Maintaining Your Mental Health as a Mom

When you go through pregnancy your doctor or midwife will take so many things into account, from your blood pressure to your weight, heart rate, and other physical elements. But how many times is mental health addressed? Becoming a new mom is something that can change your life completely, and so it makes complete sense that it can have an impact on your mental health. You could experience some anxieties around labor, stress over health, money, or situations out of your control, and you can be more tired than normal, which can all add up. 

It is important to not ignore your mental health when you are a new mom. So here are some of the things that you can do to help, from taking steps to decrease your stress levels, as well as things that can calm you or increase your energy levels. You and your baby will thank you for taking some steps for change.

Self-care is something that is so important for mental health, and important at any time, but especially when you are a new mom. It doesn’t mean that you have to go on spa trips each week, as with a baby that can be nearly impossible (and expensive). However, it is about taking some time to do something for you, to look after yourself. If you just need to take a nap when the baby naps, then do that; the household chores can wait. You’ll be able to do much more as your baby gets older.

Natural Remedies

There are a number of natural ways that you can help your mental health, according to https://www.mind.org.uk/. Sometimes medication from a doctor will be required for mental health, but sometimes there will be things that you can do for yourself, such as using CBD oils or taking St. John’s wort supplements when you’re feeling low. You could even look into the kinds of things that a site like https://fatbuddhaglass.com/ has. It can be some trial and error to find what works for you, but being proactive about how you are feeling is something that is so important. Talk to your doctor too, as they can advise what will be best if you don’t want to go down the medical route.

Positive Self-Talk

When you are a new mom you are faced with so many exciting things, but also a lot of challenges. Some days will go well and you’ll feel like you’ve got a lot done. Other times you’ll feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and you will barely get dressed that day. Being a mom is something that you learn on the job, so it is important to not speak negatively towards yourself. You’re a beginner at this, and things will get better! Speak kindly to yourself and remember that you’ve got this!

Is there anything else that you would add to the list? It would be great to hear what you think.

Are You An Overprotective Parent? 4 Ways To Let Go And Let Your Child Grow

Good parents want to be involved in their children’s lives, but for years educators and psychologists have been asking the question: How much parental involvement is too much? When does trying to help your children in school, sports, and myriad other ways go too far, hurt their development, and become over-protective?
The explosive college admissions scandal seemed to answer that question. Television actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to jail for paying $15,000 to influence the boosting of her daughter’s SAT score. Fourteen other parents in the probe have also pleaded guilty.
While most parents don’t cross that legal line, early education expert Christine Kyriakakos Martin says too much parental involvement can be harmful in a variety of ways, sometimes leading to children becoming ill-prepared for the challenges of adulthood.
“The consequences of being an overprotective parent is that your child will lack self-confidence to make decisions and take risks,” says Martin (www.youvegotthisparenting.com), author of You’ve Got This! Keys To Effective Parenting For The Early Years. “They’ll lack the coping skills to get up when they fall down from a bad experience and try again.”
Martin offers four ways for parents to stop being overprotective and promote more strength and independence in their children:
Stop teaching fear. While there are non-negotiables when it comes to teaching your child safety — for example: wearing a helmet when biking, no talking to strangers, no texting when driving — Martin says sometimes parents overprotect when they create too many boundaries, which in turn may teach children to live fearfully. “When you don’t allow them to play outside much, you’re impeding their freedom,” Martin says. “Play develops the imagination and self-confidence. Overprotective parents don’t want their children to fall down, and getting back up and brushing themselves off is a necessary component for healthy growth and development.”
Don’t be their full-time problem-solver.  Martin says many parents want to take care of all of their chidlrens’ problems and make things easier for them. At some point that needs to stop, she says, because adult life is rife with adversity and unforeseen obstacles that we must learn to deal with independently. “Teaching children problem-solving skills encourages them to be independent,” Martin says. “Learning to resolve conflict on their own and work through problems builds resilience and teaches them how to handle adversity.”
Teach responsibility. “If you make their beds and clean their room, you’re doing them a great disservice,” Martin says. “It’s about learning early lessons in responsibility. Doing these things for a prolonged time can debilitate your child and set them up for a lack of life skills as adults. Let your child take on reasonable responsibilities and let them feel a sense of accomplishment.”
Let them branch out. Sometimes parents develop a comfort zone with their child’s pursuits and restrict them when the child wants to expand. “Let your child have some freedom to make some of their own decisions about their interests,” Martin says. “Interests change, and the more varied experiences they have, the better for their ability to make decisions and adapt to different situations.”
“Parents are right to protect their children in a dangerous world,” Martin says. “But having them grow up in a bubble hurts them and their ability to deal with the world as adults. The best thing you can do for your children is to find that balance between protecting them and teaching them to be strong and self-sufficient.”
About Christine Kyriakakos Martin
Christine Kyriakakos Martin (www.youvegotthisparenting.com) is the author of You’ve Got This! Keys To Effective Parenting For The Early Years. An early education expert and consultant, Martin is the founder and owner of Sunshine Preschool in Hopkinton, Mass. She has spoken on child-development topics at national education conventions and colleges.

5 Things Foster Parents Should Know About Navigating The Court System

The important role foster parents have in a child’s life expands significantly when they go to court.
To make decisions in a child’s best interest, judges need good information, and foster parents ideally can provide that. Thus, foster parents having a complete understanding of how to participate in court goes a long way toward ensuring a safe, loving home for the child.
Here is a priority list foster parents should know in advance of a court appearance.
  • Be prepared. Foster parents are the voice for the child and must do everything they can to ensure that the child is heard in court. Do not come to court unprepared. The more information you bring, the better.
The judge largely depends on the foster parents’ testimony to decide what’s in the child’s best interest. The idea is to have enough information so you can answer the judge’s questions in a clear and beneficial way. To prevent being overwhelmed with documents days before court or scrambling for information, the best way to prepare is to begin keeping a journal well in advance. Taking notes about what happens in your foster child’s life creates an organized record, showing progress, behavior patterns and how they express themselves in different situations. Include school records and doctor’s appointments as well as notes about interactions between the child and their birth parents. Include highpoints, lowpoints, and milestones in the child’s development while in your care.
  • Know your rights as a foster parent. Foster parents should receive notices of all hearings. If you are not getting them, contact your social worker and/or a juvenile department clerk.
Foster parents also have a legal right to attend review hearings, usually held every six months, until the foster child receives permanency or the case is closed. They also have a right to attend permanency hearings and post-termination of parental rights (TPR) hearings. Permanency hearings have to be held before a child reaches one year in foster care, then every six months. Post-TPR hearings are held every six months until the child is in a permanent home.
  • Should you bring the child to court? This decision is often left up to the social worker. What’s most important is what’s in the best interest of the child. If the child is uncomfortable going to court, it’s worth considering having he or she write a letter to the judge.
  • Educate yourself on common questions. There’s a list of questions judges commonly ask of foster parents; some of those questions can be found on websites under “foster care hearings.” Examples: How long have you been a foster parent? How long have you known this child? What changes have you noticed in the child’s behavior or emotional state since being in your home? How is the child doing in school? Let your social worker or attorney guide you and ask them any questions you may have, including what the objective is of the specific hearing you’re attending.
  • Speak respectfully and concisely. Don’t get emotional in your discourse with the judge, and don’t throw the birth parents under the bus. The court listens best to foster parents who have tried to work well with birth families and who aren’t on their own agenda, such as getting the child to stay permanently in their home. Speak up and speak clearly, and refer to the judge as “Your honor.” Be as clear and complete as possible so the judge will have sufficient information to make a decision.
One of the most important duties for a foster parent is to act as an advocate for the child in their care. That requires the foster parent to be able to tell the court all they know to help the court decide the child’s future.
Jennifer Lynch, author of the children’s book Livi and Grace (www.jenniferlynchbooks.com), is an educator and child advocate who serves as a guardian ad litem, a person appointed to represent a child’s interests in a court case. She has worked as a special education teacher for an elementary school and as a preschool teacher. In addition, Lynch created the You Are Good brand of T-shirts and other products for sale and for donations. Thousands of the shirts have been donated to children and teenagers in the system. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas A&M University. 

Top 4 Reasons Your Teen May Be under Stress

Youth is a free pass to have fun and enjoy. But alongside this “folly” are physical, social, mental, and emotional changes that every teenager goes through to cross the bridge to adulthood.

 

Indeed, transition and turmoil characterize adolescence. And your teenage son or daughter may have trouble coping with how things are. Your child may be dropping signs and hints of stress. It’s time to pay close attention to what’s been eating up your teenager and how you can help.

 

Your Teen May Be Stressed, but Why?

 

You think you’ve given your child everything—attention and material things that they need to grow up responsible and decent. You may think that they have it easy. But young people nowadays experience far too many things that can quickly put a strain on them and their relationships with other people.

 

1. Social Media

 

Your child may be among the millions of people across ages plagued by social media obsession. This modern-day condition has been linked to causing depression, anxiety, and loneliness, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Another study in 2017 reveals the correlation between the use of social media as evidence in the ownership of smartphones and the rise of levels of depressive symptoms among surveyed 8th to 12th graders.

 

2. Control (or Lack of) over Their Lives

 

Teens spend most of their life at school, where everything has been prearranged for them. They are expected to meet their teachers’ and parents’ expectations, or they’ll get failing marks and scolding afterward. If they express disdain toward authority, they’ll be branded as rebels. This whole situation is a stress factor for your child as they have to keep up with everyone’s approval to be good and to do good at school all the time.

 

3. Self versus Group Identity

 

Friends are a source of joy and stress for teenagers. Running parallel to hanging out with friends is figuring out one’s identity. It’s a balancing act: the desire to stand out versus the fear of being cast aside for being different. Your teenager is probably worrying about this issue, spending more time alone and becoming more quiet than usual.

 

4. The Age of Curiosity

 

Adolescents have a lot of exploring to do, and their curiosity will likely lead them to uncharted and sometimes dangerous territory like drugs, alcohol, sex, and whatnot. Your child may be using drugs to relieve stress, fit in with their peers, or just want to experiment. Or it could be that their drug use and the fear of discovery by you are causing them stress.

 

A Word to Parents

 

Your job as a parent is commendable, working round-the-clock to ensure your family is well and happy. While having a teenager is a tough chapter in any parenting book, you or other parents can still catch up with your children to be on the same page.

 

Drug use, for instance, can still be curbed. There’s only one way to confirm if your child is using drugs like ecstasy: conduct an MDMA test with this kit at home. This test is foolproof and is widely used for preemployment exams.

 

You can always speak with your child about school and life in general. Opening up with you about teenage stress may be hard at first, but assuring him or her regularly that you will listen without judgment is a good start.

6 Tips for Raising a Child that has Allergies

Taking care of your kids is sure to be top of your to-do
list each day. There are many medical issues that may arise over time, and
yous ideal to be aware of some of the top treatments you
can provide to decrease any discomfort your child may have.

Tip #1: Buy
hypoallergenic clothing

The things your child puts on each day to wear can have
either a positive or negative impact on allergies. Its ideal to clean your home thoroughly at least once a
week to get rid of excessive dust that is likely to accumulate. This is one of
the simpler things you can accomplish to help your child feel well with ease.

This can potentially reduce many of the unwanted symptoms of allergies and allow your kid to suffer more than necessary. Be sure to click here to find some of the highest-quality clothing that can help you child feel good every day.

Tip #2: Keep your home dust free

One of the ideal ways to help your children feel well when allergies are a part of life is by keeping your home free of dust. This will take a bit of extra effort on your part to accomplish but is well worth it to prevent your child from sneezing and feeling bad all the time.

It’s ideal to clean your home thoroughly at least once a week to get rid of excessive dust that is likely to accumulate. This is one of the simpler things you can accomplish to help your child feel well with ease.

Tip #3: Stock up on
medicines

The key to dealing with severe allergy attacks is by being
as prepared for these as you can be. Taking time to keep a stock of various
medications on hand is sure to helpful to you.

In fact, you should restock your shelves during asthma
awareness month
to allow you to never run out of things, such as epi pens,
nasal sprays and many others that can keep allergy symptoms at bay.

Tip #4: Be mindful of
food

Did you know that many of the foods your child eats can
worsen allergy symptoms? This is a fact, and you may even have a kid that is
allergic to peanut butter, peanuts or other food items.

You may want to avoid having certain foods in your pantry at
all that could trigger negative responses from your child if eaten. This is an
ideal way to avoid the temptation of eating these foods and may allow for
better results.

Tip #5: Encourage
sunglasses

You may have a child that just refuses to put on sunglasses
when playing outside, but doing so can be helpful in reducing allergies. Having
this protective item in place while outdoors can minimize the amount of pollen
or other things that can get in the eyes and contribute to problems.

Be sure to have a set of sunglasses for each of your
children to wear that has been diagnosed with allergies. This could be
extremely helpful and can decrease the amount of discomfort any kid may have
when living with this situation.

Tip #6: Work to have
cleaner air

There are various purifiers you can purchase that may help
keep the air in your home cleaner. This is an ideal situation for any
individual that suffers from allergies.

However, keep in mind it will take some time for this item
to work as it should. Even one of the top selling air purifiers can take at
least 15-20
minutes
to get the air in your home thoroughly clean.

Be sure to do all you can for the well-being of your child
when allergies are an issue. Being aware of what you can accomplish and working
to put these to use is sure to be the key for your kids to start feeling better
sooner rather than later.

 

 

New to Being a Mom? Keep Yourself Sane in Case of These Four Classic “Emergencies”

There’s perhaps nothing more rewarding than being a new mother.

Likewise, there’s perhaps nothing more stressful.

Let’s face the facts: there are millions of moving pieces to being a new mom, especially if you’re a working mother. From making sure the house is clean to keeping your family fed, it’s completely normal to experience a bit of a breakdown from time to time.

However, according to the American Psychology Association, the stress associated with parenting is no joke given the following:

  • Women are exponentially more likely to experience symptoms of emotional stress such as headaches, overeating and emotional outbursts versus men

  • 56% of new mothers and married women stated their stress levels have increased within the past five years

  • Approximately 80% of family health care decisions are made by women, indicating an extra burden of responsibility on new mothers

Perhaps the best way to fight stress and keep yourself sane is to prepare for the little “emergencies” that tend to strike when we least expect them. The following emergencies aren’t life and death situations, but rather represent inconveniences that every mom should be prepared for. Stop stressing out and instead take a proactive approach to keeping your family and yourself happy when you need to the most.

Emergency Meals

You don’t have to be supermom 100% of the time: sometimes you simply don’t have the ingredients or the energy for a home-cooked meal. Instead, make sure to have some takeout options on deck. For example, keep an eye out for pizza coupons that will ensure you have a hot meal delivered quickly and on the cheap.

It’s also a good idea to invest in non-perishables and frozen meals from time to time, although such items shouldn’t necessarily become cornerstones of your family’s diet.

Having an emergency meal plan could be the difference between a happy household and an absolute nightmare.

Emergency Messes

There’s no shortage of messes to clean up when you’re a new mother. Having the following items in your pantry can help put a stop to even the stickiest of situations:

  • A solution of one cup of white vinegar, one cup warm water and a few drops of any essential oil represent a reliable all-purpose cleaner that smells awesome

  • Magic erasers (or copycat brands you can find on Amazon) can take care of kitchen messes

  • Bleach for heavy-duty clothing stains that need to be soaked away immediately

Although you can’t prevent every spill, the least you can do is be prepared.

Emergency Entertainment

Sometimes you flat out need a break from the madness, right?

There’s no shame in letting your kids veg out in front of the television from time to time. While you still need to keep an eye on them, don’t underestimate the power of a play-pen and some simple children shows. Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu have just about every cartoon under the sun; likewise, they can auto-play episodes so you can relax for a while.

Emergency Supervision

Finally, make sure that you plan for emergency supervision in case you need to leave your kids alone for any extended period of time. Ideally, your spouse or parents could help: if not, consider an elderly nanny or trustworthy teenager in the neighborhood who’ll be willing to watch them for little to nothing. Of course, make sure you trust your babysitter and outline a routine for anyone watching your children.

There’s no denying the stresses that come with being a new parent. However, with the right tricks up your sleeve, you can take time to decompress and de-stress while still keeping your family happy.

How Dance Classes Can Positively Influence Your Child

Children may rely on their parents and other family members for approval at a young age, but once they enter school they’ll begin a shift that causes them to lean heavily in favor of their peer group when it comes to building their self-esteem. It is because of this that many children struggle with self-confidence as they head in to their adolescence; other kids can be rude, crude, and downright nasty as they, too, try to discover their own identities by trying on a variety of hats. However, there is a third option to build your child’s self-esteem, aside from the spheres of school and home life. You can also enroll your children in extracurricular activities. And although dance may not be the first thought that comes to mind (team sports and music lessons might be your first choices), there are several reasons why dance classes could be a better confidence booster for your kids.

dance class

For one thing, dance classes allow your kids to interact socially in a setting that has some structure and purpose, but also a social element that is more relaxed than school. And this can help them to develop both individually and as part of a group of like-minded children. If they excel in dance, they will start to feel good about their abilities. They can gain confidence not only from seeing their skills grow with instruction and practice, but from knowing that they can set their mind to a goal and accomplish it with hard work and diligence. And the fact that they’re sharing the experience with other children who are also building their self-esteem makes for a positive social environment in which to form relationships. This is not to say that the dance world can’t be cliquey and competitive, especially as the age group advances. But from an early age it can certainly help to endow your kids with a special skillset that provides them with added confidence.
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5 Tips to Help Your Kids Develop Self-Esteem

KidzaniaIt is often said that kids don’t come with a handbook. While there are plenty of books out there on the subject of raising children, including those that teach you the basics of feeding and bathing, as well as those that cover cognitive development, physical milestones, and psychological growth, none can offer a blueprint that tells you exactly how to raise your child. Kids do tend to follow predictable patterns, but they’re all individuals, and you can only do your best as a parent to help them grow and develop properly. That said, there are steps you can take to achieve particular ends with your kids. If, for example, you want to ensure that your children develop the strong self-esteem that will help them to succeed in every area of life, here are a few tips to help you out.

  1. Pose challenges. A person’s sense of self-worth can revolve around accomplishments, and in a very real way, one success can lead to another. As a parent, you not only have the ability to teach your children their very first lessons in life, but also to help them achieve their first successes. This starts with simple tasks like getting dressed, brushing teeth, tying shoes, and picking up toys, just for example. But as your kids begin to develop their motor and cognitive functions you can create more challenging tasks for them to complete, potentially increasing their self-esteem. If you continue to challenge them throughout their youth they will be better prepared to deal with the curveballs [Read more…]