Parenting Challenges--Resources to Help You

Resources to Help Common Parenting Challenges

In my 2017 research round-up, I discuss the major parenting topics that emerged last year. As I was writing this, I realized that over the years, I have collected numerous resources, products, blogs, etc. that can actually help address many of these parenting challenges.

That's how this page was born--trying to solve issues that we parents commonly face. What items or tricks make life easier, provide insight or knowledge? These are my top picks, but I will continue to update this page as I find new gems.

I try my best to support other mom bloggers or family-run businesses whenever I can. Of course, you can buy everything under the sun from Amazon, so that's listed too but I do try to find items that are really useful in solving parenting challenges.

I hope you find these resources helpful. Some of these do include affiliate links which help support this blog (at no added cost to you) and the work I do to provide articles on a regular basis.

Minimalism and Simple Parenting

Research continues to show us that simple is better--with toys, lifestyle, kids activities, etc. These resources offer tips or ways to keep your life and those of your kids simpler.

Catch-all Planner--designed by a blogger mom with 4 kids so you know it's good. Includes planning for school, cleaning, budgeting, etc. all in one spot. An easy way to organize and simplify. (also known as Toy Library)--this site lets you rent toys instead of buying. Genius! Keep your house clear of clutter. Your kids stay engaged and off screens. And yes, they have Legos!

Declutter Challenge--one of my favorite bloggers created this course to help you clear the clutter in just a few short days. A quick, painless way to simplify life!

Freed from Clutter Challenge
Freed from Clutter

 Prepear--part of simplified living for our household has been meal planning. It sounds like another chore, but it really does make life easier if you know each day what you are cooking for dinner. It means no more scrambling around crazy-like at 5 pm with hungry kids hovering in the kitchen. It means not making more than ONE trip to the grocery store each week (and now many have online order and drive up pick up!). This app and meal plans from Super Healthy Kids is awesome. They have tons of healthy recipes already loaded or you can plug in your own favorites. They also have a 30-day free trial so you can test it out yourself.

Super Healthy Kids

Super Healthy Kids

Fostering Kids' Interests and Learning

One big topic in 2017 was the usefulness of kids' intense interests. It turns out that kids who LOVE a certain topic (doesn't matter what) are more likely to gain valuable skills by delving into that topic. Common ones for kids are dinosaurs, trains, insects...but whatever your kid is WAY into can be a catalyst for intense learning.

Groovy Lab in a Box--a subscription box for kids that covers many common interests--space, robots, airplanes. All things groovy and STEM-related.

storieChild--now this book isn't about a particular interest, but it's about YOUR child. Unlike some personalized books that just add in the child's name, these personalized books allow you to add in a lot of details about your child and his/her unique interests. So if your child loves dinosaurs, you can include pictures and text about dinosaurs. The same thing goes with any interest--trains, butterflies, etc. What a perfectly unique gift!

Little Passports. If your child switches interests quickly, then Little Passports might be just the thing for them. These monthly boxes help them explore a different area of the world each month. Now, there's also a science option which helps kids learn about an area of the globe through science experiments. How fun! I love that these are divided up by age group too--one for preschoolers and several types for older kids.

The Read-Aloud Family--Reading, of course, is the #1 way to foster learning and encourage kids' interests. If you are not familiar with The Read-Aloud Revival, this is your chance to check it out. You will become a fan just like I am. The founder, Sarah Mackenzie, just wrote a new book all about the connections and learning we build by reading aloud to our kids (even older ones). It is on my must-read list for the spring!

Self-Care for Parents

We know that self-care is important but we don't often realize what happens when it's missing. Research recently showed us that lack of self-care, like insufficient sleep, provokes symptoms that mimic depression. This, in turn, makes it much harder for us to be patient with our kids. These resources will help you find realistic ways to care for yourself.

Bounce Back Parenting. I read this book a few months ago and loved it. I found the section on self-care particularly helpful and realistic.

Calm (app)--I just recently found this app and I am loving it! It's labeled as guided meditation, but I call it "me time." It will guide you through learning how to meditate and calm your mind, but it also includes a soothing music feature or nature sounds. I've started using it early in the morning before the little ones rise out of bed. Starts the day off right!

Headspace--another great app that helps you focus your thoughts and clear your mind. The great thing about this one is that there is a kid's version too! You can start your kids on an early habit of mindfulness.

Hands-Free Mama--if you are not familiar with Rachel Macy Stafford of Hands-Free Mama blog, you should be. Her writing never fails to inspire and help me focus on what's really important. Great for helping you remember what's important and take some time for yourself. 

Managing Technology and Screen time for Kids

Helping our kids use technology without it taking over their lives is a key challenge for us in today's world. However, we parents love our screen time too. Research has shown us that parent-child relationships that experience "technoference" (device distracted) are more likely to face challenges, including negative behavior on the part of kids. These resources help us manage our technology use with our kids so they can master self-regulation.

Time Tokens--found these recently and I love it. They help kids learn to manage their screen time themselves so they eventually move toward self-regulation instead of parent-regulation. 

KidsWatch--if you need another level of technology management and protection this is a good option. Keeps all those inappropriate YouTube videos out and other content we don't want our kids seeing. It also gives you options for managing tech time and checking on kids' online activities.

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Emotional Development in Kids

In 2017 we saw a big shift in how people deal with gender relations in our country. At the core of this, I feel is a lesson in emotional intelligence. This prompted many parenting questions about how to raise kids with full emotional lives, kindness, and empathy. I hope these resources can help us all focus on raising a generation of kids who have strong emotional intelligence and promote kindness.

Kindness Elves--if you've been reading The Thoughtful Parent for long, you know I love these little elves. We started using them at Christmas as an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf but they have expanded their curriculum to include Kindness Camp too. Great way to help your kids focus on the needs of others.

Child Proof Parenting--part of helping kids deal with their emotions is modeling it on our side. This course in Emotion Coaching helps you do just that. Kids (and sometimes we adults too) need help learning how to manage emotions, not stuff them in, in ways that don't hurt others.

Little Loving Hands--kids love crafts but parents don't like the crafty results lying around the house. Problem solved--give crafts to charity. This cool subscription box allows you to send the crafts to a charity that they sponsor. Places like children's hospitals, homeless shelters all use the crafts for their child residents. Plus your kids learn a valuable lesson in charitable giving.

Wonder Crate. There are tons of subscription boxes out there now, but very few teach about emotional development. Wonder Crate stands out from the crowd by focusing on books, crafts and inspirational materials that emphasize emotional skills like resilience, growth mindset, empathy and confidence. Sign me up!

Teaching Emotions Toolkit--Does your child struggle to understand their emotions? The Teaching Emotions Toolkit contains all the resources you need to give kids an emotion vocabulary, help them to better understand what they are feeling and what to do with those feelings.

Teaching Emotions Toolkit

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Resources for Common Parenting Challenges: organize, simplify, manage #tech, foster #kindness

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