How Do I Teach My Child to Say Please and Thank You?

Begin teaching children to say please and thank you at an early age
As parents and caregivers, it’s important to encourage our children to use good manners. Saying “please” and “thank you” are social courtesies necessary to use throughout one’s lifetime. Starting early to teach our children good manners will provide the most positive results. Children learn best by modeling the behavior we want them to follow. For instance, when you ask your children to pick up their toys, set a good example by saying “please.” When they follow through on your request, say “thank you.” The behaviors you model will help your children develop a positive habit of using nice [...]

Talking to Kids About Their 'You Know What' Parts

boy and girl looking at doll wondering proper names for their body parts
The list of alternate (read: slang) names for genitals is endless. Some are cutesy (think snack foods) and others cringey, but the takeaway for me is this: How can we possibly know what a young child is referencing when they talk about their genitalia with code names? We can’t. Research over the last 30 years has convincingly and concretely recommended using the anatomically correct names for our children’s genitals: penis, vulva, vagina, anus. Why, you ask? Research supports the following facts: When we use anatomically correct names, our children are learning about their genitals the same [...]

12 Tips to Enjoy Winter Break with Your Kids

family dressed in winter clothes jumping in the air
When schools let out for winter break, and all the excitement surrounding the holidays may lead to a hectic household. After a few days, disrupted routines, sugar-filled diets, and cabin fever may have parents singing that familiar Christmas carol line: “And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again …” This list of tips can help families keep their winter vacations merry and bright. It boils down to good communication, regular routines and taking it easy on each other – and yourself. Have a countdown. Put activities on a calendar to reduce questions about what we are doing and when [...]

14 Tips to Avoid Overindulging Children

greedy child in supermarket cart with mom scolding her
As parents, we want what's best for our kids. Often we do what we can to make them happy. We don't want them to experience struggle, turmoil or disappointment, so we try hard to satisfy their wishes. While we may have the best of intentions, sometimes it goes too far. Overindulgence happens when we satisfy the child's wishes to an extreme extent. Kids who are overindulged may begin to think that the way they're growing up is how the world works. They start to expect that they can buy anything they want when they want it. Stress can cause parents to at times be more indulgent. For example, when [...]

10 Ideas for Getting Your Child to Sleep

Dad reading a bedtime story to children before bed
Ahh, bedtime. We won’t sugarcoat it – sometimes getting your kids ready for bed is a chore. However, creating a consistent routine is crucial for their development. You know that! Sleep helps them thrive, grow and avoid excessive daytime sleepiness. In addition to having a direct effect on happiness, research shows that sleep impacts alertness and tentation, cognitive performance, mood, learning and memory. It’s an essential building block for their mental and physical health. If you’re finding it impossible to help your kiddo sleep, you’re not alone. Research shows that a consistent bedtime [...]

Kids and Anxiety: Helping Them Cope

child with anxiety hugging mom
Fear. Worry. Anger or irritation. Insomnia. Anxiety can have many faces. Sometimes, it’s the face of your child. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue of childhood and adolescence, the Child Mind Institute reports. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9.4% of kids ages 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with anxiety, and reports show it’s on the rise. To answer some of the questions you might have about kids and anxiety, we've compiled answers to common questions about children experiencing symptoms of anxiety and how parents can help. FAQ: Kids and Anxiety [...]

Divorce Do’s and Don’ts

Divorce can be hard on children but parents can take certain actions to be better co-parents
Divorce is difficult for everyone in the family. The process can bring out the worst in people, and when separated parents struggle to get along, it can be especially hard on the kids. Younger children may display behaviors such as excessive crying, clinginess, or difficulty with transitions. It’s important for divorced or separated parents to be able to communicate effectively and resolve conflict. Here are some tips for things to do – and not to do – that are in the best interest of your children when a marriage or relationship is ending. What to do after a divorce Allow your child to love [...]

At What Age Should I Allow My Child to Play Alone Outside?

Child playing alone outside
The answer to this question depends on so many variables, so it's not possible to determine an overall age for when a child should be allowed to play outside alone. Consider the following factors as a guideline when you are deciding when it’s safe to let your child play outside alone. 4 Factors to Consider Environment Is your yard fenced in? If your yard is fenced in, then 5 to 6 years old is an appropriate age to allow your child to play outside alone for a few minutes at a time. If your yard is not fenced in, consider waiting until your child is around 8 years old before you allow them to be [...]

How Parents Can Respond in the Wake of Violence

Mom holds her son's hand
In today's world, when we see violent events unfold in both metropolitan and rural communities, it reminds us that they can happen at any place and any time. Parents can help their children cope with traumatic events when they occur, whether close to home or far. 5 Suggestions to Help Kids Cope 1. Talk to your children Try to explain what has happened in order to help ease their fears. Reassure them that, although these are horrible events, many people are working to keep them safe. Encourage your children to ask questions. Explain that emergencies can happen at any time in any place, but [...]