Bathroom Safety

baby in bath towel

Bath time is a fun and playful time for your child or toddler, but it is important to keep their safety in mind. The bathroom has many unsafe substances and surfaces that can be harmful to your little one. The easiest way to prevent injuries is to make the bathroom inaccessible to them without adult supervision, which can be done by using a child lock. However, even while under adult supervision, you should take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries from happening to your child.

Bathroom Safety Tips

  • Your child should be under adult supervision at all times while in the bathroom. If you must leave the bathroom for any reason, always take your child with you. Children can drown in only a few inches of water and bath seats and rings will not prevent drowning. Make sure you gather all the bath time necessities such as towels, shampoo, soap, rubber duckies, etc., before starting the bath to avoid having to leave the room. Also, never leave water in the bathtub when it is not in use.
  • Slips and falls can easily happen in a bathroom. To prevent this, you can install no-slip strips on the bottom of the bathtub. You can also put a soft cover on the water faucet so that your child does not hurt their head if they bump into it. Curious children may be fascinated by the toilet and want to play in it. Not only is this unsanitary, but your child could slip and fall into it which makes this also a drowning hazard. To avoid this from happening, you can install a toilet lid lock.
  • Make sure your water temperature is not set over 120°F to prevent scalding. Always test the water temperature before putting your child in the tub. It is also important to teach your child to turn the cold water on first when they are old enough to use the faucets alone.
  • Medicines should also have child-resistant caps to prevent your child from opening the bottles. However, just because a medicine bottle has a child-resistant cap doesn’t mean it is childproof. Make sure medicine and toiletries are always locked away and out of reach of children when they are not in use.
  • Just like medicine and toiletries, electrical appliances used in a bathroom, such as hair dryers and razors, should also be locked away and out of reach of children. If they are not in use, be sure to unplug them and put them away properly. To avoid electric injury resulting from electrical items falling in a sink or tub, it’s better to use electrical items in a room where there is no water.

Source:   Healthy Children

Grandparent Daycare

grandparents holding their grandchildren

Becoming a grandparent is one of the most rewarding and fun parts of growing older. The innocence and sense of wonder that your grandchildren possess can make you feel young again. Being a grandparent is exciting, but it’s also a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. If you are in charge of watching your grandchildren while their parents are away, here are some tips to keep the little ones safe and sound.

Child Care Tips for Grandparents

  • You are more than just their babysitter. Grandparents can play an important role in any child’s life. Your knowledge, values, and stories can impact their lives and play a crucial role in their learning process. Your teachings can follow them to adulthood and influence who they become.
  • If you assist in dropping off or picking up your grandchildren from a childcare center or babysitter, there are a couple things you should do. First, make sure that you introduce yourself and provide the babysitter or childcare center with your contact information should an issue or emergency occur. Next, while you are there you should determine the quality of the facility and make sure it is up to your and your grandchildren’s parents’ standards. Lastly, make sure the child is properly buckled and in the appropriate car seat at all times.
  • Learn about new medical discoveries through your children, your grandchildren’s pediatrician, and other credible sources. Medicine and childcare are constantly evolving, and it is important to know the latest childcare and medical practices. What may have been the best method when you were raising your own children may not be the best practice now.
  • Make sure that your medications are out of reach and properly secure so that your grandchildren can’t get to them. It’s easy to forget to put something away that is part of your daily routine, so making the conscious effort to properly store potentially dangerous medicines, cleaners, etc., is a wise choice. Children are curious and will get into anything and everything.

Source:  Healthy Children

Daycare Drop-Off Tips

baby playing with toys at daycare

Dropping off your child at daycare can be challenging for everyone involved. You and your child may experience separation anxiety and that is normal, but it is important to find ways to overcome that anxiety. Here are some tips to make it easier for the both of you each morning.

Early Infancy

The truth is, at this stage daycare drop off is probably going to be harder on the parent than the baby. Usually, the infant can be anywhere from 0 to 7 months old and needs to be cared for and comforted, but it’s unlikely the baby will experience separation anxiety. The infant should transition quite easily to a daycare employee but the parent may be the one experiencing separation anxiety. Over time, you will find you become more comfortable with it.

Seven to Twelve Months

During this stage, your baby is anywhere from 7- to 12-months old. At this age it is normal for your baby to be weary of getting handed off to a stranger. Between the new environment and the new people, your baby may become reluctant to leave your arms. It is recommended that you do not begin childcare at this age when possible, but if you have to, slowly transition into it. To help the transition process, try creating a goodbye routine and keep it consistent from day to day.

One to Two Years Old

This age range is when your child is going to have the most difficulty being dropped off at daycare. Their separation anxiety peaks between the ages of one and two and they may kick and scream to prevent you from leaving. The toddler often thinks you will not return and will become upset when you walk away. It is important to reassure them that you will be back to get them and that everything is going to be okay. While you want to comfort them, it is important to stay firm when doing so. Once you leave the room, don’t come back in if they begin to cry.

Not every child is the same and some may experience separation anxiety at different ages. No matter their age, it is important to stay consistent and be specific, keep your promises and create short, fun goodbye routines.

Source: Healthy Children

Finding the Right Childcare Center

child care center

There are many things to consider when searching for the right childcare center for your son or daughter. Not only is enrolling your child in childcare an investment, but you must feel comfortable enough to trust your child with them while you are at work. Whether it’s called a childcare center, preschool, learning center or nursery school, make sure you do your research before settling. Obvious factors like hours and price are rarely overlooked, but other features like qualifications, communication and references are often overlooked, and they should not be. Note: as measles is making a comeback, ask if the daycare allows unvaccinated children. If it does, look elsewhere.

FAQs:

Hours: One of the first things to consider when researching childcare centers is the hours. Do they fit your needs? Is there flexibility if you have to work late? What about vacations and holidays?

Price: A big deciding factor will be the fee. How much will it cost for your child or children? Are there any extra/hidden fees? How are the payments made? Weekly, monthly? Do they accept state aid? What is included in the cost?

Qualifications/Staffing: Are the staff highly trained and certified (CPR/First Aid, infant care, early-childhood education)? Are they staying up to date with annual certifications and trainings? What is the adult-to-child ratio? How many children are in a room at one time? Can the childcare center provide you with health and safety inspection reports?

Is there a qualified health professional on call for the children? How often do they visit? The national standard recommends that a health professional should make a visit to childcare programs with infants and toddlers once a month, and every three months for all other programs.

Visiting and Communication: Visiting the center before deciding can be helpful – does the center allow that? Once enrolled, can you visit at any time? Are visitors screened and approved before entering the childcare center? As for communication, do they provide feedback to you about your child(ren)? When it comes to discipline, is it similar and in line with how you discipline your child(ren) at home?

Policies/ References/ Licenses: What are the center’s written policies for health standards, nutrition, discipline, transportation, media, outdoor play, etc.? Is the center licensed, accredited or registered with local government agencies as required? What is the drop-off and pick-up policy? Can the childcare center give you a reference list of current parents that you can contact?

This may seem like a lot to consider, but all of these factors are important when making the best childcare choice for your son or daughter. Do your research, take your time, and take into account online reviews and references to help you make the right decision. Creating a checklist with the above questions for the childcare centers you are considering is a good place to start.

Source:

Healthy Children

Positive Reinforcement Parenting

Positive Reinforcement Parenting

Most but not all children will do the right thing without a reward and this is where positive reinforcement comes into play. Though praise and recognition should be your first instinct, if that doesn’t work, consider the use of positive reinforcement through a rewards system. This type of encouragement system tends to be effective for parents with middle childhood aged kids. For this to be successful, the positive behavior goals must be clear and specific.

Desired Behavior

Creating a chart that incorporates the desired positive behaviors is a great place to start, almost like a chart of chores you would make for your child. Consider both short-term and long-term goals that you want your child to work toward; so, you may want to create a week-by-week section and even a month-to-month one, too. Each time your child engages in the positive behavior, they can earn a point or star. A reward system with the points or stars should be put into place and as your child reaches a goal, an appropriate small or bigger reward should be given to your child. The goal can be as simple as working towards becoming more polite and small rewards can be used for that, and bigger goals like an outstanding school report card may be more appropriate for a larger reward. The larger rewards should be saved and only used as the points or stars add up enough to being large-reward worthy.

List of Rewards

As an incentive, create a list of rewards with your child as you’ll want them to be meaningful. Deciding on an appropriate number of points it will take to earn each specific reward is important. This reward system should be strictly followed to teach your child that they have to work hard.

Reinforcement

To keep your child incentivized, reinforcing the rewards system is important. Frequent reminders and encouragement are a great way to keep them interested and working hard.

Success

Lastly, success is always the goal, but chances are that your child will fall off track at some point. When this happens, light punishments such as a timeout are appropriate and will still keep your child encouraged to keep working toward a goal. Eventually, this program should teach your child to internalize their behaviors and the reward system will gradually be forgotten about or not needed.

Source:
Healthy Children

Helping Your Child Learn to Read

little girl in a library reading a book

Some children have a desire to learn how to read and others may be more reluctant to learn this complex skill. The best way to encourage this exciting milestone in your child’s life is to make reading fun. Now, you may be asking yourself how can I make reading fun for my child?

Patience

Allowing your child to read at his own pace is important when reading together. Helping a child pronounce words they stumble upon by coming up with creative ways to remember the word, can make reading more fun. If you are reading to your child, have fun with characters’ voices and tone. When reading picture books together, talk about what is on the page with your child and see where their imagination takes them.

Encouragement

Let your child pick out a few books that pique their interest and begin reading the story to them. After a couple times of reading the same book, your child will be able to remember the words and can join in on the reading. Allowing your child to finish a sentence encourages them to keep going because they feel confident. Once your child feels confident enough, challenge them to read the entire story out loud. Don’t be afraid to introduce your child to age-appropriate chapter books to expose them to something different and challenging early on.

Reading Time

Reading a book should never be rushed, it should be a relaxing, fun activity to do at the end of a busy day. Setting aside reading time is a great idea, and bedtime is one of the most popular times to read with your child. Keeping books placed in the child’s bedroom is a great way to encourage them to become comfortable with books and even start to pick them up on their own.

Though children do have to learn how to read in school, as a parent, we are their first teachers. Showing them love and support is the first step in helping your child learn how to read. For both you and the child, reading can seem frustrating at times but that is never an excuse to put a book down, instead it should be a moment of support and encouragement.

Unruly, Unpredictable Kids & Child Temperament

unpredictable kids and child temperament

Some kids are easygoing, adaptable, and generally have predictable reactions to everyday situations. For others, going to the supermarket can either be a calm, quiet experience, or a torturous excursion – with very little in between. These children’s behaviors are unpredictable, with their temperament constantly in flux. While this can be challenging as a parent, understanding general characteristics of temperament can be helpful in diagnosing reactions and coming to solutions. Here they are summarized:

Activity & Regularity: Kids have a threshold for the amount of activity they can handle in a day and how irregular, or off schedule, their day can be before they become overwhelmed. This can affect them both mentally and physically, especially at mealtime.

Approach to Stimuli: This describes the type of reaction your child gives to a new stimulus –with confidence versus hesitancy.

Adaptability: This is the ease with which your child adjusts to changes and whether your child’s feelings can be modified through learning.
Intensity of Response: This has to do with the energy level with which your child has a reaction, be it negative or positive.

Mood: The degree of agreeableness or hostility with which your child communicates.

Attention Span & Distractibility: The degree to which your child can concentrate on a specific task without distraction, and how easily distraction can occur.

Sensory Threshold: Some children respond immediately to stimuli, while others require higher amounts to cause a reaction.

By understanding and being able to identify your child’s characteristics, you could begin to predict the unpredictable in certain situations. As your children grow, their behavior patterns may shift. Talking through characteristics with your pediatrician can help them give you parenting techniques to support your child.

Source: Healthy Children

Developing Hand-Eye Coordination in Children

developing hand-eye coordination in children. mother and son throwing ball in park.

Hand-eye coordination in children fully develops later in life than you may think. Your child’s proprioception, which helps them sense where their body is in space, has to work along with what they sense visually. Putting those two elements together enables kids to hit a baseball or tennis ball. Between the ages of six and nine, your child is just beginning to put things together, and hand-eye coordination develops.

Don’t Rush It

Hand-eye coordination is a skill that you cannot speed up the way you can help your child learn to read at an earlier age. Hand-eye coordination can only be developed once their eye grows into its round shape and the muscles around it have strengthened enough to easily follow moving objects. Since there are no eye workouts to strengthen these muscles, the process is dependent on how fast that growth occurs naturally.

Activities To Help Brain Development

Although they may not be able to catch a ball at a far distance, there are things you can do with your child that enhance their learning at various developmental stages. Age appropriate puzzles help children with problem solving skills which they can build on each time they complete the puzzle. It’s also important to read with your children and interact with the words and pictures on the page. Teaching them simple, short words and asking what they are over time can help them memorize what the letters look like, which helps them feel like they can read. Down the road as they learn to read sentences, this can give them more confidence in their abilities.

Sports

There’s nothing wrong with involving your children in sports before they’ve honed in on their hand-eye coordination, as long as they are playing with other kids their age. Tee-ball, swimming and soccer are all great sports to play in the back yard, or on a team before they have fully developed hand-eye coordination.

If you are concerned with your child’s hand-eye coordination development, speak to your pediatrician–sometimes an occupational therapist or a physical therapist can help.

Dry Winter Skin

Dry Winter Skin

Whether your child suffers from eczema or just seasonally dry skin, it’s important to take his skincare seriously, as uncomfortably dry skin can have an effect on his mood and ability to focus in school. Low moisture in winter air combined with dry air in heated homes are the culprits to pesky dry winter skin. Here are some tips recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics on how to deal with your child’s dry winter skin:

Drink lots of water
The first line of defense in protecting your children from dry winter skin is encouraging them to drink more water. This may be easier in summer months when they are hot and thirsty, but drinking lots of water hydrates their skin from the inside out.

Only bathe your child three times a week
Being exposed to long, warm baths may make your child feel nice during chilly winter months. However, these baths are actually robbing your child’s skin of moisture and contributing to the problem. They should only bathe three times a week to help mitigate a loss of hydration.

No bubble bath with fragrance
When your child does take a bath, use gentle cleaners that are formulated especially for sensitive skin without fragrance. These chemicals cause skin to dry up, no matter what the packaging might suggest.

Pat dry
After bathing, do not rub your child’s skin down with a towel. Instead, pat them down gently. Rubbing wet skin can irritate it and dry it out further.

Apply moisturizer right away
While your child is still damp and in the bathroom which still has moisture in the air, apply moisturizer. Children may need to get used to moisturizing twice per day if their dry skin persists.