Gardening with Small Children

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Gardening is not only a soothing and relaxing hobby for you, it’s also a great way to stimulate your baby’s or toddler’s senses and instill in them the love for growing things.

 

Gardening with your children doesn’t have to be a large or long and drawn out process – in fact, this can lead to a feeling of overwhelm for both of you. Starting with a small garden, maybe only a few pots on your porch or if you live in an apartment where space is limited, a few plants under a grow light works too. In order to keep your young and up and coming gardeners interested and excited about their budding new hobby, choose plants that are colorful, flavorful and fragrant. Use plants that come from large seeds so that little hands are able to easily sow them into the soil and choose plants that you will be able to harvest quickly so that your child doesn’t lose interest.

 

Children like to imitate what mommy and daddy or grandma and grandpa are doing so be sure to include them in the garden, even if it’s just a small corner in the garden rather than the pots on your porch. You can give them jobs like weeding small areas, give them a spray bottle with water to spray plants that aren’t to be completely saturated. Your older children can even go slug collecting in their new garden.

 

Keep in mind that when you are teaching your children about gardening and they become much more regular at it, you’ll want to make sure that there are no poisonous or other harmful plants in the general facility of the plants you are allowing them to “tend” to. Teach your children right from the beginning that it is never ok to put any plant into their mouth – even organic gardening can have harmful plants.

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Helping Young Children Notice Oncoming Traffic

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Young children – particularly those between the ages of 5 and 9 – are more at risk of being hit by oncoming cars when crossing the street than those children who are slightly older. In fact, according to National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than 13,000 in this age group are struck by cars ever year.

Young children aren’t developed enough to be able to read and comprehend the noises and sights associated with oncoming traffic, thus putting them at higher risk than their older counterparts. The University of Idaho conducted a study to compare traffic detection skills in both adults (aged 19-24) and children (aged 6 to 9). Here is what the study discovered:

“These participants were asked to listen on headphones to 24 recordings of a car approaching at 5, 12 and 25 miles per hour, from both directions, and pressed a computer key when they detected the vehicle, identified its direction and thought it had arrived at their location. The computer was programmed to calculate distances in relation to key presses.

Adults detected the car significantly earlier than children, though 8- and 9-year-olds heard the car before 6- and 7-year-olds. Adults detected the vehicle traveling at 5 miles per hour at a distance of about 48 feet, compared with 35 feet for younger children and 41 feet for older children. On average, the vehicle was significantly closer to children than adults when it was detected.

The vehicle traveling at 25 mph, when engine and tire noises are loudest, was detected significantly earlier than at other speeds. But researchers noted faster-moving vehicles would close in on a pedestrian more quickly and have greater potential to cause a fatal injury. A vehicle approaching from the left was identified with more accuracy, possibly because Americans are accustomed to vehicles moving on the right side of the road, the study suggests. Older children were better than younger children at determining when a vehicle had arrived at their location.”

As parents, we must take the time to teach our children what to watch for before turning them loose to handle situations like this on their own. Let’s help prevent them from being another statistic.

 

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Answering The Difficult Questions

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Sometimes difficult questions can take parents by surprise. It can be good to plan in advance on how and what to talk to your children about when they ask about death. It is critical not to avoid or try to brush off the questions as that will only cause more confusion and perhaps even fear if children pick up your discomfort on the subject.

 

Stay Child Centered

It is very important to discuss death and dying at the child’s level of understanding. Talking in abstract terms or using common phrases about death to kids will only cause confusion. You certainly can talk about spiritual or religious beliefs about the death and dying with your children but keep them at an age appropriate level.

 

Be careful not to use terms like “sleeping” or “passed on” or “lost” but rather be compassionate and honest. Children need a clear description that makes sense to them. Even younger children can understand that a body can stop working when a person is in an accident or is elderly. Often this type of honest, clear and simple explanation is enough for a youngster.

 

Talk About Real World Examples

It is important, especially with younger children, to stay to simple examples and not to try to include too many concepts at one time. It is important for children to understand that death is a normal part of life without stressing the mortality of the child or of you as the parent. It is also important to remember that younger children, especially those under the age of 10, may see death as reversible.

 

Kids may ask about a pet, family member or loved one’s death repeatedly. Be patient and provide a consistent answer that provides the information the child is seeking. Talking to a counselor or reading a book about death that is at an age appropriate level can help a parent start the conversation and allow children to ask the questions they may be worrying about.

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Getting Your Kids Interested in Astronomy

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Stargazing is a wonderful way to spend time with your children – and a great way to turn that time into something educational. Astronomy is more than just gazing at stars – it teaches children about the universe, provides them with what can be a lifelong hobby or even a career later in life.

 

Astronomy is more than just grabbing a set of binoculars or a telescope and looking into the night’s sky. To get a true appreciation of the wonderment the constellations can bring, spend an evening with your children looking at the sky the way it was meant to be seen – with the naked eye. This allows your child to really get an idea of just how enormous the sky is and the beauty it contains, without the restriction of a telescope lens.

 

Start by teaching your children to look at and understand the phases of the moon and the bigger, easy-to-see constellations like The Big Dipper and the North Star. You’ll be surprised how excited your children will be when they can recognize a constellation and can point out at to you.

 

Now, if you aren’t sure about the constellations yourself, this presents a new opportunity for you to learn right along with your children. You can either take a class – sometimes your local library or science museum will offer classes perfect for beginners. There is also plenty of software and websites out there that can turn your computer into a mini planetarium.

 

Perhaps the biggest attraction to astronomy is that you are only limited by your own imagination. When you and your children have grasped the basics of stargazing, you can literally spend hours discovering all that the universe has to offer.

 

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Helping Your Young Children Stay Organized

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Daily routines can be a challenge, especially if you have younger children who have a way of losing or misplacing things on a regular basis. Here are some great tips on how to keep your children, especially young ones organized:

  1. Have a designated work space for homework, projects, etc. Pick a room or a part of a room that your child can keep all of his or her supplies for homework, arts and crafts, reading. Use bins to keep supplies neat and in one place. Be sure you have enough room, if possible, to keep their books and try using a basket to keep papers that your child may need for school, studying for tests, etc.
  2. When you buy school supplies at the beginning of the year, color code each subject – Math is blue, English is green, etc., and use the same color for each subject throughout the year. This will make it easy for you to child to quickly grab what they’re looking for without having to rifle through every folder or notebook.
  3. Create a cubby hole at or near your front door to keep your child’s backpack, hats, gloves, scarves, shoes – anything they need to grab quickly if the morning gets away from them. Teach your child to put whatever they need for the next day in the cubby each night before they go to bed.
  4. Use a calendar. For your older children you can provide them with a calendar or appointment book. With your younger children, create a weekly or monthly calendar and use bright colors and pictures to help remind them of important days.
  5. Lead by example. If you want your children to be organized, keep yourself organized. They are more likely to follow by example. Make to-do lists, turn the television off at the same time every day/evening, pay bills on a regular schedule – anything that requires a routine. Let your children see you follow an organized routine and they will do the same.

 

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Instilling Resiliency in your Children Even in the Face of Adversity

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Children tend to be happy-go-lucky and typically un-phased by the drama the world can provide us adults on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t mean that they never experience stress or trauma. There are some children who are exposed to this on a regular basis in the form of natural disasters, neglect, abuse and even the death of their loved ones. As parents and caregivers, we obviously try to keep them as safe as possible from unpleasant things, but the reality is we’re just not able to protect them from everything the world sends their way. When they experience something sad or negative, children tend to feel vulnerable, afraid, sad and lonely. So what do we do to help prevent this or at the very least, minimize these feelings?

It’s for these reasons it’s important to make sure your children keep their sense of humor – and resilience – to help them through the rough times. Early childhood is the best time to begin to instill resiliency according to the experts – but how do you go about this? Most importantly, children who come from families who are supportive and caring tend to be more resilient when life throws them a curve. When they are surrounded by adults – both family members and early childhood educators – who are loving, caring and responsive to their needs they are much better equipped to adapt to adversity.

When protective factors like a supportive family, adequate nutrition, and responsive and caring educators and caregivers are a regular presence in a child’s life, they become more adaptable and resilient beings. This instilled resiliency will allow children to develop a better sense of humor to carry them through life – a sense of humor that will serve them well even in the face of adversity.

 

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Importance of Brain Injury Prevention

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Brain injury is a common problem with young children, but a problem that can be avoided with a few preventative measures from parents. Brain injuries can be caused by trampoline accidents when children land on their head or neck, sports injuries are another common area that can result in brain injury and brain injuries among the skateboarding community are also very common.

Many of these injuries can be prevented if parents to make sure their child wears a helmet anytime they are riding their bicycle, a skateboard or scooter and when skiing – water or snow. Avoiding pediatric brain injury can be done by making sure your baby or toddler is in the right car seat, booster seat or other appropriate child restraints for your child’s age, height and weight.

Getting your child or teenager to wear a helmet when it just isn’t “cool” can be a real challenge. One way to make it work is to show them the professional athletes who are wearing helmets doing the same activities your child loves to do – cycling, skateboarding and even skiing.

Even the smallest accident that involves a head injury can cause irreparable brain damage. Be sure to follow the same safety measures on a daily basis – no bicycling or skateboarding without a helmet and never go on a car ride without buckling up. Place infant seats, booster seats and other small child restraints in the back seat where they are safe from the air bags should they be deployed. Finally, lead by example. If you are on a family bike ride, be sure to wear your helmet and ever ride in the car without your seatbelts properly buckled.

 

 

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Uncommon Poisons in the Home

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We’re well aware of the most common types of poisons that may be lurking in the cupboards in our homes:

  • Cleaning products
  • Pesticides
  • Automotive products like windshield washer fluid and antifreeze
  • Insect repellants
  • Animal products like flea and tick killers
  • Swimming pool chemicals
  • Mold and mildew killing products
  • Health and Beauty products like shampoos, conditioners and cosmetics
  • Weed killers and other lawn care products

What we tend to overlook sometimes are the most uncommon poisons that can be a danger to our children. Among these uncommon poisons are plants we have in and around our home.

We make our home pretty and some of the common house plants that don’t cause a problem are African Violets, Begonias, Forsythia, Petunia and Poinsettias at Christmas time. However, there are several pretty plants that can be deadly:

  • Azaleas
  • Daffodils
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Mistletoe
  • Morning Glory
  • Oleander

Also among these poisonous plants are any of the wild mushrooms you may see growing around your yard are also deadly.

Preventing poisoning in your home is simple enough by keeping these harmful products kept under lock and key and plants up and out of reach of little fingers. Here are a few tips:

  • Store chemicals and pesticides in locked cabinets away from children and even your pets
  • Use the safest products you can – sometimes “green” products are a safer route
  • Be sure the lids on all products are replaced and tightened after every use
  • If you are using rodent killer, use packaging that is tamper resistant and child-proof
  • Do not transfer chemicals or cleaners out of their original containers

No matter if there is an interaction with poisonous household products or the plants we have to make our home pretty, a phone call to your local Poison Control Center is critical.

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Simple and special valentines treats and presents for busy parents

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Nothing says “love” better than a homemade gift or treat from your child on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few ideas to help create some handmade gifts and memories with your children:

  • Yarn Heart Cards: Give your kiddos child-safe plastic needles to stitch up some yarn heart cards. All you need is some colored card stock, scissors, tape colored yarn and the child-safe plastic needles. Fold the card stock in half, draw a heart and cut it out then tape it to the front of the card stock. Lay the card flat and with the heart as your template punch holes in the card stock with the needle and then discard the heart template. Have your child thread the needle with the yarn and knot the end. Start inside the card and stitch from side to side and finish by knotting on the inside of the card and trim the excess yarn.
  • Paper blooms are another simple and fun project to make with your kids. Again you’ll need colored cardstock and also wooden spools, heart craft punches, straight pins, craft glue, cloth-covered floral wire, small buttons and grosgrain ribbon the same width as the spools you are using. Punch out a circle from cardstock and poke a small hole in the center with a straight pin. Child: Punch out five heart shapes and fold in half lengthwise for petals. Glue the petals around the circle, leaving the hole unobscured; set aside to dry. Thread one end of a length of floral wire through two holes on a button and twist to secure. Push the opposite end of the wire through the hole in the middle of the flower shape for a stem. Repeat to make more flowers. To make the “vase” – Wrap a length of ribbon around the spool and glue to secure. Trim the flower stems and stick them into the spool to display.
  • Want an easy and yummy Valentine’s snack? Make ice cubes from pomegranate juice and float them in a fruit smoothie.

You can teach your child that love is in the air with these easy Valentine’s Day gifts they can make with you.

www.AM2PMKids.com

 

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Indoor Air Dangers to Kids

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Many people think of air pollution as only being a problem when you step outside. But the fact is, it can be just as big of a problem inside your home. Many normal household products emit volatile organic compounds or VOCs that can cause problems like headaches, rashes, nausea and eye and throat irritations. These irritants can be particularly harmful to children who breathe faster than we do as adults. Babies are at a particularly higher risk because they are closer to the ground where the heavier contaminants hang in the air.

The eye and throat irritations typically come after carpeting is installed. Not only can the carpeting cause problems but also the padding and adhesive that is used. If you are planning to have carpeting installed in your home, choose a low-VOC product and ask the installers to unroll it several days beforehand to allow it to air out. Make arrangements to stay somewhere else while the carpet is being installed and keep your home well-ventilated for several days after the installation. If your children are prone to allergies or have been diagnosed with asthma, consider using other flooring options.

Paint and paint strippers are another pair of harmful pollutants that are found in the home. When you paint, again, use a low-VOC paint and keep the windows open during your painting party and after while the paint dries completely. Don’t store paint cans because gases can leak even if the cans are sealed. If you do have to store the containers keep them away from your main living areas.

Another area that can cause problems is Teflon. Using cookware with the nonstick abilities can release fumes into the air when they are exposed to very high temperatures. Avoid these problems by not using these products in the oven or on the high setting on top of your stove.

Finally, craft supplies can also be an issue. When your kids are feeling crafty you don’t have to tell them no, just head outside or to a well-ventilated area to let them create their masterpieces. Fumes from markers, glue, paint and other supplies can not only cause headaches but also eye nose and throat irritations as well.

Simple measures can be taken to minimize the dangers you expose your children to – be careful and cautious and keep your children healthy.

 

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