Young girls especially need constant encouragement and support to follow their dreams and aspirations. As parents, you can support your daughter by giving her the tools she needs to get inspired and let her imagination run wild. There are plenty of modern tools to choose from in our digital world, but I think the best option is one that dates back to when we were kids: a dress-up trunk. From wearing mom’s high heels to playing doctor, here are five cool ideas to start your daughter’s very own dress-up trunk.
After watching you bandage owies and administer children’s medicine on sick days, your little girl might be curious about playing this caregiver role herself. A stethoscope is one instrument kids seem to find endlessly fascinating, which can encourage her curiosity about the medical field. Use this opportunity to teach her about key health concepts like washing hands, disinfecting injuries, eating healthy foods and exercising. You can also include a miniature white coat and a child’s doctor kit with plastic syringes, bandages and thermometers. More »
One of the real major challenges parents face is how to make their kids behave in public. Each kid is different and while some are good children, there are others who can test a parent’s patience such as when they throw tantrums or become very restless. When your situation is the latter, it can be difficult to make your child behave when you’re out in public.
So is there really a formula to do this? Unfortunately, there’s no standard formula but some parents have certain techniques that successfully helped them in raising well behaved kids.
You’re probably heard the advice of “avoid labeling your kid” many times. This is very important in raising kids particularly in helping them develop self confidence and a decent behavior. So if you get enraged and are tempted to speak unpleasant words including those that can label your kid’s negative behavior, take a deep breath and instead, assure yourself that you have good kids.
You can actually share stories with your kids about how people think they are good, friendly and well behaved kids. From here, you can follow up by telling them about your expectations for them to behave wherever you may be going. More »
One of the major challenges a parent faces is encouraging a toddler to go to school. Remember this will be the first time your child will be separated from you for several hours hence, you have to prepare him or her for that by showing a good example.
Many parents have the jitters when their kid enters preschool. They have a lot of questions and apprehensions. But instead of entertaining these emotions, it’s best to focus on the positive. Develop an enthusiasm as you prepare your kid and his school supplies. This will help him or her develop a positive disposition and self confidence.
Talk to your child constantly about what school is all about and the other kids he or she will be meeting there. Be sure to inform your kid that a teacher or his second mother will be there to help them learn many things and that they need not be afraid if mom is not in the classroom.
Teach your child his full name so he or she learns how to say it when asked by the teacher. The kid may not be able to read yet but if you start putting labels in some of his stuff at home, he will slowly recognize it.
Let’s face it. One of the things we parents have to deal with is our kids getting sick or injured. It’s a part of growing up, especially if you have accident-prone kids like I do.
My four-year-old Ollie gets a bump/wound/scratch almost daily, and a few months ago had a bad accident in our garden where he cut his head open and was rushed to the ER. While playing with his big sister, he fell through the fence constructed by our handyman and nearly fell into our pool (which had just been cleaned out and empty). He was grabbed just in time by the handyman, so didn’t fall into the pool but slammed his head on the tile. My husband saw the whole thing and was going to kill the handyman for his shoddy work (it wasn’t nailed in properly), but he did save Ollie’s life…so it was a hard one. Luckily Ollie didn’t need stitches and aside from my husband being covered in blood ala Carrie, it turned out to be a minor injury. It could have been much much worse though, so we are grateful and have since taken extra precautions to make sure that all areas in our home were safe. Ollie was feeing a bit traumatized for the next few days (as were all of us), but I think he’s recovered now.
Here are some great tips from After The Injury, a really useful website for parents who have to deal with their child’s injuries. Whether your child’s injury is big or small, it helps to remember these things so that your child recovers faster.
While doctors know that injury prevention is the best “medicine,” the sad truth is that kids still do get hurt- lots of them- even with the most vigilant parents. In fact, 9.2 million children are treated in an emergency room for an injury each year, making it equally important for parents to know how to handle what happens after the injury.
1. Let your child know that he or she is safe. In the first days and weeks following an injury many children fear that something bad might happen to them again. Learn more about helping your child with new fears or worries.
2. Allow children to talk about their feelings and worries, if they want to. Let your child know that it’s ok to feel a little upset. The circumstances of an injury can be frightening, and it’s not always easy to know how to talk with your child about it. Here are some things that other parents have found helpful for talking with their child.
3. Go back to normal routines. It is important to help your child get plenty of sleep, eat regular meals, keep up with schoolwork, and spend time with friends. Here are some options to consider if the injury gets in the way of things s/he used to do.
4. Increase time with family and friends. Children who get support from family and friends seem to do better in recovering after upsetting events. Try reading together, playing games, or watching movies together. Listen to what some parents had to say about how to help their children remain connected after an injury.
5. Take time to deal with your own feelings. In addition to all of the things you do to help your child, it’s important to remember to take good care of yourself. Learn more about your own reactions and get tips for taking care of yourself.
6. Keep in mind people in the same family can react in different ways. Your child’s feelings and worries about the injury might be different from yours. It’s important to monitor how your child is doing and when reactions might signal trouble. Learn how to gauge your child’s emotional recovery and identify any reactions that might need special attention.
Visit After the Injury to read full tip sheets, learn more about child injury and pain care, take a quiz to rate your child’s reactions to injury, and create a personalized care plan to help parents help their child recover from injury.
Photo via Ramberg Media
The other day I was told that my daughter and her best friend Dan were at the park and were “being mean” to Frances, a three-year-old. They were all at the park together, Nat, Dan Maxine (Dan’s little sister) and Frances, and the older ones started playing a game which involved being “mean” to Frances. I don’t know the exact mechanics of what happened as this was relayed to us Moms later by the babysitters, but what was most upsetting was that the older ones apparently threw rocks at poor little Frances.
It’s a horrible thought, that your child is capable of maliciousness. We all believe in our heads that our kids are nothing short of angelic (beneath the naughtiness). I didn’t find out until more than a week after the incident (Dan’s busy Mom forgot to tell me – he got grounded) , so by then it was too late to punish Nat. But we did have a little talk. I needed an explanation. I knew Nat wasn’t an angel, she certainly had more than her fair share of naughtiness, but she wasn’t a mean kid either. Ok, so she did tease her little brother a lot, but she was always sweet to the baby and I just didn’t see any maliciousness in her behaviour for the 7 years that I’ve known her.
So was this park incident just mischief or maliciousness? Was my daughter actually bullying?
According to Wikipedia:
Bullying is the act of intentionally causing harm to others, through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion such as manipulation.
Well, like I said, I wasn’t there. Nat and Dan have been known to cook up mischief when they were together, but never to this degree (weelll…they were caught pelting toys at the babysitter when they were 3). But more importantly, they are actually very sweet kids. Compassionate, kind and basically good 7-year-old’s – definitely not the bullying types.
So Nat, to the best of her ability, told me what happened two weeks ago. She said they were simply playing a “monster” game and Frances was the “monster”- which the unsuspecting Frances she didn’t know she was. She said they weren’t really being mean to the little girl, and that she couldn’t remember if she was throwing rocks or not. Okay…. At least she was very sorry when I explained how this sort of thing was just unacceptable and that if it happened again there would be serious consequences. I think she knew it was wrong in the back of her mind, but the mischief and fun in playing this game took over. The incident is over now, and the kids are all friends…so lets pray it doesn’t happen again.
Photo via bullyinguk
The following is a sponsored post for Kabongo.com
Parents can encourage their preschool children to read in a fun and entertaining way. On the internet, there are various resources available today and one site I highly recommend is Kabongo.com.
This is practically a new site designed by Dr. Marty Fletcher, an expert in cognitive psychology. Kabongo.com believes that children learn fast when they are able to think and do activities they love particularly those that involve some form of play. The games are meant to develop the different cognitive skills of children which they can use to improve their reading ability as they grow.
On the site, children can choose a variety of online preschool learning games they will surely love. Kabongo features its own cartoon characters that are quite colorful and attractive.
To get started on using the games, parents need to register first after which they can introduce the play and reading activities to their kids. There’s a dashboard available wherein you can monitor your child’s progress in the kindergarten games they play. No fees are involved because playing the online games is absolutely free of charge. Parents just need to sign up and then you can instantly explore the site and play the games together with their kids.
As parents eager to teach your kids the fun way of learning, the Kabongo.com site is definitely a great guide as it provides easy to understand information on the essence of cognitive development, how Kabongo games work and the person behind the brain games. You will also learn how the Go Go Kabongo! brain games teaches children the right techniques in problem solving and critical thinking.
Articles containing tips are also available as additional resources for parents. More updated information can be gathered at the Kabongo blog.
Finally if you have any questions on how to use the games and other concerns, you can always contact the site’s customer service. You can reach them by email, phone or through regular mail.
I’ve happily been in a Christmas reverie all week, finishing up our decorating, the shopping, and planning out fun activities for the coming weeks, when I was jolted back into Doctor-Mom-Reality last night. My four-year-old O had just finished at the potty, and as I was about to flush, I saw a horrible horrible thing – a nasty long white worm, almost as thick as a pencil. It was awful. O had been complaining of tummy aches (or “tummy eggs” as calls it), and didn’t want to finish his food lately, but I had attributed it to simple childhood grumbles. Poor O had probably had this nasty worm for some time now, given its size, and I had no idea!
After the whole family had a good look at the worm (gross, but a good deterrent so everybody keeps clean!), I rang Dr.J our pedia, who prescribed Mebendazole to be taken now then repeated in two weeks. She advised us to keep clean and to watch out for any more worms, so I decided to keep him home from Kindergarten for the next couple of days. Apparently it was caught from playing in the garden or at the park, probably from soil that he touched and transmitted through his mouth. Or it could have been through his feet. What I find most distressing is that the slimy devil had been feeding on my little boy’s nutrients for a while now – not great since he is already so skinny. After the course of medicine, thankfully no more worms appeared, nor did my other kids get infected. Phew.
If you’ve never had a child who’s infected with worms (this particular one was a round worm), I would be aware of these symptoms, all of which my little boy had for a couple of weeks before the worm actually came out:
1. Frequent complaints of tummy aches
2. Disturbed sleep (O came to our room every night because he couldn’t sleep)
3. Loss of appetite – feeling full after just a few bites.
For more on worms, do visit these sites:
Worms in Children
Is Your Sandbox Safe From Roundworm?
If you have pets in your household like we do, and think it could be related, read this from Dr.Greene.
And lastly, PREVENTION is key. After the worm incident, my kids now meekly obey when I remind them to wear shoes in the garden, wash their hands rigorously and keep their fingers away from their mouths. Here’s a great lesson plan and activity you can do with your kids to teach them about worms. I’ll never forget my poor son’s face when I showed him this awful photo of roundworms in the gut. He was silent for a while then said, “Mom, am I going to die?” Awww, kids!
Photo via crimfants
The new school year is upon us, and it’s every parent’s mealtime (and lunchbox) crusade – getting your kids to eat healthier. Well, its mine at least. Easy(ish) when they’re young and they pretty much eat anything you put in front of them. Not so easy when school starts and they discover a whole new world – like their classmate’s lunch boxes filled with no-no’s like soda and Doritos.
When my 3 kids were babies I started them all of with what I think is the Bible of healthy-baby-eating, The Super Baby Food Book. Well, I admit that it got to a lesser degree with #2, but with #3 came the the advent of commercial organic baby food, which made things a lot easier. Whether you are a DIY Mom like Ruth of the Super Baby Book (who also makes her own Play Dough, mind you), or prefer to buy from the organic aisle at the supermarket, know that giving your kids a healthy diet now means setting up their foundations for a healthy life. Now isn’t that a worthwhile mission?
Here are my tips on how to help you get started (and hopefully keep going!):
1. Teach Them About Health
My Mom did this for my sister and I (she was and still is what you would call a “health nut”), and I have to say that it stuck. Explain to your kids WHY certain foods are good or bad for you and you’ll be surprised how well they’ll respond. I try and use language they understand like: “…healthy food like fruit and vegetables helps you get bigger and stronger, but also makes your “soldiers” strong to fight bad germs so you don’t get sick“. There are a few kids shows now which touch on this, as well as books. Read/watch and talk about it with them and be prepared to answer their questions.
2. Vegetarian Meals= Budget meals
Yes, its true! Add a vegetarian meal or two to your weekly menu and see how much you can save. It’s a known fact that fresh produce is significantly cheaper than meats (which are some of the costliest food items in stores), so by serving say, a vegetarian lasagna rather than the “al forno” with beef, you not only give your kids a veggie-filled nutritious meal, you also save on the weekly budget (yipee!), plus it’s good for the planet. Why? read about vegatarianism and the environment here.
3. Make it Fun!
My kids and I like to play quick games like guessing which food is “healthy or not”. For example, what’s better? french fries or apple slices with cinnamon? (Okay, so my husband doesn’t join in and prefers to roll his eyes- but WE enjoy it!). The winner gets a small prize like stickers. You can also make healthy food attractive and fun by using a cookie cutter to make shapes and adding “faces” (raisins and sliced red pepper make easy instant characters). Brit Mom turned kid-food guru, Anabel Karmel is a total wiz at this and I love her cookbooks.
4. Go Organic
Finding organic food is really easy these days, and the health benefits are huge. Would you prefer to feed your kids things without harmful chemicals and pesticides? With more nutrients and vitamins? I would. It’s a really simple choice, and really worth the extra effort.
5. Plan Ahead and Cook More, Mom!
I really believe that planning ahead, being organized and cooking yourself is the key to healthier eating. Look online for new healthy recipes to try (you can get the kids to help choose here), add more fruit and veg to your meals, and take a few minutes every Sunday to plan healthy weekly menus- this really helps keep me in budget too!
Photo via Tanya Dawn
My four-and-a-half-year-old has become a rebel. I’m not sure when it happened or why. Maybe it was during the summer when he and his sister were fighting all day (and night). Maybe it’s because he found out we were expecting baby # 4 (!!). Well, whenever it happened, what’s happened is that my little angelic O is now a mini James Dean.
Take this morning. It’s time to get ready for school and the little rebel is up and ready to rebel. After 10 minutes and tears he’s finally dressed, but getting out of the house takes another 15 minutes (after he lies down on the kitchen floor in defiance). It’s the same for most of the day, where I have to repeat myself about 100x. Bathtime? He runs away. Dinner? He won’t come to the table. Bedtime? Please put away that toy, I’m turning off the lights. His talking toy camera keeps talking and I am ignored yet again.
So you can imagine I have been at my wits end all week, and to keep myself sane, I tried to look for some positives. One good thing is that my (usually) extremely naughty 7-year-old is now starting to look like an angel (she may be putting this on given her little brother’s new rebel status). Another good thing is that having done my online research, my little rebel is actually going through what you could call another natural process of growing up. And that other than the “busy” points of the day (like dressing, mealtimes, bed), he is still a very sweet boy. This, from Baby Center, made a lot of sense:
“Defiance is how your preschooler asserts himself….remember, too, that disciplining your preschooler doesn’t mean controlling him — it means teaching him to control himself. Punishment might get him to behave, but only because he’s afraid not to. It’s best for your child to do the right thing because he wants to — because it makes the day more fun for him or makes him feel good…”
So take heart parents of little rebels, and realize that this too shall pass (and hopefully your preschooler will start behaving again). For more good advice from real Moms, check out these Expert Answers.
Photo via afsilva
It’s summer vacation, and this year we decided to enjoy the time we have together as a family, without busy schedules or classes, with just the time to really do anything or nothing for once! Last summer we did no less than 3 trips, and in-between I enrolled the kids in summer classes (N did a reading workshop, O an art class), so you can imagine how the holiday went amazingly quickly and not without stress! This summer we wanted to do the opposite, so aside from a 2-week trip to visit Grandpa P, we had NOTHING else planned.
Great?! Well, yes, aside from one small detail. My kids have been fighting like cats and dogs (ok, worse!) on a daily basis. Maybe it’s because we are at our beach house and there are no other kids around, maybe its because the beach hasn’t really been swimmable so they’ve been pushed with things to do…maybe they just have serious personality clashes?….
Luckily, the truth is that siblings WILL fight and there really isn’t much we parents can do about it (other than scream and make threats). But I did find this very useful bit of advice from Positive Parenting, which said:
“Instead of reacting to the fighting, parents can choose to be pro-active. They can stay out of the fights in a nonjudgmental way. Children need to be able to settle things for themselves. Parents can teach negotiation skills later during a calm period. Teach your child to say “I’ll give you these blocks for those.” This will help them learn win-win skills that will be there when they are needed now and useful in the future.”
I’ll be giving this a try in about 30 seconds….
Photo via kafkan