Posts Tagged ‘summer activities’

Summer Boating Safety

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Summer Boating SafetySummer is here, and for many people, that means heading to the lake, especially near July 4th weekend. Riding on a boat is really exciting for little ones, but it might make mom nervous.

A family recently made the news for taking their small children on a boat ride from Mexico to New Zealand when their 1-year-old daughter got sick, their boat began to sink, and their radio failed, forcing the father to send out a call for help that resulted in a risky open-water rescue by the National Guard.

If you want to take your baby or toddler on a boat this summer, follow these important safety tips to keep everyone safe.

  • Learn CPR.  Every parent should know CPR, whether you are ever around the water or not.
  • Choose the right life jacket for your child. A proper fitting life jacket should not hit your child’s chin or ears when they put their hands up. If you can’t find a life jacket small enough for your child, you should not be taking them on a boat at all, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety.
  • Keep kids warm. Small children are at a higher risk for hypothermia, and once the sun goes down, it can cool down fast, especially if you are out on a boat in the open water. Make sure you have extra dry clothes for children, including an extra outer layer, even if you think it’s warm enough out.
  • Make sure the kids know the rules. All children should know the rules of the boat, such as keeping hands and feet inside, and always having a hand on deck, even when walking around.
  • Test your Carbon monoxide alarm. These alarms warn you of buildups of toxic fumes coming from the engine.
  • Never, ever drink while boating. Most boating accidents involve alcohol. Don’t drink while boating.

All my older two kids learned to swim at an early age because we exposed them to water in fun ways that encouraged them to be independent and confident–but we don’t take stupid chances. Be safe and have fun this summer.

Erin Hayes Burt is freelance writer and mom of three who just moved from Texas to Lake George, New York. 

Finding Quiet Time

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Finding Quiet TimeStorytime, the zoo, groceries, errands, playdates and friends–ever feel like the busier you are, the crazier life gets? I certainly do, and with my boys in tow I find that they get easily frazzled and upset when rushed from place to place.

Summer is an especially difficult time for finding quiet time, as feel I have to take advantage of the weather, the freedom and the heat to pack in as much fun as possible. But taking a minute to slow it down can be wonderful, too.

I try to balance a few days of activities with a few days of relaxation time to catch our breath, stay home and enjoy our space. For children, having a chance to be bored and have downtime in their comfort zone is extremely beneficial for development and emotional growth. This freedom of not having to be “on” in public, having to get along with other kids and having to constantly seek out mom in a crowd is mental relaxation for the little ones.

Downtime gives kids a chance at self-directed play instead of constant entertainment, a chance to expand their minds and explore their own surroundings at their own pace. Often, downtime also allows babies and toddlers to catch up on much needed deep sleep.

I find myself trying to balance giving my boys a chance at improvement–lessons, storytimes and friends–and time at home. In our culture, it’s difficult to say no, and with social media I find it so easy to feel left out of activities when when I know downtime it’s best for my family. But giving my boys a chance to just laze around, to play in their yard and see what they find just gives me joy and I see a dramatic change in my boys as they relax and release the constant rush that we live in.

By scheduling downtime and relaxation I find I teach my kids that they matter, and that their emotional and spiritual well being is important enough to be penciled in among errands and lessons. I hope you can take a minute to schedule some downtime for your family this summer–some long, lazy weekend days of stories, play and snuggles.

Pia Watzig is a mother of two who lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.