MomForce Network

Shoe Polish

Written by MomSource Team Member, Lauryn McDowell

Growing up, I remember loving the smell of shoe polish. A few times a month, while my family would be sitting around in the living room, my dad would bring out his old toolbox with the rusted-off lid that contained his favorite brown and black polishes, brushes, rags, and saddle soap. I remember watching as he took his favorite shoes- the Johnpumps-2364722_1920ston and Murphy ones with the perforated insides and the black laces- and would spend hours carefully brushing, wiping, polishing, and shining until they were in pristine condition.

On other occasions, he would even bring me along, and I would ride in the truck with him on the way to the shoe repair store. I remember walking in and seeing the old cobbler with the deep lines in his face, and the black   dust covering his hands and creeping from beneath his fingernails. I loved the whirring of the machines, and the lines of completed shoes inhabiting
the pick-up shelves. It always amazed me how perfect each pair looked  when completed, like they hadn’t ever had anything wrong with them to begin with.

The MomSource Network team sees our Network this exact same way. When preparing for a transition, looking to jump back into the workforce, or maybe even negotiate for a promotion, there are steps we need to take to ensure that our valuable shoes are perfectly polished and positioned for success walking ahead.

That’s why we created U-Source, a six-week virtual professional development program dedicated to ensuring that you have the skills and tools you need to dive right in to the next chapter of your professional journey. Over the course of the program, you will participate in sessions that will fine tune your resume, boost your LinkedIn profile, get interview ready, and so much more!

You will work one-on-one with professional mentors to help polish, shine, and refine skills to
ensure you are ready for these next steps.

Applications are live now!

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Pediatric Emergencies

 

Ambulance

 

by: Andrew Randazzo.

Andrew is the Director of Prime Medical Training and a Nationally Registered Paramedic. Aside from teaching, Andrew’s faith and church play a big role in his life, and he also enjoys backpacking, scuba diving, competing in triathlons, and international travel

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Pediatric Emergencies

 

  1. Seizure

Seizures among kids are not uncommon. Usually it’s brought on by a fever. However, contrary to popular belief, it’s not the fever that causes the seizure. It’s how quickly the temperature spikes that will induce a seizure. Likewise, if you submerge your child in cold water to cool them off, the rapid cooling can also send them into a seizure.

 

  1. Bleeding

Cuts and scrapes are very common during childhood. About 90% of bleeding incidents can be stopped by applying direct pressure for 5 minutes or less.

 

If the bleeding is more severe, you may need to use bandaging and dressing. However, you never want to remove what you’ve already put on either to put on fresh dressing or to check the bleeding because it can pull the clot that was forming and start the bleeding process again.

 

  1. Diabetes

If you suspect a child is in a diabetic emergency, you may wonder if it’s ok to give the child something sweet or not. The reality is, a normal blood sugar is between 60-100. It does not have to drop far before a child starts exhibiting diabetic signs. However, people in general have a much higher tolerance when our blood sugar is high.

 

Giving a child a candy bar or coke will not be harmful if their blood sugar is high, but it can be life saving if their blood sugar is low.

 

  1. Allergic Reaction

In the event of a severe allergic reaction, an EpiPen can be a life saving tool. They are becoming more common place and are often stocked in schools and childcare centers.

 

If a child begins to show swelling around the face and/or have difficulty breathing, that is a strong indication for the use of an EpiPen. Though EpiPens are prescribed, they can be used on anyone whether they have a prescription or not.

 

Minutes matter and the directions can be found clearly printed on the EpiPen.

 

  1. Asthma

Not everyone who has an Asthma attack will have an inhaler with them. Some simple tips to help make the breathing easier include: 1) put the child in a cooler environment, 2) have the child sit down, lean forward and place their hands on their knees; and 3) try to calm the patient down by having them breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth.

 

These steps alone can alleviate a majority of asthma attacks.

 

  1. Hyperthermia

It’s not uncommon for young people to play outside all day long and not be aware of how their body feels until it’s too late. Dehydration and heat exhaustion go hand-in-hand. When treating a child who is overheated, it’s important that the cooling process is slow and gradual.

 

Key steps include: 1) removing them from the heat, 2) removing their shirt and sponging their skin with a cold, wet rag; and 3) only allowing them to drink small sips of water at a time.

 

  1. Concussion

We all know this term, but few know what a concussion actually means. A concussion is when the brain is knocked around and hits the inside walls of the skull. This banging causes bruising of the brain which can then make the brain not function normally.

 

Caution should be used if a significant amount of force was involved in the injury or they experience a loss of consciousness, slurred speech, blurred vision or headache. If any of these are the case, the child should stop all activity immediately and be placed in a dark room for 24 hours. The child can sleep but cannot have a phone or any other screen that will strain the eyes.

 

After 24 hours, if the symptoms have cleared, the child can resume regular activities. If symptoms are still present but are getting better, then another 24hr in a dark room are needed. If symptoms are the same or have gotten worse, you need to see a doctor.

 

  1. Broken bone

Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between a broken bone or a sprain. In either case, elevation, wrapping and ice are a gold standard.

 

However, if it is an obvious broken bone, one of the best all-around splints is a pillow. Pillows offer cushioning for comfort, but also offer the rigidity necessary to immobilize the broken bone. Wrapping a pillow around the area and then securing it is a great approach and something commonly used in the emergency field.

 

  1. Poisoning

You would be surprised what is poisonous and what is not. If a child swallowed a foreign substance, the best approach is to call the Tennessee Poison Control first and then follow their recommendations. The number for Poison Control is (800) 222-1222.

 

If a child spilled a chemical on themselves, always remember to brush off any excess first before rinsing. This prevents the water from diluting and spreading the poison over a greater surface area.

 

  1. Burns

Children get burned all the time. Most burns are very painful but not life-threatening. The best you can do usually is treat the pain. So, try cooling it off with a wet rag or Aloe Vera with Lidocane. Do not place ice on the burn as it can make it worse.

 

If the burn is very severe and you notice black or white charing, the child might not complain of any pain because the nerve endings were burned. In this situation, the only thing you should put on the burn are dry, sterile dressing because the risk of infection is very high.

 

Severe burns and any burns to the feet, hands or face require immediate medical attention

What your Company should know about Work-Life Balance

By: Daria Heimer, human resources management professional and working mother advocate                         Balance

In comparison to the rest of the developed world, it is jolting how far behind the U.S. has fallen in terms of maternity leave and enabling working mothers to sustain a more flexible work/life balance, particularly after giving birth or adopting. With so much discourse pertaining to American women “having it all,”   it seems as if the government and the large majority of employers are floundering behind in terms of helping to support women remaining in the workplace after they have given birth or adopted a child, especially if they have multiple children. The issue is exacerbated particularly among women in low to middle income ranges or those that live in a region with a high standard of living where the cost of child care equates or exceeds income; that calculus is intensified during periods of economic turndown. In this respect, I consider the lack of flexibility pertaining to family friendly policies and achievable work/life balance to be a prevalent reason why women leave careers after having heavily investing the skills that would help them succeed.

This pandemic issue has contributed to nearly one in ten highly educated women dropping out of the workforce to care for their families (Young, 2015). According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, this growing trend may be less about making a choice to opt-out of having a career and more about being forced out due to the challenges associated with balancing work and family in the U.S. workforce. Research conducted by the Center for Work-Life Policy supports that among those surveyed that had left their careers, fully 69% would not have done so if their workplace had offered greater flexibility in work arrangements.  Furthermore, in two different European maternity leave studies conducted by slate.com (and published in the Economic Journal), it was found that infant death rates dropped considerably and was attributed to an extra 10 week maternity leave extension. Study researchers assessed that the beneficial length of time off for both mothers and their babies is approximately 40 weeks or roughly nine months off in contrast to the U.S.’s average of three (Young, 2015). In comparison to Europe, the U.S. is lagging in three crucial areas which are further perpetuating the trend of women exiting the workforce after starting families:

 

  1. The 12 weeks provided through the Federal Maternity Leave Act ( FMLA) is not sufficient: The act provides for 12 weeks of unpaid leave after having a baby, but only for women in organizations that 1) have at least 50 employees and 2) have worked at least 1250 hours in the year prior to taking leave. Approximately 3 months off may seem sufficient to many, however in reality the 12 weeks is not adequate for most. A significant majority of women do not have the financial security to go 12 weeks unpaid and are compelled to return even before the time off is up. It is particularly hard on women that have had a C-section or suffered complications, as well as those that are breastfeeding.

 

  1. It is impacting the economy: Women that struggle to achieve a work-life balance after having children are more likely to leave the workforce indefinitely. As recently as 1990, the United States had one of the top employment rates in the world for women, but it has now dropped significantly behind many European countries (Young, 2015). After climbing for six decades, the percentage of women in the American work force peaked in 1999, at 74 percent for women between 25 and 54 but has dropped since and is 69 percent today (Miller & Alderman, 2014). Numerous countries such as Switzerland, Australia, Germany Canada, Japan and France have surpassed the U.S. out of the top ranking position for women’s participation in the work force during their prime child-bearing years. Additionally, Business Week has recently published a shocking statistic, (courtesy of the United Nations’ International Labor Organization) “there are only two countries in the world that don’t have some form of legally protected, partially paid time off for working women who’ve just had a baby: Papua New Guinea and the U.S.” (Young, 2015).

 

  1. It is hindering the ability to retain a competitive labor force and the ability to compete in a global marketplace: Below are some surprising facts from other countries that further illustrate the U.S.’s stagnation (Young, 2015):
  • In the U.K. women receive 52 weeks of maternity leave after the birth or adoption of a child, 39 of which are paid. Protection of part-time workers and other policies aimed at keeping women employed
  • In France, women are paid at their full salary for 16 weeks, and are eligible to receive both more time and money from the government for Baby Number Two and beyond.
  • In Spain, new moms are paid at their full salary 16 weeks after giving birth. The only exception being that they need to be Spanish citizens who have contributed to social security for at least 180 days in the seven years prior to having a baby.
  • Italy provides women with 20 weeks of paid leave at 80 percent of their salary. And, as an Italian citizen, both mom and dad are able to take up to six months of the year off of work for the first 8 years of a child’s life while still receiving 30 percent of their daily salary.
  • Canada offers women the option of taking off a full year off of work after the birth of a child with guaranteed work security. Women receive about 55 percent of their salaries for 15 to 17 weeks depending on where they live.
  • In Russia, new moms receive 20 weeks of paid leave at 100 percent of their salary and receive half before the baby comes and half post-baby. Additionally they have a choice to extend leave to up to 18 months after the birth, at 40 percent of their salary.
  • Sweden offers 16 months of paid maternity leave with each child, and the entire first year of leave is at 80 percent of regular salary. An added bonus of having the option to space out parental leave throughout the years until a child turns 8 is offered.

The employment decline in the United States is striking, especially in consideration of having long preferred flexible labor markets in lieu of extensive benefits, like those in Europe in the name of job growth (Miller & Alderman, 2014). Europe’s extensive offering of regulations and benefits, including family leave policies, still exact a price on the Continent’s economies. Comparatively, it is apparent the U.S. approach has its costs, too: The free market leaves many families, particularly many women, struggling to find a solution that combines work and home life.

How might companies assist women who would like to return to the workforce?

While economic downturn and recessions experienced in recent years resulting in job elimination is partially to blame, a lack of family-friendly policies and lack of work/life balance options plays a substantial role; therefore an organization committed to providing greater flexibility and options for women that need a greater work/life balance will directly enable the retention of talented employees thus enhancing the ability to compete. It is difficult to derive a comprehensive solution that would apply to all employers, however a greater push for legislation to be enacted that addresses the difficulties that young working mothers are facing and offering greater protection and options would be a good first step, as noted by Young. Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D., NY), for instance introduced a bill called The Family Act to congress in 2013. The bill would ensure that employers, regardless of their size, offer three months of paid leave to new parents at 66 percent of their salaries. The bill has been stalled in Congress for over a year now. Gillibrand, pointing out that 80 percent of Congress is older and male, reportedly told Business Week that, “the issue isn’t being raised because too many of the members of Congress were never affected by it. They’re not primary caregivers. Most members of Congress are affluent and are able to afford help or able to support their [wives]. It’s not a problem for most of them.” (Young, 2015).

In a November 2014 study conducted by the New York Times/CBS/ Kaiser Family Foundation Poll, among nonworking adults aged 25 to 54 in the United States, 61 %of women said family responsibilities were a reason they weren’t working, compared with 37 percent of men. Of women who identify as homemakers and have not looked for a job in the last year, nearly three-quarters said they would consider going back if a job offered flexible hours or allowed them to work from home (Miller & Alderman, 2014). For many women with children, it seems, the choice regarding leaving the workforce includes weighing a complexity benefits and drawbacks. The challenge is insurmountable in part because there is a deficiency of programs and policies in the United States to support women in their prime career and childbearing years. Contrastly, in Europe policies have continued to develop and evolve in recent years offering greater flexibility and options such as subsidized child care, generous parental leaves and taxation of individuals instead of families, which encourages women’s employment. Nearly a third of the relative decline in women’s labor-force participation in the United States, compared with European countries, can be explained by Europe’s expansion of policies like paid parental leave, part-time work and child care and the lack of those policies in the United States (Miller & Alderman). Furthermore, “a stay at home parenting stint needn’t toss a job applicant out of the running” ( Willkie, 2015). Women seeking to reassimilate into the workforce that have taken a couple of years off may encounter hiring bias; therefore it is critical that employers are vigilant in terms of ensuring that recruitment efforts are impartial. Employers should not assume that a candidate didn’t keep abreast of a field while remaining at home ( Wilkie, 2015). According to Ken Matos, senior director of research for the Families and Work Institute, said that if an applicant has been “reading the right reports and journal articles, they may be more caught up than someone who’s so consumed with the day-to-day grind that they don’t have a broad perspective” on industry trends. Further, a candidate that has been seeking higher education in effort to enhance skills and to remain unto date in their respective field is worth looking into.  It would be to a forward-thinking organization’s benefit to consider evolving leave and family policies through implementing some of the aforementioned suggestions to better assist women that are aspiring to return to the workforce but are lacking the option and flexibility needed to do so.

Young, H. (2015 January 20). How America is Failing Working Moms. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-young/how-america-is-failing-mo_b_6496462.html

Wilkie, D. ( 2015 January 12). The ‘Mommy Dead End.’ Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/staffingmanagement/articles/pages/stay-at-home-moms-hiring.aspx

Miller, C., & Alderman, L. ( 2014 December 12).  Why U.S. Women Are Leaving Jobs. (The New York Times).  Retrieved from http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/upshot/us-employment-women-not-working.html?referrer=&_r=2

 

Career On -Ramps, Off- Ramps, Forced Mommy Dead Ends and Why America needs MomForce

By: Daria Heimer, human resources management professional and working mother advocate

Career On -Ramps, Off- Ramps, Forced Mommy Dead Ends and Why America needs MomForce!

American Flag

In comparison to the rest of the developed world, it is jolting how far behind the U.S. has fallen in terms of maternity leave and enabling working mothers to sustain a more flexible work/life balance even among progressive and forward thinking employers. For many women with children, it seems, the choice regarding leaving the workforce includes weighing a complexity benefits and drawbacks. The challenge is insurmountable
in part because there is a deficiency of programs and policies in the United States to support women in their prime career and childbearing years. With so much discourse pertaining to American women “having it all,” it seems as if the government and the large majority of employers are floundering behind in terms of helping to support women remaining in the workplace after they have given birth or adopted a child:

  • The 12 weeks provided through the Federal Maternity Leave Act ( FMLA) is not sufficient
  • Contrastly, in Europe policies have continued to develop and evolve in recent years offering greater flexibility and options such as subsidized child care, generous parental leaves and taxation of individuals instead of families, which encourages women’s employment
  • As recently as 1990, the United States had one of the top employment rates in the world for women, but it has now dropped significantly behind many European countries
  • Numerous countries such as Switzerland, Australia, Germany Canada, Japan and France have surpassed the U.S. out of the top ranking position for women’s participation in the work force during their prime child-bearing years.
  • Here is a shocking fact (courtesy of the United Nations’ International Labor Organization) there are only two countries in the world that don’t have some form of legally protected, partially paid time off for working women who’ve just had a baby: Papua New Guinea and the U.S.
  • In the U.K. women receive 52 weeks of maternity leave after the birth or adoption of a child, 39 of which are paid. Protection of part-time workers and other policies aimed at keeping women employed
  • In France, women are paid at their full salary for 16 weeks, and are eligible to receive both more time and money from the government for Baby Number Two and beyond.
  • In Spain, new moms are paid at their full salary 16 weeks after giving birth. The only exception being that they need to be Spanish citizens who have contributed to social security for at least 180 days in the seven years prior to having a baby.
  • Denmark has one of the best maternity/paternity leaves in the world: Pregnant women can take leave for four weeks before the birth, and they are obliged to be on leave for the first two weeks after the birth. After the birth, the mother is entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave. The father is entitled to 2 weeks of paternity leave within the first 14 weeks after the birth of the child. Altogether parents are entitled to 52 weeks paid maternity leave.
  • Italy provides women with 20 weeks of paid leave at 80 percent of their salary. And, as an Italian citizen, both mom and dad are able to take up to six months of the year off of work for the first 8 years of a child’s life while still receiving 30 percent of their daily salary.
  • Canada offers women the option of taking off a full year off of work after the birth of a child with guaranteed work security. Women receive about 55 percent of their salaries for 15 to 17 weeks depending on where they live.
  • In Russia, new moms receive 20 weeks of paid leave at 100 percent of their salary and receive half before the baby comes and half post-baby. Additionally they have a choice to extend leave to up to 18 months after the birth, at 40 percent of their salary.
  • Sweden offers 16 months of paid maternity leave with each child, and the entire first year of leave is at 80 percent of regular salary. An added bonus of having the option to space out parental leave throughout the years until a child turns 8 is offered.
  • Nearly a third of the relative decline in women’s labor-force participation in the United States, compared with European countries, can be explained by Europe’s expansion of policies like paid parental leave, part-time work and child care and the lack of those policies in the United States

Other countries are miles above us when it comes to understanding the importance of being a mother and a working woman. Most competitive employers have a myriad of policies and procedures that effectuate the dedication to inclusiveness and workplace diversity- why not consider offering families the ability to have a balanced work/life? Is it too much to hope that organizations will trend towards the push to diversify policies pertaining to flexible work arrangements and offer greater protection for pregnant and working mothers as they address the changing demographics and needs of an increasingly multigenerational workforce?   Some companies do a great job of ensuring women have the time needed to bond with their child, however as a country we desperately need to educate companies that working mothers are an asset to the workforce. There is still a stigma on women who take time off to care for their children – the US  excels at and can take pride and so many other things that make our country forward thinking, innovative and marvelous, why not this? By companies integrating balanced work/life opportunities into the retention agenda, it will enhance the ability to remain competitive, show up on the bottom line and help to create and sustain a positive working environment that is committed to supporting employees holistically.

References:

Young, H. (2015 January 20). How America is Failing Working Moms. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-young/how-america-is-failing-mo_b_6496462.html

Miller, C., & Alderman, L. (2014 December 12). Why U.S. Women Are Leaving Jobs. (The New York Times). Retrieved from http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/upshot/us-employment-women-not-working.html?referrer=&_r=2

10 Ways to Start Finding Happiness From Within

Ten Ways To Start Finding Happiness From Within

By Nita Pettibone, CHC

 

True happiness doesn’t come from other people or from things, it comes from within.  We get so busy in our lives taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves.  Soon our moods and health spiral out of control and finding happiness in even the simplest of things become a challenge.

 Happy

Here are ten ways to start finding your own happiness:

 

  1. Watch your words: When people speak to us in a negative manner we have a choice of allowing those words to bother us or not, however when we speak to ourselves negatively, we give up that choice. Instead of being your own worst critic, start finding things you like about yourself and then do that often.
  2. Create a positive relationship with food: What we eat can make us feel amazing or horrible. Are you eating because you need nourishment, or are you eating because something else is lacking?  Start thinking about what you are putting on your plate and why, then know that it is within your ability to change it.
  3. Remember each day that you are wonderful: Let each day start with the knowledge that you are in control of how you feel and that nothing or no one can change that. Don’t let the moods of others become yours.
  4. Avoid complaining: Nothing changes while you are complaining about it. When there is something you don’t like, start looking for solutions. If it is something you can’t change than start looking for ways that you can better manage it.
  5. Show gratitude: It seems so simple, but remember to thank people for the positive things they have done for you, and let each day end with being thankful for what you have, who you are, and what you are capable of.  A mind shift of gratitude is one of the quickest ways to find happiness.
  6. Sleep: As parents, our sleep can be the first thing to go and the hardest thing to get back. Try to add even just a little bit of sleep to each night and watch your moods begin to shift in a positive way.
  7. Ask for help: This one is so hard for people especially those who need everything done a certain way (and you know who you are.) Yes, the kids may leave spots when wiping something down, a friend may put the dishes in the wrong spot, the spouse may mix whites with colors, and don’t get me started on the toilet paper roll turned the wrong way, but ASK for help anyway! The biggest gift you can give to yourself is realizing that you don’t have to do it all alone.
  8. Breathe: Stop during the day and consciously breathe. Big deep breaths, slow down for a moment, take a break, and just breath in the positive thoughts then exhale the negativity.  Or in mom terms: “Take a time out.”
  9. Exercise: You don’t have to run a marathon or do 500 push-ups to exercise. Sometimes that just means dancing while you’re putting the laundry away, bouncing on a rebounder for five minutes or taking the dog for a walk.  But try to do something within your capabilities every day. Moving not only helps the waist line but it also helps enable a happy mood.
  10. Give: When all else fails and you’re just having one of those days, give your smile to someone else. Volunteer, donate, send kind words, call a friend in need or just give away a smile. Nothing can cheer us up better than cheering up someone else.

 

Find more thoughts, tips and challenges in this book  “Fall in Happy with YOU, 101 thoughts to create happiness from Within”  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00POM2D4K

Nita Pettibone is the owner of Falling in Happy, LLC and can be found on www.fallinginhappy.net or www.facebook.com/fallinginhappy

10 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Treasure your Wedding Gown

10 Out-of- the-Box Ways to Treasure Your Wedding Gown

Wedding gowns mark one of our most celebrated moments – the beginning of a new life together. Here are ten ways to continue the celebration long after the “I do.” Rather than tucking your dress away in a sealed box, consider one of these options:

  1. Christmas Ornaments and Décor

Holidays are a time for families to come together and celebrate who they are.  Why not create heirloom ornaments or stockings from the dress that started it all? These custom pieces are a great way to share your wedding gown with all of your loved ones.

Wedding Gown Ornament

  1. Christening Gowns

Celebrate the arrival of your newest family members with a christening gown and baby bonnet fashioned from your wedding dress. Later, the bonnet can pinned inside your daughter or granddaughter’s dress as her “something old.”

  1. Jewelry

So in love with your dress that you wish you could wear it every day? You can if you turn it into jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings – the options are only limited by your imagination.

  1. Photo Frames

Picture this: Your favorite wedding photo framed by the fabric and trim from your wedding dress. Talk about tangible memories.

  1. Keepsake Boxes

Instead of keeping your dress in a box, your gown is the box. Cover a small cedar chest with fabric and trim from your gown and store your treasures within a treasure.

  1. Table Runners

Now that you’ve already run down the aisle, take the skirt and make it into a table runner! Perfect for family gatherings throughout the year.

  1. Throw Pillows

Decorate your love nest with pillows crafted from your gown. A great accent for your bed or chaise lounge, and easily monogrammed.

  1. Flowers Arrangements

The adage tells us to “Say it with flowers.” Declare your commitment to your love with flowers that won’t ever fade, made from the dress you wore when you made your vows.

  1. Journal Covers

Are you two big on love letters? Write new love letters or record the story of your romance in a journal covered in fabric from your wedding gown.

10. Custom Apparel

Would you wear it all over again? Give your gown a make-over as a new dress, blouse, skirt, formal jacket or even a negligee.

Laura Jones is the owner and designer at My Beloved ~ Redemptive Bridal Couture. For pricing on custom work or to connect with Laura, email laura@mybelovedbridal.com or follow her at https://www.facebook.com/mybelovedbridal

10 Ways to Exercise WITH your KIDS

by Certified Health Coach, Gary Harper

Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are important for both adults and children but sometimes it seems that we have more priorities that we have time.  Here are 10 great ways to get in some exercise and family bonding at the same time!

10.       Turn on the tunes.

Turn up the music and have a dance party. Start out with a time that is comfortable then add a minute or two each week.

9.         Nature

Go on a outdoor adventure. A bug hunt, mushroom hunt, tree hunt or other exploratory mission will be fun and work up a sweat.

8.         Old School Exercise

Get on the floor stretch and do jumping jacks, modified push ups, sit ups, etc!

  1. Walk

            Take a nice walk around the neighborhood.  Invite your neighbors.  Race the kids back to the house.

  1. Mall Walk

            Rainy day? Take to the local mall and count your laps.  Park in the bottom of the garage and take all the stairs.  You can do it!

  1. Role Model

            Be active and embrace an active lifestyle be a leader for your children.  Schedule time for adult exercise and make sure your kids know what and why you are doing it.

  1. Organized sports or activities

Enroll your children in a seasonal activity.  Organize family or neighborhood kickball, touch football or mini-golf contests.

  1. Hop the stairs

            Park in the last parking space, take the stairs and try to hop instead of walk.

  1. Play Ball

            Get out as many balls as you have, set a timer and play!

  1. KEEP IT FUN..SO THEY WANT MORE!!  Anything can be exercise if you are moving!

Exercise

 

 For other ideas, reach out to Gary Harper at  powerinweightloss.tsfl.com or 865.591.8140

 

10 Things Every Mom Should Know to Reduce the Risk of Kids’ Sports Injuries

Written by Jamie Ligon, PT, DPT

Sports Injury

Over training and sports injuries are commonplace problems in young developing athletes. Some of the trouble is attributed to a “no pain, no gain” and a “don’t stop, never quit” go-go-go mentality. Other contributing factors relate to a lack of body awareness as children and teens change at a rapid rate. Getting young athletes to listen to their bodies is crucial to help them understand the difference between “a good hurt” (expected soreness that comes from challenging muscles to get stronger) and a “bad pain” (discomfort that persists beyond normal with regards to intensity, frequency, or duration of symptoms).

Main Goal #1 for every parent is keeping your child’s best interest and long-term health a priority. Here are a few ideas to help your kids safely participate in their sports.

1)      Perform a pre-screen: In addition to getting a regular sports physical with your pediatrician, have your child go through a functional screening test to assess potential problem areas that can contribute to a higher injury risk. This test should be performed by an expert that specializes in biomechanics and exercise prescription (physical therapist, chiropractor, etc), and should emphasize elements of flexibility, strength, and stability (such as a functional squat or single leg balance activity). The best time for pre-performance screening is 4-6 weeks before the season in order to allow time for your child to work on home exercises to address any limitations.

2)      Avoid specialization without variation:  Performing the same sport all year round may sound like a good way to get ahead in the game, but the opposite is true. Alternating activities through seasons and cycles can reduce the risk of repeated use injuries and mental burnout. Ideally, athletes should sign up for one team and one sport per season, with participation limited to 5 days a week.1

3)      Warming up & cooling down: Before working out, it is important for student-athletes to “unwind” the tight muscles that have been in a shortened position while sitting in school all day. Also, researchhas found that a dynamic warm-up will better prepare an athlete for activity than static stretching. 2 Performing sport-specific agilities should be a part of a warm-up routine to prep the athlete for activity. Save the static stretching for the cool-down phase to help reduce excessive soreness following practice.

4)      Perfect practice makes perfect. Paying attention to technique is vital for injury prevention. Once you lose form, it’s easier to get injured. Many athletes learn best through a “see it, practice it, review it, repeat it” sequence. There are neat tools such as the “SlowPro”3 app, which allow a coach to video an activity and then replay it in slow motion to assess any breakdown in technique.

5)       “Stabilize before you mobilize”:All dynamic movements should be initiated through the “core” which includes the front and back side of the torso. A weak or unsteady trunk will eventually lead to injuries of the spine or limbs! However, many “core” exercises are performed lying down which is not the position in which most people play sports. Encourage your kids to practice standing balance activities to mimic functional movement (example: stand on one leg and stabilize the trunk as you reach or kick with an arm or leg… it requires coordination to bend/reach/lift/kick with proper core control.)

6)      Ask for attention:  Encourage your kids to speak up if they feel “off” or sustain an injury. Sometimes a momentary modification is required to ultimately boost performance. If your child feels unable to keep up or perform quality technique, a discussion with the coach or trainer should take place. Most kids aim to please, but a constant pressure to perform or a fear of disappointing others (parents, coaches, teammates, etc) will only become problematic and increase risk of lingering injuries in the long run.

7)      Visualization to “see” good things. Research has shown that mental practice of a skill can enhance brain-motor control. 4 This can be performed preceding a performance or during down time after practice. Sport psychologists even recommend visualizing the environment the athlete anticipates competing in –from the cheers of the crowd, to the smell of the grass, to the breeze against the face.5 Encourage your kids to see themselves succeed!

8)      Supportive equipment: Make sure your child’s gear fits appropriately. This includes having supportive footwear! Sometimes you can offload an injury with proper bracing or taping. Overall, if equipment is rubbing or sliding out of place, then other problems may occur such as blistering or bruising.

9)      Heat or Ice?:  A general rule of thumb is to use heat for stiff/achy muscles and ice for painful/ inflamed areas. Sometimes a contrast of the two works well to first increase circulation and then to control for swelling. (Try soaking in a warm Epson salt bath for 10 minutes and then place an ice pack on any area of concern for another 10 minutes.)

10)   Remember to refuel & replenish: Quality nutrition before and after exercise is essential for optimal results. Help kids eat to compete by providing fresh foods that are good source of lean protein, and high in fiber, vitamins, & minerals. Prevent dehydration by drinking water early and often. If they become thirsty, they may already be dehydrated. Other signs include possible headache, lethargy, infrequent urination, or dizziness. Sports drinks are helpful to replace electrolytes for athletes engaging in prolonged moderate to high intensity exercise. If your child’s urine is light-to-clear they are likely well-hydrated. Dark-colored or bloody urine may be a sign of severe muscle breakdown and requires a visit to your medical doctor immediately.

 

If you have any questions about your young athlete or are afraid they are not getting the support they need to perform their sport safely and optimally, feel free to contact our Apple Health and Wellness at 865-524-1234 and ask to schedule an appointment with Jamie. Jamie is a former Lady Vol who specializes in working with young athletes and children. She would love to help you get your child on the road to health!

10 Things Every Mom Should Know to Plan a GREAT Family Vacation

by Muffett Grubb

  1. Book early. Most vacation destinations fill up early, especially during peak family vacation times like summer, spring break and the holidays. Make hotel, car rental and activity reservations as soon as you know what your vacation schedule is.
  2. Plan, plan, plan.  Know what sights and activities are available and any advance reservation requirements.  And…plan some downtime for the family to rest and relax together, such as a dinner out or a walk on the beach.
  3. Involve the family.  Involve the entire family in the planning so that everyone has the chance for an activity they enjoy and something each person will really look forward to.
  4. Time to rest.  Plan times that you can rest and relax, especially if you have younger children.  This is especially important in destinations where you have hot, humid weather or a lot of crowds.
  5. Transportation.  Consider methods of transportation you will be using and travel time.  Remember that trains, rental cars and planes all have different types of seating and you may need to bring your own car seat.  And, how long will it take you to travel?  Consider meal times, nap times and activities for during travel.                                                                                  Vacation
  6. Be prepared.  Remember to pack appropriate clothing for all types of weather (what if it rains all week?), as well as a small first aid kit. Check out the average temperatures for your dates and destination(s).
  7. Special considerations for your family needs.  If your children have food allergies or have any special needs, make sure you check options in advance with the hotel, etc.
  8. Consider travel/trip insurance.  Last minute cancellations or illness/injury during a trip can turn a family vacation into a disaster.  Consult with a travel professional for the insurance coverage you need during travel and know what coverage you have personally…many health insurance policies don’t provide coverage if you are out of the country or on a cruise.
  9. Expected the unexpected.  Travel delays, weather and “incidents” can create stress.  Be flexible should something happen and consider it a new adventure.
  10. Consult a travel professional.  If you are unsure about where to go, what to do and what best fits your family’s needs, consult with a travel professional, who can save you time, money and stress.

Muffett Grubb is a travel professional specializing in cruise and international travel planning.  For more information or help planning your next family vacation, contact Muffett at www.cruisesbymuffett.com.

 

Rocking the Boat

by Andrea Dake

Like most moms, I find myself constantly second guessing the parenting decisions I make. As a mom to a 4 year old, questions like “How much sugar has he had today….no, he really shouldn’t have ice cream tonight then”, and “Ishould have made him watch something educational during ‘settle time’ instead of “How to Train Your Dragon”. Or, the ever popular “His feet stink. Can I get away with just washing his feet or do I need to give him a whole bath? I’m pretty tired.” And there are always the more important decisions to make like “should we send him to public school or private school?”, “should we start allergy shots now or wait until he can understand why he has to get an injection every week”.

It is proven that women are better at multi-tasking than men and to that extent, I think we mentally pull information from multiple sources when making decisions. Naturally, all of these contradicting “facts” make us second guess ourselves and we get stuck in a circle of uncertainty.

I recently had the unfortunate experience of not liking my son’s daycare teacher, and I couldn’t pin-point why. There was no real concerning behavior. In fact, she was almost too accommodating. Then, another classroom mom approached me saying that she hoped my son was ok since the teacher told her that she had to use my son’s Epi-Pen on him. I was shocked, but mostly confused. I didn’t understand why his teacher would lie about something so easily disproven, much less share that type of private information with another parent. The other mom was also shocked and said she would come to me if the teacher told her anything else about my son.

I had no idea what to do. Do I say something to the daycare Program Administrator? Hearing it second hand made me wonder if his teacher had really said it, or was it just gossip? Would I be getting this teacher in trouble unjustly if it ended up being gossip? I had reservations about his teacher but that didn’t mean she was a terrible person.  I asked my husband what he thought I should do and as opinionated about certain subjects as he can be, he was completely supportive of whatever conclusion I came to. Great. No help.

After much thought and getting advice from family, I decided to just pay closer attention when my son was telling me about his day, read his “Daily Report” thoroughly and to make sure that I touch base with his teacher if I saw her when I dropped him off, which was rare.  His class would be switching teachers in another month anyway, so surely I could endure this teacher for 4 more weeks. Surely. Right?

The teacher switch went off without a hitch and I loved his new teacher.

Fast forward to June 2014 when on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I was reading the local news online, only to see a mug shot of my son’s former teacher.  The news article stated that she had been arrested at the daycare center she currently worked at for abusing a 9 month old baby, who was now in Children’s Hospital in critical condition. I just about spit out my coffee. Colorful language, that I’m not particularly proud of, followed.

My stomach turned and I immediately plunged into feelings of deep guilt. My internal dialogue was on a loop sounding something like this: I should have said something. I should have voiced my concerns then when I suspected something wasn’t right. If I had, would she have gotten fired? Would her being fired from one day care have prevented her from getting hired at another one? Would it have prevented what happened to this precious baby? Did I do my son a disservice? I’m supposed to be his advocate – what if something had happened to him?

And on and on it went. I barely slept that night. The guilt consumed me.

I’ve since spoken to my husband about it and he has helped tremendously to put things into perspective. We all do the best that we can as parents and make the best decisions we can with the tools and information we have. There’s no “right or wrong” or “black and white”. He is absolutely right. But the one thing I have learned from this is to trust my gut-instincts as a mother. Speak up. I didn’t because I was afraid to rock the boat. Rock the boat. I will never allow those gut feelings to just gnaw away at me again – I will always trust my instincts and if they’re wrong, that’s ok. I did the best I could with the tools and information I had.

Rock the Boat Too often as parents, we fall into the “group mentality” of going along with whatever the majority decides, whether it is actually how we feel or not, for fear of disrupting the general consensus. But, we are our children’s advocate and no one knows them better than us. As a parent, I will always ‘rock the boat’ for the sake of my son because I never again want to see the consequences of my choice not to.