Finding a Caregiver for Your Infant

Posted by: on Jul 29, 2013 in Blog | 13 Comments
Finding a Caregiver for Your Infant

 

One day you have a baby and then suddenly it’s time to go back to work.  How did the time pass so quickly?

There are so many things to consider when it comes to child care. What are your child care options? What is your family budget? What type of placement will work best for your child? These are all important things to think about when deciding where to place your child. This is an important transition and not one to be made without careful consideration.

Family– Do you have family members in town that are available to care for your infant? Lucky you. With so many people moving away from their home towns for work, couples are often faced with raising children without family support nearby.

Family may not even want money for watching your little one but pay them anyway. Even if it is a token amount, it shows that you are grateful for the time they are giving to your child.

If they want to put that money into a college savings account for your child, super, but don’t expect it.

Nanny– Do you think of a nanny as way out of your price range? You never know. You may be able to find someone to come to your house for the price you would pay for away from home care. I wouldn’t count on it but then again, ask around.

On the other hand, even if it is a bit more expensive, the nanny may be willing to do some light housekeeping and who wouldn’t love even a little bit of help with the house work.

Licensed Home Care– If you like the idea of a home setting and a “family” atmosphere (children of mixed ages in the same group) you may want to look into home care. This is a great atmosphere for “sibling” interactions.

Licensed Care Centers– In a licensed center, your infant will be placed in a room with other infants (some centers are “family” based but most group by age). Your infant will more than likely have more than one caregiver if you opt for center based care. Your child will have one “primary” caregiver and others who cover early or later hours, breaks and days off. The people who work in centers have the opportunity to become very knowledgeable about developmental milestones for the age group they work with every day. Since they have the experience of working with many children of the same age, they may very well have tips and techniques that you would find very helpful.

How is your placement choice working for you? Are there things that you hadn’t considered when you made your childcare choice? What advice do you have for families seeking infant care?

Ready for Potty Training?

Posted by: on Jul 26, 2013 in Blog | 45 Comments
Ready for Potty Training?

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Most people like questions with one answer.

What do you do when you come to a red light? Stop.

What do you do when the tub gets full? Turn off the water.

How and when do you potty train your child?

Well…

Potty training is such a hot topic for parents. I ran across an article with more than 15 sure fire tips.

OK, if there are more than 15 ways to go about it, there is no one right way to do it.

Ask Yourself-Why Now?

Potty training can become a job in itself, depending on the child. Know what is motivating your decision to begin training.

                Peer pressure – Everybody else’s kid is doing it

For the most part, children don’t care whether their playmates are wearing diapers or   underwear as long as there are enough Legos to go around!

Adults on the other hand have been known to carry around a mental scorecard:

“Johnny is HOW OLD and still wearing diapers? Dougie was able to communicate his                                       need for sitting on the potty when he was 7 months old. He would drool on my right                                      shoe if he had to pee, on my left shoe if he had to poo.”

Just smile and check out her shoes. If they weren’t Uggs before, chances are they are                                   now!

Even grandparents have been known to get in on the act:

“I trained my son (your husband) the weekend he turned two. I don’t believe in all this,                                               “Your child will know when he’s ready” business. I was the parent and I took charge.”

Just smile and be grateful the “Potty” training stuck. “Do the Laundry” training didn’t.

Don’t let the peer pressure get you to. You will figure out when the time is right for you and       your child.

                Money – Wouldn’t it be easier to just tape $20 bills to his bum?

Is the cost of diapers cutting into your wine budget?

Is the act of multiple diaper changes every day the cause of your wine budget?

Once your child is potty trained, your diaper budget will most likely end up being rolled over into              the college fund anyway. Don’t expect potty training to make you rich.

                Preschool- Now accepting applications. Toilet trained only.

Some preschool programs don’t allow children into their program unless they are toilet                                                trained. Is their program really all that good?

But Seriously Folks

Whatever your motivation to begin potty training is, ask around. Check out advice from doctors and parents who have been there. Does your child seem interested? Do you think he/she will be motivated by candies, a potty watch, new underwear or hanging out in the bathroom with a friend or two at day care? Relax, it will happen. You can do it.

Any one of those 15 sure fire tips may well do the trick!

What advice do you have for parents who are considering potty training?

 

Summer Funnies

Posted by: on Jul 22, 2013 in Blog | 64 Comments
Summer Funnies

larger vs smaller

Sharing humor with your children

Most specialists will say that children do not develop a true laugh until they are 6 months old, but you will know when your child has their first real laugh. Chances are that it will touch your heart in a way that no other laughter ever will.

The youngest children love to laugh at a game of peek-a-boo or being tickled. Raspberries on the tummy are a classic for a reason.

Watching a toy fall off mom or dad’s head will keep your child laughing well beyond YOUR interest in the game.

Do be careful. Funny things can become overwhelming and laughter can turn to tears if it keeps up too long.

Maturing humor

Three and four year olds begin to love jokes. They will make them up themselves.

Knock knock

Who’s there

Banana

Banana who?

There’s a banana on your head

Sometimes the least funny jokes become funny, simply because they aren’t funny.

Keep an eye out for demeaning, off color, or bathroom humor. What sounds funny coming out of a three year old’s mouth in the privacy of your own home can put everyone in an embarrassing situation in a public space.

Here are a few jokes that you and your child will both find funny no matter where you go this summer:

  • What is a pirate’s favorite letter? ARRRRR!

 

  • 2 monkeys were taking a bath. The first monkey said, “OO OO AA AA” and the second monkey said, “Add some cold water then, you silly”

 

  • What do you call a skeleton that stays in bed all day? LAZY BONES!

 

  • Where does a king keep his armies? IN HIS SLEEVIES!

 

  • Why do giraffes have long necks? BECAUSE THEY HAVE SMELLY FEET!

 

  • What did the policeman say to his tummy? YOU’RE UNDER A VEST!

 

  • What did the cat say when he ran across the race track? MEEEEEOOOOOOW!

 

Have a really funny rest of the summer!

 

Tell us some of your child’s favorite jokes

 

Good Pool Manners

Posted by: on Jul 18, 2013 in Blog | 54 Comments
Good Pool Manners

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When I was 5 or six years old, my dad would take us to a local swimming space called “The Pit”. I don’t think it’s there anymore, but at the time it had its own slightly dangerous charm. It was fun to run down, down, down, to get to the water. Coming up again when it was time to leave was much less fun, but that’s a tale for another time.

Later, when I was in second or third grade, grandma put in a pool. I don’t think we ever went back to “The Pit”. That may have been for the best.

People love pools. They also love the people who own them, maintain them and invite others over to use them.

Let’s show pool owners that we love them, respect them and want to be invited back.

Shower before and after using the pool– Not everyone has an outdoor shower system available but do ask if they would like you to shower/rinse off before getting in their pool. People use many, many personal care products that can really do a number on the chemical balance of a pool. Simply rinsing off with a hose before getting in the pool can really help to keep the pool clear and chemically balanced.

Showering, or rinsing off after swimming helps to get those wonderfully balanced pool chemicals off of your skin and out of your hair.

They may say, “Nah, we all just get right in,” but you did ask.

Shower when you get home, unintentional green hair is no fun.

Water shoes- in natural bodies of water, it makes sense to wear water shoes to protect your feet from “sharps” and other dangers. In pools, the bottom is more likely to be slippery than covered with rocks, sticks and litter. The treads on water shoes will keep you from slipping and banging your head on the sides, stairs, or other people!

Use the real bathroom-People make lots of jokes about this topic. If it weren’t a problem, the jokes would have died out a long time ago. Make sure the kids use the bathroom before they ever set foot in the water and have them get out every once in a while to try again. There’s something about being in the water… Be vigilant.

Watch them, don’t just be in the same area- Take turns in 15 minute intervals simply scanning the pool and watching the children. More than 15 minutes is too tiring. The more people around the more distractions there are. Just because you are playing with the children doesn’t mean something can’t get out of hand quickly. That intentional set of eyes can make a world of difference. Please.

 

Do you have a pool? What are some things you wish the people you invite for a swim would do?

 

Infant Care and Summer Time

Posted by: on Jul 16, 2013 in Blog | 53 Comments
Infant Care and Summer Time

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Summer’s here and the living is easy. Scratch that, you have an infant. Summer’s here and the living is not what it used to be. Here are some things to think about:

  •  Heat– Infants have a difficult time with regulating their body temperature.  They heat up quickly. They don’t sweat the same way an adult does.

They have a hard time letting you know if they are uncomfortably warm or dangerously hot. Being in the shade isn’t always good enough. Check your child’s skin temperature often and be on the alert for signs and sounds of distress. Remember those extra fluids.

Dress your infant in light, loose layers and check on them often.

  •  Sun– You may be a sun worshipper or at least a sun enthusiast. Your infant is not.

Sunscreen bottles directly state, not recommended for children under 6 months.

Keep them out of the sun. Wide brimmed hats and infant sunglasses are available and recommended even in the shade. Many umbrellas, tents and stroller covers provide little to no SPF protection. Shop around and pay the few extra bucks for the real thing if you are on the move in a sunny location.

The sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. It’s most likely hot as well. Stay inside with your infant if you can.

  •  Beach– Sand, sun and water. Fun for you, triple threat for your infant. I’m not saying don’t do it, but the people who do take their infant to the beach safely carry more gear than an army reserve team! Be prepared.

SPF tents, blankets, changes of clothing, swim diapers, regular diapers, toys, food, first aid kits, oh yeah, and the baby!

This is not a time for you to expect to be relaxing, soaking up the sun and reading a book. This is a learning experience your infant.

If your child is frightened, it’s not relaxing for you. New sights, sounds and textures can overwhelm some infants.

On the other hand, your child may be curious and excited. This means exploring, touching, rolling, crawling and tasting. Again, not relaxing for you.

Even if your child is sleeping in the shade on a blanket and off the sand, you have to remember that the sand is absorbing and reflecting heat. Being in the shade may not be good enough. Keep checking that body temperature. Not relaxing.

Now that I’m through bringing you down, how about sharing all of the ways you and your infant safely enjoy the summer? Taking walks on cool mornings or shady afternoons? Dipping their toes in a bit of cool water on a warm day? Summer may not be what it used to be but often, it’s so much more! Please share.

 

Healthy and Low Cost Popsicle Options

Posted by: on Jul 12, 2013 in Blog | 7 Comments

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Children love popsicles. Adults tend to enjoy them as well. At least this one does!

The up side is that popsicles are pretty inexpensive. The downside is that typically means the quality of ingredients suffers. Sugar, water, flavors and color both of which tend to be chemical based.

Why not make your own?  Making popsicles is often one of the first kitchen adventures for children.

It’s quick, easy and yummy.

Here are some alternatives to store bought popsicles that you can make with your children:

  • Frozen fruit–  Baby’s first “sicle”. Frozen grapes cut in half, berries, melon, pineapple, or banana pieces. Simply cut the fruit to appropriate shapes, sizes. Freeze on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Juice “sicles”- I credit Saturday morning television in the late 70’s early 80’s for this simple “Sunshine on a Stick” recipe.  Not because the recipe is that big of a deal on its own. But the cartoon public service announcement was just so silly!

Pour orange juice, or whatever works for your family, into an ice cube tray. Cover with plastic    wrap. Place in tray in the freezer.  Once it starts to freeze, poke a handle of some sort into the               juice through the plastic wrap. The cartoon character used toothpicks but they can easily be     replaced with small craft sticks. Return to the freezer until frozen solid.

The nice thing about these pint sized treats is that since they are smaller, they have less of an    opportunity to make a melty mess!

  • Smoothie on a stick –Take the same idea as above, using yogurt, blended fruit or a combination of the two.
  • Homemade “push up”- Use a small (two ounce) paper cup, fill it with your desired mixture and freeze until solid. Don’t bother trying to add a stick. Simply stay close and peel the cup down to appropriate levels for eating. This is a great idea for kids who get distracted and set their treat down in the dirt.

So, make them yourself, control the quality of the ingredients, and let the children take the lead.

What is your family’s favorite frozen treat?

About the Author – Terri Lyttle cares deeply about children and families.  A Wee Friends Careteacher since 2011, Terri provides caring learning experiences for children in the  “New Discoveries” classroom.  Terri holds a Bachelor Elementary / Master of Arts from Western Michigan University.

Heat Stroke – Stay Cool, Stay Safe

Posted by: on Jul 8, 2013 in Blog | 52 Comments

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Heat stroke – also known as sun stroke – can be deadly. It is most dangerous for infants, children and the elderly.

It doesn’t have to be crazy hot outside. You don’t even have to be all that active. Heat stroke can occur while riding in a car if you aren’t able to cool your body temperature.

Here is list symptoms, what to do if it happens and how to prevent it.

Symptoms:

  1. Body temp of 103 or more with no sweating
  2. Skin that is dry, hot and red
  3. Lack of sweat when everyone else is sweating
  4. Lack of thirst/appetite
  5. Vomiting
  6. Not responding to his/her name as he/she usually would
  7. Not responding to tickles or skin touch as usual

If your child, or anyone else, exhibits these symptoms call 911 and while you’re waiting, do the following:

  1. Get them inside or to the shade if there is no “inside” available
  2. Remove clothing
  3. Place cloths dipped in cool water on armpits neck and groin, sponge face, arms and legs
  4. Get the person to an air conditioned space, in front of a fan or create a fan with a magazine or your hand

DO NOT:

Place in cold bath– this can effect blood pressure

Give food or water– this doesn’t help prevent heat stroke

Give acetaminophen – this has no effect on temperature caused by heat stroke

How  to Prevent Heat Stroke From Happening:

  1. Encourage your child to drink much more water/formula than you usually would. By the time they are thirsty, they are already dehydrated.
  2. Dress them in loose, lightweight clothing. Infants and children are not able to regulate their body temperature as effectively as an adult is. They may often need more or less clothing than you do and they can’t always communicate that.
  3. Keep them inside or in shaded areas between 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun’s rays are the most direct.
  4. Get to a cooler place if you notice a change in mood or crankiness. This can be a sign of heat exhaustion which is a heads up that heat stroke could be on the way.

Stay alert. Stay cool. Stay safe.

About the Author – Terri Lyttle cares deeply about children and families.  A Wee Friends Careteacher since 2011, Terri provides caring learning experiences for children in the  “New Discoveries” classroom.  Terri holds a Bachelor Elementary / Master of Arts from Western Michigan University.

S’more Options

Posted by: on Jul 5, 2013 in Blog | 7 Comments

smores

The traditional s’more is a family fun treat any time of year. Once the dessert of choice for campers of all ages, it has become an indoor as well as outdoor treat. Restaurants have even put them on the menu. When you order s’mores for the table, you receive;

A plate of “fixings”; graham crackers, milk chocolate bars, marshmallows

A small table top flame for cooking. A candle or Sterno tin, depending on the establishment.

Feel free to try this at home sometime. Watch the children closely any time there is an open flame.

Now that you know you don’t have to wait for a campfire here’s “some more” news; you can easily update your ingredients and make gourmet s’mores.

Replace graham crackers with:

  • Soda crackers–  A nice salty crunch to go with the sweet fillings
  • Rice cakes– A way to convince yourself you are doing something healthy
  • Flour tortillas– Crisp them up in the oven. You might even want to spritz them with spray oil and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar
  • Big cookies– Homemade cookies with s’more fillings. My oh my! Not for the faint of heart!

Replace plain milk chocolate bars with

  • Your favorite candy bar– Think Rolos, Almond Joy, Peanut butter cups
  • Any nut butter– My mom used to take jarred marshmallow “fluff” and peanut butter, and grill it like you would a grilled cheese sandwich. This is along that same line.
  • Sliced fruit– Ok, so if you take a couple of rice cakes, some sliced fruit and toasted marshmallows, is it really still a s’more? Maybe we could call it a fat free campfire treat. Multiple servings would be much less guilt inducing! Think chocolate rice cake with sliced banana, or caramel rice cake with sliced apple.

Replace marshmallow with:

  • Are you kidding? What could ever replace toasted marshmallow?!

 

I’ve just gotten you started, feel free to experiment. Let us know your favorite combination!

About the Author – Terri Lyttle cares deeply about children and families.  A Wee Friends Careteacher since 2011, Terri provides caring learning experiences for children in the  “New Discoveries” classroom.  Terri holds a Bachelor Elementary / Master of Arts from Western Michigan University.

Cooking With Your Children

Posted by: on Jul 1, 2013 in Blog | 43 Comments

littlechefs

Kids love to cook. Your little ones love stirring the frozen juice, sprinkling the shredded cheese or spreading the peanut butter.

Yes, it can be more time consuming than doing cooking without “helpers.”  Expect some extra mess as well.

In the long run, the benefits of having your children in the kitchen far outweigh the inconveniences.

  • Mini workouts– I know you are tired from a long day at work. Trust me; they had a long day too. Decompress together by tearing up the lettuce, shaking the dressing bottle, or even pounding the chicken to an even thickness before cooking.  There are lots of ways to be physically active in the kitchen. It helps everyone!

 

  • Independence– They need you near but they like to do it themselves. If you have smaller containers, you can let the children pour their own cereal and milk in the morning. Eating on the run? A toasted waffle with peanut butter is a quick fix that children can manage, with some supervision- as you pack lunches!  And just maybe that waffle is one that you made together during the weekend and stored in the freezer.

 

  • Increase The Number Of Foods They Will Eat– Children are all about their senses. If it smells good, or they simply have their hands on it, they are more likely to taste it. If they taste if often enough, they are more likely to add it to the list of foods they like to eat. Expect your children to require several exposures to a food before it becomes acceptable. Keep it simple, keep it healthy.

 

  • Being Together- Expect to hear some stories during your time together in the kitchen. You may even have a few of your own to tell. Imagine all that you can teach your children. Simply talking about what you’re making and how you’re preparing it passes on multiple life skills. Preparing an old family recipe is a great way to share family culture. When you’re done, you can sit down to a meal that you’ve prepared together.

Where to Find Out More

If you have questions about how to get started or what tasks are appropriate at what age, check out this website. It’s filled with great information:

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/nutrition/life_stages/hgic4113.html

Share a kitchen story or two with us. We’d love to hear from you.

About the Author – Terri Lyttle cares deeply about children and families.  A Wee Friends Careteacher since 2011, Terri provides caring learning experiences for children in the  “New Discoveries” classroom.  Terri holds a Bachelor Elementary / Master of Arts from Western Michigan University.