Tips for a Successful School Year

School is starting! Here are some tips to help your children succeed:

  1. Attend Back-to-School Night and parent-teacher conferences
  2. Visit the school and its website
  3. Support homework expectations
  4. Send your child to school ready to learn
  5. Teach organizational skills
  6. Teach study skills
  7. Know the disciplinary policies
  8. Get involved
  9. Take attendance seriously
  10. Make time to talk about school

More information on these tips from The Nemours Foundation can be found here:

10 Ways to Help Your Teen Succeed in High School

10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Middle School

10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Elementary School

Dad’s Moods Affect Toddlers Too

Numerous studies have focused on mothers with either post-partum depression, later depression, or both, and how it affects their bonding and relationships with their children. Researchers wondered if fathers’ depression has the same affect.

A new study looked at 200 couples with 3-year-olds and found that depression in either the mother or father during the first years of parenting increased a toddler’s risk of anxiety, sadness, hitting and lying.

“Parents who are depressed may not make as much eye contact or smile as much as those without depression. The more disengaged parents are from a child, the greater the child’s difficulty in forming close attachments and healthy emotions,” Sheehan Fisher, an instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, explained.

“New fathers should be screened and treated for postpartum depression, just as we do for mothers,” said Fisher, who conducted the study while at the University of Iowa. “If we can catch parents with depression earlier and treat them, then there won’t be a continuation of symptoms, and, maybe even as importantly, their child won’t be affected by a parent with depression.”

Full story

Autism Research Updates

Sperm May Show Predictors of Autism Risk

Many experts believe that autism is usually inherited, but there is no genetic test to assess autism risk. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University asked, if genetic modifications are passed from fathers to their children, would it be possible to see them in the sperm?

“We wondered if we could learn what happens before someone [develops] autism,” said Dr. Andrew Feinberg, a professor of molecular medicine at the Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The researchers analyzed DNA in the sperm of 44 fathers of children with early signs of an autism spectrum disorder. The focus was not on genes themselves, but on “epigenetic tags” that help regulate genes’ activity.

The team identified 193 sites where the presence or absence of an epigenetic tag was related to autism. Many of the genes near these sites were involved in brain development.

Four of the 10 sites most strongly linked to autism were located near genes associated with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes some of the same behavioral symptoms as autism, the study authors said.

In addition, several of the altered epigenetic patterns were found in the brains of people with autism, which supports the theory that they might be related to autism, the researchers pointed out.

The Hopkins team plans to pursue these preliminary findings with a study of more families and to examine the occupations and environmental exposures of the fathers.

Full story

 

Brief Clinical Observations Not Enough to Detect Autism

A study in Pediatrics analyzed whether autism could be identified in a 10-minute behavioral observation. The study included children aged 15 to 33 months who screened positive for autism at a large pediatric practice, and typically developing children.

Licensed psychologists with toddler and autism expertise, unaware of the children’s diagnostic status, analyzed two 10-minute video samples of participants measuring 5 behaviors: Responding, Initiating, Vocalizing, Play, and Response to Name.

Raters were then asked for autism referral impressions based solely on the individual 10-minute observations. They found that children who had autism showed more typical behavior (89% of the time) than atypical behavior (11%) overall. Expert raters missed 39% of cases in the autism group as needing autism referrals based on brief but highly focused observations.

The study authors concluded that brief clinical observations may not provide enough information about atypical behaviors to reliably detect autism risk.

Click here to review the study online.

Raising Multiples eNews Spring/Summer 2015

  • Ice Cream Day is Coming!
  • Survey: Caring about Multiples’ Sleep
  • Of Interest…..Really, Summer Homework?  Vaccinations
  • Back to School Shopping
  • Stories from the Heart blog

 

 

 

Continue reading Raising Multiples eNews Spring/Summer 2015

10 Steps to Face the Tears and Fears Associated with Immunizations

by Laurie LaMonde, PhD Clinical Psychologist. Laurie is a member of Raising Multiples/MOST and a former board member.  She is also the mother to triplets and 2 singletons.

Many of these guidelines might be beneficial for children having to endure any invasive medical procedure (venipuncture, dental visits, etc.).  Be creative – you know your children and their interests the best.  Often, just your presence may be all the comfort they need!

If you have any additional ways that have helped your family cope with immunizations, please feel free to post them on facebook, this blog and/or contact the Raising Multiples/MOST office so that we can pass it along to other parents.  ♥♥

 

Once my children were able to talk, the dreaded question would  always  surface  when we headed to the pediatrician’s office.  As a parent, do we tell them the truth and hear the dreaded moans, as we have to peel them out of the van as they scream in terror, or do we say that we aren’t sure? The battles change as the children age, but the old adage “no pain, no gain” holds true for immunizations.   Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, a child may face up to 20 injections by age 2; however, the rate of previously fatal diseases has steadily declined. Continue reading 10 Steps to Face the Tears and Fears Associated with Immunizations

Survey: Caring about Multiples’ Sleep

Raising Multiples/MOST is assisting Case Western Reserve University with a research survey. Elizabeth Damato, PhD, RN , Madeline Haas, and Donna Dowling, RN, PhD are the investigators. Please see below for the criteria to participate.

The link to participate is: Caring About Multiples’ Sleep Continue reading Survey: Caring about Multiples’ Sleep

Study: Giving Kids Sips of Alcohol Can Lead to Binge Drinking

Many parents allow their kids to take a little sip of their beer or wine from time to time, but it’s not a good idea according to a new report.

The study involved surveys of 561 middle school students in Rhode Island over a three-year period. A little under a third of the students said they had sipped alcohol by the start of middle school, with most of those saying they got the alcohol from their parents at a party or on a special occasion.

Even when factoring out issues that could encourage problem drinking down the road, such as how much their parents drink, a history of alcoholism in their family, or having a risk-taking personality, the children who sipped were more likely to be drinking in high school, said Kristina Jackson, research associate professor at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, and one of the study’s authors.

Twenty-six percent of the kids who had sipped alcohol said they had a full drink by the ninth grade versus less than 6% for the kids who never sipped alcohol, the survey found. Nine percent said they had binged on alcohol (had five or more drinks at one time) or gotten drunk versus under 2% for the non-sippers.

“I think the most important thing is to make sure that children know when drinking alcohol is acceptable and when it is not,” said Jackson. “I would say that it is advisable not to offer your child a sip of your beverage, as it may send the wrong message — younger teens and tweens may be unable to understand the difference between drinking a sip and drinking one or more drinks.”

Full story

Chefs to the Rescue for Healthier and Yummier School Lunches

A new study finds that getting a professional chef’s input actually does improve fruit and vegetable selection in school cafeterias, leading students to eat more of them.

The study included more than 2,600 students in grades 3 through 8 at 14 elementary and middle schools in two urban, low-income districts in Massachusetts. At some of the schools, a professional chef taught school cafeteria staff how to improve the taste of healthy meals.

The schools also received advice about presentation, such as putting fruit in attractive containers, having vegetables at the front of the lunch line, and placing regular milk in front of chocolate milk.

After three months, students at the chef-assisted schools selected 8 percent more vegetables than those at schools without assistance. After seven months, students at the chef-assisted schools were 30 percent more likely to choose a vegetable and 20 percent more likely to choose fruit than those at other schools.

More information

Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, Family Spotlight

Cindy’s Triplet Story

My story is eight years in fertility clinics across five states, two forced menopauses, two endometrial surgeries, thirteen inseminations, four IVF, two GIFTs, an approved adoption application, and “let’s just try one more time to conceive.”  That last effort involved getting fertility drugs in Mexico at a significantly reduced cost.  (Tip—same American lab makes the medications that are available in all countries, stronger in strength, at a cost of about 10% of what we pay here in the states and it is legal if you follow Custom’s rules.)

At 36 years old, I knew I was either pregnant with multiples or having Rosemary’s baby because I was throwing up stuff I ate in high school.  Once I learned there were three, two girls and a boy, I was so excited because I was done with the fertility game. We had exhausted all of our savings and vacation days.

A church friend of ours was a hospital administrator and he immediately took us on a tour of the NICU.  I saw little ones who were smaller than my foot.  I got an appointment with the best perinatologist and my successful journey began. I would be a model patient.

At 18 weeks I became homebound.  At 23 weeks I became bedridden with bathroom privileges.  I laid on my left side, drank endless amounts of water, and ate 4,500 calories a day.  I gained 47 pounds and had a 54” waistline.  I phoned in my contraction monitoring twice a day.  An organization called Sideline got my number from the doctor’s office.  They called and counseled.  Most importantly, they gave my name and number to a relatively new organization (back then) called MOST.  That was when I met Maureen, who called me regularly and explained in detail everything that was happening and supposed to happen.  Maureen was always there with needed advice and helped my long, boring days by giving me titles of reading materials that would help prepare me for all that was ahead.  This was pre-cell phone, pre-home internet and cable TV had limited channels.  I have never met Maureen in person, but I count her as one of my dearest friends.  We are 1,600 miles away, but one of the things on my bucket list is to meet her, win the lottery and give the money to Raising Multiples, a MOST Community.

At 37.5 weeks, we scheduled a C-section.  It was the day after Thanksgiving.  Everyone in our community had the day off so 100 people were there to welcome our little ones into the world.  They all weighed over 5 pounds and went to regular nursery.  Haley, Suzanne and Beau were ready to come home from the hospital before I was. I started running that dreaded fever and had to restrict all visitors.  Once home, Maureen was a phone call away, answering all the questions that no one else could.

I had always wondered why I had to wait so long to have a family.  When the triplets were a year old the answer was revealed to me as I was filling bottles and washing clothes at 2:00 am.  God’s plan was for us to have triplets and he was waiting for us to be mature enough to handle it.

My children were very healthy—never missed a day of school.  Prior to school age, I stayed active in our local Mothers of Multiples club.  There were seven sets of triplets and dozens and dozens of twins.  There was a great deal of swapping clothing and toys.

My children stayed together in the same school classroom.  Their first grade teacher was a triplet and ironically shared the same birthday.  This was pretty special for all of us.  In fifth grade we changed school districts and were required to split up.  A new financial realization resulted.  Each child had 25 kids in his or her class and each kid in the class had a birthday party.  For mom and dad this was giving 75 birthday gifts a year.  Financially, raising multiples is tougher than we imagined.  But if given a do-over, we would not change a thing.

We never required our triplets to attend the same university.  Our only rule (besides not going to a really expensive private school) was that they could attend any Division I school that was not more than a day’s drive.  We visited 20 something schools.  Surprisingly, they all choose the same one even when sibling rivalry was at its peak.  The school was a 10 hour drive from home.  They did not ever live together, each one joined a different Greek society and all majored in different areas of study.  After their freshman year they scheduled a weekly dinner together.  They lived their own lives but had the comfort of knowing the other was just a phone call away.   Sometime between the junior and senior year they settled into a close friendship and kinship.

I guess my journey is now becoming part-time.  Last week my husband and I attended college graduation.  One would think at the same school it would be easy.  Nothing about having triplets is easy (except maybe the amusement park were everyone likes the same age level rides).  At graduation, they all walked at 11:00 a.m. at three different locations on campus.  So dad went to one, mom went to one and grandparents went to the other.  All of us had a video camera in tow to capture the moments for later viewing.

As adults, they are now grappling with their first hard look at separation.  Older adult multiples tell me it is somewhat like a divorce when they have to leave each other.  Not sure it is that bad, but the feeling appears to be more like losing a family pet.

My three are leaving the nest, all with great jobs.  I look forward to becoming their friend and not having to parent so much.  My friends talk about “how fast the time went.”  I don’t think it passed fast, but it is over before I want it to be.   I’ll admit, my husband and I sometimes feel we are too old to have kids this young.  However, for 22 years, when feeling totally exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, I have repeated to myself something I read in one of the old MOST newsletters.  It is good advice for any age:  “There is never a day so bad that can’t be fixed by a good nap.” – Cindy H.

Please help us continue to provide information, advice and support for multiple birth families nationwide by making a donation online today. Or you may call the Raising Multiples office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

Fights with Spouse May Affect Relationship with Kids

Arguments between parents may damage their relationships with their children, according to a recent study in the Journal of Family Psychology.

Parents in more than 200 families were asked to make daily diary entries for 15 days. At the end of each day, mothers and fathers rated the quality of their marriage and their relationship with their children. On days when parents reported conflict and tension in their marriage, their dealings with their children were also strained.

However, there were notable differences between mothers and fathers. Marital conflict affected mothers’ relationships with their children for just one day.

“In fact, in that situation, moms appeared to compensate for their marital tension. Poor marital quality actually predicted an improvement in the relationship between the mom and the child. So, the first day’s adverse spillover is short-lived for moms,” study author Chrystyna Kouros, an assistant professor in the psychology department at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, said.

It was a different story with fathers. “[Dads] let the marital tension spill over, with the result being poorer interactions with their child, even on the next day,” Kouros said.

The study shows that the quality of their marriage affects each parent’s ties with their children.

“We see from the findings that the marriage is a hub relationship for the family,” Kouros said. “The quality of that relationship spills over into each parent’s interactions with the child. So if mom and dad are fighting, it will show up initially — and in some cases on the second day — in a poorer quality relationship with their kids.”

Adapted from the article in MedlinePlus.

Are you discarding your booster seats too soon?

It’s hard for parents of multiples to adhere to the recommendations for infant and booster seats for a lot of reasons, a main one being having trouble finding a car that can accommodate all the seats! And a recent survey shows we’re not alone in our willingness to bend the rules.

“Children should use booster seats until they reached the height of 57 inches and weight of 80 to 100 pounds, but the Safe Kids Worldwide survey showed that 86% of 1,000 parents of children ages 4 to 10 reported moving their children to seat belts earlier. Seven out of 10 parents surveyed said they did not know the height recommendation.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash and more than a third of children killed in crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. ”

In an effort to improve compliance, NHTSA recently launched its new Car Seat Finder Tool, designed to help parents select the right car seat or booster seat for their child.

Full Story          Read also Car Seats for the Multiple Birth Family

Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, Family Spotlight

My husband and I had a two year old daughter and when we were told we were expecting twins, I thought, “I can do this.” I am a behavioral health therapist and teacher and consider myself to be pretty confident, calm, and organized. Over the years I also helped manage younger siblings (I have 7, including twins) and loved to babysit; I had been a residence director for a large college residence hall and a housing director at a small college. I thought, “I can do this!” A few weeks later, when another ultrasound revealed a third baby, I thought, “We cannot do this alone.”

I went searching for resources online and found Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, then just called MOST, right away.  I accessed the forums and met some moms and some nurses who were giving great support and practical advice. MOST helped me plan for the pregnancy and the arrival of our girls as well as our life after. Our life was about to change drastically and I knew I needed real life expectations and to be prepared for the joy, the challenges and the exhaustion. I was able to connect with some moms who were just a few months and years ahead of me and they were so encouraging! I felt supported and confident that I had a resource of experts to help me through anything. I received information and support for:  the pregnancy, what supplies we needed, bed-rest, the birth and those nights of sleeplessness. There was even great info about how to best care for our older daughter.

I really appreciate that Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, supports the entire family along the entire journey–it isn’t just for the birth and early years. I have accessed information that gives me insight into school issues, different abilities and activities, birthday parties, friends, etc…, and I am sure when dating and the high school years hit I will be turning to Raising Multiples again.

I was able to be a volunteer for a time so that I could reach out to others in my state. Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, is a fantastic organization!  My husband and I are proud parents of four great daughters: Maddie, aged 15 and Grace, Katherine and Jacqueline aged 13; and we are very grateful for all the support. – Mikell

Please help us continue to provide information, advice and support for multiple birth families nationwide by making a donation online today. Or you may call the Raising Multiples office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

Multiples Moms and Post Partum Depression

Letter from a mom in 1998 -

I have received 4 personal emails messages from women who are on Prozac for depression. No one seems to want others to know.  Is this a common diagnosis with multiple birth moms?

I wonder how can someone go through infertility, fertility treatments, miscarriages, a long scary pregnancy and the rough schedule of taking care of multiples without feeling stress (and then depressed)? The hormones alone get you! And should we be ashamed of this? Now that I have looked back at all that I have been through I am sort of proud of how sane I still remain. I’m not talking about postpartum depression (PPD). I am talking about after the babies are 6 months old or older. Do you know anything about this and is this common?

Back in 1998, we did not have a lot of solid information and resources to offer other than to let her know that these 4 moms who wrote her were SO not alone! What she was hearing from a few moms we were hearing on an almost daily basis from moms across the country and as far reaching as England and Japan. So we did a LOT of research. We looked at postpartum depression, but also looked at the full first year of life and beyond the infancy and toddler years.

Medical practitioners now know that PPD affects 10-20% of all new mothers and generally occurs within the first year following delivery, peaking between 10-14 weeks. According to our 2003 MOST survey on PPD, PPD appears not only to affect a higher percentage of higher-order multiple birth mothers, 29%, but may occur at a later time, as late as 18 months to 3 years post-delivery, and go undiagnosed and untreated in a significant percentage of new mothers of multiples.

We found that as certain aspects of your life as a mom of multiples become easier, those issues of loss and sadness that you may have kept on a back burner because you were dealing with massive stress and daily obligations creep to the forefront. Because you have been under such pressure up until this time, your mind/body protected you and allowed you to run on bits of adrenaline until there came a time that you either ran out of that adrenaline, or life got a little bit easier and you took a moment and exhaled.

When the babies started to sleep through the night or when they began to hold their own bottles. When they learned to feed themselves or “help you” take off their clothes (and maybe even help to put them back on) some of the sadness or anxiousness could have crept in.  It may not have happened until they went off to nursery school or kindergarten and you had more than just a moment to breathe and all sorts of unfamiliar emotions started creeping in. Some women feel very, very angry and may not be sure as to why they feel this way or what they are angry about. Other women have described themselves as having this overwhelming feeling of sadness but are not really sure why. Still others have become exceptionally anxious when at other times in their lives they may have been very confident and felt secure.

Thankfully over the last few decades the stigma associated with looking for and receiving the help and support a mom may need when these feelings may arise has been significantly decreased. We still have a few hurdles and thankfully Raising Multiples, a MOST Community, and so many other wonderful support networks and professionals are now aware of these needs and are prepared to help.

Resources:

http://www.preemiebabies101.com/2014/08/postpartum-stress-mental-health-after-a-preemie/

http://mchlibrary.info/KnowledgePaths/kp_postpartum.html

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  800-273-TALK (8255)

http://pediatrics.about.com/library/quiz/blquiz_ppd_scng.htm

Raising Multiples eNews: April 2015

  • National Safe Kids Day
  •  MOMs Weekend Gathering
  • Anti Depressant Use During Pregnancy
  • HOM Fact
  • Stories from the Heart Blog

 

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Continue reading Raising Multiples eNews April 2015

It's Important to Babble Back to Your Baby

When parents listened and responded to a baby’s babbling, infants began to form complex sounds and started using language more quickly, according to a study published recently in the journal Infancy.

Language skills developed more slowly in babies whose parents didn’t make as much effort to understand their babbling, but instead sometimes directing their infants’ attention to something else.

“It’s not [just that] responsiveness matters. It’s how a mother responds that matters,” study corresponding author Julie Gros-Louis, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, said in a university news release.

The study shows that “social stimulation shapes at a very early age what children attend to…they are learning how to learn,” study co-author Andrew King, a senior scientist in psychology at Indiana University, said in the news release.

Full Story