Four Tips Before Diving In For The First Swim Lesson

by Nicole Fonovich, co-creator of the “Luca Lashes” app/ebook series

LL has his First Swimming Lesson_Book CoverTaking your child to a swimming pool to learn to swim is a fairly common experience for parents. Getting a child comfortable in the water can give a child confidence to handle a lot of new experiences. Here are a few tips to help make a toddler’s first pool experience a happy one for you and for them!

1. Getting ready!

Many toddlers are not potty-trained, or just learning how to go the toilet. To be on the safe side, until your toddler is completely toilet-trained, use a swimmer diaper underneath the swimsuit, so that you keep the pool as clean as possible. Also, it is important to have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device that fits properly. Toddlers should wear these any time they are near water until both they and you are comfortable with their ability to swim.

2. Is there tech support?

Luca Lashes and his First Swimming Lesson is a great eBook/app that can walk a child through their first time in the pool! Children can get the look and feel of the pool, take a shower before getting in the pool, and have a lesson with a swim instructor. Luca and his daddy have fun in the water, and your child can join in!

3. Follow the Rules.

Every public pool has a specific set of rules. These can include “No Running,” “No Splashing,” etc. Be sure to follow these rules yourself, and teach your child how important rules and safety are in the pool area. The pool rules are there for the safety of every one involved, and should be read and paid attention to by every parent!

4. Be Safe.

Parents need to teach their toddlers that never go into the water without an adult, and parents also need to practice “touch supervision.” This means that an adult should be within arm’s reach of a toddler at all times near a pool or any body of water. For particularly early swimmers who are being carried by their parents in water, parents need to stay at a comfortable depth where a firm footing can always be maintained.

Remember to always ask your children both how they feel about the swimming pool both before and after their time in the water. This is a great time to have a “teachable” moment with your little ones! Laugh with your children; enjoy these moments, as some of the happiest times in a person’s life involve being in a pool!

 

Nicole & Damir Fonovich are co-creators of Luca Lashes,” an eBook and app series that turns “fear of firsts” into fun. The series is aimed at kids ages 0–4 and is available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. The first app, Luca Lashes: The Brown Eyed Boy with the Magic Eyelashes, is free on iTunes, and the other apps can be downloaded for $1.99 at all major marketplaces and at www.LucaLashes.com.Nicole and Damir both have backgrounds in teaching, writing and publishing. Together, they have 17 years of experience in the education field, in both teaching and administration. They live in the Phoenix area.

5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe

By Eric Long of kidsport GPS (www.kidsportgps.com)

 

lostAccording to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s over 2,000 a day. Shocking, isn’t it?

When I was a kid, my friends and I spent our hours after school meandering the neighborhood. Mom and Dad had no idea where I was or what I was doing. In summer…sun up; I’m gone. I was a racecar pulling in for a PB&J pit stop around noon, and dinner was just a distraction. I was gone for hours upon hours. No big deal. Today? Different world!

My daughter is almost 10. If she is three minutes late from a bike ride, her mom and I are freaking out. We lose sight of her at the park and we panic. On vacation? When I am not playing with her, I am a CIA agent scanning the crowd for suspicious characters.

So how can we keep our kids safe in today’s modern world? No tool or device will keep your kids safe 100% of the time, but here are five things you can do to mitigate the risks:

  1. Family Talk – Take time to talk to your children about safety and abduction prevention. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has an excellent campaign called Take 25 (http://www.take25.org/) that provides free tools such as safety tips, conversation starters, and mini-lessons to help trusted adults begin conversations with children about safety.
  2. ID Card – Create and give each child a laminated ID card with his or her name, date of birth, address, phone numbers, etc. If your child is too young or otherwise unable to speak for him or herself, consider writing the information somewhere on his or her clothing in permanent marker.
  3. Child ID Kit – Prepare an ID kit for each child in the event that he or she is missing. The kit should include a physical description (nickname, date of birth, height, weight, gender, fingerprints, hair and eye colors, etc.), any identifying features (glasses, braces, scars, birthmarks, piercings, etc.), any medical information (conditions, disorders, diseases, medications, etc.), and, most importantly, an up-to-date, good quality digital photo. Be sure to take your kits with you on trips and vacations.
  4. Emergency Hot Spots – Whether you are at a playground, amusement park, ski slope, vacation resort, or any crowded location, always identify the nearest help and information centers, emergency stations, and police posts. Inform your children where to go and what to do in case of an emergency or if they get lost.
  5. kidsport GPS Tracking Device –The kidsport GPS band is a GPS tracking device developed specifically for kids that allows parents to locate their kids on their cell phones, iPads or computers. It will be available this fall, but families can pre-order now. To find out more, visit www.kidsportGPS.com.

No parent I know can imagine what it is like to have a child go missing. It is our greatest fear. But by educating a children and taking safety precautions, we can help reduce the chances of that ever happening. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com) has a lot of excellent information on child safety and what you can do as a parent or guardian.

safetytatAnother great tool My Good Parenting found is a product called SafetyTat. They are fun and functional temporary tattoos that detail emergency info.  SafetyTats read ‘If Lost, Please Call’ and list a parent or guardian’s mobile phone number. Designed to be worn on a child’s arm or hand, SafetyTats are easy to apply and are perfect for amusement parks, water parks, shopping at a crowded mall, or even while traveling through a busy airport. It is a great solution for small children that cannot carry around an ID card and cannot remember this important information. www.SafetyTat.com

How To Tell When Your Child Is Ready For Music Lessons

By Leila Viss on behalf of www.JoyTunes.com

music-lessonsAlthough not every person is destined to be a concert musician, everyone can be a music maker, enthusiast and supporter. Giving your child the gift of learning music on any instrument is something to treasure, but finding the answers on how to provide this gift is not always easy.

You may be unaware of your youngster’s readiness for making music, but there are some signs that should help you make that assessment. Here are some steps toward unlocking your child’s innate musicality and readiness.

 

How can I tell when my child is ready?

Encourage Exploration

  • Purchase a keyboard instrument (a portable digital keyboard may do the trick but plan to upgrade when lessons begin) and let your child explore sound before enrolling in lessons.
  • Once this exploration begins, notice how your potential musician gravitates and experiments at the keys.
  • Download some music game apps such as Piano Dust Buster 2.0, The Most Addicting Sheep Game or Magic Piano and invite your child to explore. It won’t take long for a youngster to be drawn into these magical games that also teach music fundamentals.
  • If the keyboard and favorite apps receive regular visitation, this is strong evidence that your future maestro is ready to engage in lessons.

Prime the Potential

Some basic skills are involved in learning any instrument and it’s important that these fundamentals are developed before enrolling in lessons.

An ideal candidate for instrumental lessons can:

  • Say and sing the alphabet
  • Count at least to 20
  • Match pitch and sing songs with ease
  • Identify the left from the right hand
  • Cut with scissors
  • Color and draw with markers, pencils, etc.
  • Dance and move freely to music
  • Clap and march with a steady beat

Consider early music education groups, which are perfect for young learners.

How do I know what instrument is right for my child?

The piano is the easiest instrument to begin exploring and eventually making music. Therefore enrolling your child in piano lessons may be a place to begin his/her music education. Once your budding musician is introduced to other instruments in school around 4th or 5th grade a shift in interest may occur.

How do I choose the right teacher?

Referrals from friends and acquaintances are your best bet for a good teacher. If they are happy with a teacher there’s a good chance that you will be as well. Also, ask to arrange an interview with several teachers and you’ll discover that each owns a unique studio. It’s important for you to determine what your priorities are for your child’s music education. Here are some things to consider:

  • Some teachers may excel at preparing students to compete, while others may lean toward a more relaxed approach with fewer opportunities to compete or perform formally.
  • While some may remain set in a traditional approach with standard repertoire others may emphasize lessons in creativity beyond the page and various styles other than classical.
  • Group lessons are a popular social setting which may best suit those who are still on the fence about studying an instrument. Private lessons usually accommodate schedules more easily and offer one-on-one instruction.
  • Music should be shared so ask if the teacher offers encouragement and opportunities to perform, even casually. Although difficult, performing instills discipline, motivation, confidence and good experience for public speaking.
  • Teachers usually use a method book or series to teach an instrument. A good question to ask during your chat with a teacher is “What methods and tools will you use to help my child progress in his/her music skills?”

How do I balance being a supportive parent without becoming overbearing?

Here are a couple of tips to help you maintain a healthy attitude:

1) Some teachers may require you to be present at lessons to take notes so consider this as a free lesson yourself and learn right along with your child. You will realize that building musical skills is a long-term process with peaks, valleys and plateaus.

2) Regardless if you attend lessons or not, it is important for you to remember that this is your child’s endeavor and not yours. Allow your budding musician to:

  • Learn how to learn
  • Read all assignments
  • Take charge and ask the teacher questions themselves when they forget a concept
  • Be responsible for collecting books prior to the lesson, etc.

3) The best support you can offer your child is providing and modeling structure.

  • Make daily practicing a priority so it becomes a habit by setting up a schedule.
  • Instead of setting the timer and demanding practice, ensure that the teacher’s instructions are understood and completed during practice time by reviewing the assignment with your musician. The amount of daily time at the instrument may vary, as consistent practice will make the assignment easier to play by the end of the week.
  • Arrive promptly for each lesson and be on time for pick-up.
  • Show teachers the respect they deserve by following all studio policies and submitting timely payments.

Music lessons are a worthy investment toward a gift that lasts a lifetime. Happy music making!

 

Could Your Child Be a Cyberbully? Warning Signs and Prevention Tactics

“No, my child would never do that.” Would this be your response if your child were accused of being a cyberbully? If so, you’re not alone. For one thing, no parent wants to believe that his or her child is capable of teasing or harassing other youngsters. For another, cyberbullying is, by its very nature, a relatively easy behavior for youngsters to keep under wraps: With the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger, the evidence disappears. And most concerning of all, it’s easy for kids to get caught up in this destructive behavior without initially realizing how dangerous and hurtful it is.

“Like it or not, the rapidly expanding digital landscape has allowed bullying to spread beyond playgrounds and school hallways to computer screens, smartphones, and more,” says Amy Lupold Bair, author of Raising Digital Families For Dummies® . “Since this is a pressing issue that can affect any family, it’s crucial for parents to be able to recognize the signs that their children may be cyberbullies, and to know how to handle and prevent this behavior.”

Specifically, Lupold Bair says, tweens and teens (and in some instances, even younger kids) who are engaged in cyberbullying often exhibit behavior changes, just as victims do. Watch for the following signs:

• Your child may stop using the computer when you come into the room or quickly change screens or tabs.

• Your child may sharply increase time spent on the computer or on a smartphone.

• Your child may appear stressed or secretive when using these devices, and may become anxious, upset, or excessively angry when you limit or take away access.

• Your child may be spending more time with a new group of friends, or might no longer interact publicly with a long-time friend.

“Regardless of whether your child’s behavior fits into any of these categories, it’s a good idea to proactively bring up the topic of cyberbullying,” Lupold Bair says. “Make sure your kids know what cyberbullying is, why it’s harmful, and what your expectations are for their online conduct. By keeping an ongoing dialog going, you’ll not only gain insight into the digital world in which your kids live, but you may also discover warning signs that your child’s online group is participating in these types of activities.”

Specifically, Lupold Bair recommends discussing the following topics with your children:

• Joking vs. harassment. The line between harmless joking and mean, harassing behaviors can often be a fine one, and younger children especially may have trouble recognizing when they’ve crossed it. Explain to your kids that any online behavior that makes another person feel upset, threatened, hurt, mocked, etc. can be considered bullying. If your child knows that one of his peers is uncomfortable with a specific online interaction—or if a particular online behavior would make your child feel upset if the shoe were on the other foot—it’s best not to participate.

• Appropriate online communication. While it may seem obvious to many adults, kids frequently don’t understand that what they write or share in a digital format can often be forwarded, saved, or accessed by others. On a continuous basis, talk to your kids about what is appropriate to share online and what is not. Put a special emphasis on why it’s important to keep friends’ secrets and personal communications private and where it is and isn’t safe to discuss these things.

• Standing up to bullies. Teach your children how to stand up to their friends to discourage bullying behaviors online, if they’re comfortable doing so. Make sure they understand the importance of not standing by while others are being bullied and help them find the words to tell their friends that they refuse to participate in these bullying actions.

• Limiting contact with bullies. Cyberbullying is often a group occurrence with more than one child playing a role and different participants contributing varying levels of bullying behaviors. Make sure your children know that they can often use blocking features on social media and chat sites to avoid online contact with bullies. Explain why being associated with a cyberbullying incident can have serious consequences, even if your child wasn’t the ringleader or even an active participant.

• Informing adults. Encourage your kids to talk to teachers, coaches, and friends’ parents if they don’t feel comfortable coming to you with concerns about their own online behavior, which may have potentially crossed the line into cyberbullying. Also, encourage them to inform authority figures if they know another child is the victim of cyberbullying. Tell your kids that if they’re uncomfortable coming forward because they don’t want to attract the bully’s attention themselves, an anonymous note left on a coach’s or teacher’s desk, for example, can still be a tremendous help.

“Don’t just assume that your child’s online activities are harmless, even if she’s generally a ‘good kid,’” Lupold Bair concludes. “Be proactive about discussing why cyberbullying is a major issue and how you expect your child to behave on all digital platforms.

“In fact, I recommend creating and having your kids sign a document called a Digital Family Policy,” she adds. “It should include rules and expectations for all technology use. Be sure to include information regarding how you define cyberbullying and what the consequences will be if your child crosses that line.”

Defining Cyberbullying: A Parent’s Guide

From Raising Digital Families For Dummies®
by Amy Lupold Bair

teen-phoneWhen most of today’s parents were growing up, bullying was largely limited to in-person interactions. For that reason, it can be difficult to intuitively and fully understand what our children are facing as they navigate the digital landscape.

In essence, cyberbullying comprises any digital communication, typically from one minor to another minor, with the purpose of frightening, threatening, embarrassing, or harassing a person. The most common form of cyberbullying is sharing a private text message, e-mail, or instant message (IM) with someone else or through a public posting. Cyberbullies’ tools are computers and smartphones and they plague victims via text, e-mail, IM, chat rooms, social media, and blogs.

Examples of cyberbullying behaviors include:

• Using websites to rank or rate peers according to criteria such as looks and popularity

• Publicly blocking someone’s participation in an online group

• Tricking someone into sharing embarrassing information with the purpose of sharing it digitally with others

• Creating a website with the purpose of harassing someone

• Creating a fake social media account to pose as another person and post untrue things about that person

• Sending threatening or mean e-mails, text messages, and IMs in chat rooms

• Posting embarrassing pictures of someone on a social media website

The effects of cyberbullying can be far more devastating for victims than traditional bullying because:

• Cyberbullies often remain anonymous, making victims unsure of how to protect themselves and whom to trust

• Victims often receive bullying messages via their home computer, taking away their feeling of safety within their own home

• Victims may be affected both at school and online, taking away two primary locations where teens socialize and interact

• Cyberbullies can reach a large number of people easily and instantly, making it possible for the entire world to see the behaviors and shared information about the victim

• Because cyberbullies don’t face their victims, the bullying behaviors are often more extreme than traditional bullying

• Cyberbullies can attack their victims frequently on multiple technology platforms

Many states have laws regarding cyberbullying, but current laws vary by state. To see where your state stands regarding cyberbullying legislation, visit www.cyberbullying.us/Bullying_and_Cyberbullying_Laws.pdf.

The Best Infant Car Seat?

 Inertia
 SnugRide35
 KeyFit30

What is the BEST car seat available for your infant? This question is asked by most parents when a new baby is on the way. We all do research to seek out as many reviews and recommendations as we can find. I think the truth is that there isn’t a “best” car seat, there is simply what meets most of your preferences. I compared the 2 most popular, Graco Snugride 35 and the Chicco Keyfit 30 to the Baby Trend Inertia using some of the characteristics I think are most considered.

 

But, before I get into these details I must comment on the safety factor. The single most important quality in a car seat is safety, but it is really difficult to actually compare this. Every car seat on the market has passed Federal Safety Standards & strict crash performance standards. The only government information you can easily find are NHTSA ratings on their ease of use in four basic categories: Evaluation of Instructions, Evaluation of Labels, Vehicle Installation Features, Securing the Child. They note that all rated seats are safe, so how do you pick which one is safer than another? I don’t think you really can unless you rely on consumer reports and crash test YouTube videos you can find. So, for this reason you will not see safety on my list below.

 

LATCH Installation

Baby Trend Inertia: This carseat base has a rigid LATCH system install which is extremely easy and gives you much peace of mind. You don’t have to pull any straps to make sure it is tight enough. The base simply has 2 bars with claw-like snaps that grab onto your car’s LATCH system. Line them up and snap them on and that’s it! Angles don’t matter when using the base either which makes installation even easier to get right.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The KeyFit LATCH system of the Chicco is easy to use and install correctly. It has claw-like snaps that you push into the LATCH system then you use its one-hand Center Pull Latch tightening system to easily tighten.

Graco Snugride 35: The LATCH installation on a Graco is my least favorite. It has big snaps that can be difficult to get on (and especially off) your vehicle’s LATCH system. There is not an easy way to tighten it either. You still have to pull a strap and sometimes it is hard to pull it tighter even though the base is not installed tight enough. Graco has made the angle installation easier, however, by having a dial that you twist the raise or lower the front of the base.

 

Style/Colors

Graco Snugride 35: I think Graco wins the style race with the many, many patterns and fun color options they offer. It is easy to find something that is gender neutral, girlish or boyish in just about any color combination you would want.

Chicco KeyFit 30: There are plenty or colors to choose from with a Chicco, however there are not a variety of patterns/styles.

Baby Trend Inertia: The Intertia only comes in one color/pattern option. It is both gender neutral and fun, but you do not have any options beyond the “Horizon” color.

 

Price

Graco Snugride 35: $119.99-$179.99, available at many retailers

Chicco KeyFit 30: $179.99-$199.99, available at many retailers

Baby Trend Inertia: $179.99, available at Babies ‘R Us

 

Weight (with base)/Base Size

Graco Snugride 35: 17.6 lbs, wide base but not too long.

Chicco KeyFit 30: 21.1 lbs, narrow base good for compact cars

Baby Trend Inertia: 26.7 lbs, long base that will fit tight in compact cars.

 

Max Child Weight

Graco Snugride 35: 35 lbs

Baby Trend Inertia: 32 lbs

Chicco KeyFit 30: 30 lbs

 

Visor and Additional Features

Baby Trend Inertia: The visor of the Baby Trend is the best on the market! It is huge and offers tons of sun shade. BabyTrend took it a step further and mush mesh “windows” on the visor so baby can still look out and air flows. The handle on the Baby Trend is the nice triangle type, offering more comfort and positions to carry. The most impressive unique, special feature of this car seat is the controlled motion base, which is unlike anything else on the market. It responds to crash forces by rotating more upright resulting in better force distribution. There are 4 more recline positions that provide ultimate comfort and easier breathing for baby. There is an 8 position adjustable head support. You never have to rethread the harness of the Baby Trend. There is a dial on the back that allows you to adjust for the proper height. There is also a “cold weather boot” that is included with the car seat, that goes over baby’s legs for warmth.

Graco Snugride 35: The visor of the Graco is nice and big and it can move completely from front to back. It offers adequate sun shade. The seat is known for being plush and comfortable. The newborn insert provides very comfortable, padded head and body support.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The visor of the Chicco is very small and serves very little purpose. The newborn insert provides head and body support and proper fit with the harness.

 

Cons

Baby Trend Inertia: The BabyTrend has a plastic puzzle buckle that, although it doesn’t get hot, it can be hard to hold/snap both pieces in (especially if you don’t loosen the straps). The entire system is too large for smaller vehicles.

Graco Snugride 35: More difficult to install/tighten. Adjusting harness height requires rethreading. Upright angle causes newborn and sleeping baby’s head to fall forward. Buttons to raise/lower the handle are loud and will wake a sleeping baby.

Chicco KeyFit 30: The visor is inadequate. Adjusting harness height requires rethreading. Upright angle causes newborn and sleeping baby’s head to fall forward.

 

baby trend inertia

Baby Trend Inertia Installed in Mini Van

So, you may want to know which car seat is my favorite? I have to say the Baby Trend Inertia works really well for me. My four most favorite things about it are the recline positions, the adjustable head support, the rigid LATCH install and the visor. I love that when my baby is in it, asleep or awake her head never falls forward. I feel like my baby’s head is safer in a side impact collision with the head support (I have not tested this feature, this is not based on any proof) and I love anything that is easy to adjust with growth. I am obsessed with the ease of installation with the LATCH system. It is beyond easy to install and you don’t have to worry about it being too loose. A visor might seem like a silly thing to like, but I can’t help it. This visor is amazing and it is one thing that people comment on when I am out and about with the car seat.

 

Obviously this car seat is not perfect. The base is pretty big and you have to put the handle all the down when he car seat is on the base, which is impossible to do in smaller cars. I have had to put the handle down outside of the car before I snap it into the base in those situations. Even after that you have to make sure the seat does not touch the seat in front so the controlled motion base can work properly. In our mini van there is plenty of room and no issues whatsoever, though.  I am not in love with the puzzle buckle, either. It is pretty much impossible to do with one hand and difficult if the straps were not loosened first. My final complaint is that the buttons to adjust the handle are a little loose, so if the handle is not all the way down when it’s in the car, they jiggle around and make noise. The buttons are quiet, though and do not make noise when they are squeezed (they have never woken my baby like my Graco has).

 

The Inertia is definitely loaded with all kinds of cool special features. I think Baby Trend put a lot of research and thought into making a safe and comfortable car seat. While it is not going to be the ideal car seat for everyone, it has won my vote!

Child Safety Tips

By the Lost and Found Experts at FinderCodes

playgroundFinderCodes, an asset recovery system based on QR code technology, has gathered some of the most common places kids get hurt and provided easy prevention measures to make sure your kids stay safe no matter where they are!

Walking to School

If your children walk to school, make sure they’re getting there as safely as possible. Choose a route that avoids busy streets and construction and walk the route with your kids before sending them alone. Along the way, point out “safe houses” where your kids can stop in case of an emergency. Team up with a buddy to walk to school or give them a phone to use in case of an emergency or even if they just need to talk to you along the way.

At a Playground

Have a parent or caregiver prepared with a First Aid kit watching your kids at the playground at all times. It’s terrible to think about, but children can easily get hurt or abducted at playgrounds if you’re not careful. Always keep track of what they’re doing, where they are and who they’re playing with. Make sure your children know the rules – don’t talk to strangers and always stay within your sight. To prevent your kids from getting hurt on playground equipment, only let them play on safe, age-appropriate equipment.

Playing Sports

The most important safety tips to teach your little athletes are to wear the right equipment and to play by the rules. If they’re riding a bike or horse, wear a helmet. Protect your hockey or volleyball player with the right padding. Football players need a helmet and secure padding, and soccer players need to wear shin guards. Playing by the rules ensures no one gets hurt because of foul play.

In any situation where kids are carrying things they’re likely to lose (sports equipment, backpacks, jackets, etc.), it’s important to mark them so that if they get lost, they can be returned easily. FinderCodes Lost & Found Kits are perfect for that. As an added bonus, our smart tags keep personal information like names, addresses and phone numbers private. That means your child’s information will not be on display to strangers, and their safety will not be compromised.

At a Pool

Always have a CPR-trained lifeguard or adult nearby when your children are swimming. Make sure your kids know not to eat, drink or run near the water. If your children want to play in the pool but don’t know how to swim yet, give them a life jacket or floatie to stay safe.

In the Car

Keep a bag in the car ready to go with snacks, water, a First Aid kid and sunscreen. Use proper car seats – use these guidelines. Pull over if you need to help your kids with something in the backseat or need to answer your phone. Never leave your kids alone in the car and always remember to take your keys with you when you get out.

In Case of Fire

According to www.safekids.org, about 488 children (ages 14 and under) die every year because of residential fires, and another 116,600 children are injured by fire. Prevent fires at home by making sure your electrical appliances, cords and outlets are safe and not overloaded. Unplug appliances that are not in use, and keep your smoke detector batteries fresh. Teach your children to stay low to the ground if they smell smoke, and to get outside. Of course, a lesson in “stop, drop, and roll” is very important, too.

Who Can Comfort Your Child?

Written by Cindy Pertzborn, author of How Do We Get To Heaven?

When your kindergartener feels alone on the playground, where can she turn for comfort?  When your 8-year-old is embarrassed because he’s the slowest runner in gym class, who can give him a sense of peace and perseverance?  It’s natural for moms to desire being the one who can solve their children’s problems, to comfort them when they are sad, and to give them a sense of peace when they are nervous.  Are you capable of being the perfect mom and accomplishing all you desire to do for your children?

Fast forward now to the teen years.  By now, your teen is well aware that regardless how hard she tries, she can’t solve all her own problems and that life is unpredictable.  And there’s no doubt she’s also aware you aren’t the source of all her answers either!

Release yourself of the stress of trying to be the perfect mom and hold fast to the truth that God is in control.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

Nothing comforts me more than knowing God loves my children more than I ever could.  As hard as I try, I will never be able to match the protection, guidance, and peace that Christ provides my kids.

My son, Brandon, became extremely sick when he was 8 months old.  After examining him, the pediatrician told me to rush him to the hospital where a surgeon would be prepared for our arrival.  Waiting for an ambulance would waste precious time and I was forced into immediate action.

Panic rose within me as I saw him go limp in his car seat.  Hands clenched to the steering wheel, I sang the song, Jesus Loves Me, aloud but changed the words to “Jesus loves you”.   Unable to hold and comfort Brandon while driving, I sang the song I had been singing to him since he was a newborn.  I was hoping the sound of my voice singing a familiar song would comfort him as he sat alone in the back seat.

Fearing for my baby’s life, I knew Brandon’s only hope was in God.  And in that desperate moment, as I sped to the hospital, I wanted Brandon to feel the peace of God that I was unable to offer.

God answered our prayers that day.  I arrived at the hospital and two hours later, Brandon underwent surgery.  Although Brandon didn’t understand who Jesus was when I was singing to him, he grew to understand and accepted Jesus as his personal Savior in the years to follow.

There will be many times when your child desires comfort and peace.  It’s important to teach her, when she is young, to rely on God for strength because He will never fail.

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid of terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

So how do you teach your young child about God?  When showing her a beautiful flower, tell her God made it.  When snuggling with your sweet boy and telling him how much you and daddy love him, remind him Jesus loves him too.   Sing songs about Jesus, attend church to learn age appropriate Bible lessons, and talk about God our Father every day.

We want our children to know it’s okay to make mistakes and that everyone else makes mistakes too.  That’s part of life and being human.  But it’s a tremendous comfort to know there is someone who loves us so much and will never make a mistake; it’s a relief to know God is in control and will offer us His peace.

So how old should your children be when you teach them about Jesus’ love and strength?  Start telling them the day they are born!   Even better, enjoy singing Jesus Loves Me while they’re babies … it won’t be long until those precious children beg you to stop singing!

*New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

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Your Child’s Posture

Stand Taller for Back to School

by Dr. Steven Weiniger

Before back-to-school slumps your child back into the “backpack hunch”, build their posture awareness and benchmark their growing body with a posture picture. Annual posture pictures are a great idea to systematically keep an ongoing record of how kids look and stand. While kids ignore a parent’s nagging to “straighten up”, when they see an image of their own body hunched over…it makes an impression.

Taking your Child’s Posture Picture

Get a camera (the one on your phone is fine) and have your child stand in front of a wall facing you. When you are ready to take the picture, say these words to your child:

-Stand normally.

-Look straight ahead.

-Relax, take a deep breathe in and let it out

-Now, SHOW ME YOUR BEST POSTURE.

Using these words makes your child form a mental note of their “best” posture. Kids (and adults) often experience a moment of uncertainty as they try to find exactly how their “best posture” feels…and that is part of the goal of this exercise. After you’ve taken a picture from the front, repeat the process for a back and side view picture. Print out the pictures, one to a sheet, and note how their posture looks.

Upon seeing their posture picture, the first question people usually ask is “How’s my posture?” It always amazes me how completely unaware people are of what their posture looks like! I have heard thousands of people say they know they have poor posture, but nevertheless maintain that they can stand straight “when they want to”. From kids to adults, people are surprised to see a picture showing them standing with obviously distorted posture, despite their best efforts to stand up straight. Plus, the posture distortions of today’s kids, who spend hours slumped in front of TVs, crouched over Xbox and Playstations and folded over computer keyboards, are likely to be worse than their parents as they get older.

Use a pen and ruler to perform a basic assessment of your child’s postural alignment. On the front and back view pictures, simply draw a line from the middle of their head to the middle of the space between their feet. If you child has good posture alignment it should be absolutely vertical. On the side view picture, draw a line from the ear to the ankle. This line should also be vertical if they have good alignment. If the pictures look significantly out of balance or uneven from left to right, consult a Certified Posture Exercise Professional (CPEP), chiropractor, therapist or other clinician for an in depth evaluation.

Making kids aware of their posture is the first step to encouraging them to maintain strong posture. If nothing else, from a teen’s point of view stronger posture equates to looking more attractive and performing better at sports. They may still ignore your advice, but they will remember how they look now, and next year when it’s time for their annual posture picture.

Author Bio: Dr. Steven Weiniger, internationally recognized expert on posture and anti-aging, is author of Stand Taller~Live Longer. He is also senior editor of BodyZone.com, an online wellness resource which offers a national directory of CPEPs (Certified Posture Exercise Professional) and other posture professionals.