Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Baby crying: settling your newborn


Babies cry. It’s a fact of life for your newborn baby and for you. Newborns, babies from birth through the end of the third month, cry anywhere from 1 to 4 hours a day. Fortunately, not all at once! Short periods of crying (5 to 15 minutes on average) pop up here and there over each 24-hour period we call a “day.”
There are plenty of reasons for your little one to work her lungs. She’s too cold, too warm, hungry or gassy, sleepy or over stimulated. Perhaps she just wants a cuddle or maybe it’s too quiet in the room. As a new parent, it’s important for you to remember that your baby will cry (and cry and cry) and it likely hurts you (or at least your ears) more than it hurts her. Still, your instinct will have you wanting to settle your upset baby and I’m here to offer a few techniques that are tried and true for parents around the world.
The first thing to do is to consider the obvious: has it been more than 2 or 3 hours since your crying baby has slept, eaten or pooped? For the first 3 months of life these 3 things are required frequently!
If a nap, a meal or a diaper change hasn’t solved the issue, try one of these:
Cuddling – One of the best and most satisfying baby settling techniques is to just cuddle your baby. Until very, shockingly recently, your baby was safe and warm inside of you. When you walked, he was rocked, when you talked or sang in the shower, he was comforted by your voice. Even when you were perfectly still and quiet, the whoosh of your blood and the beat of your heart kept him in a wonderfully noisy environment. It was one very long cuddle.
The how to: Chest to chest, with as much skin on skin as possible, hold your crying baby with his head resting on the left side of your chest so that his ear is nearest to your heart. Either wrap your arms around him, or use a baby wrap that keeps him snug to you, but leaves your arms free. Continue about your day or sit in a comfortable chair, rocking if possible, and simply snuggle. It may take a few minutes for the crying to cease, but baby will feel safe and warm again with all of his favorite, familiar sounds. You’ll be enraptured by his incredibly soft, warm cheek on your chest.
Vacuuming – This may sound strange, but when nothing else worked for my firstborn, vacuuming did. It’s not that she’s a clean-freak, she’s 6 now and that has proven not to be the reason! It was the constant white noise of the cleaning machine that was a sure-fire soother for my baby and likely will be for yours too.
The how to: Start by holding your crying newborn baby as you begin to vacuum. The loud noise and back and forth movement will settle her quickly. After a few minutes when you see that she’s calm, feel free to lay her down in a safe, soft spot. Now that you’re vacuuming, you might as well finish the job! Baby is almost guaranteed to stay quiet while you do.
Rock & Shush – Movement and noise combine as one of the most effective methods for settling your newborn’s cries. By now you know why this works!
The how to: Hold baby in the cradle position, her head at the crook of your elbow, your opposite hand securely under her bottom, and baby’s body tight up against your chest. Spread your feet hip-distance apart and shift your weight from side-to-side. That’s the ‘rock’.
Now, loudly and rhythmically “Shush” your baby. Drag out the “Sh” sound on both ends of the word. You are recreating the “whoosh” of your blood flow that she became so familiar with back in the womb.
Babies cry, it’s true, but utilizing these methods will help you quickly and confidently settle your upset, crying newborn.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

ADHD Over Diagnosed


The diagnosis of ADHD has long been a source of controversy, with many claiming that it is often over diagnosed there has been a new study that could support this claim.
These are the most important results of a study conducted by Prof. Dr. Silvia Schneider and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Margraf (both from RUB) and Dr. Katrin Bruchmüller (University of Basel) as reported in the periodical Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

The researchers surveyed altogether 1,000 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany. 473 participated in the study. They received one of four available case vignettes, and were asked to give a diagnoses and a recommendation for therapy. In three out of the four case vignettes, the described symptoms and circumstances did not fulfill ADHD criteria. Only one of the cases fulfilled ADHD criteria based strictly on the valid diagnostic criteria. In addition, the gender of the child was included as a variable resulting in eight different case vignettes. As the result, when comparing two identical cases with a different gender, the difference was clear: Leon has ADHD, Lea doesn't.

Many child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists seem to proceed heuristically and base their decisions on prototypical symptoms. The prototype is male and shows symptoms such as motoric restlessness, lack of concentration and impulsiveness. In connection with the gender of the patient, these symptoms lead to different diagnoses. A boy with such symptoms, even he does not fulfil the complete set of diagnostic criteria, will receive a diagnosis for ADHD, whereas a girl will not. Also the therapist's gender plays a role in the diagnostic: male therapists give substantially more frequently a diagnosis for ADHD than their female counterparts.

In the past decades the diagnoses ADHD have become almost inflationary. Between 1989 and 2001, the number of diagnoses in German clinical practice increased by 381 percent. The costs for ADHD medication, such as for the performance-enhancer Methylphenidate, have grown 9 times between 1993 and 2003. The German health insurance company, Techniker, reports an increase of 30 percent in Methylphenidate prescriptions for its clients between the ages of 6 and 18. Similarly, the daily dosage has increased by 10 percent on average.

Considering these statistics, there is a remarkable lack of research in the diagnostic of ADHD. "In spite of the strong public interest, only very few empirical studies have addressed this issue," Prof. Schneider and Dr. Bruchmüller point out. While in the 70s and 80s a "certain upswing" of studies on the frequency and reasons for misdiagnoses could be observed, current research hardly examines the phenomena. The current study shows that in order to avoid a misdiagnosis of ADHD and premature treatment, it is crucial for therapists not to rely on their intuition, instead to strictly adhere to defined, established diagnostic criteria. This is best possible with the help of standardized diagnostic instruments, such as diagnostic interviews.

Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "ADHD is over-diagnosed, experts say." ScienceDaily, 30 Mar. 2012. Web. 11 May 2012.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Improve Child Behavior Problems with Ticketstoregame.com

Improve child behavior problems with Ticketstoregame.com’s online and board games. Parents and teachers improve behavior of ADD/ADHD, bully and other problem issues.
The Ticket Store Game was created to solve a basic problem. How to get kids to listen and behave better. Even kids who are good listeners and who are well behaved can use some improvement. The solution came in the form of the boxed Ticket Store Game, a fun "game" in which kids can earn tickets for their good behavior and use those tickets to buy rewards from the the Ticket Store game board. But living in our high tech world, we realized that people wanted to be able to play our game online. So we took what was good and made it even better. We have created an online, multidimensional interactive game that can be used by teachers with their classes by use of the competition board, and by parents at home, by use of the individual board. As part of our online interactive game, players can create their own avatars and we also created player panels to track tickets earned, tickets available to purchase rewards, and messages sent by the Ticket Master when completed tasks are approved. Better yet, we have created a game within the game, the Bonus Board, where kids move their player around the Bonus Board for opportunities to land on one of a number of great locations such as Community Service, the Library, the School and others, where they can do activities to earn bonus tickets. Players can also select from great rewards including inexpensive alternatives for teachers and their students

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homeschool Conferences 2012

Great Homeschool Convetions has has conferences coming up all over the United States.

Mid South Homeschool Convention
    Apr. 12–14, 2012
    Memphis Convention Center, Memphis, TN
Cincinnati Homeschool Convention
    April 19–21, 2012
    Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH
California Homeschool Convention
    May 24–26, 2012
    Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA
Northeast Homeschool Convention
    June 14–6, 2012
    Hartford Convention Center, Hartford, CT

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unschooling


Those who have chosen the path of homeschooling have many choices and decisions ahead of them.  One of the methods for consideration is that of unschooling.  Before going into the pros and cons of this idea, what exactly is unschooling?  Some brief definitions are: 
  • ·         Unschooling is a belief system rather than a method.
  • ·         The radical idea of learning without “doing” school.
  • ·         The only true “free” education.
Unschooling parents believe that all people have a desire to learn and children should be encouraged to follow his/her interests in order to gain knowledge.  They also think that kids are naturally curious (which they are) and will learn continually in the right environment.  Kids should be free to choose exploration of what interests them in their own way on their own timeline.  In this method, the adult is the facilitator and the child is the guide.  Therefore the child sets the goals for each day. 
The naysayers to this particular movement offer many cons to unschooling.   Some of the more common arguments against unschooling are:
  • ·         Children are given entirely too much power.
  • ·         Children are taught the “center of the universe” mentality and don’t learn that disappointment or the word “no” are a part of the real world.
  • ·         Children, in their power of always choosing their path, don’t learn discipline, always get what they want, and do not gain coping skills necessary to deal with many parts of real life.
  • ·         There is little to no structure.  Many believe that kids need routine as well as learning a respect for authority figures.  There also seems to be little discipline enforced in this model.
  • ·         In the wrong environment, with less than dedicated “teachers,” children will not necessarily show the enthusiasm for learning or the initiative needed for success.
True believers in the homeschooling movement also put forth valid points in support of the method.
  • ·         First, and foremost, children learn independence, decision making and problem solving skills, and learn to take responsibility for their own learning and education.
  • ·         Students learn through a desire to learn rather than because they are being forced to learn.
  • ·         In a truly dedicated, nurturing environment, unschooled kids most likely love to learn and will develop into life-long learners.
  • ·         There are no deadlines, no time limits.  If learning is honestly flowing, there is no reason to screech to a halt in order to move on to something else.
  • ·         Kids will learn things in their own time such as when they learned to walk or talk.  They learned these things through observation and a natural desire to master a skill.
Whether you have chosen a side on this issue or still on the fence, this author thinks that one last thought must be taken into consideration.  I acknowledge that with this method children will learn a great deal about things that they are truly interested in.  My question is:   What about those things that they have absolutely no interest in but are absolutely necessary in order to survive in this society?  You decide.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Public Schools Need to Shape Up


Public Education in the United States has been on a downward spiral for decades, and in its wake is a generation of children that will be unprepared to succeed in the ever changing technological world we live in. The latest annual survey from the non-profit testing organization ACT delivers some staggering numbers, only 25 percent cleared all of ACT’s college preparedness benchmarks, while 75 percent likely will spend part of their freshman year doing high-school-level course work. While there are many contributing factors to the decline of the educational system, the fact remains that we need to make changes in a hurry before the damage is irreversible.
No child left behind was an act of congress to help improve the educational system by setting high standards and establishing measurable goals hoping that it would improve individual outcomes in education. The Obama administration confirmed that an estimated 82% of the nation's public schools could fall short of federal standards this year, grades that are not only embarrassing but also mean government intervention for some of them. The government has spent years trying to fix no child left behind, but the reality is that it needs to be scrapped for a more comprehensive method that holds the school system, teachers, parents, and students accountable not just schools, and teachers. If public schools continue to fail it would be another reason tohomeschool your children and take their education into your own hands.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What to Expect from a Homeschooling Convention



Whether you are an experienced homeschool parent or if you are just beginning and are a bit nervous, a homeschool convention has much to offer.  They provide fantastic opportunities to mingle with the highest experts in the field, exposure to products and curricula, a chance to meet and network with other homeschoolers, and workshops geared towards your specific needs and concerns.
The convention generally opens up with a keynote speaker of some notability.  These speakers are generally the leaders in the homeschool movement and can provide a great deal of motivation and information.  Quite often, there are many speakers engaged to present at these conventions.  Obtaining a schedule ahead of time will help you to choose which you most would like to hear and who most closely meet your beliefs, values, and needs.
Workshops and General Sessions are scheduled throughout the day as well.  These are run by experienced educators, homeschooling experts, parents who have been homeschooling for years, and authors.  Choosing the workshops that address your concerns or provide information that you have been seeking is not difficult.  These workshops can motivate, educate, and rejuvenate homeschooling parents.  The can also calm any fears, explain easier ways to accomplish goals, and provide tools to help you teach your children.  Often, workshops are “Make-it-Take-it,” which provide hands-on activities and a finished product that you can return home with as an example of a certain concept.
Possibly the most potentially overwhelming aspect of a homeschooling convention will be the exhibit halls and the vendors.  Taking your time going through the halls, speaking to individual publishers and authors, and choosing purchases carefully is quite a feat.  This portion of the convention gives the opportunity to see and touch different curricula.  The vendors are eager to share with you the benefits of each of their products and will spend quite a bit of time demonstrating how they function.  Quite often, you can benefit from huge discounts on products and the availability of free samples of certain products.  Booths with used curriculum are most likely going to be present as well.  These are certainly worth looking into in order to save money.  Many parents prefer to take bits and pieces from several different curricula.  This is a more affordable way to go, if that fits your style.
Finally, homeschooling conventions provide a wonderful opportunity for you to touch base and network with other homeschoolers.  This is especially helpful for those parents who are just entering the homeschooling world or those who are still on the fence about it.  Valuable connections can be made and priceless supportive relationships can be built.  Realizing that you have so much support can be a huge relief for both beginners and for those who have been homeschooling and are feeling overwhelmed or burnt-out.
The benefits of attending a homeschool convention are many.  The information, education, inspiration, motivation, and camaraderie gleaned through attendance are insurmountable.