News: parent

10 Phrases to Help You Develop a Growth Mindset in Parenting

By Dallas Stevens

By 

One shift in thinking has drastically improved my parenting, and that is moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset about being a mom. This growth mindset says – you are always learning and it’s never too late to make a more positive choice. When you make a mistake it’s not an indication that you are doomed to be a failure; it’s an opportunity to grow.

The concept is easy enough to understand, but changing the thinking habits I had wasn’t as simple. One of the interesting things about growth mindset that Carol Dweck states in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, is that we can have a growth mindset about one area of life, but not another – that’s how I was about parenting. I had a growth mindset about things like creativity and academic learning. However, when it came to parenting, I expected myself to be a natural at being a mom.

I felt so awful about making mistakes in parenting. I’d feel so terribly guilty that I could barely make room for more positive, growth oriented thoughts. However, over time I discovered certain phrases that would quiet down the negative judgmental inner voice and allow me to learn instead of getting stuck in a place of depression and hopelessness. Here is a collection of 10 helpful tips about the growth mindset for parents.

If you’d like to be reminded regularly of ways to have a growth mindset, connect with your kids and communicate effectively, make sure you sign up here to get an invite to Bounceback Texts.

10 Phrases to Encourage a Growth Mindset in Parenting

  • Always learning – short and simple, you can think about this phrase to remind yourself that it’s healthy to be in the process of learning, you don’t have to know everything.
  • Connection, not perfection – this is my personal favorite growth mindset phrase for  remembering the priority in my relationships is connection, not getting every detail perfect. It is useful to think when I find myself getting stressed about a family event not going as planned, when I want to support a friend and don’t quite know the right words, or when I find myself waiting for just the right time to talk or play with my kids. Connection, not perfectionnudges me towards what matters most.
  • I’m in tune with my kids and I can make adjustments to our routines when needed. Have you ever felt like a failure when your perfectly worked out routine falls to pieces? It’s helpful to  remember that your job is actually paying attention to this and making a change.
  • This used to work for us (or I thought this would work for us) but I am empowered – I can make a change when things aren’t working. It can be hard to have a growth mindset when something you thought would be perfect for your family….isn’t. We put a lot of store in parenting choices like schooling, breastfeeding, foods we feed our kids, childcare, sleeping arrangements and so on. It’s not to say the way we handle these decision isn’t important, they are. However it is a mistake to believe there is one right way and if you find it everything will be great. Sometimes we have to make a change, and it can be humbling and scary, but holding on to patterns that don’t work for your family is no way to be a leader. Which leads us to another phrase that helps you have a growth mindset about parenting…
  • It takes strength and wisdom to recognize you need to change course, and then take action to make that change. 
  • I made a mistake and I am a big enough person to learn from it and move forward instead of clinging to something that isn’t working. Sometimes it stings to admit we were wrong, but compounding a mistake by clinging to something that isn’t working for you isn’t the answer. Learning from it and moving on is freeing.
  • It’s never too late to make a more positive choice. Sometimes I’ve been caught up thinking that everything is a mess – why bother? This phrase reminds me that making a more positive choice is always an option.
  • I can change directions. I can start over from now. Some days we need a do-over. Permission granted. You can start over from now.
  • I am a work in progress and this is part of that progress. It’s great to have a vision of where you want to be, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that the process of learning and growing has great value. You are someone valuable right now.
  • I always have potential for growth. Yes you do – you are not too old, too broken, too dumb. You have potential for growth. It’s helpful for me to remember I am not stuck being one particular way; through effort and time I can change if I wish.
  • What have I learned from this? Reflecting on what you’ve learned, even from the most uncomfortable situations, helps you grow.
  • Mistakes mean I’m learning. I always loved the song my Dad would sing to me when I was a kid that had a chorus that said, “Oops, you made a mistake, and you’re beautiful to me.

What phrase do you like to say to yourself to help you remember that you don’t have to be perfect?

Read more


15 Creative Nursery Themes That Will Surround Your Baby With Dreams and Adventure

By Dallas Stevens

 

Expecting a baby comes with a lot of necessary forward-planning to make sure that you and your home are ready for the little one's arrival. While some of the planning is more on the logistical and practical side, it's also a chance to design and plan your baby's nursery. Creating a space where your baby feels warm, loved, and nurtured and which encourages their imagination as they grow is something that all parents strive for. If you're not sure where to start or just want some inspiration for your new baby's new space, check out some of these 15 creative and unique baby nursery themes ideas.

Read more


12 Uses For Coconut Oil on Your Child (and One For Nursing Moms)

By Dallas Stevens

Read more


11 Expert-Recommended Autism Apps for Kids

By Gen Cohen

These 11 apps for kids with autism are designed to support emotional and social needs.

By Melissa Willets via parenting.com

Using apps for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be useful for learning and social development, according to Dena Aucoin, M.Ed., the Assistant Academic Chair in the Educational Studies program at Kaplan University.

"[They allow] for learning to take place in many environments, which helps aid in generalization of the attainment of skills," she told Parenting.com. "For example, if we are only teaching the skill of greeting others in the classroom, we may see less success when attempting to greet others at the grocery store."

More from Parenting: 11 Books for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

"[They] can be helpful to provide visual supports, to provide structure, a schedule, and language or pictures to facilitate communication," adds Patricia Aguayo, MD, MPH, Medical Director Autism Services, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Hospital for Special Care. She explains the most important thing to consider when choosing an app is what the specific needs of the child are and what your goal is for introducing it.

Aucoin adds, "Anyone can make an app so do a little research. What company is presenting this app? Are there supportive applications that go along with it? Is it credible? These considerations can help in making choices that fit the need."

Aguayo urges parents to use an app in collaboration with the school team.

"It is important that everyone involved in the child's life is consistent and use the same app or device," she says.

More from Parenting: Behavior Training Helps Families Cope with Autism More Than Education

She recommends two books to help parents narrow down their app options:

But here are 11 autism apps for kids that our experts recommend trying:

1. First-Then Visual Schedule

This app provides visual schedules to help with transitions and decrease anxiety. "First-then support can offer children of most intellectual and language abilities to understand what is expected of them, and what will come next, or what the reward will be," explains Aguayo.

Cost: $9.99, available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android.

2. iPrompts

"iPrompts is a highly recommended app for supporting organizational skills, setting expectations for performance, and setting up subtle supports and reminders," says Aguayo. Users can create and modify visual schedules, as well as use a countdown timer with picture supports to indicate how much longer a task or activity will last.

Cost: $49.99, available for iPhone and iPad.

More from Parenting: Why Dental Care for Your Special Needs Child Is So Important

3. Autism Track

This app is brought to you by the creators of iPrompts and is designed for parents of children with ASD to help them track data. "This customizable data tracking tool allows parents to easily track behaviors, interventions and symptoms in one place," says Aguayo. "Behaviors and symptoms can be rated, as well as particular medications and their doses, diet changes and therapies. Parents can also review trends in their child's data and share these data with school and medical providers to inform treatment planning. This app is especially helpful for children with challenging behaviors, psychiatric conditions or both."

Cost: Free to $9.99, depending on the version, available for iPhone and iPad.

4. Learn with Rufus

"This app uses a child-friendly character to teach emotion words, facial expressions associated with emotions, and to identify emotions in others," Aguayo says, and it may also help with the development of language, communication, and social skills.

Cost: $4.99, available for iPhone, iPad and Android.

5. E-Mintza

This customizable, bilingual app is designed for augmentative communication using a family's own pictures. Aguayo says it's free, but time-consuming to set up and customize.

Cost: Free, available for Android.

More from Parenting: Mom Recycles Military Uniforms into Weighted Vests for Kids with Autism

6. Stories2Learn

"S2L offers parents and educators the ability to create personalized stories using photos, text, and audio messages," explains Aucoin. "These stories can be used to promote an individual's literacy, leisure, as well as social skills." The app supports reciprocal play, non-verbal communication, playground and school rules, turn taking, and more.

Cost: $13.99, available for iPhone and iPad.

7. Model Me Going Places 2

"[This] is a great visual teaching tool for helping your child learn to navigate challenging locations in the community. Each location contains a photo slideshow of children modeling appropriate behavior," says Aucoin. Locations include the hairdresser, mall, doctor's office, grocery store, restaurant and playground.

Cost: Free, available for iPhone and iPad.

More from Parenting: How to Make Flying with a Child with Autism Easier

8. The Social Express

This online interactive program addresses core deficit areas standing in the way of school, social, and life success for kids with social learning challenges. It uses "highly interactive and visual presentation" and animations to encourage children to practice social skills in an interactive way. According to Aucoin, this app "employs rich graphics and audio and offers a high degree of quality in every aspect of the app."

Cost: Free for version II, monthly and annual rates available for iPad.

9. Cognoa

Dr. Clara Lajonchere, former VP of clinical programs at Autism Speaks, helped to develop the Cognoa evaluation tool, which not only identifies autism in kids, but also tracks a child's behavior and milestones for doctors and teachers. "Features include expert-recommended activities, which can help autistic children who have issues with fine motor and sensory, socialization, tantrums and more," she says.

Cost: Free, available for Android and Apple products and online.

10. Pictello

Pictello is a simple way to create visual stories and talking books, explains Aucoin. "Each page in a Pictello Story can contain a picture, a short video, up to 10 lines of text, and a recorded sound or text-to-speech using natural sounding voices." The app can be used to teach social skills or to help kids remember events, and supports non-verbal children in communication with others. Better yet, stories can be shared with other Pictello users and even non-users.

Cost: $18.99, available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

More from Parenting: New Autism Research: Social Struggles & Increase in Diagnoses Explained

11. Dreampad

This unique app uses a pillow with embedded transducers that play relaxing music through vibration to induce relaxation and sleep. A study on kids with autism conducted by Dr. Sarah Schoen of the SPD Foundation concluded all 15 participants showed improvements in sleep initiation, duration of sleep, reduction in night waking, and improved daytime behavior.

Cost: the pillow is $169, and the accompanying app is free; available for Android and Apple devices.

Check out Assistive Ware and I Get It apps for more apps that support autistic children. Parents should also note that while not specifically created for kids with ASD, developers, such as Toca Boca, Oceanhouse Media, Duck Duck Moose and Spinlight Studios are consistently developing apps being used in treatment settings.

But Aguayo wants to caution parents: "It is also important to keep in mind that, just as with typically developing children, electronics can become an obsession, and their use for breaks, reinforcers, and during free time should be monitored and limited. Apps, even those that can help children with ASD, should never replace real-world interactions and interventions that help to develop social and communication skills in natural settings."

Read more


15 Kids' Halloween Costumes That Are Tutu Fabulous

By Gen Cohen

Read more


Toddler Lunch Ideas

By Gen Cohen

We have new healthy lunch ideas for toddlers like delicious sandwiches, wraps and mini-pizzas.

By Jennifer Saltiel, Stephanie Eckelkamp and Kelly Ladd Sanchez
parenting.com
Honey, Almond Butter & Banana
Spread 2 slices of whole-wheat bread with almond butter or peanut butter. Top 1 bread slice with a drizzle of honey (for kids 1 and up) and a layer of banana slices. Cover with the other slice, butter side down.
Pear & Avocado
Mash 1/2 ripe avocado in a bowl. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the avocado evenly on 2 slices of sourdough bread. Add a layer of thinly sliced Bosc or Asian pear to 1 bread slice. Cover with the other slice and press gently to adhere. Swap in pomegranate seeds for the pear, if you like.
Apple, Cheddar & Peanut Butter
Split a focaccia square in half crosswise. Spread the cut side of 1 half with peanut butter. Top with a layer of cheddar-cheese slices and then a layer of thin apple slices. Cover with the other half, cut side down and press gently.
Strawberry & Goat Cheese
Split an English muffin and lightly toast the halves. Spread each half with softened goat cheese or plain whipped cream cheese. Top with a thin layer of strawberry jam, followed by a layer of thin strawberry slices. Place the top half of the muffin over the bottom half, and press gently.
Slice It Right
If it seems like that sandwich you packed in the morning makes a soggy return uneaten in the afternoon, swap in Pepperidge Farm Goldfish—shaped bread. It'll remind him of a familiar snack and get him to eat up. $3 to $4; grocery stores.  Try our Healthy Lunch Maker Tool for more more kid-friendly ideas.
Leave a Message
Whoever said you can't package hugs and kisses? Surprise your little scholar by tucking a love note into her lunch box so she knows you're thinking about her even though you're far away. And you'll know that every day at 12:30 p.m., she's reading your note and thinking of you, too!
Cut It Out
Turn the ordinary lunch-box staple into a menagerie of animals with these sandwich cutters. Check out Munchkin's elephant cutter, above ($3; Walmart stores).

Turkey Pinwheels 
Serves 1
Spread dollop of store-bought hummus on whole-wheat tortilla, then layer a slice of turkey and some spinach leaves. Roll up and cut.

Serve with:
Cheese cubes
Fruit salad

Pack it up: Svenja Lunch Box, $34, beatrixny.com; Small Round Containers, $16 for two, kidskonserve.com; Light My Fire Spork Little, $7 for three, amazon.com; Teacher's Pet Picnic Pouch, $7, oonae.com; White Traveler water bottle, $25, mysigg.com

 

Egg Salad Sandwich
Serves 1 to 2
Mix two crushed hard-boiled eggs, ½ tsp mustard, 1 tsp mayo (or plain yogurt) and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on whole-wheat or multigrain bread.

Serve with:
Oranges
Pretzel sticks

Pack it up: Maxi Storage Box in Blue, $36, mysigg.com; Sigg Cuddle Monsters water bottle, $20, mysigg.com; Light My Fire Spork Little, $7 for three, amazon.com; Jam Session Picnic Pouch, $7, oonae.com; Snack Disk, $6, oxo.com; large and small bowl set, $10, oxo.com

Vegetable Pasta
Serves 4
Mix 6 oz cooked tricolor rotini pasta, ½ Tbsp melted butter, ½ cup cooked peas, 2/3 cup quartered cherry tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with:
Carrots
Applesauce

Pack it up: Frog Zoo Lunchies, $13, skiphop.com; Large Round Containers, $19 for two, and thermos, $21, kidskonserve.com; Love, Not Waste hand Towel, $7, peopletowels.com; Beverage Bottle With Solid Cap, Spring Green 9 oz, $13, lifefactory.com; Light My Fire Spork little, $7 for three, amazon.com

 

Pita-Butter and Jelly
If your child's main food staple is PB&J, but peanut butter is a no-no at her school, here's a peanut-free option. Substitute butter or cream cheese in for peanut butter and spread on whole-wheat pita bread. Top with jelly, or if she loves apple pie, try cinnamony apple butter.

Serve with:
Hard-boiled egg (If you child hates the yolk, serve two servings of egg whites instead.)
Squeezable yogurt tube
Sliced grapes & sliced grape tomatoes

 

I Heart Turkey
A plain ol' turkey sandwich gets a little love with this Thanksgiving-inspired, heart-shaped version. (Kid not a heart-lover? Stars or dinosaur shapes work, too.) Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce on two pieces of whole wheat bread. Layer two slices of roasted turkey breast and sliced cheese. Use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwich into the shape of a heart.

Serve with:
Baby carrots with ranch dressing dip
Squeezable applesauce tube

 

Build-Your-Own Sandwich
Let your little chef test his culinary skills by packing the ingredients to a sandwich á la Lunchables. Assembling his own meal right at the lunch table may inspire him to eat it as well. Slice lunch meat and cheese into small squares. Serve with whole-grain crackers and individual packets of mayonnaise or mustard.

Serve with:
Pear or apple slices (squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them to prevent browning)
Store-bought cinnamon pita chips

 

Mini Pizzas
This kid-favorite gets a healthy makeover to fuel your child's busy body all day long. Make these the night before to save time in the morning. Top English muffin halves with jarred marinara sauce (if your child won't object, add chopped steamed broccoli or spinach to the sauce.) Sprinkle pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool, then wrap up.

Serve with:
One half cup of blueberries
Individual chocolate pudding

 

Brunch for Lunch
Who says French toast and eggs are just for breakfast? This traditional morning meal makes a power-packed lunch. Feel free to make these the night before. French toast cinnamon sticks: Add pureed squash or sweet potatoes to egg-milk batter for an extra boost of beta-carotene. Cook French toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Let cool and slice into sticks for an easy-to-eat fork-free option.

Serve with:
Hard-boiled egg (If you child hates the yolk, serve two servings of egg whites instead.)
1/2-cup fruit salad

 

Go Fish!
An under-the-sea adventure right in your child's very own lunchbox: Tuna fish sandwich shaped like a fish. Cut a corner off of the bread and reverse it, placing the point at the middle of the cut line. Use a round slice of baby carrot for the eye.)

Serve with:
Baby carrots (Write "Fish Food" on the plastic bag)
Blue-raspberry "water"—an individual Jell-O container
Mini goldfish-shaped cheese crackers

 

Fruit Roll-Up

While your child would no doubt enjoy diving into a meal of sticky sweet fruit leather, this guilt-free version offers nutrients and energy to keep her going for the second half of the school day.

Spread blueberry or strawberry-flavored cream cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla wrap. Top with fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries and roll tortilla.

Serve with:
Small container of hummus
Celery sticks and sliced cucumbers for dipping
A real fruit roll-up for dessert

 

Kid-friendly Chicken Salad
Sliced grapes and cubed apples add sweetness to plain old chicken salad. If your child eats nuts, add crushed cashews for extra crunch. Serve in a small container with whole wheat crackers or flatbreads.

Serve with:
String cheese
Cook-free S'Mores: Spread Marshmallow Fluff on one graham cracker square, nutella on the other and press together and enjoy!

 

Rainbow Wheel
A colorful, super-healthy lunch choice. Spread white bean dip on a whole-wheat or spinach tortilla wrap. Layer with lettuce, sliced tomato, cheese, thinly sliced cucumber (or pickle if your child is a fan), avocado and other favorite vegetables. Roll up the tortilla. Then slice into 4 1-inch cross-sections to make the wheels.

Serve with:
Banana
Chocolate milk

 

Cube Food
Kids love finger foods—why not serve up a whole meal of uniform, easy-to-eat cubes? Serve with a toothpick if your little one doesn't want to use his hands.

Cubed rotisserie chicken
Cubed cheddar cheese
Cubed sweet potato (microwave the whole potato for 8 minutes, let cool, then cut.)

Serve with:
Cubed cantaloupe
Cubed brownie bites

 

Ham and veggie pinwheels
Pinwheels aren't just cute toys. Try these tasty sandwich alternatives.

 

Don't forget the snacks!
It's always a good idea to toss some after-school snacks in their lunchbox, too. Stock your pantry with these delicious and nutritious munchies, sure to keep them happy until dinner.

Brain Snacks for Kids
These yummy, healthy treats make great back-to-school snacks

7 No-Mess Snacks
These neat eats are yummy, healthy and easy to clean up

7 Delish Snack Mixes
Salty pretzels, cheesy crackers, protein-packed nuts, sweet raisins and more—all mixed up for some yummy snack packs

6 Naturally Sweet Treats
Your kids will love these dessert-like snacks—just don't tell them how healthy they are!

7 Snacks that Teach
Kids can learn about numbers, letters, colors and even bugs with these yummy treats

8 Fruity Snacks Kids Love
They see: cookies, gummies and chips. Yum! You see: fiber, vitamins and calcium. Score!

7 Healthy Kid-Friendly Dips
Kids will have fun getting their fruits and veggies with these yummy sauces and spreads

7 Snacks That Won't Spoil Dinner 
Stave off "when's dinner?!" whining with these nutritious treats

 

Read more


The Way 1 Dad Calms Down His Baby With Special Needs Is Beyond Sweet

By Gen Cohen

Before baby Gideon was diagnosed with peroxisomal biogenesis disorder at 7 months old, the Jolicoeur family was stumped when it came to calming down their baby when he was crying . . . until they discovered the magic of raspberries.

In a video recorded by Gideon's mom and posted to Facebook, we see the tiny baby uncontrollably crying until his dad swoops in and saves the day with a raspberry or two. Judging by the relaxed look on the infant's face, it definitely appears to be working.

Peroxisomal biogenesis disorder, a medical condition that affects human cells, often leaves children blind and can lead to loss of hearing as well, so it's no surprise that little Gideon took a shining to some skin-to-skin action. Talk about cuteness overload.

Read more


7 Mind-Blowing Ikea Pantry Hacks

By Gen Cohen

Herb Containers

There's nothing better than using fresh herbs in your meals . . . except maybe having them so close at hand! Whip up this colorful herb container garden using an Ikea Socker plant stand and pots. Keep it in your pantry or on your kitchen counter, and fill it with all of your favorite herbs.

Read more

Recent Articles

Categories