Jul 02 2010

Fireworks Moms - Fireworks Safety

This weekend an estimated 7,000 people will be treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. Wow!  We'd rather you not be one of them, so here are some basic fireworks safety tips ...

Before you begin, make sure you have:

  • A bucket of water or hose. Water is important for cooling off spent sparklers, fully extinguishing fireworks, and in case of fire.
  • A clear, flat area away from houses, spectators, leaves, and flammable materials.
  • Closed-toed shoes.
  • Safety glasses for the person igniting the fireworks.

    Sparkler Tips

    • While many consider sparklers to be safe, it's important to remember that you are, in fact, playing with fire: Sparklers can burn at more than 1,000 degrees F, and caused an estimated 800 injuries in 2008.
    • Don't allow children under the age of 12 to handle sparklers.
    • Show older children how to hold sparklers at arm's length, and don't let them run with or wave the sparklers.
    • Stand at least six feet away from another person while using sparklers.
    • To hand a sparkler to another person, give him or her an unlit sparkler and then light it.
    • Don't hold a child in your arms while holding a sparkler.
    • Drop spent sparklers into a bucket of water.

    Other Fireworks Tips

    • Always read and follow the directions.
    • Never relight a failed firework — wait 20 minutes before placing it in a bucket of water.
    • Onlookers must keep a safe distance from the person igniting the fireworks.
    • Children should not play with or ignite fireworks.

 

Jul 02 2010

Raising Confident Kids

Are you raising Confident kids or “Cling-on’s?”

By Dwight Bain

Every stage of life can be stressful whether you are two or twenty-two. So how can a parent instill greater strength to help their son or daughter move forward through those stages with confidence instead of being needy and insecure?  Here is a formula to show you the extremes in behavior of children and why it’s important to see little decisions as great opportunities to grow up strong.

 

Cling---> Confidence  

Insecure---> Secure

Peer pressure---> Individual strength

No direction---> Focused with direction

Identity from parents desires---> Identity from God’s design

 

The last category is the most important to prevent emotional needy or clinging behavior. When a child is over-protected by their parents they often feel safe and comfortable because they don’t have to face any fears. It can feel wonderful to a child, for a while. Then as their peer group moves forward with confidence it leaves a child feeling extremely insecure. Here’s an example. Think about your first day of school – most of us can remember the feelings from leaving our mom or dad on the sidewalk to march into the school bus or school building… alone. Were you scared, or kind of excited? Kids who have been over protected sometimes describe this as one of the worst days of their life which is so sad because it didn’t have to happen.

If a child has been prepared to face the normal changes and challenges of preschool or early elementary, they can anticipate and feel excitement about the process of being a ‘big kid now’. Children want to grow up strong – God has placed inside the heart of every child the desire to mature, that’s why when you ask little kids ‘how old are you?’ that they won’t tell you they are 6… no, they will tell you that they are 6 and ½.

Overprotected children don’t develop early strength and often feel shy or scared of the decisions that they, (or their parents) will one day have to face. Here is a quick parenting formula to build confidence into your son or daughter at any stage of life, which spells out the word, ‘NICE.’

 

N – Notice

Pay attention to the needs of your child, especially their maturity or ability to manage new tasks. If you want your daughter to successfully attend swimming lessons, then start talking about the benefits, how other kids love to go to swimming lessons, maybe even find a children’s book on the subject to start the discussion, which reduces the stress, (or customize “1 fish, 2 fish, red fish, blue fish” and make it about your children having a grand adventure together swimming).

 

I – Involve

Keeping kids involved in the normal changes and decisions by asking them questions, showing them pictures, maybe going on short trips to visit places ahead of time, (that’s why ‘meet the teacher’ events are so very important for children. It builds their confidence and emotional strength to leave the safety of being with mom or dad to venture forward past the shyness to feel secure in this gradual growing up process. This works with simple changes children face like getting a ‘big boy bed’ or spending a few special days with grandma. Talking about the process takes away stress.

 

C- Correct

Wow is this one important. Children need their parents help because they won’t get it right the first time and may take many times to learn new behaviors. Gentle, but loving correction is how kids can learn new skills without feeling like a failure. Don’t yell at a child for making mistakes, rather use your words to instill the belief that you know they can do it, give them the instructions, show them what you expect and then step back and see how they do. Learning to ride a bike is a good example of trial/error but in the end they can zoom forward and yell, “mommy watch me go!” And you will have given them a new skill for a lifetime, instead of the insecurity of having quit before mastering a new ability.

 

E- Encourage

This is essential for parenting confident children. They need to know that you believe in them. Notice I didn’t say love them. Loving a child is essential for self worth, but love alone won’t give them strength in stressful situations. Your words of affirmation give your child courage to face their fears and insecurities, like sleeping in a room with the lights off. Saying “you can do this” will give your son more strength than just telling him you love him. Just look at the word with a dash inserted… en-courage, which means to build up courage, and your child will need that ability their whole life.

 

Bottom line – confidence comes from doing things. It’s a step by step process of facing little fears, and if done in little steps it gives a child the inner strength to move forward to whatever the future holds. The good news is that every experience can give new excitement about becoming who they were designed to be. When you follow this process you won’t just be raising a child, you will be raising a confident young adult ready to make this world a better place, and have the time of their life in the process.


Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2010), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit
www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"


About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on managing major change.

 

 

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Jun 30 2010

Pool Safety Tips

A swimming pool can be very dangerous for children. If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years. Help protect your children from drowning by doing the following:

  • Never leave your children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. An adult who knows CPR should actively supervise children at all times.
  • Practice touch supervision with children younger than 5 years. This means that the adult is within an arm's length of the child at all times.
  • You must put up a fence to separate your house from the pool. Most young children who drown in pools wander out of the house and fall into the pool. Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all 4 sides of the pool. This fence will completely separate the pool from the house and play area of the yard. Use gates that self-close and self-latch, with latches higher than your children's reach.
  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a telephone by the pool.
  • Do not use air-filled "swimming aids" as a substitute for approved life vests.
  • Remove all toys from the pool after use so children aren't tempted to reach for them.
  • After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they can't get back into it.
  • A power safety cover that meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) may add to the protection of your children but should not be used in place of the fence between your house and the pool. Even fencing around your pool and using a power safety cover will not prevent all drownings.

Remember, teaching your child how to swim DOES NOT mean your child is safe in water.

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Jun 30 2010

Talking Money

If you ever feel like there is too much month at the end of your money, you are not alone.  Danny Kofke, a special education teacher in Georgia, came to the conclusion that if he wanted to be able to support his family and continue to do the job he feels called to do, he needed to figure out how to live on teacher's salary.  In fact, he wrote a book - "How to Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher's Salary."

Danny says - "The number-one reason people are so far into debt is they don't know where the money is going," says Kofke, who is married with two daughters, ages four and one. "When we got married, we walked around with a pad for a month and wrote down everything we spent. After that we used a cash system -- we pulled $200 a week out of the ATM and left it in jar in our apartment. It's so much harder to spend the green stuff than swiping a piece of plastic through a machine."

For more tips, check out Danny's blog