April 27, 2011

The Lies We Tell

We all tell little white lies. They're a part of normal communication. But it's important to take a closer look at the lies we tell our children. What's to be gained and who will benefit?

I was given an opportunity to address lies in this St. Louis Kids Magazine blog entry written by Nicole Plegge.

Read the article HERE

April 26, 2011

Half Off Parent Coaching Session

I'm offering a half priced parent coaching session in conjunction with St. Louis Kids Magazine's STL Kids Club. Coupon offer is only available for purchase for a week and must be redeemed by July 31, 2011.

STL Kids Club will donate 10% of the proceeds from the sale of the coupons to the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.

Here's the link for more information and to purchase the coupon:

STL Kids Club

Helping Children Cope with Natural Disasters

If you live in the St. Louis area your family has probably been effected in one way or another by the recent tornadoes. Natural disasters such as these tornadoes can make children feel anxious and afraid. Whether they’ve personally experienced the tornado, seen the TV coverage or heard it discussed by adults, they may be struggling to make sense of what they are seeing and hearing. They may have nightmares, physical reactions such as headaches and stomachaches, become clingy and be afraid to go to school.

What You Can Do To Help Your Child:

Provide comfort and reassurance that they’re safe. Say things like, “I’ll always try to protect you,” or “Adults are working very hard to make things safe.” Remind children that tragedy’s such as these tornadoes are very rare.

Limit the amount of TV and internet coverage they see. Images of the tornado and the damage can be very frightening to children.

Encourage them to express their feelings about the tornado through talking, drawing or letter writing.

Do something as a family to help those who were affected by the tornado.

Talk with your children about how to prepare for tornadoes and other natural disasters. Make sure your child knows what smoke detectors, fire alarms and community sirens sound like and what to do when they hear them.

Help your children identify what they have done in the past that helped them cope when they were scared. Talk about other communities that have experienced natural disasters and how they have recovered.

Take note of your own reactions. Your reaction to the tornado and your adjustment to the aftermath contribute to the adjustment and coping ability of your children.

April 25, 2011

How to Stop Negative Behaviors

Negative behaviors get our attention faster and more often than positive behaviors. When a child is behaving appropriately we rarely point it out. We're afraid we might jinx it. I always encourage parents to "catch" their child being good and comment on it.

When it comes to attention seeking behaviors it's important to pick your battles. Do you find yourself commenting on every negative behavior even little annoyances? Try ignoring the small ones and only call attention to the big ones.

Are you constantly telling your child what you don't want them to do? "Don't run in the house," "Don't stand on the chair," "Stop yelling!" Telling your child what you want them to do can have a much different result. "Walk in the house," "Sit on the chair," "Use your inside voice."

Take a close look at yourself. Has your child learned any of these negative behaviors from you? If you yell your child will probably yell. Model for your child what you want them to do. They're always watching you and they often repeat what they see you doing.

Kids want and need their parent's attention. If you don't give them attention for positive behaviors they quickly learn to ramp up the negative behaviors to get your attention.

April 12, 2011

Helping a Preschooler Adjust to a New Baby

When a new baby joins a family it's a big adjustment. That adjustment can be especially challenging for a preschooler. She now has to share you and your attention and that can be confusing to her. You're so busy with the baby that you may not be spending as much time with your preschooler.

There are some things you can do to make the adjustment easier for your preschooler.

When the baby is napping or being cared for by someone else, spend some one-on-one time with your preschooler. Even if it's only fifteen minutes it will give your child the attention he is missing.

Let your preschooler help care for the baby. She can hand you diapers, wipes, etc. Ask her opinion such as "Do you think the baby would like to wear the blue shirt or the green one?"

Reserve an activity for your preschooler to do only when you're feeding the baby. That might involve working puzzles or coloring. You could read him a book while he turns the pages.

Sometimes preschoolers exhibit regressive behaviors. It might be their way of getting your attention. Allow your child to have special moments when they can revisit their days as a baby. Look at old photos or videos of him as a baby. Enlist his help in making his own album with duplicates of those photos.

With time and some help from you, your preschooler will adjust to and accept the new baby in your family.

April 5, 2011

I'm Teaching Classes at Cotton Babies

I'll be teaching at the Cotton Babies West County Store.
April 14 - Potty Training Made Easy
April 19 - Parenting Your Adopted Child
For information go to http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php?cPath=99

April 1, 2011

Is Your Child Afraid of Monsters?

At some point most children will have a fear of monsters. It might be a fear of the dark or that there's a monster in their closet or under their bed.

As a parent it's tempting to dismiss your child's fear by saying "There's no such thing as monsters." That approach usually doesn't alleviate their fear. Young children have magical thinking which gets fused with their perception of reality. To them monsters are very real.

Here are some strategies to help manage the fear.

Monster Spray: Buy an inexpensive can of air freshener. A lavender scent would be a good choice as it has a calming effect. Put a label on the can that says, "GO AWAY MONSTER!” Spray it in your child's room as part of their bedtime routine.
Doorknob Sign: Write "NO MONSTERS" on a piece of cardboard, punch holes in the top corners, add a twelve inch length of string and hang it on your child's bedroom doorknob.
Books: There are some wonderful books that you can read with your child. I recommend Glad Monster, Sad Monster and Go Away Big Green Monster both by Ed Emberley. The monsters are presented in fun and silly ways which makes them less scary. Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are finds Max on an adventure with monsters where he is in charge of telling what to do. Encourage your child to do the same.
Drawing: Suggest your child draw or paint a picture of what the monster looks like. Have them add a funny hat or clothes and soon the monster looks silly instead of scary. Older children can write a book about their monster. When the child is in control of the storyline it gives him a feeling of power over the monster and lessens anxiety.

A fear of monsters will probably make an appearance in your home. Approach that fear calmly and reassuringly and your child will feel safe and secure.