Monday, May 26, 2014

School Is Almost Over

In a few weeks NYC schools will be dismissed for Summer break. For some parents, Summer is time for a little R&R (rest and relaxation). They do not have to rush to get the kids ready and out the house for school. They get to sleep a little later. Well, I'm sorry to break the news to you. The children do not have the same vision as you. They are ready to enjoy their Summer vacation. They are ready to bounce off the walls. They are ready to be entertained and you should be ready too. Otherwise, be prepared to hear the famous phrase all children say, "Mommy, I'm bored".

The issue a lot of parents have is trying to keep their children active and entertained mentally as well as physically during Summer vacation. Another issue that arises during Summer vacation is the cost of entertaining your children. These issues are common among several households especially in single parent households.

Don't be discouraged. There are several free and inexpensive things you can do with your child(ren) in NYC. However, you need to know where to look and where to go so you can take advantage of those hot and humid summer days.  Start planning in advance.  Ask your children what they are interested in doing this Summer.  If you are like me and never know what to do, make a suggestion box. This will help to develop ideas for the entire. Together you can create an activity list. Then when you are alone,you can begin to create your daily trip/activity planner. Try to do all of the activities and try to go on every outing you put on your list.

Here are a few ideas to help get you started. Some are free and some have a fee.
  1. Have a picnic
  2. Make and fly a kite
  3. Have a scavenger hunt (find things in your neighborhood or home from A to Z)
  4. Game night
  5. Go biking, walking or jogging.
  6. Learn facts about each month; learn about holidays and observances across the world and find a reason to celebrate. This activity is fun, but also educational.
  7. Take a trip to the zoo. New York has a zoo in each borough 
Don't wait too long. Start brainstorming now. School will be out before you know it and you will have nothing planned. I also have to create my activity list for my daughters. Stay tuned! I will share my activities list very soon.. Don't be shy share your ideas. 

How will you keep your child(ren) active and entertained this summer?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What is happening to her? Puberty!

Today, our kids are exposed to so much information. Unfortunately, not all information is true and nor is the information from credible sources. However, discussions such as puberty among other topics should occur with the parents. Puberty is a very difficult stage for girls, boys and the family. They are very temperamental and often feel insecure. So as parents, it is our responsibility to reassure them that the changes they are going through emotionally, mentally and physically are normal.

Puberty has reared its ugly head in my home. You would think I would be prepared since I have experienced this with my older daughter. The truth is I am prepared. However, I was not expecting it to happen so quickly. I have noticed kids are experiencing puberty a lot faster than in prior generations. Sadly, this has a lot to do with the meat and dairy. There are a lot of chemicals in our food and as a result of that, it is making our children develop a lot faster. As an adult, I do not recall anyone talking to me about puberty. It wasn't until I started my menstrual cycle that my grandmother decided to have a discussion. (I'll share my experience at another time). So, when my oldest daughter turned 7 I had a very simple conversation and I explained the basics to her. As she got older we had more intense conversations and reiterated what I had previously told her. When my youngest daughter turned 7, I repeated the same process. 

Two years later and she is going through it. My daughter is 9 years old and her body is putting her through changes. She’s very emotional, has headaches frequently, weight gain, and has developed "fine pimples and bumps"(read between the lines). Now she is a little older and has several questions.  I recall having a conversation about puberty in the past, but a few days ago she asked, "Mommy, What is puberty? What causes puberty? Why do I have to go through puberty? How long does it last? Am I going to die? Do boys go through puberty?  Before I could answer one question, she came with another question. Nonetheless, it was at that moment I decided to have one of several talks. So I said to her, “Let’s start with the first question you asked”.

My explanation of puberty went like this:

Puberty is one of several stages that will bring about change in your. You are stuck between childhood and adulthood. The changes that happen on the inside will show on the outside. For example, you will grow in height and in weight. As a result of this, your feet will get bigger and your clothes will no longer fit you the same. Also during this stage your skin will also be affected and you will have a few pimples. The key is to take care of your skin. It's also preparing you for adolescence which is another stage that usually begins when you turn 13.

Puberty is caused by hormones. In women/girls these hormones are called estrogen and progesterone and they affect your emotions and your body. You have to go through puberty because your body is preparing you to become a woman. During this time, some girls will begin their menstrual cycle. However, we will discuss that at another time.

Puberty can last from 2 to 4 years or more. However, is different for each person and it does not start or end at a specific time. Yes. Boys also go through puberty. Their experience is different yet similar in some ways. For example, similar things you both experience are growth, emotional and acne. To answer her last question, no, you are not going to die. Everyone has to go through puberty. As an adult you will go through puberty a few additional times. I am going through again for the 3rd time in my life.

I have also purchased a few age appropriate books for her to read to get a better understanding. Later on this week, we will explore an interactive website that will allow her her to visually see the changes that occur during puberty. Listed below are a few informative sites that I visit. They have information for parents to read alone or with their children
I do not recall having a discussion with my mother, grandmother or aunt's regarding puberty until the day my menstrual cycle came. Did you have a discussion with your mother? Did you have a discussion with your daughter/son regarding puberty? How did it go?

Stay tuned for more updates!