Archive - January 2020

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Five birthday treats to send to school when cupcakes aren’t allowed
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Let them be little… and have conflicts

Five birthday treats to send to school when cupcakes aren’t allowed

I began my career, fresh out of college, as a teacher. I didn’t spend a long time in that field but I lingered long enough to realize that birthday cakes were a disaster in the classroom. They crumbled, kids licked only the frosting off the top and the resulting sugar high made the afternoon super pleasant. As a mom, I see the cupcake issue from yet another angle. Food allergies are a real issue for many kids and cupcakes have a lengthly list of ingredients, lots of sugar and often artificial food dyes. Perhaps food treats aren’t the best choice to send off to school and into the hands, and mouths, of children we don’t know well. Today I’m proposing five options for elementary aged kids that aren’t food and won’t break the bank. Each item is linked for you convenience.

Squishy Mochi Animals

What’s not to love? These adorable little guys are squishy (sensory input!) and tradable. They come in at $12-15 for sets of 20 or 30 and your child and their classmates are bound to have an extra fun recess that day squishing, stretching and sharing their new little creatures.

Play-Doh

Play Doh is a classic and these mini, party size options give each child just a little bit to enjoy. The party packs also come with little stickers that allow your child to add the names of each friend in class. The price is right at five dollars for 15 mini tubs.

Novelty Food Erasers

Your child’s teacher will be pleased with this “treat” that doubles as a school supply! For $14 you can snag 50 erasers that span every food group. From pizza, to pie and popsicles there will be a favorite (or 2) in the mix for each child in the class.

Mini Rubiks Cubes

My 11 year old chimed in with this option! These little cubes are adorable and will keep hands busy during transition times, recess or the bus ride home. The price point is right at $9 for 18 cubes and it’s just a really fun and cool little treat to share. Great for older elementary.

Friendship cord bracelets

This little treat serves a dual purpose. It’s fun AND it promotes friendship and unity in the classroom. This $12 fifty pack comes with styles that will work for both genders and has plenty of colors to choose from. Bonus points for not being a distraction! This is another treat that could work well for older elementary.

 

Let them be little… and have conflicts

Mom… the neighbor is coming to talk to you. Elliott yelled this in a hurry as he and a neighborhood buddy came bursting in the front door. What did you do? I asked. The conversation that followed included some details about a tomato from his friend’s garden, and how they were tossing it and then some older boys entered the scene and somehow this tomato ended up being tossed at/to one of these kids. So did it ruin his shirt, was he hurt somehow? My questions continued. Both boys answered that no, neither had taken place. I told them not to worry and to just go play, and to keep their tomatoes to themselves.

About twenty minutes later I went out to the driveway to retrieve something and I saw the parent  coming full speed toward me. This man had an intentional stride, body-builder arms and probably 150 pounds on me. And yet he came, bowed up, like he needed to make an impression on his 5 foot 3 inch neighbor in yoga pants.

Is that your son? He pointed to Elliott. I believe so, I said. He proceeded to tell me how the boys had been throwing rotten tomatoes at his boys. He wasn’t present for this bloodbath, he was simply retelling a story without either party present. And his boys? They are older than the boys I was currently representing. But what was particularly amusing is that this daddy proceeded to tell me he was trying to pay it forward, one parent to another because it seemed that my son could care less.

Well neighbor. I bet he doesn’t care. Because it’s summer. And boys throw things. And no one was hurt and their clothes aren’t stained. This certainly wasn’t a charge to your neighbor’s house event and I’m concerned about what will happen if we ever do have one of those!

Parents I’m worried that we’ve driven our helicopters a little too close. We are literally clipping the hairs on their heads with the propeller at this point! Bullying is all over the news, and certainly should be dealt with. But what will happen if our children grow up without these little summer break conflicts? If we handle ever scrape and mean word and tomato for them… man, good luck with your first job. Good luck navigating interpersonal relationships in college and the Comcast guy who comes to your door when you buy a house. We are cutting their legs out from under them.

At some point he headed back before I could say much, because really, I didn’t have much to say. I gathered the boys up and explained that while I expected them both to be respectful to the adults in our neighborhood I wasn’t upset with them. I suggested that perhaps they stay clear of the older boys for now, as it didn’t seem like a good fit and they agreed. And then I thought about it again, and shouted to them as they ran off with some random concoction that resembled a bunny trap… play with who you want, but think about what you do and be prepared to deal with the consequences! They exchanged a look that said she is such a weird mom, but yelled okay! and went on their way.

I’ll sleep easy tonight knowing that hopefully, someday, these kids of mine will make choices, reap consequences and handle conflict with grace. Besides, a little tomato never hurt anyone anyway.

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal