Is my child normal?

One of the most common questions from parents is about whether their child is normal. Parents of babies and toddlers have many questions like:
  • Is this behavior normal?
  • Should my child be able to say more words by now?
  • My child isn't walking yet. Is this normal?
Parents of older children also have concerns:
  • My child is easily distracted and has trouble focusing.  Could this be ADHD? 
  • My teen seems really withdrawn. Should I be doing something?
  • My child seems really influenced by peer pressure.  Is this normal?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has information on developmental milestones:
Understanding what is normal at each age can help you figure out if your child needs some special attention or if it's simply age appropriate behavior. 

Sharing isn't easy!

I was recently reading a book to a group of preschoolers in which the animal characters were fighting over a toy. We talked about the problem these animals were having and I asked the kids if they thought sharing was difficult. They all enthusiastically agreed that sharing is really hard!

These children know from experience how challenging it is to share. When they play together there is often an argument over who can play with which toys. For example, Max had two cars - one in each hand and Tommy wanted one of the cars. Max quickly put both his hands behind his back refusing to give up either car.

I've found that in situations like this one of most effective responses is to describe the problem and then ask the kids how they are going to solve it. I explained "I see a problem. Max has two cars and Tommy would like to have a car too. How do you think you can solve this?"

Simply pointing out the issue typically causes the children to stop, look at me and start thinking about what's going on. Often these creative preschoolers come up with their own unique solutions. By leaving it in their hands, they are increasing their problem solving skills while also becoming more aware of the feelings of others.

Parental caring matters long term

All the loving care you give your children matters not only now but for the rest of their lives! Researchers asked college students to rate their parents on their level of caring. They then followed up 35 years later to check on these people's health.

They reported "87% of subjects who rated both their mothers and fathers low in parental caring had diagnosed diseases in midlife, whereas only 25% of subjects who rated both their mothers and fathers high in parental caring had diagnosed diseases in midlife." The diseases were everything from heart disease, hypertension and ulcers to alcoholism.

The care and understanding you give your children every day will help them for the rest of their lives!

What Will Your Children Remember?

The holidays are a busy time of year especially for parents. You plan special meals, wonderful gatherings of family and friends, and search for just the right gifts to delight your children. It's all a lot of work and so it's interesting to consider what your children will remember a year from now.

A mom recently told me that she was busily pondering the gifts she should buy for her two grade school children. Trying to find meaningful gifts, she decided to ask them what they could remember receiving last year for Christmas. Neither one could remember a single gift they received. Here she put so much time into finding just the right gifts and only a year later they don't even remember them!

Well then what do they remember? What do you remember from your childhood holidays?

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Stessing out

Do you ever feel stressed out over the holidays?  I sure do.  Every year I try to figure out ways to change things so that I'm less stressed.  One year I wrote down all the extra tasks I do in December - there were 30 additional tasks!  No wonder I feel stressed!

As I looked over the list, I didn't see any tasks I wanted to eliminate.  My son's birthday and my husband's birthday plus a number of relatives' birthdays fall in December.  The birthday celebrations plus Christmas make for lots of activity.

Seeing all those extra tasks written down did help me realize why I was feeling stressed.  While I can do some things ahead of time, I also decided to give up on some of my routine tasks.  For example, the weekend I wrote Christmas cards the house did not get cleaned.  While the bathrooms were a bit grungy, we all survived!

Prioritizing what I really want to get done helps reduce the stress.  Since I can't do it all, I have to choose to do what's most important ... and be satisfied! 

Traveling with tots

Whether taking a young child to a restaurant or on a plane trip, you have your hands full keeping your child entertained and behaving appropriately. One mom shared that her key to success was creating a special plastic box to take along on these occassions.

In this box she put simple things that would entertain her 2-year-old daughter for quite awhile:
  • an empty snap top pill bottle
  • a empty screw top lotion bottle
  • an old cellphone
  • a squishy ball
  • a few silly strings
  • painter's tape
A number of moms chimed in that painter's tape was a favorite with their children. Ripping little pieces of the tape and creating art in various places was a popular activity.

By having a box filled with everyday items, she kept her young daughter happily playing away!

Pushing your buttons

Does your young child know just how to push your buttons? Many parents report being pushed to the edge when their 2-year-olds or 3-year-olds start really misbehaving. When children reach this age, they will try doing things they know they are not supposed to do. How do you respond to this open defiance?

Most parents report feeling angry and frustrated when their children purposely misbehave and their natural reaction is to yell or spank. This often leaves both parent and child feeling bad.

If you want to learn some excellent parenting techniques that have helped millions of parents, take the online "Priceless Parenting - Ages 5 and Under" class.

Talking to young kids about their bodies

Amy Lang from Birds + Bees + Kids shares some important thoughts on keeping young children safe from sexual abuse:

You can learn more at the Birds + Bees + Kids web site.

There are also many books on sexuality that can help you talk to your children about these important topics.

Sugared Cereal Is Not Healthy For Kids

Did you know that  sugared cereals have more sugar per serving than frosted cakes or donuts? Yikes! Dr. Michael Greger's article, &qu...