Indoor S’mores!

Posted August 27th, 2009 by Jill Addeo | No Comments »

As I may have mentioned, my family and I live in Manhattan…not exactly the land of sprawling backyard barbecues. The problem is, my kids were born with the souls of suburbanites. They constantly crave playing catch with Dad, bike riding to the corner store, catching lightning bugs and yes–backyard cookouts.

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Posted in Parenting Tips

Keep Your Kids Safe from Cyber Bullies

Posted August 25th, 2009 by Jill Addeo | No Comments »

Believe it or not, cyber bullies are running rampant throughout the web. And as kids become computer and cell phone users at a much younger age, it’s important to keep them safe. Cyber bullying is defined as  “when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person” by the National Crime Prevention Council.

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Posted in Parenting Tips

The “School Nutrition Association?” – I Did Not Know That…

Posted August 20th, 2009 by Jill Addeo | 1 Comment »

One of the many small things in my life for which I am grateful, but give very little thought, is the fact that the cafeteria at my children’s school serves organic, healthy lunches. A few years ago, our very forward thinking Head of School made significant reforms to the school’s lunch menu to include things like low fat milk and water (no juices, whole grain breads or pastas) and dishes made with lots of beans and fresh produce from local farms just outside the city, in addition to produce grown by the kids on a rooftop greenhouse.  The students (mine included) balked at first, but now, it has just become a part of their normal day and Fridays are special because it is the only day when a small homemade cookie or cupcake is served. Clearly this nutritional philosophy mirrors the nutritional guidelines that are slowly being implemented throughout the country but I had no idea what was really going on behind the scenes for children being served school lunches nationwide. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Children's Health, Healthy Eating & Nutrition, Parenting Tips

Pumping in the Potty?

Posted August 18th, 2009 by Jill Addeo | No Comments »

Although my son and daughter are well past the days of being breastfeed (and so are my breasts) I just received an email from an organization that I follow called www.momsrising.org. One of their many initiatives under their banner of “Democracy in Action” surrounds the issues of reasonable policies in the workplace which would allow women to comfortably breastfeed their babies.

We are all aware of the health benefits associated with breastfeeding, and while it may not be the right choice for every mother, it should certainly be a mother’s right to choose and to have that choice fully supported in the workplace. Please read on and take the opportunity to help momsrising.org make a difference for working moms everywhere. We may not yet have the power to see that Paula Abdul receives equal pay to Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest but we have to start somewhere!

Last week, our petition on paid family leave highlighted how important it is for new moms to have paid time in order to successfully breastfeed their infants. This week, we tackle another part of the problem: When moms return to work, breastfeeding often gets even harder. B ut there is hope. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, recently introduced in Congress, would establish common-sense workplace policies to make it easier for women to continue nursing after they return to work.

Tell your representatives in Congress to support the Breastfeeding Promotion Act today!

Today, 56% of mothers with infants are in the workplace1, and many of them face huge barriers – or outright discrimination – when they return to work and need to take breaks in order to pump milk. Tenia from Maryland shared, “I find it appalling that it’s left to individual supervisors… if, where and for how long a nursing mother can pump at work!  I was told it would depend what my workload looked like if I would be ‘allowed’ to pump.”

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY) and Senator Jeff Merkley (OR), would support employers and nursing moms in the following ways:

• Requiring employers to make reasonable efforts to provide appropriate space and break time for mothers to express milk;
• Protecting breastfeeding women from being fired or discriminated against in the workplace;
• Providing tax incentives for businesses that establish private lactation areas in the workplace; and
• Allowing families to deduct the cost of breastfeeding equipment on their taxes, as is the case with other common medical expenses.2

Some mothers who return to work choose to stop breastfeeding, but many of those who do wish to continue find it next to impossible because of barriers in the workplace.  Even well-intentioned employers may be unaware about how to accommodate nursing moms, leaving women using sheets to cover up in cubicles, cramming into bathroom stalls with breast pumps, or even hiding out in dingy supply rooms just to pump breast milk for their babies.

Tell Congress to support the Breastfeeding Promotion Act today:

The way to support mothers who choose to breastfeed is clear — we need to provide new mothers with Paid Family and Medical Leave so they have the time to care for their infants, and also make sure they have the opportunity to return to a workplace that allows them to continue nursing!

Thanks for all that you are doing to make this country truly family-friendly!
– Dionna, Ashley, Katie and the MomsRising.org team
P.S. The American Academic of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.  To read a summary of the AAP recommendations, click here: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/feb05breastfeeding.htm
[1] http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/famee.pdf ;
[2] http://maloney.house.gov/documents/women/breastfeeding/061009%20Breastfeeding%20Promotion%20Act.pdf

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Posted in Parenting Tips

5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy When School Starts

Posted August 13th, 2009 by Jill Addeo | No Comments »

School is right around the corner and with a new school year comes colds, flu and germs. Here are a few easy ways to help keep your kids as healthy as possible when they head back to school.

  1. Can Your Child See and Hear? Ensure that your child has the best chance at a great education by having his vision and hearing checked before schools starts.
  2. Immunizations. Many schools require that your child have a physical and be immunized before beginning the new school year. Be sure that you know your school’s requirements and have get your child the appropriate vaccinations.
  3. Sanitize. Stress to your kids NOT to put their hands in their eyes or mouths. Encourage your kids to wash their hands before meals and after they visit the bathroom and use hand sanitizer when needed.
  4. Avoidance. Teach your kids to avoid other sick children.
  5. Share with Care. Tell your kids not to share drinks or snacks with other kids.

With a little common sense and a lot of reinforcement, back to school doesn’t have to mean a trip to the doctor’s office.

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Posted in Children's Health, Parenting Tips

Send Your Kid Back to School with the KidKupz Contest!

Posted August 6th, 2009 by Jill Addeo | No Comments »

Want to try out KidKupz BEFORE flu season kicks in? KidKupz and Barefoot Mommies is hosting a Back to School contest featuring a KidKupz gift pack as well as other goodies that will make going back to school easier for parents and fun for kids! There a bunch of ways to win, so check out Barefoot Mommies for details. Open to US & Canada residents. Contest ends 8/23 at 11:59 pm CST . Enter today!

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Posted in Events, In the Media, KidKupz News, KidKupz in the Community

And So it Begins….

Posted August 4th, 2009 by Jill Addeo | No Comments »

So, my 9 year old daughter has recently begun asking those questions that we all know are coming but are somehow never completely prepared for.  She has always been very curious and had asked me all about where babies come from starting at age 5. Back then, I was able to provide her with just the most basic information and facts (no storks) and that seemed to do the trick. When your child starts asking these kinds of questions between the ages of 3 and 6, I recommend a book called, “Amazing You: Getting Smart about Your Private Parts” by Dr. Gail Saltz. This is a great picture book designed for younger children who are becoming sexually aware. Dr. Saltz presents clear, age-appropriate information about reproduction, birth and the differences between girls’ and boys’ bodies.

And now on to the trickier questions. Dr. Saltz’s follow up book is called, “Changing You!: A Guide to Body Changes and Sexuality.” This book is geared towards 9 to 12 year olds and in it, Dr. Saltz addresses the curiosity and confusion that elementary school age children feel as they start to notice the changes that their bodies are undergoing. I have read both of these books with my daughter and she listened carefully and soaked in all the information with very few follow-up questions. I think she had enough food for thought…until now.

As my husband, son, daughter and I were walking to the camp bus the other morning, my daughter just asked out of nowhere, “Mom, when will I start to get sperm?” Before I could even answer this somewhat odd question, my husband fired back with, “Not until your in your mid 30’s, I hope!”  That sarcastic remark went right over her head and I reminded her that boys produce the sperm and girls produce the eggs. She realized her goof right away and clearly knew the difference but it was surely a sign that these issues are on her mind more and more. She has had a lot of questions lately about her body and how it compares developmentally with the other girls at camp and at school. Fortunately, the camp bus pulled up and rescued us. Where is my 10 1/2 year old son in all of this you may ask?  I don’t know if this is typical with other young boys, but my son has rarely come out and asked me the direct questions. My husband and I have read the books with him and he asks, “Okay. Are we done? Can I go?”  I think he secretly appreciates all of his sisters questions because he usually gets the skinny without having to put himself out there and reveal his own curiosity.

I only suggest these books because there is so much information out there and I found that these worked for our family. The most important thing is to arm our children with facts and teach them at an early age that asking questions is important and that we want to be the ones they are coming to with their questions. If we are open and non-judgmental from the get-go and give them the information that they are in search of then they will be more likely to continue coming to us when the questions get weightier and more complicated.

As I see that my daughter’s curiosity is progressing, I am already prepared with my next resource.  Last spring, I was alerted to an Oprah episode (yes, Oprah) with Dr. Laura Berman in which a mother had the talk with her 9 year old daughter while Dr. Berman supervised. I still have the show recorded and I think the time has come to watch it with my daughter. Oprah’s website has not only made the video available to download but she also has a handbook written by Dr. Berman with excellent diagrams that parents can download as well.

Needless to say, I am no expert and as parents, we all need to find our own way through the treacherous territory of our children’s insatiable curiousity. I only hope that these resources may help to get the ball rolling whenever the time comes at your house.

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Posted in Children's Health, Parenting Tips