Family Conversation Starters For Around the Dinner Table (and Elsewhere)

Family Dinner | September 18, 2011 | By

From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN

Family setting the tableIf your family is like ours, you may work hard to create a family dinner time routine, or other family activity (“forced family fun” as our oldest calls it), and then realize that you are not sure what to talk about.  There are many resources in print and on the internet that have conversation starters for families.

Here are few:

  • What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
  • What cartoon character would you most like to be?  Why?
  • What is the hardest/best thing about being ___ years old?
  • Describe your all-time best day ever.

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New mothers, how to make a smooth return to work

If you decide to go back to work after having a child, give yourself time to adjust. It’s natural to miss your baby and even feel sad at times. Small steps like these can make it easier:

  • If possible, return gradually by slowly increasing the number of days you work per week.
  • Do some tasks at home during your maternity leave such as answering e-mails or online research.
  • Before you return, visit the office to catch up on company news and introduce your baby to your co-workers.
  • If you’re still nursing, talk to your employer about a private room where you and other new moms may be able to pump breast milk.
  • Allow at least two weeks to prepare for the time when you’ll first be away from your baby. You can start alternating breast and bottle feeding when your baby is three to four weeks old.
  • Try to find child care near your workplace and arrange to leave your child there once or twice before you start work. Ask the caregiver to feed the baby while you’re gone.
  • Get support from other working moms at your workplace or through organizations like the La Leche League (www.lalecheleague.org) or the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (www.hmhb.org).

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Women & Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women. Unfortunately, women’s heart attacks don’t always show the classic signs, such as chest pain. Watch for these signs:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • Dizziness
  • Back and jaw pain
  • Heartburn that won’t go away

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Kids, Technology and Manners

Parenting & Kids | February 12, 2010 | By

As moms, teaching our children manners  is part of the job. Unfortunately, technology has changed the game – and Emily Post isn’t much help in 2010.

Example? Two of my four children (ages 15 and 13) have cell phones and Facebook accounts. (Our third doesn’t understand why she cannot have both, and our youngest is blissfully oblivious.)  Even though my older kids earned those “privileges” and lose them if certain expectations aren’t met, it’s tough for me as a mom to know how to integrate technology in an appropriate, respectful way in our family.

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Sneaking Nutrition into Kids’ Meals: Good or Bad Habit?

The other day I watched a TV commercial promoting a nutritional supplement drink. It starred a mom pushing it for her daughter, who wouldn’t “touch anything green”.

Those sorts of comments always stop me in my tracks. Is it optional for our kids to eat the healthy foods their bodies need? Is it a good habit to sneak nutrients into their meals? How far should we as moms go to make sure they eat what’s healthy for their growth and development?

I know and understand the dangers behind making kids eat everything on their plate.  Creating a power struggle or negative feelings about food can lead to all sorts of eating disorders and problems.  But I also know that most people — especially kids — have to see, smell and taste a new food multiple times before they are comfortable with it.

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Fast, Easy Breakfast Ideas

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Recipes | January 11, 2010 | By

Breakfast is mostly a cold-cereal affair at my house, especially during the weekdays. I wish it weren’t so! But my kids are old enough to be self-sufficient, so while they’re getting ready for school, I’m prepping for work. Tossing a box of something-or-other on the kitchen table with a jug of milk is about as fancy as I get.

So when I made homemade waffles last week, the kids were stunned. And then, stuffed! For once, I felt like the “good mom” I know I can be. (Wait—Bisquick does count as homemade, right?)

So, I have a plan. Get something fast, easy and healthy — that’s not cold cereal — on the breakfast table more often. I dredged through my rusty repertoire and came up with these ideas.

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5 Bad Habits for Moms to Break

Family Wellness | January 4, 2010 | By

Bad habits: we all have them. But when those habits involve our health – as so many do – it’s even more important to get them under control. Our well-being is what allows us to care for our families as well as model to our kids how to embrace a positive lifestyle. And, of course, our health is at stake!

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Dark Chocolate Takes the Bite Out of Stress

We love good news. And good news that involves chocolate is the best kind of all.

While you’ve no doubt heard that dark chocolate may be healthy for you, in a recent clinical trial, it actually reduced the stress of 30 people who ate it every day for two weeks. Not only that, it also positively impacted other stress-related biochemical imbalances.

Is it magic in a sweet morsel?

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Clean As You Go: Managing the Meal-Prep Mess

InTheKitchen_3The homey goodness of family life is most often nurtured in the kitchen. Here, we gather to savor delicious meals together and enjoy relationships that matter most important to us. Unfortunately, because the kitchen is Grand Central Station to both food and family, it’s one of the hardest areas to keep clean.

A chronically messy kitchen doesn’t promote peace and calm, and trying to cook among a clutter of dirty dishes is downright overwhelming – especially during the holidays. That’s when baking special cookies, preparing more elaborate meals and taking on other traditions can seriously undermine the cleanest of kitchens.

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How to Pack Healthy Kid Lunches

Loading up lunchboxes for school can be a breeze, or it can wreak havoc on your morning routine.

Need a few tips on smoothing the process? This Modernmom.com article by Alicia Rockmore & Sarah Welch offers shopping suggestions, ways to make healthy foods fun, tips on what to pack, and more. They even give ideas on encouraging kids to make their own lunches. Three cheers to that!

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