Why you should never, ever, swing a child by the arms

by Michelle Stein posted in Parenting My family learned the hard way just how easy it is for a little kid’s arm to pop out of place and end up with nursemaid’s elbow. Also known as radial head dislocation or a pulled elbow, nursemaid’s elbow happens when the radius slips out of its normal place at the elbow… Read more »

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How Do You Raise Teens Who Will Grow Up Close to Each Other?

One of my favorite photos of my kids was taken when my son was four and my daughter was two.

They are sitting side by side, with their backs to the camera, playing in the sand on the beach. She’s wearing a pink sun hat and he’s wearing an orange fisherman’s hat. While you can’t see it from the picture, I snapped the photo because my heart swelled as I watched them quietly share their sand toys without words.

I remember that day clearly, too. It had been a hassle to make it to the beach with two toddlers and it wasn’t a particularly warm day, either. But, my husband and I decided to make the most of our beach vacation and we hauled sand toys, blankets, snacks and two squirmy toddlers to the beach.

I want my teens to grow up close to each other

As we settled in for the afternoon, both kids gravitated towards each other. They sat side by side and wordlessly traded sand shovels and buckets, each seeming to know instinctively what the other was going to need next. They were both engrossed with their own sand project and yet, they were a team.

I watched them that day and wondered if they’d always be that in tune with each other.

Would they always just know what the other needed and provide it without being asked?

I snapped that photo not only to savor that moment but to preserve the memory for them, too. Almost as if I was assuring myself that I’d be able to prove to them, and myself, that they were close as babies.

Of course, those toddlers have grown into teenagers who bicker over bathroom time and control of the remote control.

And there are days when I wonder where those sweet sand playing babies went, especially when I hear bedroom doors slammed in anger.

I worry that their teenage years will drive a wedge between them, that they won’t realize that they will need to cling to each other in those years after their father and I are gone.

I worry that they don’t appreciate the strong bond that siblings bring to their life as my brothers have become the two men in my life who will never let me forget what I looked like with bad hair and braces.

When I hear them fussing over who has the right to sit in the front passenger seat or who should be allowed to pick the family movie night movie, I quietly pray that their differences won’t slowly crack the veneer of that bond they forged as toddlers on the beach.

Each little disagreement, every snide comment uttered with a teenaged eye roll and every hurt feeling leaves me to wonder if I’m doing everything I can to make sure my two kids realize how important siblings really are.

In those moments, when I am worried that my kids will drift apart and not grow up close as adults, I focus on those moments where they show me that their hearts remember, even if their mouths say otherwise.

When my son reminds me that we are out of a my daughter’s favorite yogurt, the one she loves in her lunchbox, my heart smiles.

When my daughter notices the perfect gift for my son, six months before Christmas, I realize she doesn’t hate him for borrowing her ear buds as much as she announced earlier in the day.

When my husband and I arrive home from date night and find them huddled in a small section of the couch, each peering into a share iPad as they laugh about YouTube videos, I catch glimpses of the toddlers who used to share their sand buckets.

And, recently, when we took a family vacation to Florida, they were appalled that we gave them the option of having their own bedrooms on this trip.

“But we always share a room,” they cried.

And, my son, sheepishly admitted that he feels better when his sister is in the twin bed next to him, in the room they’ve shared at their grandparents’ house since their toddler days.

I want my teens to be close as adults

Of course, there was bickering over my son’s messy ways and my daughter’s book light use late at night. And they argued over who ate the last ice cream treat in my mother in law’s refrigerator and about splashing each other too much in the pool.

But, on our last day of vacation, I looked up from my beach chair and caught the sight of the two of them wading into the water, side by side, deep in conversation.

Their backs were to me, their teenaged frames in silhouette against the deep blue of the sky, each seeming to know that the other needed to talk about their day. I knew the moment was fleeting and, as I reached for my camera to capture the moment, I smiled to myself.

They are close and I don’t have to prove it to myself anymore.


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Christine Burke is the Keeper of the Fruit Loops, Manager of the Fecal Roster and Driver of the People Mover. In other words, she’s a mom. An Erma Bombeck Martha Stewart with a Roseanne Barr twist, she has the mouth and organized cabinets to prove it. She resides in Pennsylvania with her ever budget conscious husband, two blog inspiring Fruit Loops and her extensive collection of thrift shop shoes. In her spare time, she runs marathons and drinks cheap wine to cope with it all. Her personal blog is Keeper of the Fruit Loops

The post How Do You Raise Teens Who Will Grow Up Close to Each Other? appeared first on Grown and Flown.

50 Best SpongeBob Memes & Epic Jokes Of All Time

Best SpongeBob Memes Funny Quotes

Don’t lie. You know who it is. That’s right, it’s the bright yellow sponge that lives at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and who has been on the air since 1999 and earned over $13 billion in merchandising revenue as of late 2017.

SpongeBob Square Pants! (Hold for applause.) 

For us Gen-Z kids growing up in the early 2000’s, SpongeBob made us laugh and forget about the trials of growing up (elementary school was brutal, yo). SpongeBob taught us the value of friendship and the value having passion for your career and hobbies. 

I still find SpongeBob’s passion for his work making Krabby patties to be an inspiration. I shall make writing my Krabby patties! 

I’ve loved SpongeBob since I was 13 years old, and my brothers and I bonded over the hilarious and quirky little fry cook from Bikini Bottom for years after. 

RELATED: 7 Nostalgic Cartoon Movies All 90s Kids MUST Show Their Own Families

From SpongeBob and Patrick’s hilarious misadventures, the Krusty Krab and Squidward’s epic jokes, and all their unforgettable friends, I grew up a SpongeBob fan and have stayed one ever since. 

And who couldn’t love this friendly, upbeat show? SpongeBob’s ability to be unashamed about his feelings and his weirdness made him a fantastic role model for kids and adults alike.

Never ashamed of his best friend Patrick star, and passionate about jelly fishing even though no one else seemed to really care about it (besides Patrick). The show was/is just great, good fun all around. 

So, in celebration of 19 years of the funniest yellow sponge of Bikini Bottom, look to our collection of the 50 best SpongeBob memes and epic jokes of all time:

1. Claustrophobic means “afraid of Santa Claus”.

Squidward: “You’re making me claustrophobic.”

Patrick: “What does claustrophobic mean?”

SpongeBob: “It means he’s afraid of Santa Claus.”

Patrick: “HO, HO, HO!”

SpongeBob: “Stop it, Patrick! You’re scaring him!

2. When even SpongeBob’s metaphors can’t be serious.

SpongeBob 1: “Hurry up! What do you think I’m paying you for?”

SpongeBob 2: You’ don’t pay me.”

SpongeBob 1: “We don’t even exist. We’re just a clever visual metaphor used to personify the abstract concept of thought.”

SpongeBob 2: “One more crack like that and you’re out of here!”

SpongeBob 1: “No please! I have three kids!”

3. That one time when Patrick and SpongeBob learned a bad word.

SpongeBob: “Hey Patrick, how the *dolphin chirp* are ya?”

Patrick: “Pretty *dolphin chirp* good, SpongeBob!”

4. The time when SpongeBob and Patrick were musically pun-tastic.

SpongeBob: “Hey, a note!”

Patrick: “Turn it over there’s a letter.”

5. The time when SpongeBob displayed his gender fluidity.

Mr. Krabs: “That hat makes you look like a girl.”

SpongeBob: “Am I a pretty girl?”

Mr. Krabs: “Uh well … um … You’re … You’re beautiful.”

6. The moment when SpongeBob completely missed the point.

Squidward: “SpongeBob, I have a confession to make.”

Sponge Bob: “You’re bald?!”

7. When SpongeBob takes “shrink” too literally.

SpongeBob: “You’re a bit smaller than I imaged, Doctor. I guess that’s why the call you ‘Shrink’.”

8. That time Patrick simply didn’t get it … again. 

SpongeBob: “I don’t know how to say it, but our old pal Squidward … He’s … He’s…He’s pushing up daisies!” 

Patrick: “Oh, I thought he was dead.”

9. The time SpongeBob perfectly described how growing up feels.

SpongeBob: “I don’t want to grow up! I want cookies!”

10. The time SpongeBob got even weirder.

Squidward: “It’s a little itchy. What’s this made out of?”

SpongeBob: “Eyelashes!”

RELATED: What REALLY Makes You LOL, According To Your Zodiac Sign

11. The time SpongeBob was incredibly punny (see what I did there).

SpongeBob: “And now for the room with the most class: the classroom.”

12. The time the show got a little dirty.

SpongeBob: “Squidward said I could help by burying myself!”

Mr. Krabs: “Please tell me that is your nose.”

13. When SpongeBob got a little too real about the health benefits of hamburgers.

SpongeBob: “Oh, Krabby patty, I’m so glad we’re friends again!”

Giant Krabby patty: “Just remember, SpongeBob. I’m always in here.”

SpongeBob: “In my heart?”

Giant Krabby patty: “Actually in your arteries.”

14. When Sandy questions everything about sponges.

SpongeBob: “I have to, er, get a haircut.”

Sandy: “Wait a minute. SpongeBob doesn’t have hair … Or does he?”

15. When Patrick displayed what real friendship is by becoming SpongeBob’s biggest critic. 

SpongeBob: “Hi, Mr. Krabs.”

Mr. Krabs: “SpongeBob, what are you doing?”

SpongeBob: “Oh, you know. Just hanging around.”

Patrick: “Boooooo!”

16. When SpongeBob’s optimism reached new levels of hilarity.

SpongeBob: “If I were to die right now in some sort of fiery explosion due to the carelessness of a friend, well, that would just be okay.”

17. When SpongeBob wrote the perfect song for agoraphobics.

SpongeBob: *singing* “I know of a place where you never get harmed. A magical place with magical charm. Indoors, indoors. Innndooooorss! Take it away, Penny!”

18. When a SpongeBob meme perfectly describes the struggle of showers.

SpongeBob: “Nah. I don’t really feel like it.”

19. When Patrick gets in a fight … with himself.

Patrick: “It’s just a ride. What are you so afraid of? You can do it.”

Reflection: “No you can’t. You’re a big crybaby.”

Patrick: “Oh, yeah?! I thought we’d settled this the last time!”

20. When SpongeBob displayed how we all feel on a really bad days.

SpongeBob: “Can I be excused for the rest of my life?”

RELATED: 90s Kids, Rejoice! Nickelodeon To Re-Air All Your Favorite Cartoons

21. When the

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11 Ways You’re Being a Toxic Parent—Without Even Knowing It

You talk at your child instead of with them

talkCommunication between parent and child can be a tricky thing, especially as children become older and have opinions of their own. Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a clinical psychologist known for her national television appearances focusing on the mental health of adolescents and teens, says communicating in the right way is key for parents. “Toxic parents are known for not listening to their kids, but instead, talking over them or at them,” she says. “If parents recognize themselves doing this they should make a concerted effort to remain silent and listen, listen, and listen some more. If kids feel listened to they will talk more and confide more. You could also try these 50 tiny (but powerful) ways to encourage your child every day!

The post 11 Ways You’re Being a Toxic Parent—Without Even Knowing It appeared first on Reader’s Digest.

Ice Cream Art – An Easy Printmaking Project for Kids

An easy printmaking project for children by Samara Caughey of Purple Twig. 

Ice cream Art - Easy Printmaking for Kids

I was so excited when Jean asked me to share one of my favorite easy printmaking projects!

We have been printing ice cream cones with kids at the studio for years. I am always trying to find ways for kids to collaborate on projects and this is one we created during our ARTful Feast week of summer camp. 

Ice cream Art - Easy Printmaking for Kids

The idea is that each child makes a printing plate of their own ice cream scoop and chooses their own color to print on each printed cone.

This is a wonderful project for a birthday party, but you could also do this at home and have each family member create a scoop choosing different colors to print.

I usually do this project with ages 6-8 but I took the opportunity to create with some of my smaller students who are age 4.

Ice cream Art - Easy Printmaking for Kids

 Ice Cream Art – An Easy Printmaking Project for Kids

MATERIALSAffiliate link

  • White drawing paper- (Ours was approximately  7” x 20”)
  • Foam pieces (you can also cut up meat or produce styrofoam trays)
  • Pencil  (a sharp one)
  • 4 pieces of plexi-glass for inking plates. (You can use 4 plastic placemats or put ink right onto an oil cloth tablecloth.)
  • Printing ink
  • Brayer


1. Prepare materials

Tape down the inking plates onto a table covered with paper or an oil cloth so the pieces of plexi-glass (or placemats) don’t move when rolling out the ink.

Cut the foam into circular shapes for the kids and also cut one piece of foam shaped like the cone for yourself to print.

2. Create printing plate

I start by talking a bit about patterns and what kind of things might be in an ice cream scoop (sprinkles, chips, gumballs, gummy worms, etc).

Then have the kids draw into the foam, making sure that you can feel the impressions of the pencil.  I also drew the cone pattern onto the cone shaped foam.

This will be the printing plate. 

Printmaking for children – inking the plate with a brayer

3. Add ink to plate

Next we decided on our ice cream flavors. You can have as many as you would like! We chose 4 because that is what would fit onto our table.  

When mixing the ice cream colors, I usually add white to make the colors a bit more pastel.

The kids chose mint, cherry (or strawberry), lemon (or vanilla) and of course chocolate.  I do not add white to the chocolate brown, but you could if you wanted it to be milk chocolate.  

Once all the colors are placed onto the inking plates, it’s time for the kids to get into using the brayer by rolling out the ink onto the plates.

Some kids just want to do that and not bother with the printing part, which is fine with me.

Easy Printmaking with children – Ice Cream Art

4. Print plate onto paper

I printed my own cone first to demonstrate how to print.

  • Using the brayer, roll the ink on the inking plate (plexi-glass or placemat), then onto the foam cone.  
  • Take the inked foam piece and place it face down like a stamp on the paper.  
  • Use a clean brayer to roll onto the foam, pressing the foam onto the paper (or just smooth all over with your hands.) Lift off the foam piece to reveal your print!

Notice how each printed scoop has it’s own texture as well as color. This creates a more dynamic and whimsical final print.

Printing Ice cream art with kids

Easy Printmaking Tips

  • The print will be weak if you stamp your foam piece into the ink and just stamp it onto your paper. The brayer is essential to getting a really good print.
  • After a child uses chocolate ink, I wash off the foam piece so they can start clean for a new color. Otherwise every scoop might have some brown and become muddy.  Make sure the foam piece is dried off completely before adding more ink.

When demonstrating the ice cream art to the kids, I stress the idea that they can print on any paper they want, using whatever color they like. If they would like to switch colors or rub two colors onto one piece of foam that is fine.

Enjoy your yummy-looking prints!

Ice cream Art - Easy Printmaking for Kids


Samara of Purple TwigSamara Caughey is the owner of Purple Twig, an art studio for kids and families in Los Angeles, CA. She has a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in Photography and an MFA from USC in sculpture. Samara has been creating art with children for 15 years and continues to be constantly surprised and delighted by watching kids explore materials to create their work! 

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This easy printmaking project is a simple printing introduction for kids. It makes a great collaborative project and would be fun ice cream art for a birthday party! #easyprintmaking #easyprintmakingforkids #easyprintmakingprojects #icecreamart #kidsart

The post Ice Cream Art – An Easy Printmaking Project for Kids appeared first on The Artful Parent.

How Connection Boosts Your Child’s Brain and Fosters Better Behavior

With Stephanie Parker and Anna Cole

Child looking up delightedAs parents, we all strive for “those days.”

Those days when we all get up and eat breakfast together.

Those days when everyone’s bags are packed and it’s smiles all the way to school.

Those days when your toddler puts his blocks away happily and nestles down for nap.

Those days when your tween takes a minute to tidy his room without being asked.

Those days.

But why do those days seem so far out of reach on most days?

There’s one answer: Disconnection.

Why Do Our Brains Need Connection?

One area in our brain is particularly attuned to scan for connection. The job of this area, the limbic brain, is to scan, continuously, for environments that feel safe, warm and supportive. That’s why, when a block falls off her tower, one of the first things your little one might do is look to you, or whoever is taking care of her, for reassurance. It’s also why, when we take a minute to snuggle up to our older son on his iPad, and ask what game he is playing before mentioning that it’s five minutes until dinner and he’ll need to switch off often results in a more peaceful resolution than if we were to yell up the stairs from the kitchen.

In each of these interactions, we show that there is safety and support. We reconnect.

All too often the pace of everyday life is cause enough for connections to slide. Packed to-do lists mean we don’t have much time for meaningful interactions, even when we intend to. At other times an experience might surprise or scare a child and the feelings that rock them will result in them trying to reconnect in ways that look like off-track behavior. This is natural.

We might not understand the need for the reconnection, but we can see it in action:

  • Whining
  • Defiance
  • Clingyness
  • Crying

These are just four of the “attention-seeking behaviors” we might see that are a child’s way to show he or she needs. There’s a great example in this post about a young girl who arrived back home from a playdate full of aggression. Later, when she had reconnected with her mom, she revealed the source of her upset: She’d taken something from her friend without asking and felt incredibly bad about it.

She needed to reconnect with her mom to restore her feelings that she was loved and the world was secure before she could come up with a plan to own up to her friend.

It’s good in these moments to lean into the upset, offer a kind, listening ear, and let the reconnection happen. But there is one way to regularly restore connection before behaviors like these occur.

Try This Tool To Boost Your Child’s Sense of Connection

Kind parenting for better cooperation“Special time is the is the tool that we use to keep topping our children up and keeping them topped up connection,” says Hand in Hand Parenting’s Stephanie Parker. What is Special Time?

Simply put, it’s one-on-one time with your child. It’s best regularly scheduled, and it’s best when you have some time to spend dedicated to that child with no other distractions. Try this list for fitting in Special Time when you have more than one child.

All that’s involved is setting aside that time and following your child in whatever activity they choose to do. Set up rules on safety or expense ahead if you need to, but as far as possible say “yes” to whatever your child most wants to do. Set a timer so that for the 10 or 15 minutes you have, you really devote that time to this moment, Stephanie says.

As parents it can feel quite hard to step back, to avoid making suggestions of directing the activity, but when we can our children cherish it.

“Our job is to really pour our love and pour our attention to our children,” says Stephanie. “This is really good news for their limbic brains because this time really meets that need for them to feel loved, to feel you know that they belong.”

Why is Special Time Good for The Brain?

Special Time gives a regular boost of connectedness to our children, and that nourishes them for times we can’t be there or they find themselves confronting potentially fearful incidents. When children’s limbic systems are picking up on this sense of security and closeness, our children can relax and feel more open to doing what needs to get done. In this way, we can see how Special Time increases cooperation. But how does it help your child’s growing brain?

The limbic system is located in the pre-frontal cortex, where a child’s learning takes place. When children feel connected, they are better able to learn and absorb new experiences. “When you slow down and connect while they are learning to tie their laces,” Stephanie says, new neurons fire and you actually help them learn these new things.

Why Is This Tool Helpful for Parents Too?

There’s one more reason Special Time is worth a try. You. As parents, we are busy. It’s not hard to miss little connecting moments. To notice what’s really going on with your child. A few minutes of Special Time helps us step back and take in what we really find special about our children – even when they want to play video games we’d normally dislike, or do things we might not generally approve of. (This post is helpful when kids ask to break the rules!).

So there you have it. Special Time – a tool for “super connectedness” that fosters better times between you and your children, and boosts cooperation and learning.

Give it a try and see what a difference it makes to your family.

More Resources for Special Time

Click here for a Checklist on How to Make the Most of Special Time

Get a free chapter on Special Time from our book Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges

Watch Stephanie talking about the neuroscience behind connection and special time with instructor Anna Cole.




The post How Connection Boosts Your Child’s Brain and Fosters Better Behavior appeared first on Hand in Hand Parenting.