The Stages of Play and Friendship

How to teach emotional intelligence

How does socialization work in homeschooling? Children play differently according to their brain development. They move from single play (babies play with toys by themselves) to parallel play (toddlers play side by side but don’t interact other than to grab a toy) to associative play (preschoolers begin to “play together”) to cooperative play (young children that really play together in free play or organized play) which is elementary school years. Children ages 4-12 have friends based on who is around them and shares the same interests. I remember my child telling me about his friend at age 6 but couldn’t remember his name or where he lived. As children move into the teen years, their friends are deliberately chosen based on shared interests but also shared values, beliefs and attitudes.

All children need is one good friend and siblings count, although they can have scads of them if they want. Most homeschooled children are still very much close to family and siblings because family comes first, but also see many outside the family friends because homeschoolers do not stay at home! They “community school.” Friends come from lessons, outings, group projects, co-ops, musical and art community groups, Girl Guides, church, neighborhood, etc. Friends are not just the same cohort as classmates. So homeschooling socialization is more diverse than an age-sorted classroom. Friends are from all cultures, races, genders, family shapes, and ages.

Friends also change depending on life cycles. My daughters friends in early childhood are not the friends she had in high school and not the same friends she had in university. There are new friends for every new life stage. We were looking at photo albums the other day and she doesn’t remember any of her childhood friends before age 12. Same with my other 4 kids.

Socialization doesn’t have to be a worry in homeschooling. Friends are everywhere!

DSC00312

Ways To Learn Math Without A Workbook

Ways to Learn Math Without a Workbook

By Judy Arnall, BA

math cake

The birthday cheesecake looked smaller than a half.  Although the store sold the cheesecake in halfs and wholes, my children and I opened the box and immediately knew something was wrong. But, we had to figure out the calculation on paper with pi, to demonstrate to the store that an error was made.

 

As a humanities major, I used to be afraid of math, but no longer. Although my math proficiency ends at grade 8, I still wanted to homeschool my 5 children through high school and into STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) career paths if they so desired. With great interest, I watched how their understanding of math changed with age.

 

Children ages 0-12 learn math through visualization and thinking. We call it “mental math” where they figure out solutions to their everyday problems in their head using various strategies. You see this with babies using a shape sorter, or a toddler sharing cookies, or a preschooler grouping colored Lego, or a school-ager playing Battleship.

 

As unschoolers, we didn’t use any math curriculum. The children experienced mental math through games, toys and play. They started learning “paper math” at age 13 (grade 8) when they took their first formal math course, taught by a teacher, in preparation for their desire to enter STEM careers. They didn’t need to memorize the multiplication tables as they had already been using those mental tools since birth.

 

At puberty, the children’s brain development allowed them to understand abstract concepts such as a “variable.”  They had the brain computing power to work through 8 grades of math in one year, by applying learned paper math solutions to mental math problems. They learned the names of each math tool (fractions, decimals, variable, addition) as well as when and how to apply each tool to everyday problem-solving.

 

If you have a child in school, math homework doesn’t have to involve a textbook or workbook. Here are some handy ways children can learn math outside a classroom:

 

Adding and subtracting – Play board games such as monopoly, etc. Selling items and making change at a garage sale or lemonade stand. Paying for items in stores and noticing what change is given back.

 

Multiplying and dividing – Cooking, baking, sewing, workshop projects, and art projects. Sharing food and items among friends.

 

Greatest Common Multiples – Skip counting jumps on the trampoline.

 

Fractions – Baking and cooking from recipes. Dividing up food with siblings.

Deciding how much quantity of food to buy per person for hosting dinners.

 

Decimals – Shopping. Splitting restaurant cheques.

 

Percents – Calculating tips, taxes and sale prices while shopping.

 

Estimation – Shopping. Tracking travel miles.

 

Perimeter – Measuring for baseboards, or framing pictures.

 

Area – Measuring for carpet, paint or floor coverings. Sewing.

 

Volume – Measuring parcels for the post office.

 

Circumference – Measuring if half the ordered cheesecake really is half a cheesecake.

 

Least Common Factors – Lego pieces are named 2×2’s or 2×8’s so figuring out how many pieces are needed to build a model.

 

Integers – Monitoring temperature changes.  Counting money. Counting zero pairs with red (negative integers) and green (positive peices) Lego blocks.

 

Algebra – Computer games such as Graal, Minecraft, Zelda, etc. Shopping for packaged food items for a certain number of people. Figuring out problems.

 

Variables – Figuring out symbols  that stand in for concepts.

 

Place value – Sorting and grouping toys and items. Measuring liquids, distances, and weight using the metric system that is based on 10.  Counting money in games such as Monopoly. Writing out cheques. Cooking.

 

Coordinates and Ordered Pairs – Play the Battleship game.

 

Rounding – Figuring out how much allowance one has to pay for things.  Estimating price total when grocery shopping.

 

Angles properties – Making a sundial. Studying astronomy. Visiting historical sites where people made ancient contraptions to measure time and seasons. Calculating how far from the wall, the ladder must be for safety measures.

 

Degrees – Formatting photos that are upside down and sideways. Learning about astronomy to understand degrees related to a sphere. Questioning why the Xbox is a 360! Playing Hide and Seek game.

 

Temperature – Bake and cook.  Monitoring the weather.

 

Time – Figuring out the clocks at hospitals and airports help children learn the 24 hour clock.

 

Roman numerals – Read “Asterix and Obelisk” books. Visit monuments.

 

Reading graphs, pie charts, and figures – Reading newsspapers and magazines such as The Economist, Time, and MacLeans which include many charts and graphs. Discuss how the information is presented and if it is correct.

 

Even and Odd numbers – Reading maps and house numbers on a street. Dividing groups based on birthdays.

 

Properties of geometric solids – Playing with blocks and nets.

 

Slides, turns, rolls and flips – Formatting photos on the computer.  Playing with blocks.

 

Symmetry – Playing with mirrors, objects and prisms.

 

Perfect squares and Exponents – Examine a multiplication table and visually see the patterns. Making paper squares for cutting snowflakes and other paper projects. Seeing how squares fit into other squares.

 

Executive Function Skills – Playing video games, or chess helps children develop taking turns, planning the next move, toning working memory by holding multiple instructions in their heads, filtering distractions, and develop emotion self-control when they lose.

 

Math is fun! Cultivate a child’s learning math tools through experience and the mental concepts will stick when they finally learn it on paper.  Sometimes, pi is better than cake!

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X^2 + 4X + 3

 

Excerpted from the bestselling book, Unschooling to University, by Judy Arnall.   Judy is the author of the print bestseller, Discipline Without Distress, and Parenting With Patience. Visit Judy’s  blog at http://www.unschoolingtouniversity.com

Celebrate Your Toddler’s “NO!”

Empower your child to say NO!

 

I walked into the kitchen and discovered my two-year-old blonde haired daughter, dressed in her little pink fleece sleeper with the padded feet, standing on top of the chair next to the counter.  She was preoccupied with dipping her fingers into the butter bowl and then into the sugar bowl before they headed into her waiting mouth. When she saw me enter the kitchen, a potential threat to her wonderful activity, she formed a very concise pointed finger at me, and firmly delivered “NO!” at my astonished expression.

 

“NO!”  It’s probably the most commonly used word in toddlerhood!  It flies out of our children’s mouths before they even have time to really think about what they are saying “no” to.

 

When my five children were young, they were allowed to say “no” as much as they wanted to. I would always try to respect their “no” as much as I could within the parameters of the particular situation, and especially in circumstances such as when they didn’t want to be tickled by me, or didn’t want to hear me sing, or didn’t want to be kissed by Grandma or didn’t want to share their prized possessions. I think “no” is an important word for asserting their feelings and desires and unless it is a matter of safety, they have the right to have their opinion listened to and respected. Here is why children should be allowed to say “no”:

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is three and her daddy might want to put her in the front seat and not the car seat because it is less hassle.

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is five and her little five-year-old friend might want her to cross a busy street without an adult.

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is nine and her Uncle might want to touch her in her private places.

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is twelve and her friends might want her to steal a candy bar from the grocery store.

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is fourteen and her friends might bully a fellow student.

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is fifteen and a friend’s drunk parent might want to drive her home from a sleepover party.

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is sixteen and her boyfriend might want to show her how much he loves her.

 

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is eighteen and her buddies might want her to try some “crystal meth.”

 

So, when she is two-years-old, my daughter can practice saying “no” as much as she needs to.  And I won’t take it personally.

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting and Teacher Conference Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery and the new book, Parenting With Patience: Turn frustration into connection with 3 easy steps. http://www.professionalparenting.ca,        jarnall@shaw.ca,

 

 

Alternatives To Saying “No!” and Avoiding the Meltdown

One day it happens. Your cute, adorable, cuddly baby has turned into a toddler. And she’s discovered the word, “NO”! Emphatic, heart stopping, and powerful. The word no is a favorite among children because they hear it so often from parents when they mean business.

Children are corrected many times in a day. That’s a lot of negatively thrown at them. Eventually, the word “No” loses its impact and children get so tired of hearing it, they learn to tune parents out.

How can we avoid overuse of the word “No” when relating to our child, but still get the message across that some limits have to be respected? Try using some positive alternatives:

 

  • “Yes, later.” Works well when you want to delay something such as a cookie before dinner.
  • “Not for _______________.” The child’s name can go here.
  • “Not today.” Tells the child that the possibility is open, but timing is wrong.
  • “When……,then……” This technique is especially good for transition times. “When we get in the car, then we can watch the hot air balloons on the way home.” “When we get to Grandmas, then we can have the ice-cream we brought.” This works great to establish a routine and help toddlers discover the order of events in their world. One event often follows another.
  • “Let me think about it.” Instead of an automatic no, you always have the right for time to think about your decision. We often make better parenting decisions, ones we don’t regret later, but feel we have to follow through for consistency sake, when we’ve allowed ourselves time to think about what we are really being asked, and what response we want to give.
  • “Yes, did you bring your allowance with you?” You are getting across the point that child can purchase the treat/toy/treasure but you are not paying for it.
  • “Yes, (with qualifier inserted here).” For example, “Yes, you may eat your Easter chocolate after breakfast.” “Yes, you may ride your bike after your homework is done.” “Sure, lets play after the dishes are done.”
  • Perhaps give a reason instead of a “No”, such as “Ouch, hitting hurts people!” instead of “No hitting”!
  • Be sure to tell what to do, instead of what not to do. Instead of “No running!” try “Please walk.” Instead of “No jumping on the sofa.” Try “Sofas get broken when jumped on. Please jump on the floor cushions.” Or “Let’s use our church voices, instead of our outside voices.”

 

There is always a more positive way to state a rule. Personally, when I hit a barrage of “No this, no that.” I start to feel negative and uncooperative. No matter what their age, all people respond better when rules are communicated positively. For example, “ I’m worried about dirt on the carpet. Let’s take our shoes off in the house.” will elicit much more cooperation than “No shoes in the house”. For just one day, try to avoid the No word and rephrase all your correctives in positive language. Save your No’s for absolute safety reasons. See what a difference it makes in the cooperation of your children!

Excerpted from “Attachment Parenting Tips Raising Toddlers To Teens”

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery” She specializes in “Parenting the Digital Generationwww.professionalparenting.ca        jarnall@shaw.ca

 

 

Breastfeeding Benefits

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the optimum food for infants first year and the only food they need for the first six months of life.

Although 95% of women breastfed their babies in 1910, that figure is a lot lower today. About 90% of North American women attempt breastfeeding in the first month, but by the time the baby is three months old, that figure has dropped to about 50% and by the time the baby is 6 months old, the percentage is around 30%.

Clearly, women need much more help, support, and knowledge about breastfeeding if they are going to continue with it as their baby grows.

 

Personally, I breastfed all five of my children and the only time I encountered problems was with the fifth child. You would think that I had breastfeeding mastered, but each child is different and can present different unexpected difficulties. I was lucky that I knew how to access help and I persevered, secure in the knowledge I had about breastfeeding benefits and past experience. New moms don’t have that kind of experience and often give up. The key is knowing when to access help and where to go for it. There is a La Leche League meeting in every major city across North America and they have wonderful help and support at any time of day and night. Many healthcare providers offer various kinds of help, information and support for parents. Ask your health nurse for referrals.

 

There is no need for supplementing, switching to bottles, or formula for the first year of life. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least the first two years of life and beyond, and the world wide average age of breastfeeding is four years of age. In many parts of the world, breastfeeding six year old children is still common. Age of weaning is very much determined by cultural standards, rather than by mom and child wishes, which is very wrong. The good news is that in North American culture, acceptance of breastfeeding older babies and toddlers is gaining every year. Many mothers nurse their toddlers and preschoolers without ever resorting to bottles and continue tandem nursing through the next pregnancy too with no adverse affects to mom, toddler or developing baby’s health.

 

Although breastfeeding is the optimum method for feeding babies, parents that give up breastfeeding are no less excellent parents if they follow an “ infant cue led” feeding philosophy and hold and cuddle their baby while feeding. The bonding, eye contact, and touching are the most attachment, nurturing, connection producing behaviours, rather than the ingredients in the milk.

 

Benefits of Breastfeeding

 

For Baby:

 

  • less illness, less digestive problems, and respiratory problems.
  • Fewer ear infections and allergies
  • Breastfeeding is linked to babies’ intellectual development
  • Increased bonding between mom and child
  • Increased healthy jaw, teeth alignment and speech development
  • Pleasure of sucking instinct satisfied
  • Provides comfort for baby
  • Is automatically sterilized and the perfect temperature.

 

For Mom:

 

  • For every year of breastfeeding, Mom’s risk of breast cancer decreases over her lifetime.
  • For some moms, it’s an effective form of contraception and helps with child spacing.
  • It is convenient, saves time making bottles, and saves cost of formula.
  • Is easier to provide nighttime nutrition, rather than getting up out of bed, heating bottles and feeding baby.
  • Is a pleasurable, sensual feeling once baby is latched properly and breastfeeding is well established (usually after six weeks).
  • Helps to contract the uterus after childbirth.
  • Induces sleep from hormone release.
  • Helps in emotional bonding with baby.

 

Risks

There are no risks involved in breastfeeding.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • My baby is 3 months old and my breasts don’t feel as full as they used to.

 

This is a common concern from new moms. Their breasts have lost the fullness and leakiness of milk that was common in the first few weeks. Don’t worry. The breasts will feel softer and not as full, but they are producing much more milk than those first weeks.

By the time a baby is 6 months old, the breasts are producing about 35 ounces of milk a day, even though they feel smaller and softer. They are much more efficient. If baby is producing 6-8 wet diapers a day and gaining weight according to their individual growth curve, they are getting enough milk!

 

  • My baby has extremely fussy days and seems extra hungry. What is wrong with supplementing with a bottle or two?

 

Fussy babies are common and are not always linked to feeding patterns. Babies fuss because:

  • they are going through growth spurts
  • have been over stimulated,
  • have gas,
  • have had a few bad nights sleep
  • because of their temperament,
  • they are on the verge of a new developmental skill.
  • Or, they simply are having a bad day, just like we adults do!

 

If babies seem extra hungry and want to feed “all the time” it’s because they are probably going through a growth spurt. Babies go through these at approximately 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. They may want to cluster feed and it may seem that all you are doing is sitting down and nursing for a few days. That’s normal and necessary. Breastfeeding works on supply and demand. Baby is nursing to build up your milk supply to keep up with his growth spurt. In a few days, your breasts will be making more milk and he won’t be nursing as often. But, if you introduce a bottle to supplement, then the breasts won’t get the stimulation provided by sucking, that is necessary to build up the milk supply and baby will be hungry. You may be tempted to add more supplementation through formula and then milk production will decrease even more. The best solution to growth spurts is to try and go to bed with baby for a day, rest, and drink a lot of fluids. Avoid supplementation and your milk supply will increase.

 

  • Are my breasts ever empty?

No. Never. Even while baby is feeding, the breast is continually making milk. They may feel empty, but the production is still occurring.

 

  • I want to get out for a few hours. I can’t do it while exclusively breastfeeding.

Freeze breast milk for when you wish to get out. Dad can serve it in a bottle or sippy cup if the baby is older then five months. It may help for him to wrap a receiving blanket with your smell around the bottle, so baby doesn’t feel that its so strange. Or breastfeed baby a huge feeding, then go out for an hour or two and come back to feed again.

 

  • I don’t have enough milk. My breast pump only produces about 2 ounces.

 

Breast pumps have a notorious reputation for not getting enough milk out of breasts. Mothers feel insecure when they see how much effort they put into pumping and how little milk they have produced from the pump and think that baby is getting the same quantity. Any mother who has used a hospital grade electric breast pump would be amazed at the huge quantity those machines extract compared to what the small home pumps do. Babies are also much more efficient in extracting milk from the breast. Their such extracts every drop and as they are suckling, the breasts are making more.

 

  • My doctor told me that today’s formulas are just as good as breast milk.

As much as formula companies are trying to copy breast milk exactly, they can n’t artificially reproduce some components of breast milk, even with today’s technological advancements. Breast milk has hormones, antibodies, and living cells that formula doesn’t have yet. The fat, water, and protein components of breast milk change automatically in response to weather (in hot weather, breast milk is more watery) baby’s age and growth pattern. Formula is the next best feeding product, but so far, will never be superior, or as beneficial to baby’s health as breast milk.

Formulas that advertise ingredients that promote infant intelligence has been shown to be helpful on premature babies but have no effects or benefits for full term babies.

 

  • Am I a good mother if I don’t breastfeed?

Many mothers don’t breastfeed and are excellent mothers. A warm, nurturing response is necessary for attachment and bonding. Mothers who bottle feed according to babies cues are attending to her babies needs in an attachment parenting way.

 

  • Doesn’t breastfeeding cause my breasts to sag?

Pregnancy hormones determine how the breasts age and their shape, size and elasticity after childbirth. Breastfeeding does not change the shape of breasts when breastfeeding stops.

 

  • My 5 month old baby wants to pull away and look around the room. Is it time to wean?

Your baby is going through a developmental stage where he is amused and interested in the world around him. He often wants to “observe” and eat at the same time, and may pull off you constantly, or even worse, try to take the nipple with him as he turns. This is very common and many moms go through a period where they have to nurse in a quiet, dark, low stimulus room to get through a feeding. This stage will pass.

Baby will go through teething and biting around six months and may not wish to nurse from the teething pain, or want to alleviate the pain by biting. Give Tylenol for pain and take him off the breast when he bites. Again, this stage will pass and nursing can continue.

 

  • I feel aroused when I nurse my toddler. Is this normal?

Yes. The tissue around the nipple and areola is sensitive and linked to a women’s sexual response. When breastfeeding moms have an orgasm during sex with their partner, a surprise response is often a let down and gush of breast milk! A sexual arousal during breastfeeding is very normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery” She specializes in “Parenting the Digital Generationwww.professionalparenting.ca    jarnall@shaw.ca

 

Managing Toddler Sleep Problems

Judy Arnall discusses sleep guidelines

If you have a child between the ages of one and five years who won’t go to bed, won’t stay in bed and won’t stay asleep, or wakes up too early, you are in good company.  According to a National Survey in the US, 70% of parents with children under five years have the same problems.  When children are older than one year, there is very little risk of suffocation, so sleeping with parents are easier. Here is some possible sleep arrangements:

  • Toddler sleeps in his own bed – parent soothes and gradually leaves in baby steps.
  • Toddler sleeps with parents in their bed.
  • Toddler sleeps with siblings in their bed.
  • Toddler sleeps on living room sofa, while the parents are still up, and then the parents move him when they go to bed.
  • Toddler sleeps on the floor on a mattress or airbed next to the parent’s bed.
  • Toddler starts the night in his own bed and may climb into parent’s bed when he needs to, probably in the middle of the night.
  • Toddler starts in parent’s bed and gets moved to her own bed when asleep and when parents want to go to bed.
  • Parents take turns sleeping with the toddler in her own bed every third night so one parent gets a solid night of REM sleep.

Sleep is important. Seventy percent of growth hormone is secreted during sleep.

It’s still one of those things that is totally under the control of the child. Parents can facilitate sleep, but can’t force it.

Some toddlers still sleep with and nurse with Mom during the night. By about age three and a half years, most toddlers are okay with sleeping in their own bed, and their night nursing has become negotiable. They are able to talk with Mom about when and where to nurse. Many Moms want to night wean their toddlers by two years or sooner. Often, holding, cuddles, and a sippy cup of water is enough to help toddlers stop night nursing and go back to sleep. Other Moms have said, “Num-nums have gone to sleep and will wake in the morning to feed you!” Some Moms found it helpful to leave their toddler with Daddy at night to sleep and cuddle with and not feed for a few nights.

If parents understand the reasons why toddlers and preschoolers don’t want to go to bed, they can address those needs. Separation anxiety is a huge issue. A recent Today’s Parent Survey of 3000 parents revealed that at least 10 percent of families co-sleep. Sleeping with a child for a few years doesn’t mean they will never sleep in their own beds any more than using diapers for a few years will prevent a child forever from using the toilet.

There are no studies that show any negative effects from co-sleeping for children aged one and up. Most children sleep alone, in their own beds, in their own rooms, by age 12. By then, they will insist on it!

Wherever a toddler sleeps, be sure to have a bedtime routine: a snack, bath, then pajamas, teeth brushing, and finally a story. Have a brief talk, prayer or snuggle time and kiss them good-night. Children tend to open up and want to talk just before bed. That’s why it’s great for Dad and Mom to alternate putting children to bed. It’s a time for intimate conversations that really builds relationships. It may help to stay with your child while they “let go” and drift off.

Leave them in their own room with a white noise machine, fan, book, or quiet toys in bed. If they get up, attend to their needs. Usually, it’s not a drink of water or scary monsters under the bed. It’s their need for more parent cuddle time and attention. If they don’t settle, bring them downstairs to cuddle and lay on the couch while you watch your adult show or carry on with your adult activities. Keep the focus off them and on to what you want to do. It’s your time. They will fall asleep but secure in the fact that their parents are there.

Although there are recommendations for babies under one, there is no co-sleeping safety concerns for children over one.  Where your child sleeps is a matter of your family preference, culture, and values and the decision is up to you.  No professional should tell you how or where your family sleeps.

Whatever works so no one is crying and everyone is sleeping safely is the right option for your family.

Leaving Baby for the First Time

Leaving Baby for the First Time

The moment is here. Your partner has been not-so-gently hinting that you need a date night out. You agree but are reluctant to leave your new baby. Your couple relationship is important to you and you really would like a break too, so you decide to go for it. How can you make the separation easier?

 

Tips for Mom

Have a trial run with your caregiver

Ask someone you are super comfortable with leaving your baby, such as another Mom, or a relative that you trust.

Phone home as much as you need to in order to feel secure.

Say a quick good-bye, hug and leave fast.

Leave a shirt or receiving blanket that smells like you.

Go to something you can focus on such as a movie or show. Dinner is too unstructured and your thoughts may turn to worry.

Post a list on the fridge of what helps calm babies’ crying, positions she likes, food and bath preferences, sleep routine and individual quirks.

Make sure your caregiver and you share the same philosophy. Ask questions such as “How long do you think baby should cry before you pick her up?” to gauge suitability.

Don’t do it again unless you feel ready.

Don’t worry if you only last half the time you planned. It’s natural to feel that way.

 

Tips for Partner

Recognize this is huge for her

Allow her to do what she needs to do in order to feel comfortable.  If she needs to cling to her phone, don’t tease her!

Acknowledge her feelings of guilt, worry and anxiety; she is being pulled two ways between wanting to go out and wanting to stay with baby.

Let her phone home as much as she needs to.

Let her talk about the baby as much as she wants to.

Let her go home if she is overwhelmed. This is still a very natural and healthy attachment at this stage. If her baby is going to university and she still can’t bear to go home, then it might be a problem! She will love you all the more for your understanding to her needs.

As the famous quote by Elizabeth Stone says, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  Leaving your “heart” for the first time is a huge step of many toward interdependence for you and your child. Do it whenever you feel it is right.

 

 

The Last Day of Parenting (After 29 Busy Years)

Today, is the last day that I’m on active parenting duty.  It began on a sunny, hot, cloudless day on June 29, 1991 when my first son came into our lives. The other book-end, my baby, my youngest of 5 children, turns 18 tomorrow, the first day of his adulthood.  We often count the firsts in parenting – first smile, first step, first time they sleep through the night, but we often don’t celebrate the lasts – the last time we co-slept, the last time we cuddled up to read a bedtime story – the last time he held my hand while out walking – because we don’t know when they are. We have to cherish those moments as they come because they are so sweet and fleeting. Today, I celebrate a job, a passion, a career and a calling – parenthood – as well done. It was hands down the best experience of my life, and so worth the gray hair, empty bank account and wrecked furniture! I have 5 beautiful, caring adult children who I am so proud of and are my best friends. My heart is bursting with pride and happiness at the wonderful people you have become and your individual gifts and qualities. You will go forward and make this world a better place than it was before you came. Happy Birthday my dearest youngest child and welcome to adulthood! And happy Last Day of Parenting to me and my loving partner in this most wonderful adventure!

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The Power of Positive Reinforcement

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My comments in an article in Today’s Parent regarding positive reinforcement: https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/positive-reinforcement-one-parenting-trick-everybody-needs/

Read the full article here

Baby Playtime: How Much is Enough?

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New moms often ask, “How much should I play with baby?”  The simple answer is, “As much as you wish to.”  Babies love faces and the best time to interact with those they love is face-to-face contact times such as bath times, diaper changes, and feeding times.

During those contact times, it helps to sing, talk, tickle, read, make facial expressions and use vocal variety to baby.  Don’t forget to smile.  Babies love facial interaction and they will naturally turn their head away when they have had enough.

Try to give baby some “tummy time” for several minute periods each day.  It helps baby to develop neck and upper arm muscles and it relieves pressure on the head so that the risk of plagiocephally (flat head) is reduced.  Many babies don’t like tummy time, on a hard floor, so it can be helpful to put baby on parent’s chest while parent is lying down on the sofa.  This counts as tummy time.  Also, keep in mind that tummy time can be several minutes, several times a day, instead of a twenty-minute marathon every day.

Baby carriers are a wonderful way for babies to be stimulated and entertained through the day.  Baby watching you make dinner from the elevated view of a backpack is fascinating for him and is just as stimulating for his brain development as watching “educational” videos.

In spite of our society’s intensive push to give early learning to young children, try to avoid worrying about how much stimulation and playtime she is supposed to be getting.  If you enjoy spending time with baby, interacting with your natural enthusiasm, rest assured she is getting enough stimulation!

http://www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca