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Understanding and Helping Children through Pain

Whether it’s sharp or dull, off and on or constant, pain can be a real pain at times. With the ability to interrupt time with family, lessen productivity at work and create many sleepless nights, understanding the source of your pain is essential for relief.

Whether they’re visiting a physician to receive a routine shot or undergoing treatment, it can be difficult for parents to watch their children experience pain. Here are some tips from the American Medical Association for helping your little ones cope:

  • Stay close during the pain. Regardless of their age, your presence is comforting to your child.
  • Make contact with your child. If you can, hold or touch your child throughout the process.
  • Take notes from nature: Some animals, such as kangaroo mothers, carry their young close to them. If you have an infant in pain, hold your baby close to your chest wearing only a diaper. This tactic is used worldwide and research shows that it can reduce pain during a procedure.
  • Offer distractions. Focus the attention on things your child enjoys to help them relax. Some helpful diversions include singing a song together, reading a book out loud or telling their favorite story. Or, give them a playful stuffed toy that also helps ease pain, such as the Thermal-Aid Zoo animals, which offers a 100 percent natural, therapeutic heating and cooling treatment.
  • Be truthful. Tell your child up front the procedure will cause discomfort but you will be there for support.

 

The ache and its sources

As a source of discomfort, it may be hard to view pain in a positive light. But this natural, protective tool is used by the body as an alert of present or potential harm to tissues. While pain usually ceases once the stimulus has been removed and the damage to tissue has healed, there are many different factors involved for the amount of time the process takes.

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From Bottle to Cup and Beyond

What kind of container should be used to quench a little one’s thirst? There are many choices from bottles to cup and in between for infants and toddlers.

Introduction of the cup is difficult, so many parents use sippy cups to help with the transition. The sippy cup may be easy for parents, but it may cause problems for the child.

Why not just transition from bottle to cup?

Bottle basics

When a baby is born, parents are given two choices for feeding: breast or bottle. For the parents who choose a bottle, there are more decisions to make.

Bottles have all types of shapes and nipple sizes. Most claim to eliminate gas, colic or simulate breast-feeding. Parents don’t have to use the same bottles with every child. The key to bottle use is that the parent and baby are comfortable.

Concern about possible harmful effects of BPA in bottles, however, has parents worried about what to buy. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in baby bottles and other hard plastics.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, “FDA shares the perspective of the National Toxicology Program that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.” Due to the scare, bottle and sippy cups of top manufacturers are making BPA-free products for parents.

Parents who are concerned about BPA should take precautions. The U.S. Department of Health recommends that baby bottles or cups with BPA should be discarded if scratched. Also, “BPA levels rise in food when containers/products made with the chemical are heated and come in contact with the food.”

Sippy or cup?

Sippy cups are the transitional method that most parents use when introducing a cup. According to the Academy of Pediatrics’ Oral Health Initiative, the best time to introduce a cup is “as soon as the child can sit unsupported (around 6 months of age), and try to eliminate the bottle by 1 year of age.”

Parents often prolong the use of sippy cups because they are easy.

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2017 Editions Ages & Stages Featured Magazine March 2017 Parenting

#CLEMAMA: Connect with your Kids Thanks to these Conversation Starters

Sometimes I just find myself a little disconnected. I try to stay hip and in the know with all the kids’ stuff, but it’s tough to keep up. So how do you meet kids where they are in order to communicate?

I found myself feeling a little lost when I finally sat down at dinner with my girls and started asking about their day. It was always the same questions: “How was your day?” “What did you do?”

I kept thinking I needed to come up with more creative questions because this just wasn’t cutting it. I would always get the same answers. “It was good.” “Didn’t do much.”

I really wanted to make the most out of the conversations I was having with my kids. But where do I start? How can I get creative? How do I pull it out of them? I wanted to know about the ups and downs of their day, so I started to really think about it. One of things that I started to do was ask very specific questions. Things like, “What did you eat for breakfast?” “Who did you sit by at lunch today?” And it worked! It’s really amazing how much better the conversations got when I asked them more targeted questions about their day.

Day Notes
We also have fun now playing a game at dinner called “High, Low, High.” It’s been around a long time, but it doesn’t get old. We all go around the table giving a high of our day, a low, and then end with another high. My youngest loves it so much, she now asks to play it before we even say anything.

I love that it teaches the girls to be thankful, too. We all have lows and we always will, but we all have highs, too, so we should be thankful for those.

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2017 Editions Ages & Stages Featured Magazine March 2017 Parenting

A Tale of Teen Dating

In what seems like the blink of an eye, tots become teenagers. Though some may be unwilling, parents now have to embrace their child’s new stage of development — teen dating.

It doesn’t have to be a nail-biting experience for mom and dad when approached with curiosity and candid conversation, says Dr. Lisa Doane, a clinical psychologist based in Rocky River.

Doane provides empowering guidelines to help set the foundation of communication about dating for your teens.

Provide an Education
Talk, talk, talk! You may assume your child knows what a healthy relationship looks like, and all the facts they need to know about sex. However, it’s very likely that they don’t or have at least some degree of misinformation. Talk early and often (sometimes directly, sometimes simply within earshot) about all the things you want them to know — what it means to be a good, caring, respectful partner; how to ask for what they want and say no to things they don’t want; how to negotiate and deescalate arguments and ways to identify signs that a relationship isn’t working.

Set your Expectations
Include your teen in discussions about expectations and boundaries in dating. You can avoid significant problems later on by being clear from the beginning on issues around curfew, frequency and length of dates, who will be expected to pay for dates, and any other rules you may have for their dating. If you can include your child in a friendly negotiation around these concerns, they will be more inclined to understand your expectations and adhere to them, and this will build trust during this time when it is so essential.

Meet Eagerly
Be genuinely open to meeting their new date. You may be feeling protective or defensive, or simply sad that your child is growing up quickly and moving on to this new phase of life — but it’s important that parents keep an open mind when meeting their teen’s new potential boyfriend or girlfriend.

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2017 Editions Ages & Stages Featured Magazine March 2017 Parenting

Nighttime Phone Etiquette Guide for Kids

After kids finish their homework and have eaten dinner, are they allowed to use their smartphones? The phone etiquette rules for during school hours and even after school are fairly clear, but where should parents draw the line at nighttime?

Here are some helpful etiquette rules from TeenSafe your kids can follow:

Keep it on while Away from Home
If kids are out with their friends at night or staying late at school for a soccer game or club meeting, they should always be required to keep their phones on so you can get in touch with them if needed. Kids should always carry an extra charger in their backpacks or purses so they can never use “my phone is dead” as an excuse for why they didn’t answer. If your kids are traveling from one location to the next—for example, going to the mall, then the movies, then dinner—they should check in with you at each location. There’s no point in your kids having a phone if you can’t reach them when you are worried about their safety, so make it clear this is a rule that must be followed.

No Texting while Driving
Once your kids are old enough to drive, it’s important to establish a no texting and driving rule. Twenty-one percent of teens who were involved in a fatal car accident were texting at the time, so this is a serious concern for parents that needs to be addressed. If kids are driving by themselves or with friends at night, they should know there’s absolutely no texting allowed.

Make Time for Family
When kids stay in for the night, they should not be allowed to use their phones if you have planned a family activity together. Are your extended family members coming over? Do you have a family movie night scheduled in your living room?

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