June 2011 Sensory Friendly Movie Screening

We first heard about “Sensory Friendly Movie Screenings” a little over a year ago, in a post by our Special-Needs Parenting Expert Rosie Reeves. For those of you not familiar with this fantastic program, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite “family-friendly” films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing.

To borrow from Rosie’s post: “It can be challenging enough to bring a child to a movie theater – they are dark, the sound is very loud, there are tempting stairs and rails and they are expected to sit still and stay quiet. When a child has special needs all these elements and many others can prove too daunting to even attempt such an outing. And yet getting out, being with the community and sharing in an experience with an audience can be invaluable for just such children – and their caregivers, too”.

This June Kung-Fu Panda 2 will be screened on June 4th. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this program.

Coming July 2nd: Cars 2


Editor’s note: Kung-Fu Panda 2 is rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence. Please check the IMDB Parent’s Guide for a more detailed description to determine if this movie is right for you and your child.

Has My Child Reached Teeth Whitening Age?

It might sound like a crazy question but in today’s day and age, children in as young of age groups as 7-10 are in awe of the bright pearly white smiles they see in Hollywood. From television shows and movies, to celebrities and musicians, it’s not shocking that kids start noticing super white smiles. As they go through stages of wanting to be like their celebrity role models you might be surprised when they want the same thing! Let’s be honest, 7-10 year olds are surely not of teeth whitening age!

If you are using an over-the-counter product for teeth whitening, they are typically not recommended for kids under the age of 12. These products are things such as gels, whitening strips and pens. Children are normally permitted to use products such as toothpaste, floss or rinses that have a whitening property. Always check the labels to verify safety for your child’s age. The main thing you should look at is the concentration of the bleaching agent in products.

One thing you should know is permanent teeth are not as white as baby teeth. Eventually your kids will grow into their own special set of teeth that have a unique shape, color and size. If your child has extremely stained or yellow teeth, you should consult your dentist about his or her options.

We recommend 18 years of age is the earliest kids should have professional teeth whitening. There are several reasons for this but the main reason has to do with the fact that the pulpal of the teeth are enlarged and can be damaged prior to this age. To avoid irritation of the gum or pulp of the tooth, 18 really is the best age to consider bleaching your child’s teeth. In the meantime promoting a well balanced diet is very important to the health of your child’s teeth.

Happy Bleaching!

Sex, Alcohol and Your Tweens

With texting, video chat and hormones raging are we moms nervous, you bet! We have some great mom generated tips to help you and your kids navigate middle school.

1. Get informed. There are a lot of rumors flying around about sexting, rainbow parties, drug use and more. Some of these are in fact true and supported by feedback from local police agencies. But we need not panic. Become a parent a parent who knows the facts by joining the PTO at your school, attending MASK meetings and reading relevant books and articles on the teen years.

2. Learn to talk effectively with your tweens. Annie Fox at anniefox.com and Dr. Oguntala at TheTeenDoc.com offer timely and meaningful tips on communicating with your tweens. Consider reading The Parent as Coach by Diana Sterling, Are you Wearing That by Deborah Tannen and Get Out of My Life but First Will You Take Me and Cheryl To The Mall Anthony E. Wolf Ph.D. Learn to appreciate the ebbs and flows in your relationship, they will come close then be distanced. This is part of the tween-parent relationship.

3. Participate in school offerings such as the parent education seminars provided during the year. Learn what activities your school has to offer so that your kids are busy developing skills through activities at school such as sports, photography, art, music and dance. Research shows that kids who are involved in activities have less down time, less screen time and develop friendships with more productive schoolmates.

4. Take your tween seriously. Your tween is closer now to being an adult than a child. Your role is moving more toward mentor and coach. Respect your tween’s personal privacy. I don’t mean fail to check their room if you suspect drug use. But I do mean stop talking about them, sharing their experiences with your friends and talking about them like they are a youngster. Having them overhear you on the phone talking about their stuff is the fastest way to make them feel outed. They’ll clam up like no tomorrow.

5. Teach your child problem solving and decision making skills by listening carefully to their concerns and generating solutions with them. Allow them some personal space where you do not constantly question. Allow them to come to you to start a dialogue. If you must, use open ended questions and refrain from offering your immediate opinions.

6. Make time for your tweens. Just cause they are into their friends doesn’t mean they are not into you. Find out what interests them and learn how to participate. If it’s a sport, art or music, get with the current trends so that you can express interest and share their enthusiasm. Finding common ground is the key. 

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