Are Millennial Dads More Active In Child Rearing?

Millennial dads are redefining fatherhood. Their progressive beliefs and behaviors—seemingly more prevalent than in prior generations—are shattering the tired media stereotype of the disconnected dad.

In ages past, the typical father would come home from work, read the newspaper, and remain relatively disconnected from his children. His breadwinning and rule making made him the ideal father. However, millennial dads define parenthood in terms that expand beyond just financial security and into the realm of attentive engagement with their little ones. This new generation of fathers seems to be deeply committed to supporting their partners, fostering familial bonds, and paternal involvement in their children’s personal development.

Although some may perceive millennial fatherhood as “soft” or too involved, a number of research studies suggest otherwise.

When Dad Is Engaged Everyone Wins 

The Children

Are children benefitting from dads’ hands-on involvement? The research implies that the answer is a resounding “yes.” A group of international researchers (Sarkadi et al, 2007) examined eighteen research studies on the influence of fathers’ involvement on children’s developmental outcomes. They found overwhelming evidence indicating that playful, nurturing, and consistent paternal care has a positive impact on children’s behavioral, cognitive, social and psychological development.

Involved dads are more likely to positively influence their children’s emotional well-being, creativity, critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and academic achievement. In addition, children with involved fathers tend to develop a higher general sense of worth. Studies suggest this is directly related to dad’s willingness to give time, care, and attention to their children.

Mom

Old-fashioned gender roles no longer function well in the 21st century, and for many modern-day families, they need to be redefined. Most families are recognizing that parenting isn’t a moms-only domain. In today’s North American culture, either parent can be the primary breadwinner or the primary caregiver, depending on the specific needs of each family. Many dual-career couples face challenging decisions about the balance between careers and parenting responsibilities. Especially during their children’s early years, it is important for parents to have discussions about the joint responsibilities of wage-earning and care-giving.

A 2012 study, “The New Dad: Right at Home,” highlighted that, “fathers can be excellent primary caregivers and through doing so can help support the career development and earning potential of their spouses.” Dads are stepping up. They take their toddlers to the park so moms can take a shower; they clean the kitchen so moms can meet important deadlines at work. One in five millennial dads are fully responsible for childcare tasks, from carpools to coordinating play dates. Over 60% of fathers report that they have some degree of responsibility for their children’s bedtime routine, bath time, medical appointments, or morning routine.

Most of us know that parenting is not easy. When dad helps out with the tasks that have been traditionally considered to be in mom’s realm, everyone wins.

Dad

Although newborns typically spend most of their time being nurtured by moms, dad’s role is also essential. Time spent with the baby in the early weeks and months provides a positive foundation for developing a strong relationship as the child grows, making fatherhood more rewarding and enjoyable.

58% of millennial dads place family before work. A study published by The Academy of Management Perspectives in 2015 showed that working dads who spend more time with their children enjoy greater levels of job satisfaction than those who do not. The study also suggested that the more time men spend with their children, the less central their careers are to their identities. Perhaps learning from the habits of their fathers and grandfathers, many millennial fathers seem to recognize that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.”

Nine in ten millennial dads actively strive to improve their parenting and to forge their own unique parenting paths. The Internet has provided many avenues to help dads on their parenting journeys. Instead of asking friends or family for parenting advice, over 80% of millennial dads turn to Google and YouTube for fatherhood tips and guides. These sources can help men answer questions about everything from baby’s health to preparing child-friendly and nutritious meals to building safe tree houses. Expectant and new millennial dads frequently make online purchases to respond to their children’s needs. From car seats and strollers to educational tools and toys, dads are conscientious decision-makers when deciding what to purchase. Safety, quality, online reviews, and peer recommendations play central roles in this process, and dads are willing to pay premium prices for products that meet their standards.

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate great dads, especially those who experience the joy and feel the priceless reward of being involved parents. To show your appreciation for any soon-to-be millennial dad in your life, give him a gift that supports what will come to mean the most to him—his child. If he values strong early childhood development and lifelong learning, this gift could mean the world to him and his future child.

 

#babyplus, #dad, #fathersday, #millennialdads, #dads-to-be, #parenting, #childdevelopment
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What Being a Mom Really Means

The decision to become a mom is the choice to become the most powerful person in a child’s life and is beyond calculation. It’s carrying and caring for a life that’s completely relying on mom not only for survival, but to uplift them and to, among other things, teach them the hard rules of life. Being a mother is also the most challenging and rewarding relationship a woman will ever have.  And so, I’m inspired by great moms and salute all of the extra efforts they make for the sake of their children.

Nowadays, though, it seems we figuratively pat moms on the head, buy them flowers and the perfect mushy cards on Mother’s Day.  However, when all is said and done, we don’t really show them nearly as much respect as we would a doctor, a lawyer or a therapist despite their complicated role. In fact, women who choose to be stay-at-home moms are often referred to as “just a mom.”  Even if they opt to work full-time while raising children or stay home with their little ones, we need to understand that any mom-shaming related to the decision to mother effectively undermines female empowerment considering all that moms are required to do.

Safety and Security

Mostly it is mom’s job to be a protector, providing a healthy and safe environment in her womb while her baby develops.  This responsibility continues once her baby enters the world, whether it’s guaranteeing her babe-in-arms has a sturdy roof over its head or keeping the Boogeyman away at night and everything else in between.

Some of you may feel as if I am forgetting about fathers and other influential relationships between children and close family members and teachers. After all they say it takes a village to raise a child, right? Although that is true, I am sure we all can agree that it’s not “a village” that a young child cries for when he or she is distressed. You, mom, are usually the dependable person your baby can run to with all of their problems.  If you can’t make everything better, then who else can?

If a child has been holding it together all day, in an unpleasant and difficult situation, usually the minute their teary eyes land on your face, they know they can finally relax and release their bottled feelings on you, as a mom is an emotional blankie for a child to have permission to keep their emotions 100% real. Plus, most moms can usually sense when their child is feeling troubled. Often lending an open ear and just letting him or her talk freely about the worry can help a child move quickly beyond it. When mom reduces her child’s risks and stress, this helps to firmly support their spiritual, mental and emotional development and physical health. When a child isn’t constantly worried that something devastating is going to happen, he or she learns to have faith. Their nervous system is calm and relaxed, and they can sleep more soundly and their mind can heal their body in a natural way as well, whereas a child who does not feel safe typically becomes withdrawn, has difficulty concentrating and/or overreacts to inconsequential problems.

Unconditional Love and Affection

On top, a child’s self-image is greatly influenced by their emotional relationship to mom. The first instances of self-awareness are experienced through seeing themselves in the mirror of their mom’s eyes and through her words and actions— how she touches and holds her child. If this is coupled with love and affection, her child feels on cloud nine as the earliest seeds of healthy self-esteem are being sowed. Early attachments also form a child’s mental pictures of how relationships function in the world. A lack of maternal warmth and validation distorts their sense of self, making them lack trust in, or be wary of, close emotional connections. That’s because a child’s need for its mother’s love is a primal driving force, and that need does not lessen with unavailability. Actually it exists side by side with the understanding that the one woman who is supposed to love you without condition doesn’t. The work it takes to heal and deal with that reality is hard to say the least. It has an effect on many parts of the self but mostly in the area of relationships.

Life Coach and Mentor

A mom also has the power to instill in her child a sense of right and wrong, and when he or she internalizes that, mom almost becomes her child’s conscience. If your conscience is always your playmate and never tells you when you are in the wrong, you’ll most likely going grow up with little, if any, respect for authority.  Too, being a mom means developing and perfecting “the mom look” that paralyzes misbehavior–that uncompromising glare that says, “one more time and …. ”  Certainly you want your child to love you and have fun and be open with you and not live in fear of you.  To live in fear is to not live at all. However, you also want to encourage ethical values and set boundaries. More often than not, it’s just what they need and want.

Of course, there are days that are terrible and certainly test your patience, and then there are those great days where you pass with honors. That’s why, like any top level job, you have to bring all your own gifts,  qualities, research and experiences to the role of mother to reap the rewards that go beyond changing diapers and washing dishes and that can truly change your life for the better.  Your actions must also be in unison with what you desire, believe and value as a mother because the world can only value mothering to the degree good moms affirm that it should be so.  You moms out there hold the keys to the doors that open up the perception of motherhood. As we support you, and as you remind those around you to hold you in high regard, you honor and reverence both the moms whose shoulders you have stood on and the daughters who will in the future stand steady on yours.

 

#babyplus, #mothersday, #moms, #momstobe  # motherhood

How To Boost A Child’s Focus And Attention Span

The ability to focus can determine your life’s direction and even your ability to accomplish goals or develop new habits. Early in life most children have shorter attention spans than adults.  Some children, however, have far more problems focusing and staying on task than others. This lack of focus may prevent them from realizing their full potential later in life.  A healthy attention span is often necessary not only for academic success but also for creative and athletic endeavors as well.

The good news is the gift of focus can be cultivated early in life through enriching the child’s environment with the right sounds at the right time and by choosing activities at home which encourage focus and attention.

Age Appropriate Puzzles

First, putting together puzzles helps to boost a child’s concentration as he or she develops.  When selecting them be sure to pick age appropriate choices.  For children under the age of two, offer wooden knobbed puzzles that are outlines of simple shapes and fit easily into board cutouts.  Next, your child can move on to puzzles with more complex images. Cartoon characters, musical instruments and transportation illustrations are always a hit with toddlers. Allow them to choose the puzzles they like. Doing so can increase the amount of time a puzzle receives, heightening concentration. When children work on puzzles they enjoy, they often will develop strategies to finish the puzzle efficiently–doing all the edge pieces first, for instance, or separating the pieces according to colors.

Physical Activities

Next, increasing a child’s fitness level can do wonders for their attention span.  A large randomized controlled trial in the US examined the effects of daily afterschool sports activities over a school year. As the children got in better shape, they also became more proficient at multitasking, ignoring distractions and retaining information.

Furthermore, when physical activity is used as a break from academic learning time this can result in improved on-task behaviors, healthier attention spans, and enhanced academic performance.

Parents can play a pivotal role encouraging their children to become physically active by helping them choose activities that get their heart rate up.  Below are some ideas to consider:

  • Dancing: ballet, hip hop, modern, tap
  • Martial arts: boxing, karate, kick boxing, taekwondo
  • Racket sports: badminton, tennis, ping pong, squash
  • Recess games: dodge ball , playing tag, skipping, red rover
  • Skating: skateboarding, in-line skating
  • Team sports: basketball, football, hockey, soccer

Foods and Supplements

Often overlooked, over indulging in foods like bacon, popcorn and soda and junk food with little nutritional density can affect a child’s ability to focus and cause brain fog.  Incorporating foods that naturally contain Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) such as fatty fish (i.e. sardines, salmon and mackerel) in your child’s diet can has been proven to improve concentration naturally.  If your child is not a big fan of fish, DHA fish oil supplements are widely available for children.

Equally as dangerous, a magnesium deficiency can bring about decreased attention span and mental confusion.  This much need mineral calms the brain down and helps children to focus.  Foods that are high in magnesium include dark leafy greens, quinoa, cashews and walnuts.

Foods containing B vitamins can improve alertness in children. Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause low energy, which in turn lessens the ability to focus.  And so, be sure that your child is getting adequate amounts of healthy animal proteins, such as grass-fed beef and lamb loaded with B12. Choline, another B vitamin, helps with development of memory stem cells and is readily available in eggs.

A study published in Magnesium Research in 2006 found that giving ADHD-diagnosed children a cocktail of magnesium and vitamin B6 significantly improved inattentiveness.  B6 is found in foods like avocados, pistachios, turkey, meats and whole grains.

Remove Distractions

No child should be living like a scattered grad student surrounded by clutter. Keeping an orderly living space creates an environment that is structured and cultivates a child’s ability to increase his or her attention span and focus on one activity at a time.  It is, therefore, important to not only round up the toys, clothes, crafts etc at the end of the day, but to teach your child to put away things once finished. This also includes putting away all the screens—television, smart phones, tablet computers and especially game consoles.

While there are clear benefits that come with using electronic media, over-exposure can have a negative impact on attention. In a 2010 study, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the children (ages 8-18), outside of school time, spend practically every moment of the day using electronic devices. Whatever happened to ‘go and play outside’? If you want to save your child from becoming a disappointing statistic, set some sensible daily time limits. Once your child reaches the limit, suggest they go outside and spend time in nature.  Last Child in the Woods is a great book for parents to read. It deals with children growing up in a culture bombarded with electronic media, disconnected from nature. The book makes a compelling case for children playing in the great outdoors.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Like adults, children need sleep to enable their minds to reboot and focus. Unlike adults, a drowsy child can’t wind down quickly. In fact, in children sleepiness can resemble ADHD symptoms.  They behave as if they’re not exhausted at all, resisting bedtime and becoming increasingly hyper as the evening progresses. This all too familiar drama can happen simply because the child is overtired.  Children who sleep less than ten hours per night before age three are more likely to be easily distracted and are three times more prone to developing hyperactivity and impulsivity issues by age six than those who get just 30 minutes more of extra sleep.  See the chart below to learn how many hours of sleep your child needs.

Baby and Children Sleep Chart

  • 0-4 months. Total Sleep: 16-18 hours.  Nighttime Sleep: 8-9 hours.
  • 5-12 months. Total Sleep: 12-16 hours. Nighttime Sleep: 9-10 hours.
  • 1-2 years. Total Sleep: 11-14 hours. Nighttime Sleep: 11 hours.
  • 3-5 years. Total Sleep: 10-13 hours. Nighttime Sleep: 10-13 hours.
  • 6-12 years. Total Sleep: 9-12 hours.

#babyplus #child development #attentionspan #focus #childbevahior #parenting

The Importance of Praising Your Child

We all like to be told we are on the right path, that we are doing a good job.  We like to know that what we are doing is making a difference. This is true in all aspects of our life: at work, at home and at play. Of course these look different depending on where we are: a paycheck, a high five, a pat on the back, a hug, a kiss, a new outfit, words of affirmation, a sweet treat etc. These things are known as reinforcers which often times looks like rewards, and according to the research will increase the likelihood that a behavior will occur again.

This is great news for parents! This means we can bribe our kids with candy to get them to do want we want… right? Not quite. What it does mean is that we can capitalize on what motivates our children in order for them to complete tasks that they most likely don’t want to do, or are having hard time learning.

Reinforcement:

According to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) reinforcement follows a stimulus change and results in the increased likelihood that the behaviour will happen again. Often times, when someone mentions reinforcement, it is typically positive reinforcement that they are referring to.

Types of reinforcement:

  • Positive reinforcement: when a behavior is followed by the PRESENTATION of a stimulus (a reinforcer). For example: A baby claps her hands and the parent smiles and cheers. The presentation of the smile and cheer are the reinforcers. This response will increase the chances that the baby will clap again.
    • A reinforcer can be anything: praise, toys, food, an activity/experience, music, stickers etc
  • Negative reinforcement: when a behaviour is followed by the REMOVAL (or end) of a stimulus which increases the chances that the response will occur more frequently. For example: Picture Johnny and Jamey fighting (behavior) over who gets to play with the ball and they are making a lot of noise (as kids tend to do). Mom comes in the room and takes away the ball (removal/end), both kids stop fighting immediately bringing back the peace and quiet (response). The chances of Mom removing toys when the kids are fighting is now strengthen and likely to occur again.

Advantages of positive reinforcement

  • The behavior that is being reinforced will occur more frequently
  • You become the giver or good things (helps to strengthen relationship with your child)
  • Helps children to understand what is expected of them and accepted
  • Helps to teach new skills

While a lot of this information can be pretty technical, don’t be discouraged. We are constantly providing feedback and reinforcement to those around us, especially our children. Once you find out what motivates your child (what their reinforcers are) you can have a dance party after homework is done, they can eat brownies when the chores are finished and you can enjoy your cuddles and giggles while tickling and snuggling your baby.

#babyplus #children #parenting

BabyPlus: The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Mother’s Day is almost here. If you are still hunting for the ideal present for the mom-to-be in your life that’s outside of the usual “bling bling” jewelry fashion statement box, we have  the best gift idea that will she will never forget and truly appreciate especially if this is her first pregnancy.  It’s called BabyPlus.

BabyPlus

BabyPlus ® is an award-winning patented prenatal education system that’s designed to help strengthen a child’s learning capabilities in the womb. Mom may begin BabyPlus any time between 18 – 32 weeks of pregnancy with a goal of playing just one hour a day.

 

The BabyPlus curriculum includes 16 lessons.  Each one has a different variation of sounds patterned after mom’s heartbeat. These sounds work to enrich the baby’s cognitive development and give newborns a strong start with benefits that last a lifetime.

BabyPlus moms boast that babies more readily nurse, display an increased ability to self-soothe and are more relaxed and alert at birth.  Later in life, BabyPlus children reportedly reach strong developmental milestones, show improved school readiness and greater creativity and independence.

Mom will be pleasantly amazed at how quickly she sees the results when her baby is born and she’ll be grateful that you gave her such a thoughtful Mother’s Day surprise.

 

Mother’s Day Promotion

 $40 off the BabyPlus Prenatal System 

Offer ends May 13th 2018

 

Use promo code: MOTHER at checkout
Shop Now!

 

#babyplus #mothers day, #mothersdaygifts#bestMothersDayGift, #momstobe #pregnancygiftforwife

Ways To Nurture Your Child’s Language Development

There is no shortage of studies showing that children who are read to, and spoken with, routinely during early childhood will have bigger vocabularies and much better grammar than those who aren’t. With the growing popularity of television programs, however, from Kipper to Curious George marketed to children ages three years and under, the research surrounding them serve both as a benefit and a warning for parents who believe that children programs support language development.

On positive side, three years olds can learn verbs from video with (or without) parental help. On the negative side, children under age three do not appear to gather any verb learning benefit from watching videos, unless given parental aid. Even though findings on learning from video are mixed, the research in the language literature suggests that live social interaction is still the most solid ground for language development.

Read to your baby routinely

It is never too early to start developing a reading routine with your baby. Believe it or not, a baby recognizes their mommy’s voice even before birth. That’s why one way to start developing shared reading time is by reading books aloud to your baby during pregnancy. Once your baby arrives, try reading a little each day. Even though, of course, your newborn still doesn’t know what you’re saying, he or she can begin to learn the tones and inflections in your voice. Plus, it is a mother-to-baby bedtime activity that you can make into a special bonding moment.

Let dad read the bedtime stories too

When dads are actively involved in their children’s lives, it has long been confirmed that children are more social, perform better in school and develop way less behavioral problems. But researchers at Harvard have unveiled another interesting plus to having a hands-on dad: children benefit more when fathers read bedtime stories than when their mothers do it. They found that when fathers read to their young children, there was an effect on their language development one year later and their literacy two years later. Even more interesting, the mothers’ reading did not have a real impact on language development. The difference between mommy and daddy’s reading was: fathers used more abstract and complex language when reading with their child. They would often relate events in the book to personal experiences. For instance, when a ladder was talked about in the book, many fathers brought up the last time they had used a ladder to mount up on the roof or use it for their work. On the other hand, mothers fixated more on the details in the book and often asked children to label and count objects and name colors. It appears that the abstract thinking is more beneficial for little ones’ minds because it’s more challenging. That makes sense as abstract thinkers are able to perceive analogies and relationships that others may not see and thereby understand higher levels of abstraction.

Share stories with your child

Think outside of the “Dr. Seuss” box and think up your own stories complete with colorful characters, interesting themes, twists and turns and uplifting endings. Besides, they can be used as opportunities to teach your child the life lessons you want them to learn about and reflect on such as love, hate, jealousy, humility etc. You can even share stories about your childhood experiences. This will certainly work to connect your child to you.

Also, consistently listening to stories without seeing images enables a child to create vivid pictures in his or her mind, opening a wide door to creativity. Reading chapter books is an important milestone that should be met well. So this ability will be especially useful later when you introduce your child to books that are not primarily very picture heavy.

Narrate the day as it unfolds

Similar to a play-by-play sports announcer, keep your child up to date with activities all throughout the day: “We are going to put on our Fall jackets now because it’s chilly outside” or “Look outside at the sky. It’s dark so that means it is time for bed.” This is an effective way to help build your child’s vocabulary. A child’s mind is like a sponge, soaking up huge amounts of information from their environment effortlessly, continuously, and indiscriminately. The more they hear you speak, the more words they’ll use. That includes bad words so be careful not to let any slip out in front of your child when you’re frustrated because, as God made little green apples, your child will keep those cuss words filed away for future use when feeling the same.

Introduce your child to “big” words

Vocabulary is a key predictor of school preparedness and success. And so, every now then bring in words into your conversation with your toddler that you know he or she is unfamiliar with. When your child asks for clarification about a word, teach the meaning and provide enough detail for them to full grasp it. For instance, if you’re asked what does “infectious disease” mean? You may want to say something along the lines of “a disease that can spread really fast from one person to the next”. By not totally dumbing-down the way you speak to children and using more complex sentences, they’ll naturally remember to use new words as you use them.

Carefully Correct poor pronunciations

It’s normal for toddlers to mispronounce or use new words wrongly. Regardless of how funny their mistakes may sound, avoid chuckling or poking fun at your child when this happens especially if he or she is shy. Nothing undermines your attempt at teaching more than laughter in the middle of teachable moments. Instead, keep in mind that children thrive on approval. Therefore, praise your child’s effort, mention what they got right and then go over the proper way to use and/or say the word. The more encouraging and positive the learning experience is, the more your child will strive to boost and practice their vocabulary.

#babyplus #momstobe #parenting #readingtochildren #childrenlanguagedevelopment

How A Baby’s Food Favorites Start In The Womb and Breast Milk

Tasting Begins With Taste Pores

By the time you’re nine weeks pregnant your developing baby’s mouth and tongue have formed and he or she has tiny taste buds. Neurons from the brain will have connected with them. Still, your baby can’t totally taste the surrounding amniotic fluid yet. Taste pores which are the small pits on the surface of the tongue that enable the molecules from food to connect with the taste receptors that make up taste buds are needed for that to happen.

Pregnancy Diets Matter

At 21 weeks after conception, though, the growing baby is able to gobble up several ounces of amniotic fluid daily. The fluid surrounding the baby is in fact flavored by the foods and beverages you have eaten in the last few hours. So as your baby tastes the amniotic fluid it has its first experiences with different “second hand” flavors and smells too.

Research has shown that the foods you eat during pregnancy have an effect on the foods that your baby favors. In one study, mothers who drank carrot juice during the last trimester of pregnancy had babies who frowned way less when fed carrot juice than those who were not.

Meanwhile, another 2012 study suggests that women who eat junk food during pregnancy and while breastfeeding tend to have obesity-prone children. Furthermore, the pregnant rats that munched on lots of junk food and had diets high in sodium, fat and sugar gave birth to babies who favored these foods and disliked more nourishing ones. Apparently, that is because “Mc Junk Foods” change the central reward system located in the brain known as the mesolimbic reward pathway. These changes lead to a higher preference for “appealing” or “enjoyable” foods with little to no nutritional content.

Encourage A Broad Palate

During pregnancy, make a real effort to eat healthy and flavorful foods. Choose a wide mixture of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that children don’t usually have a desire for such as avocados, grapefruit, beans, asparagus etc. And if you’re jonesing for some Ruffles or Pringles, just opt for healthier interesting alternatives like seaweed chips or oven baked sweet potato chips and avocado dip instead. You can’t go wrong with either of these.

Breast Milk Matters Too

Next, something to keep in mind if you’re on the fence about whether to nurse or not is, unlike formula-fed babies, breast-fed babies tend to have broad palates. That’s because they sample many foods while nursing. Whereas formula -fed babies don’t encounter a variety of flavors. And so, as toddlers, the latter often develop food neophobia, which is the fear of trying new foods. They usually have a food repertoire of around ten items. It’s just too bad that the foods these toddlers tend to be most wary of are the very ones we most want them to like.

Encourage Nutrient Rich Food Choices

The baby-food months are also an important time for developing food preferences. Tasting a particular flavor about ten times during this period can help make your baby familiar enough with it to develop a liking for it later. However, trying to sell broccoli, or any member of the cruciferous family “ten times” or as “baby trees” may not sway toddlers who are highly sensitive to what they believe to be smelly foods.

As a child, like many, I could not tolerate the stench of overcooked greens, especially broccoli. Evidently, my mother ate no steamed “baby trees” at all when she was carrying or breastfeeding me. That unpleasant decaying plant smell overtaking the kitchen coupled with the bitter taste was enough to send me running for cover.

To prevent meltdowns at dinner time, simple-to-make sweet green smoothies are a way to ease little ones on board the veggie chew-chew train with the least amount of push back. In fact, fussy eaters often welcome drinking this cold green treat especially when they get to choose all ingredients themselves. And speaking of which, when your toddler is old enough to be involved in planting seeds in the garden, grocery shopping and following kid friendly recipes, he or she will feel connected to the process and is more likely to eat the foods they’ve played a big role in preparing. Even those who are too little to type up weekly grocery lists can help you make healthy choices along their healthy eating journey such as pears or plums? cheddar or feta? almonds or walnuts? etc., forming good food habits that may just last a lifetime.

#babyplus #mommoments #motherhoodmoments #momsoninstagram #momstobe #motherhood #babytryingfood

What Your Child’s “Bad Behavior” is Telling You

Cue child: kicking and screaming in the grocery store aisle because they were denied the sugary cereal.

Toddler enters room stage left, drops to the floor, crying, arms and legs flailing because you cut their toast after they asked you to. We have all been there or we will all be there at one point or another–that moment when things don’t go the way your child wants and they react in what seems like a disproportionate way to you, but seems completely reasonable to them.

Upon examining these scenes, most people, parents included only see a child who is having a tantrum, or a child who is misbehaving /acting out, or even worse they blame the behavior on poor parenting. What they don’t see is that this child is communicating.

All behavior is communication.

While simple enough, this realization offers a solution based perspective to ‘problem behavior’. It changes the narrative of “my child is bad” or “they are doing this TO me” and offers “they are trying to tell me something”. The behaviors in question can look like talking through a situation and clearly expressing feelings and thoughts which is what most people are used to. With younger children, those who don’t have a complex vocabulary or a lot of words, or children with special needs it can look like: throwing, crying, kicking, running away, biting, laughing, washing hands, not saying anything at all, over eating, refusing to use the washroom, not eating, hitting and the list goes on. These behaviors can be indications of insecurity, anger, pain, joy, curiosity, lack of sleep, fear etc.

Often times the thing your child is having a meltdown over i.e. the cereal, is not really at the root of the meltdown, then what is?

One of the first steps to understanding what is being communicated through these behaviors, is finding out what function or purpose the behavior serves.

Is your child trying to get access to something, a toy, the park? Is this behavior fulfilling a sensory need, it is helping them self sooth? Is your child trying to get attention from a parent or teacher, or perhaps they are trying to escape something, like chores, homework, or an unpleasant situation?

Once you have figured out what your child is trying to communicate through their behaviors, there are numerous ways they can be addressed but are not limited to:

  • Offering them more choices throughout the day. For example, if it is play time, do they want to play with a blue ball or a red ball?
  • Providing simple words or sentences they can use, for example: “I want the ball.”
  • You can model more appropriate or socially acceptable ways to self sooth, like taking deep breaths, or counting to 10.
  • Help them identify how they are feeling using simple words or sentences: “I’m sad, I need a hug.”
  • As an alternative to running away you can teach your child to ask for a break or schedule in down time during their day.

Keep in mind we have only just scratched the surface of functions of behavior and different strategies to address them. Figuring out what your child is trying to communicate through their behaviors isn’t always an easy task. It can take a long time and can be quite frustrating for both parent and child.

There are so many ways to communicate with your child and with a little effort and a lot of patience, you will find the one that works best for the both of you.

Four Proven Methods For Raising Bilingual Babies

There are long lasting benefits that come with being fluently bilingual.  They range from giving one a leg up in the job market and having the ability to converse with different people and understand the nuances of another culture, to improving brain function such as the ability to focus and perform mental tasks.

More importantly, if your native language is different from the majority language, you’ll feel emotionally closer to your baby if your baby is able to communicate with you in your native language.

Well, it turns out that the ideal time to start bilingualism is maybe even before your baby is born. Recently, neuroscience researchers have been able to actually see what is taking place inside developing babies’ minds. The results were published in the journal Acta Paediatrica. Apparently, babies understand things about language even before birth and develop verbal skills way before they say their very first words.

What’s more, the brain is primed in the first three years of life with synapses, which is the point at which a nervous impulse passes from one neuron to another, creating optimal neural pathways to mediate language. This building of the brain’s language chip goes on, however, at an ever-slowing rate from the age of 6 until the age of 12 years. Therefore, as a child grows older their superior power language abilities weaken.  And so, by the teenage years they are almost entirely lost. This means that parents should take full advantage of the critical period if they want their child to be perfectly bilingual.

Keep in mind, though, that babies acquire language and they can’t actually be taught language. They identify the word form in the stream of speech.  Then they map these words onto meanings they have gathered from hearing repeated utterances of the same sound chunk in the same setting or context. Therefore, the idea is really to expose babies to languages through meaningful conversations that are attached to real life to support the language acquisition process.

With that being said, it would not be such a great idea to rely solely on any “ultimate foreign language course” where you park your toddler in front of a computer screen listening to and repeating phrases.  Needless to say, that does not qualify as meaningful communication. In my opinion this method should just be used to train pet parrots and cockatiels how to talk, not children. Like these birds, children most certainly will learn a few phrases, but the “repeat after me” method will not help them to carry on actual conversations. Plus, language is made up so many intricate expressions of culture and computer language learning programs never effectively cover them.

There are four methods for raising bilingual babies that are commonly used, so I’ll concentrate on them and show how they encourage bilingual development.

One Person One Language (OPOL)

The OPOL method is where each parent consistently speaks a different language to the child. This could mean that mom speaks her native language with her child, while dad speaks to them in English or his native language. The method is considered the best one for teaching babies two languages as it is believed that it results in less language confusion. It also ensures that the baby is equally exposed to both languages on a regular basis and can help both parents connect with the child in their respective languages. It’s especially great when the parents understand each other’s languages because neither one feels left out when the other is speaking their native language with the child.

Minority Language at Home (ML@H)

With the ML@H method the minority language is spoken at home by both mom and dad with the baby and the majority language is used with everyone else.  The risk with this method is that these children may not be up to speed with their monolingual pre-school mates. For this reason, some parents choose to switch to one of them speaking the majority language about year before their child starts school.  Parents needn’t, however, be too concerned about their child being at disadvantage when starting school.  For better or worse, children usually discover far more from other children than from any adult. When children interact with other children speaking the majority language on a daily basis, the time it takes to catch up is just six month.

Time and Place (T&P)

The T&P method is where one language is spoken at home, and another language is used at school. Or, the minority language is spoken only during the week, while the majority language is practiced on the weekends. This method is also commonly used in bilingual daycare centers and immersion schools whereby a set of activities and subjects are reserved for one language. If neither parent speaks their native language well, enrolling the child in a school that centers on bilingualism may be the best option.

Mixed Language Policy (MLP)

The MLP method uses the mix of languages in any circumstances – independent of person, time and place.  Mostly this is applied where many family members are at least bilingual. MLP can cultivate the child’s ability to be more flexible and get used to very different sounds and sayings. Then again, it can also lead to confusion, where the child starts to mix up the languages.  To prevent the latter, simply use the language that is appropriate to the situation. For example, the majority language may be used for reading stories and singing songs and homework, while the minority language may be used to chat about more personal and everyday subject matters.

Above all else it’s most important that you have a language acquisition method and follow it. And then just start early. Too, every child is different, and a parent is the best expert on what motivates their child, so work with what drives your child. Trips to where the language is spoken and play groups in the language are fun incentives for its use.

Are Breast Fed Babies More Intelligent?


When you look up the benefits of breast milk, you will find no shortage of “Breast Is Best’’ articles stressing the positives of the healthiest natural milk option for infants.  Breast milk has antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria. It also lowers babies’ risk of having allergies and asthma. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life have far less respiratory illnesses and ear infections.

Several studies over the years have found that breastfed children do better on intelligence tests. The validity of these findings has recently been challenged because key factors associated with a mother’s choice to breastfeed were not taken into consideration. Therefore, the question is:  Are breast fed children smarter? Or do mothers who choose to breastfeed have smart children?

To respond to this question, research published in the journal Pediatrics indicates that infants who are breastfed do not have better cognitive skills, by the time they enter kindergarten, than those who were not breastfed.

For nine months the researchers followed approximately 9,800 children from nine months to five years of age. The mothers reported if they breastfed their children and for how long.  Next, the mothers completed questionnaires about their children’s behaviors, vocabulary and cognitive abilities at the ages of three and five years.  Teachers’ reports on their behaviors and standardized tests were also used to assess the children’s skills.

Initially, breastfeeding was associated with better cognitive development. However,  then the researchers applied a statistical analysis technique called “propensity score matching,” which attempts to, in this case, account for the factors that determine whether mothers choose to breastfeed. For instance, several studies show:

  • Low socioeconomic status women are less likely to breastfeed than those of higher status.
  • Women who breastfeed tend to have higher academic achievements.
  • Roughly 25% of women who breastfeed have a smoker residing with them during pregnancy compared to 42% of those who do not breastfeed.
  • The more children in the home, the less often breastfeeding takes place.

Therefore, it should be no surprise to learn that, unadjusted, breastfed children were better at problem solving, had a higher vocabulary and were much better behaved. But, once the children were matched on those baseline variables, those relationships went out the window.

What’s interesting is that when the researchers looked at mothers who breastfed for over six months, they found that there was reduced hyperactivity in the children at age 3. However, it stopped at age five.

While the study questions the cognitive benefits of breast milk, as mentioned there are still plenty of real health benefits that come with breast feeding, including forming a unique bond between mom and baby. And so, new moms are always advised to breastfeed for the first six months after birth when possible, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.