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The ABC’s of Water Safety

By Juana Hernandez, SRP Safety Connection Representative   It can happen so quickly. One minute you’re enjoying the Arizona sunshine with friends and family by the pool and the next minute you’re pulling a child from the water and dialing 911. Last year, according to the Children’s Safety Zone, there were 158 water-related incidents that resulted in 17 children and 29 adult fatal drownings in Maricopa and Pinal counties alone. Overall, Arizona continues to be second in the nation when it comes to child drownings—and children ages 1 to 4 years of age are most at risk. Remember to be safe this summer by following the ABC’s of water safety – Adult supervision, Barriers to water and Classes for swimming and CPR. Far too many water-related incidents involving children are reported even when there is a large group of adults nearby, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on children at all times. Assign a capable Water Watcher to keep eye-to-eye supervision on all children in and around water at all times. The Water Watcher should know how to swim and be familiar with his or her current location and address in case of an emergency. Securing multiple barriers to water can help reduce incidents when supervision fails. If you own a pool, install a fence around the perimeter with a self-closing, self-latching door. Never leave a pool gate door propped open for any reason. Expect the unexpected by moving patio furniture inside of the pool fence so children do not use it to climb over the fence. Store toys that may attract kids to the pool...

Mommy Time

By Christina Katz How come other moms always seem to “have it all” and still have time to work out, read the latest best sellers, and spend time with their friends while you seem to be scrambling to keep up with the dishes, the laundry and your daily taxi service? The truth is, making time for you is an art and, like every art, it requires practice. If you don’t take time to rest and rejuvenate, eventually you won’t have a self to worry about, because that’s how busy you will become with everyone else’s concerns. Even if you fear the guilt you imagine will come with making time for yourself, carving out space in your own life for yourself is a healthy necessity. Best-selling author of The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, says, “We lose ourselves because we are afraid of being selfish, but when we turn around and take care of ourselves, we actually become much happier and more generous.” Here are 10 self-nurturing activities to choose from that blend well with your everyday commitments. Most can be squeezed into a busy week, during naptime, into the mornings or evenings, or while the kids are busy with an activity. Heart on paper -Cameron recommends three pages of longhand writing every day. Can’t do three whole pages? Just do what you can. For moms, any kind of journaling can be illuminating and constructive. Move it, move it -Shake your groove thing any time you need a quick attitude change. Shut the blinds. Take off your shoes. Put on your favorite dance music and get down. Dance your heart out...

Parents Ask – Becoming a Foster Parent

Parents Ask – May 2016 Q: I’m interested in becoming a foster parent. What do I need to do and how long does it take? Amy – Chandler A: In Arizona, the number of children in foster care has grown to nearly 18,000. The need for foster parents who are willing to open up their homes and provide love, stability and support to these children has never been greater. Many of the children entering into the foster care system are not able to immediately stay with a foster family simply because there are not enough foster homes to fill the need. Children will often spend an extended time in emergency shelters or group homes as they wait for a space in a foster home to become available. To become a foster parent in Arizona, there are specific state requirements and steps. Some of the main ones include (but are not limited to): Applicants must be 21 or older for foster care and 18 or older to adopt. All members of the household must be in agreement to pursue foster care and/or adoption. Anyone living in the home who is 18 or older must pass a background check and receive a Level 1 fingerprint card. Your home will be inspected and must pass according to OLCR guidelines. All applicants must attend a minimum 30 hours of pre-service training. There is also additional training for therapeutic foster care. You must have space in your home (a bed for each foster child and space for their personal items). The time it takes to complete these steps and meet these qualifications depends on...

Stress Less Parties

  By Christina Katz One simple strategy will minimize birthday party preparation, clean up, and costs—having your birthday party somewhere else besides home. Any birthday party can get expensive, and you might think having a party away from home would double the cost. But believe it or not, the amount you spend often goes down when you have the party away from home, not up. Consider the full package deal offered by the venue before you lift a finger to help. Once you factor in all the food, favors and serving items you won’t have to buy, you just might save yourself a bundle of time, energy, and headaches. Get the details on exactly what will be provided in advance, so you don’t duplicate any efforts, in filling in the gaps. If the venue does not cover every detail, this can work fine. Bring the cake? No problem. Order a few pizzas? Easy. Bring some goody bags? If that’s all you have to do for this party, you are going to love it. Some of your favorite birthday party memories may end coming from the party where you did the least work. You send the invites, show up, and watch everyone go home with big smiles on their faces. No smile will be as big as the one you have on your face when you return to your nice, clean home. Here is a full run-down of birthday party venues that often host parties away from home. Before you write off any candidates, be sure to search online and call to double check. Birthday parties are big business, and...

What is Proposition 123

By Expect More Arizona   What is Proposition 123? Proposition 123 is a referendum that will ask Arizona voters to increase K-12 school funding. If the Proposition is passed, it will put $3.5 billion over 10 years into the K-12 education system.   Where will the funding come from? A majority of funding will come from the increased payout from the State Land Trust (from 2.5% to 6.9%) via Proposition 123. Also, an additional $625 million will be appropriated for K-12 education and come from the state’s general fund ($50 million for five years and $75 million for the next five years). The inflation requirement will continue beyond the ten-year funding deal that Prop. 123 provides.   How are schools planning to use the funding? Can I be involved in that process? Many schools are developing their plans now for how they plan to use the funding. Many are planning to use the funds to support teachers. If you would like to be involved in this process, you can attend your local school board’s meetings where they will be discussing their proposed budgets.   When will schools receive funding? If passed, schools will receive funding in June.   Are there restrictions on how schools can use the funding? No. Locally elected school boards will decide how best to use the funding they receive. There are no strings attached to the funding.   Is there any difference in funding for public district schools or public charter schools? No. There is no difference in the amount of funding that public district or charter schools will receive. They all receive the same...

Healthy Families

By Nora Heston Tarte What does “healthy” mean to you? Is it a specific weight, a measureable activity level, a state of mind? From focusing on exercise and nutrition to encouraging healthy relationships, there’s more than one definition of what it means to be healthy. Arizona parents know one thing is for sure: being healthy is a group endeavor and it’s their responsibility to lead by example. Read on to meet local families who have committed to a healthy lifestyle and get inspired to start your own fitness journey today. The Family: Brian, Amy and their daughter Bethany, 10 Amy and Brian met and married in Flagstaff. From the beginning, it was clear they were both committed to more than each other; they were committed to living a healthy lifestyle. Together, Brian and Amy run AM Nutritional Services—a private practice of registered dietitians with three clinics in the Valley. In addition, Brian mans a track club called Arizona Track and Field Academy, coaching children and teens ages 6 to 18 in running and field events. “[Bethany] was bound to be a healthy kiddo,” Amy says. As a family, Brian, Amy and Bethany run together, signing up for 5Ks throughout the year (including the Disney 5K). “This keeps her and us excited about running,” Amy says. As Bethany has gotten older, she is beginning to appreciate the competitive side of running, as well, and is even ranked nationally in the 1,500 M. “She loves competing and mainly meeting all different people during her races,” Amy says of her daughter. “She was able to run in the National Junior Olympics last...

The Vitamin Scoop

By Michele Peters Parents are concerned with their child’s well being, both emotional and physical. Perhaps one of the most questioned topics is that of vitamins. Do we give or not give vitamins…what kind…how much? But, even more important, is there any harm in giving vitamins? FROM THE EXPERTS “I’m often asked by parents what vitamins their child should take. Because many parents took vitamins growing up, they feel their children should take vitamins to be healthy, strong and avoid illness. However, for most children it is not necessary as long as they have a healthy diet. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children receiving a normal, well-balanced diet do not need vitamin supplementation above the recommended dietary allowances. A well-balanced diet for children includes milk and dairy (low-fat for children over age 3), fruits, vegetables, protein and grains. Most cereals are now enriched with many vitamins children need,” states Dr. Jacob T. Woods, DO, faculty of Mountain Vista Family Medicine Residency. WHAT IS THE HARM? A finicky eater doesn’t necessarily indicate nutritional deficiency since many common foods are fortified with B and D vitamins, calcium and iron. So what does this mean? Your child may be getting more vitamins and minerals than you think and in some cases giving mega doses, especially fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin A, D, E and K, can do more harm. However, some vitamins are necessary and recommended for children. Though breast milk is always best for newborn infants, breast milk lacks two important nutrients, Vitamin D and iron. Therefore, exclusively breast-fed infants should receive Vitamin D (400IU is recommended) and iron supplements. Parents must also be...



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