How to Teach Your Kids Their Address and Phone Number

178708102Everyone knows how important it is for children to memorize their address and phone number. This is true not just for convenience, but also for safety. Children often learn best when there is some sort of game involved, and there are many fun ways you can teach your child his or her address and phone number.

  1. Make a Map of the Neighborhood

Have your child draw a map of the neighborhood, or draw one together. Place your address and phone number on the house. Put other important or fun locations on the map as well, like the school or a best friend’s house.

  1. Put It to Song

Make up a song comprised of the address and phone number, or find a variety online. A common choice is Frere Jacques.

  1. Make a Sequence Activity

Separate your address and phone number onto separate index cards, like so:

  • House number
  • Street name
  • City or Town
  • State
  • Zip Code

Place the index cards out of order, and then have your child put them in the correct order. You can also do this with just the telephone number, by placing each number on a separate card.

  1. Practice in Real Life

Have your child practice punching the numbers on a cell phone or house phone. You can also teach your child the correct buttons to push, like “send,” in order to complete the call.

  1. Use an Abacus

An abacus, or any other type of manipulative, is a great way for your child to practice and visualize your phone number. It’s also a great counting exercise.

  1. Make a Mailbox

Create a makeshift mailbox out of a cardboard box, or purchase a play mailbox. Your children can send each other letters through the mailbox after addressing the envelopes.

  1. Turn It into a Craft Project

A fun 3-D alternative to a map is a small, standing house. You can make it out of cardboard or anything else that will stand upright. Kids can design the front to match the house, and then add the street number. You can also put up a marker next to the house with the street name.

  1. Create a Game

Make a phone number game from popular games like hopscotch and BINGO.

Use one method, or mix and match. The possibilities are endless for teaching your child his or her phone number.

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How Having a Baby Can Affect Your Relationship

166652124When you become a parent, you and your partner will undergo changes that you might not have been able to foresee. No matter how prepared you are, there are always aspects of parenting that come as a surprise. Babies inevitably change the dynamic of a relationship, in both challenging and wonderful ways.

Sleep

Sleep is perhaps the most obvious change that will take place in your relationship. Babies, especially newborns, require round the clock care, and the parents’ sleep schedule is therefore interrupted. Lack of sleep can cause irritability and make it difficult to concentrate. You may find yourself snapping at your partner or arguing over what would normally be small decisions.

One strategy for getting as much sleep as possible is for you and your partner to switch off. It may seem like a good bonding opportunity for both parents to be up with the baby at night, but trading responsibilities can give you more quality time together. Some parents have the mother breastfeed the baby during the night, and then have the father take care of the baby during the daytime so the mother can nap.

Bodily Changes

Intimacy will undoubtedly change between you and your partner, at least for a while. Many new mothers find that they aren’t as interested in being intimate, because it’s hard to balance feeling sexually attractive and feeling like a parent. The mother has also undergone natural, physical changes that may temporarily cause pain or cause her to feel self-conscious about her appearance.

Keep lines of communication open between you, so that each partner knows why the other isn’t interested in intimacy at that time. When you’re not physically intimate, you’ll want to plan quality time together, even if it is just for 20-minute intervals. Go for a walk, hold hands, or schedule a babysitter in order to see a movie. Physical intimacy will resume in time, and in the meantime, you can do other activities to feel connected.

Household Responsibilities

Since babies take up so much time, you’ll probably find that your house gets a little messy, even if you normally keep it very clean. Especially with the sleep deprivation, couples find that they snap at each other about household responsibilities. New parents can set up a time to discuss household chores while the baby is sleeping. In order to resolve conflict and avoid shifting blame, come up with a list of chores and decide who is responsible for which. Ideally, this list should be realistic and allow for some flexibility. Post your list in a convenient location, like on the refrigerator.

It’s important to cut yourselves some slack while caring for a new baby. Praise yourself and your partner for accomplishments, both large and small.

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How to Determine if Your Newborn Son Should Be Circumcised or Not

477403048The decision to circumcise or not circumcise, your newborn can be a very difficult one. While all parents want the best for their children, it isn’t always easy to determine which choice will have the most positive impact on your child’s health and well-being.

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the penis’s foreskin, which is typically performed in the first few months of an infant’s life. Research suggests that there are potential health benefits associated with circumcision, but it also shows that the procedure is not without certain risks.

Benefits and Risks

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) ruled that the potential benefits of circumcision slightly outweigh the associated risks. However, they found that the benefits are not significant enough for them to recommend circumcision for all newborns, stating that parents should feel free to make the decision they feel is best for their own children.

After a careful review of the available research, the AAP determined that circumcision was associated with a reduced risk of contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), genital herpes and syphilis. It also reduces the risk that sexual partners will contract cervical cancer, and reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections prior to age one.

The risk of minor complications from a circumcision is between one and three percent, and these complications may include infection or extra bleeding. The risk of more serious complications that require follow-up surgery is less than one percent.

One guaranteed downside of circumcision is that it hurts. The pain and soreness shouldn’t last more than a few days, and newborns won’t remember the pain, but many parents aren’t comfortable putting their child through that discomfort when it isn’t absolutely medically necessary.

Making Your Choice

In the end, your decision regarding circumcision is a personal one, and there is no right or wrong answer. Religion and culture may play a role (those of the Jewish and Islamic faiths traditionally opt for circumcision) as well as your family or personal history.

Some parents opt for circumcision simply because they want to make sure that their children fit in with their peers. However, the Centers for Disease Control reported in 2010 that the rate of circumcisions in hospitals have dropped to about one-third. So don’t feel pressured one way or the other by the fear that your kid will stand out—these days, there are plenty on both sides of the fence!

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Tips to Help Get Through the First Day of Day Care

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The first day of day care is an exciting and often scary transition for families. To help both children and parents alike navigate the big day, Successful Parenting Today has put together our best tips for a great start to day care!

Prepare Your Child for the Big Day

The process of preparing your child for day care should begin well before the first day. Visit the day care center at least once with your child, and consider shadowing a class for a day if the center allows it. Go over the day care schedule with your child as many times as possible. And don’t wait until the first day to begin your new routine—adjust bedtime and wake-up time at least a few days before day care begins. Knowing exactly what is coming will help your child to feel comfortable and confident. Basically, the fewer surprises the better!

Allow Plenty of Time and Help Your Child Settle

Allow plenty of time to get ready for day care, so that your child doesn’t feel rushed on the first morning. Give her time to pick the right outfit, eat a good breakfast and adjust to the big day. Make sure that you also arrive at the center with plenty of time to spare, so that you can spend some time helping your child to settle in and become familiar with the surroundings.

When the time comes to say good-bye, it’s best to make a quick and final exit. You may prepare a routine ahead of time, so that your child knows you will be leaving after a big hug and a high-five. Even if there are tears, try to leave without coming back so that your child can begin adjusting and bonding with the caregivers. Trust your day care providers (your confidence will help your child feel safe) and give them a call if you need reassurance.

Transition Back to Home

A successful first day doesn’t end with a smooth drop-off. It’s also important to help your child transition from day care back to home, and the first step is returning on time. Knowing you will be there to pick them up at the same time every day helps kids feel at ease.

After the stimulation of day care, returning home can sometimes be difficult. Planning for a special activity or treat at home can help with this transition, and also be an opportunity to bond with your child after spending the day apart.

While the first day of day care sets the tone, the transition to this new lifestyle is not complete after one day. Your child may still have fears or concerns, and it is important to listen and to reassure them that these feelings are normal. Stick to the routines you have established in the upcoming days, until you and your child have fully adjusted to this major life change.

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Tips For Caring For Your Partner When She Is Pregnant

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When your partner is pregnant, you need to bare in mind that your are in this together. She may be carrying the child, but it just as much yours as it is hers. So you need to be supportive and help where you can. You should also be understanding to the fact that carrying a child is no easy task and let her off the hook when she tends to express herself in more ways than one.

Understanding Pregnancy Hormones

Hormones play a large role in the development of the child, and can cause a range of emotions in the mother. These emotions can range from bursting happiness to a low, painful depression, and these shifts in emotions can happen in minutes. As the partner of a pregnant mother, it is your job to understand that these changes in emotions are part of the pregnancy process, and are not easily controlled by the mother. Be nurturing and supportive, understand that these emotions are not easily controlled, and try and help the mother to remain positive and bright.

Antenatal Depression

This goes along with the subject of pregnancy hormones, though is usually more severe than just simple mood swings. Antenatal depression occurs when the mother begins having feelings of uncertainty. While this often passes quickly, in some mothers it tends to linger. If there is a case of antenatal depression, it is even more important for the partner to be very supportive of the mother, and to try and keep her focused on the happy points and the outlook for a bright future.

Be 100% Involved

This extends to more than simply knowing the various phases of the pregnancy and knowing that the phases will change and evolve throughout the pregnancy, it requires the partner to be in-tuned with the mother during these changes, and to be ready to help and support the mother throughout all phases. This is especially important in the later stages of pregnancy, when mothers are beginning to feel that very strong connection between her and the unborn baby… It is important for this connection to be a trinity between you, the mother and the baby. Do all you can to let her know that you are a part of this.

Learn to Share Feelings

This is important for the mother as well, but here we will focus on the partner of the mother. Your feelings are important too; and, while you should remain supportive of the mother’s feelings all throughout the pregnancy, don’t let her forget that your feelings matter too. This will also help to support the trinity of the mother-child-partner connection.

Support and love are the main points to be remembered when caring for a pregnant mother. Make sure that above all, you are on the same page with what is going to happen, you both know that you are in it together 100% for the entire 9 months, and let her know that you are a rock she can lean on, but to remember that you are an emotional being with feelings as well.

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Tips To Help You Through Your First Year Of Parenting

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Becoming a parent require a big change. Parents to be are often taunted with phrases like, “sleep while you can” and while these statements do contain some truth, there is no reason why your first year of parenting should not be enjoyed. Having a newborn baby will definitely require a lifestyle change. However, you baby’s infancy is such a short lived time and you will look back at this phase with fondness, one day.

New born babies are not used to big spaces. They have been confined to a small space for 9 months and getting used to large spaces will take some time. Swaddling your little one will do wonders. Babies love to be cuddled and swaddled. This helps them to sleep better and as a result, so will you. Babies often wake at night. For you this means that the chances of getting your 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep are slim. However, you should sleep when baby sleeps. So if baby sleeps for a few hours during the day, you should also try and get some sleep during this time, so that the waking at night doesn’t drain you out.

You must also understand the effect your crying baby will have on you. There are few parents that can handle the sound of their baby crying without feeling like their going insane. This is why the parent who has the most tolerance for baby’s cries should see to baby, while the other walks away and can return when baby has stopped crying to relieve the other parent. Pediatricians and psychologists both agree that you cannot spoil a baby. So carry your baby as often as he or she wants to be carried. Research suggests that babies who are carried cry less. In fact in cultures where babies are carried most of the time, colic is literally non-existent. Looking after a newborn baby is time consuming, so don’t try to focus too much on getting chores and other things around the house done, if your hands are full with baby.

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Tips For Preventing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

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In order to prevent SIDS, infants should be placed on their back during sleep time. This is the safest position for newborns and preterm babies. Babies should be placed to sleep on a firm mattress. They should be laid to sleep on any soft surfaces such as couches, pillow, blankets and quilts and this highers the risk of smothering in their sleep. Babies should not share a sleeping area with anyone. It is good to have the baby sleep in the same room as you so that you can keep a closer eye on baby, however, once you feed baby, he or she must be placed back into their own sleeping area, be it a cot, bassinet or safety approved crib. It is also recommended that you keep all soft objects out of babies cot. These apply to soft toys such as stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, quilts so on. Crib bumpers have also been known to cause serious injury to babies and in some cases, even death.

Other Ways of Reducing the Chances or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

It is suggested that women exercise precaution during pregnancy in order to avoid sudden infant death syndrome. This includes avoiding alcohol, drugs and even cigarettes during pregnancy. Instead of giving your baby a pacifier attached to a string, use a dry pacifier that is not attached to any string to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Don’t keep baby too warm during sleep time. Your baby should be dressed in only 1 extra layer of clothing than you are during sleep time. Try and avoid using socks and hats on baby during nap time, so that if baby is hot, the heat can escape through these areas. Give your baby plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake. This helps to strengthen baby’s head, neck and shoulders and helps to keep the flat spots at the back of baby’s head at bay. Avoid products and items that claim to reduce sudden infant death syndrome as many of these products have not been tested for their effectiveness, or their safety.