April is Foot Health Awareness Month so Play it Safe

mrdad - foot health

mrdad - foot healthAlthough this post is sponsored, all opinions 100% my own. In the U. S., more than 38 million children play some kind of organized sport each year. That’s great except for one thing: kids’ bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, which makes them more susceptible to injury. Actually it goes beyond “susceptible”: A third of children who play a team sport are injured seriously enough to miss practice or games. Ankle sprains and breaks are among the most common sports injuries for both children and adults.

So what can you do? Kids should have at least one or two days off from any particular sport each week to avoid overuse injuries. And on “on” days, a good stretching session can loosen up those muscles and help prevent muscle tears or sprains.

It’s also important to makes sure your kids—and you, too—are wearing the right shoes for the right activity. For example, tennis shoes (the ones made specifically for tennis) will provide different support and traction than shoes designed for runners. And cleats for baseball are different than the ones for soccer or football.

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the right footwear is to go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes, or call the office of a local podiatrist for suggestions. Be sure to have your feet measured every time you purchase new shoes, as feet size and shape can change (especially in kids) as we age.

Don’t underestimate how important it is to take good care of your feet.  A 2014 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association showed that a quarter of adults were unable to exercise due to foot pain. And nearly 40 percent said they’d exercise more if their feet didn’t hurt.

If you or your child experience a foot or ankle injury while playing sports, getting it treated right away is key to preventing further damage. Putting off treatment for too long can cause toe deformities and other podiatric problems. And don’t be fooled by the old adage that if you can move your foot, it’s not broken. The truth is that it’s entirely possible to walk with certain kinds of fractures.

To highlight the importance of taking care of your feet, the American Podiatric Medicine Association has launched their Play it Safe campaign. Visit their site for tons of great foot-related info.

Useful Advice for Teaching Kids to Ride a Bike

A guest post by Leona S. Green

Riding a bicycle is one of the biggest milestones that a kid can ever achieve. It is like a rite of passage that shows the young ones the joys, risks, and thrills, of being independent. If you were a very active kid, you can still probably remember the first time that you pedaled your two-wheeled vehicle. And now that you have your own children, you probably want to share with them the happiness that you felt when you managed to maneuver your ride and went through daring adventures with your friends.
For older people, riding a bike can be as easy as breathing. But for the little ones, balancing on their bicycles can be a little bit challenging. That’s the reason why parents need to be resourceful and patient with teaching them how to balance and pedal their ride. To help you out, check out this post and discover the most effective ways for teaching your kids how to ride a bicycle and love the experience.
1. Choosing their Ride
Of course, it always starts with choosing their two-wheel ride. Unlike clothes, it is highly recommended that you avoid buying bmx bicycles that are too big for them. They won’t grow into their over sized bikes, and it will slow down their development rather than hasten it.
To check if it’s the correct fit, make sure that they can still stand on the top tube while keeping their feet on the ground. In addition he should also feel comfortable while sitting on it.
2. Safety first
To lessen your worries about any potential risks, let him wear durable bile helmet that meets safety standards. In addition, consider buying gloves, shin guards, or knee pads.
When you’re practicing how to ride, make sure that you choose an area where there’s not too much traffic. The road should also be flat and paved. You can start in your front yard, driveway, or a vacant parking lot.
3. Run alongside your kid
Work with your kid by running alongside him while controlling the steering. Once he gets the hang of it, gently hold your son’s shoulders and allow him to steer.
4. Teach them how to use the brake
Sometimes, we get so excited about teaching them how to pedal that we forget one of the most vital steps in cycling – learning how to use the brake. Teach the young ones how to do emergency stops. Regularly perform these stops until hitting the brake becomes second nature to them. Teach them about braking gradually, and how to use the rear and front brakes.
Got any other tips to your fellow parents? Feel free to share them in the comments section!

Babies Can Sometimes Bring out the Worst in Us

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m a new dad and I sometimes get incredibly angry when my son cries. Of course I haven’t acted on my anger, but I’m feeling really guilty that I get so mad in the first place. I’ve always been a pretty patient guy, but I don’t think I’ve ever had such intense feelings before. Am I a bad parent?

A: Babies have an amazing capacity to bring out feelings in us that are powerful, unfamiliar, and sometimes scary. On the positive side, we get to experience being on the receiving end and the giving end of unconditional love—something I don’t believe exists between adults. On the negative side, there are the feelings you described. We’d all like to believe that we’d throw ourselves in front of a moving train to save our children, but every once in a while they make us so furious that we think (very briefly) of throwing them in front of the train. I know that sounds horrible, but here’s a reality check: Everyone has feelings like that. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying to you or doesn’t have children. So, no, you’re not a bad parent at all.

That said, while there’s nothing wrong with feeling intense anger, it’s what you do with it that can be a problem. Here are some suggestions that can help you get your anger under control.

[Read more…]

Teaching Kids to Think + Locking Down Your Personal Info


Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg, co-authors of Teaching Kids to Think.
Topic:
Raising confident, independent, and thoughtful kids in an age of instant gratification.
Issues: The instant-gratification generation; the 5 traps parents fall into that keep them from teaching their kids to think (the rescue trap, the hurried trap, the pressured trap, the giving trap, the guilt trap); what parents can do to keep from falling into those traps.

James LaPiedra, author of Identity Lockdown.
Topic:
A step-by-step guide to identify theft protection.
Issues: What is identity theft and how big is the problem? how thieves get and use your personal information; types of ID theft (financial, criminal, driver’s license, medical, and more); preventing ID theft by protecting your social security card, wallet, mailbox, computer, and children; monitoring your credit card and bank statements; what to do if your identity is stolen.

You’re Outa Here

Spring is in the air, so let’s get outside and start having fun!

backyard adventures base camp shelterBase Camp Shelter (Backyard Safari Outfitters)
Journeys—whether they’re a thousand miles or just out to the backyard—start with a single step. But before you start stepping, you need to plan out where you’re going to rest along the way. The Base Camp Shelter is a 3-sided tent, which means you won’t want to use it in the rain. However, it’s perfect for fair-weather overnights, rest stops, shade at the beach, or as a place to observe birds, bugs, and other natural wonders. It has a zippered rear window, moisture-proof floor lining, mesh storage pouches that you can fill with healthy snacks for your weary adventurers, and D rings for hanging lanterns and other gear. It’s also light, extremely compact, easy to carry, and sets up in minutes., thereby removing many of the obstacles that keep kids from enjoying being outside and encouraging them to get out and start having adventures. Ages 5+. About $49. http://www.backyardsafari.com/

Star Wars Science Jedi telescopeStar Wars Jedi telescope (Uncle Milton)
Star gazing is a classic parent-child activity, one that can spark an interest in ancient mythology and/or science. There’s plenty to see with the naked eye, but a telescope can make the whole experience a lot more fun—and educational—for everyone.  The Jedi telescope works like a real telescope, allowing a closer look at the moon, stars, planets, and other celestial objects. When you and your child get tired of seeing things the way they are, you can always explore that famous galaxy far, far away. The Jedi telescope has 10 Star Wars-related images built in, including planets such as Tatooine, Dagobah, and Kamino, and even the Death Star. Ages 5+. $22.00 http://unclemilton.com/star_wars_science/

backyard adventures walkie talkieWalkie Talkies (Backyard Safari Outfitters)
Communicating with basecamp is an important part of any outdoor adventure. And with its two-mile range, you can give the kids some freedom to explore without losing contact. These walkies come two in a pack and include basic instructions and an adventure guide, but not the 8 AAA batteries you’ll need. They’re easy to use and the sounds quality is good—as long as you’re in an open area where there’s not too much to interfere with the signal. Perhaps the nicest thing about these walkies is that they allow you to communicate with your child the old fashioned way: using words. No texts, no apps, no data plan required. $30. Ages 6+. http://www.backyardsafari.com/

little scholar school zone tabletLittle Scholar tablet (School Zone)
When the adventure is over, it’s time to get back to the real world. And the Little Scholar tablet can help with that transition. Made by School Zone, which has been manufacturing educational materials and products for more than 35 years, the Little Scholar comes preloaded with 150 apps, e-books, songs, and videos, all of which are ready to use right out of the box. The apps are the full versions, which means there’s nothing to download and none of those annoying in-app upsells that we’ve seen in some other tablets. The apps cover a wide range of subjects, including math, spelling, and reading in a playful, creative way. Popular titles include the “Start to Read!” E-book series and the “Charlie and Company” video series. The password-protected A+ app is designed for parents, and lets us pick the apps our kids have access to and monitor their progress. Little Scholar runs on Google Android 4.2.2 and has an 8-inch screen with 1024×768 resolution. For kids 3-7 (anyone older than that will want a more adult tablet). $169.99 at online retailers and www.buylittlescholar.com .