Archive for the ‘summer fun’ Category
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Robert Nickell, McClatchy-Tribune
The end of the year can be one of the most difficult times for school aged children as they tend to lose motivation as summer and summer break near closer and closer. As parents, it’s our job (one of our jobs, anyways) to keep them motivated straight through to the end. So I’ve compiled a list of tips that have helped my kids throughout the years, and I’m sure they will help yours, too.
- PLAN WEEKEND FUN: To your kids, summer break may seem within reach, but a month or two can really drag when you’re waiting for summer. One thing that has worked for my children in the past is looking forward to more attainable breaks and activities — and that’s what weekends are for. When possible, plan special outings and activities on the weekends that will motivate your children to get through each remaining week. I suggest beach days, spring skiing, hikes, bike rides, attending a concert or play, etc. Be creative and plan an activity your kids can truly look forward to and enjoy. Additionally give them goals to achieve each week in connection to these weekend activities; this will help keep them focused and driven, because, let’s face it, they’ll do whatever it takes if it means a trip to Disneyland is in store.
- STICK TO ROUTINE: Just because your kids think they can taste summer break doesn’t mean it is actually here – or even that close. During the school weeks, do your very best to stick to your child’s regular routine to keep them in the swing of things and remind that them it’s not actually summer break quite yet. In our household, in the past, our routines have been variations of the following: my kids come home from school, eat a snack, complete their homework, have dinner with the family, take a bath and head to bed. Of course you can add in some extra fun with a special movie on a Friday night or a fun craft project, but for the most part, sticking to routine will remind your children that school is still in session and help them get through the final remaining months.
- BE A CHEERLEADER: Be a super motivator and cheer your children through to summer break. Sure they might roll their eyes when you’re hoorahing them out the front door at eight in the morning, but it’ll surely be a brief distraction — at the very least. I suggest sneaking inspirational and motivational notes into their lunchboxes reminding them to “keep their eyes on the prize” (so to speak) and letting them know you believe in them. With a doting and encouraging parent behind them — they’re sure to make it through to summer.
- LOOK TO THE FUTURE: When in doubt, look to the future. Plan an exciting summer trip and let your child help with the plans. The family trip will give them something to look forward to instead of just summer. Make sure they understand, however, that they’ll need to stay motivated at school during the last couple of months in order to actually go on said trip. Make goals and stick to them. If they achieve their goals then they’ll get to go on the trip — it’s really a win for everyone.
- CREATE COUNTDOWN ACTIVITIES: And finally, countdown activities are great for the youngsters. They can help put into perspective just how far off — or close for that matter — summer break actually is. Some ideas include printing off calendar pages and letting your child stick a sticker onto each day at its end or making a paper chain and ripping off one link everyday (kids like to watch the chain shrink). Be creative and make the countdown activity something you and your child enjoy doing together.
The last couple months of school may be as exhausting for you as they are for your child, as we all know being a fulltime cheerleader is a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it. I hope these tips and ideas will work for you and your family as they’ve worked for me in the past.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of seven, offers his five cents-worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gear for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a dad’s perspective. Read more at http://blog.daddyscrubs.com/.
Posted by Lorain County Moms
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Searching for a summer camp that offers a bit more than swimming in a murky lake and s’mores? The Pali Adventures sleepaway camp near Lake Arrowhead, Calif., allow your child to take specialty activities — everything from secret agent training to music lessons to learning Hollywood stunts.
The camp offers more than 50 activities to choose from, including yoga, ziplining, trapeze, stage makeup, ATV riding, waterskiing and more. There are one-week or two-week sessions to choose from — so a camper can try out a new activity or go deeper and become an expert.
The two-week campers get to display their new skills at the end of their sessions in fashion shows, dance performances or theater productions. For those young girls who can use a bit more self-confidence, there’s a special Girl Power Extreme session that is girls only and includes activities such as paintball and self-defense, in addition to spa treatments and learning about powerful women leaders.
Some kids may already have a clear picture of who they will be and what they will do when they are older — for those kids, there are career-oriented programs lead by professionals, such as the broadcast journalism session and the culinary institute.
The sessions go from June through August and signup is now underway. Costs range from $1,695 for a single session to $6,295 for four weeks. See more at http://paliadventures.com.
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Cari Wira Dineen, Care.com contributor
Summertime and the living’s easy. Or at least it will be — once you line up a smorgasbord of your kids’ activities and lock in your childcare. With the kids off from school, you may find yourself stressed-out, scrambling to organize an often complicated and shifting schedule of multiple camps, activities and childcare. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Care.com, over 50 percent of parents say that they need more childcare for their kids during the summer months. And, you are not alone in fretting about whether to send your child to camp all day, hire a nanny or do both. Cobbling together a summer schedule that can change daily or weekly can overwhelm even the most organized mom.
During the school year, Faith Richardson, a writer and mother to two in St. Louis, Mo., only has a babysitter a few hours per week — mainly to ferry her kids from school to gymnastics and other activities. “But during the summer, I need to a sitter for at least 6 hours a day and it stresses me out every spring trying to figure out how to keep my kids occupied,” says Richardson.
Here’s how to keep your cool while making sure your kids are well cared for this summer:
Get local. Check out your library, your community center, your parks or recreation department, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, nearby museums or place of worship for summer-fun child care camps. “Many centers structure the fees on a week-by-week basis, which is great if you only need a few weeks of care,” says Michelle LaRowe, executive director of the International Nanny Association, author of Working Mom’s 411 and mom to two in Cape Cod, Mass. Also consider getting your kids season passes to nearby attractions, such as museums or zoos, which they can visit regularly with their nanny or sitter.
Go to college. That is, consider hiring a college student who is on break for summer. University students are often hungry to make money during the summer, so they can be great to help out with your kids. During the month of August when camp is out, Richardson hires a NYU student who is around for the summer. “We do ‘babysitter camp,’ where I pay the sitter a little extra to take them out on a different adventure each day, such as the zoo or the water park,” says Richardson. And the kids’ activities can often border on the entrepreneurial. “Last summer, my girls set up a lemonade stand in front of our apartment building on a really hot day and made close to $70_almost enough to pay the sitter for the day!” Consider calling the career center at your local college and asking if there is a job board you can post on or check out summer care providers on Care.com.
Start your own camp. In a recent Care.com poll, 61 percent of parents said they have higher expectations of their caregiver over the summer to plan activities and keep their children entertained. But how do you get your caregiver on board? Take a cue from Michael Salort, a dad in Maplewood, N.J.
“My kids didn’t want to get carted off to a big camp every day during the summer, but my wife and I didn’t want them lazing around the house all summer, either.”
His solution: He paid his full-time nanny extra to become a camp counselor to his three kids and a few other neighborhood children. The nanny had a completely scheduled day, with arts and crafts, creative games, pool-time and playing group sports — just like a regular day camp.
“The kids were home, but they weren’t bored. In fact, they loved it,” says Salort.
And because the other families pitched in to pay for the nanny camp, Salort actually saved money on his summer child care.
Consider summer school. Some school districts offer summer camps to utilize their facilities that otherwise would go empty. Tuition usually provides revenue for the school district and the camp staff is comprised of teachers and assistants. Check out half-day summer school classes for older kids which can give them a leg-up academically come September.
Enlist your momtourage. Round up parents of similar-aged children in your neighborhood and alternate care on assigned days.
“Babysitting co-ops are extremely cost effective,” says LaRowe. Instead of paying for child care, everyone equally takes turns to watch the kids. You might need to take some time off of work during your turn, but it should be minimal as other moms and dads are rotating turns, too. Here’s an online resource to start your own babysitting co-op or find one near you.
Take care of your tweens and teens. “Older kids who are just left on their own can get into trouble,” says LaRowe, “but tweens and teens often balk at a having a babysitter.” Instead, consider hiring a college student as a “driver” for your 11- to 15-year-olds to get them to and from various summer activities, such as sports camps or the community pool.
Older teens can also stay busy by becoming babysitters or mothers’ helpers themselves. Encourage your teen to organize neighborhood families at a local field to coach a softball game or take tots to nearby playgrounds to give stay-at-home mothers a much needed break.
Let kids be free to just play. It can be tempting to schedule every minute of your kids’ days, but don’t. “Less can be more,” says LaRowe. The summer provides an ideal opportunity for kids to engage in free play. “Downtime is just as important as uptime. In our fast-paced world, kids need to learn how to relax and do nothing,” she says. And taking the time to savor the lazy, care-free days of summer can go a long way toward making the summer break more fun for your kids — and less stressful for you.
Care.com is an online service that matches families with great caregivers for children, seniors, pets and more.
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Marla Jo Fisher, The Orange County Register
The most memorable expressions of travel: “Are we there yet?” “I have to go right now” and “Stop the car, I lost my turtle” were all uttered by people under the age of 18, on road trips with their parents.
The latter phrase was screeched by my own 8-year-old brother in the back seat of our Ford station wagon, when the turtle he insisted on bringing on our trip escaped into the bowels of the trunk.
Buckets of anguished tears later, my brother’s turtle was recovered from under a pile of sleeping bags, after our dad had unloaded everything from the car and piled it by the side of the road.
I’ve seen many miserable families on vacation who suffer from one of two opposite problems: They give in to their kids too much, or they insist on their own adult way of doing things.
Clearly, my parents would have been much happier if they had not given in to my brother’s pleas to bring his turtle on vacation. That is one nice thing about being middle-age: I don’t think my kids have to like me all the time.
On the other hand, I have friends who shudder at the words “road trip,” because they still have post-traumatic stress over being forced to pee in a can because dad wouldn’t stop his maniacal race across Kansas and Nebraska long enough to hit the head.
This is sad, I think, because road trips can be a lot of fun, if you prepare properly and have the right attitude, i.e. that of a benevolent dictator, who rules the car but is willing to take requests from his subjects.
In our car, driver rules. Period. Since that means me, I decide what plays on the radio or CD player. I am, however, willing to consider requests for radio stations, as long as the music doesn’t actually make my teeth ache.
It’s important to leave enough time for whimsy, or serendipity, or both. When I was a girl, my dad was a sergeant in the Air Force and we had no money at all. But my dad did have to go on temporary duty around the country. In the summer, he would cash in his plane ticket and use the money to drive us all to his assignments instead.
These trips were the only times my parents didn’t bicker incessantly, and our dad, who always insisted on driving, was likely to stop when we kids saw the sign for the alligator farm or the petting zoo ahead and begged.
Allowing the kids to feel like they have control over some aspects of the trip turns it into more of a family adventure and less of a Bataan-style death march across the map. Our family always made a point of eating at truck stops, which is probably one reason I’m still large today. But it really carries the road trip theme to a new high.
The most important thing in a truck stop is that the kids have a few bucks to shop in the cheesy gift shop for useful items like signs that read, “Wanted: Woman with fishing boat. Send picture of boat.” This gives you a crucial break from the kids, too. I don’t know how to break it to you, but 24-hour togetherness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So decide in advance how much money they can spend on goofy novelties while you’re at the table reading the Paul Harvey books for sale and eating chicken-fried steak.
Proper preparation is also a key element in how much fun your road trip becomes. Do a little research in advance, and I don’t mean just talking to your neighbor.
A trip to the Auto Club can help you map out your route. Then, thanks to the magic of a little company called Google, you can see possible pitfalls along the way, i.e. how many alligator farms and world’s largest thermometers where you’ll be begged to stop. I also check out any local places to eat that don’t involve the word “Denny’s” along the way.
Then there are the snacks. If you’re a parent, you already know that your mental health revolves around whether or not you have snacks available at any given moment.
“But you just ate a few minutes ago!” is the familiar, pathetic cry of the parent who did not prepare properly for the trip.
You need to always travel with a cooler in the back seat, filled with snacks and drinks for kids. Believe me. This will save you so much time and angst, and you won’t need to stop the car for emergency noshing.
The most important thing you’ll bring on your trip is the back seat DVD player and headphones. I know people who disdain them and say, “Oh, we play the license plate game and listen to books on tape.”
These are the people who arrive back home looking like the zombies in Left4Dead2.
The down side of letting kids watch movies in the back seat is they tend to miss things along the road.
I have to yank the cord out of the socket to get them to raise their eyes from their 87th viewing of “The Simpsons Movie” long enough to see the majestic moose crossing the road in Yellowstone.
“Cool,” they say, then lower their heads again.
I have actually solved this problem by banning DVD watching in any national park. National monuments are a gray area that can be resolved through skillful negotiation.
But the upside is so up, its positively lighter than air.
This was attested to by my friend Kim, who hates TV and doesn’t even own one.
Years ago, when my kids were little, I bought my first portable DVD player for the kids to watch on a road trip 15 hours south into the Baja peninsula.
My friend Stacey, who caravanned with us and her two kids in her own Jeep, did the whole “books on tape” thing.
Kim was so opposed to our backseat DVD player that, before we left, she said testily, “Why don’t you just drug the kids instead?” (Stay tuned, we’ll get into that topic later.)
Kim rode shotgun with me in my car, where we listened to what we liked on the stereo, since the kids were engrossed with headphones and TV in the backseat. They only looked up every two hours to announce they were hungry or had to pee.
Later in the trip, Kim announced she would change cars and ride with Stacey and her kids awhile, to keep them company.
Hours later, Kim emerged from Stacey’s car looking 10 years older. She climbed back into my 4Runner and said, with great passion, “That DVD player is the best invention of all time. You should get a spare one in case it breaks down.”
I’ll never forget the advice several moms gave me before my Baja trip, when I was worrying out loud about being in a car with kids for 15 hours each way.
The unusual aspect of this advice is that it was always whispered in my ear, after the other people around the water cooler had walked away.
What was the word? “Benadryl.”
My friends wanted me to know about the wonders of this antihistamine that makes kids oh-so-very sleepy. But they didn’t want any other moms to know they drug their kids.
Other modern inventions have also made road trips easier, such as air conditioning and Bonine, an over-the-counter motion sickness medicine that makes you less sleepy than Dramamine.
Though potty breaks along the road are standard procedure, try to count heads before you drive away.
I’ll never forget one trip, when I was maybe 5. I’d crawled out of the back seat during a gas stop to use the restroom, apparently without being noticed. When I came out, the car was gone. So I sat down on the curb to wait. Sure enough, many miles later, my mom glanced in the back seat and discovered that her daughter was no longer sleeping there.
I could hear the shrieking five miles away as they raced back toward the gas station, looking for me. At least that’s what I imagine happened.
Maybe my dad had just had enough of listening to us bicker in the back seat. This was, after all, before portable DVD players were invented.
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at http://themomblog.freedomblogging.com/category/frumpy-middleaged-mom-marla-jo-fisher/.
Posted by Lorain County Moms
With such beautiful weather and the garden in full bloom, last Friday evening was the perfect occasion to sit on the porch and catch up with our neighbors. The event: casual, the food: easy and unfussy.
For the two main appetizers we chose to make tomatoes stuffed with pesto or blue cheese with the fresh tomatoes we’d picked up at the farmer’s market. Then, I cooked up my favorite onion dip to serve with carrots and fresh cucumbers, also from the farmer’s market.
To balance out the vegetables, we set out a delicious container of goat cheese with strawberry compote and a nice round of runny Camembert with some buttery crackers. Finally, to include a little salt on the table, we poured two bowls of fancy nuts.
All in all it was a simple and delicious menu for a party of eight, plus one toddler. I should mention that she munched on so many vegetables and crackers that all she actually ate for dinner was a container of yogurt. With all of us in summer mode I didn’t mind one bit. It was the perfect start to a relaxing weekend.
- Stuffed tomatoes: Halve and seed cherry tomatoes. Fill with a scoop of fresh pesto or blue cheese. Serve.
- Ina Garten’s pan-fried onion dip with cucumbers and carrots.
- Goat cheese with strawberries.
- Camembert, runny.
- Fancy nut assortment.
Ina Garten’s Pan-Fried Onion Dip
Yield: 2 cups, Prep: 40 min, Inactive prep: 30 min, Cook: 30 min, Total: 1 hr 10 min
- 2 large yellow onions
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup good mayonnaise
Cut the onions in half and then slice them into Ã-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.
Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Kathy Lauer-Williams, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
Q: We are going camping this year with our 14- and 16-year-olds at a campsite with other teens. I remember what I did at their ages and I would like to protect my children from some of the bad decisions I made. I want them to have fun, but am afraid, too. What can I do to protect them?
A: Talk with your kids before you go and talk with the other parents once you get to camp, says the Help for Families panel.
“Have a really broad conversation about values and expectations,” says panelist Rochelle Freedman. “Be very specific. If you haven’t been having conversations all along about smoking, drugs and sex, you’re kind of late. Tell your children, ‘I don’t want to be worried about you,’ and agree to have some rules.”
Once you get to camp, discuss your concerns with other parents.
“Keep the agenda full so there’s not a lot of time for mischief,” says panelist Marcie Lightwood.
Make sure you know where your children are and what they are doing at all times.
“Teens can be together and part of an activity but can still be within the earshot of parents,” says panelist Denise Continenza.
Work together with the other parents to keep an eye on the kids and make sure they are safe, says panelist Bill Vogler.
“All of the parents should be a team, so it’s not just you alone,” he says.
Even teenagers who don’t get in trouble are more likely to try things when they’re out of their element, Lightwood adds.
“Even if you trust your own child, you need to also monitor the child’s peers,” Freedman says. “There is the potential that your child may encounter a peer with different values and behaviors than their own.”
The panel agrees teens are at a developmental stage where they are more likely to experiment with risky or questionable behavior.
“Provide an opportunity for healthy exploration through which they can take safer risks,” Continenza says.
You can offer some limited freedoms such as giving them a curfew that is a little later than they have at home, Lightwood suggests. Make it reasonable. Remember kids can stay up all night and parents can’t, she says.
“Lay out your expectations,” Lightwood says. “Explain to them you need to know where they are at all times.”
Talk about safety concerns, review first aid and go over water safety, she says.
Make sure your cell phones work at the campsite, Lightwood says. If they don’t work, consider using walkie talkies and emphasize to your children they have to answer it.
If your cell phones work, use them to keep in touch and be strict about the rules, the panel says.
“Give them 15 minutes to return a call or a text,” Continenza says. “If they don’t, give them a consequence where you go home immediately.”
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Marla Jo Fisher, The Orange County Register
It’s summer, that wonderful time of year when the kids are out of school and you can enjoy lots and lots of quality time with them.
Personally, I love being with my kids 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I mostly work at home these days, so I don’t have to miss a single opportunity for sharing family bliss.
It’s fun to listen to the bickering first thing in the morning over who used up all the hot water in the shower.
It’s fun to have them come flop on the couch at 10 a.m., asking to watch TV because “it’s hot outside and we’re tired.”
It’s even more fun to walk into the kitchen after a few hours of work, to discover that it looks like little green men have invaded from Mars and removed everything from the refrigerator, dismantled and ripped it open in their curiosity about what Earthlings consume in mass quantities.
It’s fun to have them up late with me every night, insisting they shouldn’t have a bedtime because they don’t have to go to school.
Every July, all that fun is interrupted at our house when it’s time for summer camp.
Just when I think I can’t really take any more kid-induced fun, I drive them up to the mountains, drop them off for a week, and come home to a blissfully quiet house.
Living in a clean, blissfully quiet house is fun for a few hours.
I have a glass of wine, call all my friends and have the kind of long conversations that I never get nowadays, since my kids think of 82 things they need to ask me urgently every time I get on the phone.
I make a date with a friend to see an R-rated movie for the first time all year. I watch something trashy on TV where people use cuss words and take off their clothes.
Then, invariably, there’s that fatal moment when I start wondering what the kids are doing at camp.
And I notice, for the first time, how extremely quiet my neighborhood is. Even the dogs that normally plague my existence have gone strangely silent.
The house seems eerily empty as I go to bed. No kids arguing in the bathroom over who used whose toothbrush. No demanding that I tuck them in.
The dog appears to be needing some Prozac, since there are no children to play with him. And the bathroom floor is unrecognizable, without being covered with wet towels.
Buddy and I discover as the week goes on how it’s really not fun at all to live in a house without Cheetah Boy or Curly Girl.
By the time I go pick them up six days later, I can’t wait to see them. Boy, oh boy, I think. Now, we’re really going to have some fun.
They climb in the car, vaguely down and monosyllabic about leaving camp and their friends behind.
At home, they just want to watch the TV that they’ve been deprived of for a week, before climbing into bed.
In the morning, they start bickering over who used up all the hot water in the shower.
Ah yes, the sounds of summer. We’re having some fun now.
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at email@example.com. Read her blog at http://themomblog.freedomblogging.com/category/frumpy-middleaged-mom-ma rla-jo-fisher/.
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Maureen Dempsey, Hybrid Mom
The quickest way to becoming the mom hero in the neighborhood? One word: Popsicles.
Every kid loves them. And if you’re a culinary master (or experimenter), why not try making your own this summer?
I personally have attempted and succeeded at some fab strawberry slushy popsicles. And “kitchen underachiever” is an understatement, so if I can do it, so can you.
Step 1: pick up some fun popsicle molds.
The classic ring pop gets a cool makeover with the Tovolo Freezer Jewels. Each set includes six individual Popsicle molds that come in fun, different gem shapes and a base that helps keep your pops in place, preventing any tips and spills while in the freezer.
Make your own push-up pops with Kinderville Little Bites silicone sleeves. The tapered design allows the popsicle to be pushed to the top to enjoy, and the fluted rim helps liquid go back into the mold and not over little hands. Less mess! (Hopefully … )
Looking for inspiration — or just some dependable pop ideas? Check out recipe book, “Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone.”
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Nancy Churnin, The Dallas Morning News
Emergency-room professionals have their own name for the long, lovely, lazy days that kids look forward to in summer: trauma season. Because that’s when hospitals see a spike in drownings and heat-related accidents.
Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about popular summertime activities, according to several local experts.
MYTH: Pool parties are safe as long as adults are around.
FACT: Many drownings happen when adults are close by. The problem is too much commotion. The key is to have a designated adult watching the water because that is where the danger is. The pool should be free of excess toys that can block the view of the water.
MYTH: You don’t have to worry about sunburn on cloudy days.
FACT: You can get a severe sunburn on a cloudy day. Overcast weather, no matter how cloudy, doesn’t affect how much harmful UV exposure someone receives. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises using clothing and hats to avoid sun exposure, particularly for babies younger than 6 months, and applying sunscreen of at least 15 SPF that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
MYTH: Heat isn’t a problem until July or August, when temperatures peak.
FACT: Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are more prevalent early in the season, because our bodies haven’t had a chance to acclimatize.
MYTH: Floaties keep little ones safe in the water.
FACT: Floaties are designed for fun, not safety. They give a false sense of security, can deflate and can slip off.
MYTH: The kids will be fine in the pool for the short time it takes to answer the phone or get a cold drink.
FACT: In a minute, a child can go under water. In two or three minutes, the child can lose consciousness. In four or five, the child could suffer irreversible brain damage or die. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional, injury-related death for children 1 to 14 years old, second only to car and transportation-related accidents.
MYTH: Children need to drink only when they are thirsty.
FACT: By the time a child is thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. If a child weighs 100 pounds or less, he or she should be drinking five or six ounces of water or sports drink every 15 minutes or so.
MYTH: It’s safe to keep kids in car seats when the driver gets out for a quick errand.
FACT: The temperature inside a car can rise quickly in the summer, leading to brain damage, kidney failure and death in minutes. When outside temperatures are between 80 F to 100 F, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to more than 170 F. With an outdoor temperature of 83 F, internal car temperatures can reach 109 F within 15 minutes, even with windows rolled down two inches. Children are less able to handle extreme heat than adults.
MYTH: Loving parents or caregivers would never forget a child in a car.
FACT: It happens in the U.S. as many as 15 to 25 times a year from spring through early fall when children fall asleep in the back seat and stressed and preoccupied parents forget them, according to The Washington Post. Products such as the Cars-N-Kids Car Seat Monitor can remind a parent; the $40 device plays a lullaby on sensing a child’s weight after the car has stopped. Experts at KidsAndCars.org also recommend visual cues, including putting a stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied and moving the toy up front in the passenger seat when the child is in the car. The stuffed animal in the passenger seat is a reminder that the child is in the back.
Sources: Dr. Philip Ewing, physician in the emergency department at Children’s Medical Center; Dr. Mark Till, chairman of emergency medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas; Terri Ford, community health outreach manager at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth; and Dr. John F. Marcucci, emergency department medical director at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.
Posted by Lorain County Moms
By Buzz McClain, McClatchy Newspapers
We had been driving for two hours along backcountry roads we’d never been down before, and although we’d only gone 100 miles, the distance from our house to where Samantha, then 11, was going to spend the next two weeks at her first-ever sleep-away summer camp was growing greater and greater, in more ways than one.
She was headed to a new “big girl” world where her mom and dad, for the first time in her life, would not be a few rooms down the hall or a phone call away. This was all new to both of us, and we fell into a rare silence as her newly acquired footlocker, packed with what we hoped would be enough gear for two weeks, rattled in the trunk.
My wife, who was away on a business trip, and I never got to visit the camp in person before signing up Samantha three months earlier. We were convinced from a colorful brochure picked up at a camp fair and a subsequent Web site full of giddy testimonials that this general adventure camp for girls would be suitable for Samantha, who agreed to give it a try. But we had no idea, really, what the place would look like or who would be running it. As I drove, my parenting antenna was at full power for the slightest indication that something would be amiss, in which case we’d abandon the deal without hesitation.
Now it came time to make the turn off the highway and onto the farm-to-market road that led to the camp entrance. At the intersection was a dilapidated farmhouse with some scrawny chickens running around behind a wire fence and a netless basketball rim hanging from a rusted backboard on an unpaved driveway.
I slowed the car to double-check the directions. Samantha — my brave Sammy who trusts me with her life, security and comfort every minute of every day — gazed at the dusty yard and ramshackle house to our right and, thinking we were turning in, commented, “Well, at least they have a basketball court.”
She thought THIS was the camp!
I tried but couldn’t stop from busting out a laugh.
“Samantha,” I said, speeding the car up again, “we have another 10 miles to go. This is somebody’s house.”
It was impossible to tell if she was embarrassed by her mistake, because relief overtook her body as she exhaled for the ages. All the fears about the sight-unseen camp we’d been holding in for the months since sending in our deposit went right out the window, and new joy replaced it.
In a few minutes, we were pulling through the gates of the lushly appointed camp, with horses grazing in a nearby pasture, youthful counselors happily directing incoming traffic and dozens of young girls playing games in a meadow in the distance.
And there were basketball courts, and the rims had nets.
Why send your kid to camp?
We got lucky with Samantha’s sleep-away camp, but finding the right summer activity for your kid, whether a sleep-away camp or a day camp or class, is a conundrum faced every spring by many parents.
Personally, I still have questions. What’s the right age for sending a kid to a residential camp? How do you know what type of camp — academic, sports, adventure, music — is best for your child?
We asked Danielle Shaw, executive director of the Texoma Section of the American Camp Association, a national organization that accredits camps (www.acacamps.org), to make us feel better about sending Samantha to a camp sight-unseen.
“Any kind of camp experience gives them the opportunity to be part of a community, to learn to be self-motivated and make decisions,” Shaw says.
Here are some pointers to give you peace of mind:
Why send a kid to camp in the first place?
“Camp is obviously more than a day-care selection,” Shaw says. “When they choose camp, they’re choosing an experience that goes way beyond sitting at home watching TV. You’re talking about kids getting out and doing human-powered activities and interacting with a community and learning how to work together. They’re trying different things, like shooting a bow for the first time or getting on a horse and seeing what that feels like. There are challenge courses and river rafting and so many different opportunities.”
What are the benefits of an outdoor camp?
“Kids are suffering from ‘nature-deficit disorder,’ a shrinking childhood,” she says, quoting Richard Louv’s seminal book Last Child in the Woods, a look at contemporary childhood culture. “They have less space to be outside, less time in a day because they’re doing so many other activities. It’s a real issue with kids, getting that connection to nature and, sometimes, authentic relationships because they spend so much time in front of a TV or computer. Camp gives you that experience.”
Shaw says she comes across “kids who have never seen a real open space — trees and grass growing wild. I’m always dumbfounded when I meet a kid who has never seen anything besides the yard behind their house.”
With so many things for kids to do at camps — music, golf, swimming, art — how do I get this life? “We all wonder that,” Shaw says with a laugh. “And there are a number of camps that are capitalizing on that question. There’s one in Wimberley — Rocky River Ranch, an all-girls camp — where the moms were saying how much fun their daughters were having every year, and now they’re doing women’s weekends for moms to go to camp.” (Just for Women: Great Escape Weekends include spa activities, flea-market shopping and bunkhouse lodging, www.rockyriverranch.com.)
Choosing the right day camp
Before Samantha was ready for “residential” — sleep-away — camp, she sampled day camps not far from our house. The hours were right, the cost was affordable, and for two weeks at a time, she had adventures and made new friends. The camps served a crucial purpose for me — it kept her out from underfoot during summer vacation — and helped her enjoy her downtime to the maximum.
Here are some tips for choosing a day camp that will give your child something to write about when it comes time to do the “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay.
Agree on what type of camp
Your child should have input on how she is going to spend her summer months, so freely encourage her to contribute to the conversation. You may be surprised to learn that a drama camp beats out one with little more than a swimming pool.
Shop for camps
Guides such as this one are a good place to start; check online resources such as www.summer-daycamps.com and www.kidscamps.com.
Talk to neighbors
Find out where your child’s friends go; for younger kids, it may be helpful if they already know at least one other kid at the camp.
If the timing’s right, drop by the facility and see what’s going on. Are the kids safe? Having fun? Is there a selection of things for them to do? Is the camp accredited by a professional organization? Ask for references before signing up.
The rule of thumb is one counselor for every eight to 10 campers over age 9 and five to eight younger than 9.
Since this is a day camp and not day care — there’s a big difference — you may have to travel out of your usual orbit to pick up and drop off. Drive the route during your usual commute times to make sure the camp’s location will work for you.