Be the Parent You Want to Be

Every parent wants their child to be healthy and smart!


A message from the NJ WIC Program

Did you know?  

Research shows that more WIC families are able to keep their kids weight in a healthy range.                           

WIC families know that a healthy weight is important because it influences your child's health for a  their lifetime.  


Wellness is more than physical health. This section includes information about feelings, communication and other important parenting topics. Nobody knows a child like a parent who guides their child to become independent when their bodies and minds are ready. Don't miss the information on the stages of growth, known as  developmental milestones in Resources.  


WIC wants to help your family until your child is five years old.  The preschool years are a special time when as a parent, you have a unique opportunity to offer your child more variety, help them grow more independent, and practice habits that are fun and healthy.  Your trusted us to help during pregnancy, breastfeeding and infancy.  

Let us continue to support your toddler and preschooler because WIC IS NOT JUST FOR BABIES.   

Parenting is a tough job!  Each parent and child are unique.  Your personality, relationships, and so much more influences your parenting style. Build your confidence and focus on the skills you need.  We hope the information below will provide support to be the parent you want to be.  Learn tips on topics that help parents grow amazing kids that are strong, healthy and happy!

 

NJ WIC Helps You Grow Amazing Kids


Understanding Your Decisions


Understanding Your Feelings


Communication that Builds Respect


Your Support System: Great Parents Know When to Ask for Help

NJ WIC Helps You Grow Amazing Kids

What Is Important to You?

 WIC nutritionists routinely ask you if you have any questions or concerns during your WIC appointments. Make the most of this opportunity to talk about your interests or needs. This is your time to ask questions that are important to you. 


  • Want to share a recent success or new mealtime challenge?
  • Do you need to find a new health, dental or community service? 
  • Do you have a question about your child's growth and development or weight? 
  • Want to talk about something that "just doesn't feel right"? 


What Is Your Style?  

Do you prefer to plan your questions before your WIC appointment?

Try these practice questions that ask how you feel about your child. 

As a smart parent, you know that the WIC office is a busy place. It is easy to forget to ask about your real questions, concerns or mention your successes. Come prepared with your questions and leave feeling you accomplished what you planned to discuss at your WIC appointment!

Understanding Your Decisions

How People Make Decisions

Our brains work in two ways: one part thinks and the other part feels.

Did you know that up to 90% of the decisions people make are based on emotions or feelings, not on facts?

Most people make decisions that make them feel good. Yet most people believe, if given a little thought, our decisions are practical and logical.


How to Teach Your Kids to Make Decisions

Decision making is one of the most important skills your children need to develop. You can begin to teach decision making skills in small ways even with very young children. You can start by letting your child select between two easy choices. Three examples include:


  • Do want to wear the blue shirt or the yellow shirt today?
  • Should we have a cheese or peanut butter sandwich today?
  • Shall we go for a walk now or in one hour?

When your child decides, talk about it to help your child experience the feeling of self-satisfaction everyone needs. Let them know they made a good decision. As children get older, you can increase the number of choices and the importance of the decisions. As a parent, you make many daily choices for yourself and your family, some are harder than others. Feelings are important because feelings influence everyone's behavior.

Understanding Your Feelings

Everyone Has Feelings or Emotions

Self-Awareness: Become aware of and label your feelings.


Some positive feelings include: happiness, affection, interest, excitement, pride, desire, loving and being loved, thankfulness. People who are optimistic experience positive feelings and are happier.


Some negative feelings include: stress, hurt, sadness, irritation, anger, pity, disgust, guilt, envy, regret and shame. Negative feelings are part of everyday living. People sometimes avoid and don't communicate these feelings clearly. Children do this before they learn to use words.


Post Partum Depression

Adults often have an inner voice that lets us know when "something does not feel right."  Moms learn the "baby blues"  is a common experience and moms can feel confused and wonder if it could be more serious.   New moms often feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and sad within a few days of giving birth.  The intensity of those feelings usually fades after 3 - 5 days.  If you feel like you cannot care for your baby or feel sad for more than 2 weeks, you may have postpartum depression.  Feeling hopeless of empty after childbirth is not a regular or expected part of being a new mother.  Follow your instincts and talk to your doctor if you have concerns.  Learn more.


How People Communicate Feelings and  Emotions

Body Language—You can learn a lot by observing the body language of others. Learn what types of body language you want to avoid just by watching others.


How to Be Your Best Self

People are at their best when they feel strong, are optimistic and communicate openly.



Everyone has feelings and it is normal for your feelings and emotions to be triggered during conversations in the WIC setting. Take time to express your feelings. WIC works best when parents express their true feelings.


How to Teach Kids About Feelings

  • The role of parents and caregivers includes:
  • Be aware of your child's emotions.
  • When your child expresses emotions make it a teachable moment.
  • Acknowledge your child's feelings.
  • Label emotions with words your child can understand.
  • Help your child to solve the problem.

Your goal as a parent or caregiver is to encourage your child to learn, understand and express emotions. Speak simply in language your child will understand. Be calm to engage their interest. Be consistent. Avoid suggesting they should feel guilty or criticized.

Communication that Builds Respect

Get Comfortable Asking for What You Want

Be clear, specific and grateful. Use humor and creativity. Give something to get something. Some people hesitate to ask for help from others to avoid loss of control. Set an example by asking someone who needs help, "Is there something I can do to help you?" and then do it—not more and not less.


How to Deal With Difficult Conversations and Difficult People

Most people avoid difficult conversations with loved ones because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, if you avoid dealing with a small situation, it is possible things get worse because resentment grows.


Tips to start difficult conversations:


Your Support System: Great Parents Know When to Ask for Help

Ask WIC for a Referral

Although adults need to be responsible and independent, it is also important to know when to ask for help. Ask WIC about the referrals your family needs. WIC connects parents to other services beyond what WIC can provide. Learn about childcare providers, community services, specialists, counselors and healthcare providers your family may need to be healthy.


Understand the Importance of Having Enough Healthy Food

Parents who worry about not having enough healthy food to feed their family may need to get help from more than one program. Sometimes parents need to take the difficult step to participate in multiple programs to ensure the whole family—not just the young children—have healthy food.


Some people may not understand the difference between not feeling physically hungry and not having enough healthy food to eat. Choosing to compromise on inexpensive, unhealthy foods will keep their tummy full but are a health risk if consumed regularly. Ask WIC about local food pantries and other local resources that exist in addition to WIC and SNAP. Find more information in Resources.


Build Your Support System:   

Turn to family and friends and know how they can help you. Examples include:


WIC Can Support Parents Without a Support System—Just Ask!

Contact WIC between appointments if you have questions. WIC provides healthy food, a nutritionist's support and guidance on how to shop for, prepare and incorporate healthy meals into your life. WIC is only a phone call away. If WIC cannot help you, they will find someone who will.


Check out the Getting Organized feature for more help designed by WIC to keep your family eating healthy between WIC appointments.

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