Gables Montessori Blog

COLD: AN UNWANTED GUEST WHEN WINTER ARRIVES

When winter comes and temperature changes it is common children get red noses, coughing, headache, loss of appetite, fatigue and in some cases mild fever. Cold and flu are unwanted guests in the fall and winter but are unpleasant events that help to built immunity up, so be patient and try to keep in mind some tips and recommendations.

The cold is caused by viruses and kids can catch it from family members, playmates or caregivers by direct contact (kissing, touching or holding hands) or touching something infected such as toys, glasses or other things, some germs can stay on surfaces for many hours.

Typical cold symptoms include runny or stuffed-up nose and sneezing, headache, mild sore throat, loss of appetite, mild fever, coughing and even fatigue.  But in that case children are healthy enough to play and keep up their daily routines. However it depends on the kid, so parents must be alert to all the signals and symptoms. It may be necessary to call the doctor especially in the case of babies under six months that can find hard to breathe or swallow or have fever, cough so bad, are much sleepier than usual or don’t want to feed or play.

If your child has the typical symptoms and you know that is undoubtedly a cold:

  • Be prepared for at least 8 days of care, colds usually last about 1-2 weeks.
  • Keep your child hydrated do not force him to eat what he does not want.
  • Constantly check your child’s temperature, a temperature greater than 38.5°C is fever and before giving him any medicine, ask your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before giving drugs or medicines to children and do not give more than is recommended.
  • Make sure your child gets enough sleep, remember that his immune system is fighting against viruses.
  • Teach him how to expulse mucus from the chest, encouraging him to cough.
  • Remember that your kid can go to school if he feels well but if doesn’t, let him to rest at home.
  • Keep your home clean. Viruses are so resistant and are spread on toys, TV remotes, keys and other things in the house.

And to prevent getting a cold:

  • After coughing, wash your hands if you are sick or after being in contact with someone who has a cold. Teach your children to do so.
  • As much as it is possible, keep children and babies under 3 months old away from sick people.
  • Teach your children to cover their mouth when they cough.
  • Avoid sharing things that have been in contact with infected people.
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CHRISTMAS IS NOT JUST FOR CHILDREN

Christmas is here, time to celebrate, share with the family and enjoy some relaxing days. It is a different time of the year even for those who do not share the religious celebrations of these festivities. Children count down the days until school finishes and parents start thinking about the special details: gifts, trees to decorate, activities, events, food and where to spend Christmas Day. Planning can be a bit stressful and that is why for many, Christmas and New Year have lost their fun. Therefore the challenge is to return to the simple and see both as a beautiful parenthesis to enjoy, reconnect with the beloved people and teach the little ones to see it that way. Here are some tips for these Christmas days that are not only for children but also for parents to enjoy:

REFRESH YOUR TRADITIONS. We all have family traditions that bring us good memories, however may not be so fun for children who have not lived those experiences. Maybe it is time to create new approaches to this season, make an inventory and discard the traditions that don’t fit who you and your family are at present. Invite new friends to the house, change the decorations or create a new menu for Christmas Eve´s dinner.

CHRISTMAS FOR EVERYONE. Consider that adults deserve fun too although holidays are geared towards children. It is not only about organizing, planning and getting exhausted at the end of the month. Maybe parents can take some free days off from home or organize a party, or simply do some activity that is not necessarily dedicated to children.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Teach your kids that Christmas is not about the bigger gift or the most expensive one, it is about conversations, laughs and shared experiences. Develop your own family traditions that fit you and your values. Don’t get exhausted after a perfect dinner or party, prefer simple things and what give happiness to all.

AS FUN AS A CHILD. What is your favorite Christmas memory from childhood? Decorating the tree and drinking hot chocolate? Decorating gingerbread biscuits? Find those things that you loved and reconnect with them. That feeling is the true spirit of these days.

PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES AND RELAX. Forget about perfection, that doesn’t exist. Plan what you need and want to do each day. This will allow you to be more relaxed and have more fun with whatever it is you’re doing. And remember, it is not just the fun things we do that make Christmas memories, it’s the people we do them with.

 

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A HARD TASK, PUTTING YOUR CHILD ON A DIET

Some parents fail to recognize when children are too heavy and many consider their weight as “right”, but that is a normal behavior, typically we use to think that a thin child is not adequately fed. Besides, it is not easy to know what is the ideal number on the scale, because body changes so fast that we don’t realize our kids are getting fat until it’s too late. There are a variety of methods you can use to accurately measure your child’s weight and if it is necessary there are actions you can take to improve their health too.

According to research, a child who is obese at age 6 has a 50 percent chance of being an obese adult, which also means there is a serious risk for many diseases like diabetes and stroke. The first indicator of obesity is the parents. If you are an overweight parent, it is more likely that your child is or will become overweight. There are others signs, for example, if you need to buy clothes that are for a much older child or if you have to buy an adult size for your kid. But the final word comes from the doctor or nutritionist, he can measure your child’s waist circumference, the thickness of a pinch of skin or fat in various parts of the body or perform a bioelectrical impedance test. With those simple tests you can accurately measure your child’s weight and determine if it is diet time.

Children are constantly growing and developing human beings, so they need a variety of healthy foods to keep their bodies growing properly. Diets don’t include those nutritious foods so it is better for kids improve their health simply by eating healthy foods and being more active. Another issue related to diets is that when someone is willing to take extreme steps to be thinner could have an eating disorder as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, serious conditions that need a doctor’s attention. So if your child is overweight or obese, helping him get to a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for him. The right way to do it usually depends on your child’s age, activity and character and putting him on a diet maybe should be the ultimate option. There are certain actions that can be taken at home and that will help the whole family:

  • Try not to buy junk food. If you have it at home is easier for your kids to eat it.
  • Leave your kids at home when you are grocery shopping, make a list before and stick to it.
  • Sugary beverages are full of calories. A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. Juice is not much better. Prefer always water.
  • Be sure to serve your children appropriate portions of their meal and everything “on the plate”, so they get used to see the quantities of food.
  • Practice and teach moderation. A delicious cake or an ice cream can be saved for especial occasions.
  • Try not to promote the “clean plate club”, if you want to avoid the wasting of food, practice serving adequate portions to each member of the family.
  • The best thing you can teach your children is to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied, not full.
  • Prefer natural foods, the processed ones tend to contain more calories. Fruits instead of juices, raw vegetables instead of the cooked ones.
  • Plan ahead. Once a week, sit down and plan the week’s meals and make sure you have all the ingredients for your healthy menu.
  • Choose always fat-free or low-fat dairy products, your kids won´t know the difference and will love low-fat or fat-free cheese, yogurt and milk.
  • Assume this phrase as a rule or mantra: “If it’s fried, don’t eat it”. Fried foods are unhealthy. Maintain your family away from them whenever possible.
  • Walk, dance, run, play with your kids, try to incorporate exercise and movement into their daily activities. Take the stairs, play some sport, walk after dinner.
  • Avoid comment on what or how much your kids are eating, your children should become responsible for their own way of feeding. Phrases like “eat your vegetables” sometimes create rejection.
  • Involve your kids in choosing or preparing healthy meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created.
  • Allow treats as having candy, soda, cereals and cookies sometimes when visiting grandparents or when the family is on vacation.
  • Be a role model. Assume that eating healthy is a way of living not an erratic habit. Your kids imitate your behavior, so be honest and teach how to take care of themselves but also when to enjoy a delicious meal for an special occasion. Balance is what counts.
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COULD MY KID HAVE CELIAC DISEASE?

Celiac disease shows up in so many different ways. Although experts say there are not “typical” symptoms, if you detect signs as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, stomach aches, rash, irritability, fatigue, inadequate growth, anemia, migraines and hyperactivity in your kid, maybe it is time to take him to the doctor for an accurate test. This disease is an autoimmune condition in which the lining of the small intestine gets damaged by consuming gluten (found in wheat, rye and barley) and in consequence, nutrients from foods can´t be properly absorbed. The problem is that it’s not just about the bread, foods like pastas, cereals, crackers, seasonings, spice mixes and others regularly contain ingredients with gluten.

A person can grow up with problems related to this illness before finally getting diagnosed, so the discomfort becomes a way of life. The best thing to do is to investigate the family history of the condition first because celiac disease is genetically based (If a parent has celiac, his or her kids have a 10 percent chance of inheriting the condition), the next step is talking to your kid’s doctor to order a simple blood test. But before that, parents should not remove gluten from the diet, it is better to wait for the expert opinion.

What should parents do when their children have celiac disease? Maybe the first training is to become expert ingredient-label readers, looking out for wheat, barley, rye and oats in foods; on the other hand the entire family could also benefit from a healthier diet. But there are two important things to keep in mind that will be the main tasks in raising celiac kids: dealing with the emotions and social effects that arise and giving lots of support to children in what will be their new way of life. Going for counselling can be a good option, there are sources of education and support for the gluten free diet that can help to better understand which foods are safe and which are not, how to read food labels to know if a food or medication is safe, how to plan a well-balanced gluten-free diet, help determine if vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary and where to find gluten-free substitutes for the child’s favorite foods.

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PERSONALIZED CHILDREN´S ROOM

Children rooms

How should a child’s room look? Parents may think that the sanctuaries of their little ones must be places to be relaxing, full of calmed colors that motivate the concentration to study and read. But that’s not the reality. That may be the vision of the adults but maybe not the children’s. Instead, designers recommend let the room reflect their personality, even if that involves some more vibrant colors and patterns. The idea is working together creating a comfortable but organized area where they can develop creative activities.

Kids do homework, read, watch television, play, entertain friends and do much more than sleep in their rooms. So, it is a real challenge to try to meet all the needs in a few walls. For a scholarly child, the room must have a desk, a chair, and good lighting. For the social one, a relaxing seating area should be the center of attraction. At present the rooms of boys and girls are not usually so markedly different, so finding the right colors of the walls depends more on the children´s mood and preferences. Obviously, primary colors can be overwhelming so it is better to think of others as light orange or yellow or neutral tones like greens, browns, light grays or soft blues.

About the theme, let your child choose it, maybe there is a favorite hobby, sports team or activity that can customize the room. Artwork and accessories can also highlight a child’s interests and are easy to change out as they get older. Regarding space, there must be storage shelving and furniture adapted to the size and ability of your children, an organized room will help them relax and learn to be responsible of their own space.

Some designers say that, ideally, the child´s room should be media-free but it is almost impossible today, computers and tablets are part of the study material. Maybe a good option is to keep a computer in the room but visually separated from the sleep space with a bookshelf, curtain or another creative design idea.

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ARE YOU RAISING A “MILLENNIAL”?

Millennials

Millennials are also known as Generation Y and the “Echo Boomers” (children of the Baby boomers), they were born in the 1980s and 1990s and have certain characteristics that give them a specific character and behavior. According to some studies, Millennials are a “civic-minded” generation with a strong sense of community both local and global. They are special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured and achieving. Also, there is a sense of entitlement and narcissism, a preference for a flat corporate culture, an emphasis on work-life balance and social consciousness.

When it comes to their professional lives, according to authors from Florida International University, Millennials place an emphasis on producing meaningful work, finding a creative outlet, and have a preference for immediate feedback. Findings also suggest the introduction of social media has augmented collaborative skills and created a preference for a team-oriented environment. This special generation also tends to the public service and has social liberal views, this is an overall support for classical liberal economic policies. They are flexible about same-sex marriage and are also more likely to oppose animal testing for medical purposes than older generations. The projected population of this interesting social group was 95 million people (in the U.S.). for 2004, but in a 2012 Time magazine article, it was estimated that there were approximately 80 million U.S. Millennials and The United States Census Bureau, using birth dates ranging from 1982 to 2000, stated the estimated number of U.S. Millennials in 2015 was 83.1 million people.

Based on information from Wikipedia, Millennial characteristics vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions. However, the generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies. Some research indicates that these young professionals want their jobs to provide opportunities to engage with “good causes” for positive social impact and according to data gathered by Accenture in 2016, millennials in Asia Pacific are expected to have the biggest spending power than any previous generation. Undoubtedly a social trend of this new era that it is impossible to pass unnoticed.

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