You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Squeeze pouches…are they a good option for picky toddlers?

squeeze pouch

Are fruits and vegetables from a pouch the best idea for your toddler?

There are several baby items that I wish were around when my four kids were young.  One of the “convenience” items I see so many parents using are the fruit and vegetable “squeeze pouches”.  Ingenious and convenient!  Squeeze the pouch onto a spoon (you can even get spoons that fit on the end to squeeze the mixture onto…so smart!) and you have a meal on the go for your baby.  Baby is the key word…..

The other day I was in Target and I saw a child who was at least 2 if not closer to 3 happily eating his “squeeze” meal with another box of them in the cart for later.  Many parents are using these squeeze pouches as meals and snacks because their picky eater toddler will not eat fruits and vegetables.  Is there anything wrong with this?  Many of these packets are high in sugar, and since they are “fun” and easy to eat, many children can suck down several of these packets a day.  Often these calories are not even considered when a parent looks at what a child eats during the day.  The way these pouches are “eaten” is much like drinking a juice pouch, the contents are “sucked” coating the teeth which I would imagine would not be good for dental health.

The biggest concern I have with children continuing to “eat” these pouches as part of their everyday diet is that those children miss out on knowing what a “real” fruit or vegetable truly looks like, tastes like, or feels like in their mouth.  It is so much better to eat an apple than to “eat” a pouch that mixes applesauce and peas together!  Toddlers need to learn to eat and chew solid foods with texture!  Toddlers need to know what a healthy diet looks like!  Parents often worry too much about forcing toddlers to eat vegetables, it is much more effective to offer healthy foods and allow toddlers to “experiment”.  Some days your toddler will love his green beans or spinach, and some days he will shut his mouth and refuse.  A pouch of pureed “spinach” mixed with plums may make Mom or Dad feel better, but results in a toddler missing out on the real taste, texture and experience of real food.  If a child is continually given healthy options and Mom and Dad set good examples, eventually a toddler will give it a try!  (don’t forget a serving size for a toddler is about a tablespoon per year!  A serving of those peas is just a few tablespoons for a 2 or 3 year old!)

So, these new pouches are great for infants….so convenient, some are even organic; but in my opinion they can be a hindrance in teaching your toddler what healthy food really is.  Real food trumps convenience.  What do you think?

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Starting solid foods….there really is not a lot of rules!

baby solid foods

Starting solid foods can be stressful…so it seems.  So many of my conversations with parents who are starting foods, thinking about starting foods, or in the middle of food introduction are full of anxiety and questions.  It really should not be.  There are very few guidelines that parents really need to follow.  Many of the “rules” of starting solid foods are not based on lot of science, but are based on culture and “what grandma did”.  So what is all the worry about??  What are the “rules”?

Let’s keep it simple.

1.  Children should start solid pureed foods when they are developmentally ready for food, usually near the 6 month mark.  Usually at this age healthy children who are developing normally should be showing some interest in foods, sitting up fairly well, and their tongue thrust should be minimal.

2.  First foods are really “practice foods”.  Your baby is trying out new tastes and textures, but their main nutrition should be coming from breast milk or formula.  Solid foods are complimentary the first year.

3.  Pureed foods do not have to be the traditional baby foods…give your baby new and interesting tastes!  There really is no scientific base to withholding any foods, even foods that are traditionally high allergen foods like eggs and peanut butter.  The only food your child should NOT have is honey in the first year.  Introduce new foods every few days and enjoy.

That is really it!  So there really is no need for a schedule, a flow chart or an excel sheet to introduce your child to foods.  Honest…

Even with these simple “rules” there are lots of questions.  Here are some of the most common questions/worries that I hear:

1.   Should I start with rice cereal first? 

Traditionally rice cereal has been the first food for babies in this country…for years!  Why?  Well, it is convenient, it is easy to mix and feed, and it is iron fortified.  Iron stores from Mom may begin to deplete after the first 6 months, so foods with iron are often started first.  There is a lot of debate about white rice cereal, but rice cereal does not HAVE to be first.  There is certainly other whole grain cereals with iron fortification and there is no reason why a baby can’t have pureed meats at 6 months too.  I think we should look at other foods besides rice for a first food.

2.  Should I start with green vegetables first, then yellow, and then fruit?

Don’t have to……there is no evidence that shows if you give your baby green vegetables first he will like vegetables any better or like sweet things less.  No matter what order you introduce foods, all children (adults too) will like the taste of sweet better.  Besides, if you breast feed, your baby has already tasted sweet…your breast milk.  Don’t worry about what color vegetable or what fruit you should introduce when, just offer your baby a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.  You can introduce carrots one day, applesauce a few days later, and then peas…the order doesn’t matter.

3.  Is it healthier to make my baby’s food?  Does it have to be organic?

Many parents worry about the fact that they don’t have time to add baby food making to their “to do” list, but it seems that everyone is telling them that “good parents” provide homemade organic baby food.  Like parenting issues in general, there is always different options for different families.   There certainly are many ways a parent can provide healthy food for their child.  Some parents buy only organic, local food and have special recipes for homemade baby food, some parents shop aisle 2 and pick up whatever food is in stage 1, and other parents go half and half; making some food and buying some. The truth is, your child will not be on pureed foods very long.  I think the sooner your child begins to eat what you are fixing the rest of the family, the better.  Children like foods that have normal seasonings and a wide variety of tastes. Try to make at least some baby food…that means add a little water and take a fork and mash or use a blender to puree food for your baby, it is that simple.  Soon your baby will be eating what you do with just a little mashing.

Organic foods have not been proven to provide better nutrition, but the foods do decrease exposure to pesticides.  If your budget doesn’t allow the purchase of organic foods, it is more important to provide a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. If you want to spend a few dollars on organics….stick with the “dirty dozen”.

4.  You want my baby to eat what I do?

If you are having green beans for dinner…then mash or puree some for your baby.  If you are eating fast food…then no!  If you think your child can’t have what you normally eat, then think about what you normally eat.  I find a lot of parents begin to eat much more healthy when they have a child beginning to eat solid foods.  Remember, the best way to teach healthy eating is being a good role model.

5.  Can’t I start food a little earlier….I need some sleep at night and wouldn’t that help my baby sleep better?

Food does not help a baby sleep at night better….nothing in research has ever shown us this.  Starting solids too early may result in an increase risk of obesity or maybe even a tummy ache because your baby is not able to digest the food well yet.  Starting solid foods is a developmental milestone not a way to “tank up” your baby for sleep.  Early food introduction will not increase your sleep…

6.   Babies can’t eat eggs or peanut butter can they?

The only thing a healthy baby who is not in a family with many food allergies or intolerances can’t have is honey.  That is it!  Babies under a year are at risk for botulism when eating honey, but nothing else that is healthy is off-limits.  There is no waiting for yogurt, eggs, meats, cheeses, fish….nothing….if it is not a choking hazard, then let your baby try it.

Let go of the anxiety….starting foods should be fun and exciting for you and your baby.  Offer new tastes, new textures, and healthy food.  Soon you will see that your child just might LIKE brussel sprouts….even though you never did!  Let your child try it all….and maybe your diet will improve too.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.



Don’t Panic about the EV-D68 Virus….But Wash Those Hands!

wash hands

This is the best way to prevent the enterovirus EV-D68 or ANY illness!


We in the Midwest are hearing about an outbreak of an illness that is hitting children hard. Many children have been hospitalized with respiratory symptoms from this enterovirus EV-D68. This group of viruses can cause many different illnesses, but this particular strain is not very common and has many parents worried.  It is hard NOT to be worried when the news is sending out the alarm!  Remember, fear does nothing….but there are some things we can do to protect our children from any illness.

Any age group can be affected by this group of viruses, and most people infected will experience mild cold like symptoms. This specific type of enterovirus has been most severe in children with a history of asthma or past wheezing. There is no medicine or shot to cure or prevent the virus. Children will need supportive care for the symptoms. Children who are wheezing, very ill, or have any difficulty breathing should see their health care provider. Children with asthma must follow their asthma action plans and contact their doctors if they are in yellow or red zones on their plan.

Just like other common viral illnesses, this enterovirus is spread by close contact with an ill person. Good hand washing and wiping down commonly touched objects or surfaces is important. To prevent any illness we all should remember to:

  • Wash our hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after using the rest room or changing diapers
  • Avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands
  • Clean frequently touched things like toys, doorknobs, light switches and bathrooms
  • Avoid hugging, kissing, and sharing cups with people who are ill
  • Stay home and keep your children home when sick
  • Don’t forget to get your yearly flu vaccine…it will not prevent this illness but it will help prevent the upcoming influenza virus!

There is no need to panic as parents! Good common sense and preventive measures will help stop the spread of any illness. Contact your child’s doctor if you have any questions. Most importantly….get the soap out and wash those hands!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.








Tell the people you love, “You rock!”

Don’t just tell your kids they “rock”…tell them why!

A little “Throw back Thursday”…..a post that helps us to remember to tell those we love the most why we do!  Happy Thursday!

I was getting ready to mail a card to my college aged kids the other day.  I try to send a “snail mail” card every couple of weeks.  I have a lot of contact with my college kids by texting and cell phones, but there is something about that written piece of mail in a mailbox that I think kids still love.  The cards I send usually are “miss you” or “hang in there” or just “love you” with a little bit of news and maybe a few dollars just because.  As I was writing a quick note on one of the cards I had purchased, I read it again.  It was simply “you rock”.  Nice thought…because my kids do rock…but the more I thought about it, I realized that I often tell them how proud I am, or that I love them, or that they are great but I don’t often tell them what specifically makes them so wonderful!   I then wrote why my daughter “rocked”; the things that were special and unique about her that I loved.  I received a text later thanking me for the card and saying it would be one she would “save forever.” (Not even a mention of the money!) :)

How often do we give our kids and other special people in our lives compliments, but have no specifics, just words?  Studies show us that compliments that specifically tell our children what they are doing is right or what is special about them helps them build high self-esteem.  It is nice to hear that you are a good kid, but better to hear why.  I thought about myself, it is great when I hear “I love you” but better when someone tells me what about me they love.

So, I challenge all of us this next week to take a moment and write or say why those special people in our lives are so great.  What makes you proud of them?  Why is your child or spouse so special?  What are some of your favorite qualities in your loved ones?  Let’s look at our partners and kids this next week and truly tell them why “they rock!”

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Raising an unspoiled child…how to strike that parenting balance


A spoiled child grows into an adult who feels entitled…how do you strike the balance between wants and needs as a parent?

It is so difficult to see your child upset, disappointed, or wanting something that you don’t feel is necessary or maybe can’t afford. There were many days when I questioned whether we should break down and buy an item that one of our kids “just HAD to have”, fold and give that cookie before dinner to keep the peace, or rescue a child from the consequence of a behavior because their tears broke my heart. There were days that I did…but I know that the lessons the kids learned when I did NOT were much more valuable.

When you bring home your precious baby, that first year there is very little difference between your child’s wants and needs. Everything your child wants IS a need. Your sweet baby communicates those needs loudly and clearly resulting in you feeding, holding, rocking, changing, and responding. As a parent, your quick response to those needs lets your child learn that he is loved and safe. Very important lessons!

Fast forward to a 3-year-old laying on the floor at the grocery store check-out line screaming for a package of M & Ms at 9:00 am. Does he need them? No, but he sure wants them! Is the behavior annoying, do you want to make it go away quickly? Yes, but purchasing the candy may not be the best lesson for your child!

What exactly is spoiling?

As parents we must teach our children how to navigate the world even when there is frustration or disappointment. Think no M&Ms at 9:00 am, not getting your attention when you are speaking with another adult, having to save money to buy those designer jeans, and dealing with sitting the bench during a basketball game. Our children must learn that when disappointment in life happens, when they must wait for something they want, or the world doesn’t revolve around their desires, that life doesn’t crash down around them and that they are still loved. Your child must learn that in life you must work hard, be patient, and “play nicely” to be happy and successful. Being loved does not mean there are no bumps in the road, being loved means you are taught how to navigate them.

Spoiling means your child will learn that they are entitled to things. This entitlement replaces the idea of hard work and patience to get or achieve things. Children who are spoiled often do not learn the difference between wants and needs. Spoiling is never due to giving your child the things he or she needs, the opposite is true. When your child has what they need, good behavior patterns can follow. Children need loving physical contact, soothing when upset, structure, routine, positive words, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, toys, …basics…these basics bring an emotionally solid foundation and feeling of security. How do you prevent the “spoiled brat” that none of us want to raise? How do you strike the balance as a parent? Of course there are times will give our children things they simply want; there is nothing better than seeing the excitement of getting something that is special Of course we are going to fold and stop the “madness” in the grocery store and give in to the M&Ms occasionally. Of course we will respond to the whining….but how do we strike the balance??

  1. Don’t buy things your child wants constantly.  Gifts are important parts of childhood…the holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions are wonderful, exciting times for your child. Receiving a gift every time you walk through Target and see the latest toy is not the best parenting choice. This results in a child who no longer appreciates but expects.
  2. Delay gratification.  Help your child develop patience. It is fine to tell your child “I will help in a minute when I finish this.” “That new Barbie is very nice, let’s write it down on your birthday wish list.” This will help your child learn that his world will not collapse when he does not get what he wants NOW. Delayed gratification teaches the difference between wants and needs and that others have needs too.
  3. Develop strong values and morals as a family, give together.   Raising an unspoiled child is not just about saying “no” to things, it is about developing a value based home. A home that has kindness, generosity, gratitude, hard work, and feelings as its core.  Teach what it feels like to make someone else happy. Point out when your child is kind.  Start talking about gratitude. Share what you are thankful for each day. A great time is during family dinners or right before bed. Ask your child to share 3 things each day he is thankful for….you share too!  Share as a family, donate used toys your child no longer needs, participate as a family in donations to charities…be sure your child is included! This is a great way to teach your child about the joy of giving and appreciation for what he has. There is happiness in appreciation; there is misery in concentrating on what you don’t have.
  4. Watch how much screen time your child has. Advertising knows how to send the message to your child on what he “needs”!
  5. Spoiling is not just too many things, it is an attitude too.  Don’t give into temper tantrums, this teaches that those actions result in “getting what I want”.  Have consistent consequences for unacceptable behavior; try not to fold because it is easier. Parenting is hard work!
  6. Let natural consequences of life happen for your child…bumps in the road happen, learning to handle that is essential.
  7. Give your child praise, but praise for specific behaviors or accomplishments. Constant blanket praising results in a child who feels the world owes him this. Let your child learn that positive actions feel good INTERNALLY!
  8. Give your child chores and responsibility. In the real world, we are all responsible for something. This fosters a good work ethic too.
  9. Remember, giving your child things does not replace your child’s need for your time.
  10. Live the values you teach. Your child learns what he sees. Does your child see you buying the newest and the best? Do you show your child that you often sacrifice and delay gratification? Talk to your child about what you want, but demonstrate that you might not need it!

Fostering an environment that doesn’t result in a child who feels entitled is not always easy. There will be times when your child may be unhappy, angry, or even throw a fit, but it is only for a brief time. Giving in affects behavior for the long-term. I am not telling you to make your child’s life difficult. There are certainly times that we will and should indulge our child. But remember, a spoiled child learns that behavior, it is a result of parenting. You cannot love your child too much…but sometimes loving your child means your child will not get everything he wants!

Wow…not sure this was a blog my son wanted me to think about before his “back to college” shopping this week…hmmm what does he NEED? :)

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.




Be prepared for the “what ifs”…and then relax!

All week we have talked about what to do if…sometimes the “what ifs” can cause a lot of parental anxiety.  I can’t promise that your child will never have a serious injury, but I can tell you that most often the bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes of childhood are not serious and can be taken care of with a little bit of TLC and a fun bandage.  Being prepared to take care of these childhood mishaps and being prepared to handle the possibility of something more serious is important.  Have a plan, be prepared, and then enjoy the moments keeping the “what ifs” from ruining your every day joys.

Be prepared:

  1. Take a CPR class.  Hospitals, the local Red Cross, and other community groups offer CPR classes for parents.  Sign up for one…it takes a couple of hours and you will feel better knowing what to do in a “what if” situation.  Make it a date!
  2. Buy or make a first aid kit for your home and your car.  Be prepared with the supplies you need to take care of the little bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes and be prepared for the less likely “what if”.  Make it a family affair, shop for the items, put them in the kit, and talk about basic first aid.  A complete first aid kit would include:
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin (this would be for an adult if experiencing chest pain, never give aspirin to children)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Calamine lotion
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Benadryl (pills for adults, liquid for children)
  • Bandages in various sizes (find fun ones for kids!)
  • Roll of 3 inch gauze
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Ace bandage
  • Triangular bandage or sling
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Sterile eye wash and eye patch
  • Instant cold pack
  • Plastic bags to dispose of contaminated trash
  • 2 pair of gloves
  • Thermometer
  • First aid booklet
  1. Keep emergency numbers and health information handy including, program them into your phone:
    • contact information for family doctors and dentist
    • local emergency numbers
    • poison control 1-800-222-1222
    • contact numbers for family members and/or friends
    • medical consent forms for each family member
    • medical history forms for each family member which would include allergies, routine medications, and a recent weight
  2. Write down the cross roads nearest your home.  Even with enhanced 911, sometimes there is a need for the nearest intersection and that information is difficult to retrieve in an emergency situation, or a babysitter may not know that information.  If you do not have a land line and rely on your cell phone only…this is very important!  Enhanced 911 will not be effective with your cell phone!
  3. Tell family members and anyone caring for your child where the first aid kit is!  It is no help to have it if no one knows where it is!  :)

Being prepared doesn’t mean you are expecting the worst, it is knowing that you are ready to handle the bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes of childhood and knowing that you could handle the unexpected.  Be prepared…preparation is good, worry is not, preparation allows you to enjoy everyday.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Burns, Bites, and Bumps on the Head!

One of the first words many parents teach children is “hot”!

Little fingers often explore hot curling irons, stove tops, fire places or other hot things.  About 40,000 children are burned each year and half of these burns happen to children under age 4.

Burns hurt!  Of course the best way to prevent burns is to protect your child with good child proofing in your home, but sometimes accidents just happen.

There are three levels of burns:

  • 1st degree burn is dry, red and painful
  • 2nd degree burn is red with blistering or moist skin and painful
  • 3rd degree burn is white or charred, leathery and not painful

Immediate treatment of minor burns includes:

  1. Calm and reassure the child, and yourself!
  2. Run cool water over the burn or cover with a cool wet towel for several minutes. The faster you can cool down the skin, the more likely the burn will be less severe.
  3. Cover the burn with a dry, sterile bandage or dressing.
  4. Protect the burn from pressure and friction from clothing.
  5. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for discomfort.
  6. If there is blistering over more than a small are of skin (2 to 3 inches) or if there is a burn on the hands, feet, face, groin area, bottom, or on a major joint, call your health care provider.
  7. If you have any concern or worry, call your health care provider.

 Do Not:

  1. …Apply ointment, butter, ice, or any household remedy to the burn.
  2. …Break the blister or cut away dead skin.
  3. …Remove clothing stuck to burn.

Bites, both animal and people!

Animal bites by familiar dogs are quite common.  At times, even the most docile family pet can bite a child when teased or irritated.  Children who are at eye level with dogs are most at risk.  Never trust your child alone with a dog…even the family pet.  We also know that some children can be bitten by other children, it happens!

  1. Clean the wound with soap and water, let water run over the wound for a few minutes.
  2. Dry the wound and cover it with sterile gauze.
  3. Always call your health care provider if an animal or human bite breaks the skin.  Many bites both animal and human require antibiotics to prevent infection.
  4. If your child was bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar or wild animal, report the incident to the local police.  Some animals may have to be captured, confined, and observed for rabies.  Do not try to capture the animal yourself!

Falls and bumps to the head are another common childhood accident.

There is nothing scarier than the sound of your child’s head hitting the floor!  Most childhood falls result in injury to the scalp only.  Those injuries are usually more scary than serious.  But how do you know?

  1. Superficial head/scalp wounds bleed ALOT.  The scalp is rich with blood vessels, so even small wounds bleed heavily.
  2. The “goose egg” that often appears is a result of the scalp’s vessels leaking blood under the scalp.  It is often immediate, and usually not serious.
  3.  Call the doctor if: 
  • Your child has lost consciousness; even for a moment
  • Won’t stop crying
  • Vomits
  • Is difficult to awaken
  • Seems off-balance and/or not acting like himself or herself

If your child is alert, comforts easily and is behaving normally after a head injury:

  • Apply an ice pack to the area for a few minutes every couple of hours.  If you use ice, always wrap it in a cloth or put it in a sock to protect the skin.  A bag of frozen peas works great!
  • Observe your child for the next 24 hours, if you aren’t comfortable with how your child is acting, give your healthcare provider a call.
  • If your child falls asleep, (often happens if a child has been crying and upset) check in once or twice to see if there is any change in your child’s color or breathing.  If all looks well, there is not need to keep waking your child.
  • If you are uncomfortable with your child sleeping, wake your child by sitting him or her up.  If your child fusses and then settles back down he or she is fine.  If he or she does not waken, doesn’t fuss, or is very lethargic, give your health care provider a call.

Prevention of head injuries is always best!  Be sure that your child wears a bike helmet when biking, skating, riding a scooter, or being towed on or behind a bike.  (Parents, set a good example and wear your helmet too!)  Be sure that football equipment is in good shape and fits properly.  If you ever question that your child has a concussion, keep them from playing until they are cleared by the doctor and symptom free!

Preparation is the key to handling common injuries during childhood.  Don’t over-react, but look at the situation and respond appropriately. Remember, your anxiety increases your child’s! More First Aid tips to come!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Breaks, Sprains, and Nursemaid Elbow….oh my!

Nursemaid’s elbow is a common toddler injury…and this is one of the most common ways for it to happen!

Unfortunately, sometimes childhood comes with broken bones, sprains or the common nursemaid’s elbow injury.  Best treatment for all three is staying calm, immobilizing the area and seeking medical help.  That bubble wrap sounds better and better, right?  :)

Suspected Broken Bone or Sprain

  1. If the injury involves your child’s back or neck, keep your child and yourself calm, and do not let anyone move your child.  Call 911.
  2. If you suspect a broken bone, leave it in the position you found it and splint the injured limb.  A splint can be made from boards, broom handles, a piece of cardboard or a couple of magazines wrapped around the injured area.  The splint should extend beyond the joint above and below where the suspected injury is.
  3. Put ice or a cold pack on the area.  Do not put the ice or cold pack directly on your child’s skin, place a towel between it.  A bag of frozen vegetables works great!
  4. Stay calm, and try to keep your child calm.  Call your child’s medical provider or go directly to the Emergency Room.
  5. Sprains are very painful and usually swell and bruise fairly quickly.  It is often difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a break.  If you are unsure, call your child’s health care provider or head to the Emergency Room.
  6. Sprains are best treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).  Do not put heat in any form on the injured area for at least 24 hours.  Heat will increase swelling and pain.  Elevate the injured limb and try wrapping it with an elastic bandage.  This will help control the swelling…but not too tight!  Be sure fingers or toes are still pink and warm!
  7. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen will  help with the discomfort.

Nursemaid’s Elbow

Nursemaid’s elbow is a very common injury especially during the toddler years.  It is sometimes called “toddler elbow”.  This injury usually happens when a child’s arm is pulled when it is extended, so when a parent is holding a toddler’s hand and the child falls, or a parent swings a child while holding his hand or a “wet noodle” toddler is picked up by the hands when he is refusing to go somewhere.  This injury is when the radius (a bone in the forearm) slips partially out of place at the elbow.  It is common in young children because often their little joints are loose.  A child with a nursemaid’s elbow will usually have pain in the elbow and then refuse to use it.  There is not a lot of pain after the initial moment, no swelling, and no real deformity.  The child will just hold the arm at his side or slightly bent and will often cry if you try to get him to use the arm.

  1. Apply ice or cold pack at the joint.  Remember, not directly on your child’s skin!
  2. Splint the arm in the position your child is holding it.
  3. Call your health care provider or go to the Emergency Room.
  4. The “fix” is simple and quick, usually just a simple movement of the arm.  There is very little discomfort with the “fix” and the child will be using the arm again within a few minutes.
  5. A child who has had this injury is more prone to it again…be careful about lifting a child by the hands!  I always cringe when I see a parent swinging their child playing “airplane”!

We parents never want to see our child injured, but sometimes it just is part of life with a child.  We can’t protect our children from all injury, but we can provide a safe home and play area and if an injury occurs, we can be prepared.  Stay tuned, the best items for a first aid kit is next.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Friday….celebrate with a little R and R.

My favorite day of the week is here again.  I am looking forward to a “date night” tonight.  Even with being an “empty nester”, a date night sounds exciting.  It is nice to be out and concentrating only on each other and not the pile of laundry that still is sitting in my laundry room. Out of site, out of mind, right?  I hope that you take the time to make plans to “reconnect” with your partner, your children, and yourself.  Sit down and make 3 goals today for the next week.  Think of 1 thing you can do for yourself to refill that pitcher, 1 thing to do for your children that might break up the regular routine of the week and make life more fun, and 1 thing to do for your partner to stay connected.  These might be just small changes in your life.  A sticky note here, a lunch surprise there, a candle at dinner, a half hour of reading…..simple ways to reconnect, refill, and enjoy the moment.

Tips on getting a little R and R during your week:

  • When your child takes a nap, lie on the couch for just 10 minutes.  Do not make a bee line to the computer or your list of chores or flip on the TV.   Let your mind wander. Let your mind rest, staying “plugged in” doesn’t allow that to happen.  Sometimes actually take a nap!  :)  But you deserve at LEAST 10 minutes.
  • Redefine what really needs to be done.  Remember, your standards may have to be a bit different when you have young children.  If you have hugged your child, everyone had at least one clean item to wear, there was something fairly healthy to eat in the house and you have “connected” with your partner for just a few minutes, your day was hugely successful!
  • Be protective of your nighttime sleep.  Go to bed early, keep the TV off, practice relaxation prior to bed, and turn the baby monitor down so that you hear only when your baby REALLY needs you and not just normal “baby” sounds.  Remember, your baby WILL eventually sleep through the night, and you WILL hear your baby if your baby needs you.

Now, celebrate Friday.  Remember, small celebrations make life much more interesting.  Don’t allow another day to go by without celebrating SOMETHING…maybe just the fact that Friday is here….I know I am celebrating Friday!  TGIF!

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


Stuttering or stammering…should you worry?

excited child

Often toddlers who are excited or hurried will begin to stutter…it often will correct itself over time!

I love watching old video movies of our kids.  There little faces are darling, but what I love most are their voices.  Those sweet “little kid” voices…full of excitement, wonder and curiosity.  I can close my eyes and just remember the moment.  Often their voices bring back more sweet memories to me than their pictures!  The excitement in the videos results in squeals, giggles, and words that are fast and furious….sometimes there might be a bit of stuttering as their little brains worked so much faster than the words could be spoken.

Parents of toddlers will often worry about the development of the occasional stutter, or speech disfluency with their child’s speech.  Often this can come off your worry list.  Many toddlers between the age of 2 and 5 will have some disfluency when they are excited, there is a lot of stimulation or distraction.  It occurs more often in boys.  A 2-year-old who starts to repeat syllables or short words and begins to use more words like “um”, “uh” or has long pauses is most likely having some normal disfluency.  Most often this disfluency begins when there is a burst of new vocabulary.  Children who begin to stutter before the age of 5 usually will not need speech therapy…it will go away on its own.  What can a parent do to help???

  • When your child begins to stutter or gets stuck on a word, keep normal eye contact and wait calmly for him to finish.  Do not jump in and finish the sentence for him.
  • Talk in a slow relaxed way.  If you are rushed, your child may try to speak in a rush to keep up with you in the conversation.
  • Keep a relaxed expression on your face when your child is speaking…if you look frustrated or worried your child will become more self-conscious.  If your child senses your worry….he will too!
  • Don’t correct him, just repeat the sentence fluently so he hears how it should sound and knows you understood him.
  • Have time every day for just casual non hurried conversation.
  • If you are busy, your child may feel hurried and pressured to get the whole sentence out fast.  If you are busy, promise that in a moment you will sit down to listen, and then don’t break that promise!
  • Don’t tell your child to “slow down” or “take a breath”.  This only points out the problem and could make him more nervous which can increase the stuttering.
  • When your child finishes a difficult sentence, let him know that you are proud and that “Wow, sometimes talking can be tough!”  Sympathize with his learning of a new skill.
  • Encourage your child to tell you stories that he knows well…ones that don’t take a lot of thought.  Have him “read” a familiar story to you.
  • Sing lots of simple songs and recite nursery rhymes.  Songs and rhymes are usually easier than just free speech.

If your child continues to have stuttering or disfluency at age 3, you might consider having your child evaluated by a speech and language pathologist.  Earlier treatment may be more effective.  Red flags of a possible more long-term problem with speech fluency often will have some of these signs:

  • Tension in facial muscles as they struggle for a word.
  • A rise in pitch of their voice with the stutter.
  • Real effort noted when trying to speak.
  • Attempts to avoid the stutter by changing words or will begin to give up or refuse to speak.
  • An increase in stuttering that has become worse instead of better over time.
  • Stuttering that continues after the age 5.

So, most often disfluency, stuttering or stammering will correct itself in young children.  Be sure and record your child’s sweet little voice…there is nothing like it!  It will be wonderful to listen to it in the future; especially during those challenging preteen and teen years…there is something about that voice with the eye roll that isn’t near as sweet……  :)

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.



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