Posted by HCGH on Jan 22, 2014 in Parenting | 0 comments
Our toasty, heated homes do more than provide warmth on these cold days. For some, particularly children ages two to 10, the warm, dry air can trigger nosebleeds. Noses are rich in blood vessels and indoor air can cause the ones in the front of the nose to dry out and crack, resulting in a spontaneous bleed.
My five-year-old is a bleeder and I was one, too, growing up, so bloody noses don’t freak me out. What does alarm me is when my husband calls me at work to say Little C was playing in his room, got a nosebleed and ruined the new carpet in his room before going to get help. “It looks like a crime scene in here,” he said.
First things first, we treated the carpet. I’m kidding. My husband stopped the blood flow while I called the carpet company. In my defense, I wasn’t home at the time and this was new carpet, remember?
As for the nosebleed, here’s what you can do if this happens to your little one. Have your child sit still and pinch the soft, cushy part of the nose firmly with a tissue (just below the bony area) for about 10 minutes. Putting pressure on the nose presses against the bleeding vein. This should stop the flow and make the blood clot. No peeking to see if the blood stopped either! Letting up too early can reignite the flow. It’s also important to tilt their head slightly forward. Believe me, you don’t want to tilt back. I had a teacher do that to me once and there’s this little thing called gravity that made the blood rush down my throat. Ick!
If you have a little one who won’t sit still that long, read him a story or turn on cartoons to divert his attention while you’re holding his nose. If they’re old enough, teach them how to do this technique themselves so you don’t have a CSI moment like we did. Afterward, keep their activity light for a couple hours since the nose is still sensitive.
Usually when Little C gets a nosebleed, he’ll have repeat bleeds over the span of a week or so. It’s frustrating for him and one morning, as I wished him a nosebleed-free day at school, he said, “And I won’t pick at my nose today, either!” Oh, good idea. I didn’t think to remind him to keep his fingers away from his nose. I sympathize with him, however, as a nose healing from a nosebleed can itch and feel uncomfortable. A dab of petroleum jelly on the inner side of the nose will soften the scabs, making kids more likely to leave them alone. Just in case your child can’t follow your advice to keep their fingers away from their nose, make sure to keep their nails short.
To discourage future bleeds, moisten the air in your child’s room with a vaporizer or humidifier. You can also keep the inside of your child’s nose moist with a saline nasal spray or dab antibiotic ointment around the opening of the nostrils.
For the frequent bleeder, or if the nosebleed usually lasts longer than ten minutes, you may want to consider a simple medical procedure to cauterize the vein so it doesn’t open anymore. Some people’s veins are closer to the mucous membrane of their noses and, being so close to the skin, it makes them more vulnerable to bleeds.
One last thing, if the blood does get on your carpet, don’t panic. We dabbed ours with vinegar and wiped it up after it bubbled to the surface. Little C’s room smelled like a dyed Easter egg for a few days, but his carpet is immaculate and it came clean without harsh chemicals. Now we’re just waiting for those spring temperatures to roll in.
For more information about nosebleeds and when to call your doctor, check out the Johns Hopkins Health Library.
Happy Holidays! I hope you’ve survived. My brood and I have been having a good time, but we have run into some days where all the books, chores/activities, and games/toys in the world can’t seem to satisfy a kid’s insatiable need for occupation. In short, my kids claim, on occasion, “I’m booored; there is nothing to do.”
My normal response is to remind them that I was not put on this earth to entertain them and that there are thousands of things that they could be doing to help around the house (this often inspires them to miraculously find something fun to do). But I do recall the days when they were a bit less self-sufficient and I was not always full of ideas—the preschool years. Though my kids are past that stage, I still look for the new craft or activity for us to try on occasion. I can usually come up with an adventure or two, but crafts and art projects have always been a challenge for me. I am decidedly NOT crafty–or is it craftsy?
Recently, I came across the books Art Lab for Kids and the brand new Art Lab for Little Kids. Now these books probably would have been handier to have a few years ago, but I have been able to cull some fun ideas from them for my lot, and they certainly might be a good resource if you have some little ones at home who are climbing the walls during snow days and vacation days.
Both books feature 52 art projects set into weekly lessons. The books begin with an introduction on setting up a space for making art (though the Art Book for Little Kids provides a more comprehensive list of materials). The lessons can be singular or built upon into units, beginning with drawing; moving through painting and printmaking; and then ending with sculpture, collage, and mixed media. And each lesson relates back to the work and style of a real, contemporary artist. Art Lab for Little Kids is developed for the younger set (ages 4-6).
These books seem perfect for parents and teachers. The lessons are open-ended, so they can be used again and again with different results each time. And the colorful photos not only help to illustrate how the projects are done, but show how different people using the same lesson will yield different results. Most importantly, the lessons are fun and interesting (String and balloon printing! Torn-paper collages! Paper family quilts!–just to name a few of the fun activities) for children of all ages and experience levels (and even the adults guiding them through the exercises). So pick one or both books up, and maybe a dull, trapped-in-the-house day can become one filled with artistic creativity and discovery.
Posted by HCGH on Dec 18, 2013 in Parenting | 1 comment
We went to Grandma and Pots’ house for Thanksgiving dinner—no, that isn’t a typo; and, yes, there is a story behind the name. I bought some holiday-themed crafts to keep the cousins occupied after we ate. I soon discovered that these 40 percent off bargains were more aggravating than cleaning egg out of the grooves of my son’s Skechers.
I’ll start with Craft Box 1: the kids were unanimous in digging into this project first since they’d be decorating a jingle bell with a snowman face and top hat. The other option was a Santa suit equipped with a fabulous gold buckle. I envisioned attaching these cuties to teacher gifts and maybe hanging one in Grandma’s window before we left for the night. I soon discovered I made a mistake buying Elmer’s glue. The felt pieces stuck alright…to me.
Apparently tacky glue was the better bet—this from my eight-year-old niece as she reached for a circular disk to complete her hat. Tot’s craft (we have a Pots and a Tot in our family) turned out the best. However, by the time she was ready to assemble Santa, we had an assembly line of cries and tears, and misplaced googly eyes.
I moved onto Craft Box 2 to distract everyone—did I mention I bought three of these things? This time we would make reindeer and angel heads (because you always think of these icons as a set, right?). We were instructed—by the box photo, no directions required—to roll a pipe cleaner into a flat pancake and jam a cake pop stick into one end. Well, apparently glue sticks to fuzzy pipe cleaners as well as it does to metallic balls. More tears. More cries of anguish. The kids reached for the third box. “Enough!” I said. Then I packed up my leftovers to return to the store where the post-Thanksgiving sale would be even more substantial.
Now that it’s mid-December, craft kits are everywhere—even in the grocery stores. My kids are begging to make a gingerbread house. I reminded them of the last time we attempted this feat when the candy houses collapsed faster than in an F5 tornado. Still…. they persist in asking.
Deep down I know doing arts and crafts with my kids is a worthwhile investment. I get to know them a little better as I watch them explore and create. I’m amazed at the way they problem solve and improvise when the directions don’t pan out, which is pretty much always in our case. Plus, it makes me smile when they work as a team—it often takes more than one pair of hands to assemble a Styrofoam penguin. They’re proud of their creations, and I’m proud of them for hanging in there when we create a flop. As my daughter’s art teacher says, “When we mess it up, we dress it up.” So maybe we will snag one of those kits in the checkout lane after all. How about you?
I’d love to hear about your kid craft projects gone wrong or right. In the meantime, here are a few websites to get your creativity flowing: Crafts for Toddlers, Spoonful.com, and Christmas-specific crafts.
Posted by HCGH on Dec 11, 2013 in Parenting | 0 comments
Finding Routines in the holidays…
It started Thanksgiving morning. My five-year-old finished breakfast then darted through the house like a ping pong ball. After a few minutes of restless wandering, he came over to me with his eyebrows puffed into clouds. “What’s wrong?” I asked, my mouth full of egg. “I don’t know what to do,” he whined. Wow—and that’s just after one and a quarter days home from school. How’s he going to react when he has a real break (a.k.a. Christmas vacation)?
Free range play will not hold up for 12 days straight. Now that Little C is in kindergarten, he has built-in structure five days a week. We even have school routines at home: at eight o’clock, my kids eat breakfast, at eight-thirty, they brush teeth (well, suck on the toothbrush in my son’s case). Then we bolt for the door at five of nine when the neighbor kid and his mom head past our house for the bus. The rest of the day proceeds accordingly.
Although I won’t be as rigid about my kids’ holiday break (I must admit, I am a bit OCD—I have visions of color-coded schedules dancing in my head), I will attempt more structure than I have in the past. It will reduce sibling spats and whining (the whining is my contribution). It’s not rocket science to plan out set routines for breakfast, lunch and snack. Toss in an hour for a family activity or a trip to Target, T.V./computer time as well as free play and you’ve got yourself a day. I’ve got my mind set on a toy organizing session too—it’s about time we reattached those Barbie heads. Then there’s the guest room prep since we have relatives visiting from Canada this year. The Christmas ham may not sit as well if we push them out the door after dinner.
So a schedule it will be. Schedules provide security and stability for children, so say the child experts. And, get this, routines make kids feel loved and can improve their behavior. Wow, all that from handing them a toothbrush at eight thirty every morning? Actually it’s more complex than that. These things are consistent activities they can rely on. Structure helps stabilize their day, even in its loosest form. If you’re wondering why your kids get out of sorts during a school break, it may be because their routine has been uprooted.
This year, I may go so far as to print out a daily schedule, have the kids decorate it with stickers and tape it to the fridge (I said I was OCD, didn’t I?). Then my seven-year-old can take over. “Oh, it’s two o’clock. That means it’s time for snack!” It can make clean-up time even more pleasant because they’ll know what to expect and when to expect it. “It’s four-thirty, time to organize toys with Mommy. Hey, what is Barbie’s head doing on Buzz Lightyear’s body?”
We may not be running for the bus at five of nine this Christmas break but toward our next slightly scheduled activity instead. Peace on earth, goodwill to men and a happy routine to all!
If you have young children, these dinner games will make meal time- including holiday meals- go smoothly
It’s not just busy schedules that are difficult when arranging family dinners, children can turn dine time into whine time. They’re fatigued after a full day of school or daycare in addition to being hungry. Managing those emotions is difficult for them and they often use dinner as their opportunity to explode. I’m constantly threatening the loss of dessert if my kids stand up, act up or spit up at the table. It’s amazing how siblings can fight over the salt shaker like it’s a ticket to Disney World. Does this happen at your table? To decrease indigestion and increase family bonding, I’ve found some solutions to distract the kids into better behavior and foster that family bonding that dinner’s supposed to provide.
Mix props with the potatoes: I had a too-cute-to-toss card box that I use to collect encouragement cards I found at a local store. Right before dessert, the kids close their eyes, reach in the box and pick a card to read. They love the thrill of mystery and the cartoons on the cards. I like the positive messages, often from the book of Psalms or Proverbs. There are so many ways to do this project. Kids love surprises, even if it’s a Post-it note message out of a jar. Start collecting jokes, interesting things from your day to share or fun questions to ask. Jot them down on index cards and everyone picks one to read. These can also be theme-related. Christmas is coming, after all. Yes, this activity takes advance planning, but the cards are reusable and you can keep adding to the box. (You can also go to Amazon and type in “family dinner games” to order something similar. Now you have no excuse to try this fun family game.)
Don’t just prepare the food, prep the conversation. Put a photo or a cut-out from a magazine under everyone’s place mat and have them pull out their surprise one at a time, maybe during dessert to keep them in suspense. When junior holds up the family photo of going down the water slide at an amusement park last July, ask: what do you remember most about that day? Or, do you remember where we were when this was taken? For laughs, toss in one of your baby pictures, or one of theirs. Kids love to see pictures of themselves. If you’re feeling extra creative, cut out a picture from a magazine or downloaded from the internet and ask them to make up a story about the scene.
Family dinner time is probably the only segment of your day where everyone can be in the same room. Make the most of it by discovering the little details that made up each other’s day. You’ll be surprised at what you discover. Chances are, however, if you belt out, “How was your day?” you’ll get a one-word answer. It’s too vague a question. I have a neighbor who used to ask her kids, “So who got in trouble in class today?” That got the conversation stirring. Another way to do this is to play a round of Fibs For Fun. Everyone tells three things about their day, two are real and one is not. Then you have to guess which is the fib. Maybe the winner gets first dibs at dessert?
Another table friendly game is “Can You Remember?” It calls for one player to close their eyes and guess things like, what color shirt are you wearing or where is the napkin holder on the table, etc. Another variation is “What’s Missing?” Remove something from the table while one player closes their eyes, then ask them to guess what it is when they open them.
Of course, bad moods and manners will seep in from time to time. If your child can’t be redirected into better behavior, it’s best to separate him from the table and explain that he’s welcome back when he can act appropriately. This way you don’t spoil it for the rest of the family. In time, the tantrums will decrease, especially when the rest of you are having so much fun at dinner.
As your family gathers for holiday dinners, I challenge you to pick one of these dinner bonding tips for your next feast. I bet your ham goes down smoother, even if you are sharing it with Auntie Ruth and her half dozen cats.
My last couple of posts have been a little on the heavy side. So, with the holiday season upon us, I decided to turn my attention in that direction. Some of you may be thinking: “How is that a happier direction? I am under so much stress, time pressure, financial strain, and an overabundance of family togetherness, I’m pulling out my hair. Arrrgggghhhhh!” Okay, maybe no one is actually thinking that, especially the “Arrrgggghhhhh!” part. But still, I know the holidays can be a bit stressful.
One particular stress that my husband and I encounter around this time of year is the transformation of our lovely, funny children into a pack (can you have a pack of two?) of ravenous “gimme” monsters. That is to say that sometimes they get a little too caught up in Santa and wish lists and shiny advertising. We’ve been able to combat this a bit by trying to emphasize the more spiritual aspects of the holidays. We like to remind them that traditions, letting the people in your life know that you love them, and just being together are the true gifts of the season (and DO NOT have to involve cash and prizes). We have also cut off a major source of the gimme’s, commercial-based television. But, apparently among the six and eight-year-old set, water-cooler (or playground) conversation topics often include what Legos are hot and how many My Little Pony ponies one owns.
My husband and I are not perfect and neither are our children, but we do okay in our efforts to keep the gimme’s at bay. Fortunately, there are some interesting books at HCLS to help, or at least provide some perspective. Juliet Schor’s Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture examines the materialism, commercialism, and consumerism of our society, especially as it is aimed at children. Schor also gives some ideas on how the battle these powerful (and calculated) influences.
There is also the sometimes chilling Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover Childhood by Susan E. Linn. And if your kids are older, you may want to check out (or better yet, have them check out) How Does Advertising Impact Teen Behavior.
There are also some excellent ideas in Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success by Madeline Levine (and Levine takes on way more than the gimme’s—definitely worth a look). And Rafe Esquith’s Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Kids in a Mixed-Up, Muddled-Up, Shook-Up World will make you want to do right by your children in every way—not only learning to fight off the gimme’s, but to grow into a person of uncompromising character (and we could use of few more, don’t you think?).
Or you may also want to relate to your kids on a level they’ll understand. Read something to them like Betty Bunny Wants Everything by Michael B. Kaplan, and they may just figure out that they have to learn to fight the gimme’s a bit on their own.
(P.S. Betty Bunny is featured on HCLS’s Choose Civility book list for children.)