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      Home Safety Guidelines Every Parent Should Know

      Barbara Johnson, guest contributor

      When I was thirteen years old, two young neighborhood boys were playing cowboys in their basement. One found his daddy’s handgun and thought it would be the perfect prop for catching the bad guy. He ended up accidentally shooting his 2-year-old brother, who died instantly. It was traumatic for everyone in the neighborhood. I have lived in rural areas, and I have known three families personally who have had small children drown from accidentally falling into the canal or ditch near their yard.

      Home is supposed to be a place of safety and comfort, yet one of the leading causes of accidental death in children is home injuries. These have been extreme examples I have given, but your home can be a dangerous place if the right precautions are not taken. Here are a few tips so you can avoid a traumatic accident, and ensure your home and yard are a place of safety for your children.

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      1. Never leave your child alone near water. Any water. It only takes four inches of water for a child to drown. This includes all sinks, tubs, buckets, toilets, swimming pools, kiddie pools, ponds, canals, and ditches. Constantly watch children who are near water; if your child is in the tub and the doorbell rings, wrap them in a towel and take them with you. It only takes a few seconds unattended for them to drown. Make sure all buckets are stored upside down, child locks are on the toilet seat, kiddie pools are emptied after use, and there are fences and locks around all other standing water.

       

      2. Keep all chemicals and medications out of reach. This includes all pills, cough syrups, bleach, cleaner, detergent, yard fertilizer, weed killer, lighter fluid, and all others.

       

      3. Know the possible hazards in your yard and neighborhood. Does your neighbor have an unfenced pool? Is there construction down the street? Are there storm drains? Check to see if there are any poisonous plants in your area. In your yard, keep hoses and all tools and equipment cleaned up when not in use, and keep fire pit and grill areas secure. Also make sure your children know to stay out of the street, and how to cross safely.

       

      4. Keep all dangerous items locked away. Keep all firearms unloaded, and lock up ammunition and firearms separately. Keep all knives—kitchen or otherwise—in a locked drawer. Keep all potential weapons locked and out of reach. Children love to put things in their mouths, so all small items are a choking hazard and should be kept far out of reach.

       

      5. Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. They may be annoying when they start chirping with a low battery, or when you burn dinner and set them off, but the extra time they give you when there is an emergency will save lives.

       

      6. Place plastic covers into unused electrical outlets and secure all wires and extension cords—inside the house as well as outside—to keep children from sticking things in outlets or chewing on wires and getting a shock.

       

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      7. Keep furniture away from windows, and use window stops to keep them from opening far enough to let a child through. Keep doors locked, block stairways, have corner protectors on sharp wall or furniture edges, and keep blind cords out of reach.

       

      8. Keep beds clear and as bare as possible. Too many blankets and stuffed animals can cause suffocation in babies and small children if something accidentally covers their face. Use only one small blanket, and never let it get higher than the baby’s chest. If baby is too cold, put them in warmer pajamas rather than using more blankets. Also, remember to always lay babies on their backs when sleeping to keep their faces clear as well.

       

      9. Watch children closely when the stove or oven—or any other appliance, for that matter—is on, and teach them as soon as they are old enough to stay away from hot pans and stoves. Turn down the water heater to 120 degrees, which is still warm enough for bathing, but not hot enough to scald little fingers.

       

      10. Be prepared for anything that might happen. Stay certified in child CPR, make plans for what to do in case of a fire or other emergency and make sure the kids (if old enough) know their part. It is also a good idea to have emergency numbers stored in an easy-to-see place, and for the children to know about them. Have friends and family’s numbers listed as emergency contacts, as well as poison control, your doctor, the police, and any other number you may need. Keep a first aid kit in an easily accessible spot, and make sure you know how to use the equipment in the kit.

      While following these tips may not prevent every single accident from happening, they will certainly lessen the seriousness of the injuries caused by the accidents In addition, they will give you a little more peace of mind knowing that your home and yard are as safe as possible for your growing children.
      ——

      Author Byline

      Barbara Johnson is a home improvement enthusiast. From plumbers in Vancouver to roofers in Santa Barbara, Barbara has helped many home improvement experts perfect their niche.

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      Childhood Obesity – Getting Our Kids Healthy

      Mark Aselstine, guest contributor

      Nearly every community in America has made getting our kids healthy a priority, as we’ve seen the continual rise in childhood obesity rates gain momentum over the past two decades.  While reasonable people can argue about the cause of this rise in childhood obesity, be it the rise of indoor games like video games, or a general lack of healthy food choices, what matters is that virtually everyone agrees that a continued rise in childhood obesity is one of the major issues facing this country.

      I’m lucky to live in the community of Berkeley California, a highly urban area just east across the bay from San wellnessFrancisco.  Berkeley is certainly known for many things, from our internationally recognized University, aptly named California, to being the center of the hippy movement in the 1970’s. What hasn’t received as much attention of late is Berkeley’s role as the American center for the slow food movement.  The concept is pretty simple, we should be cooking food more often than we eat fast food because of the nutritional quality as well as the cost.

       

      It takes a village…

      In Berkeley, eating healthy food has become something of a focus in the fight against childhood obesity.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen the city outlaw new fast food restaurants and encourage an even greater focus on Farmer’s Markets and other local food choices.  Since the city is highly urban, not everyone has the space and yard (if they have a yard at all, the average size of a single family home’s property is under four thousand square feet) to grow their own food, there has been a huge focus on the creation of community gardens and centralized places for people to grow their own food.

      The county of Alameda had a program which provided close to three million dollars a year to allow gardening to happen at every school campus in the Berkeley School District.  Of course, as they often do, budget cuts ended that program and left a huge hole in its wake.  That’s where we can truly see the community’s commitment to the program, Alice Waters and her famous Chez Panisse Restaurant held a $2,500 per plate fundraiser, while other businesses donated 10% of their proceeds over a given month, raising the money to continue this important educational program which also provides lettuce and other fruits and vegetables for school lunches.

       

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      Making exercise accessible

      Of course, no commitment to fight childhood obesity would work without the ability to encourage children to burn more calories through play.  We’ve all heard that most kids should have sixty minutes of free play per day, but how can that happen with the end of Physical Education in schools and a condensed school schedule which sends children home, sometimes without more than a fifteen minute recess?  In Berkeley, the answer has come again through community support and involvement.  Berkeley has certainly gone all in, so to speak, with National Night Out.  Held every year on August 6th, National Night Out encourages the blocking of streets to allow children and their parents to enjoy playing outside.  Additionally the city shuts streets on a rotating basis on weekends to allow children an easy place to play.

       

      Creating healthy citizens through city planning

      Of course, a weekly event hardly allows children a space to gain sixty minutes of play per day.  Berkeley has continued to focus on adding park space, but also in building bicycle boulevards which in essence give bicycle riders streets to themselves, encouraging the biking of place to place. With a city of about one hundred thousand all packed into a three by four mile area, giving families the ability to get from home to the grocery store as an example, without driving, is a worthwhile and achievable goal.  The city and its business backers are focusing on allowing children to gain part of their exercise through their regular daily schedules.

      Thank you for taking the time to read about the city of Berkeley and its fight against childhood obesity.  It’s certainly a hard problem to solve and the solutions which Berkeley is finding aren’t perfect for all cities across the country, but with a large amount of community involvement and government backing, answers are out there.

      ——

      Mark Aselstine is the owner of Uncorked Ventures, an online wine club and high end gift basket business.  With a toddler at home, the issue of childhood obesity is perhaps more important to him than many others, but he believes that with community involvement and smart, common sense solutions we can see improvements in the coming years.

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      Children’s Health: Learning more about the Effects of Concussions

      Chris Holgreaves, guest contributor

      We have all probably seen our fair share of cartoons. You know the ones in which the main character has some kind of head injury and stars magically float around their heads? Well sadly, real life doesn’t treat children in the same way as this. The side effects of a nasty “bonk” on the head aren’t always as easy to notice as in your favorite cartoon.

      Of course, the above might is likely to be fairly amusing in a cartoon; however when it happens for real your young one will probably take a different view. Being knocked out or even feeling dazed for a moment or two can be symptoms of a concussion.

      If you are worried about the effects of concussions then this blog post is definitely for you. Here we will be taking a closer look at just what to expect.

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      Just what is a Concussion?

      It would probably make sense to try to understand a little more about what makes a bang on the head a concussion.

      The simplest way to think about things is that a concussion occurs when there is a temporary change to the way that the brain operates. Sudden movements or indeed jarring are the most likely reasons for this to occur in children.

      In normal conditions the soft tissue of the brain is protected by the blood and spinal fluid that surrounds it. However, when the head receives a blow it can sometimes have the effect of the brain knocking against the bony surface of the skull.

      Many concussions only last a relatively short time. But, it should be noted that some can stick around for days, weeks or even longer. Even the shortest of concussions can still be serious.

      Warning Signs

      Concussion can manifest itself in many different ways. Some of these will include:

      • Vomiting
      • Blurred or double vision
      • Attention difficulties
      • Confusion
      • Headache

      The list above isn’t extensive and there are likely to be other possible symptoms. The important thing is to keep a really close eye on your child in the immediate aftermath of a bang to the head. Rest is another key part of the recovery from a concussion.

      Rest is Vital

      All head injuries will take an element of time to heal; therefore a period of rest is vital. Of course, this isn’t always easy to achieve.

      The hardest part is that aside from the noticeable effects that your child might be experiencing there could be other things going on that aren’t seen. Trying to persuade a fanatical sports fan not to take to the football field for a week or so might not be the easiest of tasks. However, nonetheless it is vitally important that rest is administered.

      As well as a rest from sporting or physical activities you should also help your child to avoid completing cognitive activities. This means a break from schooling or other academic activities.

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      Medical Treatment

      Doctors are highly skilled when it comes to dealing with and treating head injuries. With this in mind it is essential that you get your child checked out as soon as possible. Very often a few short questions skilfully posed to the patient will allow the doctor a greater understanding of the situation.

      In some cases the doctor will ask what seem like routine questions which serve to test the child’s memory functions. Additionally some might even prescribe an element of physical exertion to see how the brain reacts after a work-out.

      More precise information can be found by using specialist equipment. One of the best known types is of course a CAT scanner. This machine has the power to take a 3 dimensional x-ray of the brain and can create a wealth of usable information.

      Patient Follow-Up

      Even after the all clear is given it is usual for a follow up to be scheduled. Only after this time will the doctor be satisfied that there is no lasting damage caused.

      One big worry from a concussion is that the child goes out and repeats the injury. This is especially serious if it is happens during the initial healing process. For this reason the doctor will be keen to reinforce the value of making sure the patient gets plenty of rest.

      ——

      Prior to becoming a professional writer, your author (Chris Holgreaves) worked in a children’s care unit for his local hospital. He recommends the involvement of a specialist case manager wherever possible, especially when dealing with children’s head injuries.

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      The Link between Anxiety and Childhood Obesity

      Ryan Rivera, guest contributor

      There have been a number of studies that linked childhood obesity and anxiety. Childhood obesity has become a very serious medical condition.

      The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that the incidence of childhood obesity has doubled in children and tripled among adolescents in the last 30 years. In 2010, more than 33 percent of children and adolescents are either overweight or obese.

      Childhood obesity sufferers have higher cardiovascular disease risk due to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is also associated with increased risk of cancer and osteoarthritis. That is why there is a pressing need to understand the relation of anxiety with childhood obesity and find ways to curb this impending health menace.

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      Sad children tend to be heavier

      A new study shows that children that have been overweight or borderline obese from kindergarten to the third grade are also showing signs of anxiety or depression. The negative feelings have become worse overtime said researchers from the University of Missouri. MU researchers examined the social development and the behavior of about 8,000 school-age children.

      Girls that have been obese or overweight, said the researchers, are viewed with less favor compared to girls that have near normal weight. Obese girls are seen to be less sociable and have shown less self-control. The appearance-based social behavior has created artificial pressures that have caused anxiety.

       

      Sad children have altered dopamine signaling

      Dopamine is one of the feel-good chemicals in the brain that makes the person calmer and less anxious. However, a study conducted by the University of Illinois said that there is a link between high-fat diets and some mental disorders. The study’s results on obese and juvenile mice saw a sharp decline in the dopamine metabolism that led to the emergence of anxiety symptoms and even learning difficulties.

      Mice that are stout have increased their burrowing and even shown reluctance to go to open spaces and even developed memory impairments and other mental disorders. Switching to a low-fat diet showed signs of improvement in the learning difficulties of mice, the study said.

       

      Sad children are caught in the middle

      In a 2006 study, it was not established if obesity is causing anxiety or vice versa. It is possible that there is more than one factor that is involved showing the links between anxiety and obesity.

      The fact that people tend to eat more and choose unhealthy food when they are suffering from anxiety and stress is an indication that there is a direct link. There are also people that would not eat anything when they are sad or anxious.

      The fact that being obese tends to be socially undesirable and even a sudden target for bullies causes children to have negative thoughts thus making them sadder compared to other children.

       

      Sad children are unhappy over their physical appearance

      In a research study in Australia, it was shown that it is not the obesity itself that is causing the anxiety. It is the impact of obesity on the physical appearance making children less socially acceptable.

      This leads to negative thoughts and emotions that eventually impacts mental health. That is why children with poor physical health tends to show signs of anxiety or worse progresses towards childhood depression.

      In reality according to the study it is the underweight people that are more prone to have mental health problems compared to overweight people. It is just that since underweight people have less physical problems they are able to mask anxiety symptoms well.

       

      Sad children will not get happiness right away with weight loss

      According to some studies, losing weight among obese children does not guarantee immediate turnaround from anxiety problems. Losing weight may help improve the physical health and also the anxiety but it would not immediately cause any improvement in mental health.

       

      Sad children have to wait for answers

      Studies conducted recently showed that there is a link between anxiety and obesity but there is still confusion if obesity causes anxiety or the other way around. It is possible that obesity is not the contributor but the problems that are linked with obesity causes people to feel anxious and depressed.

      Schools play a vital role in building their children’s confidence and create a healthy environment both physical and mental. As we move to better understand the links between obesity and anxiety, it is best to teach children how to eat healthy and to encourage more physical activities.

      ——

      Ryan Rivera loves to share all his learned tips and tricks for conquering anxiety through his writings.  If anxiety plagues your child, try to get some help by visiting calm clinic account.

       

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      Best Foods To Achieve Optimal Oral Health

      Bailey Martin, guest contributor

      You already know there are many requirements for maintaining great oral health.  Things like brushing twice per day, flossing and rinsing are some of the common regimens one must follow everyday to keep their mouth and teeth as healthy as possible. You may have also heard that certain foods can sacrifice your oral health.  But, what about foods and drinks that can actually improve it? Read on for tips on improving the dental health of both yourself and your family at meal and snack times.

       

      Water. Let’s start with the most obvious.  With every remedy to a condition, water is generally always recommended. child-nutrition Water is also an indispensable part of an oral health regimen because it can be as effective as mouthwash at swishing away particles and residue lodged in teeth. Water also aids in keeping your gums hydrated which stimulates saliva production–the best defense against bacteria.

       

      Cheese.  Because cheese is high in phosphate and calcium, it helps to balance the pH in your mouth. This helps to kill bacteria and preserve tooth enamel which also prevents cavities as well as gum disease.

      Kiwi.  Kiwi contains the highest amount of Vitamin C among all fruits, which is vital to preserving the condition of your gums. When you lack Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down and they become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria which is responsible for causing periodontal disease.  Eat lots of kiwi (and other fruits high in Vitamin C) and you’ll be doing your mouth a big favor.

      Celery.  Because celery is an extremely crunchy, mainly water-based vegetable, chewing it produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums & cleans between your teeth.  It removes debris from the teeth which, therefore, reduces plaque formation.

      Onions.  Onions are armed with powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for dental health. They are strongest and most beneficial when eaten fresh and raw. Try chewing raw onions for two minutes a day, three times per week.  This is said to kill the germs which cause bacteria and tooth decay. Onions also have healing properties which can help prevent certain oral infections.  Too bad they don’t do as much for your breath as they do for your overall dental health.

      Green Tea.  If you are looking for the ultimate weapon against oral health blunders, green tea is one of the best choices. First of all, green tea is an anti-inflammatory meaning it is great at controlling periodontal (gum) disease.  Research has also shown that when individuals with precancerous mouth lesions consumed green tea, it helped to slow the progression of oral cancer. Finally, green tea kills the germs that causes bad breath and also prevents cavities and tooth loss.

      Dairy.  Dairy products (without added sugar) have the potential to help your teeth in a number of different ways. It can help to stimulate saliva production, while the calcium replaces minerals leached from the teeth.  They provide your body with the right amount of nutrients needed to rebuild your teeth, keep them strong and also keep your mouth and gums healthy. Dairy products also buffer a portion of the acid formed when sugar traces are present in your mouth.  This helps strengthen teeth and forms a protective barrier.

       

      Try incorporating a few, or all, of these teeth-friendly items into your family’s diet and see your oral health take a turn for the better.  Dental health is crucial to overall health and making subtle changes in your diet can really make a difference and prevent future health concerns. In addition, starting your children on a healthy path early can really impact their well-being from the start.

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      Bailey Martin blogs for Bassett Creek Dental, a Minneapolis dentist providing preventative, surgical and cosmetic dental procedures for both adults and children.

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      Safety for Children in Motels

      Mark, guest contributor

      When going on a road trip or traveling on a budget with your family, you are bound to spend some time in motels. They are much cheaper than hotels, easier to find and there are plenty of them near the roads, which is why they are ideal for spending the night when you want to move on with your agenda the next day.

      However, it is all too easy to forget yourself and lower your safety standards when you are surrounded with your loved ones, which can be dangerous if you are traveling with small kids. Motels are simply not designed with kids in mind, so if you want to insure a relaxed, stress-free stay, here are some things you should take into consideration.

       

      Reserve a Room Upfrontchild-safety

      Don’t try to leave the choice of the motel to chance so as to make your vacation more exciting or spontaneous, and don’t delude yourself that one motel is the same as the other. This is simply not the case.

      If you decide that you and your family should lay your heads near the place where the dusk finds you, know that you may be in for more of an adventure that you bargained for, to put it mildly.

      To avoid unpleasant surprises, plan your pit-stops and reserve rooms in motels from the comfort of your home before going on a trip. In addition to probably saving you some money, this will enable you to choose the safest and most comfortable option for your kids.

      Looking for an adequate motel with vacancies while darkness falls and you are tired from the driving can be a very unpleasant affair. Therefore, it is best to plan and reserve the rooms beforehand.

       

      Stick to Interior Rooms

      Although staying in a room with a separate access can seem more romantic and better for children, it is simply less safe. There is a reason motel rooms like these are regarded unsafe and are often targeted by minor criminals – they are easy prey for them. Therefore, distance yourself from any uninvited guests by choosing an interior room. This way, anyone with less than honorable intentions will have to go through the lobby and pass the receptionist to reach your room, and it will be much easier for you to monitor your children this way.

       

      Check Everything

      Check the door locks, the windows and the phone line. Check the placement of the appliances and be sure to rearrange them in accordance with your kids’ age and habits.

      Be sure to examine the room and never let the fact that you are staying in a place not adapted to children slip your mind.

      If you are staying on the second floor, check the lock and the state of the rails in case you have a terrace. All of this may seem like excessive caution, but it only takes a few minutes, and then you can rest assured that everything is taken care of. Accidents do happen and in this case it is truly much better to be safe than sorry.

      This motel safety checklist from Northern Illinois University can come in handy.

       

      Do Not Let the Children Roam Alone

      Be sure to drive around the motel when you arrive. See if it has a swimming pool, how far you will have to go to breakfast and what kind of neighbors you are surrounded with.

      Most kids will jump to the chance to stray away from parents and to set off on a small exploring mission, as every parent knows well. It is true for teenagers, and especially true for younger kids who seldom get to be on their own. There is a time and place for everything and most motels are simply not places you can let your little ones roam unmonitored.

      There doesn’t have to be a child-infatuated serial killer looming in every other room. It is quite enough for the kids to go out to play in the parking lot when a less-than-sober driver is looking for a space to park his car.

      Swimming pools are also a cause for concern, judging by the number of deaths by drowning. It is a terrifying fact that kids can drown in as little as one inch of water. A good way to avoid this concern is to choose a motel with a protective fence around the pool.

      Keep in mind that these seem like minor issues because mistakes like these will happen only once; but that once is one time too many.

      ——

      Mark is a father of two great kids whom he wants to grow up in equally great people, so he teaches them important life lessons while he still has influence on their development.

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      Should You Track Your Kids Via GPS?

      Jamie Tryon, guest contributor

      Keeping your kids safe is a full time job. Many parents are stretched thin due to working full time while taking care of the household and shuttling kids from activity to activity. With a busy home life, parents sometimes let their kids have freedoms at an early age, like walking to school or finding a ride from a friend’s parent to go somewhere. With these additional freedoms, it makes it even more important that the parent stay on top of what their kids are doing and where they are going. This is why tracking their kids via GPS may be the answer.

      See where they go

      GPS tracking helps parents to know in real time where exactly their children are at every moment of the day. This gives child-abductionthe parents a sense of relief knowing the child is safe – whether it be in school, in the playground or at a friend’s house. In this day and age when children are being taken advantage of by predators and kidnappings happen frequently, the whereabouts of your child is important. In case of an emergency such as an accident or kidnapping parents can react immediately, without losing precious time.

      Are they where they said they’d be?

      When it comes to GPS tracking of teenagers, parents are more concerned if the teen is where they say they are.  Most teens will tell their parents where they are going, however, some of the rebellious ones may skip school or lie to their parents about their whereabouts. Teenagers like to think they are grown up and long for the freedoms of adulthood. Parents must balance freedom with responsibility. With cell phone tracking software they know where their children are without being too restrictive.

      There are several types of tracking devices available, the most popular and easy to implement is a cell phone tracking software. Most older kids and teens will have a cell phone anyways, so all you will need to do is install the cell phone tracking software. They are more likely to have the phone on them at all times so they can reach and be reached by their friends.

      Combine GPS with other tools

      Cell phone tracking software not only shows the location that your kids are at, but it also allows you to  track other things like how much time they are spending online, who they are text messaging, what pictures they are taking and much more. As a parent, this information can be handy when you are addressing behavioural issues or red flags that are popping up in their actions. Teens aren’t always forthcoming with their parents, so finding information out without them knowing may be the only option you may have.

      Raising kids this day and age can be challenging, but just think about all of the tools that we have now that our parent’s didn’t have. We have GPS, cell phone tracking software and other technologies that didn’t exist when we were kids. Despite what your kids may think, there is nothing wrong with using these technologies to keep your children safe. It’s your job as a parent to do so.

      ——

      Jamie Tryon is a mobile device sales person and a mom of two. When not working or chasing after her kids, she contributes to the blog at Sniper Spy, a cell phone tracking software.

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      Fun Activities For a Great Camping Vacation with the Kids

      Camping is a great way to spend a few days away from the big city and to show your kids there is an environment different from the Internet and that it’s really worth exploring. Camping is usually associated with fresh air, delicious home-made food and lots of time spent bonding with your family, having actual conversations (you know, without TV interference) and reveling in the beautiful and breathtaking vistas nature has to offer.

      Some time away from the constant information bombardment lets you achieve tranquility and peace with yourself, and even though you might enjoy the time off, your children might get bored easily. Luckily, there are tons of things you can while camping that will both let you rest well and entertain your kids. Here are some of the more fun activities you can perform.

       

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      Set up the tent

      You will be surprised what the right approach can achieve with children. Even though setting up the tent is a job for the adults (obviously), you can be sure that your kids will want to help. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a fun new activity in a totally new place. It’s one of the most interesting things they can do at that moment.

      It’s either helping you with the tent, or standing around, poking the ground with a stick waiting for you to check on them every 30 seconds and constantly listening to you telling them to stay near. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Of course, the children won’t have the time to rationalize all of this.

      They will just want to help because children like being involved in the same activities adults are doing (that’s part of our learning process). So it’s safe to say your kids will want to help. Let them. Yes, it will take a little more time to set up the tent, but it’s fine – you’re not going anywhere and you’re not in a hurry. The kids will be entertained for a while and they will feel helpful which is enough to make them happy. After you set up the tent, you should also…

       

      Build a fire

      This is where it gets a little more dangerous, but the campfire is a classic. Most camp sites have pits already dug up, but if they don’t (or there isn’t one in that particular location), you can always make one. All you need to do is dig up a little hole (like I suppose you’ve seen people dig in movies), surround it with stones to make sure the fire doesn’t escape, and then gather some wood.

      Now, the “digging a hole part” you kids will just love. Let them do it all. Guide them if you have to, but let them dig the hole and help them with the stones. Tell them what a good job they are doing and how much they’ve helped you. This positive reinforcement will make them want to help even more. Let them assist you with gathering wood. They will feel great for helping out.

      Make sure they don’t disturb the natural order of things around and that they don’t break branches from trees – explain that they should help you gather wood that is already on the ground. Explain these concepts to them – why they should gather this type of tree, why they shouldn’t gather that type of tree – children love learning. If you know something about the area, talk about that, too.

       

      Eating

      After all that work, the kids will feel tired and hungry. A lot of time will have passed before you’ve gotten the camp up and running and the children will feel great that they were a part of the process. Now it’s time for the reward.

      Eating near the campfire is a magical experience, possibly causing some primeval nostalgia. It gives us a sense of security and harmony and will definitely calm the little ones down. After they’ve eaten, they will probably want to rest for a bit and that will be about your first day there.

       

      Exploring

      There are a lot of interesting things to see when you go camping so you can spend some additional time with your children exploring the campsite and showing them different birds, squirrels and other small animals they are bound to find fascinating. Additionally, you can let them take some photos so they can show their friends when they get back.

      Everything related to camping is a overall fun and exhilarating experience and you can spice it up even more. All it takes is a bit of imagination.

      ——

      Jessica Conars loves to spend time with her kids.  In her professional life she works with Clean To Perfection as a professional cleaner. During weekends she likes to go camping with her family.

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      Is your child overweight? How to improve their health without putting them on a diet

      Emily Bradbury, guest contributor

      The number of children who are obese or overweight is growing at an alarming rate.  If your child is putting on weight this can be a worrying sign for their health, and could lead to health problems like diabetes, asthma and heart disease in later life. It will be very upsetting to tell your child that they are overweight and need to diet, however it is important that their approach to food is changed.

      Rather than drastically change your child’s eating habits over night, it might be best to make subtle changes initially, and change the way you all eat as a family.  You must make it clear to your child that you love them and want the best for them, and with the right encouragement you will help them reach and maintain a healthy weight.

       

      Possible causes of your child’s weight gain

      Increasingly families are cooking less and buying ready meals or eating out. Although you may feel that you are too busy to cook every night, it is very hard to monitor the fat and calorie content of the food your child is eating when you haven’t made it yourself.

      Increasingly children play video games and watch TV in their spare time. It isn’t safe to play in the streets and around the neighbourhood like it used to be in past generations, so it can be more difficult for children to get the exercise they need to stay healthy.

       

      What you can do to help your child

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      Don’t let your child feel alone

      If your overweight child feels like they are the only family member with a changing diet this could make them feel angry and picked on. Make it clear to your child that you are making some changes to your lifestyle as a family so that you will all feel healthier. If you are eating the same food as them your child will feel more motivated.

       

      Changes at meal times

      Making the time to cook a meal for the whole family is worth the effort, and needn’t take as long as you think. Take a look at some quick and healthy recipes for inspiration. Try to avoid food that is obvious ‘diet’ food, like a big plate of salad, and think about taking some of your child’s favourite food but making a healthy alternative.

      For instance if your child loves chicken nuggets, try out a recipe for almond-crusted, oven baked chicken fingers instead. It is important to change your child’s outlook on food, and show them that healthy can be tasty to.

       

      Cutting back snacking

      Excessive snacking is a quick way for your child to pile on the pounds, and can easily go unnoticed by you. If your child has access to a cupboard of snacks in your kitchen, rather than hiding these suddenly and making your child feel like they are being punished consider the kind of snacks that are available to your child.

      You could replace chocolate and crisps with fresh fruit, little packets of raisins or nuts, and healthier alternatives, like cereal bars and rice cakes. Your child will want to indulge less when the snacks are less exciting, and won’t be doing so much damage to their health when they do.

       

      Exercise

      If your child isn’t very active think about fun ways you can encourage them to change this. You could treat them to a trampoline for the garden, which is great exercise and a lot of fun as well. If your child is quite young, you could take them to the park to play with their friends more often, or if they are a little older you could suggest family bike rides, or going swimming.

      By taking these steps you can help your child lose weight gradually without making them feel punished. If your family works together to help your child eat more healthily and enjoy exercise, they will start to lose weight over time, leading to a changed mindset and attitude towards food for the whole family.

      ——

      Emily Bradbury is writing on behalf of Core Assets, who provide foster placements, supervised contact sessions and domiciliary care for looked-after children globally.

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      Developing Good Eating Habits at Home

      Ervin Moore, guest contributor

      Many mothers may wonder why their children are rejecting the food given to them every meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner. A growing concern among parents has been unlikely develop about the good eating habits of  young children. These concerns are based on the reality that eating the right foods at the right time is essential to a child’s overall health. But as most mothers see, more and more children do not have good eating habits.

      Children are really choosy when it comes to eating their meals. They usually prefer to eat sweet foods like chocolates & candies and do not care if it has a nutritional value or not. Of course they’re children. They doesn’t know the right food to eat and don’t understand what is nutritional value either.

       

      Consider timing of mealsBreakfast

      A child may think that having good eating habits is a daily chore that they have to fulfill. This makes young children think that just by eating at a time they want is enough to make them healthy and strong. For mothers, they always want their children to always eat nutritious foods in every meal but they often reject it. As a mother, what will you do to a situation like this?

      In some cases, parents may get tired of having to tell their children to eat promptly during mealtime. They may resort to giving “bribes” – candies, sweets and other unhealthy foods – to make their children eat during mealtime or to avoid their young ones throwing tantrums. Although doing this from time to time may not be a big deal, it would be not advisable to “bribe” young children to eat every meal. Such a move would turn into a habit, and a child would have a disposition of refusing to eat during meals, unless his qualms and demands are met. Should this happen, a child would have a bad eating habit, and eventually, this would affect his or her overall health and well-being.

       

      Enforcing good habits

      So, how can parents help their children develop good eating habits?

      Parents should have the whole family eat meals together as often as possible. This should instil onto children that eating the right food on the right time does not have to be a chore or a burden. Likewise, meals should be made pleasant as much as possible. It should not be a time for scolding young ones or making arguments with other members of the family. Mealtimes filled with unnecessary arguments and scolding would just turn away children and make them lose their appetite. Mealtimes should be a period where family members could freely interact with each other. Such meals would create a relaxed environment for children to create and develop good eating habits.

       

      Get them involved in what they eat

      Likewise, parents could involve their children in buying food and ingredients as well as preparing meals. Doing these offers several advantages. First, children do appreciate the fact that they were being factored in when preparing meals for the whole family. Also, children who have helped in preparing family meals are more likely to enjoy the food they had a hand in preparing. Parents could also gain hints on the food preferences of their children if they involve them such activities.

      Parents could also help their children develop good eating habits by planning the snacks. One of the main reasons why some children don’t have the appetite to eat timely meals is because they have been snacking out of time. Getting a good snack is advisable but it should not come at a time when a scheduled meal is on the way. This will spoil children’s appetite during meal times. Thus, it would help if parents do schedule and plan family snacks.

      These are just some the ways by which parents could help their children have good eating habits. Children on their own are not capable of knowing what eating practices are good for them, and most of the time they end up doing what is detrimental for them. Parents really need to step up efforts to guide and train their children to have good eating habits. Home is not only a place to get a good rest and a good place to live, but also a place to have a good meal.

      ——

      About the Author

      Ervin Moore is freelance writer/editor that specializes in creating art history essays and related compositions. Learned in the Harvard system of referencing, the author has been writing and editing academic papers for a couple of years.

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