CreativeChild RSS Feed http://creativechild.com/ 7 Valentine Traditions to Start with Your Kids <p>Valentine&rsquo;s Day is traditionally a time for couples to express their love for one another, but it is also a great chance to show your children how much you love them too. While children typically exchange cards and small gifts on Valentine's Day, this year try starting some fun new traditions for your family.</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p><strong>Dessert first</strong></p> <p>Just once a year it can&rsquo;t hurt to have your sweets before your meal. Offer cake or ice cream first and let the kids enjoy their dessert without having to eat their veggies first.</p> <p><strong>Make it heart-shaped</strong></p> <p>After your dessert first dinner, serve up some fun Valentine&rsquo;s Day themed meals. Heart-shaped pancakes or heart-shaped pizza are both fun and easy. Get the kids involved in the kitchen and you will have more time to make special memories of your Valentine&rsquo;s Day dinner.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p><strong>Go on a &ldquo;date&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Many people go on a date with their significant other to celebrate Valentine&rsquo;s Day but consider taking your child on a &ldquo;date&rdquo; to a place of their choice. If you have more than one child, each parent can pair off or take turns so all kids get to participate. Spending quality time together is a great way to show your kids you care and get the conversation flowing.</p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1284 Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 8 Simple Activities to Teach Children about Emotions <p>Helping children to understand and manage their emotions is key to their emotional healthy, happiness, and success. Emotional intelligence affects all aspects of our lives, and it&rsquo;s never too early to begin teaching our children important coping skills. There are many ways to do this, of course, but below I&rsquo;ve outlined 8 simple activities that don&rsquo;t take much prep work but are really effective at helping your children understand their wide range of human feelings.</p> <p>##ad##</p> <ol> <li>As you read a book together, talk about how the characters of the book are likely feeling. Point out their facial expressions and ask your child, &ldquo;What is this expression saying? Why do you think he&rsquo;s feeling that way?&rdquo; You might discuss what Little Red Riding Hood was probably feeling when she discovered that it wasn&rsquo;t Grandma in that bed, and this, in turn, opens up discussion for more in-depth conversations on emotions, like &ldquo;What makes you feel scared?&rdquo;<br /><br /></li> <li>Play the Feelings March game. It&rsquo;s simple! Ask your child to march around the room while you call out different emotions. When you say &ldquo;sad&rdquo; for instance, she&rsquo;ll march with a sad expression and body language. Then you&rsquo;ll say &ldquo;excited&rdquo; and perhaps she&rsquo;ll smile big and skip around the area. Play until you&rsquo;ve run through a wide range of emotions.<br /><br /></li> <li>Create a simple Feelings Faces matching game by cutting out several different facial expressions from magazines or printing them from your computer and writing an index card with the corresponding emotion. Ask your child to match the faces to the emotions.<br /><br /></li> <li>A simple conversation around the dinner table can be instrumental in teaching children about emotions. As you share the joys and hardships of your day, you can explain how your circumstances made you feel, and how you handled those feelings. Invite them to talk about the highs and lows of their day as well, and if they seem stuck in a negative emotion, help them work through it by actively listening and providing empathy, then sharing a time when you felt similar and what you did about it.</li> </ol> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1285 Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Three Discipline Techniques that are Sabotaging Your Authority <p>Genuine authority is a result of others <strong>trusting </strong>your leadership. That is true whether you are running a company or a household. <em>Contrived authority</em> results when others follow your lead out of fear. Both get results, but the question is how does it make people feel, both about you and, more importantly, about themselves? Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper wisely said, &ldquo;You manage things; you lead people.&rdquo; Have you ever gotten caught in the trap of trying to manage your children? I certainly have. That&rsquo;s where I was seven years ago, and the frustration that came from the constant managing and the growing power struggles that developed is what lead me to <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.amazon.com/Positive-Parenting-Essential-Rebecca-Eanes/dp/0143109227">positive parenting</a></strong></span>.</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p>Unbeknownst to me, the discipline techniques I was using with my children in those early years was actually sabotaging my influence with them, making power struggles a daily frustration, discipline much harder, and damaging our relationship. I have since learned how to <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/how-and-why-to-discipline-without-punishment">discipline without punishment</a></strong></span>, which I promise is not permissive in any way but puts the focus on having my kids understand and correct their wrongs rather than sitting in a corner somewhere, which places the responsibility of reparation on them. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the payoff has certainly been worth it.</p> <p>Here are three common discipline techniques that I used years ago which actually sabotaged my authority and the reasons they didn&rsquo;t work.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <ol> <li><strong>Time Out</strong>. According to <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-out_(parenting)">Wikipedia</a></strong></span>, time out was invented by Arthur Staats who claimed that putting his 2 year old in her crib and indicated that she stay there until she stopped crying did &ldquo;weaken the behavior so that it occurred less frequently in the future.&rdquo; So he found something that worked, and now it&rsquo;s a very popular discipline technique today as it is often recommended by pediatricians and other experts. The question we must always ask when it comes to parenting is <em>why does it work</em>? <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So7sJW23xM8">Dr. Gordon Neufeld explains</a> </strong></span>that we didn&rsquo;t understand at the time when time outs became popular what children really needed, and that the most wounding experience of all is facing separation. He says that if we had known that and understood it, we would never have used it because it calls forth very strong emotions in children, and they become alarmed. This alarm moves them to caution, making it appear to work, but it causes lots of anxiety in children. Time out also evokes frustration which leads to aggression problems. When parents use time out as a punishment (it can be used as a safe space to calm down, alternatively), the recurring fear of separation and social isolation breaks down our bond with them, and when connection is lost, influence is lost.</li> </ol> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1283 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Top Products for Soothing Baby During Flu Season <p>What to do when baby is sick, or suffers from respiratory infections? Seasonal allergies and germs can be picked up from daycare and school age siblings. According to the CDC, flu activity commonly peaks between December and February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue into late May. And depending on what region you live in, the seasonal changes can affect baby year-round! So, what are parents looking for on store shelves to soothe baby during this time of the year?</p> <p><strong>Products for Soothing Baby During Cold and Flu Season:</strong></p> <p><strong>Humidifiers&nbsp;</strong>- These provide relief for a cold and flu and can increase air moisture. Use a cool mist humidifier&nbsp;for easier breathing and a good night&rsquo;s sleep. Humidifiers are also a great remedy for allergy or asthma sufferers.</p> <p>The Duffy &amp; Shanley, <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.amazon.com/Motorola-Nursery-Humidifier-Connected-Purification/dp/B01K3KTR9Q">Motorola Smart Nursery Humidifier +</a></strong></span> helps baby breathe easy and sleep soundly. This connected humidifier can be controlled with the Hubble app for smartphones, tablets, and computers. It increases the moisture in a baby&rsquo;s nursery with four levels of cool mist di union with three programmable intervals.</p> <p><strong>Bottle Medicine Dispenser &ndash; </strong>One of the best ways to ensure that your child gets the right amount of medicine is to use the right tool. These devices provide an easy way to give medicine in a familiar way, and are specifically designed to help you measure and administer the right dose. To use just remove the top, fill to desired dosage and snap the top back on. It's as easy as 1-2-3.</p> <p>Stephan Baby <strong><span style="color: #0000ff;"><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.amazon.com/Stephan-Baby-Yellow-Medicine-Bottle/dp/B00C02A3FS" target="_blank">Mini Medicine Bottles</a></span></strong> holds up to 3tsp of baby&rsquo;s liquid medicine with no spill, and therefore no wasted medicine. The bottles are great for parents and babies on the go. They are ideal for mixing with juice or formula, and best of all the bottles are dishwasher safe.</p> <p><strong>Baby Bottle Sanitizers &ndash; </strong>Sanitizing is so important to every parent, especially because baby immune systems are so delicate. Germs are everywhere and keeping baby safe can seem like a confusing juggling act. Parents want to do everything possible to ensure that baby's developing immune system has adequate time to become as strong and resilient as it can be.</p> <p>Raising the bar on baby bottle electric sterilizer products, <strong><span style="color: #0000ff;"><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="http://www.uvicube.com/">UviCube</a></span></strong> is the newest and easiest way to keep the things baby loves away from germs. It is the first of its kind in the U.S. market, to dry, store and eliminate 99.9% of bacteria on surfaces exposed to UV light on items such as baby bottles, bottle nipples and pacifiers, but can also sanitize electronics, mobile phones, toys and other items.</p> <p>&nbsp;<em>All content, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.</em></p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1281 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 21 Ways to Reach a Child’s Heart <p><em>&ldquo;We were never meant to take care of children whose hearts we did not have, and that includes our teenagers. When they are not in right relationship with us, their instincts are to resist us, to oppose us, to shy away from us.&rdquo; &ndash; </em><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjfpGGOGDCo&amp;app=desktop"><em>Dr. Gordon Neufeld<br /><br /></em></a>Dr. Neufeld&rsquo;s work in attachment theory has been instrumental in the way I now view children, childhood, and my role as a parent. Specifically, my understanding that children are not meant to follow those to whom they are not attached was a pivotal point in my journey as a mom. What does it mean to have your child&rsquo;s heart? Let&rsquo;s clear up the misconceptions first.</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p>First, being in right relationship, or securely attached, does not mean that you must always do what makes your child happy. There will be times when your parental decisions do not please your children, yet you know your decision is in their best interest. They are not yet mature enough to understand this, but you are, and this is why they are entrusted to you. Attached parenting is not about walking on eggshells so as not to upset your kid, but rather it&rsquo;s about standing confident in the truth that you are your child&rsquo;s best bet, the one who knows what they need and how to take care of them, and you do so with a quiet strength and assured gentleness.<br /><br />Secondly, having your child&rsquo;s heart does not mean you are peers or are on level playing field. It does not require you to give up your authority as a parent, and in fact enables you to have true, genuine authority rather than forced authority. When you have your child&rsquo;s heart, they trust you. They look up to you. They follow your lead intuitively and this is how parenting was meant to work. Unfortunately many of today&rsquo;s parenting practices sabotage this in favor of a false or forced authority. We threaten to take away the things that mean the most to them or we withdraw the invitation for them to be around us until they do what we want them to do, and this power play gets results but breaks the heart ties.</p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1282 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 7 Common Feelings of NICU Parents <p class="p1">Sitting beside your baby in the NICU can bring an array of emotions for parents. Seeing your child hooked up to machines with wires attached to their body can be scary and overwhelming. The majority of babies are in the NICU due to premature birth (born prior to 37 weeks gestation) but babies can be admitted for other reasons such as breathing problems low birth weight, heart conditions, and other complications. This experience can bring a variety of emotions that are normal, yet often confusing for parents.</p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"> <strong>Loss</strong></span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"> Like any expecting parents, NICU parents dreamed of how the end of pregnancy would be, wrote a birth plan, and envisioned how the first few hours after birth would go. Mom looked forward to nursing her child, bringing home a healthy newborn, and starting life with the new addition to their family. When baby is in the NICU, the experience is very different. Moms may grieve the loss of the end of the pregnancy and feel jealousy towards other mothers who carried their babies full term and experienced a typical birth with big, healthy babies. It is frustrating to have to wait for the appropriate time to feed your baby, ask for help picking him up, and worry about germs when he comes home due to lower immunity. Feelings a sense of loss over these things is totally normal. Acknowledge your feelings and talk them through with a loved one or a professional counselor. In time you can begin to set new dreams and goals for your family&rsquo;s future.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">##ad##</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"><strong>Fear</strong></span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"> Fear is a common response to having a baby in the NICU, and it is totally normal. Most parents do not have previous experience with the NICU and this creates a fear of the unknown. Parents worry their child will have long term medical issues or that they are not capable of caring for them at home. The nurses and doctors are there to explain things to you and help you understand what is going on. Their goal is for you to feel comfortable caring for your child, both in the hospital setting and after it is time to go home. </span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"> <strong>Guilt</strong></span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1"> Parents often question what they could have done differently in order to have a different outcome, a normal birth, and no NICU stay. Mothers in particular blame themselves for the situation. Feelings of guilt and blame are common when baby is in the NICU but most premature babies who are born early for unknown reasons. In the majority of cases nothing could have been done to prevent premature birth. Discuss your feelings with your partner and with the medical staff in the NICU. They will help you work through your feelings and move forward as a family.</span></p> <p class="p3"><em><strong><span class="s1">Continued on the next page...</span></strong></em></p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1280 Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Mid-Year Elementary School Blues <p>Packing lunches, doing nightly homework, studying for spelling tests, and scrambling about during the morning rush; the thrill of a new school year has worn off and kids start to drag their feet a little more on school mornings as they return for the start of the second semester. How do you keep kids motivated to finish out the last months of the school year strong?</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p><strong>Set goals</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s important to let your child know you have high expectations for them throughout the year, not just first semester. Work with your child to set goals for success and reward them for meeting their goals. Some kids may need an academic goal, while others need goals such as no tardies for the quarter or turning all assignments in on time. Communicate with your child&rsquo;s teacher to come up with some beneficial goals for your child. Rewards could include a special outing as a family, going out for ice cream, picking out a special toy, or extra screen time.</p> <p><strong>Stay positive</strong></p> <p>As parents who are tired of packing lunches and reminding children to put their shoes on for the fifth time in one morning, it can be hard to stay positive. However, a positive attitude can go a long way for both parents and kids. Focus on the excitement of learning, seeing friends, and upcoming events to encourage your child that school is still as fun as it was back in August. Your positive attitude will become contagious and your child will start to get excited about school again too.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p><strong>Show an interest</strong></p> <p>One thing that can have a huge impact on your child&rsquo;s excitement about school is their parents&rsquo; interest. When your child returns home from school ask him about his day, his friends, and the highs and lows of the day. Listen attentively and ask questions. When it is homework time, be available to help and answer questions. When parents are excited and interested in the goings on at school, kids will be too.</p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1279 Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Overcoming Mom Guilt <p>Guilt weighs heavy on the hearts of so many mothers as we are juggling a myriad of responsibilities and often unsure if we have given enough, even though at the end of the day there is absolutely nothing left to give. Did I love enough today? Did I spend enough time with each child? Did I listen to my partner? Did I let down that friend? I should have done this, or I shouldn&rsquo;t have done that. We promise to do better tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes with the same flurry of responsibilities that yesterday had, and our best never feels quite good enough.</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p>Guilt comes in varying degrees of severity and toxicity. Sometimes it is specific and appropriate and points to a need for action. An example is perhaps you yelled at your children or said something hurtful to your partner. The guilt you feel then is a warning sign that you crossed a boundary and need to make amends and work toward better reactions in the future. At other times it is generalized or inappropriate. For example, you may feel guilty for co-sleeping with your child after talking with a mom who has an independent sleeper. Even though there is nothing wrong with your behavior and co-sleeping suits you just fine, guilt seeps in because you begin to compare your situation with someone else&rsquo;s and question your choices. Therefore, guilt can be a catalyst for positive change or a disease that eats away at our self-worth and actually hinders our ability to do better. Our conscience is an important guide; it makes us human and points us back to our values. Yet allowing guilt to become excessive and chronic rather than recognizing whether it is appropriate or inappropriate and handling it accordingly is a dangerous trap.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p>One of the reasons I chose <span style="color: #0000ff;"><strong><a style="color: #0000ff;" href="https://www.amazon.com/Positive-Parenting-Essential-Rebecca-Eanes/dp/0143109227">positive parenting</a></strong></span> is because I know that a child who is in emotional distress cannot be his best self; yet I too often forget that the same is true for myself. Unchecked guilt <em>is </em>emotional distress and can lead to anxiety, depression, and a host of other problems. Furthermore, when we are locked in a guilt cycle, we are actually more likely to repeat our mistakes. This is why, in positive parenting, we show empathy to our children while guiding behavior through teaching and modeling rather than relying upon a one-size-fits-all punishment in order to make them feel bad. If we can apply that same logic to ourselves, having self-compassion while working toward improvement instead of punishing ourselves with unnecessary guilt, we would be more likely to succeed at reaching our goals while improving our self-esteem in the process rather than seeing it destroyed.</p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1277 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Benefits of Making Healthy Snacks Visually Appealing to Kids <p>A healthy and well balanced diet is important for kids to maintain healthy growth and development. Snack time is a great way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into a child&rsquo;s daily diet. Children have smaller sized stomachs than adults and therefore are less likely to eat enough at meals to keep them full and energized until the next mealtime which makes snack time a great way for parents to get in those extra nutrients. They also offer a variety of benefits.</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p><strong> Snacking helps kids develop healthy habits</strong></p> <p>Including three meals and two healthy snacks into your child&rsquo;s daily diet helps kids learn healthy eating habits that will stick with them for a lifetime. Providing a well-balanced and healthy diet helps kids learn appropriate portion control, to eat (and enjoy) a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, and develop a healthy relationship with food. Kids who learn these valuable habits early are less likely to form unhealthy eating habits such as eating out of boredom or based on emotional factors. They also learn to eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full, a skill many adults struggle with.</p> <p><strong> Snacking gives kids the boost they need</strong></p> <p>Without snacking, kids are less likely to meet the suggested nutritional intake to maintain a healthy diet because their stomachs are smaller and become full with a smaller meal. Adding two small snacks a day that provide fruit, veggies, low fat dairy, or whole grain helps kids fill in the nutritional gaps they may have been missing from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition, snacks provide a boost of energy to get kids through the rest of the day.</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p><strong> Snacking benefits a child&rsquo;s overall health</strong></p> <p>The development of healthy eating habits at a young age decreases the likelihood of children developing diseases like cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Kids who eat more fruits and vegetables, and less &ldquo;junk food&rdquo; that contain high quantities of sugar, are also more likely to have better dental hygiene. Kids, who maintain a healthy diet, including smart snack choices, are less likely to binge on foods high in calories and carbohydrates and are more likely to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Snacking helps power brain development</strong></p> <p>Kids who eat healthy snacks are, generally, more prepared to listen and learn at school because their bellies are full. They have more energy and are more attentive in class. Hungry kids become irritable, tired, and less alert. A healthy snack can do a lot to help kids grow and develop properly.</p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1271 Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Letter to My Daughter <p>To My Beautiful, Thriving, Princess,&nbsp;</p> <p>By the time you can read this, you may have already rolled your eyes&nbsp;at that fact that I wrote you a letter.&nbsp;</p> <p>But I have something important to share with you.&nbsp;</p> <p>You may be sick and tired of me telling you to love yourself, be proud of yourself, and remain true to your individuality.&nbsp;</p> <p>You may think I&rsquo;m annoying, or maybe a bit nuts, and while this could all very well be true, there&rsquo;s a little something you should know about your mommy.&nbsp;</p> <p>##ad##</p> <p>Before you, I wasn&rsquo;t me.&nbsp;</p> <p>Before you, I was broken. Badly broken. A type of broken I couldn&rsquo;t ever put into words but could only hope you&rsquo;d never understand.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>You see, I didn&rsquo;t love myself, have any pride, or even understand the ability of being able to stay true to my individuality.&nbsp;</p> <p>Before you, I wasn&rsquo;t me.&nbsp;</p> <p>When I found out I&rsquo;d be bringing you into this world. I panicked. Freaked out. Became sad at the thought that I might not be strong enough to be the type of mom you needed. To teach you how to love yourself when I couldn&rsquo;t even be kind to myself. To force you to be proud of each unique quality you possess, flaws and all.&nbsp;</p> <p>But then I met you, and instantly, I knew just how to be what you needed. In fact, for the first time, I loved myself. I was proud of myself. I realized why my flaws were so powerful.&nbsp;</p> <p>When you were born, I was too.&nbsp;</p> <p>With the first touch of your skin, everything made sense. With the first kiss, I knew that all of it, all of the pain, suffering, sadness, doubt, and self-hatred were all for a reason. They were all to lead me to this.&nbsp;</p> <p>To you.&nbsp;</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s why I know that if I can do it, if I can make my life everything I&nbsp;dreamed it could&nbsp;be, then you can too, without question.&nbsp;</p> <p>##adbig##</p> <p>Stop rolling your eyes.&nbsp;Because you need to know, that&nbsp;before you, I wasn&rsquo;t me.&nbsp;But when you were born, I was too.&nbsp;</p> <p>And in that birth,&nbsp;came the knowledge that&nbsp;our setbacks, our pain, our heartbreak, our unrequited love &ndash; it&rsquo;s all part of the game. Part of the plan. Part of&nbsp;the&nbsp;puzzle.&nbsp;</p> <p>So here&rsquo;s the plan.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>No matter what life throws at you, remember that you&rsquo;re not like the rest of them. No matter how you&rsquo;re made to feel by anyone else, remember that you&rsquo;ve got this. No matter how hard times may get, how much you feel disappointed in yourself, how much you wish for better circumstances, you are built to come out ahead. You are built to win. It&rsquo;s in your DNA whether you like it or not.&nbsp;</p> <p>How do I know this?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Because when you were born, you brought a grown woman back to life. You taught your mother how to love herself, find her passion, become a successful business woman, and love without fear.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> https://www.creativechild.com/article/1272 Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800