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What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids

What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.

What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.

I am not sure what has come over me, but this summer I decided to do a "welcome to summer" gift basket for my kids (shhh...they don't know yet). I guess it all stemmed from my decision to start tracking video game time for the week on timers. One mom mentioned she does this in the Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Facebook Group and I loved it! I thought it would be a good idea to balance these timers, which aren't that exciting, with some exciting things for summer.

Here are my items so far. I still have a couple of weeks before they are home for the summer, so if you have a great idea to send my way, let me know! I started with a list of things we want to do this summer, then created a basic schedule, and thought about what I need to purchase for our upcoming summer months. There are things I would get anyway, so putting them all in a basket and presenting it as a gift adds a lot of excitement. This post contains affiliate links.

Timers
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.This is the item that inspired this whole idea of a basket. I bought these timers on Amazon to use to keep a running total of how much video game time has been played. The kids currently track their own time, but it is often a "Um...I have about an hour left." We do three hours a week, so I made sure to get timers that do more than 90 minutes. I got a different color for each child. The main timer that I got came in three colors, so I got three of those plus this style of timer

Piano Book
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.All of my kids play the piano. It is fun to have a book of fun piano songs to play, and they are all obsessed with the Greatest Showman, so I got them a Greatest Showman piano book. It will be above the levels of Brinley and McKenna, but McKenna can pick out at least the melody and Brinley can copy the melody from the other kids. Even if only Brayden plays, the girls will have a grand time singing along, so it will be a big hit. I really wanted this book to be to all of the kids so that no one could try to pull a "Don't play from my book" moment. I don't allow those type of statements, but I just anticipate this being popular enough that I wanted to make my life easier on myself. 

Paper
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.A ream of paper people. That is all it takes for pure joy. My girls all spend a lot of time drawing, so they go through a lot of paper. I love giving a ream of paper as a gift. Go crazy kids!



Journal
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.I got each child a journal. I got them journals to write in for themselves to keep thoughts. I also got journals that are "Mommy and me" journals for us to write back and forth with each other. Kaitlyn and I have done this without any prompts--just a blank journal--but this rates so well that I wanted to give it a try and see if it is nice to have some prompts to strike up conversation. This will help them be able to share things with me they might feel too embarrassed to say out loud. It will help us get to know each other better. It will also keep up their writing skills. I am super excited about this item! Here are the journals that I got:


Book
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.We spend a lot of time at the library in the summer, so I debated about getting a book, but I want each kid to have their own, new book to read that they are excited about. We will hit the library every week, but my kids love owning their own books and they will read books over and over again.



Outdoor Toys
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.There are so many outdoor toys you could get. Water balloons, chalk, bubbles, squirt guns, balls, sprinklers, bikes, roller blades, etc. We already own a lot of great outside toys (see my post on our favorite outside toys here). One thing we were out of is water balloons, so I got a big pack of those. 



Swimming Gear
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.If your child needs a new beach towel, swimsuit cover up, suit, or even sunscreen, you can add it in. I am doing a shopping voucher for my older two; they are old enough they have opinions and tastes different than my own so I want them to have a say.




Treats
This is pretty self-explanatory. Treats. You could plan some fun summer treats, like homemade Popsicles and include ingredients for that treat, or just some favorite treats.

Movie Items
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.We like to do outdoor movies, so some popcorn and a new movie to watch this summer is fun.





Experience Gifts or Tickets
If you plan to go to a baseball game, the zoo, mini-golfing, etc., you can purchase the passes or tickets ahead of time to include in the basket. This gives you all time to look forward to the fun event. It also commits you to completing summer bucket list items you have for your family. You could also announce a vacation coming up with items for the vacation. 

Items for Goals
As each summer approaches, I sit with each child and go over goals they have for the summer. I outline what skills I want them to learn. They can request things to learn. So I am having a child learn to clean mirrors properly this summer. I might buy some things to add in that help with mirror cleaning if we need it. Kaitlyn wants to learn to sew, so I could include something for her to go with this goal for the summer. Cookbooks, printouts, ingredients...Again, things you would already get, but you wrap it up in gift form. 

Summer Schedule
Last but not least is a copy of the summer schedule! My kids love seeing what to expect each day, so this seems lame, but the kids actually like it. For summer schedule ideas, see:

Babywise Friendly Blog Network

See these other posts on summer from the ladies of the BFBN:
What to Put in a Welcome to Summer Gift Basket for Your Kids. Great items to give your kids to kick off summer.

8 Ways to Respond to, "Everyone is Doing It!"

8 Ways to Respond to, "Everyone is Doing It!" Helpful phrases to be prepared for how to respond. 


The phrase, "Everyone is doing it!" is a time-honored phrase of children everywhere who are trying to get their parents to agree to something. While parents have a time honored response of "If everyone jumped off a cliff...", you also can't help but start to wonder if you on the right track with what you are allowing and what you aren't.

It can be good to crowd source from similarly-minded parents to see if you are on the right track or not; however, you don't want to drive your parenting decisions based on what others are doing or not doing. It can be so helpful to have some phrases you have in your family that express the point that your child won't get to do everything the friends and acquaintances get to do. 

I have written a post on how to respond when your child presents "everyone else is doing it!" I asked blog readers how they respond to this phrase. Here are 8 phrases you can use when your child tells you "But everyone is doing it!"

"We want to make wise choices for our family."
Rene said: for our youngest and "we watch movies as a family". With wanting things or to do activities we often talk it out. For example, my girls wanted light up shoes (they later got them for Christmas from grandparents). It was a good opportunity to talk about budget, giving to others, and comparing cost. Once the 9yo was on board, the younger ones were too. (It's funny because now the 9yo is very conservative on where she wears them.)

"Other families have different rules; these are your family's rules."

"We're not going to play that way in our family."

"The road to destruction is broad, but the road to life is narrow."

"We show kindness and respect to ourselves and others. Is {fill in the blank} kind and respectful?"

"Other families have different rules."Amy said: We talk a lot about how other families have different rules, and their rules are good for them, but our rules are our rules and that's the way we will go. When my second grader was on his last few days of kindy, the teacher suggested we send in a game that the kids could play as she was packing up the classroom. So Ethan and I discussed it and we settled on Connect 4 - I figured it was one he could easily set up and there weren't too many pieces to loose. He came home all chatty about how so-and-so brought their iPhone and so-and-so brought their iPad. Apparently most of them brought in "their" devices. 

"If they jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?"

"Yes, your friend's family may do xyz, but we are [last name], and [last name] don't."Manda said: I also often discuss with them why. When my 16 yo was 11 and everyone had a cell phone she was super annoyed that we don’t allow it until the kids are driving age. I pointed out our reasons (safety, cost, etc) but also what I had seen among her friends. Namely that what they had often wasn’t a full cell phone...it was a prepaid minute plan and they were always out of minutes. Also, they would get grounded from their phones for misusing them All.The.Time! Seriously, they always had it taken away. We explained that this was a good sign her friends weren’t really ready for the privilege. She listened but didn’t agree at the time but now 4 years later told me, “I see what you guys meant about the cell phones!”

Conclusion
When you have a solid plan on how to respond when your child tries to talk you into agreeing to something based on peer pressure, you can respond easily and with confidence. You can always respond with your phrase and then ponder it. Decide if you think you should change a rule. We aren't perfect. Sometimes we need to tweak things. But we should parent our individual children based on their needs and not on what other people have decided is best for their individual child. Having a phrase gives you something to say in the moment and also sets a bar in your home so your child knows mom and dad won't do something just because "every" other parent is. 

8 Ways to Respond to, "Everyone is Doing It!" Helpful phrases to be prepared for how to respond.

8 Ways to Respond to, "Everyone is Doing It!" Helpful phrases to be prepared for how to respond.
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Why You Should Let Your Child Be Bored This Summer

The benefits of boredom for children and why you should let your child be bored. Why being bored is good for your child. 

The benefits of boredom for children and why you should let your child be bored. Why being bored is good for your child.

Our children are growing up in a fast-paced environment. With all of the modern conveniences we have before us, we rarely have to wait for anything. We don't even need to wait for commercials before continuing on with our show. If we want to talk to someone, we can pretty consistently get a hold of them via text, cell phone, or social media pretty instantly. If we want to know the answer to a question, Google is right in our pockets. We have endless opportunities for communication and stimulation.

Because of this, our children rarely have a chance to get bored.

We also live in a world where we can compare ourselves to thousands of people very similar to ourselves (and millions of those dissimilar). While we used to only be worried about keeping up with that Jones family, we now have families all over the world we can try to keep up with. So we mothers look around on our favorite social media sites (it doesn't matter which one) and see what at least hundreds of other mothers are doing with their children. We don't look at ONE mother, we look at hundreds. Then we try to keep up with as much of what they are doing as a whole as we can. We try to take the best highlights from so many people that we completely overbook our lives with fun ideas.

Because of this, our children rarely have a chance to get bored. 

Then someone writes an article about how you only have 18 summers with each child, and 18 is a very small number. We then feel a level of panic that yes, we really do need to pack these amazing things in because 18 isn't very many and time is running out! 

Because of this, our children rarely have a chance to get bored.

Today I want to tell you why you should let your child get bored. Let your child get bored this summer, next weekend, and any other day of the year. It is not only okay to let your child get bored, it is good

Boredom leads to imagination and creativity

When you have nothing scheduled to do, and you are faced with either doing nothing or creating something to do, you are going to create it. Your child will not choose to sit and be bored for long. She might try. She might stage a sit-in, proclaiming her feelings of boredom as she tries to wear you down so you will solve the problem for her or at least default to electronics. If you hold your ground, and make it clear that you don't mind if she is bored, she will find something to do. Studies have found boredom leads to more imagination and problem solving. 

We do a technology fast for one week of every month, and during that week, my children are the most self-driven. They try new things. They play with each other more. They make up games. They draw. They read. They end up having a really great week!

When you are bored, you are motivated to try and solve problems. Humans are great at solving problems if they will give it a try! Boredom gives time for people to need to solve problems. 

Boredom leads to interaction

Along that same thought, when my children are bored, they will turn to each other to come up with something to do. Even 12 year old Brayden will find something mutually enjoyable to do with 5 year old Brinley when it is just the two of them and they are bored. A big part of that is Brayden wanting to make Brinley happy; the interaction strengthens their relationship and bond. 

Boredom forces you to face yourself

I read on Psychology Today that:
"So what boredom does, effectively, is to open the shutters on some very uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, which we normally block out with a flurry of activity or with the opposite thoughts or feelings."
I mean, I love that boredom forces us to face things. Burying thoughts, feelings, and emotions is not healthy, and if boredom helps us have to face those things, I call that a win for mental health. It is also a great way to get to know yourself. If you are forced to find something you like without another person directing your efforts, you will be more apt to find something you enjoy and get to know yourself better.

Boredom can lead to finding new hobbies

When you have nothing to do and want to find something, you will be more willing to give things a try. This might lead to you finding a new talent or new joy in life. 

Boredom fosters independence

Think about it. If your child never has a moment to figure out what to do with himself, how does he learn how to function alone or independently? If your child gets bored, he has time to learn how to function on his own. 

Conclusion

When your child tells you he is bored this summer, don't let yourself feel guilty. Don't run through the hundreds of things you could be doing but aren't doing. Instead think, "Good. I am glad I gave you that opportunity." Your child will develop his imagination, his creativity, hobbies, and perseverance through working through boredom. So as you plan out your schedule for this summer, leave time for boredom. Don't be afraid to keep openings in your schedules and let your children really know what bored feels like and let them work through that.

Dare to let your child get bored. 

Related Posts:

Why a Solid Chore Schedule Can Save Your Sanity This Summer

Why a Solid Chore Schedule Can Save Your Sanity This Summer. Reasons to have your child do chores during summer.

Why a Solid Chore Schedule Can Save Your Sanity This Summer. Reasons to have your child do chores during summer.


As the school year ends, I cannot wait for summer to get here and the crazy of May to end. I think that is the Lord's way of making us willing to take on summer, just like how the end of pregnancy completely sucks and you will do anything to get that baby out.

Just as childbirth leaves its mark, so can summer. It seems amazing, whimsical, and lovely as we look forward to it, but as the days settle in and kids get "bored," you start to realize summer isn't as perfect as you thought it would be. I love my kids! I love spending time with them and making fun memories, but summer is not 100% packed with fun times and memories. Some days, we do nothing extraordinary. I am not only okay with that, I think that is important. I want my kids to know what "bored" feels like and know that is okay. 

If we want to all like each other as much as possible while staying home together all day, every day, for three months, I find a little structure can go a long way. One of my favorite structure items is chores. Chores are a great item to add to your every day to keep your sanity this summer.

Here is why I love chores:

Chores help spread the load

A person can make a lot of mess all by themselves. Even a really, really clean person who always cleans up after himself contributes to overall mess by wearing clothes (more laundry), eating food (more dishes), and spending time in the bathroom (it just gets dirty with use). Let's face it, few humans are really, really clean and always clean up after themselves. So not only do we have the inevitable messes that come on, but we have the nice little messes left behind here and there. When everyone helps with the chores, it helps spread the workload so not one person (ahem, Mom) is spending tons of time cleaning up after people. I always say I want my kids to help clean up, in part, so that I have more time available to do things other than chores, including spend time with them. If I have to clean it all, I can't spend time playing with the kids. 

Chores help teach skills

Odds are high your child will one day need to do his own laundry and clean his own house. These are life skills your child needs to learn and you will benefit your child so much by making sure that happens. You want chores during the school year, but you can add in even more chores during summer to help focus on learning life skills. 

Chores help teach responsibility

When your child has chores he is required to do and is held accountable for doing them, he learns how to be responsible. If you have rules that chores have to be done before your child can go play with friends, and you stick to that rule, your child learns an invaluable lesson about natural consequences and how to stay on top of your own responsibilities.

Chores need to be done daily

This adds stability and structure to your days and weeks of summer. You can have something consistent about your days because chores literally never end and always need to be done. Structure means you have days that are predictable, and that helps you keep your sanity. 

Chores give you a motivational tool

Summer days can get lazy. It is easy to fall into a lazy trap and think, "I will do chores later" or "I have endless time to get that done" or "I am so bored all I can think about is electronics." Chores give you a tool to use to require your children to get up and moving before fun things can happen. 

Conclusion

Having a solid chore schedule can really help you maintain some consistency, predictability, and order this summer and keep you sane. Let summer be as painless as possible so those memories, however boring, can be sweet and not painful.

Related Posts about Chores on This Blog:
Why a Solid Chore Schedule Can Save Your Sanity This Summer. Reasons to have your child do chores during summer.




Why a Solid Chore Schedule Can Save Your Sanity This Summer. Reasons to have your child do chores during summer.

The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep

The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep. Get great naps and have baby sleep through the night. 

Having the right tools can help you get a job done easier. This is as true with getting baby to sleep as it is to fix a flat tire. Obviously a baby is not a tire, so using the tools correctly won't guarantee all sleep goes perfectly. Baby is a human and might respond in unpredictable ways, but these products have proven over and over to be helpful to get baby to sleep.

The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep. Get great naps and have baby sleep through the night.

If you want a chance to win ALL of these products in one prize pack, head right over to my Instagram to enter to win! This is an amazing prize pack. The ladies of the BFBN and I teamed up to bring you this amazing prize pack. Collectively, we decided what our favorite items were for helping baby get great sleep. Here they are. This post contains affiliate links. 

On Becoming Babywise

We must start with the obvious--On Becoming Babywise! This is my favorite book to get baby sleeping well.





Muslin Swaddle Blankets
The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep. Get great naps and have baby sleep through the night. Muslin swaddle blankets are great for swaddling the younger babies. It can also be great for wrapping your baby up when you are out and about. 





Swaddle Blanket
The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep. Get great naps and have baby sleep through the night. A swaddle blanket is a great way to help baby sleep well. I love swaddling babies. The Woombie is great because it is convertible and breathable. Read my post on Swaddling for more.




White Noise Machine
The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep. Get great naps and have baby sleep through the night. A white noise machine is invaluable for getting baby to be able to sleep without being interrupted by random noises. There are a lot of great white noise machines out there. The Homedics is one and the Dohm is another great one.  Read all about sleep props here




Travel Sound Machine
Travel Sound Machine for great baby sleepIf a sound machine at homes makes sense, then so does one on the go. This can be helpful in the car seat or stroller.






Gripe Water
Gripe WaterThis is one of my favorite products to help baby sleep well. I used it with my last two babies and it made a world of difference for both of them. Read all about how to help a baby with gas pain here.





Gas Drops
Gas DropsGas drops are just as helpful as gripe water to help baby sleep if your baby is gassy. Only two of my babies were gassy and needed this, but it was necessary for those two.





Car Seat Canopy
The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep. Get great naps and have baby sleep through the night. A car seat canopy is a great item to have to help baby sleep on the go. Babies sleep so much that there will be times your baby is out and about during nap time. This helps block out the physical stimulation to give baby a better chance at sleeping on the go. Add in the travel sound machine and you have a winner!



Pacifier
PacifierA pacifier can come in handy when you are trying to hold baby off for a feeding or get baby to sleep while out and about. Some people use pacifiers for sleep regularly. Read all about sleep props here.



Baby Sleepers
The Best Products to Help Your Baby Sleep. Get great naps and have baby sleep through the night.
These are handy just in general but also helpful for sleep to keep baby cozy for sleeping. Read how I recommend to dress baby for sleep