I was gifted tickets to the Orange County MommyCon and I was so thrilled I got to go! While I was there I got to attend 2 incredible sessions and left with a wealth of knowledge. All the gold dust is still settling but I wanted to share some of the more impactful things I learned in this week’s thoughts. I also will be listing the 5 favorite items I found from the vendors who attended.
The first session was Why Toddlers Fear Foods with Dawn Winkleman. She has more than 20 years under her belt as a food therapist for children and she knows her stuff! You can also find her over on EZPZ Fun. I highly recommend you check it out if you have a “picky toddler”. A toddler’s fear of food is real. Their fears and the way their body reacts to food can actually cause PTSD and cause them to no longer want to eat a food they’ve always eaten. Think about the time you got sick and vomited a favorite food. It was probably a while before you wanted to eat it again… Same, same. Have a little more patience when introducing new foods. I will be doing a more in depth recap of the info I learned in the session and how it’s been translated into our home soon. For now, check the more simple ways start a better relationship with food below.
The second session was Peaceful Parenting with Lisa Howe. You can check her out on Facebook. She had some really great suggestions for keeping a calm and thoughtful household. Some really incredible advice on how to help prevent toddler meltdowns! I shared a few key points below, but I’ll be walking through all I learned soon!
- Family style meals. It’s important to sit down and eat as a family because your child will be able to see both Mommy, Daddy, and maybe a sibling, eat the same food they are served. Big bro might eat it with ketchup, dad might eat it with bbq, and you might dip in ranch. They want to observe and try a way that looks easiest and tastiest to them. As you sit down, serve the meal family style as well. When you serve each plate choose the item of most importance to plate first. Veggies should go first, then protein, then starch. This will demonstrate to them the importance of each item without labeling foods good and bad. There is no bad food! Don’t start your kids on their relationship with food having any kind of guilt or reward with food. If you are a dessert family, serve a small serving of dessert with the meal. If they are still hungry after they have eaten they pick whatever they want for their second serving. Cut an oreo in half, a sliver of cake, whatever it is they can eat it first if they want to.
- Dump their plate. Practice from a very young age dumping the plate so they understand meal time is over and they won’t eat again until snack time. There should be no grazing. This will not only help them develop the habit of cleaning up after their meal, it will also help them understand their hunger senses. If they are still hungry, they will eat more because they know it’s going in the trash if they don’t. It’s better to serve smaller portions when doing this so you don’t waste too much food.
- Special Time. Each day we should be setting a timer for 15 minutes to spend uninterrupted one-on-one time with our kids. Especially the toddler age ones! During this special time, the kids get to pick to do whatever they want with you. Set the timer and let the good times roll! I can’t wait to start this with Cora and Bex. If you have multiple kids and not a lot of time she suggested that Mom take one kid and Dad take the other kid and they switch off each day. If your relationship with your child is important to you 15 minutes is easy to find.
- Scheduled meltdowns. For you and for them. All you Ladies reading this know how nice it is sometimes to just open the flood gates and let the tears flow. Let out that pent up frustration and drown your negativity and sorrows so you can move forward. Kids need this too. She suggested that you schedule a meltdown every so often for your kids. You can tell when they need it. They are over tired and get extra fussy or disobedient. When you don’t have any pressing plans tell them no. No for something they get really excited about and you know will cause a meltdown. Tell them you are going to the movies, and then tell them plans changed. Let them throw the biggest tantrum and get all that negative energy out. You will get more cooperation and smiles once they work past their frustration and forget why they are upset. You are more than welcome to try to comfort them through the explosion of feelings, just recognizing that they are upset. No words of wisdom, no fixing the problem, just “I see how upset you are”, “you are so upset”, “it’s so disappointing”, and so on.
- Regulate our emotions. It can be super frustrating trying to negotiate with toddlers. Hearing your name repeated like a broken record. Not having privacy in the bathroom. I’m lucky I’m not bald. Being calm with our children is so important, but it’s so hard. Meditation, breath and having mantras are 2 major ways you can help stay calm and carry on. I’ve already told you to find 15 minutes so I know you are rolling your eyes at me, like, how am I supposed to find time to meditate? Well, there are plenty of apps that have mini meditations, only 5 minutes! Or one of her suggestions was to do it together with your kids with a childrens lead meditation like this one on YouTube. Breath is super important to keeping you cool. She also recommended another app for mindful breathing. Set it to go off and remind you to take a real breath every so often throughout the day. Last, find a mantra. Mine has always been “it’s going to be ok”, but it can be anything positive to help remind you of the reality of the situation. My favorite from her suggestions were “this isn’t an emergency”, and “choose love and peace”. Whenever you feel the boil or panic start take over you, breath and mantra.
5 Favorite Finds from MommyCon
- XOXO BABY CARRIER. This is a belted wrap. Designed by a Dad that wanted to carry baby more comfortably. I bought it on sight! I’m so stoked for this you guys I can’t even tell you!
- PURA BOTTLE SYSTEM. This is a 100% plastic free bottle system that grows with baby. I bought these too! I’m loving them. The bottle tops come with interchangeable nipple – sippy cup – straw – and spout. They even have a plain lid to use a snack holder instead. Some of them are isolated! Every mom needs these!
- KEENZE WAGONS. Seriously the most tricked out mommy wagon I’ve seen! I can’t wait to order one and take it to the beach.
- PETIT COLLAGE GAMES. A few of the lifestyle shops had this brand of games and I thought they were so cute, and they are all sensory or learning games. I immediately ordered this Ice Pop matching game.
- MOMMIEGO! MommyGo is a new app for moms to find other moms in their area. As a new mom or a mom to a new area I think this is such a great idea. I’m the president of our local MOMs Club chapter and I think it is so important to find your village. Plus, now we aren’t left out of the swipe left game…