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How I’m Talking To My Kids About Brett Kavanaugh

How I’m talking to my kids about Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Ford: teaching your kids about sexual assault, disclosing, and consent in today’s world.

talking to my kids about Brett kavanaugh

My 10 year old daughter asked me yesterday, “why are you watching so much news?”

It’s true, I’ve been glued to CNN for the last 3 days pretty much every waking hour.

In that moment, I had to make the split second decision to either gloss over her question with “oh, just keeping up to date on politics,” or take this opportunity to have a tough conversation that could potentially change the course of her life as a woman.

I told my daughter that the Senate is choosing the person they think is the BEST judge to become a Supreme Court Justice. “Do you know what the Supreme Court is?” I asked.

“Yes! We are doing government in school right now!” she answered eagerly.

“Ok good,” I said. “So you know that to be a Supreme Court Justice, you need to be an excellent judge: very smart, and also very fair, and know the difference between right and wrong. Many people think this man is all of that. But then, one woman came forward whose name is Dr. Ford. And she says that a long, long time ago, when they were both teenagers, he touched her inappropriately at a party. So lots of people, especially women, are upset about that.”

“What did he do to her?” she asked, now sounding afraid.

“No one is sure exactly, because it happened so long ago. But she says that he pushed her into a bedroom and tried to take her clothes off. And now some people believe her, and some people don’t.”

“Why don’t they believe her?” she asked.

This is where I really wanted to hone in on my point.

I told her, “Some people are saying, ‘if this really happened, why didn’t she tell anyone back then? Why didn’t she tell her own parents?’ And I think it’s because, at age 15, she was afraid she’d get in trouble. For going to a party, for being around alcohol, for possibly lying to her parents about what she was doing. So what I really want you to know is, if anything like that ever happens to you, Dad and I won’t care about any of those things. You won’t be in trouble, and we will believe you.

How parents can change rape culture

I watched this week as women reacted to Dr. Ford’s testimony. So many of us felt her pain and her fear.

We got angry that people accused her of lying. Many of us felt powerless as we heard Senators dismiss her testimony. Each one that said they’d still vote Kavanaugh in felt like a personal slap in the face as if women, our stories, and our traumas don’t matter.

As parents, we don’t need to feel powerless. While we may not be able to change current events, we can play an important role in changing the climate in this country surrounding rape culture. We can give our daughters the courage to disclose knowing that they will be believed and they will not be shamed or blamed. We can eradicate the “boys will be boys” mentality and raise sons who respect all people and understand consent.

What I need my daughters to know

The many articles written about why sexual assault victims don’t report and the estimated 800,000 tweets about #WhyIDidntReport have clued me in to the reasons so many girls and women don’t speak up. These reasons revolve around shame and fear.

I need my daughters to understand that they don’t need to fear being blamed (at least not by our family), and they don’t need to fear that they won’t be believed.

Whichever way the vote swings on Brett Kavanaugh, the outcome will likely have little impact on my children’s lives. But with 1 out of 5 women being sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, this is not a subject parents can justifiably ignore. This is why I talk to my younger children as well: it’s part of an ongoing dialogue I’ve had with them since they were toddlers.

With my 5 year old daughter, it entails:

  • making sure she knows we don’t keep secrets from Mom and Dad, especially if another grown up asks her to,
  • that it’s never ok for anyone to touch her body in a way she is uncomfortable with, and
  • if someone tries to touch her inappropriately, she should kick, scream, bite, and do whatever else she needs to do to get away even though she’s always been told she’s not allowed to do these things.

What I’m teaching my sons

talking to my kids about brett kavanaugh

In addition to all of the above (we know boys can be victims too, as an estimated 1 out 10 victims are males), I am also teaching my sons about consent.

They don’t even know what sex is yet, but they know that “no means no”. They know each person is the boss of their own body. They know that being bigger or stronger than another person doesn’t mean someone is more important or more valuable.

As they get older, my husband and I will speak candidly with our sons about specifics. Unless you have explicit consent- ask first, no assuming- it’s a no. Drunk girl equals no. Underage girl? Also a no.

So many challenges

Sometimes I think about how many things I have to teach my children in the few remaining years before they get to high school. It seems so overwhelming.

I want them to be assertive, but not bullies. I want them to respect others, but also themselves. We have barely touched upon huge topics like how to drink responsibly, pouring your own drinks, always going out with a friend, not being a bystander.

It seems like every time I teach them something, I think of ten more things they still need to learn.

But I think if we start with the concept of respecting all people, their bodies and minds- that’s a decent place to begin.

 

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Talking To My Kids About the Kavanaugh Hearings

Easy Halloween Crafts for Kids

As a non-crafty person who attempts to be a crafty Mom, I am always looking for simple, low-prep crafts my kids will love. My children always get super excited about holidays, so our house starts getting covered in Halloween artwork long before October arrives. If you’re in need of some inspiration, I’ve compiled these easy Halloween crafts for kids from some amazing creative mamas.

These masterpieces also work well for kids to make at school. If you’re a preschool or kindergarten teacher, your students will love making these!

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

Love easy kid’s crafts? I also have these adorable spring crafts for preschoolers and this simple craft for Earth Day!

Handprint Witch

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

I love this more-cute-than-creepy witch craft from The Best Ideas For Kids! It starts out with your child’s handprint, which makes it double as a keepsake to remember how little their hand was.

It also makes an adorable card if you want to give one to grandparents or teachers for Halloween.

Spooky pine cone spiders

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

The fun of this craft starts with a trip outdoors to hunt for the perfect pine cones. Add some paint, pipe cleaners, and stick-on eyes and you’ve got a spider that can be silly or spooky.

Follow the detailed step by step directions on MyPoppet.

My Harry Potter-obsessed son says these look like Aragog, so this would make a fun activity for a Harry Potter themed party too!

Felt pumpkin faces fridge magnets

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

Cut out as many felt faces as you like for your child to make their own little jack o’lanterns on the fridge!

The Flying Couponer came up with an easy way to keep the little ones entertained with this activity. All you do is cut out the felt and glue a small magnet onto each piece. Then let the kids go to town making different faces.

Easy Halloween Slime

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

If you have kids, you know they NEVER run out of reasons to make slime. This simple 3-ingredient slime recipe comes in three Halloween colors.

You can keep your slime in mason jars the kids can decorate to look like Frankenstein, pumpkin, and ghost.

These make awesome party favors for a child’s Halloween party as well. (One Halloween treat that isn’t candy? Win!)

Toilet paper roll witch

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

This cute craft from Fun Thrifty Mom requires some adult participation because it involves using a hot glue gun. Cutting the fringe on the dress out of construction paper is a fun way for them to practice their scissor skills while you handle the glue gun.

And the materials required for this little witch are probably things you already have on hand (I know we go through a toilet paper roll a day in my house!).

Halloween Playdough

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

This super fast play dough recipe consists of only 2 ingredients! Cornstarch and conditioner make up the basic recipe, with some additional ingredients like food coloring, flavoring, glitter, and googly eyes added to make the different Halloween varieties.

Throw in some Halloween cookie cutters and let kids go to town and enjoy some sensory play.

Check out the instructions on Meraki Mother for details!

Frankenstein Footprint Art

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

Here is an art project that can save and add to your stash of Halloween decorations.

Even babies can make one out of their tiny footprints.

My older kids love to paint on canvas, so this would make a great family project to work on together.

Find the tutorial at MidgetMomma.com.

Paper plate witch hat

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

This is not just a craft, it makes a witch hat you can actually wear!

Check out Cutesy Crafts for the directions and even a video of her modeling the hat.

Adult assistance is needed for the construction of the hat (it’s made from a paper plate and a paper party hat). Then you can let the kids go wild decorating them however they want! Halloween stickers and glitter glue will make it extra fun, or add whatever you happen to have on hand.

Black cat pumpkin

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

I am OBSESSED with all the amazing no-carve pumpkin ideas over at Fun Money Mom! This black cat is one of my favorites, but she has many other ideas my kids will love too, like emoji pumpkins, a Disney’s Cinderella themed pumpkin, and the golden snitch from Harry Potter! That covers all my kiddos’ favs with more ideas to spare.

Wooden Spoon Mummy

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

I love this idea from JanineHuldie.com because not only is it super easy, it’s super cheap too! She got all the supplies from the dollar store.

All you really need to get is a wooden spoon, which you paint black, and some packs of gauze. (I know my kids will want to wrap and wrap, so I’d get a lot of gauze.)

Add some eyes and a cute ribbon to hang it up with, and you’re done.

Pony bead pumpkin

Easy Halloween crafts for kids

Another cute one from Cutesy Crafts, this pumpkin is perfect for kids who love stringing beads. My kindergartener can’t get enough of beads, and she doesn’t even know she’s improving her fine motor skills when she does it.

The only supplies you need are the pony beads and a few different colors of pipe cleaners. Easy enough for even the least crafty moms.

Wishing everyone a safe, fun, and crafty Halloween!

Still looking for coordinating costumes for your kids? Don’t miss the best ideas for Halloween costumes for young siblings.

Moms: Avoid an ER Visit with PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers

Doesn’t it seem like kids ALWAYS need medical attention when the pediatrician’s office is closed? What do you do when it’s a weekend or holiday, but you really want to avoid an ER visit?

This post was sponsored by PhysicianOne Urgent Care as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

If you’re a local of Connecticut or Massachusetts, you can turn to PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers. When you or a family member has an illness or injury requiring attention, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is a convenient, cost-effective alternative to the ER.

Avoid an ER visit

What are Urgent Care Centers?

It is helpful to think of Urgent Care Centers (also called “walk-in centers”) as a convenient option that fits somewhere in-between a regular physician’s office and the hospital emergency room.

My family has turned to Urgent Care Centers several times in the last few years for things like bladder infections, ear infections, bronchitis, and a skin laceration. When these ailments pop up on the weekends and our doctor’s office is closed, it feels good to know there is reliable (and fast) care nearby!

My visit to PhysicianOne Urgent Care

I am fortunate enough to have a PhysicianOne Urgent Care Center less than 10 miles from my house. Last spring, I was having extreme ear pain and running a fever. I knew all I needed was antibiotics, but my PCP couldn’t get me in for an appointment for two days.

When you’re in pain, you know two days is A.LONG.TIME.

I used the “Find Us Near You” feature on their website and made an appointment at the nearest PhysicianOne Urgent Care Center for later that morning.

When the appointment time came, I arrived and signed in, waited less than 15 minutes and was seen by a friendly, helpful provider.

I was in and out with prescription in hand in under 40 minutes! When you’re a busy Mom, you know what a win that kind of efficiency truly is.

Here are several reasons why Urgent Care Centers like PhysicianOne Urgent Care are an ideal option for Moms in particular:

They Can Treat Illnesses, Injuries, Or Provide Routine Care

Avoid an ER visit

PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers are equipped with various medical providers including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, and radiological technologists. They can provide treatment for a wide range of non-life threatening conditions a well as routine care and vaccinations.

Here are just some of the services provided at PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers:

  • X-rays
  • Lab work
  • IV fluids
  • Broken bones/sprains
  • Stiches
  • Flu treatment
  • STD testing
  • Tick removal
  • Treatment for infections
  • Rash assessment
  • Routine physicals
  • Sports physicals
  • Flu shots

And if you’re ever unsure about whether or not you can be treated at PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers, just call 855.349.2828 and ask.

They Are Open 365 Days/Year

Avoid an ER visit

My family actually had a streak of getting sick on Christmas 3 years in a row.

Given the time of year, this is not at all uncommon when you have young children!

But trying to get a doctor’s appointment on Christmas (or even the week of Christmas) is next to impossible.

PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers are open 365 days/year! That means weekends, and yes, holidays. All of us Moms know that kids do NOT only get sick during business hours Monday through Friday.

You Won’t Be Waiting For Hours

Avoid an ER visit

Did you know the average duration of an emergency room visit is 135 minutes?

A visit to an Urgent Care Center should be much quicker. It turns out, my experience of being in an out of the facility in 40 minutes is not abnormal. The average time patients spend waiting for and receiving care at PhysicianOne Urgent Care is less than one hour.

Remember, if you are in need of lifesaving medical care for heart attack, stroke, severe burns, difficulty breathing, or seizure, an emergency room visit is necessary. For non-life threatening illness and injuries, urgent care can provide you with quality care in a fraction of the time.

They Cost Less

PhysicianOne Urgent Care Centers accept most insurance plans (including Aetna, BCBS, Cigna, Medicare, and more) and their costs are significantly less expensive than visits to the emergency room.

The average cost of treatment at PhysicianOne Urgent Care is about $150, whereas treatment for the same condition in the ER averages around $750.

Just looking at co-pays alone, there is a sizable difference in urgent care compared to the ER. While co-pays vary by insurance plan, PhysicianOne Urgent Care tends to have a $50 co-pay vs. an emergency room co-pay of $150.

Convenience is Key

Avoid an ER visit

PhysicianOne Urgent Care treats patients from babies up to the elderly, so everyone in the family can receive care at the same place.

Their extended hours (including evenings, weekends, and holidays) make it easy to work around work and school schedules.

You can either make an appointment for a convenient time for you, or just walk in.

After you receive treatment at PhysicianOne Urgent Care, your provider will even follow up with your Primary Care Physician for you.

Moms have enough on our plates!

Let’s hear about a time you were able to avoid an ER visit by using Urgent Care. Leave a comment!

 

 

Back To School Tips That Will Save Your Sanity

Back to school. Whether you’re one of the moms that dreads it or one that is counting down the days, it’s COMING. So since it’s happening, why don’t we try to make it as smooth a transition as possible? Here are 6 back to school tips that will save your sanity!

back to school tips

This post is sponsored by Kleenex, Scott, Cottonelle and Viva but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Get organized

Ok so in the interest of transparency- I’m completely awful at this. Every year I plan to get organized and it lasts about three days until it falls apart! But this year I’m turning over a new leaf, so I took some inspiration from the best organization Mommy bloggers out there.

back to school tips

This Weekly Snack Prep how-to from Kristine’s Kitchen is perfect for getting everything for the kids’ school snacks and lunches organized. Once you’re prepped for the week, they can grab and go each morning all on their own.

back to school tips

Mama Latina writes about how to create a back to school command center. No more chasing down the papers kids need signed! The kids put them in their designated spot for Mom to sign while they grab the supplies they need to get started on homework. I absolutely love this idea!

Online shopping for school supplies

Seriously, how did I not think of this one years ago? I’ve been hauling all four kids down to the old brick-and-morter with all the lists from all the teachers! Then we leave with 10 times more than we need because the kids are grabbing stuff off the shelves and throwing it in the cart.

Then there’s the inevitable tantrum when I have to say no to a new character lunchbox because we already have way too many lunch boxes.

Just no.

This year I got wise and turned to my trusty pal Amazon Prime for back to school shopping!

I stocked up on essentials like Kleenex Facial Tissues (literally ALWAYS on our school’s wish list, year round) and my favorite Scott Paper Towels (super convenient how you can pick your size with Choose-A-Sheet).

back to school tips

back to school tips

back to school tips

Love how I didn’t have to carry those boxes home from the store.

I also saved on my order! Right now you can save up to $3 on Kleenex, Scott, Cottonelle and Viva back to school essentials at Amazon- and save even more when you subscribe and save.

(Don’t have Prime yet? No worries. You can always sign up for the 30-Day Free Trial)

Fix the sleep schedule

I’m the biggest believer in early bedtimes. Major stickler. Still somehow, the kids’ schedule inevitably starts to slide back as summer goes on.

Maybe it’s the extended daylight, or maybe it’s the never ending summer parties I can’t say no to. Regardless, come August I realize we have strayed from our ideal school year bed time and we have some changes to make.

When you’re trying to get the kids to bed early, don’t attempt to just put them down an hour earlier the night before school starts.

Sorry, it’s not that easy!

They’ll likely stay up an extra two hours just to get back at you for that move.

Instead, start a week or two ahead of time. Try to get them in bed 10 minutes earlier. A couple days later, slide ten minutes earlier than that.

Hopefully the gradual change will be more successful.

Oh, and of course make sure you are waking them up earlier too to ensure that the new schedule sticks!

Tiring them out during the day with lots of outdoor time and swimming never hurt either.

back to school tips

Make a visual schedule for morning routine

When a new school year starts, so does the morning madness. Especially if your kids are less than thrilled about going back to school, they will not exactly be flying through their morning routine when they wake up.

But you also don’t want to start the day with “go get dressed. I said get dressed. DID YOU NOT HEAR ME WHEN I SAID GET DRESSED!”

That’s not pleasant for anyone.

Empower kids to take charge of their own morning routine with a visual schedule. A picture schedule allows even preschoolers to follow their own morning routine on their own.

My kids love dry erase boards, so taping the pictures to a little dry erase board that they can use the markers to make a check mark next to is a big draw.

Or offer a small reward when they’ve completed their whole routine without assistance. One candy corn per day saved our mornings last fall!

Here is a free printable morning routine chart I love for kids who are not yet reading that would totally work for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Prepare the kids

If your kids are returning to the same school as last year, they are probably comfortable beginning a new grade. But if you’ve switched schools or you have an incoming kindergartener, you will want to prepare them as much as possible.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Read books together about starting school
  • If you have a class list, arrange a couple playdates before the first day of school so your child will have some familiar faces
  • If they offer a practice bus ride, do it
  • Visit the classroom and practice walk throughs of their day (entering the school, walking to the the classroom, going to the cafeteria, coming in from recess, exiting the school)
  • Meet the teacher on the day the school has visiting hours. Be sure to let the teacher know if your child is apprehensive about school and any particular anxieties they have. My oldest used to be bothered by loud noises so I alerted her kindergarten teacher and she stayed close by her during lunchtime and other activities that could get loud.

Don’t forget to make it fun

Remember, kids will decide how they feel about something new by taking cues from you. If you’re at all sad or nervous about the transition, they will pick up on it.

Be proactive- build excitement for the new school year by talking about all the fun they will have! Tell stories from when you were in school and what your favorite parts were. Make a big deal about packing their backpack or a buying a new pair of sneakers. Get them excited about learning how to read or tell time or whatever they’ll be learning this year.

And when the big day comes, make it fun with a family tradition.

It can be as simple as our picture on the front steps, or maybe yours will include a letter board or a “class of 2035” t-shirt. You can also calm their jitters with a special surprise at breakfast time. Or write a silly note to put in their lunch box and brighten their first day.

Whatever you come up with to make the day special and fun will make the positive association you want them to have with school.

What are you doing to make this school year special?

I’d love to hear YOUR favorite back to school tips!

And don’t forget to shop smart and save on back to school essentials with Amazon!

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