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Parentelligence Blog

'children' Parentelligence posts

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:

Grand-Parentelligence

Every family is unique, but those families who have grandparents who live nearby or are involved in their children’s lives are lucky. It somehow seems just a bit brighter for kids who get to be regaled in stories of long ago, those stories about when mom or dad was a child.

However, some of you with grandparents nearby might wish there was a bit more distance between your house and theirs.

When a baby is born, we have a new baby, new parents, and new grandparents. Our roles have all instantly changed. The new grandparents can be a wealth of information. They have amassed 20, 30, or 40 years of parenting experience. Everything from infants to teens to parenting adults. It’s only natural that they now want to share with you everything that they’ve learned. (They also might want to try to correct what they believe are mistakes that they made as parents.)

The most important thing that new parents need is:

Boost 'em

Booster seats are like a combination of a glorified phone book and an advanced pelvis for your child. While most of us rode around without car seats or booster seats or even seat belts in the conversion van or in the back of a pick-up when we were kids (and we made it out just fine), we were the lucky ones. The kids who didn’t make it aren’t around to advocate for advancements in safety. Their parents had to do all the work in their honor, to which I would like to say thank you.

What most parents don’t understand is that the seat belt in a car is designed and tested for a manikin that is 5’10” and 180lbs. Seat belts don’t fit most adult women much less an average 8 year old child.

The ambiguous cut-off for kids to be old/big enough to not sit in a booster seat is somewhere around age 8, or 4’9”, or 80lbs. In fact, most kids don’t reach 4’9” until somewhere between 9 to 12 years old, according to the CDC (boys and girls).

While your 9 year old might fit properly in say a Mini Cooper without a booster seat, they might still need one in an SUV because of the larger seats and attachment points of the seat belts.

Proper fit has much more to do with the placement of the seat belt across the child’s body, than it does with the child’s age.

In Real Life

This video has sparked some controversy about exposing babies and young children to technology. Some people think it’s a shame that the baby thinks the magazine is ‘broken’. It seems to me that the baby is just figuring out that the iPad works one way and the magazine works another. She’s trying out her world. She’s testing those Baby Physics again.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated quite clearly that “pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of two years.”  This is to include limiting the time exposure as well as limiting the content to appropriate entertainment (no violence, drugs, alcohol, etc.).

I agree completely that screen time should be limited for our children but it would be nearly impossible to completely restrict all exposure to media.  We just need to harness the technology and use it appropriately.  

Our children are growing up in an age where we can carry the internet in our pockets. They do need to learn their way around a laptop and an iPad.   We get upset if the schools don’t have computer labs or the latest technology. Some schools even issue laptops instead of textbooks because laptops are so inexpensive but can be updated so easily. That’s wonderful. The amount of knowledge at our fingertips is incredible and increasing exponentially everyday.

However, there are serious drawbacks to too much screen time:

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

It’s a well known fact that when you bring a baby home, sleep becomes an issue of most importance. Most of us start making decisions about where baby will sleep once we find out we’re pregnant. We start looking at cribs and bassinets, and it can be overwhelming to make a decision, but we finally do, and then we wait. When baby finally shows up, however, those ideas don’t always go the way we had planned. Where baby sleeps is a personal choice but there are straightforward guidelines as to what the baby’s sleep environment should look like.

It is recommended to have baby sleep in the same room as you for the first 3 to 6 months. This is a SIDS risk reduction measure. By having the baby sleep in the same room as the parents, their risk for SIDS can be cut in half.

If the baby will sleep in a crib, bassinet, portable play yard, mini-crib, cradle, or co-sleeper, please make sure they are current in their safety design. If you’re planning on using a pre-owned infant sleep contraption (ISC), please check for recalls.

Regardless of which ISC you use, follow these guidelines...

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 ...

Your Child's Champion

Our children face all sorts of challenges. Challenges at school, at home, with friends and with siblings. Challenges that are self-imposed (questions about worth, and self-doubt) and challenges of just sorting out this big world.

As parents, we’re there when they take their first breath. We help them thrive and exist as an individual being. We help them take their first steps. We cheer when they are happy and we experience physical pain when they are hurt, sad or heartbroken.

We know our child’s personality better than anyone else in the world. We know what scares them and what makes them happy. We know their likes and dislikes. We can see when they’re getting tired or hungry. We know them better than we know ourselves.

If a child then develops a problem ...

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