These 5 Steps Help Teach Your Children How to Call 911

Last updated on November 8th, 2020 at 02:57 pm

little girl practice calling 911Calling 911 sounds simple, but put yourself in the place of a child is being told to do this under an extremely stressful situation or the child of an unconscious parent that does not know what to do or say?  Not so simple now is it? Teaching your child how and when to call 911 is an extremely important lesson for them and will make it more comfortable for them should the need arise.

  1. Teaching your child how to call 911 should start with a simple understanding of the phone and the three buttons.
  2. If you are referring to 911 around your children as nine eleven, please understand how this can confuse a smaller child that may look for an eleven button, so make clear to the child there is no eleven button, it is three pushes of the buttons, 9-­‐1-­‐1.
  3. Next should come the lesson of where you live,the address and apartment number. It is surprising when doing fire demonstrations how many children do not know their address or phone number. These are things that will help the 911 operator thus speeding up the arrival of the responding units. Some areas of the country have expanded 911 which allows the operator to trace the call in case a disconnection happens. But knowing it by memory is the best answer.
  4. Children often feel they will be in trouble if they use the house phone or call 911. Teach your child to be honest with the 911 person and to calmly and clearly answer the questions they are being asked. For example, what is your address? Is the person awake? Is the person breathing?
  5. Defining what an emergency is and when to call 911 is the next step. Having your child understand that major things like fires, seriously injured people and intruders in your home are real emergencies and things like a missing toy or a flat bike tire are not.

A test run should be in order when the child is ready. You can try an old phone or simply unplug your phone and have the child dial and answer the questions and see how well they do. Obviously the older the child the easier it will be and this may take more time with younger children but we have all seen the stories on the news of very your children calling 911 and saving a life. I hope and pray your child will never have to call 911 but always teach them that if there is ever any doubt that they should call. Better to be safe than sorry.

Be safe.

 Photo credit: Dan HattonCC license

Kids and Rashes: Should You Worry??

Last updated on November 8th, 2020 at 02:57 pm

little girl chicken pox and calamineOne of the most frequent reasons children are brought to their Pediatricians, the most frequent cause of parental concern, and sometimes the most difficult to diagnose,  rashes can be caused by a laundry list of issues.  For that reason rashes must be divided up by characteristics:  is it raised or flat, can you feel it, is it itchy, is it small bumps, large welts, water blisters, or big flat areas, is it painful, are there accompanying symptoms,  is it localized or generalized, what color is it, does it blanch to touch, and the list goes on.

Diagnosing the problem takes into consideration all of this plus an exam by your Doctor.

  • Some rashes are symptoms of a minor illness – most of the time viral, but a symptom nevertheless , just like runny nose and fever for a cold.  The presence of a rash does not necessarily imply that it is contagious although it can give an indication of cause and an idea whether the underlying illness might be contagious.  Certain rashes are terrible looking and the people who have them are very symptomatic; such as poison ivy with its open weeping sores – this rash contrary to popular opinion is not contagious and you cannot catch poison Ivy from person to person unless the first person has not yet washed off the resin from the poison ivy leaf on their skin that caused the problem.  [In short: both rash and illness “may” be contagious, but like any viral cold, are not typically serious]*
  • Certain rashes are characteristic of some more significant illnesses, such as the rash of Chicken Pox along with typical symptoms and course of illness.  In this case, although the vesicles in the rash of chicken pox holds the contaminated fluid- you still don’t catch the rash only.  Again, it’s not the rash that is contagious, but contact with someone with chicken pox can produce the illness and subsequent rash.  Small Pox, now nearly extinct has a typical course and rash.  And that list can go on and on.  [In short: the illness is contagious, the rash is only contagious in that it can cause spread of illness]*
  • The rashes we see in allergic responses are also not contagious.  [In short: uncomfortable, but not contagious]*
  • On the other hand the rash of impetigo (a skin infection with staph or strep) can be very contagious.  This eventually appears as weeping, scabbing lesions and is more common in the warm months.  [In short: rash itself is highly contagious]*
  • Probably the most common type of rash seen in the Pediatrician’s office is the fine pink, pimple like rash associated with mild viral illness.  Nothing can be done about these and they usually do not cause any symptom; they go away by themselves.  [In short: typically minor symptoms, neither rash nor illness is contagious]*

The bottom line is if your child is acting sick  and has a rash call your  Pediatrician  to weed through the various symptom and signs so as to get an idea as to causation.  If your child is not sick this can wait until the next day or two.

Note – there are a myriad of topics that would include the presence of a rash and if anyone has a particular area of interest and can let me know, I will narrow the post down next time.

 Photo credit: Auntie PCC license

How to Get Your Kids to “Hear” You

Last updated on November 8th, 2020 at 02:57 pm

Getting our kids to listenIt’s a basic premise for successful parenting: You tell your kids what you want them to do, and they do it. But how often do you resort to yelling or pestering to get that result?

The problem may be you, not your kids, according to parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries and 22 other books. “We blame the kids for not listening; we tune in to them instead of ourselves,” says Borba. “You have to ask yourself, ‘What could I be doing?’ It’s not just what you say; it’s what you do.”

Getting kids to listen takes a time commitment on your part, both in terms of changing your behavior and getting your message across. These 9 steps will help you gain your children’s respect and compliance.

  1. Don’t ask; tell.
    Your kids shouldn’t be doing you a favor; they should be respecting what you say. So don’t turn your statements into questions. “Make sure your comment has a period after it,” says Borba. Watch out for that throwaway ending: “OK?”
  2. Lower your voice.
    It will catch their attention. “ They’re not used to you talking quietly; they’re used to you using the opposite tone,” says Borba.
  3. Be brief and clear.
    Keep it to 10 seconds. If you spend more time than that, they’ll tune you out.
  4. Make sure they’ve heard you.
    Have your kids parrot back what you’ve just said. You’ll know for sure they understand, and it will reinforce the message that you mean business. (Note: This step requires an additional 10-second time commitment on your part.)
  5. Look them in the eye.
    “Get eyeball-to-eyeball instead of talking across the room,” advises Borba. Squat or bend over to make direct contact if need be.
  6. Be realistic.
    If your child is engrossed in something — a game, a book, a TV show — don’t expect him to drop it instantly and swing around to listen to you. (Would you be able, or willing, to do the same if you were in the middle of something?)
  7. Stand your ground.
    Literally. If you don’t get timely compliance, go to your kids and plant your feet in front of them. You don’t have to say anything more. They’ll get the message and know you mean business. “Your expectation is that they stop what they’re doing and listen,” says Borba. “And you’re going to stand there until they do it.”
  8. Take action.
    If they still don’t budge, walk over and turn off the TV or take away the book. “You’re now retraining your kids: “You don’t listen, you don’t watch. This is how we behave,” says Borba.
  9. Model respectful behavior.
    Say “please” the first time you call for their attention or tell them what you want them to do. Say “thanks” when they do it. Think of what you’re showing your kids and ask yourself if you would want them to copy it.

It may take awhile for your kids to change their behavior, especially if they’ve been tuning you out for a long time. But it may also take you awhile to change yours. The good news is, according to Borba: It’s never too late to get your kids to listen to you and follow through. In the process, you just may teach them a thing or two about asking for, and expecting to be treated respectfully by others – and that would make this an invaluable lesson for both of you.

Rituals and Special Needs Kids: Stability in a Chaotic World

Last updated on November 8th, 2020 at 02:58 pm

mom reads book to daughter in bedOne night as I flopped down next my daughter in her bed, I kissed her and said goodnight.  She wished me a goodnight back. There was a moment of silence during which I mentally listed all the household chores I still had waiting for me in the other room. Her sleepy voice interrupted my list. “You didn’t say it,” she objected.

“Say what?” I was totally confused. I had just said goodnight, what more did she want from me?

“You know…” she was waiting for a response. It took me a moment, but then I realized what she meant.

“Sweet dreams,” I said softly. She mumbled her wish for sweet dreams for me against her pillow. “I love you,” I concluded. She murmured that she loved me too, and I felt her body relax. We had completed the ritual, one that I had completely failed to realize we had adopted. But to her, this little exchange of phrases each night signaled to her brain that the day was over and that she could let go of all the tensions from the day.

We hear a lot about how important rituals are for very young children and also for special needs kids, and it makes sense. In a world that may feel like it is swirling out of their control, there are a few things they can count on. When those things happen predictably it makes them feel safe and they can relax. For those of us who lack this need for rituals it might help to put yourself in this scenario:

You are driving home one day, running late and expecting the cable guy. You anticipate seeing the usual landmarks  – the gas station, the bank where you almost unconsciously make your turn – but suddenly you realize that somehow you are on the wrong road! Sure, there’s a gas station but it’s not your gas station. Nothing is familiar. You are lost!

Scary, right? Now imagine that you are driving home, but this time you are on the correct road. You see that gas station and it makes you smile a bit internally. Then you see that familiar bank, and you ease into your turn. Ahhhhhh….

Certainly this is an exaggeration, but I hope it helps you to empathize with little ones and bigger ones with special needs who treasure these guideposts. I am trying to put aside my lists and my chores and see how else I can help my child feel comfortable in her world. Well, maybe after folding this last load of laundry…

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**Editor’s Note:  COVID-19 is taking a toll on ALL our kids…and rituals can help. According to Bright Horizons article Talking to Children about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) “Children need our calm, empathetic presence more than ever.  Maintain your typical routines as much as possible. Rituals like bedtime stories or after dinner games or walks anchor children in normalcy”.