Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Resources to help you turn everyday moments into brain building for your child's development! These were recently publicized at the Zero to Three conference.

I-LABS Training Modules are free videos which were designed to bring the latest in child development research to the greater community of parents and child development professionals.  

Vroom is a website (and an app!) that brings tools to families to help them to strengthen their child's brains in easy, everyday ways.

Looking forward to hearing what you are learning and how these have helped!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Research at the University of Miami School of Medicine suggests that [infant] massage can stimulate nerves in the brain that facilitate food absorption, resulting in faster weight gain.  Massage can lower stress hormones, resulting in improved immune function.  Touch therapy can also help premature infants gain weight faster, asthmatic children improve breathing function, diabetic children comply with treatment, and sleepless babies fall asleep more easily.  Other research indicates that touch therapy can benefit infants and children with eczema and can improve parent-baby interactions. ... An added plus to infant massage is the opportunity it provides for the father, especially of a breastfed baby, to have positive interaction with his child.
Source:  McClure, V. (2000). Infant massage: A handbook for loving parents (3rd rev. ed.). New York: Bantam Books. p. xvi, xix

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Who's Who in the Hospital

I often get questions that ask about the job descriptions for various professionals in the health and education fields.  So I thought that this link was helpful to describe who's who in the hospital.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Living Up To Our Names

I wrote this back in February of 2012, but the topic came up again today:

There is a thought that has been coming at me again and again lately and that is - the power of a name.  We discussed it similar ideas in my behavior class a few quarters back.  I heard it as I was listening to my audiobook of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Covey, 1999) a few weeks ago.  I talked about it with one of my good friends when she was here for my birthday, because she influenced me to go around calling all of my kiddos "sweet boy" and "sweet girl".  And again tonight as I am studying for my research methods class, it shows up in the article that we are critiquing.

So here's an example from someone I love and admire very much.  She has amazing parenting skills and loads of experience with children, but in a weak moment, this fabulous mama gave in to frustration (as we all do sometimes) and said "My son is driving me crazy.  He's such a hitter!"  So my challenge to her, and to you, is to think about the names that our children will be living up to.  If this child is going to live up to the name that he's given, perhaps it would be better to say that, "My son is a sweet child (imperfect by definition of being a human being, and immature by definition of being young) who is learning appropriate social skills.  I love him cuz he's mine, but he is really driving me crazy today."  Either way, we can acknowledge our children's poor choices and our own frustration, but in essence this child changes from being "a hitter" to being "a sweet child who is still learning, but special anyway because he is wonderfully made and he belongs to me".  And after all, aren't we ALL still learning?  We are all wonderfully made, but we never quit learning.  

A similar comparison was made in the research study I was reading for class tonight (Sheppard, 2006).  They argued that "assigning wretched labels (such as academically unacceptableˆ) [to under-achieving high schools] is not the answer.  Who can possibly benefit from such designation?  Conceivably, the labels may have been designed to jumpstart listless administrators, teachers, and students.  Unfortunately, early outcomes indicate that once schools are tagged with low performing labels, they have a tendency to maintain that undesirable status which may imply that the listless remain listless" (p. 622-623).  

I heard an illustration this week in my culture class about a piece of sand.  If you put the piece of sand into a human eye, it irritates the person and eventually may turn into an infection.  However, if you put that piece of sand into an oyster, it irritates the oyster and turns into a pearl.  So what do we do when irritations come along in our own lives?  Hmm... Gets you thinking doesn't it?  

With hope and gratitude,

Covey, S. (1999). The 7 habits of highly effective people. London: Simon & Schuster. 

Sheppard, P. (2006). Successful African-American mathematics students in academically unacceptable high schools. Education126(4), 609-625.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hitting, kicking, & biting

If that is something that is frustrating you as well, here are a few ideas and resources.

First, we can do a variety of things to try to prevent hitting.

  • We can provide lots of positive attention when the child is behaving appropriately.
  • We can spend periods of the day giving the child our full attention (that usually means NO CELL PHONES OR TELEVISIONS!). Set a timer if that helps you.
  • We can identify what we are trying to teach, so that we know what our goal is. We can use 5 positives for every one negative. We can say what we DO want more than what we DON'T want.
  • We can distract. Redirect. Ignore the little things. Give lots of specific praise for the good things.

    Secondly, when a child hits we can provide natural consequences with sadness and very few words. Even though it's hard, it's better to let our calm actions (such as simply removing the child from the room) speak louder than our words. Take a deep breath. Yelling or punishment may help the adults to feel better for a moment, but in the long room we need to ask ourselves if we are teaching what we want to be teaching. If children learn by example and we are hitting them in our anger, what are we teaching?

    When I searched the Love & Logic site (another one of my favorite sources for behavior help) to see what they had to say about hitting, here's what I found:
    Handling Sibling Rivalry
    Just about every family with more than one child experiences sibling rivalry. If your kids ever argue with each other, complain about each other, or tussle a bit, it means that they are normal. Listed below are some tips for saving your sanity and turning sibling rivalry into a wonderful learning opportunity for your kids:

  • Stay out of the problem whenever possible. Avoid teaching your children that fighting with each other is a good way to get your attention.
  • Say to them, “It looks like you guys have a problem that you need to solve. I’ll be happy to give you some suggestions about solving this problem when both of you are calm."
  • Separate them if necessary.
  • If your kids continue to hassle your eyes and ears with fighting, say, “I’m going to have to do something about this. We’ll talk when everyone is calm.”
  • Expect them to replace the energy they drained out of you by doing extra chores, hiring a babysitter so that you can go out and relax, staying home instead of being driven to their friend’s houses, etc.

  • Next, we want to remember that emotions are something that we all have. Every one of us sometimes is happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes frustrated. And we all need to remember to identify our emotions and to think of appropriate ways to deal with them. We can practice saying, "I feel sad because I miss my friend. When I feel sad it helps me if I ask for a hug or take a break or drink some tea/coffee (or for a child, if I get my favorite teddy bear or blanket)." For our children, we can read books about emotions and social skills. We can look at faces in books or magazines and talk about what emotions the people are showing. I also love a song called "When I Feel Mad" that talks about different things that we can do when we feel mad.

    Lastly, we want to remember that just because our children have tantrums does not mean that we are bad parents.
    “You could be totally committed to your child from the moment of birth. You could read all the best parenting books. You could take parenting classes. You could do absolutely everything right. In fact, you could be a truly magnificent, spectacular, utterly faultless saint, and your child would still misbehave. The truth is all children misbehave. All children make mistakes. All children will whine, fuss, and have temper tantrums. This is true because all children are human beings - young, inexperienced, naive human beings. And to be human is to be fallible - to make mistakes, to make poor decisions, and, hopefully, to learn from these....

    “It is our duty and privilege to love our children and to guide and direct them, to be committed to them, and to be devoted to parenting them in the best way we can. And it is our duty to understand that our children are perfect - a realistic, human perfection that allows for mistakes and misbehavior along the way to growth and development. These mistakes are necessary to ensure that learning and growth take place, and that is the beauty of parenting. Our children to not have to be flawless to receive our unconditional love and support” (Pantley, 2007, p. 9).

    For more information:

  • Elizabeth Pantley has a great article about strategies to use when a child hits, bites, etc.
  • Elizabeth Pantley also has an article discussing the issue of spanking.
  • Love & Logic
  • Pantley, E. (2007). The No-Cry Discipline Solution: Gentle Ways to Encourage Good Behavior Without Whining, Tantrums, and Tears. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Monday, September 3, 2012


    I just wanted to post a list of resources that have made a difference to me

    in my life

  • for reducing chaos
  • for reducing perfectionism (iTunes)

    in my healing
  • for learning to deal with my imperfections and flaws
  • for continuing to have hope even when evil wins out in the short term (iTunes)
  • for remembering that God is good all the time—even when He lets bad things happen to us (Beth Moore study—see session 3) - This was a huge difficulty for me, because I really previously thought that if I just loved God enough and behaved good enough, then He would protect me and things would always go my way. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
  • for seeing the good in the pain (iTunes) - Wait. Good in pain? Isn't that a contradiction?
  • for reminding me that I can be thankful IN all things even if I can't be thankful FOR all things
  • for helping me to have hope for salvation for our son, even though he was just an infant when he died
  • for helping me to consider that heaven really IS for real... and what it might be like

    in my marriage
  • for learning to see my husband as he is - my lover who needs my unconditional respect, as well as my love