March 26, 2008

Got Kids? Don’t sweat it. Simplify Your Life.

Take my life, for example: I have a house full of kids, and yet I’ve found ways to streamline my life, to find peace and happiness among the chaos. How is this magic trick accomplished? Nothing magical, actually, but just little things that have simplified my life over the years.

The main magic trick, however: making my family my top priority, and choosing only a small number of priorities in my life. If you have too many things you want to do, or need to do, your life will become complicated. But if you choose just a few things that are important to you, you can eliminate the rest, and simplify your life greatly.

What follows is a list that might seem complicated to some — 25 items! Trust me, I could easily double this list, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Instead of trying to tackle everything on this list at once, choose a few things that appeal to you, and give them a try. Bookmark this page and come back to it from time to time to try out other ideas. Best yet, they might inspire new ideas of your own!

1. Self-sufficiency.

2. One calendar.

3. Toy bins.

Full story: 25 Ways to Simplify Your Life with Kids

March 14, 2008

Do You Always Have To Do What The Pediatrician Says?

In many ways, pediatricians do know more than parents. When your doctor says your newborn needs to ride in a rear-facing car seat, don’t argue. When he says your 2-month-old with a 105-degree fever needs to get to the doctor’s office — and fast — you’d better listen.

But there are far more areas that are gray and have no science, or not very good science, to back them up, says our panel of pediatric experts. They say that sometimes, this means your pediatrician is giving you his or her opinion, not medical fact.

Full story: When it’s OK to question your pediatrician’s advice

March 12, 2008

Is it a bad idea to praise your kids?

For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.

When parents praise their children’s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem. According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think it’s important to tell their kids that they’re smart. In and around the New York area, according to my own (admittedly nonscientific) poll, the number is more like 100 percent. Everyone does it, habitually. The constant praise is meant to be an angel on the shoulder, ensuring that children do not sell their talents short.

Full story: How Not to Talk to Your Kids

March 8, 2008

Keep Your Children Healthy – Ban The Bedroom TV

Here’s one simple way to keep your children healthy: Ban the bedroom TV.

By some estimates, half of American children have a television in their bedroom; one study of third graders put the number at 70 percent. And a growing body of research shows strong associations between TV in the bedroom and numerous health and educational problems.

Children with bedroom TVs score lower on school tests and are more likely to have sleep problems. Having a television in the bedroom is strongly associated with being overweight and a higher risk for smoking.

Full story: A One-Eyed Invader in the Bedroom

March 2, 2008

Be Thankful For Your Healthy Children: Tear-Jerker Alert

Oh What A Beautiful Baby!

Make sure you keep a box of tissues handy. Because I cried when I watched this.

I kept thinking, “Oh God, please let this be a happy ending…”.

Before you whine one more time about your kids not listening to you, watch this video.

And then share the link to this page with your friends.