Friday, November 20, 2015

Emergency Preparedness Kits for Kids

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Emergency kits are very useful to have in case of an emergency, whether it's a natural disaster, large scale family emergency, or something small. I have an emergency backpack that I keep in my car, and it is fantastic to have. I've used it for all sorts of things that aren't for a natural disaster - things like a lighter for a candle, band-aids when I ran out, or for an anti-bacterial/anti-pain ointment when I got a bad cut on my finger. Emergency kits definitely have their use for things other than big emergencies.

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As an adult, there are several things that you may not think to include in an emergency kit for kids, to help them cope with the trauma they are experiencing, so here's a few ideas of some items that may not typically be included in emergency kits.
  • A RED wash cloth - Since kids are more likely to panic or get upset by the sight of blood, having a red or dark wash cloth to put on wounds helps them to stay calm, since they can't see the blood.
  • A comfort item such as a stuffed animal or a blanket. This can be helpful to kids since it gives them an object to self soothe with.
  • Family pictures - These are great because they can help give kids something to focus on, and it can help give them comfort in case they are separated from you or other family members. Your contact information, or your emergency out of state contact information can also be included in case they get lost.
  • For young children and infants, make sure you have enough of their supplies such as diapers, wipes, formula, medicine, etc, and make sure you have enough water to clean the bottles in between feedings as well.
  • Powdered or boxed milk - often, children need or want milk. Having some powdered milk on
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    hand to mix with water can help them get extra nutrients. Stores also have milk that can be stored just like a juice box - some places, such as Gossner's in Logan, even have little boxes of flavored milk!
While these items are important to have, it's also good to not forget the essential items, such as making sure you have a 3 day supply of food, water, local maps, a whistle, etc.

Click here for a complete list of emergency supplies for kids (the above items listed are additional items not found on the list.)

What tips have you found to be useful as you prepare your family for an emergency, whether big or small?


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Play Strengthens Your Child’s Development

Have you heard the phrase, “Play is a child’s work?” It’s true. Play strengthens all aspects of your child's development. I’ll share a few examples of the benefits of play in different developmental domains.

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·       Play increases your child’s vocabulary, especially if playing alongside a parent or peer.
·         Your child comprehends language before being able to express it. Telling stories with big words helps build comprehension.
·         In the early stages of communication, imitation becomes a critical foundation for future communication. Through play, children have opportunities to imitate 2-3 word sentences.
·         When he pretends to be a robot or community helper such as a fire fighter, he develops the same skills needed to write a poem or story. (PAT)

Gross Motor

·         Play allows your child to explore the world around him as he uses his arms, legs and other large muscle groups to sit, crawl, walk, run, climb, throw and catch, and chase!
·         Gross motor skills allow a child to be able to do things for themselves, such as walk to get from one place to another or move out of the way in times of emergencies.
·         Play builds confidence in your child as he participates in games with other children.
·         Play results in better health through exercise and releases stress and frustration.

Fine Motor

·         Play helps a child learn the coordination and movements of the hands and fingers.
·         Play unlocks a child’s creativity as they color, cut, glue and rearrange objects.
·         Play allows a child to engage in other activities such as eating with utensils and reading books by being able to turn the individual pages.
·         Play prepares a child to learn in school by being able to write and complete homework assignments.

Problem Solving

·         Play helps a child play with toys and solve problems.
·         Playing opens his mind by seeing toys in different ways and allows him to problem solve and find solutions.
·         By being able to play, a child learns more about cause and effect.
·         Your child develops persistence, and increases his attention span and his ability to focus—these skills will help your child be successful in school. (PAT)


·         Your child is able to help himself and be independent in age- appropriate activities.
·         By playing with your child, you build attachment. A strong attachment helps him be self-confident and secure enough to enjoy playing with his peers. (PAT)
·         When your child plays with others, he learns to cooperate, take another perspective, share, negotiate, and help others. (PAT)
·         He’ll be able to express his feelings through play even if he doesn't have the words to verbalize them.
- Rebekah

Source: where indicated as (PAT), this information was taken from a handout from Parents as Teachers.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Recycling Day!

Happy Recycling Day!

Here at Help Me Grow we LOVE the world we live in and we want to help make it a better place!
We all can do this by recycling; however, recycling is just a part of how we can help our environment. Today we are going to focus on the REUSING part of recycling. We have three fun craft ideas that you can do at home with your family with extra plastic bottles you might have.
(Idea found at this link)

The first is a piggy bank:

1.       Make sure the bottle you will use is clean and that the lid is closed tight. (You can use 
1-Liter or 2-Liter plastic bottles)
2.       Cut a whole where the money will go in.
3.       Paint the plastic bottle the color you want your pig to be.
4.       Using construction paper cut out eyes, ears, nose, tail, and little feet for your piggy.
5.       After the paint is dry glue everything from step 4 on your pig.
6.       Viola! Your pig should be done and now you have somewhere to save your money, and a great way to open up the conversation about money management with your kids!

The next project is a pot for plants:

1.       Make sure the bottle you will use is clean and that the lid is closed tight.(You can use 
1-Liter or 2-Liter plastic bottles)
2.       Next cut the bottle in half and keep the bottom part.
3. Next is tape the edges with some fun duct tape (so you don’t get scratched) and then fill with dirt and your plant! Remember plants need water and sunlight!

The last project is a bowling game:

1.       Make sure the bottles you will use are clean and that the lid is closed tight. You will need 10 bottles.(You can use any size plastic bottles for this one, but make sure that they are all the same size)
2.       Decide how you want to paint the bottles and let them dry, they could be white like real bowling pins, yellow with eyes to look like minions, or they could all be different colors of the rainbow!
3.       Next is to find a ball. You could use a real one or roll up some leftover newspaper into a ball, yay more reusing!!!
4.       Lastly set up the game and have a fun family night!

One last tip for those of you who are looking into recycling...
Every city is different so look up your public works website to see what you need to do to get a recycling bin at your home. Or if you are like me and live in an apartment complex, find out if your city has public locations to drop off your recycled products.
Have fun recycling!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Helping Children Through Deployment

Parents across America are being called to serve on military deployments around the world. These families have to adjust to different changes and experiences throughout the stages of deployment. When this occurs, all areas of a child's life are affected. It is important that parents, relatives, teachers, and community members are all educated on how to help children cope and adapt to the changes they are going through. 
Sesame Street aired an episode for military families to help teach children about deployment, and the changes they might be going through. The video to the left encourages the community to be a support group for these children, and help them cope with these changes in their life.

How to talk to you child:
As a parents, it is important that you discuss deployment with your children together. The more you talk and express your feelings before, during, and after deployment, the better your child will be able to cope with the situation. Here are some tips to help encourage parents to communicate with their children, and maintain healthy relationships throughout the stages of deployment.
Be honest with your child
It is important to talk about the deployment early and frequently. This allows more time for them to better understand the situation, and ask questions when needed. Give them as much information possible about their deployed parent. If they have questions about the military, try to explain to your child in a way that they would understand. Talk to them as often as you can!
Encourage them to talk about feelings
Find positive and meaningful ways to help your child to talk about and express their feelings. Drawing pictures, writing stores, listening to music, and writing journals are all ways a child can express their feelings in a healthy way.
Find ways to make them feel better
Each child going through these changes will have different ways of coping with their emotions. A parent or caregiver can help their child by finding what makes them feel better when they are missing their deployed parent. Examples could be playing an audio or video recording of parent, looking at pictures, or simply talking about the parent. 
Talk about the deployed parent 
Talk with children about where the deployed parent is, and what they are doing there. Families can also tell stories and jokes about their parent to remember positive memories. ALWAYS remind your child of how much their deployed parent loves and misses them. 

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When a parent is away on deployment, it is important that families maintain their daily routines. Being consistent in discipline and rules, even though things could be more difficult as a single parent. This consistency provides stability, and should be included in all daily and weekly activities for children. Doing this reassures them that even though things are changing around them, their home will stay the same.

The NAEYC provided a list of children’s books to help children better understand separation or military deployment:
  • Daddy, Will You Miss Me? by Wendy McCormick. Grades K–2.
  • Daddy, You’re My Hero! by Michelle Ferguson-Cohen. Grades K–1.
  • The Magic Box: When Parents Can’t Be There To Tuck You In, by Seymour Epstein and Marty Sederman. Grades K–2.
  • Mommy, You’re My Hero! by Michelle Ferguson-Cohen. Grades K–2.
  • My Daddy Is a Soldier, by Kirk Hilbrecht and Sharron Hilbrecht. Grades K–1.
  • Soldier Mom, by Alice Mead. 1999. Grade 3.
  • Uncle Sam’s Kids: When Duty Calls, by Angela Sportelli-Rehak. Grades K–3.
  • When Dad’s at Sea, by Mindy Pelton. Grades K–3.
  • While You Were Away, by Eileen Spinelli. Pre-K–2.
  • A Year Without Dad, by Jodi Brunson. Grades K–3.
  • A Yellow Ribbon for Daddy, by Anissa Mersiowsky. Grades K–3.

For more resources, visit The Veteran Family Support Alliance 


Friday, November 6, 2015

Election Day!

As an adult it's easy to see why we need to participate in election day, we understand the importance of being an informed citizen and being involved. But have you ever thought of using this time of year as a opportunity to start educating your child to be involved in their community?

There are ways that you can talk about voting and government without getting technical or overwhelming your child with specifics. With this year's election day upon us, your child has likely seen billboards, TV and radio commercials, and the ever present "I voted!" sticker. You can use any of these as a jumping off point to start a conversation.

Ask your child if they know what it means to vote. I'm sure they have already formed some idea about the word. After seeing what your child knows, you can explain to them that voting is a chance for them to speak up, share their opinion, and have their opinion counted as one of a whole group.

After you've introduced the idea, help your child apply these concepts in appropriate settings. Perhaps you could call for a family vote on what to eat for dinner one day that week or what fun activity your family should do over the weekend. Make it extra fun and have the vote using actual "ballots".

How have you talked to your child about voting and government? We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments!