Preparing For Your Baby’s Birth Day

Without a doubt, welcoming a baby into your world can be an overwhelming undertaking especially for first time parents.  The act alone of giving birth makes more women and men anxious than anything else.  Will I go into labor early? What do I do when my water breaks? Are these really contractions?

So, on the heels of this month’s Lowcountry Parent Baby Guide I wanted to help first time parents prepare for their delivery day…

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1. Speak up! Remember that this is your day and you can’t get it back. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for all the options if an issue arises.

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Blueberry-Coconut Baked Oatmeal

The new school year is underway and our calendars are filling up! Between homework, fall festivities, school projects, soccer practice and the day to day grind we call life, finding time to get a decent, healthy breakfast on the table tends to fall through the cracks.

It’s the most important meal of the day, right? For kids, I especially agree with that so I try my best to get a full, nutritional meal in their bellies at the start of the day and the easiest way – baking in bulk to last us through most of the week!

Oatmeal is always a great go-to but in all honestly, I get bored of the same old mush! I needed to change it up and add new flavors and textures to keep things interesting! So I bring to you our favorite warm blueberry-coconut baked oatmeal!

Doesn’t that sound de-lish on these crisp fall mornings?

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Child-Led Potty Training

Potty training—It’s not likely to elicit shrieks of excitement in any parent. Instead, quite the opposite. I know not one parent who is jumping up and down in anticipation of this transition. Sure, we’re all happy to ditch the diapers but most of us would take a pass on the training aspect of the situation.

Who can blame us? We have been taught that potty training will be a knock down, drag out battle and let’s face it, not one parent looks forward to yet another power struggle with their toddler. But alas, the time has come and we dive into potty preparation! We start reading every potty training article and blog post. Each tells us we need to clear our weekend schedule, stock up on M&Ms, craft reward charts, check out every children’s potty book in the library and place potty chairs in every regularly-visited room in our house.

The task seems daunting…

I am by no means a potty training expert, however I do know that each child absorbs information different ways so in turn, each parent needs to customize their approach to maximize the effectiveness of their efforts. Some children need the M&Ms and reward charts, some do not. Some children need to be pushed, reminded and set on schedules while some do not.

With all of that said, I wanted to share with you a few tips to make potty training simpler and less stressful for you and your toddler. It’s a more child-led potty training approach rather than a hardcore weekend of non stop bathroom trips. A way to ease you and your family into the wonderful world of underwear!

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The Truth About Sharing

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Sharing. As parents it is one of those crucial social skills we feel like we must instill in our children at an early age. Learning the value of sharing makes the world a wonderful and peaceful place to live in. Watching your child master and employ this skill as they happily set about their day is both heart warming and gratifying. It’ll make you feel like super mom, that is for sure!

The journey toward mastering the act of sharing is a bit tricky. Let’s be honest – how many of us have forced our children to share? We’re at the playground, the other kid wants the shovel your kid has, the other parent is sitting right there and you’re feeling the pressure! So it happens, you start persuading your kid to give up the precious shovel and then the screaming ensues… You leave with mixed emotions. Flip flopping between feeling confident that you are teaching your child to share and it’s a trait they have to learn and feeling unsettled that you took something away from your child that she was playing nicely with and not knowing if that was fair of you to push her to give it up?
The latter always weighs more on me. Sharing is indeed something children should learn but is forcing children to share, especially young toddlers really the best way to instill a deep-rooted motivation to do so?

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Understanding Sharing:

Sharing is actually quite a complicated concept to a child. It involves wanting something and postponing the desire for it just because someone else wants it. This act involves being empathetic which children under the age of about six struggle with. Around 2 1/2, the age when children begin to play with each other rather than alongside each other, you will expect to see some motivation to share.

As adults, we know that some things are for sharing and some things are not. We get to decide when we would like to share and when not. Toys are precious belongings to children. They hold a value that parents simply don’t understand. Children deserve to have a choice, too.

For example, I would never expect my son to share his coveted blanket or special toy that helps calm his mind. That is special to him and he deserves to make the choice to keep it close. I certainly would never lend out a sentimental possession to someone who remarked on its beauty. As parents, sometimes we forget that children hold strong attachments to items we would otherwise overlook as meaningless toys.

Perhaps we don’t give our kids enough credit. We think that sharing is a skill that we must teach much like zipping a jacket or putting on shoes. We forget that sharing is developmental and happens when they are ready, not us. They don’t need us to pressure them into sharing, they simply need us to show them how through example.

Encourage Sharing Through Example & Guidance:

  • Create an environment that encourages your child to want to share. Children who have been on the receiving end of generosity follow that model. Take every opportunity to share with your children — be it your glass of water, your book or a bite of your dinner.
  • On the flip side, if it is something special to you explain that, “Mommy’s ring is very special. I would like to keep it close. Would you like to wear this necklace instead?” Now they can see that it is ok to make the choice not to share but should be encouraged to find a solution. In this case, offering the necklace in place of the ring.
  • “Share Mommy or Daddy.” If you have 2 or more kids, place each child on your lap. This teaches the children to share their special person. Vocalize what you’re doing — “Connor and Penelope are sharing Mommy!”
  • Make it a game. Children learn the best through play. Give your child a few toys, flowers, rocks or anything they may be currently interested in and ask her to share them with everyone in the room. “You can share one with your brother, one with sister, one with Mommy…” Your objective is to convey the message that sharing is a normal way of life and it can make everyone feel good.
  • Encourage taking turns and trading. Help teach your child how to communicate her needs to her friends. “When Max is finished batting, it will be your turn to bat and Matt can pitch.”
  • If a toy dispute begins, try not to interfere immediately. Sometimes it is best to give children the time and space to work it out among themselves. Be aware and monitor the dynamic. If all is going in the right direction, stay a bystander. If the situation is worsening, intervene with guidance.
  • Connect actions with feelings. “Look how happy Kate is that your shared your train with her! That made her feel so good.” This encourages empathy and the desire to initiate sharing on their own.
  • Protect special toys. Before friends come over, toddlers should have an opportunity to put away their most coveted toys. Just like the sentimental possession I mentioned above, there are certain items children deserve the right to claim only for themselves. Let your child take action in deciding what she may not feel comfortable sharing and tuck it away until after the play date has ended. This will also show them that you respect their choices and encourage the freedom to make their own decisions.

The road to sharing is a bumpy one. Some days will have you feeling like Supermom and some days you’ll just want to crawl under the covers and hope that the other parents understand and will still want to play another day. Every parent has those days and every parent gets through it. In the end, you will find that you’ve provided your child with the room to naturally grow into an empathetic, compassionate child and you are indeed a SUPERMOM!

Let The Kids Get Dirty: 4 Benefits of Dirt + Ideas To Get The Kids Outside!

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It’s not uncommon to peek out the window of my house and see a hole dug in our backyard with various mini sized shovels and rakes surrounding the dig site, a trail of dirt leading from our back porch to our kitchen sink and a little boy smiling ear to ear, mud all the way up his legs and arms.

“Mom, I’m dirty!” he’ll announce.
“Yes, you are honey…” as I wipe the mud trail behind my son as he scurries to the sink to clean up.

You see, lately my nearly 3 year old son enjoys not his spacious sandbox tucked nicely under the shade of the trees that his Daddy built him a few months back or the nice thick grass I seeded last year.  No, of course not..   He loves the dirt patches that reside on the other side of the yard.  The patches (aka the entire other side of our backyard that I unsuccessfully seeded this year…) of dirt seem to call to him…

That earthly goodness filled with bugs, sticks and leaves.  All a little kid needs to be happy…

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Healthy Recipe: Pesto Pizza Omelette

I know so many of us are looking to make healthy food choices for ourselves and our children these days, but let’s be honest — it’s hard finding the time and energy to come up with creative, quick, nutritional meals as busy moms and dads running from this end of the Lowcountry to the other so today I want to share a fun little recipe that is a hit with both the kids and adults in my house. It’s a spin on the traditional omelet or pizza we all know and love.

It can be customized to your taste, made in a jiff with leftovers or common ingredients that are probably already in your fridge!  Even better — It’s perfect for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner packed with protein and veggies! It’s really quite simple and easy to make…

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8 ways to connect with your kids

I’ve learned over my many years of caring for children, and now more recently with my own, that establishing a deep, meaningful connection is at the root of happy parents and happy kids. The feeling of security and trust that lies between a parent and a child is how children grow to feel love and love themselves.  How they learn to cooperate, compromise and grow into unique indivuals.

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Discover the benefits of babywearing

LP_babywearingBabywearing is a practice near and dear to my heart.  It is one of the easiest ways to connect with your newest bundle of joy and even your toddler during those busy days when you are running around town to the times you desperately need to get those loads of laundry cleaned. Life can get busy and things need to get done, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the closeness your child craves and the opportunity to develop a long lasting, healthy bond.

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