Category: Info for Parents

Kids in the Kitchen

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:

  1. Until a child is old enough, an adult should always be present, to supervise in the kitchen.
  2. Hands should always be washed thoroughly before food preparation begins.
  3. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent unwanted accidents.
  4. Do not “sample” raw meat or uncooked eggs.
  5. 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.

Conflict Resolution
Conflict Resolution

2 girls fightingResolving 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.

Relax

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.

Apologize

kids making up after a fightAn 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.

Summary

 

Calm Down

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

Spring Cleaning
Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning!

Spring is on it’s way shortly, and to many in western society that means, for most moms: spring cleaning.

Although this idea is known commonly throughout the U.S., it is speculated that the tradition of spring cleaning has, surprisingly, Eastern origins.

The Iranian New Year falls on the first day of Spring (March 20th), and to this day “khooneh tekouni” is practiced during this time. It literally means to “shake the house” and is observed by most Iranian people today.

Another school of thought suggests that Spring cleaning comes from the Jewish preparation of the festival of the Passover, which takes place over the course of a week usually in late March to mid April. Jews are commanded by God in Exodus 12:15 to rid their homes of all small leavened bread remnants prior to Passover, so there is a traditional candlelight search for breadcrumbs (called “bedikat chametz”) the night before the festival begins.

So what is so significant about Spring cleaning in American culture?

Several factors could contribute to the expression of purging old belongings and cleaning house this time of year.

A motivator could be the abundance of extra possessions one may find themselves in after the intense gift-giving holiday season. Another is the warming of the weather that makes dust of surfaces more visible and outdoor cleaning more enjoyable.

All in all, when a house-wide purge begins, where do we usually begin? The closet.

Coat closets, storage closets, bedroom closets, oh my! Here are some tips for you to achieve your best springtime closet.

Designate Seasons

Many of us make the mistake of getting rid of old winter clothes that we will not need for another 7 months or so, because they tend to be bulky and take up too much space. Certainly get rid of clothes you did not wear all winter (or the winter before, especially), but place them in storage containers with the exception of a few sweaters or light jackets you may need on rainy days. This will free up space and make your morning selection a breeze. When autumn arrives, do the same with your summer clothes. This will help with not being overwhelmed by all that’s in your closet.

Decisions, Decisions!

Due to the weather getting warmer and the New Year well behind us, many have stuck to their resolutions have slimmed their waistline considerably (and are still in the process of doing so). If you found you have lost weight and many of last year’s spring clothes are now too big for you, keep at least a couple of pieces you like the most. There’s still a chance you could gain some of the weight back before the warmer months end, and you don’t want to be without clothes!

Don’t Forget Surfaces

While going through all the clothes in the closet, this is the best time to thoroughly remove all clothing and wipe shelves and surfaces that are normally concealed. Make getting ready in the morning the best time of day by shaping your closet into a work of art!

We hope you are inspired to feel fresh and clean this season with these ideas, and happy, happy Spring!

Everything You Need to Know About Amber Teething Necklackes
Everything You Need to Know About Amber Teething Necklackes

When it comes to the topic of child safety, every internet source has their own slanted narrative, and so does every individual mom who has done their research and experimentation. Just like every other baby product, Amber teething necklaces carry the weight of some controversy. They are said to be either the greatest teething craze invented, or, a grave threat to your child’s life, or somewhere in between.

Not familiar with the trend? Amber teething necklaces are a snug (not too loose or tight) strand of amber beads for children to wear during the painful season of teething. The warmth from their skin is said to activate the oil in the amber resin, which releases a natural pain reliever called succinic acid. This is then absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream and simply acts as a “helper” when teething toys, cold objects, or even baby tylenol isn’t quite cutting it.

If you’re not sure whether this product is right for your child, let’s get all the pros and cons out of the way.

Cons:

  • Needs to be removed before every nap (to prevent choking while unsupervised.
  • Even while supervised, events like strangulation can occur
  • If the strand breaks, a child may attempt to eat the stones or possibly block their airway in the process
  • Because of the above reasons, it is not recommended by most pediatricians.
  • Some skeptics say the beads have to be heated to at least 200 degrees fahrenheit to excrete the oils (two times over normal body temperature)
  • The releasing of succinic acid is seen as more holistic and ancient medicine and is not officially backed by science, despite very consistent claims that it does, in fact, work.

Pros:

  • Seasoned “natural” moms recommend putting the necklace on as early as two months, so that your child gets used to wearing it and it then just behaves as another article of clothing. Many mothers that start the use of the necklace very young and watch their child acclimate are more at ease when it comes to risks of choking.
  • Succinic acid not only supposed to relieve pain (and is helpful for adults too, suffering from arthritis or other joint pain) but is said to be immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and has a calming effect on the wearer.
  • Many moms swear it reduces drooling significantly. This may be due to succinic being an alkalizing acid, which has metabolic benefits.
  • Succinic acid is FDA approved, this being because it is an element that commonly occurs in our food. So while the benefits cannot be proven medically, the acid itself is not harmful.

For many, the benefits do not offset the possible risks. If this is you, it is definitely best to use your best judgement. Every child is different, and every mother knows what’s best for their individual baby. On the flip side, pro-amber necklace moms say they have little or nothing to fear because their baby adjusted to the wearing of the necklace, so they are aware of it but they never not attempt to remove, break, or eat it. They also notice a significant difference when the child is wearing it versus not, or have used it on one child but not their sibling. Thankfully modern technology has also provided us with more security measures for our children, such as video monitors and baby breathing monitors (like Snuza). This allows mothers to keep their eyes or ears on their babies 24/7.

For more information on this subject, as well as how succinic acid breaks down molecularly, please click the links below.
https://www.mamanatural.com/amber-teething-necklaces/
https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/ask-heidi/amber-teething-necklaces.aspx
https://www.healthextremist.com/amber-necklace-benefits-may-include-helping-thyroid/
https://hazelaid.com/pages/about-baltic-amber

Learn about our children’s dental services here.

Easter Ideas for Healthy Teeth
Easter Ideas for Healthy Teeth

Easter is the biggest holiday of the spring with so many children eager to dive into the fun. However with all the excitement and tradition of Easter, there is the downside of the amount of candy consumed. Easter is definitely a holiday that has morphed into a day of sugar and treats. As a parent, this can be a bit worrisome if you’re concerned for your children’s dental health. There are some good tricks though that can still give your kids fun surprises but cut down on the amount of sugar consumed.

Sugar-free gums which use zylitol or any other alcohol sugar, are excellent alternatives to still give your children something sweet to chew on but without the high sugar content. Alcohol sugars don’t cling to the teeth as regular sugars do and are not loved by the bacteria in the mouth.

Stickers are also always a favorite with kids. Its easy to find stickers with your child’s favorite Disney character or superhero that they will easily love just as much or even more than a piece of hubba bubba.

Trailmix with yummy nuts and some semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips will significantly cut down on the amount of sugar found in a regular amount of m&ms but is still a yummy treat!

Play dough is a super fun alternative as well. I don’t think there is a child out there who doesn’t like play dough! Pick dough in your child’s favorite color and they will be entertained for a much longer time than if you gave them jelly beans.

Baking some treats with half the sugar or alternative ingredients is always a healthier option than anything you would buy at the store. Baking with date sugar, coconut sugar or maple sugar can be some good alternatives that are still sweet but not hard on the teeth like cane sugar!

 

  • Creating coupons is always a fun way to make Easter baskets more interactive. Having a coupon for a trip to the movies, a local arcade, a theme park or just a fun outing with mom and dad can be a great idea. Kids love going on adventures more than getting piles of sugar to eat.

 

Mostly all kids love getting and eating candy. As a parent it can be very easy to want to give into these wishes but I think most kids would agree that is given some of these fun Easter basket alternatives, they would choose them any day over a bag of candy!

 

Not Sure What to Pack Your Kids for Lunch?
Not Sure What to Pack Your Kids for Lunch?

Choosing the best foods to put in your child’s lunch or give them as a snack can often be a challenging task. As a parent you want to choose something they will like but also something that is healthy for their body and their teeth. If a child is regularly eating candy or sugary snacks during the day, that sugar will just sit on their teeth until they brush them in the evening. Here is a list of some snack options that  promote children’s dental health as well!

  1. Oranges, sweet peppers or strawberries all contain the popular nutrient vitamin c. This vitamin is especially helpful in fighting certain types of bacteria in the mouth because they don’t like its acidic nature.
  2. Nuts or foods containing seeds have healthy oils in them which can coat the teeth and act a protective barrier to invading bacteria. Some examples could be peanuts, almonds, whole grain breads or hearty granola bars.
  3. Milk and Dairy products can also be healthy for teeth because they are an excellent source of calcium, which is helpful in keeping kids teeth strong and resilient. Dairy products also increase the acidity of the mouth and thus ward off any acid loving bacteria.
  4. Apples, Carrots or celery can be excellent choices because they mechanically clean the teeth. Their crispness acts as a kind of abrasive surface on the teeth, helping scrape off any plaque or buildup.
  5. Always give water. Children of course love juice and sugar drinks however the less you give these to your children, the better off their dental health will be. Always promote drinking water because it helps rinse the mouth as well as hydrate.

These are just a few ideas to help inspire healthy snacks, which are also healthy for the mouth. Limiting the amount of times your child snacks a day is also very helpful in keeping the sugar loving bacteria to a minimum.  Being a parent is never easy, but promoting and instilling healthy snacking habits in your child will always pay off, especially concerning their dental health.

Soothing Teething Babies
Soothing Teething Babies

Teething or the development of baby teeth is something every child has to go through during their early years of life. It is a process, which normally causes discomfort and restlessness and can therefore be an exhausting period for the child and the parents.

Teething typically begins anywhere from 3 months to one year when the primary teeth are finding their way to the gums surface. The soreness at this time is most often due to the swelling of the gums as the teeth begin to move. This discomfort can leave the child fussy and unsettled. Every baby is going to be different during this time however, here are some remedies, which will hopefully help, ease the process!

  1. A clean finger -moving over the surface of the gums can relieve some of the teething pain.
  2. A damp washcloth put in the fridge and then offered to your baby to chew on can offer some cool relief.
  3. Breastfeeding can be a simple and soothing option to help distract your baby and relieve some of the pain.
  4. There are also certain pain relievers or Tylenol  you can ask your doctor to recommend.
  5. Amber Teething Necklaces-are a trending holistic solution with the belief that the heat from your child’s skin warms the amber beads which then releases oils containing succinic acid which are then absorbed into the blood. Succinic acid is a natural pain-relieving agent.
  6. Mesh Teethers-can also be a good solution by placing frozen fruit inside and giving the baby something cold but yummy to chew on.

These remedies are not a solution to everyone’s teething baby problems. However, hopefully they offer some temporary relief or more sleep filled nights.

 

New Years Resolutions for the Whole Family
New Years Resolutions for the Whole Family

There’s no question – The New year’s resolutions we set for ourselves can be overdone, cliche, and downright unrealistic.

Whether it’s gym membership you’re fairly confident you’ll never use, the instrument you got for Christmas you’re determined to master by March (that acoustic guitar should NOT be for collecting dust in the corner, but let’s be real, at least it looks cool) – in no time our once well-intended goals can eventually lead us to feel discouraged, frustrated, and sometimes even with buyer’s remorse (we’re looking at you, $100 dress we said we’d fit into by May!)

But there’s a reason we invest time and money in our resolutions. We know somewhere inside our own mentality that if we have some financial or practical incentive to meet our aspirations (other than just sheer willpower), we will be more likely to complete these goals, or at the very least, not regret setting them.

So we’ve compiled a list of ideas that you as a family can make together that are no “down payment”, commitment-free, resentment-free and can be great ways for you all to bond closer together in 2018.

These are more of ideas than set-in-stone goals; giving you and your family the opportunity to try them out and whether or not they should come to be new rituals in the coming year.

So if you try any of these and fail, there’s no guilt. The most important thing, however, is to keep track of the resolutions you have completed. This will make you and your household feel more accomplished.

Family Resolution Idea #1 –

Have a “good things” jar. Keep it in a visible place that doesn’t blend in with everyday clutter but adds to the aesthetic of your home. Keep it by the front door or television so that it is always in sight. Next to it, place a stack of small strips of paper along with a pen or two. Whenever a milestone is reached, small or big, personal or collectively, remind one another to write them down and put it in the jar. Did dad get a promotion? Did Johnny score his first soccer goal? Did Sarah lose a tooth? Was a new cousin or niece or nephew born? Keep track of all the good events, and on December 31st, 2018, open the jar and read about all the amazing things that happened throughout the year.

Family Resolution Idea #2 –

Choose a day this year (sometime in May or June is usually a good time – school is slowing down for the summer) and play hooky from school and work! Go to a movie, out to lunch, and just have some quality time. Sometimes it feels really good to break the monotony of a tedious daily routine and cut loose. If it’s a hit – and we’re confident it will be) – make it a yearly ritual!

Family Resolution Idea #3 –

Start a weekly tradition. Choose an evening that works for everyone’s schedule and have a movie night, a game night,  a craft night or a night out! If you find it hard to keep consistent, keep it on your calendar, and find the “thing” everyone doesn’t have difficulty committing to.

Family Resolution Idea #4 –

As the years go by, we’re becoming more and more dependent and addicted to technology. Make a conscious effort this year to not check devices during mealtimes. If it helps, put a sign up on the refrigerator or in a place that’s visible from the table to act as a reminder. This will force you to have more genuine interaction and will inevitably bring you closer together!

Family Resolution Idea #5 –

Set a goal to visit a place you’ve never been. Whether its a short road trip off the beaten path, or an airplane across the country – go see it! Travel! Depending on if your kids are older or younger you can personalize the trip, and it will give you all a chance to bond and make memories to last a lifetime. Traveling with small children especially is not easy, so sometimes even making a short trip to visit family is well worth it for relatives who do not get to see them very often.

We hope that you adopt one or more of these ideas into your upcoming year, or they at least gave you some inspiration to set some attainable goals. May you draw closer with your spouse and children and grow together as a family unit this year. Cheers to 2018!

Facts About Wisdom Teeth You May Not Know

For most young adults wisdom teeth will eventually become a topic of discussion. Do I have them? Should I have them removed? Have they already grown in? These are some common questions you may ask your dentist when considering what to do with your wisdom teeth. Having a fuller knowledge about what wisdom teeth actually are, why they exist in the human mouth and the risks associated with them will help you understand the whole process much better.

Wisdom teeth are called by that name because they normally begin to show in the human mouth around the ages of 17-25 years old. These years are typically thought to be the “ages of gaining wisdom”. They are said to originally exist in the mouth because humans used to have to eat much harder or grainy foods so they needed to have extra molars in order to grind it down. Today, food is much more processed and so the necessity for wisdom teeth has become less and less.

The main risk is that wisdom teeth are quite large and can easily cause crowding within the mouth. Crowding can lead to multiple complications such as tooth decay or jaw problems. If the mouth is overly crowded, wisdom teeth can become displaced and grow in sideways or only partially emerge from the gums. Partial eruption is dangerous because it makes the tooth difficult to clean and allows debris to be easily trapped around the tooth, which can lead to infection or decay. If the wisdom tooth never erupts at all, it can cause problems below the surface of the gums such as tooth displacement or crowding.

In certain situations the wisdom teeth can grow in straight to become fully functional. These scenarios typically don’t require immediate removal of the teeth however they still need to be watched and monitored closely because complications can occur later on. Fully emerged wisdom teeth are set very far back in the mouth making proper cleaning difficult. This leaves them always at high risk for decay or causing certain gum infections.

What Type of Braces Does Your Child Need?
What Type of Braces Does Your Child Need?

Braces have become a very popular practice in the American dental world. If you were to ask a room full young adults how many of them had had braces, over half would surely raise their hand.  Though braces are very popular, not everyone is aware of the different types, which are available. Most people end up with the traditional or metal braces; however there are four types which dentists can typically offer you.

Traditional or metal braces are the most common. When you think of braces, these are most likely the type you think of, considering 78% of people under the age of 18 are wearing metal braces. Metal braces have come a long way since the earlier years and now consist of smaller square brackets, which are glued to the teeth connected by thin wires, which slowly pull the teeth together.

An alternative to traditional braces would be the Ceramic braces. The ceramic braces closely resemble metal braces in function and style however the metal square brackets are replaced with square ceramic brackets. These brackets are typically the same color as the teeth, leaving them to be less noticeable. Adults who require braces are more likely to favor this option.

Image result for braces

Another option is the Lingual Braces.  Lingual braces are unique because they are attached to the back or inside of the teeth closer to the lingual palate. This style is certainly more discrete, however can have severe downsides when it comes to cleaning. Tightening can also become a longer and more painful process due to their difficult-to-reach placement; though their invisibility from the outside really appeals to many patients who require braces

Lastly, there is the Invisalign. Invisalign was founded in 1997 and has continued to grow in popularity ever since. The invisalign technique consists of 18 to 30 custom mouth-guard-like inserts which cover the entire tooth. These are changed out every two to three weeks. They have to be changed in order to accommodate the new alignment of the teeth. Invisalign is popular because it is completely invisible and allows patients to eat and drink whatever they would like. Though, they are only suitable for adults and teens, not younger children.

Even though traditional metal braces are usually the recommended and most cost effective technique, it is always good to keep your options open and speak with your orthodontist about all the possibilities.