Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Children & Technology Addiction

Great article from Green Child Magazine

Originally posted on June 13, 2013, by Amanda Hearn

Technology-Addition“It’s hard to imagine how the next generation is going to save the environment if they haven’t actually spent time in it.” 
~ author unknown

Technology is growing and changing just as quickly as our children. With constant exposure to screens, it’s only natural for a parent to be concerned about what all this screen time is doing to our children.

What can technology addiction look like?

  • She can’t entertain herself without electronics.
  • Disconnecting him results in tantrums or high level of irritation.
  • She develops a negative attitude towards spending time in nature.
  • He can’t manage guidelines surrounding electronics.

Older kids are entering a digital world with social issues connected to cyber bullying with texting, social media, adult content websites, and violent video games. We are just beginning to learn the trickle effect of advanced time spent connected to screens and children plugged into technology.

As a parent – and the one who buys devices, games, and apps – you control your child’s access to technology.  Sometimes things get out of hand before we realize what happened.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  It’s never too late to reframe your family’s technology rules.

1)   Don’t view your phone as a shut-up toy.  When my oldest child was repeatedly asking for my phone I explained that I didn’t want to shut him up. I always wanted to hear his thoughts. That conversation (and a few reminders) ended the habit he had formed of always asking for my phone out of boredom.

2)   Free range your children! The summer months are ideal for getting outside more and sitting in front of a screen less. This is the best tip for that older 10 year old who can’t get enough video games. Give them the freedom to free-range with a friend, visit a local park, or just to explore! Start with smaller time intervals and let them enjoy exploring the neighborhood on their own. As a mom learning to encourage free-range play, it’s difficult to not feel panic at first. I stay positive by thinking of free-range play as a gift I can give my children to help them grow and discover the beauty of play and nature through their own eyes and experiences.

3)   Insist on electronic-free play dates. We’ve all seen the effect of one child pulling out an ipod and suddenly all social interaction is lost with a group of children. Request that electronic gadgets don’t accompany guests or play dates when you are hosting.

4)   Have a child that doesn’t like nature? Rekindle their love by including low-level technology to help enhance their connection. Have an old digital camera? Children love to take pictures and you can create amazing eye-spy games and hunts. Another tool to getting kids outdoors is geocaching. It’s a digital style treasure hunt that involves either a GPS or just following clues and instructions. Time spent in nature is incredibly important – if you need to take baby steps to get kids outside, every little bit counts.

5)   Look at your own habits. What example are you teaching children with your relationship to electronics? When you have idle time – how do you spend it? If you are checking your phone and needing constant stimuli, it might be time to wean yourself down from your own technology addiction. Need something to keep hands busy and productive? Take up a hobby. Watch yourself through the eyes of your child and show them that you are willing to detox from electronics too.

Sometimes we need to reevaluate technology and the huge advancements and accessibility to understand how connected we’ve become. There’s no app that can replace the importance of play and time spent in nature.



How To Care For Those Sick With Flu

Here’s a great article from the American Red Cross

“Wash Your Hands As Often As You Can”

Health officials report most of the country is battling a widespread outbreak of the flu and are urging people to get vaccinated now if they haven’t already done so.

With so many people sick, the American Red Cross has steps people should take if they are caring for someone who has the flu.

The flu virus spreads from person-to-person in droplets of coughs or sneezes. The virus can also spread if a person touches droplets on another person or object and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands. To prevent the spread of the flu virus, it is important to remember to wash your hands and cover your cough or sneeze.

WASH YOUR HANDS Washing hands properly is an important step to avoid getting the flu.For visibly soiled hands, first wash with soap and warm water. When using soap and water:

  • Wash for at least 20 seconds, covering the entire hand including fingernails and under jewelry.
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.
  • If using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
  • Rub thoroughly over the entire hand, including nail areas and between the fingers.
  • Continue to rub until the product dries.

SNEEZING AND COUGHING If someone has to cough or sneeze, they should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue and wash their hands afterwards. If they don’t have a tissue, they should cough or sneeze into their elbow or upper arm, not their hands.

TAKING CARE OF THE SICK If caring for someone who has the flu, people should:

  • Disinfect door knobs, switches, handles, toys and other surfaces that everyone touches.
  • Use detergent and very hot water to do dishes and wash clothes. It’s okay to wash everyone’s dishes and clothes together. They should wash their hands after handling dirty laundry.
  • Designate only one adult as the caregiver. People at increased risk of severe illness from the flu should not be caregivers.
  • Deal with crisis situations calmly and confidently to give the best support to the person being cared for.
  • Remember their own needs as well. Practice healthy habits. Eat a balanced diet. Drink plenty of water. Get regular exercise. Get enough sleep and rest.

 If someone is ill, they should:

  • Stay in a room separate from common areas of the home and avoid contact with others as much as possible.
  • Stay at home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without using medicine to reduce the fever.
  • Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Consider wearing a facemask, if available and tolerable, when sharing common spaces with household members.
  • Check with their healthcare provider about whether they should take antiviral medication, or if fever persists, whether antibiotics are needed.

 Information on what to do if someone has the flu is available as part of the freeRed Cross First Aid mobile app available for iPhone and Android devices.You can find more information about how to help keep you and your loved ones protected by visiting


Stain Removal Guide

I came across this great Stain Removal Guide. Thought you might find it handy. Click on the link below or the guide for the printable pdf.

Stain Removal Guide

via Tip




Is Your Family Suffering From Over-Scheduling?

It’s so easy to get caught up in a glut of activities and scheduled appointments these days. Trying to make everyone in the family happy and engaged can lead to over-scheduling and the potential for burnout. This article puts it all into perspective.

Is Your Family Suffering From Over-Scheduling?
Know The Warning Signs!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits Of A “Staging Area”

Back to school time is upon us again and I’ve been thinking about how hectic life becomes every fall. Not like it isn’t always hectic, but this time of year seems to double-down on the crazy. If your household is as busy as is common these days I have a helpful approach to alleviate the morning madness that sets in as everyone is trying to get out the door on time and with all the accompanying gear and supplies needed for their day.

I call it the Staging Area.

Read the rest of this entry »

Are Parents Setting Kids Up For Failure By Pushing Too Hard For Success?

It’s only natural that we, as parents, try to give our children all the skills and opportunities to help them reach their goals in life. We all go about this task differently. As you will read in the article below, some of us go a little too far. The end result is the possibility that all we have indeed accomplished is to drive our kids to the point of burn-out and stress. This article is food for thought. If you recognize yourself in this article perhaps you will take the message to heart and redirect your attention.

Are Parents Setting Kids Up For Failure
By Pushing Too Hard for Success?

By Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo Shine/Team Mom

Are parents harming kids by focusing on the wrong definition of success?

No matter your socioeconomic status, as parents you want your kids to have a better life than you do. But instead of launching a generation of happy young adults who feel driven to succeed, parents who are hyper-focused on doing everything “right” have created a country full of kids who are stressed-out, burned-out, and depressed. According to psychologist and author Madeline Levine, “Our current version of success is a failure.”

In her new book, “Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success,” Levine says that parents are preoccupied with “a narrow and shortsighted vision of success,” and that we rely on our kids to “provide status and meaning in our own lives.” It’s a harmful combination, weighing kids down with serious issues — “stress, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, poor coping skills, and unhealthy reliance on others for support and direction, and a weak sense of self,” Levine says — when we should be trying to teach them to be resilient and independent if we really want them to succeed in life. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Tips For Flying With Kids That You Might Not Have Heard Before

Travel with kids can be both exciting and exasperating – sometimes all at the same time. Anything that helps make your trip more relaxing and less disruptive for your kids is a plus. I came across this article with some great tips. Happy to share them with you. Bon voyage… and have fun!

5 Tips For Flying With Kids
That You Might Not Have Heard Before

via babycenter / by Kristen Chase, Cool Mom Picks

My heart broke when I read Moosh in Indy’s recent post about traveling with her little one. Those of us who have flown in a plane with kids can relate to how frustrating and difficult it can be, no matter how prepared you might think you are.

As a pilot’s wife, my four kids and I fly quite often. In fact, I flew alone with all four of them a few weeks ago. And while I can happily say I don’t want to do that again any time soon, I do have a few tricks for flying with kids up my sleeve, other than the obvious iPad and Nintendo DS, that might help you make it through your next trip.

 1. Match your kids’ age with time of flight

I’m actually a huge fan of flying with babies because they’re super portable. It’s when they hit the moving around stage through when they can be happily entertained with technology that I find to be the hardest.

If you’re really concerned about your kids’ behavior, I think it’s smart to do your best to match the flight time to when your child is generally less active, especially if your kids are like mine and don’t just fall asleep when the engines start (seriously, who are those kids?). The super early morning flights are key for us because there’s a good chance that my youngest (the most difficult) will fall asleep again. I have no desire to be on a plane, especially for a long period of time, during the mid-morning hours when they’re used to playing. And I have been known to use a little bit of Zarbee’s Nighttime cough medication (with Melatonin) to help.

2. Pack snacks, treats, and drinks. Then pack more.

Nothing seems to occupy my kids better than food, and given the limitations of what you can get on a plane ($4 Pringles, anyone?), I try to pack as much as I can. This is when I’ll splurge for the small individually packed items that I don’t usually buy because it’s easy to distribute amongst the kids. And while some airlines do sell healthy snack boxes, I like to bring my own, like the new GoPicnic lunch boxes that I picked up at my local Super Target.

I also make sure to pack treats, particularly for when we’re boarding, taxiing, and landing, the three times that I find my kids to be the rammiest. I love the Yummy Earth jelly beans and gummies because they’re not as guilt-inducing as the other stuff. Also, bubble gum is a big deal for my kids, so I always have some with me as a last resort. Plus it helps with the ears on the way down.

And I always make sure to pack empty sippy cups (though you can pack full bottles for your baby) so that I can fill their cups on the plane with juice, water, or milk. We pop Mabel’s Labels on them and end up using them for our entire trip. Trust me, I learned my lesson after having way too many spills with the plastic airplane cups. They make better toys than drinking vessels.

3. Great creative with your idea of “toys”

My youngest (almost 2) could care less about actual toys because she’s not yet at the stage where she actually plays with things. So I pack fun things that will keep her busy. She loves
things like masking tape, which I’ll rip and let her stick all over are seating area (and then clean up when she’s done), and baby wipes or my pack antibacterial wipes, that she uses to clean our seat, table, even the window. And I love the idea of packing some tin foil that kids can use to make animals and shapes without having to worry about massive clean-up.

Coloring and drawing are always a favorite activity, but they can involve lots of paper and crayons, so we bring along something like The Boogie Board writing tablet that won’t require you reaching down every few seconds to pick up crayons off the floor.

4. Not all books are created equal

Because I’m handling kids with a wide age range, I can’t just plop them in my lap and read a book. So I like to bring books that require a bit of activity and/or competition (for my older ones). The Where’s Waldo type books (love One Million Giraffes) are always a big hit, and I even give out prizes for who can find the character first.

I’ve even done magazine scavenger hunts with the catalogs in your seat pocket. Put together a list of 10 things they need to find (a dog, a cat, a kid, etc.) and when they hit 10, they get a prize. You can even do this with Richard Scarry books as well.

For littler ones, get books like Goodnight Moon or even The Pioneer Woman’s Charlie the Ranch Dog because they have the same character (mouse and chipmunk, respectively) on each page. Then you can give them the book and let them “read” it.

5. Who cares what other people think?

Remember that there’s a good chance you won’t see these people again. As hard as it is, at least for me, anyway, try not to care if they think your kid is a terrible flier or you’re somehow an awful parent. You’re doing your best to make the experience pleasant for everyone and in my opinion, that’s all that matters.

If you have any secrets that you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment.


Update: This article was forwarded to me from a reader recently… More information that may be helpful to the traveling family.
Flying With Children: The Ultimate Guide To Less Stressful (And More Fun-Packed) Flights With Kids, by Alex Miller at



How Much Sugar Are You Consuming? (a visual aid)

How Much Sugar Are You Consuming? (a visual aid)

I just came across this great graphic that shows you just how much sugar is in everyday items we eat. You might be surprised about some of them. The visual sure drives it home how much sugar can be consumed without our noticing it.

8 Sneaky Signs Your Child’s Being Bullied

Bullying has been around since man started forming relationships. It is inevitable. Unfortunately, in today’s society there seems to be so many more avenues for a bully to utilize to attack their prey. With all of the pressures our kids face day to day, it becomes difficult sometimes to recognize the warning signals of a bullie’s attack. This article is very helpful in making parents aware of some subtle signs to look for. I wish with all my heart that none of your children every suffer from the callousness of a bully. In the meantime, it’s a parent’s duty to be armed with all of the information they can to protect their child.

8 Sneaky Signs Your Child’s Being Bullied

via Woman’s Day / Team Mom – Yahoo! Shine
by Dawn Papandrea

Your child would tell you if he’s being bullied, right? Maybe not. “It’s painful to say, ‘I’m being targeted,'” says Cynthia Lowen, producer and writer of the documentary film, Bully, and co-author of the forthcoming book The Essential Guide to Bullying. While there’s more bullying awareness than ever (who hasn’t heard about the bullied bus matron?), children still fear their parents’ response to the harassment can make the situation worse, says Lowen. Another reason kids may keep this info to themselves: “They may worry that admitting they’re victims will disappoint their parents,” says Jerry Weichman, PhD, a licensed psychologist specializing in teens and tweens at California’s Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, CA, and author of How to Deal. That’s why it’s important to know how to spot the signs of bullying, which aren’t as obvious as you’d think. Here are some surprising red flags to look for.

1. Sharing bullying euphemisms

When you ask your child about his day, and he says there’s “drama” at school or kids were “messing around,” it could be code for “I’m being bullied,” explains Cindy Miller, a New Jersey-based licensed school social worker, psychotherapist and Lowen’s co-author on The Essential Guide to Bullying. If you hear that language often, ask for specifics, she suggests. For instance: “When you say ‘messing around,’ did anyone get physical with you? Did someone spread a rumor about you or call you a name? How did you feel when the ‘drama’ occurred?”

If your child still doesn’t open up, tell him the difference between reporting and tattling. “Reporting is stating that someone’s hurting you and you’re trying to get help. Tattling is trying to get someone in trouble,” says Miller. This way, he knows there’s nothing wrong about giving facts.

2. Coming home hungry

Before you assume your little luncher is simply sick of PB&J, consider what else might be going on in the cafeteria. Perhaps another student is taking his food. Or maybe your child is giving away items voluntarily to become better-liked-or avoiding eating because he fears being ridiculed about his weight or what he’s eating, says Miller. Again, asking direct questions in a non-threatening way here is key, says Lowen. Try: “Who did you sit with at lunch today? Did you like your food? What did you and your friends talk about?”

3. Coming home from school late

You may think he’s hanging out with friends, but he may be taking a longer route home or skipping the bus to avoid bullies, says Miller. A change in after-school routine is how Tara Kennedy Kline of Shoemakersville, PA, realized something wasn’t right. “He started calling me from the bus and asking me if his older buddies could come to our house after school,” she says. Normally, her son was only allowed to have friends over after homework was done, and not at all if his parents weren’t home. “Blatantly disregarding our rule was a red flag for us,” she says. Soon after, she learned about a bullying incident that happened on the bus. So trust your instincts and dig deeper if your child does something out of character.

4. Frequently losing or damaging his things

Sure, kids can be careless and clumsy, but missing or torn/broken belongings can be signs of bullying. “Bookbags getting ripped. Someone takes something. Shoes thrown out of the window of the bus. These are all things bullied kids have told me happened to them,” says Lowen. What’s worse is that children are afraid to tell their parents about things like broken glasses in tough economic times, she says. Lowen also points out that some children give possessions away to win favor with the popular kids. “Parents should keep an account of what’s missing and follow up on their child’s excuse with other parents, teachers or school administrators,” suggests Dr. Weichman. If there’s a discrepancy between your child’s excuse and the explanation an adult gives, your child may be covering for someone’s bad behavior.

5. Becoming upset after getting a text or going online

In the age of cyber-bullying, the end of a school day doesn’t always offer taunted kids a reprieve. “If a parent suspects that cyber-bullying may be going on, she should first confront her child with her concerns, but also verify with monitoring software,” advises Dr. Weichman. Beyond using parental spyware, it’s important to keep computers in common areas at home, such as in the kitchen or family room, says Lowen. “If your child is in his bedroom for two hours and a situation is getting larger than life, he can feel like the entire world is turning on him,” she warns. And it’s hard to prevent your child from responding negatively if you can’t see the situation unfolding.

6. Wearing long sleeves all the time or covering up when it doesn’t seem warranted

Don’t shrug off your child’s desire to keep covered as shyness or a fashion statement. There might be visible signs of physical bullying he’s trying to conceal. And here’s why: One reaction that parents often have is, ‘you have to stand up for yourself’ or ‘hit him back,'” says Lowen. But a child may not be capable of or willing to follow that advice, so he hides bruises and cuts rather than face his parents’ judgment. If you suspect your child is hiding injuries, don’t react in a shocked or confrontational manner. Phrases such as “Tell me who did this to you right now!” should be avoided, says Dr. Weichman. Instead, put on your poker face and ask what’s going on that might have contributed to the injuries.

7. Disappearing friends

Most parents know who their children pal around with: who calls every night, who they join forces with for school projects, who’s sleeping over. If the usual suspects are MIA, it might be more than the clique simply growing apart. “If your child’s circle suddenly isn’t around, ask, ‘Where are your friends? What are they doing?'” suggests Lowen. When the Mishra family moved back to their old neighborhood in North Carolina, their teen daughter was excited to reconnect with her grammar-school friends. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. “One former friend decided she didn’t like my daughter anymore and told the host of an upcoming party that my? child shouldn’t be invited,” says Mishra. “That was when I realized that this was not harmless ?jealousy but outright bullying.” Mishra’s daughter is now considering moving in with ?her grandparents in Michigan for her senior year.

8. Claiming that after-school activities were cancelled or practice ended early

Cancellations happen, but if they’re happening a lot, your child may be hiding that he’s dropped out of an activity because of bullying. Changes in routine and a loss of interest in favorite hobbies are usually good indicators that something’s amiss. “Kids send out distress signals when they’re in trouble,” says Miller. It’s up to you to stay attuned, and get your child to open up. And when he clues you in, keep two things in mind. “You have to believe him, and it’s probably worse than he’s letting on,” says Lowen.

Whether or not you spot these signs in your child, start an open dialogue about bullying so he knows you can be counted on, says Dr. Weichman. “Kids need to be reassured that sharing what’s going on with their parents is both safe and non-judgmental.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock



Gun Safety

In light of recent events in Aurora, CO I came across this article via a Twitter post. While the information here couldn’t have influenced the events of that night, I am posting it as a reference should parents need it. I grew up in a house with guns. My father was/is an avid hunter. Guns are a part of my own household as my husband is also an avid hunter. In both circumstances the children in the house grew up with a VERY healthy respect for the power of guns. It was always a black and white issue –  DO NOT TOUCH!!! On top of that it was ingrained in our minds that the guns were not ours. They belonged to my father or my husband and you do not touch something that does not belong to you.

Even if you think you will never ever possess a gun in your own home, I think it would be beneficial to read this article. You child may not be around guns in your surroundings but encounter their existence in the homes of friends or your acquaintances. They should know what to do and what NOT to do.

Gun Safety

via KidsHealth

Guns are in more than one third of all U.S. households, so they’re a very real danger to children, whether you own one or not. That’s why it’s important to talk to kids about the potential dangers of guns, and what to do if they find one.

If you do keep a gun in the house, it’s vital to keep it out of sight and out of reach of kids. The gun should be kept locked and unloaded, and the ammunition should be stored separately.

Guns and Pretend Play

Allowing kids to play with toy guns is a personal decision, as is how to respond to a child’s pretend shooting action during the course of play. Remember that even if you don’t allow your kids to have a toy gun, their friends may have them. So explain to your kids that real guns — unlike toy guns or those shown on TV, in movies, or in video games — can seriously injure or even kill a person.

Talking to Kids About Gun Safety

Teach kids to follow these rules from the National Rifle Association (NRA) if they come into contact with a gun:

  • stop
  • don’t touch
  • remove yourself from the area
  • tell an adult

It’s particularly important that children leave the area where the gun is located to avoid being harmed by someone who doesn’t know not to touch it. A child as young as 3 has the finger strength to pull a trigger.

It’s also important for kids to tell an adult about a gun that’s been found.

If You Have a Gun in Your Home

Many kids are raised with guns in the home, particularly if hunting is a part of family recreation. If you keep a gun in the home, it’s important to teach your kids to act in a safe and responsible way around it.

To ensure the safest environment for your family:

  • Take the ammunition out of the gun.
  • Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
  • Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
  • Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
  • Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
  • When handling or cleaning a gun, adults should never leave the gun unattended.

If you own a gun or have found one in your home and want to dispose of it, call your local police station. Do not dial 911 or an emergency line. Laws differ between states, but generally, the firearm will be checked to ensure it was not part of a criminal investigation and then it will be destroyed.

Community “buy-back” or “amnesty” days are another disposal option. These programs allow people to bring unwanted guns to a designated place where they will be made unusable. To find out if your community hosts such a program, contact your local police department — but don’t wait until such a program becomes available to dispose of an unwanted firearm.

Gun Safety Outside Your Home

Gun safety does not end when your child leaves your home. Kids can still come in contact with a gun at a neighbor’s house, when playing with friends, or under other circumstances away from home.

Make sure you talk to your kids about gun safety outside your home. They might even know which friends have guns in the home and where they are stored — ask them.

Also discuss gun safety with the parents of friends if your child spends time in their homes. It may feel like an awkward conversation, but the person you ask will likely understand that you only have your child’s safety in mind. It is OK to speak up and ask! If there is a gun in the friend’s home, you need to decide if it poses a safety risk to your child. If you’re uncomfortable having your child play there, consider offering to host at your house instead.

A Word About BB and Non-powder Guns

Non-powder guns, such as ball-bearing (BB) guns, pellet guns, and paintball guns, are not regulated by the government but can cause serious injury and death.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that kids under age 16 not use high-velocity BB guns or pellet guns. And these guns should only be used under the supervision of an adult. Kids who have a BB gun, or are likely to come into contact with one, must know to never point it at anyone, including themselves.

Paintball guns are known to cause traumatic eye injuries, so kids need to wear protective eye gear. Kids should not put caps for toy guns in their pockets because these can ignite due to friction and cause burns and loud noises that can damage hearing.

Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: July 2011



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