Archive for the ‘Children’s Activities’ Category

Ringworm! What is it, and How Do I Get Rid of it?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

ringwormThe first time one of my kids had ringworm, his pediatrician is the one that diagnosed it. Frankly, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was at the time. Worms? Like what we wormed our dog for as a puppy?

Well, no. The name ringworm is a bit of a misnomer, as there are no worms involved. It’s actually a fungal infection of the skin, and a common one, especially in small children and pets.

Yes, pets. This is one thing that can actually be spread from your dog or cat to your child. Cats especially seem prone to ringworm.

So, how do you know if your baby has ringworm? Ringworm presents itself as a red, raised, scaly patch (or patches), and often develops its telltale ring (where the center of the patch is not red) as well. Your doctor can diagnose it for sure if you aren’t certain. Often it’s diagnosed by visual inspection alone, but a skin scraping can be done as well.

How do you treat ringworm? Often, over-the-counter remedies (the same ones used to treat athlete’s foot, actually) work fine. These creams contain clotrimazole or miconazole. Your doctor may also elect to prescribe ketoconazole cream. For any of these creams, they’re generally applied topically to the spots twice a day. You will need to keep using the creams until the spots are completely gone, so they don’t come back. This can take two to four weeks. In my experience, living in a hot and humid climate extends the healing time, compared to a cold and dry one.

In the meantime, ringworm is massively contagious. Wash bedding and clothing daily while treating it, and wash your hands after applying the topical creams. If you have pets, inspect them closely for ringworm as well.

To prevent ringworm, keep your pets and their living spaces clean. Wear shoes in public showers, and keeping skin clean, including frequent hand washing. Still, it’s very possible your child will get ringworm at some point; luckily it’s pretty easy to treat.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three little boys. She’s seen ringworm once or twice, and has managed to live to tell about it. 

Toddler Gift Guide

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Curious what to get the sweet toddler in your life, or need ideas for well-meaning family members? As a mama of a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a six-month-old, I have a few ideas to help!

Here’s my timeless toddler gift guide:

Melissa & Doug | Wooden Play Food

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I am the world’s biggest fan of all things Melissa & Doug. Their toys never fall into the “annoying” category and the longevity of playability is incredible. I know that whenever one of my children is gifted anything from Melissa & Doug, it is a gift for all three. I specifically chose this toy, because my 4 and 2-year-old are very into all things cooking at the moment. I suspect my baby will enjoy this in the future as well!

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Hape | Blocks 30th Anniversary Edition

It’s no secret that toy longevity and playability matters to me. I am a minimalist by nature so I want a few things that can be used in a lot of ways for a lot of years. Enter- blocks! My kiddos have a set of these and it’s always what comes out when friends are over. Also, for this set of blocks, Hape is donating a toy to a child in need in Afghanistan, Syria, Nepal, China, Zimbabwe.

Green Toys Tool Set BLUE

Now, I must give the caveat that my older children are boys. But they love, love, love playing with toy tools and pretending to be just like their daddy and their grandpa. Again, a toy that is shared and loved by all and will continue to be enjoyed for years. They even have a pink set for those handy girls out there!

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Green Toys | Watering Can

My husband and I have just started dipping our toes into the world of gardening, but our kids are more than happy to help! Any way we can get them involved in one of our projects is a win for us as a family. Toddlers love to be included and they love to have their own gear. I think this is a great gift for any toddler!

I know any of these gifts will be a hit for the toddler in your life! Happy holidays!

 

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com. 

Teacher Gift Ideas for the Pinterest-Challenged

Monday, December 5th, 2016

teacher giftsI am terrible at crafts.

As a mom in 2016, I feel like there needs to be a support group for that. We could each take a turn, standing in a room, and recite, “I am terrible at crafts.” Then we disclose all of our crafting fails (like when I spent hundreds of dollars on a vinyl machine that sat in a drawer for a year and a half, doing nothing, because I didn’t accept that I was terrible at crafts), and then we eat store-bought baked goods until we either forgive ourselves of our shortcomings or are numb to the pain of our shortcomings.

The holidays seem to shine a spotlight on all crafty shortcomings, as it is the season where social media is peppered with everyone’s latest creation. It seems that the greatest of pressures for this is on the gift that is given to the teacher.

I think the idea behind this is that with multiple children in school, gifts can get expensive, so this allows you to provide something that is thoughtful, but inexpensive. Or perhaps it’s just like high school all over again, except instead it’s shaming me for not knowing how to adequately use a hot glue gun instead of a flat iron. Regardless of emotional and psychological barriers to crafting the perfect teacher gift, here are some ideas for those of us who break out into a cold sweat at the mention of Pinterest:

  • Gift cards. Sure, they can be impersonal. But think about the wide range appeal, the ease in wrapping, the ability to grab it in the check-out line at the grocery store when you are buying milk at 9:00 at night. Get a gift card that allows the teacher to treat themselves to a coffee or ice cream, or to get something lovely at the bookstore. Get them a gift card to Target, because everyone loves Target. Everyone.
  • Office supplies, fun edition! Yes, office supplies can be fun! Brightly colored sharpies, fun shaped post-it notes, and markers designed for sniffing that won’t make people think you might have a drug problem.
  • A thoughtful, handwritten note. Speaking fully as a social worker, I know what it feels like to be in a profession where you want to help people, and frequently only hear any feedback when things go wrong. Think about it; the last time you emailed your kid’s teacher, it was probably because something wasn’t working out well. So writing a note to express your gratitude that your kid has a safe place to learn every day can mean the world to someone who often only hears about the bad stuff.
  • And finally, a quote from the comments section of an article I read when researching teacher gifts: “One year my husband brought home another large box of gifts he had received from his early elementary-aged students for Christmas: a couple of fun ties, several boxes of chocolates and chocolate-covered cherries, mugs, ornaments, gift cards, items related to his hobbies, homemade treats, and many lovely cards and notes from students and families. Then I noticed a ceramic collie (dog), which was medium-sized and chipped in a couple of places. It looked like maybe it had been around for awhile (sic). I asked if the staff had a white elephant exchange or where the collie came from. He explained that it was a gift from a student who really didn’t have anything…but wanted to give something special. I don’t think any gesture or gift could have honored my husband more.”

So be thoughtful. Or don’t. The options are endless, even when you aren’t on Pinterest.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

When Should I Start Reading to My Baby?

Friday, November 25th, 2016

When should I start reading to my baby?When should I start reading to my baby?  Today.

It is never too early to read to your baby.  In fact, I started reading to my babies as soon as I found out I was pregnant.  Reading was my way to connect with my baby from the start.  I went to the library on a weekly basis to keep it interesting for us.

What books are best for infants? In my opinion, the content doesn’t matter. You could read a picture book, the newspaper, or this blog to your baby. Babies love to hear the sound of your voice. They love the special time and attention that is shared with them while they listen to you read.

Tips for reading to infants:

  • Choose books that you enjoy.  How about a book that you loved when you were a child?  Show your baby that reading is a fun and pleasant thing to do.  They will learn this by your tone and excitement for books.
  • Point to pictures and talk about them.  Your audience will be paying attention whether they interact with you or not. They are always learning.
  • Pay attention to your baby’s cues of what they enjoy.  They may enjoy rhyming, pictures, or certain authors or illustrations.
  • Use your local library as a resource and you will have an endless supply of books and reading materials to choose from.
  • Read the same books regularly. It is amazing to see babies recognize books that they remember and enjoy. I rotate through books and love to see what my children remember about them when they are reunited with a book they haven’t seen in a while. Many times, they do the reading.
  • Have babies help you turn pages. This is a part of teaching them how to read. You may want to use board books when you first start out.

There are so many benefits of reading to infants. Reading helps babies develop listening skills, learn about words and pictures, stimulate their imagination as they get older, and so much more.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers.  She enjoys spending time reading to her kids and loves watching her children’s relationship with books and reading grow.

Starting Your Own Holiday Traditions

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

starting your own holiday traditionsWith the holidays approaching, it’s time to think about all of the things I want to go do as a family. This year will be different, as we will have a newborn with us. Traditions are an important part of growing up. I want my children to remember happy traditions that our small family shared each year, as well as other traditions that our extended family celebrates and discovers together.

My husband grew up in a larger family, where he was the youngest of 4 children. He grew up out in the country on a farm where the holidays were full of homemade pumpkin pie and large family gatherings. My family was smaller and I grew up without siblings around, so my holidays were full of activities at church or whatever my grandparents thought was fun that year. I think it’s important to share the stories of your childhood with your children. My daughter is 4 and loves to hear about what we did when I was little.

Now that I have my own family, we have started some of our own holiday traditions.

Christmas Eve Reading
My husband likes to read “T’was the Night Before Christmas” to our children on Christmas Eve. He has an older copy of the book that is special to him and he loves to share it with our two toddlers. I also like to find new Christmas books to share with them. Last year, I enjoyed reading from the Bible with Johanna and sharing the Christmas story with her. Find a book or something that is meaningful to your family or faith tradition and share the gift of reading. Babies love to be read to, as well!

Lights and Pajamas
My husband is a big fan of decorating the outside of our house with as many lights as possible. Last year, we put the kids in their pajamas and went on a long ride looking for Christmas lights. It was fun to discover new houses we hadn’t seen yet in our area and also tour the ones we like the best. I am excited for this tradition this year, since we live in a new state and new area. Of course, our house is on the list of houses to stop by and check out.

Baking Cookies
My daughter loves to bake and eat cookies, no doubt about that. I am not a good baker or cook, so sometimes these are slice-and-bake cookies. I am hoping we can make more cookies this year and take some to our new neighbors to share the holiday spirit.

Visiting Santa
Over the past few years, we have gone to see Santa at a couple different places. Johanna loves to go see Santa and tell him what she is yearning for. This year, it is Shopkins. (Help me! These are a choking hazard to a baby.)

Christmas Movies
We recently purchased new character-themed popcorn bowls for our kids, and I can’t wait to curl up and watch a good Christmas movie and eat some popcorn in them. My kids love the traditional Christmas movies, and my husband and I love to watch some of the classics and of course, the Hallmark Channel movies.

Giving Back
This is a tradition I want to do more of as my children grow. Last year, we bought for two sisters who weren’t going to have much of a Christmas without help. I am hoping to teach Johanna and Levi about how fortunate we are and how we need to give and be a light to others at Christmas. The Salvation Army bell ringer was something that intrigued Johanna last year. I am hoping to adopt a family off of the Angel Tree this year.

So no matter what you do with your own little family, start some new traditions. Your kids will have fun and remember the time you spent together for years to come.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost 3, in Arkansas where she hopes she sees some snow this year!