Archives for June 2013

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Today’s blog post is submitted by our summer contributor, Nicole Kalita.

This past weekend, a good friend invited myself and a few other girlfriends to a cabin in the Mt. Hood Wilderness.  It was beautiful and a much needed break.  As I was sitting on the porch that faced the creek, I was reminded how important is to take breaks from the hustle & bustle of the family.  Parents who take time for themselves find that they are less stressed, feel more relaxed, better able to handle situations with their children, have a happier marriage, and are better role models for their children.   And I do feel all of these benefits today, but the very best thing about taking time away from my children is the excitement of coming home – the hugs, the smiles, and the kisses from my munchkins that I missed so much!

Self care can be done by yourself, with your partner, or even with your children.   When was the last time you took some time for yourself?  Some ideas of activities you can do for self care are: 

  • Take a longer shower than normal
  • Taking a few extra minutes in the morning to make yourself feel really “pulled together”
  • Plucking your eye brows without interruptions
  • Going to the grocery store by yourself and taking an extra lap or two before paying and heading home
  • Going on a date with your partner
  • Have a candle lit dinner or dessert with your partner AFTER the kids are tucked into bed
  • Go for a walk.  If you need to take your kids, put them in a stroller or have them ride their bike ahead of you
  • Exercise
  • Read a book
  • Laugh
  • Have sex
  • Have a family dance night
  • Go out with your friends for a couple hours
  • Play a computer/Nintendo/Play Station/Xbox game
  • Go shopping for something
  • Go shopping for NOTHING
  • Visit the library and enjoy the peace as you look for the right book
  • Go to a movie
  • Call/text a friend
  • Schedule a play date with a friend who has children of similar age.  While the kids are playing, sit with your friend an chat while sipping tea.

Nicole Kalita is a mother of two young boys. She has a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences and has been working with families for 11 years. Currently she teaches the Live & Learn With Your Baby and Live & Learn With Your Toddler & Two Year Old in Albany, Oregon through Linn-Benton Community College. 

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Today’s blog post is submitted by our summer contributor, Nicole Kalita.  

Tonight was one of those fun summer nights.  You know the kind.  The neighbor kid is over playing with your kids in the backyard and everyone is squealing from all the fun.  I was able to get the kitchen picked up and relax a little myself.  Then I looked at the clock and thought, “Wow!  Where did the time go?!”  It’s a quarter to 8:00 and my boys, ages 5 & 3, usually have a bedtime of 8:00.  It’s important in my family to keep my kids on their regular routine, even during summer vacation.  I sent the neighbor kid home and of course my boys whined because their fun has ended for the day.  But let me explain why I am so adamant on keeping with their bedtime schedule…

Children, as with most people, are more fun to be around if they get enough sleep.  Children will be in a better mood with enough sleep – they will have fewer tantrums, and be more sociable.  Think about yourself.  When you have a late night and don’t get enough sleep, how do you handle the next day?  Personally, I am much nicer person and a better mom when I am fully rested and ready for the day.  Is it any surprise that our children’s mood is related to the amount of sleep they get?

Sleep helps with all areas of development – brain development specifically.  It is just as important as nutrition and exercise.  Children who get enough sleep have longer attention spans during the day, whereas children who are overtired and lacking sleep often show signs of hyperactivity.   All of this affects how our children learn.

To learn more about why sleep is important for our little ones and see how many hours of sleep your child needs, visit this link from Oregon State Extension.

I wonder what adventures we will have tomorrow… Goodnight!

Nicole Kalita is a mother of two young boys. She has a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences and has been working with families for 11 years. Currently she teaches the Live & Learn With Your Baby and Live & Learn With Your Toddler & Two Year Old in Albany, Oregon through Linn-Benton Community College. 

The Magic of Wishes

Today’s blog post is submitted by our featured guest contributor, Esther Schiedel.  We hope you enjoy the post and look forward to more posts from Esther.

What happens when you make wishes with children? They believe that you understand their heart’s desire. In other words, that you have empathy for what they are feeling.

 

Having empathy for a child enhances your relationship and can make parenting easier. Having empathy for the adults in your life enhances those relationships as well. Having empathy for yourself helps you to be emotionally healthy and enables you to have empathy for others.

 

Empathy is the respectful understanding of what someone (yourself or another person) is feeling and experiencing. You accept that the feelings are real—not made up to annoy you, not a sign of a moral flaw. Don’t try to suppress or minimize the feeling(s), simply acknowledge them.

 

Empathy means you are able to see a situation from another person’s perspective. Empathy doesn’t mean that you always agree with the other person’s point of view, just that you acknowledge that it exists.

 

It can be extremely difficult at times to be empathetic. It can also be challenging to convey to the other person that you have empathy for them. In the classic book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, authors Faber and Mazlish suggest using wishes as an effective way to convey empathy. Listen and think about what that person (or you) would wish for: “You wish ___(the fish was still alive; Dad didn’t have to be gone for work; all the children were snug and quiet in their beds).” Listen and describe a fantasy that the person would want: “You wish you could wave a magic wand and make it all better.”

 

I have found that using wishes is particularly helpful when what the other person would wish for is NOT something that is feasible or that I would want to be part of or help to make happen. Using “wish” implies that the desire may not be gratified, but that I respect that the other person really wishes it could be.

 

 Some guidelines for using wishes.

 

  •  Respectful tone of voice. Most of us have used the phrase “You wish” in an extremely unempathetic tone. Say it sincerely.
  • Make it positive. Not “You wish your brother would disappear” but “You wish your brother would leave your toys alone.”
  • Exaggeration can help. “I wish we were already home. I wish that the car could transform into a helicopter and fly over the traffic and land in our driveway!” Exaggerated wishes provide distraction and help the person transition to another activity. Exaggerated wishes can transform whining into a game.

 

 I wish that you will have a fun time wishing with the people in your life!

Esther Schiedel is parent to three adults, grandparent to two boys, and a Certified Family Life Educator. She provides parenting education through classes and workshops through LBCC and through her business, Sharing Strengths. She became interested in parenting education when she became a parent and had a need for more information and support.

 

 

What Is Parenting?

Parenting is

  • crying at the first sight of my unborn child
  • talking with other pregnant moms to see if they; have trouble sleeping on their backs at night, eat pints of ice cream daily, and have dreams of flying babies (I know that’s weird. I still don’t get it.)
  • wanting to have a perfect birthing experience
  • during active labor, wanting to just have the baby (enough contractions already!!!) so I can hold her in my arms
  • sleepless nights filled with the warmth of a warm, cuddly, little body that breathes in time with mine, and wakes before dawn EVERY day
  • talking with other parents about how to “sleep through the night” and get baby to do so as well
  • knowing how to respond to cries that only I can translate into a a request for something
  • talking to other parents about what they do when baby won’t stop crying at 5:00pm every day
  • daytime naps with baby (if I’m lucky)
  • being spit-up on, peed on, pooped on, hit, bit, punched, pushed, yelled at, and embraced by someone I have unconditional love for
  • wishing I could “bubble wrap” my child as she takes her first step
  • crying when my child looses her first tooth and I am  talking to her and seeing a picture of it on my phone because I am not there to witness it first hand.
  • continuing to cry because this is not the last time I will be away for events such as this
  • not being able to drive off the parking lot after dropping my child off for her first day of preschool
  • talking outside of the preschool with other parents that can’t drive away either
  • wondering why I just wasted so much time in the parking lot because I am now sitting at a coffee shop, thoroughly enjoying a moment of selfish bliss before picking my child up from preschool in 20 minutes
  • the stab of pain I “re”experience when my child comes home and tells me that her friends would not play with her at school because the color of her skin was different from theirs. Where did I put that bubble wrap?
  • being dumbfounded when my child comes home the next day and tells me that she played with those same girls the next day at school
  • sharing this with another parent that responds with concern, compassion, and a genuine desire to understand and support my parenting
  • having “the talk” with my child and when I ask “Do you have any questions?”  her response isWhat’s for dinner?”
  • talking to other parents about their experiences with “the talk”, hearing similar stories, and sharing tips for broadening the conversation when the time comes. (I’ll be ready next time!)
  • crying the first time my child goes away to a week long camp. Do I have any bubble wrap left?  (college is going to be a disaster for me, I’m sure)
  • being more anxious than my 6th grader (she was absolutely delighted) as I watch her mingle with her peers, many of whom were over a foot taller than her, on her first day of middle school
  • spending her college saving on bubble wrap!

My journey as a parent, as brief as it may be, has led me to a few conclusions so far. I have come to understand the complexities of parenting and how the support of other parents has helped me work through those complexities. Parents are an essential part of each others’  lives. We are stronger because we have each other. And our children are the recipients of this strength. It truly does take a village.

And possibly most important… Thank goodness for bubble wrap!!!