Believe it or not, most of the challenges that impact youth of today are not a secret or a surprise to adults. Perhaps, some of the intricacies of these challenges may have changed overtime, but developmental struggles remain relatively the same over the years. According to Erkison’s stages of Psychosocial development, ages 6 – 12, children are going through a stage of industry versus inferiority. Children begin to compare themselves to their peers and if they don’t feel they measure up, then feelings of inferiority begin to be realized. For children ages 12 -18, Erikson highlights the stage of identity versus role confusion. Again a sense of self for adolescents needs to be realized or they struggle with figuring out the role they should occupy in society.
Self-esteem, confidence, sense of identity and belonging, building relationships and establishing early goals for the future are common areas of struggle for youth. Moreover, the expecations that adults place on their children or teachers on students further amplify the daily developmental challenges of youth. Why do we force our kids to determine what they want to do before they even discover who they are?Why is there a persistent focus on material learning without first emphasizing character development and how to foster healthy relationships?
This leads to one of the paramount dilemmas families have – unhealthy relationships or weak ties and connections with each other. Children and adolescents often feel disconnected from parents or the adults in their life. Communication is often disjointed and limited, especially as children develop to adolescents. Children often have unrealistic expectations of their parents and teachers and parents and teachers have unrealistic expectations of their children and students. The humor is that rarely does either party articulate their expectations of the other. Only when frank and open communication occurs between both children and adults in their life, does holistic growth occur, of not only future generations, but adults begin to heal from past hurt, trauma and current fears for their offspring (further discussion on this for another time).
In my experience as a mental health provider and a social emotional support to children and adolescents, I have learned that when adults model vulnerability children and adolescents feel more connected to that adult. When trust is built, communication is easier and healthy and successful young adults are formed. Yet, as we know it is not as easy as it sounds. In a society built on fear and relationships fostered are predicated on position or status, it is a challenge for genuine connections to exist.
My belief is that the first step is to break the idea that a child should only “listen” to an adult because of their age. If effective communication is not modelled by adults, it is no wonder why our children and teens do not “talk” or share as they were trained to “be quiet”. Parents and teachers much practice listening to understand, not just to react or respond.
There is definitely not a one solution that fits all, but based on experience and study, the journey to supporting the holistic development of children and adolescents starts with adults modeling vulnerability and effective communication – listening to understand, not respond.
Will you practice the art of active listening, beginning today? What are your thoughts on building relationships with children? Let us know in the comments below!
Guest writer, Kandra Knowles is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree from Fordham University in Social Work and partners with the Urban Assembly in NYC for research on social emotional learning in New York Public Schools. She obtained an undergraduate degree from Bard College in Annandale-on- Hudson in Psychology and Latin American and Iberian Studies, and pursued her Masters in Social Work from New York University. She is a former school counselor in The Bahamas and has been a Licensed Social Worker in the State of New York for the past six years.
Tamika Taylor is a wife, worship leader, former elementary school teacher and mother to a lovely ten year-old girl named Tarua. The title of mother is one that Tamika cherishes greatly and prepared for long before her daughter’s arrival. In fact, even during her season of singleness she was preparing to be the best mother that she could be. Tamika was mindful of various decisions she made within her personal life because she knew that each of those decisions would affect her parenting skills to some degree. Through observing the lives of her former students and those around her she took note of what she should and shouldn’t do as a parent and today she and her husband Trevante are proud to steward the life of their daughter. Here are Tamika’s top tips on preparing for motherhood.
Tip #1 Be intentional.
Before conceiving, Tamika and her husband desired to be intentional about preparing to start a family. She shared that she wanted to “show God that I can be a good steward in another area by preparing myself.” Tamika embarked on this new journey by equipping herself with knowledge. She began following a variety of social media pages that shared content about parenting skills, she read various books surrounding the topic on parenting such as Conception, Pregnancy, & Birth by Dr. Miriam Stoppard and What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel and prepared her body through diet choices.
During this season, a useful resource she came across was babycenter.org, a website that guides you through the process of preparing for a baby physiologically, so it discusses topics such as fertility and ovulation. It also describes to you how a normal baby would develop each month after conception.
Tamika ensured that she was getting enough rest and improved her eating habits. Moreover, she believed that it was important for her and her husband to plan when a baby would be added to their family, and decided not to cave-in to outside pressures that suggested having a child early on in their marriage. They believed that it was best to be properly prepared for the arrival of a baby.
Tip #2 Have hard conversations with your spouse about how your child will be reared.
You and your spouse should discuss things like the type of disciplinary methods you both would like to use, the type of home environment you both would like to develop, and the type of relationship you both would like to display within the household. All of these areas will determine if your home has a loving atmosphere where the child is able to flourish and is free to be his or herself. You and your spouse should also determine the values, principles and skills that you wish to be instilled in your child. For example, Tamika and her husband discussed that they wanted their daughter to be kind, honest, obedient, a critical thinker, loving, respectful, well-exposed to a variety of experiences including travel and the arts, along with having a heart for God.
Tip #3 Plan what you’re going to do to help the child excel.
Now that you have both determined the kind of values, principles, and skills you would like your child to have, you should now devise various plans to build your child in each area. Tamika also knew that she wanted her daughter to be bright, so she started reading to her very early on. Tamika also started her daughter on “My Baby Can Read” at the age of six months. This allowed Tarua’s verbal skills to develop so well that she was able to speak words and short sentences at the age of ten months.
In the area of exposure, Tamika and Trevante knew they wanted their daughter to be well-exposed so they ensured that she travelled and attended events such as musicals and cultural festivities. You can devise a budget to determine how much money you may be able to allocate for travel and entertainment.
Tamika was also very big on ensuring that her daughter was well-mannered so she frequently encouraged her to use words like “yes ma’am“, “no ma’am“, “please“, and “thank you“.
To develop her daughter spiritually Tamika taught her daughter Bible verses, she also condensed them to make it easier for the toddler to learn. For example one of her daughter’s first memory verses was Acts 5:29 which states “Peter and the other apostles replied: we must obey God rather than human beings”. This verse was simply condensed to “obey God” to make it easier for the two year-old to recite.
Tamika further advised that as a parent you should capitalize on teachable moments. Teachable moments are moments where you can instill specific principles or concepts into a child because of something that has occurred. Capitalizing on these moments is extremely important to Tamika because she wants to equip her daughter with the necessary skills and tools that will be needed when the time comes for her daughter to make decisions on her own.
Tamika also suggested that as you guide and develop your child, be careful not to suppress their identity as an individual. You should also affirm your children, congratulate them when they excel or when they’re doing a good job, and try to develop an environment where they feel free to discuss anything.
For more inspiration from Tamika, follow her on Instagram @tamikataylor.
Figuring out which steps to take to ensure that all of your child’s academic needs are met can be difficult, especially when it’s been so many years that you’ve been out of school yourself. In this post, I’ll be sharing three things that parents can do to ensure that their children excel in national exams: the BJC and BGCSE.
1. Help your child to establish a daily study routine.
A daily routine is essential for both adults and children. A daily study routine will help your child to be successful in their academic pursuits. However, for a daily study-routine to ‘stick’ it must be realistic. Students with an unrealistic study routine may say, “I will review everything that I have learned in grades 10-12 in my Mathematics textbook in one day.” An expectation like this is unlikely to be met because of the volume of material that would need to be reviewed in such a short time frame. Something more manageable would be scheduling a longer time-frame, sectioning the material into topics (e.g. trigonometry, calculus, etc.) or focusing primarily on weak subject areas. It is also important to create a list of topics to be reviewed. The list may not be completed in one day, but at least the he or she would have an exact list of what needs to be completed. The student would then be able to breathe a sigh of relief as topics are ticked off of their list.
An effective study routine incorporates scheduled breaks. Your child should try to include short and long breaks each day. A short break may be for ten or fifteen minutes after completing an hour of studying. A long break may be thirty minutes to an hour after completing two or three hours of studying. The length of each student’s break will be unique to them. Some students are able to study four hours or more without any breaks, but some students need a break after an hour or two. The student that takes the break sooner is not inferior to the student who is able to study for a longer period of time because everyone is different and follows their own momentum. If your child tries to push themselves to study for an extended amount of time, knowing that they need frequent breaks, he or she may end up mentally exhausted.
Another area where students are unique is the time of day that they study. Some people naturally wake up really early in the morning to study and find this highly effective. Then again, some students struggle with waking up early but can stay awake into the wee hours of the night reviewing study material. If the child does not have classes or review sessions to attend early in the morning, it is fine for him or her to stay up late studying and begin the next day at 10am or 11am. Both the ‘early-bird’ and the ‘night-owl’ are getting the work done, they are just working at different times of the day.
At some point in the daily schedule, there should also be scheduled review time, for your children to look over material that they’ve learned well and are familiar with. This review time can either be at the beginning of the study session, or nearing the end of it, but it must happen. Most students overlook the review process, and end up forgetting a substantial amount of material. Your child should also stick with studying the way that has always worked best for them. With national examinations being weeks away, now is not the time to experiment with study methods.
The most important part of having a daily study routine is being consistent. If your children are not consistent they will not be adequately prepared for their exams. They are free to take a day or two off from studying each week, depending on the student; however, regular studying should become a part of their weekly schedule. This way, information is stored into long term memory as opposed to cramming information for the short term only.
2. Ensure that they are taking advantage of the resources available to them.
Your children should also take advantage of the resources that are available to them. The Testing and Evaluation Department, a branch of the Ministry of Education, sells past BJC and BGCSE papers at a very low price. There are also some local websites and pages such as the Student Shed and Ansani Bahamas that give students access to pass examination papers. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has also partnered with REV Bahamas to offer daily teaching sessions for students living in New Providence and across the Family Islands. You can check the MOE’s Facebook page for the schedule. The Facebook page lists the channel and the time that each session will be aired for each island. If your children struggle in a specific area, such English Language, you may want them to watch that specific review session often.
If certain topics are still a bit tricky, they can also type that topic into YouTube and watch a few videos on the topic. Personally, YouTube has helped to fill-in several gaps of knowledge I have had in various topics that I’ve studied in Medical School. If your children still need assistance after watching several YouTube videos, they can try to access an online tutor. Your child’s teachers may also be available for assistance. Ask the teacher (or instruct your child to ask the teacher) for a review sheet or syllabus in the event that one has not been provided.
3. Be a bit lenient with your child’s chores and responsibilities.
Many parents do not know this, but preparing for exams can be both physically and mentally taxing. Your child may not be able to complete all of his or her chores or take care of household responsibilities on time. Try not to fuss with your children if they’re taking a bit longer than usual to finish all of their household duties. Give them a bit more time or schedule tasks around the study schedule.
It may be a good idea to discuss with your child/children how much more time they would need to fulfil all of their responsibilities at home during this time of intense studying. Also, please try not to nag the child to get things done while he or she is in the middle of a study session. It may be very difficult to rebuild that level of focus after they step away from their study material.
A peaceful environment will help your child to focus on preparing for exams. As a parent you can do your part to create an environment conducive for studying. Try to be more relaxed, avoid frustration, excessive nagging, loud talking, loud music or loud movie watching. Keep the other children entertained and busy so that the child sitting national examinations can study peacefully. You can also arrange for the child to be in a more conducive environment such as a library or more quiet home or area of the house.
If you don’t have access to Cable T.V., WiFi or devices such as a computer or tablet, try to make arrangements with a friend or family members to ensure your child has the necessary access. Quite a few resources, including Zoom, can be accessed from your mobile phone so look out for data packages from local providers.
Remember this season is temporary Your children will do well in their examinations as long as they put in the work that is required of them and are supported by you and other members of the household.
In the U.S. over a quarter of all children are raised in single-parent households. In The Bahamas, that figure trends far higher, with upwards of 70% of children born into single-parent homes. While there are instances where fathers are the single parent, single mothers predominate the statistic. Despite assumptions that most single mothers “got pregnant for money” or for other “selfish” reasons, for the most part, single mothers started out in committed relationships and never expected to become single parents.
Being a single mother doesn’t mean your children won’t become accomplished individuals. In fact, there are many instances of children raised by single mothers who went on to achieve great things, one of them being the former U.S. President Barak Obama. Conversely, having both parents in the home does not automatically mean children will have superior educational attainment and well-being. The quality of the parenting matters.
Father absence (that is, non-residence of a child’s biological father for some or all of their childhood) is a widely studied subject as, in many ways, we are moving towards a “fatherless society”. Studies have found that the father’s contact with the child does not necessarily have positive benefits. Quality of interaction matters. Economic contributions to the child, inter-parenting cooperation (i.e. good co-parenting), positive emotional involvement and an authoritative parenting style are more so linked to positive benefits for children (Good Therapy).
But how do you know a man will be a good father to his children, even before he becomes a dad?
10 Traits of a Good Father
He wants to be a dad.
Men who do not wish to become fathers could see their child as more of a burden than a joy; whereas, men who want to become fathers are more likely to be eager to be a part of the child’s life.
2. He voices his disapproval with love.
You want the father of your children to be a good disciplinarian, but you also don’t want him to be a dictator or to shatter his children emotionally. There is a fine line between discipline and abusive behaviours. How does he correct you or address your shortcomings? Does he talk down to you or hit you or does he communicate with love to help you become a better person?
3. He is willing to explain or demonstrate.
A good father is a good teacher. I think of my own father helping me to ride a bike without training wheels or teaching me how to hammer a nail into wood. I think also of my father demonstrating to my brother how to build and put up shutters. There are some life skills that fathers are better equipped in teaching their children which are important in creating well-rounded adults.
4. He values quality time.
A good dad desires to create memories and special moments with his children. He takes the time to listen to his children and to assist them where he can.
5. He is not selfish.
If a man tends to think in terms of “I” or “me” verses “us”, he may not be a very good father as his selfishness may trump the needs of his child. Keep in mind that some men change after having children, but if a man is extremely self-absorbed and miserly, this may extend to his offspring.
One single dad said,
“There were many things that I had to change since [my son] began living with me. I had to give up certain privileges such as those late-night outings, spending money on clothes or new tennis, and even my eating habits have changed. This is all because now I had to conform to a new way of life that involves taking care of my son’s needs first, before any of mine can be met.” (The Tribune)
6. He leads by example.
If he can lead you in a way that is legal, honourable (to both you and Christ), one can expect this trait will trickle over into parenthood. A good father lives by the values that he wants his children to follow.
7. He is protective of his family.
A good father will do whatever he can for his family. He’ll take on a second job in order to provide for them, will put his own safety on the line to keep them out of harm’s way and will defend them however he can. His self-lessness will teach his children the importance of self-sacrifice.
8. He is supportive and loyal.
Children need to know that they have someone they can rely and depend on. If you feel your man is someone you can depend on, chances are your children will too.
9. He accepts that things don’t always have to be done “his way”.
Children are unique individuals. They have individual personalities and may approach situations different than we would. It is important that he respects differing values, opinions and methods.
10. He loves unconditionally.
This trait is thought to be the hallmark of a good father. Children may not remember the tennis, games or clothes that their parents bought, but they will remember the love they gave (or didn’t give). Even though his children may have faults and shortcomings, he loves them no less. If you continuously feel you have to prove yourself to your partner, his love (for you) may not be unconditional. Remember though, the lack of love and affection towards you does not mean he will not be a good father. Your relationship with your child’s father and ability to adequately co-parent can make a key difference in the type of relationship he is able to foster with his children.
This list above is by no means exhaustive. There are many character traits that describe a good father, many which we may have missed. What do you think makes a man a good dad? Let us know in the comments below.
COVID-19 has changed the structure of life as we once knew it. One group of people who have experienced a great transition during this pandemic is parents. The transition to home schooling due to COVID-19 has been a challenge for many parents. In this blog, Bahamian moms share their experiences and provide tips for parents who likewise are playing the role of parent and teacher during quarantine.
“My 8-year-old son Ahmarri is a super energetic, very inquisitive, easily distracted, and greedy kid. So, I can only imagine what it was like in the classroom with his teacher. However, teaching my son has never been a task for me. We work very well together. We set our own time, our daily goals, and accomplish them. Teaching my son at home during the pandemic has shown me the importance of having patience with children. So, how am I dealing with teaching Ahmarri at home? The answer would be like a charm. I absolutely love it!
“Before I began receiving assignments from his 3rd-grade teacher, I used online platforms such as Cells Alive, ABCya, Cool Math, Make Me Genius, National Geographic Kids, Kids Read, Khan Academy, BBC History for Kids, and YouTube.”
“My advice from one mom to the next during this time is to have patience. A little patience can go a long way with children. Children want to know that it’s okay to make a mistake, it’s okay not to get it right all the time and they want to know that mommy or daddy understands that. This patience creates a stronger bond between you and your child. Reward your child(ren) for their hard work and efforts. Spend QUALITY TIME with your child. Just because you are home together every day does not mean that you’re spending QUALITY TIME with them.
Last but not least, TALK to your child. Learn about who they are from them. Learn more about their interest. Learn more about that little person that is looking up to you and would one day love to be like mommy or daddy. Use this time wisely to make up for all the time lost.”
“My kids have had consistent Zoom classes. They have homework and projects. It’s like school never closed.
My advice would be to designate 1 hour per day for 5 days per week. If they don’t have the ability to be apart of classes or Zoom school, use the grade syllabus and teach your child.”
“Learn with your child, don’t make it strict, long and drawn out, but ensure that your child actually learns something.”
“I have two boys (a 3 year old and a 10 year old) who are on different levels when it comes to learning and entertainment. For the kids to be able to continue the learning process from where they left off at school required so much more effort than just homework. Fortunately for my fourth grader, the school has provided a virtual learning process so he can zoom in one hour each day with his teacher. During the Zoom call, he is able to complete at least two subjects. In addition, they are given homework along with projects.
Having to work a 9-5, prepare meals, clean, wash dishes and allow play time for the kids can be taxing. Luckily, their dad assists with babysitting to ensure I have less disturbance.
My suggestion for parents is to try to stick to a daily schedule. Once the school work is done I allow free time. I try to be innovative with indoor games, riding their bikes, outdoor play, a movie, etc. Everyday they must have at least 20 minutes of reading.”
“I try to get up a little earlier than the kids to have my personal devotions, then again with them once they are up.”
“The adjustment to working from home has been a wonderful learning curve for me, I always knew that it was possible so this was my opportunity to put those thoughts into action. It may sound corny but I especially love that I get to get sweet hugs and kisses from our 9 year old son throughout the day and also have really impactful conversations with our now sweet 16 year old daughter (who turned 16 over one of the lockdown weekends). I went into overdrive for the first few weeks of working from home with lots of long hours and screen time and now I’m in a good groove, I’ve found a more positive harmony and I’m happy about that.
We have to be intentional about ensuring that our daughter takes breaks and doesn’t work too late. On the other hand, the challenge with our son is the exact opposite as he prefers to take more than enough breaks and we would like for him to be a bit more focused on the tasks at hand first and then focus on the breaks.”
“Remember: we’re really all in this together and our little people are having their own unique experience from missing their friends and their regular routine to missing graduation activities, car rides, grandparents, family outings, etc. – so extend grace (hugs, kisses & listening ears) to them liberally and take it one day at a time.”
“Most Moms have probably heard this a thousand times – well here it comes for the 1,001st time – have a meeting where you all share about the new setup and what the experience should look like, whatever your appropriate script or narrative is, age and other factors considered. Share it with them, get their opinion on what works best for them and their “learning where they live” experience and see how you can weave their ideas into the final plan. This gets their buy-in and cooperation. Structure, boundaries and flexibility are very important and must be employed for maximum effectiveness.”
“I’m not doing a lot. The schoolwork keeps my kids busy. After they finish their school work online, they have time to watch a movie or play games. Then they have Pathfinders on Sunday via Zoom now. Our cat had kittens so they like dealing with them. We keep the kids informed about what’s going on in the news about the virus.
I would advise parents to keep their kids busy to a point. Find chores and different activities for them to do throughout the day. There are some very interesting suggestions online. Teach them how to cook or sew.”
“You can also find arts and craft for them to do on sites like Pinterest.”
“Stick to a schedule (especially a morning routine). My son takes four online classes a day and during the first week, we both were extremely stressed and classes went till nearly bedtime. I figured out the problem though. We were doing Language Arts last, which has a heavier content and took more critical thinking. The next week, we switched. Once we got the essays out in the morning, the rest of the day would be a breeze. That being said, switch subjects up for how they work best for you and your child.
My kids share a computer and we both shared the same space in week one. It looks cute, but I learnt quickly that it was another bad idea. Keeping the kids separate for their lessons, lessens the distraction they can be to one another. To keep kids occupied, screen time (whether device or tv) is a reward for completion of work. This is also the time you as a parent can take a break.
My advice to moms is to do what you can and, when you can’t, just take a break.”
“Your emotional and physical well-being are important. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. This time is new and unusual for everyone and people just want you to adjust. It doesn’t work that way, so simply take it all one day at a time.”
Transitioning to homeschooling kids is no small feat but you’re not alone in this new journey. Moms and dads, if no one has told you yet, you’re doing an amazing job with your children!
International make-up artist, mommy, mogul and motivator, Sarsha Taylor, shares five amazing tips for parents based from her own experiences raising her daughter Hannah. These gems were originally dropped during an Instagram livestream with influencer Tonya Williams Lightbourne.
Tip #1 GIVE YOURSELF ROOM
As a parent, you will make mistakes. The important thing is that you learn from those mistakes and adjust accordingly.
Tip #2 LET YOUR CHILD BE
You may have spent years dreaming of having a “mini me” only to find out your son or daughter is, in so many ways, nothing like you. As parents, it is not uncommon to want your child to act and be just like you. However, it is important to understand that your child is a unique individual with his or her own desires, tastes, character traits and thoughts. Share with your children your beliefs and values, but also give them room to shine as individuals.
Tip #3 CULTIVATE A RELATIONSHIP
The relationship you build with your child now will set the tone for your relationship later in life, and will even be a key aspect in shaping who your child becomes. Being a disciplinarian all of the time will create a divide between you two. Learn to identify when your child needs policing, comfort or just a listening ear.
Tip #4 HAVE FUN TOGETHER
Be fully present with your child and truly invest in his or her development and your bond through quality time. Laughing together creates positive memories that your children can draw strength from even in hard times.
Tip #4 CREATE MEMORIES
Memories can impact a child’s emotional development, behaviours, belief system and ability to be resilient in the face of difficulties both now and in the future. It is important to realize that your child’s memories will shape his or her life. Create positive experiences for your child to look back on.
As a new mom in 2019, I have learned more from the experience itself versus the tons of books or online resources I have read. It is true when they say that there is NOTHING that will ever prepare you well enough for motherhood. There are also far too many debates on what is right/wrong that can be extremely overwhelming for a new mom. In the end, the best advice that anyone can give you is “do what is right for YOU and YOUR BABY!”. Here are a few tips from my experience that I hope you may find helpful.
#1 Download the app “BabyCenter” from your app store
While pregnant, this app made it easy to visualize the little human growing inside of me. It provided weekly updates of how he was forming and what to expect. The day it told me that I might feel the first movement, I felt it! There were so many things I did not think about yet; this app kept me on track and helped me to feel more prepared for the coming of my baby. After giving birth, it still continues to send updates on what to expect with my baby and his milestones each week/month. I love it!
#2 Join a moms group on Facebook
There are several moms group out there. Personally, I joined Brownroots Baby Mama, The Cleavage Club: Breastfeeding Support Group and Montessori at Home (0 to 3 years). These are by no means the BEST groups out there, but they worked for me. You can check them out or do your own research and pick one or a few groups. I joined them while pregnant and it was good to read about other mom’s birth stories – the good and the bad! I have also found them helpful for recommending things to do when baby is fussy, teething, etc. You can get feedback on various products you might be considering to purchase for your baby. Best of all is that you can connect with other moms going through the same challenges/feelings and it is reassuring to know that you are not alone. I really learned a lot from these groups.
#3 Set expectations with your partner regarding sex
If you are in your second trimester and feeling energized, I strongly suggest that you take advantage of this feeling and have sex regularly! If you made it to the third trimester with no complications so far, then “hop on” and enjoy too. Keep in mind however that sex can trigger labour as you get closer to your due date. Now, you may have read that your body will need approximately 6 weeks to recover after giving birth – so no sex for the first 6 weeks. Your partner might also be informed of this and think “no problem, I can wait 6 weeks”. But here’s the truth: you both may need to wait a few MONTHS! Assuming that you did not tear “down there”, 6 weeks MAY be fine for you. However, the majority of women that I know (with a tear and no tear) can all relate to that initial pain they feel when they TRY to have sex between 6-8 weeks later. This also applies to women who may have gone through a c-section. Sex becomes incredibly painful for a few months – you will need to go slow and use A LOT of lube! For many it begins to feel “normal” again 5-6 months later. The luckier ones are good to go by 3 months!
#4 Aim to do most of your labouring at home
You may have heard about the 5-1-1 rule: you are most likely in “active” labour if your contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting approximately 1 minute each consistently for 1 hour. This is the point when it is recommended that you go to the hospital. Hopefully from there, your labour should not last much longer. My goal was to commit to this rule because I knew I would be more comfortable at home and I wanted to get to the hospital with just enough time to push. Needless to say, this rule failed for me! What no one ever told me was that it is possible for your contractions to start coming that frequently and then slow down later on. Between 8am – 9am, I had the 5-1-1 contractions. I got to the hospital by 9:30am and all of a sudden they were 10-15 mins apart. I was clearly not in active labour yet. I strongly recommend that if you plan to use this rule as well, consider waiting until the pain is so intense that you cannot talk through it – that is when you should head to the hospital. If the contraction ends and you are able to have a conversation or even take a bite of food, chances are that you aren’t there yet…trust me, that pain is some next level $h!t!
#5 Consider the epidural if your labour is long
I was all for having an “all natural birth”. I told my nurses “NO DRUGS WHATSOEVER!” I even told my husband to stop me if I ever decided to cave. But after being in labour for more than 12 hours already and only 7cm dilated, with no food, no sleep and the pain getting stronger, I was hungry, tired and weak. The only thought on my mind was “How will I ever be able to push when I get to 10cm?”. My biggest fear at that point was a c-section; I did not want one! So I begged for the epidural and to date, I think it was the best decision I made for myself in that moment. I did not feel a single contraction from that point on and I slept until it was almost time to push – which gave me the energy I needed to push for TWO HOURS! Don’t beat yourself up if you decide to go that route too. Labour is hard and you are amazing either way for having made it that far with a complete human being inside of you! Similarly, if you have a c-section, you are still just as awesome!
#6 Download the app “Glow Baby” from your app store
I wish I knew about this app before I went to the hospital. The first day after giving birth, I had to log each time my baby pooped, peed, fed and slept (as per the hospital requirement). It was time consuming and sometimes I simply just forgot to look at the time, so I guessed a lot. This app simplifies that. It has all the categories of things you would want to log, shows the trending and also provides great feedback the more you log. I still use it today with my baby being 7 months. I highly recommend it!
#7 Find a paediatric dentist in your area that can do “lip or tongue tie” revision in babies
One of the common stories I heard while pregnant was that many moms never had the opportunity to breastfeed because “their baby would not latch”. As a result, they felt forced to introduce their baby to formula. That is not a bad thing! But if you truly have your heart set on breastfeeding, it is possible for you! Many doctors, nurses and paediatricians are not trained in identifying lip or tongue ties in babies and therefore do not usually advise moms on getting this issue resolved to help their baby breastfeed. If your baby does not latch on day 1 or you find breastfeeding consistently painful (after several weeks), I encourage you to get your baby checked for a lip or tongue tie and have it revised, then your breastfeeding journey can begin pain free! Do your research on this if you want to learn more. I LOVE breastfeeding and would encourage you to not give up if your only issue is that “your baby will not latch” or “it is too painful”.
#8 Do not pump before 6 weeks
Assuming that you have chosen to breastfeed, it is highly recommended that you do not start pumping before 6 weeks. You need to give your body time to adjust to your baby’s demand. Pumping may confuse your body and cause it to produce more milk than is needed, resulting in an oversupply which can further lead to clogged ducts, mastitis and other breast issues. I received bad advice on day 3 after giving birth (a story for another post) and I pumped a few times before the 6 weeks – it was horrible! My boobs were always very full and painful; my son would choke almost every time he fed due to the strong “letdown” causing him to unlatch and make a mess. Over time we got the hang of it and my body is more regulated to his needs, but I still have a bit of an oversupply.
#9 Get a bathroom scale at home
Most people probably have a scale, but I did not. When I realized that a key measurement for my baby was his weight, we got one! It is important to know that your baby is consistently gaining weight. If you ever notice a decrease, you can act quickly. Knowing your baby’s weight is also useful in selecting the correct diaper size as well as for purchasing baby clothes online. To use the scale – weigh yourself with baby then record that, weigh yourself alone and subtract the two numbers to get the baby’s weight. Do not forget to strip the baby down to nothing – those diapers can add a few pounds!
#10 Visit a baby chiropractor
Did you know that such a thing existed? I didn’t! Luckily, we have insurance that covers chiropractic visits and we decided to try it (based on recommendations from other moms). Chiropractors examine the bones and joints of the spines to detect any abnormalities that may interfere with the communication within the nervous system resulting in some abnormal function of the body. Labour can cause some misalignments in our babies (especially long labours) and these can result in gas/colic/sleep issues. If you feel like you have tried EVERYTHING and your baby still seems to be suffering from gas pains or sleepless nights in those early months, I encourage you to see a chiropractor that specializes in babies if you can! You may be surprised at the difference it can make.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I hope it has been or will be helpful for you, your partner or someone you know that is about to be a new mom. Feel free to share this post with anyone you think that needs these tips.
Mother of five, and soon to be mother of six, Ella Grimwade of “The Grimwade Family” YouTube channel, recently shared her top tips for increasing the chances of conception. Given her success in this area (two boys, three girls and a baby on the way), I thought the tips would be worth sharing with the Wife HER! community. Rest assured we did do our research to determine if each Ella-tip was backed up by science of not.
Tip #1 ENJOY THE PROCESS
Tip #2 LIMIT CAFFEINE
Tip #3 TRACK YOUR OVULATION
Tip #4 LAY DOWN AFTER SEX
To hear these tips firsthand from Mama Grimwade, be sure to watch the video below. For more helpful tips and to see this beautiful, growing family in action subscribe to their Youtube channel.
One of the hardest jobs in the world God can bestow upon us is being a parent. Many aspects of parenting are left to trial and error, but as Christians we must look to God for guidance. Seeing as we can’t just give God a ring at 1-800-CALL-HIM to get advice on exactly what to do in each situation, we’re left to reference the Bible as our instructional guide.
We find in Proverbs 13:24 that those who spare the rod hate their children, and those who love them are diligent to discipline them. We are called to discipline our children so they can grow to be fully functioning adults and spiritually rounded Christians in the future, but we aren’t to use just any kind of discipline, instead, we are to us godly discipline.
Godly discipline doesn’t look like us choosing prayer in lieu of actual correction when our children are defiant or disobedient. There are many different kinds of discipline, but at its core it is training that corrects, molds, or perfects mental faculties or moral character. As Christians, in everything we do we are to bring honor and glory to God, and this includes how we discipline our children.
In today’s society, there are many instances on social media and even in our own families where discipline has become perverted from what Christ has called it to be. Here are some examples of what godly discipline should look like:
1. Listening before disciplining
All of us can think of an instance where we looked like the bad guy in the situation, but all was not as it seemed. If we were not able to tell our side of the story and reveal what really happened, and our actual intent, we would feel as though we were being treated unfairly. So why is it fair to not give your children the same opportunity to share their perspective?
Like adults, our children are unique individuals who deserve to be heard just as God takes the time to hear us. By gathering all the relevant information, you can make an informed decision before dishing out consequences to your child. This shows them that you are being fair by providing an opportunity to allow their voice to be heard.
2. Letting your anger subside before disciplining
This can be a tough one as it requires a lot of restraint. I know there were countless times I back-talked my parents and they may have wanted to roundhouse kick me with a swiftness, but fortunately they usually took a breather before doling out consequences.
It is so easy to just retaliate when our children defy us but disciplining out of anger is destructive and sinful. Acting on our feelings in the moment may feel good but it can leave lasting scars in our children’s minds and hearts forever. We all make mistakes but I encourage you to take a step back from the situation and think about at the long-term outcome first.
3. Refraining from harsh discipline
This point piggybacks off of not disciplining out of anger. Sometimes you reach your patience threshold, and while anger itself is not a sin, acting on that anger in a destructive and excessive way with your children is not honoring to God. I’m not recommending that you let your kids get away with murder, but I don’t believe they need to be murdered for making mistakes that they can ultimately learn from with the appropriate consequences and guidance.
No one is perfect and to be fair, our punishments should fit the crime. Showing your children that you can be fair when they anger you will show them that you are for them and not against them. In return, you might find that they become more open and honest with you.
4. Refusing to discipline out of pride
Today it is almost treated like a badge of honor to brag about how much you discipline your child(ren) and the parents bragging usually aren’t the ones taking calm measures. In social media, there’s a newfound love for broadcasting how good you gather your child together after they disobey you, to show off your “stellar” parenting skills and maybe even shame them into good behavior. I’m not sure how successful a parent would be on either front when recording and posting this for the world to see, but the Bible warns us that pride goes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). Before making decisions based on what you think everyone would applaud, take a step back and remember that God is the only one you should be seeking approval from.
5. Disciplining without holding a grudge
Sometimes our kids can be downright mean and hurt us to the core… so much so, that we want them to really feel the weight of what they’ve done to us. We don’t want to be quick to forgive because we’re not ready to forgive, and we also don’t want them to feel as though they’re getting off easy.
You want them to feel badly about what they’ve done until you are ready to move on, but God never does this to us. It is unfair and sinful to do this to our children because God doesn’t do this to us. His grace is sufficient and when we repeatedly ask for His forgiveness it is quick and He extends it without grudges. He doesn’t loom judgement over our heads, attempt to manipulate us or make us feel guilty all over again.
Discipline is the proof of our love for our children, when done correctly and in a godly fashion. We are humans and are bound to make mistakes but we should always strive to be Christlike in our actions with our children.
I think it would be beneficial if we all take an introspective look at how we discipline our own kids (or even children under our care such as youth in our church), and ask ourselves if our methods and tactics honor God.
Would God be pleased with how we are handling the blessings that He has gifted us?
Meet Our Guest Blogger
Hi, my name is Terez Lobosky. I’m originally from The Bahamas, but I currently live abroad with my husband and daughter. I’m the only mom you’ll probably ever meet that doesn’t need daily doses of coffee to function.
A teacher by profession, I’m a lifelong learner who genuinely enjoys learning new things and acquiring information through research and experience. One of the only things I love more than learning is using what I’ve learned to help people.