Tag: single parents

The Amazing Rock ‘n Play*

Get Better Sleep with a New Infant
Find the Rock n’ Play on Amazon.com

 

Acid Reflux Reducer

Dealing with a baby that suffers from serious acid reflux, I found I couldn’t just lay her on her back or I would be faced with a giant projectile spit-up. Yet the bed with a pillow, or Boppy-propping alternatives, all had their own downfalls as well.

I found when I propped up my baby girl on a pillow on the bed she would sometimes “roll down” the pillow – leaving her face down or in an awkward position – thus risking her safety or waking her up. No good either way. The Boppy worked great – for short periods – and is not actually recommended for sleeping at all.

Per the Fisher Price website, the Rock ‘n Play is great for babies to snooze in. Mesh sides and a belt keep the baby from falling out. Finally, it has the gentle incline from toe to head, resulting in significantly less spit-up.

A Great Alternative to Co-Sleeping

Let me preface by saying I really loved the idea of having my little nugget cozied up next to me in bed – content to sleep with mom. However, I found co-sleeping to be a bit of a nightmare. Yes, for naps and short periods, I still love it. But for those long stretches at night where I am hoping for 4-5 hours of solid, heavy sleep? Not so great. The reason being, I was always so worried about smothering my baby, or her rolling onto her face and smothering herself, that I found I didn’t sleep well at all. I woke up every 20 minutes to check her breathing situation. It wasn’t until I found her swaddled, face down in a pillow that I sadly decided co-sleeping with my newborn wasn’t going to work for me.

The Rock ‘n Play offers a close-to-the-bed, rock-able, lightweight alternative to co-sleeping. Baby is right there, can see your face AND can be gently swayed to sleep. Perfect!

Helps Parents Get More Sleep Too

After nighttime feeding and diaper change, parents are already half awake. Add in having to rock or soothe a baby back to sleep and you could be wide-eyed for the next 30 minutes. The Rock ‘n Play is great in that regard. After feeding, diapering re-swaddling, simply lay the baby back in the Rock ‘n Play right next to your bed. Then lie down next to him, with your head on the bed right in line with his. Use your arm to gently rock the baby to sleep. You’ll find it’s so soothing that you’re falling asleep, right in your bed, along with him. Funny sidenote: I’ve fallen asleep BEFORE my baby doing this. Then I wake up to find her staring at me with wide eyes as if to say “Where did you go? I’m still awake here….”

Buy the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play on Amazon

I will tell you that my baby did not love her Rock ‘n Play at first. It took a few times to get her settled and into a rhythm with it. If you’re willing to try something new, give it a few nights for your baby to get used to it.

Good Luck!

Roxann Blue
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Roxann is a new mom, graphic designer, and contributing author for Head & Heart Parents. In her spare time she likes to sleep. You can learn more about her at www.roxannblue.com

+++++
*DISCLAIMER* This is not an Advertisement, but an enthusiastic mom whose life got so much better when she started using the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play.

“I Overreacted and Gave My Child Too Harsh a Consequence…. Now What..?”

Dad: Kerry, I’m a single dad and wondering how I can gracefully back out from having overreacted and given my son a harsher consequence than I should have?

Clever kidHe’s 4 and was throwing water out of the bathtub. I got mad and told him he had to go straight to bed with no stories. I cooled down a few minutes later and realized I had overreacted. I told him I was sorry that I’d gotten so irritated and I had reconsidered and that he didn’t have to go to bed yet. But now I’m worried that I’ve lost credibility with him. Was there a better way to handle that?

Kerry: Chris, I think the way you handled it was completely appropriate. It’s ok to teach your kids that sometimes we adults re-think things and change our minds. It’s also ok to model that a normal part of being a grown-up is making mistakes and then fixing them.

If you want to bring a little more playfulness into your parenting, you can try a “re-do.” That’s where you tell your son that you didn’t like the way you handled the bathtub scene and that you would like to re-do it. You playfully back out of the bathroom and pretend you are talking backwards. Then you stick your head back in and ask if he’s ready for you to do that scene over. You can say, “Bathtub Scene, Take Two.” You might even ask him to splash the water again! (That’s optional.) Then you go in and handle the situation the way you wished you had done it in the first place.
Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and
Family Therapist
and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps
parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

+++++

One, Two, Boom! Connecting with Your Shared-Custody Child

Do you share custody of your children with their other parent and feel excluded from the other half of their lives?

OneTwoBoomA single dad told me how he didn’t like that he doesn’t know about a full half of his kids’ lives because they are at their mom’s house 50% of the time.  This innovative dad came up with a game to encourage more sharing.  He plays “rock, paper, scissors,” (renamed “one, two, boom” by him) and whoever loses tells the other something that he doesn’t know about the other.  Dad enjoys learning more about his son’s world and the son loves to hear his dad tell stories about himself as a boy or things that happened during his day.  The seven-year old boy now asks to play the game every time he gets in the car with his dad.

 
Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and
Family Therapist
and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps
parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

+++++

Close the Refrigerator Door!

Getting Your Child to Remember the Little Things

After tucking in his three young boys, a single dad walked into the kitchen to find the fridge and freezer doors both wide open with a chair in front of the shelves.

It had been his 3 year old in search of an apple an hour earlier. In our parent coaching session the next day, the dad asked me whether or not it was too late to address the issue a day later. I said that kids can remember consequences for about as long as they can remember a promise.

The dad went home and politely explained to his son the importance of closing the refrigerator door. To make sure the lesson stuck, he had his son “practice” closing the refrigerator door. To keep it fun, the 3 year old had to do it differently each time, so he did it backwards and on his tippy toes and like a ballerina and like a bulldozer. He did it with his eyes closed and he did after spinning in circles.

Think about what this dad did… the next time that boy opens the fridge door, he’ll remember to close it AND he’ll remember the fun and playfulness he had with his dad. That refrigerator will probably be closed with love and happiness for the rest of this boy’s life.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

+++++

How Many Ways I Can Be Naughty at Bedtime?

Putting Toddler to Bed

Three year old Wes used to play his favorite game at bedtime. It was called, “See how many ways I can be naughty.”

He was the only one enjoying the game. His single, working dad certainly did not. Wes was very creative in how he played the game: he ran away when it was time to put on his pj’s. He clenched his jaw when it was time to brush his teeth. He screamed and threatened to wake up his baby brother. He jumped on the bed when it was time for tuck in. Sound familiar? It’s a very popular game amongst the little people. It’s a game though, that doesn’t usually end well for either the child or the parent.

Wes’s game ruled until Daddy came up with a better game called “Earn a Minute.” This game starts at the beginning of bedtime when Daddy whispers to Wes, “For every step of bedtime that you do cooperatively, you earn a minute of You-n-Me time. If you get enough, we might be able to read a whole extra book!” “Game on” for little Wes. He might as well wear a sign that says, “Will Cooperate For You-N-Me Time.”

Here’s how the scoring works
Brush teeth: earn a minute.
Go potty: earn a minute.
Wash hands: earn a minute.
Get undressed: earn a minute.
Get in the bath: earn a minute.
Cooperate with being washed: earn a minute.
Get out of the bath first time you’re told: earn a minute.
Hold still while being dried: earn a minute.
Put on PJs: earn a minute.
Climb into bed: earn a minute.

Wes has mastered this “game” and he savors his ten minutes of special Daddy-time before going to sleep. Dad is happy because the extra story time takes less time than all the hassling did, and father and son both get happy snuggle time instead of exasperation and negative attention.

Every now and then, Daddy mixes things up and says, “We’re not playing tonight, so you might as well be a rascal.” Well now, when Daddy invites Wes to misbehave, it’s not as much fun for Wes and the power struggle is over.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

+++++

Part One: Happy Family Evenings Start with a Check In

Parenting Tips to Build Happy FamiliesEvening family time can sound so lovely … family dinner, playtime, baths, stories and cuddles.

In many households, however, people don’t quite feel like they’re “livin’ the dream.” Quite the contrary, in fact.

Many couples I work with tend to “read” each other and make guesses about how their mate is feeling. Fact: they often guess wrong. They mistake stress for grumpiness and tiredness for rejection. I don’t care how long you’ve been with someone, it is still always your job to let your darling know how you’re feeling and what you need.

It might sound like this:

“I have nothing left to give after being with these little people all day. I’m not grumpy, I’m just empty. I need to just sit with your arm around me and have a grown up conversation. And I need you to ask me about my day.”

“My brain is full after an intense day at work, but once I slow down a little, I’d love to play with the kids and give you a break.”

“I’m kind of irked right now and need some alone time before I’m ready to be a good parent. How can we make that work so that it feels ok for you?”

Imagine if each evening before you and your loved one showed up at home with young kids needing care and attention, you had a quick phone call to share what kind of mood you’re each in. You wouldn’t have to bother with the frustration that comes with misreading each other’s cues. You might be better able to meet each other’s needs and enjoy each other and your kids.

Single parent? Same holds true, you just have to do it with yourself. Stop and ask yourself how you feel and what you need. If your kids are old enough, you can ask them how they’re feeling and what they need. Maybe every one needs down time. Or food right away. Or family snuggles. Then figure out how everyone can get their needs met at some point during the evening. Maybe dad needs down-time first and then he’ll be able to play some catch. Or maybe the preschooler needs cuddle time right away, but then agrees to play quietly for 20 minutes while mom sits and unwinds. It’s not always easy, but it is possible for everyone to get their needs met eventually; it just takes some strategizing.

Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

+++++
Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

+++++