ASSISTANT TEACHER TODDLER PLAYSCHOOL POSITIONS X2 (ONE STARTING JULY, 2022 AND ONE SEPTEMBER 2022). Great Mother’s Hours! Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, and Friday, 9 am to 12:30 pm (2 or 5 days in total)Are you interested in becoming an Over The Moon Parenting Educator? Over The Moon, Parenting is seeking an Assistant Teacher for our Toddler Playschool who has at least 2 years of recent experience working with toddlers. This person must be reliable, professional, kind, and energetic. The ideal candidate must love working with toddlers and work well in a team setting. You will be responsible for meeting the needs of the children in the class and maintaining daily operations in the classroom. You will be working with an experienced Lead Teacher. Over The Moon is not a daycare. It is an enrichment center for young children and their families. This position is for 2-5 mornings a week in our Toddler Playschool class. A 3-hour, drop-off class for children (24 months to 36 months, potty training is not required). At a minimum a high school diploma is required, a bachelor’s degree is preferred. MA Certification in Early Education is also preferred.
We’ve made a convenient car kit checklist to stock your car with parenting essentials. It has everything you’d need for when you are out and about with your children, beyond the diaper bag. Print it our and keep it in the same tote you keep your car kit contents. You’ll be organized and prepared for anything.
Getting back into a routine after the fun of summer can be hard. Whether you are going back to work after vacation, going back to school, or starting fall play school, we have tips to make the transitions easier.
1. Build out your morning routine for success.
Include a wake-up alarm, breakfast, some time for brushing har and teeth, and getting dressed.
Ask Alexa to play wake-up music like “Morning in the Rainforest,” by Go, Diego, Go.
Try a visual chart like Skidules to help small children get everything done in order.
2. Bring back the bedtime routine – and start early.
Having a set family dinnertime, followed by bath time, a story, and a song – or a similar routine – makes the bedtime routine a long, wind-down process. By starting early, you start signaling to your child’s body that it is time to go to sleep – and you avoid putting wide-awake children into bed and then having trouble getting them to fall asleep. Sleep hygiene – or sticking to a routine – is very important.
3. Clean out your car and your bag – and restock them for success.
Fun in the sun can mean your car gets fun of sand, dirt, collected leaves, dirty clothes, and uneaten snacks. Take an afternoon to clean it all out, and maybe run your car through a carwash with a vacuum station. That will make driving to activities a happier experience for you, and you’ll have everything you need to celebrate fall.
4. Get organized with tools.
Whether you work best with Google Calendar, use a paper planner book, or work best with a bulletin board wall calendar, take some time to sharpen your focus on the coming months. Feeling secure in the plan makes each day easier.
5. Put technology to good use.
Google Calendar, iCal, and reminder apps like Microsoft To-Do, and Notes are easy tools to use on-the-go from your phone.
Online grocery ordering and repeat delivery services can take the stress of running out of essentials.
Last, Boomerang is a Gmail extension tool that allows you to email future you to remember things that may be to long for a calendar note. For example, after each holiday, you might email yourself for the following year on what worked – and what didn’t.
Choosing to get your child evaluated for Early Intervention can be incredibly daunting, emotionally charged, and scary. As mom, I know. Parents can feel so guilty if a child shows signs they could use some extra help.
Instead, Early Intervention of any kind is a huge benefit to children who need it – and getting your child tested early is the best thing you can do as a parent to prepare your child for success.
Early Intervention Programs in MA are free up until age 3, and offer a variety of schedules, playgroups, and in-home opportunities that best fit your family. Specialists address concerns including speech development, physical therapy, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, occupational therapy, feeding challenges, and more.
If you opt for testing for your child and they don’t meet the requirements, you’ve still gained a better understanding of how your child is developing. You can then make decisions from there if you’d like to pursue other options.
“Early” is the key word in Early Intervention. The sooner a professional can start working on a developmental delay, the sooner your child can start benefitting from the program. The testing process is specifically designed to playful, soothing, and supportive for children, while still obtaining accurate results. The testing process will not be hard on your child – and instead can be the first step in vastly improving their development.
I know firsthand how beneficial Early Intervention can be. One of my children showed a few signs they would benefit from speech therapy – and I am incredibly glad I had them tested. We worked with the Kenendy-Donovan Center and it was a fabulous experience. Not only did my child benefit, but I also learned better ways to help them at home.
Fun in the summertime involves parades, fireworks, BBQs, pool parties, and great family time! It also brings some safety hazards for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Here are some tips to keep your family safe this summer.
Liberally apply SPF 30+ sunscreen early on children and babies over 6 months. Reapply every few hours and after swimming, running through the sprinklers, or any other water activity. For babies under 6 months, check with your pediatrician about their sunscreen recommendations and keep them out of the sun with a loose cover and a hat. Sun shirts and UPF-rated umbrellas are also helpful for infants.
Apply bug spray if you’ll be anywhere with mosquitos. Picardin is widely available, and is a proven to perform better than DEET for mosquitos everywhere except the tropics. Picardin is safe for infants over 2 months.
If you are going to a party, parade or a crowded place, decide up front who will be responsible for watching each child. Consider dividing and conquering. Never assume family or friends are watching your children and be clear when passing on the responsibility to another person.
With children over 2, talk about expectations, rules and clear consequences including staying in a designated area, asking before eating and drinking anything, and playing safe. Have them repeat the rules back to you.
Be extra mindful of open cups, grills, fire pits, pools, ponds, and other safety hazards. If you are hosting a BBQ, consider putting a play yard around danger zones. One of the most common injuries to toddlers at the beach are burns from digging into the sand where someone buried their leftover coals from their bonfire the night before.
If you are celebrating near water, put life vests on all your little ones, even if they aren’t swimming.
Make sure your family is staying hydrated, and pack a few extra snacks, too. No one is happy when they are hungry. Extra tip: sugar-free popsicles are a great way to stay cool and hydrated.
Try to stick with nap routines to avoid tired meltdowns and to make it to the late firework shows.
If your family is celebrating near loud music or noise, use noise-canceling headphones for little ears. Don’t use earplugs – they can be a choking hazard.
Consider dressing your family in bright or matching colors so you can find them in a crowd easily.
If you’ll be celebrating at a crowded event where toddlers or preschoolers could get lost, designate a meeting place. If you are going on a family walk or hike, consider giving children who tend to wander a safety whistle. Tell them that if they get lost, they should SIT DOWN and SCREAM. Panicking and running will only get them more lost.
Frequently check your children for ticks and tick bites, and consider a quick shower before bed to wash any critters away. The warn water of the bathtub brings out the color best of the telltale bullseye rash form a tick bite. If you see it, take a picture with your phone to bring to the pediatrician. Also, if you do pull a tick off your child, save it in a plastic baggie for testing at the pediatrician.
Flashlights are handy if your family’s festivities go on into the night, as well as glow sticks or reflective clothing.
For extra safety, consider taking an infant and child CPR and Safety class ahead of the holiday. That will arm you with the necessary skills to care for anyone in an emergency, no matter the date.
Bring a travel first aid kit in your bag, and keep one in your car, bike bag, stroller bag, and in your partner’s car. Restock them regularly.
Why Take Your Child to A Music Class at Over the Moon?
Here at Over the Moon we are excited to teach Rock it Baby and Rock it Toddler to babies and young children. These classes are so much fun and offer amazing bonding opportunities for children and their caregivers. But did you know that our music classes are especially designed by a child development teacher? Read on to learn about the many ways our music programs can benefit your child.
Music comes very naturally to kids. Our children wiggle and sway to the music long before they walk and run. Listening to music actually activates every part of the brain and influences how brain signals flow.
Music helps improve speech, builds body awareness, boosts understanding of emotions and even releases ‘feel good’ hormones like oxytocin while suppressing ‘toxic’ hormones like cortisol.
Every music class at Over the Moon incorporates lap bounces, freeze dances, instrument play and scarf play. Each of these components provide invaluable developmental benefits!
Lap bounces are so much fun and excellent for bonding and giggle time. But did you know lap bounces also strengthen core muscles and help little ones learn ‘up’ and ‘down’ ‘slow’ and ‘fast?’ Children also get to feel a steady beat in their whole bodies while their caregivers gently bounce them which helps boost their understanding of rhythm.
Freeze dances are one of the most popular parts of our music class. Whether the child is able to dance and ‘freeze’ himself or be held by a caregiver while they ‘freeze’ there are so many benefits. Freeze dances teach listening skills, the ability to concentrate on one sound while tuning out ambient noise, self regulation and most importantly- to stop when prompted- an essential safety skill!
We use a variety of instruments at Over the Moon. Bells, rhythm sticks, maracas and drums are all so much fun to play together! Instrument play builds fine and gross motor skills, teaches cause and effect, and teaches patience and perseverance. Plus it is so fun to play instruments with other kids and learn to corporate, take turns and be part of a team!
When the scarves come out at Over the Moon lots of our little ones put the scarves over their heads right away in anticipation of a rousing game of peek a boo! Scarves are amazing for tactile sensation for babies as well as building eye tracking skills. Dancing with scarves helps children express themselves while dancing and that peek a boo game is not just fun it’s also teaching object permanence and cause and effect!
This is just a taste of all of the fun things that encompass a music class at Over the Moon. Being in a classroom setting, dancing with peers, and celebrating with bubbles at the end is so fun for our kiddos. Every class is carefully designed by the instructor to boost development but also boost laughter, fun and friendship. We hope you will join us!!
Sensory bins are always fun for your little one – but you don’t have to buy anything to put in them. Here are some easy recycled materials for your child to explore. Always supervise sensory play and crafts.
Save your toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, egg cartons, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and other safe materials.
Tape a tube to the wall low enough that your little one could drop items such as large pom poms through.
Make rain sticks by filling a tube with rice and using duct tape to cover the ends.
Tape bubble wrap to the ground and let them explore the texture and sound it makes when it pops.
Use egg cartons for sorting and crafts.
Use plastic bottles of different sizes for practice of fine motor skills such as putting popsicle sticks or q-tips inside and then dumping them out.
Put different items in a cardboard box and work on receptive language skills by asking them to take out the “red ball” until you have gone through all of the items in the box.
Outside let them explore paint with different natural materials such as small pine branches.
Fill a sensory bin with water and other items and empty the water into your garden after playing.
Many companies send packages wrapped in large pieces of paper and/or tissue paper. Use the paper to have your little one make a large mural. Let me crinkle and rip up the tissue paper for some sensory fun.
Fill a sensory bin with the items listed above and add rice, sand, beans and let your little one explore and figure out what is inside.
Make an ocean sensory bin with water, animals, and some items that do not belong in the ocean such as yogurt cups and straws. Have your little one sort what does not belong in the ocean.
Different size boxes taped closed can be great for stacking.
“The Earth is more important than money, and if we want our children to have a clean place to live, we need to do our part now. We can’t buy our children a new planet.” -Catherine Norton
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here is a great St. Patrick’s Day craft for your little leprechaun. It’s super cute, and also builds color sorting and fine motor skills! How lucky! 😉
You’ll need: yellow play dough, fruit loops, and pipe cleaners
Directions for your child:
1. Roll two donut-hole-sized balls of playdough. 2. Poke a pipe cleaner firmly into one ball of play dougn. 3. Sort about 30-50 fruit loops by color. 4. String the fruit loops onto the pipe cleaner by color; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple. 5. Bend the pipe cleaner in an upside-down “U” shape and poke it firmly into the other playdough.
Playing with slime is great for toddlers and preschoolers – and not just because it is ooey-gooey fun! It invites your child to practice mindfulness, builds focus and independence, assists with fine motor skills, and allows them to explore with their senses.
Valentine’s Day is a great day for slime. Follow one of our favorite recipes, below!
1 bottle clear glue
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp contact solution
2 tbsp glitter
Mix ingredients until it is stretchy and no longer sticky.
When toddlers are developmentally becoming more independent and communicative , they will start to show signs of readiness for potty training. By following their lead, you’ll know when the best and easiest time is to start potty training! 5 classic signs your child is ready to start using the potty are:
They show interest in the toilet.
Begin telling you when they need to be changed, and are uncomfortable in wet or dirty diapers.
Their bowel movements are consistently at the same time.
They can undress themselves, or get undressed with minimal help.
They stay dry for 2 hours at a time.
You’ll know they aren’t ready to start potty training if your child isn’t showing these signs and remember – it isn’t a race!
I worked in education for over ten years but when covid came and our family made the difficult decision to homeschool my own kids and nephews (ages almost 6, 5, 4.5 and almost 4) it was daunting. I threw myself into research and reading – along with lots of trial and error.
I would love to share what worked and what didn’t work for me during our homeschool journey as an educator, but most importantly as a mom who has been where you are.
Firstly and most importantly, I want to assure you that your kids are going to be okay. I hear a lot of anxiety from parents about their kids being behind academically but please remember practically the entire world is in the same boat. Teachers know this and are ready to meet your kids where they are when they return to school. Even for the kids who are in-person or doing hybrid schooling, this still isn’t a typical school year. There are reduced hours, as well as stretches of closures and restrictions that make this year incredibly unique and challenging. Kids are remarkably resilient- especially our littlest ones- and our primary goal needs to be taking care of our kids social and emotional needs. Teachers understand this, they really do.
I know that we are all in different situations with different time challenges. Perhaps you have an older child in school or distance learning, maybe you are still working yourself. Maybe you have a baby or toddler underfoot. We can troubleshoot all of these scenarios and I would love to be a resource to help you make homeschooling as successful as possible for your family’s unique needs. I’ve put together a short list of tips that made things easier for me this past year. I hope they are helpful to you, and I encourage you to reach out with other ideas, any questions, or just to connect with another parent who understands.
1. Playing classical music in the background during the day can be really calming and soothing to our kids. I was skeptical when I read this can be helpful but playing Bach or Tchaikovsky really helped to create a calm and creative environment. Ask Alexa to play “The Four Seasons,” by Vivaldi and melt into it.
2. It can be very beneficial to present your learning area in an inviting way. Educators talk about creating ‘invitations to play’ to draw children in. Take the play dough out and make a face with some dried beans. Arrange the worksheets in a pleasing way with colorful crayons visible. Put a few of the Magnatiles together on the table. Make the environment welcoming and kids should jump right in.
3. One thing that covid cannot take away from us are the changing of the seasons. Children love to learn about things like hibernation, days getting colder and shorter, upcoming holidays, and weather patterns. Kids love rhythm and predictability so use the rhythm of nature in your activities. Make paper snowflakes, decorate autumn leaves, use flowers found in the garden to glue to paper to make art work.
4. I do feel like I have a greater understanding of my own kiddos learning styles from spending this time with them. Learning is important but figuring out HOW someone learns best is invaluable. Some of us didn’t figure out our learning styles until high school or beyond, but one of the unexpected gifts of this challenging time is the opportunity to observe our children engaged in learning for ourselves. The three main learning styles are visual, auditory and kinesthetic (movement based). Take this time to observe what kind of learner you think your child is. My youngest child and my youngest nephew are both kinesthetic learners so I found that having very active learning activities available was key for them. Follow your child. Pinterest is an excellent resource for lots of engaging and creative learning ideas!
5. Have fun! If your child is rolling their eyes at learning the Aaa sound then stand up and have a dance break! Read your child’s cues and try not to force an activity that isn’t working or doesn’t match their energy level. Choose activities that are interesting to you AND to your child!
Most of us never intended to homeschool and stay home for months on end. This is a challenging time and ending your day with a bath, a glass of wine, and some Netflix is also really important! Take care of you and be gentle with yourself. Connect with other parents. Kids are resilient- we will all get through this, and there is a whole tribe of us who have your back and are cheering you on!
Miss Kirsten gives her 10 tips on making the transition to playschool happy, empowering, and smooth.
Read about it! Reading about characters going to school for the first time helps children relate to the unknown. Talking to your child about what looks fun, friendly, or scary can help work out feelings before you even enter the classroom. Also, if you have memory books of your first days of school, bring those out. Looking at picturess of Mommy and Daddy in school when you were their age is special.
Do a practice run. If you are planning to start playschool, visiting the classroom – even just the building – can make the drop-off feel more familiar to your child.
When dropping off, try to resist the urge to linger if your child is upset. Most often, a clean break ends up being easier for the child, who can then be distracted by being engaged in an activity, and comforted by a teacher. Drawing out the impending break from a parent can sometimes be worse. You can always stick around outside the classroom out of sight to make sure they settle in.
Send in the lovey for comfort. Having something familiar from home to comfort them is an easy way to help then feel safe.
Dress them for success. Wearing a favorite superhero shirt, a locket with a family picture, or new light-up sneakers can act as the feather to Dumbo’s flight. Let them choose – the more choices they have, the more in control they will feel.
Tell them what to expect and build in a routine. Going over the plan for the day every morning at breakfast gives toddlers a feeling of control. Talking about what will happen during the day so they know what day they have playschool, and what they do before and after it helps them emotionally prepare for it. A simple picture board, like the magnetic Schkidules one, can make it fun.
Set up a playdate with friends they will be joining in class. Friendly faces in the classroom always helps.
Send them with a full belly. Resist the urge to celebrate with sugary donuts and instead make the healthiest breakfast they will eat. Maybe dress it up with fun shapes for the special day, but keep it healthy so they aren’t going into class on a sugar high – with the impending low looming over the teacher.
Plan a celebration after the first day. The promise of a trip to the ice cream shop or the playground after school can make the start of playschool more exciting. It is especially useful if you use their trip to playschool as a bonus: “Now that you are a big play schooler, I bet you’ll be super at helping me bake your cake!”
Tell them you are proud of them. Tell them they are big, strong, smart, independent, and ready to learn like a big kid. Use empowering language to build them up. If you can present it that they are going to school because they are eager instead of you are forcing them to go is incredibly empowering for them.
At Over the Moon, you will see us instructors pairing our speech with sign language during our classes. We also offer a Sign Language class for babies and their caregivers. Many people think of sign language only as an alternative method of communication for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or nonverbal. But it is actually quite beneficial to teach typically developing babies sign language as well! Read on to learn three reasons why learning sign language can be enriching for all babies and their caregivers.
1. Sign language boosts speech and language development. We often hear the concern that teaching babies sign language will slow down speech development. Actually the opposite is true! When babies learn a spoken language (like English) paired with some sign language, they are using both sides of their brain while learning new words. The more pathways we create when learning, the more places in our brain we are establishing to retrieve the word later. In other words, using both sides of the brain makes for stronger memory and recall! Evidence shows that learning sign can boost IQ, accelerate emotional development, strengthen fine motor skills and hand eye coordination and help with early literacy skills.
2. Sign language can reduce frustration for our kiddos. When we teach our babies basic signs we are giving them a way to communicate their needs months before they are able to express themselves through speech. A baby can sign for ‘milk’ as early as 8 months but may not be able to say the word milk until several months later. While other babies rely on crying to communicate that they are hurt, hungry, or thirsty, babies who learn sign can tell their caregivers what they want while also boosting their language skills!
3. Quality Bonding Time Sign language classes provide a great outlet for babies to bond with their caregivers. Over the Moon’s sign language classes offer a knowledgeable instructor, fun curriculum and a community of caregivers all eager to learn sign and to connect with their babies. It is a wonderful place to create precious memories, and this sweet time can be invaluable for babies and the ones who love them.
Rather than feeling enslaved to your sterilizer after each use of your pump, simplify your cleanup by keeping your flanges and bottles in a gallon size ziplock bag in your refrigerator between uses. Once per day, soak them in hot soapy water, thoroughly cleanse them and let them dry. If you find yourself in your car for many hours during the day, get yourself a cooler big enough to store ice packs and a gallon size ziplock bag for the pump parts and follow the above advice. Frozen ice packs will safely keep breastmilk for 24 hours.
Happy holidays! Here is my favorite gingerbread play dough recipe:
1 cup of flour 1tbsp vegetable oil 1/2 cup salts 1 tbsp cream of tartar 1 tbsp ground ginger 1 tbsp nutmeg 1 tbsp cinnamon I cup water
Mix all ingredients together and cook in a saucepan until it forms a ball. I like to double the recipe because I’m usually making enough for two kids.
This play dough is great for all five senses, and an especially wonderful activity to work on fine motor skills. Playdough is fun on it’s own, but below are some age-appropriate ideas for adding in extra fun (with adult supervision).
For 1-2 years old you can provide rolling pins and plastic cookie cutters and/or stampers.
For 2-4 years old you can provide the above items and also try plastic practice scissors, as well as plastic cutting tools.
For 4 years and up, provide large googley eyes, cut up pipe cleaners, and buttons for you little ones to use and create their own gingerbread man.
*The dollar store is a great place to find trays, plates, little holiday containers, and plastic cookie cutters!!
Music is a great motivator. It motivates athletes in the gym, party-goers to dance, and entire nations to salute the flag. You can use it to motivate your toddler in a happy, encouraging way. You can either sing the songs yourself, of ask Alexa to play each song when you need them.
The Clean-Up Song by Shari Sloane is a happy two-and-a-half-minute song that encourages children to help pick up. If you want to add some excitement, try to get your kids to race to get the room clean before the song ends.
This is the Way We Brush Our Teeth by Little Baby Bum walks children through the steps of brushing teeth, and takes about tow-minutes – which is how long you should brush.
One Little Finger Tap Tap Tap – gives toddlers power over their own body when they interact with a new baby in a fun way. You can encourage them to touch the baby’s toes with one finger. The focus stays on the toddler and engages the baby, too, in a safe way.
If your family is celebrating summertime with vacations away from home, we have a few tools to check out. Its difficult for moms and dads to get much-needed relaxation on vacations, and this gear will help.
1. This Britax Travel Cart turns your carseat into a stroller – which is key for air travel.
2. These double-sided bed rails make any hotel bed safe for your toddler if they can’t sleep in a pack and play.
3. RoadID makes children’s ID bracelets and shoe tags to ensure your child is safe if they do get lost. They have room on them for medical information as well as contact information.
4. Pack Infant Tylenol and Infant Motrin on trips so you don’t have to go hunting in a strange town with a sick baby. To ensure they don’t leak, use Itzy Ritzy Wet Bags, which work for baby shampoo and sunscreen, too.
Made with ingredients you can feel good about, Young Living’s Mineral Sunscreen Lotion provides protection against UVA and UVB rays without harsh chemical ingredients. With hypoallergenic ingredients and skin-loving essential oils including Helichrysum, Carrot Seed, and Sacred Frankincense, this gentle, reef-safe sunscreen rubs on smoothly, so you can effortlessly apply it when you’re outdoors.
2. Insect Repellent
Before you buy an insect repellent at the store, check to see if it contains DEET. If it does, you’re going to want to put it back on the shelf. DEET is a registered pesticide, and a member of the toluene chemical family. Toluene is an organic solvent used in rubber, plastic cements, and paint removers. DEET is absorbed through the skin and passes through the blood. DEET-free insect repellent is tested to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas using 100% naturally derived, plant -based ingredients. It smells great and goes on smooth!
Summer and citrus go hand and hand. Grab a citrus oil like orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime and add it to your water bottle for a refreshing drink on the go. Young Living offers a whole line of Essential Oils called the Vitality Line which are safe for ingestion.
4. Thieves Products
Thieves is an exclusive blend of Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, Rosemary, and Lemon Essential oil. Thieves has many benefits and is used in a lot of personal care and home cleaning products. The Thieves spray is perfect to carry in your purse to remove sunscreen and sand off little hands.
5. Ningxia Red
A shot of Young Living’s superfood drink each morning will get you through the hot, summer days with plant-based ingredients. It’s refreshing and super healthy.
Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint Essential Oils – the magical seasonal support blend. Diffuse these oils or put them in a roller with coconut oil and apply directly to your skin to get you through allergy season.
Keep your lips hydrated and happy with all natural lip balms, like Lavender, Cinnamint, or Grapefruit.
Mom life requires wipes on hand at all times. Once you try Seedlings Wipes, you’ll never go back to any another brand. They are so soft, thick, and you only need one to change a diaper, remove make up, or clean your hands. They are completely biodegradable and non-toxic.
9. Lavender Everything
From Lavender Essential Oil, to Lavender Lotion, to Lavaderm, turn to all things Lavender for skin support this summer. It soothes skin ailments from cuts and bruises, to sunburns and more.
10. Rose Essential Oil
Not only does rose have an amazing, uplifting scent, but it is also great for your skin. Try Rose Ointment for dry or sunburned skin. You will be amazed with the results.
Together, the Over The Moon community raised $850 for EmpowerHER, a non-profit organization with the mission to empower, support and connect girls of all ages who have experienced the early loss of their mothers.
Over The Moon Parenting’s mission is to support growing families on the South Shore of Boston, and this local cause is very near and dear to us. Every day we see the growing bonds of mothers and their babies, and it is our privilege to give back to girls who have lost their moms.
This is the second year we have run a fundraiser for EmpowerHER for Mother’s Day, and last year we raised $800. We strongly believe in building up our community, and look forward to running another fundraiser for this amazing organization next year for Mother’s Day.
One of the wisest things Margaret, my mother’s group teacher, told me was that a mother can’t nurture a baby when she isn’t feeling cared for herself. Self care for moms is incredibly important, and often gets overlooked in the myriad of tasks that go along with parenthood. Here is a list of ideas to pamper yourself so you can be your best for yourself and for your whole family.
Start counseling early if you are feeling down, stressed out, or angry about something. Talking your feelings out with a professional or a trusted friend is necessary for feeling heard, grounded, supported, and for gaining solid advice.
Schedule a girls night. Being a mom doesn’t leave much room for going out with friends, but it becomes doubly important once you have children. If you can swing it, go in on a hotel room so you can sleep in the next morning.
Take some time to do some reading. Relaxing into a good book is therapeutic and gives your mind a much-needed break from the laundry list of chores around the house. Don’t forget about audiobooks – they are a great way to keep up on new releases if you also need to get chores like folding laundry dishes, or errands done.
Get back into a hobby you enjoyed before babies. Gardening, hiking, fishing, painting, knitting, cooking, and playing the piano are all great ways to relax. Pottery and sewing classes, horseback riding and volunteering are also great ways to get out of the house and take some time for yourself. Having just a little time to yourself can be so rewarding – you’ll feel refreshed when you get back home and have a much better attitude when you have to conquer the bedtime routine.
Manicures and pedicures, hair cuts or blowouts, facials, and massages are all soothing ways to pamper yourself. We love Ambrosia day spa next door, but even doing a simple sheet mask and a deep conditioner on your hair can feel luxurious.
Take a walk. It is simple yet soothing to get out of the house and take a stroll around the neighborhood. Babies who don’t like strollers often enjoy carriers, and if you have a dog, they will appreciate the outing, too. Spring makes everyone happier, and saying a quick hello to friendly neighbors is always nice.
Go on errands by yourself. A Target or Home Goods trip sans kids can be life-giving.
If you aren’t ready to hire a babysitter yet and have some alone time outside the house, try a mother’s helper and take some time to update your closet or reorganize your kitchen while knowing your children are cared for in another room.
Schedule your own check-ups because your health is important, too! Yearly physical exams, dental cleanings, ObGyn appointments, and eye exams should all be on your calendar. And don’t forget to do your monthly breast exams.
Getting into a dinner rut is so easy, but break out with cooking classes or a meal delivery service. Services like Hello Fresh, Sun Basket or Blue Apron allow you to choose what you want to make, deliver the ingredients right to your door, and instruct you through making each meal so you don’t have to think about coming up with varied menu options or remembering ingredients in the market.
Get some sleep. There isn’t a mom alive that couldn’t use more Zs. Sleep in, go to bed early, or take an afternoon nap.
Buy yourself some flowers – or have them delivered. Trader Joe’s always has lovely, relatively inexpensive flowers.
Go shopping for clothes and shoes that fit and make you feel good about yourself. After my two pregnancies, my feet grew 2 1/2 sizes. I needed a whole new shoe selection, but was just living in slip-ons until my mom made me go shopping. Don’t wait for an intervention – go now because you deserve to look and feel as cute as your kiddos.
Go on a date with your partner. Spending some time just the two of you is really important for your family. Go see a movie, have dinner, or try mini-golf. Getting dressed up and flirting a little will make you feel more like a person and less like a walking snack dispenser.
Have more ideas? Please share them below or one our Facebook page!
Its no wonder new motherhood is so stressful. The day after I delivered my son, I had a sobbing-on-the-floor crisis because I had used prescription deodorant and was worried that I had poisoned my milk supply. (I hadn’t. Deodorant is a-okay.) But the life-or-death feeling of every decision, antiperspirant included, is overwhelming. The weight of motherhood is heavy. New moms groups help.
Becoming a mother is a transformative, incredible, and joyful experience that can also be overwhelming, intimidating, and lonely. Talk to any mom, and she will tell you that her “village” is what got her through those early months parenthood. Your first day alone with your baby, your first night after vaccines, your first car ride with a screaming infant – nothing helps to build you up like a mom village.
And finding answers to questions can be sticky. Sometimes, you don’t want to ask family because- let’s face it – relationships are tough. Sometimes the questions around episiotomies, sex after birth, and weight gain are embarrassing. Sometimes, imaging the answer to “is this normal,” is daunting.
In addition, many women are healing from c-sections or tough deliveries, juggling career challenges and changes, and don’t get nearly enough rest and self-care.
I started my first mother’s group with Margaret when my older son, Beau, was 10 days old. Beau is now in Kindergarten and I still call those same women when I have to figure out a rash, a problem at school, or if I’m just having a rough day – along with the celebrations and hilarious stories. My “mom squad” is as much my rock now as it was when I was navigating latching.
That’s why Over The Moon always has new mother’s groups on the calendar, and added a FREE VIRTUAL weekly breastfeeding drop-in group on Tuesdays at 1p.m. We know it is your village that gets you through, and we want to help you build yours.
In a new moms group and in the drop-in group, the woman next to you is just like you, with the same struggles, questions, and joys. And you’ll get through by helping each other through.
Over the Moon Parenting is happy to share our latest list of thoughtfully selected gift suggestions for young children from newborns through the preschool years. We have provided samples of toys and other gifts we love which are safe and appropriate for each range of development. You can find most of these toys, and so many more, at local toy store, The Toy Box in Hanover. We suggested gifts that will appeal to children over time, promote creative and open-ended play, and support developing skills. Please feel free to share this list with friends, grandparents, aunts, and uncles!
Newborn to 6 Months:
Rattles and Mouthing Toys such as Munch Mitt baby teething mitten, NogginStik Rattle Clutching Toy and Sophie Giraffe
Soft Blocks such as Earlyears Squeak n’ Stack blocks
Books/Cards with High Contrast Color such as Black & White, Usbourne- Baby’s First Touchy Feely and Wee Gallery Art Cards
Tummy Time Helpers such as Earlyears My First Water Mat and Sassy Floor Mirror
Easy Grasp Ball such as Skip Hop Roll Around Toy or Eebo Noisy Ball
6 to 12 Months:
Rattles and Mouthing Toys such as Haba Clutching Toy Magica and Green Toys My First Keys
Stacking Play such as Tobbles Neo, Manhattan Toy Brilliant Bear Magnetic Stacker and soft blocks listed above
Fine Motor and Cognitive Toys such as Kid-O Activity Board, Fat Brain Toys Dimpl and Melissa & Doug Jumbo Knob Puzzles
Sensory Balls such as Edushape Sensory Balls
Puppets such as Folkmanis Puppets and Haba Musical Elephant Puppet
Active Play such as ball pit with balls from Lakeshore Learning and Peek-A-Boo Tunnel by Schylling Toys
Early Creative Play such as WeeCanToo veggie and fruit paint with roll of paper
1 to 2 years:
Cause and Effect Toys such as Early Melodies Pound and Tap Bench, Mini Spinny Clutching Toy, and Push and Go Inchworm
Stacking Toys such as Haba Stack and Learn Blocks, Djeco Topanifarm (Nesting/Stacking Boxes) , Green Toys Block Set and all those mentioned above
Chunky Puzzles and Shape Sorters such as Djeco Felt and Wood Puzzles, Melissa & Doug Take Along Shape Sorter and Green Toys My First Shape Sorter
Musical Instruments such as Hohner instruments and Remo drums
First Pretend Play such as Kidoozie Snug and Hug Baby Doll and Corolle Bath Baby Doll
Active Play such as Radio Flyer Classic Walking Wagon, Brio Pull Toys and Pewi Y-Bike Walking Buddy
Creative Play such as Crayola Pip Squeak Markers and Jumbo Crayola crayons with a roll of paper
2 to 3 years:
Dramatic/Open-Ended Play such as train table, play kitchen and accessories like Hape’s My Coffee Machine and Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Counter, road/town rug with vehicles, doctor kit like Learning Resources Doctor Set, baby dolls like Corolle, Melissa & Doug Dress-Up sets
Building Toys such as Smart Max sets, Melissa & Doug Wooden Unit Block set, Lego Duplo Block sets
Puzzles such as Melissa & Doug Beginner Pattern Blocks, Djeco Puzzles Duos, Melissa & Doug Chunky Jigsaw Puzzles
Creative Play such as an easel and chubby paint brushes with non-toxic washable paints and a smock, large stickers like Melissa & Doug Sticker Collection books, Do-A-Dot Markers
Indoor Active Play such as small round trampoline with handle, Rody Toy, Whirlee Ride-On, Bilibo toy
3 & 4 years (and beyond):
Dramatic/Open-Ended Play such as everything mentioned above plus animal and dinosaur figurines like those from Collecta by Briar or Schleich
Puzzles and Problem-Solving Toys such as Ravensburger 24 or 48-piece floor puzzles and Brio Take Along Labyrinth
Building and Manipulating Toys such as Magna-Tiles, Plus-Plus BIG Tube, Light Stax JUNIOR Classic and everything mentioned above
Creative Play such as Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint Sticks, beginner scissors such as Alex squeeze scissors or Crayola safety scissors
Active Play such as Spooner Board, Micro Mini Deluxe Scooter, Ezyroller
It’s getting colder outside, and that can get tricky with little ones. Here are some cold weather tips for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to keep little hands and feet safe and warm this winter.
Remember to take coats off in the car. Jackets impair the way seatbelts fit and in the event of an accident, they can slip out. It can be a pain to be constantly taking off and putting on coats, but it’s worth it.
Also, when using an infant carseat, resist using any “Bundle-me”-like blankets that will impair how snug the seat belt fits. Instead, choose a carseat cover that doesn’t interfere with buckles.
Use a needle and thread to tack gloves at the end of a turtleneck or long-sleeve shirt. That way, toddlers who are fond of taking gloves off can’t lose them. (By tacking them instead of sewing them the whole way around the sleeve, you can just flip them back to get hands out for snack and potty time.)
Pack extra gloves, hats, and a coat in your trunk for just-in-cases and wet weather.
When buying snow pants, aim for the “bib” type that cover the torso for extra snow protection.
Look for flannel or fleece-lined jeans for colder days at the playground.
Take extra care with fireplaces, candles, hot beverages, and Christmas tree lights.
Remember to apply lotion after every bath and on little faces during extra cold and dry days to prevent chapped skin.
Consider using a humidifier during the drier months in the nursery and playrooms to help breathing and skin. Essential oil drops can make it extra soothing.
Give yourself extra time to get to and from appointments and play dates. The roads can get icy, and bundling up adds a minute or two to the commute time, too.
This holiday season of giving is the perfect time to teach your little ones about caring for others. Get involved with community service with kids using the ideas below, or come up with your own way and tell us about it in the comments!
Take your child shopping for food to donate to our Over The Moon Parenting Food Drive going on now through 11/2.
Buy toys for children who may not otherwise receive too many gifts under the tree. Drop unwrapped gifts for all ages in our lobby through Dec. 9 and we will deliver them to Room to Grow in time for Christmas.
Visit an elderly neighbor, and bring along some cookies, artwork, or a homemade card. Friendship is a gift!
Pull out all your old towels, blankets and sheets, and head to your local animal shelter. You can also bring along dog and cat food, toys, and litter. Homeless kitties and puppies can always use extra love.
Round up new toiletries, baby items, and $5 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts and deliver them to your local homeless shelter. Father Bill’s in Quincy is a great resource for our community members at risk.
Children entering foster care are always in great need of essentials. DCF social workers always appreciate backpacks full of clothes, PJs, toys, books, stuffed animals, and toothbrushes for kiddos. The Coastal DCF office in Braintree is close to South Shore Plaza, and the Plymouth DCF Office is across the street from the Plymouth RMV.
We surveyed our team for their mealtime tricks for toddlers, babies and preschoolers to make life easier. Enjoy!
Make applesauce or mashed butternut squash and freeze it in ice cube trays. So easy to store and defrost when you need it if you are starting solids.
Color coordinated cups are great for safeguarding against germs, especially during flu season!
Create a basket of quiet toys/books for older child(ren) to play with while you are nursing. Puzzle books, etch-a-sketches, playdoh, and small games all work. It’ great to have something to do with older children while feeding your baby.
Put the “ears” up on juice boxes to avoid the grab-and-squirt.
If you make instant oatmeal in the morning, microwave it, then toss in a handful of frozen berries and stir – it will be the perfect temperature for kiddos by the time you get it to the table.
When eating a cupcake, break off the cake bottom, flip it over and put on the top.Then, you can eat it like a sandwich and it is much less messy and easier to eat.
Picky eaters might enjoy “build-your-own” meals, including tacos, pasta, pizza, oatmeal, yogurt parfait, baked potato, smoothies, and more.
Dips make everything better and more fun to eat for kids, and adults, too. Let your child dip his food in his favorite dip : ketchup, ranch, yogurt, almond butter, etc.
When kids start school they are often too overwhelmed by all the socialization to sit and eat. If you are supposed to send a snack to school, try making a fruit and yogurt (protein packed!) smoothie in an insulated pop-up straw thermos cup. They can drink their nutrition quickly while still being able to be chatty social butterflies at lunch and stack times.
Breakfast burritos, overnight oats, yogurt parfaits and egg muffins are all super-easy, protein-packed and healthy options you came pre-make in batches and store for the rest of the week.
My two children and I recently went to our first Breakwater Blue beach clean up at Nantasket Beach. We brought our bucket and gardening gloves from home and started on the sidewalk. We picked up several pieces of trash before we even got onto the beach. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the actual beach was but I know that is probably due to previous beach clean ups. We spent two hours combing the beach on a beautiful day, working together to clean up the beach.
Beach clean-ups provide a great opportunity to talk about community service with kids. When I was explaining what we were going to be doing my son asked: “why is there so much trash and why don’t people care where it goes?” I have been a nature girl from a young age; I live for being outside, getting dirty, collecting bugs, and am an animal lover. However, life for moms gets so busy and my passion for the earth had taken a back seat. I must admit I now have days where I find myself in the drive-thru getting multiple coffees with plastic cups and plastic straws, sometimes even styrofoam so the condensation doesn’t bother me (cringe). I started thinking…it’s time for a change!
My little ones are avid nature lovers as well. If we pass a field I often hear my son say “Mom, that field is so beautiful.” He is so right, and I want to help him learn how to preserve it! Being a nature lover and having two tiny nature lovers on my hands has made things such as teaching composting more enjoyable. This past spring we used our composted dirt in our garden and our flowers are looking better than ever! We talk about what gets recycled versus what gets thrown in the trash and what happens with the recycling. When I saw recently on the news the story about the whale who washed ashore whose stomach was filled with plastic bags and other trash it made me sick to think of how careless we have become. We take so much pride in doing what’s best for our kids, yet taking care of the earth we live on should be on the top of the list – and sometimes it’s not. Taking care of our earth is something we should take pride in doing and teaching our little ones about!
Making small changes can result in big differences:
Switch from plastic straws to stainless steel
If you don’t already recycle, START!
Start using cloth napkins for kids lunches
Switch to reusable bags
Get a compartmentalized lunchbox for your children to avoid endless Ziploc baggies.
Head to a beach clean-up or take a hike in a park and bring along a trash bag to collect garbage on the trail.
Follow Breakwater Blue for more information on local beach cleanups. We are excited to be collaborating an Over The Moon Parenting Beach Clean in the fall, so stay tuned! They also encourage people to do Trash walk Tuesdays! Take 30 minutes or less to walk your neighborhood or beach to pick up trash. Take a photo and tag @breakwater blue and use hashtag #trashwalktuesday #bbluecleanup and you will be featured on the Breakwater Blue website. Another great idea they suggest is #take3 where you take three pieces of trash you didn’t bring from the beach to help keep it clean.
*Please make sure that during any sort of clean ups you and your little ones wear gloves. It is also helpful to show images of things you wouldn’t want them to pick up and stay close to them. Use a beach clean up and nature walk as a learning tool and get the conversation going about the importance of keeping the earth clean.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
—Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.” -Guy Fieri
I started cooking with my two children as soon as they could help mix! Cooking with kids lets them use all of their senses, and teaches them how things they eat are made. It also encourages them to be adventurous in trying new things, and how to be healthy. We have done everything from simple baking and applesauce to rolling sushi. I find they love to try new things when they feel proud of helping in the process. Here are my top tips for working with kids in the kitchen!
Be ready to get MESSY.
Get down low with your little ones whether it is on a low table or by bringing a large cutting board to the floor. You can even bring your mixer down!
If you don’t love to cook, keep things simple and stick too applesauce and simple baking.
Have them help measure dry and liquid ingredients.
Have them use cookie cutters and rolling pins.
Have them help wash fruits and vegetables.
Depending on what you are cooking, use the opportunity to talk about color, texture, smell, and the WHOLE food (for example with an apple, show them the seeds, the core, the fruit, and the peel.)
When we are working with fruits and vegetables I love to use the time to talk to them about compositing and saving scraps to make broths and soups.
Avoid sharp tools, knives, being to close to the stove, and hot liquids.
Choose when you have extra time to enjoy cooking with them. Don’t do it after a long day when you just want a quick simple meal of everyone’s favorite chicken nuggets. Save cooking for lazy pancake mornings with the family and rainy afternoons to try soups or yummy stir fries.