Family Recreation

How to Find Age Appropriate Toys for Children

How to Find Age Appropriate Toys for Children

How to Find Age Appropriate Toys for Children

Fond memories of childhood usually bring to mind a favorite toy. A cuddly doll, colorful crayons, or a special wagon are all childhood favorites. Toys bring a great deal of joy to children, but they also can be valuable learning tools. Exploring, pretending, and sharing are just a few of the important skills children develop while they play. Toys don't have to be expensive. Cardboard boxes in the backyard and measuring cups in the bathtub are favorite standards. But parents who do wish to purchase toys may find it helpful to know what toys to choose and which to avoid for children of different ages.

Every child is unique, has its specific pattern of development and has different ways of cruising through the milestones of physical, mental and social development. Infants and toddlers learn about the world through their senses. They are interested in the sight, sound, smell, texture, and taste of things. Objects or toys that can be squeezed, dropped, poked, twisted, or thrown are sure to cause delight. Toddlers also enjoy any item that can be stacked, poured, opened, closed, pushed, or pulled. Toys are vital for the physical and mental development of your infant baby. The toys have a significant bearing on your infants personality, therefore must be carefully selected.

During these years, children use their imagination to imitate adult activity and participate actively in physical games. Their physical coordination develops, and the foundation of printing and writing is also laid at this time. Preschool children learn by doing. They are busy developing new skills. They like drawing, painting, and building. They also spend a great deal of time pretending. Dress-up clothes, pretend play and puppets are big favorites. Preschoolers are energetic and active. They need large balls to roll and throw, wagons to pull, and tricycles to ride.

At this stage children learn about getting along with others, and about the adult world of sports, games and careers. They develop intellectual and social interests and make strong friendships, likes and dislikes. School-age children feel more grown-up and love activities that lead to (real products¦ such as jewelry, (designer¦ T-shirts, or stamp collections. They also develop a keen interest in sports and enjoy having adult-like physical equipment such as softball gloves, tennis rackets, or skates. They have a better understanding of rules and enjoy playing with others. Board games, cards, or dominoes teach math concepts and problem-solving skills.


The age of your child and not the activity level, is a primary factor in selecting an appropriate toy. Toys should not promote a single thought or concept; instead, they should enhance creativity and thinking skills. Toys and games are also important for the child to learn and practice logical and problem-solving. Toys that can be played in a number of ways serve as great educational tools and endorse comprehensive development of your child.

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Author Bio
Marina Neiman, author and mother of two, writes for 1888Toys.com Children Educational Toys Store, featuring classic toys with truly developmental value. To learn more about this subject visit: www.1888Toys.com

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Are Loft Beds (Bunk Beds) Safe?

Are Loft Beds (Bunk Beds) Safe?

Are Loft Beds (Bunk Beds) Safe?

By: John Marcus

If you are trying to maximize the space in your room, consider purchasing a loft bed or bunk bed to elevate your sleeping area. With loft beds, the bed is elevated on a platform with space left underneath for living, working, or playing. Bunk beds work on the same principal, but with another bed underneath the top bunk. Both are popular with children and teens, who often have limited space in their rooms; however, many parents worry about their safety.

Each year, thousands of children are rushed to emergency rooms after falling from the top bunk of their bunk beds or loft beds, while many more receive less serious injuries that are not seen by a medical professional. Typically, the main reason of injury involving bunk beds or lofts beds is horseplay and not from improperly installed beds. Before you purchase bunk beds or loft beds for your child, consider the age of the child and plan to make rules regarding the use of the bed. Although younger children are thought to experience more injuries, the most problems occur with older children who are more apt to disregard rules and exhibit unsafe or risky behavior.

For the most part, bunk beds and loft beds are just as safe as conventional beds. For smaller children, consider designating the lower bunk as their bed instead of allowing them to regularly climb to the top bunk. Also, ensure the bed is properly maintained and meets all current safety regulations and standards. Additionally, approximately eight percent of bunk bed related falls and injuries that must seek medical attention are related directly to the ladder. In addition to ensuring the ladder is properly installed, instruct your child on the correct method of ascending and descending the ladder.

When you begin searching for an appropriate bunk bed or loft bed for your child, choose a bed that appeals to all the safety standards. A bunk bed should have guard rails that have no more than three and one-half inches of space between the rail and the mattress. This will prevent children from falling through the space and potentially injuring themselves. If necessary, you may need to install extra boards if the space between the guard rail and the mattress. Furthermore, the guard rail needs to extend no less than five inches above mattress so that your child will be unable to roll off the top bunk.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the bunk bed or loft bed your purchase has guard rails on both sides. Even though one side of the bed will be placed next to a wall, a guard rail is essential due to a child potentially falling next to the wall and becoming trapped between the wall and the bed frame. Again, the guard rail should be no greater than three and one-half inches above the bed frame. Also, you should ensure that the mattress purchased to fit the bunk bed or loft bed properly fits the frame. Many parents choose to use a preexisting mattress used on a child-sized bed that is smaller than a traditional twin bed frame. Children can potentially fall between the mattress and the frame in this situation, so you should ensure the mattress is of the proper size.

In addition to ensuring the mattress is of proper size, you should also check that the mattress foundation is properly suspended above the bottom bunk or the space below. If the bed sits on a wooden platform, consider reinforcing the mattress with wooden slats or metal straps. This will prevent the top bunk from collapsing, especially if the lower occupant is kicking or pushing the above mattress.

By purchasing a quality, well constructed bunk bed or loft bed that meets all safety guidelines, you can make certain that your child will be safe and free from injury from the bed.

 

Author Bio
John Marcus specializes in Beds www.1-loft-beds.com

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Expect and Inspect: How to Protect Your Teen in Three Easy Steps

Expect and Inspect: How to Protect Your Teen in Three Easy Steps

Expect and Inspect: How to Protect Your Teen in Three Easy Steps

Young, wild, and free ... isn't that what it's supposed to feel like to be a teenager? While it's normal for teens to push and discover their limits, it's also dangerous. Due in large part to the fact that parenting decisions are only as sound as the information on which they're based, more parents are choosing to rely on tools and technology than gut instinct.

Here are three strategies for parents concerned about their children's safety:

1. Install a GPS system in your teen's car.

In the old days, parents would check their cars for new scratches, dents, or overly fast tire wear and ask other parents if they had seen their kids driving recklessly or beyond their geographic limits.

Parents who utilize GPS technology know where their car is, where it has been, and how fast it has been driven. When continued driving privileges are tied to responsible use, safer driving results. More importantly, teens know that their parents have access to this information, which makes them feel safer if they get lost or into trouble. It's like having a parent in the car at all times.

2. Install software for monitoring email and chat room conversations.

Sexual predators target teens in Internet chat rooms. Parents should obviously urge their kids not to give out personal information or agree to meet someone they "met" on the Internet. However, since teens know their online activities are a privilege and can be monitored, they've got a constant reminder. Parents urge teens to resist talking or behaving online any differently than they would if their parents were in the room because, in a way, they are.

3. Initiate a parent - child contract and home drug testing program.

Peer pressure often increases when kids "just say no" to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Kids need a "socially acceptable" excuse, and the words "My parents test me" stop pushy peers in their tracks. Parent and Child Contract Software (PACCS), developed by Dr. Michael Reznicek, helps facilitate conversations and establish expectations (including both rewards and consequences) between parents and teens regarding drug use. Home drug testing kits can be administered at home and provide instant results for a fraction of the cost of a lab, without sacrificing accuracy or privacy.

Author Bio
Mason Duchatschek has interviewed thousands of parents, teenagers, school board members, counselors, school principals and superintendents. He is the president of www.TestMyTeen.com (mason@testmyteen.com) based in Fenton, Missouri.

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Babywearing and Baby carriers

Babywearing and Baby carriers

Babywearing and Baby carriers

About Babywearing

History

Babies have been worn for thousands of years in pieces of cloth tied to the parent's body.

Benefits

Babies who are worn cry less, experience less colic, learn more, and are easier to get to sleep. Babywearing helps regulate the baby's breathing, temperature and heart rate. Parents who wear their babies are more productive, have less stressful outings and travel. Babywearing is good exercise. Breastfeeding is more convenient when baby is worn in a sling.

Types of baby carriers

Baby Slings

Ring Slings

A ring sling is basically a long rectangular piece of fabric with 2 rings sewn on one end. The tail of the sling is threaded through the two rings and back through one of the rings. The baby's weight creates dynamic tension and locks the fabric in placed between the two rings.

Shoulder type

The way in which the rings are attached to the fabric will change the way in which the fabric sits on the shoulder. There are infinite combinations of pleats, gathers, and folds that can be fed through the two rings. Different methods will create a wider or narrower shoulder, and more or less spread on the back.

Open Tail VS Closed tail

The tail of a ring sling is the fabric that hangs down loose through the rings. The fabric may either be left loose, which is called an "open tail", or it can be folded into a "closed tail", a narrow strap of fabric. An open tail sling is more adjustable, you can pull on each edge of the fabric to tighten either the top rail of the sling (around the baby's shoulders) or the bottom rail of the sling (between your and the baby's body). A closed tail sling creates a handle that you can pull on to tighten the entire sling at once. Tightening the individual rails is more difficult in a closed tail sling.

Padded rails, padded shoulder, unpadded

Ring slings are available either unpadded, with padded rails, a padded shoulder, or any combination. Most common commercially available ring slings have a closed tail with padded rails, which is the least user friendly combination. Overly padded rails are more difficult to adjust, since the padding can not be pulled through the rings easily.

Pouch/Ring Sling Hybrid

The pouch/ring sling hybrid is a combination of a ring sling with a curved seam like a pouch sling (see pouch sling category below). The hybrid sling can have any shoulder type, and may be padded or unpadded, closed or open tail. Hybrids are usually narrower than ring slings, since the curved seam creates a deeper pocket for the baby. Hybrid slings are sometimes folded in half like a pouch sling, before attaching the rings at the shoulder, which also creates more of a pocket for the baby.

Ring Sling Fabrics

Ring Slings can be made of almost any fabric. Commonly available slings are made of bottom weight woven cotton and cotton blends, twill, sateen, denim and linen. Less common fabrics include jersey knit cotton, silk, wool, cashmere. The wrong side of the fabric will show in the tail of the sling, so if a ring sling is made of a single layer of fabric, it is important that both sides of the fabric be attractive. Ring slings can be made reversible and more supportive by using two layers of fabric.

Rings

The rings used for a ring sling should be tested and made specifically for the purpose. Thin rings, or those with weld marks, are not appropriate and may bend or break under the pressure. Thin rings can bend and slip through one another. Rings with rough weld marks may be abrasive and weaken the fabric.

Length

Ring Sling length is largely based on the wearer's preference. Ring slings can be as short as above hip level, or as long as knee length. If your sling has a pocket, it is good to have the pocket positioned at approximately hip level so that you can reach it easily. Most ring slings are one size fits most, so unless you are very petite or plus sized, you can probably wear almost any ring sling.

Pouch Slings

Fitted Pouches

Fitted, or sized, pouch slings are a simple tube of fabric with one curved end where the baby's bottom is positioned. The tube is folded in half in on itself to form a pocket for the baby. Fitted pouch slings are typically available in 4 to 10 lengths depending on the brand. The more sizes the better, because a snug, high fit is important for the comfort of the wearer. The size of the pouch is determined by the size of the person wearing it, not the size of the baby. It is common for new pouch sling users to wear the pouch too loose.

Adjustable Pouches

Adjustable pouches are the same tube style of sling as a fitted pouch sling, but they have a method of adjusting the length, so that one pouch will adjust over 3 or 4 sizes. This makes the sling wearable through weight gain and loss, and sharable between different caregivers. Each brand will have it's own method of adjustment, available adjustment methods are snaps, zippers, Velcro, or drawstrings. There are also some "semi adjustable" pouches that have a smaller degree of adjustment with a single button.

Pouch Fabrics

Pouches can be made of almost any fabric. Twill, sateen, and polar fleece are the most commonly used fabrics, but you can also find pouches made of jersey knit, silk, wool, hemp, or many other fabrics. If the fabric used is stretchy lengthwise, it is necessary for the length of the pouch to be shorter because the weight of the baby will stretch the sling out. A less stretchy fabric is more supportive for a heavier baby, and you always want the more stretchy direction of the fabric to run widthwise, not lengthwise. Pouches can also be made reversible, with two different fabrics.

Padded Pouches

Most pouches are unpadded, but there are some available that have light padding along one edge of the sling. This is mainly used in the hip carry, it cushions the back of the baby's legs. The padding is also useful for young babies without head control, the padding is worn on the outer rail of the sling and can prop the head up slightly.

Pouch/Wrap Hybrid carriers

Generally made of a very stretchy knit fabric, this type of carrier system usually is made up of one or two fitted pouches, and a short support sash that can be wrapped around the torso, or over one shoulder. Usually more comfortable for lightweight infants, they aren't supportive enough for babies over about 18 lbs. A more versatile alternative to the pouch/wrap hybrid is a stretchy knit wrap.

Wraps

A wrap is a long narrow piece of fabric that can be used in many different positions and can be wrapped around the wearer's body in many different ways.

Stretchy Wraps

Stretchy wraps are made out of cotton or cotton/lycra knit fabric. They are 5 to 6 yards long by about 25 inches wide. Stretchy wraps are most suitable for newborn front carries. Because of the stretchiness of the fabric, you can wrap your self first, and then stretch the fabric and pop the baby in an upright position against your chest. Stretchy wraps aren't suitable for a heavy baby; they tend to sag very quickly.

Woven Wraps

Woven wraps are probably the most versatile, supportive and comfortable carrier of them all. They also take much longer to master, but for a dedicated babywearer with an older child, it is worth it. Woven wraps are available in all lengths from 2.5 to 6 yards long. The length of wrap that you want will depend upon both your size and the positions and wrapping method that you want to carry your child in. They are made of cotton, wool, silk, or hemp. You can find excellent online instructions for the many different methods of wrapping.

Asian Inspired Baby Carriers

Mei Tai

The Mei Tai consists of a usually rectangular center body piece, with 4 long straps, one coming off of each corner. The top two straps go over the shoulders, and the bottom two straps go around the wearer's hips/waist. There are different methods of tying the shoulder straps. They can go over the shoulders like back pack straps, or be crossed over the chest or back of the wearer. The mei tai is typically worn on the wearer's front or back with the baby facing in toward the wearer, though it can be used on the hip or facing out on the front for short periods. Straps can be narrow or wide, padded or unpadded.

Onbuhimo

The Onbuhimo is similar to the Mei Tai, but it has just shoulder straps, no waist straps. There is a ring or loop at each hip that the shoulder straps are threaded through after being wrapped over the wearer's shoulders. The straps can be worn like the Mei Tai, either ruck sack style or crossed. The onbu is usually used as a back carrier with the baby facing the wearer, though it can be used on the front as well.

Podaegi/Hmong

The podaegi and Hmong are similar to the Mei Tai, but generally have a larger, wider body piece (called a blanket) that extends past the wearer's hips, with very long shoulder straps and no waist straps. The Podaegi can be tied over the shoulders like the Mei Tai, or just around the torso above the bust.

Structured Carriers

Back packs

Usually have an aluminum frame with a nylon seat for the baby to sit in. They are suitable for babies that can sit up unassisted. Bulky and heavy, and usually requires assistance to get the baby on the wearer's back.

Hip carriers

Mei Tai style carriers with a buckle around the waist, and a single shoulder strap designed to be worn diagonally across the body, with an older baby on the hip. Many can only be worn on one specific shoulder or the other.

Structured Asian Inspired Carriers

Basically a Mei Tai with buckles, snaps or clips on the waist band and shoulder straps. Widely available for newborns, there are also structured carriers that are suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. Very mainstream looking and accepted by a wider audience than the more traditional baby carriers.

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Author Bio
Sara Gower, President, Slinglings Baby Slings

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Bedwetting Tips: What about Traveling?

Bedwetting Tips: What about Traveling?

Bedwetting Tips: What about Traveling?

You've been around the block a few times with this whole enuresis thing if your child has been at it for a few years. You've got the drill down cold - taking care of the laundry, protecting your child's skin, protecting your mattress, steering this sleepy child to the bathroom for one last pee. That is, you've got the drill down cold... at home. What about if you had to take this show on the road? The very thought might strike fear in your heart. You might be tempted to stay home until your child either outgrows this challenge - or leaves home and can take care of it without you.

You could do that, but your family would really miss out on some incredible memories - some time together that's impossible to replace if you let it slip past you.

With a few handy tips, you can take the show on the road - and not leave a path of pee destruction in your wake. It just takes some advanced planning, some advice from someone who's traveled that road before you. Fasten your seatbelts, and let's go!

**Plan ahead! If you're staying at a hotel, reserve a roll-away bed for your room. Many hotels provide a roll-away for free - some charge a nominal fee. You won't have to worry about ruining a full-sized or (gasp!) king-sized mattress. You'll also enjoy a more peaceful vacation, because the kids won't spend the whole time fighting about who's got to share a bed with the one who wets. Of course, they'll find tons of other things to fight about... but at least not this issue.

**Make a quick stop before you settle in - or even better, shop before you leave home. Pick up a good plastic mattress cover and remake the bed before you even unpack. Your roll-away bed is probably a twin size, or a little smaller - so a twin mattress cover will do nicely. You can probably pick one up for $5 or less, but you'll get a hundred times that much back in peace of mind. You'll know that even if your child floods the bed, the mattress will be protected - and you won't end up paying for damage. Same thing if you're visiting relatives. The last thing you'd want to do is damage their mattress. This little piece of plastic will put everyone's mind at ease.

**If your child will be sleeping in a sleeping bag, you may have some luck with a waterproof sleeping bag liner. You can get a set of four for less than $20 that are made of mylar (like the balloon). Slip one into a sleeping bag, and even if your child has an accident, the sleeping bag and everything around it will stay dry. Just wash the liner and lay it out to dry the next morning.

**Don't forget your first line of defense - protective underwear (GoodNites or some other brand of pull-ups). Nobody even has to know your child is wearing pull-ups. Just have him or her wear boxers or shorts on top of them, and maybe some sweatpants if it's cold. This allows for protection and dignity all wrapped up in one clever tip.

**Even if you don't usually do this at home, during a trip away from home, be sure to have your child visit the bathroom several times before bedtime. Paired with the benefit of sleeping in a strange place (which somehow magically seems to help kids stay dry - does this mean we should just move every other night or so?!), you may get really lucky. They may fight and fuss, but it's a sure bet you'll hear tinkling and flushing - in spite of all the protests of, "I just went!"

Will these tips make your trip around the world or just to Grandma's a piece of cake? Probably not - half the thrill of travel is all the unexpected things that happen, after all. Traveling with kids is always an adventure. But it's worth it. You'll be amazed at how your family will talk about these treks long after you get back home. You may find that some of your happiest memories as a family were about your time on the road. Come on! Be brave. Be prepared. And have a wonderful trip. Send a postcard!

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Sue LaPointe is the owner of BedWettingHelpforMoms.com – a site aimed at encouraging, supporting, and educating parents of bedwetters. Request your copy of the free report "Got a Bedwetter? Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid."

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Baby Crib Advice and Tips

Baby Crib Advice and Tips

Baby Crib Advice and Tips

By: Martin Smith

Congratulations! You have just learned that you are having a baby. Whether this is your first or not you need to look at cribs. Do you have one already? Is it an antique? A second hand crib whether antique or not needs to be carefully looked at. This is for the safety of your new baby.

The screws, bolts, and/or other fasteners should all be in place. Are they loose? Will the position of the mattress hold under your baby's weight? It is imperative that this be tested before you put your baby in the crib. Take something that approximates the weight of your baby at about 4 months old. Bounce it off the mattress to be certain it will hold its position. If it doesn't it could cause serious injury to your baby or worse.

When setting up the nursery (if it isn't already up) consider very carefully where you will place the crib. If you place the crib near a window and you have Venetian blinds, either shorten the cords or anchor them somewhere that your baby can't reach and get a hold of them. If it all possible avoid placing the crib near the window. As your baby grows into a toddler and s/he attempts to climb out of the crib; s/he could possibly fall which could cause serious injury to your baby.

Blankets and your baby are not necessarily a good mix. With the incidents of SIDS today, you want to be sure to do everything that could possibly put your infant at risk. It is more advisable to put your baby to bed in a sleeper. If you absolutely have to have a blanket on the baby, tuck it tightly around and under the foot of the mattress with your baby's feet touching the footboard. Also you don't want to put the blanket any higher on the baby than up to his chest as that will help prevent him from slipping under the blankets and suffocating.

Bumper pads are a great concept but unless they are secured properly, there is a risk of your baby slipping between the mattress and the bumpers and possibly suffocating. If you use them they should be anchored in at least eight places one at each corner of the crib and at least two spaced evenly on each of the sides. There should be a total of 16 ties in all, for the top and bottom.

Mobiles are a nice addition and look adorable but... the caution here is that if you use a mobile as soon as your baby starts to sit up on his own the mobile should be taken down to prevent your baby from getting tangled in it. Also make sure that it has no small removable parts that your baby could choke on.

If your crib is second hand no matter whether you had for a previous child or you got it from someone else check out the mattress carefully. Make sure there are no cracks or holes in the mattress covering. Make sure too that the mattress properly fits in the crib. Here again, your child could slip between the mattress and the sidebars or the end boards and suffocate. The mattress should fit snugly in the crib. Now the sheets you use in your baby's crib should also fit properly and not slip and slide. Sheet anchors are available that hook on the sheet under the mattress and keep it in place.

The position of the mattress is imperative for your child's safety. Most parents put the mattress at the highest position when the baby first comes home because it is so much easier to change him in that position. As your baby becomes more active you will want to lower the mattress accordingly. Once your baby is able to pull up to a standing position put the mattress in the lowest possible position and to be sure your baby is safe, measure the distance between the top of the side bar and the mattress. In the lowest position the distance of the top of the side bar should be no more than 26 inches above the mattress. If your child's head is over the side bar or they climb out of the crib, it maybe time to move your child to a regular bed. Some cribs are convertible into beds tat will grow with your child.

The crib itself should be looked over for things that might put your baby at risk. Have you seen those cribs that have ornate designs carved into the end boards? They are beautiful but they pose a danger to your child. Your child could get his head or arm and leg caught and sustain an injury. The simpler the design of the crib the safer your child may be.

Since approximately 1974 federal safety guidelines for cribs state that the slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. This is to prevent your baby from getting his head stuck between the slats. This could cause injury to your baby but it would necessitate the removal of some of the slats and that alone would.

 

Author Bio
Martin Smith is a successful freelance writer providing advice for consumers on purchasing a variety of Baby Crib Bedding and more! His numerous articles provide a wonderfully researched resource of interesting and relevant information.

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Bedwetting Tips: Bed Wetting Alarm

Bedwetting Tips: Bed Wetting Alarm

Bedwetting Tips: Bed Wetting Alarm

My friend's six-year-old son still can't seem to get through the week without at least 2 bed wetting incidents. She's got rubber sheets on the bed, and he wears pull-ups, but these do nothing to actually stop the problem. She figures part of it is her fault. She intends to rouse him every night to use the toilet, but it's such a struggle to wake him up! They say that being a sound sleeper is a major factor in bed wetting at this age, and I believe it. Her story isn't much different from mine.

I've been looking for ideas and have tried reward charts, nighttime reminders (listen for your bladder!), and occasionally waking him up before I go to bed.

But I've gotten to the point where I think something more dramatic is called for.

I've been to the doctor and am pretty certain that it's nothing medically related. Besides, they say it's hereditary and some of our relatives wet the bed, too. Well, I don't want these boys to have to deal with this when they're twelve. They're about the age when they start to get invited on overnights, and this is an issue!

So I'm on the search for bet wetting alarms, and there is a huge discrepancy in price.

I've found cheap $20 dollar devices that clip at the shoulder, and a cord runs down to the pants. I also found underpants with an invisible thread that only require a clip on the pants themselves. I really liked this version because the bed wet alarm was a remote device, so he can't turn it off and go back to sleep. Of course, that one goes for over $100.

I also read about some that require the child to attach something like a mini-pad, but that just seems cumbersome and downright cruel when the poor little guy is already embarrassed about bedwetting. Then there is a Malem bed wetting alarm that can both sound and vibrate at the first sign of wetness. Decisions, decisions...

I think I feel better just taking any sort of action right now.

I read a statistic that said if nothing is done 85% of children will still be wetting the bed a year from now. One article I read said that we will need to use the bed wet alarm for 12 weeks for it to really work. At first I thought, "12 weeks- three whole months!" but then I got real and decided that 12 weeks is a whole lot better than a year, or 6 years.

So my strategy is to keep doing some of the things we have been doing. I'll remind him nightly to "listen to his bladder," we may start another reward chart, and we will add in the bet wetting alarm. I'm also trying to prepare myself mentally for the fact that this won't be an overnight cure. My nights of changing sheets and comforting my wet and shivering son are not yet over. But we're taking decisive action, and I think that will make both of us feel better.

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Sue LaPointe is the owner of BedWettingHelpforMoms.com – a site aimed at encouraging, supporting, and educating parents of bedwetters. Request your copy of the free report "Got a Bedwetter? Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid."

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Bedwetting Alarms Get Your Child On-Board

Bedwetting Alarms Get Your Child On-Board

Bedwetting Alarms Get Your Child On-Board

When your child has a bedwetting problem, as a parent, you'll try pretty much anything if it looks like it might help. In fact, you'll try most things a couple of times! We tried a bedwetting alarm a few years back, but it went kaput before it had any effect (goes to show you get what you pay for). Now that he's older, and we're able to get a better quality alarm (the Malem Ultimate I), we're up for the challenge again.

Overall, I think there's a lot of potential. I've heard from other moms who've had great success with different models. Some have more bells and whistles than others (literally!), but they all have the same basic idea - when it gets wet, it wakes the bedwetter up so they can run to the bathroom.

Funny side note: when they've reported the happy results to their pediatricians, some docs have said it was just a coincidence - that the kid's bladder had simply matured by that time.

The alarm worked great for a few nights - a couple were actually dry, and another was almost dry. Then we went on vacation! Don't know about you, but everything from diet to excercise goes out the window when we're away from home. This was no exception!

Coming back home, we've had a challenge getting him back 'on board' with the alarm. He says he can't sleep with it going off so often! (of course not! That's kind of the whole point, right?)

We all face this problem in some way: getting your eneuretic child to get with the program, to cooperate - when it's not fun.

It's no different from getting a kid to eat veggies, brush teeth, or write thank-you notes for birthday presents. To be honest, it's not much different with adults!

Think about it - why do you choose to go to work every day (even though there are a million things you'd rather do)? Why do you choose to obey speed limits when you drive? (um... sort of!) Why do you floss your teeth? (Gosh, don't you hate it when your dentist asks you whether you've been flossing? You're so busted either way, right?!)

We do things we don't particularly want to do all the time. Why? Because the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term annoyance.

So, whether your child balks at wearing pull-ups or diapers, or wearing a bedwetting alarm, or keeping up with good hygiene to avoid a nasty rash, we're in the same boat!

Some tips:
- As always, keep your cool. Once a kid senses a power struggle, you're dead meat! Try to keep it casual. Keep your voice calm, even quieter than you normally speak.
- Find a great bribe! What really gets your child excited? Get creative about how you can create a reward for cooperation. Don't just offer something that sounds good to you - make sure it's enticing to your child.
- Praise efforts, not just results. So, if he wears the alarm - but somehow sleeps through it and soaks the bed, I'll say, "Great job on wearing the alarm! Keep it up, and it'll start really helping you stay dry."

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Author Bio
Sue LaPointe is the owner of www.bedwettinghelpformoms.com, a site aimed at encouraging, supporting, and educating parents of bedwetters. Request your copy of the free bedwetting report "Got a Bedwetter? Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid."

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Ten Tips to Tame Your Child's Temper Tantrums

Ten Tips to Tame Your Child's Temper Tantrums

Ten Tips to Tame Your Child's Temper Tantrums

By: Destry Maycock, MSW

David's mother explained, "Whenever David doesn't get his way he throws himself on the floor, screams, kicks and cries incessantly. What can we do to help him overcome this behavior?"

TIP:
What is David getting out of this behavior? First make sure that you are not rewarding this type of behavior, positively or negatively because both will help keep it alive. If you eventually give in to this behavior by changing your initial decision (not letting David go out to play, refusing David a cookie), David has learned that tantrums work. Hence, when David wants his way he may think, " a good tantrum just may get me that candy bar, it got me out of bedtime last night." Negative attention (yelling, threatening, ridicule, spanking) seldom changes the behavior. Getting you upset may be just as rewarding as giving in to their demands. So again, make sure you are not unintentionally rewarding David for this behavior.

TIP:
Be proactive. Think of the situations that invite David's
meltdowns and head them off before they happen. Do questions that require a yes or no answer provoke a tantrum? Instead of "Do you want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch David?" try "It is time for lunch David. Would you like PB&J or macaroni and cheese?" Advance notice may help as well. "We will be leaving Grandma's in ten minutes. Get everything you want to take care of completed before we go." Is David more likely to throw a tantrum when he is tired? Then you may want to provide an opportunity for him to take a nap.

TIP:
Consequence. Be sure to tie the consequence back to the misbehavior. "David, remember the last time we went to the store and you threw a fit because I wouldn't let you have that Power Ranger? Remember how you kept putting it in the cart and screaming that you wanted it? Well I am going shopping but you won't be going with me. I just don't feel like dealing with that kind of behavior today. Mrs. Hamblin is here to watch you until I get back. Try to make the best of it. Love ya, bye."

TIP:
Move David to a different location. The key is for you to model taking care of yourself. Your ears hurt when you hear David's screaming. You may not be able to control whether or not David has a tantrum, but you can control where he does it. "Tantrums are for the bedroom. Let's go." You may want to give him a choice. "Where do you want to be until you can get that under control, the bathroom or the laundry room? If David can't decide quickly, you decide for him. Come on out when there is no more crying and screaming."

TIP:
Notice the exceptions. Point out the times when David may have thrown a tantrum but did not. "I really appreciate how you came in the house when I asked without throwing a "fit". You should feel good about being able to do that."

TIP:
Give the behavior a name. This will help externalize the problem, which is to say, it separates the person from the problem. It helps David and the family view the behavior as the problem and not him (the problem is the problem). For example, you could call David's tantrums the "uglies". This can help put David and you on the same side in the battle against the "uglies". Questions like "can you think of a time when you have beat the "uglies" David? How did you do it? or how do you know when the "uglies" are coming? What can you do to stop them? "David may enjoy the imagery of conquering the "uglies" and this can give David a sense of control over the behavior.

TIP:
Acknowledge his feelings. This aligns you with David and sets the stage for him to begin to work through his own problems.

David: "Dad, can I get this Power Ranger?"

Dad: "No, David I am not buying toys today."

David: Eyebrows coming closer together and lip starting to pucker. "But it is the last one I need and I will have them all."

Dad: "Not today David."

David: Screaming and crying. "You never get me anything I ask for. You don't love me."

Dad: Acknowledging David's feelings. "You must feel really sad about not being able to get the Power Ranger. I know I sometimes feel bad when I can't get what I want."

David: Sniffling. "Yea, I really want it."

Dad: "Tell you what. (Taking pen and paper out of planner) I will write this down as "things David wants"."

David: "Okay Dad."


You can later use this list for surprises or gifts for special occasions.

TIP:
Tell David what you are going to do. "David, I'll come back down stairs when you get that under control" or "I will be happy to talk to you when you are not crying and you voice is soft like mine."

TIP:
Ignore the tantrum. If your have the will power to outright ignore the behavior you must remember that it may get worse before it gets better. That is, when David's behavior doesn't produce the desired results, he may turn it up a notch to see if a higher intensity level gets a response. Be careful. If you give in and respond to the higher level or longer duration, David learns that is how intense or how long he needs to tantrum from now on in order to receive attention.

TIP:
Direct David toward a different way of expressing how he feels. "David, here is some paper and crayons. How about drawing how you are feeling right now." This is a positive, less annoying way of communicating how he feels.

 

Author Bio
Destry Maycock has over eleven years experience working with children and families as a professional social worker. Destry has helped hundreds of parents solve a variety of parenting challenges and strengthen their relationships with their children. Destry enjoys developing products that help parents. Visit www.parentingstore.com to see the latest parenting programs.

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Being What We Want to See

Being What We Want to See

Being What We Want to See

By: Norma Schmidt

My parents had just come home from a farmer's market and noticed an extra bag of peaches.

"You have to take these back," my mom told my dad. "WE HAVE KIDS. We can't keep something we didn't pay for."

My mother was putting her finger on an essential truth: Kids absorb the values they see adults putting into action.

Ever notice how quickly kids spot any inconsistency between what we say and what we do? Long before kids can spell "hypocrisy," they notice when our actions fall short of our words.

"Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you," author Robert Fulghum says.

Kids need to see us "walking the talk."

IN FACT, WE TEACH KIDS BEST WHEN WE PRACTICE "BEING WHAT WE WANT TO SEE" IN THEM.

If you volunteer in your child's school, you might have noticed that savvy teachers practice "being what they want to see" in their students.

These teachers encourage respect by speaking respectfully to their students, even when correcting them. They teach self-control by sticking to "indoor voices" in the classroom, especially in situations that could provoke angry shouting.

"Being what we want to see" isn't always easy - though perhaps it's easier with other people's children!

At home one day, I found myself shouting "STOP YELLING!" at the top of my lungs. I caught the inconsistency between my words and behavior about two seconds before my child commented on it.

OUR EXAMPLE POWERFULLY INFLUENCES OUR CHILDREN'S CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

If we vent our anger through yelling, put-downs or sarcasm, that's how our kids will learn to handle their anger.

I once heard a preschool teacher say that by listening to the children, she could tell exactly how their mothers spoke to their husbands!

If we respond to unpleasant situations with kindness, self-control and respect, then our kids will learn that.

Not all at once, and not perfectly. But surely.

And that extra bag of peaches?

Soon after my dad left to return them, the phone rang.

"We stopped by, but you weren't home," my grandmother said. "Did you get the bag of peaches we left you?"

We all shared a big laugh when my dad got home. And more than 35 years later, whenever a clerk makes an error in my favor, I remember the peaches.

 

Author Bio
Norma Schmidt, M.A., M.Div., is a parent of two and a former Lutheran minister with experience as a pastor and a cancer center chaplain. She gives workshops on parenting and on living with illness. To get her free report, "61 Great Ways to Teach Kids About Money," visit www.ParentCafeOnline.com/pages/53/index.htm

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