If you would like new posts to come directly to your email. Please enter your email here.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

FIRE Safety for the Family

Just last week a father here in Atlanta had to throw his two young children from a second story window to protect them from the fire raging through their apartment building. Thank goodness neither of them was seriously hurt.  However, with just a little planning we here at PT&A hope that you can avoid ever having to make such a choice. Fire safety at home is all about planning and practice.  There are some important things you need to think about in preparing for a fire.

1.    Do your children know what to do?

Many fire fighters have found children under beds, in closets, and a myriad of other places in a house fire.  Just because your child goes to school and participates in fire drills, does not necessarily mean they will understand what to do at home.  You need to prepare your children for what to do if fire strikes at home.

2.    Are you prepared for a fire?

So, many times we think we are prepared for an emergency here is a small list of questions for you to consider to see if you are ready for a fire.  Where is the fire extinguisher in your house? Do you know how to use it? When was the last time you took it to the Fire Station to have it checked? Are your fire alarms working? Do you check the batteries every six months(Daylight Savings time is a good time to check)? Do you have a Carbon Monoxide detector? Is there a working battery in it in case the electricity goes out? What substances do you use to put out a kitchen fire/grease fire?  Where are your important papers kept? When at home where do you keep your purse, cell phone and keys? Do you have an emergency fire kit?  If your home is damaged by fire and you can not stay there where will you go? Do you have an emergency financial plan if you need to board your pets or stay at a hotel?
If you could not answer any of these questions then you are not ready for a fire       to strike.

3.    Do you have an escape route planned?
In order to have an escape route you need to be aware of where all of the doors and windows are in your house and which one is most likely your best escape if you cannot exit via the front door.  This is especially important if you live on the second floor.  Do you own a collapsible ladder to use to escape from the second floor?

4.    What do you need for an emergency kit?

Here is a list of things you should have ready in a bag that is near your escape exit in case of fire: A jump drive with copies of your important papers (include a driver’s license, insurance papers, birth certificates, social security cards, include copies of anything important which may be on your home computer.  Medicines that you or your children need to take to ensure your health. You can ask your doctor or pediatrician for samples to keep in your emergency kit. Also you should include an extra set of keys, a check book, an emergency credit/prepaid debit card, and a list of emergency numbers. You will need clothing at least three set for each person including underwear and socks and travel size toiletrtes for each family member (diapers and wet wipes if there is an infant or small child), at least one blanket, one bottle of water for each person, and non-perishable snacks. Include a small first aid kit. I suggest this fire safety kit be kept in a sturdy duffle type bag with a variety of compartments that will allow for toilettes to leak or break if the bag needs to be thrown. I also suggest a baby sling or body attachment carrier is included especially in the case of a second floor escape plan.  Place this kit These five steps will hopefully prepare you and your family in case the unthinkable happens. We hear at PT&A hope it never does, but it is better to be  prepared than to ever have to face the choice of throwing your child from a second story window to save their fife.  Be safe!!

Monday, April 2, 2018

How Parents Can BuildiSocial/Emotiomal Development in NICU Babies

While attending a recent conference on the effect of prematurity om babies who are born medically fragile a major concern was based on attachment and social/emotional development. As an early educational professional I know there are many things parents can do to help their children even while they are in the NICU.As a former baby of the NICU I know attachment can be formed between an ill child and her parents. It just takes time and dedication on the part of parents.

Here is a list of things parents can do to help their children:
  1. Read and tape your voice reading stories, which can be played for your child while you are not there. The first sense which develops en utero is hearing. The baby has spent months listening to your voice. That is one thing missing from their world. By taping the reading of stories you are giving your child two things. First a sense of security because he/she can hear you. Two language is really important for children who provide an article of clothes my whicare premature they need to hear at least 30 million words before going to school. This reading of stories will help them with their language development.
  2. Breast feed, pump, or find donated human milk  for your child. Breast milk provides antibodies, and other nutrients which support both brain and  eye development both of which are extremely important for a preemie.
  3. Touch your baby as much as possible. Studies show children who a e not touched have a harder time both thriving and development my strong emotional attachment. Touching and holing your baby as much as possible helps. Which is another benefit of breast feeding.
  4. Provide a cloth or article of clothing which smells like Mom. Smell is another sens children use to identify Mom. This can also help provide a sense of connection to Mom.
  5. Talk with the nurse about your needs, concerns, and a he best way to support them as hey support you. Having your child in the NICU is extremely different cult, but you are not alone you are surrounded by a team of professionals who a e on your side and want to see your child healthy enough to go home with you where he/she belongs. Opening up know what you n Ed. Share my post Support them can help them help you. Do not be afraid to ask. But, know they may not always have the title me or already answer when you ask. Let them know you are willing to wait for the answer, trust them to get back to you.
  6. Ask for help and support from your family and friends. This is not the time for a " stiff upper lip" or to" be the strong one" yes your child needs you to be strong for them. But, Durham nag this to me you need someone else to be strong for you. Let your friends and family know what you need, they love and want to help, let them know how. Share our post Supporting Parents of Children in NICU. It will give them a place to start and also help you think of other ways you could use some support. 
  7. Take care of yourself and your own emotional health. Too many times parent try to give children what they do not have themselves. The truth is you cannot give what you do not own. Social/Mental/Emotional health are a linked in order to take care of all of them you need to be willing and open to receive the help you need. First, having a baby is the most joyous and stressful experience in life. Having a child in the NICU can short circuit the best of us. Join a support group of parents who have been and are in your situation. You are not the only parent who has had a child in this situation and you will not be the last. Get around people who have been there they are your greatest mentors! Talk about it! We all have at least one friend we tell all of our down and dirty secrets to; get in a private place and pour out your heart, thoughts, and fears. Get this person to help you look at them logically and make a plan. If you are one of those rate people without such a person in your life; this is what therapy is for. Ask in the NIDU for a list of therapist who work with parents in your position. Do things which recharge your batteries and brings some emotional relief as you go through this experience. Take care of yourself. Your child will eventually come home. When that happens you will need to be as healthy as you can in all ways. They will need you to not be overly tired and stressed. But, at your very best. This means you need to have to leave the hospital at some point and just allow yourself to be. Lean on your spouse. This is something my Mom and Dad had to do when I was sick. It made their connection stronger. They talked about their hopes and fears. They shared their thoughts and weakness when it came to caring for me. The chose to see each other s allies not blaming each other but supporting and loving each other through the situation. They were married for 35 years before my father died. Marriage can survive prematurity buy, you have to build each other up through this time to make it. You can do it. It takes determination and grit, uy you can do it. Your child will need a safe and loving home to overcome the issues still to come from being premature everything you can do to build yourself , your spouse, and your marriage will help. If you are not married surround yourself with friends who will love and support you. Use your support group of parents to help. Ask for help!
  8. Pray and belief above all else that God cares about all of you. He is not far off but holding you and carrying you through this. He is close and he isther to help. Again ask for the help!
God had Aaron pray a prayer over the children of iserael and he used this prayer to put His name and blessing on the children of Israel. I encourage you to pray it over your baby at every opportunity. It is found in Numbers 6:24-27.

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Supporting Parents of Children in the NICU

On October 11, 1965 a child was born at 30 weeks. She was not breathing at birth. The doctor was to visit with her three hours later to offer her comfort and solace on the loss of her child only to be informed that her daughter was alive and in the neonatal unit of the hospital. What the doctor did not know is a nurse gave the infant cpr for two and a half hours untils she could breath on her own. That child suffered many seizures in her young life and was on phenobarbital for several years. Her mother said she slept for five days after being taken off of it at age four. At age five she had eye surgery for a lazy eye. She was a precocious kid who never met a stranger and too this day is a social butterfly. That child was me. And my parents were living in Japan far away from home and had only friends to support them.I will never know what my parents went through, but I know my Mom was a loving support to me all the days of her life! 

Friday March 23 I went to the second annual seminar called Supporting the Social Emotional Development of children who Suffer from Prematurity. It was interesting to sit and hear all of the issues children who are premature suffer from knowing I was one of those children. I can tell you the difference I did not hear was how important it is to help parents understand the issues but, to still expect the most out of their children. I think this is the most important thing we can give to parents of NICU kids. But, that is for another post. This post is about offing support to people as they are going through this time of their lives.

These parents need support in their everyday lives. Everything you can do to help them on the short and long-term to help life along as they practically live at he hospital will be a big help. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Parking is a big deal. Most hospitals have a certain period of time a patient must be in the hosptial before they wave parking. Give them a donation to help with the fees.
  2. Prepare snacks that can be eaten at the hospital. Eating is something many parents either fail to think about or can hardly afford. Put together a package of healthy snacks for them. Make sue to include fruit, veggies, and protein in your snack choices. Have some junk too but make it mostly health conscious.
  3. Clean their house. Parents get home sometimes and having a clean house they can just relax in and be at peace is a real blessing!
  4. Do their laundry. Help keep them in clean clothes and off need be take them clean clothes to the hospital.
  5. Encourage them to leave the hospital and go to est or a movie. Get them out of the fire for a few hours.
  6. Remember Dad is just as overwhelmed as Mom. In these situations a lot of men feel very frustrated they consider themselves the protectors of their families and in this situation they are helpless and can do very little in the circumstances. They need their guy friends to be there for support. Take them out to box or shoot. They have a lot of pent up aggression, fear, and angst.
  7. Be loving and supportive. In other words just listen. Unless you have been through it there is nothing you can really say. But, listening and being a shoulder is important.
  8. Find support groups for them to go to and connect with other NICU parents. There is something cathartic about being around others who are going through or have been through the same experiences as you. Get the information and let them kn ow about it. Don't push when they are ready they will ask.
  9. Just sit with them in the waiting room. NICU waiting  rooms can be lonely places. Get a group of friend or church members to take turns sitting with the parents and supporting them. Just having someone to sit with you can be very helpful and help parents feel less alone.
  10. Pray with and for them during this time and beyond. The prayers of the righteous avail much. Just talking to God about their situation can bring amazing relief. When my Mother passed I can tell you it was the prayers of those who loved her and me which got me through. There are no words to hell you what prayer support can do for someone in this situation.
  11. Just be there for them in whatever way you can!

Know that this journey can be long and hard just having your baby in the NICU for a few days is hard and stressful. But, when it gets to be one, three, four months or longer it can weigh down a family. The longer the child neexds to be there the more support they need. Be there! Love them, support them, get down in the trenches with them and help them fight. You are like the men who helped Moses by holing up his hands. Hold them up and be there to celebrate when their child leaves the NICU and again when they come home. Be a brue friend to these Moms and Dads do not leave them to fight alone become brothers and sisters in arm. Help them to fight the good fight and WIN!!

Believe in Parening

Want more information ptanda.org

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Kindergarten or Bust!-Registration in Fulton County end of March

It is  February 22nd. it is hard to think of your pre-Kindergartener going off to Big Kids School this fall. However, ready or not it is time to start planning for registration if you child i going to Fulton County Schools. The AJC posted an article on February 2, 2018 Fulton County Sets Up pre-K, Kindergarten Registration the dates are March 28 from 8 an-4 pm and March 29 from 8 am to 7 pm. So, six weeks ahead is a good time to begin to plan ahead. If your child is in a pre-K program it is likely they will have a meeting for you where the center will give you al the current forms they have so you can register your child. Many centers will also plan field trips to Kindergarten classrooms so kids will have a chance to check things out.

I have some suggestions for you as you embark on getting your child ready to make the jump to Big Kids School.

  1. Learning is a process. The process is made up of four things. Instruction, Supervised Practice, Independent Practice, and 
  2. School Choice choosing a school is about making sure your children are in the right place is something a yearly decision. Look at the current school situation. If you are happy with it then choose it. If not then it is time to look at something else.
  3. The most important skills for Kindergarten are not leater or number recognition but emotional intelligence skills. Take a look at the list below.
Elements of a child ready to enter school:
-Cooperative play with others
-Ability to identify own feelings
- Self-control
-Follows routines and rules
-Listens and follows directions
-Ability to get along with others in conflict
-Uses words to express ideas, and ask questions
-Communicates on an age- appropriate level

When Kindergarten teachers and other early professionals talk about social/emotional development or emotional intelligence these are the things they are talking about. In study after study it is these skills which lead to school and life-long success. Kindergarten is to learn the other skills. These skills are the foundation for Kindergarten; be sure your kids are ready.

Believe in Parenting
Want more information? ptanda.org

High-quality Childcare Does Not Just Happen!

Last week I had a wonderful conversation with another parent educator. She is doing some great things and I wanted to know about them. I also wanted to share with her what was happening with PT&A. During the course of our conversation she made an off-hand quip when I spoke about high-quality child care. She said something to the effect “well everybody has a different idea of quality in daycare, right?” She was surprised and even shocked when I told her there are actually industry standards for early education and there are 10 Standards with detailed information below each to the tune of a book of more than 100 pages. Unfortunately, this is the case most of the time when I talk to other professionals about what I do.

It can be frustrating when other professionals assume that early education is not really education. I usually start a conversation with elementary educators about early childhood; with the fact that there are 90-semester hours of difference in the two fields of education. Then, I tell them in order to get my MA in ECE, I needed to set aside everything about my undergraduate degree and in essence start over.

In today’s research driven society the first five years have become in vogue. People from everywhere are coming out of the woodwork concerened about what is happening in a field I have been a part of since 1987. They are concerned about this knowledge and want to jump in and do what is necessary to take brain development seriously. Because no one is doing it well. FEALLY?

High-quality standards are important and necessary it has been defined and the standards are clear and precise.

Assessment of Child Programs
Staff Competencies, Training, and support
Community Relationships
Physical Environment
Leadership and Management

I am on a crusade to ensure parents and the general pubic understand what these standards are and why they are important. I hope you will come on the journey with me. If you have young children in care this information is vital to you. Share it with other parents you know and help all of us understand the standards and use them to ensure our children are not just well taken care of, but are receiving the babies quality care available!

Believe in Parenting

What more information? ptanda.org

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

What Dad's Bring to Kids 6 and Younger!

Erickson’s stages of Psycho-socal Development in early childhood include Trust vs. Mistrust, Autonomy vs. Shame, and Initiative vs. Guilt. Interestingly it is these three areas that fatherhood influences most.  The three areas are defined as follows:

Trust vs. Mistrust (Birth to 12 to 18 months)
The infant is in a new world and must learn to trust that his\her needs will be met. While in the womb everything was provided for them, in a safe warm environment. Now they are in a bigger and more frightening place. They need adults to meet these individual needs in a safe and secure place. If the infant learns to trust all is well. If not then he/she remain in this stage needing to learn trust
Autonomy vs. Shame /Doubt (18 mo. to three years)
This is the time when young children learn that they are individuals and concentrate on learning about themselves and what they can do. However, they are depending on adults in their lives to approve of their growth. When they are allowed to achieve, on their own, they develop a sense of self pride and an "I can do" spirit. When they are not allowed this chance to achieve on their own they feel doubt about themselves, and shame because of it.  
Initiative vs. Guilt (3 to 6 years)
This is the age that children now begin to develop their own personalities. They have discovered what they can do, and they want to do it for themselves. Many times they will challenge adult authority in order to have the opportunity to do it themselves. This will cause them to have guilty feelings.                                                                                                                                                                                                        
On LiveScience.com in an article “The Science of Fatherhood: Why Dad’s matter” the author Stephanie Pappas sites hormonal studies which show the increased levels of oxycotin and the decreased levels of testoterone help men to prepare for fatherhood. Oxytocin is the hormone nicknamed the “love-hormone” that give people the ‘feeling of being in love”. Studies also show that the more a father holds and interacts with their children the longer and stronger the effects on Dad. Dads are said to spend hours holding and gazing at their babies.  It is this close physical interaction that supports a child's ability to trust.  According to Ainsworth and Bowlby it is this contact that supports bonding.

Another article on the website zerotothree.com “How Fathers and Children Affect Each Other’s Development” speaks of Dad’s being present at bith to be better at describing an infant modd and temperment with richer details up to 3 to 6 months later. This article also talks about a study done on children whose fathers were the primary caregivers over ten years following dad’s and their children  from three months to ten years. This study showed that children when given the Yale Provence-Gesell Developmental Schedules showed no intellectual or emotional trouble,  fathers stimulated emotional attachment, children showed robust emotional flexibility, and also showed exceptional ability to handle the stress and and strain of daily life.  Dad’s tended to wait longer for children to attempt to do things for themselves and were more likely to give assistance and not rescue the child. These are the building blocks for developing autonomy and initiative. Though these conclusions came about with Dad’s as primary caregivers one might als0 conclude that Dad’s interaction with children prepare them to engage in daily life in a trusting, autonomous way that sparks initiative. One article I read even stated that Dad’s rarely pick up their children the same way twice. Children’s eyes open wide and heart rate speeds up. It was exactly the opposites for Moms.

What these articles show me is information on fatherhood I thought worthy of sharing. Fathers are very important in the life and care of young children We as practitioners need to not only explore these studies and articles we need to let the everyday parent know the true effect of Dad’s interactions and relationships with kids.

Believe in Parenting

Want more? ptanda.org

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What Jewish Parents Teach their Kids that Christian Parents Don't. Why It Makes a Difference!.

When I attended Oral Roberts University in 1992 I read a book called Our Father Abraham: The Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith; it really impacted how I saw myself as a Christian and gave me a true gratitude for the Jewish people. Little did I know several decades later I would be attending a congregation of Jewish and Gentile believers who worship the Messiah as one new man. It is amazing. What is also amazing is the rite of passage called either a Bar (male) or Bat (female) Mitzvah. This ceremony takes place after two years of intensive study. girls start at 10 and boys at 11. I believe it is this two years of intensive study and preparation to be spiritually responsible for their own relationship with God that makes the difference between Messianic (jewish believers) and Christians.

One thing I will never forget reading in the booki I mentioned above is how young children are taught to love God's words by associating it with sweets. It spoke of how Rabbi's would write scriptures on small sweet cakes. The children would read the scriptures from the cake and then eat it. I love this object lesson and how it fully illustrates the scripture the word of God is sweeter to the lips than honey from the honeycomb. I attend a Messianic Congregation in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. Here every year they have a chocolate Seder (Passover Dinner) on the Thursday evening we celebrate the Resurrection after celebrating the traditional Passover. This re emphasises to the children how sweet it was for the Angel of Death to Passover those who had applied the Blood of the Lamb to their door frames.

We as Christians need to think about several things when it comes to the Jewish people. First for the Jewish people this is not just about faith it is about heritage. The Jewish people are direct descendants of Abraham. When God said to Abraham look at the stars of the sky your people will be equal in number to them. . I do not doubt it Adolf Hitler wanted to wipe out this race he killed 6 million and still there are Jewish people on every continent and every country in the world. They are a resilient people and God has caused them to thrive and flourish wherever they are. It is a testament to His faithfulness. Also, these people have come to realize when you are thrown out of a country with only the clothes on your back all you can take with you is the knowledge in your head. So, Jewish people value education above most hings. Finally, many Jewish people are scared of Christians in just about every case when the Jewish people persecuted it was either condoned, supported, or carried out by people who called themselves Christian. Therefore, many Jews show hate, contempt, and anger toward those of us who claim the Messiah as Lord. This all started in the 3rd century When Constantine decided he wanted to save Rome from falling he created  the Roman Catholic Church. He purposely separated the church from the Jewish people. Thus the statue all over Europe of Synagogue and Ecclesia. He sent his Mom to point out all the places she believed Christ was and they claimed them as Holy sites. To this day there are things the Kinessate will not do because it may offend the  Church of Rome. I share these things with you because you need to know why the Jewish people do these things and Christians do not. It is because in 313 the Church was split into Jew and Gentile by the will of a Roman Emperor. God is in the process of bringing us back together.

However, for that to happen we need to begin to understand the roots of our faith and teach those roots to our children. Christian and Jewish children are of one family in the Messiah. Are all Jewish people going to accept the Messiah? No, but lets be honest not everyone who calls Jesus Lord is actually serving Him. Those Jews who are believers in Messiah are our brothers grafted into the same olive tree. We need to teach this to our kids so they begin to understand who they are (the Jewish People)  and who we are in relation to them.

I think it should start with Christian parents recognizing that their children need to study deeply what it means to serve Messiah at age 10 for girls and 11 for boys. We need to ensue our children have their own independent relationship with the Holy Spirit based on their own knowledge of the word and strong foundation of a relationship listening to and obeying the leading and the voice of the Holy Spirit. While the churches we attend can assist us in this practice, What I have found is the parents of these kids who offer the driving force and the most support and counsel to their kids. Many of us in the church have made the mistake of letting our children think that getting up on Sundy an going to church church is the primary way we serve God. Which is not even almost the truth.

We need to talk about God with our kids. Talk about what He is saying to us about us and about them. We need to talk about how the Holy Spirit told us... and looking back we see what He meant and what  our obedience and our disobedience has given/cost us. We need to talk about the whole bible and attend some Messianic congregations to put the Old Testament into its correct perspective. But, most of all we need to live what we believe by thinking, saying, acting, and doing what the word says as best we can. Because our children will take with them 85% of what they see us doing and 15% of what they hear. So, I challenge you to begin to ask the Holy Spirit to show you how  you can train your kids to have a real and concrete relationship with the Lord. If you think you could use some help. I will be hosting a class for 6 weeks beginning 2/15/18. Contact me at educatepta@gmail for more information.

Believe in Parenting