Friday, February 6, 2015

Why Your Kids Need You to Take Time for Yourself

When you have small children, their needs can seem endless, and they always want more of your time and attention.  As parents, and especially as moms, we are wired to respond to our children by meeting their every need.  The baby cries, the toddler wants someone to play with, and the school-age child needs help with homework. Before you know it, it is time to make supper, give baths, read more stories, answer a million wonderfully imaginative questions, and finally put the children down to bed. But that’s not the end—they often need water, have to go to the bathroom, get hungry, get scared of the dark—and they still need you!  By the time they finally drift off, you probably feel like going to bed yourself.  But you still have to clean the house, get ready for an upcoming social event, pack lunches for tomorrow, take care of a work project—and your partner needs your attention, too!  After 6 years of being a mom, I am just figuring out how to find time to squeeze in a shower!

What a precious thing it is to spend time nurturing children! But having your whole life wrapped up in your kids is not good for you or them.  When parents make themselves so indispensable to their children that they cannot tell them to play alone sometimes or leave them with another caregiver, they breed an unhealthy dependency and fail to provide models of the kind of healthy, balanced adults they want their children to become. Parents who don’t take time for themselves are in danger of burnout, depression, and a temptation to live vicariously through their kids, which puts children under enormous pressure. In contrast, parents who have lives of their own send this message to their kids: “I am a whole person with talents, interests, friends, and a role in the community. I take responsibility to do what is necessary for my own health and happiness and will not blame you for my problems or depend on you to make me happy (what a relief!). I want you to be a whole and healthy person who takes care of yourself.”

Your children take cues from your emotions. There’s an old saying that goes like this: “When Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” The best thing you can do for your family is to keep your emotional outlook stable and positive.  It is better for the children (and partner!) to have their demands unmet at times than to have you do everything they ask and be miserable.  Some big ways you can do this are to get sleep and exercise, nurture your spiritual and emotional well-being (get a counselor if necessary), spend time with your partner and other friends (real-time, not Facebook), develop your interests, and contribute to your community (whether by getting a job, volunteering, supporting friends in need, or civic activism).  Involve your family in these activities sometimes, but not always.

Children need social networks, too.  “Child trauma expert, Bruce D. Perry, has further concluded that kids need a minimum of five caring adults in their lives in order to thrive.” (Source: Firestone, Lisa. Helping Parents Distinguish Love from Emotional Hunger. Psychology Today, June 22, 2012, retrieved from  By allowing others to care for them, you help them build a wide support system and learn to be part of a community.  It was painful for me at first to admit that my child could grow in important ways through the influences of people other than myself, but his life is richer because I have allowed him to interact independently with other adults.

At this point, many of you are probably saying, “That sounds great, but I just can’t. I’m too busy and/or don’t have enough money.” There are always options if we are willing to be creative. Teach your children to entertain themselves safely and leave you alone for certain periods of time.  Swap childcare with other parents.  Tell your partner what you need.  Join the YMCA (it provides free childcare while you exercise/shower and offers reduced membership rates for low-income families).  If you qualify for free preschool, take advantage of it.  Take ownership of your choices. Don’t say, “I have to _____.” Say, “I want to _____ because.”  This will help you become aware of your priorities and your power to choose.  Be intentional about your parenting, too. Take the time to think about what you want to do for your children over their lives and how you are going to do that. You can’t be the parent you want to be until you become the kind of person you want to be.  Your kids may grumble now, but they will thank you later.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Picky Eater?

Is it hard for you to get your child to eat more than one solid meal a day? You’ve cooked everything you could possibly think of and he just doesn’t want anything that has been made. Then dinner time comes and he can’t eat enough! Getting toddlers to eat unless they are extremely hungry can be a struggle, but with these fun ideas, I have noticed that it is so much easier to get my kids to eat.

First, involve your child in picking out and making the food. “Picking out” the food could mean guiding them to the right ingredients, and “making” could be something as small as stirring or putting the measured-out amount of water into a bowl. The point is to get them excited about the food!

After the easier part of the preparation takes place, allow your child to play with safe kitchen items (e.g. plastic bowls, wooden spoons, plastic measuring cups). This will give you time to do all of the things the little one can’t. Right before the food is ready to go in the oven or on the stove, let your child see what it looks like. They can be so amazed by the transformation of food, especially baked items!

Cooking also serves as a great time for learning, listening and following directions! When you turn on the stove or oven, make sure to let your child know. Talk to him/her and let him/her know that the oven is very hot and we need to stay away from it while the food is cooking. Time to set the table! This could include a fun plate, utensil set and special chair for your child. Or it could be just one of those three; something to help signify that it is time to sit and eat. It also takes up a few minutes while the food is cooking to keep them in the mind-set of lunch time!

Ding! Lunch is ready and your child is already excited to see what he/she has made! After much praise and excitement, it’s time to dig in. Now is the perfect time to sit with your child, eat, and talk about what a great meal you have prepared together. This process might seem like it would take 10 times longer than just cooking the food for your child, but after you factor in the time it takes to set up something to entertain them while you cook, the little guy/girl pulling on your leg right as you’re turning on the oven, and trying to get him/her to eat, having your child cook with you actually saves you time and creates a more enjoyable environment!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Keiki Sitters: Only the Best

Your child deserves the best care-- and you give that to them every day. There are times of course, where you need to hire a sitter, and when you do, hiring a nanny from Aloha Sitters ensures that you will find the best fit for your family.

Our service provides a large variety of sitters, all of whom are highly qualified. Whether you want someone who is lifeguard certified, a swim or surf instructor, or someone with an educational background, we have you covered. Our highly qualified, fun, and energetic staff is perfect for all your needs.

 When only the best will do for your family, contact Aloha Sitters and sit back, relax, and let us attract the perfect sitter for your family.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Prepared for the Unexpected

Last minute or spontaneous plans, emergencies, unexpected responsibilities, sick children-- sometimes, things come out of left field and we are in need of helping hand last minute. Things might come up unexpectedly, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared for them. Having a few sitters on call to reach out to in time of need will set you mind at ease that even when things come up, you've got a team in place to take care of things.

 How are you going to find sitters willing for a last minute job? Sign into and post an "on-call" job position. Interview a few sitters until you find a couple you are comfortable with, and who are flexible with their schedules and able to come last minute when something comes up. You may have to pay a higher rate for the peace of mind of having someone on call, but when that thing comes up, whatever it is, you will be happy you did!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Keiki Sitters is "Best of Honolulu"

Keiki Sitters and Aloha Sitters have once again won "The Best of Honolulu" for 2014! This prestigious award indicates the quality of service, professionalism, and growth a business has achieved and we are proud to once again be recipients. 

What is the Honolulu Award Program?

Each year, in and around the Honolulu area, the Honolulu Award Program
chooses only the best local businesses. We focus on companies that have
demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their
business in spite of difficult economic times. The companies chosen
exemplify the best of small business; often leading through customer
service and community involvement.

For most companies, this recognition is a result of your dedication and
efforts as well as the work of others in your organization that have
helped build your business. Your team is now a part of an exclusive group
of small businesses that have achieved this selection.

Friday, April 25, 2014

How to Burp Your Baby

Photo Courtesy of
No one likes being gassy-- but lucky for you, you know how to burp on your own to expel that extra gas. Not so for your mini-me-- babies typically swallow a lot of air as they feed, and thus it is important to burp your newborn after feeding to minimize the gassiness and irritation that can result from gulping down air. Why do they intake so much air? In part because babies feed laying down, and the air sits in the esophagus causing discomfort. Here are three ways to burp your baby to help alleviate that discomfort:

 1. Hold your baby against your chest upright. You can either be standing or sitting for this, whatever is more comfortable for you. Rest your baby’s chin on your shoulder, supporting the baby with one hand. Gently pat your baby’s back with your other hand. The standard for burping is about four minutes-- if your baby hasn’t burped by then, it probably doesn’t need to.

 2. Hold your baby upright in your lap. With one hand, support your baby’s chest and head, being cautious of its neck and throat. With the other hand, gently pat your baby’s back.

 3. Lay your baby on your lap on its stomach. Again, it is important to support your baby’s head to make sure it’s neck is supported, as you always want the neck higher than the chest when burping. Pat your child’s back until it burps.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SBA 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award awarded to Kathy Custer, owner and founder of Keiki Sitters

Kathy Custer, founder and owner of Keiki Sitters, is on fire! Last year, Kathy was a Pacific Business News "Forty Under 40" finalist.  Now, she has once again been recognized for her entrepreneurial efforts with an award from the Small Business Administration as a SBA 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The Hawaii House of Representatives and Senate recognized Kathy, along with the other nine winners in a ceremony March 24, 2014.

Kathy was nominated for the award by Michael Libertini of Bank of Hawaii.

Kathy's father, David Custer, flew in from California to help celebrate.

Congratulations to Kathy on her continued successes!