Online Photo Safety for Kids

Online Photo Safety for Kids

online safety for kids

Online photo safety for kids should be on every parent’s mind.  It’s not uncommon nowadays for photos of children to be posted online before they are even born, but is it safe?  Announcing your pregnancy by posting a baby scan is a ‘thing’ on Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t stop once there, a recent survey found that an average parent will post almost 1,000 photos of their child online before he or she turns five.  We live in an age of “sharenting,’ so we have to learn how to navigate this new trend in a safe manner.

Our children learn most from watching us and copying what we do.  If you want your child to only post photos when they have the consent of the people in them, ask their permission before posting photos of them. Likewise, if they ask you to remove a photo that they find embarrassing, take it down. The chances are your child will do the same if they find themselves in a similar situation.

There are no hard and fast rules for this topic, however, there are some things to consider before you hit the share button:

online safety for kids
Edit your life:

Be selective about what you share online.  Don’t post photos of everything that happens in your life no matter how cute you think your child looks in them.  Think twice about sharing photos taken in bathroom and bedroom settings. You can’t control the context in which the photos will be seen.

Ask yourself will this photo cause my child embarrassment now or in the future?

Everything we post online creates a digital footprint and for young people maintaining a good online reputation is becoming increasingly important. Parents should consider any long-term risks of sharing photos of their children online. Some photographs have the potential to go viral.

Check Your Settings:

Social networks regularly update settings, so it is important to review your settings. If you are a regular user of Facebook, the social network allows users to do a Privacy Checkup which makes it very easy for users to understand who they are sharing content with.

 

Who will see my photos?

Ensure you are happy with your privacy settings and understand who may potentially see your images. It is a good idea to regularly review your friend/connections on social networks. Some networks, for example, Facebook allow users to limit/customize who they share posts with.  Some things will always be public. Parents should beware that some posts/photos are always public for example; Twitter profile photos, Facebook cover images and featured photos.

Is your location service disabled? 

Many social networks and apps allow you to share your location. Some people may not be aware that this function is automatically enabled on some apps and networks.  Consider reviewing this when sharing family photos.

I realize that we ultimately want that ‘connection’ with people- to share our lives, our families, our children, and a great way to do this is through posting photos on social media and online.  The virtual world has brought us an entirely new way of interacting and connecting with others, but we just want to ensure that we do so in the safest way possible. 

Let’s do it responsibly, and you will find that if they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” we will be sharing beautiful novels with our friends, families and loved ones every time we post our cherished photos!

For more information, check out these resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Child Safety in the ‘Online World’

Child Safety in the ‘Online World’

online safety for kids

How do we keep children safe in the ‘online world?  I know the ‘ordinary world’ we live in can be extremely difficult to navigate (especially with kids).  The ‘virtual world’ is no different.   Our responsibility can get even more complicated as parents.  It makes me wonder how can we protect our children effectively in this ‘brave new world?’  How are we supposed to keep them safe from something that is nearly impossible to control?

Online Safety Tips for Kids:

I didn’t have a guide for how to handle the internet with my children, but now I do.  Check out my top internet preparation tips to make sure going online is a positive experience for both you and your kids:

online safety for kids

1. Discover the Internet together

Be the one to introduce your child to the internet, because for both us as parents and children  it is an advantage to discover the internet together.  Try to find websites that are exciting and fun so that together you achieve a positive attitude when it comes to surfing the web.  This could make it easier to share both positive and negative experiences in the future so that your children will come to you for anything.

2. Set rules with your child for Internet use 

Try to reach an agreement with your child on the guidelines which apply to Internet use in your household. 

  • Discuss when and for how long it’s acceptable for your child to use the Internet.
  • Agree on how to treat personal information (name, address, telephone, e-mail).
  • Discuss how to behave towards others when gaming, chatting, e-mailing or messaging.
  • Agree on what type of sites and activities are OK or not OK in your family.
  • Follow the rules yourself! Or at least explain why the rules are different for adults.

3. Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information

A simple rule for younger children should be that the child should not give out their name, phone number or photo without your approval.  Older children using social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, should be encouraged to be selective about what personal information and photos they post to online spaces.  Regardless of privacy settings, once material is online you can no longer control who sees it or how it’s used.

4. Talk about the risks associated with meeting online “friends” in person

Adults should understand that the internet can be a positive meeting place for children, where they can get to know other young people and make new friends.  However, for safety and to avoid unpleasant experiences, it is important that children do not meet strangers they have met online without being accompanied by an adult you trust.  In any case, the child should always have their parents’ approval first.  In addition, it’s also a good idea to have a fool-proof plan in place such as calling them shortly after the meeting begins so that they can bail out if they feel uncomfortable.

5. Teach your child about evaluating information and being critically aware of information found online. 

Most children use the internet to improve and develop their knowledge in relation to schoolwork and personal interests.  Children should be aware that not all information found online is correct, accurate or relevant.  Show your child how to check the information they find by comparing it to alternative sources on the same topic.  Show them trusted sites they can use to compare their information.

 

6. Don’t be too critical towards your child’s exploration of the Internet

Children may come across adult material by accident on the web.  Also, a child may intentionally search for such websites; remember that it is natural for children to be curious about off-limits material.  Try to use this as an opening to discuss the content with them, and perhaps make rules for this kind of activity.  We have to be careful but also realistic in our assessment of how your child uses the internet.

 

7. Let your children show you what they like to do online

To be able to guide your child with regard to Internet use, it’s important to understand how children use the Internet and know what they like to do online.  Let your child show you which websites they like visiting and what they do there.

 

8. Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives.

The Internet is an excellent educational and recreational resource for children, so encourage your child to make the most of it and explore the internet to its full potential.

As we know, the internet is now part of our culture and it is here to stay.  Since it is such a valuable resource for us as parents in many positive ways, it’s not something we should be fighting against, rather something that we need to embrace with our children in a healthy way.   If we help them to develop these good online habits at an early age, these practices will stay with them through their adult lives and will help them to form a positive relationship with the internet, making their virtual world a healthy and safe reality. 

As always, I’d love to hear which blogs resonate most with you!  Feel free to reach out and message me on Facebook & Instagram!

 

For more information, check out these resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Save Kids from ‘Cranky Time’ During Daylight Savings

Save Kids from ‘Cranky Time’ During Daylight Savings

It’s that daylight savings time of year again, and you know what that means…cranky kids, temper tantrums, and no sleep for you, right?  Well, not necessarily…we’ve got you covered. The ‘spring ahead, fall back’ time changes can mix up everyone’s schedule.  The loss of just one hour can really affect a child’s attention span, appetite, and overall mood. You can minimize the effects of daylight savings time by being prepared.

Here are some helpful tips on how to get kids back on track so everyone can get a good night’s sleep. 

Allow Time for Gradual Adjustment:

It takes some time to adapt to a loss of sleep.  So if your child normally goes to bed at 8 p.m., put him/her to bed at 7:45 p.m., then 7:30 p.m., and so on, until they are going to bed as close to 7 p.m. as possible.  This step-by-step process is not as much a shock to the system, as it is when you abruptly expect your child to fall asleep an hour earlier after the time change. If you’re having trouble getting your child to bed earlier, which is often the case in older kids, then just focus on getting them up in the morning a bit earlier instead.  When daylight savings time ends in the fall, this gradual approach can still help — follow the same guidelines — just push the wake-up times and bedtimes a little later rather than earlier.

To Make Bedtime Easier, Control the Lights:

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your body’s internal clock. The levels of this hormone increase in the evening as it becomes dark to help induce sleep. Melatonin levels decrease when it’s light out to assist with wakefulness and alertness.  Daylight savings time alters your natural cycle, and the results can be particularly difficult for kids. I recommend dimming the lights in your child’s bedroom and turning off all electronics about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. According to The National Sleep Foundation, these devices can reduce sleep time, sleep quality, and daytime alertness because of light exposure and brain engagement right before bedtime. 

In the morning, you should try to get your child into the light as much as possible. Natural sunlight is best, so if weather permits, make sure there is sunlight entering your home, or turn on the lights so it’s nice and bright! To help when you “fall back,” make sure your child has some light exposure in the early evening.  Be careful to ensure that your child’s room doesn’t become too bright too soon in the early morning.

Establish a Routine:

When daylight savings time begins or ends, it’s especially important to stick with a bedtime routine.  Your child is now dealing with a change in schedule that might throw him off.  It’s absolutely critical that they have a routine during bedtime because that’s what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. One option is giving your child a warm bath, reading him a book, and snuggling together before lights out.

Get Enough Sleep Beforehand:

In the days before you change your clocks, make sure your child is getting plenty of shut-eye. Sleep results in more sleep, so going into daylight savings time well-rested will greatly help your child because he won’t be cranky and overtired, which can make falling asleep even harder.

 

Be Supportive and Understanding:

In the days following daylight savings time, try to be more forgiving if your child is throwing extra temper tantrums or seems to be particularly frustrated or difficult in any way.  The time change can cause these short-term changes in your child’s mood, but your understanding and support will help them adjust a little better to the new schedule.

 

Take Care of You:

And most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself too!  Many adults feel sluggish and cranky themselves after the time switch, so make sure you’re getting the rest you need as well. Thankfully, these effects are all short-lived — within a week or so, everything should be back to normal.

As always, I’d love to hear which blogs resonate most with you!  Feel free to reach out and message me on Facebook & Instagram!

 

For more information, check out these resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Gun Safety for Kids from a Firefighter Dad

Gun Safety for Kids from a Firefighter Dad

My husband Dave is the dad behind PreparaMom and today, he’s sharing with us tips for educating your children about gun safety. David has served for years as a firefighter and a paramedic. In that time, he has learned the value of being prepared for any situation or emergency which is why I tapped him for help with this very important topic.

First, let’s talk about exactly how you should approach talking with your kids on gun safety. 

What kids should know about gun safety:

1. Awareness

Teach your children to be aware of what a gun looks like and that it can come in many sizes and shapes. Emphasize they are not toys and should never be touched or handled. If a child finds a gun lying out, they should not touch it, but should let you or an adult know. This includes when they are at a friend’s house. If their friend tries to touch or handle a gun, they should let an adult know immediately.

McGruff the Crime Dog has a very simple approach that may be helpful for you when communicating with your children about firearm safety as well as helpful for your kids to remember:

Stop.

Don’t Touch.                                                                        

Get Away.

Tell an Adult.

2. Behavior

If a child becomes really curious and wants to use a gun, redirect their curiosity to something safer. Nerf guns or blunted bows and arrows are good options for this and can be used in target practice. 

Reinforce that even these safer options should NEVER be pointed at anyone and they should NEVER shoot a person (including themselves) or an animal with any type of gun – toy or otherwise. The idea is this should only be used for target practice.

What Parents Should Know About Gun Safety

1. Education

The most important thing is to educate your child about how to behave around guns. Children should never handle a gun or treat one like a toy. If they see one at a friend’s house, they must be taught to alert an adult so that it can be secured. And kids should never distract someone who is handling a gun, even if they think it is unloaded (like when someone is cleaning or assembling a firearm).

2. Security

Make sure guns are locked away. All guns should be kept in a secret location that a child does not have access to, like a parent’s bedroom or home office. The gun should be secured with a gun lock that will prevent it from being fired. But it should also be placed inside a locked strongbox or gun safe and the child should not have access to the key or combination.

Gun safety is probably one of the most important conversations that you can have with your kids. The big thing to remember here is to not make this a scary issue. This world provides us with plenty of things to worry about and you don’t want your child growing up afraid of the world around them. But a healthy respect for guns and how to be safe around them is extremely vital.

Want to learn more about firearm safety? Here’s a list of helpful resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Tick Removal Done Right

Tick Removal Done Right

Tick Removal Done Right - PreparaMom

Although summer is coming to an end, let’s face it, our kids are going to be as active as possible during the fall and winter months. 

A lot of people seem to be of the opinion that spring and summer are the only times you have to worry about ticks. The reality is that many species of ticks stay alive and somewhat active even into the fall and winter (as long as the temperatures manage to stay above freezing). 

Because of this, it’s important to keep an eye on your kids (and pets) to make sure they stay tick-free. If you do find one of the little bugs on you or a loved one, there’s a proper way to remove it quickly. You don’t want to develop Lyme Disease or end up with an infection.

 

Tick Check

The first thing you need to do when you come in from walking or playing outside is to do a quick tick check. Ticks What to Look For - PreparaMom

Inspect your legs, arms, and have someone else check the areas you can’t see yourself, specifically your scalp, neck, ears, your eyebrows and underarms. (Yes, they can and do dig in and hide themselves in the hair. Since most ticks are smaller than a centimeter, it’s easy for them to hide.) 

If you’re going into a wooded area or an open area with really tall grass (higher than your shoes), be sure to wear knee-length socks, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. You can also consider tucking your pants into your socks for extra protection. (It may look weird, but it’s a lot better than Lyme Disease.) Take a shower to wash off any loose ticks and immediately throw your clothes into the dryer for ten minutes to kill any ticks with heat before you wash them.

 

Tick Removal

If you find a tick on yourself, child, or a pet, there’s a method to removing it. When a tick bites you, it drives its head under the skin. If you just yank the tick off or scratch it off, you may leave the bug’s head inside you. 

This alone won’t cause Lyme Disease, but it will often lead to a really nasty infection. Instead, use tweezers (or a specially designed tick removal tool) to grab the tick firmly as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight up and out. Don’t twist it or move it back and forth. Just pull straight until the tick lets go. 

Tick Removal - PreparaMom

Aftercare for Tick Removal

After you do this, be sure to wash the bite (and your hands) with anti-bacterial soap. You can also use a medicinal ointment like Neosporin. If the bite area develops a red ring, red bumps or if the person develops aches and a fever, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

 

Take Time to Check  

The great outdoors can be a fun place to walk, play, and explore. However, you need to respect these areas by paying attention to the hidden dangers lurking out there such as ticks. Even though they can be some of the tiniest bugs in the wilderness, they can cause really severe problems if you don’t handle them properly.

 

Be Prepared for the Great Outdoors!

Enjoy knowing that no matter what happens at the park or playing ball – you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are. Designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Top 3 Meds Every Parent Should Have on Hand

Top 3 Meds Every Parent Should Have on Hand

Top 3 Meds Every Parent Should Have on Hand - PreparaMom

There’s something about seeing our kids looking so small and helpless when they’re ill that kicks in the “mom” instinct making us want to kiss it and make it all better. 

But if mom’s kisses don’t cure the problem, then you’re going to have to turn to the first aid kit or the medicine cabinet. When that happens, there are a few medicines you absolutely MUST have on hand for just such an emergency. If you don’t, Murphy’s Law dictates you’ll need the item at the least convenient time (such as in the middle of the night or when your spouse isn’t home and you’ll have to load all the kids into the car for a trip to the drugstore). 

 

Here are three meds you need to have on hand in your medicine cabinet:

Top 3 Meds Every Parent Should Have on Hand - PreparaMom

Motrin

 

This is a nice one to have on hand as a painkiller and fever-reducer. The generic form of Motrin is ibuprofen and you can get this in pill form for your older kids or as a liquid suspension for the little ones. 

It’s an NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) that works by blocking inflammation to reduce pain. Because of its anti-inflammatory nature, it makes Motrin an ideal choice if your child gets banged up a bit playing sports. 

As a fever-reducer, it can really help. 

 

Tylenol

 

When you’re using Motrin for a fever reducer, it may not work right away to bring the fever down but the problem is that you can’t give too many doses in a short period of time. 

For example, when I give my kids motrin, I usually can’t give the next dose for another 6 hours. But if their fever is still up, I can’t wait six hours. I need to get that fever down. So in this case, I would give them some Tylenol at the mid way point, which is at the 3 hour mark. Then in another 3 hours, if they still have the fever, I can give them the next dose of Motrin because it has been 6 hours since the last time they got it. Same concept with the Tylenol. I would alternate with these 2 meds until the fever came down.

The generic name for Tylenol is acetaminophen, so be sure you look for this if you aren’t getting the name brand. Also, as with any medicine, check the weight chart for the right dosage so you know you’re giving your little one the correct amount.

 

Benadryl

 

The third med you really need to keep on hand is Benadryl. This is an antihistamine, so it can help with allergy relief symptoms like a runny nose or sneezing. It’s also been linked to alleviating nausea from car sickness. But what you really want this medicine for is if your child has an allergic reaction to something. 

If your child starts breaking out in hives or a mild rash, you want a quick response. If your child is showing signs of swelling particularly around the tongue and mouth or is wheezing, whatever caused the reaction could lead to anaphylactic shock and time is of the essence.  A dose of Benadryl will help alleviate the symptoms. It’s important you follow up with getting your child help at an emergency room as Benadryl is only intended to be a temporary measure to give you more time to get help. 

 

How Medicines Have Changed Since We Were Kids!

Mary Poppins famously sang that a “spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Thankfully, a lot of these new medicines come in flavors that aren’t as awful tasting as when we were kids. But for the everyday aches, pains, and ailments your kid is most likely to develop, these are the three over-the-counter medicines you need to always have on tap at home. 

 

Be Prepared for Illness!

Knowing no matter what happens at home, the park or playing ball, you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are – PRICELESS! Designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.