Parenting 101: Spending Time With Your Child

I want to start this off with letting all the parents out there know YOU ARE doing a great job. Don’t get discouraged with anything you read. Don’t hesitate to get help when needed. You are fantastic and beautiful and doing great!

Spending Time With Your Child:

I think the one thing that is most important about parenting is spending time with your child(ren) whether you are an at home mom or a working mom.

I am an at home mom and for me our daughter has always came first before any job, any person, even my husband sometimes. I recommend being an at home parent for several reasons. You DO get to spend that one-on-one time with them. You DO get to not miss any big steps or anything adorable that comes out of the mouths of babes. We are religious, so this might be too personal, but there’s a lot to be said for the at home mom. You are raising another one of God’s people that can make a difference in the world.

I think a lot of people do not realize how important spending time with their children really is. I don’t think people realize that by spending time with your child you are encouraging high self-esteem. You can promote independence. You can also help mold your child in to a wonderful, caring human being. Let’s be honest, the world really needs more people like that in it right now. I also feel like being an at home mom for me personally has allowed me to build a better relationship with our daughter and be there for her when she really needs it. I can go to school functions. I can drive her back and forth to school. I can take her back and forth to her gymnastics or ballet classes. It’s amazing and I feel so blessed to be able to do that for her and for our family.

To Work or Not to Work?

However, if you are in a situation where you have to work that is okay too. There is no wrong answer when it comes to working and providing for your family. You should feel so proud that you are providing for your family and able to bring in that income to do so. You get to make a difference in the world outside of the home. I know tons of parents who work full time and are able to spend every moment off with their kids. Their kids do not suffer, and their kids do not go without. I only recommend for a situation like that is to make sure when you are off work please spend as much time as you can with them. Do not pawn them off on other people because you need “alone time.” I hear that phrase way too often. I heard it more working in preschool/daycare, naturally. It makes me upset for the children. It hurts the children. It may not seem like it, but working in pediatrics and having young kids and teens come in from depression or anxiety from things like that always breaks my heart. There was always a lot of teens and junior high school aged children that needed anti anxiety medications. They really needed their parents around, but where were the parents?

My mom does preschool/daycare to this day. It amazes me constantly how many parents take their kids to the daycare on their days off. Why on Earth would you not want to spend that extra time with your child? Why would you want to give the daycare provider the opportunity to bond with your child more than you? I think the nanny/daycare provider/baby sitter is a wonderful thing. How special that you trust someone to help raise your child. However, please please PLEASE spend time with your child on your time off. It is so critical. I cannot express how critical it truly is. I know this from experience.

Now let’s talk about actually being an at home mom. Being an at home mom is not for everyone. When I did it the first time with our first daughter I went through post-partum depression. It was terrible. I needed an outlet because I felt like I was stuck at home with the baby and could not escape my own mind. I remember my daughter crying from being colic and I could not help her. I cried and cried. I would just lay there in bed with her bassinet next to me and her crying, and I did not even have the will power to move to help her. I am not proud of that, but at that moment I knew I needed help. I then got a very part-time job working retail, so I could be flexible and still be able to spend time with our daughter. Please feel free to do the same and not feel like you are less of a person for not being able to do that. Some parents feel the need to work. That is perfectly fine. If you are fine working outside the home go for it. I commend parents like that as long as, again, they spend their time off with their child.

Is There Such a Thing as Spending Too Much Time Together?

Okay at this point I know what you’re thinking. “She’s a hover mom.” Or you’re thinking “She’s one of those religious nuts who homeschools.” I am the opposite of a hover mom and my child goes to public school. Trust me. I am a full believer of I told my child not to do something and they want to do it anyway. Well when they get hurt that’s how they learn. I think public school is important for the social aspect as well as the opportunities given.

Is there such a thing as spending too much time with your children? How do you separate the difference between the helicopter mom and the mom that has the right amount of balance? I’ll tell you. You don’t! One of my very best friends is a helicopter mom and she is a fantastic mom. There is no right or wrong answer about your style of parenting. According to Baltrotsky’s article in the Huffington Post there is a fine line between constantly needing to entertain your child and just including them in every day life. I think that is the line that parents sometimes have a hard time defining.

Get Them Involved.

Let’s talk about that line. I love when my 5 year old has days off. I feel so excited to get her and I out of the house to go do something fun. Make some memories. I love taking her to the museum, or the park, or another form of the museum. I do a lot of hands on things with her. You may be asking yourself “Well I have no idea what to do with my child because of their age.” You can do a lot of age appropriate things at home. Even just playing a game or playing with characters (Barbie, Ninja Turtles, dolls, etc) at home is something that makes a difference. Honestly, We do not go do something fun EVERY time she has a day off. If we spend the day at home I do find something fun, like an activity, to do at home together. On days where I really need to get house work done she is so eager to help mommy. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that your little one feels the same way. They just want to feel included and involved. Positive praise and encouragement go a long way. When my daughter was a lot younger just her helping me made her feel like a big girl. I have her help me with age appropriate tasks. You can do the same. If you get on Pinterest there are a ton of ideas for age appropriate chores/tasks you and your little one can do.

Now, if you have a baby where they’re not even walking let’s talk about that. Babies need to feel included and involved with what you’re doing just as much as an older child. Spending tummy time with baby is so important not only for developmental reasons, but for bonding between mother and baby. I would strap my baby to my body with one of those baby carrier things and walk around the house and do chores. It kept her feeling like she was not just left in the other room by herself. That is another way you can easily spend time with baby and get done what you need to get done depending on the age of the child.

If you have any other great ideas for age appropriate activities to get your child involved please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you about this topic.

T.V.?

I want to touch on television and putting your child in front of the t.v. without it being controversial. We are ALL guilty of this, myself included. Sometimes it is so much easier to just turn on the t.v. for every age group and have the t.v. “baby sit” your child. I am not saying don’t ever do this, but I am saying it should be limited and monitored. They say no more than 2 hours/day of electronics (t.v., tablet, cell phone games, etc.). Please be conscientious of this. We have our days where we are not great about this, but I do monitor it and make my daughter take breaks to go play in her toy room.

Working in daycare/preschool and in pediatrics I have seen the psychological damage of putting your child in front of the t.v. constantly does. I know this is going to sound cliche, but trust me when I say it does promote violence, and hinders growth and development. Regardless of whether or not your child plays “violent” games it does not stimulate the brain in a proper manner. Several clients from the preschool had children that spent a vass majority of time in front of the t.v. The child only focused on games they played with their video game console and pretend played video games when interacting with other children. It is always really sad. They always had a hard time making friends and keeping them. I could go on and on about this topic and things I saw and witnessed.

In pediatrics we would have children come in that it was the same situation. Then when we had the parents fill out a developmental questionnaire their child was always delayed for one reason: video games and spending too much time in front of the t.v. I just want to reiterate that I am not saying to never have your child watch t.v. or play video games. I love electronics. I love that you CAN use them for educational purposes. I am saying though it should be monitored and not be a daily activity your child engages in.

You Are Doing a Great Job!

I want to close this with reinforcing to everyone that whether you work or you are the at home parent make sure you spend an ample amount of time with your child(ren). They need you no matter what the age may be. They need the love and support of the people that love them the most in this world.

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Breast Feeding, Bottle Feeding, Formula Feeding: Which is the Right Choice for Me?

Photo Credit Disqus

I want to start off letting all the parents out there know that this article focuses on what is best for baby, and not what is necessarily the best choice overall. I am not bias one way or another. How you decide to feed your baby is a personal decision. It is the decision you make based upon what is right for you and your baby. Feeding your baby is more important than who is doing it the “right way” per other people’s perspectives. I hear so many moms shaming other moms because they don’t/didn’t breast feed. Did you know some moms can not breast feed? Some moms try to breast feed. They do everything they can to get their milk supply up. They don’t give up, but it just does not end up working out for them. Sometimes it doesn’t end up working out for baby either. There are so many factors in this.

My mother, with both her children, was able to breast feed. She would tell me she basically was a cow in the fact that she leaked milk constantly. She also has always been able to be at home doing something. She clearly is a great candidate for breast feeding her children. My sister and I did not have any issues latching on. We were fed a la breast.

Breast Feeding: Is This the Right Choice for Me?

Some of you may be reading this thinking “Of course this is the right choice. It’s the only choice.” Did you know this is not the only choice of feeding your baby? Breast feeding exclusively takes a lot of time and patience. It also takes dedication and willingness to offer your baby your breasts at every moment of the day. Every day. Working moms have a harder time with this. At-home-moms may have a hard time with this as well depending on their family’s needs, other children, etc.

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Just remember breast feeding is a personal decision. Do not let others sway you one way or the other. This decision is between you and your baby. Breast feeding has so many benefits for you and your baby.

 

 

Photo Credit Thayer Allyson Gowdy

*Breast Feeding: Benefits for Baby*

My personal reason for wanting to breast feed is that baby receives your antibodies from your breast milk. That is how baby stays healthy. If baby catches a virus that you already have had your body will have the antibodies for it and make it easier for baby to fight off the virus. Another great reason to breast feed is breast milk has the perfect amount of nutrients via what you put in your body. There’s fats, proteins, vitamins, etc. “Babies who are breast fed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.” (WebMD, 2005-2018).

mriPhoto Credit Telegraph Media Group Limited

The more interesting thing I have found though is that children who are breast fed seem to be smarter overall. They are more successful as adults and in their academics and careers. Some other great benefits I would like to highlight include the physical aspect of it for baby AND for mommy. The skin to skin/one on on for baby helps brain development. The touching stimulates the brain and helps it to grow. They have found babies who are interacted with have bigger brains and are smarter than babies who just lay in their cribs all day being ignored. Also, babies who are breast fed have a lower risk for SIDS.

*Breast Feeding: Benefits for Mommy*

breasfeeding-benefits

Photo Credit greatbabytips.com

Now let’s talk about how breast feeding can help you as a mother. I am pretty excited about this section. There are so many wonderful benefits. My personal favorites include helping your body heal after deliver, keeping weight off (and who doesn’t love that benefit), and being able to consume more calories. Some other great benefits are it helps you save money because you’re not buying formula, bottles, nipples, etc. It also help reduce your risk for ovarian cancer. You also have a less likelihood of developing osteoporosis. How fantastic are those benefits as well?

breastfeeding-benefits-and-awareness-4-638Photo Credit Anu Minivannan

Okay, now let me go more in depth with this. After you have your baby your uterus is still going to be stretched out and swollen. “It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.” (WebMD, 2005-2018). When you are breast feeding you are also burning calories like crazy. That is why you are allowed to consume more calories, an extra 500 calories to be exact (Baby Center Medical Advisory Board, 2015). I don’t know about you, but when I’m not pregnant I count calories to stay in shape or lose weight, so if you are already in the calorie counting game this should be easy for you.

Bottle Feeding: Is This the Right Choice for Me?

Photo Credit Bundoo

bottle feeding baby

 

Bottle feeding can imply both formula and breast fed babies. If you choose to pump but use a bottle that is perfectly fine too. Just remember feeding your baby is more important than how you feed your baby.

bottle

Photo Credit Dr. Brian Palmer, DDS

Okay, let’s jump in to this. Make sure you do your research about nipples and bottles. I prefer the NUK brand. No, I am not getting any kind of benefits for saying that. I feel the nipples are more shaped like my nipple when it’s inside my baby’s mouth. They seem to be easier for babies to latch on to as well. Please be aware of nipple confusion though. You can learn more about it here. Nipple confusion is simply your baby has so many things to learn and latching on to a nipple should not be one of them. If you use more than one brand of nipples your baby will have a harder time latching and feeding. This can cause all sorts of problems as you can imagine.

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Photo Credit NUK

* Bottle Feeding: Benefits*

Benefits to bottle feeding include the fact that dad or brother/sister can feed the baby. Anyone can feed the baby. This is more ideal when baby starts going to daycare, or if you’re lucky enough to be able to get a nanny. I recommend if you are going to bottle feed that you also need to do skin to skin like you would with your breast. Still take your shirt off and have skin to skin time with baby, but use your bottle instead of your breast if you are not able to breast feed. You don’t have to worry about what you put in your body if you are using formula in the bottle. You also don’t have to worry about having to offer your breast at every moment of every day whenever baby is hungry. Bottle feeding is also easier for baby to learn.

*Bottle Feeding: Disadvantages*

There are plenty of disadvantages to bottle feeding. When you are trying to monitor nutrient intake it is hard to make sure your baby is getting everything they need. Of course this applies to formula feeding. When you know what you consume and you offer breast milk in a bottle then you know exactly what nutrients they are receiving. It costs money to keep bottles and nipples for baby. Nipples have different flow rates. When baby gets older they will want a higher flow rate because they will be able to take in more at a time. If you use formula that costs money as well. I remember how expensive that was when my daughter was a baby. I felt like we were buying formula weekly at $25/container. Ouch! Warming up a bottle takes time to do. My nephew does not like to wait for his bottle. He gets very impatient, and your baby might too. When you go out in public you have to make sure you have bottles on you. If you formula feed as well you have to make sure you have formula with you on top of that.

There are so many factors with bottle feeding to consider. Again, this is a personal choice and you as the mother should be the only one making this choice for you and your baby.

Formula Feeding: Is This the Right Choice for Me?

Formula feeding has some great advantages and some great disadvantages; just like the bottle feeding option. It also is a great alternative when you are not able to breast feed, or you are having an emotional time with breast feeding. When it’s time to move on and give up breast feeding you will know. Being stressed out over it is not worth it. Trust me, I’ve been there. Your emotional/mental state of mind is more important than being depressed while trying to take care of a baby.

*Formula Feeding: Advantages for Mom and Baby*

When you formula feed it is so much easier to monitor ounces that baby took in. When your baby is not getting enough breast milk then formula feeding is great for supplemental. It is more important for baby to be fed, than how they are fed. I know so many lactation nurses who push for breast feeding. That is great. The only issue is that they tend to forget that feeding baby is more important than making you feel like crap because you are not able to feed your baby via breast.

My sister recently had a baby and had a lactation nurse tell her that she should not even be offering her son formula (even though he was losing weight from not being able to get enough breast milk) because that was a bad choice. She felt like a horrible mother for even considering supplementing with formula. When she took her son to the pediatrician he reassured her that feeding is the only option. There are no “better choices” when it comes to your baby’s health. She is now formula feeding only. My nephew started gaining weight, and is now a healthy, solid cutie pie.

I also want to let everyone know to compare formulas when buying formula. Not all brands and categories are the same when it comes to formula. My daughter did better with Enfamil than with Similac. This time around with baby #2 we are going to give Similac another shot. Look at all the nutritional facts on the back of the containers. How do they compare? Does your baby have special dietary needs? Mine does. Do you need something more cost effective so you are looking at the store brand formula? How does that store brand compare with other brands?

Some other things to consider when choosing formula include you can take medications without having to worry about passing that to the baby. You can also drink alcohol, a cup of coffee, etc without having to worry.

Feeding You Baby is a Personal Decision:

Just remember feeding your baby is a personal decision. It is your decision. It is not your mother’s decision, your mother-in-law’s decision, or even  your husband’s decision. It is a decision for you and your baby to decide upon. Do not feel shameful if you are not able to produce enough milk to feed your baby. It is okay to use formula to supplement, or feed exclusively. If you are able to breastfeed exclusively that is amazing too.

I would love to hear your personal stories. Please comment below.

 

 Resources:

WebMD. (2005-2018). Breastfeeding Overview. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#1

Women’sHealth.gov. (2018). Making the Decision to Breastfeed. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/making-decision-breastfeed

Baby Center Medical Advisory Board. (2015). Diet for a Healthy Breastfeedng Mom. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_diet-for-a-healthy-breastfeeding-mom_3565.bc

Murkoff, H. (2014). Nipple Confusion. Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/ask-heidi/nipple-confusion.aspx

 

How to Have a Relaxing and Organized School Morning: 5 Simple Things You Can do to Help Organize Your Morning

Hi Medical Mama fans and readers! Today we’re going to talk about how YOU can have a more relaxing and organized morning when your family gets up in the mornings to get ready for school/work/etc.

1) Pick Out Outfits the Night Before

stock-photo-colored-clothing-of-all-colors-of-the-rainbow-spectrum-hanging-in-the-wardrobe-717786094Pick out their pants, shirt, panties, socks, shoes, sweater, coat, etc the night before and put it somewhere they get ready in the morning.

I pick out my daughters’ clothes and lay them on their dressers for them to see in an obvious spot in the mornings.

2) Pre-Prep Breakfast

cereal-556786_960_720Okay, you’re probably thinking “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” YOU DO!!! I cook breakfast on Sundays after church. Or I do it when I have a free afternoon randomly. I make things like 2 dozen muffins, breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc. I also portion out cereal in plastic containers to prevent over pouring and wasting cereal. You can find all my great breakfast ideas here.

3) Pack Lunches the Night Before

stock-photo-woman-packing-sandwiches-94544296Packing lunches the night before saves you about 10-15 minutes in the morning of feeling rushed. You can slow down the night before and think about what you are going to put in the lunches. You can plan a healthier meal this way too.

I always pack my daughter’s lunch the night before. I even put it in her lunch box and put it in the fridge to sit over night. The next morning all she has to do is go to the fridge and grab it and put it in her backpack.

Easy Peasy!

4) Pack Backpack the Day Before

stock-photo-little-girl-ready-for-school-at-home-with-school-bag-261337835Whenever homework gets done in the afternoons pack the backpack for the next day. Anything that needs signed do it and put it back in the backpack. Take care of everything at once instead of dragging everything out all night trying to gather stuff together. If your child needs to take something to school for the next day put it in the backpack at the same time.

After school we sit down at the table in the dining room. We pull everything out. I sign her chart, do homework together, and talk about the day. My daughter is able to work on everything while eating her snack (so get that out of the way too). The next morning we are not rushing around trying to get everything gathered for the stupid backpack.

5) Routine

stock-photo-father-and-mother-dressing-her-daughter-in-the-morning-their-living-room-happy-family-585500534Routine sounds so cliche. It’s not! Do the same thing at the same time every morning. That way your children know what to expect. First we do this, next we do that. That way there’s not excuse for them to get distracted in front of the t.v. or give you the excuse of “not knowing what to do next.”

We get up, breakfast first. My daughter is able to watch t.v. while eating. Breakfast is already made, so she doesn’t spend extra time trying to figure out what she wants. She knows right after that she has to go brush her teeth. Then it’s time to get dressed (which her clothes are already picked out saving more time). After getting dressed we do her hair and put her lunchbox in her backpack (which also already packed saving more time).

Hopefully these tips helped! Let me know what time saving tricks you use in your busy mornings.

Help! My Child is Scared to Leave me When She Goes to School.

Photo Illustrated by Pixar Wiki

I want to start this article off with letting all the parents out there know YOU ARE doing a great job. Don’t get discouraged with anything you read. Don’t hesitate to get help when needed. You are fantastic, beautiful and doing great!

My Child is Scared to Leave me to go to School.

Have you ever felt like this: I’ve noticed lately my 5 years old daughter is having anxiety about leaving me and our family dog to go to school. Today she broke down in tears when I asked her to pick up her laundry. She started tearing up saying “I just know what to do.” She was getting frustrated. Then I asked her “What’s wrong honey?” She replied with “I just don’t know what’s wrong with me.” So I got down on her level and gave her a huge hug. She started crying telling me how much she missed me while she was at school today, and she worries about the dog while she’s at school too. I asked her why she is scared to leave the dog. I thought that was kind of a weird fear honestly. She told me because I leave her home alone by herself. I reassured her that our dog lays on the couch snoring all day. I also reassured her that I am home all day long waiting until I can pick her up from school. I told her I miss her so much too while she is at school.

Okay, So What’s Going on?

According to Parents.com, which you can read about here, it is important to address those fears. There’s a natural spike in anxiety in this age group (Mann, J., Unknown). Kids start to worry about death, injury, etc. They realize that something bad could possibly happen to them or their loved ones. I remember as a child, probably around this age, being terrified to leave my mom while I went off to school. I constantly thought about what if something happened to my mom or dad. What if they died?

I am not saying your child, or mine, has an anxiety disorder (they might), but I want to discuss what that means. According to an article on Brain Connection, which you can read about here, anxiety develops around 8 months of age. That is pretty early. This is the stage where they begin to start to cry when they do not see mom or dad in sight. They learn by crying you will come back to essentially save them. “According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistics Manual-IV (DSM-IV), “the anxiety or fear must cause distress or affect social, academic, or job functioning and must last at least one month.” (Brain Connection, Unknown). Is this anxiety or fear effecting your child’s social, academic or job functioning abilities? How long has your child’s anxiety gone on for?

So My Child has Separation Anxiety. Now What?

No let’s talk about solutions. Make sure you address the fears. Comfort your child. Lots of hugs and reassurance that this is normal and everything will be alright. Make sure when you address these fears that there is nothing bigger going on. According to an article in healthychildren.org make sure there is nothing bigger like bullying, teasing, abuse, fear of the teacher, fear of failure, or fear of going to the bathroom in public going on (Unknown, 2017). These are just to name a few. What kind of anxieties does your child have?

You can try to reduce these fears by giving them something special to leave in their cubby or backpack. A nice family photo is a great solution. I remember when I was in kindergarten my mom put a blanky in my backpack so whenever I felt anxious or scared I could open my backpack and look inside to feel secure again. Honestly, as ridiculous as that sounds it worked.

Today I sent her to school with a poncho I crocheted. She has been holding on to this poncho since day one of starting her new school. I think it helps self-soothe her. On the way to school this morning we talked about there is nothing to worry about because mommy and doggy are at home all day and safe. I reminded her the sweater was in her backpack and she can put it on any time she misses her mommy. She asked a ton of follow up questions about being able to wear it. I reassured her to just put it on for every scenario running through her head. She finally let it go, and didn’t seem anxious when I dropped her off.

When my daughter switched schools in the middle of the school year we read A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn and Barbara Leonard Gibson. You can order it here. This book is so great for times like this. It is about a child raccoon who is getting ready to start his first day of school, but is scared he will miss Mama Racoon. Mama Racoon put a bunch of kisses in his pocket so when he needed a kiss from his mother they were there. The mother then kissed his hand over and over and told him to put them in his pocket for safe keeping for whenever he felt scared. We did this with my daughter her first day of school at the new school. She pulled out her “kisses” whenever she needed them to feel close to home. It worked great!

Another great book to try is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak. You can order that book here. I like this book too. It is about the same premise where the little raccoon is scared to start school.

When do I get Help?

Please note that the time to get help for your child and to seek a professional depends a lot on the child. If they are inconsolable at school that is not a good situation for everyone around them. If they are peeing themselves at school that is another sign to look out for. Insomnia, headaches, constant stomach aches, and chest pains are all signs that there is a bigger issue going on that needs to be addressed by a professional.

If your child is having separation anxiety I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment with your story below.

Other Sources:

Mann, J. (Unknown). When Your Child Doesn’t Want to go to School. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/kids/education/elementary-school/when-your-child-doesnt-want-to-go-to-school/

Unknown. (2017). School Avoidance: Tips for Concerned Parents. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/emotional-problems/Pages/School-Avoidance.aspx

Brain Connections. (Unknown). Afraid to Leave Mom: Separation Anxiety in Children. Retrieved from https://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2000/11/20/afraid-to-leave-mom-separation-anxiety-in-children/

 

10 Things to do With Your Children: No More Excuses!

Photo Credit Epic Kids

I have compiled a list of either free or very cheap ideas to do with your child/ren. I am a huge fan of “Let’s take off and do something fun today.” I especially was able to do this before my daughter started kindergarten. I know so many moms and dads out there that don’t do anything with their children all day except get on social media and complain about not doing anything with them. When I suggest things there’s always a reason why they can’t do anything. Today I am stopping that. Also, don’t forget to tailor these ideas to your child’s age.

For my Indiana Residents I have included links below for you.

If you live in another state or area (country) please feel free to comment below with links in your area. I would love to know what’s out there, and I know fellow readers would love to know what’s in their area as well.

1)Go to the Park and Have a Picnic

picnic inthe park
Photo Credit Alabama State Parks

Going to the park is one of the single most fun things that my daughter loves to do. It gives her a chance to get her energy out, we get out of the house, and I don’t have to engage too much if there’s a lot of other children playing at the same time. Don’t get me wrong I love playing with my daughter, but on days where I need my space the park is a great alternative. I’m still spending time with my child, but we get to spend some time being parallel. We bring a sack lunch and eat at the picnic tables. Then we clean up and go play. It’s free and easy.

 

picnic
Photo Credit Kim Wade

If you are not close to the park and live in the country then having a picnic outside is also a great alternative. We lived in the country at one point and when I didn’t feel like driving in to town to go to the park we had a picnic outside on a blanket. Then afterwards we would play on the play set together, or my daughter would run around the yard. She also would get out chalk, her bike, her power wheels dune buggie, etc.

 

2)Go to the Zoo, Petting Zoo, or Aquarium

aquarium
Photo Credit Indianapolis Zoo

Where we live there is a free zoo in town. It has mostly petting zoo animals. It also has some pretty cool animals like bald eagles, prairie dogs, and wallabies. If you are looking to get out of the house and go do something free see if there’s something like this in your area. There might be a free petting zoo. There might be a free zoo. We also live close enough to our state’s capitol where they have an actual zoo. It’s huge. We live about an hour away from that zoo. If you find it’s going to be costly look in to their programs. They have certain days dedicated to being “free” or “discount days.” Also, check if they offer discounts to military families, teachers, police officers, firemen, or

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Photo Credit Indianapolis Zoo

veterans. Check with your work as well. They might give you a discount. My work offers discounts including our big zoo. The price cut is really helpful. You really can’t beat it.

 

3)Go to the Local Museum, State Museum, or Interactive Children’s Museum

indi-children-museum
Photo Credit Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Again, we have fantastic museums in our state downtown of the capitol. We’ve actually been to a few in Indianapolis. There are a ton of cheap museums that are great for all ages. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is pretty costly. However, if you look for their “free days” and “discount days” you can get in really cheap (especially on the free days because they’re free). Check out your state museum as well. Usually those kind of museums cost next to nothing and they have something for all ages.

 

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Photo Credit Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Also, there is a very cheap, local museum for children close to us. It’s like $4/person to get in. They have a ton of hands on learning. I’m sure there’s something like this in your area too.

 

4)Go Shopping, Run Errands

shopping with baby
Photo Credit Local.com

Okay, this one might seem lame, but I’m telling you little ones just want your time and attention. They don’t care where you go or what you do. Do you have groceries you need to get? Maybe you need to go run some errands around town? Take your child/ren with you! They just want to feel included.

 

If the mood strikes maybe buy them a toy while they’re out. They will most certainly behave if there’s something in it for them. My daughter loves going places with me. She even loves getting groceries with me because she likes to get the items off the shelf for me and put them in the cart. She feels like such a helper. When she was a lot younger she loved going and sitting in the front to watch all the people go by. She loved just spending time with me and talking with me.

5)Do a Craft: paint, color, glue a bunch of stuff together

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Photo Credit bloglet.com

I love this idea the best so far. I’ll tell you why: My daughter is so imaginative. She loves to paint. She also loves to just glue random stuff together. Now let me explain more in depth. We have sequins and toilet paper rolls and little stickers, etc. She loves just taking glue and gluing stuff to a piece of paper or construction paper from our craft supply box. It is very monitored and very fun to watch her mind work. She also loves to paint. Yes, I know paint is messy. But it’s really not. You just have to rinse out paint brushes, and wipe down your table. Put a paint smock or something like that on your child and throw it in the wash afterwards. Easy clean up.

 

6)Play Some Games

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Photo Credit Anna Brooks

Again, this is a perfect example of how you should tailor these ideas to your child’s age. A baby is not capable of playing a board game. A toddler, absolutely. A bigger kid is more than capable of playing a game. With a baby play simple games (peek-a-boo, tummy time, etc). A toddler loves playing games. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn to take turns and that everything has rules. Don’t discredit this idea yet.

 

7)Go Outside

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Photo Credit Care.com

Sometimes it’s just a great idea to go outside. My daughter loves being outside when someone is outside with her. She will play by herself with her toys as long as I’m outside with her. I can catch up on a book, or give her ideas while she’s playing. It’s really up to you how you want to play outside with your child. Being outside is also very calming. It helps both mom and child. Is there a play set outside? Great! Go play on it with her. No play set? That’s great too. Get the chalk out and create something fun.

 

8)Go See a Movie or Go to a Play

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Photo Credit dramadose

I love our free movie matinees. Whenever our local movie theater is having them I make sure I take our daughter. We also have a lot of theaters in town that do kid friendly shows. You might be thinking “My kid is 2. There’s no way I’m taking them to a show.” Actually, I found the earlier I took my daughter the earlier she learned to behave in that sort of an environment. I always made sure we sat on an end seat so she could wiggle and we sat in the front row of a section so there was no one in front of us. Again, so she could wiggle without bothering anyone. Now she’s 5 and she truly appreciates the fine arts of plays.

You also have the option of creating a movie theater in your home if you do not want to go out. Pop a movie in and pop some popcorn. I like to go to our local super store and buy a $5 movie. Then buy snacks (healthy snacks). We then go home and have girls time stuffing our faces and watching a cheap movie. You can also find $1 movies too at your local super store.

9)Play Play-doh

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Photo Credit Sheknows

This might seem like a silly one too. Let’s  be honest though, who does NOT like to play play-doh still? If you say no you’re lying. Create something fun with your little one. Create something silly, or give your child an idea to create something and see how their imagination works. Where does that idea you gave them drive their brain to? Play play-doh and find out.

10)Bake Something Yummy

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Photo Credit Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Baking something yummy is always a great idea. My daughter loves to help me in the kitchen. I’m sure your little one will too. She puts on an apron and grabs a stool. Then she climbs on up and asks what all she can help with. I gladly let her help me. An extra set of hands in the kitchen is always helpful. Just keep in mind about hot stoves, pans, ovens, sharp knives, etc. I would even be cautious about the mixer. I let my daughter practice measuring and then I let her dump it in the mixer. She also loves helping to decorate cookies. Never discount this idea either. Again, tailor it to your child’s age. Here is a great article about cooking with your child at any age.

Find Something Fun:

Don’t let bad weather ruin your plans. Don’t let being lazy get in the way of being with your child. You don’t get these years back. Just remember that. Be sure you tailor all your ideas to be age appropriate for your little one.

Also, don’t forget to check out my links below if you are an Indiana resident. If you are not please comment below the fun things to do in your area to help other moms and dads.

Links for Indiana Residents:

Parks in Indiana: https://visitindiana.com/

Indianapolis Zoo: http://www.indianapoliszoo.com/SitePages/Home.aspx

Columbian Park Zoo: http://www.columbianparkzoo.org/

Zoos in Indiana: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g28935-Activities-c48-Indiana.html

Imagination Station: http://www.imagination-station.org/

Purdue Convocations:https://www.purdue.edu/convocations/

Civic Theater of Lafayette: https://www.lafayettecivic.org/

Bold, C. (2015). How Young Kids Can Help in the Kitchen: A List of Activities by Age. Retrieved from https://www.thekitchn.com/how-young-kids-can-help-in-the-kitchen-a-list-of-activities-by-age-222692

The Proper Way to Research a Topic: How to Properly Post/Share Factual Articles and Spot Fake Ones

Photo Credit Shutterstock, publicdomainvectors.org.

Okay, before we get started I just want to say the only reason I’m writing this is because I feel so passionately that people should be researching what they believe. There’s so many hot topics out there right now. Some include breastfeeding and formula feeding, vaccinations and autism, co-sleeping, the presidency and the election, sex and gender, gun control and schools, etc. I see so many people flock to social media to post their side of what they believe. We all constantly re-post an article we see that fits towards our bias opinion. How do you know what you’re posting is a real stance though? Do you actually have a leg to stand on?

The Medical Mama always does her research. My articles are fact based articles. Not opinions. I use credible sources and sites to back up what I’m saying. In this article I am going to teach you the same thing. How do you spot opinion articles claiming to have “facts” verses ones who actually use credentials to back up their facts?

How to Tell Quality Information V.S. Bias Opinions

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Photo Credit Maia Ottenstein, infragistics.com. (2016)

Resources and credentials!

Resources and credentials are not always an easy thing to find. The biggest things you need to look for are resources and credentials. If you are researching something about cars and it starts a sentence with “According to a backyard mechanic in Nebraska….” or “According to a guy who has a love for cars…..” you probably should not consider that a reliable source. I also want to set the record straight that backyard mechanics are intelligent and I have nothing against them. They don’t drive credentials to articles though. You will want to look for things like “According to a certified mechanic from (insert body shop here)….” (Montgomery College Libraries., 2017).

wrong job
Photo Credit Unknown. (2013)

What Kind of Studies and Fields Should I Be Looking For?

Another one people argue a lot is when they are researching a topic on medical information. They will find an article starting “According to a study by (insert name here), a nutritionist,….”. This is not a reliable source. Sorry. You will want to look for things like do they have a doctorate degree? What is their field of study? How did they conduct their study? If it was from a university or a hospital (depending on what your topic is) then that is a great place to start. If the content explains the study was done at a church, a home, a backyard (you understand what I’m getting at), etc. then these are not great places to start accepting their findings.

Qualifications

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Photo Credit Unknown.

Let’s stop and think what qualifies people to be “experts” in their fields. You’re going to look at the profession. Look at the qualifications. If they have a bunch of credentials at the end of their name that support the subject you are looking at then yes, that’s a reliable source. If they have a job that anyone off the streets can get then probably not a reliable source (Library and Learning Commons., 2018). Basically, does what they’re writing about match with their experience and education? Does it match their profession?

Where do I start looking for sources?

not wiki
Unknown. (2018)

DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA. Sorry, just don’t. Did you know anyone can search for something on Wiki and edit the content? I can. You can. Everyone can (Wikipedia., 2018). Just don’t use it for sources. They’re not reliable.

Some great sources are well known magazines. This includes New York Times Magazine, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc.

Let’s say you want to look for parenting articles to help you with your medical questions/concerns. Parents.com and Today’s Parent are great sources. You wouldn’t read something about beauty blogs if you were looking for parenting information, right? Same thing goes for any other topic you are researching.

Social Media Re-Posts

social media
Photo Credit Unknown. (2018)

I very much encourage everyone to stop and read the articles you are re-posting (sharing) to your social media.

Did you open the article and read the whole thing?

So many people don’t read the full article of something they are sharing to their social media. Read the article. Is it fact based? Or opinion based? What sources are they using? How does that play in to your opinion? Will you get upset when there’s no credentials and someone notices?

I’ve had people read my articles and just read 2-3 sentences. They then get upset with what they read instead of reading the whole article. They just see one thing and take it out of context. Don’t be that person please.

Are you posting it because it fits with your opinion (which is fine).

It’s fine to post something simply because it fits your bias opinion. We all do it. I do it. However, I open up the article and read the whole thing. I look for the credentials. What “foot” does this person have to stand on who wrote this article? Are they qualified to be writing this information? I always stop and think if I post something that does not have any facts or credentials to back up what I’m saying how will this impact my credibility as a person? How does this impact my audience as a writer?

Don’t Fall in to the Random Social Media Postings. Check Your Facts Before Posting. Check Your Facts While Researching.

Don’t forget to fact check articles. Do they have credentials? What qualifies them as professionals? What are others going to get out of this article? How does this article affect me?

Make sure your sources are reliable. Where did you get your sources from? Again, qualifications are important. Remember that just because an article fits with your opinion it is not always the right article to back up your opinion.

 

 Resources:

Wikipedia. (2018). Help: Editing. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Editing

Montgomery College Libraries. (2017). What Are Author Credentials? Retrieved from https://libfaqs.montgomerycollege.edu/faq/196152

Library and Learning Commons. (2018). How to Find Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles. Retrieved from https://bowvalleycollege.libguides.com/c.php?g=10229&p=52137