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Important tips for keeping kids safe in the laundry room

This post is in partnership with Tide.

Last month I shared my Nearly-Blinded-By-Bleach story  when, as a tired mom of a newborn, I had an encounter with an unsecured bottle of bleach…and lost.

This is one of the many reasons why Tide’s new advertising campaign resonates so deeply with me. It is dedicated to keeping children safe and making parents aware of potential dangers in the home.

It only takes a second for an everyday item to become dangerous.  Keep these products out of the reach of children. Remember: Keep Them Up, Keep Them Closed, Keep Them Safe.

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When my kiddos were born, I wasn’t prepared that part of exploring their new world also meant putting everything in their mouths. What I didn’t know is that “mouthing” is absolutely normal, even beneficial, in a child’s development (my kids were mouthing prodigies). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the developmental milestones for small children is precisely to explore the world around them through their hands and mouth. 

While you shouldn’t try to get your little one to stop mouthing, you instead just need to be aware and on guard. Most of us do a pretty good job with childproofing our homes but often neglect the laundry room and simply opt to keep the door closed.  We need to do more! Just like any other household cleaning product, laundry pacs need to be handled with great care to prevent unintended exposure. To keep kids safe from preventable injuries, P&G partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide, The American Cleaning Institute, and The American Academy of Pediatrics. Together P&G and these groups have raised awareness and educate families about how to prevent injuries related to children and laundry pacs across the country.

A few other considerations:

*Keep these products out of the reach of children between every load.

*After each use, close the container completely and immediately put products away in their appropriate storage location.

*Use a cabinet safety latch as an added security measure to ensure products are not accessible.

*Adults should follow the instructions on the product label.

If your child does put one of these packets in his mouth or gets any in his eye, call the Poison Control Center  at 1-800-222-1222.  For additional information on laundry safety, please visit the AAP’s HealthyChildren.org or SafeKids.org.

A (loving) parent’s (hilarious) guide to embarrassing your children

In the kids’ younger years, they had no frame of reference regarding just how uproarious and embarrassing I really am. Now at ages 9 and 11, those days are over. I suppose I could be The Good Mom and dial it back a little but since I like to have fun, why not have a bit of enjoyment at my children’s expense?

When I purged my entire house in January, I stuffed everything in garbage bags but have recently been on an obsessive quest for boxes for my blow-out garage sale next month.  There are three options:

1) Buy new. The challenge: I’m too cheap and who wants to waste money on an inanimate object made of cardboard?

2) Stalk Craigslist. We buy quite a few things off Craigslist but I try to avoid it whenever possible. Sure, there are plenty of free boxes posted but they’re rarely in my area and who wants to risk being stuffed in your newly acquired box by a serial killer?

3) Pillage the neighborhood. Trust me, pirates never had this much fun.

Wednesday has become my favorite day of the week because it’s our garage day; recycling is every two weeks and equal unto Disneyland!

Now, lest you think I’m rummaging through my neighbors’ garbage, that’s only partially true. I do have standards, you know. I only take boxes that are either placed beside the trash or sitting on top of the pile. As I’ve earned my PhD. in Box Retrieval, I’ve quickly learned that not all boxes are created equally. Amazon shopping addicts? You are my best friends because those are extremely sturdy and are rarely soiled because they’re dumped directly in the trash. Jumbo diaper  boxes are optimal and I’ve discovered a lot of heavy drinkers in our neighborhood but no judgments because, again, excellent box choices.

I was leaving on my weekly pillage route a couple of weeks ago when my kids looked at me exasperatingly. 

Hadley: “Mom, tell me that you don’t go through our friends’ garages, right?”

Me: “Of course I do, darling. Should I wear my onion goggles so no one recognizes me?”

Hadley: “I won’t answer that.”

If you’re wondering about my goggles, they are my lifesaver whenever I’m chopping onions and n’er a tear has entered my ducts when protected by those babies.

As I was reviewing my picture library, I found some doozies. Did you know onion goggles are beautifully adaptable as dodgeball protective eyewear?

Apparently I have a bit of problem because I found a sordid assortment of eyewear–from pumpkin-themed to mustaches to Vikings.

After receiving the stamp of disapproval for going incognito in my onion goggles, I set out before school. It was a stressful–I was literally one step ahead of the recycling truck but I emerged triumphant with an impressive haul.

The kids had already left our house but I couldn’t resist pulling  up to the bus stop with my SUV literally bursting at the seams with boxes. When they saw me, they tried to run for cover but I innocently beckoned:

“Hadley, do you and your friends want a ride in my BOX CAR?”

She might never recover from the embarrassment. But I will. And can’t wait until next Wednesday.

Boulder Mom’s New Sitter App Radically Simplifies How to Book, Pay and Find Trusted Babysitters

We’ve all been there. Parents want to go out on a date. Parents text babysitter. Don’t hear back. Parents text another babysitter. Radio silence. Date night turns into take-out with the kids.

I recently sat down with Boulder mama of two boys Kristen Stiles who developed the ultimate solution to your babysitting woes: The Sitter App. There are plenty of apps on the market that help you tap into professional childcare but this is the only one that works with your existing network of babysitters and gets results…fast. Since the Sitter App’s launch last summer, it has thousands of users across the nation and bonus: it’s completely free!

sitter2The Background

Kristen’s husband is constantly on the road so anytime she needed a babysitter for her own work events or a last-minute date, she was frustrated with the laborious process. Her background in tech as a  developer at Hewlett Packard led her to think “there’s got to be an app for managing my babysitters” but there wasn’t. So she built one herself.

How It Works

After downloading the Sitter App, the first step is to add the contact information for your own sitters, which is completely private. Then, when you are in need of a babysitter, select the date, time, hit “send” and the request gets sent as a text message to all your sitters at once. The first to respond gets the job. Once the position is filled, a friendly text message is sent to the other sitters to inform them.

“The amazing thing is that response times are super fast because it has created a game among the babysitters and our record is 13 seconds response time,” says Kristen.

Why not just send a group text?  “Though the app, it streamlines the whole process–just one tap and you’re done. You don’t have to write out texts and go back and forth which you do even in a group text situation. sitter1The app sends reminders to you and the babysitter of an upcoming appointment.  You can use the app to keep track of the time you’re out and have it do the math for you at the end of the night, even if you pay cash. Group texts can’t do that, plus they often create socially awkward situations.”

It gets better. If you don’t receive a response from your pool of babysitters, you can create a network with your friends. “I don’t feel comfortable having a random stranger babysit my kids but I do trust my friends’ babysitter recommendations.” Kristen says there is an option on the app to network with your friends. “If I have three sitters and my friend has three sitters, that means we have six sitters between us. I always start with my favorites but if needs be, I’ll branch out to whoever is available  from my friends’ networks.”

Kristen now has a pool of 58 possible babysitters.

What is the going rate for babysitters?

Of course, the amount you pay your babysitters is up to your discretion. In Colorado, the average hourly rate is $11 for the first child and an additional $3 per hour for each additional child. Kristen says that may sound like a lot but it is inexpensive compared to many East coast markets that average about $25/hour.

The Solution to the Cash Dilemma

In a world of credit and debit cards, many of us seldom have enough cash to cover the cost of a babysitter and often end up scrambling to find an ATM.

The Sitter App saves the rate you pay each sitter and also has a built-in timer to track the time you’re gone.   It even lets you add a tip or reimburse them for pizza. The app gives you the option to charge your credit card and directly deposit the money into the babysitter’s bank account or Venmo  account, which is similar to PayPal and is frequently used among babysitters nationwide. Register using the promo code MHMAMA and they’ll waive your service fees when you pay your babysitter with the app.

Colorado Mom Rave Review

“Easy. Seamless. Communicates for me. Boom. It takes my contacts that are already in my phone and connects them to a system that keeps track of my request. I can also share my sitter list with my friends! I seriously can click a few buttons and the mom megaphone blasts my sitters (whom I choose) and first one who responds wins a chance to be with my littles. Not sure who’s winning though? We all are!!”

-Heidi H. Broomfield, CO

The Best Unexpected Perk of the Sitter App

Dads LOVE It.  Kristen says, “My husband had never booked a babysitter in his life and didn’t even know their names.  With the app, he’s connected to my private circle of friends and babysitters.  Now when he wants to take me out, he can plan a date night without me knowing about it, from start to finish.

Dads: please take note and plan accordingly.

How new boutique birth center Baby+Company is empowering Denver moms

It is impossible to walk into Baby+Company and not leave inspired. To look at this new boutique birth center in an unassuming strip mall in Wheat Ridge, you’d assume it was just another baby clothing store so I was not prepared for the transformative, even reverent experience the moment I walked in the door. With warm, welcoming colors and a calm atmosphere, Baby+Company could not be more different than a sterile hospital environment. This birth center is about empowerment, education and relationships with the goal of creating a customized care plan based on Mom’s needs. 

bedWhat is Baby+Company?

Baby+Company is a growing network of birth centers designed for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies who are looking for an alternative to hospital-based birth. They bring together the best elements of highly personalized care, along with partnering with a leading local health system and physician practice. Their highly skilled staff, led by Certified Nurse-Midwives develop customized plans that address your health needs and are available 24/7. To complement their clinical care, they offer wellness services and classes including healthy pregnancy workshops, childbirth education, breastfeeding and newborn classes, and a new mom’s group. They even schedule an in-home wellness check from a member of the clinical team two days after baby is born.

There is no reception desk, but it has touches of home everywhere, like a banner of all the babies’ names born at the birth center. A group of new moms was gathered on the comfortable couches in the great room. Nicknamed “The Lunch Bunch” by staff, these women have an informal gathering as often as they can. “We love it here,” one raved. “This is our community.”

When I asked the group of seven who gave birth at the center, two women responded affirmatively, two women had “risked out” with high-risk pregnancies and the others took pre- and post-natal classes. Denver mom Sarah Conner had nothing but good things to say about her experience. “I had an easy delivery with my son so I wanted a more natural birth with my daughter. We arrived at Baby+ Company at 2:30 a.m., she was born at 7 a.m. and I was happy to be home by 11 a.m. for me to recover.”

What happens during labor?

The whole premise of Baby+Company is to work with you to design a birth plan and support you as you make your plan a reality.  Their midwives and nurses are by your side throughout your entire labor. You may wear what you want, move around as much as you want and eat what you want. There are various comfort measures in the beautiful boutique birthing suites including plush queen-sized beds, a walk-in shower with massage sprayer,  a deep soaking tub for water births, a yoga ladder for supported lunges or rebozo, birthing stool for supported squatting, a birth ball for hip opening and Nitrous Oxide. Baby+Company also has a gourmet kitchen so you can make your own food as well as a living room for families. 

babyco2Is it safe to give birth outside of the hospital?

For healthy, low-risk women, giving birth in a birth center is as safe as giving birth in the hospital and actually has health benefits. A recent national study of birth center outcomes found that maternal and neonatal complications rates were extremely low and comparable to what is typical among low-risk women in a hospital setting. According to The National Birth Center Study compiled at Harvard, “most transfers from birth centers to hospitals were not emergencies, with only 1.9% of women or their newborns experiencing a complication during labor or after birth that required urgent transfer to a hospital.”

Community Outreach Manager Lizzie Mara says that at each location, Baby+Company first develops partnerships with the nearby hospital and physicians. Lutheran Medical Center is 1 minute away should an emergency arise and moms are pre-enrolled prior to labor to ensure a seamless transition. “But what if Mom can’t cut it?” I queried. I’d like to think I could have had an empowering natural birth but if we’re being honest, I really liked my epidural, too. “We try to help moms carry out their birth plan but some reach the point of exhaustion so yes, a hospital transfer in those cases is definitely possible.”  

 What other services do you offer?

Baby+Company has a range of classes designed to help parents from pregnancy to early parenthood. Some of their most popular classes include breastfeeding basics, preparing for birth center birth, newborn care, pregnancy and new mom’s groups, and prenatal yoga. They also offer full gynecologic annual exams, including pap smears, pre-conceptual care and contraceptive management. 

Does my insurance cover care with a midwife in a birthing center?

Baby+Company accepts all major insurance plans.

Hospital vs. Home Births vs. Birthing Centers

There’s lot of debate about home versus hospital births. Advocates of home births want the comfort and security of home while most hospital advocates want professional medical staff on-hand in case of problems. So, what if there was a childbirth option that married the two?

Baby+Company is definitely a wonderful option for Denver moms.babyco

In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

Roots Elementary: The radical approach this new charter school is taking

Not all students are created equally and that is the goal of Roots Elementary in Northeast Park Hill, a community-supported public charter school that is not only breaking barriers but it is downright crushing them with a radical new approach to time, talent and technology to create custom learning experiences for their scholars.  After four years of planning, Roots Elementary is currently in its first year for K-1, Choice Enrolling grades K-2 for 2016-17, and will add a new grade every year through fifth grade.

I’m an advocate of charter schools. I’m also an advocate of district-run schools. My kids have been enrolled in both and I’ve come to learn that while many charter and district-run schools are successful, others aren’t.  Each child’s aptitude and learning style is so unique that it’s thrilling the Denver-area has so many options.

I sat down with Director of Operations and Innovation Jill Carty to discuss Roots Elementary, whose mission is to “empower all children to determine who they are and who they will become by providing an exceptionally personalized, rigorous and joyful education.” The First round of Choice enrollment ends Jan. 29, 2016, and Roots will continue to enroll this Spring.

Jon Hanover

Jon Hanover

What was the inspiration behind Roots Elementary?

We spent four years in the design and planning of our school, which was inspired by our principal Jon Hanover’s extensive consulting work at other charter schools around the country. His role was to help solve common challenges, primarily around personalizing the school experience for every child. Students learn better when they’re engaged and the best way to do this is to make learning relevant to their world and appropriate to where they are in their development in the curriculum. Each student is a different learner…but many schools are set up for them to all have the same instructional experience.

Hanover began to engage with those school leaders and mentors pondering the question: what would it would take to not just use the traditional model and squeeze personalization into it but if you were to start from scratch, what would that look like? What can you reimagine school to be? What do your classrooms look like? Hanover’s vision was for school to be more fluid and have more choices. He spent three years planning and testing out schedules and piloting tools for every student to have their own personal schedule–no two students at Roots have the same one. He took away the age-based learning approach and broke it down concept by concept, moving students along a path of knowledge at their own pace.

If I was to visit the school, what would I find?

Roots Elementary looks very different from the moment you walk in. Instead of self-contained classrooms where you have the same 25 kids with their single teacher, Roots has a large, open space called The Grove that is designed for 100 students. You’ll find a mix of large open spaces almost Montessori-esque and smaller classes along the periphery. In The Grove, there are five centers: (1) the Writing Center (personal narratives, library, books to their level), (2) the iPad center includes 30-45 min/day engaging in digital content that is selected for where they are in the curriculum, (3) the Flex Center has a lot of the hands-on activities and manipulatives where activities are done in small groups or pairs (4) In the Maker Center, we are building the engineers of tomorrow by designing structures or using a real-life design and adding details we we build the engineers of tomorrow through electric circuitry and programming, and finally (5) the Library, where scholars are reading on their own or with a buddy, at the exact right lexile level for their growth.

grove

 

We are adding a grade every year until we are a K-5 school and are currently enrolling K-2 for 2016-17, which means more Groves as we grow. Every Grove has eight teachers who are team teaching 100 students so the ratio is 13:1, and will stay constant as we scale.  Four of the eight teachers are Academic Content teachers, and unlike a kindergarten teacher who knows a bit of each content area at the Kindergarten level, we have dedicated content teachers who know their content from Pre-K through 3rd grade, which allows each teacher to truly extend instruction for scholars who are advanced. We are Common Core aligned, but do not let age restrict students from moving on to more challenging content. Two of our eight teachers in each Grove are Habits of Success Coaches, who are fully licensed lead teachers dedicated entirely to social/emotional learning. Coaches split the Grove in half, getting to know 50 families each. They meet with each scholar one-on-one every two weeks to review, set goals and see how their cycle needs to change.  They keep a close eye on involving parents to ensure growth is happening, and do home visits over the summer to get to know each of their families.

What keeps students on-track and learning?

Technology is an important way we define schedules.  Every student has an iPad and each teacher who is monitoring the Grove shows students who’s supposed to be where and when. Teachers see in real time who’s checked in so that we can “take attendance” and hold scholars accountable for being in the right place, working on the right task.

What classes are offered?

We have math, reading, writing and science. We also offer performing arts which an element of Spanish language. On the social/emotional side, the Coaches also teach twenty minutes of “Morning Circle” every morning, which is a time for scholars to build community, talk about character-building traits like empathy and integrity, as well as our GROW values: Grit, Relationships, Ownership, and Wonder.

What kind of students go to Root Elementary?

As a charter school, everyone is choice enrolled from all over the city. We don’t have any sort of geographic preference rolled into our lottery rules. That being said, right now half of our scholars are close enough to walk to school, and the rest come from other parts of Denver and a few from Aurora.

ROOTS-A Day In The Life Of A Student.Final Cut.01072016 from 2Revolutions on Vimeo.

What are parents saying the like about the program?

Parents rave that their kids have never loved going to school as much as they do here. This is critical in early elementary, where kids are deciding if school and learning are things that they enjoy. If they lose that passion for learning early on, it’s hard to get it back later in life when continuous development and self-improvement is so critical for success.  Parents also like that we are teaching our scholars how to own their learning in order to accomplish their goals, the same way they will need to in college and beyond.

Can you please give us details about how choice enrollment works?

There are two rounds to DPS’s SchoolChoice process. Round 1 ends on January 29th, and Round 2 will begin sometime in mid-March. In both Rounds, families complete a form listing their preference for their child’s enrollment, out of any public school in the district (including charter schools). There is an online version of the form, but we personally prefer it if families bring in a hard copy of the form to school so that we can scan it over to DPS and give the family a copy for their records. If a school is overenrolled after Round 1, students will be selected based on a lottery, and any enrollments after that will be on the school’s waitlist. We have a lot of demand for Round 1, but we also have a lot of seats to fill as we’re doubling in size next year! I think we’ll have seats open in Round 2, but Round 2 is first come first serve, so we’re asking families to come in for a tour in February and early March if they are interested in learning more about our program.  Go to  rootselementary.org for more information. -In partnership with Mile High Mamas

New Year’s resolution: how to eat more healthy fats from goodnessknows

Did you resolve to live healthier in 2016? We’re here to help you stick to your resolutions! Did you know that the human brain is made up of 60% fat? So, in order to have a smarter and a healthier brain, you need to be feeding your brain the right kinds of fat. Gone are the days of a “low fat” diet or a “no fat” diet. Our family’s diets need an “oil change” so we are consuming a “right fat” diet for our kids’ developing brains.

We’re teaming up with goodnessknows to bring you some easy ideas for making good choices in 2016. Each serving of their snack squares contains 100 milligrams of naturally-occurring cocoa flavanols – the good stuff found inside cocoa beans. With flavors like cranberry, almond, dark chocolate; apple, almond & peanut, dark chocolate; peach & cherry, almond and dark chocolate, sticking to your New Year’s resolutions has never been easier.

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Mary Tate is a Certified Health Coach and advocates the traditional Western diet consists of too much Omega 6 fatty Acids and not enough of Omega 3 fatty acids. How do we do that? Mary says there are a lot of ways. First, we need to identify what foods are high in Omega 3’s. Cold water fish (Wild Salmon and Tuna) are extremely high in Omega 3’s as well as eggs, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, olive oil, nut butters, ground flax seeds, and flax seed oil. Next, we need to learn how to incorporate them into our daily lives with ideas like these:
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· Tuna and crackers – I LOVE pairing my tuna with an Organic Mayo made with olive oil to get an extra punch of Omega 3’s.

· Add a little salmon into your next casserole. They won’t even notice it. A little is better than none at all 🙂

· Sprinkle ground flaxseed or ground nuts onto yogurt, oatmeal, or into your next smoothie.

· Make your own trail mix with pumpkin seeds, almonds, dried cranberries and throw in a few mini chocolate chips for fun.

Think outside the box. You can do it !!!

Now, we need to identify those over consumed Omega 6 fatty acids. These are found in animal fats, bakery goods, fried foods, corn oil, safflower, sunflower and soybean oil and AVOID the worst kind – Partially Hydrogenated oils or trans fat oils. Where are these fats hidden? Microwave popcorn, crackers, cereals, margarine, cookies, snack foods. The key to steering clear of these is to Read Your Labels. Labeling laws don’t require that these fats are listed on the nutrition label unless there is a certain percentage in that food, so that is why it is imperative to look at your ingredient list first to see if any of these dangerous fats are hidden in your foods.

Another way to get Omega 3’s this year is supplementation. You must do your research here too. One of my favorite brands is Nordic Naturals. Their purity surpasses international pharmaceutical standards and they taste great so your kids will love them. It’s a great way to make sure your family is getting enough Omega 3’s to have a smarter, healthier brain.

Lastly, you are not alone in your journey to wellness in 2016. I am here for you to educate you on label reading, smart shopping trips, recipe revamps and more. Check out my website Tree of life Health and Wellness or call for a FREE 30 minute consultation at 720-236-6243.

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To find out more information about these goodnessknows snack squares that are crafted with real fruit, dark chocolate and whole nuts in bite-size portions, go to goodnessknows.com and find them on Facebook. In partnership with Mile High Mamas

 

Mother of 3-Year-Old Recalls Experience with DispatchHealth

DispatchHealth, a local Denver, CO company, is redefining healthcare delivery by providing patients ways to access convenient, high-quality acute care in the comfort of their home, office or location of need. Paige Damiano, the mother of an injured 3-year-old son recalls her recent experience with DispatchHealth.

 “It was my husband’s parents 50th anniversary, since we’re lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents within about a 4 block radius of us – we do a lot of family dinners. We had included two neighbor friends as well. As I was doing the finishing touches of dinner, my husband was entertaining the boys as everyone was just snacking and socializing. We do this thing…where we hold their arms and they walk up our bodies & inverse flip, we do it – I swear 20 times a day, every day – but somehow this time Boomer (my 3-year-old son) flipped and he started complaining about his arm (elbow). He cried a little and held it close to his body. Per usual, we checked but told him to ‘shake it off’. As we sat to eat, the entire group noticed he was holding his arm close to his body like a broken wing. He winced as he climbed into the chair for dinner using only his free arm. Throughout dinner everyone kept checking on him, but we sort of felt the pressure of the larger group continued on pushing for him to ‘just be ok’… as we saw him not moving it and only using his other arm to eat & function, we knew initial inklings were correct in that something was indeed wrong.

dispatch1Having heard of DispatchHealth from a friend, I knew this was the perfect chance to try it out. I sent a quick text to my friend asking if he thought this was the sort of appropriate thing and with a confirmation I instantly called and started the process that would forever change how we, my friends, as well as grandparents would look at healthcare related to the family. DispatchHealth arrived within 15 minutes to my home, confirming that Boomer’s elbow had popped out of socket (Nursemaid’s Elbow).

Aurora Hunt, the DispatchHealth NP (nurse practitioner), quickly fixed Boomer’s elbow, and proceeded to walk my husband and I, as well as all the grandparents and even our neighbor friends through the process of popping ‘nurse maid’s elbow’ back in place. While waiting to ensure he was okay, Aurora Hunt took a copy of our insurance card and ID. She reviewed and answered all of our questions.

This healthcare experience was so simple; I am still a little blown away.  It truly couldn’t have gone any more simply. My family and friends calculated that we probably saved 2+hours, no disruption in our dinner plans, saved money from not having to go to the ER and most important the service and quality of care was top notch. I recommend everyone use DispatchHealth”

To learn more about DispatchHealth, go to www.DispatchHealth.com or download the app. In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

Three things to look for when finding infant and toddler care

One of the hardest things a parent of an infant or toddler will have to do is find the right school and care for their little one while they are away at work. With dozens of options, it can be hard to sift through different programs and find the perfect fit for your family.  At Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, we recommend that families focus on the following three areas when finding the right pre-school option for their child.

  1. Transparency- Ask yourself, if something was wrong or my child was unhappy, would I know about it? As a parent of an infant or toddler, we cannot simply ask our child if everything is okay. Instead of relying on intuition or worrying about the unknown, opt for a program that prides itself in communication and transparency. Look for a school with cameras in all the classrooms, so you can always check in and see how your little one is doing. This ensures that staff are staying up to par and keeping up with their expectations. Kiddie Cams™, cameras installed at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Pre-school allow parents to watch their child from a computer or smart phone whenever they want.  Also, seek care that ensures an “open-door” policy; one that makes you feel welcome when you arrive.  Ensure that staff that maintain constant communication with their families.  Ask teachers and directors if their policy is to send weekly classroom newsletters, daily thorough updates, and pride themselves on communication with parents as a key to their success. A LuvNotes™ system, like the one found at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, gives you a thorough electronic daily update complete with a picture or video.
  2. littlesunNurturing Staff-Infants and toddlers should have a special place in the school’s heart! They are just learning how the world works and need caring, nurturing teachers that form deep bonds and promote positive relationships. Schools should insist that teachers provide a warm and secure place for children to grow at their own pace. A school like Little Sunshine’s Playhouse believes babies should be held during feedings, rocked to feel loved, and spend time on their tummies to discover the world around them. Music is also very important at this age, so programs that play soothing music at naptime along with familiar tunes that they learn to recognize at different times throughout the day is a must. Also, seek a program that implements sign language as a way to communicate before children develop their language skills. This helps children learn to communicate and feel like a valuable part of the classroom.
  3. A Comprehensive Play- Based Curriculum- Looking at the school’s curriculum is crucial in finding a good fit. A strong curriculum will focus on whole child development. This should include emphasis on learning from a social/emotional perspective, cognitive capability, and physical development. Finding a program like Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Pre-school that specializes in language development through a Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum is an added bonus, as the benefits are greatly seen in elementary school.  The curriculum should focus on developing skills through play and lessons that include hands-on activities, active participation, and team building projects.  Infants and toddlers should be given free rein to explore their environment.  Teachers should influence curiosity and development by providing activities that promote curiosity and questioning. 

“Infants and toddlers are learning everyday about the world around them and their personal interactions with that world and the people in it.  A nurturing and social environment where babies are talked to, smiled at, held frequently and given opportunities to explore their own abilities and limitations instills a trust and confidence to succeed that will carry with them through their childhood and beyond.” – Rochette Dahler, CEO Little Sunshine’s Playhouse.littlesun1

Infant and toddler care is extremely crucial for providing a solid foundation for a child’s educational journey.  By asking the right questions and looking for the right components, you will have a child that with thrive and be confident in their ability to succeed in the classroom and in life.

Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Pre-school in Littleton maintains an identity and brand image of unrivaled distinction in early childhood education. Our facility serves as a castle for a “Once Upon A Time” experience that enables each child to develop their imagination. We use industry-leading technology in our programs to provide exclusive services such as our Kiddie Cams™ and LuvNotes™! Please contact chelsead@littlesunshine.com or visit littlesunshine.com to find your child’s “once-upon-a-time” school experience at one of our incredible schools! 

In partnership with Mile High Mamas.

 

Retail Marijuana & Youth – Promote Responsibility This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and that means vacation, sleeping in, making memories with family and friends, and snow. Lots of it (Mother Nature: please cooperate!)

Chances are that you and your family members are either hosting or attending holiday parties. Since retail marijuana is now legal in Colorado, there is the possibility that you and your children may be around friends and family members who use. Your children may be curious about how this affects them. Openly talking about retail marijuana is one-way to help keep our youth safe this holiday season.

Start by having a conversation with your child about underage marijuana use — in addition to how marijuana impacts brain development, there are legal consequences to consider as well. Be sure to keep the conversation open so they can come to you with questions/concerns.

Good to Know, a  campaign from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has a variety of resources to help parents have informed, open and honest conversations. These conversations are critical to ensure our youth have the information they need to make healthy decisions.

A few other things you and your family need to know about marijuana this holiday season.

  • DUID: Driving while under the influence of marijuana can lead to a DUID.
  • Safe storage tips: Keep marijuana in the home out of reach of children; store all marijuana products in a locked area out of reach and out of sight; keep marijuana products in the same child resistant packaging they came in from the store
  • Set expectations: Talk to visiting adult family and friends who may be visiting about your home’s rules and expectations regarding marijuana and safe storage

How can you prevent your child from using marijuana? There is no magic bullet for preventing underage drug use, but having informed, responsible conversations with your children from an early age is an important start. 

And, remember, with retail marijuana legal in the state of Colorado for users over the age of 21, whether you choose to use or not, the one thing we can all agree on is that it’s always good to know about the laws and health effects regarding retail marijuana. And during the holiday party season, it’s important to remember that marijuana and alcohol don’t mix.

Have a safe holiday!goodtoknow1

Find Out More

For more information, go to  GoodtoKnowColorado.com/Talk;  facebook.com/GoodToKnowCO; Twitter: @goodtoknowco; Instagram: @goodtoknowcoThis post is Sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. Opinions are our own.

7 Organization Tips for Winter + Savers’ New Donation Drops

Are you ready to hunker down with your cozy sweaters, steaming hot chocolate and a roaring fire? 

Before settling down for a long winter’s nap, we’re sharing some awesome tips for getting organized and we have just the place to send your castaways.  Lupus Colorado and Healing Minds have partnered with Savers thrift stores to open four new Donation Drop Spots in the greater Denver area that provide convenient locations for community members to donate their used goods.

donationstationThe new Donation Drop Spots are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are located at:

  • Benefit Healing Minds:
    • 5820 S Parker Road, Aurora, CO 80015
    • 2730 S Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80222
  • Benefit Lupus Colorado:
    • 15700 East Briarwood Cir, Aurora, CO 80016
    • S Parker Rd & Twenty Mile,  Parker, CO 80134

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7 Organizing Ideas

Meighan Meeker, owner of Simply Put Organizational Solutions for the Home, LLC is a professional organizer for home or office. She provides these tips (and is offering an exclusive 50 percent discount for Mile High Mamas:

Start in the basement & garage. Store items by category in clear, labeled plastic bins on shelving units. Categories such as outdoor/garden, sports/fitness, clothing, house wares, and photos/memorabilia, make it helpful to remember where to find things. Dontate items that you have not used in the last year or more.

Get organized for the holidays. Get rid of old light sets and decorations that no longer bring you joy. Every time you buy a new decoration think of an older one that you can donate. This goes for all home décor. Your style and tastes change over the years. Do not hold onto things that no longer have a place in your home, let someone else enjoy them.

Organize your office: Go through your filing cabinets and drawers. Shred all your old, unecesssary papers. Downsize the amount of post it notes, binders, pens and other office supplies cluttering your drawer space. Donate books collecting dust, or that you can easily borrow from the library.

Organize your kitchen. Go through each drawer and cabinet to get rid of any food that has expired, utensils, water bottles, serving platters, appliances, or other kitchen ware that you have not used in the past year.  Allow yourself to only have one small “junk drawer.” Keep countertops clear of clutter by placing items such as schoolwork, mail, and invitations neatly away in decorative bins or file folders.

Organize your closets.  Donate anything you have not worn in the last year, that no longer fits, is not in style, or not your best look. Do this for every member of your household. Organize your clothes by putting tops on the top bar and bottoms on the bottom bar by sleeve or pant length, from light to dark colors.  You will be able to find what you need more easily.

playroomOrganize the playroom.  Decide with your children what books and toys can be donated to charity.  Making them part of the process will help motivate them to keep things more tidy and remind them of what they own. Reinforce that there are other kids who can enjoy the favorite toys they have outgrown.

Organize your photos and memorabilia.  Keep a bin of artwork and memorabilia in each family members room.  Go through the items accumulated over last year and keep a few of the most special pieces.  Add them to their permanent memorabilia bin stored in the basement.  Think of what items they will want to truly take with them when they move into their own first house or apartment, otherwise, get rid of it.  It is also a great time to organize and label vacation and holiday photos into protective photo boxes to easily enjoy, share and preserve for years to come.

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Savers is also on a mission to create a better world through reuse by inspiring local communities to donate reusable items to local nonprofits instead of throwing them in the trash. Through its commitment to sustainability, Savers has become one of the largest recyclers of used goods in the world, keeping more than 650 million pounds of reusable items from landfills each year. In partnership with Mile High Mamas.