The week's best parenting advice: June 8, 2021
A Fisher-Price recall, the new playdate protocol, and more
What to know about the Fisher-Price recall
Fisher-Price has recalled two of its gliders — the 4-in-1 Rock 'n Glide Soothers and 2-in-1 Soothe 'n Play Gliders — due to safety concerns after reports of four infant deaths. Gliders, which look sort of like swings or hammocks, are very popular because they help soothe babies with their gentle movements. The danger, though, is that babies may roll onto their stomachs if they're left unrestrained, and because gliders are usually bucket-shaped, the babies cannot roll back onto their backs and could suffocate. An investigation from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform found Fisher-Price ignored multiple warnings that its popular Rock 'n Play sleeper was dangerous, and connected the product to more than 50 infant deaths. "Inclined products, such as gliders, soothers, rockers and swings are not safe for infant sleep, due to the risk of suffocation," says Robert Adler, acting chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Many U.S. adults are vaccinated and life is returning to some semblance of normal, which means playdates are once again an option. But kids under 12 remain unvaccinated, and COVID safety protocols can be difficult to navigate during playdates, especially if the family you're meeting up with has a different level of risk tolerance. Lindsay Spolan Pinchuk, a mother of two daughters, suggests broaching this topic before committing to a meetup, and gauging the reaction. Texting about it can ease the awkwardness. "You can tell by how the kids react, how the parents react," she tells The Wall Street Journal. To put the other parent at ease, explain your situation and thinking behind your own rules. "You don't want them to feel you're being critical," says Gene Beresin, executive director at the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Is my kid drinking enough water?
Every year we hear about how important it is to stay hydrated during the summer months. But just how much water do kids actually need, and how can they be persuaded to gulp down more? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children ages 1-3 need 4 cups per day, and that can include milk. The recommended amount increases to 5 cups for kids ages 4-8, and 8 cups for older kids. To encourage hydration, parents should make liquids available at all times and drink lots of water themselves. "When kiddos see mom or dad consistently reaching for water, they will be more inclined to do the same," writes Rebecca Rakowitz at Parents. Let your kid pick out their own special cup or straw so they're more enthusiastic about using it. And watch for signs of dehydration, such as dark yellow urine, chapped lips, and a lack of tears.
Party time, excellent
The academic year is winding down and summer has arrived. "It's time to celebrate all [your kids] managed to survive this school year," writes Meghan Moravcik Walbert at Lifehacker, who is a firm believer in throwing a "Welcome to Summer" party. For the last two years, Moravcik Walbert has decorated a large banner for her son, cheerfully declaring the start of summer. "I opened up the door and let him run through. He cheered as he tore through the paper," she says. You can celebrate in other ways, maybe with an actual party with actual people, or by making your kid's favorite meal, or treating them to some new toys. "And even if your kids have already wrapped up school for the year, it's not too late," she says. "Pick the next warm, sunny day, and throw yourselves a party to celebrate the end of the most ridiculously hard school year of their lives."
The summer of rest and relaxation
"In the more than two decades I've spent as a psychologist working with adolescents, I have never seen teenagers so worn down at the end of an academic year as they are right now," writes Lisa Damour at The New York Times. That's why she urges parents to give teens a break this summer — to process the pandemic, to grieve, and to simply recover. That doesn't mean they get to do absolutely nothing, "but when possible, let teens have some say in the details," rather than mandating their activities. "Give adolescents time and space to come to terms with the impact of COVID-19 on their lives so that they can, over time, savor what remains and embrace what lies ahead," Damour says.