Hot Topics In The Community
Friday, May 17, 2013 by Katie Hurley
As school age children approach the tween years, parents often start to worry about what are often viewed as “teen issues”, such as drugs, sex, and smoking.
The truth is that children start hearing and internalizing messages about traditionally teen topics at younger ages, often even in elementary school, and taking a proactive approach to helping them understand these complicated issues is important.
Above all, parents are still very powerful tools for curbing early drug use. It’s time to start talking.
As you begin to approach the topic of drug use for your child, remember to rely on instinct. There is no magic age for broaching this complicated subject. You know your child better than anyone, and you know what your child can handle. It’s essential to talk to your child at a developmentally appropriate level to ensure that your child understands, and always choose moments of calm to discuss difficult topics.
Before you start talking, take some time to think about risk factors. Do you have a family history of drug abuse? Is there drug use going on in your home (prescription drug use counts)? What is the stress level in your home? A family history of drug abuse does not guarantee that your child will use drugs, but it does increase the risk. It’s important to keep these facts in the back of your mind so that you can be on the lookout for signs of drug use as your child grows.
Tips for talking to tweens about drugs:
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Katie Hurley
With the push for accelerated learning and the dependence on organized after school activities in this country, our children are increasingly isolated from nature.
While organized sports can be a really great experience for young children and provide some outdoor exercise, children today simply don’t spend as much time connecting with nature. An afternoon spent digging in the dirt is a rarity for many kids.
It can be difficult to raise environmentally aware children when they are running from one activity to the next and rarely spending time just enjoying their surroundings.
While school schedules, work schedules, and city living can make it difficult to find time for nature, it is essential to teach our kids to care for the environment. When we teach our children that small changes can make a big difference and that our trees and plants are vital components of healthy living, we help them to understand that their actions are important. They can make a difference.
Below are five ways to raise environmentally aware children.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Mindi Stavish
What is the difference between stuttering and a child just talking too fast?
Stuttering is a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated or prolonged, disrupting the normal flow of speech. Other behaviors that you may see are rapid eye blinking, tremors of the lips, and avoidance of eye contact. Stuttering is also referred to as disfluent speech. Many preschool children will go through a time period of normal stuttering, also known as developmental stuttering. Researchers believe that developmental stuttering occurs when a child's speech and language abilities are unable to meet the child’s verbal demands, as their language develops. There is a difference between developmental stuttering and true stuttering.
How do I know if my child is using a normal stuttering pattern or if it is abnormal?
Friday, May 10, 2013 by Katie Hurley
It happens every time: On the day of a big test your child comes to you with a list of complaints. It starts with a headache. When that doesn’t work, it becomes a cold. And when that doesn’t work…the dreaded stomachache.
Test anxiety is a very real and very upsetting form of social anxiety for kids. It can happen to elementary school students and it can continue through college. Some kids simply fear test taking.
They fear failure. They fear negative evaluations by their parents and teachers. They might even fear measuring up to their peers.
What all of this distorted thinking results in are symptoms of panic and anxiety. There is nothing invented about those physical complaints that your child is plagued by every time a math test, or even state testing, rolls around. Test anxiety can cause changes in appetite, stomachaches, sleep disturbance, increased heart rate, headaches, and even mild flu-like symptoms.
It’s essential to teach kids how to cope with test anxiety so that they can manage their emotions instead of freezing up during tests. Here are some tips to help them do just that.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013 by Katie Hurley
Food allergies in elementary schools are on the rise, and with that comes anxious parents and complicated lunch scenarios. I would know; I’m one of those parents.
While some schools take a hard line on food allergies and simply eliminate high allergy foods from the campus (such as peanuts and tree nuts), others work on a class-by-class basis.
No matter how the school handles food allergies, one thing is clear: Parents need to teach their children, in no uncertain terms, about their food allergies. There is no glossing over this one. Food allergies act fast and can be life threatening. Children with food allergies need to know the dos and don’ts of eating away from home.
Below are 7 tips for teaching your child about food allergies.
Friday, May 03, 2013 by Katie Hurley
There’s no need to sugarcoat this one: Raising a picky eater is no easy task.
It causes stress for the both the child who barely eats and for the exhausted parent who makes multiple meals a day and has tried everything from positive reinforcement to begging to bribery.
The judgment from others doesn’t help either. You give in too much. You created this by making extra meals. You’re letting her win. People love to comment on the potential causes of picky eating and share their “tricks” for an instant cure. If you actually have a picky eater on your hands, however, you already know that sticking some broccoli into the brownies doesn’t actually work…
The truth is that picky eating occurs for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it can be traced back to a terrible stomach flu or an issue with extreme constipation. Kids do internalize negative associations with food.
Sometimes it’s a matter of control. Kids don’t have a lot of control over their lives. You know what they can control? What they eat and when they poop.
And sometimes, it’s about fear. Some kids stick to what they like because they are afraid to try new things. While I know that sounds silly, anxiety is no laughing matter. Anxiety manifests in a variety of ways, and refusal to try new textures or flavors can stem from genuine fear.
So what’s a mom to do? Here are 5 strategies to help with your picky eaters:
Thursday, May 02, 2013 by Mindi Stavish
I love handmade gifts. Before Etsy or Pinterest existed, my mom taught me that a handmade gift is just as special (if not more special) than any store bought gift. As a mom, there is nothing I want more than to receive a handmade craft that was made from love. I love seeing my children's artwork evolve from big blobs of paint to more defined drawings of people and houses. I hope that my children will grow up to love creating art with their hands, as much as I do.
Over the past few weeks, my kids and I have crafted on Sunday mornings. This past Sunday I helped them make Mother's day cards for their grandmother's. There are quite possibly 101 different craft projects you could do with a child's hand or footprint. What mother wouldn't love a recent handprint to remember just how tiny their child was on this particular year?
Here are just a few of my favorite handprint craft and gift projects:
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 by Katie Hurley
Whether you stay home, work at home, go to an office, or some combination of all three, all moms experience mom guilt from time to time. The fact is that parenting is hard work and there are often other external stressors that complicate our dreams of blissful parenting.
And then there’s that whole pressure to be perfect thing. That will get you every time.
Whether you miss a big event at school or yell out of complete frustration, mom guilt creeps in when moms are under stress.
And when moms are under stress…children internalize it. Even toddlers pick up on stress and anger and will respond with cranky behavior and excessive tears. Some might even try to cure you of your stress by bringing you some of their favorite comfort items.
While mom guilt is perfectly normal and to be expected along the way, it’s important to find ways to manage it so that we can let go of the negative and return to the positive. When we carry around excess negative feelings, we can’t help but project that in some small way. When we learn to manage it and move on in a timely fashion, we teach our children to cope with difficult emotions.
Here are four tips to overcome your mom guilt so you and your children can be more at peace and enjoy life.
Friday, April 26, 2013 by Katie Hurley
“No” is one of the most commonly used words in parenting.
Some of you are nodding your heads in agreement while some of you are shaking your heads. Does “no” really get used that often?
The truth is that the minute babies become toddlers and begin to move around, “no” becomes part of the parenting vocabulary. We use it to alert our children to danger, we use it to stop a sibling squabble or two, we use it to answer many, many questions, and, if we’re being honest, we use it when we’re tired and cranky.
“No” gets thrown around with great frequency. And while some kids respond quickly to “no”, others seem not to hear it at all.
How can it be that one of the most frequently used words in parenting often goes unheard? Simply put: overuse.
Below are three reasons to say “no” to no.
Thursday, April 25, 2013 by Mindi Stavish
One of my family's favorite spring activities is a trip to the local zoo. There are so many new learning adventures waiting to be discovered there. Not only that, but there are plenty of activities you can do with your children before and after your trip to the zoo.