10 Things I Wish People Would Stop Doing Around My Kids

There are a few things I wish other parents would stop doing when it comes to my kids—or at the very least in front of them. With some things, when I clearly know the intent, it’s much easier to let it go, but other times I find myself digging deep to extend grace (if I’m honest there have been times when I’ve dug deep and come up with nothing).

Still, I’m not here to judge. I’m just here to encourage us to look within and to be mindful of the things we are doing and saying, not just when it comes to our own kids. I’m sure I’ve done something to result in an eye-roll from another mom. So while I’m asking you to please stop talking like a sailor in front of my children who happen to be right behind you in the grocery store checkout line, I’m also doing my best to teach my children about our own family values and expectations and that we don’t necessarily have to like or agree with everything someone does to respect them or be kind.

1. Let their kids use social media

Apparently my tween is the only one who doesn’t have Instagram or Snapchat (hey, I don’t even have Snapchat)—which means I’m being totally unreasonable here. I’m OK with that, but is there anyone out there who can give me a (virtual) high-five?

2. (Well-meaning strangers) offer my kids snacks

You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

My little one is crying and you wanted to help so you waved your magic wand, I mean lollipop. Actually, you did ask me if she could have it but she was right there listening and watching that gleaming piece of candy move through the air. You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

3. Ask me for a favor related to your kid

Perhaps the only thing worse than my child putting me on the spot is another parent putting me on the spot—in front of both our kids.

4. Drop F-bombs

Given I’ve got a 3-year-old who occasionally moonlights as a parrot, I try to be more careful about what I say around her. While I can control what I say, I can’t control what you say (Note: I’m not just talking about the occasional drop but rather a continuous stream of profanity as a part of your regular dialogue.). And there are some words that I don’t want to become a part of her increasingly expansive vocabulary.

5. Be mean

Making cruel, harsh and/or judgmental comments about parents or children or people in general just isn’t cool nor is it funny. When you pick apart the traits (physical or personality) of another person (even if they’re on TV), support negative stereotypes and engage in other forms of word vomit, I’m forced to question the value of our relationship when it comes to my family. Or maybe I question why I came to this restaurant and ask to be seated somewhere else. In our world kindness rules. You can totally, “sit with us.” Just be nice, OK?

6. Tell me how to discipline them

Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined.

If you’re coming from a good place and you’d like to share your thoughts in private, then please go right ahead. But I’d rather you not tell me that all parenting dilemmas would be solved if I would spank my kids or ground them or do whatever it is you do. Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined. Have you watched the news lately? There are greater fights for you to fight.

7. Make a negative or snarky comment about their appearance

I’m trying to raise girls that are comfortable in their own skin (and hair), and listening to you go on and on about how their hair is so coarse and how it must take forever and be so difficult to comb isn’t helping. We don’t need you to pity us or belittle us. We’re learning to work what God gave us and love it too. You don’t have to love it, but as the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

8. Disrespect boundaries

Nope. If my kid doesn’t want to hug you they don’t have to. It doesn’t matter whether you are a relative or a friend; if you ask and they decline, that’s it. And please refrain from the manipulative fake cries or declarations that you aren’t going to give them a treat anymore. Keep your treat. They have a right to speak up when it comes to their bodies.

9. Gossip

How is gossiping about someone’s marriage woes or troubled teen over coffee actually helping them? Moreover how is it helping my kids, who are indirectly being invited into an (inappropriate) adult conversation? Children are children, not miniature grown-ups. So please, let them be little. Once again “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

10. Insist that (insert magical childhood character) doesn’t exist.

Just because you’ve stopped believing doesn’t mean my children have to. In my house we’re holding on to the magic of childhood for as long as we can, and for us that includes penning letters to Santa and putting that lost tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy. (Also: Unlike our fictitious favorites, our God is real. We don’t attack your faith and ask that you please refrain from attacking ours.).

Is there anything you wish other parents would stop doing around your kids or you’re making more of an effort to stop doing?

Via Mom.me

Irregular Bedtimes Could Be Damaging Children’s Health

What happens in the early years of a person’s life has a profound effect on how they fare later on. Thousands of research papers – many of them using the rich data in the British Birth Cohort studies – have shown that children who get a poor start in life are much more likely to experience difficulties as adults; whether that’s to do with poor health, or their ability to enjoy work and family life.

Ensuring that children get enough sleep is one of a number of ways to get them off to the best possible start in life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that toddlers should get roughly 11 to 14 hours of sleep every day. For children aged three to five years, the recommendation is ten to 13 hours, or nine to 11 hours for children once they’re at primary school.

But the latest research carried out by our team at UCL’s International Centre for Lifecourse Studies, shows that it’s not just the amount of sleep a child gets which matters. After digging into the data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) – which has followed the lives of some 20,000 children since the turn of the century – we found that having a regular bedtime also affects how they get on at home and at school, throughout the first decade of their lives.

The ‘jet lag’ effect:

To begin with, we looked at the relationship between regular and irregular bedtimes, and how the children got on in a range of cognitive tests. Parents who took part in the MCS were asked whether their children went to bed at a regular time on weekdays. Those who answered “always” or “usually” were put in the regular bedtime group, while those who answered “sometimes” or “never” were put in the irregular bedtime group.

The results were striking. Children with irregular bedtimes had lower scores on maths, reading and spatial awareness tests. In fact, the time that children went to bed had little or no effect on their basic number skills, or their ability to work with shapes. But having no set bedtime was linked to lower scores, especially for three-year-olds. The greatest dip in test results was seen in girls who had no set bedtime at their early life.

At the heart of this phenomenon is the circadian rhythm – the internal body clock, which tells you when it’s time to sleep and wake up.

If I travel from London to New York, I’m likely to be slightly ragged when I arrive, because jet lag is going to affect my cognitive abilities, appetite and emotions. If I bring one of my children with me, and I want them to do well at a maths test having just jumped across time zones, they will struggle even more than I will. If we think of the body is an instrument, then a child’s body is more prone to getting out of tune.

The same thing happens when children go to bed at 8pm one night, 10pm the next and 7pm another . Scientists sometimes call this the “social jet lag effect”. Without ever getting on a plane, a child’s bodily systems get shuffled through different time zones, and their circadian rhythms and hormonal systems take a hit as a result.

Best behavior:

As well as enhancing a child’s intellectual development, we found that regular bedtimes can also improve their behaviour.

At age seven, according to parents and teachers, children in the MCS who had irregular bedtimes were considerably more likely to have behavioural problems than their peers who had a regular bedtime. The more frequently a child had been able to go to bed at different times each night, the worse his or her behavioural problems were. In other words, the effects appeared to accumulate throughout childhood.

But we did find an important piece of good news,too: those negative effects on behaviour appeared to be reversible. Children who switched to having a regular bedtime showed improvements in their behaviour. This shows that it’s never too late to help children back onto a positive path, and a small change could make a big difference to how well they get on.

But of course, the reverse was also true: the behaviour of children who switched from a regular to an irregular bedtime got worse.

A weighty problem:

In a follow-up study, which looked at the impact of routines (including bedtimes) on obesity, we reported that children with irregular bedtimes were more likely to be overweight, and have lower self-esteem and satisfaction with their bodies.

In fact, of all the routines we studied, an inconsistent bedtime was most strongly associated with the risk of obesity. This supports other recent findings, which show that young children who skipped breakfast and went to bed at irregular times were more likely to be obese at age 11. Even children who “usually” had a regular bedtime were 20% more likely to be obese than those who “always” went to bed at around the same time.

Clearly, the evidence shows that a regular bedtime really matters when it comes to children’s health and development, throughout that crucial first decade of their lives. Including these findings alongside recommended hours of sleep in advice for all those caring for young children could make a real difference, by helping protect children from “social jet lag” and getting them off to a flying start instead.

More information Here

15 Reasons Why Toodlers Are Such Angry Little People

Toddlers get a bad rap. Their lives are tumultuous and filled with people who just don’t understand that they need their sandwiches cut into perfect triangles that don’t touch each other under any circumstances. And the juice should be in the blue cup…I mean the red cup…no, it’s actually the blue. Life is hard for these little dictators because sometimes they need to feel the satisfying crunch of a thousand Cheerios under their feet and most people are trying to take this away from them.

Of course, they feel angry. Who wouldn’t?

Here are some other reasons why toddlers are probably so angry all of the time:

1. They fall down a lot.

Have you ever seen how often those little shorties bite the big one? I don’t know any official numbers, but it’s often. I’d be pissed too if I was falling down all day long on legs that just weren’t working properly.

2. Moms don’t get shit right.

It’s not that hard, really. Moms should be able to figure out that clothes are painful to toddlers extremities, and that if your toddler wants to get into the car all by themselves, well then, the world will just need to wait.

3. There is literal crap in their pants.

And potty training is for losers.

4. Nobody understands what they are saying.

Words are hard, and sometimes screaming just feels right.

5. Everybody is trying to ‘change’ them.

If they have made a self-commitment to cry hysterically each time they don’t get to push the door button at the library, who are you to try and take this from them?

6. Nobody takes their problems seriously.

They don’t want your “help” while putting on their shoes; they just want one thousand years to get it right. Chill out.

7. Pants are the true oppressor of our great nation, and nobody seems to get this.

Toddlers get it. Legs are meant to feel all the changes of the seasons.

8. Time-outs are like jail for innocent people.

Toddlers are ruled by instinct, and their instincts tell them to say, “No!”  in a very loud voice when asked most things.

9. Everyone is always suggesting a nap.

They don’t need a nap; they just need someone to let them paint their body with syrup like God intended.

10. It’s like nobody has ever seen someone want to be naked in Target before.

Toddlers are innovators, and they predict that nudity is going to be the next trending topic.

11. It’s always, ‘hold my hand,’ ‘don’t run in the street,’ ‘don’t eat batteries,’ ‘don’t lick the cat.’

These things bring them joy. You don’t know that toddler’s life, lady.

12. They understand that the choices you are offering

them are complete bullshit.

Oh, really. They get to choose between taking a nap now or taking a nap in five minutes? They know a con when they see one.

13. There’s a never-ending list of things they need to do, and people keep jacking their shit up.

Jacking shit up — every toddler’s mom should wear a shirt that says this.

14. They haven’t known you for very long, so they need to see how long it takes for you to blow.

It’s like a long scientific experiment titled, “How fast can I make these people taking care of me lose their minds?” Their hypothesis is “very soon.”

15. Tantrums are great stress relievers.

It’s better than meditation and/or exercise according to some toddler experts.

So, next time you see a toddler losing his behavior at the grocery store, the playground, the pool, the library, the restaurant, or your own home, remember that they are just trying to live their most authentic life. Instead of trying to escape their wailing, you should really stay and watch and applaud their efforts. And give them candy.

Via Scary Mommy

New School Year and the Come back To The Routine


The lazy days of summer are coming to the end, together with the long stretches of daylight, lemonade, grilling and pick-up games outside. As the season winds down, you may take a final getaway weekend with your family. Or you may just stay home and squeeze every bit of time before school starts.

Either way, there’s a good chance that your children are off their normal sleep schedule by now. That’s completely understandable, but it’s also something that needs to be remedied before the school bell rings. So I want to help equip you to get your children back into an age-appropriate and healthy sleep routine so that they wake up bright-eyed and alert for that first day of school. It’s not really an impossible task. It just takes a little forethought and a few days to implement changes.

You can shift your child’s bedtime back to the appropriate time for school nights either gradually or in cold way, you choose. If you do it gradually, then shift it in 30-minute increments over as many days as needed. Just do the math. Most elementary school-aged children need to be in bed by 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to get the sleep they need each night.

Follow these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for total hours of sleep per-school and school-aged kids should get by age:

  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours daily to promote optimal health. That includes naps.
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours daily.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours daily.

If your child shows some resistance to going to bed earlier, wake him up in the morning at his new school day wake up time. If you prefer to go cold turkey, I recommend starting this process in the morning by waking your child up at his new school day wake-up time. That evening put him in bed at the appropriate time so he can get the recommended amount of sleep after a calm bedtime routine. He will be a little more tired and willing to go to sleep at his new bedtime.

The Benefit of Physical Activity for Sleep:

Getting physical activity each day is important for our sleep. During the school year it may get pushed aside when homework piles up. As weather permits, you can take a brisk walk around the neighborhood for 30 minutes after dinner or play catch. Just be sure your child is fitting in at least 30 minutes of exercise, ideally outside. This will help her go to sleep as well as improving her physical health.

However, while rough play – like wrestling on the bed for fun – is great for some kids, bring it to an end an hour before bedtime because it naturally stimulates your child and will keep her up longer. The same goes for strenuous physical activity. Choose puzzles, building toys, reading or other quiet activities in the hour before bedtime.

Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine:

Trust me; children thrive on routine even if they resist it at times. Sometimes we jettison our routines in the summer and need to put some structure back in place as school draws near.

Your child’s evening routine actually begins at dinnertime. Young children digest their food more slowly than adults and will need to eat two hours before bedtime in order to sleep soundly. After dinner you may clean up together and do something as a family.

Structuring your school-aged child’s soothing bedtime routine can be as simple as choosing three to four things that should happen every night in the same order right before your child goes to bed. This may include a bath or shower; brushing teeth; laying out clothes, shoes and the child’s backpack for the next day; and snuggles, along with a book or a story.

Depending on their age, your child may enjoy some independent reading time before you say goodnight to him. Just be sure to brush teeth and put pajamas on before you let him start to read in bed. Show your growing child your love and affection with snuggles, hugs and kisses. Turn off the light at bedtime and say goodnight.

The idea is to find a routine that suits your family and stick to it. Of course you will change it as your child grows, but don’t change it every week.

Make sure your kids are well-rested for the start of the school year so they can perform at their best.

Monitor Obsession


The video monitor can be the amazing invention that has allowed us to go from simply hearing our children cry through a static-filled speaker to watching them sleep. Except we mostly watch them be awake, roll around babble, complain, and cry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the video monitor, but I believe they severely impede many parents’ sleep training efforts.

Simply put, video monitors allow custodians to see and know too much during the sleep coaching process. Sure, some people are able to work on sleep and not sit and watch the monitor for every little peep, movement or simply to obsess about how long it is taking their child to soothe him/her to sleep, but most are far too invested in the outcome of every sleep. Their anxiety doesn’t allow them to look or walk away; I can admit has happened to me.

The challenge emerges when the anxiety that causes a parent or caretaker to stare at the monitor also results in over responding or having a “rescue response” to every little peep or movement. Too often, well-meaning parents see their baby have a brief awakening during naps at around 40 to 45 minutes and it results in the parent jumping up and going in to get their child.

The issue here is that a partial arousal at 40 to 45 minutes, after one sleep cycle, is completely normal. Without a super high quality speaker or video monitor, most parents wouldn’t even realize their baby is waking up and the baby would very likely put him/herself back to sleep in a few moments. By responding to the arousal, parents are unwittingly preventing sleep consolidation.

So what can you do if you find yourself watching the video monitor obsessively or jumping up at every peep coming from the speaker? First, work on putting our baby down drowsy but awake. Babies that put themselves to sleep to start are far more successful at putting themselves back to sleep between cycles.

When your baby has an arousal tries to take a breath and wait a few minutes before going to your child. Babies often wake up briefly between sleep cycles. They also make a LOT of sleep noises. These noises range from grunting to whining to crying. This doesn’t mean they are fully or even ready to be awake.

Many babies experience something called sleep cries. These cries can be intense and some parents assume their child is in pain or in distress and immediately attend to their child. However, the child is often still asleep! The crying usually passes in about five minutes then reduces to whining and fussing. By minute 10 the child is often sleeping soundly again. If your child experiences these sleep cries he/she is likely over tired.

It’s important to allow babies to work through sleep cries as rescue responding will result in fully awakening the child, causing inadequate naps or creating a night waking scenario. When parents repeatedly rescue respond to partial stimulation or sleep cries they inadvertently create habitual waking.

Just remember that partial  stimulation in sleep are to be expected and allowing your child the time to practice the skill of self-soothing will go a long way in your effort toward healthy, consolidated sleep.

So if you’re sitting in front of your video monitor instead of taking a shower, calling your best friend or taking your own nap, please consider an audio monitor during sleep training periods. You may find that you see better, faster results with far less energy and anxiety expended.

Original post from Sleepy Bye Family
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A boy or a girl thing? Do not teach this to your children


Do not teach this to your children…

The scene is familiar and sometimes happens to me having a boy and I can tell you I make the same mistake: My son is playing in the dirt with his trucks, cars, yelling and being loud, and of course full of energy. He’s just a happy kid playing outside and probably myself or some family member make an exclamation: he is just a boy, boys are like that or boy are more hyper than girls etc… just to mention some comments.

It is a common phrase, and even my friends and family have joked about our own children in this way. The boy we’re talking about is noisy, active and loud. Maybe he’s or will be destructive or disorganized, but I am realizing I am having issues with this comments that I personally make myself.

We are promoting a traditional and obsolete gender label. I know many people swear or believe that boys are naturally different from girls, and that may be true. But the way we talk to, or comment about it is not well about how we treat our children and the prospects and expectations we are creating. When we expect boys to be noisy, loud and active, we are tutoring them to be exactly that.

We are creating behaviors and personality based on gender. Being active does not have a gender. There’s no sex in being shy or loud or delicate, there is not gender in being funny, smart, lazy or motivated. Anyone can have these characteristics anyway beside of the sex, and our culture assigns them one anyway.

They don’t need to make a behavior a male or female thing, and what is not even appropriate and I include myself, is to do it in front of kids, every kid is different. Although some boys are loud and rough, some are more reserved and sensitive, there are plenty of boys at both who prefer read than play outside, boys who talk quietly and don’t yell out in class or on the yard. We all know that there is not just one way of being a boy or a girl. But when we say things like, “He’s all boy,” we’re creating and celebrating a pyramid of qualities. We’re saying that this is the way to be a boy.

Girls are also reaching this message. They are learning that some type of behaviors are recognized with being a boy and may feel the need to distance themselves from those types of individuals. Anyway, kids are learning what adults think boys and girls should be and how they should act from these types of comments.

If we don’t want our children to be aggressive or destructive or bad-mannered, don’t defend these actions, teach them what’s right and what is not. Expect more from me also, and I will expect something different from others. Follow my blog for more tips and informative articles.

Monica 🙂