Dramatic Play is Therapeutic For Your Child

Dramatic Play is Therapeutic For Your Child

Kids recreate the world how they see it through dramatic play. Shouting is emanating from behind the closed door of my daughter's room. "No, Mama, don't go!" "I have to go to work. You have to stay here." My three-year-old is playing in her room by herself. I slowly open the door. Her back is facing me as she sits on the bed with her dolls. We've had this exact exchange numerous times, and apparently, my daughter knows it so well that she is re-enacting our daily ritual of school drop-off with her Elsa dolls. I enter the room and sit on the edge of the bed. "How does the little girl feel when her mama has to leave for work?" I ask but I already know the answer. "Sad." "Yes, but she gets to play with her friends at school." "Yeah, but she misses her Mama sooooo much." Her head is down. Knife in my heart.   Play is a form of therapy My daughter is using play to work out scenarios that affect her...
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Happy Birthday! We’ve come a long way, baby

Happy Birthday! We’ve come a long way, baby

  It has been a full 12 months since the publication of Knocked Up Abroad and I am celebrating by making it FREE to download on Amazon January 26-29, 2017. I want more readers, more reviews, and more people to discover the amazingness that is held within this book. It's been a crazy year—two books published, one successful crowdfunding campaign, book launch parties around the world, and countless articles, podcasts, and other efforts to promote the series. The first year is always the hardest with growing pains, learning curves, and teething. If I had to plot my knowledge of self-publishing against a growth chart, it would look something like this:   Notice how I added stress to the second x-axis? That's because learning something new is stressful and painful. I stepped way outside of my comfort zone and I am still feeling the effects of living on the fringe of comfort. Lessons learned I have learned a lot about self-publishing, crowdfunding, and collaborating with women (and two dads, can't forget...
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Raising a Viking Child

Raising a Viking Child

  A while back, I wrote an article for ParentCo called, "5 Steps to Raising a Viking Child" and it was by far my most popular article to date. The folks at ParentCo contacted me and asked me if they could transform the tips in the article into a shareable video and I absolutely love the end result. I think the video turned out great and even our dog makes a brief cameo. The kids laughed when they saw Bessie's rumpa walking away. It's nice to have a few snippets of their childhood turned into a cohesive video. I hope it inspires more parents to take their kids outside for some adventure and fun.   Here are five steps to help you raise your own little Viking through outdoor play: 1. Be creative and the world becomes magical Even the most familiar and mundane playground can become an entryway to another world if you encourage your child’s creativity. That’s not a slide, it’s an elephant’s trunk. That swing is...
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I Can Admit It—My Husband Has More Fun With Our Kids

I Can Admit It—My Husband Has More Fun With Our Kids

  "Let's go down there and play," my husband grabs our daughter's hand and leads her down the bleachers of the gymnasium. Our son is playing on the other side of the gym with his classmates. I watch them as he leads her gently down the steep stairs and he instructs her to run back and forth on a painted line in her socked feet. She loves it and instantly transforms from an I'm-patiently-waiting-for-this-practice-to-end sibling into an I'm-having-so-much-fun-and-I-want-to-stay little kid. I mentally kick myself. Why didn't I think of that? It's not that I'm a wet blanket type of a mother, but I'm a rule follower, and that means that I don't always think about bending the rules. Couple my rule-following personality (which is a great cultural fit for Sweden) with a language barrier and the end result is a slightly hesitant parent. In a lot of ways, my husband reminds me of my own dad (insert your own psychological studies and "daddy complex"...
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The Missing Chapter

The Missing Chapter

It was always my intention to include my voice in the anthologies I publish. However, my voice is missing from Knocked Up Abroad Again. Tapping into raw emotion wasn't a possibility this time around as I was under an incredible amount of stress, juggling too many logistics, and tackling too many other activities crowdfunding and publishing the book. I leveraged every creative nerve in my body during the Kickstarter campaign to help make the book a reality and the publication schedule marched on without my chapter. My creativity suffers under stress. In order to write from an inspired place, I wait for the voices in my head (we all have at least one 'inner voice') to wake up, and as long as I am preoccupied with other things, those voices are quiet. I need an empty house, an empty head, and steady breath to bring forth my words. Much to my disappointment, that magical recipe didn't come together between the months...
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How 9 Expat Moms Celebrate (or Avoid) Halloween Abroad

How 9 Expat Moms Celebrate (or Avoid) Halloween Abroad

BY JENNIFER MALIA Though widely known as an American tradition, Halloween has been adopted by other countries around the world. In many countries, trick-or-treating, costume parties, and spooky decorations have become popular ways of celebrating Halloween. I talked to expat moms around the globe and asked them what Halloween traditions they do (or don’t do) when living abroad. Their stories take place in countries as diverse as England, Sweden, the Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates. Whether you are an expat family that celebrates Halloween abroad, a family that travels for the holiday, or a family that celebrates Halloween in the US, their stories are sure to entertain you, and might even frighten you in a G-rated sort of way. Kristy Smith, The Midwestern Repatriate “I’m American, and my husband is British. We spent many years in the UK celebrating Halloween, which seems more like an addition to the local village harvest festivals than a separately adopted tradition. Some kids...
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Autumn Crafts And Foods For Multicultural Kids

Autumn Crafts And Foods For Multicultural Kids

I have the honor of hosting the Multicultural Kids Carnival this month and the theme is Autumn Crafts and Foods. I am admittedly not skilled in arts and crafts but fortunately, the bloggers of Multicultural Kid Blogs are here to hold my hand with some really easy and cute crafts. I can't wait to try some of these delicious recipes (hint: pumpkin is the secret ingredient for most of them!) I received so many submissions that I separated them into categories: Autumn foods and Autumn Crafts. I'm sure you will be inspired by these ideas.   Autumn Foods I want Olga Mecking from the European Mama to come to my house and bake some delicious German and Polish apple pie and her savory pumpkin bread.   http://www.europeanmama.com/savoury-pumpkin-bread-recipe/ Grab one of those ready-made pie crusts from the refrigerator section of your grocery store and some ripe and juicy plums and pears and make some French fruit tarts with Phoebe from Lou Messugo. Swedes will love this recipe as it features...
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Be The Dragon And Rekindle Your Creativity

Be The Dragon And Rekindle Your Creativity

Looking back, I feel ashamed. What type of monster am I that I felt so much enjoyment and excitement out of such violence? They were innocent poor peasant farmers who had done nothing wrong. But, at the time, I didn’t care. I was a dragon, and I brought the fury.  Everyone knows that imagination-based play is a crucial element of childhood. It improves our children’s language development and their ability to process the outside world. Children can experiment with various approaches to problem-solving through play, and it’s a crucial element of growth and development.  Because of this, there are a lot of good articles out there right now about how to foster imagination-based play for kids, but not as many about how to increase parents’ interest in it.  Imaginary play is also a nice way to escape your troubles. I felt relaxed when I was pretending to be a dragon with my children. I no longer felt the weight of a million worries about...
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5 Steps To Raising A Viking Child

5 Steps To Raising A Viking Child

This article originally appeared at Parent.co, "5 Tips For Raising A Viking Child" in their Analog Life section that has other great articles for helping parents venture outdoors with their children.   I just returned from an exhilarating dragon expedition. After picking up my children from their Swedish preschool, my son frantically dragged me to the woods they had explored earlier in the day, eager to show me what they had discovered. We came upon the “dragon” quickly enough and to my eyes it was an old felled tree but to my five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, it was a massive, dangerous, and scaly sleeping dragon. In Sweden, according to a study, 80% of children between the ages of one to five years, attend Swedish daycare which promotes play, napping and eating meals outdoors. There are also some preschools that have no physical building as all of their learning occurs outdoors—in nature’s classroom. Conversely, in a recent cross-sectional study with a U.S. nationally representative sample, 44% of...
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“Slotting” it up in Sweden

“Slotting” it up in Sweden

When we said we were heading to one of Sweden's most famous "slott," my mother thought I was saying a bad word in English but really, "slott" means castle in Swedish and our activities were pure and innocent. Being a tourist in your city is a fun way to expand your horizons without ever leaving your comfort zone. We are currently on a budget (buying a house is not a cheap endeavor in Sweden, nor is a new roof and new windows for the aforementioned not-cheap house), so we've been on the lookout for interesting things to do in our backyard (relatively speaking) that we've never done before. About an hour and a half from our house is one of the most famous castles in Sweden. Swedish castles aren't that impressive, in my opinion, after viewing other European cities' gothic style castles. We've been to Neuschwanstein—a most impressive mountaintop castle in Germany—and I'm not sure anything can top that. This day trip...
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