When I saw the title, “How to Be a Happier Parent” at my local library, I was curious. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to be happier! Written by KJ Dell’Antonia who is a former editor of a New York Times parenting column, the book has chapters on dealing with pain points, called: Mornings, Chores, Siblings, Sports and Activities, Homework, Screentime, Discipline, etc. Even though it’s not the main or only message of the book, my biggest takeaway from this book is that taking care of myself will make me a happier parent. I used to poo-poo this idea when my children … Continue reading How to Be a Happier Parent
Cultivate Interest – Less is More Hold Your Ground as a Parent Nurture a Second Passion The title of my recent read is a bit misleading for its true value – bold letters state “Raising Your Child to be a Champion” and in smaller letters, “in Athletics, Arts, and Academics.” This seemingly trite, short, and simple parenting book is authored by Wayne Bryan, the father of the Bryan twins, who grew up to be world doubles champions in men’s tennis. There’s not much scientific evidence backed strategies, but instead, refreshingly straightforward, actionable ideas from a dad who found success with … Continue reading Raising Your Child to Be a Champion
Updated 9/2/2021 Feeding our children in this day and age is challenging – unhealthy food is too readily available and social norms of accommodating children can cultivate picky eaters. As parents, we’re met with a plethora of feedback from grandparents, pediatricians, parenting books, media, peers, societal norms, and social pressures and expectations. My kids, ages and 7 and 9, are good eaters, in the sense that they eat a wide variety of foods (meats, vegetables, grains), and will try new foods. Some of this may be luck, but it’s also due to habits. There are constant “turning points” in … Continue reading How to Raise Good Eaters
Since the pandemic began, I’ve been supplementing home learning for the kids here and there. I’ve found a few free printables that we really like – because they print well, and have an interface that is easy to use. (There are a lot of interactive sites that can supplement learning as well, but with all the Zoom and other digital resources that the schools are requiring the children to use, I’m trying to dial it back and reduce screen time for the kids.) Here’s a running list in the various categories of what I’ve found and used: Favorite Free Math … Continue reading My Favorite Free Printables
Maybe Zyrtec doesn’t work for you lately or perhaps you don’t like its side effects. Personally, I fear that we don’t know much about the long-term use of these “safe” OTC antihistamines for allergy relief. Instead, I’m hoping to treat my sneezing family as naturally as possible. Below are some of the things that I’ve been reading about (and in some cases, trying out): 1. Avoid Antibiotics as Much as Possible Scientists are increasingly looking at an imbalance in the microbiome as the root cause of many of the problems we have with our immune systems not working properly. These … Continue reading Reduce Your Allergies Naturally
I try to avoid the use of allergy medications as much as possible, so I’ve tested out a variety of non-medical ways to reduce my family’s environmental allergic reactions to tree pollens, grass pollens, and dust mites. Here are the things that we do that seem to have helped in order of suspected effectiveness. 1) Run the air purifier We have serious dust mite allergies, so I run an air purifier on high in my children’s carpeted bedroom about 1 hour before their bedtime, then I switch it to low for the remainder of the night. We’ve been told to … Continue reading 7 Ways to Reduce Physical Exposure to Environmental Allergens
During this time of “shelter in place,” I’m tempted to give myself a bigger break than usual when it comes to parenting. Then I remember two things: one, we don’t know how long we’re going to be dealing with this, if this is, in fact, the “new normal,” and two, if I relax my parenting now, I might be giving myself more work for later to fix habits I’ve undone in a couple of weeks (screen time, anyone?). So to help me stay “strong,” I’m falling back on some great guidance I once found in “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents … Continue reading Revisiting “13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do”
I’m home with my family this morning, following guidelines for self-isolation and social distancing. It is so surreal, but here are the actionable items that I’ve learned so far from living in the time of coronavirus. Most of us will survive the coronavirus, and this is why these learnings are important to me. #1 Respond at the first hint of trouble, not at panic time Determining what constitutes as “the first hint of trouble” is open to debate, but I will say that I responded somewhere in the middle between “the first hint of trouble” and “panic time.” I went … Continue reading Lessons Learned in the Time of Coronavirus
I have to take my mind off coronavirus somehow, so I thought I would provide the latest update on our experience with oral immunotherapy for food allergies. We’re done for now We have stopped oral immunotherapy updosing, after having reached a dose of 1 whole nut for each child (see why in the section below, “New information since we started OIT”). So now we are entering maintenance phase at a daily peanut for one child and a daily cashew for the other. Our allergist said that after about 3 months on the 1 nut dose, they would be protected from … Continue reading Stopping OIT at One Nut
I’d been sniffing the hair on my children’s heads – yes, moms do that. And found that they smell very different. I can’t even describe the smell though – one like vanilla soup and the other like citrus tea. That got me wondering what they might smell like as teenagers and then adults. Would my deliciously smelling kids become stinky people with various body odors? Would I need to arm them with deodorants? Was I going to need to do a 3 week research project on finding the best, non-toxic deodorants? I’ve noticed that men and women and folks of … Continue reading Got Body Odor? And Will Your Child, Too?
If you’ve been reading about the latest findings on why we’re all becoming so nearsighted, then you know that researchers have found a strong link between myopia and outdoor light. They think that outdoor light (possibly even more so than near work) may have the strongest impact on protecting against myopia. However, the simple recommendation of spending more time outdoors is a little ambiguous and not enough information to decide whether following this recommendation was feasible or worthwhile. As much as I would like to spend my entire day at the beach, in a time-constrained world, I wondered how much … Continue reading How Much Outdoor Light Do You Need to Prevent Myopia?
There are, in fact, nuances to the common allergy medications that are prescribed like Zyrtec and Benadryl, that are worth considering when deciding which to use and when. Continue reading Best Allergy Medications for Kids
Having children with severe food allergies can be very difficult on the parent as well as the child. However, other than plain avoidance, there are now actually a number of different options for families to consider. If you have a child under 5, you have a particularly good chance of using some of these options (particularly OIT), to cure (not just desensitize!) your child’s food allergies. Researchers have found that the younger kids have much more lasting benefits of immunotherapy – meaning they could actually be cured(!) rather than just desensitized. My kids were unfortunately past that age when I … Continue reading 6 Treatments for Food Allergies
Updated as of 11/2/2021 My child sprained an ankle and immediately, every well-meaning person around us kept at us with ice, and more ice. The day after the injury, our sporty, super-fit friends quizzed me, double-checking that we were continuing to ice the ankle. All this emphasis on ice gave me pause, because in traditional Chinese medicine (whose philosophy I have followed growing up), ice is never used for an injury. These opposing views sent me running to Google. It turns out that recent research suggests icing an injury may not be the best way to heal an injury. In fact, … Continue reading To Ice or Not to Ice Injuries?
In another post, I wrote about how I decided to lean towards minimalist footwear for my kids and for myself. Well, I didn’t realize that finding children’s minimalist, athletic footwear (and there are definitely degrees of minimalism here) would be so difficult! In fact, most popular brands had very thick soles and were heavy. Others were too rigid and narrow, particularly in the toebox, and even others also had positive inclines, so much that I was effectively putting my child in a slight heel. None of those made any sense to me and yet those were the majority that I … Continue reading Minimalist, Athletic Shoes for Kids
In my quest to quell my child’s myopia, I discovered the myopia reversal community online. It seems there are many adults who are trying to improve their vision naturally. Yet while the medical eyecare community has not reached the point where they will even consider that myopia reversal is possible, myopia control for children is a growing sub-specialty and reaching mainstream eyecare practices in the US. In Asian countries where myopia is unusually high, myopia control is already a common practice. Considering that myopia control didn’t exist when I was growing up, (and yet here it is), I’m wary of … Continue reading Can You Control or Reverse Your Myopia?
Recently, we decided to have our children try oral immunotherapy (OIT) for nuts. OIT is just one of many treatment options emerging. This was a huge, agonizing decision for us and we went back and forth several times for months before we finally committed. Read this post, “Stopping OIT at One Nut,” for where we are with OIT today. My takeaway This post is a summary of the key information (but a long list, nevertheless) that I found helpful in making our decision and knowing what to expect once we started OIT. I gathered it through reading online resources, quizzing … Continue reading 10+ Things to Know About OIT for Food Allergies
After a lot of searching the Internet and asking around for best practices, we settled on a few key resources for teaching Chinese to our children. The amount of resources and choices online can be really overwhelming and paralyzing if you don’t know where to start. There are a lot of good options and none will be perfect. I was definitely in the “paralyzed” category for awhile. Now that I’ve done the research, I realize that the key is to just pick a strategy and structure and get started. Below are the five main resources we use: Resource #1: A … Continue reading Top 5 Resources for Teaching Chinese to Kids
Do you want to share your language with your child? Have you wondered if you’ll be able to teach your kids your own language despite living in a foreign country? You absolutely can and there are benefits. Many studies have shown a cognitive benefit to bilingualism and it’s a great way to strengthen the bond with your child throughout their lives. The question is how will you be able to do it? Despite living in the US and having English be our shared family language, we have been partially successful in teaching our children three different languages. They are now … Continue reading How to Raise Bilingual Children
Updated 5/7/21 It’s great to try and prevent myopia, but what if your child is already myopic? Or what if your child becomes myopic in spite of all your attempts to prevent it? Did you know that there are now ways that you can try to slow down your child’s myopia? Below I summarize the options that I researched and what we decided to try for myopia control. When I was growing up, anyone who became nearsighted just got glasses and were told that there was nothing to be done to either improve or slow down their myopia. However, now, … Continue reading Myopia Control Options and Our Choice