Kindness pays: 8 ways to teach your little ones to play nice

Walk—or crawl—in another tot’s shoes.

Kindness pays: 8 ways to teach your little ones to play nice

I’m sure your tiny tot has one: a book they want to read 10 times a day, even after you’ve both memorized it. My 15-month-old son loves The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. This book portrays a disgruntled ladybug with an inferiority complex who feels the need to pick on other animals to the point of exhaustion. At the end of the day, he is hungry and tired, and has missed out on sharing the bulk of yummy treats with his foil, the friendly ladybug.


Moral of the story? Ladybugs (and little kids!) who engage in friendly, “prosocial” behaviors are more likely to experience fruitful lives.

As it turns out, research confirms this idea. Despite the notion that intelligence drives success, prosocial behaviors may be just as important as smarts! But what are some examples of “prosocial” behaviors?

  • Cooperating with peers without being prompted
  • Helping others in need
  • Attempting to understand the feelings of others
  • Resolving conflicts without intervention

Recent research indicates that when kindergartners play nice, they are more likely to have successful educational and employment outcomes, such as graduating from high school, completing college, and even maintaining full-time employment! These children are also less likely to need public assistance or have a criminal record later in life. Among a plethora of other outcomes, these behaviors even predict less alcohol and marijuana use in young adulthood.

Lucky for us mamas, research shows that it is definitely possible to elicit these behaviors from our children given the right teaching environment. Most interventions to promote prosocial behaviors begin between 5 and 18 years of age, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start teaching your little one about the importance of playing nice long before they are off to school.

So, how can you put your child on the path to kindness (and success)? We have 8 steps to help you get started:

1. Sharing is caring. Even if it is too early to expect your little one to share their belongings with peers, you can set a good example by modeling sharing behaviors yourself. So, the next time you share a bite of your favorite boutique cupcake with your tot, feel free to point out your generosity. Mommy loves sharing her treat with you because she knows it makes you happy! Sharing is fun because it makes both of us feel good! Just remember, when it comes to sharing, you can’t expect your child to do anything you wouldn’t. Their belongings are precious to them, just like your belongings are precious to you. You wouldn’t be thrilled about sharing your favorite Kate Spade tote with your flaky BFF, so you shouldn’t expect child to offer up their favorite lovey to their drooly playmate. Forcing baby to share their prized possessions when they are not willing can devalue baby’s self-worth by demonstrating that other children’s desires are more important. So encourage sharing, but don’t force it!

2. Snaps for baby. As often as you can, call attention to your tot’s generous behaviors.

If your little one does something nice for a friend, let baby know how that behavior will positively affect their friend’s emotional state. Wow! That is so nice of you to let little Aidan read your favorite book. I am sure sharing your book made him very happy. In addition to praising good behavior, this technique offers a chance for your child to engage in perspective taking, which can help them to relate to other children more effectively.

3. Walk—or crawl—in another tot’s shoes. Try to help little one understand peers’ feelings by asking them how they might feel if they were in their friend’s shoes.

For instance, if you see a peer being excluded from the play group, ask your child how they would feel if they were the one left out. If it wouldn’t feel good, it probably isn’t very nice to make someone else feel that way either. Typically, even the basic ability to take another person’s perspective doesn’t develop until at least 24 months, but you are the best judge of when your child will respond meaningfully to this type of conversation.

4. Bring on those warm and fuzzy feelings. Rewarding positive social behaviors is an effective way to show your tot how important it is to cooperate and help out in their peer group. Rewards for good behavior, such as a trip to the playground or a new box of crayons, are more effective than punishment for a lack of good behavior.

When a good behavior is rewarded, it is a clear message to your child to engage in that behavior again in the future. In contrast, when a less-than-stellar behavior is punished, it doesn’t give your child any idea of what to do instead the next time they are faced with a similar situation. The key to effectively rewarding behavior is to walk the fine line between providing extrinsic motivation while not hampering intrinsic motivation. If your child seems to truly enjoy sharing toys with buddies, this behavior does not need any rewarding, as a reward may actually undermine their intrinsic love of sharing. (If you were offered a treat every time you shared your Diet Coke stash with a co-worker, would you continue doing it for free? Me either.)

5. Flex those self-control muscles. Most babies are given plenty of opportunities to practice self-regulation every day. For example, children engage in self-regulation when they squeeze their snack pouch slowly to avoid a goopy mess all over their face.

Having your tot practice these self-regulation skills is a great way to teach your little one to inhibit their impulsive behaviors (like pilfering a peer’s new toy). This kind of practice can also teach your child how to engage in goal-directed activity. If I listen to Mama when she asks me to wait and hold her hand before running down the sidewalk, she will grant me the independence I so desperately crave. Okay, so maybe baby’s thought process isn’t quite that sophisticated, but you get the idea! Self-regulation is just like any other muscle. The best way to bulk up is to use it! If you want your child to get in a few extra “reps,” try playing games like “Simon Says” or “Red Light, Green Light”. Another famous self-regulation activity is to offer your little one a small treat (historically, a marshmallow) and tell them that if they can wait 15 minutes to eat it, they can have two instead of one. Having your little one delay instant gratification for a greater long-term reward is a fun way to show your child the value of working hard for what they want in life.

6. Practice conflict resolution. The ability to diffuse interpersonal conflicts will be invaluable to your child now and in adulthood. If you want your child to gain experience with resolving conflicts, try demonstrations using puppet characters, or invest in a few storybooks that focus on friends who “work out” their differences.

If your child is old enough, organize a cooperative project or game that can only be completed by engaging in teamwork with peers. One easy activity is to have a small group of children work on coloring a large mural (and by mural, I mean the back of a sheet of wrapping paper you snagged from the clearance bin after last Christmas…*wink*) With this activity, children can learn to work side-by-side, communicate about what spaces still need to be colored, share materials, and teach coloring techniques to peers who need a few pointers.

7. Give your child the opportunity to give back. Nothing feels better than donating some of your precious time to a worthy cause. Whether it is a community bake sale, food drive, or story time at your local retirement home, your child may be able to give back to the community, too!

Finding opportunities for your child to contribute to the world can give them a sense of satisfaction, belongingness, self-worth, and citizenship. Plus, that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from doing something altruistic can promote intrinsic motivation to give back in the future. When a child gives back to the community, they begin to see themselves as a part of the community, decreasing their likelihood of engaging in negative behaviors toward other community members.

8. Let your actions speak louder. The most effective way to promote positive social behaviors is to engage in these behaviors with your child at home. By providing a warm and supportive environment for your child, you are giving them the good example they need to be warm and supportive with others. If you do not want your child to display punitive, coercive, or verbally aggressive social behaviors, your best bet is to try embracing polar opposite parenting strategies at home. When your tot decides to flush your (hopefully backed-up) iPhone, try your darndest to keep your cool. Instead of yelling, guilting, or spanking, try a brief time-out (one minute per year of age) and explaining to your child why your phone is so important to you and why you are upset.

It may seem daunting to teach your child these values. (Heck, some days just dressing and feeding my kid is daunting!) Just remember that you have many years to instill these principles into your child’s heart and mind. If you attempt to incorporate little chances to teach, model, practice, and apply these ideas on an everyday basis, your tot will have the best chance of adopting them in childhood and carrying them into adulthood. The positive outcomes of these prosocial behaviors will be evident in every aspect of your child’s life, and there is nothing sweeter than thinking your child might actually pass on some of this wisdom when the student becomes the teacher.

In This Article

    How one company is making a huge difference for LGBTQ youth

    Take notes, all you other brands, this is how it's done

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

    This article is sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    We spoke to Chris Bright (he/she/they), Director of Public Training at The Trevor Project, who works closely with H&M. Chris shared with us the Trevor Project's important mission, and what all brands should do to best support LGBTQ youth today.

    1. For those that do not know, what is The Trevor Project's mission? What is it all about and its impact on society?

    The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. Our mission is to end suicide among the estimated 1.8 million LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 in the U.S. who seriously consider suicide each year.

    Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project launched TrevorLifeline, the first 24/7 national lifeline supporting LGBTQ youth in crisis alongside HBO's broadcast of the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. The first calls were answered that night. Since then, we have grown from reaching several thousand LGBTQ youth per year to becoming the preeminent resource for LGBTQ young people in crisis, directly serving over 200K LGBTQ young people in the last fiscal year alone. We work tirelessly to save young lives by providing support through our free and confidential crisis programs on platforms where young people spend their time — online and on the phone. In addition to TrevorLifeline, we offer 24/7 digital crisis services including TrevorText and TrevorChat, as well as TrevorSpace, the world's largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth.


    H&M + The Trevor Project

    2. Can you describe the nature of the relationship/partnership the Trevor Project has with H&M?

    Our collaboration with H&M has been remarkably successful, with H&M driving awareness of The Trevor Project and our services among its audience while also demonstrating its strong support of LGBTQ young people. H&M first partnered with us in December 2020 during our "Every Single One" holiday campaign, where they donated $250K in matching funds for Giving Tuesday. This helped The Trevor Project have our best-ever Giving Tuesday moment.

    Our work together has had extensive impact, allowing H&M to engage employees, customers, and community members in conversations about LGBTQ Allyship through Trevor's resources and mission. We're thankful for H&M's support, which helps us continue to operate and improve our 24/7 life-saving crisis services so we can serve more LGBTQ young people.

    3. Why was H&M the right company to partner with?

    H&M is an established yet relevant brand that has the attention of young people, and we're always so thankful to partner with youth-facing brands that can not only spread messages of love and support, but also can increase the awareness of our crisis services and resources. We know that H&M genuinely cares about creating a better future for LGBTQ young people.

    4. What do you see as the biggest challenge or struggle for LGBTQ kids today?

    LGBTQ youth are incredibly diverse, with so many intersecting identities and unique experiences — making it difficult for me to pinpoint what might be the single biggest challenge or struggle for all LGBTQ youth today.

    What I can say, however, is our research reveals numerous challenges or struggles that may be more prevalent across the board for LGBTQ youth. According to our 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which captures the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24 across the U.S., nearly 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Over 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health and more than 80% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful.

    What's clear is that while there is no single biggest challenge or struggle for our LGBTQ youth today, it's critical that we find ways to uplift and support each and every LGBTQ young person that we can.

    5. Since it's back to school time, are there stressors or situations that are uniquely heightened for LGBTQ youth, other than the standard new school year jitters, that people don't necessarily know about?

    Our research has found that LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one LGBTQ-affirming space had 35% reduced odds of attempting suicide in the past year, with LGBTQ-affirming school environments having the strongest association with reduced suicide attempts. Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of youth reaching out to us has significantly increased, at times nearly double our pre-COVID volume. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety have been heightened as a result of the pandemic, further emphasizing the need for LGBTQ youth to have access to spaces that affirm their identities, such as gender-neutral bathrooms, trans-inclusive sports, and positive extracurricular activities such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).

    LGBTQ youth who reported having at least one accepting adult — whether it be teachers, coaches, or counselors — were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. The Trevor Project created the Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention, which includes requirements for teacher training, mental health instruction for students, and policies and procedures for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that as in-person learning returns, schools provide LGBTQ students with safe learning environments where they can feel empowered, supported, and accepted by their peers and educators.

    H&M + the Trevor Project

    6. In what way is the support that The Trevor Project provides crucial to LGBTQ youth, especially as it pertains to suicide prevention?

    The support that The Trevor Project provides is so crucial because suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people — and LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight or cis peers. LGBTQ youth reach out to Trevor because we are LGBTQ-affirming and a trusted provider of crisis services. All of our volunteers are highly-trained to answer calls, chats, and text from LGBTQ youth 24/7 when they are feeling suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk.

    Almost three-quarters of youth stated that they either would not or were unsure if they would have another service if The Trevor Project did not exist. We aim to be there for every young LGBTQ person in crisis with a clear message: you are loved, your life has value, and you are never alone.

    7. What do you think the responsibility is for brands to be involved in pro-social, activism-related work?

    Everyone can play a role in creating change and building progress in our society. Brands — especially those with large platforms and influence — have a responsibility to fulfill that role as well. We recognize H&M and our other brand partners for helping spur progress on important issues, and we encourage others to follow suit. Beyond the essential financial support that brands can provide to nonprofits like The Trevor Project, there's also a direct benefit for the community when brands are loud about their support of Pride; we've found that more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community positively impact how they feel about being LGBTQ. Finally, it's important to remember that Pride doesn't begin and end in June — the opportunity to support Pride is 365 days a year. We are thrilled to have H&M as a year-round partner for The Trevor Project, demonstrating their authentic support for our work.

    8. What is one of the biggest impacts or positive results you have seen come from the partnership between The Trevor Project and H&M?

    We wouldn't be able to do the work we do and make the progress we've made without our brand partners like H&M. The Trevor Project has experienced significant growth in the last few years with the implementation of our five key program areas: crisis services, peer support, research, education and public awareness, and advocacy. Since 2019, we've been working to scale our volunteer training to increase the number of crisis services counselors on a yearly basis. In addition to original, intersectional monthly research briefs, our research team launched the world's largest survey of LGBTQ youth mental health in 2019, and has released a total of three national, annual reports. We've ramped up Trevor's advocacy work on the local, state, and federal levels to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, including bills to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy that have been in introduced in 40 states. H&M's partnership helps us advance this work by raising significant funds and awareness for our mission. During June 2021, when H&M served as one of our key Pride Partners, our crisis counselors served over 19,500 crisis contacts with free, confidential support via phone, chat, and text.

    9. How important is it for LGBTQ+ youth to see allies in popular culture, be it a celebrity or high profile person, mainstream brand, etc.?

    LGBTQ representation in the mainstream media is extremely important as it makes LGBTQ youth feel seen, validated, and confident that they are not alone. Over 80% of youth said that celebrities who are LGBTQ positively influence how they feel about being LGBTQ, and more than half of youth said brands who support the LGBTQ community have a positive impact on their LGBTQ identity. As we continue to see increased visibility for marginalized communities in popular culture, diverse images will become normalized, which in turn creates a safer, more accepting world for all of us.

    10. For people who want to get involved with a cause like The Trevor Project, what is the best way to make a difference?

    There are a number of ways to get involved with The Trevor Project – from making a donation (TheTrevorProject.org/Donate) to applying to be a volunteer (TheTrevorProject.org/Volunteer) to spreading the word about our resources.

    Affirming spaces and support systems work to save young LGBTQ lives. People can be active in their communities to ensure that more safe, affirming spaces are available and thriving. Even making an effort to respect someone's pronouns and encouraging those around you to do the same can make a huge difference. Our research has also found that LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt. If you get the opportunity, be that one person for a young person in your life.

    If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project's trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

    Our Partners

    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

    $249

    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

    $65

    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

    $40

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

    The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

    Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

    We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

    All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

    And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


    Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

    Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

    Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

    Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

    When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

    Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

    Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

    You've got this.

    Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

    The Motherly Birth Class

    pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

    Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

    $79

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are 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 indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    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

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    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

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-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.

    $19.95

    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

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    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.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    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.

    $79.99

    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.

    $24.75

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    18 stylish-but-comfy pieces to refresh your wardrobe this fall (and everything's under $75!)

    From school pickup to working from home, these pieces will freshen up your closet without breaking the bank.

    Freedom Company

    What is trending in the world of fashion changes every year. Keeping up with what's in style is challenging when you're a busy mama who's constantly cleaning up, preparing meals and working all day. That's a fact, so how can you possibly be expected to keep up with the latest clothing trends?

    During the height of the pandemic, many of us became comfortable dressing down, going braless, and saying goodbye to snug jeans. But who says we can't tackle a look that is cozy and polished? From 2021-2022: biker shorts have begun replacing short-shorts, bright colors are trending, tie dye and retro patterns are making a major comeback, and let's not forget, joggers are the new skinny jeans. The accessories you choose will help others determine whether or not you're lounging around town post-yoga class or preparing for a job interview.

    Replacing your entire wardrobe every year, however, is too expensive. But purchasing a few clothing items within your budget will help boost your self-esteem and keep you feeling proud with what you're wearing every day.

    Bearing in mind that no two moms are alike, we narrowed down a list of must-have clothing items—there is a little something for everyone. And the best part? Each garment costs less than $75.

    We carefully selected each piece based on several factors: pricing, quality, and the level of comfort. Enjoy browsing through our wide-ranging list, and of course, happy shopping!

    Sensual Fashion Boutique Entro Terracotta Long Sleeve Tiered Ruffle Midi Dress

    Not only is the color of this mid-length dress perfect for autumn but it's also lined and tiered with ruffle details, providing an added layer of warmth. The end of the sleeves and waist area have elastic for lovably chic vibes, and the v neck isn't too low cut for play dates and strolls through the park.

    $49.99

    Digital Print Tie-Dye Joggers

    tie-dye-sweatpants

    Go ahead: check out dresses, loungewear, and activewear on any clothing website and you're bound to find a wide array of tie dye options. Pair these high-quality, affordable joggers with a form fitting tee or crop top in the warmer months or a matching hoodie in the fall and winter.

    $32

    Nancy Rose Performance Stealie Tank

    dyed-stealie-tank

    Every one of Nancy Rose Performance's tanks are dyed by hand, so no two are the same. To make this an even better purchase, this flattering top is anti-odor, UV resistant, protective against germs and bacteria, and the fabric promotes healthy skin—does it get any better than that? The body hugging fit is comfortable, not too tight, and can be worn out of the house or even as a cozy pajama tank.

    $62

    H&M Shirt Jacket 

    This loose-fitting shirt jacket literally matches with everything from dresses and rompers to joggers and jeans. We can't get enough of how delicately soft the 100% cotton feels—it's almost like you're wearing a throw blanket around your body.

    $39.99

    Freedom Company Babydoll Dress

    freedom-company-olive-babydoll-shirt-dress

    Available in four color variations, this flowy dress is an absolute staple in any moms' wardrobe. Some people prefer dressing it down with a pair of flip flops or sneakers, while others wear heels and a trendy scarf—making this an excellent option for any occasion. Bonus points: it's made from a buttery soft material, doesn't shrink in the wash, and there's even side pockets for convenience.

    $75

    ​Smash + Tess The S + T Bada$$ Bike Short 

    biker-short-in-dusty-rose

    So long, short-shorts—biker shorts are trending for good reason: they're versatile and cute as heck. You can wear them to a morning yoga class and then throughout the remainder of your day, while embracing the comfortability and vintage appeal. Smash + Tess is bringing sexy back with these dusty rose-colored shorts that can be worn with a loose-fitting tee, crop top, or camisole—honestly, there isn't much they can't match.

    $40

    ​Socialite Shortie Cami Romper

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    You're choosing both quality and affordability, and who doesn't want that? This romper comes in heather grey or black taupe and it's soft as jersey sheets. You can dress it up with a pair of wedges, sunglasses, and a casual cardigan, or pair this loose-fitting piece with flip flops for a chill and cozy appearance.

    $45

    ​M.M.LA Fleur The Constance Dress -- Everstretch

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    Doesn't every mama need a sexy black dress for date nights and special occasions? With Everstretch material, M.M.LaFleur's midi dress will quickly become your go-to for night's out in the town.

    $70

    Wolven Moonlight Mandala Reversible Four-Way Top

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    A shirt that can be worn in four different ways, how unique is that? You can wear this as an all black shirt, a solid black shirt with a keyhole in the front, a printed shirt, or a printed shirt with a keyhole at the top of the front. Talk about convenience—you could wear the same shirt four times in one week and no one would be the wiser.

    $68

    MISSGUIDED Purple Floral Print Cut Out Skater Dress

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    Why can't moms dress in cool clothing on the weekend or after work hours? Be daring: opt for a dress that has a low cut v-neck and also shows just enough of your back to make you feel sexy without being too revealing. The purple hues within the floral pattern are seriously gorgeous.

    $23

    L*SPACE Off Duty Short

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    Flattering on all body types, these retro inspired gym shorts are made from ultra soft French terry rib fabric. No joke, you will want to wear these all day, forego pajamas, and keep these cuties on while you're sleeping at night.

    $75

    Onzie Biker Babe One Piece

    biker-one-piece

    This one piece incorporates two of the biggest trends this year, tie dye and biker shorts. ONZIE created a form fitting outfit that can be worn at the gym, during your fave hot yoga class, or as a stylish option for everyday wear. We promise, you'll look like the coolest mom everywhere you go, because let's be real, you already are.

    $66

    ​A Pea In The Pod BB Dakota Under Belly Maternity Jogger Pant

    cotton-candy-joggers

    Resembling fluffy cotton candy clouds, these joggers stretch to fit pregnant, postpartum moms (even if your kids are all grown up). Their timeless look blended with maximum comfort makes for the perfect pair of pants.

    $33.97

    ​ASTR the LABEL Geraldine Lettuce Edge Top

    white-lettuce-edge-crop-top

    Not only is this crop top affordable, but you can quite literally match it with anything: biker shorts, skinny jeans, leggings, or skirts. The ruffled lettuce edge adds a nice touch, setting this shirt apart from all of the rest. Let's get rid of the stereotype that moms must cover up—why don't we show a little belly, feel proud of our bodies, and strut our stuff once in a while?

    $28

    ​Frank and Oak The Oversized Tie Dye T-Shirt

    oversized-tie-die-shirt

    The loose fit of this tie dye shirt causes total comfort, and who doesn't want that? This tee pairs well with biker shorts, leggings, and skinny jeans. They're available in pink or green, so you can pick your fave or perhaps buy both!

    $29.99

    ​LEZAT Jessie Brushed Jogger

    nude-pink-joggers

    Affordable pricing? Check. High quality clothing? You bet! These joggers are made from extra soft, recycled nude pink fabric. For a matching set, you can add their cute cami to your shopping cart and still, your purchase will only come to a total of $60. We can't recommend this brand's clothing selection enough!

    $40

    ​Peruvian Connection Conservatory Dress

    wrap-dress

    This dress can transition from summer to fall if you throw on a nice jacket and brown boots. Depending on how you choose to accessorize, you can dress it up casually or professionally.

    $72

    ​Pistola Trina Muscle Tee

    muscle-tee

    Muscle tees are making a huge comeback for men and women alike. When the soft cotton material is cloaked in a feminine pattern, we're all bound to fall in love.

    $68
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    Manager's viral post about flexible working hours is making moms feel seen

    Because life happens whether you're on the clock or not.

    LinkedIn

    If there's one thing we've all learned during these past 18 months, it's that we're capable of being a lot more flexible than we probably ever thought we could be. Because, well, we've had to be. Primarily when it comes to work.

    We've all learned the importance of being a little more understanding, and one manager is hitting the nail on the head about being flexible at work in a LinkedIn post that has gone viral. And it's resonating with working moms, big time.


    Raise your hand if you're a woman and you've found yourself apologizing to your colleagues and supervisors about having to duck out of work or call off because your kids are sick. How about going into immense detail to "justify" why you need to take time off for your family? Yep, I see you've all got your hands raised!

    Though employees, women in particular, have basically been conditioned to do these things, this LinkedIn post basically gives us the validation that it's OK to not be a machine—because life happens.

    Megan Witherspoon, the Vice President of Communications at Altria, wrote about flexible working hours from a manager's perspective and it quickly went viral. Why? Well, it's a must-read. So go ahead and dive in.

    "I DO care that your daughter is home with yet another ear infection," she writes. "I DO NOT care that you'll be offline for 2 hours this afternoon for her doctor's appointment."

    Since we're all in for an anxiety-ridden school year when it comes to sicknesses—even the common cold ignites panic in most of us now—this line is especially validating to read.

    "I DO care that a bus driver shortage means you don't have reliable transportation for your son," she continues. "I DO NOT care if you need to get back to me in an hour after picking him up from school."

    Witherspoon also talks about the importance of taking vacation time and prioritizing your mental health, because a healthy employee is a happy employee. And happy employees stick around—because they want to.

    She concludes her post by reinforcing the idea that, as a boss, she cares about the things that are happening in the lives of her employees. And that as long as your work is done and done well, it shouldn't matter how or when you do it. Especially now, amid an ongoing pandemic that impacts our lives in ways both big and small every single day.

    Life happens. Flexibility is a valuable currency—at home and at work.

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