About Vanessa

Vanessa Brown blogs over at I Never Grew Up. She has four little girls, two old dogs, and one dog training expert husband and is currently residing in Costa Rica.

How do you make educated parenting choices?

The following is by contributor Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

I am about to give birth to my fourth daughter, and I am realizing this time around that I have a completely different mindset on parenting. The processes I use to make educated parenting choices are quite different from when I was having my first and second child.

With my first two children, I remember being very stubborn, know-it-all, set in my ways, obsessive with research, and sometimes a bit too judgmental towards other parents. With the arrival of my fourth child, I feel much more relaxed, open, ready to learn, and more confident in myself and parenting choices.

Even though I fully realize I still don’t know entirely what I am doing and I don’t always know how to deal with these kids going in and out of new phases as they grow, I am always trying to keep up!

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Hosting an Outside Art Group

The following post is by contributor Vanessa Brown.

Hosting an art group is not as scary and messy as it might sound. Okay maybe it”s a bit messy that is why it is called an outside art group. My girls and I really enjoy having art group out in our front yard a handful of times during the spring and summer months. I feel like it gives us a chance to get to know the neighborhood kids, is a nice break from the routine hot days when kids are out of school, and the kids really enjoy themselves.

I promise it is doable, even for a parent that is not an artistic in the slightest (which would be me), the following are some simple tips to set you up for success:

Hosting an Outside Art Group

1. Chose projects that will be inexpensive, you don”t want to break the bank doing this. For example most of the paint I use is powdered tempura paint, that I buy in bulk and can be added to cheap things like; water, shaving cream, salt water, corn syrup, etc. Then I make sure the art projects can all be done with paper just from a large butcher roll. Also you can buy cheap bags of brushes from the craft store or get rocks, leaves, branches, etc to have them paint with.

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Showing Appreciation to Your Children

The following is by contributor Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

I sometimes find myself being too negative with my children. I will hear myself correct them, ask them to stop things, hurry and start things way more often than focusing on positive things. I will tell them “Good Job” on different tasks like cleaning up their room or finishing the homework.

But I realized that I didn’t give them genuine thank you’s enough. Which made me a bit sad to realize, but now I have quickly gotten in the habit of showing appreciation to my children more often.

Showing appreciation to our children and also teaching them to show appreciation to each other can be done in many fun and playful ways.

Here are just a couple of fun ideas to try:

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Thankful Turkey: A Kid’s Thanksgiving Craft

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

A few days ago I spoke to over 100 kids about being grateful and it was harder than I thought! Their eyes quickly glazed over or the only thing that could come to their mind to be thankful of were video games and the list of holiday presents they were ready to receive.

So I had them close their eyes and I asked them more specific questions like, “What is your favorite smell out in nature?”

“Do you like a certain type of weather, how does it make you feel inside?”

What do you like to do with your Mom or Dad that make you feel really special? Aren’t you grateful that they do that with you?”

“Where is your favorite spot in your home, who is grateful for the wonderful home they have?”

Soon the kids started enjoying thinking of things they were grateful for and I realized that they just needed a little help to get the ball rolling. With my girls I have noticed when I do a fun craft, art project or recipe while we are sitting around and working on it they really open up and can understand more fully what being thankful means.

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Back to School Parties

The following is by contributor Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

I am trying to distract myself from the fact that in a couple of weeks my first child will be entering school. As soon as she enters those doors I will, without a doubt, break into some pretty embarrassing sobs and heaves.

I know that in order to not give my daughter a complex I need to get myself busy preparing for something that will show my excitement for her entering school.

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