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Help Baby Go to Sleep

By Sharon Penchina C.Ht. and Dr. Stuart Hoffman.

As any new parent knows, infants do not sleep like babies. Neither do mothers and fathers. Lack of sleep is one of the hardest adjustments new parents have to make. In a recent poll of parents with children six months old and younger, one-third of the respondents reported waking up from one to eight times a night. Often interrupted sleep can be as exhausting as no sleep at all. No wonder getting babies to sleep through the night is considered such a challenge. While there is no one size fits all approach to this age old problem, there are some methods parents can use to lull their babies into a peaceful sleep.

Bedtime Tips for Parents

Same Time Same Place. Establishing a nighttime routine is one of the most important steps parents can take towards developing healthy sleep habits for their baby. Many pediatricians and experts believe most sleep problems children experience are the result of not learning how to fall asleep on their own. Having a consistent nighttime routine can help babies learn this process and develop regular sleep patterns. A sample routine may include feeding, bathing, dressing, reading or singing, and then settling her into bed.  This routine should be repeated in the same place at around the same time every night. The consistent repetition ensures that the child associates the actions, patterns, and place with sleep. Another cue parents can give their babies is a bedtime message. This message can be anything from a favorite lullaby to a simple “I love you. Sweet dreams.” Hearing the song or the words every night will let the child know it is time to sleep.

The Sound of Silence. Many parents suffer the misconception that babies need a quiet environment in order to sleep. Children only require complete silence if that is what they become accustomed to. While in the womb, babies experience anything but silence. They hear the hum of their mother’s voice, the swish of body fluids, and muffled sounds from the outside world. To a baby submerged in amniotic fluid, all of these sounds have a soft edge to them. These soft white noises are often replicated in the sounds of a vacuum cleaner, air conditioner or dishwasher; all of which have a calming effect on babies. Another thing that relaxes babies is the sound of a heartbeat. For nine months, every sound a baby hears is set against the backdrop of her mother’s heartbeat. Therefore, it makes sense that this sound is a comforting one. Many lullaby CD’s incorporate the sound of a heartbeat into the music, which has been proven to soothe and lull babies to sleep.

Talk the Talk.

Crying is how babies communicate. Cries and screams, like words, differ from situation to situation. Babies have different cries for hunger, pain, sleepiness, boredom, and attention. When parents learn to distinguish their baby’s cries, they are less likely to jump at every whimper that comes over the baby monitor. If a baby wakes in the night and recognizes that her body is still tired, she will out of habit let out an “I am sleepy cry.” Then, it is quite possible that she will roll over and return to sleep. On the other hand, if a parent rushes to the crib before deciphering the cry, she may become stimulated and too alert to lull herself back to sleep. Parents should give it minute and listen to what their babies are trying to tell them, and then respond.


Respond in Kind.

Even though babies have different cries for different needs, it is important to point out that during the first three months of life, children are survival based. Therefore, during this time you can in no way be too attentive or spoil a child. In these first precious months children establish a foundation for future security and emotional health. Parents should listen for cues, but never let a baby cry it out. When attending to a baby at night, avoid stimulation by keeping the lights low, speaking softly if necessary, and assuring her with a gentle touch. This will help the child return to sleep more easily and on her own.

Sharon Penchina C.Ht. and Dr. Stuart Hoffman are the creators of the award winning I Am A Lovable Me! series of empowerment books and audio CDs  for children. The series includes Mom’s Choice Award winner I AM a Lovable Me! Affirmations for Children book as well as Sleepy Time Messages for Children CD.  Sleepy Time Messages for Children features unique soothing music and positive affirmations set to a scientifically mastered soundtrack that integrates the comforting sounds of a human heartbeat.

Audio CD

Sleepytime Messages for Children

A Bedtime story to dispel nighttime fears

"The Thump in the Attic"


Get Organized in a Timely Manner

by Sally D. Ketchum

Author of Super Student/Happy Kid

Use timely tools to get children organized for school. Four tools that can work especially well are: a watch; a stopwatch, an alarm clock and a kitchen timer.

A Watch: Even most young children are fascinated by watches and clocks. Help them to master the concept of time by giving them reference points such as, "Half an hour is the length of time it takes to watch that cartoon or go to grandma's house, or something else that makes sense to them. When they can tell time, a watch is a good item to own. It can make a child feel more grown-up and important. Show a child how to  use it to schedule his or her day. For example: "You can play with your friend until 4:00 p.m. and then it will be time to do your homework." Bedtime is a certain consistent time. On school days you need to wake up at a specific time and leave for school at another time. Even young children can be taught to pay attention to at least a couple of times that matter and be responsible for following a watch.

A Stopwatch: A stopwatch is a novelty and quite fun for children. They like to have someone time them at various tasks such as running a distance, coloring a page, or jogging in place. How long can I do that? Can I do it faster the next time? Can I do it faster than my friend or my brother? Some children even like to compete with themselves and become faster at various tasks using a stopwatch. It is a way of learning to meet a simple goal and overcome the obstacles involved.

An Alarm Clock: Young children can use an alarm clock to get themselves up and ready for school in the morning. It works if you let them know that it is their responsibility and that you believe they can do it. Once this habit is established, the child can begin to develop an attitude that they are capable of doing important things on their own. It's a step toward self-reliance and self-esteem. Depending on the age and ability of the child, give them a chance to develop their morning routine that begins with their own alarm clock.

A Kitchen Timer: Kids usually love these! They like to play with them. Set a timer for different tasks. For example, "Practice your spelling until the timer goes off and then you can play with your friend." "You have 30 minutes to work on cleaning up your room. See how much progress you can make before the timer goes off." "How many toys can you pick up in 5 minutes? Let's set the timer and see." Use it for contests. Use it as a reminder. " When the timer goes off, we will leave for your gymnastics class."

They are simple tools, but if you begin to gradually introduce them to children, or even use them yourself, they can simplify  some of the chaos that comes with raising children. It will also give a child some tools to use as he or she grows; tools that will give them so control over their own time.


For Sally D. Ketchum's Book,

Super Student/Happy Kid


Over 5,000 Ideas

for Tots through Teens 

MotherLodeCover.JPG (116195 bytes)

Mother Lode

The Ultimate Collection of Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy

by Kas Winters

USD $30.00

A workshop for busy parents on a budget




Parents–Teach Your Kids

by Minister Phil Waring


The dismissal bell may have rung for the last time until fall, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that leaning stops for our children. It does depend if parents are going to baby sit their kids this summer or become proactive and plan for summer of learning.
    If you child needs academic help that you cannot facilitate, by all means, consider summer school or a tutor. Kids that could use some physical activity can be enrolled in exercise classes, dance, swimming lessons or take-in one of our wonderful mountain camping programs.

    Some parents will stock up on snacks & cold drinks and put their children in front of video games and television for the summer. Others will expect their kids to be at a friend’s house swimming or playing games. Wise parents will give their kids time to decompress after a good school year, but will still want their kids to learn more.
”Disneyland Dads” should start thinking now. Absent or part-time parents that finally find themselves spending some extended time with the children should especially concentrate on what their kids will learn from them.

    A lot of teaching by parents comes about due to circumstances. Some parents don’t say much about telling the truth until one of the kids tells a lie. Many parents don’t say much about alcohol until one of the kids asks or experiments. As the school year ends and there is still some time to plan, we can ask: what can we teach our kids that teachers can’t?

    I’m not suggesting that anyone develop an extension of classroom instruction. However, some important learning can take place if a few goals are set.

    Depending upon the age of your child, you’ll want to decide what they can handle. Your five-year-old will not appreciate a lesson on how compound interest nearly made you bankrupt, but he or she might learn a little about you and life if you looked together at the web sites that you visit.

    Some children could spend ten minutes looking at your checkbook and bill statements as you explain how bills get paid. Pointing out where your money goes does teach your children much about your values.

    You have a really good friend, right? Spend some time this summer talking with your child about friends and why someone is your friend. Talk about boundaries between friends and how friends influence you, and let your child build expectations for his or her future friendships.
    As soon as you can, teach your child the value of trust and what’s really important in life. You’ll have to decide how you will present the value of relationships and the value of possessions and how you balance them in your life. To assume they are learning isn’t enough. Ask enough questions so that you are satisfied they are leaning.

    Find some way of explaining why you are proud to be a family. Children who know a lot about their family history are sometimes conscious of the history they are making in their family today.

    Isn’t it time to start equipping our children with ways of handling difficulties? If we can find a way to explain how we get through tough times, perhaps our children will be better equipped for struggles.

    And what about this “religion?” Will we allow an institution like a church or Sunday school take the entire responsibility for teaching our children about prayer, faith, life purpose and destiny? Those are some “far out” concepts that mature adults can accept. However, those concepts might be better learned if experienced and reinforced in every day life at home.

    Can we set goals of teaching our children some things they won’t learn in school? We can become better parents this summer! Here are a few suggestions:

• Be grateful and thankful for your child.

• Take a short class on parenting.
• Work on a strategic sense of humor.

• Hang out with some good parents that you admire.

• Set goals for your own improvement …do you need to spend more time, supervise homework, or prepare meals in advance? Pick a goal and be a winner!
• Make sure you are mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally happy.

   It’s been said, “When you teach a child, you teach the child’s child.” Here’s a final question before that school bell rings. Ask, “What if every parent was just like me?”



Gwen & Phil Waring

Chapel Bellavista

Phone: 480-502-0707




MRSA Bacteria

 by Elissa Thompson, MSW, LCSW

Author of Tryin' Ryan



A dangerous antibiotic-resistant staph infection that is occurring with increasing regularity.


For Elissa Thompson's Book

Tryin' Ryan


Publish Your Child's Book

by Kas Winters


There are some children who show a special interest in writing and/or drawing. I come across these children frequently when I give talks in classrooms about writing books. Do you have a child who loves to write?


It is possible to publish just a few copies and give that child a real boost in self-esteem. You can do it on your own by typing their manuscript into a computer and scanning their drawings. If you use "landscape" you can create pages for a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" book (folded sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" paper). To figure out where the pages go, make up a "dummy" by folding pieces of paper and writing the page numbers on each page. When you disassemble the book, you will have, for example page 8 and page 1 on the same sheet, page 2 and 7 on the back of that sheet etc.


By setting up pages according to your "dummy" you can create the entire book. Insert artwork or photographs in appropriate places. Make it look like a book.


Print out the cover on heavier paper than the inside text pages and staple it together on the fold. (If you don't have a long enough stapler, a copy shop will probably let you borrow one to put a couple of staples in your book.)


This is a great way to show that you are proud of the work your child has done. It gives recognition to their writing and/or drawing abilities, and encourages them to pursue something that they enjoy doing.

Tackle Cleaning a Closet

by Kas Winters


Closet cleaning is almost never on the "Want-to-do List" but occasionally reaches the "Must-Do List". So how do you motivate yourself to get it done? How do you enlist the help of your family to make a positive difference in the project rather than get in your way or distract you from the job at hand?


  Decide that this is a job that definitely needs to be done. Open the door to the closet or open the drawer(s) that need cleaning so that  you can see the task at hand and leave them open for a day or so. This can be a great motivator. (As long as it's hidden, it "doesn't exist", or so we tell ourselves.)


  Write it on the calendar. Schedule a day and time to tackle the cleaning project. Recruit family members to help you and put it on their calendar too. You might choose those who have "stuff" in the closet or drawer, those who will want a say in what happens to it; or those might be the ones you don't want to have around when you decide what to keep and what to toss.


  Pull everything out of the closet or drawer. (Do drawers one at a time or they can be overwhelming.) This is where children can find things that have been among the missing for a long time. Sometimes they will stop to play. That can be good if it keeps them busy and not so good if you need their help.

  Sort items into stacks. Trash goes into a large plastic garbage bag. Items that can be donated to others or put in a garage sale go in an area away from where you are working. Things that are being kept can be sorted into categories, with like items being grouped together. Kids can help sort things into stacks.


  Take out the trash. Move items for donation or future garage sale to a garage or other out-of-the-way location. Choose one where they will not annoy you until they are donated or sold.


  Clean the closet or drawer thoroughly. Vacuum the floor, wash or dust the shelves or drawer bottom, clean any messes that may be there. If it's a drawer, line it with clean paper if you choose.


  Place items back into the closet or drawer(s) in an orderly and organized manner. If you need containers or dividers to simplify things, add them to the project.


  Choose a reward for your good work and share it with those who helped accomplish the task. You might call for pizza delivery, so you don't have to cook or clean up to go out for dinner after working so hard. Or, going out for dinner might just be the reward you want. You can also decide to take some time off and watch a movie, play a game, take a walk or work a puzzle as a family. Congratulate yourself in some way.

Articles on this page: Let Sleeping Babies Lie/Help Baby Go to Sleep; Tackle Closet Cleaning;  Back to School: Get Organized in a Timely Manner;  Publish Your Child's Book;  Parents--Teach Your Kids; Fears and Phobias: Some tips for Coping; Your Family's Health: MRSA Bacteria;  How to Help Children, Who Have Hereditary Disorders, Thrive;  A Note About Safety

How to Help Children, Who Have Hereditary Disorders, Thrive

by Don Grothe


    Karl Mendel was a genius in his study of inheritance. Through his work many predictions are possible about the offspring of plants, animals and humans. Sometimes something goes astray and that is called a mutation. When this occurs in humans the results can be very difficult to accept and it presents many problems.

    For normal-sized parents who have an extremely small child, a children with white hair, a deformed foot or no fingers, to name a few, the results of mutations are very painful for the parents, and, of course, to the child. The results are usually rejection and ridicule, since seeing things are are different can cause uneasiness or even fear in others. As parents, we have all experienced a child being made fun of for the way he talks, for the clothes he wears, or for not being invited to a party. Imagine the magnitude of having a child with severe deformities...a special child. What can we, as parents, do to soften the pain that is due to come? First, and foremost, we must not indulge in pity. It is perfectly acceptable to cry or hit the walls in frustration privately, but the child must see a smiling face, full of acceptance and love as much as possible. Encourage the child to use and develop the talents he or she has whether they are in art, music, sports, woodworking or writing. Doing one thing well can develop self-confidence to a large degree!

    Teach the child to accept limitations and not live on false hopes. The operative word here is "realistically". A positive , optimistic view is needed and be balanced to accept what is possible and what is not. This is not an easy task, since all of us can be more than we are and we certainly don't want to discourage a children from being the best that they can be. However, setting unrealistic goals is not in anyone's best interest. This, of course, is a daunting task, since we have all witnessed success that was far beyond any expectations.

    The other thing that needs to be taught and encouraged, is independence. We do this by allowing a child to fail by encouraging him to try new things and to use his imagination. Entertaining oneself is an important things for all children to learn, and especially important for a child with special challenges since he will undoubtedly be more isolated than other children. Above all, parents of special children need to be there to express encouragement and acceptance, and, of course, love, love, love. This is true for all children, but these very special children often need more patience, more attentions and, yes, even more love. This is a daunting challenge for parents whose lives have already been turned upside down.

    Lastly, parents must take time each day to distance themselves from the constant preoccupation of raising a special needs child. It does not help the child or others in the family  if parents offer themselves as sacrificial lambs on the altar of total dedication. Take time to laugh, to dance, to sing, to love and to pursue other interests and not feel guilty in the process. Your child will benefit, as will those around you. There are rainbows to see, music to hear and new experiences to be enjoyed. Embrace them.

For Don Grothe's Book,

Fernbaugh, My Hero

which is the story of a character who is "different' saving the day


Don Grothe has other books with a message for children. These are currently being added to this website. Watch for links coming soon.

Fears and Phobias: Some tips for Coping

by Don Grothe


A phobia is defined as an abnormal fear. That is, a fear that is not consistent with the situation. You can mention any object and any situation and there are people who have a phobia about it. There is even a phobia about having a phobia. How do these abnormal fears begin and what can be done to correct or overcome them?

    The answers to these questions are not simple, but usually quite complex. The origins of phobias are often not known or understood. There are some obvious ones such as the person who almost drowns and becomes afraid of water or the person who is trapped in an elevator and become afraid of close places. Sometimes these fears act as a life saving device that keeps a person from dangerous situations. Often, however, since the fear is irrational in that it is our of proportion to the real life situation, it can become debilitating and keep the person from performing routine living tasks.

    One can live with the fear of penguins by avoiding any place penguins may be, including the zoo. It is, however, more difficult to avoid a fear of dogs or cats because they are everywhere. To live any kind of a normal life, the phobia must be addressed if it is of the latter type.

    How does one do this? Basically, there are two ways. One is called conditioning, in which the person exposes himself to the situation consciously, in greater situations of intensity and for longer and longer periods of time. The person who is suffering from agoraphobia (a fear of leaving his home) may start by holding on to a loved one or a therapist, taking three steps outside and remaining there for as little as 10 seconds, and the returning to the sanctity of his home. By gradually increasing the distance and the time, he may become quite comfortable in going as far as around the block by himself and then is gradually able to increase the time and the distance. The time and distance can only be determined by the individual.

    One person I knew who was a college student spent as much time as possible in his closet with the door closed. This is where he preferred to study. He was able to go to classes as long as someone would go along with him and allow him to keep in physical contact in some way. This problem is the opposite of claustrophobia or fear of close places. The cause of these abnormal fears is often not known. Either the situation that triggered the fear was so long ago or the person was so young he doesn't remember it; or it was so painful he blotted it out and repressed it into the unconscious. So it is that the phobia may be treated by addressing the symptoms and trying to condition the person to address the fear and not worry about the cause.

    The other method of treatment is to try and get at the cause by psychotherapy. This involves getting the person to relax to the point where the unconscious thoughts that have been repressed are allowed to come into the conscious where they can be addressed and dealt with. This is usually a fairly long period of treatments (weekly sessions for a year) depending on the severity of the phobia and thus the degree of repression. The person's willingness to cooperate and ability to completely relax are also major factors in the treatments. One of the clues to the phobia content and origin often appears in the form of dreams or nightmares and also thoughts and actions that occur when a person is inebriated or under the influence of drugs. This is due to the fact that the unconscious is relaxed during these times and releases the thoughts and feelings that are generally kept under control.

    We all have fears of some things to some degree, but the decision to treat them or live with them is usually a factor of how much they interfere with our normal day-to-day functioning. If the decision is made to seek treatment, a careful selection of a therapist in essential and only qualified persons should be considered. The person's physician is usually a good source of referral as is the American Psychological and Psychiatric Association. It is also essential to find a match between the person and the therapist regarding feelings of comfort and confidence resulting in trust. Sometimes it is necessary to try several therapists until a person feels a rapport with the therapist.















Discover parenting pathways that work for your family.

Raising A Happy Spirit

by Julianna Lyddon

USD $8.95

A note about SAFETY

by Kas Winters


Whenever children are playing, working or doing anything at all, they need to be supervised. Adjust any activities to the age and abilities of the child. Pay attention to the materials, tools and location of the activity. Put thought into safety before the fun begins. If there's one thing I've learned from years of overseeing children's activities, it's that there's always something that a child will think to try that never occurred to me. So the key is to make things as safe as possible and then watch them the entire time.


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