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5 Important Bath Safety Tips

January 16, 2014

By Noralba Martinez

Parents take care of a baby while bathing him.

January is Bath Safety Month, which is an important time to discuss the importance of water safety with caregivers of a young child. I remember working with a family 10 years ago who had a beautiful and healthy baby boy. One day, the mother was busy, as we all are. She had food on the stove for dinner, she still had to bathe her baby and her five-year-old, and continue her many tasks at home.

The mother thought it would be okay to multitask as she usually did. She left the water running in the tub without the stopper and left the baby and brother in the tub while she ran to check dinner in the kitchen, which was only a few steps away. In a matter of seconds, the older brother decided to play with the toilet paper in the tub. The paper began to clog the water and it began rising. Remember, only an inch of water is needed to drown a baby. When the mother returned, her baby was face down, his skin was blue, and was unresponsive. She called 911 and did the best she could to provide aid to her baby. He survived, but he now needs intensive therapy, has a g-tube for his nutrition, and needs lifelong medical care. I’m sorry to begin with such a sad story. Accidents like this one occur frequently, but can be prevented.

The Center for Disease Control reported that the highest drowning rates for children are between the ages of one to four. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States. Nearly one in five people who drown is a child. As a parent and caregiver, remember to always supervise your child when he or she is around water. There are five tips I want to share to make bath time safer for your child.

  1. Never leave your child unattended in a bathtub and/or around water.
  2. Never rely on a child to supervise another child near water.
  3. Do not use bath seats or rings without supervision.
  4. Limit the amount of water in the bathtub. Do not use too much soap or shampoo, which can cause the child to be slippery and fall face-first into the water.
  5. Ask about CPR classes and get trained as a safety precaution.

Remember that drowning can be prevented. You can learn more about water safety through the Start Safe: Water program. We can never be too informed about how to keep our children safe.


Healthy, Energizing Snacks for the Family

January 14, 2014

By Noralba Martinez

Healthy, energizing snacks include oranges, cherries, tomatoes, strawberries, and pickles

Winter can be a drain on your child’s energy levels. Between colder air and less sunlight, it’s hard to stay alert. Keep your family’s energy levels up with healthy snacks throughout the day. If you plan ahead, these snacks can be fun and inexpensive.

You should offer your child snacks in between meals. They should be packed with energy-rich nutrients and have a low calorie count in order to keep a child satisfied until the next meal. You can find packaged snacks at your grocery store or make your own at home, which is healthier and inexpensive. Just remember to package the snacks in small grab-and-go containers for quick access at any time.

Here are some tips on making healthy snacks for your family that will not break the bank.

  • Provide healthy, easy-to-eat foods. Cereal, pretzels, sliced bananas and apples, and raisins are great finger foods for young children. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables when possible for nutrients. Foods with protein will keep your child fuller for a longer period of time, so try foods like peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and cheese.
  • Prepare safe food. Slice everything small to avoid choking and teach your child to sit every time he or she eats. Cook together. When you do have the time, prepare the snack with your child to make healthy eating a family experience.
  • Model healthy eating. Eat the same snack with your child if possible. It would be unfair for your child to see you eat something unhealthy and different from what you are offering him or her.
  • Go green. You can now find snack-size containers and bags at stores to package food. Be eco-conscious and buy reusable containers.
  • Reduce serving size for children. Remember that the serving size on the nutritional information on all food packages reflect a serving size for an adult so limit the amount served to your child.
  • Practice portion control. Do not offer a big snack for your child because he or she will not be hungry to eat the next meal.

By following these suggestions, you can prepare healthy, energy-rich foods that your whole family can enjoy, keeping them alert for any activity.


NPR of Ohio Answers How the Common Core May Meet Special Needs

January 7, 2014

By Amanda Gebhardt

In 2010, a coalition of states, led by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), released the first national set of education standards in the U.S. Referred to as the Common Core State Standards, they define, grade-by-grade, the skills that students should be able to demonstrate in order to be college and career ready.

Many have criticized the standards, and there is still much debate about how the they will be assessed, but the standards themselves may offer enough instructional flexibility to support students in a variety of ways.

We read this article about how the Common Core may be used to support special needs students and wanted to share it with all of you.

Read through the article and let us know what you think in this forum.


Respect Your Child’s Teacher

January 6, 2014

By Jessica Vician

Respect your child's teacher

While your child’s educational success starts at home, as soon as your child starts school, his or her teachers will be sharing that responsibility with you. By giving your child’s teacher the proper respect and receiving respect in return, you will start to build the kind of partnership that will promote your child’s academic success. Sarah Cripe, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Kalamazoo, Michigan, offers these tips on how to work with your child’s teacher:

  • Get to know your child’s teacher. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the school year and tell the teacher that you want to know how your child is doing throughout the year. This gesture shows the teacher that you are an involved parent and they will try to help you.
  • Ask the teacher what you can do to help your child succeed. You are both working toward giving your child a bright future. Share your goal for your child so they can help him or her achieve it.
  • Don’t judge a teacher based on a bad previous experience. Unfortunately, sometimes your child will have a teacher who is not as invested or effective as you might want. However, don’t bring that negative experience into a new school year. Give the new teacher a chance to work with you and help your child succeed in the classroom.
  • Be involved. Make sure your child finishes his or her homework every night. Ask your child about his or her day at school. By being involved in your child’s education at home, you can monitor his or her success and address concerns as soon as they come up. If there is a concern, discuss it with your child’s teacher.
  • Speak directly with the teacher. Don’t express teacher concerns in front of your child. These actions could hurt his or her relationship with the teacher. Schedule a meeting to discuss the concern with your child’s teacher first, and if necessary the principal, rather than involving your child or saying something in the heat of the moment that you might regret later.

By establishing a relationship and keeping the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher, both of you can work toward the common goal of helping your child succeed in school. For more tips on helping your child succeed in school, see the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher books.


6 Ways to Celebrate Letter Writing Week with Your Family

January 2, 2014

By Amanda Gebhardt

Celebrate Letter Writing Week with your family

The second week of January marks Letter Writing Week, and now is the perfect time to maintain the sense of love and family that was fueled by the stacks of holiday cards sent through the mail last month. Below are six things you can do to bring Letter Writing Week to the whole family.

  1. Holiday Thank You Notes. What better way to say goodbye to the last year and start the new one off right than through a gesture of appreciation? Children of any age can work with you to send out thank you notes for all of the gifts they received over the holidays. Younger children can color, decorate, write their names, or otherwise add to a note according to their skill level.
  2. Pen Pals. So many of our friends and family are scattered across the country these days. Encourage your family to stay in touch with letters. If your child is learning another language, you might even look into international pen pal programs to keep those language skills sharp and broaden your child’s horizons.
  3. Letter to the Future. Each New Year brings a whole host of new resolutions, ideas, and plans. Encourage your family members to write a letter to themselves about their goals for the upcoming year and their plans for achieving them. Seal them up and set them aside until next year where each of you can open them and see where the year took you. It may just become one of your family’s favorite New Year’s traditions!
  4. Hide ‘n Seek Letters. Play a game where everyone writes each other letters and hides them around the house at random. It can be the traditional note in a lunchbox, or an elaborate “Ode to Mom’s Meatloaf” tucked between pots and pans in the cupboard. Consider setting up house rules, where the person who receives the letter has to write one in return or be stuck doing the other person’s chores for a few days.
  5. Snow Write. For those families in the northern climates, new fallen snow can be a fun and playful canvas for family letters. You can compose one together in an open area, writing large enough in the snow for planes overhead to see, or you can take turns writing out surprise messages for one another to find.
  6. Trace It. Young children may not be able to write out their names or even form individual letters on their own yet, but two- to three-year-olds may be able to trace letters that you write out for them. This process helps develop fine motor skills and letter-sound associations, both of which are important for school readiness.

I grew up loving letters. I wrote to my cousin, to my best friend, and even to my husband while we were just dating. What role have letters played in your life? Share your answer or the ways your family celebrates Letter Writing Week with us in the forum.

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