Parentelligence Blog

Boost 'em

Jennifer Wojciechowski

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

Jennifer Wojciechowski

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

Jennifer Wojciechowski

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

Jennifer Wojciechowski

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

Jennifer Wojciechowski

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 ...

Praise Junkie

Jennifer Wojciechowski

What does it mean when you say, “You’re so smart!”? Are you telling someone they’re intelligent, clever, cunning, observant, ‘book’ smart, ‘street’ smart, adept, sharply painful?

What does your child hear if you say it to them? “Mom loves me be because I’m smart.”

How about if you tell your child, “You’re so cute!” or “You’re funny!”?

When we offer praise to a child we’re putting emphasis on a trait that we appreciate. Of course, we think our children are smart, cute, and funny, but what we really need to say are things like, “Wow! I really like how you worked on that puzzle to figure it out.” Being specific teaches them about what it is that we like and value.

Do we really want our child to grow up thinking that we value them for being ‘cute’?

Say No to Mom Guilt

Jennifer Wojciechowski

We moms have all sorts of things we feel guilty about but shouldn’t.

We feel guilty because...

  • We go to work (we feel like we should be home)
  • We stay home (we feel like we should go to work)
  • We play with our kids (we should get the chores done)
  • We work on the chores (we should be playing with the kids)
  • We want some ‘me’ time (we should be spending time with our partner)
  • We want to work out and get back in shape (we should be working, playing with the kids, getting the chores done, and spending time with our partners)

That’s it! We work at work and work at home (and only write our blog at 11pm the night before it’s due after partner and the kids have all gone to bed.)

Mom guilt is a real problem. If you search “Mom Guilt” in Google, you’ll get 12,700,000 results in .2 seconds. This topic is well versed, but they all say the same things:

Results 85-91 of 100

Top Authors

Jennifer Wojciechowski
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Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Gastroenterologist

Robert L. Weinsheimer, MD

Robert L. Weinsheimer, MD
Pediatric General Surgeon

Elizabeth Meade, MD

Elizabeth Meade, MD
Pediatric Hospitalist

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