The Kidds Place
506 East Hastings Rd. Suite B
Spokane WA 99218
Oral health. It’s important. Going to the dentist for preventative and maintenance care is a key factor in ensuring that your child has great oral health. Maybe you, yourself, fear going to the dentist. Or, maybe your best friend has told you stories about how her child fears going to the dentist and what an ordeal it is to get her teeth cleaned.
What can you do to decrease your child’s fears and anxieties about going to the dentist?
- Do NOT tell them that it is scary. Instead, exude a sense of excitement about how cool it is to go to the dentist.
- Start taking your child to the dentist early. If you child grows up going to the dentist regularly, then she is less likely to equate this activity as something to fear or be anxious about. Instead, you can set out your semi-annual visits as a special “date” and a fun event that happens regularly.
- Before you go to the dentist, educate your child about what to expect. Sure, going to the dentist can seem like a trip to a foreign country with all of the peculiar goings-on in the office. Let your child know what to expect. You can also read books about going to the dentist, watch videos on the internet (make sure to preview first!), and make-believe “Going to the Dentist.”
- Give them the experience as an observer. Part of educating your child is to lead by example. Schedule a dental appointment for yourself prior to when your child’s appointment will be and take your child with you. Now, if you are one of the approximately 15% of adults who fear going to the dentist, you will have to exercise your best self-control and make use of your best acting abilities to exude excitement and calm about going!
- Take the time to find a good pediatric dentist. Especially for small children, these offices are an excellent choice because they will often use smaller instruments, give better treasure chest rewards after the appointment, and provide a child friendly environment.
- During the exam, stay with your child and remain calm and positive and curious. This behavior will calm and reassure your child.
- Finally, remind your child that this is something that everyone does (or should do) and that it will help them to be healthy and strong.
It’s true, going to the dentist can be stressful, especially when there are procedures to be completed. But with encouragement and a positive attitude, your child can and will enjoy this part of their healthcare.
Today’s blog is short and sweet, but oh-so-important.
Oral hygiene is of paramount importance. Brushing twice a day, flossing, going to the dentist.
But so often, we neglect that crucial component of oral hygiene: The Toothbrush.
To care properly for your child’s toothbrush:
- Ensure that it is THOROUGHLY RINSED after each use. Also, encourage your child to shake off the excess water and allow the toothbrush to fully dry between uses. These practices reduce the growth of bacteria on the brush.
- STORE the toothbrush in an UPRIGHT position and without touching another brush. Doing this avoids spreading germs and encourage complete drying.
- Use mouthwash to SANITIZE your child’s toothbrush overnight (or dip it into boiling water for a few seconds) WHEN YOUR CHILD IS ILL.
- This may seem like a silly recommendation, but its worth mentioning: DON’T SHARE toothbrushes.
- REPLACE the toothbrush no more than every 3 months. If the bristles are fraying, it’s time.
Brushing is much more effective in helping your child’s teeth to be healthy when the toothbrush is “healthy,” too.
Watching television can have a negative impact on your child’s overall eating habits. On average, children living in America spend six (6) hours or more watching movies, TV programs with commercials, and/or playing video games. Documented studies have shown, that the more time spent in front of a television, the more body weight increases (this is true for children, as well as adults). This may be the result of a combination of being sedentary in front of a screen, and also not paying attention to what is being consumed.
Commercials are made to sway the viewer, in order to desire the product that is being advertised. Every day children may see up to 20 advertisements (more than 30 minutes), that promote a tempting food or drink. Food and beverage advertising account for more than 50% of commercials seen during a child’s television program. Children, between the ages of 8 and 12, can view up to 8,000 food-related ads each year. In fact, on a yearly basis, the food and drink industry will spend over 1.2 billion dollars on marketing food and beverages, to children younger than 12 years of age.
Many foods advertised are not a healthy choice for growing bodies and minds, as many contain large amounts of sugar, fat, and calories, while lacking in much needed fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, many food and drink advertisements shown on television, that target children, do not meet nutrition recommendations.
Is it possible to fight against those advertising and to promote healthy eating habits? YES!
- Do not watch TV or use other electronic devices during mealtimes or while consuming snacks. Eating together on a regular basis, without distractions, such as television or cell phones, will offer the opportunity to bond as a family, and also promote healthy eating habits.
- When watching programs, choose to edit out commercials by pre-recording a program or renting child appropriate videos. Choosing to watch a public television station is also another great option, in order to limit tempting advertisements.
- Spend quality time together learning about food and nutrition. For instance, start growing a garden together, visit the local farmer’s market, or have a discussion in the produce section of your food store. Read nutritional fact labels, and use this time to educate your children on what foods are good for their body and mind.
- Open up the kitchen to children’s curious minds. Children love to help and learn. This is a great opportunity to teach about kitchen and food safety. Assign young children simple tasks, such as setting the table or preparing a salad.
- Set limits on screen time. It is recommended, that children, between the ages of 2 to 5 years old, should spend only one hour a day watching TV or playing video games.
- Children learn from observing their parents; therefore, be a good role model. Choose healthy foods and drinks, limit your own time watching TV, and spend less time on the computer for non-work-related activities.
Once upon a time, my adorable 4-year-old son was being a big boy and helping his daddy change the tires on our truck. He was so proud of himself, being with his dad and doing hard work. So proud that he decided that he was certainly strong enough to pick up one of those big ol’ tires all by his little ol’ self. He knelt down, shimmied his hands under the tire, took a deep breath and lifted that side of the tire up with a giant grin on his face, “Look Daddy!” he shouted just before losing his grip and dropping the tire
…which hit the ground hard
…and bounced up into the air, smashing squarely into those adorable top baby teeth.
All of them. They were jammed up into the gums.
This certainly seemed like a dental emergency to me. Despite all of our efforts to protect his teeth – regular brushing, trying to get regular flossing in, wearing a mouth guard when he played ice hockey (yes, at 4-years-old, he was already an avid ice hockey player!), and going to the dentist twice a year.
But was it an emergency?
Dental emergencies are typically due to injury. This was definitely an injury. Emergencies typically involve a tooth being knocked out, cracked, or chipped. His teeth were all intact. *Really* intact – as in jammed up into the gums! The other categories of emergency are extreme pain or an object that is jammed between teeth. It was hard to tell if he was in pain or not because he was scared.
As parents, we felt that this incident qualified as an emergency. And then it hit us: We had no idea what to do in the case of a dental emergency! Through trial and error and talking with the dentist, we learned how to respond correctly. I hope that you never have to deal with an injury to your child’s teeth. But, if you do (and you probably will because kids will be kids), here is a plan for response to a dental injury:
- Stay calm!
- Stop the bleeding quickly. Mouths bleed A LOT and your job as the responsible adult it to get that bleeding stopped as quickly as possible. Use gauze or a clean cloth and apply gentle, but firm pressure to the wound. As the bleeding slows, you will be able to assess the injury better. Sometimes, a cut in the lip seems like it’s going to be a serious injury, but as the bleeding is staunched, you can see that it’s nothing that a little ice and a few snuggles won’t cure.
- Check the wound. If you find a cracked or chipped tooth, you’ll need to get to the dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
- (if applicable) Find the tooth! If your child has knocked out a tooth, find it and then call the dentist. Dentists can actually put baby teeth back in (who would have thought that was possible?!?) and your dentist may want to do this. The other reason to find the tooth is that it will enable the dentist o assess whether or not the entire tooth was knocked out.
- Keep the tooth moist. Yes, you read that correctly. Once you find that precious tooth (especially if it’s an adult tooth), do your best to keep it moist. If you can, put the tooth back in your child’s mouth in its proper place. Have your child gently bite down on a piece of gauze or even a tea bag to help keep the tooth in place (and prevent swallowing). If you can’t put the tooth in his mouth, then put it in a container or milk.
- Call the dentist.
My poor little guy’s gums turned an ugly purple color and bled so much when he injured his teeth. To our amazement, the dentist didn’t tell us to rush to the emergency room or even to get into the office immediately. He did set up an appointment for the following day and gave us some tips, like giving only cold liquids and children’s Tylenol to help with the pain.
Much to our surprise, when we went to the dentist the next day, he took one look and proclaimed that we had nothing to worry about. All of the teeth were intact and he informed us that they would slowly move back down to their normal position and that one day, he would lose those baby teeth and they would be replaced by healthy permanent teeth.
I didn’t really believe him. My son’s gums were soooo swollen and discolored. Howe could it be possible that everything would be fine? But, in the end, his little body healed itself and today, he has a healthy set of permanent teeth. Well, almost, there’s still one baby tooth hanging on in there, but I’m sure it’ll come out in due time.
Best advice in the case of a dental injury? STAY CALM and contact your dentist.
There is a bacterial infection called “caries.” It causes tooth decay and cavities. It is the most common chronic disease of early childhood. Upwards of 50% of 5-year-old children have “had” caries (tooth decay). Sure, this is “only” affecting baby teeth, which the child will eventually lose, to be replaced by permanent adult teeth. But when the teeth are impacted, overall well-being is impacted, including: eating, speaking, learning and playing. Pain, caused by tooth decay, negatively affects childhood development. Furthermore, the health of those future permanent teeth can be compromised.
If these bacteria are so common, what can be done about it? Great news! Nearly all tooth decay can be prevented. There are two main factors in preventing tooth decay:
- Although there is some controversy over fluoride and its excessive use, it is a proven fact that brushing with fluoride toothpaste is important to oral health and preventing tooth decay. Brushing twice a day is recommended.
- Exposure to sugars brings the greatest risk for tooth decay. Do not give your child juice, especially at bedtime. Formula also contains sugars, so if you are formula feeding your little one, you need to be brushing his teeth, as well. The interaction between sugars and bacteria produces acids that slowly damage tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the protective covering of the teeth.
But, wait! There’s more! You can implement other practices to help reduce your child’s (and your own) risk of tooth decay. Add these tools to your tool box and benefit from great oral health:
- Regular checkups. Going to the dentist every six months is worth it. Cleanings remove buildup on the teeth and also provide the opportunity to catch decay before it progresses.
- Drink water. Drinking water rinses the mouth and helps decrease the interaction between your food and drinks and the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Fluoridated water provides an extra level of protection, as fluoride helps to strengthen the tooth enamel.
- Teeth have 5 sides (front, back, side, side, top). Brushing only reaches 3 of those sides, but adding flossing to your routine ensures that ALL 5 sides of each tooth are cleaned daily.
Remember, there are about a billion microbes in your child’s mouth. These microbes recycle what we eat and drink. When the microbes have access to sugars, then they will eventually recycle those sugars into acids. Acids wear down the tooth enamel and eventually, the tooth is subject to bacterial invasion that causes cavities.
Reducing risk is simple: brush teeth, reduce intake of sugars, drink water, floss, and go to the dentist regularly.
The days are shorter, temperatures are colder, and energy levels in children can drop during the winter months. Many people, including children, may overeat during this season, and it is for this reason that it is important to keep vigilant with nutrition needs. The following foods will help keep children and adults happy and healthy, during cold the weather months.
Clementines are cute little oranges packed with fiber and much needed Vitamin C. In addition, they also have magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which are important for growing bones and muscles. Not only are these little gems seedless, but they are easy to peel and fun to eat. You will get 25 or more in a box (they will disappear faster than you can image), and in addition, each one has only 25 calories.
They are the perfect wintertime snack, and a great addition to any lunchtime meal. An amazing sweet treat will be segments of a clementine topped with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Another great idea is to add the bright-colored sections of this orange to salad and steamed broccoli, to make these greens more appetizing.
Sweet Potatoes are delicious and packed with fiber, potassium, and Vitamin A. The sweet mild taste of this great potato means that it will work in a variety of recipes. For instance, it can be used with macaroni and cheese, and even added to oatmeal or brownie mixes. As an alternative to frying, they can be sliced into “coins” or long strips and baked with some olive oil.
Salmon is a great food option to beat the winter blues, because it is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been documented to manage feelings of depression. Making kebabs with vegetables is a fun way to enjoy this delicious and healthy protein. Also, try your hand at making salmon cakes mixed with corn and rice. By the way, who says that pot pie needs to be chicken? Try a salmon pot pie. The entire family will love it.
Winter Squash is naturally sweet, and it doesn’t get the praise it deserves. Roasted butternut squash is a delicious sweet treat, when topped with maple syrup and cinnamon, and then baked to perfection. Try it! The kids will love it. Spaghetti squash is another underrated food that can be mixed with your favorite pasta sauce.
Cauliflower on the other hand is very popular these days. Cauliflower is delicious all by itself; however, it is very versatile, as it can be “riced” and used in a variety of recipes, such as fried rice. It can be mashed just like potatoes, to be a wonderful side to any meat dish. It can also be transformed into a pizza crust, and who doesn’t love pizza. The ideas are endless! In addition to tasting great and being a versatile vegetable, it is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and K. Cauliflower contains potassium, manganese, and magnesium, which are all necessary for growth and development for young bodies and minds.
Losing milk teeth, commonly known as baby teeth, is a natural part of childhood. Around the age of 6, your child should lose their first tooth. This process is exciting for the child and a little sad for the parents, because they realize that this is the stepping stone to growing up and entering the next stage of life.
So, the question arises as to what to do with these baby teeth? Some parents just throw them away, some may bury them for good luck, and some may keep them for sentimental or scientific reasons. If you decide to keep them, it is very important to remember that you should clean and dry the tooth thoroughly, prior to storage, as any moisture can lead to mold.
If you keep one or all of your child’s milk teeth, below are some suggestions on what to do with them.
There are some lovely keepsake boxes on the market today, that are especially designed to have a holding spot for each of your child’s baby teeth.
Baby books have been a long time tradition in many families. They will usually contain the first lock of hair, pictures, and dates of special occasions. Also, the first tooth lost which will be cleaned and stored in an envelope with the date.
There are craftsman that will mold the shape of your child’s tooth, and artistically design jewelry, in order to incorporate the tooth mold. You may also find artists that will create a beautiful piece of jewelry using the original teeth.
If you are a bit of an entrepreneur, you can legally sell your baby’s teeth, once they fall out. The above mentioned craftsmen are always looking for milk teeth for their creations. The going rate is about $5 per tooth.
School Science Project
The science fairs are in full force during grade school years. If you keep your child’s baby teeth for a few years, they can use them for their science project. One project could involve testing the effects of various beverages on real teeth, such as coffee and soda. A project like this may warrant “bonus” points, for promoting good reasons to brush your teeth after consuming certain foods and drinks.
Future Medical Cures
Baby teeth contain stem cells that have the potential to treat diseases and grow replacement bones or tissue for the body, if needed. When the teeth are properly stored, they have the potential to treat diseases in the future.
There are many storage facilities around the United States that are especially designed to store this type of DNA; however, the initial price averages about $1,200, with annual storage fees above $100. Although a costly alternative, this option appeals to many people, because even though there may not be a current treatment or cure for a particular disease – that doesn’t mean that one won’t be found in the near future.
Brought to you by: thekiddsplace.com
Much like learning to drive a car, learning to swim, and learning how to read – cooking is a life skill.
Did you know that it is never too early to learn valuable lessons in the kitchen? In fact, infants absorb everything that is going on around them. They learn when you name foods aloud, and the whir of a blender can stimulate a baby’s learning ability. A toddler learns by pouring and mixing, pre-school children learn fine motor skills by cracking eggs, grade-school children learn by chopping (supervised) and whisking ingredients, pre-teens can begin to follow simple recipes independently, and finally teens, who naturally seek to be more independent, can aspire to more complex tasks like preparing a meal for the entire family.
Before you begin, here are few basic rules:
- Until a child is old enough, an adult should always be present, to supervise in the kitchen.
- Hands should always be washed thoroughly before food preparation begins.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent unwanted accidents.
- Do not “sample” raw meat or uncooked eggs.
- Allow your child to practice cutting with a butter knife.
Cooking is a basic life skill that everyone should learn. There are many excellent reasons for children to be encouraged to cook, one being that it gives them a sense of pride. Below are several more reasons to get children of all ages involved in kitchen activities.
Children, who are involved in the cooking process, may not be finicky about their food choices. Being involved gives children an opportunity to view all ingredients and taste different foods. It has been proven, that children are more inclined to eat what they prepare. They may even find a new favorite food.
Good eating habits are encouraged in the kitchen
When children are invited into the kitchen, a dialog of good eating habits is opened, such as how eating a rainbow of colors offers a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. In addition to discussing healthy eating habits, time together in the kitchen allows the opportunity for talking about other things, such as problems in school.
The value of planning is a benefit that is learned in the kitchen. Cooking involves timing and planning. For example, the potatoes should still be hot, when the meat is ready to be put on the table. Also, you want to have all of the ingredients necessary on hand, to prepare a certain type of meal. Time management is a skill that is used in all aspects of life.
Math skills are also built while working in the kitchen, as measuring ingredients is a practical way to show the use of fractions in everyday living. For example, addition and/ or multiplication is going to be required if you want to double a batch of cookies.
In addition to honing math skills, cooking is basically a giant science experiment. Children get a chance to view chemistry in action, by finding out what happens when vinegar is mixed with oil, or the results when too much salt or flour is added to a recipe.
Also, comprehension and reading skills are sharpened, as step-by-step directions should be followed and ingredients should be added in sequence, to prepare certain meals
Self-confidence is built in the kitchen
Children should feel good about creating something delicious and nutritious, and parents should feel good knowing that when children leave home, that they will not be dependent on frozen meals or vending machines for sustenance.
Besides all the great lessons that are learned while cooking, preparing a meal is also fun! Spending time together in the kitchen with your children, not only produces good meals, but also builds positive memories.
Resolving conflict, effectively, is a talent, and if mastered at a young age will carry through into adulthood. By aiding children in learning how to manage conflict, we will help them to experience a joyful social life filled with genuine friendships. By equipping children of all ages with conflict resolution strategies, we will help them in being a good friend. Outlined below are several strategies that are proven to be effective in resolving conflicts in most situations.
Frustration, anger, and other strong emotions may run high during a conflict; therefore, all parties need to step away and calm down. Attempting to resolve an issue, while children are upset will never work.
Listen, Speak, and Understand
Once everyone is calm, each child should have the opportunity to state their view of the problem. Placing blame and focusing on the cause of the conflict is rendered ineffective, and a workable solution will never be reached. Instead use “I” statements, such as, “I feel hurt when…”
While one party is speaking calming, the other party should be listening. Listening is something that can be difficult, and if this is not mastered as children, it will never be part of their adult lives. Active listening requires one person to actually see the situation from the other person’s view – even if they don’t agree. In addition, active listening means that you are looking (not staring) at the other person, to indicate that they have your full attention. Also, do not interrupt when the other person is speaking, but add some “listening noises”, to confirm that you are hearing and understanding what the other person is saying. Finally, when the other person is finished speaking, repeat what they have said, so that you understand, and the other person feels confident that they have relayed their feelings in a way they feel valued.
An apology is the first step to repairing damaged relationships, and makes improvements from this moment forward.
When an apology is good and sincere, the other person should be hearing regret, responsibility, and a willingness to remedy the situation. Using the words “I’m sorry” is not enough, as you also need to acknowledge how the other person was hurt by your actions and/or words. Also, offer suggestions as to how you will fix the current situation and avoid it in the future.
In addition to apologizing, ask for forgiveness for your part in the conflict.
On the other hand, an insincere or “bad” apology falls short, if the victim is blamed or criticized, behavior is justified, or excuses are made, and consequences are minimized. An example of a bad apology would be, “it was just a joke”.
Find a Solution
Children should be empowered to brainstorm a solution on their own, with the aim being to find a solution that makes everyone satisfied with the results. Children should be reminded that every opinion should be heard, and that no idea should be criticized or deemed “silly”. Writing down any and all ideas is a great way to view a feasible solution, and to resolve a conflict.
Reflect on the conflict
Relay your feelings
Listen to the other person
Find a solution
Discuss how each person will behave differently in the future
Speak calmly again, if current solution is not working for both parties
Brought to you by Kidds Place
An age old practice involving your child’s lost teeth which many people like to have fun with is that of the Tooth Fairy Tale. There are many folklore tales and pre-cursing traditions that have been practiced around disposal of children’s baby teeth. Some of these stories are rather dark and treacherous while others use more child-friendly, fantastical imagination. No matter where it came from, The Tooth Fairy remains alive and well in many American homes today.
Whether you participate in the traditions or not, we have construed some creative means to use the imaginary tale for the benefit of your children in their real-life learning about the resource we all need and use; money! Teaching children at a young age the purpose and means of finances will enable them to become fiscally responsible adults. Potentially, yielding less of the learnt-the-hard-way experiences. Partnering with the Tooth Fairy is just one of the ways to start teaching children about money along with other means such as chores, monetary birthday gifts, and sidewalk cash (finders keepers!). It offers a great starting point for younger kids and a fun incentive for them as they grow that can also encourage them in the natural process of losing their baby teeth.
Discovering the tangible currency of coins and paper bills
Our modern world is shifting rapidly to use of plastic currency numbers and online banking, but the value of tangible money is irreplaceable. Children need visuals and sense of touch to stimulate and ingrain what they learn. The best way to teach the value of a dollar, give them a dollar they can see and touch! Similarly, showing them the same value in coins also shows them how finite money is. While swiping a card may feel fun, cash is real. There are studies repeatedly showing that people really do spend more with plastic than with cash. Give your kids a healthy start in their perspective with money by using cash to stash under that pillow. Teach them the value of each coin and how many of those coins amount to equal values of larger coins and bills. Before saving and spending can begin, they first need to understand and know the value of money.
Making their first purchases
Chore allowance or tooth fairy money is typically your child’s first source of income. As they learn about the value of the money they earn, start practicing spending and saving using the toys or household items. This can turn into a fun game too for them by playing “shop” using they money they have. Setting dollar or coin amounts on toys they can afford and can’t can give way to discussion about saving money as well as prioritizing wants and needs. Same goes for the real out-and-about shopping. When they see a toy or food item they would like to have, show them how much money it costs using their coins and dollars, and how much they will have left; or, how much they may yet need. It would be advisable, however, to refrain from letting your child “borrow” from you! Once they have the money and a decision to purchase something, let them do the deal!
Learning to earn
While loosing teeth may not be the true way of “earning” a wage, it does demonstrate a good given for a value amount. Money isn’t given as often as it is earned. Whether you chose to keep the tooth fairy a secret tale, or your children know its you, aloting a small share for their little teeth can be a gateway into learning about the exchange or transaction that happens with money. Get creative and allow them to put more of an earned effort into it by increasing the value of well brushed and flossed teeth. This can give them incentive to work more diligently on their oral health along with working toward something they would like to purchase. In the real world, we work both for incentive and also responsibility!
Budgeting simply means you are telling your money precisely where it will go. As kids start learning from their shed teeth, chores, or monetary gifts, talk to them about allocating funds. Set up a visual system to help them see and keep track of their categories. Savings for bigger purchases, gift giving, and spending are three basic categories to start with. Of course, customize it to your family values. Envelopes, jars, a collection of piggy banks are some options to allow visualization of these funds. Budgeting like this is also a stepping stone into real-deal banking when your child is older with enough earnings for an account and can start learning to use debit cards.
Turning the Piggy Bank to the Real Bank
When is a good time to open a savings account for your kiddo? A full piggy bank (or two!) can be a good indicator. When your child is ready for this step, take them with you to the bank and let them sit in on the action of starting an account. This could also be a great time to ask for a bank tour to give yet another visual aspect of how banking and money works in the adult world they will soon be a part of. Start simple with savings, start small, and teach them the importance of maintaining their account and tracking funds.
The Tooth Fairy may be just a fun tale for some, but she can also become the entryway for your child into learning about money and the management thereof. Perhaps it is time to think about employing her to get a start on introducing your child to the world of currency, offering valuable lessons that will serve them well throughout their life!