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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

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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

Words to live by

A new year often comes with an attempt to be made at something – whether it’s for the first time, (exercise program), or attempting to change the way we are doing things (eating a more healthier diet), or attempting to improve upon something that we are currently doing (more patient, etc.).

One thing that there needs to be an abundance of is motivation.  Just like adults need that extra push and inspiration, so do children sometimes.  As I head back to school I thought this would be a great way to start the New Year.

Words of encouragement no matter how simple can go a long way

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Words of guidance can help in getting over the bumps in the road.

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Words that build character help to produce responsible citizens.

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And music soothes the soul.

HUNDRED WATERS – SHOW ME LOVE (SKRILLEX REMIX) ft. Chance The Rapper, Moses Sumney, Robin Hannibal from Liam Underwood on Vimeo.

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My holiday travels

In order to get to my destination to spend time with the family for the holidays I had to travel through three different airports.   Being from New York, I started out in LaGuardia Airport and I changed planes in Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International airport and reached my destination – Memphis International airport in what is normally a two and a half to three-hour flight to five and half to six hours.  I decided for my last post of 2016 to blog about my journey home and the airports I became acquainted with.

My journey started out with the ride to the airport in a Uber taxi, something I had never done before.  My first experience was a positive one, it was actually kind of cool because the driver was someone who I  kind of knew, so that made it a little easier for me.

The next leg of my journey was the  dreaded check-in/security screen, you know the part where you basically undress (partially anyway). I am standing there thinking maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to wear those new boots.  It took forever for me to get them off.

Now on to the next phase, satisfying my appetite.   The food court offers a variety of foods.  I had a  sandwich, fries and a drink and it came to almost twenty dollars and that wasn’t even a sit down restaurant, I can only imagine what it is like to travel with children especially young ones, you could spend a fortune in the airport before you get to your destination.

The wi-fi at this airport was free for 30 minutes, then after that you had to pay $4.95 an hour.

I thought this was a nice touch in adding to the holiday season –  free eggnog

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I arrived in Atlanta safe, not looking forward to that two hour lay-over, but surprisingly the time flew by, before I knew it was time to board for Memphis.   One of the reasons was because Atlanta airport had a lot going on.

The wi-fi at this airport was free, no strings attached.

I really liked the live holiday music, it made the trip just that more enjoyable.

I had to catch the train to my terminal, it wasn’t too bad.

On my way to my terminal this caught my eye.

As I viewed this display I had a moment or two of reflection about how time changes things and as we move forward into 2017 we must do so in a positive way.

I had a wonderful time at home while visiting my family.  It also gave me an opportunity to spend time with my many nieces and nephews.

Growing up,  I used to love listening to the sound of the church bells every Sunday morning, ringing throughout the town, wp-1482719206251.jpgfor some reason it gave out a feeling of togetherness in the community.

On my return trip home I was able to get a little more acquainted with the Memphis airport, there was  free wi-fi.   It was a relatively quiet airport.

Graceland Mansion was home to the rock and roll icon – Elvis Presley and now serves as a museum.

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On the trip back to New York there was a slight glitch in the schedule, instead of flying to Atlanta for my connection, I was rerouted thru Detroit Airport with a three-hour lay-over, but it was not as painful as I thought it would be.

There  was a nice selection of places to eat, free wi-fi

and  certainly much to see,

including a Tram to get you to your gate on time and a self-playing piano in the food court area.

But there was one thing that I notice is becoming more and more prominent in the airports, an area designated for Veterans who are traveling, a nice way to sort of pay a tribute or honor to them for their service.  wp-1482887761117.jpg

 

20161112_210902.jpgSo there you have it, six airports to get to my loved ones, but let me tell you it was
worth every penny, frustration and time and I can’t wait to do it again.   Happy 2017.

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16 toys that I would buy for Christmas

After much research and cross-checking sites I have attempted to put together a list of the most wanted toys for this holiday season.   Before you know it Christmas will be here, while some toys may already be temporarily out of stock, you don’t want to be crushed in the holiday rush.   But then again, most of you were smart and have already  completed or are close to completing your Christmas shopping.

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COZMO -a robot that seems real life, a hot item.   For ages 8 and up.

Hatchimals toys – comes in various colors, magical creatures that live inside an egg.  Not for those under 3.   Ages 5 and up.

Furby connect a interactive toy that responds to touch.  For ages 6 and up.

Paw Patrol Zoomer Marshall Interactive Pup – an interactive puppy that walks, spins, and follow. for ages 3 and up.

Barbie Dream House – a dollhouse with all the amenities, doorbell, elevator and bathtub.    A popular item.

Shopkins Tall Mall play set – their very own mall to shop in.  –  5 and up.

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Dream Works Troll Hug Time Puppy– this doll plays  songs and speaks 25 phrases. Ages 4 and up.

Num Noms Lip Gloss Cart kit – a toy cart that has everything needed to make their own lip gloss, popular item, a collector’s menu is included in the kit.  For ages 3 and up.

Fisher Price Little People Sit n Stand Skyway play set – this is a sought after item for the younger children starting at one and a half years old, ages 18 months to 5 years.

Selfie Mic – this combination of microphone and selfie stick makes it seem as if you have your own karaoke going, ages 8 and up.

Pokemon Z-Ring Interactive set the Z ring takes game play to a new level.   Ages 4 and up.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Talk to me Mickey Voice Response Turtle Figure– you can talk to the turtle, they recognize your question and respond.

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Tweens/Teenagers/Adults

Nerf and Strike Elite Terrascout Remote Control Drone Blaster –  Drones are now one of the hottest items for children and adults.   8 years and up.

Sky Viper v2400 HD streaming video drone with FPV Headset  – an action based performance toy that appeals to children as well as adults.  12 and up.

Speak Out Game – a mouthpiece challenge game that is said to be loads of fun.  Ages 16 years and up.

Razor Jetts Adjustable Skates- of all the toys these strap on skates seem to be the most intriguing.

I’m sure that whatever gift you choose to get, it will be the right one because it’s the thought that count, right?

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Don’t let it stress you

Having a happy holiday depends largely on how we manage the stressors that come with it.  Take a minute to think of all the things that can cause you to become overwhelmed, anxious, or just plain exhausted.  Be it shopping for gifts, dealing with holiday guests, or all the cooking and baking that has to be done, it just seems as if there is never enough time in the day to get it all accomplished.  Here are some holiday quotes that I hope can get you through this “season to be jolly”.

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Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – OPRAH WINFREY-

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree; the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  – BURTON HILLS

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. – ANDY ROONEY-

If I could give you any gift, I’d give you Love and Laughter, A Peaceful Heart, A Special Dream and Joy Forever After. – UNKNOWN

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.  The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.  I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. – CHARLES DICKENS-.

I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things.  It’s about being good to one another. – CARRIE FISHER-.

As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation and people to whom we are worth the same. -DONALD WESTLAKE-

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The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.– TERRY MARSHALL-

CHRISTMAS GIFT SUGGESTIONS

To your enemy – forgiveness

To your opponent – tolerance

To a friend – your heart

To a customer – service

To all – charity

To a child – a good example

To yourself – respect

-NOT SURE WHO WROTE THIS ONE-

I think as you grow older, your Christmas list gets smaller and the things you really want for the holidays can’t be bought. SAYINGIMAGES.COM

This last one I really liked:

My Holiday= More sleeping, more eating, more getting online and staying up late. –www.funnyquotesbook.com

Do you have a favorite or special holiday quote?

Posted in Christmas, emotions, health, motivation, Self -esteem | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments