Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stress...Ain't Nobody Got Time for That!

If only that were true. Stress in small amounts is a good thing. It can help keep us alert, allows us to be more attentive throughout the day, allow us to problem solve, and help us realize we can handle our day to day tasks.

But there are days were we feel the complete opposite...

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Help Me Grow (a free parent information line) has a great resource library on a variety of  topics that parents have questions on or are looking for more information about. Stress is one of those topics. Although stress  is normal there are moments that we need to take a step back and evaluate how we are affected by it to become more aware of how it affects children. 

What you might be seeing (Signs of Stress Indicators)   
Feeling angry or irritable a lot of the time
Feeling hopeless
Having trouble making decisions
Crying easily
Worrying all the time
Arguing with friends or your partner
Overeating or not eating enough
Being unable to sleep or wanting to sleep all the time

What can you do (it is important to learn how to manage stress- for your own benefit and that of your children)
  • Identify What is Making you Stressed- everyone has different stressors i.e. money, work, surroundings, child’s behavior, health issues.
  • Accept what you cannot change- Ask yourself “Can I do anything about it?” if the answer is no, then focus on something else. If it’s something you can do then break it into smaller steps so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Have Faith- Look back at the times where you have overcome challenges and know it will soon pass!
  • Relax! – Try deep breathing , yoga, meditation, listening to music.
  • Take Care of Your Health-Get enough sleep , eating healthy, and get some exercise
  • Take Time for Yourself- Take a bath, read a book, when you can have someone watch your children and get out for a few hours
  • Develop a Support Network- ask for help. Have your spouse or partner take over bedtime for few nights. Accept help from family and close friends to pick up kids, help you make dinner, to give you a break.

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Learning to manage stress will improve your happiness and show your children that they can handle stress too!

If your interested in additional informational resources or have any other parenting questions please call Help Me Grow at 801-691-5322 and we will be happy to connect you resources and answer any questions you may have on your child's development. 

Sources: United Way of Utah County Welcome Baby Parent Handout "Stress Management" also has articles on stress management for children and adults

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back to School

As much as we may not like to admit it, school is quickly approaching. And for some of us it has already begun. It's never too soon to start preparing your child to return to school. Here are some quick tips to help make the transition back to school, easier. 
1. Adjust their sleep schedule gradually. Summer means later bedtimes for most kids. Easing them slowly back into an earlier bed time will help the transition back to school. Simply put your child in bed 15 minutes earlier each week for the month before school starts.

2. Prevent rude awakenings: Later summer bedtimes, generally mean later wake-up times and lazier mornings. Help your child transition from lounging around in the morning to getting up and out for school by planning activities for early morning. Start the morning by going for a walk, or playing outside.

3. Meet their teacher: Most schools have a Back to School Night where you can meet their teacher. Being with your child the first time they meet their teacher may help them to feel more comfortable with their teacher. If it's their first time at the school, you may also want to walk around the school with them so they can become familiar with where things are.
4. Talk with them: Discuss going back to school. Help them feel prepared by talking about their fears. Address what makes them nervous about school, riding the bus, etc.

5. Focus on the Positive: Find the positive aspects of going back to school. Remind your child of all the old friends they will see again, and the new friends they will make. Focus on their favorite school activities, such as P.E., art, etc.

What have you done this year to prepare your kids to get back to school?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ready, Set, Pin!

Are you one of those individuals who is always on the internet looking for fun and creative ideas?  Or maybe you are even looking for advice on how to do something, such as parenting tips or how to teach your child!  Maybe you are even a regular on Pinterest! 

If you love to find different resources from blogs, websites, and other sites, have you checked out Help Me Grow's Pinterest page?  Help Me Grow has many different boards filled with resources and ideas available to you to help you become the best parent you can be!  Here is a list of boards with descriptions that Help Me Grow's Pinterest page has to offer!
Help Me Grow
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Activities and Crafts
Fun, simple, educational crafts & activities for kids
All About School
Tools and resources to get kids ready for school as well as links about bullying
Resources and information on Autism Spectrum Disorder
Children’s Books
Links to book reviews, book lists and other literacy related sites
Christmas craft and activity ideas
Community Resources (Utah County)
Links to referrals to community resources, such as early intervention agencies, family therapy organizations, literacy support organizations, mentoring and tutoring programs, parenting classes and support groups, recreational opportunities, and much more.
Easter craft and activity ideas
EveryDay Learners
Activities that encourage learning and literacy and support United Way’s EveryDay Learner’s initiative
Family Resources
Tips, information, and resources covering all sorts of family issues: babysitting, chores, cleaning, fathering, organizing, traveling, products, etc.
Fine Motor Milestones/Activities
Activities and information about development of the small muscle groups
Green Baby
The non-toxic alternative to keeping babies healthy and happy
Healthy Living
Information on keeping baby healthy and safe
HMG Resource Sheets
Parenting suggestions and activity sheets created by Help Me Grow Utah
Halloween/Autumn craft and activity ideas
It’s Baby Time
Tips and resources for new parents with a baby
July 4th
Patriotic craft and activity ideas
Just for Mom
For all you mom’s out there-take time for yourself and your health
Music Fun!
Music is important in child development.  Make an instrument and music activities with your kiddos
Parenting Tips
Information about sleep, eating, teething, potty training, CPR, etc.
Science Projects
Science experiments and projects to teach young learners about science
Sensory Activities
It’s all about “feel!” Sensory activities are key for child development
Sneaky Nutrition
Tricks on how to sneak in fruits, vegetables, etc. into kids diets
Speech and language milestones for young children
St. Patrick’s
St. Patty’s craft and activity ideas
Summer Activities
Activity ideas to keep your kids busy & active throughout summer
Technology for Kids!
Technology is one good way to teach your kids! Educational and safety apps will enforce and continue learning
Thanksgiving/Autumn craft and activity ideas
Toddlers, toddlers, toddlers
Information on how to teach, discipline and deal with your toddler
Valentine’s craft and activity ideas
Welcome Baby
Informative and educational information from Welcome Baby's Blog
Welcome Baby Playgroup
Great ideas for neighborhood and community playgroups or fun activities to do with your children
Baby milestones to know whether your child is on track with development

Now that you've seen a list of all the boards Help Me Grow has to offer, are you excited to go pin away?! Get ready...get set...go start pinning from Help Me Grow's Pinterest page and let us know of your favorite finds!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Positive Parenting Tips

I think we can all agree that parenting is hard. Am I right? Though parenting is difficult, we all know those little moments when they start walking, riding a bike, or simply hugging you when you're sad make it all worth it.

Let's talk about positive parenting, because it's worth it.

As you read through the tips, think about some things that you want to try out! Have you done any of them before? Check what age your child is at, and see what parenting tip can help you!

  • Talk to your baby. She will find your voice calming.
  • Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will help him learn to use language.
  • Read to your baby. This will help her develop and understand language and sounds.
  • Sing to your baby and play music. This will help your baby develop a love for music and will help his brain development.

  • Read to your toddler daily.
  • Ask her to find objects for you or name body parts and objects.
  • Play matching games with your toddler, like shape sorting and simple puzzles.
  • Encourage him to explore and try new things.
  • Encourage your child's growing independence by letting him help with dressing himself and feeding himself.
  • Encourage your child to take part in pretend play.
  • Play parade or follow the leader with your toddler.
  • Encourage your child to tell you his name and age.
  • Teach your child simple songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider, or other cultural childhood rhymes.
  • Give your child attention and praise when she follows instructions and shows positive behavior and limit attention for defiant behavior like tantrums. Teach your child acceptable ways to show that she’s upset.
  • Continue to read to your child. Nurture her love for books by taking her to the library or bookstore.
  • Let your child help with simple chores.
  • Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps him to learn the value of sharing and friendship.
  • Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Explain and show the behavior that you expect from her. Whenever you tell her no, follow up with what he should be doing instead.
  • Help your child develop good language skills by speaking to him in complete sentences and using "grown up" words. Help him to use the correct words and phrases.
  • Help your child through the steps to solve problems when she is upset.
  • Give your child a limited number of simple choices (for example, deciding what to wear, when to play, and what to eat for snack).

  • Show affection for your child. Recognize her accomplishments.
  • Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—ask him to help with household tasks, such as setting the table.
  • Help your child learn patience by letting others go first or by finishing a task before going out to play. Encourage him to think about possible consequences before acting.
  • Make clear rules and stick to them.
  • Get involved with your child’s school.
  • Use discipline to guide and protect your child, rather than punishment to make him feel bad about himself. Follow up any discussion about what not to do with a discussion of what to do instead.
  • Praise your child for good behavior. It’s best to focus praise more on what your child does ("you worked hard to figure this out") than on traits she can’t change ("you are smart").
  • Support your child in taking on new challenges.

Check out this website for more child development information! (Source)
Let us know what has helped work for you while parenting!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Choices, Choices, Choices: The Importance of Giving Your Child Choices

We live in a country where we are taught every day the many blessings of our freedom. Everyone loves their independence and freedom. So, we shouldn't expect kids to feel any different. Just like any adult, they want freedom to make their own choice. Children love having choices! It allows them to feel some control.When we give our children choices we are teaching them autonomy, self-discipline, and good decision-making skills. Now, I'm not saying we have to let our kids do whatever they want. There does need to be a limit. However, it is important to allow our children choices when appropriate.

So what is appropriate? Here are some tips to help you with deciding when and how to give your child choices: 
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  • Number of Choices: You do not want to offer two many choices. Younger children can handle two choices. For example, "Would you like to do it? Or would you like me to?". As children get older the number of choices we can offer increases. For example, "You can do your homework before dinner, after dinner, or in the morning." 
  • Be Specific: Don't give open-ended choices such as, "What do you want for breakfast?". Your child may answer with "pizza" and you have now set yourself up for a battle. You can instead ask "Do you want toast and fruit, or cereal?"
  • Use time as a choice: Obviously, it's unreasonable to say, "Would you like to go to bed tonight or tomorrow?". But you can say, "What do you want to do first, brush your teeth or put on your pajamas?" 
  • Follow Through: Make sure your child follows through with the choice they made. If they decide to do their homework in the morning, wake them up to complete their homework on time. If they complain, remind them that it was their own choice. 
  • Only give choices that you are willing to give: Don't offer waffles for breakfast, if you don't want to make the waffles. 
By giving your child choices you are helping support their continued development. Just remember to make the choices appropriate for their age!