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Jennifer Wojciechowski

Jennifer Wojciechowski

Jennifer is a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician with additional training for special needs children and a Certified Parenting Counts Educator. She was an EMT, Certified American Heart Association Basic Life Support and First Aid Instructor, Certified Happiest Baby Educator, Certified Gottman Educator for Bringing Baby Home, and Certified Safe Sitter Instructor. She has also taught newborn care and preparing for postpartum classes. Previously, she was a still photography specialist in the Air National Guard for 6 years. She is also the mother of 3 boys ages 17, 12, and 7.

Blog Posts by Jennifer Wojciechowski

Hold the baby

In the US, we have a culture that encourages independence but are we performing our babies a disservice by isolating them in a car seat carrier or stroller?

Think about what we do when we’re holding the baby and walking around. We are bonding through touch, smell, eye contact, and talking. We can talk to them and teach them about the trucks and airplanes, the art work on the walls and flowers or the different colors on the packages at the store. Even when they listen to us talk to a companion or on the phone, they’re being exposed to communication. The more you talk with your baby the better. All of this starts with the children as newborns.

What sort of interaction do babies get when they’re isolated in a car seat carrier or stroller covered with a blanket or staring at the ceiling?

Food matters

Cooking with kids is a great way to expose them to new flavors and cultures.  It teaches them math and science in a way that they don’t even realize.  It brings families closer and having family dinners has shown to reduce depression and drug use, and make for happier, healthier kids.

There is a wonderful not-so-new concept that is catching on like the latest cute cat video on YouTube. This experience is bringing communities together and helping families bond.

Community Kitchens.  

Once a week, multi-generational families from a community come together and cook with local foods from their Farmer’s Market to make wonderfully nutritious meals.  There are conversations over chopping carrots about the community, families, and cooking.  Then everyone sits down and has a fantastic meal together and have lively discussions about anything.  At then end, everyone cleans up, and takes home leftovers to freeze for easier and healthier meals during the week.

Parents just don’t have much time in the evening to prepare such time intensive dishes, after work and between homework, laundry, dishes, and bedtime.  Home Economics and Cooking classes have been cut from most school districts’ budgets, so where do our kids learn to prepare barley, or homemade apple pie?

What were we thinking?

When we decide to have a baby (or the idea was placed upon us by an unexpected positive pregnancy test), we start to think about the idea of what it means to have a baby. We imagine all these wonderful thoughts of a sweet baby sleeping and walks in the park with a stroller. We also start to look at our friends who have children. You know, those children who whine, complain and throw temper tantrums and the exasperated parents then just give the child what they want to quiet them down. We think to ourselves, “That won’t be us. We’ll do things differently.”

Now, we find ourselves back on our couch after the monumental event of giving birth and a way too short stay where we had room service and a nurse call button 24 hours a day.

We look at each other, then at the beautiful baby in our arms and simultaneously say, “Now what?”.

Let’s look at the changes for everyone involved to gain some perspective.

Changes Mom Partner Baby
Physical Yes, Labor Yes, Stress Everything changed
Hormonal Yes Yes
Psychological Yes (now a mom) Yes (now a dad)
Emotional Yes See above
Disturbed Sleep Yes Yes

How do we navigate the concurrently tumultuous and joyous waters that is being a new parent? How do we keep our relationship strong while enduring the impact of having a baby?

To start, we need to get back to basics:

A cyberbully is not a mean robot

Technology can be amazing, astounding and wonderful, but just as fantastic as it can be in the right hands, in the wrong hands it can be devastating, demoralizing, even destructive.

When our children are young, we teach them how to wield a fork safely at the dinner table and to not hit other kids during play-dates. We must also teach them how to harness the power of the internet for good. Learn to knit or tie knots; speak Spanish or play the guitar. Keeping up with friends and distant family on Facebook can be a lifesaver for the homesick. There are so many amazingly wonderful experiences that can be had on the internet.

Unfortunately, the dangerous sense of anonymity online can lead some to cruel and horrific activities resulting in unimaginable suffering for all involved. Children need guidance. Their brain is not as developed as an adult’s brain and we can’t expect them to think like an adult.

So, at what point have you taught, or will teach, your kids about cyberbullying?

Bring out your meds!

We teach our kids to say no to drugs, but did you teach them about the dangers of prescription drug abuse?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more teens abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit drug other than marijuana - more than cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamine combined!

It’s not just your kids you need to worry about, from the baby crawling to the teenager who babysits for you, your own teenager and their friends, even the workmen in your house. If your medications are kept in the bathroom, it’s very easy for someone to access them behind the privacy of the closed door.

This weekend, take time to....

Emotion Coaching

Just like learning to name oranges, zebras, and fire trucks, our children need to learn how to name their emotions. They need to understand what emotions are and how to handle them.

When we dismiss our children’s emotions, what is this teaching them? It’s teaching them that their emotions don’t matter which in turn teaches them that they are not important. Emotion Coaching is when we take the time to listen to our children’s fears or frustrations and coach them along to identify the emotion and let them discover how best to handle the situation. It teaches our children that they’re important. We don’t necessarily want to solve their problems, but can guide them on how to find acceptable solutions.

Let’s try this example, your child is afraid of the dark, but as you’re tucking them in it’s discovered that the night light bulb has burned out.

How do you catch a raw egg?

With the ‘new’ American Academy of Pediatrics and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations for keeping kids rear-facing longer, there has been some questions as to why.

When we install a car seat rear-facing, it’s reducing the risk of injury from the most common and the most severe types of crashes: front-end collisions.

Let’s talk about what happens in a front-end crash.

The front-end of the car lowers;

The back-end raises up;

The speed is decelerated abruptly;

But due to momentum, everything in the car continues to travel towards the point-of-impact. (including anything loose in the car like the stroller and big dog in the back)

When we have the child rear-facing and the car seat is properly installed using either the seat belt or latch attachments, the car seat will pivot on that axis (the seat belt or latch). When the car seat pivots, its allows the child to ‘ride out’ the crash. The seat will ease the child down at a slower rate, dispersing the energy from the crash across the child’s entire back and in the car seat. This action and positioning keeps the spine in line reducing their risk for spinal cord injury.

The physics involved in this are the same physics that are involved in catching a raw egg. If you think about how you catch a raw egg, you don’t catch it like a line-drive baseball. You catch it and follow it’s trajectory slowing it down at a safer rate as to not crack the shell. You’re dispersing the energy from the impact in your hands and across the shell. The same way a rear-facing car seat works.

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