Yesterday was International Walk to School Day, which is the annual global event that takes place in over 40 countries to celebrate the movement to make walking and biking to school safe year-round. At Wheresie, we’re passionate advocates for children’s safety, so we’ve pulled together these top tips to help parents teach their young children smart traffic skills as they grow.
- Teach where to walk and where to cross. The first and most important skill parents must teach their youngest children as they learn how to safely walk to school is where to walk and where to cross the street.Good rules of thumb to follow:
– For a road with a sidewalk on one or both sides of the road: Use the sidewalk for traveling in either direction (with traffic or against traffic).
– If no sidewalks exist on the road: Walk facing oncoming traffic on the same side of the road as the oncoming traffic. Stay as far to the side of the road as possible.
– When bicycling: Ride on the right side of the road (going in the same direction as car traffic).
- Practice makes perfect. Children will need lots of practice with walking and riding their bicycle to school at any age, but especially through ages six or seven as they adjust to new places and roads and hone their listening and concentration skills to make good decisions about finding safe routes and doing this consistently over time.
- Expect the unexpected. Remember, even as your little ones are learning (and possibly even mastering) their skills as safe walkers and bicycle riders, their curious nature as toddlers makes them prone to distraction and impulsivity. That’s why it’s imperative for parents to supervise always and also to model good behavior by stopping, looking and listening, and only crossing at safe crosswalks, etc.
Wheresie can give new parents peace of mind by letting them know where their toddler is at all times – whether he or she is near or far – by way of the wearable bluetooth device on the toddler’s clothing or shoe that connects parents through the Wheresie iPhone app.
Click here to preorder a Wheresie or to learn more about the #wheresiematters movement.
Parenting is a privilege and rewarding. But let’s face it, parenting is challenging. As parents, when we are pushed to the edge and back, we start questioning ourselves. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be disciplining my child like this? What am I doing wrong? Fortunately, there is a plethora of parenting books that offer advice and guide us through this challenging but rewarding phase in our lives. Here are 10 of our favorite books on parenting:
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. This national bestseller by respected pediatrician and child development expert Dr. Harvey Karp offers a method for calming a crying infant and promoting healthy sleep from day one. In what has been called one of the most important parenting book of the decade, this book reveals the secret “off-switch” to calm a crying baby.
Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother by Beth Ann Fennelly. This is a book of letters from a mother to her pregnant friend about the joyful parts of parenthood, instead of the horror stories well meaning “experienced” moms tell new moms.
Jo Frost’s Confident Baby Care by Jo Frost. Remember the TV’s Supernanny? I remember watching her show when my kids were little and taking notes. She has written a book that offers advice about taking care of a new baby. Like her show, the book’s tone is soothing and self-assured.
The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary, PhD. Dr. Tsabary offers an innovative parenting style that recognizes your child’s role in your own transformation as a parent. “ Once parents are learning alongside their children, power, control, and dominance become an archaic language. Instead, mutual kinship and spiritual partnership are the focus of the parent-child journey.” The overall message of this book was to be present with your child and that they are not your “mini me”. This book shows us how our behaviors affect our children, and can help us see what we are doing right and how we can improve as parents.
Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This book shared wise advice and funny cartoons to “help your children live together so you can live, too.” A friend swears by this book and says it changed the way she and her husband spoke to their children about each other.
The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins. This book is encouraging and offers a detailed guide that makes breastfeeding easier.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. The authors teach you how to keep the lines of communication open with your children, so you can talk openly and honestly about their worries, hopes, joys and fears. The book also includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including ways to cope with your child’s negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment, express your strong feelings without being hurtful, set firm limits and maintain goodwill, and use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline.
No-Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., provides an effective, compassionate road map for dealing with tantrums, tensions, and tears—without causing a scene. Within the pages of this book, parents can read about strategies that help parents identify their own discipline philosophy—and master the best methods to communicate the lessons they are trying to impart, facts on child brain development—and what kind of discipline is most appropriate and constructive at all ages and stage, the way to calmly and lovingly connect with a child—no matter how extreme the behavior—while still setting clear and consistent limits, tips for navigating your children through a tantrum to achieve insight, empathy, and repair, and twenty discipline mistakes even the best parents make—and how to stay focused on the principles of whole-brain parenting and discipline techniques
The Whole Brain Child, by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., offers twelve revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind. It is an excellent resource to help parents understand how a child’s brain develops and functions, and how they can help their child learn how to handle and respond to different experiences and challenges.
The Sleepeasy Solution by Jennifer Waldburger. I wish I had known about this book when I was sleep deprived with my second baby. The book explains why it’s important for babies to learn how to sleep, shows you step by step how to do it, and gives you pep talks throughout. If you’d like to teach your child to sleep, I highly recommend it.
Have you read any of these books?
Wheresie, the wearable the can save lives, is giving away a Kindle Fire HD pre-loaded with 5 best-selling parenting books that are on this list: The Conscious Parent, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & How to Listen So Kids Will Talk, No-Drama Discipline, The Happiest Baby on the Block, and Whole-Brain Child.
For your chance to win a Kindle Fire pre-loaded with these books, point your browser to: http://wheresie.com/kindle-giveaway/
By Gracie Bonds Staples
OK, in case you missed it. Yesterday was Child Health Day, which focuses on creating an awareness of ways to minimize or alleviate health problems that children may face, including asthma, diabetes and obesity.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to sit down with your young child and share some Play-It-Safe rules, so says
Abbie Schiller,CEO of The Mother Company, which provides tools to teach young children about safety.
Schiller, author of “Miles is the Boss of His Body,” about a 6-year-old who is uncomfortable with people patting, pinching and hugging him, recently shared with us six rules grownups should teach kids to Play-It-Safe. They’re listed below.
1 – “I Am the Boss of My Body!”
Every child should feel their body belongs to them, and they can be the ‘boss of it.’ Being the boss of your body means they have the right to say no to any kind of touch, even if it’s from someone they usually care about. It’s not that all touching is bad, but sometimes a child doesn’t want a tickle or a hug from someone.
2 – “I know my name, address and phone number, and my parent’s names too”
Don’t forget: kids need to know their parents’ cell phone numbers.
3 – “I never go anywhere or take anything from someone I don’t know.”
Remind your child about the “check first rule” whenever you’re on your way to the park, a party or event, or even when they’re playing outside. “Check first” is a great way to monitor what someone is asking from your child.
4 – “If I ever get lost in a public place, I can freeze & yell or go to a Mom with kids and ask for help.”
Studies have shown that another mom with kids will be most sympathetic to a lost, frightened child and will stay with that child until the problem is resolved.
5 – “I will always pay attention to my special inner voice, especially if I get an ‘Uh-Oh’ feeling.”
That’s a child friendly way to describe our instinct, when someone or something just doesn’t seem right. It’s crucial to teach kids to listen to their “uh-oh feeling.” You can say to your child: The “uh-oh” feeling is the little voice in your head that tells you “Uh-oh, this doesn’t seem right.” We want our children to feel comfortable telling us anytime they get an “uh-oh feeling.” It’s an empowering message for kids to know they can trust that feeling AND they can share that feeling with us at anytime.
Question: How do I know when my child is big enough to move out of a booster seat and ride with just the seat belt?
Answer: Every child grows at different rates, so the best indication as to when a child can move out of a booster is not age but rather their height. When a child reaches 4’9” they are typically tall enough that they no longer need a booster seat. At that point the seat belt will safely fit them like it does for an adult.
When deciding if your child is ready to move out of a booster seat, do the Safe Kids Safety Belt Fit Test.
1. Have them sit all the way back on the vehicle seat without their booster. Their knees should naturally bend over the front edge of the seat. If they don’t, return to a booster. If they do, move to step 2.
2. Buckle the seat belt. The lap belt should rest on the upper thighs. If it rests on the stomach, return to a booster. If it rests on the thighs, move to step 3.
3. The shoulder belt should rest on the collarbone. If it rests on the neck or face, return to a booster. If it rests on the collarbone, your child is ready to move out of a booster seat.
Usually between the ages of 8 and 12 years old is when most kids graduate out of a booster into a seat belt alone. It is important that you keep your child in a booster as long as they need it. Always remember to follow the age, weight and height recommendations of your booster seat. Visit any of our car seat check events with questions from 4 to 6 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at Aspirus Wausau Hospital or from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month at Yach’s Body & Custom in Rib Mountain.
Michelle Armstrong is coordinator of Safe Kids Wausau Area through Aspirus Wausau Hospital. For more information, email Michelle.email@example.com.
Feeling a little nervous about the first day of daycare? You’re definitely not alone. And short of sending in your own team of bodyguards, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to get through it. But making the transition to a new routine can also be an exciting time for you and your little one with the right preparation.
We’ve pulled together these top tips from the experts at Care.com to help make your first day of daycare just a little easier.
- Trust is everything. Kids experts Leana Greene reminds parents that finding the right caregiver or child care provider is key, especially when it comes to your feeling of trust and peace of mind. Since children are so perceptive, they’ll instantly sense any doubts or uneasiness from you, so be sure to take as much time as you need to get to know the people and the place for your child’s care beforehand so you’ll feel comfortable when the first day arrives. Plus, for added confidence, the Wheresie clip is the child safety device designed to keep your toddler safe and close even when she’s far. The iPhone Wheresie app will allow you to quickly and easily do an electronic “handoff” to your childcare provider and will give you added peace of mind knowing that you can check in throughout the day and see that your child is safe and sound.
- Pack a bit of home in their bag. Don’t forget to send a piece of “home” with your little one that will help them feel less anxious when it’s time to nap or have quiet time. A favorite toy or small blankie works well and can be packed right into their backpack along with a fresh change of clothes, diapers, and a snack.
- Make “Going Home” part of the fun. As part of the adjustment phase, you’ll want to reassure your toddler that going home is part of the fun. That means having a routine like a family game night or reading new books from the library so that when the day is over, you’ll both know that going home is an extension of the fun, new routine, and you can look forward to spending quality time together once you get there.
Click here to join the #wheresiematters movement on Kickstarter.
For more toddler tips, follow @wheresie on Twitter.
This summer, it seems like we were bombarded with headline after headline of children left in hot cars and dying. According to KidsandCars.org, more than 500 children have died after being left in hot cars since 2000. There are some states with laws in place to protect kids left in hot cars:
• California: It is a traffic violation to leave a child age 6 or younger in a car alone if conditions present a safety risk or if the vehicle is running.
• Florida: It is a misdemeanor crime to leave a child younger than 6 unsupervised in a car for more than 15 minutes or for any time if the vehicle is running or the child appears to be in distress. It becomes a felony if the above action results in great harm to the child.
The law also allows a law-enforcement officer who sees an unattended child in distress in a vehicle to use whatever means necessary to get the child out of the vehicle.
• Nevada: It is a misdemeanor crime to leave a child age 7 or younger alone in a vehicle if the conditions present a safety risk to the child or if the vehicle is left running.
• Tennessee: It is a misdemeanor crime to leave a child younger than 7 unattended in a vehicle if the conditions present a health risk or the vehicle is running or the keys are in the car.
A new law this year allows someone to break into a car to rescue a child if they believe the child is in imminent danger.
These laws are great, but only 19 states have them in place and only address the problem after the child has been left in the car.
When questioned, the overwhelming majority of parents who left their kids in the car say they simply forget. But what kind of person forgets his or her child? Here’s the shocking truth: Parents of all ages, ethnicities, and across a broad spectrum of socio-economic demographic have at some point forgotten their child in the car. Mothers are just as likely to forget as fathers. In a 2009 Washington Post, Gene Weingarten explains, “An otherwise loving and attentive parent one day gets busy, or distracted, or upset, or confused by a change in his or her daily routine.” It seems likely that a parent could forget their child for two or 10 minutes but several hours? In these cases, the parent often thinks he or she dropped the child off at daycare or at grandma’s house or wherever, and this idea becomes locked in her mind.
To make matters worse, children being left in hot cars have become more commonplace because of the much needed car seat laws. By law, children are required to sit in the backseat of the car strapped into car seats and infants sit in rear-facing car seats with their faces hidden from their parents eyesight.
In light of these tragedies, it is important to keep a few tips in mind to make sure parents don’t forget their children in the car:
- Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floor board in the back seat.
- Get in the habit of always opening the rear passenger door of the car every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind.
- Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.
- Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled.
- Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle after it is parked.
The busyness of daily schedules and parents’ tendency to forget is why Wheresie should be in every household. Dr. Wyche T. Coleman said, “So you put the device on the kid, and you connect the device to your phone. As long as it’s receiving that signal, everything is cool, everything is fine, but as soon as the signal’s lost and you walk too far away from the child, your phone is going to give you an alert saying you’ve disconnected from the child.”
That alert comes through even if your phone is on silent and vibrate. It also alerts the emergency contact you list on the app that’s connected to the Wheresie. Coleman says, “The peace of mind Wheresie can provide a parent or a caregiver is truly priceless.” He adds, “We cannot possibly keep up with the constant movement of curious toddlers at all times, and having a little extra help from technology is a beautiful thing, even for the most attentive parent.”
How Wheresie Works:
- Wheresie acts as a “virtual leash” that clips onto a child’s clothing or shoe and connects a parent or caregiver via low energy bluetooth technology (BLE) and the Wheresie application (for iPhone 4s, 5, 5C, 5S).
- Wheresie immediately alerts caregivers if the safe proximity distance (preset in the app by the parent or caregiver) has been broken for any reason.
- The proximity alert helps prevent accidents, such as a child getting lost or accidentally falling into a swimming pool, by alerting everyone associated with the child (whether they’re with them at the time or not) of the disconnection.
- For parents of infants to pre-k children, Wheresie provides peace of mind, allowing them to feel confident that their child is close and safe with whomever is caring for them. Through the Wheresie app, they can see who the child is with at all times and receive alerts when the child is handed off to a new caregiver or if the connection is broken.
- The device has been designed and engineered in accordance with CPSIA compliance standards and will have an estimated delivery date of spring 2015
To learn more about how Wheresie works, check out this brief video:
Visit Wheresie’s Kickstarter page (http://bit.ly/WheresieKickstarter) to pre-order and learn more about this very important campaign.