Summer is here! Remember to teach your kids the #1 safety rule around the water; Do NOT get in the water without being prompted by an adult. Don’t let your child go stick their hand in the pool/lake with their clothes on to test out the water or stick their feet in the water while clothed or sit on the pool steps with clothes on, which means we as parents/adults need to lead by example and do the same. All it takes is one slip or tumble for your child to fall in the one time you’re not watching and a fatal drowning only takes 2-3 minutes, it can happen so quickly. In a 2004 CNN report, 9 of 10 fatal child drownings occurred under adult supervision! We first need to teach the process of getting into the water, proper attire first, sunblock (if outdoors), and toys or goggles if needed, then a parent or adult permission to enter the pool. This process triggers the child to first go through these steps and not just run up to a body of water and jump or fall right in. Also, an ‘arms-reach’ rule should always be in effect for the adults/parents supervising children in the pool. This means IF you’re not in the pool with your child or even if you’re sitting on the steps, you are actively watching and within arms reach at any and all times. This would exclude; texting, eating, leaving your child unattended to use the bathroom, checking facebook, reading a book/magazine, engaging in conversation with someone else that would distract away from watching your child. Submersion happens in less than 1 minute.
Vegetables and fruits are abundant during Summer time! It’s so easy (and sneaky, in a good way) to add vegetables or fruits to your child/ren’s favorite dishes. I added sweet peppers, onions and garlic to turkey meatballs the other day, chopped them finely so it just looked like a fiesta of fun colors rather than a blob of bland steamed vegetables on the side of the plate. You can add mushrooms, spinach and olives to a cheese quesadilla or grilled vegetables like zucchini and carrots to a bean burrito. My daughter loves avocado smoothies too! You can blend ice, avocado, almond milk or milk, and honey and/or a frozen banana for a creamy milkshake-like smoothie. Or we pick fresh blueberries from our blueberry bush for a berry smoothie. My daughter also loves this strawberry salad that I’ve made; chopped strawberries with a splash of Newman’s Own light balsamic dressing for some tangy sweetness. I added avocado chunks, squeeze of lime, a dallop of sour cream and shredded cheese to a vegetable puree soup I made the other day and the whole family loved it! My daughter asked for seconds and preferred it to her quesadilla! Pureed soup; water, zucchini (yellow and green), broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic and sweet peppers boiled until soft, season to taste. Then puree entire soup in a blender until smooth. Serve hot with avocado, lime, cheese and sour cream, as you desire. I also make a great low calorie squash casserole that the whole family devours. Squash casserole; grate zucchini (yellow and green) with a cheese grater in a bowl and season to taste, layer in a casserole dish with chopped mushrooms and spinach, pour a can of cream of mushroom soup over the veggies, add a layer of pre-cooked ground turkey or tofurky or tofu if desired, then top with shredded cheese. You may add bread crumbs as the bottom layer, I prefer not to even though it can turn out a bit soupy without the bread crumbs, serve with a slated spoon in this case.
Volunteer with your kids!!
For me, personally, volunteer work has been the most significant and life-changing experiences in my life. Being deployed with the Red Cross to the Southern United States for Hurricane Katrina and working at the Senior Center in Sunnyvale, CA were among the most recent and significant for me. When I gave birth to my daughter, I couldn’t wait to experience these same life-changing moments with her. I couldn’t wait to teach her what it was like to be selfless, compassionate and humble. Soon after did I realize that you cannot expect or hope for a child under the age of 4 years-old to be a selfless human being, as their considerably self-absorbed in their own growth and discovery. However now that she is 4, I can see many different options where I can share these giving moments with her. In one instance we were at the grocery store and a young girl was handing out pamphlets with a list of grocery items they were looking for to donate to a local shelter. We went to the canned soup aisle and I had my daughter choose 4 different soup options that she wanted to give to “families that didn’t have enough money to buy food”. She chose 4 soups with meat in it (even though I’m a vegetarian and it’s against my cause), however I said not a word and supported her choices in donation. She was so proud to hand the cans of soup to the young girl taking the donations. “These are for the families that don’t have money to buy food” she said as she handed over the cans. Other forms of donation or volunteer work is; bake sales, walks for charity (a lot of times, these can be for kids of young ages to be involved in, you can bring strollers on long walks, as I’ve done previously for our own Instructor’s walks for Brain Tumor awareness.