Friday, August 5, 2016

5 Tips for Creating a Healthy Environment for Kids

Guest Post by: Jana Free

Moms want the best for their kids. They want their children to feel good and to be happy. They want them with smiles on their faces and joy in their heart.

As a mom, do you often wonder if there is some kind of magic object that you can pull out of a hat, or a magic spell you could cast, to create this perfect scenario? I’m pretty sure there’s no object or spell, but I do know that a healthy environment is like a magic wand that can keep kids’ eyes bright and their bodies full of good energy.

How do we moms create a healthy environment for our kids? We focus on keeping physical spaces clean and we do more. We make sure that each aspect of our kids’ lives is as free from toxins as we can get it. Which means we look at the food we eat as well as the attitude we keep.

The following are 5 tips for creating a healthy environment for kids.

1. Model Good Food Choices

Children usually eat what they’re served and what they see others eating. As moms, it’s important that we serve nutritious food and that we show kids by example what healthy eating is. Parents should set a positive example when it comes to nourishing food by preparing plant-based meals filled with protein and good carb-rich grains and nuts, fiber-filled fruits and vegetables, and occasional sweet treats that aren’t made solely of high-processed sugars.

2. Show Kids How to Wash Hands Properly

Kids may need to be told 10 to 20 times a day to wash their hands, depending on what activities they’re participating in and their age. Even though it might feel monotonous to remind children this many times, it’s a critical task for keeping kids healthy. Before kids eat, after they use the bathroom, when they’re sick, and if they’re playing outdoors, they need to be told to wash their hands if they’re not volunteering to do so. A good hand-washing session includes a rinse in warm water, followed by a 30-second lathering of soap (out of the water), and finalized with another 20-second warm-water rinse.

3. Have a “Shoes at the Door” Policy

You can create a healthy environment for kids by having a No Shoes policy in your home. Our shoes come in contact with all kinds of dirt and grime from outside, and the soles are likely covered with bacteria. These yucky substances shouldn’t be on a carpet or floor where the family might sit or lie down. To help keep your house clean and free of things that could make your child sick, place a basket or shelf by the door and require people who enter your home place their kicks there.

4. Teach Kids to Sneeze and Cough Into a Bent Arm

It’s no fun having a sick child. Kids don’t like feeling horrible and moms worry that everyone else in the house is going to come down with whatever bug the little one has. Keeping a cold or the flu confined to just one family member is easier when kids learn to sneeze and cough into their bent arm (inside of the elbow), instead of all over the public areas or into hands that might touch something.

5. Keep a “Can Do” and “Mistakes Are Okay” Attitude

Creating a healthy environment for kids also means nurturing our children’s mental health. As we’re going about our days and nights, inside of our home and away, it’s imperative that we encourage our babies, toddlers, and teens to reach for their dreams and be okay with their mistakes. All of us, old and young, have experiences and thoughts that we’re drawn to. We should be encouraged to allow more of these activities and ideas into our lives, as long as they’re not hurting others or ourselves. We all make poor choices on occasion. We need to learn to forgive our family members, our friends, and ourselves.

These 5 tips are high atop a list of ways to create a healthy environment for kids, but there are more things that can bring health and happiness into kids’ lives. As moms, we can find other ways to keep children physically and mentally healthy by connecting with other moms - and by taking time to ourselves to reflect and to look at our lives from a new perspective.


If you’ve ever thought you need time to do just that, there is a new childcare center coming to Las Vegas in the fall that will help you out. Imaginland is a 24-hour, on-demand childcare facility that gives moms the chance to take a break for a while to tend to themselves and to family responsibilities. Moms are able to register to become members and then make instant childcare reservations, anytime. Want to hit the gym for an hour or meet a girlfriend for lunch - perhaps to talk about the kids or nothing in particular? Imaginland is there. Need to tidy up the house or go grocery shopping without kids grabbing things off the shelf? Bring the little ones to Imaginland.

Imaginland employs background-checked staff members, including caregivers called “Fairy Godmothers,” to provide nutritious food choices and teach kids about staying healthy (physically and mentally) while you’re away just for a while.

The center offers a safe and fun place for their kids, just like moms would provide at home, while parents run errands, tend to emergencies, and even go on date nights with their spouses.

To find out more about Imaginland, and to learn how the premium childcare facility can be your partner in healthy kids and healthy parenting, visit the Imaginland website. (Imaginland is a secure facility that offers guaranteed childcare with instant reservations for members. Parents can view live streaming of all areas of center through the Imaginland mobile app, which also serves as an easy way to make childcare reservations anytime.)


Jana Free is the Community Relationship Manager for Imaginland. She’s also the mother of two boys, an animal rights activist, and an environmental steward.

Jana is busy mom who knows how important it is to have a safe and reliable place for kids while parents get things done or simply take a little break. She believes Imaginland is that place.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Great Summertime Ukulele Memories

Some of my best memories from childhood were those sitting around a small campfire in our backyard with smores and my mom playing songs to sing along to on her ukulele.

Learning the ukulele is really pretty simple not just for moms but also for kids. It is a great way to introduce musical instruments for kids since a ukulele is already kid sized.

It is made even simpler to learn thanks to YouTube.

So get started here and soon you will be playing like this:

And of course the ultimate classic by Brother Iz:

Happy Strummin' !!!

In case the videos don't load properly here are the links

Ukulele Lessons:

Jake Shimabukuro

Over the Rainbow:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What the Zika virus really means to a real mom and what it means to all of us

Whether you are pregnant, or thinking about getting pregnant, the Zika virus is something that has been brought to our attention and something we are now all thinking about.

There are so many other things that we have to think about when considering doing "everything" we can to ensure a healthy baby. This virus is scary because it seems like it just came out of nowhere and is now an epidemic.

There is so much about it that we don't know.

This article in the Washington Post puts a real face to the Zika virus and is a must read for every woman whether you are planning on having children or not. 

In another report out this week the CDC has recommended that any woman who is considering having children and is not on birth control should consume zero amounts of alcohol. None. They suggest that a woman may not realize she is pregnant at first and that initial developmental time for the fetus is vital. Any level of alcohol can be problematic.


If you bought every book on how to prepare for pregnancy and childbirth you would never have time to read them all - Tons of people have great ideas on how to prepare for and have the most healthy baby possible. So how do we know how to get to the most important information without making ourselves crazy? (that's not healthy for the baby...)

Just as in anything:

  1. Pay attention to yourself and keep yourself healthy
  2. Get enough sleep (at least as much as possible). One great way to facilitate this is to put the digital devices away at night.
  3. Live a life in Balance - Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social, and Financial
  4. Reduce Stress by prioritizing what is really important and what is just fluff (it's mostly fluff)
  5. Smile. Alot. Laugh and Smile every day.

Stay informed but not scared. Life is a wild ride and kids definitely add to the thrills.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Countdown: Kids in the kitchen

Growing up my Grandfather would always take all of the kids on a really long walk on Thanksgiving day. It was always a fun adventure but as it turns out there was an alternative motive to this outing. Mom and Grandma would stay behind and have a calm and quiet kitchen to work in and when we got back we would be pretty worn out from the walk and so we would play board games or other quiet games until dinner was ready.

This morning I saw a segment on a morning show about crafts to keep the kids busy - and "out of the kitchen" - on Thanksgiving day.

While we love crafts, and we love a good outing on Thanksgiving morning, we also think kids Should be in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Here are some Stayathomemom Tips for Kids in the Kitchen on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is about coming together as a family and giving thanks for all of our blessings. Each person in the family is a part of that blessing and brings something to community.


Give each kid their own Apron to make them an official helper. It reinforces that they have an important part in the process.


Teach your kids about the importance of washing their hands before handling food. This is the start of lifelong kitchen habits and so you want to make it easy for them to be able to wash their hands. This may mean getting a step stool so they can reach the kitchen sink easier.


Every kid you can stand up on his own can help out in some way or another. For very young helpers this may mean

  • sitting at the kitchen table and coloring on the paper placemats that will be used for the Thanksgiving table. 
  • "Cleaning" pots and pans - hand them a dish towel and some pans and let them wipe them out.
  • Singing a song to Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa or whoever else is in the kitchen.
As they get a little older put them in charge of stirring the 5 bean salad, fruit salad, or stuffing. As they get even older put them in charge of specific items like the pumpkin pie. If they have a favorite Thanksgiving dish put them on the team making that item.

Young kids can easily "make" the dinner rolls if you make them from the tube that snaps open when you pop it.


Match them up with an older sibling or relative to be a "Sous Chef". All the great chefs in the world have assistants. Everyone has to start somewhere.


Every person in our family has a different "Favorite". Make sure your kids have a say in the Thanksgiving menu. You may think that the menu is pretty standard with Turkey, Stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce but there can be some big variations within even those items. Some kids like whole cranberries and others like the jelly from the can.

Having the kids participate in the kitchen will make Thanksgiving a more meaningful event for them and can create some great memories - even if those memories are of burnt rolls....


Remember it is just as important to include everyone in the cleanup as it is to include them in the prep.


Finally, a tip for Mom. Build in time for this "help" It can often times take a lot longer in the kitchen when little little kids are "helping" but as the years go by they will get better and faster and the entire process will become much quicker.

Just remember to breath. Initially, having little kids in the kitchen will take patience. But you can do it. 

When kids are included in the entire process from the time that they are very young then it is just part of the tradition. If you exclude the kids from the kitchen when they are young and then expect them to start helping out when they are teens you are setting yourself up for some interesting / contentious discussions.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Kids on Social Media: What to Do When They Ask About It

Your baby is growing up.

When we have kids, we pretty much raise them one age group at a time: as babies, toddlers, pre-teens, etc. Every decision we make contributes to the adults that they become.

Social networking is everywhere. If your kid has ever been outside, he knows about social media. He may not call it that, but he knows about Facebook. He knows about Twitter. He knows about YouTube. What he doesn’t know is the complications of a technologically driven, social-media-engaged society.

And so it comes. A day childhood innocence dies: “Mom, can I get a Facebook account?”

Here are some things you can do to ease your child into social media awareness before he takes the plunge.

Join Your Kid

Having a social media account is a pretty big responsibility, even for adults. You have to watch what you say, be careful about voicing opinions, and adhere to the adage, “Less is more.” Your child needs to know that.

Facebook is the number-one social network in the world. Consider these facts:

  • TOS "Terms of Service" require that users are 13 years old or older to create an account
  • It has 1.35 billion monthly users
  • Millennials (ages 15-34) make up 66 percent of Facebook users
  • 87 percent of 2014 high school graduates use Facebook on a daily basis
  • The average number of “friends” that teens have on Facebook is 300
  • 70 percent of Facebook teens are “friends” with their parents

Let’s stop for a moment: if you are not a Facebook user or are an infrequent one, do some research into the lingo, privacy rules, etc. so that you know what you’re up against when your kid asks about social media. The best way to learn something is to do it, so you might consider opening a separate account when your kid does. You could do it together; this way, you both can explore privacy settings, site rules, etc., and talk about them.

Parents with their own Facebook accounts can do this, as well. Open your child's account with her, and then show her your own. It’s a perfect way to go over all of the little details about Facebook that kids need to know, like where you post and what to say when they do.

Explain the Concept of Identity

Social media is a relative mystery to those of us who grew up talking on the phone instead of texting on it, therefore showing our children how to be safe in a social media environment is a learning process for us also.

Cyber crime (identity theft) is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world, and children’s IDs are taking the hardest hit. In 2013, an identity scan of more than 26,000 children was conducted by; here are some of the results:

  • 26 percent of victims were six to 10 years old
  • 11 percent of children had someone using their SSN
  • Identity theft was 35 percent higher in children than in adults in the same population
  • In 2013, the percentage of children five years and younger having their IDs stolen was 15 percent

Deceased children’s IDs are becoming increasingly stolen, as well. One man in California was caught after he had stolen the ID of a four-year-old; the child had died in 1984.

The largest case of identity fraud committed was from committed against a Florida girl who discovered the theft when she was 19. The thief had stolen her SSN and racked up mortgages, credit cards, vehicles and more. The cost was $1.5 million!

Take Safety Precautions

When a child shares information on a social media site, that information is up for grabs; emphasize taking safety precautions. Show him how to set his privacy settings to the very bare minimum of public exposure and make sure he understands them. Set them, instruct him not to change them, and the consequences of what could happen if he does.

There are security sites that protect your child's identity so you don't have to worry. Companies like Lifelock, for example, not only monitor your identity for changes, but also scan for threats, and restore your name in case of a data breach.

AllClearID provides a (free) service called ChildScan, which you can have done at any time that can tell if your child’s ID has been compromised.

Your child is growing up, and that’s a good thing. Take this opportunity to educate each other. Show him the world of social media by gently explaining possible dangers, then let him show you the exciting part of social media.