Handling Disciplinary Issues at School

The first eighteen years of your child’s life can be some of the hardest, though we are mostly referring to the school days ahead. Almost every child will experience disciplinary problems at school whether they have started the problem, or are simply the innocent victim. Getting to the bottom of these disciplinary problems is very important, especially if you want them to succeed in life. That said, let’s talk a bit about potential problems and how you can address them both at home, and at school.

Getting to the Bottom of It

Something very important for you to understand is that children do not often cause problems at school simply for the sake of it. Normally there is an underlying problem, something that needs to be addressed, and eventually be sorted out. If your child is having disciplinary problems, sit down with them, talk to them, and try to get their side of the story. As they say, in any situation there are three sides to the story: yours, theirs, and the truth. The same applies to your child. The last thing you want, is for your child to believe you are not on their side, making an enemy of them is never advised.

Handling Disciplinary Issues at School

Speak with the Teachers

There is nothing worse than being absent from your child’s education, and to avoid this it is strongly recommended that you touch based with their teachers regularly. Find out how your child is doing, what can be improved upon, and most importantly, what you can do at home.

Reinforce Punishments at Home

This might seem harsh, and it can be exhausting, but one of the best things you can do for your child is implement a ‘trouble at school, trouble at home’ policy. With this policy you will enforce the idea that school is something to be taken seriously, and that you fully support the actions of those placed in authority.

Investigate

Finally, make sure that you DO in fact support the disciplinary action being handed down by the school. Talk to your child, investigate the actions, and of course make sure that it is something you can live with. If it is not, you need to say something, speak with other parents, and try to make improvements. You do have power as a parent – never forget that.

Schooling is an important part of a child’s life, and disciplinary actions are something that will help to shape their behavior in the future. Keep a close eye on the situation at all times, and make sure that you have a decent grasp on what is happening in their day to day life, even if they don’t always realize you’re looking quite that closely.

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Play Versus Work – What’s the Right Balance?

When it comes to parenting and loving our families in the right way, striking a balance is usually necessary: grace and discipline, play and work – extremes in either category are usually not productive. Who's to know what's right? While every parent, child and family are different, there are a few general guidelines that will help you in deciding what's the right balance for your family.

Play Versus Work – What's the Right Balance?

What Age are You Dealing With?

The first thing you need to realize when you're considering what's appropriate for your circumstance is that what's appropriate now won't be three years from now. As children grow and develop, they naturally are able to take on more responsibility. Sometimes responsibility is thrust on to them a little earlier than feels right, so that's when you need to use your judgement.

With that being said – how old is your child, and what “work” are they dealing with? Homework is one you've likely faced, or will face very soon: teachers send it home and kids fight it. Nowadays, it starts as early as kindergarten; it piles on year after year, and by the time the child is in fifth grade, he's come to dread the after school hours because it simply means more school.

Some things to bear in mind: studies show that homework doesn't increase any chance of post-secondary schooling success when it's completed up through fifth grade. If we're being honest, the most important thing for kids in the elementary years is reading and playing outside. Sure, if homework is implemented, it's important from a character building standpoint to have it done correctly. Consistent assignments for young ones, though? Too much work, not enough play. Your child will walk away from the experience with an extreme distaste for responsibility, and that's not what you want.

Do You Practice What You Preach?

The kids are going to naturally follow your example, so you need to set a healthy one. Do you complain about work? Do they even see you working? Do you work too much? All of these things should be considered. A workaholic may find that their child puts too much pressure on themselves; a lazy man may find that their child complains about work. Look in the mirror and understand that your child's habits are often a reflection on you. If you want to see your child work hard  without complaining and play hard without a care, you need to do those things as well.

Always Err on the Side of Grace

At the end of the day, no one is perfect. There are going to be times where you simply don't know what to do: your third grader's teacher has sent home one hundred math problems for the third night in a row, and you can see it in his eyes that he's about to dig his heels in and shut down to the whole concept of homework. What's worse? You agree with him, not the teacher: it's just too much for a child. Know that when you feel this way, it's okay to go with your gut and would actually be a great lesson learned for both your child and his teacher. Advocating for him and showing him grace is something that he needs to see early on, more than he needs to do that third homework sheet. It'll prove that you're on his side, and it will validate his feelings more than simply making him do the work. It'll also give you the opportunity to show him the correct way to address a problem, as you bring it up to his teacher. If there's ever a question – show grace.

As we stated before, there's no hard and fast rule about finding the perfect balance. It's mostly just about making an assessment based on age and situation, practicing what you preach, and then going with your gut.

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Dealing with Teething In Infants

Infants around the age of 6 months will begin teething, where the first set of teeth (primary teeth) start making their way through the gums. This can be a painful and irritating process and may result in your infant being more fussy than usual. The bottom teeth will usually come in before the top teeth and you may notice that your child starts reacting and showing symptoms a week or so before the tooth actually comes through the gum.

What To Watch For

There are a few things to watch for if your child is in the teething process. For starters, your infant will start chewing on fingers and even toys or furniture items to help push the tooth through. You may also notice that your child is resistant to chewing foods, as their mouths hurt. With this in mind, you will want to give your child soft and cool foods to help ease the discomfort.

Drooling is very common while your infant is teething, and you may notice that your child’s skin gets irritated or a rash may develop on their face or chin. This is completely normal. Yet, if you believe that your infant has severe symptoms or your baby does not get better, you will want to call your doctor immediately.

Dealing with Teething In Infants

What Can You Do To Help Your Baby During the Teething Process?

Get Suitable Chewing Toys

Having the right toys for your baby to chew on is essential. There are so many things on the market from teething rings to toys that you put in the freezer that they can chew on and more. The amount of toys on the market is endless and you want to make sure that they are FDA approved and your baby is not at risk for choking or at risk for any other injuries.

Medication

There are a few pain relievers that you can give to your baby if the symptoms are unbearable, yet you want to be sure that the medication you get is suitable for your child’s age. Make sure that you don’t give your baby aspirin!

Don’t use Oragel or any Numbing Gel

Some parents believe that numbing the gums is the best thing to do for their baby, as it will provide instant relief for your child and therefore will save you from a few hours of fuss. However, the FDA warns against using this trick as numbing can make it more difficult for your baby to swallow and therefore puts them at risk. While there are oragel and numbing gels on the market for infants, be very cautious using these sorts of medications to help your baby with the teething process.

Here are some tips and tricks to dealing with a teething infant. Having the teething toys truly is essential. And, while they may be expensive, it is totally worth the money when your baby is less fussy and happier. Be sure to look at the labels if you are going to give your child medication and be cautious of using any sort of gel.

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Use Community Events to Occupy Your Children

Many communities host a variety of events for the children that reside in the town or city. Yet, there seems to be a lot of resistance to attending these events in many communities and their is no common reason or explanation. Some towns go above and beyond and host events that both the children and the parents enjoy, however these are usually the tight knit smaller communities that enjoy spending time with each other. Here are a few reasons as to why you should use the community events to occupy your children and to get involved with your community.

Community Events Are Usually Not expensive

Most community events are free, so it will not cost you anything to attend the meeting. However, some events do cost some money. Like, if there is a community dinner, it may be a few dollars a plate. Yet, the money is going to good use as there is usually not any profit from these (they are only charging you the cost of the food) or if there is profit it is going towards something the community wants or needs.

Going to Community Events Will Help to Socialize your Children

For some children that are homeschooled or for your children that do attend traditional school, attending community events will help to get your child socialized with his or her peers. This will help your child to build stronger bonds and relationships with those in his or her age group.

Use Community Events to Occupy Your Children

Gets You Involved in The Community

Most families end up being so busy with their day-to-day activities that they never really venture out and get active within their communities. Yes, sure they will say hi to a neighbor here or there, or go for a walk down the street and wave to the people they see, but they never really participate in the community itself. Going to community events will allow you to become part of the community, while also teaching your children what it means to live within a community and how to get involved. For example, most communities have a clean up day for earth day where everyone is involved and they go around the town or city and pick up the trash and possibly plant trees. If you participate in these community events, you will be able to visit the tree you planted or build memories within your community that you will have forever.

Community events are great for children of all ages. Whether you are just trying to get your child out of the house and off the computer or away from his or her video games, being active within the community and attending community events will give your child a social life that will help to keep them active. Check out your local communities events calendar and if you are interested in a specific event or you would like to take part, reach out to the organizer and find out how you can plan or organize the event-- they are always looking for volunteers!

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The Quick Route to Potty Training

Wait Until Your Child Is Ready

Most parents make the mistake of deciding it is time to start potty training their child after a specific amount of time, instead of watching their child and realizing when they are ready. Here are a few things to watch out for that may indicate your child is ready to learn to use the potty: Can verbally communicate, understands simple commands, knows when he/she needs a new diaper, can start to take off his/her own clothes, can go hours without needing a new diaper. These are the signs that your child is ready to start potty training. Now, you need to find a time that works with your schedule so that you can dedicate the time to start toilet training your child. Also, just a recommendation—spring and summer time is best because they are wearing less layers and wont struggle to take off clothes to use the bathroom.

Show Your Child the Process

Many people will have their child watch them use the potty so that the child can watch and learn. Also, another method is to use a doll that actually wets so that the toddler can see the process of what they are currently doing, wetting or soiling a diaper, and show them what they should do instead, put the doll on the potty.

The Quick Route to Potty Training

Giving the Toilet a Name

You are going to have to choose where they child is going to learn to use the potty. Are you going to get a chair or just an extension for your current toilet? If you are choosing a chair, you are going to want to make sure that your toddler has a say in the chair you pick out. Have them sit on it and see how confortable it is, in their clothes. See how easy it is going to be to clean so that you are prepared and know what you are in for. Also, you should make sure there are no hinges that are going to potentially harm your child. Check to make sure the chair is stable and isn’t going to tilt or flip while your child is using it.

You will also have to decide what you are going to call these bathroom movements. “Pee-pee” and “poo-poo” are commonly used. When you see that your toddler is making movements indicating that they need to go to the body, say “go potty” so that they start associating how they feel with what they need to do.

Once you feel that your child has an understanding, you can upgrade to training pants. These are just like extra padded underwear that are there to help if your child has an accident yet they are not as absorbent as diapers.

Teaching your child to flush and wash hands

One of the biggest scares for kids during the potty training process is flushing the toilet. Once they get comfortable going to the bathroom, then have them start flushing and remind them to wash their hands.

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Why a Sleep Away Camp Is So Beneficial—for Parents

There is a tag word trending around in parent psychology circles right now and take it from me it's not cool to be catching that label as a parent. “Helicopter parenting” is when you go a bit overboard with your adoration and smother the kids. Your child can certainly do without an extra serving of a super-sized cup of love,  but as a parent you may not realize how over parenting is having a negative impact on YOUR OWN life.

The problem

When walking the apple of your eye to the bus stop every day, turns into hour long drives to camp, just to deliver a bag of cookies, please know that you have messed up. But relax and continue reading, we are going to fix this.

Kids grow up fast and yes they do need your constant love and attention during toddlerdom but if you're not careful you will not see it coming when it actually does. A couple of years in and suddenly your whole life are planned around the kid’s soccer schedule, their homework routines and their timetables. You spend less and less time with your own friends and your kid’s friends parents turn into your friends. Everything is a fast-paced race on the clock where you are fixing three breakfasts in fifteen minutes or running more laps in a car than Schumacher. Dropping them 5 minutes before class or picking them up from soccer practice or driving them to the mall and then coming home collapsing on the couch, spaced out on the TV making  a mental list of chores that need to be done at home. Now is the time to let your child experience life in a much more realistic way by letting them go to a sleep away camp for kids.

camp for kids

It's a fix, did not see that one coming

If you were going sick from missing your kids when they were away at camp and are shocked to find out they did not miss you that much, maybe it's time to realize that you cannot depend just on the kids as your only source of happiness and joy.

Seven weeks away at a sleep away camp is somewhat a standard period of planned separation between parents and their children as part of a sleep-away camp experience.

Take this time to reconnect with yourself and your significant other and slow things down to a nice focused and enjoyable pace. Take a romantic weekend out together yourselves to rekindle the romance and spice back into your lives. Get your social circle back in order and invite some long lost friends to a great evening back at your place and catch up on old times.

Sleep Away Camp for Kids is Ideal

Wow, you can already feel that the stress levels are so much lower. Maybe you have also started to take note of the relationship between you and your child.  You are reevaluating things much more positively now, yes you do love your kids so very much, but there are something’s you can now let go off. Maybe now when they are back from camp, they can wake up a few minutes earlier to fix the bed sheets. They certainly will be in great practice after seven weeks away from home making their own bed every morning!

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Who Makes The Safest Baby Shampoo?

Deciding which shampoo to buy for your baby can be a difficult decision, especially with the many different options and manufacturers to choose from. Read these facts to help you decide which shampoo is best for your baby; you may be surprised by some of this information!

Tear-Free Baby Shampoo: A Good or Bad Buy?

It is no surprise that your baby is going to get pretty dirty. From the food all over their face and in their hair, it is no surprise that your washing machine is going to be full of baby outfits on the regular—but what about cleaning your baby? Many people only buy the tear-free shampoos because they do not want their babies’ eyes stinging when they are getting the food off their forehead. Yet, did you know that these tear-free shampoos actually have a numbing agent in them? Yes, they do!

Safest Baby Shampoo

Here is a list of some of the best shampoos on the market for your baby:

Babo Botanicals

Created in New York, Babo products are made completely with natural fragrences. Also, all of these baby shampoos also work as a great bubble bath! If you choose this product, just make sure to keep an eye out for a few of their shampoos as they do contain sodium benzoate. However, the majority of their products do not.

Nature’s Paradise Foam Shampoo

Nature’s paradise is a popular choice among moms, yet it is a more expensive option. You can choose between the unscented kind or you can venture out for the coconut scented shampoo. This shampoo is made out of water and all natural ingredients, mainly organic saponofied coconut oil

Lafes Organic Baby Shampoo and Gentle Wash

You will find this bottle in BPA-free plastic as well as phthalate. This means that your baby will be able to stay far away from the scented shampoos that leave them smelling frilly and like they just walked out of Bath and Body Works.

California Baby

You can buy this shampoo in a 17.5 bottle and it is made out a variety of natural vegetable clucoside cleansers. This means that your baby’s shampoo will be sulfate free and biodegradable. When using this soap, you will not be overwhelmed with a scent, yet you will notice a calming and fresh fragrance in the air.

Earth Mama Angel Baby

This baby wash is a great option for your baby as it is gentle and smells great! It is naturally scented with organic vanilla and sweet orange oil, as well as calendula for soothing action. It is NSF/ANSI certified by Oregon Tilth, toxin free.

At the end of the day, there really is no one baby shampoo that every mom should buy. This is because parents have different preferences and you need to consider what is and what is not acceptable to put on your child. Many people use the generic and cheap baby shampoo, believing that these products are all the same, yet, we know the truth—there are so many great options!

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Breast Milk or Formula – Which One Should You Choose?

As many of you may know, there is a clear split between those who say that breast milk is ideal and those that argue for formula instead. Sometimes women are actually unable to breastfeed their babies, which requires them to use formula, when they may have wished to breastfeed instead. Or, there are instances where women are not producing enough milk in order to exclusively nurse their baby and therefore switch off between breastfeeding and formula. Yet, for those of you that have the option, here are a few things to consider that may help you choose which route is best for you and your baby.

Breast Feeding Can Help With Your Baby’s Health

Breast milk is made up of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to your baby’s health. It is the natural food for your baby, full of protein, calories, fat, and vitamins. Also, when breastfeeding, the mother will actually pass on antibodies to her baby that will help make the baby stronger and more able to resist disease. For example, it can help the baby fight off an infection. Also, studies show that, generally, breast fed babies are healthier than those that were bottle fed with formula.

Breast Milk or Formula

Breast Feeding Can Help Build A Bond With Your Baby

Along with the nutrients, breast feeding is a way to bond with your new baby. While you will get to spend plenty of time with your little one with a bottle in your hand, breast feeding makes that bond even stronger as you are producing the food for your baby.

Formula Is An Option, and A Popular Choice

Did you know that only about 28 percent of American women breastfeed for the entire year? This is because women are working and they do not have the time to take out of their busy schedules to stop and pump milk for their babies. Also, companies that create formula, have created it so that it is a great alternative to breastfeeding. There are plenty of vitamins and nutrients in formula so that it is very similar to breastfeeding. Your baby will be just as healthy being bottle fed as he or she would be breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Has Negative Stigmas Associated

Breastfeeding has for sometime been somewhat “shunned” by our society, where it is not acceptable in society. You are expected to breastfeed your baby in a private room somewhere where no one can see you and if you do have to do it in a public setting, you best be sure to have a large towel or blanket to hide yourself—or someone may freak. While this is changing somewhat in some areas, it is still a social no-no, which means that if you want to breastfeed, you’re going to have to sacrifice a bit of your social life.

At the end of the day, only you can choose what is best for your specific circumstances. If you want to breastfeed—do it! If you don’t—use formula! If you want to do a little of both—feel free!

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10 Things Your Children Should See You Doing

We have all heard the phrase, “truth is caught not taught” and in parenting this could not be more true. Children learn, yes by hearing, but predominately by seeing. They mimic. Babies mirror the movements of mom and dad. Toddlers mimic sounds and phrases mom and dad use regularly. Truth can be taught but it is more often caught. Below are ten things that your children need to see you doing.

Loving Your Spouse

Your children need to see you love your spouse. This can be a physical act of love, like a hug or a kiss, or it can be through verbal affirmations of character. It can also be simply the way you speak and act. Loving your spouse helps children see what’s most important. It teaches them invaluable truths about marriage and gives them security in their family.

Exercise

This one may sound a bit silly but your kids need to see you prioritize workouts (however- not above them!). Let them see you tying your running shoes, have them help you pick a workout mix, and show them the importance of workout nutrition. 

Laugh

Your kids need to know mom and dad can let go! They need to hear your belly laugh over dinner. Tell stories and laugh – it will break down barriers when they see that you are normal!

Cry

This is the other side of the coin. It is valuable (in moderation) to allow your kids to see you process pain. When your cherished pet dies, do not be afraid to cry with your kids. Emotional health in children is important!

Family Playing

Play

Are you silly? Do you ever just sit back and have a good time? Do you throw the ball with your boy? Your kids need to see you play. Play cards, throw darts, pick up pecans in the front yard and shoot them into buckets. Teach your kids to have an imagination!

Volunteer

The golden rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Take the kids to the local soup kitchen and serve during Thanksgiving. Teach them this cherished truth by volunteering on a regular basis.

Read

Whether you are reading Shakespeare while the kids are playing at the park or you are scoping out new techniques on productivity, allow your kids to see you read. Reading is basic to learning and if they see you have a strong interest in it- hopefully they will too!

Work Hard

Hard work is not a bad thing – in fact it is a virtue to have a healthy work ethic. Let your children see you send an email, hammer a nail, wash the car, cook dinner, mow the yard, or write a proposal. It will teach them about being a productive member of society.

R&R

Sleep is vital for normal functioning. The body cannot continue without proper rest. The other side of the coin from hard work is rest and relaxation. Take a nap while watching a movie with the kids. On Saturday morning snuggle with your children in the bed. Feel free to lounge and be lazy with them. This will teach them the importance of slowing down.

Build Others Up

Your kids need to see you visit sick people in the hospital. They need to watch you write an encouragement letter to someone going through a difficult season. They also need to hear you speak well of others. Fight the temptation to bash people in front of the kids. Rather, speak of others strengths and personal virtues.

Modeling is crucial. Your kids will mimic you. So model well and remember that truth is often caught not just taught!

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Talking to Kids about Scary News

School shootings, natural disasters, terminal diseases and other tragedies -- if only we could keep our children protected from the harsh realities of the world. The simple truth is that we cannot. We can hope that these lessons are saved for when they are old enough to understand. We can pray that we won’t ever be in the position to have to explain it. But in the end, we will all be faced with the challenge of talking to kids about scary news. Here’s some advice about how to have some of these difficult conversations.

Keep it Simple

To the extent that you can, keep discussions as straightforward and conceptually simple as you can. Adding to many qualifiers or nuances to the information may result in a loss of understanding, which will raise more questions. Many parents were faced with having to talk to very young children about the tragedy of September 11. Rather than discussing the political, social and religious reasons or implications for what occurred, it was best to simply state that some people wanted to harm others and they did a terrible thing. A child can much more readily understand a “black and white” issue than one with many shades of gray.

Let them ask Questions

Even if you don’t have the answers, let your child ask and questions they have about the news they’ve heard. It’s ok to be at a loss for explanation – in fact, that’s part of life, too. Encourage your child to talk and ask questions and create an environment where they feel safe doing so. In turn, ask them questions to understand how well they’re processing the information and how they may be feeling.

Talking to Kids about Scary News

Stay Calm

Children are very adept at picking up on non-verbal cues during conversations. As you talk about difficult issues, try to remain calm and open. Pick a time to talk when you can be logical, calm and open to whatever arises.

Empower Them

Look for opportunities for your child to be proactive in response to scary news. If they hear about a house fire where the family has small kids, suggest donating some of their clothes or toys to help. Talk about making a donation to support the recovery effort or volunteering as a meaningful way to make something good out of a bad situation.

Remind them of Good

Even in the face of adversity, remind your child that there are good people in the world who try to help whenever something bad happens. Look for those people who are helping. Encourage your child to look for those people or even to be one that tries to help.

Scary news is difficult for your child to understand and it may be difficult for you as well. Keep your lines of communication open and, if you need it, seek out additional professional resources to help you and your child work through it together. Despite the circumstances, there’s an opportunity to learn from what has happened and take those lessons forward to be better prepared in the future.

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