21 Blogs with Inspirational Ways to Teach Your Kids to Pay it Forward

payitforwardThe phrase “pay it forward” is one that is used when a person does something nice for another person after they themselves have received a random act of kindness. When you are the recipient of a random act of kindness and want to pay it forward you don’t repay the person who did something nice for you, but instead do something nice for someone else. As more parents become concerned over a growing sense of entitlement in children, the desire to teach children to pay it forward becomes greater. With the help of these 21 blog entries, you can find several ways to encourage your kids to pay it forward to others.

Everyday Kindness

Paying it forward doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Small everyday acts of kindness teach kids to open their eyes to the needs of the world and lend a helping hand if they can.  Simply carrying groceries for someone who has too many bags or holding the door for someone can go a long ways in brightening someone’s day.  For more examples showing acts of everyday kindness, take a look at these seven blog posts.

Local Needs

Teaching kids to look around their community for ways that they can help out will teach them the delight that comes from helping others. Volunteering can help open a child’s eyes to those in need and experience the joy that comes from helping them. Check out these seven blog entries to learn where your kids can go to pay forward all of the many blessings that they have been given.

Ways Kids are Paying It Forward

To get you and your kids inspired to pay it forward, take a look at the stories in these seven blog articles that feature kids who have done acts of kindness of all kinds all over the country.

10 Peanut Free School Lunch Ideas

lunchchildWhether your child suffers from a peanut allergy or attends a peanut free school, finding alternatives for school lunches that contain no peanut products can, at first blush, be a challenge. With a bit of forethought, however, you will find that skipping the peanuts is easier than you may have initially thought. These ten ideas will help you to consistently pack a safe, allergy-conscious lunch for your little one.

  • Personal Pizza – Slather a bagel or English muffin with pizza sauce, sprinkle with cheese and add your child’s favorite toppings before packaging it for a peanut-free lunch that’s sure to be a hit. If you want to simulate pre-packaged mini pizzas, put the toppings and sauces in separate containers so kids can assemble their own lunch.
  • Pita Pockets – Sandwiches are a classic brown bag lunch fixture, but they can also be a bit boring. Instead of sending a sandwich, why not stuff a pita pocket with your child’s favorite peanut-free fixings? She’ll love the novelty of a self-contained meal, and the pocket can cut down on dribbles, spills and accidents.
  • Sunbutter and Jelly Sandwiches – Some peanut-free schools don’t allow kids to bring anything resembling peanut butter in, so it’s wise to make sure that sunbutter and soy nut butter are allowed before packing a lunch containing these peanut butter alternatives. If it’s allowed, however, these delicious substitutes are sure to be a hit.
  • Deli Wrap Pinwheels – Assemble a sandwich wrap made in a peanut-free facility with meats and cheeses that your child loves, then slice the whole thing into fun, finger food spirals. The smaller the portions are, the more easily kids can gauge when they’re full and the more fun they are to eat.
  • Pasta Salads – There’s an endless combination of dressings, veggies and add-ins for pasta salads, just be sure that everything is manufactured in a peanut-free facility before assembling your child’s lunch. Beware that premade pasta salads, especially those with Asian flavors, may contain peanuts or peanut oil, so check the label carefully.
  • Traditional Bento Box – Rice, protein and fresh produce are the staples of a Japanese bento lunch, so it’s easy to omit peanuts from the mix. Not all bento lunches are the ornate, time-consuming affair that cute-food bloggers espouse, either. Don’t allow these elaborate offerings to scare you away, because there are quick and easy bento recipes out there.
  • Quesadillas – Tortillas made in a peanut-free facility and grilled with cheese, beans and meat are just as good when they’re cold, and they don’t contain peanut products that could potentially spur a reaction in allergic kids.
  • DIY Mini Lunches – Those prepackaged lunch kits with crackers, cheese slices and deli meats are expensive, full of chemical additives and often contain a dessert of candy or baked goods manufactured in facilities that process peanuts. Pack your own version to not only save money and include healthier fare, but also to eliminate the possibility of peanut contaminated ingredients.
  • Kabobs – Whether you opt for fruits, veggies or a deconstructed sandwich made of bread cubes, deli meat pinwheels and cheese cubes, kabobs are a fun way for older kids to enjoy a wholesome, peanut-free lunch. As with all processed foods, just be sure that the bread is baked in a peanut-free manufacturing facility. Given the sensitivity of schools towards anything that can be used as a weapon, be sure to check with your child’s teacher before serving lunch on a stick.
  • Popcorn – Potato chips are full of grease and empty calories, but the air-popped popcorn that you make at home is sure to be free of peanuts if the label contains no warnings regarding shared manufacturing facilities. Include this healthy, fun snack as a side.

If your child does not suffer from a peanut allergy but attends a peanut-free school, it can be tempting to “cheat” every once in a while. It’s imperative to understand that peanut allergies are potentially lethal for the kids who suffer from them, and that even skin contact with a peanut-contaminated surface can have serious repercussions. Your child’s allergic classmate deserves to attend school without fear of contact with a substance to which he is deathly allergic, so adhere to peanut-free guidelines and save the PB&J for an after-school snack.

5 Tips for Preventing Head Lice in Kids

liceThe news of a head lice outbreak at school is one of the most common, albeit most upsetting, aspects of raising children. Some schools seem to have an outbreak every year, and transmission is common among kids who come into close contact with one another through play and socialization. While there’s little you can do to limit kids’ exposure to head lice, there are a few things you can do to reduce their chances of bringing an infestation home.

  • Talk About Appropriate Versus Inappropriate Sharing – After spending your kids’ early years impressing upon them the importance of sharing, the last thing that you probably want to do is start talking about times when they shouldn’t share. This is, however, one of your most effective lines of defense when an outbreak of head lice is ravaging the population of your child’s school. Make a point of talking about appropriate sharing versus inappropriate sharing with your child before messages come home about reported cases of head lice to minimize her chance of bringing these little critters home.
  • Check Kids’ Hair Regularly – You should regularly check your kids’ hair for lice, even if there have been no reported outbreaks of lice in their school. It’s especially wise to do so after sleepovers and overnight play dates to reduce the chances of your kids’ bedclothes and the rest of the house becoming invested by any nits or lice they may have picked up at a slumber party.
  • Buy Hair Products That Do Double-Duty – There are shampoos, conditioners and detangling products on the market designed to prevent or lessen the likelihood of a head lice infestation, and many are made from all-natural substances. Look for these products when your kids start attending school, and just make the switch a permanent one while they’re still young and unclear about how lice are spread.
  • Maintain an Open Line of Communication With Teachers and School Administrators – Your child may have a letter sent home from school detailing a recent reported case of head lice or an ongoing outbreak, but that letter may also never make it to your hands since it probably won’t need to be signed and returned. Making sure that you’re maintaining an open line of communication with your child’s teachers and school administrators can help you get the message about possible infestations when the news breaks, helping you to contain the situation if your child has been exposed and prompting you to check for signs of lice.
  • Help Older Kids Understand How Lice Spread – Small children may become terrified at the idea of tiny bugs living on their head, and may not yet be able to grasp just where they come from or how kids spread them to one another. Older kids, however, can understand that head-to-head contact, sharing hats and hair products and other behavior of this kind can help one person transmit head lice to another. Make sure that, when they’re old enough to process the information without panicking, your kids know how head lice spread and what they can do to minimize their exposure whenever possible.

Should all of your efforts prove to be in vain, there is a wider selection of treatment options available now than in years past. All-natural treatments are even gaining ground in many circles, though some products may require more than one application to be truly effective. Be sure that you’re not only treating kids’ heads, but also their beds, clothing and personal items to stamp out an infestation, should one take root.

10 Reasons Your Child Should See a Specialist

visiontestAlthough you might love your child’s pediatrician, sometimes you may wonder if you need to see a specialist who has a deeper understanding of a particular issue. Unless your doctor refers you elsewhere, it’s difficult to discern whether or not you need a specialist to examine a particular area in greater depth. There is never any reason to fear asking for a referral to see a specialist. It will not insult your pediatrician if you do so. Pediatricians are general doctors, and they do not have the extensive knowledge that specialists do in their particular fields. You should also not worry about being overly cautious or paranoid when it comes to your child, because it’s always better to err on the side of caution when the concern in question relates to your child’s emotional or physical well-being. That being said, there are many times that a good pediatrician or family doctor will be all you need. Here are ten times you definitely should seek out a pediatric specialist.

  • You Suspect a Developmental Delay – If you suspect attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities or if your child is very behind in meeting the developmental milestones, seeing a developmental pediatrician is a good idea. Recently, many general doctors have begun to shy away from making these kinds of diagnoses and prescribing medication for them. Because this is all the developmental pediatrician does, they are often more up-to-date on the latest information and treatments. A developmental pediatrician can also help guide you through what other professionals your child should see and what other tests you should have performed.
  • Your Child has a Severe Asthma Attack – If your child has had a severe asthma attack that required hospitalization or his asthma is not well controlled even when following the doctor’s guidelines, you should consider seeing a pediatric pulmonologist. Additionally, if your child has a cough or congestion that never goes away, he coughs when exercising or he seems to stop breathing in his sleep, you should seek out this specialist.
  • Behavior or Mood Issues – As a parent, it is up to you to decide whether your child is “going through a phase” or could use some help, but generally speaking if your child seems depressed, withdrawn, aggressive or is having a tough time adjusting to a big change or tragedy, taking her to a therapist or child psychologist is a good idea. Many counselors use play therapy so that the children enjoy going. Therapy can help kids develop coping skills that they can utilize for the rest of their lives.
  • Your Child is Not Listening to You – If your child is unresponsive when you call her in for dinner or tell her it’s homework time, she may not be ignoring you. Many kids have auditory processing disorders, and taking them to an audiologist can help determine if this is the case. Not all kids with hearing issues have difficulty hearing, which can be confusing for some parents. For example, if you take a child with an auditory processing disorder into a quiet room and ask if she can hear you, she will usually say, “Yes.” However, if you turn on the television or take her into a loud room with lots of distractions, she may not be able to filter out the background noise and will no longer be able to process what you are saying. Some kids with auditory processing disorders hear the beginning of a sentence but not the end. They sometimes then fill in the parts they did not hear with what they assume was said. These kids may appear to not be following directions and just doing things their own way when, in fact, they just did not hear the instructions in their entirety. Seeing an audiologist can help to diagnosis this issue and learn to cope with it.
  • Vision Problems – If your child is telling you that his vision is blurry or he has frequent headaches, you should take him to an ophthalmologist. Often, vision issues do not get diagnosed until a child is in school and is having trouble reading, but some younger children will report vision issues to their parents prior to this. If your child tells you they are having issues seeing, it’s good to take heed because many vision problems can be corrected.
  • Chronic Ear Infections – When a child gets chronic ear infections, usually more than three in a season or five in a year, it’s time to see an ENT or otolaryngologist. These doctors can make sure there is nothing more serious going on and can treat for these chronic infections, often by putting tubes in the ears for drainage.
  • Delayed Speech or Trouble Articulating – If your child’s speech seems well behind that of his peers and people do not understand him, it may well be time to take him to a speech and language pathologist for treatment. Whether your child is non-verbal or has articulation issues, a speech therapist can work with him to correct it.
  • Headaches, Weakness or Seizures – If your child has frequent headaches, experiences what you think is a seizure or has extreme weakness, a neurologist would be the specialist to see. Neurologists are also helpful for children who have been diagnosed with ADHD and learning disabilities.
  • Bedwetting and Incontinence – If a child is over the age of seven and wets the bed more than two or three times per week, it is recommended that they see a pediatric urologist. This doctor can rule out infections, kidney problems and other health issues that may be causing the enuresis. The urologist can then offer treatment options.
  • Digestive Issues – When a child is suffering from any ongoing digestive issue, such as constipation, acid reflux or nutritional problems, she should see a pediatric gastroenterologist. Pediatric gastroenterologists are specially trained to run tests and treat children specifically, and to ensure their comfort when they do so.

Helping Your Child Take Safe Risks

safeThe first instinct of most parents when confronted with the idea of allowing, let alone encouraging, kids to take risks typically involves preventing any risky behavior at all. While you certainly don’t want to encourage your child to jump from the top of a tree or take off across the street without looking both ways first, it’s important to understand just how integral taking safe risks is to the development of your child. Taking risks and making mistakes are essential learning experiences, and are key to your child’s development into a healthy, independent and functioning adult. What’s important is having an understanding of what’s safe in terms of risk-taking, and what risky behavior can constitute a lack of safety.

Understanding Safe Risks

In order to learn new things through experiences, a child must try new things and take the chance of making a mistake. That means that she needs an adult who’s willing to help her through safe risks and redirect her attention from those that aren’t so safe. A small child doesn’t always foresee the natural consequences of a choice, which means that she may not be able to understand the inherent danger in a particular activity. If your child could seriously injure herself or someone else with a decision, it’s almost certainly not a safe risk. If she can safely make a mistake without causing real damage, it may be a risk that is okay for her to take.

Talk About Risks

Talk to your child about the possible consequences of her actions, both positive and negative. Help her to understand the difference between a safe risk and an unsafe one, and what she could potentially gain if her risk pays off in the long run. Don’t encourage or discourage a safe risk, just help her to identify the possible drawbacks and benefits that could stem from making the decision on her own. Work on identifying the consequences of not acting, as well as the result of taking a leap of faith.

Let Kids Solve Their Own Problems

When hardship inevitably rears its ugly head, it’s important that you allow your child to manage her problems on her own. That doesn’t mean that you can’t offer advice if she asks for it, but that you shouldn’t swoop in to solve the issue for her. Your child needs to feel the consequences of the risks she takes in order to learn from them. Be there for your child when she’s disappointed or things don’t turn out the way she hoped, make yourself available to talk about the situation and empathize accordingly, but make sure that you’re not stifling her or robbing her of the chance to learn from the situation.

Start a Journal

Start a journal with your child that chronicles the risks she has taken, or those she is considering. Not only will the action of committing these situations to paper and documenting the benefits and repercussions of acting help her to understand them more, but she’ll also have a reference to look back on when she’s contemplating future endeavors. This journal will eventually serve as a chronicle of her growth and development as an independent person as she gets older.

Understand the Problems With Helicopter Parenting

Hovering over your child and dictating her every move, otherwise known as “helicopter parenting,” will probably keep her safe and sound throughout her childhood. She may never know disappointment, pain or sadness. She will also be woefully unequipped to deal with these inevitable feelings when they begin to manifest as she gets older. Rather than hovering over your child, understand that it is your job to help her take safe risks, identify them and to understand the difference between taking a safe risk and engaging in dangerously risky behavior.

Green Living Tips for Today’s Busy Families

greenModern day families live a hustle and bustle lifestyle. Between driving kids to activities, working, shopping and maintaining a household, there is little time to think about the environment. Many decisions are made hastily and in the name of convenience because there is simply not enough time to plan for the long term and the big picture.

The solution to this dilemma is to implement small changes that, over time, will become habits and part of the daily routine. As you change over to living greener, you will find that you often save both time and money in the long run. More importantly, you will be saving the planet and making it a better place for your children and for generations to come.

Eating Green

Food is a great place to start when changing over to a more environmentally friendly practice. The first thing you will want to do is buy organic whenever possible. You don’t want to feed your family the pesticides found on many commercially grown crops or the hormones fed to much of the livestock. Shopping at a local farmer’s market is a wonderful way to get organic foods and support your local farms. A convenient way to fit this in is seeking one out that is nearby to your children’s activities so that you can pick up the produce while waiting for the kids to finish up with a practice or club meeting. If you have the time to go a step further, try growing some of your own foods in a pesticide free garden at home.

Try to ditch the processed foods that are filled with preservatives and chemicals. Keep a bowl filled with fruit accessible to the family for snacking. Veggies and dip are another healthy snack option. You can also bake some homemade snacks so that you can control the ingredients. If you are worried about the cost of buying organic foods, remember that if you take some other green steps, such as cutting down on your meat intake and no longer buying commercial cleaning products, your grocery bill should not show any significant changes.

Another food related tip is to stop shopping for beverages altogether. The best drink for anyone in your home is water. You don’t need to buy cases of plastic water bottles to obtain it, either. Instead, invest in reusable bottles for the whole family that they can take on the go. If you do not like tap water, make another one-time purchase of a water filter.

If you are a coffee lover and often visit your favorite coffee shop in the morning or between stops after school, consider buying one of their reusable cups rather than a paper or foam cup each day. If you do wind up with an old paper cup, think about using it as a planter or rinsing it out and using it to clean paint brushes during the kids’ next craft project.

When it comes to preparing foods, use the microwave as little as possible. If you must use the microwave, be sure to never use plastics in it. The Environmental Working Group states that certain chemicals in plastics have been linked to birth defects, and these chemicals are released when heated.  In fact, avoiding plastics as much as possible is a good rule of thumb because they are terrible for the planet anyway. The worst offenders that you will want to avoid are those marked with a three, six, or seven on the bottom.

Keeping a Clean, Green House

For cleaning, there is no reason to buy chemical products. White vinegar can clean almost anything. If you also add castile soap, tea tree oil, baking soda and borax to your cleaning cupboard, you will be all set to clean your home from top to bottom with all natural substances, and for a fraction of the usual cost. Since you will be mixing your own cleaners, you will also be able to reuse the spray bottles, causing less waste.

Cutting Down on Household Waste

When you take your trips to the store, be sure to bring your own reusable shopping bags. They don’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. Anything you have at home that can carry groceries will do. If you can reuse bags, then factories will produce less of them. This saves trees in the case of paper and prevents harmful chemicals in the case of plastic.

With paper, there are lots of ways to save. First, instead of sending out letters and invitations, use email and evites. To clean out your own physical mailbox, consider opting out of junk mail. Catalogchoice.org and DMAchoice.org are two websites you can visit to do this. You can also go paperless with most of your bills by visiting each company’s website or making a phone call to let the company know that you prefer to have your bills sent electronically. On holidays, be creative. Think of wrapping a gift in something you have around the house, like newspaper, fabric or brown grocery bags.

Making your house run more efficiently is not as difficult as most people think. You can take some simple steps that will save your family a lot of money and the planet a lot of energy. Start with the refrigerator, because this is the appliance that uses the most electricity. Unplug it and clean the coils every six months with a vacuum attachment. Ensure its settings are placed where they are most efficient: between 38 and 40 for the fridge and zero and five for the freezer. Next, think about your water use. Consider replacing fixtures and toilets with low-flow versions. Use water saving shower heads, and think about getting faucet aerators. Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are fully loaded, and when it comes to clothes always use cold water. Replace your standard light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent ones, and leave notes near room exits to remind family members to turn off the lights when leaving. When you have items plugged in, even if they are turned off, they are using energy. Use power strips to plug these in so that you can shut the strip off easily instead of having to unplug each item one by one.

When cleaning out clutter in closets and garages, instead of just throwing things away, consider freecycling the items instead. Freecycling is just a fancy way of saying “giving it away.” What you don’t want, someone else may be able to use. You can donate the items or visit The Freecycle Network’s website and post what you have to offer to your local group. Often, someone is willing to come and pick up your unwanted clutter the same day. You can also utilize online classifieds such as Craigslist to give away items. This keeps items out of landfills and allows someone else to put them to good use.

Busy families spend a lot of time in their cars commuting to work and activities. If you find your child has a local friend attending the same activity, ask the parents if they would like to have the kids carpool and take turns driving. This can free up time and gas money for both families, while reducing harmful toxins in the air. Keep your tires pumped up to save gas. When it comes time for a new family vehicle, consider a hybrid.

Teaching Green Habits

Children learn from their parents, mainly from watching what their parents do. The best thing you can do as a parent is instill a love for the planet in your children by cultivating that within yourself. When your kids see you taking care and pride in your environment, they will learn to do the same. Taking walks out in nature, playing outdoors, flying kites and watching the sunset are all wonderful activities that can deepen your family’s relationship with the Earth and help them appreciate the need for a greener lifestyle. Choosing to live green benefits everyone in many ways. The planet as a whole supports you better, your health thrives and your finances improve. Each of these simple changes can be implemented over time without the family feeling any major shift in their routines, yet the impact this green makeover will have on your family and your surroundings is priceless.

10 iPhone Apps You Can Use to Monitor Your Kids Internet Use

boysmartphoneThere is no doubt that the iPhone can act as a great educational and entertainment tool for kids. However, with such a powerful tool at his fingertips, your little one may inadvertently stumble upon inappropriate or harmful content. With these 10 parental control apps, you can monitor and control what your child accesses through his phone, providing a safe and enjoyable environment that will give you peace of mind, too.

  • K9 Web Protection Browser – This app is a must have for cautious parents everywhere. While most parental control apps block almost everything to the point of excess or allow scads of questionable content through, K9’s intelligent web browsing technology identifies only potentially harmful or inappropriate sites. Pornography, malicious or phishing sites are automatically added to the blacklist, allowing your kids to browse in complete safety. Best of all, the app is free.
  • Mobicip Safe Browser – Mobicip offers some great filtering features, which allow you to set protocols for multiple users according to age or preference. You can allow or block by category, keywords and specific websites. The browser is similar to the iPhone’s default Safari browser, which will eliminate the learning curve. This free app also comes with a time limit feature, which allows you to control how much time your kids spend on the internet.
  • Kidsafe YouTube Lite – Designed to filter Youtube videos, Kidsafe lets you determine what is safe for your little ones to watch. The app automatically blocks adult related content, however, you can also choose entire categories, playlists or single videos to block or allow. For total control, you can set up bookmarked lists of videos with this free app, creating a completely parental approved collection of content for your kids.
  • Ranger Browser – As well as filtering inappropriate content, Ranger Browser allows you, as the parent, to monitor your child’s Internet history from anywhere in the world. The browser takes advantage of already established and trusted blacklists and whitelists to create safe filters for your child. Ranger Browser also has a time limit feature, which you fully control. This is another great free app for the parents of iPhone users.
  • Browser for Kids – For $0.99 you get to control everything that your kids browse using their iPhone or iPad. Unlike many other parental control apps, the time limit feature on Browser for Kids uses a password lock. Your child cannot access the browser after the allotted time until the next morning or when you enter the password.
  • B.O.B. – The Parental Control Web Browser – The problem with a lot of parental control apps is that they rely on blacklists or search filters that are easily bypassed by determined site creators. With B.O.B, your child cannot view any site that you have not approved. The app comes at the cost of a one-off $3.99 fee, however, many similar apps charge much more for premium access on a yearly fee.
  • McGruff SafeGuard Browser – Multi-user features are hard to find on kid-safe browsers, so McGruff SafeGuard Browser is definitely an app to consider as it supports profiles for all the family. The blacklist feature prevents access to pornography, questionable content sites, inappropriate YouTube content and potentially dangerous websites. Parents also have the option of taking complete control of each child’s browsing habits. Add a detailed summary of browsing history for parents to the list, and this free app more than stacks up against the competition.
  • Screen Time – Just as the name suggests, Screen Time sets limits on how much time your child spends using his iPhone. The app lets you predetermine the amount of time for each child, and when time runs out, the app sends a series of notifications letting your child know. Before your child can access the iPhone again, you must enter a four digit pin-code. This free app is extremely effective and easy to use, and allows you to set boundaries for your child’s phone time.
  • Kids TV – Safe Videos For Children – With Kids TV you can utilize handpicked video lists that are specifically aimed at kids, as well as set up your own filter lists. This app is all about giving parents total control and providing peace of mind that your kids are safe on the net. The app usually costs $1.99, however, the developers often run promotions giving Kids TV away for free.
  • AppCertain – The app monitor – How about an app to tell you when your kids install new apps? AppCertain will send you an email every time your child downloads and installs a new app on his iPhone. You receive a short description of the app, which allows you to decide whether it is age appropriate or not. Combine this free app with a parental control browser and you will virtually ensure your child never views inappropriate content from his iPhone.

How to Save a Tooth That Gets Accidentally Knocked Out

toothIt happened. Maybe it was a sports injury, a bite from an apple or your child’s head slamming into your mouth, but whatever the cause, you find yourself holding your tooth in your hand. Before you panic, know that in many cases a knocked out tooth can be saved and reimplanted. You just have to act fast.

Take Precautionary Measures Immediately

The first thing you want to make sure of is that you are holding the tooth by the crown and not the root. The roots are fragile and, if damaged, are beyond repair. If it is dirty, rinse the tooth in water. If you have the option to use salt water, saline or milk to rinse it, use one of those instead. It’s better to use a bowl for rinsing, or at least run the water in a very slow and gentle stream, because even a rush of water can harm the root. Make sure not to brush or scrape at the tooth while cleaning it. Also, do not use any soap, toothpaste or any other chemicals. Finally, do not dry the tooth when you are finished under any circumstances. If your mouth is still bleeding, apply gauze and press until the bleeding subsides. You can use ice for pain or swelling of the gums.

Now that you are holding the tooth by the crown and it is clean, you can try putting the tooth back into its socket. Position it in the correct space and bite down gently. You can use some gauze or even a moistened tea bag to bite down on. If for some reason it is not possible to reinsert the tooth, put the tooth in a container with some whole milk or with saliva. The tooth must be kept moist at all times in order to save it, but do not submerge or store it in plain water. Another option you have is to stick the tooth behind your lower lip so it is nestled between your lip and gum. This will keep it wet. Some first aid kits have a container in them with fluid made specifically to save knocked out teeth. Check and see if you have one of these. If you do, use it. This fluid will usually save the tooth for longer than the other methods.

Get to the Dentist as Soon as Possible

Now, you should immediately head to your dentist, or any nearby dentist, with your tooth. Get there as fast as possible for the best odds of being able to reimplant your original tooth. Remember, your tooth is alive, but it starts to die 15 minutes after it is removed from the body. Keeping it moistened with saliva or whole milk extends its life somewhat. If you have a tooth saving product in your first aid kit, it can live on for about a day, but you still need to seek medical attention as quickly as possible for the best odds.

If you have already put your tooth back in place, you actually took the first step to reimplanting it. The dentist will then make sure it is in the right spot and splint it to the adjacent teeth with clear plastic or wire to hold it steady while it heals. If the dentist tells you your tooth cannot be saved, do not despair. You will have options such as a bridge, an implant or a denture.

Take Special Steps for Little Ones

Please note that if it is a child that has lost a tooth, and it is a baby tooth, you should not try to place the tooth back in its socket. If this tooth reimplants, it can harm the bud of the new adult tooth. Store the tooth using one of methods outside of the mouth and seek the advice of a pediatric dentist. In most cases, the baby tooth will simply be left out and that area will remain toothless until its permanent replacement grows in. Since all children lose their teeth at some point and have to go without them while waiting for the new ones, this is not usually so bad.

Most times, dental avulsion is something that happens by surprise and there is no way to avoid it. However, there are some things you can do to lesson your chances of it happening. For example, it is a fact that in sports more than five million teeth are knocked out each year and athletes without  mouth guards are 60 times more likely to suffer dental injuries. If you play contact sports, you should be sure to wear a mouth guard. When it comes to food, try not to bite down on hard candies, stale bread or bones. Finally, always be sure to wear your seat belt when in a vehicle to avoid tooth loss resulting from sudden impact in the event of an accident.

10 Ways to Remove a Bee Stinger Without Using Tweezers

beesBees are magnificent creatures. They are brightly colored and seemingly good natured. They work all the time, but do so quite happily, buzzing from one beautiful flower to the next. Most times, they are quite peaceful and docile. They simply want to make their honey and protect their queen. However, bees get nervous when anything threatens their chances of completing those goals. If a bee feels it or its hive may be in danger, it will engage its last resort, its sting, often giving up its life to do so. This is a sad ending, not only for the bee but also for the person who is stung. A bee sting burns and swells and must be treated quickly.

The first step in treating a bee sting is to remove the stinger. While many people reach for the tweezers, some suggest that this is not the optimal method to use. By squeezing the stinger, more venom can be released. Chances are, if you are out and about you may not have access to tweezers anyway. Here are some other methods to quickly and safely remove a stinger without reaching for cosmetic implements.

  • Reach for a Credit Card – Using the edge of a credit card, brush the surface of the skin. Start from an area behind the point of entry and push forward. The stinger will catch onto the edge of the card and slide out.
  • Whip Out a Needle – Sterilize a needle or pin with rubbing alcohol or boiling water and scrape the skin surrounding the stinger until the stinger is extracted.
  • Press Your Nail File into Service – Use the sandy side of a nail file to make short, quick strokes against the location where the stinger is lodged.
  • Use an Onion – One home remedy suggests using an onion to scape at the stinger. While it may take a few more scrapes to push it out, it is said that the onion takes away both the pain and the itch.
  • Scoop Up a Butter Knife – Use the dull edge of a butter knife to brush the skin and drive out the stinger.
  • Use Your Fingernail – Something you always have on you is your own fingernail! Use your nail to stroke the skin until the stinger is dislodged. It’s important to thoroughly wash the area afterwards, however, as your fingernails harbor more nasty bacteria than most people realize.
  • Penny – A penny, or any coin you have handy, can be used to scrape and extract a stinger. There is also an old wives’ tale that states that taping a penny to a sting (after the stinger is removed, of course) relieves pain and swelling.
  • Ice – If scraping at the stinger is not working, try icing it first. By first freezing the stinger, the scraping method often works faster and it helps to ensure the stinger comes out all in one piece. If the stinger is deep in the skin and you cannot see it, push down on the skin either in front of, or on the sides, of the point of entry. This should cause the stinger to rise up so you can see it. You may have to keep pressing down with one hand while scraping with the other.
  • Tape – Children often prefer this method of removal. Apply a piece of tape to the stinger location and gently pull the stinger forward, not up, until it is fully removed from the skin.
  • Wax – Usually the wax of choice for this is hair removal wax, but lanolin has also been known to work. Attach the sticky wax to something like a twig or toothpick and touch it to the stinger. Then, gently pull the stinger forward and out. You can also place the wax on the stinger and apply the paper or cloth used for hair removal to the wax and then guide the stinger slowly out.

The most important aspect in removing a stinger is to do it quickly. As much as you want to avoid squeezing out more venom, and thus causing more pain and swelling, it is better to get the stinger out than to leave it in. As you can see, there are many options, and one of them should be readily available to you no matter where you might be at the time of the injury.

Remember to be mindful of possible allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction are hives, swelling, respiratory distress, dizziness and fainting. If you see or experience any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.

10 Child Development Facts All Parents Should Know

developmentWhen it comes to parenting, there are almost as many incorrect myths and pieces of bad advice as there are scientifically sound facts passed around. From the moment you announce your impending addition to the family, you’ll be inundated with unsolicited advice of questionable veracity. These ten developmental facts, however, are among those that you should arm yourself with so that you are prepared and well informed about your little one’s growth.

  • Babies Are All Born Too Early – Because women’s bodies are built for both walking upright and carrying children, their pelvises are physiologically incapable of carrying an infant to what would be full term. That’s why many parenting experts use the term “fourth trimester” to describe the first weeks of a baby’s life. Your child is not quite fully formed at the time of her delivery, which is why she’s so needy and relatively aloof to social contact. Dr. Harvey Karp, renowned parenting expert, is a champion of the Fourth Trimester parenting style and covers it heavily in his Happiest Baby on the Block series of bestselling parenting books.
  • Development is Influenced By Both Genetics and Environment – The debate about “nature versus nurture” may still rage, but the unique interaction between genetic material and the environment in which your child grows has a very real impact on how she reaches maturity. Old wives’ tales may take either side of the debate, but the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
  • Physical Development Follows a Directional Pattern – The center of your child’s body will develop first, with large muscles developing before the smaller ones. The process then becomes something akin to a top-down one, as your child’s head develops before her arms and legs.
  • Baby Talk is Beneficial – While your mother-in-law may insist that baby talk is bad for your infant and that you should only speak to him in complete sentences from the moment of his birth, there is actually some indication that baby talk is critical to infant development, according to neuroscientist Lise Eliot. Exaggerated tones and slow structure emphasize the critical components of language and make it easier for your little one to absorb words.
  • The Developmental Timeline Can Vary From Child to Child – The developmental milestones in parenting books and websites provide a good basic outline for the timeline of development, but it’s important to understand that there is quite a bit of wiggle room in that prescribed timeline. Slight delays aren’t necessarily cause for concern.
  • Corporal Punishment Can Hinder Intellectual Development – A study presented by University of New Hampshire professor Murray Straus showed a marked correlation between spanking and a lowered IQ, with the average discrepancy being four points. That means that children who are disciplined with corporal punishment do seem to exhibit adverse reactions, in terms of development.
  • Even Educational Television Doesn’t Aid in Infant Development – No matter how well a DVD system is marketed, it will not help your child become a genius when she’s an infant. That’s because infants tend to respond only to things that respond to them. No matter how advanced a DVD is, it can’t respond to the cues provided by your infant and, as such, are largely useless. Playing with your baby and interacting with her has far more value than the most expensive system of videos because you will respond to her cues.
  • Babies and Older Children Respond to Sounds Differently – Your toddler or preschooler isn’t necessarily ignoring you when she doesn’t respond to your calls while she’s in a crowded room. Kids actually find it more difficult to differentiate between background noise and speaking voices, which could be the reason why she’s not responding to your calls.
  • Right and Wrong are Learned Concepts – Before she reaches at least one year of age, your child does not understand the difference between right and wrong. That’s why sharing and cooperative play can be challenging at such a young age. A study published by Dr. Heather Paradis at the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that most parents aren’t aware of that fact. Before you punish your little one for doing “wrong,” stop to realize that she can’t even process that concept yet.
  • It Really Does Take a Village – The old adage about it taking a village to raise a child actually does hold water, it seems. Research published in Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development shows that kids do best when they have at least three consistent, loving and supportive adult influences in their lives.