Author Archive

Saying bye-bye to the ‘binkie’

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In Anne Tyler’s novel Digging to America there’s a humorous scene in which a mother plans an elaborate scheme for separating her 3-year-old daughter from her pacifier.

She invites all the mothers and young children she knows to a party, the climax of which will be the releasing of a clutch of helium balloons with binkies (pacifiers) attached to them. On her daughter’s balloon is the pacifier, of course, which will dramatically sail ...

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Promoting self-esteem

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“GOOD JOB!!!”

The heading on the sheet of stickers says “100 Ways to Say ‘Good Job!’”, and then all 100 – from “Awesome” to “Zero Mistakes” – appear with accompanying smiley faces and abundant exclamation points. These are sold to teachers as self-esteem promoters. Everyone, especially the children, knows them to be artificial at best. But at least they are evidence of the general awareness that self-esteem is important.

But self-esteem is not so easily created, and certainly not when imposed ...

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Leaving children for the weekend

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Leaving children for the weekend isn’t easy for anyone. But at one time or another, all parents need a weekend getaway – whether it’s to take a break, tend to out-of-town family matters, or attend a wedding or other adult occasion without the kids.

When this need arises for the first time, they might have some concerns – especially if their child already fusses when a sitter comes for just the evening.

If the sitter can be someone your child already knows, ...

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5 simple TV guidelines for kids

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TV guidelines for kids

Put Yourself in this Picture…

Your kids squabbled in the back seat all the way home despite your shouting at them to knock it off. You have a blinding headache and you’re exhausted from a trying day. It’s past everyone’s customary dinner hour and you want to prepare and serve something in a hurry. What do you do?

You hand your children a snack and plunk them down in front of the TV, of course. But then as you ...

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Standing Up For Myself

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Asserting oneself begins at birth. We parents quickly learn the differences between the loud, insistent screams our babies make. We know when our one month old is saying, “I’m hungry, NOW” or “Something really hurts!”

Asserting oneself becomes all too evident during the toddler years when “Me do” and “No”, provokes nods from adults and we mutter knowingly, “ the terrible twos”. This strong push toward independence, although it tries our patience, is generally understood to be a predictable part of growing ...

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Talking with children about disabilities

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Sidewalks are now made without curbs at the corners and laws prohibit putting up new buildings that are not accessible to everyone. We are now aware of the extra large stalls in bathrooms and parking for people with disabilities in every mall.

We take these improvements in our way of life for granted now. We assume that our toddlers and preschoolers also take these changes for granted and don’t notice the person in the wheelchair or leaning on a walker. That ...

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How little ones learn to love giving

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How do you help your children develop a lifelong love of giving? We Grandmothers are certainly aware that today’s families live in times of “Hurry Up” – that mothers and fathers both work and have to deal with malls filled with gifts of every shape and color.

We recognize time is a precious commodity, so it’s often quicker and easier to suggest or even buy something for Aunt Mable during lunch hour, have it wrapped and then simply hand it to ...

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Dealing with tantrums

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Tantrums – appearing as early as 1 and as late as 42 – are part of a stage of emotional development the caregiver would like to be able to move the child through as quickly as possible. They most often occur  in public places such as supermarket check-out lines and shopping centers. They are characterized by out-of-control screaming and thrashing, and if the caregiver starts screaming and thrashing herself matters only get worse.

The caregiver would like the child to be able ...

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Preparing your child for kindergarten

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At one time, being ready for kindergarten meant knowing your name, address and phone number, being able to print your name, counting up to a certain number, reciting the alphabet in order and even tying your shoes.

These are helpful accomplishments, but in reality they have little to do with “readiness” for learning in a school setting.

Parents are a child’s first teachers, and they have all the tools needed to have him ready and eager to learn in an environment away ...

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Go play! It’s the key to success in school

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The old days

Finally research has vindicated the mothers of half-a-century ago who routinely opened the screen door in back and told their kids to go play – and not to bother coming back until the street lights came on or they heard the dinner bell (whichever came first).

Turns out these mothers were not being abusive and neglectful. The moms of the previous century didn’t know it, of course, but they were ensuring that their children developed a critical cognitive skill ...

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