Friday, April 10, 2020

Grandparenting in the Time of the Pandemic

Grandparenting in the Time of the Pandemic

All of us are long-distance grandparents during this pandemic, but we need to keep in contact with our grandchildren now more than ever. In a recent poll from AARP, we learned that 38% of us use video chat with our grandchildren, 45% use texting, 33% use email, and 27% use Facebook. Many grandparents are not really computer savvy, but now is the time to learn. It’s not rocket science
Last night, my family wanted to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We usually go out to dinner, but that wasn’t possible now. My husband and I are both in our 60’s, and I have cancer, so we are stuck in this house for the duration. My daughter and son-in-law organized a Zoom Birthday Party. My son-in-law coordinated with a local restaurant to deliver dinners to each home at the same time. In their home was my daughter, her husband and, most importantly, my granddaughter. At home with my husband and me was my daughter and her significant other. I was worried, though, because I had never used Zoom and was concerned, I wouldn’t be able to conquer the technical issues.
But I needed to see my granddaughter and wanted to give my husband a nice birthday. So, a few hours before the “party,” I sat down with my laptop (the screen is bigger) and my tablet. Why two screens? Because my husband and I would be sitting in front of the laptop and my daughter and her significant other would be across from us using the tablet.  First, I downloaded the Zoom app on both. You don’t have to have the app if the person on the other end of the Zoom chat send you a link, but it makes it easier to connect if you both have the app.
Next, I had my daughter send me a link for the Zoom chat. The program has you check your video and audio. We needed to attach a microphone, but that could just be my equipment. My daughter coached me on her end (she knows this platform well because she has been using it with meetings at work and her students online). When 8 o’clock came, we were all connected, everyone could see each other and there was no problem. As they say, “a good time was had by all.”
So, use your imagination; how else might you use Zoom or Facetime? Well, this will allow you to share in everyday events. Your son or daughter could put on Zoom while he/she is making dinner and chat about their day. You could read a book to your grandchild or he/she could read to you. They could practice their instrument while you watch or if you play an instrument yourself, the two of you could jam!
I used to pick my granddaughter from the bus (and I swear I will do that again!). When I would do that, instead of asking, “How was school today?” which would have garnered a quick, “Fine,” I would ask, “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?” or “What was the worst?” You could ask who they sat with at lunch or what they did during recess. These questions are more likely to garner a longer response.
I remember I was only sitting, waiting for my granddaughter to come out of karate when I heard the mother of a little girl who was seated next to me ask her “How was school today?” You can guess the answer, “Fine.” I then turned to the little girl and asked, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” She then told me about her gym class and that they played a game that was her favorite because she was good at it. The conversation continued with more questions based on what she said to me. When the kids came out of their classes, I said goodbye and went to find my granddaughter. I felt a tap on my shoulder, and the little girl’s mother was standing there. “How did you get her to do that? I can never get her to tell me anything.” I told her it was the questions that I asked. Never ask a question that leads to a one-word answer, never interrupt, and listen with the intent to ask further questions. When kids feel we are really listening, they will open, and eventually, they will look at the day with a more positive attitude, anticipating the questions you are going to ask them. Very often my granddaughter will say when something good (or bad) happens, she thinks, “Wait till I tell Grandma about this!”
Now, how do we do this during the pandemic, the same questions, but now we must ask them during a FaceTime chat or over Zoom.
One of the great things about Zoom is that multiple people can be on that chat together, so, if you miss Sunday dinners with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., have your dinner on Zoom. Once you get it all set up, you can do this anytime. People must eat, so why not do it together.
These were just a few ideas to keep us all connected. This isolation can be so lonely, so why not find ways to connect, and share your ideas here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Resources and Information During the Corona Crisis for Parents, Grandparents, and Caregivers

Resources and Information During the Corona Crisis for Parents, Grandparents, and Caregivers

How to talk to children about Corona Virus
·         Make sure to discuss this when you are calm and can be reassuring.
·         Make sure you have the most current information you can give the kids about not only the virus but what the plans are for going into school and your plans for their care if you have to go to work.
·         Make sure what you tell your children is age-appropriate.
·         Know the basic symptoms: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
·         If you can work from home, you will need to talk to your kids about what is expected of them when you are working.
·         Don’t talk negatively about the response the government or the school district has had to the virus. It makes your children feel insecure.
·         In that same vein, monitor what your kids see about the crisis on the television and social media. This also can frighten them.
·         Try to maintain as normal a routine as possible. Children thrive on knowing what is going on and when.
·         Make sure your children and everyone in your household maintain good hygiene.
·         Communicate with the school and make sure you know the latest information.

Below is a list of resources you can explore with the purpose to engage our children and provide them with information in as entertaining a fashion as possible. The more it is interactive, the more
likely the kids will cooperate.
                For reading comprehension
                Organized by subject and grade
                In addition to regular classroom subjects, this also has activities in coding, publishing and
                Free for 45 days; includes a typing tutor and ability to create flashcards

                Provides academically based video games
                History for high school
                Grammar activities
                For K-6
                Ages 13+

                A website created by MIT graduates for grades K-7
                A virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
                60,000 free e-books
                Activities on physics, chemistry, earth science, and chemistry
                Activities for children on the autism spectrum
                Activities for American history

Thursday, February 13, 2020


When most of us grandparents were young, there was no such thing as a Winter Break, but for our grandkids, there is. With parents working, you may be enlisted to help keep the little ones active.
My daughter and her husband don’t NEED me to help during the Winter Break, but I want to spend more time with my granddaughter, so this is a golden opportunity.
My granddaughter is eight, going on nine. I thought I might take her into NYC for a show, but the only one this girl has not seen was Beetlejuice, which is apparently a big hit and has no tickets available.

Plan B? Didn’t have one, so I went in search of some ideas.

Treasure Hunt: I love the idea of a treasure hunt because it can be adapted to just about any situation.

·         Museum: do a bit of research to find out what items they have on display. Next, make a paper with pictures or for older kids just words. If you are dealing with teens, you can even have them take pictures of what they find on their phones. Or have younger ones write down things like where it was or a little something about the exhibit.

·         Outside: you can take the children to a local park (I know it’s cold) and have them locate items like a rock that looks like something else or a feather. If they collect rocks, perhaps you can have them paint them when they get home. The older the kids the harder you can make the treasure hunt. On Long Island, we have a place named Connetquot State Park on Sunrise Highway and there are animals living in their woods. You can make it an animal treasure hunt to see how many animals they can see.

·         In both these areas, you can have them search for items that begin with each letter of the alphabet.

Go to the Library: Many libraries have play areas for younger kids and books, magazines, and video games for older kids.

Cook: with shows like Chopped Junior on Food network so popular, its obvious kids like to cook. Again, adjust what you cook to the age of the child. Let them decide what to have for lunch and have them make it.

Here’s a link to Food Network for some other suggestions:

Play board games: Let each child pick their favorite game and then play them in order of age, youngest to oldest. If the game for the older kids is too hard for the little ones, have them partner with a grandparent and play as a team.

Travel: if you have the money, traveling with grandkids can be very exciting and rewarding both for the kids and grandparents. I live on Long Island, so a trip to NYC is only a train ride away. There my granddaughter and I can go see a show, take in a museum, and even go visit Alice in Wonderland in Central Park. You can take them skiing. You don’t have to ski, it’s fun just watching them on the bunny slopes. Or take them to an ice rink and get them up on the ice.

If you don’t or can’t go far, a day trip to the movies or bowling is often just as good.

It is not always what you do, but it is spending time with your grandkids. Remember, it’s the time we spend with them that they will remember.

Friday, January 31, 2020

When Grandma Has Cancer

As you can see from the date on the last entry in this blog, I have not been posting for the last few years. The reason for that is I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2018. I had seven rounds of aggressive chemotherapy with stays in the hospital in between. In May 2019, I had surgery and was in remission for the summer and early fall of 2019. Then the bad news, the cancer came back.
Along with the posts about grandparenting, I want to use this blog to help grandparents and others to help the children in their lives to understand, live and thrive when “Grandma has cancer.”
The first question most people have is should they tell their children about a cancer diagnosis in the family. The answer, of course, is always up to the parents. Some parents believe their children are not capable of understanding and telling them would just upset them.  It is always your choice as a parent to tell the child or not but remember that the child might find out anyway and feel very betrayed. I live on Long Island and have my home phone through Cablevision. When my phone rings, the number, and name come up on the television. When the hospital calls, the name “Cancer Center” comes up on the television. My granddaughter spends time at my house and could have seen that on the television screen. Fortunately, she had been told right away, so she wasn’t shocked.
Children are very perceptive and will sense there is something wrong. They often see the world through their own filter, seeing themselves at the center. They may sense you are keeping something from them and worry needlessly. Children need to be dealt with honestly.
If you choose to tell them, make sure to prepare yourself for it, even going so far as writing down what you want to say. Make sure to use words that are encouraging, not frightening, but the most important thing is, to be honest.
Try to keep your tone calm and reassuring. Let them cry but don’t be upset if they show no emotion at all. Just like adults, children need time to process information and might come back to you later for more information.
          It is important to understand that the first conversation is not the last. Children often have a lot of questions and it’s ok to say, “I don’t know.” But what is important is that you find the answer to the questions, so the child feels respected and that their questions are important to you.
          One of the questions they often ask which can be difficult is “Is Grandma going to die?” Don’t lie. The reality is that some people do, and some don’t Again, be honest. If you say “no,” and then Grandma dies, the child will feel that you betrayed him or her. 
Dr. Karen Rancourt has some suggestions on how to respond to this question on the website MommyBites:
·         “Sometimes people do die from cancer. We’re not expecting that to happen because the doctors have told us they have very good treatments these days, and Grandma’s type of cancer usually does go away with treatment.”
·         “The doctors have told us that Grandma’s chances of being cured are very good. We’re going to believe that until we have reason to believe something else. We hope you can believe that too. We’ll tell you if we find out anything new or different.”
·         “There is no way to know right now what’s going to happen. We’ll know more after the first treatments are finished. When we know more, we’ll be sure to tell you.”
·         “Right now, there’s not a lot known about the kind of cancer Grandma has. But Grandma is going to give it her best shot and do everything she can to get well.”
·         “Grandma’s cancer is a hard one to treat but she is going to do everything she can to get better. No one can know right now what will happen down the road. What you can be sure of is that we’ll be honest with you about what is going on. If you can’t stop worrying, please tell me so that we can work on that together.”

Children are often scared that it might be contagious. Make sure they understand it is not, and the person who has been diagnosed didn’t do anything to cause this.
If there will any changes to the child’s routine, perhaps you will be taking Grandma or Grandpa to his or her radiation or chemo. Make sure the child knows what is going on. If it affects them, reassure them that they will be taken care of. They need to know that you are still there looking out for them.
Many treatments have side effects such as nausea and hair loss. In my first adventure with cancer, I lost my hair about halfway through and began to wear a hat to cover up my balding head. My 7-year-old Granddaughter was fascinated with what I was hiding under the hat. I am not really a “hat person,” but I felt I really rocked those chemo caps. When she asked me about it, I took it off, so she could see my bald head. I let her know that I didn’t really take the hat off for just anyone, but she was special. Later, when it started growing back, so felt comfortable enough to suggest some hair dye to cover my gray.
The key is for the child to feel safe and involved. If there is anything they can do, let them. I had a hard time during my first rounds of chemo, often having

to go to the hospital. During Christmas time of 2018, it looked as if I was going to be still in the hospital for Christmas. One Saturday before Christmas, my daughter and granddaughter came to the hospital, and we made paper snowflakes and decorations with pipe cleaners. When they left, my hospital room looked like a snowy wonderland. I was so happy, and my granddaughter felt like she had done something to make Grandma happy. The family even brought Christmas Eve to me, with a lasagna dinner, funny Christmas headbands, and lots of presents. You can have the child make cards, visit, make phone calls, or, even better, use Face Time.  
The most important thing is that Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa are on the same page. If you are the parent, it’s important to ask the patient what he or she wants.


Goldstein, C. (n.d.). How can I talk to young children about a grandparent's cancer? Retrieved from Child Mind Insitute:
McCue, K. (n.d.). When a grandparent has cancer. Retrieved from Coping with Cancer:

Rancourt, K. (2012, February 16). How to tell my children their grandmother has cancer? Retrieved from MommyBites:

Friday, May 12, 2017

“I’m Bored!”: What to do with the kids this summer

It’s time to start thinking what you are going to do with your kids or grandkids this summer that helps them have fun AND maybe learn some new skills.  The first thing you need to do is ask your children what they are looking forward to doing during the summer. LISTEN when they talk and resist the urge to cut in with comments like, “Do you know how expensive that is?” or “Where are we going to find a place to do that?” Write their suggestions down; it shows them you are listening to them and helps you remember what they said. This begins to build the child’s self-esteem. They feel like their ideas are valued. When my daughter and her husband asked my six-year-old granddaughter what she wanted to do this summer, she said, “art and science.” No more details than that.. that leads to the next step.
The next step is a family meeting (include grandma and grandpa if they will be watching the kids during the summer) Go over each idea and explore ways to make that happen.
What if your kids don’t have many ideas?
Here are some to consider:

  •  Explore local playgrounds. This is a great way for your kids to make new friends and maybe set up some playdates.A lot of kids have anxiety; learning yoga might help.
  • Check out local libraries. They often have yoga programs
  • Go  to local parks and explore art. Use watercolors.
  • Since what’s on TV is often reruns over the summer, how about a once a week game night?
  • How about a family puzzle: find a table where it can be left out and the whole family can work on it when they have nothing else to do?
  •  Have the kids plan a picnic for outside. Let them have complete control of the menu, the cooking (with supervision) This is great time to start teaching them how to cook.
  •  If you have the space, let the kids each plant what they want in the yard, with it being their responsibility to weed and water. If you don’t have the space or live in an apartment, as I do, you can check out if there is a community garden in the area.
  • Many local libraries, museums, and parks have free programs.
  • Often many local theatres have $1.00 movie days.
  •  What is their fun to do in your backyard? Look for croquet sets and badminton nets and rackets at garage sales and thrift stores.
  • For older kids, play Words with Friends with them. They will enlarge their vocabulary to be able to beat you!!
  • Many local parks have free outdoor concerts.
  • Encourage your kids to make visions boards. (look for my next post to discuss creating these)
  • Is your child interested in art? Get them their own sketchbook.
  •  Don’t forget to sign them up at your local library for the reading club.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Vision Boards

So here on Long Island, we are expecting 12-18 inches of snow tomorrow , so you know what that means, the kids are home from school and within a few hours the novelty of No School has worn off and now you hear, “I’m bored.” Often, Mom and Dad run out of ideas after, “build a snowman,” so here are some other ideas to make your day fun and memorable, both for you and your kids.
1.    Make homemade playdough or finger paints (all recipes can be found online for this and all other projects)
2.    Have an indoor picnic—if you have a fire, eat in front of the fire.
3.    Bring a baby pool inside with snow to play and make snow castles
4.    Play board games or card games
5.    Feed the birds by putting peanut butter on a pine cone and then cover with birdseed.
6.    Have the kids choose the dinner menu and have them help you make it
7.    Play bath: my granddaughter loves to just go into the bathtub and play in there.
8.    Look on YouTube for fun and easy science experiments
9.    Finally, this is my favorite, make vision boards.
VISION Boards with Kids
Purpose: a vision board is used to visualize your goals and dreams, using old magazines, drawings, newspapers, etc.
·      Cardboard or any paper that you can glue things to; poster board work well
·      Glue (glue sticks work best)
·      Old magazines or newspapers, even junk mail can be used.
·      Crayons
·      Markers
1.    Have the kids decide on what goals or dreams they have for themselves…a little like asking, “What do you want to be/do when you grow up?”
2.    Then they can go to the magazines and cut out pictures and words that represent those goals.
3.    If they can’t find those pictures, they can draw then and then paste the drawing on their vision board.
4.    After they are done, they can present them to the family, explaining what each picture means. The family can then talk about how they can go about achieving that goal or dream. You will be surprised what you can learn about each other with this project.

5.    Parents: don’t forget to do this along with them. Many adults use vision boards to conceptualize their own goals.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

An Artist is Born!

Every picture my granddaughter Tally makes me is a masterpiece and the artist loves to see her work displayed. But she is a very prolific artist and my refrigerator is not big enough to display them all. Then I got an idea—a rotating gallery, but not on my refrigerator.
I had a square plastic frame from a print that used to hang in my bathroom at one time. I wasn’t going to use it anymore, but didn’t want to get rid of it.  Then I noticed the latest picture Tally had made for me waiting on my desk. It would either go on the frig or in a file I keep. But what good is having such great art if I didn’t display it? An idea was born!

When you walk in my house, this is now what greets you.

The next time she draws a picture, I intend to ask her if it should take the place of the one in the frame. If no, it goes in the file; if yes, it goes in the frame and the one in there goes in the file.

For all you Moms and Dads, this is a great way to provide an opportunity to boost your child’s self-esteem and have some great artwork for your walls. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Grandpa's Hair

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."  From The Velveteen Rabbit

My husband Jim regrets that he cannot spend as much time with our 5-year-old granddaughter as he would like, so he has developed ways to keep the connection alive. First, when they greet each other and leave, they beep each other’s noses. It is a special ritual between just the two of them.
He is constantly looking for new ways to connect. One day, she asked him what happened to his hair (my husband has the typical loss of hair on the top for a man his age). He told her he didn’t know where it was; he lost it.
He thought she had forgotten that conversation, but the next time she saw him, she told him, “Grandpa, I looked for your hair at school but it wasn’t there. Don’t worry; I’ll find it”

From then on, wherever she goes, she makes sure to tell him she looked. He knows that even though he’s not able to be with her, she still thinks about him as much as he does her. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Death of Harembe: A Lesson to be Learned

I will admit that I am not a fan of zoos. This is an opinion I am ashamed to say I came to late in life. My personal view is that we have no right to take animals out of their natural environment for our amusement. But when we do, we need to provide protection for these animals, and that protection needs to include safeguards from those who visit them.
Over the years, many people have entered the enclosures these animals live in and endanger themselves and the animals. An Australian tourist, wanting to get a better photo, scaled two fences to get to a 1,200 pound polar bear. A zoo worker came to her rescue, and she only suffered a broken leg and lacerations. The polar bear was uninjured. Somehow this was seen as the bear’s fault.
In 2012, a 2-year-old boy was perched on a railing in the Pittsburgh Zoo above the African Wild Dogs enclosure. He fell, bounced off the protective netting and fell into the enclosure. Three of the dogs attacked and bit him on the head and torso. The police opened fire, but one of the dogs refused to leave the child and he died of his injuries…a terrible tragedy.
In 1996, at the Brookfield Zoo, a 3-year-old climbed over the gorilla enclosure and fell 20 feet.  A female gorilla with her baby on her back cradled the boy and carried him to safety. The gorilla was not injured and the boy made a full recovery.
It would be good to say that was the case every time, but it is not, as witnessed by the tragedy at the Cincinnati Zoo this past week. A three-year-old boy also fell into a gorilla’s enclosure. The various videos taken show this male gorilla, Harambe, holding the boy’s hand and shielding him from the screams of the onlookers. Those videos also show him quickly dragging the child by the foot from one area of the enclosure to the other. With the decision made that it would take too long to sedate the animal, the conclusion was made to shoot. With Harembe dead, the child could be retrieved. His injuries were not life-threatening, and none was caused by the gorilla. In the aftermath, many claimed that all the gorilla was doing was protecting the child while others saw a potential for injury due to the gorilla’s size.
This is a sad story. Many are lambasting the mother for not watching her son; others are taking the zoo to task for killing this majestic animal. There are two groups of people who need to learn a lesson so another animal does not have to die for our mistakes. The first group is those who are in charge of these animal enclosures. They have to look at all enclosures with an eye toward protecting both the public and the animals. The second group is the parents and grandparents who choose to take their children and grandchildren to zoos around the country.
The mother in the recent incident in Cincinnati said she was distracted by the other children she had with her. The lesson here is that there should be one adult for every child. Think of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends to enlist for the trip to the zoo. Not only will each child have a protector and companion, but the trip will be enhanced by the presence of family.
Often these tragedies happen because parents are lifting the child up over the railing or perching them on the railing to get a better look. The simple answer is for the adults to not do this, but we all know that many people convince themselves they have a good hold on the child and he/she could never fall. But, we all have held a squirmy toddler in our arms and know how hard it is to hold on to them. If zoos post signs by all these enclosures to remind people to not sit on the rail, we might be able to save the children and the animals from these kinds of accident.
I know this next suggestion may not be as popular, but if you are a visitor at a zoo and see what you believe to be dangerous behavior, say something, either to the parent or find a zoo worker to approach the parents. There is a very good chance, if you approach the parents, that you will be told to mind your own business, but there is also the chance you could save the life of a child or an animal. Let’s not let Harembe have died in vain.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Helping Children Understand Memorial Day

Helping Children Understand Memorial Day
Children, depending on their ages, understand war in different ways, but this upcoming Memorial Day is our chance to teach our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews what the weekend means and how they can participate.

·       Put flags or flowers on the graves of men and women who served in wars (check with VFW or American Legion posts to find date and times)
·       Fly the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
·       Participate in a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time. Or stop before dinner for a moment of silence.
·       For teens, they can collect photos of their relatives who have served and post them on their Facebook pages.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Taking the Kids to the Stars

With Spring Break coming up in the next few weeks, it’s time to start thinking of ways to keep the children busy and stimulated during their break from school. How about a trip to the stars?
Most areas have a planetarium; here on Long Island, we have the Vanderbilt Planetarium, located on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion and Museum in Centerport at 180 Little Neck Road.
My husband visited the planetarium recently with our granddaughter, Tally to celebrate her 5th birthday (we believe it’s better to share experiences with her instead of adding toys to her growing collection!). We took her to see One World, One Sky, a great introduction to the sky and the stars with Big Bird, Elmo, and Hu Hu Zhu, a friend from China. The focus of the show was that no matter where you are, we are all under the same sky and see the same stars.

There are other shows that are kid friendly: Earth, Moon, and Sun, which shows the relationship between the three; Stars: Powerhouses of the Universe; Night Sky, Live; and A Starry Tale.

The shows that are family friendly are under an hour, leaving the kids plenty of time to explore the exhibits. Some of the exhibits may be a little over the kids’ heads, but my daughter found a great way to
keep my granddaughter engaged; she gave her the iPhone and let her take photos. The two of them strolled through the exhibits taking pictures and reading the labels on the photos.

Probably the biggest hit was the large scale Moon. On the moon were numbers, draw attention to the times that man went to the moon. Tally was quick to point out to the guide that the # 2 was missing. Allowing her to take photos that she could see instantly got Tally fully engaged. She even impressed us with the names of the plants she already knew.

After we were done in the planetarium, we wandered the grounds a bit, promising we would come back when the weather was nicer for a longer visit.

Monday, January 11, 2016

New Adventure! Downsizing

In the next few weeks, I will document our journey from 5 bedrooms, a den, basement, attic, 2 baths, lovely large backyard, and pool to a small 2 bedroom apartment. 

My husband Jim and I just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and so we thought we would call "plot twist" and sell our 5 bedroom house and move to an apartment. Our reasons are many and varied, but the process is the same: sell old house, find a new place, get rid of all the stuff that we accumulated in the last 10 years at the house.

One of the most obvious first steps is to get rid of all the "stuff" that has accumulated in all the nooks and crannies of our home.

My first suggestion is to ask your children if there is anything they might want. People often keep this kind of information to themselves and then find themselves disappointed when Mom and Dad sell their favorite chair from the living room that they remember watching Rudolph in every Christmas.

Making your children and grandchildren part of the process can make it easier for them to see what you have had stored for so long and then let you know they are interested. You will be amazed at what they see as important.

But you also need to be prepared for them to want nothing. Don't take this as a personal assault. They are watching you try to get rid of things that perhaps you should never have brought in the house in the first place.

Every time I start a conversation with my older daughter that begins, "Would ou like...?" She doesn't even let me get to name the item. I guess, she has more self-control than her mother.

Next week.... what to do with all the rest

Friday, October 9, 2015


Halloween is just around the corner, so it is the right time to remind ourselves and the kids in our lives to be safe because there is nothing fun about a trip to the Emergency Room.


· Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
· Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation

· Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

· Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls. If the hem is too long, cut it.
Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.


· Make sure that children under 12 have an adult with them at all times. If your children are trick or treating with another adult, don’t feel funny about talking about your requirements for your child (see below)

· Provide your child with a flashlight if he/she will be going after dark. Perhaps also place some reflective tape on their costume and bag.

· Remind kids to look both ways when crossing the street and walk, don’t run, from house to house. Older neighborhoods often have concrete sidewalks that are cracked and broken.

· They should always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, as close to the edge of the street as possible.

· No eating candy while trick or treating.

· Children should never enter anyone’s home unless the person at the door is someone you have already approved for your child to visit. If not, just tell them to say, “No thank you.” And then leave.

· Never walk near lit candles or luminaries.
For chaperones: Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and keep your eye on the children every minute.

· Think about giving your child a cell phone; show them how to call home and 911.
Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
Consider purchasing stickers and other ways to decorate the pumpkins without needing knife.
Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

Halloween should be fun, but some rules can help if from going from fun to disaster.

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