As you shop for Christmas gifts for your children, did you ever wonder, "How safe is this toy?" HealthyToys.org, a website run by the nonprofit Ecology Center organization, has released its second annual consumer guide to toxic chemicals in toys. On the site, you can search for or browse hundreds of popular toys by name, brand, and toy type, and find out how they tested for lead and other contaminants including bromide, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury. All of those chemicals are things we can probably all agree shouldn't be found in children's toys!
This holiday season, how about searching out toys that actually help inspire your children's creativity and imagination and help with their development? Here are a few tips from Meg Stiefvater, early childhood parenting coach for Parenting on the Run, to help you choose toys that will inspire and enable children's imaginitive play.
The holidays are just around the corner. Every ad space out there is trying to convince you to buy, buy, buy toys. Many games and toys entice parents and kids with the wow factor, but it is usually those wow factor toys that end up broken or left at the bottom of the toy chest as kids go back to those great toys that inspire creativity and imagination.
What are toys that enhance development and inspire creativity in children? Toys that hit a variety of developmental areas, are open ended, and can each and everyday offer a child a different way to use it, are materials you want to look for.
As you navigate the barrage of choices out there think about areas of a child’s development and toys that compliment each area.
The following list of developmental areas and matching toys should start you on your way to long lasting imaginative play:
As winter approaches, so does the dreaded "cold and flu season." Many people in the Bay Area turn to alternative medicine to help their families fight off illnesses and stay healthy. Are homeopathic remedies right for you and your family? This guest article by nationally certified homeopath Edi Pfeiffer, who recently opened an office in Corte Madera, explains many of the concepts of homeopathy and how it can be used to treat common illnesses. As always, the information in this article is not a substitute for advice or care from a health professional.
As cold and flu season begins, is there anything we can do to lessen the frequency and severity of our children’s acute illnesses? Certified Classical Homeopath Edi Pfeiffer of Corte Madera gives some great tips for building up our immune systems and outlines a few remedies that can make a big difference.
As parents, do we expect too much from our children? Chances are we do, according to Yale psychologist and child psychiatrist Alan E. Kazdin. Just because we think our kids should develop or accomplish things based on expected schedule, doesn't mean they are ready or able to do so. In fact, we tend to overestimate their capabilities for physical and psychological development on a regular basis.
The fall and winter months bring with them pesky viruses that wreak havoc on the family. Despite all of our advances in medical technology and drugs, we are still no match for the common cold virus and its cousins. Most parents with children in daycare, preschool or play groups dread the inevitable onset of the runny nose, cough and fever. With the exception of over-the-counter medications that effectively treat fever, most other symptoms of the cold are not effectively treated with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.
Marin Mommies is presents another great guest article, this time by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette. She works throughout the Bay Area and across the country supporting families and helping them meet life's challenges. You can learn more about her and her services at www.angeliquemillette.com.
Working as a sleep consultant, parent coach, and infant-toddler-child therapist intern, I am always struck by how often I hear questions—that cross cultural and demographic lines—related to infant/toddler sleep issues and how infants and young children are affected by sleep challenges. Many parents report they are confused by conflicting suggestions and opinions in the various sleep books. A meta-analysis looking at 40 different books not only found conflicting information on how to treat sleep problems, including contradictory recommendations about co-sleeping and acceptable crying methods, but also that many books (approximately half of those in the study) had a first author with no professional credentials at all. What, then, is a sleep-deprived parent to do?
"Nature deficit disorder" is a real thing, and families can prevent it by getting up and heading outdoors. Go on a hike, head to the beach, or even just visit the park. Whatever you do, it's important just to get outside and get active. The SF Chronicle's outdoors writer, Tom Stienstra, explores this problem and tell us what we can do about it.
Luckily, in the Bay Area and Marin in particular, there is no shortage of amazing state and national parks, open space areas, beaches, hiking trails, and nature preserves. It's all in our own backyard, so take advantage of it.
Now that my son has started kindergarten, he seems to be more tired than he was before he went to school every day. We had been letting him to go bed at his regular pre-kindergarten bedtime of around 8 pm or so, but that really didn't seem to be working, especially after all the stories, books, stalling tactics, bathroom trips, and requests for glasses of water.
The mysterious SIDS or “crib death” is always a concern for new parents, even though it’s extremely rare. Researchers at Kaiser have found that it might be preventable by using a simple household appliance: a fan. Apparently, researchers have found that babies who sleep in a room ventilated by a fan have a much lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome.