Category Archives: life

Guest Blog: Top Five Distractions for Children in the Classroom

From Buzzies.

Parents and teachers know that it can be challenging to keep children focused and on task. Classrooms are full of distractions, especially for children with attention deficit disorders or autism spectrum disorders. It is important to understand why children are distracted so that we can create calm and focused learning spaces.

Here are the top five distractions for children in the classroom, according to Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin:

1) internal distractions, internal thoughts, anxiety, etc.
2) sensory sensitivities, too much noise, light, temperature sensitivities, etc.
3) too much sitting still- kids need to move in order to stay focused. Sitting still for too long makes it hard
4) Sudden distractions- loud noises, other kids chatting, etc and
5) Teacher talking too long…kids attention spans are short and teaching in a way that exceeds these spans will mean distractibility because the methods aren’t developmentally appropriate.

Buzzies can help some children to focus by lessening reactivity to sensory distractions and by lowering stress associated with internal thoughts or distractions. Buzzies basic is a version of Buzzies that children can take anywhere and use in the classroom. Buzzies original and Buzzies basic act passively and in real time, they don’ t just buzz to remind a kid to pay attention. There is nothing like Buzzies! Fidget toys, reminders, teacher prompts, etc. all can be helpful but Buzzies work continuously and in real time to help reduce the stress response, which can lead to better focus in some children.

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Fun DIY Sock Bouquets!!

As both a Mom and a Daughter, I completely believe in homemade Mother’s Day gifts.  I love getting these sweet gifts from my kiddos and I totally love giving them to my mom and my mother-in-law.  Sometimes the creativity is just not flowing, though, and I look all around for new ideas.  This year the Knit-Rite/Therafirm team got some inspiration from our own products.  The best part is, we were able to use products from several of our brands to create these adorable sock bouquets.  They’re cute and easy enough for the kiddos to do, too.  Watch our demonstration video below!

List of Supplies Needed:

• Socks of multiple colors, shapes and sizes
• A pair of tights, pantyhose or a piece of fabric of similar size and length
• Rubber bands
• Safety pins
• Your favorite vase

We used some discontinued colors of our Preggers and Therafirm brands, as well as current colors of TheraSport, SmartKnitKIDS, SmartKnit and Therafirm.  Happy bouquet making!

10 Activities to Beat Cabin Fever

Tired of being stuck inside and running out of ideas for indoor play? Grab some household items and bust that boredom with these easy and cheap activities!

#1 Fun with Shaving Cream: Squeeze some foamy shaving cream onto a tabletop, tray, mirror or plastic bin. Encourage your child to use his/her fingers to draw pictures or practice writing letters, words and numbers. Give your child different utensils to use (e.g. eraser end of a pencil, plastic orange peeler) if your child does not want to touch the shaving cream. If your child doesn’t like the smell, place some shaving cream inside a large Ziploc bag before playing with it.

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#2 Bed Sheet Swing: Have your child lay inside a sheet and, with another adult, grab the ends, lift your child slightly off the ground and gently swing him/her back and forth. Count out loud for each swing or incorporate nursery rhymes. Or, play some soft, soothing music and turn down the lights while swinging slowly to help calm your child.

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#3 Pouring and Exploring: Grab some kitchen ladles, measuring cups, pots, Tupperware containers and plastic bowls. Put the items into an empty plastic storage bin. Add some dry foods (e.g. beans, noodles, cereal, oatmeal, salt, rice) and encourage your child to transfer the dry food to and from the different containers. Feeling brave? Instead of dry food, use water and add a variety of cups, pitchers and a turkey baster.

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#4 Parachute Play: Use a flat sheet as a parachute. Throw some balloons or soft, light toys (e.g. stuffed animals, balls, small bean bags) on top and have fun bouncing them around together. Have your child sit underneath or on top of the sheet and shake the sheet fast and then slowly.

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#5 Flashlight Games: If your child is comfortable in a dark room, dim or turn off the lights and have fun playing with flashlights. Take turns shining the flashlight on the floor while the other jumps or stomps on the light. Give your child the flashlight and ask him/her to find an item in the room to shine the light on. Read a book in the dark by shining the flashlight on the words. Put on some music and have fun dancing with flashlights. Make shadow puppets or move your body to make your shadow dance on a wall.

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#6 Cleaning Toys: Lots of kiddos love to help out and often feel pride when they do. So, why not accomplish two things at once? Give your child a plastic bin filled with water or fill up the sink or bathtub. Then, have him/her help wash hard, plastic toys (e.g. Legos, animals, vehicles, blocks, magnetic or foam letters, action figures, dolls). Just add a little soap (kid’s shampoo will also work), water, sponges, rags, toothbrushes and/or dish scrubbers and let your child wash away! You’ll be surprised on how much fun he/she can have. J Place the toys on a towel or tray to dry.

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#7 Buried Treasure: Bury small objects like beads, pennies or, our favorite, wiggle/googly eyes into Play-Doh and have your child pull and stretch the dough to collect each one. Use the empty Play-Doh container as a place to put the found objects. Take turns and allow your child to hide the items for you to find.

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#8 Balloon Play: Blow up some balloons and have fun hitting them back and forth to each other. Kick it up a notch by using fly swatters, cardboard tubes (wrapping paper or paper towel tubes work best) or foam pool noodles to hit the balloons. You can also tie the balloon to a pool noodle to make it easier for beginners.

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#9 Slapping Post-Its: Grab a fly swatter and some Post-its. Use markers to scribble colors, draw shapes and write letters, numbers or words on the Post-its. Then, place the Post-its on a wall or door. Call out a color, shape, etc. and let your child use the fly swatter to slap the Post-it that matches the label. Add a second fly swatter so a friend or sibling can join in on the fun!

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#10 Bedsheet Hammock: Knot the ends of a bedsheet together in the middle of a sturdy table to create a child-friendly hammock! Give your child a cuddly toy and some books or a device to lay back and unwind with for a while.

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About Our Guest Blogger: Melissa Ames has over 16 years of experience working with children with autism, SPD and other needs in both home therapy and school settings. While serving as a dedicated Early Childhood school teacher, ABA home therapist and case manager for home therapy programs, Melissa naturally supported parents of the children she worked with. She observed that parents lack hands-on, ready-made resources to help them be more successful at home, as well as better connect and have fun with their child. Melissa became the change she wanted to see in the world by starting her own company, EarlyVention, which designs fun and interactive subscription activity boxes for children with different abilities and the parents who love them. EarlyVention also provides vocational opportunities for adults with special needs, who help assemble the activity boxes, creating an ecosystem of impact.

 

Groundhog Day

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Do you ever feel like you’re living in Groundhog Day?  You know the movie from the early 90s starring Bill Murray where he continually relives the same day, February 2, Groundhog Day?  Your version probably consists of mornings battling your sensitive child to put socks on.  Then you have to adjust the socks, and adjust them again, and then again and again.  Finally, all the lumps and bumps are smoothed away and the seams are in just the right spot.  Once you have the socks just right, you now have the challenge of getting his shoes on without disturbing your hard work adjusting the socks.  If they move, you’re back to square one.  And that’s only Monday.  And Tuesday.  And Wednesday.  You get the idea.  Your own version of Groundhog Day.

In the movie, Bill Murray’s character eventually breaks the cycle and wakes up on February 3, the next day, a new and different day.  It’s time that your family breaks the cycle, too, so you can move on to a new day – one without the morning sock battle.

SmartKnitKIDS socks are a great way to cure the lumps, bumps and seams for good.  Our kids’ socks feature truly seamless construction, knitted like a cocoon from the toe up.  So, there’s no need for seams, or lines or bumps or any of those annoying things.  Our socks feature Halo Top™ which is comfortable and non-binding and helps keep the socks in place without making indentations.  The yarns used in SmartKnitKIDS socks are made with high tech fibers to wick moisture away from the skin and preventing stinky feet.

These socks may make the difference between living in Groundhog Day or waking up tomorrow knowing that it’s a new day!

Fighting the Sugar Battle

bugsley_boxingThis week (January 18-24) is Sugar Awareness Week.  As a parent, I always feel like I’m fighting a losing battle with sugar.  I’ve heard all the advice about limiting sugar.  I’ve witnessed how sugar affects children from the crazy high to the inevitable crash.

Sugar can do so much damage to the human body – adult and child alike.  The following are truly just a few things:

  1. Impairs Memory and Learning Skills – Studies have shown that a diet high in sugar can slow down the brain hindering memory and learning skills. Sugary breakfast cereal may not be the best start for a child spending his day learning multiplication and division.  Or maybe this is the reason why I feel like a broken record in reminding my child to turn in his homework or remember his jacket, etc.
  2. Increases Tooth Decay and Cavities – Sugar is the most damaging substance for teeth that we are eating. When sugar sits on your teeth, it creates decay more efficiently than any other food.  This is because it provides easily digestible energy for all the bad bacteria living in the mouth.  And since we know that children sometimes are not the best brushers, it’s important to limit how much sugar is introduced to their teeth.
  3. Contributes to Malnutrition – Despite the fact that a high sugar diet contributes to obesity, children can still be malnourished. Sugar provides no nutritional value whatsoever, but just pure energy.  When children fill up on these “empty” calories, they are not likely to get all the important vitamins and minerals they need leading to nutrient deficiencies.
  4. Lowers Immunities – The body is made up of trillions of good bacteria, which help digest food, produce vitamins and protect the body from germs and diseases. But, consuming too much sugar can alter the balance between good and bad bacteria weakening the immune system.  For children, this can lead to chronic runny noses, excessive mucus, cough, sinus infections, croup and acid reflux.
  5. Causes Obesity – Sugar itself doesn’t cause children to become overweight, but they become overweight when they consume more calories than they burn. Sugary drinks and other high sugar treats usually supply more calories than children need to satisfy hunger.
  6. Effects Behavior – Many studies have shown that sugar does NOT cause hyperactivity overall. However, sugar meltdowns are real.  The post-birthday-cake meltdown is caused by the rapid increase in blood sugar, followed by the inevitable drop.

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There are several things that parents can do to help fight the sugar battle:

  1. Read food labels – Sometimes sugar is hidden in foods you wouldn’t think contain sugar like oatmeal and yogurt. Look for words and phrases that signal a food has added sugar, such as: “fruit juice concentrate”; “corn sweetener”; “corn syrup”; “high-fructose corn syrup”; “honey” and “dextrose”.  Avoid foods that have a long list of ingredients.
  2. Know the names of sugar – Food can be really sneaky with the words used to name sugar. Watch out for high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, dextrose, lactose, sorbital, mannitol, malitol, xylitol, honey and sucrose.  All of these are sugar.
  3. Cut down on sugar beverages – Sodas, juices (even 100% juice), sports drinks and smoothies all contain high amounts of sugar. Have your child start with a glass of water before drinking something else, and try to avoid the high sugar drinks altogether.
  4. Be leery of healthy alternatives – Phrases like “sugar free”, “low calorie” and “all natural” can be misleading. These phrases don’t necessarily mean the food is healthier, but rather laden with additives.
  5. Make the change gradual – One way to make healthier changes easier on children is to do it gradually. Add in something healthy like blueberries into their weekly snacks.  Or try mixing their sugary cereal with a healthy cereal until they get used to the healthier option.
  6. Teach children about healthy foods – You’ll want to help your children develop healthy habits that they keep for life. Help your kids understand what good foods do to your body and what bad foods do.

** Disclaimer – Not to take the place of medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor about health concerns.

*** Sources: foxnews.com; parenting.com; healthyeating.sfgate.com; sheknows.com; huffingtonpost.com and centerforparentingeducation.org

Seam Haters Down Under

Hi Kids!  How is the summer going?  Great, I hope.  You know what summer makes me think of?  Socks, of course!  But not what you think.  I love pulling my socks off and dipping my toes in a cool lake or swimming pool!  Ahhhh!  You know what else summer makes me think of?  Our friends in Australia and New Zealand!  Why, you ask?  Let me tell you!

It has to do with something that makes Australia different from life here in the United States.  So, what’s Australia like?  Well, they have amazing wildlife.  Kangaroos, for one.

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And koalas!

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And emus!

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Some unique looking trees!

Baobab Trees

And a really, really, really big rock called Ayers or Uluru!

Uluru

The Land Down Under is pretty amazing and beautiful.  But, do you know why summer REALLY reminds me of our friends Down Under?  Because while it’s summer up here on our side of the globe, it’s winter for them!  That’s right!  For our friends in Australia and New Zealand it’s feeling like January about now!  Brrr!

Winter

Well maybe it’s not the snowy paradise that we’re used to, even though it is winter.  But, the cooler temperatures do mean that Australian toes are pretty chilly right now.  And chilly toes mean snuggly socks!  Did you know that there are seam haters in Australia, too?  That’s right!  There are seam haters all over the world.  And our friends in Australia keep their toes warm and comfortable with SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks all during the long winter months of June, July and August!

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Bugsette and I think it is awfully fun to think about our friends down under, and how they’ll be wearing their SmartKnitKIDS socks while we’re taking a dip in the pool.  Then, when it’s their turn for summer sunshine, our toes will be warm in our seam-free socks and snow boots!

Check out the link to our Retailer page to find SmartKnitKIDS socks in Australia and New Zealand!

Seamlessly,

Your Mate, Bugsley

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Father’s Day Coupon Book Download


Hi Kids!  Do you want a great way to show your dad how much you love him this Father’s Day?  Bugsley and the SmartKnitKIDS team made up some super cool Coupon Books that you can download, color and personalize, cut out and give to your dad!  And what dad wouldn’t love this great homemade gift from his kids?

It is very simple to put together.  Click on the link to download.  Print off the pages.  Let you child color and personalize them.  Cut out and staple together.

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Send us your photos of your dad cashing in those coupons.  We would love to share them with our SmartKnitKIDS family.

Happy Father’s Day from SmartKnitKIDS!