Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School Crafts

It’s that time of the year again, back-to-school time. Parents all over the area are getting their kids ready with clothes, books and supplies. This can be a crazy time for both parents and children. To ease children back into school why not make their supplies personal and fun?

This morning on WUSA9 Peggy Fox and I talked about how to make personalized pencil cases and book covers is Liz McConville, Resource Editor of Washington FAMILY Magazine.

Today we talked about two easy crafts that parents can do with their kids to get them excited about the coming year.

First, we have pencil cases to decorate. What you will need are pencil cases, foam letter stickers and scrapbook stickers. There is a vast selection at any craft store.

The second craft we have are book covers. Now you can go out and buy book covers for your kids, however some schools don’t accept the stretchy kind of cover. You can also make these right at home using paper bags from the grocery stores, which would be a great green alternative. You will need a pair of scissors, tape, any kind of decorations, along with a paper grocery bag.

Cut grocery bag at seams so it is one big piece of paper. Lay down your book on the brown paper. Allow for 2 1/2 inches more at the top & bottom of book. Open the book. Place the inside front cover 2-3 inches from the edge of the paper. Fold over cover and close your book, pull it tight. Cut other side 2-3 inches from the book. Open the book leaving the back cover down. Fold the paper into the back cover and close the book.

Crease the edges around the book. Crease where the spine of the book is and bend the paper down where the edge of the book is. Place your scissors at the edges of the spine until the blade touches the edge of the book. Bend up the flap and cut it off. Bend the remaining flaps out and mark where you are going to fold and tape. Cut off inside extra flap. Open the front cover. The top and bottom flaps get folded down while the left flaps get taped on top. Tape only one side at a time. Repeat the final step with the back cover.

Back-to-School is a great time for fresh beginnings and these simple crafts will help you and your child get organized and ready for a happy and successful school year!

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, August 24, 2009

Preparing your child for the first day of kindergarten

The first day of school can be stressful for kids and their parents. The first day of kindergarten is can be more stressful. Many parents prepare their child academically but sometimes we can forget to teach them the really simple things that can make the difference between a great first day and a disaster. Right now is a great time to make these preparations.

This morning on WUSA9 Peggy Fox and I talked about how we can prepare our kindergarteners for the first day of school.

I often think the first day of a child’s academic career is harder on mom that it is on the child. It certainly was for me.

The best way to make it easier on you is to be prepared. Much of your anxiety is due to the fact that your child is no longer under your wing. Being prepared will relieve your fears.

Talk to other moms – we have all be there. We understand.

Get involved with the school -- this will also help you feel like you are still attached and part of your child’s academic adventure.

Most children just starting kindergarten have some the same fears. We think they are going to be concerned about the academics but mostly they are worried about the simply, everyday activities.

In the August issue of FAMILY Magazine, Paula Court tells us how she spoke with preschoolers and found that they had some pretty standard fears. Here is Paula’s list of the “Top Preschooler Questions.”

How Will I Get to School?
How Do I Find My Classroom?
What If I Have to Go to the Restroom?
What Will Lunchtime Be Like?
How Will I Get Home After School?

Paula’s Tip for Moms
Remember- children watch you carefully and listen to everything you say, so if you're worried or apprehensive about anything concerning kindergarten-don't show it. If this is your first child to go to school, don’t cry in front of your child. That might be really hard, but it will help them a great deal.

My Own Experience

I can remember every first day of school for my four children. Each day was different just like each of my children are unique. When my oldest went off to kindergarten for the first time, I was really scared. This was my first child and I did not know what to do. She was pretty confident and marched right into the classroom without much hesitation at all. She walked up to where the other kindergarteners where sitting in a circle and the teacher was reading a book. She sat down and started listening.

The teacher said hello to her and smiled at me. I knew that was my cue to leave. I turned around and walked out of the classroom. And, then I squeezed in right behind the door and peeked into the room. My daughter had her back to me and could not see me but I could see her.

I cried like a baby. It was so silly. I was standing behind a door peeking through the crack, crying. If anyone had walked past me they surely would have laughed. After a few minutes I became confident that she was going to survive without me so I went out to my car. I sat in the parking lot and cried some more.

I still cry on the first day of school. I even cried when my kids went off to college. There is just something so touching to me about starting that journey and beginning a new year of school. Every year you give your children a bit more independence and they move closer and closer to being separate from you. You loose some things but you gain others. You are proud and at the same time sad to see them grow up.

Tell us a little about your experiences, fears and how you feel about your little ones going off to school. We can all share the experience together.

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pool Safety

Hot summer days are the perfect time to cool off at the pool. FAMILY Magazine has a great list of area water parks and spraygrounds. You can find it on this link.

But with drowning the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages one to fourteen, just how safe is summer fun in the water?

Today Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor of Washington FAMILY Magazine, shared some pool safety tips during WUSA9’s DC Moms Like Me segment.

Most of us know about having locked fences around pools and completely removing pool and hot tub covers so kids don’t become trapped under them. But what else can you do to keep your kids safe?

Amy offers a number of other measures that make summer even safer.

Vigilance is the number one way to keep your kids safe. Most young children who drown in pools or hot tubs have been out of sight for less than five minutes. It can’t be said often enough, you have to watch your kids around water.

With infants and toddlers, use “touch supervision” meaning you are always within an arm’s length.

If a babysitter takes your child to the pool, make sure he or she knows about pool safety and the need for constant supervision.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to have an in ground pool to practice pool safety. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water. So think about inflatable and baby pools. Either fence or drain them when you are not using them.

With any size pool or hot tub, keep a phone nearby so you don’t leave your child unsupervised while running inside to answer it and so it’s right there for emergencies. Also keep a list of emergency phone numbers near the pool or hot tub.

What if you are lucky enough to have a pool at home? Are there any extra safety measures?

Amy notes:

Make sure toys are out of the pool after playtime to lessen the chance of a child falling in while reaching for a toy.

Keep chairs and tables away from the pool fence so that kids can’t climb the fence to get in to the pool.

And if your child is missing, always check the pool first. Every second counts!

Recently, there has been a lot in the news about the safety of pool and hot tub drains.
Because of the danger of kids being trapped underwater by the pool drain suction, federal legislation, known as The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, was enacted to help ensure all public pools and spas have safety-compliant drain covers and anti-entrapment systems. The safety act was passed into law in December of 2007 and is named for a 7 year old girl who died in 2002 after being trapped underwater by the powerful suction of a hot tub drain.
Amy notes that it is critical to teach your kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the pressure on some pool drains can be as strong as 300 pounds per square inch.

To keep safe, kids should tie back long hair, remove jewelry, make sure their arms, legs and heads stay clear of the drains and not sit on drains. This goes for public as well as private pools and hot tubs.

If you do have a pool or hot tub, clearly label the circuit breaker in case it needs to be turned off in an emergency.

And remember, these tips apply to any pool from community pools to hot tubs in the backyard. Even if you don’t own a pool, your child may play with kids who do or their camp or daycare may take them to the pool. Be sure to teach them about the dangers of pool drains and pool safety.

Also be sure to visit Washington FAMILY Magazine’s website,, for a list of top local pools and spraygrounds where you and your family can cool off this summer. Know of a great place to get wet that isn’t listed, let us know and we’ll add it to our ever-growing list.

So let’s get this conversation going. What do you do to ensure your kids are safe at the pool?