Beauty, Confidence and Self-Esteem in Girls

Every day I look at my daughter and hope she never feels the way I did as a child or teenager.

I want her to be confident and beautiful on the inside.

I never want her to feel like she’s not good enough.

Every day I tell her she’s the most beautiful person in the world.

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”
― Mark Twain

Growing up I was never praised on anything…I was made fun of and put down… I was never told I was beautiful. I had low self-esteem and my family didn’t care too much about it.  I beg you, as a parent, to care how your child feels and to chat with them about life and help give them the confidence and self-esteem they deserve.

Any time is a good time to start a conversation with a girl in your life about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Not sure where to start? Download the The Let’s Talk Toolkit to get some great advice. Created with Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, this is a great resource for all women on starting a conversation in a simple way. Ask, Share, Listen and Act — you’ll find unintimidating ways to do make these a natural part of your talk about Self-Esteem

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Dove® research shows that it is still important for us to address girls’ anxiety about looks, as there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older. Key findings from our latest research include:

• Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
• Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
• 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
• 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty
• More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic

SOURCE: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited

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Now that I have a daughter I will do everything in my power so that she never feels the same way I did.  I will be there for her no matter what happens and will always tell her she is the most beautiful person in the world.

Anxiety about beauty begins at an early age, and can even keep girls from doing what they love. You can change that with a conversation. Reach out to the girl in your life and talk to her about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. You can find the expert tips and real-world advice to get started on the The Self-Esteem Wall. You can share a sentence, small story, or upload your favorite photo of you and the young girl in your life from your desktop, Facebook or instagram.

Visit Dove on Facebook to learn more.

 

 

Thanks to Dove for sponsoring today’s discussion.

Innovative Outdoor Games for Kids

You may think that the number of reasons for kids to get off the couch and outside is shrinking, but there is a comeback happening for outdoor games. JT SplatMaster offers high-quality outdoor fun for kids for all ages that is both messy and easy-to-clean, safe, inexpensive, and most importantly, fun that will have your kids begging to go outside and play again.

 

Target Practice 

SplatMaster guns are the perfect toy for children – inexpensive, high-quality, and totally customizable, these spring-loaded colored-filled pellet launchers are safe and easy to use for children of all ages. The pellets are launched powerfully but at a reasonable speed, so being hit by one won’t hurt at all. Children can invest in a target and practice their marksmanship. Boys are especially drawn to this activity, but girls can get involved as well in the outdoor fun. Targets are a safe and easy way to practice using the guns. The pellets break upon impact, creating a delightfully messy color splattering, but a simple hose or water will wash everything completely away.

 

Player vs Player Games

One of the most exciting and exhilarating games kids can play are ones where they play against each other using toys and guns like SplatMaster’s. You can create a simple, spacious play area for kids even in the backyard using props like trashcans, chairs, or tool sheds, and let children go wild playing against each other shooting at targets and obstacles. Who can hit the most targets? Children can use their skills from target practice and natural athleticism to have fun, be adventurous, all in a safe and controlled environment.

 

Obstacle Courses 

Only a few kids can play? No problem. Setting up a challenging obstacle course with targets and traps can really spice up a kid’s afternoon. Strap on a face mask and pocket an extra cartridge of ammo and lets the kids have the time of their lives jumping through hoops, dodging obstacles, and reaching the finish line where their teammates are cheering them on. SplatMaster has really made an innovative and successful environment for kids to get out of house and away from the TV and into a wonderful, fantastic time together.

 

No matter what kinds of games your children like, any kid can really get in on the action of JT SplatMaster toys. Fun, easy-to-use, messy, and easy-to-clean, these guns will really get your children in the zone for some great outdoor games. Children don’t need to be experts, they don’t even need to be particularly skilled – you’ll be hard pressed to find a group of kids that wouldn’t have fun playing around with safe, fun, and exciting toys like the SplatMaster guns.

 

Top 5 Video Games for Children Under Ten

Finding a video game for the little ones that is both challenging and fun can be a daunting task with the vast array of games on the market. To help make your selection easier, here is a list of the top 5 video games for children under ten:

1. Leapster (Handheld)

This game is by far the best choice on the market these days. Not only does it provide a more interactive experience than the Nintendo DS, but the console also speaks to the player, which is great for kids who haven’t learned to read. The interactive components of the console consist of a touch sensitive screen and buttons – this variety will hold your child’s interest. Also a wonderful array of software turns this device into an educational game player, an electronic book reader, a digital art studio and interactive video player. Plus the device is lightweight, making it easily portable.

2. Little Big Planet (PS3)

Little Big Planet offers a diverse and unique gaming experience for players of all ages. In the game, players take control of a personalized ‘sack person’ who ventures forth into an interesting and fun environment. Although the game is designed around getting from one place to another, it’s the way the game allows players to do this that really makes it stand out. The game can be played on its own or online where players can explore levels created by other players and can even create levels of their own! This expanded experience ensures replayability for up to four players, making this game fun for the whole family.

3. Animal Crossing (Nintendo Game Cube)

Created along the same lines as The Sims, this exciting role-playing game allows players to enter a village populated with human-like animals. Players can interact with other animals while doing chores and exploring but the bonus here is that with a memory card, their characters become portable. Plug the card into a friend’s game and your animal character enters the other game. There is so much to do in the village that the game is involving and engrossing and there is a strong reading component to the activities.

4. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Nintendo DS)

This is a wonderful family puzzle game with a detective storyline and 135 mysteries to be solved. Layton and Luke are a Holmes/Watson type of duo and the puzzles are brainteasers. One bonus of the game is that the player can never get stuck on a puzzle. The game allows for switching from one puzzle to the next. The game is challenging and features a lot of content.

5. Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS)

This highly original game may not look like much at first glance with its hand-drawn graphics but it provides a unique interactive experience. In the game, players collect ‘Starites’ by writing words on the screen with a stylus. The words are then transformed into objects, which the player uses to solve spatially oriented puzzles. The game has an impressively large database.

Guest article written by: Andrew Salmon is a freelance writer, who, in addition to contributing blog posts about parenting and financial topics such as Canadian life insurance, is also a published author who has been featured on Amazon.

Outdoor Fun On a Budget – 15 Under $30 From Fisher Price

I’ll be the first, but certainly not the last, to admit that with the economy in a tailspin, pay cuts, lay-offs, rising gas-prices and all the other factors that make living comfortably today not so comfortable, I’m not looking forward to the summer as much as I have in the past.

For me, the summer was always a time when I finally was able to get out of the house and start enjoying things like vacations, eating out, day trips, flea markets,  etc. Now, I think I rather stay home and save my money. Not only are these activities expensive, but the gas to fill up the tank or the money for transportation is a burden in itself. Am I right?

This year I will be spending a lot of time in my backyard (the benefits of being in a borough of NYC) with my daughter just trying to keep her busy…on a budget. So when Fisher-Price sent over their list of new for 2009 outdoor toys, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share a list of the “under $30″ selection. Because if my daughter could stay occupied for three months for $24.99…I’m in!

fp1. Lil’ Princess Ride-On – Sweet melodies, chirping birds, magical sounds and flashing lights accompany a princess as she scoots around town with her Little People® friends on her pretty pink ride-on. Other features include push bar handle, under seat storage and extra wide wheels for stability – $19.99 at Amazon.com

 

 

2. Froggy Fun Sprinkler- Connect the eight foot Froggy Fun SprinklerTM to any garden hose and watch the ten spraying water bugs and four foot-friendly frogs come to life. This adorable frog themed sprinkler gently sprays several streams of water and is guaranteed to get your little one cool and wet. $17. 00 at FisherPrice.com

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3. Deluxe Sprinkle ‘n Splash Play Mat – A perfect way for young children to splash safely in just the right amount of water! Kids stay cool with gentle sprays from the water filled sprinkler ring. This fun ocean themed graphic mat measures approximately three feet six inches in diameter. Made with durable vinyl construction, it attaches easily to any garden hose. $15.00 at FisherPrice.com

 

4. Kawasaki Tough Trike – Tough enough for years of fun with all the features you look for and more: a wide, stable wheel base, easy-grip handlebars, big foot pedals, durable tires with rugged treads for “off-road” fun plus cool Kawasaki styling. There’s even a secret storage compartment under the seat! $27.00 at FisherPrice.com

fp25. Bubble Mower - One-touch refill system keeps bubbles blowin’ for a whole lotta mowin’! The all-new one-touch refill system features a bigger bubble dispenser for less fill-ups-and a one-press, no-mess refill. Just press it once and you’re good to go for a yard full of bubble fun! Bubble solution included. $17.00 at FisherPrice.com.

6. Lil’ Adventures Bug Park- Kids will enjoy catching bugs and placing them in their very own bug park! Bug park includes monkey bars, real working ferris wheel and teeter totter. Once your Lil’ Explorer has enjoyed watching their bug friends at play, they can then release them back to nature! Features easy-open cap for little hands and includes four plastic bugs. $17.00 – Find a retailer

7. Spray N’ Play Seal - Playful seal balances ball in the air as kids watch in amazement and enjoy the gentle water spraying action! Includes inflatable ball and patch kit for repairs. Features durable vinyl construction. Easily attaches to any garden hose. $15.00 – Find a retailer

 

8. School Bus Play Center – Kids will laugh all the way to school with their Little People® friends! Features include fun peek-a-boo windows, soft squishy steering wheel, durable vinyl construction and 25 soft touch balls. Great for indoor or outdoor play. Includes 25 soft touch balls and a repair patch.  $29.88 at Walmart.com

9. Barbie My First Skates- These inline-style skates help kids learn to skate, keeping pace with growing feet and growing skill. Start with setting #1 so beginners can walk in the skates with one wheel locked. As confidence and ability increase, advance to level #2, where the adjustment wheel rolls forward but not back. Then it’s on to #3 for “freewheeling” fun! Rear wheels are spaced apart for added stability. Padded boot collar ensures comfort, with hook-and-loop straps for easy on and off. Size adjustable, from child’s shoe sizes 6 – 12. $23.49 at Amazon.com

10. ESPN Super Sounds Soccer - Two levels of fun soccer play encourage and reward developing children’s sports skills! Beginner soccer players score fun sounds whenever they kick the ball into the net. The challenge grows along with kids’ growing skills – “pros” have to hit the adjustable target with the ball to score fun sounds and hear the announcer shout “Goal!” What a ball! Includes soccer goal (approx. 2 feet tall x 3½ feet wide!), plus net, adjustable target, two-player score keeper and inflatable ball. $24.99 at FisherPrice.com

fp311. Infant to Toddler Swing -This outdoor baby swing is as friendly to parents as it is to kids. And now it can be reclined for use with an infant as young as six months. A dual restraint system, with three-point harness and tray, keeps infants and toddlers secure. The swing’s tray holds baby’s toys or snacks, and lifts up out of the way for easy in and out. $23.00 at FisherPrice.com

 

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12. Rainbow Shade Pool - Keep your little ones cool, out of the sun and swimming all summer long with the Rainbow Shade PoolTM. This fun and colorful inflatable baby pool measures approximately 40 inches wide and is constructed with durable vinyl. The detachable sunshade canopy makes a delightful rainbow arch over the pool-and helps protect baby from the sun’s rays. $25.00 at FisherPrice.com

13. Turbo Fill Blasters - No more in-and-out of the house to fill up at the sink, no more wasting water at the spigot and no more pumping to pressurize! Turbo Fill Blasters make it fun and easy for kids as young as three to have a blast, blasting their competition! $20.00 & up at FisherPrice.com

14. Squirt Friends Animal Sprayers - The Fisher-PriceTM Squirt Friend Animal SprayersTMare adorable, animal shaped water squirters. Kids squeeze the easy-pull trigger to open the animal’s mouth and spray gentle bursts of cool water. Collect all four characters: Cute Cow, Hilarious Hippo, Playful Pig, and Zany Zebra. $4.00 - Find a retailer

fp415. Lil’ Fire Truck Ride-On - Calling all little firefighters to the rescue! Lights, sounds and music add to the excitement of saving the day. Other features include under seat storage and extra wide wheels for stability. $19.99 at Amazon.com

 

Find more outdoor toys for any budget at FisherPrice.com

 

*This is not a review or paid advertisement or anything of that nature, just some personal recommendations from me…a mom who misses shopping at outdoor flea markets and eating out at The Boathouse in the summer and happens to love Fisher Price. Just trying to find ways to stay busy at home without breaking the bank or going insane.  – Nicole =)

 

Snowy Weather Blues? Kid-Friendly Indoor Activities

Fun indoor kid-friendly activities to cure the snowy weather blues…

1. If you can’t stand the cold, get in the kitchen! Try some kid-friendly recipes that will allow your children to help out and that your whole family will enjoy. Getting kids involved in the kitchen isn’t only great for bonding, but it teaches them creativity as well. You can even throw in a few math or colors and shapes lessons, depending on the child’s age. Here is a fun and easy recipe to get you started.

Lemon Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 pieces of whole wheat pita bread

Have your kids count out the needed amounts of the garlic and pita bread.

What you will need:

  • Food processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Rubber spatula
  • Small bowl
  • spoon
  • knife

Have your kids go on a kitchen “treasure hunt” to find the measuring cups/spoons, the spatula, the small bowl and the knife.

Directions:

  • Grind the garlic cloves in the food processor. (adults only)
  • Add the chickpeas and yogurt to the food processor bowl and blend until a smooth puree forms. Occasionally stop the food processor and scrape the sides of the bowl with the spatula. (adults only)
  • Use the spatula to scrape the hummus into the small bowl. (kids can help!)
  • Stir in the lemon juice, cumin, and salt. (kids can help, just watch your eyes!)
  • Cut each piece of pita bread into fourths (adults only, but be sure to incorporate this into a math lesson!)
  • Serve the bowl of hummus with a plate of pita wedges for dipping. (Finally, something you can both enjoy!)

I found this recipe in a cute gift that my daughter was given for Christmas, My A to Z Recipe Box by Hilary Shevlin Karmilowicz. It’s loaded with lot’s of other kid-friendly recipes from pretzels to pastas!

2. Play Dress Up! You’ve been meaning to throw out those Hypercolor shirts you saved from the 80′s for a while now. Why not incorporate a big dress up play date with a little early Spring cleaning? Go through your stowed away summer clothing boxes and have your kids help you decide what stays and what goes! Little girls will get a kick out of trying on “mommy’s” Hawaiian print sarongs and bedazzled white purses, while you will get a kick out of seeing how outdated these things really are! Little boys can be the “Simon Cowells” of this catwalk disaster…telling you exactly how “utterly ridiculous” he thinks your red, white and blue espadrilles look!

3. She’s crafty! I just saw this great Valentine’s Day Heart Scarf craft on the Martha Stewart web site and thought it was the cutest idea! Not only do you walk away with a fabulously festive piece of clothing, but you get to upcyle your old clothes as well. We all know how quickly children outgrow their clothing, especially the seasonal stuff, so check out this Martha Stewart Video and get started! You can even make matching one’s for you and your little girl. They make really cute gifts too!

4. Flashcards are fun! Especially when they are free, lol. Here is a fun idea that will not only teach your toddlers their ABC’s and recognition while making them, but they will be a great learning tool for years to come.

What you need:

  • Heavy card-stock or construction paper
  • Markers
  • Glue (Elmer’s school glue should work fine, depending on the objects you find)
  • Yarn
  • Hole Puncher
  • Various small objects, one for each letter of the alphabet

Directions:

  • Cut out 26 4″x6″ rectangles from the card-stock or paper. The more colors the better! Punch a small hole in the top left corner of each rectangle.
  • Glue one item onto each 4″x6″  rectangle, leaving room to write the letters somewhere on the page. Set aside until all the pieces are dry.
  • Have your child tell you what each object is and what letter they think the word starts with. For younger kids, they will obviously need help by having you sound out the words and letters. Write each letter on the correct card as you go along.
  • Once you’ve finished “discovering” the ABC’s together, you can tie the cards together in order with the yarn. Now you have a set of handmade flashcards that you can always use in the future. Your children will be proud that they took part in making them as well.

Need ideas for ABC Flashcard objects? Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find all 26 items, you can always have your children draw on the card with a coordinating picture or use a sticker with a familiar object. (In my house, using a Dora sticker for “D” was a must!)

Paper Clips, Buttons, Shells, Washers, Matches, Coins, Shoelaces,  Raisins, Macaroni, Sticks, Leaves, Keys, Zippers, Rice, Yarn, Thread, Band aids, Erasers, Cotton Balls, Q-Tips, Playing Cards, Beads, Walnut Shells, Lace, Jewelry, Glitter, Soda Caps, Key chains, Product Labels, Scrap Booking pieces and more!

5. Go Chore Crazy! Ok, so if all else fails and you still need more ideas, how about cleaning? Toddlers love to “help out”! Assign chores, but in a fun way, and enjoy a clean house and quiet kids for a few hours. Toddlers can clean and sort toys, help fold towels for the linen closet and even assist while you clean out the fridge or a junk drawer. Turn up the radio, I suggest Laurie Berkners “I’m a Mess” and “Clean it up”, and dance your way to a clean home.

Have any other ideas you’d like to share? Let us know!

Posted by Nicole Ibarrondo, former editor here at Mom Fuse