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Archive for April, 2012

DIY: KIDS’ ROOMS STORAGE, DÉCOR AND MORE

Posted on: April 30th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Designing your kids’ rooms can be a daunting task but creating a space that is functional is important to making it last for 18 years. If you’re child is old enough, this can also be a great time to have your child give input and help with the design and assembly of their room. If you involve them they’re more likely to enjoy their space and you’ll have a nice helper along the way.

Whether you’re converting an old room or starting from scratch, here are a few areas to keep in mind.

Color

Starting with an inspiration piece can be a great help. Find something that reflects your or your child’s personalities, as it will help guide the room in the best direction. This can be an old book, favorite jersey or any other item. Your piece will dictate whether you want to stay in a certain color tone or use the colors from your son’s favorite football team.  And remember, you don’t always have to paint each wall the same color. Maybe choose one strong, vibrant color from your inspiration piece to paint one wall while leaving the rest white.

Furniture and Storage

Storage is a very important factor when it comes to creating a functional kid’s room and finding furniture that has built in storage will be a tremendous help. IKEA offers custom design closet inserts that can be tailored to your child’s specific needs. Most come with baskets that can be used to store games, books and toys out of site. Choosing a bed that has underneath space is good too. You can find large containers that slide under the bed which will help keep clutter out of site when the families in town. Furniture is also a great place to think out of the box. Visit local antique shops, garage sales and even family members to find unique pieces of furniture that can add a unique flare to the room while still supplying creative storage solutions. Planning a layout BEFORE you buy furniture will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Safety

Hands down, this is the most important part of your child’s room. Whether your buying new furniture or pulling something from somewhere else in the house, it’s important that all furniture in your child’s room meets current safety guidelines. Make sure that all shelves and tables are attached to a secure anchor and can withstand being bump or pushed on. Too much clutter can also be dangerous. Once a year, have your child decide which toys they no longer want or need and donate them to a local children’s charity. Why not teach giving when they’re early.

Budget

Most families don’t have an exorbitant amount of money to spend on a room. Be wise with your dollar. Decide on the pieces that must be new and the rest can be recycled from somewhere else in the house or a local garage sale. You’ll be surprised by the great things you’ll find. Also, don’t feel pressured to buy everything at once. Buy in stages. If you like a certain piece of furniture but the price is too high wait for it to go on sale or reach out to another local store who might be able to beat the price on a similar item. Set a budget and follow it.

When designing any room, be creative. Think of making a space that is aesthetically beautiful but has purpose and function. Creating a space that your kids love and works for them. As you kid gets older use these same ideas when replacing or rearranging their room. Most importantly, have fun.

Sources:

www.TBParenting.com

www.IKEA.com

www.CasanovaDesignGroup.com

THE IMPORTANCE OF BIKE HELMETS

Posted on: April 18th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

The day you buy your child his first bicycle is sure to be a milestone in your life. But it’s important to remember that bicycles are more than just a toy; they are associated with more childhood injuries than any consumer product except the automobile. In 2004, nearly 275,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries, and 132 children ages 14 and under died as a result of a bike-related crash.

You can greatly reduce your children’s risk of injury and death simply by setting some limits. A single rule – wear a helmet or don’t ride – can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.  Kids, especially 11- to 14-year-olds, are sometimes reluctant to wear helmets. They may insist they’re good riders who don’t need helmets anymore, complain that helmets are uncomfortable, or point out that none of their friends wear them. Your child may be especially mature for her age; he may be a particularly skilled rider; or it just might feel easier to give in. But experts at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital urge you to resist that temptation. Requiring your children to wear a helmet every time, everywhere they go, is the best thing you can do to protect them.
If your child rides a bike, then he probably also enjoys skateboards, scooters or inline skates. Make sure that whenever he “wheels” around, he’s wearing the right gear.

Don’t negotiate. It’s estimated that 75 percent of bicycle-related deaths among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet.

Correct fit is essential. Do the “Eyes, Ears and Mouth” check

EYES check: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet (one to two fingers above the eyebrows).

EARS check: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.

MOUTH check: Now open your mouth as wide as you can! Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps!

If your child is reluctant to wear her helmet, try letting her choose her own.Helmets come in many colors and styles – allowing children to choose a helmet that’s “cool” may make them less likely to take it off when you’re not around.  There are many safe and FUN style to choose from.  Check out

http://www.fohawx.com, http://www.raskullz.com/

Talk to other parents and encourage them to have their kids wear helmets. Let your children see that you wear a helmet, too. Children are more likely to wear helmets when riding with others who wear them.

www.tbparenting.com

http://www.sjbhealth.org/body_childrens.cfm?id=2163

SINGLE PARENTS’ SURVIVAL GUIDE

Posted on: April 18th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

 Look For Other Role-Models

    1. Look to other family members to be role models for your children, someone who will be around and can take them for one-on-one time once in a while.
    2. Become close with your child’s teachers, instructors and coaches. This way, they can become important influences and role models for your children and will help you keep you informed about your child’s progress.
  1. Build A Support Group
    1. Share responsibilities with other parents, it will lighten your load. They can help you with picking up the kids from school and getting them to swim practice.
    2. Free babysitting is the best. You can trade with friends who have kids, other family members and don’t underestimate grandma and grandpa!
  2. Empower Your Kids
    1. Let them take on responsibilities they can handle on their own, children as young as four can take on tasks like picking out clothes for school.
    2. All household activities can be accomplished as a family and can double as bonding time. Have your kids help out with cleaning, cooking dinner and grocery shopping.
  3. Dating Dilemma
    1. If you are dating it should not be kept a secret because then you’re lying to your kids. You’re not doing anything wrong, so why would you hide it? If you have open communication with them, they will understand.

Even though these tips are especially important for single parents they are really tips for all parents. Even if there are two parents, there should still be communication with a child’s teachers, coaches and other adults in their life.

Angela’s Teachable Moment: Take one night a week for just you and your children where you either make a special dinner or take them out for one on one time to remind them that despite life’s hustle and bustle they are still important to you.

HELPING YOUR FAMILY WITH THE POST-HOLIDAY BLUES

Posted on: April 11th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

With all of the excitement that builds up over the holiday season, it is understandable for individuals of all ages to feel a little gloom when it is all over. According to an article on www.psychcentral.com, the possible causes of post-holiday depressionare “unmet expectations, unrealistic resolutions, and a return of loneliness and guilt about overindulgence.” Some of these depressed feelings are controllable, but others are just simply due to our biological chemistry. Our metabolism changes with the shorter days of winter and we become more inclined toward lethargy and sleep.  The decreased light results in less serotonin production, which can incline us toward moodiness, melancholy or worse.

Another factor to the post-holiday blues is the breath-again period. Once the holidays are over it allows individuals to just take a moment without having to worry about visitors, cooking and gifts. This period can be more depressing for some individuals than others. Some individuals will dwell on the fact that their holiday expectations were not met or even some unresolved issues that may have been created over the holidays may weigh heavy on their heart.

So whether it is a sigh of relief, biologically created or emotionally, like with any slump, there are ways to help extend the excitement of the season and get you and your family back to a happy place!

Enjoy a Winter Sport or Hobby:

A big part of the post-holiday blues is the fact that no one has anything to look forward to until Spring, but that necessarily does not have to be the case! Take the winter season to pick up a new sport or hobby, or do something as easy and take your family to an ice skating rink every other week. Snow does not only have to provide stress, but can also be really fun! Take your family skiing or snowboarding, or grab a few sleds and take on the largest hill in the neighborhood! It may seem like a good idea to take the winter season to relax, but it may be a better idea to stay active throughout this season.

Plan a Getaway:

Getting out of the slump could be just as easy as changing the scenery for a day or two. You can make it as simple as getting a hotel a few towns over, just to experience something different. Try and pick a place that has a pool and other fun attractions near by for your family to take advantage of. Florida is a great state to live in because you can vacation all over the state and each coast provides something different!


Take a Day to Lounge:

Once the kids go back to school, take a 3 day weekend and enjoy a Monday or Friday to yourself. This will refresh you mentally and get you into the right state of mind for the New Year. It is a good idea to plan this ahead of time every year taking a vacation day or sick day. Use this one day to do absolutely nothing but “veg” out! Read a book, watch some movies or even sleep as much as you need! Recharge that engine for the New Year ahead of you!

Be Thankful:

Just because the holiday season is over, don’t forget one of the most important lessons of the holidays: Thankfulness. This lesson should be taught and put into action year round, not just based around a few months of gift giving. Show your kids how thankful you are that you have them, and for the good health of your family. Most importantly take time to express your gratitude to your spouse, because relationships tend to be put on the back burner during the hectic holidays. Make sure if you weren’t able to truly focus on each other than you make up for that lost time.

Get Moving:

We all know exercise is extremely important for everyone year round. Not only does it give us good feeling endorphins, which will get your mind back into the right state, but it also makes us healthier and happier when we accomplish our body goals. During the holidays you may have taken a break away from the gym and put on a few unwanted pounds, and although it is tough to get back into the gym, once you get back into that workout routine you will feel way better!

Eat Foods That Promote Energy and Good Health:

It happened again, we went through the holiday season and fell victim to the high-carb heavy foods that have become the staples to any holiday meal. We all know these foods are not the best for us, and if anything they just make us sleepy afterwards, so if you were not able to stay strong against these dishes over break, the New Year is the perfect time to get a healthy diet back on track. Sluggishness can be caused by many factors, but experts say poor nutrition is a big culprit. A well-balanced diet, on the other hand, can boost energy. Whole grain, fiber and protein packed foods will help keep your body running, allowing you to stick to a healthy meal plan and not indulge in innutritious snacks. By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein such as chicken and turkey and snacks such as almonds and yogurt, will give you a balanced meal your body needs.

Resources:
www.ParentingWithAngela.com

www.TBParenting.com

http://www.ctparenting.com/avoidposthollidayblues.php!

http://www.transitions-counseling.com/Overcoming_the_Post-Holiday_Blues.htm

http://www.webmd.com/diet/fight-fatigue-energy-foods-6/power-up

WHAT TO DO WHEN THERE IS NO CLEAR DIAGNOSIS

Posted on: April 9th, 2012 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

All parents share one concern that is at the forefront of their minds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: their kids’ health. Healthy kids equal happy kids but when something comes up, it can throw a wrench into the family unit and affect everyone. But what happens when your child’s symptoms don’t give a clear route towards treatment or management? The thought can be scary but tackling the problem head on is the key to a resolution.

Approaching your pediatrician is generally the first step when your child is sick or experiencing a health issue. If the doctor can’t or won’t diagnose them there could be a many reasons for it.  Doctors are also slow to diagnose children, especially younger children, because doing so can bestow a powerful label on them for the rest of their lives.

 

Although scary this is no time to sulk or wait for direction from your healthcare provider. Here are some steps to take if you’ve found yourself in this predicament.

  • Ask you pediatrician to put together a file of your child’s visible symptoms that can be used for future use.
  • Do your own research and if you think your child may have a specific condition but your pediatrician is unable to diagnose, seek an expert in that particular field.
  • Have patience if your child is too young. Rushing a diagnosis and overmedicating will not help the problem if the diagnosis is incorrect. Continue to gather information about their symptoms and development will help down the road.
  •  Be proactive. If you don’t like something or aren’t happy your current healthcare experience, tell someone and do something about it. As the parent you should receive explanations for any test, studies, etc. that your child may need.
  • Become your family’s health advocate. Even though you may not be a medical professional you’re the only person who is going to be looking out for their best interest. Take note of when symptoms flare and write everything down. You may find that flare ups may happen when you child eats something, at a certain time of day, before or after a certain activity, etc. You are your family’s health expert. You spend day in and day out with them. No one knows your clan like you, so take advantage of it. Be proactive, not reactive.

 

Resources:  www.IExpectMore.org