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TV Viewing Causes Lag in Infant Language Development

TV hurts children\'s language developmentMore bad news for television:  “Television exposure during infancy is associated with language delays and attentional problems,” according to Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Of particular concern are homes in which the television is on all the time, which amounts to 30% of all households! In these situations, less interaction, critical for infant language development, occur because of the interference of the television.

Christakis and his colleagues studied 329 two-month to four-year-old children and their parents. Children were monitored for two years recording what they heard or said for 12 to 16 hours.  Researchers did not calculate whether the children and their parents were actively watching TV or if it was just on in the background during the research.  The results, according to Live Science:

Analyses of the recordings revealed that each hour of additional television exposure was linked with a decrease of 770 words (7 percent) the child heard from an adult during the recording session. Hours of television were also associated with a decrease in the number and length of child vocalizations and the back and forth between the child and an adult (called a conversational turn).

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The Joys of Parenting

It’s come to my attention of late that many of us focus on the difficulties in parenting.  We are quick to gripe about our children’s behavior, habits, friends, language, school, clutter and seldom make mention of their beautiful smiles and outrageous thirst for life.

So, I’ve decided to become grateful.  Every day I will find some reason I am grateful… it may be directly related to my children or not.  No matter what there will be a connection because I am THEIR MOM, no matter what.  That is my first job… my first priority.

Tonight I reflect back on our day.  I see the smiles on their faces when they come rushing in the front door at the end of the school day.  Normally I would focus on the noise and mayhem that follows suit… today I just see those happy faces, so eager to rush in and tell me all about their days. [Read more…]

Part Two: Eco Friendly Pinata How To

20 minutes before guests arrive we realize the balloon method is out the window! We put in a fair attempt but the drying time put a damper on things. We’re planning to try out the balloon method again next year. We may even get to do it sooner.

At this point, we’re scramming to get the supplies we needed for our paper bag pinata. The party was held at my in-law’s so we ran in circles locating everything. Once we put it together we realized that Tristan had sticker’s he received as a gift for Easter and added those to the pinata. We even colored on the front and back of the pinata.  What could you possibly need for a paper bag pinata? It’s really simple and easy.

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The Fresh Air Fund

Fresh Air FundEditor’s note: The following post was originally published on Green and Clean Mom. “Green & Clean Mom can inspire you to try a little harder, be a catalyst for change and to offer you some new tips and news on how to be the green, sexy and sassy mom…I know you are!”

I take for granted the fresh air I breathe and the fact that fresh water and trees surround me and there isn’t a smell of industry or pollution. I’m aware of how fortunate I am but I just don’t think about it everyday like I should. I remember a visit to a big city a few years back and feeling like I could not breathe. I remember the smell and not enjoying how the automobile pollution made me feel. I was told I would get used to it but I never did and when it was time to leave I couldn’t wait to be home and breathe fresh air. Not that the city wasn’t fun and exciting but the air was very different.

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Cute, Cuddly Maggie's Organic Stuffed Penguin Made From Fabric Scraps

Maggie\'s Organics penguin made from fabric scrapsI’ve long been a fan of Maggie’s Organics, and I lived in their tights when I was pregnant.  Now Maggie’s is venturing into stuffed animals.  Like their sock monkey, Maggie’s Organics Penguin is made from excess fabric and slight irregulars, including the hat made from tie dyed socks!  Unlike Mattel, that claimed Barbie was going green by making accessories from fabric scraps, I trust Maggie’s because they have always been a Fair Trade and organic company.

CONTENTS: Outside: made with 100% Organic Cotton. Filling: Post-industrial Polyester fiber (from mill scraps)

DESCRIPTION: The second stuffed animal in the Maggie’s Menagerie collection has come to life! Typically Penguins don classic black and white attire… but our Penguin has taken a walk on the wild side, sporting a colorful stocking cap made from our incredibly popular tie dye socks and legwarmers.
The animals are made from excess fabric and irregulars and stuffed with reclaimed polyester mill scrap. The Penguin’s embroidered eyes and securely sewn on hat make it safe for all ages.

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PBS "Share the Earth" Earth Day Campaign

Share the EarthMost of us are already familiar with the fun and educational programming provided by PBS. Many of us grew up with Sesame Street and The Reading Rainbow right? Well, I am pleased as punch when I find my kids engrossed in PBS programming because I know they are likely learning while viewing.

Well now PBS is participating in an entertaining, educational, and free Earth Day campaign! This is even better news for an eco conscious parent.

The online content and programming are ADORABLE – and all free – and help instill a love of the environment and eco-conscious values in children and their families.  Joining in the campaign is a great way for kids and families to start a dialogue about the importance of preserving the earth, while learning and having fun.

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Kids Favorite (Gluten Free) Recipe with Nature's Path Cereal

Remember krisp rice treats?  Those ooey, gooey, cubes of crunchy, sweet, deliciousness… (or is that just me?).  Anyway, two of my kids are gluten free which means those bars don’t happen in our household.  However, the other day I was looking in our gluten free cupboard (yep, we have separate cupboards) and trying to come up with a treat for the kids since the weekend and grocery shopping were still a couple days away.

I took note of the Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs and Nature’s Path Whole O’s cereals in the cabinet that we had been sent earlier in the week to try out, then I recalled that I still had a stash of homemade marshmallows on hand.  So, I grabbed the recipe book and 20 minutes later, we were munching on a new crispy, sweet treat.  (BTW, the kids ADORE Peanut Butter Panda Puffs with soy milk and strawberries for breakfast or snack as well.)

Here’s the recipe we used.  We often play with our ingredients to find just the right combination of textures and flavors.  Try adding in some dried fruit, granola or coconut.  (Be sure to add an extra marshmallow or two to offset the added dry ingredients.) [Read more…]

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

healthy breakfast ideas for kidsEditor’s note: The following post was originally published on Green and Clean Mom. “Green & Clean Mom can inspire you to try a little harder, be a catalyst for change and to offer you some new tips and news on how to be the green, sexy and sassy mom…I know you are!”

Back to school time means, healthy breakfasts are a must but there isn’t much time to make that happen. We’ve heard it over and over, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This may be the case but I don’t believe every child or person is the “breakfast type”. Personally, I just want some coffee and maybe a piece of toast. I’m just not hungry or in the mood to eat in the morning. My husband loves breakfast food, my son nibbles and my daughter devourers her food and wants breakfast the minutes she wakes up.  Every person is different but that doesn’t change the fact that we all should eat something healthy to start our day.  With very little time in the morning how can parents have a healthy and nutritious meal and not rely on the frozen waffles and sugary cereal?

Here are my back to school, start the day off healthy tips:

1.  Make a breakfast casserole the night before and pop it in the oven.  I make quiches and call them breakfast pies, my son thinks he’s eating something special.   It is packed with protein and I’m controlling the ingredients (organic eggs, whole grain breads, organic milk, fresh broccoli, organic chicken or hormone free sausage). [Read more…]

Green Giveaway: Print*Pattern*Paper 5 x 7 Signed Art for Your Child's Room

Last month, we shared with you a folk art eco-friendly lunch pack by Print*Pattern*Paper.  This month, we are featuring a green giveaway of a signed 5″ x 7″ folk art print by Print*Pattern*Paper founder, CEO, artist, and designer Rebecca Peragine.  To enter, simply visit Print*Pattern*Paper’s art page, select your favorite print from the 30 prints featured, and leave a comment to this post with the print’s name.  On Wednesday, March 11, 2009, a random winner will be selected from the comments, and the lucky person will win the print of their choice!  This contest is limited to residents of Canada and the United States. [Read more…]

Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan Lunch Box: Healthier Eating

Our kids take packed lunches daily.  We do this for a multitude of reasons… Celiac disease which mandates a gluten free diet, dairy allergies which means no milk or milk protein. For two of our children, we end up packing wheat free/dairy free/gluten free/vegan lunches. The other two get wheat and dairy but otherwise vegetarian lunches.

Another reason we pack lunches for all our kids is to ensure they eat healthier and so that I can see what they are actually eating on a day to day basis.  The leftovers come back home, so they can become snacks.

We do spend time brainstorming lunch ideas… the kids never complain but I get bored of packing the same foods over and over. [Read more…]

Free Membership From Kids for Saving Earth

kids for saving earthKids for Saving Earth is an environmental education site that offers great curriculum for teachers, mentors, and parents to teach kids more about protecting the earth. Kids can learn about animals, global warming, how their environment affects their health, and much more. The curriculum is bright, fun, and a great tool for helping kids learn more about protecting the earth. And right now, you can get a free membership.

Kids for Saving Earth is a non-profit organization that was founded as a small club by Clinton Hill, an eleven year old boy that loved the earth and could not understand why people would hurt it. After dying from cancer at a young age his parents established Kids for Saving Earth to carry on what he had begun. Years alter Kids for Saving Earth is still going strong, providing education and inspiration for kids who care about the Earth.

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Nuritious After School Snacks

Healthy, nutritious after school snacks

Editor’s note: The following post was originally published on Green and Clean Mom. “Green & Clean Mom can inspire you to try a little harder, be a catalyst for change and to offer you some new tips and news on how to be the green, sexy and sassy mom…I know you are!”

Children get home from school and they are hungry. The day was packed full of learning energy zapping activities and they need to refuel. When I got off the bus after school I remember eating chips, cookies, drinking soda and complaining if these items weren’t around.

Sorry mom and dad, I just made you look really bad.

I would eat these junk food snacks and then at dinner not be hungry. I filled up on sugar, carbohydrates and fat. Nothing that helped to refuel me and tide me over until I could have a well balanced nutritious meal. Just as it is important for our children to be fed healthy meals they need healthy snacks. It is known that what we eat plays a role in our brain function, our weight and overall how we feel. Health Guidance has a great article describing nutrition and brain function that all parents might want to consider reading. The article isn’t focused on children but the article still applies, especially the behavior part! Many children have behavior issues in the evening from fatigue, stress and probably nutrition issues. I’m finding this to be true in my own household. [Read more…]

Wooden Fairy Dolls from The Fairy Ring

Fairy DollsNatural dolls are almost impossible to find in conventional stores. Most dolls you can get at big box stores are made of plastic with phthalates and PVC. Cloth dolls can be found at specialty stores but they can be very expensive. Getting quality, natural, safe dolls for your little ones can be a tall order if you are on a budget.

Recently my little girl fell in love with small wooden fairy dolls from an etsy seller, The Fairy Ring. These dolls are simple, adorable, and very stimulating as far as creative play is concerned. Upon getting her first fairy doll, which she decided to name “Jewel”, she insisted on having more right away and they have been with her constantly ever since. When she takes a shower they hang on the shower door. When she goes to sleep at night they are held lovingly in her hand. Her dreams are now filled with fairies.

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A (Better) Disposable Lunch: Say No to the Baggie

Our family uses waste free lunch systems (LunchSense and Laptop Lunches). We LOVE our lunch containers as much as we love the food inside!

Today, my 6 year old is off on a field trip to watch a play. The children have been instructed (through numerous notes and voice reminders) to bring a THROW AWAY LUNCH. This goes against every grain in my body (and mind). I was a parent chaperone for the trip until it was canceled due to snow. On the original date, I showed up with both our lunches packed inside one lunch box. I figured the throw away bag didn’t pertain to the Mama who was keeping tabs on it.

(Photo by Rafal Fabrykiewicz at Dreamstime under RF-LL)

Since I couldn’t go today, I had to pack a toss away lunch. The teachers (and I understand) do not want to be responsible for 75 lunch boxes at a public park and on the bus (though they told our children that it was okay to bring a DS, hmmmm… go ahead and bring a $200 electronic, but don’t bring a lunch box).

How can you create a disposable lunch sans baggies (I’m-plastic-I-stay-in-the-landfill-for-10-lifetimes)? That is a challenge I’m still pondering as I sit here typing. Here’s the tips I’ve come up with so far. Please feel free to share your ideas! [Read more…]