All posts tagged “Kids

Time to get back in to the classroom
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Transition from summer to school

The days are getting shorter and thoughts of getting kids back to school are in full swing.  Every parent faces the inevitable task of transitioning kids from a summer schedule to a school schedule.

Here are several areas of transition to concentrate your focus:

1. Anxiety – Both kids and parents may have anxiety about going back to school.  Talk with your kids about their anxiety and help them with a plan to return to school. Recognize the anxiety and plan a fun day to celebrate the end of summer.

2.  Sleep schedule – If your kids are used to staying outside late to play it can be a hard  shift to catching an early school bus.   Start at least one week before school by shifting the wake up and go to bed time by 10 minutes each day.

3. Healthy eating  - The ice cream truck will soon be gone and it’s time to start moving the kids from summer sugary and salty snacks back to healthy and natural snacks and meals.

4. One-on-one time – Kids grow up so quickly, try to schedule good quality time with each of your kids before everyone gets busy with the school year.  Make some final summer memories just the two of you.

If you’re kids are riding the bus for the first time, check out the School Bus 101 guide on tips to ease any fear or anxiety – for both of you.


caption-arrow  Feature photo by  USAG – Humphreys

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It’s backpack season again – how to hunt for the right one

As the first days of school draw near you’re no doubt hearing “I need a new backpack” from your kids.  Backpacks serve as fashionable storage for most students but parents may not know that there is the right kind of pack for right kind of kid.

To purchase a pack that is safe for your child consider the following from

  1. A lightweight pack that doesn’t add a lot of weight to your child’s load
  2. Two wide, padded shoulder straps: straps that are too narrow can dig into shoulders
  3. A padded back, which not only provides increased comfort, but also protects kids from being poked by sharp edges on objects (pencils, rules, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack.
  4. A waist belt, which helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body.
  5. Multiple compartments which can help distribute the weight more evenly.

The right pack for your kids help to alleviate back, shoulder and posture trouble in the future.  To start the year with a happy and healthy  back here is a great list of backpack strategies for parents and kids.  How about bringing a stack of books with you to test the weight, size, and fit?


caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Jim Larrison

bento lunch
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Lunch is served

There are two camps of thought; 1) a brown bag lunch from home is healthier than cafeteria food, 2) changes in cafeteria food make it healthier than what Mom’s packs from home.  There are many internet articles to support both claims but ultimately you’re going to do what’s best for you and your kids.

Today, we’ll focus on lunch from home.  How can we pack a lunch for ourselves and our kids that is nutritious, fun, and not boring? Let’s face it, what’s good for our kids is also good for us.   Let’s focus on moving away from a basic sandwich, chips, carrots, and cookie.  Let’s talk “bento-esque” lunches.

Small portions of a variety of interesting lunch items will keep your kids interested in lunch and avoid the “swap” of something they don’t like.  How about a small meat/cheese roll up, gold fish crackers, kiwi and berries, with a chocolate pudding?  There are so many options for lunches but they key is to keep the portions in check and make it fun, colorful, tasty, and healthy. has a large list of bento style lunch ideas.   There are also lots of idea on Pinterest if you search “bento lunches”.  Don’t get hung up on the fancy bento dishes/containers, you can just as easily use baggies or individual plastic/glass storage containers from home.

If your family chooses lunches from the school cafeteria, try supplementing with additional fruit or veggies.  It’s fun to see what school lunches look like in other countries.  America certainly has room for improvement in many of our schools.   And kudos to those schools that are serving nutritious and good food to our kids.

Start gearing up for school and get a plan of action.  Lunch can and should be fun.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Melissa

10 best sunscreens for kids
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How to protect your kids from sunburns the right way

We’re still in the midst of the summer sun.  By now the kids, and yourself, might have a slight “kissed from the sun” glow to your skin.  But it’s never too late to stay vigilant against the damaging UV rays that cause sunburn, premature aging or skin cancer.

With so many products on the market it may be hard to make an informed decision while the kids are waiting in the car (air conditioner running) and the cooler is packed with healthy snacks.  Everyone just wants to get to the river (lake or ocean).  You hear in your head “c’mon, let’s just go, I won’t burn, I promise.”  But you’re too smart for that.

Here is a list of the top 10 sunscreens to protect your kids.  Remember to read the directions and re-apply as often as instructed.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  AnnCN
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Sunglasses: Look cool and be safe

Are your sunglasses a fashion statement? Whether they are or not, wear them to protect your eyes from the sun. The sun’s UV rays can hurt your eyes any time of year, even on overcast days. The damage adds up over your lifetime, and it can lead to vision problems like cataracts.

Before you buy sunglasses, here are some things to consider:

  • Choose sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays
  • Green, brown or gray lenses are best
  • Bigger is better
  • Wraparound styles can block rays that sneak in from the side
  • Wearing a hat with your shades gives you even more protection

Make your sunglasses a daily habit. Even kids who spend much time outdoors should protect their eyes from UV rays.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Mike Mozart

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What’s green & red & freshens the air?

A poinsettia! That’s right: leafy potted plants can remove pollutants from indoor air, which may help to improve your health today and over time.

NASA scientists were the first to consider house plants as way to remove indoor air pollutants in space crafts that commonly cause headaches, itchy eyes, and eventually lead to chronic health problems. Decades later, studies suggest that plants may reduce toxic air pollutants from building supplies in homes as well.

Plant leaves, roots and micro-organisms in soil work together to capture toxic “VOC” gases that come from furnishings, building supplies, and other household products. It’s best to avoid toxics and get good ventilation, but plants are a good idea, too.

For more details, check out this story in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

So, go ahead and adopt a leafy friend! Some poinsettias are grown here in Oregon. They are not particularly toxic to kids or pets, and they take little care to last with bright color through March.

 Worried about your pets or kids around a poinsettia

Per the ASCPA poinsettias are not the deadly flowers that popular legend has made them out to be. These striking plants (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are part of a family of plants known as spurges.  During the 1820s Joel Robert Poinsett, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, first brought poinsettias to the U.S. from a Mexican city he had visited. The myth of the plant’s toxicity began in the early part of the 20th century when the two-year-old child of a U.S. Army officer was alleged to have died from consuming a poinsettia leaf.

As a result of this rumor, the toxic potential of poinsettia has become highly exaggerated. In reality, poinsettia ingestions typically produce only mild to moderate gastrointestinal tract irritation, which may include drooling, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Keeping this plant out of the reach of your pet to avoid stomach upset is still a good idea, but you need not banish the poinsettia from your home for fear of a fatal exposure.

Source: Oregon Environmental Council

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Back-to-School Backpacks

Backpacks have become the most popular means for school age children to carry their books and school supplies.  And in fact, when used correctly, a properly designed backpack is an excellent way to carry the necessities of the school day.  Unfortunately, thousands of children each year experience back pain related to use of school backpacks that are too heavy or used incorrectly. With the start of the new school year, however, it is worth offering a reminder to parents and children of ways to prevent these from occurring.

Choose the right backpack Read More

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Teach Me How To Brushy and other kids health videos

Check out this fun parody of “Teach Me How To Dougie” called “Teach Me How To Brushy” from the Oregon Dental Association. This is a great way to encourage kids to brush their teeth.

 Teach me how to brushy

Pull-ups recently debuted their “Potty Dance” commercials. Have you seen this one? 

 Potty dance

In a past My apple a day post, we featured  “Pack It Up” made by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

What other health related children’s songs have you heard of? Feel free to leave us the link to any other fun videos in the comments. Education can be fun!