Archive for the ‘Infants & Toddlers’ Category

How to Make the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

October 3, 2008

The parent-teacher conference is an important opportunity to develop a strong partnership with your child’s teacher. Most schools schedule regular conferences, but if they don’t, you can request them. To make the most of each meeting with your child’s teacher, follow these tips from the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association:

Getting Ready

• Call or write a note to set up an appointment to discuss your concerns.

• Briefly state your reasons for the meeting so the teacher can prepare.

• Find out in advance how much time you will have. If you feel that you need more time, let the teacher know.

• Talk to your child ahead of time to find out if there is anything she would like you to discuss during the meeting. Assure her that you and her teacher are meeting to help her. Consider including your child in the meeting if you think that is appropriate.

• Make a list of questions and don’t be afraid to ask them. Give some thought to the goals you may have for your child and share them with the teacher.

The Conference

Begin the conference on a positive note. Tell the teacher what kind of progress you’ve noticed and what your child enjoys. Be sure to thank her for meeting with you.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

• How much time should my child be spending on assigned homework each night?

• How much help should I give my child on homework?

• How are you measuring my child’s progress? Through tests? Portfolios of his work? Class participation? Projects? A combination of these?

• Does my child participate in class discussion and activities?

• Does she complete and hand in all homework assignments?

• What future projects are planned?

• Is my child getting along with the other children?

• What are the classroom rules and how do you enforce them?

Develop a Plan and Initiate It

If your child is having difficulties, either socially or academically, this is the time to find out if they are school- or home-related, what the teacher can do to help and what assistance you can provide at home.

• Make notes of the teacher’s specific suggestions for helping your child at home.

• Before you leave the meeting, agree on a specific plan to help your child.

• Set up a way to check your child’s progress. Let the teacher know how to reach you and make sure that you know how to report back to the teacher.

• Review what you have discussed and restate your action plan.

• If you do not agree with the teacher, respectfully tell her this and let her know that you will continue to explore the issue further with her.

• Discuss the plan with your child.

• Follow through at home, as you have agreed to do.

• Stay in touch with the teacher to discuss your child’s progress and, if necessary, plan a follow-up conference.

From United Parenting Publications, October 2003.


Pee-Pee TeePees!!

September 27, 2008

If you’re the parent of a baby boy you have surely encountered “the sprinkling wee-wee”! You hold his feet in one hand, the diaper in the other, all the time chanting your diaper changing mantra: “Please don’t pee on me!” Pee Pee Tee Pees to the rescue. Just place this cone-shaped cloth product you know where and it will make diaper changes dry and easy. It’s the perfect addition to any baby shower gift. Comes packaged in a miniature cotton laundry bag with 5 teepees. Available in Airplane or Car (colors may vary) pattern. Washable and reusable. 100% cotton. Tee Pees measure 2″H. Made in Canada.

Oh my gosh, this is hilarious!! (Much as it might be useful… )

Living with chronic conditions – Asthma

September 22, 2008

“Chronic” describes illnesses, such as cerebral palsy or asthma, that which are long-lasting. Where the symptoms are present on a daily basis, or they flare up occasionally. Chronic conditions may be lifelong, and you will need make some changes in your lifestyle.

Most parents often reaction with anxiety, fear, bitterness, and possibly guilt upon discovering their child has a chronic condition. After the initial shock, they become very involved in learning about their child’s condition, and ways and methods of managing it.

When your child first shows signs of a chronic condition, apart from the physical unpleasantness of being ill, he will most likely find the experience of visiting doctors and hospitals quite stressful. Stay calm in front of your child and do not fuss or panic. He or she will see your anxiety, and interpret it in his own way and become more anxious himself; he may even become terrified that he is going to die. Talk to your child rationally about his condition, and explain what is happening to him.


The reasons for increase in rate of asthma are not entirely known, although pollution, viruses, low birth-weight, and bottlefeeding instead of breastfeeding are possible factors. Smoking is proven, and a very important factor particularly if you smoke during your pregnancy, and you or your partner smokes during your child’s early years.  Boys, are twice as likely as girls to have asthma.

In can be quite difficult to spot asthma in very young children for three reasons.

  1. 1/3 of all children have at least one attack of wheezing during their first five years and most of them will never have breathing problems again. Even though wheezing may be sever enough to warrant hospital admission.
  2. Doctors may not link individual episodes, so may describe flare-ups as wheezing, wheezy bronchitis, chesty coughs, or colds.
  3. A ‘peak-flow meter’, the device normally used to measure how well the lungs work, can only be used with children over the age of five.

Before reaching a diagnosis, your doctor should wait and see how the pattern of symptoms develop. It is this pattern, not individual symptoms, that confirm the diagnosis. Typical symptom patterns for asthma are:

  • Repeat attacks of wheezing and coughing, usually with colds.
  • A persistent dry, irritating cough.
  • Many restless nights caused by attacks of wheezing or coughing.
  • Wheezing or coughing between colds, especially after exercise or excitement, or when exposed to cigarette smoke and allergens such as pollen, or house-dust-mite droppings.

You will find that certain substances or activities can trigger an attack.

  • Smoking
  • Cold air
  • Certain activities
  • Certain allergies


Your doctor can prescribe medicine that will control your child’s symptoms, although they won’t cure asthma. Most medications come in the form of an inhaler (puffer). There are two types: preventers & relievers. Young children should use their inhalers with a device called a spacer, which delivers the drug directly to the airways.

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September 19, 2008

Also called water on the brain this is a rare condition. It is more common in pre-term babies.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) bathes the brain and spinal cord, protecting them from injury. If there is a blockage in the flow of CSF, or over-production of fluid, excess CSF builds up in the cavities of the brain. The head swells as the skull bones are still not fused, and the fontanelles (the soft spots where certain bones meet) become wide and bulging.

If hydrocephalus is suspected, frequent ultrasound checks will be made and your baby’s head circumference measured every two to three days. If a child is born with hydrocephalus, a shunt may be inserted to drain the fluid. Mental development is usually affected, but some children with advanced hydrocephalus have normal intelligence.

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Spina bifida

September 19, 2008

Spina bifida is caused by a defect of the neural tube (the developing spine) can be detected in pregnancy by ultrasound. The introduction of folic acid to a mother’s diet before conception and during pregnancy has greatly reduced the incidence of spina bifida.

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