Layers of Protection

Life Saver Pool Fence has uses the phrase “layers of protection” to describe the best ways to prevent drownings. Since 1987, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance has recommended layers of protection around a personal pool.

The five important layers of protection:

  1. Parent supervision

Proactive parent supervision is the number one way to prevent drownings. Active supervision means sitting close to the pool with your full attention on the child/children. This means put the phone or book down and pay attention. We recommend designating at least one person as a Water Watcher, and change shifts every 15 minutes. However, most drownings occur when a child was thought to be in the house. A parent was responsible for supervising the child in 67% of fatal drowning cases. So, supervision can and does fail, and which is why additional layers of protection are needed.

  1. High locks on all doors and windows.

Locks out of the reach of children should be installed on every door and window that leads to the pool area. Some drownings happen because a parent didn’t know their child had figured out the door knob, so don’t rely on the door being shut. Any pet doors that grant access the pool should also be shut.

  1. Pool Safety Fence

Perhaps one of the most reassuring steps is installing a pool fence. Fences should be at least 4′ tall and have a self-closing, self-latching gate. Mesh pool safety fence, like Life Saver Pool Fence, has proven to be an effective layer of protection for over 45 years. With its transparent and aesthetically pleasing look, they are easy to remove when you want to.

  1. Alarms

You may not even hear a drowning; they tend to be silent. Alarms break that silence. There are many alarm options to choose from door/window alarms, alarms that sit in the pool, and our favorite, the Safety Turtle which is worn on the child.  If the child falls into the pool, an alarm inside that house goes off.

  1. Swimming Lessons

As soon as a parent and pediatricians feel comfortable, all children should receive swimming lessons. Some organizations even offer training for infants to roll over and float, and to swim to the edge of the pool in case they fall in. 

5.5 CPR

As a precautionary measure (if all of the other layers of protection fail) parents should be trained in CPR. This training can make the difference between life, permanent disability, and death.

5 Things To Discuss Before Your Teen Heads Off To College

talking-with-momCommunication between college students and parents is key. Here are five important things to talk about before your teen leaves home:

The Budget

One of the biggest potential sources of family conflict is the college student budget. Whether you are funding your child’s education, or expecting him to come up with the money himself, your child will need to be on the same page. If your financial assistance will be limited, it’s important to explain what help you can provide and how it will be distributed. Plan to deposit five hundred dollars a month to help out? Say so. Don’t expect your child to intuit your financial plan.

Parents often promise to pay for college in full, but may not define their expectations clearly. Maybe you have been saving since your child was a toddler, but how to you plan to disperse the funds? What if the savings won’t be enough to cover living expenses all four years? Paying for college extends well beyond tuition.

Points to consider:

·      Who will pay living expenses? Will those be paid directly by parents, or will money be deposited in an account for the student to use to pay bills him/herself?

·      How will food, transportation, and clothing be paid for?

·      What about the cell phone?

·      Will parents pay for health care?

·      Who will pay for extras?

The Timeline

College isn’t always four years of coursework. Some students extend time in college because their programs last five or more years. Some change majors. Others take it slowly for the first couple of years.

If your plan is to fund college for your child, does your strategy take these things in to account? Is there a time limit to your financial support? How about your patience? Are you prepared to pull the plug if your child is on the seven-year plan? If so, maybe she needs to hear your thoughts ahead of time, so she can find a part time job or pick up the pace.

Crisis Situations

Medical or mental health crisis: Record numbers of college students are seeking mental health support according to recently published studies. Common mental health related causes for leaving college include: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, excessive drinking, and drug use. Are there medical or psychiatric issues that might prevent your college student from completing school uninterrupted? If so, under what circumstances might you need to bring him home? Does he know when to ask for your help?

Academic Crisis: Do you have a plan for failing college grades? Most paying parents won’t want to continue writing checks unless kids are producing passing grades. Have you discussed your views with your soon to be college student?

Breaks From School

Some parents express frustration when kids arrive back home during college breaks, dump their laundry next to the washing machine, and flop down into bed for the duration of the school break. If your son or daughter is home on break, do you expect him or her to help around the house? Work a summer job? Be up and at ‘em by nine every morning and in bed before midnight? Whatever your expectations, be certain to spell them out before the first academic break begins.

Plan B

Recent statistics estimate that almost half of college enrollees drop out before completing a degree. No parent sends a kid to college hoping she’ll drop out, but with estimated dropout rates so high, all parents and new college students should discuss alternative strategies in case college doesn’t work out.

 

Dr. Melissa Deuter is a psychiatrist in San Antonio, TX who specializes in the care of emerging adults. www.MelissaDeuter.com; @MStenDeut

 

101 Fun Things to Do with Kids This Summer

by Ilene Jacobs, Care.com Contributor

summerSummer may be a time to relax, but tell that to kids who are bouncing off the walls or shrieking “I’m bored” every five minutes. How on earth are parents and nannies supposed to keep kids entertained, active and out of trouble for an entire summer?

The trick is to plan ahead. Brainstorm ideas for things to do now, so you don’t wind up spending the entire summer watching cartoons.

Jill Tipograph, summer expert and founder of Everything Summer, suggests that you: “Take advantage of those bright sunny days and warm summer nights and plan something new a couple of times a week. Outdoor adventures don’t have to be extreme — explore a new neighborhood or walk as a family to get a healthy after-dinner snack.”

Jesse Koller, mom and publisher of the parenting blog Play, Create and Explore, likes to keep kids entertained with crafts. Sheeven holds regular art workshops for local kids. “We have a blast focusing on mostly process art and projects, as well as some sensory activities.”

Start creating your summer bucket list today. If you need inspiration, we’ve come up with 101 things that will keep kids happy — and you sane.

  1. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.
  2. Volunteer at a nature center.
  3. Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.
  4. Have a luau in the backyard.
  5. Visit the beach and collect shells.
  6. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.
  7. Visit a farmer’s market.
  8. Pick berries at a nearby orchard.
  9. Have a picnic at a state park.
  10. Make ice cream. Tipograph loves using YayLab’s ice cream ball, which you fill with ice cream base and kick around until frozen.
  11. Go canoeing at a local lake.
  12. Build a sandcastle.
  13. Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory.
  14. Forget cooking — set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.
  15. Clean up trash at a local park.
  16. Have a backyard campfire…or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s’mores.
  17. Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter.
  18. Make homemade pizza.
  19. Print out a list of children’s books that have won Caldecott Medals. Visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as manyas you can.
  20. Go for a walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way.
  21. Take bread to a creek and feed the ducks.
  22. Have a water balloon fight.
  23. Practice your origami skills and make objects to hang from the ceiling.
  24. Go biking on a trail
  25. Interview an older relative about what life was like when they were young.
  26. Plan a picnic at a local park — or in your backyard.
  27. Set up a lemonade stand.
  28. Create salad spinner art: Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.
  29. Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.
  30. Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
  31. Make a sidewalk chalk mural.
  32. Go ice blocking (sledding) in the grass with a towel-covered block of ice.
  33. Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.
  34. Visit a fish hatchery.
  35. Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.
  36. Pretend to be pirates for a day — dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.
  37. Make an indoor sandbox using colored rice: mix 4 cups of rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring and let dry overnight.
  38. Turn the backyard into a carnival — set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.
  39. Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.
  40. Visit a museum you’ve never been to.
  41. Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).
  42. String beads into jewelry.
  43. Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.
  44. Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible — see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.
  45. Create leis with wildflowers.
  46. Go fossil hunting near a lake.
  47. Break out your baseball gloves and start a game, sandlot style.
  48. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.
  49. Play mini-golf — or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.
  50. Make your own colored sand and create sand art.
  51. Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit — create the ultimate road trip.
  52. Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball.
  53. Visit an amusement park or water park.
  54. Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.
  55. Go zip-lining.
  56. Have a tricycle race at the park.
  57. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.
  58. Visit a fire station.
  59. Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.
  60. Go roller skating.
  61. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.
  62. Run through the sprinklers.
  63. Blend your own smoothie.
  64. Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.
  65. Batter up at a batting cage.
  66. Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.
  67. Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.
  68. Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.
  69. Go horseback riding.
  70. Make popsicles in Dixie cups using fruit juices.
  71. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).
  72. Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.
  73. Create a backyard circus — kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.
  74. Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
  75. Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.
  76. Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.
  77. Go to a flea market.
  78. Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.
  79. Visit a retirement home and read stories to residents.
  80. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.
  81. Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.
  82. Visit a cave.
  83. Get a map of your area, mark off all the local parks — then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.
  84. Take in a fireworks exhibit.
  85. Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.
  86. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
  87. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.
  88. Create three dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini-marshmallows.
  89. Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.
  90. Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.
  91. Create unusual s’mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.
  92. Have a fancy tea party.
  93. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter’s tarp and shaving cream.
  94. Have a backyard camp-out.
  95. Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint, then wash it off in the sprinklers.
  96. Visit a national park and help the kids earn a junior ranger badge.
  97. Go to a ballgame and teach your kids (and yourself!) how to keep a scorecard.
  98. Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.
  99. Take a free kid’s workshop at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.
  100. Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.
  101. Take a boring brown paper bag and have kids brainstorm creative things to do with it — you’ll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.

Ilene Jacobs is a Contributor for Care.com (www.Care.com), the largest online care destination in the world.

Clean In Less Than 5 Minutes

Once school starts your life is busier than ever. Keeping your house clean during all the chaos can seem like a time-consuming and daunting task. The Maids provided us with 5 quick cleaning tips.

 

clean-homeTips to Help You Clean Your Home Faster

Thirty seconds:

  • Prevent soap scum buildup in your shower with a few quick squirts of daily shower spray.

  • Swipe the bathroom counter with a disinfectant wipe, clearing it of hairspray, toothpaste and soap scum.

  • Shake out entryway rugs to rid them of excess dirt and minimize traipsing it throughout your home.

Two minutes:

  • Gather stray clutter into a laundry basket. Just be sure to put everything in its proper place at a later time.

  • Sweep high-traffic areas, like the entryway or bathroom floor.

  • Spritz the bathroom mirror with glass cleaner and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth.

  • And at the expense of sounding like your mother, make your bed.

Five minutes:

  • Start a load of laundry.

  • Wash the bathroom floor. Clean-up is simple if you have already swept it during your two-minute hiatus.

  • Wipe down kitchen countertops. You don’t want harmful germs finding their way into your food preparations.

  • Sort through your pile of mail and toss the junk.  Remember to shred and recycle!

Busy lifestyles necessitate taking small, time-efficient steps when it comes to maintaining an orderly and clean house. If you need an extra hand, call The Maids and experience the healthiest, most thorough housecleaning in the industry.

How to Childproof Your Home

by Louie Delaware

The author of this book is known as the “Home Safety Guru.” His book provides parents with sensible and fact-filled advice about the most common (and often overlooked) risk factors in homes, the products professional childproofers use, and, most importantly, installation tips to help you bring do it all without a hitch.

10 Steps to Guarantee a Teenager Drops Out of High School

By Ida Byrd-Hill – Urban Economist, Human Relations Expert, President of Uplift, Inc., and Author of “Corporate Gangster – Tapping the entrepreneurial talent of street hustler”

unhappy teenTeenagers dropping out of school, urban or suburban does not happen by accident.

If any of these 10 items occur in your life, your teenager is guaranteed to drop out from high school. The question is,When? If they are moving in that direction, you have the power to change their direction. K.I.S.S. (Kids in Successful Schools) Begins at Home.

10. Withholding Love
Humans have an intense craving to be accepted by others, to be comforted by others, to belong. This craving is the impetus to be loved.

What is love?  American Heritage Dictionary defines love as a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

“Love is a sanctuary for our spirits, a bath of empathy for our emotions, a tranquil meadow in which to nurture our fond hopes and dreams.” When love is present, the soul is at peace. Chaos and negativity fade away. Kindness and giving become commonplace. Joy and happiness, beyond current circumstances, radiates due to love. Everything becomes better when love touches. It can be a hug or kind word.

9. No Regular Family Time – Meals, Activities
A meal of family activity provides good nutrition and bonding time. It also sets the stage for regular family discussions and the foundation for transmitting family values. People including teenagers tend to talk more over food providing clues to the dilemmas in their lives. Teenagers need attention to shape their thinking process.

8. Living a Life Outside of Your Teenager
Parents have the responsibility to nurture their children from 0 to 18 years of age. Unfortunately when a teenager gets an adult like body at age 12-14 parents leave them to themselves as if they are adults. They may have adult bodies but child-like brains. They need more guidance after the age 12 as they believe they are invincible and do not understand consequences. Away from home 15 hours a day is disastrous if no one is available to supervise teenagers, even if it is to work a second job. Teenagers need some one-to-one quality time.

Parents are to model the behavior they desire for their children to replicate. If parents never spend time with their teenagers, teens are left to model their behavior after someone. That someone can be anybody usually someone who is cool, hip and not law abiding.

7. Embracing Anti-intellectualism
“Minority adolescents ridicule their minority peers for engaging in behaviors perceived to be characteristic of whites such as speaking standard English and enrolling in an Advanced Placement or honors class to wearing clothes from the Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch (instead of Tommy Hilfiger or FUBU) and wearing shorts in winter” according psychologist Angela Neal-Barnett in 1999.  In many ethnic neighborhoods, education is seen as assimilation – losing one’s culture to become white. Education should not been seen as a negative but a positive. If education is not valued, then it will not be completed.

6. Refuse to Oversee or Review Student Homework and Class Work
Teenagers are children, whose mantra in life is folly and play. Without parent intervention and  a road map, they wander from class to class, school to school, playing and trying to find themselves. Their wandering, often, translates into behavior issues, truancy, failed classes, and then low graduation rates. When they finally land at high school graduation, they are 23 years old and forced to get a GED.

Many teenagers drop out of high school due to sheer boredom. Homework provides insight to the content of a class. The class is often boring with no hands-on activities leaving the student disengaged. This problem  can be rectified quickly before student drops out.

5. No Career or Education Goals For Teen
School is like traveling. One must choose a destination and map out a route to get to the destination; otherwise one will end up nowhere frustrated and angry. Urban students are becoming high school dropouts as they lack an ending destination, whether it is high school graduation, college or career” states Ida Byrd-Hill, President of Uplift, Inc.

Ida Byrd-Hill is former Dean of  Hustle & TECHknow Preparatory High School, an alternative high school in Detroit that catered to high school dropouts and adjudicated youth, generated an eighty (80%) graduation rate amongst its high school dropout population by inspiring their entire building to become college prep minded. High school graduation is a must to college admissions.

4. No Dreams or Family Goals/Plans
Chaos is evidence of no planning toward a goal or dream.  Where chaos abounds trouble comes.  Trouble creates stress, depression and a sense of failure.  If your life is full of trouble, take the time to write down your plans and goals for your life. Communicate your goals and dreams to your teenager. Teenagers like to know the direction of their family and how they can participate in its forward movement. Furthermore you provide a behavior of success they can replicate.

3. Set No Boundaries or Discipline
Many of the troubles young people face would be eliminated with the establishment and execution of rules. Rules loudly scream care and concern. Rules provide stability and tradition.

2. Speak Ill To or About a Teen 
The tongue is capable of giving an individual life or death.  Words are powerful. Many teenagers have repeatedly heard negative sayings “you can’t do anything right!” “You are ugly,” “You are stupid” “You will never amount to anything.”  No matter how intelligent they are, every time they are faced with a decision, great or small, their subconscious mind replays those sayings, causing them to  procrastinate in making the decision, hence fulfilling the prophecy a well-meaning adult spoke.

1. Pretending Everything Is Okay
We are in the worse economic recession since the great Depression. Everyone’s life has changed. Our cash accumulation or good credit is gone or leaving quickly. We are all struggling. Some of us are dependent upon unemployment,  food stamps, and food banks. For those lucky few, the affluent lifestyle has been reduced. We, adults, are walking around angry internally. We smile to people outside our house, but at home we are depressed and irritable.

We pretend we are not in a lifestyle funk to everyone but our children.  They are crazy. Their behavior leaves a lot to be desired. They should be mild mannered well behaved young people on track to out perform you educationally, but they are not. Children – teenagers – imitate your behavior. If they are crazy then they are probably reacting to your craziness. Stop pretending and deal with it.

If any of these 10 items occur in your life,  your  teenager is guaranteed to drop out from high school. The question is when? If they are moving in that direction,  you have the power to change their direction. Begin with reading K.I.S.S. (Kids in Successful Schools) Begins at Home.

Teen Depression & Self-Esteem

How Teen Depression is Related to Teen Self-Esteem

Teen Depression and Self EsteemTeenager depression is nothing new, but when teens are feeling blue, their self-esteem suffers just as much as their emotions. There are many reasons to why this is occurring, but there are three areas that the depression resonates from: school, the internet, and home. Each one of these is out of a teen’s control, unless they brought the pain upon themselves. Regardless, teens and depression have become part of the mainstream and it’s not a good thing.

School was once a place that kids went to learn and socialize with friends. However, some teens these days would rather be home schooled and socialize with friends over an online video game. Aside from bullies, school brings the same kids together for 180 days out of the year. Once a teen is teased or embarrassed for something they said or did, this forces the teen to deal with the same ridicule every day after.

It’s like a tragic scene from a movie repeating itself over and over again and doesn’t stop. This can almost diminish a teen’s self-esteem to nothing if left unchecked. It doesn’t have to be for the same reason either. The fact that they’re being picked on every day is enough to keep the depression going. With teens on the internet more often than they were in 2001, places like Facebook and Twitter have become new avenues for bullies and other classmates to trash each other. Some do it anonymously, while others prefer to let themselves be known by everyone.

It’s no different from the teasing and trash talk from school. The only difference is where they do it and how often. While the ones teasing the teens may not send messages directly, they’ll post updates calling them out by name. This can go on for months and build over time. It’s as bad as having 35,000 people calling you every offensive word that exists nonstop. That’s another one of the ways a teen’s self-esteem can be damaged.

At home, teenager depression can be caused by whatever is going on at home. Deaths in the family, domestic situations, sickness, and work ethic can affect a teen’s self-esteem as well. Pushing them to make straight A’s can backfire, especially if the parent believes or sends the message that their teen will become worthless if they don’t. This happens when a teen with parents like this get angry at them for get an A- instead of an A+, which lowers the teen’s self-esteem and their grades as well.

Teenage depression is a tough thing to deal with, but there are ways to make things right. At home, adults can make things better by being more involved in a teen’s life other than school and work. If they have people on Facebook posting hateful messages online, help them get some positive ones to balance it out. If the problem is just at school, tell the principal to put a stop to it. Teenage depression will always exist, but it doesn’t have to affect every teen and their self-esteem.