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Trick or treat! Plan for a safe Halloween

Trick or treat! Plan for a safe Halloween


Halloween is a holiday that children and their parents enjoy together. But keeping your costumed trick-or-treaters safe while they go door to door is paramount.


Follow these tips for ensuring that your kids will have a Halloween they remember for all the right reasons:


• Choose costumes in light or bright colors. Whether you buy a costume or make one, be sure it will be visible after dark. Put some reflective tape on goodie bags to help them show up on the street.


• Eat before going out. Serve dinner or a good healthy snack before your kids hit the neighborhood. They’ll be less likely to gorge on the candy they collect if they’re already full.


• Be careful with props. Make sure masks don’t limit children’s vision or obstruct their breathing. If they’re carrying canes, toy swords, or any other sort of accessory, check that they’re not too difficult to carry while

walking or crossing the street.


• Plan your route. Determine a clear and safe path through your neighborhood ahead of time. You should

accompany small children, of course, and discuss safety with older kids going out as a group. Always carry a

flashlight and cell phone.


• Inspect candy before eating. Check through treat bags when children return home, and separate out any candy that looks suspicious. Don’t let kids consume too much at one time—ration it out so they don’t make

themselves sick.


Teaching Kids About Finances

Teaching Kids About Finances


It can be both easy and fun to teach children about finances. Learning about money helps children to also learn how to be generous, responsible and aware of their spending decisions. It is never too early to start teaching your kids about finances in your family. Children who understand what is required to be able to run a household are able to learn the value of money at a very young age.


One way to introduce children to the concept of money and balancing a budget is to give them chores for which they are paid an allowance. It is also a good idea to teach them to save around ten percent of that allowance in a savings account. You should not allow them to borrow against future allowances for a larger purchase, but to save for any items outside of their current budget, thus setting a healthy precedent and attitude to money for their adult life.


Giving children an allowance that they can spend largely as they wish establishes a foundation for dealing with money and being mindful about things that they really want to buy and things that need to be saved up for in order to acquire. Working for chores also teaches them the importance of the concept of work for pay.

Dining Out With Children

Dining out can be a great way for families to enjoy some quality time together, but if things go wrong, it can also be a nightmare.  Here are a few tips to ensure that your family eating-out experiences go more smoothly:


  1. Lay the groundwork.  Children can’t be expected to behave well in restaurants if they are used to being allowed to run riot at mealtimes at home or haven’t been taught the basics, such as how to use the proper utensils.  Prepare your children by eating as a family at home and by teaching and enforcing good table manners and behavior.
  2. Pick your time.  Taking children to a nice restaurant when they are tired, over-hungry and fractious is often a recipe for disaster, so choose your time carefully.
  3. Pick your place.  If there are no other children in the restaurant that you are considering, it might be wise to steer clear.  Children often pick up on an atmosphere that is not child-friendly, and the companionship of other children often encourages better rather than worse behavior.
  4. Order carefully.  Ordering a selection of appetizers rather than main courses not only can mean a shorter wait for the food to arrive, but it also avoids the issue of children complaining that they don’t like the food.
  5. Never use dining out as an opportunity to have your children try something new.  Keep your experiments for mealtimes at home.

Is your child a picky eater? Try these solutions.

Most parents have had to deal with a picky eater in the family while their kids are growing up. You want your children to eat healthy, nutritious meals, but you don’t want the dinner table to become a battleground every evening. Here’s some advice for feeding your family without unnecessary struggle:


• Start early. Get your children used to eating fruits and vegetables as soon as your pediatrician says you can. Helping them develop a taste for good food when they’re young will influence their choices positively when they’re older.


• Stick to a routine. Eat at the same time every day so kids know when to expect their meals. Limit between-meal snacks so children aren’t full when they sit down to the table.


• Introduce new foods gradually. Offer something different along with foods that are familiar. Be patient as your child gets used to a new fruit or vegetable—you may have to serve it more than once before he or she accepts it.


• Set the right example. Be willing to try new foods and meals yourself, to show your family that everyone should experiment. Don’t reject something you don’t like immediately; try a little of it, and resist the urge to say, “I hate this,” even if it doesn’t appeal to you.


• Get kids involved. As soon as they’re ready, ask your children to help decide on your mealtime menus and preparation. They’ll be more likely to eat a taco they make themselves, especially if they have some choice over what they put in it.


• Keep mealtimes short. Don’t expect your children to try something new when they’re bored or restless. Try to keep lunch and dinner down to 10-15 minutes so they don’t feel trapped and resentful at the table.


• Don’t force kids to eat. Encouraging them to eat good food is important, but insisting they eat something they don’t want can backfire, leading to them eating less, or overeating unhealthy foods they prefer. You want to teach your children to make good choices, not make every food decision for them.

What to Teach Your Kids in Case They Get Lost

Most parents experience at some time that sickening moment when they realize that they have lost sight of their child when they are out and about.  By taking a few precautionary measures, parents and caregivers can minimize the risks and have a plan for what to do next.


  • Always impress upon youngsters the importance of staying with the group and not wandering off alone.
  • When you reach your destination, decide on a designated meeting point that children can find easily should they become detached from the rest of the party.
  • Write down your cell phone number and put it in the child’s pocket before you set out.  Let the child know that it is there and that he/she should give it to an appropriate person if they get lost.
  • Advise children that if they need assistance they should only approach someone such as a security guard, police officer or someone who is clearly a member of the staff.
  • Always take careful note of what children are wearing before you set out, or better still, take a photo of them on your cell phone.
  • If you are going somewhere that is very crowded, try to ensure that children are wearing something bright that will help them stand out from the crowd.
  • If possible, provide older children with a cell phone and youngsters with a walkie-talkie so that you can communicate with them.

Energy Tips For Hard-Working Parents

Being a parent is hard work, often stressful even in the midst of joy. And if you’re not careful, the pressure and pace can drain you of energy (and patience) when you need it most.


For stay-at-home moms and dads trying to keep it all together, here are tips for conserving your health, energy, and sanity:


• Always eat breakfast. A cup of coffee isn’t a meal. Eat a solid, nutritious breakfast to give you the energy you need to face the day.


• Follow a routine. Don’t reinvent the wheel every morning. Have a regular plan for your days with the family so you don’t stress out trying to think of something new to do. Just don’t chain yourself to the schedule—be flexible when problems and opportunities arise.


• Drink lots of water. You can get dehydrated without realizing it, and suffer from headaches and fatigue as a result. Keep a bottle of water handy and drink from it throughout the day without waiting until you feel really thirsty.


• Get fresh air and exercise. Try to get out of the house for a walk once a day. If the weather is too cold or rainy, at least open a window to get the air circulating in your house and in your body.


• Eat healthy snacks. Don’t run yourself down by starving between meals. Some fruit or a few nuts can help keep you going.


• Connect with people. Get together with some other parents for a playdate. Even a quick session on Facebook can help you feel like an adult again. You need mature conversation to stay centered.


• Take a break. Give yourself permission to let the kids watch a video for a half-hour. You’re not a bad parent for taking time for yourself.


• Get your rest. Have a regular bedtime for yourself, not just your kids. Getting the sleep you need will help you stay healthy and calm


Improve Your Child’s Smile

A nice smile is one of the best assets a person can have – but it’s an asset that needs taken care of from an early age. The good news is that there are some easy tips for parents to follow to make sure that their kids’ oral hygiene is up to snuff.


Children who are under the age of seven should always be supervised by a parent when brushing their teeth. They should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. The recommended level of fluoride for a child under the age of three is 1,000 parts per million, and for children over the age of three, between 1,300 and 1,500 parts per million (which is the same level found in adult toothpaste).


Parents should also cut down on their children’s level of intake of sugary foods and drink and take them for regular dental checkups.


Give your child a great smile!

Turn off the TV—Turn on the Music For Your Kids!

Listening to music may make your children smart, according to many child development experts. Dubbed “the Mozart Effect,” thanks to a 1993 study in which college students’ scores on spatial and temporal reasoning problems improved after listening to the music of the famous 18th-century composer, the theory is backed up by studies of preschool and kindergarten children.


Hearing is said to be the most developed of the five senses in newborn babies; they often turn their faces to identify where a sound is coming from, and they appear able to recognize the voices of their mothers and other close relatives almost from the begin­ning. Music may stimulate the development of neural pathways needed for reasoning, as children “organize” the notes in their brains to understand melodies.


Here are some other ways music may help children learn and grow mentally:


• Memory. Listening to rhythm, melody, and lyrics can help children discover how to remember and form words and may encourage stronger reading skills.


• Concentration. Musical tunes that catch the child’s attention can reinforce the ability to focus on a specific activity or idea for a period of time.


• Coordination. Clapping hands or stomping feet in time can enhance children’s muscular performance.


To encourage a love and appreciation of music in your child, try these tactics:


• Get active. Encourage small children to dance, shake toys, stomp, or wave in time to the music. As they start speaking, urge them to sing along.


• Make music. Music lessons can teach patience, concentration, and self-confidence. And just letting your kids tap the keys on your piano can teach them about sounds and rhythm.


• Don’t push. Expose your children to a wide range of music, but don’t force any particular style on them. Let them discover and explore what they like on their own.

What are the best pets for young children?

Taking care of a pet can be a valuable learning experience for children. Just be sure to choose the right pet for your child and your family. Dogs and cats aren’t the only possibilities. Here’s a look at some other options for animal companionship:

• Fish. Perhaps one of the easiest pets to take care of, fish can provide companionship without a ton of responsibility beyond cleaning their tanks and feeding them. They don’t require much interaction and are a popular starter pet for most children. They don’t take up a lot of room, but you should be careful not to overfeed them.

• Ants/earthworms. If you and your child aren’t easily grossed out, taking care of ants or earthworms could be a good choice. Ideal for outdoorsy and science-oriented kids, ants are quite capable of taking care of themselves. Just be sure to not leave the lid off the container or let it get knocked over. As for earthworms, they’re quite low-maintenance and can be moved to your garden if your child loses interest.

• Rodents. Small mammals such as mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs are excellent pets for those who do not have a great deal of living space. Handle them with care when feeding and exercising them, and clean their cages often. They don’t live for too long, but they are more active at night, when children are home from school.

• Rabbits. While also rodents, rabbits require a different level of care from those previously mentioned. They need a good deal of exercise in and out of their cages. Rabbits also need to be handled with care by their owners and can bite if provoked. They’ll need things to chew on and a roomy cage where they can have their own litter box.

• Birds. Birds such as parakeets or finches can make excellent pets if you make the commitment. Selecting the right kind of bird is key, as their temperament and level of activity should be matched to the family. It can take time to train them, and they can live for several years, so be sure that a bird really fits with your family.

The world of make-believe: Kids and imaginary friends

Imaginary playmates are common with young children—studies suggest that 65 percent of children age 7 and younger have had them. Parents sometimes wonder whether they’re a symptom of psychological problems, though. Shouldn’t a well-adjusted child be interacting with real people instead of invisible companions?


Don’t worry. Even though the line between fantasy and reality can be blurry for toddlers, most children are perfectly aware that Mister Bear and Princess Blue-Eyes aren’t real. Imaginary friends can serve a variety of purposes: They can protect children from perceived dangers—a barking dog seems less scary when a child has a pretend lion walking at his or her side. They can also allow children to deal with issues of helplessness and control, allowing them to be in charge: A child who gives an imaginary friend a shot may be working through anxiety about going to the doctor. And they help children entertain themselves, especially after a family move that takes them away from friends and familiar surroundings.


Pretend playmates can help children develop a richer imagina­tion and vocabulary; they can also teach kids how to socialize with their real-life friends. Often they serve as role models for correct behavior (although they can also take the blame for misbehavior).


If your child prefers to play exclusively with a make-believe pal, avoiding interaction with real children, or if he or she uses the pretend playmate to avoid certain situations, you may want to find out whether something serious is going on.


Otherwise, don’t fight it. Pretend play is important to a child’s development, and setting an extra place at the dinner table for Danny the Dinosaur is a small price to pay for your child’s well-being.