Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

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!

Parents as Teachers a Positive Resource

Tammy Dexter- PEN Parent Educator- Riverton

As Parent as Teachers Parent Educator, I fret whether I am providing a positive influence on my families and whether I am making a difference in their lives.

Then, I recently reflected upon the positive influence that my families provide to me as an Educator. My families and their children provide a shining light during my work day.
It is so rewarding for me to go into their homes and be greeted by the children with hugs many questions and rummaging through my bag of goodies. The enthusiasm that they demonstrate for my being there and the new activities that they will be exploring is a positive reinforcement for me. 

My families provide me with the opportunity of coming into their homes and experience the growth of their children with them.  Parents are excited to show me what new things that their children have learned and can do, from previous visits.  They have opened up their hearts and home to me.

So, I don’t know if Parents as Teachers is making a positive influence and difference in their lives, but I do know that the families and children have in mine.

New Year- New Attitude!

Sometime life just doesn’t seem to cooperate. Ever have a bad day or a bad week?
I found through all my adversities in life that it simply does not pay for the BAD to take over your attitude.
Sometimes it is so hard to come up with something positive but usually a good sense of humor can foil the BAD!
Simply taking a minute to unwind and find the humor in the situation will help you decide you don’t need to own the problem by maintaining the attitude! You have the choice to react to the situation in a positive way.

Maintaining a Positive Attitude:
Learn to be Thankful for the things that you have now in life. Do not focus on what you don’t have!
Learn to give and do something good for others every day!
Get rid of your negative thoughts; tell yourself positive statements every day!
Find something positive about every situation!
Start your day with a smile always. Find a reason to smile every day!
Exert more effort into becoming more positive … and remember:

Life is 20% of what happens to you…
And 80% of how you choose to live life
Jan Jones –

What 2010 and PHP Have Taught Me

I am one of the few people who began working for PHP before I became a parent.  This year, that changed, and a beautiful little boy joined our family in April.

Unfortunately, this little guy has suffered from all kinds of health problems.  Some just made me worry, some made getting through the day a real challenge.  One of the hardest things he’s struggled with has been a feeding aversion. After so many problems with difficult and painful feeding, the poor guy just wouldn’t eat any more.

In an almost odd twist of fortune, I had learned about sensory problems like this through PHP—I had heard very little of them as a school psychologist. I knew what questions to ask my doctor and I knew how to get help through the developmental preschool—knowledge I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise. With no family here, PHP became my strongest support network.

I’ve always prided myself in being logical, cool, level-headed…I never used to cry.  But this year, I’ve learned to let the tears come.  I’ve learned to let others see them.  I’ve learned to lean on others in a way I’ve never allowed myself to do.  In short, I’ve learned that we all need a little help.

That’s what 2010 has taught me.  So all you parents out there, use the supports you’ve got, and don’t be afraid of needing a little help.  Because the people helping you are likely needing help of their own!

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