Blog Archives

Setting Technology Limits for Kids

March 27, 2015

Setting Technology Limits for Kids | MothersCircle.netThank you to Amy Williams for this guest post. It’s a topic that’s been on my mind as I’m currently writing the second book in the Naked Parenting series on social media and technology. I asked readers for their input on the next parenting topic to address and this is the one I’m tackling now.

Guest Post by Amy Williams, journalist and former social work specializing in teen behavioral health.

The rapid advancement of technology in our world poses new challenges for parents who are already trying to achieve what is best for their kids in different areas of life. As more kinds of technology become accessible to kids of all ages, it is essential for parents to consider how best to protect their children as they grow and develop. How do you set technology limits for your kids?

What is Considered “Screen Time?”

“Screen time” is a common term that professionals in child development use to cover all kinds of screens – such as televisions, tablets, smartphones, video games, and movies – that children are exposed to on a daily basis.

The term “screen time” more specifically refers to any passive time that children spend in front of a monitor. Generally, there is very little movement as people are in front of a screen, and there is no interaction with the larger world. This is a concern as young children grow and develop.

Recommended Technology Limits for Kids

50 Things No One Ever Told You About Babies

February 17, 2015

50 Things No One Ever Told You About Babies | MothersCircle.netWhen you’re a new parent, there are plenty of things you can’t prepare for and may not expect. You’ll hear stories from friends, parents, in-laws, it’s hard to sort out what you should believe, what advice you should follow and even with all of those tales and tips, there will still be things no one ever told you about babies.

I’ve surveyed past doula clients and other new moms and tapped into my experience with families adding a new baby to the family to bring you this list of 50 things no one ever told you about babies in five areas of postpartum adjustment.

Feeding Your Preemie in the NICU

January 19, 2015

Feeding your preemie in the NICU | MothersCircle.netThank you to Prolacta for this guest post on feeding your preemie in the NICU. It’s stressful, emotional, and challenging to have a baby who’s born early, and as parents, you want to learn about and do what’s best for feeding your preemie. Here is some science behind NICU infant nutrition.

In honor of the nearly 500,000 babies born prematurely each year (according to the Centers for Disease Control, that’s 1 in every 8 infants born in the United States), we’re sharing good news about the latest in medical advancements that are helping more preemies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) survive and thrive.

Critically ill, premature infants have special dietary needs requiring higher levels of fat, protein and calories than full-term babies need. Mounting scientific research supports the use of an exclusive human milk diet for preemies and this has led to a rise in use among NICUs across the country. Based on this research, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a recommendation that all preterm infants receive breast milk, be it a mother’s own or donor milk.1

While feeding preterm infants a diet of 100% breast milk may seem like an obvious solution to those who breastfeed, the reality is that for generations, preemies in NICUs were fed cow-milk-based formula. Even if a mother’s own breast milk was available, it was typically “fortified” (to add extra nutrients) with a fortifier containing cow-milk protein.

More Favorite Books For Book Clubs

January 14, 2015

More favorite books for book clubs | MothersCircle.netLast summer, I listed some of my favorite books for book clubs, after another year of reading, here are some more favorite books. At the end of this post, take a peek at some of the author’s I’ve met – and I absolutely recommend their books, too! Loved Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, The Baker’s Daughter, Those Who Save Us, The Beauty of Humanity Movement and others by the authors in the photos! ENJOY!

My newest Favorite Books for Book Clubs:

Pain to Power Online Childbirth Program

January 7, 2015

pain to power, online childbirth, debra pascali bonaro | MothersCircle.netI’m excited to introduce and support Pain to Power online childbirth program created by birth-powerhouse, Debra Pascali-Bonaro. Debra is a long time friend, mentor, and colleague, we worked together to revise and update Nurturing Beginnings, and I’m happy to share her latest project with you.

Debra is the Founder & President of Orgasmic Birth and creator of Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret Documentary that explores the intimate nature of birth. She’s been a birth worker for over 30 years, helping new families all over the world unlock pleasure in birth and life.

Debra has trained thousands of doulas and birth professionals around the world in the practices of gentle birth support. And now, she’s bringing all of this knowledge to you through her latest creation.

Pain to Power, a 9-week online childbirth experience.Pain to Power with Debra Pascali Bonaro | MothersCircle.net

Black Friday Weekend Sale on Naked Parenting

November 28, 2014

It thrills me to hear when people love Naked Parenting enough to buy it as a gift for other parents, for their children, grandchildren, or friends. For a limited time, get your paperback copy for 50% off the regular price.

I love finding the perfect gift for someone and all of the preparations of the Christmas season. Enjoy your time getting ready and whether at home in your PJs or out in the crowds, find ways to feel grateful and keep your focus on what is important to you in life.

Naked Parenting On Sale | MothersCircle.net

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

Introducing Stempaks

November 10, 2014

introducing stempaks, what is STEM, what is stempaks, STEM projects for kidsI’m thrilled to introduce you to Stempaks. Just in time for Christmas, Hanukah and winter birthday gift giving comes Stempaks, “sparking curiosity through discovery and creativity.”

When you subscribe, your kids will receive a package each month ready-made with projects for them to explore. It’s easy for parents to get as engaged in the topic as they want, or let kids dive in on their own.

Stempaks is targeted to kids aged 5 – 10 and each month will feature a different theme or topic. This November is focusing on paleontology.

As a blogger, I receive an influx of email requests to review items and I delete the great majority of them, but something stempaks package, science for kids, math projects for kidsin the email from the founders of Stempaks made me reach out to them. Not only are these young entrepreneurs innovative and creating a product that encourages family learning, but one of the founders also served in the military. From the first phone call, I had a great impression and love the concept of this product, I immediately agreed to not only be a beta tester but also to serve as an adviser because I believe in what they’re doing.

When our package arrived, the kids couldn’t wait to open it. Our dinosaur kit came with eye goggles and a face mask which went right on as the kids read through the materials to see what they needed to do.

stempaks, excited kids, engineering for kids, STEM curriculum

stempaks, science projects, dinosaur activities, paleontology

Decked out in their protective gear, they transformed into archeologists and little by little excavated dinosaur bones. They took it very seriously, brushing away the dust and being cautious not to harm a fossilized bone.

goggles and mask, STEM projects

Why the Coexist Bumper Stickers Bug Me

October 21, 2014

Click here to read my latest post on Huffington Post, Healthy Living.

coexist bumper sticker, expecting more than to coexist, loving our neighbors, red car with coexist bumper sticker, coexist foundation, @coexistcampaign

You know the “Coexist” bumper sticker? It bugs me. I think it’s simply setting the bar way too low.

We already live together with people of all different backgrounds, philosophies, theologies, colors of skin, shouldn’t we want more than to simply be able to be in the same space together? In teaching our children about life, the tippy top lesson is really all about LOVE. Love yourself, love your neighbors.

Manners, household chores, siblings, homework, athletics, kindness in the lunchroom or boardroom, driving, waiting in lines, everything in life boils down to love. Simply love. Coexisting isn’t loving, it’s eeking by. It’s occupying space side by side.

To be clear, I have nothing against the Coexist Foundation or their mission and work. There are so many organizations of good in this world, the generosity is breathtaking, I simply argue with the word “coexist” as being weak and diluted.

Words like tolerance come to mind when I see the coexist symbols. Does anyone want to be just tolerated? No. People want to be embraced, cared for, loved. We can do that through words, actions, service, beliefs, gestures, donations, smiles, letters, and more whether across the street or across the globe.

I see it as an issue of open hearts and open minds, welcoming and accepting and cherishing each individual. We’re not going to bond, hit it off, or even like everyone we meet but I live my life and teach our kids to live with kindness, to act with love and respect toward everyone they meet. And everyone they don’t meet. Listen actively to another person’s point of view, experiences, and opinions. Disagree, sure, but do it with respect and compassion.

There is an absolute need to be culturally open and inquisitive. That’s one of the million reasons I love to travel, I get a glimpse into different histories, different ways of life, different values. It intrigues me, empowers me, and makes me more curious and more understanding. We grow when we can stretch beyond our own ways and ideas.

I feel the same way about someone who comes from my hometown, who lives down the street, who goes to my church, who seems to be similar to me. They’re still different. They have their own histories and life stories, their own experiences and pains, struggles, triumphs. Those stories and points of view are valuable and I love to explore and share in them, too.

We’re all different even if we belong to a group with an identified symbol. Yet, who can be defined just by one affiliation or one belief system? Who fits tidily under one label? We all have more facets than the best cut diamond, there’s no knowing without exploring and looking deeper. You can’t do that by just coexisting.

READ MORE on Huffington Post

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2013

Why Handwriting Helps You Learn

October 3, 2014

Just this past weekend, a group of us were talking about the importance of kids learning handwriting and cursive writing. Even with the continually increasing use of keyboards and index finger typing, kids need to learn to read and write with their hands. Here is a great infographic based on research on this topic and on why handwriting helps you learn.

Why Handwriting Helps You Learn

September is Menopause Awareness Month

September 22, 2014

fall leaf, changing leaves, The Change, menopause awareness, perimenopause symptoms, pregnant late in lifeToday is the last day of summer. Perhaps figuratively, too. This week, a piece I wrote appeared on the Huffington Post, 44 and Pregnant?, and it stirred a flurry of comments, emotions, private emails, and lot’s of questions and speculations on my Facebook pages. The punchline, it turns out, is menopause. Fitting that September is Menopause Awareness Month!

So as summer creeps into fall outside, it seems it’s also happening within me. Many women reached out to me saying that they have experienced the same moments of wondering and worrying, dreaming and freaking out, that I talk about in 44 and Pregnant. Did you know that women between 40-44 years old account for the second highest unintended pregnancy rate? It’s shocking to think I’m even in the age category to be talking about the “M” word let alone be experiencing the precursors to “The Change.”

Menopause is medically defined as cessation of menstruation for one full year, but every woman’s different and our bodies may start seeing a range of symptoms in the decade or so leading up to menopause, called perimenopause. The Menopause Awareness Month site says: “There are 34 different symptoms of menopause. Some physical. Some physiological. Some psychological. All frustrating and debilitating.”

On the list of exciting possible symptoms include: mood changes and mood swings (that’s always a joy), joint pains, irregular and erratic periods, insomnia, memory loss, itchy skin, headaches, weight gain, and the ever-so-famous hot flashes …. And have you ever experience night sweats? There’s nothing like waking up slippery and soaking. (If it happened to you after your babies were born, you’ve gotten a peek into the future fun.) Oh, and as an added bonus, with menopause, women’s chances of osteoporosis and heart attack increase.

As a northeasterner my whole life, I’ve always said that I love the four seasons, the changing air, temperatures, colors, and ways of life as the year circles round. So on this, the last day of summer, my optimistic nature also makes me look at perimenopause with a positive lens. What comes next? While the symptoms might be difficult, annoying, and worse, what will life bring as I age? I enjoyed life with three of my four grandparents all of whom lived into their mid-late 90’s. I want to live long and see my grandchildren have children, I want to be a great grandmother, too. I feel so blessed that my own kids knew my grandparents so well.

I watch my mother and women her age, and older, who are so vibrant, active, and who are living life fully and giving much to others and the world around them. The autumn of life brings an easing of the daily tasks that life with children at home and active schedules brings, it affords more leisure, more time to slow down and do things you care about most. That’s a lifestyle I aspire to, and I try to implement those lessons now, instead of waiting for later.

Keeping Your Child Safe From Cyberbullying

September 1, 2014

Thank you to TeenSafe for this guest post and helpful infographic on Keeping Your Child Safe From Cyberbullying.

Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat. . . Each of these sites can be a great way for teens to build relationships and connect with their peers. Judging by the growing popularity, it doesn’t look like they’ll be disappearing anytime soon. And while social media sites do have their perks, they are also becoming a breeding ground for hurtful comments and humiliating photos.

Cyberbullying has transformed the bullying of years past, where school hallways and playgrounds took the brunt of the problem. Now, children have no place to hide from their tormentors. Bullies find it easy to inflict emotional pain from behind the safety of their computer screens and often believe that their actions will not have any consequences. However, it’s time for parents to step up and gain the knowledge necessary to fight back against this epidemic.

 

Being aware of what your child is doing online is the first step toward ending cyberbullying.

Check out the infographic below, by TeenSafe.com, for tips on how to help your kids online. Knowledge is power, parents. Let’s do what we can – starting today.

Naked Parenting Webinar

August 17, 2014

Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence

Join me for a Webinar on August 19, 9:00 – 10:00 PM EDT

I’ll present the 7 Keys to Raising Kids with Confidence and answer questions. You’ll leave the webinar with practical tips you can start using right away.

Register now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/354589086

Naked Parenting is parenting stripped down to the bare basics to focus on seven keys to raising kids who are self-sufficient, confident, respectful, and resilient. In this session, we’ll discuss these seven keys: love, honesty, communication, responsibility, discipline, mistakes and gratitude.

Naked Parenting approaches parenting in an honest, direct and realistic way. Guiding children with love, nurturing their strengths and self image, and instilling personal responsibility are at the heart of this approach.

Title:
Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence
Date:
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Time:
9:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Lifestyle Learning webinar series is open to the public. You are encouraged to share this Kappa-sponsored learning opportunity by forwarding the invitation to others who may be interested. Thank you.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

top mommy blogs, mommy blog directory,

Sexting at School

June 10, 2014

sexting at school, book about sexting, girls and sexting, parenting teen girls, advice for parents of teen girlsMy thanks to Benjamin Dancer for this guest post. As a mother of two teens, I am happy to learn and share this information as a means to continue to keep updated and aware. There are so many challenges and things to keep on top of with kids in our high-tech world, it’s important to stay vigilant and educated to best guide and protect our kids.

I love Benjamin’s advice in Sexting at School which is so important to remember: “She needs you to be confident in your role. … Jessica loves you, and she knows that you love her. This is universal: the teenager wants desperately to have her independence, and she is terrified of it. Jessica is not aware of the fact that she is conflicted about this. She’s just a kid. As much as she pushes you away, she wants you to be strong, to love her.”

This is a great, quick read written for parent’s of teen daughters. Download the article-length ebook for free.

SEXTING AT SCHOOL by Benjamin Dancer

I’m a high school counselor, which means I work with parents every day who could use a little grace in their lives. Because I’ve made a career out of my work with adolescents, I see as a matter of course what a parent might be seeing for the first time. This includes a long list of unfortunate life events.

As a parent, I have a lot of empathy for other parents. It’s not easy, especially when you’re going through something for the first time. My life, on the other hand, is a little bit like Groundhog Day. In a sense, I’ve never left high school. Every school year I see the same things. Different kids, but the same behavior: alcohol, drugs, tobacco, bullying, kids running away from home, pregnancy and something newer: sexting.

Regrowing Lettuce – Fun Activity for Kids

April 30, 2014

grow lettuce from lettuce, science project for kids, romain lettuce, using stump of lettuceA month ago, I showed up at my friend’s house and she had a row of Romain lettuce stubs floating in glasses of water on her window sill. Puzzled, she explained to me that she was regrowing lettuce. She’d learned about it from this post about thirteen different vegetables that regrow themselves. I was intrigued and introduced this new fun activity for the kids.

I used the short tea cups (whoever uses those little things) that came with an old set of dishes. We put the cut off stump of Romain lettuce filled with about 1/2 – 2/3 water. Change the water ever two or three days.

We started to see the lettuce sprout with tiny fresh green the very next day! We were amazed that we were actually regrowing lettuce! All three kids found something to love about it, even Ali wanted to show her high school biology teacher and carted off some Romain stubs to school.

Nurturing Beginnings by Debra Pascali-Bonaro

April 22, 2014

Nurturing Beginnings cover, baby with wings, doula guide, books for doulas, Debra Pascali-Bonaro book, Announcing the newly updated Nurturing Beginnings, Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s terrific postpartum doula guide. I’m proud to share this with you because I worked with Debra and her team to revise and contribute to the updated version.

Debra Pascali-Bonaro was first my doula trainer, then my mentor, then my friend.

We met in 2007 in New York City at a doula training, as the workshop progressed, I felt achier and sicker and on the last day, I listened to Debra lying down with my eyes closed. (It turned out I had Lyme Disease).

Then I invited Debra to teach several doula trainings I hosted and we attended conferences together. We had pajama talks, chats over glasses of wine and on long walks. We talked about issues monumental and trivial, and everything in between. We shared our families and pondered world problems with our toes in the sand and at restaurants over meals.

So when Debra asked me to be a part of this project, I jumped at the chance. I am proud to have helped to edit, contribute and update this version of Nurturing Beginnings. I am honored to be a co-author beside Debra Pascali-Bonaro.

Hearts that Help Cambodia

February 11, 2014

hearts that help cambodia, sewn hearts, felt hearts, heart of buttons, angkor hospital, helping kids in Cambodia, southeast asia charity, RI CambodiaTwo years ago, on February 12, 2012, my mom and I arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia after just spending over two weeks in Vietnam, so when, this month, I learned about an organization right here in Rhode Island, Hearts that Help, which benefits education and health care agencies in Cambodia, I was eager to learn more.

Founded in 2003, Hearts that Help began when a family in Rhode Island, who had adopted their daughters from Cambodia just before the country closed itself to international adoptions, asked the girls if they had any ideas for helping children and families in their native country. The girls suggested sewing hearts for Valentine’s Day launching Hearts that Help.

Today, the organization hosts, and encourages others to host, sewing events which build community while creating for a cause. The hand-sewn hearts are then sold at local fairs and farmers markets and the donations are given to Angkor Hospital for Children, providing free healthcare to children in Siem Reap and the surrounding area, The Lake Clinic, which delivers medical aid to floating villages in Cambodia, Hearts that Help RI, Hearts that Help logo, red hands, gestures of true love,and The Cambodian Arts & Scholarship Foundation, a leader in educating young girls, the population most at risk for being pulled from school and sold into the horrifically rampant sex industry in Cambodia.

During our tour of Cambodia two years ago, we explored its history from the centuries old temples in Angkor to museum that was a prison under the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot. Our guide, Khet, generously shared his culture and country with us and the fact that 60% of Cambodia’s population is under 16 years old; Pol Pot’s regime killed a quarter of Cambodia’s population. Unfathomable horrors.

cambodia CollageTraveling from Vietnam, which was definitely third world but had an enterprising spirit, Cambodia had an ever greater sense of poverty and underdevelopment. Being there and reading books like First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung (one of my recommended great book club books) draws me to Hearts that Help and the desire to help the Cambodian people grow and be able to provide quality medical care and education to their children and families. To learn more, visit Heart that Help.

Ten Warning Signs of Teen Marijuana Addiction: What Parents Need to Know

December 19, 2013

signs of teen pot use, signs of marijuana addiction, marijuana addiction, signs of weed use, teen grass use, teen weed useMy thanks to Scott Brand for this guest post on recognizing teen marijuana addiction. Taken one by one, some of these signs may appear to be typical teenage behaviors, but use these signs with an open mind and to be aware of patterns.

For a lot of these signs, the key can be if you’ve noticed a CHANGE in these behaviors. It can be hard for parents to face and accept tough issues in our kids but they need us to advocate for them if they get on a troubled path.

Guest Post by Scott Brand

Do you know the signs of teen marijuana addiction? Do you know what to do if you suspect your teen is addicted?

Marijuana is also referred to as cannabis, or weed, grass, pot, dope, ganja, Mary Jane and countless other slang terms. Whatever the term, marijuana has been hypothesized by some researchers to be a gateway drug that leads to more serious teen drug abuse. Marijuana is the most often used illegal drug in the United States.

Ten Early Warning Signs of Teen Marijuana Addiction

Tips For Safe Christmas Decorating

December 5, 2013

tips for safe holiday decorating, tips for safe Christmas lights, safe Christmas decorating, tips for electrical safety, ESFI, electrical safety foundation international,It’s magical when the house is decorated for Christmas, but I have often wondered how safe some of our lighting hook-ups have been. I love the white candles in all of the windows, the wreaths on the doors and my favorites are the trees and our basket of Christmas tree trunks marking our past celebrations. But I do care that we’re being safe as we deck the halls.

Here are some important tips for safe Christmas decorating from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

“ESFI is a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to providing unbiased information regarding electrical safety.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, each year an estimated average of 160 reported home fires are caused by decorative lights, and Christmas trees account for another 230 fires each year. Combined, these resulted in an average of 13 deaths and $26.3 million in property damage per year.

50% of home fires caused by Christmas trees happened during the 15 days between December 22 and January 5. – National Fire Protection Association

Water Your Christmas Tree

I like to have two trees, one that sits in the front window and looks so pretty from both outside and in. A few years ago, I finally gave in to a fake tree for this one and it’s so much more practical, but I love the smell and tradition (damn the allergies) of the live one we put up in the family room in the back of the house. We decorate (well, I decorate and the kids load) the live one with garland, baubles and ornaments the kids have made and collected. As part of our tree decorating tradition, I buy them each a new ornament every year. My box of favorite ornaments is full of dated frames with photos of the kids through the years.

To keep your tree safe, water it daily to keep it well hydrated. It’s a joke in our family that Nick regularly, annually, always puts the tree up and forgets to water it. One year he was so proud that he remembered and as he was bragging to me, the tree tumbled forward spilling the water all over the wood floor. We had a good laugh as we sopped up the water, erected the tree, tied it to the wall with fishing line and refilled the water! Good thing he remembered the water!

christmas tree safety, christmas tree light safety, Christmas tree cautions, electrical foundation tips, tips for decorating, tips for Christmas lights

Use Light Strings and Extensions Cords With Care

The ESFI says to use one extension cord that is long enough to do the job, do not connect an extension cord to an extension cord. Don’t nail or staple light strings or extension cords or use anything that could damage the wire insulation and never run an extension cord under a rug or where it could be pinched under furniture.

I think of this all the time with cords and wires throughout the year, not just for safe Christmas decorating. Years ago when we lived in New Jersey, a family we knew in town had a house fire. It was devastating and scary and was caused by a wire (that wasn’t even plugged in) that had been under the foot of a dining room hutch. I think of them often and am constantly aware of not letting anything rest on top of any cords or wires.

Great Books For Kids

November 20, 2013

great books for kids, dual language books, plays for kids, teaching kindness to kids, golden rule for kids, christmas gift books for kids, kids books, new kids books, new childrens booksAs a blogger, I’m often asked to review products, websites, articles and books. I am particular about what I say yes to and only post things I can honestly recommend.

Here are some great books for kids that I want to share with you just in time for holiday giving. Full disclosure: I received complimentary review copies of these books.

 

Fife’s Lessons: The Tao of Cool

By Rob DegnanIllustrated by Jason Robert LeClair
FifesLessons.com

tao of cool, rob degnan, fife, book about kindness, book about acceptance, third grader book, teaching kids kindness, lessons for kidsThird grader, Fife is cool, her parents are cool, but what happens when a new kid moves to town and is left out and made to feel, well, uncool.

Fife struggles with issues of fitting in, acceptance and ultimately learns the greatest lesson in kindness. The story guides readers to learn these lessons along with Fife, and some unspoken ones, too. More subtle lessons presented are how we never know what’s really going on in another person’s heart and head and how we all have strengths and weaknesses.

Fife learns that working together with someone who excels in different ways than she does can bring success and that a friendship can grow when one opens their mind and heart to another person. Fife’s Lessons are just as important for adults as they are for kiddos! Welcome Fife and her friends into your home.

5 Tips for Parent Teacher Conferences

November 4, 2013

tips for conferences with teachers, ideas for successful teacher conference, communicating with teachers, school conferencesIn the season of parent teacher conferences, how can you get the most of those 15 minutes with your child’s teacher?

5 Tips for Successful Parent Teacher Conferences

1. Be prepared

Think ahead about what you’d like to discuss with your child’s teacher and what questions you’d like to ask. Ask your child ahead of time if there is anything he’s concerned about or would like you to talk about in your conference. What they share may surprise you. You may also seek input from a spouse or a childcare provider, anyone who spends a lot of time with your child.


2.Write it down

communicating with teacher, woman holding books, math on black board, school success, tips for school success, improving reading speed, third graders, tips for conferences, communicating with teacher, woman holding books, math on black board, school success, tips for school success, improving reading speed, third graders,Inevitably, you have some specific thing you’d like to ask the teacher and you’ve forgotten what it is when you walk into the classroom. So often, the teachers are on a tight schedule with parents stacking up outside their door, so you want to maximize your turn. Especially if you have more than one child, writing down some notes and questions is even more important.

Besides questions, you might jot down some things you’d like to share with the teacher, such as an activity or project your child particularly enjoyed or a family or health issue that you want to bring to her attention.

3. Listen

Hear what your child’s teacher wants to share with you about your child. Does she see things that you’re not aware of? Can she provide information about your child’s social interactions, respectfulness of others and general manners and behavior when they’re outside of your purvey? Perhaps he has some worries about your child academically or organizationally.

Hear what she is saying without evaluating or judging. Listen with an open mind to learn more about your child and how she may be perceived or where he may be struggling. Your child’s teacher sees your child in a unique setting for at least six hours a day. She has a valuable perspective and insight into your kiddo.

Happify Is …

October 22, 2013

Have you heard the buzz around Happify? Have you wondered, What is Happify? Here’s my answer:

Happify Is …

happify, what is happify, happiness is, introducing happify, is happify a gameAs a beta tester – a Happify Pioneer – I shared my experience with Mother’s Circle readers in February in my Introducing Happify post. (Read that post for more details on what Happify is all about!) Since then, Happify has added many new features and today is the official public launch. Now, without needing an invitation, anyone can jump in and start their Happify experience and answer the question “What is Happify?” for themselves.

From their blog: “At Happify, we’re passionate about helping people find happiness, contentment and fulfillment through fun activities, games and exercises based on proven scientific research from the top minds in the country.”

Happify is … Fun

Sign up and try out the games and exercises, the Happify app, and the many new tracks, several created and “hosted” by celebrities or professionals. Within our busy, stressed days, one way people find relaxation is in social media, Happify is an escape from the daily hub-bub with a purpose! It’s a mix of video game, self exploration, Pinterest boards, social interaction (on posts and through threads) and online gratitude journal. It’s fun with a benefit – the activities are all based in the science of happiness (the science of happiness is also explained on the Happify website.)

Happify is … Spending time together

There is a new game called “Uplift” since I last posted in which you spot and click on positive words. Whenever I

[caption id="attachment_3490" align="alignright" width="300"]Happify tracks, Happify activities, what is happify, should I get on happify, how do I get happier Some Happify Tracks[/caption]

get to the games in a track, I save them to do with my kids. They love the search and find scenes that encourage us to slow down and savor the visuals and I love that we slow down and savor the time together.

This summer, I did a track called “Raise Happy and Resilient Teens” and there were activities that Ali and I did together and some that I turned over to her to do on her own (she’s been dying to join Happify.) It was a small thing but it spurred some nice conversations between us.

Art is Smart, Recycle A Bike and Education Foundation

September 6, 2013

art is smart, recycle a bike, providence charities, volunteer opportunities in RI, volunteering in RI, EGEF, EGEF RI, educational foundations, starting an education foundation, money for schools, money for art programsLast weekend, Festival Fete in Rhode Island highlighted several worthy non-profits including Art is Smart, Recycle-A-Bike, the East Greenwich Education Foundation and All Things Grow with Love. I believe in the goodness of human nature and that where there is a need or a passion, people build something wonderful to fulfill it. Check these organizations out to see if any spark your interest or desire to serve/give.

Art is Smart

Art is Smart is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that “serves children by raising funds to support public education art programs.” The organizationart is smart merchandise, supporting art is smart, money for public art education, grants for art in school, art teachers supplies, festival fete art, raises money through merchandise sales, fundraising efforts and through direct corporate and individual donations. They simplify the process of requesting and receiving funds, art teachers in the public education arena need only submit a succinct but specific letter outlining the requested needs.

As the mother of three artistically inclined children, I value their public school art programs and have volunteered my time to coordinate school Art Nights because I believe in the importance of art education. You can donate or purchase Art is Smart items at www.ArtIsSmart.com.

Recycle-A-Bike

recycle a bike, bike repairs, learning bike skills, biking in RI, biking workshops, Another unique and impressive organization at Festival Fete was Recycle-A-Bike. Their mission is stated as “a volunteer-based community organization that connects people with refurbished bikes, provides practical bike knowledge, and advocates bicycle use by safer, more confident cyclists.”

Festival Fete – Local Art Anywhere

August 20, 2013

Festival fete logo, festival fete RI, local artists, local artisans, local art anywhereFestival Fete creates amazing local community art festivals but even if you’re not a Rhode Islander, you can still enjoy the contemporary American craft artists that Festival Fete features.

At the June festival with over 140 artists, live music, strolling entertainment, free kids’ crafts and local foods, I met some fantastic artisans and want to share some with you.

Back to School

August 16, 2013

back to school, girl on school bus, saying good bye on first day of school, first day of school, happy back to school, moms and back to schoolBack to school. It has a ring to it today. Today, I started the countdown to the first day of school. 12 days.

We’ve had a summer filled with sand and sunshine, family time and fun times, late nights and leisurely mornings. We’ve savored gallons of ice cream, bushels of corn on the cob and a few lobsters, too. We’ve reveled beneath sprays of fireworks, napped under beach umbrellas and snagged a few fish.

Summer has given us fresh garden squash and cucumbers (the tomatoes are coming), sailing breezes and time for stacks of favorite books and splashing in pools. Summer has given us easy, outdoor summer dinners, slow summer days, happy summer memories.

Rhody Bloggers

August 12, 2013

rhody bloggers, bloggers in RI, anchor blogs, mommy bloggers, Rhode Island blogs

I’m proud to be a part of a fantastic group of women bloggers in Rhode Island, the Rhody Bloggers. Many I am grateful to call my friends, others I know only online but reading their blogs makes me feel like I really do know them! We have a wealth of amazing writers, thinkers, creators, travelers, doers, givers, entertainers, adventurers among us – enjoy perusing their blogs, listed below.

Stop by for a visit when you have a chance!

Introducing the Rhody Bloggers:

What is littleBits?

July 25, 2013

what is littleBits, littleBits starter kit, building with electronics modules, electronics for kids, better than legos, if you like legos you'll love littlebits, littlebits color codeWhat is littleBits? Now that I know the answer, littleBits are guaranteed to be wrapped up for birthday gifts and under our tree for many Christmases to come. With the discount code for Mother’s Circle readers below, you can give the gift of imagination, too!

Move over, Legos, here comes littleBits!

littleBits makes building with electronics and prototyping for budding engineers completely accessible and fun (ages 8 and up.)

We always call our son Michael “the engineer” because he is incredibly resourceful, creative in mechanical and inventive ways, and endlessly curious about how things work. He’s always figuring things out, fixing things and solving functional problems around the house. His eyes lit up when he opened the littleBits box!

Michael has always loved all things building from Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys to erector sets, magnetics and bristle blocks, but I think as much as we’ve loved and been buried by Legos in our house, this could replace them! Or perhaps we’ll see Legos make their way into a littleBits creation.

As a blogger, I am bombarded by people asking for me to review items or to pitch their thing on my blog. I only agree to something that I really love and feel genuinely good about recommending to my readers and I am so excited to share this with you. My whole family (and the neighbors) are happy that we’ve “discovered” it! Watch this video and you’ll be hooked, too.

Math Kisses

July 23, 2013

Math kisses, bedtime math, teaching kids math, learning math with fun, fun ways to learn math, fun ways to teach math, making math part of your day, math routines, how to teach math, ideas to teach young kids mathMath kisses grew in our family from a song that a babysitter when I was about eight years old first sang for me.

It’s a silly little ditty:

“Good Night, Leah,
Good Night, Leah,
Good Night, Leah,
It’s time to go to bed,
Boop Boop!”

And the babysitter accented the “boops” with her hips as she left my doorway.

When Ali was little, I sang it to her and soon it was a regular part of our bedtime routine. Over the years and through three children, the song has grown, changed and evolved.

Each child has added his or her own individual enhancements. A second verse bloomed, “I love [insert kids’ name here], I love [kid sings Mommy/Daddy as parent sings kid’s name], I love [you get the idea], it’s time to go to bed, boop boop.” bedtime mathMichael now says “wee-ooo” instead of “boop boop.” Another addition, we sing the names of everyone in the family (and our bird, Piper) and new phrases have crept in, too, (“I love Ali, so much, I love Michael, so much…”)

As the song has lengthened, perhaps initially to delay the actual bedtime, it has remained a special part of ending the day. I don’t know how or when, but years ago, Anna began giving two kisses in between each phrase and instead of the boop boops. One night I realized she was counting the kisses on her fingers, we would end up with 16 kisses and run out of fingers, and then we always had to kiss four more times to get to an even 20.

I suggested she count by twos using one finger for each pair of kisses, so Anna started learning and practicing counting by twos. We added a challenge and I’d give her one kiss before singing and she’d need to count by twos on the odd numbers. Without knowing, we had fallen into a special bedtime routine of math kisses.

6 Reasons to Take Childbirth Classes

July 2, 2013

why should I take childbirth classes, reasons to take childbirth classes, hospital or private childbirth classes, refresher childbirth class, do I need childbirth classes, dads and childbirth classes, childbirth education reasons, Childbirth education began over forty years ago in an effort to shift the mentality of birth as an illness to birth as normal and an arena where moms and dads have choices. Popularity of classes peaked in the 1980‘s and 90‘s and has been declining since.

In the 2006 Listening to Mothers Survey, Childbirth Connection found that childbirth class attendance among first-time mothers fell from 70 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2005. Only 10% of the 1600 new moms in the survey named childbirth classes as their most important source of information. Sources that rated higher were: television (68%), books (33%), friends and relatives (19%) and the Internet (16%).

Some reasons for the drop may include time and scheduling to get to classes and higher epidural and cesarean rates. Families planning medication or a cesarean may feel, “Why bother to learn about positions and movements in labor if I’m getting an epidural/C-section?” A good childbirth class will cover both of these topics among other interventions and can ease worries and boost confidence for both parents.

Despite the image of childbirth educators as being crunchy-hippy types pushing natural birth, that’s not the reality. Sure you can come across that teacher or you can seek out classes geared at natural, no/low intervention birth, but many classes will give you a solid overall understanding of birth, comfort measures before you get to the hospital for medication if that’s what you’re choosing. A good childbirth class will help you see the broad spectrum of your options in birth. It’s also important to understand that independent classes may be able to give you a different exposure to birth than a hospital-based class where sometimes curriculums are structured and instructors have more limitations. (In full disclosure, I teach at a hospital and have been able to teach fully and freely how I like to present material and topics.)

Here are 6 Reasons to Take Childbirth Classes:

The Bling Ring And Internet Safety

June 17, 2013

Guest Post by blogger Brian Jones who shares how The Bling Ring and Internet safety relate and how parents can use this film as a teachable moment.

the Bling Ring and Internet safety, The Bling Ring movie, Bling Ring trailer, keeping kids safe online, celebrity obsession, fame obsessed, The film The Bling Ring offers a teachable moment about internet safety. It premiered in selected New York and LA theaters on June 14th opens nationwide this Friday, June 21st. The film is based on the true story of a club-hopping group of teen burglars who helped themselves to the trappings of the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle. In fact, the group, nicknamed the Bling Ring, stole more than $3 million in jewelry and clothing from the homes of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom, including more than $2 million from Paris Hilton alone.

Interestingly, social media sites not only contributed to the Bling Ring crimes by fostering celebrity envy; the fashionable gang of teens actually orchestrated their intrusions in large part by using publicly accessible posts they found on social media sites.

Children and teens have grown up in the age of social media and feel very comfortable using these sites on a regular basis. However, the potential danger of social networking sites is no new story. Crimes committed with the help of social media range from profile hacking to robbery. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips you can share with your kids and use to teach them how to live safely with social media.

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Babysitter

June 6, 2013

Thank you to Paul Taylor of Babysitterjobs.com for this guest post on the top questions to ask before hiring a babysitter. As parents, we all have times we need a sitter for a night out, to attend a meeting or to take on a nanny role while working outside of the home. Here Paul offers some tips on finding a sitter you can trust who can fit into your family dynamics and parenting values. I would also add that once you’ve narrowed down your search, ask your top picks to come over and meet your child/children. Observe how she interacts with them, is she talking to them, does she move her body down to their level, how does she try to put your children at ease?

questions to ask before hiring a babysitter, how to hire a babysitter, babysitter holding girl, trustworthy babysitter, teen babysitter, high school babysitter, questions for childcare, Do you really know the individual sitting in front of you applying to be your babysitter? Most of the time, the answer is a resounding, “No.” The process of hiring a babysitter can be quite a serious undertaking. You are inviting this person to care for the most important people in your life. You need to be absolutely sure the person you are considering is going to be right for the job.

 So here are my top 10 questions to ask before hiring a babysitter.

Fly Your Flag for Memorial Day

May 27, 2013

fly your flag for memorial day, patriots, half staff flag, what is memorial day, why do we celebrate memorial day, remembering fallen soldiers, red poppies for memorial dayToday fly your flag for Memorial Day in memory and gratitude for those who have lost their lives or served our country.

Three years after the Civil War ended, Memorial Day was made official on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. He made it official on May 5, but the first observance was on May 30, 1868 and continued the tradition of laying flowers and American flags on the graves and memorials of our country’s fallen soldiers. It was a day of remembrance and thankfulness for their service.

Memorial Day was known first as Decoration Day because of all the flowers and flags respectfully placed to honor our servicemen. Students and employees were given the day off to go to cemeteries, attend memorial services and to otherwise express their gratitude. Throughout the morning, flags flew half staff and then 3:00 pm was the National Moment of Remembrance when there was a national moment of silence with Taps playing.

So while you cut the watermelon and pack up to attend a neighborhood picnic, while you spend the day doing yard work, also take a moment to be thankful to those who died for our great country. Fly your flag for Memorial Day, remember yourself and talk to your children about why they have the day off from school. Attend a Memorial Day parade and wear one of those red poppy flowers in remembrance. Click here for the history behind the poppies.

Our history is peppered with conflicts and wars, and it continues today. We have men and women who have given their lives for the United States, men and women who sacrifice to keep America free, men and women who miss Christmases, birthdays, concerts and ball games to protect us. Remember them, and the families who care for them today.

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5 Instagram Safety Tips for Teens

April 29, 2013

Our daughter, Ali, wrote a guest post about Internet Safety for Teens; to follow up, here she discusses 5 Instagram Safety Tips for Teens. As a non-Instagram user I kind of don’t “get” it but as the Mom of an Instagram user, I’ve needed to at least know how to navigate through it. I’m about to learn all the ins and outs. Hot off the presses, with Ali by my side, I just signed up for my very own Instagram account.

Guest Post by Ali DeCesare

instagram safety tips for teens, internet safety, online safety, online tips, tips for parents on instagram, helping your child on instagram, keeping your child safe online, A lot of the world’s youth has moved away from Facebook to migrate toward Instagram, but don’t be fooled, Instagram can be just as risky to a child as Facebook. Instagram can get…messy. From profanity and inappropriate pictures and comments to cyber bullying and hate mail. I know from first-hand experience how dangerous it can be (see my story at the end), and so I wanted to share some ideas on how to stay safe on Instagram.
Instagram is a free online social networking site that allows you to share daily life and important events through pictures. Pictures can be digitally altered with filters that the Instagram team provides.

Instagram is also an Apple app. Each post/picture is seen by the amount of followers you have. Whether it’s one or one million followers (yes: certain people do have over one million followers. Crazy, isn’t it!) all followers will see what you post.

Baby Moon Education Retreat – New Fall Dates

April 2, 2013

Mystic, Connecticut Baby Moon + Education
Friday evening, September 20 – Sunday evening, September 22, 2013

[caption id="attachment_1178" align="alignleft" width="235"]Mystic pizza, Mystic Pizza movie, restaurant in mystic, mystic pizza special sauce, main street mystic, Watercolor of Mystic Pizza by Jane Bogdan[/caption]

Join us in Mystic, Connecticut for a Baby Moon Education Retreat weekend of exploring, connecting, learning and enjoying. September is one of the most beautiful times of year to be in Mystic.

It’s a getaway with purpose – nearby, but far enough to feel “away” while you connect with your loved one and continue your work to own your birth.

The term Baby Moon was coined first by Sheila Kitzinger to describe the time a family spends nestled together after the birth of their baby, paralleling a honeymoon taking place after the wedding. In years since, a Baby Moon has become the trendy pre-baby vacation.

If you’re envisioning a no or low-intervention birth, if you know that birth is a state of wellness and you desire to birth your baby(ies) normally, if you trust the birth process and want to honor your experience and protect your memory of your birth, this retreat is for you!

What Do Your Kids Want to Be When They Grow Up?

March 27, 2013

STEM careers, kids strengths, when I grow up, I want to be, career choicesIn this week’s Mom Before Mom post, I wrote about what I wanted to be when I grew up it made me think about what my kids say now that they want to be. For some kids, they set their minds on something and never waiver. For other kids, the ideas change weekly, their interests broad and open.

Michael just today came home and announced, “Mom, do you want to hear what I want to do when I grow up?” I was stunned and thought, “Be a psychic?” He had no idea what I was writing about! This most recent idea, though, was more of an event plan than a career path, he wants to climb Mount Everest and glide off the top. (Ugh, see my Boys and Bruises post!)

What do your kids want to be when they grow up? How do we nurture the things that make them happy? How, as parents, can we encourage them to explore and guide them to discover their strengths?

It begins young with exposure to many different experiences. Going for a walk and taking the time to stop and touch some moss or poke a mushroom with a stick is a beginning. So are things like kicking the ball in the backyard, marching through the house with musical instruments or early forays into watercolor still-lifes and Play-Doh sculptures. These are valuable activities at all ages.

Offering varied opportunities isn’t generally the hard part, there are a million and one possibilities, activities, teams, clubs, events and chances to try things out. It’s harder to know how to limit what our kids join, as in all things parenting, it’s about finding that balance.

In the adolescent years, kids tend to begin to specialize in certain activities, they’ve narrowed down their sports and extracurricular time to more focused interests. Those activities may not be what they would pursue as a life path. Or could they be?

7 Ways to Make Your Own Luck

March 15, 2013

4 leaf clover, make luck, lucky 7, lucky clover, I'm unlucky, happy st. paddy's day, st. patty's day luck, be generous, attitude, what's luck got to do with it, law of attractionI wish people, “Good Luck!” as a vote of confidence, a hope for success, but I only have a limited belief in luck. Instead, I believe we make our own luck. Two people could be handed the same situation, the same resources (or lack thereof) and can create completely different outcomes. Some might dismiss it as “lucky” or use it as and excuse, “I’m just unlucky,” or “She’s luckier than me.” I don’t believe that’s luck, it’s attitude, how you choose to look at the world and interact within it.

These are lessons Nick and I work to instill in our kids at every opportunity. We believe in these principles in our own lives, as parents and contributors to society. Let’s call it “The Luck O’ the Italians,” it’s a recipe to make your own luck! Here are LUCKY NUMBER 7 Ways to Make your Own Luck!

6 Sleep Tips for Tweens and Teens

March 7, 2013

tips for teen sleep, teen girl sleeping late, teens can't wake up, teen tired all day, teen not getting enough sleep,In the whiplash of parenthood, we have early rising toddlers who evolve into teens who won’t get up.

Teens and tweens are often not getting the recommended 9.25 hours of sleep they need. Inadequate sleep effects cognitive functioning, academic achievement, family sanity, physical and emotional health and can result in more accidents in teens who drive.

Making sleep a priority for teens is essential to their current health and well-being as well as their ongoing physical and emotional health. Studies show links to poor sleep or difficulty sleeping in younger years to increased anxiety and depression years later.

Learning, practicing and experiencing healthy sleep is a life skill and educating our tweens and teens is a gift.

Introducing Happify :-)

February 6, 2013

happify trademark, happify logo, what is happify?, so do I get happy?, happiness projectIt’s finally time to introduce you to Happify! Two months ago, I was invited to try out Happify and provide honest feedback as I used the site and now Happify is open for new users! Check it out here.

Happify is a cross between a new social media, an interactive game and a shared (or private) gratitude journal. The site is based on scientific studies of happiness that show that what we DO makes a difference in how happy we are in life. Through quizzes, games, prompts and activities, participants on Happify learn ways, and take actions, to be happier and to better appreciate things in their lives.

There is an initial assessment of how happy you already are. I’m pretty happy by nature, so I wasn’t out looking to get happier, but it’s also important to actively do things to nurture my own happiness. I have really enjoyed doing these small activities as a reminder to slow down and appreciate just how much I have in my life.unlock your happiness, happiness skills, happiness test, studies on happiness, how to be happier, blue brain, join happify,

Starting out, users select a track to follow. You can choose from things like: Enjoy Parenting More, The Art in Happiness, Talkers and Listeners and Nurture my Body and Soul. You’ll then have different activities opened to you each day. If you’re gung-ho and ready to do more, there is also a skills section where you can do more activities. I completely cracked up one day when I just kept doing more and more activities and a message came up that congratulated me and addressed me as “You’re an over-achiever!” Hilariously on target!

There are five main skills and all the activities fall under one of these: Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathize. As you work through different tracks (here’s the video game-like part) you earn gold or silver for completing tracks within certain time frames, and you move up different skill levels as you finish and “Happify” activities.

You’ll do guided activities with prompts like, “Take a walk with a camera,” “Mix things up,” “Give a small gift,” and suggestions for doing and reflecting on what you did. Some things are silly like trying to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand to try to shake things up in your normal routine, while other things might be more sentimental, pensive, or celebratory of you or someone else. Some activities are quick, some you make a plan and pledge to do it then report back after you’ve done it. At any point, you can click and read the science behind the activity, the “Why it Works.”Happify, the science of happiness, studies on happiness, brain with gears, colorful gears, what is happify?, happiness assessment,

You can post pictures with certain activities either from your Facebook photos, Happify stock images or by uploading something from your computer, here the posts look a little like Pinterest with social interaction features for liking and commenting.

I’ve been enjoying my time on Happify. It’s nudged me to really mull things over, to cherish the everyday ho-hum stuff and to share my happiness in different ways. It’s challenged me to recognize and acknowledge my positive impact on others and to consciously live according to my values. Give it a try!

 

** The opinions stated here are my own and I was not required or asked to write a review, only to use the site. As a pioneer tester of Happify, I received a t-shirt and a copy of the DVD “Happy.” **

 

 

Hands that Rock – The Gift of Music for Children

December 28, 2012

Please consider Hands that Rock as you make your year end donations.

hands that rock, HTR, I love you in sign language, music charity, music education, saving music education, chair massage at concerts, Hands that Rock is an organization with a mission to bring the magic of music to under served communities throughout the United States. Founded by Darcy Lynch, a Rhode Island resident, and founder of Stage Hands Massage Therapy, the organization will provide chair massages for audiences at major concerts and events with net proceeds supporting music programs in cooperation with local music outreach organizations.

Since its inception in June 2012, the six month young charity has had 390 massage therapists who have worked at 31 music festivals and events nationwide for 118 consecutive days, and raised $12,000.

Hands that Rock’s primary focus is on developing and partnering with programs concerned with music education, performance, related resources and outreach for individuals and groups in need. It will also support community initiatives associated with environmental, social and health-related concerns to help create suitable environments for the creation and performance of music.

Baby Moon Education Getaway

December 22, 2012

Mystic, Connecticut
Friday evening, March 22 – Sunday evening, March 24, 2013

dad massages mom, pregnant couple, older couple expecting baby, pregnancy breathing, childbirth clases, mystic ct tourism, baby moon ideas, Join us in Mystic, Connecticut for a Baby Moon Education Retreat weekend of exploring, connecting, learning and enjoying. It’s a getaway with purpose – only 45 minutes from Providence, one hour from Hartford – but far enough to feel “away” while you connect with your loved one and continue your work to own your birth.

The term Baby Moon was coined first by Sheila Kitzinger to describe the time a family spends nestled together after the birth of their baby, paralleling a honeymoon taking place after the wedding. In years since, a Baby Moon has become the trendy pre-baby vacation.

If you’re envisioning a no or low-intervention birth, if you know that birth is a state of wellness and you desire to birth your baby(ies) normally, if you trust the birth process and want to honor your experience and protect your memory of your birth, this retreat is for you!

We will incorporate education on normal birth and it’s emotional and physical aspects. Between meals and outings, our time together will include discussions, group activities, demonstrations, videos, creative expressions, movement, time to experiment and continue to build your trust in birth and help you to make informed, evidence-based choices.

Between meals and childbirth education workshop time, you will enjoy free time to visit the Mystic Seaport

[caption id="attachment_1158" align="alignright" width="300"]mystic river, mystic seaport, drawbridge, sailboats, baby moon childbirth, full moon childbirth, Mystic River[/caption]

(you’ll receive two free tickets with your registration), Mystic Aquarium, Olde Mistick Village, hike local trails at the Nature Center, get a massage, take a swim (YMCA membership for the weekend is included in your registration) or check out Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods (about 1/2 hour from Mystic) and have time for a romantic dinner with your honey.

The Baby Moon Education Retreat weekend is now open for registration, escape the daily grind, enjoy time together before your baby arrives and get some sleep before the night feedings interrupt your zzz’s.

For more information or to register click HERE.

 

 

5 Parent Teacher Conference Tips

November 5, 2012

communicating with teacher, woman holding books, math on black board, school success, tips for school success, improving reading speed, third graders, In the season of parent teacher conferences, how can you get the most of those 15 minutes with your child’s teacher?

Be prepared

Think ahead about what you’d like to discuss with your child’s teacher and what questions you’d like to ask. Ask your child ahead of time if there is anything he’s concerned about or would like you to talk about in your conference. What they share may surprise you. You may also seek input from a spouse or a childcare provider, anyone who spends a lot of time with your child.

Write it down

Inevitably, you have some specific thing you’d like to ask the teacher and you’ve forgotten what it is when you walk into the classroom. So often, the teachers are on a tight schedule with parents stacking up outside their door, so you want to maximize your turn. Especially if you have more than one child, writing down some notes and questions is even more important.

Listen

Hear what your child’s teacher wants to share with you about your child. Does she see things that you’re not aware of? Can she provide information about your child’s social interactions, respectfulness of others and general manners and behavior when they’re outside of your purvey? Perhaps he has some worries about your child academically or organizationally.

Voting: Teaching Kids Responsibility

October 8, 2012

I have voted in every election since the day I was legal to vote. My birthday is the first week in November and the year I turned 18 it happened to fall on election day. I’m a committed voter, I even vote in all the less exciting in-between elections. I’m a big believer in upholding […]

Mother Daughter Book Clubs

September 24, 2012

mother daughter book clubs, how to start a mother daugher book club, starting a book club, kids book clubsMother Daughter Books Clubs are a simple, fun way to share reading with your school-aged and teen girls and they offer so much more than just a social event around a book.
They inspire a love of reading and help girls gain confidence in sharing their opinions, evaluating how they feel about a topic, weighing characters’ decisions and pondering how they’d handle that situation.

My oldest daughter and I joined an established Mother Daughter book club, The Book Girls, several years ago and we have enjoyed connecting by reading the same book and having this time together. We Moms have seen such growth in the girls discussions, books selections and interpretations of the stories we read. It’s developed from basic plot discussion to in-depth explorations about ethics, the meaning of gratitude, differences in people and cultures, dystopian worlds and human nature, among other thought-provoking topics.

Last summer, when my youngest daughter was seven, we were reading a book and the main character went to a book club. She asked me, “What do you do at book club?” and that’s when I knew it was time to initiate a Mother Daughter book club with her friends.

We started out with second grade girls and the classic James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl which had beenstarting a book club, how to start a mom daughter book club, book clubs, kids book clubs, celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. The girls dove into the story and while at younger ages it’s predominantly about learning to love reading and encouraging girls to feel confident in sharing their own ideas about a book; the girls also talked about how it would feel to be James, what their reactions would be to huge talking insects and even to think about comparing and contrasting James with themselves and their lives. That first night together, the five friends named themselves the “Book Bugs.”

From the start and as we continue, it’s important to let them know it’s not school and that there’s no right or wrong answer; we needed to give them “permission” to say what they really feel about a book. They’re learning to trust their interpretations and evaluations at their age level.

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