Prior to the impacts of COVID-19 and social distancing, my husband and I worked two very different schedules. I work the usual Monday through Friday between 9 to 5 while his hours can be all over the place. Although I would sneak in hugs and kisses early in the morning before starting my day, most times I won’t get to see the hubs until late at night when he finally gets off work.
When we received news that his office would be closing and I’d be working from home, we were excited that for the first time in a long while we’d be on the same schedule. The first few days into quarantine, we were stuck to each other. All we wanted to do was be around one another and catch up on the time we normally don’t have together. But as the days continued on, we were starting to annoy each other.
Being home together in this capacity is outside of our normal routine. We got so used to our night and day patterns that we had to adjust to having the same schedules and finding a way to not drive each other crazy.
The times I would normally have to enjoy some peace and quiet were times he wanted to vacuum the entire house. The times he would like to sleep in later were times I wanted to make a smoothie. The times I wanted to rewatch The Office on Netflix were times he wanted to blast music from the speakers. We weren’t in sync.
Normally, when my husband has a day off, I’m all over him. My son and I can’t get enough of the time we have together when he’s home. And now that we’re advised to stay home, there are moments when we still require space. Moments when I would rather write in my journal with soft music and moments when he wants to be in his man-cave playing video games.
We’ve had movie nights. We’ve enjoyed the nice weather in our backyard with some wine. We’ve ordered takeout and “pretended” to be in a restaurant. There are ways this can be done, but the options are endless. As long as you make it fun.
Are you quarantined with your spouse? How are you making it work? Share in the comments below.
Ready to take a break and have a little fun? Charleston Moms is hosting a ZOOM BINGO TONIGHT and you are invited!
Game times are posted on our Facebook site under the “Events” tab. For now we are hosting two game times (5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.) with max capacity of 40, so please reserve your time before space runs out. Depending on popularity, we may open up more game times.
Prior to the game, you will need to print out a blank Bingo card and fill in the spaces as follows:
B column – random numbers ranging from 1-15 I column – random numbers ranging from 16-30 N column – random numbers ranging from 31-45 G column – random numbers ranging from 46-60 O column – random numbers ranging from 61-75
Have the kiddos make their own cards and decorate!
You will also need to have scrap pieces of paper/coins/etc to mark your numbers so you can reuse your card. (I am not a professional Bingo caller so bear with me as we work through our game together.)
Charleston Moms looks forward to meeting (and playing) with everyone! Questions? Comment below!
Y’all, this will be the first-ever Easter while we are social distancing!
If you are anything like me, the panic starts to set in and you may wonder how am I going to pull off Easter while being at home all day?!
Now I have been determined since all this craziness has started that I am NOT going to let this affect how I am going to celebrate the upcoming holidays with my family. My husband and I have been brainstorming ideas on how we would approach celebrating Easter at home:
Luckily, we are so blessed in this day and age to have so much access to technology that we are able to stream live and connect with friends and family on video chats. Like they say in Broadway, “The show must go on,” and just because we are at home doesn’t mean we have to cancel Easter! I have compiled a list of ideas that will help you celebrate Easter at home quarantined style!
At-home Easter celebration ideas
1. At Home Easter Egg Hunt
Worried that your child or children will miss out on an Easter Egg Hunt?! Make one for them so that they won’t miss out this year. If you have older kids, try to do a scavenger hunt for them and make it challenging. If you’re anything like me and totally forgot to buy plastic Easter Eggs and want to bypass going near any stores, make paper Easter eggs and hide them around the house! I know my children are going to miss having friends to interact with during an Easter Egg Hunt, so a neat idea that you can do is have them engage with their friends and have a neighborhood social distancing Easter egg scavenger hunt! Print out an egg, have them decorate their egg, and hang it on your front window so that their friends can try to spot and take pictures of the eggs while out on a walk or on a drive with their family. It’s a great way to share with their friends how many eggs they have found through text or social media!
2. Easy D.I.Y Easter Crafts
You can still dye Easter Eggs at home. Maybe this year try a different approach to how to dye them since suddenly we have a lot of time on our hands! This year I am trying the Shaving Cream Marble Egg Method with the kids. Messy, yes. But I am sure they will enjoy it! It doesn’t have to stop at dying eggs, though. There are so many craft ideas out there. You can make an Easter bunny with cotton balls. All you need is paper, glue, cotton balls, scissors, and a marker. Also, if you have any plastic Easter eggs lying around, some paint, and paper, you can use those items to create an egg rainbow!
Whatever Easter meal you decide to serve for your family to enjoy, make sure to connect with your extended family too. Set a time to have everyone do a video chat. Whether it’s during the meal or after, seeing your loved ones’ faces will help ease the pain in not being with them physically this year. It’s as if you still had an Easter meal with your family, just virtually! There are so many wonderful apps now that will allow multiple people at the same time so that everyone is engaged. Try to even set your tablet, phone, or laptop in an area where everyone can see each other while you chat with your family. Fun Idea for the kids: try to even start an Easter Bunny Hop for all the younger kids to do virtually?! That would be something fun for all to do plus it will get a lot of laughs! And we could definitely all use some of those!
I hope these ideas will help everyone celebrate Easter at home with ease. It’s difficult not to have an Easter gathering like we might be used to, but these ideas will help everyone to find a way to connect on that day while being safe. Let’s choose to look at this as a blessing and enjoy our time with our loved ones at a slower pace.
What are your at-home ideas for Easter this year? We would love to hear in the comments!
Life as we know it may be on pause, but one thing that is still happening…birthdays! With some creative thinking, these celebrations can carry forth in new and different ways during our current quarantined life. Try one or more of these ideas for making birthdays (or other important days) special while upholding social distancing. These great ideas have come from our Charleston Moms contributors as well as YOU, our readers!
Don’t have an upcoming birthday or other event to celebrate? Create your own celebration! It will put smiles on everyones faces!
*In the hopes of supporting our local businesses during these tough times, we’ve included a lot of them in this list. Though it may not be business as usual, many places are offering delivery or no-contact pick-up options. Please note that with everything going on, things are constantly changing and some of the services listed below may not be available anymore. As always, we strongly recommend that you check for up-to-date details.
Hang streamers from their bedroom door. It’s the first thing they’ll see when they open the door and know that it is their special day.
Photo Garland. Print out photos of them from birth to the present day and hang them up for all to see. And if it’s an adult birthday, this will be extra fun for kids to see their parent at a young age.
Birthday Signs. Write some of your favorite things about the birthday person on paper and post them all over the house. This is very fun for the birthday person to wake up to!
Place yard signs in front of the house. Local businesses like Sign Gypsies of Charleston will come place them for you, or you can also have friends come place their own signs in your yard, hot gluing posters to paint stirrers or rulers. Sign Dreamers is another local company you can check out!
Skip & Sully is offering a birthday in a bag which includes the balloons, plates, napkins, cupcakes for four and a coordinating build a bear from Teddy Bear Mobile. They can either be picked up or delivered. Easy-peasy!
THINGS TO DO (THEMES, GAMES & ACTIVITIES)
Was your kiddo looking forward to a party with the princesses? Glass Slipper Productions is offering FaceTime with their characters!
Drive-by birthday parades are becoming all the rage during this time! Coordinate with friends and neighbors to have them decorate their cars and parade by at a certain time, honking and waving as they go by. Not only will the birthday kiddo love it, but their friends will love being able to celebrate their friend.
Have their friends write birthday messages on their driveway or sidewalks. (Just make sure to coordinate with the parents so that no more than one family is coming to decorate at a time!)
If you have the space, set up a movie night in the backyard complete with popcorn and sweet treats. Let the birthday kiddo pick their favorite movie to watch!
If the weather isn’t cooperating for an outdoor move night, set up a movie night in the living room! Blow up an air mattress, bust out the popcorn, and enjoy!
Kids (and adults, let’s be honest!) love pinatas! Fill a pinata with their favorite treats and let them have at it!
If your kiddo isn’t tired of them yet, have them go on a scavenger hunt around the house to find their birthday gifts!
Have a birthday letter scavenger hunt around the neighborhood! Have kids in the neighborhood each cut out and decorate a different letter of the birthday child’s name. Hide the letters throughout the neighborhood and send the birthday child on a scavenger hunt to find them!
Have the birthday child (or adult) choose their favorite games and play them all. Have some fun candy or snacks to go along with it.
Turn on a playlist via Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, or your own and have a dance party! You could save this one for nighttime, turn off the lights and grab some glow sticks and have a glow party!
Re-create some of your favorite out of the house activities, at home! Like to bowl? Create a bowling alley in a long hallway of your house!
Sculpted Lotus Yoga has some great options for both kids and adults birthdays! For the kids,try out an open ended art and yoga party on Zoom. The party would use basic items that most parents would have on hand for the art part and the class could be parent and child interactive yoga. For the adults, have a private yoga class for a birthday party over Zoom. We could all use a little help with relaxation techniques during these crazy times!
Reverse the birthday. Since the world feels a bit upside down, reverse the birthday. Start with dinner in the morning and wind down to breakfast at bedtime. This might be just the solution to mix up the daily grind and make it special.
Be a birthday genie. Within reason, grant the birthday child three wishes. It could become an all-day event, complete with watching Aladdin and playing dress-up.
Base the day around a favorite book. If you have a book lover (or are a book lover), order a new book and plan themed food or activities that coordinate with the the book.
Build a movie fort. Build a birthday fort, watch movies, eat snacks, and enjoy the day in the fort. Declare it a pajama day!
Have an outdoor birthday. Spend the day outside soaking up some Vitamin D. Sidewalk chalk, water balloons, and bubbles are really all you need!
If themes and games aren’t your thing, that’s ok too! The most important thing is making the birthday person feel loved and celebrated! Take advantage of all this time at home just to enjoy being with your loved ones!
If homemade is more your thing, have your kids help out in making their own cakes or cupcakes and decorating them.
Arrange for the Holy Rolly Ice Cream Truck to come by your house and watch your kid’s face light up with excitement.
Grab one of Off Track Ice Cream’s delicious treats. Their flavors are all very unique and they even have vegan options!
Baguette Magic can deliver a birthday pizza making kit, cookie decorating kit, as well as cakes! While you’re at it, you can also get fresh, locally made bread, croissants, cooking kits, eggs, meat, produce, and more delivered contact free right to your door.
Rent out the Kona Ice truck to come to your house. Shaved ice on a warm, spring day is the best!
Order some gourmet desserts from Charleston Pops! (You can also order alcohol infused pops for the adults!) They are offering free delivery.
Set up an ice cream sundae bar! Include your child’s favorite flavors and toppings and let them create their own.
Schedule a lunch or dinner delivery. Use a food delivery service to enjoy your birthday child’s favorite meal from his or her favorite restaurant. This is a great way to support local restaurants struggling right now.
Make breakfast in bed. Start the birthday with the birthday song and breakfast in bed, perhaps with a donut cake or pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles.
Have fun online with a virtual play date. Coordinate a virtual play date with his or her best friend, whether that be a board game or pretend play together. For younger children, have them color simultaneously or play with Play Doh, recreating parallel play however you can online. Facebook’s Messenger Kids allows for a safer platform for online chatting that parents can monitor.
Have a virtual dance party over a video messaging app with friends or family.
Declare a “read to the birthday child” day! Have family and friends read books on video to the birthday child. This is even more fun if the child has the book at home or the book can be purchased as a gift sent to the child from the reader.
Send birthday affirmations. Have friends text, email, or send photos with notes expressing what they like about the birthday child or a favorite memory with him or her.
Host a virtual dessert or cake eating party. Set up a time when friends and family can join from their homes with their desserts to sing “Happy Birthday” while the child has his or her own cake.
Set up a Facebook event for the birthday person that spans over a few days. Invite people to leave nice messages each day of the event.
Gifts for kids:
Have friends and family members send a short video message to the birthday child (or adult!) If you have an iPhone you can easily put these clips into a movie on the iMovie app and play it for the person of honor. But you don’t have to make a movie, just play the clips individually and it will still be so special.
Have family and friends email or text birthday messages to you and then print them from your home printer into a small book for the birthday person. They can read this over and over and feel the love from a distance!
For your tween and teen, grab a gift card from local clothing boutique Scraps of Magic! They have adorable clothing in sizes 7-16.
Ellifox has the cutest things for kids and if you send them your kids age, they canput together a tailored gift!
Ask friends and family to mail birthday cards or leave them on the porch.
Arrange for a Bear in a Box delivery from Teddy Bear Mobile! Animals come in a keepsake box with birth certificates, wish inserts, stuffing, and directions.
Have friends and family send gift cards so your child can shop for gifts online. Bonus points if they’re gift gards to some of our favorite local businesses that need our support!
Moms need gifts too! Whether it’s a birthday, Mother’s Day, or just because, here are some ideas!
Gifts for mom:
If you’re not sure what mom needs or wants – send a style box. Map and Co Designs offers curated style boxes full of women’s clothing and accessories. They’ll deliver a box to your door, you try everything on, keep what you love and put the rest back in the box and have it picked up. Mom will love the ease and convenience of the style box (and you for thinking of something different and fun for her to try especially during this time).
Have frose delivered from The Co-Op on Sullivan’s Island!
Flowers are always a good idea!Charleston Flower Market is offering is offering a Friends & Neighbors Bouquet! You can get two beautiful bouquets for $35, and either have them delivered (no contact) or curbside pickup.
Give mom the gift of great skin!Me Time Botanicals is a locally based natural skincare company. With products perfect for a spa day or just to incorporate into mom’s daily skincare routine, we are huge fans! Delivery is available.
Books are a great gift! Find out what’s on mom’s to-read list and order it online or have it downloaded to her Kindle.
Grab a gift card from a local Charleston boutique. Even if business isn’t operating as normal right now, mom will have some shopping to look forward to later, plus it really helps our local stores! Some of our favorite boutiques include:
We have a feeling that all moms could really use some spa time. Since going to the spa isn’t an option right now, how about arranging for the spa (products) to come to her! Check which local spas are offering either delivery or curbside pickup, or, a gift card is always a welcome gift too! Some of our favorite local spas include:
Birthdays and celebrations can still be special, even during social distancing! We hope these ideas help make life a little easier for you right now and that we can also do our part in supporting our local businesses! Have an idea on how to celebrate not listed here? Let us know! Want to see your favorite Charleston business included? Reach out!
If you’ve been thinking it’s time to get a little Jesus in your life, now is as good a time as any. Unfortunately, attending church is a time where you’re gathering with anywhere between 10 to 500 extra people, and we’re in a time right now where that is not allowed.
Thankfully, churches are doing what churches do best and reaching their communities by being proactive with the advancements in technology. Through YouTube, Facebook, and their own personal websites, churches are sharing your weekly dose of Jesus by preaching their sermons online. Many of these churches even stream their Sunday experiences every weekend outside of pandemics.
So, whether you’ve been a follower for decades or you’ve just recently felt the need for a new outlet of help during these uncertain times, here’s an extensive list of where you can find what your heart needs now more than ever.
Keep kids connected with content and live videos on Wednesday night at 6:30, youth with live videos on Wednesday night at 7:00 and zoom calls, young adults with daily bible readings and Tuesday night IGTV postings at 7:00, and worship experiences of some of the band’s original songs.
Anxiety. It’s just not panic attacks and sitting in the corner of the room completely shut off from anyone and everyone. Sometimes it is overthinking and worrying to the point that we are paralyzed and make no decision. Sometimes anxiety looks like perfectionist tendencies. We get so caught up on making sure our life (or kids/family) is “just right” only to find that when we achieve what we thought we’re supposed to have, it’s not what we wanted. Some anxiety may show up as becoming fixated with the “what if’s” and we start planning for the world to end. We all have different reactions to how we respond when we are put in stressful situations.
Fight, flight, or freeze. How do you react when you are put in a stressful situation? Do you put on a shield of armor and attack any and everyone that comes near you? Do you run away to the comfort of your house, refusing to let anyone in? Do you bury your head in the sand and pretend like the world around you isn’t falling apart? Depending on the situation, I will do any and all of these.
Here is how anxiety shows up for me:
Try all the things. Shiny Object Syndrome. I am often left with projects that are either a bunch of junk because I am not really interested in completing them or half-completed because things got too hard and I gave up. I can’t tell you how many times I started a workshop or webinar online because I was promised that it was going to change my life. I have bought more junk on Amazon only to have it break or it to be thrown in a closet as soon as it arrives. I have learned that I need to start practicing delaying gratification. Yes, I may need an item on Amazon. But instead of “buy now” I’ll let it sit in my cart for a few days to see if I REALLY need it. Those items that I think I need and are guaranteed to change my life–if I don’t need them for the next three days, am I really going to use them?
Do none of the things. This usually happens after I get midway into the shiny object project. I have all the intentions of completing everything and then I get caught up with a hiccup, or something does not go according to plan. Maybe I am supposed to do something that puts me out of my comfort zone, and I decide that I am not going to finish right away. Or, I’ll come back to this next week “when I’ll have more time.” I am really great about letting the dog distract me. I will take her out for a walk with the intention to work through any mental blocks. Another big distraction for me is social media. I will use the excuse that I’m checking emails or making sure that a client hasn’t reached out via Instagram. Reality is that I am using it to waste time and it really does keep me from finishing my projects. I am attempting to limit my interaction on social media and emails to a couple of times a day. I realize that being glued to my phone and constantly refreshing webpages is a way that my anxiety increases instead of decreasing my worry. When I catch myself mindlessly scrolling, I have a plan to go back to my to-do list and to limit my time online.
This one really hurts to admit, but my anxiety often shows up as irritability. When I am stressed about work, deadlines that are coming up, budgets, clients progress (yes, I am often thinking about my clients outside of session- especially if I know that they are implementing what we go over in therapy), or even crazy events within our family/country, then I am more likely to take out my frustrations on the people close to me. I may be more likely to snap at the kids. (Seriously, how hard it is to put the new bag IN the trash can when you take out the trash?) I am more likely to be nasty and say mean things to my husband when he lets the shower run for 15 minutes while he sits on the toilet scrolling through his phone, and there is no hot water left for anyone. Even poor Trash Panda has been harshly scolded and sent to her cage when she pulled the fresh homemade bread off the counter and ate every last bit of it.
While I can justify all of my reactions to these situations, I know that this is not how I want to live.
I don’t like to be constantly upset with my family. I do not like the way it feels to be the one who loses their temper at the slightest inconvenience or the lady who is screaming at other drivers on Interstate 26. When I find myself having little to no patience that is a sign for me to check in with myself to see what it is that is really bothering me. Am I really THAT upset about a driver who cut me off or can it be that I am stressed that my kid is having some difficulties in school and I don’t know how to make it better?
What does anxiety look like in your life? How do you relieve anxiety? Share with us in the comment below.
*If you or a loved one is living with severe anxiety, please seek professional help. There are so many amazing resources around the Lowcountry. Please note that we have not personally vetted each individual business listed at the links above and encourage you to do your own research to find the best fit.
The smell of that first ripe tomato, the taste of that first freshly-picked summer squash. . .
The obvious reason anyone starts a vegetable garden is to grow their own food to eat. But what if I told you that shouldn’t be your first expectation when you start your garden? If you’re a beginner who is just starting out your vegetable gardening journey, there is an overwhelming amount of knowledge to be gained. However, if you’re just starting out, the best thing you can harvest during your first season of gardening is wisdom. Any food that you harvest is just a bonus!
Here are some things to consider before getting your hands dirty.
1. Think about your space. Your garden should be planted in one of the sunniest locations in your yard. If you’re growing your food in pots indoors, a sunny window is best. You may have a very small yard, but a large family. Don’t hesitate to search on Pinterest for ideas to make the most of your space! There are all kinds of creative ways to produce more food than the classic garden that is planted in rows; for example, raised beds or vertical gardening. I recommend keeping a garden journal and drawing your plan out on paper before prepping your soil or buying seeds.
2. How much food do you want to grow? What makes sense to grow for a family of three doesn’t make sense for a family of seven. You also have to know what you plan to do with your harvest. Eating it fresh only, straight from the garden? Freezing to use later in the season? Canning for enjoying all year? Your amounts will vary based on when you plan to eat your vegetables. Plant a certain amount of food based on your family’s size, but don’t be discouraged if everything doesn’t produce the way you want it to. After all, you may not know how many tomatoes will be enough to sustain your needs yet. That will come with experience. You can learn just as much from your mistakes as you can from your successes!
3. Timing is not everything. Surprising, I know! The weather fluctuates so much from season to season that there is no precise day that your garden has to be planted. Especially here in the South, we have a very long and forgiving growing season compared to much of the country. If you search your specific zipcode on Farmer’s Almanac, you will find a different last frost date than someone even just 20 miles from you. However, it’s just an estimate. Instead, plant according to the weather forecast, using that date as a general guideline.
4. Be careful what you read. There are gardening charts and lists and endless amounts of information on the internet about vegetable gardening. Take each thing with a grain of salt and find out what works for yourself. Save your money when it comes to expensive gardening tools and gadgets. Stick to the basics! A vegetable needs good soil, adequate watering, and sunlight to grow. To help yourself remember what worked for you each year, you could keep a log in your gardening journal that you can refer back to.
5. Just get started! It’s impossible to succeed at something unless you actually do it. No matter what season we’re in, there’s something you can do now to get your garden started. Vegetable gardens take time to prepare, so go ahead and get started to make the most of this season. Put yourself out there and be creative. If your squash doesn’t get pollinated this year, try again next year. Gardening is a lot of trial and error!
It’s always helpful to have a local gardening resource, but just remember that no one has the exact same type of location, soil, and growing conditions that you have. I’ve found that Clemson Extension is one of the best resources with information on the basics of gardening in our region.
Have you started a vegetable garden before? Share your gardening successes, mistakes, and advice in the comments!
April is Autism Awareness Month! As the parent of a kid with Autism, this month has definitely become important to me. Not because it brings attention to my family and our situation, but because this is an entire month where the information I’m putting out about Autism is really getting absorbed!
Did you know about one in every 59 kids has some version of ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder? Did you also know children can be diagnosed as early as two years old and boys are four times as likely to be diagnosed than girls? Well, both of those apply to my family: Jackson was 22 months when he was diagnosed, and we had concerns when he wasn’t speaking at all at his 18-month wellness visit.
Autism is a sensitive subject, especially to those just meeting someone with it or someone with a kid with Autism. I wanted to do my part in shedding some light on some things to keep in mind during those interactions. As my first tip implies, all Autistic people are different. They may share some qualities but no two are the same. Please take that into account when reading the tips below.
1. WHEN YOU’VE MET ONE PERSON WITH AUTISM, YOU’VE MET ONE PERSON WITH AUTISM.
This is a very common phrase in this community but encompasses the description perfectly. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a spectrum because the range is so incredibly large. Types of Autism range in everything from communication skills, social interaction, cognitive abilities, repetitive behaviors, and more. Just like with neurotypical kids, kids with Autism should be treated the same and play their strengths while working on their shortcomings.
2. YOU CAN’T ALWAYS SEE AUTISM.
One of the most insulting things parents hear has to be “they don’t look like they have Autism,” like it’s a physical disease or something. It goes right back to the infamous quote above and is incredibly rude. Many assume children with Autism have physical, recognizable features that let them know when that is not always the case. That stereotype is extremely frustrating to us parents, so please just be kind.
3. MY HOME IS SAFE AND CLEAN. BELIEVE ME.
Every parent has baby-proofed their house at some point or another. With our family, we have it “Jackson proofed.” We do have baby gates and doorknob covers for our younger children in the house, but they also apply to Jackson for his specific reasons. For example, not only would he open doors but he would lock himself in closets, and we wouldn’t know. (Can you imagine your nonverbal kid locked in a closet, and you’re calling out to them with NO idea where they are? ARE YOU SWEATING YET?)
4. SPEAKING OF NONVERBAL – IT DOESN’T MEAN HE’S DUMB.
Jackson has very limited communication with us, and he’s just started to use his PECS board (picture exchange communication system). He can TELL us through the board “I want a snack” or “I want water” and that is it. However, he does know more. He can hear us, and he scripts things he’s heard numerous times – he just doesn’t know how to apply them. For example, he knows his ABC‘s but will sing them when he wants to or hears the song, not by asking “where’s the B?” We watch StoryBots on Netflix religiously, and he knows some of the songs but only with the show, not without. It’s a mistake to think just because a child doesn’t verbally speak that they don’t have thoughts or cognitive function. They just communicate in a different way.
5. ASK US IF WE HAVE A ROUTINE.
When many think of Autism, it’s assumed that the family has a very strict schedule in place. Wake up at this time, eat this food, etc. In a lot of cases, that’s true! I know some families where the child will recognize going a different route home due to traffic, and it did not go well. With our family, Jackson is the complete opposite. Schedules barely exist because he is so fluid! Some may think it’s great, and to a degree, it is! However, he’s so fluid, he is constantly changing it up and doesn’t stick with something longer than five minutes. He’s not diagnosed with ADD, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it applied. Please take any possible routines into account when making plans with us because some things need to stay in place in order for our own sanity.
6. THERE’S NO NEED TO TAG US IN EVERY ARTICLE ABOUT AUTISM.
As a parent of a kid with Autism, I am a research junkie. I do my best to stay up-to-date on new findings, assistance, programs, etc. to help my kid out. I’m part of many FB groups where articles are posted hourly, so they are all I see. We understand friends mean well by tagging us in the latest article you’ve seen; but, honestly, we’ve probably already seen it. Please take into account that we’re more than the friend with an Autistic kid and give us credit.
7. KEEP ADVICE TO YOURSELF.
And while we’re on that topic, keep your advice to yourself. ALL OF IT. Parenting Special Needs kids is an entirely different book than those of neurotypicals. We don’t need to discipline them more or try this new medication. We know what’s best for OUR child just like you know what’s best for yours. This is our niche, and we’re doing the best we can.
8. WE ARE LONELY – INVITE US.
Just because we have a different situation with our child than usual doesn’t mean we don’t want to get away like parents usually do. Or even just generally socialize because who doesn’t like to BBQ? We understand we could be asking for more, and we may even say “no” to every invite, but Autism can be extremely isolating so please keep friendly nudging us to remind us you’re there.
9. WE CAN’T JUST “GET A BABYSITTER.”
On that same note, finding childcare is ridiculous. We can’t just hire someone from Care.com or have the neighborhood kid swing by for a few hours. My family is very fortunate to have worked out a contract with one of Jackson’s previous ABA (Applied Behavior Analyst) Therapists to be our nanny/babysitter. She is one of two people we feel comfortable leaving him with knowing 100% he will be fine. Strategies must be learned over time for people to see how Jackson functions or if he even gets along with you in general! So please continue to ask us out but know we have very limited windows of opportunity.
10. WE ARE NOT AUTISM EXPERTS.
We, as parents of kids with Autism, are not Autism experts. We may know more than the average person on the street about it, but we don’t know it all. We’re constantly learning something new every day with whatever our child presents us with. Whether it be a new food aversion, sensory seeking/avoiding, or a new stimming action is presented – we roll with the punches!
11. MY CHILD ISN’T TRYING TO BE DIFFICULT.
Kids with Autism aren’t a child walk in the park. We know that, but we hope you know they aren’t doing this on purpose. They’re just trying to figure out how to function best in our world, so we try to meet them in theirs. Please be patient with them and us.
12. ACCEPTANCE OVER AWARENESS.
Although April is Autism Awareness Month, it’s also recognized as Autism Acceptance Month as well. As beneficial as it is to be aware of the differences between all kinds of people, we also should be accepting of the differences as well. It’s one thing to see someone with Autism stimming and acknowledge it but another to understand why the stimming exists in the first place. Make sense?
Bottom line: Just be kind to everyone, regardless of their circumstances or differences. We’re all out here parenting in this difficult world so the least we can do is be nice to each other. Be considerate of everyone, and I hope you learned something from my article!
One thing we all have in common as parents are questions. Lots of questions. Whether it’s concerning how to save for your child’s college fund, best practices for dental care, or how to talk to your child about a death in the family, it can feel overwhelming at times. While Google is handy, it can also be confusing and most importantly, unreliable.
We are so excited to introduce a new feature on Charleston Moms called Ask the Experts where a team of local experts will answer your burning parenting questions in a monthly blog post. Our hope is that you get answers to some common questions that many parents have and connect with these amazing resources right here in our community!
Want to learn more about our team of local experts? Have a question? Ask it here and it will be answered in next month’s post!
*This is a sponsored post, presented by our valued local partners. While we love sharing these resources with our readers, we have not personally vetted each individual business represented here and encourage our readers to do their own research to find the best fit for their family.
Q: Do local parents need to be concerned about their young children and Coronavirus at this time?
A: The COVID-19 pandemic is here…panic or chill? Experts say be smart. Here are a few key tips:
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap/water is not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer (60% alcohol or higher) instead.
• Stay away from others who are sick and stay home if you or your kids are sick.
• Avoid touching your face and teach your children to do the same.
• Avoid travel to highly infected areas.
• Don’t shake hands; use alternate greetings such as “jazz hands” or “peace sign”
• Be kind. Look out for your neighbor and those less fortunate
• Practice social distancing. It’s a good time for a walk in an uncrowded park, reading, arts & crafts. Avoid large gatherings. Even people infected with this virus (or other viruses) but without symptoms are infectious for days before developing symptoms. Even though people look well, they may be infectious.
• Keep older friends and family at home and away from crowds; they are at high risk.
• Get information from responsible sources such as AAP, CDC, WHO, or your pediatrician.
• Don’t go to the pediatrician, urgent care, or emergency department with mild illness at this time. Instead, call your primary care provider or use virtual visits such as MUSC’s virtual visit platform, which is currently free to anyone in SC.
Note there have been many coronavirus strains circulating around the country in children and adults for years, but this is a novel coronavirus. Keep informed, stay safe, and look out for one another!
Q: What do pregnant women need to know about the Coronavirus?
A: We are all very aware of the ongoing pandemic associated with a new coronavirus referred to as COVID-19. This virus is a novel strain first identified in 2019. Although this is a new coronavirus, this is not the first time that healthcare providers have encountered coronavirus. Other coronaviruses include SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (middle east respiratory syndrome). Information about the impact of COVID-19 in pregnancy is very limited and recommendations may change over time.
Social distancing is currently recommended to avoid the spread of COVID-19. If working remotely is possible with your job, this should be explored with your employer. If you are a healthcare worker, first responder or have a chance of caring for someone with COVID-19, please contact your supervisor to discuss appropriate measures to limit the risk of transmission.
At this time, coronaviruses of any kind are not thought to be vertically transmitted. In other words, if you get the virus, we do not think your fetus is at risk for getting sick in utero.
We do not feel pregnant women are more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than non-pregnant women. Most cases of COVID-19 cause mild to moderate symptoms such as cough and fever. However, a small number of young healthy people (<45 years old) can get severe symptoms and require hospitalization and potential respiratory support. The rate of severe disease in young people reported from China is up to 8%.
We do know some viral illness such as Influenza A and B can be more severe in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women. At this point, 2 case reports of 22 women 19 of whom delivered their babies suggests this is not the case for COVID-19. However, we feel that the number of cases in this report is too low to be assured that the disease is not modified by pregnancy. There may be an increased risk of preterm delivery associated with COVID-19.
Pregnant women who are severely ill with any viral illness, such as the flu, can have complications during pregnancy. We do not yet know if this happens with COVID-19. If you have symptoms worrisome for coronavirus including but not limited to fever, cough, shortness of breath, please go to the MUSC Health website and have a virtual visit (https://muscvirtualcare.zipnosis.com). If you enter the code COVID19, this visit is free. You will be asked a series of questions regarding your symptoms, recent travel and sick contacts. If you are felt to be at risk of COVID-19, you will be instructed to go to a drive thru collection site in West Ashley where you will be tested. Please do not go to the Emergency Room without a virtual visit unless you have difficulty breathing.
Expert(s): Barbara Head, MD OB-GYN Maternal Fetal Medicine MUSC
Q: What are some ways to recognize depression in teens?
A: Being a teenager can be tough. Being a parent of a teenager can also be tough. Changes are taking place in their bodies and brains that can impact how they think, learn, and behave. It is normal for them to have emotional up and downs and it is going to be difficult for them to face the tough and stressful situations.
Ultimately you know your teen. Yes, they may have periods of time where you are not sure who is living in your house, but trust yourself. If you have noticed an extreme change in behavior/mood that lasts more than a few weeks/months, if they are experiencing problems concentrating, or not wanting to participate in things they used to enjoy, then it may be time to have them speak with a mental health professional. Other warning signs may be: self-harm, eating disorders, talk of suicide and substance abuse.
Q: My son is getting braces put on and is sad about all the things he can’t eat while he has them, so, what are some food ideas that we can stock up on and get him excited about his new smile?
A: Oh! I get this question quite a lot… typically from my boys! The unique thing about braces is that you want them to stay on while we are working on your smiles, but we, OF COURSE, want them to come off at the end. So if you eat things that are super hard or sticky, the braces can unexpectedly come off. It’s certainly not an emergency if things break during treatment, but you would like to minimize this as much possible.
The first week with braces is the biggest adjustment period. Almost like getting used to a new pair of dress shoes, your mouth will need to get used to your new tooth “accessory.” The best foods for this time are soft foods. We highly recommend a post-braces smoothie at our office. Mashed potatoes, mac-n-cheese, soup, and of course ice cream are great too! Things to put away for after braces would be all the icky-sticky, ooie- chewy, super crunchy things such as sugary bubble gum, hard nuts, etc.
I hate to give hard no’s to certain foods because kids can do just fine eating things like popcorn and chips with braces. They just need to be careful about eating these things. Eating one kernel of popcorn at a time vs one giant fistful after another can make a big difference in keeping your braces intact.
Check out our Instagram and Facebook page @summervillesmiles to score some braces-friendly recipes.
Quick List of Dr. Katie’s favorites:
*Pirates Booty (great popcorn alternative)
*Fruit such as bananas, blueberries, strawberries, oranges. Cut up apples
*Soft cooked veggies like green beans or broccoli
Q: What kind of life insurance is best for the average family?
A: There are two main types of life insurance. The first is term. It is temporary and meant to provide a large amount of coverage for a specific amount of time. It’s like renting, you make monthly payments and once the 10 year or 20 year period is over, it’s gone. This type of insurance tends to be cheaper and is going to be there for the “what if.”
The other type is what we call whole life which is permanent. As long as you continue to make your payments, it will never go away. Similar to owning a home, you own this type of insurance in the sense that you build equity. New York Life is a mutual company. This means that instead of paying dividends to stockholders, we pay them to our policyholders. Our policyholders can have the dividends go into their policy to increase their equity which we call “cash value” and increase the face amount over time. This type of insurance tends to be more expensive but is going to be there when you need it.
The best option for every family and situation is going to vary. Most young families we work with start out with a large face amount term policy. This covers the house, school, daycare, and all the expenses that come with having children. While your kids are growing up there is a need for a large amount of coverage so your children and spouse will be able to live comfortably should something happen to you. These policies tend to more affordable for a young family just starting out. Over time, our clients can convert these polices to permanent whole life. Whole life can be used as a savings tool for many families. While they have the death benefit, they also have the cash value account. If set up properly individuals can borrow money tax-free in the event of an emergency, to pay for house renovations, to pay for college or even draw from in retirement.
Most clients typically do a blend of both. If you would like to discuss which type of life insurance might be best for you click the link below.
Q: What are some tips for keeping busy parents involved in their kid’s education?
A. Note: several of these tips assume that we are living in “normal” times, but most of these have virtual counterparts. Also, please read through to the end for some tips for being at home with school-aged children.
There are so many things even the busiest parent can do to stay involved in their child’s education. It is important to note that “involved” does not mean helping with each assignment or project. Being involved means that you are a resource for your child. Your job is to provide the tools he or she needs to succeed.
• Set aside 5-10 minutes each day to talk about school. Go beyond asking, “How was your day?” Most likely, you will not get the answers you are looking for with this question. Ask more specific questions like, “You said you were reading Charlotte’s Web. Who is your favorite character?” or “I know that history project is coming up. Do you have all the supplies you need?” These questions don’t have to be about academics. Try to ask open-ended questions about assemblies, speakers that came to school, etc. Also – think about the timing of these questions. Right when your child gets in the car at pickup may not be the best time. They may be more forthcoming over a snack or at dinner time.
• Provide the help your student needs to be their best at school. Get them involved in a conversation about this. Do they need specific supplies? Do they need a better space for studying?
• Read all school and teacher communications thoroughly. Schools provide a lot of information, but it is very important that you take a few minutes and read it.
• Attend and/or request teacher conferences and go to them with a positive attitude. Remember that the purpose of these meetings is to help teachers and parents get on and stay on the same page to support the student.
• Attend school events and volunteer when your schedule allows. It’s OK that you can’t come to every class event. At the beginning of the year, review the volunteer opportunities and class trips and go ahead and commit to a couple. That way, you can plan ahead to make room for those in your schedule.
Now that we are in these challenging times, education looks very different. There are several things you can do now to help your student transition to online learning.
• Establish a daily schedule. Write out a schedule for each day and post it somewhere very visible. Get your children involved in making the schedule.
• Eat healthy and exercise. Get outside!
• Provide ways for your child to communicate with their friends – FaceTime, phone, writing notes.
• Get siblings to help each other with schoolwork.
• Consistency is key. Get up and go to bed at the same time as usual. Have your children get dressed and make their beds to start the day on a productive note. Stay as close to your normal weekday routine as possible.
Q: What can I do to help my baby, who has reflux, more comfortable at night? I’ve heard that elevating the crib mattress can help, but that makes me nervous…
A: REFLUX!!! Reflux is such a common concern with parents and most of the families I consult with share their worries about the likelihood that their baby has reflux.
At the bottom of the esophagus is a sphincter that opens and closes as food/liquid moves down. For the first few months of life the baby’s esophageal sphincter is still developing. You may find that because of this your baby will spit up more often. This is a normal part of growing and developing. Spit up does not mean that your baby has reflux. If you are concerned about the amount of spit up that your baby has, please contact your pediatrician.
It is also important to know common reflux symptoms:
– vomiting (crying with spit-ups usually 30/45 mins after feeding)
– refusal to eat
– irritability with feedings
– failure to gain weight
– arching of the back
What can you as a parent do to help:
– follow up with the pediatrician to see if medications are recommended
– hold your infant upright for 10-15 minutes after the feeding
– frequent burping (every 1-2 oz)
– place a wedge under the crib mattress (make sure sleep space is set up for safe sleep)
– If you use formula and your doctor thinks that your baby may be sensitive to milk protein, your doctor may suggest switching to a different type of formula.
Commonly parents will confuse reflux symptoms with over tiredness. Babies that are overstimulated and aren’t sleeping well will show similar symptoms. Once your baby is two weeks old and back to their birth weight you can begin to implement a more structured routine. I have found that a structured feeding schedule dramatically decreases reflux symptoms. Reflux symptoms typically start to appear around 4 weeks of age and begin to decline around 8 weeks of age, peaking around week 6. This too shall pass. Use the above recommendations and contact me if you would like further support and guidance.
Charleston families may not be able to attend some of our favorite Easter egg hunts this year, but with a little help from our local communities, we can go on an Easter egg hunt while still practicing social distancing. Similar to the ‘bear hunts’ and ‘chalk walks’ we’ve seen popping up in neighborhoods all over America, our egg hunt works best if lots of neighbors (young and old) participate. So, spread the word in your local neighborhood!
Display your egg(s) in your windows by Wednesday, April 8th.
Egg Hunt April 9th – 12th
Go on an egg hunt with your family (or by yourself 😊) to see how many eggs you can find! *Don’t forget* to take a picture of the beautiful eggs you find and share to the Charleston Moms FB thread and tag @thecharlestonmoms on social media! Let’s see how many neighborhoods get represented!