Interview With Dr. Sarah Rasmi- Family and Parenting Psychologist

Inspired by the loving atmosphere she was raised in, Dr. Sarah Rasmi grew a strong interest in family relationships and child adjustment during her graduate studies. Accomplishing her Master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation, her passion grew alongside her desire to share her findings and expertise with others. She does this by publishing scientific studies on parenting and families and writing for mainstream media outlets.

 

If you characterize your parenting approach, how would you describe it?

I try to take a positive approach to parenting. My focus is on three things: connecting with my kids, setting a good example for them, and responding to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and frustration.

Some days may be harder than others but the good thing is that there are lots of simple techniques that we can use to parent in a more positive way. I share these in my parenting skills workshops.

What do you consider as the biggest challenge in parenting?

The biggest parenting challenge is to manage our expectations. Being ‘good enough’ is much better than chasing perfection.

For example, all kids eat junk food sometimes, get dirty sometimes, and have big, public tantrums. That doesn’t make us bad parents – it just makes us human. The sooner we accept this, the better.

Failure is a part of life and we need to teach our children that it’s ok to fail sometimes. Since we’re not perfect, we shouldn’t expect them to be either.

It’s more important to reflect on our failures and try again. Research shows that this makes our kids more resilient and better adjusted throughout their lives.

What is it like being a mother?

Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding experience of my life. It sounds like a big cliché – but you just can’t understand it until you have lived through it.

Nothing will prepare you for the joys (and hardships) that come with being a parent. I became stronger and more patient than I ever thought I could be. Being a mother is central to who I am as a person, but I try not to forget the old Sarah.

This means carving out child-free time with family and friends, as well as maintaining some of my interests. It’s not always easy – but it is possible. I’ve supported many parents through this process. I am here to support parents who are struggling with this balance through my parenting services.

Which to you has been the most challenging stage of a child’s development?

I have a toddler and teenager at home, so I get this question all the time. In my experience, every age and stage is full of excitement and challenges.

Truth be told, the issues are largely the same – it’s the context that differs. I’m facing two sets of sleep issues right now: One kid wants to wake up early, the other one wants to stay up late (later than me!). I’m also dealing with two sets of school issues: One child is adjusting to nursery, the other one is wrapping up middle school.

Why is that parenting can be so difficult and when do we typically experience this?

Parenting is inherently difficult. We have these beautiful little humans to care for and mould. We have big dreams and high hopes for them. We do everything we can to give them a path to health, happiness, and success.

The responsibility is both awesome and terrifying. As I mentioned previously, it becomes a little bit easier when we accept that we won’t be perfect. We will make mistakes. The key is how we handle them.

How do moms know how to reinforce a house rule or just let it go?

We have to balance setting rules with giving our kids some freedom and flexibility. I recommend setting a few key rules that are consistent with your family’s values, rather than a laundry list of things that don’t matter as much.

The key to enforcing these rules is being consistent. They’re more likely to listen to us when we respond to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and hostility. I teach these skills in my parenting workshops.

As parents where should our primary focus lie?

Our primary focus should be fostering and maintaining a strong parent-child bond. Research shows that this connection has a profound influence on our child’s adjustment, achievements, and relationships later in life. We can strengthen our bond through talk, touch, and play.

What advice do you have to give to modern parents – our readers?

Looking after ourselves gives us the energy we need to look after our kids. It’s important to make time for your own interests and prioritize your own well-being. Connecting with other people is a great way to do this, as we know that social support is the key to happiness. Above all, remember that you’re doing a great job. Parenting is tough work – we all make mistakes. Don’t worry about being perfect, you’re more than ‘good enough’!

About Dr. Sarah

Dr. Sarah Rasmi is a Canadian psychologist (Ph.D.) and professor with a passion for supporting families. She works with parents across a range of family, relationship, and well-being issues, as well as those who want to learn new skills. Dr. Sarah is a widely published author, international speaker, and university professor. She also consults with government entities, corporations, and schools. Learn more about Dr. Sarah Rasmi. She regularly posts about parenting and families on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

 

 

Back-to-School Must-Haves

Are you ready for the big day? School bells will be ringing and buses will be at bay. As the first day of school comes getting closer and closer, make sure you’ve got everything prepped and ready for your child as he starts school.

Step 1: Selecting the Perfect Backpack

MadPax Backpacks
SkipHop Backpacks

There are so many school bags out in the market but only a selected few are specially crafted for children. Other than having cute and spunky designs, specialized toddler and children brands craft the right straps, sizing and material to perfectly cater to a child’s physique with padded straps and limited weight capacity. Shop from reputable kids brands to make sure your child gets the backpack properly suited for him.

Step 2: Snack Time Essentials
Make sure your child enjoys a hearty meal by packing his lunchies with love everyday

3 Sprouts Insulated Lunch Bag

– Lunchbag: An insulated lunch bag keeps your child’s meal hot or cold to make sure he enjoys it fresh when the lunch bell rings

Monbento

– Snack Box: A snack box with a divider lets him gobble down a fun variety you can mix up for to surprise him with everyday

SkipHop Water Bottles

– Water bottle: Water bottles with flip straws are great for mess free drinks. They can even perfectly match his SkipHop Backpack.

Step 3: School Supplies
This lot may be tricky as the recommended supplies vary per school level but the most essential for all are: pencils/pens, notebooks, coloring materials, non-toxic adhesives and child-friendly shears.

OMY Coloring Pens

Step 4: Comfort Toy

Melissa and Doug Soft Toys

For some kids, starting school will be an adjustment either uncomfortable or exciting, make sure he has something dear to hold to help him with the anxiety he may face or something he can share around with new found friends.

Step 5: Just-in-case Checklist

Jottum

– Spare Clothes
Pack light clothing just in case of any spill or art-related accident that might come your child’s way

MiFold Grab-and-Go Car Seat

– Pocket-sized Car Seat
Unplanned carpools are nothing to worry about if your child always has a handy car seat booster in his pack

Preparing for school need not be nerve-wrecking and stressful! Get ready ahead of time and just follow these steps and cross of these lists, and you will be guaranteed a hassle-free first day for you and your child.

A Middle Eastern Summer: Tips for Babies & Toddlers

 

Summer is here, and it’s here to stay! Summers in the Middle East last for months, sometimes even half the year. But fear not, with these tips in mind, it will just pass like a breeze. Just stock up on these summer essentials and your little ones will have the time of their lives!

 

 

 

  1. Stay Hydrated Intense summer heat may be too overwhelming for your little ones. When outdoors, make sure to keep them hydrated to help keep their body temperature regulated at all times. Always pack boxed juice drinks whenever outside or fresh bottled juices or water, which would be much better. Stainless steel bottles are great for keeping drinks cool amidst the heat.

    Skip Hop Zoo Stainless Steel Straw Bottle
  2. Eat Up If you’re not a fan of the thought of taking too many potty trips, fruits are also excellent sources for hydration. Watermelons, grapes, and oranges are ideal and easy to pack. A great hack to take your summer pack further up a notch is freezing grapes and storing them in insulated lunch packs and viola- mini fruit lollies/popsicles that are not just fun, cool treats but also 100% healthy.

    3 Sprouts Lunch Bag
  3. Dress Cool Light mesh fabrics are perfect for summer; thin layers lets you stay cool and lightweight fabrics are very breathable and doesn’t trap any heat, allowing air to circulate & move freely through the fabric. Cotton, linen or chambray onesies and coordinates are also other good options. Opt for colors that are bright or white as these reflect sun light while dark colors absorb heat.

    Jottum One Piece
  4. Sun Protection Use hats, umbrellas or canopies as a protective layer against sun rays. Choose sunscreen that is specially formulated for babies and kids’ sensitive skin and uses natural ingredients. Though SPF lotions and creams may be a good option, an added external protective layer is still best. Clip on umbrellas and detachable extendable sun canopies for strollers are a definite must have accessories.
    Stroller Summer Cover

    Naif Sunscreen (for the sensitive skin of babies and kids)
  5. Indoor Fun Beaches and pools aren’t the only destination for families to cool down. In the Middle East, the heat may be intense but we adapt tremendously. Indoor theme parks, forests and adventure zones are a widespread and with summer at bay, so are promotions for entrance fees and packages that are better than usual. Also, why not stay creative at home with fun educational toys? A toddler’s imagination can travel so far with playful bonding with their mums and dads or toddlers alike.

    Melissa & Doug Corner Kitchen

Eid Holiday Travel Essentials

Holidays are coming in a few days. Planning a fun road trip or jet setting for the Eid Holiday? With a toddler or child in your crew list, packing for a trip might be tricky. But no sweat, we’ve rounded up our best travel essentials to make sure you’re ready for your adventure.

1) Be ready for any kind of weather with stroller add-ons

Make sure your baby is protected from the sun’s rays or from rainfall by packing important accessories for your stroller. Be in the know from your flight details to pit stops to weather predictions. Pack your clothing according to the weather in the area and find the best activities beforehand.

2) Be safe and ready

Always bring a safety essential kit for your little one.Just Essentials makes this easy for you with its Safety Kit which already has the essentials for protecting your child from places that are not yet baby-proof and to prevent any accident that might come along. An added tip: When packing for your child, bring spares of the most important things just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Stay organized

A trip with kids means bringing around toys, care essentials, snacks and many others. Be creative with packing a wide variety of different items together by using organizers which you can stick to car seats or strollers to keep things multi-purpose and convenient for travel. You can also opt to give your toddler his own travel bag or stroller. Make sure to pick one that is lightweight, comfortable and fun

 

4) Pack light

Bring things that are versatile, lightweight and compact. Thankfully nowadays, things just find a way to be smaller and easy to carry around. Take for example the Stokke Flexi Bath which folds flat ever so easily. Remember not to bring too many clothes, you can opt to have them washed and remember to keep the shoes to a minimum, or best stick to one pair to wear that is versatile. This tip applies for both mums and kids 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Snack or Rewards Bag

Babies, toddlers and tykes, love their playtime. Be sure to pack some fun toys and activities to keep them busy at all times. Packing an activity bag filled with fun toys to play with or books to read will keep them preoccupied during the trip. Is the long trip keeping them grumpy? Make sure to bring pocket sized snacks and drinks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Travel smart and stylish

Going on vacation is not an excuse to scrimp on style. Luckily there are changing bags and diaper bags are just oh-so-stylish as they are functional! With several pockets for storage and a wide variety of design for every taste, Elodie, Oioi, and Stokke bags are your definite must-haves.