A Mother's Intuition by The Down Syndrome Express

A mother’s intuition is pretty valuable. With my first four children, I learned more about listening to myself as I experienced all kinds of different situations with the kids. When my little guy was born, I had to learn anew the importance of listening to intuition, but this time, with the added complications that Down syndrome brought to the table.

When he was diagnosed with an ear infection at six months, I did what I had done for my older children, who had almost no ear infections. I treated his infection homeopathically. However, even though I had heard that children with DS have small Eustachian tubes, I didn’t really see how that might impact my choice. Well, when I went back for the re-check, the infection was not gone, and the doctor geared up to order a stronger antibiotic. I told her I had not given the antibiotic she first prescribed. She asked me why I had come to her in the first place if I wasn’t going to do what she recommended. I told her honestly that I just wanted to know if he had an ear infection. But, since my homeopathic treatment had not worked, I was completely willing to give him the antibiotic. The infection cleared up, but we did eventually go the “tubes” route as he was having trouble with fluid in his ears, and I was easily convinced that his speech and language development might be significantly impacted if he could not hear clearly. The tubes were an excellent choice, looking back and seeing how his ears have been since that time.

More recently, one of my older children got a bad cold, and although my little one fought it off for quite awhile, it wasn’t too long before he woke me up with that croupy cough. We have an arrangement whereby anytime croup crops up, we administer oral steroids and take him to the doctor the next day to make sure his breathing is ok. I chose not to take him this time, after faithfully driving him the 17 miles to the office the other 4 times he has had croup, only to be told that his breathing was fine. So now it was the weekend and he didn’t seem to be getting over it as normal. By Sunday night, I knew he needed to be seen by the doc, so I took him in on Monday morning. Turns out he had pneumonia. Even while I was second-guessing myself for not bringing him to the doctor on Friday, my gracious doctor said, “You should always trust your gut. If you had brought him in on Friday, this probably wouldn’t have even shown up.”

I don’t always make the right decisions. There have been some things I’ve missed with my kids at different times, but I’m sure there is something to be said for that certainty that comes sometimes when I am trying to decide how best to address a situation.

One Sick Pup by Military Momma

My daughter seems determined to make sure she takes full advantage of the Army’s Tricare medical system. In the past year she’s done so by developing tonsillitis, the croup, countless ear infections, and even a few crayons up the nose. Yesterday, after fighting a fever all weekend and coughing up ungodly amounts of green goop, she went to the doctor’s again. We suspected a double ear infection and possibly sinus infection, which is now the norm for her, but scarier yet is the possibility of pneumonia.

When we arrived, her fever had peaked to 105.3, all the while on fever-reducer medication. The doctor and nurses had to wrap her in cool wet towels and put icepacks on her head and chest to get it to come down. Not fun. My poor baby screamed bloody murder for me the whole time, and I cried a little myself. It’s horrible to see your baby in pain and not be able to help.

When I was finally allowed to rescue her from her chilly cocoon, I had to turn around and hold her down for a chest xray and get the same heartbreaking plea, “Help Momma!!”. It’s a wonder the child doesn’t hate me. With Daddy being gone a lot, or unable to leave work, I am always the one having to hold her down for shots, xrays, and exams. Thankfully, I think on some level she knows I am helping and trying to make it all better. But it never gets any easier.

DebD, Military Momma


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How to Talk to Your Children about Race

At some point in the life of a parent, it becomes necessary to talk with your child about discrimination, prejudice or more simply, the things that make people different from one another. Whether its race, religion, culture or skin color, children are naturally curious and will ask questions. The important thing, if you are a parent, is to know what to say and how to answer their questions when the time comes.

The age of the child is one of the most important things to consider when talking to children about racial differences. Children from ages 2-3 begin to notice physical aspects of identity and gender. This is followed by curiosity about skin color, hair color and texture, eye shape and color. They may also begin to recognize cultural differences and they may show signs of "pre-prejudice" such as acting afraid, uncomfortable or avoiding or ignoring other children they perceive to be different. Three-and 4-year-olds begin to seek answers to their questions about differences. They show a greater awareness of appearances and they ask questions about where they got their own skin, hair, and eye color. Five-year-olds begin to build a group ethnic identity, as well as an individual identity within that group. They are more capable of exploring the differences and similarities between groups. They accept the use of categories and begin to look to see where they fit in. Six-to 8-year-olds begin to realize that their ethnicity is not changeable. They begin to become aware of attitudes for and against racial, religious, and cultural groups and they are highly influenced by significant adults, peers, and the media. Cultural pride may also begin to develop at this age. Nine- to 12-year-olds become more aware of the attitudes and behaviors within institutional settings and they also begin to get a clear understanding of the struggles against bias and are more willing to discuss culture, race, and differences.

Once we understand the capabilities of our children to understand our answers, we must then decide what to tell them! There is no perfect script and ultimately your discussion will probably not be perfect, but opening the door to communication is the first step to stopping hate, prejudice and inequality and to opening your child’s eyes to the diversity around them. Regardless of your child’s age, you can use the following pointers to help you discuss this difficult topic.

Do not pretend everyone is the same: Children are not blind to the fact that people look, dress and speak differently from them. They need simple, truthful and accurate information that addresses those differences and helps to reduce their fearfulness or hesitation.

Talking about prejudice does not increase its prevalence: Children do not learn prejudice from having open, honest discussions about physical differences. They learn prejudice from the media, peers and influential figures in their lives. If you are accurate with your information and you help your child to be consistent with their actions regarding discrimination then your child will be more likely to know what to do and how to behave when confronted with a situation that requires them to act appropriately.

Discuss what is different as well as what is the same: It is important that children understand that what makes us different, makes us who we are. Although it is important that we focus on inner qualities more often than outer, we should not ignore the differences; rather we should attempt to explain that often customs, manner of dress or culture can be expressed in many ways.

Treat all questions with respect: Despite being awkward, embarrassing and at times, even humorous, you should try not to silence your child or to make them feel that they asked a forbidden question. This may keep them from discussing it with you in the future.

Answer questions clearly and honestly: Try to understand what they are really asking and give short, simple answers that children can understand. Try not to over explain and if you don't know an answer, say so. If you give a wrong answer, correct yourself. Give children simple, factual answers to questions rather than general “all-encompassing’ statements.

Despite being a challenging conversation, it is an accomplishment as a parent just to start a dialogue about such an important and controversial topic. The more we know about how to talk to our children about the differences in our world, the better we can equip them to become open-minded, unbiased adults. We as parents can give our children the tools to make their world a more loving, accepting place just by providing them a comfortable place to voice their questions and concerns, and an ear to listen to what they have to say.

Lisa Smith is the Owner/CEO of Regionz Kidz, a multi-cultural infant & toddler clothing line featuring ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on her website http://www.regionzkidz.com that discusses cultural diversity & children & is a frequent guest blogger on other blogs and websites regarding parenting and children’s issues. She is also a monthly contributor to Educated Mommy Magazine. You can contact Lisa directly at: lisa@regionzkidz.com

Monkey see Monkey do by Sadie's Young Mommy

Sadie has started to copy us now..which is both cute and a little scary. She saw me goofing around
the other day and I hit my head with a macaroni box while laughing about what to do for dinner. She saw this
and has not yet stopped hitting her heads on objects and laughing about it.
Also the other day we were waving goodbye to Dustin (Daddy) as he left for school...she copied us blowing kisses
to one another so super cute!! Then she gave Daddy a big wet kiss and me too...it was one of those adorable moments. She now crawls everywhere blowing kisses at everything...it is the cutest thing.

We had a little special mommy and Sadie time the other afternoon and did each other's hair. She learned how to brush hers...mostly hits her ear and then tries to brush mine too..we also put lil barrettes in our hair and laugh at the mirror and wave at the other baby in the mirror. :) It was so cute watching how quietly she sat there waiting to brush her hair our play with the clips and look at all the pretty colors. I mean of course I would never leave her alone with all those small objects but she loved being a big girl and playing with them with mommy. It was very sweet.

We went outside last week while we had a good amount of snow and made snow angels too. Sadie was laughing hysterically when I would move her arms all goofy in the snow to make the wings for her baby angel. She loved playing in the snow even if she couldn't move in her big snowsuit very well. Ahh mommy always overdresses her. But she has not gotten a single sickness since she has been born!! thank goodness.

Sadie is napping now and I think Mommy (me) is going to copy her and take a lil nap too. Take Care :)

The Gift of Silence: Military Momma

I happen to have a high-spirited two year old who hardly ever sleeps through the night without a peep. She will put up a fight when you put her in the room for the night that sometimes lasts hours. Her favorite torture is the scream "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" continuously for an hour, only interrupting her chant when she breathes in. When she does fall asleep she will wake up an average of twice a night, sometimes as much as 6 times a night depending how restless she is.

She is a very light sleeper so even the wind outside her window is a potential opening for an hour long scream season in the wee hours. After such a restless night, you'd think she'd sleep in but NO! she's up at the crack of dawn, sometimes before dawn, off and running. She's been this way since the day she was born, and I can count on one hand the number of restful nights sleep I've gotten in the past 2 and a half years. It wears on you.

Enter my husband. He is great at thinking up romantic presents, or gifts that are so me but this Valentines Day he out did himself. He gave me the best gift ever: a restful nights sleep. He gave me earplugs. Not just any earplugs, the industrial grade ear plugs soldiers use while on the firing range! To anyone else, this would seem like a stupid valentines day gift. To me, it was an acknowledgment that he understood I work hard, and I'm exhausted. Best present ever!

DebD, Military Momma


Funny Kid Stuff

Things from a child's perspective that will crack you up:

I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, 'Mom, that lady isn't wearing a seat belt!'

On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, 'The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents.'

A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. 'Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle.'

A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, 'What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy before?'

5. POLICE # 1
While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, 'Are you a cop?'
'Yes,' I answered and continued writing the report.
'My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?'
'Yes, that's right,' I told her.
'Well, then,' she said as she extended her foot toward me, 'would you please tie my shoe?'

6. POLICE # 2
It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' he asked.
'It sure is,' I replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, 'What'd he do?'

While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, 'The tooth fairy will never believe this!'

A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, 'Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit.'
'And why not, darling?'
'You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning. '

While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased.

The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: 'Glory be unto the Faaather, and unto the Sonnn, and into the hole he goooes.' (I want this line used at my funeral!)

A little girl had just finished her first week of school; 'I'm just wasting my time,' she said to her mother. 'I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!'

A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages.
'Mama, look what I found,' the boy called out.
'What have you got there, dear?'
With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, 'I think it's Adam's underwear!'

Bedtime Debate by Sadie's Young Mommy

We had this great bedtime routine down for a couple months...Sadie had a nice bath around 6:45 or earlier then books and prayer and nursing..then bedtime by 7:30pm. She at first fussed a bit about it but soon was fine with it and went to sleep. Sure she still woke up at night but she went to bed on her own. :)

After over a month of her deciding this wasn't working anymore she would stay up till 10pm or later and wake up lots through out the night. She cried when we left her at nap time at anytime. We finally decided to lay down with her at nap and bedtimes...we eventually put her in the crib but it works much better both ways. Sometimes we even nap with her. Both my husband and I worried about her getting used to us all being in mommy and daddy's bed and it does seem she prefers it. But after one day when she was too tired from not sleeping that she wouldn't even play I decided enough was enough. We had to get her to rest somehow. So if she needs mommy or daddy to soothe her so be it.

After this decision I have received feedback of all kinds...most negative of the letting your child sleep in your bed with you. We are first time parents and are just trying to get our daughter to get some good sleep so I figured till we move in August and get a second bedroom (hopefully) that this is are only option for now. And if she needs one of us for extra comfort ..I am fine with giving it to her. She is much happier to during the daytime and plays more. She still wakes up at least three times or more at night to nurse...that is another issue that is tough to ignore. I know she is healthy and able to make it through without nursing but we live in a one bedroom apartment so she knows mommy is right there and is able to nurse her. I will love the night she sleeps through..but until then I believe the best way to get her back to sleep is nursing or rocking.

Sadie has also been signing more about her wishes and needs which is very helpful for us in understanding what she wants. Her sign for mommy so far seems to be milk...lol it is very cute how when she really wants me ..she will look right at me and sign milk as frantically as her lil hands can make it out. She has also bonded more with her daddy since I go to class two mornings a week..she has special time with Daddy. It is cute to come home to her and Dustin playing on the floor with her toys and her giggling.

She has also mastered crawling and pulling up on everything...:) uh oh

Encouraging your child to read

How many times do you grab a good book, pull your child or children into your lap or snuggle on the couch and read to them? So many of us are guilty of never finding the time, when reading is such an important skill for children to learn. We as parents have the greatest influence over whether or not they begin to learn or choose to learn to read. We can encourage them to learn to read by making books and reading an important part of their life from day one.

"Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read."

Marilyn Jager Adams

Reading offers so many valuable things to children. Here are just a few:

  1. Reading is entertaining. Do you think they always had cable television wired to most every house in America, well of course not? Great literature was a popular concept many years ago, much more so than it is today and reading was a favorite past time of almost everyone. Why not make that the case for your child by starting them out reading at an early age and continuing to encourage them to read over the span of their childhood.

2. Reading encourages learning. Reading to your child encourages them to want to learn and gives them the opportunity to have their curiosity stirred by new ideas and concepts, such as how people live differently in different places, how things are made, or where things came from. We can use reading to teach about cultures, traditions and the similarities we all share. So many questions can be formed in the mind of a child as you read to them, thus encouraging them to dig in and find out more!

3. Reading increases your child’s vocabulary. If you want to ensure that your child begins to talk at the right age, learns to say your name, the names of their family members and even things out in the world, you can help them to do so by reading to them. Reading to a child begins teaching them and exposing them to a wide vocabulary, even as a baby. Many doctors encourage women to even read to their babies while they are still in their womb.

4. Reading gives your child knowledge. Knowledge about the world, people, themselves, everything you can think of. Thousands of ideas, topics, themes and concepts can be found in written form in books, on billboards, or even on the side of your morning cereal box. Knowledge is all around us and we consume it by reading it. Encouraging your child to read allows them to soak up all this knowledge.

Lisa Smith has a BA in psychology, & is the Owner of Regionz Kidz (www.regionzkidz.com,) a multi-cultural infant and toddler clothing line with ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on the Regionz Kidz website that features articles about cultural diversity and children & she is a guest blogger on several other websites and blogs relating to parenting and children’s issues. You can contact Lisa directly at: lisa@regionzkidz.com

How to teach cultural diversity in a non-diverse community? How TV can help to enhance learning.

In many communities across America the complaint is the same; “I want to help my children learn about other races, religions and cultures, but my community isn’t very integrated & my circle of friends is not diverse, what do I do?” It’s true that although we are a country of diverse backgrounds, most people tend to seek out groups of friends of the same race, religion and/or ethnicity. It is easier to find common ground and the language barrier is not present when spending time with others who share in our culture. However, parents would like their children to be accepting and tolerant of other cultures even though they may not be exposed to them on a regular basis, what’s a parent to do?

Enter the wonderful world of children’s television programming. With the choices our children now have, you can expose your children to multiple cultures, languages and traditions all in the same afternoon. A new study released recently from the American Academy of Pediatrics reveals that high-quality educational programming can have a positive effect on young children. These programs assist in the acquisition of general knowledge and improve cognitive learning among children ages six and younger. The report also states that educational programming which emphasizes cultural and racial diversity can improve children’s attitudes to those subjects.

So, the television now becomes the ultimate cultural teacher & not the “boob tube” that parents once thought it to be. The one possible drawback to this seemingly perfect answer? There must be culturally diverse and age-appropriate shows for children to view & learn from.

Luckily for us parents searching, children’s programmers have responded. There are any number of shows on television today featuring characters of different races, with disabilities and even those that speak different languages. Three child-oriented stations are leading the pack with their high-quality, diverse and educational television programs.

PBS is the trailblazer in this category features Sesame Street, which has taught generations of children around the world their ABCs and how to count. Much more than that, since the inception of the show 35 year ago, there have been racially diverse characters & characters with disabilities & they all work together to promote the overall the message of acceptance and togetherness. Even today, there are strong female characters, multi-lingual characters that teach “words of the day,” & they have featured adopted families, non-traditional families & characters in wheelchairs all enjoying their time on 123 Sesame Street.

Nickelodeon has been the big winner in viewer share and profit with their introduction of Dora the Explorer and it’s spin off, Go Diego Go. These educational cartoons feature multi-lingual, Hispanic characters that teach about animals, letters, numbers, counting and Hispanic traditions. The real innovation with these programs is that they also focus on teaching Spanish to non-native speakers. The repetition and interactive nature of the 30 minute shows make learning fun and also get children up off of the couch to participate in the actions that Dora, Diego and their friends instruct.

Nick is also launching a series in February with an Asian-American leading lady. The show, “Ni Hao, Kai Lan,” was created by a first generation Chinese American. It targets 2- to 5-year-olds and follows bilingual five-year-old Kai-Lan as she learns about her inter-generational Chinese-American family. The curriculum focuses on social and emotional lessons, multicultural values, cause-and-effect thinking, and basic Mandarin Chinese language skills.

Finally, we have NOGGIN TV and the show, Little Bill, the everyday adventures of an African-American boy. The show is based on Bill Cosby’s popular book series and is developed through research and in consultation with educational experts. The show is designed to help kids celebrate their everyday experiences and the people who share them. Little Bill shows kids that what they do makes a difference in the world. By dealing with conflicts encountered in everyday life, the program encourages children to value the love of their family, to increase self-esteem, and to develop social skills.

These programs are just the first in a long line of diverse and unique shows that will help our children to see that different is just different and we are no better or worse for not looking, speaking or dressing like “everyone else.” Congratulations to PBS, Nickelodeon and Noggin TV for being innovators and addressing the need that we as parents have for teaching from the comfort of our own homes. Nothing replaces the human interaction and relationships that are important to helping children understand cultural differences; it is still important to try to get involved and meet other families that are different from us. In some circumstances however, that proves extremely difficult and given the choice between not exposing them to these differences at all, or spending an hour watching any of the children’s programs that were created to teach and enrich their experiences, I’m picking up the remote control.

Lisa Smith is the Owner/CEO of Regionz Kidz, a multi-cultural infant & toddler clothing line featuring ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on her website www.regionzkidz.com that discusses cultural diversity & children & is a frequent guest blogger on other blogs and websites regarding parenting and children’s issues. She is also a monthly contributor to Educated Mommy Magazine. You can contact Lisa directly at: lisa@regionzkidz.com

Food Allergies

I have several friends that have severe food allergies and they feel like burden to their friends. If they are invited to a party they are often limited to what they can eat and they fear they may end up with something that may cause them problems. The host or hostess on the other hand are afraid that them may make them sick.

First of all mark all foods that contain peanuts, shell fish and flour. These are the most common food allergies in the U.S.

Secondly do not panic if you have friends that have these allergies. It is an easy fix. For the gluten just make a replacement. There is a flour product in stores that have a wonderful mix of flours including rice, garbanzo bean, tapioca and more that can replace flour in any recipe. It works in quick breads, cakes, pies and cookies.

Shell-fish is a easy fix because you can replace it with other fish products or another meat in most cases. I recommended doing a test run.

Peanut Butter is another easy fix because those who have allergies to peanuts generally do not have allergies to almonds. Buy almond butter and replace it.

I have friends overall the time with food allergies and I make a huge effort to make things they can eat and the rest of the guests are non the wiser. The food tastes great and the fellowships and stories of the evening make the party a huge success.

I write a lot about food allergies and health issues. I am a Home Economist, teacher and mom and I am very concerned about the health of our children and families.

Sheila Rae


The kindness of a stranger.... by Jasa

Lately I have resigned myself to the fact that most people are tired of hearing about the war and the soldiers, they are stuck on the politics of the whole situation and have forgotten about the thousands who serve to protect us everyday without fail or reservation. But then something happened...

Tonight I went grocery shopping in a store that I frequent, but this one is in another town that I do not frequent, for some reason, tonight I just turned the other way.

Bella and I were deciding what kind of juice to buy and she was getting antsy, so I gave her my cell phone and she was fiddling with it for a while and then she asked to call my mom and then my sister. So we called my sister and they talked for a while, but Bella quit talking so I took the phone back and told Jess good-bye and kept shopping. A few minutes later Bella asked if we could call Bapa, that's what the kids call my dad, and I told her that I did not have the phone number for his office in Iraq, so she asked where he was in Iraq and I told her that he is near where daddy was and we went on shopping.

As we turned the frozen food aisle a women walked up to us and said that she had overheard our conversation about Iraq and wanted to make sure that we told my dad and husband thank you for all they are doing. I never know quite what to say when people say this- it doesn't happen too often- so I told her thank you and that I would tell them. She went on talking and then handed me something and said that it wasn't much compared to what we had already sacrificed, but she and her husband wanted to do something. I again thanked her and assured her I would thank my dad and husband, at this point I am almost in tears, I always feel like I should have something more to say than Thank You.

As she walked away I looked down and saw that she had handed me a gift card for the grocery store we were in. She must have known that I was on a pretty tight budget this week!! I figured that she had just saved me $10.00 and was grateful for that. When Bella and I reached the check-out, I opened the gift card and was written out for $50.00!! I wanted to run out in the parking lot and thank this woman and tell her what it means to have people really mean it when they say " Thank your so-and-so for serving"

I don't make a point to go around stores saying that my family is serving in Iraq in the hopes that someone with deep pockets will overhear and hand me their AmEx and say "Whatever you want" We are very proud of our friends and family who are serving all over the Middle East and I just wish that everyone would stop for a minute and realize that the soldiers are doing their job. They don't sign up hoping to miss births, deaths, birthdays, first days, first steps, first home-runs, anniversaries, holidays or to watch their families go on without them. They sign up to feel a sense of pride, that they are doing something good, that they are helping make the world a safer, better place for all of us.

To them I say THANK YOU and I meant it. To the kind woman in the grocery store I say THANK YOU, you have restored my faith in the kindness of strangers, thank you.

Teaching Your Child about Tolerance and Diversity

In a world where there are so many cultures and ethnicities represented in our society we must learn how we can teach our children about the many types of people who make up our world.

Do you remember who taught you about how people were different from you? Or did you have to figure it out on your own as you encountered them as you grew up? Whichever the case, we hope that you will teach your child about the diversity in our world so that they can learn to be tolerant of others and live peacefully with them in society.

Here are some ways to make sure that your child understands the diversity among us and has tolerance for others:

  1. Books, movies, and toys that encourage and promote diversity. The use of books, movies, toys and other items in your home that teach about other cultures and ethnicities can help your child to embrace the differences that are among us. Exposure to differences starting at a young age helps a child to develop accepting attitudes of other cultures.

  1. Teach your child about other cultural traditions. While you are celebrating Christmas, another family might be choosing to celebrate Hanukkah. Why not invite that family to share in some of your activities and ask if you might share in some of theirs, allowing both sets of children to learn about the differences & similarities in the traditions.

  1. Teach your child what is considered tolerable. Remember that sometimes a concept such as tolerance can be confusing for a child. They might mistake it for allowing others to bully them. This should not be the case. Make sure that they understand tolerance does not mean allowing malice or meanness to take place, but only allowing participation and sharing of their culture with others.

  1. Talk openly and answer questions. Have a policy or agreement with your child that it is okay to ask questions. Allow them to ask you about things that they are unsure about, reminding them to do this in private rather than in the grocery store in front of the lady who is dressed differently because of her culture. Remind them to respect others while they are in their presence and afterwards, but encourage them to talk openly about any questions that they might have in private between the two of you. Later you might research more about the culture of the person that they were wondering about.

These are just a few ways that you can help your child to begin to understand and tolerate the various people that we encounter everyday and our many differences.

Lisa Smith has a BA in psychology, & is the Owner of Regionz Kidz (www.regionzkidz.com,) a multi-cultural infant and toddler clothing line with ethnically diverse characters and designs. She publishes a blog on the Regionz Kidz website that features articles about cultural diversity and children & she is a guest blogger on several other websites and blogs relating to parenting and children’s issues. You can contact Lisa directly at: lisa@regionzkidz.com

It Wasn't False Labor!

Check out this news story about the mom who was sent home from the hospital for being in false labor. She had the baby in her driveway!! Reminded me of my first birth. I was also sent home because I definitely wasn't in labor, according to the nurse. (yeah....8 days past my due date....no way THAT could be real labor, right?!) By the time we went back to the hospital my son was born within 20 minutes of walking through the door, and that was only because I was holding off on pushing to wait for THEM to get their act together. I should have just had him at home!


Growing Pains by Military Momma

I routinely use BabyCenter.com to find answers to my many parenting questions. I fell in love with it when I was still pregnant with my daughter, and used it almost daily as a resource. This week I looked to BabyCenter for help and guidance solving my daughter’s latest behavior issue.

Before even typing in my search request I was shaken by information on the website’s front page. I had guided my mouse to the word “Toddler” under the “Browse by Stages” heading, and was horrified by what I saw. Next to the word Toddler appeared the annotation “(12-24 mos)”. No! It isn’t true! She’s still a toddler I swear!! I simply cannot bring myself to click on the “Preschooler (2-4 yrs)” link. She’s only 27 months old she can’t be a Preschooler. I won’t allow it!

And just like that, I’m mourning the loss of my daughter’s babyhood and trying to accept the fact that she is indeed growing up. Someone tell her to stop it...

DebD, MilitaryMomma