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Donna Duarte-Ladd

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How Parents, Kids Can Ease Into The New School Year

Parents, teachers, and students remain concerned about how safe school will be this fall. (Getty Images)

As a working parent, I know that I am lucky to work for a parenting platform. Still, unfortunately, many fellow parents I have spoken to have either had to lessen their workload or do not feel supported in balancing their children’s remote school day as well as their own workload.

According to the Maven Clinic and the Maven commission survey, 57 percent of working parents do not feel fully supported by their employer as they navigate child care decisions for the Fall, and 63 percent are undecided on childcare options for children under 18 years old.

As we enter into a new school year, how can we ease our kids back into full-time or blended remote learning? And how can we as parents ease up on our workload stress when we are also at home watching the kids? We chatted with Mercedes Samudio, a Maven Parenting Coach and Mental Health Provider, on strategies and tips on having a school year in COVID times where balance is a work in progress for all.

Speaking from experience, both my kids have become attached to me; how do I prepare them on going back to school? We become attached to those closest to us during stressful times. Investigate what they are truly feeling about the situation and support them by giving them options on what they can do when they miss you, feel intense emotions, or need support. Sometimes just knowing that, even in separation, they still have a way to connect with you could help them.

Students are doing virtual learning in some capacity; how do we help them in avoiding burnout? Schedule breaks during the day. Make a plan for how the days will look, and keep it for a week or two, then reassess if this current schedule is working. After seeing how they are managing virtual learning, send an email to their teachers letting them know of anything that the teacher or school can do to help ease the overwhelm (like letting them turn the camera off for a few minutes). Overall, observe how they are doing, and do weekly check-ins to make sure that their current schedule isn’t overwhelming them.

With so many parents now working remotely, how can parents shut-off after work? This is a proactive space, meaning that you have to set a schedule and do your best to stick to it. For example, decide when you’re done for the day based on your workload and your scheduled work hours. After those hours, turn off notifications to work apps/email and do your best not to check them until the next workday. Be sure to schedule in breaks as well during the day so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Let your supervisors/team know your schedule, and even set up an away/auto-response message for email/texts/voicemail that lets others know when you are available and when you will respond to messages.

Many parents are on auto-control, how can they take care of themselves when really they are never alone? 
This is the toughest because each family operates differently. However, one way to get a good understanding of how your family works — when does everyone get burned out, when does everyone nap (if they do), when do we eat, etc. I suggest taking a two week period to observe and investigate the rhythms of your family. Then once you have that you can develop a plan for everyone to have downtime, free time, or calm time (or for little ones, nap time) — this will help everyone take some space from their day and help you to also find time to take a break as well. Making a choice to be proactive about caring for yourself is a habit that has to be built up and reassessed. Be gentle with yourself as you’re making these transitions.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com

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Pro Tips For Creating A Homeschool Nook For Remote Learning

Homeschool nooks should have good lighting. (Getty Images)

When the COVID-19 quarantine first started, many parents, thinking remote learning would be temporary, threw together makeshift spaces for the kids. 

Many have since accepted that it’s time to make the kid’s homeschool nook permanent. But how?

Mikayla Keating, an interior designer Decorist, which offers its services at $199 per room, shared these helpful tips.

What is the best way to go about creating this space? Look for a space that is quiet, in a corner, or has good lighting. The nook does not have to be large, but a place where your child can sit down and feel comfortable. 

When is a child-size or adult-size desk appropriate? The desk should be about 8 inches from the seat of the chair to promote good posture. In most cases, the best time to upgrade to a full-size desk is when your child is in their preteens. 

Is the chair choice important? Your chair choice is very important. It needs to be a proper chair since this helps children concentrate and promotes good posture. The chair should allow your child to sit with both feet flat on the floor.

What about lighting? Good lighting is important, as well. Your child will be less likely to strain their eyes and will help them focus. If you are able to, set up your school nook by a window for natural light. 

What are the must-haves for the desk? My must-haves for any desk are a pencil cup, a desk lamp, a magazine file for loose papers, and sticky notes. 

For the full version of this story visit newyorkfamily.com

For more education coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/education

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How To Avoid Ticks, Prevent Lyme Disease

Ticks are tiny but can cause big medical problems. (Getty Images)

After spending months indoors, many Long Islanders are indulging in day trips to woodsy areas to get some socially distant fresh air — trading coronavirus risks for Lyme disease exposure.

Tickborne disease prevention should be part of every family’s summer routine. Here is a cheat sheet on how to avoid them. 

SHADY AREAS PREFERRED
Since ticks are extremely sensitive to heat, one is most likely to encounter them in shady rather than sunny areas. Since ticks do not fly or hop about, they are brushed on to clothing when people walk through tall grass, says Phillip J. Baker, Ph.D., executive director of the American Lyme Disease Foundation.

WHICH SPRAY?
DEET is the recommended product for use on skin, though it shouldn’t be applied under clothes. When used as directed, it’s both effective and safe on skin and clothes. Sprays containing permethrin, such as Repel, are for clothing. Although DEET is not harmful when applied to the skin, heavy sweating may affect how long it lasts, according to consumerreports.org. When used on clothing, permethrin binds tenaciously to fiber and will withstand several wash/dry cycles. 

“One does not have to spray outdoor clothing daily,” Dr. Baker says. “There are several organic insect repellents on the market. Some are effective, and others are not. I usually use DEET because I know it works and is safe.”

TICK CHECKS
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends checking all clothing for attached ticks. Remove any clothing with ticks on it and throw it in the dryer on a high setting.Then do a body check on yourself as well as your children. The CDC recommends showering within two hours of coming indoors to wash away any unattached ticks.

IF IT’S ATTACHED
To remove a tick, use sharp-tip tweezers, get as close to the skin as possible, and grasp the tick. Pull the tick straight out. Either “squish” the tick in a tissue and then flush it down the toilet, or put the tick in a vial of alcohol that will kill it, says Dr. Baker.

SIGNS OF LYME
The Mayo Clinic states that symptoms of Lyme disease can vary, with the most distinct being a rash that usually surrounds a bite. When a rash starts to appear, which can be from three to 30 days, it will look a bit like a bull’s eye. Other symptoms can be fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com

Related Story: Seasonal Uptick in Lyme Disease Concerns on Long Island

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Summer Reading Suggestions for Kids Ages 3 to Young Adult

Teaching kids how to share is part of learning boundaries. (Photo by AnukEvo)

This is a summer like no other, camps are limited, and kids are either learning remote or staying close to home.

It may be a ‘new normal,’ but this doesn’t change that reading a great book is an excellent opportunity for kids to keep their minds on the learning path. We have curated a cool list of books that take you to the moon, show you that you matter to goats contending with a chupacabra, and more!

Here are 11 books for summer reading for kids 3 and up!

Cool Cuts Written and Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe – Ages 3-7

A celebration of a boys’ natural Black hair that shows eclectic and cool hairstyles. Vibrant illustrations of swirly curls, a fro-hawk, or mini twists — this book celebrates hair with positive messages and joy. $9.67, amazon.com

For the full story, visit NewYorkFamily.com

Related Story: The Best Online Tutoring Resources For Kids During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Emerging Mystery Illness: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children

Pediatrician or doctor checks a girl's body temperature using infrared forehead thermometer. (Getty Image)

Parents have had a lot to worry about these last few months. Now there’s a mysterious illness affecting children. 

Many are calling this illness Kawasaki syndrome, a sometimes fatal condition that may mimic Kawasaki, but it is not Kawasaki disease. It has been diagnosed in more than 150 New York children as of press time, including several on Long Island, one of whom died in April.

Dr. Christopher Kelly, chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, shared what this mystery illness is and what parents need to know about the symptoms.

Is this mystery illness Kawasaki disease? This is not Kawasaki disease. Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) shares a lot of similarities to Kawasaki but also several differences, which is what we are seeing. When we look at both of them — the reason people are saying it’s Kawasaki-like is because of these similarities. However, with PMIS, we are seeing the following: Conjunctivitis (red eyes) without discharge; red, cracked lips and a strawberry tongue; rash to the body; and swelling and peeling of the hands and feet.

What are the similarities between MIS-C and Kawasaki disease? Both tend to have high fevers for several days, sometimes more than a week. What’s different is, most kids with MIS-C present with GI symptoms — severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and a lot of diarrhea. Also, we’re seeing this predominantly in school-age children (5 to 15 years), whereas Kawasaki typically affects kids under the age of 5. Although we see this condition in all ages, the majority is at the ages of 5 to 15. What is concerning about both is that they lead to inflammation of blood vessels and the heart, which, if untreated, can cause serious long-standing problems, which is why it is so important to diagnose the symptoms. 

Is it connected to COVID-19? There definitely seems to be a link at this point in time. Most of these cases seem to occur approximately one month after a geographic area has seen a spike in adult COVID cases. There is a thought that this is a post infectious reaction to COVID in children. Most children have tested positive for either the virus via a nose or stool swab, or have evidence of antibodies in their blood. Further research will need to be done to show if it’s a direct result of infection.  

See full story at NewYorkFamily.com

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Free Resources To Keep Kids Engaged During The Pandemic

Homeschooling has become the norm after coronavirus. (Getty Images)

Coronavirus school closures have unleashed an educational limbo in which many parents are treading new territory as they keep everyone sane and, most importantly, keep their kids on the learning path. To help, here’s a roundup of free online educational resources to keep kids occupied at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

PBS KIDS 
For toddlers up to preK students, parents will love the collection of printables that are geared to support kids in learning. Kids can also hop onto their favorite shows such as Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train, where games are designed to enrich their education.

NANO WRIMO
With time on their hands, this site is for the young writer who is itching to write a novel… in 30 days. Common Core-aligned lesson plans from prewriting to publishing help kids from lower elementary to high school to develop and fine-tune their writing skills. 

SCIENCE FRIDAY
For elementary to high school students with lessons that engage through stories and podcasts. Segments in categories such as physics, chemistry, Earth science, biology, and more will provide kids with a new way of seeing science. 

COOLMATH4KIDS
Coolmath4kids is for kids from kindergarten to sixth grade. Kids can work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions through online math games, quizzes, manipulatives, and more. For kids 13 and up, visit the sister site at coolmath.com.

HOWSTUFFWORKS.COM
Kids can ask the craziest things. But what if (gasp!) you do not have the answer? Send them to HowStuffWorks.com. From How the Shamrock Shake Became McDonald’s Mintiest Legend to What’s the Difference Between a Mountain Lion and a Cougar? We can’t promise this site has the answer for everything, but it comes pretty darn close.  

Read the full story at NewYorkFamily.com

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