More to Know

Articles and expert advice to help you guide your child to educational success.
Have a topic you'd like covered in a blog post? Submit here.

9 Things to Look for in a Pediatrician

July 25, 2017

By Jessica Vician

What to Look for in a Pediatrician

Before you leave the hospital with your baby, you will complete your first well-baby doctor appointment. In the first year of their life, you will have seven more of these appointments, so you will want to ensure you are comfortable with your baby's pediatrician.

In choosing a pediatrician or family doctor for your child, first ensure you are confident in their professional ability to diagnose and treat your baby. Additionally, as stated in the YOU: Your Child's First Teacher books:

You have the right to choose a provider that you are comfortable with and who responds to your questions and concerns in a compassionate and professional manner.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, many women start looking for a pediatrician in the second trimester of pregnancy. Once you have started your search, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Are they up-to-date on their certification from the American Board of Pediatrics? They should be recertified every seven years.
  2. Do they take your insurance and offer payment plans?
  3. How does the doctor or their practice handle emergencies on weekends or after hours?
  4. What happens if the doctor is unavailable when you need a last-minute appointment—is a nurse practitioner available?
  5. Which hospital would the doctor send your child to in an emergency? Are those hospitals nearby your home or work and are you comfortable with those options?
  6. What are the office hours? Are they convenient for you and/or your parenting partner?
  7. Here's a great question from Healthy Children: "If your child ever develops a complex illness that requires he care of one or more specialists, will your pediatrician coordinate care among all the doctors providing treatment?"
  8. If you need religious or ethical accommodations, will your doctor accommodate? For example, is circumcision/non-circumcision an issue for your doctor? 
  9. If you're struggling to breastfeed, will your doctor refer you to a lactation consultant for help?

These are just some questions to ask or consider when choosing a pediatrician for your baby. Consider scheduling a 15-minute interview with two or three doctors to discuss these questions and get an idea of your chemistry. Once you make an educated decision, you'll feel much more comfortable and ready for parenthood!

COMMENTS (0)

Socializing Your Baby

April 4, 2017

By Jessica Vician

Socializing Your Baby | Just as you are your child’s first teacher, you are your child’s first friend. Taking his or her social cues from you, your child will slowly learn which faces and noises elicit reactions and how to mimic your facial expressions. | A dad smiles with his daughter.

Just as you are your child’s first teacher, you are your child’s first friend. Taking his or her social cues from you, your child will slowly learn which faces and noises elicit reactions and how to mimic your facial expressions. Eventually, he or she will start interacting more frequently by babbling, smiling, and crying around you to communicate. Those early communication skills are your child’s first steps toward socialization.

Since so many of your baby’s social skills are the result of interacting with you, it’s important to communicate often with him or her. In the first month, you can encourage these skills by making exaggerated facial expressions—raising your eyebrows, opening your eyes and mouth wide, sticking out your tongue—while speaking to your baby.

As he or she grows, keep talking to your baby as much as you can. Talk through your chores, as you change diapers and dress your baby, even as you prepare meals. These verbal cues slowly help your baby learn to talk and build the bond between you.

This Baby Center article details the monthly social developmental milestones for babies, which can help you know what to look for as your baby grows.

Every baby is different, and every parent has different expectations and needs for their child. The socialization skills and activities outlined above are easy to do at home, but what if you want to get out and expose you and your baby to other youngsters and parents?

There are plenty of options, from play dates with friends and their babies to classes at socialization centers like Gymboree. This mom, Brittany, wrote about her experience taking her eight month-old to a class, saying it helped her daughter interact with other youngsters and improve her motor skills. As your baby gets older, he or she will start taking an interest in other babies and you can begin nurturing those social skills, too.

While your baby is young, enjoy the bonding time as you teach him or her to socialize through interactions with parents, grandparents, siblings, and close friends. The parental bond will be the strongest social bond in the first year, so enjoy it!

COMMENTS (0)

3 Sex and Pregnancy Topics You Must Cover with Your Teenager

May 10, 2016

By Jessica Vician

Prep Teens For the Future | 3 Sex and Pregnancy Topics You Must Cover with Your Teenager

It’s the part of parenting you dread: the sex talk. Yes, you have to do it. No, sex ed at school is not enough.

Your teenager needs to know your expectations of them regarding sex. Even if they disagree with your stance, they need to know it. Do you discourage sex at a certain age or life stage? Will you help your daughter get on birth control if she asks?

They especially need to know how to protect themselves and their partners. Because if we know anything about teenagers, we know they don’t always listen to their parents, but they care about themselves a lot.

Appeal to those selfish qualities as you educate your teen about:

  • Respect for themselves and for their partners, both in body and mind.
  • Protection for themselves and for their partners
  • Myths about sex and protection.

Respect.
When it comes to any kind of sexual activity, from kissing to intercourse, your teen needs to respect themself and their partner. That means not doing anything they’re uncomfortable with and not doing anything their partner is uncomfortable with.

How can you encourage this respectful behavior in your teenager? Talk to them about what they want in life. What kind of job or home do they want? Do they want a family? Then talk to them about how they can achieve those goals.

They’ll need an education and to work hard to have the career and home they want. And they’ll need to wait to start a family until they have reached certain milestones in getting those other things. Putting life in perspective may help them shift their priorities.

Protection.
Waiting to start a family leads us to protection. Birth control and condoms are critical when anyone is engaging in sexual activities; birth control helps prevent pregnancy and condoms help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

While it may be uncomfortable talking about protection with your teenager, it’s important to teach them the importance of protecting themselves and their partners. That protection is part of respecting themselves and their partners. Talk to your daughter about protecting herself from pregnancy and STIs and talk to your son about protecting himself from STIs and getting a female partner pregnant.

Myths.
While teenagers have access to more information via the internet than their parents ever did, rumors still hold strong. Here are some popular myths that have stood the test of time:

When you talk to your teenager about the myths of protection and sex, present the facts so they are properly educated. If they won’t listen to you, you can always share the above links and ask them to research these facts on their own.

While an uncomfortable conversation, educating your teen on respect, protection, and sexual myths is an important parenting step. After all, it will greatly impact their present and their future.

COMMENTS (0)

Plan a great Mother’s Day with these 5 ideas

May 3, 2016

By Nikki Cecala

Plan a great Mother’s Day with these 5 ideas | What does a mother want for Mother’s Day? Show her that you love her and truly value everything she has done for you and your kids with these 5 ideas.

What does a mother want for Mother’s Day? While cards and flowers are a nice gesture, she would genuinely appreciate something original—and originality is more fun and heartfelt for you and the kids!

Show her that you love her and truly value everything she has done for you and your kids with these five ideas.

1. Ask her what she wants
Some mothers may want to spend the day with family, while others might like a day to themselves. Ask her what she would like to do. Maybe she wants to sleep in but would like to go out for dinner with the family. Perhaps she wants to go to a movie by herself. The best gift is one she truly wants and needs, not what someone else wants for her. Let her do what she wants on Mother’s Day.

2. Create a photo album of memories
Support family time by sharing happy memories on Mother’s Day. Gather photos she hasn’t seen in a long time and ask extended family to share photos they’ve taken over the years. You can even make a quick photo book from your Facebook and Instagram accounts.

3. Plan us time
When you have children, me time and us time often is pushed down the list of things to do. But it’s good for the soul and helps maintain a healthy relationship. Grab a sitter if possible and make dinner reservations for a date night.

4. Start a fun tradition
With the kids, brainstorm unique and fun activities you can do for Mom. Need a starting off point? Think of a Mother’s Day sing-a-long with her favorite songs or a scavenger hunt for her to find little gifts the kids made. Check out our Pinterest page for more activity ideas.

5. Teach your kids to appreciate Mom
This one is sure to bring a happy tear to Mom’s eye. Encourage your kids to think hard about all the things Mom does for them. Put it in their perspective: what if they had to wake up early every day and make breakfast and lunch for Mom, get her dressed and ready for work, then go to school themselves, come home, and make dinner for everyone? And then on the weekend, they have to do her laundry, clean the house, and take her to sports practice. When would they ever relax?

If they can imagine how hard it would be for them to take care of Mom, they might appreciate what she does for them. Once they understand, ask them to write a list of what they are grateful for and give it to Mom as a gift.

Whatever you decide to do, celebrate her individuality and demonstrate how much you and the kids appreciate everything she does for your family. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to impress her, but spend time and put thought into showing her how much your family loves and appreciates her.

We’re always looking for more ways to celebrate moms. What have you done in the past for Mother’s Day?

COMMENTS (0)

Do you let your baby cry or do you comfort them?

December 10, 2015

By Jessica Vician

Do you let your baby cry or do you comfort them? | Before you became a parent, you probably talked to your partner and friends and researched what to do when your baby cries. Should you rush to the baby’s side and comfort him or her, or should you let the baby cry it out? | A mother holds her crying baby.

Before you became a parent, you probably talked to your partner and friends and researched what to do when your baby cries. Should you rush to the baby’s side and comfort him or her, or should you let the baby cry it out?

Everyone has an opinion, and many insist theirs is the right one. But what’s best for you? We want to hear which approach—or combination of approaches—you take.

Cry It Out
Some research suggests that letting a baby cry for a short period of time won’t cause any harm and may actually help the baby and the parents sleep longer in the end.

You can try “controlled crying,” during which you wait a certain amount of time before comforting your child. With this method, you first wait two minutes, then the next time three, and gradually extend the amount of time you wait to comfort your child. The intention is that your child will learn to soothe him or herself back to sleep.

Soothe the Baby
Others are strongly against the cry it out or controlled crying approach, stating that a baby’s cry is the only way he or she can communicate. If ignored, the parent isn’t giving the baby what he or she needs.

For example, Ask Dr. Sears, a website with advice from several pediatricians, says,

The cry is a marvelous design. Consider what might happen if the infant didn’t cry. He’s hungry, but doesn’t awaken...He hurts, but doesn’t let anyone know. The result of this lack of communication is known, ultimately, as ‘failure to thrive.’ ‘Thriving’ means not only getting bigger, but growing to your full potential emotionally, physically, and intellectually.

So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do you let your baby cry it out, do you soothe him or her immediately, do you practice controlled crying, or do you just do what you can in the moment?

Tell us in the comments below and share why you do what you do. We can all learn from each other. And remember, if someone does it differently than you, that’s okay. We’re all doing the best we can.

Tags :  parentingparenthoodinfantbabyemotional
COMMENTS (0)
1 2 Next