Category: General Tooth Care Info

Use it, Don’t Lose it!
Use it, Don’t Lose it!

Ways to Keep Your Children Learning Through the Summer

useit

Summer break is an exciting and much needed time for kids to unwind from their academic demands and just be kids! While a summer break is essential and only a fraction of the time they spend in school, children seem to “forget” some of what they learned in the previous school year. Studies show that children not engaged in learning over the summer lose approximately one month of academic knowledge; particularly in areas of math and reading. At just about every school, the first month back at school is usually spent in review of the previous grade, because if you don’t use it, you really lose it! While we want our children to enjoy a leisurely break, it is important for their learning success that they continue learning through the summer months, even on a lighter scale.

When you think about it, children spend nearly 10 months of every year devoting enormous amounts of intellect and energy to their academic learning and achievement, and then walk away from that investment every summer, overnight. It is no wonder we usually forget some of what we learned. So, how could we as parents keep the momentum throughout the summer? Most kids wouldn’t want anything to do with academics over the summer, and you don’t need to hand your child a math book. Here are some simple, creative tips to not only help your child stay on track, but sharpen their minds and keep them one step ahead when they return to school in the fall.

Join a Library reading club

 Most libraries have kid’s reading clubs over the summer time and host activities such as arts and crafts for kids. This can be a fun, weekly activity to help kids meet new friends and cultivate a love for reading.

 Make your daily tasks a teachable moment

 The simplest of tasks can offer a wealth of practical knowledge. From writing your grocery list to watering your garden or doing the laundry, encourage your kids to participate. Have your child write the grocery list to improve spelling and penmanship skills. Let your kids help you cook as much as they are able, they will appreciate it as a young adult as well as improve their math and measuring skills. Do you have a garden? Even if you grow only a few plants on your porch, allow your kids to help you water and care for them. Enlist older children to study the plants you have and how they grow. Laundry can help improve coordination and sorting skills, even for young children.

 Try simple science experiments.

 The classic baking soda and vinegar volcanoes have been known to make quite a mess! But experiments like these make the perfect spark for creativity. There are many fun experiments to try at home for kids to participate in, and even you! Check out this link for some fun experiments to try!

http://www.education.com/slideshow/summer-science-activities/

Write your own campfire story

 Encourage your child to write about something they would like to do this summer, and make a fun story out of it! Even create a “Madlibs” scenario that you can share around the campfire, the BBQ pit, or even the dinner table or living room. If your children are young, make up your own for them and ask them to fill in the blanks with silly or random words.

Another creative way to write is to write a play and let your kids make props in the yard. They can write their own or you can write a fun play and let them act. Put on a family show one night and enjoy some popcorn.

Record your very own audiobook

 This is a great option for young kids, but it is quite versatile for any age. You can record an audio reading your child’s favorite book and upload it to the computer for or a disk for them to listen to at bedtime. Babies especially will like the sound of mom’s voice. Older children can record their own book. This may put a fun twist on reading for children who aren’t fond of reading. If you have multiple kids, assign a character to each one or take turns reading.

Make your own decor

If your child likes to paint, this could be a great option for them. There are many creative crafts to make using paint, and one of them is their own removable or temporary wallpaper and wall art. This is a good opportunity change up and customize their room without making any permanent changes to your home. Lay some large pieces of paper outside and let your kids finger paint or brush paint their own design. Utilizing pinterest is a helpful option for ideas, for those older children who may want a more polished look.

 Personal restaurant

Create a simple menu with your children, consisting of some simple meals they like such as different sandwiches. Use Monopoly cash and let them make an order, then take up cash. One of the parents can then make each plate or make it a family chef ordeal.

Learn another language

 This can sound intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be! Choose a language that you and your kid’s would like to learn and pick a word or short phrase to learn each day or week. Use the word or phrase throughout the day and work it into everyday conversations.

Find a Pen Pal

If your child has a classmate that is moving away or has family in another state, ask them about a pen pal friendship and send pictures, drawings, and cards to each other. There are trusted pen pal programs such as Amazing Kids, International Pen Friends or Circle of Friends where you can find a pen pal for your child.

Children wake early and study hard most of the year, but just because they are on a summer break from school, doesn’t mean they should take a break from learning as well. Fortunately, most summer activities and daily tasks can be optimized for learning, it is often just a matter of recognizing the opportunity and approaching it from an educational angle. Get creative with your kids this summer and teach them to learn in everything they do, not just in the classroom.The best way to retain what you learn is to use it, otherwise, you might lose it!

Wish-Wash: Mouthwash for Kids
Wish-Wash: Mouthwash for Kids

Wish-Wash: Mouthwash for Kids

We all appreciate having a delightful conversation with someone who has fresh minty breath. After all, no one wants to get a whiff of what was on the lunch menu or take a step back from the conversation for a breath of fresh air. Mouthwash is a wonderful product for oral hygiene that can give us confidence in everything we say… really! But when you walk through the store to pick up a new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste for your family, have you noticed the colorful bottles and great looking flavors of mouthwash that glisten with all the shiny packaging? Perhaps you use mouthwash yourself, so what about your child? Its difficult not to notice how fun the children’s oral care products look, but is mouthwash a necessity? Read on to learn about mouthwash and the importance it can have in your child’s oral health.

Mouthwash For Children

Benefits Of Mouthwash

Mouthwash helps remove plaque from teeth, kill bacteria, and protect the gums against gingivitis. Some rinses also contain fluoride for strengthening tooth enamel, which helps protect against cavities and tooth decay. The most notable benefit of mouthwash is that it makes your breath smell fresh by removing odor-causing bacteria and masking other bad smells. While mouthwash may give your child’s mouth an extra clean touch, dentists say it is no substitute for regular, thorough brushing and flossing.

When Children Can Use It

Unlike flossing, which should begin as soon as two teeth surface side-by-side, mouthwash can be the last oral care product you add to your child’s regimen. According to the American Dental Association, children under the age of 6 should not use mouthwash because they usually cannot keep from swallowing it. Swallowing mouthwash poses health hazards to young children, especially if they swallow an adult mouthwash containing alcohol or a fluoridated mouthwash, which can give them more than the recommended amount of fluoride and a belly ache. For children over 6, it is OK to start teaching them to use mouthwash, under adult supervision. Make sure to use only rinses designed for children, since they don’t contain alcohol and are less harmful if your child accidentally swallows some of it. Every child is different and may not be ready for mouthwash until later. A good way to test their ability is to fill a small cup with some water, have them rinse, then spit back into the cup. If they are able to spit all the water back into the cup, they are ready for mouthwash! When you chose to introduce your child to mouthwash, discuss it at their next dental visit and start with a dentist recommended mouthwash.

Choosing a Mouthwash

As you have probably discovered, the store shelves carry quite a variety of colorful kids mouthwash in different brands. You may find choosing one to be just as difficult as getting your child to actually brush and floss their teeth! Keep in mind that you may need to try a few to find the one your child will like and it is important to pick a mouthwash that suits your child’s needs. Some kid’s mouthwashes are designed to combat bad breath while others prevent the buildup of plaque. Still, some will both combat bad breath and kill bacteria. Before considering a fluoridated mouthwash, determine how much fluoride your child is receiving in their toothpaste, dental treatments, food, and water supply. Too much fluoride can be harmful, but if needed and/or recommended by your dentist, it can help to protect your child’s tooth enamel. It is best to avoid all mouthwash containing any alcohol since it can be a health hazard if swallowed and it is likely that children may swallow some. Kids mouthwashes are specially designed for the possibility of swallowing and are your safest, recommended choice. They come in may fun flavors such as bubble gum and cherry that kids love and creates a more enjoyable experience for them. Talk to your dentist about recommendations for what your child should use.

As parents, we do these things to protect and care for our own teeth because we hope to keep them around for a long time, and maintain a beautiful smile! But if your child’s teeth will eventually fall out, no matter how well they’re protected, do we have to go to such great lengths to care for them? The simple answer is yes; a child’s teeth and gums are just as vulnerable to decay and disease as your own teeth. Brushing and flossing are of the most vital oral hygiene practices, and mouthwash can be beneficial too! The choice is yours whether or not you decide to incorporate mouthwash into your child’s tooth care regimen. Until then, happy brushing!

Sources:

Between the Lines: Flossing for Children
Between the Lines: Flossing for Children

Between the Lines: Flossing for Children

Kids aren’t usually a fan of sticking things between their teeth that isn’t candy or some other sweet treat, but, when it comes to flossing, developing a daily habit is vital in their oral health. Flossing is an important step in removing all the food particles from teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Studies have discovered that 30-35% of all cavities in children occur between the teeth, particularly the baby molar teeth. While you may be wondering how you could possibly get your child to start flossing, we would like to fill you in on the basics of flossing your child’s teeth and how you can introduce it into their daily routine and make it a positive experience.

Flossing Childrens Teeth

When Should My Child begin Flossing?

For starters, children need to have their teeth before they can begin to floss. Once they’ve got the hang of brushing, teaching them how to floss is an important follow-up. When you introduce your child to brushing and flossing, they should be assisted by a parent or adult until the age of 4-5 years old, then supervised by an adult until they are 8-10 years old. Studies show that children are not coordinated well enough to brush and floss their own teeth until they can successfully tie their own shoe, which usually falls at the same age of 8-10 years old. Every child, however, is different and these numbers can vary. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that flossing should begin when the teeth begin to touch, typically between 2 and 2½ years of age. Some children may only need a few back teeth flossed while others may need flossing between each tooth, depending on the amount of spacing between teeth.

How Do I Floss My Child’s Teeth?

As important as daily flossing is, it is even more important to floss correctly. Flossing should be done once a day, preferably after dinner with the evening brushing, this way, all the food particles from the day are removed. You will need to floss your child’s teeth until they are capable of doing a thorough job on their own. Here are some steps to follow for flossing your child’s teeth:

  1. Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers. Most of it should be wrapped around the middle fingers of both hands.
  2. Use your thumbs and forefingers to lightly hold and guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.
  3. Use a back and forth motion to guide the floss between their teeth
  4. Tightly hold the floss and curve it into a C-shape against one tooth and slide it into the space between the gum and tooth, until you feel resistance.
  5. Gently scrape the floss down toward the tongue against the side to the tooth.
  6. Repeat this process for each and every tooth.

The sooner your child becomes aquatinted to consistently flossing their teeth, the more likely they will make and keep the habit. Flossing takes little time, especially when your child doesn’t have all of their teeth yet. Something to remember while you help your child floss is to be gentle. Children may still have periods of teething at 2-3 years old and may get fussy with brushing and flossing their tiny teeth. Another precaution is for children with loose primary teeth, be gentle and careful not to floss too deeply on the gum line around a loose tooth since it may already be tender. Floss the tooth beside it very gently and do not put any pressure against the tooth, to avoid bleeding or injury to the gum. Even though primary (baby) teeth eventually fall out, it is important to brush and floss them to create good oral hygiene habits for your kids and prevent conditions like gum disease and decay from setting in.

Introducing Your Child to Floss: Making it Fun

Just as children are fun, playful, and imaginative, so must parents be when it comes time to introduce them to the necessary tasks of life! Here are some tips for you to keep in mind when introducing your little one to flossing:

  • Sing! Sometimes toddlers will try to sing along or smile so big they cannot help but open their mouth.
  • Let them play with the floss string to get aquatinted with it, but be careful they do not wrap it around themselves.
  • Brush and floss with them!
  • Make animal sounds or “roar”
  • Use a flossing “chart” and have them mark the days with favorite stickers
  • Motivate them with a prize at the end of the week for good flossing
  • Play a “good vs. evil” game involving the evil bacteria and the hero, floss! The best part is they get to be the hero!
  • Teach your child to count by their teeth, while you floss!
  • Use flossing tools such as floss sticks which come in colorful assortments, to make it easier for kids just learning to floss on their own.

Flossing doesn’t have to be a battle. Sometimes, however, children can put up a fuss and need to be reminded that their teeth need to be cleaned. If you’re into the tooth fairy, try telling them the tooth fairy gives extra change for clean teeth! While your child is learning to care for their teeth, remember that the best way they learn is by example! So

get between the lines and happy flossing!

Sources:

When Things Get Hot: Thermometers and Taking Your Child’s Temperature
When Things Get Hot: Thermometers and Taking Your Child’s Temperature

When Things Get Hot:

Thermometers and Taking Your Child’s Temperature

A parent’s aid in Thermometer types and information. Inevitably, your child will face the heat of a fever at some point, and it is usually sooner rather than later! From teething to infections, fevers are the body’s natural response to fighting off offenders and telling us that the immune system is hard at work! In fact, fevers are a good thing as long as they are within a reasonable range; not all fevers need to be treated!

Thermometers and Children

Identifying a Fever

Normal body temperature for adults and children alike is 98.6^F with an acceptable range of 97.5^F – 99.5^F. When your child feels warm to the touch (with the backside of your hand) and flushed, you can guess that he may be experiencing a fever. Most Doctors consider a temperature of 100.4^F or higher to be a fever. For babies under 3 months, a fever of 100.4^F requires immediate attention since babies have a limited ability to fight illness. Children 3-6 months, a fever of 101^F or higher requires immediate attention, while children over 6 months, 103^F or higher. While it is important to look for the cause of a fever, taking your child’s temperature first can help you determine whether or not they need immediate treatment.

Types of Thermometers

Children keep no secrets when it comes to experiencing a fever. The first step in helping your child through this discomfort is to take their temperature. There are three types of thermometers that you can use.

Old-Fashioned Mercury Thermometers

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to remove mercury thermometers from their homes to prevent accidental exposure and poisoning should the thermometer leak or break.

Digital Multi-use Thermometers

In your first aid cabinet, a basic digital thermometer is best kept handy and may be the most practical, reliable way to determine if your child has a fever. Digital stick thermometers usually take about 1 minute to get an accurate reading. They are also versatile since they can be used to take a rectal (in the bottom), oral (in the mouth) or axillary (under the arm) temperature. These thermometers should only be used in one area that you chose, in order to prevent contamination. Simply label the thermometer for its area of use. Digital stick thermometers should be used rectally for children under three years , and orally for children 4-5 years old. An axillary temperature is the least reliable option since it is external and should be used as a general guide.

Tympanic Thermometers

A tympanic (ear) thermometer reads the infrared heat waves released by the eardrum. This thermometer is recommended for babies 6 months and older. It is important to keep in mind that tympanic thermometers should not be used right after swimming, bathing, or if ear pain/infection is present. Too much earwax can also cause the reading to be inaccurate.

Temporal Thermometers

A temporal thermometer is usually what doctors use and is the quickest method of taking a temperature. These thermometers read the infrared heat waves released by the temporal artery which runs across the forehead just below the skin. This is used for babies 3 months and older and can also be used for newborns.

Taking Your Child’s Temperature

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, temperatures taken rectally or orally are the most accurate. Temperatures can vary depending on the method used and you should talk to your child’s pediatrician regarding the best method for you. Every child is different so try what works best for you and your little one.

For taking a rectal temperature:

Clean the end of the thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Rinse it with cool water. Do not rinse it with hot water.

  • Put a small amount of lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, on the end.
  • Place your child belly down across your lap or on a firm surface. Hold him by placing your palm against his lower back, just above his bottom. Or place your child face up and bend his legs to his chest. Rest your free hand against the back of the thighs.
  • With the other hand, turn the thermometer on and insert it 1/2 inch to 1 inch into the rectum. Do not insert it too far. Hold the thermometer in place loosely with 2 fingers, keeping your hand cupped around your child’s bottom. Keep it there for about 1 minute, until you hear the “beep.” Then remove and check the digital reading.

For taking an oral temperature:

  • Clean the thermometer with lukewarm soapy water or rubbing alcohol. Rinse with cool water.
  • Turn the thermometer on and place the tip under your child’s tongue toward the back of his mouth. Hold in place for about 1 minute, until you hear the “beep.” Check the digital reading.
  • For a correct reading, wait at least 15 minutes after your child has had a hot or cold drink before putting the thermometer in his mouth.

For taking an axillary temperature:

  • Turn on the thermometer, and place the small end in your child’s armpit, under the clothing. The thermometer should be on the skin.
  • Gently hold the arm down in place against their side until the thermometer beeps.

For taking a tympanic temperature:

  • The thermometer needs to be inserted at the right angle in a child’s ear to provide an accurate reading. Don’t use it right after a child has been swimming or bathing or if ear pain is present.
  • Place a clean cover on the cone-shaped end.
  • Pull the ear backward slightly, and gently place the thermometer in the ear canal. Try to aim the probe toward the child’s eye on the opposite side of the head.
  • Turn on the thermometer; remove after it beeps.

We hope this was a helpful guide to the different types of thermometers and the types that can be used according to your child’s age and tolerance. As parents, fevers can be just as alarming for us as they are uncomfortable for our children. Taking your little one’s temperature can be a difficult task at times, but acquiring an accurate temperature can help you determine whether or not your child requires immediate attention or to simply allow it to run it’s course.

Children’s Safety: Bicycles and Scooters

As the weather warms up, getting little ones outside to breathe in fresh air and be active becomes easier.  No matter a child’s age, riding bikes and scooters or roller-skating is a fundamental part of their childhood.  It can entertain for hours and is a great way to get them off the couch and out the front door to do something active.  While bikes and scooters may seem harmless aside from some scraped knees and elbows, there are a shocking number of tragic accidents each year involving children on bikes.  With a little bit of awareness and education about how to be on the road, you can ensure your kids stay safe this summer.

Wear a Helmet:

Perhaps the greatest misconception when it comes to bike riding is that helmets are not important.  This could not be further from the truth!  Safe Kids Worldwide uses the saying, “Use your head, wear a helmet.”  A bike helmet is the most effective means of avoiding head injury or death from a bicycle crash.  However, not just any helmet will do the trick.  Make sure that your child has a helmet that fits their little head properly.  A good helmet will sit on top of the head in a level position and will not rock back and forth when nudged.  Here are a few tips on checking to make sure it fits:

1. Position the helmet so that when your child looks up they can see the edge of it.  This means that it should be one to two finger widths above their eyebrows.

2. Make sure the straps of the helmet form a snug but comfortable “V” under your child’s ears.

3. Have your child open their mouth as wide as they can.  They should feel the strap of the helmet snugly against their chin, so that the buckle is pressed flat against them.  If it’s not, tighten the strap.

If your child has outgrown their helmet, or it’s going to be there first one, take them with you to purchase one.  Children are much more likely to wear a helmet that they themselves picked out.  A recent study showed that only 45% of children under the age of 14 wear a bike helmet regularly in spite of the fact that bike helmets reduce the chance of head injury by 88% and the fact that bike riding brings more children ages 5 to 14 to the emergency room than any other sport.  Make sure your child develops the habit of wearing a helmet while they’re still young.  Also, be aware that different forms of wheel-based activities can call for different helmets.  While a bike helmet is perfectly safe for scootering and roller-skating as well, skate boarding and long boarding require a different kind of helmet.  Ask someone at your local sports store if you have questions concerning what type of helmet is appropriate.

Also make sure that…

1. …the bike is the correct size for your child.  Bring your son or daughter when you go to purchase a bike.  A properly fitting bicycle should allow for your child’s feet to sit flat on the ground when they’re sitting on the seat.

2. …you do a regular check of the bike’s mechanics.  Make sure that reflectors are properly in place, brakes are working well, tires are inflated, and the gears are shifting smoothly.  This will always set your little one up for a successful ride!

3. …your child is dressed appropriately.  While little ones (especially girls) love to play dress-up, dresses that are too long or loose can be a real hazard when riding.  Make sure that your child wears well-fitting garments that can’t get caught in the chain or a spoke thereby causing an unneeded accident.

Teach through Example:

-While it may seem unimportant to wear a bike helmet yourself, going for family rides together and modeling proper bike safety will have a greater impact on your child than you might expect.  Make sure that if you’re riding a bike in front of your kids that you’re wearing a helmet as well.

– Show your little ones how to make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street.  It’s important for them to know that they must always be watching out to make sure other vehicles on the road see them and are going to allow them to pass.

-Teach them about stop signs and stop lights and what the different colors mean.  The more they understand of how car traffic works, the safer they’ll be when maneuvering around it.  Also be sure that they always ride along the right hand side of the road, so that they’re flowing with traffic and that they keep as far to the right and away from cars as possible.

-While drivers in your own neighborhood may be more conscientious of little ones sharing their road, if you go on a longer bike ride and leave the neighborhood, that may not be the case.  Teach them to look both ways before crossing any street and to always yield to traffic.

Following these few simple rules can make a huge difference when it comes to your child’s safety.  Take the time to teach them the whys behind each rule, set a good example, and they’re sure to become little experts on how to maneuver through traffic safely, allowing you some peace of mind this summer.

Easter Fun

When holidays come around, it’s easy to get overwhelmed planning meals and figuring out activities to keep the kids entertained while still allowing you some down time.  Here are some easy to follow Easter crafts and activities that are sure to keep you sane and the kids entertained!

Cotton Ball Chick:

cotton ball chick

These fluffy friends are sure to be a hit with the pre-kindergarten crowd.  All you need is,

Cotton balls

Yellow marker

Googly eyes

Orange marker

Orange pipe cleaners

Glue

Empty egg cartons

Scissors

Pink grass

Triangles of orange felt

Have this craft ready in advance by making individual baggies of all the supplies for each child.  What you’ll need to do in advance is color the cotton balls yellow, cut out tiny beaks from the orange felt, and cut up egg cartons into their individual cups.  Check out the blog for the rest of the tutorial: http://athomewithginac.blogspot.ie/2012/04/cotton-ball-chicks.html

Bunny Cup Craft:

Bunny Cup Craft

This friendly little bunny cup would make a great addition to any Easter table!  All you need is,

white paper or plastic cup

white craft foam

pink craft foam

googly eyes

white pipe cleaner

glue

scissors

black marker

If you want to make the craft move along quicker, have the ear pieces, pipe cleaners, and triangle nose cut out in advance.  That will keep the assembly to simply gluing on Easter day.  Take a look at the whole tutorial here: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/986513/animal-themed-easter-crafts-for-kids

Salt Dough Easter Eggs

Salt Dough Easter Eggs1

If you have kids that are old enough to be a little more hands on, follow this easy recipe for salt dough to make colorful Easter egg decorations to send home with all of your guests!

  • 1 сup flour
  • 1/2 сup sаlt
  • 1/2 сup wаtеr

Stir togеthеr аll thrее ingrеdiеnts until а dough forms and then knеаd thе dough а сouplе timеs to mаkе it smooth.  Then bake the eggs at 250 for 2 hours.

            Once the eggs are baked, have fun painting them all different colors and patterns with the kids.  Check out the full tutorial here: http://annathingsandthoughts.blogspot.com/2014/02/diy-salt-dough-eggs-cute-way-to-keep.html

 Use any of these craft ideas to get in the Easter spirit and add a little springy color to the house.  The kids are sure to have fun being a part of the preparation this year!

Spokane’s Parks

Out of the many things that Spokane Washington has to offer, its natural beauty is one of its greatest.  Situated in the heart of the northwest, Spokane boasts the convenience of urban living while offering the freedom of gorgeous parks, forests, and other outdoor opportunities within driving distance.  Whether you prefer to merely observe nature or are an experienced outdoorsman, Spokane’s diverse landscape has something for everyone through its beautiful variety of parks.

Manito Park-

The best known of Spokane’s parks, Manito Park and Botanical Gardens encompasses 90 acres on the South Hill of Spokane.  It has five impeccably groomed gardens including Rose Hill with over 1,500 kinds of rose bushes.  There is also the Nishinomiya Japanese garden, named after Spokane’s sister city, with a koi pond, bridges, and benches making it the perfect place for relaxation and quiet.  Manito also has a large green house, a stone bridge, and various kinds of wildlife such as ducks, geese, and swans.

manito

The John A. Finch Arboretum-

Located close to downtown, the John A. Finch Arboretum offers 65 treed acres of woodland.  The tree garden contains over 2000 labeled varieties of ornamental trees, shrubs, and flowers.  Founded in 1949, the arboretum is considered one of the most peaceful places in the city, housing over 600 species of plant life.

arboretum

The Little Spokane Natural Area-

Remaining virtually untouched over the last several hundred years, this area surrounding the Little Spokane River is perfect for floating, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking.  Enjoy the serenity of the untouched landscape and travel back in time through the Indian pictographs that cover the rock walls of the area.

lsna

Mt. Spokane State Park-

Mt. Spokane, known for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities, is also a part of the largest state park in Washington at 13,919 acres.  During the winter months, the park offers snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails and June through October there are a myriad of hiking trails that lead all over the 5,889 foot tall mountain.

sspark

Minnehaha Park-

A popular natural climbing place since the early 1950’s, Minnehaha’s granite boulders offer surfaces that range from novice to advanced for any level of climber.  Surrounded by trails as well, Minnehaha offers opportunities for anyone seeking an adrenaline rush whether it’s through mountain biking or seeing what the view looks like from up high.

minnehahapark

Riverside State Park-

At 10,000 acres, Riverside State Park is the second largest park in the state, occupying over 15 square miles.  At the Bowl and Pitcher there are large Basalt formations, telling of Spokane’s geological past.  This park is the perfect place to hike, camp, or picnic, located just 20 minutes from downtown Spokane.

rsspark

The Spokane River Gorge-

This roaring white water offers an escape from urban life without having to leave Spokane.  The 111 miles of the Spokane River brings life everywhere it goes, though the shores of the Spokane River Gorge offer solace to all of Spokane’s residents.  Whether you want to admire its beauty or enjoy its whitewater rafting park, the Spokane River Gorge enriches the city year round.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Take some time this spring to get out and explore some of the amazing natural beauty that Spokane has to offer.  Whether you only have a few hours to read in Manito’s Japanese garden or can take a whole day with the family to explore some of the hiking trails in Mt. Spokane State Park, engage with your surroundings and deepen your appreciation for all this part of the northwest has to offer!

Spokane’s Fun Family Activities

With the fickleness of northwestern weather in the spring, it can be hard to confidently plan an outing for the family that requires sun and temperate weather.  Luckily enough, Spokane has a wide selection of indoor, family friendly activities that will get you and the kids out of the house without having to worry about weather getting in the way.  Here are some of the most popular, kid-friendly attractions that Spokane has to offer.

1. Mobius Children’s Museum:

Did you know that there’s a Mobius Science Museum designed just for little ones?  In the lower level of the Mobius Science Center, there is a museum just for children.  Mobius offers a wide range of exhibits.  Some of these include,

Friendly Critters– an array of bugs, snakes, lizards, and other fun creepy crawlies

Out-of-Hand Art Studio– here kids can paint, draw, and create mixed media masterpieces of their very own

Globe Theater– local storytellers and performers put on shows with costumes and lights and fun backdrops

Geotopia– this educational exhibit allows kids to witness firsthand the way that water currents and the earth interact, demonstrating how rivers and wind can change the appearance of the earth

Enchanted Forest– designed to let toddlers and crawlers roam free, this exhibit has a tree slide and foam pond as well as colorful puppets and books

Cooper’s Corner– dedicated to a 13-year-old Spokane native who was tragically killed in a biking accident, this portion of the museum is dedicated to teaching little ones about safety while on road, how to properly fit a helmet, and what different traffic signs mean

Wattson’s World– this exhibit is in association with Avista and teaches kids the importance of conserving energy and ways to do just that

So plan an educational outing for you and the kids, and head over to the Mobius Children’s Museum.  Check out the website to see admission fees and their operational hours: http://mobiusspokane.org/mobius-childrens-museum/visit

2. Wild Walls:

If your kids are getting to the age where they want to explore something more challenging, then Wild Walls indoor climbing might be a great option for a new family activity.  Wild Walls offers high climbing walls where you’re harnessed in, bouldering where you’re climbing at lower heights without a harness, and yoga classes.  It’s a very beginner friendly environment, offering their Vertical Introduction Package, designed to give you the foundation you need to start climbing with confidence.  They provide everything you need to get started, including climbing shoes in kids sizes, so visit their website to find out more about pricing and available classes: http://wildwalls.com/first-timers/

3. Laser Quest:

This live action laser tag arena offers three stories of smoky mazes, setting the perfect stage for this hide-n-seek style game.  With a variety of game lengths, ranging from 15 minutes to over night adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!  Check out the website to see the different packages they offer: http://www.laserquest.com

4. Sky High Sports:

Fun no matter your age, Sky High Sports offers a great way to have fun as a family while being active as well.  What could be more fun then a room with nothing but trampolines for the walls and floor?  With options like their Munchkin Mondays, Sky High has bouncing opportunities for every member of your family, no matter their age!  http://spo.jumpskyhigh.com/event.php?ID=509&d=1395039600

5. Wonderland Family Fun Center:

If your children have a variety of interests, then Wonderland is the perfect place to spend an activity filled day.  With its five acres of space and wide range of activities, Wonderland is the perfect place to find something for every member of the family.  They boast rock climbing, two miniature golf courses, go-karts, batting cages, bumper boats, laser tag and so much more!  Take a look at the website to see the different packages they offer: http://wonderlandusa.com/attractions

Whether your children are still in grade school or learning to drive, Spokane offers a wider range of activities.  Plan a family day, and go explore some of these fun places!  Have a birthday coming up?  Nearly all of these locations offer birthday packages.  Check out these websites and see what Spokane has to offer for you and your family!

The Truth About Teething

There are many misconceptions revolving around the phenomena of teething.  Every symptom under the sun has been ascribed to a child’s teeth breaking through.  However, recent studies have revealed that cases of high temperatures, bad earaches, or stomach pain really can’t be blamed exclusively on a child’s teeth coming in.  As dentist Michael Hanna of the American Association of Pediatric Dentists has pointed out, every child experiences teething differently.  The amount of pain experienced is directly related to the thickness of the gum tissue and the child’s given pain tolerance.

While there are no set of symptoms that can be ascribed exclusively to teething, it is very common to see an increase in,

-biting

-drooling

-sucking

-irritability

-difficulty sleeping

-ear rubbing

-facial rash

-decreased appetite

-mild fever

Any extreme case of these symptoms is more than likely a separate incident and your child’s pediatrician should be consulted.  Drooling is perhaps the most widely associated symptom with teething.  While the exact reason that teething babies have a tendency to drool so much is unknown, it is assumed to be related to an increase in muscle movement.  When a child is teething and gums are inflamed, it is normal for them to be moving their mouths around more consistently.  This movement activates the salivary glands thereby increasing the amount a child drools.  When this is taking place, do your best to keep your child’s face and chin as dry as possible to avoid the development of a rash.  Sometimes it’s helpful to keep a bib on if drooling is particularly bad.

When a child’s teeth begin to come in, it is typically the bottom two front teeth that will make the first appearance.  The upper front four teeth usually follow these.  Since these are the thinnest teeth and have a sharp edge to them, they break through the easiest and tend to cause the least amount of discomfort for the child.  When the molars begin to break through, expect a little more discomfort and irritability from your child.  Molars are bigger teeth with a broad surface, making their cutting a bit more eventful.  On rare occasions, a child may develop a bluish looking cyst on their gums where a molar is about to break through.  This is caused by a build up of fluid beneath the surface and is not to cause alarm.  When the tooth finally does break, there is often blood released with it.   Simply wash out your baby’s mouth and all is well.  However contact your child’s dentist if you notice abnormal sensitivity or swelling after the tooth has erupted.

 

ERUPTION SCHEDULE :

teething

            Once your baby has begun the teething process, be careful of what they are putting in their mouth.  While they may be drawn to hard surfaces, try and keep them chewing on appropriate toys, pacifiers, and teething rings.  If left unsupervised, chewing on surfaces that are too hard can actually do considerable damage to the new teeth coming in.  Many parents have one trick that they swear by to soothe irritated gums.  Here are some that are commonly used:

-cold, wet washcloth

-frozen/ slushy applesauce or yogurt

-piece of frozen banana wrapped in a damp washcloth

-a small dose of infant Tylenol at bedtime

Not every remedy will work for everyone and sometimes a child may not respond to any of them.  However, don’t resort to numbing oral gels.  Recent studies have shown them to be quite dangerous and related to several severe health conditions.  Stick with infant Tylenol instead.

Also remember that as soon as a child’s first tooth has broken through, it’s time to see the dentist.  Establishing a child’s healthy oral habits early is imperative to creating positive habits that will last a lifetime.  Having an expert keep their eye on your little one’s teeth is important.  A dentist can save your child from unneeded cavities and the oral discomfort if given the opportunity to have regular check-ups with your child every six months.

Beginning the habit of brushing your child’s teeth or even cleaning their gums with a damp cloth is important.  Even before your child’s first tooth has appeared, make sure to wipe his/her gums after every meal.  This will make your child more comfortable when it comes time for brushing and will keep their mouth clean of harmful debris.  Also, resist the urge to put your child to sleep with a bottle or by nursing.  Set aside meal time and keeps bottles of milk and juice to those times.  Once a child gets used to the pattern of falling asleep with a bottle, that habit can be hard to break.  But doing so is imperative once their little teeth start coming in!  So be sure to avoid beginning the habit so you won’t have to break it later on.

When your child begins teething, keep in mind that mild symptoms are to be expected, but that anything resulting in an abnormal amount of discomfort for them is more than likely a separate incident.  Your child’s pediatrician should be contacted accordingly.  Should there be any complications with one of your child’s teeth coming in, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s dentist.  More often then not however, teething irritation is short lived and is no cause for concern.

 

Helpful Dental Tips: Canker Sores

Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that appear in the mouth.  They are typically white or grey at the center and rimmed in red.  There are two types of canker sores:

simple canker sores– usually those ages 10-20 will get this type of sore; they will appear 3-4 times a year, lasting up to a week each time.

complex canker sores– these sores are less common and occur more often in those who have had canker sores before.

In the case of a simple canker sore, scientists and doctors are still not sure what causes them.  They can often appear in correlation to a stressful event or situation, or can develop as a result of damage being done to oral tissue.  This damage would entail something like a sharp tooth or rough edge on braces irritating the inside of the cheek and creating a canker sore.  Food can often times be a trigger for simple canker sores as well.  Fruits and vegetables that are high in acidity, such as citrus fruits, pineapple, figs, strawberries, or tomatoes, can cause irritation within the mouth and result in a sore developing.

Complex canker sores, on the other hand, can often be the result of a weak immune system.  However, more often than not, they are caused by vitamin deficiencies within the body such as an insufficient amount of vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron.  It is important to note that canker sores are not cold sores.  Cold sores are a virus and must therefore be dealt with differently.

How to Prevent Canker Sores

            Canker sores can appear on the roof of the mouth, the interior of the cheek, on the gums, or even on the tongue.  If a canker sore is particularly large, it can cause the side effects of a fever or even swollen lymph nodes.  Typically a sore will not last more than a week and its painfulness will subside as the days go on.  You can help prevent canker sores by avoiding irritating foods such as citrus, overly spicy foods, acidic vegetables and even sour candies that are high in acidity.  Chewing gum can sometimes be an irritant as well.  Brushing and flossing after meals can help keep these irritations at bay.

If Sores Persist…

            Some home remedies to try include,

– rinsing your mouth with salt water

– swab the sore with diluted hydrogen peroxide to help kill bacteria

– try dabbing Milk of Magnesia on the sore to assist in reducing pain

– purchase some pain relieving gel, such as Orajel, to numb the area

– make sure to clean mouth after every meal to keep the sore is as clear of bacteria as possible.

If a canker sore simply will not go away after a week, contact your dentist.  They may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse or, if it’s particularly bad, a corticosteroid ointment.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/canker-sores

http://dentistry.about.com/od/basicdentalcare/f/cankertreatment.htm