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Your child’s tears are actually signs of resiliency + security

We can’t spare our children from all that comes with the world they live in—this is impossible. It is our job to make sure we don’t send them into it empty-handed.

Your child’s tears are actually signs of resiliency + security

There is much talk of how parents need to avoid overprotecting their kids and allowing them to experience failure as a part of routine life. The idea that adversity teaches resiliency is an important one—but only tells part of the story. Why is it that some kids thrive despite the hardship they face while others struggle to survive under the same conditions or better? How do we account for people who face adversity but do not rebound or recover?


While hardship is the catalyst for change, it is not the driver of it. Our emotional system is what holds the secrets to human transformation and is where we need to look deeper as we search for answers.

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Adversity only teaches when what doesn’t work sinks in. It is our capacity to feel sad in the face of all that cannot change that allows us to become transformed by the experience. It is the acceptance of what is futile that leads us to surrender and changes us in the process. In our quest to cultivate happy, resourceful kids, we cannot eclipse the essential role of sadness and tears in this process.

The science of tears + healing

All tears are not created equal. Some are benign, like those cried while cutting onions. Some have an angry raw edge to them that leave little doubt that someone is full of frustration. Then there are the tears that are soft and sad, where the hurt has happened and the emotional system is pushing toward release and repair.

It is these sad tears that make us distinct from other mammal species. It is these tears that hold the secret to adaptation.

For adaptation to occur we need to cease from pursuing things that are futile. For kids there are many futilities in life, from siblings that don’t go away, losing, not being able to turn back time, limits and restrictions, good things coming to an end and not being able to someone change someone’s mind. When the futility of these pursuits sink in, the brain is rewired accordingly. Neurons that fire together wire together–futility clips the pathways that do not lead to success.

When a child accepts that something is really futile, it can bring feelings of sadness and disappointment or the release of tears. These feelings or tears don’t harm a child but are a sign that healing is underway and are the best indicators of emotional health. It is these children who will be best able to realize their potential as adaptive beings.

Children who cannot experience sadness are often full of aggression and foul frustration. Anxiety and attention problems often occur with stuck tears along with opposition, defiance, and even bullying. It is our tears that make us fully human and humane. Children who lose the capacity to cry tears don’t need lessons but adults who can restore their emotional systems and make them vulnerable again. Failure is only a gift when you have your tears.

What is the role of parents?

The biggest losses in life are matters for the heart and not the head. It is feeling the sadness around what doesn’t work that leads to resiliency, recovery and resourcefulness. The challenge is that these feelings can be overwhelming and children need support if they are going to express them.

In a National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, Michael Resnick and his colleagues found that the single most significant protective factor against emotional distress in a sample of over 90,000 adolescents in the United States was a strong caring relationship with an adult.

In other words, resiliency isn’t something we have to teach our children, it is a byproduct of healthy adult relationships.

What matters is who a child turns to when upset, who they share their secrets with, and who they shed their tears with.

We need to have our children’s hearts if we are help them to their tears. We need to invite them to express what doesn’t work without trying to fix it. We need to make space for their disappointment instead of problem solving and strategizing solutions. We need to help them name what isn’t working, and to rest from futile pursuits. We need to help them sit in the vulnerability of surrender and communicate that we are confident there is a way through.

Five reasons we have a hard time letting our kids cry

There are many reasons why tears are unwelcome in children and as a result, can be suppressed or ignored by parents, thwarting their potential as adaptive beings.

1. The more a parent believes happiness in a child is a sign that they are parenting well, the less they will be inclined to make room for sadness. The underlying belief that sadness is a problem instead of a normal emotion will serve to inhibit expression.

2. Some parents may feel their children’s tears are too distressing or too frustrating to listen to. We all come to parenting with a different relationship to our own tears and children will act as a lightning bolt in revealing where we are at. As parents we need to make room for the emotions our children stir up in us.

3. In our quest to raise independent children, there can be a belief that tears are a sign of weakness. Hardiness stems from being able to experience vulnerable emotions and allows a child to bounce back when facing hardship or adversity.

4. There was a time when tears in men were a sign of virtue and character but this is no longer the case in most cultures. Notions of masculinity and gender stereotypes have made it less acceptable for boys to show these feelings. As a result, boys are not as likely to experience encouragement nor be invited to express these emotions.

5. Sometimes there is an over-reliance on logic and positive-thinking, which can get in the way of promoting sadness and disappointment. In dealing with adversity, problem solving and fixing things becomes the modus operandi instead of making room for all the emotions that go along with the experience, too.

Emotions need to be expressed, feelings need names and kids need people to share their stories with.

When we communicate there is something wrong with tears or emotions, we can prevent children from having a relationship with their emotional world.

We need to affirm for our kids that getting hurt is part of life but the answer lies in facing one’s fears, finding one’s tears and holding onto someone who is holding on to you. We can’t spare our children from all that comes with the world they live in—this is impossible. It is our job to make sure we don’t send them into it empty-handed.

When we help our kids realize that they can survive what doesn’t work, it can open the door to new possibilities that might. Adversity doesn’t teach on its own, it is the emotional transformation that we undergo that does. We need to be the tear collectors our children require.

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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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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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