Kayos Xpressions

How to Prevent Toddler Bedtime Pushbacks

As much as we love our kids, I think I’m not alone in wishing that the clock will just strike for the sweet freedom that comes with our toddler’s bedtime. So really, the last thing we need when it’s finally time to start the bedtime routine is our kids giving us another round of tantrums. Alternatively, starting a battle of ‘nos’ against the cleanup requests or wind downs with our toddler.

Lets dive into some tips I have to prevent toddler bedtime battles.

1.) Establish a Familiar Toddler Bedtime Routine

I’m sure every parent has already heard this tip and that is to be consistent. But, I think more than running a rigorous checklist of repetition of things, is to maintain a familiar rhythm to how we initiate our toddler’s bedtime routine. Setting up visual cues of what to do next in their routine giving them curious prompts, and giving them choices.

Another tip to avoid power struggles with your toddler is to avoid asking questions on things that you don’t want them to say ‘No’ to. So avoid asking questions such as “Do you want to take a bath now?” and state it as matter-of-factly as you can “We’re going to take a bath now.”

2.) Keep the Conversation of the Importance of Sleep Rolling

Our toddlers are honestly a lot more perceptive than we realize. Even if they’re still pre-verbal so take note that they absorb a lot of our words and the energy we have. It’s never too early to begin the conversation of how important sleep is for our body (ideally when they are not in a dysregulated state).

Some opportunities to raise the importance of sleep are through reading books or during pretend play with dolls, and modeling how to put the doll to sleep. Most importantly, as adults and parents, we also need to show that we want our kids to sleep not so that they’ll be out of our hands but to let them know that it is important for their bodies to sleep.

3.) Attune Yourself to Your Toddler’s Bedtime/Naptime Cues

As fascinating as our toddlers are with the way they assert their independence and engage in a power play with us, they still undoubtedly need us to read their cues to help them. At times, the reason they’re throwing a tantrum is that they are overtired. Also our toddlers’ tantrums are ways of communicating with us and a way of expressing their emotions. They can’t talk like us, not yet.

Take note of the number of wake hours your toddler has when scheduling an activity. And, also before putting them down for a nap/bedtime.

4.) Have a List of Wind Down Activities for Your Toddler’s Bedtime

Our toddlers are actually very much in tune with their bodies when they’re sleepy or hungry (or everything else about their bodies actually). When they say they’re not sleepy yet or seem to have too much energy for bedtime, it is wise to take their word for it and avoid insisting that they’re sleepy.

Instead, we can set a certain boundary that would at least encourage them to wind down and go to bed. Our toddlers need our help in redirecting their energy and leveling it so that they can reach an appropriate state of drowsiness. You can either suggest that they stay in their own room and play there quietly, or read books only (in essence, avoid rough play or screen time).

Good Luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Four Reasons Why Family Portraits Are Good for your Kid’s Development

Today, just about everyone owns a camera. But it cannot replace a professionally taken family portrait you’ll be proud to display. Your childhood home probably comes to mind when you envision the family portraits. Surly you remember details like right down to the clothing and expressions you wore. They hold memories that will last the test of time and are an important reference point when learning about your connections to family. Make time for your children’s family portraits as well. This will help insure they carry the legacy through to their own families. Below I will examine why a family portrait is good for your kid’s development.

1.) It can boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem

Portraits allow children to learn about themselves and their family. Portraits promote feelings of love and belonging beyond their physical presence. This enables children to develop an intuitive sense of self. If you want to boost your child’s self-esteem in a practical way, you should consider hanging photographs in the child’s bedroom or some place where they’ll see the portraits before sleeping and when they wake up. No matter how difficult life gets, these visual reminders will show them they can always count on their family for support.

2.) It can help them to understand their position in the family

In enforcing the family unit, parents shouldn’t underestimate the importance of visual cues, especially in young children. Your photo albums or desktop will certainly contain plenty of happy snaps. But these photos will only be accessible when prompted. The act of taking a photo with your family will give your children an appreciation for family history and prompt their curiosity about where they come from and where they belong. The portrait serves as a daily reminder that ‘this is where I come from, and that is where I belong.’ In particular, if you have additional family photos on display in the living room, kids can locate their generation in this family hierarchy and tell stories about their own families.

3.) It documents their growth

School photos are embraced annually. So why not family photos? Growing up is a fast-paced process. The ability to capture a child’s progress as it happens, as a group (instead of putting together individual photos) is a valuable memory to cherish. Family photos are always a regret for most families down the road – never the other way around! Families have unique traditions for capturing milestones. Some parents even take a picture of their kids every day in the same pose until their pre-teen years to document growth. Taking a family portrait every year or every two years is a terrific way to capture the likeness and personality of your family as everyone grows and changes.

4.) It teaches them family values

Children benefit from sentimentality, togetherness, and family pride through taking photos for posterity. With the ‘selfie’ culture of our day, especially among older kids, photography has a tendency to be less associated with family because portraits preserve connections between family members and photos, they’re an ideal way to preserve those connections. If your kids are young, they might resist taking photos at first. But as they grow older, they will surely treasure them. As well, establishing a family portrait tradition will most likely be carried forward to your children’s families.


Here are some tips for taking an amazing family portrait:

  • Be sure everyone is well-rested and well-fed before you arrive at the studio. Fatigue and hunger will lead to restlessness and impatience, which will negatively impact the photo shoot.
  • If you choose an outfit, use complementary colors and prints rather than completely matching pieces of clothing. There is no harm in sticking with colors that suit you and your children and by incorporating a bit of contrast here and there with a bright pop of color.
  • Consider another approach to the ‘say cheese’ tradition, because you don’t have to look directly at the camera to get a successful photo. You don’t even have to smile at the camera at all times to get a good picture.
  • You don’t have to be a determined or ruthless soldier when taking a portrait of your loved ones – it’s just supposed to be fun! As long as you have fun, your photos will also appear to be less staged and forced and your personality will be able to shine through the more fun you are having.
  • Providing all people with access to family portrait
  • The cost of a professional family portrait session is usually a barrier to ordering them regularly. In addition, you would generally need to pay for extra shots that you are really delighted with.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Are Parents Powerful Role Models For Their Kids?

Are Parents Powerful Role Models For Their Kids?

YES! Parents are the most powerful role models their children will ever have! A parent has the power to guide, control, influence, teach or supervise their kids. But we should use this power sensibly and for the BENEFIT of our kids. This power has been given to us by the universe, the creator, the supreme being.

Love for love

If you show the love you will get love. You show hate you get hate. Show indifference you will get indifference.

Parents, you can be role models for your kids by showering them with love. There is no replacement for your love. Fancy gifts or toys cannot replace love so play with them, feed them, bathe them and nurture them. Your child will know that you love them when they see you doing everything for them every day! Even if you are not good at expressing love, not able to hug and kiss easily, your child will be able to sense your love for them. When you give them a lot of love, they will love you back.


Even though you don’t realize or you feel that children aren’t watching you, they will adapt all your values, beliefs and attitude so if we want our children to have certain values, then we have got to adopt them first. For example, you want your kids to speak your mother tongue then you have to speak it first. If you talk at home (all the time) in your mother tongue, your children will feel encouraged to speak it. Another example is if we want our children to be loyal to our country then we should be seen as being loyal to our country first. You cannot do something and expect something else from your children. They will feel confused. Moreover, children always do what the parents do and not what parents say.

Healthy Eating Screen Time

A lot of parents struggle to make their children eat healthy food. What is the most important reason for this happening? Parents are themselves not eating healthy food. A bit of hypocrisy from parents, if you ask me. Parents complain, “My child doesn’t eat vegetables..” “My child doesn’t eat lentils..” “My child is always having sugary drinks and chocolates instead of healthy meals” Did you (parent) eat your vegetables? Did the parent eat lentils? If parents eat healthy balanced meals, there is no reason why the child will not do so. The child doesn’t know any better. They are watching their parents and just copying everything they do. Parents will have to be role models for their kids for healthy eating too. Another common complaint from parents – my child watches television at every mealtime. Or my child is using devices all the time. He never reads a book or plays with toys. Parents will have to be role models or set an example first. Parents can lead by example by playing games like cricket, football, etc. While eating, keep all devices away from you (parent) and your child.

Habits – Good or Bad

If parents have any bad habits like smoking or lying or stealing, their kids will be the first ones to pick this up. Children always look upon their parents as their role models. They will start having the same habits as their parents. If you (parent) are a smoker, chances are your parent would have been a smoker too. Parents cannot smoke and then tell their children that smoking is injurious to health. Well, you can tell them but the chances of them smoking will increase tenfold. If parents lie to their relatives to get out of a difficult/inconvenient situation in front of their kids, they are only going to learn how to lie. If parents lie, their children will think it is okay to lie sometimes. Similarly, children will also observe and copy all your good habits. If you are loving and caring, they will learn how to love and care. If you are always thinking positively towards any situation, they will develop a positive mindset too.


If you respect your child and other people around you, your child will learn respect too. U you oh can teach your child respect

  • By empathising with your children when they are faced with difficult situations.
  • Not humiliating them or shouting at them especially in front of other people. Parents should talk to their children (or anybody else) the way they would be liked to spoken to.
  • Parents shouldn’t talk ill of their children to others.

If you give respect, you will get respect.


If you are considerate, your child will also learn how to be considerate. They will also learn to be helpful. If you do charity, they will also learn to give away toys, books or clothes to less fortunate people.

Hard Work and Work Ethics

Parents often complain that their child isn’t hardworking (in their studies) or that they give up easily. Parents must teach them to work hard or teach them not to give up. They can do this by setting an example or by doing it first, themselves. If parents work hard then they can expect their children to do the same. But if parents are lazy and have no desire to work hard for anything in life, then they shouldn’t expect their child to be hard working.

Set an Example of Listening

Another common complaint of parents is that their children, do not listen to them. Agreed, children will not listen to their parents all the time. But you can reduce the incidences of ‘not listening’ by setting an example. Next time your child requests for something, don’t say no always to everything. Balance things out. If their requests are reasonable then agree to them.

Once you become a parent, your life will be put under a microscope. Your every movement, action, quality, habits will be observed by your child so make sure you be what you want your child to be. Remember, your children are mirror images of their parents!

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Activities to Boost Language Development: 18-24 Months

Your toddler is at a stage where she is constantly learning language from you. Jamie Loehr M.D. and Jen Meyers, authors of “Raising Your Child” suggest these activities in order to encourage healthy language development.

Read Together

1.) Read Together

Read to your child every day, several times a day. Discuss the illustrations when you’re looking at books together. Ask your child to tell you what she sees. Ask her to point out specific items on the page. Read alphabet books to lay the ground-work for learning the ABCs.

2.) Your Child Is Intelligent!

Treat your child like she’s an intelligent person. (She is!) Consciously hold conversations with her. Ask for her opinions, likes, and dislikes. Listen attentively when she talks to you, and respond in a way that shows you understand what she’s saying. Repeat what she says back to her to model appropriate pronunciation as well as good listening skills.

3.) Encourage Details

Add details to what your child says. “Yes, that’s a bus. It’s a blue and white city bus. It’s really big!” This helps your child with their language and learning different words everyday and is beneficial for you and baby later with great conversations.

4.) Model Proper Grammar

Use proper grammar when you speak – to – model it for your child. He learns to speak (and write) from you first. You’re not only mom but you’re mom and his very first teacher for the first few years of life so be a great one. He depends on you.

5.) Use Complete Sentences

Help expand your toddler’s abilities by speaking to him in complete sentences. If he asks for “More banana?” say to her, “You want to have more banana.” Model correct word order and clear pronunciation for him. Again, he depends on you.

6.) Encourage Your Toddlers Imagination

Provide your toddler with puppets, dolls, stuffed animals, and make-believe play materials such as scarves, hats, old clothes, shoes, recyclables for making costumes and props, blankets for building forts, etc. Make hand puppets out of paper bags decorated with markers, paper, and glue, or out of socks decorated with buttons, yarn, and thread. Show him how the puppets can have a conversation with each other or with you or her. Put on a puppet show and have fun quality time!

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

19 Fun and Exciting Activities to do in the Summer For Kids

Summer holidays are here and like most parents, I have been thinking hard about what activities can make this summer fun and exciting for my boys (who are fourteen years apart) Summer camps are not cheap and can be expensive and if you have got more than one child, you will be left with paying a big bill for the summer holidays. Instead, why not save money but still have good family time with your kids?

1.) Teddy Bear Picnic

One of the most exciting activities for kids to do this summer is organizing a teddy bear picnic. Gather all the teddy bears and have a picnic with them outside or in the garden. Ideal for children in the age group of 3-6 years.

2.) Lego Afternoon

Is it raining? No problem. Keep the kids busy with legos. For complex lego structures, you have to do most of the construction, especially the small and intricate pieces. This is a great way of spending time with your kids as I am involved in ‘constructing’ something.

3.) Stone Painting

Stone painting is one of the most fun activities for kids of all ages to do in the summer. First, ask your kids to help you hunt for stones for painting. Make sure to wash the stones thoroughly before you start painting. B sure to get them involved in the process of washing them.

4.) Scribbling With Chalk

Use chalk to encourage your child to write letters and numbers. Buy a box of chalk and let them scribble on the ground or a sidewalk. Using chalk also improves their fine motor skills. I found the thick chalks very useful as they don’t break easily.

5.) Puppet Shows

Get your kids to create puppets and enact a story around the puppets for the family. Let them make their own story for the show. This would provide a perfect opportunity for all the members of the family to spend time together in a fun way.

6.) Sand Play

Does your child love to make sandcastles? No need to go to the beach for that. Buy some play sand and let them create some sandcastles outside and if you have some free time, you can join them too!

7.) Cooking and Baking

Why not bake some cakes with your kids? Have fun baking and eating them. Get them to help you cook dinners every night instead of watching television or using devices. They can help in the kitchen and develop some cooking skills.

8.) Journaling

Don’t give them ordinary journaling but something fun and exciting. This will encourage them to write during the holidays by writing their ‘secrets’. The best part is “no one” will be able to read it, not even you!

9.) Bracelet Making

Is your daughter is interested in making and wearing bracelets? Why not buy her a bracelet making kit? I’m sure she would enjoy it.

10.) Fake Fishing

Fill a big plastic box with water. Put some leaves or stones in it and some fish from your child’s toy box. Hand them some sticks with a thread tied up at one end. Get your kids to make some paper boats that can float in the water. They will have fun for hours!

11.) Paddling Pools

Water activities are a great way to keep kids busy in the summer. If it is too hot, what better way to cool off than with paddling pools? Let kids splash water at each other and cool off. If the pool is big enough, parents can join in too.

12.) Water Fights

Get some water guns and have a friendly family water fight. We do these every year and they provide a lot of entertainment for the entire family.

13.) Finger Painting

Splash some paint on a palette and let your children paint with their fingers instead of a brush. Warning: This creates a massive mess but my little one loves it!

14.) The Great Outdoors

Since it is summer, getting fresh air is important. Cycling, playing football in the local park, swings and slides are fun. Maybe you can have a picnic too while you are there (minus the teddy bears!)

15.) Musical Statues

On a rainy day, play musical statues with the kids. Switch on the music and dance. When the music stops, the last one to stop moving is out of the game. Continue until you have a winner. You will get exercise as well as teach some dance moves to your kids!

16.) Story Dens

Choose a corner in the house. Under the stairs or behind the sofa. Decorate it with old bedsheets and cushions. Stack some books and let this be your kids secret reading corner or a story den.

17.) Arts and Crafts

Get some origami paper or a craft box and do some craft with the kids. There are a lot of step-by-step YouTube videos available. For example, we made some ninja stars watching a YouTube video.

18.) Puzzles and Brain Teasers

Let your kids exercise their grey cells in the school holidays. Do some Jigsaw puzzles or some brain teasers. Let them develop their problems solving skills. Let them develop their problems solving skills. Isn’t this a better option than giving them than screen time?

19.) Nature Walks

Go on some nature walks with the family. Being surrounded by nature is very relaxing and also provides lots of exercises and fresh air. The best part is the kids will sleep soundly at night!

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

9 Reasons Why I Love Blogging (By a Stay at Home Mom)

Blogging has been a big boon for a stay at home mom like me. I have only got my dear friend to help me who works a full – time job. I tried going back into employment the childcare costs were eating up more than half my salary. Plus, my job was unfulfilling and boring. If you are a mom like me, read below the reasons 9 reasons why I enjoy blogging so much and why I’m glad I left my career in accountancy for blogging post motherhood.

1.) Flexibility

Did you know blogging can be done at any place and at any time? Yeah, you only need your laptop / desktop with a wifi connection.

In terms of flexibility, blogging is brilliant! Being a mom of 4, I know how crucial a flexible career is for a mom / dad. You need flexibility when kids have school holidays or when they fall sick. A mom has only half a day (up to 3 pm) to do her work before she rushes off to pick up her kids from school. During the school holidays, I blog during the night after my kids go to sleep than in the daytime to spend quality time with them. Giving time and attention to my kids is very, very important in my opinion.

2.) Creativity

Blogging has made a non – creative person like me creative. Let me clarify to you that you do not have to have to be a creative person or have any kind of skills to blog. Moms know that being a mom is very stressful. Blogging provides me a release from the stresses of motherhood due to the creative aspect of it. Blogging is therapeutic for me. I shape my blog the way I want. No one (boss) is breathing down my neck telling me you cannot create this!. I decide the style, the colors, the fonts, the content of my website.

9 Reasons Why I Love Blogging (By a Stay at Home Mum)

3.) Helping Parents

This is my favorite reason to be a blogger. I want to help parents with my experiences and insights into parenting. I am not a medical expert or a financial advisor but a parent just like you. Before I started blogging, I was under the impression that you can only help people through charity work or with tons of money. After I started blogging, I realized that you can help people with knowledge, skills and information that you have on a particular topic or even solve problems for others. This aspect of blogging gives me a lot of satisfaction and fulfilment.

4.) A Chance to Create a (New) Identity

Due to having very limited help with my kids, I was finding it hard to collect myself. Blogging came in my life as a blessing and helped me recreate my own identity. Now people know me as Melinda @http://kayosxpressions.com

I want moms like me who have limited help with kids to know that blogging is a great way to re – carve your identity and life. You can have your own life and at the same time be a good mom to your kids. My blog is all about me and so will yours!

5.) Passive Income

Parenthood is an expensive proposition. It provides a lot of joy and fulfilment but you have also got to pay more bills! If a mom cannot go to work, how she going to support herself and her kids? I get it that some of the moms are fortunate to have a spouse who earns well and can support the whole family. But what about moms who want to earn money and make themselves financially independent but are not able to do so as they have not got enough help with kids?

Blogging is a fantastic opportunity for mums to become financially independent without having to compromise their kids.

6.) Confidence

A mom or a dad will experience a renewed sense of confidence with blogging here are my reasons:

  1. You have created something of value
  2. You have become financially independent

My confidence level has also increased a lot after having created my blog.

7.) Productive

Due to blogging, I am so much more productive in my work and personal life. My blog has given me new energy. I have got something of my own in my life which can be very hard to achieve for a stay at home mom. I am learning a lot of things every day which is keeping me sane. My brain hasn’t given up on me!

Parenthood is wonderful and enjoyable but if you do household chores all day long, you might experience a brain fog – just like I did. Well, blogging took me out of that fog. Now, I can think clearly 🙂

8.) Provides a Purpose or Goal in Life

Blogging has provided me with a purpose in life. Life has no meaning if you do not have a destination or a goal in mind. If you are a stay at home mom, you might feel that your life is aimless especially when your kids start going to school.

Bring some aim or purpose in life with blogging. Transform yourself from a stay at home mom to a work at home mom and see how much happiness it brings you.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

7 Reasons Breastfeeding Is Good for Your Baby

If you’re able to breastfeed your baby, there are all kinds of health advantages you’ll pass on. Here are seven benefits you might not have heard of.

Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food for an infant: It’s packed with all the nutrients they need, it offers microbes that can help create a healthy gut environment and it ensures lots of cuddly skin-to-skin time with mom. But the health implications go well beyond these obvious advantages. Here are six surprising ways that breastfeeding will benefit your baby.

1.) Breastmilk Offers Changing Nutrition As They Develop

Scientists have found more than 200 different types of sugar molecules in breastmilk – a marvel, considering that cow’s milk has only 30 to 50. But what’s really cool is how the composition of the sugars changes as the baby grows. At first, many of those sugars are not meant to feed the baby, but to help good bacteria in the baby’s gut thrive and establish a healthy microbiome. But after about a month, the diversity of sugars decreases and the milk develops more fat and nutrients to help the baby grow.

2.) Breastfeeding Offers an Immune Boost

When you breastfeed, you transfer important illness-fighting antibodies to your baby, helping to build up their young immune system. But in recent years, researchers have been learning that the immune protection babies get from breastmilk doesn’t end there. A 2016 study from the University of California Riverside found that there are immune cell in breast milk that once inside the baby, teach the baby’s cells to develop defences against the same invaders that the mom has been exposed to.

3.) Breastmilk Can Help Preemies Develop

If your baby is born premature, breastmilk has even more potential benefits. In a 2018 study, researchers found that among babies who were born before 33 weeks gestation, those who were breastfed for at least three-quarters of the time had better brain connectivity than those who weren’t. Additional studies found that preemies who were given more breast milk in the first month of life saw larger growth in certain areas of their brains. Other research has found that the breastmilk of moms to premature babies has a different composition than that of moms of babies who were born to term. Not only are the fats, sugars and proteins different to help meet a preemie’s energy needs but there are different genetic components that could influence metabolism to help a baby thrive.

4.) Breastfeeding Can Protect Against SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in infants from a month to a year old. SIDS occurs when a baby dies suddenly in their sleep, seemingly with no explanation. But in recent years, researchers are learning more about ways to prevent SIDS, and breastfeeding is one of those ways (in addition to things like not smoking, putting baby to bed on their back and keeping the crib free of loose bedding and other items). In fact, a 2017 study found that breastfeeding for at two months can reduce the risks of SIDS by half – even if you aren’t breastfeeding exclusively.

5.) It Makes Babies Less Prone to Stress

In a 2018 study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that breastfeeding for the first five months of life could actually influence a baby’s genes in a way that reduced stress. They measured the stress hormone cortisol in the saliva of babies who were and weren’t breastfed, and found that those who were breastfed were plagued by less stress.

6.) Breastfeeding Can Prevent Eczema

Eczema, the condition in which skin becomes red, itchy and inflamed, is one of the most mysterious skin conditions, with no one really knowing what causes it. But a 2017 British study found that, when mothers received support to breastfeed, their babies were 54 percent less likely to develop eczema as teens.

7.) Breastmilk Can Reduce a Child’s Risk for Obesity

According to the World Health Organization, babies who are exclusively breastfed are at a reduced risk for being overweight or obese later in life. Right now, obesity is on the rise in kids and protecting against obesity can go a long way towards protecting against other conditions, like type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. Though no one knows exactly how breastfeeding reduces the risk for obesity, breastmilk does contain hormones and other compounds that help to regulate food intake and energy balance which could have long-term implications.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Teaching Your Child Mindful Breathing can Help Ease Their Tantrums

My two year old shrieked and stomped while I was putting him to sleep in his own bed. His tears welling like tiny rainclouds ready to burst so I picked him up and sat him on my lap. “Take a deep breath in and out,” I whispered to him as he’s closing his eyes. He takes in a deep inhale and exhale. I was shocked – his energy visibly then shifted to sleep within ten minutes.

After recounting the incident to a his grandparents the next day, they expressed on how they were encouraging him to recognize his emotions and how to take deep breaths when he felt frustrated or upset. I was shocked my son remembers to use this skill in the moment. It’s clear what they were teaching him was working.

I’ve since learned that mindful breathing is an accessible. It’s easy to do and effective way to help your child manage their emotions at any age, and it’s never too early to start encouraging it.

little girl sitting on the floor with her stuffed bear

1.) What is Mindful Breathing

Slow, easy breathing has positive effects on the mind and body, including training your brain to focus. It helps decrease your anxiety and also helps with emotional regulation.

“When we have a long exhale, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us calm down,” explains Sara Marlowe, a Toronto-based registered social worker and writer of children’s books about mindfulness and self-compassion.

A 2019 study with 61 preteens found after 18 minutes of yoga breathing, their attention improved and anxiety decreased. Positive results also came out of a study from Ottawa, where two paediatric residents led bi-weekly mindfulness workshops at an at-risk elementary school. The program included mindful breathing and after their sessions, the students were better able to recognize emotions and use tangible relaxation techniques.

2.) When Can Kids Start Learning Mindful Breathing

Marlowe says you can introduce mindful breathing to a child at any age, including mindfully breathing with your baby. She gives an example of doing a song circle with parents and babies, where she would introduce them to mindful breathing using the lyrics, “Breathing in I am calm. Breathing out I smile.” Breathing mindfully with their infant helps parents respond to their baby’s emotions in a more soothing manner which, according to Marlowe, overtime nurtures emotional regulation. By age 2 kids can start engaging in more intentional breathing exercises that involve counting or focusing on the breath.

Don’t try to introduce mindful breathing in the middle of a tantrum, though. Telling a kid to “take a deep breath” while they’re in the midst of screaming over you using the wrong coloured plate isn’t going to get you anywhere. Instead, “Introduce mindfulness during calm times and talk about how it might be used in difficult times,” suggests Erin Woo, assistant director of Mindfulness in Education, at the Mindfulness Center of Brown University. She says depending on the child, suggesting they pay attention to their breath when they’re having a tantrum can be helpful if they’re open to it, but it can also be counterproductive and turn them off it altogether. Part of this is because when a child (or adult for that matter) is having an intense emotional reaction, the flight or fight response kicks in and you become disconnected from your prefrontal cortex (the part of your brain that helps you reason). So trying to teach anyone to pay attention to their breath when they’re not connected to the place where it could happen, doesn’t make sense. “It’s not something we can impose. Allow them to make the connections when they’re ready to use it,” says Woo.

It’s important to note that not all children resonate with mindful breathing. “I don’t think mindfulness is for everyone,” says Woo. “It’s important to recognize it’s not for all.” Meaning if you find your child consistently resisting your mindful breathing suggestions, you should back off.

3.) How to Teach Your Kid Mindful Breathing

Being playful and fun when you initiate mindful exercises or activities is key. Marlowe says it’s important not to force it or have rigid expectations of how they should engage with mindful breathing. It could be as simple as taking a dandelion and saying, “let’s see if we can pretend to blow all of the seeds, but do it one at a time.’ This way you’re not asking a child to be calm and take a deep breath. Instead you’re turning mindful breathing into play.

I shared my son’s experience with his doctor who explained children start to make those connections. “He’s realizing that he’s angry and he’s focusing his attention on her breath is absolutely phenomenal. It’s a wonderful way to detach a bit of the intensity of that emotion.”

She says after you go through a mindful breathing activity, ask your child how they felt. Often they will comment they feel calm or relaxed. You could say: ‘If you noticed that you felt more calm after mindful breathing, when is a time you might use it to help yourself?’ His doctor said children will often have great ideas and if they don’t suggest when they’re upset, you can suggest it and offer specific times.

With continued practice, your little one will be able to start recognizing their emotions and will be able to diffuse themselves faster. The caveat of course is these mindful muscles take time to develop (not to mention the prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed until we’re about 25).

The most powerful way to teach your kids to use mindful breathing in the moment is with modelling. “It’s teaching our kids in a non-pressured way that we all have these different emotions all the time. By taking breaths when we’re upset, kids will start to model that and learn that too,” says Fulroop Sidhu, a child psychiatrist in the Infant Psychiatry Clinic at B.C Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Say for example you stub your foot and it hurts. Say out loud, “That really hurts, so I’m frustrated right now. Maybe I just need to take a few deep breaths. One. Two. Three.”

4.) Keep Working Those Mindful Breathing Muscles

Although my son used mindful breathing that one night to tame his frustration, there have been many more tantrums where he didn’t – perfectly revealed to me why you shouldn’t ask your child to take deep breaths in the middle of a meltdown.

Your kid won’t be able to remember to use these techniques in every tantrum, but over time you’ll see changes in how they manage their emotions. We may not think our efforts are paying off (tantrums will keep happening) but in time they will. Case in point: I have noticed my son’s tantrums are much shorter and less intense than they used to be.

“Mindfulness can really help us when we’re struggling,” says Marlowe. “When we need it the most it can be the hardest to access, so we want to be practicing and developing the muscles so when we need it, it’s accessible.”

Below are four expert-recommended breathing exercises you can try with your little one.

1.) Blowing Bubbles

Age: 2+

How to do it: Get some bubble mixture and a wand. Have your child try to blow bubbles by blowing into the wand. They might blow really hard and not be able to blow a bubble. Suggest they blow gently and tell them to pay attention to what that feels like.

When to use: When you want to wind things down, like in the bath or during playtime before nap.

How it can help: Visualization – you can see your breath create the bubble – encourages children to connect with their breath. In addition to calming the mind and body, this exercise can also promote focus and self-regulation.

2.) “Stop and Feel My Breathing”

Age: 2+

How to do it: Before you and your child are going to start an activity together, ask your child to stop, pause and feel their breath. When stopping to feel their breath, children can place a hand on their belly to feel it rising and falling as they breathe, explains Samantha Snowden, a kids and family mindfulness expert at Headspace.

When to use: It’s meant to be brief (vs. the more focused Bear Breath, below). Try it before a meal, brushing teeth or getting into the car to go to school.

How it can help: “Rituals are especially helpful during transitions, when children may have a hard time switching from one task to another,” she says. “They help children accept aspects of routines like taking a bath or brushing teeth that may be difficult at first.” Adding the mindful breath in before the transition starts allows your little one to practice emotional regulation.

3.) Bear Breathing

Age: 3+

How to do it: Tell your child to pretend they are a bear, hibernating for the winter and explain that when bears hibernate they breathe slowly. Ask them to follow your lead as you inhale deeply. Count out loud to three or four as you inhale and then pause for a count or two. Then exhale, counting out loud for three or four counts and pause again, repeating a few times. Ask your child if they feel relaxed and cozy in their bear cave.

When to use: Before a nap, story time or a creative activity.

How it can help: This deep breathing technique helps to promote relaxation.

Belly Stones/Stuffie

Age: 4+

How to do it: Either with a small stone they have found or their favorite stuffed animal having your child lay on their back with the stone or stuffie on their belly. Ask them to watch the object move up and down with their breath.

When to use: Before a nap or bedtime.

How it can help: Because children have to focus on their belly for this exercise, it helps to teach them that paying attention to their body can help them relax.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

How To Be A Better Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent, Or Friend To A Child

Recently, the New York Times Parenting Blog posted on the topic of how to be a better aunt. What an interesting topic! And, I have a few ideas of my own for aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends of young children.

Some people are naturals when it comes to forming relationships with young children – and some people are not. Some people know how to engage a child easily – and some people feel hurt when they ask a young child, ‘how was school today?’ and the child just stares blankly at them or runs away.

Here are a few tips for those who want to be closer to their nieces, nephews, grandchildren or children of friends and just can’t seem to bridge the age gap:

1.) Visit often. Do not rely on the phone or video chats to make a relationship work with a child.

2.) When you visit, get down on the floor with the child. Whatever they are doing, join them. Make observations about what they’re doing. Compliment them in some way – for example, you can say, ‘wow! That is a BIG lego car you’re building!’ Children, especially those six and under, live in the moment. Questions about something they are NOT doing at the moment (school, sports teams, etc.) won’t go anywhere, but discussion of what they are doing right now may.

3.) Time with the child is a good investment. Each time you visit, spend at least 10 or 15 minutes focused just on the child. This small amount of time will start to build the relationship you have been wanting with the child.

4.) When you visit, you can sometimes bring a project or an idea for a project. Find out from the parents what the child’s interests are and clear the project with the parents first. ‘Do you want to make cupcakes?’ ‘Would you like to build this lego spaceship with me?’ ‘Do you want to do a puzzle together?’ Doing something together on a regular basis will build your relationship with the child and your feeling of closeness with them.

5.) If you know that a parent is not feeling well or is extra busy at the moment, offer to step in for an hour or two. This will build your relationship with the child and the parent will be eternally grateful!

6.) Gifts are good but they are not the best way to actually deepen a relationship. All children love gifts but many aunts, uncles and grandparents have felt disappointment when a child does not thank them or seem grateful for a gift. Moreover, as thoughtful as the gift may be, outside of the context of an already established relationship, they will probably not work to make a relationship happen.

7.) Once you feel you have a relationship with the child, after having done some projects together, with the permission of the parents, take the child on some adventures. For young children, keep it simple: a visit to a particularly fun park, lunch in a restaurant, tea at a hotel or a trip to the zoo for a few hours is a good way to start. If you have multiple nieces, nephews, grandchildren or young friends, try to take each child one at a time for an outing, The parents will love you, and the child, if they feel comfortable with you, will feel special. For an older child, a movie or a play is fun, but even better is doing something where the two of you can talk and experience something together.

Relationships are precious and the more children in your life, the better!

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Be The Best You To Be The Best Parent

We all want what’s best for our children. We can and should devote our time to make sure that our little ones have everything they need to be their healthiest and happiest to be their best. However, it’s also important to ensure you’re the best version of yourself as well. You’ll find it much easier to handle all the many responsibilities of adulthood which you’ll also teach your children valuable lessons. Children pick up more from their parents than just what they’re told so live well. Your kids will learn that living well is something that’ll serve them throughout their life. So how can you be the best version of yourself? Take a look below at seven most effective methods. Some are easier than others but all valuable tips.

1.) Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is so important! It’s something that is often under-discussed. We all know how much better you feel when you’ve had a full night of rest and how much more difficult life is when you haven’t. Of course, there’ll be times when getting rest is impossible – especially when your children are extremely young but if you find that you’re having difficulty falling asleep when everything is fine, then it’ll be important to make changes. Limit the amount of tech you consume before you go to bed or creat a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom limiting the disturbances will all help.

2.) Bright Beginnings

How you start the day will have a big impact on how well your day goes. If you had a chaotic beginning to the day, then it’ll be unlikely that you hit too many peaks throughout the day. Start the day right and you’ll be set up for success. By far, the biggest enemy of a peaceful morning is time. It can feel like we’re continually rushing around to get everything ready and that’s obviously stressful so look at rising a little bit earlier. If you have time for a good breakfast along meditation and some reading, you’ll be on to a winning day. If you can, go for a run and then take a cold shower for bonus points. That combination is more or less the best way to start your day with energy and positivity.

3.) Eating Well

You are what you eat. I know that can sound like a cliche but as with most cliches, it’s also true. There’s a big difference in how you feel after a healthy and nutritious meal and eating fast food. Of course, one unhealthy meal isn’t going to have a huge impact on your life. However, if that’s more or less all you’re eating, then you’ll be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Look up some quick and easy healthy recipes and eat well. It can have a game-changing impact on your life.

4.) Daily Exercise

It would be nice if we could get what we need from sitting on the couch and watching Netflix all day. If you want to feel at your best, then you need to move your body. The building blocks of being a human are becoming increasingly known for us. We were made to use our bodies and not sit around all day. Working out, you’ll give yourself more energy as well as a boost on your immune system. Give yourself mood-boosting chemicals such as endorphins. That’s a lot of benefits in exchange for twenty minutes of exercise. It doesn’t matter what you do so long as you’re getting your heart rate up and doing so consistently. That could mean playing a sport, going to the gym, hiking or taking a walk around your neighborhood.

5.) Handling Issues

There are many things you can do that’ll push your health forward in the right direction. It’s worthwhile remembering that sometimes you’ll need to respond to new issues. Everyone picks up an issue or two just through the course of living. Thankfully, most issues can be managed these days. If you have a health concern, then simply visit your doctor and see what they suggest. Trips to the doctor are important for serious health issues but you should also manage the issues that aren’t life-threatening which can impact your quality of life. For example, your senses. If your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, then look at getting glasses or contact lenses. If you have problems with your ears, then learn what audiologist treat and make an appointment. You’ll find that your enjoyment of life is greatly improved if you can experience it in high definition.

6.) Mental Space

Life is stressful when you’re a parent. As such, it’s important that you’re taking steps to protect your mental space. As mentioned in previous posts, making time for yourself can help significantly. You’ll essentially be putting a barrier between your wellbeing and the mania of the outside world such as spending time with nature or time to do things you enjoy will also help. You should enjoy the journey that is life.

7.) Goodbye To The Toxins

It can be relaxing or fun to have a glasses of wine but it’s important to remember that alcohol consumption can have a detrimental impact on your lifestyle. It can make you feel sluggish and low moods. It’s a radical idea to avoid alcohol but it’s something worth trying. It’s possible that within a few weeks, you’ll be at your happiest and more energetic. Plus, you’ll receive the bonus of saving money.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Healthy Eating Habits for Kids – Simple Techniques

One of the main concerns of a parent is how to develop healthy eating habits for kids – toddlers or older children. Parents have to face a daily battle with their kids of various ages and how to get their kids to eat their vegetables and fruits.

Parents, this does not have to battle! What is needed is to establish a healthy relationship with food. Children need to be taught from an early age how to have a great relationship with food.

It is the parent’s responsibility to develop good habits in their kids as habits may last a lifetime!

If parents eat healthy food, children will automatically eat healthy food. If parents expect their children to eat healthy food, they should themselves do so first.

Children always copy their parents. What is good for parents is good for children. Parents are the role models for their children.

Healthy Eating Habits for Kids - Simple Techniques

1.) Make Allowances

Sometimes if your young child is tired and wants to be fed, just feed them. Or if children do not want to finish everything on their plate, then don’t insist on it. However, make sure this doesn’t become a habit. Always serve age-appropriate portions so that your child does not overeat. Overeating can cause obesity and other problems.

Remind them to stop eating when they are full.

2.) Encourage Healthy Eating Habits At An Early Age

The earlier you start offering your child healthier options, the easier it will be for you and your child. Preferably start from the time you wean your child on to solid foods (more on weaning a little later)

3.) Keep Them Involved

At times give kids a choice of which fruit or vegetable they would like to have. For example, don’t ask ‘which fruit do you want to have?’ Ask them to choose between two. Ask ‘so, do you want to eat an apple or a banana?’ Similarly, ‘do you want to have tomato soup or cauliflower soup for lunch?’ If your child is older, they can help you with cooking meals. This will encourage positive parenting and also some family time.

4.) Be Consistent

Just with everything else with kid, be consistent whether it is rules or routines. Don’t make or break rules to suit your convenience. Always take a long term view. How would like your child’s eating habits to be in five to ten years? As I said before habits can last a lifetime!

5.) Regular and Timely Meals

Offer breakfast, lunch and dinner to the whole family. Make sure you offer the meals at roughly the same time and discourage snacking just before meals as much as possible. If the main meals are eaten properly, it reduces the need of snacks.

6.) Water Instead of Any Sugary Drinks

If you want to encourage healthy eating habits for kids, you have to replace their sugary drinks with water. In other words, whatever is the age of your child, always offer water as a drink especially during meal times. Sugary drinks should only be offered as a treat. Water should be the main drink throughout the day.

7.) Keep Hydrated Throughout the Day

Encourage your child to drink water regularly to keep themselves hydrated. If a child or adult is dehydrated, then they will be hungry more often, which might tempt them to have unhealthy snacks.

8.) Interesting Recipes

If you make a wide variety of recipes, your child is most likely to like a certain dish and thereby eat a sufficient quantity. If a parent always cooks dishes a child doesn’t like or makes the same dish again and again, then what are the chances of them eating sufficient quantities?

9.) Choose A Healthy Way of Cooking

Boiling, baking and steaming are preferable to frying. Use low fat instead of full fat and use fresh tomatoes instead of store-bought tomato puree.

Instead of offering store-bought yogurt, you can make plain white yogurt at home and remember add fresh fruits or vegetables to it. Homemade meals are always healthier than store-bought. A little bit of effort goes a long way.

10.) Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day

You might have heard this before but breakfast is the most important meal of the day – you are breaking your fast after 10-12 hours. Therefore, it is important to have a healthy breakfast. By eating a non-greasy healthy breakfast, you will encourage your children to do the same. Wholegrain bread, low sugar cereals, and fruits are good options for healthy breakfasts. Children above the age of 2 years can have semi-skimmed milk if they have a nice varied diet.

11.) Go Slow on Sugar and Salt

Sugary drinks, crisps, chips, chocolates and other food items high in salt and sugar should only be offered as a treat. At the same time, don’t offer these treats as a reward for making your child finish their vegetables. If you use sweets or crisps as a reward, children might think that sweets/crisps are more valuable than nutritious foods which will set a bad precedent.

12.) Educate Your Children About Healthy Eating

Instead of shouting ‘NO’ every time your child wants junk food, explain to them how they should be eating more fruits and vegetables because it’s healthy for them and helps them grow, making them strong. Explain how crisps and sugary drinks are not healthy choices so they understand why they should be eating more fruits and vegetables rather than crisps and sugary drinks. At the same time, don’t refuse them treats all the time. You can always monitor their salt and sugar intake.

13.) Finger Foods – Great Start to Healthy Eating in Kids

For a toddler to like food and develop good eating habits, it is imperative that you offer them finger foods from day one of weaning (starting on solids) Finger food is anything which they can grab and feed themselves. Examples are:

  • Banana
  • Piece of chapatti (Indian bread)
  • Rice cakes or corn cakes
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Avocado
  • Ripened peach or pear
  • Toast fingers
  • Cooked vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or even courgette

14.) Fixed Time

Always offer meals at a fixed time. They will get used to the idea of eating at a certain time and will start demanding food at around that time. Whatever time you decide will become the foundation of your child’s eating habits. It will be hard to establish their routine but it’s a small price. However, if weaning is done correctly, your child will not only eat well but will also have a healthy diet for the rest of his life.

It is hard to create healthy eating habits for kids but not impossible! Your comments are more than welcome and would also be helpful to other parents visiting my blog. If you have any other tips or suggestions please share them via the comment box.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Preparing For the First Day of School

“You’re off to great to great places. Today is your first day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”

Dr. Seuss

Preparing for the first day of school always begins before the first day of school. From going to bed on time to shopping for school supplies and new clothes, it can be hard to return to a back-to-school routine after the summer holidays. Here are a few tips to get back in the groove of things:

1-2 Weeks Before the First Day

1.) Talk About School

Build excitement for the first day of school! Ask questions like ‘what do you think you will do on your first day?’ ‘what’s the first thing you will do on the playground on your First Day?’ These questions will turn a scary unknown into a fun, imaginative moment.

1-2 Weeks Before the First Day

2.) A Bedtime Routine

This will help your child adjust to going to bed early and waking up early. Create a habit of turning off electronics before bed to relax one’s mind.

1 Week Before the First Day

3.) Shop For School Supplies

Shopping together for a special treat or new outfit will add to the excitement of going to school. Don’t worry about expensive, trendy items. Even a “new-to-you” item that has been repurposed or reused will have meaning when it is intended to celebrate the first day of school.

2 Days Before the First Day

4.) Practice and More Practice

Learning how to get ready each morning for school takes practice. Go through the steps of getting up, dressing independently, preparing and eating breakfast and leaving home. This is also a good opportunity to incorporate practical life skills like dressing, grooming, and hand washing. This will support your little one’s confidence when they have to utilize these skills at school.

1 Day Before the First Day

5.) Prepare All Needed Materials

Do this the night before. This will help make the morning go smoothly and encourage independence and personal responsibility. Also, try inviting your little one in the planning process to take pride in their new routine. For example ask ‘what will you need for school tomorrow?’

Preparing for the first day of school can be a challenging and emotional journey but it can also be a way to bond and make new memories with your little one.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Why Are Family Meals So Important?

Family meals are sinking into oblivion as technology takes over. Technology is a preferred partner at mealtimes than a family member.  

The racket of a device is desirable than the chatter of family talk. Distraction (use of devices) is the new means to get children to eat their nutritious requirement rather than demonstrate to them how to taste and appreciate the food one is eating.

In the era of being constantly surrounded by devices, it is more important than ever to enjoy human companionship over a device especially at mealtimes. 

Why Are Family Meals Important?

Do Family Meals Really Make  A Difference?

Parents, you must be probably wondering what’s so great about having a family meal? You might feel this especially if you have a toddler or two. I have been there and I know what a messy chaotic time meals can be.

 A lot of time the parent’s food becomes stone-cold, trying to restore some order and getting your cheeky toddler to eat their food instead of throwing it around!

If this is the scene you are experiencing every day, worry not! Continue doing this as you are on the right track. A family meal has a huge, positive impact on all members of the family, not just the kids! Having family meals are beneficial to all members of the family. Let me explain how:

1.) Family Bonding

Family meals mean having family time. Having time together is very important as it facilitates family bonding. It makes a  family function smoothly, even though it might not feel like that because of the chaos or constant demand of young kids. All members of the family get a chance to reconnect with each other.

Parents will get a chance to know what is going on in their child’s life. How are they are doing at school? Who is their best friend?

Everyone will get to know each others’ likes and dislikes about food.

2.) Family Meals Are More Nutritious

According to a study conducted by Harvard, teens and young adults are likely to eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer takeaways when families have meals together. If we have family meals, there are more chances of it being nutritious (there would be more focus on fresh fruits and vegetables). There will be fewer chances of having ready-made meals or greasy takeaways.

3.) Parents Are Powerful Role Models

Parents are powerful role models. During family meals when children watch their parents eating healthy food, they automatically start eating healthily.

Children always do what their parents do and not what they say. Healthy eating habits in children come from parents. Parents should cook the same meal for the whole family. Parents can also teach children table manners during family meals.

4.) Family Meals Prevent Obesity

Family meals encourage healthy eating. If children have been encouraged to eat together as a family from a young age, instead of eating their meals in their bedroom or in front of the tele, they are most likely to eat healthily. This prevents health issues like obesity as they are more likely to have a balanced diet. They will be able to have better physical health which will eventually have an impact on their entire life and health.

5.) Improved Communication Skills

When you have meals together, there will be an atmosphere of happiness with all members talking to each other and enjoying their food. Children will learn new words (improve vocabulary) develop communication skills. They will also learn how to be more sociable. Children will also learn how to listen and respect others. When parents have conversations with their children, children benefit a lot in terms of how to structure a sentence, meaning of words etc.

6.) Builds Self Esteem

The research conducted by Harvard also showed that family meals increases self – esteem in kids and also reduce the chances of substance abuse and teenage pregnancy. When families have meals together, children feel involved in the family. Children feel a sense of belonging which makes them feel secure with the feeling that their parents care and love for them. This security increases their self-esteem. They will learn self-love. If children are eating alone they would naturally feel lonely and unwanted. This will have a lifetime impact on their self-esteem. Parents will lose a chance of knowing what is going on in the child’s life and prevent them from doing something wrong.

7.) Savings

Family meals that are cooked at home and eaten together will be cheaper than ready – made meals or takeaway. Parents can also save money too. This is beneficial to families who are running on a tight budget and is a good way of saving money.

8.) Establishing Routines

I have explained the importance of establishing routines to make the journey of parenting easier. If you are struggling to establish routines in your kids, Painless Parenting would help you set them. Family meals help in setting routines. For example, if you would want your kids to go to sleep by 8 pm, a family meal at 6:30 or 7 pm would be ideal. Whilst establishing routines, it is essential to do the same thing (meals) at the same time every day. Isn’t it more convenient if parents were to eat with children which would then make time for parents to put children to bed on time?

9.) Stress Buster

Having a happy family meal is a stress buster. It helps parents get a break from reality. Enjoying the food, family members laughing and joking helps create a stress-free environment. Everyone gets a break from the pressures of life.

What To Do If You Do Not Have Time For Family Meals

Parents, I hear you. Busy lifestyles, jobs, extra activities can put a lot of pressure on doing family activities including having family meals. But family meals can make your life easier. I say this from my own experiences. Everybody sit down together, finish their meal and clear up together. Doing chores together can make the task less daunting and more fun.

Yuou can make time for family meals and make them successful:

  • No screens should be allowed. It will also help reduce screen time in children.
  • Make the same meal for everyone. This will save time.
  • For parents having extremely busy schedules – try doing 1 family meal a week and keep increasing them if possible. 1 meal a week is better than none.
  • Ask kids to help you cook and clean (age-appropriate).
  • Include a rule on family meals in the family rules list to make sure everyone has their meals together as a family.
  • Change your perspective – look at family meals as an opportunity to improve your and your family’s well being instead of thinking of it as a chore and an effort to get everybody together!
  • If you are unable to get everybody to eat together sometimes, don’t beat yourself for it. Effort in the right direction is important. But sometimes if it doesn’t happen, it is ok.
  • Picnics are great way to have a meal together!

Having meals together make happier and healthier families. If you don’t have family meals together, it is never late to start. Build the frequency of family meals slowly in your schedule. Family meals have been very beneficial in my childhood and adult life.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

9 Practical Ways To Reduce Stress in Mothers – Make The Change

Do you feel frustrated with your duties as a mother? Do you feel that you are packing in too much in one day? If only you could do things you desire if you had more time or money. Maybe take a break and do everything you always wanted to do. It is possible to do this. The only condition is that you have got to follow and apply my tips, every single day!

Most likely, your cause of stress could one or more of the following:

9 Practical Ways To Reduce Stress in Mothers - Make The Change!
  1. Children misbehaving/fighting
  2. Finances
  3. No time for self
  4. Lack of time with spouse
  5. Too may chores
  6. Overtired

1.) Thinking of Yourself

Mommy, I know it’s hard to do this. Being a mom of three teenagers and a 1 two year old, my thought is I always put them first for everything but I needed to gain control of my life and get my sanity back.

I remembered my life before I became a mother and thought of all the things I used to do back then. It’s not possible to do everything one used to do before motherhood but at least one can do 1 or 2 things. That’s when I realized that I must spend 5% of my time every day on myself. One of the things I enjoy doing is going to get a pedicure to have my feet done. I know it sounds silly but because I stopped thinking of myself, I didn’t even have time to get my feet done. Polishing them myself seemed easier. Another thing I enjoy doing is reading books. Doing these activities helped me connect me with myself again.

It’s your turn now, mommy. What do you want to do for yourself? Parents, when you start to do things for yourself, your stress will reduce at least for the duration of the activity you are doing for yourself.

2.) Exercise

Exercising is a great way to reduce stress in mothers. It makes one feel more alive and happy. It also improves your physical health. Another benefit for us is that it will help get rid of all the weight we put on during pregnancy. It has also reduced the size of the waist, ladies! Try doing exercises in the early part of the day. It is easier when you are less tired. Mothers, I know you say you don’t have the time but you have got to make time for yourself as per my tip # 1. It is only 10 minutes! Another benefit of exercising regularly is that you will have more energy to tackle the kids and your work or household chores.

3.) Meditation for Mothers

Mothers, meditation will reduce stress and make you calmer. So when your kids fight or misbehave, you will be able to deal with them in a calmer way rather than being stressed out. In my post meditation for mom, I have explained the easiest way to meditate. Again, you can meditate for 5 minutes in the beginning. Meditation can also makes you more efficient and energetic which in turn will save you time. You cannot give the excuse of not having time so try it before you reject it!

4.) Time for Self

In #1, I mentioned thinking of one activity you would like to do. Do one activity every day. Start with activities that take less time and preferably can be done at home. Once you get habituated with thinking of yourself, you can do activities that take time or which require you to go out of the house. Every time you feel guilty for thinking about yourself, just say that “I need to do this for myself” One thing which a mother can try is doing nothing for 5-10 minutes. No phones or devices. No kids. Sit on your own in a room.

5.) Time Management

Plan ahead. What will you cook for dinner in advance? So you do not get stressed out at the last minute- whether you have all the ingredients. Organize yourself so you are not always running out of time because that is one of the biggest stress creators for moms! As I mentioned earlier, meditation calms your mind down and makes you very efficient. So meditate if you feel you are constantly running out of time. Allocate certain days of the week for cleaning and laundry.

6.) Side Hustle

One of the biggest reasons for stress in mothers is finance. Maybe because their expenses have increased due to kids or they would have to leave their daytime jobs to look after the kids. If this is the reason you are so stressed then look for a side hustle. A small business that you can run from the comforts of your home. Perhaps if you are interested in becoming a blogger like me 🙂

7.) Take Help When Offered

Perhaps, your parents or in-laws can help you out sometimes with your kids. Then take the help! If your spouse offers you help, take it. If he doesn’t, ask for it! If you and your spouse are unable to get time with each other, I would strongly recommend putting kids in a routine. This can help.

8.) Mothers, Start Saying No To Reduce Stress

One of the ways mothers can reduce stress in their lives is by saying no to their child. A mother cannot say yes to everything. Don’t give in to every demand of your child. This way you can make time for yourself. Another benefit is that your child will learn to value you more. Parenting is all about balancing your life and looking after your child. Getting the balance right is the key to successful parenting. Saying no to unimportant things is not the same as compromising your child. If your child is safe, fed and clothed, then you have not compromised them. So stop feeling guilty every time you say no to your child! So stop feeling guilty every time you say no to your child!

9.) Sleep Enough

A mother needs 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep too. If your child is very young and wakes up at night, then make sure you sleep during the day when your child is sleeping to make up for the sleep. Moving kids out of our bedroom helped a lot with getting a good night’s sleep. If mothers reduce their stress, they will be better equipped to look after their children. A happy mom is a good mom.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

15 Life Changing Events After Becoming A Parent

Are you excited because you are a new parent? Thrilled to start the journey of parenthood? Did anyone tell you that parenthood is a life-changing event? There are a lot of ups and downs in this journey but if you are prepared then parenthood will seem less daunting!

Parenthood brings a variety of life changes. If you are aware of these changes, you will be prepared. I was once a new parent and after a few years of parenthood, I can say these are the top changes which impacts new parents.

1.) Lack of Sleep

Once a baby is born, there is no time to sleep. Both my kids had kept me awake at night. Most babies do. This happens because the baby has no concept of day and night. The good news is that as time goes, the baby will learn this difference and your night duties will reduce gradually. The first few months were tough for me as a new parent as my baby always wanted to be held throughout the night! That is why at the age of 3 months, I feel a parent should start establishing a routine with their kids. Then at least you would know when you would be able to have a nap and catch up on the sleep which you missed during the night.

Now my kids are in school so they hardly wake up at night (unless they are sick) and I can get 8 hours of sleep every night.

2.) Lack of Time

The first year is the hardest. Parents will have absolutely no time for themselves especially if they have no help from family or friends. The whole day is just consumed by nappy changes, feeds, cooking and cleaning and had no help with my kids so time was limited to evenings and weekends but things start to get better as your child gets older Especially, when they start preschool or kindergarten (roughly 3 years of age). Even though time is scarce for parents, they should take small breaks, if possible. This will refresh and recharge them. You need breaks because parenthood is a lifetime journey. If you take breaks at reasonable intervals you will be better equipped to deal with your kids. Parents are humans, one must not forget. In my experience, taking breaks has helped me become a better parent.

Parents, I know you must be wondering how one is supposed to take a break if one has limited or no help. The reason being, I put my kids into a routine from a very young age. Therefore, I know what they would require at what time of the day or night. Routines will buy you a little time for yourself at least which will help you have some sanity and control over your life. Parenting is still a time-consuming job but at least you will have a chance of a break.

3.) Freedom

Parenthood will curtail your freedom big time. You cannot go and come as you would like to. A lot of parents might also have to quit their jobs to look after their child. Once the child starts going to school, you will get part of your freedom back.

4.) Confidence

When I became a mother for the first time, I felt more confident. Parenthood brings the responsibility of another human being and this automatically increases your confidence. It is as if you have gained another set of skills. You would be doing things that you would have never done before. Trust me, there will be plenty of such occasions.

5.) Problem Solver

Parents are one of the best problem solvers. As your child will get older, you will encounter various experiences. Some good and some not so good. You will have to find a way around these situations. It could be a behavior problem or some issues at school. Your child could be losing things at school or having a problem reading at the required standard. Unfortunately, parents have to find a solution to their child’s every problem. There is no escape from this. Some problems will challenge you, some will frustrate you and some might make you very very angry. I take every parenting problem in my stride and deal with it to the best of my ability.

6.) Efficiency

After embarking on a parenting journey, a parent learns to be efficient. As you are juggling a lot of things, it is hard to keep up at times. Especially if you are working as well. There will be a lot of multi-tasking required in parenting. Multi-tasking requires efficiency. One thing which has helped me immensely is meditation. Meditation not only keeps us calm but also increases our efficiency and productivity.

7.) Time Management

Once you become a parent, you also learn how to make the best use of your time. Since time is scarce in a parent’s life, the time has to be managed well. I do cleaning and laundry on particular days of the week. I work on my blog and freelance writing during the day when my son is in school and while my little one takes a nap. Parenting is about juggling your life and your parenting duties. Ever since I have become a parent, I can finish more chores in an hour than I used to do in a day before parenthood!

9.) Strategic Thinking

Parenting is hard most of the times, especially for a single parent. I had to devise strategies that would make my children listen to me. I had to find a path that would make my parenting journey easier. I had to develop strategies and tricks that would make my kids do what I tell them to do at a certain minimum of fuss and tantrums. It’s not easy but now people come and tell me that my children are well disciplined! I wouldn’t have learnt all this had I not become a parent!

10.) Selfless Love

Before parenthood, I didn’t I was capable of so much love. I have learnt to love selflessly after I becoming a mom. Parenting has taught me to love without any expectations.

11.) Priorities

Naturally, priorities will change once you become a parent. Before parenthood, you would have only thought of yourself and what you need to do for yourself first. But now you would be putting your child’s needs and requirement first. In your life list, you will move down to #2. The #1 spot has been reserved for your children. This one massive change for anyone. I strongly believe that mothers should not forget themselves completely. They have got to remember the woman in them.

12.) Identity

Mothers might find it hard to rediscover their identity after parenthood. Parenting is a full-time job. It is very easy to forget oneself in the process. If mothers undertake self-care activities (doing things they like) it will become easier to rediscover their identity. This will also give them a chance to refresh themselves from the parenting duties.

13.) Growth

After becoming a parent, a person grows a lot (I mean mentally and not physically .. lol) parents learn patience, perseverance, how to calm down. Hard work and determination amongst other things. Parents are great role models to their children (if you choose to be) Children will learn from what the parents are doing. They will do what their parents do and not what they say. For example, if the child sees parents working hard they will learn the importance of hard work.

14.) Social Life

This is another massive change once you become a parent. Your social life will be practically non-existent. You will be so tired because of lack of sleep and doing parenting chores, you will have no energy to go partying. There is also the problem of time. If you are not earning, you will also have a problem with spending money.

15.) Financial Upheaval

As mentioned previously, moms/dads might have to quit their jobs to look after their child. This would naturally create a shortage of money due to a reduction in household income. Parents would then have to learn how to save money. How to reduce bills and how to accommodate all the costs associated with the child. A parent learns to be resourceful.

It is not all doom and gloom once you become a parent. I would say that life takes a different turn once you have a child.Having a child is a life-changing but the most enjoyable event in any parent’s life!

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Why Personalized Name Labels Are Important

Personalized name labels are as important as buying toys, books or clothes for kids. Actually, they are even more valuable than all stuff put together. I will tell you why:

1.) Saving Tons of Money

Parents, you can save hundreds of dollars or pounds or whatever your currency is if you use name labels. The reason being that every time your kids ‘lose’ their stuff, maybe a school t-shirt, PE kit or water bottle, you will have to run to the supermarket or mall to replace it.

The cost of replacing those items will be far greater than the cost of name labels. I mean these labels cost about $30-$40 but the total of all items that you would have to replace could go into hundreds!

2.) Kids Will Lose Stuff Surely

More often than not, the items lost would be required daily. There was a time when I used to keep spare of a lot of items in the event, my kids would lose something. This was getting expensive.

Once the child starts going to daycare or school, there will inevitably come a time when they would have lost something, or the other. My son lost one of his school shoes and the school were amazed at how that could have possibly happened! Luckily, I had labelled my son’s shoes and they were able to locate it straightaway. Plus, we had the other shoe to match it with.

3.) Kids Losing Their Favorite Things is a Nightmare

I am sure most of the parents will agree with me that if their child loses their favorite toy, their fancy water bottle or school bag, all hell will break loose. My kids had the habit of taking their favorite toy to show and tell it to their class. What would happen if they were to misplace it somewhere in the school? So it is safer to label it!

When my oldest son started daycare, I labeled his security blanket. No parent wants to lose their child’s security blanket/teddy/doll.

4.) Kids Items All Look The Same

Every time my kids lost something, locating their stuff in the lost and found department was a nightmare. Every shoe, every school jumper looks the same! How would you know which one is yours? I am very particular about making sure I have got my stuff back and it isn’t someone else’s stuff that looks like mine and the only way to know is if you have personalized name labels on every item your kids own.

Another thing to keep in mind is that just like you some other parent might also be looking for their kid’s stuff. In case your items look identical to their items, you could end up in a fight with them so labels are the only way you can differentiate your items from others.

5.) Inconvenience

From the incident I mentioned earlier with my son losing one of his school shoes, if I hadn’t found the shoe, I would have to rush to the shoe shops on the same day to get another pair of shoes for him. I could have purchased the school shoes the same day but it would have wasted a lot of time for me. All parents, including me, run on a very tight schedule during the week. How can a parent squeeze – in the time to run to the shops to get another pair of shoes? If this happens on a Friday, you would be very lucky!

6.) Dietary Requirements

Make sure their lunch boxes are all labelled properly because even lunch boxes look alike! Just in case your child’s lunch box mistakenly exchanged with another lock box would cause enormous issues for us. Labeled lunch boxes will put your mind at rest to know your kids will be eating the lunch you provided them.

7.) Some Items are Hard to Replace

If your kids have got a pencil case that is no longer being sold and is their favorite, parents wouldn’t want them to lose or misplace it. Some toys could be Christmas gifts from the grandparents which the child would like to show to their classmates. It is best to stick personalized name labels so that they don’t get lost.

8.) Being Organized

A lot of parents like to be organized. If you’re an organized parent, have your kid’s school uniform ready every night so there is no stress in the morning. Have a laundry day scheduled. Wash your kid’s lunch box and water bottles to keep them ready. It’s always beneficial to be labeled and organized!

9.) Teaching Your Child Responsibility

Labeling all your kid’s stuff can help locate all items which belong to them very easily. This makes them responsible as they manage to get all their stuff back home. There will be days when they may have 3 bags full of stuff. Schoolbag, lunch bag, PE or extra activity bag and water bottle. This way your kids are able to get their stuff back and therefore make them more responsible.

10.) Reduces Sibling Fights

Use personalized name labels if siblings have the same toy or book. Stick the labels on those items so that they (including parents) know which one is whose. Im sure there were a lot of times you witnessed the fights because some of their stuff used to get mixed up so don’t forget to stick the labels on.

11.) Hygiene

For hygiene reasons, don’t mix your kid’s stuff with others. If items are labeled, one would know what is theirs and what isn’t.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

How To Be A Positive Parent When You Feel Negative and Frustrated

Do you want to be a positive parent? Are you feeling frustrated with parenthood? Are you getting negative feelings about parenting? Well, most parents feel this at some point in their parenting journey. I have felt it too but it is hard to stay positive when one is angry or frustrated with their child. One can’t be bothered to remain positive when children are fighting or bringing the house down. So what do you do? How do you continue being a positive parent when you feel negative and frustrated?

There are 5 tips that I would like to share with you that I try to remember (as much as is humanly possible) when I am angry and frustrated with my children:

1.) Calming Down

If a parent is angry and frustrated with their kids, they might take a wrong step or react excessively. Kids generally bother their mothers more than their fathers so a mother is more likely to feel frustrated and annoyed with the kids. Especially, if the mother is the main carer of the kids. Think of something, in advance, in a calm moment what you can do to keep yourself calm and not react when the kids are hassling you.

For me, meditation calms me down. Another thing that helps me is that when I get angry is I take a deep breath to help me calm down. If neither helps you, then try counting till 10 (yes, all the way to 10) before reacting. By the time you reach 10, you would have calmed down. When I am calmer, my mind is positive and so are my thoughts. Therefore my reaction is likely to be positive.

I have noticed that when I am upset or angry, my reaction is also negative (more shouting, more frustration and no solution).

2.) Don’t Panic

Years ago when my son was in pre – k came home with a hole in his shoe. It was a big hole and was not possible to wear that shoe again. No idea how this could have possibly happened. It was a weekday. Just like other parents, I don’t have much time on a weekday to rush to the shops. I panicked a bit thinking that I will somehow have to go to shops without upsetting other things in my tight schedule. Then I remembered to calm down. I took deep breaths and thought for a minute. Suddenly, the solution popped into my head. My son would wear his normal trainers to school and I would send a note to his teacher explaining our predicament. Luckily, this happened on a Thursday so he would have to wear his trainers only for a day. Panic is a negative reaction. Take a step back and think is the problem that big?

3.) Focus on the Solution

A famous quote by Jim Rohn, “Focus on the solution and not on the problem” is very much applicable to parenting. Problems cannot be undone so it is better to find a solution. Just like my story about my son’s shoe, once I was calm and focused on finding the solution, the problem didn’t seem big enough. Therefore, parents should try to focus on the solution, not the problem.

4.) Self – Esteem

I believe that it is very important for parents to think a little bit about themselves. Parents tend to go overboard with thinking about their children. I have been guilty of it as well. If parents do this, their self-esteem lowers as they are not thinking of themselves at all and if your self-esteem is low, you are more likely to feel frustrated and upset as you are not able to keep yourself happy. You never prioritize yourself. You come last in your list of priorities. Make some time for yourself. Fulfill at least 2 or 3 of your wishes out of 10.

If a parent feels happy and content with their life, they will feel more positive and fulfilled.

If a parent is positive, they will react positively to a child’s misbehaviour. As you can see, this is a domino effect. To become a positive parent, one needs to become a positive person first and if our self-esteem is high, then your kids will also have high self – esteem as parents are powerful role models.

5.) Time Out

This is a new technique I have tried. Whenever you are frustrated with the kids, I take time out. If the kids misbehaved and you told them of the consequence or dealt with the matter temporarily, leave the room. I step to another room to read my book .. OR BLOGGING lol These two things help me calm down as well as reconnect and re-align with myself. Maybe you can do something you love? Doing something you enjoy can take the focus away from the situation. It can also help with getting overwhelmed.

Instead of giving your kids time out, parents should take time out to calm themselves.

If your kids are very young, ask your spouse to look after them while you take sometime out for yourself. Even 15 minutes of ‘time out’ will work wonders. You don’t even need to leave the house. Removing yourself out of the situation is good enough.

6.) Be a Good Listener

Most of the time, kids just want their parents to listen to them. You would have filled their ‘attention bucket’ by listening which will reduce their chances of misbehaving.

This is one of the tools that I have learnt from Amy McCready, a parenting expert. By listening to them, you are giving them positive attention.

7.) Use of Positive Words

Words have a lot of power. Weigh your words when you speak to your child. Using positive words will lead to a positive reaction from them and if possible, Avoid Criticism. In the heat of the moment, if it can’t be helped then later we can explain to the child ‘what I meant earlier is this’. Give a positive spin to it. Use of positive words is one of the topics I have explained in detail. Parents, I know it is hard at times to do this but practice makes it easier. As I said earlier, parents who have a positive mindset will automatically become a positive parent. This is what I believe.

8.) Positive Discipline

Using positive methods of disciplining a child has a better effect. Remember, you are trying to correct or improve the child’s behavior. Spanking or time outs will only harm the child’s mind.

One thing which has helped me a lot is setting Family Rules. If you tell your kids in advance what is expected of them, they are more likely to follow it.

9.) Giving Choices

Instead of laying the law, give choices to your child if possible. If they feel that they have been able to decide for themselves, it will fulfill their ‘power bucket’ Children need to fill their power and attention bucket daily. This will reduce the chances of misbehavior in children and helps you further in becoming a positive parent.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

How To Unspoiled Your Child – Is It Possible

Have you ever felt that you are spoiling your child? Do you feel your child refuses to listen because they have been spoilt? All parents think of this at some point in their parenting journey. Is it possible to unspoil a child? Yes, it’s possible.

According to parenting expert and coach, Amy McCready, a child is spoilt due to :

  • Overindulgence(providing everything a child demands)
  • Overly pampered(pleasing the child)
  • Not letting them take responsibility(not letting them do what they are capable of doing)

Here are a few tricks to unspoil a child:

1.) Make Routines The Boss

According to Amy, routines help in unspoiling a child. She advises that parents should create a when/then routine. When the vegetables are eaten then the dessert will be served. She further advises let routines be the boss rather than moms and dads.

2.) Family Rules

Family rules help a child understand what is expected of them. They will know what they should and what they shouldn’t do in advance. Write a rule about something your child doesn’t listen about. Example of a family rule:

Bedtime at 8 pm.  

Inform your child clearly about this. Display it where they can see it. You have told your child in advance what you expect from them. Of course, the child is going to fight back but be consistent. Do not change the family rule even once. Because following up on this rule at 8 p.m. is equally important. It is going to be hard initially but this is one way a parent can unspoil their child.

3.) Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be faced by parents too. If parents see other parents overindulging their children, they feel compelled and pressurised to give the same thing to their children. It has happened to me. For example, when my daughter was a teenager, she demanded a phone from us because quite a few of her classmates already had a phone. At first, I felt compelled to give one. Her dad and I discussed this issue alone and we realized that she has no use for a phone. It would only increase her screen time and reduce her playtime with her brother. It would encourage her to rely on a device for her entertainment instead of playing innovative pretend play games! In our minds, we could see her texting non – stop and ignoring all of us at home. That’s when we decided that our daughter didn’t need a phone.

Sometimes it is difficult not to give in to this pressure but you have got to keep yourself strong and make sure you do the right thing for your child.

4.) Bribes Are Not The Right Way

Bribes make matters worse. Every time a parent bribes a child, they spoil their child. Bribes are considered as a quick fix solution for some parents. The reality is that bribes don’t fix anything. It seems like a good idea at that time but it backfires spectacularly later on. Some parents might also feel that if they bribe their children they won’t have to spend time with them. The most precious thing a child will ever need is their parent’s time. No gift can replace a parent’s attention. Even if it is done once, the parent is setting a precedent. If a parent gives a bribe to their child who is misbehaving, the child will feel that if every time they misbehave, my mom / dad will give me something. So to get a gift, your child will misbehave every time they want something from the parent. Bribes create a negative effect on children.

Being a parent myself, I know it is tough at times, juggling different things especially when your child is misbehaving or demanding something unreasonable. But is better to deal with it right the first time rather than bribing them in the first instance and then trying to rectify this ‘mistake’ in the next instance.

5.) Saying No

Parents cannot and should not give in to every demand of the child. Parents have to say no when the child’s demand is unreasonable or inconvenient to the parent. For example, a child might demand an expensive present for their birthday. Parents have to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Can I/we afford this?
  • Does my child need this?
  • Is my child interested in this toy or they want it because their best friend has it?
  • Will this gift spoil my child or raise their expectations?

Weigh all these questions carefully. If a parent has to say no, stand firm and certain in your decision. Otherwise, children might pick up that their parent is uncertain or they might feel that they can still ‘persuade’ their parents to say yes.

Once the parent has decided to say ‘no’ they shouldn’t feel guilty about it. After all, every parent wants to do what’s best for their child. I feel guilty at times too but then I tell myself this positive affirmation in my head, ‘I am doing the best for my child’ and instantly, I feel better.

By saying no, a child also learns how to deal with disappointments. When a child grows up, they are going to face disappointments in their life. By saying no, a parent will be teaching their child to deal with disappointments. Everything will not go the way the child wants it to happen. This is a great way to unspoil a child who is always used to having things go their way.

6.) Gratitude

One of the ways to unspoil a child is by making them feel grateful for what they have got. In these modern times, when everything is available with a ‘click’ of a button, it is hard for children to feel grateful. If children are grateful, they will learn to value what they have got and feel content. They will stop demanding. They will also learn that happiness does not come from materialistic things. Happiness comes from family and friends.

7.) Not Giving into Meltdowns and Tantrums

As pointed out earlier, the child is going to fight back when a parent tries to unspoil the child. This will be the real test for parents. They might have meltdowns and tantrums. Screaming, shouting, sulking etc. It is very important that at this point the parents stay firm and do not give in. Otherwise, it will be harder the next time you do this (unspooling) with your child.

8.) Encouragement

I have shared how encouragement benefits children and how it improves the parent – child relationship. Encouragement means providing positive attention to your child. Positive attention is a key requirement to unspoiling a child. A child will feel that if I continue doing this (something good) then my mom / dad will give me attention.

In a way, encouragement is the opposite of a bribe.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

Mother’s Note

As your parent, I’m responsible for teaching you many crucial skills and lessons. I’m responsible for making sure you eat an actual fruit and/or vegetable, at least once a day. I’m responsible for teaching you to care for your body, and no, showers are not optional. I’m responsible for making sure you treat every person you meet with kindness and respect. I’m also responsible for guiding you towards success in life. So with that goal in mind, I need to be sure we are on the same page as to what success actually looks like.

Mother’s love

Success doesn’t mean having the highest grades in class, it’s working hard and doing your best. Success doesn’t mean making the most money, it’s using the money you make to better the world around you. Success doesn’t mean being the person with the most friends, but being a good friend to those around you. Success doesn’t mean never failing, it’s never failing to try. Success doesn’t mean knowing everything, it’s continuing to learn throughout a lifetime.

Success isn’t having everything you want, but having everything you need. Success isn’t having the biggest house, it’s having a house full of love. Success isn’t being the last one to leave the office, it’s loving and living life out in the world.

You will encounter many with a misguided vision of what success means. They may not see your value if you have not achieved certain milestones, attended the best schools, possessed the right titles. They may even sacrifice their ideals in the pursuit of their version of success. While there is nothing wrong with achieving traditional measures of success, it should never be the sole measure of your worth. If you compromise your values for the sake of success, you have failed.

I will continue to support you, wherever you are on your journey, but never forget, in my eyes you will always be a success.

I love you, mom

Kayos Xpressions

Tips For Surviving the First Weeks of Motherhood

You’re home from the hospital left to figure out how to care for your brand-new tiny human. Those first few weeks are the hardest: this is the biggest responsibility you’ll ever have!

I remember coming home and thinking “now what?” I was seriously lost…I was SO tired, yet I had to push all of my needs and feelings aside to care for my baby. I learned things along the way that helped me keep my sanity (for the most part) during the first few weeks. But, I wish I had known some of these a LOT sooner!

1.) Get Out of The House

It’s easy to have the days blur together in those first few weeks of motherhood. For me, I lost track of what day it was since I was so tired and so busy. It also seemed like I was doing the SAME thing day after day, all while never leaving my house or stepping outside.

Pretty soon, it felt like the walls of my house were closing in on me. I think this was magnified by some pretty bad baby blues. I remember watching my her father leave to go to work every morning and I was so jealous. It felt like I was trapped: by my house, by my exhaustion and by my new responsibilities.

Soon after Adriana’s birth, my mom came to visit us. One morning, I really had a craving for some iced coffee from my favorite coffee shop in a town about 15 minutes away. Without missing a beat, mom started her vehicle, we left baby with her father and we made a special trip JUST so I could get coffee. Even though it was a short trip, it made me feel SO much better! The sun was out beaming hot but just breathing in the crisp fall air did me a world of good. When I got back to the house, I felt refreshed and more able to handle my motherhood duties! Even short trips can make a HUGE difference in how you feel.

2.) Set Up a Station By Your Bed With Baby/Mom Supplies

The hardest part of motherhood for me so far is the fact that sometimes I have to get up in the middle of the night! I LOVE my sleep so it was a pretty difficult adjustment for me to wake up every few hours to feed my baby and change her diaper. I also breastfed for the first 2 months so I was ALWAYS hungry and thirsty, especially during those late night and early morning wake-ups. To make things easier on myself (and on baby) I decided to collect all of the supplies we would need throughout the night and kept them right on top of my dresser so that way we wouldn’t have to leave our warm bedroom! Some of the things I included were:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Water
  • Extra baby clothes
  • Snacks (granola bars, chips etc.)
  • Diaper cream
  • Boppy pillow (seriously a MUST-HAVE for breastfeeding)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Plastic bags (throw away stinky diapers)
  • Extra burp cloths

Having all of this within arms reach made those wake-ups so much more bearable!

2.) Do the Zipper Onesies

I don’t have much to say on this one other than BUY THE ZIPPER ONESIES. Sure, those onesies with a million buttons/snaps are cute but trust me: there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to button a onesie up at 3 a.m. when you’re still half asleep.

4.) Stock Up on Freezer Meals

I PROMISE you there’s one task you will not want to do, maybe even more than before you had a baby and that is cooking! I had a natural birth but standing at the stove and bending down to grab pots and pans was NOT in my cards for the first few weeks. My daughter’s father had to go to work relatively soon after she was born so I couldn’t really rely on him to cook us dinner.

Thankfully, we had a few people stop by with casseroles, soups, and lasagnas all of which we could freeze and just heat up when we wanted to. It seriously saved me so much time (and sanity) having these meals ready to go.

There’s also a cool website called “Meal Train” where people can sign up and coordinate meals for you. I did this for myself and it was awesome!

5.) Hand Baby Off to Someone So You Can Nap

I know it’s hard to imagine passing your baby off so soon but trust me: your mental health is 100 times better when you get adequate sleep. Granted, you won’t completely avoid sleep deprivation but getting a good 3-4 hour nap a few days after birth can really do the mind and body some good.

One day, I had her father watch her and I crawled into our bed and seriously slept for like five straight hours. It was amazing! Since I was breastfeeding at that time, I just made sure I had enough milk pumped for two bottles so I could enjoy my nap without interruptions.

Now if you don’t have a significant other to help you with baby, I recommend asking a friend or family member to take baby for a few hours. Chances are, they will be more than willing to come get some baby snuggles!

6.) Set Aside Time Everyday For a Shower

Trust me momma, I get it. Sometimes it’s impossible to get a break to do ANYTHING let alone get in the shower for 15 minutes. Personally, right after Adriana was born, I MAYBE showered every 2-3 days. There were a few reasons for this: I was busy and I was just too damn tired to shower. However, I noticed that on the days where I did take some time to shower, I felt like a new person. I had more mental clarity and I felt better about myself and my body.

Again, this was easier for me to do since Adriana’s father was able to watch the baby. If you don’t have anyone to watch the baby so you can go shower, try doing it quickly during baby’s naptime.

I know it’s nerve-wracking to shower and have baby outside of your view for a few minutes at first so when you’re ready to, put baby somewhere safe (crib, bassinet, pack-n-play) fed, dry, and sleepy. They’ll fall asleep soon enough.

7.) Be Honest about Your Mental Health

I am notorious for telling people I’m “fine” when I absolutely am not fine. My own mother warned me how serious postpartum depression and anxiety can get, however, so when those feelings started to show, I was honest with my doctor.

Chances are at your first postpartum checkup, your provider will give you a test that shows if you have postpartum depression or not. I scored pretty high on that; my doctor offered me antidepressants but I turned them down. I wanted to wait another week or so to see if my depression and anxiety subsided to which (thank God) it did.

It turns out I had a case of the “baby blues” and not full-blown postpartum depression and felt better being honest with my doctor so that he was prepared to give me what I needed to be okay mentally.

The same goes for when family and friends ask how you’re doing. If you are not doing well, SAY SOMETHING! I told my friends and family I wasn’t okay, which in turn resulted in people offering to help me with baby, housework, and whatever else I needed. You’ll be a better mom if you are healthy mentally.

8.) Go For Walks With Baby (if Weather Permits)

I cannot stress ENOUGH how much walking helped me, mentally and physically. The first few months after having baby, the weather was great! I put him in the stroller and we went walking ALL the time. Walking not only releases endorphins and makes you happier, but it also strengthens your legs and core, which I really needed to do after my C-section.

After being cooped up with baby all winter, going for walks in the sunshine really helped improve my mental health. My husband even commented that I looked happier, and that I wasn’t so quick to lose my cool.

9.) Join Some Mommy Facebook Groups

When I first had Mikey (until he was about six months old) we lived in Nordheim, Texas with my parents far away from most of our family and friends. I had hardly anyone to talk to (except my mom) about new mom stuff, and ask some pretty TMI questions: is my baby’s poop normal? Am I pumping enough? What’s the best type of nipple cream?

To have a place to go to 24/7 with all sorts of mom questions, I joined a few Facebook groups. For the most part, they were really helpful! Not only can you get your questions answered quickly at all times of the day, but seeing other people ask the same questions you have makes you feel less lonely. At least it did for me!

A lot of mom groups get bad reputations because of the mom-shaming. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see any mom-shaming, but the value of the groups for me outweighed the negatives. (Remember, asking questions in mom groups is NOT a replacement for doctors and hospital visits!)

10.) Enjoy It

Last, but not least, enjoy motherhood! Take a second to step back every day, look at your baby, and allow yourself to do NOTHING besides take them all in. Study their features: their little fingers, scrunched feet, and button nose. Soak in that love every day! Other things can wait. Dishes can wait. Vacuuming can wait. For now, your only responsibility is taking care of and loving that baby!

Also, make sure you take A LOT of pictures! Of the baby, of your significant other and the baby, and make sure you get photos of yourself WITH your baby. Even if you think you look bad, take the photo! And remember momma, you’re not alone! Raising little ones takes a village.

Good luck!

Kayos Xpressions

My Story

I serve as a useful source for parents seeking inspiration, activities, help, or advice that I finally decided to own that role and be intentional about it. I started writing about my passions of parenting, my thoughts on it and emotions on paper until I founded Kayos Xpressions in April 2021 with a mission to give other parent a taste of what goes on in my mind

Hello and welcome to my parenting blog Kayos Xpressions. My name is Melinda Marie and I currently live in Texas with my 16 year old son and 2 year old baby boy. I have lived and learned and am still continuing to learn with each passing day. I hope this sheds some light to parents whether seeking for advice or just researching great things for your kiddos. Parenting can be challenging sometimes but never stop trying… NEVER STOP..