Kamis, 18 Juli 2013

What to Look For In a Childcare or Daycare Center

There is a lot of buzz going around about the economy and how the current slump is affecting ordinary people. If you are wondering about how to get the most out of childcare or daycare then the following will help you get a good idea. Currently, people are downsizing and spending less.

So, people who were ready to pay for the services of a private nanny are now moving their kids to childcare or daycare centers. Those who are already sending their children to such centers are now looking for more affordable options. If you cannot afford to send your child to such places then you will have to rely on your grandparents to help you out.

When the time comes to enroll your child at a childcare or daycare center the first thing you are going to realize is that these centers are not all the same. Though many centers offer similar services they also vary in their quality. It is up to you to make an effort to choose the best center for your child.

The first thing that you should do when deciding on a childcare or daycare center is check whether their programs comply with laws as well as licensing regulations. Also, check to see whether the programs are accredited. You should also check the environment.

It pays to send your child to a center where the environment is bright and colorful as well as inviting. What's more, you must also make sure that the environment has been designed with children in mind. Also, check to see whether there are enough toys and materials which should also be age appropriate and in good condition.

Another thing that you should look for in a childcare or daycare center is their policy. It should be an open door policy which welcomes parents to drop in and see how their children are being treated. Parents should also be encouraged to take part in program planning and in various events.

The staff should be well-trained and they should have enough experience with working with children. Caregivers should also be ready to give their undivided attention to the children in ways that are both warm as well as responsive.

Finally, before choosing a childcare or daycare center you should check to see whether there are enough opportunities for play. In addition, there should be a good balance between peace and quiet and activities.

Kamis, 04 Juli 2013

Keep Halloween From Being Truly Scary For Your Kids By Using These Safety Tips

Halloween is a fun time for kids and adults alike. Kids love it because they can dress up, scare their friends, go to parties in costume, etc. Adults love it for most of the same reasons. However, it can also be a dangerous time for your kids. Here are some practical safety tips to help you keep your children safe:

1. BE SEEN! A lot of Trick or Treating is done in low light or dark conditions. Make sure your child's costume has some reflective tape, or a flashing light so they can be seen by cars on the road.

2. BE AWARE! Your child should be aware of what's around them when they Trick or Treat. Remind them to look and listen for cars. Children should be aware of other people as well. If they think they are being followed, teach them to go to the nearest house and ask the adults there to call the police. They should wait by the door and not go inside.

3. DRESS FOR SAFETY! Long, flowing gowns and capes look cool, but they can be a tripping hazard. Clothing should only go to the top of the shoe, and it should never drag on the ground. Sleeves should not extend past the hand so the cuff doesn't get caught in or on something.

Masks are another thing that sometimes gets overlooked from a safety standpoint. A poorly fitting mask can obscure vision and make hearing difficult... not what you want when walking down a road in the dark! Be sure your child can see well, both directly ahead and to the side as much as possible. They should be able to hear well, and the mask should fit so that they can turn their head with no restriction in movement.

Any accessories such as canes, staffs, lightsabers, etc., should be made of material that is not sharp, and is pliable, so if your child falls on it it won't do any harm.

4. STRANGER SAFETY! Did I say Stranger Safety? You bet. While Trick or Treating on Halloween might actually be safer for your child because they are traveling in groups, consider this: it's also the perfect time for someone to follow your child and see exactly where they live. Fortunately, a few tips can help prevent this. Children should be aware of who's around them. Take note of cars following them, especially if they don't seem to have any other Trick or Treaters connected with it. Seeing the same vehicle following them, or suddenly showing up ahead of them could be an indication. Teach them that if they feel threatened, they should go to the nearest house and tell the adults to call the police. They should wait by the door, and not go inside until the police arrive. And they should NEVER accept a ride from a stranger, even if their feet hurt from walking!

5. SAFETY IN NUMBERS! Your kids should travel as a group, never alone. Not just because they could be vulnerable to someone else, but if they have an accident and get hurt, having someone with them to call for help is a great idea. Carrying a cell phone is also a good idea.

6. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT! Gone are the days when a child would get handmade cookies or popcorn balls and there was no danger. Children should be reminded that all candy and treats should be wrapped in the original wrapper. If it looks like it was opened, or smells odd, they should give it to you, the parent, and let you inspect it first.

7. SAFETY AT PARTIES! Halloween parties can be great fun for kids. Make sure you check with the parents to ensure there will be adults supervising. Children should call their parents for a ride home, and make sure you have the phone number of the house the party is at. Your child should also know your phone number in case they need to call you for anything.

Following these safety tips will help ensure your child's Halloween is safe, as well as fun!

Rabu, 03 Juli 2013

How to Maintain a Baby Bottle

Since lots of my friend (who are my age) already have babies, they keep asking me about tricks of cleaning, and what else can they ask first if not, how to clean the baby bottles?

Well, I don't want to get into this topic yet, since I feel too immature to talk about babies, but here is what I managed to come up with.

Obviously, this is one of the most important things, when having a baby. It doesn't really matter if you choose a machine to wash the bottles or you decide to clean them by hand.

The point is, you have to make sure that you're using baby friendly solutions.

Prepare in advance hot water, soap and a brush good for bottles. The best time to wash the bottle is immediately after use. This way you'll prevent the agglomeration of milk in to create an unpleasant odor.

This happens way faster with plastic bottles, that's why it's better to use glass ones (I know, they're heavy, but that's why I'm not the expert here).

Never leave bottles dirty overnight! Clean them as soon as you feed the baby.

Pour the remaining milk in the sink and rinse the bottle with warm water. After that, fill the sink with warm water and soap, and place the bottles and teats in it. This way you will speed up the cleaning process.

Brush the inside of the bottle. Don't forget to move the brush along the edges to remove residual milk. This way you'll also get rid of bacteria growing inside the bottles.

After the brushing process, rinse the soap and dry the bottles, as usual.

Sterilization and disinfection is recommended for babies, especially for those affected by immune disorders.

The water we use everyday is from a reliable drinking water supply, but pediatricians still recommend to sterilize the baby bottles, at least the first two months.

The sterilization process is very simple.

  •     Fill a pot of water, put the bottles and all other needed accessories, and boil them for five minutes. After boiling, remove them and let them dry.
  •     The method of cleaning bottles seems to be stressful and time-consuming, but this way you can make sure your little precious is protected from bacteria.
  •     All mothers need to provide healthy environment for their babies, so, professional cleaners advise to also clean and disinfect the toys, that are surrounding your child.

You can use environmentally friendly products. Most of them can be found at home, so you don't even have to spend a lot of money.

Selasa, 02 Juli 2013

How to Grow Spiritually

Peter ends his second letter in 2 Peter 3:18 with this encouragement. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Every Christian feels that inner desire to get closer to God and to grow in their faith. But there are times when we feel like we're stuck, not growing, and need a bit of help to get back on track. The key is "activating" your faith. Over time, even the most mature Christians find themselves needing to do some reflecting and reenergizing of their faith. If you want to grow spiritually, here are five things you can do to get moving again in your relationship with Christ.

1) Pray. Talk to God and listen to what he wants to say to you. That means several times a day spend a few minutes before the Lord talking to him about your desires, what you appreciate, and your needs. Also spend some time listening. Just sit quietly before the Lord and allow him to impress on you things that are important. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

2) Read the Bible. The Bible is an engaging book that allows God to speak directly to you. Plan to spend about 20 minutes alone with God to read, meditate, and pray. As you read, look for practical applications that God might share with you for today. (Joshua 1:8)

3) Serve. Watch God work through you as you serve him. The tasks you do are more than just busy work, they contribute to the bigger picture of God's work in the world. Don't serve to get a reward from people. Instead do your work of service before God. He is the one you are pleasing. (1 Peter 4:11)

4) Join a group of others who are growing. Find a small group that allows you to see others growing and focus your growth in a specific area. This might be a men's or women's group, a Bible study, or a support group for addictions, parenting, finances, marriage, etc. As you spend time looking at God's Word, discussing it, sharing, and praying for each other, God works in and through you. (Galatians 6:2)

5) Spend time fellowshipping with Christians. Being with other believers enhances your growth. You get to hear stories of God's work, share mutual concerns, receive and give prayer, and enjoy life with other believers. Healthy friendships and Christian relationships enhance spiritual growth. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Many Christians find it helpful to journal about their spiritual growth. Sometimes we feel as if we're not growing or that God isn't speaking but when we go back to our journal entries, we are reminded of God's faithfulness and direction.

Be Careful of These Mistakes

1) Don't rely on feelings to measure your spirituality.

2) Don't view the church as the source of your spiritual strength. It's just the arena where spiritual growth is practiced and where opportunities exist. If you're looking for a perfect church, then it's likely not the best place for you to grow. You need a church that is scripturally sound, is reasonably stable and loving, has godly, moral leadership, and is doing their best to exalt Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

3) Don't blame your lack of spiritual vitality on others like your mate, friends, or even your church. Take responsibility for your own spiritual growth and watch God work in significant ways.

4) Don't measure spiritual growth in terms of good things happening to you. Sometimes the best growth takes place during times of pain and suffering.

5) Don't process mistakes and sin in terms of rejection or inadequacy before God.

A Practical Exercise In the same way that physical growth takes place with good nutrition and exercise, spiritual growth requires some intentionality. If you do the following exercise several days this week, by next week you will be able to look back and see progress in your spiritual growth.

1) Get alone and quiet for 20 minutes. Start your time with the Lord with prayer by closing your eyes and asking God to remove the distractions and to speak to you.

2) Spend 5-10 minutes reading some portion of the Bible. You might start with the gospel of John, the book of James, or Proverbs. As you read, look for something in the passage that you can relate to, something that strikes you from the text.

3) Choose one idea from the text and pray it back to God. That is, share with him what you've read and ask him to teach you something about him, about yourself, or about his plan.

4) Ask God to reveal his power, teach you something new today, or bring you across someone who might confirm what God is doing.

5) Watch in the course of the day for God's hand in motion and working. You might pause a couple more times during the day to remind yourself of what you read or prayed, just to remind you to be spiritually aware.

6) When God reveals himself even in small ways, thank him and share it with someone else.

Spiritual growth is a beautiful thing. Watching God work in you and through you is a worship experience. Be sure to keep a careful balance between serving and growing. Although they contribute to each other, both are important to maximize your spiritual life.

Senin, 01 Juli 2013

Stress in Children

ADD, ADHD, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, and other behavioural disorders are being diagnosed in our children more frequently today than ever before. Interestingly, a common underlying symptom of all these disorders is stress, and combined with a hectic lifestyle, trauma, and the demands from parents and teachers to achieve, our children are having to deal with pressure very early on in life. Unless we manage the amount of tension our children are living with, stress could very well reach epidemic proportions with the risk of youngsters growing into depressed, hyper anxious adults with a distorted perception of reality.

Identifying, that a young child is stressed is not easy for parents and teachers to do, as often stressed children are seen as defiant and 'naughty' and the more adults try to control the unwanted behaviour the more resistant the child becomes. Recognising, that when your child is acting out they could be responding to stress is crucial in understanding what your child needs and how to go about meeting those needs. Because stress is a perception and everyone perceives an event differently, what is stressful for your child might not be something you consider stressful. Try to put yourself in your child's shoes and consider what they are feeling. Always take your child's feelings seriously, and acknowledge their feelings, helping them find the words they need to express themselves.

Signs that your child may be stressed are: Difficulty following instructions and concentrating. Angry, aggressive, disobedient, clingy and impulsive behaviour. A stressed brain releases adrenaline and cortisol to help the child cope. These chemicals create a heightened state of tension or the 'fight- flight' response as it is called, and limits the brain to surviving rather than thinking. A constant release of these chemicals will over time alter the wiring of the brain reducing a child's IQ. Stressed children are highly sensitised to the environment, fearful, lack confidence, and experience difficulties problem solving, and thinking creatively.

Life provides many challenges that our children have to overcome and we cannot protect them against all the stressors out there, but as parents there is a lot we can do to manage our own anxiety and consciously eliminate the tension we create for our children.

Looking after yourself and finding ways to release stress is vital to easing anxiety in your children. Children are very perceptive and will mirror your feelings. Gentle exercise, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and speaking to someone you trust about your feelings are excellent ways to manage your own stress and also help your children manage their stress. Also, take time to do something you enjoy which gives you passion and refuels you. Create a peaceful, quiet home by lowering the tone of your voice and slowing down the pace of life. Pledge to stop fighting in front of your children, as well as threatening them with punitive discipline and withholding love, all unnecessary ways you may subconsciously be causing your child constant worry. Children tend to blame themselves if there is tension in the home.

Be vigilant of what you say in front of your children especially when describing a situation. Using dramatic words such as "horrible, awful, horrendous," can create unnecessary anxiety for your children. Avoid discussing family finances and traumatic events in front of your children and shield them from violence on the news, and age restricted movies.

Role model appropriate ways of dealing with stressful situations. People who have been successful in life tend to have the ability to overcome difficulty and keep moving forward. Frame a traumatic or stressful event for your child and then focus on ways of surmounting the problem. At times it may also be necessary to provide professional help in the form of play therapy for your child.

Limit your expectations of your child. Rather encourage them to find their own talents and passions, than fulfilling your dreams. Children's self esteem is developed when they feel accepted for who they are and are able to obtain mastery over things, so give them a rich environment to explore and encourage free play. Spending time in nature helps calm the soul. Promote free expression through art, music, dance and sport, all ways of releasing endorphins, or 'feel good' hormones. The parent should be a safe, soft place a child can come to for support when the outside world becomes too stressful. Release oxytocin in your children by hugging them daily and letting them know they are loved by you. A deep connection with others is known to buffer humans against stress, so consciously focus on keeping the connection with your children strong and loving.

Provide a healthy diet rich in proteins, magnesium, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and water, and ensure your little one is getting between 8 and 10 hours sleep, depending on age to provide the brain with everything it needs to combat stress.

Be sensitive to times of great change such as when a sibling is born or they begin nursery school. These can be very traumatic events for youngsters, and they can respond to the stress by being clingy, regressing or displaying separation anxiety. Being compassionate, patient and supportive during this time will help your child to feel safe and secure.

As South Africans we also need to consider how we can assist the many children living under tremendous daily stress. Poverty, ill or dying parents, emotional and physical abuse are all taking its toll on our children and the future societies of our country. By involving our children in community work, offering support and assistance where we can, we can play a significant role in creating a more peaceful society for all.