Science Confirms That Any Way You Want To 'Sleep Train' Is FINE

Sleep training can be controversial, and many parents worry that letting their babies cry themselves to sleep could lead to bonding and psychological issues. 
But a small new study adds to the growing body of research that supports the popular method known as “graduated extinction,” or controlled crying, as safe and effective. And it found that a gentler method called “bedtime fading” works, too. 
“We hope this study promotes health conversations about helping babies, and their parents, sleep better — if needed,” said Michael Gradisar, an associate professor and clinical psychologist with Flinders University in Australia and an author on the new study, published in Pediatrics on Tuesday. 
He and his colleagues conducted the small clinical trial in a group of 43 babies age six to 16 months whose parents believed had a sleep problem. To qualify, parents were asked if their babies had a sleep problem, and parents simply answered “no” or “yes.”
One group of parents learned graduated extinction, which tends to be lumped into the broader category of cry it out methods, popularized by Dr. Ferber. These parents slowly extended the amount of time they waited before going in to attend to their crying babies: two minutes before the first check, then four, then six until the baby fell asleep, and so on for seven nights. 
In another group, parents practiced “bedtime fading.” Caregivers picked the bedtime they’d like for their baby (say, 7 p.m.) then pushed it by 15 minutes for a few nights, then by a further 15 for a few more nights if the baby was still struggling to fall asleep. The idea is that once babies are tired because they’ve been pushed a bit past their usual bedtimes, their so-called sleep pressure builds, and they more easily learn to put themselves to sleep. (The researchers have published the full guidelines for the various techniques online for interested parents.) 
Both interventions led to improvements in the babies’ ability to fall asleep after one week, Gradisar told The Huffington Post. On average, babies in the controlled crying group fell asleep 13 minutes earlier than those in the control group, and the number of awakenings they experienced throughout the night was cut in half, from an average of three wake-ups to one-and-a-half over the course of a month.
Babies in the bedtime fading group fell asleep 10 minutes faster than babies in the control group, however they continued to wake up with the same frequency throughout the night.
The researchers weren’t content with simply measuring short-term success; they also wanted to look for any potential long-term problems, so in addition to tracking parent-child bonding, they measured the amount of cortisol — the primary stress hormone — in the babies’ saliva before the study as well as at a 12-month checkup and found that the levels stayed largely the same. While they did not measure cortisol levels during the sleep training itself, the researchers believe the measurements provide strong evidence that sleep training does not cause long-term stress. 
“Extinction-type techniques that involve delaying a parent’s response to their child’s cries do not cause chronic increases in the cortisol stress hormone,” Gradisar said. “On reflection, this does make more sense as three nights of graduated extinction is not enough chronic stress to result in elevated biological markers of stress.” The researchers also found that in the initial month of sleep training, self-reported maternal stress levels improved in both the controlled crying and bedtime fading groups, and though the researchers did not explore why, it may be that navigating bedtime was no longer as difficult.
The new trial joins a small 2012 study, also out of Australia, which followed-up with parents who tried controlled crying after five years and found no differences in their children’s stress levels or relationships with their parents. That study also found that the children’s sleep abilities had all pretty much evened out by age 6.
The goal of all this research is not to try and convince parents that sleep training is necessary, Gradisar said. Rather, it’s to reassure parents whose babies are struggling to fall and stay asleep that it is a safe option if they feel it is necessary for their families. 
The findings don’t, however, attempt to offer up a solution for parents in those intense, early months when babies are up frequently through the night and mothers and fathers are dangerously exhausted. The researchers only included babies age six months and up, because that is the age at which point their 24-hour body clock has truly developed, Gradisar said, as has their ability to build up sleep pressure. Newborns and young babies do not have their days and nights sorted out yet, and must wake to eat every few hours. In other words, at that point it’s really a matter of waiting it out, not crying it out.  — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Apologies: Why So Difficult for Some of Us?

My husband is a very proud man, and sees it as a sign of weakness to apologize. He is a good father but sometimes he does things that upset to our kids. He thinks if he says he is sorry they will respect him less. Now our kids are mimicking him. They refuse to take responsibility when they make a mistake.

Parents don’t have to be perfect, or even close. But we do need to take responsibility for our actions, delivering a heartfelt apology to our loved ones (including our children) when we have wronged them. This not only heals the connection with them after an upset; it lets them learn that making repair attempts is part and parcel of maintaining healthy relationships.

Unfortunately, many of us were trained in the fine art of defending ourselves at all costs. We cannot tolerate being seen as wrong, so we explain and justify our actions rather than taking ownership of them. This typically magnifies the hurt and fosters disconnection.

Parents often feel that if they acknowledge their mistakes, their authority will be undermined in the eyes of their children. On the contrary, when we demonstrate genuine remorse after we have temporarily lost our way, our children learn to do the same.

An apology must be genuine; simply saying “Sorry” does little, if anything, to make things right when we have hurt someone we care for.

I have found that when the following four steps are included in an apology, forgiveness and reconnection are almost always guaranteed.


1) The first step is to say I’m sorry without justifying what we’ve done. When the dust has settled, there may be a chance to clear up misunderstandings that could have contributed to the falling out. But initially, the focus should simply be on delivering a genuine, “I’m so sorry” without adding layers of explanation.

“I’m so sorry I threw away your picture, sweetheart.”

2) Second, we need to specifically acknowledge how our mistake affected the other person. This allows the injured party to know that we have made the effort to imagine how they were affected by our behavior, offering reassurance that we truly did not intend to inflict harm.

“Now that I know you were saving that picture for Grandma, I can see why you were so sad when you found out I’d thrown it away instead of keeping for you to give her next weekend.”

3) Third, we show the other person that we want to avoid doing the same thing again. Humans are imperfect; I am not suggesting that you promise never to make mistakes. But in this step we let the other person know that we are committed to avoiding a repeat of whatever happened that was so hurtful.

“The next time I’m not sure if you’re saving a painting, I’ll do my best to ask you before I throw it away.”

4) Finally, in the fourth step we ask the other person what they need from us to make things right.

“Is there anything you need from me to help you feel better about this? Is there anything standing in the way of offering your forgiveness?”

As for your husband’s reluctance to apologize because he believes he will lose face with his kids,it is true that many adults have grown up believing that their ego must be defended at all costs. You cannot legislate humility, or lecture him on the merits of apologizing. But perhaps you can share this article with him and respectfully request that he consider the impact of his behavior on your youngsters.

Invulnerability and toughness are not signs of strength; it takes a big person to stand squarely in their missteps and do whatever is needed to make things right with those they love.

When we take ownership for how we show up in our relationship, our children cannot help but learn that this is an essential ingredient in living a life of integrity.

Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and the brand new Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids (An Eckhart Tolle Edition). She is a family therapist, parent coach and internationally recognized speaker on all subjects related to children, teens and parenting.

To learn more about her online parenting courses, classes and personal coaching support, visit her Facebook page or sign up for her free newsletter.

Do you have a question for the Parent Coach? Send it to [email protected] and you could be featured in an upcoming blog post. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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The Realities Of Co-Sleeping

We’ve all seen the perfect co-sleeping stories, right?

The bedding is top-quality Egyptian cotton… and totally bleach-clean white.

There are often fairy lights hanging delicately from the wall.

There is usually some sort of Ikea hack involved… to allow amazing functionality and plenty of space.

There is occasionally a bespoke storage system in place… perhaps with a handmade headboard, on which the family’s initials have been lovingly carved into the wood by delicate forest fairies…

These co-sleeping arrangements are all so very… perfect… seriously, just take a look:

Let me just be very real for a moment.

I woke last night — somewhere between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. I would assume — to a bloodied lip and a small foot triumphantly placed across my face.

Little Foot One, Mama’s Face Nil.

My darling daughter, light of my life, beat of my heart… had kicked me (hard) in the mouth in her sleep.

Thanks for that, love.

It would seem that 90% of the bed was not sufficient for her little body….she needed that extra space that my face was so rudely taking up. And her sideways positioning didn’t help matters, either.

And yet even with a bloodied lip, I still wouldn’t trade our co-sleeping ways.

Even with 10% of the bed, I wouldn’t give this up.

Because she needs it. She needs the connection that kicking mommy in the face at 3am brings. She needs to know that it is mommy’s bloodied lip that she is laying next to.

And in a strange way, I need it too.

Because — for real — this is the only way she will sleep. And when she is sleeping happily, I can sleep happily.

Everyone’s a winner. Aside from my mouth… which is healing nicely, thanks for asking.

So there you have it — an imperfectly perfect co-sleeping tale, to give a little roundness and context to those tales of pristine Egyptian cotton and faraway magical tree-house bedsteads.

You’re welcome.

Mama Bean has created a free Sleep Relief email series that shifts our focus away from the idea of changing baby and towards the filling our mommy cups instead.

This post originally appeared on

Thank you to mama Sarah for allowing me to feature her picture in this piece. For more glimpses into real life motherhood, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook! — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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God, Guns and Gardens by Allen Bush

2008 NRA Convention in Louisville, KY.
I’ve run myself ragged the last few weeks. Kentucky has had the most beautiful spring I can remember. May has been rainy and cool. Blooms went on forever. The weeds got ahead of me, yet chiggers and heat didn’t crash my spring party.
But it became harder to avoid the hot air once the National Rifle Association came barreling into town last week.
I attended the NRA National Convention eight years ago when an estimated 60,000 gun enthusiasts last visited Louisville. I wrote a story about it on Julie Ardery’s Human Flower Project.
Back then, I didn’t run into any lunatics seeking antitank weaponry for home protection. But no one packing heat seemed interested in Dr. Martin’s pole lima beans, either.
Wolf Pen Mill in Prospect, KY.
An estimated 70,000 NRA members showed up in Louisville this year. Donald Trump, once an opponent of assault weapons, came to town, singing a different tune. The “impossible candidate” received the NRA endorsement for president and tossed the faithful a bone. Schoolyards should be armed, he said. There will be no gun-free zones when he is elected president.
Shame on you, Donald.
Trump is not a curious man. New York Times columnist David Brooks said, “He [Trump] doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out.” Hunters and gardeners are curious about the outdoors. You won’t hear Trump talk about nature or gardens.
This worries me.
Trillium grandiflorum at Whitehall in Louisville, KY.
My life and garden would be very dull if I gardened in the absence of nature. Kentucky’s beautiful woodlands are often surprising. I am always grateful when I stumble upon larkspur or woodland phlox along a narrow path. If I’m lucky I might see a white shooting star, Dodecatheon meadia. Sedum ternatum or Saxifraga virginiensis could be growing nearby on mossy, limestone ledges.
Larkspur (Delphinum tricorne) and Phlox divaricata in Salvisa, KY.
My garden is influenced by what I see in the wild. Donald should put on a hairnet and take a walk in the woods.
Saxifraga virginienis in Salvisa, KY.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, addressing the NRA this year, said, “There is a verse in scripture about the watchman on the wall … it doesn’t do any good if we see what’s coming if we don’t sound the alarm, if we don’t sound the trumpet, shame on us.”
His get-out-the-vote plea for the November elections was “heavy on religion and guns,” the Courier-Journal reported.
My aim is improving, but my .22 rifle will never save my soul.
Spring beauties, Claytonia virginica, in Lexington, KY.
Matt Bevin has his sights set on bigger political fortunes. He’s too scared to risk alienating the NRA, demanding a ban on assault weapons. Our governor could have talked about our sacred woodlands, too, but he didn’t.
The governor should man up and take a shot.
Salvisa, KY on May 23, 2016.
I don’t think all NRA members are bat-shit crazy. Most, I suspect, are sensible hunters and sportsmen who love the outdoors as much as I do.
Hunters track deer while I stalk spring beauties.
God, Guns and Gardens originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 23, 2016.

Source: GardenRant

Asking Me 'When Are You Due?' AFTER I've Given Birth Is a Compliment

When I was a child, I remember sticking out my belly to see what I would look like when I was pregnant. Pretend-time with friends often included a ball under a shirt to play the part of the “pregnant mom.” But when I actually became pregnant 11 years ago, I was self-conscious about the burgeoning “bump” and the possibility that people would notice it before I was ready to announce to friends and family that we were expecting a baby.

As the bump grew, I reveled in the attention I received, the knowing smiles from older women and even the random strangers that wanted to touch my belly. I realized that for many, pregnancy represents a joyous and exhilarating time of discovery, growth and transition on many levels, even between strangers.

What I did not anticipate, however, was that six weeks AFTER my baby was born, people would still ask me “when are you due?” Ouch! Give a girl a break — my uterus hadn’t even had time to return to its original size yet. I had always known about the “post-bump” phenomenon and even as a young adult, I could spot a woman who had given birth pretty easily. But after my daughter was born, I balked when my mom gave me the book, How To Lose Your Mummy Tummy. As I had always had a rather slim belly, I didn’t expect it to be an issue for me.

Not only was I dead wrong but sadly, I discovered that — despite heroic dieting efforts and diligent core strengthening exercises — the bump apparently was here to stay. This was only compounded when I got pregnant for the second and third time. In fact, I began showing with the third baby as soon as I saw the double line on the pee stick. Just joking! (Not really.)

At one point during what I’ll call the “desperate years”, I even consulted a plastic surgeon to see if I had a common condition called diastasis, where the muscles in the lower abdomen separate during pregnancy and fail to close back after the birth, causing a pouching effect in the tummy. “Nope”, the MD said. “Your muscles are perfect and solid and in the right place, with just some extra skin and fat on top.” Oh ok, doc, gotcha. Thanks…

The frequent comments of “how far along are you?” and “wow! Are you going to have another baby?” caused me great consternation — to the point that I wanted to walk around with a sign saying “No, I’m not pregnant, just bloated and a bit overweight, but thanks!” Personally, I would never ask anyone that question unless I was 200% sure she was pregnant — e.g. seeing their water break in front of me or the baby crowning — but alas, many others do not seem to have the same level of sensitivity in this area. I’ve come to accept that and I don’t begrudge their curiosity and attempts at friendliness.

Just recently, I’ve decided to take another approach. No, I didn’t quadruple my efforts to un-do the bump via diet and exercise, nor did I choose surgery. Instead, I decided to regard it as a COMPLIMENT when someone thinks that I look pregnant. That’s because (1) I must be glowing and (2) I must still look young enough for people to assume that I can get pregnant. Woo hoo! Young, nubile, fertile and glowing! Just what a 42-year-old woman wants to hear!

Jennifer Garner, the actress, recently appeared on a talk show and responded to the tabloid rumors that she is pregnant and has an obvious baby bump. Her response was priceless.

So, to all the pre-moms, pregnant ladies and post-moms: let’s make peace with our bumps, shall we? Let’s honor them, cherish them and thank them for giving us the ability to create these incredible beings that we get to shape, mold and turn into caring, sensitive human beings that hopefully won’t ask random people on the street “when are you due?” But next time someone asks you that question? Be happy! Because it means you look like a badass, fertile hot mama. Own it, girlfriend!

Jenny is the founder and owner of Jenny Eden Coaching – a coaching practice devoted to help men, women and teens create a more healthy and sustainable relationship with food and their body image. She is an Eating Psychology Coach, a mindful eating instructor and health and wellness blogger. She specializes in kind and gentle weight loss, unique binge eating cessation techniques and mindful eating practices.

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Source: huffingtonpost families

My Child's Terminal Illness Was a Gift

When my husband and I were told our giggling 5-month-old with perfect pudgy thigh rolls was going to die, we grieved for all she would never get to do and all we’d never get to experience with her. She’d never learn to walk. Or take ballet classes or play on the soccer field. She’d never go to prom or attend college or get married. The list of an expected life taken from all three of us is long and we grieved for each thing, each experience, each opportunity ripped from our grasp. And we grieved that after months of planning for our baby we could not even fulfill the most fundamental parental instinct — to protect her. Our grief and fear of when we would lose her was so encompassing we could feel it swallowing us whole, paralyzing us the way spinal muscular atrophy was paralyzing our Gwendolyn.

But then she didn’t become immediately sickly as predicted. And she still giggled at her silly parents as she had before and her pudgy thigh rolls were as perfect as ever. While our hearts ached with grief at our inability to change the dire, her little world had not really changed. She felt safe, she felt secure, and, in spite of the medical interventions she had to endure, our baby’s curiosity and spark for life never diminished. And that is when we realized everything going forward was a bonus.

Knowledge of finite time can be a gift if you allow it. That knowledge is the very reason we never waited to experience things, never put off the important memory making. Though fearful and unprepared, how could we spend that precious limited time falling apart? When so much is completely out of our control it goes against instinct to not clamor to control something. But with a disease like SMA, with no treatment or cure, the only control we have is in how we react. We had to muster up the courage to live life with fear and grief as a constant companion because our child deserved a life that was defined by the joy in it, not the number of years.

We started by savoring the small (some may say insignificant) milestones: going on a walk, feeding the ducks, swinging in the swings, feeling the ocean, celebrating a first birthday. All of those simple things now carried weight: one of heaviness that this could be our only time experiencing childhood rites of passage together and one of full encompassing gratitude that we get to experience them at all. Everything tasted a little sweeter and shined a little brighter after receiving our baby’s terminal diagnosis. And suddenly all those typical life stressors and parenting woes disappeared into the shadows, no longer really anything to worry about at all.

As our courage and confidence to handle her medical care grew, we started fulfilling bigger dreams: family vacations, cross-country road trips, sailing, Disneyland, celebrating a 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th birthday. And soon our life of losing our little girl turned to advocating for her (and others) to live fully and typically while she was here. Having typical childhood experiences, like attending school and making meaningful friendships, were all things she was never predicted to live to see and that became our drive. And seeing her blossom, rise to every occasion, challenge us to allow her to push herself even further became the norm. It isn’t that we ever forgot her illness or how fragile she was, but we learned to live with it as the backdrop. We allowed ourselves to settle into a life of contradictions — one full of possibilities but acceptance that it was only for a limited time. Fear and grief became part of the family, familiar and ever-present, but a more distant one.

In her seven years and nine months, we nearly lost Gwendolyn many times. Half a hair in a different direction and we would have. We know what it is to be standing beside her helplessly, holding her clammy hand, seeing the team of nurses and doctors tremble as things go south. And we know what it is to be the one saving her life — sometimes at home, sometimes in public, sometimes with no one else knowing our child is dying in front of them. While there is no doubt we have been devastated and each of those experiences left bruises so deep they made us profoundly change, we didn’t fall completely apart. Not while she still needed us. Not while we were still fortunate enough to have moments to savor — even ones filled with fear. No matter how difficult life was, our child’s terminal diagnosis taught us that each day with her still with us was a gift.

On July 25th, 2015 when the time came to say our last goodbyes, we weren’t entirely shocked. In many ways, we began preparing for that moment the day we were told our giggling 5-month-old with perfect pudgy thigh rolls was going to die. But we certainly didn’t feel ready. I don’t think one ever is.

Losing Gwendolyn has left a void I don’t think will ever be filled. But we still feel grateful. My husband and I know Gwendolyn was our greatest blessing; our daughter’s love of life allowed us to see the world through her eyes and gave us a perspective I don’t ever want to lose. Our child’s terminal illness taught us to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward — no matter how devastating the future may be. Navigating through grief and fear and finding a way to accept that we would lose our incredible child ironically helped us live more presently and more wholly. It changed the course of our lives, certainly. But we believe this course has a beautiful depth we would not have otherwise known. You can disappear in the overwhelming grief, be resentful of the path you must walk, or you can choose to see all that is good.

This post first appeared on Scribbles and Crumbs. Victoria regularly blogs on the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, Facebook, and Instagram. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families

Felder Rushing’s Mississippi Garden by Susan Harris

You may know Felder from his radio show, his books, or one of his highly entertaining talks.  Actually, I’m entertained by everything Felder does so while researching for Good Gardening Videos I was delighted to find this 16-minute tour of his home garden, with plenty of bon mots from Felder himself. It’s an Oklahoma Gardening Classic.
Click here to view the embedded video.
Felder Rushing’s Mississippi Garden originally appeared on Garden Rant on May 22, 2016.

Source: GardenRant

Mom And Son Stun With Poignant Rendition Of A Great Big World's 'Say Something'

A mother and son wowed the “Britain’s Got Talent” judges with their sensational rendition of A Great Big World’s “Say Something.”
It was the first time Mel, 44, and Jamie, 15, had ever performed together in public. But that didn’t stop the duo from Bridgend, south Wales, from reducing some of the talent show’s audience to tears.
Watch their performance here:

Their audition aired in the United Kingdom on Saturday night and the footage is now going viral.
Head judge Simon Cowell said he initially feared Mel, who sings in residential care facilities for the elderly for her living, would “completely dominate” the song.
“(But) you were very cool in the way that you let Jamie take the lead,” added Cowell, who is more usually known for his snarky put-downs. “You allowed it to be his song, but your harmonies actually improved the song.” 

The duo now joins 44 other acts for the live semifinals, which begin Sunday.
Other contestants include 14-year-old Jasmine Elcock, who brought the house down with her own twist on Cher’s “Believe,” the “Boogie Storm” dancing Stormtroopers and Beau Dermott, who blew judges away by singing “Defying Gravity.”
See how Mel and Jamie’s version compares to A Great Big World’s original (before the version re-recorded with Christina Aguilera) here:

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Dear Teacher of my Food Allergic Child

image: created by author

I wish I had written this letter in the Fall, when school started. As a teacher, you are the next most important and influential person in my child’s life. As the school year ends, cards and gifts will flow to you with words of gratitude and how teachers change the world one child at a time. I appreciate your endless hours, thankless moments where you are up until midnight preparing for the next day. I am grateful for your ongoing education and creativity in finding ways to make old subjects sound new and fresh. For these things, I am forever grateful.

Teachers are some of the most important people who walk this planet. Since you are so very important in my child’s life, I should have explained that when you exclude my child with life-threatening food allergies during activities and celebrations, the impact goes far beyond the blurry eyes trying to hide tears.

My child’s heart breaks.

My child interprets the exclusion and inconvenience of her health issue as a loud and clear rejection. You are a hero. You bring new adventures, ideas and concepts. Students leave your classroom packed with knowledge and excitement for the next year. My child also leaves feeling deflated and her admiration for you is so strong, she would never tell you how hurtful and painful the year was. Let me explain what exclusion has meant to my family over the years:

How to EXCLUDE a student with life-threatening food allergies

Mention in class that due to food allergies we CAN NOT eat xxx. Food allergic students can feel shame when their disease is holding back their class from something special. Wouldn’t you feel shame too that your existence puts a damper on those around you?
Send out a flyer or email about a party and omit friendly reminders of the allergens in the classroom. My child feels that you don’t care enough about their health to ask for policy to be honored and remembered.
Do not speak directly to the food allergic student regarding food-related celebrations. Simply plan the treat focused party and wait for the parents or child to speak up. Again, this sends the message of you don’t care.
Segregate the student during celebrations to keep them separated from allergens. My son asked once about the difference between the black and white segregation and food allergies. Segregated by disease? Maybe?
Consume a special treat in front of my child without making a solid attempt to provide something that would work for all the students in the classroom.

I know managing food allergies in every classroom is not simple with an easy one size fits all solution. I realize there are kids with autism, diabetes and religious beliefs that need to be addressed. This problem is perplexing to all of us, hence, why we are desperate for a cure. As the disease grows, so do the problems. Until a cure is found, we are all affected. I should have asked and helped you to better understand inclusion and what it means to my child. This is my fault and I take responsibility. I don’t expect you to understand the in’s and out’s chronic illness and the effects.

How to INCLUDE a student with life-threatening food allergies

Teach your class about life-threatening food allergies in the beginning of the year. Use this situation as a time to teach compassion, diversity and problem solving. No shaming–just be matter of fact.
Communicate regarding food-related celebrations and activities by reminding parents and students of the allergies managed within the classroom. During special events, protocol seems to slip away and everyone forgets the guidelines.
Speak to your food allergic student (if age appropriate) or parent prior to an event and work out a solution. For example, before the ice cream party is announced, discuss a Popsicle party or some other type of celebration. Bubble and paper airplane parties are very popular these days–and they don’t involve food.
Enjoy allergen-safe foods together. You have no idea of how many times my child has sat, broken hearted at my kitchen table detailing how everyone in the class enjoyed something special and they did not have the same experience. It especially hurts when the other kids tell my child how great the treat is and too bad for my child. They wish you had a treat or activity that included the whole community to enjoy together.

As you can see, you are very special, loved and important in my child’s life, but I failed to teach you how important you are and when you exclude, my child’s heart and spirit breaks. Next year, I promise to have this conversation with you before school starts. It only takes a few moments to include a child by typing an extra sentence or re-phrasing a word and tapping into your intelligence to find great solutions. Thank you again for your endless hours of unsung work and for being special in my child’s life.

Next year, together, we’ll do this right.


A mother of a child who adores you

visit for more food allergy conversation — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Talk to Me: How Talking to Our Grandparents Can Make Us Better People

My relationship with my Grandmother Betty (Grambetty) has always been a selfish one. I share endlessly about my worries, accomplishments and major missteps, siphon rich streams of advice from her, send her photos of my little family but rarely ask for images from her life and generally fill her with my own “stuff”, scarcely asking about her experiences.

She recently visited my home, and arrived on the same day I heard about the Huff Post Talk to Me project- total “Ah-ha! I’m a jerk” moment.

“Why haven’t I done this with my Grandmother before?”

The short video we made, which covered barely a paragraph of her life, prompted an on-going dialogue during her visit, allowing me to finally swim with her through bits of her life- past, present and future. At 87 she still has awe-worthy dreams for her future, like continuing to foster the growth of the businesses on a block she bought and revived in a small town, and learning how to drum.

A primary epiphany that blossomed for me during this experience is that it’s often easier to absorb life’s messages when they’re delivered through another’s stories, and perceptions of their stories. For me, it’s too easy for important messages to be shrouded in the haze of defensiveness when someone is delivering feedback about my specific life.

But, I can easily find versions of my own conundrums, errors and triumphs in stories shared by another. This buffer creates the space for me to play around with their ideas and insights, soaking in what I need and offering them the respect to share and explore their experiences and ideas without judgment.

I’ll still happily share “too much information” with anyone who will listen (or read) but I’ve finally settled into the sweet spot of relishing the words of others, and the wisdom layered under all those consonants and vowels. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: huffingtonpost families