When your baby is teething, and you’re going through the stages of teething, it can be tough not knowing what to do.
Many questions come to mind, like what if he stops chewing for a week or two? Can food allergies cause my baby doesn’t enjoy his food anymore? Will my baby have bad breath because of her teeth coming in now?
Like so many other things in life, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Here are some tips to help your baby through teething.
Signs Your Baby is Teething
If your baby is teething, you may notice a few signs. Wet cheeks from drool and more chewing on toys in the mouth are common. Some babies might get fussy, want to nurse more than usual, or wake up more at night.
You can also look for swollen gums and a red rash around the mouth. Some babies develop a fever when their teeth start coming in, but that’s not always the case. Here are some signs of teething to look out for:
Chewing on things
Gums that feel swollen
A minor fever of 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit (rare)
How Long Does Baby Teething Last?
There is no set age for teething to begin because every child is different. However, most infants start teething between six and twelve months old. There are rare cases of early teething where babies can cut teeth as young as three months old or as late as fourteen months old.
There is also no set amount of time that teething lasts because it doesn’t stop until a baby’s teeth have all erupted through the gums. Teething may last up to three years in some children, but the average length is six to nine months.
During this time, your baby may go through several weeks or even months between cutting teeth. Once your baby has all twenty primary teeth, they will stop teething altogether, which means you won’t have to worry about it again until they get their permanent teeth at around age six or seven.
Use Teething rings and toys.
Your baby may feel relief by biting on something hard or cold. Try a rubber teething ring, a chilled washcloth, or a spoon cooled in the refrigerator (but not frozen).
When choosing a teething toy, make sure it’s soft and flexible, so your child doesn’t hurt himself if he falls while holding it. And be sure to choose one that’s BPA-free. Never tie a teething ring around your child’s neck or attach one to his crib — he could choke on it or become entangled in it if he rolls over while wearing it.
To soothe an older baby who can chew on solid food, try giving him a firm, unsweetened teething cracker to gnaw on. It also may help with drooling because your baby will swallow more saliva instead of dribbling it out as much as before.
A chilled pacifier or teething toy may provide extra soothing for your baby during the day (if you use pacifiers). Or try putting cooled boiling water from the tea kettle into ice cube trays and freeze them for homemade teething rings!
If your teething baby tends to grab whatever you’re eating and put it in their mouth, offer chilled foods such as applesauce or yogurt. You can also give frozen bananas, which some babies love.
You can also try cold liquids such as water from the refrigerator. Frozen fruit juice bars (made without sugar) are another option.
Don’t be surprised if your baby rejects solids during this time, even ones they usually enjoy. Most babies go through a stage where they lose interest in solids when they are around eight months old. It is called the “baby food strike.” It’s frustrating, but most babies come out of it within a few weeks on their own.
Rub your baby’s gums.
One of the primary side effects of teething is gum pain, and if you’ve ever had any experience with this yourself, you know that rubbing your gums can often provide good relief.
Your baby’s no different in this respect, so getting in there with a clean finger or—if your little one’s more averse to having fingers in their mouth—a wet gauze pad for a gentle massage may be all you need to give them some comfort.
(Bonus: This can also toughen up their gums for when their teeth start cutting through, so it’s worth doing on the regular even before they start teething.)
Several different medications are available over the counter and by prescription to help relieve pain. However, it’s important to remember that before giving any medication to your baby, you should always consult with your pediatrician. Even natural pain relievers like teething tablets or acetaminophen can be dangerous if not used properly.
For example, ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory drug widely available over the counter and in generic form. While it won’t cause harm when used properly for short periods as directed, ibuprofen can have serious side effects for infants who are given too much or for too long. Too much of this medication can cause kidney failure in babies, and some studies have even linked high doses of ibuprofen to childhood asthma or allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
Try a little white noise.
In a quiet room, do you hear the sound of your refrigerator humming? Is the heat turning on? The coffee pot beeping when it’s done brewing? These are examples of white noise. White noise can also be played through recordings, like using a fan or an app on your phone.
Babies are used to hearing white noise while growing inside their mother’s womb because there is constant background noise from the mother’s breathing and heartbeat. White noise can help calm and soothe babies by blocking out new noises in their environment and helping them sleep.
You could try using a humidifier for added moisture and white noise in your baby’s room. If you’re out of town or flying with your baby, downloading an app that plays white noise might be helpful to keep them calm too!
Teething can be very stressful for many parents. Still, it’s essential to realize that teething does not inherently mean your baby will cry inconsolably or suffer from explosive bouts of rage. Sometimes, teething is just a part of growing up.
Children go through spurts at various stages in their lives, including when they are teething. No matter how your baby behaves during these times, it’s always important to look for the signs that something is off before assuming the worst.
Andrea is currently the head of content management at SpringHive Web Design Company, a digital agency that provides creative web design, social media marketing, email marketing, and search engine optimization services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also a blog contributor at Baby Steps Preschool where she writes storytime themes, parenting tips, and seasonal activities to entertain children.
While men undoubtedly have communication challenges at work, there are common themes for women that often lead us to feel disempowered, ignored or struggling to fulfil our potential. Some worry about being ‘too passionate’ or overemotional, while others don’t feel confident to speak up in a male-dominated environment. What is often overlooked is that as women, we have incredible natural qualities when it comes to communication. One thing’s for sure ladies – you don’t need to act like a man to succeed at work. You have all the tools you need to fulfil your potential already. Here are three examples…
Women have an advantage when it comes to building rapport – making others feel important and feel heard. It’s not just asking questions and showing interest, we also do this by keeping eye contact, often using a relaxed, softer gaze, and with nods and smiles. In general, we have far more capacity for inviting others to feel relaxed.
Asking questions is a great way to take back control of the conversation in a calm and grounded way. It maintains rapport, even encourages it, and yet puts you back in the driving seat. State your idea with conviction and then conclude your idea with invitations. “What do you think?” “Do you think this could work?” “What’s your take on it?” Inviting others to contribute their own original thinking after you state your idea will empower others and ensure that they feel valued. Be sure to avoid disclaimers – more on that here.
Empathy is perhaps one of the most effective communication resources at anyone’s disposal. And women do tend to have a more natural capacity for empathy than men. Particularly when leading a team, empathy is invaluable. It means women are more inclined to perceive and tune into issues people are facing, so they can deal with problems before they get out of hand. Their empathy also creates a sense of safety within a team, so that colleagues are more empowered to take risks and express greater creativity. The value of this cannot be overstated. Read our blog on why honest and open communication is getting respect at work.
Be aware that we tend to prioritise being liked, and therefore in an attempt to empathise, we become reluctant to offer feedback that could be interpreted as harsh, or to give a direct order when one is needed. Most of the time, empathy will work in our favour, but there are times when we will need to express ourselves in other ways. To show authority and certainty, make sure you use downward inflection – this is when you let your voice go down at the end of your sentence. It’s important to ensure the tone of your voice matches the situation you are in.
It’s been scientifically proven that women exhibit higher sensitivity to nonverbal cues. We are usually more attuned to how our behaviour affects others and this sensitivity allows us to respond more effectively to a situation. We have learnt to talk in ways that balance our own needs with those of others, to save face for one another.
Sometimes something needs to be said that causes conflict – and sometimes that conflict is helpful and necessary. If you struggle with being assertive, read this blog for some top tips.
So there you have it, a few examples of our tremendous natural qualities and why it’s important to capitalise on these skills and learn how to amplify them in the workplace. You don’t need to dominate to have impact. Of course, there are men that will identify more with female characteristics and vice-versa, but all are important, and all need to be valued. When your communication starts becoming more powerful, you’ll find that your team members benefit from their contribution, and other women will be encouraged to be more authentic and powerful too.
At London Speech Workshop we empower our clients to be confident, clear and impactful communicators. We help people remove barriers that get in their way due to their communication. They might want to get a promotion, be more respected in their work, have more authority or gravitas, increase in confidence at work and in personal life. Or they may have trouble delivering presentations and speeches, dealing with nerves, connecting with others, building rapport, getting their point across or being articulate. If you’d like to find out more about what we do, book a free 15-minute Discovery Call to discuss your goals and challenges with our Client Success team.
Author: Hannah is the Marketing Executive at London Speech Workshop, an industry-leading communication training and coaching institute. The proven Serlin MethodTM uses a combination of modern psychology, performance technique and memorable tools, empowering people to be the best communicators they can be.
My daughter is approaching a year old. I was not ready. There wasn’t nine months to prepare. I had about two days. From the beginning motherhood was hard. I didn’t get to go to parenting classes or stock up on parenting books. I wasn’t yet a member of Facebook mom groups or subscriber of mommy vlogs. The doctors in the ER told me I was pregnant and then two days later popped out a baby.
Today, motherhood is hard but worth it.
Even after reading the parenting books, chatting on the mom groups, and watching endless mom vlogs I’ve learned nothing could have fully prepared me for motherhood. The lack of sleep is indescribable. Anxiety and postpartum self-care (or lack of) isn’t talked about enough. If the amount of crying doesn’t frustrate you the mommy burnout might. Not to mention that sometimes the societal representations of motherhood is less than ideal. Still, motherhood is hard but worth it.
I am evolving as a mother every day. Coffee fights off my tiredness. Postpartum therapy has helped me manage my anxiety and place importance on self-care. Crying still frustrates me but now I’ve become pretty good at distinguishing between my daughter’s cries. I’ve learned to lean on others and even cry myself to prevent mommy burnout. I’ve discovered through social media that there are plenty of moms like me who don’t hold back just how challenging motherhood can be. Yes, motherhood is hard but worth it.
Motherhood is my favorite occupation. I don’t care about the clichés or trying to be perfect. Each day I do my best to be the best mother I can be for my daughter. She is my pride and joy. She has changed me for the better. As I watch her grow I know one thing is for sure: Motherhood is hard but worth it.
Mom With No Plan is a first time mommy who didn’t realize she was pregnant until two days before giving birth to her daughter. When she’s not juggling her newfound journey of motherhood she’s blogging about it. She enjoys a daily cup of coffee, occasional glass of wine, and spending time with her family.
Did you get an invitation for the marriage anniversary of your dearest friend? Then, you must present something special to that person. Isn’t it? If you are bored of the old fashion of presenting showpiece, jeweler, and all; then it is high time to switch on to something different. How the idea of quilts comprising patchwork patterns will be? Want to know the specialty? Here it is.
Few Words About Patchwork Patterns
Patchwork, as clear from the name, refers to a technique that includes sewing several small fabrics to create large geometric designs. It includesmixed patterns, textures, and colors that make up an exceptional piece. Traditionally, a wide number of needlework was required to developincomparable patchwork patterns for quilts. However, in today’s time, such quilting patterns have become a highly popular technique in theclothing industry.
When coming up with an exclusively stitched quilt, the patchwork is the topmost layer, and the batting and backing form the middle as well as bottom layers, respectively. Either a machine or hand is used for stitching the outline. Finally, an exclusively designed quilt serves to be the product ready to be sold and used.
What Does The Pattern Of Patchwork Include?
Whenever it comes to patterns, you must be wondering about the specialty, isn’t it? Regarding the pattern of patchwork; it can be either of the two things:
• Decorative design
• Flat template
In the case of decorative design, the design repeats over a fabric multiple time. Conversely, the flat template refers to pattern pieces that are joined all together. At the time of calculating the fabric for patchwork patterns, the tailor traces the fabric as required and cuts pieces of cloth to come up with a final fabric.
Benefits of Using Patchwork Pattern Quilts
Quits comprising exclusively designed patchwork patterns comprise a wide range of benefits. Firstly, they provide a high rate of warmness that serves the dire need, especially during winter. With a wide range of sizes available, you will be able to make a choice that offers highly relaxed sleep. The frills and laces help enhance the luxury statement of such exclusively manufactured quilts.
Such exclusively stitched quilts are preferred in homes. Bing available for both single and double beds, you will be able to go with the most required choice. As the stitching takes place using fabrics comprising variable colors, they will undoubtedly enlighten the room. The unique pattern created reflects a blend of artistic and contemporary design.
Where Do You Buy Patchwork Patterns From?
Are you impressed by the specialty associated with a patchwork pattern? If yes, it is high time to browse through the variety of quilts comprising patchwork patterns with traditional touch. You may start by browsing the famous online shops for such exclusive quality quilts. Making the right choice will be no more difficult with a plethora of choices available.
One of the greatest facilities associated with shopping from e-shops is that you will come across a detailed description of items. This will help in easy comparison followed by shortlisting of the items that fit your choice and budget. Also, you may carry on with your shopping any time of the day as these shops remain operative round the clock.
Quilts comprising exclusive quality patchwork patterns will undoubtedlybe among the greatest gift items. You may expect the receiver to appreciate the gift at its best. There will be pillow covers included that will make it a complete set for the bed in some cases.
Thank you so much to Alyssa at My Aussie Hub for guest posting! Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter as well for more of her writing!
If you’re a busy working mom like me, you know what it’s like to juggle a hectic personal and professional schedule with a never-ending list of things to do. One of the few benefits of the global COVID-19 pandemic is that it has caused many people to pause and reevaluate who and what truly mattered in their lives. I used the time during lockdown to launch my dream coaching business My Life Couch and more importantly – to learn how to take care of myself, respect my own time and ask for help.
I compare us working mothers – and parents in general – to a very sophisticated smart phone: Running a ton of applications at once, a life saver for many and a constant companion that always deliver value. But what is the use of a phone if the battery is low or not charged? It becomes a very expensive paperweight, right? Or whatever use you have for a phone that isn’t charged at all. We need to be intentional about carving some time to nurture and care for ourselves more, not just when the battery has died out completely, so we can be the best mom/dad/sibling/friend we can be.
Here are my 5 strategies to recharge your batteries to be always on and full of energy:
• Take some time off
Knowing yourself, what makes soothes, heals, recharge you is key to defining your self-care exactly HOW and WHAT you want it to be. Whether is being surrounded by people or staying alone to do some self -discovery, meditation, reading a book , journaling, running a bath, do whatever nourishes your soul
• Learn the power of NO
If like me your natural tendency is to say yes to keep people happy, you will quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of commitment you are taking on, without the bandwidth to match. By being selective on the responsibilities we undertake, we can truly focus on the tasks at hand and being present – think quality vs quantity – and deliver outstanding results every time, minus the extra stress.
• Ask for- and accept help –
Asking and accepting for help doesn’t always come easy for working mothers, myself included. I used to see it as a reflection of my inability to “be it” and deemed myself a failure. But you realize that by asking, you are opening your doors, your mind to the kindness of people who in some case may just be waiting for you to ask. Asking for help is another way to extend your reach and getting things done. And you have to be willing to accept the help, even if it’s not exactly how you are doing it, aka don’t focus on the HOW it’s done – of course safety is primordial – but WHAT is done. At best, you and your family are exposed to a different way of doing things! And you can always repay the favor when someone else needs help .
Get your body going by incorporating movement into your routine. It could be a walk, running or even dancing to your favorite tune or playlist. Exercise is proven to release tension and stress and it’s good for your mental health overall so it’s a win- win. Find your movement and practice. I also count singing on top of your voice on a song you like – karaoke nights anyone – as exercise, although your family, neighbor etc… might disagree.
• Have your tribe
Have in your circle, someone other than your spouse that understands the pressure you may face. It could be another mom, a close relative, or a friend. The point is to be having a safe place to show up as you, to share your joys, doubts or vent your frustrations. It’s a place to been heard, understood, and connect with another person on common topics and interests and get another perspective on things. Bonus point if you combine making a phone call with that friend whilst going for a walk!
It’s sometime feels we don’t have time to even recharge, but let’s not leave until our batteries are completely out to put a plan in place shall we. By carving a non-negotiable time often to do things for ourselves, we are filling ourselves so we can pour out love, support , focus , guidance or whatever we can , instead of constantly running on an empty tank. I would love to hear about what works for you and if you need some motivation to create a recharge plan , I’ll be happy– to be part of your tribe !
If you would like to read more about my self-love tec
Gladys Simen – a life coach for moms who are trying to balance their work and family life.
She is a life enthusiast who lived in 5 different countries, mastered 2 languages, and changed several professions. It took becoming a fabulous mama for her to tap into some BIG superpowers within herself.
Former quiet introvert, today is passionate about helping women live big, beautiful, shooting-for-the-stars kind of lives right now. Gladys considers herself an advocate for the working mama!
Do you ever wonder what life could be like without comparing yourself to anyone else?
Well, I think it’s time for us moms to stop trying to live up to everyone else and just be ourselves!
Yup! You heard that right, my friend, just be ourselves. Not our neighbor, not our co-worker, not our mom, sister or best friend and just be ourselves.
Friends, your authentic self is the only one I want to be around.
Your authentic stories are the only stories I want to hear. I want to experience the downright ugly parts of your soul as well as all of your triumphs.
I want to cheer for all of your children’s amazing adventures and goals being reached but also gasp at how awful they have been behaving on a daily basis.
So can we make a deal as moms?
Can we stop comparing and rather live our lives as our true selves? Can we stop attempting to live up to all of the online parenting tips, that are often way too hard to attain and allow ourselves to make up our own parenting rules… the rules that work for our family? And rules that take into careful consideration each child living within our unique household.
And please, for our own sanity, can we please stop attempting to live life as a generic woman?
We are all molded, as our own unique selves, but somewhere along the way I think many of us forgot that truth. Or maybe society started to tell us how to behave, how to dress, what our homes should look like and how our children should behave.
But we need to stop this nonsense and just be…
So how do we do this?
It’s not an easy task, let me tell you.
But one thing I know is this…if we all support one another it will be much easier to live as our authentic selves.
Upon a lot of reflection, and there has been a great deal the past year, I have come up with three ways to start living life as our authentic selves.
Take time for reflection:
Set aside a quiet moment or maybe twenty minutes alone, no distractions, just time with good old fashioned silence.
It’s powerful! Within this time, think about you… not the burnt waffles this morning, the four loads of laundry waiting to be folded, a conference call at noon and how you are in desperate need of a haircut. This is a moment for you to delve deep and remember who you are. What are your dreams? Your goals? Desires? What makes you happy? Truly happy? Have you been hiding anything lately? Pushing it away or numbing the pain? And most importantly how do you love yourself best?
I found it helpful to listen to my inner soul quietly and reflect, then write out my thoughts on paper.
My paper was a mess. There were words all over and not organized at all but it was a start.
The simple act of writing out these thoughts was bringing me back to my true self.
If I couldn’t recall who I truly was, how was I going to be able to live a life of authenticity?
2. Putting into action a part once lost.
Remember the reflection time where you made a list? Well, now it’s time to choose one or how many you are comfortable with and begin to bring them to light again.
For me, I knew my true self was a writer. It was my passion and the only way I could express myself as the honest woman I wanted to live. So, day by day I started to write more.
At first I began writing down some thoughts, which then lead to poetry… I forgot how much I loved poetry. I eventually realized it was time to take the next step and really let my true self out of the dark and start to share my authentic self, the writer in me. So for me, as scary as it was it meant starting a blog. My friends, for each of us the experience will be different, the time frame will not be the same but one piece will be constant for all of us and that is becoming the women we are meant to be… our true authentic selves.
So I urge you to take action with your list. Don’t let it sit there in a drawer or in the notes on your phone. Take the leap and call into action one or more of the amazing parts of yourself and let it take hold. You may be amazed at how far you will go.
3. Make peace:
Finding one’s self is not always an easy task. For some of us the thoughts of who we truly are may be easy to find, but for others, muddling through the murky waters of our own self can be daunting. I’m confident though, we can do this as long as we make peace with who we truly are as ourselves and love ourselves more than we expect any other person to love us.
It’s time, my friends, to live our lives fully and to the capacity which works for us… not for the comparison of what we see on HGTV or Pinterest, not for the comparison of ourselves and the other mom at the playground and how she parents. It doesn’t mean we are selfish. It doesn’t mean we should feel any mom guilt. It simply means we should be proud to finally show off our true authentic selves and the phenomenal women we are.
So friends, I pinky promise you this… our authentic selves will bring about more light than we ever imagined and what a blessing for our loved ones to experience. They will be blessed beyond measure with a woman who loves herself and radiates it out for the world to see.
Ali Flynn lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and husband. She is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real.
Being a mom feels like a full time job in itself, but last November I had to take the leap back into the working world. I work only three days a week but so far it’s been a good way to get out of the house, especially with the lockdowns going on, and I definitely think it’s helped this time around to be a little bit less difficult that the first one. It did take me a while though to try and strike the perfect balance with being a working mom. Here’s a few things that I’ve found helpful.
1. Leave work at work. I’ll give an example of this. I had an exceptionally stressful day on Friday, I was so stressed all day about something that I felt sick to my stomach and was tempted to ask to go home, but we all know with Covid going on that’s not something that’s taken lightly anymore. When I left work, I put on some loud upbeat music for my drive home, gave my husband and Baby T big hugs and grabbed a glass of wine. It took me a while to wind down, but eventually I managed to put the whole day behind me and enjoy the time with my family. Also, I don’t have a work phone that I bring home with me, but another thing I always thought was a good idea was something my mom did when she was working. She would turn off her work phone at 6pm when she clocked out and put it on a charger in her home office where she couldn’t check it again until 8am the next day when she started. It really helped her to keep her work separate even though she worked from home.
2. Cooking and eating dinner with my family. When I say I cook, I mean I am the sous chef for my husband who is a way better cook that I am. We spend the time after work in the kitchen together with Baby T in her high chair watching us and upbeat music playing. I give her some of the non sharp kitchen utensils to play with to keep her entertained, then we all sit down together at the table to eat. It’s a routine we started since I’ve been back to work and it’s probably one of my favourites because it’s a time for us to talk about our days and watch Baby T play with her food which is funnier than you would think. We have been trying lately to make sure we don’t look at our phones, a bad habit we have both unfortunately started, but it has definitely helped the conversation to be more free flowing.
3. Making the most of the weekends. The weekends are such a fun time to plan an activity together as a family and just enjoy each others company. I get to spend a few days with Baby T by myself during the week but having my husband home for two whole days has become my favourite part. Obviously right now we can’t really go out and do much, but if the weather is nice enough we’ll bundle up for the cold Ontario winter and go for a walk to the park, or a drive to pick up our online-ordered groceries. Baby T also loves mixing things in the kitchen so we’ve starting baking together, especially things that are easy for her to help us with (like three ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Cookies that I will definitely share the recipe for). Even after Baby T goes to bed, my husband and I make the most of our evenings together by ordering a late take out dinner for two, watching our favourite TV shows or playing card games.
4. Lowering my standards. Did I really just write that? I guess I did. This one was a tough pill to swallow for me, I am a very OCD person with keeping my house neat and tidy all the time. One thing I learned since becoming a mom is that it’s not possible to keep it that clean when you have baby, especially when they start walking and running around the house, pulling things out of drawers and throwing toys that you just put away all over the place. I really had to lower my standards because I started burning out very easily trying to get everything done in a day. One thing I found really helpful, was making a list of my main chores that need to be done weekly and assigning one, maybe two, to a day, so that I knew what was already done by the weekend and wasn’t running around like a crazy person trying to do it all. I still have standards that might be a little higher than a normal person’s but I’ve learned to not stress as much if I don’t meet them all the time. Even as I write this I’m staring at a basket of unfolded laundry, and a while ago I would fold laundry until I fell asleep to get it all done, but now I’m just gonna save it for tomorrow and I’m okay with that.
5. Giving myself time to rest. Like I said above, I found I was burning out pretty quickly after working, taking care of Baby T and getting her off to bed, and doing the housework. I would be disappointed and frustrated if I didn’t get everything done. I started to force myself to sit down and relax in the evenings, which looks a little bit different for everyone, but for me it means watching tv, reading a book, writing some blogs, playing video games (yes, my husband calls me a big nerd for that one) and of course, pouring a nice glass of wine.
These are all things that have really helped me to find the balance with working part time and being a mom to the point where I really feel like I have the best of both worlds. Even in a difficult time like a lockdown I still find myself enjoying both my time at work and my time with my family. If you have more tips to share I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
Thank you so much to Evangelyn Tavares for guest posting!
A Positive, Empowering Approach to sibling Conflict
by Isobel Mary Champion, Parenting Coach (aka The Mummy and Toddler Calmer!)
It is important to try to forge a positive relationship between siblings early on. The relationship between siblings will probably be the longest relationship of their lifetime, and they need to know that they are playing for the same team (not batting for opposite sides!).
Be the team coach!
Having spent over a decade working as a top London nanny (yes, I am a real-life Mary Poppins, and yes, I do have a magical bag full of everything everybody could possibly need!), caring for groups of siblings numbering up to six, I can tell you for a fact that looking after siblings is hardly ever easy! But it is such an important job, and such an important role to play, because siblings are their own little team, and more than anything they need a good team coach. They need tolearn to protect each other, defend each other, and care for each other. They need to know that family comes first! But they also need individual space, individual possessions, individual interests, and room to develop individual personalities. They need to learn that It is ok to be different. Learning to grow as a team outside and inside the home will be a bumpy ride, but as long as you have your positive coaching hat on, you should be able to lead them in the right direction, and empower them to be their best as individuals, and as a team!
Let them play rough sometimes!
Your home environment is your kids’ rehearsal space for the outside world, and this is often where much of the conflict between siblings arises. The home is their safe space for practicing the situations and conflicts that they may come across in the real world – therefore you will often find them honing their skills in arguing, fighting, name-calling and roughhousing! This does not mean you are failing as a parent, or that your team leadership skills are not working! This is natural, your offspring are practising for survival in the outside world- think lion cubs play-fighting in the safety of the family unit. As long as this play-fighting is supervised andtakes place in a controlled environment, and is gentle enough that nobody gets any real scars, try not to worry too much! Gentleness and empathy can be taught go hand in hand with a little rough-play and arguing.
Things will change over time!
The numbers and ages of siblings can raise or lower the conflict stakes (this will be fluid and will naturally change over time), and individual personalities will come into play. One group of siblings is totally unlike any other, and your little gang will require a different team management strategy from that of your friends and neighbours! The grass may be greener on the other side, but no doubt your neighbours are peering over thinking just the same thing! As a parent there is only so much you can do – the personality, temperament and developmental stage of each child will play a big part. Think back to your own childhood, and your own siblings. What was the power balance like? Who was the leader? Who had the strongest personality? Where were the alliances? And did things change over the decades? How about now? Are those relationships the same, or have they transformed or blossomed into something new?
Just try to remember – you are not the referee (keeping score and issuing penalties), you are the team coach! Think of your little crew as a sports team, or a boyband on tour. Your goal is to make them perform as best as possible as a group, to teach them strategies for good sportsmanship, personal growth, group ambition, and resilience in the face of disappointment – and to share your own wisdom and experience with them. But you have to acknowledge that it’s not always going to be perfect. There may be injuries, time-outs, one membermay leave the group and go off and start a solo career or join a rival team, but in the end the bonds between the team members will be strong enough to hold them together in the long run. Give yourself a pat on the back, and shout “Go Team!”!
Here are my 5 top tips for a positive, empowering approach to conflict resolution between siblings:
Your first job is to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible. Charging in as a “peacemaker” with a loud voice and your finger pointing will only raise the conflict stakes, and give your children the wrong kind of attention (a shared desire for your attention might be the hidden cause of the conflict!). If you get angry and raise your voice, you will only provoke the “fight-or-flight” response, and risk making things worse. While it may feel like you are avoiding dealing with the issue, de-escalating is actually the most effective way to deal with the immediate problem. Don’t worry, you will address the conflict later when everybody has calmed down (see tip 5!).
Use Reason – a calm, firm, matter of fact explanation or resolution to the issue.o Use Humour – joke about it (encourage sense of humour!).
Use Distraction – turn their attention elsewhere (let’s Skype Grandma!).
Use Alternatives – offer a high value alternative (time for a movie?).
Use Food – if this has happened just before a mealtime, hunger might be the cause. Try giving them a breadstick!
2. Encourage apologies, empathy and affection
Encourage both siblings to apologise nicely (eye contact, kind voice, kind face) to each-other for their part in the conflict. Encourage them to give each-other a hug and a kiss on the cheek (nice for little ones), and make sure that the other is ok. Highlight any scratches or bruises that need extra care! Enlist their help in first aid if necessary! This will teach empathy skills and strengthen the bond between siblings.
3. Share the blame (and the punishment!)
Don’t always blame one sibling, especially if he or she has been exhibiting more challenging behaviour lately(sometimes the “good” or smaller (more innocent!) sibling is to blame! If you are dishing out a punishmentor consequence, share it between siblings (e.g. no TV for all, or they all have to pick up the toys on the floor!). This will not only encourage all siblings to behave better, but your children may even bond unexpectedly over a shared punishment! PLEASE NOTE: it takes two to have an argument! Even your most innocent little angel may not have been as innocent as you assume – even a cheeky pout can set off a battle given the right (or wrong!) circumstances!
4. Have a “Team Talk” later
Discuss what happened later when everybody is calm, quiet, and have full tummies! It can be nice to do this when you are all cosy together in your pyjamas (near bedtime?), or sharing a special treat together. Make sure to give all siblings affection and physical contact. Kindly and quietly bring up their dispute, and acknowledge that it wasn’t very nice for anybody, that you love them all very much, that they all love each-other, and that they need to look after each-other. Try asking them if they have any suggestions for how they could have managed their own behaviour better.
5. Anticipate conflict situations
If a situation is coming up where you can anticipate a conflict, try having a “Team Talk” beforehand (I always do this before playdates with a visiting guest of one sibling, or a multiple guest playdate!). This may sound a little corny, but imagine your family are a baseball team about to go out to bat, or a boyband about to go on stage. Take a quiet moment to have a team huddle, say some positive words, acknowledge that this might be tricky, give them some encouragement, tell them that you love them, and that you want them to do their best. Outline a strategy of what you would like them to do if tempers start to fray (e.g. come straight to you and speak quietly about the issue, rather than starting a fight). Add in a high-five and a group hug if you can manage it! This will start the situation off on a high for everybody, and is a good way to teach them leadership skills!
Good ground rules to set (for adults as well as children!):
1. No shouting
2. No interrupting
3. No hitting
4. No hurtful name-calling
5. Always take turns and share
Visit my Parenting Coaching website for more positive, holistic, empowering parenting solutions and guidance:www.isobelmarychampion.com
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @isobelmaryc
Isobel Mary Champion, Parenting Coachwww.isobelmarychampion.com
When we women first discover that we are pregnant, we begin a journey in which we expect our lives to change – in the most wonderful of ways. We watch in awe as our bellies grow into these sweet bumps that hold our growing mircles, our wonderful little babes. We excitedly prepare a nursery in our home and we begin shopping for the smallest, sweetest pieces of clothing. We stock up on necessities like diapers, booties and the softest blankets you can imagine. It’s such a thrilling time for expecting parents and we allow our maternal instincts to go into overdrive as we prepare for the arrival of our first born babies.
We love counting down the nine months of pregnancy week by week, celebrating each milestone – we take monthly bump pictures, updating our social media followers, friends and family members on the size of fruit or vegetable our growing baby currently is. We wait for the tiny flutters of kicks and we enjoy the feeling of our babies rolling around inside our bumps until the grand finale of pregnancy is upon us and we are ready to deliver our baby. We are more than excited to meet the tiny person inside of us that we have created.
Then, suddenly….. it happens. Labour. Delivery. Birth. And, ahhhhh, the sweet arrival of our newborn.
It’s a whilrlwind of excitement and hormones and the biggest love you’ve ever known; and then – if all goes according to plan – you find yourself bringing this tiny bundle home, ready to begin your adventure as a new parent to this precious gift.
Up until this point, chances are that not too many things have caught you off guard. You were probably well read on and prepared for the pregnancy and birth of your baby. You likely had everything in place, planned and arranged. And – if you are anything like me – you kind of thought that caring for a newborn would follow in that suit. You did your homework, you were knowledgeable and prepared. You were ready.
And – if your experience was anything like mine – you quickly realized that, despite your best paid plans, you were in for a surprise.
Having a newborn is hard. Every single second of every single day is suddenly consumed by your brand new baby and any notion you previously had of being in control quickly goes O-U-T the window. Nothing is as you expected it to be. Your body is a strange place you now inhabit. Sleep is just not happening. Personal hygeine is nothing like it was before and you kind of feel alone in this, despite having a partner there with you. After all, YOUR body is the one recovering. YOUR body is the one feeding the baby. YOUR heartbeat is the one that’s familiar and comforting to your infant. It all feels as though it is 100%, completely, solely on YOU.
And, sweet new mama, if you truly are anything like me – you’re not going to ask for help. You are going to do it all yourself. You are going to fight to stay in control and you’re not going to open up about your struggles as a brand new momma. I get it. I didn’t want to, either.
Well, it’s been two babies and five years now since the first time I was a brand new mama and I am here to tell you that if you don’t reach out, speak up and validate the way you are feeling; if you truly do take the weight of the world on your own shoulders – you are going to crack. Life, parenting, and raising children is not a one woman show. And it certainly is not a show you can put on when you are not maintaining your own health – mental, spiritual, physical and emotional. It is imperative, new mama, that you are prioritizing your own wellbeing, even though your life has drastically changed and chances are you’ve probably put everyone else at the top of your priority list.
It turns out that is is not just a slogan we have all joked about, heard or on a t-shirt; the old adage ‘if mommy’s not happy, nobody’s happy’ – it’s the actual truth. You NEED to take care of yourself, for your baby. For your family. For yourself. This is a lesson that I personally learned the hard way and, even when it isn’t comfortable or doesn’t come naturally, I am learning to ask for help and to lessen the amount of pressure and expectations I have put on myself.
There are a lot of ways to practice self-care and everybody’s practice looks different. But, what I am going to share with you today, are seven really awesome ways that most momma’s will enjoy that are designed to cultivate mindfulness as a way to help restore sanity and promote self-love and self-care – even when you have a newborn and a circus of a household around you.
* If I had written this article prior to being a mom myself, I probably would have suggested waking up before your children in order to secure yourself some quiet time in the mornings -which actually is a beautiful way to begin your day – but if your children wake up before the crack of dawn like mine do, that might not be a realistic option. Therefore, it is crucial that you intentionally take time during the day to practice mindfulness.
1) Something I like to do in my home is to set up little ‘stations’ that serve as little reminders for me to take a quick moment to decompress. For me, my ‘stations’ each have a diffuser, some essential oils premixed and ready to drop in as well as a roller to apply, a book with a short reading and some flowers, just because I love them. I can quickly pause what I am doing, read something inspirational, get some oils going and take a few deep breaths before I continue along my day. I have several of these throughout my home and not only are they beautiful, but they serve as a physical reminder for me to pause and reconnect to the present moment.
2) If space allows it, having an alter or area to lay your yoga mat, meditation pillow and some relaxing essential oils readily available is the perfect way to offer a gentle reminder for you to practice a short flow during your day. Stretching our bodies, getting the blood moving in our system and allowing ourselves to breathe is a beautiful practice to employ when you have a minute or two to spare. My space like this now has two mats because I have a little blonde three year old yogi who likes to stretch alongside her momma, but that’s just fine by me. Whether she and I stop for five minutes or thirty, having my mat ready reminds me to stop, stretch and breathe and I hope it models that same practice for her, too.
3) A mindful practice you can employ on the go, whether you are out dropping your children off at day care, in like at the grocery store, watching their sports practice or on the phone is a breathing exercise. One of my favourite ones is a learned practice from Gabrielle Bernstein – my personal guru, picutres below – called ‘Nodi Shodhana’ or Opposite Nostril Breathing. It is designed to calm your mind, relax your nerves and help you focus as you balance the left and right hemispheres of your brain. There are many ways to practice this, but what I like to do is simply doing a full exhale, then covering your right nostril with your right thumb and doing a full, deep inhale. Hold for 3-5 seconds and then remove your thumb and exhale. Repeat on the opposite side with your left thumb and nostril. A few minutes of breathing this way helps settle our bodies and minds, as well as our emotions. Often times we find ourselves feeling frazzled, anxious and ‘out of sorts’ because we are unbalanced. We can find ourselves doing too many things at once, having ‘too many tabs open’ in our minds or are simply overwhelmed by our surroundings. This practice helps restore this balance and is a wonderful way to reconnect to the present moment.
4) Something I love to do at least once a day is a quick, 5 minute Journalling + Gratitide practice. To make this quick and easy, I literally use The 5 Minute Journal because it’s a simple way to jot down my thoughts for the day and it’s a guided writing practice. Meaning, I fill in the blanks and carry on. It’s designed to be written in in the morning and again in the evening, but you can create your own ritual with it. It’s a proven fact that being grateful for what we have helps adjust our mindset and can help us attract even more things to be grateful for. Especially for new moms, when the days truly blur into one another, having a keepsake like this will be a beautiful thing to look back on for years to come.
5) EnVISION your future. OK, this is kind of a cheat one because it can sometimes turn into a little bit of a ‘mindless’ mindfulness practice – if that makes sense. This form of mindful practice is a Pinterest Vision board. Done on your tablet or cell phone, use the Pinterest app or website to design a Vision Board. I like to do one for each year. I save pins that have inspiring quotes, trips I want to take, moments I want to create with my family, big ticket items I would like to puchase, renovations I would like to do to our home, goals I have for myself, etc. This is something I can come back to when I need motivation or inspiration and something I like to add to all through the year. It’s fun to look back on year after year to see how my dreams and vision change. The reason I say it can be mindless is because I do often tend to get lost in the endless scrolling that’s available on Pinterest, but it can be a useful tool to take a mindful minute, grab a coffee, relax a bit and save some dreams – big or small – to your board.
6) If you need some guidance in getting into a more positive frame of mind, or you simply need some assistance in being mindful, I suggest giving a walking medititation a try or testing out an app like ‘HeadSpace’. A walking meditation allows your mind to wander as your senses take in your surroundings, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and then be released as they pass. An app like ‘Head Space’ helps guide you through a meditation, so whether you are practiced in meditating or are brand new, you can spend a few minutes getting zen with the guidance from a pro. When practicing either (or really any form of meditation) I apply + diffuse oils, tell my husband that I need some time alone, and truly cherish some time to be alone with my thoughts. I am slowly learning through meditation that it is safe for all my feelings to come, to validate them, and then to allow them to pass – knowing that both good and bad emotions serve a purpose and that they are tools I can use to help learn more about what is really going on inside of me.
7) Of course, my mini-list here of ways to be mindful would be incomplete without incuding a truly mindful practice – albeit one many new moms truly may not have time for – and it is reading. Reading for joy or to further your learning and self-development, something all new moms can do for their own mental well being is to rest, relax and read. My favourite author, Gabrielle Bernstein, is a wonderful source of inspiration for me and I use her works as guides for my own spiritual journey and to improve my mental wellbeing. I also like to read romance novels, books about spirituality, home design inspiration and cookbooks – the options are endless for topics to discover and read about. If you’re not a reader, but still want to tune in, Audible or PodCasts are great, too. Anything that you can read or listen to that directs your thinking and gives you the sense that you are doing something solely to benefit you momma, is great.
Like I said, there really are so many wonderful ways to practice self-care and sometimes it takes testing several out before you find the one that works for you. Sometimes even just loading the kids into the stroller and getting out of the house to go for a walk is enough to get you – and them – out of your environment and into some fresh air. Maybe you’ll find that a creative hobby is what moves you and makes you feel mindful, maybe it’s cleaning your home, talking to a friend, writing or journalling, cooking or building something – whatever it is that works for you, it is important that all moms – whether you’re in the newborn days or are a mom to teens now – find ways to take some mindful moments, to create space and to intentionally focus on mental health and wellbeing in whatever way suits you best.
Please remember; if you are truly struggling with being mindful, if life seems unmanageable, if your emotions truly are not in check and you feel your anxiety/depression heightening – seek professional help. Whether its an online counsellor, a therapist, a service you can call into or something else. Connect with your family doctor and discuss what’s going on, making sure to consider your environmental, sleeping, eating and substance use habits. Speak to someone you trust, someone who is educated in the field of maternal mental health and who can direct your best on the path to healing.
We moms spend our entire lives giving our love to our families – it is imperative that we practice self-love first. Taking mindful moments in our day is a beautiful way to show our own selves that love, to honour our needs and to create space in our day to care for ourselves.
Parenting, mothering, nurturing and raising babies is a beautiful, messy, unpredictable and hard season. It is one to be honoured and celebrated and enjoyed, too. Our hard moments help us grow and our joyful moments help us cherish our days. Wherever you are in your journey, know that your worth is important and that self-care is not selfish.
Take some mindful moments, momma, love on yourself and then share that love with your babies.
Thank you so much to Marlys Morden for guest blogging for us!
To connect with her be sure to visit her blog and website for a healthier lifestyle!
So, here we are back in quarantine. Yes, many things have opened in America, and now we have a third COVID spike happening in a lot of places. There are several reasons why you might have to quarantine, and it’s not necessarily because you have COVID-19. So, it’s something that we should all be prepared to deal with.
With this in mind- I am going to try to make this quarantine better than the last one. We all went a little crazy with the last one, didn’t we? Especially those of us that had to work at home. (Here is my post about working from home with kids.) I know that so many people have been stuck inside for unknown periods of time, and it can be such a struggle. But, do not give up yet! We can make this work for us and our families!
Here are some easy ways that you can manage quarantine as a mom:
1. Take a Break- I know this is easier said than done. Trust me. I know. But, part of being a good mom, a BIG part, means that you are in a good place mentally. If you’re annoyed or overwhelmed- then you need to find a way to take a break and regroup. But what do you do if you need someone to watch the kids? If you are uncomfortable with allowing someone else in your house, that is understandable. Then, the only option that I can think of is to put the kids to bed early. Make them run around for a while, give them a large dinner and send them to bed at 7pm. This way you can have a couple hours to yourself. I know that this may be impossible some days, but keep trying! You need and deserve time to yourself to do whatever you want!
2. Support Squad- Get yourself a support squad (that you can talk to about anything). Make sure that you have your besties ready in a group chat, Marco Polo, FaceTime, SnapChat, email- whatever! You do not need to be doing this alone. I would advise you to keep your friends and family separate. You may feel like you’re close to your MIL, but what about when you need to vent about your partner or talk about sex? See what I mean?!
3. Time Block- You don’t necessarily need a set schedule if you’re not that type of person. And honestly, a daily set schedule can get stressful in quarantine. But, do make sure that you have parts of your day blocked off for certain activities: play time, movie time, reading time, or everyone in their separate rooms- quiet time. Even a little structure is good for your kids. It will also help your sanity. Having a schedule, or some kind of plan, will give you hope when you think you just can’t take one more second, you don’t have to! Move on to the next activity!
4. Set Boundaries- This can be any type of boundary that you need. Maybe you limit snacks, time or spaces. Whatever works for you. But, let me tell you, you cannot live a free for all and have everyone make it out alright. It’s just not going to happen. With my husband and son, I make the kitchen off limits when I’m cooking dinner. They cannot come in for snacks or to bug me during that time. They can go anywhere else, just not the kitchen while I’m cooking. It’s a time that I look forward to every day.
5. Special Celebrations- When you don’t know what day it is in quarantine, and everything seems to be running together: no one’s showering, changing clothes or deciphering between meals… Then it is time for you to shake things up. You need something special to do! This may sound like extra work, but it does not have to be. Make it simple, but different. You could have a special movie marathon, like Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones- anything in a series works. Or, you could have a fun theme for the day. Just make some kind of doable plans that will get your family excited. It’s always important to have something to look forward to!
6. Refresh and Revitalize- This sounds a lot like a shampoo commercial, but I think it’s something that the whole family needs to do often (daily if possible) when in quarantine. A great way to refresh is to go outside. I know that this one is a hassle, and it’s getting colder. I get it, but you will not regret the fresh air. Also, think about having family yoga or taking an online exercise class together. Do something that gets the blood flowing and raises everyone’s spirits.
Quarantine is definitely a time to let things go- but not too far! Don’t lose yourself or your sanity. Make a point to keep some law and order- or invent new tactics if you need to. When everything shut down in the spring, I didn’t have a plan for quarantine. I didn’t know what it would be like or how long it would last.
Now that I know how dark things can get, I don’t want to go there again. If I find myself in the same clothes for 4 days in a row eating lasagna while my 2 year old is watching the Simpsons naked at 3am, then I know I have let quarantine get the best of me. This is not the kind of mom that I want to be.. again.
Get a little bit of structure and spontaneity in the mix if you can. Stay positive and know that if we all follow guidelines and quarantine rules- we will be okay!