Posts tagged under Health. Show all posts.
It’s hard to avoid the topic of H1N1 these days—it comes up in the schoolyard and around the meeting room table—and if you’re like me, you’re trying to decide how worried you should be and what you really need to know. Generally, I’m not a ‘panicker’ when it comes to my kids so I am trying to develop a ‘pandemic plan’ that will work for my family—some basic things we can do to try to stay well.
All the kids’ schools seem to have given them handwashing lessons and their teachers have heighted their awareness of the importance of washing hands, so that’s making my job easier as I am trying to make sure we do a little more handwashing at home. We’ve added a ‘wash your hands right after you get home from school’ session to our routine and the kids all took a bottle of hand sanitizer to school (whether they ever use will remain to be seen).
And I am thinking of getting vitamin C & D supplements for everyone in the family as I have been reading that they can be helpful in boosting our resilience and ability to fight off illness.
Other than that, we’ll try to eat lots of fruit and veggies—like we always try to anyway—and keep active and outside as much as possible. And if anyone does get sick, one of our savvy readers told us about a great article on CTV Mednews Express that provides a great outline of what to watch for, when to take your kids to the doctor and how to treat the flu, and we’ve got that bookmarked for reference, if we need it.
Running a small business like we do at SavvyMom, we’re also trying to make sure we have a good plan in place at the office in case H1N1 gets as bad as some say it will—I’ll be sharing some thoughts on what we’re doing here about it next week.
What are you doing to help keep you family healthy this winter? I’d love to know.
The coffee shops, water coolers, playgrounds, school drop-off areas and Facebook pages—all important mom gathering places—are abuzz with discussion of Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente’s piece on motherhood that appeared this weekend, Motherhood: the New Oppression.
In the article, she reviews what’s considered ‘responsible mothering’ today (no BPA, no gaining too much weight during pregnancy, no exposure to the sun—we’re all familiar with the list) and shares the thinking of French feminist writer Elisabeth Badinter, whose new book Le Conflit: La Femme et La Mère proposes that the social expectations of modern motherhood—especially the back-to-nature, eco-mommy trend (this was the part I found most interesting, shocking even, as it is so counterintuitive)—have struck a blow to women’s freedom, as these expectations come with long lists of tedious domestic tasks (such as making your own baby food) that become the domain of mom (whether she works outside the home or not), if she wants to be considered ‘a good mother’.
The article really struck a chord for me. As hard as we all try, I know we’re all occasionally racked with guilt for allowing too much junk food, using chemical cleaners to clean the kitchen counter, being unaware that there was a lead water pipe coming into your house for the last decade, which included your three pregnancies (true story – just found out, serious guilt factor on my part when I know other moms won’t even buy a lunchbox unless it is clearly marked lead-free and hockey sticks are being recalled because of a little lead in their paint).
So let’s give ourselves a break and use the thinking of Elisabeth Badinter to cut ourselves a little slack this summer. I won’t forget the sunscreen but you may see the ketchup chips on the table instead of the quinoa crackers!
Did you read the article? I would love to know what you thought.
Despite all the fresh local produce available to us during the summer, it’s not always easy to produce healthy, well-balanced meals three times a day. A quick dog here, a few fries there, a trip to the ice-cream store and the never-ending series of barbeques (aka: burger bonanzas). What is a savvy mom to do?
The rule in my house is to make sure the kids eat healthy at home so that when they are out at summer parties or events, they can enjoy the treats that go with them. But you want to make sure the meals you are producing at home really are nutritious and delicious and that’s not always easy, either. That’s where it’s good to know about one of our partners, Mission Nutrition. You can find lots of nutritional information there, but you can also enter into the Healthy Eating contest. One lucky winner will have a nutritionist visit their home, advise them of what to buy/replace in the kitchen and then go on a $300 grocery shopping spree. Now that’s a mission I would like to go on.
How do you make sure your kids eat and stay healthy during the summer?
It’s National Drowning Prevention week and the timing is critical.
As of July 16, there have been 197 drownings in Canada this year, versus 163 at the same point last year, according to the Lifesaving Society. With a number of recent deaths, that toll has now been raised to over 200 drownings. According to the Canadian Institute for Health, seven people per day visit Ontario emergency departments with water-related injuries in the summer months, and children under five are at greatest risk.
As a competitive swimmer (in my youth), lifeguard and swim instructor, I thought I knew a lot about water safety. My most recent research taught me something new, however, and I think it’s worth sharing: SILENCE IS DEADLY. If you can’t hear your children playing in the water, they could very well be under the water. The point here is that drowning victims do not always splash around and call for help because they don’t often have the ability to if they are choking on a huge gulp of water (it’s very similar to choking on land—where the victim is silent). So if you have rambunctious kids like I do, you already know that when things are quiet, that’s not necessarily a good thing—on land or in water.
The best way to avoid major accidents is to insist the kids wear life jackets. Not water wings or one of those fat bathing suits—a proper, certified life jacket.
If your kids can swim, great. But don’t leave them with someone who isn’t watching closely. Send that older sibling, grandparent or friend in to make the sandwiches and you keep an eye on the swimmers.
For more water safety tips, read the SavvyMom article on drowning from earlier this week (just in case you missed it).
What are your water safety tips?
Trips to the ice cream store, barbeques featuring burgers and dogs…these are the treats that summer brings. It’s right around now that you start thinking about getting ready for back to school, or just back into the normal routines.
If you need a little help in the area of nutrition, look no further than Mission Nutrition, a program developed by registered dieticians to encourage healthy eating, physical activity and positive self-esteem among school-aged children.
We like it so much that we partnered with them for an exclusive contest available to SavvyMoms only. It’s called the Mission Nutrition* Healthy Kitchen Cupboard, Healthy Eating Contest. One lucky family can win a healthy living consultation with a registered dietician right in their own home. The dietician will assess what’s in your cupboards and help maximize your family’s healthy eating habits. She’ll provide quick and tasty recipes for the whole family to enjoy and take you on a $300 healthy eating shopping spree at your local grocery store.
How do you enter? Simply read through the new Fibre Up* Your Family section. Then click the ‘Enter Now!’ button where you’ll be prompted to submit your favourite tip on how you try to get fibre into your family’s diet. It’s that easy!
It’s not surprising that children who develop healthy-eating habits and physical-activity patterns will enjoy health benefits throughout their lives. And guess what? Healthy-eating habits start at home.
Good luck getting back into that routine!
To keep you healthy this winter, we’ve got a fantastic giveaway courtesy of Swiss Natural™, Canada’s trusted provider of naturally sourced nutritional supplements for more than 40 years.
The Swiss Natural gift pack is valued at over $150 dollars and includes seven different solutions for better health:
Enter now for your chance to win the gift of wellness!
Contest closes January 15, 2010. For complete rules, click here.
It’s a boy! It’s a girl!
Rarely do you hear: We’re not telling.
There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about Derek Stocker and Kathy Witterick, a Toronto couple who made the decision to keep their third child’s gender a secret and raise him or her as, well… an X. The older siblings have free reign at clothing stores, choosing from boys and girls clothing as they please. They started the family trend of living ‘gender neutral’ but are still acknowledged as boys. This prompted the parents to take the plunge with their last child. Their rationale? They feel they’re giving him the true freedom to be who he wants to be without being ‘branded’ by gender conventions. The debate? That the parents are forcing their own ideological values on a child who has to struggle now against bullying and other issues that come with having no ‘gender’. There is also a strong point in favour of the fact that by taking a stand against gender, they are drawing much more attention to the identity issue.
This social experiment has received a lot of feedback from readers who are both highly critical or supportive of the couple’s decision, and the couple have finally issued their own response to the frenzy. Here’s some interesting discussion we found on the mommy blogs including Emma Waverman of embracethechaos.ca and Karen Green of The Bad Moms Club.
There are many potential ramifications for their decision on social, psychological and (let’s face it) logistical levels, but the question I pose is this: are they truly being ‘neutral’ by not allowing their child to have a gender?
The parents claim to be standing up against the societal expectations and pressures that come with gender labels: something that in the 1950’s I could see being an issue. But rather than actually make a ‘neutral’ decision, which would be to not put weight on whatever sex their child is and offer her or him a variety of options as s/he grows up (as they are currently doing with their first two sons), they are going to the opposite extreme and actually imposing a ‘non’ sex on their baby. By doing so, they are in fact putting major emphasis on gender, or ‘non’ gender as the case may be, rather than simply letting their child be a child which, they claim, is their ultimate goal.
Even more so, by introducing the idea to the public, they are adding even more pressure to both their baby as s/he grows up, and their current children who now have a secret to hold. Their psychological experiment has become a political one as well, and is that really fair to put that on the shoulders of a baby?
Parenting has become much more complicated in the past 30 years for a multitude of reasons, requiring all of us to make decisions about things like Internet exposure, organic food versus conventional and more. But there is a big difference between choosing to keep your kids away from watching TV as a learning experiment, and isolating your child in a society that (whether you agree or not) does indeed classify between males and females.
Is it fair to put Baby Storm in this situation? We’d love to know where you stand on the issue.
Last week SavvyMom was invited on an exclusive and adventure-packed press trip to New York promoting an important campaign in support of Save the Children Canada and sponsored by Frigidaire.
To support Save the Children, Frigidaire has built a microsite which asks visitors to commit to eating fresh. Until September 20, 2011, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children Canada for every new registration. And everyone who registers will be eligible to win a Frigidaire Gallery French Door Refrigerator.
Members of the Canadian media, including Emma Waverman from Embrace the Chaos, Haley Overland from Today’s Parent, Irene Ngo from Chatelaine and myself spent a wonderful day at Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant in Pocantico Hills, NY with Hollywood mom, Jennifer Garner (ambassador for Save the Children) and chef Adam Kaye at the Frigidaire Kids’ Cooking Academy Summer Session.
While we were there we had the opportunity to learn from Adam about the seasonality of fresh foods, tour their beautiful farm and enjoy the just-picked flavours of fresh food from the farm. One of the focuses of the campaign is to reinforce the importance of eating healthy and fresh at a young age. Along with the help of Jennifer Garner and Chef Adam Kaye, a large group of children took part in the cooking academy and had lots of fun preparing four of Adam Kaye’s delicious recipes using ingredients fresh from the farm. The Chilled Asparagus Soup recipe was my personal fave.
Here’s one more secret nobody tells you about being a parent until you’re in the club: that extra hour of sleep you used to enjoy every fall on the end of daylight savings time weekend is now actually one less hour of sleep. This weekend, instead of enjoying an extra hour of sleep in the morning, your baby will wake you up an hour earlier than she already does (like say, 5 am). It’s not her fault, she’s confused with the time change.
This small, one hour change in time can result in huge sleep disturbances for sleep obsessed families who have small children—and it can last for up to two weeks. Tracey Ruiz, aka the Sleep Doula, makes a living working with parents on their sleep routines and helping them find the easiest path in maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
Tracey makes the point that some parents welcome the change in time because if their child goes to bed late, they can take advantage of the opportunity to get them to bed earlier.
But it can also mean tough times for the parents of early risers. If your child is an early riser, you might have to be firm and have them go back to sleep.
“Don’t let 4 am become the new 5 am”, says Tracey (I don’t think we’ll find much opposition there).
To make the time change easier and help avoid bedtime chaos, the Sleep Doula has shared her top five tips for an easier transition.
Remember they are just children and don’t understand time changes. But you do, so be smart and make sure you put yourself to bed earlier if you’re concerned about having to wake up an hour earlier.
Chickenpox lollipops? Absolutely gross and so not savvy.
Last week, the parenting news sources were all a-buzz about parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children with the chickenpox vaccine and have resorted to more ‘natural methods’ of ordering lollipops previously licked (or as my kids would say: ‘gobbed on’) by an infected child, in the hopes of catching the disease that way.
This is just wrong. Before the vaccine for chickenpox was readily available, moms deployed the old-school tactics like hosting a ‘chickenpox party’ and inviting the kid with spots over to infect the rest of the gang (so it would be done and over with). But that’s not immunizing, because the kids actually get the chickenpox. It’s just a way for the parents to control when it happens so they can manage it with their schedules. Fair enough. I understand the desire for parents to control things as much as they can (and I wish them good luck with that).
Today’s parents are now reaching further than their immediate communities for help. No more local parties. They now have the Internet and their vast social communities to make connections and solve problems. Apparently the latest solution to natural immunization was offered up on Facebook in the form of dirty lollipops.
Parents ordered and paid for the lollipops online, then had the infected treats mailed directly to them. This is not just disgusting and very risky, it’s ineffective and it’s actually against the law. Chickenpox is not spread through oral secretions but by the respiratory route so there is very little chance these kids could catch the pox from a dirty lollipop, but they do have a good chance of catching some other kind of infection.
This is seriously not savvy. But it begs the question: Do you vaccinate or not? We’re interested to know.
Two winters ago, my youngest son suffered a concussion and it was very stressful for both of us. I know there are a lot of parents out there right now experiencing the same thing during hockey and ski season. Concussions can happen anywhere, anytime but they are making a lot of headlines lately.
I thought this amazing and simple video about concussions, and how to care for them might be helpful if you or someone you know has a child suffering from one this year. It’s made in a kid-friendly way, so you can share it with your child.
It was created by Dr. Mike Evans, a good friend of ours at SavvyMom, and we’re pleased to present it to our readers. I hope it helps, but I hope you don’t need it!
You might have watched the concussion video I wrote about two weeks ago by our good friend and doctor Mike Evans. He developed another video that has gone viral—it’s amazing. It’s all about finding the single most important cure or medicine for preventative health. He asks the question: What makes the biggest difference to our health?
The secret is in 23½ hours. Watch this video for the answer. It will make you think every time you sit down.
Ah, it’s spring. The birds are chirping. The grass is long and green. The city’s streets and sidewalks are torn up and the Bond family, hand in hand, blissfully skips into yet another season. All smiles people!
I’m known to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. So, in appreciation of the last week’s ‘cold toss,’ allow me to sum up some recent events:
The Cold Toss, the Circle Sniff, the Sick Cycle—every family has a name for it (I just made those three up!), but the result is the same—one family member falls ill, then the others fall on top of them. If executed correctly, the timing should coincide with the month’s busiest schedule and most important meetings.
Baxter is a miserable sick child. Sure, there’s snot and a cough and changes in his digestion (I’ll leave it at that—you’re welcome), but there is also a new found awareness of this sad state. This metacognition paves the way for a kind of baby depression manifest through exhaustion, impatience, fidgeting and a constant blubbering, or as my father would say, ‘pissing and moaning.’ It makes for a long day.
Baxter’s ‘growth’ is phenomenal. No doubt. He’s practically walking and his babble linguistics are impressive. He’s not afraid if we leave the room and he’s more focused during playtimes. Unfortunately, he’s lost his taste for baths. By lost his taste, I mean he screams bloody murder and now that he can stand and move about, escape attempts are constant. I wonder if Oasis Relaxation Aromatherapy candles come in a log form?
Lastly, to those moms that just smiled smugly when I bragged that Baxter eats anything you put in front of him, I am now at the table eating those very words. Yesterday’s favourites are today’s cod liver oil. Some foods must precede other foods lest the planet go off axis. There is little confusion as to what Baxter will eat, and what is refused. Merely look on the floor or curtains.
That concludes the Bond State of the Family Address. I shall resume the white washing next week.
It’s been a wild week. Even with all the celebrations around our nation’s birthday, there is a lot to report. Here’s what was on my radar.
1. The most compelling subject line from a press release I have received—ever (keep in mind that I am a parenting editor so the stuff doesn’t usually get that racy)—was this: ‘Sunscreen Can Stunt Penis Growth in Boys—Yes, It’s True According to Dr. Martha Howard.’ I haven’t done the research to enquire if there is any basis for this claim, but I did want to share the fact that this is the latest in our world of everything-is-bad-for-your-kids these days.
2. Another headline that caught my eye was this one: ‘Married Women Applaud Magic Mike & 50 Shades Movement.’ So there is a movement now? And why just married women? Apparently only married women aren’t having sex. Everyone else is. The press release goes on to say that married women are entering into a new age of renewed sexual revolution after the recent success of 50 Shades Of Grey, which opened up deep fantasies for women. Now the premiere of the movie Magic Mike is prompting middle-aged women to celebrate their ability to enjoy sexual and erotic media openly, the way men have been doing for centuries. That’s what the press release said. Not me. Just to be clear.
3. There is even more in the world of bad sportsman-like behaviour. If you haven’t already seen this video—just watch. A real life coach tripped a player on the opposing team at the final handshake on the ice. The handshake is the part of the game that reinforces respect, honour and good sportsmanship. The coach will be charged with assault (as he should), but I wish there was a charge we could impose on people who are consistently assaulting the principles of sport.
4. In more positive news, someone sent me this video which I thought was a good reminder to maintain a positive attitude about innovation. The pace of change is fast these days and it’s tough to keep up. Sometimes we get cynical. This might help curb that.
5. Here’s a gift idea that is just the worst. I’ve seen these in a smaller version being used for babies in the NICU. But this version of the boyfriend pillow is just bad.
1. I’m scrambling to make my deadline on this post because it’s already been a busy week. You see I’ve been getting around a bit lately—as media moms do. So with a little shameless self-promotion, I’ll tell you about my recent article that was published on Yahoo! Finance. It’s filled with great money saving tips for back-to-school prep. And earlier this week, I was asked to join Jacqueline Milczarek on CTV News Morning Express who was very interested in mom blogs and learning more about what we’re all thinking, doing and saying that’s getting brands all excited. My answer? We’re keeping it real, of course. That’s why our readers love us and that’s why the brands are paying attention.
2. Speaking of blogs, there is a lot of great stuff on SavvyStories this week. I couldn’t help but notice the very useful post by AboutKidsHealth with tips for parents on preparing kids for school and routines again. The article starts off stating the basics of what kids need to succeed: eating well, a good night’s sleep, exercise and staying organized. It sounds so easy when you say it like that—doesn’t it? But they do actually help you with specific and practical ideas on how to achieve these goals. Now if they could just figure out a way to find two more hours in the day we could probably get everything done.
3. I’ll definitely be taking advice on eating a good breakfast and having family dinners—two very important parts of my day. And now I have a new grocery store to pick up my weekly feed—the new Longos in our office neighbourhood of Leaside is absolutely amazing. Sarah and I went to the store opening yesterday and we were very excited. (Is it sad we get so excited about a new grocery store?) It’s not only huge, clean and filled with all kinds of gluten-free items, organic seafood, artisanal cheeses, homemade breads and local produce, it has a restaurant (licensed, so you can leave your beloved there while you shop). The building is an old restored locomotive repair shop—it’s worth the drive if you’re not from the area. And if you’re not from Toronto—sorry—but this blog is all about me, isn’t it?
4. All moms should take the attitude that it’s about them. It’s not just me that says so. The experts tell us we need to look after ourselves first before we can look after others. Think of the emergency airplane instructions—moms always have to put their oxygen masks on first. Well, doctors at Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital also know this. That’s why they have developed an app called Maternelle. It focuses on the health of the new mother as well as the baby—and is helpful to both the mother and the physician. I think it’s a great lesson for moms to learn early on—that their own health is important to everyone in the family.
5. On a less healthy note, we know one thing new moms need and love is caffeine and chocolate. That’s why it’s not surprising that a new product called AWAKE Chocolate bars arrived in our office this week. Made with milk chocolate (quite tasty) and the same amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or a 250 mL energy drink—these really do wake you up. Let me be clear—I do not recommend you leave these anywhere your kids can eat them. In fact, this is not even a product recommendation—but they did catch my attention (everything caught my attention for about an hour after eating one)!
And that’s it for this week. If you have anything interesting that you think will catch my attention, let me know. I would love to hear from you!