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10 ways to teach your kids how to swim

Passing on our hard-earned knowledge to our children is one of the greatest parts of being a parent or a caregiver. For many, teaching the skill of swimming is one of the most challenging and rewarding of those tasks. One of the best ways to prevent drowning is to simply ensure that children have basic swimming skills and knowledge, though it’s certainly not the only water safety measure required.

Here are ten things to keep in mind when you’re teaching children to swim:

  1. Be Patient – One of the best ways to ensure that a child has an aversion to the water and never wants to swim again is to become frustrated at them during the teaching process. Swimming should be fun and exciting, not stressful.
  2. Don’t Push Scared Kids – Some kids are more comfortable in the water than others; those that aren’t big fans may take longer to learn than their more enthusiastic counterparts. Don’t push nervous little ones to learn faster or punish them for showing signs of fear.
  3. One Thing at a Time – Whether kids are toddlers or school-aged, it’s best to focus on one task at a time. Blow bubbles until that skill is mastered, then move on to kicking while holding on to something stationary. When they have one step down, then – and only then – it is time to move on to the next.
  4. Keep Lessons Short – During a day at the pool, try to break lessons down into one or two half-hour increments, while the rest of the time is devoted to play. Throwing too much instructional information at them can be overwhelming, and they may not retain anything.
  5. Make Sure That Lessons Are Age-Appropriate – A two-year-old might have more trouble mastering the back-float than a first-grader, so try to keep your child’s age and physical development level in mind when you’re teaching.
  6. Avoid Unrealistic Expectations – It’s quite unlikely that your little one is going to emerge from their first lesson as an Olympic medalist, so keep your expectations at a realistic level. Some kids may pick up quickly and others may need more time; it’s important to avoid shaming comparisons.
  7. Tailor Your Approach to Your Child’s Individual Needs – A kid with no fear of the water and a strong sense of athleticism and independence will require a very different teaching method than her timid, less-developed sibling. Tailoring your methods to each of their individual needs will work best for everyone.
  8. Floaties or No Floaties? – Some parents believe that inflatable “floaties” will help their child to become acclimated to the water, while others believe that they create a false sense of security and prevent kids from learning proper form. When making your decision, it’s also important to remember that a child who is accustomed to floaties will have to be weaned from them, similar to training wheels on a bicycle. Kids who never use them won’t have that dependency to break.
  9. Remember That Putting Your Face in the Water is Scary – Especially for very young children, submerging completely, or even putting their face into the water, can be downright terrifying at first. This aversion is usually overcome in a relatively short amount of time, but being prepared for it can help to stave off parental frustration.
  10. Start Acclimating Early – Even if you’re only playing games and swaying in the water, an infant who is used to being exposed to the water is likely to transition into swimming lessons much more easily than kids with no prior experience.
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10 bad eating habits parents teach their kids

Kids most often learn by example and I think we as parents tend to forget that fact as they get older. Once our kids are a little more self-reliant we usually go back to our habits as they were pre-children. As life picks up, moms go back to work when the kids start school, and everything gets busier, and it gets harder and harder to set a good example for our kids. Do you do any of the following bad habits in front of your kids?
  1. Salting your food before you taste it: This used to be a secret test that interviewers would use to size up a candidate for a job. Their reasoning? Salting your food before you taste it at a restaurant means that you have preconceived notions about how it will taste and this could trend over into other aspects of your personality. With children, using too much salt is a bad habit to get into because it’s not good for blood pressure and it makes your body retain water. Instead, try to use other spices to season your food, adding flavor without unnecessary sodium.
  2. Eating really fast: In our frenetic lives of running our children from activity to activity we often don’t have time to sit down as a family and enjoy our food. Eating too fast can lead to over eating because your body doesn’t realize that it’s full until after you’re done eating, and this can lead to weight gain. This is especially bad for our children because we are not teaching them to enjoy their food and listen to their body’s hunger cues. When they feel full they should stop eating.
  3. Skipping breakfast: We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so why do so many adults still skip it? Scientific studies have shown that people who eat breakfast weigh less than those that skip breakfast so why do so many women still skip breakfast to save calories? Kids especially need breakfast to fuel their bodies and brains for a long day at school. Unlike adults, they can’t – and shouldn’t – get up and go to the vending machine when they are hungry.
  4. Midnight snacking: This late night habit of grabbing a snack is terrible for your system. Odds are that you are going to go to bed very soon after eating and those calories are not going to get burned off, which will also lead to weight gain. Kids who are active burn up calories a lot faster than adults and might need a healthy snack before they go to bed, but it should be at least a half an hour before bedtime and definitely not at midnight.
  5. Eating while driving: Again, in our hectic lives we’re constantly running from one activity to another, whether with the same child or a different child or our own personal activities. We grab a bite through the drive-thru and inhale it while going down the road, and we are inadvertently teaching our kids the same as they eat their nuggets and watch us in the back seat. What we should be showing them is to drive undistracted and that it’s important to focus on our food and enjoy what we are eating. Mindless eating is what also another cause of people being overweight.
  6. Skipping vegetables: We always think of children as not liking vegetables, but there are plenty of adults who don’t like vegetables either and it’s very hard to get your kids to eat vegetables if you don’t. Kids learn by example, and when you skip veggies they will skip them too.
  7. Eating out a lot: See a reoccurring theme here? When we are busy there’s no time for preparing a home cooked meal. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that restaurant food has a lot more sodium and calories than a home cooked meal. Look into other options, such as making meals ahead of time on the weekends so you can just take them from the freezer and heat them up, or get out your slow cooker and use it for hectic weeknights. What’s nice about a slow cooker is that if you take a few minutes in the morning to prepare it and turn it on you can forget it until you get home. Also, if you eat in shifts everyone can eat hot food when they are ready to eat.
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10 Tips for Staying Cool During a Heat Wave

Many areas in the country are currently suffering under a heat wave. Thank goodness for the nanny.net tips for staying cool during a heatwave. Phew! You too should keep these tips in mind if you find yourself living in a heat advisory this summer:

If you’re facing a heat wave, consider these 10 things:

1. Avoid the heat. Stay out of the sun, especially during the hottest parts of the day. If you do venture out, be sure everyone has sunscreen and hats on.

2. Turn on the AC. Air conditioning can be a real lifesaver for those facing a heat wave. If you don’t have air conditioning, fill a pan with ice, put a box fan in front of it, and sit in front of the cool air.

3. Stay hydrated. During a heat wave it is essential that everyone stays adequately hydrated. Be sure to drink and offer lots of water and fruit juice. Adults should avoid anything with caffeine or alcohol, as both are considered diuretics.

4. Wear loose clothing. Light, breathable clothing will help keep you cool during hot and humid weather. Remember, the looser the fabric weave, the less protection it offers from the sun.

5. Shut the windows and draw the shades if it’s hotter outside than it is inside. If it is cooler inside than it is outside, keep it that way by closing the windows and shades. Light colored drapes may be more effective at keeping the heat out than darker or metallic colored ones.

6. Take cool baths or showers. Don’t underestimate the power of a cool bath or shower. A cool bath or shower can offer a refreshing break to the heat.

7.  Avoid strenuous activity. Don’t overdo it during a heat wave. During a heat wave, you’ll want to skip yours and the kids exercise routine and keep active outdoor activity to a minimum.

8. Create indoor fun. From playing board games to doing arts and crafts, there are lots of fun things you can do inside with the kids during a heat wave. Older kids may enjoy playing card games and younger kids may enjoy coloring, cutting, and pasting to make their own artful creations. Watching movies together is another way to beat the heat.

9. Eliminate additional sources of heat.  Incandescent light bulbs, appliances, and computers can throw off heat. Shut off and unplug all nonessential electronics during a heat wave to minimize the extra heat that is added to the environment. Instead of turning the oven on to cook, opt for simple suppers like cereal, sandwiches, or other items that don’t require using the oven or stove.

10. Head out for cooler fun.  If the kids get cabin fever, consider heading out for an indoor adventure. Head to a family movie, go for a walk around the mall, take a swim at an indoor pool, or visit other family-friendly, air conditioned venues for something fun to do.

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Over 60 restaurants where kids eat free

While all points sign to a rise in the economy, times are still tough for many. But besides that, whenever families can save money by eating out at places where their kids can eat free, the better. 
Compliments of Bob’s Deals, we’ve got a pretty good comprehensive listing for you to check out of the places where kids eat free. Participation may vary, so be sure to call ahead and check with your local chain.
  • Applebee’s: Kids eat free on a select day of the week. Participating locations only; day of week varies by location.
  • Arriba Mexican Grill: Kids eat free all day on Sundays. One free kids’ meal per paying adult.
  • Bennigan’s: Kids eat free on a select day of the week. Participating locations only; day of week varies by location.
  • Back Yard BurgersKids eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult combo meal.
  • Bob EvansKids eat free on Tuesdays after 4 p.m. with the purchase of an adult meal.
  • Brewzzi: Kids 12 and under eat free on Mondays; up to to kids eat free for each adult meal of at least $12.
  • Carrows: Kids 10 and under eat free after 4 p.m. One free kids’ meal for each paying adult.
  • C.B. & Potts: Kids eat free all day on Thursdays.
  • Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen: Kids eat free here on Thursdays. Up to two kids get a free meal for each paying adult.
  • The Chartroose Caboose: Kids eat free all day on Thursdays with purchase of an adult meal of at least $8.
  • Chevy’s Fresh Mex: Kids eat free all day on Tuesday. One free kids’ meal for each paying adult.
  • Chick-fil-A: Kids eat free on Tuesdays between 5:30-7:30 p.m. with the purchase of an adult combo meal. NOTE: some locations charge $0.99 per kids meal.
  • Chicken Out Rotisserie: Kids eat free all day on Friday with the purchase of an adult meal.
  • Cici’s Pizza: Kids under 3 eat free every day.
  • Cinzetti’s: Kids under 12 eat free between 5-9 p.m. on Mondays.
  • Cody’s Original RoadhouseKids eat free at Cody’s on Tuesdays. Limited to kids 10 and under; two kids eat free for each paying adult.
  • Culver’sKids 12 and under get a free frozen custard with the purchase of a meal (valid daily).
  • Damon’s Grill: Kids eat free all day on Wednesdays. One kids’ meal per paying adult.
  • Denny’s: Kids eat free at Denny’s on Tuesdays from 4-10 p.m. (at some locations, Saturdays, too). Up to two kids get a free meal for every paying adult.
  • Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: Kids eat free all day on Sundays; drinks included.
  • Famous Dave’s: Kids 12 and under eat free all day on Tuesdays. NOTE: Some locations may charge $0.99 for kids meals, and some may use Mondays as their kids eat free day
  • Firehouse Subs: Kids eat free all day on Wednesdays. One free kids’ meal for each adult combo meal purchased.
  • FudruckersKids eat free on Mondays between 5-9 p.m.
  • Go Roma: Kids eat free all day on Sundays. Two free kids’ meals per paying adult.
  • Golden Corral: Kids 10 and under eat free on Mondays from 5-9 p.m. Two free kids’ meals per paying adult.
  • HootersKids eat free from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.
  • IHOPKids eat free on Mondays from 4-8 p.m. One free kids’ meal for each paying adult; drinks not included.
  • IKEAAt some IKEA locations, kids eat free at the food court on Tuesdays. There are also some specials throughout the year.
  • Jason’s DeliKids eat free all day on Wednesdays. One free kids’ meal per paying adult.
  • Jeffery’s Sports Grill: Kids eat free all day on Wednesdays. One free kids meal per paying adult.
  • The Locker Room: Kids eat free on Thursdays from 4-9 p.m.
  • Lone Star Steakhouse: Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays. Two free kids’ meals with the purchase of an adult meal.
  • Little Bitty Burger Barn: Kids under 10 eat free all day on Wednesdays. Two free kids’ meals for each paying adult (with drink purchase).
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy: Kids under 5 eat free all day on Saturday.
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill: Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays. One free kids’ meal per paying adult.
  • Norms: Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays. One kids’ meal per paying adult, drinks not included.
  • On The Border: Kids receive a free sundae with meal purchase (valid daily).
  • Perkins: Kids eat free on Wednesdays. One free kids’ meal for each paying adult.
  • Piccadilly: Kids under 6 eat free all day on Fridays.
  • Pizza Hut: Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays.
  • Pizza Street: Kids under 10 eat free on Tuesdays. One free kids meal per paying adult; offer limited to cheese pizza only.
  • Planet Sub: Kids eat free all day on Sundays. One free kids’ meal for each paying adult.
  • Ponderosa Steakhouse: Kids eat free on Tuesdays after 4 p.m. Two free kids’ meals for each adult meal purchased.
  • Qdoba Mexican Grill: Kids eat free on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • Red Brick Pizza: Kids eat free all day on Tuesdays. One free kids’ meal per paying adult.
  • Red Robin: Kids 10 and under eat free on Mondays.
  • Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina: Kids eat free all day on Thursdays with a paying adult.
  • Shari’s: Kids eat free from 4-9 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Shoney’s: Kids under 4 eat free all day on Fridays (with paying adult).
  • Steak ‘n Shake: Kids eat free on Sundays. One free kids’ plate for every $9 adult purchase. Dine-in only.
  • Texas Land & Cattle Steak House: Kids eat free from 11-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Two free kids’ meals per paying adult.
  • Texas Roadhouse: Kids eat free on a select day of the week. Participating locations only; day of week varies by location.
  • TGIFriday’sKids eat free on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • UNO Chicago Grill: Kids eat free on Tuesdays with the purchase of an adult meal.
  • White Castle: Kids eat free on Sundays from 4-8 p.m. with purchase of an adult meal over $4.

Kids Eat Almost Free

The following restaurants aren’t quite free, but they’re close enough to warrant inclusion.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: On Mondays, the kids’ menu is $0.99 from 5-8 p.m.
  • Fazoli’sOn Tuesdays, kids’ meals are $0.99 each from 5-8 p.m. Offer valid for up to two kids meals per adult entree.
  • Fire MountainOn Thursdays, get kids’ buffets for $0.99. Offer valid for kids 11 and under; up to two kids’ buffets per adult buffet.
  • Luby’s Cafeteria: On Wednesdays, kids under 10 eat for $2. Offer valid after 2 p.m.
  • McAlister’s Deli: Kids’ meals are $0.99 everyday at select locations.
  • Old Country BuffetOn Thursdays, get kids’ buffets for $0.99. Offer valid for kids 11 and under; up to two kids’ buffets per adult buffet. Offer also valid at some HomeTown Buffet locations.
  • Ryan’sOn Thursdays, get kids’ buffets for $0.99. Offer valid for kids 11 and under; up to two kids’ buffets per adult buffet.
  • WhichWich Superior Sandwiches: On Mondays and Saturdays, kids’ meals are $0.99 with the purchase of a 7″ Wich. Offer valid for kids 12 and under.

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Eco-Friday: 50 Creative Ways UpCycle old products

Most people have loads of old things laying around the house that they just don’t get rid of. How about using them to repurpose, reuse and upcycle those old items into new uses.
You need to go to TwistedSifter‘s blog and check out its very full list of 50 products you can upcycle.  Just click through the images to take you to the DIY guide to each item. Here is an image sample of some of the upcyle projects.

 

 

 

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Summer Travel: 10 Tips for Preparing to Travel internationally with your children

International travel, whether for professional, pleasure or personal reasons, can be a daunting prospect when there are children involved. However, as with many other intimidating tasks, much of the worry can be sidestepped with proper planning and preparation. With this in mind, here are 10 tips for preparing children to travel internationally.
  1. Immunizations – Depending on where you’re traveling and what the conditions there are, you and your children may need a round of immunizations to protection from communicable diseases. It’s advised that you make an appointment with your pediatrician to ensure that all immunizations are up-to-date and that any additional vaccinations required for travel are obtained.
  2. Make Passport Arrangements – For children preschool-aged and up, the process of arranging their passports can create an opportunity for discussion and explanations. Walking him through the reasons for each step can help your child understand more about what he should expect and what is expected of him on your trip.
  3. Talk About Personal Space and Sound Boundaries – Children that are old enough to communicate verbally may need a refresher course in what is and is not acceptable behavior in regard to noise levels and personal space boundaries on an international flight.
  4. Fill Out and Explain an Emergency Contact Card – Filling out an emergency contact card with your child’s name, address and pertinent personal information, as well as any emergency contact numbers, while your child is looking on provides the perfect opportunity for explaining what the card is for, and what he should do if he finds himself separated from a parent.
  5. Pack Gas Drops or Other Gas Remedies – Parents of infants should make sure that gas drops, or their favored gas remedies, are packed in a carry-on or diaper bag for quick access; high altitudes cause gases to expand, which can lead to abdominal pain during the flight. Every parent knows that with pain come howls; in these situations, gas drops may be a lifesaver.
  6. Bring Small Toys and Other Diversions – Even the most patient, well-behaved child will experience boredom on a long international flight, and is likely to act out as a result. Packing a favorite small toy or a portable DVD player or taking advantage of in-flight entertainment can help to ease some of this restlessness. Parents who don’t ordinarily allow television or strictly limit it may also want to consider a temporary lift on the screen-time ban, as the novelty of being allowed to watch a movie will boost this diversionary tactics’ effectiveness.
  7. Think Twice About Medication – It can be tempting to give children allergy medication like diphenhydramine to encourage drowsiness on long flights, but parents are advised to exercise this method of control with caution. In addition to the risk of overdose and the questionable wisdom of treating a condition that is not present, diphenhydramine can also have a paradoxical effect on some children, rendering them more active and restless than they would have been without the substance.
  8. Talk to Older Kids About Security Measures – Older kids, tweens and teens who fiercely guard their privacy may benefit from a conversation prior to the trip about airport safety and security regulations, in order to prepare them for what’s to come. Young, first-time fliers are likely to be anxious enough; being surprised by invasive searches can exacerbate that anxiety.
  9. Get to Know One Another – If your first international flight with a child is with one you’ve just adopted from a foreign country, it’s a good idea to stay in her home country for a few days in order to get acquainted; international travel is already nerve-wracking, and even more so for a small child in the presence of utterly unfamiliar adults.
  10. Talk About What to Expect After Deplaning – During the flight, have a discussion about what kids should expect after deplaning in an unfamiliar airport. Instructions for conduct, and plans in the event of separation or unforeseen complications can ease some of the confusion and worry that kids feel just before landing in an unknown place.
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10 Best States to Visit with Kids

 

Planning a family vacation can be an overwhelming prospect, especially when the budget doesn’t allow for international travel. Fortunately, there are plenty of spots on American soil that can be ideal destinations, and won’t break the bank like touring a foreign country can. Whether your focus is on the great outdoors, sites of historical significance or great museums, these are 10 of the states that offer plenty of exciting spots for visiting families to check out.

  1. Massachusetts – From the rich historical significance of Boston to the unique retail offerings in Northampton, there’s definitely something for everyone in Massachusetts. Walk the Freedom Trail to get a real taste of American history, see the sights at the living history museum of Battleship Cove in Fall River and enjoy winter sports at Butternut in Great Barrington.
  2. Virginia – The close proximity of the nation’s Capital, as well as the wealth of history shared in Colonial Williamsburg make Virginia an ideal family vacation destination. Families with a hankering for history or an affinity for the civil sciences will revel in the many sites Virginia has to offer.
  3. Arizona – The Grand Canyon alone is reason enough to embark on a family vacation to Arizona, but there’s more to this great state than the Skywalk. A treasure trove of museums in nearby Phoenix offers plenty of cultural edification, while the many state parks provide ample opportunity to do a bit of hiking in the desert.
  4. Florida – Disney World may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but Florida also boasts a healthy selection of kid-friendly vacation diversions. Visit the Everglades for an up-close encounter with swamp creatures and get space-crazy kids in on the act with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center. Don’t forget to pack bathing suits and plenty of sunscreen; no matter where you are in Florida, you’re within driving distance of a beach.
  5. Texas – They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and there’s plenty of truth to that statement. World-class shopping in Houston’s Galleria area, rich culture in the Museum and Theater districts and nearby Galveston Island make Houston a great choice for family travel. And if historical sites are more your speed, there’s always the world-famous Alamo in San Antonio!
  6. New York – The Big Apple is certainly packed with more diversions than you’d be able to take in over the course of one vacation, and that’s not including all the wonders of New York State you can see before even entering the city. Niagara Falls and the changing autumn leaves in Upstate New York are reason enough to make the trek; when you factor in NYC sites like Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, it’s almost unbeatable as a family vacation destination.
  7. Tennessee – Outdoorsy families will love visiting Rock City outside of Chattanooga or the rustic charm of the Smoky Mountains. Music lovers can revel in the country sounds of Nashville or the wonders of Memphis. There’s more to Nashville than country music, too. World-class museums like the Frist Center, a booming culinary scene and plenty of nearby state parks make Tennessee an unbeatable choice for family vacations.
  8. California – From the wonders of Disneyland to the majestic redwood forests, California is a veritable goldmine of exciting sites for the visiting family. Wander through Joshua Tree, experience the glitz and glamour of Hollywood or spend a day relaxing on the beach. Whatever your fancy, California certainly offers something that will please everyone.
  9. Pennsylvania – The Liberty Bell, Gettysburg and the wonder of Independence Hall are just a few of the can’t-miss attractions in Pennsylvania. Sports fans will love visiting Pittsburgh’s legendary Heinz Field, while every member of the family finds something to love at Hershey Park in Lancaster or the fascinating culture of Amish Country.
  10. Washington – While young fans of a certain vampire love story will clamor to visit Forks, the rich natural beauty of Washington State is reason enough to explore the area. Seattle alone is filled with an impressive array of family-friendly activities, with destinations all over the state to cater to any interest group.

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10 iPhone Apps to help Parents Discipline their Kids

When it comes to Apple’s powerful and popular iPhone, it seems that there’s very little the mobile device isn’t able to streamline and simplify. Thanks to the App Store and the developers that make it great, there are even offerings to help busy parents track and manage parenting and disciplinary tactics. These 10 apps are among the most popular and useful for keeping up with kids’ behavior, as well as the rewards and consequences of their behavioral choices.
1. Positive Parenting Practices – This $3.99 app is geared towards parents who espouse a more lenient, gentle approach to discipline. Positive Parenting Practices is more than an app detailing disciplinary methods, offering valuable insights into the motivation behind kids’ problem behavior and real-life solutions.


2. KidChart – Charts are great tools for tracking kids’ accomplishments, chores and behavior. Unfortunately, they’re also rather difficult to carry in your pocket. That’s where this $0.99 app comes in, putting the power of a full-sized paper chart at your fingertips. KidChart is also an effective way to monitor kids’ daily behavior for later discussion, when cooler heads allow for constructive conversation.
3. hAPPy Family – Encouraging positive behavior on the go is easy with this powerful app, which rewards kids with collectible marbles, ocean animals, treasures, insects or candy when they make the right choices.
4. iGrounded – Teenagers are notorious for pushing boundaries a bit too far in a bid to assert their burgeoning independence. A game of consequences that you’re able to edit and modify to suit your teen’s individual needs, iGrounded is available in the app store for $0.99.
5. iReward – The customizable motivational charts provided by this $4.99 app are designed for use by parents, caregivers and educators to reward good behavior. Traditional rewards, like gold stars, are among the options offered by this simple but powerful application.
6. Timeout – Ultimate Discipline Tool – Tracking the length of a timeout to provide kids a visual representation of how long they are sentenced to this punishment is a snap with this application. The app isn’t loaded with extra features, but it does deliver exactly what it promises.
7. Tymoot – Designed by a parent for parents, Tymoot is a $0.99 app that helps you create and set timeout timers. However, there’s a bit more to this one than meets the eye due to the Wheel of Discipline feature that allows your children to spin the virtual wheel in order to be “sentenced” to one of eight customizable punishments.
8. Caught Being Good – The free CAUGHT BEING GOOD app takes the spinning wheel of chance approach to rewarding kids for undirected good behavior. You can change, add or remove any reward, and also set the probability of a particular one appearing. Surprising your child with an unsought reward for good behavior that you have not requested or directed is an effective method of encouraging her to continue on the right path, even when she doesn’t think you’re there to see her.
9. Positive Discipline – Rather than a traditional punishment and rewards systems, the Positive Discipline approach relies upon a motivational system that helps kids to develop strong moral fiber, character and a sense of self-reliance. Encourage a sense of connection with the respectful, encouraging tone that motivates kids to make the right decisions in their daily lives, autonomously.
10. Rich Kids – Behavior & Reward Contracts for Child Discipline – This $2.99 app combines positive reinforcement parenting tactics with a method of teaching the fundamentals of financial responsibility that helps kids grow into the well-rounded, well-adjusted adults they were meant to become. Suggested for kids between the ages of three and 15, Rich Kids is an effective tracking and incentive tool.

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Youth Sports Safety Month: 6 Kids’ Sports Safety Tips

April is Youth Sports Safety Month. Sports can have a tremendously positive impact on kids’

lives.  A positive experience in sports

can benefit a child not only physically, but socially and emotionally.  Sadly our current youth sports system is

leading to a number of preventable injuries. 

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 3.5 million children under 14

receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.  When it comes to high school athletes, they

are clocking in 2 million injuries a year.
Keep your young athlete safe, healthy and happy with these top six youth sports safety tips tips from the experts at personal coaching company, CoachUp
1. Health, Sleep and Nutrition.  Set your child up for a long, healthy career

in sports by making sure they are eating a balanced diet and are sleeping

regularly.  Always have your child’s

annual physical up-to-date and be diligent with following up on their doctor’s

orders, especially for children with conditions like diabetes.  Never hesitate to bring your child to their

doctor if they are experience pain or feeling ill.
2. Concussion and TBI Awareness.  Make sure both you and your athlete are aware

of the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries, as well as, the long term impacts

of such an injury.  When in doubt, refer

to the guidelines outlined by the CDC and remember to bring your child to a

medical professional immediately if you suspect your child might have sustained

a TBI.
3. Hydration and Heat Related Illness Awareness. Your child

should always be properly hydrated before participating in any physical

activity. Especially if your child’s sport is rigorous or performed in elevated

temperatures, both you and your athlete should be aware of the symptoms of heat

related illnesses such heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
4. Strength, Conditioning and Flexibility Programs.  Particularly for middle to high school

athletes, a well-rounded training program is vital for preventing common

overuse injuries. Your athlete should be diligent about following the strength

and conditioning, and flexibility programs their coach prescribes. Your athlete

might need some extra support with regard accommodations for existing

conditions or injuries or just reviewing proper form, so consider enlisting the

help for a private to work more closely with your child.
5. Sports Performance Stress Management.  As your athlete begins to compete they will

become introduced to the stresses of sports performance.  You can help your athlete by making your home

a stress-free environment and offering your emotional support.  If you think your child is becoming unhealthy

stressed, address the problem with their coach to determine the next best steps

to reduce their anxiety.
6. Rest. Never underestimate the power of rest, whether

that  is a nap, a day off from practice

or a short term break from the sport. Burnout is a very common problem with

young athletes so it  is important to

foster a nurturing relationship with your athlete so they feel comfortable

approaching you if they need a break.

Following these tips will help ensure that your athlete will

have a long-lasting career and positive experience in sports for years to come.

Eco Friday: 10 plants your kids should avoid!

It’s Spring gardening season again.

Lush plants and vegetation make for wonderful curb appeal for the home, but whether at home, hiking, playing in the park and about, there are some plants that are not safe for adults, and definitely not kids. Here is a list of 10 plants your kids should avoid. Clip and save.

  1. Poison Ivy: This green plant found in the woods, at the park or almost anywhere should be avoided.  Not everyone has a bad reaction to poison ivy, but some people do.  Sometimes reaction to poison ivy is a cumulative thing too.  The first few times you touch it nothing happens, but the fourth time you could react.  It’s best just to steer clear of them.
  2. Poinsettia: This beautiful plant, seen mostly at Christmastime, is highly poisonous if ingested.  Your best bet is to keep them up off the floor to keep them away from toddlers and pets.
  3. Cactus: There are some varieties of cacti that have needles that are anywhere from 1-6 inches long and these can be very dangerous for a child to run into while playing.  Especially a small child that might be at the right height to get poked in the eye.
  4. Mushrooms and Toadstools: If you serve mushrooms to your children to eat then this caution is especially important.  Kids will not know the difference between the kind of mushrooms that they’ve seen in a salad or on pizza and the ones that they see growing in their yard.  Most mushrooms found in the wild are poisonous.  Children should avoid putting anything into their mouth, but as we know sometimes that is not an easy lesson to teach a toddler who is exploring their world by putting everything into their mouth.
  5. Rhubarb leaves: Now this is a weird one and one that will be hard to explain to your kids.  The stalk of the rhubarb is a fruit and it’s edible, but the leaf of the rhubarb stalk is poisonous.  I grew up eating rhubarb right out of the garden and I never once tried to eat the big green leafy part, but just make sure to let your child know that they have to cut the leaf off before they eat the stalk.
  6. Dumb cane (aka Dieffenbachia): A common houseplant, this Dieffenbachia (pronounced dee-fuhn-bak-ee-uh) is very welcoming with its broad green and gold leaves.  It is one of the most poisonous houseplants and one you should probably steer clear of if you have little ones around or pets.
  7. Holly bushes: Children are attracted to red berries or berries of any color really so it’s important to make sure that children know that they should never eat berries off of bushes.  The leaves of the holly bush are also incredibly sharp and pokey so it’s probably a good one to omit from your landscape.
  8. Black-eyed Susan: This fun pretty flower appears in home flower gardens as well as in the wild.  Eating the petals of this flower will probably not kill you or your child, but they will certainly have a stomach ache.  The seeds are very poisonous though and should be avoided.  The root is said to have some of the same medicinal properties as Echinacea and the flower petals can be used in teas, but great care needs to be taken when doing this and it’s not something for the home gardener to dabble in.
  9. Yucca: If you are not familiar with the yucca plant it has large spikey arms and thrives in warm climates and deserts.  This plant stores water in its fleshy arms so it’s a great plant for areas that are prone to droughts.  These plants can grow to amazing heights, but most are around 3-5 feet high and if you’re not careful their spikey arms will poke you or your child in the eye.  This plant is a definite no-no in a yard for children.
  10. Pampas grass: This ornamental grass appears in many landscapes.  They are very invasive so they are usually seen in public areas.  Your child might come into contact with one at a restaurant or country club.  Warn your child not to touch the leaves or the blades of grass because they are literally like little blades.  The edges are very sharp and can cut you or your child.  The pampas grass blooms with this big fluffy white poof on the top and they look so soft that children are drawn to them.  A good example of a time when they should look, but don’t touch.

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