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The Imagine Neighborhood Bridges the Gap Between Parents and Young Children

This is a sponsored post on behalf of CFC. All thoughts are my own.

When my oldest child was five years old, I became pregnant with my second child. It had been a dream of mine and my husband's to be able to give our son a sibling- a playmate and lifelong best friend. With a sibling on deck, starting Kindergarten, and going through seemingly normal life transitions at that time, there were a lot of feelings and emotions that my son was feeling, and I wondered how on earth I would be able to talk through those with him, allowing him to express himself. 

It wasn't until a good friend and educator came into my family's life, with her husband and daughter, that I began to learn how young children communicate their feelings. I started paying more attention to cues and clues being given by my child, and wished that I could go back in time and change the ways I handled certain situations with him up to that point.

Now that my kids are older, nine and four, I try to work with resources that I know will benefit my kids, myself, and our relationship. Learning how to effectively communicate with my kids hasn't been easy- their age difference and differences in personality has left me semi-scattered at times. Thankfully, a delightful new Podcast for families presented by Committee for Children, is meeting parents where they are, and helping to bridge the communication gap between them and their young children.

The Imagination Neighborhood is a fabulous and fun learning experience for kids and grown-ups alike. As an adult, I have a life and business coach that I work with on a weekly basis. We often work through feelings together, and it's part of a process. We know that kids express their emotions in so many different ways, and The Imagination Neighborhood helps parents connect the dots with and for their children, offering real solutions for working through emotions that we're all faced with every day.

One of the worst feelings for parents is feeling helpless when it comes to knowing how to work through emotions with their kids. I have one child who is anxious, fearful, sensitive, and hard on himself (he's like his mom in these ways), and another kiddo who is sassy, brave, and sometimes lacks empathy (like her dad). The Imagination Neighborhood offers weekly podcasts for families to listen to and enjoy together. The episodes are just fifteen minutes long, a fantastic length for kids. You can listen to the episodes when you're in the car, or just hanging out at home.

This time of social distancing and having to learn from home, rather being able to be at school and with friends has been so incredibly tough. We've been feeling a lot of sadness, frustration, confusion, and some days, even anger. While taking breaks from school lessons during our days spent at home, it's been absolutely refreshing to 'unplug' and unwind as a family while listening to The Imagination Neighborhood podcast episodes. To step away from our work area, and lay down for just fifteen minutes as we listen and learn together, has been such a huge eye-opener, and help for our family.

The episodes are fun and engaging for kids and parents. We have come to love many of the characters, and enjoy listening to fun music and songs during the episodes. Each episode has a fun title which piques the interest of kids of all ages, such as 'The Clouds are Made of Cake,' and 'Saying Goodbye Can Be Hard.' Episodes explore feelings of anger, sadness, calmness, how to use our voices for safety reasons, and even learning about physical reactions to emotions such as tummy aches when we feel anxious.

The fun and learning goes beyond just the podcasts, however. While each episode is fun and filled with lots of talking points for parents and kids, there are even more resources available at imaginationneighborhood.org. The Activities section is filled with amazing notes and feedback on recent episodes, as well as questions for families, videos, and creative activities. Each episode focuses on a different topic, and after my kids and I listen, dance, and learn together, we love talking about how each weekly topic makes us feel. Spending this time together has become an essential part of our week as a family. Carving out time to enjoy these episodes together, to talk, and to create or act based on our feelings has been incredibly eye-opening. Some days we work on breathing exercises, and simply just listen to the sound of our breath, and one another's. Some days we draw our feelings, or describe how we feel using colors or shapes. We talk about kindness, and what that looks like in our home, our schools, and in our community.

In a time where we feel so disorganized, disoriented, and stressed, The Imagination Neighborhood breathes calming new energy into our homes. We start each week off with an intention to listen to one another, to act with love and care in our hearts, and to use the tools we have been given by The Imagination Neighborhood to talk through the things we are feeling. After having listened to just a few of these wonderful episodes, our hearts are lighter, and there are a lot more smiles abounding in our home.

Taking the time to create a true time of respite, learning, and reflection as a family is absolutely worth it. In just fifteen minutes a week, your family can be on the path to understanding thoughts and feelings, and working on those together, rather than against them and each other.

This podcast series has been such a blessing for me as a parent. I'm learning the importance of meeting my kids where they are, and not expecting them to behave like little adults. I love the authentic way the episodes are presented, and love that we can listen to them anytime, anywhere!

Taking the time to listen to these weekly episodes has been a wonderful step in the right direction for our family.

Want to listen to The Imagination Neighborhood? Join us!

You can enjoy The Imagination Neighborhood podcast whenever you like!
Available now on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify!

The combination of weekly podcasts (Mondays) and corresponding daily activities (music, mindfulness, movement, science, etc...) will keep your family on track and learning & growing together all week long! 

Connect with The Imagination Neighborhood on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn more about the CFC, click here.

Wishing you a safe and happy summer together!

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