Posts Tagged ‘habit’

Brushing Options for Toddlers

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

oral hygiene options for toddlersParents, particularly first-time moms and dads, eagerly await those first teeth emerging from their baby’s gums (if nothing else than to stop all of the teething-related agony). Once they’ve sprouted though, it’s time to start keeping those pearly whites clean.

You can use a washcloth, finger brush, or small child’s toothbrush for the task. There are lots of toothpastes marketed for children, with a variety of active ingredients. Some parents opt for fluoride toothpastes, and if this is you, current ADA recommendations say a small smear of fluoridated toothpaste as soon as there are erupted teeth is the way to go when brushing. If you go the fluoride route, it is important to keep your kids from swallowing the toothpaste (easier said than done with a child, right?), and to gently wipe the teeth with a washcloth when done brushing.

Some parents choose to avoid fluoride altogether for a number of reasons, and they can choose from either toothpastes with no “active” ingredients or pastes with xylitol. The xylitol ones are sold in every drugstore and grocery store I’ve been to in Japan, but in the states it was generally something we ordered online.

It wouldn’t be parenting without even more options to consider though, right? Do you actually need toothpaste? Many parents opt for none, but many of the natural, non-commercial options are particularly yucky tasting (ever brushed with plain baking soda before? It’s not super pleasant).

The most basic option is to dry brush or brush with water. If your child is a little older, she can also begin using a waterpik. Brushing with just water is actually pretty effective at getting teeth clean (my son and his classmates do this at their Japanese elementary school everyday after lunch). You can use a washcloth for tinier tots with this method as well.

If you worry that water isn’t going to cut the mustard (perhaps literally, if you have a somewhat adventurous eater), you can also brush with coconut oil. Unlike baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, coconut oil doesn’t have much flavor and is effective at cleaning the teeth. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties as well.

Most important is establishing the habit of brushing twice a day, and trying to steer clear, or at least limit, things like gummies, which stick sugar up in teeth. It seems tooth decay in toddlers is on the rise, so having good habits established is really important.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to two little boys and wife to her hard-working husband. They currently live in Japan, where sweets are not nearly as easy to find as they were back home in the states (much to her sadness).

3 Easy Ways to Harness Inner Peace

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Let’s be honest…motherhood is hard work! Caring for small children is enough to completely frazzle even the most calm and collected spirits. As mothers it is important for us to develop strategies to nurture ourselves while we meet the continual demands of our children. The following 3 tips are easy and quick activities you can infuse throughout the day that will help you feel more grounded and centered.

1. Take your pulse – I actually mean to literally take your pulse. Put two fingertips on your wrist or on your neck and allow yourself to feel the rhythmic pulsation of your heart beating. You may even close your eyes and count the beats. Taking your own pulse helps you to re-connect with your spirit and feel at peace in the moment.

2. Breath Awareness – There are several different ways to practice breath awareness. What does it mean to practice breath awareness? It is simply being aware of your own pattern of breathing and  focusing entirely on your breathing. As moms our minds are often bombarded by a running to-do list. We also spend a great deal of mental energy wondering if we are mothering effectively and challenging ourselves to parent “better”. Breath awareness is an opportunity to let go of all that and just breathe. I have developed a habit of practicing breath awareness when I am putting my children to sleep. This used to be a time when I would lay beside them impatiently waiting for them to drift asleep so I could get started on my “to-do” list. My anxiousness would grow as each minute ticked by and they were not yet asleep. Meanwhile my “to-do” list would continue to grow even longer in my head. I finally realized the nervous energy I emulated likely prolonged their bedtime slumber. By practicing breath awareness I not only help myself approach the night feeling more calm, I also help create a more peaceful sleep environment for my children. Furthermore I ultimately approach my “to-do” list with a great deal more clarity and efficiency after 10 minutes of breath awareness.

3. Be Mindful – Not to be confused with being mind-full where your mind is full of thoughts regarding past and future events. Rather mindfulness is when we are completely present in the moment. When we are fully aware of our surroundings and allow our senses to be fully engaged, we feel more relaxed and at ease. Just as there are many ways to practice breathe awareness there are also various ways to practice mindfulness. One simple place to start being mindful is while eating. As moms we are so accustom to shoving a handful of food in our mouths here and there throughout the day to meet our hunger needs that the thought of actually sitting down to enjoy a meal is kind of a fantasy. However enjoying food can be a great way to practice mindfulness and bring a sense of peace. You can start with something as simple as peeling an orange. As you peel it, allow yourself to be immersed in the sensations of such a mundane and routine activity. You will develop a new appreciation for a simple task that you’ve probably completed a ton of times before but never paused to actually experience it. Young children are masters of mindfulness so an easy way to deepen your practice is by observing and engaging with them!

What do you do to help you stay calm and collected during those hectic periods of motherhood? Would love to hear your tricks for maintaining a peaceful spirit and energy in your home?