Are the Holidays Stressful for Kids?

Are the Holidays Stressful for Kids?

The holiday season is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, and it certainly can be. However, for many children (and adults), the holiday season also brings with it some stress. Routines are disrupted as you plan for visitors, stay up late preparing for parties, and get home late from holiday gatherings. How can you thwart this holiday stress and keep this season magical and wonderful for your little ones? Start by following these tips.

Stick With Routines As Much As Possible

As much as your child may complain when you insist they go to bed on time or brush their teeth first thing each morning, kids really thrive with routine. Maintaining their routine throughout the busy holiday season will help prevent stress. Send them to bed on time, even if this means leaving a party a little early or putting off a few planned holiday tasks until tomorrow.

Schedule Family Time

You’re probably busy wrapping presents, cleaning the house in preparation for guests, and so forth. As you rush about, your kids may start to feel a little distanced from you, which can lead to stress. Combat this problem by scheduling some quiet, laidback family activities throughout the holiday season. For example, you could dub Tuesday night “Movie Night” and watch a classic holiday film together. Or you could simply go for a walk around the neighborhood together, taking a complete break from the holiday chaos.

Have Kids Help You With Preparation

Instead of leaving your kids to entertain themselves while you complete your to-do list, invite them to help you. This way, they will feel more involved in the holiday preparation, rather than feeling like it’s something that’s disrupting their lives. Even little kids can help with tasks like putting bows on presents, putting sprinkles on cookies, and decorating the tree. Put on some holiday music, and make these prep tasks part of the fun!

Keep Your Own Stress Levels Under Control

Your children know you better than anyone else, and they can tell when you’re feeling stressed and anxious. By keeping your own stress under control, you can help them feel more settled, too. Keep your own holiday stress levels low by:

  • Saying “no” to parties and activities you really don’t have time to attend
  • Taking a little time out each day to read, take a warm bath, or otherwise care for your own needs
  • Accepting help from friends and family members who offer to help you

Focus on Eating Healthy Foods

Sugary treats abound over the holidays, but eating too many can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which make kids cranky. You don’t have to forbid your children from touching holiday treats, but do practice moderation. Let them have one or two pieces of candy or cookies per day, and otherwise, provide plenty of healthy foods to munch on. Cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, and sliced fruit are all perfectly tasty and healthy party fare.

With the tips above, you can combat holiday stress and truly enjoy the holiday season. We wish all the best to you and yours.

4 Family Activities to Enjoy This Fall

4 Family Activities to Enjoy This Fall

Fall is in the air. The kids are back in school, leaves are changing color, and temperatures are falling. It’s the perfect time of year to spend some quality time together as a family, and a great way to do that is to plan some fun family activities on the weekends. Here are some fall activities for kids that you will also enjoy.

1. Apple Picking

Apple season runs through the end of October in the Holland area. Picking apples is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fall air, and it is healthy, too. Not only will you get exercise walking through the orchards and reaching for apples, but you’ll go home with a big basket of healthy snacks.

There are a few good places to pick apples near Holland. Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery is one of them. They do not charge an entrance fee; you just pay for the apples that you pick. In addition to apple picking, they also offer hayrides, and they also operate a cider mill.

2. Corn Mazes

Does getting lost in a field of corn and then spending an hour finding your way out sound like fun? The kids will love it. Corn mazes have become increasingly popular over the years. Basically, the farmers create a series of paths through a cornfield. There is only one way out, and it can take a while to find it since the corn is so tall and you can’t see where you’re going. You and the kids can try to navigate the maze together, or you can split up and see who gets out the fastest!

Crane Orchards operates a good corn maze in Fennville. It encompasses over 20 acres, and admission is only $5 for children ages 6 – 10 or $7 for anyone aged 11 or older.

3. Hiking

This is the perfect season for hiking. The weather is cool, and you can watch the leaves change color! Holland State Park is a great place to hike with the kids. The Stu Visser Trails feature raised boardwalks and easy terrain for little feet. Dogs are welcome to join you, and you’re sure to see plenty of wildlife in the wetlands.

4. Camping

Why not take one last camping trip before it gets any colder outside? Fall camping can be really fun since you get to cuddle around the fire for warmth and snuggle up inside sleeping bags at night. Oak Grove Resort Camp Ground is a fun place to camp near Holland. They have both modern and rustic cabins, and they also have RV sites if you happen to have your own camper. There are a lot of other fun fall activities for kids at the campground, too — like bike rentals and hiking trails.

These fall activities for kids will keep everyone entertained as the days grow shorter. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to book those fall dental appointments to keep everyone’s teeth in good health.


6 Tips for Dealing With a Loose Tooth

6 Tips for Dealing With a Loose Tooth

It seems like just yesterday that your baby got their first tooth, and now they are starting to lose their teeth! Before a baby tooth actually falls out, it will typically feel a bit loose for a week or two, sometimes longer. What should you do with that loose tooth, and how can you make your child more comfortable during this phase? Start by following these tips.

1. Don’t Try to Pull the Tooth

Don’t try to pull the tooth out until it is very, very loose and basically falling out on its own. Most children actually wiggle the tooth out with their own tongue at this stage; there’s really no need to pull. Trying to pull the tooth out before it’s really ready to come out can cause pain, bleeding, and damage to the gums.

2. Keep Brushing Around It

Your child may find that brushing around the loose tooth feels a little funny, but it’s important to keep brushing in this area. You’re not worried about the tooth developing cavities at this stage, but it’s still important to remove plaque and bacteria from the tooth in order to prevent gum disease and damage to the other nearby teeth. Just have your child brush very gently, using a soft-bristled brush.

3. Don’t Worry About Bleeding

A little bleeding is normal now and then as the tooth works itself loose. If the gums start bleeding, just have your child rinse their mouth out, either with clear water or saltwater. The bleeding should stop within a few minutes.

4. Use an Ice Pack for Soreness

Some children never experience any soreness when their teeth become loose, and others do complain of some pain. An easy way to dull the pain is to hold an ice pack, wrapped in a towel of course, against the area. You can also have your child suck on a Popsicle to ease pain and inflammation. Just make sure they rinse their mouth out after eating a sugary frozen treat.

5. Reassure Your Child With Stories

Your child may feel a bit nervous and anxious about the idea of losing their first tooth. Reassure them by explaining that this happens to everyone, and that it doesn’t really hurt. Tell them that you lost all of your baby teeth, too. Knowing that you understand what they are going through can make them feel more comfortable and confident.

6. Provide Soft Foods

Some kids will take the gung-ho approach and want to keep eating hard, crunchy foods because it will loosen the tooth faster. Other kids may find chewing a little painful or awkward with a loose tooth. Just make sure you have plenty of soft foods available for your child to eat while their tooth is loose. Soft pasta, fish, smoothies, yogurt, and applesauce are all easy to eat.

Your child’s first loose tooth is an exciting experience for both of you. Follow the tips above, and reach out to your pediatric dentist if you have any additional concerns.

When Should My Kids Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?

When Should My Kids Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?

From the day your child’s first tooth appears, you joyously begin their brushing routine. As they grow older, you want your kids to have an active interest in their oral hygiene, but exactly when should your children start to brush their own teeth?

Age 2: Teach Your Child to Spit

At age two, you should still be brushing your child’s teeth for them. After you brush their teeth, tell your child to spit out the extra toothpaste into the sink. This teaches them not to swallow the toothpaste. After they spit , you can then give them water to wash their mouth out a little more. This first step helps introduce your child to the idea of caring for their own teeth.

Age 3 to 6: Start Having Your Child Brush

Children develop at different paces, and that’s okay. Some children are ready to start brushing their own teeth — with plenty of supervision, of course — at age three. Others are not ready until they are four, five, or six. You’ll have to feel it out and determine when your child is ready. Here are some tips to help ease them into brushing their own teeth.

Let Them Practice

Young kids, even toddlers, might try to grab the toothbrush and brush their baby teeth on their own. It’s good to let them do this sometimes so that they feel like a big kid, but don’t forget to follow up with proper brushing yourself. It’s great that your child is showing an interest in their dental care, but at this age, they can’t brush every which way on their own — and still need their parents to remain in control of the health of their teeth.

Couple Brushing With Shoe-Tying

If your child can tie their own shoes, they’re definitely old enough to be brushing their own teeth. Once your child can figure out the coordination it takes to tie up their laces, they have the mental and physical ability to brush their pearly whites themselves. You can now let them mostly hold the brush and do the brushing on their own. Just supervise and help them as needed.

Age 8: Keep an Eye on Their Brushing

By the age of 8, your child should be confidently brushing their own teeth without the need for any direct help from you. However, you should still check in and remind them to brush their teeth twice per day. Observe their brushing regularly. If they are not spending long enough, you may need to set a timer to ensure they brush for a full two minutes. If they seem to be spending more time on one side than on the other, remind them to split their time equally between their teeth.

The Older They Get, the Better They Brush

Being a part of your child’s dental routine is very important. As they grow, they’ll learn more and more about how to care for their teeth, and that’s why it’s so important that you’re there to keep their oral care in check.

There is no definite time that all kids are able to brush their teeth on their own. It varies from child to child, but you can use these guidelines to determine when your own child is ready. Even after they start brushing on their own, don’t forget to supervise and continue to help with the rest of their dental routine, such as flossing and making sure they visit the dentist for a routine checkup every six months.

Cook This Not That: Kid Friendly Takes on Adult Favorites

Cook This Not That: Kid Friendly Takes on Adult Favorites

Are you tired of cooking delicious and healthy meals, only to have your child turn up their nose and request PB&J instead? Or perhaps you’ve been making do with chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese for weeks because at least your kids will eat it. Adults and children have different tastes — but you don’t need to keep cooking two meals every night just to satisfy everyone. Here are some creative ways to transform adult favorites into more kid-friendly meals.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Tenders: An Alternative to Processed Chicken Tenders

Kids love chicken tenders, but the processed kind you buy in the frozen aisle is not exactly healthy—and they don’t quite appeal to the adult palate. Try making your own Parmesan-crusted chicken tenders instead. Cut chicken breasts into strips. Dip each strip into some whisked egg, then into a mixture of half Parmesan cheese and half Panko breadcrumbs. Bake the chicken strips on a lightly greased baking sheet for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. The kids can dip them into barbecue sauce and ranch, and you can enjoy them over a salad.

Build-Your-Own Soup: A Replacement for Chunky Soups and Stews

Kids often love the idea of soup, but if there are too many ingredients in the soup, they may pick them out or refuse to eat the soup altogether. A good way around this is to make a basic soup with just stock and meat. Then, set out bowls of sides to be individually added to the soup. Cooked carrots, chopped green onions, cooked brown rice, and cooked corn are all good choices. Kids are more likely to eat ingredients they add themselves. You can enjoy the soup your way, and they can enjoy it their way.

Turkey Meatballs: A Replacement for Beef Meatballs

Kids love meatballs, but you may not want to eat so much red meat. Turkey meatballs are a good substitute. Combine one pound of ground turkey with 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1 whisked egg, a half teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano leaves. Divide the meat into 16 portions, and shape each portion into a ball. Bake the meatballs at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. You can serve them on whole-wheat sub rolls, over whole-grain pasta, or even alongside fresh veggies and dip.

Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry: A Replacement for Spicy Stir-Fries

Kids aren’t always big fans of stir-fries because they can be spicy and overly salty. But teriyaki chicken stir fry has a milder, sweeter flavor that most kids enjoy. There are numerous bottled teriyaki sauces available in the Asian sections of most grocery stores. Look for one with a lower sugar and salt content. To make the stir fry, simply saute some diced chicken breast with sliced carrots, onions, and snow peas. Add the teriyaki sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. Serve the stir fry over brown rice for a healthy, tasty meal.

Say goodbye to chicken nuggets without the tears! With the compromise meals above, you can prepare dishes that children and adults alike can look forward to.