4 Ways to Address the Loss of a Loved One with Your Toddler

Losing a loved one is never easy. I lost my best friends when I was in college and my Nana, also known as THE Nana in my family, last year. To say they were/are two of the most important people in my life would be an understatement.

I still mourn the loss of my loved ones, but as an adult I am able to process my emotions and understand what it means to lose someone that I love so much.

My Nana was a fighter; she battled through four, yes four, types of cancer. She is quite possibly the strongest person I know. I was able to spend the last minutes of her life with her and watched her battle until the very end. She never gave up! Her strength, hardworking attitude, and commitment to her loved ones are attributes I want my boys to have as they grow and develop into young men.

Wedding Day with Nana and Papa

My oldest was one and a half when my Nana passed away, but she had a very active part in his life and I was able to tell her that I was pregnant with my second son. I am so lucky that my oldest son was able to spend time with her, even if it was for a short period of time.

The girls and Rorie

When she passed away, I thought to myself, how am I going to explain this to my toddler? He has no understanding of death and what it means to have a loved one pass away. Here are four things I learned during this process:

  1. Speak in simple words – get as basic as you can, terms that well, a toddler would understand.
  2. Keep their memory present – Photos of my Nana are all over my house and my son will often go over to the pictures and point to her and say “That’s Nana!” She also gave him a number of books and stuffed animals. He knows that Nana gave them to him and he cherishes them deeply.
  3. Share all the love – Kids are so aware of our emotions. When we are sad, they will often become sad as well. When I was/am feeling sad, I go in for the hugs, kisses, and extra snuggles. It comforts both of us, not to mention, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
  4. Take care of yourself – We can’t support or little one(s), if we are not taking care of ourselves. Self-care is the most important thing you can do!

If you have lost someone special in your life, please know I am sending all of my love, hugs, and positive thoughts in your direction.

How have you explained this life process to your kids? Let me know in the comments below.

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Toddler Time – Good Night, Baby Moon

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know how important the bedtime routine is in my house, in particular, the books we read together as a family at night. My toddler will mull over the books in his bookshelf and carefully select each literary masterpiece we read.

He is known is to pick the same books, even when he sits there and stares for five or more minutes at his collection. We can all admit, it’s easier to default to what we know and feel comfortable with, but I often encourage my toddler to step outside of his comfort zone and pick a book that is fun and exciting, but is also packed with educational opportunities.

DK Publishing’s Good Night, Baby Moon is the interactive, educational, and charming book, both child and parent will love. What’s cuter than a family of curious rabbits who have rhythm? Not much in my opinion! In this special book, your little one can follow this family of furry critters as they examine and learn about the various phases of the moon.

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We’ve recently been talking to our son about the sun, the moon, the stars, and the clouds floating by in the sky.  He’s finally at the age where he is excited to learn! Good Night, Baby Moon, provides the perfect opportunity for us to go outside and point at the moon and compare it to the journey of the little bunny family as they learn about the various phases of mother moon.

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Did I mention the front cover of this book lights up?! My son is so eager to press the button and see the moon behind the rabbits shine bright. I caught him the other night flicking the light on and off in the baby monitor. That’s right! He loves his copy of Good Night, Baby Moon so much, he insists on taking it to bed with him at night. Who needs a stuffed animal when you have DK Publishing’s Good Night, Baby Moon?

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Do you want to stroll through the woods with the rabbit family too? Well, your wait will be over soon. On September 5, 2017, you can get your hands of this perfect bedtime read. Mark your calendars, so you can make bedtime even more fun!

“Watching the moon helped the rabbits to learn, that when it goes away, it will always return.”

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Weird Parenting Trick – The iPad

When you become a parent, you immediately start to do some questionable things. I am not a perfect parent (she nods her head in acceptance of this statement) and I’ll admit I’ve done some kooky things in order to keep my house calm, my toddler’s emotions under control, as well as my sanity intact.

My husband and I work full-time, so our kids go to preschool during the day. I say this because my oldest son is playing and learning all day long and when he gets home we let him enjoy his iPad. He’s not filling his noggin with nonsense, but is often watching educational shows or playing learning apps.

I will admit he has become slightly dependent of his iPad; it has turned into a Joaquin Phoenix in the movie HER type of situation. With this said, we (my husband and I), have been very proactive in eliminating the codependency between our two and half year old and his tablet.

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For some time he would become very upset when we said it was time for bed and he insisted on taking his iPad with him, which we did not allow. There were a lot of tears and pleas to reconsider our decision; however, we did not budge.

Now, my son is a creature of habit. If you can create a new process in his routine, you are golden! We have currently been working on the importance of the bedtime routine, i.e. bath, brushing teeth, reading, and bed. I was sitting down on the couch after getting both of my kiddos to bed one night, while the faints cries of my toddler longingly calling out for his iPad lingered in the air, and an idea was formed! What if his iPad had a routine as well?

Before my son goes to bed, we “tuck” his iPad in for a good nights sleep. I know what you’re thinking, “Hannah this is insane!” Guys, I know, but it works! My son will shut down his iPad and walk it over to the charging station. I will help him plugin his iPad and he will promptly say, “Goodnight iPad!” and that is it.

As I stated at the beginning, when you become a parent, you do ridiculous things to keep the household mellow and functioning successfully at one hundred percent. Now that my son’s beloved iPad has a bedtime routine, there are no more crocodile tears and shouts of toddler frustration. Everyone goes to sleep peacefully.

What is something you do as a parent to keep the drama down? Let me know your unconventional tips and tricks in the comments.

Toddler Time – Monster Marshmallows

Growing up in a household with one parent in the medical field and one parent in the field of science, we were encouraged to do activities that expanded our minds and increased our curiosity. I never went to your “typical summer camp” where you lived in a bunk house and participated in kayaking and archery. My parents put me in marine biology, chemistry, and physic camps. It’s not what you would envision an elementary schooler participating in, but it was the best thing they could have done for me. My desire to learn more, I believe, encouraged me to participate in different courses and electives throughout my school career. I was excited about learning!

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I say this because it is never too early to get your kids excited about STEMS. When we got our hands on DK Publishing’s Maker Lab book of 28 kid-safe projects and crafts, it became the perfect introduction to the world of science for my toddler.

This wonderfully delightful book has step-by-step experiments, ranked from easy to hard, designed for 8 to 12 year olds. Even though this is designed for older kids, there are plenty of options for a mom and her toddler to get their science game on!

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I am constantly looking for ways to engage my son outside of his iPad on the weekends. When I came across the Monster Marshmallow experiment I knew I had found the perfect experiment for my two and half year old. What toddler doesn’t love delicious, gooey, and sticky marshmallows? I, myself, could go for a s’more right now!

All you need for this yummy experiment is a marshmallow(s), microwave safe plate, microwave, and an appetite.

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I had my son pick out his marshmallow and place it on the plate. Together we moved the plate with marshmallow to the microwave. I punched in 30 seconds and he hit the start button. About 15 seconds into the cook time, we saw our marshmallow expand and grow! He was in awe and learning about how “air heats up, and the pressure it exerts increases and the pockets grow bigger!”

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This wasn’t just a 30 seconds experiment for us, we did it over and over and over again. If you’re looking for a way to let your kids have fun and learn at the same time, DK Publishing’s Maker Lab is the book for you. I know we will be cracking this book open again very soon!

Get your copy of Makers Lab here >> https://www.dk.com/us/9781465451354-maker-lab/ << and let me know what experiments you try with your kids in the comments below.

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