The 10th Anniversary of 9/11 happens on Sunday. There will be much coverage in the news and online. As parents, we need to be prepared for questions and we might need to censor how much exposure our children receive about the events on 9/11/01.
In order to be successful in school, our children need fuel. School lunches can be tough. We have to balance what is healthy and what our child will eat. There’s also the distraction factor. They have 20 minutes and a cafeteria or gym full of other kids who are all talking and eating. The distraction is enough to delay nutritional intake past the time when lunch is over. (To see what I'm talking about, Try to fit in a lunchtime visit to your child’s school sometime. Prearranged with your child and the office. You'll be amazed.)
So, we need something tasty and quick and easy to prepare, but nutritionally sound and easy for our kids to eat quickly.
As school starts, I am reminded of my youngest child’s first day of kindergarten. The poor child had 5 stitches in his right heel from an unfortunate accident with a metal door plate. He turned 6 years old a few days before school started and he was using a walker which gave a little extra stability than crutches. He was standing in line with the other kids outside the kindergarten room. All the parents were standing a couple of paces away from their kids anxiously awaiting the bell to ring.
My husband and I were old hats at this as he is our third child. The backpack was full, the emergency card was signed and his lunch was packed. We did our part and now off he went. I had a moment of misty-eyed “My baby is growing up” motherly emotions, but it passed and off we went to spend the day alone, childless and enjoying it.
In the afternoon, we returned to pick him up and the teacher was standing next to him. As we walked up, excited to see him and hear how his first day of school went, the teacher stepped up to talk to us. (Now after two other boys, I took this as a sign that there was a ‘talking to’ in my youngest son’s future.) The teacher hugged me and said, “Thank you so much for preparing him for school.” She had spent the day with kids yelling, misbehaving and jumping on the furniture. My son, confined as he was because of his foot, was patient but helpful. He waited until someone was available to help him to get his lunch or binder. He waited until he was called on. We couldn’t have been prouder of our son.
I hear so much about schools needing to do better. They have tests to measure how the teachers are performing and there’s more and more scrutiny on the schools’ performance. But what about the parents? Where is the accountability for the parents to prepare their children?
Here are a few things that parents can do to prepare their children for school:
Most of us have heard about the studies that show kids who study music:
● Can score higher on standardized tests, such as the SAT;
● Can help develop problem-solving and math skills;
● Develop their brains in areas that non-music studying kids don’t;
● And a whole slew of other beneficial things...
But music also releases serotonin and dopamine to give us the same sort of feeling of pleasure that come from eating chocolate. It can make us happy. There’s nothing like that good feeling when the perfect song pops up on the radio or on our iPods/MP3s.
This is important in our stressed out world of today. We’re stressed about work, chores, bills, economy, blah, blah, blah.
So how do we get more music into our children’s lives? And how do we cultivate an appreciation for music, not just a rebellion?
What is it that compels adults to “do the right thing”, or “go out of their way”, or “go above and beyond”?
There are those people that are outstanding in their jobs or in their interpersonal relationships with friends, family, and even strangers.
This is that interconnectedness, or sense of community that some of us feel towards our fellow human. We respect our fellow man and respect the plight that they are on.
Social sciences are looking at how spirituality effects our health. Spirituality does not automatically mean religion. Spirituality is the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life. Many people find spirituality through religion. Some find it through music, art or a connection with nature. Others find it in their values and principles. And some adults I know still find it with their parents.
As humans, we have 4 different parts to us that need nurturing and development. We have our physical, intellectual, emotional, and social/spiritual parts. When we see an amazing athlete who is also well-spoken and intelligent; who is a caring well-adjusted person, we tend to appreciate the wholeness of the person. For some athletes, they spend too much time developing the physical part and can neglect the rest (which is why we had/have “no pass, no play rule” in schools).
As parents, we have a responsibility to nurture the whole of our children. We know that we need to read to them, help them get the exercise they need, and emotion coach, teach them to be nice to their playdate but sometimes we neglect the spiritual side.
There are ways to help develop your child’s spiritual side:
Most women start planning for their baby’s arrival as soon as they get pregnant, and even sometimes before they’re pregnant. There are clothes to buy, toys to pick out, car seat to decipher. We start sorting out a birth plan. We often hear about how the first few weeks can be difficult, but we don’t realize the truth until we live it.
The changes our bodies go through during the pregnancy is incredible, but what happens afterwards is astounding. There are physical changes (lochia, involution, hemmorhoids, etc.). There are hormonal changes (drop in estrogen & progesterone, increase in prolactin). Psychological changes such as, “I’m a mom” and “That’s my baby”. (There can also be the overwhelming feeling of love towards the baby or sometimes it can take women several days to feel like the baby is really theirs. Both are completely normal and both can be shocking.)
Now let’s add on sleep deprivation.
In our culture, within a few days of childbirth, we are back home with the baby, maybe partner is there, maybe they had to go back to work quickly, but we’re alone or with one support person and trying to take care of a newborn while experiencing all these changes at once.
It’s no wonder we get the blues.
“Baby Blues” are normal. Approximately 85% of new moms get the blues and dads and adoptive parents can get them, too. The blues usually goes away or starts to get better by 3 weeks or so. As we pass the blues, we start to feel better and are beginning to adjust to the ‘new normal’.
There are things we can do to lessen the risks of more serious postpartum mood disorders:
World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration held around the world to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding families. Each year the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) develops a theme as a primary focus. WABA is a global network of individuals and organizations who are dedicated to protecting and promoting the right of all babies and mothers to breastfeed, and to help re-establish breastfeeding as normal. This year’s theme is focused on communication.
Communication is an essential part of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. We live in a world where individuals and global communities connect across small and great distances at an instant's notice. New lines of communication are being created every day, and we have the ability to use these information channels to broaden our horizons and spread breastfeeding information beyond our immediate time and place to activate important dialogue.
When I think about communication related to breastfeeding, many ideas come to mind. Since I work with breastfeeding mothers and babies every day, I have started to realize how valuable the internet is. However, it can also be overwhelming if you’re trying to find information about a specific breastfeeding issue.
Below are my “Top Five” favorite websites which address different aspects of breastfeeding, particularly in the early days and weeks.