4 Hacks for New Parents to Ease Adjustment into Parenthood

As a new parent, you suddenly become bombarded with a plethora of baby products and (often unsolicited) advice. But as a first-timer, it can be hard to distinguish the must-haves from the gimmicks. Likewise, the tips and tricks that worked for others may not be conducive to you and your new bundle of joy. With that in mind, here are four hacks to make the transition to parenting a little easier to manage.

1. Get More Done with Babywearing

Your new bundle of joy no doubt craved being in the womb, but life doesn’t just stop after you’ve given birth. Of course, there’s still cleaning and cooking to do, other kids to look after, and often work to catch up on. You may get a break for the first few weeks, but soon enough you’ll need to figure out a rhythm to get it all done with a new baby on board.

If you need a little assistance carrying your newborn, an age-old practice could provide immense, mutually-desired enjoyment. In fact, embracing babywearing can help you get more done, while also meeting your baby’s needs. Furthermore, studies have shown that moms who practice babywearing for three hours a day see their infant cry 43 percent less than babies who didn’t receive the same — or any — amount of nurturing.

One of the most comfortable carriers for little ones is the Solly Baby Wrap, an ultra-thin stretchy wrap designed for use throughout your child’s first year. Tula also makes a variety of carriers to make babywearing comfortable and seamless. And, most carriers can even be used for discreet and convenient hands-free nursing, too.

2. Minimize Startle Reflex with Swaddle Suits

Sure, we all know swaddling babies is a great way to soothe and prevent them from startling themselves awake. However, because babies tend to wiggle out of this cozy wrapping, swaddling is a battle many babies end up winning. To decrease the chances of your baby popping free, keep them securely swaddled — and ultimately asleep longer — by using swaddle suits instead of traditional swaddle blankets.

Love to Dream makes one of the most popular options, the Swaddle Up, which features an ultra soft, stretchy material and a two-way zipper to make nighttime diaper changes a breeze. With this genius design, babies can keep their hands near their face for comfort. Plus, the Swaddle Up is light enough to be worn over the top of the baby’s sleepwear.

3. Make the Most of Your Smartphone

There’s an app for nearly everything these days — and there are certainly no shortage of options aimed at parents. To ease the stress of tracking all of your baby’s newfound habits, you can leverage this type of technology with an app like Total Baby. For example, you can use this app to easily keep track of feedings, soiled diapers, sleep times and baths. Meantime, because your child will start to grow up before you know it, use an app like FirstYear or Baby’s Firsts to record all of your baby’s precious milestones, from their first smile to their first steps.

You can also keep your baby soothed by loading your smartphone with gentle melodies to the tune of popular hits with the online program, Rockabye Baby. Likewise, if your baby needs some white noise to fall asleep or calm down, your best bet is to download an app that provides some ambient white noise. Ultimately, whatever works best for your little one, be sure you can download musical tracks for offline play to avoid exceeding your data limit on your smartphone plan.

4. Manage Messes with a Change of Clothes in the Diaper Bag

You know to never leave home without a change of clothes for your baby, but what about for yourself? After all, when you’re constantly holding, rocking or changing your little one, it’s only a matter of time before you get covered in spit up, urine or a blown out diaper. Your best bet? Stash a spare shirt for yourself in your diaper bag, so you can quickly change when your precious bundle of joy doles out a wardrobe malfunction.

Teen Years: Navigating Troubled Waters

You’ve hit the teenage years and you are at wit’s end with your son. Things were going smoothly and now it feels like major storms have set in. He’s become destructive in his behavior and his words, lashing out at everyone around him. Not only are his habits harmful to others, they are harmful to himself. This is your most precious gift. You don’t know what happened to cause this transformation, but you want to help your son to smooth his path and find inner calm again. The last thing you want to see is a dead end for your child. It’s time to take action before his problems become bigger than they already are.

Images by Artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Images by Artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Set Up an Intervention

When your teenager is acting out, you’re going to need help to confront him. Don’t take him on by yourself. Gather together friends and family members as a support system. Sit your son down and discuss your concerns. Everyone will be a part of the meeting, expressing their worries as well. Your son needs to know that you are doing this out of love, that you care for him and don’t want to see him throw his life away. The teen years can be a troubled time for many girls and boys. When they feel like they are drowning in their problems, you need to throw out a life preserver.

Be Present in Your Son’s Life

You need to be there for your son. Many think that the teen years are a time to let children be independent and leave them to their own devices. This is the point in life when your son needs your guidance more than ever before. Don’t let him have too much time alone. Make an effort to be home in the evenings, to sit together at the dinner table, and to be available when your teenager is heading off to school in the morning. If you drive your child to school, use that time as an opportunity to reach out. Try and turn his behavior around.

Get Help

If your attempts fail, speak with your son’s doctor about counseling services. Consider wilderness therapy programs at the Wood Creek Academy. When your son is put to the test in a challenging situation, he can find a new sense of direction in his life. A change in scenery may be the first step in making progress.

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5 Ways To Help Your Child Combat Bullying

More and more cases of bullying, both on cyberspace and in schools, are being reported lately with some extreme cases even resulting to loss of life.  In this article, Logan Strain shares with us his views on bullying and on how we can protect our children from becoming victims of it.  Logan Strain is a blogger for Instant Checkmate, a simple and convenient service that allows anyone to look up public records.

No child should have to suffer through the isolation, shame, and fear brought on by bullying It’s a cruel yet common form of psychological abuse known as “bullying.” Every day children are forced to tolerate taunts, aggression, and even physical harm from their schoolmates simply because they don’t fit in. If left unaddressed, victims of bullying suffer from psychic wounds that can lead to a lifetime of anxiety and depression.

Knowing this, it’s heartbreaking to witness your own child suffer abuse at the hands of a bully. Seeing them be fearful to even go to school just because they can’t handle the taunts can make you feel helpless. While this isn’t an easy problem to solve, there are steps that you can take as a parent to help your child be resilient in the face of bullying and end the abuse altogether.

1) Teach Your Child How To React To Bullying

Schoolchildren are much more vulnerable to abusive comments and behaviors than adults, so it’s way harder for them to shake off rude remarks. While you might be able to dismiss people who are less than polite to you, kids who are still in the process of forming their identities take every biting barb to heart.

Build up your child’s resistance to bullying by explaining the underlying psychological motivation of bullies: they tear others down in order to feel better about themselves. Just knowing that the secret origin of schoolyard cruelty is insecurity can help you child get some much-needed perspective.

Equip your child to be more assertive (without being aggressive) by giving them stock phrases to use when they become the target of a bully, such as:

  • “I don’t like it when you talk to me like that.”
  • “What’s your point?”
  • “You’re wasting my time.”

Bullies thrive on weakness. When they see someone actually stand up for themselves, they are more likely to move on to a new target.

2) Ask How They’re Feeling

Suffering from bullying makes your child feel isolated.  Bullying victims bottle up feelings of frustration and anger. Those pent-up emotions can explode in the form of violence, dangerous behaviors, or self-harm. Help your child get a grip on their emotional state and better understand where they’re coming from by asking honestly how they’re feeling. While young people aren’t always eager to pour their heart out to their parents, offering a sympathetic ear is a simple yet powerful way to let your child know you care about them.

3) Encourage Extracurriculars

Bullying stings because it makes its targets feel worthless and unwanted. Combat this reaction by giving your child plenty of opportunities to build skills and socialize with peers in productive ways through extracurricular activities. Hobbies such as sports, music, or art will boost your child’s self-esteem and give them productive outlets. When your child knows that they can count on their circle of friends in their musical theatre troupe, ultimate frisbee group, or debate club, the taunts of a bully will be properly exposed as nothing more than the petty insults that they are.

4) Contact School Officials

Bullying thrives in school environments because authorities simply don’t know what’s going on. Don’t be ashamed to record specific instances where your child endured bullying and report them to your child’s teacher or counselor. Many schools are aware of how bullying damages the learning process, and school officials are very proactive in resolving conflicts between students.

5) Look Up Local Laws

In extreme cases, you may even want to look up local anti-bullying laws. As more legislatures become more conscious of the threat that bullying places on children, more laws that address the problem directly get passed. Parents in a town in Wisconsin even face fines if their children are caught bullying. Once you harness the force of the law, both the bully and the bully’s parents will realize just how serious you are.

Stay Strong

Bullying can take many forms: verbal threats, physical abuse, and even cyber bullying. In every manifestation it takes a terrible toll on your child’s happiness and ability to learn. Only by being involved in your child’s day-to-day life and offering proper parental guidance can you help your child overcome the challenge of bullying.

5 Fun Things To Do With Your Daughter

Mothers and daughters share a special bond together. Spend some time together and make it memorable. Take your daughter out on a Mommy Daughter date! Here are some ideas that you and your daughter can do together. Start making it a tradition every month to spend time with just the two of you.

1. Go to a Movie

This is a simple idea that often gets overlooked. You can start going to the movies even when your daughter is young. Just ask them what movie they would like to see and go for it! Make sure the movie is age appropriate. Movies are a great way to share an experience. I watched one of my all time favorites movies in the theater with mom and I will never forget it! Follow up a movie with idea number 2.

2. Dinner

Going out to dinner can consist of more than just going to eat. Spend time together getting dressed up. Splurge a little and go to a nice restaurant as a treat with your daughter. This is a good time to find something new. Find a restaurant you both love and make it ‘yours’. Once you establish a restaurant as a place where you two go together, your daughter will hold many great memories every time she thinks of it.

3. Bake Together

All of my favorite memories with my mother are when we bake together. My mother had so much knowledge on baking and was amazing at decorating cakes. Every year we make gingerbread cookies together for the holidays and decorate them for the family. It is a fun tradition that I look forward to every year. Start a baking tradition with your daughter. She will be glad that you passed down your baking knowledge to her and that you made baking something you can do together.

4. Manicures and Pedicures

It may seem like a cliché thing to do, but it can be a lot of fun. Go out and get a mani pedi with your daughter. It is fun to pick and choose what colors and designs you want on your nails together. It also gives you something to talk about. Spoil yourself and your daughter every once in a while and get pampered!

5. Crafts

Stay in and do crafts together. There are a lot of easy crafts that a mother and daughter can do together. Scrapbooking is a great way to share memories and bond, no matter what the age of your daughter. You can do sewing, knitting, and painting. Change it up and make it interesting. There are so many options, you just have to go do it!

 

About the Author

About the Author: Andrea Booth is a blogger for Smith Monitoring, a leader for alarm systems in Houston.  As the only daughter, she and her dad have been having fun entertaining themselves since 1990.

A Helicopter Mom No More

I admit. I’m guilty of being a helicopter mom. I’m the type of mom who’s always by her children’s side protecting them from bumps and bruises.  You’ll see me towering over them or hear me constantly shouting warnings of “Be careful”, “Don’t go far”, “Stay where I can see you”, “Don’t run”, etcetera, etcetera.  A lot of you can probably relate with this and are thinking, so what’s wrong with being a helicopter mom?

Being an overprotective parent can actually hinder our children’s growth and development.  By protecting them from just about everything that can hurt or harm them makes them vulnerable when they do have to face the real world in their adulthood.  By restricting our children’s natural propensity to discover the world, we are curbing their learning abilities and are inadvertently giving them the message that they cannot do and are not capable of doing certain things.

Some of the effects of my being a helicopter mom can be seen in how my children behave outside our home.  My kids have become too dependent and too clingy.  They fear strangers and come off as disrespectful and aloof when they are actually just shy and fearful.  Fear of strangers may be a good thing but not when they fear almost everybody they interact with, even family friends.

Though very articulate and active at home, they become withdrawn and clam up when in public.  They have also become too dependent on adults, whining that they cannot accomplish a task even before trying it out themselves first.

Yes,I know it’s my fault that they have become fearful and dependent children.  I was too overprotective for not wanting any harm to behalf them.  I’ve since realized though that my overprotectiveness has raised two fearful and insecure children. Hopefully, it’s not too late though to rectify my mistake.  I’m now trying to build their confidence and self-esteem by changing my behavior towards them and by doing the following:

Teaching Independence.  They’re preschoolers now so they’re being taught how to do certain things by themselves.  Before I used to do every single task for them.  Now they are taught how to pack away their toys, put on their clothes, eat by themselves, and other tasks that preschoolers should already be doing by themselves.

Bolstering Confidence.  “You can do it!”  This is now a constant statement at home.  Oh yes, they still whine and complain about not being able to put on their shirt or shoes or something else they don’t want to do.  But dear Mama doesn’t come to the rescue anymore.  I let them whine a little while then urge them to finish the task.  Thanks to The Little Engine That Could, it’s easier to prod them while chanting, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”  When they do successfully finish something, it also gives them a sense of pride.  “Mama, I did it! See, I did it!” are music to my ears.

Giving Responsibilities. Though only three and four years old, they are old enough to be given responsibilities such as fixing their bed, packing away their toys, and taking care of each other.

I do not want my two kids to grow up insecure and needy of attention.   Perhaps, by doing these things we’ll be able to prepare them to face the world and handle whatever life throws their way.  There’s no certainty that these would work but I am certain that I’ll not be a helicopter mom anymore.