Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tips to get your child to love to read!

  •  Children who learn to love books will be children who grow up to be good readers.  The very best time for children to learn to love books is while they are young.  You can help them by making story times a regular part of their day and by encouraging them in their early attempts to speak, read, and write.
  •   Speaking, reading, and writing are all linked.  And they can all be learned and practiced throughout the course of each day in age-appropriate ways. 
  •   Children who look at books and hear stories read aloud learn that words and ideas can be written down and that marks on paper have meaning. 
  •   Show children that there are things to read everywhere. Make a game of finding things with words on them (like soup cans and cereal boxes).  This helps children to see how important it is to be able to read and write. 
  •   Keep a supply of books and other reading materials where children can reach them.  Add new books as children's skills and interests change. 
  •   Keep writing materials such as washable nontoxic crayons and markers, paints and brushes, and different kinds of paper where children can reach them - and use them. 
  •   Show children how you read and write every day to have fun and to get things done. 
  •   Create one or more special places for children to read and write that are well lit and comfortable. 
  •   Limit or eliminate TV viewing.  Help children make other choices for their free time activities (e.g., reading, writing, playing, talking).
  •    Encourage children to experience and discover new things. The more opportunities children have to see and do, the more competent they will become and the more they will understand the world around them. Information found here

Dr. Seuss' Birthday is on March 2nd! Celebrate his birthday and read with your children! 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

CPR for infants

Here are some instructions for Infant CPR and a video that shows the proper way to give an infant CPR. 

The following CPR steps are based on instructions from the American Heart Association.
  1. Check for alertness. Shake or tap the infant gently. See if the infant moves or makes a noise. Shout, "Are you OK?"
  2. If there is no response, shout for help. Tell someone to call 911 or your local emergency number. Do not leave the infant yourself to call 911 until you have done CPR for about 2 minutes.
  3. Carefully place the infant on their back. If there is a chance the infant has a spinal injury, two people should move the infant to prevent the head and neck from twisting.
  4. Perform chest compressions:
    • Place 2 fingers on the breastbone -- just below the nipples. Make sure not to press at the very end of the breastbone.
    • Keep your other hand on the infant's forehead, keeping the head tilted back.
    • Press down on the infant's chest so that it compresses about 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest.
    • Give 30 chest compression's. Each time, let the chest rise completely. These compressions should be FAST and hard with no pausing. Count the 30 compressions quickly: "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30, off."
  5. Open the airway. Lift up the chin with one hand. At the same time, tilt the head by pushing down on the forehead with the other hand.
  6. Look, listen, and feel for breathing. Place your ear close to the infant's mouth and nose. Watch for chest movement. Feel for breath on your cheek.
  7. If the infant is not breathing:
    • Cover the infant's mouth and nose tightly with your mouth.
    • Or, cover just the nose. Hold the mouth shut.
    • Keep the chin lifted and head tilted.
    • Give 2 rescue breaths. Each breath should take about a second and make the chest rise.
  8. Continue CPR (30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths, then repeat) for about 2 minutes.
  9. After about 2 minutes of CPR, if the infant still does not have normal breathing, coughing, or any movement, leave the infant if you are alone and call 911.
  10. Repeat rescue breathing and chest compressions until the infant recovers or help arrives.
Keep re-checking for breathing until help arrives.
Information found herephoto and video

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Playgroup: Germs Be Gone!

Hello, hello! I loved our activity last Friday! A common issue in playgroups, schools, or just activity time at home is getting kids to wash their hands. Because we do so many hands-on crafts and eat so many delicious snacks with our fingers, it was high time to have a lesson on germs. It was fantastic!

We kicked off the hour with two stories. The first, I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer, was..less related to our theme, but was a cute story about how actions can lead to consequences that may or may not be what we want. The second, These Hands by Hope Lynne Price, led into our theme by giving examples of all the things that hands can do, such as eat, feed, hug, touch, and feel.

The main activity for our lesson was found on Twiggle Magazine's website in their lesson on germs and hand washing found here. I explained to the kids that I was going to show them how germs are spread. I pretended to sneeze, sprayed my hand with some cooking spray, poured some glitter on my hand, and asked them to shake my hand. The kids were hesitant, but as I would shake each of their hands some glitter would stick to them, and the next child they shook hands with would get glitter on them, too! We talked about how germs are spread, the importance of covering coughs and sneezes, and of course, hand-washing. I had one child wash his hands with soap, dry his hands with a paper towel, and show the other children how the "germs" had vanished. They loved it, and I think it got the point across!

Our next activity was created to help the kids practice washing their hands without even having to get them wet! With our large group, it would have been nearly impossible for us to gather everyone around the sink and have them practice, but this activity worked just as well. I gave each child a quarter piece of blue construction paper (I know it looks purple..but it was blue!) to rip into smaller pieces for our 'water.' I had made a bar of 'soap' in advance using pink construction paper and tape. I went around the table and had each child 'rub' a little bit of soap onto their hands, and then we pretended to use the paper as water to wash our hands. Together as a group we sang the ABC song while we washed our hands to practice how long hands should be washed. Proper hand washing should last 20 seconds, approximately how long it takes to sing the ABCs or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I'll share some more hand washing tips later.

We also colored scary germ pictures found here on Twiggle's website

And lastly, what hand washing activity is complete without a game of germ tag? The child who was 'it' tried to tag everyone (a child who was tagged would have to sit down and pretend to have a cold) while another child held a bar of soap and would un-germ the people who had been infected. It was a race between germs and sanitation! The kids took turns being the germ, the soap, and the runners.

Kids can learn proper hand washing at a young age! It can take a lot of practice, and modeling the behavior is the best way to help them learn. Here are some other tips for washing hands:
  • Wash with warm water
  • Use a generous amount of soap
  • Rub hands together for 20 seconds (use the ABCs to help you!)
  • Scrub thoroughly! Don't miss in between fingers, under nails, the backs of hands, and the palms. 
  • Dry hands with a paper towel
  • Hand washing is always best, but if no water is available, use a hand sanitizer with at least a 60% concentration of alcohol (the concentration needed to reduce the most germs possible)

Information taken from the Utah County Health Department and the CDC's hand washing page.

Baby Days at the Orem Wal-Mart, this Saturday!

Baby Days

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Free Family Reading Event with Mr. Steve!!

MrSteveFlier Final

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Rh Factor

Have you ever heard of the Rh Factor? I had learned about it in various classes, but it wasn't until I was pregnant that I really learned what it was. Before I was pregnant I had no idea what my blood type was and now I never will forget. With every pregnancy I have I will have to receive a series of two Rh immune-globulin shots. So what exactly does that mean for you? Well, here is some information every expecting mother should be aware of: 

People with different blood types have proteins specific to that blood type on the surfaces 
of their red blood cells (RBCs). There are four blood types — A, B, AB, and O.
Each of the four blood types is additionally classified according to the presence of another protein on the surface of RBCs that indicates the Rh factor. If you carry this protein, you are Rh positive. If you don't carry the protein, you are Rh negative.
Most people — about 85% — are Rh positive. But if a woman who is Rh negative and a man who is Rh positive conceive a baby, there is the potential for a baby to have a health problem. The baby growing inside the Rh-negative mother may have Rh-positive blood, inherited from the father. Approximately half of the children born to an Rh-negative mother and Rh-positive father will be Rh positive.
Rh incompatibility usually isn't a problem if it's the mother's first pregnancy because, unless there's some sort of abnormality, the fetus's blood does not normally enter the mother's circulatory system during the course of the pregnancy.
However, during delivery, the mother's and baby's blood can intermingle. If this happens, the mother's body recognizes the Rh protein as a foreign substance and can begin producing antibodies (protein molecules in the immune system that recognize, and later work to destroy, foreign substances) against the Rh proteins introduced into her blood.
Other ways Rh-negative pregnant women can be exposed to the Rh protein that might cause antibody production include blood transfusions with Rh-positive blood, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy.
Rh antibodies are harmless until the mother's second or later pregnancies. If she is ever carrying another Rh-positive child, her Rh antibodies will recognize the Rh proteins on the surface of the baby's blood cells as foreign, and pass into the baby's bloodstream and attack those cells. This can lead to swelling and rupture of the baby's RBCs. A baby's blood count can get dangerously low when this condition, known as hemolytic or Rh disease of the newborn, occurs. 
For more information about Rh Incompatibility click here. For more information about the Rh immune-globulin shot click here.  Top Photo and bottom Photo.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Fifth Protective Factor

The Fifth Protective Factor is 
Social and Emotional Competence of Children.Photo
Social and Emotional Competence of Children:
A child or youth’s ability to interact positively with others, self-regulate their behavior and effec­tively communicate their feelings has a positive impact on their relationships with their family, other adults, and peers. Challenging behaviors or delayed development create extra stress for families, so early identification and assistance for both parents and children can head off nega­tive results and keep development on track.
Welcome Baby provides valuable resources and support to families in the community who may be experiencing challenging behaviors and delayed development in their children. It is so important for children to receive the proper support so they can communicate effectively to others and to be able to feel confident in social situations. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Playgroup: Stars and Hearts

Last week at playgroup, we did a Valentine's activity, but it was a different theme than you might think! We started our singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and later related it to Valentine's Day with treats and cards!

Not convinced they are related? I'll show you how they are!

This was no ordinary version of Twinkle, Twinkle--we had a little tent set up for the kids to sit in and shine flashlights on the ceiling to "look at the stars," gave each child a yellow star-shaped sticky note, and went through each line of the song as we sang to make sure the kids knew what they were talking about. The kids loved the tent, and the flashlights were particularly exciting with the room lights off and the blinds closed.

As adults, we may not realize that kids are often unfamiliar with the words of songs they are singing. Kids are so smart, so breaking down a song word by word can help them get a better understanding of what they are singing, and they can appreciate it more!

Details to emphasize from Twinkle Twinkle:
  • Twinkling star: shining a flashlight, moving it around quickly
  • Up above the world so high: it's a tricky line to understand, so we had a globe for the kids to look out and demonstrated what it means to be above it.
  • Diamond in the sky: the kids shined their flashlights on my engagement ring to make it sparkle

Next we did a sort of science experiment. We ripped small pieces of tin foil, put them in a big glass container full of water, and shone our lights inside, taking notice of how they flickered. I didn't get a picture of it, but the kids really enjoyed this demonstration of a twinkling star like we had been talking about.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for--how this relates to Valentine's Day! Along with Twinkle, Twinkle we sang "I Am Like A Star Shining Brightly," and the last line connected to our craft.

I am like star shining brightly
Smiling for the whole world to see
I can do and say happy things each day
For I know friends and family love me

Which led to talking about a new shape, hearts, and we invited the kids to make a card using hearts to say thanks to a friend or family member who means a lot to them. Their moms helped them decorate and write notes to a loved one!

And what Valentine's activity is complete without frosted, heart-shaped sugar cookies? This was a simple cookie mix with store-bought frosting. Nothing too fancy, but the kids loved the conversation hearts and pink and red decorating frosting. Yum!


The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control have many resources available to parents about health and wellness in kids, and a topic that is worth visiting around Valentine's Day is the support and love of family and friends. The CDC recommends the following as ways to build your kids up and help them develop in secure, loving relationships: talking to kids to help them understand how they can be healthy, safe, and happy; finding out what's going on with them and how they are making decisions and handling problems; responding to their physical and emotional needs. 

Valentine's Day may have been yesterday, but it is important to tell kids they are loved any time of the year! They greatly benefit from praise and compliments, so don't suppress a good thought! There is no limit to what you can say or do to express love; the best way I can think to illustrate that is with conversation hearts. There are hundreds of ways to say essentially the same thing! Be creative, direct, and fun, just like a big bag of conversation hearts.

Thanks for checking in with us!

Information found here.
For more positive, age-specific parenting tips from the CDC, click here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Storytime in Springville

Story Time

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentines Day Craft and Snack!

I was searching Pinterest.com for a cute and simple craft to do with kids. This is what I found! The person who posted it found the mailboxes at Target for a $1 and the paper for $1! You and your kids can have a blast decorating the outside of the mailboxes together.  An idea for the mailboxes, (a little late this year, but an idea for next year) is to make the mailboxes a couple weeks before Valentines Day and each day leave a little note or treat in the mailboxes for your kids/family. Every day your family will love opening the mailboxes to see a treat or little note inside! 
Do you need an idea for a quick snack on Valentines Day? This is super cute and super easy! You can have your kids help you make these Fruit Heart Kabobs! All you need is Watermelon, Honeydew,  Cantaloupe, and I would even try Pineapple! And of course you will need a heart shaped cookie cutter to get the cute shapes and Popsicle sticks for the Kabobs. This is a fun and healthy snack for you and your kids to enjoy together!
Heart Kabobs
And of course you can make the yummy fruit dip that completes the snack! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Fourth Protective Factor

The Fourth Protective Factor to Strengthen your Family is 
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development. 
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development:
Accurate information about child development and appropriate expectations for children’s behavior at every age help parents see their children and youth in a positive light and promote their healthy development. Information can come from many sources, including family members as well as parent education classes and surfing the Internet. Studies show information is most effective when it comes at the precise time parents need it to understand their own children. Parents who experienced harsh discipline or other negative childhood experiences may need extra help to change the parenting patterns they learned as children.

Our Welcome Baby volunteers are trained and qualified to help you with questions you have about child development. Each home visit you have you are given appropriate information regarding your child(ren)'s development. Help Me Grow is another program where you can learn what your child's strengths are and what area your child may need extra help. We can provide you with Ages and Stages Questionnaires that are helpful to determine what area of development your child might need extra support. By becoming educated about child development your family will become much happier and healthier!
Information found here and photo here

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Playgroup: Our Friends at Playgroup

Hello again! We had another fantastic playgroup last week. We focused on the awesome kiddos who join us for playgroup every week, and even made some decorations for a bulletin board we are putting up! My major is public health, but several child development students from UVU have been coming to observe and help out with activities, and more than once have I been told, "You need a place to put a picture of each of the kids!" This helps create an atmosphere of belonging, and give them a sense of permanence in the activities we do here. They love to see themselves as part of a whole, and I couldn't argue with that!

The kids decorated half sheets of construction paper with a traced hand print, feathers, stickers, foam shapes, glitter, crayons, string, and anything else I could find. It was fun to watch how each child's art work showed their unique personality. I'll be printing pictures of the kids to put on their paper and hanging them up in the community center that serves as our playgroup room. Other tutoring organizations and sports teams have already done similar projects, so I'm excited for our kids to feel like we belong there! The moms helped the kids bring their ideas to life by helping them use scissors, glitter, and glue. Everyone was getting so creative!

This art project could be fun for kids to do even at home to establish belonging, or could be done with cousins, groups of friends, church classes, or preschools. Get creative!

Our snack today was simple and delicious: graham crackers dipped in milk! It's a sweet and savory alternative to snacking on junk foods high in sugar, saturated fat, sodium, and empty calories, and it takes no preparation at all. Kids should have a variety of healthy snacks to choose from, so this would be a good option to start incorporating in your home. Plus it's fun to dunk crackers!

I didn't get a picture of our book this time, but it was one by Eric Carle that I'd never heard of, titled Do You Want to Be My Friend? Each child was given an animal puppet, and when their animal was featured in the book, we had them stand up and move their puppet. We met a horse, an elephant, a tiger, a walrus, a fox and more as the little mouse in the story looks for a friend. The book surprisingly had no words, which allows the reader to do their own narration. The kids were excited to find out which animal we'd find on the next page!

We ended with an activity about spider webs after reading Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider. The kids got all tangled up!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Join us next week for a Valentine's Day activity!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Additional Welcome Baby Resources

For those of you who aren't aware, the Utah County Health Department also has a Welcome Baby Home Visitation Program. The nurses at the health department visit high risk families in the community to make sure their needs are being met and that they are receiving the information they need to better their family. The health department just began their blog and we wanted to share it on our blog as additional resources for you. The health department provides classes and and programs to families in the community. 
Click here to go to their blog!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression is

Signs of the Baby Blues (http://www.pregnancy-info.net/baby_blues.html)
Symptoms of the baby blues are generally mild and can include:

  • Weepiness
  • Mood Swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Restlessness
  • Impatience 

Chasing Those Blues Away (http://www.pregnancy-info.net/baby_blues.html)
The baby blues often disappear one their own. However, here are some things you can do to help ease the symptoms and help yourself feel better, sooner.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Join a support group for new mothers
  • Make time each day to do something you enjoy
  • Give yourself a change of scenery by meeting with a friend for a cup of coffee or enjoy an evening out on the town with your partner
  • Talk with your partner about dividing up the parenting responsibilities so you don’t feel like you are doing everything by yourself


  • Are you feeling sad or depressed?
  • Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
  • Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
  • Do you feel anxious or panicky?
  • Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
  • Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out
    of your mind?
  • Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
  • Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?


The Third Protective Factor

The Third Protective Factor is Concrete Support in Times of Need.

Concrete Support in Times of Need
Meeting basic economic needs like food, shelter, clothing and health care is essential for families to thrive. Likewise, when families encounter a crisis such as domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse, adequate services and supports need to be in place to provide stability, treatment and help for family members to get through the crisis. Click here for more information. 

The Welcome Baby program can provide support to families by being available with pertinent resources. Our trained volunteers provide support to mothers, children, and to the entire family by answering important questions and just by being available to the family for the issues they might be dealing with. By providing concrete support to families the family is strengthened, chances of neglect and abuse are significantly reduced, and child development is at its optimal level. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Playgroups: A Snowy Activity

With some snow finally staying on the ground here in Provo, we had to take advantage of the chance to do a snow-themed activity at playgroup!

We read two books about bundling up--something that is always important during Utah winters, snow or no snow!

For our activity, we decorated snowmen with different colored snack foods. We don't have enough snow on the ground here to build a snowman, so this was the perfect activity to make up for that.

 Here's what you'll need to make your own snacky snowmen:
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins
  • Fruit Loops
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Elmer's glue
  • Markers

We also got a great game of 'Duck, Duck, Goose' going, and the kids were thrilled when I introduced 'London Bridge' to them. Our playgroup kids are ages 5 and under, and are always eager to learn new ways to run around and exercise!

This winter-themed craft helps kids use their fine motor skills by picking up and placing small finger foods onto their paper snowman. These skills are easy to practice, and help develop hand-eye coordination. Gradually strengthening these abilities can help children in day-to-day functional activities such as using utensils to eat, writing with a pencil, turning the pages of a picture book, brushing teeth, or combing hair. Activities like our snowmen help children develop these skills in a fun way--they won't even realize it's happening!

Thanks for reading! Follow our blog for Wednesday updates on activities for your kids, as well as developmental tidbits during the week!