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Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

What parents and caregivers should know about Pokémon Go By Michelle Talsma Everson It just debuted two months ago but Pokémon Go has become the biggest mobile game in U.S. history, according to a recent infographic released by Touchstone Research. With millions of youth striving to “Catch ‘Em All,” what should adults know about the game? We talked to the experts to find out. What is Pokémon Go?  In Japanese, “Pokémon” means “pocket monster,” and the Pokémon franchise has been around for years in the form of TV shows, comics, card games, and more. “Pokémon Go is a free-to-play mobile app that you can download for iOS or Android. It’s free to download and start playing, but you have the option to use real money to buy in-game currency called PokéCoins,” cites a recent article on LifeHacker.com. “Those PokéCoins are used to purchase Pokéballs, the in-game item you need to be able to catch Pokémon.” “The game works by using your phone’s GPS for your real-world location and augmented reality to bring up those cool-looking Pokémon on your screen, overlaid on top of what you see in front of you,” the article continues. “And you—the digital you—can be customized with clothing, a faction (or ‘team’ of players you can join) and other options, and you level up as you play.” Physical Safety Jeff Shultz, M.D., an emergency room physician at John C. Lincoln Medical Center, says that he has seen injuries happen when Pokémon Go players aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. “Players of all ages need to be aware of their surroundings at all times; there have been...

Teens Making a Difference

This past spring, 32 Arizona teens took home the highest award in Girl Scouting: the Gold Award. “One of the most impactful parts of Girl Scouting is earning the Girl Scout Gold Award,” said Tamara Woodbury, CEO of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council. “This prestigious award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and challenges girls ages 14–17 to initiate meaningful, sustainable change locally, nationally, or globally through unique ‘Take Action’ projects of their own creation.” According to Woodbury, 2016 is extra-special as the Girl Scouts are celebrating the milestone 100th Anniversary of the Gold Award. Earning the Gold Award is somewhat comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout. While both achievements require developing and completing a service project, Girl Scouts must create a project that is sustainable and continues to give back to the community long after she moves on. Overall, the process usually takes 18 to 24 months and often involves seeking in-kind donations and recruiting volunteers. “Empowering girls to lead is one of the greatest investments we can make,” said Woodbury. “When women adopt leadership roles, they contribute a unique set of skills, ideas and life experiences that enrich and strengthen communities. Girl Scouts, and the Gold Award specifically, gives girls the support and guidance they need as they step into impactful leadership roles.” Here is a snapshot of our local honorees’ good works: Ariana Schein: Prom Closet Ariana Schein has been a Girl Scout for 14 years in the Pima neighborhood. As a student at Desert Mountain High School, she joined a peer leadership club whose purpose was to participate in extracurricular activities with special needs...

Missing School Matters

How do you know if your child is missing too much school? It only takes two lost days per month to be considered chronically absent. That’s about 10 percent of the school year in Arizona, and while two days per month doesn’t seem like much, it can have a big impact on learning. In fact, students who are are chronically absent in kindergarten and first grade score lower on third grade reading tests and are more likely to repeat a grade. By the time a student gets to sixth grade, attendance rates are a key predictor of whether they’ll graduate from high school. Missing a few days a year for illness or travel is inevitable, but how can you minimize the impact of lost class time for your child? Here are some ideas: Start out right. Studies have shown that students who miss more than two days during the first month of school are likely to miss up to a month during the year. By creating positive patterns early in the year, you’ll set your child up for success. Plan ahead. Check your school’s calendar for holiday breaks and use the dates to minimize foreseeable absences related to family travel. Make appointments for early morning or late afternoon so that planned activities don’t interfere with learning. Manage habits. To keep your budding scholar attentive and engaged, ensure that they get adequate sleep and a healthy breakfast. What’s more, creating a schedule for study time and free time can emphasize the priority that homework should be afforded. Communicate regularly. Keep in close touch with your child’s teacher to track absences...

Tips to Prepare for Preschool

By Denise Yearian Preschool is a wonderful time of growth in a young child’s life – a time to broaden his horizons, develop social skills and ignite a love for learning. To help your child adjust to the new environment and ease into the routine, consider these tips. Talk it up. Weeks before preschool begins, prepare your child by using positive and encouraging words. If you drive by the building where he will be attending school, say, “Oh, look! There’s your new school. You are going to have so much fun there!” Tell your child that he is growing up and this means he gets to spend more time learning and playing with other children his age. Stop by to visit. Several weeks before school begins, take your child to the facility so he can familiarize himself with his new surroundings. Go as many times as your child needs to feel comfortable. If possible, let him meet the teacher and play with some of the toys in the room. Before leaving, take him to the playground and let him spend a few minutes swinging, going down the slide and sifting sand in the sandbox. Invite others to play. If, for some reason, your child has had little interaction with his peers, invite several children over to your house to play. It doesn’t have to be a day-long event; one or two hours is a sufficient amount of time for children to begin learning skills such as toy sharing and peer politeness. Schedule this time when the children will be well-rested. Introduce school materials. Long before formal education begins your...

Parents Ask: Calming Baby

Q: My six week old daughter is so fussy. My friends tell me it sounds like colic, but I’ve tried so many different things to calm her and nothing seems to work. What can I do to help her? A: Colic is common and can affect up to three out of ten babies. A healthy newborn baby may have periods of crying. For no apparent reason he or she cries as if in pain. The usual methods of comforting do not work very well. He or she does not want to feed and may pull up their knees. Sometimes the baby’s tummy (abdomen) appears to rumble. The cry may sound different and more piercing than normal. He or she may appear to be settling when suddenly another bout of crying occurs. This may go on and off for several hours until he or she settles and falls asleep. There is no treatment that cures colic. Every parent has their own way of coping and may find different things helpful. Try not to despair. You have to remember that there is nothing that you have done to cause the colic. Also, be aware that colic usually goes away by 3-4 months of age, often much sooner. Here are a few tips: Check for Gas – Burp, burp, burp…If you do suspect that gas is the culprit in your baby’s crying, be diligent about burping after feeds. Hunger – Try feeding you baby but avoid overfeeding your baby because this may also make her uncomfortable. Try to wait at least 2 to 2 ½ hours from the beginning of one feeding...

To Co-Sleep or Not?

By: Alexa Bigwarfe As many young couples do, when my first husband and I started talking about having a family, we had our list of things we would not allow our children to do. They would not throw tantrums in public. They would eat what we prepared for them. They would not back talk. And they certainly would not sleep in our bed. After all, that was our space and we did not want children in our bed with us. However, when we made that pledge, we did not know the challenges life would throw at us. We did not know I would wind up pregnant with identical twin girls and be hospitalized three times, the final time for almost five weeks. We did not know that two days after being born, one of our twins would die. We did not know a lot of things before we had children. And as all parents do, we adjusted to life. We did well enforcing the “no sleeping in our bed” with our first child, although we probably would have slept more if we’d just allowed him to crawl into bed with us. He was three and a half before he stopped waking up in the middle of the night. Our second child was off to a great start. We moved her into a toddler bed at a young 18 months of age to prepare for the arrival of the twins. Life changed drastically when I was admitted into the hospital for a five week stay. My husband, who spent long days at work and then time with me in the...

Exhibits Around Town

Compiled by Michelle Talsma Everson   It’s already half way through summer, which means many of us are looking for new and exciting things to do before the kids go back to school—indoors of course! Luckily, the Valley is home to a variety of family-friendly exhibits of all stripes; from science to art to sea creatures, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for a fantastic round up of kid-friendly exhibits and start exploring today!   The World of Giant Insects Arizona Science Center’s latest featured exhibition, The World of Giant Insects, transports you into a bug’s life getting up close and personal with interactive animatronic critters. With every aspect of the exhibition designed in collaboration alongside prominent entomologists to ensure scientific accuracy, and utilizing technology to create life-like movements and gestures, you will truly feel like you are being transported into another world. Through Sept. 5; Arizona Science Center; www.azscience.org   Recycled Orchestra One of the most popular exhibits at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is located in the Latin America Gallery. The Recycled Orchestra display highlights the ensemble’s inspiring story and innovative instruments. In a slum town in Paraguay, families survive by collecting and reselling garbage. In 2009, ecological technician and visionary music teacher Favio Chávez gathered a small team to plunder the massive landfill of Cateura for materials and constructed an ensemble of instruments made of recyclable trash extracted from the landfill. In just a few years, their innovation and passion have led to a thriving music school and a youth orchestra that performs internationally. Ongoing; Musical Instrument Museum; www.MIM.org   The Ultimate Octonauts Experience This new...

Parents Ask: Speech Development

Q:  I can understand my 4-year-old, but most other people have trouble, including his father. Is there something wrong with him? What sounds should he be saying? What should I do? – Sidney, Glendale   People in your family should be able to understand most of what your 4-year-old says. People who do not know him should understand about half of his productions. If his dad can’t understand what he is saying, you should seek out a speech evaluation by a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP).   Most speech problems are developmental and can be fully corrected. They result from poor auditory discrimination of individual speech sounds and/or improper motor patterning for sound production. Some speech problems are more complicated and stem from difficulty learning the rules for how sounds are made in English. These children usually exhibit several error sounds. Less often, speech problems result from neurological differences that interrupt the motor patterns needed for speech. No matter the cause, an SLP can show you and your child how to produce sounds correctly and establish a therapy plan to improve speech production.   A 4-year-old child should be able to say all vowel sounds, and many consonants in words, including  /b/, /p/, /m/, /n/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /s/, /z/, (sh), (ch), (j), and /l/.  If he is not yet producing /r/, /v/, or (th) accurately, look for those by the time he or she is five. While some milestones indicate not to worry about some sounds until the child is 7 years of age, those norms are based on studies that were done in the 1950s. Children today...

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