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‘Who will this child become?’

3 valuable questions to ask our children when we really want them to think big.

‘Who will this child become?’

An innocent enough question: What do you want to be when you grow up?


I remember countless times I wasasked this question as a child. Now as an adult, I too, have asked childrenthis question out of love, curiosity, and concern.

But does this questionpotentially do more harm than good for developing children?

There is certainly nothing wrongwith dreaming, aspiring, or taking charge of our lives.

But the basic problem with this question is that it tells our children that they can only be one thing when they grow up and that they need to know what that is right now.

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Can we instead give our children permission to better understand themselves, their values, and their curiosities before making a decision at such a young age?

Can we help our children nurture those pursuits and allow them to develop competence in these areas through hard work and determination?

Can we then trust that the right college admission and career will come with that guidance and nurturance?

Instead of this question, let’s try asking our children 3 other questions when we want to inspire them to think big.

What problems do you see in the world that you want to solve?

There are plenty of problems in the world that need the next generation’s brilliant hearts and minds to solve them.

Does your child care about poverty, trash in our oceans, or animal rights?

When you see these problems happening out in the real world, try to initiate simple conversations about these topics with your child. Help your child see how they could be part of the solution.

Even young children often have a point of view on the state of the world they live in, whether it is the way their preschool is run or the way the playground is being managed.

Even if these issues don’t form the central core of their future career, having a dedicated cause that they can devote themselves to learning about and contributing to can build an incredibly solid foundation for finding their place in the world.

What do you want to learn more about?

Yes, grades are important and most of us want our children to be accepted into a good college(and if we’re being honest, a scholarship wouldn’t hurt, either).

But instead of focusing solely on external markers of learning, let’s try to help our children understand more about the things they are intrinsically curious about.

Is it how rainbows work or what animals live in the ocean? Is it how to save money or howt o draw people?

Let’s help our children find the pursuits that will truly leave them wanting to learn more, more, more!

Who is an inspiration to you?

Maybe your tot really likes how well his nurse or pediatrician know how to make him feel better when he is sick.

Perhaps your child appreciates her preschool teacher because she helps young people explore the world around them.

Help your child understand the many ways people can develop meaningful lives by helping them forma point of view on what they see around them and what that means for their own lives.

One of the biggest challenges in having these conversations with our children is our own fears, our own unfulfilled dreams, and what our children’s choices mean for our own identity.

I can sometimes feel my own fears when I think of the many life choices my son will make—and he is only 2 years old!

What if he wants to do something that I know will make it very hard for him to pay the bills? What if he picks a college major that has very limited career prospects in the long term?

And don’t even get me started on how I will measure my own worth as a parent based on the different choices he will one day make. Yikes! Not even years of yoga and meditation have allowed me to lose my anxiety over that colossal question!

And yet, the first step is being true to our own blind spots about our child’s future and having honest conversations with ourselves.

The second step is to have these conversations with our children, offering them genuine insight into our concerns but, most importantly, giving them the freedom they need to find their own place in the world.

The beauty in today’s modern world is that there is a place for our children to grow up to be both a statistician and painter. A writer and avid animal rights activist. Let’s help our tots see the plethora of choices available to them and give them the opportunity to cultivate all of their many gifts.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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