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Must parents be consistent?

from Hand in Hand Parenting

We’ve all been told, “Kids need consistency!” But what does that mean?

Does it mean that we have to mete out consequences for every one of our children’s poor judgment calls? Does it mean that being flexible with them will pamper and spoil them? How can we tell when it’s important to be consistent, and when it’s not?

PL BoydadwrestleI think that the consistency our children need lies in our ability to think about each situation flexibly. If they can depend on us to think, rather than react, they have the security they need in the jumble of daily life. When we can treat our children with respect and love, even while saying no to them, we’re being consistently on their side. That’s the consistency that matters.

For instance, take bedtime. A parent can hold to a consistent bedtime on school nights, but loosen that policy for a child’s birthday celebration on a school night, when grandparents or cousins are visiting, or on a night when there’s a meteor shower that’s best observed after 9 pm. That’s thinking. That’s setting limits well, and making exceptions well. Both the limits and the exceptions reassure a child that he’s well loved, and that his parents have his best interests in mind.

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The Insanely Simple Tool for a Resilient New Mamahood

by Lindsay K. Germain, Certified Postpartum Doula
(originally published by BirthWays in spring of 2014)

When you welcome your new baby into your home, you’ll find that time tends to shift in mysterious ways. Especially in the early days, chores that used to take an hour might start to take four hours, or even a few days.

Your time will be more precious, and likely more stretched, than ever before.

Unlike adults, who sleep for a long stretch at night, newborns tend to sleep in short naps and aren’t yet able to consolidate their sleep.

In a sea of short naps and night and day feedings, it can be a real challenge to get good, nourishing food into your body.

It’s hard to have patience for fussiness, nap strikes, and other challenges of early parenting if you’re tired and hungry. The more you can get good, small meals and snacks throughout the day, the more resilient you’ll feel.

path on bridgeIt’s easy to go hungry when you’re holding, feeding, and caring for your wide-awake baby. If you skip meals, it’s much harder to take care of yourself and feel good about your baby. Breastfeeding mamas need to eat an extra 200 to 500 calories per day.

Lots of moms figure out ways to get quick, nourishing bites when they need to refuel.

If you plan just one thing to make your postpartum transition feel smoother, set up a way to have convenient meals and snacks.

Eating small meals throughout the day helps stabilize your mood and energy. You can use a baby carrier to keep your hands free to snack.

Here are my favorite tools for mamas to help make meals easy:

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When your toddler hits you: a new perspective

from Hand in Hand Parenting

Does your toddler suddenly haul back and hit you in the midst of a sweet and playful time together? Or does he impulsively smack other children, even his own siblings? If so, let me reassure you that you haven’t failed at parenting. And when your toddler hits you, your little one isn’t under a mysterious spell. There’s nothing bad about your child. Continue reading