National Poison Help Line
1-800-222-1222 is the telephone number for every poison center in the United States. Call this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a poison expert. Call right away if you have a poison emergency. Also call if you have a question about a poison or about poison prevention.
More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.
For more information on poison control visit http://www.poisonprevention.org
Experts suggest reading with your child for at least 20 minutes each day. If your days are anything like mine, 20 minutes can sometimes be almost impossible to squeeze in. Parents often compliment me on my children’s vocabulary. My son is 5 years old and is in Kindergarten. He reads on a 2nd grade level and loves books. My daughter just turned 2 and speaks extremely well. She always has a board book in her possession and loves “story time”. I credit their vocabulary and love for books to my consistent focus on making sure they are around books as much as possible. Here are a few suggestions on how we manage to get at least 20 minutes of reading time in our day-everyday. These few simple principles have worked in our family and I have shared them with many other families and they too find them successful. I challenge each of you to try them with your family and let me know how it goes.
1. Keep a Sight Word List in a sheet protector in your car
Here is an example of one of my son’s Sight Word sheets. I store them in the back of the passenger’s car seat. He grabs one each day on our way to school and reads the words to me. I make sure he is pronouncing them correctly and that he knows them. Our commute to school is at least 20 minutes, so I know he is getting at least 20 minutes of reading into his day. On the way home from school (or after-school care) he reads a beginner reading book. If he does not know a word, he will spell it to me and I will assist him with it.
2. While you prepare dinner allow your children to read books at the highchair and/or dinner table
I keep small board books in The Highchair Organizer (www.thehighchairorganizer.com) While I am preparing dinner (this takes at least 20 minutes), I pull a book out for my daughter and she “reads” them. She is only 2 and too young to read, but she thinks she is reading although she is only flipping through the pages and looking at pictures. This is developing her love for books. If you have older children, allow them to sit at the dinner table and read while you prepare dinner.
3. Have your older child read to your younger child
We have implemented story time in our family. My 5 year old gets to pick out a book that he gets to read to my 2 year old. While he is reading to her, mom and dad will read something to ourselves. Now our children see their parents spending time with a book as well.
4. Read a book to your children at night time
This one is pretty easy. We read one book at night to the children right before bed.
As you can see, with these few principles in place, you can make sure your children are getting that recommended 20 minutes of reading in each day.
Giving back is something I always try to do…in some form or fashion. My passion for the past 3 years has been working with a non-profit organization called Not By Bread Alone. Not By Bread Alone gives food boxes to 70 families in need each week – no questions asked. Why this is important to me is simple. As a girl, my grandmother would always say to me “You don’t know where you’re going. You only know where you’ve been.” Simply stated you don’t know where this game called life will take you. You only know of the fortunes you’ve had in the past. With that in mind each Friday for 2 hours I assist in making and passing out food boxes.
It is never too early to get your children involved in volunteering. My 2-year daughter goes with me each week while I volunteer. While she is too young to officially “help”, she is not too young to understand what we are doing. My dedication to the project instills in her the spirit of volunteerism. Getting involved in volunteering at a young age can set a life-long pattern of advancing the common good. There are many great opportunities for community service for kids that will expand their social circle, teach them empathy and compassion, and increase their chances of success in life.
Encourage your kids to start by looking into volunteer opportunities with the organizations closest to them. Their school may have a volunteer program that can arrange placements for them. Perhaps they could volunteer at a local library or community center? Joining a scouting organization is another great way to find opportunities to give back to the community. Whatever the organization, whatever the cause, giving back is a good thing!