeting rolled around, everyone was ready–and curious.

how to have a family meeting: what works for us

how to have a family meeting: what works for us

We said,

Okay, guys. So you’ve asked for more say in our family, so here we are. We’re here to work out the kinks and hopefully make things move more smoothly around here.

There are a few ground rules: 

  • Everyone listens.
  • Everyone speaks.
  • Everyone acts respectfully, no matter what.

In Lord of the Flies style, anyone who spoke held an object–I think ours was a stuffed Mario or Yoshi. That way, there was no interrupting and only listening.

And really? From that point on, we talked through the agenda–what my husband and I planned and what the kids added–and we worked out the kinks.

 

family meeting notice blank

family meeting notice blank | teachmama.com

Here’s a BLANK Family Meeting sheet if you’d like to download it as a pdf and use it as your own: family meeting notice blank | teachmama.com

(Please, if you choose to share it–and we hope you do!–please share this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!)

 

family meeting notice 2

family meeting notice OURS | teachmama.com

Here’s our Family Meeting sheet if you’d like to download it as a pdf and use it as your own: family meeting notice OURS | teachmama.com

(Please, if you choose to share it–and we hope you do!–please share this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!)

how to have a family meeting  teachmama.com

 

What does your family do? Do you hold regular Family Meetings? I’d love to hear it!

What has worked? What hasn’t?

must-have conversation after taking kids to see cinderella

must-have conversation after taking your kids to see cinderella

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must-have conversation after taking your kids to see cinderella

Last Friday, we saw Cinderella.

The new and improved Cinderella from Disney.

And it was gorgeous. It was beautiful.

From start to finish, the characters were beautiful, the setting was beautiful. The dress. The dress was beautiful. The glass slippers? Beautiful.

And the end? It’s picture-perfect.

It’s a fairy tale ending, just like we all wanted.

Every little girl I know will want to see it. Over and over and over and over and over again.

Which is why I truly believe that there’s a must-have conversation every family must have after taking kids to see Cinderella.

Here’s the skinny. . .

The Must-Have Conversation Every Family Must Have After Taking Kids to See Cinderella: 

First, let me be clear: I get Cinderella.

I know the story.

I saw the animated movie.

I have shared them both with my kids well before we saw the new movie. I know it’s a fairy tale, and I know how it ends.

And I’m not expecting miracles.

But perhaps Elsa is fresh on my mind since we’re all still defrosting from Frozen fever.  Elsa was a rockstar in the way she works out her personal struggles without the help of anyone other than her sister.  And in the end, she learns to control her powers and run a country.

Maybe I just over-loved Tiana who saves pennies in a cofollows her lifelong dream to open a restaurant.  As an entrepreneur, I want my girls to know that they can do anything they set their mind to.

Brave’s Merida was so full of adventure and drive, and I loved her refusal to fit into her family’s preconceived molds.  She set out to follow her own destiny, learning some serious life lessons along the way.

Are these three Disney princess perfect? Not at all. But they’re fresh on my mind, being that they are the more recent additions to the Disney princess club.

As we were walking out of the theater last week, after hearing all of the oooooohs and ahhhhhhhs and wishful conversations among movie-goers, I wanted to remind all of the parents to talk to their daughters about a few things.  Really.

Please parents, after watching Cinderella, tell your daughters:

You are beautiful.

You. Are. Beautiful.

Your healthy body is beautiful. You have strong legs that take you everywhere, that allow you to run, jump, flip, bike, ice-skate, rollerskate, and play.  You have strong arms that you use to build structures, make forts, string bracelets, paint pictures, and design your dreams; your arms and hands allow you to write notes, type stories, do handstands and cartwheels.

God gave you one body, and you take care of it well.  You. Are. Beautiful.

must-have conversation after taking kids to see cinderella | teachmama.com 1

You are smart.

You. Are. Smart.

You read, you listen, and you think. You are questioning and curious. You work hard on your homework until you understand it, and you take your school work seriously. You are a coveted classmate for projects and assignments; your friends know you are a hard worker and that your creative, innovative ideas will get your project done well.

You figure things out. You follow directions. You can do things on your own, and if you can’t, you ask for help. You. Are. Smart.

You are strong.

You. Are. Strong.

You are strong whether I am with you or not, whether your dad is with you or not.

You are strong by yourself, wherever you are, whomever you are with. You are strong in or out of our house, in the summer or winter, in the spring or fall. You are strong whether you have hair or no hair, phone or no phone, toys or no toys.

You are strong no matter what you are wearing and no matter what you think. You. Are. Strong.

must-have conversation after taking kids to see cinderella | teachmama.com 1

You are kind.

You. Are. Kind.

You have more kindness in your pinky finger than more people have in their whole body.

You always think about other people.  You write sweet notes to friends. You wrap beautiful, homemade gifts. You take care of our pets, and you help around our house. You are giving, and you care about how people feel.  You. Are. Kind.

Now, think about the movie. Sure, Cinderella was beautiful and ‘courageous and kind’ like her mom said, but really, there are some things you need to know. 

Cinderella was wearing a corset to make her waist look super tiny.

Cinderella–along with all of the women in the movie–was wearing costumes that made her body look different.

The were wearing corsets. Or girdles. Or something like that.

A corset is something that women wore long ago to hold in their stomachs, to make them look more like an hourglass. Corsets are kind of like the top part of an ice-skate but around your waist. The laces are pulled super-super tight in the middle and a little more loose at the top and bottom so the hips and breasts look bigger. In olden days, people actually had fainting couches and fainting rooms because women were barely able to breathe wearing these corsets–often they fainted.

Can you even imagine? Think about how hard that must have been. Think about how tough it would have been for those ladies to walk down the street in a corset, let alone dance, run, jump, or play.

cinderella post | teachmama.com

Cinderella did not need to take that awful treatment from her stepmother or stepsisters.

I mean it. Nobody deserves to be treated that way.

It’s one thing to be courageous and kind, but it’s another to be a total pushover.

Cinderella could have said something like,

Hey, I don’t appreciate the way you’re making fun of me right in front of my face. It’s not nice, and I won’t stand for it. Or. . .

I’m sorry, but I am definitely not going up into the attic for a bedroom. If the sisters want to share my bigger bedroom, that’s fine. I’ll take the smaller one. But the attic? No way.  Or. . .

Really? Do you honestly feel good about sending me to eat alone in the kitchen? No, sorry. I’m eating at this table with you guys. So. How’s the weather?   Or. . .

Um, nope. I’m not cool with tying your shoes. I can help you loosen your corset and then you can tie your own shoes. Thankyouverymuch.  Or. . .

I don’t care what you think about this dress. It was my mom’s, and even if it is a little out-dated or not quite as poofy as yours, it means a lot to me. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I’m still going to the ball with you. Now, move over, bacon. . . 

cinderella post | teachmama.com

Cinderella could have left the house.

We saw her talking to a girlfriend in the market one day, right? That pal could have helped her get out. But Cinderella had some funny belief that she needed to stay in the house to ‘honor her mother and father’? I don’t believe it. No way. Her parents loved her. Bottom line.

So that means that more than anything, they’d want her happy.

Usually there’s someone who can help you–no matter what situation you’re in, no matter how bad things seem. There’s someone who can help you.  Whether it’s a parent, brother or sister, classmate, neighbor, friend, teacher, or coach–someone can be your lifeline.

Cinderella did not use her lifeline. Clearly.

Cinderella could have done something.

After an amazing, magical, awesome time at the ball, Cinderella just sat in her attic room waiting for . . . what?

What was she waiting for? What was she doing up there after the ball? Was she locked in her room? I can’t even remember.

All I know is this: at that point, Cinderella could have done a dozen other things to change her situation other than just sit there and sing. Right?

Right.

So though she was pretty lucky that the Prince’s guy was there and demanded that they check out the beautiful singing heard from above, life doesn’t always work out that way.

Sometimes–most of the time, actually–you have to take the reigns in your own hands.

And though it’s a whole lot sweeter if you’re courageous and kind, often, you have to do a little more, give a little more, risk a little more.

You’ve got to use your strength and your smarts to steer your own ship.

To plot your own course.

To find your own map.

To paint your own masterpiece.

To buy your own flowers.

To sing your own song.

But I know you can do it, and I love you.

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fyi: I am proud to be a part of the Fandango Family Digital Network and will share a movie-related post quarterly. Parents, check out the deets on Cinderella, including information about the cast and crew, from our friends at Fandango.   Share your #fandangofamily moments for others to see, or check out the Fandango Family Facebook page for fun posts and contests.

I am proud to work with Disney as well. All of the Cinderella images are courtesy of Disney.  Thank you!