Category Archives: Blog

New Brothers and Sisters! Read More >>

Your household is growing. Another baby has arrived, and everyone is excited and happy… except your toddler. She is acting like she hates her baby brother. You love both your children, and you wonder why your older child is acting this way.

Your child feels:

Your toddler may become scared. The new baby is getting all the attention all the time. She thinks you love the new baby more than her. She is lonely, jealous. She feels helpless, even guilty because the wants the new baby to go away. She wants to be the “only baby” again.

You feel:

You are joyful about another baby in the household. But it’s a big adjustment for the family and you need harmony. How is your toddler letting you know that she is jealous? Is she hurting the baby? Is she wetting herself again, wanting to drink out of a baby bottle? You want to understand her, to show her that you love her as much as the new baby.

So…

When your toddler shows these “not so nice” feelings towards the new baby… listen carefully. Let her get out all those awful, terrible thoughts. She needs your gentle understanding. Take some special time together: wash the dishes together, go for a short walk, let her take care of her own stuffed baby animal.

When you do this, she will feel special and understood. This is a deep need for all of us.

 

Ten Tips on Comfort Measures for Labor and Delivery Read More >>

Your body knows how to grow and nurture a baby, it also knows how to give birth. Comfort measures will allow you to respond to the pain, to feel supported, and allow your body to open and welcome your new baby to the world.

  1. Choose someone for support during your labor and birth. Make sure they are willing to spend hours rubbing your back, staying with you until you give birth, telling you that you can do this, and helping you stay active and moving during this awesome process.
  2. When you get to the hospital, claim the space. Bring your own clothes, favorite pictures, your pillow, smells you like, a symbol of strength, things for your baby, and music to listen to.
  3. Choose positions that will open your pelvis and help your baby to move down; try walking, slow dancing, sitting on a birth ball. Often doing a pelvic rock will help lower backaches.
  4. See if water helps, get in the shower, soak in the tub, spray yourself with a soft mister or put a wet wash cloth on your forehead.
  5. Have your support person massage your lower back, rub your hands and feet, and apply pressure where it feels good.
  6. Have confidence that your body knows what to do! You are strong. Your partner can encourage, love, and support you. Your positive attitude will help you get through it.
  7. Write down your wish list for labor and birth. Share it with your partner, then present your birth plan to your doctor or midwife during your pregnancy. Be sure a copy is in your chart and bring a copy with you for the nurses to read at the hospital. Let your support person, nurse, midwife, doctor know what is important to you! When women look back on their births, they remember if they were listened to.
  8. There are many things you can practice while you are pregnant that will feel good and you may use during labor. Become aware of your breathing and try different ways that help you relax. Often breathing slow or in a pattern will be calming. Read or write positive thoughts about yourself, the labor process, and your baby.
  9. Remember contractions come and go during labor. Some are small, rolling waves; others may feel like a tidal wave and can be overwhelming. With each contraction it may help to start a ritual such as taking a deep breath in and out, finding something to focus on (internal or external), moving/rocking, and being supported by your partner. When the contraction is over, take advantage of the time between to relax.
  10. Being up and mobile may often be the best remedy to respond to the pain and help the baby move down.

Welcome your baby with confidence! And sign up for prenatal classes and postpartum home visits FREE with United Way of Santa Fe County. www.uwsfc.org or 505-819-5484

Benefits of Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs Read More >>

Learning and development begin long before a child enters a classroom for the first time. For children to be ready for school, it’s critical that parents have the tools necessary to support their child’s development. For parents that are experiencing poverty, language barriers or geographic isolation, voluntary home visiting can be a valuable resource for supporting parents to be the best advocate for their child’s learning and development in the early years, including serving pregnant mothers. Home visits improve family and child outcomes by tailoring support to the family’s needs. Investing in children from birth through family support programs ultimately saves money for tax payers as a result of the increased family self-sufficiency.

Funding for voluntary home visiting programs at the federal level comes from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, a federal/state partnership with long-standing bipartisan support in Congress and in states, was first established by Congress in 2010. Federal investment in MIECHV has kickstarted a boost in state investment. Since 2010, ten states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, and Vermont – have passed legislation that creates similar accountability for their state home visiting investments.

Help Yourself Feel Better! The end of your pregnancy Read More >>

In pregnancy, sometimes we feel alone as if no one understands what we are going through. Here are some ideas that can help.

Your support system

  • Ask your partner or family member to come with you to at least one of your doctor visits
  • Bring your partner/ family member to ultrasound visits
  • Let your partner feel the baby move
  • Have your partner/ family member be your coach in labor
  • Share information and exercises with your partner and family members
  • Exchange back rubs, with attention to your lower back
  • Go for walks with friends, family, or your partner
  • Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings
  • Choose quiet times to express your feelings
  • Do things together to nurture your relationship

Diminishing stress

  • Relaxation breathing: take a slow deep breath counting to 4 as you breathe in. Your belly will expand like a balloon.
  • Exhale through your mouth with a sigh or say “ahh” as the air leaves. Let the stress leave your body.
  • Concentrate on letting your whole body relax
  • Practice relaxation breathing

Getting comfortable

  • Your growing belly may affect your sleeping positions
  • Try lying on your side (this also helps with blood flow to the baby)
  • Try placing a pillow between your legs while hugging a pillow for more support
  • Try a body pillow for extra support while you are lying down

If you’re pregnant and would like to attend classes to prepare for birth and parenting OR if you’d like a home visit to discuss your pregnancy, birth and baby, please call us at United Way of Santa Fe County. We’re here to help! 505-819-5483 All services are free.

The Emotions of Toddlers Read More >>

Feelings add spark to life. They can be both satisfying and upsetting. Feelings try to tell us something, usually about what we need to feel content.

Your toddler will tell you what is going on by expressing strong feelings. She will shriek with joy or scream in anger. Your toddler has an uncontrollable desire to find out about herself and the world she lives in. She looks for protection and closeness from you, the most important person in her life. At the same time, she clearly tells you: “I am not you. I can do things all by myself.”

As a parent, you also have strong feelings: joy, frustration, rage and anger. Underneath these feelings you may be looking for information about parenting and support from others. You absolutely have to know your child is safe. You want to protect him and give him all your love.

You may find it difficult at times to remain calm when your two-year old is “throwing a fit”. You become embarrassed or remember difficult childhood scenes. You may be feeling the pain of harsh comments for not raising your child “the right way”. When you notice your own feelings and talk about your own needs, you become better at helping your toddler get through those “terrible moments”.

At United Way of Santa Fe County, we honor you, the proud parent of a toddler. We celebrate your strength in everyday situations. And, as a family, we respect all the feelings we can communicate in a healthy way.

Ten Ways to Help Your Baby’s Brain Develop Read More >>

  1. Teach your baby to trust you by responding to him when he cries. Crying means he’s trying to tell you something. Never ignore your crying baby. Pick him up and try to figure out what he needs. By trusting you, he learns to trust the world around him.
  2. Give your baby bright colorful objects to look at. Move objects slowly in front of your baby so he can follow with his eyes.
  3. Babies love simple black and white designs. You can buy soft, patterned cards to put in the baby’s crib. Or make your own patterns on 3” x 5” index cards and hold them for your baby to see.
  4. Provide gentle sounds for your baby. Turn on the classical music station or any quiet music. The music should be soft and soothing. In fact, loud noises may upset the baby.
  5. Hang interesting shapes from a play frame or crib gym. Change them often so your baby has something new to look at. Put a baby-safe mirror in the crib.
  6. Keep your baby near you. Babies thrive on loving attention. Encourage others in your household to stop often and talk with the baby. Smile when you talk to him.
  7. Talk to your baby. Don’t worry if he understands or not. Tell him what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, read to him and sing. The more words a baby hears each day will greatly improve his intelligence, school success, and social skills. Don’t substitute the radio or TV for your words. Language, eye contact, and connection is what helps your baby’s brain take shape.
  8. Looking at human faces is the most interesting activity for a newborn. Parents and relatives are his favorite faces. So, bend down to within 12” of your baby’s face. Let him study your face.
  9. A baby can get bored just lying around. Move the baby’s bassinet from room to room so he can have different views.
  10. Your baby loves to be carried. Babies like the rhythm of an adult’s movement. Being carried entertains him when he is awake. It gives your baby a perfect way to learn about the world around him. Your newborn needs lots of love and care. You can’t spoil him with love!

Investing in Early Childhood Gives One of the Best ROI Read More >>

Comprehensive quality care pays off.

While the costs of comprehensive early childhood education are high, the rate of return of programs like ABC/CARE implies that these costs are good investments. Every dollar spent on high-quality, birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children delivers a 13% per annum return on investment. These economically significant returns account for the welfare costs of taxation to finance the program and survive a battery of sensitivity analyses. The cost of high quality early care was $18,514 in 2014 U.S. dollars. The average cost of childcare alone in the United States ranges from $9,589 to a high of $23,354 with few assurances of the quality necessary to generate quality life outcomes for children.

The gains are significant because quality programs pay for themselves many times over. The cost of inaction is a tragic loss of human and economic potential that we cannot afford.

Meet Edward Tabet-Cubero Read More >>

Edward Tabet-Cubero, Executive V.P. for Early Learning at Kaune & Early Childhood Policy

Edward Tabet-Cubero has over 20 years of experience in the education and nonprofit sectors, most recently serving as the Executive Director of the NM Center on Law and Poverty, which focuses on systemic change to improve the lives of vulnerable families. Previously, he served as Associate Director of Dual Language Education of New Mexico where he supported the development of high quality dual language education programs across the country. Edward has promoted educational equity for diverse learners, as a classroom teacher in the colonias of southern NM, award winning school administrator, dual language education consultant, non-profit administrator, and university instructor. In 2014, he was selected as a WKKF Community Leadership Network Fellow to improve outcomes for families in New Mexico, with a specific focus on bilingual PreK programming and policy.

Edward is a great addition to the United Way of Santa Fe County team and will lead the implementation of the vision for the United Way Early Learning Center at Kaune as well as co-direct the United Way’s policy branch, New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership, which is dedicated to creating the public awareness and political will for investment in early childhood education in New Mexico.

Responding to Tantrums Read More >>

When adorable infants start walking and having opinions about their environment, parents must develop a new set of skills. It can be exhausting, embarrassing and annoying when toddlers lose their temper over things that don’t seem important.

Developmentally, toddlers are learning to communicate and express emotions. As parents, you develop patience and model the type of communication you’d like your child to learn. Here are some tips to managing these emotional outbursts with your children.

Observe:

  • What was happening right before the tantrum?
  • Are there patterns in the child’s tantrums?
  • Are there certain situations that trigger them?

Learn: What might be causing the child’s loss of control?

  • Frustration
  • Unable to do something
  • Not enough language to express his thoughts or feelings
  • Irritability due to hunger or fatigue

Respond:

  • Stay calm
  • Stay close and keep your child safe
  • Validate your child’s feelings: “You are having a hard time. Everyone needs a break sometimes.”
  • Afterward tell him what a good job he did calming down.

You and your child will get through this stage! Remember to model for your child the behavior you’d like to see in him: kindness, patience, respect, and good communication.

What is a Good Parent? Read More >>

We all want to be good parents! We want what’s best for our children. We want our children to grow up healthy, intelligent, respectful, and happy. But once we’re in the throes of day-to-day life as a parent, it’s not always easy to know what is the “right” way to respond to our children.

Parenting has to be learned. It takes a lot of trial and error. Stay open to learning and improving your parenting skills. Read, talk to other parents you trust, and stay involved with those who care for your children. Children learn by example. They learn by watching you. Set a good example: how you act often speaks louder than your words. Work on being patient every day. Listen with your full attention when your child is upset. Remember to teach your child, not punish them. They are ready to learn, and parents are their first teachers. Express as much love as you can! Use words and praise as well as hugs and affection.

Being a good parent means you:

  • Protect and guide your children
  • Provide them a safe and caring home
  • Meet each of their special needs
  • Provide rules and love
  • Show them lots of positive attention
  • Sometimes put aside your own needs to help your children
  • Accept the responsibility of parenting
  • Love your child, no matter what

If you need help with parenting, consider attending a United Way of Santa Fe County parenting class. We offer Positive Parenting Programs and help parents learn about what children need most and how to be a great parent. To see our schedule of classes, click on Calendar.