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Holiday Tips

November 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Susan Shor

With holidays here already, life becomes more frenetic. Many people thrive on the excitement, family, parties, and big meals, but children who have autism, sensory issues, or just plain need routine, this time of year can add extra strain.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to maintain your holiday joy and also give your children what they need.

1. They aren’t doing it on purpose.

This seems so obvious, but it’s not. I know. When you are running around, listening to honking horns, or trying to organize a meal for 16 and your child is acting out, remember that acting out is a symptom of something they can’t express or don’t even understand is bothering them. As a parent with a sensitive child, you have to stay preternaturally calm (I know, so hard) and play detective.

2. Give them plenty of warning.

Don’t spring things on them. Let them know what’s happening ahead of time. Be as detailed as you can. Make a visual schedule, if they like that. Then check items off together. Consider a seating chart.

3. Build in downtime.

Your child is not insulting you or anyone else if they need to leave the table or the big family celebration. Even adults sometimes need to get away from the fray. Build breaks into your schedule. Make sure you let your child know that excusing themselves to go to a quiet, safe place is OK. Develop a signal that you can use if you feel your child needs a break, but hasn’t yet realized that. Remember, children are not that self-aware. Transitions during meals or before and after them make for good times for a child to slip away for a few minutes without it becoming a fuss.

4. Assign your child a job

Sometimes, being involved and busy helps. Your child can focus on a task and feel proud of an accomplishment. Try to make the task a familiar one instead of adding something new during a stressful time. What chores or tasks does your child do regularly? If they clear their plate after dinner, consider asking them to help with that job. Practice with family meals beforehand.

5. If you’re a guest: Ask for accommodations

No, you can’t expect the world to revolve around your child, but you can  explain what your child needs and accomplish some of what is on this list anyway. If you are staying local, can you bring your child over to practice and set up a safe space? Even if you are traveling (a different set of issues I will tackle later), see if you can get a heads up on the schedule or pictures of the holiday setup. Any preparation you can give your child will help.

6. Remember … things happen

No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much everyone understands and loves your children, something may go wrong. The hardest thing you will have to do is learn this: Don’t sweat it. You and your children are doing the best you can and the people who love you know that. You are probably harder on yourself than any of them will ever be.

Now relax and enjoy the holidays.

The Path More Traveled

October 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Julie Davidson

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Julie Davidson

As I write this latest entry, I think about how pregnancy and birth are daunting. But my thoughts were interrupted by the news coverage about a guy on TV in a spacesuit freefalling!  All in effort to break the sound barrier. Introducing Felix Baumgartner, who was the first person to jump from 24 miles up.  There is very little air at that height. And no one to catch you.  And who knows exactly where you will land after your tumble through the sky.  Now that takes daunting to a whole new level.

But still, pregnancy and birth are daunting.  Maybe because of all the unknowns.  Before you’re pregnant, so much of life is predictable. When you leave for work, you know there’s a good chance that traffic will be a headache.  And that when you get to work you’ll get the parking space furthest from the door, and before you get a cup of coffee you’ll learn the client that was not satisfied yesterday is just as miserable today. After work, while strolling down the snack aisle, it’s entirely possible that although there are eight Orville Redenbacher’s flavors, but the store will have run out of the kind you like.

After you get pregnant, suddenly life becomes unpredictable. Pregnancy symptoms come and go. Because pregnancy involves your body, you can get the feeling of being trapped by certain circumstances for the entire pregnancy.  Nine months is a long time to feel nauseous. And to be growing.  And to have bizarre food cravings. You start to wonder: Will you have a boy or a girl? How will the birth go? And don’t even start trying to predict what motherhood will be like!

But one way to be more calm when thinking about having a child is to look at how many people there are in the world.  If pregnancy and birth were that difficult, no one would do it.  Okay, maybe some people would do it once, but lots of people do it over and over. How bad could it be if they keep doing it?

Felix Baumgartner got from space to the ground in about six minutes.  But he was in uncharted territory. Yes, you can expect to be pregnant for nine months, but at least you’ll be in the company of what, like six and a half billion other people? You won’t be in a stuffy spacesuit. No breaking the sound barrier.  The only thing you have to break is your water.  And you can get help with that.

Mommy MD Guides-Recommended Product Review: Natural Calm

October 3, 2012 by  
Filed under J.Bright

Natural Calm: The Anti-Stress Drink

by Mommy MD Guides cofounder Jennifer Bright Reich

It will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I am an anxious person. If I’m not worried about something, I’m worried about what I’m missing.

A few weeks ago, my anxiety had grown to unprecedented levels. I was talking with a friend, who was experiencing the same thing, and we both agreed if something didn’t settle down soon, we’d consider going to a doctor for medication.

But the real turning point for me was when my son started to express that he was feeling anxious. My anxiety was probably making him anxious too! Ok, now I’d really better do something about this, I thought.

One of our Mommy MD Guides recommended a terrific product called Natural Calm. It’s a magnesium supplement they call the “anti-stress drink.” That sounded perfect to me, so I started taking it once a day.

Natural Calm is a tart-tasting powder that you mix into a beverage. I like it in iced tea, Diet Coke, and best of all mixed into water with a little powdered lemonade mix. The recommended dose is 2 rounded teaspoons, which provides 325 milligrams of magnesium.

Within a few days of taking Natural Calm, I noticed that I felt calmer and less anxious. To my tremendous surprise, I also noticed that I was sleeping better! I started to wake before my alarm, and I didn’t have that “is it possible to die from being this tired” feeling anymore! I was curious if this better sleep was from the supplement, so I skipped taking it a few days, and lo and behold I was back to not sleeping well again.

Why does Natural Calm help? Many people are deficient in magnesium, which in addition to easing stress and helping people to sleep better also reduces muscle tension, constipation, nervousness, irritability, and headaches.

You can buy an eight-ounce container of Natural Calm in raspberry-lemon flavor for $13.77 at VitaCost.com.

Enter here through the end of October for a chance to win two $30.00 gift cards to the Natural Calm online store. http://shop.naturalvitality.com. Please see some rules below.

Check our blog page in early November for our next Mommy MD Guides-Recommended (and Kid-Tested) Product review: Copy-Kids Eat Fruits and Vegetables DVD!


Rules for the gift cards:

1. This coupon cannot be used in conjunction with other coupons

2. The shipping fee will be waived

3. The coupon expires on November 15th, 2012

4. A physical gift card will not be sent. The coupon will be emailed for redemption at: http://shop.naturalvitality.com

5. Open to US & Canadian residents only


Natural Calm is a paying partner of Momosa Publishing LLC.  Regardless of whether we receive compensation from a vendor, we only recommend products or services that we have used personally and that we believe will be good for our readers.

Always an Adventure

July 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Julie Davidson

The day of our big vacation I got an email update from the airline stating that our flight from Minneapolis to Denver was delayed. Nice. We weren’t even on the first leg of the trip and already it was a game of “hurry up and wait.”

The flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis was only about 40 minutes, but a very exciting 40 minutes it turned out to be. Fifteen minutes into the flight, we heard a loud bang. It was one of those “what the heck was that” banging noises. I looked across the aisle to my husband who motioned with his hands to stay calm. While I was working on being calm, the captain came over the loud speaker. “Folks we’ve had some engine problems. We are now on the reserve engine.” I was so freaked out that honestly I’m not even sure what he said after that. I suppose it was something about how everything was fine. Before I could digest this new found information, the captain was back on the loud speaker.

“It looks like everything is going smoothly considering the engine issue. But just as a precaution we’ve asked the Fire Department to meet us at the airport upon arrival.” After that, I kept looking out the window and checking out the long stretches of highway and corn fields, thinking We could land there…that looks good.

My husband and I decided not to tell the boys what was going on. They were having a ball, looking at the clouds and thinking of all the adventures that would await them on the rest of the trip.

And it was an adventure. It was beautiful and scary at the same time. There was a raft trip that made me realize how strong the Colorado River is, and why driving is my preferred mode of transportation. There was a shiny Momma moose that stared us down so hard we decided it was best not to even glimpse at her cute mooslings or whatever they’re called. There was a dog bite and two black widow sightings. And canyons so beautiful I knew we had to be within inches of Heaven, but so high I could barley look down.

We’re all in one piece. Maybe it’s just that parental nervousness that takes us away momentarily from the place we’re supposed to be. But even when things don’t go the way we planned, it makes for some great memories and story-telling. And the kids are beginning to see that they can make it through adversity. Now when things get tough my husband and I say, “Suck it up. We lost an engine. We can get through this.”

The One-Emotion-at-a-Time Trick

January 15, 2011 by  
Filed under J.Bright

I tend to be a worrier. (This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me at all!) Recently, I read that you can only experience one emotion at a time. So when I’m feeling anxious (such as before a four-hour-drive to visit my inlaws), I try instead to think about how I’m excited (such as to see my husband’s family and enjoy my kids spending time with them).

I learned this so very late in life! My one son also tends to be a worrier like me. He often feels nervous before going to school each morning. “Mommy, my belly feels sick. I don’t feel up to going to school,” he’d say. I explained to him about the one-emotion-at-a-time trick, and I worked with him for a few days to come up with things he was looking forward to at school, things to be excited about.

I felt positively joyful, and proud, yesterday when before school, my son told me, “Mommy, you know what I’m excited about today? I’m excited to give my teacher her glue sticks!” (We had bought some glue sticks because she had run out!) I will be very happy if my son can learn this wonderful skill at such a young age–rather than having to wait until he’s 40 like me!

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.