Let's face it--parenting is hard at times. Parenthood is the only "job" which involves no formal training, very little background knowledge (for most of us) and the "outcome" involves the people we value most (our kids).
But I've also learned that parenting cannot really be equated to a job, either. It is a relationship, as unique and special as your relationship with your spouse or best friend. As with any long-term relationship, it can have its ups and downs. Add to that the fact that children are under-developed in their "relationship skills."
All this is to say that to thrive in parenthood you need a tribe--fellow parents who have gone down the road you are traveling and can point out the bumps in the road or at least sit by you and help you buckle your seat belt.
Since I am a blogger, I have found support and encouragement from other bloggers along this parenting journey. Today I'm sharing some of my favorite parenting blogs that offer real, concrete, parenthood-is-messy-but-worth-it articles and advice.
General Parenting Resources and Thoughtful Commentary
These blogs offer thought-provoking articles and useful hands-on tips. As a bonus, many are also based in research, which I always appreciate.
- Nuture and Thrive: research-based positive parenting ideas from a developmental psychologist. You can't beat that. Great, thoughtful articles.
- Not Just Cute: Amanda is a scholar after my own heart--trying to bring research into the lives of the people who really need it. I even love the name of her blog. She says childhood is not just cute, it is powerful and priceless. I couldn't agree more.
- Modern Parents, Messy Kids: if you're looking for a "one-stop shop" for all your daily parenting needs, this is it. This blog covers the nitty-gritty of parenting--organization, recipes, parenting articles, gift guides.
- Janet Lansbury: if you are not familiar with RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) then check out Janet's site. It focuses on a thoughtful, insightful parenting approach that focuses on seeing the infant as a whole person from the start.
- Regarding Baby: another wonderful RIE site hosted by Lisa Sunbury, an early childhood educator. Her writings will give you insight into focusing on your parenting relationship and slowing down to understand your child.
- The (Reformed) Idealist Mom: as the title implies, Kelly describes herself as a reformed perfectionist. If you are ready to ditch the idealized notion of parenthood and be real, this is a good place to start. Kelly offers real-life ways to reconnect with your kids.
- Science of Mom: if you ever wonder if some article or post you read about a parenting hot topic is based on any science at all, you should check this site first. Alice is the best at searching out the real science behind common parenting issues.
- Gooey Brains: it sounds funny but it's true--kids brains are gooey. This site offers wonderful resources for helping us understand how we can shape those gooey brains in the right direction.
- Military Wife and Mom: although we are not a military family, I keep seeing Lauren's posts in my social media feed and I love all that I've read. Practical insight into positive parenting ideas that help us get through dinner time, chores, and homework with our sanity intact.
Specific Aspects of Child Development (physical, cognitive, social)
These blogs focus more closely on specific areas such as physical, emotional or cognitive development
- The Inspired Treehouse: run by two pediatric physical therapists, this site offers a wealth of ideas and activities that can help parents understand their child's physical, cognitive and emotional development
- Hey Sigmund: if you need help understanding your child's emotional needs, this is where to start. This site discusses a lot about children's emotional life including anxiety and stress. It's a wonderful resource for understanding our own mental health too.
- Mama OT: another great site who's goal is to share knowledge of occupational therapy with the rest of us. Great information for understand all children's development, including playful learning activities, fine and gross motor skill development.
Education/Learning Activities for Kids
Even if you are not a homeschooling family, these blogs offer learning ideas to enrich your child's education. As parents we are still the first and best teachers of our kids.
- Brain Power Boy: I am a mom to boys so I am biased to sites like this. This is great if you have boys (like mine) who don't usually go for the typical crafts and activities offered on other sites. Sheila has some great insight into the mind of young boys.
- What We Do All Day: if you are a stay-at-home parent, you have probably gotten this question, "what do you do all day?" Well, this is the site for you. Wonderful book recommendations, real hands-on activities that are meaningful and not just fluff.
- Imagination Soup: if I'm looking for any resources related to kids' literacy, book recommendations, or gift ideas, this is my go-to site.
- Totschooling: if you are like me and spend most of your days with a toddler or preschooler, you know that you often need some activities to keep their little hands busy. This site has loads of cool printables (mostly free!) that you can easily prepare for the kids to do.
- No Time for Flashcards: we all know that play is the best learning activity for little ones. This site is awesome at giving us ideas for crafts and learning activities.
- Seeme and Liz: do you see the theme of play being big on this list? This site continues that theme. Great playful learning ideas and resources, especially for the young crowd.
Kids' Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Getting kids to eat something besides chicken nuggets and mac and cheese is often a struggle. These sites offer hope to us that there are healthy options that kids will actually eat.
- Super Healthy Kids: I have found tons of good recipes on this site. They also have meal plans and cool healthy eating plates to help kids learn what they should eat to keep their bodies healthy.
- 100 Days of Real Food: another go-to site for me. If you need to expand your child's lunchbox menu, there are a lot of great ideas here. Plus, Lisa just came out with a cookbook so you can have all your favorites in one spot.
- Weelicious: this site hardly needs an introduction since it's been featured in magazines and television. Wonderful kid-friendly food ideas, even for the babies and toddlers.