1 // They’re Listening!
Remember that your kids are always listening. And they understand WAY more than we give them credit for. I recall one day I was quietly muttering to myself, ‘Oh dear, and I have to vacuum, too!’ And my then 1-year-old Soren heard me and quickly ran for his toy vacuum and began to get to work! It’s a cute example but it shows just how much our littles are hearing and comprehending.
Be careful how you talk out loud about: your body image, any counting of calories or food concerns you have, and even recounting your child’s ‘naughtiness’ or your frustrations with them to a friend or your spouse. Kids pick up on our words and our demeanor! It’s important to be careful not only with your words, but with your thoughts, which is where it starts.
2 // Deconstructing Food
Serve your children the same food that you eat whenever possible – but deconstruct it! This works well for meals like salads and tacos. Casseroles don’t need to be deconstructed, but sometimes toddlers really prefer knowing the separate elements in the dish instead of having it all mixed together.
**Also, don’t forget – we have a secret Pinterest group board where we are sharing our family’s favorite meals or other tried-and-true recipes! Be sure to visit the page to get some great family meal ideas (and to share your own!).
3 // “On Their Level” Time
Make sure to do intentional “on their level” time and intentional eye contact with your kids each day! It sounds so obvious and maybe you’re a natural at it already, but I’ve found that as a parent (in contrast to my years of babysitting, nannying, even teaching elementary students) we can sometimes get caught up in household tasks, then looking at our phone…and then back to the laundry, cooking, etc., that we fail to spend much time kneeling down at our kids’ level, making true eye contact with them. Delighting with them over something (big or small) is so important! As is interacting with them in a really deep, meaningful way. (And you’ll find that the relationship between you and your child, plus their general contentedness, will be positively affected!)
4 // Sustainable Toy Storage
Have fewer, more general categories for organizing toys! I’ve struggled with both sides of that spectrum in the past – trying to subdivide it way too much, or just tossing everything into a bin together. Make sure your toy cleanup system is also comprehendible (enough) for your child. Of course, a 1-year-old isn’t always quite there yet, but your 3-year-old can know that wooden blocks go in this bin and toy animals/figurines go in this bin. Cleaning up over the years is going to go much more smoothly if you and your kids don’t have to subdivide toys into very specific categories. (Talk about decision fatigue and discouragement and overwhelm, which we never want before naptime or at the end of the day!)
In the video linked below, I share a detailed walk-through of how we store toys in our apartment:
5 // Delay Checking Social Media!
“Tricking” yourself (or challenging yourself) by delaying checking social media is such a great way to have a much more present morning!
6 // Remember What Motherhood is About in the End
In the end, motherhood isn’t actually about us! It’s convicting, refreshing, and (hopefully) motivating to let this soak in!
BONUS! Tips for Meaningful Bible Study as a Mom
I’m not a theologian or a Biblical scholar, but over the years I’ve learned (from my mom and from other Bible studies) some great tips when it comes to Bible study and prayer time. I hope these tips encourage and help you in your own quiet time reading the Bible.
BONUS! How to Change Mindless Tasks Into Mindful Tasks – 6 Tips For Simple Living
I think you can practice simplicity to all sorts of degrees. I feel that the true beauty of simple living lies in changing mindless tasks into mindful ones. So, wherever you are – with whatever you currently have or don’t have – you can embrace mindful, intentional living, too!