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LESSONS LEARNED IN THE MIRROR
Happy Parents Raise Happy Children
ENCOURAGING HEALTHY HONESTY
LOVE LETTERS TO MY SON
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contents BABIES & BEYOND 10 Things a Doula Does at Birth Lessons Learned in the Mirror LITTLE WELLNESS WARRIORS 31 Things your Kids Should Be Doing Besides Homework
PEACEFUL PARENTING Happy Parents Raise Happy Children Love Letters to my Son Encouraging Healthy Honesty The Ultimate List of Life Parenting Hacks SCHOOL LIFE Ten Tips to Writing a Great Essay YUMMY TUMMY Cooking with Kids THE MAGICAL WORLD OF READING REACH OUT
10 Things A Doula Actually Does At A Birth
As doulas we’re often asked what we do and why we think people should hire us. There are lots of pieces to consider when deciding if you want to work with a doula, including your budget, how your partner feels about it (if you’re partnered), who’s part of your birth team, and how much support and education you already have. Figuring out the details of your childbirth is a big personal decision and one that can only be made by you. But there’s also a lot of confusion and misinformation out there, so here are 10 things that doulas do (and don’t do) that might help you make a more informed choice:
1. Educate you and yours on the birth experience One of the biggest goals of our doula work is to help you get informed and educated. Most of us find ourselves pregnant knowing very little about the physiological aspects of childbirth and the current birthing practices. And once you’re there, it can be quite overwhelming to find reliable information and ways to feel prepared for all the things that can come up during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. We strive to have lots of information available to you and are always happy to share resources, talk things through, and tell you what we know based on our experience. We’re never giving you medical advice—that’s what your provider is for!—but can help you figure out what questions to ask them and are more than happy to be a resource and a way for you to get out of the Google loop and have accessible and evidenced-based information that can help you make decisions along the way..
2. Support you emotionally.
4. Let you be you.
Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting can be wild—it's a time when we all need as much emotional support as we can get. Even as a doula, now that I'm pregnant, I’ve really appreciated being able to talk to my doula friends and rely on my support system when I’ve felt like I am losing my mind. Most doulas make themselves available to you so you can call them or write to them whenever you need to talk things through. We’re good listeners and will meet you where you are without bringing our baggage along. We let you ask us questions, we hug you when you need to cry, and we take a step back when you need space. We’re there for you and your family and make sure you feel supported and heard.
We’re honored to be welcomed into your family and come without expectations of how your birth should go or what decisions you should make. We trust that you’ll always know what’s best for you and your baby. We know your intuition is right on and don’t push for things to go one way or the other. Because there is no right way, there is only YOUR way—we’re just there to make sure you find your path.
3. Ease physical tension and pain. Prenatally we can help you find ways to take good care of your body, find exercises that feel good for you, and recommend stretches and positions that have the potential to facilitate labor. Once contractions get going and you need more support, we come running and are there for you until the end. We will squeeze your hips if that feels good during a contraction. We will remind you to breathe through the pain and the discomfort. We will place our hands gently on your shoulders to help you let go of the tension. We will massage your feet and your back if that helps you get through a contraction. We will help you walk around and dance as your baby makes its way earthside. We will find ways to make you comfortable if you have an epidural and you can’t get out of bed. We will help you find your strength as you push your baby out and hold on tight to you your hand.
5. Normalize the birth experience. Most people only know about birth from TV and what it’s shown to us is usually far from what actually happens when people give birth. Doulas have seen birth many times and in many different forms and scenarios. We can help you understand what’s normal and what isn’t. When you feel scared because you’re bleeding during labor, we will remind you that bloody show is a sign of progress and a way for us to know your body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to. If you feel nauseous, we will encourage you to puke and remind you that vomit is normal during labor. And if something doesn’t seem right, we will make sure to let you know so you can talk to your provider and feel safe.
6. Facilitate communication with your care provider. We’re not allowed to speak on your behalf, but we make sure you understand what your rights are and help you develop the best strategies to communicate with your care provider and the hospital staff (if that’s part of your plan). We want to make sure you feel heard and are an active participant in every decision that is made along the way.
7. Let your partner be present.
10. Have your back!
If you have a partner, we understand that they are going to be your main support and we make sure to not get in the way of that! We’re there to help them be there for you while feeling supported, be able to take breaks if they need to, and help take the pressure off so they can enjoy the birthday party! We also help them get educated so they know what to expect and can speak on your behalf if needed.
A doula will always have your back and be on your side, both while working together and afterward as your little one grows older. We’re there to help you feel good and hold you if you’re sad or going through a hard time. We will pick up the phone when you call us and make sure you build a good support system for yourself. We’re there to help you find YOUR way!
8. Provide breastfeeding support. If you’re planning to breastfeed, we help you get a good sense of what to expect and how to prepare. Lots of doulas are lactation counselors or lactation consultants and can help you get breastfeeding started on the right path or help you troubleshoot if some things are not working and need to be adjusted. And since we have a big network of colleagues and resources, we make sure you get the right support if something is outside of our expertise.
9. Make you a meal. Your doula will help you understand what to expect in the fourth trimester. This includes how your body might feel and how to best take care of yourself after birth, how to care for the little one, and how to learn to read their cues and start to understand their needs. A doula will come see you postpartum and will answer the questions you have. We will make you a warm meal or hold the baby while you take a shower or a nap. We will love you and your family up to make sure you’re still feeling supported as the crazy new life begins.
By Natalia Hayes Natalia Hailes is a birth doula and reproductive health advocate. She's a certified doula, breastfeeding counselor, and integrative nutrition coach. She is the co-creator of Brilliant Bodies, which partners with likeminded businesses to facilitate creative solutions for pressing issues in the reproductive health space.
Lessons learned in the Mirror Dahlia Elizabeth admiring her reflection
by Lindsay Curtis
Ever notice how babies (and toddlers…and some adults) just love looking at their reflection in the mirror? Aside from it being super cute to watch as babies coo at themselves, looking into the mirror helps with their development and eventually they discover that the reflection they’ve been looking at & kissing all of this time is themselves. In adulthood, relationships act as the mirror as we learn about ourselves. It’s pretty well accepted that our most important lessons come through our relationships with others. In the article Relationships as Spiritual Mirrors, I wrote: every person you meet, every situation you encounter – offers you a mirror to see your own reflection on a soul level. This particularly applies to romantic and familial relationships, but coworkers, clients and friends mirror us and teach us lessons as well. Sometimes when we’re in the thick of the pain or having a rough time in a relationship, it’s hard to remember that we have something important to learn in the experience. It’s only later, upon reflecting on the situation, that we realize it was something we needed to learn. Bonus points if we have learned our lesson and don’t have to repeat it.
We may be either on the giving or receiving end of these experiences, and there will be a lesson offered both ways. We haven’t fully learned our lesson until we can see how we helped to arrange matters. In other words, what did we do to set it up? This isn’t a matter of blame. Really, it’s not! But think about it next time: what part of your soul is being reflected back to you in this scenario?
I’ve come to realize that in relationships, we are so accustomed to a sort of cause and effect conditioning, like “You yelled at me first!”, that the concept of us giving the other person involved the proverbial bat and pointing to our own head is a difficult pill to swallow. But, when you know that most everything that happens to you is drawn through the power of your own thought (whether it’s conscious or subconscious), then there’s no turning back, and there’s no more playing the role of the “poor me” victim. Well, you certainly can continue that, but it’ll feel less authentic. We don’t have to hold onto the pain we’ve lived through to prove that it existed. We don’t need to keep coming up with evidence of the “wrongness” of the other person involved. We can – and should – take responsibility for our part of the lesson and move on. This is part of what makes us human. If you go through some relationship bumps in the road, think of it as an opportunity to learn some karmic relationship lessons and to help you grow on a soul level. It won’t take away the pain, but it can help shed some light into the why.
Do you believe people are a reflection of who we are? Do you think we manifest the relationships and situations that come into our lives?
My name's Lindsay. I'm a spiritual intuitive, empath and Reiki practitioner. Armed with intuition and a desire to help others grow, I write the articles on The Daily Awe to do just that.
Conscious Life Magazine
31 Things Your Kids Should Be Doing Instead of Homework By Jessica Smock
There are many aspects of my more than decade-long career as a teacher that I’m proud of. My reputation for giving lots and lots of homework is not one of them. For most of my teaching career, I taught fifth or sixth grade. Sometimes I gave more than two hours of homework. Kids complained a lot, though parents rarely did, at least not to my face. I think parents mostly felt the same way I did: that homework was the best way to practice new skills, that it teaches responsibility and helps to develop a strong work ethic, and that it’s an opportunity to reflect on new learning. But most of all, my students’ parents and I were more than a little afraid that our kids would fall behind – behind their classmates in the next classroom, behind the kids in a neighboring school, behind the kids in other countries. Homework was considered one of many ways to prevent that from happening. I wasn’t entirely wrong about all of that, and I still believe a lot of those things. But only for middle and high school students (and not hours of assignments). Not for elementary students, and certainly not for kindergarteners or preschoolers.
When I entered a doctoral program in education policy, I learned about the research that suggests that homework is not good for young kids. Not only does it fail to improve the academic performance of elementary students, but it might actually be damaging to kids’ attitudes toward school, and to their physical health. In a review of available research studies, Harris Cooper, a leading researcher who has spent decades studying the effect of homework, concluded that “there is no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary students.” When I became a parent during graduate school, I experienced for myself just how tired and overwhelmed kids can be after a full day at daycare, preschool, or elementary school, often followed by more after school activities. After hours spent sitting and engaging in mostly adultdirected activities, children’s minds and bodies need other kinds of experiences when they get home, not more academics. It’s not just that homework itself has no academic benefits for little kids, and may even be harmful, it’s also that homework is replacing other fun, developmentally appropriate, and valuable activities – activities that help them grow into healthy, happy adults. So, what are some of the things kids could be doing in those hours between the end of the school day and bed time?
1 | Jump rope. An important part of how young kids’ minds develop is through free, self-directed play. According to David Elkind, Ph.D., author of The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children, free play is critical now more than ever, as recesses are shortened or eliminated, and kids’ calendars are busier than ever. “Through play,” Elkind writes, “children create new learning experiences, and those self-created experiences enable them to acquire social, emotional, and intellectual skills they could not acquire any other way.”
2 | Talk with parents. I’ve heard from countless friends about their daily battles with their elementary-aged kids struggling to do homework, and the way it’s negatively affected their relationships. Instead, of parents nagging their overtired kids to do homework they’re too young to do independently, families should spent much time talking together about their day. In fact, conversation is the best way for all of us – especially young children – to learn about our world and cultivate empathy.
3 | Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that between 25 and 30% of children aren’t getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can cause all sorts of problems in kids, including poor attention, behavior problems, academic difficulties, irritability, and weight gain. But even small amounts of additional sleep can have big impacts. One study found that only 20 additional minutes of sleep can improve kids’ grades.
4 | Independent reading. Most of us know that developing good habits (and hopefully a love of reading) is critical to doing well at school. However, homework can actually interfere with the time that kids can spend on reading.
5 | Listen to a book. Studies show that kids who are read aloud to do better in school and have better vocabularies.
6 | Work on a puzzle. Being able to play on their own without adults (called “solitary play”) builds confidence in kids and makes them more relaxed.
7 | Go up a slide backwards. “Risky” play — activities like climbing a tree — is good for kids. Children need to explore their own limits, to be able to assess risks, and to learn how to negotiate their environments. Researchers theorize that risky play, found across all cultures and in other mammals, has a evolutionary role in preparing offspring for life without their caretakers.
8 | Dig in the dirt. Another type of play, sensory play, is also critical for kids’ development. When kids knead clay or finger paint, they are stimulating their senses. “Sensory experiences,” explains one early childhood educator, “provide open-ended opportunities where the process is more important than the product; how children use materials is much more important than what they make with them.”
9 | Playing with a friend in a sandbox. Parallel play, or the type of play in which kids play next to each other, begins in toddlers. But even for older kids, parallel play can help develop critical social skills.
10 | Help with dinner. Kids who learn about new foods, and how to prepare them, may be more likely to choose more nutritious foods later on.
11 | Walk the dog. Kids who help take care of family pets may be less anxious, less likely to develop allergies and asthma, and are more active.
12 | Volunteer at an animal shelter. Even kids who don’t have pets at home can benefit from being around animals. The emotional and psychological benefits of being around animals can also be found when kids care for injured animals and take on care-taking responsibilities for other people’s pets.
13 | Plant a garden. Kids who work in gardens may have higher achievement scores in science than those who don’t. That’s because they’re actively engaging in scientific concepts and practicing math skills as they learn about plants.
14 | Practice an instrument. Kids who participate in musical activities – those who practice an instrument regularly and participate actively in music groups – may have brains who are better wired for literacy skills, according to one study.
15 | Hang out at Grandma’s. Encouraging multi-generational relationships can yield many lessons for kids. They can learn how other adult role models in their lives who love them handle conflict, create and negotiate rules and routines, and embrace family traditions.
16 | Participate in a community service project. Through volunteering, kids can become more grateful, empathetic, and feel more connected to the wider community.
17 | Draw a picture. For kids who have trouble expressing themselves verbally, drawing can be a way for them to relax and communicate in a different way.
18 | Do a science experiment. Kids are naturally curious and want to know how things work. Scientific exploration outside the classroom may be particularly effective at teaching kids about scientific thinking.
19 | Play dress up. The significance of imaginative “pretend” or “fantasy” play for kids’ creativity and future problem-solving skills is difficult to overstate. When kids pretend they’re superheroes or talk to stuffed animals, they’re learning about social roles, setting the stage for later learning, and processing ideas from the world around them. In fact, some research suggests that kids who don’t engage in fantasy play may actually struggle in the classroom later.
20 | Wrestle with a sibling. “Rough and tumble” play is not the same as aggression. It’s vigorous, free-form, whole-body, energetic, happy play. Kids learn decision-making skills, relieve stress, improve their ability to read social cues, and enhance their cardio-vascular health.
21 | Clean their room. When kids are spending their afternoons working on homework, there’s often not time for them to help out with housework and other chores. A University of Minnesota researcher, Marty Rossman, found that one of the best predictors of a kid’s future success is whether they contributed to household chores as a young child. According to Rossman, “Through participating in household tasks, parents are teaching children responsibility, how to contribute to family life, a sense of empathy and how to take care of themselves.”
22 | Write a story. By writing down stories, kids can express their feelings, stretch their imaginations, and practice their fine motor skills.
23 | Zone out. Just as important as play is “down time.” The authors of “Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Happy, Successful Kids“ argue that every kids needs PDF: playtime, downtime, and family time. Downtime is when kids are allowed to literally do not much of anything, like sit around and listen to music or stare at the ceiling. These moments allow children to reflect, rest, and reset their minds and bodies.
24 | Meditate. Kids also benefit from meditation. Studies have found that mindfulness and meditation can improve behavior, focus, and reduce impulsiveness.
25 | Create a collage. “Constructive play” – building a fort, making a snowman – is goal-oriented and involves kids building something using tools and materials. Constructive play also has an important role in developing children’s communication, mathematical, and socio-emotional skills.
26 | Listen to classical music. One study found that playing classical music to children can improve their listening and concentration skills, as well as self-discipline.
27 | Learn to knit. Knitting, sewing, and crocheting are hobbies that can help enhance fine motor skills, improve coordination, and develop longer attention spans.
28 | Take pictures. “Photography can help develop a child’s voice, vision and identity as it pertains to their family, friends and community,”.
29 | Ride a bike. Kids who are physically active – as well as adults! – have stronger hearts, lungs, and bones. They are less likely to develop cancer or be overweight and more likely to feel good about themselves.
30 | Listen to a long bedtime story. Babies, children, and adult sleep better when they have a regular (not rushed) bedtime routine. Kids who don’t have bedtime routines are more likely to have behavior problems, be hyperactive, and suffer from emotional difficulties.
31 | Play “Simon Says.” During cooperative games, kids collaborate to reach a common goal. There may be a leader, and kids start to learn about social contracts and social rules. When homework is assigned to young children, it doesn’t improve academic learning. In any case, the learning done in school is only one form of learning. Homework takes away from the time available to engage in endless other forms of learning, such as social, physical, and emotional, as well as rest.
Our kids deserve a chance to spend all their other hours outside of school doing their most important job of all: being a kid.
Jessica Smock Jessica Smock is a writer and editor living in upstate New York with her husband and two children. A former teacher and curriculum coordinator, she has a doctorate in educational policy from Boston University.
Have you ever really listened to how you talk to your children? I mean really listened. Do it, do it now. It could be the most important thing you ever do for them. Now think about how many positive things you’ve said and weigh it up against all the negative and nagging ones. Surprised? I was. It’s nearly 15 years since I took on the position of Mum, the most rewarding and amazing role I have ever stepped into. With each name change from Mummy to Mumma then Mum came learning curves, challenges and hindsight all which have shaped a mum style which I have finally fine tuned and stuck with. I’m by no means and expert and not saying how I do things is right, but it fits for our family and that’ll do for now.
As a positive parent, I try seeing things through my children’s eyes and speak to them as I would like to be spoken to myself. The hindsight thing I mentioned, never underestimate that, it’s a gift as well as a curse but you’re never too old to stop learning and being a better person, a better parent. We’ve all had the experience of hearing that Mum or Dad yell at their child, shaming them in public, scaring them and not giving them an opportunity to understand what they did wrong. How did that make you feel? Uncomfortable I bet, just think how that child felt. Sure, there are times when its a matter of life or death, flight or fight and you need a short sharp shock, but it’s how you act in the aftermath that determines the best response. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life. How are we supposed to teach a child safety and respect if we don’t speak them positively and respectfully ourselves? I listened to how I spoke to my now teenager, it was shocking and sad. Don’t touch, don’t run, stop dawdling behind.
The revelation that I was being a negative parent came one day as we walked home from preschool and a cat ran away from us, I commented that the cat mustn’t like people and my son’s response changed how I parented from that very moment on; “no Mummy, he probably saw your cross face and was scared.” Powerful words out of the mouths of babes.
I realised that not only was I verbally negative with my constant “no’s” and “don’ts” I looked negative, my face could tell a 1000 words, so instead I did this; Walk don’t run It’s a well know fact that you’re much better telling a child to “walk” and “not run”, as their understanding is developing, they’re more likely to hear and follow the last word you say. So I started there. I gave positives in place of negatives. Compliment don’t criticise Did you know for every 1 criticism it takes 10 positives to make a person feel better? For a child who’s self esteem and self worth is still in production and so delicate, this is more important than ever. You’re shaping an adult from the moment they’re born. The building blocks for future success in relationships, work and friendships start from the day the arrive. Tell them how amazing they are and they’ll believe it. Smile, laugh, love Empathy is the key to so much, it’s how we read situations and how we are accepted, if we can learn to know and understand how other people are feeling, then life is just that little bit nicer for everyone. Don’t assume it’s automatic, you need to experience empathy to show it. If your child is worried, scared or sad, acknowledge it. It might be nothing to you but to them its a big deal. Smile when they smile, laugh when they laugh, love when they need love. Always acknowledge and value their emotions. I’m still learning, I still have days when I realise I’ve let opportunities for a compliment pass and gone straight for the telling off, but tomorrow’s another day. It’s never too late to be that parent you aspire to be. Don’t be the parent yelling in the park.
Hi, I’m Ali, a fresh into 40, single mum of 3 boys living on the Devon coast with my Toddler, Pre teen and Teenager. I’m a positive thinker and recently began a switching to a healthier, clean living lifestyle; Giving up meat, reducing my sugar intake and limiting chemicals within the home and my beauty regime. Just to see if I could. And I can.
Single Parenting: Love Letters to My Sons
By Renee Brown
Many, many years ago when I was a fierce single mom with two wild and crazy boys. (Yeah, it’s ok if you want to feel sorry for that stage of my life.) I often felt I was just surviving each day. Truth be told, I likely was, as I was in charge of raising the boys almost 100 percent on my own, working full-time (and then some), running a household, and managing a yard. Life was nuts. On top of all of that, I was genuinely concerned that we were missing out on our lives; that running all over every day meant I wasn’t really being in the moment. And, if that was true, how on earth would the boys and I be able to look back and have memories of their childhoods? Would we primarily remember racing to daycare, soccer and the grocery store? Because I am an overachiever, I also worried about the trauma of divorce on my young children’s psyche. Throw all of this together and it’s one heavy wet blanket.
But this story doesn’t end there. Somewhere in my ruminating brain, I came up with an idea. I had been a consistent journal writer most of my life, even though that abated quite a bit when I became a mother. I loved the idea of scrapbooking but abhorred the thought of all of the supplies (which, let’s be real, I couldn’t afford anyway). With the determination to document at least part of their lives, I fashioned an idea: I made a promise to myself that every year, on each boy’s birthday, I would write that son a letter. The letter would talk about his life right then. What he loved doing, who his favorite friends were, the songs we sang to in the car, the attributes I admired in him. It would be a mini-time capsule. And instead of giving the letter to my son as soon as I wrote it, I’d tuck it away. And so it began, this new tradition of mine. At first, I had to write a reminder on my calendar or the birthday time would slip by me, but eventually, it became a fun new habit. I had a blast capturing the year for each son.
To awaken memories, before I started each letter I would sift through photographs and artwork, and as the boys got older, school papers and memorabilia. Now, I can’t say I did this perfectly. There were a couple years here and there where there was no birthday letter. I have gone over this time and time again, and cannot remember what the reasons were. Likely there was some chaos that had me trying to get over some life hump, rather than practicing this precious tradition. As I write this, my boys are 21 and 19. And guess what? I still haven’t given them their letters. I’m not sure why; I likely just haven’t settled on a way to present them. Find a large enough wooden box? Tie up all the letters with twine? I can’t come up with a solution that feels right, and so we wait. I also never settled on an age to end the letters. I’ve just kept going and loving the experience. Truth be told, I’m a little jealous of what they have waiting for them. I’d deeply love a collection of letters about the girl I used to be and her favorite things. But instead, this will be one of those joyful situations where I will give the gift, then sit back and revel in my sons’ surprise and delight at revisiting their childhoods. It will be a moment in which I can heartily celebrate a job well done.
By Amy McCreedy Perhaps your budding artist suddenly disowns the crayon mural in the hallway. Maybe your daughter, who has spent the last hour making mud pies in the backyard, tells you she’s already washed her hands, despite mud caked on her hands. Or your teen tells you he got home last night at curfew when you heard him come in a half-hour late. Whatever the lie, it’s a frustrating challenge for parents. But when we understand why kids lie, we can help our kids become more honest. Lying isn’t always done with ulterior motives. When your preschooler starts lying, it’s simply a new developmental milestone, according to research by Kang Lee, a University of Toronto professor and director of the Institute of Child Study. This shift signifies changes in the way your child organizes information. It’s a normal step, so you don’t need to worry about your little one becoming a pathological liar. The study shows that lying is common from age 4 to 17, and by age 7, kids can tell a lie so well that often their parents can’t even tell they’re being untruthful. But after age 17, lying decreases – so it’s not necessarily a problem that will follow our kids into adulthood. That said, many times kids do have a legitimate reason for stretching the truth – they want to avoid punishment, disappointing their parents or an unpleasant outcome. Would you be honest if you knew it would cause you humiliation, a lecture, a punishment or being yelled at? It’s hard for a child to tell the truth when they know those will be the outcomes. Your child doesn’t want to disappoint you, either. So they may fib about a poor choice they made or make up ridiculous stories to impress you.
And naturally, when our kids blatantly lie to us, we want to punish them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens – when we punish kids for lying, they’ll keep doing it in the hopes of avoiding any future punishment. So if we can’t punish them, how do we put a stop to the lies? Keeping in mind the reasons why kids lie, we can create an environment where they feel safe telling the truth. The following seven tips can help you make your home a more honest place. Keep calm and parent on. Watch how you respond to misbehavior and mistakes in your home, whether it’s spilled juice on the carpet or unfinished chores. If your kids worry about being yelled at or punished when they mess up, they won’t want to come to you with the truth. Focus on using a calm voice – yes, it can be tough, but it’s possible. That doesn’t mean kids are off the hook for lying. But instead of getting angry and assigning blame, discuss solutions to the problem with your child .Don’t set up a lie. If you can see piles of laundry on your daughter’s floor, don’t ask her if she’s cleaned up her room yet. When we ask questions to which we already know the answer, we’re giving our children the opportunity to tell a lie. Instead, emphasize ways to address the situation. If you know Evan hasn’t touched his homework, ask him, “What are your plans for finishing your homework?” Instead of “Where did all this mud come from?” ask, “What can we do to clean this up and make sure it doesn’t happen next time?” This can help head off a power struggle and allows your child to save face by focusing on a plan of action instead of fabricating an excuse. It also teaches a lesson of what they can do next time – sitting down with homework right after school or taking off their shoes in the mudroom instead of the living room – to avoid problems. Get the whole truth. While we may want to put our child on the spot when we catch them in a lie, accusing or blaming them will only make things worse. Getting to the root of the problem and understanding why she couldn’t be honest with you will help you encourage your child to tell the truth in the future. Open up a conversation gently, saying, “that sounds like a story to me. You must be worried about something and afraid to tell the truth. Let’s talk about that. What would help you be honest?” You can use the information you glean to help her be more truthful in the future. Celebrate honesty. Even if you’re upset that there’s a sea of water on the bathroom floor because your daughter tried to give her dolls a bath in the sink, commend her for coming to you and telling the truth. Tell her, “I really appreciate you telling me what really happened. That must have been difficult for you, but I really appreciate you telling the truth and taking responsibility.”
Delight in do-overs. Think of mistakes as a way to learn how to make better choices. When we stay calm and avoid yelling or punishing our kids for mistakes, our kids will be more likely to admit their slip-ups in the future. Turn the mistake into a learning opportunity. Ask, “If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently?” and brainstorm different ideas. If someone else was affected – maybe he broke his sister’s scooter – ask what he can do to make it right with the other party. Show the love. Let your kids know you love them unconditionally, even when they make mistakes. Make sure they know that while you don’t like their poor behavior, you will never love them any less because of the mistakes they might make. This helps your kids feel safe opening up to you.
Walk the talk. Remember that your kids are always looking to you and learning from your actions. Those little white lies we tell, whether it’s to get out of dog sitting for the neighbors or helping with the school fundraiser, aren’t harmless – they’re showing your kids that it’s okay to lie. These tips will help start your family on a path for a more honest household. But remember that it takes time to build up trust. Be patient. However, if your child continues to lie often or lies with the intention of hurting others, you may want to consider counseling or other professional help. Creating an environment where kids feel safe telling the truth not only cuts down on lying day to day, but it helps your child build character traits that will serve her throughout adulthood. Feeling overwhelmed? Ready to say goodbye to TANTRUMS and TEARS and create an environment for JOY and PEACE? Sign up for our free video series to learn No Stress Steps to Get Kids to Listen…Without Losing Your Cool. Get instant access to videos here: http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/parent-training.
The Ultimate List of Parenting Life Hacks
Suddenly you’ve got a new full-time job, and its name is Baby. It’s hard to juggle taking care of your little one with taking care of yourself. Your nights belong to feedings; your bag belongs to baby gear; and your hours are broken up by baby’s short attention span. Here are the life hacks Babylist parents used to make the job a little bit easier. We hope they save you time, money, and sanity. Hacks for healthy and civilized eating Introducing your baby to solid food can be a messy process, and teaching them how to behave in restaurants, an ordeal. How to get them to love the healthy food you know is good for them? How to keep them from protesting the tedium of the restaurant? These parents have some great ideas! • Sneak in those veggies: Blend veggies into a smoothie with strawberries for picky eaters.” • Toddlers can love baby food: "I have a 7 months old, who eats home cooked purees, most of them are green, yellow and orange veggies. My big one gets jealous and thinks it’s so cool to eat her baby sister’s food. So I take advantage and give it to her–green beans, squash, you name it, she eats it!” • Make eating a game: “For those with toddlers, at restaurants order foods that your little ones can pierce with chopsticks (keep some in your bag). It occupies them by doing something different.”
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Bendy straws: “Bendy straws in every purse/diaper bag for toddlers. Makes it so very much easier to avoid spills in restaurants, etc.” Feeding schedules as tantrum prevention: “Keep kids on a schedule, especially with meals. Three balanced meals and two healthy snacks a day will avoid most meltdowns in kids, especially toddlers.” This one’s genius: “All melty summer treats in the bathtub
Hacks for breast and bottlefeeding Keeping a newborn fed is a 24-hour around-the-clock job, so anything that can make it easier is a godsend. • Pumping lets dad help with feeding: “For breastfeeding mamas, your breast pump is your best friend, even for a stay-at-home mama. Even if you just pump once a day, do it so dad can do even just one feeding a day. My husband took the 10:30-11pm dream feed at 3 weeks and it gave me the ability to have precious time in the evening to myself and the ability to go to bed early and sleep for a good solid block of hours.” • Genius bottle-warming trick: “If you’re exclusively pumping and want some time to get out and enjoy not being stuck at home with a newborn, bring a thermos filled with hot water to warm your bottles anywhere-in the mall, at the park… It also saves you money instead of buying those expensive bottle warmers for the car.” • Save your bed from milk dribbles: “Put bassinet size mattress pads on top of your sheets from night nursing.”
Hacks to keep you organized When you’re a new parent, time is at a premium: minutes and seconds to yourself are precious resources, not to be squandered. Space in your bag is also at a premium, considering the metric ton of baby gear you have to haul around wherever you go. Organization can make your life SO much easier! • Ditch nonessential tasks: “Don’t waste your time folding baby clothes.” • Bedtime feedings = longer sleep for parents: “Change, diaper and feed your newborn the most/longest right before you go to bed so you’re able to get a little more sleep. Works great with my 7 week old right now!”
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Keep your diaper bag prepared: “Every time you get home, clean out your diaper bag and refill so it is ready to go. If I have the essentials ready to go, I can throw in a snack and go in a quick minute. This has saved me more than once to be on time.” Don’t give them time to mess up their out-of-house outfits: “When going out always get dressed first. Then dress your little ones. Once dressed I put on a towel/apron combo to keep my clothes clean and intact.” Use baby’s naptime wisely: “Don’t do anything while the baby sleeps that you could do while she’s awake! (i.e. folding laundry, etc.)” Sheet-changing hack: “Doubling/layering the bed sheets. When they need changing just strip & the next set is ready to go.” Bathroom multi-tasking: “Brush your teeth while peeing. There’s no time to do these things separately.” (Note that more than one person gave us this particular parenting life hack!) Buy yourself time to shower: “Stick baby in a bumbo or seat and let them join you in the shower at the edge of the tub. Super fun activity for them while the water sprinkles their face and you get a shower! Two in one!!! Woot ” And here’s our favorite tip: “Maintain your Babylist long after the initial ‘new baby necessities’ phase and send the link to family and friends who ask for gift ideas for baby’s 1st birthday, Christmas, etc.”
Hacks to make diapering easy It’s hard to put a diaper on a squirming, wriggly, restless baby! Plus, having the perfect diaper gear on you at all times requires so much planning ahead. Hack your way out of your diaper dilemma.
Donâ€™t waste $ on a changing table: â€œInstead of buying a changing table, simply use the changing table topper instead wherever you typically change diapers at home.â€? Face pants game: â€œPutting babyâ€™s pants on their face while changing their diaper and when they pull them off shout peek a boo is pretty helpful for diaper changes. đ&#x;˜œ â€? Diaper distraction trick: â€œWhile changing my daughters diaper I now place a magnet letter on her forehead and pretend she is invisible while itâ€™s on. Sheâ€™s so distracted she doesnâ€™t wiggle.â€? Another parent used a similar trick, but with a clean wipe instead of a magnet letter. Backwards clothing to prevent diaper escape: â€œWhen dealing with little lives who love to rip off their diaper, take a pair of footie pajamas, cut off the feet, and put them on your munchkin backwards!!â€? Red light bulb for night changing: â€œLate night diaper changes are rough in the beginning! Instead of fumbling in the dark or turning on a bright light, grab a red light bulb! Youâ€™ll have enough light to change baby but no one will be forced awake by the shock of the bright light!â€? Maxipad as emergency substitute diaper: â€œIf you ran out of diapers during errands but have a pad in your glove box, paste it to their onside bottom or a pair of bloomers to lay you a good twenty minutes until you can figure out your next move
Hacks to keep them calm â€˘ Take a lap through the house: â€œBabies have short attention spans and because of that I feel like I get nothing done! So while doing dishes or folding laundry, if she gets fussy, I pick her up, do a lap throughout the house so she can look around (and you get more steps) then I put her in a slightly different spot or angle, then I have another five-ish minutes then I repeat.â€? â€˘ Try a back carry: â€œBack your baby! Whenever my little one is fussy etc I put her on my back using the Ergo carrier and it Instantly calms her down! Iâ€™m able to get many things done and she enjoys being there.â€? â€˘ Diffuse anger with goofy fun: â€œWhen they throw a tantrum, just get them distracted by something completely different and use a princess voice or somethingâ€Ś for example my 2.5 years old comes home very hungry and irritated from school and goes towards the snack cabinet almost crying and losing herself over it. Not to spoil her appetite before the dinner, I offer her to go upstairs and put on a pretty dress that she likes so much. That does the magic. She forgets she is hungry and is excited about her dress.â€? â€˘ Eye contact wakes up babies: â€œWhen baby wakes up during the night for feedings/diaper changes, AVOID EYE CONTACT!! Give them hugs/kisses/love but donâ€™t look them in the eye. They will think itâ€™s time to play and may not want to go back to sleep. Iâ€™ve used this tip with both my kids and it always works.â€? â€˘ This one might be obvious butâ€Ś â€œNever wake a sleeping baby. He will wake up soon enough!â€?
Hacks to keep them entertained The theme here was that tots donâ€™t need fancy toys to keep them entertained. The whole world is so magical and new to them that everyday items are plenty entertaining enough! â€˘ â€˘ â€˘
Masking tape: â€œFor flying or long car rides with a little one: buy a roll of masking tape to let them unroll. Itâ€™ll keep them entertained and distracted for ages with basically no mess or cleanup involved. Plus itâ€™s sticky, so itâ€™s less likely to get thrown or dropped on the floor.â€? Do-it-yourself playground: â€œLearn to swing the car seat like a pendulum. Once you get that down, youâ€™re golden.â€? Make sure theyâ€™re strapped in safely. Make toys from junk and household items: â€œGive baby household items for toys. Plastic cups to bang. Magazine pages to tear. Cardboard boxes to explore.â€? And this particular parent got really ingenious with household items: â€œColorful Popsicle sticks, Pom poms, cotton balls and Q tips in an old cleaned-out Parmesan cheese container. My one year old loves taking them out and putting back in. There are two flaps on these lids, one side is wide open and one has three holes. Keeps him occupied in restaurants!!â€? Backup security item: â€œAlways have a back up blankie, teddy bear, whatever their security item is. Buy two from the beginning because one will get lost and youâ€™ll need that backup in case it sells out or is discontinued!â€?
Hacks to keep yourself sane Our most popular hack: One word: â€œwine.â€? Many people submitted that one. â€˘ â€˘
Mama timeout: â€œDance with your children, sing with your children, and play with your children, but also set aside time for yourself. Sometimes, I even tell my oldest that I need a â€˜timeout.â€™ đ&#x;˜œ â€? Go on outings: â€œGet baby out in the world early!! Once they are here they are part of the world.. Let them learn to sleep with noise and see people!â€? Take time to enjoy: â€œTake time to admire the miracle you created! I think too often we are so tired that we forget why we are tired. So everyday I find myself spending some time to just look at my little man and think about what my body did and went through to get him here. đ&#x;˜œ â€? Breathe: â€œDeep breaths. Time to step away, refocus, relax and focus on the big picture. The days are long but the years go by fast.â€? Be kind to yourself and others: â€œThere will be days you feel like youâ€™re failing at parenting completely. Please remember to be kind to yourself, and know that being a parent is not always easy. As absolutely wonderful as it is, itâ€™s also a lot of work. Donâ€™t be too hard on yourself! Youâ€™re doing a great job! We all feel a little run down and have feelings of guilt thinking we could do better. Love yourself, and youâ€™ll be an even better momma
How do we inspire our kids to be more grateful? By Rebecca Wolthers
So, in today’s modern world, how do you inspire children to grow up with an attitude of gratitude instead of an “attitude”, if you know what I mean? Many psychologists have studied gratitude and its effects on our well being. People who are more grateful seem to lead more satisfying lives and are more resilient in a crisis or under pressure. I for one definitely want that for my whole family! Rudolf Steiner, known for creating Waldorf Education, said this “Gratitude is the basis for love. When children deepen their appreciation for the natural world, they deepen their love for all of creation.” An easy way to start is to simply as your kids, “What are three things you are grateful for today?” Or, for younger ones, try a rhyme or a song that appeals to you. Giving thanks before a meal is another powerful way to inspire gratitude. Here’s a sweet one for the younger kiddos:
The eagle gives thanks for the mountains, The fish gives thanks for the sea We give our blessings for the food we are about to receive.
Ingredients • • • • • • • •
5 medium tomatoes cut into ½-inch pieces 1-2 jalapenos seeded and minced 2 garlic cloves minced ¼ medium red onion chopped 3tbsp fresh lime juice ½tsp salt ⅛tsp black pepper 1tbsp cilantro chopped
In a bowl, gently stir together all the ingredients.
Berbere Spice Mix Berbere Spice Mix Berbere is a blend of spices used in Ethiopian cooking. If you don’t have whole spices, you can use ground ones. Ingredients
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Remove the seeds from the cardamom pod. Toast the cardamom, clove, allspice and fenugreek seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until the spices become fragrant. Remove from the heat, let cool and grind in a mortar and pestle until fine. Stir in the ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric.
1whole cardamom pod 1whole clove 2whole allspice ⅛tsp whole fenugreek seeds ⅛tsp ground ginger ⅛tsp ground nutmeg ⅛tsp ground turmeric
Stovetop Pizza Stovetop Pizza These days, pizza is the favorite food of many children. Making your own pizza is a satisfying accomplishment. This delicious version uses fresh tomatoes and less cheese than most. You can bake these pizzas on cookie sheets in preheated 425 degree oven instead of cooking them on the stovetop. Makes 3 10-inch pizzas.
Ingredients Pizza Dough • 1cup warm water • ½tsp baking yeast • 1tsp honey • ¾cup whole wheat flour • 1¾cups unbleached white flour • ½tsp baking powder • ½tsp salt Pizza Toppings • ¼cup shredded Parmesan cheese • ½cup grated mozzarella cheese • 5 Roma tomatoes, diced • ½ red bell pepper diced • 2tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves • ¼tsp salt • ⅛tsp freshly ground black pepper • 2tsp olive oil
Instructions Make the pizza dough In a medium bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Let sit 2 to 3 minutes, until the yeast is dissolved. Stir in the honey and whole wheat flour. In a separate bowl, stir together the white flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the whole wheat mixture, stirring to form a rough dough. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover the dough and let it rise while you prepare the pizza toppings. Prepare the pizza toppings In a small bowl, combine the cheeses. In another bowl, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Make the pizzas Divide the dough to make 3 equal balls. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll each ball into a circle that is 10 inches in diameter. Heat a 12-inch skillet or griddle over medium high heat until it is hot. Transfer the rolled pizza crust to the skillet or griddle and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the dough. Spread one third of the tomato mixture on top of the cooked side of the dough to make an even layer. Top with ¼ cup of the cheese mixture. Cover the pan and continue to cook the pizza until the toppings are hot and the bottom of the crust is golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pizza to a cutting board and cut into wedges to serve. Repeat this process to make 2 more pizzas.
"I'm scared I'll forget you..." From the perspective of a young child, Joanna Rowland artfully describes what it is like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the story creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of the loved one, to help in the grieving process. Heartfelt and comforting, The Memory Box will help children and adults talk about this very difficult topic together. The unique point of view allows the reader to imagine the loss of any they have loved - a friend, family member, or even a pet. A parent guide in the back includes information on helping children manage the complex and difficult emotions they feel when they lose someone they love, as well as suggestions on how to create their own memory box. The Memory Box is a 2017 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards winner--a contest intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading.
The reds, the yellows, and the blues all think they're the best in this vibrant, thought-provoking picture book from Arree Chung, with a message of acceptance and unity. In the beginning, there were three colors . . . Reds, Yellows, and Blues. All special in their own ways, all living in harmonyâ€•until one day, a Red says "Reds are the best!" and starts a color kerfuffle. When the colors decide to separate, is there anything that can change their minds? A Yellow, a Blue, and a never-before-seen color might just save the day in this inspiring book about color, tolerance, and embracing differences.
EVERY HOME NEEDS A LOVING PET! THERE ARE SO MANY BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS WAITING TO BE ADOPTED â€“ PLEASE REACH OUT! WE ALSO ENCOCURAGE YOU TO REACH INTO YOUR HEARTS FOR THOSE WHO ARE LESS FORTUNATE AND REALLY NEED YOUR HELP.
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Who we are: The Monkey Helpline, started in 1995, is a volunteer group, based in Westville near Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, but operating throughout the province and also anywhere else in South Africa and abroad where our assistance and advice are requested. Our team of dedicated rescuers and rescue assistants, veterinarians, educators, monitors, fund-raisers, administrative assistants and supporters is what makes this project the success that it is today. Monkey Helpline is a registered NPO. 130-166 NPO What we do: As a team we devote our time to educating people about the reasons why the monkeys are here, why monkeys behave the way they do, the things people should do or not do when monkeys are around, and how to humanely keep monkeys away from those places where they are not welcome. Just knowing that monkeys will NOT attack and bite people, and that they DON’T carry rabies, is usually enough to change antagonism and fear into tolerance, and frequently into appreciation. We also run a rescue operation and a “high care” unit. We rescue an average of three monkeys every two days, and their injuries range from wounds sustained during fights with other monkeys, dog bites, being run over by motor vehicles, electrocuted, snared, trapped or poisoned, shot with airguns (pellet/BB guns), catapults, paintball guns and firearms, as well as being caught or injured on razor-wire. Many are babies who are orphaned or injured when mother monkeys are attacked by dogs or other monkeys, or are severely injured or killed in human-related incidents. Over eighty percent of the monkeys we rescue, irrespective of the reason why, have got air-gun pellets lodged in their bodies. Lead pellets cause terrible pain, suffering and a lingering death and no person, adult or child, should ever shoot monkeys, or any other animals, with an air-gun. As the only dedicated monkey rescue project in KwaZulu-Natal, the Monkey Helpline is available to do rescues 24 hours a day, every day! On any given day we are treating ten or more monkeys in our home-based high care unit – frequently in excess of twenty monkeys! Once they have recovered from their injuries these monkeys are released back into their home territory, transferred to a rehabilitation facility or placed in a sanctuary. Education is a vital tool in our hands and we distribute thousands of information leaflets, and visit many schools (at least two schools per week) to do educational talks about the monkeys. During 2009 we spoke to over 40 000 school learners and their teachers. We also do talks to many other interest groups such as police cadets, garden clubs, public service groups, conservation bodies, body corporates, etc. In addition, we advise farmers, businesses, hotels and casinos, housing and golfing estates, botanical gardens etc on the best ways to manage human/monkey “conflict”. Monkey Helpline networks with a number of other Vervet-related individuals, groups, and general primate- and animal-care NGO’s. NB. There is no charge for the services we offer, but donations towards the cost of running the project are welcome. Without your support we would not be able to change attitudes and legislation in favour of the monkeys nor would we be able to rescue the hundreds that we do every year and alleviate their suffering.
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Hotel Hope Ministries is a fully registered South African non-profit organisation established with aim of ensuring that each and every child is brought up in a safe, happy and healthy home so that they can grow up and develop into responsible and positive adults. Although children are our main focus, we have a holistic approach to the problem of orphaned and abandoned children. We realise that we need to focus on the cause of the problem too and not only the symptoms. So we have projects to focus on assisting Mothers and Fathers, so that they can look after themselves and their children. We group our projects under three focus areas: BABIES IN NEED Creating and supporting several small family style foster homes for orphaned and abandoned babies.
MOTHERS IN CRISIS Providing young mothers facing unplanned pregnancies with counselling, guidance and practical support. SOCIAL ENTERPRISE Helping Mothers and Fathers to help themselves by providing jobs and skill development opportunities through our fundraising and trading projects. As a fully registered South African charity we are registered with the following authorities: · Section 21 company without share capital - 2010/006792/08 · Non-Profit Organization (NPO) number – 084 289 · Public Benefit Organization (PBO) number – 930 034 387 Mission statement: To engage the local Church Worldwide to embrace its God given responsibility of taking care of destitute mothers and orphaned and abandoned children. Vision statement: To see a full service (either ourselves or in partner with others) covering: •Children’s homes •Adoption advocacy •Mothers in crisis •Counselling centres •Training Academy •Charity shops / trading Conscious Life Magazine
Our fundraising model: We have a unique funding model in place where we are able to generate funds to cover 100% of our administrative costs through our Charity Shop(s) as well as the output of our carpentry workshop and sewing workshop. We are extremely committed to Social enterprise as it creates employment in South Africa, funds for the Charity, volunteering opportunities as well as a lowpriced outlet for customers from low-income groups. Furthermore we can assure donors that 100% of their support will directly benefit the children in our care as well as mothers in crisispregnancy situations. Thank you to our donors and corporate sponsors: As an organisation we are incredibly blessed to have many active supporters, individuals and corporates, who make it possible for us to do what we do and to make a difference. People often comment that it must be difficult to work in our environment hearing sad stories all the time, and it is sometimes hard, but it is also so rewarding to see those stories turning into stories of hope and it is so inspiring and such a privilege to witness people, like our supporters, coming forward to help and to give so generously. There are amazing people out there in the world, click here to see who some of them are and how they have made a differenceâ€Ś Click here Our Sponsors:
DONATE FINANCIALLY Deposit or Electronic transfer directly into our account First National Bank Account name: Hotel Hope Account number: 62194003382 Branch: Melville, Johannesburg Branch code (sort code): 256505 Account type: Cheque account SWIFT code: FIRNZAJJ (For international deposits) Reference: Donation (your name) OTHER WAYS TO DONATE/HELP US Conscious Life Magazine
Help us bring hope to girls without and choices to those with none. Founded in 2000 by Khanyisile Motsa, and run under her diligent care ever, Home of Hope for Girls is an autonomous, self-started initiative to provide real care for exploited, trafficked and abused children in the city of Johannesburg. It is more than just a residential shelter; it is a loving home where dignity is restored, the past is healed and the girls are given the tools to take control of their futures. Home of Hope also reaches out to the community offering the most vulnerable members support, practical help and a lifeline.
The Background to Home of Hope An estimated 10,000 children are prostitutes in Johannesburg and this figure is increasing. When Khanyisile Motsa relocated to Hillbrow she was shocked to observe girls as young as nine working as prostitutes and selling drugs on the streets at night. The truth about these forgotten children is: • • • • • •
Child Prostitute. Photo by Tseliso Monaheng
Criminals pay agents to recruit children They usually target often orphans or/and those from very disadvantaged rural communities Victims are trafficked or seduced to leave with lies about a life in the city Their IDs are frequently taken from them to make escape and identification difficult Their IDs are often sold on the black market ‘Owned’ by their exploiters they are prostituted, abused, made to sell drugs
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Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we work every day to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. When crisis strikes, and children are most vulnerable, we are always among the first to respond and the last to leave. We ensure childrenâ€™s unique needs are met and their voices are heard. We deliver lasting results for millions of children, including those hardest to reach. We do whatever it takes for children â€“ every day and in times of crisis â€“ transforming their lives and the future we share.
We need your help to ensure that no child is left behind. In a tough funding environment, we have ensured we have multiple avenues of funding and are proud to have 11,000 generous individual donors contributing monthly. We will continue to be innovative in securing funding to enable us to reach more children and will work on increasing unrestricted and consistent funding streams. You can help us make a difference. Even just by becoming aware of our work by reading our annual report. To download and read the full annual report, click here.
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Positive Parenting, 10 Things a Doula does at Birth, Lessons Learned in the Mirror, 31 Things your Kids should be doing besides Homework ad...
Published on Jan 16, 2020
Positive Parenting, 10 Things a Doula does at Birth, Lessons Learned in the Mirror, 31 Things your Kids should be doing besides Homework ad...