Author: Kevin O'Hara

first three months

Parents have a lot to learn when a child is born, and it might seem overwhelming at first. It is perfectly normal to feel a little uneasy, but do not forget that you have a support system like your family or health care providers. Hopefully, a few tips on your baby’s first three months will help guide you in the right direction.

The Very First Month

One thing that parents worry about is just how unpredictable the baby is when it comes to eating. Infants usually have strange eating patterns. Still, your baby should feed around six times a day, unless you are breastfeeding. If you will be breastfeeding, your bundle of joy should feed around 12 times.

Keep your little one away from infectious people or kids, as his or her immune system might not be that strong. Do not forget to take your child to get the second Hep one shot. He or she should have received the first Hep shot at birth. You can always talk to a health care provider, such as Entira Family Clinics, should you have any question.

Second Bubbly Month

Your child should get a little hungrier in the second month. You want to keep up with his or her feeding needs as much as possible. It may be necessary to use both breasts if you are breastfeeding. It is important to encourage development, too. Talk to your baby in simple words or rhymes. Play music, and let the baby interact with colorful objects to encourage vision development.

Do not forget to visit the doctor as the second month is a big month for immunizations. The following are just some of the shots that he or she will need:

  • DTaP that stands for diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccines
  • Hib or the haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine
  • IPV or polio vaccine
  • PCV and PPSV ( pneumococcal) shots
  • RV (also called the rotavirus vaccine)

Third Joyful Month

Feeding starts to normalize around this time, meaning it should be a lot easier to pump your breast should you need to. You will know when your baby wants food. The child should be able to sleep around five or even six hours, meaning he or she should sleep through the night.

It might be a good idea to show your baby different surroundings and help develop his or her senses. Play different sounds for your child, and let him or her touch different textures like sand, dirt, and any other thing that you can think of. Make sure you clean the child’s hands afterward.

This month is not big on vaccines, but it is always a good idea to keep in touch with health care providers, to stay on top of your baby’s health.

About the author

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.

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pregnancy fashion tips

First time mothers always get surprised when they start experiencing syndromes nobody ever has told them they would; what’s interesting, women everywhere are experiencing them, yet no one is talking about them. Why? Women should be prepared, dammit!

Luckily, there’s a mommy blogging community to rely on for practical stuff, and we’re giving you five post-pregnancy body changes you’ve probably been experiencing but you were scared you did.

1. Sex Drive Dive

A decrease in sex drive post baby is nothing unusual even though women are absolutely oblivious to this fact (and so are their husbands).  Often, it will take up to a year to feel like you are really back in the mood for sex. Along with a hormonal imbalance that causes a sex drive drop, there are also other factors, like being focused on your newborn, which leaves little to no time for you, and that includes sex.

The good news, though, is that the sex drive will move back up, but it does take time.

2. Belly Bulge and Breast Changes

Almost all first-time mothers expect their bellies to go away the second they deliver; unfortunately, that’s never the case. Imagine the shock! Only after about 6-8 weeks the uterus goes back to its pre-pregnancy size. So, before you look yourself in the mirror for the first time after giving birth, have this fact in mind!

As for the breast area, women expect fluctuations in size but what they are definitely not prepared for is the change in their nipple size and color (the nipples darken) as well as veins popping in places there were none before. And they are permanent. For this reason specifically, most Aussie moms are turning to specialists who do breast augmentation in Sydney as well as breast reconstructions and all other breast/nipple altering besides augmentation in order to bring the moms their confidence back (and good looks!). Currently, the procedures are so popular that they’ve almost become a norm.

3. Shoe Surprise

If you thought swollen feet during pregnancy are your only concern in the shoe area, think again; after the baby is born, the swelling does go away but you may end up with a permanently different shoe size.

This happens due to the additional weight you carry for those nine months. The weight itself may flatten the arch of your foot, causing your shoe size to expand for an extra half-inch.

All the extra weight isn’t the only thing to blame; hormones play a role here, too. A hormone called relaxin may be to blame, and here’s why: “It does just what it sounds like,” Ribaudo says. “It relaxes the muscle ligaments in your body to help prepare you for childbirth, but it’s not exclusive to your pelvic area. It also affects the rest of your body, including your feet.”

Hey, at least you’ll have a legit reason to go shoe-shopping!

4. Permanently altered gag reflex

Although this is not a very common post-baby syndrome, it does happen to a lot of women; most moms notice that the heightened gag reflex sticks around, even once their morning sickness subsides. Some complain that the reflex is so strong that they may even experience discomfort when brushing their teeth. It is unknown whether the syndrome is permanent.

5. Food intolerances

It is no surprise that a woman’s palate changes during pregnancy and that they can’t stomach certain foods; however, what they don’t expect is that their palate may change for good! What once may have been just one of the foods you eat may have easily turn into your primary gag-cause. In other instances, apart from not being able to eat particular foods, women report more serious food intolerances (wheat, for instance) that seem to coincide with pregnancy and aren’t at all naïve.

There, we hope you won’t be going through any of these but instead will have a series of “normal” post-baby syndromes or none at all. Ah, what all we’ll do for kids!

About the Author

A regular contributor, Peter Minkoff is a lifestyle a writer for HighStyleLife magazine located in Brisbane, Australia. A graduate from the Australian Institute of Creative Design, he works as a freelance writer .

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moving with kids

There are several different tasks to complete when you’re getting ready to move homes. When you are making your to-do list it may seem like the list never ends. Luckily, you may have a lot of kids to help you out. The number personal belongings that you have to transport can make for a challenging task, so it is nice that you don’t have to do it all alone. To ensure that you can get through the process with ease, there are a few tips to follow when recruiting your kids to help.

Delegate Specific Tasks

Assign your child with specific tasks that are appropriate for their age, which can include packing their clothes in boxes or putting all of their toys in a bin. They’ll take pride in the chores due to the responsibility that it provides them with, which will allow them to feel independent. Also, if you have any older kids they may be able to help lift and pack the heavier things. That way they can stay busy and always be helping without getting distracted.

Ask Kids to Label Boxes

An easy way to get your kids to pitch in with the moving process is to ask them to label boxes. This is a really easy job that kids of most any age should be able to do, and it can really help save you a lot of time. This can also allow them to have fun practicing their writing and can also help them to stay busy drawing pictures on the cardboard before movers from a company like Wheaton World Wide Moving load the boxes into the van. That can really help get their mind off of being upset about the move.

Toss Out Old Toys

Keep your kids busy by asking them to sort through their toys to ensure that they can bring less clutter with them to your new home. Although they may have a hard time tossing their personal belongings, you can tell them to pick out 10 different items to donate or toss. Going through all of their toys can really help keep them busy for hours. This can also help you teach them how to donate to charity and make sacrifices. You always want to make sure to take advantage of teaching opportunities like that.

Ask Them to Babysit

Have your children babysit the family dog or a cat to ensure that the pet stays put as movers are in and out of the home throughout the day. This will prevent the animals from escaping through the front door or a gate on the property. This is also a great way to make sure that your pets aren’t in the way and don’t get hurt. This can also help take away some of the stress of worrying about where your kids are and what they are doing.

Pack a Bag of Fun Items

Kids can also help on moving day by packing a bag of games or toys that will keep them occupied during the drive to the new property. That way they can have a good time packing away their fun toys and be able to have easy access to them when you get to your new home. This is also another great way to help keep your kids minds off of the move.  If they are too busy picking and playing with their favorite toys they may be too excited and distracted to think about the big move.

Allow The Kids to Unpack

After getting into your new home it is a good idea to allow your kids to unpack the boxes that are placed in their bedroom to ensure that they can decide where they want to place their favorite stuffed animals or building blocks. They may not be able to organize but can empty out the boxes to ensure that you settle in quicker. This can really help them feel like they are doing a lot to contribute and help. This is also a great way to have them make your new house feel more like home.

When you need a set of helping hands on moving day, there are a few ways to recruit your children and put them to work. By assigning them to the right tasks, you can keep them busy and make it a more efficient process. This can also help make the moving process a more efficient and fun experience for the whole family.

About the author

Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

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healthy child snackAs most parents know, the first thing that children usually want right when they get home from school is a snack. Of course, many of them will gravitate to cookies, chips and such unhealthy treats. Yet, do they realize that healthy foods can be yummy too? Here are five snack examples that you can use to help your child start eating healthier snacks after they get home from school:

Banana Bites

If you’re preparing these simple snacks right before children get home, then you can serve them either fresh or frozen. However, some children might prefer them frozen, so you should do a blend of the two. Dip banana slices in melted chocolate, sprinkling with shredded coconut before freezing.

Fruit Pizza

This is a snack that does have a sweet element. You will use sugar cookie dough as the base for each pizza. Slice a variety of fruits, putting them in bowls so that children can use the toppings that they like to make a pizza. Yogurt is used as the sauce. This is a fun idea for either mini pizzas or a large pizza for the entire family to enjoy as a healthy dessert.

Pitas

A pita pocket, like those that come from Klosterman Baking Company, is basically flatbread that can be opened up and filled. It is basically a fun alternative to the sandwich and anything can go into it. With this, you can arrange a buffet on the counter with fruits, vegetables or meats so that your children can make their own pita when they get home. You could do bananas and peanut butter, fresh fruits and yogurt or pepperoni, sauce and cheese. The ideas are endless, and the pita is healthier than using bread for a sandwich.

Eggs & Toast

This isn’t the typical toast and eggs that you might think about. For this healthy treat, you’ll toast wheat bread with a bit of butter on one side after it’s done. Prepare deviled eggs, slicing them so that children can put the eggs on the top of the bread. You can also use cucumber slices underneath the eggs.

Frozen Yogurt Grapes

If children don’t have a lot of time to eat a snack in the afternoon, then this is a good treat to make. Dip grapes in a favorite yogurt flavor. Freeze the grapes, which will make it easy for children to eat them while in the car or while doing homework as the grapes won’t make a mess.

Snacks after school don’t have to be full of calories and sugar. You can prepare several healthy snacks that will give children the energy that they need to get through the rest of the day. The snacks can also make it a little easier to settle in for the evening since there isn’t a high amount of sugar.

Next Steps

If you really want to improve your child’s health take this great survey from the University of California and find out what goals you need to achieve to improve your kid’s long term health.

About the author

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.

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Rebellious Years: 5 Suggestions for Helping an Unruly Preteen Behave

The preteen years can be some of the most challenging for parents to get through with their children. Rebellious, experimental, moody, and angry are all emotions and actions that preteens may naturally face. Parents often find it most difficult to relate to and communicate with their children during this time in their lives. Here are 5 suggestions to help parents navigate the unruly preteen years.

 

1. Have your Preteen Enroll in Counseling

Preteens may stop communicating fully with parents because they see them as rule-enforcers in a time where they are first beginning to seek out freedom. Preteens feel they have enough knowledge and experience to want time and space to themselves, but still want to be understood and heard. By having a preteen enroll in counseling, parents are opening up an un-biased, third-party channel to allow their child space to talk about all the emotions and frustrations they are facing, without feeling inhibited by parental presence.

Counselors have the skills to be able to sit and listen to the feelings and emotions of a preteen, hear their side of the story without becoming defensive, and understand what is really going on in the home, even if the preteen is not sharing everything. They can help the preteen find coping mechanisms for dealing with their emotions.

 

2. Sensory Stimulation Activities

Many preteens act out because they find themselves experiencing boredom or restlessness. There are safe ways of helping your child “act out” that don’t bring harm to themselves or their family. Involve the preteen in physical activities in a controlled environment to get them moving, their endorphins rushing, and their senses stimulated.

Activities like going to a paintball range, taking up wrestling or boxing, rock climbing, swimming, karate, dance, etc. can be exhilarating for preteens to experience. It is a safe, controlled environment where it is okay to use the entire body to express yourself. This may help teens with their feelings of restlessness or anger.

 

3. Boarding School

Another option is to allow your preteen some time at a boarding school like Admiral Farragut Academy. This option is a bit more in-depth, but can also prove a great outlet for your preteen to get away from the house for some time, and to work on their emotions. Boarding school is a great way to allow your preteen time to be independent and grow, while in a safe and controlled environment. There are many different types of boarding schools with different levels of difficulty, different lengths of stay time, and different environments to suit individuals’ needs.

 

4. Spending More Time with your Preteen

Preteens may act like the last person they want to spend time with is their parents. However, they are experiencing a time of life where everything is suddenly unstable; their emotions, their schooling, their bodies, their friend groups, and their mental state. What they are craving is stability, and the parent can provide that. Propose the idea of taking your preteen out to do something of their choice. Maybe they have been excited about seeing a new band in concert, maybe they want to go bowling, maybe there’s a new restaurant you could try together. Let them pick the outing and don’t make any comments or excuses; even if it’s something you’re not particularly excited about doing. When you take the time to understand their passions and what excites them, they understand that you are interested in them.

 

5. Volunteer

Many high schools and colleges require a certain amount of volunteer hours from their students. Why not get a head start? Begin introducing your preteen to the idea of volunteering at a local non-profit or charity organization. Again, let them pick. Maybe they’re passionate about animals and could help at a shelter. Maybe they love going to the beach and could do a beach clean-up day with their friends. Jump in and volunteer alongside them. This will help your preteen build job skills, begin to understand the idea of social responsibility, and rack up those community service hours for college.

For more great tips on helping your preteens, check out this article about dealing with rude behavior at parenting.com

About the author

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

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7 Tips to Save Big on Birthday Presents and other Gifts

Birthdays are very special occasions. It is the event in which we celebrate the birth of a child or loved one. It is an occasion to show them that you really care as it is a day that is all about them. However, birthday presents can add up to a good bit of money quickly depending on what you buy and how much money you are willing to spend on that person. But there are some ways that you can save money on items like jewelry, toys and clothes. It’s best to make a budget, staying with that budget until you see that your list is being shortened after making purchases.

Make a Plan

Birthday gifts can be difficult especially if you don’t know what that person needs or wants. Therefore, you need to have a plan. You also may need to get creative with your gift ideas. In other words, try and think of something that person needs or wants that they would not necessarily think to tell you about. This might mean talking with other friends and family members as they might know something that you don’t. It is also a great way to make sure you don’t duplicate someone else’s gift.

Also, instead of going to a store thinking that you are going to look at all of the items that are on sale or randomly choosing something for someone on your list, make a plan of action. Write down all of the stores that have sales, and base your purchases on those sale items. This can help you avoid some of the larger stores that might see bigger crowds. You will also want to set a budget too that way you don’t overspend, but you don’t also get some lame gift either.

Coupons

You can often find coupons in store advertisements, but another option is to look online. There are coupons for many stores on sites like the fabulous Dealspotr or Discountrue.com which also includes Sears coupon codes. You would choose the coupon that you want and either print it or download it to a mobile device. Most coupon codes are entered when you make a purchase online.

Social Media

This isn’t just a way to talk to family and friends. There are some people who want to sell items that they no longer need, and these items are often inexpensive. You can transform some of the items you get from people on social media sites, or you can simply choose to give gifts that are purchased in a used condition.

Making Deals

Most stores have a chat option. Use this option to talk to someone about getting a discount for your purchase that you are making online. If you are making a large purchase, then most stores are willing to give you at least a 10% discount or free shipping, especially if you state that you are going to abandon the order.

Cash Back

There are some sites that will give you cash back if you make an online purchase. This is money that you can use for gas or to use for added gifts. You might have to start a little early as most of these companies will mail a check instead of deposit into a bank account.

Group Gifts

Instead of buying something for everyone in a family that you don’t really talk to through the year or each manager in an office, consider getting a group gift. This could be a basket of food or an outing, such as a movie. You can also do a secret gift exchange so that each person only purchases one gift.

Envelopes

An easy way to save money is to not take more than you need to the store. Allocate a certain amount of money in an envelope for each store or each person. Once the money is gone, don’t use money from other envelopes as you might miss out on something that you wanted to get.

Shopping for birthday gifts doesn’t have to be a stressful event if you make a plan. You can use coupon codes to save money or make a budget with items that you know you want to purchase. Choose the gifts carefully so that you give something with meaning instead of getting a random item that you know isn’t going to be used in order to save as much as possible. In the end, no matter how big or small your birthday gift, you are simply just trying to help make that person’s birthday a little extra special and show them that you were thinking of them on their day.

If you need to save money because you have debt problems, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance.

 

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life on the farm

People who are fortunate enough to grow up on a farm learn valuable life lessons that city kids miss out on. While growing up on a farm is hard work and can be tough at times, the strength and knowledge that living on a farm imparts to kids is invaluable. Here is a look at five of the greatest lessons that children receive when they grow up on a farm.

Getting to Ride Horses

People who never get to learn how to ride horses are missing out! Farm kids get to ride horses to complete their farm tasks and sometimes just for fun. Horse riding offers many mental and physical benefits. It helps to improve coordination, visual perception of space, joint flexibility, self-confidence and patience.

To find out more about learning to ride horses, check out the Pony Club.

Learning to Drive and Fix a Tractor

Most city kids would be totally intimidated if you asked them to hop behind the wheel of a tractor. Kids who grow up on a farm often learn to drive tractors and fix them with special equipment like TractorTool before they are even old enough to drive a car. When you experience the power of operating and repairing a giant piece of machinery like that, it develops tremendous self-confidence in you.

Developing a Deep Connection with Your Food

These days, many people go their entire lives without really understanding how the food they eat gets to their plates. That is one of the saddest things about modern life. Kids who grow up on a farm develop an intimate understanding of how the food they eat is raised and harvested. This leads them to appreciate and value food in a way that is very important.

One way to show your kids what life on a farm is like is to go on a short farm stay vacation.

Developing a Deep Connection with the Land

One of the saddest things about human civilization is the way that it has paved over the planet and devastated the environment. Farm kids learn how to respect the land and preserve it for future generations to enjoy. That is because they understand that if the land isn’t good that it is possible that it won’t benefit their crops and livestock in the future.

The Value of Patience

In the era of smartphones, Internet and fast food, many kids are sorely lacking in patience. Farm kids have to learn this skill. They learn how to wait for the crops to grow. They have to finish their chores before they get to play, because animals can’t wait to be fed or taken care of. Developing patience is a valuable skill that benefits farm kids in every aspect of their lives.

Growing up on a farm is not an easy life. Farm kids have to work hard, and they often don’t get to play as much as city kids. However, the valuable knowledge and skills that kids acquire during a life on the farm will help them to succeed wherever they go in life and should be envied by everyone.

About the author

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.

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Fashion Tricks for New Moms

Unless you’re a freak of nature and your figure wasn’t affected by the pregnancy, as a new mom, you’ll probably need some time to get used to your new body before you get comfortable with it. It can be hard because you can’t just pick up from where you left – your pre-baby clothes probably won’t fit you, and your pregnancy clothes are too big for you now, even if they are super comfortable. You need to find a perfect balance between those two sizes and wear clothes that are comfortable but also flattering. You just need to learn a few tricks.

Elastic waistbands

Your stomach area is probably your weakest point. It takes anywhere from six months to two years for your body to get back into its previous shape, so don’t even try to stress out about baby weight two months after giving birth. Find pants that have a really good support around the waistline – elastic and stretchy materials keep everything in place. High waist jeans are also figure flattering, whether you prefer them skinny or slouchy, just make sure that they’re tight (enough) around your waist. When you’re feeling super casual, just hop into leggings or yoga pants. You’ll probably want to wear them all the time anyway, so look for a nice tunic to pair them with.

If you’re more of a skirt person, the same rule applies here. Loose skirts with the elastic waist, (or better yet shorts – they look like a skirt, but the comfort level is much higher), which you just quickly throw on, will make you feel effortlessly dressed up. Opt for colorful prints with a solid semi-fit top.

Wrap dress

new mums wrap dress

If you want to dress up a little and feel elegant, and you’ll want to after months of feeling like an inflated cushion, the easiest way to hide all the trouble spots and still define your waist is a wrap dress. It accentuates your waist without exposing too much, and you can adjust just how much you want it to be tight around your waist – you still want to be able to breathe! When shopping for figure flattering dresses don’t look for anything too tight, but neither too loose or oversized. Semi-fit is your new category.

Wedges

Don’t get used to comfortable, granny shoes. Sneakers are ok for walks in the park, but wedges are even more awesome! They have a slight rise, but they are much more supporting for your feet and your back than classic high heels. Avoid flats at all costs, because they are not too friendly for your back.

Cardigans

new mums cardigans

Structured blazers are suitable for any shape, but they are a bit on the formal side. If you need a more laid-back version of this top, opt for a nice cotton blend cardigan . Fine-knit, long cardigans are super stylish, and they work with you because they make a good cover for your bum, if that is your problem area. Either way, your favourite everyday go-to outfit can consist of a long, navy cardigan (it can go all the way to your ankles), high waist jeans and a top with navy and white stripes.

Midi Sleeves

¾ sleeve shirts are great if your problem area is your arms. They will hide just the right amount of it. V-necklines are also a good choice for shirts because they will elongate your neck and therefore make you look taller and slimmer. Semi-fit womens tops are absolutely the best choice if you’re still not too comfortable wearing slim fit clothes, but remember to find yourself a good, supporting bra. You might have to try a few before you find the one that fits you perfectly, but it will be worth it and you will look good in any top.

About the Author

A regular contributor, Peter is a lifestyle a writer for HighStyleLife magazine located in Brisbane, Australia. A graduate from the Australian Institute of Creative Design, he works as a freelance writer .

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healthy school lunches

Parents can often resort to packing unhealthy foods in their kids’ lunches due to convenience or a lack of options. Although kids may enjoy the processed foods or packaged items, it can cause their health to suffer over time. To pack healthier options that they’ll be sure to love, there are a few important choices to consider making.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Allow your child to stay energized throughout the day with extra protein that they get in their lunch. You can pack one or two hard boiled eggs to ensure that they consume a natural food item that is easy to take on the go and won’t make a mess. Be sure to peel the egg ahead of time for your child to ensure they can eat it quickly.

Fruit Skewers

Make fruit fun to eat for your little one by adding small pieces of the food on a stick. Add strawberries, grapes, pineapple, and apples to skewers that your child will enjoy taking off one by one or eating right off of the stick. Create a rainbow out of the different pieces of fruit to make it a colorful option that catches your kid’s attention when they open their lunch box.

Flatbread Sandwiches

Most kids enjoy a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their lunch, which is a hearty lunch item that is easy to fill up on. Instead of using white or wheat bread to hold the spreads, opt for flatbread, which has fewer calories and is a lighter option that will prevent kids from feeling sluggish. You can also use flatbread, like that available from companies like Klosterman Baking Company, to make sandwiches that include turkey or ham. Many children prefer flat bread over regular white bread after they try it.

Fruit Leather

Instead of reaching for a sugary fruit roll-up snack to pack in your child’s lunch, opt for making your own fruit leather to increase the nutrients that they consume at lunch. Cook the peeled fruit in a pot until it thickens before blending it in a food processor. Spread it onto a cookie pan and bake in the oven at 135 degrees for six to 11 hours to dehydrate the food. Take it out and cut it into strips, which can be a fun food item to munch on.

Your child can enjoy healthier alternatives in their lunch without consuming artificial ingredients or preservatives. By making healthy snacks that have plenty of flavor, you can have peace of mind knowing that your child is getting enough nutrition and enjoys every bite. If you are still stuck remember the advice from Medline Plus, that half of everything you serve up should be fruit or veg.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Follow her on  Facebook and Twitter: @RachelleWilber.

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4 Healthy Ways to Talk To Your Child About Their Birthmother

It’s one of the biggest cruxes of adoption: to tell, or not to tell? And, if you choose “tell”, how do you do it? Luckily for anyone struggling with how to handle such a monumental decision, there’s a bevy of literature on the topic of how to broach the subject. Here’s what experts have to say.

1. Start young

This is an important tip to avoid your child being blindsided about the reality of their situation by someone letting the secret slip, but is also essential because it allows your child to incorporate adoption into their identity from the get-go.

Toddlers and preschoolers won’t necessarily understand what it means to be adopted, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t an appropriate time to begin telling their adoption story. More than likely, they’ll love to hear it, as it will make them feel special and unique.

It’s generally around the middle school years that these feelings mature and children begin to grapple with the complexities and negative emotions regarding adoption. If you’ve been open with them up to that point, handling those emotions together will be much easier.

2. Be developmentally appropriate

Most experts advocate telling your child about their adoption from day one, but with babies or young children, it won’t be feasible or appropriate to disclose all the details from the beginning. This is why, as your child ages, you should be open to the conversation changing; the same answers given as a toddler won’t suffice the curiosity of a teenager.

When they’re younger, focus on the story of them, their birth parents, and how they came to be a part of your family. They won’t understand the very abstract concept of adoption, though. As they grow, begin to incorporate more detail, keeping in mind their age and maturity when tailoring your answers.

It’s good to prepare early for questions you think your child may pose so you have a practiced, age-appropriate answer on-hand. Many adoption agencies, like A Child’s Dream, offer many resources that can help you answer your child’s questions and they grapple with the “Why?” and “How?”

3. Be honest

One study found that, of the children surveyed, regardless of openness, everyone had some level of curiosity about their birth parents. Every single child. What this means for adoptive parents is simple: confide in your child.

Even more importantly, make sure to tell the truth. It might be tempting to fudge a few details, especially ones that may pertain to more negative aspects of their story, but in the age of Internet, your child will more than likely conduct their own research. It won’t do anyone good to lie about details of your child’s life, only for it to come out in the wash at a later date.

4. Start the conversation

Though talking about it when your child approaches you is a great first step, there’s a bit more you can do; namely, you can be the one to initiate the conversation sometimes. This lets your child know that their birth family is on your mind as well, and that they are important to you just as much as to them. You might also choose to celebrate their adoption date or to honor their birth parents during holidays like Birth Mother’s Day or National Adoption Month.

Final thoughts

Adoption is a magical, fulfilling process, but the idea of talking about the subject with your child can be intimidating. Remember that, no matter the circumstances, openness and honesty will benefit you and your child, helping you to bond over the great gift you gave each other.

You can find some more great advice on adoption over at healthychildren.org .

About the author

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.

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