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5 Turkey-riffic Ways to Include Your Little One this Holiday

‘Tis the season to be thankful: for your family, for the food, and for any extra hands in the kitchen! We know that preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a big task, especially with kids around, but here are some fun ways to let them in on the fun!

1. Hand turkeys turkey hand drawing craft

This is the ultimate versatile craft for the Thanksgiving holiday. Ask your child to make hand turkey nameplates, or even hand turkey worksheets so everyone can list five things they are thankful for. The possibilities are endless—who knows, your little one might even have a unique idea for the craft! (Photo by Oipom on Flickr)

2. Food Prepfood prep

There are always fruits and veggies to be washed, potatoes to be mashed, and rolls to be placed on the baking sheet. These simple tasks can help your child feel important to the meal’s success. (Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash)

3. Baking

Whether you’re baking cookies or mixing pie filling, let your child have a turn! They’ll feel like Betty Crocker. Just make sure you keep an eye on their technique—cherry pie filling gets sticky quick!

4. Setting the Tabletable setting

Depending on how old your child is, they might need some help with this task. Start with silverware and napkins for the younger ones and let them work their way up to placing the gravy boat. (photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash)

5. Greeting guests

Your little one might not be an experienced host, but they can certainly gain experience by offering to take the coats and purses of any guests. They can also show guests to the important rooms and make them feel welcome.

These are just a few ways to include them on Turkey Day—ask them how they’d like to help, and they just might surprise you with their capabilities! Have a safe, wonderful holiday.

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Tips and Tricks (or-Treats) for This Halloween Season

Halloween is almost here and that means two things: your kids will want all the candy in the world, and they will want to get all this candy while dressed up as their favorite character. While Halloween is an enjoyable holiday for people of all ages, it can also be a scary one if proper precautions aren’t taken. Here are some things to keep in mind during this spooky season.

1. Make sure costumes are safe.

Since it will be dark outside, costumes should be bright and reflective. They should also be short enough, so your child won’t trip or get their costume caught in any hazards like debris, jack-o-lantern flames, etc. Any body paint should be tested on a small section of skin before the big day so allergic reactions can be avoided. Also, double check that your child can see through their eye mask if they have one!

trick-or-treating children on Halloween
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

2. Use flashlights to see what’s around you.

Sure, there are some street lamps and porch lights, but a flashlight with fresh batteries is the best way to ensure a lit pathway while trick-or-treating. Phone flashlights work too!

3. Always use sidewalks and crosswalks and avoid walking through lawns.

It’s late at night and it might be difficult to spot trick-or-treaters. Play it safe and stick to the side. As for lawns, there might be tripping hazards like a garden hose or other miscellaneous items that the homeowner forgot to remove.

family walking on crosswalk

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

4. Always read the ingredient label.

If your child or someone in your family has a food allergy, be sure to separate treats containing
the ingredient and let the rest of your family know why. Some candies are made in places where
contamination could have occurred. Err on the side of caution to protect your family this year.

5. Check for tampered treats.

If a treat is unwrapped, homemade, or otherwise suspicious, throw it away. Although it’s rare to
find tampered treats, it’s not worth the risk. Most likely, your children won’t miss one or two
treats. Worst case scenario: head to the stores on November 1st to pick up all of the discounted
Halloween candy.

candy

Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

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Teaching Your Child About Body Safety

girl sitting at table writing

Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

Teaching your child about body safety can be a difficult conversation to have with them. We’ve put together a guideline and helpful tips to for when you decide it is time to teach your child about body safety.

Why should I teach my children body safety?

Body safety is one of the most important learnings for your child. As a parent, we teach them about other safety topics such as swimming pool and water safety, if they get lost in a store, not to touch hot surfaces, navigating their emotions, etc. So, why not teach them about their body and how to keep it safe?

Today, we are seeing more women and men speak up that they were victims of sexual abuse or assault. Teaching children how to protect themselves and what to protect themselves from is important. Luckily, the topic of body safety is becoming less taboo.

How do I teach my children about body safety?

Starting the conversation may be the hardest part, but you’ll be glad you did.

Teach them the proper names for their body parts instead of using made-up words that sound silly. When your child is older, around 3 years old, they can learn about safe and unsafe touches. It is a good idea to refrain from labeling these touches as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Your child knows these words and will be less likely to tell you if they were touched inappropriately in fear of getting in trouble because the behavior/action was called ‘bad’.

A good guideline, that is easily understood by children, no one should touch them where their bathing suit covers.

girl smiling at camera

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Teach them who they can come to and tell if they were touched where their bathing suit covers. They should be able to list 4-5 people. Instruct them to keep telling someone until they are helped. They may not always feel comfortable telling you, so be sure to include such persons on their list like their caregiver, doctor, teacher, other relatives, etc. Your child should also be taught the difference between safe and unsafe secrets. Start by putting this into terms they can easily grasp. A birthday present is a safe secret to keep because the person will open the present at the party and know the secret. It is an unsafe secret if the person you are keeping the secret from is never to find out.

What’s Next?

Repeat what you have taught them. As they get older, you can change up scenarios, language, and detail for their level of understanding. There are many great resources out there to help foster this conversation. Educate yourself so that you may educate your children too.
kids doing homework together

Photo by Rachel on Unsplash

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5 Ways to Let Your Little One Help Decorate This Halloween

Pumpkins are a must-have decoration during the fall, but unless your child is patient enough to watch you carve the pumpkin, it can be hard to include the little ones in the fun. Your child can express their creativity by decorating the outside of a pumpkin. Here are five ideas for pumpkin decorating with young children:

1. Use Paint

Toddlers love finger painting (and making a mess), but this way, they can paint as many layers with as many colors as they want. Make sure to use washable paint so the mess is easier to clean! If using tempera paint, mix it equal parts with washable glue to prevent flaking after the paint dries.

child's hands covered in paint

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

2. Use Stencils

Whether it’s a shape or an animal stencil, you can hold it onto the pumpkin while your child fills it in. This offers some guidance, while also letting them have at it. Switch it up with different colors and different stencils for a unique design!

3. Decorate with Stickers

The great part about this method is that you can use old stickers that have been laying in your craft supplies for a while or buy stickers from the dollar store! Your little one can decorate while also working on their motor skills.

little girl in a pumpkin patch

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

4. Use Glitter

While glitter is the messiest way to decorate a pumpkin, it can also be the most fun! Will your child dump the glitter over the whole thing? Will they strategically pour the glitter? Or will they simply toss it up in the air and let it fall where it may? Pick a nice day and decorate outside with your child if you choose this route.

5. Make it a Costume Party

If you really want a mess-free decorating experience, opt for dress-up! Your child can dress the pumpkin in hats and scarves and call it a day. You could even have a pumpkin fashion show!

pumpkin decorated with a witches hat

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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Reasons to Call your Baby’s Doctor

baby lying on hospital bed

As a parent, your child’s health and safety is your number one priority. The littlest sniffle or the slightest change in behavior may worry you, especially if you are a new parent. Sometimes Googling your newborn’s symptoms may not give you clear answers because there is an overabundance of parenting advice and warnings online. To put your mind at ease, call your child’s Doctor.

We’ve put together a list of reasons to call your baby’s Doctor to help you know when that appropriate time is.

• Yellowing of the skin or eyes. This could be Jaundice.
• Difficulty breathing
• A continuous cough
• Persistent crying or irritability
• Blue or grey coloring around the mouth when feeding or crying
• Vomiting or not holding food down
• Unusual/different bowel movement from normal
• Lethargic behavior
• A rectal temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
• A rash, especially if baby has a fever too

This list is not all-encompassing, but if you are concerned, call your baby’s Doctor! That is what they are there for – the wellbeing of their patients.

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Preparing for Flu Season – Useful Information You Need to Know

cup of hot tea on bedside table

Flu season is fast approaching. Take preventative measures and know what to do before you or your child falls ill. Flu season is suspected to come early this year.

How do I prevent the flu?

1. Get a flu shot

2. Eat healthy, exercise, and maintain healthy practices

3. Boost your immune system

However, getting the flu shot is not a guarantee that you will not catch the flu but getting the vaccine could help lessen the symptoms of the flu. The flu shot takes about two weeks to become effective, so a good time to get the flu shot is by the end of October. Healthy children 6 months or older can get the flu shot.

Obviously, taking care of your body and overall health should be a priority regardless of if it is flu season or not. Proper nutrition, drinking plenty of water, and exercise does wonder for your body and immune system. Maintaining healthy practices includes washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, washing clothes and bedclothes regularly, using separate cups and utensils, and sneezing or coughing into the inside of your elbow. To get a leg up over flu season and boost your immune system, try implementing a multivitamin to your daily routine.

What can I do if I or my children get the flu or another virus?

If you or your child has the flu, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, rest, and manage fever and pain. Check with your health care physician or pediatrician first, but acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to alleviate pain and fever symptoms.

In addition to pain medications such as ibuprofen, applying heat using a heating pad or other methods to areas that are painful and sore can help reduce pain. Taking a warm bath can help break a fever.

If you or your child has a stuffy nose and cannot breathe properly, try using a humidifier or the CLEARinse Nasal Aspirator to clear the nose. Interestingly, this nasal aspirator was developed by an ER Doctor and made with young children and babies in mind. As always, wash your hands and disinfect surfaces and other areas in your home.

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

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Your Toddler’s Tantrums are a Good Thing

upset child

It can be hard to keep your cool when your child is having a tantrum. It can feel like there is no end in sight, frustrating, and helplessness. Believe it or not, tantrums are healthy for children and your relationship with your child.

Why are tantrums good for my child?

When your child is throwing the temper tantrum of all tantrums, they are getting their emotions out. Part of developing, emotionally and mentally, is learning how to manage your emotions. Children are simply in this learning process, so go easy on them! They trust you and feel safe in showing their emotions and telling you how they feel.

Releasing their emotions will make them feel better, relieve their stress, clear their head, and more. Many times, children have breakdowns after they are told, “No.” Hearing that they cannot have something or take an action is healthy for you and your child. It shows children that there are limits and that you, as the parent, are standing your ground.

What can I do during and after my child’s tantrum?

During the tantrum, try asking them to explain how they feel and why they are acting in that way. Let them know that it is okay to express their emotions.

Afterward, teach them why you said, “No,” to them. Explain their behavior related boundaries. Let them know that you said “No,” to candy because they did not eat their veggies at dinnertime. Everything is a learning process!

Photo by Shelbey Miller on Unsplash

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Early Signs of Child Hearing Loss

girl sitting outside

Hearing is a critical tool for children as they learn, play, and develop. Some children are born with hearing impairments, while others may develop hearing loss over time.

Unfortunately, even mild hearing loss can affect the way that a child speaks, hears, and understands language. Diagnosing a hearing problem in toddlers can be increasingly difficult, as they do not yet possess the skills to properly explain their symptoms. Here’s a look at some common signs of hearing loss in toddlers and when you should schedule a visit to a pediatric audiologist.

1. Does not respond to soft sounds

Toddlers with hearing loss may not respond when he hears soft sounds, such as a whisper or a low voice. When determining whether or not your child is hearing you or not, consider the environment. Is there excessive background noise or distractions? Also, consider if your child is “choosing” not to listen. Instead of asking whether or not your toddler can hear you, ask if he or she wants some ice cream.

2. Are they not startled when exposed to loud noises?

Most young kids will jump, cry, or in some way signify that they are startled when exposed to loud noises. If your toddler fails to react when a loud noise is present, it may be because he or she is unable to hear the noise or the noise is not as loud to him or her due to the hearing loss.

3. Cannot locate the source of sounds

Children usually have the natural ability to use their hearing to turn towards the source of a noise. If your child hears a sound, he or she should turn their head in the general direction of that sound within seconds. If your toddler acts as if he or she didn’t hear the sound or looks around aimlessly, unsure of where the noise originated, some level of hearing loss may be present.

4. Only responds when facing you

Most toddlers have some communication skills, even if it’s a simple “yes” or “no,” or even a nod of the head up or down. Children with hearing loss may not respond to you when you speak unless he or she if facing towards you. You may also notice that your child carefully watches the faces of people when speaking.

Displays symptoms of other health issues which lead to hearing loss

If the hearing loss is caused by a cold, flu, sinus infection, or other health condition, other symptoms may point to hearing loss. Take note if your child pulls at his or her ears, presents with cold symptoms, suffers from chronic ear infections, or is unusually cranky.

If your toddler shows signs of hearing problems, it’s important to promptly schedule a visit with a pediatric audiologist for a full evaluation. A pediatric audiologist will run tests to determine whether or not your child is indeed experiencing hearing loss, and if so, to what degree. With a proper diagnosis, a treatment plan can then be created.

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Pros and Cons of Children Using Devices

child using computer

Children are increasingly using devices more and more every day. Chances are, you know a parent who occupies their children by letting them watch videos or play games on their cell phone. Letting your child use devices is completely your own choice. Hopefully, this post will help you make that decision!

Pros of Using Devices

There are so many things your child can learn from engaging with a device. There are several educational applications, videos, and more that they can learn from. Your child can learn colors, types of animals and noises, math, geography, and so much more. If your child is fussy or misbehaving, the device can occupy them while you handle the situation.

By using devices, your child will be comfortable with using technology. Using devices can help them stay ahead of the curve in society and school because of the widespread dependability on technology. It can even develop their cognitive skills quicker.

Cons of Using Devices

When children use devices, they may have trouble making friends in the future because they have not learned how to communicate with others to a certain degree. They also may have issues with their eyesight from looking at the blue light the device screen gives off. Sometimes, children may use earbuds. This could cause earwax impaction because they earbuds go inside of the ear. Earwax impaction is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. They may have a higher risk of obesity because using devices requires them to be sedentary.

How can I give them the best of both worlds?

Try limiting their screen time. This allows them time to learn and play on their devices, but also ensuring that they put them down too. Teach them that having the chance to use technology is a privilege. This can be accomplished by having a routine of chores/homework first and then screen time.

Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash
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Car Seat Safety Tips

baby in car seat

Choosing the right type of car seat for your child is important. Picking the wrong type of car seat could be dangerous. There are many different types of car seats that change as your child grows.

Rear-facing Car Seats

Your child should be in a rear-facing car seat until they are 12 months old. After that, it would be a good idea to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. Generally 1-3 years old. Read the height and weight limit on your car seat to find this information.

Some car seats, called convertible or all-in-one, can be used through most if not all stages of your child’s development and growth.

Forward-facing Car Seats

Children 1-3 years old and 4-7 years old can use forward-facing car seats. Remember, keep your child in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. Check the height and weight limit of the car seat per the manufacturer’s instructions. The same goes for forward-facing car seats. Once your child has outgrown the height and weight limits of their forward-facing car seat, they can use a booster seat.

Booster Seat

Children ages 4-7 and 8-12 can use booster seats. Again, check the height and weight limit of the car seat per the manufacturer’s instructions. Their seatbelt should run across their thighs and not their stomach.

There is overlap in age ranges due to children being unique. One child may grow faster than another, etc. Remove any bulky clothing so that their car seat harness straps fit snugly. Make sure there are not any twists in the straps, and the clip is across their chest at armpit level.

More information and resources can be found at dmv.org and nhtsa.gov.