Breastfeeding versus using formula. Working versus staying home. The ideal bedtime. Whether to let babies cry it out. Co-sleeping? Timeouts? Spanking—yes or no? Raising kids involves making countless decisions that contribute to shaping them as human beings. Your internal, human GPS—intuition—can help guide you, of course. So can insight from friends, your spouse, your extended family, so-called “parenting experts,” and fellow moms and dads. But with so much advice swirling around, parenting can sometimes feel like living inside a disco ball.
“Surveys show that 95 percent of moms feel judged by just about everything these days, from working or not working and their choice of infant feeding, to their discipline approaches and the sleep methods they use with their kids,” relates educational psychologist Michele Borba, author of 22 parenting and education books, including “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries” (Jossey-Bass, 2009).[... whole story]
When Glen Burnie mother Courtney Pettersen's 4-year-old son, Joshua, gets the munchies, his favorite snack is Cheetos. Pettersen will occasionally indulge Joshua's craving with a handful of the sticky orange treats but typically will try to satiate his hunger with a healthier option like yogurt or a fruit cup. And even then, she steers away from those products high in sugar to ensure Joshua isn't consuming a snack laden with empty calories. “I buy the fruit cups with the fruit packed in water, with no sugar added,” notes Pettersen, for example.
Pettersen has struggled with her weight her entire life and knows part of it is due to the taste for junk food she developed as a child. As a parent, she doesn't want her son to have to face the same battles. “I know the eating habits he develops now will stick with him through the rest of his life, so I try to steer him towards healthier snacks,” says Pettersen, 34. “Reading the labels when I shop may take a little more time, but he's worth it!”[... whole story]
Well, here we are, springtime in Baltimore. What better way to welcome back baseball from its six-month hiatus than to catch up with Mr. Oriole himself, Reisterstown dad Cal Ripken Jr.?
The Iron Man has been busy of late promoting “Out at Home,” the latest entry in his “All-Stars” series of baseball books for young readers. In this new installment, released last month, popular Dulaney Orioles catcher Mikey Labriogla clashes with his new teammate, a hotshot pitcher everyone calls Zoom. Because of his immense talent, Zoom is used to getting everything his way—and he behaves accordingly. Of course, that doesn’t fly with Labriogla, widely regarded as the best catcher in the league. As you can imagine, friction ensues, particularly when their coach—Labriogla’s dad—begins coddling the new phenom and excusing his boorish behavior.
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One of the biggest challenges working parents face is trying to do it all. We simply can’t. I have come to accept that. But even just accomplishing a lot of what needs to be done can be difficult. It’s stressful on us as parents, and it’s stressful on our kids.
April is National Stress Awareness Month, and I challenge all of us to find better ways to cope with the stresses of everyday life, including parenting. It’s hard when you come home late, have a laundry list of chores, and then have to get up early the next day and get the kids out the door.[... whole story]
My 8-year-old son, Dixon, is a modestly adventurous eater. But when given the choice between something new and chicken fingers, he will always choose chicken fingers. And since nearly every restaurant offers chicken fingers on its children’s menu, he winds up ordering them a lot when we go out to eat—and misses out on a lot of great food experiences.
Restaurant “children’s menus” didn’t really exist until just over 100 years ago. Before that, children ate whatever their parents ate; in the early 1900s, however, popular scientific beliefs began suggesting that children’s diets should be relatively plain compared to adults’ more varied and flavorful meals. In addition, in those early decades of the 20th century, taking children to restaurants became more socially acceptable.
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On a chilly Sunday afternoon in mid-January, the fellowship hall at Miracle Temple Worship Center in Southwest Baltimore is a hub of activity, with a half-dozen volunteers arranging beanbag chairs and setting up play areas: a pop-up tunnel, a toddler-sized basketball hoop, craft and play dough stations, a toy train, a farmyard. They spread blankets on the floor to make a cozy break area and line up juice boxes and bottled water. Finally, they don their PURE Ministries smocks and stand ready to welcome their guests: kids with special needs.
The Miracle Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church is the newest partner in a joint program with the Arc Baltimore called Parents’ Day Out, which provides an afternoon of respite care for parents of kids with special needs. Serving children ages 3 to 10, the Miracle Temple program joins existing Parents’ Day Out programs for children ages 3 to 14 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cockeysville, St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church on Harford Road in Parkville, and St. Matthew Catholic Church on Loch Raven Boulevard in Northeast Baltimore.[... whole story]