Making Outdoors a Safe Place for Your Kids to Play

Outdoor Play Area

Too often in today’s society, kids spend the majority of their time indoors playing video games or watching TV. When a child has a safe, fun place to play outdoors, it is beneficial to them in many ways to get outside and burn some energy off. There are many benefits to making sure that your kids get outside to play at least once a day.

Studies have shown that playing outside:

  • Increases Creativity
  • Increases Energy levels
  • They do better in school
  • Gives them plenty of natural Vitamin D from the sun (watch out for burns)
  • Prevents childhood obesity
  • Reduces behavioral problems
  • Encourages an interest in sports when they are older
  • Keeps them from becoming lazy

There are other pluses to having the children playing outside every day, but even just the ones we listed above are reason enough. Children that play outside are happier and that happiness transfers to other parts of their lives.

In the summertime, grass grows long, bushes and trees get their leaves and that provides a lot of places for wildlife and insects of various kinds to hide. When your children are out in the yard, they don’t always know to watch out for these places and things can happen accidentally.

If you live in a more rural area, all kinds of wildlife can take up residence in long grasses, under bushes and even under outdoor furniture you have around your home. Ensuring that your yard is kept up reduces the risk of your child having unwanted encounters with snakes, scorpions, spiders, rats and other outdoor wildlife.

One way of keeping your yard safe is to use a string trimmer to keep the areas of your yard trimmed down so there is no place for animals to get in the long grass and hide. Mowing is a necessity as well, but most mowers can’t get to the hard to reach, out of the way places the way a string trimmer can. If you want to find the best weed eater, visit bestweedeaters.com, b/c this resource provide great guides and free advices.

Places to concentrate on when you are trimming your yard are:

  • Around porches and decks
  • Around fence posts
  • Around any stationary outdoor furniture
  • An outdoor swing set or play house
  • Around wood piles (even with the grass trimmed, children should not play around woodpiles as they are popular home choices for snakes)
  • Along the fence line
  • Around man made ponds and lakes
  • Underneath the bushes

Anywhere that you notice tall grasses or weeds that are getting long are good places to keep trimmed. Doing this not only improves the look of your yard, it ensures that there are fewer places for potentially harmful animals to hide. Wildlife love to find out of the way places to sun themselves and build homes and it’s easy for a child to innocently encounter them during regular play. By having the grasses around these areas cut down close to the ground, animals are going to find other less visible places to hide.

You can include your children in the process of getting the yard cleaned up and safe to play in. They can be great helpers in picking up any garbage that has blown into the yard, taking the trash cans to the road when it’s time, picking up sticks and rocks before mowing, and moving plants and items out of the way so you can mow or trim around them.

Picking Up a Garbage

It’s important to note here that children and outdoor power tools don’t make a good combination. Your kids should wait well out of the way of whoever is trimming and mowing your yard. String trimmers sound cool, look cool and may appear to be something to play with, but a child can get injured from getting too close to one that is running. They are wonderful tools for keeping the yard child friendly, but they are for adult use only.

Older teens are good candidates for learning to mow, and it can teach them responsibility, but the safety measures involved in any kind of yard work needs to be taught first and when they are first getting started they should never be without adult supervision. If your teens are 17 or older and are extremely responsible and careful, they can also learn to operate a string trimmer as well. They should wear goggles and gloves and proper footwear for doing yard work and an adult should be there with them at all times.

There are many string trimmers that are lightweight and that would be good for an older teen to learn on, but the ability of your child is something you will need to take into consideration. If there is any question as to them following directions, it is better and safer for all involved to have them remain out of the way while the yard work is being done. They can always rake and pick up trimmings after you’re done.

Playing outdoors used to be the common thing to do, especially on a warm summer night. Cookouts, playing hide and seek and other fun activities were ways that families spent time together and talked about their days. There are still tons of things families can do to spend time together outdoors. It can be a great way to unwind after a long week and it’ll help keep the whole family healthier too.

So the next time you go outside to get your yard in shape, remember that your kids can help in safe ways and you can use the time to teach them about wildlife safety, tool safety and enjoy time with them away from the distractions of video games and other electronics.

Natural Toothpaste for adults and children

There are many reasons to use natural toothpastes over traditional toothpastes. One benefit is that they contain no chemicals or harmful ingredients that could affect our health and well-being further down the line. Almost all traditional toothpastes you see in the supermarkets contain toxic or potential harmful chemicals, which can affect your health if you become over exposed to them.

Here are a few ingredients you in your everyday toothpaste which may not do as much good as you think:

  • Fluoride
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate
  • Artificial sweeteners

The claim is that fluoride can help prevent cavities and keep teeth cleaner and stronger, but they fail to mention it’s actually quite toxic for our bodies. Most water supply systems already contain small amounts of fluoride, when we combine that with using regular toothpastes, we may end up overexposing ourselves and our children.

Sodium laurel sulphate (SLS) is the compound used to make the foam in your mouth when brushing. If you’ve ever brushed your teeth and have felt an itching sensation after, that’s the SLS kicking in, it’s actually a skin irritant for many people. Certainly not good for children if you want to ensure they are always brushing their teeth on a regular basis.

As a rule of thumb anything that has the ingredient of “artificial sweeteners”, I tend to stay away from. Studies have shown that by taking in artificial sweeteners, laboratory rats ended up getting bladder cancer as a result. Who knows what type of effect it has on the human body, but I know this much, it’s nothing something I want my children to be ingesting.

There are many alternative natural toothpastes you can use for yourself and your children to help them brush there teeth, and today I’m going to give you 6 of the best!

Coconut oil

Coconut oil can be used as a natural toothpaste, it has antifungal and antibacterial properties which can help kill bacteria and ensure your mouth stays clean. You’d ideally want to use this with other products such as baking soda, which we will get onto next.

Baking soda

Baking Soda

Yeah that’s right, baking soda! You’d be surprised at how many people use baking soda as a natural toothpaste alternative. It’s simple to use, dip your toothpaste in water then into the baking soda, and wah-lah, you have your own natural toothpaste. (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/51-fantastic-uses-for-baking-soda.html)

Pro tip – to add a bit more flavour, you can add aloe vera, peppermint oil or some stevia to give your mouth a nice fresh smell after brushing.

Natural soap

As the expression goes “wash your mouth out with soap”, has never been so fitting when looking for natural toothpastes. There are a lot of all natural soaps on the market, just dip the soap in water, then grab your brush and rub up against the soap slab, and start washing.

Pro tip – If you’re going to use this method with your children, try and use a soap that tastes fairy nice. If you end up buying the wrong one you could put your children off brushing teeth for a very long time.

Pure water

Pure water is anything that has been mechanically filtered and is fit for consumption, this does not include the water that comes out your tap, unless you have a specialist water filtration system set up. Distilled and deionized tend to be the most common types of pure water, but using micro filtration, carbon filters and reserve osmosis can all make your water pure.

Keep in mind that you may want to add a little something to give your mouth a fresh minty taste, as you may be left with a case of vampire breath otherwise.

Sea salt

Dead Sea Salt

Sea salt has been used for many years as toothpaste, it’s as natural as you can get, and cheap. You simply dip your brush into the salt and then start brushing.

Pro tip – some sea salt can be quite rough, so consider dissolving some using warm water then applying your brush too it.

Tom’s fluoride-free children’s toothpaste

If you’re having a hard time thinking any of the above may work, Tom’s natural toothpastes is a great middle ground alternative to use for your children. Although they contain some of the ingredients I mentioned above that could be harmful to you and your children, all ingredients in Tom’s toothpastes are taken from natural sources, making them better than traditional brands. I have used http://keepwhite.com/ to find the best whitening toothpaste as they offer some great free advice, along with http://www.tomsofmaine.com/

Make your own toothpaste!

If you really want to know what goes into your toothpaste, why don’t you make your own, its quite easy, all you require is:

  • Coconut oil (1/2 cup)
  • 3 table spoons of regular baking soda
  • Cinnamon, citrus or peppermint oils (around 10-25 drops)
  • Stevia powder (around 2 packets)

Optional ingredients to ensure a fresh tasting mouth after brushing:

  • A few drops of myrhh extract
  • Grapefruit seed extract (around 8-12 drops)

With your base ingredients you, just melt the coconut oil then add the other ingredients together and keep mixing until its all infused. Once complete put the mixture into a jar or tray and allow it to cool, and It should end up as a hard substance. To use simply grab your brush and scrape small chucks off, then brush away.

From my personal experience, children love making their own toothpaste and they actually enjoy using it compared to other methods I’ve tried. I actually think they are trying to finish the toothpaste as fast as they can, so they can go and make some more! Making your own natural toothpaste with your children could be the answer to ensuring they always brush their teeth.

Using natural toothpastes is a much healthier option verses regular branded toothpastes on the market. If you have young children, you’d ideally want to minimize the amount of chemicals that go into their bodies, to reduce the chances of health problems later in life. We already know the effects of having too much chemicals in our bodies can lead to various problems later in life. Opting for a natural toothpaste for you and your children seems like the smart choice a parent should make.

6 natural sleep aids for children

If your child is having problems getting to sleep, it can be a number of different factors contributing to it. The usual reason behind a child’s lack of sleep tends to be their diet, closely followed by how much exercising they are getting. Other things such as electronic devices and how their day went can also affect their sleeping patterns.

Today I’m going to discuss six different natural sleeping aids for children that encourage or promote healthy sleep got young children and toddlers.

Talk to your child

Sometimes all you have to do is ask your child why they can’t get to sleep and they will tell you. It could be something as simple as being scared of the dark, and you could buy a night light to help to remedy the situation. Maybe their bed sheets make them itch, there scared of ghosts, or they still feel hungry. The first thing to do when trying to fix your child’s sleeping problems is to ask quite simply, ask them.

Diet

Eating a balanced keeps your child’s body in check, and allows everything to run smoothly. The type of food you give them before bed can play a huge factor in their night-time sleeping. For example giving them sugar based foods such as chocolate, cakes, or soda before bed will charge them up for hours with a big sugar rush and caffeine hit.

It’s recommended to give your child food 2-3 hours before they go to sleep, a meal that isn’t too high in sugars. Stick to foods such as pastas, wholemeal bread, meats, eggs and milk. If they feel like a snack, hand them a banana or an apple before bedtime, instead of crisps of chocolate, unless you want them to keep you up all night!

Hydration is very important too, make sure they drink enough water throughout the day.

Exercise

Unlike you or me, all kids are busting with energy that they need to expend each day. Activities such as walking, playing soccer or riding a bike, will help burn up their energy stores allowing the body to fall more naturally into sleep, as it knows it has to recuperate for the following day.

Pro tip – if you’re having trouble getting your child to play outdoors because they are always stuck watching the TV or playing on the games console, park your car a few streets away from the house and walk home. Alternatively park a few streets away when you drop them to school, and walk the rest of the way with them.

The problems with electronics

With tablet computers, smart phones and next-gen consoles, your children will become over stimulated from playing on these electronics all day, this will affect their ability to sleep. You should limit the amount of time they spend in front of the TV or their gadgets. A good way to combat this is not to allow your child to use any electronic devices two hours before they go to bed, the last thing we need is for them to become overly stimulated before bed.

Pro tip – Remove all laptops, TVs and any other electronic gaming devices from your child’s room if they are having troubles going to sleep.

Read to your children

Just by you being in the room, relaxes your child if they are scared about ghosts or vampires being in the room. Hearing your voice while they are tucked up in bed gives them an idea of safety reduces any anxiety or pressure they have of sleeping alone. It’s also critical to pick the right book, you don’t want a book that would scare the child or something that’s too exciting. Think Cat in the Hat, not The Exorcist!

If your child can read, maybe read the book together as reading is not too demanding that it will stir the child up brain. Reading has a lot of relaxing benefits that can help your kids mind and body to relax and fall quickly to sleep.

Giving your child melatonin

Studies have shown that melatonin can aid children in going to sleep. Melatonin is a natural occurring hormone in the body that is produced by the pineal gland to encourage sleep. Melatonin also can be found in many different types of carbohydrate based foods such as rice, sweet corn, bananas, tomatoes, oranges, walnuts and cheese.

Melatonin can be bought in tablet and casuals form, but please consult a doctor before use.

How do I know if my child is sleep deprived?

It’s very well having a handful of natural sleeping aids when you know your child is having problems sleeping. What are the symptoms?

You should take into account that your child won’t be able to articulate to you that they are sleep deprived or having problems going to sleep, because they don’t know any better. So it’s your job as parent or guardian to keep a watchful eye on them.

Here are some things to look out for:

  • Your child is hyperactive
  • They have trouble focusing on tasks or lose interest when playing
  • Bigger appetite than normal
  • Have problems waking up in the morning
  • They are cranky and have outrageous temper tantrums
  • Taking long naps throughout the day

These are just a few things as a parent you can look out for, if your child does some of the things on that list, it doesn’t necessarily mean there sleep deprived, but it’s a smart idea just to keep an eye on it, and ask them about how they are finding going to sleep.

There are a number of things you can do to help your child get to sleep. The human body grows and recovers when we sleep, so ensuring your child gets a decent nights sleep is important to their future growth. We as parents also know that, if our children are having problems getting to sleep, it means we are going to have problems too!

If you have tried everything method above and your young one is still having troubles with sleep, please consult your local GP.

7 the Best Natural Laxatives for Children

There are several ways to naturally encourage bowl movements in children without using any medicine that could cause them harm. Before you decide to use any laxatives, check your child’s diet to ensure they are eating enough fruit, vegetables, and are getting at least the recommended daily allowance of fiber, as it will aid in passing stools quicker. Foods such as white breads, sweets, chocolates, and anything processed should be minimized as these are generally the causes for blockages. When you have the chance, always opt for whole grain and bran options as these types of food are high in fiber.

Why should we avoid chemical laxatives for children?

During a child’s life, their body’s is continually developing each day but is not yet fully capable of taking particular chemicals or drugs. Chemical based laxatives can result in harmful injures to their organs as their bodies are not yet developed to handle such substances.

Their organs are not mature enough yet to break down these strong and possibly toxic chemicals, into neutral compounds that can pass through the body safety. Taking chemical laxatives at a young age can have a big impact on their immune system, and causing organ problems later on in life. Some chemical based laxatives even come with the warning that they may cause high blood pressure, impaired kidney function and even congestive heart failure.

When it comes to those we love, it’s always best to be safe and take the natural route. Take what nature has provided us with, rather than using chemical solutions that may cause future problems down the line.

7 natural laxatives for children

If you don’t know of any natural laxatives for children, I have listed my top 7 ways to get those bowels a moving!

1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Apples are a good natural laxative for children, they are rich in digestive fibers that can aid in the passing of stools. Eating apples also has other benefits such as replenishing a child’s glycogen levels in the morning, which is vital for them to have enough energy throughout the day.

Apple juice can be used as an alterative but it’s not as effective compared to actual apples. Apple juice usually tends to be processed and a lot of the goodness gets destroyed or removed before it reaches the shelves, so try and stick to apples rather than juice.

2. Prunes

Prunes are well known for there natural laxatives effects and are a great way to settle your child’s insides. Prunes also carry other health benefits such as being rich in potassium and vitamin A. Your child may have some issues with swallowing prunes due to their shape, so it can be a good idea to boil the prunes in hot water then mix it the pulp in a soup, drink, or cereal for better consumption as they can sometimes become a chocking hazard.

3. Nuts and Flax

Flaxseeds and nuts are another gift that Mother Nature has given us, they are both once again high in natural fibers which a key for the passing of good stools. Flaxseeds have a secret power in that if you drink water after ingesting them, they have the ability to absorb water and grow bigger. This allows them to take down anything it in way, as it moves through the body’s intestine.

Both are high in omega 3-6 and 9 fatty acids which are important for brain, joint and general wellbeing in our bodies. Go for walnuts and cashews when picking nuts as they have the biggest natural laxative effect from the nut family.

Children may not enjoy eating flaxseeds as they don’t taste too great, so consider sprinkling them on their food or even boiling it with water then mixing it in with their milk.

4. You say Tomato, I say Tomato

Tomatoes

The tomato is an almost a super food with what it provides children, as well as giving children high amounts of fibre to ensure there bowel movements run like clockwork, they also offer high amounts of vitamins A, C and K. On top of all that they also have antioxidant properties which help protect them against getting ill, and can reduce the likelihood of certain types of cancer from arising. I feel like eating a tomato now.

5. Coconut water

Almost everybody knows coconut water is one of the best natural ways to ensure regular bowel movement, as well as tasting great, it’s very healthy too. Other benefits of this powerful tonic include reducing the child’s chances of developing glaucoma in the future. Make sure to give your child only a glass of coconut water as drinking too much may keep them on the potty all day.

6. Going old school

Sometime even the simplest of methods can help aid in the passing of regular stools for your children, such as giving them a belly rub. Ever so gently with your fingertips, lightly press with varying amounts of force on the child’s belly in circular motions. Try not to push too hard as we don’t want them to feel pain, but give just enough pressure to allow the muscles to react. This should stimulate some movement in the body’s core and hopefully make them run to the potty in no time.

7. Exercise

Sometimes it can be hard to make a child eat something they really don’t want to eat, not matter what you try they just won’t eat! Doctors have said that exercise encourages the movement of bowels in kids as well as adults. The activities don’t have to be fast pace or intense. Studies show that even taking a short walk or stretching can potentially encourage bowel movements, this is due to the increase in heart rate that speeds up the whole body.

There are many types of natural laxatives you can use to aid in the passing of regular stools for your children, with the underlining factor being fiber intake. Be sure to provide your children with the moderate amount of fiber they need to be able to function properly in everyday life. Don’t over do it and give them too much fiber, as too much of anything can be a bad thing. Just because something is considered natural doesn’t always mean its safe, even too much water is a bad thing for the human body. The key is moderation, slowly add to your child’s diet step by step and you should start to see some sort of improvement.

What you need to know about eco friendly packaging

Eco friendly packaging is the term coined for any packaging material that improves sustainability, reduces the ecological footprint and environment impact of the earth. Since the start of the industrial revolution the environmental impact we humans have done to mother earth has become quite a problem.

The world is becoming more polluted as each day passes, we are depleting all natural resources and carelessly letting harmful gases into the atmosphere affecting every living species on the planet. Eco friendly packaging tries to address and correct some of the problems we face today.

Benefits of using eco friendly Vs traditional packaging

The safe disposal of eco friendly packaging is paramount with the current rate of human consumption, to keep throwing packaging on land fill sites is neither wise nor sustainable. Eco packaging allows us to throw packaging in compost heaps or allowing safe burial in the earth leaving no toxic waste behind. Traditional packaging can take up to a thousand or more years before breaking or degrading.

The materials used for eco packaging are ethically sourced and can easily be re-grown providing sustainability and giving continuous employment opportunities for humans all year round. To use this type of packaging helps us reserve the earth’s natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals. Currently it takes less work to create new traditional packaging than trying to recycle it, due to the amount of energy needed to turn it back into something useful.

Eco Friendly Packing Materials

Time to call in captain obvious for the next benefit it brings, but using eco friendly products also helps us protect the environment. Creating this type of packaging releases less co2 gasses which keeps the earth’s climate and atmosphere in check, and the need to use land as landfill sites will no longer be necessary. The cleaner we can keep the earth, the better chance mankind has to survive.

If you set traditional packaging on fire they usually give off many types of toxics gasses which are affecting the earth’s ozone layer and increase the amount of co2 in the atmosphere. Recent studies are now suggesting that food which comes in traditional packaging can lead to major health problems in the future.

What makes a package eco friendly for businesses?

Many variables are considered when deciding how eco friendly something is, and varies from company to company and from government to government.

As a general rule of thumb to be considered eco friendly by a business the packaging must be:

  • Functional
  • Cost effective
  • Support ecological health

If the eco friendly packaging is not functional then what’s the point? Take for example the packaging for a child’s toy, it first must be safe, this means no sharp edges or small bits the child could swallow. It must also protect the product otherwise the packaging becomes redundant. Eco friendly products cannot be to expensive either because companies won’t want to use it and consumers don’t want to fit the bill. The third and the most important factor is does this packaging support the earths ecological health?

5 Design factors when creating packaging that is eco friendly

  • Less is more – the fewer materials used to make the packaging relates to it being more eco friendly, weight to product ratio and lower volume sizes are desired factors when creating eco friendly packaging. As the old saying goes, less is more.
  • Can it be recycled? – its critical in the design of this type of packaging that it can be recycled and the materials can be used over and over again. If it doesn’t, it should preferably be biodegradable or at the very least not cause contamination to the earth at the end of its life cycle.
  • Free of toxic materials – an obvious one, any packaging should not cause any negative impact to any living thing on this planet, and should be created using safe materials.
  • How is it made? – If the packaging is made using a lot of energy that cannot be renewed such as oil or gasses, it defeats the purpose. The technology used must be considered also and decided if it’s ethical or not.
  • Worker safety – the safety of the workers who produce the eco friendly packaging needs to be measured too. If they are working in an unsafe or hazardous working environment, that type of working environment cannot be sustained for the long term product, and needs to be addressed.

Why does eco friendly packaging cost more?

You might be thinking why everybody doesn’t use eco friendly packaging already, it sounds wonderful. Well the main reason is cost, it costs more to produce eco friendly packaging than traditional packaging. Care and consideration has gone into producing eco free products and as a result, costs increase. It takes costs more money to recycle a product and put it back to use than to create a new one from scratch.

Traditional packaging is all about mass production and minimizing costs by any means necessary, less standards and produces are in place to ensure the most sustainable methods are used. It appears consumers today care more about saving money than the environment. Perhaps if they started to teach children at school the benefits of eco friendly products, the human consciousness for the future generations can make a change, and lead us into a more sustainable way to live our lives.

With the media bombarding us daily with stories about global warming and humans are quickly depleting all the earths resources at a faster than every before, its become quite clear that the current method of packaging isn’t going to work in the long run. Although the use of eco friendly packaging usually costs a little more money, it seems like the most sensible solution going forward if we wish to stay on earth for the years to come.