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.

E-learning and the Preschool Child is About Making Choices

Young children don’t realize they make choices every day. They decide what toy to play with, and whether to share a toy. At mealtime, they choose to eat or not eat what is put in front of them. These are just a few choices they make in a given day. Being able to make choices is empowering and that is the function of interactivity in E-learning programs. 

When a young child experiences the immediate results of making choices, it makes decision-making seem like a good thing to do. It helps a child develop the confidence to make decisions in real-time situations.

We teach our children to be safe. We encourage them to share, to be a friend, to play fair, to be honest, and to behave well. We hope when they are faced with a situation that challenges what we have taught them, that they make the right decision. It isn’t possible to give our children practice runs in all the life skills situations they may encounter.E-learning programs do just that. They give our children practice runs for making good choices when faced with life situations.

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Other Ways E-Learning is Good  for Preschoolers

E-learning learning programs also have other ways in which decision-making become attractive to preschoolers. They ask a child using the program to help the animated, cartoon characters to make decisions. This makes decision-making less personal to a child. But, it also fosters a sense of responsibility for helping a character make the right decision.

E-learning content is always consistent. It is not affected by differences in an instructor’s performance resulting from tiredness or the time of the presentation. E-learning programs are less intimidating. A child can make an incorrect choice and go back and correct it. He or she doesn’t worry that others will know about it.

E-learning programs reinforce what is being taught through engaging the child in interactive decision-making. This reinforcement tends to result in higher content retention rates than a presentation that talks about life skills decision-making.

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Keeping Your Child Safe From Heat Stroke, Exhaustion and Cramps

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It is still hot in many parts of the U.S., and heat illness is a health concern, especially for children.

The following press release speaks to protecting your child from heat induced illnesses.

Source Newsroom: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center want parents and guardians to know how they can keep their kids safe during the hot weather.

Dr. Eric Kirkendall, Hospital Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s, explains that there are three major illnesses that heat can trigger. “Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps are reactions caused by exposure to high temperatures combined with high humidity. The most serious of these is heat stroke.”

Heat stroke symptoms include hot flushed skin, high fevers (over 104° F), and altered mental states such as confusion. It can be accompanied by seizures. It is a life-threatening emergency, and needs to be treated promptly.

Heat exhaustion is less severe, but is still dangerous and requires medical attention. Symptoms include pale skin; profuse sweating; nausea, dizziness, fainting, or weakness.

Heat cramps are most common in the abdomen and legs, especially the calf or thigh muscles. Tightness or hand spasms can also occur, but none of these symptoms are accompanied by a fever.

Dr. Kirkendall advises that parents and caregivers should limit outdoor play time when it is extremely hot outside to early morning or late afternoon. “Keep children well hydrated with water, and take frequent breaks to allow them to come inside and cool off.”

Treating Heat Stroke

• Call 911 immediately.
• Cool the child off as rapidly as possible while waiting for Emergency Medical Services to arrive. Move the child to a cool shady place or an air-conditioned room; sponge the entire body surface with cool water (as tolerated without causing shivering); and fan the child to increase evaporation.
• Keep the feet elevated to counteract shock.
• If the child is awake, give him as much cold water to drink as he can tolerate.
• Fever medicines are of no value for heat stroke.

Treating Heat Exhaustion

• Put the child in a cool place. Have him lie down with the feet elevated.
• Undress the child (except for underwear) so the body surface can give off heat.
• Sponge the entire body surface continuously with cool water without causing shivering. Fan the child to increase heat loss from evaporation.
• Give the child as much cool, not cold water to drink as is tolerable until he feels better.
• Move the child to a shaded area.
• For persistent or severe symptoms, take the child to be seen by a physician.

Avoiding Cramps

• Monitor the child’s physical activity and make sure that he does not overly exert himself.
• Make sure the child drinks plenty of water and rehydrates often.
• Encourage frequent breaks from physical activity so the child can cool down and gently stretch his muscles.

About Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S.News and World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org. Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

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Digital Eye Strain is Often the Result of Over Exposure to Digital Devices

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents severely underestimate the time eyetheir children spend on digital devices. What follows is a press release issued by AOA that speaks to the need to monitor your child’s use of digital devices and suggests the guidelines to help prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain.

AOA Survey Report on Digital Eye Strain

ST. LOUIS — An AOA survey reports that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 estimate they use an electronic device for three or more hours each day. However, a separate AOA survey of parents revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. Eye doctors are concerned that this significant disparity may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs and symptoms associated with vision problems due to technology use, such as digital eye strain.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Eighty percent of children surveyed report experiencing burning, itchy or tired eyes after using electronic devices for long periods of time. These are all symptoms of digital eye strain, a temporary vision condition caused by prolonged use of technology. Additional symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain.

Optometrists are also growing increasingly concerned about the kinds of light everyday electronic devices give off – high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light – and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes. Today’s smartphones, tablets, LED monitors and even flat screen TVs all give off light in this range, as do cool-light compact fluorescent bulbs. Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause blindness.

Protecting Your Eyes Against Digital Eye Strain

When it comes to protecting eyes and vision from digital eye strain, taking frequent visual breaks is important. Children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32 percent) of children go a full hour using technology before they take a visual break instead of every 20 minutes as recommended.

Additionally, children who normally do not require the use of eyeglasses may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for intermediate distance for computer use. And children who already wear glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer screen. An eye doctor can provide recommendations for each individual patient.

AOA Recommendations

The AOA recommends every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after 6 months of age and before age 3. Children now have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act, through age 18.

“Parents should know that vision screenings miss too many children who should be referred to an optometrist for an eye examination to correct vision,” added Dr. Roberts. “Eye exams performed by an eye doctor are the only way to diagnose eye and vision diseases and disorders in children. Undiagnosed vision problems can impair learning and can cause vision loss and other issues that significantly impact a child’s quality of life.”

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Adults Also Need Shots

Get Important Shots

shotsAdults need to keep up on their shots. The Dept of Health and Human Services(HHS) wants every adult to speak with his or her physician and review the dates of their inoculations. Many adults fail to get booster shots. Also, their are now several new shots to prevent serious illnesses. 

HHS recommends that the next time you get a checkup, talk with the doctor or nurse about getting these important shots.

  • Get a Td booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus (“TET-nes”) and diphtheria (“dif-THEER-ee-ah”).
  • If you are under age 65 and haven’t received it yet, get the Tdap shot instead of your next Td booster. Tdap protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis).

Be sure to remind grandparents about keeping up with their shots:

  • If you are age 60 or older, you may need a shot to prevent shingles. Shingles causes a rash and can lead to pain that lasts for months or years. There is a new vaccine for preventing shingles. It is administered in two separate injections, given a few months apart.Your local pharmacy carries it, and the pharmacist can administer the shingles vaccine.
  • If you are age 65 or older, get a pneumonia shot. This shot is sometimes called PPSV. Most people only need to get the shot once.
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Answering the Tough Questions

The death of a pet is difficult for most families, but it is especially difficult for young children who do not, as yet, understand the concept of death. Most young children will frequently ask when the pet is coming back, as if it were just away for awhile. The following books can help with explaining to pre-school children and early elementary school children what happened to the family pet.

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“When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death” Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (1998)

“Lifetimes” Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen (1983)

Moving can also be difficult for a young child who has just started school and made friends.  A book by Cynthia MacGregor, “Why Do We Have to Move?: Helping Your Child Adjust With Love and Illustrations,” may be the help you need to explain the whys of moving.

Sometimes we are at a loss for words in speaking  to a young child about why a family member gets seriously ill. Little Parachutes has  series of books that deal with dementia, cancer and other hard to discuss diseases.

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