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.

A Family-Friendly Cruise Includes Youth Programs

Splash Academy Youth ProgramsIf you are thinking about  taking a family cruise, you need to know more about the ship than if it has laundry services, kid-friendly meals, and on board medical care; you need to think about the availability of youth programs that are age appropriate, interesting, and well supervised by staff that are experienced in caring for and recreating children.

During the December holidays, I took a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway that I would describe, not only as kid-friendly, but family friendly as well. Each morning, before I got on an elevator near my cabin, I caught a brief glimpse of young children making their way into one of the youth programs sites for a day of learning activities, games, crafts, and free play with new friends.

The Breakaway’s Splash Academy hosts complimentary youth programs that provide children with fun-filled days at sea. Programs give parents the opportunity to enjoy a variety of cruise activities knowing their children are well supervised, and enjoying meeting and playing with others their own age.

Given my years of running a preschool and  seasonal day camps, I was interested in learning more about the Splash Academy and its youth programs while at sea, and when in ports of call. I was given permission to meet with the manager of the youth programs, Carlos Perez. Carlos gave me a tour of the several large, well-maintained and colorfully decorated recreation rooms that are home to the Splash Academy on the 12th floor of the ship.

As Carlos described the youth programs, children are grouped by age and activities as follows:

  • Guppies – ages 6 months to 2 years. Parents participate in the activities, which take place in the Guppies Playroom and are hosted by a certified staff. Activities include, but are not limited to, sensory play, music and movement, ball play and building with blocks.
  • Turtles – Ages 3-5 years. Programs take place in the main Splash Academy recreation areas and include: Arts and crafts, painting, games, sensory play, storytelling, developmental activities, parades and treasure hunts.
  • Seals – Ages 6-9 years. Programs are held in the Splash Academy recreation areas and include: Circus Skills and Show (Scarf Juggling, Plate Spinning, Devil Sticks, and Rope Spinning) theme nights, painting, sports and games, parades, treasure hunts, and video games
  • Dolphins – Ages 10-12 years. Programs are in Splash Academy recreation areas and include: Entourage Takeover, Circus skills and Show (Stilts, Ball Juggling, Chinese Yo-Yo, Plate Spinner and Devil Sticks) scavenger hunts, sports and team building, theme nights, and video games.
  • Entourage – Teens get to hang out and play video games, see movies, enjoy music and sports with others their own age in supervised teen centers around the ship.

During days at sea, Splash Academy is open from 9am to noon and 2pm to 5pm and 7pm until 10:30 pm.

Carlos shared that Splash Academy has a staff of over 25+ men and women experienced in providing youth programs for children. During my tour, I was impressed to see the modern equipment, and well maintained play areas. The kitchen area and bathroom facilities are sized appropriately for young children.

On the last day of the trip, the children who participated in the youth programs, put on a production for their families and other shipboard guests.

Norwegian Breakaway delivered a cruise experience for the whole family. Thanks to Splash Academy, parents had free time to enjoy shipboard activities. In addition, kid friendly meals, pool time fun as a family, and other shared activities made for a family-friendly cruise.

Not every cruise line offers youth programs, and not all youth programs are created equal; make sure you pick a cruise that has youth programs that will interest each of your children.

 

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Antibiotic Resistance

The FDA wants you to be aware of the growing problem of Antibiotic Resistance. The following information comes directly from the FDA literature on the subject.

Antibiotic drugs can save lives. But some germs get so strong that they can resist the drugs. The drugs don’t work as well. Germs can even pass on resistance to other germs.

antibiotic  Antibiotic drugs normally work by killing germs called bacteria, or they stop the bacteria from growing. However,  sometimes not all of them are stopped or killed. The strongest ones are left to grow and spread. A person can get sick again. This time the germs are harder to kill.

The more often a person uses an antibiotic, the more likely it is that the germs will resist it. This can make some diseases very hard to control. It can make you and your children sick longer and require more doctor visits. You may need to take drugs that are even stronger.

 There are Two Main Types of Germs

 Bacteria and viruses are the two main types of germs. They cause most illnesses. Antibiotics can kill bacteria, but they do not work against viruses. Viruses cause:• Colds • Coughs• Sore throats • Flu• Bronchitis • Sinus problems• Ear infections

Bacteria live in drinking water, food, and soil. They live in plants, animals, and people. Most of them do not hurt people. Some even help us to digest food. But other bacteria cause serious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and Lyme disease.

 How Does this Affect Me?

 If you have a virus, taking antibiotics is not a good idea. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. The medicine will not help you. It might even harm you. Each time you take one, you add to the chances that bacteria in your body will be able to resist them. Later that could make you very sick. Finding the right treatment could be a problem.

 What Common Mistakes Do Patients Make?

• Patients ask for antibiotics they don’t need. For example, they ask for antibiotics to treat a cold.

• They don’t take antibiotics the way the doctor says. For example, they stop taking the drug before all the pills are used. That can leave the strongest germs to grow.

• They save antibiotics and take them on their own later

What is the FDA Doing About the Problem?

The FDA wants doctors to be more careful about giving antibiotics when they are not needed.

• The FDA will require new labeling for doctors.

• One of the new labels must say that these drugs should be used only for infections caused by bacteria.

• Another label will ask doctors to explain to their patients the right way to use the drugs.

 What Should I Do?

 • Don’t demand an antibiotic when your doctor says you don’t need it.

• Don’t take an antibiotic for a virus (cold, cough, or flu).

• Take your medicine exactly the way the doctor says. Don’t skip doses.

• Don’t stop taking your medicine when you feel better. Take all the doses.

• Don’t take leftover medicine.

• Don’t take someone else’s medicine.

• Don’t rely on antibacterial products (soaps, detergents, and lotions). There is no proof that these products really help.

We all need to be wary about becoming antibiotic resistant

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Glaucoma…Know Your Risk

The National Eye Institute wants  us to be aware that Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss in the United States.

Glaucoma

 Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve, which carries visual signals to the brain. It can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of this disease and often has no symptoms in its early stages. Quite frequently, by the time people are diagnosed with glaucoma, they’ve already begun to notice changes in their side, or peripheral, vision.

While anyone can get glaucoma, people at higher risk for glaucoma include African Americans age 40 and older; everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans; and those with a family history of the disease.

“Studies show that at least half of all persons with glaucoma don’t know they have this potentially blinding eye disease,” said National Eye Institute (NEI) director Dr. Paul Sieving. “The good news is that glaucoma can be detected in its early stages through a comprehensive dilated eye exam.”

A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a procedure in which an eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate (or widen) the pupil to examine the back of your eyes and check the optic nerve for signs of disease. This exam may help save your sight because when glaucoma is detected early, it can be controlled through medications or surgery. If you are at higher risk, make sure you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every 1 to 2 years and encourage family members to do so as well.

So wherever life takes you, keep vision in your future. Don’t wait until you notice problems with your vision to see an eye care professional. A low-cost exam may be available to you through Medicare. For more information, call 1–800–MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov.

For additional information about glaucoma, visit www.nei.nih.gov/glaucoma or call NEI at 301–496–5248.

 

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Allergy Triggers in Classrooms and Playgrounds

allergyThe American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology,ACAAI, reported that common allergy triggers in classrooms and playgrounds spur 14 million school absences a year in U.S.

“Children with allergies and asthma should be able to feel good, be active and not miss any classes or activities this school year due to their condition,” allergist Dr. James Sublett, chair of the ACAAI Public Relations Committee, said in a college news release. “Helping  children understand what triggers their allergy symptoms can keep them focused on their studies and not their allergies.”

The ACAAI advises that there are ways children can stay away from allergy triggers so they can feel their best, including:

  • Avoid chalk dust. Children with asthma or an other allergy should wash their hands after handling chalk and not sit too close to the chalkboard.
  • Steer clear of bees and wasps. Children should not disturb bees or other insects when they are outside. They should also avoid wearing brightly colored clothing on the playground. Parents of children with an insect allergy should consider talking to an allergist about venom immunotherapy, which can be 97 percent effective in preventing future reactions to insect bites.
  • Pack lunch. Children with a food allergy, or food allergies should bring their lunch to school and avoid sharing food, napkins or utensils with their friends. Teachers, coaches and the school nurse should also be informed about each student’s food allergy. In extreme cases, a food allergy can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction. Parents could also suggest that school adopt an allergen-free snack policy.
  • Be aware of breathing troubles after physical activity. Children who experience trouble breathing during or after gym class, recess or other physical activities at school could have exercise-induced broncho-constriction or asthma. These children need to be seen by an allergist who can diagnose and treat their conditions.
  • Don’t cuddle classroom pets. Children with allergies should avoid pets with fur and not be seated next to children who have furry pets at home. Parents can also request that teachers choose a hairless classroom pet, such as a fish or a frog.

Experts recommended that parents of children with allergy symptoms or asthma make an appointment with a board-certified allergist to develop a treatment plan.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about students’ health in school.

(SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, July 19, 2012)

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Banana in a Blanket

For a fun change for breakfast, try Banana in a Blanket.

Banana in a blanket is a breakfast that the kids can help prepare. There’s no cooking involved.

Banana

Preparation time: 5 minutes

 1 (6 inch) whole wheat tortilla
1 tablespoon reduced-fat smooth peanut butter
1 medium banana
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon crunchy, nutty nugget cereal
 

Instructions: Lay tortilla on a plate. Spread peanut butter evenly on the tortilla. Sprinkle cereal over peanut butter.

Peel and place banana on the tortilla and roll the tortilla. Drizzle maple syrup or honey on top.

Optional: garnish the banana in a blanket with more cereal on top.

 

Serves: 1
½ Cup of Fruit per Serving
Fruit and/or Veggie Color(s): White [What’s This?]
 
Nutrition Information per serving: calories: 303, total fat: 6.4g, saturated fat: 1.2g, % calories from fat: 17%, % calories from saturated fat: 3%, protein: 9g, carbohydrates: 63g, cholesterol: 0mg, dietary fiber: 7g, sodium: 306mg
Each serving provides: An excellent source of fiber, and a good source of vitamin C, folate, magnesium and potassium.
 
Recipe was developed for Produce for Better Health Foundation by Chef Mark Goodwin, CEC, CNC. This recipe meets PBH and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) nutrition standards that maintain fruits and vegetables as healthy foods.

Recipe from the Cool Fuel for Kids cookbook.

Source:http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/

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