As the partial government shutdown quickly becomes just a memory, we as a country are working to put it all behind us: the news outlets are moving on to fresher stories, government workers are getting back into their groove at work, and national parks are being reopened like nothing happened. But should we move on so quickly?
Because of the shutdown, WIC benefits were in question, workers were furloughed, and dying children were denied medical treatment. Our country can do better. And as parents, we have a way to see to that by teaching our kids the basics of what happened. After all, as Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Let’s turn the government’s squabble into lessons about conflict, differences and decision making.
Although the situation was complex and nuanced, our children can learn from the major issues of the government’s recent disagreement. Here are 10 lessons we can teach our children using the government’s actions surrounding the shutdown as examples. Hopefully, our children can learn from their mistakes.
10 Things Our Kids Can Learn From The Government Shutdown
1. Really listen. How many times did one party try to talk to the other only to find they were talking to deaf ears? Yes, each has different ideas of how the country should be run, but it doesn’t mean that our opponents are devoid of good, reasonable ideas.
When a disagreement happens, we need to listen to what the other person is saying. Really listen. If someone comes to your child with a compromise, he or she must at least consider it before turning it away. Kids should know that they don’t have to compromise, but they do have to carefully consider what the other person is saying.
2. Look at the big picture. When members of the government allowed this shutdown, it affected the public in many significant ways. For some the changes were small: parks were closed, the panda cam was down, and NASA’s Twitter feed stopped. For others, the consequences were much more severe.
When kids make decisions, they need to think about how it will affect not only themselves, but others as well. Sometimes the decision will affect others more significantly than the people involved with the disagreement. The people most affected should be taken into consideration before actions are taken.
Napping is a hot topic among parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Parenting experts from all over the world weigh in every few months about whether or not preschoolers should nap. Some say that preschoolers can drop the nap around 2 or 3 years of age. Others are more aggressive; they say to wake up your 3-year-old child if she sleeps for more than 45 minutes during the day. And some say it doesn’t really matter – just do what works best for the parents’ schedules.
Parents are equally as split. Some try trading naps for an earlier bedtime. Some enjoy the respite in the middle of the day that the nap offers. And some just go with the flow; if the preschooler wants to nap he can, but it’s not part of the normal routine.
But no one seems to be answering one big question:
Do preschoolers benefit from naps?
Today I’m going to direct you to a different blog – “Trust Me, I’m a Mom”. You may remember the blog’s author, Michelle, from the popular post “Boost Compassion With Service Projects For Kids”. So when she asked me to contribute to her “Let’s Talk Tuesday” series, I was delighted.
And here is my guest post on her blog:
The biggest news headline from today is, obviously, the U.S. government shutting down. Because an agreement couldn’t be arrived upon between the Senate and the House, there is a partial government shut down happening for the first time in 17 years.
But I’d like to talk about something else that it happening for the first time in 17 years. It’s something that doesn’t have quite the same media attention but warrants the attention of every parent out there. This year is shaping up to have hundreds of cases of measles in the U.S.
Why People Are Scared
Let’s talk about what exactly measles is. It is a virus (so antibiotics don’t work on it) that affects mainly the respiratory system. It is spread through sneezing, coughing, or other contact with the sick person’s mucus, and is extremely contagious. In fact, if you come in contact with the virus and don’t have an immunity to it, you have a 90% chance of catching the disease.
An infected person can transmit the virus four days before the rash and four days after the rash appears. In comparison, the flu is only contagious for 6 days total and has a much lower percentage of chance of getting sick.
So once someone gets the virus in their system, they will start off with cold like symptoms and will lead to a high fever (around 104 degrees), rash, and not eating. And as if that’s not bad enough, measles can have serious complications, particularly in children under 5.
Some include pneumonia, encephalitis (brain swelling), layers of the cornea of the eye coming off, and, of course, death. Around 40% of young children who get measles are hospitalized for it. And even if they don’t die (only 3 in 1000 do), they can have life-altering effects as a result, such as brain damage, eye scarring and deafness. (more…)
When I was taking my little ones out for a walk today, we passed a woman with a stroller. In the stroller was a very tiny baby. He was dressed in an adorable blue outfit, had an NG tube in his nose, and some other medical gear that I wasn’t as familiar with. We chatted briefly and then my kids and I continued on our walk.
After our conversation, I realized that I have a unique perspective that helps me to talk with mothers of children with medical issues: I’ve been there. I’ve survived the hospital stay, been out with a baby with special equipment, and know the feeling of being so alone.
But many just don’t know how to talk with a mom of a preemie. When my little guy was little, I had so many conversations with strangers that went badly. I even ended up crying after a few. (The worst was when an acquaintance said to me, “I think that young mother was staring at your baby (who had an NG tube) because she was so happy to have a normal baby. She’s probably never seen a baby like yours before.” My stomach still gets in knots when I think about it.)
So, I’ve decided to write about my interaction with the mom I met today to give some suggestions of how to (and how not to) talk to someone who has a preemie. Of course every parent is different, so some of these comments may not bother everyone. Also, I’m not saying that my responses are perfect for every situation. I’d just like to share my experience.
Our Conversation, Part 1
I see the mother pushing the stroller of the little guy. They are just off of the sidewalk on the left, and she’s pushing him back and forth like she’s trying to get him to sleep. I see that she looks stressed and that he looks tiny. The equiptment tells me that he may have some medical issues.
Mistakes People Make
1. Go close to or touch the baby. Preemies are especially susceptible to germs. You may not even feel sick, but the germs on you could send the baby to the hospital. Sometimes preemies can’t get vaccinations on schedule, so they are particularly vulnerable. So keep your distance.
2. Start the conversation by saying, “What’s wrong with him?” or “Why is he so small?” You would think that this wouldn’t need to be said, but these things were said to me WAY too many times to count. Once I got upset about the same stupid questions (it was a stressful day) and I was accused of being too sensitive when someone was just “curious” about my baby. When you ask in this way, it doesn’t sound like you’re being curious. It is intrusive and, frankly, rude.
Or “Why the heck do I know all of the lyrics to “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” and love to bounce around when that song comes on?!?”
Have you ever heard a song from before your time and known all of the words? Did it bring back memories of your childhood or make you feel energized? I know that I’m not alone in spontaneously being able to sing lyrics to songs from even my grandparents’ time.
Well, scientists may have found the reason that we connect with and remember music from earlier generations – what they call “cascading reminiscence bumps”.
They think that when some of the music that was played during our childhood, presumably music from our parents’ generation that they enjoyed, it imprinted on us and gave us a lasting connection. The music that your mom played on cassettes while driving you to the grocery store created a lasting connection between those songs and you.
Why do we connect with songs from our grandparents’ era? Because those songs made an impression on our parents and then they would either sing or play that music occasionally for us and…boom! More imprinting. That’s where the “cascading” part comes into it. The same music then affects multiple generations.
And not only do we recognize the imprinted music but we often also have an emotional connection to it. It brings back memories or just feelings from our childhood. It stirs emotions that we felt when that music was being imprinted on us.
So, what does that mean for our kids? It means that what you are playing for them in the car or at home will become imprinted on them. That Britney Spears song from your college days that you play occasionally will someday bring back memories of their childhood for your kiddos.
When they are adults, they will wonder why they know all of the words to Beyonce’s songs, or feel a connection to Carrie Underwood’s music. They may even wonder why they feel emotional when they hear music from our parents’ generation. And the cascading continues. (more…)
As times change, the role of “mother” evolved. Years ago, moms were expected to care for the children, cook dinner, and keep a tidy home. Now we are also expected to “lean in” with our jobs, share our lives on social media, be strong role models, educate, monitor our children’s food, keep up on the latest parenting news, and ensure that our children will be successful, well-adjusted, and happy. It’s a lot on any mom’s plate.
Technology has had an especially large role in this evolution. It changes our world quickly and we are left trying to adapt while figuring out what’s best for our family.
Often we fall into the trap of using technology in negative ways – ways that take us mentally away from our children or that put us in a damaging mindset. Here are some challenges – and some solutions! – that have emerged in these technological times.
1. Social media.
It is amazing. You can catch up with old friends, find decorating inspiration, and meet new friends with just a computer and a little time. But social media can have its downside too, especially when it comes to parenting. It can seem that everyone is doing just a little better than you are. Most moms post the best parts of their lives – crafts they’ve created, parties they’ve thrown, decorating they’ve achieved, perfectly posed photos of their clean and well-behaved children. When we look at other’s pages while wiping macaroni from the kitchen walls, it’s sometimes hard to not think, “How do they have their lives so together?” Deep down we know that it’s easy to make your life look great on Facebook or make your parties look enviable on Pinterest. But it’s easy to forget.
Solution – Although it’s easy to just unplug, we often throw the baby out with the bathwater by then also losing connections to some of our out-of-town friends. And un-friending slightly annoying Facebook mommies can bring its own set of problems.
Instead, simply block them from your news feed. Hover over their name, and when the box pops up, click “Show in News Feed”. They will still be your friend and you can go to their page to check on how they are occasionally, but their updates won’t show in your feed.
Around the world, only 5 to 20 percent of the population is left-handed. But why?
A 2012 study suggested that societies that had more shared tools have people with the same hand dominance. It makes sense, right? If you only have right-handed tools to work with, you’d better learn to be right-handed or risk injury.
Another study thought handedness came into play for better combat. Those who were left-handed, it was determined, had a better chance of winning a fight. Although perhaps that is because most people are expecting an attack from the right.
And then there is the theory of genes. Some scientists thought genes were definitively the way that we get our hand dominance. However, some identical twins favor different hands.
Huh. So, why are some people left handed? (more…)