Monthly Archives: January 2015

Fun Ideas to Get Your Kids Involved In Cleaning

An old saying goes that Rome wasn’t built in a day – the same can be said of your quest to transform your home into a green and clean place for everyone inside. Though the steps required to live a more efficient lifestyle aren’t necessarily difficult, they can be dramatically easier if you get the entire family involved. Fun ideas to get the family involved in cleaning can be broken down into a few different categories depending on the situation, as well as ages.

Baby boy with vacuum cleaner

One great way to get the family involved in cleaning is to turn chores into a game. If you’re trying to teach your young kids the value of cleaning up after themselves, for example, see who can organize a toy shelf or a bookshelf in the best possible way in the fastest amount of time. Don’t necessarily emphasize speed over quality, but instead emphasize efficiency or doing the best possible job in the quickest amount of time that job will allow. When everything is organized you can pick a winner for the day, which will give kids something to aspire to the next time the “Cleaning Game” is played.

Another fun way to get the family involved in cleaning also allows you to create a learning opportunity at the same time. If you want to get your children involved in cleaning the kitchen, for example, you might make them more involved in the general cooking process. Talk about the items that you’re pulling out of the pantry or the refrigerator and discuss how all of these items eventually blend together into the wonderful meal that you will all enjoy together. Take this opportunity to also educate your children on the health and nutrition benefits.

You can also use the opportunity to teach kids about the items you’re cleaning up at the same time. For instance, explain the difference between a glass bottle and a plastic bag, and the importance of properly recycling the items in order to obtain the best environmental results. If you take the opportunity to involve your family in some of the more “fun” aspects of home life (i.e.: cooking), they’ll naturally become a larger part of the cleaning process as well.

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Tips On Baby Proofing Outdoor Play Areas

Introducing our babies to the outdoor world is a wonderful way to both spend time together and help them learn to appreciate the healthful benefits of sunshine, fresh air and physical activity.

At first, an infant’s outdoor time may simply be some time spent lounging with mom or dad on a blanket. Soon, however, they will blossom into a curious toddler with a strong drive to explore and it is up to parents to make sure that these explorations are safe ones. Here is an easy checklist to help baby proof your yard and ensure it is safe for your little explorer.

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Yard Safety Checklist:

  • Examine the space for obvious safety hazards and remove them. Watch for sharp corners and objects that would be dangerous if the child landed on them during a fall. Also check for splintery wood, exposed nails or sharp screws and broken glass or pottery shards.
  • Ensure that all chemicals are safely locked away, including any fertilizers, charcoal starters and pool purifiers. Even better, choose to forego dangerous chemicals and choose safer, all natural solutions.
  • Ensure that porches, decks and stairs are securely fenced and gated to protect baby from falling. Pay particular attention to second story decks to make sure the child will not be able to climb the railing itself or nearby furnishings and incur a serious fall.
  • Securely fence and gate water features. A small child can drown in just a few inches of water, so keep pools, ponds and other water features protected with approved safety locks, gates and fences and never leave water standing in buckets or containers where children are playing.
  • Know what grows in your yard and consider removing any poisonous plants. Oleander, yew and many other plants, including mushrooms, are poisonous when ingested by young children.
  • Walk through the play area and examine it for safety issues each time your child plays there. Sticks can blow down, animals can defecate and snakes or other pests can take up residence overnight, if allowed.

Add Additional Interest

Once older and are no longer learning through hand-to-mouth activities, help your child focus on safe exploration when outdoors by planting edible plants, like strawberries, blueberries and cherry tomatoes that your child can safely taste. Another way to occupy kids for hours is to create a sand pit of clean sand that you can cover when not is use to prevent stray cats from using it as a bathroom. Even very young children enjoy playing with sand, but remember to monitor them carefully until they are old enough to remember not to taste it.

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Baby Proofing Your Home For Safer, Less Stressful Parenting!

Children who grow up in an eco-friendly home are already receiving the benefit of living in a safer environment than many other children. By opting to use naturally safer cleaning methods and choosing furnishings, flooring materials and wall coverings that have less toxicity, their parents are creating a living environment that can help prevent future health and development issues.

However, even these homes can harbor dangers for babies, as they begin to crawl, climb and explore. If you have some little explorers in your home, or are preparing for one in the future, here are some room-by-room tips you can use to make your home even safer and more baby proof!

Living, Dining, Family & Play Rooms

The first step in baby proofing your home is to examine your home from your child’s perspective. Spend some time on the floor and take inventory of what you see. Adults generally don’t focus on the electrical outlets, cords, waste baskets, book shelves and other furnishings or things that are near the floor, but a crawling baby is sure to be mesmerized by them. Here’s how to baby proof the main living areas of your home.

  • Drapery & Blind Cords – Install cord shorteners or wind-up hardware for curtains and blinds.
  • Lamp & Appliance Cords – When possible, eliminate table top lamps and appliances with cords, such as phones, until your baby is old enough to refrain from pulling on them while crawling, or consider arranging furniture so that table top lamps and other small appliance cords are safely hidden behind the sofa or other heavy furnishings where little fingers cannot reach them.
  • Freestanding Bookcases & Furnishings – Crush injuries and even death happens all too often when children try to climb up the face of unsecured shelving and it topples under their weight. To avoid this tragedy, make sure that shelving, bookcases and other top-heavy furniture is securely fastened to the wall with brackets or furniture straps.
  • Stairs & Off-Limit Areas – Choose child safety gates that are sturdily made and install them with hardware at the top and bottom of stair cases and at the doorways of areas that are not safe for baby to explore.
  • Electrical Outlets – Install baby-safe plugs in all electrical outlets that are not in use.
  • Wall Mounted Objects – Make sure that wall mounted decor, televisions and other items are securely mounted and that nearby furnishings will not enable baby to climb up and reach these items.
  • Floor Items – Consider removing wastebaskets and potted plants from the floor in these rooms until baby is old enough to refrain from exploring or sampling them.

Kitchen, Baths & Utility Areas

  • Install childproofing mechanisms on all appliances, toilets, cabinets and drawers in these areas.
  • Remove sharp objects and place them safely out of reach.
  • Install GFCI outlets near all water sources to prevent accidental electrical shocks and cover other outlets with childproof plugs.
  • Turn hot water heater thermostats down to 120 degrees or below.

Taking the time to go through each area of your home and make it safer for your child will not only help to prevent accidents and injuries, it will take away much of the stress of parenting and allow you to enjoy a much more relaxed parenting experience.

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