All the kiddos independent — Throw your hands up at me!

You ever have those moments as a parent, where a realization about your children, your parenting, or your family existence is just IN YOUR FACE? And no matter how busy you are or what situation or setting you are in – it just seems to keep resurfacing?

I’m not sure why this happens, but for our family it does. And lately the reoccurring theme is independence.

A little background info for you – upon self reflection, I’d probably rate my husband and I as middle of the road in terms of expectations for our kids and how much they do on their own. We didn’t spoon feed them for years but they could also be doing more chores for sure.  Let’s be honest, sometimes in the hustle or real life, it’s just EASIER to do it for them then to be patient enough to let them practice doing it on their own.

But lately, as the mother of a 9 or 11 year old, even though I feel real pangs of longing for my former chubby toddlers wanting to sit on my lap for story after story after story, I also have a real urgency to make them STEP UP and start doing a little more on their own. I guess this is why they call it the TWEEN phase, right?

Anyway, we encourage our daughters to order for themselves at restaurants and have for years. Our oldest started doing laundry this year. They have to keep their rooms clean and do a few simple chores. Helping pack lunches and cook is a work in progress. My gut tells me they should be doing a little more for themselves. Yet at times when we nudge them to do the simplest of things, they FREAK OUT.

Here’s an example.

Yesterday we had to stop at the store to buy some poster board for yet another school project. Mostly because we wanted them to accomplish buying it on their own, and partly because I had on fuzzy socks with tennis shoes and sweats and my husband wanted to alter his fantasy football roster, we decided they needed to buy it themselves. We pulled up to the door, handed them cash, and reminded them where they could find poster board in the store.

You are joking, right?

No, I’m quite serious.

But, MOOOOOOM, we are kids.

Yes, and you are quite capable kids – go buy it.

But Mom, there are video cameras in the store!

Exactly, if you cause trouble or someone gives you trouble, you’ll be supervised, now go!

But Mom, parents don’t do this. It’s not ok for you to send kids into a store alone. People will wonder where our parents are.

Tell them we are in the car.

Seriously Mom, you aren’t joking about this?

Girls, when I was your age, I walked 4 blocks to buy candy by myself.

But that was a LOOOONG time ago. That’s not what happens now.

Get in the store or we are taking your electronics.

I would like to say I had super Mom powers and patiently motivated my children to feel empowered and self driven to independently shop for THEIR school supplies alone. It took a threat. I was impatient, annoyed, and we had places to be.

The experience led us to a good family discussion, including the fact that we have to let them have small experiences, within safe boundaries, with increasing independence to become successful and self sufficient adults one day. The problem is it’s not always easy to know how much independence and at what age. I often wonder how much to push, and how much to support.

When I am working as a Physical Therapist teaching parents to encourage their child to learn to walk up the steps, I often say, “I know when you are in a hurry this won’t work, but at least a few times a day, when you have time, let them practice the steps with you close by, but don’t carry them. They need practice to be able to do it by themselves.”

We as adults didn’t wake up with the ability to ride a bike, settle a disagreement with friends or co-workers, tie our own shoes, walk up the steps, or even go into a store and buy something. Our experiences, practice, and space to try and even mess up at times, gave us an opportunity to reflect on what went well, what did not, and how we would change things the next time we tried that new skill. If we hover, if we do it for them, if we spoon feed too long, they won’t have the chance to gain independence, self confidence, and succeed.  I don’t want kids that continue to freak out in fear when nudged to do things for themselves, do you? I’m declaring today INDEPENDENCE DAY!

How old is your child? Do you need to nudge them to be more independent or are they already wanting to take off running on their own? 1-2-3 Just Play With Me includes the 5 domains of child development – 1 being FINE MOTOR where we have included many self help skills. Let us help make understanding when it is typical for your baby to do things more on their own easy for you! Get your copy today and easily understand development while pairing milestones with practical and fun play ideas!



Why Veteran’s Day Will Never Be Another Monday Off For Me Again..

Confession: I have never really done anything to celebrate Veteran’s Day.  I grew up with patriotic parents that taught me respect and thankfulness for those that fight to protect our family and our freedom, but no one in my immediate family ever served (besides my father who briefly served and was honorably discharged due to medical reasons).  Although I had cousins and uncles who have served in the armed forces, they were not people I saw often enough (especially in their roles as soldiers) to leave a true appreciation for Veteran’s Day. I have never really done anything to celebrate Veteran’s Day – until today.

A new principal leads the Elementary School our daughters attend this year.  She brought the idea of Bring A Veteran To School Day to our PTA.   Apparently this is a National Program. Why knew? Not me. There are national guidelines and suggestions and ideas to encourage schools across the country to participate.  (More information at:  Another school in our county offered their suggestions, experience, and paperwork used to plan the event and we said, “Sure, let’s do it!”



Each child was given a form to bring home and the chance to invite a Vet.  The form allowed the child and Veteran to share their names and the branch of the service the Veteran served, years served, places served etc.   We estimated getting about 20-30 of these back since this was our first year. We ended up with over 70 Veteran’s today!



They were greeted by students who escorted them to the school’s library, where they we welcomed, checked in, and enjoyed breakfast foods provided by the PTA with donations from our local grocery store and Chick-Fil-A.

After breakfast we had the Veterans sit in the school’s cafeteria in a special area sectioned off for them.  Students entered and sat on the floor facing the Veterans.  As members of each branch of the military were announced, students held the flag for that particular branch.  Each Veteran was announced along with their host student, and they both stood.  As I announced their names, I found myself getting choked up, watching the adoring eyes of these students as they stood and waved at their honored guest.  So many fathers, mothers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, cousins, uncles, friends etc. My cousin came from over 3 hours away. A friend’s father left Massachusetts in the middle of a storm to join us! These Vets showed up in a BIG way and each Veteran was given a laminated American flag painting with a letter from a child, a flag pin, and a card.  Student helpers handed out these treats.

flag painting

our vets

Following the announcing of Veteran’s, our school’s music teacher led the students in standing and singing 2 songs to the Veteran’s.  The first was a more fast paced “I love America and so do you song.”  The second, which featured solos from two talented teachers, included a chorus from the children.  I can’t remember the words exactly, because by this point, I was crying the kind of cry that actually makes whimper noises, but it went something like…”What can we say to a hero?  We can say thank you…we are blessed because of you.” Sob. Sob. Sob. Oh wait – and yes, more sob.

kids singing

lg standing

Veterans then had the opportunity to visit their host student’s room and answer questions, share medals and stories, and interact with the students…sort of a show-n-tell type interaction.



I’m not sure I can fully or eloquently describe my emotions this morning.  My heart was as full with pride as my eyes were with tears. I stood staring at these generous people, dressed in a variety of uniforms…some with many wrinkles that were signs of many stories of courage and strife.  Some were fresh faced, filled with hope and pride. All of them were staring back at 500 children…500 beautiful, angelic children who were singing their hearts out, full of pride, smiling wide. They are young, but they “got it.” You could see it. You could feel it. The admiration. The joy. The utter thankfulness. These Veterans were the faces that these students will always remember and associate with Veteran’s Day.  These kids will likely never see Veteran’s day as “Another Monday we have off from school” like I did as a child. They will see it as it should be seen, as a day to honor those individuals who DESERVE our honor.  And every child deserves the opportunity to experience a day as magical as today.


If you’d like information on ideas to celebrate Veteran’s Day with your children or school, I’d happily share the information we have. Feel free to contact us through the website or at


What does your family or your school do to honor our Veteran’s? Share with us!