Tips and Tricks in Adoption and Pediatrics

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Spiffy ID Bracelets



Via ParentHacks comes a great idea for custom ID bracelets your kids might actually wear! Many of the young children we work with have an underdeveloped sense of stranger danger, and tendency to wander further than they should. It's important to have a safe amount of information on them should they get separated from you. Your cell phone numbers would probably do the trick, and these can fit on a trendy custom silicone bracelet. Plus, you can all wear matching family bracelets if you'd like to emphasize the family unit aspect. You can order as few as five custom bands, but make sure to order extras.

For those who can't stand having things on their wrists (that would include me), I've also had families use Tyvek tags or luggage tags worked through shoelaces. If you've come up with anything useful, please post below ...

The Toilet Fairy

One tip for particularly resistant potty-goers involves taking yourself out of the loop:
  • Let your child discover a fish-bowl of stickers, or cheapie toys (cheap toy + quick wrapping job = major delight), along with a letter from the Toilet Fairy. The letter can convey unwavering confidence in their eventual success, and promise a reward from the bowl for each success. This lets you be the child's ally in the process rather than the person doling out the rewards.
For other excellent tips, see this post and comments that follow:

Binky-Weaning Your Persistent Pacifist

Tip from a family of ours for binky-weaning:

Have a Binky Tree ceremony, where all of the binkies are collected and hung from a small tree in the yard. In the morning the binkies are gone and a tricycle or other gift from the binky spirits is there.

Other folks have thrown a "Paci Party", with presents, guests, and a cermonious throwing away (or passing on to the new generation) of the pacifiers. It's nice to mark those coming of age ceremonies.

Or ... if you're more tough-love and less into faeries: take a scissor and snip into the nuk part. They're not as nice that way, and kids lose interest. If you have a particularly persistent child, this may not work, of course.

Tickets for TV Time

One nice way to limit TV time with some degree of child autonomy and delayed gratification. You can download stylish 30- and 60-minute denominations here.

Parent Hacks: Real-world parenting tips from real parents

Mel came up with a brilliant way to put her kids in charge of monitoring their own screen time:

I got tired of being the boss of when my kids (three and five) could watch videos and DVDs. I also wanted to help them learn to make choices about media consumption while they’re still young. So I decided to set up a ticket system.

Every Friday, they each get tickets (purple for one kid, green for the other) that can be redeemed for ½ hour of “TV” time. I keep them on the fridge, so the kids can access them easily. They rip one off when they would like to watch something and give it to me. I always say yes, unless there’s a reason that it absolutely can’t work (like we need to leave in 15 minutes, or someone absolutely needs to use the computer). I want to give them the experience of making their own choices and practising delayed gratification. Whatever tickets haven’t been used at the end of the week are deposited into a “book bank,” where they magically transform into $1 per ticket that can be spent on books, which we would have been spending anyway. (Goes a long way at our local thrift store!)

We started up this system about five months ago, and it has worked wonderfully in our house. I don’t get nagged about “TV,” they’ve learned to think through their choices, feel a sense of control and empowerment… and the joy of having their very own books. Everybody’s happy! 

Fun with Shopping Carts

Parent Hacks: Real-world parenting tips from real parents
Ed's novel grocery store entertainment hack: Do you go grocery shopping with your child? My son Joshua enjoyed going to the grocery store and seldom created an issue.Sitting in the cart in front of me was good for me, but it really obstructs the view for your child. Try turning the cart around and pushing it from the front. This places the child at the front like he’s driving. He can see everything and is seldom less than an arm's length away. Give him directions where to turn, and don’t forget to run into a stack of paper towels to two. Joshua especially liked it when I’d turn the cart sideways and drive him right up to the item I wanted. He was happy to help as all children are and quickly learned the difference between a can of corn and a can of green beans.