Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What Triggers Allergies?

Season change is generally a warning sign to seasonal allergy sufferers that the days of puffy eyes, runny noses, and uncontrollable sneezing is right around the corner. Allergy sufferers are usually knowledgeable when it comes to combating seasonal allergies, but could staying away from allergy triggers help ease the symptoms?

Keep antihistamines close by, stay indoors when pollen counts are high, and  invest in a nasal spray are common tips throughout allergy season, but steering clear of the following allergy triggers might make for a less congested turn of the season:
  • Take caution when consuming fruits. Spring and summer fruits can contain fruit pollen, causing in increase in allergy symptoms.
  • Limit the use of hair sprays, gels, and serums. Many hair products cause stickiness, allowing pollen to gravitate, and remain, in the hair until the next wash.
  • Leave the flowers in the garden. While flowers can brighten up any room, bringing a possible allergen into the home can cause a spike in symptoms.
  • Maintain a cool environment. Humidity in the home can mass produce dust, resulting is sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. Running a humidifier for a few hours each day could be beneficial. 
  • Shower before bed. Showering before bed is a great way to wash away any pollen or outside allergen that may have settled on clothing and skin.
Avoiding allergy triggers is a great help to those who suffer as the seasons change each year. If allergies worsen, be sure to seek medical attention.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monitor Kids Behavior by Choosing the Right Foods

At PNN's last Nanny Get Together, we were fortunate to have Aura Carlson, Child Development Consultant and Integrative Health Coach, present the first of a three part series about caring for the well-being of children. There, she discussed food allergies, sensitivities, healthy eating, and much more. If you missed her talk, here is a synopsis of what she presented.

           Many factors can affect a child's behavior, including food. Food can alter a child's energy level, mood, and ability to concentrate. When blood sugar is inconsistent throughout the day, it could send kids on an emotional rollercoaster. A good way to curve blood sugar fluctuation is to maintain a good balance of protein and fiber. In addition to healthy meals, snacks such as hummus and crackers, apples and peanut butter, cheese and whole grain crackers, and veggies are great options.
When choosing healthy meals for kids, be sure to differentiate between snacks and treats. Teach them that snacks are "fuel food" that keeps them going throughout the day. Treats are special occasions that can be enjoyed in moderation and not everyday! Too much sugar can cause kids to become overly energized until they turn grumpy and tired. Aura's two fun questions to ask children when choosing whether to have a snack or treat are "Does it grow? And is it a color of the rainbow?"
Getting kids involved in activities around food is another great way to encourage healthy eating to maintain good behaviors. Allow kids in the kitchen during meal prep. Kids can open the ingredients, chop vegetables with a butter knife, stir any sauces, tear lettuce, or toss the salad. Not only does this make kids feel involved, it allows the adult in the room to take notice of which foods kids gravitate towards.
Lastly, when considering the different foods kids consume on a daily basis, it is important to notice if food sensitivity is causing a behavior/mood switch. Sensitivities can interfere with attention to detail, energy levels, skin reactions, sleeping habits, and mood stability. If you begin to notice any of these signs, try removing a particular food for a test period and continue with different foods until you discover the source of the sensitivity.
It is important to understand that everything we put into our mouths becomes a part of our bloodstream, so think healthy!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Protect Yourself Against Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a year-round concern, but during the winter months when windows and doors are shut tight, awareness is heightened. We hear many more news stories with related carbon monoxide-induced accidents. Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer found in the fumes created when fuel is burning. These fumes can come from cars, stoves, grills, fireplaces, and water heaters. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled but the effects are dangerous, sometimes fatal.
            The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and deliriousness. Some of these symptoms can mirror the flu, so be cautious if a charge presents these ailments. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests taking the following steps to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
  • Have the mechanic inspect your car’s exhaust system annually.
  • Never let a car sit idle inside the garage, even if the garage door is open.
  • In the event of inclement weather, make sure your tailpipe is not blocked with snow, ice, leaves, or other debris.
  • Keep children away from the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home. There are many brands that make a smoke/carbon monoxide detector combined. Check the battery regularly.
  • Clean chimneys regularly to avoid build up that could cause a carbon monoxide build up.
  • If there is a generator in the home, make sure that it is less than 20 feet from the window or door.

We hope these tips will help you have a safe and cozy winter!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Volunteer With PNN!

According to the US Census Bureau, Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate among the nation’s ten largest cities. That means 1 in 4 Philadelphians live in poverty with over 100,000 of those being kids. Volunteering and donating in your neighborhood can help change those statistics. Over the years, PNN has encouraged nannies to bring clothing, toys, and everyday supplies to our get togethers so they could be donated to Cradles to Crayons, an organization with the mission of providing children ages 0 to 12 some of the most important basics of life—free of charge. This year, we have taken it one step further and made it our mission to not only donate goods, but to volunteer. With the generous help of PNN’s Volunteer Liaison, Ellen Owen, we geared up for the challenge. On January 9th, Ellen, along with PNN staff and nannies, volunteered at our local Cradles to Crayons in Conshohocken to help clean toys and other supplies for children in need. On February 13th, Ellen is organizing a second volunteer event. Now is the time to help provide children newborns through 12 years living in low-income situations thrive at home and in school. Working at a volunteer station such as Clothing Sort, Outfits, School Supplies, Shoes, Toys, or Shopping, for two hours, gives a valuable gift to those in need.

Join us! Click to register for Team PNN’s February 13th event from 10a-12p. Register

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Year's Resolutions Can Be for Kids Too!

Every January, adults around the world set goals for the new year. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children can also take part in this global trend by working on resolutions relevant to their age group. Potential resolutions for your charge include:

Ages 3-5
  • Wash hands repeatedly throughout the day.
  • Put toys back where they belong when playtime is over.
  • Be nice to other children on the playground and in school.
  • Learn two new things each week.
Ages 6-12
  • Limit the amount of daily sugary drinks.
  • Learn a new sport or activity.
  • Find a balance between technology and outdoor play.
  • Make new friends.
  • Follow all home and school safety rules.
Ages 13-18
  • Eat the recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables.
  • Find a healthy balance between online and face-to-face interaction.
  • Resist peer pressure.
  • Ask for help from adults when needed.
  • Treat people with respect.
  • If applicable, do not text and drive.
Now that you and your charge have your 2016 resolutions set, have fun motivating one another!
Happy New Year from PNN!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Play Safe with Holiday Gifts!

With the holidays, children are gifted with new toys and trinkets from well-meaning loved ones. While everyone enjoys a child’s face when they open a new gift, be sure to follow all safety precautions when introducing a new item. The goal is for playtime to be hazard-free. Here are some tips for safe gifting:
  •  Choose age appropriate toys. Toy packaging notes the proper age group for a specific toy. Choose gifts that are suitable for the child’s skills, abilities, and will spark their interest.
  •  Follow directions. Before handing a new toy to a child, be sure to read the instructions. This is best to do before buying the item to ensure that there are no serious dangers.
  •  Buy safety accessories. If purchasing items such as a bike, skateboard, scooter, skates, or the new hot ticket hover board, buy the necessary safety gear. Items such as arm/knee pads and helmets should be added as part of the gift.
  •   Properly dispose of packaging. Tags, zip ties, plastic bags, and staples are just some of the harmful debris that comes with new packaging. It is best for the parent or caregiver to open the new item prior to playtime, or be vigilant about the cleanup of a torn open package.
  •  Pay attention. Monitor children when they are playing with a new toy. Be sure that the child is capable of managing the toy and no safety concerns arise.
  •  Store toys after playtime. Put toys away when they are not in use. Tripping, stepping, or falling on a toy left lying around can cause an avoidable accident!
Remember, play safe and play smart!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Talking To Kids About Tragedy

In light of the recent Paris attacks and continued fight against terrorism, parents and caregivers around the world are a little more vigilant and keeping a closer eye on their environment during their daily activities. When tragedies occur, how do parents and caregivers explain abstruse situations to innocent children?
Begin by finding out what they already know. Never assume children know all details. They may have walked by a room when adults were talking or listened to snippets of the news. Launching into unnecessary detail may cause information to be shared or exaggerated or cause undue fear.
With children, the more lucid the explanation, the easier it is for everyone. Analogies are a great form of communication for young children. Relate the occurring tragedy to situations they encounter every day. Children should be informed about their surroundings, never fear them. Acknowledge which emotion they could be harboring and reassure them that they are secure with you. Children need to know that they have safe places where no harm can come their way. Allow children to ask questions before providing them with excess details. Too much information can sometime cause more fear than security.
Prepare children. In case of emergency, they need to know who to contact, where to go, and that someone is there to protect them. Watching the news (age appropriate) with children gives allowance for age appropriate dialog. The older they become, the more detailed the conversation will be. In today’s world, the most important thing a parent, or caregiver, can do is to monitor their surroundings and take all necessary precautions for safety. Talking to Kids About Tragedy