Posts Tagged ‘toddlers’

Teething Remedies

Friday, October 21st, 2016

10-19-16-teething-remedies-option-2Sometimes being a baby is rough stuff. Teething is a common frustration to many babes and parents as they grow an amazing 20 teeth in the first couple of years of life, starting around 4 to 7 months of age usually. Your babe may settle into predictable preferences for getting through those rough patches but if you’re at wit’s end, make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

  • Is it something else? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if baby’s signs of discomfort are from teething, hunger, tiredness, boredom, or any combination of these and a number of other factors. For example, baby may be comfortable enough in spite of teething but really just needs a new diaper.
  • You may be your baby’s best medicine! Maybe baby just needs a little love. When we don’t feel well most of us would appreciate just a little more TLC. A few extra cuddles may be just what your babe needs. They provide love and distraction from mild pain.
  • Use all the tools available to you. Teething rubs can prove helpful but don’t forget to utilize soft, cool teethers and silicone teething jewelry too. A clean wet rag can do the trick too. Your baby may gravitate toward one or just prefer (hopefully clean) fingers, especially yours! Amber necklaces are a go-to for many caregivers trying to cut down on inflammation and irritability.
  • Hit up the kitchen. With your babe’s child and feeding abilities in mind consider if food can help. Freeze a juicy fruit or some breastmilk to offer something to chew on, if old enough. There are also teething foods that cater to being gnawed on (like Happy Baby gentle teething wafers found in many Walgreens and Targets).
  • Medication. Consult with your physician to ensure you offer your child the most appropriate remedy based on their age and individual needs. Tylenol may be offered sparingly for older children. Teething tablets may also provide relief, although some brands were recently the subject of a warning by the FDA, despite the fact that they were taken off the shelf in 2010 and deemed safe enough to sell again. Familiarize yourself with the risks of using some over the counter teething gels. Balm! Baby offers two natural and organic teething rub options, including one catered to getting a good night’s sleep.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Are You a Helicopter Mom or iPhone Mom?

Friday, October 7th, 2016

When baby comes and you find yourself still struggling with your weight, here are a few things to consider.My family recently moved to the hot, bug-filled state of Arkansas for my husband’s job. It is nice to be closer to our family, but we haven’t met any new friends yet. So, my two toddlers and I have been spending a lot of time at local play lands. While at the mall a few weeks ago, I noticed there are two types of moms I see frequently–the helicopter mom and the iPhone mom.

So what exactly is a helicopter mom? Helicopter parents are overly focused on their children. This term was first used in 1969 in a book by Dr. Haim Ginott. Helicopter parents are usually thought of with older children. Know anyone whose mom or dad planned their college schedule, held their hand through everything, and took care of all of their business for them? With toddlers, helicopter moms are usually the ones who are smothering their children. They may be playing with them constantly or not allow them to explore any on their own. Some things that may cause helicopter parenting are fear, anxiety, overcompensation, and peer pressure according to

I feel like helicopter mom does have negative stigma, but I have to be honest. I am a bit of a helicopter mom with my kids. I want them to succeed and I can’t handle watching them fail, and they’re only 2 and 4. While I know failure is a part of learning, I am hopeful I will be able to loosen up the older they get and be their cheerleader, not their coach constantly.

Okay, so the iPhone mom. The local play area we go to is full of them. They sit in the play area on their phone the whole time. I can only imagine they’re checking their Facebook or texting. Recently, my daughter Johanna was playing with another little boy around her age, which is 4. The little boy would not stop touching her. I did not like it and wanted the child to keep his hands to himself. Of course, his dad was sitting in the corner of the play land looking at his phone. Another day we were at McDonald’s and an older child would not stop picking up my 2-year-old son. I looked for mom or dad, but they were too busy playing a game on their phone to care, so I had to step in.

Now, being an iPhone mom is not always bad. Maybe some of these moms are looking up recipes for their family, taking a few minutes to unplug because of a rough morning, or just catching up with a friend. We spend every waking moment watching our kids and taking care of them, in fact, today’s parents spend more time with their kids than parents did 50 years ago—way before iPhones. But we need to remember to take care of ourselves, too.

Now let’s get back to the play land. Moms everywhere–some checking their phones and some following little ones around. Which one are you? I am the mom sitting down, mostly because I am about to have a baby, but I also am trying to find balance. I want to be the mom who is there when I need to be for my kids, but I also want to be able to check a text or send an email when they’re safe and entertained. I want to be a mom who supports other moms, and doesn’t judge what their parenting style is like.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost 3, in Arkansas where she checks her phone and hovers like a helicopter. 

Introducing Young Kids to Budgeting

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Budgeting with KidsA few months ago while walking through the toy aisle of Target I realized just how much I am teaching my young children about money without even realizing it. The conversation was simple enough. “We don’t have all the dollars we need to buy that toy,” the four-year-old said. “That’s ok. We can still have fun at home without all the toys!” replied my two-year-old.

The first comment I cringed at because, as a SAHM with a teacher for a husband and three young children, I know the challenges of balancing a budget. It is stressful and challenging at times and a part of me doesn’t want my children to see that. At the same time, as my children have grown accustomed to looking at the toys without usually making a purchase, they strengthen a number of traits including patience and creativity, among others. What could be a hindrance is more of an opportunity I came to realize in my second son’s remark.

As they get older I can introduce them to responsible management of their money by assisting them to open a bank account, make money through jobs outside of the home, and understanding of larger wants and needs with long-term goals. Since that trip to Target in the spring I have taken a few steps to incorporate more purposeful attention to what my children understand about money.

First, we are more aware of how we talk about money. As any of us with young ones know, they are listening—and understanding what we say–even when we think they aren’t. Every conversation we have about money over dinner is an opportunity for them to learn. That might mean putting the conversation off until after they go to bed. I think it’s also good for the children to see hubby and I discussing and being on the same page about money. We want it to be commonplace to think about what something is worth, as well as how to define worth.

That said, we are becoming more aware of what our spending and paying says about our values at large. Are we spending extra money on too much fast food or treats? Do we take the time to donate to charity or otherwise share our small but real prosperity with others? When we talk to someone on the phone about medical bills, how do they hear us talking? What is our mood when we open bills? Are we tense and rash, or patient and thoughtful? Do we give when given the opportunity or always say no? This is not so much talking to them as much as talking in their midst.

I also try to figure out what they know and use real-world examples in the moment. Little kiddos don’t have the time, cognitive ability, or patience for long explanations or extensive understanding of budgets. However, in the store I can say, “Today we can’t get a treat because we’re saving our money for a meal out/gift/someone’s birthday. When given birthday money or a few quarters for whatever reason, we can discuss about what they want to spend it on or if they’d like to save it. This can be tied to a conversation about wants and needs, the regular flow of cash, or patience in saving for the sake of later reward… at a level of discussion related to your young child’s developmental ability.

Budgeting lessons don’t always have to be in the form of money. We spend our time, space, and emotions all day long, among other things. If we spend our time at the park now, we will have less time to spend with your friend later. The concepts are similar, and lessons of budgeting need not be confined only to money. With many things we can share, spend, or save.

I believe what we spend must be tied also to what we give. Whatever we say yes to means we say no to something else. For this reason I’ve begun incorporating the kids when I sift through our things to give away. I used to prefer doing this after they go to bed for the sake of ease. They won’t even notice it’s gone, I would think. Now I think it’s important that they notice something of theirs is gone. By providing them the choice to give away their toys, I’m also offering them the opportunity to build a giving heart.

Lynette Moran is a mom of three children from 3 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Entertaining a Toddler While Breastfeeding

Monday, July 18th, 2016

How to Entertain a Toddler While BreastfeedingIt was the second day of school for my math teacher husband when I went into labor with my second daughter.  He returned to work when she was five days old.  I like my privacy postpartum, and do not enjoy visitors for the first couple of weeks, so it was me, the newborn, and my two year old on that Monday.  How was I going to entertain my toddler, who was adjusting to being a big sister and sharing Mommy with a baby who wanted to nurse every couple of hours for 45 minutes?

I attempted to think of activities to keep my toddler busy and keep her interested for 20-30 minutes at a time that took little to no time on my part to set up.  I relied on the following daily.

  1. Books. My toddler loved running to her room and bringing me book after book to read while I was feeding her sister. 
  2. Lots of coloring books/sticker pads/play-doh.  I learned very quickly that when I was pumping, my toddler wanted to be close to me.  I could put her in her booster seat, give her a coloring sheet and some crayons, and she was good to go for my pumping session.  A friend gave me a reusable sticker pad that my toddler could use at the table without me worrying about stickers being stuck to everything while I was feeding the baby.
  3. Blocks/Puzzles.  These toys encourage my toddler to play independently while I was feeding the baby.  I could supervise her from recliner but did not have to direct her play.
  4. Feeding stuffed animals. My toddler would grab her favorite stuffed animal and sit by me and pretend to feed her while I was feeding the baby.  I got to cuddle both my daughters and my toddler got to be like Mommy.
  5. Swiftering/cleaning/helping Mommy.  I have a small Swifter 360 that is my toddler’s Swifter.  I could give her the Swifter and she could entertain herself for a half an hour or so by cleaning the chairs, paintings, etc. around the house.  Bonus was that she did my dusting for me!
  6.  Screen time.  Although we limit my toddler’s screen time, Daniel Tiger helped me get through some tough days.  I could put an episode on the tablet, and my toddler would be entertained for half a feeding.

If all else fails, selfies!

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to an energetic, spirited toddler and a happy, easy going baby from Denver, Colorado.  She enjoys running, hiking, and cooking with her two girls.


Making Peace with Being Unproductive

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

 “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.” –Phyllis Dyer

 I used to put tremendous pressure on myself to get everything “just right.” And that often resulted in feeling frustrated. Because while I would approach each day with the very best of intentions to be super productive, the demands of caring for little ones quickly took over and trumped almost everything on my to-do list. Even something as simple as making a phone to schedule a dentist appointment would sometimes take days to cross off the list. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to find 10 minutes of quiet to make a simple phone call. Yet it is. Surprisingly so. Because when you finally get that window of opportunity your phone has 3% battery and you can’t find the charger, and you make the call anyway hoping it will be quick, but of course you are put on hold and battery gives out before you can complete the call. And now “buy new charger” is added to your to-do list.

A while back I might have felt frustrated about the inability to complete such a simple task in a timely manner; but I now know that it all eventually gets done. And whatever doesn’t get done (you know, like that stack of Christmas cards you bought that just sat on your desk until February 3 when you finally decided to pack them away and try again next year) probably doesn’t really matter much in the grand scheme of life. And that’s the other beautiful refinement that comes along with being at peace with unproductivity; you generally strengthen your ability to prioritize. When you know it is likely you will only get one or two things done, you tend to pick the things that count the most. Usually. But then occasionally the darndest thing happens and you find yourself concentrating on a silly task like reorganizing the spice drawer, even though it is the most impractical thing to be doing. The kids are hungry, the dog needs to go on a walk, you have to be out the door in 22 minutes and yet there you are alphabetizing your spice drawer. Why do we do this? And furthermore why does it bring us so much satisfaction? Honestly I don’t really have an answer except that it just feels good from time to time to channel energy into a fresh and unexpected way.

So give yourself permission to go with the ebb and flow of the day. Relax and know what needs to get done, will get done. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. It might even be the sprinkles on the icing on the cake. And when you get the weird crazy impractical urge to reorganize your spice drawer, just embrace it. Surely it serves some purpose, which may well just be to help us make sense of our day that seem so out of our control. Perhaps it’s like building a snowman in the snowstorm, instead of shoveling.