Tag Archives: tips

How To Tell Your Child’s Adoption Story

Explaining a child’s adoption story can be overwhelming for the adoptive parents. Some don’t know when is a good time to tell their child, while others are unclear on how to tell them. For starters, there is no right or wrong way to discuss adoption with your child. However, it is best to start introducing positive adoption language as soon as possible. Your child should be familiar with adoption language because it is a part of their story & their identity. Down below are a few tips to help you tell your child their adoption story.

How & When to Explain

Make sure to take your child’s age and maturity into consideration. The story should be simple and age appropriate. Give them details that you can elaborate on as they get older. The details should be truthful, so that you don’t contradict yourself later. Share the excitement with an upbeat tone. Understand what your child is asking. Let them know that it’s okay to ask questions and talk about their adoption at any time. Don’t be afraid to revisit topics you may have explained at an earlier time. This will happen as your child’s curiosity grows and their understanding develops over time.

Ages 0-4

            This is the best time to start sharing your child’s adoption story. Let’s face it kids love being the center of attention. They’ll be more eager to listen to their own story. Whether it’s the story of their birth or the story of the magnificent time they made your family whole, they want to hear it. The meaning of adoption doesn’t quite sink in yet, so keep the story basic. Let them know they were born the same way everyone else is. They grew in their mother’s tummy, but she couldn’t parent at that time. Explain that you wanted to be a parent very much, so you adopted him/her. Include that their birth and adoption were both awesome events that will never be forgotten.

Ages 5-11

            Within this age group, the concept of adoption and having two sets of parents becomes clear. As your child gets older and mentally develops you may notice them experiencing more complex feelings of loss and feeling different. Make sure to have open dialogue with your child. It is essential to see how they are putting the story together. Your child’s stage of development, emotional & intellectual maturity may determine how they piece the information together. Answer any questions regarding their birth parents appropriate for their age. If any misconceptions of their birth parents form, offer alternative views to address the situation.


Ages 12-18

Around this age children in general begin pulling away from their parents to form their own identity. Children who have been adopted may have a difficulty forming an identity if there is any information lacking. Parents can help by understanding the need for this information. Help them attain the information they are searching for. Also, give them the freedom to explore it. As for any age, make sure to keep the line of communication open. It is vital to hear what your child is saying and what they are asking. Allow them to share their feelings with you. Help them with any struggles they may be having regarding their adoption or their birth parents.


Time is of The Essence

When talking to your child about their adoption story timing is everything. It’s best to start as early as possible. Don’t let your child’s adoption story be a family secret. If you didn’t tell their story when they were young children, start telling them soon. It is important to let them know that they can come to you with any questions they may have. Always leave an open line of communication regarding their adoption or birth parents. As children get older, their questions may become more complex. Be open and accepting to whatever they may want or need to know.


Tips for a Smooth Morning Routine with the Kids!

As you get bSleepy Morningack into the swing of things this year, we know your early mornings might start off a little rough. Whether or not they’re all heading off to school, it’s especially chaotic if you’re trying to usher multiple children out the door well groomed, fed, and fully clothed. Can we ensure a seamless exit every day, probably not? But hey, a few tips can’t hurt!

Get your Kids their own Alarm Clocks

Hopefully doing so will instill a sense of self-responsibility. Let the kids pick out a cool-looking clock at Five Below or Target and they’ll be excited to start using it. A wake-up call from mom or dad can be the back-up.

Prep the Night Before

This is key. Have the back packs ready, pack lunches, and pick-out outfits. The less you have to worry about at 6am, the better.  Have everything laid out and ready to go by the door. Take care of baths at night and brush/style hair before bed if you can. When the kids wake-up hopefully they will only need to run a brush through their hair and make a few touch-ups.

Make a Checklist

Make a checklist for the before-bed routine, in-order to shorten your morning rush. Post a list on the fridge or any place the kids can easily see what needs done. Even if it means pushing bedtime back 20 minutes, have the kids help you each night. They will learn to take responsibility for taking care of themselves through being prepared.

Stick to a Grab and Go Breakfast

That doesn’t necessarily mean pop-tarts and sugary cereal bars every morning. But plan breakfasts ahead of time and post breakfast options on the fridge so kids can grab it themselves  if need be. Make a batch of breakfast muffins or granola bars for the week, make yogurt cups, cut fruit, or stock up on instant oatmeal. (Pinterest is great for easy and healthy breakfast options).

Positive Reinforcements

You had a blissful week of making it to school or daycare with minutes to spare, awesome! Reward the kids with a trip to the park on Friday after school or maybe a stop for ice cream. Let them know that good behavior and adherence to the schedule hasn’t gone unnoticed; and hopefully a smooth morning routine will become habit for the family.

Back To School Separation Anxiety

Courtesy of Livewellmagazine.orgMost children experience some sort of excitement or anticipation as the first day of school approaches. But for children who struggle with separation anxiety, this day can be dreadful for both of you! Children with separation anxiety battle extreme distress when leaving their primary caretaker—so much so that it may get in the way of normal activities, including the ability to engage in school.  If you’re child clings to your leg, complains of unreal physical illness, and simply refuses to go to school, she may need a little extra attention within the first few weeks back in the classroom.

Here are some tips for dropping off your nervous little one on the first day back:

  • Organize your home for back-to-school – set up a homework area, pack lunches the night before, and allow your child to help shop for back-to-school supplies.
  • Explain beforehand your drop-off procedure so she is completely aware of what will happen. And then tell her when you’ll be back, and from where you’ll be picking her up.
  • Involve your child’s class teacher in the process as she will be left with your crying child.
  • Don’t hang around at school or prolong the goodbyes. You may need to run through the pick-up process again.
  • Make sure she gets enough sleep and eats a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A healthy diet will positively impact a child’s mood and brain function throughout the day.
  • Never sneak out – we repeat…never sneak out! Make sure she knows you’ve left.
  • Try to appear relaxed with a happy or calm expression. Children often feed off of the responses of their actions, keep your voice calm and act as if the situation is not a big ordeal.
  • Set up a reward chart in which your child works towards something special, putting a sticker on each day she separates from you without too much trouble.

If your child’s anxiety continues throughout the year, you many need to look into the possibility of a deeper rooted issue such as an anxiety disorder or bullying. You may need to speak with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor. Try to keep yourself calm during the back-to-school season and know that once a routine is established, things will settle back down!

Click to Read More About Back To School Separation Anxiety

Parenting Advice: Can you trust the experts?

tipsYou don’t have to look very hard to find a lot of resources and advice meant to help you become a better parent. But all the classes, seminars, and well intentioned books can be confusing. Here are some tips for deciding which advice to follow:

  • Listen to your gut. Decide whether or not a parenting class or advice book fits your intuition. If it doesn’t jibe don’t feel pressured into following it verbatim.
  • Be patient. Be skeptical of any advice that seems to promise quick fixes. Parenting is complex and has no simple solutions.
  • Don’t hang on too long. Be willing to try worthwhile advice out, but drop it if it isn’t working. No one knows your family better than you do.
  • Check advisors’ credentials. Whether you’re taking a parenting seminar or buying a book, check out the credentials of the experts. Do they seem knowledgeable – and sensitive?

Summer Travel Tips – Family Road Trips

nationallamppoonvacation-660x438Summertime means lots of family vacations…well hopefully! Whether you’re trekking from Philadelphia to California or visiting your sister two hours away, those summer road trips are precious family time and it’s important to make the most of them. Be prepared for a few bumps in the road and be sure to not only survive the trip, but enjoy quality time with your kids. Here a few tips for smooth summertime travels courtesy of Babble.com

Lower your expectations.

Far and above, the most popular piece of advice from moms is, “lower your expectations.” This doesn’t mean you should expect the worst or that your trip is going to suck. On the contrary, it just means you can’t get too worked up if your schedule gets thrown off by traffic, a carsick kid, a missed turn, or the thirty-seventh potty break.

Make sure your car is prepared.

Before taking a road trip, have your favorite trusted mechanic give your car a check-up. Tell him or her that you’re taking a road trip. Change the oil, change the filters, fill up fluids, check the tires. If your mechanic thinks anything looks dubious, fix it before the trip.

Let your kids help with everything.

Even very young kids should help pack the bags and load the car. If you’re taking this kind of trip, make it a family adventure, where everyone participates and feels like a part of the team. When little things inevitably go wrong, everyone can help problem-solve. Let your kids order for themselves in restaurants. Show them how you calculate the tip. There are constant opportunities for learning during road trips, and they’re not just in learning about state capitals and historical sites.

Some day, your kids will grow up and travel without you. Now is the time to teach them those skills: reading maps, planning, dealing with curve balls, finding hotel rooms, being safe while travelling, being polite and respectful to hotel and restaurant staff. Those real-life skills while help your children be more confident and independent long before they’re off on their own.

The  importance of snacks.

Pack as much of your own food as possible, including bread, peanut butter, and plenty of fruit. Sure it’s okay eat out and hit some fast food places, but that can get both expensive and tummy-trouble-inducing.

A possibility: driving through the night.

Quite a few families start their trip after dinner the first night, and drive through the night. The kids zonk out in the back, and you don’t have to stop every 10 minutes to use the bathroom.

Bring quiet stuff to do independently.

Great choices for kids of all ages:

  • An inexpensive composition notebook to serve as travel journal, doodle pad, tic-tac-toe board, stickers, Twistable colored pencils (no sharpening needed)
  • Lots of books and audio books with headphones

Plan to make lots of stops.

I don’t know what it is about road trips. Is it the potholes? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. Just plan to stop a lot, and don’t try to get your kids to “hold it a little longer.” It’s not their fault they have tiny little bladders.

Stop at places where your kids can run around.

Look for outdoor space for the kids to run around. If you stop at a regular highway rest stop, even if there’s nowhere to run, have your kids stretch and move around. Do jumping jacks at each stop to get the blood flowing and burn off some energy.

Slow down and enjoy the ride.

The best piece of advice we’ve heard about road tripping for parents is to simply slow down and enjoy the ride. Don’t hesitate to stop at quirky roadside attractions (world’s largest ball of string? yes, please!) and local places to eat. Sure, you could do 13 hours of driving in one day, but it’s not going to be fun for anyone. Break up your trip into manageable distances so that you’re able to see things along the way besides highway and more highway. Do at least one picnic lunch along the way. Which do you think your kids are going to remember: yet another Happy Meal, or that you stopped and had a picnic?

3 Tips for a Healthier Summer

imagesLazy beach days and hikes can come with real risks.  Here is how to avoid heatstroke, treat stings at the beach and locate disease carrying critters.

1) Know how to hydrate! – For tough 45-60 minute workouts in the heat or prolonged exercise, such as a hike, water won’t cut it.  You may need to replenish your body’s electrolytes to avoid heat exhaustion, according to the American Council on Exercise.

2) Spot Disease Carrying Ticks – Look for tiny deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease in the crooks of knees, armpits, and anywhere they hit a barrier, like elastic on underwear, says the TickEncounter Resource Center.

3) Sooth Jellyfish Stings – Toss a bottle of vinegar in your beach bag. This kitchen staple helps deactivate the venomous nematocysts that many jellyfish release when they sting, says the American Red Cross.

Springtime Skin Dangers – Tips on Baby Skin Care

ImageSpring has sprung! Sure, it’s the season of cardigan-cleansed closets, checkered picnic blankets and Technicolor blooms, but for babies and toddlers spring also has its pitfalls. That’s especially true with skin care: The things we rush outdoors to enjoy (sun, flowers, nature, etc.) can bring with them itchy irritants and sun burnt little ones. Here’s how to protect your little ones from the elements.

Here Comes the Sun

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. That’s particularly important between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest. Unlike an adult’s, a baby’s skin is not equipped with much melanin, the natural pigment that absorbs and protects against the sun’s rays. For outdoor outings with babies under 6 months, dress your baby in light, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. The best options are those made from tightly woven fabrics that the sun can’t penetrate. Use a wide-brimmed hat or cap to cover her face and neck. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (one that protects against UVA and UVB rays) that’s at least SPF 15 on any exposed areas of the body like the back of her hands. Look for a chemical-free version that uses zinc or titanium dioxide. If she’s cruising in a stroller, be sure to keep the canopy up. For babies older than 6 months, apply a sunscreen with SPF 15. Reapply every two hours or so.

Stings, Bites and Bumps

With the blossoming flowers comes the return of all kinds of insects: bees and wasps, ants and yellow jackets, mosquitoes and ticks. We all know that stings and bites bring on itchy, tender bumps, but they can also cause dangerous allergic reactions. For example, if a bee stings a small child with asthma or other breathing problems, it may lead to the shrinking of air passages.

Bugs tend to be most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. No one wants to stay inside due to pesky bugs, so it’s best to safeguard the skin with the proper repellent. If the baby is over 2 months, the AAP recommends insect repellants with DEET, an effective chemical that lasts three to eight hours. Those made with essential oils from plants like citronella and eucalyptus are less effective and last a much shorter amount of time. Avoid gimmicky gadgets like ultrasound devices and bug zappers, which may actually attract bugs to your backyard.

Spray repellent on the clothing and exposed parts of baby’s skin. (Do it outside to avoid inhaling fumes.) Don’t overuse: Spraying on an extra dose does not make it more effective. At the end of the day, wash the spray off baby with soap and water, and wash clothes before wearing again. If your tot is bitten, use a cold compress or cloth filled with ice to ease inflammation or apply calamine lotion.

Plant Scratch Fever

It’s important to know what’s growing in your own back yard, as some plants may mean trouble. Request a list of poisonous plants in your area by visiting poison.org or calling 800-222-1222. Some of the treatments for keeping your yard healthy may not be safe for children. If you’re using herbicides and pesticides, don’t allow children to play on treated parts of the lawn for 48 hours.

The season’s biggest leaf-laden perpetrators are poison ivy and poison oak (three-leafed plants with wide, shiny green leaves). The skin rash, which typically appears four days after exposure, is marked by red, swollen skin and tiny, blister-like bumps that burn and itch. If your baby has touched poison ivy or poison oak, keep his hands away from his eyes. Wash him immediately with soap and water to remove any lingering oil and sap. This will keep absorption into the skin to a minimum. While the rash will heal on its own in approximately two weeks, you can use cold compresses, cool baths and calamine lotion to ease discomfort.

(This full article can be found on Parenting.com)