How to Encourage Gratitude in Children

encourage gratitude in children

By definition, gratitude is an emotional state cultivated by the act of consciously saying “thank you” for the good in your life. Being grateful for what you currently have puts you in a better feeling state. This makes it more likely that more positive experiences will come your way to be grateful for. And you’ll be in the headspace (or heart-space) to receive it and say thank you for it.

Most parents begin teaching their children manners early on, encouraging them to say thank you when appropriate. This is a great start. We can go even further to encourage gratitude as a part of our children’s daily lives and ultimately their mindset and way of viewing the world.

Here are four ways to get started today:

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6 Reasons to take a Momcation Asap


Listen up. You need to take a momcation asap. Yesterday I returned from almost a week in Vegas. (If you follow me on instagram you can see pics.) I had no kids with me. No husband. I did meet my business partner there, but she is also a mom, who was husbandless and childless for the week. We were in town to cover CES (amazeballs), speak at Type-A Vegas conference (super extra amazeballs) and attend Affiliate Summit West (cray cray overwhelming amazeballs). Let’s just say it was a full week.

This was the first time I have been to Vegas since 2011 for our one year anniversary, and the first time I have been without John! (Sidebar: remember that time I got married in Vegas?)

So I was a free bird… I had about a week of no mommy duty, no wifely duties and though the trip was all business, it was certainly a momcation. Here are my 6 reasons that YOU should take a momcation too.

1. Sleep

Do you remember what that is? That’s that thing that’s supposed to happen for about 7 hours each night where you relax, recharge, dream, and wake up ready to take on the world. You may remember it from before you had children. I vaguely do. Well, on your momcation you’ll be reminded. You’ll be able to sleep the night through with no “mommy? Mommy!!! ARE YOU AWAKE?!!” whispered into your ear at 3am. You’ll wake up when you want to, either on your own (glorious) or when the alarm goes off (less glorious, but still better than a child’s cry.)

I’m grateful that I was able to sleep on this trip. More than expected, even.

2. Hot meals

So, for those of you who are parents of young children and aren’t sure what the term “hot meals” means… It’s that thing where you sit down with a plate of food still hot from the stove/oven and you get to eat it….like…right away. The food is warm in your mouth. Cheese is gooey, not congealed. You may even have to blow the soup before tasting it. I ate several hot meals this past week. I didn’t have to help anyone eat, or cut food into pieces. I didn’t have to share my food that is exactly the same as the food on a toddler’s tray but somehow more worthy of consuming simply because it’s on my plate…. Nope. None of that. (No cooking either.)

Bonus: I finished multiple hot cups of coffee too.

3. No Cleaning

Nuff said.

Thank you housekeeping.

4. Silence

You will enjoy only the sounds you desire to hear…whether it be TV, radio, an audio book, or absolute silence. SILENCE. There were times when my room mate and I were both doing absolutely nothing… in absolute silence. Between us we have 5 children ranging in age from 19 to 1. Silence in that hotel room may have been the best part of the entire trip. There was no crying, no whining (except a little from me when I had to actually get out of the bed – See item #1)

5. Uninterrupted showers

On momcations you will be able to maintain your hygiene with no distraction or interruption. No banging on the door, no tiny fingers poking under the door. I suffer from auditory hallucinations when I’m in the shower. Both of my children will be fast asleep, and once I get in the shower, I am certain I hear them crying. I didn’t suffer from that during my momcation. I took long, hot, full showers…and even conditioned my hair in there! I haven’t been this clean since my first child was born.

6. You’ll be missed

Outside of the practical benefits listed above. Your momcation will lend itself to one benefit that will serve you well upon your return. Your family will miss you like a mofo! My nonemotional husband was texting me how much he appreciates me… once I came to after passing out reading it…. I was very grateful. My daughter latched on to me and barely let me go for about 12 hours straight, and my very hands-off son let me rock him to sleep and snuggle with him for a long while. It’s nice to be missed and valued for all you bring to the table as a mom. Momcations are certainly worth it!


Now, it doesn’t have to be a week-long trip to Vegas. It can be a weekend away at your local hotel or hiding out at your sister’s house for a day or two. The only criteria is that you perform no mommy duties during your momcation and you savor every selfish moment of it!

Have you taken a momcation?



#WaterWipes For The Win (+Target Gift Card Giveaway!) #IC #ad

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

chemical free wipes

I tend to buy things and leave them in my car for a while. Either because I got frazzled getting the kids out of the car and into the house, or, was just lazy and only brought in the items that would spoil…and forgot to tell John to get the rest. This happened with some wipes I bought for Kaya a while ago.

They stayed in my car unopened in the Target bag on my passenger seat for a hot minute. Then I started using them in the car instead of bringing them in to wipe her butt. I used them to clean off my hands, wipe up a coffee spill (I stopped short cuz I thought I saw a cop car but it wasn’t), and I wiped down the dashboard and cup holders that were getting dusty.

I finally brought the WaterWipes into the house to use in its intended way and immediately loved them. I like using the least scented, chemical-free, most natural and clean wipes. (Fun fact: I went through stints of making my own wipes for a while. For both babies the trend lasted only a few months because: lazy.) It feels better using something simple and clean on their lil tender bits, ya know? The standard wipes smell so perfumey it turns me off.

cute kai waterwipes

The Wipes Bandit!

Sidebar: Kaya and I are in a long standing battle over wipes. If I forget to put them out of her reach, I am certain to return to a room blanketed in balled up wipes. I think she likes the pop up action or something. (I never had this problem with Rohan, he prefers to roll out toilet paper and paper towel rolls.)  Anyway, I feel like it’s gross to put the wipes back into the package, so I will wipe down the entire house with wipes to use them up before throwing them away.

WaterWipes are my new fave now though. I love that they only contain water and grapeseed oil. That’s it! No other chemicals or fragrances, and still very strong and effective and leave no residue on my baby girl’s buttbutt. (That was my major gripe about standard wipes, the film they leave behind, and in my mind it contributes to diaper rashes…I don’t know if that’s true or not…but I FEEL like it is.) 

I keep them up high so Kaya can’t go crazy with them, but I honestly don’t think she would. They are not interfolded so there’s no pop-up action on them for her to enjoy. I found out it’s because WaterWipes wants to keep the environment in the package as sterile as possible. Smart. These bad boys have a long shelf life if unopened (15 months) but once you open them, they must be used within a month. I’ve never seen that note on any other brand, so it makes me feel like WaterWipes are fresher and better for Kai’s skin.

Full disclosure: I now keep a pack in the car for me, as well as the stash in the house for Kaya’s diaper changes and wiping down Ro when needed.

Have you used WaterWipes before? I only discovered them looking all the way up at the top shelf in Target because I couldn’t find my normal brand. So glad I did. Now you can too:

Enter below for your chance to win a $100 gift card to Target. You can buy a ton of WaterWipes with that! LOL

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Do you use WaterWipes?

Evidence I’m Super Uncool + Sesame Street Love, HBO Style

elmo spectacles
Am I the only mom that knows Sesame Street songs by heart? ::looks around::
Am I the only mom that sings the songs to herself when she’s driving? Shopping? Pumping Gas? ::hangs head in shame::
OK, but am I the only mom who has them in her phone in mp3 format? And sings along to them when they randomly pop up during cardio at the gym instead of skipping over? Even if it makes the sweaty dude on the next treadmill give me a dirty look? (Not my fault bro, you should’ve brought your headphones!) 
(Sidebar: It wasn’t a Sesame Street song, but, this one time back in New York, I was on a treadmill running hard at NYSC and had my headphones blasting some reggae song and I was singing along to it, and some guy tapped my shoulder. I turned to him with a semi-dirty look for interrupting my cardio, and he goes “ummm miss, did you know you’re singing that… out loud?”… I cackled…. but then I shut up.)
Yeah…so Sesame Street has led to some kinda embarrassing moments for me, but I can’t help it. It’s always on in my house. And their songs are so catchy!! A little bit after Rohan turned one we started letting him watch TV and that was only Sesame Street. Now we’ve expanded, but Sesame Street is still number one for us. Elmo is really his homeboy. He’s always close by. He gets a seat at the table for meals and in the car. (Mind you, it’s not the bright shiny new hug me Elmo we bought him, it’s the old tattered guts-ripped-out tickle me Elmo that belonged to my now 20 year old little brother…yeah…) 
Speaking of my brother, Sesame Street was his fave show when he was a little guy too! I’m 14 years older than him so I was the perma babysitter. My parents left before us in the morning, so I would bargain with him to eat his breakfast really fast so he could watch Sesame Street in my room before walking him to school.
He slept with the same raggedy Elmo doll that my two kids fight over today. Now Kaya loves Sesame too, but she’s not into Abby or Zoe like I thought she’d be. She loves Grover! But calls him “rover” which sounds like “wover” and Elmo is “aymo.” #adorbs.  (Just like her big brother used to say)

It’s gotten way high tech. I remember watching when I was a kid and even back with Garrison. They’ve really stepped up their game. It’s all brand new! It’s all the same characters with a few new friends and lots of fun features that keep it fresh and entertaining for kids. I love all the celeb cameos, and the “smart” jokes and pop culture references they sprinkle in to make it bearable for mom and dad. It gives me a chuckle and surprises me. Even John knows the Elmo’s world song, and the Feist version of her song 1234 that she sang with Elmo.  That says a lot.

It’s something that all four of us can lay up in bed and watch on a Saturday morning with our coffee and cocoa (and warm milk for Kai). Sesame Street is the reason dinner has gotten on the table many nights. My cooking hour seems to be the “go berserk hour” for Rohan and Kaya. Sometimes I have to put on an epi of Sesame Street on demand so I can get them from (literally) underfoot while I’m cooking.

HBO loves me and wants to make my life easier. We don’t have cable/on-demand on our living room TV, we just have an Apple TV box, so I have to put the kids into my bedroom while I cook and check on them every few minutes while cooking. On January 16th, Sesame Street is going to also be available on HBO!! Now, I can pop the kids on the couch and use HBO GO in the living room and watch the kids – and the show – while cooking. #winningatlife.

I feel good having my kids watch Sesame Street. Outside of the cute songs, and the nostalgia for me, it’s really educational. I love when Rohan answers the characters on the TV and counts along. Kaya tries to do the same, but her alphabet song goes like “A B C D mumblemumble P mumblemumble X Y and Z.” Outside of those basics, they learn about loving themselves, not being shy, making friends, being a good person, and other lessons. It’s just wholesome.

There’s something magical about Elmo too. I don’t know if it’s his voice that mesmerizes children, but kids are just drawn to him! I’m glad he questions and “learns” along with the viewer. He’s kinda spooky sometimes though…*wink*… remember this:

elmo scary

Rohan is 3 and Kaya is just 1.5 so I have a few more years for Sesame Street to still be “cool” in our house, thankfully. I’m sure I’ll still be as un-cool as ever, singing children’s songs in public… Sidebar: has a page with all the fun songs on it…in case you want to make a fool of yourself in public too. (But some of the best songs are the “theme” songs to the daily features on the show like Elmo’s World, The Letter of the Day… and Bert & Ernie’s Great Adventure… #justsayin)

Our family will be watching Sesame Street on HBO and HBO Go in January when these two brands we love have joined forces. Will you?

Did you watch Sesame Street as a kid?

Do your kids watch it (and obsess over Elmo) too?

Leave your answer below and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!!! Whoop Whooop!!!

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4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/24/2015 – 12/10/2015

Be sure to visit Sesame Street’s  brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


How to fly with small children without killing yourself or others

air travel with two small kids

Flying with Small Children was originally posted October 2014

Ok I’m a couple days off of a flight with a six month old and a 2 year old. Flying with small children is scary. I was really nervous about taking this flight but I had to do it alone. My mother or John couldn’t come down with me so I had to do it solo. It was a short notice flight so I didn’t have much time to prepare but here are the tips that I have for you to make travel with multiple small children easier… and avoid suicide… or homicide.

Give Fair Warning

Let your kids know exactly what to expect and when.

I didn’t have much advance notice about this trip, but once I knew, I started notifying Rohan. I let him know we were going on a plane, where we were going, who we would see, and how the travel day would go. I kept it light and fun so he could get excited about going to “Frorduh.” A couple times a day we would talk about the upcoming trip so no surprises and no toddler meltdown.

baby on board

Time It Right

Don’t book a flight that conflicts with your children’s nap times or usual cranky times (tired/hungry/hyper) if you can help it.

I took a 6am flight. I knew there was a high chance Kaya would sleep most of the way (she didn’t) and Roey would be calm and relaxed (he wasn’t) Luckily Roey woke up on the right side of the toddler bed that morning and was sweet, even though full of energy. Kaya was a squirmy energizer bunny, but she’s still small enough to contain fairly easily.

Distractions Are Key

Have a lot of tricks up your sleeve, toys/activities/games, and backup tricks/toys/activities/games.

Redirecting Roey’s energy when he’s in a good (or decent) mood is fairly easy. I can just do a loud exaggerated gasp, and he’ll look at me expectantly….while I quick think up something to say to get his mind off of whatever loop it was on before. Sometimes my brain stalls out on me and I come up with like “GASP!!….where is your nose?” But hey, it works. When he’s in antsy mode, or weird energy mode like he was for a part of this flight, it’s a bit harder, I had to have a lot more than just a gasp on hand.

flying with babies

In my carry-on was:

  • tons of snacks
  • books (including his favorite)
  • elmo of course
  • many, many vehicles (given one at a time over the course of the journey)
  • 3 different earphones (because one of them had to be the “right” ones)
  • sunglasses (because he’s obsessed right now)
  • a blanket (for our tent city game)
  • kindle (for me)
  • 2 sippy cups (because “i dont want water, i want milk, i don’t want milk, I want water” happens too often)

When Ro got too fidgety, or seemed bored or annoyed we tried toys, but we ended up playing games more often. Word games, and “can you fix this?” were the most popular. Having a bag of tricks kept Roey out of crank-mode, and kept me feeling somewhat sane.

For Kaya I had a bottle with cereal mixed in, teething toys, her soft dolly, a blanket so she could come to tent city too, and a million bibs.

toddler on the plane

Pack Some Patience & A Good Attitude

Air travel is annoying for adults and children alike. A good attitude helps to make it go down easy.

I tried to have a woo sah experience. Focusing my energy on managing Roey’s happiness was a good way to keep my attitude in check. He took the most deliberate, slow, tiny steps, stopping at almost every row to look back at me for no reason, aaaallll the way down the aisle to our seat (far toward the back, sadly) while mama is behind him with a heavy carryon, and a baby strapped to her. It would’ve been nice to just pick him up and throw him to 23A, but I just had to take a deep breath and gently encourage him to hurry his ass up.

Kaya deciding to wait until I changed her mid-flight, to take the most massive poop ever taken, could have pissed me off…. Okay, it did piss me off, but what could I do but change her again (while Roey said “Kaya poopoop that’s gross ha ha” on a loop the entire time) and keep it movin.

Oh, and this happened intermittently throughout the entire flight. Gee, I wonder if he was tired…..

Don’t Forget About You

Eat and Drink something! Healthy Mommy = Happy Kids Caffeinated Mommy = Unmurdered Kids

OK that’s dramatic, but I did notice a larger bandwidth for annoyance after I had that 3rd cup of coffee (#judgemeifyawanna) and finished my muffin. I also chugged two bottles of water, and although I had to pee like the dickens, I felt much more capable of making it through the flight alive. Also, I had my kindle on hand in the event the kids slept, so I could catch up on some reading (if I didn’t end up sleeping myself.)

Get Lucky

And pray. Pray they both don’t have a meltdown at the same time.

Gotta say, I was internally beaming at the end of the flight when people were saying how “good” the kids were…. I know what they really meant was “quiet.” Even though, at one point Rohan screamed “WE ARE NOT FINISHED FLYING YET!” (I cringed and was waiting for someone to jump bad so I could check them…) but a few people just chuckled. I was lucky to have a nice group of people nearby. The dude near us said “He’s right. We’re not finished.” I was also lucky to not have a passenger in the seat in front of Ro, because opening, closing and “fixing” the tray table was big fun for a good 25 minutes.

After staying up the whole flight, we get into the truck and immediately……

toddler sleeping in car seat

Thank goodness I packed that good attitude 😉

What are your tips for a solo parent traveling with multiple small children?


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