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This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
In our family, we have a preschooler and toddler. Both my husband and I work from home. The days are busy and they go by quickly. But we’ve made a point to develop a few healthy little habits to make sure that even when we can’t do everything right, we do a few things really well that help to set him up for a wonderful future.
Just like kids go to school and learn, there are plenty of other areas in their life that will need your attention right at home.
There are different types of family meal plans that people use. Some parents strive for perfection, some are very laid-back. We try to end up somewhere in the middle. We encourage our kids to try new foods and we try to feed them lots of fresh fruit and veggies and protein. But, we definitely have family pizza party night and on special occasions, we love to celebrate with cupcakes and donuts. We also make sure they stay hydrated and offer them lots of water, milk, and juice (low sugar, watered down). Sometimes even when you make the most delicious veggies, they just won’t eat them no matter how hard you try…..
Because they are picky eaters, I wanted to include vitamins as part of our daily regimen. We love Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® vitamins available at Target. They are gummy vitamins so they are perfect for kids since they taste great and are very easy to eat. The vitamins are intended for ages 4 and up, so I usually give Andrew his vitamins during Aidan’s afternoon nap because it’s really hard to give something to one child and not the other! I also store them in a very top shelf in the kitchen cabinets for safety. We use the Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Multivitamin Daily Nutritional Support vitamins to help provide nutrients and vitamins that Andrew may not eat during meal time. They look like “Dots” candies and are in an assortment of orange, cherry, and mixed berry. We also use the Nature Made® KIDS FIRST® Vitamin C gummies for immune support. One of the most surprising lessons of parenthood my husband and I learned early on is how frequent colds can come into the home from exposure to other kids’ germs at the playground, in the nursery at church, and in general public places. They are shaped like orange slices and taste like tangerine. He loves his vitamins and we love providing him with immune and nutritional support!
It’s so hard to believe the our oldest will be starting Kindergarten in just one year! We’ve already picked out his school and he is already looking forward to it! In the mean time, I bought a Pre-K workbook and each day, Andrew and I sit together somewhere quiet and complete 2 pages. He’s incredibly smart and I love watching him learn! I also love the idea of sending him off to Kindergarten with lots of practice and hopefully a couple steps ahead just so that he can enjoy his time in school without worrying about being behind the other kids. I always loved school and I really hope my kids will also but either way, I still want to use my time at home to try to teach them everything I can while I have the opportunity.
Aside from the typical ABC’s and 123’s involved in the pre-K curriculum, I want Andrew to enjoy learning about something. At age 2 he fell in love with tractors and until almost age 4, that was his passion. He enjoyed learning about all the types of tractors there are, how they work, what they do, and watching them in real life. He loved tractors SO much and built up quite the collection of tractor toys. He even loved to watch review videos on YouTube where people would go through their tractors and talk about all the pieces and parts. He soaked up so much knowledge, it was incredible!
Now, as he came into his 4th birthday in July, he found his next passion: outer space. He is SO fascinated with outer space and I really love just how much he takes it upon himself to learn new things! At the age of 4, he can name all the planets, in order, along with 5 dwarf planets, also in order! He knows how many moons each planet has and what the names of Mars’ moons are (his favorite planet!). He can name about 2-5 facts about each planet, name the north star, a black hole, a few constellations, and identify all of them on a map. There’s an app he loves called Solar Walk and another called Star Walk. It’s amazing watching him explore space and learn so many things all by himself. That childlike sense of wonder is such a special gift and watching him learn so much at such a young age is inspiring even to me. Whatever interest your child has, try to find ways you can hang out in their world with them and explore it by learning everything you can through books, videos, and exploring. We got a family membership to the local planetarium and both of our boys have so much fun there.
Each child is unique in their personalities and their gifts. I find that introducing art at a young age is really important. It allows them to do something fun and express themselves in a way that only they can. We have a variety of art supplies and one of Andrew’s favorite things to do is paint. He has so much fun and I love being able to hang up his creations in the playroom for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are painting, coloring with crayons, or making crafts, allow your little one a special time to make things and watch how much fun they have!
Music is fun for everyone, right? But at a young age, I believe kids have a great chance of really picking up some amazing music gifts if they are introduced to it early on. My husband is very musically gifted, so this is his area with the boys. I am excited to see what they gravitate towards! And for those who aren’t musically gifted (like myself), kids LOVE to sing songs. There are so many fun children’s music stations and channels available to stream! The boys love to sing and listen to music so that’s always lots of fun, too!
Just like art is important, I feel like building is also quite important. Even at a young age, when we’d stack the blocks and Andrew would knock them down, it was so much fun. Now that he’s big enough to build everything on his own, it’s even better! Building with a variety of toys helps develop their hand/eye coordination but also builds up their confidence. I just love when Andrew completes a building project and asks me to take his picture with it! He’s always so full of pride!
I have always loved books and that’s something I want to pass on to my children. Andrew seems to really enjoy books and I’m hoping to teach him how to read before Christmas, or at least start, because as much as he loves to learn, it will open up a whole new world for him! One of my favorite things we do are bedtime stories with the boys and trips to the library to discover new books.
We are a tech-friendly household here. Andrew has his own tablet. We let the kids watch select TV shows and movies. But we promised not to do so at the expense of imagination. That’s the best part of being a kid! And Andrew and Aidan are both amazing at this! They have a pretty big selection of fun costumes, masks, and super hero capes. They also love to play “restaurant” with the toy kitchen set in Aidan’s room. Sometimes we pretend cardboard boxes are rocket ships, race cars, or airplanes. Sometimes we pretend we are hunting monsters around the house. Whatever the case, we love the time the boys spend playing with their imaginations!
Memory is something we don’t always think about but it’s really important to develop. I’ve always had a gift of photographic memory and abilities to remember numbers and other things really well. I see a lot of that in both of our boys, which is really cool! We have a collection of different memory games that we play with Andrew (Aidan’s not quite big enough yet) and he LOVES them! It’s a fun way to spend time together while also exercising his memory at the same time.
Kids really need to play outside as often as possible. While it’s difficult as a mom to come to terms with all the dirt involved, I also have to remember how much fun I had outside when I was a kid. Andrew really loves rocks, grass, and, of course, dirt. He loves to dig, run around barefoot, and just enjoy nature. It’s such a simple activity but it’s so important, especially if you have boys. We definitely notice the days they don’t get to run around outside at the park!
Of course we work hard to provide a life for our kids that ensures they are safe, healthy, and happy. But as they are getting older, we want to teach them a sense of responsibility. When Andrew turned 4, I decided to give him a few small chores to teach him the value of hard work and help him understand that we all have to work together to make our home fun for everyone. At the end of the day, we try to make sure all the toys are picked up and back in the playroom. Occasionally, I’ll have him clean his room but it’s usually never that messy since they play in the playroom most of the time. When I’m doing laundry, I’ll have him match up all the socks. When I’m working on blogging projects, he loves to help me set everything up and is learning how to take pictures. He also LOVES to help cook and bake. I find that it’s so much fun for everyone when we include him and even when he isn’t excited about it, we always end up having fun together!
This may seem obvious, but sadly, not all children grow up feeling special. I always promised myself when I became a mom, this would be at the top of my list. No matter how the day goes, I always want my children to know they are loved and they are special. I want them to understand that sometimes mistakes happen but we still love them. I want them to feel proud when they accomplish something. I especially like to recognize Andrew when he does really sweet things to help around the house or times when he’s an amazing brother to Aidan. I remember when we first moved here and we took the boys to the park to play. The “big kids” park has a really tall slide and Andrew was so nervous about it. It took him a few minutes to work up the courage and I told him I’d go with him. Then, I let him go up by himself and told him I would meet him half way so he could give me a high five on his way down. We repeated it a few times until I was all the way at the bottom of the slide and he went all by himself. He was SO proud and we really encouraged him to be brave without pushing him. I wanted him to know we believed in him and we were right here if he needed us. In life, I want him to feel the same way as he goes through new ages and stages. I don’t want to do everything for him. I want to help him uncover his ability to do things all by himself. He said he was glad he didn’t give up and whenever we reach a new obstacle, I always remind him about how brave he was on the slide. It’s important to make kids feel a sense of accomplishment, even if they just get one step closer to their goal with each new attempt.
Before bed every night I always have a little talk with Andrew. I tell him he’s special and I’m lucky to be his mommy. I also ask him about his day and what his favorite thing was. I really love this time we share together and hearing his favorite part of the day is fun because it’s not always what I think it’s going to be.
I’m not a perfect mom. I don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning. However, I have found that if you try to incorporate one thing from each of the above categories every day with your preschooler, you’ll develop healthy little habits that will help them grow, learn, and love even more! I hope you found a few ideas helpful. I’d love to know some of the things you do with your preschoolers!
They have a great selection for kids and adults, too!
What are some of YOUR healthy little habits?
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Owner and operator of Paperclips & Pacis, a lifestyle blog sharing the best of #momlife and #entrepreneurship. Wife to Drew, Mommy to Andrew (age 4), Aidan (age 3), and Avalynn (newborn). Cat mom x2. Lover of Disney World, office supplies, and social media. Instagram: @paperclipsandpacis