This article was previously published on Pebbles and Piggytails. It has been republished here with permission.

I'm a sentimental fool. I accept this. I save the pictures my kidlets draw for me. I take photos of every step they take. I get teary-eyed every time they go through a new milestone.

And so yes, I have been wiping my eyes these past few days as I realize my kidlets are finishing the school year and growing up. Little Son is done with fourth grade and moving up into the "big kid grades" of elementary school. Sweet Tween is in Junior High in September. And Baby Girl is finishing up first grade ... *sniff, sniff.

So if you are like me, and you have serious issues with your children growing up (like The Neverland Syndrome), how can we mothers combat this sad feeling of our babies leaving the nest when they haven't even learned to fly yet? And what about that guilty feeling of wishing we had more time to be a better parent for them?

The secret is to ENJOY YOUR CHILDREN. So here's three practical tips on HOW TO SURVIVE SENTIMENTAL SADNESS and just ENJOY your children. They aren't rocket science, but they work even in the busiest of times. They may help you when your sentimentality and guilt gets the best of you:

1. Spend time with them.

This seems obvious, but when you really think about it, sometimes our days are so busy that we don't even have time for dinner together. Take a break from blogging ... um, the things that consume your time, and ask them what they would like to do together or just chat with them. Sometimes you have to really create these moments in order for them to happen. When I realized I needed to spend more time with Baby Girl, I planned a specific time to play dolls with her. We played every day after breakfast before I did anything else. Sometimes it's just for 10 minutes. That's OK. Ten minutes a day is better than zero minutes.

2. Turn off the media.

This goes for both parent and child. I love media and all the devices out there. They are great tools. But sometimes I find myself texting right when my child is trying to talk to me and then I don't really hear them or give them my full focus. And same with my kidlets. They need time to engage with us and others without the constant pull of video games or as I say "the addicting glow of electronics."

3. Make four minutes count.

Set limits and follow through with them. Years ago someone gave me the advice to make the first four minutes of the day AND the last four minutes of the day with your child a positive experience. Greet them in the morning with hugs and some small talk before you start nagging them to get ready for school. Then at night tuck them in and chat about their day, sing a song, read a story, or just give them a hug. Not even five minutes! No matter what happens in the middle of the day, you'll begin and end the day right. I have tried this for many years. It helps me feel better, especially on hard mom days. No guilt attached. Just good times.

I hope this helps clear the tears for some of you. And no matter what JUST LOVE 'EM. A little love goes a long way.

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