Swim lessons, if a child starts crying what do you do?

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As a parent there is a long list of things you should do to help your crying child and the swim program that you’re at. We are going to first go through what a parent should do to keep their child from crying or reduce the tear time to a minimum. To prevent children crying at swim lessons:

  • Mentally prepare your child for the swimming experience

When you sign up for swim lessons inform your child that they will be participating in swim lessons. Let them know in clear terms that they will be learn how to go underwater like you do in the bathtub or shower, and will practice moving through the water safely.

  • Sing the songs from swim lessons, and use the same swim specific location language

If you can, get a hold of the swim lesson program’s song sheets or training guide to learn the swim skill language they use at that location. When you are at home, in the car, or playing outside sing those same songs and try to use similar descriptive language to talk about swimming.

  • Visit the pool before swim lessons

Do everything you can to spend some time together at the swimming pool or location that you will have your swim lessons. The best idea is to get in the water with your child and walk them through getting in the water from the side with assistance and blowing bubbles.

  • Constantly offer support and encouragement in the days before the lessons, immediately before the class at the pool, and after a lesson

Parents are the choreographers of their children’s emotional state. You should present a positive welcoming and happy outward demeanor when you are describing swimming and swim lessons. Tell your child how much fun they are going to have at the pool. Remind them about the fun things that you did together at the pool when you went swimming before the lessons.

  • Parents: acknowledge you child’s fear, but don’t suggest WHY they are afraid

We never want to give the child a reason to be scared. Avoid phrases like, “Are you scared because the water is cold?” or “Are you crying because you’re scared of the teacher?” Instead, explain that there is nothing to fear about swimming lessons.

  • Parents: Hand off your child physically to the swim instructor

Parents of crying children, if they are still leaking tears but not outright breaking down in crying fits, and if you feel they are ready to start their lesson, YOU need to physically walk them to the swim instructor and place their hand in the hands of the swim instructor. You need to do this physical and deliberate act. It conveys trust and ownership.

By walking your child to the swim instructor and placing their hand in the swim instructor’s you are physically telling the child some important things:

1) The parent trusts the swim instructor.

2) The swim instructor is an authority the parent believes in.

3) The parent is passing authority over the child to the swim instructor and they are to be listened to.

Parents! DO NOT force the swim instructor to chase down your child and physically pull them off you. You are destroying the implicit trust in the swim instructor in the child’s eyes.
What should parents do when their child starts crying during a swim lesson:

  • Parents: Do not stare worriedly at your child from the observation area. Very important!!!

When the child is in swim lessons sometimes they will realize you are not with them and burst into tears in a flurry of separation anxiety. This is a dramatic case of a parent equally anxious about their child in swimming lessons conveying quite overtly how uncomfortable and scared they are. Because you are the child’s parent they will gravitate to your mood and emotions and respond accordingly.  Break eye contact or do something else.

• If the child is looking at the parent repeatedly reaching out for them the parent should remove themselves from the child’s sight.

Yup, go hide! Most swim lesson facilities have a secret spot where you can see the classes and watch your child, but the child either can’t see you or doesn’t realize that you’re in view.

Remember that the parent is not the focus of the swim lesson, the child is and the swim instructors will better engage the child when the parent is not also a member of the class.

Some reasons a child cry’s at swimming lessons: 

What causes fear of the water?

• Being forced into water activities with no preparation or expectation given in a hostile or unhelpful environment
• Being raised by parents that are themselves afraid of the water and have knowingly or unknowingly communicated this fear to their children
• Having had a traumatic water accident, or witnessing one
Remember, children LEARN to be afraid of the water.

Parents! DO NOT DO THESE THINGS

  • Stop lessons totally because child cried in the beginning.
  • Be scared for your child. All your anxiety to be picked up and amplified by your child. When you are nervous or uncertain, your child will pick up on all the unspoken and subtle body language and between the lines words you’re using to avoid participating.
  • Offer payoffs. “We’ll get ice cream for your good behavior today at swim lessons.” This reinforces a negative association with swimming lessons and the learning process.

Enrolling your child in swim lessons is an excellent choice. It is important to learn how to at least know the basics of how to swim. USA swimming through their Make a Splash arm has produced these interesting facts:

– Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of childhood accidental death
– Ten people drown each day in the U.S.
– Seven out of ten African-American children cannot swim
– Six out of ten Hispanic children cannot swim
– 40% of Caucasian children have low or no swimming ability
– Children from non-swimming households are eight times more likely to be
at-risk of drowning
– Participation in formal swim lessons can reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%.
As a prevention measure, swim lessons are a great idea.

 

11 Things NOT to say to a parent of an Only Child

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With a single child households on the rise, it’s time everyone got on board with what onlies and parents of onlies already know: Only children may grow up differently, but they’re just as awesome. I put together this list of comments that I really don’t like to be asked or say.

  1. “He must be really lonely.”

First of all, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. I can say that only children are actually less likely to feel lonely because they have more experience being alone. We’re comfortable hanging out with ourselves and often have rich inner lives. That said, it’s important to make sure only children have lots of opportunities to play with other kids, so if you’re really concerned about the sibling-free boy down the street, I’m sure his parents would be happy to send him over for a play date.

  1. “He won’t have anyone to help take care of you when you’re old.”

While this technically may be true, there’s no guarantee that the children in a bigger family will share the work of caring for a parent, anyway. We have all heard about families where one sibling becomes the de fact of caretaker, whether he or she wants to or not. This is a situation that’s impossible to predict, so it’s just hurtful to make someone feel guilty for it.

  1. “It must be so easy with just one child.”

Well, yes and no. Yes, parents of only children don’t have to referee sibling fights, fill out school forms in triplicate, or spend nearly a decade changing diapers. But some of us made that choice because we know that we would have trouble managing a bigger family. When other parents start complaining about the stress of having multiple kids, I resist the urge to remind them that they chose to have a bigger family.

  1. “You’re not a real parent until you have more than one.”

Several parents told me they’d heard variations of this hurtful line, as if only-child moms “fall somewhere between a mother and an aunt on the challenge and commitment spectrum,” as a friend described it. We may have “just” one, but we have the important job of protecting and nurturing that life and feel all the same fears, worries, and boundless love other parents feel.

  1. “You don’t want him to grow up to be spoiled, do you?”

Trust me; parents of only children have internalized this stereotype so deeply that most of us are hyper-vigilant about not “spoiling” our kids. Even so, it’s a given that an only child is going to get more focused attention from his parents. Research shows this is a positive in terms of self-esteem, achievement, and even intelligence.

  1. “You’re selfish for not having another child.”

Does anybody know me or know my situation or the reasons for not to have another baby? That is another topic.

  1. “That must be why he is so shy.”

First of all, there is nothing wrong with being shy or introverted. The shy, withdrawn only-child stereotype is so pervasive that for a long time people believed is true, that is another topic.

  1. “He doesn’t seem like an only child.”

That’s a loaded complement if I’ve ever heard one. All kids have selfish and bratty moments, but only children are more quickly defined by these labels than kids from bigger families. Conversely, some people see an only child who actually has empathy and social skills as a rare unicorn. The reality is that all kids are in the process of acquiring these skills and should be allowed some mistakes as they grow.

  1. “What if he doesn’t have kids and you never get to be a grandmother?”

Well, yes, I’ll be a little disappointed if I never experience being a grandparent, but having more than one child just to ensure it happens doesn’t seem like the smartest gamble. Plenty of people never have kids. I want my child to grow up to be happy with his choices, not with pressure to make me a grandmother.

  1. 1 “Are you having another?”

Variations include “Just one?” and “Don’t you want one of each?” I especially like this sneaky one from the grandparents: “Our friends are asking us if you’re having another baby.” It should go without saying, but these are very personal questions. Some people will be happy to respond that they’re “one and done,” but others may have painful reasons behind their family size—money troubles, marriage problems, medical conditions.

  1. “He needs a sibling.”

I love my child dearly, but I try hard not to give in to him every whim and want, and that includes creating another human being for him to play with. There is no guarantee that siblings will be friends. I felt completely identified in this article Follow my blog for more informative and interesting articles about parenting and motherhood’s experiences.

 

 

Sippy Cup Strategies: Simple Ways to Switch to a Big-Kid Cup


By the time your toddler turned 12 months, he was probably ready to give the bottle the boot. But you may not have been ready to let him toddle around with an open cup, splish-splashing the liquid every which way. The solution? The sippy cup. As time-saving and environmentally friendly devices go (the fewer spills your tot has, the less time you’ll spend cleaning and the fewer paper towels you’ll use), the sippy cup is pure genius. But like all good things, the sippy-cup phase must come to an end. Now that your little one has improved motor coordination, he’s ready to move on and master the open cup (and give up the sippy cup) — and ideally you’re ready to let the milk (or diluted juice) fall where it may.By the time your toddler turned 12 months, he was probably ready to give the bottle the boot. But you may not have been ready to let him toddle around with an open cup, splish-splashing the liquid every which way. The solution? The sippy cup. As time-saving and environmentally friendly devices go (the fewer spills your tot has, the less time you’ll spend cleaning and the fewer paper towels you’ll use), the sippy cup is pure genius. But like all good things, the sippy-cup phase must come to an end. Now that your little one has improved motor coordination, he’s ready to move on and master the open cup (and give up the sippy cup) — and ideally you’re ready to let the milk (or diluted juice) fall where it may.

Why ditch the sippy at all? Some experts believe that prolonged use may interfere with proper speech development. But perhaps the more important reason to give up the sippy cup (and this includes sports-type bottles and cups with built-in straws) is that kids often tote their trusty sippy around with them and suck on juice, milk, or formula all day long. This wouldn’t be a concern if kids just sipped water, but when baby teeth are constantly bathed in sugar (from the milk or juice), that can lead to a mouthful of cavities.

There’s no absolute “best time” for a child to give up the sippy cup. Some experts advise against getting into the sippy-cup habit in the first place and instead recommend introducing the open cup around six to nine months, letting your baby take some tentative sips (while you keep a firm grip on it, of course). To minimize the mess when starting a baby on an open cup, stay in the kitchen, fill the cup with water rather than juice, and put a towel under the high chair. Or better yet, stick him in an empty bathtub or outside in a wading pool and let him experiment. (Always supervise any kind of water play because a small child can drown in as little as one to two inches of water.)

If, however, sippy cups have become a firm fixture in your home (or your day care or nursery school requires them to cut down on spillage), don’t worry that your child has missed a milestone. You can still make the transition to the big-kid cup. But be forewarned: With an older toddler, you may run into some defiance and control issues. To get your tot to give up the sippy cup without too much of a power struggle, try these techniques:

* Make a big deal out of drinking from a regular cup. “See? This is how Mommy drinks. Now you try it.” Toddlers want to do what their parents are doing, so if you point out that you’re drinking from an open cup, chances are your tot will soon follow suit.

* Take your toddler shopping to pick out his own big kid cup. If he has control over which cup he chooses, he’ll be more inclined to take the matter (or cup) into his own hands.

* Enlist your child’s favorite characters. Designs of cups and plastic glasses run the gamut from Spiderman to Dora the Explorer. Find new cups with your toddler’s favorite characters and he may be so pleased with them, he’ll want to give up his old sippy cups.

* Have your tot toss out the “baby cups” himself. This symbolic gesture will help him understand that he’s a big boy now who deserves big boy cups.

* Allow for some leeway. If your day care or preschool requires sippy cups in the classroom, explain to your toddler that there are “school” cups and “home” cups, and at home he drinks from the big-kid cups.

* Serve your toddler’s favorite drink in an open cup only. If your toddler is reluctant to give up the sippy cup, go ahead and let him use it for water. But reserve the open cup for his favorite drink. When he really, really wants that drink, he’ll start using the open cup.

* Try not to stress about the mess. Part of learning to drink from an open cup is learning how to clean up the spills. Plus, toddlers actually enjoy cleaning up (believe it or not, brooms and mops are some favorite toddler toys!). So don’t cry over spilled milk. Hand your little housekeeper a dish towel and let him at it!

Original article from What to Expect
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THE PURE LOVE OF GRANDPARENTS

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 We are seeing a revolution in the way generations connect in America. Grandparents are around us longer than ever because they’re living longer.

But the truth is that for the first time in U.S. history, millions of children are actually vulnerable to having a smaller amount of time with their grandparents than previous generations. According to the latest federal research, while women in the U.S. overall are having fewer babies, mothers between 40 and 54 are having more. The increasing age of motherhood accentuates a dramatic shift that’s been taking shape for decades. Just to make a comparison, in 1972, about 180,000 children were born to mothers 35 and older, and by 2008, that number had more than tripled, to 603,113.

Scientists have long-held that grandparents play an enormous role in children’s intellectual, behavioral, and social development. But where does that leave kids, especially those born from older parents, who may have few or no grandparents in their lives?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association have no studies that specifically measure how the non-appearance of grandparents affects a child’s personal growth and development.

There’s value in examining the power of a particular kind of relationship, should you not also investigate the absence of it?

Even that every grandparent is indispensable, my own child  has grandparents from my side but I can’t help feeling that he was also ripped off, because he never got to know his father’s or experience their unique blend of influences. My child only gets one set of maternal grandparents, and the one that belonged to his father is gone.

Even that, I can consider my childhood richer because, for a while at least, I had all my grandparents, to be more specific from my mother’s side most of my years; and I spent half of my life around them enriching my memory until these days.

By My Ten Tiny Toes

Monica

A Movie Theater Playground: A Terrible Idea

I don’t judge people drastically, but this is a terrible idea.

As many news outlets have reported, the luxury movie theater chain Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas introduced the idea for a brand-new type of cinematic experience with the Cinépolis Junior, a children’s theater that comes equipped with a full indoor playground for the kids.

The cinema features ride-on toys, crazy cool climb-through tunnels, and a huge, slightly terrifying slide that extends from the top of the auditorium to the bottom of the stairs. To complete the kid-friendly aspect, the theater will only show children’s movies.

They’re making a business move to try to attract more families and at first glance, it’s not a terrible idea. The movie theater business is declining as more people opt to stay home and stream movies from the comfort of their couches. Add in little kids and well, what parent is going to want to shell out $10 plus per ticket for a movie that 1) their kid isn’t going to watch 2) they’re not going to get to watch either, because they’ll be busy trying to wrangle the kid?

Make the theater so kid-friendly that families don’t have to feel bad about disrupting other movie-goers and make the whole place an attraction on its own, so kids will want to come. And as a bonus, kids can get their energy out and maybe, just maybe, the whole family gets to enjoy a movie together.

There’s only one problem.

The theater’s policy clearly states that the kids are only allowed to use the playground before the movie starts to play and for 15 minutes after the movie ends. Although the brand outside of the U.S. also has a 15-minute intermission during which kids can play, the U.S. version hasn’t decided if they will allow the same play break just yet.

All of that adds up to one thing in my mind: a complete torture.


The idea that I’m going to have to get to the movie early enough to buy my tickets, get snacks, find a seat, take them to the play area, get their shoes off, watch them and make sure they stay safe, and then convince them to leave the play area in 10 minutes, and wash their hands afterwards, makes me feel exhausted just thinking about.

And how on earth would your kids concentrate during the movie when there is the big, beautiful playground literally right next to them? These are kids we are talking about, so how would I convince a preschooler, who has only been able to slide and run and play for 10 minutes, that it’s now time to sit next to the giant slide she can no longer ride on and watch the movie instead?

This is definitely one of those things that’s a better idea in theory than in execution.

Original article by Los Angeles Times & Mom.me

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERNESTO LÓPEZ RUIZ

GROWING UP AROUND COUSINS 


I have a 2-year-old son and at this point is happening: My son is going to get to grow up with his cousins, something I had in my life. My sister doesn’t have kids yet. Sometimes I have been had  the thoughts of moving to another estate but just thinking on separate my son, my only child; from his cousins that idea breaks all my thoughts. 

There are certain things growing up with cousins gives you, things like:

1. You are Closer With Your sister or cousins: 

Not only do we get together to watch our little ones run around and play, we talk about diapers, tantrums, potty training, etc. I can always count on them as we also need each other in a different way. We are each other’s escape and we are able to tell each other when we need to get out of the house in desperation for a break. We meet and talk while eating too much and drinking enough until we come back to our precious little kids. 

2. Sleepovers: 

My kid can experience the adventure of a sleepover, and I know they are in a safe place is not happening yet but eventually it will. 

3. The Unbreakable Bond: 

The will have a strong bond. They are more than friends. They like each other better than their siblings sometimes because they don’t have the opportunity to get on each other’s nerves as much. My son does not have a sister or brother but he has two cousins his same age. 

4. They Will Always be Related to Each Other: 

As they get older, They will be able to know exactly what the other one is talking relate to their aunts or uncles, they will always have a safe place to vent and someone who can relate.

I am looking forward to hearing their adult talks about what growing up together has meant to them. I am pretty sure the answer will be the same I have from my own experience. 

Why You Shouldn’t Obsess About Milestones


When your child starts walking or using the potty doesn’t matter as much as you may think it does.

By Harley A. Rotbart, M.D.

Our grandson is taking his first steps. Some of his playmates started earlier, and some haven’t started yet, but we’ve learned not to worry about his timing on such things. He’ll let his parents and us know when he’s ready to walk and when he’s ready to run.

Comparing your kids to others is natural. My wife and I used to joke that when our kids were young they were the only non-gifted, non-talented kids in school because everyone else’s kids seemed to get tested and labeled “GT.” Our kids just went to school, most times happily, sometimes grumpily, and did their work (most of the time). We never tested them, always hoping they’d find their own comfortable zones for achievement without a label that separated them from their friends and classmates. As young adults today, they all seem to have turned out okay, despite never having been officially designated as special.

Inevitably, in day care and preschools everywhere today, as was true yesterday and will be tomorrow, parents are watching the other kids to see how their own stack up. Developmental milestones are the most common measuring sticks. As everyone knows, children are supposed to roll over at 3 months, sit at 6 months, walk at 1 year, potty train at 2 years, ride a tricycle at 3 years, and get their driving license at 16 years. Right? Wrong. Well, maybe the driving license is right depending on which state you live in and how brave you are as a parent, but the rest is not nearly as predictable as developmental milestone charts would have you believe. Child development is a continuum, a gentle ramp or incline, not a series of discrete steps on a staircase. Although the differences between a 6-month-old and a 6-year-old are very dramatic, the differences between a 6-month-old and an 8-month-old are much less so. Some kids walk at 9 months, others at 15 months or later. That doesn’t predict their future SAT scores or athletic scholarships.

Anyone who’s ever looked at the fine print on a board game (those are the games that come in boxes instead of on digital devices) knows that just because Candyland says recommended for 3- to 5-year-olds, and Monopoly is recommended for kids 8 years and older, doesn’t mean that 3-year-olds will like Candyland or 7-year-olds won’t beat you in Monopoly.

One of the great wonders of childhood is its unpredictability. Kids will surprise you, and surprise their pediatricians like me, with their unique progress through the developmental milestones. Your 3-year-old is not delayed or abnormal just because he hasn’t shown the least bit of interest in a tricycle (nor is she gifted and talented just because she rode a tricycle at 2 years and 8 months). Of course, if you have concerns about your child’s developmental progress, speak with his doctor, but don’t obsess about the timing of each milestone. Kids have a way of finding their own pace and following the beat of their own drummer.

Visit Dr. Harley Rotbart  website and blog and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

MY WORST NIGHTMARE

Most of the time I feel good about sending my son to the daycare even knowing that I don’t have another option, he even mention it to go on the weekends, I think for him is a lot of fun, usually every afternoon when I pick him up he gives me the hardest time to leave. This doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to leave my kid especially when he was a baby or when he is not feeling well or sick or particularly lately when I read those horror stories in the news about something terrible happening to kids at daycare.
A Daycare is where kids make their very first friends. They accelerate some milestones and gain numerous social skills at an early age as they create relationships with strangers since the beginning. However, there is a really horrible thing about daycare: the nonstop and constant colds and other minor illnesses they bring home. There is never a dry nose in my house. I live with the Motrin, the nasal saline spray, the humidifiers and I can’t forget to mention my favorite: The Frida Nose. 

Also we had already the stomach flu sometimes in the last two years and I store some bottles of Pedialyte, they sell the popsicles just in case your children don’t like it as my son doesn’t like the liquid form since he is a toddler, also the ear infections are necessary to mention. You will pay to see my face when I enter my son’s classroom and kids come to me to hug me and I can see one of them with the mucus there and… I know what is coming next.

I can’t forget to mention the feeling that I really have to lose another day of work, and the exhaustion of waking up in the middle of the night from discomfort asking for Mom before falling back to sleep, running to the pediatrician for nothing because something is viral and they can’t do anything about it. 

I am worry while listening to my toddler cough, thinking what is next now and we are just in March, nine more months to go until the year ends and I can start over with more sick’s and vacations days.

Most of the people are telling me: he has the great immune systems! But let me tell you, I don’t believe it. I’m doubtful. Are new viruses always coming out? I just read about a new one just yesterday, well new for me.

Sometimes kids don’t remember to wash their hands before pushing them into their mouth, and they can’t stop coughing and sneezing in each other’s faces.

Sometimes I am thinking to avoid kids’ birthday parties because I can’t stand the idea of one more cold or one more fever that will indicate probably to one more missed day of work.

I like daycares, but sometimes, I really hate them.
 

A simple trick to gets kids to eat more vegetables

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A simple trick could influence your kids to eat more veggies. My experience trying to force my son is even worst. Sometimes this method or approach is a failure. Psychologists propose using your child’s appetite to your benefit serving vegetables first in isolation.

There are no rules telling children what foods they should eat first, they’ll eat what tastes better to them. But what if vegetables were severed first, like an entrée, to a hungry child, probably they will eat them to satisfy their hunger.

For the vegetables, the better presentation in a multi-food context may not do any motivation because people choose instead to consume more of the other “better” items.

Researchers attended a school cafeteria and observed the eating habits of more than 800 students and many of them chose to take a cup of carrots when displayed between other foods.

Later they returned and they located the carrots at the tables with no other food options where students could reach them, the result was a 430 per cent increase in carrot consumption.

I would like to do this experiment with broccoli to have similar results.

A boy or a girl thing? Do not teach this to your children

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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 🙂