Friday, December 2, 2016

Later in life pregnancies

I am happy being the mother of one. My husband and I are satisfied with our family size and neither of us is pining for another baby. Don't get me wrong - I do sometimes wonder what life would be like with a second child (and it usually scares me a bit). Also - at least in my mind - I think of myself as too old to have another baby.

There has been a lot of research around high risk pregnancies, so it was surprising to see this small but interesting study done on the positive effects of having children later in life. I've seen research before about the benefits of having children earlier in life, and all those benefits were gains for the children. But this study focused entirely on what the mother gains from a later-in-life pregnancy: Potentially longer lifespan and higher cognitive functions in old age.

Although those benefits are not going to be the deciding factor in anyone's decision to have another baby, for pregnancy-minded women who are past their mid-30s, it might give them some comfort. At the end of the day, deciding to have a baby and when in your life you want to have children is a personal choice.

At what age do you think you are too old to have a baby? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Using your true inside voice

My son is a talker. But, as we all know, there is a time to talk and a time for quiet. My husband and I are trying to teach him ways to identify when he should be quiet. One of those ways is by telling him that the conversation he is currently having is one that should only take place in his head.

Don't get me wrong: I enjoy hearing the things that my son has to say most of the time, but sometimes his thoughts are not meant for others to hear.

All of that got me thinking about the constant running conversation I have in my head and why I need it. Then, I stumbled across this article discussing the different forms of inner dialogue we keep with ourselves.

The article reminded me that it is normal to hear my son talk to himself when he is playing, because he is working through his plans, and that it is fine for him to talk to himself in high-stress situations, the way that many adults do. But, it is those instances where he is just talking to get attention at school and at home that I need to help redirect him.

Do you feel that your child talks too much? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Routines are for more than just bedtimes

The bedtime routine is a battleground. There is the reluctance to get it started, the whining during each step and a six-year-old's attempted negotiations that have to get shut down. After years of this, we are getting somewhat closer to the stage of acceptance and I know that one day, I can send him off to do his nightly routine and he will do it without question and I may cry a little on that night. (Happy tears.)

But, it occurs to me that there are a lot of routines in our household. There is, for example, the morning routine, which is met with the same reluctance as the bedtime routine but somehow goes smoother even with the factor of tiredness thrown into the equation. There is also the family dinner routine, and the safety activities upon getting in the car routine.

And all these routines - even the micro routines - offer the repetition that is needed to provide my son with a sense of security and provide him with the knowledge of what is expected of him.

Hopefully, all of the routines add up. A small study has shown that routines in childhood may add up to increased time management skills and ability to focus in adulthood.

That may or may not be true. What I do know is that daily routines - and the battles I sometimes have to wage to get through them - are paying off overall in terms of my son knowing what to do without my help.

What's the toughest routine for your children to follow? Share with me in the comments.

Friday, November 25, 2016

What do you have to lose?

I try very hard not to lose my temper with my son. I repeat phrases in my head like "he's only six" or "he's still learning" or "will he have a memory of this moment?" but sometimes it is inevitable. I yell; he cries; he loses things.

He is at that age where the loss of objects or fun activities works as a discipline tool. For example, he has lost his electronic devices privileges and is really bummed out by it. Discipline is a tricky thing, and what works for our family doesn't necessarily work for someone else.

What doesn't work for all families? Spanking. Research has shown that spanking is on the decline but there is still work to be done. There are lots of families out there who either don't know about the negative side effects or who believe that because they were spanked and turned out fine it is fine to continue that as a punishment. Spanking really only teaches children that hitting is OK when anger flares up. And that is the opposite of what we want them to learn.

So, we try other various modes of discipline and see what sticks. Taking away privileges is one, sending him to a boring spot in the house (for there is way too much fun to be had in his room) is another. It kind of depends on what the infraction was, but we learn as we go. And, hopefully, he learns too.

What discipline measure works well in your household? Tell me in the comments.