While many of our loyal preschool families know me as the owner of Austin Kids Retreat, two really important people know me as something else: mom.


And as all mom’s (& dad’s) know – being a parent is not without struggle. Whether it’s trying to get your child to communicate about their day, dealing with their emotional struggles, or trying to teach gratitude and thankfulness – this parenting gig is a full-time job! Even with my 20 years in the childcare and education field – I still feel these struggles of parenthood. But my experience has given me some great tools to build on and I would love to share them with you!



In an effort to get more specific than asking our kiddo’s “how was your day”, instead we end the day at bedtime (or sometimes over dinner) with our Rose and Thorn.


Maybe you’ve guessed the purpose of the Rose & Thorn:

The Rose = Favorite part of the day!

Thorn = Challenges Faced.


While we always want to hear about our children’s challenges and talk about how to conquer them, we don’t want the focus of their day to be negative.


So with the hopes of creating a positive mindset regarding their day, we start with our request for 3 Roses! This starts the conversation off positive and with a number like 3, gives the kids plenty of chances to reflect and choose three highlights from their day.


When they are done sharing their roses, we ask for one thorn (though they are always welcome to share as many challenges as they had). Then once they share that challenge, we talk through the scenario: how could you have changed/avoided that scenario? What would you do differently? How did that make you feel? If that happens again, how will you react next time?


I love the analysis part of the Thorn – because although it can be a tough topic, it gives us a chance to teach our kids how not to focus on the problem but to 1. Identify the problem 2. Analyze the choices 3. Come to a logical solution.


As a boy mom – I find that without this Rose & Thorn game, getting details about my son’s day can be tricky. This helps us establish healthy and helpful communication.

Even better? Both his dad and I share our own Rose and Thorn of the day!


One of the absolute best ways to teach your child a skill – problem-solving, communicating, reflection – is to be your child’s role model!



A Challenge to Take It Up A Notch:


We mentioned modeling behavior, right? Well, what if you could start and end each day with listing out things you’re grateful for?

A great tool for parents (you know those people with little free time but a whole lot to be thankful for!):

The Five-Minute Journal is a journal you do each morning and each night. Just 5 minutes a day to get your own mindset in a thankful mood to start and end the day!


If you have a child who is of reading/writing age there are many kids journals (like this one ) and even one’s just for boys or just for girls. Encourage them to write their gratitudes next to you. Trust us – it sure beats mindless morning cartoons to start the day!


If you have a non-reader/writer we recommend that after you write in your journals you share your entry with your child and/or partner. Then encourage your child to verbally complete their own gratitude list!


We love this way of making gratitude part of the daily routine and setting positive intentions for the day.




Gratitude on Thanksgiving:


We all have our own holiday traditions. Here’s a great one to add your family’s holiday! Before starting in on your Thanksgiving feast, go around the table and have each person share what they are most thankful for this year! If doing this around the table before the meal is too difficult (or maybe would take too long) – try instilling this tradition after a toast, or while everyone is in a post-food-coma and all in one place.


However you do it, encouraging sharing the thing(s) your most thankful for introduces your child to a room full of role models all sharing how they reflect and what they value most.




Thanksgiving at Austin Kids Retreat


This week at Austin Kids Retreat we will be open normal hours most of the week with the exception of closing early on Wednesday, Nov 27th at 6 pm and we will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Friday we will be open for business normal hours, 7 am – Midnight! Give thanks for little breaks and check out our West Austin drop-in childcare facility. Get your Black Friday shopping done without the stress. Trust us – your kids and you will both be grateful for the experience! 😉


But with that being said, the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving will all be days at Austin Kids Retreat full of fun Thanksgiving-themed activities – and while we do these fun activities, chatting about the things we are thankful for! We welcome your child to join us for drop-in daycare.