Methods to Burp a Baby Effectively

4 Methods to Burp A Baby Effectively

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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! 

What?? There’s more than one way to burp a baby?

Yeah, I know, who knew? NOT ME!

There’s a lot more to burping babies that you would think.

My first child was not a good burper. She had gas a lot because I couldn’t figure out how to help her burp! Of course, that made her upset and then I struggled to calm a fussy baby. I had only heard of one method (over the shoulder) and it wasn’t working for us.

When I finally got smart and did a little research, I found TONS of useful information about how to burp your baby that solved all my problems.

woman carrying baby standing near white wooden door

Why Do Babies Need to Burp??

  • When babies eat, bubbles of air are ingested that can make them uncomfortable.
  • If those pockets of air stay in the baby’s system, it can cause painful gas.
  • Gas causes babies to be upset. It is difficult to soothe a gassy baby.
  • Dad can help with burping. It’s a great way for him to be involved with the baby.
  • Burping is a great time to connect with your newborn.
  • Touching and patting is stimulating and healthy for the baby.
  • It feels good to meet our baby’s needs! Every new mom needs that boost in confidence!

When Should I Burp My Baby?

Every baby is different, so pay attention to your baby’s cues. This will help you predict when your child needs to burp. Watch for common signs of discomfort like:

  • Arching back
  • Fussiness
  • Pulling away or refusing to nurse

Breastfed babies typically burp when they switch breasts and again at the end of the meal.

Bottle fed babies burp at least once in the middle of the meal and once at the end of the meal. Bottles can cause babies to swallow more air so it may be necessary to burp more often.


Other Great Reads: 

11 Steps to Delivering a Baby Alone- Be Prepared For Those Crazy Times When Sh*# Like That Happens

5 Tips to Reach Optimal Health Before a New Baby (For People Who Don’t Like to Exercise or Diet)

What is a “Good Parent”? Comfort and Advice for First Time Moms

14 Ways to Piss Off A Pregnant Lady


grayscale portrait photography of baby

How Do I Burp My Baby?

Here are those four techniques I promised!

  • Over the Shoulder: You know this one. The parent can choose to sit or stand. Face your baby towards you, rest his chin on your shoulder, support his body with one arm, and lean back to allow the child to rest into you. Then firmly pat or rub the child’s back, moving your hand up and down as you pat to release any air bubbles.

 

  • Variation on Over the Shoulder: This method is very similar to the basic Over the Shoulder Method. The only change is to hold your baby a little higher up on your shoulder so that the child’s belly rests on your shoulder. This causes just a little extra pressure to help release those air bubbles. Only use this method if it is comfortable for your baby (no slouching or odd body position) and if he can breathe easily.

 

  • On Your Lap: Sit down to use this burping method. Sit the child on your lap. Support his head in one hand. Place your fingers along the child’s jaw, not on the child’s neck, nose, or mouth. The baby’s chest can rest on your open palm, creating additional support. Pat the baby’s back.

 

  • Lying on Lap: Sit down for this method as well. Lay the baby across your lap. Place one hand under the baby’s head with his cheek against your palm. Keep the head at the same height or slightly higher than his body. Never let the baby’s head drop lower than his body, as this will cause all the blood to rush to his head. Pat the baby’s back.

 

When choosing which method to use, look for which position your baby seems to prefer, which is most comfortable for you, and which is most effective in helping your child burp.

Some moms choose just one, some moms switch back and forth between different methods.

shallow focus photography of baby wearing white diaper lying

Other Helpful Tips:

  • It’s ok if your baby doesn’t burp sometimes. Always try to burp your baby, but don’t stress if it just isn’t working here and there. Sometimes the baby doesn’t need to burp.
  • Expect more burps from bottle fed babies and less burps from breast fed babies.
  • Be ready for spit up! Don’t worry, your child is still getting adequate nutrition. It’s normal to spit up when burping. Just keep a burp cloth handy to clean up with.
  • Make burping a stimulating experience. Sing, sway, talk, kiss, hug your baby. Not only is it great stimulation, but it also helps the baby stay calm during the burping process. It’s harder to burp if you’re tense or upset!
  • Take advantage of these sweet moments with your baby! Soon, he’ll be big enough that he doesn’t need your help to burp, and that’ll be one less one-on-one activity for the two of you. Soak up your cutie!

There you have it! Everything you need to know to burp a baby!!

I hope these tips make your life easier. They did for me!

Happy burping!

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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When Is My Kid Developmentally Ready to Care for a Pet?

When Is My Kid Developmentally Ready to Care for a Pet?

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Photo by Jamie Street 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! 

 

Pets are THE BEST! And here’s why!

Check it out- Answers to the top 4 questions asked by parents who are considering purchasing a pet for their child! 

photo of man hugging tan dog

1) Why are Pets Good for Kids?

They are fun, cute, lovable… but more then that, they teach great life lessons, including:

  • Responsibility
  • Consistency
  • Working hard even when it’s not fun
  • Being selfless
  • How to be aware of another being’s needs
  • Planning ahead for vacations or other unique circumstances
  • Lots of practical skills- cleaning up, feeding, watering, grooming
  • How to love without holding back!

Having pets is a great beginner’s experience to the responsibility and work that it takes to have a family. Your child is learning skills that will help them when they become a mom or a dad someday!

Besides these great life lessons, there are lots of opportunities for parents to talk about  daunting subjects.

  • Pets pass away. This opens the door to talk about death.
  • Pets get frisky. This opens the door to talk about sex.
  • Pets get pregnant. This opens the door to talk about birth, nursing, and other baby topics.

blue parakeet on hand

2) Am I Ready for Pets?

Of course, we all know that caring for pets isn’t easy!

Before you purchase a pet, consider the following factors:

  • Finances

Some pets are cheaper than others. Don’t just look at the price tag to purchase the animal itself. You should also look at:

  1. Food: Make sure you know what to feed your pet at various stages of life. The food a pet needs can change over time (which in turn can affect the $$$).
  2. Supplies: You know, like dishes, leashes, collars, litter boxes, filters and tanks for fish, etc.
  3. Cage/Shelter: All animals need some sort of shelter. This could include a cage, a tank, a doghouse, bedding, etc. For example, rabbits do well with sawdust in the bottom of their cage, but it must be replaced every few days. This is an extra expense that should be planned for.
  4. Toys: Toys aren’t just for fun. They also provide vital stimulating experiences to keep animals’ brains sharp. Toys are also a great way for the animal to bond with you!
  5. Education/Training: Many families pay to have their pets trained. Others pay to learn how to train animals themselves. Some attend classes with the pet so that they can learn valuable skills to implement at home.
  6. Medical Expenses: All animals need medical care from time to time. Pets, like humans, get regular checkups to make sure they are healthy. Each family will need to consider if they would like to pay to have your animal spayed or neutered, or risk the expense of a pregnancy.
  7. Grooming: If your pet sheds, you won’t have to pay to get his hair cut. If your pet is hypoallergenic, it’s likely that the animal has hair instead of fur, like a human. That means he’ll need frequent hair cuts.
  • Time

Do you have the time necessary to devote to a pet?

Different species and breeds require different time input from their owner.

Consider the following time-consuming aspects of pet care:

  1. Training: Training a pet can take years. Some owners choose to purchase animals that are older and have already been trained in order to avoid the time devotion to training a young animal. Other pet owners prefer to train the animal themselves so that they can teach the animal to behave in a way that fits the needs of the family.
  2. Exercise: Exercise is a constant part of owning a pet. It’s important to make sure your pet is exercising- don’t assume they are exercising themselves. This could mean going for walks, playing with your pet, and providing adequate space for your animal to move around.
  3. Grooming: Some animals needs more time to groom than others. Animals that shed might need less grooming, just a bath here and there. Some animals will need their hair cut regularly. It’s up to you if you want to cut your pet’s hair yourself or take him to a groomer.
  4. Medical Needs: Consider if your pet’s species and/or breed requires more medical assistance. If so, this could require more frequent trips to the vet for checkups.
  5. Physical Care: This is the nuts and bolts of daily life with a pet. Some pets will need to go outside for the bathroom, some will require clean up (like cleaning a tank or a litter box), all will need food and water every day.

Do you have time to take care of all these needs? Consider your work life, your family life, your social life and honestly consider if a pet fits into your schedule.

 

  • Medical Needs

As we’ve mentioned before, be aware of your pet’s species and breed. Some animals require more frequent medical intervention.

Can you afford frequent visits to the vet? Make sure you know the answer before your pet is sick or injured.

Need more information about medical needs for your pet? Check out a great resource What Does a Veterinary Technician Do? 

two short-coated brown and black dogs playing

  • Training

Would it be best for your family to find an older pet that is already trained?

Would it be best to train a pet yourself so that the animal is used to your home’s unique rules?

In either case, consider in advance what good and bad habits are deal breakers for your family.

  1. Potty Training: Does the animal need to know how to use a litter box or a doggy door?
  2. Behavioral Training: Does the animal jump on people? Does the animal know where “home” is? Does the animal bark, or lick, or sit on the couches, or respond to commands?
  3. How the Animal Responds to Strangers: Do you want the animal to guard your house, or welcome visitors to the door?
  4. How the Animal Responds to Other Animals: Should your pet avoid other animals, chase them away, or be friendly?
  5. Bad Habits: Are you ok with an animal that chews on things? That digs? That barks? What if the animal bites or scratches?
  • Personality

Even within breeds, there are no two animals that are exactly the same. It’s up to the family to choose the perfect pet that fits their personality.

A family with rambunctious kids might not be well suited to a lazy dog.

A family with loving, cuddly kids might not be well suited to a grouchy cat.

  • Space

How much room does the animal need?

Can this particular species and breed live comfortably in an apartment complex, or will they need a large yard to run in?

Can this dog or cat live a happy life indoors, or will they need to be outside?

Can this animal live in my climate comfortably? Is it too hot or too cold for him?

  • Long-term Commitment

In short, the question shouldn’t just be “Is this pet a good fit for me?” but ALSO “Am I a good fit for this pet?”

Once you purchase an animal, you’ve taken on a HUGE responsibility to love, care for, and accommodate for that animal’s needs. Make sure you’re ready before you take the plunge.

boy hugging fawn pug puppy

3) When Is My Child Ready to Care for the Pets?

That depends on his age and development…. But also on your child’s personality. Some children are naturally caring and do very well looking after a pet. Others need a lot more coaching.

Be aware of your child’s individual needs, but here are some typical developmental guidelines of parent/child involvement in caring for pets: 

  • 0-3 Years Old

At this age, the parent is doing all the work.

Young kids still enjoy being around pets. Their sweet hearts are full of love for pets.

Watch out for a few key things with this age group.

  1. Make sure the child and the pet are safe around each other. You don’t want a young child pulling on a dog’s tail, or a dog biting a child.
  2. Make sure the pet’s food is out of the child’s reach. This is easier said than done, but it’s important. Pet food isn’t always safe for human consumption.
  • 3-6 Years Old

As children get older, they develop new skills and capabilities that allow them to help out a little more.

In this age range, start involving your child more in the process of caring for the pet.

Your child will likely need one-on-one help from you. They can put food in the bowl, fill water dishes, and help with cleaning up after the pet.

  • 7-10 Years Old

This is a magical age where kids gain a little more independence.

Instead of mom and dad constantly monitoring the process of caring for the pet, mom and dad can give instructions and let the child carry them out on his own.

Wooo hooo!

  • 11-13 Years Old

Pre-adolescence brings even more freedom for mom and dad.

The child is able to complete all the chores required to care for a pet. The parent’s primary responsibility is to guide the child toward creating their own routine of pet care.

That means:

  1. Withhold your help. Sometimes it’s tempting as parents to step in and fix problems, but kids at this age are able to think through solutions on their own.
  2. Offer guidance when asked. Try to wait until the child approaches you, unless it’s in the pet’s best interest for you to intervene earlier.
  3. Let the child develop and carry out their own routine. Does the child prefer to feed the animals an hour later than you typically do? If it’s safe for the pet, try to let your child create a routine that works for him.
  4. Don’t let the child neglect the animal! Although the child is taking on more responsibility, be aware that they are still learning! It’s possible that the child could accidentally forget to feed the pet one day, or forget to fill the water dish. Don’t let the animal suffer, and make sure to teach the child so that they can be better in the future.
  • 14-18 Years Old

Ahhhhh, finally, parents can kick back and relax!

Your child should be fully capable of caring for a pet 100% independently.

As always, keep an eye out to make sure that the child is keeping up with his responsibilities. After all, you wouldn’t want the pet to suffer if the child slacked off.

shallow focus photography of brown and white guinea pig

4) What Kind of Pet Should I get… For A Beginner??

Are you interested in having a pet, but not sure what animal is best for your family?

Try one of these awesome beginner pets!

  1. Beta Fish: Betas need little care, as they are one of the few fish that can breathe air from the surface of the water rather than having oxygen circulated through the water. No need for fancy tanks and equipment! All you’ll need to do is feed the fish and change his water every week or two to make sure he has a nice clean environment.
  2. Tortoise: Tortoises live in dry, warm environments. A tank with dirt in the bottom will do. A tortoise needs a heat lamp, fresh water to drink, and food (usually lettuce or frozen veggies). You can touch, hold, and pet a tortoise- just make sure to wash your hands!
  3. Cat: Cats are great first pets because they are self-sufficient in taking care of their own potty needs and rarely require much training. You’ll need to supply a litter box (which will need cleaned regularly), food, water, and toys.
  4. Hamster, Rat, Mouse, or Guinea Pig: Rodents can make fun and interactive pets. They will need a cage with lots of stimulating toys and obstacles to climb. Obviously, they will need food and water.
  5. Hermit Crab: Hermit crabs are very low-key. You will need to purchase a tank with sand in the bottom. The crab will need food and water as well as some kind of shelter. As the crab grows, he will need bigger shells to move into.
  6. Dog: Dogs are a lot of fun, but a little more complex to discuss. Check out this amazing resource at The Spruce Pets called Best Dogs for First Time Owners!

Are you ready? Let’s go get a pet!!

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! 

 

Need some time to yourself?

Check out this FREE Parent’s Guide to Self-Care to help you decompress and feel right with the world again!

Free Self Care Guide 2

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Should I Use Punishment In My Parenting? Answers from ABA Therapy

Should I Use Punishment in My Parenting? Answers from ABA Therapy

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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! 

Sheltering Suburban Mom Meme | SO YOU DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILDREN? SHAME ON YOU FOR RAISING POLITE RESPECTFUL KIDS! | image tagged in memes,sheltering suburban mom | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

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Moms,

Do you ever get so frustrated when you are trying your best to be a calm and patient mom, but it just seems like the gentle parenting method isn’t getting through to your kids?

We are responsible to teach our kids to behave in a way that will help them live a successful and happy life…  But kids aren’t always receptive to our best teaching attempts. 

When positive parenting isn’t working, it’s very tempting to try some form of punishment to scare the child straight.

I struggle with the desire to use punishment. It’s an inner battle- Would punishment be effective? Or cause problems in the future? 

This is a letter to myself to remind me of the facts about punishment. I hope this information will help me keep my parenting on track, and hopefully help other moms out there too!

Let’s examine punishment. We’ll get to the bottom of why, how, and when.

woman between two childrens sitting on brown wooden bench during daytime

Definition of “Punishment”

In order to have a cohesive and cooperative conversation about punishment, we need to begin by defining the word.

When I talk about punishment, I’m not talking about child abuse. Things like withholding nutrition or water, solitary confinement, physical abuse, etc. are NEVER appropriate ways to teach children.

In ABA Therapy, punishment is defined as anything that “decreases the future probability of the behavior occurring.” 

That makes punishment sound a lot less EVIL. After all, aren’t we as parents responsible to help our kids curve those bad habits and replace them with good ones?

A parent can decrease the likelihood of a behavior happening again in the future in two ways:

  •  Positive Punishment (Type I): A stimulus is added  that decrease the behavior in the future.
    • Example: When a child touches a candle on his birthday cake, he feels pain from the heat of the flame. It is less likely that he will do that again.
  • Negative Punishment (Type II): A stimulus is taken away in order to decrease the behavior in the future. 
    • Example: A teenager is grounded from her cell phone for breaking the family rules.

Need more info about ABA definitions of Punishment? Check out these resources:

Punishment in ABA

ABA Tool Box 

Good, Bad, Ugly Punishment 


Obviously, punishment doesn’t have to be physical. It’s much more broad and includes a lot of appropriate parenting techniques, such as:

  • Limiting or removing privileges
    • Example: A teenager that engages in risky online behavior might lose access to the internet at home.
    • Example: A six year old who tantrums when leaving McDonald’s play place might not get to play there again for a designated time period.
  • Taking a time out 
    • Example: An eight year old is asked to take a break from a game if he is struggling to follow the rules of the game. After being reminded of the rules, he is allowed to try again.
  • Making amends for your mistakes if they affected another person
    • Example: A teenager that smashed a person’s mailbox might be asked to purchase a new one for that person.
  • Asking a child to wait for something he wants due to inappropriate behavior
    • Example: “I can’t give you a cookie when you speak to me like that. You can have the cookie after you are able to ask nicely.”
  • Natural consequences of the child’s actions
    • Example: A 6 year old has a problem with taking toys from his friends during play time. Eventually, the child starts to notice that the other children don’t want to play with him. A parent can point out the cause and effect in this situation and help him think of a better way to play cooperatively.

Of course, there are inappropriate methods of punishment, such as yelling or hitting a child.

How can a parent monitor themselves when called upon to implement negative consequences for a child’s behavior (in other words, to “punish”)?

How can I identify if my punishment is appropriate? 

baby sleeping on black surface

1) Understand the Effects of Punishment

Parents must understand that punishment has LOTS of negative side effects when used improperly.

  • Punishment causes temporary change ONLY. 

This is so VITAL! If you want long-term change, follow the rules of behavior (see below).

Punishment is a temporary fix, used for the most dire of parenting circumstances. If used by itself, it will only result in a limited and short-lived change in behavior. 

For example, when my toddler runs into the street, I will yell to get her attention quickly in order to keep her safe. She hurries out of the road because I yelled. But, she didn’t learn anything. She will probably get in the road again in the future unless I implement additional teaching. 

  • Punishment increases the tendency to hide behavior. 

Punishment doesn’t teach. It doesn’t help the child know what to do better- only what not to do.

Children who do not know why a behavior is “bad” won’t stop the behavior- they’ll only hide the behavior from you. 

  • Punishment makes a child want to change for another person, instead of changing because they want to improve themselves. 

Punishment doesn’t help a child see your point of view. It doesn’t help them think through the good and bad reasons to continue or discontinue acting a certain way.

The child will change what they’re doing to avoid the punishment, and that’s the ONLY reason. As soon as the punishing agent is gone (often YOU- the parent) they are prone to misbehave again. There’s no internal change or understanding. 

  • Punishment can cause rebellion. 

Nobody likes to be punished. If a parent’s side of the story isn’t adequately explained, it seems to the child like the parent is being mean or insensitive.

Children who don’t understand why the parent acted the way they did are prone to kick against the pricks. They might feel a righteous anger- the need to fight back against the tyranny of your parenting. 

After all, children learn from our behavior. They are just treating you the way they were treated. 

  • Punishment gets less effective over time. 

Even with a child who isn’t openly rebellious, punishment loses its efficacy over time because it loses the novelty. You can remedy this by using punishment LESS often, not MORE often.

Let’s compare this to the example earlier about yelling for a child who is in the road. If the parent had a habit of yelling often, the child wouldn’t respond as quickly to the parent’s calls to get out of the road. 

  • Punishment can escalate quickly. 

Let’s say a parent tried positive, gentle parenting. It didn’t seem to work. After a lot of frustration, they decide to try implementing punishment.

Instead of motivating real change, the child responds negatively to this too.

A common mistake is to increase the punishment. More severe punishment should equal faster change, right? Unfortunately not.

This spirals quickly into chaos. The child resents the parent’s punishment, and the parent tries to respond by increasing the stakes, and the child is more upset by that. Every time the parent increases the punishment, the child feels less loved and more cause to fight back. 

The result is a gridlock of power struggles. 

I’ve heard parents compare this to the fighting robot on The Incredibles. You know, Mr. Incredible is asked to go to the island to stop the robot? The one that gets smarter as you fight it?

“Every second you spend fighting it only increases its knowledge of how to beat you!”

-Mirage, The Incredibles

  • Punishment can harm relationships. 

Obviously, a parent-child relationship can’t stand much of this vicious spiral of one-upping each other.

The parent finds a new way to punish, the child finds a new way to rebel. There’s no love in that. There’s no fostering open parent-child communication. There’s no teaching.

  • Punishment is not always in the child’s best interest. 

Punishment isn’t a cure all.

There are VERY, VERY few occasions to use punishment, and LOTS of occasions to avoid it. 

But I don’t pretend that punishment should be completely avoided. There are some rare circumstances to use punishment, carefully and appropriately.

But WHEN should punishment be used? And HOW can I avoid these negative side effects? 

woman standing on bridge

2) Follow the Laws of Behavior

Let’s go back to ABA Therapy. ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis- basically, the study of how people act and how to use patterns of behavior to positively affect the people around us. 

You can remember the basics of human behavior with a simple acronym: ABC- Antecedent (the trigger that causes a behavior), Behavior, and Consequences. 

The results of our actions (consequences) determine if:

  1. we choose to continue our behavior in the future (we call these positive consequences “reinforcement”)
  2. or if we discontinue our behavior in the future (you know this one already! We call this “punishment”).

Reinforcement is BY FAR more effective than punishment. Positive consequences cause long-term positive behavior and inner change. 

If your child acts out, avoid punishment.

Remember that there are valid reasons that children misbehave. They are just trying to get their needs met!

The first line of defense is to teach your child a more appropriate way to get his needs met.

Rather than saying, “Don’t hit” try saying “Let’s use gentle hands.” Show the child what that looks like, talk about it, and practice it in real life situations. Then reward, reward, reward when the child successfully uses gentle hands instead of hitting! 

Rewards can be anything that motivates the child to continue the behavior in the future, like:

  • Verbal praise
  • Hugs and kisses
  • Being proud of the child
  • Natural Consequences 
    • Example: If the child uses gentle hands, he will have more friends and more fun as he enjoys cooperative play.
  • Getting to enjoy extra privileges
    • Example: Getting to enjoy a fun activity that the child loves, like playing video games or getting to stay up after bedtime to spend one-on-one time with mom.

Punishment is effective when saved for the absolute worst case scenarios (especially dangerous situations)…. and, even then, ONLY when combined with reinforcement. 

Let’s use the example of a child who walked into the street.

  1. The parent’s initial response is to yell (punishment) to get the child out of harm’s way quickly. Because the parent doesn’t yell often, the child responds right away. But the child feels terrible about her mistake. She is crying and doesn’t understand what she did wrong. 
  2. The mom patiently hugs her until she is calm again. This reiterates to the child that the parent loves her even though she made a mistake. This keeps the parent-child relationship strong even though the child was punished. 
  3. The parent doesn’t stop there! The next step is to teach the child what to do instead. They walk around the yard together and mom points out the safe places and the dangerous places, taking time to explain why the yard is safe and the road is dangerous. 
  4. Then the parent ends with reinforcement! As the child plays, the parent notices and praises the child for staying in the safe parts of the yard. This results in long-term learning and behavioral change. 

two person holding hands

3) What is Your Mindset?

If you’re asking yourself if you’re in an appropriate situation to use punishment, first consider your own mindset.

Punishment is not a good way to release your own frustrations.

Before you act, ask yourself: Are you looking out for the child’s best interest?  

three children sitting on grass

4) Consider your Child’s Development

If you’re asking yourself if you’re in an appropriate situation to use punishment, think about the child’s developmental strengths and limitations.

Children’s misbehavior often isn’t misbehavior at all. You can’t break a rule that you don’t understand.

Here’s some basic guidelines for children’s development:

  • Babies: Absolutely never punish a baby. Babies cannot misbehave. They only cry when they need something. Crying is an effective means of communication. Parents should respond quickly.
  • Toddlers (2-3): Toddlers have very limited understanding of rules, consequences, and logic. Patient teaching is the best response to toddlers. Keep it simple!
  • Young Children (4-7): Young children understand rules and simple cause and effect. Most children want to follow the rules. They want to be good. However, they are still impulsive and can forget about consequences in the moment. Guide them in their efforts to make good choices using lots of reinforcement.
  • Older Children (8-12): Older children are able to account for their mistakes. They have the recollection and understanding to predict consequences based on their previous experiences. They are receptive to loving guidance, especially when the parent takes the time to explain why the child should act a certain way!
  • Teenagers:  Teenagers are capable of complex thinking, including morality, situational changes rather than rigid rules, and hidden consequences. Teenagers are heavily influenced by friends, so parents can lose some influence. If parents want to maintain a strong impact in their child’s life, it’s best to have a good relationship with the child prior to the teenage years. Even if you feel that your relationship is strained, you can show love for your teen by setting appropriate boundaries and sticking to them using positive and loving methods.

person holding pen with coffee on table

5) Think of All the Possible Solutions

There’s always a positive solution to every problem. 

If you’re stuck, get creative!

Sit down and write down 50 potential responses to the child’s behavior. It takes a TON of work and thought to list that many realistic solutions. You’ll find yourself getting more in depth ideas.

You’re less likely to have a “blow up” out of frustration because you have so many predetermined ideas to turn to when the behavior comes up!

silhouette of road signage during golden hour

6) Take Advantage of Natural Consequences

Natural consequences are amazing. 

They are life’s responses to how we act.

  • If I go out in the snow without a coat, I  will be cold.
  • If I stay home from work, I won’t get money to buy the things I want.
  • If I yell at my boss, relationships are damaged and I could get fired.
  • If I buy one item, I can’t afford another thing that I might have wanted.

Parents can point out life’s consequences without implementing punishment of their own. 

This is a great way to maintain a loving relationship with your child, help them avoid mistakes, and develop strong character. 

woman in white dress shirt holding her daughter in tutu dress beside of asphalt road during daytime

7) Behavior is Only Behavior

Remember that your child is who matters most.

Behavior is not everything. It’s ok for children to mess up here and there.

Love your child through all their good times and in their bad times. That will show an ever-lasting love that will help both you and your child respond positively when things get tough.

 

What are your opinions on punishment? I want to hear them! Comment below!

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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Rules of Parenting Etiquette that will make YOU One Popular Mama

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

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 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! 

Cheesy Mom Joke of the Day: Mom what’s it like to have the greatest daughter in the world?? 

Scroll to the bottom of the post for the answer! 

Just a few days ago, I had the worst experience. I was at a park. My kids were playing and I was sitting back on a bench enjoying their happy voices.

And then, another parent came to sit by me. I tried to be friendly and chat, but everything she did just rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn’t handle her! She didn’t handle her kids’ negative behavior when they needed it, she gave my kids food without asking me, she seemed to be digging into personal topics that I didn’t want to talk about, and through all that she kept correcting MY parenting!

By the time we went home, I was so frustrated! I complained in my head about that rude mom…. until I finally thought to myself… “What if I’m the same way? What do I do that frustrates other moms?”

I really didn’t want to be THAT mom, so I decided I’d better launch an in depth research frenzy to educate myself on how to be a socially appropriate mama.

Here’s what I learned about how to be a well-liked and polite parent. 

people laughing and talking outside during daytime

1) Don’t ring the doorbell when you visit a family with a newborn.

Have you ever been jolted out of a deep postpartum nap by a ring of the doorbell, only to hear a high-pitched scream from the baby monitor immediately after?? NOOOOOOOO!

Babies need a lot of sleep! And so do their mamas. When you visit a family with a newborn, you never know who is napping. To avoid waking the baby or mom unnecessarily, knock on the door instead of ringing the doorbell.

It’s also a great idea to call or text in advance to make sure you are visiting at a good time.

2) Don’t feed other children without asking the parent first.

girl liking candy lollipop

It’s so kind when a well-meaning person offers my little one a snack or a treat. They always seem so excited to share with her and make her smile by giving her something yummy.

But it’s important to check in with the parent first. You never know if the child has an allergy, a food intolerance, if the family is vegan or vegetarian, or a million other situations. Not to mention that it’s not always safe to accept food from strangers…. 

I remember trying to help my child calm down in the grocery store once. We were trying to work through her feelings and talk about the problem we had. A sweet gentleman walked by and gave her some gummy worms. She calmed right down, but I felt like I missed a chance to teach her important calming skills.

3) Clean up at restaurants.

My dad used to call my brothers and sisters and I “vultures”. Now that I’m a parent, I really understand that reference. The food comes out, and it’s gone within seconds. I say “gone”…. What I mean is the dishes are empty. But the food isn’t completely gone- it’s just everywhere it’s not supposed to be! Like on the floor, the table, the benches.

It’s ok, just sit back and have fun on your night out. It’s not worth it to try to avoid the mess or clean it up as you go. You’ll never enjoy a meal if you’re stressing trying to prevent the unpreventable.

Just make sure to clean up what you can at the end. Pile the dishes, use napkins to wipe up any spills, and pick up pieces of food that might have (and certainly did) fall to the ground.

Or if you don’t want to clean up, at least live a nice tip.

4) When you catch yourself talking too much about your own children, take a break and ask other parents about their kids.

The other day, I was going on and on about my little girl and how smart she is, and how perfect her teeth are, and how cute she looks in pigtails, and how excited she gets when she sees pictures of cows, and how much she loves chocolate, and how well she’s talking, and how she loves to read books, and how she dances to Daniel Tiger songs….. And then I realized, “Oh crap, I’m that crazy mom!” 

I love my little ones, but nobody likes a blabbermouth. Yes, be proud of your kids’ accomplishments- but don’t dominate the conversation. Make sure you’re asking questions about the other parents’ kids and lives.

5) RSVP when your child is invited to birthdays or other parties.

round chocolate cake with candles on top

Have you ever planned a cute and fun birthday party for your cutie pie? You spend money, you arrange for food, you plan out games and activities. And then only two kids show up??? Or on the other extreme, every other kid brings a plus one that you were not aware of?? Now how are we going to decide who gets cake and who doesn’t, cause there’s for sure not enough for everyone!!

It’s important for the party planner to know how many people to expect so that they can make arrangements in advance. RSVP’s are the only way they know what quantities to order.

Always RSVP- and do it as quickly as you can.

6) If your child accidentally breaks something, make sure to replace it.

This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised. How would you like it if this happened to you??

Make sure you either pay for it or purchase a similar replacement item to replace whatever got broken.

Better yet, involve the child so that they can have the experience of fixing their mistake. It doesn’t need to be a negative or a punishing experience- just explain to the child that there are things we can do to make it right and help them carry out those solutions. Now, an unfortunate accident has become a great teaching moment! 

7) When your kids are sick, keep them at home to avoid spreading illness.

person lying on gray sofa

When I see a kid sniffle, and wipe their nose on their hands, and then reach for my child’s toys…. I want to dive at them screaming “NOOOOOOOO” before the little snotty hand reaches it’s target! It’s nothing personal, I just need to save my house from those icky germs! 

If you know your kids are sick, keep them home. They will be more comfortable, they won’t spread germs, and they can heal quicker.

Think of the problems sickness causes for other families– parents might miss work, the children could miss school, and everyone’s miserable for a solid month while the illness slowly circulates to each person- twice. Then they’re finally freed from the clutches of that nasty flu or cold.

Let’s just avoid this, shall we?

8) Don’t allow yourself to get upset when other moms make critical or judgmental comments.

Did anyone say, pull your hair out? Bite your tongue in half to keep the words in?? Break out in sudden and devastating violence because you just can’t contain the rage anymore???

It’s so difficult to stay calm when someone is being judgy of your parenting, but you can do it! You’re the bigger person. They’re acting like a 5-year old, but you can be the adult.

You DO NOT have to accept their advice or change what you’re doing. Just say, “Thanks for the ideas!” in a kind way (try to swallow the sarcasm if you can), and then do what works for your kids and your family.

9) Keep comments positive and encouraging and sporting events.

man tying boy's shoes on field

I don’t know what it is about kids’ sporting events that brings out insane competition in the parents. For all that’s Holy, it’s a game! For little kids! It’s about having fun, teaching the kids cooperation and teamwork, and building great memories.

Have you seen those crazy parents who treat it like they’re reliving their forgotten dreams and their own success or failure depends on the performance of a twelve-year old? I just want to slap them back to reality and tell them, “Today’s not about you!”

Always remember to speak kindly to members of other teams, other parents, coaches, refs, and basically everyone there.

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Other Great Reads: 

6 Steps to Be a Friend… Without Owning Other People’s Problems

27 Universal Truths to Live a Happy Life NOW!

Perspective of a Child

The Secret to Foolproof Goals- How to Become the Parent You’ve Always Wanted to Be

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

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

10) Avoid personal comments or questions.

There are lots of topics that can be hurtful if approached in the wrong way. When to have children, how many children to have, discipline decisions, adoption, etc. can be touchy to discuss.

Let parents bring these topics up on their own or ask in advance, “Are you comfortable if I ask you about this?”

11) When a child cries in public take them out of the main area of the restaurant, theater, or store.

selective focus photography of girl crying

No parent should be embarrassed when their kids struggle in public. It’s ok, it happens to every parent. We all get it. Our heart and our loving thoughts go out to you, sister.

But there is a polite way to handle it, and it’s best for the child too. Find a calming, quiet place to bring your child while they calm down. This helps others enjoy their experience and helps your child have a safe place to work through his feelings with your help. 

12) Always send your child with money when they are invited to an event, on a trip, etc.

Don’t assume that the child will be paid for! Just because I’m driving all the kids to the movies doesn’t mean I have $70 to buy 6 tickets for all of my son’s friends!

An invite doesn’t mean that the other family is planning to cover everything. Send your child with some cash so that they can purchase food, tickets, or whatever else they need.

13) Clean up the toys after a play date.

assorted-color interlocking blocks on floor

Kids make messes when they have fun. It’s ok. But if you want to be invited for future play dates, make sure you spend a few minutes to pick up the toys after the fun is over.

14) Behave the way you want your child to behave.

We’ve talked a lot about kids’ behavior, but let’s remember that parenting etiquette is mostly the parent’s job. It’s about how you respond to your children in a positive and socially appropriate way.

It’s your job as a parent to set an example for your child’s behavior. If you want your child to be responsible and kind and polite, you have to be responsible and kind and polite too.

15) Don’t discipline other people’s kids. Offer guidance.

It’s never ok to physically punish another person’s child. No grabbing their arm, no spanking, no flicking them on the nose, or whatever else you do.

There are times when it falls on your shoulders to set appropriate guidelines for other kids, especially when they are at your house, when you are babysitting, or even if the other parent just won’t do it. I know, shoot me now. I hate having to deal with other people’s kids. I just have more patience for my own kids because, you know, I love them and stuff. But it has to be done.

If you find yourself in this situation, follow this recipe:

-If the other parent is present, politely ask, “Do you want to handle this one, or would you like me to?”

-Begin by explaining the problem to the child and let them know what you expect from them instead. Example: “At our house, we don’t hit. Next time, you can come get me if you feel upset and I’ll help you work it out.”

-If the problem continues, remind the child of the natural consequences of his actions. “When we hit, other friends don’t want to play. If you’re kind, we can keep having lots of fun!”

-Follow through with appropriate consequences. Make sure you don’t threaten anything you aren’t willing to carry out. If you say the play date will be over the next time the problem happens, then follow through.

-When you see the parent next, explain exactly what happened and ask if you crossed any lines. This will give them a chance to explain to you how they would prefer for you to handle similar situations if they come up again.

16) Keep every child safe.

Moms and dads work together to make sure kids stay safe. If parents watch out for each other, there will be fewer child abductions, fewer accidents, fewer injuries.

If you see a kid walking toward the road, no matter whose child it is, safety is everyone’s job. You get a free pass to intervene if it means keeping a child safe. 

man carrying boy both smiling

 

There you have it! 16 rules for being a polite parent. Do these things, and you’ll be welcomed in mom circles and parent hangouts.

It’s totally worth it to live by the rules of parenting etiquette.

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Cheesy Mom Joke of the Day Answer: I don’t know, go ask your grandmother!

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