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I am trying to better serve the readers and followers of Smooth Parenting. I would like to provide you with content and solutions that are relevant and valuable to you.

I appreciate you time and insights. Please, spend a few minutes navigating the content on our website, and let me know what you think in this brief survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Q3B9MHF

Everyone who participates in the survey and provides contact information will have the chance to win a spot in my upcoming class ‘How to Get Your Child to Listen.’

Much love, Diana-

Moms of 3 Are the Most Stressed Out

I thought I was the only one who thought the level of stress with 3 children was way higher than with 2. I had twins the first time around, and I dealt with it pretty well. I had my routines and structure in place. I had regular one on one and special times with each of my daughters. I was calm and collected… Then, after a long wait, our precious third daughter arrived.

Oh, My! I was in for a tough ride. She was way more determined and strong-willed than the other two from day one. But I knew that alone couldn’t be the only contributing factor to the increased stress I was experiencing, and to the whirlwind our lives got into. Everything was turned upside down, and I felt (still do a lot!) that I I have it all together, and that I was far from the mom I used to be to my twins, and that I wanted to be for the three of them. Cue… guilt trip!

Then, I read a TODAYMoms.com survey, and it all made sense. Apparently, when it comes to parenting, three is the magic number… for disaster and stress! Mothers of three children stress more than moms of one or two, while mothers of four or more children actually report lower stress levels. Surprisingly, four kids seems to be the magic number when stress lowers for mothers. Who would’ve thought?

I believe this is in part because with four kids, you definitely has to let some things go, and assume you just can’t do it all. On the other hand, I think with four or more kids, you have to be organized and disciplined, there’s no choice. Being organized, helps reduce the stress and last minute fights and rumbles.

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This week, I have two of my friends’ children living with us due to a family emergency, and I’ve been more relaxed than ever before. Even though I’m now in charge of 5 kids instead of 3. I am more organized and things get done in time because I plan ahead, which is giving me time to have smoother mornings, bedtimes, and plenty of time to connect with the kids.

I’ve always wanted a big family, but I don’t think I could get my husband on board to have my children, despite the clear benefits 🙂

What are your thoughts? Did your third one threw you for a loop? What do you think is the perfect number of kids?

Much love, Diana-

How to talk to our children after a mass school shooting

I can’t believe we are talking about this again. Another mass school shooting, this time taking the lives of 17 people in a Florida high school. When are school shootings going to stop? My heart breaks for all those affected by these senseless acts. Enough is enough.

After these horrific shootings, as parents we are left wondering: What should I tell my kids? Should I address this with them? How should I talk to them about these senseless and clueless acts?

1. Some children don’t need to hear about a school mass shooting. I don’t believe we should bring it up with toddlers, preschoolers or even young elementary school children, unless we think they are going to hear about it on their own, from teachers, classmates, playground friends, religious leaders, older siblings…

Remember that children sometimes need to ask the same question over and over and over again to process and absorb tough or difficult information like this. Be patient and ready to answer the same questions many times.

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2. Bring it up to your older children. They are going to hear about it anyway, and you want to make sure their questions are answered and any fears are addressed.

The first step would be to ask them what they’ve heard about it, ask them questions and invite them to ask you questions. It is perfectly ok to tell our kids that we don’t know why people decide to do these horrible things. Some people do awful, senseless, painful, irreversible and unexplainable things.

Thankfully, there are many more good people than bad people in the world. Remind them what Mr. Rogers always said “look for the helpers.” Make sure they see how people come together after these types of events, show them the first responders, policemen, emergency workers, ambulance crews, blood donors, anonymous heroes that protect their fellow citizens, people who raise money to support the victims, etc. It is amazing to see how kindness and love always rise up after these heartbreaking shootings, and our kids need to understand how resilient human beings are, and that love always wins.

3. Validate your children’s fears. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing their fears, you want them to open up with you, so you can help them cope. If you respond with a “you’re going to be fine,” or “don’t worry about it”, we risk them shutting down.

Instead, we can say something like “It’s OK to be scared and sad, I feel that way too sometimes when things like this happen.” We should speak honestly about our feelings about school shootings, so our children understand that they are not alone in feeling those big feelings.

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4. Reassure your children that they grown ups around them and their school have plans in place to do everything they can to keep them safe.

Discuss with them the safety procedures that are in place in their school. You can remind them that all the school doors are locked at all times, security cameras are located all around the school, and that all visitors need to sign in the front office before entering the building. It is also good to remind them how their school has drills to teach them how to react in case something goes wrong.

Even though, numbers are not in my favor, and in less than 2 months, there had already been 19 school shootings in the US; I truly hope we will never have to use this, and mass school shootings are a thing of the past. I hope our representatives take action and find the best way to end this senseless masacres once and for all.

Stay safe! Much love, Diana-

 

 

Baby Sleep and Daylight Savings (Fall Back)

3 Ways To Help Your Baby Adjust to The New Time

The end of daylight savings is getting closer and many parents are wondering what to do to maintain their baby or toddler’s sleep habits, despite the time change. We ‘fall back’ to Standard Time on Sunday, November 7th 2010* at 2a.m. by setting our clock back one hour. That usually means that our children wake up one hour earlier the following morning.

Baby sleep challenges are not uncommon during daylight savings time adjustments. Still, there are some general tips that you can follow to have a smoother transition, regardless on how you decide to adjust your child’s schedule to the new time:

  • Continue your bedtime and naptime routines. The regular and familiar routines you follow when putting your baby to sleep should be maintained.
  • Keep your baby’s nursery dark, so the daylight (and nightlight) changes do not interfere with his/her sleep.
  • Carry on promoting positive sleep associations.
  • Remember that consistency is still key.
  • Change your watch and clocks to the new time before going to bed, November 7th.

In addition to these measures, there are three basic approaches we can follow to help children with the transition:

1. Gradual ‘Pre- Fall Back Day’ Transition

Starting Thursday, November 4th 2010, move your baby/ toddler bedtime back 15 minutes each night. Your baby’s whole daily schedule moves back those 15 minutes the day after. This way, you will have shifted your baby’s schedule ahead by one hour by the time you have to move your clock back one hour. Therefore, your baby would be going to sleep at his usual time right away, based on the Standard Time right away.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am.

For an even smoother transition, you can start moving your baby’s bedtime back 10 minutes on Tuesday November 2nd 2010.

2. Gradual ‘Post- Fall Back Day’ Transition

The day after the daylight savings time ends, Monday November 8th, 2010, your baby will most likely wake up one hour earlier than usual (based on the clock).  Starting then you should make sure your baby, toddler’s naptime and bedtime are 45 minutes earlier than his/her regular schedule the first day; 30 minutes earlier the second day; and 15 minutes earlier the third day.

The whole daily schedule adjusts to those changes accordingly. By doing this, your baby would be going to sleep and waking up at his regular times, based on the Standard Time, by Friday November 12th.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am, with the first nap at 9am and the second one at 12:30pm.

For an even smoother transition, you can adjust your baby’s schedule in increments of 10 minutes.

3. Immediate Transition

The day after the daylight savings time ends, you follow your baby’s schedule based on Standard Time. Therefore, on Monday November 8th, 2010 you switch your child ‘cold turkey’ to the new time.  This option tends to be harder on children and on parents, and would be only advisable for children who are extremely adaptable to changes and new schedules.

Regardless of the approach you decide to take, remember that every child is different and they will adjust differently to changes in their sleep schedule. It takes several days to adjust to the new times, so be prepared for your baby to wake up earlier than usual on occasions, to be crankier than usual during the afternoon, and/or to be sleepier during the first days of the transition.

Be patient, loving and consistent to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Much love, Diana-

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*2010 Daylight Savings ends:

  • Sunday, November 7th at 2 a.m. in the United States and Canada
  • October 31st in Europe, Mexico and Central America

2010 Daylight Savings Starts in most countries of the South Hemisphere, October 3rd

 

Baby Safety Alert: Cribs, toys, sleep positioners and formula

 

One of the main goals parents have is to keep children safe. We take our time, do our research and buy a wonderful crib to help them feel safe, sleep positioners to prevent SIDS, toys from a great brand so they don’t get hurt, and a great formula to make sure they get all the nutrients they need to grow healthy.

Over the past weeks, we learned that the crib we thought was safe has killed children before; the toys we thought harmless, have taken children to the emergency rooms; the sleep positioners we thought prevented SIDS do not, and pose a suffocation hazard; and the number one selling formula contained beetles.

The main goal of this article is not to alarm you, but to inform and to give you some tips on how to keep your children safe.

Alert #1: Sleep Positioners, Suffocation Hazard

One of the main concerns parents have with regards to their baby’s sleep (besides helping them sleep) is safety, specifically SIDS [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome]. There are many things parents can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS, such as putting your baby to sleep on his/her back.

Many baby product manufacturers used this valid concern to market products arguing that they reduce the risk of SIDS, claim that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Sleep positioners are among these products.

Since 1980s the FDA has approved 18 sleep positioners because evidence suggested that they eased the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and prevented flattening of the skull; NOT because they reduce the risk of SIDS, which is one of the main reasons why most parents are buying and using them.

However, reports of at least 12 deaths among infants from 1 to 4 months of age over the past decade, and multiple nonfatal cases in which babies awoke in unsafe positions after being place in a sleep positioner; indicate that sleep positioners posed a higher risk than we initially thought.

This promoted the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue a warning that baby sleep positioner can carry the risk of suffocation and death. Health officials say the mats with barriers designed to prevent a baby from rolling over SHOULD NOT be used under any circumstances.

If you’re using sleep positioners with your baby, stop using them; the modest benefit does not outweigh the risk.

 

Learn more about Baby Sleep Safety.

Alert #2: Similac® Powder Formula, Bug Contamination

Abbott Laboratories recalled last week about 5 million containers of its top-selling Similac powdered infant formula due to possible contamination by beetles and larvae of the bugs. The recall does not affect any liquid formulas or other Abbott-brand products.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that the formula containing the beetles ‘poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract.’

If your child has been showing digestive symptoms such as a stomach-ache or refusal to eat, after drinking the formula, you should contact your child’s pediatrician.

The recall includes:

  • All lots of Similac formula powder product lines offered in plastic containers, including 1.38-lb, 1.45-lb and 2.12-lb containers
  • Similac Sensitive Isomil Soy – 12.4-oz cans – only lots numbers containing RB
  • Similac Advance – 12.4-oz cans – only lots numbers containing RB
  • certain lots of Similac formula powder product lines offered in sizes such as 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans
  • Similac formula powder in 8-ounce sample cans that could have been given out in doctor’s offices and hospitals

If you have been feeding this formula to your child, or have it in your pantry; please visit company’s, http://www.similac.com/recall, or call their consumer hot line at (800) 986-8850, to check if you have products with the affected lot numbers. Abbott said those products should be returned to the company for a full refund.

 

Alert #3: Fisher Price Toys, Tricycles and High Chairs, Safety Concerns

Fisher-Price announced a wide-reaching recall of more than 11 million toys and kids’ products. More than 7 million tricycles, 1 million high chairs, 2.9 million infant toys, and 120,000 toy cars and ramps. Nearly 50 products are included in the recall.

There has not been any report of death, but several children required medical attention. There have been 10 reports of injuries on the tricycles, including genital bleeding. A protruding part near the tricycles seat, which children can fall or accidentally sit on, is the alleged problem.

There have been 14 reported incidents with the high chairs; children can fall on or against the pegs on the rear legs of the high chair resulting in injuries or lacerations. The pegs are used for high chair tray storage. There have been 50 reports of valves coming out of inflatable toy balls, with poses a choking hazard. Finally, there have been several reports of wheels coming off some toy cars, also posing a choking risk.

The toys included in this recall are very common, so please visit Mattel’s website http://service.mattel.com/us/recall.asp or call 1 800 432 5437. Fisher-Price is offering replacements and repair kids for the recalled toys and baby equipment, but not refunds.

Make sure you examine your children’s toys regularly, look for loose parts, small pieces, or broken parts.

Alert #4: Simplicity-Sorelle Cribs, Entrapment, Suffocation and Fall Hazards

Albee Baby recalled Sorelle brand Prescott model. This recall uncovered the real manufacturer of Sorelle’s crib, Simplicity. Simplicity is no longer in business, but recalls of its products continue.

CPSC has received one report of a consumer who, in April of 2010, removed the Sorelle Prescott label from the crib and found a Simplicity crib label underneath. (The consumer purchased the crib in July of 2009, prior to the Simplicity mattress support recall.)

Child product safety advocate Nancy Cowles was fuming when she saw the Simplicity brand had been obscured. “How’s a consumer to trust these manufacturers? I’m sure many of the families would have made a different choice if they had known they were buying a Simplicity crib,” Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, told Consumer Ally.

In the April 2010 Simplicity recall, CPSC reported the death of a one-year-old child from Attleboro, Mass. who suffocated when he became entrapped between the crib mattress and the crib frame. In addition, CPSC has received reports of 29 incidents involving the Simplicity cribs where the cribs collapsed due to the metal mattress support frame detaching or bending. These include one child entrapment that did not result in injury and one child who suffered minor cuts when his head struck the broken mattress support bar.

This recall is limited to Sorelle “Prescott” cribs sold online by AlbeeBaby.com between July 2009 and October 2009 for between $180 and $210.

If you have one of these cribs, you should immediately stop using them and contact Albee Baby for a replacement crib, store credit or refund.

 

Learn more about baby sleep and crib safety.

 

Safety Alert: Stay away from drop-side cribs

Safety is one of the topics we cover the most when we consult with parents. We advise you to always (1) make sure that your baby products and furniture is JPMA certified, (2) check the list of recalled products, and (3) use the products in the exact way the manufactures details in the manual. It saddens me to read about baby products’ recalls, as there are always terrible stories of children who have been hurt or died because of those products.

Today, we wanted to urge you to not buy drop-side cribs, and to get rid of them if you already have them. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled 10 million drop-side cribs since in the past 2.5 years, including 2 million in the month of June 2010 alone. This has led them to propose new crib safety standards that will ban the sale of drop-side cribs and prohibit their use in hotels and daycare centers.

These new standards will not be finalized until December this year. However, we ask you to follow them NOW! There have already been enough deaths and injuries among our babies and children because of this. When drop-side hardware breaks or deforms, the drop-side can detach in one or more corners of the crib. If an infant or toddler moves into this space, the child can get trapped or wedged between the crib mattress and drop-side and suffocate. Infants can also strangle in the “V” shape formed by a drop-side that detaches in an upper corner.

One of my mentors always says ‘don’t look at what something costs, look at what it’s worth’. Certified are not necessarily more expensive than non-certified. The safety and wellbeing of your children is way more important than a couple hundred dollars, you know that! So, if you currently have your baby sleeping in a drop-side crib, STOP! Go buy another one now! Don’t wait!

The cribs are the only place where you would leave your baby unattended; it’s their private safety haven. Make sure it is really safe!

Much love, Diana-

CityMommy Interviews Smooth Parenting

Click here to go to the source.

Interviewee: Smooth Parenting’s Founder & CEO, Diana Blanco, B.B.A., M.B.A., Y.P.F.C.

1. Please tell us a little bit about your business/site?

Smooth Parenting is an infant and toddler sleep consultancy and parenting-coaching firm. We provide a gentle and progressive approach to parenting and sleep training for children under 3 years old.

Smooth Parenting’s goal is to provide parents with useful, direct and practical advice to help them become the parents they’ve always wanted to be, connect with their children, eliminate unnecessary fights and struggles, and enjoy parenthood. Smooth Parenting wants parents to have a ‘Smooth Parenting Experience’.

2. How long have you been in business?

I have been an independent parent coach and sleep training expert for many years, and have a great track record of helping families teach their babies to sleep, and help families be happier, more balanced and adjusted.

I know how stressful parenting can be at times, especially when sleep issues arise. At Smooth Parenting, we develop a personalized sleep and schedule strategy for the families she works with, after analyzing their parenting preferences, lifestyle and family dynamics. Our approach to sleep training is gentle, progressive, effective, holds the wellbeing of the child first, and follows the American Association of Pediatrics guidelines.

3. Is your business online, or a physical location or both?

Smooth Parenting offers private by-phone or in-home consultations, as well as seminars, online webinars and private groups sessions about various parenting topics.

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4. What do you enjoy most about running your business/site?

I enjoy all of it, although the best part for me is being part of the transformation of families. I love helping families improve their relationships, parents become the best they can be, and children become happier and better adjusted.
I also value the opportunity to better balance my personal life, and to be fully involved in the daily lives of my daughters.

5. Is there a favorite product or service that you offer?

The favorite face-to-face services are our ‘In-Home Sleep Consultation’. We have an initial conversation with the family over the phone (or skype) learn more about their parenting style, children sleeping habits and needs. We then design a comprehensive sleep training strategy that will meet the family’s needs, current situation and parenting style. We share with the parents the recommended sleep training strategy and answer any questions they may have; during a 90 – 120 minute long meeting, at the comfort of their own home.

The In-Home Sleep Consultation includes: (1) step by step sleep training strategy, (2) nursery assessment, (3) daily schedule, (4) recommendations for the future and (5) 2 weeks of support by phone or email.

The favorite online services are our ‘Teach Your Baby to Sleep Webinars’. Webinars are live and highly interactive. You can attend from the comfort of your own home, with your computer. All the webinars include a ‘questions & answers’ section, in which you will be able to ask questions about what was discussed in the webinar, and about your baby’s particular sleep issues.

The topics covered on the most popular webinar are the following: (1) Sleep needs by age; setting the right expectations, (2) Sleep tips and techniques for your baby and toddler, (3) Step by Step sleep training guide by age, (4) Schedules, (5) Nursery set up, and (6) Bedtime routines. This webinar is perfect for parents with children between 0 and 3 years old, and for expecting parents.

6. Anything else you would like to share about your business? Being a working Mom? Etc…

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about children’s wellbeing, children’s rights, education, coaching and parenting. After many years working in the corporate world and graduating with an MBA from New York University; I decided to follow my passion and launched Smooth Parenting to help families have a better and smoother parenting experience.
In 2009, I became the proud mother of twin girls, who are the loves of my life and have taught me more about myself, parenting and unconditional love that I could ever imagined.

March of Dimes – Support Needed

Smooth Parenting is a proud sponsor of March of Dimes. This year, we are sponsoring a preemie, twin mom, who is one of our best coaches.

Please help her reach her goal and help children get the best start in life! Any donation will make a difference in a child’s life!

Supporting Preemie Babies

Smooth Parenting is a proud sponsor of March of Dimes. This year, we are sponsoring a preemie, twin mom, who is one of our best coaches.

Please help her reach her goal and help children get the best start in life! Any donation will make a difference in a child’s life!

Parenting – Tough Decisions Change Lives

It was a bright and sunny day but all I saw was dark clouds as I sat inside the school psychologist’s office looking with my son’s test results. “Your son’s behavioral problems can cause him to get in serious trouble later in life if they are not dealt with now. There are jails full of people without impulse control”, she said. Imagine finding out one day that your child has serious emotional problems and delays, after balancing a high pressure career and motherhood for so many years.

That day, I was devastated to find out the news. My bright and energetic son could read sentences and count to 30, but couldn’t control himself enough to be in the same room with other children. He couldn’t handle daycare, or a regular preschool classroom. Simple questions were tough for him to answer. I felt like a failure, like giving up, like the hours I spent as a mom teaching and nurturing him had done nothing for him.

Even if you quit your job and work with him all day long he’ll still be the same. It’s his personality. It doesn’t matter,” family told me over and over. “We’d hate to see you quit. You have so much potential. We don’t want your talents to go to waste,” my boss at work told me. I was making more money than ever before in my career, but it no longer felt right.

That afternoon I looked in my handsome son’s bright blue eyes and saw my reflection. If I didn’t try to help him, who would? He’d had different daycare teachers over the years, even a relative who had cared for him during the day. After a time I came to recognize the tight lipped smile they had as he arrive each morning, the way he was left sitting alone when I dropped by to check on him. You couldn’t pay someone else enough to care.  Not with the heart of a mother.

I gave my boss my resignation over the phone that afternoon. It was the toughest decision I had ever made. I didn’t know how I would make enough to pay my share of the bills I was responsible for, or how I was going to help this little boy I loved. It is nearly a year later, and we have been working hard together, my little boy and I. He is able to sit in class during circle time and makes friends on the playground. He is learning to speak articulately and express himself. We have spent hours learning, interacting, talking, playing, making mistakes and starting over, both of us. I have learned much myself. I learned to run my own business from home, but more importantly, to be this little boy’s confidante, his teacher, his safe refuge. Because of my sacrifice, there is hope where there once was despair for this boy.

Parenting is full of tough decisions, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are times when we have to decide what is most important in life. Regardless of the reason, nothing in the world can replace raising your own children and spending those precious years with them.

I was fortunate enough to stay home until my younger son was in school full time and then had a job that put me at home the same time my children arrived home from school. Sure, there were things we gave up. But, was it worth it?

My younger son was killed by a drunk driver at 23 years old. I will not be able to share the rest of my life with him – but I shared 23 years with him as closely as he could tolerate and still become a man. No regrets.

Source: Anonymous

What are your thoughts?

Much love, Diana-