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    December 1, 2014
    Common Parenting Phrases… That You Should Stop Saying

    Everyone knows that you shouldn’t curse around your kids, because they pick it up! You also shouldn’t say anything that will damage their self esteem, or scar them for life. Most people are aware of this. However, there are other phrases that EVERY parent says (me included) that are actually harmful as well– some are very surprising! No, your kid won’t be emotionally ruined if you use them, but alternative ways of wording things are sometimes much better. Check out this article by Michelle Crouch at Parenting.com for the phrases:

    -”You’re okay.”- Try giving him a hug and acknowledging what he’s feeling by saying something like, “That was a scary fall.” Then ask whether he’d like a bandage or a kiss (or both).

    -”I’m on a diet.”- Watching your weight? Keep it to yourself. If your child sees you stepping on the scale every day and hears you talk about being “fat,” she may develop an unhealthy body image. Instead, encourage healthy eating habits and how fun exercise is!

    -”Be careful.”- Saying this while your child is balancing on the monkey bars at the playground actually makes it more likely that he’ll fall. “Your words distract him from what he’s doing, so he loses focus,”

    -”Don’t talk to strangers.” Since the vast majority of child-abduction cases involve someone a kid already knows, you might also adopt McBride’s favorite safety mantra: “If anyone makes you feel sad, scared, or confused, you need to tell me right away.”

    Photo Credit: Ian D. Keating 


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    September 4, 2014
    Asking Vs. Telling

    Discipline is always hard for me. I love kids, and I hate confrontation. So, dealing with discipline problems with children is pretty much my worst nightmare. My golden rule is to treat kids with as much respect as possible– like they’re real people! When I need them to do something, I always ask. But, sometimes, just “asking” doesn’t cut it when you need kids to follow instructions. As much as they need respect, kids also need discipline. But how do you know when to ask, and when to tell? Read this post by Heather at Mamas Spot for advice:

    I have a tendency to ask my kids almost everything. “Do you want to put on your shoes now?” “Should we have macaroni and cheese for dinner?” “How about you go brush your teeth?”

    These are questions that present a problem if they are answered with no, because they are not really choices. If we’re going outside, we need shoes. If I’m preparing mac and cheese for dinner, that’s what we’ll be having.

    By setting limits with your children using clear and nurturing language, you are in actuality providing children with the safety and consistency that they need to have all the freedom you want them to have.

    Photo Credit: Andrew Taylor 


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    August 12, 2014
    Why Your Baby Needs Tummy Time

    My nephew Jayden is an explorer: he loves rolling over, looking around, playing with toys, and crawling (well, more like scooting, to be honest) around on his tummy. This was not always the case though! Initially, he HATED being put on his belly. I guess it’s understandable; all he could see was the blanket underneath him, and he was still developing the muscles needed to lift his head up and balance on his arms and legs. Once he got more practice, he got the hang of it though! While it can be uncomfortable for babies, tummy time is essential for muscle development. As always, make sure tummy time is spent while the baby is AWAKE—when sleeping, infants should always be placed on their back. Read this article by Tonya at Therapy Fun Zone for an explanation, as well as tips to make it easier:

    When a baby is born, they have been all curled and flexed up in the womb for months. When they come out, their muscles are still in fetal flexion and it takes time for them to stretch out those muscles. Tummy time does not have to be forced, and it does not have to be painful (for anyone) but it does have to be done (and is likely being done without your knowledge). When you lay or sit on the couch with your baby on your chest, that is tummy time. When you hold your baby in the football hold (which many babies prefer), that is tummy time.

    Photo Credit: mazaletel


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    August 4, 2014
    Switching to Baby Food

    My nephew Jayden is almost six months old! Wow, does time fly. Seriously, it seems like he was just born yesterday. But now he’s almost sitting up on his own, laughing, smiling at faces he recognizes, and rolling over and trying to crawl. Another major change? Simple formula just isn’t cutting it anymore. About a month and a half ago, we started introducing cereal into his formula to help fill him up and give him more nutrients. Even more recently, we’ve been experimenting with baby foods and other soft “people” foods like mashed potatoes. He LOVES peas, sweet potatoes, and pears, but isn’t so crazy about squash and applesauce. But, just like with all baby milestones, it’s not going to happen at the same time for everyone: every child different skills at different paces- you just have to be able to tell if they’re ready. For more info on when to switch to baby food, check out this article at WebMD:

    Most pediatricians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend introducing solid foods to babies at between 4 and 6 months of age. That’s when they start to lose the “tongue-thrust reflex” or extrusion reflex, which is important for sucking the breast or bottle but interferes with feeding.

    If your baby is around this age, can sit up well with support, and shows interest in the foods he sees you eating, it’s probably a good time to make your first forays into feeding baby solid food.

    Photo Credit: Jencu 


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    July 10, 2014
    Common Potty Training Mistakes

    All parents can’t wait until their babies are potty trained, but the training process itself can be a nightmare. Kids usually are pretty reluctant to learn- after all, pooping whenever you want and having someone else wipe it up for you is a pretty sweet deal. The idea is not that hard: you sit them on the toilet and teach them that’s the time to go. In reality though, it can be so, so difficult. To avoid a large chunk of tantrums and mess, check out this post by Anne at Zephyr Hill blog for common potty training mistakes:

    -Don’t be unrealistic- make no assumptions, try not to establish timelines.

    -Don’t pin all your hopes on friend’s and family’s advice- every child is different.

    -Don’t buy too much stuff- until you know what works for you

    -Don’t lose patience and don’t take it personally!

    Photo Credit: makelessnoise 


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    May 19, 2014
    Cloth Diaper Mistakes

    Cloth diapers are great- you save the planet and your wallet at the same time. They’re much more biodegradable, you generate less waste, and they cost less in the long run. The only downside is washing them (yuck). But, since cloth diapers are used less, people who start out with them often have some misconceptions about how to care for them. Since you’re re-using it, you need to be a little more careful in how you treat them. Check out this post by Calley Pate at The Eco Chic for things you should NEVER do to a cloth diaper:

    -NEVER Boil microfiber, snaps, PUL, or elastic.  Exposing your diaper covers, shells, and pockets to this high of heat can permanently damage them. 

    -NEVER Put your diapers in the microwave. There are safer ways to disinfect them.

    -NEVER use undiluted bleach on them- it deteriorates the fabric

    -NEVER put a cloth diaper in the dishwasher- For starters, I’m not putting diapers (clean or dirty) where I wash the dishes I eat off of.  Secondly, manufacturers would NEVER recommend this on their products.  Finally, it’s actually very dangerous and could cause a fire to start in your home.

    Photo Credit: Lou Haach


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    February 25, 2014
    Baby Sleep Ideas

    I recently became an auntie! On February 17th, my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I’m not going to spend this post gushing about how cute and perfect and well behaved he is, but I will say he’s a really good sleeper! Newborns spend most of their time (not pooping or eating) asleep. But sometimes, even if they have a full belly and clean diaper, it can be hard to get them to sleep! This post by The Savvy Bump is full of excellent ideas on how to get the little ones to rest:

    -Baby sleep is extremely complicated. All babies are different, and the sooner you accept this, the better off you’ll be. There is no magic solution. Some babies are great sleepers, some are not. Just knowing that makes things easier!

    -Read the books, but don’t take them too seriously. I learned something from each book but I also found myself getting extremely stressed out after reading them

    -Take care of your own sleep. Sleep deprivation is rough and it is easy to give all your attention and energy to making sure your baby is sleeping. However, it is important that you remember yourself! By taking care of yourself, you are NOT abandoning him 

    Photo by Me! (My gorgeous nephew!)


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    February 5, 2014
    Parenting Classes are ALWAYS a Good Idea

    There is this sort of stigma attached to parenting classes. Everyone assumes that the only people in these classes are either clueless, or they are being made to by CPS or something. Maybe they’re all “teen moms” that people love to shame. Either way, it is simply not the case. Parenting classes benefit everyone- from first time parents to seasoned veterans, and I think everyone should embrace them. You will always learn something new! Plus, if someone is offering you the chance to become a better parent, why wouldn’t you take it? Remove the stigma. Check out this post by the Baby Calm Blog:

    By attending these classes are we somehow saying “I’m not a good parent – I need help?” I’d argue quite the opposite, it is a parent that deeply cares for their child who seeks ways to better their interaction with them.

    Parenting classes aim to:

    Help parents to form realistic expectations of a toddler’s behaviour.

    Help parents to form empathy with a toddler’s feelings.

    Helping parents to find gentle tools to prevent & shorten toddler tantrums, aid sleep & eating

    Photo Credit: USAG- Humphreys 


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    January 20, 2014
    Delivering Baby (Home) After Delivery

    So, you just had a baby. You can’t stay in the hospital forever, but how do you get ready to bring your new bundle of joy home? Adding a new member to your family requires some adjusting, especially for first time parents. But, by planning a little in advance (before the hospital trip), you can make it a little easier on you and your new baby. These tips by Jennifer Fountain at Growing Up Triplets will help:

    -Prepare to be tired: Think through how you can minimize this so you can actually function! Let go of what you absolutely do not need to do during the first weeks and months of bringing babies home from the hospital.

    -Hire Household Help If it’s at all in the budget, hire a house cleaner. Having someone mop the floors and scrub the toilets is, for a period of time, a way to gain valuable minutes and hours with your babies or even sleeping! Consider asking family and friends for help to save money.

    Photo Credit: Seattle Eye


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    December 19, 2013
    The Santa Talk

    This post is for parents only! As your child starts to get older, some questions will probably start to come up about the existence of certain holiday spirit. Now, there are many different ways to handle this talk. Obviously, they can’t go on believing in Santa forever, but how old is too old? When is the right time? Well, that depends on your child. There are also a ton of ways to handle the conversation. Zina at Let’s Lasso the Moon has a terrific guide on when- and how- to approach the Santa Talk:

    If you’re dealing with a really young child, the best approach is to turn the question back on them, and simply ask,What do YOU think?” You can tell how much a little one wants to talk about the topic by how easily you can redirect their attention.

    If that’s not going to cut it, try saying something along the lines of:

    Oh, honey. I’m so PROUD of you. You figured it out — the magic of Christmas. I knew you could do it. This is so exciting! Now YOU get to be part of creating all the secret magic for your little brother.”

    The tone of this happy and honest response will likely take your child by surprise.” It quickly flips their disappointment with you or the situation as a whole on its head and channels the funny feeling in their stomach into a moment of recognition for the celebrated milestone that just occurred. 

    Photo Credit: Recon Cycles 


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