Spring is in the air

Although it may not seem realistic to some but Spring  is right around the corner, the proof is the daylight savings time and turning the clocks forward.   I, for one find it hard to believe (heavy snow and low temperatures in the forecast for me), nevertheless  soon children as well as adults will be able to toss those winter coats aside and get outside and move around.  Here are a few Spring activities to get started.

Parks – A park in the spring allows you to see nature at its best.  The arrival of spring means flowers blooming, green grass and sunshine, so why not try a picnic in the park.  This is also a good time for kite flying, and if they have never flown one what better time to teach them than now.   You can find a park in your area: Find a Park (U.S. National Park Service) – NPS.gov

Zoo – For children there is something about going to the Zoo in the spring, it’s a great time of year,  not to mention the spectacular sights.

Museums – offer a range of activities in conjunction with spring break.  Check out the local museum in your area for fun things to do such as free classes for children, movies and storytelling.

Garden – gardening is a great way to get children involved in nature, whether the task is planting a flower, tree or shrub or maintaining the ones you have, try to involve the kids they will enjoy it.

Bike riding – Learning to ride a bike is a memory that stays with you for the rest of your life.  A simple, inexpensive activity that has multiple benefits from improving overall health to aiding in the learning and development of children.

Spring sports – Softball, Baseball, Lacrosse and Soccer are some sports that are offered in the spring if you think now is the time to let your child join a sports team.    Whatever you decide to do I’m sure the kids will love it, I must admit I’m definitely looking forward to Spring.

 

Posted in Fitness ideas for children, health, holidays, Spring | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blogger Recognition Award

Many thanks to BellisimaFitness for nominating me for this award.  Being able to share my thoughts and inspirations is so important.  The support system is great, and this blogger’s award is a prime example.  My gratitude to all that have offered encouragement and advice.

The rules

  • Thank the blogger who recommended you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a  post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide a link to the post you created.

I attempted to start a blog about 10 years ago, I had just received my Doctorate and after writing my dissertation it left me wanting for more.   So I attempted to start one, but became overwhelmed by it, I wasn’t really confident in what I was doing as a result it kind of fizzled out.  In September I got the urge again but this time I went about it differently, I researched everything from how to start a blog, the cost as well as what it took to maintain it.  This time around I had better results.

My two pieces of advice to new bloggers:

  1. Blog about what you know, if you have a topic that you are passionate about you will never lack for inspiration or information.
  2. Network as much as you can for it will help you to grow your blog, gain useful information and connect with other bloggers.

The bloggers that I nominate for this award are:

https://devouringbooksandlattes.wordpress.com

https://chetnatripathi.com

https://jirahmerizz.wordpress.com

https://hangoutwithlucia.wordpress.com

https://pinkfordays.wordpress.com

https://moneymoneyskills.wordpress.com

https://Thecomicvault.wordpress.com

https://luimariablog.wordpress.com

https://MissAbigail.wordpress.com

https://Confusedthoughts.wordpress.com

https://Msmeehnia.wordpress.com

 

 

Posted in challenges, children, motivation | Tagged , | 6 Comments

My 200th follower

I have reached a small milestone in my blogging career, I’ve gained my 2ooth follower on WordPress and I am so excited.  I am not exactly sure why, maybe it’s because I have tried to be as diligent as possible as far as keeping with a routine of posting at least twice a week.  My hat is off to those of you that post everyday, my goal is to one day to be as good as you.

I would love to be able to do  that, but there are just some days where I feel as if I have nothing to contribute and I have to wait for the moment to come.  I’m sure there are some of you who can relate to that.  I’m learning a great deal about the blogging community, such as appreciating my “followers” and there is more to networking than clicking the “like” and “follow’ button.

 

Reading others blogs provides me with useful information, I’ve also found that commenting and reading others comments helps me to strengthen my network as I build up my blog.  It can be tedious at times, but when I see the email stating I have a new follower, I feel like I’ve gained another friend and I have – another blogger friend.

My 200th follower  -thanks to all!

Posted in blogs, motivation | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Children are losing sleep at night

When you get a good night’s sleep you wake up feeling refreshed, ready for the day.  But when you don’t get the amount of rest you need, it makes for a long day especially if you are in school.  It is hard to focus, no matter how hard you try, there is an inability to pay attention, because a lack of sleep affects how we act, think and feel.

According to an article that was published in the Journal of Medical Association Pediatrics, children are losing sleep at night because of media devices in the bedroom, and the devices don’t have to be on.  For it was determined that those not using it were still not getting adequate rest because of stimulation from the light of the screen.  This comes from children falling asleep with the device in the bed next to them, this is not a good idea.  Unless the device is shut off, any movement is likely to cause the screen to light up, that is why they should be off and put away for the night.

After combing through various articles I am amazed at the percentage of children that were found to have lost sleep because of the cell phones, tablets, televisions and other media devices.  Waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom is one thing, but to wake up just to check your social media feeds is a bit much.  Because they don’t just check it and get off, they interact and the next thing you know one hour or two or three has gone by and now it’s time to get up for school.

Sleep is necessary, it plays an important part in learning, it affects memory.  I know that as an adult when I don’t get the proper amount of rest, the next day I am irritable, groggy and just an overall feeling of being “out of it”.  I can’t imagine being a child 6 – 19 years old sitting in a classroom tying to absorb information, talk about painful.  But if 72% of children and 87% teenagers have at least one device in their bedroom as reported by the National Sleep Foundation, I feel its wise to look further into this issue before it becomes a serious problem.

Technology is here to stay, we all know that.  It is important that we use it safely, wisely and effectively.  Try to stick to the guidelines of screen time for children, I mentioned it in an earlier post (Out with the old, in with the new).  I know that this is  easier said than done, but children follow what they see, and if they see adults always on their devices, and it could be very well work related, they may feel that its ok for them to do it also.

Enforcing the no device rule at meal times and having a no device area in your home are good ways to start.  Too much screen time leads to increased sedentary behavior which leads to more problems such as childhood obesity.  Getting your child up and moving around is so important.

So remember, if your child is showing up at breakfast with a zombie -like stare AFTER you have called them about 10 times, then you might have a little problem with the devices keeping them up.  You are equipped to handle it, here’s to a good night’s sleep.

 

Posted in benefits of physical activity, children, fitness, inactivity reasons | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Good ole H2O

It is a fact that the body needs water in order to function.  Water is required for it to develop properly because just about everything in the body relies on water.  We drink it to quench our thirst and in turn it flushes out the things that are not good for  us.  There are guidelines regarding the amount of water that should be consumed by children on a daily basis, and it turns out that children are not taking in enough of this clear,  calorie-free drink.

A study was conducted by Harvard School of Public Health and was found that over fifty percent of school-age children were not consuming enough water.  How is this possible?  First let’s take a look at a few things starting with water itself.  What exactly is water ? We all learned in science class that it goes by another name – H20, which is the chemical name for it.  Water is a basic molecule consisting of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom and when these atoms bond together they form one powerful molecule – water, which covers about 70 percent of the surface of the earth.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC)  states that the water that we drink comes from many places such as private wells,  public water systems and bottled water.  This is good information to know, for we should all be aware of where drinking water comes from, how it has been treated and if it is safe to drink.

Barriers to drinking water

Having access to water that is safe to drink can present as a problem for some people.  The problem is that there is  a possibility of contamination from sources such as lead, so much that school systems around the country are now conducting tests for lead in drinking water.  The shocking part is that in some schools the results are coming back positive.  The tragedy in Flint Michigan set off a chain-like reaction where testing took place in schools such as Newark, New Jersey where according to a New York Times article, levels of lead were discovered in the water and the water fountains at 30 buildings, which were shut off until further tests could be conducted.  The  good news with that was that lead was not found in the city water supply as with the case in Flint.

New York  City which is said to have one of the best water systems in the nation followed what Newark, NJ did and found eight fountains at one elementary school contaminated and had them removed.  They conducted further tests and found the rest of their drinking fountains to be safe.  Lead levels have been noted in schools across the country, from an elementary school in California to Jackson, Mississippi. Guardian

The case with the school system is that water from the city supply is not necessarily bad, it’s that the pipes are so old that lead seeps into them causing them to become contaminated.   Bottled water was shipped in for the students and staff.  We have bottled water in our school, all the water fountains were removed.  Having a water cooler is not all that it is cracked up to be, it has its plus as well as minuses.  The plus side is that you are privileged to cool, refreshing water, the downside is that it requires having a cup or something to drink out of.   The students usually get paper cups (the cone-shaped ones), they seem so small to me, that in order for a student to quench their thirst they would have to drink about ten of them.

Provide support

Children need as much encouragement as possible to stay hydrated and it is imperative that they have access to safe drinking water.  It would be beneficial also to reduce the access of sugary drinks.  For instance at school this can accomplished by ensuring water is available in the cafeteria’s vending machine.  At home parents can continue to serve as role models and consume water instead of soda whenever possible.   When you make the snack or lunch for school, add a bottle of water to go along with that juice.  Use every opportunity to promote the need to drink water.

How much water does a child need?

The experts from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated that the amount per day depends on several things such as how much a child weighs, how old they are and whether they are a boy or girl.  Keep in mind that water sources come from many places such as food, as well as fruits and vegetables, so that gives you another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Basically children need about 6 to 8 cups a day.  If they are exercising that should be taken into consideration, they made need to consume more water than they normally would.  If they are indeed physically active they should be drinking about a cup to two cups of water for every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise.  Here is a breakdown of the requirements:

Age                                                    sex                                          cups per day

4 to 8                                               girl/boys                                       5

9 to 13                                              girls                                               7

9 to 13                                              boys                                               8

14 to 18                                           girls                                                8

14 to 18                                           boys                                               11

As you can see the older the child the more water they are required to consume.  Now that we know that they are not drinking enough water and how much they should be drinking, what other choices are available?  Coconut water is a very popular drink, and is said to be quite healthy.  My colleagues swear by it, I have tried it but cannot acquire a taste for it.  The fruit smoothies are popular, be sure to monitor how much sugar is added.  Ice tea and lemon-aide are always a good choice, as far as ice tea, I like the ones that have just a little sugar added, where it’s not too bitter, but not too sweet.

Drinking sugary drinks all the time can add to a child’s weight as well as contribute to poor oral hygiene.  Dehydration is not a good thing, it’s not good for the mind for it impedes academic performance and it affects the overall health of a person.

Posted in children, health | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

A heavy burden to bear

Back packs and book bags that are filled beyond capacity are a major concern for young children due to the fact that if they are too heavy, they can cause shoulder and back problems.  In today’s society, families have such busy schedules that the contents of the book bag could very well depend on what is going on that day in school as well as after school, be it a sports team practice, dance rehearsal, you name it.

 

Carrying that heavy load is not good, especially when it is over the shoulder (like I have a tendency to do), wearing it on one side doesn’t allow you to distribute your weight evenly.  Besides shoulder and back pain, carrying an overloaded bag can be a safety issue by causing one to lose their balance resulting in a fall.  In 2013 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that in that year alone, there were 5, 415 injuries treated at emergency rooms for back pack injuries.

How to lighten the load

  • Try to pack only the items that are needed for that day, such as textbooks.   My nephew in elementary school used to keep a textbook at home as well as at school, which reduced the weight he had to lug around all day.
  • Make sure the back pack that the child is using is a good fit for them.  The shoulder straps should be sturdy with ample padding, and is big enough to hold what is needed.
  • Backpacks are the best option for younger children.  It helps them to distribute the weight of the bag as opposed to a shoulder bag which would cause an imbalance.
  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic states that the rule of thumb when carrying a backpack – for a child it should not weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of his or her body weight.

It may seem like it’s not a big deal now, but the constant overload can eventually over time turn into a real problem.  So let’s keep that in mind and watch those loads.

Posted in children, stress | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Back up and running…..

I have been out of service shall we say, for almost two weeks.  For all of you who tried to use my site and got the old “site not found” or some other message, thanks for coming back.  Let me tell you that it feels good to be back.  Back to this Blogging community that I have grown to be fond of.

Being away from it all was okay for a few days.  I was like fine, I’ll just catch up on some things, but then I started to feel off, like something was missing.  I realized I was lacking that connection, sharing of information that I am so looking forward to getting back into.  Unfortunately I still didn’t catch up on my reading (I feel like there is never enough time for that), but I made it through, so to Bloggers everywhere – Happy Blogging!

 

Posted in challenges, emotions, motivation | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Sick enough to go to school

Are there some days when you roll out of bed and think “not today”?  There appears to be something wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it.  You are not quite yourself, you lack that energy, that pep that you know can’t be supplemented with an energy drink.  It is possible that you could be coming down with something, the flu, a virus or a cold.  But whatever it is you have to make the decision – do you stay home, or do you go to work.

Now let’s say it’s your child who is exhibiting these symptoms, what do you do.  You are torn between sending them to school and keeping them home.  Well first you can be on the lookout for these obvious symptoms as recommended by WedMD.  These symptoms include fever over  (100 F), runny nose, sore throat, earache, cough, vomiting and diarrhea.  If this is going on you can rest assured school is not on the agenda, as a matter of fact, depending on the severity of the symptoms it might be wise to contact the Pediatrician.

Now know the difference between the real symptoms and the fake ones.  The ones you don’t have a diagnosis for (tears, stomach ache and sniffles) that at breakfast seem to come and go and sometimes disappear altogether but resume once you inquire how they are feeling.  Yes, those.

It is probably a good idea to give your child’s school a call to see what their policy on  students attending school while under the weather, so to speak.  We all realize that children should not miss instructional time if at all possible, but sending a child to school sick also comes with negative results.

Contamination is a major concern.  Those runny noses and coughs if serious enough may turn into something else and can very well spread (unintentionally of course), to another child.  But some parents just can’t afford to take off from work.  It’s not that they are inconsiderate of other children and their families, teachers, etc., it could be other stressful factors such as trying to find that last-minute babysitter.

One way to deal with this dilemma would be to try to have a plan B, or an alternative.

 

  • Be able to take time off if need be.  One thing about it, you must always be ready for an emergency especially with children.  It’s best to have days in the leave bank ready for use.
  • Having a back-up babysitter is a must.  It could be grandparents, aunt, uncle, someone who is responsible and reliable.
  • Once you notice the symptoms, try to monitor the situation carefully, you might be able to head off whatever is coming.

Sending your child to school sick does not make you a bad person, you are attempting to make a morally sound decision and there is nothing wrong with that.

Posted in children, motivation, nutrition | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

For all the money in the world

Having to pay for something that you desire is a basic way of life, but what if that something is not material things, but involves raising a child.  The cost of rearing a child in today’s society has increased dramatically.  We all know that having a family is one of the greatest things in the world, it gives you a sense of purpose, not to mention someone to love, honor and cherish, but it comes with a steep price tag.

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) a report from 2015 on the amount of money spent on children by families reveals that the cost of rearing a child from birth to age 17 is $233,610.   For a child in a two child family with a married couple and a before tax income between $59,200 and $107,400 that averages out to be about 12 to 13,000 dollars a year, depending on the child’s age.  Housing accounts for the largest expense and miscellaneous includes things such as personal care- haircuts, dance lessons, entertainment, sports equipment, etc.

 

Those couples living in the urban Northeast part of the country with families (2 or more children), the cost of rearing a child was the highest, whereas if you resided in the urban Midwest and rural areas, the child rearing costs are the lowest.  That makes sense in that the overall cost of  living is said to be lower in these areas.   In case you were wondering about single parents, it turns out the cost is about the same as the married couple household.

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Housing  – 29%

Although the numbers look staggering you really can’t put a price tag on the cost of raising a child.  This information is useful in many ways; for those that have a family you can compare to see where you are as far as spending or budgeting and those who are looking to start a family this can give you an idea of what’s in store for you. Oh I forgot to mention this doesn’t include the annual cost of college – for private $45,370 and  for public it is $20,000, the good news on that is that does account for room and board

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Education/childcare makes up 16% of cost

This information also helps to set guidelines and regulations for the various agencies who have taken on the responsibility of providing care for children, such as foster care and other measures of support.  Whatever the cost may be, rest assured its money well spent.  Cost of raising a child calculator

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How cold is too cold?

There are times when trying to stay physically active during the winter months can take a lot of creativity, especially for school age children.  It is difficult to go outside and play when it is snowing, raining and/or freezing temperatures, which brings me to my post for today- what is considered to be too cold for children to go outside and play during recess at school?

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A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with some of my colleagues who are also parents and whose child went outside for recess during frigid weather which they considered to be too cold.  It seems that most  states have policies in place on what the temperature should be for outdoor recess, in turn school districts follow those policies and set guidelines of their own.  wp-1483833760973.jpg

For instance in the state of New York unless it is snowing or there is ice on the ground, outdoor recess can take place even though it is less than 32 degrees outside as long as children are dressed properly.   Most guidelines are specific, for instance a school district in Connecticut the temperature must be 20 degrees or above with wind chill factor taken into consideration  recess is fundamental.blog

In Illinois a school district policy states that it has to be 15 degrees or higher including wind chill, meaning if the weather is 22 degrees and the wind chill is 14 degrees then students stay in.  All the requirements have one thing is common they require the students to be dressed appropriately in coats, hats, scarves, boots and gloves.

Basically good judgement has to be used.   Schools are encouraged to provide at least 20 to 30 minutes a day of supervised recess outdoors if possible.  It should be moderate to vigorous activity, meaning they have to be moving around rather than standing still, allowing them little opportunity to feel the cold.

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Going outside for recess is critical for children especially since childhood obesity poses as a threat to their overall health and wellbeing.  Research indicates there is a link between physical activity and academic performance.  With the cuts in funding, schools can no longer depend solely on physical education classes to provide opportunities for children to be physically active.

Here are some things parents can do, first check with your child ‘s school about their policy on outdoor recess.   Next on those low temperature days in addition to the hat and gloves make sure your child has that extra layer (hoodie, sweater, long-sleeve shirt) that they can wear underneath their coat, but can shed easily in the case they become too warm in class.

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Make sure all medical conditions such as Asthma are on file with the nurse so appropriate accommodations can be made regarding the child.  Hopefully with this information you are better informed and prepared for when your child has to go outside for recess during cold weather.

Posted in fitness, safety, winter | Tagged , , | 1 Comment