Skip to content

Archive for September, 2010

Junk Food Etiquette

Monday, September 20th, 2010 by:

Is it just me, or does anyone get annoyed at the volume of junk food that is offered to their young children by other well-meaning adults?

I drop my kids off at a mom’s group play group and return to find out they’ve been packed full of cookies right before lunch. Preschool snacks? You guess it, more cookies. Even the doctor’s office isn’t safe. After a brief check-up, my three-year-old is immediately offered a lollipop.

If adults are considerate enough to ask if I want my child to be loaded with sugar, 90 percent of the time it’s in front of my child–making me the bad guy if I say no. “Can Bode have a freezie?” as they are mid-way through handing it to him.

Now we all know that children love sugar. And we all know that it’s empty calories and prevents them from filling up on healthy, nutritious foods. Shouldn’t there be some kind of junk-food etiquette when it comes to feeding junk to other people’s children?

Is it too much to ask for a private conversation that lets me say no without my toddler ever having to know that junk food was on the table?

Coping with back-to-school blues

Saturday, September 11th, 2010 by:

The first week of school is usually not too bad – kids are excited about school starting and parents are renewed and ready to make sure everything goes smoothly. We often impress ourselves with a great first week, congratulating ourselves on a job well done. But for most families, it’s during the second week that things start to deteriorate: the kids don’t want to wake up, they doddle, get distracted and fight.

Then, the evening homework battles begin and reality sets in – summer really is over. I call this delayed reaction the “fall crash” and it is when we most often see our children’s reactions to summer ending and a new school year beginning.

For some, this delayed reaction can come as late as October when the novelty of a new school year has worn off and reality finally sets in. Transitions are not easy for some of us and can be really tough for some kids. The good news is that most of us adjust well after a few weeks and we eventually get into the rhythm of our busy lives. Here are some ways to ease that transition.

1. Mark summer’s end with a celebration of some kind. Have a special dinner, a slide show of pictures from the summer. Share memories and stories to mark the end of summer and toast the new school year.

2. Label any feelings or behaviors for your children you think may be related to summer ending. Talk about how transitions can be hard and reassure kids that it’s normal to have mixed feelings like excitement and sadness.

3. Don’t cheerlead: fight the urge to talk kids out of sad feelings. Let them express how they feel by listening and empathizing, there will be time for encouragement later in the conversation.

4. Expect a delayed reaction for some later in the month and help everyone understand what may be happening.

5. Be aware of your own feelings of sadness or stress as summer ends. Even if you are looking forward to the kids getting back to school, transitions can be hard on us too.

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