Tips for Mother’s Day from a Mom

MOM decorative letters

What does Mother’s day mean?

It is one day of out 365 to highlight the main woman (or women) in your life who works endlessly, tirelessly, and often unnoticed, in your family to keep things running smoothly.

This day is a celebration honoring the mother in your family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. How should this day be celebrated? How do you take one day out of the year to show your appreciation for all this love and hard work? Here’s my take on some tips for Mother’s Day:

  • Make the entire day about what the women in your life want to do. No joke here when I say that last year I spent some of my day in Home Depot picking out paint colors for our house. Take my advice when I say do not do this! Don’t treat Mother’s Day as any ordinary Sunday where you can cram in some house chores. Instead, have the men take the kid(s) out of the house to lunch or to the park so mom can enjoy some quiet time to take a shower without children barging in, read a book she’s been behind on, or do anything that she wants to do!
  • If you have young children who can’t make a cute project or pick out a present for their mother, dads you are responsible for getting something for your other half. Yep. Although she may not be your mother, your significant other is the mother to your children. Get her a meaningful gift from your little one to show her how much she means to the both of you. Hands down, I would prefer a handmade gift from my husband and little ones over a store-bought necklace or candy. Pinterest is full of ideas, but suggestions can be these adorable handprint canvas sign, this salt dough footprint craft, or this floral perfume spray that little hands can easily pick out, cut and stuff into spray bottles!
  • Although flowers are nice, even better than that is a nap and a day off duty from being a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I love both my children. I have two young boys (4 years and 4 months) and give them everything I have every single day. But for Mother’s Day, I would really like to have a day off from being Mom. I would like for my husband to be the one to get the cup of water, peel the banana, put a Band-Aid on my son’s knee, fix the broken toy, and help rock by baby to sleep. Being a sleep-deprived mother means that all my daydreams right now are currently of scooting away from my responsibilities and catching a 15 minute power nap. If you really want to spoil the woman in your life, give her money and time to go to Target by herself or a trip to the spa to get some pampering!

These tips are just from my point of view, but from my talks with family and friends, I know that I’m not alone. The most important point I’m trying to make is that moms want this day to be meaningful. Take the time to tell your mother, your wife, your sister, your mother-in-law, stepmother, friends and others how much they mean to you and your family. One day out of the year to show gratitude and appreciation for all the work moms do for their loved one the rest of the 364 days of the year.

P.S. Moms, feel free to give a “subtle hint” by sharing this post.

– Stephanie Babcock is an IFS coordinator with the Parenting Program. She’s a proud mom of two.

Beating Cabin Fever with Toddlers

Little girl looking out the window

Unaltered image. LeAnn, Flickr. CC License.

There’s been pestilence at our house for way too long. In addition to the common colds and stomach bugs, we’ve had a round of RSV. The fun’s lasted for three weeks now, and with the extremely cold weather, it’s tough to keep two three-year-olds occupied indoors and maintain the adults’ sanity.

Lucky for me, the clearance sections at big-box retailers have been ripe for the picking.

At Meijer, I discovered Little Hands craft kits. Paper bag puppets, animals on craft sticks, and all kinds of other fun projects (sometimes as many as 20 and it includes a glue stick) came in a box. For a little over $3, you can’t beat the price. Now we have a menagerie, with some aliens and monsters sprinkled in, on our countertops, cabinet doors, refrigerator, etc.

While at Target (my home away from home), I found Cra-Z-Art projects on clearance. I scored a set of cardboard blocks that can be colored as well as a giant dry-erase floor puzzle. Huge hits with the kids!

We also have indoor sandboxes. This isn’t a project for the faint-of-heart. It can get messy, but it’s easy to clean up. Start with a smallish, shallow container with a lid that can be fastened on tightly. Ours are about 8 inches wide, 12 inches long and 3 inches deep. At the store, pick up birdseed, corn meal, dried beans or pasta, rice, aquarium rocks — anything with a dry texture. Combine them in the containers and provide small cups for pouring, spoons for scooping, and trucks for driving. The kids love it. Just keep the vacuum handy when you’re done playing.

When the kids aren’t sick, we like to take them to open play at a local gymnastics place. For a few bucks per kid, we get free rein of the gym, trampolines, foam pit, balance beams, and all the other fun things. It’s a great way to burn off pent-up energy and make new friends.

I’ve also been looking into the Michigan Activity Pass Program, which gets you entry to parks and museums around the state for little to no cost. The program is run through local libraries, so check to see if yours participates.

There’s also a ton of great kid-activity websites out there. What are a few of yours? What are some great indoor activities for your kids?

– Rebecca Calappi is a Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples

Summer Scrapbook

Photo of a scrapbook cover

We’re about half way into summer now and for some kids the excitement of outdoor fun is starting to wear off.

Here’s a great activity to keep your kids entertained for hours while they practice skills like fine motor movement, literacy and creativity: A summer scrapbook! You can either buy a blank scrapbook or make one. This is the one we are using from Amazon.

Now’s the fun part! Brainstorm a list of activities your child can add to their summer scrapbook. This is appropriate for ages 2 and up. The older the child is, the more independent this activity will be.

I wrote a title on the pages for my 5 year old to remember what the theme of each page would be. Some examples we came up with were: family time, sisters, summer play dates, the lake, and so on. I put together a zip-top bag of supplies for her like stickers, scissors, glue, markers and construction paper. Then I let her have her fun with creating. We also talked about adding captions to some of her pictures so many years from now, she’ll remember where they were taken.

Photo of interior scrapbook page

My daughter has fun customizing each page.

Some days she asks me to sit and scrapbook with her and I will help her add to a page but for the most part, this is a quiet, independent activity. This is a project of her own that she’ll be able to enjoy looking back on for years to come!

– Maria Dismondy, mother of three, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan.

Use Halloween to Boost Language Development

Halloween is such a fun time with kids. Plus, there are a million ways to work on your child’s speech and language development revolving around the theme of Halloween. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Read a Halloween book. Choose something that is age appropriate for your child.  If you child is under 2 years, ask them to point to pictures in the book.  Around 2 years and older you can begin asking simple what and where questions. For example, what is the witch wearing on her head?  What color is the ghost?  Where is the pumpkin on this page?
  2. Create a sequencing activity with pictures about Halloween night.  Children get so excited about dressing up and going out to get candy.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming to them and the thought of something different can be exciting as well as nerve racking.  Take some pictures of your child eating dinner, wearing their costume and the walking around outside.  You can then put together the sequence with your child.  If you child understands numbers you can even have them put a number next to each picture.  #1 We are going to eat dinner.  #2 We are going to put on your costume. #3 We are going to go trick or treating.  You can make a sequence as simple as this for 2 year olds and more complicated for older children.
  3. Create a Halloween craft. There are so many ideas out there for Halloween craft ideas.  By doing a craft project together with your child, you are working on sequencing, increasing vocabulary, following directions and increasing expressive language skills.  Some of my favorite craft websites include:
  4. Sort through the candy.  If your child is old enough, you can begin working on categories.  For example, have your child put all the m&m’s in one pile, all the white wrappers in a second pile and all the red wrappers in a third pile.  You could work on categories of chocolate vs. sugar candy vs. pretzel/chips.  Increase vocabulary by teaching your child labels such as “this candy is soft, while this candy is crunchy.”
  5. Create a scrapbook after the event.  Once you have settled down from your child’s sugar high sit down and create a scrapbook to mark down your memories.  You can work on receptive language skills by asking simple questions, “ Who is in this picture?  Who was dressed as a dinosaur?  What did you get when you went trick or treating?”  This also is an excellent time to work on sequencing.  First we cut out the picture, then put the glue on the back and then stick it to our paper.  You can work on having your child describe what is happening in each picture, which continues to address vocabulary and expressive language skills.



What are your favorite Halloween books and crafts? Post pictures of you and your child doing them together to Beaumont Parenting Program’s Facebook page and we might feature you in a post.

–Kristina Frimmel, M.A. CCC-SLP