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Adopting a holistic approach to parenting means being aware of all the aspects of your child’s development. It means making informed and conscious parenting choices. Below are eight tips that may help you adopt a holistic approach to parenting.


1 | Let go

It is widely accepted that children learn best by doing and through trial and error. Being too quick to rescue your kids can make them get accustomed to the fact that there will always be someone to smooth out difficult patches. While there is a strong link between parental intervention and children’s well-being, research shows that being over-responsive to children can be counterproductive.

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One study found that inappropriate parental intervention could lead kids to develop greater anxiety and stress, and could even lead them to develop ineffective coping skills in adulthood.

What you can do:

  • Give your children chores. According to research, giving children regular chores may have long-lasting benefits academically, socially, emotionally, and professionally.
  • Let your child be bored. Provide less structured learning environments where your children can use their imagination to entertain themselves.

2 | Be Democratic

Much evidence suggests that children raised by democratic parents have better social, academic, and psychological outcomes. These children are also less likely to turn to socially destructive behavior such as drug abuse. Being democratic means allowing your child to participate in family decisions. It means encouraging him to express his opinions even if you do not agree with them. Democratic parenting means being willing to be flexible and to negotiate when possible.

What you can do:

  • Identify your priorities and communicate them to your child.
  • Be willing to be flexible on your “negotiables.”
  • Ask your children for their opinions. Encourage them to express themselves. Make them decision-makers.

3 | Celebrate Simplicity

Voluntary simplicity revolves around the idea that much of life’s satisfaction can be obtained through immaterial things. According to Duane Elgin, voluntary simplicity is “a deliberate choice to live with less.”

There is evidence that teaching kids about voluntary simplicity spurs creativity.

What you can do:

  • Teach your kids to enjoy simple pleasures – walks in the park, taking pictures of animals, collecting objects in their environment.
  • Guide your kids to find and create alternatives.
  • Model by example. Donate or get rid of objects you no longer need.

4 | Become an Emotion Coach

Most of a child’s behavior can be defined by emotions: anger, frustration, fear, sadness, etc. Teaching your child to identify and respond in an appropriate manner to difficult emotions has many benefits. Indeed, children who have been taught to identify and address their emotions have better social relationships, fewer behavioral problems, and better academic outcomes. They are also less likely to turn to violence.

What you can do:

  • Increase your child’s awareness of her emotions.
  • Teach her to identify her triggers.
  • Teach her to avoid repressing her emotions.
  • Teach her appropriate ways to respond to powerful emotions.
  • Work on your own emotions first.

5 | Open Up Your Child’s World

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”

Curiosity is one of the ways in which openness is manifested. Contrary to popular belief, curiosity is not innate; if it is not stimulated, it dies. Curiosity has been tied to many benefits. Some studies have found that there is a strong relationship between curiosity, intelligence, and scholastic aptitude. Other studies have found that curiosity enhances creativity and is as important as intelligence in determining academic outcomes.

What you can do:

  • Fuel the fire for learning. Provide opportunities that help your child explore different experiences.
  • Provide less-structured environments. Less-structured environments refer to environments where you provide your child with a certain structure. For instance, you propose an activity or provide the necessary resources to accomplish an activity, and then let him carry out the activity by himself.

6 | Negotiate

Negotiation is a powerful family conflict management tool. Some studies suggest that families in which negotiation is common enjoy better parent-child relationships. Moreover, the children in these families have better social, academic and psychological outcomes.

What you can do:

  • Prepare like a “master negotiator.” What’s the real issue? Are there underlying issues? Have you explored all the possible options?
  • Pick the right timing. Make sure you’re both calm before you begin negotiations.
  • Be clear on your non-negotiables: “I need to know where you are at all times and I need to know who you’re hanging out with.” Being clear on your non-negotiables makes it easier to determine what you can be flexible about.

7 | Talk About Money

Although money is a taboo subject for many parents, teaching your child about the value of money at an early age provides her with important tools to navigate adult life. Research has shown that by the time kids turn seven, they’ve already formed money habits. However, the researchers found that the best way to teach children money matters was to use real life situations because young children are unable to understand abstract financial contexts.

What you can do:

  • Defer gratification. Teach your child about the importance of waiting.
  • Let your child handle some money.
  • Teach your child to save by saving yourself. Let him see you put away money in a savings jar.
  • Encourage your child to save some of the money he receives.
  • Remove temptations whenever possible. There is proof that children exposed to too many advertisements request more toys than those who watch fewer TV advertisements.

8 | Foster Your child’s Self-acceptance

Some researchers have found that although self-acceptance is possibly the key to a happier life, it is one of the habits practiced least. Teaching children to develop a positive image of themselves is one of parents’ fundamental roles. While it might be difficult to help children develop positive self-talk, how you speak to your child can have an impact in childhood years and beyond.

What you can do:

  • Help your child see herself as a successful person. (“I know you can do it,” “Yes you can.” “I knew you would make it,” “wow, how did you come up with that?”)
  • Let you child know they can count on you. (“I’m here,” “I’ll always be here,” “I am listening,” “Let’s talk about it.”)
  • Set reasonable expectations. Don’t expect more than your child can give.

Do you have thoughts on how to parent holistically? Please share them with us in the comments section.

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.


Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

This article was sponsored by Pipette. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"


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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)

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Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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