Tablets and Smartphones Are Not for Babies

Currently, there are no research studies making a connection between tablets or smartphones and infant learning. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises eliminating screen time for children younger than 2 years completely. Numerous studies have shown that children learn better from real-life experiences than screen time, especially activities that involve moving and doing. Source: healthychildren.org


Eat Seafood Twice a Week

Make seafood (fish and shellfish)the main protein food on your plate. Seafood contains a range of nutrients, including healthy omega-3 fats. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating about 8 ounces per week (less for young children) of a variety of seafood can help prevent heart disease. Some low-cost options include whiting, tilapia, canned tuna, & some frozen seafood. Source: www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet15EatSeafood.pdf


Help Kids Develop Good Eating Habits

Grandparents can help kids develop good eating habits. They can inspire healthy food choices and make a positive impact in a child’s life. Learn more about the many resources available for older adults and their grandkids: http://go.usa.gov/KMHm Source: choosemyplate.org


Developmental Milestones

For every developmental milestone, there is a normal range in which a child may reach that milestone. Well-child visits to your child's health-care provider in the early years will assist parents with following your child's development. Most parents closely watch their children for different milestones but if you are worried about your child's development, call your primary care provider.


Poison Prevention Week

It's Poison Prevention Week so be sure to store all medicines in a safe place that is too high for your child to reach or see. Lock safety caps and put medicines away each time after you use them.


Car Seat Safety

One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is keeping your child safe when riding in a vehicle. Each year thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car seats helps keep children safe. But with so many different car seats on the market, it’s no wonder many parents find this overwhelming. The type of seat your child needs depends on several things, including your child’s age, size, and the type of vehicle you have. For more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about choosing the most appropriate car seat for your child, log on to the following URL: www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx Source: healthychildren.org


National Nutrition Month

Celebrate National Nutrition Month by packing more nutrition into your day with a colorful main dish or side salad. Keep basic ingredients on hand for a quick addition to any meal. Encourage kids to eat more vegetables by setting out ingredients to make their own salad creations. Or, let them choose individual items with salad dressing as a dip. Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


Text4baby's Free Appointment Reminders

Take advantage of Text4baby’s FREE appointment reminders. To sign up, text REMIND (or CITA for Spanish) to 511411.


Toothbrushing

Each child has different skills and needs that can guide parents in helping him or her brush. Help young children practice brushing and make it a good experience: • Choosing a toothbrush. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for brushing an infant’s or child’s teeth. • Holding a toothbrush. If the child has trouble holding a toothbrush, try making the handle thicker by putting it inside a tennis ball. The toothbrush handle can also be strapped to the child’s hand with a wide rubber band, a hair band, or Velcro. Toothbrushes with thick handles can also be found in retail and discount stores. • Using toothpaste with fluoride. Use toothpaste with fluoride that the child likes and that feels good in his or her mouth. An adult should always place toothpaste on the toothbrush. o For children under age 2: Use a small smear of toothpaste. o For children ages 2–5: Use a pea-size amount of toothpaste. o If a child cannot spit: Have the child tilt his or her mouth down so that the toothpaste can dribble out into the sink, a cup, or a washcloth. • Keeping the child engaged in brushing. Use a timer, a short song, or counting as a game to encourage brushing for 2 minutes. Source: healthychildren.org


National Heart Month

February is National Heart month. Take the first step in ensuring your child follows a heart healthy diet at an early age by including low-fat dairy products. For children between the ages of 12 months and 2 years with a family history of obesity, abnormal blood fats, or cardiovascular disease, reduced-fat milk should be considered. Source: healthychildren.org


Solid Food Readiness

When breast milk or formula consumption often isn’t enough to tide over your infant, their digestive systems become ready to take on the challenge of solid foods. When your baby learns to master the following mealtime milestones, she is likely to be ready, willing, and able to start out on her feeding adventure. • Hold Head Up High: It’s usually not until 3 or 4 months of age that the ability to hold one’s head up consistently higher for long periods of time. • Sitting Pretty: Babies typically start sitting at about 6 months of age. Be certain that your baby can sit up on their own before starting solids. • Big Enough to Take It: As a rough rule of thumb, babies are big enough to tackle solid foods right around the time when they double their birth weight and reach a minimum of about 13 pounds. • Open Wide: As babies become more aware of the world around them, they also tend to become more interested in food—often watching food intently and opening their mouths in eager anticipation when they see some headed their way. Source: Healthychildren.org


Tips for Increasing Physical Activity

Make physical activity a regular part of the day. Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy — such as taking a brisk 10 minute walk to and from the parking lot, bus stop, or subway station. Or, join an exercise class. Keep it interesting by trying something different on alternate days. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing. Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time, shorter bursts of activity will not have the same health benefits. For example, walking the dog for 10 minutes before and after work or adding a 10 minute walk at lunchtime can add to your weekly goal. Mix it up. Swim, take a yoga class, garden or lift weights. To be ready anytime, keep some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking or running shoes in the car and at the office. Source: choosemyplate.gov


Helping Children Develop Reading Skills

Other than helping your children to grow up healthy and happy, the most important thing that you can do for them is to help them develop their reading skills. It is no exaggeration to say that how well children learn to read affects directly not only how successful they are in school but how well they do throughout their lives. When children learn to read, they have the key that opens the door to all the knowledge of the world. Source: US Dept. of Education, ED.gov


Fruit Juice and Your Child's Diet

Drinking juice tastes good. However, too much juice in your child’s diet can contribute to an array of health problems, such as poor nutrition, obesity, and tooth decay. Parents can offer age-appropriate servings of juice in addition to offering whole fruits and other beverage options like water or low-fat milk. The AAP recommends no fruit juice for infants younger than 6 months since it offers no nutritional benefit at this age. For children 1 to 6 years old, limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces per day. For children older than 6 months, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruits. Whole fruits also provide fiber and other nutrients. Do not allow your child to carry a cup or box of juice throughout the day. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics and Healthychildren.org


Go Light When You Grab a Bite

Did you know most Americans eat away from home 4 times every week! Studies say that this can lead to gaining 8 extra pounds a year! Want to keep your New Year’s resolution? Learn more in this infographic from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/makinghealtheasier/golight/GLGB_508_PDF.pdf


Choose Your Beverage

When water just won’t do—enjoy your favorite beverage, just cut back. Learn more about making better beverage choices: www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet19MakeBetterBeverageChoices.pdf Source: www.myplate.gov


Healthy Holiday Eating

The holidays are here and it's difficult to discern how to eat healthfully throughout the season of food! Learn simple tips for eating healthier this holiday season in MyPlate’s newest infographic, “MyPlate Holiday Makeover.” Click here to view the infographic: www.choosemyplate.gov/downloads/infographics/2013-HolidayMakeover.pdf


How to Buy Safe Toys

Children can have a lot of fun playing with their toys. However, it’s important to keep in mind that safety should always come first. Each year thousands of children are injured by toys. Most injuries from toys are minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. However, toys can cause serious injury or even death. This happens when toys are dangerous or used in the wrong way. Age recommendations on toys can be helpful because they offer guidelines on the following: • The safety of the toy (for example, if there any possible choking hazards) • The ability of a child to play with the toy • The ability of a child to understand how to use a toy • The needs and interests at various levels of a child’s development • Important information about recalled toys One of the goals of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is to protect consumers and families from dangerous toys. It sets up rules and guidelines to ensure products are safe and issues recalls of products if a problem is found. Toys are recalled for various reasons including unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. Toys that are recalled should be removed right away. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, ask your child’s doctor about testing for elevated blood lead levels. Source: www.healthychildren.org


Reheating Safely Stored Leftovers

This holiday season, reheat safely stored leftovers with these tips: • Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days or frozen for three to four months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer. • When reheating leftovers, be sure they reach 165° F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food. Reheat sauces, soups and gravies by bringing them to a rolling boil. Cover leftovers to reheat. This retains moisture and ensures that food will heat all the way through. • Thaw frozen leftovers safely in the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave oven. When thawing leftovers in a microwave, continue to heat it until it reaches 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. • Any leftover “leftovers” thawed by the cold water method or in the microwave should be reheated to 165 °F before refreezing. • In a real hurry? It is safe to reheat frozen leftovers without thawing, either in a saucepan or microwave (in the case of a soup or stew) or in the oven or microwave (for example, casseroles and combination meals). Reheating will take longer than if the food is thawed first, but it is safe to do when time is short. Source: www.foodsafety.gov


Tweak the Sweets

This holiday season, give fruit a place at your table. They make delicious desserts and are a great low-calorie, nutrition-packed food for any time of day. Learn more ways to incorporate fruit into your day: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-tips.html


Healthy Snacks

Looking for a healthy snack idea? Mix dried fruit, unsalted nuts, and popcorn in a snack sized bag or small reusable container for a quick trail mix. For more helpful tips, check out: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet24MyPlateSnackTipsforParents.pdf Source: www.myplate.gov


More Evidence to Support Exclusive Breastfeeding

A new study by researchers from Brown University finds more evidence that breastfeeding is good for babies’ brains. The study made use of specialized, baby-friendly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the brain growth in a sample of children under the age of 4. The research found that by age 2, babies who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breastmilk. The extra growth was most pronounced in parts of the brain associated with language, emotional function, and cognition, the research showed. Source: Brown University


Your Child's Dental Health

Besides regular toothbrushing, your child’s diet will play a key role in his dental health. And, of course, sugar is the big villain. The longer and more frequently his teeth are exposed to sugar, the greater the risk of cavities. “Sticky sugar” foods such as sticky caramel, toffee, gum, and dried fruit—particularly when it stays in his mouth and bathes his teeth in sugar for hours—could do serious damage. Make sure to always brush your child’s teeth after a sugary food item. In addition, do not allow young children to have any sugar-containing liquid in a sippy cup for a prolonged period. Source: healthychildren.org


Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a day of great fun for all. Keep you and your kiddos safe with a few of these safety tips: • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame. • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility. • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts. • Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost. • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat. • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind trick-or-treaters: o Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going. o Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags. o Carry a cell phone for quick communication. o Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats. • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items. • Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween. Source: healthychildren.org


Back to School Tips

Making the First Day Easier •Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible. •Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun! She'll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time. •Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride on the bus. •If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Back-to-School-Tips.aspx


Fire Safety

Protect yourself and your family against the danger of fire in your home. Take the following precautions to help protect you and your family. • Install smoke alarms in your home and check batteries once a month. • Plan several escape routes from the house. Share this plan with each family member and plan a place to meet after everyone gets out of the home. • Keep matches and lighters away from children. • Check electric appliances and cords regularly for wear or loose connections and make sure they are in the “off” position when you are not using them. • Place fire extinguishers around the home especially in the kitchen and furnace room, and near the fireplace. In Case of Fire get everyone outside right away, go to your planned meeting place and call the fire department from a neighbor's house. Source: Healthy Children


Vary Your Protein!

There are many ways to get the right amount of protein. Add beans, lentils, nuts, nut butters, peas, eggs, and soy products such as tofu and tempeh to your meals and eat seafood twice a week. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet6ProteinFoods.pdf Source: MyPlate.gov


The Baby Blues

For most mothers, the baby blues is temporary — it’s usually gone within a few days or a week after childbirth. Follow these steps to create a peaceful home for you and your new baby: • Get plenty of sleep. Take naps when your baby does. • Take the pressure off yourself. Do what you can, and leave the rest for later and take advantage of the help you are offered from friends and family. • Avoid spending too much time alone. • Get help and support from your spouse or partner, family members, and friends. • Join a support group for new mothers. • Get plenty of exercise. If you feel bad enough to make it hard for you to care for your baby or yourself and/or it lasts weeks to months, consult your local healthcare provider immediately. Source: Healthychildren.org


Rethink Your Drink

How much sugar are you drinking? Many people do not realize how much sugar is in their can, bottle, cup, or glass. Try to drink water instead of sugary drinks. Tips for drinking more water: • Add lemon or lime to your water • Try the spa water recipe above • Cold water may taste better • Have a glass of water at the table for every meal • Have a glass of water near you when you are working • Drink water when you feel like snacking • Drink water when you eat out – it’s free! • Go green and save money – take a refillable bottle of water with you Source: California Department of Public Health www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/wicworks/Documents/RethinkYourDrink/WIC-RethinkYourDrink-Handout.pdf


Protecting Children from Extreme Heat

Make sure to protect your child from the heat as much as possible, watch for symptoms, and call your doctor if you see any develop. Protect your child from heat-related illness by following these guidelines: • Stay indoors: plan to have a cool, air-conditioned space for your child. If your home does not have air-conditioning, find a nearby building that does. • Stay hydrated: Encourage her to drink water regularly, even before she asks for it. • Rest: Plan for more time to rest than usual; heat can often make children feel tired. • Cool down: When your child is feeling hot, give him a cool bath or water mist to cool down. • Never leave children in a car alone in high temperatures: Car temperatures can cause death. Call your child’s doctor immediately if he or she develops any of the following symptoms • Extreme tiredness • Faintness • Headache • Fever • Intense thirst • Nausea • Vomiting • Breathing faster or deeper than normal • Skin numbness or tingling • Muscle aches • Muscle spasms Source: healthychildren.com www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/pages/Protecting-Children-from-Extreme-Heat-Information-for-Parents.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token


Festive Beverages

Need some festive beverage ideas? Make water more exciting by adding fun-shaped ice cubes, ice cubes made with 100% juice, or fruit slices. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet20MakeCelebrations.pdf Source: choosemyplate.gov


Make Half Your Grains Whole

Make half of all the grain products you eat every day whole grains. Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples. Grains are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. More information on the whole grains can be found on the MyPlate website at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/kids/downloads/WholeGrainLesson.pdf.


Good Dental Habits

Starting good dental habits early can help prevent childhood tooth decay. The following website provides important information about how to care for your child’s teeth from birth to 24 months of age and beyond. Source: healthychildren.com www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/A-Guide-to-Childrens-Dental-Health.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token


Text4Baby State Enrollment Contest - Sign up Today!!

Let’s help Indiana win @mytext4baby’s State Enrollment Contest! Help us get the word out to as many moms in Indiana as possible. All they have to do is text BABY (or BEBE) to 511411 to sign up for the FREE service! Visit http://www.text4baby.org/ for more information.


Be Prepared when Bad Weather Strikes

When the warm temperatures arrive, bad weather can strike at any time, so be prepared in advance by creating an emergency kit and stockpiling items you will need to stay safe. HealthyChildren.org has created a Tornado Disaster Fact Sheet. Review the fact sheet on their website at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Tornado-Disaster-Fact-Sheet.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token. Help your family stay safe during tornado season.


Grocery Shopping with Your Kids

Grocery shopping can teach your child about food and nutrition. Discuss where vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein foods come from. Let your children make healthy choices. Source: chooseMyPlate.gov


Fun in the Sun - Sunscreen Tips

Summer fun in the sun is a recipe for sunscreen application. Use the following tips when purchasing and applying sunscreen on children. Babies under 6 months: o To prevent sunburn in young children, the AAP recommends avoiding sun exposure, and dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats that shade the neck. When adequate clothing and shade are not available, apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor) to exposed areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area. For All Other Children: o Cover up children’s exposed skin to provide the first line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure. Consider sun protective wear such as a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing. o Encourage children to stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. o Always apply sunscreen to young children, even on cloudy days. Use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater which protects against UVA and UVB rays. o Be diligent about reapplying sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. o Use extra caution near water and sand because both reflect UV rays and may result in a sunburn.


Nutrition and Physical Activity in Childcare

Ensuring that children grow and thrive is an essential part of the child care provider's job. Feeding infants appropriately, serving well-balanced meals and snacks, preparing and serving foods safely, providing regular opportunities for children to be physically active, and teaching healthy habits are all important ways that child care providers can support healthy eating and physical activity, and reduce the risk of childhood obesity in our youngest children. Source: eXtension


Screen Free Week

Screen-Free Week is April 29 - May 5, 2013. This event challenges families to go for a week without screen time or even consider reduced screen time. Screen Time Includes: o Television o Computer o Tablet or smart phone o Video games Screen-Free Week encourages family members to explore other entertainment options outside of the screen. Instead of turning on the t.v. during or after dinner, go for a family walk or a bike ride. Engage your children in a board game or ask them what’s new or interesting in their lives. Sitting together as a family on the couch to read a book can be a bonding experience. Take the opportunity to try new or different types of entertainment, and you may discover that going screen-free is something you may want to try more often.


Accessing Your Local Farmers Market

Farmers markets are wonderful opportunities to purchase local fruits and vegetables to feed to your family. Farmers markets feature foods sold directly by farmers to consumers. In honor of Earth Day pledge to visit your local farmers market this week. Use the USDA National Farmers Markets Directory to find farmers market locations near you, operating times, product offerings, and accepted forms of payment. http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/ (Source: MyPlate)


Make Food Fun!

Picky eating is temporary and there are many things you can do to deal with picky eating in a positive way. One way is to make food fun! Get creative in the kitchen: o Name a food your child helps create. Make a big deal of serving "Dawn's Salad" or "Peter's Sweet Potatoes" for dinner. o Cut a food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters. o Encourage your child to invent and help prepare new snacks or sandwiches. For example, make your own trail mixes from dry cereal and dried fruit. Choose smart, fun snacks and meals: o Frozen bananas: Put a wooden stick into a peeled banana. Cut large bananas in half first. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen, peel off the plastic and enjoy. o Potato Pal: Top half a small baked potato with eyes, ears, and a smile. Try peas for eyes, a halved cherry tomato for a nose, and a low-fat cheese wedge as a smile. Be creative, you'll be surprised at how many foods can turn into eyes, noses, and smiles! o Frozen graham cracker sandwiches: Mix mashed bananas and peanut butter, spread between graham crackers and freeze. o Fruit smoothies: Blend fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt and milk or juice. Try 100% orange juice, low-fat yogurt, and frozen strawberries. o Frozen juice cups: Pour 100% fruit juice into small paper cups. Freeze. To serve, peel off the paper and eat. o Ants on a Log: Thinly spread peanut butter on narrow celery sticks. Top with a row of raisins or other diced dried fruit. Source: USDA: Choosemyplate.gov


The Dangers of Third-Hand Smoke

Third-hand smoke is a term that refers to the contamination that remains after a cigarette has been extinguished. It is a relatively new concept because of the fact that toxins from cigarettes can linger in fabrics from carpets, sofas, clothes and other materials for hours or even days after a cigarette is put out. It is best to join a smoking cessation program in order to reduce the dangers of contamination from third-hand smoke.


Looking, Learning and Memory in Infants

Researchers at the University of Iowa documented that infants learn by taking inventory of the things they see in their surroundings which is a crucial link to looking, learning and memory.


When to Start Solid Foods

Breast milk or formula is the only food your newborn needs. Introducing solid foods to your baby before he or she is ready may increase the risk of some chronic diseases because babies’ bodies are not yet ready to deal with these foods. Most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods in addition to breast-feeding or formula-feeding between ages 4 months and 6 months. Your baby may be ready if she or she can do the following: o Hold his or her head in a steady, upright position? o Sit with support? o Interested in eating what you're eating? If you answered yes to these questions, your baby may be ready to begin eating solid foods, however, always check with a healthcare provider before beginning solid foods.


National Poison Prevention Week

Over 50% of calls to poison centers involve children 6 and younger. Keep medicines out of reach and household cleaners in locked cabinets. Learn more at: http://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/what-can-you-do/poison-proof-your-home/index.html Do you have questions? Not sure if it’s an emergency? When in doubt, check it out. Call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 or visit: www.poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/ Learn what you can do to protect your family from poisonings: http://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/what-can-you-do/index.html Keep your home safe and be prepared. Request free Poison Help magnets and stickers and place them near your phones. Poison Help 1-800-222-1222 or www.ask.hrsa.gov/results_materials.cfm?type=poisoncontrol&searchterm=none&startlist=1&displaymax=all&subset=none


Read Aloud to Your Children

It's never too late to share read-aloud book ideas! Here's a list of 100 books nominated by Goodreads readers as their favorites for reading aloud to kids under 5. So what's YOUR favorite book to read aloud to kids? www.goodreads.com/list/show/591.Voices_Sounds_Best_Read_Alouds_for_Young_Children


Home Safety

When there are little children in your house, it is best to play it safe. The following safeguards will protect not only your small child, but your entire family. o Install smoke detectors throughout your home, at least one on every level and outside bedrooms. o Put safety plugs that are not a choking hazard in all unused electrical outlets so your child can’t stick her finger or a toy into the holes. o Certain houseplants may be harmful so forego house plants, or keep all house plants out of reach. o Check your floors constantly for small objects that a child might swallow, such as coins, buttons, beads, pins, and screws. o Attach cords for window blinds and drapes to floor mounts that hold them taut, or wrap these cords around wall brackets to keep them out of reach. o Move furniture with hard edges and sharp corners out of traffic areas, particularly when your child is learning to walk. o Never leave plastic bags lying around the house. o To prevent burns, check your heat sources. Fireplaces, woodstoves, and kerosene heaters should be screened so that your child can’t get near them. Source: AAP: www.healthychildren.org


Helping Your Child Learn to Read

How can you help your child learn to read - by starting with reading books aloud to them! This can be fun for you, as the parent as well. Be sure to show excitement when you read the story – this will encourage your child to enjoy it. Remember the following things when reading to your child: • Run your finger under the words as you read to show your child that the print carries the story. • Stop to look at the pictures; ask your child to name things she sees in the pictures. • Invite your child to join in whenever there is a repeated phrase in the text. • Show your child how events in the book are similar to events in your child's life. • If your child asks a question, stop and answer it. • Remember to set aside time every day to read together. Reading is an important skill for children to learn to prepare for entering school. Encouraging a child's love of learning will go a long way to ensuring success! Source: AAP: www.healthychildren.org


Why to Avoid TV Before the Age of 2

A child’s brain will grow greatly during the first 3 years of life. The brain triples in size in just the first 12 months. What a child is exposed to during the first 3 years will overwhelmingly influence brain development. Children learn better from experiences in the real world, especially with regard to language. Research suggests that screen viewing before age 2 has lasting negative effects on children (language development, reading skills, and short-term memory). It can also contribute to problems with sleep and attention. The problem mostly lies in what a child is NOT doing because they are spending time watching TV. Children learn by interacting with people and they are definitely not doing this when their eyes are glued to screen. What can you do as a parent? Limit your child’s TV time to 2 hours a day. Screen time includes TV, computers, and mobile phones. Also remember to play close attention to the content. Do your research ahead of time and find programs that are designed to teach your child age appropriate information. Source: AAP: www.healthychildren.org


The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is dangerous for everyone, especially children. After someone smokes a cigarette, the smoke can stay in the air for many hours. After it settles on surfaces smoke can be ingested by children, making them sick with issues such as: ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The smoke can either be inhaled, or ingested through putting items in their mouths. Secondhand smoke exposure cannot be elimiated by opening a window, sitting in a separate area, or using ventilation. The only way to maintain a smoke free enviornment is to stop smoking - especially in areas where children live or play. Reference: HealthyChildren.org


Did you know smoking can actually make it harder to get pregnant?

Helpful info graphic from the Food and Drug Administration on how smoking affects pregnancy: http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/c0.3.403.403/p403x403/408424_10151382974579556_690774676_n.jpg


Develop Healthy Eating Habits

Raise a healthy eater by setting a good example and practicing positive habits as well as trying new foods and playing actively every day.


Stay Warm - Avoid Frostbite

During these cold winter days, be sure to bundle up to avoid prolonged exposure to low temperatures, wind or moisture. This can result in cold-related illnesses such as frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid frostbite and hypothermia when you are exposed to cold temperatures by wearing layered clothing, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking warm beverages to maintain fluid levels. This is especially true for susceptible age groups such as the elderly and young children.


With the Cold Weather Upon Us

With cold weather upon us, children will most likely be indoors more than during warmer weather. Find ways to engage your child in simple games and activities to support physical and mental fitness. For example, pull out hula hoops or jump ropes and find an open space in your home to use them. Even playing “keep away” with a soft washcloth or kitchen towel can be fun and engaging. Weather permitting, pack a “winter” picnic (i.e., hot drinks, cheese, crackers, and fruit) and go to a nearby park to explore how different the setting is in wintertime. Play simple mental games like “I spy” or “20 questions” while doing other household chores. Take a “technology-free” break to disengage from all social media devices and play a board game together or simply get to know your child better by discussing your child’s wishes, plans, or goals for this year (depending on the age of your child). Brain research shows that children’s brains are most active when they are physically active as well, so find ways to encourage your child to do both this winter. For more ideas or to learn more about brain research visit Dr. John Medina’s website http://brainrules.net/.


Folic Acid Awareness Week

Folic acid is necessary during early pregnancy to promote proper cell growth in the growing fetus. Folic acid can prevent 50% up to 70% of some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine. Women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily from the following food sources: fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals. Folic acid can also be obtained by taking a daily multi-vitamin.


Smarter Ways to Discipline Children

When looking for smarter ways to discipline your child try this: Instead of just focusing on what happens when a child acts out, parents should first decide what behaviors they want to see in their kids (cleaning their room, getting ready for school on time, playing nicely with a sibling). Then they praise those behaviors when they see them. Information reposted from full article at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323277504578189680452680490.html?KEYWORDS=disciplining#project%3DDISCIPLINE1226%26articleTabs%3Darticle


Avoid unsafe baby products

Avoid unsafe baby products and toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission can help. Call 800-638-2772 for information on recalled baby products.


Safe Sleep for your Infant

Give your baby the safest place to sleep. The best things you can do are: 1) Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back 2) Don't use bumper pads on the crib 3) No blankets or stuffed animals in the crib 4) Never let your baby sleep on a soft surface like a pillow, sheep skin, couch or recliner, or with anyone else


How to Calm a Fussy Baby

A baby’s cry is a powerful sound that demands immediate attention and for new parents, their baby’s cries can be frustrating and stressful. Crying is a baby's most basic mode of communication and soothing a fussy baby can be challenging for any parent. Yet, parents can eventually learn to identify their infant's cries to respond to their specific needs. Experts believe that different needs distinguish an infant's cries. Babies cry because one of the following: hunger, pain, fatigue, boredom, frustration, or over-stimulation. Listen carefully to your baby's cries and you'll soon be able to distinguish her needs. Call your doctor if you need assistance with soothing your baby.


The Myth of Spoiling a Child

Drs Martha and William Sears, child development experts dispute the notion that parents who always respond to an infant's cries are somehow spoiling him or that the child will never learn how to calm and settle himself. Sears and other pediatricians point to the 1970s research of Sylvia Bell and Mary Ainsworth, who studied two groups of children - those whose mothers promptly and caringly responded to their infants' cries, and those whose mothers were more restrained. Bell and Ainsworth found that the children in that first group were more securely attached to their mothers and had better communication skills than the children in the second group. -Information obtained from: Calming Your Fussy Baby, by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D.


Limiting your child's screen time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child's use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day. Too much screen time has been linked to: obesity, irregular sleep and less time for play.


November is Prematurity Awareness Month

Check out the March of Dimes for ways to get involved during November and the National Premature Infant Health Coalition for resources.


Breastfeeding your Infant decreases your risk of developing breast cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month. Did you know that breastfeeding your infant decreases your breast cancer risk? A delayed menstruation results when a mother makes the decision to breastfeed her infant. Thus, it reduces a woman’s lifetime exposure to hormones like estrogen, which is linked to breast cancer risk. Another benefit to breastfeeding your infant!


beverage choices for kids

For kids of all ages, water and milk are the best choices. Water is calorie-free and definitely a thirst-quencher. Add lemon or a splash of juice for some flavor. Alternatively, a cup of milk has 300 milligrams of calcium, so it can contribute greatly to your child's daily needs.


Block Play

Children are born learners. Every day they learn new skills they will build upon as they grow. Adults can guide children's early learning experiences and use blocks as the tools to support their development. Playing with blocks can provide the experiences for children to learn math and science, new words and pre-reading skills, social skills and physical skills.


Children and Snacking

Children need healthy snacks to keep them growing and developing.Active kids need energy and nutrients to refuel their bodies several times a day. Plan three regular daily meals plus two to three small snacks. Snacks should be provided to children at least two hours before the next main meal.


Importance of Play with Children

Playing with infants is an important part of their growth and development. Young children enjoy simple games of peek-a-boo, or other songs and rhymes such as “patty cake, patty cake…” Take time to play and really enjoy being with your child every day. Children want to see your smiling face more than anything in the world, and chances are, they will smile back which helps you enjoy and appreciate them all the more. Even a few moments of play can brighten everyone’s day. So take the time to notice what your child is interested in, what he or she enjoys doing that’s fun, and wholeheartedly join in. You’ll be helping your child grow and develop in a healthy way, and the smiles and laughter are good for you, too!


Rough and Tumble Play

Rough-and-tumble play supports preschool children’s development. Energetic play that involves using legs and arms and the whole body helps children grow physically. Because children enjoy it so much, they tend to play for a long time which also gives them other opportunities to grow and develop. Through play, children learn to use language, understand cause and effect, learn how to take turns, compromise, and make and follow rules. Spend time doing some rough-and-tumble play with your child. As always, supervise your child’s play to be sure it doesn’t get out of hand—sometimes children need to take a break and calm down to keep from getting hurt. But remember, exuberant, boisterous, rough-and-tumble play supports children’s healthy development in many ways. Source: Teaching Young Children, NAEYC.org/TYC


Encouraging Positive Self-Concepts in Children

Helping children develop a positive self-concept may be one of the most difficult tasks of parenting or teaching. There is no easy, fool-proof formula for accomplishing this. It takes a lot of time and effort from concerned adults like you.


Tips for Effective Discipline

1. Be realistic and expect a child to act like a child. 2. Choose a few simple, important rules for behaviors; explain them repeatedly to your child. 3. Use a few clear words to explain how you want your child to behave. 4. Show by your example how you control your anger. 5. Use words to discipline your child.


Make meal time family time

Eating together frequently as a family is an important habit that provides benefits for the whole family. These benefits include increased communication and stronger bonds among family members and healthier lifelong eating habits.


Just in Time Parenting

Checking out Just in Time Parenting at: http://www.parentinginfo.org/ for age-paced newsletters and expert advice.


Parents, the first teachers for a child

Children tend to eat the way their parents do because parents are usually the child's first teachers of nutrition information. Methods for preparing and serving foods, what makes a complete menu, and what is a reasonable serving size are just a few pieces of information children pick up at home. Much of this knowledge will remain with them throughout life.


Early Literacy

Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first three years of life. The interactions that young children have with books, paper, and crayons, and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading and writing development. Read a book to your child today!!


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