Parenting

Guest Post: How to Prevent Cyber Bullying

Over the past year I’ve had more and more clients report issues with their children experiencing cyber bullying, and have even had some of my younger clients relay their first hand experiences with it. So, I’m happy to publish this guest post from Anna Blake who recently released an educational children’s book on Internet safety. 


 

How to Prevent Cyber Bullying

By: Anna Blake

Cyber bullying is becoming an epidemic and it has a serious impact on the mental health of both children and adults. You or your child can fall victim to cyber bullies at any time, even if you did not in any way engage with the perpetrators or provoke the attack. It is important to know how to prevent cyber bullying before it gets out of hand.

Online Monitoring

You should actively monitor your children’s online activities, so you can identify possible cyber bullying situations. The internet provides a level of disconnect that emboldens cyber bullies to say and do things they wouldn’t do in the real world. Your child may not know how to handle these attacks, so it is up to you to step in and handle the situation for them.

Make sure to take screenshots and save any audio or video messages, if you can. If the cyber bullies are known to you or your child, take appropriate action to report their behavior. For younger kids, you can inform the school, as most districts have a proactive policy that aims to stamp out cyber bullying. Otherwise, you may need to contact the police and determine whether the issue is within the realm of their cyber bullying unit, or to ask for a referral to a local organization that can help.

Tell your child not to engage with the cyber bullies and block them once you have enough evidence of potentially unlawful activities. It is also essential you protect you or your child’s personal information, as cyber bullies will use it as a threat or means to intimidate. Ideally, you will have had a conversation with your child about not sharing personal information in group chats, forums, or social media platforms that they wouldn’t share in the real world.

Signs of Cyber Active Bullying

If you notice your child does not want to spend as much time online, it may indicate she is being cyber bullied. Handle the situation gently and discuss reasons why she does not want to go online. You cannot help your child resolve the issue if there is a barrier to communication. Cyber bullying can cause a child to feel embarrassed and weak, so an understanding and empathetic approach is ideal.

Look and listen for signs of cyber bullying when your child is online. Preferably, online devices should only be used when you are in the room and able to effectively monitor what is going on, without encroaching too much on your child’s internet time. If a child is making a conscious effort to hide the device screen, it should set off alarm bells that something is not right.

Children are not as equipped to handle conflict as adults are, so monitor your child’s emotions while online. If she seems angry or upset, there is a very good chance it is due to cyber bullying. Encouraging your child to discuss their problems at this stage may prove difficult. However, you need to establish what is going on in order to help.

When a child changes her name on social media or creates a completely different account for no apparent reason, she is likely being stalked and tormented by cyber bullies. If you ignore these signs, the issue will only escalate to the point where your child feels there is nowhere left to turn. She will become withdrawn and emotionally distressed in social situations. This is the time where you must let your child know you are a trusted ally who will stand by her side.

Due to the fact that cyber bullying has become such a serious problem, there is plenty of support available for parents and kids. If you are finding it difficult to help your child, don’t be afraid to reach out to schools, public authorities, and any local support groups that are involved in combating cyber bullying.

About Anna Blake

Anna is a stay at home mom, wife and owner of very demanding cat, from sunny Chatsworth, California. When she is not busy chasing her 2 year old around, you can find her trying out new salad recipes or re-watching favorite chick-flick movies.

Together with her hubby they educate kids and adults about internet safety through their website and recently created an educational children’s book Internet Kids – Road Trip.

Childbirth, Parenting, Pregnancy, Video

Tips for Bonding with Your Baby

A sample video from Udemy’s bestselling online childbirth preparation course, https://www.udemy.com/childbirth-preparation-a-complete-guide-for-pregnant-women/

Family Entertainment, Parenting

5 Unique Alternatives to Baby Books (That Won’t Make You Feel Like a Failure)

*Quoted as expert

As a kid, I would flip through my baby book, hoping my mom had filled in some of the blanks while I was sleeping or at school. But every time I took the book off its shelf, I saw the same barren pages between the faded pale yellow covers. Listed were the date and time of my birth, my birth weight, a lock of hair from my first haircut … and that was all. I promised myself that if I ever became a parent, I wouldn’t start a baby book if I couldn’t commit to the project. As an adult, I know that I’m amazing at starting projects. But finishing them? Not so much.

This is why I’ve never owned a baby book.

It turns out, I’m not alone. In the age of the smartphone, many parents are finding the traditional baby book just doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t mean those of us who are sans baby book aren’t capturing the important moments. There are plenty of ways to hold onto the milestones, the mispronunciations that are too cute to correct, and everything in between – while letting go of the pressure to fill in the blanks.

. . .

4 | Film them

There is nothing quite like a video to preserve a moment. At the end of each year, Bailey Gaddis, the Ojai, California mother and author of “Feng Shui Mommy,” creates a “Year in Review” video montage of all the short takes she’s recorded of her four-year-old son throughout the year. Not only does the video showcase milestones and random sweet and funny moments, Bailey loves that they double as holiday gifts for the grandparents. As an added bonus, videos won’t create clutter.

Read the full article on Parent.co

Parenting, Reviews and Giveaways

Ergobaby Omni 360 Review

My main issue with the classic Ergobaby carrier was that I could only (comfortably) have my son facing my chest. As he grew older, and had a desire to check out the happenings around him, he would get peeved when he was stuck looking at me (unless he was in the mood for some boob.) So, I’m happy to report that the Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier solves that problem and allows your babe to comfortably be carried in pretty much every position you can imagine: forward facing, outward facing, on the hip, and on the back.
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And, there are other perks attached to this updated Ergobaby:
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  • The structured bucket seat allows baby to sit in an ergonomically-friendly position, in all positions, minimizing “my crotch hurts” fussiness.
  • There’s also goodies for the adult. The crossbale shoulder straps and lumbar support allow you to go for hours with your child strapped to your body without feeling like your back is being slowly tortured. I would know – I went on a four mile hike with this carrier (and my child) and I could have gone further.
  • You no longer have to worry about losing that bulky newborn insert. You can now simply adjust the leg width and wa-lah (!), newborn ready.
  • It’s more comfortable for dads. My husband, who is a lot a bit larger than me, had problems adjusting our original carrier to suit his wider and taller frame. The Omni 360 carrier is so versatile and easy to adjust he gets a little twinkle in his eye when he gets a turn with it.
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While I was already a devotee of Ergobaby before this new beauty was released, the Omni 360 is such a champ I’m now that mom who accosts people at the park telling them how they MUST get an Ergobaby Omni 360 in their life.
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P.S. Dear Ergobaby, could you please figure out a way to add a cup holder and wine dispenser to your next model? Please and thank you.
Childbirth, Parenting, Pregnancy

3 Ways to Foster a Psychic Connection With Your Baby

Your baby can communicate from the womb if you just learn to listen. 

The Tibetans believe that pregnancy is the time when a woman has the strongest connection to “another realm” because her baby is living partially in her body, and partially in the spirit world. This spiritual gateway is also believed to release the full voice of the woman’s intuition, allowing her to send and receive messages to and from her baby.
 
For some, these messages come via clear voices heard in the mother’s mind, or said by another at the exact time the mother is asking a question of her unborn baby. But, for many pregnant women messages from their baby come through in more abstract, but just as powerful, channels.
 
Following are ways you can open up this magical communication channel with your baby, helping to ensure they’re able to be one of your guides throughout pregnancy and childbirth. 
 
1. Clearing the Clutter

When the energy around or within you is stagnant, the channel of communication between you and baby becomes blocked. To begin clearing these blocks, get rid of the clutter in the primary areas you spend time in, only keeping objects and pieces of furniture that you love or add usefulness to your life. 

After your outer clutter is cleared, ensure your inner environment is uncluttered by forgiving others for wrongs you feel they’ve committed, and forgiving yourself for missteps you believe you’ve made. Just let it all flow out – your communication channel with Baby will blossom in the clear space that is left.

2. Practicing Heart-Centered Meditation

Now that you have a clear channel for communication, begin to tap into it by minimizing distractions, closing your eyes, and placing your hands on your belly.

As you sit, notice warmth from your heart center beginning to radiate down towards your uterus, then notice a warmth spreading up from the center of your uterus.

Allow the warmth from your heart and uterus to connect and create a channel of love that is alive with love for your baby, and from your baby.

You don’t need to search for any profound messages in this space, just sit, and be, and feel warm with your baby. 

3. Doing Free Flow Journaling

You’re now tuned in to a feeling-connection with your baby, and are now ready to explore your thinking-connection.

To do this, set aside twenty to thirty minutes, preferably after you practice the heart-centered meditation, and begin writing. There is no prompt for this writing exercise, just write whatever comes to you, even if you just write, “I don’t know what to write” for the first few minutes.

Let words pour out of you without pausing to analyze spelling, sentence structure, or even the topic you’re writing on – just keep writing.

You’ll likely notice, if you commit to the full time, that interesting and meaningful messages will begin flowing from pen to paper, maybe even messages that don’t seem to be coming from your own mind . . .

4. Becoming Aware of the New Rhythm of Your Thoughts and Desires

The more you tap into your psychic connection with your unborn baby the more you’ll notice the rhythm of your thoughts and desires shifting.

You may start to think about relationships, work, or maybe food in new ways, and notice that you’re having desires for conversations, experiences, or other facets of life that you never had before.

What if these subtle shifts are your baby communicating with you? Maybe this is his way of encouraging you to live a life that will optimally set the two of you up for your new life together – may be.

5. Taking A Few Moments of Stillness Before Acting

Subtle communication, with your intuition or baby, is often missed when you hastily move through life.

To ensure you’re able to honor the messages from your baby, pause before you speak, make decisions, or transition into a new activity. This pause may just last a few moments but can create the space for you to live with greater intention and a heightened awareness of the needs of your baby.

An added benefit of developing this psychic connection with your baby, before they’re born, is that it will make their transition from womb to the outer world smoother for you both. You’ll have a preexisting mode of communication, which will enhance your baby’s ability to “tell you” what they need, and your ability to decipher and respond to those needs.

This enhanced communication will also make the many moments of challenge easier to navigate because you’ll be connected to the bigger picture – that the two of you are co-authoring an epic love story. 

P.S. Until 12.31.17 you can get 10% off my favorite baby carrier at ErgoBaby.com! Just use the super simple coupon code BBMkp9VIniU 😉 And, FREE shipping!

Parenting, Travel

The Mom Who Is Stepping Off a Building For Her Son

If you’re a mom, it might not surprise you that there are women out there literally stepping off a building to support their children.

Sheila Bierwert is one of these women. This year will be Sheila’s seventh time participating in the Over the Edge event at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort, which raises money for The Special Olympics Hawaii. The fundraiser consists of participants (who were able to raise $1,000 or more for The Special Olympics Hawaii) rappelling over the edge of the 40-story resort.

I asked Sheila what the most intimidating aspect of the rappelling was, and her answer was appropriate for so many risks in life: the hardest part is taking the first step. Luckily, the rooftop Over the Edge staff is well versed in how to supportively coax rappellers off the edge of a building.

Sheila is willing to take this first step over and over again to show support for her son Trevor, who has special needs, and the other Special Olympics athletes who she says face challenges on a daily basis.

Sheila Bierwert
Sheila with her family.

Her family has become so involved and inspired by this event (they’ve raised $40,000 so far!) that her daughter Emma will be taking that epic step with Sheila on October 28th.

And, while some thrive on the adrenaline something like rappelling shoots through the body, Sheila is not one of them- she says she doesn’t even enjoy going to amusement parks. But, love for a child will do that to you: it will pour a dissolvent over your fears.

If you’re interesting in supporting this fundraiser, click here!

 

Childbirth, Parenting, Pregnancy, Press

Inspired Conversations with Linda Joy

Curious about what’s it’s like to navigate the emotions of an unplanned pregnancy? Or, many of the other wonderful/crazy/confusing/transformative challenges of the journey into #motherhood? Tune into to my interview on the Inspired Conversations with Linda Joy radio show today at 2pm ET here, http://omtimes.com/iom/shows/inspired-conversations/ #pregnancy #childbirth#fengshuimommy

Inspired Conversations_Bailey Gaddis

 

Childbirth, Parenting, Pregnancy

How to Prepare for a Baby – The Essential To-Do List

Preparing for a permanent resident in your life that you’ve never met can be tricky, but doing nothing to prepare is even trickier. While there is no way to ensure you won’t be popped with surprises during early motherhood, there are ways to set yourself up for greater success, satisfaction, and sanity before your wiggly little person makes their grand entrance.

To kick off your preparations, complete the following to-dos before The Day:

  1. Create Your Baby Zones.

Babies have a sneaky way of taking over every square inch of your house if you don’t designate specific areas wholly devoted to your noisy cherub. For example, set up a changing zone in one room of your house (or two if your home is spread out) and an always stocked and organized diaper bag you can grab for on-the-go changes (like blowouts so messy it’s best to bring the supplies to baby.) In addition, consider setting up play zones, feeding zones, sleep zones, dressing zones, and any other zones you think your baby will need.

Read more on Nanit

Career, Childbirth, Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Pregnancy

10 New Ways to Afford Fertility Treatments

Before the birth of her daughter, Aurora, in 2016, Heather Huhman, host of the podcast Beat Infertility and founder of content-marketing firm Come Recommended, went through seven cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), suffered four miscarriages and gave birth to stillborn twins, Eric and Alexis. As difficult and heartbreaking as the Washington, DC, woman’s journey to motherhood was, she never stopped working—she had to foot the almost-$60,000 bill for all those fertility treatments.

Heather is not an anomaly. A survey by FertilityIQ, a fertility doctor and clinic evaluation website, found that 92 percent of women undergoing fertility treatments are employed. Of those, 68 percent work a full 40 to 50 hours a week.

One big reason? More and more women are postponing pregnancy until their mid-to late 30swhile they’re furthering their careers—and this delay often makes fertility treatments necessary to start a family. But medical need isn’t the only reason working women make up the majority of fertility-care patients: The high price of help forces many women to continue earning a paycheck while trying to conceive. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reported that the average cost of one IVF treatment in the United States is $12,400, not including the extra medications a woman might need and the added fees for using an egg or sperm donor, or gestational surrogate.

Read more on Working Mother

Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

7 Family-Approved Summer Activities in Tahoe

While the spirit of many ski towns dissolves with the snow, the Tahoe area pulsates with energy all year. When the skiers and boarders skip town, usually after enjoying the snow from November to July, a fresh crop of thrill seekers and wanderlusts emerge to enjoy the hiking, biking, diving, fishing, swimming, and sightseeing in the visually rich environment.
With an overflowing platter of recreational options, this area is ideal for families yearning for adventure, but with a variety of comfort zones.
When planning your summer vacation to Tahoe, pick and choose from the following to craft an epic journey into this astounding pocket of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
 
1.    Bike Riding: If you’re looking for a scenic, safe, and leisurely family bike ride, rent your wheels at Parallel Mountain Sports in the Village at Squaw Valley (or bring your own!) and have them direct you to the path that snakes along the Truckee River all the way to the crisp waters of Lake Tahoe.
Parenting, Self Love

Introducing HypnoMothering

One of the most common questions I get about Feng Shui Mommy is “What’s the deal with the section on the Fourth Trimester? What the heck is the Fourth Trimester?”

The first three months of a baby’s life out of the womb are referred to by many as the “fourth trimester” – while the baby is no longer in the womb they are still helpless in so many ways and fully dependent on their mother.

These first three months out of the womb are also the first third of what is sometimes referred to as “exterior gestation.” This term comes from the belief that infants are born before their brains are fully matured (because their heads would be too large to fit through the birth path at full maturity) so, their brains finish growing when they are outside the womb.

During this “fourth trimester” the mother can no longer just take care of herself and trust that her baby will receive all he requires (as he did in the first three trimesters), she now has to be really intentional about caring for her own needs, while also of course caring for her infant who is now much more demanding than he was in the womb – it can be incredibly challenging/ overwhelming / (insert your favorite emotional adjective here)!

So, beyond the support I offer for the fourth trimester in Feng Shui Mommy I am now certified to teach HypnoMothering!

HypnoMothering is a 2.5 hour class for moms to be, new mothers, and moms of young children. Developed by two hypnotherapists, each a mother of twins, this fun, practical class teaches mothers easy and fast self-hypnosis techniques to make the most of limited sleep, keep calm and balanced on challenging days, and find focus and mindfulness amidst the myriad of feelings that mothers face.

Find out more here 🙂

Parenting, Reviews and Giveaways, Sponsored Posts

The Cloth Dying Process That Could Change Your Baby’s Life

Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by Panchhi a company offering high quality 100% organic cotton muslin baby products and only uses natural printing (no chemical dyes!) I don’t post many of these because I only accept sponsored post opportunities from companies offering services or products I already use, and have an ideology I can get behind.

 

A baby’s skin is continually developing in the first year of life, making it susceptible to infection – premature babies have even more sensitive skin, as it did not have enough time to properly develop in the womb and needs extra attention while it plays catch up. What touches this silky skin matters and deserves intention and attention.

Extra Tip: To inoculate your baby with healthy bacteria, rub their bare skin on yours. This is one reason why skin-to-skin is so widely encouraged.

Luckily, with companies like Panchhi coming into the textile-selling scene (companies that are conscious of both the sensitivity of baby’s skin and our environment) it’s easier to find products we don’t hesitate to wrap our children in.

100% organic cotton muslin is a favorite textile for many skin savvy parents (as it’s gentle on the skin, and helps to prevent overheating and sweating), but what about the dye that creates those cute little images and catchy sayings? Does the composition of that dye matter?

It sure does.

Recent research has found that by-product polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in certain colors of printing ink used in children’s clothing. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency classify PCBs as a “probable human carcinogen” and The National Toxicology Program has found that PCBs are “reasonably likely to cause cancer in humans.” In addition, people exposed to high levels of PCBs have experienced irritation in the lungs, skin, nose, and eyes. PCBs have also been found to disrupt hormone function and the immune system.

So yeah, not a friendly group of 209 chemicals that share a common structure.

Because the presence of the PCBs in dyes isn’t intentional, it’s tricky to know what clothing companies to avoid – but we do know which companies to seek out – those that use natural printing.

Panchhi practices the ancient art of natural printing, where colors are extracted from sustainably harvested plants and herbs – no harsh chemical dyes are used on their organic products.

 

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Common herbs used for natural printing are Haritaki, Maddar, Pomegranate, Turmeric, and Indigo. (Panchhi utilizes these herbs for printing but takes it a step further by treating all their products with sea salt and dipping them in aloe vera to enhance the wellness properties and fastness of the prints.)

While these plants don’t offer the same palate found in clothing that utilizes chemical dyes, they offer an array of soothing colors made of Ayurvedic (an alternative form of medicine that focuses on the mind-body connection) herbs believed to produce a positive aura and calm in the wearer of the clothing. And, if your baby is the one wearing that positive aura and calm inducing clothing, you’re in for a good day.

 

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Here’s a further breakdown of the potential powers of these herbs:

Haritaki – Believed to help in detoxification, rejuvenation and in increasing positive energy and awareness.

Maddar – Believed to heal various skin ailments, jaundice, irregular menstrual cycles and kidney dysfunctions.

Pomegranate – Believed to relieve constipation, inflammation, body pain, along with boosting memory, fighting infections and promoting a healthier heart.

Turmeric – Believed to have healing properties for skin problems, cough, cold and fever.

Indigo – Believed to be helpful for people who get excessively hot and sweat a lot. In addition, it is believed to have healing properties for respiratory problems and is used in many parts of India to treat mosquito bites, fast healing of bruises and relieve pain. Indigo is also believed to help calm down, relax and sleep peacefully.

Yes, please.

P.S. I’ve noticed that all the organic cotton products I’ve bought for my son over the years always outlive his non-organic cotton items, making up for the higher price tag of the soft stuff.

 

Quotes from friends of mine who have used Panchhi products:

“I have a more neutral and natural aesthetic which is why I loved the muted colors and soft tones of Panchhi products – they don’t overwhelm the senses.”

“I could tell a marketed difference in my daughter’s sleep when she started using the Panchhi sleep sack – she would fidget less and wake up happier.”

“My son loves the big cozy Panchhi towel, he uses it as a cape and refuses to take it off hours after his bath. And, unlike many other towels we’ve tried, this one doesn’t leave a residue on his skin.”

“I’m super picky about the washcloths I use on my newborn, usually finding them to be too rough or too “syntheticy.” The Panchhi wash cloths are soft and effective and don’t make me feel like I’m rubbing chemicals into my baby’s skin every time I wash her off.”

Parenting, Reviews and Giveaways

Review: Back to School With Bigfoot

My son is already having concerns about re-entering the equally fascinating and intimidating world of school. He’s such a little guy that it seems hard for him to find the words to express his nerves but this book gave him an outlet to explore his feelings in a fun and non-threatening way. The book makes the point that no matter who you are it can be scary going back to school, but this entry can be even more challenging when you feel like you are different, which so many of us do. This book is fun, humorous, and relatable, offering a safe space for parents and children to examine the emotions attached to a new school year.

Check it out here