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10 real-life parenting lessons we can all learn from Daniel Tiger

I am not kidding when I say that when I’m in a rough situation, that cute familiar little tiger voice starts playing a situationally appropriate song in my head and guess what? Not only do I listen to it—I also start singing along with it.


These songs are catchy and honestly have been helpful for me in tricky parenting situations. But not just for me (?), also for my kiddos.

And despite the questionable things that go on in Daniel Tiger—like, why does Miss. Elaina force her friends to be so formal with her? And why doesn’t Daniel wear pants?—it still is a show we love watching together. Just like how I loved watching Mister Rogers with my family when I was a girl.

Plus, studies tell me I don't have to feel as guilty for this screen time because Daniel and his friends will teach my kiddos empathy and compassion.

So, if you see me on the playground dealing with a child who doesn’t want to leave by softly singing to myself, “When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath... and count to four!” join in, will ya?

Here are a few other lessons I’d like to thank that cuddly little pantsless tiger for.

1. How to calm down

Give a squeeze, nice and slow... take a deep breath, let it go.

Sometimes, we just need a reminder to stop the madness around us and take a minute to breathe—to refocus and gather ourselves. Sometimes this means I need to walk into another room when my children are having a moment, so I can collect myself and keep my cool. When I remember to do this, it pretty much always works—for them and for me.

2. How to sit with sadness

It'’s okay to feel sad sometimes. Little by little you’ll feel better again.

To me, Teacher Harriet kills it on this one. Sadness is a big feeling that our kiddos are going to experience. (Which makes me need to sing this song to myself just picturing my children sad. ?)

And of course, my kids have seen me sad before too. We’re all humans, and we’re going to get that piece of bad news that guts us, we’re going to have our hearts broken, we’re going to come face-to-face with disappointment, but little by little, day by day—we’ll pick ourselves back up again.

3. How to communicate effectively

Use your words...use your words!

Okay, Daniel Tiger fan or not, what parent doesn’t say ,“Use your words, please” 300 times a day? I know I do. But when you sing it, guys... it’s even better. ?

I hope I’m teaching my children to talk to me and to communicate with the people around them with words—instead of say, their hands, like they can do with each other when they’re frustrated (there’s also a frustrated song to sing, natch.)

Honestly, sometimes they just need a little reminder to talk it out.

4. How to celebrate differences

“In some ways we are different, but in so many ways we are the same.

Teacher Harriet, at it again. I love singing this with my girls because they (especially my 3.5 year old) are at the age where they’re starting to notice how some people look different from them, sound different, wear different clothes, etc.

And I, as the adult they look to, am always trying to convey that yes—not everyone is the same on the outside, that’s correct. But, we all are inherently good humans whose hearts are filled with love and kindness—and we should all be treated as such. And plus, being different is often what makes us so awesome.

5. How to embrace new experiences

When we do something new, lets talk about what we’ll do!

Doing new things can still be scary for me. I’m shy and get nervous in situations I’ve never been in before or with people I don’t know well. So I’m reminded that duh—my children are going to feel this way sometimes, too, and that it’s always good to have a quick chat about something that is brand new to them before it happens. I mean—who doesn’t like a heads up? Mommy Tiger must, because she nailed this one. (#MomminHard.)

6. How to take care of your responsibilities

Clothes on, eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on shoes and off to school!

We have sung this song so. many. times in our house it’s unreal. I can seriously fill in for any character on Daniel Tiger if they need a stand in. ?

We’re often rushing around in the morning and this song has saved me from yelling or losing my cool many, many times. And somehow it actually gets my kiddo to get dressed and ready for the day. (It doesn’t always happen seamlessly, BUT, it definitely helps so I’ll count it as a win.)

7. How to clean up after yourself

Clean up, pick up, put away, clean up every day!

Scene from my house.

Me: “Okay, honey, it’s time to eat dinner so let’s clean up these blocks.”

Daughter: “No thanks.”

Me: “Please? I’d like some help and it would be great if you were my big helper.”

Daughter: “But you can do it, Mom.”

Me: “You know what Daniel Tiger always says—clean up, pick up, put away!”

Then she continues singing the song and starts putting the blocks away. These lyrics are like magic fairy dust, I’m telling you.

8. How to potty train

When you have to go potty, STOP and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way.

This episode was so helpful when we were potty training my daughter. She already liked Daniel Tiger, so she had a connection with him, and when she saw him trying out the potty—she wanted to, too. She’s been potty trained for a while now, but lately doesn’t want to be bothered with flushing or washing... so, we’ve resurrected the song and put it back in the ol’ rotation to assist with that.

9. How to share

You can take a turn, and then Ill get it back.

This has been a popular one in our family, too. Sharing is so hard to teach and so hard to ask little ones to do, I often don’t even push it with them. I feel like little toddlers aren’t quite ready to fully understand the concept of sharing so I don’t like forcing them to.

However, once my daughter got to be a certain age and she and her cousin would fight over every toy they could lay their eyes on—I figured this could be a good one to become familiar with. I’ve heard her sing it to her cousin a few times—and it’s really, really cute. (Much cuter than hearing them argue.)

10. How to say sorry

“Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is the first step, then how can I help?”

I say sorry to my kids whenever I snap or do something that hurts their feelings. I think it’s important to show them I’m human and I’m going to make mistakes—but that I love them more than anything and want to make it right. So, I love that this little ditty isn’t just about saying ‘sorry,’ it’s about taking that next step and asking if that person is okay, or what you can do to help them feel better.

Often children are forced into saying ‘sorry’ to someone and don’t even fully understand why they’re saying it or maybe don’t feel ready to say if but they’re being told to—so they do it. This one is *hopefully* teaching them that it's not just about apologizing, it’s about being okay with admitting you were wrong and asking what steps you can take to make it right. ?

Guys. I’m obviously a DT super fan, but can you blame me? The Tigers are doing something right and I’m just happy to be their protégé. I can’t wait until Baby Margaret can contribute to the parenting conversation—she’s going to do big things!

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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