Kids

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend optimist.

Looking for a Rainbow…the Weekend Optimist!

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

As a clinical social worker, I am frequently made aware of the seriousness that surrounds a child when he or she is made a confidante by one or both of his parents. This occurs when the child is treated more like a friend than a child, who is need of guidance himself.

Parents are at risk for doing this when their children are used as a sounding board because of close proximity during times of strife and stress whether it be work or family stressors.

Our children are not our friends. They should not be exposed to all of our adult worries and problems. Children do not have the life experience to deal with their own problems much less the struggles of the adults they are supposed to rely upon to be their confidantes and supporters.

When this happens to children it is called “parentifying”. This occurs when your child feels like your parent because you are sharing your difficulties.

Never underestimate your children. They empathize and take on your feelings of frustration and anger. They repeat your words from the time they are toddlers when they have no idea what the words even mean. Funny thing is, they continue not to understand our words when we parentify them as they do not have the emotional constructs to handle our adult problems.

But according to psychologists, continuously confiding in your child can be damaging to their long-term emotional well-being. And while an isolated incident of rehashing a bad day at work won’t cause harm, regularly discussing adult problems the way you would with a peer, forces children into inappropriate parenting roles similar to that of proxy therapists or surrogate spouses.

Source: Your child is not your confidant – The Washington Post

Then, there are families characterized by having “boundary problems.” Human organizations and relationships have clearly set boundaries in which certain role expectations are assigned and fulfilled by appropriate people. For instance, it is for adults to work and earn a sufficient living to provide safety and security while children are growing up and attending school. This also allows kids to play and enjoy childhood so that they can go through healthy development and become normal adults who are ready to fulfill their roles when the time comes.

Source: Family Boundaries and the Parentified Child

The weekend is in front of us. I don’t know about you but there just are not enough hours in our time off to do all the things that are on our plates especially when the weather does not cooperate.

Here in Chicago we are looking at a weekend full of Spring rain that of course is necessary but it is not a welcome sight especially after a very dreary winter and a house full of people with a case of severe “cabin fever”.

What are you doing this Weekend?

Kids

Good enough is OK …It Really Is!

Good Enough is OK…It Really Is!

How many times have you told your child, “It’s OK to be OK”? Not great, not good, but … passable.

Not that often, I bet. If one extreme of parenting is automatic validation — the participant trophies and everyone’s-a-winner mentality — then the other is conditional approval, the idea that nothing is worth doing unless you can be the best at it.

Between these poles is Amy Krouse Rosenthal, whose valuable message of tolerance and experimentation runs through her inspiring body of children’s literature — a list that includes one of my favorites, “The OK Book.”

via “It’s Ok to Be Ok”

This week author Amy Krouse Rosenthal died of ovarian cancer, she was 51 years old. It is a very sad loss for all of us especially children, she was a prolific writer of books with profound messages for both parents and kids.

I especially like “The Ok Book”. Good enough is OK just like the “good enough mother which was made popular by the family theorist Donald Winnicott.

“very subtle things that the mother knows intuitively and without any intellectual appreciation of what is happening, and which she can only arrive at by being left alone and given full responsibility…” (Winnicott1988, p64).

Amy had an understanding of children and wrote in a way that was kind, gentle and inspiring to the reader. She reminded parents that there is joy in trying something for the first time even if you aren’t very good at it. After all if you don’t encourage your child to do new things because they might not like it or might not be good at it think of all the missed opportunities. Good enough is ok is the key to trying when perhaps you don’t really want to do so.

We cannot like everything but wow how fortunate to have new things all around us to try.

Amy thought that life was meant to “Figure it out as you go,” Rosenthal said in a 2010 speech. “If it were imperative to have all the answers before beginning, no one would start anything.” Drop a pancake, fall out of a handstand, slip off the sled. “It’s okay to not have it all worked out.”

Clearly, it all did not work out for Amy to have a long life and see her own kids grow into adulthood. There are no words for her family’s grief and loss. My heart is heavy for them. I can only hope that Amy’s prophetic words “figure it out as you go” holds them up as they move forward.

Good enough is ok

Good enough is ok!

Really

Kids

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Food allergies invaded our family about 8 years ago with my granddaughter breaking out in whole body hives. It was a very scary and life changing experience for her and for us.

Learning about food allergies is essential and it is an ongoing routine which includes scrutinizing food labels and monitoring your child’s environment on a daily basis

There have been milestones in my granddaughter’s awareness and self advocacy over the years.

Recently, I came across this wonderful summary and timeline of skills that can be life saving for your child with food allergies.

Weekends are a time when kids are out and about with families and friends…it is a break from work and school but not a break from allergies to food.

Even if you are not affected by these allergies yourself it might be helpful if you knew more about them so you could assist if a child or an adult around you has an allergic reaction.

Weekend reading from spokinGrowing up with food allergies takes baby steps. Spokin has compiled 36 milestones for your food allergic child to help track your progress and theirs.

Source: 36 Skills To Teach Your Food Allergic Child — SPOKIN

Happy Weekend!

Kids

Weekend Pick “Red Sneakers For Oakley”

Weekend Pick “Red Sneakers for Oakley”

Weekend pick- Red Sneakers for Oakley

Would you wear your red sneakers this weekend?

It would help to honor the life of young Oakley Debbs, who died of anaphylaxis in November while on vacation with his family. Read about Oakley and his red sneakers at Redsneaker.org and follow Red Sneakers on Facebook and Instagram to support the nut allergy awareness initiative started by his parents.

The Restaurant Nut Allergy Awareness Initiative Join the restaurants nationwide who are bringing awareness to food allergies by marking items on their menus with the Red Sneakers for Oakley logo which is becoming the symbol for “Food Allergy Awareness”. We have provided the files below so that your menu designer can integrate the symbols into the menu. Also we ask that you place the logo which contains the statement this food may contain nuts somewhere on the menu so people understand what the Red Sneaker symbol is for.

Source: Red Sneakers For Oakley

My pick for this weekend focuses on food allergies. Since I read about Oakley’s death over the Thanksgiving holiday, I have been supporting his grieving family’s efforts in Food Allergy Awareness along with many others on social media.

It is so very important to understand all you can about food allergies and anaphylaxis that can tragically snuff out a life in a matter of minutes. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a food allergy reaction and having a plan of action is mandatory. Having an Epi-Pen and using it can be lifesaving!

Safely eating foods at home and at restaurants is not as simple as it should be. Anything that makes it easier and safer should be welcomed.

I love the Restaurant Nut Allergy Awareness Initiative that has been initiated by RedSneaker.org and I urge you to support it any way you are able.

You may just save a life.

My heart goes out to the Debbs family on the loss of their beloved Oakley. I would encourage you to wear #redsneakersforoakley this weekend!

 

Kids

Food Allergies: Family Urges Food Allergy Education

Food Allergies: Family Urges Food Allergy Education

red-sneakers-for-oakley

#livlikeoaks

It has been a long week catching up after Thanksgiving and moving on to preparing for Christmas.

As many of you know we have a grandchild that has food allergies, specifically to peanuts and tree nuts. Along the way since her diagnosis we have made many friends who understand the severity of such an allergy but of course there are those times when misunderstanding of anaphylaxis can make all of us involved in the safety of our grandchild frustrated and angry.

I would like to share the story of Oakley Debbs, a young 11year old boy who died over his Thanksgiving celebration with his family after he accidentally ate a piece of a holiday gifted coffee cake at a relatives’ house. His is a story that his parents want all of us to remember by wearing red sneakers on December 10th. That is the day of his funeral and celebration of his short life as a twin of his sister Olivia.

Managing food allergies is no easy matter and it demands constant vigilance which includes carrying epi-pens at all times and closely reading and understanding food labels. Eating out can be a nightmare which adds a huge dimension to traveling.

I am concerned with managing a safe environment for children and education is obligatory. The learning curve can for food allergies can be steep and tedious but there are many support groups and great information available. I cannot emphasize consulting with a pediatric allergist if at all possible and making an action plan that is adhered to all the time.

oakley_a4c3d9d87c128f1111fbcf112c9a998b.today-inline-large-1 Food Allergies

Merrill Debbs is convinced that her son, Oakley, might still be alive if she’d known more about food allergies and how fatal reactions can come on slowly and insidiously. The boy, who had asthma and had tested positive for a mild peanut and tree nut allergy, died after consuming a piece of pound cake the day before Thanksgiving. Oakley thought it was safe to eat, but there was a walnut inside and he’d already swallowed it before realizing what happened.

Source: After 11-year-old boy’s sudden death, mom warns about nut allergies – TODAY.com

 

Red Sneakers Foundation – raising awareness of the danger of asthma & nut allergies, educational programs, research & public policy initiatives.

Source: Red Sneakers Foundation

 

As they prepare for a big memorial tribute to Oakley on Dec. 10, Merrill and Robert Debbs spoke to Allergic Living about their loss, their concerns about vital information they never got at the allergist’s office, and their resolve to raise anaphylaxis advocacy through their new Red Sneakers awareness campaign. (Red was Oakley’s favorite shoe color.) “Whatever we can do to help people protect children who have these food allergies – labeling, education to protect these children so it never happens again,” says Robert of the couple’s decision to start a campaign and website while still coming to grips with their son’s death. Both parents now think they were far more informed about asthma than they were about the management of food allergies and risks of anaphylaxis.

Source: After Son’s Nut Allergy Tragedy, Family Urges Food Allergy Education | Allergic Living

For more information and Food Allergy Education and Research (FARE) :https://www.foodallergy.org/#menu

Kids

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Labor Day marks the end of summer and the start of school.

Lunch Box and Labor Day Weekend

I know here in the midwest many schools are already back and the mad rush for supplies has slowed down to a crawl but some of us are last minute shoppers and wait until our kids see what others are buying. This procrastination is sometimes hard but great if your kids want to be like the rest of the pack. It keeps you from running to exchange things and filling up an already busy weekend schedule.

My friend Julie Cole from Canada has some great suggestions on her blog page for school supplies and helpful items that will withstand the test of time throughout the school year. Julie is a mom of six so she has plenty of experience in the back to school shopping routine. She is one of my favorite moms to read especially on weekends when I have some extra time. Her blog posts are humorous, helpful and always a delightful break for me. I met Julie a few years ago at a conference of bloggers and every year I look forward to seeing her and catching a quick hello and hug from her.

I hope you enjoy her posts as much as I do. And catch her at Mabel’s Labels as well, there is a link on my side bar. It is no fun losing kids’ stuff. Also if you have kids with allergies there are labels for lunch boxes and bags that alert teachers and the lunchroom staff of you child’s allergies.

 

It’s that time again! Back to school, back to reality. Here are some great products to help all your days be smooth ones.  Let’s talk litterless lunches:

Source: Favourite Back-to-School Products From a Mama of Many :: YummyMummyClub.ca

Have a great Labor Day Weekend Everyone!

Kids

Tips for Helping Kids Make Their Own Lunch

Tips for Helping Kids Make their Own Lunch

 

kids lunch

School has started or will start very soon and so will school lunches.

Yikes! As a mom my school lunches were not all that interesting nor were they all that healthy, I have to admit at this stage of my life as a grandmother. But for the past two years I have watched my daughter make lunch for her daughter, who is now in 3rd grade and it was such a vastly different food experience than in my days of kids’ lunches.

I began to research information on interesting lunches that were both healthy and tasty. Sometimes the healthy part was hidden and could not even be tasted except by very discerning tastebuds. Along with my daughter we came up with some beautiful combinations that my granddaughter both enjoyed and requested again and again.

We loved Planet Lunchbox to help keep lunches fresh and cool or warm. They can be decorated and personalized with magnetic designs purchased along with the lunchbox itself. There is also a great carrying case that has a pocket for a cooling pack which worked very well for my granddaughter throughout her school year. Kids’ lunch bags seem to self destruct after one year but this one will easily make it through three years will minimal care, along with the stainless lunch box itself. Since it is a pricey combination this is a good thing to know before you make a purchase.

Kids can also learn to fill up these lunch boxes pretty easily themselves with some assistance and suggestions from their parents or grandparents or even from their friends who might already be making their own lunches. My granddaughter has a nut allergy so her choices are dictated by how foods are made and packaged. Many times cookies and baked goods have to be homemade. Convenience foods are usually not appropriate for many nut allergic kids so that makes food choices very important for my granddaughter. Both she are her mother are vigilant about label reading even if it is something they buy all the time. You never know when processing or ingredients will change in your favorite go to snack or food staple

When it comes to kids making their own lunches there are a few tips we found helpful. I wish I had known some of these things when I was much younger and sending my daughters off to school with their lunch bags.

Being Positive

We found this key to success when kids are making their own lunches. If you practice some indifference when it comes to perfection especially related to how the finished product looks, your child will feel so much better as he or she attempts to make a sandwich that looks like one that you made. Remember that being positive will be rewarded in the end.

Take kids to the grocery store to help pick out foods for lunch.

This is so important. If they are in charge of their choices it makes them more vested in the process. It probably helps to make a small list of possible food selections prior to actually getting to the store to avoid chaos in the aisles.

Kids can choose their own foods

Create a designated area for food prep and storage of lunch friendly items

If you have room it would be extremely helpful to have an area where your children can do their preparation and where foods are readily accessible when needed. This will cut down time and hopefully create less mess. Again, letting your children help with setting up a prep area will help them become part of the kitchen team.

Get Creative

One of my favorite kids’ friendly cookbooks is from Momables by Laura Fuentes. She has a wonderful website and three books that are our favorites for family recipes that are easy, healthy and great for snacks and meals.

kids lunch

There are many months of lunches ahead…don’t get discouraged if your children slack off once in awhile. Revisit and tweak the process with them to keep them from getting bored. They are no different than we are when it comes to forming a habit. It takes time and patience with yourself and with them.

Happy Lunches Everyone!

Kids

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Now that many schools are back in session it is time for kids with allergies to begin another challenging year in some cases as they try to avoid exposure to their food allergens.

Here is a great piece in Spokin that I thought would be handy for those parents of kids with food allergies.

Only one weekend post for this week while I am enjoying a back to school adventure in Los Angeles.

weekend readMANAGING THE LUNCHROOM   My daughters have multiple allergies which make managing all things lunchtime essential.

1. Label your child’s lunchbox with their allergies. Big + Bold

 

2. Review your lunchroom or cafeteria menu ahead of time and make alternative plans for high-risk days. When our lunchroom serves fish sticks, we ask our school to allow for our fish allergic daughter to eat lunch in a separate area.

 

3. Make arrangements for having the lunch area wiped down including the tables, both the top and underneath, and chairs each day to avoid cross contact. My daughter has a sesame allergy, so we need to be careful in the event a child wipes hummus on or under the table. Depending on the school, I ask the person who is closest in proximity to my daughter to execute this task.

Source: Maggie’s lunchroom guide

Enjoy one of the few summer weekends left.

Kids

Feeding Baby Cow’s Milk

Feeding Baby Cow’s Milk

baby

Why do experts recommend waiting to introduce cow’s milk until a child is 12 months old?

Source: Cow’s milk: When and how to introduce it 

Our grandson just turned 1 year old! A baby’s first year of life is marked by so many growth and development milestones but yet it seems in the blink of an eye they are standing, cruising and then walking.

Obviously this is a grandmother’s perspective as new moms know it seems like forever before a newborn sleeps through the night and then forever till he sits up, crawls, holds his own bottle and begins to eat some “real” food!

At the one year mark our baby can now begin to drink cow’s milk or milk other than breast milk or formula which will make some trips away from home a slight bit easier. Prior to one year an infant’s digestive system is not ready for the high concentration of protein and minerals in regular milk. In addition cow’s milk is deficient in iron, vitamin C and other nutrients nor does it have the healthy fats for your growing infant.

horizon_milk

When your baby is mature enough milk becomes a staple in his diet with all of its calcium and vitamin D. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth as well as regulate blood clotting and muscle control. Protein is also found in milk along with energy providing carbohydrates.

The big question is usually how much milk should your child be drinking. Here are the AAP recommendations.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most kids will get enough calcium and vitamin D if they drink 16 to 20 ounces (2 to 2 1/2 cups) of cow’s milk a day. Offer 1-year-olds whole milk (unless they’re at high risk for obesity).

Don’t offer more than 3 cups of milk a day or your child may not have room for the other foods she needs to round out her diet. If your toddler’s still thirsty, offer water.

Happy Birthday to your 1 year-old!

Rainbow Cake

1st Birthday

It is exciting times… toddling to 2!

Kids

Parents, Are You Sick of Parenting Tips Yet?

Parents  Are You Sick of Parenting Tips Yet?

At any given moment, I have a pile of parenting information on my desk, nightstand, and kitchen table.

I have my favorite tipsters and I also have my favorite tip.

parents

Make your primary goal as parents

to help your child develop empathy and

kindness in their hearts

 rather

than focusing on controlling his/her behavior.

Raising a child does not come down to following a list of tips. Parenting and grand-parenting really stems from the heart. It has to do with treating children with respect and empathy which is sometimes easier imagined than accomplished. Children imitate their parents and we often hear our own words come out of their mouths sometimes to our embarrassment.

If your goal is to have a well-behaved child with core qualities of kindness and empathy, you will need to encourage him to appropriately express his thoughts and emotions while listening and using these moments to treat him with empathy and kindness.

What do you think? How do you encourage your child to express himself?