Category: Parenting Encouragement

Best Parenting Books for Teaching Kids at Home

Best Parenting Books for Teaching Kids at Home

On a site called Rolling Prairie Readers, you’d probably expect at least one post with recommendations for parenting books! It’s been on my to-do list for years, so let’s get to it: the best parenting books for teaching kids at home.

Note: this list will be updated frequently, so be sure to come back often!

Best Parenting Books for Teaching Kids at Home

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger

 

MotherStyles by Janet Penley

Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

The Garden Classroom by Cathy James

What Your **-Grader Needs to Know (series) by E.D. Hirsch

The Power of Play by David Elkind

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin

The Intentional Bookshelf by Samantha Munoz

The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families: How to Bring Out the Best in Your KIDS and Your SELF by Hal Elrod + Mike and Lindsay McCarthy 

 

Your **-Year-Old (series) by Louise Ames Bates

Keeping Kids Busy at Home

Keeping Kids Busy at Home

For the past six years, I have been a work-at-home mom with my kids home full-time. I won’t lie and say it’s easy balancing a business and family time (while keeping up with housework). I can say it’s gotten easier as my kids have gotten older.

When it comes to keeping kids busy at home, it’s best to start as young as possible. Teaching kids to play independently for small chunks of time during the toddler years will make life easier once the napping years are gone forever.

My older daughter inherited my Type A tendencies. From a young age, she would ask me what our schedule looked like for the day. I ended up re-using one of my pocket charts from my classroom years. I made cards listing the major components of our day: meals, rest time, playdates, errands, read-aloud time, etc.

Each morning, I would arrange our daily calendar for her, leaving room for independent play. She had “choice time” in the morning and in the afternoon. I would choose three free time activities for her (for example, puzzles, blocks, and dress-up), and she would pick from the choices. Before long, Addie was quite good at keeping busy during my working hours, no screen time required!

By the time our younger daughter entered the toddler years, I was not only working at home, I was now homeschooling her older sister for Kindergarten. Suddenly, I needed to fill twice as much time for her!

Thankfully, Katie is a tactile learner. Sensory bins have always kept her busy for hours at a time–and pairing sensory play with our educational playlists meant she was listening and learning through play.

How to Keep Young Kids Busy at Home | Indoor activities for summer, rainy days, and work-at-home moms! Keep toddlers and parents happy with fun and simple learning activities using simple materials.

Keeping Kids Busy at Home | Fun ideas for your little ones to keep busy during summer or rainy days! Simple play ideas using pom poms, pipe cleaners, and popsicle sticks.

Keeping Kids Busy: Simple Play Ideas

I also discovered the idea of “invitations to play” when Katie was nearing the end of the napping years. {You can download all of our seasonal invitations to play FREE here.} She had this little table in her room, and each afternoon, I would set a tray with a new activity on it for her to see when she first woke up.

Her activities ranged from adding pony beads to playdough (and then pulling them all back out again) to building structures for her Little People animals with popsicle sticks. She loved sorting pom poms by color and making bracelets out of pipe cleaners.  

Now that my girls are 6 and 9, they love their free time. They work hard to finish their school work so they can get back to their projects!

Just this week, they put together a play for their stuffed animals! My youngest dictated the entire script for her older sister to write down. They rehearsed, made out invitations, and put on the entire show without any interference from me.

My oldest loves to write books, while my youngest still prefers sensory play. When they start to bicker, it’s time to spread out to different spaces for an hour of quiet time.

Keeping Kids Busy: Screen Time

A lot of moms I know struggle with guilt when it comes to screen time. In my opinion, it’s all about balance. If our kids are getting plenty of time outside, what’s the harm? The trick is finding shows and apps that YOU feel good about!

In our house, we’re big fans of Signing Time (sign language + music), PBS Kids (especially Peg + Cat), and School House Rock. My girls also love to listen to books on Audible, play Stack the States, and practice their math facts on the iPad.

They also love riding their bikes, going to the library, and fishing with their Daddy. Everything in moderation!

When it comes to keeping kids busy at home, during summer or on rainy days, the key is being flexible.


I love helping busy parents connect with their kids through play. Come join our FREE Facebook group for lots of activity ideas and encouragement from other moms!

The Parent Resource Room

Distraction-Free Parenting {FREE Challenge}

Distraction-Free Parenting {FREE Challenge}

Just last week in our Facebook group, I took a poll about parenting goals. Which of these mean the most to you?

  • Additional family time
  • Extra adventures (travel & day trips)
  • Fewer distractions during family time
  • Greater understanding of child development
  • More emphasis on learning at home

The number one response was “fewer distractions during family time,” which got me thinking…

What does distraction-free parenting look like?


 

istraction-Free Parenting | family communication, positive parenting, fun family activities, parenting tips, family relationships


(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

If you’re anything like me, you might struggle with the temptation to reach for your phone during family time. It’s so common, in fact, that a whole book has been written about it!  

One of our regular family activities is going to our indoor community pool. We try to go one or two evenings a week, after my husband gets out of work. At first, I had a hard time relaxing in the water; my mind kept racing with a multitude of things to add to my to-do list.

Over the last few months, swimming has become one of my favorite ways to unwind because it’s a distraction-free zone. From the moment we arrive at the aquatic center, my phone goes into my bag and I am 100% focused on my family.

So, I am going to take the parenting lessons I have learned at the pool and spend time cultivating our family relationships phone-free. 


Rolling Prairie Readers exists
to create a community of lifelong learners
where parents inspire
and empower their children
to follow their passions
and use their unique gifts
to make the world a better place.


Inspiring and empowering our kids starts with building authentic relationships with our kids. Trust me when I say, I’m not writing this as a perfect parent who has it all figured out. Distraction-free parenting is one of my very real struggles as a mom, and I would guess it resonates with some of you as well.

Being a work-at-home, homeschooling mama of two means that some multitasking is necessary. Sometimes, I’ll read a chapter of a book on my Kindle app while my girls play outside or pin images to Pinterest while we’re watching football on Sunday afternoons. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks while driving, and I brainstorm blog post ideas while I’m in the shower.

One of my friends recently told me that her parenting goal is to let go of the things that won’t matter in a year. This next year, I am going to focus on living a less distracted life! That means:

  • no Facebook when I should be writing
  • less Instagram during homeschool lessons
  • turning my phone off during family time

Distraction-Free Parenting Challenge

I’m inviting each of you to join me in being less distracted while we are with our families. This is a yearlong parenting challenge built on baby steps, with one small activity or idea coming your way on the first of each month. If you would like to be part of our distraction-free parenting series, just click here:

Join the challenge!