10 Easy Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them

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Happy Valentine’s Day Mamas!  I hope you have  LOVE-ly day celebrating with those you love.  I loved this guest blog by Linda Hunter, Chief Education and Operations Officer of Pretend City Children’s Museum, on little easy things you can do to show your children you love them. Such great reminders! 

And in honor of Valentine’s Day, Pretend City is giving one FREE admission today to anyone with the purchase of a child’s ticket from 10am – 5pm! Print the Pretend City Coupon at the end of this post and take someone you love today!


“Sometimes we all need a little reminder to take a break from the daily chaos of life and let our children know just how special and loved they really are.

In February we’re celebrating the day of love all month long, but here are some small ways to inject a little love into every day of the year!  Of course the ways you show love to your children change with each new stage of development, but these ideas bridge all ages!

Here are my top 10 favorite ways to take a moment to show your love:

1. This one works like magic – look your child in the eye when he/she speaks to you.  Keep eye contact until they are done speaking.  I guarantee that they will feel your love and validation.  P.S. It works with adults too!  It’s the simplest form of engagement between two people.

2. Put your cell phone, iPad and electronic games away and focus on your child when you are doing something with him/her. This goes for simple things like riding in the car together, taking a walk, playing or reading.

3. Trust your child to lead YOU sometimes.  Let them take the lead when walking, playing or conversing.  You will learn a great deal about how your child thinks and what they know.

4. Dance and sing with your child.  No matter what age and no matter how badly you sing, mutually engaging with music is energizing and puts parent and child on an even playing field.  This allows each to truly get to know the other in a new way.

5. Set reasonable limits for your child and consistently keep them.  Although they won’t like it, it is essential in building a child’s sense of security in the world.  And somewhere down the line they will realize that the limits are a message of love from you. But you have to be VERY patient!

6. Invite your child to teach you something.  Curb any instinct to correct or teach them and you will discover many new and important things about your child that you never knew.   And most importantly your child will feel loved, trusted and empowered.

7. Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong.

8. Take time out to do simple things together like:

* Play in the rain and splash in the puddles
* Give each other foot massages
* Read to and with each other
* Let your child brush and style your hair
* Build with blocks
* Ride bicycles
* Color on a huge piece of paper laid out on the floor
* Paint one another’s nails
* Make up silly songs
* Tell jokes

9. Establish and keep family traditions, no matter how big or small.  Once you do, you’ll see how much love the traditions hold the first time you forget to keep one!

10. Take lots of photos and/or video and look through these together often, sharing funny stories about the best times! Children especially like the story of when they were born, or when you brought them home for the first time.”

Thank you so much Linda, I think these are great reminders of how even little things can go a long way!


[Disclosure: Pretend City is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor. And on a personal note, one of my FAVORITE children’s places in all of Orange County!] 

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Guest Blog: Favorite Shops in Orange County

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Aimee Della Bitta from Explore Life Daily wrote a fabulous guest blog for me today in celebration of Black Friday and the official start of the holiday shopping season! Here is what she writes…

“I’m so excited to be guest posting today on Tiny Oranges. I’m equally excited to be sharing some of my favorite local OC boutiques, just in time for holiday shopping!

There are so many reasons to shop locally, especially while our economy continues to struggle. For example, did you know that for every $100 spent at locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures?*


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Guest Blog: A Very Merry Un-Birthday!

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We all know there are some years when you want to go ALL OUT for your kid’s birthday party, but then there are other years when you want to pull in the reigns and do something simple.

That’s why when Rebecca emailed me to tell me about her “un-birthday party” idea for her two-year-old I thought it would make for a great guest post!   It’s such a cute idea and I love that the focus was on the most important thing – what would be the most special way to celebrate for her child.

A Very Merry Birthday “Un-Party” for Gannon

My name is Rebecca and I’d like to share with you the amazing Birthday “Un-party” I recently planned to celebrate my son’s second birthday.

I’ve had my share of extravagant birthday parties.

You name the theme and I’ve done it. Winter Wonderland, Western, Blue’s Clues, Princess, Baseball, My Little Pony…the list goes on and on.

These weren’t little back yard parties either. I counted 37 children at my daughter’s puppy party this past December.

Don’t get me wrong. The party was amazing and the boys and girls had a blast, but at the end of the day, I was broke, exhausted and couldn’t remember spending five solid minutes with my daughter on the day we came together to celebrate this amazing blessing, the day of her birth.

As February came along, I realized I was already beginning to plan my son’s birthday party for mid-April. I was overwhelmed before I even started and considered scaling things back but was having guilt about depriving my little boy of his birthday spoils.

Then it hit me. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be! I stopped planning, took a breath, and asked myself a very important question: What would Gannon’s perfect day look like?

The answer was simple: Trains, cupcakes, animals and grandparents.

So I made it happen. Two days before his birthday, I booked eight tickets on the Amtrak for myself, my husband, our daughter and both sets of grandparents. I consulted with my mom – a retired Kindergarten teacher of 30 years – and found out about Zoomar’s petting zoo located near the train depot in San Juan Capistrano.

Two hours before his party I stopped by the bakery and picked up some gourmet cupcakes and we were done! No pricey invitations. No deposits on locations. No expensive decorations. No piles of gifts he doesn’t need. No goody bags. It felt so liberating!

The day was perfect. We left the Santa Ana Amtrak station around 3 p.m. just after his nap and indulged in cupcakes and snacks on the 30 minute train ride to San Juan Capistrano.

We took the short walk to Zoomar’s and I relaxed and let my children lead the way. It was all about them! They rode horses and visited with the beautifully kept guinea pigs, chickens, bunnies and goats. Gannon even rode the little train with Papa twice and learned how to gobble at the giant turkey and snort like a pig.

We ate dinner together in downtown San Juan and rode the train home just in time to get the little ones to bed. It was an amazing day filled with beautiful quality family time that I will never forget.

I’m so glad I made the decision to avoid another mega party and can’t recommend enough to other moms and dads this concept of a birthday “un-party”. As I’m writing this I just realized another benefit. I only have to write four thank you notes!

Rebecca is a part-time preschool gymnastics coach at CheerForce Orange County, freelance web designer, and most importantly, mother of two beautiful children, Payton, 7, and Gannon, 2.

Thanks Rebecca for sharing!  I love the idea of doing guest posts to share ideas on how you celebrated your child’s birthday because I looooovvveeeee party ideas!  If you have a party you would like me to feature (extravagant, simple or somewhere in between) please send me an email to jennifer {at} tinyoranges.com.

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