Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Fun Earth Day Tips your Preschooler Can Enjoy Throughout the Year!

“It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time,” he remarked one day as he walked dejectedly home from school.  “I can’t see the point in learning to solve useless problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February.”  And, since no one bothered to explain otherwise, he regarded the process of seeking knowledge as the greatest waste of time of all.

My brother, an accomplished teacher, gave me a book called ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ by Norton Juster.  The quote above is pulled from the first page.  The character Milo, doesn’t understand why he should have to learn because no one ever took the time to explain why it should be important to him.  How many of us remember sitting in math class saying “when am I ever going to use this?”

As parents and teachers, the responsibility is not only to give children the opportunity to participate and learn but to understand why we learn, why it is important and how it connects to their very own lives.  A science lesson on water for example could be a simple experiment in class OR it could be a walk down to the river to observe, experiments with the sink, bath or teeth brushing time.  It could be an art lesson, a language lesson a history lesson all tied back to the importance of clean water.

In honor of Earth Day, I pulled together some ‘why is this important to you’ facts to share with your children.  Instead of just celebrating one day a year, perhaps this will pique their interest to become good stewards of the environment everyday.

Three Fun Facts to Share with your Preschooler


  • Plastic – Encourage kids to find a re-usable water bottle they really love.  They can fill it with filtered water.  A Brita filter, for example, could replace close to 300 bottles of water.  Take your child to the super market and show them what 300 bottles looks like!  When they do use bottled water, make it their task to bring bottles to the recycle bin.  Please note: re-usable water bottles must be thoroughly washed after use and before being refilled especially during warm weather.
  • Water – Encourage children to turn off the water when they brush their teeth.  One evening, take a clean, empty milk gallon. Ask kids how much water they think is wasted when the faucet is on then do a test.  Leave the gallon under the faucet, with the water on and let them brush their teeth.  Put the water in the refrigerator and do an experiment to see how long it takes them to finish the ‘wasted’ water. 
  • Recycle – TV time!  In some studies, the energy saved recycling one aluminum can could power a TV for 3 hours.  Make a ‘reduce your carbon footprint’ chart.  For each item recycled add a little to their reading under a light time, their TV bank or other favorite activities.  For example – 1 can = 4 hours.  If your child gets 30 minutes of TV a day a can would be good for 8 days of television.  Here are a few more examples thanks to the EPA website:

1.)    Put one aluminum can in the recycling bin, and save enough energy to power your television for three hours.

2.)    Need to run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours? Recycling one glass container will do it.

3.)    Recycling one pound of #1 plastic saves enough energy to power a 13-watt CFL bulb left on continuously for a month and a half.

4.)    For each pound of paper you recycle, you save enough energy to run your insanely power-hungry Xbox360 for nearly a full day. Note the average household goes through about 7 pounds of paper a week (largely via their snail mail).

Tip for parents:  A 13w cfl gives light equivalent to a 40 – 60 w incandescent bulb and lasts 8 – 15 times as long.  A good source of info on cfl’s for those interested in more details is at the following url.

Happy Earth Day to you and your children!  Let’s celebrate our beautiful earth everyday!

Posted in Teachable Moment Tuesday

Volcanoes, Earthquakes and the Anniversary of Oklahoma City – Ways to Keep your Family Safe During an Emergency

With the recent volcano eruptions in Iceland and stories of families stranded in airports, I began to think again about emergency preparation. Being in and around New York over the last decade has been amazing and unfortunately at some points terrifying.  Following September 11th, my company gave us all Go Bags in case of another attack/disaster.  It is important to be prepared, to have a plan and to share it.  As parents of toddlers responsibility grows to encompass your children and their safety.

I have learned that life can change forever…in just an instant.  I have learned how important it is to be prepared.  I am writing this post to share what I learned with parents in the hopes of helping in the preparation and perhaps avoidance of an accident or disaster.  Build your families plan here.

What can you do to prepare yourself and your family?

This is a list I created with some safety suggestions.  This is by no means all encompassing however these are a few items to start to prepare yourself and your family.

1.)    Have a plan, communicate it and practice it.

2.)    Have a ‘Go Bag’

3.)    Have a list of emergency numbers visible in your home

4.)    Have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) listed in your mobile phone book

5.)    Talk to local police or firemen to hear suggestions for making your home safer

6.)    Have fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home

7.)    Try to keep a charge on your mobile phone or carry an extra battery with a charge.

8.)    Have cash on hand and small bills in your home.

9.)    Have comfortable shoes (at home, at work, in the car)

Have a plan, communicate it and practice it:  During Sept 11th, I’m not sure I consciously thought about where I was walking, I just walked.  I went right to the stairwell and started walking down.  Our building had countless fire drills before that day.  It sunk in.  Practicing an emergency exit and communicating a meeting point is very important. 

According to ReadyNYC:  “Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Contact your household members’ workplaces, organizations, and schools for information on their emergency plans.

Start with a well-conceived plan:

  • Discuss with your household the types of emergencies that could occur in your area and what to do in each case.
  • Learn Work, School, and Community Plans
  • Establish responsibilities for each household member so you can work as a team.
  • Pick two places to meet: one near your home in case of a local emergency, like a fire, and the second outside your neighborhood in case of larger-scale emergencies.
  • Maintain an up-to-date emergency contact card with addresses and phone numbers.
  • Choose an out-of-area friend or relative as a contact for everyone to call. It’s often easier to call out-of-area during a large-scale emergency.
  • Include your pets in an evacuation plan. Have items for your pet in your disaster supplies kit and “Go Bag.”
  • Teach adult household members when and how to turn off electricity, water and gas.
  • Tell household members where emergency information and supplies are kept.
  • Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Take your planned evacuation route, and then map out alternative routes in case main roads are impassible.
  • Include your neighbors in your emergency plan”


Have a ‘go bag’.  According to the site ReadyNYC, families should have a ‘go bag.’

“Every household should pack a Go Bag – a collection of items you may need in the event of an evacuation. A Go Bag should be packed in a sturdy, easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or suitcase on wheels. A Go Bag should be easily accessible if you have to leave your home in a hurry. Make sure it is ready to go at all times of the year.

  • Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.)
  • Extra set of car and house keys
  • Credit and ATM cards and cash, especially in small denominations
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food such as energy or granola bars
  • Flashlight (LED flashlights are more durable and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs)
  • Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
  • Keep a list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages. Medication information and other essential personal items. If you store extra medication in your Go Bag, be sure to refill it before it expires
  • First-aid kit
  • Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small regional map
  • Child care supplies or other special care items “


Have a list of emergency number’s in your home:  The list can have your work and mobile numbers, emergency contacts, Doctor’s, Hospitals, Poison Control and more.

Have an ICE – List ICE in your mobile phone address book.  It stands for In Case of Emergency.  List your emergency contact.

Talk to local law enforcement and firemen:  There is nothing more exciting to a child than to see a fire truck, police car or speak to law enforcement.  They may be willing to share some tips and tricks for your home and family.

Have fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors:  This speaks for itself.  Make sure the batteries are charged.

Keep your cell phone charged or a spare battery (fully charged.)  In this day of mobile phones, it is so helpful to be able to let family members or officials know where you are and how you are doing or if you need help!  A full charge in an emergency is indispensible. 

Have cash on hand.  In an emergency, there may not be time to get to a bank or atm.

Have comfortable shoes at home, at work, and in the car.  You never know when you may need to walk or run rather than ride.  It is best to have comfortable, sturdy shoes handy.

My intention in writing this post isn’t to sound like a doomsayer however it is to make sure we are all as prepared as we can be for what hopefully will never happen.  Little tasks and plans now can make all the difference if they are ever needed.  ReadyNYC has some great tips for families and alerts for New Yorkers.  Check your local government agencies and schools to see if they have similar services.

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Preventing Sports Related Injury in Young Children – Dance, Baseball, Football and More

As parents of young children, one of the most difficult moments is to watch your child get injured.  To see your child suffer in pain or rehab can be unbearable.  According to the American orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) many common sports injuries are preventable AND a large portion of the responsibility falls to parents.

AOSSM began a campaign to educate Parents, Coaches and others.  The campaign is called Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention (STOP.)  “The comprehensive public outreach program focuses on the importance of sports safety-specifically relating to overuse and trauma injuries. The initiative not only raises awareness and provides education on injury reduction, but also highlights how playing safe and smart can enhance and extend a child’s athletic career, improve teamwork, reduce obesity rates and create a lifelong love of exercise and healthy activity. Our message underscores the problems of overuse and trauma and emphasizes the expertise of our coalition of experts.”

Parent’s let’s test your knowledge!

  1. What age children’s feet and ankles gain enough strength to begin pointe training in ballet? 
  2. What are the maximum pitches per baseball game for your child? How many rest days they should take?  What age they are developed enough to learn to throw a fastball?
  3. What common football injury can effect a child’s long term involvement in sport?

 Parent’s can find the answers to these and many other questions in the PDF documents here:  

In order to encourage healthy behavior and a lifetime of sport, take some time to educate yourself now.  Empowered with proper sports information parents can be an advocate for their child in school physical activity program, during intramural sports and with their coaches over the years.  Each child develops differently.  This blog is not intended to provide medical advice.  Please consult your child’s physician for answers specific to the development of your child.

 Answers –

1.)    According to STOP age 12 is the generally accepted lower limit to begin pointe training in Ballet.

2.)    According to STOP, 50 pitches is the maximum per game for a 7-8 year old.

3.)    According to STOP knee injuries are the most common in football.  Injuries to the ACL/PCL and menisci can effect a child’s long term involvement in sport.

Check out Hometown Health TV for additional sports injury related information and a video on safe footwear:

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