Friday, August 31, 2012

Saying Goodbye?

 Every day that we have to go work or leave the house without Lucas, we agonize over how he is going to respond and how he will handle being alone with a caregiver or grandparent. Sometimes he throws a tantrum and gets really upset, and that makes thing worse for a parent. There are a number of ways for parents to handle the process of saying goodbye.

1. Set the expectation
Children need to know what things are about to happen, not just what is currently happening. This does take planning and preparation, however, it will make your life easier when you say good-bye. Let your child know where you’re going, and give them some expectation of when you are coming back.

2. Follow through with what you say
If you are leaving and setting the expectation that you are coming back at a certain time, remember to make sure to keep your word. You are trying to teach your child to deal with saying goodbye and learning a new routine, so you need to go above and beyond to make sure to keep to the new routine.

3. Stay in touch
Plans change. Times change. If you need to be late for any reason, or if your plans completely change, you need to call your caregiver and make sure your child knows what is happening. Being included in this information builds trust between parent and child and helps the soothing process for a child missing their parent.

4. Gone for longer?
In the case that you are away for longer than just a few hours, it can help to have things to help soothe your child. Pictures of where you are going and pictures of you can help your children establish a mental bridge to help understand the situation. Record yourself reading their favorite story, and make sure to call your child whenever you can to help ease their anxiety. Skype and Facetime are programs on smartphones that can make seeing one another possible too!

5. Coming back
When you come back, make sure to give your child special attention. This can help children to know that you were thinking about them while you were gone. Don’t be surprised if your child ignores you, as they may be in the middle of playtime, or have some residual anger that you actually left them. Be sure to catch up with your child and the caregiver for what happened while you were gone.

Don’t feel guilty about having to leave and what happens when you are gone. Time with your child is a precious thing, and it needs to be respected and lived to the fullest, regardless of your work situation. You can control the situation of leaving by being calm and confident, as the modeling of this behavior will encourage your child to feel the same.

Happy Parenting!

Damir

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guest Blogger Jackie Tortorello!


We are happy to introduce Jackie Tortorello as a guest blogger on Wednesday’s throughout the month of September. She will be providing a four-part series on the meaning of family both through her eyes and through the world of philosophy!

Jackie is a honor student and junior at Depaul University in Chicago, IL. She is a Journalism Major with a minor in Philosophy. Jackie has also been a featured columnist at Depaul’s student newspaper, the DePaulia, with a number of articles and editorials featured in both the print and online versions of the DePaulia.

Check out her awesome work here! We are proud and lucky to be able to feature some new work from an up and coming young writer, and we look forward to more of her wonderful words in upcoming blogs!

Enjoy, and Happy Parenting!

Nicole and Damir

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's Super-Lucas!


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Friday, August 24, 2012

Why Magic Eyelashes?


Our eBook/app series is about a special boy with magic eyelashes that make him braver and stronger as he experiences “firsts” and discovers the world around him. We have been asked a number of times why we chose to highlight this attribute and thought we would give some brief reasons!

1. It’s a little trick…
One thing we were sure of is that we wanted to have some sort of little trick that all children could do when they got a little scared or anxious. By focusing on something small and easy to do, children can feel much braver quickly!

2. Naturally!
Blinking is a subconscious eyelash movement that occurs naturally and is oblivious to others. This was another reason that we chose blinking as the magic action that makes Luca braver, as there is no new learning required.

3. Our son, Lucas
From the moment our son was born, we had always noticed his incredibly long eyelashes! Lucas had a way of disarming and charming everyone with just a few blinks of his eyelashes. When we decided to use him as our inspiration for our character, it was only natural for us to use one of his greatest attributes!

4. Not easily noticed
In the course of writing the stories, we noted that we wanted the “trick” to make Luca brave to be not so noticeable. By picking a natural act like blinking, it makes it easier for the experience to be more personable to Luca, as he can just blink for himself and no one can tell, other than Luca, that he is doing anything to make himself braver.

5. It’s cute!
Blinking, when not too exaggerated, can be an attractive and cute action in children. We love seeing Lucas blink, seeing those long eyelashes gently move up and down.

Overall, Luca Lashes, The Brown Eyed Boy with MagicEyelashes, is a series inspired by our son and his truly remarkable eyelashes, and we hope that parents and children alike can enjoy the series and become braver in the blink of an eye! We also know that no child is alike; what else have you come up with to help your child conquer their fears?

Happy Parenting!

Nicole

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grandma and Technology!


My Grandma is a great example of someone who is older who does this. She is 90 years old, and proficient at a variety of different technology devices. She uses her desktop computer every day, checks her correspondence and emails her friends and family. She also uses an eReader and reads books every day, an embrace of a brand-new technology none of us expected!

In general, most new technology is geared toward people under the age of 50. Whether it is cell phones or iPods with portable music, some devices just are not conducive to the aged. However, it is possible for older people to fully enjoy technology and use it in productive ways. In fact, it can keep them young!

1. See well without anyone knowing
Some older people get nervous about constantly showing their age in public. It seems everything is built to be easier for younger people, which can often be a detriment to someone older. In the case of being able to see, people don’t like to admit they are losing their visual acuity. Technology can really help here, as tablets and smart-phones can make font-sizes and buttons bigger without anyone knowing that a person needs to read such large letters and numbers!

2. Stay in contact with everyone
One issue as people get older always involves losing touch with your friends and family. Using e-mail, or for the truly adventurous, texting, can help older adults stay in touch with the people they want to, regardless of distance or traveling. My grandmother may be a little more adventurous, as she also has a Facebook account where she can keep track of her 38 great-grandkids, seeing pictures and getting updates daily if she so chooses to read them!

3. Stay in shape!
While I don’t commonly express the value of video games, there can be some value in the body-sensor type of videogames found on the Nintendo Wii or the Xbox Kinect. There are a number of games on these systems that incorporate steady movements that can improve balance and increase strength, even for the elderly.

As you get older, or deal with your parents getting older, it can be important to keep aware of new and helpful technologies. In terms of older members of families like my Grandma, it has kept her youthful and positive in her outlook, something that contributes to a healthy lifestyle, as you get older. She is engaged with the younger generation due to her willingness to adapt to technology. Encouraging the older generations of your family to stay in tune with some technology also helps them relate to your children, so there is not such a large divide between grandparents and grandchildren when it comes to experience with technology.

Happy Parenting,

Nicole

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to our darling Boy and Inspiration!


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Friday, August 17, 2012

Building Intimacy with Your Child

Intimacy is that desire to truly know someone and have a relationship with some depth. Parents often assume that the act of parenting is automatically building intimacy; however there are many aspects to parenting that seem to hinder rather than encourage intimacy. Here are some ways to build a more intimate relationship with your child!


1.  Avoid distractions
Parents often have too many things going on in their lives. The pressures of work, cleaning up, feeding the family, never having time for finish anything…these are all common complaints. Nevertheless, it is more important to stop what you are doing and ask your child how they are doing. Small acts, where you step away from what is on your mind and just focus on what your child needs, can give you a great building block for an intimate relationship.

2.  Planning
Staying a step ahead and planning to do things with your child can also help improve intimacy between parent and child. When the parent has planned specific times to talk with their child, call it “getting to know you” time, a child will be more comfortable knowing that they are important enough for you to dedicate such time to find out more about them.

3. Ask questions
You should always be asking your child questions about themselves. The older your children get, the less they will share with you if you do not build some intimacy while they are younger. Take time to find out what scares them, what they like the most, and what they need more from you. Children tend to be more honest the younger that they are, so building a healthy foundation will perhaps give a parent a leg up when children enter adolescence, a much harder time to build and maintain intimacy.

4. Make sure you always build on your own intimacy
Parents should always be working on their own intimacy and communication with their partner. This is a common theme, as the more practice a parent gets at something, the easier it is to model that behavior. Parents who take the time to have intimate conversations and know each other better in front of their children will help their children build those intimacy skills for later in life.

Some people shy away from the word “intimacy”, giving it connotations that are not intended. The parent-child relationship is just another form of human interaction that requires intimacy. Whatever discomfort someone has with this concept, it is important to open up to your children and make them comfortable enough to always open up to you.

Happy Parenting!

Damir

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Importance of Laughter

 If you are like me, and most parents (I hope), one of the greatest sounds that come out of your children is the sound of laughter. I know that for me, I can be having the worst day and my son’s laughter will just brighten any mood! There is something so magical about hearing the sound of pure laughter, and it is really hard to not (at the very least) smile at the sound of a child having fun and laughing. I personally prescribe at least a half-hour of laughing as a prescription for everyone, not just children, for a lifetime of health benefits! What are some of these benefits?
1. Less Stress
Simply put, laughter reduces tension. Our children feel as much stress and anxiety as we do, and need as much release from this tension as we do as well. Committing to having moments of laughter with your child can be beneficial in reducing both you and your child’s stress levels every day!

2. “Happiness” increases!
The science of “happiness” involves the release of endorphins in your bloodstream and in your brain. It is proven that laughter increases the release of these endorphins, which provide a sense of calm, well-being and balance. Children need this endorphin release as much as adults to maintain a healthy balance in our lives!


3. Create special memories
Laughter can truly make any experience more memorable. Think about any moment that has truly moved you, and try to remember how many times you associate laughter with these moments. Children will have more pleasant memories and happy moments the more laughter you add to any situation!

Studies show that children, on average, laugh about 300 times a day, whereas adults average out around 15 times a day. This statistic is staggering in its consequences for adults, and definitely not a good example to set for your children. Our hope is that parents commit to laughing every day, and try to make every moment with your children something to laugh about. The positive effects for you, your children, and all of your family’s health will be quick, stress-free, and joyous!

Happy Parenting!

Damir

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Monday, August 13, 2012

The Wind just ruined my Hair!


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Friday, August 10, 2012

Children and the Olympics

 The Summer Olympics in London are continuing the grand tradition of this remarkable athletic event, and the global impact of these “Games” is truly remarkable. Every four years, the Summer Olympics capture the imaginations of children young and old, and show the world how something as simple and innocuous as sports can bring even disparate people together. I have been an avid Olympics watcher my entire life, and am watching multiple events with my son Lucas so that he can experience the moments of wonder I get every time I watch the Games. Children can learn so much from watching the Olympics with their parents!

1. Sportsmanship
The Olympics are so different from other sporting events, which do tend to get bogged down in a “win-at-all-costs” mentality. Lifelong competitors and rivals will hug each other, root for each other, and even share the victory stand. Children can learn to respect their peers and their opponents from this great example.

2. Competition
When watching any Olympic event, note how hard each competitor tries to win. While there is some feeling of being “just glad to be here”, most of the athletes represent themselves with pride and try as hard as they can to win.  Children can learn the true value of competition, and what it takes to persevere and accomplish a goal.

3. Family
There is not one Olympian who has not had their families make some sort of sacrifice for their athletic endeavors. The television networks have always done a great job of highlighting these remarkable stories, where families sacrifice time and energy and dedicate themselves so that their child can fulfill their dreams. The unity and self-sacrifice that makes family so important is such a great lesson for children to learn.

4. Health
Most athletes at the Olympics work through grueling training schedules to get their bodies to the optimal condition to compete at their sports. Children can learn the value of getting into good health and make a lifetime habit of trying to maintain that good health. This is an area that I know I need to work on personally; nothing like a little Olympic motivation to get you going!

5. Practice
Children can watch the Olympic athletes and see the true value of being prepared and ready for any eventuality. As any athlete will tell you, the more you practice and work at doing your event in the optimal way, the better your results will be.

Enjoy these Olympics with your children and watch their eyes grow with wonder at the grace and poise shown by the Olympic athletes. I remember as a child how I fell in love with the sport of gymnastics when Mary Lou Retton won the gold for the U.S. in 1984. It was probably the first time I felt patriotism during a sporting event!

Happy Parenting!

Nicole

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Helping Children deal with Fear and Anxiety

 The entire purpose of our book series is to help children discover new experiences and handle any anxiety or fear in a light and easy manner. Children can experience fears of the unknown and of trying new things. It is important for parents to recognize, acknowledge and assist children in overcoming and understanding the process of dealing and conquering fear. There are a number of ways that parents can help children and we wanted to highlight a few ways that we have found to work.

1. Let go of any fears/anxieties you are holding on to

Parents are people too, and experience the same emotions that children do. If you want your children to experience less fear or anxiety, however, you do need to establish the behavior pattern yourself. If you have a fear, for example, of the dentist, the chances are high that your child will also develop this fear. The point is to behave in the manner you want your child to behave like!

2. Listen to calm music together

Music has shown a remarkable effect on calming fear and anxiety in people. Finding music that works for you as a family and going about your day with this relaxing music always in the background can help give your child a less anxious personality!

3. Get into nature!

Getting your child into nature and enjoying the peace and tranquility that a walk can provide is another effective way to reduce fear and anxiety. Being in nature and taking time to “smell the flowers,” can give your child a lifetime example of how to remain calm and collected.

Family first
Families that try and have experiences together tend to react with less fear and anxiety to new situations. If the parents are always there for a child and provide that stability that can truly increase a child’s confidence and self-esteem, children will always know that there is someone who is always there for them.

As always, if your child is really tense and seems to be anxious all the time, it is probably a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about possible counseling. While some fear and anxiety is natural, ongoing tension will require parents to teach some coping skills. Overall, try and combine these points together and enjoy as many experiences as you can with your children.

Happy Parenting!

Damir

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Lucas at the Park!


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Friday, August 3, 2012

The Benefits of Interactivity in Children’s Literature

 As children’s book author and app producers, we have a unique perspective on the benefits of interacting with literature for children. We believe that children benefit most when words come alive, and whatever method you use to make that happen for your children, the more literate your children will become. In our perspective, interactive eBooks and book applications offer a unique way to get your child excited about reading and establish new perspectives about literature. Here are a few positive benefits of helping children interact with their books!



Applications offer a unique way for children to use sight, sound, and touch in combination. By being able to manipulate the screen while audio and music play, children can establish literacy patterns where they can match up what is happening with what they are remembering.

2. It doesn’t have just to be electronic

Interactivity does not just mean interacting digitally with eBooks. Picture books and chapter books can also be an interactive experience when children and parents read together. Seeing pictures and learning how to associate words to what is in front of them can help children develop crucial thinking skills.

3. Questions and more Questions!

Regardless of how a parent introduces literary lessons to their children, it is important to ask probing questions to see how your children are interacting with their books. Questions can also be used to stimulate the imagination! For example, before you turn a page or swipe the screen, ask your children what you think is going to happen? The answers will surprise you and show you how creative they can be.

Increasing the amount of interactivity with literature is one of the ultimate goals of our eBooks and apps. Using multiple sensory inputs and having the reading experience utilize a combination of these senses can help to increase literacy and make reading fun and hopefully, more memorable as a result!

Happy Parenting!

Nicole

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Please visit and support this Blog!

This blog is written by Heather Von St. James, and she is a true inspiration and a wonderful writer. Look for a guest blog from Heather here at Luca Lashes soon, and check out her wonderful words here:

http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/

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