Teach the Babies-You’re Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

So this week the recurring theme has been forgiveness.  This is a tough lesson for many adults let alone my own son. This week for both of my older kids the trying to teach them to understand that its okay to have a disagreement with a person, work things out or decide to work things out but be cordial and not be friends.

My son who is 6 is having the hardest time which is to be expected.  I do not expect him to understand adult like themes and to me forgiveness will come to him as he grows and matures.  So the issue is allowing my kids to find out whom feels safe to them.  I even teach my kids even those closest to them can give bad vibes, you have the right to retreat.  I do not make them give hugs or be around ANYONE who makes them uncomfortable.  This means that if you come to my child and my child rejects you for whatever reason, there’s no make them give into your insecurity of showing you love they don’t feel is genuine to give. We stress to kids to be aware but then judge them for feeling ill feelings.  My husband and I don’t.  We try to help them work through these feelings.

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For my daughter she has been going to the same school for years and most of the kids she has known since Kindergarten.  At this point she is well aware of certain people’s triggers, how they act, and what they do when the teachers and principals aren’t watching.  I am not one  of those parents that push my kids into certain friendships.  If there are mean girls in her school and she identifies that is who they are, I trust that I have raised her well to this point to know who they are and if she chooses not to embrace them outside of a school setting that is fine. We really can’t push the all the kids are angels routine.  I am all for her or my son working it out but its one thing to work it out and it’s another thing to have a blind eye to a problematic child and act as if that child isn’t an issue.

So this week my son has been having an issue with one child in particular.  He has tried being nice.  He has tried having meetings with the kid etc. However to no avail.  This kid is problematic.  My advice to my son was be cordial.  Work together when you have to in the classroom because in life you can’t always disengage with someone just because you don’t care for them.  However at recess is your time to play.  You shouldn’t have to spend your time in recess trying to push back negativity from one child.  Some days he gets the message other days he doesn’t.  The days he doesn’t its a hard conversation to have.

Yes we are all for kids getting along.  Yes we are well aware that at this age kids go back and forth and are learning how to socialize. The same rules that apply to me with other adults do NOT work for kids.  However let’s also keep it real and stop acting like some of these kids already come in the door with whatever they have at home and spew the most hate, the most vile words on other kids and in the name of letting kids be kids we give these kids many chances in hopes they will fare better.  They don’t always fair well.  So we can’t just act like it’s not the case.  As a parent I would love to tell my kids that the world is awesome all the time and that they won’t have issues with other kids or other people but that is not the case.

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My conversation with my son is about helping him weed out those he thinks are bad news for him and show him how to make healthy relationships with those who want the same in return.  He needs to be cordial meaning just because there is friction, school work still needs to be done.  If his teacher assigns him to the student that he is having issues with then he needs to buckle down and get things done.

Parenting is hard and I am sure there will be someone who disagrees with my conversation but the beautiful thing about parenting is that it is an individual pathway per parent and its a collective pathways for the parents involved.  My only hope is that my kids get to the point where they don’t waste energy on those who don’t mean them well.  They learn to keep their peace with them and not get entangled with those kids who have ill intentions.  That’s my hope for adults too.  Stop giving your energy to the bad person in your life regardless of relationship.  If it doesn’t serve you, leaves you feeling less about yourself, etc then the point is moot, leave them alone and allow the right folks to come in your life. These are life lessons.  They should be taught early.  I want my kids to grow into confident human beings that know what they want, who they want, and to go where they are celebrated not where they are tolerated.  These lessons aren’t to wait to be learned.  These lessons are taught early on.

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Why I never forget my Kids for Valentine’s Day

I hear all the time people complain that Valentine’s Day isn’t for kids.  Meaning that you shouldn’t get them anything because it’s a romantic gesture.  For me I don’t and have never seen it in that light alone.  Yes its a romantic holiday but it’s not just only that.  I sometimes spend time with girlfriends, etc during that time doing Galentine’s day. It’s a season of spreading love and yes its man-made but love spreading is better than the hate that is being shown all over the world. I would rather spend 2.99 on a card then spending precious time debating and name calling someone online. Although my husband and I usually give gifts it’s not a major ordeal for us in the sense that we break down over them.  Some of my favorite gifts have not always been tied to these holidays man-made or not.

So with that in mind, I am about spreading love.  My kids biggest supporters is always going to be me and their dad.  We love doing things with and for my kids not just its a holiday or not.  Countless times we go out of our way to do things with them.  we are the parents that will notice a behavior change with them and immediately find ways to make sure that they are loved on and feel confident in whatever it is they are going through.  We are the  one who can find ways to make their day for pennies on the dollar.  Our local five below and arts and crafts stores knows us.  We will make anything from Pintrest to make them see things differently.

So for us until we can we will always make sure that we spread love and that will always be in our home first.  So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting them little Valentine’s.  The only problem I could see is if it was ONLY being done because someone was waiting until they had a Valentine then stop.  Do it for the right reasons.  Do it because you enjoy it.  Don’t use kids to substitute any emotional void.

We will probably be the parents that is still giving them Valentine’s even when they are in college.  It’s something they enjoy and we like to do.  To each their own!

Blackish Postpartum Episode

This is a trigger episode if you ever had or have currently postpartum depression.  I am going to be super blunt today, I cried throughout the episode and let me tell you why:

  1. I dealt with postpartum after the birth of my son.  I remember feeling like the biggest punk and failure because I couldn’t navigate through it.
  2. I felt isolated and therefore didn’t speak up to others not even my fiance at points throughout
  3. I had no support because especially in the black community black folks always talk that you gon be aight, go pray talk when real life ish is happening that takes prayer and action.
  4. I remember my mother in law being a huge trigger for me not because of her being mean but because of her personality and me not being strong enough to handle life at that time.
  5. Postpartum is real.  It should be discussed without shame
  6. I still reach out to moms and new moms in my circle because suffering in silence is unacceptable
  7. Please show love to a mom and be understanding.
  8. Phrases of get over it, you need to go somewhere and rest, it ain’t that deep, or you just need to get it together will NOT help a mom going through postpartum
  9. Sometimes medicine is necessary
  10. Postpartum is not a weakness.  Our bodies go through it during pregnancy and birth and its going to take some time to get through this new life.
  11. I do NOT allow people to make jokes of it.  It’s not funny.

 

Blackish did their thing on that episode capturing what its like.  I cursed almost exactly the same time I felt like Rainbow should have-watch it and you will see why.  Blackish definitely made sure all of the pure emotion of what it’s like to go through postpartum was like.  When I went through it, I felt like I couldn’t connect to my son.  I felt like because I had more support with my oldest that when it came to my son I was doomed.  I cried all the time. I blew up all the time.  I was in rage a lot of the time. I threatened to call the police on my fiance many times.  I had friends who saw me going through and talked about me like a dog instead of offering help.  I had family who gave me the eye when they found out, BUT I got through it all.  This very blog was created after I healed from that experience. It made me more aware of what I was capable of going through at the birth of my last daughter.  It made me stronger in the end.  It also is a good look for dads too.  They need support. They need to know how to approach the conversation and how to support themselves, their families and their ladies as they navigate through all of the emotions good and bad that pregnancy and childbirth brings.

 

Here is more information about Postpartum

This episode regardless of the title of the show (I know it offends some right off the bat) is a MUST see for all!

Camp is Over, Lessons were learned

Yay I do apologize for all of the parents who weren’t able to get your children into camp. This blog is not meant to stir up any ill feelings you had having to scramble for your little people.  I feel your pain in that would have led me into pure anxiety.  However I just want to do a dance that camp is over.  Trust and believe it’s not just that the start of school is literally around the corner, it has everything to do with what camp has meant for the Storr household.

My son was in another daycare and with that daycare they have a built-in camp.  He didn’t make it quite to his first full year.  The issue is simple, he was having issues adjusting. He was having issues with some of the kids and that’s all I will say to protect the innocent. However as a parent it was hard having to find alternatives for him.  I had to take him to counseling at some point which worked out since towards the end he was adjusting to life without his grandmother since her passing.  With all that was going on, I personally have to admit, I didn’t remove him in enough time.  Shocker I know. I battled taking him from the daycare because it was convenient for me to take him and his sibling to school and me to work.  The agony of having to start the process of locating another new school made my head hurt.  So I feel that my husband who took my lead and I just didn’t pull the trigger.  That is the one thing to date I regret.

Let me remind you that the very first daycare he was in since he was a baby discharged him and his siblings because they had contracted hand, foot and mouth virus which is a super common virus usually contracted in daycare go figure.  He never got over being in his mind thrown in the second daycare to be honest.  I don’t even ride past that old daycare anymore to avoid the why did she let us go questions.

In the turn of events, since not being enrolled in either daycare, my son has bounced back.  So in my mom heart, it has given me such a calm.  I went from getting calls daily because of my son’s responses to what was happening to none.  Not like a call but it wasn’t bad nope, to NONE.  Let me tell you how happy that has made me feel within itself.  He is back to enjoying going back to camp or as he calls it school since he starts kindergarten next week.  He smiles when you pick him up.  He is excited about all of the trips.  But it’s now coming to an end today.  It was great for him to have this positive experience before he starts school next week.

Let me say and make clear, I do not place blame at the previous daycare at all.  The first one I simply do not have anything positive to say on their behalf.  However the second one just wasn’t a good fit and if I be honest it wasn’t a good full fit for our family in the long run.  The reason is simple the second my son after a few months hadn’t adjusted I should have pulled him.  As a mom I should have set myself to the side on it and followed his cue.  It would have saved time and energy but we all live and learn.

Camp has done both he and his oldest sibling super well.  One its been a great peace not having to pay for field trips in addition to his tuition weekly.  Lawd, trying to keep straight who goes where and spending money for all is a lot in itself.  This camp provided all of that with the tuition and all the kids had the same things except if there was an allergy issue.  Do you know how much of a mom win that is?  A huge one.  So they won me over right from the start. Was it more money?  Absolutely.  But like my husband and I say you get what you pay for.  So we adjusted.  the kids had a blast.  Some of their trips I was kind of jelly over.  They really had a good time and not one provider did I have an issue with. That is a blessing.  Camps and daycare cost too much to deal with bad attitudes and bad vibes.  I tell people all the time, the ones who keep our children so we can work have hard jobs.  However this is something that you choose.  If you get to a point as a daycare worker or teacher and you heart isn’t in it, its time to renew your mind or find a new career.  This coming in and out snubbing parents, acting passive aggressive, or just altogether rude, will not cut in this field.  This goes for administrators too. You have to either love what you do, take a break, or keep it moving.  Nobody should have to come into your place of business and especially if they are paying for their kids to attend to deal with your nasty attitude either.

Here are a few things I want to highlight as we end camp and go into the school year:

  1. Know your money has power.  Although in daycare kids come and go, never forget that you are still paying for a service.  If you don’t like it, give notice and find somewhere else to go.  It’s simple.  You don’t have to argue.  Know your own money power and do what you have to do.
  2. Along with money power know the background and this is really for other camps and daycare.  A lot of camps have parents and families who run off of government assistance.  I am not knocking it, but never treat others better than or worst because of it.  Just because of a subsidy they have the same buying power.  Keep in mind that to the ones who pay cash can sometimes keep your daycare afloat if the government furloughs. Government has and will furlough again and if that happens it’s sometimes the cash paying clients are the ones that take the sting off behind the scenes.  How do I know this, my twin has been in the field since we were 18, we are now 36 I know a lot more than I let people believe.
  3. You can make a grievance with the daycare and if they don’t hear you, they are governed by laws that they have to uphold.  In Pa there is a star system and anything done that doesn’t align to that system that the daycare is on can be reported and you don’t have to simply take what they give you.  They can’t retaliate against you or withdraw your child.  Always check with the department of welfare or the state to see if the daycare has had any violations.  This is your duty as a parent and your right to do so.
  4. Find a daycare that has everything in writing especially for how they will handle instances of bullying or behavioral.  If you do not you will be battling air.  The reason is without these practices in writing daycare and camps can do as they please and you will only be able to complain or make static if they don’t abide by the laws.  Most daycares will abide by the law but not by a moral and human standard if they don’t feel as if things weren’t an issue.  Trust me.
  5. Never sign a non disclosure agreement if you leave.  Don’t sign it.  Get a copy if they ask you to and take it to an attorney.  I can’t even think why they would have one but trust and believe I keep an attorney on stand by and I will sign Donald Duck before I sign my name to some trash like that.  Daycares and camps run off a word of mouth for the most part.  Sorry not sorry.  We are talking about human lives. How the facility acts when things are less than stellar speaks about how they truly run.  I for one think others need to be cautious and asking those who was there if you have the ability to do so is key.
  6. If you are ever in a position where you don’t get along with administration even if its one or more of the persons in charge, made the decision if you are willing to stay with all things the same.  In other words, if the person (s) you do not get along can you deal with that for the sake of your child.  Sometimes you can and other times you can’t.  You should never feel like you are stuck.  IF you do, your child will pick up on that resentment.  If I am honest I know my kids have done so and looking at the situation I may or may not be sorry about that. I wrote about vibes and for me vibes matter.  I have had bad vibes with a person and how that person continues to act may suggest if I should correct the issue or let it go and move on.
  7. Do not allow your child to do something that you didn’t sign for.  For instance the Summer has been filled with drowning deaths.  One event comes to mine with the daycare from the South who was supposed to hike but then took the kids swimming and the child drowned and died.  This type of stuff infuriates me.  Do not send home a permission slip, get permission from the parent to do that activity and change without notifying and getting permission from the parent.  That was a free nugget for any daycare or camp.  This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. Even more there is a family that is experiencing life without the life of a child who could still be here had they followed the laws and rules.
  8. Do not be afraid to find another camp, daycare or school.  Listen as we go into the school year, my kids have the privilege to go to private school, with that we literally mean business when it comes to their education, and how much we spend and what we expect.  We do over and beyond on all fundraisers, attend all meetings, engage all year without a parent teacher conference, attend all parties, come to all functions, and pay our fees during the year as asked I literally will put up with ZERO foolishness from administration.  We mean zero.  No one has to chase us to be involved with our kids lives and with that in mind I demand that the school hold up their end of the bargain at all times.  There is no pat on the back for what we do and neither will it be for those who teach them.  So we all have to be held accountable.

I want to shout out the second and last daycare/camp for the time they have had with my children.  As we transition into the next phase of our children’s journey, there is no hard feelings whatsoever but its time to continue down the path of excellence.  The kids have been super happy and that makes us super happy as parents.  This blog was not a means to air out any grievances.  This blog is to empower parents to never forget your power when dealing with daycare, daycare providers, camps, or schools.  Just because for those who work, and having someone to keep our kids is a must, doesn’t mean you have to take junk just to get through.  You were in control the minute you signed the contract and you are in control until you discontinue the relationship.  I hope that this blog gets you engaged on what some providers will do, what you don’t have to tolerate, and why you need to be on the lookout for in the future.  If you are fortunate to have someone who you trust keep your kids, do not let your guard down just because they are family or friends either.  Be vigilant in what you need, what importantly your kids needs, and realize that business is business and the business of healthy, happy, and engaged kids is most important.  Lastly trust your gut, and listen to your child.  Do not do what I did and air on caution for yourself.  Trust yourself.  Goodbye to Summer Camp but come through 2017/2018 school year!!

ToiTime Celebrates Father’s Day

I love my dad.  There is no debate about that. I think that all dads should be celebrated. The issue with Father’s Day is that we don’t honor them. I know I am not blind to the fact that many dads don’t step up. I get it.  I get that some homes only have mothers and grandmothers and women taking care of what should be a two parent job. However, does that mean that as a woman who has an outstanding father I should diminish my love for great dads? The answer is HELL NO!

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I see the amounts of money spent on moms and I am like where is the respect for dads? Growing up I could be in the classroom where only a handful of us talked about having one. I felt bad for the ones who didn’t and I still do. However my dad is just a great man so you’re going to have to cry thug tears today if you don’t want to hear about it.  Let’s start with my grandfather. Hands down the hardest man I know. I could care less what anyone says, that man is the best.  He is over 80 years old and still does odd and end jobs to take care of my grandma. He gets up at like 4 in the morning to start his day. He is the last to go to bed sometimes.  He travels and sings and he is the one that feeds everyone and is super helpful.  There isn’t anyone in the family that can say a bad thing about him. I am sure he has flaws but as a grandfather he covers everyone married or not. He is there and is consistent.  So no wonder my dad is definitely a chip off the block.

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My dad is the type that I can call crying and he would stop the world to come to my rescue. Growing up he was hard on us but he definitely showed love.  He is THE BEST dad ever. Not just because it looks good to say but off social media and this blog he is there.  So when Father’s Day comes around I like to make sure that I give what I can to show him how much I love him and respect him.  He has seen me in my worst, still loves me.  He has yelled at me when I needed it, still loves me.  He has taken me out on our little dates together, still loves me.  This man has done it all.  He has worked hard at jobs he didn’t even like to support us all. He has stayed up late hours if we were sick and went to work like it has never bothered him.  He is the one that everyone knows and respects no matter what.  He is just a great dad.

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Then go from my dad to my husband. He is the best dad to our kids.  He plays with them. He does whatever is necessary.  He is the total opposite of what his dad was to him. That’s not a knock to his dad but it is facts.  He works hard to make sure that he isn’t giving our kids what he was given growing up.  People say that we are a product of our environment but that is a choice.  My husband is the dad that sneaks the kids stuff behind my back.  Like most dads he gets to play good cop for the most part.  The girls have him wrapped around his finger.  They give him them eyes and they get what they want.  My son is his twin and I swear he uses that to his advantage often. So they have a great dad.  I wanted them to have the same experience that I did growing up and I believe they do.  My husband is hands down the best dad the kids could have asked for.  I want to publicly let the world know how much of a great dad that my dad, my husband, my grandfather and my uncles are to their families respectfully. It is super empowering to know that these men have our families back.  I love you all!

So those who have great dads, please celebrate them. Give them the same love you would give your mom. It’s a dual job.  They are both equally important.  For the ones who experience pain during this holiday, I pray peace and calm.  It is hard not knowing what it is like to have your dad take you out as a daughter and show you how a man is supposed to treat you. To know that a man isn’t supposed to hurt you.  To know that when the world is crazy that your dad’s voice and actions are to be protecting.  If the world gets to crazy that your dad is supposed to raise hell.

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Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads in the world.  To the ones with secret super hero capes, you will never go unnoticed here at ToiTime.  Enjoy your day!!

 

 

Ask Toi: How do I get my husband to step it up and help parent our kids?

Simple you ask him.  You also let him step in.  He is grown.  Those kids were not made alone.  If you are saying he needs to step it up that means to me that he does do something but not all that you want.  Have you voiced this?  Not just said you don’t do a,b,or c.  Often times we really don’t express what we want from our mate especially when it comes to parenting.  What do you want him to do?  What will parenting together look like not just from your view but his too?  Are you willing to let him step in fully?  Will you support him as he is to support you?  Yes these are questions to ask yourself.

If you always take over, he may be reluctant to help.  Recognize if that is something that you are doing and step back.  The way men and women parent is different.  Often times as a mother you are expecting it to look like your way and it won’t and vice versa.  Step back. Once you do and you are still not getting a result and this is after you have told him your concerns, than you need to know that you are dealing with someone who is checking out. It could be that he doesn’t know, however that excuse will only take him but so far. Women are expected to know and do while men if they are in the physical home are praised.  Simply coming home at night is not enough.  We are not the generation of our parents and grandparents.  Men can and are vital parts of the home.  Simply just being is only half of what is needed.  We need men to engage even in the things that naturally they wouldn’t for our sons and our daughters.  Parenting is a full-time job.  It requires both sets of parents to be engaged.  Yes your husband may not know what fatherhood looks like, but if you have and start a family, its your responsibility to go after the skills that don’t come naturally to you.  There are way too many parenting classes, resources for the I don’t know excuse.  So find out what it is and make it happen TOGETHER.  One of the greatest challenges a married couple will have is when you have children.  This is why it’s important to really know a person, their background, how they were raised, and what they believe when it comes to raising children BEFORE you marry.  Even if you never met your mate’s entire family please believe me when you have children you will.  Your child/children are a mix of both of you and therefore it is not uncommon for children to bring out the best in you and the worst in you as well.

Work together.  It’s hard as a woman when you naturally are more nurturing to let go. Parenting isn’t easier but there’s something in us that makes us step up in ways that only if you allow will allow a man to not have to take his rightful place.  Your husband and you should always have a united front as you work out things in your parenting styles. Remember you are bringing in two different experiences into your unique home.  That in itself takes a lot of finesse.  Talk to your husband and LISTEN and not just hear.  This isn’t a point the finger time, but a time to establish some goals, create a space of healing, and unite to make your children great and productive citizens in this world.  Your children deserve to have both of you in their lives.  Make sure both of your ideals are heard.  Also make sure to never hit below the belt.  You don’t need to signal every negative thing about each other’s upbringing, parents, etc to make a point.  You can communicate better than that and still get things done.

Elf on who’s shelf??

Well it’s no secret that we are in the thrush of the holidays. Traffic is pretty much out of control, parking is pretty much nonexistent, and people’s attitudes have gone from mad to jolly for the most part.  If you have kids you already know that they are the most excited.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas and instead elect to some other form of holiday ritual keep in mind that little people aka children are going to be the ones to try to rear in.  Some people use elf on the shelf.  I’ve never had one growing up because my parents were the type that spoke and we listened.  We didn’t need an elf to watch our behavior.  However I have 3 children who have friends who have them and now they want one.  I have been pretty lazy in getting one.  I have just told them the same thing my parents told us you better listen or no Christmas for you.  Now if I can get an elf on a shelf like if I run into one I’ll grab it but with all of the stuff I like to do it may not happen.   I may grab one end of season for next year.

To those who have elected to tell your children that there is no Santa I say kudos to you.  For others who want their kid to have that knowledge of a Santa let folks live.  There are many theories about what kids should or shouldn’t know and my theory is that parenting is personal.  So whatever works for you that isn’t abusing or withholding life’s necessities works for me.

I for one have a cute countdown chalk board that I use to keep the kids’ focus.  It helps them to visually see how many more days they have.  Like most folks we get them gifts but we also have certain traditions that we do every year.  Starting with movie nights, Christmas pjs worn on Christmas eve, cookie baking, and gingerbread house decorating.  As much as kids love to open things they also love to do things.  I’m a firm believer that kids should be gifted with experiences.  I had a friend tell me that my kids do a lot and they do.  I make it my mission to create memories.

Whatever you as a parent chooses to share with your children is your decision.  If it’s an elf then let it be an elf. I actually love seeing what the parents have been doing with the elf.  If you haven’t seen it use hashtag elf on the shelf (#elfontheshelf) on social media.  I’m telling you its hilarious stuff.

Here are my tips to having a kid stress less holiday:

Get organized

Yes you will need to set your week up.  If you’re into crafts make sure you have your crafts ready.  If you’re able to write your week schedule and post it.  Kids love to feel like they have a schedule.  This works even if you are working full-time.  You can always post a weekend schedule with what you will do.

Get in the spirit

It will help you to be in the spirit.  Yes it should go without saying but while the kids are playing bills, stress, with lack of time and sleep can make parents in a blah mode.  So make sure that you get whatever you need to put you in the right mind.  Cranky parents don’t help to calm edgy children.  So do your best to keep in mind that your kids excitement is extra so be a little extra to get in the fun.

Make it fun

Although you need to be organized and in spirit, fun is always the name of the game.  I actually try to make sure that I keep myself child like to get through.  My kids always want to do anything hands on so I let them help in the kitchen a little more.  I also make holiday themed breakfasts, and we have a winter party.  So yeah you can do it too just think about what you did as child and duplicate it.  When I tell my kids mommy or daddy watched this or did this, it makes it that much easier for them to participate.

Bigger isn’t always better

Say what?  Yes unless you have teenagers little kids love more.  So we always have one key item per child.  Like one key item and then gift little things.  As much as you want to go big or go home, kids love the thought of many gifts.  With that in mind Five Below or stores of that nature should be your friend.  Yes my tree always look like I have a million kids but I don’t.  Stick to a number.  We are working on 5 this year.  We got one key item and 4 little gifts such as a doll or favorite truck.  Then they get stocking stuffers and 1 or 2 family board games we can all play.  Stress free and easy.  My children have 2 sides of the family that get them things I don’t need to go all out.

Lastly remember the reason for the season and what the season means to you and your family.  We make it our mission to have the kids give back.  They are 6, 4, and 1 years old but best believe giving to others is what we stress.  My daughter who is the 6 years old raised candy to give to other kids who don’t get during the holidays.  Something small right but can be a huge impact.   We also donate by me stepping back and them pick out what they are giving.

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Have a happy holiday and have fun with the kidlets.