Posts tagged children

How to Get Your Child to Eat Vegetables Without Complaining

How to Get Your Child to Eat Vegetables Without Complaining | @BloomMaternityWith childhood obesity rates in the United States skyrocketing, it should come as no real surprise that more American kids are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and other health problems related to poor dietary habits than ever before. Unfortunately, getting picky kids to willingly eat vegetables instead of the high-fat foods that are actively marketed towards them can be quite a challenge. Most modern parents are well-acquainted with the struggle of maintaining a healthy diet for their children in a society that seems determined to provide them with more sugar and empty calories than nutrition, but there are ways to help your children form good eating habits.

  • Start Early – Introducing your toddler to fruits and vegetables rather than chicken nuggets and French fries can make instilling good habits much easier as they get older. Breaking a bad habit is much more difficult than avoiding the acquisition of one, so limiting your little one’s exposure to unhealthy convenience food from early childhood is best.
  • Limit Unhealthy Purchases – Convincing a child to eat his carrots is sure to be difficult when he knows that there are tater tots in the freezer. Limit the availability of unhealthy options, and make a habit of preparing healthful fare at every opportunity. When there are unhealthy, albeit appealing, foods lurking in the pantry, kids aren’t as likely to complain and beg for those things.
  • Model Good Eating Habits – Kids mimic the adults around them, and they quickly pick up the habits that their grown-up loved ones exhibit. Bemoaning the necessity of a diet rich in fresh produce and vocally yearning for a drive-thru cheeseburger won’t help your child appreciate healthy food as a tasty and nutritious choice, it’ll make eating well seem like an unpleasant task. If choosing broccoli over chili dogs is a chore for you, it’s best to keep that attitude from showing when dinnertime rolls around. Remember, you can’t expect a child not to complain when they hear you doing just that.
  • Be Firm – When a child throws a tantrum and refuses to eat her vegetables, many parents simply relent to avoid difficulty. Though it’s infinitely easier to cave under pressure and provide your child with the unhealthy foods she demands than it is to stand firm, it’s ultimately detrimental to her health and discipline to continually give in to her. Forcing a child to choke down foods that they truly dislike, however, will only breed resentment. Experiment with different preparations, combinations, and types of vegetables until you find what works for your family, and resist the temptation to take the easier path. When good habits have been established, the number of dinnertime complaints will drop dramatically.
  • Get Kids in the Kitchen – Young children love to help, and meal preparation is no exception. Furthermore, the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing that they aided in the creation of the meal makes healthy food more appealing. The ability to make good choices stems from a good education, and that education begins in the home. Rather than making the kitchen off-limits for your kids, get them in on the action and take every available opportunity to teach them about the importance of a good diet.
  • Presentation is Key – Even adults are likely to turn their noses up at poorly presented, unappetizing fare, and kids tend to be far pickier. Getting kids to willingly eat their vegetables can be as simple as presenting them in a way that’s both tasty and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Adopt a “No Hiding” Policy – Sneaking vegetables into foods that your kids already love will certainly make them a part of their diet, but it won’t help them acquire the good eating habits that are essential to maintaining health as they get older. Kids will still plead and pout when spinach shows up on the dinner table, regardless of how much you’ve been hiding in their smoothies.
  • Start and Maintain a Family Garden – Researchers at the Department of Endocrinology at the Mayo Clinic have determined that kids who are actively involved in maintaining a family vegetable garden are more likely to enjoy the results than their non-gardening peers. Even a small plot can help generate excitement and make kids eager to eat food that they’ve helped to grow, so consider starting a garden if at all possible. In addition to boosting kids’ likelihood of willingly eating fresh produce, gardening also serves as a physically active hobby.

Kids who have grown accustomed to a diet comprised mainly of processed food will almost certainly be resistant to a move in a healthier direction initially. Though complaints will be common when you first begin to integrate fresh produce after a long period of unhealthy eating, it’s important to maintain a firm stance. In no time at all, your kids will be on a path to healthier eating without complaints.

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8 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Medications for Kids

8 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Medications for Kids | @BloomMaternityHealth care costs are soaring higher every year, and as they do many American workers are watching their health insurance coverage simultaneously diminish. In this economic environment, many families are forced to find ways to cut medical costs wherever and however they can. Consider these eight ways to reduce the cost of their kids’ medications.

  1. Generic Alternatives – Any medication that your child might need will almost always have a generic equivalent that can be substituted for the name brand version at a cheaper cost. Ask your child’s doctor or pharmacist if going generic is an option.
  2. Start with Samples – You don’t necessarily have to buy an entire month’s worth of medication that’s been prescribed for your child all at once, especially if there isn’t a specific medical need for that much. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if they have any free sample packs.
  3. Buy in Bulk – On the flip side, if you’ve been prescribed a medication for your child that you expect she will need for an extended period of time, try buying a 3-month vs. a 1-month supply. Medications are often cheaper per dose in larger quantities.
  4. Larger Dosage Sizes – Another way of reducing your per-dose expenses is to buy a larger dosage size than the prescription and then split the pills to match the prescribed dosage. Here again, the larger pills are often cheaper per milligram than the smaller versions. You’ll need your doctor’s permission before going that route and the medication needs to be conducive to easy splitting.
  5. Shop Around – Like everything else, prices vary for medications. For instance, Wal-Mart pharmacies have a $4 prescription plan for 30-day supplies, and $10 for 90 days’ worth. Sometimes referred to as a 4/10 plan, this doesn’t require insurance. You can find a list of medications and available doses here. Ask your pharmacist if they’ve got a 4/10 plan.
  6. Mail Order – This is rapidly increasing in popularity as a means for purchasing prescription drugs at a discount. You can find deals for a 3-month supply of a prescription that for the cost of only one co-pay.
  7. Coupons – Yes, drugs have them too. You may be able to get them from your doctor or find them online. Check the website of the drug’s manufacturer too. You can save a bundle with coupons.
  8. Discount Cards – Certain groups and organizations offer memberships which afford their members discounts on certain products. You may already have a means to save on your child’s medications right there in your wallet, next to your hard-earned cash.

You don’t have to resign yourself to high medication costs. Instead, try to find different ways where you can reduce the price. Health care coverage may be diminishing, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to stay healthy.

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Ways to Teach Your Child to Call 911

Ways to Teach Your Child to Call 911 | @BloomMaternityPreparing your child to act calmly under unthinkable circumstances is a scary and disheartening responsibility, but it is an essential one. Ensuring that your little ones are equipped to properly handle an emergency situation at a young age gives them the ability to reach out for assistance when they need it most, even when you’re not available to point them in the right direction. Teaching small children how to reach emergency services is less of a practical challenge and more of an emotional one, though there are some ways to simplify the process even further to make sure that they gain this much-needed skill.

Work on Critical Information

Emergency dispatchers can trace a call to determine a child’s location if they’re too shaken up to provide their address or aren’t quite sure what it is. Knowing their full names, your name, their address and telephone number makes the dispatcher’s job much easier. If your household is among the increasing number of American families that don’t maintain landline telephones, you’ll also want to make sure that your child knows how to turn on a cell phone and that he’s confident entering the three digits before connecting.

Talk About What 911 is For

Explaining to your child what 911 services are for helps him understand that dialing the number will summon help from police, firefighters and paramedics if he’s in trouble. Talking about what sorts of situations would warrant a call to 911 and how the emergency responders can help him when there’s an emergency lets him know that there is help just around the corner if he needs it, and that all he has to do is dial three numbers to get help if there’s no conscious or capable adult in the house.

Talk About Emergency Workers

Kids need to know who to expect when they call 911 and that it’s okay for them to come into the house if an adult is incapacitated and can’t let them in. This is especially important if you’re also working on the concept of “stranger danger.” When your child is in the process of learning that some strangers can be dangerous and he shouldn’t talk to them, the idea of a large group of strangers coming into your home can be terrifying. This conversation is also a good excuse to discuss the role that emergency workers play in society, and what each uniform or title means.

Discuss Accidental Dials

While it is possible for kids to accidentally dial 911 on a landline phone, it’s more likely to happen when they’re playing with a cell phone that has an emergency dial feature. Kids who understand how important it is to only call 911 during an emergency may panic and hang up, which forces the dispatcher to call back or send help to ensure that there is no emergency in your area. Make sure that your little one knows that he should stay on the line and explain to the person who answers that he made a mistake and that there is no emergency.

What is an Emergency?

In a small child’s mind, the concept of “emergency” can be rather vague. Little ones need to understand the difference between a real emergency and merely an unpleasant situation to avoid tying up the time and efforts of a dispatcher who may be delaying an actual emergency to handle the call. Kids should be taught that a lost dog, missing toy or sibling altercation are not emergencies. Working on understanding what types of situations warrant attention from emergency service responders and which ones need to be handled by an adult at home can help to prevent unnecessary calls that waste resources because children are confused about the role of 911 in their lives.

Some Jokes Aren’t Funny

For the most part, prank calls have gone the way of the dinosaur with the advent of private-call blocking and caller ID. To ensure that your child never decides to explore the concept of a prank call by dialing emergency services, you should make sure that he understands the danger of taking time and energy away from dispatchers who could be missing an important, legitimate call. Letting your little one know that dialing 911 as a practical joke is never funny and will have severe consequences is an effective way of discouraging the idea before the idea manifests itself and he is tempted to try it out.

When you’re teaching a toddler how to actively dial the numbers that will connect him with emergency services, it’s wise to remove the battery from a cell phone or unplug the line from a landline phone altogether to prevent accidental dials. Remember also that working on mastery of his address and when to call 911 is an ongoing process, not the result of a single conversation.

Syndicated with permission from BabySittingJobs.Com.

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Proper Etiquette Rules for Any Child

Proper Etiquette Rules for Any Child | @BloomMaternity

Teaching children to confidently navigate the sometimes complex world of etiquette can be a difficult task, but instilling courtesy and good manners will help them better manage society as they get older. Social skills that you pass on to your children will help them make friends, build relationships and prepare them to respond graciously in a variety of situations. As they approach adulthood, those skills will form the foundation of courteous behavior in polite society. Everyone from playmates to educators will appreciate your child’s good manners, paving the way for him to succeed throughout his life.

Kids’ Dining Etiquette

While it’s not realistic to expect children to confidently and correctly manage a formal dinner with full place settings, you can establish some simple dining etiquette that can be built upon as they age. Learning to properly use their eating utensils, to pass food at the table and to place napkins in their laps are great skills for kids to acquire, though you may find it easier to focus on the absolute basics when children are very young. Emphasizing the importance of chewing with his mouth closed, not speaking with food in his mouth and avoiding unappetizing behavior at the table is essential; his dining etiquette skills can be expanded upon as he matures.

Phone Manners

Because more families are making the switch to a cell phone-only household and are eliminating landline telephone accounts altogether, kids may not have the chance to learn the same etiquette that their parents were taught during childhood. Still, working with your child to establish the proper protocol for answering the phone, taking messages and conducting polite conversation is important. Role-playing polite phone behavior is a particularly effective method of instilling strong phone etiquette, along with explaining the changing rules of phone manners in the age of mobile devices.

Be a Considerate Conversationalist

In order to be a good friend and a sought-after acquaintance, your child will need to learn the art of polite conversation. Stressing the importance of greeting friends and relatives correctly, asking considerate questions and inquiring about the other party’s wellbeing will help your child understand some of the basic aspects of mannerly conversation.

It’s also wise to discuss the impoliteness of interrupting someone when they speak, which is often an area of difficulty for more excitable and enthusiastic children.

Mind Your “Pleases” and “Thank Yous”

If your child learns no other etiquette skills, understanding that he should always say “please” and “thank you” can go a long way towards compensating. Children who make demands rather than polite requests and show no gratitude when those demands are met aren’t likely to be favorites with playmates, teachers, relatives or family friends.

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

The old adage about not saying anything at all if you can’t say something nice is one that kids need to learn early, as their statements regarding someone’s appearance or habits can be blunt to the point of being inadvertently hurtful. Work with your child until he understands that some things shouldn’t be commented on, especially in a negative light. Explaining that Aunt Sally knows she has a rather sizable mole on her nose, but that talking about it might make her sad or self-conscious can prevent hurt feelings and embarrassment.

Show Gratitude

In addition to learning to say “thank you” when someone does something for them or presents them with a gift, kids need to learn the slightly more complex concept of showing real gratitude and expressing it in their daily lives. It’s entirely possible for a child to toss a “thank you” aside carelessly while still exhibiting the air of utter ingratitude, which simply isn’t attractive behavior. Discussing sincere gratitude can help your child understand that there’s more to being thankful than simply saying “thank you.”

Teaching your child basic manners creates a foundation for more complex etiquette rules down the road, but it’s important to keep in mind that your kindergartener isn’t likely to understand the complexities of formal etiquette and almost certainly will not be quoting Emily Post any time soon. Keeping your expectations realistic and focusing on primary politeness and common courtesy can keep you from feeling disappointment and your child from growing frustrated when he can’t tell his salad fork from a dessert fork. Remember that instilling good manners and teaching formal etiquette is an ongoing process, and that your lessons will ultimately be taught as you model good etiquette. Kids may not always listen to what you say, but they do watch you and often mimic the behavior they observe. In the end, one of the best ways to teach your child the rules of etiquette is to model them yourself.

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10 Benefits of Attending Church as a Family

10 Benefits of Attending Church as a Family | @BloomMaternityIn today’s fast-paced and frantic world, Sundays may be the only time that your family is able to catch up on much-needed rest and relaxation in preparation for another hectic week. Getting up early and rounding everyone up for church may seem more like work than an enjoyable way to end the weekend, but there are definite benefits to being actively involved in your church.

  1. Lowered Risk Factors – A 2010 Child Trends’ review indicates that kids from religious backgrounds are less likely to be involved in violence, theft and vandalism or to struggle with substance abuse problems than their peers.
  2. Talking Points That Facilitate Conversation – Finding some common ground to serve as conversation fodder isn’t always easy, especially when you have tweens or teens that seem to think you’re completely out of touch with the modern world. Attending church services together and being active in faith-based programs provides your family with a wealth of talking points, helping to facilitate conversations and strengthen your bonds.
  3. Instilling a Moral Compass – Regardless of denomination or belief system, one thing that all churches have in common is an emphasis on love, charity and faith. Imparting these virtues to your children through regular church attendance and service allows you to rest easy knowing that you’ve done all that you can to provide them with the moral compass they’ll need to successfully navigate the adult world.
  4. Creating an Extended Support Network – A church family provides you with an extended network of like-minded people who have the same beliefs and spiritual aims that you have, allowing you to seek support and give encouragement to one another. If you happen to live far away from your own extended family, members of your congregation who you’re particularly close to can help fill that void.
  5. Decreased Likelihood of Developmental Problems – A special report by the National Survey of Children’s Health indicates that religious participation by an intact family is associated with a lowered risk of developmental and behavioral problems in school-aged children.
  6. Establishing a Routine – Kids need a reliable routine to truly thrive. Knowing on Saturday evening that they’ll be getting up and going to church the next morning allows your kids to include church services in their own routine, providing a strong sense of security and understanding of the world around him.
  7. Creating Your Own Traditions of Togetherness – Whether you go out for a late lunch after church to a favorite restaurant or come home to make your own special meal, the benefits of sharing meals as a family are well-documented. When you establish your own family meal routine for Sunday meals after church, you’re creating your own family tradition.
  8. Exposure to Music – Music ministries are a big part of most churches, and kids who have music training from an early age have been proven to outscore their peers on standardized tests, are more likely to graduate high school and are more likely to go on to college according to studies published in Social Science Quarterly.
  9. Teaching Kids Organizational and Social Skills – Attending Sunday school classes or children’s ministry programs helps very young children establish the social skills and organizational skills they’ll need to thrive when they begin attending school.
  10. Church Activities Can Help Kids Learn Compassion – Working with the less fortunate, volunteering to make a difference in the community and participating in outreach programs helps your children understand not only how fortunate they are, but also encourages a sense of compassion. These lessons aren’t easily taught and are valuable ones for your children to acquire as they make their way towards adulthood.

Spending time with other families that share your religious beliefs and are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of their own children as well as the less fortunate members of your community can help your family to become more grounded and fulfilled as a whole. Finding the right church may require a bit of trial and error, but your happiness within a congregation is largely dependent upon your family’s ability to fit in there and feel welcomed. Keep searching until you find a church home that brings you that peace, and attend it regularly to reap the many benefits!

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Three Activities That Build Character in Kids

Three Activities That Build Character in Kids | The Bloom Blog | @BloomMaternity

Three Activities That Build Character in Kids

Most parents desire to raise children who have solid character and compassion. A child will learn these traits from watching those he sees around him and partaking in activities that focus on cultivating these skills when he’s young. To build character in your child, consider doing these three activities with him.

Clean up a neighbor’s yard for free.  Raking leaves and mowing lawns can be a fantastic and lucrative job for a pre-teen child, but it can also be a wonderful gift to give someone.  Every now and then, go with your child to one of your neighbors’ houses with a rake or shovel.  Help that person out with no intentions of making a big deal about it.  You can even make it a secret sneak “attack,” which might make it even more fun for your child.  The best way to build a generous character is to teach giving without any kind of reward, even the award of recognition.

Visit a retirement home. The elderly tend to crave the attention and presence of children.  Very little else brings joy to their life like a visit from a child.  Individuals that have lived a full and happy life have a lot to offer to a child.  Your child might find it difficult to look past the limitations senior citizens have to see the wealth of knowledge and wisdom they possess.  However, a few lighthearted visits to bring treats, sing some songs, or play some games can help open your child’s eyes.  This activity is best done with parents or close caregivers because it can be overwhelming for your child at first.  There is almost always at least one person that your child will connect with during these visits, and once that connection is made the sharing can begin.

Cook and deliver a meal for friends.  Children naturally want to help out when they are young, especially with cooking meals.  As they get older, this normal inkling to help make dinner may lessen.  But if the meal preparation is done for a reason and has a very specific purpose, the child might be a little more interested.  It is important in this activity to allow the child to be involved in the process from the very beginning.  Perhaps your child has a friend whose family is welcoming home a new child or having some other challenge in life.  This would be a great opportunity to model and teach compassion.  Have the child help plan the meal, shop for the supplies, prepare and make the meal, and then deliver it.  This too could be done in secret, with no one but you and the child knowing what was done.  The sense of satisfaction he will get from knowing that he worked hard to help someone else will be a reward in and of itself.

There are thousands of ways to teach children the character building lessons of compassion, generosity and sacrifice in everyday life; however, they can only be truly learned by the child if he witnesses the adults in his life regularly practicing these things too.  The key to each of these activities, as well as thousands of others, is for the child to do them with Mom or Dad.  That is the only way the importance of the endeavor will be learned and recreated.

This post is syndicated with permission by Go Nannies.

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10 Ways to Keep the Kids from Falling Asleep in the Car

Today’s guest post is by Carrie Dotson at

The holidays are here, and keeping your small child on a reliable sleep schedule is challenging enough without any additional complicating factors thrown into the mix. While some parents swear by the power of a long drive to send a child straight to dreamland, others refuse to let their children sleep in the car because they don’t transition well from the car to their bed. A short spin can lull a toddler into sleeping for a few minutes, but also result in him refusing to nap later in the day. The crankiness that ensues from a skipped nap is enough to make these parents go to great lengths to keep their kids awake during car rides; here are 10 of the methods some parents swear by.

  1. Special Toys – Though it may seem a bit cruel to reserve your kids’ favorite toys for use only during car rides, the excitement of being able to spend time playing with a beloved car or doll may be just enough to keep a little one awake and engaged during his trip.
  2. Sing-along Time – A singing child is usually one that’s elated and excited, and not in the least bit sleepy. While it may mean that you’ll have to swallow your pride and belt out a few silly tunes that your little one is particularly fond of, a few duets while you’re driving may mean a full nap and a happy child in the long run.
  3. Put Your Smartphone to Work for You – While you may be a bit loath to hand your pricey mobile device over to little fingers, there are so many apps designed specifically for toddlers and young children that you’re sure to find one that will stave off the boredom that could cause your little one to doze off.
  4. Enlist the Help of a Sibling – An older sibling can be the best tool at your disposal when you need to keep a youngster awake in the car. Because he can focus all of his attention on his younger sibling by talking and playing with her during the ride, you can rest assured that she’ll be actively engaged so that you’re able to focus on the road ahead without distraction.
  5. Word Games – Older kids that have stronger verbal skills can be entertained with word games like “I Spy” for the duration of a relatively short car trip. Not only will these games keep him awake, they’ll also help to strengthen his speech skills and broaden his vocabulary.
  6. Allow Some Screen Time Flexibility – Limiting kids’ screen time is a very important issue for many parents, but it may be an area where you should consider being a bit more flexible when it comes to car rides. Little ones that are rarely allowed to watch a favorite video may be excited enough by a portable DVD player that they fight any urge to sleep, simply so they can get the most out of the treat.
  7. Books for Older Kids – When a child is just learning to read, he’ll probably want to show off his new skills at every opportunity. Ask your child to read to you while you drive; it’ll keep him awake and give you the opportunity to provide verbal assistance as well.
  8. Snacks and Drinks – If you’re not squeamish about the idea of letting your child have a small snack or drink in your vehicle, it could be an effective method of keeping her awake in the car. Be sure, however, that any food you provide does not present a choking hazard and avoid this tactic with little ones that are still new to solid foods.
  9. Pull Over – When all else fails, you may have to pull over and take a walk to stave off an impending nap. While it may not be wise to do so after dark or in less than ideal weather, a brisk walk may be just what the doctor ordered when a drowsy child is beginning to nod off.
  10. Ask Questions – One way to keep your children engaged and awake is to ask them questions about themselves and the different things they see during the car ride. Have them point out different colors or words that they see on signs, or ask them where various body parts are, like their eyes, mouth or ears. In addition to keeping them awake, this can help them learn about themselves and the world around them.

While preserving that afternoon nap can feel like one of your number one priorities for the day, remember to stay safe while trying to keep your child awake. Distracted driving that is the result of attempting to look at your child, engaging with him to keep him alert, or shuffling through your music library to find his favorite song can be very hazardous, leaving both you and your child in serious danger. Sometimes, it’s better to simply accept that your child is sleeping and deal with the repercussions when you’ve reached your own home safely.

Carrie Dotson, regularly writes for She is a graduate in English literature and currently pursuing her masters in Online Journalism. She can be reached via email at:

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