Tag Archives: parenting

Is Acetaminophen Safe to Give to Your Children?

I came across an article on Care2 about a possible link between acetaminophen use and asthma in children.  Considering how commonly used acetaminophen is, and how medications such as aspirin are no longer considered safe for children, do parents have something to worry about there?

It’s hard to say. As the article notes, the evidence isn’t perfectly clear yet.

I consider this a good reminder to think before giving your any over the counter medication. Sometimes it’s too easy to grab for the acetaminophen when your child has an ache, rather than try other, simpler remedies. For some, this leads to overuse. The harm in this case is unclear as of yet, but it’s something to think about.

That said, there’s also a place for medication. It’s a good idea to talk to your child’s pediatrician about when it’s appropriate to use any medication. I don’t mean you have to call in before every use, but talking about what to give when in general can be helpful information.

With my own kids, I prefer to remember that low fevers are usually safe to allow to run their course, and encouraging a sick child to rest is a good thing.

It pays to consider your options with common situations such as teething. It’s especially hard to avoid using medications at night when other remedies aren’t working. Two of my kids did great on teething tablets, while my youngest wasn’t helped at all by them, for example. Neither acetaminophen nor ibuprofen did much for her either, though. If you read up on your options or talk to your pediatrician, you may come up with ways to cope that don’t involve acetaminophen if you’d prefer to avoid it.

One of the problems with figuring this link out, apparently, is that it’s hard to tell if it’s how often a child gets a viral infection that results in the use of acetaminophen, rather than the use of the medication itself.  It’s often difficult to separate correlation and causation, and that’s the challenge here. That said, a study that randomized whether a child got acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fevers seems to indicate a relationship between acetaminophen and asthma.

If you’ve been using acetaminophen for your child, it may be a good idea to discuss alternatives with your child’s pediatrician. It’s not like it’s the only option out there for treating a fever. Sometimes even a tepid bath is enough to help, although you really shouldn’t do a full on cold bath. Letting the fever be and just resting can also be an option, so long as it’s not too high. Know what the safe range is for your child’s age, versus fevers that need to be treated or that require medical attention.

What Should You Teach Your Children About Climate Change?

As a mother concerned about how the climate of our planet is changing, sometimes it’s hard to decide just what to tell my kids about it. There’s a lot to explain, and it changes as kids grow older. I don’t want to scare them, but I don’t want them casually wasting things either.

What do you tell children about climate change?

Younger Children

When children are really young, I don’t think explaining climate change as such is effective. What is effective is to teach them to not waste food or other items. They can start to learn about recycling.

Young children are usually great about repurposing things you might otherwise throw into the trash. So many things can be parts of various art projects. Sometimes it’s hard to balance keeping things for future projects with keeping clutter out of your home. Once kids get the idea, they’ll often try to keep just about everything you’ll let them.

Kids in Elementary School

Elementary school is a good time to start getting a bit more into the details of why you want your children to recycle and not waste. You can discuss what littering and pollution in general do to the environment, and how your lifestyle can help.

Be aware of what’s being taught at this stage at your child’s school. It may or may not agree with what you want your children to learn about climate change.

I find it important for my children to understand that humans are most likely a factor in global climate change. I don’t mind explaining that some people disagree, because that’s something they’re going to hear at some point. Better they get used to hearing about why we believe as we do than to be confronted with a different perspective they don’t know how to handle.

You should also see what your local schools are doing to reduce waste at their locations. Do they have recycling bins? Do they have a gardening program for the kids? Are they offering information to parents online or by email rather than printing every notice out?

Middle School on Up

The older kids get, the more you can teach them about climate change, individual action and volunteering to make more of a difference.

This is a good time to really get into why you make the shopping choices you do. If your kids are really interested you may have covered this topic at a younger age, but as they get older start talking to them about why you shop where you do. Tell them what’s good about going to thrift stores, especially when they start resisting. Come up with a plan to balance their needs for a particular look with environmental considerations.

Kids in this age group are eligible for many kinds of volunteer opportunities. They don’t have to go for environmental causes in particular; it’s just good to get them used to the idea that helping others is something they should do.

If you raise your children to consider the environment, it will come more naturally to them. They may rebel against it at times, but if you pay attention to their concerns and needs you can find the balance that will help them appreciate all they can contribute to making the world a better place.

My Daughter’s Save the Earth Poster

This poster was my daughter’s idea, from start to finish. She gets in these creative moods and gets going. And she loves using materials she finds around the house sometimes, not just fresh paper.

save the earth

For those who can’t read it, it reads “Save the Earth. Save water.”

She’s pretty much obsessed with saving water. That we’ve moved from an area with strict water restrictions to one with none at all drives her nuts.

It’s drawn on some padding from our move. It was put between plates to protect them. We’re saving it for the most part as we anticipate within the next year or two moving back to the San Diego area, depending on when my husband gets transferred, so it would be a waste to throw it out.

Nice thing is, this piece could still be used that way if my daughter gets bored with it.

Some’s also going to my mom, who needs it to pad out a car seat that’s not well enough padded. Yes mom, we remember!

It’s good to remember that trash to you can be art supplies to children. They don’t need much to be creative.

Does Gardening Encourage Kids to Eat Their Vegetables?

I’ve always been one of the lucky parents. My two oldest love their vegetables for the most part. I assume the baby will once she’s big enough.

I can’t really say that there’s a secret, as I’m sure that what we’ve done won’t work for every family. But it sure works for us.

I’ve often wondered if a part of it is that we introduced vegetables so very early. There’s some debate as to whether or not introducing veggies before fruits to a baby has any impact, but that’s what we did. We started our two oldest on green beans.

And when they got older, they loved green beans so much that they literally ate them like candy when we grew them in the garden for the first time. “Please, Mommy, can we have more green beans? Pleeease?”

It was cute. And how could I possibly say no?

The garden I think of as the other part of our secret. My kids love it. They love snacking from it. They love finding fresh food in it. They even had fun helping us plan it.

This year’s garden, unfortunately, is going to be inherited by whoever rents this place after we move out. I hope it happens soon enough that the garden survives. We’ve gotten some produce from it, and the kids have certainly been enjoying it all.

I won’t say my kids eat all the vegetables we’ve grown. But they’ve enjoyed most of it.

Mere exposure to a garden certainly isn’t enough. It took me a couple of days to get across to the neighbor’s kids that the front yard cherry tomato plant was not to supply them with ammunition for tomato fights. Grrrr!

I wouldn’t care if the neighbor kids wanted to snack on them the way my kids do, but I’m not going to encourage food fights! Such a waste. But they don’t like tomatoes, so they just saw them as ammo.

A big thing to remember is that even if the garden doesn’t encourage your kids to eat their vegetables, it can’t hurt to try. You’re increasing their exposure to fresh food, probably eating a bit better yourself if you’re the only one eating the produce, and so demonstrating better eating habits. It may pay off over a longer term.

Keeping Kids Green and Busy While School’s Out

With the kids at home more, summer is a time that can be a little bit challenging for green parenting. Somehow you have to combat all the boredom that comes from having more free time, while facing the fact that the weather is warmer. Here are some of the things I do:

1. Try to get the kids outside early and late in the day.

I have a lot of sympathy for them wanting to be inside during the hottest parts of the hottest days. Who wouldn’t prefer that?

But even on the days that it breaks 100 degrees F around here there are times that they’ll willingly play outside. Rather than let them turn on the TV first thing in the morning, as they would love to do, I boot the kids outside to play. They can come inside when it really starts to warm up. Then I do it again when the day cools off sufficiently.

This also has the advantage of limiting the need for sunscreen. My kids generally aren’t out in the most powerful of the sun’s rays, so I don’t have to apply sunscreen to them so often.

2. Make homemade popsicles.

Sure the store has cheap ones, but they’re often little more than sugar water.

I prefer to make my popsicles from smoothies, but you could use regular juice or pudding if you prefer.

3. Hit the library.

Hot days are great for spending at the library. Get some new books for your kids to read while not having to run the air conditioning in your own home. The library’s there, after all!

4. Combine lawn watering with running through the sprinklers.

We have water restrictions starting up in our area, which means watering only on certain days and only after 6 p.m. and before 10 a.m. and only for 10 minutes per section on timed sprinklers.

On hot enough days, 6 p.m. is still plenty hot enough for running through sprinklers!

And of course there are always local swimming pools, beaches and so forth if you want to cool off during other parts of the day.

5. Crafts!

Within certain age ranges, it’s easy to come up with kids’ craft ideas. My kids love saving magazines and other things that might otherwise go into the recycle bin for a path through their crafting table first. Saves me a lot not having to buy everything they craft with, and the reuse is a great habit.

As kid get older, they may have particular ideas about what they will be willing to do, but if you find something they really enjoy making, try to encourage it.

6. Have friends over.

It won’t necessarily help to keep the kids cool, but having friends over certainly helps with the boredom factor. I always tell mine no TV or computer time with friends over.

7. Know when to give in on TV and computer time.

Really, it’s not the end of the world if kids watch a bit more TV or spend more time playing on the computer during the summer. What matters is that they get enough activity overall.