One of the quotes that helps keep me grounded as a mother is this: “The days are long, but the years are short.” It’s by Gretchen Rubin, who wrote a favorite book of mine called The Happiness Project.
I love her quote because it captures the pressure parents feel between “cherishing every moment” (as we’re so often reminded by experienced moms) and just getting through the day. Both feelings are valid, and both are true.
As summer turns into fall, it’s a great time to take a moment to reflect on the how we can embrace each new season in our babies’ lives.
My family is currently in the thick of the transition back to school. My 4th grader is adjusting to homework and my two little ones are heading to half-day preschool next week. I’ve been busy getting backpacks and school supplies and making sure my children are all outfitted for fall.
It’s a busy time.
And while I find myself caught up in — and a little stressed out by — all of the preparations this season brings, it’s amazing to me to realize that this will only be the third fall my toddler has ever experienced. The cooler air, the changing leaves, the turtlenecks and apple picking. This is all new and exciting for her, even if it’s just another season in my eyes.
For babies, each new season is a first. How can we embrace it?
1. See it through their eyes. You may have experienced these things countless times but to your baby, everything is new. Allow yourself to imagine the wonders of nature as your baby sees them!
2. Plan developmentally appropriate activities that celebrate each season. Even young babies can do activities that celebrate the seasons. Create a sensory box with an autumn theme or collect leaves of different shapes and sizes. Our family’s favorite fall activities are cheering on our favorite college football team, going to local fall festivals, and doing simple fall-themed crafts together (like these Pumpkin People).
3. Instill a love for nature in your child early. Read your toddler books about the changing seasons. Spend time outdoors. Their excitement is contagious!
No matter what you do, remember that each season is fleeting. Make the most of it with your little one!
What are your family’s autumn traditions? Tell us in the comments!
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. She writes about all things toddler at Babble’s Toddler Times. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.