Finally! Child care providers can connect more easily with parents, keeping them up-to-date on their children’s day-to-day care with an innovative application called Daily Connect. The mobile and web application gives parents and care providers the ability to easily record everything from naps, feeding and diapers to mood, activities or sickness. You can even take pictures and record the type of games each child is playing. Parents automatically receive real-time updates via the application and a daily email summary at the end of the day.
Looking for a fresh start to 2014? What could be better than working on your family fitness by spending some quality together? Here are some family friendly activities that involve exercise, but are guaranteed to be more fun than the gym:
Grab everyone in the family a bike and set off on a two-wheel adventure. If your kids haven’t mastered the balancing technique yet, throw on some training wheels. And if your little one is way too little to pedal on his or her own, invest in a bike with a child seat or a child trailer so even the smallest munchkins can join in on the fun. Plus, you don’t just have to bike on adventures. You can use your new wheels for running errands too.
Take a hike
Let your little ones lose in the great outdoors. Go on a backpacking trip together. If you just go for a night or two, you shouldn’t need too much gear, but should be able to explore beautiful sites while staying active. If you’re worried about your little one on the path, consider a baby carrier to strap to your chest or just taking a day hike.
It doesn’t matter if it’s soccer, football, baseball or any other sport. The point is that you’re all moving and having fun as a family. Get out in your back yard and throw a ball around. Invite neighborhood families too! The bigger the teams, the better.
Little ones love to boogie so throw a dance party in your own house. Crank up the music, get dressed up and get down.
-“7 Family Exercise Activities.” Life Script
-“Making Fitness a Family Affair.” Great Schools
-Photo courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net
Mom Trusted reports on how the government shutdown affected kids and moms here:
The government shutdown affected kids and moms as it blew through the country, shutting down federally funded programs left and right on the first of October. Many federally funded Head Start programs, which offer free preschool to kids under five, ran out of funding at the end of September. Those that couldn’t afford to stay open through other channels of income were forced to send preschoolers home indefinitely. Head Start programs in Florida, Alabama, Connecticut and Mississippi were among those forced to close, hitting 3,200 preschoolers by the day after the shutdown.
The government shutdown affected kids and moms of all ages, not just those in preschool. Programs labeled “non-essential” were the ones forced to close with the shutdown. Among the many hit was the WIC, the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The WIC provides healthy food for low-income moms and moms-to-be with children under five years old.
Nearly nine million women and children participate in the program and receive an average monthly benefit of $45. By providing healthy food to children, the program hopes to cut medical costs in the future. For every $1 spent on WIC, the program will save over $4 in medical bills.
Many program workers and parents who depend on WIC argue that the program is the opposite of “non-essential.”
-“Shutdown threatens nutrition for mothers, children” CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/30/news/economy/shutdown-wic/index.html
-“WIC support for moms, babies threatened during shutdown” CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57605501/wic-support-for-moms-babies-threatened-during-shutdown/
-“Low-income moms and infants will see support disappear in a shutdown” Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/09/30/2701131/shutdown-wic/
-Photo courtesy of adamr/freedigitalphotos.net
Looking for a few more dishes to feed the kids when they get home? Here are three top notch after school snacks your kids will love:
-Nutrition Facts: 126 calories, 4g carbs, 12g protein, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat
-Directions: Cut chicken breasts into long strips (about four strips per breast, depending on the size). Then, marinate the meat overnight in a mixture of equal parts vegetable oil and low-sodium soy sauce. Before the kids get home from school, stick the strips of chicken on kabob sticks and cook over a flat griddle. If you don’t have one accessible, simple fry in a pan and stick them on sticks after. Dip in a peanut sauce (combine peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, garlic and lime juice).
Cranberry Orange Muffins:
-Nutrition Facts: 175 calories, 31g carbs, 1g fiber, 2g protein, 5g fat, 0g saturated fat
-Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Next, blend ½ cup of orange juice, 1 orange, 1 egg and ¼ cup of vegetable oil in a blender. In a bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of flower, ¾ cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a pinch of salt. Stir in the blended liquids slowly. Mix in ½ cup of dried cranberries and pour the batter into the muffin tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until the outside of the muffins turn golden.
Homemade and Healthy (well, healthier) Whoopie Pies:
-Directions: Mix 2 cups of flour, ½ cup of coco powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl, stir 1 ¼ cups of sugar, 3 eggs, ¾ cup of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 ½ cups of pureed beets. Set the oven to 350 degrees and drop small balls of the batter onto an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
For the filling, mix 2 tablespoons of softened butter, 3 tablespoons of marshmallow fluff, 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Spread the mixture onto the flat side of the cooled cake and push another cake on top.
-Photo courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net
Have you noticed an itchy rash, leaving circles on your child’s body? It could appear on their chest, stomach, arms, head, toes or anywhere in between. It could be the size of a dime or a dinner plate, depending on how much they’ve been scratching. The most distinctive feature is the ring-shaped rash, which is likely ringworm. Here’s what you need to know about ringworm on kids:
What is it?
Despite the gross name, a child with ringworm does not have a parasite in their skin. ringworm is actually a fungus. Infact, it’s the same fungus called athlete’s foot when on the feet, or jock itch when found on the groin and upper thighs.
How can they get it?
Ringworm is contagious and spread from person-to-person, as well as by many animals such as cats. It can even be picked up in the soil.
In addition to the ring-shaped pattern, some kids develop a low-grade fever with the fungus. If spread to the finger or toenails, the nails become thick and yellow. The scalp can also be infected with ringworm and will often develop an itchy, flakey patch. When just starting out, small, itchy bumps pop up and eventually spread to the ring pattern. Scratching can speed up the process by aggravating and spreading the fungus.
Antifungal creams are available for treatment at your common drugstore. Topical ointments work for lesser cases. If the fungus has spread dramatically or the topical creams don’t seem to be working after about a week, visit your doctor. Doctors can prescribe antifungal medication to help treat ringworm on kids. Treat right away to avoid spreading it to other family members or children at the childcare center or school.
Avoid ringworm by showering after sports or touching animals. Have the kids wear sandals in public restrooms and showers.
-“Ringworm” Teens Health: http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/fungal/ringworm.html
-“No-Panic Guide to Kids’ Cooties” Parents.com: http://www.parents.com/health/bug-bites/no-panic-guide-to-kids-cooties/?page=5
-“Ringworm” Baby Center: http://www.babycenter.com/0_ringworm_10884.bc
-Photo courtesy of arztsamui/freedigitalphotos.net
Fifty-four kids, ages 8 to 12, attended the second annual State Dinner, hosted at the White House by Michelle Obama. They were there on July 13 to celebrate winning the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. At dinner, some of the winners’ healthy recipes, submitted by the kids that were affordable and easy, were served to the guests. A child and guardian from each state attended.
There were 54 winning dishes in total (one from each of the states and each U.S. territory). The recipes hit a wide variety of flavors, ingredients and courses. Some salad favorites included Colorado’s Nicholas Hornbostel de Moura e Silva’s sushi salad and Ingrid Gruber’s, from D.C., Inga Binga’s Salmon Salad. North Carolina’s Vijay Dey won with her famous spring rolls and Campbell Kielb, from Virginia, made the list with her orange-chicken lettuce wraps.
The winners were selected from over 1,300 entries. They shined and dined with one another, making new friends and supporting healthy eating around the country. The dinner was set to mirror official State dinners, allowing the kids to see what it’s like to be a world leader. Michelle thanked the kids and parents for their hard work and healthy leadership skills. President Obama even made a surprise visit.
The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge was founded to compliment Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. Let’s Move focuses on making healthy food more available, in both schools and homes, and encouraging kids to stay physically active. The First Lady’s initiative is meant to fight obesity and teach healthy lifestyles in children, helping them lead healthier lives.
To try some of the winning recipes for yourself, download the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook for free.
-“Learn the Facts” Let’s Move: http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity
-“Announcing the winners of the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” http://www.recipechallenge.epicurious.com/
-“2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook” http://www.epicurious.com/images/pdf/TheEpicuriousHealthyLunchtimeChallengeCookbook2013.pdf
-“The 2013 Kids’ State Dinner” Let’s Move: http://www.letsmove.gov/kids-state-dinner
-“The 5 Best Moments from the 2013 Kids’ State Dinner” The White House Blog: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/07/09/5-best-moments-2013-kids-state-dinner
-Photo courtesy of Damian Brandon/freedigitalphotos.net
Guest Post by: Angelo DiGangi of Home Depot
Have you ever heard a new mother joke that she would rather her baby not begin walking, because then she’ll have to chase him around? It’s true that carrying our children ensures that we know exactly where they are at all times, but even when a child begins to explore the world, there are ways to make that world safer.
Whether you are at home with small children of your own or you are looking for the best ways to childproof your childcare center or local business, there are ways you can organize and safeguard kitchen cabinets, drawers and other places where you might not want tiny hands.
Locks of Love
One of the most important ways to childproof your home is to keep kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers that contain harmful or dangerous items off limits.
First, get organized.
Don’t put things like poisonous cleaning products in the lower kitchen cabinets, if possible. Try storing plastic food containers, plastic dishes, dishtowels and other harmless items for areas within the reach of small hands.
Check out what’s available.
When it comes to latches and locks to keep your kitchen items safe, there are plenty of options. Hardware stores, specialty shops and super stores are all fine places to peruse options for safety latches. There are two main types of latches for cabinets and drawers.
Elsewhere in the Kitchen
If you have harmful products stashed under a sink, those may be the first items you think about inside a kitchen – and with good reason! But there are other ways to keep your toddler safe in the most popular room of the house.
Use the back section of the stovetop.
If you’re boiling water or cooking, use the back burners. Keep the handles turned away from any side where your toddler might be able to reach.
Keep countertops clear.
Make sure appliances, knife sets and other kitchen gadgets are not at the edge of the counters, but pushed back and away from reach.
Elsewhere in the House
Latch your toilet seat.
More toddlers drown inside toilets than you could ever imagine. Keep your toilet seats closed and latched to prevent this.
Use an anti-scalding device for sinks and showers.
Don’t let your child turn on the hot water and burn himself. Install a device on the showerhead and faucet that prevents the water from becoming too hot. Most of these devices function by automatically reducing the water flow when it becomes a certain temperature.
You can also go a step further and install an anti-scalding device on your actual hot water heater. A professional plumber is usually the one to do this.
To avoid shock, cover all unused outlets with a safety cap.
Leave hairdryers and other bathroom appliances unplugged.
Even adults get burned sometimes – so remember to unplug any bathroom appliances and put them away after use.
Other Precautions for Safety
Use doorknob covers and baby gates.
If there are rooms in your house where you’d just rather not have children, try a simple doorknob cover or a baby gate to deter your toddler from entering.
Cover furniture edges with “bumpers.”
Children are prone to running around, falling and bumping their heads. You can prevent accidents involving the furniture by covering the corners with “bumpers” that soften the edges.
Avoid creating a “ladder” for windows.
Kids love to climb. That said, keep all furniture away from high windows, which can pose a falling hazard should your child climb onto the windowsill. Screens do not provide sufficient protection.
Keep cords out of reach.
Cords – whether from appliances or blinds – can strangle a child easily. Make sure your toddler cannot wrap him or herself in loose cords.
Keep bookcases and other structures sturdy.
Secure bookcases and any other furniture that could fall over onto a child by using brackets and anchors. Keep heavier items at the bottom to prevent a top-heavy structure.
Ensuring that your home is childproof is no easy task, but there are plenty of items to assist in your venture. And, other parents and visitors will feel at ease knowing that you’ve taken the time to create a safe environment for little people.
Angelo DiGangi is a Home Depot “on the floor” sales associate at a suburban Chicago store. His writing interests include providing kitchen design ideas for homeowners on the Home Depot website.