Friday, September 5, 2014

Tips for Choosing Safe Halloween Costumes for Kids

Nothing's more fun for kids than Halloween when they get to overdose on candy and dress up as their favorite characters. But we have to be vigilant to keep their day full of treats and not tricks. In this day and age there's no telling what to expect. People are less mindful if children are around to play pranks. And when I say pranks, I mean serious tricks that are actually harmful. As a parent, these things worry me so I try to take measures as much as possible to protect my child.
As you hunt for the perfect costumes, keep these tips in mind to prevent their princess dresses or Batmen disguises from posing a fire or strangling hazard.
  • Look for labels on the costume that say flame resistant. While this doesn't mean it will prevent the costume from ultimately catching on fire, it does mean that it will not ignite easily or if it does catch on fire will self-extinguish.
  • Some fabrics are more flammable than others. Cotton, linen, jute, and acetate are most likely to catch on fire. Synthetic fibers like polyester or nylon tend to melt rather than ignite and self-extinguish quickly.
  • Avoid lots of glitter and sparkle, unless it comes from sequins sewn onto the garment. In the past, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute has found that costumes with spray-on glitter are very flammable because of the glue used to make the glitter stick. Sequins will melt if exposed to a flame.
  • No dangling sleeves or large capes (sorry little Batmen!) Not only can they easily graze near a fire easily, they can be a tripping hazard.
  • Accessories like wings, purses, or hoods should be short, handheld, or on the head. Scarves that drape over and around the neck can be a choking hazard.
So what do you and your family plan to dress up as this year for Halloween? My daughter is going to be Elsa from Frozen, of course. The rest of our family has yet to figure it out which is why we've been checking out some ideas online. One of the particular sites that's been keeping us interested is - they have something for everyone; even us over protective parents! Feel free so share some ideas!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Supporting Postpartum Families

Postpartum Support International is dedicated to helping women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression, the most common complication of childbirth. We also work to educate family, friends and healthcare providers so that moms and moms-to-be can get the support they need and recover. You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help, you will be well.    

Get Help - Support Groups & Area Coordinators

Postpartum Support International has more than 250 Support Coordinators around the world. PSI Volunteer Coordinators provide support, encouragement, and resources on the phone and email to pregnant and postpartum moms and families, and help you connect to community or internet resources. They give encouragement, tips and referrals but do not give clinical, medical, legal, or religious advice. We are here to help all families navigate through the transition to parenthood.
To locate resources in your area, click on the map below or from the List of States and Countries. Each state or country page offers information on how to contact PSI coordinators, crisis hotlines, support groups and events in that area. We also have specialized coordinators for Dads,Military Families, and Spanish-speaking families, and Arabic-speaking Families listed below the map. 
Our volunteers will contact you within 24 hours. If you need more immediate help, CLICK HERE to find emergency services.

Monday, July 21, 2014

10 ways to connect with your baby

Here are some quick tips on how you can connect with your baby:

1) spend one-on-one time

2) sing

3) dance

4) mimic baby's cooing and vocalizations

5) engage in laughter and play

6) comfort your baby through touch

7) make eye contact

8) talk and read

9) hold or wear your baby close to you

10) give a soothing bath

Do you have any additional tips that you would like to add?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kangaroo Mother Care And Post Natal Depression: What Are World Leading Experts And Parents Saying?

With as many as twenty-five percent of new moms experiencing some form of postnatal depression (PND) symptoms. It has been shown that the inclusion of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) techniques can help to reduce the symptoms of postnatal depression. There are now many reports from parents, both men and women, who have used the Kangaroo Mother Care therapy as a means to avoiding and eliminating any symptoms of postnatal depression, and in almost all cases, this is exactly what has been achieved. It would seem that the practise is having huge success in terms of how Mothers are feeling after giving birth. 


World leading experts in both pregnancy and postpartum depression have been looking very seriously at the cause and effect of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) on the depressive illness known as PND for some years. By all accounts it would appear that the general consensus from the experts is that the technique can be extremely effective in reducing the onset of PND in new moms. 

Arising from the way that Kangaroos care for their new born Joey for around four months after birth, in a pouch positioned just below the mother's chest, KMC is about skin-to-skin contact between mother and new born baby. This same technique used immediately after childbirth for women, is having a resounding effect on both Mothers and their newborn baby's. In relation to PND, The increased hormone known as Oxytocin is thought to be at least partially responsible for the reduction in symptoms associated with PND. 

Looking at the various studies that have been conducted over the years, it would be safe to say that the concept of KMC is working wonders in reducing and eliminating the stress and anxiety often experienced by new mom's. It does not matter if Kangaroo Mother Care is done intermittently or continuously, the benefits are amazing. This of course, in turn reduces the number of women, men and families suffering, as a result of postnatal depression. 

There is no disputing from experts or mom's alike, that KMC definitely helps the bonding process between mother and baby, and this bonding process starts the very moment that a baby is conceived. It is also being shown and accepted that Kangaroo Mother Care reduces the symptoms often associated with PND, as much as KMC enhances the physiological stability in the baby. Interestingly, through KMC a Mothers growing awareness of her newborn baby's cues contributes to the possibility of sustained breastfeeding. 

Studies have shown that there are no unwanted side effects from the implementation of KMC. Furthermore, KMC enhances bonding as well as reducing the symptoms of PND. These are just a few of the reasons why and the benefits of the introduction of KMC as soon as possible after birth. The great thing about introducing KMC immediately is that it does not interfere with further procedures that may be necessary after giving birth and should in most situations be the priority. Most procedures can be carried out unhampered by baby being skin-to-skin with mom. Kangaroo Mother Care should not only be introduced as soon as possible and there is also room for dad and other siblings to get involved in this process. 

Study and research has been carried out around the world and in various demographics. People from both ends of the economic spectrum have been involved in Kangaroo Mother Care research, and there seems to be no apparent discrepancy in the benefits discovered. So, Kangaroo Mother Care is for every baby and every parent regardless of your location in the world.

Monday, June 30, 2014

3 Parenting Styles And Their Effect On The Social Behavior Of Children

What type of parent are you? Beginning with studies in the 1960s, 3 parenting styles have emerged to help understand and explain the behavior and development of children. 

Observing the impact that parents have on child development has been a fascination for researchers and sociologists throughout the years; but, it was the work of Diane Baumrind that defined the idea of distinct parenting styles and the effects each method has on behavior, social skills, and maturity. 

Baumrind's theory is based on the two vital elements of parental responsiveness, which includes warmth, 'supportiveness', and acceptance, and parental demandingness, which considers disciplinary strategies and methods of behavior control. The job of a parent is to influence, teach, and direct their children to become secure, happy, independent adults, and such things as communication styles, expectations, and parenting techniques can either help or hinder this process. 

Of course, categorizing specific styles and identifying predicted outcomes is limited since few parents will fit unquestionably into only one style. Most people use a mixture of techniques, and two parents may differ in their beliefs and philosophies even though they are raising the same child. Individual personalities, social environments, and the presence of other authority figures in a child's life cannot be overlooked when evaluating the effects of parenting on child development. No one can deny that sometimes children raised in the same home grow up to be very different, while children raised in seemingly opposite environments may be equal when measured according to Baumrind's ideas of maturity and social adjustment. 

Baumrind's theory provides a great guideline in helping parents identify valuable techniques and recognizing areas that need change, but it should only be used as a framework to build upon. Each parent needs to define their own child's needs and work to effectively meet those needs, focusing on the individual and using the concept of parenting styles as a tool to help children become strong, happy, healthy adults. 

1. Authoritarian. This style is defined as high demandingness and low responsiveness, meaning that parents have very high levels of expectation and very low tolerance for individuality, creativity, or personal desires. They shape, control, and judge behavior based on an absolute set of standards and demand that rules should be obeyed without question. Tradition, predictability, and rigid order are valued, and failure to follow the rules is not tolerated. Behavior is controlled by punishment. Authoritarian parents have a very black and white point of view and children are always being judged or evaluated based on this distinction, making them either 'good or bad' or 'right or wrong'. There is no middle ground and no room for discussion or communication. Policies are not explained, nor do parents feel it is necessary since unquestionable obedience is expected. The goal is for children to behave as adults, assume mature responsibilities, and conform to expectations. 

Children raised in strict, authoritarian homes are often anxious and withdrawn, have low self-esteem because they are unable to live up to expectations, and usually do not engage in deviant behavior. Since most decisions are made for them, they tend to not be good at independent thinking, rank lower in social competence, and are unwilling to try new things. They tend to react poorly to frustrations and are have difficulties in dealing creatively with challenges. Basically, these children obey out of fear of punishment and their behavior is dictated by external elements. 

2. Permissive. This style is defined by high responsiveness, but low demandingness. Permissive parents are very indulgent and respond well to their child's desires and have very few expectations. They use reasoning, manipulation, and bribes to achieve control and want to be their child's friend rather than an authority figure. They believe that children should be treated as equals and given a high level of autonomy; however, they do not expect them to behave as adults. This may lead to a self-centered, 'me' focused attitude with little regard for the needs of others. Rigid rules are considered to be restrictive and children are included in the decision making process, with all policies being open for discussion and dispute. Permissive parents are usually afraid of confrontation so discipline is rare. Although they have very few expectations, they are very accepting of their children's desires and interests and encourage them to pursue every opportunity. 

Unfortunately, a complete lack of limits often results in insecurity. Children do not know what they can count on and will regularly test the limits, knowing that their parents will do whatever necessary to avoid conflict. Children raised in permissive homes tend to be impulsive, rebellious, are more likely to engage in experimentative, sometimes even problematic behavior. Since they are treated as equals, they have good communication skills, but may exhibit poor emotional regulation and tend to give up easily when faced with a challenge. 

3. Authoritative. This parenting style is basically a 'middle ground' or combination of the previous two. It is defined by a high level of demandingness balanced with an equally high level of responsiveness. Parents are supportive rather than punitive; however, they do have a clear standard of behavioral expectations. The authoritative parent will 'direct' rather than 'control' and strive to accept the individuality and interests of each child. They provide reasons for rules and welcome feedback, both listening and respecting their children's point of view. Children are given a certain degree of say, with the knowledge that the parent is the final authority. Punishment is not usually used to prevent bad behavior, and children are encouraged to fulfill their potential and make their own decisions within a controlled framework of boundaries. 

Diana Baumrind was a strong proponent of authoritative parenting. She believed that positive attention, fair rules, and a warm, accepting environment lead to happy, well-adjusted children who are self-confident, capable, and goal-oriented. Research has shown that these children have well developed social skills, work to master tasks, and are able to think both independently and creatively. 

The 3 parenting styles introduced by Baumrind help parents evaluate their techniques and develop their own positive strategies so they can effectively raise happy children who grow to become secure, responsible, independent adults.

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