Archives for August 2010

Easing the Back-to-School Butterflies

In some families, it’s hard to say who’s more nervous about the first day of school– the kids or the parents!  New beginnings are exciting but kids and their parents may also feel apprehensive, especially if your child is attending a new school. You know that these jitters will pass, but doing a little advanced preparation will help put everyone at ease. These 10 tips from Hitched will help make the first day of school easier.

1. Scout it out. Before school starts, take a walk or drive by the school and let your child see the route you both will be traveling each morning and afternoon. Point out the school office, the library and any other areas of the school that you can see from the street. Try guessing which classroom your child may be in and talk about what he or she may be learning this upcoming school year.

2. Start a trend of going to bed earlier every day of the week. It will be easier to fall asleep the night before the first day of school if your child has already established a habit of an earlier bedtime.

3. Visit the school website. Spend some time with your child reviewing the cafeteria menu, supply list, teacher roster and anything and everything else that may catch your child’s attention.

4. Make friends. If your child will be new to the school, call the school office a few weeks ahead and request a phone call or visit from a host family. Invite the family over for a casual dinner or dessert so your child will know a familiar face before the first day of school.

5. Don’t skip the open house. Attending this informative event is essential in order to learn what will be expected from you as parents, as well as your child, this upcoming year.

6. Get your child’s school clothes ready a week prior to the first day of school. Whether your child wears a uniform or regular clothing, have their clothes clean, ironed and ready to go. Every second counts on such a hectic morning.

7. No loitering on the first day. Walk your child to the door, help them locate their desk and lunch cubby, kiss them on the cheek and say goodbye. Avoid the urge to circle back and peer through the window to see how your child is doing. It makes it much harder on your child to say goodbye the second time around.

8. Help your child find the restroom. It’s important for a child to know where key locations are and the bathroom is top on this list.

9. Make a special breakfast. Plan a special “First Day of School” menu with your child and offer a selection of healthy choices. Set the table the night before and sit down together to eat breakfast. Attempting to slow down the pace on a busy morning will relax your child and give them time to ask you questions or discuss fears.

10. Assure your child that everyone gets a little nervous on the first day of school. Talk about what other children are probably feeling and how the feeling will pass very soon. Remind them that you will see them in the afternoon and how you will look forward to hearing all about their day.

For more great advice on life, family, kids and marriage, visit Hitched.

Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.protocolschooloftexas.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @: www.twitter.com/DianeGottsman.

feature photo from Your New Favorite Song

Medication you should NEVER give your Baby

Babies are much more likely than adults to have adverse drug reactions, so any medicine you put into that little body should be taken seriously, even prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication and “herbal” medicines.

Until your baby is 6 months old, consult a doctor before giving her any medication at all, advises Baby Center. Once she’s 3 months old you can give a carefully measured dose of baby dose of acetaminophen, but even that is not always necessary at the first sign of fussiness.

Here are 9 types of medication that you should never give your baby.

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Aspirin

Aspirin can make a child susceptible to Reye’s syndrome — a rare but potentially fatal illness. Aspirin is sometimes referred to as “salicylate” or “acetylsalicylic acid,” and is sometimes found in “children’s medicine.”  Read labels carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure whether a product is aspirin-free.

For fever and other discomfort, ask your doctor about giving your baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines

Studies show that they don’t actually help to soothe symptoms of kids this age.The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against giving OTC cough and cold medicines to babies.  And they can be harmful, especially when a child mistakenly gets more than the recommended dose.

In addition to side effects like drowsiness or sleeplessness, upset stomach, and a rash or hives, a child can suffer serious effects such as rapid heart rate, convulsions, and even death. Every year, 7,000 children under the age of 11 are treated in U.S. emergency rooms after taking too much cough or cold medication.

If your baby’s miserable with a cold, you may want to try a humidifier or other home remedies.

Anti-nausea medications

Don’t give your baby an anti-nausea medication (prescription or OTC) unless her doctor specifically recommends it. Most bouts of vomiting are pretty short-lived, and babies and children usually handle them just fine without any medication. In addition, anti-nausea medications have risks and possible complications. (If your baby is vomiting and begins to get dehydrated, contact her doctor for advice on what to do.)

Adult medications

Giving your baby a smaller dose of medicine meant for an adult is dangerous. If the label doesn’t indicate an appropriate dose for a baby her size, don’t give that medication to your baby.

Any medication prescribed for someone else or for another condition

Prescription drugs intended for other people (like a sibling) or to treat other illnesses may be ineffective or even dangerous when given to your baby. Give her only medicine prescribed for her and her specific condition.

Anything expired

Toss out medicines, prescription and OTC alike, as soon as they expire. Also get rid of discolored or crumbly medicines — basically anything that doesn’t look the way it did when you first bought it.

After the use-by date, medications may no longer be effective and can even be harmful. Don’t flush old drugs down the toilet, as they can contaminate groundwater and end up in the drinking water supply. Find out how to safely dispose of expired medication.

Extra acetaminophen

Some medicines contain acetaminophen to help ease fever and pain, so be careful not to give your baby an additional separate dose of acetaminophen. If you’re not sure what’s in a particular medicine, don’t give her acetaminophen or ibuprofen until you’ve first gotten the okay from your doctor or pharmacist.

Chewables

Chewable tablets are a choking hazard for babies. If your baby’s eating solids and you want to use a chewable tablet, crush it first, then put it in a spoonful of soft food, like yogurt or applesauce. (Of course, you’ll have to make sure your baby eats the entire spoonful to get the complete dose.)

Chinese herb ma huang (ephedra or ephedrine)

Never take or give your child the Chinese herb ma huang, also known as ephedra or ephedrine. In adults this herbal decongestant has been linked to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, seizures, heart attack, and strokes.

Check with your doctor or an alternative medicine practitioner before giving your child any herbal products. And always let the doctor know about any herbal remedies your child is taking before she prescribes a medication.

Many herbal remedies are gentle and safe, but just because something is natural, or derived from a plant, doesn’t mean it’s safe for your child. Herbal products can cause allergic reactions, liver damage, and high blood pressure. In certain doses or when combined with the wrong medications, they can be fatal.

Source: Baby Center

Getting Kids Excited about a New Baby

Younger toddlers won’t have a clue about a baby “growing in your tummy.” Because they can’t see it, they won’t be able to understand much of the explanation. Even when you are in your ninth month, big as a house, your older baby won’t take much notice of the bulge, except to realize that it is harder for her to sit on your lap.

Being pregnant with young children in tow can be both challenging and exhausting. Involving your kids in your pregnancy makes things a bit easier and is often fun. Here are some ways to involve everyone in the “family pregnancy” and prepare them for life with a newborn.

Arrange Baby Time

Make to be around very young babies. This lets your children see what they look like, hear how they sound, observe you holding one now and then, notice that they need comforting, and learn about nursing.

Baby Talk

Small kids: Once your belly is really big, eight months maybe, talk about the new baby. Your toddler will feel more secure if you refer to it as “Suzy’s new baby.” Let her feel kicks, help her talk or sing to baby, and stroke your belly.

Bigger kids: Tell older toddlers and preschoolers about the baby early on in the pregnancy. The older the child, the sooner you can tell him; very young children may be confused or disappointed when the baby fails to arrive the next day. With an older toddler or preschooler, try all of the toddler suggestions above, and in addition, use the diagrams in books on birth to talk about how the baby is growing, month by month. You’ll be surprised by questions like “What part did baby grow today, mom?”

Read Books about Babies

Show her simple children’s books about new babies. Show pictures of when she was a tiny baby and tell her about all the things you did for her. Say things like “Mommies hold tiny babies a lot because they need that.”

Explain Your  Moods

Depending on the age and level of understanding, tell your child why you are feeling so tired, grouchy, short-fused, impatient, and whatever else you feel while pregnant: You might say, “Baby needs a lot of energy to grow, and that’s why mom is tired and sleeps a lot…” Or, “The hormones baby needs to grow make mommy feel funny…”

Talk about the  Future

For example, let them know babies cry (some cry a lot) and they like it when you talk to them and make funny faces. Explain to them “You can help me change the diaper, bathe baby and dress baby. Babies can’t do anything for themselves for a long time, and they can’t play games until they grow bigger. They need to be held a whole lot, just like I held you when you were little.”

Hands on Demo

Usually by the fifth or sixth month, older children can feel their baby brother or sister move. During the time of the day when your baby moves the most, sit down and invite your children to feel the show. Let them guess which body part they are feeling.

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image: The Johns Hopkins Gazette

Baby Bonding

Invite your children to talk to and about the baby. If you already know the gender and have chosen a name, you can encourage them to use it when referring to the baby. Or you can welcome the baby nicknames your child invents. Babies can hear around 23 weeks of age, so this is a good time for the kids to start talking to the baby so he or she will get to know them. After about three months of this, their voices will be very familiar to the baby still in utero, and bonding will already be under way. Studies show that babies tend to turn toward voices they recognize right after birth.

Little Helping Hands

Realize that it’s impossible to give other family members the same degree of attention they are used to while you’re pregnant. Sooner or later the children will realize that they must share mom with another tiny taker in the family. Fortunately, pregnancy provides you with plenty of time to prepare your older children for what life will be like after the baby arrives. Getting them used to helping you while baby brother or sister is still inside is actually another good tool for bonding. The children will have invested their time and energy already even before baby comes, and the baby will have more personal value to them.

Adapted from 10 WAYS TO INVOLVE CHILDREN WITH YOUR PREGNANCY

feature image: The Johns Hopkins Gazette

Summer Makeup Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re glowing as a result of your pregnancy, or just perspiring from the heat, take some tips from the pros to help you look your best. InStyle has some great summer beauty advice that works for any woman, whether you’re expecting a baby, a new mother, or just looking for ways to beat the heat and still look awesome!

Get Real Peach Blush

Makeup artist Amy Nadine: “I’m obsessed with a true peach cheek and disappointed when I buy blushes that turn pinkish when I apply them. The only way I’ve found to achieve a real peach on my clients is to use a formula that looks orange in its packaging. I promise it will become peach when layered on your skin! That’s why Nina Dobrev looked so great at the Independent Filmmaker event.”

Add Light Brown False Lashes

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Makeup artist Amy Oresman:  “Full lashes—and less mascara—are great for summer. I like using individual versions in soft brown, which gives the eye a flirty feel without looking heavy. Hayden Panettiere loves them. I’ll add a few to the ends of her lashline to elongate their almond shape. And because the lashes are brown, a splash of mascara makes it impossible to tell the difference between real and false ones. It’s so sexy.”

Switch to Coral Lip Stain

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Makeup artist Gregory Arlt:  “I’ve been obsessed with corals this season, but not your grandmother’s old-fashioned version. New sheer coral stains are light and whisper soft, like you’ve just had a popsicle. I recently used MAC Lusterglass in Love Nectar at a shoot with AnnaLynne McCord and she loved it so much, she wore it out that night.”

Set Your Makeup With Mist

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Makeup artist Tina Turnbow: “In the summer, I love misting my client’s faces with Caudalie Beauty Elixer. It sets the makeup, freshens and tightens pores, plus it’s incredibly cooling. I use this trick with Jessica Szohr on a warm L.A. nights.”

Use Cream Blush Not Bronzer

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Makeup artist Fiona Stiles:  “I like a product that can multitask, especially in the summer. Instead of drowning Ali Larter in liquid bronzer, which can either look too orangey or a little greasy, I used cream blush in a warm, nude shade. (My favorite is Lancome Color Design Blush in Model Mocha.) It’s equally flattering on eyes, cheeks, lips and even as a highlighter on the shoulders, legs or clavicles.

Mix Foundation and Daily Moisturizer

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Makeup artist Gina Brooke:  “There is nothing more important that fresh healthy looking skin in the summer. For Anne Hathaway‘s look at the Met Gala, I mixed a dab of hydrating, nutrient rich cream like Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Moisture Binding Cream into her foundation. It’s lighter and more natural looking than foundation alone, plus it works to give her a more radiant complexion in the future.”
See more Summer 2010 Beauty Tips at InStyle.com

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