I’m always saying I’ll do things different but there is no better time to set goals than the first day of the year.
Here are my Top 5 parenting resolutions for 2009:
1. Make my toddler eat vegetables. My friend bought me the cookbook “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry’s wife). I resolve to get broccoli or squash into every dish my child eats, even dessert.
2. Try to overlook the grosser things my boy does … such as drinking the bathwater. Or sticking his dirty fingers in his mouth. Or dropping food on the floor then eating it before I can pry it from his hand. (This is going to be that resolution that I end up NOT keeping.)
3. Try to limit how many times he watches Cars or WALL-E. We’ve both become addicted to those movies.
4. Try the “not-using-the-word-no-all-the-time” method. For example: Instead of saying “No, you can’t have another cookie,” say “Yes, you can have another cookie … tomorrow.” We’ll see how good that one works.
5. Get him potty trained. I would literally pay someone to do this for me. Or my son can use the “not-say-no” method just this once … “Yes, Mommy, I’ll sit on the potty … next year.”
What are your parenting resolutions? Did you make any last year? Let me know by commenting below or emailing me at email@example.com.
Have a happy, safe and healthy New Year!
So Christmas has come and gone. Santa has probably brought your kids a toy (or ten) and now you wonder what you can do with all those toys your kids don’t play with anymore or have outgrown. I look at all my son’s baby toys and wonder what I can possibly do with them, as I am quickly running out of room.
I took some suggestions from friends and family and here are a few:
1. Keep them. If you plan on having more kids, you’ll be one step ahead and not have to buy all those toys all over again.
2. Give them to friends. Especially expecting or new parents. It will help cut down the costs for them and you’ll surely win friend points.
3. Consign them. There is a big consignment sale twice a year in Oklahoma City and Norman. It’s the Just Between Friends sale and they take tons of toys, clothing, strollers, you name it. They pay the consignor 65% of the sale. Not bad if you have a ton of stuff and would like to make a little back to put toward future toy and clothing purchases. Go to their Website to sign up or get more information. In Oklahoma City, go to http://okc.jbfsale.com. The sale will be at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. In Norman, go to http://norman.jbfsale.com. The sales will be at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds. Registration begins in January and the sales are set for March.
4. Goodwill. 84 percent of the revenue brought into the Goodwill stores goes to their employment and training opportunities, which helps people find good jobs. Go to www.goodwill.org or your closest Goodwill store for more information on how to donate.
5. Infant Crisis Services. This local nonprofit helps the youngest of children. If you have baby toys that are gently used, they will gladly take them to give to families in need. You can donate new or good used clothing (preemie to size 6) and shoes, and new or good used toys, among many other items. Call 528-3663 or go to www.infantcrisis.org for more information.
These are just a few suggestions. There are probably many more charities or organizations that can take your children’s used clothes or toys. It’s one way you can keep giving, even after the holiday season is over.
If you have any other suggestions you’d like readers to know about, leave your comments here or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to share them.
Last January, my toddler woke up in the middle of the night crying inconsolably. He started thrashing his body across the bed and became very hot to the touch. I immediately took his temperature and there it was – 105 degrees. He asked for water but couldn’t keep it down. He started shaking uncontrollably and I called 911. He was having a febrile seizure, which can happen in young children with high fevers. He was transported to the hospital and they got his fever down and got fluids in him. In my situation, I reacted on instinct. At the time, I worried that I was overreacting, but it turned out that going to the ER in this case was the best choice.
Sometimes we can panic when it comes to our kids and we don’t know how to handle fever or sickness. Sometimes we feel it may not warrant a visit to the ER but in some cases it does. The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center had an article in their most recent OK Kids newsletter to help guide parents on what to look for. They say children need to be seen by a doctor if:
-Is younger than 2 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 or higher.
-Is 6 months old or older and has a fever higher than 101.
-Is younger than 2 years old and has had a fever for more than 24 hours.
-Is 2 years old or older and has had a fever for more than 72 hours.
They also stress that the way a child is acting is far more important than what the thermometer says. If a child is lethargic, can’t stop crying, can’t hold down food or liquids, or shows signs of dehydration, contact a doctor. And if you’re ever in doubt about what to do or what a fever means, or if your child is acting in a way that concerns you, always call your doctor for advice.
About 120 third-grade crafters at Chisholm Elementary School in Edmond met Thursday in the cafeteria to create gingerbread houses, a tradition that’s been around for years.
They spread the icing and stuck on the candy on roofs, eaves, front walkways and more. This year, quite a few of the students used the red licorice or red hots to form the letters “OU” or “Sooners.”
If you wanted to, the tradition seems easy enough to start at home, without any of the usual complex baking. At school, parent volunteers created the framework of each one in advance by sticking two pint-sized milk cartons together and gluing graham crackers across the angled tops of the cartons to make the roof and on the sides to make the walls (see photos below). Ice cream cones formed the base of the trees outside the house.
Then, in addition to the peppermints, gumdrops, m&m’s, little cookies and more, the parents handed out bowls of white icing and popsicle sticks to spread it and let the 8- and 9-year-olds go to work on the decorations. Most of the students were concentrating so hard that very few of them were eating the candy itself.
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Here are some photos. Click on them to see them larger. Video is above. To see more photos after the jump, click on “more” below.
I’ve been looking for one and think I’ve picked out the one she’ll get for Christmas.
Since we’ve been talking about cell phones quite a bit these days, I’ve taken the time to talk to her about the results of a recent survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com.
The results, released recently, found that one in five teen girls (22 percent), and 11 percent of teen girls ages 14-16, said they have electronically sent or posted online nude or semi-nude images of themselves.
According to the “Sex and Tech” survey, these images are getting passed around by their peers: One third (33 percent) of teen boys and one-quarter (25 percent) of teen girls said they have had nude/semi-nude images, orginally meant to be private, shared with them.
I had already heard of this type of thing occuring, particulary images sent via cell phone. When this survey was released I learned that this type of behavior has informally been dubbed “sexting.”
The survey concluded that what teens and young adults are doing electronically seems to have an effect on what they do in real life. Nearly one-quarter of teens (22 percent) admitted that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive. More than one-third of teens (38 percent) said exchanging sexy content makes dating or “hooking up” with others more likely and nearly one-third of teens (29 percent) said they believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or “hook up.”
“That so many young people say technology is encouraging an even more casual, hook-up culture is reason for concern, given the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in the United States,” Marisa Nightingale, senior advisor to the Entertainment Media Program at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said in a news release.
“Parents should understand that their own notions of what’s public, what’s private, and what’s appropriate, may differ greatly from how teens and young adults define these concepts.”
By the way, according to the survey girls are not the only ones sharing sexually explicit content: Almost one in five teen boys (18 percent) said they have sent or posted nude/semi nude images of themselves.
Find out more about the survey, including some helpful tips for parents, by clicking here: “Sex and Tech survey”
If you’re anything like me, you want to give your child the best possible chance of being a successful, happy person. Most of us can probably recall being involved in some activity growing up, whether in school or not, such as sports, acting, singing or playing an instrument.We see the Olympic medalists, who started training as early as 3 or other professional athletes who are shown with a football or golf club in their hands at 4 years old. We hear of musicians who picked up the guitar or started playing the piano at the age of 2. And sometimes, as parents, we think we need to get our kids involved in something that early, just so they can be one of the few who make it big.
But how early is too early? I’ve been browsing some of the activities I can get my 2 1/2 -year-old involved in. So far, pretty much everything is offered to kids that age. I’ve seen tennis lessons, acting lessons, instrument and singing lessons, gymnastics coaching, T-ball teams, rodeo coaching and even golf lessons.
So how do I choose? And more importantly, how early should he start? I don’t want to be a pushy mom and have my child give up his childhood before it even starts (gymnasts come to mind, who as children, seem to spend every waking moment in the gym). And at 2 or 3 years old, do they even have the attention span or desire to be a participant? Or is it more for the parents’ satisfaction?
On the other hand, it also seems that getting kids involved early on may pave the way for them to crave being on sports teams in school or want to be first clarinet in the school band. They’ll know and want life outside the daily routine of home and school.
So I’d like to hear from parents on this. How early did you get your kids involved with activities? What made you decide to start them at that age?
Leave your comments here or email me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.
My son and I are involved in a program called Parents as Teachers (PAT). Ours is through the Putnam City School District, but this program is available statewide. This is a FREE (yes, free!) program that really has helped shaped the way I teach my son and interact with him, and allows me to focus on areas with him that will get him ahead of the curve once kindergarten starts.
We have a very nice teacher from the school district, who comes over to our house once a month to play and interact with my son. She evaluates where he is as far as learning and development. She charts his progress and gives me tools that are relevant to his age. This program is for any parent of an infant or toddler who wants to give their child the best chance of being ready for school, by taking the opportunity to start learning at home.
Here is a description of the program, from their national website, www.parentsasteachers.org :
Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5.
Parents are supported by PAT-certified parent educators trained to translate scientific information on early brain development into specific when, what, how and why advice for families. By understanding what to expect during each stage of development, parents can easily capture the teachable moments in everyday life to enhance their child’s language development, intellectual growth, social development and motor skills.
As a Parents as Teachers family, you receive:
-Personal visits during which your parent educator will share age-appropriate child development and parenting information, help you learn to observe your child, and address your parenting concerns.
-Parent group meetings which are opportunities to share information about parenting issues and child development. Parents learn and support each other, observe their children with other children and practice parenting skills.
-Screenings to assess your child’s overall development as well as health, hearing and vision.
-Resource network that links your family to other community services.
The program is offered throughout school districts in Oklahoma. To find the contact for your district, click here.
I can’t recommend this great program enough. This is a resource that is free and its benefits are priceless.
According to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, injuries kill more children each year than diseases, kidnapping and drugs combined. Children age 4 and younger account for nearly half of toy-related injuries and almost 90 percent of deaths. In Oklahoma, about 130 children through age 15 die each year from unintentional injuries. For every fatality, approximately 45 children require hospitalization and 1,300 require emergency treatment.
These are numbers that aren’t to be taken lightly. The health department offers these tips when purchasing a toy to keep those numbers as low as possible:
1. Always consider the child’s age and maturity level. Purchase a toy suited to the ability, skill and interest level of the child.
2. Toys intended for children older than age 3 should never be given to infants or toddlers. They may have small parts that pose a choking hazard. Children younger than 3 should not be given toys with cords or strings longer than 12 inches. Cords longer than this can get wrapped around a child’s neck.
3. Children younger than age 8 shouldn’t be given toys with sharp edges or toys that run on electricity (not including batteries).
4. Older children should be taught to keep their toys away from younger siblings.
5. Look for well-constructed toys. Check the toys periodically for broken parts that should be repaired or thrown away.
6. Consider the weight, size of the toy.
7. Make sure toys do not contain toxic paint or lead.
8. Costumes or pajamas should be labeled “flame retardant/flame resistant.”
9. If you give a child a bike, roller blades, skateboard or scooter, don’t forget to include safety gear like a helmet, knee pads and wrist guards as part of the gift.
If you started holiday shopping early, you can also check toys to be sure they haven’t been recalled since your purchase. Go to www.cpsc.gov to be sure they aren’t on the list. And if you have children of your own, I highly suggest signing up for the website’s email announcements. As soon as a toy or other children’s item (such as clothes, cribs, etc.) is recalled, they let you know via email, complete with pictures of the items, where they were sold and when, and what to do with the recalled item.
Holidays are supposed to be a joyous and happy time, especially for the little ones. Let’s all be extra diligent in keeping it safe for them. If you have any other good safety tips, comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year. The lights, the parties, the festivities, the shopping, the trees, the STRESS of the holidays. Most of us have more to get done than we think we can possibly handle, especially if you add kids into the mix. But are there ways to at least reduce some of the stress this wonderful season brings?
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department offers some valuable tips on simple things you can do to make this season a little easier:
1. Save decorating until a week before the holiday. Save irreplaceable decorations for later years when children are older. My son is two, so I won’t be buying any Swarovski Crystal or Tiffany ornaments this year.
2. Shop ahead, throughout the year, while children are at school or home. Good advice, unless you’re like me and just HAVE to close the mall down on Christmas Eve, just for the fun of it.
3. Limit the number of times children stay with babysitters while you attend events. Not a problem in my house – my babysitter is terminally unavailable.
4. Avoid forcing a frightened child to sit on Santa’s lap. Young children often enjoy stories and pictures but the real thing can be overwhelming. I tried to force my son to sit for a Santa picture last year. All I got was a photo of a distraught toddler with red puffy eyes.
5. Avoid forcing children to welcome unknown relatives with a kiss or by handing them over to be held by a stranger. Allow the child time to warm up. Also good advice, unless you’re my mother ‘Gwennie’ and in that case, there will be no warm up time. Because she said so.
6. If weather permits, encourage outdoor play to release extra energy. OK, we live in Oklahoma. This is not hard. It won’t be cold until at least Febraury.
7. Keep routines as normal as possible. Be sure to expect behavioral changes anytime routines change. I find that this is pretty much a given with a toddler, at any time, in any season, for any reason.
8. When traveling with a young child, allow extra time on the road. Take some familiar objects from home. Establish a routine as close as possible to your regular routine and be assertive with relatives about how you enforce limits with your child. Unless, of course you’re ‘Gwennie’ and under her roof. Then it’s her rules … or else.
9. Limit holiday candy; give healthy treats along with the seasonal goodies. So pumpkin pie counts as a vegetable, right?
Any more tips you’d like to share? Leave your comments here or email me at the address below.