Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peer Pressure- How To Deal With It

No one is immune to peer pressure. From preschool age to adults, we all at some point have been influenced by our peers, either negatively or positively. It becomes more prevalent in the preteen and teen years because this is the time in life when children begin to spend more time with their peers and less time with their parents. Kids begin to look to their friends for acceptance at this age. Before your child enters this phase in life, it’s important you equip them with the proper tools and knowledge to deal with peer pressure.

- Tell your kids about peer pressure.
Explain to your kids that their friends will more than likely try to peer pressure them at some point and that they need to be prepared for these situations. For instance, you could say to your child, “At some point, one of your friends may ask you to cut school or drink alcohol, and it’s important that you say no and don’t do it just because others are doing it. Be your own person.” Then you can tell them a story about when you were peer pressured as a kid. It's comforting for a child to know that you have experienced what they are going through and it may make them more comfortable coming to you for advice when they feel peer pressured.

- Always be your child’s advocate and bail them out.
Tell your child that no matter what situation they find themselves in, you will always be there for them and bail them out. For example, if they need a ride late at night or if they feel uncomfortable in a situation and need a way out of it, tell your kids you will always be there for them, no questions asked. This will build trust and hopefully teach your child to reach out to you if they find themselves in a dangerous or troublesome situation.

- Get to know your child’s friends.
The more you know about your child’s friends, the more you know what you are up against. If your child is hanging out with kids with high morals, there may be less to worry about. If you know your child is hanging out with the wrong crowd, then you need to police your child’s whereabouts and know where your child is and who they are with at all times.

Get to know their friends’ parents, too, so you have a network of adults to help you keep tabs on what your kids are doing.

- Pick your battles.
It is inevitable that you and your preteen/teen will not agree on everything. However, if you nitpick and fight over small issues, such as what they chose to wear every day or a certain hairstyle they decide to try, your child may tune you out when it comes to the big stuff. If your child needs to rebel, let it be the things that won’t harm them or get them in trouble.

- Help your child avoid troublesome situations.
If your child wants to attend a party where there is no adult supervision, or wants to be alone with a boyfriend or girlfriend, tell your child it is not a good idea, be firm, and stick to your guns. Being in situations where trouble is likely to occur sets your child up to experience peer pressure, and it may lead to him or her doing something they regret.

- Encourage your kids to get involved in positive activities.
Encourage your kids to get involved in positive activities such as sports, volunteering, or youth clubs. The more positive social outlets your child has in their lives, the bigger chance your child will find friends that are encouraging and a good influence. Finding safe environments for your kids to grow and learn is essential to combating peer pressure.

Sources: Saltz, Dr. Gail. “Preteens and Peer Pressure: How to Help Your Kids Avoid Negative Influences From Friends.” Today MSNBC. September 10, 2009. Web. May 27, 2010.

“Peer Pressure.” Web. May 27, 2010.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Internet Safety: Keeping Your Kids Safe on the Internet

Back in the day, when it was time to work on a school project, I would dust off my trusty set of encyclopedias or cozy up to a desk in the library and use reference books. Nowadays, students have a wonderful resource…the Internet!
The Internet is chalked full of information on any and all subjects. There is no better learning tool around. But with great access to information also comes great danger. There are many Web sites with harmful information readily available for children to view. How do we keep our kids safe while surfing the Internet?

First off, we should warn our children about the dangers of the Internet, especially chat rooms and social networking sites where not everyone is who they seem. Dangerous strangers your kids meet online could coax them into meeting in person. Also, teach your children not to give out any personal information on the Internet to anyone.

Beyond that, there are many tips on how to keep your children safe on the Internet:

- Keep the computer screen in plain view so your kids know there is always the possibility someone can see what they are searching for on the Internet.

- Keep tabs on what your child is viewing through your browsing history. If the browsing history is deleted for some reason, investigate why.

- Share an e-mail account with your child or know your child’s password so you can monitor messages being sent to and from your child.

- Bookmark your child’s favorite sites so they don’t accidentally go to a harmful Web site. (For instance, your child may be typing in “Legos” but accidentally searches for “legs” instead and they are taken to pornographic Web site.)

- Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software. Also consider using filtering software to limit the Web sites your children can access.

- If your child belongs to a social networking site, such as Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace, monitor what your child is posting. Talk to them about putting only appropriate information on these sites.

Remember, monitoring your child’s Internet activity is not a violation of your child’s privacy. It is your responsibility as a parent to keep your child safe.

For more information on how to keep your child safe while surfing the Internet, be sure to check out the iKeepSafe Web site. It has valuable tips and information for parent s and children on Internet safety.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How Much Should My Child Weigh?

Do you ever wonder if your baby weighs enough? Too much? Do you worry about how your little one compares in size to others his or her age? I know this is a topic many parents fret about because it is one of the most highly searched topics on the Internet in regards to raising children.

There are many factors that influence a child’s height and weight, such as, genetics, gender, nutrition, physical activity, health problems, environment, and hormones. And all of these factors are different for each child.

Just remember, like adults, children have different body types, too, so no single number on the scales is the right weight for everyone. It’s also important to remember that among children the same height and age, some are more muscular or more developed than others.

If you think your child has gained too much weight or is too thin, the best thing to do is make an appointment with your pediatrician. Your doctor will help you determine if your child has a weight problem. Since your doctor has measured your child's height and weight on a regular basis, he will know whether your child’s growth is proceeding normally.

Check out this very informative article from Kid’s Health Web site. Did you know that all kids are not measured on the same growth chart? I did not. Girls and boys are measured on different growth charts because they grow in different patterns and at different rates. Looks like I need to stop comparing my son’s measurements to my daughter’s measurements at the same age!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flying with a Baby and Living to Tell About It

One of my closest friends, Jessica, who now lives in London with her husband and their sweet 8 month-old baby girl, just made the long trek across the pond to visit friends and family in the United States. Her traveling adventure got me wondering, “How in the world do you travel that far with a baby?!?!”

Luckily, Jessica had done her research on how to survive air travel with a little one and picked up some great tips. I decided to do a little research myself so I’ll be ready the next time we need to travel by air.

• Make sure you book your flight for the right time. Take your baby’s schedule into consideration and see if you can plan your trip for your baby’s sleepiest time.

• Book a seat on the aisle. You will have access to move around easier in case your baby becomes fussy or if you need to change a diaper.

• Check to see if your airline allows you to pre-book a baby bassinet (sky cot) before you travel.

• Board the plane first and get off the plane last to get a better chance of assistance from cabin crew.

• Bring everything you think you'll need -- and then pack extra! That way, you will be prepared in case there is a flight delay. Pack extra diapers, clothes, food (solids and/or formula if you are not breastfeeding) and snacks.

• Bring an extra shirt for yourself, too. No one wants to sit on a long flight with baby spit-up on them!

• Disposable bibs are a great idea for mealtimes on board an airplane.

• Bring toys out one by one in order to ensure get maximum use of each toy. Once your baby tires of one toy, put it away, and get out another one.

• Ask for 'bulkhead' seats. They have much more legroom, and there is a small space for your baby to sit and play. It is also a great area for you to stand and rock your baby without disturbing other passengers.

• During take-off and landing, the change in air pressure might hurt your baby’s ears. This is a great time to feed a baby (either breast or bottle) or have your baby suck on a pacifier. Both feeding a baby and sucking on a pacifier will make your baby swallow, thus alleviating pressure in his or her ears.

Happy flying! We hope your flight with baby is a success. Please share your own air travel tips when flying with babies in the comments section below.