Posts Tagged ‘talkearly’

When my husband and I met at the ripe ages of 18 and 21 we were so bright eyed, bushy tailed, and terribly naive. We fell in love and wanted to get married between semesters of college. We wanted to do it around December 16th but some relative in my then fiance’s huge family had already called dibs on that date, so we settled for the 23rd.

“Two days before Christmas? Do you really want to do that?” People asked us.

Yes, we did. It was a brilliant idea. … Or so we thought.

Nearly 14 years and three kids later we’ve realized that was not a bright idea. It was actually kind of a crazy idea. But it worked for our situation. And thankfully our parents were kind enough to show up.

Know what else is a crazy idea? Moving over Christmas. Yet here we are. If you see me share any cute pictures of my home this year know that this is what’s really going on behind the scenes…

Definitely not making the cut for the ‘gram.

We decided early on that even if we closed before Christmas we would wait to move until after. And trust me, I know this could be A LOT worse. Had we had to show and try to sell our home in the middle of all this I’d be curled in a ball in the corner right now crying and unconsolable. Thankfully we do have a little breathing room and flexibility. But still… This time of year is a lot.

Last year at a Talk Early summit we heard from a home organization expert, Rachel Rosenthal. When things are disorganized it can impact your stress level. Especially this time of year when we have a slew of notes and requests from teachers. So many dates and events to remember and so on and so on. One of the things she suggests is setting up a command center.

In her words:

Command centers are a low-tech, high-reward system that will cut down on the time you spend coordinating everyone’s busy schedules. The command center is where we keep our calendar and is a way to take stock of what we have going on in our lives so that we know the fundamentals of who, what, when, where, why, and how. I have one designated go-to spot for everything.

Right now everything gets tossed into a pile on my kitchen counter and I inevitably miss things that I forget to add to our digital calendar. I’m not really attempting to be awesome this Christmas BUT next year, I’m totally going to have it together with a command center in my mudroom.

I started packing a few weeks ago, and I’ve just been doing a little bit each week. Yesterday I tackled everything in the bathrooms. A large part of the packing process is getting rid of things we don’t need. In the past when we’ve moved we’ve taken A LOT of stuff that we didn’t need, so I’m trying to narrow things down a bit.

Here was what I pulled from my bathroom yesterday. Everything on the bed, and these boxes to the side of my bed all came from my bathroom cabinets and drawers. There’s actually even more than this that wasn’t pictured. It was nuts.

This is what I narrowed it down to:

Now picture that going on in every area of the house. From clothes, to toys, to kitchen supplies. It’s been a process but I’m so glad I took the time to go through it all and didn’t just pack everything. Once we move in I’ll worry about getting them unpacked and into neat containers.

We are going to ring in a new year in our new home and I’m looking forward to having so much more order in our new space. Granted, I know myself and that I’m just not an extremely neat and organized person, but I am trying to do better.

With a house in boxes, a moody 4-month-old, a slew of family coming to town, and a move a few days after Christmas. There’s a lot going on, and the timing isn’t great. And it sometimes feels like a lot to manage. But I get up every morning, meditate and remind myself “I can do this!”

How do you keep yourself mentally together over the holidays? 

This conversation was written in partnership with TalkEarly, and organization focused on having healthy conversations around alcohol responsibility among our families. For more resources on having open and honest conversations with your children please visit TalkEarly.org

In my house growing up there was a rule that you don’t talk back to your parents. If you did, you got your butt whipped.

In my son’s class at school there’s some kind of rule about using their white boards for writing words and practicing numbers. Not for drawing pictures.

“Because just drawing pictures doesn’t help our brain grow,” my son told me.

In our home now we have a rule where you don’t ride your bike in the street unless my husband or I is standing in the street with them.

There are rules about speed limits, no running around the pool, and drinking before a certain age. As kids, we may not have understood the why behind so many rules.

Growing up, if I responded to something my parents told me with a “Why?” I’d either get a butt whoopin for breaking rule #1 (don’t talk back) or receive one simple answer: Because I said so.

It’s an answer I swore up and down I’d never give my own children, but I’d be lying if I said those words have never slipped my mouth.

But some questions are too important to ignore.

“Why can’t I have a sip of your drink?”

Did you know by age 8, 37% of kids have had a sip of alcohol? Some parents thinks it’s safe to do at home, or takes away some of the allure. According to SAMHSA, by age 12, 66% of kids have had a sip. Kids ages 9 to 13 start to think underage drinking is ok and even start to experiment.

My kids are still at the age where they see it as something for adults (though they know we don’t drink it). But that could change (their perception, not my lack of drinking, ha!)

Last week at the movie theater Lil’ J asked me what the pretty knobs were near the fountain drinks. They were beer tap handles. And I explained that. She got so embarrassed and a little upset that she had asked about alcohol, but I made a point to tell her that it was a great question and I wanted her to know what that was.

I could have shrugged it off and said “It’s not for you, don’t worry about it,” but where would that have let her? Even more curious? Confused?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

Children have a heightened sense of justice. When kids ask us about something, teaching them rules that are based in safety can go a long way.

I’ve noticed a couple of examples with this in our home. One day we were stopped at a red light and I noticed Lil’ J’s seatbelt wasn’t on correctly. I asked her to fix it. When she asked why I explained how she could fly out my front windshield if we were in an accident. She’s stayed buckled correctly since then.

Same type thing with bike helmets.

So next time your kids ask you a serious “Why?” Resist the urge to say because you said so. Give them credit, sit down and have a grownup conversation about safety. Why they should wear a helmet. Why they shouldn’t run around a pool. And why alcohol has a legal age. Think of what a difference it can make in their lives as they grow up with a healthy understanding.

Responsibility.org has a program targeting tweens and parents of tweens called Ask Listen Learn, including resources on the developing brain. If you need help finding the words to explaining the why behind a legal alcohol age, this can help!

letting kids sip alcohol

Reponsibility.org is a Cherish 365 blog sponsor. Big thanks to them for being today’s blog sponsor.

“Mommy, what does D-O-O-R spell?”

We were riding in the car and my daughter was reading the letters off of a button. It’s not exactly the question a mom wants to hear from her 8-year-old. By “normal” standards it’s one of those words someone her age would instantly see and know. The question sent a prick of sadness through me, another reminder of her ongoing struggles.

“It says door, baby.”

A year ago I would have just told her to figure it out, offering little help, assuming she was just being lazy. Then I would have made her sound out five other traffic signs on our way down the road, just for good measure.

I was extremely insecure about my daughter’s reading struggles. Partly because I was homeschooling and I felt responsible for her being behind, and partly because she was not living up to who I thought she could be. Every time a parent told me about their child reading chapter books, or finishing another Harry Potter book I’d question why my daughter wasn’t there.

Every other subject was enjoyable for us. She grasped math concepts and could retell me stories from early American history without a problem. But she couldn’t read a Dr. Seuss book.

A little more than a year ago I went to a little gathering that changed my life. One of my blog partners, Responsibility.org hosts their influencers once a year in Washington, D.C. for a #TalkEarly summit to discuss ways to have open and honest conversations with our children. And how we can encourage that in our own communities. We also hear from doctors and experts in the parenting realm and just have a good uplifting time. Well, last year one of our guest speakers was Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure. A book about allowing our children to learn from their own mistakes. Resisting the urge to help them through everything because that will inhibit their ability to feel frustrated and reap the thrill of solving a problem on their own.

The entire time I kept thinking about my daughter, and her struggles with reading. I thought about the ways I’d been teaching her and listened to Jessica’s suggestions for allowing our kids to figure it out. And most of all, I heard her call to love our  kids for who they are, not who we wish they were. I had to let go of the desire of having a Harry Potter-reading 7-year-old, and accept that this just wasn’t her. Maybe she would struggle with school. Would I love her any less?

I came home from that summit and took a new approach to how I worked with her. Instead of forcing so much practice, repeating steps, and insisting she wasn’t trying hard enough, I sat back and watched how she would dissect a word. I took some of the pressure off and paid attention to how she worked. I began to realize that my pride could be getting in the way of finding out if there was another underlying issue. What could it hurt to talk to a professional and see? Maybe even rule it out.

I already shared how that went down. And the realization that my daughter is dyslexic was  still not what I expected, nor easy to swallow. Even last week at her 504 meeting, listening to her dyslexia profile evaluation results and hearing that she’s below average on reading fluency, spelling, phonological awareness, etc etc etc… It’s not news to me but it’s still difficult to hear. Still, it’s been harder for me to accept than her.

At her 8th birthday party in front of all her friends she asked if I’d read the cards to her. I later asked if that was hard for her but she told me it was no big deal.

The first week of school I asked if she felt insecure about anything and she said just getting on the wrong bus.

I write her a note every day and stick it in her lunchbox and sometimes she asks a friend to help her decipher a word.

She knows reading is, and may always be, a bit of a struggle for her, but she embraces it as a piece of the puzzle that makes her up. She knows where she has weaknesses she also has strengths. And seriously, I can thank Rick Rodian for making her believe her dyslexia is tied to her being a demigod.

I never thought I’d have a child with a learning disability/difference/whatever you want to call it. But it’s just a part of who she is.

She’s also a great little cheerleader, who wants to go to Worlds some day. And compete in all-star cheerleading in the Olympics (not a thing yet but hopefully will be). She records her own gymnastics and workout videos, then imports and edits them herself in Final Cut Pro.

Art, science and engineering are some of her best and favorite subjects, and though she says she doesn’t like it, she’s great at math. She may even apply for a STEM program for 4th and 5th graders.

And most of all, she has an incredible ability to know who she is. To politely decline doing something everyone else is doing. Or swing on the swings even if her friends prefer to sit in the shade. To look at her own artwork with pride knowing it was the best she could do. Her confidence to ask a friend, or raise her hand and say “I can’t read this,” without feeling embarrassed.

She is completely and undoubtedly aware of who she is. And it’s my job to love every bit of it.

 

Today’s blog sponsor is TalkEarly but the story I’ve shared and all opinions are my own. For more resources on having open and honest conversations with your children please visit TalkEarly.org

 

One of my good friends recently told me how she’d asked her 8-year-old son all the cuss words he knows. I wondered what would happen if I asked my daughter the same question. I mean, I don’t swear. Most of her friends are girls she knows from cheer and they don’t seem like sailors to me. Would she even know what the term “swear word” means?

Only one way to find out.

“What are some bad words you know?” I asked her one morning while we were in the kitchen. I fully expected her to ask me what I meant and say she didn’t know what I was talking about. Instead she started rattling off a list.

“Oh, bastard, son of a… Whore?”

I held back my laughter. This is the first few lines of about five songs on the Hamilton soundtrack. I’ll sing it, but remind her that those aren’t nice words.

“Ok, what else?” I asked. Now I was amused.

“Hate?”

Yep, that’s a word we don’t like to use.

Ok. That’s not so bad. Though I didn’t realize she remembered so much from my homeschool with Hamilton lessons (and to my credit, the rest of the soundtrack is edited and totally censored) she hadn’t picked up any others from external sources or friends yet.

Fast forward to a few nights ago. After cheer practice my daughter confided in me.

When your kids ask tough question

“Mom, what’s the ‘C’ word?”

I wasn’t drinking anything, but if I had been, I woulda spit it out. Just like in the movies. I was actually at my desk working but I turned around. She’d immediately caught my attention. And let’s face it, these are the moments I live for. Though I’ll admit I’m never as good at handling them as I imagine in my mind; I dream of being the mom my kids can come to with sincere questions, for honest answers.

But how do you explain “The C word” to a 7-year-old?

I decided to find out more.

“Can you describe the context? How did it come up? How were they saying it?” I asked.

“They were just saying ‘Oh the ‘B’ word’ ‘The ‘F’ word’ ‘the ‘S’ word’ ‘the ‘C” word.”

No matter how many times I asked her for more clarification it was clear the girls weren’t saying the words, but the abbreviations. Why and how this was coming up during sports practice I’m not sure but this wasn’t the time for reprimanding talks.

She’d already told me she knew the F word was “fire” because she’d learned that in a Percy Jackson book. Bless my sweet child’s heart.

“Well the C word…” I started. Trying to think of how to phrase it. A not nice–no, an EXTREMELY vulgar word some people use to describe women they don’t like? But my daughter interrupted me before I could finish.

“Oh I know!” She said. “It’s can’t” She said the word in a more hushed tone. “We aren’t suppose to say we can’t do something.”

Hallelujah, praise Jesus, praise dancing, YASSS!

Let’s go with that.

My eyes welled with tears and my heart swelled with pride.

“Yes baby, can’t isn’t a good word to use. I don’t want you to say you can’t do something.”

Her cheer coaches have the same philosophy.

Later, while retelling this story to a friend who is also a 5th grade teacher it occurred to me the “C” word the girls were referring to was likely “crap,” not the word my mind jumped to (which is a relief cause I only learned that word in my adulthood, I had no idea why 9-year-old girls would know that). But it was a good lesson for me in being ready for these types of conversations and realizing I’m not always going to be her main source of information.

For the last two years we’ve been homeschooling and together almost 24 hours a day every day. She spends more time with her brother than any of her other friends. This next school year she’ll be reemerging into public school and have to navigate new friendships. To be honest I have a lot of anxiety around this. My daughter is the nicest kid I know. She’s so caring and sincere and compassionate. And for heaven’s sakes she thinks the ‘F’ word is fire.

I have this irrational fear that letting her loose into a classroom full of kids with all different life experiences and values for 7 hours a day 5 days a week will completely change her.

I’ve made it a point to talk about friendships more often, lately. I ask her what she thinks makes a good friend, what would be a “deal breaker” for a friendship. And I ask what she’s excited about with her new class, and what she’s worried about. We also talk about what it means to stay true to yourself, and the importance of making good choices. Her answers have been eye opening. And a bit encouraging too.

It’s scary, but there’s help out there for us too. Parents can visit #TalkEarly as a helpful resource for more helpful information on having open and honest conversations with our kids early and often.

As parents it’s so important for our kids to know we’re here for them. I want her to know my door is always open, for any question, anytime, and I’ll always try my best to give her my honest (age appropriate) response.

Cherish 365 is a proud #TalkEarly partner. Though they sponsored today’s blog post, as usual, the story and all opinions are my own. 

 

“What do you think mommy needs?” I asked my 7-year-old daughter between homeschool lessons. It was a random question, but I knew she wouldn’t mind.

She thought for a moment. “Needs or wants?”

What a great reply. I didn’t expect her to take it there.

“That’s a good question,” I said with a smile.

“Cause I know what you want but need is kinda harder to say,” she said. “I know! You NEED lots of rest cause you’re growing a baby. And you also need lots of love.”

“Yea, that’s right!” I encouraged.

“You WANT to buy a new house,” she laughed. I laughed too at her response. “What? It’s true, that’s what you want!”

My little girl was spot on on both accounts. Now she wanted to change up the game.

“Ok now what do you think I want?” She asked while bouncing up and down.

I think for a moment and instantly land on the correct answer.

“Your baby sister,” I said.

“YES! And what do I need?” She asked.

“Lots of hugs and love and attention.”

Right again.

We’ve had a few conversations about the difference between wants and needs and I’m glad they’ve seemed to sink in.

A homeschool day in the life. Our homeschool routine.

Once again I’m proud to be partnering with Responsibility.org as a #TalkEarly ambassador to discuss the importance of open and honest conversations with our kids.

The phrase “mommy needs wine” is a popular cliché that’s circled the social media space, t-shirts, socks and more for years. We don’t even drink alcohol and my daughter’s asked me a time or two to remind her what wine is and why people say they need it when she hears someone mention it. I think that says a lot about how powerful messages are and how jokes that are meant for parents are actually getting through to our children.

There are nights I look forward to staying up after everyone’s gone to bed and enjoying a dessert and TV show. I savor that time alone. In a way, every now and then that time is needed to keep me sane. But I’m trying to be more careful not to give the appearance that a break from being her mom to have a sweet food indulgence is something I need. Or at least let her know that she’s not responsible for my needing quiet alone time, that it’s something I enjoy.

April is Alcohol Responsibility Month and a  great time to reevaluate the messages we’re sending, and conversations we’re having with our children about alcohol.

“Mommy needs wine” is just one of those widespread clichés I’m not a big fan of. Along with “boys will be boys” “If you think it’s bad now, just wait until they get older” and “Enjoy your sleep now” when you’re pregnant. 1. It’s not like sleeping is super enjoyable when you’re laying with a watermelon attached to you. 2. Even if I could enjoy my sleep now, it’s not like I can bank it and save it for rough days later on. There’s only so much sleep one can do in a day.

I’m a part of the #TalkEarly team and we partnered up to debunk some of the most common clichés. Check out this fun video to see some others!

Can you relate? What cliché can’t you stand?

I am a paid ambassador for #TalkEarly. This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org, the story and all opinions are my own.

I’m passionate about building strong relationships with our children and being there for the important conversations. That is why I partnered with #TalkEarly on this post.

“Mommy, how about you go lay down and take a nap and I’ll play with my brother.” It was more of a demand than a question. And a nice pleasant surprise from my wise 7-year-old.

If I didn’t luck out with an amazing daughter I don’t know who did.

One of the traits I absolutely adore about my her is her ability to sense how people are feeling and wanting to help. When I told her about the baby I also explained it was why I’d been so tired, why I need more rest and she immediately understood. It’s given me an opportunity to share how sometimes we need time by ourselves, or time to do something we enjoy.

It’s no secret that the start of my pregnancy wasn’t all sunshine and roses. But if that experience has taught me anything it’s that I need to take care of myself. Not just physically, but mentally, and emotionally as well. And I want my kids to see me do this in healthy ways.

When I get overwhelmed and stressed out my reaction tends to go one or two ways. I either eat a motivation sandwich, push myself, get amped up, and tackle as much as I can as quick as I can while enlisting help from others. Or I completely shut down. The last few months I took the latter approach.

All over social media we laugh at and share memes highlighting moms who just need a glass of wine at the end of the day. How often do we stop to think what that’s telling our children? Though I don’t drink, I’ve made myself evaluate what message I may be sending my kids when I’m responding to feeling stressed.

It’s important for my kids to know we all have good days and bad days. Even mom and dad. But it’s important to know appropriate ways to take care of yourself on the bad days.

The term “self-care” has been all the rage lately and yet, I’ve never really mastered it. I’m still learning how to do this, and how to make time for myself a priority.  In fact, I recently send a tweet that perfectly describes my approach.

It doesn’t always mean I’m going to get dressed up and put makeup on. Or take a day off and hit the spa. Or go to the gym for a workout. It probably would do my some good to try that now and then. But more often than not right now self care means enjoying a bath while my kids play in the other room. Taking a nap as soon as my husband gets home from work. Or just staying in my pajamas all day.

My sweet daughter, though only 7-year-old is aware enough to know when mama just needs a nap. And I’m going to try to do a better job of letting her know that I appreciate her helping me to take care of myself. And though different for everyone, we all could use a regular dose of self-care.

I’m teaming up with Responsibility.org again as a part of their #TalkEarly program encouraging parents to create a lifetime of conversations with kids about alcohol responsibility starting with kids as young as 6-9 years old. You can find a wealth of knowledge over on the #TalkEarly page and find more information. The nonprofit Responsibility.org sponsored today’s post, however all thoughts, opinions and stories are my own.

I’ve been preparing myself to handle the “where do babies come from?” question for some time. I feel armed and ready with scientific explanations and counter responses. Instead, the question I got this week was “Is Santa REALLY real?”

My daughter hasn’t been in public school for a year and a half so it’s not like she came home from school crying about what some kid told her on the playground. My 13-year-old sister is still convinced about Santa, so no idea where this was coming from. We were watching Christmas movies and the question sort of popped up out of the blue.

‘Well duh…’ Was honestly the first thing that came to my mind. But I held back that response and instead went with “Well, who do you think brings you your presents?”

“Well I think it would be hard for Santa to do all by himself so maybe he has lots of helpers that drop the presents off,” she suggested.

“Oh, like elfs?” I asked.

“Yea,” she went on. “And they sneak into the house and put all the presents under the tree.”

“So who do they work for?” I asked her. “And who’s the guy you took pictures with?”

“Well I know some are just helpers cause I saw a string on one Santa’s beard,” she said.

“Oh ok, what about the one we saw this week?”

“He didn’t have a string, so I think he was the real one,” she said.

As if on cue the next Christmas movie to come on was a Disney short about Goofy and his son Max having the same discussion. My daughter watched the whole thing like Yea! Same questions here! In the end the moral was a mix between Christmas being about serving others and creating happy memories for loved ones (I was cool with that). And also Santa being there for those who believe (I was cool with that too).

Now that that crisis is averted for now I’m doing mental acrobatics thinking about what else to watch out for this year that I may have forgotten about. Like for one, my kids finding their gifts. After that whole talk I’d hate to blow it with a whoops like that. When I was a kid playing hide and seek with my sister I hid in a pile of dirty laundry that also magically contained our Christmas gifts. I didn’t speak a word of it. Ever. Somehow I knew better. We don’t have a ton of hiding space in our home so we may have to resort to the attic this year.

On a more serious note, another hurdle to prepare for is holiday parties and kids asking for a sip of alcohol. When we, or more likely, our parents were growing up I don’t think it was a big deal for parents to offer their kids a sip in hopes that it would deter them from wanting to drink more. But studies have shown it can actually have the opposite effect.

I couldn’t believe this statistic but 37% of kids by the age of 8 have had a sip and that number rises to 66% by the age of 12. Most 6-year olds know that alcohol is only for adults. Then between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to view alcohol more positively. Many children begin to think underage drinking is okay. Some even start to experiment. We don’t drink alcohol or have in in our home but my daughter still sometimes asks me if my sparkling apple cider is wine. I’m sure to tell her it’s not, but thank her for asking and I tell her if she’d like she can try some of it because it doesn’t have alcohol. She politely declines because “I don’t like bubbly drinks.” I’m hopeful we’ll continue to keep these lines of communication open and honest with each other. 

So being open and honest about alcohol and babies? Easy peasy. Santa? That’s another story. Now I’m not necessarily someone who is going to try to push this longer than it needs to go, but when it comes to Old St. Nick, and Disney World characters, I’m hanging onto the magic as long as I can. And if not, well, then at least I’ll get a break from moving the dang elf around.

 

Ok so I’ve got lots of questions for you today. Did your parents give you a sip of alcohol with you were younger? Do you do that with your kids? And for heaven’s sake, where are your good present hiding places?

I’m a #TalkEarly ambassador helping to spread awareness about the importance of talking to our kids at a young age about alcohol safety. Though we don’t drink it doesn’t mean it’s a topic we should ignore. You can log onto the #TalkEarly page for more information on building a lifetime of conversations with kids around alcohol responsibility. Responsibility.org sponsored today’s post, however all thoughts, opinions and stories are my own.

It was never really hard for me to make friends growing up. I was always one of those extroverts who looked around for the quiet introverts I thought needed my friendship. It wasn’t until fourth grade that I met my best friend. And we are still pretty close today.

We were making totem poles at the beginning of the school year. We were instructed to put items on the totem pole that help describe us.

I noticed the girl working on her project had a rabbit on hers. It seemed strange so I asked her why she put that there and she told me it was because she’s as swift as a rabbit.

“I bet I’m faster than you,” I challenged, and she accepted. Playground at recess. It was on.

We went to open end of the playground with lots of running room. We had an audience nearby watching, cheering us on, and keeping us fair. I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that I’d win.

“On your mark. Get set. GO!”

We both took off running but didn’t get far before we heard a strange noise. Someone farted. (It wasn’t me). But we both laughed the whole way down the field. I can’t remember who won but it didn’t matter. That moment is what started our unbreakable friendship.

We’ve had our ups and downs as any friends do, but Shannon was my first true loyal friend. We were close all through middle school, which is arguably the most brutal grades in school socially.  She stuck up for me when people made fun of me. We talked each other out of bad decisions, and encouraged each other through tough times.

In junior high we both were cut during dance team tryouts, and we cried together. She stood by my side as I was rejected by several boys. And we passed origami notes like no other.

Our friendship survived high school, even after my cross-country move. It’s survived two marriages, three kids and many phone numbers. We don’t talk nearly as much as we used to, but thanks to apps like Snapchat and MarcoPolo that allow us to talk in sporadic moments we’re able to hide from our kids, we are once again chatting it up like we used to.

Shannon wasn’t my only friend, but she’s always been my most constant. Every conversation feels like we can pick up from where we left off. We don’t feel judgement from one another and we knew we could always rely on the other.

I would love it if each of my kids found someone like Shannon in their lives. Someone who you can have disagreements with, even fights you’d think would end the friendship, only to come back together after some time apart to cool off. Friends who you can trust not to let you do things you’ll seriously regret later. Friends who won’t peer pressure you to do something you really shouldn’t be doing.

My daughter is very much like me–A social butterfly, yearning for close friends. I worried that might make homeschooling a challenge for her, but I guess some kids find a way to thrive because she manages to find friends everywhere we go. From the fast-food playground to homeschool co-ops and her new favorite: Cheerleading.

Her teammates are motivating and encouraging. They also inspire her and despite the stereotype, are just plain nice.

Since she’s not in a regular classroom scenario her friends are many different ages. She’s the youngest on her squad, at church she’s the only girl in her class, and at co-ops there’s a good mix. Then the two friends she invited to her birthday party at the beginning of summer were friends from her kindergarten class. So she’s definitely all over the map when it comes to her pool of friends but it’s fun for me to notice which sides of her come out depending on who she’s around.

I try to have periodic conversations with her about what makes a good friend, so she not only knows how to choose them, but how to be a good friend. She’s very aware of which friends make her feel better about herself, which ones make her want to be better, and which ones don’t.

Learning to form strong friendships from an early age helps kids as they get older, and I want to make sure she focuses on quality over quantity.

Psychologist Dr. Alvord said “Research shows that even having one close friend serves as a protective factor against bullying.”

When kids are surrounded by good influences, chances are they’ll be encouraged to make decisions that they want to make. A good friendship should encourage our kids to be the best they can be and give them a little push to want to succeed.

That was the case for me growing up. And I hope both of my kids finds a best friend like that the can count on. Sometimes I wonder (and secretly hope) if it might even be each other.

Did you have a best friend growing up? Do you still keep in touch?

The role of friendships gets even more important as our kids get older and face peer pressure situations. As you may remember, I’m a #TalkEarly ambassador helping to spread awareness about the importance of talking to our kids at a young age about alcohol safety. Though we don’t drink it doesn’t mean it’s a topic we should ignore. You can log onto the #TalkEarly page for more information on building a lifetime of conversations with kids around alcohol responsibility. And if you would like to read more form Dr. Alvord’s interview with Responsibility.org, you can find a link to the full blog post about it here.

Responsibility.org sponsored today’s post, however all thoughts, opinions and stories are my own.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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