Friday, July 26, 2013

Why bother signing to your baby? What's the big deal?

Sign language and babies. Many wonder why even bother. Now you can raise your baby just fine without sign language. But here are some great benefits you may not have thought of before.

Besides reducing TONS of frustration for both you and your baby by knowing what your baby wants and needs, signing has many other benefits.

For instance:
  • Signs pull language from adults. Babies learn words from listening to adults. When a baby uses a sign (ex: BIRD) upon seeing a bird, the adult responds with lots of language (“Yes! That’s a birdie! We call that a robin. See, there’s another bird. Oh, the bird flew away.”) The more signs a baby knows, the more likely this is to happen. This will increase your baby's vocabulary and language development.
  • Signs enable babies to pick the topic. Babies learn words from listening to adults. When a baby uses a sign, it starts a conversation about something the baby is interested in, thereby making it more likely the baby will listen to and learn from what the adult says. The more sign a baby knows, the more likely this is to happen. Your baby is now learning their thoughts and words have worth. In this way, their self confidence increases as well as their self esteem. In the future they are likely to be in healthy relationships where feelings, thoughts and needs are valued.
  • Signs excite babies about communicating and motivates them to move on to an even better system. The more signs a baby is able to use successfully to communicate, the more motivated he/she is to get better at communicating—that is, to move on to words. Signing increase their ability to say words earlier.
  • Signs increase a baby’s interest in books. Babies learn new vocabulary from reading books with parents. Because signs enable babies to be active participants in book-reading (naming pictures with signs), babies are drawn more strongly to books, thereby exposing them to more new vocabulary items. The more signs a baby knows, the more likely this is to happen. This increases their literacy skills.
  • Signing in a class setting is very beneficial. You can get words off the internet, but a class is a different dynamic all together. You have other babies signing and other adults signing in the class, increasing your babies chances of signing. We all know every baby signs GoodBye. WHY? Because EVERYBODY knows and uses this universal sign. The clerk at the grocery store, the grandparent, your neighbour etc. Babies is exposed to many parents and many other signing babies in a class. In a class setting, the music and books and movement draw babies in and keep their attention. The more they see a sign, the more likely they are to do that sign.
  • In my own experience, parents who attended classes had babies who had at least twice the number of signs than those who just did it at home on their own. There are reasons for this. In a class, you often can ask and get questions answered specifically for your child. You get weekly tips, ideas and are taught the best ways to implement signs into your daily life. Signing tips can make the difference between a baby who is eager to sign and one who is not interested. Not to mention the obvious benefits of classes - socialization for both babies and parents. In a social setting a baby who is hitting, or hungry has not only one parent, but many parents signing GENTLE or EAT and validating their feelings and needs. These babies feel heard and understood. Signing is a wonderful way to help your baby learn about their world. Give them a voice today! 
Signing Classes available in Abbotsford
TWITTER: @AmandaMinchau

Week 3 - Mindfullness

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #3- Practicing Mindfulness
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about Practicing Mindfulness. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Slowing Down.

This talk of mindfulness reminds me of redirecting my negative thinking into positive thinking. I have come to realize in this crazy week the power of my thoughts. When things began to go 'wrong' I reacted to my reality that I was looking at. I allowed outside circumstances to affect me. It was only after the truck broke down 3 times and no one was helping me, it was when the stroller broke and I was lifting my 100lbs limping home, it was only when I realized we had no more money in the bank to realize a dream or a want, that I finally broke down and cried out to the universe, “What are you doing to me?”

Ok, it wasn't all that dramatic, but it FELT that way. I felt frustrated, alone and unhappy and then I had had enough. The 4th day of this frustration had to GO! I began my 'list.' I realized that I needed to change my thoughts. It was my reaction to my perceived reality that was causing all this. I know that my thoughts have power and I was giving up my power. I began to reach out, talk to friends, meditate, breath and calm down. I began to focus, as hard as it was, on positive thoughts.

I began by writing a list, (I'll include the copy of the list here.) and I posted on Facebook. I pushed out into the world positive thoughts and I read these thoughts every day and throughout the day. And let me tell you how fast the law of attraction works, my bad days turned into great days within that same day of posting; to the point of carrying over to the next day and the next. Within this time I was able to buy a new van, sell a laser for money in the bank, and fix my broken stroller. But the most important thing was that I FELT fabulous. I started to feel better before the good things happened. It was MY POWER and my thoughts that changed my reality to what I WANTED!

Being mindful isn't just being aware of what we all are thinking. It is being fully aware of our feelings and thoughts and then ALTERING these to suit our needs, wants and desire. We can be, do, and have anything we want. We just need to focus on it and feel good about it as we are thinking about it.

Change your channel today to a positive thought, a positive feeling and change your life!


Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
No Need To Schedule Mindfulness– Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting discovers mindfulness isn’t something she needs to make time for.
Living in the Present Moment – Amber from shares how she has been practicing presence.
Practicing Mindfulness Ricky at Daddy Blogger takes his wife on a date to The Dark Table restaurant in Kitsilano to practice mindfulness.
Being Mindful - Peaceful Parenting Challenge - Week 3 - Katrina from Kalem Photography finds her way back to a good old habit.
Week #3- Practicing Mindfulness – Jennifer from The Children’s Directory discovers how sometimes we get so caught up in all the garbage that life dumps on us that we forget
the little things that makes it all worth it.
Week 3 - Mindfullness-Amanda from Family and Baby Sign Language harnesses her power to attract more positive.
Lesson Already Learned – Verena from Memory Maker Events realizes she’s already learned mindfulness.
Mindfulness of Self - Week 3: Peaceful Parenting - Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat finds mindfulness exhausting.
Have a full mind?  Try being mindful! – Lolly from My Journey Home challenges herself to live in the moment and stop looking forward.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Week 2 -Breathe

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #2- Mindful Breathing.
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about creating awareness. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Practicing Mindfulness.

Wow. Week 2 and epic fail~ 

When I have time to breathe I fill it with showering, cleaning, homeschooling, birthdays, events, planning, blogging, eating, or sleeping. I can't believe I can't find 3 minutes to sit alone and breath. Only when I pee do I find alone time. I actually tried using a timer and I couldn't get an uninterrupted 3 minutes. It's ridiculous. I fill my time with what? I think a better challenge for me would have been to write down what I do every 15 mintues, but I have no time for that!Giggling.

I think this is one weak area I need to work on for sure! I didn't even take the time to read articles on breathing. I planned on yoga in the morning and my busy kids and life go quickly in the way.

My first attempt was in the morning. But my husband said the kids were up asking him to play and it broke his heart he had to go to work, so I should come out and play with them. So out I went, not even up for 3 minutes, pee'd, brush hair, teeth. I don't think I've even had time to shower in the last 2 days... nope.

The only "me time" I get is after the kids go to bed at 8pm. I usually fill this time with a TV show, chatting with family and friends to build social time. I need to breath somewhere! I'm so exhausted at that time, that breathing deep felt like a job.

I wonder why I do not make this a priority. Maybe I can try again next week. I need to be able to show my children the importance of relaxing or I'm going to have high anxiety stressed out kids!

Looking forward to reading this months later when I am a breathing, relaxing guru... I can only hope.


Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Teaching My Spirited Son About Deep Breathing – Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting shares some ways to teach kids about deep breathing.
Deep Breathing Challenge Ricky at Daddy Blogger has been practicing and will be putting his deep breathing to the test on his family trip.
Just Breathe - Peaceful Parenting Challenge - Week 2 - Katrina from Kalem Photography goes up against her incessant need to be busy.
Remember to Breathe – Jennifer from The Children’s Directory discovers how breathing can work with parents-in-laws, friends, partners, co-workers and annoying neighbours as well as children.
Week 2 & Epic Fail -Amanda from Family and Baby Sign Language discovers how challenging it is to find a few minutes to herself.
Breathing On – Verena from Memory Maker Events talks the difference mindful breathing made in her busy days.
Week #2 Peaceful Parenting Challenge - Michelle from My Peaceful Parenting models deep breathing for her sons.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Melting down toddler.

Proud mommy moment! Got time for a short story?

Geran (just turned 4) is MELTING down all morning over little things. He's having a hard day as well have had in the past.

I've been able to keep it together for most of the day, but I'm wearing down. I got the 2 year old to sleep and then I was attempting to get Geran to bed for a nap or lay down. He is having none of it. Literally crying on the couch, begging for a t.v show. We had a couple shows already, so I had shut it off and I already said no, so I'm screwed, I can't go back on my word or all is lost.

My journey begins...

I sympathize, "Oh, you must be sad, you're very tired? What do you need.?"
I get the answer, "NOTHING!" and then "TV!"
I tried reasoning... "Geran your very tired, you're crying a lot, a nap will make you feel better."
um no. he's still melting.
I tried playing... "Lets be cars and drive to bed together."
"I don't WANT to be a car!"

I tried hugging... "Don't!!" was my answer.
I tried choices.. "You can either go to bed in my room or your bunk bed, which one do you want?"
"I want the couch!"
Ok, sleep there... "NOOOOOOooooO!" was the answer and more crying.

At this point, I'm thinking I'm just going to pick him up and take him to my bed. (shut up and act thing) But I can picture him screaming and kicking and freaking out down the hall as I do this. I want a better way. I decide to do nothing for a minute, cause I'm getting desperate. I started thinking about all the things I NEED (want) to get done. I leave and start to clean, he follows me, crying etc.
I text my husband... (call a friend right?) ... he's busy at work. Ok, I get that.
Now what?

I bribe! That's gotta work! He LOVES chocolate.
I bring out the mnm's... "If you choose to go to my bed, you can 3 mnm's, if you choose to go to your bed you can have 4 mnm's."
SIGH. Of course you don't.

I then get smart. Really smart. I think, who cares, why am breaking my spirit trying all this crap, forget it. He's cranky and now I'm getting cranky. So I leave. I go to my own room.
I say, "Well I'm tired and cranky, I'm going for a time out, see ya."
 I walk to my room and pick up my positive discipline for preschoolers. (Looking for answers) and sit in my room and read.

Less than 4 minutes later, a small knock on the door, followed with a very quiet, "mommy?"
"Yes? Come in."
Geran with his 'blankie' in hand, "Can I have a snack in my bed?"
"Sure, let's get some cherrios. Did you want me to carry you or can you walk there?"

"Carry me like a baby mommy."

"Ok, my love."


Friday, July 12, 2013

Week 1 -Triggers and Emotions

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #1 Creating Awareness.
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about creating awareness. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Mindful Breathing.

Here is the first week's challenge:

Week #1: Creating Awareness
Exercise: What are your triggers? Write in your journal when you notice yourself getting frustrated, upset, and angry and becoming reactive. Just notice these emotions, these reactions and make note of them. Don’t try to change them just yet. At the end of the week complete the identifying your triggers exercise, Journal your experience of becoming more familiar with your triggers; how do they affect you? Was it helpful to identify them? What have you learned from this week’s exercise?


I look back on my week and I pretty much knew what I knew before the week began. My triggers are often when my children are hurting each other or myself. I am usually tired, hungry or overwhelmed thinking about things I think I must get done. My children react to my negative emotions immediately. If I am upset or angry or frustrated, they are the first to call me on it. "Mommy, are you sad? Do you need a hug. Mommy, no crying." Sometimes they react by acting out worse or fighting with each other.

I'm potty training my 2 year old and I get upset when he pees on the floor or poops and brings it to me in his hand. Yup, that happened.

Triggers : 
Messes frustrate me. My 2 year old tends to spill, drip and dump everything all day long. It's hard. I walk around cleaning up after a tiny tornado. More often I get him to clean it up, but it's never ending. I realize it is a faze. I keep telling myself they all go through it, just as his older 4 year old brother did. I know it gets better. I know it's a faze, but it can be difficult to keep calm. This usually happens when I am in a hurry, or I am trying to clean up the house. Do they feel ignored? Are they acting out for attention? I know about misguided behavior, but I still feel what I feel inside. It's my responsibility to teach them how to handle their emotions by showing them what to do when upset. We know that children learn best by copying what they see.

I get upset when they are kicking me or each other. This is a fast angry trigger. I find I react by almost shouting, "HEY!" A friend of mine mentioned using a low tone instead, so I have been trying this. It has worked so far and it's better than giving into the impulse to yell. It is hard to be calm, repetitive, kind and firm all the time.

Other triggers are my phone battery dying (all the time), computer breaking or glitching when I am working. At the end of a long day when the boys won't go to bed well, I find I definitely feel like I'll loose my marbles. This is usually due to my lack of consistency. Often I ask my husband for help in this case.

My Audience: 
My kids and sometimes my husband, but mostly myself. It's important to know who's watching you. What are they learning from your actions. I try to remember this the most and I am usually more successful at being a consistent, calm parent when I remember who is watching = my children.

My response: 
Mostly my anger is a physical response. I feel hot, tense and want to throw or smash something when I felt angry. I grit my teeth, growl or go into another room. I scream in a pillow or tense up my entire body. I try to take deep breathes and came out of the room within a few minutes. Anger and frustration with irritability were my main emotions when triggers happened. 

When I am angry I growl, breath deep, whistle uncomfortably (which I thought was super weird and didn't know I did that), walk out of the room, hide in the bathroom for a few minutes, stomp, clean the house roughly, turn on music and try singing. These have been my coping mechanisms. I am not entirely sure if the way I act when I am angry teaches them the right things or not. They are coping skills I do to avoid yelling and throwing things.

I notice my boys are starting growl when they get mad and they cross their arms and say, I'm angry!" I don't mind this, as I know it is much better than hitting or yelling. If the say, "I don't like mommy!" I usually say to them, "You can say your angry at mommy, but not that you don't like her." They usually repeat it, "I'm angry at mommy." I tell them it's ok to be mad at me and I still love them. On good days I explain that mommy is frustrated and needs a break. I talk about my emotions a lot. I ask for their help. They usually want to help and are quick to 'try to make it ok.'

My frustrations and anger do not last long, sometimes minutes. But it feels like a long time. I have a good husband and often I take a time out or leave the house for 'coffee drive through' and when I return I feel loads better. I want the kids to hear me when I ask my husband for help. I think it's good to know when to ask for others to step in.

I think I know my triggers pretty well. I don't always know how to deal with my anger when I am home alone with the kids. I give them lots of love and attention, so I don't feel too bad when I do get angry and upset. I am allowed to have these emotions. I wonder what next weeks challenge will be. This one was hard. Having to write down these feelings felt a bit embarrassing, even though I know they are normal. I also felt the emotion so much greater when I wrote it on paper.

Until next week.

Amanda - Baby Sign Language Instructor
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
Balancing being a stay-at-home-mom & working from home – Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting realizes her home base business and mommy duties don’t mix well.
My Top Card - Amber from shares her experience attending the Peaceful Parenting Mini Retreat.
Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 1 - Katrina from Kalem Photography explores her expectations on herself and asking for help.
Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 1: Awareness – Jennifer from The Children’s Directory talks about her frustrations over getting out the door and dinner time.
Emotional Highs and Lows of Parenting – Verena from Memory Maker Events talks about the emotional highs and lows of parenting.
Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 1 - Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat is reminded about checking her “stuff” at the door before dealing with her twins.
The Two Faced Mom in search of peace - Loly from My Journey Home chats about expectations.
Week #1 Suddenly aware of all this anger… - Michelle from My Peaceful Parenting becomes aware of her anger.
Week 1 Triggers and Emotions -Amanda from Family and Baby Sign Language describes her physical response to intense emotions.
Ricky at Daddy Blogger reflects on how peaceful the first year of his daughter’s life was and wonders where all that peace has gone.