Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Welcome Baby

Welcome Baby is making a change! In an effort to work more closely with our sister organization, Help Me Grow, we will be merging our blogs. Help Me Grow is a free parent information line which connects families to resources in the community. Their blog is based on providing you with child developmental information in fun and creative ways. We will now have a presence there with periodic posts about our playgroup and Ready to Learn Parenting Class. Many of the blog posts are applicable to both organizations, so we are excited for the change! Follow us over there by clicking below or visiting helpmegrowutah.blogspot.com:

We still have our own Facebook page, and you can follow the Help Me Grow's Instagram and Pinterest accounts to get more parenting tips and information!

Thanks for all your love and support! See you on the other side!
The Welcome Baby Team

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why Parents Matter

Tuesday night we had our Quarterly Volunteer In-service Meeting here at United Way of Utah County.  Our Welcome Baby volunteers gathered together and we had a wonderful presentation by Lori Thorn, Principal at Polaris High School, an alternative high school for Alpine School District.  As an alternative high school Polaris struggles with graduation rates and attendance.  Most of their students come from low income families, have difficult home lives, hate school and/or are young mothers.  However, despite these challenges Polaris made a major overhaul last year and redesigned the curriculum and changed the focus.  They took into account all of the barriers their students face and tried to remedy them as much as they could.  They created smaller classrooms, shorter class periods, mini terms, incentives, etc. and because of their efforts things have drastically improved.  They went from a 7% graduation rate to a 60% graduation rate in three years.

However, no matter how many improvements the school is making, Lori said the number one thing that contributes to students graduating is parental support.  Parental support!  She was basically shouting it from the roof tops that having parents at home who help their kids with homework, stay on top of their school work, come to parent teacher conferences, and participate in their child’s schooling in any way is the biggest and most positive thing that can effect a student’s success in school.  Not only does it affect their schooling but it affects their futures.  Students with parental support are more confident and can see a future for themselves.  Lori shared how her students that have the support at home excel and are motivated.  But she also shared many storied how students were so close or showed so much potential but because the support wasn't there they gave up or turned away.

So parents remember, the next time you are frustrated that your child doesn't want to do their homework or you feel that you don’t know how much good you are actually doing,  THEY NEED YOU!  Never give up on your kids. Ever!
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To participate as a home visitor volunteer to educate families, or for playgroup curriculum and ideas contact us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Blogger: Traveling With Kids

On my search for useful information, I have come across some really great moms who can offer a lot of fantastic advice. Here is our first installment of guest bloggers, featuring my sister, Stephanie Kreger. She is the mom of 2 of the cutest girls alive (I may be biased) and is expecting her 3 child (a boy!) in late November. She and her husband currently live in Findlay, Ohio, and she has some great advice on not only traveling with children, but how to make living far away from your family more doable. Here are some of her tips!

Having lived across the country from family for the last 5 years, we have picked up a few “tricks of the trade” when it comes to traveling with children. Whether by airplane or car, there are some definite helpful hints we have learned, some the hard way, that make the experience significantly easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

Our top 5 tips for traveling with children:
#1- Thankfully, our kids sleep wonderfully in the car. Because of this, we try to plan much of the road trip to take place while they sleep.  We drive during naptime, and my night-owl husband drives late into the night to make for a much less “eventful” trip.  The opposite has proved to be true for airplane travel, however.  With the excitement of being in an airplane, they rarely fall asleep and then we are left with cranky children in a confined, shared space.  In that case, I think it’s safe to say that the other passengers prefer our children to be well rested.

#2- A few days before our trip, we like to take the kids to our local Dollar Store and give them each $5 to pick out activities for the trip.  Dollar stores are great places for books, puzzles, glow sticks, and coloring books. They know that as soon as we leave the store, they won’t see them again until we are buckled in and on the road and that gives them something to look forward to.  While they may have these things sitting around at home, the novelty of something new and different keeps their attention for much longer and at Dollar Store prices, it’s completely worth it.

#3- For potty trained kids, when we stop to get gas, there is no option but to go potty. For obvious reasons, if they don’t, it makes for a very long trip full of stop after stop.  As my ever so eloquent husband says, “Pee when you can, not when you have to!”

#4- This seems so obvious, but never underestimate the value of a good quality portable DVD player! This has saved us so many times. In addition, an external battery is worth every penny and will give you hours more video time. We usually let each kid pick out a few movies and depending on the movies chosen, headphones. That is, unless you enjoy Disney Princess Sing Alongs!

#5- After getting really tired of digging for dropped crayons, I bought a small suctioning basket, like the one found here:

We put them on the windows next to their seats and it almost completely eliminated the missing crayon searches!  The first time we tried this, however, was during a 17 hour road trip in August.  I didn’t think to take the crayons out of the car when we arrived and were left with a colorfully waxy mess! If you are like me and marathon sprint out of the car as soon as it is parked, colored pencils might be a better route.

When we combine all of these ideas, the trip always goes so much more smoothly and 9 times out of 10 we are all still speaking when it’s over :)

Good luck and safe travels!

Monday, October 21, 2013

No More Biting!

One of the biggest challenges that face parents is biting.  Because two young children are involved (and the mix of different family members) the impact can be a struggle.  As a daycare provider and a mother I was faced with issue of what to do.  Whether your child is the biter or on the receiving end your attitude can make a difference of how children react.  

It is important to remember to NEVER bite the child back to show how much it hurts.  This will reinforce biting not stop the behavior; modeling unacceptable actions is not a good way or prevention. 
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For the child that is biting try and see when the biting occurs, is the child teething so biting can feel good on his/her gums, is the child angry, tired, or even hungry?  Sometimes recognizing why the child is biting gives you options of what to do.  
If the child is teething, providing teething toys can help.  
Give options to a child such as you can bite this chew toy but not Joe.  
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One quote that has helped me is “Come and early and stay late” with a child that is biting.  Staying close by to help stop the biting may be necessary as the child learns new ways to deal with their feelings.  One of my darling grandchildren started biting when he was playing with friends and family members.  His parents were embarrassed and struggling with how to get him to stop biting everyone in sight.  He had a big smile on his face and seemed to think biting was fun for everyone involved.  One night at a restaurant he and a new “friend” had been running around an empty room laughing and having great time.  Both sets of parents told the boys it was time to go; Christian, my grandson, ran with his mouth wide open ready to bite his new friend.  Luckily both grandmas were close by to prevent the injury.  My daughter in law was at her wits end of what to do.  Later that night she was wrestling with Christian when the fun was about over I noticed she gave him a couple of lite nibbles as a form of affection.  Christian had been giving his bites out the same way just much harder.  We explained the Christian that he had superpower bites that made people cry instead of making them happy.  Christian’s mom made a conscious effort to start kissing instead of the nibbling; also she gave Christian some other options such as high fives or hand bumps.  

Most children do grow out of biting, but if not those children may continue to become more aggressive.  It is important to look at the cause and then see what solutions will work.  Also remember my favorite phrase to “come early and stay late”.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Resource Spotlight: Circles Initiative

LogoThere are many people here in Utah County living in poverty.  And most people in poverty have a difficult time finding a way out.  There can be a lot of reasons for that, be it job loss, family situations, health problems, lack of education and many more.

Because of this difficulty Community Action sponsors a program called the Circles Initiative which helps give families in poverty tools that they can use to break the poverty cycle.

Circles has two parts of their program.  First, participants take a weekly clas,s for 12 weeks, where they are taught self-reliance, analytical thinking and problem solving skills.  After they complete the 12 week course participants are paired with an "Ally", who is an individual from a different economic class, to build friendships and help solve barriers that prevent someone from overcoming poverty.

Circles is a great opportunity to learn about the skills and resources necessary to overcome poverty and identify solutions to difficult situations.

For more information, or to find out if you qualify to participate in Circles, contact Jane Carlile at 801-691-5287 or Tisah Ockey at 801-691-5285.  Or visit their website.