Summer Safety for Kids

It is important that with the heat and all things related to “fun in the sun,” we educate ourselves on how to best keep our kids safe. Every year, one in four kids sustain an injury, and 42% of actual death-related injuries occur between the months of May and August. By educating ourselves and our children these injuries can be easily prevented.

1. Sun & Heat Protection
Whether your children are home during the summer or attending a daycare or camp, they will undoubtedly be spending some time in the sun. It is extremely important, especially during long days by the pool or at the beach, that sunscreen is utilized and heat exhaustion is prevented. For babies under 6 months, minimal sun exposure is ideal. However, if it is not completely preventable, light-weight clothing, a hat, and a minimal amount of sunscreen can be applied (consult your pediatrician for the best brand for your baby). For older children, hats, sunglasses, and light-weight clothing are ideal. Sunscreen should be applied 15 – 30 minutes before exposure with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 30. Children should seek the shade as much as possible when playing outdoors. Peak sun intensity hours are between 10am to 4pm, so be especially cautious of exposure during that time. Also be sure that all children are staying extra hydrated during the summer months, drinking water as much as possible.

2. Pool Safety
Over 800 kids die each year due to accidental drowning. It is of utmost importance to take precautionary action when around a pool (or any body of water). Never, ever leave children unattended in or near the pool, regardless of age and swimming capabilities. It is best to always remain within arm’s length of infants and toddlers when they are around water. Inflatable swimming aids are not life jackets and should not be utilized as such. Although many parents begin swimming lessons at a very young age, children are not developmentally ready for swimming lessons until the age of 4; therefore, lessons for children younger than age 4 should not be viewed as a method to prevent drowning. Always, always, always, know exactly where your child is at when in a pool or near water; do not take your eye off of them even for a second.

3. Playground Safety
Children utilize the playground throughout the year. However, there are extra precautions that should be taken during the warmer summer months. Always check the equipment before allowing your child to play. Ensure metal slides and such are cool enough to prevent burning; some areas of the country produce extremely intense heat and temperatures, making playgrounds unsafe. Also check for loose ropes or malfunctioning equipment. Also, as cliché as it may sound, speak to your children about “stranger danger” and staying safe in public areas. Always know where your child is located on the playground, and do not let he or she venture too far away.

4. Bicycle Safety
Although bicycles make wonderful surprise gifts, it is extremely important that your child test rides a bike before it is purchased. You want to ensure the bike fits your child and is comfortable. There should be a 1 to 3 inch gap between the bars and your child’s body. Do not force your child to ride a 2-wheel bike until he or she is completely ready; the average age for this is 5 or 6. If a 2-wheel bicycle intimidates your child, that is okay – you want to ensure he or she has the desire to learn to ride. Of utmost importance is head and skull protection – no matter how far or close from home, a helmet must always be worn!

5. Bug, Insect & Plant Protection
Heat attracts bugs and lush greenery. Most insects prefer locations that are moist and humid. Scented soaps, perfumes, and hair sprays also attract bugs and insects, particularly mosquitos. Avoid using such products on your children. Wearing light-colored clothing and shoes – and even tucking pants into socks – can prevent insects such as ticks. Utilizing repellents that contain DEET do not kill insects but can help reduce bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other bugs. However, repellents should be utilizes sparingly on children and should never be used on infants. Non-toxic repellents that contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus can be used as well. Poison ivy and other such plants are prevalent in the summer months as well. Wearing clothing that covers a good amount of the skin can help prevent contact with these plants. Mild cases of poison ivy – with symptoms of itchy skin, redness, and small bumps – can be treated with cool showers and oatmeal baths. If symptoms persist, contact a physician, as it is possible that a prescription may be needed.


Importance of Social Interaction for Your Pre-K Student

Pre kindergarten is the introduction a young toddler gets to formal education system. It isn’t a requirement for toddlers to go to school but many parents are convinced it provides something to the child that they cannot give – and that is interaction with other children of the same age but different backgrounds.

Historically, Pre-K was known as Nursery School. The first of its kind in the United States was established around the early 1900s although the first federal-funded program called Project Head Start in 1965. In 1990, the term Nursery School was phased out and replaced by Pre-Kindergarten or Pre-K.

Compared to day care, pre-k has a more structured schedule where kids are taught how to behave in a group, fall in line patiently, follow instructions from an older person, and encourage weaning instead of clinging to parents, guardians, or siblings.

The importance of the social interaction is the heart of pre-k. Here’s why:

It Teaches Them To Play With Others

Social interaction does not just refer to being around other people and not getting into a negative situation. It also means learning to play, learn to be part of a losing team, learn to be part of a winning team, and sharing equipment, toys, and stories.

Most households do not have the wide variety of educational toys and supplies that a pre-school would have. This would be highly advantageous to young children who will learn to paint and show one’s work to others; draw and do crafts with another child, etc. This is the foundation for teaching human beings how to work, play, and share things with a group.

It Creates Friendships

Many lifetime friendships are born inside a pre-k classroom. In a study done by professionals from the University of Illinois, the findings reveal that quality friendships among boys forged during the early classroom rooms lead to less social misbehavior and improved social skills once they get to grades 1 to 3. The study also found out that young female toddlers are less vulnerable and can catch up faster than the boys in developing social skills. That is provided they are enrolled in a school where cliques are not yet present.

It Prevents Bad Habits From Developing

Since the child in pre-k is supervised by an adult (who has different emotional ties to the children than a parent), everyone gets equal and balanced attention. In a nutshell, no spoiled brats are born in pre-k classrooms. They may come in as brats in the beginning of the school year but they will most likely leave the classroom at the end of the year happy and a lot less bratty. One of the main reasons for this is the social interaction the child is exposed to. He or she will see how well-behaved children get coveted prizes and more friends and will try to copy them in order to receive those wonderful stickers or stamp prizes from the teacher.

Tips for Choosing a Great Day Care Center for Your Child

Simply ask anyone and they’ll tell you that one of the hardest decisions that they’ve ever made was choosing a quality day care center for their children. They’ll also tell you that not every center caters to your child’s individual needs therefore, it is important to take your time when searching for a provider. After all, the early childhood years are extremely critical to your child’s overall development. Plus, choosing the right center can enhance their social skills, build stronger relationships with other kids and inspire them to express and regulate their emotions also. Here are some proven strategies to help parents like you choose a quality center for your child.

Ask Everyone You Meet and Know for Recommendations

Many parents find the best centers by simply asking everyone for recommendations. After all, your friends and family members have a wealth of knowledge and if they have young children, they’ve already screen prospects for you. Plus, they have personal experiences that can make your search even easier. With this in mind, ask everyone you know – your immediate family members and even acquaintances. Tell them that you’re searching for a suitable provider and tell them what you’re looking for. In addition, you can double-check any recommendations with a list from NACCRRA. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies provides individuals with a list of licensed day-care facilities in their respective states. This listing provides readers with information about the day care, the family childcare regulations, inspection reports and fact sheets.

Carefully Evaluate the Daycare Center’s Features

State standards indicate whether a day care facility is licensed or not and these licensing standards vary from state to state. Therefore, when you explore different day care centers, know which features are important to you and your child. For instance, if your child’s educational environment is important, the facility should have a wide array of activities and age appropriate toys. In addition, they should have highly educated teachers who enjoy working with children. On the same token if you’re more concerned with the core values that the care facility represents then its important that  all staff members share the same philosophy as you. After all, they will spend a lot of time with your children and you need to make sure their values match yours. In addition, you should make sure that the center is extremely child friendly with facilities that adequately support your child’s development and skills in art, music, sports, drama, reading, etc. 

Interview the Teachers and Staff

As stated previously, you and the staff should share similar values. In addition, all teachers should have adequate training and education. They must have the proven ability to be creative and interactive. They should enjoy working with children and adequately engage them within the learning process. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask the center if their has a strong early childhood education and if they have attended trainings for professional development. Most quality centers require at least an annual training center for the teacher to further improve and sharpen their skills. In addition, make sure that the teacher-to-child ratio is adequately balanced.

In conclusion, quality childcare is essential when promoting high self-esteem and development within your child. Always take your time when choosing a great center. Never be afraid to ask for recommendations, carefully evaluate centers facilities, and interview teachers and staff. By doing this, you’ll learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of each.