Category: Parents

Pro-Development Play That Every Child Should Experience

While play for play’s sake is undoubtedly important, we also want to make sure that our children are getting the kind of development that helps foster them and makes them more likely to grow up happy, competent, and successful. As such, you might be wondering which toys are most likely to help them as they grow up. The answer isn’t as simple as picking out one single best toy, however. Here, we’re going to look at a range of options, each of which might be able to help your child develop in the direction that you’re aiming.

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Teething and grasping toys

If your child is teething, then offering them some ways to help them soothe their pain is going to offer both you and them a little respite. However, rather than simply getting a teether alone, or something solely for teething like a pacifier, you can get something that engages their teeth and their hands at the same time. Teething and grasping toys have been becoming a lot more popular over the past few years. So long as they’re lightweight enough, they’re highly versatile and can help children develop some fine motor skills. Many of them are also multicolored, meaning that they can also help with colour recognition. That way, you can offer your baby some peace for their sore mouth while also getting their brain working.

Books that sing or speak to them

While reading to your own child and singing to them is vitally important when they’re young infants, you should also consider giving them toys that make noises and speak to them. Things like interactive books with nursery rhymes or recordings of lullabies can help get them used to communication at a very young age. The more you engage a child’s social side at their youngest, the better they will be able to grow their communication skills over time, as well. Interactive story and singing books combine this need by giving them things to reach for and touch, which helps develop motor skills such as their spatial awareness.

Play water mats

Water is a very entertaining plaything for young children, indeed. For one, sensory play is greatly important to their development, as we’re going to take a closer look at later. However, for young children, one of the big benefits of an age-appropriate water mat is that it encourages the extremely important activity of tummy time. Tummy time helps physically develop your child so that they can start to sit up, walk, and crawl. Furthermore, tummy time improves their ability to move around using their own arms, motor development skills that will continue to be more crucial as they get older. A good water mat combines tummy time with sensory play while offering your child a safe environment to play with water.

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Kinetic sand

One of the most important parts of development at an early age is getting a good idea of your own senses. The better we develop these senses as youngsters, the more benefits it can have for us in later life. How we interact with different materials and objects with different properties as children helps us get a better idea of how different forces work on those objects. For instance, playing with kinetic sand can help us build nerve connections in the brain when we are younger and can encourage scientific thinking and problem-solving. One of the best ways to understand how the world works is to get hands-on with it, after all.

Board games

While it’s important to choose the age-appropriate examples for your children, and some children might not be old enough to have the attention span to sit down for them, board games are generally great for childhood development. They are one of the kids toys that helps teach them about structure and rules in the greatest depth. This can be something as simple as snakes and ladders for children who are just getting into school, or chess as they’re getting into their adolescent years. More complicated board games then go on to help teach them about problem-solving and creative thinking, which can help them excel in the school and beyond. They’re also a great way to teach healthy competition in a stress-free environment so that they’re better able to deal with it elsewhere.

Creative play

Whether it’s things like markers, crayons, non-toxic paints or otherwise, let’s not underestimate just how important it is that you encourage your child to be creative. From as young as one year old, they are going to love getting hands-on and seeing all the things they can draw, paint, and even build. Creative play has a range of both intellectual and physical benefits. Learning to draw, for instance, helps to develop mathematic abilities in children at a very young age by helping them see, learn, and create shapes, as well as seeing how sizes and sorting works. The motor skills that get built up through drawing can be incredibly important for their ongoing physical development, as well. Creating with a range of materials is best.

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Playing pretend

It might seem like playing pretend is nothing more than just a fun pastime, but the truth is that it has a great impact on a child’s ability to use their imagination to come up with creative ideas. Furthermore, playing with dolls and teddies also helps them develop their social skills. By interacting in different scenarios and relationships, it gets them thinking about how people act with one another, allowing them to better intuit social situations as time goes on. This can then help them better co-operate and compromise with their friends as they get into school. They will better understand social cues, different tones, and even improve their language development by talking to their own toys.

Building blocks

From toddlers to teenagers, there are different kinds of building blocks that incentivize learning more effectively than the vast majority of toys out there. Early age building blocks improve motor skills such as hand-eye coordination, ensuring that children learn how to reach out, place, and balance blocks so that they do not tip over. This exercise also stimulates their creative learning, getting them to think about and imagine how block placement will affect the overall structure. Of course, as they get older and the blocks can get more complex and create increasingly diverse and complicated objects, they get to thinking about long-term planning and improve their overall creative thinking. Playing with building blocks alongside your child also helps teach them how to share and how to take turns in play.

Balls of all size

Physical development is just as important a part of play as the mental side is. The sooner that you get your child involved in physical activity, the better. This applies to more than just fine motor skills like hand-eye coordination, as well. Getting up, running around, jumping, and the like are all going to help them physically develop so that it becomes easier to incorporate fitness into their lives as they get older. There is all manner of toys that can help with this, such as ride-on toys, tunnels, slides, and the like. However, one that combines the physical activity with the fine motor skills, both of which your child needs, are balls. No matter the size, so long as they are age-appropriate, balls can be some of the most beneficial toys for your child to play with.

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Early age computers

There is a lot of debate that goes on about just how much contact we should be letting our children have with technology and at what age they should be having that contact. There’s a good reason for this debate as well, as there’s increasing concern that technological addiction and the sedentary lifestyle it can involve is bad for the health of your child in a wide variety of ways. However, there is no denying that technology will play an increasingly large role in daily life and the working world as time goes on. Early learning computers can help children start getting used to this technology so that they take to it much more easily as they get older.

Other children

It’s not all about the toys. It’s important that you find the opportunity to have your child play with others. Many of the skills mentioned above, such as the ability to communicate, to read social cues, and to share while playing, aren’t going to be fully developed unless they’re tested out there in the field. Solo play and playing with family is important, but playing with new friends and other children will help your child get used to other relationships, as well. It’s recommended that you get them playing with other children before they get to school so that they can integrate and socialize more easily.

Of course, play and toys aren’t the only ways to foster the development of your child. Providing a safe and positive home that engages and encourages them is just as essential, but the examples above can at least help.

7 Signs Your Child is Athletically Gifted

If all the news herald today about athletes enjoying multi-million-dollar yearly contracts has done anything, it’s made parents acutely aware of any athletic prowess of their children. Whether a son or daughter is in high school or diapers, parents’ schedules are full chock of practices and sports training classes.

Many parents ponder their children’s success when it comes to raising athletic children. Is it best to raise a child in one sport or multiple sports? At what age should we start them? How do we find an athletic program? What follows are seven signs you better start looking into athletic shoes.

Is Your Child a Leader?

If your child demonstrates the ability to lead early in their life, you probably have a future athlete on your hands. These characteristics will often show, but you must watch for them. If they struggle between which toys to play with, you could have a leader.

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Do You Live in a Warm Climate?

According to a recent story in the Journal of Sports Medicine, the high number of professional athletes who come from California, Florida, and Texas indicates the benefits of warm weather on potential athletic development. By contrast, children who live in colder climates are often unable to practice their sports, putting their development on hold.

Tall Parents

Most athletes, especially at the professional level, are well over six feet tall, whereas the average American male is five foot nine inches. Want to know your child’s potential height? Just add both parents’ heights, divide the result by two, and then add 2.5 inches for boys and subtract 2.5 inches for girls.

Eye/Hand Coordination

Coordination is an essential skill for an athlete. Unfortunately, children are born with no coordination. It’s not until they are about six months old that they begin to understand the correlation between seeing and touching. Their ability to watch an object as it moves and transfer an object from one hand to another is an early indicator of coordination.

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Fearlessness

There is a point at which fearlessness becomes stupidity, but it’s also true that athletes have a degree of fearlessness that others don’t. For example, that basketball player who attempts the difficult lay-up or the gymnast who isn’t afraid to try the seemingly impossible maneuver is a fearless athlete. Fearless children are often climbers, talkers, and much more that prove they aren’t afraid of failure.

Resilience

Does your child fall and never fail to get back up and try it again? Or, does your child try to reach something that’s too far away, only to try again? These things and more indicate early resilience in a child.

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Quick Learner

Does your child pick things up quickly? Do they learn things fast? Being a quick learner is an excellent attribute for any athlete. Learning things like proper form is essential to athletic success, such as the basketball player who watches the form of a professional and attempts to copy it.

There are many more critical indicators of a child’s potential for success in athletics. These include their body type, competitive nature, and much more. In many cases, it’s difficult to determine which is a more important characteristic than another. And yes, there are those athletes who defy all the norms but become standouts against all expectations. It all comes down to the attitude of the child.

Normal Things That No One Tells You To Expect With A Newborn

Having a baby is one of life’s best parts, it’s a truly beautiful experience, that is unique to each person. With advice from others, books, professional advice and information readily available online, it’s no wonder that parents are able to get well and truly prepared for the arrival of their new addition. But are they really prepared for absolutely everything? 

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Whether it’s unexpected things at the birth, countless sleepless nights because of baby day/night confusion, or more frequent feeding than expected, it’s all normal and perfect fine to feel a little lost. Usually, you will feel as though no one can help, and you’re doing wrong but that not the case. 

There are some worrying yet normal things that come with having a newborn, all of which are completely normal. Whether you’re a new parent or even a tenth-time parent some of the most normal things can sometimes leave you scared and concern, however, you have got this!

Have a look below at some of the completely normal yet scary things about newborns that people just don’t tell you about: 

Constant Sneezing 

For a newborn, the world is an entirely new place to be. Therefore, you need to be aware that their little nose is going to be a little extra sensitive to their environment. It may seem as though your newborn is sneezing all the time, but it’s a completely normal way for them to react to their new living environment. Sneezing helps then to get rid of any tiny foreign particles that may have made their way up into their nose. 

In their first few days, you may notice they are sneezing more, this is because there is extra mucus or amniotic fluid that is still sitting in their nostrils, this is completely normal. If you see any signs of temperature or wheezing alongside the sneezing, then give your health visitor a call as they may need to be seen.  

Jerky Or Sudden Movements

If this is your first child, then you may be a little bit supposed by the way that a baby moves. It’s likely that your little one will have rather jerky movements. Flailing limbs, and jumps a lot, and on top of that, it’s happening randomly. Relax, this is entirely normal. As they grow, they go through a number of developmental changes, one of which is their reflexes. After about three months of age, it will start to settle down. Heard of swaddling? This is one of the most common reasons babies are swaddled. 

Cradle Cap

This is something that is commonly seen on newborns and even some toddlers. It usually goes away very quickly, in fact, the first few months and it’ll be gone. Doing things like rubbing baby oil on to the areas it is every other day can help. Applying some baby oil using a fine baby comb will also help it to lift away. If it doesn’t go you may need to speak to your health care professional, but only if it is irritated or infected. It can be treated at home otherwise and is nothing to concerned about

Massive Poo Explosions

OK, so this is one that you may have heard of. People can’t help but share this story when you are expecting a new baby. However, what most new parents don’t realize is that they are much bigger and messier than you can imagine. Many new parents come across this with their new baby, all to different levels of the explosion, but it’s just something that you are never going to avoid. A newborn is well-known for having a runny and explosive poo, and it just seems to be a right of passage that every new parent must face. Don’t worry though, this is one of the most normal things you will experience with a new baby

Different Shaped Head

You and your baby work very well together to bring them into the world safely through the birth canal, so you shouldn’t be too worried about their strangely shaped head afterwards. Both you and your baby go through a tremendous amount of changes through childbirth and one of them is that their head shapes changes. It flattens slightly because it is malleable and soft, however, this is normal. In fact, it’s needed so that delivery can take place. It won’t be long before it starts to go back into a more normal shape. You should still be mindful that a baby can get a flat head is they are on their back too often, so try to lay them on the front and sides too. 

A Surprising Amount Of Hair 

If your little one is hairier than you expected don’t worry. As well as having hair on their head, a baby is born with more hair on their body than most parents expect. You will notice it on their back, shoulders, and even their feet. This is known as lanugo, it’s the first type of body hair made. Lanugo plays a crucial role in regulating a babies temperature in the womb. It’s certainly nothing to stress about, it will soon come away, and you won’t even notice it happening. Babies will lose most of the hair they are born with, including the hair on their head. Don’t panic though it luckily starts to grow back. Some quicker than others, but it does return. 

Spotty Babies 

This is most commonly known as ‘baby acne’. If your newborn has spots on their face, don’t get too worried about it. It just a reaction to your annoying hormones, and it will soon clear up on its own. You may also notice that they have little white spots Milk Spots’ or ‘Milia’ that aren’t related to the acne. They are just little bumps that are linked to their consumption of milk, they’re more common in bottle-fed babies but they will also disappear within a few weeks. 

The Scary Soft Spot 

Any new parent will be warned about the soft spot by someone at some point. It’s just a small area on the top of a babies skull that stays soft for months after the birth. Its purpose is there so their head can change shape for birth and the birth canal. You have to be careful of this area, but try not to stress about it, instead just be mindful and keep an eye on it. You will notice that you can see it moving, this is because their brain pulses inside their head, it’s a little bit tummy turning, but it is normal. If you have any concerns regarding the soft spot though, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare professional. 

Hiccups That Just Won’t Go

Hiccups may seem troublesome, however, they are extremely common for newborns. It will seem like they have them at every feed, to begin with, and yes it can seem scary, but it is completely normal. Your newborn is learning to breathe in their new environment, their ability to breathe and swallow hasn’t quite synchronized. As soon as they master this, the hiccups will start to appear less and less. 

Although for any parent, some of these can seem scary, they are all completely normal. There is always going to be something new to learn, and you will also pick up your own methods as you get to know your little one. Is there anything that you have experiences that were scary but normal with your newborn? Should they be on this list? Please share some of them in the comments section. 

A Different Kind: 21 Gift Ideas to Surprise an Introvert With

Do you have an introvert in your life that you need to buy a gift for? Why not get them something that will surprise them but will also celebrate their need to stay to themselves?

Below are 21 gift ideas designed specifically for introverts. And, since there are no introvert stores out there, at least not yet, someone interested in buying any of these will need to get more information about them via Google.

1. Mugs

If an introvert is a coffee lover, mugs to hold their cup of joe are numerous. Mugs designed especially for introverts span the range of “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to be here,” to “I was social distancing before it was cool,” and everything in between. Best of all, they can be found almost everywhere on the Internet.

2. Reading Lamps

Introverted readers probably outnumber introverted coffee drinkers by a large margin, which is perhaps why there are so many accessories for those who love their books. That’s probably why there are more than just a few beautiful lighting types available.

3. T-shirts and Sweatshirts

If you’re going to be an introvert, why not tell the world about it with an appropriately inscribed t-shirt or sweatshirt? Again, these are numerous, with sayings that run the gamut of “Shhhh. I’m introverting,” to “Introverts Unite! Separately, In Your Own Homes,” and more pointedly, “I’d Love to Stay and Chat, but I’m Lying.”

4. Door Mats

Anyone who happens to be an introvert and who would instead be left alone would appreciate a doormat that effectively sends the message. That’s the purpose of doormats that say things like “Go Away” and other warm messages. And for the introvert whose interruptions don’t stop at the front door, there are plenty of signs that give the wise a warning such as “Do Not Disturb, I’m Disturbed Enough.”

5. Books and Coloring Books

Another item that would come under the category of reading is books and coloring books. Fortunately, if you’re an introvert, you can either read about your predisposition or make colorful noise about it. Some books extol the virtues of staying by yourself and what can be done when someone is doing that or by defining the ways people can reach out to you, such as texting.

6. Throws and Blankets

What introvert could resist a nice, soft throw or blanket to cuddle up with on the bed or sofa once a book and cup of coffee or other beverage has been selected for a quiet evening at home? There are countless types of these available.

7. Coffees and Teas

Any introvert who loves their coffees and teas will have something more to celebrate when they find out that subscriptions will bring their favorite brews right to their door.

8. Alcohol

Even if the introvert in someone’s life is up to their prophetic rear-end in quarantine, they can still enjoy a little nip when it’s needed by joining one of several alcohol clubs available. For only the price of a subscription, an introvert has their choice of beer, booze, or drinkware. There are even complete mixology kits for introverts who need a start.

9. Cookware

The pandemic quarantine might have brought people back to the kitchen but introverts will keep them there. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that will help them make the best of their time. From crockpots to utensils, there is plenty to choose from.

10. Pampering Accessories

Whether an introvert wants to give themselves a back rub or a bath, there are plenty of tools to provide what they want. Not only that, but they can pamper themselves in style in whichever room of the house they want to do it in.

11. Comfy Clothes and Pajamas

Give an introvert something comfortable to wear and the chances are good they might even invite someone over to enjoy the gift with. Well, maybe not, but they will undoubtedly enjoy the gesture while snuggled up on the couch or in bed.

12. Headphones and Ear Buds

What would be better to tell the world to go away than headphones and earbuds that cancel out everything except what the high living introvert happens to be listening to?

13. Aromatherapy Sets

Perfumes and colognes are a thing of the past, but everyone loves the entire home to smell good. What better way is there to make that happen than with an aromatherapy set? An essential oil diffuser works along the same lines except there’s nothing to plug in. Just add an essential oil to a diffuser and it does all the work.

14. Journals

Since introverts cherish their time alone, why not give them something to do while they are at it? A journal accompanied by a nice pen will do the trick.

 15. Nap Time

Even if the introvert in someone’s life is also an insomniac, both bases are covered with plenty of sleep accessories like a sleep mask printed with “Wild Horses Couldn’t Get Me Out of Bed” or other clever sayings.

16. Pillows

If someone has to announce they are an introvert, the chances are good it isn’t working, but for those who need help, there are plenty of pillows with things like “I Party Like an Introvert…Which is to Say I Don’t.” That should get the message across.

17. Pins and Dangles

Introverts often like to be low-key about how they tell others, so pins are often left to do the work. Those that say things like “Happy Alone” or simply “Introvert” can be found on the Internet.

18. Games and Puzzles for One

Introverts have plenty of time on their hands to be, well, themselves, so why not give them something they can enjoy doing while they are at it like games. There are numerous games available on the Internet.

19. Escape Chairs

Furniture isn’t typically what most people think about when it comes to gifts for introverts, but makers have been business creating chairs for lots of solitary people.

Some are designed to muffle sound down to nothing as well as those that make an introvert hard to see. There are even total isolation cubbies.

20. Let Introverts Get Physical

Whether an introvert is into yoga or weightlifting, there is plenty of equipment out there for those who like to enjoy it alone. From sci-fi themed kettlebells to yoga mats, and everything in between, gifts are available in stores and on the Internet.

21. Hosty Clubs

Think gift subscriptions to Airbnb. You get the idea.

What more can be said than there is a lot available out there for introverts or introvert wannabes.

Getting Your Family Involved with Being Better Members of Your Community

To improve our local communities and where we live, we have to be part of the change. We can all do things that will help to improve or maintain good health and wellbeing of the area around us. You may think that what you do and your family’s actions don’t add up to much, but they do make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Making changes, and being part of that, helps because compassion and change are contagious. Doing these things matter because when one person uses their voice, it helps more and more people to use theirs too, and then change happens.

With all of that in mind, here are some things that you and your family can do to make sure that you are good members of your local community. You never know what kind of ripple effect it will have.

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  • Looking through certain things with more compassionate eyes makes a difference to start with. It starts with making an effort to help and reach out to someone local to you that is in need. You might see someone local struggling with their shopping, or have a neighbor that is pretty lonely, or a friend needs some more support with their children. Whatever it is, doing something at least gets things started and makes a difference. Small gestures can have a big impact.
  • Just imagine how different things would be if everyone respected each, even if they have differences. Start off with respect, and teaching children respect, and it will make a big difference. It is something really simple, but will make the difference between peace or not.
  • The communities that we live in are going to be pretty diverse places. Bonds can be formed as we step in and come together, in order to support other people in the local community, as well as other people and families in the community.  If you’re able to, think about volunteering your time; it can help you to meet new people at the same time. You may have qualifications to be able to help with child advocacy in your area, or other worthy causes that need activists or advocates. It can be a good idea to get involved with things like food drives, soup kitchens, and donate what you can to local causes and school events, for example. When you involve your children with what you are doing, it can help them to learn from a young age that these kinds of things are normal to do.

Each person and family is accountable for what they do in their life and have their own conscience to help them to live more responsibly. You can’t say that you don’t judge people that live near you, if you then go ahead and do just that. Don’t claim to be tolerant and accepting, if you actually act untowards to those in your community that are different to yourself. Practice what you preach, and it will make a difference for your whole family.

7 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Attempted Burglary

No one wants or plans to be the victim of a burglary. However, the FBI has reported there are more than one million burglaries across the country, every year. One of the best ways to protect a home is by installing an alarm system from a reputable company.

There is an array of other products to use as well, such as Security Film for Office, access systems, and smart technology. Additional actionable tips to provide protection against burglars are listed here.

  1. Be Sure the Home Appears Lived In

Burglars are trying to find an easy target. They are going to search for homes that appear to be vacant. If a homeowner is going to be away from home for a week or more, make sure something is looking after the property. Be sure the snow is shoveled, and grass mowed. Don’t let the mailbox get full or newspapers to pile up. It’s also smart to put lights on a timer or invest in automatic window treatments. These are the steps that will help ensure it looks like someone is home.

  1. Lock Windows and Doors

If a homeowner isn’t locking their doors or windows when they leave, or even when they are at home, they are inviting a burglar to come in. It’s easy for a burglar to locate an open house. Approximately 40 percent of burglaries don’t happen because of forced entries. Additionally, don’t put a hide-a-key in an obvious place. Burglars are going to know where to look.

  1. Keep Entry Ways Open

There are some burglaries that occur in a hidden entryway where a person can break a window or pick a lock. If there are shrubs or trees that block the view of the door, now is the time to have them trimmed. Another step is to install motion sensor lights to deter a burglar.

  1. Hide Valuable Items

Some robberies occur because valuable items are left out in the open or in plain sight. If a person has a fancy television or expensive entertainment system, be sure it isn’t close to the windows. Don’t leave jewelry or cash on the dresser either.

  1. Avoid Opening the Door for Strangers

Some home invasions occur just because someone opened the door. In fact, 27.6 percent of all burglaries occur while someone is home. If someone comes to the door, they may have a reason to try to get inside. Have a peephole in the door to ensure that anyone answering the door knows who is there before opening it.

  1. Consider Getting a Dog

Dogs, particularly a bigger dog, will be a great deterrent for a burglar. There are many people who are afraid of dogs and even if they aren’t, a big dog barking will scare them off.

  1. Don’t Advertise Going on a Vacation

There are some burglars that are going to stake out a house before they try to rob it. They will watch a person’s routine to find out when no one is going to be there. They will also look at social media to see when people are going to be away. Avoid doing this.

When it comes to protecting a home or business, there are several steps that a person can take to protect themselves and their home. Being informed is the best way to ensure that a home is well-protected from nefarious individuals.

How to be Social While Social Distancing

“Social distancing or physical distancing is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity and ultimately, mortality.” – Wikipedia

With the current pandemic that the world is currently facing, we have been instructed to practice social distancing and with great reason. As we see numbers rise in positive cases all over the world, we can’t help but fear for the safety of our loved ones and of ourselves. We have been doing social distancing for over a week now and we will continue to do so until we are told it is safe to interact once again.

Social Distancing

Social distancing isn’t too hard for me to do personally as I don’t mind being in the comfort of my own home but as a parent of a social five-year-old, I know the difficult time will arrive depending on how long we need to stay indoors. This got me thinking on how people interact socially. Prior to this pandemic, I would notice people constantly using their technology devices and not interact with people right in front of them. Now here we are in a state of emergency and people are craving the need to interact in person. Irony at its finest if you ask me.

It also got me thinking why not use this technology that we seem to not be able to live without while we are with people and use it to interact while keeping our distances. Seems simple, doesn’t it?! We implemented a few things in our home to keep social in hopes it will inspire others to do the same while we all observe “social distancing.”

Social Media

The good old social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. These mediums are working well so far and it’s a great way to stay connected with all your family and friends. We have been sharing light stories and posts as a way to bring a smile to people’s faces during these difficult and uncertain times.

Another way to use social media is to use private messaging on Facebook to create group chats. I am part of one right now where we share pictures within our group of our kids, food or just anything positive. It is a great way to remember that there is a world of people out there loving you even if they are not in the same room as you. I have also been private messaging some close friends who are really down with everything going around as I want to make sure they know they are not alone and that they are very loved. You would be surprised on the positive impact that this can have on someone with anxiety and depression. Every little bit of compassion we can reflect onto others does help as I know it has helped one of my good friends.

Phone Calls/Text Messaging

We have been finding ourselves calling and text messaging more to check in with our loved ones. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t call my parents to see how they are doing. When I first got married my husband would ask, “Why do you call your parents every day?” My answer was always the same and it still applies to this day more than ever. “My parents are aging with each passing day and their health status can change from one moment to the next. I always want to make sure that I make that phone call so I can rest easy knowing that they are ok.”

I think it is important to check-in at least once a week or every few days just to make sure that the most vulnerable are doing well. It doesn’t cost us to check-in and it’s the kindness that we all need to be surrounded with. If you don’t like calling people then you can always send a text message especially if the recipient knows how to use text messaging. 😉

Video Talk

There are many apps that allow you to talk over video which is our favorite thing to do. Nikki loves to see people over video as it gives her that social interaction that she has been missing. We are not with them physically but we can see them which is so comforting for everyone. I have encouraged these videos with our close family members who have been calling us. When I see Nikki talking to her cousins or a friend through Facebook Messenger, her face lights up with so much happiness and I am truly thankful for all this technology that is at our fingertips.

We are able to interact with all our loved ones in ways that couldn’t be done many years ago and we should be thankful that we can. My sister even mentioned that we could have a girls night at home by video calling each other in a quiet room in the house. I thought this was a great idea and now it is just a matter of time of actually doing it. This is a great alternative from going out.

That is what we are doing to stay social in a social distancing time. You can stay social and connected by using technology. We don’t need to physically be together to know that we care about one another. Remember that we are doing this to protect ourselves from this pandemic. It may seem like an inconvenience and yes this will impact the economy but it will save lives. So let us stay calm, show compassion, be kind and we will get through this together.

To protect yourself from the Corvid-19 virus, there are steps that you can do and if we all do them we will be on the right path.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

One and Done: Our Family is Complete

A family is defined as a set of parents living with their children. The definition of family is the group of people who share common ancestors. Those are the definitions you can see in the dictionary but family is really up to personal interpretation.

To me a family is people who love each other unconditionally. It does not matter who makes up your family or how many are in it. At the end of the day, the love that is shared is what should matter most.

Our Family Beginning

Every story has a “Once Upon A Time” and our family story is no different. It all started when a young lady fell in love with a handsome and sweet young man. They dated for seven years before getting married and it was a rollercoaster of a journey but they did it together. To them an ideal family would be to have two children as it only seemed fitting since everyone in the family were only having two children.

Our wedding day.

Unfortunately, not all families are made quickly or as planned. This is just how life goes. Thinking the struggle was over when they found out they were expecting; however, it was short lived when a miscarriage had occurred. There hopes and dreams of having a family seemed just that…a dream.

A few years after, a pleasant surprise had happen with another positive pregnancy test. But this time, nine months later through a difficult pregnancy, our family grew by one with the energetic little one that we call Nikki.

Family Life

The adjustment into parenthood is never easy and it took (still is) a lot of tinkering along the way. As we grew with our daughter we started to see that one was plenty for us and our family felt complete. It didn’t always feel that way as we were always questioned as to why not add one more child. At one point we took that to heart and felt maybe we should consider adding one more. We seemed to have allowed that pressure to consume us once again and it was affecting my health. However, I quickly realized that it wasn’t worth all the extra stress and anxiety I was feeling. Of course with any life changing decisions we discuss it as a team as it takes a village to raise a child.

Our family of three.

Only Child Syndrome

“Only child syndrome is the myth that only children are lonely, selfish, spoiled, impatient and maladjusted.”

We have heard that and more when raising our daughter. This was a big part of our discussions as we reviewed what would be best for our family. When looking at the definition and seeing my daughter, I couldn’t see it. We don’t see any of those characteristics in Nikki.

Lonely

Luckily, Nikki isn’t locked in a tower like poor Rapunzel was for many years of her life. 😉 We expose Nikki to everything that life and people have to offer. We set up play dates and have her interact with people all throughout her life. She has many great friendships that she has built already in her five years of life and we nourish her to continue to build these friendships and build new ones. She is also surrounded by so many loving family members that we as adults help her maintain.

On the other side, we also personally know many people who have siblings who don’t even communicate or connect with. Therefore, having a sibling does not mean you have someone with you for life as they may not want to be part of your life. A sibling does not mean a life-long friend.

Nikki with her cousin Connor as they embrace each other’s company.
Selfish

When you ask anyone that knows Nikki really well, knows that she is not selfish. Of course there can be moments that she may not want to share a favorite toy and that is absolutely normal as she is only five! However, she is very generous and shares with others.

Spoiled

This word in itself stings when I hear, read, or see it! I recall a couple of years back, a family member mentioning to someone I know that Nikki was a spoiled little girl. Of course as a momma bear I was going to call out on that person. But I stepped back and looked at their own family dynamics and knew they were just forecasting their own parenting style onto me. Nikki is very loved and we provide for her the best that we can. We feed her, cloth her and provide her shelter. There are many things that she asks for and she does not get as we can not afford to give her everything that she wants. With age she has learned that we need to be grateful for what we do have and know that we can’t get everything we want. She is our only child so it is natural that it would be easier for us to provide for her a few extras. In the process, we make sure she knows how lucky she is that this can be done. Throughout the year, we do donations to others in order to teach her how important it is to give back. Many times she goes through some of her really good toys and gives it to others who don’t have any. We even give away clothes that no longer fit to a family who is in need. Therefore, please don’t call a child spoiled as it is so hurtful to all.

Impatient

I am not sure what child is patient with a sibling or not? Nikki can be patient and impatient as it all depends what she is excited for. I know many adults who are impatient as well and they have tons of siblings. Therefore, we knew not to worry and with age Nikki is getting much better in waiting. 😉

Maladjusted

Nikki thrives in social settings and is sociable with all. Not to mention her amazing empathy towards others. It is something that even her teachers have noted in her report cards and we couldn’t be prouder. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another and it is one that can be hard for children to exhibit. I have been often asked if Nikki has any older siblings as she is so loving and caring towards others. Everyone is always shocked to hear that Nikki is an only child. I am never shocked as that is how we raised her.

Nikki with her best friend Madison. One of the many friendships she has built.

Momma Braga Closing Thoughts

We support the decisions that families make for themselves. Everyone does and chooses what is best for them. My request to everyone as we end the year, is to be more accepting and loving to one another. Let us respect others and just give a listening ear when needed. Remember that whether someone decides to have no children or ten children, we shouldn’t judge or condemn them. The definition of “family” truly depends on how you see your family looking and not what others think it should look like.

After discussing it all and seeing how life is at this point for us…I turned to my husband and said “I am one and done.” He of course agreed and we couldn’t be happier with our family of three.

Thank you to all my amazing readers for all your love and support. This year we have had 30,000 readers and we are truly thankful!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

What Do You Do If Your Baby Just Won’t Sleep?!

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It’s one of the most painful parts of parenting, when your baby won’t sleep. Sometimes the issue is straightforward, such as if they’re teething, in which case, we can prepare ourselves for a rough night on occasion. But what happens when your baby just won’t sleep, and you think you’ve tried everything?

Have they been unwell recently?

It’s easy to say that once they’ve got over a cold that they are fine, but as you well know, it can take a long time to get over something. They may be fine in themselves but by the time bedtime rolls around, they need a little bit of extra comfort, and it’s definitely worth checking their temperature just before bedtime. If that’s the case where you can get some paracetamol for kids to lower their temperature. We can be unwell for quite a while, and when you think about your children being surrounded by other kids with other bugs, feeling under the weather can be par for the course for a while.

Are they going through a change?

Stress isn’t something that’s for parents; when toddlers and babies undergo various milestones, they can regress. Look at your child; has something happened recently that has caused major upheaval in their world? It doesn’t have to be a major thing, but when you think about those big changes, such as going to school, or a new sibling, you have to expect that they will regress in some way because it is their way of coping with the problem. If this is the case, and they need a little bit of extra care and attention, give it to them. Because otherwise, if you don’t feel supported, they will express themselves in ways that aren’t particularly nice, such as an aggressive manner.

Have they ever been to sleep by themselves?

It’s a comfort thing, especially at the very outset, and you want your child to go to sleep, you naturally cuddle them until they do drop off, but if they wake up in the night and you aren’t there, they’ll get upset, and so the cycle begins all over again. If you can find a way to help your child fall asleep by themselves, they will become self-soothing. We have to teach them how to fall asleep by themselves, and it can take a long time to get right. You can begin by sitting a little bit further away from the bed, and gradually, over time, move a  little bit further towards the bedroom door. As well as this, think about other ways to help them drift off, such as certain cues like giving them a bath before bed, reading a story, and building night-time routines that can help them go to sleep self sufficiently.

There are so many reasons why they won’t go to sleep by themselves, and a lot of parents feel that they just need to let their children cry it out, but this, as has been shown numerous times, isn’t a very good approach. As much as we need to give them comfort, if they don’t sleep, it’s definitely worth thinking about if they have been unwell recently, or are anxious for whatever reason.

 

Great Ways To Help Your Kids With Their Homework

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Many things in life have become more demanding and complex than when we were kids. With higher expectations, both for students and teachers, as well as additional challenges, like new curriculums and smartphones, homework is one of the many examples. Despite your already busy schedule, you have to teach your kids after school, while also making sure that you don’t interfere with their learning. This can be tricky, which is why these six great tips can be helpful.

  1. Talk To The Teachers

Parents often don’t know how involved they should be in their child’s homework. The only way to find this out for sure is the speak to the teacher. You and your child’s teacher should be a team dedicated to the academic success of your kid. This is an important relationship, which means, like any other, communication is the key. For this reason, you should attend all school events.

  1. Make A Study Space

Studying on the couch isn’t nearly as productive as your child would have you believe. After all, the living room is filled with distractions, from the television to siblings, and even pets. Your child must have a space dedicated to completing homework. This should be in a quiet and well-lit location, with plenty of space. As long as the room is free, your dining space could work well.

  1. Provide The Proper Tools

Although most parents make sure their child has plenty of stationery for school, many kids leave their pencil cases in their lockers at the end of the day. To make sure your child has no excuse to skip their homework, you must have all the tools they might need, including a computer, printer, and ink cartridges. Remember to store these things together so that nothing gets lost.

  1. Work With A Routine

Structure is very important for children, especially where homework is concerned. Different kids work best at different times of the day, so create a routine that works for your child. While most parents would prefer their kids to do their homework as soon as they get home, yours may not want to do that. No adult wants to begin the chores right after getting home from work, after all.

  1. Focus On Healthy Habits

It’s not uncommon for kids to have several hours of homework to complete each night. When your child also has other after-school commitments, like sports or music, this leaves very little time in the day. While making time for homework is crucial, your child’s health is more important. If they aren’t getting enough sleep or skipping meals, you may want to talk to the teacher.

  1. Set A Good Example

Kids learn by copying what their parents do. This means that, if your children see you working hard, they will know they should be doing the same. Although you don’t need to start pouring over a math textbook, you could let your child see you reading a novel or balancing the budget. Your child is much more likely to follow your advice if they see you doing the same.

We all want our kids to be successful, so help yours on their way by following the advice above.