Family/Parenting

Summer Internet Safety for parents

  

(updated June 2012)

You just know the kids will spend way too much time on-line over the summer, but do you know some of the things you should be aware of to help keep them safe?

I have found a few places to help you think about what you and your family’s needs really are and perhaps help you to start a conversation with your child about how they use the internet.

Internet Safety Advice from another parent:

Geek Dad on Wired.com The Geek Dad blog is "raising the geek generation 2.0".  You will find reviews of filtering software and security products as well as the common-sense advice parents can really use.  The guys also really like cool toys and new apps so there is lots to have fun with here too.  See the post:  5 Steps to a Family-Safe Internet

Internet safety advice from an organization specializing in the family and parenting:

Common Sense International: you will find basic information about all the various types of communication on the internet from on-line gaming to email to social networking sites.  What are they, and how do they work, as well as some safety tips for families. 

What parents need to know about Cyberbullying:

Define the Line:   Clarifying the Blurred Lines between Cyber-bullying and Socially Responsible Digital Citizenship. This thought-provoking Canadian site explains the issue in plain language and includes some video vignettes for both adults and youth.  This is not a “how to deal with cyber-bullying” website because there are no
quick fixes but this website can help you make informed choices.

Save even MORE money with your child’s RESP

  

Canada Education Savings Programs (CESP)

If you are saving for a child’s education, the Government of Canada will help you with special saving incentives that are only available if you have an RESP.   See more at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/resp-reee/cesp-pcee/menu-eng.html

Have an opinion about BC Children’s Hospital? Get involved!

  
Volunteer in Your Pajamas!  Become a Part of Our Virtual Focus Group!
  • Email communication only.
  • Projects take no longer than 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Contribute at your leisure – day or night.
  • Only choose projects you want to participate in.
  • All comments and identity will be anonymous (unless you give permission to use your information) when we share the results of our surveys with various departments / administration.
  • Withdraw from the group at any time.
  • Be confident that your child’s care will not be affected by your participation in or withdrawal from our group.
Why Should I Join?
  • Help the Partners in Care Family Advisory to give a broad family perspective of hospital issues and initiatives.
  • Help the Partners in Care Family Advisory effect change with regard to hospital programs and decisions made by hospital administration.
  • Gain satisfaction in knowing by your family voice you can make a difference in the services that BCCH provides.
  • Have the joy of "giving back".
  • Know that you’re helping make the hospital a better place for other families.
  • Please join us as a Virtual Focus Group Member and use your experience to benefit all patients and families who use BC Children’s Hospital!
For more information about Partners in Care and about your role as a Virtual Focus Group Family Member please contact the Partners in Care Family Liaison:
Susan Greig 
BC Children’s Hospital
Room 3D19, 4480 Oak Street
Vancouver, BC  V6H 3V4
Phone:  604-875-2345  Ext. 5391 
Email: sgreig@cw.bc.ca
See also the Partners in Care (PiC) blogsite at:

What do do when someone has a seizure

  

During a Convulsion
A person falls, their body becomes rigid, muscles jerk, and breathing may become shallow.
What should you do?
• Stay calm. Most seizures last less than five minutes.
• Do not restrain the person during the seizure.
• Protect the person from injury. If possible, ease the person to the floor. Move hazardous objects out
of their way.
• As soon as possible, gently roll the person onto their side.
• Loosen anything around their neck and remove their eyeglasses.
• Check for medical identification: a medical bracelet or necklace.
• Do not put anything in their mouth. A person cannot swallow their tongue.
• Afterwards, talk gently to comfort and reassure the person. Stay with them until they are re-oriented.

Other Seizures
Not all seizures are convulsive. A person may stare blankly, and appear dazed and unresponsive. They may walk in a purposeless and clumsy manner. These seizures usually last less than five minutes.

What should you do?
• Stay with the person. The person may be unaware of their actions.
• Move hazardous objects out of their way.
• Do not restrain the person during their seizure.
• Gently guide the person away from any danger.
• Afterwards, talk gently to reassure the person. Stay with them until they are re-oriented.

When should you call 911?
• When a seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
• When you find someone in a convulsion and you are unsure how long the seizure has lasted.
• When seizures repeat without full recovery between them.
• If the person appears confused for more than 20 minutes after a seizure.
• When a seizure has occurred in water.
• If the person is injured, pregnant, or has diabetes.

For more information, please contact the BC Epilepsy Society at
604-875-6704, info@bcepilepsy.com, or www.bcepilepsy.com.
First Aid for Seizures

BEDBUGS! What are they and what to do!

  

Bedbugs were once a common public health pest worldwide, which declined in incidence through the mid 20th century. Recently however, bed bugs have undergone a dramatic resurgence and worldwide there are reports of increasing numbers of infestations. Bed bugs are one of the great travelers of the world and are readily transported via luggage, clothing, bedding and furniture. As such, they have a worldwide distribution.

Some Basic Facts:
Bed bugs are persistent. Eradicating, exterminating or just killing an entire infestation requires persistence.
Bed bugs can hide in extremely small cracks and crevices making it difficult to locate breeding sites.
Bedbugs are rarely seen in daylight. They emerge from their hiding spots at night.
Bed bugs can live a year or longer without food (blood) and thus stay in their hiding places.
Bed bugs can travel long distances and survive in suitcases, clothing, vehicles, aircraft, cruise ships and other modes of transportation.
Bed bug females lay about 300 eggs.
Bed bugs hatch from eggs in 10 days.

Bed Bug Bites:
Bed bugs feed by piercing skin with an elongated beak. Saliva is injected, containing an anesthetic to reduce pain, and an anticoagulant to keep blood flowing. The reaction to bed bug bites varies among individuals, from no reaction to sever skin inflammation and irritation.

How to treat bites:
The redness and itch associated with bedbug bites usually goes away on its own within a week or two. You might speed your recovery by using:
A skin cream containing hydrocortisone
An oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
If you develop a skin infection from scratching bedbug bites, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.

Treating your home:
Once your symptoms are treated, you must tackle the underlying infestation. This can be difficult because bedbugs hide so well and can live for months without eating. Your best bet may be to hire a professional exterminator, who may use a combination of pesticides and nonchemical treatments.
Nonchemical treatments may include:
Vacuuming. A thorough vacuuming of cracks and crevices can physically remove bedbugs from an area. But vacuum cleaners can’t reach all hiding places.
Hot water. Washing clothes and other items in water at least 120 F (49 C) can kill bedbugs.
Clothes dryer. Placing wet or dry items in a clothes dryer set at medium to high heat for 20 minutes will kill bedbugs and their eggs.
Enclosed vehicle. If it’s summer, you can bag up infested items and leave them in a car parked in the sun with the windows rolled up for a day. The target temperature is at least 120 F (49 C).
Freezing. Bedbugs are also vulnerable to temperatures below 32 F (0 C) but you’d need to leave the items outdoors or in the freezer for several days.
Some professional exterminators use portable devices to produce steam, heat or freezing temperatures to kill bedbugs. In some cases, you may have to throw out heavily infested items such as mattresses or couches.

MORE RESOURCES & INFORMATION

BC Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, Tips on Bedbugs:

http://www.tenants.bc.ca/main/?bedbugs 

Vancouver Coastal Health: 

http://www.vch.ca/your_environment/pest_management/bed_bugs/bed_bugs

North American Bed Bug Registry:

http://bedbugregistry.com/ 

GLOBAL National August 12,2010: 

http://www.globalnational.com/story.html?id=1382550

 

 

How to Avoid BPA in water bottles

  

How to identify and Avoid BPA (Bisphenol A)

 

Definition:

BPA or Bisphenol A is a chemical found in plastics and which can behave similar to estrogen and other hormones in our bodies. Unlike phthalates, which are found in soft plastic products, BPA is found in hard plastics, like baby bottles. BPA is also found in other plastic containers, such as plastic water bottles.

You can identify plastics made with BPA by looking for the plastic identification number "7" inside the recycling symbol on their label.

The use of BPA has become controversial, as there is a concern that BPA can leach out of plastic and into baby formula, juice, food, and other substances inside plastic containers made with BPA.

Find more information and more links at:

 

See also these recent Vancouver Sun Articles:

Feds Designate Bisphenal Toxic 

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Feds+designate+bisphenol+toxic+November/3409291/story.html

Younger Canadians have more BPA in their systems

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Younger+Canadians+have+more+system/3407122/story.html

91% of Canadians exposed to BPA

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/cent+Canadians+exposed+bisphenol/3407505/story.html

BPA Found in cash register receipts

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Bisphenol+found+unlikely+place+cash+receipts/3457191/story.html

 

 

 

Make a Family Tradition!

  

Create Memories, not anxieties!

Back-to-school is an anxious time for children AND parents. Try to make the whole experience something to remember with fondness by making up your own family tradition for the first day of school.

Many families take a yearly photograph on the first day of school.  From year to year you can compare how big they have grown!  And not just their backpacks!

Some families have a special event when the kids get home.  Go out for lunch or have a B-B-Q.  Take the time to find out who is in your child’s class this year and "Oh, my goodness, you have which teacher?  Yikes, didn’t your father have her for grade 3? She must be ready for retirement by now!"  

Make a Back-to-School advent calendar of activities.  Do something special every day for the week prior to back-to-school.  This might include re-jigging sleep schedules.  My kids always stay up later and get up later as summer goes by.  If it is part of their special back-to-school activities they might forgive you for the early bedtimes.

Some parents write a letter or a note on the first day of school, which their child can read during a free moment at school. Your letter might offer encouragement or point out specific things your child did that made you proud.

Shopping tips for Back-to-School

  

 

Check out these Canadian links on shopping for Back-to-School:

 

Globe & Mail, A lesson in back-to-school budgeting

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/a-lesson-in-back-to-school-budgeting/article1672141/

 

Parent Central:  How to contain back-to-school shopping

http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/education/article/689262–how-to-contain-back-to-school-shopping

 

New Westminster NewsLeader:

http://www.bclocalnews.com/lifestyles/100916594.html

 

WalletPop Canada: Six Tipsfor back-to-school

http://www.walletpop.ca/blog/2010/07/28/six-tips-for-back-to-school-shopping/

 

 

Use a Family Calendar

  

*updated 2012*

As a parent of a child with exceptional needs you are constantly juggling many balls at once. There are school meetings, your other children’s schedules, your work and home-life commitments and if you are lucky, a social life. Use a family calendar to get and stay organized.
1. Keep One Master Family Calendar
You’ll need one large family calendar where you can keep everyone’s schedule. Look for something that gives you a lot of space for writing appointments and details, and place the calendar in an area where you will see it regularly. Many calendars are based on an academic year, September to September, so this is the perfect time to get your new and improved calendar.  I keep my calendar on the counter right by my phone and I check it daily to be sure there’s not an upcoming event that I’ve forgotten.

2. Use a personal planner
Choose something that’s small enough to carry with you, but not so small that it’s a chore to read your own writing. Alternatively, you could use a smart phone or another  portable electronic organizer for this purpose.

3. Regularly Add Important Dates to Each Calendar
As soon as you receive the annual school calendar, add the pro-D days to your family calendar and your personal day planner. Don’t forget to add all those special days like birthdays and event invitations. Getting into the habit of adding items to your calendars regularly will help you gain control of your life.

4. Use Your Day Planner to Maintain Details
Your day planner is a perfect place to record directions, addresses, and phone numbers. Any detail you might need later can be kept in your day planner. For example, when you’re adding the date for your IEP review, you can include the location and a contact phone number in your day planner so you are prepared even if you lose the note from school.  Alternatively, buy a family calendar with large enough spaces to include these details.  Just do whatever works best for you!

5. Use Pencil
This is a simple recommendation, but it allows you to easily make changes to your calendar. The ability to keep it current and readable increases the chance that you’ll really use your family calendar regularly to keep your life’s activities organized.  I also have a pot of white-out nearby in case of a big boo-boo.

6. Check Your Calendar Daily
Get into the habit of checking your calendar regularly. For example, plan to check it every evening so you can plan your day.

7. Teach the Kids to Check the Family Calendar
As your children get older, you’ll want them to be in the habit of checking the family calendar, too. This will help prevent scheduling conflicts and help the entire family participate in the task of planning your schedules.  This is not just Mom’s job!

8. If You Can’t Find a Calendar That Works for You, Print Your Own
In addition to saving money, you can add important details to the template before the calendar is printed, such as monthly home projects, holidays, and birthdays. These actually make great family gifts, as well.

I have found DotXls good for free and simple excel templates:

http://www.dotxls.com/excel-calendar-templates

or free craft calendars:

http://familycrafts.about.com/od/calendars/a/2012calendars.htm

Office also has lots of free templates:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT010104313.aspx

Or just Google "free calendar template" and pick and choose!

 

Skills for Academic Success

  

Skills for Academic Success,

adapted from "Homework Tips for Parents" by the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities.


It’s never too early or too late to help your child develop the skills for academic success. Learn how to build these skills and stay on track all year long. It takes a combination of skills — organization, time management, prioritization, concentration and motivation — to achieve academic success.

Here are some tips to help get your child on the right track:

Talk to your child. To find out which of these skills your child has and which he can develop further, start a simple conversation that focuses on his goals. Ask him about his favorite subjects, classes he dreads and whether he’s satisfied with his latest progress report.
Listen for clues. Incorporate your own observations with your child’s self-assessment. Is your child overwhelmed by assignments? She may have trouble organizing time. Does your child have difficulty completing her work? She may get distracted too easily. Is your child simply not interested in school? She may need help getting motivated.
Identify problem areas. Start here to help your child identify which of the five skill areas are trouble spots. Most children say they want to do well in school, yet many still fail to complete the level of work necessary to succeed academically. The reason is often motivation. Tapping into your child’s interests is a great way to get him geared to do well in school.


1. Organization

Whether it’s keeping track of research materials or remembering to bring home a lunch box, children need to be organized to succeed in school. For many students, academic challenges are related more to a lack of organization than to a lack of intellectual ability.
Tips to help your child get organized:
• Make a checklist of things your child needs to bring to and from school every day. Put a copy by the door at home and one in his backpack. Try to check with him each day to see if he remembers the items on the list.
• Find out how your child keeps track of his homework and how he organizes his notebooks. Then work together to develop a system he will want to use.
• Shop with your child for tools that will help him stay organized, such as binders, folders or an assignment book.
• Conduct a weekly clean-up. Children should be encouraged to go through and sort out book bags and notebooks on a weekly basis. Old tests and papers should be organized and kept in a separate file at home.

2. Time Management

Learning to schedule enough time to complete an assignment may be difficult for your student. Even when students have a week to do a project, many won’t start until the night before it’s due. Learning to organize time into productive blocks takes practice and experience.
Tips to help your child manage time:
• Track assignments on a monthly calendar. Work backward from the due date of larger assignments and break them into nightly tasks.
• Help your child record how much time she spends on homework each week so she can figure out how to divide this time into manageable chunks.
• Together, designate a time for nightly homework and help your child stick to this schedule.
• If evenings aren’t enough, help your child find other times for schoolwork, such as early mornings, study halls or weekends.


3. Prioritization

Sometimes children fall behind in school and fail to hand in assignments because they simply don’t know where to begin. Prioritizing tasks is a skill your child will need throughout life, so it’s never too soon to get started.
Tips to help your child prioritize:
• Ask your child to write down all the things he needs to do, including non-school-related activities.
• Ask him to label each task from 1 to 3, with 1 being most important.
• Ask about each task, so that you understand your child’s priorities. If he labels all his social
activities as 1, then you know where his attention is focused.
• Help your child change some of the labels to better prioritize for academic success. Then suggest he rewrite the list so all the 1s are at the top.
• Check in frequently to see how the list is evolving and how your child is prioritizing new tasks.
4. Concentration

Whether your child is practicing her second-grade spelling words or studying for a trigonometry test, it’s important that she works on schoolwork in an area with limited distractions and interruptions.
Tips to help your child concentrate:
• Turn off access to email and games when your child works on the computer.
• Declare the phone and TV off-limits during homework time.
• Find space that fits the assignment. If your child is working on a science project, she may need lots of space; if she’s studying for a Spanish test, she will need a well-lit desk.
• Help your child concentrate during homework time by separating her from her siblings.


5. Motivation

Most children say they want to do well in school, yet many still fail to complete the level of work necessary to succeed academically. The reason is often motivation. Tapping into your child’s interests is a great way to get him geared to do well in school.
Tips to help motivate your child:
• Link school lessons to your child’s life. If he’s learning percentages, ask him to figure out the price of a discounted item next time you shop.
• Link your child’s interests to academics. If he’s passionate about music, give him books about musicians and show how music and foreign languages are connected.
• Give your child control and choices. With guidance, let him determine his study hours, organizing system or school project topics.
• Encourage your child to share his expertise. Regularly ask him about what he’s learning in school.
• Congratulate your child, encourage him and celebrate all his successes. Often what holds children back from trying is the fear of failure or the memory of a time they didn’t do well. You can help break this cycle by celebrating your child’s successes, no matter
how small, and by giving him opportunities to succeed academically.

 Learning Disabilities Association of Canada: http://www.ldac-acta.ca/