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Monthly Archives: March 2012

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Real-world Stress Saving Tips

This blogger, from Huffingtonpost, has some very sane, sanity saving tips:

“I did search for what experts say when it comes to “timesaving tips for busy parents”, but I found their advice to be unreasonable and cumbersome. One site advised to “never come home angry.” Well sure, that is a fine goal, but if we can’t come home angry, some of us would never come home at all.

My tips, on the other hand, are practical suggestions to save twenty seconds here, a minute there, and a massive headache later. These are the hidden methods to my madness:

Wear day/night clothing. It may be time to ditch the cute pajama pants and matching tank and invest in a wardrobe that meets your daytime and bedtime needs. A flattering pair of black yoga pants can easily transition from the bedroom to the playground. Not only will this save time crucial time in the morning, but it can cut down the laundry loads quite a bit.

Utilize those babywipes for more than your tot’s tush! Instead of washing my face in the morning, I use baby wipes to clean the sleep from my eyes. Don’t be so appalled, I do buy the chlorine free ones.

Never prepare an unnecessary meal. When my husband has one of his many dinner meetings, instead of making my own evening meal, I eat the leftovers on my daughters’ plates. Yum… carrot sticks and uninspired chicken on Disney Princess plates.

Make Sprout your new BFF. I know, I know, admitting that I let my children watch the occasional television program may likely send Children’s Protective Services to my home, but it’s true, we do. The girls love Dora, Max and Ruby, Olivia, and a good half-dozen other annoying cartoon characters. Do you know how many task I can get done during one 30-minute cartoon? Clean the dishes, put away the laundry, have a quickie in the bedroom with my husband…

Cut your daughter’s hair. On principle I keep the hair on my two young daughters’ heads well trimmed. I have yet to meet the parent of a girl that doesn’t suffer from the tiresome tangle battles. Neither of my girls readily allow me to brush their hair, nor do they have the ability to do this themselves. So, in my effort to avoid chasing them around the house, wrestling them to the ground and holding them in place with my thighs while I attempt to detangle the rat nests cultivating on their domes, I simply keep their hair no longer than chin length.

Pretend you don’t notice. Some days my husband will arrive home from work shocked at the state of a room. “What happened?” he exclaims, the anxiety spilling from his ears. “Gee, I just took out the garbage and when I came back…” I answer, where in reality I have carefully stayed clear of the two girls who were ever so diligently painting the bathroom with a tube of toothpaste. Sure, the clean up will be bothersome, but it took them a solid 25 minutes of cooperative play to make this mess!

Pajama Day! Is it really so horrible for your preschooler to show up to school in last night’s pajamas? I’m sure his teachers have seen it before. With my 2-year-old, the morning tasks are some of the hardest to get accomplished, so I often bring an outfit for her to change into at school if she so desires. Again, this also saves time with the laundry.

Socks? What socks? Fortunately we live in the moderate Bay Area climate, where the temperature rarely drops below 48 degrees. Because of this, and Crocs made for toddlers, my girls almost never wear socks. They each own less than ten pairs and only wear them when we visit my parents in Oregon, during the winter … if it snows. By foregoing this extra layer of footwear, I save approximately thirty seconds each morning, in addition to a good ten minutes each Sunday desperately attempting to match pairs of tiny toddler socks.

Skip the extra-extracurricular activities. My children are allowed one, two at most, lessons a week. In my opinion, their swimming classes are mandatory, but if we don’t make it out of the house for their 9 AM Saturday morning ballet lesson, we all kind of benefit.

Stop picking up the toys. Whenever the clutter in children’s bedrooms begins to trigger my panic attacks, I close their doors and remember the mantra of the iconic Phyllis Diller: “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

Now that I’ve shared mine, tell us, what are your time saving secrets for an easier day?”

Tell us on Facebook and get a free membership to our “Inner Circle” Club for parents…

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rhiana-maidenberg/mom-shortcuts-timesaving-tips_b_1363911.html?ref=topbar#

 

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The new normal in adoption: Birth parent no longer a secret

A new survey shows that more than 55 percent of adoption cases are fully open — and 95 percent involve at least some relationships between birth parent and adoptive family.

SHARE: If you were adopted, do you know of and have a relationship with your birth parent? Tell us on FaceBook and get a free membership to our Parenting “Innner Circle”. Click here!

Based on a survey of 100 adoption agencies, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute reported today that the new norm is for birth parents considering adoption to meet with prospective adoptive parents and pick the new family for their baby.

 

Of the roughly 14,000 to 18,000 infant adoptions each year, about 55 percent are fully open, with the parties agreeing to ongoing contact that includes the child, the report said. About 40 percent are “mediated” adoptions in which the adoption agency facilitates periodic exchanges of pictures and letters, but there is typically no direct contact among the parties.

“The degree of openness should be tailored to the preferences of the individual participants,” said Chuck Johnson of the National Council for Adoption, which represents about 60 agencies. “It points to the huge importance of the right people being matched with each other.”

The Donaldson institute, citing its own research and numerous other studies, said most participants find open adoptions a positive experience. In general, the report said, adoptive families are more satisfied with the adoption process, birth mothers experience less regret and worry, and the adopted children benefit by having access to their birth relatives, as well as to their family and medical histories.

“The good news is that adoption in our country is traveling a road toward greater openness and honesty,” said Adam Pertman, the institute’s executive director. “But this new reality also brings challenges, and there are still widespread myths and misconceptions about open adoption.”

The challenges, according to Mr. Pertman and other adoption experts, often involve mismatched expectations as to the degree of post-adoption contact. The Donaldson report recommends counseling and training for all the adults involved, as well as post-adoption services to help them and their children work through any problems that arise.

The president of one of the largest US adoption agencies, Bill Blacquiere of Bethany Christian Services, said his staff encourages expectant birth mothers to meet with the prospective adoptive family to discuss the array of options for an open adoption.

“As much as possible, we allow the parties to design that themselves,” Mr. Blacquiere said. “We mediate to make sure both parties are getting what they need.”

The post-adoption relationship may start out warily, then become more comfortable as time passes, but Blacquiere said each party should keep the other’s expectations in mind even as circumstances change.

“For adoptive families, they need to make sure they live up to their commitments, and not try to go back on their initial agreement,” he said. “On the birthparent side, they need to remember that this isn’t co-parenting – part of their role has to be blessing the new home that their child has.”

 

One common pattern, according to adoption agency officials, is that the birth parent initially wants more frequent contact with the child than the adoptive family prefers, followed by a gradual shift.

“When the children get older, it’s often the adoptive families wanting more contact, and the birthparents may have moved on in their lives and at that point are interested in less,” said David Nish, director of adoption programs for New York-based Spence-Chapin Adoption Services.

Mr. Nish said Spence-Chapin espouses the principle of self-determination in working with birth mothers on their hopes for post-adoption arrangements. But he said the agency won’t work with adoptive parents who insist on having no contact with the birth mother.

“We try to educate them,” he said. “If they’re really set on it being closed, we tell them we don’t do closed adoptions.”

For Dawne Era, a psychotherapist from Warwick, R.I., the decision to embrace an open adoption evolved step by step 23 years ago when she and her husband decided to adopt after unsuccessful attempts to conceive on their own.

They made contact with a pregnant 18-year-old from Nebraska who’d decided to place her baby up for adoption, then got to know her as the young woman spent her pregnancy in nearby Boston.

After the birth and adoption of a baby boy named Grady, the birth mother and the adoptive parents agreed to remain in contact. It was an informal pact, yet it led to a mutually satisfying relationship that has continued throughout Grady’s life – occasional phone conversations, a handful of face-to-face visits and, more recently, ongoing contact via Facebook between Grady and his birth mother and his younger half-sister.

 

For Ms. Era, there was a stressful moment when she and her husband got divorced while Grady was a toddler, and she had to inform the birth mother.

“That was very difficult,” Era said. “We had promised to take Grady in and raise him in a two-parent family. I thought she would be very disappointed in me, but she took it well.”

Overall, said Era, the open adoption “has been very positive for all of us.”

Mr. Pertman of the Donaldson Institute has a daughter adopted 14 years ago. He said challenges can sometimes arise even after adoptive parents and birth parents grow comfortable with the rhythms of an open adoption.

He recalled how many members of his daughter’s birth family – including her birth mother, grandparents, a brother and an uncle – came to her bat mitzvah.

“For us and them it was normal, but not for everybody else in the room,” Pertman said. “They got some looks, like ‘What’s this all about?’ “

 

 

 

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Teaching independence with the piece of apple principle

Putting away laundry is often a long, lonely and profoundly boring activity that takes up so much time.
Babies generate a huge amount of laundry and cloth nappies. Toddlers and preschoolers with their rough and tumble, exploratory play.
We eventually work out a routine but countless hours are devoted to it each week. Piles loom and perhaps get moved from room to room or chair to basket.

 

Children love the side by side play while we are working. As I sweep he’s sweeping too. As I cook, he’s stirring too. They love to imitate and we can teach them in small steps how to do the larger things with the piece of apple technique.

 

Piece of apple technique

Let me tell you a quick story about the piece of apple technique. My boys love apples. If I quickly cut the apple into two huge slices either side of the core. Cut those two pieces into three, then cut the two pieces off the odd-shaped original apple, we quickly have eight pieces of apple.

 

Those apples when left on a plate disappear almost before the plate hits the table. Also when there’s one person eating the apple they are quick to eat it all. However, when I suggest they eat the apple by just biting it, perish the thought now, the apple isn’t often finished.
  • It somehow becomes too much to eat by itself
  • We eat in that classic pattern and leave big chunks at the top and bottom
  • It’s not a satisfactory outcome for me the apple buyer and them the apple eater.

They need to eat one piece then the next piece and so on to complete. It won’t always be like that but right now this system works for us both; the piece of apple technique.

So what does this story have to do with laundry?

We need to give our children a piece of the apple by teaching them and training them in the laundry process; piece by piece. Eventually they will be able to eat the whole apple and not blink an eye.

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Ron Huxley Eats: I love simple parenting techniques and this is as basic as it comes…thankfully. Teach children to do tasks one step at a time but remember to teach them. Don’t yell or threaten to get compliance. Parents have to look at the job of parenting when in a challenging moment with a child.

Dads Who Do Diapers

Although many fathers today spend more time with children than was the case in the past, physical care of young children remains primarily mothers’ work. Yet some fathers claim that they do work traditionally seen as the “mother’s job” every day. Using subsample data from the male respondent file of the National Survey of Family Growth 2002 (n = 613), this study examines factors associated with married or cohabiting fathers’ daily involvement in physical care of children under age 5 years. Logistic regression results show that daily involvement is more likely if fathers were raised by their biological fathers, received more education, have employed wives or partners, have a young male child, or receive public assistance; it is less likely if they have school-age children. This study suggests that paternal involvement in physical care of young children is shaped by multiple factors including childhood experiences, education, economic conditions, and current family context.

Ron Huxley Remembers: I was one of those very involved fathers who attended the child birth classes, got up for the bottle feedings at 2 a.m. and changed diapers. Many dad’s don’t, even in modern society. It still seems to remain largely the mothers role to take care of new babies. Dad’s who do diapers depend on several factors, according to this research, including how they were raised, their temperament, and their economic status.

How involved was your father or the father of your children in the care taking of your children? Click reply below or post on our Facebook page your response: http://www.facebook.com/parentingtoolbox

 

 

Children with strong vocabulary show boost in self-control

According to a study published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly journal, three little words may help young children increase their self-control abilities. Those three little words aren???t what you think. Encouraging children to ???use your words??? builds their vocabulary, which helps children to regulate emotions and behavior. Researchers discovered that vocabulary development proved to be even more important in helping boys increase their self-control abilities.

Claire Vallotton, PhD, and Catherine Ayoub, PhD, followed children participating in the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation study from the time they were 1 year old up to 3 years old. They discovered that boys with a strong vocabulary showed a dramatic increase in their ability to self-regulate as compared to boys with vocabularies not as strong.

Research in Action: ABC Music & Me

ABC Music & Me supports the development of key school-readiness skills, such as listening, self-control, and turn-taking. Our weekly lessons also significantly boost language and literacy skills, including vocabulary development. Picture vocabulary cards support unit-by-unit vocabulary, comprehension, memory, and pre-literacy skills. We give teachers the tools they need to increase a child???s vocabulary knowledge and then actively begin ???using their words??? in the class.

Ron Huxley Regulates: I was drawn to this article at the work “regulation.” This has become a big word in children’s mental health and hopefully parenting education will follow suite. Attachment researcher Daniel Siegal defines regulations as “the way the mind organizes its own functioning???fundamentally related to the modulation of emotion???Emotion regulation is initially developed from within interpersonal experiences in a process that establishes self-organizational abilities.???

Stated in plain English, regulation is how children achieve self-control and manage impulses. Language, as the original blog post describes assists us in forming structure to our emotional energy and manage them. It is crucial in our brain development and connects to other important social constructs like moral behavior, abstract thinking/reasoning, planning, and judgement.

A question we could ponder is which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do we develop language and then achieve regulation or do we achieve regulation and then master language. I think they go together myself.

Share your thoughts…