Are you ready for this? – Advice from a Child Life Specialist!

Are you sure you are ready for this? My sister, a mother of two, asked me. Sure, I thought, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Children are a mirror, she continued, sometimes what you see in the mirror is horrifying. I gave her a quizzical look, are you okay? She laughed, oh yes, don’t get me wrong, I love my kids dearly, but it’s me that I have a hard time with sometimes. Kids have a way of magnifying your weaknesses.

RalhiMy sister, Rakhi, isn’t she gorgeous?! is a trained Child Life Specialist. What’s that, you say? According to the Child Life CouncilChild life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events. Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.”

Over the years, I’ve watched Rakhi work in awe with her own children, ages 5 and 3.5. From slight behavior modifications to dealing with complex human emotions, my sister has definitely taught me a thing or two about how children process the world around them. I’ve been bugging her for ages about being a guest blogger and she finally consented to writing one article a month for the rest of my pregnancy. Yay! Here’s the first installment of “Advice from a Child Life Specialist” a special treat to all the new parents-to-be out there. Enjoy!

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By the time you’re six months pregnant you’ve probably read dozens of articles, books, pinned hundreds of pictures on Pinterest, have a running list of baby names, gotten advice from friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, even strangers on what should you do or not do, what you should buy or not buy, if you should breastfeed or not, what should you say or not say. I can go on and on and on… As a mother of two, a child life specialist and a yoga instructor for kids, here’s my advice… and this can also apply to fathers too!

From the moment you realize you’re pregnant, it doesn’t matter if you are eight seconds, eight weeks or eight months pregnant, shift the focus from the baby to yourself. Start inward. Make a list.
What makes you happy?
What sets you off?wpid-wp-1447256690007.jpg
What calms you down?
What are the things people admire about you?
What are the things your closest friends or family tell you you should work on?
How do you manage stress?
How do you multitask?
How do you resolve conflicts?
Was there a time when you had to sacrifice your needs for someone else?
How long did you have to do it for?
How did you feel about it? How long did it last?
And one of the most important questions; If there was one goal you could have for this baby as a adult what would it be? Try to be precise.

Know thyself! Take time to think through these questions and keep a journal of your thoughts. Take advantage of these ten
months or whatever time you have left before your baby arrives to really understand yourself. While everyone around you is focused on the baby, take time to reflect on what kind of person, not just a mother or father, you are and/or want to be… because, once this baby arrives it’s all about him or her ALL THE TIME! You cannot change overnight, but, if you’re honest with yourself now and continue to be so in the future, both for yourself and your baby, then parenthood can become a challenging yet, rewarding journey.

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Rakhi Kreymerman, is a child life specialist living in Cary, North Carolina with her husband and two kids. Her background includes working at Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is also a yoga instructor for kids ages 2-12. For more information, email her at kidsyoganc@gmail.com or send her a message through the comments section of this post. To listen to her podcast, please go to: https://www.buildmybod.com/blog/the-yoga-instructing-child-life-specialist-podcast/

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