My 7 year-old daughter is bossy — at least when it comes to her little sister. At least once a day I find myself telling her “You are NOT your sister’s mother!”
With her friends, however, my daughter is a completely different person. Right from her very first friend, she has been a magnet for attracting playmates who are bossy, aggressive, and manipulative. I’ve been at a loss as to how to help her act in these situations, trying to find the elusive balance of standing up for herself, while empathizing with what a person may be going through that causes them to act a certain way - and that it often has nothing to do with her.
As she gets older, and I’m less involved in her class and on play dates, she is relying more and more on her own abilities. My job now is try and calm down my "mama bear" instincts, and give my daughter the tools she needs to navigate these situations on her own. To do that, I asked two of my favourite people in the parenting field to give me some tips on how I can help my daughter.
Nicole Schwarz of Imperfect Families suggests to open up the conversation and focus on understanding the situation from your child's perspective. What bothers them about this friend? What do they like about this friend? What do they wish this friend would do differently? Are there times when things go well? When do things get more difficult?
Instead of jumping in with the "perfect" solution to the friendship problem, brainstorm with your child. Talk about different ways to respond to their friend. Discuss the pros and cons of each response. Troubleshoot through the ways their friend may respond. Practice at home so your child feels confident using the solution in real life.
Casey O’Roarty of Joyful Courage agrees with Nicole and also recommends asking your child to look at the situation through the eyes of everyone else involved. We want them to develop skills for seeing from multiple perspectives, and for broadening their lens to the experiences of others.
How do you help your child cope with these difficult situations? Do you have a tried and true method that works in your family?
Shopping for a baby book was one of my favourite things to do when I was pregnant. I loved looking through my baby book with my Mom, and imagined having the same ritual with my children. Always looking for an excuse to spend hours in a bookstore even before I was pregnant, I scoured the shelves, flipping through book after book until I found the one that was just right for my precious bundle.
Fast forward to today, nine years and two kids later and I'm ready to admit defeat. My first born's baby book has some information filled in. No images grace the pages, because who prints actual photos these days? My youngest's baby book sits completely blank, neglected on our book shelf. Or in the basement. I'm not actually sure exactly where they are right at this moment. But you know what isn't empty? My phone and computer! I have thousands of digital images, videos and notes recording every moment from the two pink lines on the pregnancy test, right though my youngest daughter's first day of preschool three weeks ago.
We all want to remember every inch and precious moment of our babies, but who has time to do it manually? There's a reason that my favourite saying is 'There's an app for that'! Also the same reason I've had to upgrade to a 256GB phone (don't get me started). There are thousands of apps you can use to mark every milestone from conception (or TTC), through to college and beyond. I've narrowed down the list to some of the most popular choices!
This app is an all-in-one, incorporating photos, videos, notes, maps and more into a unique time capsule! You can have as many capsules as you have kids, so the sky is the limit on storing your treasured memories.
- Free (In App Purchases $5.49 )
This bridges the gap between app and traditional baby book! Use the app to record ever minute from conception through to baby's 1st birthday with you own photos and custom text, then send your digital album to print with hardcovers starting at $14.99
Moment Garden is the app with a bit of everything. Like most apps, it starts with recording all the milestones with photos, images, artwork and text. From there it branches out, with options to share everything with friends and family via email notifications or a custom website! Similarly to the Baby Album above, you can turn your moments into a physical album, or a number of other products including mugs, cards, magnets and more.
This is the motherload of baby apps. Yes, it can capture precious moments and make them into an ebook, but where it really excels is in the information tracking. You can input data that includes everything from feedings to temperatures to height and weight to diaper changes and it will give you beautiful reports! You can use these reports to highlight patterns in your baby's routine, and even print them out to bring to doctor visits (the app can record those milestones too). Get this - it even tracks your baby's data alongside the World Health Organization and Centre for Disease Control guidelines! This is the app for every data junkie parent out there!
- Free (In App Purchases range from $10.99-69.99)
TinyBeans is part baby book app, part social media network. As you record all of your baby's milestones, family members can follow along every step of the way, privately and securely, without the need for a smartphone or app! The perfect way to keep even the far flung relatives in the loop, and yes, you can also print your stored memories to a physical book.
- Free (In App Purchases $2.79)
This app does one thing, and it does it really well. My Baby Milestones takes the photos of your growing bump or cutie patooties and turns them into fun and sweet updates for sharing. Add stickers in your favourite colours, or with your favourite sayings and then save them to share to social media, or on a wide variety of printed products. Be warned - you may get addicted.
So for all of your parents despairing over empty baby books, fear not! Technology will save the day. For all the parents-to-be browsing the book store aisles, save your time and your money (and your sanity) and download one - or all - of these awesome apps. You will thank me later.