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.

Being a Friend

The following post is from Scott McClatchy, husband, father, musician, and friend to many.

One of the strangest things about being a parent is that there are so many things that I never imagined that would ever concern me have now become part of my everyday life.  Like explaining to a six-year old boy what exactly does it means to be a friend.

One of the toughest hurdles to cross in this daily conversation is that not all parents believe in the same thing.  So, as I tell my son one thing, he inevitably will respond with an example of how one of his school buddies acts the exact opposite.  When I tell my son to try to make ‘good choices’ – like sharing your toys, he’ll remind me that when he shares his toys, he will sometimes never see them again. So now the conversation takes a left turn into the idea that being a good friend also means respecting other people’s property, and he will bring up examples of all the kids who don’t.  Soon the conversation has splintered into so many different ideas of what being a friend means, that it leads my son to retreat to his toy room for some well deserved play time Though, in retrospect, I should be proud of my son’s courtroom presentation of his case … I just wish I knew more about the Kindergarten legal system.

So I try to fall back on the Golden Rule; if you really want to be a good friend – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Sadly, scriptures don’t go over well with most kids under the age of thirty-five, so I try to break it down for him.

‘Being a good friend means that you should try to always make sure your friends are happy.’  And, to my son’s credit, he usually does tell me that he often does let his buddies choose what games to play or pick what sport to attempt.  And, happily, I have watched him do this on the playground.  But I’ll tell my son that not all kids want to play together … and that’s OK!  I’ll tell him that someone who might not want to play with you today, or be your friend today – well, they might want to tomorrow, so don’t ever stop asking. But, most importantly, when someone doesn’t want to play with you, or be your friend, try to understand that you still are a really great kid. And, somewhere in the park or playground, there’s another little boy or girl just waiting to play with you.

And it’s at these times when I can explain to him, and I very often get to see it happen, that ‘being a friend’ can be nothing more than walking up to another child and saying “Hi, want to play?”

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Sports Safety Guide for Parents

Most of us recognize the benefits of our children playing sports. It is a great way for children to build self esteem, develop social skills and be physically fit through regular exercise.  We also know that hand in hand with playing a sport comes the risk of a sports-related injury.

logo of Safe Kids USAAccording Safe Kids USA (www.safekids.org) each year more than 3.5 million children and adolescents playing sports sustain a sport-related injury that requires medical attention.

Safe Kids describes these athletic injuries  as ranging from something mild such as ankle sprains and muscle strains to  severe injuries such as concussions or heat illness.

Experts say that many sports-related injuries occurring in games and practices are likely preventable. So how can we keep our children safe while playing a sport?

Safe Kids USA advises us to learn what we need to know to keep our kids safe when playing sports by focusing on:

  • Pre-participation Physical Evaluations – Make sure your child gets an annual physical screening before playing sports
  • Concussion Prevention, Recognition and Response- Concussions are a brain injury. Know the signs of a concussion! Most concussions do not cause a loss of consciousness – check out Concussion Fact Sheet for Parents at www.safekids.org
  • Acute and Overuse Injury Prevention – learn what causes overuse and acute injuries and what can be done to prevent them
  • Heat Illness Prevention – Children often dehydrate before they show any symptoms of dehydration . Encourage your child to drink before, during and after playing sports.

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SanitizingToys and Things Kids Touch

sanitizingIn a fact sheet put out by the Partnership for Food Safety Education, www.fightbac.org, they talk about sanitizing surfaces that children frequently touch such as tables, chairs, high chairs and toys.

The Partnership message states that dangerous germs such as, hepatitis and rotavirus  can live on surfaces for several weeks. If someone touches these surfaces, germs can get on the person’s hands and then be transferred into the mouth, to other people, or to food. That’s why it’s so important to clean and sanitize frequently-touched surfaces.

Cleaning and sanitizing aren’t the same. Cleaning, removing dirt and debris, comes before sanitizing. A sanitizing solution is then used to kill germs. Here’s a “recipe” for a safe and effective sanitizing solution: combine 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water in a clean bucket.

According to the Partnership for Food Safety Education the best way of cleaning and santizing is as follows:

  • Clean surfaces and  high chair trays, sinks, kitchen counters, and large plastic or rubber toys, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot water and soap and thoroughly rinse.
  • Apply the sanitizing solution and allow to air dry.

  • Wash high chair trays with hot water and soap after every use and dry thoroughly with a single use paper towel.
  • Cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and small plastic  toys can also be run through a dishwasher at 170 °F to disinfect them.

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Heart Smart Tips from the FDA

heartMore women die from heart disease than from any other cause. In fact, one in four women in the United States dies from heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

“The risk of heart disease increases for everyone as they age,” says cardiologist Shari Targum, M.D., a medical officer at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “For women, the risk goes up after menopause, but younger women can also develop heart disease.”

FDA offers many resources to help educate women of all ages about the safe use of FDA-approved drugs and devices for the treatment and prevention of heart disease. FDA has fact sheets, videos, and other web-based tools on heart disease and conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure that may increase a woman’s risk for heart disease.

FDA created the “Heart Health for Women” site to connect women to FDA resources to support heart-healthy living. Visit the website at: www.fda.gov/womenshearthealth

“I encourage women of all ages to look to FDA for resources to help them reduce their risk for heart disease and make informed decisions about their health,” says Marsha Henderson, director of the Office of Women’s Health at FDA.

Heart Health for Women

When you think about heart disease, you probably imagine heart attacks and chest pain. But women need to know that heart health is about more than just heart attacks. Women need to take steps to reduce their risk for heart disease:

  • Manage conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol that can increase your risk for heart disease.
  • Learn to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack in women, including nausea, anxiety, an ache or feeling of tightness in the chest, and pain in the upper body.
  • Use the Nutrition Label to make heart-healthy food choices.
  • Daily use of aspirin is not right for everyone. Talk with a health care professional before you use aspirin as a way to prevent heart attacks.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. See our booklet to learn more about medicines to help you quit.
  • Talk to a health professional about whether you can participate in a clinical trial for a heart medication or procedure. Visit the FDA Patient Network to learn more about clinical trials.

Menopause and Heart Health

“Menopause does not cause heart disease,” says Targum. “But the decline in estrogen after menopause may be one of several factors in the increase in heart disease risk.” Other risks, such as weight gain, may also increase around the time of menopause.

Hormone therapy is used to treat some of the problems women have during menopause. “However, the American Heart Association recommends against using post-menopausal estrogen hormone replacement therapy to prevent heart disease,” says Targum.

Make a Plan, Take Action

Work with your health care team to make a plan for your heart health. Whatever your regimen, make sure to keep a list of your medicines and bring it with you to all of your appointments.

 

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Fostering Caring for Family Far Away

Teaching a child to demonstrate caring behaviors to loved ones far away is a lot easier today than it was years ago.

caring

A big brother away at college, a grandma or grandpa who lives in another state, a relative serving in the armed forces overseas are all people who look forward to hearing from a child and are disappointed when they don’t hear. Children need to be encouraged to stay in touch with those who love them.

Here are some ways that make it easier to stay in touch:

  • Skype enables a  child to see and speak to a loved one via the computer when both parties have a webcam and this free software program.
  • E-mail enables a young child to send brief messages. When special holidays come around, a child can send a free card using programs such as Hallmark or Blue Mountain
  • Telephone calls, when possible, are also a good way to keep in touch
  • There is always the tried and true…send a hand made drawing or card in the mail.

A fun activity to foster caring for those far away is to make a “Caring Calendar” and hang it in the kitchen.

At the beginning of each a month, a child can circle dates for hello calls and holidays, birthdays or special events for each person that he or she wants wants to remember in a special way. When everyone has Skype they can see one another, which makes it a special visit!

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