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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Staying Safe and Warm in the Winter

Winter is fun! Kids love playing in the cold and snow and they should be encouraged to do so. There are some wonderful learning opportunities outside in the Winter! However, there are also some important things to remember while out in the cold. This article found on healthychildren.org gives some wonderful tips on staying warm and safe during all that outside Winter fun!

Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings or just cold temperatures, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some valuable tips on how to keep your children safe and warm.

What to Wear

  • Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities.  Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Always remember warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
  • The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
  • When riding in the car, babies and children should wear thin, snug layers rather than thick, bulky coats or snowsuits. See Winter Car Seat Safety Tips for additional information.
  • Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment because they are associated with suffocation deaths. It is better to use sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets.
  •  If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be thin and tucked under the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest, so the infant’s face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.


  • Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.
  • As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy.  Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.
  • If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.


  • Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen.  This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose.  They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.
  • If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water.  104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.
  • Do not rub the frozen areas.
  • After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink.
  • If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

Safe Winter Sports and Activities

Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.  Have children come inside periodically to warm up.

Ice Skating

  • Allow children to skate only on approved surfaces.  Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department to find out which areas have been approved.
  • Advise your child to:
    • Skate in the same direction as the crowd
    • Avoid darting across the ice
    • Never skate alone
    • Do Not chew gum or eat candy while skating
    • Consider having your child wear a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads, especially while learning to skate to keep them safe.


  • Keep sledders away from motor vehicles.
  • Children should be supervised while sledding.
  • Keep young children separated from older children.
  • Sledding feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first, may prevent head injuries.
  • Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.
  • Use steerable sleds, not snow disks or inner tubes.
  • Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters, and the steering mechanism should be well lubricated.
  • Sled slopes should be free of obstructions like trees or fences, be covered in snow (not ice), not be too steep (slope of less than 30º), and end with a flat runoff.
  • Avoid sledding in crowded areas.

Snow Skiing and Snowboarding

  • Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor in a program designed for children.
  • Never ski or snowboard alone.
  • Young children should always be supervised by an adult.  Older children’s need for adult supervision depends on their maturity and skill.  If older children are not with an adult, they should always at least be accompanied by a friend.
  • All skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets. Ski facilities should require helmet use, but if they do not, parents should enforce the requirement for their children.
  • Equipment should fit the child. Skiers should wear safety bindings that are adjusted at least every year. Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Eye protection or goggles should also be used.
  • Slopes should fit the ability and experience of the skier or snowboarder. Avoid crowded slopes.
  • Avoid skiing in areas with trees and other obstacles.


  • The AAP recommends that children under age 16 not operate snowmobiles and that children under age 6 never ride on snowmobiles.
  • Do not use a snowmobile to pull a sled or skiers.
  • Wear goggles and a safety helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles like motorcycles.
  • Travel at safe speeds.
  • Never snowmobile alone or at night.
  • Stay on marked trails, away from roads, water, railroads and pedestrians.

Seasonal Allergies in Children

Do you wonder if your child might have allergies? Below is an article from HealthyChildren.org that might help.


Every fall, 5-year-old Timmy develops a runny nose, itchy, puffy eyes, and attacks of sneezing. His mother shares the problem, which she dismisses as mild hay fever, and something her son has to learn to live with. Lately, however, Timmy has also suffered attacks of wheezing and shortness of breath when he visits his grandmother and plays with her cats. Timmy’s pediatrician suspects allergic asthma, and wants him to undergo some tests.

Timmy’s symptoms are by no means rare among children across the United States. Allergies and asthma often start in childhood and continue throughout life. Although neither can be cured, with proper care they can usually be kept under control. Allergies are caused by the body’s reaction to substances called “allergens,” which trigger the immune system to react to harmless substances as though they were attacking the body.

When to Suspect an Allergy

Some allergies are easy to identify by the pattern of symptoms that follows exposure to a particular substance. But others are subtler, and may masquerade as other conditions. Here are some common clues that could lead you to suspect your child may have an allergy.

Repeated or chronic cold-like symptoms that last more than a week or two, or that develop at about the same time every year. These could include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Sneezing
  • Throat clearing
  • Nose rubbing
  • Sniffling
  • Snorting
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, runny eyes

Itching or tingling sensations in the mouth and throat. Itchiness is not usually a complaint with a cold, but it is the hallmark of an allergy problem. Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory symptoms. Recurrent red, itchy, dry, sometime scaly rashes in the creases of the skin, wrists, and ankles also may indicate an allergy.


When it comes to rashes, the most common chronic inflammatory skin condition in children is eczema, also called atopic dermatitis. Although not strictly an allergic disorder, eczema in young children has many of the hallmarks of allergies and is often a sign that hay fever and asthma may develop. The rate of eczema, like that of asthma, is increasing throughout the world. Where asthma is rare, the rate of eczema is also low.

When to Suspect Asthma

Although allergies and asthma often go together, they are actually two different conditions.

  • Asthma is a chronic condition that starts in the lungs.
  • Allergies are reactions that start in the immune system.

Not everybody with allergies has asthma, but most people with asthma have allergies.

Asthma Attacks

The airways of the typical child with asthma are infl amed or swollen, which makes them oversensitive. When they come in contact with an asthma “trigger” — something that causes an asthma attack — the airways, called bronchial tubes, overreact by constricting (getting narrower).

Many different substances and events can “trigger” an asthma attack:

  • Exercise
  • Cold air
  • Viruses
  • Air pollution
  • Certain fumes
  • Other allergens

In fact, about 80 percent of children with asthma also have allergies and, for them, allergens are often the most common asthma triggers.

Common Allergens in Home and School

In the fall, many indoor allergens cause problems for children because they are inside of home and school for longer periods.

  • Dust: contains dust mites and finely ground particles from other allergens, such as pollen, mold, and animal dander
  • Fungi: including molds too small to be seen with the naked eye
  • Furry animals: cats, dogs, guinea pigs, gerbils, rabbits, and other pets
  • Clothing and toys: made, trimmed, or stuffed with animal hair
  • Latex: household and school articles, such as rubber gloves, toys, balloons; elastic in socks, underwear, and other clothing; airborne particles
  • Bacterial enzymes: used to manufacture enzyme bleaches and cleaning products
  • Certain foods

Controlling Allergy Symptoms

  • It’s helpful to use air conditioners, where possible, to reduce exposure to pollen in both your home and your car.
  • Molds are present in the spring and late summer, particularly around areas of decaying vegetation. Children with mold allergies should avoid playing in piles of dead leaves in the fall.
  • Dust mites congregate in places where food for them (e.g , flakes of human skin) is plentiful. That means they are most commonly found in upholstered furniture, bedding, and rugs.
  • Padded furnishings, such as mattresses, box springs, pillows, and cushions should be encased in allergen-proof, zip-up covers, which are available through catalogs and specialized retailers.
  • Wash linens weekly, and other bedding such as blankets, every 2 to 3 weeks in hot water to kill the dust mite.
  • Pillows should be replaced every 2 to 3 years.

Working With Your Child’s Pediatrician

Your child’s allergy and/or asthma treatment should start with your pediatrician. If needed, your pediatrician may refer you to a pediatric allergy specialist for additional evaluations and treatments, depending on how severe the child’s symptoms are. Although there are many over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays, it is very important that you work with a pediatrician over the years to make sure that your child’s allergy and asthma are correctly diagnosed and the symptoms properly treated.

Healthy Children Magazine, Allergy/Asthma 2007

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

The Holidays and Sensory Overload

Reducing and Surviving Sensory Overload During the Holidays

Holidays can be an amazingly fun time! Parties, decorations, songs, tasty treats and even smells fill our environment. For most of us, this is what makes the holidays so special. However, these are the exact same things that can bring on anxiety , meltdowns and sensory overload in many children, especially if they struggle with sensory processing disorder. I’ve gathered up some fantastic tips from real parents of children with sensory needs on how to prep for the holidays with kids with sensory needs.

The holidays can be completely overwhelming. Just think of everything that comes to mind when you think about the holidays yourself. Everything from hot cocoa to apple cider, busy malls to crowded houses, new foods to old favorites, street lights to tree lights… new sensations are absolutely everywhere. Now imagine for one moment, that your brain is unable to process that information and separate it all into separate categories. Imagine for a moment that you are bombarded with all of this information at once and still are expected to behave, attend in school and function the way you do on a normal day. Hard to imagine, right?

This is what children with Sensory Processing Disorder and other sensory needs struggle with on a day to day basis, making the holidays an even more stressful time of year {for both the children and parents}.

What is Sensory Overload During the Holidays?

When most people are getting excited about dinner and Aunt Suzy’s house, a child with sensory needs might be overwhelmed just thinking of all the new people they  have to encounter, Grandma Sophie’s perfume, Aunt Judy’s new baby crying, cousin John wrestling him to the ground, and then there’s the foods and smells. It can all be just too overwhelming for these children.

Believe me, I know. If you are a regular here, you know just how much our son struggles with sensory processing and regulating his behavior and body due to these struggles. On a normal day, we might see outbursts, hyperactivity, and even meltdowns. Then the holidays come. This starts 2 weeks before Halloween and lasts until Mid January. The countdowns, the anticipation, the excitement is just too much to handle some days.

Before I knew about sensory processing, I just thought I was doing something wrong. I just thought he was acting out.

Signs of Sensory Overload

Here’s the thing. Sensory overload can happen to anyone. It can happen to a typically developing child, a child with special needs, and even adults. It is more likely to happen to the children with special needs, but it does not mean that we shouldn’t all be aware of this possibility as we enter the holidays.

It might be a child in your class, a friend’s child at a party or it might even be your own child. Recognizing these signs can be vital in helping them cope and regulate this holiday season.

  1. Behavior is Heightened and Busy: this might include jumping off furniture, running in the house, spinning, and pushing, just to name a few.
  2. Extremely Bothered by Noises: in spaces that seem quiet or subtle to you, this child might be covering their ears,  screaming, making extra loud noises, to drone out the sounds that are overloading their brain.
  3. Aggressive Behavior:this might present itself as hitting, pushing, pulling, arguing, and even biting others
  4. Meltdowns Occur More Frequently: suddenly, and without warning the child might throw themselves on the ground, cry inconsolably, throw things, or even scream at you
  5. Withdrawn from Activities: this child might refuse to participate, refuse to go to a family function, or might even curl into a corner to read a book


Parent Tips for Reducing and Surviving Sensory Overload

It wasn’t until I learned ways to provide him with sensory support, that I learned ways of reducing sensory overload during the holidays.                                                                                                                                                                                Here are real tips and real advice from parents living with and supporting a child with sensory needs every day. These tips can help any child (or adult) during the holidays.

Preparing for the Holidays

Making sure if we go to someone’s house I bring food I know he will eat . ~ Nikki

No new clothes … Only clothes he has worn and approved will be worn on a big holiday day , so if I want him dressed nicely we have to practice wearing those clothes .  ~Nikki

Keep it simple so they can enjoy it! ~Britany

Ratchet expectations of yourself and your children down. Don’t allow others to dictate how you will spend your holiday. If you do go somewhere, come late, leave early, lots of planning. One of my biggest regrets is that I allowed the expectations of others to affect what was best for our family. Hard lesson to learn. ~Lisa

We try to be intentional with our plans and keep them low key. We brainstorm as a family the things individual really want to incorporate and scale it down to the ones each person holds most important. Lots of rest before any outing and additional transition time for winding down when we return (even if it means leaving early)  Above all we’re flexible…no event or activity is more important than taking care of each other and enjoying our time together (so sometimes we forego things). ~Shannon

We explained the accommodations he needed to thrive and nicely let the family know that we would only be at events that fit his needs…events don’t get scheduled during nap, and the aggressive dog stays at a relative’s house while we’re scheduled to be in town. ~Naomi

Seriously reduce the guest list. ~Karen

Take many breaks from family/friend get togethers. Really important that we don’t book every minute – which I love doing. ~Carolyn

Survival Tips for Children

Watch closely for signs of stress. Get out before meltdowns (yours or theirs) ~Carolyn

Make sure his bag of tricks is full and his sensory diet is well and truly in place, we check in with each other over the day to make sure he is still on track. If I see the warning signs I will feed him and then get him outside to run around or give him a “hug” . ~Nikki

My son has a teepee tent he can go and retreat to when it’s too crazy for him. I also have his bucket of sensory toys that vibrate, flash, fidgets, and softness of a plush stuffy. ~Jeanine

We locate and plan for a sensory retreat in any location we might be and have a signal to communicate if things are feeling overwhelming. ~Shannon

NO CLOTHES that they don’t pick out themselves. ~Regina

Try smaller visits before and after with gifts, kind of like 3 small Christmas celebrations instead of one big over whelming one. ~Ginette

I ask if there is a room he can go to when it gets to be too much for him. ~Sheryl

Avoid sugar and food dye.~Carolyn

Survival Tips for Parents

Breathe! ~ Regina

Don’t expect that in your wisdom that family won’t think you’re nuts over-sheltering your child. Educate them if they really want to hear it, but otherwise don’t be the stressed out mom. Just treat everything as calm and normal. ~Regina

I definitely have learned to lower expectations for the boys so that I don’t get overwhelmed myself We practice “just say no” to many invitations that come our way. I’ve also stopped cooking a big Christmas meal – which seriously cuts down on my anxiety and stress allowing me to enjoy the day with the family. I cook a Christmas Eve meal which we have early before we go out for one last look at lights. The we come home and put out reindeer food (making this is a great sensory experience!) on the lawn and cookies in the kitchen. I buy a pan of biscuits 1/2 cooked from a local restaurant and have them Christmas morning with various fillings. Happy Holidays!!!!! ~Karen       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This article was taken from lemonlimeadventures.com on 11-29-16

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page