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Family

Family Camping at Red Top Mountain

We are an outdoor family. In fact, we are probably one of the most active families you could meet. The kids and I are constantly out doing some sort of activity and camping is no exception.

We headed to Red Top Mountain Easter weekend for a quick getaway. It was so peaceful and absolutely wonderful!

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Water, melanin, bones, blood. In route to death, while I’m here, might as well get shit accomplished.

Photographer, fitness enthusiast, blogger, and mother of two.

In Family

How to Improve Your Toddlers Social Skills: 5 Steps That Will Ensure Success and Decrease Stress

10 Ways To Teach Your Toddler Social Skills // www.gritsngrace.com

Whether we as adults want to believe it or not, toddlers are scared.

Wait, what?

You read that right, they have their own set of fears that we don’t often understand or even acknowledge. Many times we just chalk things up to being the ‘TWOPOCALYSPE” stage or being a “threenager” when it’s neither. I like to believe that children, especially toddlers want to love everyone and everything. From the old lady who lives on the corner to the giant python that may be lurking somewhere, it’s just in their nature to be loving, kind gentle souls.

That is until their own fears get in the way.

If you’ve ever taken your child to the park and they bring their own toy, then you know what I am talking about. There can be lots of things running through a child’s mind “are they going to ask to play with my toy?”, “is someone going to try and TAKE it from me?” or “is mom going to make me share?”. All of these things can lead to anxiety in kids and when this occurs, often times it leads to what we think of as kids having tantrums and resorting to doing things that while we think they should know better, they really don’t.

This is because toddlers don’t necessarily have all of the skills and tools they need yet to interact socially. It’s our job as parents to introduce them to our kids.

How do I help my toddler learn social skills?

1. Start early on teaching the children the words they need use in order to properly express themselves.

This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but as parents, sometimes we focus too much on their age, without realizing, hey my kid might actually understand this! Just because your child is 18 months, that doesn’t mean you can’t begin to show/teach them the proper ways to express themselves through words. While they may not be able to say them, being consistent with it, will not only help them to remember this is what they are supposed to do when they get upset, but it will also increase their vocabulary. Which is a win/win.

2. Don’t force them to share.

Personally, I have always thought telling kids not to share is a bit ridiculous.  But after actually sitting back and thinking about how this affects kids overall, I have realized, okay–maybe we shouldn’t force them. Kids want to feel secure knowing that they can make the decision to let someone play with their toy or another object. They don’t want to feel that every time they get something they love, that they must give it away just because another child wants it.  Try framing this as taking turns; let your child know when they are done, they have the option to let another child play with their toy. If and only if they want that to happen.

3. Don’t rush them

If you are requesting that your child takes turns, then let them decide when they are done with the toy and are ready to pass it on.  Don’t make them feel as if they should hurry up, just because someone else wants their property.

4. Patience

On the flip side, if your child is on the opposite side of this and has to wait for another child to finish, and they are having a rough time; then it would be a good idea to start teaching your child about patience. Do this by modeling good behavior and using comforting words, if they are having a major meltdown. If you’ve ever stood in line at the DMV then you know most adults don’t have patience, so we shouldn’t expect that kids act accordingly 100% of the time. Start teaching them early, so they won’t be that person we’ve all encountered standing in a line.

5. Address any signs or actions of physical aggression

We have to remember that they are toddlers. They are still learning how to expression themselves in a healthy manner. Sometimes, they may decide to get physical in the middle of their anger. While it’s important to once again empathize and let them know it’s okay to be upset, you must also remind them that it is never okay for them to put their hands on someone else, no matter how angry they are.

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.
In Family

How To Keep Your Toddler Healthy, When You’re On The Go

Summer is in full swing here, and as usual, it has been jam-packed with activities (and we are only a week and a half in!). Between basketball camp, golf camp and lessons, swim lessons, summer t-ball, eating healthy for our family of six would seem impossible. Moreso, making sure my toddlers are eating healthy snacks while on the go has been difficult. Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.
In Family

15 Budget Friendly Stay At Home Date Ideas

If you are looking to spend more time with your partner, but you know that a dinner at Ruth’s Chris (or even Waffle House) isn’t in your budget, here are some seriously fun date ideas that you can do at home and on a budget. Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.
In Family

5 Things Parents Need To Stop Bugging Over

5 Things Parents Need To Learn To Let Go Of // www.gritsngrace.com

I’m not perfect (gasp!), but since my oldest is rounding the corner to her teenage years, with my son soon following suit, I thought I would pass on a few words of wisdom.

As parents we have got to do a better job of picking an choosing our battles. I have read so many articles (and have written some as well), about how frustrating motherhood and parenting is, how the plight of a SAHM is harder because your with your kids 24/7; and honestly, it always the same things. My kid won’t eat, they follow me to the bathroom, they won’t put on a jacket to go outside.

In the grand scheme of things, is any of this really important enough to stress over? No, it’s not. Obviously if your kid is doing something dangerous then yes, by all means, freak the hell out. But don’t make daily battles of small things.

A lot of this is things that I have the privilege of saying from hindsight. However, even with that being the case, I have been able to practice it with my younger children as well. Is every day perfect? No. Most days I want to run out the house screaming and leave them there. But I don’t and I won’t. I just suck it up and move on.

RELATED: 5 Frustrating Moments of Parenting A Threenager

So if you are feeling frustrated and a bit of daily burnout, here are a few things that you can start relaxing about as a parent.

1. Putting on a jacket to go outside.

We live in the south, the weather gets cold but not deathly cold. My husband is originally from Chicago, so he knows cold weather. My grandmother would always say “put on socks before you get the ‘pleurisis” (which I am assuming she meant pleurisy, that my sister did catch in her 20’s). All of those years of running around the house and outside with no socks or shoes, or even putting a jacket in 40-degree weather did I ever catch the flu.

My son wears a jack in 90-degree weather, whereas my 12, 4 and 2-year-old daughters prefer to not wear them. So instead of chasing my two-year-old around the house, or holding her down to put the jacket on, I let her forgo it. Of course, I keep one with me, just in case she changes her mind.

75% of the time she does. In which case, she then puts on the jacket. And we didn’t even have to fight about it.

2. Not eating dinner.

I have three of the best finicky eaters ever. Meaning they will eat whatever you put in front of them, but they aren’t always hungry. We have one rule, take three bites and if you don’t want anymore, you can leave the table. I know that if they are hungry they will eat. The one thing I hate is seeing kids being forced to sit at a table and made to finish their plates.

An unfinished plate of food isn’t going to cause them to starve to death.

 

3. Not making the playing time on the team.

If your child is 4 years old playing soccer (or t-ball, basketball, etc;), if the coach pulls them out and they sit a good chunk of the game, it’s not the end of the world. I guarantee there is not a NBA contract on the line if Bobby sits down for a few minutes (or even half the game) at your local park. They will survive. More than likely they will only show emotion if you are super emotionally about it.

4. TV for more than 1 hour a day.

I’m pretty strict with television and electronics. But there are days that I’m just like screw it, and yes I will plop them in front of BabyfirstTV or re-runs of the Berenstein Bears until I properly adult.Which usually is after a couple of hours.

Their brains don’t mush. My older children about both honor students and in my mind little geniuses.

5. Bedtime routine.

Now if you read my previous post about the importance of a routine, you may think that I am a hypocrite. But I’m not. If bedtime is causing you and your child too much stress and anxiety at night, then don’t fight with them. My kids are in bed no later than 6:15 (sometimes 6:30, if I just can’t), but that wasn’t an easy feat, nor did it happen over night. There were plenty days where they just wouldn’t lay down, or if they did, they would be up every five minutes asking for me to put on their blanket.

Don’t let a routine consume your life. Routines are great and I am all for them, but not at the expense of my sanity or my kids.

 

What are some things that you let go of? Feel free to share below! Also don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

Using Photography to Boost Your Child’s Confidence

Using Photographer To Boost Your Child's Confidence // gritsngrace.com

Using photography to boost your child’s confidence can be huge in allowing them to be themselves. Whether you’re taking their picture or handing the camera over to them and letting them take the reigns, this can be huge in allowing your child to be more confident in what they do. I talk about this exact thing over on my photography blog here, feel free to read and comment.

A while back I handed my son the camera and told him to make a story. He decided to take photos of his favorite toys and called it “Toy Story Before Time” (which subsequently is similar to the title of an actual Toy Story short).

using photography to boost your child's confidence

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Water, melanin, bones, blood. In route to death, while I’m here, might as well get shit accomplished.

Photographer, fitness enthusiast, blogger, and mother of two.

In Family

Why our dog is our favorite family member and why it’s good for your children to have a family pet

Why Our Dog is the Favorite Member of our Family // gritsngrace.com


our dog is our favorite family member, family petsAs a parent, you aren’t supposed to have favorites. But let me tell you a little secret: our dog is our favorite family member and I wouldn’t have it any other way. From myself to the kids, everyone loves our dog. He has been our families protector and always comes to sit by my side when I’m upset, even if I’m not visibly upset, he just knows and will always come to comfort me. Our dog is actually my parent’s dog. But I say he is mine because well, I love him that much and took care of him extensively as a puppy and he remembers it. Even when I moved out and got married, he would still come snuggle under me whenever I came to visit. In his first few weeks with us, we formed such a close bond that as life happened and I got older that bond never deteriorated. Read more

Water, melanin, bones, blood. In route to death, while I’m here, might as well get shit accomplished.

Photographer, fitness enthusiast, blogger, and mother of two.

D is for Dabbing

Most kids music sucks. Like sucks holy hell. As parents, many of us are mindful of the type of music that we expose our kids to, so we endure and try to tolerate a lot of things whether its endless plays of the Wiggles or even the Fresh Beat Band or countless spends of “Let it Go”, just to make our kids happy (and still have at least some tunes playing).

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Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.
In Family

Dining Out With Toddlers

3 Tips For Dining Out With Kids & Keeping Your Sanity // www.gritsngrace.com

Recently on our day trip to Charleston, we decided that we would stop in at a restaurant downtown called “Blossom”. Instantly the thought of dining out with Isla and Sarah sent me into an anxiety attack. Normally we don’t eat out in resturants due to how hectic it can be, and my husband nor I am ever able to actually enjoy ourselves. Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.

#DiscoverSC: Top Family Favorite Must See Destinations In Charleston

Top Family Hotspots in Charleston // www.gritsngrace.com

A few weekends ago we decided to have an impromptu day-cation to Charleston, SC. Charleston has always been a favorite day spot for my husband and me, and we love visiting as much as we can with the kids. I didn’t get to take a ton of photos, (my camera card was full), but I did get some. You can view them here on my Instagram. Keep reading to find out what our favorite family friendly spots are! Read more

Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.