Monthly Archives: July 2011

wedding bells

Riding through Riverside Park one evening a few days ago, I noticed a mom walking along holding up the two chubby arms of her probably almost one-year-old  blond-haired boy as he gleefully tottered along. 

I was struck by the flashback I had of being that mom and doing the very same thing, just a minute ago, with our little boy and how quickly those years pass by.

It was particularly poignant, I think, as we prepare to leave this week for our son’s wedding out East.

As many times as we are told  how quickly our children grow up, we don’t always believe it.  I saw a mom today in a store whose little girl was having a loud melt-down.  At those times, parenting can seem endless.

But grow up they do.  And appreciating each stage that arrives is a treasure we don’t want to miss.

I love the Subaru ad on TV that shows a caring dad looking in the window at his little 4-year-old daughter sitting at the wheel while he gives her several last minute instructions.  She finally says “Daddy, okaaay!”  The next shot shows the real driver, a beautiful young girl of sixteen saying, “Thanks, Dad” as she waves and drives off.  I get teary-eyed whenever I see that well-done,loving portrayal of the parent/child relationship

There’s much to look forward to as we see our children grow up and mature – the choices they make, the direction they take.  It is a culmination of hours and days, months and years of attentive input and measured degrees of separation.

So I look forward to this next chapter with as much zest as I enjoyed all the past ones.  Although, I’m pretty sure my mind might wander back to the little toddler he was as I watch him walk down the aisle.

Comments Off on wedding bells

Filed under Uncategorized

“The world is so full of a number of things…”

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”  Robert Louis Stevenson

I love this quote for all ages but how true it is for our children.  Yet more and more, in today’s world, we are seeing less curiosity and awe about the world out there and its mysteries and wonder and much more interest in the virtual worlds of fantasy and video games, pop singers and movie stars – all at younger and younger ages.

I spoke with a mom recently who was seeing some behavior changes in her smart, previously happy, cooperative 8-year-old son – now demonstrating more anger and defiance.  When we talked about an increase in screen time, she had to admit – that’s what he begged for, got up too early to do, what seemed to work as both consequences and rewards and the demand for more seemed to be constantly in the equation.

Here are some suggestions to consider if you are wondering how to avoid over-exposure to screen time or find yourselves caught up in too much already.

Keep computers, TVs and video games out of bedrooms and instead in communal family rooms, where the child is visable.

Turn the TV off during meals as well as not answering phones and text messages to recognize the significance of celebrating meals together.

Get in the habit of selecting a few shows to watch during the week and have your child choose, planning them into the schedule versus just turning on TV and watching whatever comes on… and 0n… and on.

When children have playdates, find out how much time is spent only playing video games. No more than thirty minutes taking turns playing is suggested and then move on to something else.

Decide in your family how much and when computer/video games/TV time will take place.  Keep in mind that for children, it is recommended no more than two hours a day of combined screen time (TV,Computer, video games) and for under two -years-old – zero hours.  This agreed upon and confirmed screen time can help eliminate constant nagging and pleading.  Include your children in the decision making.

Remember to count hand-held video games.  Often we don’t realize, if the device accompanies every trip to a friend’s house and each errand you run during the week, how likely your child is racking up quite a few hours of playing time.

Designate as a family, certain days as screen-free days for everyone.  Make a plan together to do other things with this valuable time.

Have alternatives available.  swimming, picnics, biking, “nature treasure hunting”, “junk art”, tent in the back yard, some cardboard boxes, water play. (you’ll be surprised}

Go to the library and get books – then go again and again.  Explore one subject together in your family, perhaps star gazing or insects or transportation.  Get some good chapter books and you’ll all get hooked.

Remember the phrase, “in our family we believe…” when explaining to your children your reasons for limiting screen time. 

The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”  

 Take in its full meaning for all of us, as families and for our children.  Let’s take it to heart and make sure our children’s world, as simple as it can still be, offers them a number of things to delight in and learn from and be nourished. 

 We will all feel more connected.

If anyone would like some help or more suggestions on how this might work in your family, give me a call at The Parenting Place, 784-8125.  It’s one of my favorite subjects.

Also pay close attention to more info about a presentation on September 13th at Viterbo, The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.  It will be excellent food for thought as to how much nature is missing from our present day life and the strong need to reconnect through nature.

Comments Off on “The world is so full of a number of things…”

Filed under Uncategorized

the needs of the moment

It’s just hit me – Parent Pulse has passed its two-year anniversary date.

What is thrilling me personally, however, is that I have not missed a week of posting – until ,of course , I did – this past week when the needs of the moment took precedent.

As parents we are continually faced with the needs of the moment when we face making a decision between what’s possible and often most desirable and what just needs to be done.

With small children, the needs may seem small but they can make or break the harmony in your family.

In a particularly busy Play Shoppe recently, a little guy of about two- and-a- half had spent the morning busily engaged, made it through circle time fine but when he was invited to join the “maddening crowd” for snack, he froze.  Encouragement was tried, he even did sit down but the look on his face showed a meltdown rapidly approaching. 

 I beckoned to his mom to bring his juice and snack and led him to a “table for one” in the pretend kitchen area.  That’s all it took – he visably relaxed, enjoyed the peace and quiet along with his snack and was able to finish the morning as it had begun – happily. 

 A small adjustment – meeting the needs of the moment.

Another Friday, I talked to a little girl out in the hallway as Play Shoppe was going on in the Playroom.  She said she was waiting for her mom, they were going to leave Play Shoppe early and they were going to go to the park. 
“I’m feeling a little overwhelmed”, this four-year-old shared with me. 

 She was right – and her mom knew the clues, and was meeting the needs of the moment.

A few weeks ago as we walked Tootsie in the neighborhood, we talked with a mom we met along the way about the long stretch of stormy days and how difficult that can be on young children and parents cooped up inside. 

 This mom was just glowing, however, as she shared that the day before she and her two children were all set to finally go out to play when a sudden heavy down-pour began – no thunder, lightening – just a straight, warm, continuous shower.  They stood in the garage, watching, disappointed, when she realized what was needed.

  She told the children to go ahead, go get wet.  And as she watched them romping and laughing, the realization hit her – the even more important need of the moment was for her to join them – for them to see her laughing, enjoying and sharing with them in this moment. 

 The children were elated with this new development.   They proceeded to walk around the neighborhood, splashing in every puddle, getting completely soaked in the warm rain.

 Mom was still relishing the memory as she spoke to us days later.

 Joining in – a spontaneous moment of joy felt and recognized by all – meeting the needs of the moment.

Whatever the circumstances, addressing the needs of the moment pays off.  It may not be what was planned, but it is sometimes all you can do.

  Accept these needs- appreciate them – give yourself credit for recognizing them – the needs of the moment make life interesting.

So now we begin our third year together at Parent Pulse.  I look forward to sharing it with you.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Comments Off on the needs of the moment

Filed under Uncategorized