Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Uplift Families Parenting Conference - GIVEAWAY

Utah’s First Lady Jeanette Herbert created the initiative Uplift Families to connect parents to resources and information that would help them gain the skills necessary to raise loving, responsible children.
“Our organization believes that to have a strong viable state, we must have strong viable families.” - First Lady Jeanette Herbert
The vibrant website,, includes free links to outside resources, videos, and articles that support the 3 fold purpose of Uplift Families: strengthen parent-child relationships, provide tools and resources that improve parenting skills, and help children make safe and healthy choices.

Under the parenting resources tab, the three step process allows families to make selections that will directly link them to credible websites and community resources to get them the information they seek. As well as referring those who wish to speak with a person directly about their concerns or needs to 2-1-1.

Article authors include Doctor Julie de Azevedo Hanks, lawyer and life coach Merrilee Boyack, and parenting experts Richard and Linda Eyre. They cover topics from Financial Health to Pornography, 5 Ways to Foster Truth-telling to De-stressing at the Holidays. Each article aims to help parents address common and difficult issues that many families face. With personal experiences and professional advice, these prove to be a great read.

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The Youtube channel houses TIPS clips from annual conferences that address a variety of topics.

Uplift Families will be having an annual parenting conference on September 19, 2015 at the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn in Lehi. Individual tickets are $15, couples are $25. Use code $5offUF to receive a five dollar discount. 

For more information on the parenting conference, click here.

Help Me Grow is giving couples the opportunity to attend, on us! Five comments on this post will be randomly selected to receive a couple’s ticket to the event on September 19th which includes dinner and dessert!

What is your favorite feature of the Uplift Families website?
- Amanda

Friday, August 28, 2015

10 Alternative Tummy Time Activities

We all know that tummy time is important! Tummy time helps your baby develop her neck, back, and shoulder muscles. Not only does tummy time help your child be ready to crawl and walk, it also helps her to be ready to drink from a cup and eat solid foods.

The recommended time for tummy time varies upon who you talk to, but it ranges from 30 minutes up to 90 minutes a day! Gradually work up to 60-90 minutes of tummy time per day by age 4 months. Now this sounds like a lot of time, but you don’t do it all at once. You can do a few minutes throughout the day. Think of it as your baby’s exercise!

I think it’s normal to automatically think of tummy time as placing your baby on her tummy on the floor with a few toys nearby. However, there are a variety of positions you can do tummy time with your baby.

Here are 10 “alternative” tummy time options:
  1. Let your baby lay on your chest. This helps the position of being on her tummy feel more natural later on and also gives you some great interaction and eye contact with your baby!
  2. Make it a part of your everyday routine. Every time you change her diaper, place her on her tummy while you take care of the diaper and clean up. Keep her in a safe place of course. With changing up to six diapers a day, this can easily take 12-18 minutes a day! If your baby is content when you return, take a moment to get down on her level and play a little longer with her.
  3. After her bath time, do the same thing. Let her spend some time on her tummy in a safe place while you take a minute or two to gather her things to get her dressed.
  4. Roll up a small receiving blanket and put it under your baby’s chest with their arms over it. Prop baby up with a small receiving blanket rolled up or a pillow. Keep their arms free in front of them. This allows them to see more around them besides the floor.
  5. Try laying your baby down lengthwise across your knees while providing neck support. Remember to keep the baby's head aligned with their body. You can also move your legs softly from side to side to keep them entertained. If they fall asleep just remember to move them to their back.
  6. The "football hold" is often a dad's favorite way to hold and carry his baby around. Place your baby across your forearm on her belly, chest in your hand, legs and arms dangling. Place your other hand securely on her back. Hold your baby close to you for added support. You can also gently rock the baby up and down. This is also a great position to calm a fussy baby.
  7. Try placing baby tummy down on an exercise ball. Make sure to keep a firm hold on your baby as you move the ball gently forward and backward.
  8. Lay on your back and lift your shins perpendicular to the floor. Place baby on her tummy on your shins and gently sway or lift your legs while holding her arms or side. Not only do you get a little exercise, she feels like she is flying!
  9. Talking about flying, playing airplanes is a great option too! Similar to the football hold, support her body and neck and move her around the room!
  10. Make tummy time fun! Try singing a song, playing peek-a-boo, or playing with rattles or other noise making toys while baby is doing tummy time. Get down on your baby’s level to really enjoy the interaction together.
Don’t get discouraged! Every minute of tummy time really adds up and can make a difference! With any skill-building activity, try to do tummy time when your baby is happy and content. For additional tummy time information, check out this article.

Helpful hint: When doing tummy time, help your baby get equal time on either side of her neck. If your baby begins to favor one side over the other, give her more time on the less preferred side. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When Kids (Kind Of) Obey

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It's always funny to me when you have a kid who you let know they're not supposed to do something, like "don't take food out of the kitchen" and they listen to a way. They will take their food and stand on the edge of the kitchen, not quite in the living room, watching TV while they eat. Prime example, I told my 6 year old nephew to stay away from my wedding dress as my mom and I cleaned it, and he scooted so that he was only a few inches away from it, but not touching it, as requested.

I don't think I'm alone in being around kids who like to "toe the line" so to speak. When you think about it, it makes sense why they do it. Childhood is about learning and exploring their environment, learning the things they can and can't do, learning how to push the limits to see what they can get away with, and what will leave them in trouble. Here are some tips that I've found can be helpful with the "line toe-ers" in my life.

Speak in a calm voice
  • With my nephew, yelling at him doesn't work. He will either cover his ears, or just get mad. When I am reacting, instead of calmly acting to his actions, we both end up upset.
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Explain why you have the limitations
  • When I explained to my nephew why he couldn't touch my dress, that it was for my wedding and it can get dirty easily, he was much more willing to comply. Calmly explaining the reasoning behind my requests or denials helps him to learn and understand, and can take some of the mystery out of the objects. With my nieces and nephews when they're young, letting them know that something is "owie" would often prevent them from trying to get into something that could hurt them.

Give them something to relate to
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  • Telling kids a story relating to the concept that you are teaching helps them to be able to understand what you are saying. I told my nephew a story about a group of people who weren't supposed to eat chocolate cake, since it was bad for them. A man got them to eat chocolate cake by first introducing chocolate chip cookies, then doubling the amount of chips in each cookie, etc, until the people were used to eating chocolate cake. I then related it to his actions, about trying to get away with some little things, and how it can lead to doing bigger things wrong.

Let them know it's okay to make mistakes
  • We all make mistakes. It's part of learning. Letting kids know that it's OK to make mistakes, but that they need to learn from them, helps them to accept limits, and give them a secure environment to explore. 

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Explore with them
  • When kids are curious about something, explore it with them! Then they don't have to break the rules to find out what they are curious about, and it gives you time to be together. When you explore together, kids can do it in a safe way, and you don't end up with a huge mess when they get into a cupboard or shelf they aren't supposed to.

What are some other ways that you have found help your kids to not toe the line and push boundaries?


Friday, August 21, 2015

Being "Good Enough" on the Circle of Security®

This is a follow-up to our original post on the Circle of Security®.

Parents function both as a “secure base” from which their child can explore the world and as a “safe haven” to which the child can return when she needs comforting or reassurance. When we (as parents) can do a good enough job at this, our children will feel comfortable going out and discovering the world, learning new things all the time. They will also feel good about seeking help and support from others, whenever they need it, and to share their experiences so they don’t feel alone.

Typically, people are stronger on one side on the circle than the other. Some parents are much better at supporting independence and exploration (the top half of the circle). And some of us love to cuddle and protect, supporting safety (the bottom half of the circle). Take a moment to look around the circle and see where you feel the strongest!

This Circle of Security® (see this blog post from 27 May 2015) starts to develop in the first year of life. As we grow from being a baby to being a child, and from a child into an adult, we internalize over time how these needs are met. “When I am scared, I can go to my dad and he will comfort me” or “when I am excited about a new toy, my mom will enjoy with me and she will let me take my time to explore it.”  We usually can’t put these lessons into words very easily, but we feel them in our whole being. 

You may notice that you find yourself uncomfortable with the opposite side. For instance, a parent who loves to stimulate independence may cringe at “coddling” their baby. Such parents are wary of creating a child that becomes overly dependent and can’t do anything on its own. On the other hand, a parent who loves to keep their child safe and secure may become anxious at letting the child roam too far. Such a parent may just want to protect their child from anything, whether it is truly dangerous or simply threatening the parent’s own sense of security.

For example, some parents have a hard time hearing their baby cry or seeing their older child upset. Most of us want to see our children happy! Parents who feel secure with unpleasant emotions know that children learn resilience and problem-solving from having difficult experiences. But some parents feel threatened by their children’s suffering, and it upsets them personally. This is related to the parent’s temperament but also to how their own Circle of Security developed when they were children. You can’t give what you do not have.

Young children are sensitive to emotions and to subtle expressions in parents’ faces, bodies, and voices. And when they notice that their parent is not comfortable with certain aspects of the Circle, children quickly learn to miscue their needs. Even though children do not come with a written manual, they all give out cues for what they need. These cues are signals for specific needs that the child has. For instance, reaching out his arms and looking up at his caregiver are cues that a baby wants to be picked up and be close to his mom or dad. Before they are a year old, infants learn that their caregivers are comfortable with some cues, but not comfortable with others. Discovering this (all without words), babies begin to send out “miscues” – a cue that is misleading or contradicts what the child really needs.

For example, if a parent really values independence, they may encourage their child to self-soothe, solve their own problems before helping them, and playing independently as much as they can. But all children need both halves of the circle. If the parent feels uneasy about comforting their child when she is upset, the child may learn that the only way to get the parents attention is by becoming whiney, or defiant, or out of control (whatever it is that catches the parent’s attention). So the need in this case would be: “I need closeness and comfort, mom” but the cue might be “I’m acting out so that you have to pay attention to me.” Some children learn to not express their needs at all, and they seem to communicate “I don’t need anyone”, while they still do.

As a real-life example, consider a 4-year-old girl who bumps into her little brother as she comes running through the room and crashes into her mom. Her mom is not happy with this and asks, “What did you do that for?” The girl shows a wide grin and her mom gets more irritated, “It’s not funny. You just hurt me, and you hurt your little brother, too. You’d better go into time out for a few minutes!” Upon this, the girl starts to whine, “No”, and she lets herself fall onto the floor. Later, they talk about it and she says, “Mommy, I was just afraid you were going to go away and I didn’t know when you would be back.” The child’s need in this case is closeness to the mom, and being assured that the mom will not leave her (or will be back soon). But the cue that the child gave was: I need boundaries and discipline, as I am hurting you and others. This is a miscue. If the parents only focus on the behavior, the issue is likely to continue, because the child’s need (for reassurance) is not met.

Miscues are very hard to deal with, because they are usually not obvious. As parents, we always need to figure out what is going on when children act out or get upset. Some patterns are clearly recognizable and straightforward (e.g., she acts like this when she is tired; she just needs a nap).  Others are not: we may keep correcting our child’s behavior over and over again, unsuccessfully, because the outward behavior is a miscue of what the real underlying need is. As parents, we can only try to find out what it is that the child needs. And trying to do this, until we find how to help our child, makes us good enough parents, even if we don’t get it right the first time!

We all have learned which cues (for which needs) are safe, and which ones we’d better cover up or ‘translate’ into another cue. As a parent, it is really hard to know sometimes what it is that your child needs in that moment. Sometimes, it is love, hugs, and acknowledgement of emotions (the bottom half of the circle). Sometimes, it is clear expectations for what the limits are (the top half of the circle). Often, if we are baffled by our child’s behavior, it is because they miscue us. It is up to us to do the detective work to find out what the underlying need on the circle is! 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015


One of a parent's greatest challenges can be taking kids into a store.  Here are some ideas that may help!

1.  TIMING.  Avoid times when the store is crowded.  It's stressful for you and the kids, and will take longer.  Avoid times when the kids (or you) are tired and hungry.

2.  BE PREPARED.  Making a shopping list will help you get through the store faster with less distractions.  Take it a step further and map your course through the store, it will save you time and money!

3.  BE KID-FRIENDLY.  Use the kiddie carts in the store.  Bring snacks and toys to keep them occupied.  Hand your child items to place in the cart.  Talk about the items you see, let them help make simple decisions:  "Should we buy green or red apples today?"  Let them help put the items on the conveyor belt at the check-out.

4.  SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS.  Let them know what you expect of them before going into the store, and what rewards/punishments there will be.  This might be time consuming at first, but as you are consistent, they will simply know what they should/shouldn't do.  Give lots of praise for good behavior and let them know how much it helps!

For more ideas you can check out this article on WebMD:

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