This blog is a place where parents and teachers of children 3-7 years of age can find information about topics specific to children in this age group, share ideas and access free resources for home and the classroom.

The Challenge…21 Days to Change Your Sodium Intake

Take the American Heart Association Challenge and change your sodium intake!

Sodium- Heavy SnacksThe heart and stroke experts launched a three-week Sodium Swap Challenge. The group is calling upon Americans to identify and track the Salty Six — the foods in their diet loaded with extra salt that increase their risk for heart disease and stroke. The goal is for Americans to limit sodium intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams each day. Currently, the typical American consumes more than twice that.

Never mind giving up the salt shaker, it will take more than that to lower your sodium intake. Americans can dramatically reduce their daily salt intake by cutting bread, cold cuts and cured meats from their diet, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Limiting condiments and reading nutritional labels are other ways to kick a high-sodium habit, the experts noted in an association news release. They also said people can change their palate and enjoy foods with less salt in just 21 days.

“To get started with the association’s challenge, we ask that consumers get familiar with the food labels and nutrition facts for the foods they eat and track their sodium consumption over the first two days to get an idea of how much they are eating, which I’m sure will be surprising to many people,” said Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for the associations and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. “Then, over the course of the next three weeks, consumers will use the Salty Six as their guide to help lower their sodium intake.”

During the first week of the challenge, Americans are asked to limit consumption of bread, rolls, cold cuts and cured meats. A slice of bread can contain more than 200 mg of sodium and one serving of turkey cold cuts as much as 1,050 mg. It’s also recommended that you check food labels and track sodium consumption daily.

For the second week, Americans are asked to opt for lower-salt versions of pizza and poultry. The idea is to choose foods with less cheese or meat and more vegetables. Poultry should also be skinless and not processed or fried.

Focus on soup and sandwiches during the third week, the associations said. Soups often contain up to 940 mg of sodium per serving. Layering meats, cheese and condiments to a sandwich can add more than 1,500 mg of sodium.

After three weeks, the experts said challenge participants should notice a difference in how they feel after eating and how their food tastes with less sodium usage.

More information

The American Heart Association provides more information on the Sodium Swap Challenge.

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Practicing Poison Prevention in Your Home

The following is a prevention message from Safe Kids USA.

poison prevention

carbon monoxide detector

You can best protect your children by keeping harmful substances out of their sight and reach, and by testing for lead and carbon monoxide. Although household cleaners are a frequent cause of poisoning, kids can also be fatally poisoned by iron, alcohol and carbon monoxide. Prevention is key to safety.

Because no prevention method is 100 percent effective, learn how to keep poison exposure from turning into tragedy for you and your family.

Prevention in the kitchen:

  • Keep cleaning products in their original containers. Never put a potentially poisonous product in something other than its original container (like a plastic soda bottle), where it could be mistaken for something harmless.
  • Know which household products are poisonous.
  • Lock up poisons out of children’s sight and reach.

Prevention in the bathroom:

  • Always read labels and follow the exact directions. Give children medicines based on their weights and ages, and only use the dispensers that come packaged with children’s medications.
  • Never refer to medicine or vitamins as “candy.”
  • Do not have children help you take medication.

Prevention around the house:

  • Be aware of medications that may be in your handbag. Store handbags out of the reach of young children.
  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home.
  • Prevent CO buildup in the first place — make sure heating appliances are in good working order and used only in well-ventilated areas.
  • Don’t run a car engine in the garage, even to warm it up; move the car outside first.

More Prevention tips from Safe Kids USA can be found at  www.safekids.org

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Making New Year’s Resolutions is a Family Affair

 

resolutions

Wendy Makes Resolutions.

Even young children can take part in the custom of making New Year’s resolutions.

Making resolutions  is a great way for a family to come together to talk about behaviors that need changing or activities that need doing.

According to a few child psychologists and psychiatrists that have written on the subject, parents need to buy into what a young child says he or she wants to work on in changing a behavior or in taking on a new activity. Experts caution that the younger the child the more he or she will need parental support and guidance to make his or her resolutions happen.

One of the ways the experts recommend to include your child in making resolutions is to sit together as a family and go around to each family member and ask what he or she would like to do differently in the coming year. Ask your young child what he or she would like to change, to do differently. Make sure that what your child wants to change is realistic, that he or she has the physical strength and emotional stamina to do it and, most importantly, it would be good for your child to do.

Once your child decides what he or she wants to work on, help him or her to develop a plan that you both can work on together to make his or her resolutions happen. Break the plan into easy steps. Let your child know what you will be doing to help him or her to reach each goal.

All the experts agree on the following :

  • The best way to help your child make his or her resolutions happen is to make your own resolutions and keep them. When children see parents sticking to resolutions, they are more inclined to stick to their resolutions.

  • Making and keeping resolutions builds a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • It gives children a sense of accomplishment to be successful at keeping resolutions

Good Luck with those family resolutions.

Happy New Year From all of Us on “Can Do” Street!

 

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All of Us Wish All of You A Merry Christmas!

ChristmasFrom everyone of us at “Can Do” Street, “A Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year!”

 

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On Santa’s Team…Author Unknown

Santa
My grandma taught me everything about Christmas and Santa. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” jeered my sister. “Even dummies know that!”

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

“No Santa Claus!” she snorted. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second cinnamon bun.

“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

“Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough; but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn’t have a cough, and he didn’t have a coat.

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. I didn’t see a price tag, but ten dollars ought to buy anything. I put the coat and my ten-dollar bill on the counter and pushed them toward the lady behind it.

She looked at the coat, the money, and me. “Is this a Christmas present for someone?” she asked kindly. “Yes,” I replied shyly. “It’s … for Bobbie. He’s in my class, and he doesn’t have a coat.” The nice lady smiled at me. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, “To Bobbie, From Santa Claus” on it … Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.

Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa’s helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.

Suddenly, Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell twice and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. He looked down, looked around, picked up his present, took it inside and closed the door.

Forty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous!

Santa was alive and well … AND WE WERE ON HIS TEAM!

Merry Christmas from all of us on “Can Do” Street and, of course, from Santa!

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