Friday, August 29, 2008

Making a Trip to the Dentist Less Stressful for your Child

With young children, sometimes it is hard to get them to go to the dentist. It is not surprise. It is even hard for some adults to lean back in the chair at the dentist's office. But, there is hope for this situation. With a little time and convincing, your child will understand that a visit to the dentist isn't a scary experience. Here are some helpful tips to ease your child into a dental visit.

Before you go to the dentist, inform your child that the dentist is just going to keep his or her teeth clean and healthy. Many times children believe the dentist will hurt them. Reinforce the idea that the dentist will only help them keep their teeth clean, just like brushing their teeth. Let them know that sometimes it feels good, but sometimes it does not feel good. It is important that you do not say the words hurt or pain. Many dentists keep kids at ease by providing toys for their waiting areas. This helps children relax and eliminates some of the fear before they climb into the chair.

A pediatric dentist knows how to deal with your children and first time visits. Often times you may just think of your normal dentist. There are dentists that strictly deal with child patients. There are multiple ways to calm your child. A dentist may allow a toy, or headphones to block out the noise. Others have video capability in their offices. But, it is best for the child to see a pediatric dentist.

Lastly, inform your child ahead of time that a dental visit is coming up. Remind them that all of their friends and family going to the dentist on a regular basis. It is important for the child to understand the repetition of the dental visits. It will be easier each time you visit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Geography and Maps

Does your child know your state capital? Can your child pick out the names of the countries that are north and south of the United States on a map? Could your child find countries overseas on a map? According to a National Geographic survey, 66 percent of American children cannot find Iraq on a world map. A whopping 75 percent cannot find Iran or Israel. The numbers are staggering.

The most frightening information surrounded our own country. Despite intense media cover during natural disasters, young Americans apparently did not take notice. Two-third can find Louisiana on a map. Fifty-two percent were able to find Mississippi. New York is the third most populous state in the Union behind California and Texas. Sadly, only half of young Americans were able to point out the state of New York.

There are reasons surrounding these numbers. Some schools have cut geography funding. Certain states only teach a small portion of geography during a history or social studies class. It is critical that schools and parents grasp the importance of geography. Write it into curricula and find innovative ways to teach children about geography using classroom rug maps. Encouraging children to learn more about maps and geography will help there educational and life experiences in the future.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rainy Day Puppets

Summer will soon into fall in many parts of the country. This may lead to some rainy days ahead. It is always a good idea to have some rainy day activities for your children. A rainy day is a perfect time to let a child use his or her creativity and imagination. Homemade puppets are a great way for children to express themselves.

Drinking straw puppets are simple to make and easy to use. First, you will need drinking straws, colored construction paper, colored markers, scissors and tape. Give each child a piece of construction paper and whichever colored markers they choose. Let them draw figures on the construction paper. For example, a fish about 5” long would work perfectly. The child can design and color the fish.

When the children are finished drawing their puppets, it is now time to cut the puppets out. If the children are not of appropriate age it is important that an adult cut out the puppets. Once all the puppets are cut out, simply attach a drinking straw to the back with tape to use as a handle. After all the straws are attached, the children can create fun and imaginative stories with their puppets and put on a show in their puppet theater.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sleeping Habits

With the school year in full swing we have to get the little ones back into the school year sleeping habit. It can be a difficult process. Children have stayed up a bit later during the summer months. Just like us as adults, they create a pattern that can be hard to break. It is best to start a sleeping pattern for school a few weeks prior to school starting. But, the change can take some time.

Children ages five-12 years old need an average of 10-11 hours of sleep per night. This can be difficult because of the increasing demands of their time. Homework, sports and other extracurricular and social activities have shortened the day for our children. School aged children have also turned to television, computer and the internet, which can be time consuming activities. But, we must find the time for them to sleep. Sleeping on a regular schedule is crucial to their daily lives.

Create a sleep schedule and bedtime routine with your child. Emphasize this sleep schedule and routine daily. The more frequent the pattern, the easier the sleep schedule will become. Keep TV and computers out of the child’s sleeping area. Lastly, make sure the child’s bedroom is set for optimal sleeping conditions. Dark, cool and quiet bedrooms work best.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Animal Game

With summer winding down, many children are stuffing in all of the outdoor hours that they can. After the long summer, they might be a bit bored with the normal routine of outdoor activities. Outdoor games can be fun for the kids. Today, we will highlight a fun, outdoor game for the kids to play.

Animal Wall decals

The Animal Game is a fun game that will tire out your little tikes. The game is easy to play. The game must be played by large group of children. Explain these simple rules to your children. They will have fun playing this game for hours.

The Animal Game:

You need at least 10 children playing, including a caller. All the players must first line up in front of the caller. The caller whispers an animal name to each player in the game. Once all the names are given out, the caller gives them ten seconds to run around. After, the caller starts calling animals out. When the caller calls an animal that person has to run from everyone and all the other players have to tag that person to get him or her out.

The caller does not have to wait until the person is out to call the next animal. The call can call another animal before or after the person is tagged. This goes on until there are only two players left. The remaining players must go to a designated area with boundaries. If they step or are tagged, they are out. The last one standing is the winner. The winner will be the caller in the next game.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Early Halloween Ideas

Can you believe it? Halloween is only a few months away. You know the routine. You may have fond memories of yourself in younger years enjoying the sweets filled holiday. Soon, our little ones will be expecting their favorite costumes. They will be going door-to-door collecting treats from our friends and neighbors. But, Halloween falls on a Friday this year. Maybe you and your youngsters would like to try something a bit different this year?

A fun suggestion for this upcoming Halloween would be a Halloween slumber party for your child and his or her friends. Now is the time to start thinking about how many children your child might like to invite to the event. More importantly, how many children can you handle at the slumber party. There are plenty of fun-filled activities that can be planned for the evening. Below is a list of a few suggestions we believe will help the children have an enjoyable night.

-Let the kids trick or treat early in your neighborhood. The kids will want to fill their bags with candy. This will allow them to burn off some of that trapped energy.

-Rent a few Halloween movies. After the kids return to your home, let them kick back and watch a few Halloween movies. Be careful though. If you rent a scary movie, make sure it is appropriate for all who are attending.

-If there are kids not interested in watching the movie, set up a few fun board games.

-Set up a designated area of your home for the kids to sleep. Sometimes they can fight over a bed or a couch.

-Lastly, buy a fun and easy breakfast for the morning. Bagels with cream cheese, or pre-sliced fruits would work well. One hundred percent juice boxes are good morning drinks and easy cleanup.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Helping Children Organize

Has your child ever lost an important piece of homework in their messy room? Has a spelling book ended up under the bed, only to be found in the middle of summer? There are many other examples and stories that could be mentioned regarding an important topic for our kids: organization. Organization can help those in all age groups. With the school year starting again, how can you help keep your child’s school materials organized?

Children's Bookcases

One suggestion is something that many of us use to stay organized ourselves, a computer desk. Computer desks help us as parents maintain our organization with many important topics. It can also work for your child. Even without a personal computer, a computer desk allows your child to have a designated work and study area. After school, many children come home and do their homework right away. A computer desk allows them the opportunity to have all of their important materials available in one place.

Toy Boxes

Set up a small table with a chair for younger children. Children try and imitate us as adults. They see us working at our computer desks all the time. Use this opportunity to help them learn organizational skills and responsibility. When you work at your desk, see if they would like to do a fun, educational coloring book at their desk. When you are completed, help each other clean and organize the working areas. If done properly, your child will develop organizational skills that will help them in the future.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Healthy After School Snacks

With children heading back to school many parents are interested in finding healthy after school snacks for the kids. The time between school ending and dinnertime can be critical in a child's day. It is important to teach our kids proper nutrition with healthy after school snacks.

·Peanut Butter and Crackers: Peanut Butter is a good food for instant snacking and good nutrition. Have your children choose whole grain crackers for a tasty treat.

Toy Food

·Ready to eat cereals that have small amounts of sugar are healthy snacks for the young kids when they arrive home. Pour the cereal into a bowl and let the kids snack on them while doing homework.

·One hundred percent juice boxes are a healthy drink for your children. They provide nutrients that you child needs daily.

These snacks are simple and easy. The two main parts are nutritious snacks and easy preparation.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Musically Inclined

As a child, can you remember how music affected you? Did you swing and sway to the tunes or did you obnoxiously jump and jive to the radio? Music always has a certain way of connecting with us, making our bodies groove with the rhythm. Now that you have children, how does music affect them, have you noticed?

Beginning Musical Instruments

Music has a way of reaching children and captivating their little attention spans. Once the harmony has grasped their young bodies, it taps in to their creative side and opens their minds to new thoughts and ideas. Not only that, but it has other effects as well. Depending what kind of music is playing; it can calm a rambunctious child. If nothing else seems to work, play something that is soft and that will mesmerize them.

Children respond to music very well. Considering your child for piano lessons or any other instrument would be beneficial to them. As was mentioned previously, the music opens their minds to creative thought. Learning to play an instrument would also tap into their hand and eye coordination as well.

The next time your child is running around with bursts of energy and they need to be calmed down, perhaps put on some soothing music and just wait for them to cool their jets.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Summer Time Swimming

What is the best thing about summer? It is the best excuse for playing outside, getting dirty, and playing in the water! For hours on end, a child will run back and forth through the sprinkler. You would think that after a while, constant hurdling over that sprinkler would get old after the first ten minutes. But children will hop over it, to and fro, until their little legs just can't make the hop any more. 

This idea of the sprinkler is safe, for the most part. Granted, the grass does get wet, and a little slick, but it is not something you necessarily have to worry yourself frantic over. A pool, however, is a different story.

When do you teach your child to swim, and when it is the right time to introduce them to the concept? If you have an in ground pool, you should be especially mindful being that the child could more than likely walk up to it and fall right in. But curiosity is a little demon that sits upon your child's shoulder. So when should you teach them how to swim, or even introduce them to the idea of staying afloat? 

Some people suggest waiting until the child is three or four years old. The best way is to take them to your local pool for special lessons. However, if you opt to teach them yourselves, be sure to make it your top priority to explain that water is very dangerous if you are not careful. Explain that they must never go in to the water unattended, even in the bathtub until they are "old enough."

Please watch your children around water. Do not think for a minute that your child drowning will not happen to you.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sleepover Tips

It is summer time, if you have yet to notice. Your children are out of school and enjoying their time to run the neighborhood ragged. Sleepovers are quite popular this time of year, and if you are experiencing parenting for the first time, you may not know when it is a good time for your child to start sleeping at their friend's house. There are considerations you must keep in mind before allowing your child to attend a sleepover.

First of all, you need to consider how well your child sleeps through the night, how well they handle bedtimes, and the kind of signs of independence they are showing. If you feel that your child is ready to sleep over at their friend's house, then your instincts are probably right. Before they head out the door, make sure that you pack the essentials; the obvious overnight bag with their toothbrush, kids sleeping bag, change of clothes, etc. But do not forget to pack their favorite pillow, blanket, or stuffed animal. They will need something familiar to have with them, especially on their first night away. If your child is afraid of the dark, pack a small flashlight in their bag. In an unfamiliar home, the assurance of a light near them will make them feel better.

If you are having children over to stay at your home, then you will want to make it as smooth as possible. Have a theme for your sleepover. You could have a Movie Night where the kids bring over their favorite movies, or you could have a Game Night. Once the children arrive, sit them down and go over the rules before any of the fun begins. Tell them what you have planned for the evening, including a bedtime. It is crucial that you make sure that the children staying at your home feel comfortable with you. If they are homesick, or they wet the bed, it will be easier for them if they feel like they can trust you. Before the parents leave, talk with them about their child and possible things that you will need to know. For instance, do they wet the bed? How well do they sleep at night? Are they allergic to anything, etc?

But the main rule of thumb is to make sure that the night is full of entertainment and excitement. The more of a good time you give them, the less likely they will be to start to get homesick and the smoother the party will go. Have fun with the sleepovers! Enjoy the children and have a great time!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Exercising and Children

Lately, the percentage of overweight children is on the rise. With the newest developments of video games, television programs and such, children are not getting as much exercise as they need. Their diets are consisting of more "junk" food because it is easier to grab while on the go. Yet, the question of how much exercise does your child need still remains. As well as, what does exercise consist of?

When you think of exercise, you probably picture yourself at the gym standing next to a beefy trainer who has you tuning in with muscles you haven't felt since high school. But unless you are bodybuilding your three year old, there is no need for a Hulk of a trainer to whip your baby in to shape. You can take the role of "trainer" yourself and make sure your child is getting the exercise they need. While focusing on endurance, strength, and flexibility, you can easily insure that your youngster is being provided with optimal exercise. At the playground, you see those three elements of fitness everywhere. Your children are playing Tag; you see an example of endurance. Crossing the monkey bars would utilize their strength, and simply bending down to tie their shoes is flexibility.

Daily exercise is crucial. But how much should they get a day? Well, for infants, you just need to focus on their motor development. Toddlers, however, need at least an hour and a half. This does not mean that you need to construct an exercise program, though you could. Preschoolers need about two hours and school children need at least an hour plus. Have new activities for them every day; such as riding a bicycle, playing basketball, soccer, etc. Or just run them around the jungle gym at a playground or take them swimming.

Lets make more than an effort. Make it part of your families daily lives to exercise and eat well balanced diets. Your children will be healthier for it; now what is the harm in that?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Healthy Snacks

While on the go, it can be frustrating when your children start to get hungry and you have no backup. The last thing you want to do is stop at a fast food joint just because it is easy. Prepare ahead of time if you plan on going on a trip. Pack up those goodies yourself, and make sure they are fresh and are unprocessed. You don't want a snack that is packed full of sugars and icky preservatives.

Outdoor Activities

When you pack up these snacks, be mindful of the contents you are putting together so you can have a balance of carbohydrates, fat, protein, and fiber. It will ensure that your children keep a healthy blood sugar level. Great examples would be celery and peanut butter, cheese and crackers, or tortilla chips and bean dip. Equip yourself with these healthy snacks, and be prepared with easy storage containers.

Try to avoid the drive-thru at all costs. Especially when you are going on a long trip, your children will not have much of a chance to get out and run off all of that not-so-healthy food. Plus, you want to instill in your children good eating habits that they will be able to carry on as they grow.