Category: Parenting

Napping Makes Your Baby Smarter

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 by No Comments

I always thought of naps as a break for moms. A time to regroup, a chance to catch up on things, or even a time to sit down and have a cup of coffee without someone tugging on my pant leg saying, “Mommy, mommy….”

Now a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that naps actually play an important role in the child’s development and ability to remember new skills!

While sleep is often linked to benefits in adults, until now it hasn’t been clear what, if any,  benefits it offers to babies. Findings conclude that napping actually helps preschoolers learn.

The research was based on two experiments that included a total of 216 babies who ranged in age from 6 months to 12 months old. The babies were taught how to take mittens off animal puppets. Then one group took a nap and the other did not. Babies were tested either four or 24 hours later to see if they remembered what they had learned.

They found the babies who had taken naps, after learning, remembered what they learned, especially after 24 hours. The evidence offered by these results suggests that an extended nap of 30 minutes or more, within 4 hour hours of learning, helps 6-12 month old babies to “retain their memories for new behaviors across a 4- and 24-hour delay.”

So next time you go to put your baby down for a nap and they fuss about it, remember it is for their own good. It’s more than a break for you, too. It’s helping them formulate long-term memories.

And if you think you might want to lie down for a nap for your own long-term memory, never mind. While naps do have a number of benefits for adults, we don’t need to nap in order to retain new things we’ve learned. But it will help you re-energize.

Photo credits: Jousha Blout

Link Round-up: Black Bean Soup, Winter Crafts, Cupcakes, and More

Posted on Jan 27, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a black bean soup recipe, winter crafts, tips for asking your boss if you can work from home, and more.

A Beautiful Mess shared a recipe for easy black bean soup.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a football utensil holder for a Super Bowl party.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make easy Frozen Olaf marshmallow cupcakes.

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Kenarry shared a cute kids’ Valentine idea.

Crafts ‘n Coffee shared an adorable snowman craft.

Parenting Chaos taught us how to make crunchy foam sensory dough.

Our Small Hours shared tips for asking your boss if you can work from home.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Kenarry

Link Round-up: Money, Makeup, and More

Posted on Jan 22, 2015 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has tips for attracting money into your life, budgeting tips, pretend makeup for kids, and more.

I Heart Naptime showed us how to make a makeup brush roll.

Mind Body Green shared four simple steps for attracting money into your life.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom shared budgeting tips.

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Cup of Delight showed us how to turn the Barrel of Monkeys game into a valentine and shared a free printable.

Working Mom Magic showed us how to make pretend makeup to keep the kids busy while you’re getting ready.

Andie Conn showed us five easy and cheap ways to make your home look happier.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor shared a recipe for skinny creamy chicken soup.

Photo credit: I Heart Naptime and Cup of Delight

Do You Sound Like Your Mom?

Posted on Jan 21, 2015 by 7 Comments

My mom used to have those phrases that annoyed me, like “if your friends all jumped off the cliff would you?” Then by the time I became a parent, lo and behold, the same phrases seemed to find their way into my vocabulary on a regular basis!

Do you sound more like your mom than you thought you would? (Answer me when I ask a question.) Other moms I talk to say they do the same. It’s such a good example of the truth behind that statement “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The reason we say the same things as our mothers is because we are running into the same issues they did. For instance, “Stop playing with your food and eat.” I used to think pushing those roasted carrots around on my plate would somehow make them go away. Or if I said I was full, I could get away without eating them.

It didn’t work. That practice annoyed my parents. Now I can relate.

How many times do we ask “did you?” You know what I mean. Did you clean your room (since I’ve already told you to do it 10 times). Or did you take out the trash, do your homework, brush your teeth, did you say thank you?

I used to call it nagging when I was a kid. Now I call it follow through. It’s how we teach them to be responsible, right?

On the heels of this comes the “I’m not going to tell/ask you again.” When you stand back and look at this one, you realize what an empty threat it really is. Of course you’ll be telling or asking them to do that something again. Remember; it’s part of the follow though.

Then there’s the really stupid, “What did you do?” when you can clearly see they’ve dumped your expensive bottle of shampoo into the tub for a bubble bath.

While we can laugh at most of these as moms, I have to say I always thought I would do things differently. But as I grew up and became a mom, the way I see things changed.

I grew up in a home where we respected our parents, and for the most part did what we were told. I want the same for my kids. I just never figured I journey along the path of mommy catch phrases to get there.

Photo credits: pixabay

Antibiotics Cautions and Your Child

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 by No Comments

When my kids were young, it amazed me how many other parents I knew would call the doctor and get antibiotics when their kids had a cold.

I’m not a doctor, but I know the cold is a virus and that antibiotics don’t make it go away. Over time, antibiotics have been over prescribed and now experts are talking about “antibiotic resistance” and even fear that a “post-antibiotic era” could be in our future.

One woman I knew experienced this first-hand about 10 years ago. Her 12-year-old son had a bacterial sinus infection, but he had taken so many antibiotics throughout his childhood, that the meds they prescribed didn’t touch his sinus infection.

They tried for months to get it under control, and to make the long story short, the infection spread and endangered his brain. Doctors had to do surgery to get it under control.

Antibiotic resistance is more common in the developed world, but it is now found in countries like India, too. Right now, that country is facing a superbug epidemic and they are having trouble getting it under control.

To put it in perspective, more than 58,000 infants died last year in India after being born with bacterial infections which were resistant to most antibiotics.

No one wants their child to be sick, but remember that antibiotics do nothing for viruses. And using antibiotics when they are not needed, can actually cause trouble later when they are needed.

Antibiotics usually don’t work against common ailments like colds, flu, bronchitis, or sinus infections (unless is it a bacterial sinus infection). Even ear infections are often the result of a virus, and in that case doctors can only offer treatment of the symptoms like a pain reliever to reduce pain and fever.

Many sore throats don’t require antibiotics either. Strep throat is an exception because it is a bacterial infection and requires antibiotics, but your child should have a test to confirm that it is strep.

When my kids were younger, parents would ask for antibiotics and doctors would prescribe them. Now it is time for parents to ask, do my kids really need antibiotics?

Photo credits: TheGreenAppleHome

Breastfeeding Could Save Millions in Healthcare Costs

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 by 2 Comments

We live in times when many in our culture lean toward thinking of breastfeeding as something immodest or even disgusting. That mindset isn’t just here, but also thriving across the pond.

In fact, I just read an article regarding the Princess Michael of Kent calling it the “dreadful practice of breastfeeding” and that her nanny said it was “disgusting.” Yet, UK researches say that if more women breastfed for at least the first four months that healthcare cost savings could be significant, not to mention beneficial to both mother and baby.

Subhash Pokhrel, a health economist at Brunel University in London who led the study said, “Studies show that there is often an unsympathetic public attitude to breastfeeding outside of the home, an acceptance of formula feeding as a normal and safe way to feed babies, and a lack of expertise and experience of breastfeeding among health service staff.”

Results of this recent study point out several health benefits for both mother and baby along with the financial savings that could be realized when it comes to breastfeeding.

To start, previous studies have shown stomach, respiratory, and eye problems being more common in bottle-fed babies, and this study suggests that if 75 percent of the babies in British neonatal units were breastfed (rather than the current 25 percent) it could save the country’s healthcare system the equivalent of $9.6 million on a serious intestinal problem called necrotizing enterocolitis, which affect premature babies.

The benefits of breastfeeding don’t just affect childhood health, either. They reach into the future and include the estimated lifetime costs of treating maternal breast cancer which adds up to another $1.5 billion.

The study suggests that increasing breastfeeding rates from 7 to 21 percent at four months could save $3.14 million per year in hospitalizations and $471,250 in general practitioner costs for ear infections.

And by doubling the number of mothers who breastfed for 7 to 18 months, the researchers calculated that the UK would save $49 million in maternal breast cancer costs.

With all this crunching of numbers in the UK, I can’t help but think of Kate Middleton’s example. She breastfed Prince George and now is expecting her second baby. If she breastfeeds again, the popular royal may encourage others to do the same.

Statistics show the number of women who breastfeed in the UK has increased over the last 20 years from 62 percent to 81 percent, but only half of them breastfeed after the six week mark.

Photo credits: Thomas Widman

Link Round-up: Breakfasts, Shakes, Advice for Moms, and More

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has breakfast and shake ideas, advice for moms, and more.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons shared a penguin apple fruit snack idea.

The Joys of Boys shared advice for new moms.

Snappy Gourmet showed us how to make a healthy chocolate mockshake.

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A Mom’s Take showed us how to make heart-shaped sprinkle pancakes.

Crafty Journal taught us how to make heart soda can lights, which are perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Scary Mommy shared ways moms will eventually screw up.

Our Homemade Life showed us how to make a snowflake felt headband.

Photo credit: Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons and A Mom’s Take

Parenting Milestones Significant Events Often Overlooked

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 by No Comments

When I hear about milestones related to parenting, I think of baby milestones like first smiles, first teeth, rolling over, sitting up and all the others.

But along with all those baby milestones there are parenting milestones that some people might take for granted. These events are are significant in the lives of new parents.

I’m the oldest of 7 kids, so I didn’t think much about the first time I bathed my child, but for those with little or no experience giving your baby that first bath really is a milestone.

Learning to change a diaper…getting the fit just right and all that, is something parents get a handle on pretty quickly because we get so much practice. The milestone comes the first time you have to change your baby’s diaper in public. And in my book, how you dispose of that diaper is all part of that experience.

When your baby cries and you know why, that’s a milestone. I’m talking about recognizing the tired cry from the I’m hungry, or I’m wet cry.

Another significant event related to physical care is the first cutting of the fingernails. First of all, those fingers are sooo tiny and the skin so delicate. Plus, they don’t stay exactly still so it’s a challenge.

My great-grandmother believed you shouldn’t cut your baby’s nails because they would grow up to become a thief. Instead she said they should be bitten off. I considered it, only because I thought it might be easier.

The first time you call your pediatrician because your baby is sick is also a milestone. Whether it’s a cough, a fever, or something else, learning when to call the pedestrian is important. I still remember my doctor’s office telling me that I didn’t need to call regarding a fever, until they’d been running a temperature for 24 hours.

And a milestone that you might overlook has to do with discipline. The first time you punish your child in some way. It’s a hard thing for parents, but because we love them we learn to do it for their good. And down the road everyone benefits, because we raise kids who understand there are consequences and who learn to make better choices.

Parenting is full of milestones. We haven’t even talked about potty training and the first time your child wears their big boy/girl pants out, and we’ve just talked about infants and the toddler years.

From there we could talk about first sleep over, first day of school, first time they leave on the school bus, all the way up to the first time they drive, date, leave for college, or get married. The parenting life is full of milestones; enjoy each one.

Photo credits: Justin Mertz

Parental Faux Pas that Bug Other Parents

Posted on Jan 9, 2015 by No Comments

We all have our own parenting styles. Some of us do things as we raise our kids is a matter of conviction. Other things we do might be because it takes less effort, and others might actually be the result of being tired, frustrated, or just plain old lazy at the moment.

I recently read a list of what they called parental “lapses” that other parents don’t forgive, and I agreed with every one of them.

The too clean parent: The first lapse dealt with parents who expect their kids to stay too clean…like all the time! They look down on your kid’s dirty face, hands, shirt, or grass stained knees.

If they want to keep their kids spotless all the time, that’s their choice, but if I want my kids to love and experience life with a little dirt on their hands that’s my choice. I say, don’t worry, they’ll get a bath, their clothes will get washed, and yes their hands get washed before they eat.

With that said, there are times you want your kids to stay clean…like before church. I grew up in a large family and as we were dressed in our Sunday best we were told to sit on the sofa until time to go. It taught me there are times when you do want to look your best and stay clean, but it doesn’t have to be all the time.

Kids running wild in restaurant: Another of the lapses pointed to parents who let their children run around the restaurant “like wild animals.” I agree with this one across the board.

Restaurants offer a training opportunity for parents. Everyone going out to eat is paying for an experience and it doesn’t include kids running around even if they aren’t screaming.

Instead, its an opportunity for parents to teach their kids that sometimes we have to sit and wait to do what we want to do even when we don’t feel like it.

Letting kids overeat: A third parental faux pas is letting kids eat all they want of whatever they want. Food is not a pastime; or it shouldn’t be. Think of how many of us turn to food to meet an emotional need and then we regret it! As parents, this is our chance to help break those chains for our kids.

It can be hard because of our own emotional attachments, and it might feel mean to say “no” or that “you’ve had enough.” But really, letting them overeat is laying a foundation that will most likely lead to health problems in the future and none of us what that future.

Other items on the list included parents who harness their kids, disregard their safety, parents who take their kids for granted, or those who publically hit their kids. Do you have any other “parental lapses” to add to the list?

Photo credits: Dan Ox