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How important is 'tying one on'?

New Year’s Day is a day of celebration. A day for starting anew. We create resolutions to become help us be steadfast in reaching personal goals whether that’s to lose weight or stop smoking, or just be on time to work. We have a happy, fresh outlook on a new year.

But, there is a lurking danger following all those midnight celebrations. There is an increase in infant deaths on New Year’s Day. A 33% increase in infant deaths, in fact.

There is not a clear reason for these deaths. They are probably not all SIDS deaths since SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion

The bottom line is parents of infants must make good decisions and safe arrangements for their infant before they decide to celebrate the new year....

Family Fertilizer

Family traditions are (technically) those repetitive memories from our childhood that are associated with a happy time. They could be repeated for holidays, birthdays, summer vacation, or any sort of annual occurrence. Some traditions are attributed to religions or culture, or for no reason other than they were fun to do.

Traditions create security and predictability during our childhood. We find comfort in predictability. As we get older and have children of our own, we like to recreate that secure, happy feeling for our own kids.

Some of us were not fortunate enough to have a family life as children that lent to the creation of traditions. Creating them for our children can be challenging. How do you create something when you never had it as a child, when you were never shown how?

The most important piece is....

Consumer's Choice

In our country, we get to choose what to purchase. It’s a wonderful thing. Ford or Chevy? Levi’s or Wranglers? Wii or XBox? Whatever the choice may be, we have to make decisions. Advertising often influences which product we choose, as well as, reviews from friends, family, magazines, and the consumer reviews online.

When I look at a review, I tend to skip past all the ‘happy, 5-star” reviews. I want to know what sorts of problems people are experiencing, not how quickly the package arrived. I want to look at what the product does and how it functions. Especially, if it’s for a child then is it safe and age-appropriate? (I don’t want to give a choking hazard to a child who likes to put things in their mouth).

The holiday season and shopping process can be difficult for parents. We have a special set of challenges put to us:

Baby Physics

As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children be happy, healthy, smart, and successful to give them the best chance at being happy, healthy, smart, successful adults. Especially with a first baby, we tend to listen to all sorts of sources, family, friends, and even marketing to find out what we should do and buy.

Retail stores will try to sell you tons of stuff and we often times will buy it because we don’t want to look like we don’t know what we’re doing. So, we buy the toys that have flashing lights with buttons that play Mozart, and the ones that teach infants higher math because we think we should. After you spend all the money and get the present back home, all your child wants to do is play with the box. How frustrating is that? The parents end up spending more time with the toy trying to entice the child to come play. Why do babies love playing in boxes?

This is what I call Baby Physics. They’re ‘real world’ items. They can crawl in and out. Toys can disappear only to reappear again. The sides and corners are planes and angles. Just like playing with ...

Lunchbox Battles

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.

A birthday and a backpack

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?

We’ve created Head Start to try and catch the kids earlier in order to better prepare the kids for school, but preparing for school starts years earlier.

Here are a few things that parents can do to prepare their children for school:

More than the ABC’s

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:

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