When and What are the Typical Pregnancy Doctor Visits and Checkups?

When are Typical Pregnancy Doctor Visits… and What are They Going to Do To Me???

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Photo by Cason Asher on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Did you just pee on a stick and it turned out positive????

Well, let me be the first to say CONGRATS MAMA!!!! Pregnancy and mom life are the best! I’m so happy for you! 

But, truth be told, you’re entering a whirlwind of new information and questions and experiences. 

Let me help you through one major part of all this.

You know you’re pregnant. Now when do you see the doctor? And how often do you have to see the doctor after that? And what are they going to do to me during those checkups???

man kissing woman's forehead white holding ultrasound photo

Appointment 1: 8-10 weeks

The first time you’ll visit the doctor is around 8-10 weeks pregnant.

How do you find out how long you’ve been pregnant?

It can be tricky, but the best way is to guess based on the first day of your last menstrual period. Just add 8 weeks to that day (or your best guess of when that day was) and viola! Your appointment should be sometime around then.

You might have some paperwork to do during this appointment- you know, stuff like your medical history, the medical history of your family, and insurance stuff.

You’ll probably pee in a cup. Get used to this- you pee in cups a lot during pregnancy. The doctor will get your urine tested to look for common problems like infections, diabetes (although gestational diabetes doesn’t develop until later in pregnancy), dehydration, preeclampsia, etc. Oh yeah, and your pee also confirms pregnancy. That too.

Many doctors take a blood sample to screen for HIV. I always freak out before they poke me, but it really doesn’t hurt that bad.

You’ll get to ask you doctor any questions or bring up any concerns you might have. Come prepared with your thoughts written down because it’s easy to forget what you wanted to say, and it’s tough to get a hold of doctors other than during your scheduled visits! Take advantage of that time!

But the best, most amazing and exciting  and wonderful part of the first visit is by far your first ultrasound!!!!! Yep, you get to see you baby!!!

Because your little one is so tiny at this stage, it’s a vaginal ultrasound. You’ll have to undress from the waist down and put a sheet over your lower half.

You’ll get to watch the baby on a screen as the nurse takes measurements to make sure the baby is healthy and growing as he should. These measurements also give you a more accurate due date, just in case you guessed a little off on your last menstrual period.

Watch closely- sometimes you can see the baby moving!  

Appointment 2: 14 weeks

You get a nice, long break before you have to come back in. At 14 weeks, it’s time to see the doctor for a routine checkup.

It’s all routine stuff- checking your vitals, taking measurements of your growing belly, Q&A with the doctor (come prepared!), and listening for baby’s heartbeat!

Yep- you get to hear the heartbeat today!!!! AAAAHHHHH! So exciting! I can’t keep it in! A baby’s heartbeat doesn’t sound like an adult’s heartbeat. It’s more of a swishing sound. There’s nothing so precious in all the world!

2 tier cake

Appointment 3: 20-22 weeks

This is the magical appointment that we wait and wait for!

It’s the anatomy ultrasound!!! WOOOOO HOOOOO! That means you get to find out if your baby is a boy or a girl today (unless you’d rather keep it a surprise)!!!

This time, the baby has grown enough that the ultrasound can be performed without mom having to take off her pants. I know, SCORE!

Mom lays back, you get a lot of jelly on your tummy, and the nurse shows you your cute baby!! It’s so exciting because you can see the baby’s face, hands, legs, feet, and of course… genitals. 

If you don’t want to find out the baby’s sex, make sure you speak up soon because the nurse might accidentally let it slip!

But the nurse checks a lot more than just the sex of the baby. She’ll also measure the heart, measure how tall baby is, and check out the baby’s organs like kidneys, bladder, stomach, etc. Then the nurse will check your placenta for complications such as placenta previa.

Appointment 4: 26-28 weeks

This check up is all routine.

See the doctor, pee in a cup, take your vitals, check up on baby. 

But pay attention because you’ll receive very specific instructions for that glucose drink you’ll take right before your next appointment!

If you ask, you might get to choose the flavor of the drink too!

drinking glass filled with liquid

Appointment 5: 32 weeks

Besides your regular checkup stuff, you get to take your glucose test today! 

Yippee! Ok, that was a sarcastic yippee.

You’ll hear a lot of negativity about how icky the drink tastes. It’s not very good, but it wasn’t too terrible for me. It is sugary and thick, kind of like drinking a melted otter pop. But it’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine!

Follow the doctor’s instructions carefully when you take this test to ensure accurate results. You might be asked to change your diet or not eat at all for a certain amount of time before you drink the liquid. Make sure you drink it right on time (your doctor will tell you when), because the glucose needs to work its magic for just the right amount of time before the doctor tests your blood.

Yes, that means you’ll get poked this time. Sorry mama!

But it’s worth it- this test checks for gestational diabetes, a common problem in pregnancy.

It is also common to do a Hemoglobin Test at this time, which checks to see if you are anemic (if there is enough iron in your blood). Hey, if they’re already poking you, they might as well check it out!

AND- you’ll start having appointments roughly every two weeks! That means you’re getting close to the end mama! 

Appointment 6: 34 weeks

This week is a normal checkup, with no pokes! That’s awesome!

You’ll get to chat with the doctor, take vitals, check on baby. All that good stuff.

It’s kind of nice to have a boring doctor’s visit after that glucose test!

doctor holding red stethoscope

Appointment 7: 36 weeks

It’s time to pre-register at the hospital, if you haven’t already! Your baby could come any time, although we hope she’ll stay put for a little longer.

There is one exciting test for this appointment. It’s the Group B Strep Screening. For this test, you will swab the skin “down there” to check for the Group B Step bacteria.  About 25% of women carry the bacteria, although most women show no signs or symptoms of having it. 

No need to worry if you are a carrier- you’ll just need antibiotics during labor and delivery to keep your baby from getting sick if the bacteria is passed to him during labor.

Buckle up- starting next week, you’ll be seeing your doctor on a weekly basis! You’re almost ready to have this baby!!!

Appointment 8: 37 weeks

This check up is very routine. Your doctor is keeping a closer eye on you and your baby as you get closer to delivery.

She might check to make sure your baby is in the right position for delivery. She can feel your pelvis to see if the baby has “dropped” (moved away from your abdomen and toward your pelvis) and if the baby’s head is down.

pregnant woman standing near green plants

Appointment 9: 38 weeks

During the weeks before labor, your body may show signs that this baby is on its way. Your doctor checks to see if your cervix is dilated and effaced as your due date approaches.

What in the heck does that mean??

Well, normally your cervix is closed tightly, but that needs to change for this baby to get out. Dilation means your cervix is opening. It will eventually dilate to 10 centimeters right before the baby is born… but that’s in the thick of labor. You might dilate a few centimeters during the weeks before labor.

Effacement measures how thin your cervix is becoming in preparation for labor. Right before the baby is ready to be born, you will be 100% effaced. Effacement can also begin during the weeks before labor.

Appointment 10: 39 weeks

That baby could be here any day! Everyone’s on pins and needles!

Your doctor will keep checking all for all the same signs that labor is near! You’re probably uncomfortable by now, so hang in there mama!

Try out some of the tips to get labor going found at The Bump. 

Appointment 11: 40 weeks

40 weeks! Your due date is here!

If you’re past your due date, your doctor will be in close contact with you about your preferences regarding induction. 

Being “induced” means that the doctor medically intervenes to get labor going. Some moms welcome this help, and some moms prefer to wait for their body to prepare for labor all on its own.

Check out some articles for both sides of the argument here:

Risks of Inducing Labor- 5 Things to Know Before You’re Induced

5 Benefits of Inducing Labor

baby's fac

Appointment 12: Labor!

Ahhh! It finally happened! Whether you were induced or labor started naturally, you’re finally having this baby!

Congratulations mama! 

You made it through all these crazy doctors visits, and now it’s the good part!

You’ll LOVE being a mom- even if it’s not your first baby. It’s always a joy to welcome a new little life to your family!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

FREE Pregnancy Weight Gain Tracker

Click here to receive your FREE Pregnancy Weight Gain Trackers! 

 

Who is Mrs. S… and why do people call you that? 

It’s my favorite nickname! That’s what all my students call me!

I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve worked with children from ages 0-18, some with mental illness, some with disabilities, some with Autism, and many with behavioral problems.

I also worked as a parent educator!

All that doesn’t hold a candle to my best experience with children- being a mom. Want to learn more about me? Click here! 

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Life Hacks to Survive and Thrive on a Mommy Sick Day

12 Life Hacks to Survive (And THRIVE) On a Mommy Sick Day

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Mom sick days are just unfair. Like the universe was playing a gross trick or a prank gone too far.

GUESS WHAT UNIVERSE??? IT’S NOT FUNNY!

Let me just start by telling you my own little horror story of mom sickness. 

It was almost spring- you know, in that terrible transition phase around March and April where germs thrive.

I took my cute little daughter to the play place at McDonald’s for some much needed exercise and free play. We were just so sick of being cooped up in the house.

Little did I know, we were about to be a whole ‘nother kind of sick.

It all started with my cute telling me, “Mom, sick!”

I couldn’t tell if she was really feeling under the weather or not. She wasn’t really showing any signs of sickness yet. And on top of that, I was pregnant and often nauseous, so she was hearing a lot about how mommy didn’t feel well. At first, I thought she was just repeating after me.

And then it all happened.

First, we got the flu. ALL of us. Starting with the toddler (who barfed in my hair while I was snuggling her in the night… you know, since the poor girl couldn’t sleep because she was so miserable!) and then I got sick too (oh, did I mention I was pregnant on top of all this????) and last of all dad came down with it too.

And that sucked.

But then, it got worse. 

Second, our throats started to feel tingly and itchy. Then they got inflamed and so so sore! Yep, next we all got strep throat. That lasted for a good 4 days at least…

Just when we thought we MUST be finally coming out of it, our sinuses stuffed up, headaches started, and the colds took over! 

All in all, it was like 2 weeks straight of an entire family being sick as a dog!!

That means no dishes done in 2 weeks, no sweeping the floor in 2 weeks, no cooking meals in 2 weeks, no laundry done in 2 weeks, no errands run in 2 weeks, no grocery shopping done…. 

What is a mom supposed to do to SURVIVE???

person lying on gray sofa

Life Hack 1: Explain What’s Going On to Your Kids

I’m always amazed at how much my kids actually do understand if I just take the time to talk to them about what’s going on. 

Even my little 2 year old!

When we were so sick, I told her that mommy felt icky just like she did. She was very understanding when I was slower to get her a snack or when I spent a lot more time lounging on the couch than normal.

Don’t forget to clue your kids in. Sometimes we accidentally leave our kids in the dark (which leads to more behavior problems because they are just confused), but if they just know what’s going on they can be very loving, supportive, and helpful in our time of need!

Want to hear the cutest story about the cutest kid in the world?? Check out this story from our post Scary Mom-Nightmares Series- Category: Over 60 Insanely Awesome Child Quotes.

“I was folding laundry one day and told him that I was feeling really tired. He let out an “awwww!”, gave me a big hug, and said firmly, “I take you yours bed.”

I protested- telling him that I still had to fold the clothes. He would not be swayed- “I do it myself.”

Then he took me by my hand and guided me to my room. I laid down in bed and he covered me with a blanket. Later he brought in a cookie sheet with a couple chocolate chips on it. “I bring you yours lunch.”

I asked if he could help his little sister, who was fussing. He put her in her bed with a sippy cup and calmed her right down.

That cutie melts my heart! He was only 5 years old.”

adult white American bulldog sitting on couch

Life Hack 2: Have Fun On the Couch

Moms, it’s time to get creative!

You’re out of commission on the couch, and yet your little ones need some kind of entertainment if you expect to get any rest and relaxation at all.

There’s a ton of great fun activities and games for your kiddos…. that don’t involve you leaving the couch!! 

  • Coloring
  • Blocks
  • Books
  • The “I’m the Audience” Game
    • Puppet shows,
    • Talent show,
    • Singing shows
    • Basically, anything that lets my kids perform and me be the audience so I can kick back and relax!

HABA Doorway Puppet Theater – Space Saver with Adjustable Rod Fits in Most Doorways

Clearance Sale!JPJ(TM)🍁12Pcs Hot Creative Chinese Zodiac Soft Animal Puppet Finger Toys PLush Toys

6 Plush Velour Animal Hand Puppets

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Bath Finger Puppets

  • Farm
    • My daughter LOVES to set up elaborate farms or zoos with her toy animals. All I have to do is sit back and tell her how nice it all looks!
  • Play Dough
    • On special days, my daughter gets to play with play dough at the coffee table. I’m close enough to supervise and keep the mess down to a minimum, but I also get to rest!
  • Write a Story Together
  • Tell Stories
  • Look at Family Pictures
  • Dream about Visiting Disney Land
    • Research what princesses you could meet, what restaurants you could eat at, what rides you could ride, and more!
  • Plan out a Dream Family Vacation
    • Find out more about your kids’ interests by learning what kind of places they would enjoy visiting and what their favorite activities would be there!
  • Puzzles!
  • Try some Origami!
  • Shape Threading
  • Make Jewelry
  • Do String Art!
    • All you have to do is poke some tacks into a pin board and let your little one loop string in, over, and around the tacks to make their own piece of art!
  • Give them a Box
    • Aren’t you amazed at how kids can make something ordinary become amazing? Give your kid a box and let them turn it into a doll house, a race track, a farm, or whatever else they dream up! Give them crayons to decorate it and let the creativity begin!
  • Need more ideas? Check out Over 60 Indoor Activities for Families on a Rainy Day

boy sitting on white cloth surrounded by toys

Life Hack 3: Secret Stash of Toys

You know how kids get tired of the same old toys? That is particularly problematic when you REALLY need them to play happily on their own while you nap during a mommy sick day.

The solution? Keep a few secret, special toys that are only allowed to be played with on sick days! This keeps ’em special and exciting!! 

Here are a few ideas:

My Felt Story – Felt Board, Flannel Board, Black, 23″ x 12.5″

Melissa & Doug Suspend Family Game, Classic Games, Exciting Balancing Game, Develops Hand-Eye Coordination, 12.5″ H x 2.8″ W x 2.8″ L

6 Neon Stretchy Strings for ADD / ADHD Stretch Toy Stress Reliever Fidget Toy Sensory Toys – Stretches from 13 inches to 10 Feet Long!

Squirrel Products Mom, I’m Bored Children’s Activity Book – Fun for Kids Ages 3 Years Old and Up

PlayMonster Lacing & Tracing – Dinosaurs

Soyee Button Art | Preschool Learning Toys | Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard Set for 3+ Year Old Boys & Girls | Brain Training Games for kids

BUCKLE TOY “Buddy” Backpack – Toddler Early Learning Basic Life Skills Children’s Plush Travel Activity

Haktoys Fishing Game Toy Set with Single-Layer Rotating Board | Now with Music On/Off Switch for Quiet Play | Includes 21 Fish and 4 Fishing Poles | Safe and Durable Gift for Toddlers and Kids

HABA Town Maze Magnetic Game for Ages 2+

Beiens 9 Theme Felt Quiet Books – Ultra Soft Baby books Touch and feel Cloth Book, 3D Books Fabric Activity for Babies /Toddlers, Learning to Sensory Book、Identify Skill Boys and Girls, Busy Book

Wooden Magnetic Jigsaw Puzzles Toy, DIWENHOUSE Toddler Toys Educational Travel Puzzle Games Double Sided Drawing Easel for Boys and Girls (Happy Farm)

Magnetic Fun – Cars Planes and Trains

soup in bowl

Life Hack 4: Freezer Meals…. or Order Pizza

Ok mom, when you’re sick, the LAST thing you need is to COOK!

Cooking sucks even when you’re healthy. You don’t need that aggravation.

Plan ahead by having some freezer meals ready to go! 

On top of that, I keep a few cans of my favorite Campbell’s soups in my cupboard just in case I need a grilled cheese and tomato soup at a moment’s notice.

And if that fails, it’s time to order pizza!

white ceramic mug on white table beside black eyeglasses

Life Hack 5: The Sick Day Kit

Make a “sick day kit” with everything you need for a mom sick day.

This keeps everything in one place so that you’re not searching for things you need while you’re puking your guts out. Better yet- it keeps you from having to run to the store while you’re puking your guts out!! 

Here’s a few items to include:

  • Tissues,
  • Tea,
  • Common medications,
  • Blanket,
  • A water bottle,
  • Snacks for you and the kids (you know you’ll have to share!),
  • Vitamin C,
  • Cough drops,
  • Fun games or toys for the kids (unless you’ve got a secret stash somewhere),
  • A thermometer to check for a fever,

No Touch Forehead Temporal Thermometer for Fever KIT | Termometro Digital Baby |- The Best Medical Thermometers for Infants, Kids, Adults with New Born Infant Baby Essentials Nasal Aspirator.

Essential Oil Aromatherapy Set – Pure Therapeutic Grade Oils Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Orange, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Anxiety Relief Blend Kit for Women & Men

  • Strep Test Kit,

Dealmed Rapid Diagnostic Strep A Test Kits CLIA Waived (25 Tests per Box)

  • Barf bags,

Disposable Barf Bags and Wipes Kit With 10 Puke Bags and 10 Wipes – For Car Sick Kids, Uber / LYFT Customers and Morning Sickness Sufferers

  • Anything else that makes you feel better when you’re under the weather!

It can be easier to begin your kit using an existing Get Well Kit, like one of these, and add more of your favorite supplies until it’s perfect!

GiftTree Get Well Medicine Cabinet | Recovery Care Package For Men, Women and Kids | Gift Set Includes Cabinet, Assorted Candy, Ice Bag, Mini First Aid Kit

Get Well Soon Care Package Gift (Available in Two Sizes) … (Standard)

Get Well Gift Box Basket II – For Cold/Flu/Illness – Over 2.5 Pounds of Care, Concern, and Love – Great Care Package – Send a Smile Today!

women's gray crew neck shirt

Life Hack 6: 10 Minutes Goes a Long Way

All this is great… but inevitably, whenever you’re sick, your kids will start to feel starved of your attention.

This is my #1 struggle as a sick mom. Well, at least it WAS until I learned this awesome trick! 

It not only CURES your kids from feeling starved of your attention, it also PREVENTS them from feeling starved.

It’s called the 10 Minute Rule. Here’s how it works:

  • Every time you catch yourself feeling slightly better, take 10 minutes one-on-one with a child or play with the whole group

OR

  • Right before every nap you take, take 10 minutes one-on-one with a child or play with all your kids. 

That’s it!

No matter how sick I am, I can handle 10 minutes of time with my kids. What I can’t handle is hours of a clingy, attention-starved child climbing all over me while I try to nap.

The idea here is that by taking time out of your sick day for your kids, they feel your love and attention. Then, you can explain to them that you’re still not feeling well and need some rest.

Since they have their “mommy attention needs” met, they’re more likely to leave you alone to rest for an hour. Ok, maybe just 30 minutes for some kids, but still!

man and woman holding hands on street

Life Hack 7: Learn to Accept Help

This isn’t easy, but it is a life changing skill!

If you can learn to ask for and accept help when you need it, you’ll find that life’s burdens aren’t so bad, that there are good people all around you who are happy to help out, and that you have much more support than you ever knew. 

Next time you’re sick,

  • Ask for someone to pick up your groceries for you via Walmart pickup. You can still pay for them, all they have to do is swing by and bring them to you!
  • Ask for help with the kids. Healthy kids can go on play dates or someone can watch them while you nap. Family members, friends, and your partner are often willing to help, they just might not know what you need.
  • Ask your partner to take over some of your usual chores, like cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc.
  • Arrange carpools for your kids so that you don’t have to drive them to school or to their various clubs, sports, and activities.
  • Tell others what your needs are. You’ll be amazed at the solutions they think of! You never know what another person’s resources and skills are. They have a lot more to give than you might know! 

man wiping mouse with tissue paper

Life Hack 8: PREVENT Sickness with this Magic Vitamin

Elder Berry is a wonderful, magical vitamin.

I first head of it from my sister-in-law.

Her husband was going through a major career change- starting with an intensive flight school to learn how to be a pilot.

It was important to his family that he do well in school and finish school as quickly as possible because they had no income until he finished school and started working as a pilot. 

For him, sick days just weren’t an option!

Sound familiar?

So how did he keep healthy through this vital time for his family?

Elder Berry!

He took this vitamin every day to prevent sickness, and successfully navigated a flu ridden fall and spring without getting sick once! (In fact, it was the same spring that my family got our terrible flu, strep, and cold 2 week illness!)

HE EVEN STAYED HEALTHY WHEN HIS FAMILY GOT SICK! I know, how is that possible??

His wife took it as soon as she started feeling something coming on, and reported that she was almost instantly cured of any illness that might be coming on.

They also gave the vitamins to their kids if they came down with something and reported that colds, coughs, and the flu seemed to end much quicker for their family than other families in the neighborhood.

Want to try it out? Here’s a link for your convenience!

Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Gummies, Herbal Supplements with Vitamin C and Zinc, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, 60 Gummies (Packaging May Vary)

person holding remote pointing at TV

Life Hack 9: Let the Schedule Go

It’s ok if the schedule/routine/typical rules get a little more flexible when you’re sick. 

No need to stress about if the kids go to bed right on time…. or maybe a little earlier than normal if you’re like me.

No need to stress if you watch an extra hour of TV on a sick day. Or an extra few hours of TV on a sick day.

No mom guilt! Give yourself a break! 

Life Hack 10: Self-Care the Crap Out Of Yourself!

Yes, sickness is a time to take care of yourself. So do whatever it takes to feel better!

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to let your needs go unmet. To the contrary- you are a vital piece to keep your family functioning. Without you, all hell breaks loose! That’s even MORE reason to take care of yourself! 

Do you need a long bath? Make it happen mama!

Do you need a nap? You can have one!

Do you need some time with Netflix? Do it!

Do you need a Popsicle, a bowl of soup, a piece of toast, a glass of orange juice? Get it!

Is self-care tricky for you? Try this great resource!

Free Self Care Guide 2

Life Hack 11: Stay Home. Period.

Mom, I know you’re in charge of a lot of things. You shop for the groceries, you run the errands, you get your kids everywhere they need to go.

It’s time to put your foot down. You need to stay home.

If you go out, you’re just spreading your sickness around to other families and, heaven forbid, other moms! 

I know, we all know we should stay inside, but sometimes necessity drives us out the door.

If you find yourself feeling obligated to leave the house, it’s time to ask for help!

This is healing time. Not errands time. 

Life Hack 12: See the Silver Lining

Yes, sickness sucks. Especially for a mom.

But on the other hand, you have a good excuse to sit still and take a break! 

You get to sleep! And lay around! And relax!

That’s something! Take that in and enjoy! After all, you don’t get to lazy around most days.

You don’t have to fight and struggle your way through a mommy sick day. You can crush it! You’ve got this- these 12 life hacks make a mom sick day totally do-able. 

These 12 tips saved me during my 2+ weeks of sickness- including the flu, strep throat, and a cold one right after the other.

They can save you too!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

 

Who is Mrs. S… and why do people call you that? 

It’s my favorite nickname! That’s what all my students call me!

I’ve been around the block a time or two. I’ve worked with children from ages 0-18, some with mental illness, some with disabilities, some with Autism, and many with behavioral problems.

I also worked as a parent educator!

All that doesn’t hold a candle to my best experience with children- being a mom. Want to learn more about me? Click here! 

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Save Kids (And Ourselves) From Technology

3 Reasons and 4 Tips to Save Kids (And Ourselves) From Technology

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Trivia: How many children under the age of 6 have smart phones??

(Scroll to the bottom of the post for the answer)

I have heard that technology can cause problems for kids and parents. I kind of thought, “Yeah, well, anything can cause problems. You’ve just got to be in control of it, be smart.”

That is what I thought.

And then I watched this Ted Talk that changed my whole perspective on technology and social media for children.

Can flip phones end our social media addiction? | Collin Kartchner | TEDxSaltLakeCity

 

Please, please take the time to watch this. It’s 17 minutes long, and life changing. I’m so happy I spent that 17 minutes to better understand this issue.

Let me repeat some of the most horrifying, intoxicating, depressing quotes from that video- Not to bring anyone down, but because I think they’re worth remembering. Even better yet, they’re worth changing ourselves!

There is a lot in this video that’s tough to hear, but it’s worth it to make ourselves, our homes, and our kids better!!

Here we go. Let’s do this.

(All quotes come from the Ted Talk listed above (see link)- unless otherwise specified.)

woman holding iPhone during daytime

1) Social Media and Suicide

“What is one thing your parent does not know about social media? It nearly ended my life.”

“…In just the last 7 years our suicide rate among kids (ages 10-17) have jumped 141%.”

“Experts say that handing a smart phone with social media and untethered access to these apps with no training or guidance is like handing them a key to a car with no drivers’ ed.”

Suicide has been a problem in society for most of my life, but I never really thought about the realities of this mass epidemic.

Children are hurting themselves. Children. All the time! Children don’t just do that kind of crap. Children are loving, kind, gentle, forgiving, understanding. Children are my favorite people to be around because of their amazing qualities.

My eyes are opened that a sweet, innocent child who hurts themselves could be lost forever. Over something so insignificant as a phone. That’s insane! It just can’t go on. This has to stop.

person using black smartphone with gray and pink case

2) Problems for Children’s Mental Health

“We are on the verge of the greatest public health crisis this generation has ever seen. That was two years ago. We are no verging. The verge is here.”

“Robs them of their resiliency…”

“Our kids’ entire self-worth at 13 is determined by virtual, unpredictable feedback. The validation that we all crave, to them, is only available in this synthetic way. Their social standing and their self-esteem is determined by a like on an Instagram photo.”

“When you’re 13 today, there’s no place to run. There’s no escape. And it is soul crushing.”

I’ve often wondered about the rising rates of depression and anxiety in particular, but other mental health issues as well, like bipolar disorder.

This video shared research linking depression and anxiety to cell phone use and/or social media addictions in children. This makes sense to me as a professional. I know that children’s brain development (particularly in complex social situations) takes years to properly form.

Neural connections that are actively used are maintained and even heightened by the brain, while neural connections that are not used weaken, wither, and eventually die if they are not used for a long period of time.

That means that our teens’ daily activities drastically affect their long-term development.

Lack of appropriate social and emotional experiences, learning, and growth will weaken or slow the social/emotional areas of the brain. Overexposure to particular experiences (like cell phone or social media use) heighten those areas of the brain.

It makes sense that the result would be an imbalance of development!


Other Great Reads: 

27 Universal Truths to Live a Happy Life NOW!

16 Rules of Parenting Etiquette That Will Make YOU One Popular Mama

Over 35 Guilty Pleasures for Moms that I’m NOT ABOUT to Stop!

25 Best Mom Hacks that Save Time, Energy, and Money


two men and one woman standing on station while holding mobile phones during daytime

3) Our Own Addictions

“The answer of ‘how do we save these kids’ is that we can’t… until we first save ourselves. We as adults and as parents, we have to break free from our screen dependency and our social media addiction. We have to start modeling healthy digital behavior for our kids who don’t hear us, they see us.”

“Now that I’m a teenager, I have never felt more distance, and it’s not because of me… It’s because I can’t get my mom and dad off their stupid phone… I’ve never felt more unloved and more uncared for all because of this stupid phone.”

“This little, precious human being looked at me and with tears in her eyes said, ‘Why do you love your phone more than you love me?’”

“When I had my phone out in front of my kids she didn’t know that I was answering emails to make money so she could go to dance… The only thing she saw when this was out in front of her was ‘that means more to dad that I do.’”

This broke my heart.

It is interesting to me that the presenter did not describe the intense, over the top parents. He described every day dads and moms. The ones who use their phone to check email, to enjoy a break by playing a quick game, to keep in touch with long lost friends, to see their sister’s cute baby on Facebook, to learn something new on YouTube.

It’s all good things- but an imbalance of anything is no longer a good thing.

The child doesn’t know the difference between a parent who is doing good things on their phone and a parent who isn’t. To the child, it’s the same result- a distracted, emotionally unavailable parent.

And I realized as I listened that I fell into that same category of “normal” disengaged parents. I remembered my child pushing her face in between me and my phone, or saying “mom, mom, mom, mom…” over and over because I didn’t respond the first time, or hitting my phone in my hands and saying “No!” And I thought she was the one who was out of line. 

Absolutely not! It was me all along.

Not my child! She can NEVER feel this way again! I learned about this with plenty of time to adjust and I’m going to.

My baby will grow up knowing that she and her daddy and her siblings are the most important thing in my entire life! More important than stupid cell phones, more important than Facebook likes, more important than popularity.

She is the center of my universe, and she’s going to know it!

man beside a boy while holding playing cards

4) What Can We Do?

Throughout the Ted Talk, I noticed four ideas of what we can do to improve ourselves as parents to help this crisis. Here they are:

  • “When I get home from work now… I put my phone in a drawer, I grab that little tiny human, I set her on my lap. I ask her about her day and as she’s telling me I try not to even blink. One thing amazing happened as I was doing this. All the defiance and anger stopped right then because she felt loved and connected.

This is obvious, but really hard to actually do.

The first step is to put the phone away. I never, ever thought I had a cell phone or a social media addiction. I never even had an Instagram or Twitter before I started blogging! I only had Facebook, and I spent less than 1 hour a day on Facebook.

But the cell phone… I actually struggle to be without my phone. I depend on it for my calendar, my alarms, my notes, my grocery list, my email, my games, my social media, my communication with my husband (and everyone else I know for that matter….), researching answers to questions, and basically everything else.

How am I supposed to put it down so that I can give my children all the attention they need?

I don’t really know, but I’m going to figure it out. Time to put it down, even when it’s inconvenient.

  • “It’s ok to show the world that we’re not ok.”

Social media has created a world of perfection. A world where everyone compares their worst qualities to everyone else’s best qualities. A world where you hide your flaws and flaunt the things you’re good at, then beat yourself up quietly when others are good at something you’re not good at.

That’s wrong!

Why do we participate?? Let’s just not!

We can be imperfect, even in public. Even on the worldwide web- even in front of our friends, and our colleagues. And yes, even in front of our children!

  • “What is the proper age to hand our children this technology and these devices… When are you ok with him to start looking at pornography? When are you ok with her to start feeling anxiety and question her self-worth? The minute we hand our kids these devices is the minute they stop being a kid.”

A third suggestion is to delay giving your children access to smart phones, especially because of the access to social media.

I know every parent has their own opinions on this, and I’m still forming my own opinion. But I think this point is very compelling and should at least be considered as parents make their own decisions.

photo of mother and child beside body of water

  • “It is never too late to step up and be a parent!”

I love this quote so much!

It’s absolutely right! We never have to get down on ourselves for our mistakes. We get infinity chances to try again, to fix our problems, to become who we want to be. 

Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give it another shot.

And when you fail again, just do that again. One more try, and another, and another, and another. Your kids will love you if you keep trying, even if you fail over and over. Trying shows that you love them. You would give up if you didn’t care, but you do care so you won’t ever give up on your kids.

 

I hope sharing this awesome information helps a parent and a child out there! Please share your experiences in the comments below to inspire other moms and dads just like you!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

Click here to get your FREE Parent’s Guide to Self-Care! 

Free Self Care Guide 2

 

Trivia Answer: 1 in 4 of children under age 6 have smartphones, according to this resource! 

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How to Help Your Kids Enjoy Hygiene Routines For A Jump Start to Lifelong Health

How to Help Your Kids Enjoy Hygiene Routines for a Jump Start to Lifelong Health

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

 

Kids don’t like cleanliness. At least, not all of it.

One kid loves brushing teeth, but hates brushing her hair. Another kid refuses to wash his hands, but has no problem soaking in the shower for an hour at a time.

No two kids handle hygiene the same. The problem is- all kids have to do all of the steps to proper hygiene. There’s no skipping brushing teeth just because Jimmy doesn’t like it!

So how is a parent supposed to create a positive atmosphere around necessary activities… that the child detests???

Here are 6 “mom secrets” that help with any hygiene routine—- and stay tuned for specific ideas for hair brushing, tooth brushing, hand-washing, and bath time!  

1) Monkey See, Monkey Do

Usually parents get up and get ready before the kids do. That’s the only way to get them out the door, because they need you coaxing them along every step of the way as they get ready, right?

The problem with this is that young kids don’t see that you go through the exact same hygiene routine as the child is expected to go through. There’s no example, it’s not relatable. Mom is just magically clean all the time.

Look for opportunities to get ready alongside your child- especially on weekends when there is less of a time crunch- so that the child can see you doing all the same cleanliness tasks that they do.

2) Fake That Smile

long black haired woman smiling close-up photography

If you want your kid to be positive about the morning/evening routine, you’ve got to be positive about it too! Even if it’s not a real smile, this is a great time to “fake it til you make it.”

How could a child possibly get excited to go brush his teeth if he hears mom say things like, “Oh no, it’s time to brush teeth! I hate this time of night. It’s always so awful! Well, here we go…”

Compare that to, “Oh yay, it’s time to brush teeth! Woo hoo! Toothpaste tastes like candy. I love it.”  

3) Always, Always, Always

Never let up on the hygiene routine! First of all, it’s healthy to brush teeth, take baths, and wash hands.

Second of all, consistency creates structure for the child. If you break that structure, they are more likely to act out because the tasks seem optional. “Why should I have to wash my hands before dinner tonight when I didn’t have to yesterday?”

4) Your Turn!

clear glass flower vase near rolled grey mat

Take advantage of independent streaks or stages.

Yes, your toddler’s extreme independence can be a blessing! Some aversions to hygiene could be because mom usually helps with those things… a lot. If you have a strong willed child or a child who is going through an independent phase, that’s opposite of what that child is seeking.

Help them out by giving them lots of chances to try each part of the routine on their own. It might take a little longer, but it has a lot of potential to cut down on tantrums or frustration.

5) This or This?

Some kids might struggle with hygiene routines because they are mandatory. It’s not easy to be told that you HAVE to do something, no matter what. Nobody wants to be told what to do!

You can help out with this by offering as many little choices as you can within the tasks themselves.

IE- You must brush your teeth. That’s not a choice. But you can have a choice in what toothpaste you want to use today!

6) FUUUUUUUUUN!

portrait photography of baby laughing

Anything you can do to make hygiene routines more exciting will increase cooperation. That’s why Disney makes so much money off of Princess shampoo and Superhero toothbrushes. They’re fun, and kids are more likely to try something that is  fun.

Batman Themed Hygiene Kit (Click the image below!)

Minnie Mouse Themed Hygiene Kit (Click the image below!)

Here’s more creative ideas to increase the fun aspect of hygiene:

  • Talk It Up: Tell kids all of the good things that will happen when they are clean! They look pretty or handsome, kids like to play with clean kids, their body is healthy, etc.

Here’s some great children’s books to teach kids about the importance of hygiene.

Click on the images below!
Don’t Get Sick! How Kids Can Keep Healthy and Safe – Good Hygiene for Kids – Children’s Disease Books

Smelly Melly: Personal Hygiene for Kids and Little Monsters

Hygiene Heroes! My Personal Hygiene Book :: Kids Hygiene Book. WE CAN TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES! WE CAN DO IT! HOW ‘BOUT YOU?

  • Visual Aids: Make cute, brightly-colored charts to show the child what’s coming up next! It will help them stay on track, and they’re fun to use!

Click the images below! 

Hygiene Habits Play Set

Step-By-Step Potty Chart

Step-By-Step Hand Washing Chart

Step-By-Step Shower Chart

Step-By-Step Tooth Brushing Chart

  • Apps/Games: There are TONS of apps and games to engage kids in hygiene routines. Here’s a few great ones to try out!

Dr. Panda Bath Time

Good Habits

Cute and Tiny Morning

Let’s Potty! Potty Training Board Game!

  • Earn Rewards: Create a rewards system. Maybe a child can earn a fun experience- like staying up one hour past bedtime, or choosing a special movie from Redbox, or feeding the ducks at the park.

Click on the images below!

Teeth Brushing Reward Coloring Book

Magnetic Reward Chart

 

There you have it- our tips for hygiene in general. It’s time to get more specific.

 

Making Hair Brushing Easier:

-Use detangler (Click image below)

-Use a Detangler Comb (Click on the image below)

-During bath time, put the conditioner in the child’s hair and use this as a chance to brush the child’s hair. Conditioner naturally detangles and softens hair, making it easier and less painful to brush.

-When brushing hair, start with the bottom inch of hair. Brush it out until there are no more tangles in the bottom inch. Then, move up another inch. When that section of hair has no tangles, move up another inch, and another inch, and another inch. This makes tangles less painful to brush through.

-Flip hair over your head and brush the underside of the hair first. This section of hair can be particularly tangled, so brushing it out first and then brushing the top layer of hair can decrease pain during brushing.

-For more amazing tips, check out The Secret to Brushing Your Little Girl’s Hair without Tears! 

 

Making Tooth brushing Easier:

-Choose the correct size of brush.

-Use child-safe toothpaste with fluoride(Click image below). It tastes better anyways.

-Sing a song like the ABC’s or Twinkle, Twinkle. The child has to brush as long as mom is singing. This is a good way to help the child learn to brush thoroughly instead of rushing through tooth brushing.

-Use this Baby Alive Teeth Brushing Doll (Click the image below!) to practice first. You can show the child how they will need to brush all of their teeth. Once the child has seen the baby doll do it, it is their turn!

-For more great tips, check out Make Teeth Brushing Fun with 6 Easy Tips!

 

Making Hand Washing Easier:

-Sing a song like the ABC’s or Happy Birthday. The child has to scrub his hands as long as mom is singing.

-Be silly- Use a crazy narrator voice to give a play-by-play of what the child is doing. “Tom is reaching for the soap, reaching, reaching…. He’s got the soap!! Now he’s scrubbing, But can he get those hands clean?? We’ll see- the anticipation is too much!”

-For more great ideas, check out Hand Washing 101! 

Making Bath Time Easier:

-Use child-friendly, tear-free, natural shampoo (Click the image below). It hurts a little less when it gets in their eyes.

-Try a face shield (click on image below) to keep soap and water out of eyes.

-Use this Little Mommy Bath Time Doll (Click on image below!) to practice first. You can show the child how they will need to put soap in their hair, then rinse out the soap. Once the child has seen the baby doll do it, it is their turn!

-Be silly- Use crazy voices to name all the parts of the body (hands, arms, elbows, armpits, tummy, legs, knees, feet….) as you wash them.

-For more tips, check out How to Make Bathtime Fun for Kids

 

I hope these tips make life a little easier for you mama!

Always remember that your efforts are worth it! If your little one can enjoy hygiene now, he’ll enjoy a long life of health.

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Free Self Care Guide 2

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

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Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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