Disclosure: Diary of a First Time Mom is proud to be a member of the Netflix Stream Team! Each month, we’ll share our stories about the shows we’re watching and how we’re making memories.

Dear Diary,

This week, I celebrated my daughter’s fourth birthday and realized that although she’ll always be “my” baby, she’s no longer “a” baby. In recent weeks, I’ve noticed her grow into her independence. She wants to ride the big kid swings at the park, and most days she doesn’t want me to push her. She asks to carry whatever she buys at the mall. And for the first time, she carried a lunch box. To some, it’s a mere metal container. To moms, it’s part of the rite of passage from a baby to a big kid.

Dragons 1

At first, I was sad, then I had an awakening. Now, that Caitlynn is growing up, we can watch more shows together–shows that we both enjoy. I’m all for cartoons, but we have one television and one personal computer, which means she gets a hold of the remote control until the sun goes down–and by that time I’m ready to lay down! At the age of four, she’s requesting to watch new shows streaming on Netflix that packed with action and adventure like DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge, partially persuaded by my two nephews.

Dragons 2

Whatever J.R. and Julian do, Caitlynn is right behind them. Skipping rocks, dunking basketballs (with a lift of course) and chasing fireflies. So when I asked the fellas check out  the all-new Netflix original series, Caitlynn wanted a piece of the action. The show features Hiccup and Toothless–character names Caitlynn thinks are absolutely hilarious.

Each episode is about 20 minutes, which is perfect for her toddler attention span. I watched along as an adventurous helicopter mom. I had to see if the dragon would be a bit scary. There was once scene I was nervous about–pretty minor, but involved hitting. She didn’t pick up on it. Instead, she focused on the actual dragons. Caitlynn reassured me that the show wouldn’t trigger a nightmare when she said, Mommy, dragons are just pretend. They can’t hurt you! I backed up and let her be.

Dragons 4

Even though she’s having a princess themed birthday party this weekend, she still likes to rough house with the boys. Sort of like how I was as a little girl. I was a bit of a tomboy and didn’t flinch when there was mud, spiders or even worms. She’s growing into a bright, brave little girl. Here’s how you too can raise courageous kids.

Let Kids Get Dirty

When I first became a mom, I always carried a change of clothes, wipes and sanitizer in my purse. Now, I sometimes leave the house empty handed.  Today, my daughter played at an indoor park and wanted to get Mexican food afterwards. Tired, I ordered it to go, but she insisted on sitting down. In the past, I would have worried about someone spotting her in a soiled shirt. But a couple of years later, my first worry was getting some food in our stomachs. Let your kids get dirty. It’s OK. Let them explore the backyard, make mud pies and climb trees.

Let Kids Speak

It takes courage for a kid to speak up for himself. This may seem small, but voicing your opinion isn’t always easy, especially if your child is shy. Although you may not agree with your child, you can learn more about him, and how you can raise him,  if you listen to what he has to say.

Let Kids Fail

When my parents were dating, my mom played a game with my uncle a.k.a. the menopause kid. Everyone let my uncle, who is a decade younger than his siblings, win at everything. No one gave my mom a heads up, so when she beat him at checkers he threw a  fit. Sometimes in life we have to let our kids lose. We can be there to hug them, kiss leave and dust them off, but we must instill in them a dream big, work hard attitude. Not everyone will cater to them. Not everyone will give them what they want.  When kids fail, they are challenged to try the task again and again. There’s a quote that says courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.

Hey DFTM Fam–How are you raising courageous kids?

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

One Response

  1. Raya

    I have learned to encourage my children to explore all options and sto limiting themselves. I want them to realize that the only bounderies (sometimes) are themselves.


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