Family Activities Don't Have to Cost Money Just Your Time

There are a many books, discussions and video about what to do with the family. Some people take the advice in stride, others are overwhelmed by all the information and still others don't care much at all about family activities. There are those many of us are already familiar. You know the ones where you visit grandma, grandpa and relatives. However, there are other family activities that don't require visiting anyone or spending much if any money.

Take walk around the local neighborhood.

Sometimes we are so busy going in and out of the neighborhood that we don't take the time to really look at our community, nature, and speak to neighbors. Take frequent strolls around the neighborhood and point out things along the way to your child. Ask about the color, shape, and texture. If you have a faith, use this time to teach your child about the things people didn't create like the sky, wind, trees, flowers and more. If you have older children, take the time to talk to them about life experiences and ask how they feel about the way things are going in their lives, what their plans are in the future, and what has been happening lately with their friends.

Draw pictures with your children.

Little ones enjoy learning new things. Utilize this time to show them how to make a face, paint, or illustrate something very unique. If you have experience using various software programs, take the time to teach your older ones how to make some interesting creative pieces.

Invite them to help you spring clean.

Going through old things is a great way to get children involved in family history. Tell the little ones a few stories while holding up your keepsakes while allowing them to look at the items closely. You can explain why some things are worth keeping and why other things you rather do away with. Show your older children how to make signs to sell your old wares, teach them how to list on eBay, or Twitter the stuff you are trying to sell.

List more interesting activities to do with your family that cost nothing but your time. Note your plans on a calendar and stick to them.

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Allergic Children - 5 Common Allergens That Trigger Pediatric Allergies

Allergies, or the body's overreaction to a substance that it mistakenly views as dangerous, can trigger allergic reactions in children that range from mild to life threatening. A specific protein is usually at the root of the problem even though the triggers may vary. Here are 5 common allergy triggers to which your child is most often exposed, and some tips for managing them.

Food - An increasing number of children have allergies that are food related and the most common foods seem to be peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, eggs, milk, cheese, crab, lobster, fish, and soybeans. With such a wide variety of possible products, one of the best ways to determine which foods cause problems is to keep a food diary. Then should an allergic reaction occur, you have a record of what was eaten and can better pinpoint the food that may possibly be causing a problem for your child.

Try avoiding the suspect food and make a note if there is no further occurrence. If there is another occurrence, continue on by eliminating other foods that may possibly contain the allergen. Involve your pediatrician in the process, and get advice for developing an emergency plan should you need it.

Pet Dander - 80 million American homes have pets as part of the family. Is there any wonder that pet dander is a common allergy trigger for children? Dander is invisible to the human eye and the protein in the dander can also be found in the pet's saliva, and urine. Pet hair can also attract dander which is sticky, and so just rubbing a pet's coat can cause a reaction.

If your pet pre-dates your child and there is a problem try bathing your pet to get rid of the dander, but consult your vet first. Make your child's room off limits to the pet, wash clothes and linens frequently to remove any dander that might have found its way into the room. Use a high efficiency particle arresting air purifier to provide an extra layer of protection against airborne dander that often attaches to other airborne pollutants in your home.

Environment - Seasonal allergies to tree, grass, and weed pollen are tough to avoid, particularly during the peak of the season. Curtail outdoor activities on dry windy days when pollen is more able to spread. Plan outdoor activities for days when the pollen count is low, and if possible avoid the outdoors during early morning hours when pollen counts are generally higher.

Keep your child's school informed of allergies, write a note on days when it is not advisable for your child to be outdoors, and if necessary get a note from a doctor to have on file should questions arise. Make sure all of your child's care givers have emergency contact numbers, and a clear procedure to follow should an emergency arise.

Insect Sting - Wasps, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Black Flies and other insects can pose a serious threat to those who are allergic. Symptoms that often indicate your child's body is in overdrive are extended swelling, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, and headache. Should these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention. Afterwards, make a follow up appointment with your pediatrician, and ask about an Epipen that could be used in emergencies to counteract the severe and sometimes life threatening symptoms.

If in fact your child does have a sting allergy, find out all you can about the insect, when and where it is most prevalent, and help your child avoid places and activities that might expose your child to it.

Household - Pollutants such as household dust, dust mites, mold and mildew spores, pollen, bacteria, and viruses are present in the cleanest of homes. They are a constant aggravation and irritation to an allergic child. Many of these irritants are too small to be seen, but your child's body knows they are there and produces histamines as a reaction which often presents as a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, dark smudges under the eyes, and an overall lack of energy.

One of the best ways to combat these invisible airborne triggers is to constantly eliminate them with a high efficiency particle arresting (HEPA) air purifier that, by definition, can remove sub micron particles as small as .3 microns. And even though you may not be able to see the difference, your child's body will feel the difference.

By Debbie Davis

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Tips to Manage High Fever in Children

Temperature more than 102°F - 103°F in children is considered as high fever. Cold sponging of the body and head is of paramount importance in small children as they can get convulsions (fits) during high fever.

If the baby has a fit during fever, lay him on the stomach over a pillow to prevent choking. Vomiting during a fit can cause the secretion to go into the lungs.

During such a fit, arms and legs will shake with jerky movements and the child might go blue in the face. The fit lasts for a few seconds.

Call your doctor and while waiting for medical help, try to reduce the body temperature by cold water sponging.

During high fever, remove the clothes and starts sponging the body with cold water. Put a napkin soaked in cold water on the forehead every five minutes. Sponge the arms, front of chest, abdomen and back frequently. You can keep the fan running while sponging, if required.

Important: Ice cold water can be used for the sponging of the head. Do not apply ice cold water to large areas of the body and the abdomen, as it may cause chills and discomfort to the child.

One tablet of Paracetamol can be taken every 3-4 hours till the temperature comes down. In children (1-5 years) Paracetamol Syrup, two teaspoonfuls every 3-4 hours can be given safely. In very small children ½ teaspoonful or 8-10 drops of Paracetamol should be given.

Do not cover the patient with heavy blanks or put on too many clothes during high fever. One bed sheet over a shirt is enough.

Give plenty of cold water sips and fresh water to the child during high fever, It will help to bring down the temperature very fast.

Remember: If you do not give water to the child the temperature will not come down in spite of the best medicines.

Noting the temperature every 5-10 minutes is useless. Every half an hour is ideal during high fever.

Diet During Fever: Mostly liquid diet like plain water, fruit juices, milk, tea, coffee, besides bread, cornflakes, porridge and various soups can be given. Avoid heavy, fried and spicy foods. If there is vomiting, wait for 1-2 hours and then give food. Breast feeding can be done during fever.

By Gopal Tripathi

Visit for more excellent information about parenting: Child Health

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What to Do When Your Child Hits Another Child

Anytime a parent is faced with a child that resorts to physical violence it can be very stressful. Although it may seem like a serious, deliberate action, that is not always the case. Before you jump to any conclusions or harsh punishments, step back and look at the entire situation. The most important thing you can do is to remain calm. Do not add to the chaos of the moment by shouting or becoming physical yourself.

It may sound kind of silly, but you need to ask yourself a series of questions to help you find the root cause of the outburst. In a case that involves hitting or another violent act, it should be stopped immediately before you begin to research the bigger issue. A number of different factors may have been at work that would cause a child to react in such a way. What happened the moments before the child lashed out? Did the child possess the vocabulary needed to express their anger or frustration? How do you as a parent react in explosive situations?

Your job as the parent will be to teach your child how to handle similar situations in the future. Children still need plenty of supervision and that may help to eliminate these types of situations. A parent or other supervisor will be able to stop a situation from escalating to the physical point. Those interventions can be used to educate the child about what kind of things he or she can do in the future when they are beginning to feel hostile. If a child continues to respond with violence, it may be necessary to seek out the help of a professional.

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Jason K Johnson (MSW) has worked with hundreds of toddlers through teenagers diagnosed with A.D.H.D, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome, Bi-polar, and SEVERE emotional/behavioral issues.

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How Children Benefit From Bedtime Stories

For generations, the nightly ritual of bedtime stories has been a precious tradition of parents and children. The kids look forward to it especially if both parents have been away the whole day at work. Parents, on the other hand, see it as a way to give their kids their undivided attention.

Young children, especially toddlers are so active and hyped up throughout the day that getting them to settle down and prepare for sleep can be challenging. Reading bedtime stories is an effective calming activity. While they listen to mom and dad read them a story, they slowly wind down as their excess energy gradually dissipates.

Having a clear routine is important in a child's development. It forms the basis for self-discipline among other things. Reading bedtime stories helps in establishing routines. By constantly doing this routine at the same time every night, children will know that there is a time for playing and a time for sleeping.

As they look forward to this special bonding time with his parents, they will associate it with going to bed and sleeping. This slowly makes going to bed less of a struggle as they get used to the routine.

Listening to stories improves the child's listening skills and imagination, and thus helps in the development of the child's intellect. Curiosity is heightened and encouraged as they ask questions about the story they just heard.

Lastly, the basis of open communication between parent and child is also established through this nightly routine. Parents will learn their children's interests through their questions and choice of bedtime stories. On the part of the children, they learn to express to their parents their thoughts and feelings when they make comments, feedback, or questions on the story.

Beth Dedrick has been writing articles about children for the past four years. She also likes to write about paper products, including 5x7 envelopes and when it is appropriate to use colored envelopes.

Beth Dedrick

Staying Calm: Tips for Parents

My beloved car had just blown its engine, pregnancy was making
me crazy, and we had no money in our pockets (or anywhere else).
When I slammed our front door, I knocked the only plant I had
managed to keep alive all season off the windowsill. Just as
the pottery hit the floor and cracked, so did I. I lay face
down in black potting soil and pottery shards and let my Labrador
lick the tears off my dirty face.

That was just before the birth of our first child. Since
then, there have been countless times when I've wanted to
curl up on the carpet and scream, but the ever-watching kids
have made that a luxury I can no longer afford.

It's more difficult now, too. One of the biggest surprises
of parenthood is the absolute anger we
can feel in no time - and with very little provocation.
Start with a sleep-deprived parent, throw in a troubled
teenager, a whining child, or a colicky newborn, and even
the coolest cats can lose their minds.

Releasing our anger in the wrong ways can lead to emotional
and physical scars on our kids. When infants are shaken,
even for one heated moment, they can die. And it takes only
a moment to harm their little souls.

As they watch us, these young ones are paying particular
attention to the way we handle difficult situations. And
what we model for them will, in large part, determine their
success at controlling their own tempers as they grow up.

So, even in the face of total exasperation, we must stay
calm. For a long time, the advice has been to simply go
away for a moment and count to ten, but, as all parents know,
sometimes that's not so easy. A small child may be
frightened when mommy or daddy leaves to take a time-out. Sometimes
counting to ten just doesn't do it, and there's no time
to count to 100.

So here are a few more tips, compiled just for parents, to
help you deal with anger and stay calm with your kids.

The best time to work on staying cool is before you're hot.

*Declare a zero-tolerance policy on the out-of-control temper.*
You must decide, for yourself, that behaving this way is
simply not okay. Remind yourself that it is possible to manage
your emotions. Think back to times when you were successful at
controlling your anger. Perhaps you bit your tongue rather
than hollering at the boss. Or you were just about to let it
fly at your husband when your in-laws called and suddenly you
couldn't believe the sweetness of your own voice. We all
have the power to suddenly change our mood.

*Be prepared.* Lots of things can go wrong each day; be ready
for them. For example, if you've got babies, pack a bag with at
least one extra shirt for everyone, a complete outfit
for each toddler, and several for the infants. Stow them in the
back of the car with extra diapers and plenty of baby wipes.

*Is there anything specific that triggers your anger?*
Keep a journal for those times when you feel like you're ready to
fly off the handle. Do you notice any patterns--time of day,
hunger level, lack of exercise, a full calendar? Even noise
from a TV or radio can contribute to a feeling of over-stimulation,
which can set off an emotional explosion. Create a nurturing
environment for yourself.

*Take care of yourself.* We're more likely to react to a situation
- rather than to simply act - when we haven't gotten enough
sleep or we haven't been eating right. Start your day with a light
breakfast that includes carbohydrates and protein. Then continue
to eat for energy throughout the day.

*Daily exercise* provides a physical release to help you control
anxiety and aggression throughout the day. A half-hour of
kickboxing can release tension you didn't even know you had.

*A regular routine of prayer and meditation* can calm a chaotic
mind. Sit quietly for at least 15 minutes a day. Practice a
few yoga stretches when things get tense.

*Decide how you'll deal with certain situationS before they arise.*
What makes you want to blow your top? Whether it's toddler temper
tantrums or the preschooler's occasional whine, determine how you
will handle those things beforehand - while you're calm.

*Understand your child.* Read up on child development and put
yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself: "What's it like to be
two and not have the skills to express what you want?" "What's
it like for a newborn who finds herself with a gut-wrenching
bellyful of gas and doesn't understand why it hurts?" Kids
act the way they do for a reason. Often, there's a developmental
milestone associated with a child's behavior. Understanding the
reasons behind our kids' actions can go a long way in helping
us develop a sense of empathy, compassion and, ultimately,

*Take a few deep breaths.* Diaphragmatic breathing helps reduce
stress. This will also give you a time-out, long enough to make
a rational assessment of the situation and to help you regain a
sense of control.

*Visualize* yourself as the cool, calm, person you strive to be.
Whom do you know who embodies these traits? Imagine this person's
reaction to the situation.

*Stop. Think. Then speak.* Remind yourself of the importance of
keeping yourself under control. If you feel anger building inside,
don't pick up a baby. Ask for help or wait until you are calm.

*Consciously lower your voice.* Yelling will only make a child
angry and defensive, and it can scare a young child. A soft
tone says you're in control.

*Don't catastrophize.* Resist the temptation to blow something
out of proportion. Avoid using the words "always" and "never"
when you talk to yourself and others.

*Distract yourself.* Is there any way you can laugh about the
situation? Ask yourself: what is the real significance of the
situation that triggered my rage? It's more important to
model a healthy approach to stress than it is to win certain
battles. Choose those battles carefully.

Afterwards, reinforce your love for the child and retreat to
assess the way you handled the situation. What did you do
right? What will you do differently next time?

About the author: Susie Cortright is the founder of - - a website devoted to helping busy parents find balance. Read her reviews about behavior modification programs, including programs designed to help you eat for health and enjoy exercising here:

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