Someone close to me said they were not going to put photos of their newborn child on social media, for safety. But this isn’t what happened. Photos of child are on social media all the time, as are photos of mine.
There are concerns for the child’s privacy and right to consent. Concerns about the focus on image for children’s self esteem, and for the way these photos can be shared, and who owns them.
But there is a desire to connect with other parents, with friends and family who may not see the children any other way. And there is a normalising of the personal being made public. This normalisation may not be a problem for those raised and becoming adults in that climate as much as it seem to those from a more private period in history. But we also cannot know what the children growing up on camera now will think when they are the grown ups.
Personally I have a few ways I try to contain my children’s images on the internet.
No nude photos. Ever. Same goes for anything I’d consider “private.” That means no sharing photos on the toilet, even though I have some really funny ones with a toddler and their gumboots. If my children choose to share naked photos of themselves that should be their business.
The vast majority of photos of my children are shared in private invite only groups, open only to my family and real life friends. Some photos are shared to my wider online friend community and a minimal amount are shared to my public social media. Sharing photos is mostly, for me, a modern way of sharing a slide show with friends or passing around snaps at a family gathering.
This mentality keeps my children’s images on the free internet to a minimum. And the photos that are there show them always fully clothed and are not embarrassing or private.
Do you put photos of your child on social media?
If you do, have you have any rules for yourself?
If you don’t, how you share photos with those who wish to see them?
How many presents do you buy for your kids at Christmas?
In my family, amongst my friends, between the parents I speak to online, there are very different approaches to Christmas presents. Some people buy a lot, some buy little. Some place a lot of emphasis on Santa’s gifts, some less, some not at all. Everyone wants their kids to have an amazing Christmas experience, and all the kids get exactly that! But which approach to gift giving is best? Which suits you and your family?
How much to spend?
How many gifts to give?
More presents or bigger presents?
Who gets the credit, parents or Santa?
How to make sure the kids appreciate their gifts?
How much to spend?
How long is a piece of string? This really is a circular question. Family finances are so different that measuring your spend against another can never be helpful. Different incomes, different budgets, different priorities make this an impossible comparison and one that can only make you feel bad. Bad you aren’t spending enough or bad you’ve spent too much. Or you feel smug you’ve done just the right thing and then you should feel bad for feeling smug.
The main thing is to spend what you can afford only. Going into debt or having to cut back too much to afford a lot of presents isn’t going to pay dividends. Your kids may love those toys but soon they’ll want to go on fun outings you can’t afford or need new shoes you can’t buy and the toys won’t make up for it.
How many gifts to give?
This is where you can save money when you have little ones. They won’t know how much things cost so if you want to give a lot, go for lots of cheap gifts rather than one or two expensive ones. If you have more than one child make sure they have the same number as they’ll probably compare. Even if you spent more on one child they are more likely to see the fairness in how many gifts they can count. But giving too many gifts can make the opening become a factory line and the shine of getting a gift can be rubbed away. Too many presents and you run the risk of an ungrateful child who keeps expecting more and more. Plus there’s only so much they can focus on and some of the toys are likely to gather dust, at least for a while. Where’s the sweet spot? That’s up to you, of course, but just remember not to compare to the other parents! There’s always someone giving a number wildly different to you and making you second guess your decision.
Bigger is better?
There are some big items that are often given as Christmas gifts. I mean large! Like cubby houses, trampolines, swing sets, play kitchens, bikes….. This big presents often come with a price tag to match and can be an excellent option for a group gift, to all the kids/all the family (maybe not the bike!)
Large toys can be impressive and give a lot of bang for their buck as they aren’t always matched by their price. Young children, just as they will see a lot of toys as a big haul, are likely to see Big toys as impressive. A large cheap toy might create more excitement than an expensive small one. But the long term value is worth considering, if the cheap toy becomes just more for the toy box and eventually landfill. Small toys can be used to fill a stocking. Little hands reaching in again and again to reveal yet more tiny wonders might create more joy. How big is your home? I know I think hard about just where I will keep each item once it’s a part of our lives and homes before I buy it. If you can’t think of an obvious place to keep it, maybe it’s something best to avoid!
Who gave the best gift, you or Santa?
This one really gets the mums groups to disagree. On the one side is the argument that Santa is magical and special and kids should believe the best comes from that magical place while they still can. On the other hand is the position that parents put in all the hard work so they should get the credit and appreciation they deserve. Also to take into consideration is that the biggest and best present means very different things to different families. Some have hardly anything or nothing to spend on Christmas and some have limitless funds and means. If Santa is attributed with the most extravagant present, yet this varies from one child to the next, will the children see this and feel like Santa has been unfair or doesn’t care as much for some children? This a very personal question and your family dynamics and the personality of your child will sway the decision. How likely are your kids to discuss their gifts with other children? Some countries have school close to Christmas and some do not, does this affect the likelihood of comparison discussions? Do your children appreciate you usually or do you feel they need to see how you work hard to get them the things they have? Is the magic of Santa especially important to you and to them?
How much will they appreciate their presents?
We all want to give our kids what they want, but we try to give them what they need as well. And maybe sometimes they need to appreciate what they’ve been given a bit more? I know my toddler can begin to expect gifts around present giving time. For a month after his birthday he would come home from daycare asking, “Have you got a present for me?” There were even tears sometimes when the answer was no. I think the toddler may be old enough to begin learning about giving his toys to those who haven’t as many. This year I’d like to have him pick something new to give to a children’s Christmas gift program and also to agree to pass on some of his own toys. Getting him involved in choosing and wrapping gifts for other family members also makes sure he understands that presents are a two way street and to help him grow his own joy in giving.
How do you and your family approach presents for your kids?
Welcome to the first post in the new series, “Should I be worried?” – your go-to-place for a quick reference about a variety of common infant and toddler behaviours and ailments.
As many as a third of young children will grind and click their teeth. The habit can emerge as young as 8 months, around the time the front teeth come in. The sound of your child grinding her teeth will most likely set your own on edge. It’s surprisingly loud, disconcertingly abrasive, and can have you asking, “Is this normal?”
Should I be worried about my baby or toddler’s teeth grinding?
No, there’s no need to worry. Not only is this a common practise in young children, it’s also a harmless one. Teething grinding, or Bruxism as it’s technically called, will not ruin your baby’s teeth.
Though some slight wearing of the teeth can occur, it won’t be enough to seriously damage them, and certainly not enough to cause pain. Baby teeth have fewer developed nerves and less fully developed roots, and so are not as sensitive as adult teeth. Your baby can probably only feel a rubbing sensation from the action.
Why do children grind their teeth?
There are several reasons your child may be grinding her teeth. The habit usually begins with teething, so it may be that the rubbing helps alleviate pain and discomfort. The sound and sensation can also be soothing to your child. Similar to head banging or rocking, children find a rhythmic motion, feeling, or sound comforting when they are anxious or tired; self soothing is valuable skill and not a sign your child is unhappy.
Most likely, however, the grinding is a natural and healthy learning process that goes hand in hand with new teeth. Your child is exploring her mouth and teeth and discovering what they do, how they feel, and what noises they can make. Even though the sound is horrible to you, it is interesting to your child.
Should I do anything about it?
This, too, shall pass. Your child will likely grow bored of grinding her teeth during the day and grow out of grinding them at night. The habit is best ignored or discouraged with distraction.
If your child is still grinding her teeth regularly after all her baby teeth have come in, this may be the time to see a dentist and check for excessive wear. Even then, it is unlikely that your child’s grinding is a problem and probable that she will grow out of the behaviour by the time she is about 6 years old.
This week’s guest posting is from the Australian Fair Work Ombudsmen. In Australia tens of thousands of pregnant women and working mums report discrimination in the workplace each year. Make sure you know your rights.
It is not surprising that parents sometimes struggle to handle their work responsibilities and be with their child the way that that want to be; especially in the early years.
Managing the needs of your toddler is a demanding task. A day at work might be more structured and predictable than a day with your family. Or it could be the other way around. Every family and workplace is different and it is good to think creatively about how you might balance the two.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s working parents campaign is all about making sure parents and their employers understand their rights and responsibilities. If you’re unsure of where to start, visit fairwork.gov.au/workingparents to access information and resources including helpful checklists and templates.
Working parents in Australia have entitlements such as the right to safe work during pregnancy and parental leave to be with their new baby. They can also request flexible working arrangements that will help them accommodate work and family life.
The National Employment Standards provide the right to ask for flexible working arrangements. Flexible working arrangements can include things like changing your hours or patterns of work or working from home. These requests can only be refused for certain reasons.
Follow these steps when negotiating an arrangement to suit you and your workplace
Think about a solution that suits the business as well as your own needs. You might find it helpful to discuss your ideas with your employer before making a request. A conversation can give you both enough lead time to make suitable arrangements for you and your workplace.
Write to your employer (via email is a good idea). Outline the arrangement you think can work and offer reasons for the change. There are request templates available at fairwork.gov.au/workingparents to help you get started.
Once you have sent the request, your employer must respond in writing within 21 days saying whether they accept or refuse the request. If they refuse, they need to explain why.
Whether your employer agrees or disagrees with your request, flexibility arrangements will require ongoing negotiation. If the initial arrangement is not suitable, follow the process again and see if you can find something that works for everyone.
After 2 babies I decided to give myself an overhaul. While doing this it has made me think of the imprints we leave on our babies/children. One of the things that I have kicked off my overhaul with is joining a group training session.
Now, unlike most group sessions this one is targeted at mothers with babies/children and we all generally bring a baby/child (unless we are lucky enough for a loved one to take care of them).The trainer, Charlotte Hay from SOLMAMAS Slice of Life Fitness www.solfitness.com.au, understands what it is like being a mother and trying to squeeze in time for You. While we might be willing to find a sitter to go out to dinner every now and then, it’s not on a high priority to find yourself a sitter/carer on a weekly biases to look after your baby/child while you workout.