The Inevitability of Temper Tantrums
If you have children, you will eventually have to deal with temper tantrums. They can be frustrating and, if you’re in public, even embarrassing, and can prompt you to have an emotional response. Often, a parent dealing with a temper tantrum would do anything to make it stop, from threatening to cajoling to even giving in to the demands of their little emotional terrorist. Don’t do any of these things; we’ve got some tips for more effective temper tantrum management.
What are Tantrums?
Tantrums can take many different forms. They can involve whining, crying, screaming, kicking, hitting, and breath-holding. Some kids bite, flail about, arch their backs, stiffen their limbs, or even run away, and others break things or hurt themselves or others in the throes of a tantrum. Tantrums are most common in children who are one to three years old, and they’re equally common in boys and girls. Little children who haven’t quite learned how to communicate their emotions and needs might get frustrated and throw tantrums. Tantrums can happen with older children too, though, if they haven’t yet learned how to safely express and manage their feelings.
Why Tantrums Happen
Tantrums are a normal part of child development; they’re a way for young children to show that they are frustrated or upset. They’re common when children are developing language skills and can’t necessarily communicate what they want or need, so tantrums tend to decrease as children master the art of communication. However, tantrums are also about control. There is a power struggle that happens when children want things and those things are not given to them, and many children respond to this struggle with tantrums. Children who are older than three or four may still throw tantrums, if they have not learned how to deal with their negative emotions, particularly if they’ve discovered that tantrums get them what they want.
Factors That Play Into Tantrums
There are certain things that make tantrums more likely. Certain children, particularly those who are very sensitive, just seem to have a temperament more prone to strong reactions to frustration and changes in their environment. Most children struggle with remaining calm if they are stressed, hungry, tired, or overstimulated, and strong emotions also tend to be overwhelming. Then, too, there are situations with which children just can’t cope. For instance, if an older child takes a toy from a toddler, that toddler is likely to lose control of his or her emotions. As children learn to self-regulate, tantrums will become less of a factor.
Dealing with Tantrums
- Set your child up for success. If you know that a tired, hungry, overstimulated child is more likely to melt down, try to prevent that by keeping a regular schedule and making sure your child’s needs are met. Don’t take your child to the grocery store, for instance, at naptime, or before he or she has had something to eat. Help children understand their emotions when they’re not in the middle of a tantrum, by talking about feelings and using words that label emotions so they can name what they are experiencing.
- Model good behavior. Don’t counter emotion with an emotional response, but remain calm during a tantrum. When something is frustrating you or causing you stress, talk about it honestly without emotional overreaction. Show your child how you stay calm by taking deep breaths or using other coping skills.
- Give praise for successful management of emotions. If your child handles a frustrating situation nicely, give encouragement. Help the child to notice how it felt to stay calm and strong. Make sure to talk about specifics, praising and rewarding behaviors you’d like to see more often. Conversely, after a tantrum, talk about better ways the situation could have been managed.
- Offer your kids some control. Little choices, like picking which kind of juice to drink or which outfit to wear, give a child a sense of independence. When it really doesn’t matter, let your children decide for themselves, so they learn to make decisions and gain a feeling of control.
- Distract during a tantrum. Interest your child in an activity that will replace the negative behavior you’re trying to discourage. A change of scenery can also help, and sometimes this is as simple as taking a toddler outside or to another room.
- Say yes when you can. Choose your battles, and if what the child is asking is not too outrageous, be flexible. You can even change your mind, but make sure that it doesn’t appear you’ve changed it in response to the tantrum.
- Try a time-in. Sometimes, a tantrum can be extinguished by a parent staying close, offering comfort, and reassuring the child by acknowledging the feelings involved. When the child is a little older, try identifying and naming the emotion being expressed, and supporting the child during the calm-down process.
Helping Happy Families Thrive
We hope these tips on tantrums can help you create a happy, harmonious homelife. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Heathy Discipline Strategies
When you hear the word “discipline,” what springs to mind? If you’re like a lot of people, you think of punishment. In truth, discipline simply means guidance, teaching someone to follow the rules, and there are healthier ways to manage this with your children than by punishing them. Here, we offer some tips to help you find healthy strategies for discipline that will help you guide your children to a healthy adulthood.
Punishment Vs. Positive Reinforcement
Traditionally, discipline has involved punishments like spanking, grounding, angry words, and taking away belongings or privileges. Child development experts now agree that physical punishment can have long-term negative effects on a child’s behavior and well-being, but what about the other types of punishment? Experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, now recommend using positive discipline to keep children safe, teach them to manage their own behavior, and promote healthy development.
What is Positive Discipline?
Positive discipline focuses on developing a healthy relationship with your child, setting expectations around behavior. This approach can help parents teach skills like cooperation, responsibility, and self-discipline, while building and maintaining positive relationships between parents and children.
Employing Positive Discipline Strategies
- Nurture your relationship with your child. Plan one on one time with your child, giving your complete focus, without being distracted by anything like the television or your phone. It’s easy to connect with little children, simply by playing with them and reading to them. With older kids and teens, it’s a little more complicated, but find ways to connect by taking an interest in what they’re doing and the thing they enjoy.
- Give positive reinforcement. It’s been said that you should try to “catch them being good.” Notice when your children live up to expectations, follow the rules, take initiative, or do something thoughtful, and take the time to praise them. Offer incentives for good behavior, rather than threatening punishment for bad behavior. When children are praised, they feel loved and special; when rewards are offered for doing the right thing, they’re less likely to misbehave.
- Make sure your expectations are clear. It’s more effective to tell children what you want them to do, rather than telling them what you don’t want to do. Saying, “pick up your toys and put them away in the toy box,” for example, is much clearer than saying “don’t make a mess.” Be realistic about what you expect out of kids, and make sure your expectations are age appropriate and within the child’s capability. If you have older kids or teens, let them be involved in setting house rules and expectations, so that you will all be on the same page.
- Learn the art of redirection. Sometimes, the easiest way to stop misbehavior is to distract the child with a different, positive activity. Change the subject, introduce a game, take the child to another room, or go for a walk. Employ this type of distraction before things go wrong, when you see that’s the direction they’re heading. Additionally, remember that misbehavior is sometimes simply the result of a child exploring the world in a way that’s developmentally appropriate, but situationally inappropriate. Redirecting to another way to explore can prevent an unsafe, messy, or embarrassing situation.
- Understand how to employ consequences. Sometimes, clear expectations, incentives, and positive reinforcement work beautifully. When they don’t consequences sometimes need to come into play. Part of growing up is learning that there are consequences for our actions, and helping your children learn this in a calm, safe space can help encourage better behavior and teach them about responsibility. If your children are misbehaving, explain the consequences if the bad behavior does not stop. Give them a warning and the opportunity to amend their behavior. If they don’t stop what they’re doing, apply the consequence, calmly, without anger. If they do stop, give plenty of praise. When you do use consequences, use logical or natural consequences. Here’s an example of a logical consequence: if a child won’t eat dinner, that child cannot have dessert. Here’s a natural consequence: if a child dumps water on the floor, the child needs to help clean up the water. No anger needs to be involved in this scenario, and you can even use it as an exercise in problem solving, identifying the problem and asking your child to help you figure out how to solve it.
- Use time out wisely. Time-outs can be effective, but only if they’re used correctly. Make sure your kids have had plenty of positive time with you, and use time outs as a way to regulate emotions. Removing a child from a situation in which he or she is misbehaving gives the child an opportunity to self-regulate, appropriately express emotions, and consider how to make different choices next time. One meaningful way to do this is with a “time-in,” in which the parent sits with the child and helps in the calming process. You might try deep breathing together, sit quietly, or give your child a hug. The idea is to use the quiet space to help your child self-regulate emotions, with your support.
How to Keep from Losing Your Cool
- Take some deep breaths. You can be present but still step back, pause, and take some deep breaths, so that you can respond in a calmer, more considered way.
- Give yourself a time out. If you feel like you’re about to lose control, step away from the situation. You can even use this as an opportunity to model self-regulation, by telling your children calmly that you need five minutes to yourself, so that you can stop feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice self-care. Sometimes, we get angry at our kids because we feel pushed past our limits. Try to keep yourself from getting to that point by doing things you enjoy, managing your stress, and being realistic about the responsibilities you manage. Take some time to take care of yourself, and you can come back to your parenting refreshed and more relaxed, which can help you have more patience.
Help With Starting a Family
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow and nurture their happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
The Delicate Work-Life Balance of Work from Home Parents
It’s a conundrum faced by many work from home parents. One of the reasons many of us work from home is to be more present for our children, yet children tend to get in the way of work. How do we strike a balance between providing financially for our families, yet being there for our children when they need us. How do we maintain productivity, while taking care of our children? We have some helpful tips on balancing child care while working from home.
Don’t Believe the Influencers
Working from home, either completely or partially, is the new normal, with 58 percent of Americans reporting that they can work from home at least once a week. It’s inevitable that you will come across work from home parents on Instagram, in spotlessly clean homes, with perfectly behaved children and beautifully organized offices. Don’t believe the hype. If you are struggling to keep your head above water while working from home with children, you are certainly not alone. Being a work from home parent can be truly rewarding, but it’s not easy, and it does require creativity, flexibility, and careful planning.
Have a Strategy
Actually, it’s better if you have a few. Be realistic with your expectations, and what’s going to happen when your children are home. Will they stay quiet when you’re in a meeting? Even the most well-behaved kids are, well, kids. They’re going to have wants, needs, and crises that don’t always fit neatly into your work schedule. Here are some strategies you may find effective:
- Work during naps. The great thing about babies and toddlers is that they sleep a lot. Some even keep a nap schedule until kindergarten! Use this time wisely, focusing on your most intensive tasks, or scheduling meetings during nap time.
- Plan activities they can do alone. Activity boxes are a godsend for a work from home parent, and you can purchase them or create your own, using different themes to keep it interesting. Have arts and crafts, games, books, and building toys at the ready, so that you can get your children settled doing something that will occupy their minds and free up your time.
- Shift your mindset on screen time. As parents, most of us try to keep screentime to a minimum. If you had really strict standards before you started working from home, you might want to rethink that attitude. There’s nothing quite like an animated movie or a game on a tablet to hold a child’s attention, so that you can put your attention on something else. Don’t overdo the screentime, but keep it in reserve for when you desperately need some peace and quiet.
- Build your schedule around theirs. Maybe this means doing shift work, planning your schedule around when the kids are sleeping or at school. It could also mean planning to work not only during school hours, but in the waiting room at doctor’s appointments, on the soccer field, at the dance studio, or while your child has a music lesson. The secret to successfully working from home is to remain creative and flexible.
- Let some things go. If your kids load the dishwasher and put away their laundry while you’re working, you can be sure it’s not going to be done perfectly. That’s ok! Ease up on your expectations of a clean house, and on the demands you put on yourself, letting others take over some tasks, even if they don’t do them as well as you would. Take a look at your extracurricular schedule, too. When parents work from home, people often put extra demands on them to volunteer or take on little tasks. Learn how to say no, and that being a good parent doesn’t necessarily mean being at the school every time a volunteer opportunity arises.
- Be present. Try to limit the amount of time you spend multi-tasking. If you’re with your kids, be with your kids. If you’re working, make it clear that you’re working. Focus on what you are doing, be present in the moment, and you’ll find that you feel a lot less stressed and pulled in different directions.
Get Some Help
There’s no rule that says work from home parents have to go it alone. If your children are preschool age, consider a mother’s morning out program, to give you a day or two of dedicated work time each week. You might also be able to find a neighborhood tween who’d like to act as “mother’s helper,” playing with your children after school for a reasonable fee. If your children are a little older, arrange playdates. Ideally, look for other work at home parents who are interested in working out some sort of cooperative routine, swapping childcare responsibility on a regular basis.
With babies, there’s not much you can do. With older kids, though, you can teach them to leave you alone while you’re working. This requires some patience on your part and practice on theirs, and you also need to be careful not to be working so much that they feel they never have your attention. Work out a signal that means “do not disturb,” but also let them know when it’s ok for them to come and hang out with you while you work.
When you work from home, it’s tempting to work all the time, but it’s not good for your family life or your mental and physical health. Set hours for work, and be firm about the hours you’re not working. Occasionally, take a mental health day, to relax with your family or practice some self-care.
Center for Vasectomy Loves Helping Parents
We hope these tips helped you get a handle on how to find work-life balance while you’re working from home. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children
As parents, we are concerned about our children’s intelligence. This includes emotional intelligence, and raising emotionally intelligent children is vital to their future success. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand, and manage emotions, both in ourselves and in others. Developing emotional intelligence helps people navigate relationships successfully, make good decisions, and manage stress. How can you foster an emotionally intelligent home environment in order to equip your child with the skills needed to understand and express their emotions in a healthy way?
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, called EQ, benefits a person throughout his or her lifetime. However, a low EQ can create challenges. Here are some emotional intelligence benefits:
- EQ and IQ are connected. Children with high emotional intelligence tend to have higher grades and do better on standardized tests.
- People with EQ have better relationships. Kids with emotional intelligence are better able to manage conflict and build deep friendships. Adults with high EQ report better personal and professional relationships.
- A child with high EQ is likely to be a more successful adult. Over 19 years, the American Journal of Public Health studied the social and emotional skills of kindergarteners and how those skills impacted their adulthood. The research showed that those who were better able to share, cooperate, and follow directions when they were five years old were more likely to have college degrees and full-time jobs by age 25.
- Those with high EQ struggle less with mental health issues. They are less likely to experience depression and other mental illnesses.
It makes sense that an emotionally intelligent child, able to calm his or her angry feelings and express emotions in a healthy way, will grow to be an adult who is better able to maintain healthy relationships. Fortunately, all children can learn emotional intelligence skills. Here’s how you can help your children develop theirs.
Be a Good Role Model
This means working on your own emotional intelligence. Model positive behavior for your children, showing them that they can express their feelings in a healthy way, listen to other people, and successfully work through conflicts. Let them see you responding to challenging situations with patience, and take the time to talk to them about their feelings. Use feeling words in conversation, and help your child learn to express their own emotions.
Help Kids Name Their Emotions
To become an emotionally intelligent person, a child needs to develop the vocabulary for emotional expression. Help your children put words to their emotions, by talking through what you suspect they’re feeling. To a child who doesn’t want to share a toy, you might say, “It looks like you feel angry. Is that right?” For a child who is sad, you might say, “Are you feeling disappointed that your friend can’t come over?” Using words like angry, upset, painful, shy, along with happy, joy, thrilled, excited, and hopeful, can help teach your child the vocabulary necessary for emotionally intelligent self-expression.
Emotions have merit and serve a purpose. The adrenaline spike of anger can spur someone to action, while the down mood you feel when your sad slows you down and gives you time to reflect. Your child’s feelings are real and valuable, so when your child is expressing emotions, listen carefully, giving your full attention. Reflect what you’re hearing back to your child, to express that you understand what is being felt and expressed.
It’s easy to minimize what someone else is feeling, especially if it seems like the person is exaggerating or being dramatic. Being dismissive, though, teaches children that their feelings are wrong. Showing empathy does not mean that you agree with the person’s point of view, but that you understand how that emotion feels. It is important for your child to feel heard and understood, and when you show empathy to your child, allowing the expression of emotions without judgement, you are teaching your child to be not only honest with his or her own emotions, but empathetic to others as well.
Teach Coping and Problem-solving Skills
Look at your child’s emotions as an opportunity to connect and coach him or her through a challenging situation. Teach children that while emotions are acceptable, all behaviors are not ok. Set limits that encourage appropriate behaviors, and help your child manage emotions in a healthy way. You might teach a child to take deep breaths to calm down from anger, or you could help your child create a “calm-down kit”, with a coloring book, soothing music, good-smelling lotions, and other things that help your child regulate emotions. In addition to helping your children cope with their own emotions, help them develop the ability to think critically and find creative solutions to problems. Once you’ve identified the feelings, work with your child on brainstorming ideas to fix what’s gone wrong. They don’t all have to be good ideas; the goal is just to learn to brainstorm. You can also use role-playing scenarios to determine how to address a problem in the future. Act as a coach in the problem solving process, don’t solve the problems for them. Teaching your children to find creative ways to solve their problems will make them more resilient and better able to handle the challenges that come their way in the future.
Help Kids Become More Self Aware
It’s important to encourage your child to express feelings and thoughts, but along with that should come a sense of self-awareness. Give them a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment in which to express themselves, and teach them to use creative activities to express their feelings. Then work with them on self-awareness, helping them learn to recognize their own feelings and notice how those feelings affect their judgment and behavior.
Give Praise for Progress
When you praise effort and progress, you demonstrate that you appreciate your child’s hard work. This can help motivate them to strive for success, and can help boost their emotional intelligence. You want your child to feel confident, and you also want to foster a mindset focused on growth. By focusing on progress, rather than only acknowledging accomplishment, you can help your child stay focused on growing and learning. Use mistakes as an opportunity to learn, and talk about how to better handle similar situations in the future. Admit to your child when you make mistakes, too, and make growing in emotional intelligence an ongoing aspiration for each person in your family.
Center for Vasectomy Reversal Loves Helping Parents
We hope these tips helped give you insight on fostering emotional intelligence in your children. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Creativity is Important
Creative intelligence involves developing new ideas and concepts, using the imagination. People who are creatively intelligent have strong problem solving and critical thinking skills, and can express themselves in unique ways. Recent research indicates that young adults feel happier and are more active when they are engaged in creative pursuits. It’s clear that encouraging your children to be creative is important in preparing them to be successful people. But what if your child isn’t artistic? The truth is that every child can be creative given some encouragement. Creativity isn’t limited to the creative arts; it’s about thinking in an original way. People with all types of learning styles can be creative, and a person can be creative in sports, business, technology, math, and more. Practicing creativity from an early age makes people more emotionally intelligent, better problem solvers, more resilient, more expressive, and happier. Are you ready to bring all that out in your child? We have some helpful tips.
Help Your Kids Discover Their Learning Styles
Whenever you’re trying to educate people, it pays to understand their learning styles. Learning is not one-size-fits all, and while some people lean towards auditory or visual learning, others are kinesthetic learners who need hands-on experiences. To determine a child’s learning style, offer a variety of different learning opportunities and see which one works best for your child.
From infancy, give your children the opportunity to explore their environment. Talk to them about the world around them and encourage them to ask questions. This helps them develop a sense of curiosity and teach them to think outside the box. Provide materials to build their creativity, like art supplies, blocks, and puzzles.
Give Kids Opportunities to Express Themselves
Let them try out different types of expressive activities. Give them a chance to express themselves through art, music, writing, painting, clay, musical instruments- anything that will help them creatively explore. Offer different sensory experiences, too, taking your kids to the library, a museum, or just out for a walk. Talk to them, and ask questions that encourage them to think.
Remember that Children Learn Through Play
Kids need free time and unstructured play to develop their creativity. Give them the opportunity to play, imagine, and explore, with no goals or objectives. Imaginative play helps kids develop cognitive skills while enhancing social skills and emotional intelligence, and when kids are free from a schedule or organized activities, their minds can run free and inspire them to create.
Focus on the Progress, Not Achievement
Creativity is a process, not an accomplishment. Ask your kids if they had fun, and what they enjoyed most about what they were creating. When they’re free to let use their imagination without an expectation of achievement, kids come up with some amazing ideas. Writing a story, coming up with an invention, creating a new game- these kinds of activities help kids discover their talents and strengths, fostering a sense of self-confidence.
Make Your Home a Creative Environment
Encourage reading, read to your kids, and read on your own. Choosing books over screens can help everyone in your home be more creative. Take time to be creative, just sitting and drawing, building with Legos, or finding some other way to bond with your child over creative pursuits. Talk about plans and encourage your kids to make their own plans without stifling them. Allow them to have different opinions than you, and encourage lively- (but respectful)- debate. Share your passions with your kids and give them space to share theirs with you, and cover your walls with their art.
Center for Vasectomy Reversal Loves Helping Parents
We hope you enjoy these tips on unlocking your child’s creativity. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Time-outs can be effective, but only if they’re used correctly. Make sure your kids have had plenty of positive time with you, and use time outs as a way to regulate emotions. Removing a child from a situation in which he or she is misbehaving gives the child an opportunity to self-regulate, appropriately express emotions, and consider how to make different choices next time. One meaningful way to do this is with a “time-in,” in which the parent sits with the child and helps in the calming process. You might try deep breathing together, sit quietly, or give your child a hug. The idea is to use the quiet space to help your child self-regulate emotions, with your support.
Are You Having Second Thoughts?
Sometimes, men have a vasectomy, thinking they don’t want any more children, but then have second thoughts. About 300,000 men in the United States have vasectomies each year, and somewhere between three and six percent of those men later decide to reverse those vasectomies. In the past, this was a long shot. Today, vasectomy reversal is safe and effective. But is it the right option for you? Here are some factors to consider when making the decision.
Conception is Not Guaranteed After a Reversal
Vasectomy reversals are much more successful than they used to be, but no procedure is 100 percent perfect. Sometimes, it takes up to 12 months for a stable semen analysis test, and sometimes other factors make conception difficult. Your partner’s age and fertility status come into play, as do things like testicular issues, the length of time since the vasectomy was done, and problems with the vasectomy itself.
There May Be Health Risks
Serious complications are rare with vasectomy reversal, but they do sometimes occur. Bleeding within the scrotum, infection at the surgery site, and chronic pain can all result, though they are uncommon.
Vasectomy Reversal Can Be Costly
Vasectomy reversal can be expensive, even without considering costs like anesthesia fees. What’s more, health insurance often will not cover it. Talk to your fertility specialist about the cost, and make sure there are no surprises when you receive your bill.
Finding the Right Surgeon is Important
Vasectomy reversal is a complicated procedure, involving complex microsurgery. Ultimately, the original surgery can have a major impact on the reversal. For a successful reversal, choose an experienced, trained microsurgeon. Ask about the success rates of any surgeon you are considering, and check credentials before committing.
Three Vasectomy Reversal-Friendly Situations
- Your life has changed significantly. Maybe you’ve become a widower, or you’ve divorced, and now you’re remarried. Maybe you have lost a child. Whatever the reason, if your life changes make you re-evaluate the decision not to have more children, a vasectomy reversal may be the right choice.
- You’ve had a sincere change of heart. You might have been 100 percent sure, earlier in life, that you didn’t want children or that your family was complete already. Now, later in life, you’ve come to regret that decision. Vasectomy reversals can be reversed many years after the original procedure, so if you have changed your mind, talk to a specialist about whether a vasectomy reversal is right for you.
- The vasectomy has caused issues for you. Sometimes, men experience complications following a vasectomy. This is not common, but if it does happen, your surgeon may recommend a vasectomy reversal to correct the problem.
Fertility Experts Offering Exceptional Patient Care
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Can you travel with a baby?
Before you had a baby, travel was easy! You could pack up and go any time you had a whim and some time off, with very little hassle. Now that you have a new little one, though, the idea of packing up all the baby gear and heading off on a trip feels daunting. Can you even travel with a baby? How old does a baby need to be before it’s safe to travel? You probably have a million questions, so we’ve got some tips to help make traveling with a baby easier.
When can you go?
Before you make plans to jet off to Grandma’s with your newborn, slow down and talk to your pediatrician. Little ones are still developing their immune systems, so it’s important to get guidance from a healthcare professional before planning a trip. When you do travel with your baby, make sure you wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and avoid visibly ill travelers, to help keep your little one safe and healthy.
In addition to clearing the trip with your healthcare provider, make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date and that you pack all medication and important documents you will need on the trip. Whether your child is an infant, and older baby, or toddler, it’s better to have more than you need than to forget something. While you’re planning your trip, research your accommodations and amenities, making sure you will have everything you need for a successful stay with your little one. Be prepared for travel-related maladies like colds, sore throats, diarrhea, and car sickness, as well as things like mosquito bites and bedbugs. Take preventive measures to avoid these issues, and have remedies on hand just in case. Perhaps most importantly when planning a trip with a child, allow plenty of extra time for packing the car, getting to your destination or to the airport, going through security, checking into your hotel, or eating at a restaurant. When you have plenty of time and you’re well-prepared, the trip will go more smoothly.
What to Pack
Really, when packing to travel with a baby or small child, more is more. Make sure you bring everything your baby will need, from a traveling crib to a stroller to bottles, bibs, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, and plenty of clothes. Bring favorite toys and blankets, pack books, craft supplies and other activities, and bring bedding from home to help your child feel more at ease. Check the weather for your destination and pack accordingly, being prepared for the weather to take an unexpected turn.
Where to Go
Plan trips that are age appropriate and will be interesting to your child. When visiting the grandparents, take time to visit playgrounds. When planning a vacation, consider a beach or some other location with plenty to do and explore outside. Make sure, wherever you go, that you’re keeping a close eye on toddlers and small children who can easily get into dangerous situations, particularly around water.
What to Keep on Hand
You’ve packed all the essentials, but some things need to be easily accessible while you’re traveling. A first aid kit, plenty of water, disposable diapers, and snacks should all be on the list when you’re traveling with a small child. Be prepared to provide entertainment for an older baby or child, whether that means singing songs, playing games, or reading a book. Pro tip: if you have older little ones, audiobooks are a wonderful way to occupy the whole family on a long road trip.
Consistency is Key
The younger the child, the more important it is to keep feeding and sleep schedules consistent when you travel. If you are going to cross time zones during your trip, try to gradually adjust the schedule to the new time zone two or three days before you leave for your trip. Having a consistent routine will help your child feel more secure, and will make for fewer meltdowns.
Your child may experience some big feelings when the routine changes. Sleeping in a strange bed, being away from home, and missing the normal routine can be hard for kids to manage. Stress, confusion, and fear can all come out in the form of temper tantrums, crying, or otherwise acting out. Some of this can be alleviated by keeping a regular sleeping and eating schedule and bringing familiar items from home. It’s important, though, to allow your child to make some decisions, and to respect their boundaries, avoiding forcing them into any activities or interactions they strongly resist.
Sometimes, you’re going to have to move more slowly than you’d like on a trip with a baby. Children need breaks, naps, and down time, and it’s not easy for them to sit for long stretches in a car or on a plane. Plan for this, building in breaks, helping them “get their wiggles out”, and giving them extra hugs, snuggles, and overall patience.
Don’t be shy about asking the flight attendant if there is something special available for a fussy child, like a pack of crayons or a picture book. If you need something from the hotel, ask. If you’re staying with family, don’t try to care for your baby all by yourself, but accept help from well-meaning family members.
Help With Starting a Family
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Embracing New Parenting
Do you have a new baby? Congratulations! New babies are amazing, and even though people told you before you became a parent, you probably were unprepared for how much you’d love this little person. Unfortunately, even though people probably also told you how overwhelming parenthood can be, you might have been fully prepared for that, either. Being a new parent is a wonderful gift, but it’s also hard, and if you are feeling frustrated, you’re not alone. Don’t worry! We have some hacks and tricks from experienced parents to help you navigate this brand new experience with your brand new little person.
Care and Keeping of Baby
- Bathing your baby in the kitchen sink means you don’t have to bend or kneel to reach the bathtub.
- Cradle cap can be managed by moisturizing it with a little bit of coconut oil and then using a baby comb to gently remove it.
- If you don’t have baby nail scissors, nose-hair scissors with rounded tips are the perfect substitute. Whatever you do, don’t bite your baby’s nails! Another nail tip: cut your baby’s fingernails when your little one is sleeping or feeding, to make it easier.
- When you need to give your baby medicine, stick the medicine dropper in a bottle nipple and administer the dose while your baby is happily sucking the nipple.
- Layer few covers on your changing pad, so that you can easily change to a clean one. Alternately, skip the covers and buy a simple changing pad you can wipe clean.
- Fold your newborn’s diaper waistband down to keep it away from the umbilical cord area while it’s healing.
- Swipe a wet wipe under your baby boy’s belly button immediately before a diaper change. That way, he’ll get a cold sensation that causes him to pee the diaper before taking off the diaper allows cool air to prompt the same reaction and cause him to pee on you!
- Olive or coconut oil on a newborn’s bottom will help make cleaning sticky meconium easier.
- Before you take off your baby’s diaper, put a fresh diaper underneath it, just in case.
- Rather than a diaper pail, you can use a regular trash can, keeping plastic bags in an empty wipes container so that you can throw away poopy diapers conveniently.
- When the inevitable blowout happens, pull the onesie down instead of over baby’s head. That’s why onesies have those little folds on the side of the neck hole- to widen the neck area and make them easier to pull down.
- Make foaming baby wash with equal parts baby wash and water in an empty bottle of foaming hand soap.
- Start tummy time with your baby on your chest or belly, so they get the benefits while also feeling close to you.
- Instead of onesies or PJs, use newborn nightgowns in the early days.
- When choosing sleepers, pick the ones that zip instead of snapping. All those little snaps never seem to line up correctly when you’re trying to change your wiggly baby in a hurry.
- Make swaddling easy with a swaddle that has Velcro.
- Get your baby into a good day and night routine. Interact with your little one during the day, making it easier for everyone to sleep at night.
- Use a white noise machine so that your baby won’t wake up with every noise. You’ll be glad you did when your child is a sound sleeper.
- Dream feed your baby, waking your infant for a feeding right before you go to bed for the night.
Hushing the Fuss
- Hold on to the exercise ball you got for labor so you can bounce your baby during fussy times.
- If your baby fusses at bath time, try swaddle bathing, wrapping the baby in a tight blanket and carefully unwrapping one limb at a time to wash, rinse, and rewrap.
- Learn the 5 S’s. Swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and side laying are the perfect techniques for calming a fussy baby.
- Gripe water is a lifesaver and the fastest way to ease a baby’s gas to quiet a fussy tummy.
Out and About
- Keep your hands free by using a backpack instead of a diaper bag. This is especially helpful if you’re wearing your baby.
- Pad your car seat handle with a cut-up piece of pool noodle to make the heavy car seat easier to carry in the crook of your arm.
- Bring a change of clothes for yourself as well as your baby, in case of a spit up, diaper, or breastmilk incident.
- Use a baby hammock to hold your baby in a grocery cart so that you can shop and your baby can be comfortable.
Making Your Life Easier
- Stash wipes all over your house and in your car, because baby messes can happen anywhere.
- Create a portable diaper changing station to keep near you so you don’t have to keep running back to the changing table. This is particularly useful if you live in a multi-level home.
- Breastfeed while lying down so that you can get some rest while the baby eats.
- Grab a water before you breastfeed, to keep from getting dehydrated.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps is not a cliché. Even if you feel like you need to get things done, it’s better to get some rest whenever you can when you have a new baby.
- Learn to wear your baby. This can promote bonding while also leaving your hands free so you can get things done while your baby is awake.
- Keep a pack and play nearby. Set up your pack n play in a room you use frequently, so that you can set your baby down safely when you need to get something done.
- Take help that is offered to you. This is perhaps the best tip we can offer to new parents! When people offer help, let them do something for you, whether it’s bringing you dinner, watching the baby long enough for you to take a shower, running an errand for you, or helping you with housework. Other parents understand how hard it can be when you have a new baby, and their offers to help are sincere, so don’t wear yourself out trying to do it all on your own.
Center for Vasectomy Loves Helping Parents
We hope these tips helped you get a handle on how to manage your newly growing family. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Infertility is a Shared Problem
About one in six couples globally struggles with infertility. While this is often considered a female issue, approximately 40 percent of infertility cases in the United States are connected with male infertility, making it, most definitely, a couple’s issue. While both partners experience emotional distress and relationship stress, the perceived social stigma regarding male infertility and, indeed, male emotional response to infertility, make it challenging for men to find support. Here, we offer advice for couples navigating male fertility challenges.
Men Have Feelings Too
Let’s just start by stating the obvious. Boys and men are conditioned by society to avoid vulnerability, hide their feelings, and be strong, no matter what, but that doesn’t mean their feelings don’t matter. Infertility and pregnancy loss are very painful experiences, and can deeply affect a person’s mental health. It can be hard to process this very private kind of trauma, but infertility is definitely painful. Feelings men experience as a result of infertility can include:
- A deep sense of loss and grief can accompany the knowledge of an inability to conceive a child.
- Guilt and shame can result from not living up to societal expectations of virility and fertility.
- Men sometimes experience a sense of inadequacy, feeling they’ve failed their partner.
- It can feel isolating to experience infertility, and men feeling the pressure to be strong and stoic may not feel able to ask for support.
- Anger and frustration are natural when dealing with infertility, especially because it’s easy to feel powerless when faced with failed attempts, the inability to find a specific reason for infertility, or seemingly endless fertility treatments.
- Anxiety and depression are common for both partners experiencing infertility, as financial strain mounts, disappointments recur, and the future seems uncertain.
Navigating Infertility as a Couple
While men may have difficulty expressing their emotions, and may feel the need to be strong for their partners, the truth is that infertility is a shared concern. Like many things in a partnership, it is best addressed together, working as a team. How can you work together to overcome the mental and emotional challenges of infertility?
- Talk about it. Communication is important in a relationship, and it is crucial during challenging times or periods of stress. It can be hard to talk about difficult topics, but if you can start out with talking about thoughts it can be easier to segue into talking about emotions, too. Make sure that each partner is spending equal time listening and being heard, be honest with each other, and keep it a safe space, where you can each express difficult thoughts and emotions without judgement. Make sure not to rush these conversations, but carve out time for each other and really listen.
- Don’t neglect other aspects of your life. Infertility can feel all-consuming, but it’s important not to let it overwhelm your life. Make time for fun, go out on dates, play games, and spend time with friends and family. Take time out from fertility drama and make sure that other parts of your life don’t fall by the wayside. Spending light-hearted time together can help alleviate the stress you’re experiencing.
- Learn as a couple. There are plenty of resources for those experiencing infertility, but there is also plenty of misinformation floating around. It is important to know how to separate fact from fiction, and to educate yourselves together. It can be hard to find good resources, which is why it is so important to contact a fertility specialist to help you identify solutions that are good options for you.
- Share responsibilities. Make infertility treatment a team effort. Keeping up with all the medical appointments, medication, and bills can be overwhelming, but it’s less so when you’re both shouldering the responsibility.
- Have clear boundaries. Talk to your partner more than you talk to other people. If you are going to share information with friends of family members, make sure your partner is on board with it before you do it. It is important to have support, but it’s also important to protect your partner’s privacy.
- Seek outside support. While you need clear boundaries, you also need a safe space to share what is happening. Joining a fertility support group where you can interact with others who understand what you’re going through, can be a good way to keep from feeling isolated. Support groups can be in-person or online, and they offer a safe, friendly environment in which to discuss difficult topics.
- Don’t equate infertility with failure. Whether or not you conceive, it doesn’t change who you are as a couple. Fertility is not a reflection on your relationship, and infertility is just one of the challenges you will face in your life together. By keeping communication strong, you can also strengthen your relationship and more easily navigate future challenges.
How Men Can Protect their Mental Health
- Express your emotions. Don’t feel you always have to be strong and stoic. Talk to your partner and find others to talk to as well, who will listen supportively.
- Distract yourself. Plan a weekend getaway, go hiking, take a trip, or just go out to dinner at a new restaurant. You and your partner need things to do that don’t have anything to do with fertility.
- Find support. Whether it’s a support group, a counselor, or a trusted friend or family member, think about who you want to turn to when things are tough. Make a list for yourself of people you can call when you need support.
- Manage stress. Maybe it’s engaging in hobbies you enjoy, or maybe it’s meditation or listening to music. Whatever helps you feel less anxious, more grounded, and happier is good for managing your stress.
- Remember who you are. Infertility doesn’t define you, and it doesn’t define your relationship. Look at old photos, reminisce with your partner, embrace new hobbies, and remind yourself that infertility is just something you’re going through, and not who you are.
Seek Help From Fertility Experts
If you are having trouble conceiving a child, help is available to you. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
The Gift of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift to give a baby. By providing your baby with nutritious, natural breastmilk, your partner is protecting not only the baby’s health, but also her own. Breastfeeding helps keep the baby healthy, boosting immunity to help prevent infection and disease, and it reduces the mom’s risk of diseases like osteoporosis and certain cancers. By breastfeeding your baby, your partner is saving your family money, bonding with your little one, and boosting your child’s brain development. All of that is truly amazing, but it should be noted that breastfeeding is not always easy. In fact, for some women, it is not possible. What can you do to support your partner through this process and help her to reach her breastfeeding goals. We have a few suggestions.
Have the Right Attitude
Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding and take the stance that you and your partner are in this together. Sometimes, dads get jealous of the closeness of the mother and baby during this special time, or feel left out. Don’t fall into this line of thinking; there are plenty of things you can do with your baby! Avoid hovering, but communicate with your partner and let her know that you are there for her if she needs anything.
Understand the Issues
Breastfeeding is not for the faint of heart. It does not always come naturally, and sometimes there are real challenges, even when the mom has learned as much as she can and is eager to breastfeed. Sometimes the baby refuses the breast or bites, and other times there’s not enough supply to keep the baby well-fed and healthy. When there is too much milk, the breasts become engorged and sore. It can get very uncomfortable, in many different ways. Nipples can get sore and infected, milk ducts can become blocked, and mastitis or even breast abscesses can occur. Your partner can get support from a lactation consultant, her doctor, a nurse, or a midwife, but it’s also important for you to provide support as well.
Being There for Your Partner
Supporting your partner with breastfeeding starts in the hospital. Often, hospitals will push formula, and you may need to be your wife’s advocate and help her make her breastfeeding intentions clear. If your partner needs your assistance enlisting the help of a nurse or lactation consultant, be prepared to seek out the right person for her. At home, she’ll need you to step up your game around the house, taking on some extra chores so that she can have the time and space for breastfeeding. Offer to bring her a snack or some water, or an extra pillow, and help minimize distractions by removing pets and older kids from the room and limiting visitors. Understand that breastfeeding is physically demanding and help your partner to get some rest. Be aware that she may not want to be touched after a long day of caring for a newborn, and don’t be hurt if she is a bit distance. This is a short time in the grand scheme of things, and your lives will reach a new normal soon.
Bond with Your Baby
Just because the baby is breastfeeding, this doesn’t mean the daddy won’t have the opportunity to bond with this new little person. Cuddle your baby skin to skin or carry him or her in a sling or baby carrier. Offer to do bath time because this can be a wonderful way to bond. Settle your baby during fussy moments, which might be easier for you than your partner because you won’t have the smell of milk on your body to distract your baby. Offer to burp the baby or change the diaper after a breastfeeding session. Make the most of the times your baby is awake and alert, and spend time playing or walking with your child.
Be Supportive, No Matter What
For some families, breastfeeding goes smoothly and is a very rewarding experience. For others, though, it does not work out as well. Encourage your partner every step of the way, defending her choices to any naysayers and being there for her when she needs you. If breastfeeding does not turn out to be an option, be sensitive. Let her know that you don’t see this as a failure and you support her choices, no matter what.
Supporting Families and Helping Men
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428. For additional parenting tips, we invite you to check out our other blogs!
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