Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Early Reading is a Must

Yes, reading should start this early.

My mother used to tell me that reading to children is the most important thing you can do for them as a parent.  I have seven siblings, and true to her convictions, she read to all of us until we were old enough to want to read alone.  She read nightly for 26 years – 9,490 reading sessions with us all piled into her lumpy old bed.

We lived out in the present ghost town of Table Rock Village.  Once a week the bookmobile would make the 45 mile trip from Rock Springs to our village.  Once it arrived, the kids would line up outside for their turn to pick books.  My siblings and I made up 50% of the line.  The driver only let us choose 10 books, and only 2 people could get on the bookmobile at a time.  Ultimately, though, our family would end up with 90 books (my mom got 10 also), and we each read every single one.

Fast forward 20 years:  We can now see that early literacy sets the foundation for long-term educational success.  This week I will be attending the college graduation of my younger sibling, and the 8th college graduation for our family – a milestone that makes my mother’s time and work really show.  And when I get home, I will sit down with my kids for our 2,920th reading session.

All of that UNWANTED Advice….

 

Jan Jones- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Cheyenne

I love to sneak in the unwanted parenting advise with all my children. After all, I have been there, done that! I certainly got a lot of that advice from my mother so It is now my turn to shine!

I recently had to decide where my granddaughters were going to get their  PROM dresses. I suggested the local recycle prom dress exchange. Now this exchange has already been open for two months so everything is picked over! Wow! All the dresses looked like something from the 80’s. Even I agree.

One granddaughter came out in a cotton dress, floor lengh, flower child style with a lot of ribbons. The next granddaughter came out in a tight fitting, low cut black version of Cruella De Ville. (She did not have the necessary curves but it did match her black nail polish) There were many different left over bridesmaids dresses that made them look like they were unhappy never a bride material. One suggestion was made to add a hoop petticoat under one dress. My granddaughter was concerned about how she would fit to dance with her date. We are headed to the CHEAP prom dress section of the mall tonight.  I will hate going along but since I have the pocket book I will provide the unwanted parenting advice. I may even provide pictures of the big day to all you bloggers!! Wish me luck!

Goals, Goals, Goals… Family Planning

Blanca Moye- Parents as Teachers Parent Educator- Jackson Area

When I think about goals for my own family or the families who I work with a bunch of ideas come to mind. So before I start talking about my ideas for goals, I would love to hear ideas from you too. To support our families mostly when summer is coming and when everyone is busy.

One of the more important goals I will be doing is more reading to my children every day; for 5 to 20 minutes at a time. For example, choosing one new word to focus on- such as “Horse”- we can then read books about farms, animals, etc…We can create family stories regarding horses, who had a horse?, what kind of horse the family likes? We can do art projects revolving around the subject such as draw horses, other animals, nature or makeup a story regarding the horses closest ‘friends’.

Other one will be increasing our healthy skills as a family. We are planning to cook together, making salads, counting fruit and vegetable intake, and drinking more water. If we make it a competition to see who can be the healthiest – it makes it fun for the whole family!

If we start with a little step at a time, everyone will see the difference- planning family goals is always the first step.

The Week of the Flu

The flu is never fun!

After a week of family-wide stomach flu, I’m again reminded of the value of sleep.  I’ve found sleep—or the total lack thereof—to be one of the biggest adjustments when it comes to parenthood.  Good rest is of course important for adults and children—lack of sleep has been linked to depression, anxiety, obesity, immunity problems, diabetes, and even ADHD. However, sometimes helping our kids get the sleep they need is easier said than done.  Here are some things that I have found helpful… some advice from other parents, some from experts, and some from plain old trial and error.

1) Consistency—My dude is not a very consistent baby, but bedtime we stick to.  He goes to bed within the same ½ hour window every night.  It helps him sleep and gives me a predictable end time on those days where, well, I just need an end time.

2) No distractions—We have no toys, stuffed animals, or anything too exciting within reach of the crib.  We don’t play in it—it is designated as a sleep-only zone.  Down the road, this will also mean no TVs, computers, etc. in the bedroom.  I assessed many children as a school psychologist whose only problem was that they stayed up watching TV until 3:00 AM.

3) Noise—I made fun of my sister when she used to take her baby’s white noise maker with her everywhere she went.  Now we don’t travel without ours.  I’ve found it has multiple benefits—it teaches my kiddo to sleep with noise while blocking out other, more disturbing noises, especially when we’ve traveled.  Plus, when we do travel, it is something familiar in an unfamiliar environment.  Finally, he is so used to sleeping when he hears his “sound” that now I swear just hearing it makes him sleepy!

4) Developing Sleep Skills—I’m a believer that kids need to develop the ability to put themselves to sleep and not rely on parents to get them there.  Teaching these can be tough, but my life sure seems easier now that my dude’s got some skills of his own.

5) Good Sleep Environment—I was baffled that the best my child’s ever slept was in an unfamiliar CLOSET over Christmas break, until I figured out that it was because the closet was pitch black.  He napped like crazy.  We came home and I adjusted his bedroom accordingly.

What do you think?  What has helped you teach your child good sleep habits? Or, just as importantly, how do you ensure that you, as a parent, get the sleep you need?

The NO TV Challenge: Think YOU Can Handle It?

Julie Heil- PHP Outreach Coordinator located in Buffalo

I am prepared for the BATTLE! My family has attempted and sometimes completed a No TV Challenge several times over the last three years that we have actually had cable television. There are lots of moans and groans for the first two days and then my two kids figure out that they have things they have forgotten about like…..

Bikes, Games, Books, Art Supplies, Pets, oh and those pesky adults in the house called PARENTS.

Really, it is amazing to me how my middle school son will be watching Spongebob when I leave the room and the next time I peak into the family room, there is some hot mess of a female on the scream holding a huge gun and killing a metal person/vehicle while screaming profanities. WHAT I scream- “mom its Megan Fox, relax” he says. “All my friends get to watch whatever they want and plus its only PG-13”. (I’m kinda stuck on the rating thing- PG-13 just means the absence of the F word- all else is fair game as demonstrated by Megan’s bodacious bod and use of weaponry while wearing a bikini)

I don’t like TV, I think it sends the wrong messages to our kids on so many levels, you have to be skinny, with perfect clothes, own the best cars and eat a ton of junk food (thinking of the commercial of the father and son standing in a beautiful wavy corn field taking about how high fructose corn syrup is natural and really good for you)  Plus, the kids in these shows talk so nasty to each other. Their dialogues are wrought with sarcasm and innuendo that children don’t understand. Oh, how I wish for the days when Dora the Explorer was the hero of our house. I loved her chubby little girl ways and mismatched clothes, her adventurous spirit and sweet Abula that gave wise advise.

I have hidden the remotes, unhinged the dish and I am ready for the fight! This week we are TV free, are you up for it?

Umm, Ohh, I, I, I, The Topic That Makes Parents Stammer…

Ethelyn Sharpe- PEN Parent Educator out of Cheyenne

Where do babies come from?  What is sex?  Why are boys and girls different?  These are all questions that can make parents stutter and stammer.  Why is it so hard for us to talk to our children about sex?  Is there an easy way?  Most  experts agree that keeping things simple and the lines of communication open are key elements to talking to children about sex, but even with those ideas in place, it’s not easy!  Hopefully, here are some tips to make it a little less painful!

Do keep it simple.  Start with minimal information, and wait for your child to ask another question.  Young children might be satisfied with “mom has a special place in her body that grows a baby”, where an older child will want to know how the baby got there. 

Decide with your partner what values you want to teach to your children.  What do you want to teach, as a family?  Abstinence, responsible premarital sex?  When do you talk about birth control?  For daughters, is using Birth Control Pills an option?  If so, at what age?  Are you willing to buy condoms for your sons?

Use outside resources.  As mentioned in the previous blog, talk to your pediatrician.  Also, books are a good option.   Clergymen and school counselors can also be a great resource.

Keep your sense of humor.  Let’s face it, sometimes things are just funny.  Being able to laugh and not treat the subject as “taboo” does help keep the lines of communication open.

Different Family Constellations

Natalie Pique- Casper Area PEN Outreach Parent Liaison

My ten year old son came home from school last Friday and said, “Mom, my friend Paisley is SO lucky! She is going to the Superbowl with her dad and his new wife!” I told him that she was very lucky indeed, and right out of nowhere, he asked if his dad & I ever got divorced, would either one of us marry someone else. This sparked a discussion about divorce, remarriage, and step-families. He commented that most of his friends have step-parents & siblings and that he had very few friends that have their “original” parents. I explained that families look different all over the world, and there is not a right or wrong way to have a family.

Growing up, our family experienced several divorces over the course of 18 years, which meant that I had several step-parents and step sisters. Although at times it was difficult, I learned to love all of those people and considered them my family. The one constant in my life was going to my dad’s house every weekend, which sparked my life-long love for sports (hockey & football especially!). When I was 13, he remarried and moved out of state and I dearly missed those weekends.

My husband & I have been married for 21 years, and our boy’s have never known any different than what they have experienced a “family” to be. I have talked before about my step parents & step sisters with them, but I hope that this discussion about different kinds of families made my son realize that all families are not the same, and that’s okay! Whether it is a single parent, grandparent, foster or step family, it is still a family…and that is what counts!

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