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A Little Book About Safety: Book Review

“Nothing is more important than keeping our children safe – but how can we talk to our kids about personal safety without scaring them? How can we be sure they know what to do to keep themselves safe when we’re not around?” The Mother Company has found a way to do just so… by following the lovable Hugo the Hippo as he navigates his way through a fun day at the pool with his family.

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The Mother Company is an excellent resource for parents, especially those with preschool-aged children. Their expertise in social emotional learning makes them a trusted source when it comes to communicating with kids.

I love their Ruby’s Studio series so naturally I was thrilled when they sent me A Little Book About Safety. The book is meant to be a companion to their applauded Ruby’s Studio: The Safety Show. Both are fantastic tools for parents and caregivers to explain the importance of safety. Your child will be empowered and feel like they have the skills to be the boss of their own safety.

The storyline is adorable, as are the characters. The Mother Company touches on topics that are important but in a fun way. The points are still getting across to your child without them getting overwhelmed.

The best thing about the Mother Company is they know kids, so they use language that your child can understand and relate to. They’re able to explain safety in a non-scary way. Safety is an important topic that shouldn’t scare our children, but it is something we need to discuss with them. A Little Book About Safety makes touching on important topics easy to talk about and creates an open dialogue with your child.

One thing I always ask myself when choosing a children’s book is, is it interactive? This is the best way to keep kids engaged. The Mother Company does a great job with this. They insert “Safety Tips” throughout the book that work as breaks in the storyline where you can stop and discuss. It has the key element in a good children’s book – making it all about your child! Even from the inside cover, “This book belongs to                   ”, your child will feel like it’s a special book just for them. I also like how they use the term “Safe Adult” because you can go over who is and who isn’t a “Safe Adult” in their life. Every child’s situation is different and this book allows you to tailor it to your little one.

There is honestly nothing I would add or remove from this book. It covers a wide-range of safety topics, like: Knowing a safe adult’s name and phone number, it’s ok to be scared and it’s ok to say NO, and what to do if they get lost. I especially like Safety Tip No. 2, “the parts of your body covered by your bathing suit are private” and Safety Tip No. 5, “YOU are the boss of your own body, and it’s ok to say “Stop!” to anyone… No one should touch you in any way you don’t like.” This isn’t any easy topic to cover but they touch on it perfectly.

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My favorite part? “All his smart choices will keep him strong, happy and SAFE.” Kids understand this. It gives them the right tools to take control of things that will keep them safe. As I say in Keep Calm and Parent On, give your child some power. They need to feel in control and feel ownership of their choices.

You can purchase A Little Book About Safety here!

Book Giveaway!

The lovely team at Twigtale is running a giveaway of my book, Keep Calm and Parent On.

Head over to their Facebook page and let them know your favorite “Keep Calm” saying in the comments and voila, you’re entered!

Good luck & keep calm,

Emma

https://www.facebook.com/twigtale

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Twigtale Books: Mama Always Comes Back.

Twigtale offers parents an innovative way to work through common early childhood transitions smoothly. Twigtale books are personalized stories, scripted by experts, which help your child know what to expect. This covers a variety of issues and topics, such as: starting school, using the potty, moving, a new sibling and many others. They also have an option to create your own book from scratch, so you can cover literally any topic. It’s quite brilliant!

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Storytelling is one of my favorite activities to do with children, and it is a helpful way for them to understand bigger situations and life events, but Twigtale makes storytelling that much more effective. Why? Because it’s all about them; your little one.

My favorite Twigtale book is, “Mama Always Comes Back!”

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In all my years working with children, separation anxiety is something every child faces at some point. I’ve personally used this Twigtale book and recommend it to every family I work with. I fell in love with “Mama Always Comes Back!” instantly because this is something ALL children need to be reassured of.

Twigtale books are truly customizable in every sense of the word – right away, you can pick to title the book with the name your child calls you (mum, mama, mommy). You can also customize this to be daddy, papa, etc., so don’t worry dads, you’re included too. Then add a photo to match and voila, your child is the star!

Let your child help you make suggestions for what you’re putting in the book. Ask them, what does mummy like to do? Exercise, read, go out to dinner, spend time with Auntie Jenny – things that you need to and like to do for yourself – that they need to learn are “adult” times.

One of my favorite pages is, “When Mummy says “goodbye”, sometimes I feel sad. Sometimes I cry. This is okay.” – Because it IS okay. They will cry and be upset but as long as they know you will always be back, it will help them cope with the fact that sometimes you have to leave them.

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Twigtale is also an excellent tool for your nanny or teacher. Keep it in their cubby or backpack so they can look at it whenever they get scared or are just simply missing mum! It isn’t a security item like a blanket or lovie that they may not be comfortable taking to school. It’s a cool book that all their friends will want to see and make one of their own.

Believe me when I tell you, your child will want to read their book over and over again because it’s all about them. I’ve seen this with the kids I nanny for. They always go to the shelf and pick out one of their Twigtale books. They love the fact that they can look at pictures of their grandparents who live all the way in New York and relive their special moments with mum or dad, brother or sister, and other special family members.

If you’re leaving for a night out remind them, “I always come back! Have fun and I’ll see you soon”, and leave the book out for a special nighttime reading. They will love showing their sitter or nanny the fun book all about them.

Be sure to check out their website!

GumChucks: Helpful Flossing Tool for Kids & Parents!

I first found out about GumChucks from my friends at the Lasky Pediatric Dental Group, who are supporters. Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jill Lasky about keeping your child’s dental hygiene up to par, especially proper brushing. Since then I’ve followed their tips and advice via Facebook and simply had to check out such a cool, new product!

My review of GumChucks, an Oralwise Co. product:

It can be a struggle maintaining your child’s dental hygiene and probably the last thing you feel like doing after a long day, but it really is important. Yes, they will eventually lose those baby teeth but establishing a good routine now is key to their dental success as adults. Dr. Lasky says baby teeth “are also important in guiding the permanent teeth into the correct position and the development of the jaw.”

The best way to encourage your child to brush and floss daily is to make it fun! This is why GumChucks stood out to me as a must-have product.

GumChucks offers brilliant flossing tools just for kids and their packaging is one-of-a-kind. They incorporate a whole gang of plaque fighting superheroes! What kid wouldn’t love this?

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GumChucks is an entirely new way for children to floss. No more boring waxed floss that is nearly impossible for a child to get in the back of their mouth, or risk them biting your fingers! Floss picks are a nice alternative but they don’t always encourage you to make that “C” movement around the gums.

GumChucks resemble nunchucks so you still use two hands and can more easily maneuver the floss. The best part is the nunchucks have disposable tips. The tips easily pop on and off, allowing your child to use a new piece of dental floss as needed. The floss feels great and works with little effort – I tried them myself!

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The nunchuck handles come in a variety of designs and colors which kids will absolutely love. They are comfortable and convenient for little hands with limited dexterity. No loss of circulation in little fingers and they can control the handles with ease.

Flossing is just as important for children as it is for adults and GumChucks makes it fun. So fun in fact, they should make them for adults! I would certainly use them!

GumChucks even has an iTunes app so your child can become familiar with them before using!

Happy flossing!

Todd Parr Giveaway!

Storypanda Books and I are thrilled to announce a giveaway in honor of back-to-school! Starting this Friday, September 6th, you can enter to win a FREE COPY of Todd Parr’s It’s Okay to be Different!

We’ll be giving away 2 print copies of It’s Okay to be Different …but don’t forget you can also buy Storypanda’s in-app purchase and take Todd’s book with you wherever you go!

I’m making this giveaway SUPER simple! All I’m asking is for you to:

  1. Comment on this blog post with why you and your child love Todd Parr
  2. Tweet using handles @Emmaschildren & @Storypanda saying you’ve entered and follow us 🙂

GOOD LUCK,

Emma xx

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App Review: Storypanda Books!

Storypanda Books In-App Purchase

It’s Okay to be Different  by Todd Parr

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The first thing that drew me to Todd Parr is his use of vibrant colors, which I have to say look even better on an iPad! His illustrations are simple and smart. The message is that it’s okay to need help sometimes, be from a non-traditional family, have a different appearance, or to have a disability. This is a truly important message to teach our children.

This app will not disappoint when your child is laughing over “it’s okay to have a pet worm,” or “it’s okay to help a squirrel collect nuts.” It’s a perfect app for a child who is just starting to read because the sentences come up in pieces. They won’t get overwhelmed because they can click when they’re ready, so it lets them read at their own pace. It’s also a sweet story to share with your toddler and read together while letting them use their finger.

The app is easy to use and will actually keep your child’s interest. Why? In Todd Parr’s It’s Okay to Be Different they have to tap the screen to enhance the graphics. One of my favorites is “it’s okay to be a different color.” Two black and white zebras are on the page and when you click one suddenly becomes rainbow colored! They provide such fun visuals and sensory images for your child.

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The best part of this app? At the end of reading, you and your child can create your own version of the story. You can change the characters, backgrounds, props, etc. You can change almost anything! Storypanda also lets your child share their creation with their friends.

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My favorite thing about the Storypanda app as a whole is the homepage. When you open the app you arrive at your child’s virtual bookshelf. Stories for them to read on one shelf, stories they made on another, and stories from their friends on the last. It’s just as if they walked up to their bookshelf at home, but they are able to see all their stories in one organized place (without pulling them out and making a mess!)

Todd Parr’s in-app purchase is definitely worth it because it’s something your child will read time and time again, make their own stories, and save them to share! You can click here if you want to buy It’s Okay to be Different via iTunes!

TV-Tipping: An Avoidable Accident

Do you have your flat screen television mounted to the wall securely? If you still have an older model, is it secured by brackets or tethers? Parents regularly take precautions such as tethering large bookshelves or dressers to walls or locking cabinets, but television safety is often overlooked.

An annual average of 17, 313 children are injured by tipping or falling television sets each year, one study finds. The median age of children hurt was 3-years-old. Kids this age are very probing and don’t quite grasp cause and effect. Climbing on top of an entertainment system or standing on the edge of a table to reach the television can lead to disaster.

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NPR recently highlighted the dangers of young children pulling televisions down on themselves, noting that “every 30 minutes a child ends up in the emergency room with injuries caused by a television.”

Head and neck injuries are very common with television accidents, as TVs are generally set up high… just out of an inquisitive child’s reach. Most of the children in the study suffered from bumps, cuts and bruises but some even ended up with concussions, which can be very dangerous to a young child.

A 2012 report by Safe Kids Worldwide said that one child dies every three weeks from a television-tipping related injury. This is shocking considering there are so many ways to prevent this type of tragedy.

Caregivers know that a determined child will make persistent attempts to touch or grab things even when they are told not to. To keep children safe we must take extra safety precautions. Mounting hardware and tethering kits are available at almost any store that television sets are sold as well as many baby stores. The extra effort it takes to install safety straps is well worth it when there are curious climbers in the house!

After drafting this post, I actually found a blurb about this problem in the new issue of Parents Magazine. I snapped a shot of it because it has helpful tips for keeping your child safe. TVsafety.org is also an excellent resource for simple solutions!

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Giveaway: “The Food Allergy Mama” Cookbook.

Happy Friday everyone! I want to let you know that my new giveaway is starting in 3 hours! If you enjoyed my review of Kelly Rudnicki’s “The Food Allergy Mama” cookbook, you can now enter to win your own signed copy!

Follow this link to the Emma’s Children Facebook page and it will take you straight to my ‘Rewards & Giveaways’ page. You can enter using your e-mail or Facebook and then Follow on Twitter & Tweet for extra entries!

Good luck!

Xx Emma

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Book Review: The Food Allergy Mama

I first became aware of Kelly Rudnicki from her Food Allergy Mama blog and digging through her bevy of amazing recipes. She is brilliant in the kitchen and honestly loves the art of cooking. She even tests her recipes on her own children, so you know they are truly ‘kid-approved’!

Her new cookbook The Food Allergy Mama’s Easy, Fast Family Meals is chock full of dairy, egg and nut free recipes for everyday.

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Rudnicki is not afraid to make mistakes. She stresses to her children that they don’t have to be perfect and allows them to embrace their creative side, just as she does. She has really jumped through hoops to create tastes that are in line with kids’ picky palettes. This means minimal spices and ingredients.

Her list of substitute ingredients is something you’ll want to tear out of the book and stick to the fridge. She has everything from flour substitutes to dairy alternatives. The best part: “You really don’t need a bunch of special equipment in your kitchen to make fast and easy allergy-friendly meals.”

Something you may not be aware of, or not sure how to go about it, is keeping the risk of cross-contamination away. Rudnicki shares a list of kitchen equipment you should have on hand and only use when preparing allergy-safe foods.

The book is broken up into categories: Snacks, Breakfast, Lunch, Soups, Supper & SidesTreats, Menu Ideas

Her photos make my mouth water (not to mention her family is adorable). Especially the seriously golden cheesy macaroni and her chocolate wonder waffles.

The Food Allergy Mama’s recipes are all dairy, egg, and nut free, eliminating half of the common allergens. Did I mention they’re all quick and delicious? A fan favorite, pasta and turkey meatballs, is prepped and cooked in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for a busy family.

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Some facts on food allergies…

There are eight foods that account for 90% of all allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. [Foodallergy.org]

With 1 in 13 children affected by food allergies and rising, it’s nice to have healthy options for mealtime. A food reaction can range from a mild response, like an itchy mouth or skin, to a potentially deadly reaction like anaphylaxis.

Remember, food and mealtime is a chance to create special memories for your children. They’ll always remember sitting and enjoying meals together and your cooking. It’s something that will stay with them as they grow and it will be a familiar comfort.

Beat the Heat with My Favorite Frozen Treat!

The summer is a great time to let the little ones enjoy a frozen treat. I absolutely love popsicles but the kind you can buy in stores are often packed full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It can be hard to find them just made from whole fruit, but I think they taste much better this way! They’re pretty simple to make yourself, so why not? Here are a couple of my favorite recipes!

Jamie Oliver’s Yogurt Pops – How good do these look?! The color is brilliant!

jamie-oliver-300 Makes about 6 pops.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 small ripe & peeled bananas
  2. 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries OR 1 cup frozen blueberries (I like to mix a little of each)
  3. 2 cups nonfat plain yogurt
  4. 2 tbsp. honey

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth
  • Divide mixture evenly into molds (amount will vary depending on size of molds)
  • Freeze for 10 minutes, remove, insert popsicle sticks
  • Put back in the freezer for at least 3 hours; until frozen solid
  • Run mold under warm water for a quick second, gently pull each pop from mold and serve immediately!

You can find popsicle molds at most grocery stores or drugstores. Here’s a great list of BPA-free molds, too! I personally like stainless steel molds. They’re a little more pricey but work wonders at keeping them cold and no plastic involved. You can also find 100 popsicle sticks for about $4 on Amazon.

Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles

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Makes about 12 pops.

Ingredients:

Remember to use seedless watermelon. You can use honeydew, cantaloupe.. really any fresh, organic fruit you have on hand! This recipe can be altered to fit your child’s tastes.

  1. 3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/2 a watermelon)
  2. 1/2 cup blueberries
  3. 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  4. 1 kiwi peeled & sliced
  5. 1 peach or nectarine diced small
  6. handful cherries pitted & chopped

Directions:

  • Puree watermelon chunks in blender until smooth & set aside
  • Fill molds with the chopped fruit
  • Pour in watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top
  • Repeat freezing steps from above and serve after 6-8 hours

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Hope you enjoy these sweet and frozen treats! Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Emma x

Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT