Project 365 Challenge: Tips to Make Blood Draws Easier for Kids

 

January is National Blood Donor Month.

Blood needed for medical purposes is always in short supply and many blogs had posts related to this important activity. 

Got Blood?

Donate Blood This Month

Give a Pint

Many people are hesitant to donate blood…the idea of having a needle stuck in your arm is bad enough…then the thought of blood being withdrawn from your body adds to the anxiety.

And if having blood drawn is unpleasant for most adults, imagine how little children feel about it.

But sometimes it is necessary for kids to have this procedure done to them.  Earlier this year, I shared some simple tips to help parents whose children need to have blood drawn.  I thought since it is National Blood Donor Month, it might be helpful to repost those tips.  Who knows, they might help adults make the decision to donate blood this month!

1.     Your attitude is contagious!  If you are tense, your child will get tense as well.

  • Be positive!
  • Be honest with your child that it might hurt!
  • Talk about where or what you are going to be doing when you leave!

2.     Your child could sit on your lap during the blood draw.

3.     You could stand behind him or her and give a shoulder rub during the draw.

4.     You could hold his or her other hand.

5.     You could tell his or her favorite story.

6.     You could leave the room…sometimes older kids would prefer this…it makes them feel grown up.

7.     When it is all over, tell your child that you are proud of him or her…no matter how he or she acted during the draw.

8.     Things NOT to say:

  • Don’t say it won’t hurt!
  • Don’t say just think of something else!
  • Don’t say just act like a big boy or girl!

As a parent, I appreciate how hard it is to see your child being stuck with a needle.  If you have a child who needs to have blood drawn just once in a while for a particular test or on a regular basis because of some ongoing health problems, I hope these suggestions will be helpful.

Increase Your Wealth As You Improve Your Health

I saw a similar headline in an article in a recent Money Magazine.

It’s really commonsense, if you think about it.

What are some ways we could increase our wealth and improve our health?

1.    If you are a smoker, giving up cigarettes will improve your health…and you will also save money by not having to buy them. Because you will avoid many of the serious health issues that smokers often have to deal with, you will save on doctor visits and medications.

2.    Are you someone who drives everywhere…even to places that may only be a short distance away?  Walking or biking instead of driving would save money on gas as well as wear and tear on the car which would extend the life of the car.  The exercise gained from walking or biking would improve your core strength and over-all health…and that in turn would result in less money spent on pain medications and doctor visits for back pain.

3.    Do you eat out often or bring home prepared fast-food on a regular basis?  Most fast-food is really unhealthy and eating out can be very expensive.  Try to set aside a few hours a week to prepare home-cooked meals that you can freeze or refrigerate for healthful, easy-to-heat dinners.  You will save a lot of money and you will be eating much more nutritious foods.

4.    Portion control is an important step in maintaining a healthy weight…we are encouraged by the media to super-size and biggie-size our meals and that’s one of the reasons obesity is such a rampant problem. Before you pour a bowl of cereal, for example, look at the serving size on the box.  Usually it is ½ to 1 cup…but many cereal bowls hold 2 cups or more.  Buy a set of measuring cups and use them to make sure you are putting one serving in your bowl, not two or three.  The box of cereal will last a lot longer (saving you money) and you and your family will not be adding double and triple the number of calories when you eat cereal for breakfast…thereby maintaining a healthier weight.

What ways do you have of increasing your wealth while improving your health?  Do share!

It’s almost time for Jingle Bells and Holiday Wreaths!  If you are looking for some healthy child-friendly recipes, please check out my book.  Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking gives you 100 easy cooking activities (and 100 simple craft projects) that would be fun for the whole family.  The holidays will be here before you know it…this award-winning book makes a wonderful gift for any parent, grandparent, preschool teacher, daycare provider or any children ages 2-7.  If you want a gift that keeps on giving long after the wrapping and ribbon have been tossed away, just buy a copy…you won’t be disappointed.  There is a money-back guarantee…and it’s on special now for 50% off the cover price!

Five Simple Steps for a Healthier School Year


 Your child is going to school.  As a parent, what can you do to make it the healthiest year ever?

Perhaps your child is a preschooler and will be attending a daycare or nursery school.  Maybe your child is already in elementary school.  Here are five simple steps that may keep your child from getting sick.

  1. Wash hands often: everyone should have their own towel…perhaps a different color for each member of the family.  This helps colds from spreading like wild-fires!
  2. Dress appropriately: when it is cold, children should be dressed warmly, with hats or hoods on their heads…no ifs, ands or buts!
  3. Get enough sleep: young children need LOTS of sleep so set up bedtime routines and stick to them.  Our body renews and cells regenerate during sleep.  Did you know that children between the ages of 2 and 5 need 11-14 hours of sleep?  For more information about sleep and young children, you can go to: http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html.
  4. Make every meal and snack count:  a good breakfast is a MUST and snacks can provide additional important nutrition, especially for picky eaters.  For more ideas on healthy meal planning for the whole family, you can visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/habits.html
  5. Keep a sick child home: I know it is difficult, especially when parents work…but your child will get better sooner and the teacher and the other children in the class will thank you.  With these tips, your children may stay healthy this school year and you won’t have to keep them home.

On September 24th, the Show-Me-How with Miss Vivian program will be at Family Christian Store, 7165 North Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO.  There will be one presentation from 12 to 12:45pm.  I’ll be reading Johnny Lion’s Bad Day to the parents and children and then we will all make Paper Plate Lions.  This program is appropriate for children from two to seven years old.  In addition, there will be a flyer for parents to take home about staying healthy this school year.  I hope we will have a good turn-out…please spread the word and tweet this and post to Facebook…maybe some of your followers are local to Colorado Springs.

SAVE THE DATE

STAYING HEALTHY

THIS SCHOOL YEAR!

SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, September 24, 2011

12 to 12:45pm

Family Christian Store: 7165 N. Academy

719-598-1500 to RSVP

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: Have a Healthier School Year

Vivian Kirkfield is a local author, former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her parenting program and award-winning activity book for ages 2-7, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, has helped thousands of parents build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a stronger parent-child connection.

For more information: 719-237-3111 or vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

Five Ways to Ease Your Eyes from Screen Strain

Family watching television, c. 1958

Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that 70% of Americans suffer from computer vision syndrome?

CVS happens when you stare at the computer for too long.

I discovered some valuable insight into this problem from Eye Care magazine published by HealthMonitor.

This type of “near work” strains the muscles in your eyes that focus on near objects and you also tend to blink less, which can dry out eyes.

Symptoms include blurry vision, headaches and strained, dry or tired eyes.

According to eye specialists, there are five simple steps that can help alleviate this.

1.     Follow the two-foot rule: sit about 25 inches away from your computer and tilt the screen to so you look down on your work.

2.     Get rid of the glare: glare from overhead lighting and the sun can reflect off your screen…this contributes to eye strain.  Dim the lights around your workspace and use shades or curtains to avoid direct light.  You could also try an attachable anti-glare screen for your computer.

3.     Take breaks: follow the 20-20-20 rule…every 20 minutes, look 20 feet across the room for at least 20 seconds.  In this way you will be activating your distance vision.  Blink often and take mini-breaks away from your desk.  Close your eyes briefly and practice deep breathing which also helps relax the eye muscles.

4.     Check your prescription: if you or your children wear glasses, make sure the prescription is up-to-date.  Eyes do change and it is important to see your eye doctor on a yearly basis, especially if you wear glasses.  If you or your children are having eye problems whether you wear glasses or not, please make an appointment…our eyes are so precious and they are not replaceable.

5.     Moisturize: staring at a computer screen, especially in an air-conditioned room, can lead to dry eyes.  Use artificial tears or a desktop humidifier and remember the 20-20-20 rule…look away and blink.

Many of us do lots of close work and when you add up the time children spend reading books and doing homework assignments, playing or working on the computer or other electronic devices and watching TV, you’ll agree that it’s really important for them to follow these simple steps as well.

Now that school is starting, many preschoolers will be left at home without older brothers or sisters to play with them.  If you’d like to provide great activities for your young child (other than sitting in front of a TV or computer monitor), please visit my websitewhere you can purchase a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking at 50% off the cover price.  This award-winning resource for busy parents will provide you with 100 picture book story suggestions and summaries and gives you an eco-friendly craft activity and a child-friendly recipe for each recommended title…FRESH IDEAS FOR A NEW SCHOOL YEAR!  BTW, it’s also available on Kindle!

Some MoreThoughts on Healthy Eating…for Summer-time and Beyond

Small child with head down on highchair.

Image via Wikipedia

As parents, we are responsible for what our children eat…at least when they are little.

We plan the meals, shop for the ingredients, prepare the food and serve it.

So every young child should be eating a healthy balanced diet, right?

Unfortunately, many young children are NOT eating a healthy balanced diet because:

  • Many parents didn’t have a healthy diet themselves as children and don’t really know what to serve!
  • The media overloads us with commercials about fast food and sugary desserts!
  • Young children can be fussy about eating and concerned parents just want them to eat SOMETHING!

Here are some simple steps parents can take to help:

1.     Plan regular meal-times…if children know they can get something to eat at any time of the day or night, they will not be motivated to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And having family meals together provides so many other emotional and social benefits as well. 

2.     Snacks are important additions to a young child’s daily food intake… provide nutritious ones like veggie sticks dipped in hummus, cheese cubes with whole grain crackers and fruit slices in yogurt.

3.     Serve small portions…young children can be overwhelmed when a plate piled with food is put in front of them…for instance, if your child is having a sandwich, cut it in quarters and serve one quarter at a time.

4.     Use your imagination to make meals pleasing to the eye…attractive plates and servings arranged in an interesting way…for example, a small bowl of spaghetti with two meatballs for the eyes, a steamed baby carrot for the nose and several steamed green beans for the smile.  What fun!  You can always add a new “nose” and new “smile” when your child finishes the first ones.   Or how about using cookie cutters to make interesting shapes of sandwiches?

5.     Avoid processed foods as much as possible…they are usually filled with salt, sugar, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors.  When your children become accustomed to these, they can lose their appreciation for the flavor and goodness of wholesome natural foods.

There are many websites that can help with nutrition information and meal planning.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=1

http://www.mealsmatter.org/

http://www.healthy-eating-made-easy.com/healthy-meal-planning.html

For more meal-planning tips, fresh ideas and simple recipes that your children can help prepare, you can get a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking…now on sale for 50% off the cover price on my website.  For only $22.50, you will have 100 child-friendly recipes, 100 arts and crafts activities and 100 picture book summaries that all build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.  Did you know that this great resource is also a memory book…with lined spaces on every other page for you to record your child’s highlights?

Have You Abandoned Your New Year’s Resolutions: Healthy Habit Thursday

Hiking Symbol

Image via Wikipedia

If you’re like me, you start the New Year off with good intentions.

All of us probably KNOW what we should be doing to stay healthy.

Every January 1st, I make a list of New Year’s resolutions or goals.

Many of them focus on good health habits like walking every day, drinking 8 glasses of water, eating nutritious foods and getting 8 hours of sleep each night.

Then, life gets in the way!

We all lead busy lives and many of us have so many responsibilities that we often push our own needs to the back burner.


Can you believe that 2011 is almost half over?

I’m revisiting those resolutions and goals to see how realistic they were and whether or not I need to revise them.

Taking a time-management class would probably be a great thing for me to do.  I know that 24 hours should be enough time to accomplish what I want to do…the problem is making sure that I am devoting the right amount of time to each task.   Blogging always tends to take more time than I thought it would, but I love connecting with everyone. 🙂

I think what I need to do is write down a schedule of how I think each day should go…and then keep a log of what is actually happening…I’ll then see where I am spending time that might be better used in some other activity.

How do you plan your time?  I’d really appreciate your input because right now, unless I give up sleep, there is no way I can fit everything in. 🙂

I do know that I must walk and exercise…if I let a few days go by without doing it, my muscles tighten up and my back hurts.

I do know that I need to stay hydrated by drinking enough water…if I don’t, I wind up eating more…my body seems to tell me it is hungry when really all it wants is a glass of water.

I do know that I have to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night…if I try to make do with less sleep; I have a lot less energy in the morning and am less productive throughout the day.

I do know that I need to watch what I eat…if I eat “fast food” or highly processed foods, my body complains.

So I am rededicating myself to my 2011 New Year’s resolutions and goals that focus on staying healthy.  The warmer weather is here, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming…it’s time for my walk!


Please stop by tomorrow for Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?  I have several exciting upcoming local events (Summer Soulstice in Monument, CO – June 18, and PBS kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park, Colorado Springs – June 11) to tell you about and also a new special book offer that will go up on my website this weekend.

Making Blood Draws Easier for Kids: Healthy Habit Thursday

A female doctor examines a child.

Image via Wikipedia

Do you like going for blood draws?

I don’t know about you, but it’s not my favorite activity.

In fact, I don’t think there are very many people who would look forward to that…unless you are a character in the Twilight series. 🙂

And if having blood drawn is unpleasant for most adults, imagine how little children feel about it!

In two weeks, I have an appointment to see my family doctor for my annual physical and he always wants me to have various lab tests done beforehand.   So, the other day, I went to Healthlink, one of Memorial Hospital’s outpatient lab facilities in Colorado Springs, to get my blood drawn. 

While sitting in the waiting room, I saw a notice hanging on the wall entitled, “Making Blood Draws Easier for Kids”.

After reading it, I spoke to the staff and asked if I could copy it and post it on my parenting blog because I knew that there must be many parents who would appreciate the information. 

They were happy to have me pass along these simple tips that may help parents whose children need to have blood drawn.

1.     Your attitude is contagious!  If you are tense, your child will get tense as well.

Be positive!

Be honest with your child that it might hurt!

Talk about where or what you are going to be doing when you leave!

2.     Your child could sit on your lap during the blood draw.

3.     You could stand behind him or her and give a shoulder rub during the draw.

4.     You could hold his or her other hand.

5.     You could tell his or her favorite story.

6.     You could leave the room…sometimes older kids would prefer this…it makes them feel grown up.

7.     When it is all over, tell your child that you are proud of him or her…no matter how he or she acted during the draw.

8.     Things NOT to say:

  • Don’t say it won’t hurt!
  • Don’t say just think of something else!
  • Don’t say just act like a big boy or girl!

As a parent, I appreciate how hard it is to see your child being stuck with a needle.  I applaud the Healthlink staff for their foresight in posting this notice to encourage parents to be positive and honest with their children.  If you have a child who needs to have blood drawn just once in a while for a particular test or on a regular basis because of some ongoing health problems, I hope these suggestions will be helpful.

Here’s another suggestion: Mother’s Day is only a few days away…and the long days of summer are just around the corner.  We are offering a special Mother’s Day bonus for anyone who purchases a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  Get a copy of this wonderful resource, brimming with fun-filled educational activities for young children, and receive a $10 Marshalls/TJMaxx Gift Card for mom as a bonus.  Visit my website for the details.  Offer ends on May 8.

Please stop by tomorrow for Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian and find out about my visit at Queen Palmer School and my exciting plans for the Mother’s Day Weekend!