Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Visiting Friends and Family Who Do Not Have Children

Portrait of Four Young Mothers with Their Babies

When you go out with young children you have to make sure you have everything you need for them, such as the diaper bag with extra clothes and snacks.  My husband and I have three young children with one on the way.  When we go visit my parents and my in-laws it's great because they have gates, toys for the children to play with and a high chair for when it's time to eat.  Visiting friends with young children is great too.  Not only can the children play with each other, you don't have to worry about anything because they already have everything you need and it gives you a chance to interact with other adults.

It can be challenging when you have small children and visit people who do not have small children.  Not only do you have to pack almost your entire house with you, but you have to constantly run after them because of the lack of baby proofing, especially if they have a lot of stairs.  Obviously, it's understandable why people without small children don't want to baby proof their house because they don't need to.  It doesn't mean you're not going to visit them anymore, it just means you have to make sure you're prepared.  We went to a family dinner a couple of days ago and we had to leave early and miss dinner because we forgot to bring a portable high chair for our 18 month old.  When it was time to eat she wouldn't sit still and was constantly running around.  They have a big house with a lot of stairs so we had to block her from the stairs and we were afraid she would break something.  Let's just say it was a nightmare.  We decided we're going to leave a portable high chair in the minivan at all times so we're always prepared. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Magic of Christmas

Gifts in front of Christmas tree

Christmas is a special time of year.  The malls are packed with people buying Christmas presents and the streets are lined with houses decorated with Christmas lights.  My husband and I enjoy taking a drive with our children to admire all the Christmas decorations while listening to Christmas music.  Our children get excited when they see all the lights.  Christmas is about spending time with loved ones and being grateful for what you have.  It's great when your children wake up Christmas morning and their faces light up when they see all the presents under the Christmas tree.  Eating Christmas dinner with family and enjoying yummy treats. 

Christmas is about more than giving and receiving Christmas gifts.  It's about the birth of Jesus Christ.  Even though nobody really knows the actual day Jesus Christ was born, we celebrate it on Christmas day.  Some people like to go to church during the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours and many Blessings!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tobogganing With Your Children

Parents with their son and daughter sliding down a hill on a toboggan

Sunday afternoon we wanted to do something fun with our children, so we bought a couple of sleds and took our children tobogganing.  We found a toboggan hill that wasn't that big or steep, so it was perfect for our children.  There were a lot of people there. 

Tobogganing with our children brought back a lot of memories of when I was a child.  I used to love tobogganing.  I remember getting excited whenever it snowed.  Our six year old and four year old had a blast.  Our eighteen month old wanted to do what her older sisters were doing, but we didn't feel comfortable putting her on a sled.  My husband decided to go down one time with her and she loved it.  I'm six months pregnant, so I didn't go down the hill, but I had fun watching our children have a good time.  

Tobogganing is a great winter outdoor family activity.  It's a good way to keep your children active and it's fun.  To make it safer for your little ones, just avoid big or steep icy hills.  If you decide to go down a more challenging hill, it's a good idea to wear a helmet.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Six Year Old Teenager

Girl Looking Glamorous

We have a six year old teenager.  She likes to wear jewellery and her clothes always have to match.  I pick out her clothes every morning, but sometimes it's a battle as she wants to wear a skirt with tights instead of pants.  She likes her hair done a certain way and she likes to wear lip gloss and do her nails.  I don't let her wear lip gloss that often though because our four year old likes to wear it too and she puts too much on, which can get messy.  Usually, they only wear nail polish for a special occasion like a birthday party or during the summer.  Some of the things our six year old says make her sound older.  For example, my sister and my niece were visiting on the weekend and our six year old was going to the basement.  My niece asked her where she was going and our six year old said "figure it out." We all started laughing.  She didn't say it in a rude way, but it sounded funny coming from her as she sounded like a teenager.  

Where do young children learn these things?  I think children are exposed to external influences such as the media, advertising and stereotypes.  I think our six year old sees a lot of the older girls at her school and wants to be cool like them.  In my opinion, children are growing up faster than they did when I was younger.  Our six year old has told me more than once that she wants to be older, and I always tell her to enjoy being a kid and not to worry about growing up too fast.

I think the best thing for parents to do is to always communicate with their children.  Protect them from bad influences, but at the same time don't shelter them too much and explain things to them as they get older.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Taking Your Children to the Movies

A family watching a movie

Usually, around the age of three or four, children are able to sit and watch a movie.  At that age most children have the patience to sit in one place for a decent amount of time, but of course each child is different.  If your children can sit through a movie or show at home, they'll most likely be okay at the movies.  However, if your children get bored fairly quickly and get up and down while watching television, they're probably not ready for the movies.  

My husband and I took our little ones to the movies yesterday to see "Frozen" and we had a great time.  It's a great movie for the family.  It contains a lot of age appropriate action, humour, and great animation for the little ones.  We have a six year old, a four year old and an 18 month old.  Our 18 month old just sat on my husband's lap and she was good.  When we're at home she has no problem watching cartoons or an animated movie with her older sisters, so we knew she would be okay at the movies. 

Going to the movies with your children is a fun thing to do as a family, especially if the weather isn't that good.  Just make sure it's an age appropriate movie so it's not too complex for your children to understand.  Also, avoid movies that contain disturbing images.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Children Visiting the Doctor

Female doctor examining a girl

Our four year old and six year old didn't have school on Friday, so I decided to take them to the doctor for their yearly physicals.  When your children are babies and toddlers it's easy to remember to take them to the doctor because they need their immunizations at a certain schedule.  Between the ages of four and six they need an immunization, but then they're good until the age of 13.  So why is it still important to take your children to the doctor for a yearly physical after the age of six?  Well, the doctor can:
  • Check their weight and height to make sure they're growing properly
  • Check their blood pressure
  • Check their heart and lungs
  • Take a urine sample to see if any germs are present
  • Discuss healthy eating habits and exercise
  • Ensure your child's long-term health is good
  • Detect any major health problems
  • Discuss any problems with their hearing and speech
  • Discuss their dental and vision check-ups
  • If necessary, your doctor will also take a blood sample to check for things such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
So, it's a good idea to take your children to the doctor yearly for a physical so they can maintain a healthy life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Simple Chores for Kids

Girl folding laundry

It's nice to have a little help around the house.  Most of the time it's easier for a parent to do the chore themself, but giving your children a few age appropriate chores is a good idea as it teaches them some responsibility and builds their self-confidence.

Making the Bed-This is an easy chore for children to do, but it depends on their age.  Our four year old and six year old make their own beds, but not every day.  During the week we're rushing in the morning to get ready for school, so it's faster for me to do it myself.  They get dressed on their own and brush their teeth on their own and when there's time they make their own bed.  

Setting the Table for Dinner-Our six year old has taken an interest in setting the table for dinner.  Our four year old likes to do what her big sister does, so she started setting the table too.  My husband and I set our own plates, but our children set their own plates as they're plastic.  When we're done eating dinner they clean off their plates and put them in the sink.

Vacuuming-We have laminate flooring in the living/dining room so I use the Swiffer Vac to vacuum it.  When my children see me vacuuming they want to do it too.  They have fun doing it and sometimes they fight over who can do it first.

Folding Laundry-When I'm folding laundry our six year old likes to help me.  When we're done she likes to help me put the clothes away.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Types of Play

Children playing with toy laptops in class

Play is important for children's social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.  They learn to take turns, share and socialize with other children.  They learn to get along and cooperate with others.  During play children have a chance to express themselves and use their imagination.  Here are some types of play:

Solitary Play-This is when a child plays alone.  Even though our four year old enjoys playing with other children, she often engages in this type of play.  When she gets shy she prefers to play by herself.  This type of play can help children become independent and build their confidence.

Cooperative Play-All the children are playing together and interacting with each other.  This type of play encourages social skills.

Dramatic Play-Our six year old loves this type of play.  She likes to dress up and pretend she's somebody else.  This is a great way for children to enhance their imagination.

Physical Play-This type of play enhances children's gross motor skills and encourages them to be active, which can prevent obesity.

Onlooker Play-This is when a child watches other children playing, but doesn't participate. 

Parallel Play-During this type of play children are playing next to each other but aren't really interacting with each other. 

Rough-and-Tumble Play-Involves children play fighting and chasing each other.  During this type of play children are smiling and laughing, even though it seems like they're really fighting.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rainy Day Activities for Children

Girl feels boredom

Rainy days can be boring for children.  They can't go outside and ride their bike and they can't go to the park because everything is all wet.  So what do you do with your children when it's raining outside?  Here are a few ideas:
  • Put on a family movie.  My husband and I love watching Disney movies or any family movie with our children when it's raining outside.  We usually get some snacks together and we're good to go.
  • They can do arts and crafts.  Go to the dollar store and pick up some arts and crafts supplies.  Our children love doing creative activities on rainy days.
  • Dance! Dance! Dance! This is a great gross motor activity for your little ones when they're stuck inside.
  • They can play some computer games.  Our children have fun playing games on the computer and they're educational, which is a bonus.
  • Cuddle with your children and read them a book.  Our children love stories and they have an active imagination!
Just because it's raining outside doesn't mean your little ones can't have fun.

Do you have any ideas?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Children Not Eating Their Lunch at School

Young children having lunch

I have three children and two of them are in school full-time.  Our six year old daughter is in grade one and our four year old daughter is in junior kindergarten.  Every night I pack their lunch for school and I always pack healthy snacks, a sandwich and a drink.  Our four year old is really good at eating her lunch at school, but our six year old usually brings her lunch back home and eats it at that time.  Sometimes when I ask her why she didn't eat it at school, she tells me because she didn't have time.

Children have a certain amount of time for lunch/snack time and that's usually when they get to socialize with each other and play.  They get so distracted that they forget to eat their lunch.  Then when they get home from school they're starving.  Our girls usually want a snack, but if they're hungry I make them eat the rest of their lunch first.  I don't want them to eat too much because they have to eat their dinner.  

I thought about packing a smaller lunch, but I always worry that it won't be enough and she'll still be hungry.  

In the end, I'm happy as long as she has a good breakfast and eats her healthy snacks at school.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Constipation in Toddlers

 crying baby on the pot
Our seventeen month old daughter has been experiencing constipation for the past few months.  I took her to our family doctor and they did an ultrasound on her abdomen.  The doctor called me back with the results and she advised our daughter has swollen lymph nodes in her stomach that could have been caused by a stomach virus, but it's not serious.  I took her to the pediatrician and he said that swollen lymph nodes wouldn't cause her to be constipated.  He advised me to change her diet and said I can give her a laxative when needed and it wouldn't hurt her.  Sometimes we put Restolax in her juice and it seems to work.  She had another ultrasound and everything came back okay.
Signs that your toddler is constipated include:
  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Dry, hard stool
  • Uncomfortable when he/she finally goes 
The pediatrician advised me to adjust her diet.  She loves bananas, but I have to avoid giving her too much as they will make her constipated.  I'm going to try giving her other fruits and more vegetables.  She loves cheese and drinks homogenized milk on a regular basis, but I have to limit her dairy to two servings to per day.  I'm going to try and increase her fibre intake.  She drinks a lot of juice with water, but I'm going to start giving her more water.   I hope these things help her.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Separation Anxiety in Children

It's normal for children to get upset when you try to leave them in someone else's care.  It's common during the early years for children to throw tantrums and cry when they know they are being separated from you.  Separation anxiety usually develops around the age of one.  Children this age will start clinging to mommy and daddy and will become agitated when they are separated from them.  Even if you're in the next room, children will get upset because they can't see you.  Our fifteen month old daughter doesn't like being separated from us.  Sometimes if one of us leaves the room she cries.  If we go out for a short time and leave her with somebody else she cries, even if it's a family member.  

Sometimes a new life experience can trigger separation anxiety, for example, when children start attending a new daycare.  When we go to church we put our fifteen month old in the daycare during the service and she cries.  

As a parent, you might experience mixed emotions during this time.  On one hand you're happy that your little one is attached to you and needs you.  However, you might also feel guilty when you leave them with somebody else to go to work or run an errand.  Keep in mind that these feelings are normal and it's a good idea for your children to get used to the fact that sometimes you have to leave, but you always come back.  This will help them develop a little independence and confidence in your relationship.