Archive for the Newborn Category

Could Electronics Be Affecting Your Child’s Health ?

 WE HAVE all play on our phones and laptops while with our kids. Whether it’s a quick text or a social media post, it can be difficult put the electronics down. We are guilty of it, ( call a thing a thing) and be honest. And some nannies are guilty of it( Excellent Nannies understands that ‘s a HUGE NO for me). But in reality, our email and Facebook can wait – especially if it means setting a good example for our children and protecting their health, since increased screen time is associated with higher rates of childhood obesity, , bad tempers, behavior problems, ADHD, poor sleep quality, poor physical activity and poor school performance.

Multiple studies have shown that as parents increase their screen time (whether it be smart phones, TV, computers, video games), their children do the same. Our children are constantly learning from us and following in our footsteps. When we focus on a screen instead of our child, we are sending a message that says, “My phone or the TV is more interesting than you.”  ( NOT on purpose) Parents often ask me why kids are so interested in our smartphones and tablets, and it’s because from the day they’re born, they see us glued to these devices. In turn, children are fascinated by electronics and want to use them, too.

Loss of Social Skills

Kids who spend too much time with electronics lack in normal social skills that are needed to help them develop into a well-rounded adult. While kids know their way around keypads, they don’t know how to talk one-on-one to another person. Social skills, people skills and the ability to interact with others of all ages is lacking in kids who spend too much interacting with an electronic device and have limited face time with people.

By not developing the ability to interact with others face-to-face, future adult relationships for the child will be impeded. Employment, romance, friendships and simple social etiquette will be limited and awkward if a child never develops normal social skills.

Aggression

Ask any child what their favorite video game is and in all probability it will involve violence. Even very young kids are drawn to games that use weapons to kill. The more violent and bloody, the more popular the video game typically becomes.

That translates into aggression as the child becomes a teenager. Studies show that teens who spend a lot of time watching violent TV shows and/or playing violent video games are far more likely to be aggressive both in the home and at school. These aggressive teens fight with their siblings and peers, argue with teachers and parents and just always seems to be an outburst waiting to happen.

Obesity

The use of any device with an electronic screen seems to require the need to sit down, or at least be still, while using. The sedentary nature, combined with ads for high-calorie junk food, often leads to childhood obesity. Children are naturally full of energy and have an inborn need to run, jump and otherwise be active. When that normal desire to be active is curtailed and they sit on their haunches for hours on end, they will become overweight.

Here’s some things that we can do to change the addictions to electronics for our children

Remove the TV from the bedroom. Take the TV out of your room and your child’s room. Screen time at bedtime has been shown to influence sleep patterns and lead to less sleep and increased behavior problems.

Ban electronics from the dinner table. Make mealtime an electronics-free zone – no TV, no smartphone, no tablet on the table. Eating with screens on makes you more likely to consume more calories and less likely to have a conversation with your child. Take the time to find out what happened in your child’s day instead of reading posts about what’s happening in other people’s lives.

Put limitations on screen time. Limit as much screen time as possible – ideally no more than 30 minutes to one hour per day. The more our children use electronics, the less physical activity they do. Fight the boredom by making a list of things to do to keep the kids occupied.

Set aside play time. Show your child he or she is more important than the screen, and do things the old-fashioned way. Play with your kids, and let their imaginations run wild. Take them to the park, a museum or help them build a fort in the living room.

Oh baby, oh baby! It’s Cold Outside!

Let’s be honest, baby oh baby it’s cold outside! Winter is this amazing time of year that brings food, fun and family together, but the temperatures are dropping. Dressing a baby, or toddler, in the winter can be quite the task. Are the clothes too tight? Are they comfortable?! Are they sweating under here?! Can the cold air still get to them?!

 

So many questions right!? Well here are five tips to keep your bundle of joy warm in the winter time.

 

  1. Layer! Layer! Layer!

This trick will be your best friend and save you time and time again. Let’s start with the basics, a onesie or t-shirt, then a one-piece of leggings and an outer shirt. Pair that with socks and boots and you’re in for a treat, and your little one will be all cozy.

 

  1. What’s one more item!?

One of the good rules to follow is plus one. So you dress your baby, or toddler, in a similar outfit to what you’re wearing and just add an extra piece on top of that. Simple right?! Here’s an example. If you have on a button up, jeans, socks, boots and a jacket, simply dress your child the same and just add a hat.

 

  1. Let’s cover that gorgeous head of hair!

Your child’s head should always be safe from the cold. So why not get a cute beanie or hat with a chin-strap to ensure your child’s warmth?

 

  1. Check the feet and stomach!

When checking the temperature, always make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. A good way to check on this is check for the toes, if the toes are cool (not cold) and check the belly for warmth. It’s an age old trick that works every time!

 

  1. Breathe!

It’s going to be okay and you’re going to have questions, after all that’s what blogs, forums, mom and dad groups, and other sources of information are for. Everything is going to be alright and you’ll get through this winter just fine.

Helping Your Child Recognize Their Feelings

Not too long ago it was thought that the conventional wisdom was that babies were pretty much blobs who didn’t think or feel much before they could speak in words around the age of two.  Such an idea that a six-month-old could feel fear or anger, no less sadness and grief, was preposterous.  But thanks to an explosion in research on infancy in the last 30 years, we now know that babies and toddlers do feel deeply. Starting in the earliest months of life, well before they can use words to express themselves, babies have the capacity to experience peaks of joy, excitement and elation. They also feel fear, grief, sadness, hopelessness and anger—emotions that many adults understandably still find it hard to believe, or accept, that very young children can experience. Research has also shown that children’s ability to effectively manage their full range of emotions—also known as self-regulation—is one of the most important factors for success in school, work and relationships into the long-term.So the critical first step in helping your child learn to cope with her feelings is not to fear the feelings, but embrace them—all of them. Feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just are what they are. Sadness and joy, anger and love, can co-exist and are all part of the collection of emotions children experience. When you help your child understand his feelings, he is better equipped to manage them effectively.

One major obstacle in doing this which I see quite often in my work with parents is that they are operating under the assumption that having a happy child means he needs to be happy all the time. Muscling through difficult experiences, mastering struggles, and coping with sadness and grief builds strength and resilience, and is ultimately what brings children a sense of contentedness and well-being.

What can parents do?

  • Starting in the earliest months, tune in to babies’ cues—their sounds, facial expressions and gestures—and respond sensitively, which lets babies know their feelings are recognized and important. This might mean stopping a tickling game with a four-month-old when she arches her back and looks away, signaling she needs a break. Or taking a nine-month-old to the window to wave good-bye to Mom when he is sad to see her leave for work.
  • Label and help toddlers cope with feelings. Emotions like anger, sadness, frustration and disappointment can be overwhelming for young children. Naming these feelings is the first step in helping children learn to identify them and communicates to children that these feelings are normal. This might mean acknowledging an 18-month-old’s anger at having to leave the playground, validating a two-year-old’s frustration at his block tower repeatedly falling or empathizing with a three-year-old’s sadness that his grandparents are leaving after a long visit.
  • Don’t fear the feelings. Feelings are not the problem. It’s what we do—or don’t do—with them that can be problematic. Listen openly and calmly when your child shares difficult feelings. When you ask about and acknowledge feelings, you are sending the important message that feelings are valued and important. Recognizing and naming feelings is the first step toward learning to manage them in healthy, acceptable ways over time.
  • Avoid minimizing or talking children out of their feelings. This is a natural reaction—we just want to make the bad feelings go away. “Don’t be sad. You’ll see Joey another day.” But feelings don’t go away; they need to be expressed one way or another. Acknowledging a child’s strong feelings opens the door to helping her learn how to cope with them. “You are sad Joey has to leave. You love playing with him.  Let’s go to the window to wave goodbye and make a plan to see him again soon.” When feelings are minimized or ignored, they often get expressed through aggressive words and actions, or by turning them inward, which can ultimately make children anxious or depressed.
  • Teach tools for coping. If your 18-month-old is angry that playtime is over, guide her to stamp her feet as hard as she can or to draw how angry she is with a red crayon. Help a two-year-old who is frustrated at not being able to get the ball into the basket brainstorm other ways to solve the problem. Take a three-year-old who is fearful about starting a new school to visit his classroom beforehand to meet the teachers and play on the playground so that the unfamiliar can become familiar.

Our children’s emotional reactions trigger our own emotional reactions, which can lead to a knee-jerk need to rescue or “fix” whatever is causing our child distress. But it’s important that we manage our own feelings and avoid this temptation, as it creates a missed opportunity to help children learn strong coping skills. Instead, see these experiences as teachable moments to help your child learn to name and manage the emotions—positive and negative—that add depth and color to our lives.  Show your child that a full, rich life means experiencing both the ups and the downs. Feelings are not “good” or “bad”—they just are. You are your child’s guide in sharing the joys and coping with the challenges. And it starts on day one.

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LET’S GET SOCIAL!