A little quote about mindfulness

October 17th, 2011 by Kara Newby

Count to Ten


I love this quote, reminding us to take time think before we react when we are hurting or angry.  As parents, this is especially important.

”If we can hold our anger, our sorrow, and our fear with the energy of mindfulness, we will be able to recognize the roots of our suffering. We will be able to recognize the suffering in the people we love as well. Mindfulness helps us to not be angry at our loved ones, because when we are mindful, we understand that our loved ones are suffering as well.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

Take time for yourself!

October 14th, 2011 by Kara Newby

Me and my son after a half-marathon

I love being a mom!    There are so many days I leave work and I just can’t wait to see my little man run up to me with his toothy little grin.  However, I have to admit that I also love to have a little time to myself. I think working moms may often feel like they are sacrificing so much time with their child to work, that it is selfish to want *more* time away from them.  But the truth is, if your life is like mine, that time at work is not really “me time”, and it’s important for us all to get a little “me time”.

Lately for me, I have been spending a lot of time running.  I had never really been a very active person growing up and in college, but it was in graduate school that I learned that I actually really love to excercise.  My last year of graduate school I started running with a dear friend, and ran my first half-marathon.  I always wanted to run more but life kind of got in the way.

Now, this weekend, 16 months after having my son, I am hitting the road for my first FULL marathon!  I can hardly believe it, but I have really valued having the time to invest in my health, and I believe I am a better mom because of it.  My son and I often go running “together” (he in the jogging srtoller) and I hope that I am instilling in him a love of activity and a love of the outdoors.  Self-Care, especially exercise, is one of the key parts of parenting.  I hope you all will take some time to enjoy the nice fall weather and invest in yourselves!

A little more about exercise as parents

A podcast on parenting and self-care

How to Respond to Your Child’s Crying

October 12th, 2011 by H. Marissa Stone
Toddler Crying

Someone is upset 🙁

Crying is known across cultures as a normal response to anything that upsets us emotionally. While listening to an upset child cry is never easy, figuring out how to help the child regain control is usually the answer.

Crying (also known as weeping, bawling, or sobbing) is defined as the act of shedding tears in reaction to something that elicits a strong negative emotional state such as sadness, frustration, and even anger.

Children typically cry in response to something negative happening in their environment and this response is based on real emotions and therefore should always be taken seriously. Dealing with crying can be a difficult part of our job as parents.

We all respond to crying a little differently. Some of us do not like it at all, especially when it is our child doing the crying as seen in this video: I don’t like crying I can’t stand it, especially when it’s more or less a whinny cry.

Others of us know crying is a means of communication and can often be a stress reliever. Still others simply ignore the crying and engage with the upset individual again once the crying stops.

As a parent of a crying infant or child, our job is to help our little one regain control of their emotions. Sometimes they need to be held until they have cried it all out. Other times a redirection (helping the child turn their attention to something else) helps them get back in control of their emotions.

The most important thing in helping our little ones manage their emotions is for us to remain calm and try not to get upset with them. By providing comfort in a time of need and remaining in control of our own emotions we teach our children to be caring and empathetic members of society who will pass this on to their own children one day.


See the links below for some additional resources on crying:

Your Child May Show Signs of Stress by Crying or Temper Tantrums

Tips for Child Care Providers to Soothe a Crying Baby



How do you respond to your child when he or she cries?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

When should you start family mealtimes?

October 12th, 2011 by Aaron Ebata
young child eating

Eating can be fun!

Eating with a toddler can be a messy affair
, but it’s also a great time to start a mealtime routine that can become an important family ritual as the years go by.

Are you having challenges or issues that make it difficult for mealtimes to be pleasant?  Remember that toddlers aren’t purposely trying to annoy you – they are behaving the only way they know how.

You can get some information on why toddlers are acting the way they do when they eat – and helpful hints to manage mealtimes by clicking on the links below:

Mealtimes with preschoolers provide even more challenges and opportunities! Here are some tips for families with preschoolers:

Enjoy your meals – and have fun!


Caird… He’s My Baby He likes to Drool! – Tools for Teething

October 12th, 2011 by Andrew Behnke
Baby with big smile

Caird at 7 months.

How time flies. We are now raising 7-month-old Caird who is a drool machine! Here is the song we wrote about him. Yes he’s just sprouted his first two teeth and the teething has been a part of our lives for the last couple months.  Teething is a painful process for babies and parents. Some little ones teethe for what seems like an eternity.

Here are some things that you can do for your baby during the “Teething phase.” We love soft chew toys, especially cloth ones that can be placed in the freezer to cool down those little sore gums.  We have an amazing chew toy called “Sophie the Giraffe” that he just loves (we bought extras for our friends with newborns because it really works).  An easy solution is a clean damp washcloth put in the freeze, or as the American Dental Association suggests a clean, cool small spoon, or even your own clean finger.

With our other kids we have had moments where the teething pain has seemed too much, and in those cases we made a visit to the pediatrician’s office, or sometimes gotten over the counter teething gel or homeopathic teething tablets to help ease the pain. If you ever get overly concerned about the length of time your baby is teething you may want to talk to your child’s dentist to get more information about the teething process. Rest assured that every baby will eventually get teeth!

This process, while long and hard, is worth the hurt and lack of sleep just to see those pretty pearly whites!

Cool podcast about Teething

A Quick Note about Teething

Babies sometimes have a hard time staying asleep when they are Teething


Just in Time — “Quality” Time

October 12th, 2011 by Pat Nelson

Trying to spend at least ten minutes of quality time with each child each day is good advice.  A better way to say it is that “spending frequent, brief amounts of time (as little as 1-2 minutes) involved in child-preferred activities” is one of the most powerful things parents can do.  Quotes surround words from Turner, Sanders, and Markie-Dadds, who created Triple P — Positive Parenting Program – (http://www.triplep-america.com/), an evidence-based program designed to increase parental confidence and competence in raising their children.

New Resource in to Help Families Weather the Storm

September 14th, 2011 by Andrew Behnke

Families in the Southeast were recently faced with some difficult natural disasters that were hard on a lot of families. We put together a short page that can help families deal with the stresses of  life.  To check it out go to NCfamilies.com. Its called Weathering the Storm: How Change Impacts Families

Would You Hide Your Child’s Gender?

May 25th, 2011 by H. Marissa Stone

Would You Hide Your Child’s Gender?

For one couple there was no question. In the story ‘Parents keep child’s gender under wraps’ Kathy Witterick and David Stocker of Toronto, Canada tell all about how they decided not to reveal the gender of their new baby, even to close friends and family.

Inspired by a 1978 book titled X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould where a child ‘X’ is raised as neither a boy or girl, and grows up to be a happy and well-adjusted child Stocker and Witterick decided to do it. “It became so compelling it was almost like, How could we not?” Witterick said.

The parents are determined to keep their child’s gender hidden so (s)he can grow up making his/her own choices without the influence of gender socialization.  According to Witterick “Everyone keeps asking us, ‘When will this end?'” she said. “And we always turn the question back. Yeah, when will this end? When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?”

Now it’s your turn to weigh in. What is your opinion? Would you hide your child’s gender?

Would you hide the gender of your child?

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Emotions in our Parenting

May 20th, 2011 by Ellen Abell

How aware are we of the feelings we are experiencing in our relationships with our children? And are we aware of when our responses to our children are motivated by our feelings?

John Gottman, a marriage and parenting researcher and author of books such as “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” and “What Am I Feeling?” suggests that there are different styles of recognizing and responding to feelings – our own and our children’s feelings. He says that parents who are aware of their own emotional states well before these feelings grow stronger have an advantage over parents who don’t notice they are angry until they “pop their top”. Because these parents are more emotionally self-aware, they are better prepared to keep their interactions with their children on a more positive track.

For example, my response to my stepdaughter’s behavior will be different if I recognize the feeling of annoyance growing and deal with it before it blows up into the “hotter” feeling of anger. On the positive side, if I am able to recognize those more subtle, pleasant feelings–such as warmth, regard, or appreciation for her—the more often I am likely to offer her an affectionate word or gesture.

Becoming aware of our feelings and learning to manage them are some of the key milestones in the healthy development of our social and emotional selves. Recognizing and naming  feelings helps us handle them better. When parents model naming their own feelings and handling them well, they help their children develop these important social emotional competencies.

Interested in more about parenting, social emotional competence, and emotional intelligence?

Here are a few selections found in the Just in Time Parenting newsletters:

Emotional intelligence
Feelings about your parenting
Parents’ social emotional growth
Learning how your child is feeling
Toddlers and negative feelings
Teaching toddlers emotion words

Thoughts from paternity leave

April 20th, 2011 by Andrew Behnke

You’ve probably heard of “pregnancy brain” or “momnesia.” You know that forgetfulness and loss of razor sharp thinking so many moms (especially academics) experience with pregnancy. Well today I invented a phrase called the “paternity leave brain”. In my case it’s that fuzziness of mind that comes with trying to be a “stay at home dad” of 5, lacking sleep, cooking, cleaning, nursing a nursing mommy, handling staff issues at work (at an arms-length), writing, grading, teaching, and such. I know you are thinking “Andrew you are just crazy for having a big family like that…” and perhaps I am, but I am also crazy about the subject of fatherhood and family life, and as you can see, I’m getting all “ethnographic” about it. When people comment, “After four kids and a degree in that field, I guess you have everything under control,” I do my best to suppress a mischievous “cackle” (as my students would say) by simply responding with “I’m not sure ‘control’ is the right word but we are doing fine.”

It is hard to admit that most days I join the ranks of moms and dads who feel like they are “ruining their kids,” just to find out that I too am doing a pretty good job. Yes you can be a good parent even if you are a little distracted juggling so many things at once. I just wish I had that multitasking gene that my wife seems to have been born with.

During these last couple weeks I have been calling on my favorite two parenting tips: 1) I’m paying attention to what I want to see more of in my kids (noticing the good and rewarding with my attention), and 2) I’m actually being a bit more consistent and making a routine my new best friend, even though its not easy. And though I am a bit rusty at both, I have had more time than usual to practice and I can see truly how helpful they have been as a zookeeper of sort.

Yes, life keeps you a bit busy at times (especially with a tenure clock ticking), but hopefully not too busy to smell the roses and remember what you value most: family, relationships, and all that fun stuff that goes with those.