Tag Archives: parenting

What Freakonomics author Steven Levitt thinks is important for parents to do

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I read with great interest an interview of Steven Levitt by Christopher Kompanek published in the Financial Times. I have loved each edition in the Freakonomics franchise not necessarily because I agree with all the conclusions, but because it’s a great way to be reminded to think differently, to tackle an issue from an unexpected angle, to question assumptions and commonly held beliefs…

His views on parenting in particular caught my attention. His belief is that passion and curiosity are two most important qualities he hopes to instill in his own children, currently ages from 10 to 14. He is quoted to say:

“A lot of parents emphasize achievement, but I think that’s the wrong approach. Almost every kid knows how to read and do math, but when I look at my students, what separates the truly exceptional ones is a combination of creativity and excitement for life. Very early on I made my goal not to have my kids be really good readers or really good at math but instead to try to instill in them this idea of thinking and excitement of pursuing what they love.”

This closely aligns with my own perspective on what is important to get our kids to understand, now that there is more and more evidence that EQ is a stronger predictor of success than IQ.

Would love to get more perspectives on this, and other things you consider as the most important things to teach our children.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, CEO cofounder myBestHelper, raising three kids that we hope will be at least passionate and curious

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Do You Have a Picky Eater in the House? Read On!

 

Getting to yum by Karen LeBillon

image from gettingtoyum.com

  • Do you have a five or six-year-old who refuses to eat certain foods?
  • Is the dinner table becoming a battle of wills instead of a family gathering?
  • Is the worry about your picky eater causing stress for your family?

No worries – now there is help!

Karen LeBillon is the author of award winning best seller “French Kids Eat Everything“. Her 2nd book “Getting to Yum: Curing and preventing picky eating”, endorsed by a Harvard Medical School pediatrician, helps with taste training for kids and is being adapted to the TV screen. A new TV series produced by LaDiDa Media aims to help you and the picky eater in your family.

Karen wants to meet your family, and share her simple steps for turning even the most picky eater, into a fan of healthy and diverse foods. If you live in the lower mainland of British Columbia and would like your family to be a part of this new TV series, read on:

  • Looking for families with one picky eater of around 6 years old, who are available to film in their home for one day on the weekend of June 7th and 8th, and for one day of the weekend of June 14th and 15th.
  • Hoping to film a follow up to check back with your family in July or August.
  • Send a little information about your family, plus a photo or two to the following address: gettingtoyum@ladidamedia.com. They are looking forward to helping you!

Otherwise – the book is now available in all major bookstores and features practical advice, an easy to follow approach and LOTS of recipes the whole family can enjoy. You can download here the FREE fruit and veggies poster to help teach kids about different foods. You can also print it in black and white and give it to your kids to color.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, Mom of three and CEO cofounder myBestHelper

 

The best Mother’s Day gift ever….

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I am a mom. Mother’s Day is coming up, but this is also Mental Health Week, so I am getting lots of media and social media info focused on that. It’s been interesting reading what is said on these topics seemingly on different tracks, yet linked in so many ways.

It got me thinking (yes, I know – dangerous!). Let’s consider for a moment something that the organisers of Mental Health Week say about mental health, but from the perspective of a busy mom:

“We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being.”

As a mom, I wonder… I am not alone when I describe parenting not as a state, but rather as constant change. Raising children, how can I achieve that sense of well-being when everything is so topsy-turvy unpredictable and rapidly changing? Every parent has experienced at least a few days of being overwhelmed, out of balance, anxious and stressed, and those who say otherwise are just not owning up to the truth.

It has always been tough being a parent, but the pressures now seem ever higher, as both expectations on what parents do and kids need to achieve keep rising. As well, with all the easily available information, there are no excuses such as “I didn’t know”.

The sense of well-being dies through a thousand paper cuts caused by thoughts and moments of avoidable imperfection.

So, the best Mother’s day gift ever for me would not be chocolate, flowers or presents.

What I really want is a helping hand when I am carrying groceries out of store with a toddler on my hip, someone to hold the door as I push a stroller into a building, a supportive smile when my angelic child decides to throw a huge temper tantrum in the candy isle.

What I really want is people being really ok with me being late a few minutes to a meeting as the morning to school routine had some snag that led to a domino chain of delays. What I really want is a hug at the time I least expect it, a note from friends who still care about me even if we have not met in ages, a simple text to say “You are doing great job. It can’t always be easy, but keep at it – you ROCK!”

I am lucky, because many of these things happen to me and I am surrounded by people who are generous and kind and helping. None of what I do would be possible without the moral and tangible support of a huge number of people who have my back. Thank you.

And so, for Mother’s Day – which happens to be during Mental Health Week – let’s give each other some love – and some leeway. Life is not perfect and that is awesome. And moms need to be reminded of that.

The best gift possible to any and all Mothers that you know would be to give them some love and kindness, give them support and encouragement, give them a break and a hand if you can. On Mothers’ Day and any day.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, mom and CEO, myBestHelper

Simple ways to teach kids about Earth Week

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It’s Earth Week and to get your kids to be more Earth-friendly, I think it really starts with us setting an example. The best statement I saw on what WE can individually do to help the world be a better place was from Wilcox as quoted in the National Geographic blog:

When you think about climate change, it’s hard to reduce our carbon footprint, because we have to go through a fundamental shift in our economies. With plastic, when you’re throwing a bottle cap on the ground, that should be an easy impact to get rid of.” 

Simple, yet so powerful! Here are 10 other simple ways we can teach our kids about this compiled by Cher from Eco-Bravo, as a guest post on a blog that I really like “The Right Balance” by Salma, a writer and a mom of two:

“Children are great imitators, so give something great to imitate” We can use these early years to reinforce good habits and create the “normals” of their lives. For my family, it’s “normal” to recycle, compost, walk in the forest, ride bikes, use natural cleaners, bring our own bags for groceries, use cloth napkins for mealtimes and reusable lunch and drink containers.

The absolute best and lifelong gift we can give our children is a connection to nature. If you want to raise kids who will turn into teens and adults who want to protect the earth, give them a love and understanding of nature, make it part of who they are.

Here are 10 ways you can begin earth-inspired norms in your own family:

1. Go for nature walks. Learn the names of trees, flowers, birds, bugs and teach your children to look, listen and touch.
2. Plant a garden. Kids love peas picking and carrots! Growing and eating food that your kids helped plant and pick will give them valuable knowledge and understanding of where food comes from.
3. Teach your children the names (and tastes) of all fruits and vegetables.
4. Eat whole foods that kids can recognize and bake/cook with your kids. This is essential to the deeper connection of how the earth feeds us.
5. Make yearly visits to a working farm, where kids can meet hens, goats and sheep and try to pick some eggs; and visit organic farms to pick berries in the summer.
6. Take nighttime walks or go camping (even in the backyard) and look at the stars.
7. Swim in lakes, not just pools :)
8. Attract birds to your yard with a bird feeder or a birdbath.9.
9. Teach your child to turn off lights when not in a room, turn off water while brushing teeth and put paper in the recycling or apple cores in the compost, instead of just using the garbage.
10. Play outside. Simply spend time outdoors: riding bikes, going to parks, having a picnic, going to the beach, kicking a ball.

See original article.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, Earth inhabitant, mom of three, CEO founder of myBestHelper

 

 

Date Night for parents… what’s that? {Giveaway}

Loved the blog post Kelly Krol, Raincity Mama did on the importance of dating as a parent! Like if you agree it is core to keeping love going well past wedding vows…

Raincity Parent

Every parent needs a Date Night once in awhile.

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Unless…you have no child care options available.

Five ways date nights may strengthen couples.

(1) A date night is an opportunity to communicate.
(2) Date nights are valuable for their novelty.
(3) Date nights may strengthen or rekindle that romantic spark that can be helpful in sustaining the fires of love over the long haul.
(4) Date nights may strengthen a couple’s sense of commitment to one another.
(5) Date nights are a way to relieve stress.

The American Red Cross did a poll in 2012 that found that 55% of parents surveyed decided to stay home in the past 24 months, because they couldn’t find a babysitter.

I am totally guilty of this!
20140420-223505.jpg If you are lacking in the child care department, you should check out myBestHelper.
What they do? They make it easy and fast for families to…

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What’s the problem with pink and princess? The marketing, not the moms.

I totally agree it’s not about pink or princesses… What do you think?

Alexandra T. Greenhill, CEO myBestHelper and mom of three girls

Dr. Rebecca Hains

This week, New York and Slate published pieces asking why so many moms have a problem with pink and with princesses.

“What’s the problem with pink, anyway?” griped Yael Kohen in New York. Then, building upon Kohen’s piece, Slate senior editor Allison Benedikt demanded: “What is it with you moms of girls? I have never met a single one of you who isn’t tortured about pink and princesses.” Her annoyance is palpable.

Both writers proceed to defend all things pink and princess. “We treat pink — and the girls who like it — with […] condescension,” Kohen states, while Benedikt adds, “Moms of daughters need to chill out.”

Oh… really? Let’s take a step back, please. I am the author of a forthcoming book called The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years, and Kohen and Benedikt’s arguments are wrong on several levels. By pontificating on the subject without actually talking to the moms they’re criticizing, they’ve missed the…

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A Letter from a Working Mother to a Stay-At-Home Mother, and vice versa by Dr. Carolyn Ee

Great motherhood quote by Elizabeth Stone
Note from Dr. Alex: The post below originally appeared on The Healthy Doctor blog Feb 8th, 2014. I really like it as it shows that there are various options that work better for various parents and we should not judge, just seek to understand. A survey I found very interesting showed that when given a choice, while 2/3 moms would prefer staying at home, a full 1/3 would actually prefer find a great child care solution and go work on whatever they are passionate about. And we need to remember all the parents for whom working is not a choice, but a necessity. In any case, being a parent is not easy, but the moments of pure joy make it all worthwhile. Read on…
Dear Stay-At-Home Mum

Some people have been questioning what you do at home all day. I know what you do. I know because I’m a mum and for a while I did it too.

I know you do unpaid work, often thankless work, which starts the moment you wake up, and doesn’t even end when you go to sleep. I know you work weekends and nights, with no discernible end to your day or working week. I know the rewards are joyous but few.

I know that you seldom have a hot cup of coffee or tea. I know that your attention is always divided, often diverted from a moment to moment basis, and you cannot ever count on completing a task in the one go. I know that you probably don’t get any down time when you’re on your own at home, unless you have a single child who still naps in the daytime.

I know the challenges you deal with daily, usually with no peer support or backup. The toddler tantrums, the toilet training accidents, the food battles, the food on the floor, the crayons on the wall, the sibling rivalry, the baby that never seems to stop crying. I know how the work seems incessant, like an endless cycle – you shop for food, prepare it, cook it, attempt to feed it to your children, clean it off the floor, wash the dishes, and repeat in three hours.

I know you fantasize about having an hour to yourself to eat your lunch in peace, or about having an afternoon nap. I know you sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it, and feel envious of your friends who are having coffee breaks at work. I know that sometimes when your partner gets home in the evening after his work is done, he wants to put his feet up exactly when you need a break the most, and this can bring you to tears.

I know that you are misunderstood by so many who do not appreciate the difficulties of caring for small children on your own, all day, and refer to you as joining the “latte set.” They imagine you spend your day sipping coffee while your children play quietly. I know you miss your financial independence. I know you feel amused and sometimes annoyed when others proclaim “TGIF!” because to you every day is the same – there is no Friday, no break from your job. I know that many people do not understand that you work – you simply work an unpaid job at home.

SAHM, I don’t know how you do it. I admire your infinite patience, your ability to face each day cheerfully and bring joy into your children’s lives even when they wear you down. I admire your dedication to being a constant presence in your children’s lives even if it isn’t always easy. I admire the way you work without expecting any reward – no promotions, no fame, no salary. I know you want your children to feel important and loved, and SAHM, you do this the best.

I just wanted you to know that I understand. We’re both mothers. And I know.

Love from the trenches

Working Mum


Dear Working Mum

I know you sometimes get judged by others for leaving your children in the care of others to work. Some people imply that you don’t love your children as much as us SAHMs do, and that it’s best for children to be at home with their mothers.

How can they say this about you? I know you love your children just as much as any other mother. I know that going back to work was no easy decision. You weighed up the pros and cons, long before you conceived a baby. It has always been one of the most important decisions of your life. You thought about this even while you were in high school and were choosing subjects for Grade 11.

I see you everywhere. You are the doctor I take my children to when they are sick. You’re my child’s allergist, the one who diagnosed her peanut allergy. You’re the physiotherapist who treated my husband’s back. You’re the accountant who does our tax returns. My son’s primary school teacher. The director of our childcare centre. My daughter’s gymnastics teacher. The real estate agent who sold our house. What sort of world would it be if you hadn’t been there for us? If you had succumbed to the pressures of those who insisted a mother’s place had to be in the home?

I know you weigh up every job to see if it will suit your family. I know you wake up an hour before everyone else does, just so you can get some exercise done or some quiet time. I know that you have attended meetings after being up all night with your toddler. I know that when you come home in the evening, your “second shift” begins. The nay-sayers don’t understand that you run a household AND hold a job. You come home, cook dinner, bath your children and read them stories. You tuck them in and kiss them goodnight. You pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, the laundry, the dishes, just like every other mother does.

I know that you often feel guilty about having any more time away from your children so you sacrifice your leisure time. I know you can’t bring yourself to take a “day off” for yourself when your children are at daycare. I know you accept that work is your “time off” for now. I know that when you are at work you don’t waste a single minute. I know you eat your lunch at your desk, you don’t go out for coffee, and you show complete dedication and concentration to your job. You chose to be there after all. You want to be there.

I know how discerning you are about who is looking after your children, and that many long daycare centres offer excellent care. I know you only leave your children in a place where you confident they are loved and well looked after. I know that you spend many days caring for your children at home when they are sick, and sacrifice your pay. I know that you secretly enjoy these days, and revel in being able to be with your children.

I know that sometimes you feel guilty about not being there all the time. But WM, I know this. You are setting a wonderful example to your children. You are showing them that a woman can have a career, contribute in some way outside the home, and still be a loving mother. You are showing your daughters that they can do anything they want to do in life. You are displaying strength, endurance, dedication, tenacity, and you do it with so much joy and love.

I just wanted you to know I understand. Because we’re both mothers.

Love from the trenches

Stay-At-Home Mum