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Archive for 2011

How Do You Keep the “Gimmies” Away?

The holidays are a fun time for children. They get to ask for all kinds of goodies they want or desire and there is a good chance they might get them.  However, it may cause them to want more and more while losing the spirit and purpose of the holiday.  Is there a way to control the “gimmies”?  How do you still encourage the fun and excitement of the holidays without forgetting the meanings of them?  There is no full-proof way of getting rid of the “gimmies” but there are some things you can do to limit them.

As adults we should always be honest with our children.  Discuss with your child the reasons they can’t have something if you know there is not a possibility of them receiving it.  You may simply state that we don’t get everything we want in life.  You can also get into financial reasons, environmental reasons or that it might be difficult because too many people desire it.  Only you know your child best and how they will understand the message you are trying to put across.

The holidays are also a perfect time to sort out old toys to give to charity.  One way is to divide toys into two more or less equal piles.  Make sure they understand that the holidays are approaching and since new toys are in the near future that they should donate any toy that they have lost interest with or isn’t age appropriate.  Then you can approach the piles with rules such as for every one you pick to keep, pick two to give away.  It is important for you to pick together a charity to take the unwanted toys to.  You and your child can discuss on the way about what the charity will do with the toys and who will benefit.  You could also have them choose gifts for a family member all on their own or find out information about Toys for Tots and donate a gift to another child.  All of these activities will help remind your child that giving is as much as a part of the holidays as receiving is.

It is hard to compete with all the enticing and fun advertisements towards children and even with the friends discussing all their wish lists.  However, you can still find little ways to show the true meanings of the holidays while keeping the excitement and magic within your child!

Written by: Kim Hensinger

Tips For A Safe and Happy Halloween!

Tips For A Safe and Happy Halloween!

Fall - Infant

Going trick-or-treating?  Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while you enjoy a spooky fun night with your children.

S– Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.

A– Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F– Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

E– Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.  Limit the amount of treats you eat.


H– Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.  Always WALK and don’t run from house to

A–  Always test make-up in a small area first.  Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

L– Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

L– Lower your risk of serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

O– Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W– Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

E– Eat only factory-wrapped treats.  Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

E– Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult.

N– Never walk near lit candles or luminaries.  Be sure to wear flame- resistant costumes.


Have fun on Halloween but keep it safe!


Written by: The Department of Health and Human Services


Bullying and Teasing: No Laughing Matter

Bullying and Teasing: No Laughing Matter

            Now that your child has started school they will be experiencing a lot of things in life that are both positive and negative.  One of the most negative experiences that a child goes through is learning how to deal with bullying and teasing.  Unfortunately, teasing is often part of growing up.  Almost every child experiences it either as the perpetrator or victim.  Children need to understand that words can cause pain.  Teasing becomes bullying when it is repetitive or when there is a conscious intent to hurt another child.  There are three kinds of bullying to have your child be aware of.  There is verbal bullying (making threats, name-calling), psychological bullying (excluding children, spreading rumors), or physical bullying (hitting, pushing, or taking a child’s possessions).

            Children bully for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes they pick on kids who are emotionally or physically weaker, or just to feel more important, popular, or in control.  There are also those children who may not even know they are doing it because that’s how they are treated at home or in other environments.  There are some warning signs that you can look for if you think your child is being bullied.  They may show increased passivity or withdrawal, frequent crying, coming up with excuses to not go to school (stomachache or headaches), unexplained bruises, sudden drop in grades or other learning problems, significant changes in social life, and simply just not acting like themselves on a daily basis. 

            It is important to keep open communication with your child.  If your child tells you about a bully or witnessing bullying, focus on offering comfort and support, no matter how upset you are.  It is a big step if they come to you first.  Kids are often reluctant to tell adults in fear of feeling embarrassed, ashamed or not taken seriously.   Make sure you praise your child for being brave enough to talk about it.  Remind your child that he or she isn’t alone and that a lot of people get bullied at some point.  Emphasize that it’s the bully who is behaving badly and not your child.  Reassure your child that you will figure out what to do together and that they are not alone.  You should also be in contact with the teacher and let them be aware of the situation or ask them if they see anything significant going on.  That way your child gets the support at school and at home.   If your child seems hesitant to open up to you, stress the importance of talking to anyone including a friend, teacher, sibling or other family member. 

            There are certain strategies that you can share with your child that may lessen the teasing or stop it all together.  They should always have a buddy.  Tell your child to pick a friend to walk with, play with, eat lunch with or to sit with on the bus.  Bullies are more reluctant to approach someone when they are with other people.   The old rule usually works in this situation (if you ignore it, it will go away).  Tell your child to walk away or start talking to someone else.  The bully will most likely get bored of not getting a reaction and will stop trying to bother him or her.  Instead you can encourage them to play with children that help build their confidence and join a sports program or activity to make new friends. This will help them feel confident and strong about themselves.

            School is a big adjustment for children without adding stressful situations on top of it.  Hopefully this helps you and your child to get through tough experiences while still teaching the importance of school and believing in yourself.


Written By: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD

Adapted By: Kim Hensinger



How to Schedule Your Day More Effectively

A new school year brings an overwhelming amount of projects, appointments, deadlines and activities that seem overbearing and unrealistic.  Many of us never take the time to carefully plan and adhere to a schedule.  Schedules help us prioritize and plan our days so that we get the most of every minute.    Here are some tips that can make those unrealistic goals and tasks seem possible.

1         Make Your To-Do List the Night Before:  Before you go to bed at night make a to-do list for the next day.  You may also want to prepare the lunches and school bags at this time so the morning is not frantic and this way you won’t forget any important materials.

2         Be Realistic:  Don’t underestimate how long it will take to complete a task and this way you won’t over book your day.

3         Use an Appointment Book:  It’s unrealistic to think that you can keep your entire schedule accurately in your head.  When you use an appointment book you can correctly keep track of due dates, sports practices and games, appointments and any personal time to yourself.  You also want to always keep it by the phone or with you.  You never know when you need to add or cancel an activity.

4         Invitations:  When you receive an invitation to a party, make a note of it, the date and the time in your calendar as soon as you open the invitation.  It may also be helpful to get a tack board to hang up the invitation so you can visually have a reminder as well.

5         Keep Up with Choirs:  It may seem silly, but if you schedule a day and time to complete laundry, housework, yardwork and paperwork it will not be overlooked or seem overwhelming as it piles up.  Decide which days you can do each choir to completion and then stick to it.

6         Organize Your Bills:  Mark your calendar when bills are due.  Doing this will ensure that the due dates won’t sneak up on you.

7         Plan For Projects- Always Be Prepared:  When you get your child’s calendar and/or project assignments in the beginning of the year, write down all the important dates on the calendar so they are not forgotten.  Plan enough time to complete the projects so you are not rushing around the night before.  This will help keep the stress off you and most importantly, your child.

8         Adjust as Needed:  You may have to periodically revise your to-do list in response to changing schedules and priorities.

9         Treat Yourself: We all need a day of down time to decompress.  Take a day to yourself and use it to relax and rewind.

10     Be Flexible:  Unexpected things can pop up.  Don’t stress about it, simply put it in and adjust around it.

Planning for tomorrow can help you keep your life on track but don’t obsess about it.  You have to plan for tomorrow, but it’s important to remember to enjoy every minute of today!

By: Busy Moms Tips

Adapted by: Kim Hensinger

Separation Anxiety in Children

Family - Teacher with Parent & ChildA new school is a fun and exciting time in you and your child’s life.  However, it may also leave your child feeling anxious, nervous and unsettled.  Separation anxiety is a normal stage of development.  With patience, understanding, and coping strategies, it can be relieved and fade as your child gets older.

The following procedures are steps you can take prior to school in order to make the process of separation anxiety easier:

  1.  Practice separation.  Leave your child with a caregiver for brief periods and short distances at first.
  2. Schedule separations after naps or feedings.  It is harder for a child to be left if they are hungry or tired.
  3. Develop a “goodbye” ritual.  These are simple, easy rituals that are reassuring to your child.  It can be as easy as a wave through a window, a goodbye kiss or funny handshake.
  4. Keep familiar surroundings when possible and make new surroundings familiar.  Have the sitter come to your house and when your child is away from home, let him or her bring a familiar object.
  5. Have a consistent primary caregiver.  If you hire a caregiver, try to keep him or her on the job.  Do not fluctuate too much from the same person.
  6. Leave without fanfare.  Tell your child you are leaving and that you will return, then go-don’t stall.
  7. Minimize scary television.  Your child is less likely to be fearful if the shows you watch are not frightening.
  8.   Try not to give in.  Reassure your child that he or she will be just fine.  When you set limits it helps the adjustment to separation.
  9. Keep calm during separation.  If your child sees that you can stay cool, he or she is more likely to be calm too.
  10.   Praise your child’s efforts.  Use the smallest of accomplishments – going to bed without a fuss, a good report from school – as a reason to give your child positive reinforcement.

It is always important to help your child through their fears.  One must always listen and respect their child’s feelings.  Let them explain to you how or why they are feeling the way they are.  Children do not benefit from “not thinking about it.”  You must always show empathy and patience and gently remind them that he or she survived the last separation and will be fine this time as well.  Every good effort – or small step in the right direction – deserves to be praised.

Written by: Helpguide.org

Adapted by: Kim Hensinger

How Do I Prepare My Child For School?

How Do I Prepare My Child For School?

Writing - Teacher & BoyDoes my child know their numbers and/or letters?   Can my child write their name?  Can my child tie his/her own shoes?  Are they capable of taking turns and sharing?  These are all popular questions that cross parents’ minds when deciding how to prepare their child for school or what they should already know.  The most important thing to know is that children will succeed and have a positive learning experience as long as their parents are positive and supportive along the way.

Children do not have to know their numbers and letters going into preschool.  However, reviewing them or pointing them out on a daily basis on signs, pictures, and books would only benefit your child and give them an edge against the other children in the class.  If it is a good preschool, you can feel confident that they will be reviewing the letters and numbers daily.  Reviewing the concepts and practicing them at home will only help your child to learn it quicker.  In order to accomplish this, you can always count on flash cards, the preschool work books, or fun games.  Remember, if they see you having fun while learning they will have fun learning and grow a strong passion for succeeding.

Tying shoes can still be a hard movement for older children to accomplish.  The first thing I suggest to do is buy a good pair of sneakers with shoelaces.  Yes, it seems funny I have to say that but in today’s world simple is better and most children’s shoes have Velcro.  Next, I would have them watch you, come up with a cute song or story while tying and leave it up to them.  They will grasp the concept once they can get the finger movement down.  Again, practice and repetition with a lot of positive praise will go a long way. 

In order for them to understand social interactions like taking turns, sharing, and empathy towards other children you need to have them be around other children.  Make it a point to have play dates and have them interact with other children at parks and/or playgrounds prior to starting school.  This will help them learn these concepts and build a positive self-esteem about themselves.  They will then be capable of making friends and building relationships with other children. 

Again, all these concepts will be carried out and practiced at school but introducing them prior to school will help them be more comfortable with themselves and their abilities in a new environment.  Families who involve their children in activities that allow the children to talk, explore, experiment and wonder, show that learning is both enjoyable and important.  Lastly, make the first day of school like the Olympics.  Talk it up!  Be excited and positive.  If they see you happy and proud, it will help take away some of their nerves so they can be just as excited.  Take lots of pictures and cherish these moments. For these moments will quickly fly by, but will leave a lasting impression and a life long love of learning!  

Written by: Kim Hensinger

Choosing the Right Preschool for Your Child

Reading - Teacher & Girl BChoosing the Right Preschool for Your Child

Choosing the right preschool is just as important, if not more important, as choosing their dentist or pediatrician.  Preschool is the first step towards your child’s academic journey.  Aside from learning their letters and numbers, they will learn important basics to help them in school like how to be independent, how to share and how to follow directions.  Remember, you are your child’s biggest advocate.  Choose a preschool that is comfortable for you and your child and that parallel’s your home values.

            When do I start?  The thumb rule that most parents follow is to start looking the September before you want to start your child.  This lets you have plenty of time to tour the schools, visit and/or observe the classrooms and weigh all your options.  Look at the environment, is it welcoming? Is it happy? Is it colorful and positive? Think about your child’s personality and whether he/she will do well in the schools’ setting.

            What do they teach?  Remember each school sets their own tone and own method.  Is there a theory they follow? Do the children choose activities freely? Is there a lot of social interaction?  Are there a lot of toys and/or manipulatives and how often are they cleaned?  These are all questions that help you figure out if your child will be getting the education that will help him or her succeed in the future.

            Get to know the teachers.  Do they have degrees?  Do they receive a certain amount of training though out the year?  Are they inviting, warm and friendly? Are they CPR and first aid certified?  The teacher is the one that will be with your child on a daily basis.  Follow your first instinct and your child’s first instinct.  This is the first time in many instances that your child will be separated from you for any extended period of time.  Nice teachers matter, especially for very young children.  Watch how they interact with the other children and how the children respond to them.  The classroom can also be a good example of what to expect.  Look for a well stocked book case, the alphabet on the wall, tracing paper, clocks, puzzles, blocks and lots of dramatic play items.  These items are good indicators that your child will be using his/her imagination, as well as learning the knowledge they need to in order to achieve their individual mile stones.

            Scientists say that from birth through age 5, children are constantly developing their language, thinking, physical, emotional and social skills they will need for the rest of their lives.  Choose a preschool that you think will help your child succeed these skills but will also provide them with the passion for learning about themselves and the world around them.

Article by: Amanda Rock

Adapted by: Kim Hensinger

What’s Bugging Your Kid?

In this hot weather during summer months, bugs can be a bother to you and your children.  If you don’t always like grabbing for the chemicals to keep them away here are some cool home remedies that get the job done.

If your child has a run in with a bee, don’t run to the medicine cabinet, go to the fridge instead.  Nothing stops the pain from a bee sting like an ice cube.  You don’t need to panic any longer when your child runs over crying because of a sting.  Grab an ice cube and just hold it on the area for a few seconds and their tears will turn into smiles instantly.  If your child has the bee or wasp stinger still in them it’s natural to pull them out using tweezers.  When you do this, you are actually releasing more of the venom into your child, instead scrape it off with a credit card or playing card.

Another well known sting that comes from a favorite summer get away is a jelly fish sting at the beach.  These stings are known to make a grown man cry, so imagine how it feels to a child.  The remedy for this is ammonia.  Those who live at the beach know to carry a little bottle of this magical solution with them at all times.  So when you are packing your beach bag, towel and lotion, don’t forget to throw in a bottle of ammonia to save your family from a lot of pain.

The lemon juice in your fridge can be used for more than flavoring food.   If your child gets any type of bug bite, just grab a fresh lemon or simply use lemon  juice and squeeze it on.  This will help take away the sting and cool the bite.  If you don’t have a lemon other fruit will work as well (limes, oranges or grapefruits).   There are also the clingy bugs known as ticks.  They carry a serious condition known as Lyme disease and cling to your child’s shirt like glue.   When this happens, flick them off don’t squeeze them.  If they have already attached to your child’s skin, cover it with olive oil and then use tweezers to gently pull them off.

To protect your children from these buggy friends there are chemical bug repellents you can purchase from the store or natural ingredients from your home you can use.   Take eucalyptus leaves, citrus peels, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper and soak it in rubbing alcohol for a dap-on non-toxic repellent.    Whether you choose the home remedies or chemical treatments, enjoy the summer months and activities with your children, but watch out for those extra buggy guests!

Source by: Jaipi Sixbear

Written by: Kim Hensinger

Top Ten Tips For Improving Family Beach Safety and Enjoyment

Top Ten Tips For Improving Family Beach Safety And Enjoyment

One of the favorite vacations for families is going to the beach.  When you are enjoying the sun, ocean and sand, just remember these few tips to keep your family safe!

  1. Wind, Waves, Currents: All parents should understand that wind generates waves.  The stronger the wind, the stronger the waves.  When the “surf’s up” it is often too dangerous for the average swimmer, particularly small children.
  2. Never Swim Alone: Whenever venturing into the water, make every attempt to swim with another proficient swimmer.  Swimming alone in the ocean can often be unsafe.
  3. No Diving or Head-First Entries– The sand under the water is not soft and forgiving.  Two-thirds of all catastrophic neck injuries (apx. 800 annually) occur in open-water areas, not swimming pools.  Feet-first is the only safe way for you and your kids to enter the water.
  4. Lost Children: The number one problem at beaches is lost children.  Go to the beach with a plan.  Your children should know where you entered, where you place the blanket and a meeting spot in case of separation.
  5. Close, Active Supervision: You must watch your child (ren) 100% of the time.  You have to be active, aggressive, and attentive at all times.  Remember it only takes seconds to drown.
  6. Learn How To Swim/ Wear A Life Jacket: If you don’t know how to swim, then waist-deep water can be dangerously deep.  Wear a properly sized and fitted United States Coast Guard Approved life jacket.
  7. Rip Currents: Rip currents account for more than 80% of near-drownings in our oceans.  Ask about rip currents at your beach.  If you get caught in one don’t panic, breathe deep and swim parallel to shore.
  8. Take Frequent Breaks– Fatigue, sunburn, hypothermia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can all become problems.  For your health and safety, take frequent breaks from the sun and water with your family and take your children to the restroom.
  9. Look But Don’t Touch– Many birds, turtles and marine life forms often wash up on beaches.  Do not get too close and above all, do not touch the organism.  Your child (ren)  may hurt the creature or it may hurt them!
  10.  Follow You Flags, Check The Conditions Of The Beach– Learn the flag system at your beach and remember, “When in doubt, don’t go out!”  Red– Dangerous conditions, Yellow-Caution: Moderately Dangerous Conditions, and Green– Mild Ocean Conditions.

Source by:  Tom Griffiths

Written by: Kim Hensinger

Pool Safety Tips

Pool Safety Tips

View Image

In order to have a fun and safe summer with your child (ren), here are some easy safety tips to follow around swimming pools.

1.  Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even  for a moment.

2.  Practice “touch supervision” with the children younger  than 5 years old.  This means that the adult is within an arm’s length of the child at all times.

3.  Keep rescue equipment and a telephone by the pool.

4.  Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren’t  tempted to reach for them.

5.  Long hair and limbs can get caught in pool drains creating risk for young swimmers.  Make sure that no pool drains are broken or missing.  Even better, if your child has long  hair, pin it up to prevent accidenta lsuction. Know     where  your circuit breaker is for the pool/spa and label it clearly in the event it needs to be shut off during an emergency.

6.  Make sure your child does not run around pools in case it is wet and could cause them to slip.

7.  It is important to be CPR certified or at least know general steps in case of an emergency.

8.  Teach your child to look for other children before sliding or diving into a pool.

9.  If your child is 4 or older register them for some type of swim class so they get use to the water and general techniques to keep afloat.

10.   Lastly, but most important, keep a watchful eye on your child at all times.  Be observant and responsive to what they are doing. 

The National Safety Council reports that 600 children and adults drown annually in swimming pools, 330 in home pools.  These approaches are just a few that could reduce injuries or fatal harm to your child (ren).  Remember, have fun and enjoy the time with your child (ren) but be SAFE!

Article information given by: tipp (The injury prevention program) and American academy of Pediatrics