Essential Tips for Parenting with a Disability
January 7, 2019 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Essential Tips for Parenting with a Disability

by Ashley Taylor

Photo Credit: Pexels

When you have a disability, your physical limitations don’t have to limit your ability to be the best parent your child could hope for. By making certain preparations and utilizing a little creative problem-solving, you can fully embrace the beauty of raising a child and enjoy the moments that come with it. Here are some tips for living up to your unlimited potential as a parent when you have a disability:

Plan for the right baby products.

There are endless products out there marketed as essential for a safe and healthy baby, and every parent faces the challenge of deciding on which ones they will need for theirs. One thing that can help you make the right decisions is to read through online product reviews. This will allow you to see the products in light of safety, popularity, affordability, and so on. 

Plan for specialized equipment.

Along with conventional baby products, you’ll also need to look into equipment that allows you to care for your baby conveniently and safely. There are many products designed for parents with disabilities, and you can sometimes make a simple modification to a conventional product to make it work. Some items to look for include:

Make your home accessible.

Home modifications make it easier for people with disabilities to live more safely and comfortably, but when you’re expecting to bring a baby home, modifications become imperative. If you live with limited mobility, for example, there are a number of changes you can make to allow for easier movement throughout the home with a mobility aid, as well as help with daily tasks with your child: 

  • Installing zero-entrance ramps over all your steps 
  • Widening your doorways 
  • Installing expandable hinges on your doors
  • Removing any loose carpet and throw rugs
  • Installing skid-resistant flooring (e.g., linoleum, vinyl, low-pile carpet)
  • Lowering cabinets
  • Altering sinks and faucets

Baby-proof your home.

Baby-proofing is especially critical when your baby is a little older and begins to move around independently, but it’s never too early to plan or make changes to your home. One of the most important parts of baby-proofing is ensuring electrical safety. Be sure to cover or block any and all electrical outlets, because your child will get curious and try to stick things in them. Additional ways to practice electrical safety are to organize and hide electrical cords/wires, use safety covers on surge protectors, and put away electrical appliances when they’re not in use. 

It’s also important to make preparations that help prevent your child from falling and getting injured. Some preparations include using window guards over your screens, locking your windows, and installing safety gates at your staircase and at the door of your child’s bedroom. Moreover, to help prevent things from falling on your children, consider fastening furniture pieces (e.g., side tables, cabinets, dressers) to the wall, mounting any TVs to the wall, and using museum putty for any items stored on shelves. 

Practice self-care.

Last but not least: take care of yourself. While your child is obviously your first priority, practicing self-care will help you be a better parent. Make sure to get sleep whenever possible so you can have the energy and mental sharpness necessary to care for your baby. Also, remember to practice basic hygiene, like brushing your teeth and showering. Furthermore, try to keep an optimistic outlook, focus on gratitude, and allow yourself grace for times when you get frustrated. 

It’s not easy to be a parent, but it’s one of the most rewarding roles you will ever serve in this world. Remember that any physical limitation you have doesn’t have to keep you from being an exceptional parent. Prepare by getting the right baby products and specialized equipment, making home modifications, baby-proofing your home, and practicing self-care. 

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Are you worried about your relationship to alcohol?
October 24, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Are you worried about your relationship to alcohol?

by Daniel Factor at The Recovery Village

If you are concerned that you or your spouse are using alcohol to deal with stress, numb anxiety or depression, you owe it to yourself and your child to seek help. Growing up in a home where alcohol is misused or abused will have a long-lasting negative effect on your child. But you have the power to get help so you can become the best parent possible.

Seeking treatment for your problem is in your child’s best interest. Here are some of the well-documented effects of growing up with an alcoholic parent.

  1. Intense feelings of anger. This anger may be directed at the parents, and even more importantly, at themselves.
  2. Feelings of depression. Sadness and isolation are a common response to growing up in an alcoholic home.
  3. Feeling guilty. It’s common for a child to feel they are to blame. This feeling of guilt can stay with a child into adulthood, even though they have no reason to feel guilty.
  4. Intense feelings of anxiety. Living with an alcoholic parent is like walking on eggshells. Living with this kid of fear causes intense anxiety for a child.
  5. Feelings of shame. A child will usually try to hide that their parent drinks too much. This secretiveness and shame isolates children from their peers.
  6. Feeling constantly confused. Our moods often change dramatically when we drink. Many adult children of alcoholics report never knowing what to expect from their parent. Consistency in caregiving is essential to a child’s wellbeing.
  7. Developing a substance abuse problem. Modeling moderation is an important part of raising teenagers. If you’re not walking the walk, the message your teens will get is that it’s okay to use drugs or alcohol.

Getting the Help You Need Helps Your Child

You have the power to shape your child’s life. Take a moment and consider what your actions mean for your child. If you seek help, you will live a better life, and in turn so will your child.




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What are ACEs? And How Do They Relate To Toxic Stress?
October 12, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on What are ACEs? And How Do They Relate To Toxic Stress?

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Getting Your Kids Involved in Philanthropy
July 15, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Getting Your Kids Involved in Philanthropy

by Jean Shafiroff

Soho Parenting’s Louisiana Project

Now that we’re in the heart of summer – and school summer vacation – many parents are left wondering how their children can best spend all of this free time! While some opt for camps to fill the summer months, New York City-based philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, author of Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give and mother of two grown daughters, believes that summer break is the perfect time to get your kids involved in charity and giving back to society. Below you’ll find Jean’s top tips for how to get your kids involved in philanthropy over the summer:

Identify Your Kid’s Interests before Deciding on Any Activity
If your child is not interested in sports, volunteering with Special Olympics will most likely be a flop. On the other hand, if your kid loves art, volunteering for a local museum may be a great match. Focus on what your kid loves, and then use that to find philanthropic inspiration. After all, you do want your child do enjoy giving back so that he or she continues with charity throughout adulthood!

Match the Activity with your Child’s Age
While volunteering positions offer a fantastic foray into the worlds of both philanthropy and work for teenagers that are middle school- and high school-age, there are countless ways for younger children to give back. The developmental importance of more elementary philanthropic activities should not be underestimated. Start off your young kids with fun, age-appropriate activities. Think of charitable day camps, or even simple at-home activities like going through a kid’s possessions and deciding what they would like to donate. Opening a dialogue on privilege and disadvantage, especially among other children, is vital for helping your children cultivate a benevolent attitude.

Consider Collaborating with Your Kids
You don’t want your child to feel overwhelmed, or else they may grow to resent philanthropic work. Instead, choose an altruistic activity that can be used as a means of spending time together so that you can bond, work together, and give back all with the same project. This way, your kid can feel proud to be part of something bigger than he or she could accomplish alone. Such an endeavor may look like a toy or food drive, where you and your child can gather toys from your community in order to donate them to less privileged children.

Emphasize Togetherness
Whether your kid would like to spend more time with his or her parents or is more interested in spending time with friends, use philanthropy as a social activity. For example, you can either accompany your kid to a soup kitchen, or better yet bring his or her friends along so that they can have fun spending time together while simultaneously learning and doing something great for the community.

Utilize the Power of Virtual Philanthropy
Consider a simpler means of giving back: online philanthropy. As an example, you could use the internet to research ways you can help your child sponsor a child in need or protect an endangered species. You would be surprised how much change can be made with just a small investment of time and a few dollars. You may find this approach excites your kids, as they can establish connections with kids, causes, or animals around the globe!


Formally honored by several major philanthropic organizations, Jean Shafiroff has made a name for herself by dedicating her life toward a wide array of charitable causes. She has invested her efforts in orchestrating large-scale events and fundraisers for non-profits including the New York Women’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Furthermore, Jean serves on the boards of many other organizations, such as the New York Mission Society and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. Perhaps she is most well-known for the integral role she plays for the Southampton Hospital, for which she has previously served as chairwoman of the Annual Summer Galas, and the Southampton Animal Shelter, for which she sits on the honorary board. She also authored the 2016 book Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give and has penned articles for Social Life Magazine, Hamptons Magazine, Gotham Magazine, and Avenue Magazine.

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Stop Brain Drain Before it Starts
June 13, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Stop Brain Drain Before it Starts

by A.S. Braverman

The end of the school year is in sight and summer is right around the corner. Kids and parents alike are excited for the chance to slow down and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the school year, not to mention things like sleepaway camp, pool parties, and ice cream in the shade. But there’s a flip side to summer vacation—brain drain. Kids lose months’ worth of academic skills, including reading, writing, math, and executive functioning skills, and this puts them at a real disadvantage when they go back to school in the fall. To prevent this learning loss, try some of the following activities:


  • Go to a museum – When the day is just too hot to do much outside, visit a museum (especially a natural history museum). Kids will love the displays and interactive exhibits. This is a great way for them to get some science review (or history, or art), and for the family to spend time together. Plus: the air conditioning will feel great.


  • Send postcards — Make a summer-long game out of collecting the best postcards of the sights and landmarks in your town. Take some time every week to fill them out and send them to faraway friends or relatives. It will be excellent writing and geography practice.


  • Have a spelling bee – If you’re worried about your learners’ spelling skills, hold a spelling bee with a summery twist. Set up a bucket of water balloons that the “audience” (parents, neighbors, school friends) can throw at anybody who misspells their word.


  • Plan an excursion – Get your kids to practice using their planning and time management skills by having them plan out a day trip for you to take together. Make it fun and keep it organized by mapping out the day’s events using color coded markers, stickers, and other craft supplies.


  • Read together — Sometimes even the summer months can get hectic. When you have some down time, it’s nice to sit with your kids and read out loud. Choose a book that piques their interest, and alternate listening and reading, making sure the kids get a chance to do both, too. This will help them keep up their spelling skills, and can even be used as a gentle way to develop public speaking skills.




Author Bio: A.S. Braverman is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group and a recent graduate of Columbia University. Thinking Caps has published many books, including SAT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2012) and ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The company has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, and The Huffington Post.

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Chew On This!
May 23, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Chew On This!
by Dr. Jacqueline Dikansky
It’s 7:55 AM and your child’s school bus is arriving in 5 minutes. You’ve just placed a nutritious and delicious lunch inside a lunchbox and are wondering what to pack for snack time. How about some cookies? An apple? Dried mango? As a pediatric dentist, I am here to provide advice to make snacking as ‘teeth-friendly’ as possible. After all, we want your little one’s smile to be as healthy as it is beautiful.

There are genetic factors—such as bacterial profile and composition and secretion rate of saliva—that come into play when determining your risk for tooth decay. However, there are also significant factors that you have more control over, such as hygiene and diet. This is why it’s important to know what makes some snacks better for dentition than others. The bacteria in your mouth needs access to specific carbohydrates to cause cavities. Therefore, two important factors that determine how dangerous a snack food is for your teeth are the presence of these specific carbohydrates and the snack food’s retentiveness. In other words, we should consider what a snack is feeding the bacteria in our mouths and the amount of time it’s allowing the bacteria in our mouths to feast on it.

What does all this mean?! Here are some key takeaway points.

1.     Fresh fruit and vegetables are a go! As you may have expected, these get the green light for advisable snacking. The fibrous texture of many fruit and vegetables even provides teeth a cleansing effect, and stimulates the gums.  
2.     Milk and other dairy products offer protective qualities! Cheese and unsweetened yogurt are great snack choices. Milk has shown to help strengthen teeth, partly due to the casein protein found in milk that prevents demineralization. Avoid sweetened flavored milk, however, as the sugar may counteract its benefits.
3.     “If it’s sticky, it’s icky!” Sticky foods, such as gummy candy and dried fruit (i.e. raisins!), adhere to the surfaces of teeth and allow bacteria to sustain the cavity-forming process over an extended period of time.
4.     Sharing the above sentiment, potato chips and cookies are dangerous as well. These foods are not sticky per se, but they get pulverized and packed into the grooves, nooks and crannies of teeth, where they remain for an extended period of time. This too offers bacteria prolonged fueling of the tooth decay process. Fun facts: data shows that children who snack on cookies have 3.89 times more dental decay than children who don’t snack on cookies. Cavities in children who snack on potato chips are 4.28 times more common than in children who don’t consume potato chips!
5.     Sweetened beverages? Soda is a sugar shower for your teeth. Research shows again and again the deleterious effects of frequent soda consumption. Less intuitively, fruit juice can be dangerous due to its acidity. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations: For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
6.     Finally, the frequency of snacking is extremely important! Every time you snack, the environment in your mouth changes to one that is more conducive to forming cavities. Try and limit snacking to 1-2 times per day.
I certainly want your little one to enjoy all of his/her favorite foods, regardless of where they fall on this list! We just want to make sure this is done in the most protective way possible for the teeth. If your child did have potato chips, gummy candy, or any of the foods that may pose a greater risk to the teeth, go ahead and brush his/her teeth not long thereafter, if possible. If not, at least have your little one drink a lot of water (or milk!) after snacking to increase clearance and wash that snack off the teeth. Snack happy, but also snack healthy!

1.     Snacking Habits and Caries in Young Children. Johansson et al. Caries Res. November 2010.
2.     The relationship between snacking habits and dental caries
in school children. Iftikhar et al.  International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health. Vol. 4 No. 12 (2012)
3.      Evaluating the Cariogenic Potential of Flavored Milk: An Experimental Study using Rat Model. Al-Jobair et al. Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. January 2015.

About the author:
Dr. Jacqueline Dikansky is a pediatric dentist who practices at iSmile Kids, a dental practice in lower Manhattan. She is a native of Brooklyn, NY and completed both her undergraduate and graduate education at New York University. Dr. Dikansky graduated dental school with honors in pediatric dentistry. She also received the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Predoctoral Student Award, given to a single senior student who shows the most promise in pediatric dentistry. After receiving her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, she completed an additional 2- year specialty training program in pediatric dentistry at Yale University. Besides dentistry, Jacqueline’s passions are fitness, travel and ballroom dancing. She was a competitive ballroom dancer for over 13 years! You can find more information on Dr. Dikansky at
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How to Become a Digital Savvy Parent
May 9, 2018 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on How to Become a Digital Savvy Parent

infographic by Amy K. Williams

data gathered from

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Start the School Year Right
September 11, 2017 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Start the School Year Right

Fall is just around the corner. There are lots of things to look forward to—the crunch of dry leaves, the comfort of your favorite sweater, pumpkin pie and apple cider, and, of course, the start of the new school year! As exciting as it is for kids and parents alike, this yearly transition can also be a big source of stress. It’s easy to let little things fall through the cracks in the hubbub of September. Your kids might be getting more homework as they get older, and lots of students participate in so many extracurricular activities that they’re hard to keep straight!  Here are five ways to make your back-to-school experience as smooth as possible.

Get Organized

Make sure your child’s study space is free of the clutter that can distract from schoolwork. You can also set up a system of organization that he or she can use right from the beginning of the semester. Some students find that a color-coded binder helps them keep all their assignments in order. Others might benefit from keeping a weekly planner in a notebook or online.  A family calendar in a prominent location—such as the living room or kitchen—is another good way to encourage time management. Additionally, the act of crossing off finished tasks can help give kids a feeling of accomplishment and autonomy.


Make a Schedule

Outline a daily “plan of attack” for school projects, social events, activities, and chores. Make sure your child records his/her assignments in the same place every week—such as in the notebook or online planner mentioned above. Next, we suggest “chunking” assignments into smaller, manageable steps, and then ordering those steps according to the project due date and the length of time your child will need to complete each step. You can use this plan to tackle daily homework and study time, as well as longer projects, such as papers or science projects. Ultimately, these steps will help your child learn the time management skills necessary to complete any long-term task.

Identify Your Child’s Learning Style

        One of the most important things you can do to ensure a great school year is to understand how your child learns best. This information will help you tailor study and organization strategies to your child’s strengths and challenges. Some children absorb information by listening; we call these kids auditory learners. Other students—visual learners—do best when information is convey visually, through charts or illustrations. Finally, kinesthetic learners apprehend concepts through touch, by physically working through ideas and problems. Often, students exhibit a variety of these traits, so it’s essential that you get to know your child’s particular needs.

Remember To Take Breaks

        The beginning of the year can feel overwhelming for everyone, parents and kids alike! As the days get shorter they also seem to get fuller. Don’t forget to build breaks into your child’s routine. Even a two-minute stretch, walk around the house, or quick snack can work wonders for a busy brain, especially when transitioning from working on one subject to working on another. We all need to take moments to reset our minds. Kids learn best work they’re running on all cylinders.


Author Bio: A.S. Braverman is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group and a recent graduate of Columbia University. Thinking Caps has published many books, including SAT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2012) and ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The company has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, and The Huffington Post.

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Deciding When to Be a Parent or a Friend With My College-Age Daughters
August 11, 2017 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Deciding When to Be a Parent or a Friend With My College-Age Daughters

by Kim Flodin

Originally published in

We are in Ikea buying bookcases for our 24-year-old daughter who is going to graduate school. We are thrilled with her accomplishments and while she’s getting significant funding from her university, we have offered to help out with furnishing her apartment as she makes a move to another city.

And we are bickering. Daughter likes bookcase A. She thinks they are pretty and will work best for her many volumes. Husband likes bookcase B. He thinks they are sturdy and multi-functional. Both items are reasonably priced. When we finally agree it will be bookcase A, we pass bookcase B again in Ikea’s many make-believe rooms and Husband says, “What about bookcase B?”

Finally, Daughter answers in exasperation, “OK, sure, bookcase B!” Husband, sheepish, responds, “No, honey, you like bookcase A.”

All three of my 20-something daughters were home this summer and we stepped on each other’s toes from the moment they started to arrive in May. We had friction over dentist appointments not booked, antibiotics not taken, suitcases not emptied, dishes not cleared, and summer calendars not kept up-to-date.

When I was 24, I lived with a much younger version of Husband. I called him Boyfriend and I can assure you no parent on either side was concerned with our appointments, let alone our bookcases. No mom was figuring out the dimensions of our apartment, no dad was schlepping boxes and tearing his hair out over infuriating Ikea instructions. Instead, Boyfriend and I built a precarious tower of pilfered plastic milk crates to house our books because we had no parental financial support from the moment we graduated college. Were we better for it? In some ways, yes — we were resourceful, serious, and thrifty. We also stayed in dead-end jobs too long during those years because we couldn’t afford to take chances, and we sometimes made important decisions in a vacuum because we lacked the authentic connectedness with our elders this generation enjoys.

I don’t want to be overbearing because I give more than I received at this age. I also don’t want to clean late-night snack dishes in the morning to make room in the kitchen sink to fill up the breakfast kettle. I want to respect my grown children’s boundaries and have them respect mine because we have a great time together when we do. This summer we listened to the Hamilton cast album non-stop, binge-watched Orange is the New Black, and shared fascinating perspectives on art, politics, and movies. We danced at weddings, were introduced to Spanish wine by the daughter who spent a spring semester abroad, and figured out as a group what the hell was going on with Pokémon GO.

Read more: All the Grown-Ass Adult Places Pokémons Should Hide in Pokémon GO

I didn’t have much in common with my parents when I was 24. The gap between my generation and our young adult children is narrower, and sometimes, in that camaraderie, I lose my way when to parent, when to friend, and when to roommate. But it’s worth pausing to figure it out each time. When my girls make lunch to entice me to join them, or text me funny inside jokes, or ask for an old-fashioned cuddle, I feel lucky to witness their fascinating journeys in the intimate way they allow.

When Husband and I aren’t being stubborn about bookcases or nosy about doctors’ appointments, our daughters express their deep gratitude for the safety nets we provide. It’s not forever or even much longer — and I know we and they are lucky to afford them — but in these transitional years, I believe these nets, both financial and emotional, have given them courage to reach higher than I would have dared at 24.

So, here’s to giving only what I can give. Here’s to not being a secretary or a housekeeper, and to picking my battles. Here’s to respecting the young’s right to make mistakes and feel their way through things. Here’s to showing my daughters my trust in them is enormous.

Here’s to summer turning into fall.


Kim C. Flodin is a Brooklyn writer who specializes in parenting, health, and family issues. Her personal essays have been published in The New York Times, Newsweek Magazine, and The Christian Science Monitor among others. She also serves as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at The Brooklyn Hospital Center. Last, but not least, she is the mother of three young adult daughters.

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Talking To Your Child About Smartphone Monitoring
July 27, 2017 · Posted in Parenting · Permalink · Comments Off on Talking To Your Child About Smartphone Monitoring

infographic by Scott Reddler



Scott Reddler is an active software developer, water sports fan, and a loving and enthusiastic father of three. He uses his knowledge of new technology to understand how social media and apps are changing the parenting landscape. @ScottReddler. Infographic source:

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