Parenting Resources: My Favorite Podcasts

The following post is by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck.

This week, I’m starting a new series showcasing some of my favorite parenting resources.  On Mondays for the rest of September I’m going to share with you some resources I’ve come to rely on and love.  To get things started, today I am sharing my favorite podcasts.

Why Podcasts?

I enjoy podcasts because I can listen while my hands are free to do something else. As any parent can tell you, there is always something that needs doing.

I love that I can listen to a podcast and feed my brain while I’m doing the  more mundane tasks like washing dishes, cleaning the house, folding laundry.  Knitting while listening to podcasts or audio books is also one of my favorite ways to relax.

You might not know that you don’t have to have an iPod or other mp3 player to listen to podcasts.  Many podcasters have the shows embedded into their webpages so you can listen directly at their website.

You can also download podcasts  to your computer and listen via iTunes or another media player.

My Favorite Parenting Podcasts

Mighty Mommy

One of the first parenting podcasts I discovered, Mighty Mommy is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network.  Cherylyn Feierbend is the host of this series.  These podcasts keep their promise and are indeed quick – less than five minutes each.  I appreciate that they get straight to the point.  Perfect for a busy parent!

Though they aren’t specific to parenting, I also love Grammar Girl and The Math Dude from this network.

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Link Love

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be back on Monday to begin a series on some of my favorite parenting resources. Happy Sunday!

Unstructured Playtime in Nature: What Does it Mean and Why Should We Try to Do it?

The following is a guest post by Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

Unstructured playtime in nature – it seems like such a fancy term for simply letting the kids run wild outside, doesn’t it?  Unstructured playtime in nature is basically letting your children experience nature without any requirements, to-do lists or agendas, either alone or with others.

It results in wonderful benefits: memories, strengthened family relationships, independence, self confidence, increased creativity and appreciation and love for the Earth.

Also, just think of all the important poets, leaders, scientists, environmentalists and ecologists we will need for the next generation!

Many studies have been done on the benefit of unstructured playtime in nature and how problems are caused when it is not provided. There have been beautiful books written on the subject. Last Child In the Woods by Richard Louv should be required reading for everyone that has a job or relationship with children.

How Can I Get My Kids to Do This?

You would think that this unstructured playtime in nature wouldn’t need any prompting or help, right? Well, you know, us adults sometimes do need help!

Children that are usually quite busy and used to structured playtime might be a bit confused when asked to simply go into nature with no agenda. They might come running back saying, “Mom, this is boring.” But stick with it.  They’ll get used to it and learn to love it. [Read more...]

More Than Words: Simple Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them

My family and I are enjoying a few days of rest and relaxation. I thought I would re-run one of my favorites posts, which originally ran in February 2010. I hope you like it, too. – Kara

The Greeks have four words for love: eros, philia, agape, and storge – the name for the love and strong commitment between family members. I like the idea of having a special word for family love.

As a parent, the affection I feel for my kids is limitless. I want them to grow up knowing that they are deeply loved. Each moment brings a new chance to say “I love you” - not just with words, but with deeds and actions.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. For some, it can be a daunting holiday filled with the pressure of grand gestures and elaborate showing of affection. However, there are simple ways that you can show your kids you love them any day of the year.

Here are a few ideas to get you started …

Touch Them

Hugs, kisses, chubby baby belly zrrrrrrrbrrrrts are all wonderful ways to shower your child with affection, and I do hope you are indulging in these as often as possible!

However, today I would also like to encourage you to be mindful of small opportunities to be tender toward your kids.

Give extra thought to how your touch affects your child when you are …

  • brushing their hair
  • cleaning their face
  • getting them dressed, putting on their pajamas
  • lifting them into their high chairs or booster seats
  • tucking them into bed

It can be easy to overlook these chances to show affection as so many of the activities involved in the care of our children are repeated (and repeated) until we can go on “auto-pilot” doing them.

Instead, let these moments become a chance to nurture your children. Make a conscious effort to perform these routine tasks with love.

This doesn’t just apply to babies and toddlers either. Big kids and teens need that connection, too – a gentle squeeze on the shoulder, a tussle of their hair, holding their hand: much can be conveyed through a simple gesture.

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Behind the Scenes: A Reader’s Guide to the Writers Behind Simple Kids

The following post was written by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck.

We’ve had some new readers join us at Simple Kids recently and I wanted to officially welcome all of the new faces I’ve seen in the comments lately:  I’m so glad you’re here and joining in with me on this journey.

If you haven’t yet taken the time to explore the blog, I thought today would be a good time to give a little behind-the-scenes tour of Simple Kids – a reader’s guide, if you will.

Who is Kara?

So, first things first, who am I? My name is Kara Fleck.  I’m married to Christopher and we have three kids: Jillian, who is eight, Max who is four, and Lucy who is two.

Since February 2010, I’ve been the editor of Simple Kids and I also have a personal blog, Rockin’ Granola. That photo above is my desk, affectionately known as “Simple Kids Headquarters.”

Like many of you, I often find myself pulled in more than one direction. I wear many hats: mother, teacher, writer, wife, homemaker. I am not perfect and I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned along the way that life is the most peaceful for me and for my family when we keep things simple and focus on the basics, the essentials.

Something else that I have learned over the years is that families exist in a fluid state – children grow, needs change, surprises (good and bad) occur, life happens. Mindful parenting allows my family stay connected and that connection gives us roots,  no matter our season of life.

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