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As the first day of school approaches parents often start to think about routines for the new school year.  Routines can change or need to be adjusted with a new school and sometimes reestablished after the lazy days of summer.

Rush Boys Outdoor Human Handsome Backpack

Routines are an important part of a child’s development.  Routines do more than just keep us organized, they help our youth learn life skills, build their self-confidence, and teach team work and much more.  According to Healthy Children, children do best when their routine are regular, predictable and consistent.

Here are a few routines to consider as you head back into a new school year:

Morning Routine: having a routine in the morning can help families get to work and school on time, remember homework, lunches and other important items and be ready to face the day.  If your children struggle to get going in the morning allow them enough time to wake up before starting their morning routine. A morning routine should include time for breakfast.

After School: Routines after school can organize extracurricular and evening activities and still work in other necessary activities like homework and chores. Children that old enough to be home alone after school benefit from a routine and knowing what is expected of them.  Posting routines for all to see and follow may be helpful.  This also encourages autonomy as our children and teens start to move through the routines on their own.

Bedtime: An evening routine can help our children get their recommended amount of sleep.  Bedtimes may be different for our children based upon their needs and ages. A routine before bed can help children be ready. Build quiet time in and avoid screen time, close to bed to help your child be ready for restful sleep.   A night time routine could include reading time, singing together or just some time with each individual child to talk about their day.

Bed Lamp Bedside Pillows Flower Bedroom Ho

Other routines that are important and beneficial to children include meal, weekend and clean up or chore routines.  Routines look different in every family.  It’s important to be flexible when building a new routine for your family.  It make time for family members to adjust and the new routine may need a few changes,  be patient and willing to adapt as needed and soon you will be seeing all the benefits of routines in your home.

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Sources:

https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need

https://www.healthychildren.org/english/family-life/family-dynamics/pages/the-importance-of-family-routines.aspx

https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/families/enewsletter/screen-time-and-sleep

Peaceful Parenting, OSU Extension

 

 

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Every year, a few new words or terms that make their way into common language. While they’re usually words that describe new trends or technologies (glamping, cryptocurrency) one that I’ve heard a lot lately is Mom Guilt. And while the use of the term has only recently gone mainstream, I imagine that the emotion has been around since the beginning of motherhood.
Mom and toddler daughter

Guilt, on its own, is an emotion experienced when we perceive that we’ve done something wrong. Add “Mom” as a prefix and, it’s clear that we’re referring to instances when we feel we could have done better by our child.

While many triggers exist, Mom Guilt is often associated with the times when we are not physically with our children. If you hesitate to plan a weekend with friends, pass on date night with your partner, skip your workouts, or even feel badly leaving for work, all because you feel you shouldn’t be leaving your child, you may be experiencing Mom Guilt.

That most likely means that you recognize how critically important you are to him or her. According to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, “The single most common factor [in resilient children] is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive [parent or other adult.]”Mom in script text

So, it’s wise and admirable that you would be thoughtful about how you use your time, and that you see the value in devoting the better part of a given day, week, or month to time with your child and your family. However, for loving and attentive parents, perhaps a feeling of guilt (which remember, refers to feelings of having done wrong), each time you leave home, should be reconsidered. Here’s why:

  1. Your child needs the opportunity to exercise independence. In many of our parenting classes, when we ask parents what their goals are for their children, we almost always unanimously agree that we want our children to grow into happy, independent adults. Children need the chance to exercise their independence by being away from you at times.
  2. You are your child’s first teacher, and always a role model. Let them see how you can manage the many responsibilities adulthood, including heading out to work each day. I hope to inspire my daughter by showing her that every day, going after what needs to be done with a positive attitude, which includes leaving for work, is good for me, for her, and for our family.
  3. Happy parents create happy families. Taking care of #1 has rippling effects for your family. So, if you need to take a break without your kids, whether that’s going to yoga or having lunch with friends, know that it’s nothing to feel guilty about. When you’re back, you’ll feel more peaceful and rejuvenated, and can be present with your child, the beneficiary of a happy mom!

What do you do to relieve your “Mom Guilt?”  Respond in the comment section.

Resources:

The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, Resilience https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/resilience/

PBS Parents, Fostering Independence in Children http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/learning-disabilities/fostering-independence-in-children/

Writer: Joanna Fifner, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County, fifner.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

 

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“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” This quote from Ann Landers really outlines the basic purpose of parenting. The purpose of

photo of father and daughter running at the park

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

parenting is the same today as it has been for many years: to protect our children and prepare them to survive in society.  In order to survive in society, children have to learn to be independent.  Parenting involves gradually teaching a child independence according to their age. Children develop in stages, so appropriate behavior at one age may not be appropriate at another. Giving children the opportunities to learn, grow and be independent can be very scary for parents. At an early age, we watch our toddler learn to walk. We have to watch their many failed attempts before they learn to master the skill of walking. As hard as it is for parents to watch their children fall, we also know that it is necessary for them to grow, and this is true throughout the many stages and challenges of their childhood.

Equipping children with some basic skills will help them continue on their path to independence. In Active Parenting: A Guide to Raising Happy and Successful Children, author Micheal H. Popkin argues that active parents help children learn survival skills and independence. The four skills that Popkin identifies are:

  • Courage, or trying new things without fear of failure. Courage is the building block of self-esteem.
  • Self-esteem, or how people feel about themselves. People with high self-esteem feel capable and able to succeed.
  • Responsibility, or the ability to accept consequences for decisions and actions. Children who learn responsibility have courage to stick with their decisions.
  • Cooperation, or working as a team member. Children are true members of the family and are entitled to express their feelings, respectfully, to their parents.

Parents are the foundation that help children learn to have courage, be responsible and cooperative, and feel good about themselves. Putting it simply, the job of parenting is to work yourself out of a job.

 

Written by: Kathy Goins, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Clark County, goins.115@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

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February brings us Valentine’s Day. That makes it a prefect time to work on developing a loving relationship with our children.  Learning to communicate with each other will strengthen family relationships especially during the teenage years.

Not only is communication important for families, it should be the foundation.  Good family communication helps develop trust and builds respect between mevalentinembers of the family.  It will make it easier to solve conflicts and face the many challenges thrown at today’s families.  By teaching your children good communication techniques today they will have the lifetime tools needed to communicate with others outside the home.

Talking is not always the best communication.  In fact, best communicator is often times not the speaker, but the best listener.  We need to listen with both ears, with eye contact and with our full attention.

As a parent educator, I often hear parents moan, “Why won’t my child talk to me? But I also hear the other side from the children asking, “Why won’t my parents listen to me?”     So what can we do to communicate better?  Take time to discover your children.  A very important way to build a relationship is to ask questions about their activities, feelings and interests. Try to understand their point of view.  Remember what it was like at their age.  Let them know you care about their feelings even if they are different than yours.  Sounds easy?  You say you already do that.  Do you really take the time to sit down next to them, with eyes and ears opened  and interrupted by the television, computers or cell phones?  Here are some things that can enhance family communication:

  • Send clear and encouraging messages.
  • Watch our tone of voice and body language. It sets the mood for conversation.
  • Let them know you are listening. Look at your child’s face.
  • Don’t make it about you. Stay with the child’s ideas. A young child’s story may go on and on and get twisted up. But stay with them, they will learn though you to get better at expressing their feelings and ideas.

Communication is the bridge between you and your children.  It is a way for you to share love and teach appropriate behavior.  To honor St Valentine make some hearts from red paper or pink paper and write positive sayings such as:  wow, outstanding, way to go, terrific, much better, very nice, etc.  Pass then to each other.  Every time you give a love message you have made a change.  You will be glad you took the time.

Written by: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Reviewed by:

References:

Bornstein, M. H., editor, 1995. Handbook of parenting: volume 1, children and parenting. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Gottman, J., and J. DeClaire. 1997. The heart of parenting. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Klauser, H. A. 1995. Put your heart on paper. New York: Bantam.

 

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My teenage daughter affectionately call me “Mom-ther”. My teenage son calls me “Momma”. When they were tiny humans, they called me “Mommy”. No matter your moniker or how you came to be raising another human, parenting can be both the most rewarding and joyous experience and also one of the hardest things you have ever done. Whether you are celebrating the joys or crying through the struggles, there are things as parents we can do each day to help ourselves (and our children).

There can be a lot of pressure as you raise another person to become an adult.  Each of us brings our own history (positive and negative) and our own strengths and weaknesses.  Please know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  Each of us has a different parenting style. Each of our families has a different set of norms and expectations, so please do not compare your parenting to another.

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The United States Department of Education offers these tips for being an effective parent:

  • Show love. Say “I love you” in as many ways as you can: write notes, send a text, use one of their favorite communication apps.
  • Give support. Be present. Turn of the electronics. Talk and engage. Be a part of their lives.  Show interest in what they are interested in.
  • Set limits. Be clear and be consistent about your expectations. I have said many times “our house rules are not the same as others, but my job is to keep you safe and healthy.”
  • Be a role model. Be kind.   Don’t gossip.  Be strong.  Show empathy.  Our children are seeing how we interact with the world and will emulate whatever we do.
  • Teach responsibility. Give children the opportunity to learn this while they are still at home with you.
  • Provide new experiences. Step out of your comfort zone and try new activities, foods, and cultural events.
  • Show respect. Ask questions and listen for the answers. Valuing our children as humans with their own thought and desires can help them and us immensely.

Another important part of being an effective parent is for you to keep learning! The Center for Disease Control has compiled many resources to help you as you seek out information to be the best parent.

As you think about parenting for the win today, tomorrow, and as the years quickly fly by, remember to approach your parenting like you would anything else that you plan to succeed in.  Forgive yourself (and your children) when needed and celebrate the littlest of successes. This quote from Zig Ziglar sums it up, in parenting and for life: “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

Written by: Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed by:  Kathy Green, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Clark County

Sources:

US Department of Education, “Being an Effective Parent — Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence”, 2003 https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/adolescence/part5.html

Mgbemere , B and , Telles, R. “Types of Parenting Styles and How to Identify Yours”, Developmental Psychology Department, Vanderbilt University https://my.vanderbilt.edu/developmentalpsychologyblog/2013/12/types-of-parenting-styles-and-how-to-identify-yours/

American Academy of Pediatrics, “A ‘Perfect’ Parent, 2015. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/Pages/A-Perfect-Parent.aspx

Center for Disease Control , “Positive Parenting Tips”, 2017  https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/index.html   

Zig Ziglar,  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/zig_ziglar_381983

Photo Credits

https://pixabay.com/en/stress-mother-baby-woman-parent-419085/

https://pixabay.com/en/parenthood-parenting-child-1832390/

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It can be stressful for a parent to get a tearful phone call from a child at camp. For children who are away from home, it is very common for them to experience homesickness. Ninety percent of all children report experiencing feelings of sadness when separated from their home environment. Most children are able to function at camp and learn to work through homesickness. And it’s worth the struggle when kids return stronger and more independent. Some preparation ahead of time may help lessen homesickness at camp.

camp

Have your child help pack. If your child is picking out his clothes and making sure they he has all that he needs, this will help him start to think about time at camp and taking care of himself.

Be positive when you talk with your child about camp. Remind him how much fun he will have with new activities and making new friends.

Address any concerns your child may have about being away from home. You can create some coping strategies together, or better yet, have him come up with suggestions of what he might do in certain situations. For example, when he feels homesick, or lonely he could write a letter home, find a friend, talk with camp staff, or get busy with an activity.

Back up Plans. Do NOT make a back up plan with your child in case he wants to come home. If a child and a parent have an easy ‘out’ it will likely be taken. Camp staff are usually prepared to help a homesick child. You might, however, talk with camp staff to make sure your child is working through it and still having a positive camp experience. You can encourage your child to stick it out. If the homesickness is severe and your child is not functioning well, decide ahead of time what you will do.

Pack notes in your child’s bag with encouraging words, affirmations, and even some funny jokes or camp mad libs for him to complete.  If you mail letters to camp, be positive and encourage your child that he can do it! Telling your child how much you miss him may not be helpful. Consider sending stamped envelopes and paper so your child can write you back. It will help him feel connected with you, and it’s neat to read the notes even after camp.

Prepare yourself to be apart from your child for the week. Have a friend you can talk with and that can give you positive and encouraging reminders. Click here for more tips for parents to manage their own worries about summer camp.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Sources:

American Psychological Association. “Summer camp blues: Planning ahead to lessen homesickness at camp.” 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp.aspx

American Psychological Association. “Sending your child to camp: Manage your own worries.” 2017. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp-worry.aspx

 

 

 

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I can remember sitting with my twin daughters, trying to figure out how one could be so easy going, easy to please, and agreeable, while the other was on the opposite of spectrum. I spent countless hours trying to make sense of how two people so much alike could be so different. They were the same gender, same age, and same biologically, but the biggest difference between them was their temperament. Through the process of parenting, I learned that my responses and techniques would need to be different to address the uniqueness of both children. Understanding a child’s temperament can help reduce the stress of parenting.

When parents understand how their children react to certain situations, they can learn to anticipate issues that might present difficulties for their child.  They can prepare their child for the situation or in other cases they may be able to avoid a difficult situation altogether. Parents can learn to tailor their parenting strategies to the particular temperamental characteristics of the child.  Parents often feel more effective as thepouting childy more fully understand and appreciate their child’s unique personality.

Children are born with their own natural style of interacting with or reacting to people, places and things.  This is called their temperament.  In the late 1950’s, researchers identified nine temperament traits or characteristics.  They found that
these nine traits were present at birth and continued to influence development throughout the life cycle.  Temperament is different from personality, which is really a combination of temperament and life experiences.  Think of temperament as a set of in-born traits that help organize your child’s approach to the world.

There are nine recognized temperament traits.  Each temperament has a description and parents are encouraged to rate their child on a scale from 1-5.

  • Activity level.  How active is your child?  Are her movements quick or slow?
  • Adaptability.  How quickly does your child adjust to changes in life?  How quickly does he/she adapt to new people, places, foods or things?
  • Approach.  What is your child’s first reaction to new people, places, or experiences?  Is he/she eager for new experiences or reluctant?
  • Distractibility.  Is your child easily interrupted by things going on around him?  Does he continue to work or play when noise is present?
  • Intensity.  How much energy does your child use to express emotions?  Does he/she laugh or cry vigorously?  Or, does he/she smile and fuss mildly?
  • Mood.  What mood does your child usually display?  Do
    es your child see the world as a pleasant place?
  • Persistence.  How long does your child continue with a difficult activity?  Can he continue when frustrated?  Can he stop when asked?
  • Regularity.  Does your child have a predictable internal cl
    ock?  Does he/she generally get hungry, sleepy, or have bowel movements at the same time every day?
  • Sensory threshold.  How aware is your child of his/her physical world?  How sensitive is she/he to changes in sound, light, touch, pain, taste, and odor?

 Understanding that these inborn behavioral tendencies are not the result of bad parenting is perhaps one of the most important insights parents gain from learning more about temperament. I wish I had known about the importance of temperament when my children were growing up.  I can look back now and see why there were some struggles.

Writer: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, Top of Ohio EERA

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

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