Archive for September, 2012

Separation Anxiety in Kids Who Attend Daycare

September 20th, 2012 by admin

When a child first begins attending daycare, especially if she’s between the ages of eight and 18 months old, the transition can sometimes be a difficult one. During this period of development, healthy babies begin to gain a sense of selfhood, realizing that they are an entity separate from their primary caregiver. They’re also beginning to grasp the concept of object permanence, realizing that objects and people still exist, even when they’re not seen or heard. The confluence of these two milestones causes your child to understand for the first time that separation from you is possible, but the lack of a solid concept of time and a difficulty processing the fact that you will return can leave her in hysterics when she’s dropped off at daycare. This is almost always considered normal behavior by medical professionals and childcare providers, and this stage can extend into the toddler and preschool years without being an immediate cause for concern, especially among only children or those experiencing separation from a parent or primary caregiver for the first time. Determining whether your child’s separation anxiety is a regular part of development or an indicator of something more serious can be difficult, but there are some factors you should consider as you ponder the subject.

  • A Disruption in an Established Routine – Children are essentially creatures of habit, and they thrive on a routine. If that routine is suddenly disrupted by a parent’s return to the workforce or some other situation that stipulates a move to center-based care for a child that’s accustomed to remaining in the safety and familiarity of her home, difficulty adjusting to daycare may last longer than parents expect. Be patient with your child, especially those whose verbal skills aren’t quite strong enough to express their fears clearly.
  • Unfamiliar and Overwhelming Environment – The bright colors, loud noises, and constant sensory stimulation of daycare can seem like barely-controlled chaos to a young child, especially an only child who has previously been accustomed to a more placid environment. If your child is suffering from separation anxiety each morning when you drop her off at daycare, take a moment to consider the environment and compare it to that of your home. Jarring noises, shouts, and the exuberance of children that are still essentially strangers to your child, paired with the fact that she’s separated from everything that she recognizes and that feels familiar to her, could be a contributing factor to her reluctance to let you go each morning.
  • Peer Bullying – Bullying is a problem that many parents don’t begin to worry about until their children reach elementary school age, but it can be an issue amongst children as young as preschoolers. While your child may not know to call what she’s suffering from “bullying,” if she’s of preschool age or slightly older and seems to be fearful of attending daycare, it could be the result of teasing or bullying that she’s being subjected to there. Talking to her about what bullying is and asking her if she’s ever witnessed such behavior can help to open a dialogue on the subject, and may leave you with answers to many of your questions regarding her separation anxiety.
  • Caregiver Abuse – Before this subject is addressed, it’s important to understand that sustaining abuse from a childcare provider who is employed by a reputable daycare center is a very unlikely prospect for your child. However, if she exhibits symptoms of separation anxiety only when she’s being dropped off at daycare and mentions a particular worker by name in a negative manner, her motivations for feeling uncomfortable with this particular worker are worth exploring. If no evidence of abuse can be found but anxiety persists, changing daycare centers may be your best option.
  • Dramatic Changes at Home – The death of a loved one or the divorce of her parents can leave your child feeling more anxious than normal about the idea of being separated from her primary caregiver. If her difficulty dealing with separation coincides with a traumatic event at home, there’s a very strong possibility that her anxiety is a natural result of that trauma.

Discussing your child’s struggle with separation anxiety with her pediatrician, especially if it doesn’t seem to be improving with time, is the most effective way of obtaining both peace of mind and assistance in managing the issue. Establishing goodbye rituals, settling on a transitional object that helps her make it through the day, and keeping lines of communication open are all time-tested methods of helping children make the transition into daycare without hysteria. While the idea of sneaking away when your child is otherwise occupied can be tempting, it’s one that you should avoid. In most cases, it will ease the transition for you, but make it more difficult on her when she realizes that you’re gone and didn’t say goodbye. This can fuel worries that you’re never coming back, so make sure that when you drop her off you explain that you’re leaving, but you will return for her at the end of the day.

30 Blogs Serving Up Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipes

September 11th, 2012 by admin

Macaroni and cheese is one of the American childhood staple foods. Beloved by even the pickiest of eaters, this classic pasta dish is a go-to when it comes to serving up delicious, kid-friendly meals. Commercially available mixes, however, can be preservative-laden, artificially flavored, nutritional nightmares, with a neon orange color that’s anything but natural. The 30 blog posts on this list, however, offer a healthy take on macaroni and cheese to fit almost any dietary restriction, and include some interesting twists on this old standby.

Dairy Free

For kids who suffer from dairy allergies, traditional macaroni and cheese of the homemade variety is forbidden. Since classic recipes call for milk or cream in the sauce, and cheese itself is a dairy product, it can be difficult to modify the dish into something that these little ones can tolerate. These five offerings are completely dairy free, and sure to be a hit.

Gluten Free

Whether you have a family member with a gluten allergy or celiac disease, or if you simply adhere to a dietary plan that does not include gluten, finding recipes for quality pasta dishes can be an enormous challenge. These five posts are chock-full of gluten-free macaroni and cheese recipes that will please even picky eaters.


Standard, store-bought macaroni and cheese mixes can be heavy on the fat, especially if you use real butter and whole milk. Traditional homemade offerings can be even worse, with many recipes calling for half and half or heavy cream, in addition to other fatty ingredients. If your ultimate goal is to put a low-fat mac and cheese dish on the table, these recipes are heavy hitters of the light variety.


Veganism has exploded in popularity over the last decade, but finding classic comfort-food recipes that adhere to a diet completely free of any animal products or by-products can still be fairly difficult. These animal-free, healthy macaroni and “cheese” alternatives are tasty and guilt-free on several levels.


Carbohydrate cravings can significantly contribute to obesity in children; preparing healthy, low-carb meals can help to reduce the risk of obesity and can also contribute to the formation of better eating habits as kids age. Dramatic slashing of carbohydrate intake, such as that advocated by the Atkins diet, is not recommended for children. Still, monitoring the carb content of kids’ meals is important. With that in mind, these five blogs serve up tasty, low-carb variations on macaroni and cheese.


Concerns over agricultural practices, unhealthy chemicals, and hormone treatments for stock animals have spurred a large number of families to make the move to an all-organic diet. These five posts are dedicated to dishes that are ethical, sustainable, and free from any dangerous additives that might be found in traditional ingredients, offering a healthier macaroni and cheese recipe. Be sure to look for the certified organic seal on all of your produce, pasta, and dairy items to ensure that your mac and cheese is indeed organic!

30 of the Best Blogs on Potty Training

September 4th, 2012 by admin

Potty training is a major milestone for your toddler, one that almost always requires a significant amount of patience and a bit of guidance for the parents and caregivers that are coaching them. Thanks to the Internet and the virtual village of experienced parents, childcare providers and childhood experts that maintain blogs, there’s a wealth of easily obtained information to be found. From preparation to bed-wetting help, here are thirty of the blogs that will help you turn your little one into a potty training success story.

Potty Training Preparation

As with so many things in life, the level of success that you and your child will experience is largely contingent upon your level of preparation. Getting your little one ready to transition out of diapers requires some advance planning, as these bloggers can attest.

Potty Training For Boys

Potty training a little boy presents a unique set of challenges for moms and female childcare providers, which might be why old wives’ tales assert that potty training a boy is more difficult than it is with little girls. These five blog posts tackle the issue of potty training from the little boy perspective, helping parents and caregivers get their little guy out of diapers.

Potty Training For Girls

Every little girl is different, and will have her own unique experience with potty training. However, dads and male caregivers may find it daunting to assume the task of helping her break free of the diapers. These five blogs focus on potty training methods specific to little girls, rather than general, gender-neutral insights.

Elimination Communication

Popularized by celebrities like Mayim Bialik, the elimination communication method of potty training begins during early infancy and relies upon a parent or caregivers ability to properly time diaper actions and to take cues from a baby’s behavior regarding the matter. Elimination communication is also referred to as “infant potty training.”

Delayed Potty Training

For some children and their parents, potty training comes with relative ease. Others, however, may face significant obstacles on their road to diaper freedom. These five blogs entries discuss various aspects of delayed potty training.

Nighttime Accidents

Some kids master potty training quickly during their waking hours, but continue to struggle with nighttime accidents for quite some time afterward. The following five blog posts are all about bed-wetting and nighttime accidents, offering advice and explanations along the way.

These are just a small sampling of the blog postings dedicated to the complicated and sometimes controversial art of potty training a child. The Internet abounds with similar blogs, all focused on the trials of potty training, advice and personal anecdotes.