Safety: Have we gone too far?

This month I am going to focus on how we can keep our kids safe. Before I get into that I wanted to begin with a post about how we can and have taken some things a bit too far regarding safety.

 

If you sit back and watch a group of young children there will be a group of adults right behind them. The adults are usually giving guidance and direction to the little ones. Isn’t this a good thing? The kids are safe.

 

Yes, the kids are safe but they are often unsure or afraid of what to do if an adult has not given them the guidance. I love watching a group of kids that feel safe and secure enough to branch out to explore. The adult can be close by but allows the child to make mistakes or problem solve how to deal with a situation.

 

What can we do to promote little ones that are willing to explore?

 

1. We can ask our children what they would like to do

2. We can ask our child for ideas of how we can solve the problem (see Problem-solving article)

3. We can show our children why something is dangerous instead of completely avoiding it.

4. We can start this process as young as 2. They may not get it completely until age 3.

 

I am the first to admit that I would love to bring out a roll of bubble wrap and stick our 6-year-old in it. However, when I hover or make decisions for him it teaches him that he is not capable of figuring things out himself. I have learned to let him make certain decisions and to advocate for himself if he feels he can do something. There have been many times that I have been pleasantly surprised at how he has handled a situation himself.

 

Personal Example:

 

Our son has a number of food allergies and intolerances. I would love to be with him at all times but that is just not feasible. He needs to navigate this world with his allergies. He has been taught what he can and cannot eat. He is the first to ask what is being served. Has he made mistakes? He sure has but he learned from it.

 

There is one brand of Potato chips that he can eat the plain chips but not the salt and vinegar. Another brand that he can eat the Salt and Vinegar. Well, he mixed it up at a recent birthday party.  I had to stop myself from freaking out and monitored him from a distance.

 

He did not get sick so all was good. He was very upset that he made the mistake. We talked about how it was an honest mistake. The next week we were out and he recognized the salt and vinegar chips he could have. He was proud to show them to his grandmother. He has learned a lesson and we will move on from it.

 

Regulations: Good or Bad?
 
There are many regulations in place now. I realize they are in place with the best intentions. Have we taken this too far?

 

There seems to be a regulation about everything. Really?? Is it needed? I get that lawsuits occur when things happen. People are angry if an injury or death occurs. I get it. However, I wonder if we now live in a world where we are close to bubble wrapping with regulations.

 

I recently commented on a post where a mom was talking about how her little ones (3 months and cannot roll) sleep in the same crib. I stated that it was okay for now. Well within minutes I had someone jump in and let me know it was not safe and that I should l follow safe sleep regulations. I get it but there are times when we need to let people do what they have to.

 

What are your thoughts? Please comment below with your thoughts on this subject.

Let Them Get Messy!!!

A scene that I see being played out over and over again is when little ones are exploring or eating with a parent right on top of the child cleaning up after them. It drives me bonkers sometimes!

I get that there are people that are really fearful of germs; however, this creates little people that do not want to get dirty.

Case and point…

I love my husband but when our little man was a toddler I had to do a mini-intervention.

My husband does not like a mess. Well, this does not bode well with a toddler. Our little man would get distressed and run to wash his hands if he was dirty. It was becoming an issue. I did not want a little person that was afraid to explore or eat something due to becoming dirty. He was literally suctioned up after most meals with a “Dust Buster”.

After the mini-intervention (and after being kicked by me under the table a few times), our little man will power through his meal and will try touching different things (he does not like all textures but that is information for a future post regarding sensory related issues) while exploring.

When our little ones are able to explore their environments they learn so much!! If I see a little one that is “dirty” on the playground from jumping around and climbing I have to stop myself from going over and high fiving that parent!

If you are concerned about your child getting sick or hurt, it is important that you also look at the other side. Children that are not free to explore their environment can have increased fears and their physical development can be delayed.

 

Ways to be Prepared for a Mess while out…

 

1. Have a change of clothes with you

I made a habit of having a change of clothes in my backpack, diaper bag or my purse. I also had an extra couple of outfits in the vehicle for those last minute adventures

2. Have a few wet wipes or a cloth in a bag for those moments

Never hurts to be prepared to clean up a mess. Baby wipes have many purposes. I still have a package around for those moments 🙂

3. Join in and explore

By doing this you can teach your child how to explore in a safe manner if you are concerned. This also allows your child to see that it is okay because mommy or daddy is doing it too!

4. Carry a Plastic Bag

This has saved me a few times. Soiled clothes have a place to go without causing an issue.

 

Children learn so much when they are given the opportunity to explore. I am not sure about you, but man I had a blast as a child when I was free to jump in the puddles, make mud pies and roll down the hill.

I am challenging you to let your little one get messy. They will learn how to clean up after themselves and they will have so much fun doing it!

If you are looking for more information about the benefits of exploring the outdoors, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of “Balanced and Barefoot” by Angela Hanscom. Following is an affiliate link for the book.

Have fun letting your little one get messy!!

Have you heard???

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Parenting Styles: Mindful Parenting

Parenting Styles: Mindful Parenting

Mindful Parenting is a parenting style that is gaining in popularity and understanding. In order to understand this parenting style, I will first talk about what it means to be mindful.

Mindfulness is a practice that has been going on for many years. It has gained momentum and following in Western society in the past few years. Being mindful is the practice of being focused on what is happening right now without dwelling on the past or future. Sound simple? It is not as easy as you think and it takes a great deal of work and practice.

I have been trying to lead a more mindful life in the past 10 months. I will be honest and let you know that I have had some good days and many other days where I have focused on how I have failed at it (not mindful at all). What is helping me now is knowing that right now in this moment I am breathing and I am me. (It has taken me a great deal of time to be okay with just being me!).

So what exactly is Mindful Parenting?

Mindful parenting is when we parent in the moment in a conscious manner. So when you are talking with your child you are focused on the conversation and tuning out the thoughts of everything you should or could be doing. This is also when you are aware of how you want to parent and keep that in your thoughts when your child is being a child.

How do you practice Mindful Parenting?

In my opinion, the main keys to Mindful Parenting are as follows:

1.   Parenting in the moment: Allowing your child to start fresh each day and not dwell on past behaviours. When you parent in the moment you will find that it is important to stick with the boundaries you have set in a respectful and calm manner. There will be many moments throughout your child’s day that will be teachable moments. These are the moments that you are able to teach your child how to act in certain situations and it also gives you an opportunity to learn what your limits are.

2.  Talking about emotions: Children will learn about how to deal with feelings when we teach them by talking about the various emotions they will feel. mindful

3.  Listening: This may seem easy but in reality, it can be really hard. Hearing your child’s opinion without cutting them off in mid-sentence. Practicing reflective listening so your child can hear how you have interpreted what they said. Reflective listening is when you state “I heard you say….”. Then it is important that you acknowledge their feelings by stating something like “I can hear that you are _____ (frustrated, angry, etc)”. This will help your child feel that she is heard and understood.

 

Mindful Parenting is one of the many styles of parenting that are practiced in today’s society. This method may or may not work for you. As with all things to do with parenting, it is important that you parent the way that is most comfortable for you.

Back to School: Safe Place to Land

Back to school season is upon us. Some children are already back to school and some are preparing for this adventure to begin! This can be a huge adjustment for our precious little ones. Often our little ones do not have the words to express their worries, questions, fears or excitement. This is where the safe place to let things out comes in.

How can you help if they do not tell you what they need?

Let’s put this in perspective. You have just started a new job. Imagine all the emotions you go through. It is hard for you to pinpoint what exactly is causing you angst but you can at least state “I am nervous”. Then you start to verbally unload on a friend or family member. After that conversation, you feel so much better.

Children are famous for acting out their feelings as opposed to talking. The first weeks back to school, I would recommend that you are prepared for many different emotional outbursts to happen. Know that these emotional responses are your child’s way of dealing with the changes. They have absolutely nothing to do with you!

Your child may seem absolutely fine when they get home, then all of a sudden he is freaking out because his sister touched him or the couch is not comfortable or ……(you get the point). Just know that this is to be expected. Being the safe place for your child to unload emotionally will benefit him in the long run.

Does this mean that you can’t explain that the outbursts are not acceptable??

No. It means that you can help your child learn that he is reacting to things instead of dealing with his emotions from the day. It is the whole concept of being “proactive instead of reactive”.

One of the most helpful things that I have found is to ask the question “I am wondering if…”. I will often state “I am wondering if you are tired or hungry”. Also, labeling what you see is important. “Man I am noticing that when you get home from school you get angry”.

How can you help your child cope with all this emotion?
  1. If your child is on that loves hugs, meet him with open arms!
  2. Have a snack prepared so your child does not get “hangry”.
  3. Plan a low-key evening.
  4. Put your phone or other electronics away and give your child your attention.
  5. Engage in some fun play or roughhousing. Laughter can be just as therapeutic as crying.
  6. Let your child guide his play with you for about 10 to 15 minutes. Child Directed play rocks!

 

Enjoy the next few weeks with your child as he becomes the student he wants to be. I encourage you to be your child’s safe place to land at the end of the day! Slowly over time, you will see a major reduction in your child’s emotional reactions. This will be your cue that he is beginning to adjust to the new grade. If the behaviour does not change then I would recommend reaching out for additional supports.

Back to School Sleep Tip

It is that time of the year where our little ones are preparing to go to school or go back to school. The first thing I get a number of questions about is how to get your child prepared to get the amount of sleep he needs each night.

When summer hits we often fall off our routines. This is pretty common and honestly, it is to be expected. If you child is going to bed later and waking up later than he needs for school you can help him get back on track.

Where do you start?

The first thing that I recommend that you do is to figure out what time your child needs to be going to bed to get the recommended amount of sleep that he needs.

Here is a link that can help you figure out how much sleep your child needs Recommended Hours of Sleep. Keep in mind your child may need more or less sleep than a child that is the same age as your child. So trust your gut instincts on the exact amount of sleep that is best for your child.

Keep in mind your child may need more or less sleep than a child that is the same age as your child. So trust your gut instincts on the exact amount of sleep that is best for your child.

Now What?

Now you know how much time your child should be sleeping so the next thing to look at is what time does your child have to be awake to get where they need to be in a timely fashion without you having to rush them out the door (stay tuned for a post about how to get them out the door with your patience and hair intact).

Let us say for example you need to be out the door by 8:00 am so you decide that 7:00 am is a good time for your child to get up.

Currently, your child is getting up around 9:00 am. There are 2 ways you can approach this change:

Cold Turkey:

The weekend before school you can just cold turkey wake your child up at 7:00 am and start your day. I do recommend giving him a few days to adjust before going to school which is why I recommend starting on the weekend. Then have bedtime at the time you figure he needs to be able to get proper rest.

Gradually:

Right about now you can start waking your child up 15 minutes before he usually wakes up. Bedtime will be 15 minutes before he usually goes to sleep. Then every 3 to 4 days, change wake-up and bedtime by 15 minutes. Continue this approach until you reach the desired times.

Be prepared for some protest from your child. Reminding your child that you are doing this to help him get ready for school can have a positive effect on the push back you may receive.

Have fun preparing for back to school!

If you have additional questions feel free to ask me all the questions that you have in the Preschool/School Aged Group or Forum Area for members. Not a member become a member today!