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Posts Tagged ‘health’

There is nothing more charming than a child asleep beside a beloved cat or dog.  Should, however, a pet sleep in the child’s bed? WebMD speaks to these questions:

Jambo looks up from a playful session with his...

(Jambo: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Sleeping with pets isn’t unusual in this country. According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner’s beds. The survey found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.

A study released by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center found that about half the patients in the study had a dog or cat, and 53% of those pet owners said their pets disturbed their sleep in some way nightly.(http://pets.webmd.com/features/pets-in-your-bed )

The main opinion from the docs was that, unless allergies are a problem—or unless pets prevent a good night’s sleep—there is no real reason why a cat or dog cannot sleep with a child. The animal’s presence may be soothing. However, an animal who causes health problems, or who has behavior problems, may have to be removed from the bed or from the room.

Au Pairs often live in Host Family settings with pets and children—and au pairs may be asked to be part of the “team” if rules for children and pets have to be set or changed. This article from WebMD gives the whole family a “heads up.”

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brain glow

(Brain, Public Domain)

Scientists and educators used to believe that the human brain matured in childhood and stayed pretty much the same through adulthood–until an eventual decline in old age. We now know from studies such as The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) that the human brain continues to learn and change well into later life. This is called “neuroplasticity.”

Studies with children, such as those conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm regarding “the effects of a working memory training program on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)” show that brain training also creates neuroplasticity  in the young.

Lumosity.com provides membership access for over 40 brain training games which appear to be simple and fun video games, but which are actually based on neuropsychological  and learning principles.  Most games presently available are suitable for children aged 10 through high school—and for host moms and dads who also want to play. Some games may be suitable for au pairs, as they acclimate to linguistic and cultural changes in their host country.

Lifetime membership at Lumosity.com is $299.95, and monthly rates are as low as $4.99 per month. A limited access free trial is available.

Brain games, anyone?

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English: Logo of the Centers for Disease Contr...A local NM magazine called Natural Awakenings dedicated its August issue (see www.NewMexico-NaturalAwakeningsMag.com ) to simple, more naturally healthy lifestyle changes we can all make in our families. Two articles, “Improving Immunity: Natural Ways to Keep Kids Well” and “Balance Blesses Our Youth: Wise Parenting Insights from Wendy Mogel” are especially appropriate to au pairs and Host Families.

First are tips for keeping kids well.

  •  Manage stress. Kids need up time and down time.
  • Eat healthy. There is more nutrition in fresh foods. Emphasize vitamin C.
  • Get more exercise.
  • Take a multivitamin

Next are tips for helping students of all ages keep their balance.

  • Encourage learning in the natural world
  • Make time for unstructured play and “down-time”
  • Come together as a family at least once a day

Summer Blackhurst, a professional blog writer for GoAuPair, outlined the dangers of this coming season: a CDC predicted two-fold increase in whooping cough, as well as a seasonal peak in infectious diseases of all kinds. http://www.goaupair.com/Host-Families/Blog/Child-Care-Tips/CDC—Whooping-Cough-outbreak-in-US.aspx .

Live healthy! It pays!

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Au pairs are “children people.” They come to love the children in their Host Families, even as they themselves are loved. One practical outworking of that love is the desire to care for their children in as healthy a manner as possible.

HealthyChild.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents raise healthy children—through awareness of nutrition, environmental toxins, and household dangers. A partnership with HealthyChild.org has been formed through WebMD.

The online resource titled Health eHome empowers parents and caregivers in their efforts to truly keep children healthy and safe. Health eHome is a virtual world that not only talks about this process, but also shows it in 3D.

This year HealthyChild.org celebrates its 20th birthday. Special participation kits are available for the cost of a donation to cover mailing. A variety of experiential activities are also available online to test awareness.

While an official endorsement of any outside organization is beyond the appropriate business boundaries of GoAuPair per se, it nonetheless is apparent that the content and links of HealthyChild.org have the potential to become an ongoing private resource of interest for many au pairs, Host Families, and the children they love.

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