June Monthly Favorites: Screen-Free Outdoor Activities for Kids

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PencilChalk

Bubbles_Outdoor Kids ActivitySummer is here which means all the more reason to spend time in the sun. Times have changed because when I was a kid, screen-electronic devices like iPads and iPhones were unheard of; we used creativity and imagination to lose track of time. Today, with all the pressure of online games and fancy hand-held electronics, it is easy to get caught up in how to keep kids busy. Kids getting glued to any screen is visibly the biggest challenge among parents.

Josiah’s pediatrician has always said to steer away from TV because it will damage brain structure and development. Humans are wired to develop empathy, compassion, and communicate. According to an article written in Psychology Today, much of the damage from a screen happens in the frontal lobe of the brain where emotional processing, attention, behavior, and sleep is depleted with exposure. Brain chemicals and hormones become imbalanced in kids and adults alike.

Kids learn by watching parents. As a mom, you have the ability to know when the attitude in the home is changing, and it is good to take steps to set and reset control over the TV remote and other screens before it controls the home.  10 Ways to Protect the Brain from Daily Screen Time adds some helpful tips.

As I was looking for toys to balance out TV time and play, I found these two outdoor activity toys at Walmart; Pencil Chalk comes with its own sharpener to sharpen chalk which is neat. Bubble Pond is easy to assemble and keeps kids entertained with gigantic bubbles for quite a long time. It is contagious watching kids giggle, laugh and enjoy being kids.

What are some outdoor activities you are doing this summer with your kids?

Here is the link to view my post about the importance of sunlight in Vitamin D in a Day.

Source Cited:
Dunckley, Victoria L. M.D. (2014). Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain.

B for Basil

BforBasil.pngBasil leaves can take a plain entree and make it taste extraordinary. Orange juice, for example, doesn’t seem same with a blend of basil leaves for breakfast. I learned this recipe from visiting a local organic food market.

Basil is greek for “king” and is a royal herb indeed. The smell of basil is therapeutic. Basil contains beta-carotene, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. It has an impressive list of health benefits, including antioxidants (Vitamin A) and blood clotting (Vitamin K). Another important element is its antibacterial and DNA-protecting flavonoids. The oils found in a basil leaf are highly volatile and act as an anti-inflammatory. Josiah loves the smell of basil leaves from the garden and looks forward to drinking more of this easy to make delight. To make basil orange juice, simply mix 6-8 fresh basil leaves with 2 cups organic orange juice in a blender and serve.

BasilOrangeJuice

Source Cited:
Butler, Natalie RD, LD. Basil: (2016). Health Benefits and Nutritional Information. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266425.php.

What A Babysitter Did for One Mom

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Emily is a senior in high school and babysits my cousin Shalini’s 6-year old daughter, Riva. The babysitter Emily and Riva planned together a surprise party for Riva’s mom, Shalini, the day after her birthday. Emily and Riva both decorated the kitchen with colorful streamers, balloons and birthday decor. I watched Riva’s excitement as she was interacting with Emily while placing candles on the cupcakes. For Emily, babysitting was not just a task but more like nurturing the time she invests in Riva. It was a truly joyous occasion for mother Shalini, because coming home from work was more than just another ordinary day. It was a pleasant surprise for Shalini when she saw what the babysitter took time to do for her.

Blessings and prayers to Emily as she looks forward to her upcoming graduation and pursuit of a career in healthcare as a Nurse.

Mothers are the primary caregivers and a mother-child relationship is a special bond. The role a babysitter plays in a kid’s life, however, is not one to be taken lightly since they are caretakers in the absence of mom and dad. What the babysitter Emily did reflects how a mom kept healthy connection with someone providing care for her child in her absence.

I read an article The Bond Between Mother and Child and it says, With the cutting of the umbilical cord, physical attachment to our mothers ends and emotional and psychological attachment begins. While the first attachment provides everything we need to thrive inside the womb, many psychologists believe the second attachment provides the psychological foundation and maybe even the social and physical buffer we need to thrive in the world.” 

I learned that it is important for moms to keep good, open communication and connect with those who care for their child such as babysitters, teachers, tutors, pediatricians, etc. because they play a part to support, protect and nurture the children.

Source Cited:
Azar, Beth. (2009). The Bond Between Mother and Child. American Psychological Associationhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/APA-Monitor-attachment.html.
 

Essentials in a Day-Out Diaper Bag

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      I’ve learned how to pack a diaper bag over time. There is much to do with what to put inside, because a child’s life pretty much depends on it. Diaper bags are big as it is and yet there is still a pile of stuff to pack and then some. Many times I sported two bags one of them I wouldn’t even be able to close and then my purse just because there was no room to fit bottles, food, toys, diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. Unfortunately, bags aren’t made to be like Mary Poppins’.

      My mom often told me to arrange items in clear, individual bags so it would be easier for anyone to find when the time comes. There are many tools in shops to help organize a bag so you can switch contents between bags. Zip-loc bags, makeup bags, school pencil bags also work. Some baby products already come in clear packages which can be reused for storage. Taking the time to organize can help reduce stress. As a kid gets older, there is less and less things to pack:

  • Changing clothes
  • Diapers and trash bags
  • Snacks, food, spoons, etc.
  • Bibs and towels
  • Charging batteries for iphone
  • Toy Box Kit
  • Mini purse for mom (I put one with a handle so it doesn’t get misplaced somewhere)
  • First Aid Kit

I usually tie a scarf to mine so wherever I go I can easily find it among the midst of other diaper bags.

Works Cited:
Voltolina, Vanessa. (September 2014). 3 Easy Tricks to Get Organized and Reduce Stress. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/22/organization-and-stress_n_5851704.html 

The Art of a Toothbrush

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     Your pediatrician should tell you when to start brushing your child’s teeth during his/her routine checkups the first year. It is usually around 6 months when teeth can first start to appear but varies for each child. If you have a busy toddler like me, chasing around a child and tackling him/her down to brush teeth can be tiring especially before the day even started. Thankfully, there are many choices available in which technique to brush teeth. Toothbrushes now come in all sorts of shapes, colors, noise and children’s favorite characters. Flavor is another one to add to the list. Leave it to your child to choose which one works best for them.

     A child can mimic the process of how to brush teeth just by watching your daily routine. Singing a silly song, playing brush-brush with stuffed animal are few ways to make it more welcoming. Electric toothbrushes are fascinating for the youngest of people, but not recommended until 3+.

     In the beginning stages, I used a finger-tip toothbrush. My cousin, Shalini, later recommended Spiffies baby tooth wipes. It has a grape flavor and contains xylitol which is known to prevent tooth decay. This is by far the best method because just swiping the teeth with it saves time. Now that Josiah is capable of helping himself stand on a stool in front of the bathroom mirror, he prefers a light up, colorful brush to get the job done. I still like to run through with Spiffies after toothbrush. With supervision a child can develop the habit of cleaning teeth.

Works cited:
Brushing Baby’s Teeth. (2016). http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/teething/brushing-baby-teeth.aspx
Zhan, L.; Cheng, J.; Chang, P.; Ngo, M.; DenBesten, P.K.; Hoover, C.I.; Featherstone, J.D.B. (July 2012). Effects of Xylitol Wipes on Cariogenic Bacteria and Caries in Young Children. 91(7 Suppl): S85–S90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383105/

April Monthly Favorites: Sophie la Girafe for 3-12 months old

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      There are so many infant toys in the market. If there is one infant toy to buy, consider Sophie la Girafe teether toy as a must-have. Sophie la Girafe is from France but you can find it in USA stores.  What makes it so unique? A 3-month old is exploring and developing his/her five senses of touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing.

     Sophie la Girafe stays true to these 5 essential motor skills. This teether toy is made from Hevea tree sap and converted to 100% chewable-safe rubber with a mild vanilla scent. It’s soft texture is easy to grasp for baby’s small hands and makes a squeaking noise when pressed.  Cause and effect is something a newborn will also grasp fast. Babies’ sight is very limited and can only see contrasting images so dark spots on the giraffe’s light skin provide visual stimulation. Long legs with deep grooves reaches molars of teeth way in the back and soothes sore gums.

      Food paints are used as well. Sophie la Girafe teether toy is phthalate and PBA free. One of my cousins, Shalini, suggested this toy and it kept Josiah entertained quite well when he was 3-12 months old.

Please don’t leave child unattended while playing with any toy in general. For cleaning, just gently wipe it and don’t let water get in the hole at the back. I followed this technique and the giraffe remained mold-free and safe shown below.

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Works Cited:
Sophie la Giraffe. http://www.sophielagirafe.fr/en/

Vitamin D in a Day

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         Vitamin D is necessary for its immune-boosting health, specifically bone growth after 6 months of age and thereafter; it helps with calcium and phosphorus absorption. Food alone cannot provide the source of Vitamin D that the body can use. This is why it is important to allow the skin to absorb sunlight.

       The best times to enjoy the sun safely is before 10am or after 3-4pm. Ultraviolet rays are not at their peak during these times so getting some sunshine on a 20-minute walk at least twice a week is a good thing.

        Walking around with a two-year old who loves to explore can be more easier with a kid leash. Brica By-My-Side Safety Harness Backpack was the only one I could find that was small and light enough for Josiah’s age. The leash is worn on a child’s back and attached to a parent’s wrist. There are several features which make this product unique for comfort and safety: there is a reflective safety strip on the backpack which keeps your child within view even at night; the tether is removable, so it can be worn as only a backpack later; the tether is shock-absorbent reducing strain from sudden tugs; and, a lot of storage space with a zippered main compartment.