Archives for November 2010

Giveaway Winners!

Well, due to underwhelming response on our Black Friday giveaway … you’re all winners! Jodi will be getting in contact with you about your prize preference. Thanks for answering the question!

The winners of our November book giveaways are:

Holly May
Mama Bear
Sarah Stinnett
Kelly @ Miskellany
Eos Mom
Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect
Joyce Grimes

Congratulations to you all as well! We’ll be in touch to get your addresses and send on your books. Stay tuned for our December giveaway …

Mary Beth Chapman on National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. I recently had the privilege to sit down and talk to Mary Beth Chapman about her family’s miracle of adoption. Mary Beth provided some practical ideas for ways that every family can support adoption! 

Mary Beth Chapman on National Adoption Awareness Month from ParentLife on Vimeo.

Don’t miss our January 2011 issue of ParentLife featuring Mary Beth. And … we’ll have even more insight from Mary Beth on the blog in the months to come. Stay tuned!

Does your family feel called to adopt? Tell us your story. If your family is not called to adopt, what are some ways that you have supported other families who are adopting?

Fun Friday Photo — November 26, 2010

Preston is happy to be squeaky-clean!

88_FunFridayPhoto_November26.jpgThanks to Lori M. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen! 

Black Friday Giveaway Hoopla!


Because it’s Black Friday and we’re trying to save you a little bit of shopping time today, we’ve decided to give away a whole boatload of fun stuff!

Here’s what we have to dole out:

Four copies of the Mark Smeby album Pilgrim Man

One copy each of the children’s books A Wish and a Prayer and In My Bath by Beth Bence Reinke

smartstepmom.jpgThree copies of The Smart Stepmom by Ron Deal and Laura Petherbridge

And 10 random prizes from the ParentLife closet! 

To enter, simply leave a comment telling us how you like to do your Christmas shopping: early? last-minute? in January? Does your family have any gift-giving traditions?

Our fellow LifeWay blogs CentriKid and Kids Ministry 101 are also giving away some fun things today, so make sure you go check them out. And don’t forget about our November giveaway that ends December 1.

LifeWay employees are not eligible to win. Winners will be decided Tuesday, November 30. USA only, please.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Real Life Solutions: Dealing with Shyness

mintle03(2).jpgWe are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to and include "? for Dr. Mintle" on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.


Q: I have a shy child and want to help her make friends. She tends to cling to my side and not talk to anyone when we meet a new family. Even after several play dates, she is reluctant to leave me and go off with the other children. I see her playmates trying to engage her, but she is very hesitant. Are there things I can do as a parent to help her with shyness?

A: Shyness in children is not uncommon, so don’t panic. Many children are born with a shy temperament and need a little coaxing to engage in new situations or with new friends. Contact with new people is a bit terrifying but in most cases can be overcome. Occasionally we see children who are so anxious that they need treatment from a mental-health provider to work on anxiety. However, given time to adjust to new situations, most children do fine.

There are two areas of your child’s life I would like you to consider. Has she been rejected by other children (teased, singled out, excluded from peers, etc.) or neglected by other kids (ignored, left out of activities, not picked on a team, etc.)? Being rejected or neglected by peers can reinforce shyness and cause a child to withdraw.

As a parent, you can help coach your child to deal with relationship exchanges by teaching her how to forgive others; manage her feelings of hurt, anger, or rejection; defend herself from teasing; make requests to play; and find friends who will be kind.

A key part of this coaching is focusing on how your child thinks about herself. Shy children tend to over-focus on their own feelings and fears and judge themselves too harshly. They have thoughts like, No one will like me or They think I am stupid. And when someone does show interest, shy kids tend to think it had nothing to do with them. The fear of being rejected or embarrassed takes over. 

So talk about positive things when meeting someone new or engaging in a group. Ask your child what she might like about engaging in an activity with other children. In new situations, it helps to have one familiar face in a group, so try to find that one friend or person your daughter knows to help ease the adjustment. Shy children want to be social. Finally, as much as we want to rescue our children from discomfort, resist paving the way. Instead, prompt her to make a move and encourage independence. Each success will build and bring confidence.

If your child seems shy and this resonates with you, you may want to check out Nurturing the Shy Child by Drs. Barbara and Gary Markway.

Do you have a shy child? How do you cope and teach?

6 Tips for Beautiful Photos of Your Family

As you’re preparing for the ever-dreaded Christmas card picture, or just a regular fun photo shoot of your kids, here are six tips to help you get beautiful photos that will last a lifetime.

shootsandgiggles.jpgThanks Monica and Briana of Shoots and Giggles Photography for these photography tips.

  1. Get to know your photographer and create a lasting relationship. We suggest that you research photographers both online and via word-of-mouth. When you find a photographer that suits your style – call them. Emailing is fine, but it is so impersonal. It’s important to make sure you "click" with your photographer since you will hopefully be creating a relationship with them over the course of the next few years as your child and family grows.
  2. Ask your photographer about her level of experience. You need to be aware that photography companies come with all degrees of experience — ranging from your amateur neighbor to the world-renowned photography celebrity. More than likely, you will want someone in-between who fits into your budget, preferably someone with experience and a photography education.
  3. Be ready to make an investment. When you look for professional photography services, you need to be prepared to invest, and here is what you are investing in: a pro isn’t simply coming to hang out and casually snap some photos; a pro is highly educated in their craft and has taken great time to schedule your session and familiarize themselves with you, your family, and your image goals. They know how to make you feel comfortable, pose you and your family, perfectly light the scene, and make you and your family look amazing.
  4. Understand the final product (a.k.a. You get what you pay for). Many professional photographers are also simultaneously graphic designers and skilled retouchers. Therefore we are capable of not only capturing your images but also retouching your prints and designing your products. For example, at Shoots & Giggles we do all our post-production ourselves. It is important to ask your photographer about the degree of post processing and TLC your images will receive as that often increases the value and beauty of the images exponentially.
  5. Disk of Images vs. Fine Art Digital Negatives. Most high-end pro photographers do NOT offer a disk of ALL the images; however, many amateurs and beginners will. Rather than offering a disk of ALL the images, many pro photographers will offer hi-res digital negatives retouched and color corrected a la carte. If you are looking to spend very little and get a disk of untouched beginner-caliber images, working with an amateur or a student might work well for you. However, if you want a lot of "guaranteed-to-be beautiful" shots to choose from, working with a professional is going to be your best option.  
  6. Last but Not Least – Photography is ART! Pros look at each shoot as an opportunity to express themselves creatively and enjoy what they do — that is why we are doing it! The moments you hire us to capture are priceless (and totally adorable), and we truly love every minute of it!

Have you had an amazing photography experience? Or one that, quite frankly, you could do without? My favorite shoot was when my daughter was 3 weeks old. She was a model for two local photographers and they took AMAZING pictures. (This one was my favorite.) Since then we’ve used two different chains with varying success (mostly due to the moodiness of my drama-queen toddler). — Jessie, Resident PL Blogger

Photo collage used with permission of Shoots and Giggles.


Fun Friday Photo — November 19, 2010

Getting Our Shoe Boxes Ready … Have you packed a shoe box yet?

87_FunFridayPhoto_November19.JPGThanks to Jeff L. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen! 

RSV: The Facts and Prevention

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is extremely common among infants and childrens. The Mayo Clinic says most children have been infected by age 2, whether you know it or not!

A Mayo Clnic article explains:

Signs and symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus infection typically appear about four to six days after exposure to the virus. In adults and older children, RSV usually causes mild cold-like signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Congested or runny nose

  • Dry cough

  • Low-grade fever

  • Sore throat

  • Mild headache

  • A general feeling of unease and discomfort (malaise)

In severe cases
Respiratory syncytial virus can lead to a lower respiratory tract illness such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis — an inflammation of the small airway passages entering the lungs. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • High fever

  • Severe cough

  • Wheezing — a high-pitched noise that’s usually heard on breathing out (exhaling)

  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, which may make the child prefer to sit up rather than lie down

  • Bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)

Infants are most severely affected by RSV. They may markedly draw in their chest muscles and the skin between their ribs, indicating that they’re having trouble breathing, and their breathing may be short, shallow and rapid. They may cough. Or they may show few, if any, signs of a respiratory tract infection, but will eat poorly and be unusually lethargic and irritable.

Most children and adults recover from the illness in eight to 15 days. But in young babies, infants born prematurely, or infants or adults who have chronic heart or lung problems, the virus may cause a more severe — occasionally life-threatening — infection that requires hospitalization.


There is a medication used for RSV prevention, Synagis®. It is specifically used for children younger than 2 who are at high risk for serious RSV. It is not a single injection but must be repeated on a monthly basis during peak RSV season and repeated in subsequent years until the child is no longer at high risk. Those babies most at risk are those who were born prematurely, those less than 6 weeks old, those with congenital heart or chronic lung disease, and those with immune deficiencies.

If you are having a winter baby and have any high-risk history or know your baby may be premature, go ahead and talk to your OB and pediatrician about RSV. It may be difficult to secure insurance coverage for the shots, so you may need to get the ball rolling.

Have you had any experience with RSV?

Improving Test-Taking Struggles

Lonely Pencil

A challenge for many parents is wanting to help their kids succeed in school but not always knowing how best to do that. When they see a child struggle with homework, where do they start? A math and science tutor for many years and co-founder of the online tutoring service Virtual Nerd, Leo Shmuylovich says parents can do two critical things: observe, then assess what the problem is.

“Parents are in a unique position — they can sit down with their child, one-on-one, and devote extra time at home to understanding their child’s needs. Teachers in a busy classroom don’t always get that opportunity or it can take longer in school to identify the student’s need,” says Shmuylovich.

Shmuylovich offers these suggestions for parents to help overcome a child’s learning struggles.

Problem:  Poor Review or Test-taking Skills

If your child is doing well on homework but does poorly on written exams, it could mean she has either poor review or test-taking skills.

Solution:  Help your child develop the habit of setting aside time each day to review his work. Create a mock “high stakes” environment each day, during which the student has to solve problems without the help of a textbook or other reference tool. You can easily set this up and then gradually lead your student to do this on his own.

Problem:  Misunderstanding a Current Concept

When your child misunderstands a current concept, it can be frustrating.  This is the place where you may have the most difficulty helping your child, since the concept may be new to you too. 

Solution: Try putting your child in the role of teacher and ask him to explain the concept to you, the “student.” If your child can explain the concept to you well enough, he should be able to handle the related work. You may also want to search online for videos that explain or demonstrate the concept. For example, Virtual Nerd offers several tutorials that explain and help reinforce math and science concepts.

Problem:  Not Enough Practice

Some students don’t have enough practice with either current or previous concepts, which becomes evident when they tell you they “can’t remember how to do it.”

Solution:  It can be tough for you to write out new problems that practice a particular concept for your child.  Instead Shmuylovich recommends that you seek out additional practice within the text or ask the teacher for specific worksheets or other practice. Sometimes it really is just a matter of repeated execution (the multiplication table comes to mind, but it’s the same for A + B = C).

How do you help your children study without "doing it for them"?

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.