Newborn Tips for Grandparents, Homevisitors, & Parents

My newsletter and blog have been on maternity leave for the past few months. More accurately, it was grandparent leave. My attention and energy consumed by saying hello to the tiny human who shares my ancestry, my love, and my home.

During the first eight weeks of my grandbaby’s life, she and her parents lived in our home. It was incredible and inspiring. The experience was incredible because each day I witnessed the details of child development and new parenting. And it was inspiring because I experienced the amazing village that welcomed our granddaughter. My grandchild allowed me to experience what it means to be born into a community of love, consistency, and kindness.

While away from my computer, I have thought about writing and learning. There were many moments when I thought my experience might be of benefit to other grandparents, parents, and those working to support children and families. I was aware of my knowledge of neurobiological and infant development and watched as neurons connected each day before our eyes.

Grandparents, friends, parent educators, and other supportive adults! Here are the top eight lessons from the first two months. Continue reading

Teach Your Child To Say Thank You

Holidays and birthdays are a fertile training ground and opportunity for practicing manners. As we exit the season of gift giving, many parents are left wondering if their children missed a few lessons. Saying “please” and “thank-you” are essential social skills but children don’t always use these niceties.

The authors of the book, Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick, conclude that based on science, “deliberate practice” and persistence create the habit. In the language of parenting – gentle reminders, consistent practice, and supportive suggestions help your children learn how and when to respond. And, because children are continuously developing, so too must our teaching. Continue reading

How To Get Children To Listen

The parents of four-year-old Brandon are struggling. He doesn’t follow the rules, is uncooperative and distractible. Their main complaint is that Brandon doesn’t listen.

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During the day, Brandon’s mom, who is at home with him and his 9-month-old sister, is exhausted. She can’t seem to get Brandon to do anything that he doesn’t want to do. When she threatens to “call dad” or put Brandon in time-out, he laughs. Some days it is just easier to let Brandon do what he wants.

At the family dinner table, Brandon won’t sit at the table for more than minutes at a time. Bedtime is a disaster. He wants to do one more thing rather than go to bed. Dad just has to get tough with him to get Brandon to listen.

“Why can’t you just listen?” reflects the frustration and resonates the sense of failure for the parents and for the child. Continue reading