Safe for the Summer

Tips for Keeping Kids Safe this Summer

Bright by Three - June 1, 2019

Kids are curious, creative, and at times clumsy. This combination can be a recipe for accidents as we all well know. While we want our little ones to adventure and discover the world in their own way, we also want to protect them. Summer is an exciting month to play outside, get dirty, and learn new activities. But, it’s also a time to take extra precautions.

The National Safety Council has declared the month of June National Safety month to increase the awareness families have about child safety and safety guidelines. We’ve got the keys to keep your safe this summer.

0-6 Months: Babies put everything in their mouth! It's how they learn about the world. Here are tips to protect her from anything dangerous.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, alcohol, and other items not safe for baby locked up and out of your child’s sight and reach.
  • Use safety caps on all medicines and toxic household products. Keep the safety caps on tightly at all times.
  • Be sure to keep all household products and medicines completely out of sight and reach.
  • Use safety latches on any cupboard doors within her reach.
  • Never store lye drain cleaners in your home.
  • Keep all products in their original containers.
  • Never leave your child unattended. Take advantage of baby carriers, front packs, backpacks, and slings to keep your baby safe with you.
If your baby does accidentally get into something poisonous, call the Poison Help Line immediately. Do not make your child vomit. Doctors will need to know exactly what the poison was to best help your child.

6-12 months: Baby is on the move and getting big! Time to baby-proof your home. It may also be time for a new car seat.
  • Use safety gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children from entering rooms with possible dangers. Don’t use spring or pressure-mounted gates at the top of stairs, as these can be pushed down easily.
  • Use cordless window coverings to prevent strangulation.
  • Use anchors on furniture, TVs, and ranges to avoid furniture tip-overs.
  • Use corner and edge bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces.
  • Use outlet covers to help prevent electrocution.
It is safest for your baby to be rear facing in his car seat until at least 2 years of age.
Types of rear-facing car seats:
  • Infant Car Seat (Rear-Facing only): Designed for newborns and small babies, the infant-only car seat is a small, portable seat that can only be used rear-facing. Babies usually outgrow their infant car seats by 9 months. When that happens, we recommend that parents purchase a convertible or all-in-one car seat and use it rear-facing.
  • Convertible Seat: As a child grows, this seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
  • All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat (with a harness and tether) and to a booster seat as a child grows. Because it can be used with children of various sizes, it allows for children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.

All Ages:
  • Fun in the water: Children love to play in the water. Learn how to keep your child safe in the pool and the bathtub.
  • Children can drown in less than 2 inches of water.
  • NEVER leave your child alone in or near a bathtub, pail of water, wading or swimming pool, or any other water, not even for a moment.
  • Stay within an arm’s length of your child around water.
  • Never leave floats in the pool after play, they are too tempting for little hands.
  • Empty all buckets after each use.
  • Keep the bathroom doors closed.
  • Close the toilet lid.
  • Helmet safety: Helmets protect young children on bikes, trikes, skates or scooters.
  • Emergency rooms see more bicycle and head injuries than any other childhood injury.
  • Helmets prevent head injuries, especially when they fit properly and are worn consistently.
  • Check out this PBS Video to learn how to keep your child safe with a helmet!
Safety in Sunshine and Heat:
  • Heatstroke can happen quickly if a child is left in the car and can lead to brain injury or even death. Never leave a child alone in the car, even just for a minute.
  • Cars can reach 125 degrees in just minutes, and open windows don’t help.
  • Even in temperatures as cool as 60 degrees, the car reaches dangerous temps. Learn more.
  • Use sunscreen every time your child is in the sun. Even if it’s cloudy and cool.
    • Just one bad, blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person’s chances of developing deadly skin cancer (melanoma) later in life.
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Sibling Sessions

Strategies and Techniques to Help Siblings Get Along

Bright by Three - May 1, 2019

If it takes a village to raise a child, raising a child and their sibling(s) may require a metropolis. Luckily, you can practice some simple strategies and techniques to help siblings get along as they each grow independently!

Welcoming a new baby? Congratulations! Here are some ways to help your older child adjust.
Some children are very excited about a new baby and are very gentle. For others, the arrival of a new baby is stressful and can feel like a loss of attention. Here are some tips to help with the transition.
  • Involve the older sibling  in the baby’s care, with your supervision. Allow him to hold the baby with you sitting right next to him. Let your older child help with diapering.
  • Ask your child to show visitors the baby’s room.
  • Giving your older child the opportunity to help is great, like asking him to get a blanket, a diaper, or a pacifier, but make sure to avoid asking him to run too many baby errands.
  • Set aside a special time every day just for the older child and use that time to hold, hug, and love just him.
  • Expect some “acting out” behavior while your older child adjusts to the new baby. Allow him to talk about his feelings, and offer reassurance that he is loved.  
  • Don’t punish your child for behavior that shows frustration. Let him know you understand having a new baby is frustrating, but everyone will adjust to the change over time.
  • Rather than scolding your older child, acknowledge his feelings: "It seems like you're feeling sad right now. Do you want a hug or a story?" Or "It's hard when you want me to do something and I need to help the baby."
It can be hard bringing a new baby into the family. Families First Support Line is available to listen, as well as to help you find solutions. Call them at 877-695-7996 anytime!

If you have a toddler and an older sibling, here are some ideas to keep your older child engaged.
Toddlers need lots of help to handle conflicts. Help your older child recognize that she was little once and had to learn all these things, too. She can help teach her younger sibling.
  • If your older child has a skill she’s proud of, let her show off to you. Pay attention to her and offer lots of praise and encouragement.
  • Toddlers like to imitate their older siblings, and toddlers learn by doing things they see their big sisters or brothers do. Invite your older child to be part of the “teaching team.”
  • Bring me a discovery. Ask your older child to find a rock, a bug or a flower and bring it to you. Say things like, “My goodness, you always find interesting rocks when you’re outside. You are such a good explorer!”
  • Draw a picture for me. Children love to draw and paint. Show interest and comment on her efforts. Say things like, “Look at all that blue! That’s so beautiful. Can I hang it by my desk?”
A little healthy competition is normal, but if you’ve got a sibling rivalry on your hands, take a look at these suggestions to calm the waters.
  1. The best thing a parent can do is to acknowledge sibling conflicts and pay attention (so that no one gets hurt), give them time and space to try and work it out, then help them resolve the problem if they are not able to solve it themselves.
  2. Try to help your children develop skills to work out conflicts on their own. Teach them how to compromise, respect one another, and divide things fairly.
  3. When parents jump into sibling arguments, they often protect and defend one child (usually the younger sibling). This may make the conflict worse, because the older child resents the younger, and the younger may feel that she can get away with more since the parent is “on her side.”
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Hop on the Potty Training Train

Tips for Potty Training

Bright by Three - April 1, 2019

All aboard the porcelain or plastic (in your kid’s case) train! There is so much information available on toilet (AKA potty) training, and we want to provide a quick guide for when your kids are ready for that transition. Follow these tips and your child will be ready for restroom independence in no time.

First of all, is your child ready for toilet training?

Toilet training is most successful when your child shows signs of readiness- both developmentally and behaviorally. Every child is different, with some showing signs of readiness between the ages of 18 and 24 months and others showing signs of readiness at older ages. In the U.S., successful completion of toilet training frequently occurs at around age 3, with girls typically completing the process a few months before boys.

Problems in toilet training often come up because parents don’t wait until their child is ready. Successful toilet training requires help from patient, understanding adults, and a child who is ready for the transition.

Specific signs of toilet training readiness may include when your child:
  • Can follow simple instructions.
  • Understands words about going to the bathroom (pee, poop, potty, etc.).
  • Knows what the toilet is for.
  • Can "hold it" for a short period of time when needing to go.
  • Can use words to express needing to go.
  • Is willing to stop activities to go to the toilet.
  • Shows interest in wearing a clean diaper or "big kid" underwear."
  • Keeps a diaper dry for two hours or more.
  • Can pull down training pants or underpants and clothes.
  • Shows an interest in using the toilet.

Here are some ideas for getting your child started with toilet training:
  • Talk about going to the toilet and use words to describe it.
  • Talk about the body sensations your child may feel when needing to use or when using the toilet.
  • Read books about going to the toilet.
  • Let your child watch you (or another trusted adult or siblings) use the toilet and talk about it. Imitation is a very good way for children to learn. Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take off or pull down.
  • Involve everyone in the family, and make sure all caregivers follow the same routine.
  • Encourage your child to tell you when their diaper is wet or soiled. Empty soiled diapers into the toilet and tell your child, "This is where poop goes," and let your child flush the toilet. Or try to "catch your child in the act" and suggest sitting on the toilet or potty chair at these times.
  • Go together to purchase a potty chair and "big kid" underpants. When using an adult toilet, consider putting a footrest in front of the toilet so that your child’s feet are supported when trying “to go”.

Lastly, here are some essential do’s and don’t when potty training your child:

  • Start the process when your child shows readiness.
  • Practice using the toilet or potty chair at times that you think will be successful. For example, if your child’s diaper is dry after a nap, ask your child to sit on the toilet potty chair and try to go. Other good times to ask your child to try may include a half hour after drinks or food or at the time of day your child typically has a dirty diaper.
  • Encourage your child to try, even if nothing happens.
  • Set routine times to try, and gently guide your child to use the toilet at these times.
  • Show support by staying in the bathroom if your child wants you to.
  • Teach healthy hygiene habits such as wiping from front to back and washing hands when done.
  • Point out effort, successes, and progress with hugs, kisses, and praise!

  • Force your child to sit on the toilet or potty chair.
  • Punish or make your child feel bad when accidents occur.
  • Nag or lecture about toileting. At this age, children are establishing independence so avoid creating battles over toileting.
  • Be disappointed or angry during the toileting process. It takes time for children to learn how to relax the muscles that control the bowel and bladder. At first, your child may have a bowel movement or urinate right after being taken off the toilet. While this may be frustrating for adults, it’s important to continue to praise your child’s effort.

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Child Chefs!

Teaching Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Bright by Three - March 1, 2019

You can also check out this blog post on Denver's top mom blog, Mile High Mamas.

Healthy eating means healthy children. Picking nutritious snacks and developing good eating habits is essential at an early age. Kids love to be little helpers in the kitchen, plus cooking can make them excited about foods they might otherwise be a bit wary to try. Take a look at these tips to make a chef out of your child!

Involving children in as many mealtime and cooking tasks as possible will give them a sense of freedom and make them more excited and willing to try new foods.

Here are some cooking tasks to try with your 3-4 year olds:
  • Measuring ingredients
  • Cutting with a plastic or dull butter knife
  • Squeezing juice from fruits
  • Shaking small containers, such as jars or zip-top bags, to mix ingredients
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Coming to the grocery store or farmer’s market and picking out fruits and vegetables
  • Helping in the garden Dipping foods into healthy dips

Making your own snacks in place of packaged snacks from the store just a couple of times per week can help children get the healthy foods they need without the fat, sugar, and excessive salt that could slow them down.

Instead of fruit-flavored snacks…Make Fruit Salad. Instead of snack or energy bars…Make Banana Crunch.

Meal time offers rich opportunities for kids to learn, grow, and improve development. Support your toddler’s preschool readiness skills with these meal time opportunities.

Improve motor skills:
  • Make sure dining furniture allows children to sit comfortably at the table.
  • Provide utensils that allow kids to eat successfully and safely.
  • Allow kids to serve themselves from serving bowls or plates. Provide child-sized tongs or spoons.

Improve language and math skills:
  • Talk about the colors, shapes, smells, tastes, and names of the foods being served.
  • Count the number of seeds in watermelon slices or peas in a spoonful. Ask how many slices of French toast or fruit are left after everybody takes one.
  • Have children play alphabet games. Ask them to show you all of the foods on their plates that begin with a certain letter.

Improve social skills:
  • Set clear expectations about behavior at the meal table. Model good manners.
  • Let kids take some responsibility in setting up the dinner table, preparing foods, and cleaning up afterward.
  • Help children learn to be considerate of others by asking them to respect personal space and share at the dinner table.

Improve healthy eating behaviors:
  • Help kids recognize when they’re hungry and when they’re full.
  • Allow them to get their own portion sizes accordingly. Allow children to make their own choices from the variety of healthy foods you serve.
  • Avoid using food as a punishment or reward.

Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-5 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up! *Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.

Use Your Resources: Games and Activities That Spark Learning Using Household Objects

February: Making Your Own Fun

Bright by Three - February 1, 2019

You can also check out this blog post on Denver's top mom blog, Mile High Mamas.

Games and activities are essential for fueling your child’s enthusiasm to learn And guess what, the greatest ones don’t require expensive toys or complicated supplies. Check out these tips for fun games and activities using household items, and save yourself some money!

Here are a couple games to try with your newborn baby.
  1. The Dropping Game: Babies begin to build their hand skills very early, and being able to grasp an object is the foundation for lifelong skills such as buttoning a shirt or writing with a pencil. Put a capped marker or plastic spoon in your child’s hand, then wait for him to drop it! Make sure to praise him when he drops it, then try it again! Take a look at this video to get started.
  2. The Reaching Game: Dangle a scarf, sock or colorful piece of cloth in front of your baby. Help him touch the fabric or shake it to get his attention. Encourage any movements toward the fabric by smiling and complimenting his efforts. Your positive comments encourage him to practice this skill, even though he will only kick and swat randomly at first. Make sure to keep an eye on him during this activity because scarves can present a hazard to babies.
At six months, your sitting up-baby can partake in more complex fun.
  1. Where’s the Object?: Sit at a table with your baby in your lap facing away from you. Show her an interesting object like a piece of fruit or a board book and talk about it to stimulate her interest. Place the fruit on the table and turn your baby so that she faces away from the object. Praise your baby’s efforts if she tries to turn to locate it. If she makes an effort to find the fruit, give it to her and give her a hug.
  2. Acting it Out: Play a game using rhyming words and actions to help your baby learn to predict the future. Hold your baby on your lap while you sing a song, such as “This is the Way the Farmer Rides,” or say a rhyme, such as: Ride the horsey, ride to town. Ride the horsey, don’t fall down. Bounce your baby to the rhythm of the song or rhyme and have him follow the actions indicated in the lyrics. For example, for “Ride the Horsey”, bounce your baby and then have him “fall down” through your legs while holding on to his chest, under his arms. Repeat the rhyme and movements several times. Then, pause before having your baby “fall down”. If he smiles, kicks his feet or tries to move his body down, your baby is learning to predict the future! Check out this video to watch how.
For children that are on their way to toddling, here are more activities..
  1. Scribble, Scribble: Your child will enjoy making marks on paper with crayons or in sand with a stick. Allowing him to practice will help him become aware of out how it feels to draw while using his hands and arms. By offering positive feedback when he makes different types of lines, he will notice how it feels to make a variety of designs. Check out this video to watch how.
  2. Roll the Ball: Help your child learn to share. Rolling a ball back and forth teaches cooperation, which will prepare your child for more advanced kinds of play with other children. Sit a few feet away from each other and get rolling.
  3. Splish, Splash!: Playing with water is fun! Talk to your child about his actions bathing in the tub or splashing in puddles. Some things you could say are: “Wow, you are splashing a lot. The soap is really slippery! You are pouring your pail of water. Playing in the water makes you laugh and be happy!”
Your preschooler learns so much with games and activities. Try these ideas to stimulate her creativity.
  1. Learn to Trace: Collect a variety of lids, plates and boxes that have different shapes. Sit at the table with your child on your lap, and show him how to trace one of the objects with his finger. Then, give him a crayon or pencil to trace around the object onto a piece of paper. Show him the shape that you created. Invite him to trace the line with his finger, and talk about the shape. Discuss how it matches the object that he traced.
  2. Let’s Make Decorations: To do this activity, use string or yarn and objects with large holes. This could be shower curtain rings, bracelets, toilet paper rolls or cookie cutters. Be sure to pick items that will be safe for your child to play with, and stay close by. To start, tie one of the objects at the end of the string, and invite him to string the other objects through in whatever order he wants! Help your child hang it in his room when you’re done. Supervise this game because strings can be potentially dangerous for kids to play with. Follow along with this video to help you get started.
  3. Spatial Relationships: For this activity, you will need a cardboard box large enough for your child to fit in, but small enough to move around easily. Let her play with the box. Talk to her about where she is relative to the box. “Wow, you are in the box! Now you’re behind the box!” Try lifting the box over her head. “Now you are under the box!” You can do this with more than just a box. When you are getting ready or making a meal, talk about what you need. “The fork is in the drawer. The bowl is on the counter. See if you can find your shoes under your bed.”
Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-5 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up!

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