About Amanda

Amanda Morgan is a full time mom to three busy boys and a part-time trainer and consultant for a non-profit children's organization. She also writes at Not Just Cute, a blog full of ideas that are more than just cute, for preschoolers who are much more than cute too.

Gifts of Love to Give All Year

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Written by contributor Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and the web is abuzz with all kinds of brilliant ideas for making the day special for your kids.  You can write them secret love letters requiring spy-grade decoder wheels to translate.  You can send them on a sweet and simple scavanger hunt for a fun surprise.  And you can make a special V-Day breakfast that’s as simple or complex as you like.   All of these are spectacular ideas, and I plan on putting a few of them to work in my own house this week.

But while these celebrations are fun and important, they aren’t nearly as important as the gifts of love we can give our children all year long.  Here are just a few of the most important gifts we can give every day. [Read more…]

A Simple Snowflake for Sandy Hook

The following is by contributor Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.

There is something magical in a new snowfall, particularly for a child.  Everything blanketed in white. The world looks new and clean, even a little sparkly.  The usual noise seems hushed.  It’s exciting and peaceful all at once.

The magic, the new beginning, the peace, that is what the Connecticut PTSA is trying to give to the survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.  The children and faculty who lived through the horror will be relocated to another school building as they return from the holidays.  No one wants these children to walk into a school with stark and barren walls.  In preparation for this, the Connecticut PTSA has organized Snowflakes for Sandy Hook.
[Read more…]

How the silly things kids say show they’re learning

 The following is by contributor Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.

I love listening to my three year-old talk.  He has a way of making the most common words sound delectably darling.  He asks if we can look something up on my “compweeter” almost every day.  He comments on our secret “packageway” when we take a new route home from his brothers’ school.  And my heart absolutely melts when I hear him half shout, half sing, “Lemolade!” while peddling summer’s favorite drink with his big brothers.

I’m not the only mother who revels in the mispronunciations commonly found in our preschoolers’ lingo.  When I shared some of my favorite boyhood bumbles on Facebook, loads of parents joined in, sharing examples like “soupcase” for suitcase and “ice cream” instead of sunscreen, that kept me chuckling for days.

As much as I would agree that these misnomers are endearing and cute, they also provide a window to the rapid pace of language and cognitive development in our little ones.

While it generally takes 18 months for a child to garner their first 50 words, soon after that point, their vocabularies begin to explode.  By age three, the average preschooler has a vocabulary of 900-1000 words!  With that much new information, it’s no wonder some of it would get jumbled in the process.

Child development theorist, Jean Piaget posited that we can learn as much (and perhaps more) about what children understand by really looking at their mistakes rather than simply measuring them by the sum of their correct answers.  Here are some ways to recognize your child’s learning in the middle of these hilarious misspeaks:
[Read more…]

Four simple DIY baby projects

 The following is by contributor Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.

When my husband and I had our fourth baby boy this summer, we thought we wouldn’t need a single new thing.  Other than diapers.  And a minivan.

But the interesting thing is, ideas and tools are always evolving and improving, and I found there were a few things I wouldn’t mind adding to our supply.  Fortunately for me, many of those things I could make myself.

I’m a fan of DIY, but I’m somewhat limited by my skills.  I can sew.  As long as it doesn’t require much more skill than it takes to sew a straight line.  These great projects, however, are simple enough to meet that standard. [Read more…]

Parenting Preschoolers: A Starting Place for Social Graces

I decided to share with Simple Kids readers this post by Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute, which originally appeared in May 2010.  With the start of school just around the corner, I thought many of you would find it helpful or perhaps have some insights to share in the comments. I know this is one of the posts that I personally have found so helpful as a parent of preschoolers. – Kara

From the moment I got this assignment to write about supporting social skills in preschoolers, every time my own preschool-aged boys threw a fit or tackled a playmate, I had to laugh at myself. “And I’m supposed to be an expert on this?”

The truth is the task of teaching our children social skills is a huge job. It’s not something any parent does perfectly, and it’s certainly not something that can be covered in its entirety in one neat and tidy blog post.

Beyond meeting our children’s basic needs, we as parents tend to worry most about their social development. Will they be polite when they play at their friends’ houses? Will they behave appropriately at school? Will they ever stop fighting?

There are a few things to keep in mind as we consider the social development of our children. They are reminders to help us to take a deep breath and respond with a proper perspective.

[Read more…]