Monthly Archives: November 2017

Sledding Safety from Calgary EMS

Surviving Snow Days_s125Emergency Medical Services (EMS) would like to remind parents and children about some sledding safety tips as the season is just around the corner. Sledding injuries may result from collisions with stationary objects, such as trees and rocks, or with
other people on the hill. Unprotected falls can result in injury if you lose control at
high speeds. Everyone is at risk – especially children. Have a fun and safe trip on
the toboggan hill by following these simple reminders.

Equipment

  • Always ensure your toboggan, or sledding device, is in good repair. Inspect it for any damaged, or missing parts, before each use;
  • Be certain the operator is fully capable of staying in control of the sled at all times;
  • Children should wear a properly fitted helmet designed for other high impact sports such as hockey, cycling, or climbing.

Hazards

  • Avoid hills that are too steep, or too icy;
  • Choose hills free of all obstacles such as trees, rocks, utility poles, or fences;
  • Beware of loose scarves or clothing containing drawstrings which can present a choking hazard if they become caught, or snagged.

Plan ahead

  • Dress warmly in layers and anticipate weather changes;
  • Consider bringing extra sets of gloves and toques to exchange wet garments for dry ones;
  • Take breaks, out of the cold, to warm up;
  • Ensure frostbite hasn’t affected any exposed skin;
  • Even when properly protected from the elements, the finger tips, toes, ears, the tip of the nose, and other high points on the face such as the forehead and cheek bones can be affected by frostbite;
  • If frost bite has occurred, treat it by first removing the individual out of the cold environment; Gently warm the affected skin by placing a warm hand over it, or by placing the affected part in warm, not hot, water, until re- warmed.

Smoother Mornings

by Parenting Power

p80-Annoyingthingstheydo[1]Mornings are a great time to connect with kids! Starting the day without arguments can be a great way to send everyone on their way to get the most out of their day. For many families though, mornings can feel less like a time to connect and more like a time to beg/plead and nag kids out the door and off to school.

The bottom line is, if you are going to be connecting with your kids (talking, sharing a breakfast table, or driving to school,) it works better when the roles and responsibilities are clear.

We hear from so many parents about the daily morning arguments over:

  • breakfast (what to eat, and then actually eating it)
  • getting dressed
  • turning off the screens
  • getting stuff packed up
  • getting out the door

It doesn’t have to be that way! There is room for change. A big part of smooth mornings is preparation and expectation.

Making it easier for parents

Being prepared means setting yourself up for success. You know yourself best: are you a ‘night-before’ planner or do you prefer the early-morning plan? Using non-child time to get organized means that you’ll have more time to be with your kids in the morning and to set them up for success.

Making it easier for kids

You likely know how you want the mornings to look. Now it is time to let them in on the secret without nagging. When our kids were little, one of us was clearly told, “stop telling me what to do all the time! Do you have to be so bossy?” That’s when we changed how we did mornings, and handed over some of the responsibility.

Make some time (on a weekend, or at your regular family meeting,) to clearly outline what’s expected in the mornings. Work with each child to get it on paper along with the times that each task is meant to begin. Once each child knows the plan, your job can become more about encouragement, than about telling kids what to do.

If you need to guide your kids, you can ask, “What’s next in the plan? Where do you need to be now? What does the clock say?”

Part of this morning routine can involve pre-bedtime organizing: planning with your child what clothes will be worn the next day, along with what’s for breakfast, and making sure that homework is back in the backpack and ready to go to school the next day. Do your children make their own lunch? If so, that can happen before bed as well. If you make the lunches, that’s one thing to cross of your own list before bedtime.

Getting up before the kids may be another useful tool to make your mornings easier. This leaves time for you to sit and eat with them. We find that many kids misbehave in order to get their parents’ attention in the mornings. When parents are there, attending to the behaviours we want to see, there is less of a need for misbehaviour and less of an opportunity for things to get out of hand.

Another big morning battle seems to be getting kids off of devices and back to what they need to be doing. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to leave screens off in the morning, or at the very least, off until your child is ready to go. When that distraction is managed, many other problems fade away.

As you focus in on your family’s mornings this week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know the schedule you would like your child to follow in the mornings?
  • Does your child know it? Write it down so that your child can concretely follow the plan.
  • How will you set your family up for morning success by doing things in advance?
  • Do screens need to be present in the morning? Make a plan for when they are turned on and when they are turned off. If they are too much of a distraction for parents or children, turn them off today and try again tomorrow (or next week).

The Family Calendar and You

Revamp Routinesby Parenting Power

Here are just a few of the great things a simple family calendar can do:

  1. Eliminate confusion
  2. Increase individual responsibility
  3. Increase predictability (which means kids feel like they have some control)
  4. Teach numeracy and literacy to our young children

One of the greatest reasons that a family calendar is important, is because it puts all of the information in one place and allows all family members to have the same understanding. One parent doesn’t assume that the rest of the family knows when the dentist appointment is happening. Kids don’t have to guess when their 3 days at dad’s house happens in this 2 week period – they can see it.

Children often feel powerless in a home. This is one of the reasons that they fight for power (defiance, power struggles.) Everyone is telling them what to do and when things are going to happen and they either have to hold it all in their head or just leave it up to the adults. Once we have a place where things are clearly written down (with pictures/words,) kids don’t have to remember everything. They can check the calendar and feel like they know what is happening each day.

We can support children in learning to take responsibility by teaching them to help themselves. When they ask, “when is picture day?” rather than telling them, we can say, “Go and check the calendar and then please let me know what you find out.”

We can also teach our children to put their activities onto the family calendar. This is great preparation for their teenage years as they learn to build habits of organization. Reviewing the week in advance at a family meeting or even after dinner one night a week means that everyone’s up to speed about their own responsibilities: driving, chores, homework, appointments, practices and special events.

Lastly, having everything on the family calendar means that we don’t fall into the trap of not telling our kids about potentially unpleasant things and building up the emotional tension around them. When doctor, dentist, and immunization appointments are clearly marked, kids can prepare themselves rather than being surprised when they are told about them, only moments in advance.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is our calendar hanging where every family member can clearly see it?
  • Do we need to start using stickers or pictures on the calendar so that all of the kids know what’s happening?
  • How can I get the kids to learn the responsibility of knowing what’s happening in their lives?
  • When will we schedule a weekly opportunity to review what’s on the family calendar?