Preparing Your Child for Preschool Graduation

Preparing Your Child for Preschool Graduation

Preschool graduation is one of those things that some think to be silly – “Oh it’s just preschool!” they’ll say.

And I can’t help but question if they’ve ever had preschoolers, because let me tell you – the friendships they form at 4 or 5 years old are some of the sweetest, strongest bonds. It’s especially hard if their class will be going on to different kindergartens, which happens to be the case for my first born and his preschool classmates.

Now I’m by no means an expert in this area. In fact, as I’m writing this, we’re still five days away from graduation, but what better way to share my insight than in real time.

How to Prepare Your Child to Graduate from Preschool

preschool graduation transition help

Expect Big Emotions

One thing that I’ve noticed with all the little ones is that they’re all struggling in one way or another. One of the silliest in the class is suddenly somber. One of the calmest now acts out. And oh the tears…lots and lots of tears.

My son in particular has been exceptionally emotional, which is actually what prompted this post. This morning we were watching TV and one of those “save the dogs!!” commercials came on. I didn’t even realize he was paying attention until he started sobbing. We were able to talk it through and sure enough the root of it all is that he keeps thinking about graduation.

These little ones have some of the biggest emotions.

So if you’ve got a little one preparing for the end of the school year (even if s/he’s not graduating!), expect that their emotions may very well be harder to control than normal. Even those who cannot fully explain their feelings can sense a change coming in their routine. And let’s face it – change in routine is hard, no matter the age!

Preparing for Graduation Day

We’re very lucky in that our school does hold a small ceremony to celebrate those moving on to kindergarten. The program calls it a “Celebration of Our Stars.”

It’s very important to frame graduation day as just that – a celebration.

Because let’s be honest, the preschoolers aren’t going to be the only ones struggling with their emotions. So while there will almost certainly be tears (heck, I can’t even get through this post without crying!) it’s important to remember what a fun day it’ll be.

Whether it’s a full cap-and-gown ceremony or a simple potluck-style celebration, it’s sure to be a memorable day for everyone. Talk to your little one about what to expect on the day of. While the teacher will of course be walking them through the set-up of the day, you really can’t go wrong reinforcing the expectations.

Preschool Celebration Ideas

Whether your school is doing an actual graduation or not, there are many ways to celebrate! Honestly one of the best ways to help with the transition from school to summer is to commemorate it as a family.

If you have a big family or friends looking to join in the celebration, potluck is always a great way to go. If your school isn’t doing an actual graduation ceremony, you could also reach out to the parents of the other kids to see if they want to potluck together.

A slideshow is also a fun way to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be something super time-consuming, especially if you already have an album (on Facebook or otherwise) that’s documented some of their best times at school.

And even though this site is about leading you to a richer life, I do recommend you consider buying a small gift for your child to celebrate the day. If they’re moving on to kindergarten, consider taking them to pick out their backpack for next year. Books are of course also a great route to take!

Regardless of how you celebrate the day, don’t forget to take a moment to soak it all in. If these last five years have taught me anything, it’s that time really does go by so much faster than any of us ever realize.

Quote box with the days are long but the years are short

Do you remember the day you graduated preschool?

Comment below, I’d love for you to share your memories!

How Having a Pet Can Calm Your Nerves

How Having a Pet Can Calm Your Nerves

As parents, anxiety and stress often come with the package, especially before big and special events. It’s also relatively common for people when they are faced with new situations or something they may have a fear of. The good news is, one way to help you relax and soothe your nerves may already literally be laying at your feet!

That’s right, your pets and domestic animals can be great stress busters. Even better, sometimes you’re not even really consciously aware of how your pet’s presence may be helping you get through the tough times. In this article, we take a little look behind the scenes at some practical ways your pet may help your mental health.

How Having a Pet Can Calm Your Nerves

black and white english shepherd dog

Pets Help You Think About Something Else

If you’re feeling anxious and stressed, a common tactic recommended by health professionals is to find a distraction or diversion to focus on. Call it dog diversion, cat deflection if you will, but the presence of your pet can help you re-frame your thinking away from the thoughts or the situation that is bothering you.

This can be particularly helpful for people with fears and phobias. If you’re anxious about being alone in the house, the presence of a pet with their super-sensitive radar to anything out of the ordinary will soon alert you if there actually is something or someone nearby. In the same token, if you have a fear of getting out and about, having a dog walk alongside you can help overcome those anxieties.

Pets Make You Move Around

Exercise is good for both our minds and body. Most of us already know that. What we often don’t realize is that even the very basic act of taking care of feeding your pet forces you to move your body. Combine a few yoga stretches when you’re reaching into the cupboard, or placing your pet’s bowl on the floor and it’s a win-win mind-body situation for both of you.

If you’ve got a dog, no matter what size, they’re going to need regular exercise. Likewise, a cat, even though we tend to think they look after this themselves, a piece of paper on the end of a string can help you both move and entertain yourself at the same time. Take their cue. Many pets instinctively know when it’s time to get moving (aka the cat crazies!). Take the time to get a little exercise at the same time your pet does, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Pets Help You Relax

Pets can help you relax in so many ways. There’s the physical act of stroking and patting an animal. This is a repetitive motion that both of you will are likely to find very, very soothing. There’s the humor in seeing your pet do something that is so outside of the behavior that we are conditioned into as humans that you can’t help but laugh. If you’ve ever clicked on any funny dog/cat/rabbit videos online, and who hasn’t, you’ll know what we mean.

Pets Can Help You Love

The love and companionship of a pet are unconditional. Their affection for you is based on knowing you treat them well and love them to bits. The look that a pet may give you, with soft knowing eyes full of love, believe it. It’s real. Studies have found that the same bonding process and endorphins that are firing between a parent and child happen between people and their pets. So yes, it is indeed mutual. Both you and your pet feel the love, and more relaxed and warm and fuzzy as a result!

How Having a Pet Can Calm Your Nerves

Pets Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

Studies have shown that people with pets tend to have lower blood pressure. That’s got to be good news for anyone whose blood pressure potentially rises with their anxiety and stress levels. Even better, just your pet’s presence helps with healthier blood pressure. Anytime you do pat, stroke, or get in some daily exercise with your pet is an added bonus for your BP.

Pets are Social and Emotional Support

As many pet people will attest, a pet often intuitively and instinctively seems to pick up on when you are out of sorts. They may seek to reassure you or keep their distance. Both of which can be a good indication that you need to address your anxiety levels.

People who love animals also usually consider pets as a part of their family. If you’re feeling a little disconnected with other people, it is entirely possible to have a close connection with your pet and know that you’re not alone. The friendship of a cat curled up on your lap, or a dog by your side can do wonders to help with any worries around loneliness or isolation.

Pets Are Good Listeners

Did you know that there are therapy animals that help kids and adults with reading difficulties? There are many schools and libraries that recognize that the quiet non-judgmental presence of reading to an animal can help people with learning difficulties gain confidence and new skills.

What’s more, if you talk to your own pet they will respond. Okay, maybe not a specific answer that you’re trying to work out, but many pets such as cats and dogs love communicating with the people in their life either vocally, or through an affectionate rub, full body lean, and even the gentle head butt of a cat.

People Can Help With Your Pets Too

If you do have a mental health condition such as anxiety, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), domestic animals can be recognized as part of a treatment plan. Check out information on emotional support animals (ESA). Your ‘ordinary’ pet can be elevated to be an ESA for you if its presence alleviates and helps you manage symptoms that limit your quality of life. Aside from the benefit to your health, there is some legal protection from discrimination for having an emotional support animal in rental housing and during air travel.

Do you have a pet?

Tell us about your furry friend in the comments below!

 

Chuck E Cheese Birthday Party Review

Chuck E Cheese Birthday Party Review

I’m so excited to share my experience with hosting our first Chuck E Cheese birthday party! I’m a bit of a control freak, so I can’t say I wasn’t worried about how this party would go down, but it was even better than I could have expected.

It’s important to note here that I’m in no way affiliated with Chuck E Cheese nor am I receiving anything in return for this post. It’s simply an experience worth sharing with other mommas in need of party planning help!

How does a Chuck E Cheese birthday party work?

When my daughter announced she wanted to hold her 4th birthday at Chuck E Cheese, my frugal brain immediately went to the cost. So I went on the Chuck E Cheese website and was pleasantly surprised by the affordable options. Even when we go the party-at-home-DIY-route (like we did for our Dr. Seuss birthday party!) there’s still the stress and time planning it all.

I truly love to throw parties, but not necessarily during the cold days of February, which happens to be my daughter’s birthday month. So this time I handed over the party planning reigns and here’s what happened…

Chuck E Cheese Birthday Party Review

chuck e cheese birthday party

What’s the schedule like?

We arrived at Chuck E Cheese about 15 minutes before the party was set to start. Everything was set up in the back already and our host greeted us. She handed over a bag of play passes as well as a birthday bracelet for my sweet birthday girl.

Our host then went over our order (we opted for extra pizzas and drinks for the adults). From there, she went over the schedule, which looked like this:

12pm – party starts, kids play

12:45pm – pizza time! Our host served the children and made sure they all got what they needed.

After pizza, Chuck E himself came out to dance with the kids. We then sang “Happy Birthday” while the host cut and distributed the cake. Since we got the Mega Super Star package, it also included Dippin’ Dots (yum!!)

Chuck E Cheese dippin dots birthday party

From there, it would’ve been gift time, but we nixed that to do gifts at home.

After cake, it was ticket blaster time! My daughter wasn’t too keen on it, so her big brother stepped in.

Do they have to do the ticket blaster?

Our host was kind enough to show my daughter how the ticket blaster worked, but even then, my daughter wasn’t interested. My 5yr old son was all about it, though, so he stepped up to get those tickets. That said, there was also the option to skip the ticket blaster and simply collect 200 tickets (plus her 1000 bonus tickets as a part of the party package).

After the ticket blaster, the kids are then welcome to go back to playing.

Chuck E Cheese Ticket Blaster

Can you bring your own cake to a Chuck E Cheese birthday party?

Absolutely! While Chuck E Cheese offers a number of gorgeous cake options, you can also bring in your own cake and ice cream.

Do you tip for a Chuck E Cheese birthday party?

I’ve actually reached out to Chuck E Cheese to see if they have a policy/common practice on this. While I in no way felt pressured to tip, there’s no doubt our hostess deserved it! Our total party cost was $300, on which we tipped $40. This might seem like a bit much to some (like my husband…hehe) but I’ve worked in food service before and the tip was well earned.

Is the Mega Super Star package worth it?

It really, really is. It was so nice to not have to worry about goody bags or ice cream, plus the unlimited play for the 2 hours really helped parents better enjoy the experience and not worry about watching (or having to re-up!) their child’s play points. I also love that the goody bags allow for every child to leave with something, regardless of how many tickets they earned.

chuck e cheese goody bag

What happens if you have no-shows?

Sure enough, on the day of the party we had a couple children who suddenly couldn’t make it. Luckily Chuck E Cheese offers a 2-child no-show policy so we weren’t charged for the absent children.

The Easiest Birthday Party Ever

Overall, I truly could not have been happier with the whole experience. I did EVERYTHING online on my own schedule and it was the smoothest, most relaxed party I’ve had. Frankly, I’m considering hosting my own next birthday party there – they do have beer, after all! 😉

chuck e cheese birthday party review

Have you had a Chuck E Cheese birthday party experience?

Would love for you to comment below and share your thoughts!

Best Movies for Preschoolers

Best Movies for Preschoolers

The best movies for preschoolers are the ones in which the whole family can enjoy them (meaning Barney’s Christmas is out of the running!) We don’t watch a lot of movies in our house, but when we do, I don’t necessarily care about the educational value so much as my being able to sit through them without wanting to burn my eyes out.

So which movies would I say are the best family movies for preschoolers? Heh would you judge me if I said The Greatest Showman? Yeah? Harrumph, fine, we’ll keep it G-rated (oh and please note – the links below may be affiliate links that could earn me a commission should you click through to make a sale).

Best Movies for Preschoolers

Moana

Moana will forever be one of my most favorite movies. There’s such heart behind this movie and it never fails to inspire. Plus the songs are absolutely phenomenal and let’s face it – Dwayne Johnson is fantastic, even when animated.

The Snowman

This movie is perfect to help everyone unwind and relax a bit. It’s a “silent” film, but you’ll hardly notice thanks to the captivating music and gorgeous animation. We watch this one a lot during the holiday season, but it’s honestly wonderful all year round.

Beauty and the Beast (live action)

Oh, Emma Watson, how I adore you. The animated Beauty and the Beast is of course a solid choice, but the live action does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life and giving them an even more vibrant personality. While some preschoolers may be a little nervous during a few of the darker scenes (like when Gaston battles the Beast near the end), overall it’s a fun and bright movie.

Frozen

This one might be a divisive one, but if you’re not yet burnt out on “Let It Go” this musical is sure to enthrall the little ones. Personally I love this movie more each time I watch it, but there’s also a Christmas special if you need to mix things up a bit.

CoCo

I love that CoCo provides a seemingly rare insight into death, but does it in such a way as to not scare or worry younger children. It’s also wonderful to be able to educate children on various traditions they themselves may not follow, but are interesting nonetheless. Warning: you’ll need tissues for this one!

Spirit

An oldie but a goodie! I was 14 yrs old when this movie first came out, but it has definitely stood the test of time. If your preschoolers love horses, they are certain to love this family film. Bonus: there’s a show on Netflix that is similar to the movie, but updated to include a female heroin and her wild west adventures.

Boss Baby

Boss Baby just slays me. I wasn’t a big fan the first time I watched it, but (as children are wont to do) we watched a few more times and I love it. Call it Stockholm Syndrome if you wish, but to that I say – fart poop doody.

The best movies for preschoolers that the whole family will love!Click to Tweet

Horton Hears a Who

I’m a huge fan of Dr. Seuss, but even if I weren’t, this would be a movie I’d watch over and over again. It teaches children to care for others in such a gentle, inadvertent way. It never fails to inspire.

The Lorax

Like I said above – Dr. Seuss is big in our house. And once again, we’re learning about caring for others above our own selfish needs. The Lorax has brilliant animation, beautiful life lessons, and lots of sharp humor to keep the whole family entertained.

Fern Gully

I’ll never not love Fern Gully. Tim Curry + Robin Williams + fairies + life lessons = one of the best movies OF. ALL. TIME. (Disagree? Comment below with YOUR favorite!) I was only 4 years old when this movie came out, which is absolutely insane to imagine given that I’m now the mother of an (almost) 4 year old and a 5 year old, but that just goes to show – Fern Gully is one for the ages.

Trolls

Okay so this was another one that took a while to win me over. I’m often put off by movies that get too hyped up and that was the case with this one. However, I’ll now gladly watch it with (or without) my preschoolers any time. The animation is just out of this world and the songs are just so much fun. This is another one that now has T.V. shows, too, so you can mix it up to avoid burnout.

Happy Feet

Baby penguins. Need I say more?! Okay fine, how about baby penguins, jaw-dropping animation, brilliant musical numbers, and once again those life lessons that will help our children grow to lead with kindness.

Inside Out

Inside Out is probably one of the most perfect movies for preschoolers because let’s face it – there are few creatures on earth that have less of a hold on their emotions than preschoolers. I will say that this one is technically rated PG, but it’s due to the high emotional rollercoaster vs anything actually inappropriate for children. It’s a wonderful family film, though, and teaches us all one of the most important (but hardest) lessons: never stifle your emotions.

Lilo and Stitch

Bringing in another one from my childhood! Lilo and Stitch is such a sweet movie, but funny enough to keep the adults entertained, too. While I hope my daughter doesn’t grow to be quite as sassy as Lilo, let’s face it – us girls are all a wee bit dramatic at times. Let’s just hope she doesn’t bring home any dog-aliens…

Room on the Broom

I love the book, but the movie is even better! This is a fun one, too, in that the movie will help your children memorize the book, which in turn can help improve their eventual reading skills. Room on the Broom isn’t just one of the best movies for preschoolers, but one that will teach your children there’s always room for another friend in their lives.

WALL-E

So I promise you that when I made this list, I truly wasn’t thinking about how many of them are environmentally related but heh…well here we are and yes, WALL-E is one I’d definitely recommend. While the lack of conversations in the beginning may make it difficult for kids to pay attention, it picks up eventually and not only teaches our children the importance of caring for the world, but also shows them what a difference one person (err..robot) can make!

The Land Before Time

Last but not least, another that has stood the test of time. I’m pretty sure there’s like 108 versions of this movie by now and yeah, they’re pretty much all the same – dinosaur gets lost and/or has a fight with his friends, meets up with a sharp tooth, sings a song or two, finds his way back to friends, and YAY! All is well for a while. The original Land Before Time will always be my favorite, but I’ll admit that a few of the new ones do have a catchy song or two.

So what say you – do you agree with this list?

Which ones should I have skipped?

Did I forget any?

Comment below and let me know!

GhostBed Luxury Sheets Review

GhostBed Luxury Sheets Review

As a parent, it can sometimes be hard to keep your head above water when you feel like a hamster on a wheel – spinning fast, getting nowhere faster. That said, one of the best ways to ensure you’ll do better tomorrow than you’ve done today is to get a solid night’s sleep.

Now I know sleep doesn’t always come easy (hello – mom of two preschoolers here!) but when it comes to feeling more rested, there are a number of things you can do to wake up without feeling like you need a coffee IV.

But the #1 way to sleep better? Make sure you have quality sheets! This is why today I’m suggesting you check out GhostBed Luxury Sheets – sheets built to keep you comfortable and sleeping soundly throughout the night.

GhostBed Luxury Sheets Review

ghostbed luxury sheets review

When it comes to sheets, it’s never easy to find ones that stay cool and also durable. The great thing about GhostBed Luxury Sheets, though, is the Supmia cotton and Tencel fiber blend, which makes them breathable and light-weight! I’ve washed them several times and they are only getting more comfortable!

And while GhostBed Luxury Sheets are best paired with a GhostBed mattress (seriously – the best mattress for back pain!!) you can use them with pretty much any mattress.

ghostbed sheets review

Sure she looks peaceful now, but just wait until 2am when she’s throwin’ elbows!

Oh and the best thing? They have what they call a “GhostGrip” – a lining on the inside of the sheet that allows it to stay on securely and never pop off. As someone who often has a tossing-and-turning 4 year old in her bed, this is SUCH a major deal for me. It’s so nice not to have to worry about trying to fix my fitted sheet in the middle of the night (or worse, sleeping with one half falling off!)

[click_to_tweet tweet=”An honest review of GhostBed Luxury Sheets – the supernaturally comfortable sheets that come with free shipping and a three year warranty. @theghostbed #sweetdreams #sleepcomfy” quote=”Sweet dreams tonight, a better day tomorrow.”]

ghostbed ghost grip sheets

Each GhostBed Luxury Sheet set includes:

  • A unique & luxurious blend of Supima Cotton + Tencel Fibers
  • GhostGrip, so your fitted sheet will stay on securely and never pop off!
  • Free Shipping
  • Industry leading 3 year warranty

Yes, you read that right: FREE shipping + a THREE YEAR WARRANTY. And we’re not talking 4-6 week shipping; I got mine in just THREE business days!!

Don’t just take my word for it – try out GhostBed Luxury Sheets today and dream better tomorrow!