One Mama’s Response to the Viral ‘Anti-Sharing’ Post

Parents everywhere experienced a little shock and awe last week over one mama’s viral post describing how she tells her child he doesn’t have to share. While we can all appreciate that teaching your children to be assertive and having boundaries is an important skill, here’s why I’ll still be encouraging my girls to share:

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Sharing actually IS a skill we use as adults daily. In offices, we share resources, ideas, catered lunches and more. In adult relationships and marriages, couples may share living spaces, bank accounts/finances, responsibilities and more. Parents share almost everything with their children. In churches and benefits, people share their time, talents and resources with others. Ever asked a coworker to borrow a pen in a meeting or split your packed lunch with a friend who forgot their lunch? I know I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of sharing as an adult multiple times.

We’re trying to raise kind, giving and unmaterialistic girls. In my opinion, sharing is good value. Objects don’t make us truly happy and it doesn’t hurt us to learn to share a toy with a friend or even a stranger. I’m hoping my girls grow up to donate to the needy, help others and not depend on items to fulfill them. So, yes, they can share a silly toy or even an extra snack with another child.

Payback/karma is no fun. Another problem I see with the mentality of teaching a child not to share is related to the Golden Rule. How will your child feel and react when another child refuses to share with them? I’m guessing it won’t feel too great.

(*If there is something really special to them, I tell them to leave it at home or be prepared to share.)

What are your thoughts on teaching sharing and boundaries? Let us know in the comments.

 

By Mary West
Mama of 2; Sharing is a skill we are working on every day with two littles under 3!

Preserving French Culture and Tradition at Alliance Francaise

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Families often have deep-routed traditions that are held near and dear to their family. While many of these traditions might include the ways families celebrate special holidays, the music they listen to and the foods they cook and eat, perhaps one of the most important aspect of a family’s culture is their language! In my large Irish family, our corned beef/ham and cabbage, songs and prayers help us to remember our family’s heritage. I also know many adult friends who wish they had learned their family’s native language and/or desire to preserve their native language by making sure their own children learn it! Check out this video of a mom discussing why she values native language learning as a means to cultural preservation!

If you are a family of French heritage or even a family interested in learning about the rich culture of the French, Alliance Francaise de Houston is the place for you! This isn’t just a second language school, it’s an immersive French experience right in downtown Houston.

From the outside looking in, one might think Alliance Francaise is a second language school. On the inside, however, it’s almost like being part of a city in France. Alliance Francaise really works hard to create a little world where children and adults can understand their heritage and cultural roots though musical events, socials, cooking experiences, and of course, high-quality language courses taught almost entirely in French from the very beginning! Classes are developmentally appropriate and taught using a variety of  learning modalities to benefit all learners. The school almost has the feel of a French country club between the events calendar and the sense of community they have accomplished.

You don’t have to wait for the new school year begins to get started; Alliance Francaise offers summer camp options which are truly customizable around a family’s crazy summer schedule and they also offer sibling discounts! Check their listing on iQuriousKids.com to register for a French cultural explosion this summer! Whether your family is of French origin, you’re planning a trip to France or your child is interested in learning French in school, Alliance will place all students in their optimal learning environment based on age, experience and prior knowledge. They even have a really neat placement test  on their website to get an idea of the level your child might be at! Not surprisingly, I placed in to the beginner levels.

Looking for ways to incorporate more French language and cultural learning with your little ones?

  • Check out this fun YouTube video for second-language learners!
  • Learn new French phrases while coloring with this French workbook and coloring book!
  • Go see a French show or watch one of these on Netflix together (with or without subtitles)!
  • Subscribe to the French Embassy in the United States’ newsletter for local and national events!
  • Take a field trip to see the ReCollecting Dogon exhibit at Houston’s own Menil Collection which is a creative and cultural exhibit related to France’s colonization history.

 

By Mary West
Mama of 2 and Teacher/Tutor; I try to incorporate my family’s heritage in to our holidays like my mom has always done!

Five Playgrounds to Visit with Your “iQuriousKids” in June!

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Spring is here! In Texas, that means you have only a couple more months left of carefree outdoor play before the scorching heat makes it almost unbearable for the munchkins (and mamas) to go outside without melting (well, almost). With the help of friends, my girls and I have scouted out some really fun (and free) Houston area playgrounds to check out this month!

Carol Fox Park: This playground has everything. A Noah’s Ark climbing structure, two sandboxes, tons of swings (a great perk since most playground only have 2), and lots of shade to escape the heat. Our first time playing here, we spent hours and had a blast. The playground is completely gated and a really nice size, but sadly, doesn’t have a restroom. (I bring our travel potty in the car just in case.)

Restrooms: None, unfortunately.
Parking: Plenty of parking directly in front of the playground entrance.
Shade: Lots of shaded areas, but bring the sunscreen for the large sandbox area.
Water Fountains: Yes
Gated: Yes
Concessions: No
Picnic Areas: Yes

Jerry Matheson Park: This playground would be great for multiple ages of children. It has a zip line, tires, swings, and tons of wooden play structures so the equipment won’t burn even in horrible heat. My oldest loves that there are lots of slides and the unique zip line feature.

Restrooms: Yes, across the street by the pool.
Parking: Plenty of parking.
Shade: Lots of shade.
Water Fountains: Yes
Gated: Somewhat. It isn’t completely gated in but there are some fences to corral little ones in the play area.
Concessions: No
Picnic Areas: Yes

Telge Park: This playground is one of our “go to” playgrounds when the sun is really blaring. With all of the trees, it feels so much cooler here so you can easily play for a couple hours. The layout also makes it really easy to keep all of the littles in sight. The only problem is after rainy weather; this park can attract a lot of mosquitoes since it’s connected to a really nice nature trail. This is also a beautiful park area for taking photos and took my girls’ Christmas photos here!

Restrooms: Yes
Parking: The parking lot is pretty small so you may have to park on the street depending on the crowd.
Shade: Lots of great natural shade from the tons of trees.
Water Fountains: Yes
Gated: Yes
Concessions: No
Picnic Areas: Yes

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Discovery Green’ s John P. McGovern Playground: This is a great “day trip” playground. If it’s a beautiful day and you are attending one of the tons of free events like offerings from Mad Science or Houston Grand Opera, it’s a great place to have lunch, attend an event and then cap the day off with some old-fashioned fun on the playground before the ride home.

Restrooms: Yes
Parking: Very difficult and you must pay to park.
Shade: Some. Plenty of shade around the park and building structures, but not much on the actual playground.
Water Fountains: Yes
Gated: Yes
Concessions: Yes
Picnic Areas: Yes

Deputy Goforth Park: This playground is one of our favorites. It’s only about two minutes from the Lone Star Cy-Fair Library (and a Starbucks for this coffee loving mama) so we usually play after returning books and attending story time. With clean restrooms, tons of different play equipment and a walking trail around a duck pond, this one is a great park. However, it can be really crowded at times and its massive size could make it more challenging to keep multiple little ones within reach.

Restrooms: Yes
Parking: Easy
Shade: Almost none; definitely need to bring the sunscreen/hats/sunglasses. This one is great for spring mornings and cloudy days, but will be pretty hot in the summer.
Water Fountains: Yes
Gated: No. We love this playground, but prepare to be extra watchful due to the size, typical crowds and the fact that isn’t gated.
Concessions: No
Picnic Areas: Yes

Know of another great playground? We’d love to hear your favorites in the comments!

By Mary West
Mama of 2 and teacher/tutor. The playground is by far one of our family’s favorite activities.

 

Be Prepared for Pests & Critters this Summer

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Last week, we ventured out to the great outdoors (well, our backyard in suburbia). What started as a fun family evening turned in to a nightmare with our 16-month-old bitten by an unidentified spider, which resulted in to a bad cellulitis infection in her leg. She is much better now, but it serves as a good reminder that even in suburban NW Houston, there’s still potential for encountering dangerous bugs, insects and critters. iQuriousKids.com has some simple tips for preventing and treating your littles when it comes to bites and stings:

  1. Check out this YouTube video for identification & treatment tips and download the free Texas Children’s ParentAdvice Center App which will walk you through prevention, care and who to call for the inevitable bites and stings that children will incur through the years. This app has been a lifesaver to us and helped us know which creams to put on Sophie’s bite and what doctor she needed to be seen by etc.
  2. Make sure children wear shoes and socks
  3. Encourage them to wear thin long-sleeves and pants outdoors if possible.
  4. Teach them to steer clear of noticeable anthills and hives.
  5. Use bug sprays to prevent bites as much as possible. As we found with our daughter, the bite itself wasn’t the issue, but the infection that occurred as a result of the bite was extremely painful and scary. The CDC recommends an insect repellant for children over 2 months with DEET, Picaridin, Bayrepel, Icaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, PMD, IR3535 and/or 2-undecanone. They also recommend covering young babies’ strollers and car seats with mosquito netting for extra protection!
  6. Avoid playing by standing water and be sure to empty water tables and other toys that gather water to avoid attracting mosquitoes.
  7. Have OTC hydrocortisone cream and antibiotic ointment in the cabinet just in case.

What’s your best advice for keeping your munchkins bug-free?

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By Mary West
Mama of 2 & Teacher/Tutor; Not a fan of creep crawly critters!

Packing the Baby Bag for Success

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Before kids, you probably dressed for success- now you need to dress for a mess and pack the baby bag for success! iQuriousKids has you covered for the 13 things you’ll want in your baby bag to avoid any mommy or munchkin meltdowns!

  1. “Baby” Wipes and Diapers & Changing Pad

Obvious, but worth mentioning if you’re using this list as a packing checklist. If your potty-trained child doesn’t need diapers/changing pad, still pack the wipes.

  1. One Extra Complete Outfit per child

Choose a thin fabric for the summer and to save space. Be sure to pack a pair of grippy-bottom socks and underwear, bottoms and top (or a romper or onesie). All or one of these items will come in handy at some point.

  1. Mini Sunscreen and a Foldable Sun Hat

This may sound crazy if you aren’t headed to the beach, but the Texas sun is unforgiving and you never know when a trip to library will lead to an afternoon at the playground in the sun!

  1. Tiny Bug Spray

For the same reason as the sunscreen. I can’t tell you how often we’ve needed this when unsuspecting mosquitoes begin to attack on a walk or at the park.

  1. Mini Water Bottle

This adds a little weight but is well worth it when your toddler is dying of thirst (well thinks they are at least) or you need to give them a little water bottle bath (if you aren’t a parent yet; yes, this can happen) or even for water painting in a waiting room.

  1. 5-10 Dollars

Hide a few dollars in a pocket of the baby bag for a possible emergency or rainy day. You never know if you’ll need a couple dollars for parking or you’ll “need” to purchase a snack in a vending machine, etc.

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  1. A Mini First Aid Kit

I got mine at the dollar store! Antiseptic wipes and a few Band-Aids (Extra credit for the ones with antibiotics in them!) are a must-have when a bad boo-boo threatens to ruin a whole day of fun.

  1. Antibacterial Wash or Wipes

This is a must-have for cleaning hands before meals, after the restroom etc. Probably 9/10 restroom sinks at playgrounds are soapless! (*not a real statistic)

  1. Granola/Oat Bars (at least one per child)

My baby bag is never without some version of granola bars or KidClif Bars. They don’t need to be refrigerate and you’ll always have a makeshift nutritional “meal” to tide even the hungriest little one over while you are out and about.
 

  1. A couple small lollipops

Let me tell you that a well-timed Dum-Dum/lollipop can get you through almost any challenge that comes your way. Seriously.
 

  1. Grocery or Toiletry Trash Bags

These will be useful for wet/soiled clothes, trash clean-up or diaper disposal.

  1. Easy Activities for the Waiting Room/Restaurant etc.

A couple of small, age appropriate toys, sticker/color/activity books, and/or crafts. This one depends on your child’s interests, where you’re going and should be rotated to keep it interesting and successful. Check the Target Dollar section, the dollar store and around the house for tiny activities that will work for the baby bag. The more compact the better. This week, our bag has a piece of paper, some stickers that the girls got for Easter, a Kumon Mini Workbook, Goodnight Moon board book, some princess tattoos, a coloring book &  crayons and a little push/light-up toy from the girls’ Easter baskets.

  1. Back-up/Emergency Cell Phone Charger

This is one I need to add to my bag ASAP since I’m not great at keeping my phone charged. Keeping this in the bag will prevent missed photo ops, being lost, and most importantly keeps your phone ‘alive’ for potential emergency calls which could have to be made.

 

Now that your baby bag is packed and ready for almost anything, check iQuriousKids.com for events and programs for the whole family! Tell us: What’s your Baby Bag Must Have?

 

By Mary West
Mama of 2 & Teacher/Tutor;
A bit of an over packer, but also a firm believer that the moment you don’t have an item with you is the exact moment you’ll need it.

Happy Mother’s Day! The iQuriousKids.com Guide to a Wonderful Mother’s Day in Houston.

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First, we want to wish all of the moms, grandmas, godmothers, stepmoms and expectant mamas a wonderful Mother’s Day this year. Thank you for all of the love, time and energy you give to your families each day. Here’s to hoping for a joyful Mother’s day filled with sweet memories, extra hug & kisses, a little less stickiness and stress, and a few minutes of true relaxation.

Now, hand the computer over to Daddy or one of your ‘big kids’ so they can use our guide to plan some surprises!

What does Mommy really want for Mother’s Day? Obviously, this will vary a bit for each mama. If she has mentioned a gift specifically, that’s a start. I think most mamas will be happy with anything that has an ‘Aw’ factor (like a handmade picture) and has love and thought behind it. For a fool-proof Mother’s Day, be sure to include these three elements:

  • Appreciation– Make sure the day includes some form of a thank you for the billions of things Mom takes care of every day!
  • Love– Remember for you and the children to remind her how much you love her and why and be sure to spoil her with kisses, cuddles, and hugs! (This is a big one for older children who might not be as affectionate on a daily basis!)
  • Make it a special day! Try to keep the day positive and special; encourage the children to be on their best, most helpful behavior and take them for a quick walk if things start go south. The last thing Mama wants on Mother’s Day is to be refereeing arguments, emptying the dishwasher and picking up toys like it’s a regular day.

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Not sure about cooking on Mother’s Day? Don’t worry- We’ve found 5 places that are serving delicious Mother’s Day brunches and dinners for 2017! Don’t forget to make reservations soon.

  • PF Chang’s (multiple locations; lunch and dinner): Friday, May 12th– Sunday, May 14th

(We enjoyed Mother’s Day here last year! Not too fancy but still felt special, plus lots of menu options worked well for our whole family.)

  • Maggiano’s Little Italy (multiple locations; brunch): Sunday, May 14th

(We’re thinking about going here this year.)

  • The Tasting Room (multiple locations; special menu and pricing for brunch, lunch & dinner): Sunday, May 14th
  • Max’s Wine Dive (multiple locations; brunch) Sunday, May 14th
  • Landry’s Seafood (multiple locations; dinner) Sunday, May 14th

In the comments, tell us your Mother’s Day plans this year!

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By Mary West
Mama of 2 and teacher/tutor; celebrating my 3rd Mother’s Day this year with my 2 sweet girls!

Shower your #1 Mom (and Benefit a Sweet Mama of 4) this Mother’s Day Weekend!

It’s the final countdown for shopping days for the special mama in your life. If mama would love nothing more than to enjoy a relaxing Saturday at the spa, we’ve found the gift for you! Book an appointment for Mama this Saturday at the new and natural LAVO Salon. Free mommy and me photo sessions & swag bags for all mamas plus salsa samples for Dad! This event is sure to be a great gift for the mom or grandma on your list!

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This is one special gift that also has a “feel good” side to it. All proceeds from the spa sessions, silent auction, raffle and portions of proceeds from items purchased at the events (like handmade jewelry by Liv & B plus more) go to supporting a sweet mama of 4 with an inoperable brain tumor (Shhh, it’s a surprise!). iQuriousKids.com is proud to be a supporter of this wonderful event for moms by moms! If you can’t make it, keep this mama and her family in your thoughts and prayers and hold your own sweeties a little tighter this Mother’s Day weekend.

RSVP: 281-346- 8636
Location: 11525 S Fry Road, Fulshear, TX 77441

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mommies out there! In the comments, tell us your Mother’s Day plans.

By Mary West
Mama of 2