The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Parenting Tips

Advice for raising well-balanced children

When you left the hospital to take your newborn home for the first time, you may have hoped that the baby bag contained some kind of manual giving parental advice on how to handle the next 18-plus years. Then you remembered that babies don't come with a set of instructions for parents on how to teach a child values, resolve a conflict with a sibling or help a child study for an upcoming test. Our tips for parents can help prepare you for various situations, as well as provide ideas for activities that you can enjoy as a family.

  1. Refresh Your Resolutions for 2021

    December 17, 2020

    It’s the New Year and usually that means it’s time to set New Year’s resolutions. This year let’s refresh the idea of resolutions and instead of focusing on intangible goals like “lose weight” or “spend less money,” let’s refocus on what matters most: your family and your health — both physical and mental.

    Here are a few ideas to get you started:

     

    Prioritize Self-care

    When we’re busy with work and family, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Challenge yourself to set aside time for your wellness each day. It can be as little as 15 minutes to meditate, a half-hour walk around your neighborhood, or an hour spent on a hobby or passion project each night. How long you spend isn’t as important as simply making time for yourself.  Quick tip: Set up a calendar reminder in your phone to help you form the habit.

     

    Do it as a Family

    Having someone to hold you accountable makes it easier to stick to your goals and resolutions. What if you turned achieving goals into a family challenge? See who can read the most books in a month, do the most pushups or go the longest without screen time. Whatever you choose, the friendly competition and accountability will help keep you on track. Plus, getting to spend time with family is an added bonus!

     

    Practice Positivity

    In our experience, the best resolutions are less about milestones or achievements and more about forming better habits. One habit we could all benefit from is positive thinking. If you’re like most, you might get stressed out by focusing on the negatives. Instead, what if you made it a goal to train your brain to think more positively?

     

    For example, challenge yourself to think of one reason you’re proud of yourself each day. Or practice finding silver linings when something seemingly negative happens. These small changes can help positively impact your day-to-day.

     

    These are just a few ways you can refresh the way you approach New Year’s resolutions and kick off the year on a positive note. New Year’s resolutions have always been about being our better, happier selves. This year don’t stress over hitting a milestone. Instead, focus on the big picture—yourself and your family.

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  2. 5 Ways to Teach Children Generosity

    November 30, 2020

    The holidays are here! The time of year for family traditions, lights and decorations, yummy cookies and of course gifts. For the kids, getting gifts is probably what they look forward to most, but it’s important to remember that this time of year is also the season for giving and giving back. The holiday season gives parents a great opportunity to teach children the value of generosity.

    Here are a few ways you can show your little one that giving is just as rewarding as receiving:

     

    1. Lead by Example

    The simplest way children learn is through you, their parents. Children see generosity in action when you: make crafts for local seniors, collect food for hungry families, or shovel the sidewalk for a neighbor. If your child is old enough, be sure to get them involved so they can learn that doing good feels good.

     

    2. Lean on Their Expertise

    Not sure what toy to give a child in need? Ask an expert: your own child! When your child makes their holiday wish list have them also request a gift for another child their age who might be less fortunate. The donation will feel more personal knowing that it’s going to another child like them.

     

    3. Let Them Choose a Cause

    You can encourage your child to pick a charity to support with a monetary donation. Maybe your little one likes animals or maybe their current obsession is the ocean. Whatever their passion, they can feel excited about doing their part to help others.

     

    4. Make it Fun

    Plan time for the family to create something together! Turn on some music, put the supplies on the table, and get the whole family involved in hands-on activities like making chew toys for shelter pets or packing nonperishable foods for hungry families.

     

    5. Do Good Year Round

    The decorations come down and festive songs stop playing, but generosity shouldn’t end with the holidays. Once you get the ball rolling and make a habit of giving back, you can instill generosity as a core family value.

    This holiday season take a little time to teach your children about putting kindness and generosity into action. A giving spirit is one gift that will never get old.

  3. Finding Moments of Gratitude this Thanksgiving

    November 3, 2020

    The holidays are upon us and after a year unlike any we have experienced, it’s important to take a step back, be present, and reflect on what you can be thankful for. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to do just that. This Thanksgiving, instead of stressing out about the turkey or hosting family, focus on finding moments of gratitude.

    Here are a few little things you can do to lean into the spirit of the holiday:

     

    1. Give Back

    It’s safe to say everyone’s been affected by recent events in some way. However, some families have been impacted more than others. You could shop for groceries for a vulnerable neighbor, start a clothing drive, or donate to a food bank. Giving back to your community is a great way to show appreciation for what you are thankful for.

     

    2. Appreciate the Little Things

    What do you enjoy doing? Is it drinking a hot cup of coffee, eating your favorite pie, or spending quality time with your family? Small pleasures can help motivate you to make the best of each day. You can also make a difference in someone’s day with something as simple as saying hi to your neighbor. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to acknowledge the things you might take for granted.

     

    3. Disconnect from Social Media

    Reading and posting on social media is fun, but it’s healthy to take a screen break sometimes. Putting down your phone and letting go of your FOMO can help you be in the moment.

     

    4. Reconnect with Someone

    Do you have friends or family you haven’t spoken to in a while? Pick up the phone and call them. It’s important to tell your loved ones how much you love and care for them. They’ll probably be glad you reached out.

     

    5. Cherish Memories

    This Thanksgiving might look and feel different from past celebrations, but it still gives us a chance to reflect and look back on the memories and traditions that bring your loved ones together. You can take yourself back in time by looking at old photos, recreating family recipes, or asking a family member to tell you a story about their life.

     

    Let’s take time to show appreciation for the little things that keep us going and bring us joy. Wishing a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

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  4. 10 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

    October 1, 2020

    If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot on your mind. From your daily responsibilities to everything that is happening in the world. That’s tough on your mental health. With World Mental Health Day on October 10th, this is as good a time as any to give yourself an emotional wellness check. Follow these 10 simple ways to make sure you and your loved ones are in a good place.

     

    1. Take a walk

    Be sure to take regular breaks and step outside, especially if you’re spending a lot of time on screens. Walking can help you feel more relaxed, confident and energetic. Moving around is great for both body and mind. Just remember to follow local public health regulations when you’re out.

     

    2. Eat well, sleep well

    Keeping up your physical health is important to your mental health and vice versa. Make it a point to eat fruits, vegetables, proteins rich in omega-3 fatty acids and challenge yourself to get to bed 30 minutes earlier than you normally do.

     

    3. Stay in touch with friends and family

    Are you talking with friends and family regularly? We can’t overstate the importance of having a support system, especially if you’re isolated from your loved ones. Simply having someone to listen to you can be incredibly empowering!

     

    4. Do something you’re good at

    Everyone needs a confidence boost now and then. Doing something that’s in your wheelhouse can give you a sense of achievement and remind you how much you contribute to the world.

     

    5. Do something nice for someone else

    When things are tough, every bit of positivity helps. Performing a good deed like helping a neighbor, supporting a worthy cause or even something as small as complimenting a stranger, can give you a sense of purpose.

     

    6. Focus on things in your control

    When you receive bad news in the headlines or your personal life, it’s important to separate things that you can control from the things you can’t. You can’t change what’s already happened but starting a petition or learning a new skill might help in the future.

    You might not solve every problem but taking positive action beats feeling helpless.

     

    7. Write down what you’re thankful for

    Use a pen and paper to avoid fixating on the negative. Take a few minutes each day and jot down all the things that made you happy. Chances are, you’re overlooking some good things happening in your life.

     

    8. Assess your feelings

    You might have been taught to “be strong,” and to keep a positive attitude. You may not want to feel like a burden. But describing how you feel is the first step to taking charge of your emotional well-being. Simply opening up can feel like a huge weight off your shoulders and encourage people around you to do the same.

     

    9. Ask for help

    Asking for help doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But speaking to a professional can make a world of difference. And you don’t have to feel alone: 20 million adults receive counseling and other mental health services each year in the United Statesand you can reach many great therapists online.

     

    10. Be kind to yourself and others

    One of the most important steps you can take is accepting that you won’t do everything right every time. This goes for everyone else in your life — they might need a pick-me-up, too. When you’re more forgiving, everyone benefits. We’re all in this together!

     

    1National Institute of Health

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  5. 5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids Confidently Embrace Discomfort

    August 27, 2020

    September can be an anxious time for kids. Going back to school, starting in a new school or having a new teacher may make them uncomfortable. And your little one might be feeling especially stressed and uneasy amid the current pandemic affecting our country. But we can help kids learn to manage discomfort and parents can play a huge role in instilling confidence and resilience traits that’ll serve them well throughout life. 

    Here are 5 things parents can do to help children feel empowered in unfamiliar situations, get out of their comfort zones and overcome challenges. 

     

    1. Validate feelings 

    Any conversation about discomfort should start with acknowledging how kids feel. It’s important to let your child express their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Their emotions are real, even when their behavior might be out of place. Try saying, “I can see you’re frustrated,or “A lot of people feel anxious. It’s okay if you feel that way too.” 

     

    2. Be honest about challenges 

    Parents can encourage children to be more open about their emotions by sharing their own emotions and how they plan to deal with them. When you tell your child, “I’m frustrated, but I’m focusing on just doing the best I can do,” they see that hard times don’t have to stop them from achieving their goals. 

     

    3. Praise effort, not results 

    Things don’t always work out, even when we do everything right. We can only control our effort, not the outcome. Congratulate or commiserate with them, but no matter the result, make sure to also acknowledge the process with “I’m impressed with how hard you studied,” or “I know how much you practiced.” 

     

    4. Give them the freedom to fail 

    You might think of success and failure as opposites, but successful people often say they wouldn’t be where they are without overcoming failure. When kids don’t fear failure, they’re more likely to try things and stick it out when things get tough. Try saying, “I can tell you’re disappointed, but I’m proud of how you didn’t give up.” 

     

    5. Be present 

    The most important thing parents can do to help children be more comfortable is simply being there. There are few things more powerful than knowing they have their parents’ unconditional love and support. When children hear “I’m here for you” and “I love you and I want to give you the attention you need” from their mom or dad that means a lot to them. 

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