Tuesday December 10, 2013
When I was parenting, high chairs were mostly the same -- either wood or plastic, with a slide-on tray and flimsy straps to secure the child. Today there are dozens of styles of chairs, including chairs that are perfect for a grandparent's house, and most have impressive safety features. That's why it's puzzling that chair-related injuries have been rising instead of falling.
A recent study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Children's National Hospital shows an unexplained uptick in child injuries related to high chairs and booster chairs. In the U.S., 24 children a day are treated for such injuries. The researchers are unsure why injuries are increasing, but say that making sure that children are strapped in securely is the best way of reducing injuries. Two-thirds of the injuries involved children who were standing or climbing when they fell, indicating that they were not properly strapped in. Some parents assume that the tray will hold their child in place, but children are really good at wriggling out of tight places.
A related article on the Today website points out one hazard that I had never thought of: children tipping over their chairs by using their feet to push off from an table or counter. Although it's tempting to draw a high chair close to the table for ease of feeding, it's best to keep them farther away for safety's sake, experts say.
Photo © Andersen Ross / Getty Images
Monday December 9, 2013
Some grandparents love buying gifts for their grandchildren. I did, too, when my grandchildren were small. Now that they are all tweens or teens, I must admit that it's not as much fun. It's almost impossible to know all the items that they already have, and it's even more difficult to know which items and brands are cool and which are totally dorky. I think that's why most grandparents resort to asking the parents what the grandchildren would like.
Miss Manners recently received a complaint from parents about this type of request from grandparents. "It's hard enough for us to keep coming up with original and thoughtful gift ideas for our daughter, let alone having to maintain a standing library of ideas to feed her grandparents," the parent grumbled.
Miss Manners gave the grandparents credit for wanting to give actual presents, rather than a gift card or cash. Her solution is to give the grandparents gift-giving advice, rather than specific items to purchase: "Vanessa really likes building things."
That's good advice for younger children. For older ones, saying that the child likes video games or needs new jeans just isn't going to cut it. In my opinion, if parents don't want the burden of returning gifts that aren't right or of being stuck with unusable items, they should help out the grandparents as much as possible. What do you think? Leave a comment below.
Friday December 6, 2013
When I hear from estranged grandparents, more often than not, they say they have no idea why they have been cut off from their kids and grandchildren. Usually they seem genuinely puzzled.
I gained a little insight into this situation while researching a story on adult children who "divorce" their parents. The website Estranged Stories has surveyed children who have cut their parents out of their lives and the parents who were excised. Two-thirds of the children said that they have "concretely shared" their reasons for the estrangement with their parents, but only 40% of the parents said they had been told.
It's useless to speculate about whether the fault lies with the party doing the telling or the one doing the listening. Obviously the circuit of communication isn't being completed. Still, it's worth remembering that effective communication with adult children includes listening, too.
Thursday December 5, 2013
Chronicle Books is continuing the Give Books campaign that they began in 2012. Pledge to give a book this holiday season, and Chronicle Books will donate a book to a child in need. You can tweet (on Twitter) or pin (on Pinterest) your pledge.
The goal for Give Books is 10,000 pledges, which translates to 10,000 books in the hands of kids. Research shows a strong correlation between the number of books in a home and academic achievement. The link is stronger than that between socioeconomic status and achievement. Yet take a look at these statistics:
- High income communities: Children average almost 200 age-appropriate books in their homes.
- Middle income communities: Children average 54 books in their homes.
- Low income families: 61% have no children's books in their homes. (Statistics from the Heart of America Foundation)
When I taught school, my traditional post-holiday question was to ask my students how many of them received at least one book as a gift. They were always thrilled to tell me about the books they had received. This holiday season we have the chance to bring that kind of joy to kids that we don't even know, by giving books to the people that we do know. What a deal.
Image © Chronicle Books