Category: Tips

4 Tips on How To Turn Tears Into Cheers In Swimming

One of my fears when my daughter was enrolled in swimming was the tears that may come with her learning. Luckily, we did not have any tears from her but from me instead.

Besides my inability to let go when I should, I have seen many children cry before their swim class and even during it. So I went to the experts at Aqua-Tots Swim School to see if they can offer tips to help parents in this type of situation.

I want to first state that crying when learning how to swim is very common and normal. So don’t feel like there is something wrong. When you have a great school like Aqua-Tots Swim School to help you along the way, in the end you both will feel much better.

There are some common reasons as to why children cry. Here are the four most common ones:

  1. It’s New – Swimming lessons are a new experience. There are new sights, sounds, textures, smells, faces, and interactions in the pool environment.
  2. Age – With time, your child will gain control over their emotions and learn to enjoy the water.
  3. Fear or Anger – Some children are genuinely fearful of the water and it takes time to help them overcome their fear. Other children can become angry and use tears to control the situation.
  4. Separation Anxiety – Your child may experience separation anxiety and feel anxious when away from familiar people and places.

Hearing your child cry is always hard (I know it is for me) and there are ways to help them when it comes to swimming lessons. Here are four tips to help.

  1. Be Positive and Keep Your Eyes on The Goal – As a parent, you can encourage your child with compliments and praise on what they do well in each lesson.
  2. Keep Cool – Being calm helps your child settle down faster.
  3. Practice At Home – Make it fun! Use the tub, shower, and pool to practice swimming skills (i.e. holding breath, water submersions, etc.)
  4. Be Consistent – Skipping or discounting swim lessons inhibits swimming progressions and will extend the time it takes to learn how to swim safely.

The layout at Aqua-Tots is great to help the child gain trust of the instructor as the parents can view the lesson through the viewing gallery which allows them to interact with their child. This way your child is aware that you are near and rooting for them. This space allows the instructor and the child build trust and a bond will form.

This is one of the many reasons why Aqua-Tots is amazing as they are there for you every step of the way. Their instructors care about your child and they are trained to:

  1. Identify the reason your child is crying so they can best alleviate the tears.
  2. Build trusting relationships with your child.
  3. Offer consistent routines and terminology in every lesson.
  4. Help your child build trust in the water.

Water is an adaptive environment and it takes time to adjust. The more frequently your child comes to lessons, the faster the crying will subside. The general rule of thumb is:

  • 3+ lessons per week – crying subsides after 3-4 lessons
  • 2 lessons per week – crying subsides after 5-6 lessons
  • 1 lesson per week – crying subsides after 7-8 lessons

With these tips and with the guidance of the swimming school, you will be at tears to cheers in no time. Just remember that at Aqua-Tots Swim School they never leave your side to ensure that everyone is happy.

If you are interested in swim lessons, give Aqua-Tots Swim School a call at 905-848-2782. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

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The “Why” Experiment

“Why? Why? But Why”

The wonderful “why” phase is a popular one in the toddler years, especially at the age of three. In our home we have entered this world of constant whys and even though it can be daunting at times…I love them!

Have I gone crazy? Not yet! 😉

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Swim School – Mississauga

The love for the “whys” is simple. It shows me that she is curious about the world around her. She is asking the question to learn and with her eagerness, I am seeing the world through her eyes which is so much more fun. There is nothing wrong with the “whys” and even though we may think its a way to torture us parents, it really isn’t. 🙂 However, I can’t deny that sometimes the “whys” can get under ones’ skin especially when you have given a very detailed answer where there is no other logical reason for a why. So I decided to do an experiment and I had the perfect toddler to try it with, my daughter Nikki.

For one full week I decided to answer every single why, even if the answer didn’t make any sense. For those who really know me, know that I usually have an answer to everything anyways so this should be my area of expertise. So off I went answering every why every time it was spoken. I noticed that after the fifth why Nikki just stopped and went on her merry way. Did I break the Nikki code?!

The next week I did the exact same thing and this time we were able to cut back on how many “whys” were asked but we were having longer (toddler) conversations. I noticed that I was taking more time to communicate with my daughter and explaining things to her in more detail that helped her feel satisfied. But what tugged at my heart strings was the extra sparkle in her eyes with how intrigued she was by all she was learning. That alone was worth all the “whys” millions of times a day.

Today, there are a few less “whys” but a lot more conversations and laughter as toddler talk is hilarious! So this “why” experiment became a bonding exercise for our family and one that we have loved doing.

So here are some tips on tackling the “whys”:

  1. Be Patient. This is a phase as most things are but if they continue to ask why then they are just eager to learn; embrace their curiosity.
  2. Answer. Try to really think about the why they are asking and give the best answer you can. Remember that at the age of three, you can say absolutely anything as they don’t know if it really is right.
  3. Be Prepared. You may have more whys to respond to after a strange answer that you may have given; therefore, be prepared to back it up. 😉
  4. Love It. Enjoy each why and embrace the conversation. Know that this experience can be fun and hilarious. Your child’s mind is exploring the wonders of the world around them and absorbing it all.

Above all, it really is an exciting phase and if you keep responding, the whys won’t be as frequent. They just want to feed their wonder and when you see it being fulfilled – it’s the best feeling in the world!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Special Thank You To Our Article Sponsor:

 

 

Learning Swim Skills Through Aqua-Tots Swim School

Every year we hear about children falling into pools or waters and drowning and it’s always tragic to hear. This is why we felt it was important to have our daughter learn to swim. Of course we will combine the swim lessons with water safety and what to do in case of an emergency.

Therefore, my sister-in-law was on the case to help me find a swim school that would be a great fit for our family and provide the program that would teach the skills that my daughter needed to know. After a lengthy research she found the Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

The school was originally founded in Arizona in 1991 and has grown considerably over the years to have a strong North American and international presence thanks to its carefully crafted swimming program for children. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is the first Aqua-Tots location in Canada and has had its doors open to the Toronto West and Mississauga communities since January 2017.

With a focus on safety, a heated pool, a facility designed for families, and on-going progress reports across eight swim levels, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools introduces babies and children of all ages to safe swimming and water practices. Open six days a week, with flexible morning and afternoon lesson times, the swim schools offers a range of classes.

Aqua-Tots Swim School had a great history and structure and we loved their mission statement: “With more than 80 swim schools worldwide, Aqua-Tots was founded on the principle of equipping children with life-long water safety skills. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is committed to helping children of all ages develop these life-saving skills through an engaging curriculum that is especially designed to complement each child’s life stage.”

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Simming School Mississauga

This is exactly the type of school that we were looking for and therefore, Nikki was registered in the Beginner program which is Level 3, LeapFrogs.

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, teaches babies as young as 4 months old and children of all ages how to be safe in and around water and develop a love for swimming. Each of the eight levels has a focus that’s specific to the age and ability of the child. For example, the Level 1, Tadpoles class is for guardians and infants and focuses on water adjustment. Additionally, attention is on safety and breath control.

Level 2, Minnows, on the other hand, is still a guardian and toddler program, in which toddlers learn about the importance of boundaries in and around water with an ongoing focus on safety. Each new level develops at a comfortable pace for the child. Advanced levels, such as seven and eight have little ones working on the butterfly stroke and building endurance after they have mastered the other main strokes.

Photo Credit: Aqua-Tots Swimming School Mississauga

Our first swim lesson was scheduled on a Sunday afternoon and we made it a family affair. I have to be honest as that is the only way I know how to be but I was very nervous for many reasons. One reason was on how Nikki was going to react going with the instructor to the swimming pool without me and the second reason was on her safety. I think it is natural for us parents to feel like that especially with something new.

The time came and it was time for Nikki to start her class. The instructor called her name and took her hand and her progress sheet (I like to call it her report card) and off they went. To my surprise Nikki didn’t even turn back to say good-bye and I can feel the tears welt up in my eyes. I sat down to watch the class in session and she was a real pro looking like she was in her element. I couldn’t help feel really emotional and proud at the same time. The first swim class was a wrap and Nikki fell in love with swimming!

We started our swim classes in July and are still continuing once a week. We have changed the format of her swim classes from group to semi-private classes and even the day of the week that we wanted to have it on. So we love the flexibility that they have been able to offer for families. Nikki has improved her confidence in the water and has really picked up on the skills quickly. But we know with time, she will be swimming to her hearts content soon.

For this #MelandNikkiReview, we give Aqua-Tots Swim School 5 LeapFrogs out of 5. Here is why we love them:

  • Great programs that are tailored to toddlers and children to help them gain the skills needed to swim.
  • Flexible schedules available for families which is so great for working families.
  • Clean and safe environment. They are extremely clean and have safety in mind. As a parent, it is important to learn about your swim schools safety procedure.
  • Caring instructors and staff members who make you feel like part of the family.
  • It’s fun! Your child learns and has fun at the same time.

If you are looking for a swim class for your child then we suggest looking at Aqua-Tots Swim School. Enrolment is on-going, season-neutral and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Visit Aqua-Tot’s website to read about the different levels of swimming lessons https://www.aqua-tots.com/swim-lessons/swim-levels/. If you are in the Mississauga area you can call the Aqua-Tots Swim School at 905-848-2782 which is located at 1970 Dundas Street East, Unit 6. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new. For Aqua-Tots main office, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Special thank you to Natalia from Aqua-Tots Swimming School Mississauga for taking the time to contribute some background information to this article and to the staff at Aqua-Tots for making swimming so much fun for my daughter.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this not a paid or sponsored post. This article is an honest review of services that we have used and are currently using.

 

Supporting Personality and Confidence Growth in Children

Our children are our greatest treasure and we, as parents, need to do everything in our power to provide them with an appropriate environment where they can develop their unique personalities and self-esteem and grow into strong, confident persons. Helping them develop great self-confidence means partially paving their way for happiness, well-being and a stable future. Thus, it’s essential that we help them develop their personalities, acquire a strong sense of competence and gain a realistic image of themselves and their abilities.

Express your love and appreciation

Although this goes without saying, showing your child that you love and appreciate them will greatly influence their self-image. Every child needs to feel accepted and loved by their family and later on their friends. It’s essential that your child knows that you love them unconditionally because it will help them develop a positive self-image. This is particularly important when they make a mistake or you lose your temper – your child needs to know that you love them no matter what.

Find proper educational help

Although parents are real-life super-people who manage to balance their family, personal and professional lives, sometimes they should seek help from professionals with educational experience to help their children advance or overcome certain developmental difficulties. This is of the utmost importance if you and your spouse have full-time jobs, because you need to pay special attention when it comes to appropriate childcare. Parents in Australia are supported by the early education Panania childcare centre, recognised for their focus on interpersonal relationships and social development, while providing a safe and caring environment for children. This type of childcare centre can really be a substantial support to parents and children during their upbringing. Not only do they make children feel accepted by their peers, they can also help them acquire a range of skills and start them off on the road to success.

Praise and criticise responsibly

When praising and criticising your child, you need to be very careful about how you do it because both can have negative effects on your child’s self-image. Every child is mischievous from time to time and you simply need to express disapproval of certain actions and behaviours. However, what you shouldn’t do is criticise your child and their personality. Instead, you need to focus on the behaviour itself and explain why they shouldn’t behave that way. Saying “you’re a bad boy” will affect your child’s opinion of themselves, but saying “you shouldn’t do this because…” will help them understand why a certain behaviour is inappropriate.

When it comes to praising your child, you also need to be mindful of how you do it. If you praise every little thing your child does, you’ll send a message that you have low expectations of them, which will affect their confidence. On the other hand, if you say “you’re the smartest child ever”, they will acquire a false self-image. Eventually, when they come across an obstacle that they cannot overcome, they will feel incompetent. Therefore, you shouldn’t exaggerate when you praise your child, but try to focus on positive behaviours you want to reinforce.

Teach your child responsibility

Assigning your child specific tasks and responsibilities will help them become more independent and self-assured. When you give your child an important task, you show them that you trust them with it, which sends a positive message to your child. If you give them a bit more demanding task, they’ll feel satisfied with themselves once they’ve completed. However, you should carefully choose the difficulty of a certain task – it should be neither too difficult nor too easy. If you assign them an extremely difficult task, they won’t be able to complete it and end up losing confidence in their abilities. On the other hand, if the task is too easy, they’ll quickly get bored and may even feel that you don’t trust them with more challenging tasks. Thus, you should aim for a task that will be slightly above your child’s abilities, which will give your child’s self-confidence a boost once they’ve completed it.

Parents all over the world are giving their best to provide their children with the optimal conditions for their development and these are some of the ways that can guide them in the right direction.

3 Must Have Gifts To Get Your Kids Right Now!!!

By: Grace Cross, Editor of The Baby Spot

Twitter

Originally Posted Here

As I walked with my four year old down a busy city street in the sweltering heat, I stopped momentarily to grab my key out of my purse so I was prepared to unlock a building door. As I reached for the front glass door, an elderly gentleman beat me to it, opened the door for both myself and my daughter.

“Thank you!” I said with a smile. I hear my daughter’s tiny voice echo her thank yous.

“You’re welcome.” He said smiling back and headed out the door and down the busy street. I love to open the door for people and I am grateful when anyone takes time out of their day to open the door for me. I don’t expect anything said to me when I open the door for someone, if it puts a smile on your face to have the door opened for you then that is great. If I don’t get a thank you, no worries, I wanted to open it for you and that is that. In retrospect, I am grateful when someone does a nice little deed for me. It reminds me that the strangers around us are too, three dimensional who think, feel and are going through things in their life whether it be good or bad.

I like people.

But then I looked down at my daughter. I have spoken to waiters and people in service who are shocked at how today’s youth does not use manners. How many children interrupt or swear at their parents when a service individual has briefly taken their parent’s attention to do their job. Basic manners are not mandatory and definitely not mandated by any law in any country that I am aware of. However, it makes all of our lives a little easier.

As human beings, we are a social creature, but little ‘isms’ and human nuances can get on everyone’s nerves. I get it. I’ve been there. Someone not yielding to the right on an escalator for the quicker walkers to walk passed you is social suicide in some cities. Loud talkers in some countries are considered the norm, whereas in my city and in others, it’s considered extremely rude for everyone to have to hear your conversation. In an age where we are blessed to live with different people, cultures and ideas, we can get on each other’s nerves. We can misunderstand and misinterpret each other. There are literally some cultures who shake their heads from side to side meaning ‘no’ and other cultures that shake their head from side to side meaning ‘yes!’ The confusion and naivetés of one another can cause conflict and therefore can make the world a bit of a more challenging place to live in.

So before the keyboard warriors come out and tell us how I and everyone else can do it better, stop! I have three gifts that you can buy your children or even buy yourself that with a simple investment, will make your life easier. With a very unprofessional and uncertified rating system, I will give you a cost break down and an approximate amount of time for every gift to be properly consumed.

The best part of this is, I don’t even have to provide backlinks to any of these gifts because they’re right in front of you. So, put your credit cards down.

Thankfulness

Beyond the screams of a child in a toy store of the sighs of a preteen because Mom or Dad did not let them buy “this cool app, look, it’s only $3.99” is thankfulness. We can’t blame our children. They come from an instantaneous gratification society, a society that gives them information at their fingertips. I am not advocating for this to be taken away, oh no, I think technology is great for the most part. But when we live in a society where we have advertisements telling us we want something, then your children may see a little snippet on the news, of a Syrian family narrowly avoiding death, of a shooting nearby or something that humanizes them that makes them think “well, this did not happen to me, this does not happen here.” The feelings of life start to flood in, but are immediately interrupted from that text of a friend, a new advertisement or another distraction. Before we ask our children to “Be helpers” as Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood so eloquently put it, we need to remind our children in an age where it seems everyone gets everything right away, to be thankful.

The best way to teach your children, in my humble opinion is to lead by example. No one wants every outing, every experience to be some lesson or lecture. But when a parent shows thankfulness in front of their children, “I am thankful I got home twenty minutes early today and I was not caught in traffic.” “Just got back from the doctors kids, I am thankful for that clean bill of health.” A child starts to hear that behavior and mimic it. Being thankful for a gift, to live in a safe area, to have a loving family is a wonderful seed to plant. A child must be thankful for what the opportunities they have before they can provide opportunities for others.

To add, saying “Thank you” to others, like people who hold the door for your family, serve you in restaurants or in retail settings, deserves a thank you from you and your children if they were kind and attentive.

The greatest thing about thankfulness is you can start when they are infants. Yes, a parent even speaking to their child is soothing. You can introduce this at any age and I promise, it will help shape your children and also keep you in check in a world that can sometimes seem cruel.

Final Cost: 0

Time: About 5 to 10 seconds for each thankful thought.

1 Minute relaying thoughts to others.

Understanding

Understanding can be a tricky one. I am in no means asking you to teach your children to let every bully walk over them “maybe he or she has a hard life and that is why they punch you in the face every day after school, dear.” Or “this person is trying to get me fired from work but maybe they need to feed their family more than I need to feed mine.” That is not the understanding I am advocating for. Protect yourself!

The understanding I am asking for is for your children to function with others who do not think like them. We have this new opportunity where the whole word is connected, a whole world that has opinions, many of them different from their own. I have traveled a bit over the course of my life and created this global parenting magazine on two premises, celebrating the similarities and embracing the differences of parenting practices worldwide. The whole “we are all the same” movement is nice and all and as a people we do share some amazing similarities in both genetics and thought processes, but it is silly and almost ignorant to ignore the vast differences from culture, people and society. Those differences, though foreign to some, are interesting, beautiful and quite frankly, I prefer it. I prefer my thought processes to be challenged and questioned. It either teaches me something new or helps me reform my original opinion to be stronger. As long as the learning process is healthy, I am all for it.

We must teach our children understanding. People have different needs. We have some children who recognize certain religious practices during the day. In retrospect, we have children who require certain understanding. There are children who are religious, not religious, have different ways of thinking or perception like children with autism. The point is, we think differently and we perceive the world differently. We need to understand each other and learn about different types of people.

So what does that mean? Perhaps enrolling your children in a language class, to have a second language under their belt. It’s a new opportunity for your children to learn about a new culture and make new friends speaking their second language. It could be volunteering at a homeless shelter, so your children can interact with people who live differently than themselves. It could also mean having your children meet other children outside of their regular circles, volunteering at a reading program or if extra time is tight, reading about a new country, culture or religion every night for ten minutes. You don’t have to have your degree or be an expert in a subject to get a sense of understanding.

My mom for a short period of my childhood would grab one of her encyclopedia’s, (yes, the book ones not the ones online) and read us a little snippet of a country, culture or place while we ate breakfast before school. Maybe this is corny but it’s true, I enjoyed it! It must have stuck in my head throughout the years, because even though I may not remember anything she read to us, it planted the seed to learn more about everything, to understand to the best of my ability.

I think understanding comes with educating your children. Whether they are destined for a doctorate in medicine or changing the world with Tool and Dye, education breeds understanding. A combination of books and street smarts is a beautiful thing.

Cost=0

Time= ongoing dedication

Empathy

Do you have that child who wants to adopt every stray animal they find? Do you have a child who does not bully others even if everyone else is doing it? You have raised the empathetic child, one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. A child who many would say is beyond their years, I would humbly say is right where they are supposed to be. To get their peers to think and to inspire adults to remember.

If your child is none of those things, don’t worry! Empathy can be demonstrated and you can ‘wake up’ your child to think in a different way.

For those parents whose child is not empathetic, with most children, you can lead with example. With children with mental health challenges, leading with example, as you well know, may not work.

But you have to live empathy if there is any hope for your children to be empathetic. Showing empathy for other people’s pain is a gift your child will never know how important it is to have. Empathetic people are the seeds that grow ideas into beautiful plants. When one person, combined with understanding, empathizes with another, it helps build bridges with humanity and not make the gap between human being to human being, even bigger.

How you can express empathy is key. You won’t yell at that waitress who took an extra five minutes to fill up your cup because you can see she is waiting on at least ten other tables and you know this task is next to impossible. So you show and exhibit patience. Yelling never helps anyone anyway. You will donate your clothes to those new immigrants to your country because you know they have never felt a winter like yours and you want them to bundle up and stay warm and cozy as they get to know this new land. You use kind words to others, you hear peoples pain and you respond instead of ignoring. You are alive and you act like it.

Cost: 0

Time: a full time investment at first, but then it comes naturally.

These three gifts are not only a must have for the family, but if you use them as a combo, you can get results far greater than buying into just one. With all three gifts, you give yourself a huge discount in time management!

The media is always talking about role models and who will be the role model for your child? You see celebrities protesting that they just sing songs or act in movies and never asked to be your child’s role model. You know what? They’re right. You never asked them to. You don’t need to because you are their role model. It may not seem like that when they run off with their friends without saying goodbye or are rude sometimes. But they are listening. They are observing. You are the answer to your children getting these three gifts. With a onetime investment on behalf of your children, you can really change their life. I am not promising perfection. But what I am promising is you and your family making a difference, no matter how small, in your community and your world. All cliché aside, stop buying into what people tell you that you need to buy your family and invest in these three gifts for life.

Life with a Daughter with Type 1 Diabetes

*This article is not to be taken as medical advice or as an expert piece on Type 1 Diabetes. The purpose of this article is to provide a look into one family’s experience and journey with a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes.

Isabella is a 12 year old young lady who is very smart, energetic and enjoys music and Irish dancing. She also loves to socialize with friends and play with her dog. Isabella is also a Netflix junkie and binge watches shows constantly. She is a daughter and sister to a 20-year old sister named Cassandra and she is well loved by all!

You could say that she sounds like a typical young lady; however she is battling a lot more than a typical young person would and that is Type 1 Diabetes since the age of eight.

So what exactly is Type 1 Diabetes?

According to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Unlike type 2 diabetes, T1D is not linked to being overweight, lack of exercise or other lifestyle factors. It is not preventable and its causes is unknown.

People with T1D must take insulin via syringe or insulin pump in required doses in order to control glucose levels in their blood. This continuous glucose monitoring involves testing their blood sugar by pricking their finger(s) six or more times a day. Despite this constant attention, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerously high blood sugar levels, which can led to complications, or dangerously blood sugar levels, which can result in a coma.

Isabella’s Story

Before Isabella was officially diagnosed, she appeared to be looking more thin than usual and was sleeping a lot. Isabella was drinking a lot of fluids and getting up all night to use the bathroom. Isabella’s mom, Vicki, thought that her daughter could have a urinary tract infection and took her into the walk-in-clinic. Upon checking her urine, the doctor inquired if Isabella was diabetic as there was sugar in her urine. Vicki informed the doctor that Isabella was not diabetic; however the doctor insisted that this was the case since sugar was present in Isabella’s urine. To further check, the doctor did a finger poke to see what her blood sugar was at and it was 29. Now this is shockingly high as a healthy person would typically be in the 5s. The doctor sent Isabella and her mom directly to emergency and instructed Vicki on what to tell the hospital team.


At the hospital, the entire staff took to her bedside immediately and only moments later was given the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes which they stated was an autoimmune disease. “I didn’t even know what that meant. I assumed there was one kind of diabetes and couldn’t understand how a healthy eight year old could get it,” says Vicki. They were then transferred to a more accommodating hospital where Isabella stayed for three days to monitor her and get her blood sugar under control. At the hospital they were introduced to a clinic team who trained Vicki and her husband on how to care for their daughter, Isabella. They taught them how to check blood sugar; how much food Isabella can eat and at what scheduled times to do so; to ensure Isabella would stay within her target numbers.

Isabella’s parents also learned about all the things that would affect blood sugar, what would make it go up or down, without their control. In addition, they learned about the illness, physical activity, nerves, excitement, weather conditions, hormones, etc.

Isabella’s Treatment

Isabella began on regular needle injections four times a day, using two different types of insulin. This form of treatment requires a strict carbohydrate count and time sensitive schedule.

A year later, Isabella started on an insulin pump. This has given the family much more flexibility with their scheduling. Isabella’s parents are responsible for the settings in the pump and making changes to them when Isabella is having a growth spurt, exercising or for just no reason at all sometimes. Isabella’s parents work alongside a wonderful team at their clinic who are always a phone call away to assist them.

Life with a Daughter with T1D

Life has changed drastically for Isabella and her family. Vicki states, “I have become a very different mother with Isabella than I was with my eldest daughter, Cassandra. I became a helicopter parent. She doesn’t have sleepovers, not even at her grandparents’ houses. It is too much to watch her blood sugar through the night if you aren’t used to it. I would worry that people wouldn’t know what to do.”

The family also needs to ensure that they carry supplies and food everywhere they go. When they plan a trip, it takes a lot of planning and much more effort than before. They are all now much more food conscious as different foods can affect Isabella’s blood sugar differently. The “gadgets” that Isabella uses has been one of the biggest life changing aspects for her. “She is embarrassed by the gadgets she wears. She wears both an insulin pump and a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). They will make noises when her blood sugar is out of range and people will ask what the noises are for. However, the CGM has been a great tool for us as it has made management so much easier. I am able to see her blood sugar from anywhere in the world without having to be near her. This has helped us keep down on the finger pokes throughout the day and helps keep her blood sugar closer to the target,” says Vicki.

A Mother’s Wish

“I wish people understood that T1D is an autoimmune disease and there was nothing Isabella could have done differently to avoid getting it. There is such a stigma attached to the disease because it has the word diabetes in it. I also wish that people knew that an insulin pump has not solved all of our problems. It simply holds the cartridge of insulin for us instead of having to inject using needles and rids us of the eating schedule. We still have to program it, make setting changes regularly, match food to carbohydrate ratios, be conscious about physical activities, etc. I also wish people knew what a toll this disease takes on Isabella and on our family,” says Vicki.

Vicki further stated, “I haven’t slept longer than a 3-hour stretch in years because I wake up to check Isabella’s blood sugar every couple of hours for fear of her going too low or sitting too high. It consumes my mind both day and night. I am constantly watching numbers, recording readings, making changes, asking her questions about what she’s eaten or done. I wish people knew that this takes a tremendous toll on Isabella’s body, spirit and mind. Highs and lows through the night will have her feeling exhausted in the morning. High blood sugar will have her going to the washroom more, drinking more, and feeling cranky and emotional. Lows can be scary and she may need help but can’t find the words to ask for it because her brain will not allow her to. People think “she has an attitude,” when in fact, she in unaware and unable to control her emotions. This is a huge burden on a child and I don’t think all adults understand the toll it can take on a child.”

T1D is a hard battle for the child and parents to deal with and it is important for family and friends to be cautious of what is said in front of the child. Vicki’s wish is for people not to ask if Isabella can or should be eating something. “Isabella can eat whatever she wants! She just has to give herself insulin to cover it in the moment and possibly in the hours that follow. But she can eat anything! People feel this need to police what she eats, and I’m sure it makes her feel bad,” says Vicki.

Isabella got to meet Nick Jonas.

Advice to Other Parents

The advice that Vicki would give to other parents that receive this type of diagnosis for their child is that their understanding of the disease and how to “best manage” it will get better. “No parent or child is perfect and this disease cannot be perfected. Don’t beat yourself up over the numbers. Just try your best. I cried every day for the first month. Support from other parents is key. I have support groups online that at times can act as a life line. These parents created #WeAreNotWaiting, and are being proactive in helping their children with technology faster than the medical world. I have been using NightScout, which is a way to monitor Isabella’s blood sugar on my smart watch using her CGM for almost two years now. I am more grateful for this than words could ever express,” says Vicki.

Becoming an Advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

After Isabella’s diagnosis, the family reached out to JDRF and the family was encouraged to sign up for the walk so that Isabella could meet other children like herself and to see that they were not alone. The family raised money and have participated in the walk every year since. On the day of the walk, it becomes a very emotional day for the family but they need the day to remember that this disease affects so many families and a cure needs to be found.

“It’s important for me to try to give back and that is why I fundraise for JDRF. Their research is what is going to make my child’s life that much easier to manage, hopefully prolong it and maybe one day cure the disease. It is my hope that with every dollar I raise, we get one step closer to finding a cure,” stated Vicki.

This past February sponsors (logos listed at the bottom of the article) held a fundraising event called, Isabella’s Angels Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball that raised funds for JDRF. I personally attended this event and it was an amazing event for an even better cause. This is just a sample of how this family inspires others to make a difference.

I would like to personally thank Vicki for taking the time to share Isabella’s story and I commend her on the amazing job as a mother and as an inspiration to help other families.

If you would like to learn more about T1D, please visit the JDRF website.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

 

 

– Momma Braga

 

Isabella’s Angels Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball Sponsors:


5 Tips to Survive a Wedding Event with a Toddler

A beautiful envelope has arrived at your home addressed to the family and as you open it, you realize it’s a wedding invitation. Now as parents of a toddler, you may have mixed feelings about the invite. Reason being is that you are not sure whether you would like to bring your toddler with you or not and that is ok to feel like that!

We were recently in this situation and we thought about it really hard before we responded to the invite. We made the decision to bring our energetic two year old daughter with us and experience a wedding event toddler style.

Naturally as a mom blogger, I started to Google to see if I could get any tips from other parents; however, my search had me more terrified than comforted on our decision. So that meant the challenge was on for Momma Braga to provide some helpful survival tips to other parents.

Please note that if you decide to find a sitter and use the night as a date night then that is great too! Do what works for you and your family and there is no shame in wanting a nice evening out with just your partner. 😉

Tip # 1 Making Decisions 

It is important to first discuss with your partner on what you will exactly be participating in for the event. For example, there might be the ceremony, followed by the reception. My recommendation is to pick one as doing both can be extremely tiring and overwhelming for a toddler. We only did the reception portion of the event and it helped us manage the day smoothly.

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Tip # 2 Start the Toddler Conversation

Communication is key. We started to talk to our daughter about the event and explained to her the different parts of the reception. We emphasized on the parts we knew she would like such as the dancing part of the event. We would repeat these conversations in order for her to remember when the big day arrived.

Tip # 3 Plan and Strategize

Sometimes it can be difficult to plan every single detail especially when toddlers are unpredictable at times. However, if you have a base plan and strategizes (around how to deal with tantrums for example) in place, it will help you a lot in the long run.

An important detail that many forget to do is to ask if there is a meal option for children at the reception and if your toddler is in diapers, it is great to check if the hall has a change station available. If you know the bride and groom well, you can ask them directly but if you don’t then you can call the reception hall. I called them directly and kindly asked. They were not surprised with my request and were kind enough to respond to my inquiries. Knowing these answers helped me plan for the day to make sure I had everything that I needed.

The rest of your planning will be around what your family normally does to prep for an outing out. For us, we planned our timing for the day such as the time we were leaving the house and from the event. We planned around her naptime this way she could be well rested before we arrived.

We also packed a bag for our daughter with extra clothes, PJs for the end of the night, snacks, toys, activities and anything else that we knew we would need.

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Tip #4 Distractions

This tip was key to a successful evening. Toddlers get distracted easily and even though at times this can be hard to cope with but at an event, you can use it to your advantage. Every time our daughter was getting frustrated with all the waiting, I would distract her with her books, coloring and some of the little toys we brought for her to play. This of course worked for some time and when she was bored of one activity, we moved onto the next.

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My favorite distraction from the wedding was being able to tell her that the bride was a princess and we had to wait for her. Since our daughter loves princesses, it worked like a charm and she was completely in love with the fact that a princess was there. Technically, a bride is a princess so there is no stretching the truth here. 😉 This tactic also worked in diffusing any tantrums that started to brew.

Tip #5 Have Fun!

Above all, just have family fun! It is so important to enjoy the event to the fullest. Enjoy the food and the party afterwards. If your toddler is anything like mine, then you will be dancing the night away. So my mom tip is to try and wear comfy shoes as I learned my lesson!

Also alternate parent duties with your partner and if you have family that can help out then share the toddler supervision. My husband and I took turns and we were fortunate to have my in-laws with us who loved the dancing time with their granddaughter. It’s all about having fun for everyone. Don’t forget to take lots of photos and video to capture all your special memories!

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These tips helped us survive our wedding event and to this day, our daughter still talks about dancing with grandma. We are extremely happy that we decided to take our daughter with us and it wasn’t perfect but nothing is. We are just grateful to have been able to experience our first family wedding event, toddler style.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–       Momma Braga

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