Preparing for Flu Season – Useful Information You Need to Know

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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.

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Your Toddler’s Tantrums are a Good Thing

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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!

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Pros and Cons of Children Using Devices

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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 than 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.

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Benefits of Arts and Crafts

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Arts and crafts are a wonderful way for your child to stretch their imagination and creativity. These activities can be as simple as coloring a picture or painting. They can even be more difficult too such as helping you sew. Kids can gain many different skills or developments from doing crafts that you may not have considered. Below is just a short list of benefits your child will gain from arts and crafts.

So, what are the benefits?

Arts and crafts develop coordination since these activities use both hands. It even helps develop fine motor skills such as holding items in your hands or moving objects from one place to another. Your child will also develop their executive functioning skills. These are skills used for paying attention, planning, holding onto a thought, or even controlling impulses.

By doing arts and crafts, your child will have a higher self-esteem because of the positive emotional response completing these activities will give. At a young age, they will learn to take pride in their work and accomplishments. They will feel empowered because they are learning to express themselves. Arts and crafts promote creativity and imagination. These activities may foster artistic abilities in your child’s adult life.

Takeaway

Doing arts and crafts is a great way for your child to learn important skills they will need in the future. Do them together as a bonding experience! But they can be done alone as well. They do not have to be elaborate and expensive either. Start with some paper and crayons, and see where it takes your child!

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Tips for Newborn Parents

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Having a baby is a life-changing experience. Not only will having a baby completely change your world, but they are also expensive. The constant diaper changes, cleaning products, food and clothing from each stage of your baby’s growth will go into the thousands of dollars.

Here are a few tips for raising a healthy newborn baby, while also saving you some money.

Healthy Food Choices for a Newborn Baby

Obviously, babies need milk and food to grow. Manufacturers have seemingly made it easy for parents in today’s society, as they promise that all of the nutrition a newborn baby needs is available in a jar of food, or from a powdered milk source. However, according to many experts, breast milk is the best source of nutrition for a newborn baby. It is the richest source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which supports the brain development in a baby.

Some experts recommend that breast milk exclusively be fed for the first six months, then alternate between breastfeeding and food until the age of two; however, some mothers continue to breastfeed their baby for longer. Breast milk is the perfect temperature for a baby, plus it saves a mother time, energy and money. After all, it’s free!

As your baby gets a bit older and you want to ensure they receive the highest levels of nutrition possible, then fresh food is best. Cook meals from scratch. Blend chicken, potatoes, carrots, and gravy for a tasty meal that your baby will grow to love. Pureed fruit, including apples and mixed berries, is a healthy dessert choice to feed your baby. Another good choice is rice pudding. Remember that meals cooked from scratch do not contain preservatives, and are much less expensive than manufactured foods.

Safe Products to Use on a Newborn Baby

It is very important that a baby receives healthy fats during their growth. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is abundant in breast milk. A rich source of monolaurin (immune boosting properties) is coconut oil. Rubbing this nourishing oil into your baby’s skin will heal rashes and skin irritations. It is important that you remember the skin is the largest organ in the human body and the skin of a baby is precious.

Baby oil contains mineral oil, plus synthetic fragrance. When applied to the skin, mineral oil blocks the pores and does not allow the skin to breathe. The skin must release toxins through perspiration and if a baby is unable to release toxins, they may be more prone to illness and infection. Healthier oils to use on a baby include coconut oil, shea butter, and Vitamin E oil. Stick to gentle products that are paraben and fragrance-free, made with nourishing oils, including sunflower seed, wheat germ, grape seed, and canola oil.

Using a jogging stroller could be great for you and your baby. It maintains your active lifestyle and will get you out of the house at a time in your life when you may be overwhelmed through responsibility.

To help your newborn baby getting better sleep, use the Baby Shusher. It works like magic and will save you hours of frustration trying to get your newborn baby to sleep. Swaddling can also help your baby sleep better and longer. Your baby may jerk in their sleep. This is normal and is their startle reflex. Swaddling can help prevent your baby from waking themselves up when they jerk.

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Establishing a Sleeping Routine

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It’s not unusual for newborns to have strange sleeping habits, particularly for them to want to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. If you are a new parent, you’ve likely received advice from many parents on how to achieve a sleeping schedule. If your baby’s sleeping habits need some adjustment, here are some ways to get your baby on track.

  1. Don’t keep quiet during the day when he’s sleeping – When your baby sleeps during the day (and all babies will) leave the door to his room open, and go about your normal daily routine. Keep the television or stereo on. This will accomplish two things. First, he will learn to sleep even through the noise, which is important, since this child will be taking naps in your home for four or five years. Secondly, he will get the idea that the daytime is not the right time for long periods of sleep.
  2. Start slow. Your baby doesn’t need a bedtime routine right away. A newborn will sleep a lot when first brought home. They will not sleep for several hours in a row because of their eating needs. After a month or so, try starting a nightly routine. For example, bath time, massaging, feeding, and then singing a lullaby.
  3. If your baby sleeps more than three hours at a stretch, wake them. Babies should nap during the day, of course, but more than three hours is not a nap. Once your baby is awake, sing or talk to your baby to keep them awake. This is a great time to put him on a mat for some tummy time if it’s not feeding time. Now, of course, the second half of this problem is the staying awake at night. This is going to take some time, and babies usually make some significant adjustments within about three weeks, though you will be getting up for feedings at least once at night for a bit longer.
  4. Put him in bassinet or cradle for the first few weeks. A crib can seem huge to a newborn, so you might find that he sleeps much better in the coziness of a smaller space.
  5. Give him some soothing sounds. Not only will this act as a sort of “white noise” to block out other sounds, it will also be soothing to him. Soft, classical music works well, but so can the constant hum of a fan or the Baby Shusher.
  6. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature. If your baby too cold or too warm, just like the rest of us, they will not sleep as well.
  7. Establishing a routine. Your child will sleep better if they have an established sleeping routine for day and night. Put your baby down for naps at the same time each day, and put them down for bed at the same time each night. Create some bedtime habits that will signal to the baby that bedtime is near. A bath or a story can be a nice way to wind down and get ready for restful sleep.

Sleeping habits are a challenge for most new parents, primarily because you’re so tired yourself. One word of advice – don’t try to make baby sleep at night by not allowing him to nap during the day. It will backfire. Babies need lots of sleep, and naps are a critical part of this. Just don’t let your baby sleep for too long at a stretch during the day. Give it some time, and take some naps yourself, and before you know it, everyone will be sleeping soundly through the night.

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Preparing for Labor

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What To Pack

Whether you’re planning to have your baby at home, in a hospital or with a midwife, you’ll definitely want to pre-pack in preparation for labor. It’s best to get a few things ready at least two weeks before your due date.

You may get a list from your midwife or from the hospital. Here are a few things you could include:

  • Something loose and comfortable to wear during labor that doesn’t restrict you from moving around or make you too hot. You’ll probably need about three changes of clothes.
  • Comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed.
  • Sanitary pads.
  • A bag with a toothbrush, hairbrush, soap and other toiletries.
  • Books, magazines, and music to help pass time after birth.
  • Front-opening or loose-fitting nightgowns or tops if you’re going to breastfeed, and any other clothes you will feel comfortable in.
  • Loose, comfortable outfit to wear after you have given birth, and to come home in.
  • Clothes, a hat, and diapers for the baby.
  • Swaddles or blankets to wrap baby in.
  • Baby Shusher
  • Tushy Tote for diapers.

Transport

Decide how you will arrive at the hospital or midwifery unit. If you’re planning to go by car, make sure it’s running well and that there’s plenty of gas in the tank. Have a backup plan just in case your little one makes a surprise arrival.

Emergency and Important Numbers

Wherever you’re planning to give birth, keep a list of important numbers in your handbag or program them into your phone.

You need to include:

  • Your hospital or midwife’s phone number.
  • Your partner or birth partner’s phone number.
  • Your own hospital reference number.

Stocking Up

When you come home after labor, you won’t want to do much more than rest and care for your baby. Do as much shopping and planning in advance as you can. Stock up on basics, such as toilet paper, diapers, groceries, and needed household items. It’s also a great idea to pre-cook some meals in advance and freeze them.

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Water Safety Rules Parents Need to Know

 

Summer is officially here! It’s time for fun in the sun and plenty of pool days. It’s no secret that swimming at the pool poses a risk to your children — drowning. It is a fear every parent has, so we’re going to give you a list of water safety rules you should know as a parent to help keep your kids safe!

Rule #1

Always, always, always, watch your children at the pool. An accident could happen in the blink of an eye. So, put your phone away and be alert.

Rule #2

Take your child to swimming lessons. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 4 and older take swimming lessons. You can even sign your child up for lessons younger than 4 years old if you wish to do so. This will teach your child to be comfortable in the water, how to float, how to control their breathing, and more. Even though your child has had successful swimming lessons, they should still be monitored in the water.

Rule #3

Learn CPR. A lifeguard may be on duty at the pool, but you may see your child or another in need of assistance before the lifeguard. In other cases, if your child is playing in the water at home or somewhere a lifeguard is not present, knowing CPR will save lives.

Rule #4

Teach your child the rules and how to behave at a pool or anywhere around water. Do not push people into the pool, no running, do not hold people underwater, wait for an adult to be present before swimming.

Rule #5

Toddlers and Infants in water should be no more than an arm’s length away so that you may provide touch supervision. This means that you are able to touch or hold the child if help is needed.

We hope these rules help you keep your kids and others safe when around water. Happy swimming!

 

Preventing Hot Car Related Deaths

You may be thinking, “I’ll never forget that I have my child with me in the car.” Most deaths related to hot cars are not intentional. Parents who have had these accidents happen to them probably said the same thing before. It is human nature to forget things from time to time. And, it is better to be safe than sorry. It only takes forgetting your child one time for a fatal accident to happen. Afterall, your child is irreplaceable. A few states have even made it illegal to leave children in the car unattended.

On average, 37 children die from a heat stroke from being trapped in hot vehicles a year according to kidsandcars.org. We’ve put together a list of ways you can prevent accidentally forgetting about your child in the backseat.

  1. Leave your left shoe in the backseat.
  2. Place your cell phone, purse, bag, etc. in the backseat.
  3. Put the diaper bag in the front seat after putting your baby in their car seat.
  4. Talk to your child while driving to your destination.
  5. The BackSeat App
  6. Kars4Kids Safety App
  7. Car seat alarms, reminder key fobs, etc.

All of these tips and ideas remind you to check your backseat before leaving your car.

More backseat reminder technologies can be found at fatherly.com.

Car Seat Safety Tips

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 for 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 for 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.