Hiking with kids

Tips for hiking with kidsSummers in the Midwest are a great time to get out and enjoy nature. Hiking with kids is wonderful exercise and a fun family activity. Just be sure to follow some basic safety tips to make sure everyone has a good and safe time.

Planning the hike

Hiking is a fun way to explore new areas. You can start by taking a few minutes to prepare so everyone has a good time. Continue reading

Poison plants

A parent's guide to poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac

Poison plantsNothing ruins fun in the outdoors like a good case of poison ivy (or oak or sumac). While some people experience minor irritation when they come in contact with one of these poison plants, others can have an extreme reaction that lingers for days and even weeks. You don’t even need to touch the plant directly. Sometimes just contact with another person or object that is carrying the oils from the plant can cause irritation.

Avoiding the rash 

If you’re going to be outside in a wooded area, wear protective clothing such as pants, or high socks if wearing shorts. Make sure your child wears gloves if gardening or doing yard work alongside you. If you do come into contact with an irritant, washing any potential oils off of the skin and underneath the fingernails within 10 minutes of contact will improve the likelihood of reducing the symptoms. Consider using a barrier protectant such as “Ivy Block,” which needs to be reapplied every four hours.

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Are you ready? Back to school tips for parents

Back to school tips for parentsAs the lazy, hazy days of summer wind down, many parents (and some children) are ready to get back to the routine of the school year. That routine is one of the key ingredients of a successful back-to-school experience.  Try out these back to school tips to make your adjustment back into the school year routine a smoother one.

Bedtime

After a summer of what was most likely a fluctuating bed time, reintroducing the school-night bedtime can be a challenge. It’s easiest if you gradually work back into it instead of waiting until the night before the first day. About a week before school starts, gradually start moving bedtime closer to what it will be during the school year. Move it up 20 or 30 minutes every evening until you’re back on track. Also start re-establishing a bedtime routine — bath/shower, brushing teeth, reading, etc. Whatever your school year routine is, get started with that now.

Wake Up

What’s your typical morning routine? If your child uses an alarm clock, start setting that now and gradually work into the time he or she will have to wake for school. If you are your child’s alarm clock, do the same thing and start waking him or her up earlier about a week before school starts so day one isn’t made more difficult by a sleepy student.
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