Hey dads! Do you know how important you are to us? So important! From helping us through our first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy, to being everything we need during labor and delivery and raising little ones. We’re very grateful!
We’ve noticed more and more fathers participating in the EverydayFamily community, and we love it! So today, this roundup of dad articles is for you.
Every dad has a little ritual that he does with his little ones. My kids’ daddy plays a tickle game with them every single night before they officially get tucked into bed. He starts tickling, and they have to guess the password to cease the tickles. They love it! Their day isn’t complete without it. What’s the special ritual you do with your babies? And as you’re sharing these wonderful moments with your children, keep in mind these important lessons to teach your sons and daughters.
Don’t underestimate how much time with your kids means to them. Take time to do little things with them. They’ll remember. Read Stef’s story about her father and how much love and appreciation she has for him. To your children, you are that important, too.
In Case You Missed It: 10 of Our January Favorites
We had a lot of great blogs this January, but we know how it goes. Between babies and appointments and squeezing in a nap if it is at all possible, it’s easy to miss a day visiting the site – and that can mean missing a lot! Just in case you missed them, here are some of our favorite blogs from this month—ten of them, in fact.
Have you heard of RSV? Even though it’s a common virus, contracted by almost all children by the time they turn 2, many parents don’t even recognize the name. In many ways it can resemble the flu or a cold, but it can become much more serious and dangerous quickly, especially for children with compromised or immature immune systems or underdeveloped lungs. RSV season runs from November through March, so it’s important to continue good practices, such as the following:
Wash your hands and ask others to do the same.
Keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean.
Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season.
Today we’re sharing this info, along with additional tips and a very personal story, so that parents can better understand RSV. We’re lucky to have William P. Hitchcock, M.D. and parent advocate Kari Judson here to talk to us about this illness. We want to let you know that Kari’s story is a tough one to hear – but it is one we’re very grateful to her for sharing.
William P. Hitchcock, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine
Attending Pediatrician, Rady Children’s Hospital
Founder, La Jolla Pediatrics and La Costa Pediatrics
Dr. William Hitchcock is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Hitchcock has an interest in Allergy and Asthma as well as Infectious Disease and Vaccines. He has been involved in clinical research in asthma and allergy and clinical trials involving antimicrobials and vaccines. His publications in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Western Journal of Medicine, Clinical Research, Journal of Respiratory Disease, Contemporary Pediatrics, Clinical Pediatrics, Consultant for Pediatricians, and Advances in Therapy include subject areas such as Meningococcal Disease, Parainfluenza Infections, Adolescent Pertussis, Immunization Schedules, Rotavirus Infections, Inhaled Corticosteroids, and Asthma Management in Children.
Dr. Hitchcock is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the A.A.P. Sections on Community Pediatrics, School Health, Pharmacy and Therapeutics, and Sports Medicine. He is the coordinator of the San Diego chapter of the A.A.P. Pediatric Research in Office Setting (PROS) Committee, a member of Community Health Improvement Partners-Immunize San Diego, and a member of the Society for Clinical Pediatrics.
Dr. Hitchcock has presented nationally at the American Association of Respiratory Care, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology as well as the New Jersey and Pennsylvania chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and given grand rounds at Children’s Hospital Fort Worth, Scripps Hospital La Jolla, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Kaiser Permanente San Diego, the Public Health Departments throughout Oregon, Texas, and California He has appeared on numerous newscasts and in newspapers and was voted “Top Doc” by his peers in San Diego in 2002 and 2007.
Dr. Hitchcock is the proud father of four boys and one girl and a granddaughter who lives in Italy. He loves the outdoors, travel, reading and music.
Alexander and Dominic Judson were born to parents Kari and Lyle on January 4, 2008 at 36 weeks and 2 days gestational age. As their birth weights were on the healthy side (4.7lbs and 4.13 lbs), they were considered full term for twins. They thrived in their first few days and their lung functioning proved to be normal. Since the Alexander and Dominic were doing well and healthy, they were sent home, even before their mother was released.
The first 11 months of their lives were illness-free, until Alexander became lethargic and felt slightly feverish. He was brought to the E.R., and shortly after crashed three times from bronchial spasms. He was airlifted to Egleston Children’s Hospital with a severe case of RSV. His brain function was normal throughout the flight but upon landing, his brain function ceased and he was put on life support. Unfortunately, Kari and Lyle had to face a parent’s worst nightmare, and decided to remove him from life support and donate his organs.
Meanwhile, as Alexander was being airlifted, Dominic was also facing RSV, with his infection growing in severity. He required intense treatment and hospitalization for 11 days. After discharge, Dominic began receiving monthly Synagis shots, and was approved for five doses of Synagis throughout the RSV season.
After the passing of Alexander, Kari and Lyle gave birth to a healthy baby boy in 2010 and Kari is currently pregnant with her fourth child.
No Technology for 3 Days – Could You Take a Tech Timeout?
We’ve become accustomed to the conveniences of technology. A quick text to ask if your partner can pick up milk on the way home. An internet search to see if green poop is normal. A video call to the kids when you’re away for the evening, to say good night. It can feel reassuring to have this ability to connect.
At the same time, there is the other side of the coin. The family sitting at a restaurant together, silent, as each person stares at their smartphone. The conversation that needs to happen face-to-face, but ends up falling apart in a series of angry texts. The endless blogs about parents who are missing out on their children’s lives because they are more concerned with getting the perfect photo for social media, rather than paying attention to the life happening in front of them.
Is there a way to strike a balance between the convenience and connectivity we value and the simultaneous disconnect that is so easy to fall into, which we want to avoid? Marty Riemer, founder of Twisted Scholar, along with author and filmmaker Michael Stusser are looking for that balance. They’re encouraging families – teens, especially – not to ditch the technology, but to take a Tech Timeout to be reminded of what life can be without smartphones and video games.
The statistics are clear:
77% of US parents believe their family would benefit from taking a one hour break every day from technology, according to a recent Tech Timeout survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Foresters. The same survey found that on average, a US resident admits to spending 6.5 hours per day on electronic devices outside of work.
Riemer and Stusser are here, today, talking with EverydayFamily’s Shiloh Johnson, about The Tech Timeout Academic Challenge. It’s not an attempt to rid teens of technology, but to give them a break that allows them to evaluate how tech influences their lives and their decisions. When you hear how many text messages they are sending in a day, it’s a good reminder why this kind of thing is worth exploring. But teens aren’t the only ones with tech addictions. This challenge is an extension of Tech Timeout, presented by Foresters, an international life insurance provider, in collaboration with Twisted Scholar, an innovative educational production company. Tech Timeout encourages families to take a one-hour break from technology each day, to reconnect and recharge themselves and their relationships with one another.
So what do you think? Could you take a three-day break from technology, or does the mere thought of it set you on edge? What about an hour a day? Check out the video and let us know your thoughts!
Marty Riemer — Marty Riemer is a well‐known Seattle radio personality and founder of the educational production company Twisted Scholar, known for its engaging, humorous and socially aware programs, including one of the most widely viewed anti‐bullying videos in the country. Riemer and his crew have produced shows for Nickelodeon, Microsoft, and NHK Japan – though he speaks fluent German not Japanese. In 2013 he developed the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, which led to his directing the acclaimed documentary “Sleeping with Siri.” Far from being anti‐technology, Riemer sports a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, and is still known to geek out over the latest gadget.
Michael A. Stusser -Michael A. Stusser is an author, Gonzo journalist, and documentary filmmaker. Stusser’s cover story (Village Voice Media Group) “Sleeping with Siri,” about finding digital balance, was recently made into an awardwinning documentary. Stusser’s book, The Dead Guy Interviews: Conversations with 45 of the Most Accomplished, Notorious, and Deceased Personalities in History was released to critical acclaim by Penguin Publishing. He is also a columnist for mental_floss magazine and Shambhala Sun and his work is frequently published by Law & Politics, Yoga International, the Seattle Weekly and the New York Times Syndicate.
I’ve been a mom of three children for almost seven months now. It’s the most rewarding, exhausting, and fun job I will ever have. For me, the transition from 2 to 3 kids was not any more difficult than going from 1 to 2. Now I can’t even imagine what life was like without an infant on my hip. Even though adding another member into our family was a smooth transition, there are a few things I wish I would have known before it all went down. Here are the things that suprise me most about having three kids under the age of five.
1. I treasure one-on-one time with my kids more than I had imagined I would. Individual time with one child is about as rare as a four-leaf clover, so when it comes along, I find yourself smiling more. Then I wonder why I thought being a parent of just one felt so incredibly impossible. Now when I have just one child with me, I feel like you can conquer any parenting challenge that comes your way.
2. There will always be an endless pile of laundry to wash, fold, or put away. Just when I think the pile has been conquered, the beastly mountain of socks and pants appears out of nowhere. With two kids in cloth diapers, this endless laundry task is multiplied for me.
3. Suddenly, the king-size bed we wisely invested in when we had just one child now seems incredibly small, especially when I’m digging my 2-year-old’s foot out of my neck. One morning, I woke up with a very sore and (later) bruised nose and couldn’t pinpoint exactly how it happened. Then my husband pointed out that when he went to bed, my second son was sleeping with his feet at my shoulder. It all started to make sense.
4. Quiet means trouble. Every once in a while, the two oldest boys will disappear into the basement or upstairs while I’m tending to the baby or doing chores. Most of the time, I can hear them bickering with one another. It is when they are quiet that I am most concerned. Quiet usually means they are getting into something or making a gigantic mess, as in, “let’s pull out every game and puzzle piece and launch it from snow shovels like a slingshot.”
5. It seems that the more children I have, the faster time goes. 2013 was quite possibly the fastest year of my life. The past six months have been a blur, and I’m sure the next six months will go just as quick. Even though sleep-deprived nights seem like they will never end, it won’t be long before I’m complaining that my teenage boys sleep all the time and never stop eating.
6. It’s OK to ask for help when you need it, no matter how many kids you have. Also, if your oldest is old enough for certain responsibilities, do not feel bad about asking for his or her help from time to time. I often find myself telling my two older boys, “I’m only one mommy with two hands. I need you to work on your patience for one more minute.” In these moments, I have to tell myself to stop and take a breath. It will eventually all get done.
7. Be prepared to adapt for each personality, because no two kids are the same. This can be tough, even during the baby stage. In terms of sleeping and eating, what worked for my first two boys hasn’t worked for my third, even when I think it will.
If you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids, why not take them to Paris to tour the Louvre? And maybe even swing by a crayon factory afterward? Don’t think these trips are in your budget? That’s okay, really.
You can do all of this from home! Take your kids on virtual tours and transport them to these places for free!
I’ve rounded up a few fun and free tours that I think you might like as well.
There was one episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood that has stuck with me for years and years – it was the one where he took you on a tour of a crayon factory. It impressed me so much that I still sometimes think about it. I wanted to show my kids, so I was searching for it, and I found this little gem on the PBS website.
Not only can you tour that very crayon factory with Mr. Rogers, you can also watch how other items, like balls, shoes, and fortune cookies are made. Check it out.
If you raise your brows when I tell you that I love cows and secretly wish I were a farmer, I won’t mind. I love farm animals — I can’t help it. One of my favorite childhood memories is hanging out at my grandpa’s farm, and watching cows get milked at the local dairy.
A farmer’s job is to feed the world; they work their hands off raising food so that we can feed our families. It is an enormous responsibility, and it’s hard, hard work, but they love what they do.
Farmers and ranchers fascinate and humble me, so I wanted to share a few tours that give a little peek inside the farm life. I do hope you will visit.
Ever since the day I found a book at the library about the Louvre in Paris, I’ve been obsessed. Several months ago, my sister got to experience the Louvre in person. She said that it was beyond words incredible.
I want to go there. I want my kids to learn about artists who have influenced the world.
I’d like my own little artist to see how important his talents are.
Not too long ago my daughter said, “Mom, all I really want to do is to go to Paris to drink coffee and eat little cakes. Okay?”
So, since it is ten below zero degrees at home right now, it seems like a perfect day to bake little cakes, brew something warm to drink, cozy up on the couch, and tour the Louvre. My favorite virtual tour yet.
Over thirty Seattle high school students have inspired 1,000 acts of kindness this holiday season. They’re launching their campaign as part of The Give Effect, which is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center’s second annual holiday gift drive and community engagement project.
It turns out that young people can be some of our best ambassadors for generosity.
Davida Ingram, the Gates Foundation Visitor Center’s Senior Coordinator said, “The Give Effect is a way to create community through acts of kindness. This can be many things—volunteering, donating, or taking special notice of loved ones and strangers alike. We wanted to celebrate how small gestures of caring can really add up to something BIG. Our giving partners helped us collect over 300 wishes from people in need for our gift drive. Everyday people dropped by the Visitor Center to fulfill these wishes because they cared. The impact will be felt from Seattle to Sierra Leone. Local Seattle high school students spread The Give Effect further. Their goal was to inspire 1,000 Acts of Kindness—from giving up bus seats to making a teacher’s day. Anyone can join The Give Effect. And it turns out that young people can be some of our best ambassadors for generosity.”
This view of teens is somewhat different than what we’re used to hearing, and it’s powerful. It utilizes the energy and natural goodness in teens and sets them up to shine. Mental Health and Relationship Expert, Rhonda Richards-Smith, said, “Teens can be incredibly thoughtful, insightful, and present the rest of us a window into the future.” And this specific group of Seattle students epitomize these traits beautifully.
This diverse group of students believes that big things come from small things and that their individual actions can make a difference.
This diverse group of students believes that big things come from small things and that their individual actions can make a difference. Fifteen-year-old Destiny Ruffin said, “The Give Effect means inspiration, hope, and empowerment. It means providing what those gave to me even when they didn’t have it. A deliberate will to make positive change.”
This positive change has come in the form of many charitable activities such as sorting clothes for Wellspring Family Services’ baby boutique—completing two weeks of work in two hours! Each of the teens also pledged an act of kindness to focus on in December such as helping someone who is being bullied, posting about giving back on Twitter and Facebook, encouraging someone who is down, or buying someone behind them in line a coffee.
The Give Effect culminates on Saturday, December 28 with a free Family Day event at the Visitor Center, tailored for all ages, which will include hands-on activities, live performances, and inspiring speakers.
At the event, the teens will be “auctioning” off their 1,000 acts of kindness and encouraging the public to participate in the giving campaign. The community can help the teen committee on their mission by pledging their acts of kindness via social media, using the hashtag #TheGiveEffect. This dynamic duo of teen heart and social media is an unbeatable force that anyone can feel good getting behind.
The students’ goal is to inspire acts of generosity, big and small, this holiday season, as well as all year long. Seventeen-year-old Dajeanne Washington says, “Hopefully, The Give Effect’s meaning as an event turns into more of an ideal; one that will help someone end the year in a great way, but also live by for the next year or years to come.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation connects and inspires youth to engage in philanthropy. To learn more about the Visitor Center, visit their website and follow them on Facebook. To learn more about The Give Effect, visit their blog and follow them on Twitter via the hashtag #TheGiveEffect. And last, if you’re in the Washington area, join the teens on Saturday, December 28 for a freeFamily Day event at the Visitor Center.
When you think about the start of this upcoming year, it is likely that you’ve given some thought to your personal well-being and health. Like many, you probably set goals for your trimming finances, perhaps organizing your cluttered home and weight-loss. But, have you considered that you may need to factor your kids into those new year goals?
Here are some startling statistics for you to ponder in regards to kids and childhood obesity, that Dr. Shelley Armstrong of Walden University shared with us:
Childhood obesity, tops the charts as one of the primary health concerns for parents.
In the past three decades, childhood obesity has tripled.
Obese kids are seeing chronic health issues that would typically be seen only in adulthood like: high-blood pressure, asthma, Type 2 Diabetes, sleep and hormonal disorders.
Socially and emotionally, overweight kids are more likely to be teased and bullied. Often too embarrassed to inform their parents. Lower self-esteem and have an increased risk for depression and suicide.
Statistically, fit-kids score twice as well on academic tests as their unfit peers.
In the long term more than 80% adolescents remain obese as adults which leave them at risk for premature death.
These statistics are sobering and really speak to the need for all of us to be mindful of keeping our children active and to model living a healthy lifestyle so we can give our children the best chance at a long life. With kids (and parents) more sedentary than ever due to the more technology focused world, incorporating an active lifestyle is key to avoiding the above health pitfalls.
So we asked Dr. Armstrong, to offer us some advice with the above information in mind. We asked her how we can approach this conversation of healthy eating and exercise with our young children without the negative “diet” connotation?
She shared simply that, parents are role models. Make physical and healthy eating their “norm” rather than something abnormal in their day-to-day. Involve everyone in the family in your fitness endeavors like training and completing a family 5K. Don’t make exercise something that is working towards a goal of “losing weight” – make it a regular part of what’s fun as an activity you do together as a family.
Entering the New Year, we asked Dr. Armstrong to give us her advice for setting a goal for a healthier year for our families.
“I encourage people to go into the new year with their eyes wide open, don’t be in denial, or resistant to criticism about your health. Become knowledgeable about your starting point. Ask your family doctor to write down your family’s numbers such as your body weight, your body mass index, your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. Also, about how much your family has spent in medical costs. An obese person spends about $3,000 more every year than a non-obese person medically related…so if weight loss and financial savings are part of your new years resolutions, good health is the best investment we can make.”
As you enter the new year, consider the tips below for starting a family fitness plan and how to give yourself a better chance at success.
Put together a Family Fitness Plan:
Look at your starting point.
Identify fun ways the family can be active on a daily basis.
Track gradual progress and celebrate small victories as a family.
Be accountable by working together.
Tips for Success:
Be realistic, it’s going to take at least three weeks to make it a habit and make it part of your family routine.
Shelley shares that the leading barriers for an active lifestyle include: lack of time, lack of confidence and self motivation. Shelley recommends using the SMART method to make goals reachable. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. For example, you might set the goal for your family to run 1-mile in 10% less time in April than on January 1st. Or, we will all walk 10,000 steps everyday as tracked by our pedometer.
Schedule it on your calendar just like any other appointment. For example, set bike ride appointments each week for you and your family.
Limit sedentary time. 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day.
For more ideas on how to get your kids active in your community, take a listen to Shelley’s interview below:
Dr. Shelley Armstrong specializes in exercise and fitness, college students’ health and well-being, and cancer prevention and control.
Dr. Armstrong joined Walden’s faculty in 2010 and is a core faculty member in the B.S. in Health Studies program. Prior to joining Walden, she spent nearly a decade at Centenary College of Louisiana, where she has served as a lecturer, assistant professor, chair of the Department of Health and Exercise Science, and senior woman administrator in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. As a Certified Health Education Specialist and a certified National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) coach, Dr. Armstrong directs a number of children’s fitness programs in the Shreveport, La., community and is head coach of the men’s and women’s cross-country teams at Centenary College. Since 2004, she has held a variety of positions with the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (LAHPERD), which recognized her work through its Young Professional Leadership Award in 2010. Dr. Armstrong is currently a co-principal investigator on a grant to determine if social media improves student retention and persistence in online undergraduate health science programs. Her article, “An evaluation of a college exercise leader program: Using exercise science students as advocates for behavior modification,” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.
I’m here to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready for this? It is the last weekend to shop before Christmas hits home. Shocking, I know.
Okay, so maybe not. Maybe you’re one of those stellar shoppers, who has it all planned out sometime during the summer months, and budgets and shops throughout the year. If you are, I salute you. (I also kinda hate you a little bit; but that’s my issue, not yours.)
But if you’re more like me, and have been muddling along, getting things here and there, but suddenly realize that you need to be done – now! – then this blog is for you. We’ve gathered all of our guides for the budget conscious and the crafty, for those shopping for him, those shopping for her, and those shopping for kiddos of varying ages and interests. All you need to do now is just need to stretch out your shopping legs, or fingers (What would I do without Amazon?!), and get moving!
Wondering what to gift your spouse this year, besides maybe letting him be the one to sleep in the day after Christmas? Check out these suggestions from Holly.
Or maybe you’ve been watching the packages pile up under the tree and you’ve noticed there aren’t any addressed to yours truly? Drop a not-so-subtle hint by forwarding your man this guide, courtesy of Jeanna.
If you’re still searching for the perfect thing for the kindergarten teacher, or your second cousin, twice removed, or your mother-in-law, maybe you can find inspiration in this list of some of our staffers’ favorite things. Or try one of these great reads suggested by our own Galit.
And finally, if one of the ladies on your list happens to be carrying her own gift 24/7, in the form of a pregnant belly, why not pamper her a bit with one of these great ideas?
Wondering how to find the perfect combination of affordable and adorable? It’s no secret that a more expensive toy doesn’t always mean a more played-with toy – as we all know the tales of the box being the best gift. But we’ve found some great picks for you!
Avoid Flu Faux Pas: Anna Post Shares Tips for Flu Etiquette
During this season of giving and sharing, the one thing no one wants to receive are cold or flu viruses. But too often we are placed in close encounters with others who might possibly be sick. A new survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) found that while most U.S. Adults understand flu is serious (93%) and highly contagious (87%) and know the importance of flu vaccination (66%), only one-fourth (27%) would call a doctor for advice when someone in the household has the flu.
On the heels of last year’s flu season, which hit harder and earlier than it had in a decade, it is even more important that Americans know proper flu etiquette to stay healthy and protect themselves and others. Often times, flu etiquette is not practiced correctly or just overlooked entirely, leaving people to question how to manage situations where the flu virus may be passed from person to person – such as kissing or embracing a family member, shaking hands with a friend or colleague at a party, or as many experience during the holiday season, traveling on an airplane where your seatmate shows signs of the flu?
The answers are something The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), in partnership with The Emily Post Institute, wants to spread.
We spoke with Anna Post, great-great-grandaughter of Emily Post, on flu-etiquette and she had some great tips for adults and children alike.
You can see our interview below with Anna where she shares some great information regarding the flu, signs of the flu and additional tips. Take a listen and arm yourself with information for this flu season.
Finally, just remember the word FACTS when trying to discern if some signs mean that you may in fact have the flu and not just your common cold:
EverydayFamily.com offers general information and is for educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical, psychiatric or psychological advice. Nothing on this website should be taken to imply an endorsement of EverydayFamily.com or its partners by any person quoted or mentioned.