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Archive for November, 2009

Is your kid an early riser?

Friday, November 27th, 2009 by:

Does your little one wake up before the crack of dawn? Peeling your eyes open and starting your day before your own body clock wants you to is no easy feat.

I am not a morning person. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get, waking up is a process. My five-year-old likes to wake me up every morning at 5:45 by diving on my head. “Good morning Mommy! Hi Mommy!!!!!!…” I can’t remember my own name in the morning let alone my parenting skills. This is when I have to fight my hardest to respond and not react. She needs that wake up greeting and she needs me to not be horrible.

My solution? She can quietly watch TV in the next room until she hears my alarm go off. I leave a little snack by the TV and a drink so I can get in those last few minutes of sleep before the busy day starts. This is a significant improvement. When she was very young, I had to wake up because she needed to be supervised and even though my husband and I would share mornings, this was a difficult thing for me.

Here are some survival tips for when you have an early riser:

Stay neutral: If you are going to end up getting up anyway, then do it in a pleasant, or at least neutral, way. Getting up and being miserable doesn’t fix anything and just makes your child feel bad.

Have morning snacks ready: Have some healthy, but quick and easy, snacks ready to stop their tummies from growling. They will play better and be more relaxed, perhaps giving you a few more precious moments with your pillow.

Say what you mean and mean what you say:
If your child is old enough to go back to her room and play, or to go back to sleep, and this is something you expect–then no matter what happens, you can’t break your rule and get up. If you do give in and get up, all they have learned is that they have to up the ante, reinforcing negative behavior by showing them you don’t mean what you say.

Take turns sharing the early morning duties.
This can at least give you some mornings to catch up on sleep. Even if you are a stay at home Mom, being home with your kids requires stamina and endurance and you need adequate rest for that. Just because your spouse goes off to the office for the day doesn’t mean you should always be the one skimping on sleep. A day at home with the kids often requires more energy than a day at the office.

Prepare a morning toy basket: Keep a basket of new toys, or old ones that your child hasn’t seen in a while, and only have them available in the morning. The novelty of these items might give you that extra few minutes of snooze time.

Remember this too shall pass: Having a child that rises very early in the morning is temporary. Your kids will get to a stage where they can wake up and entertain themselves.

Praise your kids: It is perfectly okay to let your children know that there are times when you have to care for yourself. Thank them for respecting you and letting you rest. It’s good for them and it’s good for you.

Jennifer Kolari is a child and parent therapist, and found of Connected Parenting. For more information you can contact jennifer at or visit

Baby Gender Predictor

Thursday, November 19th, 2009 by:

Is it possible to determine your baby’s gender before you conceive? says yes. In fact, they claim to give parents the opportunity to choose their baby’s gender with up to a 95% success rate. How is this possible?

Plan Baby bases its results on the biorhythm method, based on the fact that every human life is ruled by three different cycles: the physical cycle, the emotional cycle and the intellectual cycle. Theses cycles respectively last 23,28 and 33 days. All cycles are positive, negative or neutral and their “charge” alternates monthly.

These cycles are linked to hormones and the polarity cycle of the ovum membrane in women. “The ovum produces an alternating polarity as a result of the mother’s biological clock,” says Plan Baby founder Stephanie Lavaud. “This is nature’s way of varying gender.”

The X chromosome (which produces a girl) is attracted to a positive charge while the Y (which produces a boy) is attracted to a negative one. When the charge is neutral, both X or Y are equally attracted to the ovum.

“We all have about 80 days a year where we will likely conceive a girl and 80 where a boy is most probable,” says Stephanie. The rest of the days are 50/50. Learning your positive or negatively charged ovum days is the best way to choose your baby’s gender.

“I discovered the biorhythm method three years after the birth of my third son,” says Stephanie. But just having the test doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to bear the sex of your choice. The boy or girl days need to coincide with your fertile times in your cycle. “Once I had my chart done, I realized that out of 12 months I had nine where my biorhythms coincided with a boy and three neutral months,” says Stephanie. “Had I continued to try for a girl I could have ended up with a football team.”

Dealing with Public Temper Tantrums

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 by:

Ah, the public tantrum–don’t you love those? It can be mortifying when your little one throws herself on the floor screaming and you feel like the whole world is judging your parenting skills.

Some kids know they can use these public fits to get what they want, others are just tired or over stimulated and don’t know what else to do. Either way, it is so important to handle the situation properly, to ensure that the moment becomes a thing of the past–and to make sure that, in the future, your child will be able to regulate her behaviour when you go out.

The first thing we all need to remember is that talking through your teeth and “whisper screaming” (as one child I worked with called it), is not an effective way to handle a tantrum. While we may think that this tactic is less obvious to those around us, it usually has the exact opposite effect. The key is to forget about what others think and react in public the same way you would at home. Just say to yourself “Ok , here we go, everyone enjoy the show.” The child will learn there is not a difference between outside and inside the home. My recommendation in either setting is to be neutral–yelling never works. Stay calm as you try to respond to the behaviour.

Before you even get into a tantrum situation, frontload your child so they know what will happen if they behave a certain way, help them to make a good choice and above all follow through–don’t make threats that you will not follow through on.

For example, on your way to the mall, empathize with them and say, “You’re going to see all kinds of awesome toys and things you really want, but we are buying a present for your cousins, okay?” They will likely agree until you are in the store and they see something they want. This is where you will get that feeling in your stomach where you think “oh no, here we go, I really don’t want to deal with this.” Breathe through this feeling and ready yourself. Never fear the tantrum, it always makes things worse.

As things escalate, make a couple of mirroring statements: “that is such a cool toy; that’s the one you saw on TV; I get why you want it because it’s so cool.” In my book Connected Parenting, I describe how to mirror using the CALM technique. Essentially, mirroring is a therapist’s technique that helps create a safe place for the child, builds resilience and increases compliance. It is also an effective tool to help children organize and regulate their emotions.

If she still escalates, just tell her you have tried to understand, but that she cannot have the toy. Tell her to go ahead and have a fit and you will wait for her to finish. I love this technique because they will often not meltdown because you have paradoxically allowed it.

The final thing to try is what I call an intervention. Go to the mall or restaurant–not for a nice meal or to do some shopping–but for the sole purpose of leaving if they meltdown. Follow the steps above and then leave if you have to. You won’t be upset because you were prepared to leave anyway and they will learn that you mean business. You will definitely enjoy a peaceful outing next time.

Jennifer Kolari is a child and parent therapist, and found of Connected Parenting. For more information you can contact Jennifer at or visit

Maclaren Stroller Recall

Friday, November 13th, 2009 by:

Does your child have a Maclaren umbrella stroller?

If so, you should visit the Maclaren site to order a free hinge repair kit.

The company is doing a voluntary recall for over 1 million Maclaren umbrella strollers manufactured in China since 1999. Recently, there have been 12 finger amputations caused by young children getting their fingers caught in the stroller’s side hinges when it’s being opened or closed.

Just fill out the recall form at the Maclaren site and the company will ship you a hinge repair kit the following week. (If you are Canadian, leave the state blank and fill out the rest of the from.)

Moms Against Climate Change

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 by:

Are you worried about the kind of world your children will live in if nothing is done to prevent climate change?

Science clearly shows us the kind of the world our children will live in if we do nothing about climate change: melting polar ice caps, starving polar bears, drought, floods, unlivable climates in some parts of the world and even more extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Such changes in our climate mean more instability around the world as countries fight for dwindling natural resources, or as people are forced to leave their homes to seek refuge.

Moms Against Climate Change was formed when Environmental Defence and Forest Ethics, two of Canada’s leading environmental groups, came together to partner in a campaign to affect Canada’s role at the UN Climate Change Summit in December. The campaign asks parents to take a stance on climate change on behalf of their children who, too young to vote, will be most impacted by the effects of climate change.

A new Public Service Announcement for the campaign ( asks, “If our children knew the facts we do, they’d take action. Shouldn’t you?” The video is currently sparking lots of debate on YouTube and will be showing on TV stations across Canada. There is also a website for the campaign,, where parents can take action by uploading a photo of their child. A photo mosaic will be projected in a public space near Parliament Hill before the Summit.

To join the thousands of moms across Canada taking action to protect our children’s future, please watch the video and pass it on. And upload a photo of your child to remind Stephen Harper who he’s representing in Copenhagen.

Coping with the anxiety of being a mom

Monday, November 2nd, 2009 by:

This week it seems fitting to talk about anxiety. There’s a lot of talk these days about the H1N1 virus and all of the media coverage and discussion has led parents to a place of increased anxiety, even panic.

I am not going to talk about the virus or the vaccine–there’s enough of that in the newspapers and on TV, but I will talk about anxiety.

Anxiety is a part of being a parent and you need a certain amount to keep your children safe, but too much can have a negative impact on your parenting, your child and on you. I have had so many moms in the last few weeks tell me how anxious they are about this virus and how they feel more anxious in general as a result. Anxiety is an awful feeling and once it is turned on, it can be hard to turn off. It can also make us uncomfortable, irritable and unreasonable. So what can we do about it?

First of all, it is really important to have a sense of control over your anxiety because it can be such an uncomfortable and powerful emotion. When someone is anxious the pathways to logical thought are temporally severed and as soon as your body detects you are worried, it errs on the side of caution and puts you in fight or flight mode. This is great if you are a caveman or on the battlefield, not so great if you are a mom just trying to cope.

Here is what you can do. If you can control you breathing and your heart rate, you can control that fight or flight response. So when you hear a frightening newsflash about the swine flu, first break the connection by turning off the TV or asking your friend not to tell you anymore. Then, slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. When your breathing slows down, your heart will calm down too and your brain will register that and say “OK, this is not life threatening.”

Think of a scale from one to 10. One is when you are the most relaxed and calm, 10 is when you feel a sense of panic. Learn to rate your anxiety and monitor yourself throughout the day. If you feel higher than a five, you need to get that number lower by breathing or by thinking of happy or funny things. Try not to talk too much about the things that are making you anxious–this fuels anxiety and can put you right back in fight or flight mode. If you find yourself having real difficulty with sleeping or panic attacks, call your doctor or a therapist trained in helping people with anxiety–getting help to manage your anxiety can really help.

Feeling that you control your anxiety, instead of your anxiety controlling you, is the best way to find balance and peace of mind.

Jennifer Kolari is a child and parent therapist, and found of Connected Parenting. For more information you can contact jennifer at or visit

19 Pound Baby

Monday, November 2nd, 2009 by:

And you thought your delivery was intense. An Indonesian woman gave birth to a 19 pound baby boy (19.2 pounds to be exact). The baby was 62 centimetres long. (As a comparison my one-year-old, who is not small, is 75 centimeters.)

The good news is the baby was delivered via C-section.

The birth is the heaviest newborn on record in Indonesia but the heaviest in history was actually recorded in Canada. The heaviest baby ever born was in 1879 to Anna Bates. The baby weighed 23.12 pounds.

Click here for a look at the giant baby.