Nov 21, 2018

The Autonomy Of Children -- Are We Sharing Too Much?

Social media has become a part of everyday life. Nowadays, checking your daily Instagram feed is more common than glossing over the morning paper. When it comes to raising children in the modern era, few parents are immune to the temptation of posting their children online. A recent controversy in the parenting blogging community has shone a spotlight on this common practice, and as a result, many parents are asking themselves a complex question:

Could there be negative consequences when I share photos of my young children on social media?

Because social media is so new, there are no easy answers when it comes to this important question.
A recent study showed that the average parent will have shared almost 1,500 images of their child by the time the child is five. This seems like an impossibly large number, but the study gets worse.

The study also revealed that these parents often lack the knowledge over the privacy of these photos; after all, once a photo is uploaded to the internet, it's open for the world to see. While email and search engines are the two top activities on the internet, social media isn't far behind.

Nov 1, 2018

How to Spot These Five Common Childhood Rashes

Children have sensitive skin that is often prone to rashes, redness, dryness, and other blemishes. Young children's and toddlers' tactile relationship with their environment makes them especially prone to unusual irritants and bacteria, and so they tend to get rashes more frequently than adults.

Though most rashes in children are not cause for concern and heal quickly, some skin reactions could indicate more serious disease. Use this guide to identify, prevent, and treat these five common childhood rashes:

  1. Measles

    Though most children in the United States (91.1%) were vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella in 2016, it is still important for parents to recognize the measles rash, especially in infants too young to be vaccinated. Measles looks like red or brown blotches that begin in the head and neck region before spreading to the rest of the body. Measles is highly infectious and often accompanied by fever. Though it passes in about a week, children with measles need to see a doctor, and steps should be taken to prevent this highly infectious disease from spreading.
  2. Chickenpox

Oct 24, 2018

Happy Hallo-Green: Five Tips to Use Less Plastic This Season

Spooky season is here, and many families will be stocking up on candies, decorations, and costumes to celebrate this Halloween. Though this middle-of-fall tradition is an annual favorite for many, like the winter holidays, Halloween celebrations are notoriously bad for the environment. Many rush to stores looking for the perfect partyware, only to discard products as soon and November arrives.

Halloween is scary, but climate change and pollution are even scarier. Use less plastic and be kind to the planet this October 31 by following these tips:

  1. Give out Plastic-Free Candy and Toothbrushes
    Single-use packaging of all kinds is one of the biggest contributors to landfill waste and oil consumption. In order to give out safe candy, you still have to get storebought stuff, but there are plenty of candy options available that pass parental candy checks. Candies like Dots, Hershey kisses, Nerds, Whoppers, and Junior Mints all come in cardboard or foil wrappings, which are a little more eco-friendly. If you're someone who gives out toothbrushes as healthier treats, look for wooden, biodegradable brushes with cardboard packaging instead of plastic materials.
  2. Ditch the Fake Pumpkin
    Instead of using plastic pumpkins or plastic bags to hold candy while out trick-or-treating, use a reusable cloth bag or a paper bag. You can even sew and decorate your own treat sack as part of a homemade (plastic-free) costume!
  3. Use Flashlights Instead of Glowsticks
    Flashlights can be used again and again, but glowsticks last mere hours before heading to the dump. For extra visibility, use lights with rechargeable batteries and reflectors on costumes, and leave the glow sticks on the store shelves.

Oct 15, 2018

3 Easy Way to Teach Kids to Save Water

Every day, an American uses about 88 gallons of water in their home. Taking showers, cleaning dishes and laundry, and cooking all add up quickly. However, much of that water isn't even put to good use-- according to Chelsea Green Publishing, a leaking faucet alone wastes about 2,700 gallons of water each year.

Teaching children about careful water use can help them grow into lifelong conservationists. As an added bonus, helping kids use less water can lower your utility bills. Teach kids to protect both your budget and the planet with these five water-smart tips:
  1. Establish Good Bath Time Habits

    Bathing is one of the biggest activities for water consumption. When bathing infants, fill the tub with only a few inches of water. According to Water: Use it Wisely, there's no need for several gallons to wash a little one, and deep water makes bathing babies more dangerous. As toddlers grow older, they'll notice you only put as much water as needed in the tub. When they are old enough, exchange children's baths for quick showers, and explain that a full tub wastes more water than a short rinse.

Oct 13, 2018

Yards Shrink, Homes Grow, and Kids Need Time Outdoors More than Ever

A few years ago, several different news sources began reporting a disturbing trend in the United States: the average size of a person’s home was growing, but the average size of yards was shrinking. In 2015, the average lot size was down 13% from 1978, reduced to a mere .19 acres, according to The Atlantic.

This is not to say that old homes' lawns were shrinking. The study focused on new homes and found that Americans preferred buying houses with a greater house-to-lawn ratio than ever before. According to Martekwatch, this means that lot usage has reached an all-time peak. Lot usage, or how much land is devoted to a house rather than green space, is now a whopping 25%.

A survey conducted by Harris Poll for the National Association of Landscape Professionals revealed that three out of four Americans (75%) still felt that spending time outside in their yards was important. So why are so many choosing to buy bigger houses with less lawn space?

According to The Atlantic, cutting down on acreage makes homes more affordable in a tight market. Families can still get the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they need if they sacrifice yard space.

Another suggestion is that many suburban families have become more environmentally conscious. Rather than maintaining a fake, lurid-green lawn with wasted water, some homeowners opt for rock gardens and make the park their yard instead.

Oct 4, 2018

Minimalist Living With Kids -- Is It Even Possible?

Modern parenting is hard. Most of the time you don't really know if you're doing it right, and the Internet will always be there to tell you exactly how you're doing it wrong. In recent years, the minimalist movement has exploded in popularity, but this trend is rarely discussed in terms of parenting.

While childless urban hipsters may be able to go minimalist without any problems, can parents also adopt a scaled-back lifestyle? What would minimalist parenting even look like?

While parents do need a certain amount of stuff by necessity -- car seats, toys, clothes, cooking supplies, and so, so much more -- there are some ways you can transform your lifestyle. And if you're looking at this post, then you're already thinking that you want to change.

Health & Wellness Back-to-School Gift Ideas for Teachers

The new school year is upon us and it's time to think of a great gift for your child's teacher. Unfortunately, coming up with a good gift idea for someone you hardly know can be quite challenging. This is especially true if you're part of the 25% of the U.S. population that waits until the last minute to buy gifts (which we're all guilty of doing). But you can never go wrong with buying health and wellness gifts for teachers -- so let's take a look at a few simple gift ideas you can put together quickly.

Cold and Flu Care

It's no surprise that teachers can get sick pretty easily being surrounded by kids and their germs all day, every day. So what better gift to give your child's teacher than some cold and flu care essentials? Tissues, cough drops, herbal tea, and hand sanitizer can all come in handy if teachers start to feel unwell. And since cold symptoms can last up to 14 days, your child's teacher will be sure to appreciate having care products already on hand. Better yet, you can even put together some cleaning supplies, like wipes and sprays, to help them keep their classroom as germ-free as possible. Either way, these gifts are sure to come in handy during cold and flu season.

Sep 10, 2018

Oat Milk May Just Be The Greatest Healthy Culinary Trend of 2018

Considering a significant portion of people are lactose intolerant and/or vegan, it's not surprising that a bunch of alternatives to cow's milk have popped up over the years. You've probably heard of soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk. Now there's a promising new cow's milk alternative: oat milk!

What is oat milk, you ask? You take rolled or steel-cut oats, blend them with water, and strain the resulting mix to end up with a creamy milk-like drink.

What sets this new alternative milk contender apart? Oat milk is:
  1. Dairy-free,
  2. Nut-free,
  3. Soy-free,
  4. Full of healthy fiber,
  5. Creamier in texture than some other alt milks,
  6. And it's fast and cheap to make at home.
On top of those reasons, oat crops are great for farmers and the environment. They're hardy and tolerant of all kinds of weather, so they can grow in many climates with less pesticides or fertilizers. Oat crops also help replenish soil nutrients. Does the buzz among healthy eating aficionados make sense now?