Angela Ardolino








Preparing your relationship for a new baby

Expectant parents spend a lot of time preparing for the arrival of their baby. By the time they bring their little one home, they've taken classes, read a hundreds of books, and bought enough onesies to fill an entire dresser.  But even with all the preparation, the reality of caring for a baby can be overwhelming. 
When your household grows from two to three, your relationship with your partner is bound to change. Here are some ways to get a handle on what to expect:


At first, your newborn may only sleep for a few hours at a time, and when they are up a parent is up, resulting in sleep deprivation which can make you irritable and turn tasks like household chores and errands into ordeals because you have less energy and can't concentrate. You'll also have less time for work, for yourself, and for your partner. Creating a schedule that works with both parents schedule is a must.  Schedule naps if you need to so that you can keep from becoming sleep deprived.  Trade babysitting with friends and neighbors to allow time to catch up on tasks or sleep. 

Being a new parent is wonderful, but at times it can be really difficult and stressful, too. This can generate feelings of guilt for a mom or dad who isn't enjoying every second of being a new parent. But it's important to remember that it's OK to want and to take a break from the baby when you need it.  Weekly dates without the baby will help you and your partner stay connected. 

A baby can also stir up surprising feelings of jealousy. Sometimes new dads get jealous because the baby takes up so much of mom's time. Dad may feel like a third wheel, or maybe he's jealous that he doesn't get to spend as much time with the baby or do as much of the parenting. These feelings are completely normal when the structure of a family changes so drastically.  Communication and understanding are so important when emotions run high. 

Even without all the outside parenting advice, you and your partner may realize you have different approaches to parenting one of you might be more inclined to pick up the baby whenever he or she cries while the other lets your little one cry for a while, for instance. And trouble spots in a relationship, such as who does more work around the house, can get worse if new parents don't sit down and talk about what's bothering them.  Establish house rules and boundaries ahead of time to prevent disagreements later.   

Take care: 
Moms have their own challenges to confront. Pregnancy temporarily robs them of the bodies they're used to; a couple of extra pounds and dark circles under the eyes from late-night feedings can make a woman feel self-conscious and less attractive to her partner. Some moms also find it difficult to reconcile the image of a mother with that of a sexual woman, so they may be less interested in intimacy.  Take time to take care of you.  If mom isn't happy and healthy it's hard for the family to be happy and healthy.   

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Unplugging over the summer

If you are a parent over 30, chances are as a youngster you spent your summers riding bike freely, stretching your independence with little fear or constraints from your parents. Now, with the advent of the Internet and being connected anywhere, most kids are yearning to spend more time indoors playing with video games, on the computer or texting. Although it's what they want, it may not be what's best for them. The big issue is that as social beings, children desperately need to practice communicating face to face. Without that opportunity, their social development is stunted, which may have implications academically and professionally as they become adults. 

Regardless of this generational gap, your kids can still learn to disconnect from technology and enjoy time with each other and in the great outdoors. 

Unplug yourself. 
Kids learn more from what you do than what you say. So while you're on vacation, out at dinner or just hanging by the pool this summer disconnect from your phone, iPad and enjoy your time around the kids. 

Plan Ahead 
If your family is traveling this summer, plan offline activities that relate to where you're going. This will help avoid lost time watching T.V. in the hotel. Whether it's down the street or around the world, there are always unplugged activities. If you're having difficulty find good activities and tours while on vacation, contact local visitors bureaus. 

Get Outdoors 
Devote 30 minutes every day to getting outside with the kids this summer. You can do anything you want from creating an outdoor fort to flying a kite to making a paint can banjo. For some great outdoor activities read Imagine Childhood by Sarah Olmstead. 

Be flexible. 
So no one feels completely out of touch, once a week plan something media-related that you can all do together. Have a family movie night, play Wii or schedule a time when everyone can check email or text a friend. (Set a timer!) 

No matter what you decide to do together, time spent unplugged from technology and plugged into family will be beneficial for everyone. 


Online courses and your kids

In the United States, practically every school has computers access available for students. With this in mind, more and more schools are integrating online and computer-based courses into middle and high school curriculum. Making it a requirement for graduation. Like new teaching methods, online learning brings America's students into the forefront of learning but presents some challenges as well. 

Whether parents agree with the shift in education, computer-based classes are here to stay. There are a number of reasons why you may want to engage your kids in online learning. Here are just a few. 

Learning online is important. 

Learning how to learn online will be increasingly important for students of every age. Whether it's in video chat, editing, or other areas, online courses push students toward effective communication through tech. And this will only help once they step into the workforce later in life. The future will likely hold many online options for continuing education and job training in most every field. 

Learning on their terms. 

The most cited benefit of online learning is the convenience and flexibility it allows for. Online courses rarely require students to do specific things at specific times. Rather, students have the power to do work when its right for them and fits into their schedule. They're a good choice for home schoolers and for students who are pursuing any activity at a level that requires significant commitment, like athletics and performing arts. No matter if your student is looking to get ahead, get caught up or earn extra credit, online learning is also available year-round, even during summer break. Like choosing a public school, many websites offer partnerships with local providers for FREE classes that earn students full credit. 

Learning at their own speed. 

Online courses are generally much more adaptable to the skills and needs of the individual rather than following the pace of a majority of students. In these classes, the pace of learning is set solely by the student. The type of playback features and the ability to return to concepts for review at their own pace also help make online courses more user-friendly for some types of learners. 

Although benefits are to be had, the virtual classroom is not perfect. It tends to reward students who are strong readers and independent while neglecting students who require face-to-face interaction and guidance. 

Online learning is here to stay.  And there are many reasons why it should.