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Tip No. 3: Bring Kleenex. Lots and lots of Kleenex.
Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, the duo who brought us "Up," created an
incredibly poignant, meaningful and important film in "Inside Out." I know,
I know, it's a cartoon. How could it be ALL that? But trust me, it is,
especially for those of us raising kids possessed by their emotions.
"Inside Out" isn't
just hilarious in the way that only animated films can be, but it is wrought
with insights into how the mind works, the transition from childhood to
adolescence and the fundamentals of parenting, all wrapped up in a pretty
pretty package about an 11-year-old girl named Riley and the emotions that live
in her head.
I took my 9-year-old to see the film, and we saw two different movies. She went
on a funny, silly and whimsical journey. Me? I saw the most insightful film
about growing up and parenting I've ever had the pleasure to see.
moved me. I laughed. I cried. It hit me, hard. And it changed me.
enjoyed every minute of the movie, it had an impact that will lived far beyond
the screen. How? In how I see not just my child's brain, but my own brain and the
big job we have for being our children's emotional stewards. And that's not all. Here are a few of
the parenting tips that are sprinkled through "Inside Out."
Warning: This is mostly spoiler free, but if you want to go into the movie
totally fresh, see if before reading on.
1. Create joyful "core memories" for your kids
Joy, the main emotion in charge for most of the
film (the dominant feeling that young Riley experiences), helps create happy
moments that make up Riley's core memories—powerful moments that will
always be kept in the mind's storage. These moments are rare and wonderful.
After watching this film, you will be filled with the urge to create more
positive core memories for your child, ones that will last a lifetime.
2. Assist in building
meaningful islands of personality
Riley has five islands of personality:
Hockey Island, Honesty Island, Goofy Island, Friendship Island and Family
Island. It's our job as parents to help build and maintain these islands for, and with, our children. Although they are under the ownership of our kids,
giving them the tools to keep them running is huge.
3. "Inside Out" gives new ways to talk about emotions with our kids
"I can't say how amazing it is to have a film that becomes a tool to talk to your kids," Amy Poehler (who voices Joy) said. "You sit them down and ask them how they're feeling, and you don't get an answer. With these personified, funny characters, kids are better able to talk through their emotions. This changes things. I don't say this about many projects and may never say it again, and that's fine, but to be involved in something that feels like it adds value to the world … that's something."
Something indeed. After seeing the film, children may better express how they're feeling by saying that "Anger was driving" when they lashed out or "Sadness has been busy."
4. Realize that no matter what we do,
childhood will end
We have all held our children tight and wished that
they could stay sweet and small forever. But childhood, like all good things,
must end. It will happen sooner than we'd like. Being able to recognize these
changes in our children, and to support them in each phase of life, is HUGE. We
may mourn for the cute moments from their kiddie days, but, with our help, they'll grow
into awesome grown-ups.
5. Goofy Island won't
Some islands will live on forever, such as Family Island and
Friendship Island. But then there are those islands that are fleeting: Goofy
Island, Soccer Island or Boy Band Island may come and go, they will be replaced
by other passions. Just always be supportive of whatever islands they currently
possess. Many parents, including me, never want goofy island to fall
6. Anger, Disgust and Fear live in their
minds for a reason
While you may not like it when your child's displays of anger, disgust and fear, all three of those emotions are important in their own
way. They are there to help protect our kids from dangers both physical and
7. Sometimes kids, and
all of us, just need the time to be sad
Sadness happens, it's how you deal
with it that counts. We all have those periods of being blue, a response to bad
things happening, a bad day or just a bad mood. While you may be tempted to
make goofy faces or tickle your kid into a better mood, sometimes the best
thing to do is to just listen.