Why Gender Roles Don’t Matter

The Gender Role Rabbit Hole

From the moment a child is born, the course of their identity is steered by their closest loved ones that will guide them throughout their lives. The moment a pink versus blue infant cap is chosen, identity has been framed. However, the question becomes who these children might be without our interfering social demands? Most children don’t recognize their sexual differences until around age 2-years old. Thereafter, they begin to understand norms associated with their gender as masculine or feminine. Kids begin to work hard to maintain behavior that fits into the gender specific frames assigned to them. Nevertheless, parents and caregivers soon learn that these frames don’t always conveniently fit their children. Sooner than later their authentic personality springs forth in rebellion, and parents watch in amazement as their genial girl begins kicking off those pink ribbon shoes they never wanted and throwing a pair of cleats over their shoulder ready to get dirty at the local sandlot.

Gender Identity & Play

Despite our efforts to control human nature, children revert to what feels true to themselves and seek out ways to feel most like themselves. Play is the primary way children learn about the world and themselves. According to child analyst Piaget, through play, children strengthen their relationship to and mastery of their environment. Personality typically drives children to interact with the environment in unique ways. The process of learning through play further develops a child’s identity. Children will choose their playmates based on their own true interest and sense of commonality with peers. These peer relationships become mutually beneficial and independent of sex differences. The interference of gender roles and expectations stunts the natural honing process of play. Ultimately a child’s unique way of learning becomes inhibited. Thus, children work twice as hard to behave in a manner that is counter to their particular traits and characteristics. Essentially, gender roles may train children to be unlike themselves. Gender expectations can send messages of rejection to children that don’t quite meet societal norms. Parents and Childcare professionals should allow children to freely explore their own unique interest without introducing gender biased rules. Allowing children to be free and explore what feels true to their unique personality, puts children on a successful trajectory. Moreover, enabling children to be and play according to what feels natural to them, sends a message of unconditional love, which is crucial to healthy self-esteem.

Parents Role In Loosening the Gender Reigns

Childcare workers and parents play a major role in ensuring healthy identity and cognitive development in their children. At birth, it is essential for parents to provide children with an environment that encourages free exploration. For parents to provide an environment free of gender role constraints, they must first identify their own gender biases. The influence of gender expectations is so ingrained in human thought and behavior that this way of thinking may be automatic. Once parents have identified these automatic biases, they will be better equipped to provide a gender-free environment. Additionally, parents must positively correct other adult figures actively involved with their children to refrain from gender specific coaxing. For example, nannies and other childcare workers should be fully informed about how they can best provide “gender-free” care. Finally, parents must accept that identity is not necessarily static and that shifts in gender preferences occur. Thus, at any given stage parents and caregivers must be loving and supportive.

 

Pinewood Grand Prix Derby in Adams Morgan, DC

For kids of ALL AGES.

Competitive Car Racing Comes to Adams Morgan…finally!

The Adams Morgan Pinewood Grand Prix. Kalorama Park. Saturday, April 29th.

With speeds up to 8 mph, the first annual Adams Morgan Pinewood Grand Prix offers race fans plenty to get excited about when it rolls into town this month. Custom-built cars, crafted from little more than a block of wood and a dream, will forego traditional combustion engines in favor of gravity…an affordable form of clean power that reportedly creates zero emissions and is available everywhere.

Open to all ages, (though adults who win should probably give their trophies to a nearby child if it looks like they’re taking the loss hard), Adams Morgan Pinewood Grand Prix is also open to all genders — without the demeaning “powder puff” designation that female racers have been subjected to on other circuits. “Adams Morgan embraces equality. We see no reason why girls and boys — and men and women — can’t compete side by side,” said Kristen Barden, veteran race organizer and Executive Director of the Adams Morgan Partnership BID. “I’m not violating any ethics rules by competing in my own event, am I?” she wondered while carefully weighing one of her many prototypes.

For those who dodged being drafted into the scouts at a young age by fleeing to Canada or enrolling in a PhD program, the Pinewood Derby involves an elevated track several lanes wide, where cars, often built by competitor’s parents, are timed over the course of several heats to determine which is the fastest. The general idea is to create a bonding experience between parent and child, instill a sense of pride in craftsmanship, celebrate ingenuity and encourage a bloodthirsty lust for winning at any cost.

The Adams Morgan Grand Prix will have several non-traditional race categories, including one specifically for businesses in the community to compete against each other in the spirit of good sportsmanship.

Car kits are available at Adams Morgan Ace Hardware, Urban Dwell and The Brass Knob. Competitors are asked to arrive at Kalorama Park (1840 Columbia Road, NW) at 10 am.

Races begin at noon. This is not a NASCAR sanctioned event: no alcohol please and dogs must be on leashes. Registration information and complete rules are available at: AdMoGrandPrix.com.

Participation is free, but a $5 suggested donation will go directly to Mary’s Center: maryscenter.org.

Recognizing Early Stage Alzheimer’s in the Washington DC area

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects each individual differently. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 80% of all new dementia diagnoses. Each stage of Alzheimer’s introduces symptoms that directly impacts the cognitive and functional abilities of the individual. In the early stage of the disease, symptoms are generally mild and may be difficult to notice. At this stage, the individual may functional independently with the ability to complete all of their own activities of daily living. However, they may begin experiencing frequent memory lapses or the inability to identify familiar words. Friends and family may notice the individual struggling with performing routine tasks or maintaining organization. During a medical examination, doctors may identify problems in memory or concentration.

Common challenges in the Early-Stage of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Difficulties with planning or organization
  • Difficulties with recalling the right word or name for familiar objects
  • Difficulties with performing social or work tasks
  • Frequent memory lapses
  • Frequently losing or misplacing valuable objects
  • Difficulties with retaining new information
  • Difficulty following storylines
  • Deteriorating sense of direction

Once medical examinations are completed and an Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis is received, it’s important to optimize the safety and quality of life of the individual. Family, friends, and the care team should provide the individual with support and empathy while preparing for upcoming challenges ahead. Conversations regarding advance directives and preferred future plans of care should take place with the individual, to ensure that their wishes are upheld when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Take the time to carefully plan for comprehensive and holistic care which meets the entire needs of the individual– it’s the best way to honor their life and legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Caregiver: Katy T.

Featured Caregiver providing Senior Care in Washington DC

Katy T.

Have you ever gotten a mute person to talk? Well, Philia’s caregiver, Katy, has. She worked with a woman who was considered mute for no medically known reason. When she started working with a woman at an assisted living facility, everyone told Katy to not bother talking with the woman, because she can’t or won’t talk back.

But Katy understood that not talking wasn’t the same as not hearing or understanding. So, day in and day out, Katy would talk with her client. And one day, her client answered back.  Katy was so excited, she started to cry.

But that is how Katy is. She has a deep understanding of the human condition and her empathy and understanding of her clients enables her to develop deep connections with them.

Katy has been working with Philia for over two years.

Taming Temper Tantrums in Washington DC

Taming Temper Tantrums in Washington DC

Children sure can create big scenes! No matter how sweet your child is or how good a parent you are, meltdowns are a fact of toddler life. Try to remember that your child’s tantrums aren’t a reflection of your parenting skills: They simply mean you’ve got a frustrated child on your hands.

“She was completely out of control.” “His screaming was giving me a pounding headache.”

The statements above are just a few ways to describe temper tantrums, a concern for many care givers of young children. Many caregivers and parents report temper tantrums as a behavior that they have difficulty coping with in a patient and positive way. Although associated with toddlers, temper tantrums are a frequent occurrence in young children, only beginning to diminish around ages five or six. And although it is a common behavior, many care givers lack strategies for preventing and taming temper tantrums.

As with talking gestures and crying, temper tantrums are a mode of communication for the young child. Their lack of language skills mad lead to a more direct way of expression; such as throwing puzzle pieces across the room. It then becomes the care giver’s task to decipher the message and address the issue. What follows is a list of possible causes of temper tantrums and the messages they convey.

Even young toddlers and infants are prone to experience intense frustration. The child who is struggling to obtain a toy that is out of reach only needs to fail a few times before feelings of anger and frustration become overwhelming. The care giver who recognizes that providing for success in young children’s activities and environment, by supplying age appropriate toys and materials, can prevent much frustration and is well on the way to taming temper tantrums.

Caregivers will often see what can be referred to as mid-afternoon slump. During the late afternoon, young children can become over tired; resulting in crankiness, irritability and a decrease in their skills to handle strong emotions and conflict. Of course, it is wise to note, children can also become over tired from a lack of balance in the daily schedule, or a schedule that does not consider the needs of the child. Children may react in a similar manner when they are over stimulated. Field trips and holidays, where the excitement level is high, there is a change in routine, and many things are vying for a child’s attention can be particular problems. Adhering to the routine, preparing young children in advance, keeping thinks simple, providing a balance between active and inactive activities, and ensuring a time for rest; these are just some ways a care giver can prevent child from becoming over tired and over stimulated.

Independence and autonomy have long been recognized as crucial issues for young children. They can now see how their actions impact and influence events and people around them. Such is the need for independence and control, that a child who is denied may be compelled to assert their independence in dramatic or inappropriate ways. Many of us have witnessed a young child losing control because they don’t want help. Toddlers have even been known to reject snack or trips to the zoo, just to assert the power to say no! It is helpful to avoid conflict by providing opportunities for a child to feel independent. Caregivers need to allow children to make some choices, encourage independent action, and allow them to try new skills.

Temper tantrums have been associated with the child who is acting out to get attention. This seems to occur in the older child who has learned from past experiences that temper tantrums can achieve the desired result. Most likely, the older child who has a temper tantrum for attention has not been encouraged to seek attention in more appropriate ways. A caregiver must be sensitive to their response to this behavior, and consider, are they actually reinforcing an unwanted behavior. Remember, for some children, negative attention is better than no attention at all. Temper tantrums for attention can often be avoided by the care giver’s effort to give attention to a child’s positive behavior.

Appropriate caregiver interaction and response is the key to coping with temper tantrums once they occur. Frequently, a child who is in the throes of a temper tantrum is feeling out of control, both emotionally and physically. This can be frightening and overwhelming to the child, only intensifying the episode. Caregivers often add fuel to the fire by telling, or reacting in a manner that may mirror the child’s actions. It is beneficial to remain calm and speak slowly and softly. Acknowledge the child’s feelings and reassure them you are there to help them regain control. A care give may say something like, “I can see you are very angry right now. I wonder if it is because you want to go outside? I can’t help you when you’re screaming and kicking. Let’s sit down and get calm, then maybe you can tell me with words what is wrong.”

by: Kristina McCartney, Philia Child Care Specialist

 

Tips for Providing Anti-Aging Care

Anti-aging is a new era phenomenon that is has become a central topic of discussion as it relates to aging populations. However, considering the culmination of factors that contribute to aging including stress, poor diet and sedentary lifestyles this topic can be relevant to people

Tips for Providing Anti-Aging Care

in Washington DC

  • Incorporate more plant-based foods into a client’s dietary plan. Review a vegetable chart and learn about the client’s favorite veggies and create new recipes to incorporate them in meals.
    In cases a person is completely aversive to fruits/vegetables learn delicious smoothie recipes that make them seem more appetizing.
  • Educate seniors on ways nutrients from vegetables work in the body and reverse aging.
    Create fun exercises tailored to the person’s unique ability and interest. Don’t push clients into “overdoing it”.
  • Engage or encourage clients in activities that are distressing (i.e. nature walks, meditation, deep breathing, yoga).
  • Incorporate humor into your work with clients. Find funny jokes online and create a “joke of the day” tradition.
  • Provide clients a space to ventilate and talk about their difficulties/frustration.

Seasonal Activities

Home Care in Bethesda MDHome-Care-in-Bethesda-MD

Go veggie/fruit hunting on Sunday’s at Dupont Circle’s FRESHFARM Market. You can pick from 30 farmers offering items which include fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, fish and baked goods. Explore your taste buds by tasting different samples. Market hours are 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. April through December and 10 a.m.–1 p.m. January through March.

 

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Bethesda, MD, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

Genetic Pathways to Healthy Aging

Home Care in Arlington VA

Anti-aging is a new era phenomenon that is has become a central topic of discussion as it relates to aging populations. However, considering Home-Care-in-Arlington-VAthe culmination of factors that contribute to aging including stress, poor diet and sedentary lifestyles this topic can be relevant to people in various stages of development. Many articles and books highlight some of the detrimental factors that expedite the aging process but do not provide a comprehensive understanding of how this occurs scientifically. In other words, what is the scientific basis for the “aging”? Moreover, how do we reverse the clock on the process at the biological level? This article will discuss the process of aging at the biological level and some anti-aging tactics that can be used by caregivers to directly slow down the process.

Aging is a natural process that occurs throughout one’s life. However, there are different factors that can speed up this process and cause rapid health declines. These factors include sedentary lifestyles, poor diet, and stress. At the cellular level, our DNA is designed with protective fibers at the tips that hold them together known as telomeres. Telomeres enable our DNA to replicate efficiently. However, over time these fibers unravel or become shortened due to stress, poor diet and lack of exercise. Once telomeres unravel or shorten DNA are not able to properly replicate leading to vast health declines in the human body including decreased muscle mass, damaged memory cells, wrinkles, weak immune system, weight gain and gray hair. Health declines can impact emotional, physical and social well-being. Although, aging is a natural part of the process of development there are various lifestyle changes that can be made to prevent speedy declines. Overall, our lifestyle can play a pivotal role in whether aging occurs at a natural versus abnormal pace.

In a world in which healthy living can be challenging due to fast pace industrious approaches, high stress, and financial pressures, caregivers are tasked with facilitating healthy ways of being with whom they work. Promoting healthy diet, movement and de-stressing tactics are essential to providing holistic care that accomplishes healthy aging. What are some ways to facilitate healthy ways of being? Firstly, a healthy diet is imperative. The coined phrase “we are what we eat” is accurate in capturing the importance of consuming foods that promote vitality. Research shows that eating more plant-based foods can help lengthen telomeres. Over time, our cardiovascular health declines due to blockage caused by fat/plaque deposits resulting in poor circulation to the heart, brain, and extremities. Regular engagement in cardiovascular exercise helps increase blood flow through the body enabling good nutrition to reach tissues that need it the most. Research also shows that regular exercise increases bone density, which commonly declines as we age. Finally, maintaining mental health is essential in the process of anti-ageing. Aging brings about many life transitions that can be overwhelming and emotionally disturbing to the aging population. The stress associated with aging and everyday life can impact both physical and mental health. Quality care recognizes the need to address these challenges and implement ways to keep the detrimental effects at bay. Regular engagement in mindful meditation, prayer, nature, and even laughter has been shown to lengthen telomeres. Implementing these tactics in caregiving provides a more holistic care that treats the whole person and facilitates healthy aging. It is essential that caregivers recognize that health is a fluid and is related to how we care for our “whole selves.”

 

Tips for Providing Anti-Aging Care

  • Incorporate more plant-based foods into a client’s dietary plan. Review a vegetable chart and learn about the client’s favorite veggies and create new recipes to incorporate them in meals.
  • In cases a person is completely aversive to fruits/vegetables learn delicious smoothie recipes that make them seem more appetizing.
  • Educate seniors on ways nutrients from vegetables work in the body and reverse aging.
  • Create fun exercises tailored to the person’s unique ability and interest. Don’t push clients into “overdoing it”.
  • Engage or encourage clients in activities that are distressing (i.e. nature walks, meditation, deep breathing, yoga).
  • Incorporate humor into your work with clients. Find funny jokes online and create a “joke of the day” tradition.
  • Provide clients a space to ventilate and talk about their difficulties/frustration.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Arlington, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

Arts and Crafts

Home Care in Washington D.C.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Wreath     

This craft is fun for older children (and adults!) – Age 6+.  There are quite a few steps that younger kids (Age 2+) can help with, but they won’t HOME-CARE-IN-WASHINGTON-D.C.be able to do the craft independently.  This is a good family project!

Materials:

Wire coat hanger
14 to 16 tp rolls
Optional:  Saint Patrick’s Day color paint like shades of green or colors of the rainbow (we used shades of green)
construction paper (you could also use craft foam or white paper if you’re using our templates)
tape,
glue,
scissors

Instructions:

ADULT:  Take each toilet roll and cut a slit HALFWAY through.
Optional:  Paint toilet paper rolls a saint Patrick’s day color.  You can see from the finished craft that not too much shows through, but my kids have fun painting, so we painted them all shades of green.
Let dry.

ADULT:  Bend the coat hanger to form a circle.
Using the slits cut halfway through the rolls, slide each of your tp rolls onto the hanger to form a big circle of tp rolls.

Optional:  Take a bit of masking or scotch tape and tape the tp rolls together.  (tape the openings of the tp rolls on the inside of the circle together).  This will keep the rolls from spinning around while you’re working.  If you decide not to do this, the paper shamrocks and rainbows will keep everything from spinning on the finished craft.

You can either print the templates below and cut them out or do what we did:
Fold a piece of green construction paper into 4.  Trace a shamrock onto the front of the folded paper and cut out (that way one cut/trace makes 4 shamrocks).  Repeat so you have 8 shamrocks.
Fold a piece of red construction paper into 4.  Trace a large circle onto the front of the folded paper and cut out (giving you 4 circles).  Repeat with yellow construction paper, only make a smaller circle — then green, then blue.  Glue the circles together (red, yellow, green, blue) and then cut in half.  You’ll have 8 rainbows!
One person can be doing this part while another is assembling the tp roll wreath base.  This works well if you have crafters of different ages (the base is more difficult than cutting out hearts).
Tie a bow on the top if you want to.

If you’re like me, right now you’re envisioning all the different types of wreathes you could make this way… Halloween with jack’o’lanterns, ghosts and bats, Christmas with holly leaves and berries, Autumn with leaves, etc, etc.  I’m sure you’ll see templates/instructions for various wreaths made along these basic lines pop up on the site over the next year or two!

 

Leprechaun Hat Cookies

HOME-CARE-IN-WASHINGTON-D.C.

Recipe:  From Betty Crocker

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/leprechaun-hat-cookies/c64027b8-9c4f-4e5d-9557-827cc7f89b00

 

Ingredients
1-pouch Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

1 egg

1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting

¼ teaspoon Betty Crocker™ green gel food color

24 large marshmallows

24 small (1-inch) chewy chocolate candies

12 small green gumdrops

 

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Roll dough in 24 (1-inch) balls. On ungreased cookie sheets, place 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately place marshmallow on each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  • In microwavable bowl, microwave frosting on High 30 seconds. Stir; frosting should be a thick spoonable glaze. Stir food color into frosting, adding more if needed to achieve desired color. Spoon warm frosting over each cookie, coating completely and allowing excess to drip off. Let stand 20 minutes to set.
  • Roll chocolate candies into ropes. Flatten with rolling pin into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons. Cut into strips with scissors to resemble hat bands; arrange around base of marshmallow on each cookie. Cut gumdrops crosswise in half (reshaping as needed). Press cut side onto hat band. Lift cookies onto serving platter with pancake turner, leaving excess frosting behind. Store in airtight container.

 

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Washington D.C., please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.