Playground Safety Tips

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

Most parents would love to see their kids get more exercise, but regularly playing outside may do more good than parents know. Not only does playing outside get kids some much-needed exercise and provide a strong counterpoint to all the time they spend in front of screens today, but playing outside also provides kids with stimulation beyond their physical development. Playing outside with other kids can give children stronger cognitive abilities and helps them develop good social skills. Add this to the physical activity that helps keep kids in shape and avoid obesity, and the neighborhood playground becomes even more important.

Even though playgrounds are great places for kids to work on their physical and mental development, they’re also potentially dangerous places if children and parents are not careful. Parents need to be aware of the possible dangers at playgrounds and teach their kids to exhibit safe behavior while playing. A quick visual inspection around the playground before play begins can be the difference between a fun day in the fresh air and an injury. What follows is a list of basic playground safety tips parents and kids should keep in mind every time they use the playground. Keep these guidelines in mind, and parents and kids can look forward to a healthy and happy time on the playground.

How to Keep Up a Healthy Lifestyle alongside Work

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

I imagine being a health journalist in America is actually a frustrating job. I mean it has to be, because it seems you’re constantly reading and writing about how unhealthy your country is. Just look at these numbers, and you be the judge:

If you’re a person who constantly writes about these problems, what can you do? You can give some advice that will hopefully help at least a couple of people with their health.

However, before we start talking about the solution, we first have to get to the root of the problem. Just why so many people in the United States are unhealthy? The answer probably won’t surprise you…

Maintaining a Good Work-Life Balance

In today’s day and age, people are mostly concentrated on their work, which in itself isn’t exactly a bad thing. But when you take a look and see just how many people are putting their work before their health and home life, you realize that constant work can hurt relationships, happiness and even health.

The problem is – modern technology has made workers accessible around the clock and fears of job loss have incentivized longer working hours. According to a recent Harvard Business School survey, almost 95% of employees today works more than 50 hours per week and 50% of them work 65 hours weekly.

But even if you feel like you’re too busy to concentrate on anything outside work, you need to make time for some of the most important things in your life, including health.

How to Balance Out Your Life

  • Sleep needs to be Your Number One Priority

If you ask any doctor out there, he will tell you that an average person needs anywhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep to function properly. If you don’t have enough sleep, you’ll be unproductive, unfocused and your body will start storing fat and breaking down your muscle tissue.

In order to have high-quality sleep every night, you need to start using a smart alarm clock, or an alar app. You see, when we’re sleeping, our bodies naturally cycle between phases of light and heavy sleep. So if we’re awaken from the heaviest phase of sleep, we’ll feel terribly for the remainder of the day.

So one option to ensure that you’re not awaken from your deepest sleep, you should either purchase a light-based alarm that uses a gradually brightening light to slowly wake you up or download an app such as SleepCycle that senses when you’re moving during sleep and estimates when you enter light sleep.

 

  • Simplify Your Diet and Set Clear Rules

First off, you need to stop drinking sugary drinks like juices, sodas and alcoholic beverages. Moreover, it would be wise to stop adding sugar to your coffee and start drinking straight, black coffee. And while this may seem like hard work, it is worth it, because not only you’ll get in shape more easily, but you’ll save a lot of money in the process – Starbucks isn’t cheap after all.

You also need to ensure that you eat five to six small meals throughout the day instead of two to three large ones. Include vegetables with every meal and eat as much as you can to limit your calorie intake and get vitamins and minerals your body needs at the same time.

And you don’t have an excuse for eating junk food even if you’re on vacation. Thanks to the Internet, you can easily skip fast food chains and airport restaurants, by ordering a long-lasting food kit, which can last you for the duration of your trip.

 

  • Start Following a Time-Saving Exercise Plan

We’ve come to the hardest part of staying healthy – exercising. You know you need exercise and in order to ensure that a workout session fits your schedule, you need to make them short and intense, and schedule them for times when they are easy to do.

Ideally, you should hit the gym, because there you’ll have a distraction-free environment where you’ll be able to focus on your workout completely. Plus, every modern gym is filled with expensive equipment you usually don’t have access to. And average gym workout should last around 30 minutes and you should do them at least three times every week.

But if you don’t have enough time for a gym, you can simply workout at home. And you don’t even have to waste a ton of money for equipment – you can just buy an adjustable dumbbell and workout for 15 minutes every day. While this won’t build you too much muscle, it will still make your body burn excess fat and keep your cardiovascular system as healthy as possible.

 

Final Thoughts

Exercise is one of the most crucial human needs, unfortunately, in most cases, it is the first things that goes when our schedule starts filling up. But you have to make a conscious effort to exercise at least 150 minutes every week.

Once you start exercising on a daily basis, you’ll not only feeling healthier, but you’ll also feel more relaxed and satisfied. A quick workout will give you an endorphin rush, which will lift your mood. According to Mayo Clinic, it can even serve a 1-2 punch by also putting you in a meditative state.

The bottom line is, you have to work hard to achieve a good work-life balance if you want to remain healthy enough to advance your career. So make sure that your daily schedule includes a couple of minutes of exercise every day, be careful about your diet and enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

So what do you think about our tips? Do you think we left out something important? Do you have any health tips of your own? If you do, make sure to leave a comment in the comment section below and share your thoughts with the rest of us.

By Norman Harris

Healthy living and well-being have always been Harris’s main occupation. He’s a certified fitness instructor and in the last ten years, he’s taken up hiking and trekking as a way of staying in shape and keeping his inner peace. He shares his experiences and advice on as one of its revered writers.

5 Steps to Creating a Culture of Self-Reliance in Your Family

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received.

When you have a family, you always strive to teach them something good and invaluable. Our grandparents have done that with our parents, our parents have done that with us. Now, it is our turn. It is important for us to enable our children to be self-reliable from the early age. Here is how you can teach your children some basic steps that will lead them through life later on.

Learn how to save money

First things first, money is important for every person in the world and who says differently isn’t telling the truth. The money provides stability and security. Making your own money automatically means that you are an independent person and that you can rely on yourself, which is actually something we all want in our lives. If you impose such a system in your house within your family members, the odds that your child will be aware of the fact that money can be very important are very high. At children’s early age, you can provide them with some allowance and advise them to keep that money so they can buy a toy or some candies later. Advise them that saving money will enable them to spend it on stuff they really want. Tell them a story of how have you been saving money so you could afford a house or a journey to a seaside. Have your child sit next to you when you count how much money you need to pay the bills and let it go with you to pay those. Some numbers will be too large for the child to understand them, but it will realize that it is a serious thing.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

And by ”it” we mean clothing, toys, gadgets and even food. It is very important that you advise your family that they shouldn’t change their clothing after only a month of wearing it. They shouldn’t crave for new Ipad when they have sufficient toys and other gadgets. They shouldn’t throw away food they don’t eat. Being self-reliant means that you are able to know when it’s time for changes or new things. Teach them to wear the clothes until they are unable to fit it. Teach them that they should save food if they cannot eat everything. Try to make them to fix thing when they are broken. They will appreciate it more.

What are you going to be when you grow up?

This question is important because it imposes many others. You need to explain to your child the fact that people work for money, but that we also want to do something we like. Try to make the child feel positive about work, job generally and earning.

Ask a child what it would like to be when it grows up and draw that dream job. After that, draw yourself at work (you do not have to do a masterpiece) and explain to the child what do you do, why you have chosen it and why you love your job. You can do this with many occupations. In this way, children will be taught values regarding hardworking and obligations. It is proven that children who work over summer holidays have strong communicative skills and are easily adjusted to jobs later.

Maintaining the house

Starting from their rooms, they have to learn that there should be no one picking up after them. They need to know that it is important to have some responsibility at home, as well as in the schools, colleges, or at work. If they learn to be tidy and neat, those characteristics will help them later in the life. People notice such things and praise people for that. You can start at the early age of your children. Advise them that their rooms need to be tidy. At first you can start with rewards, such as giving them candies if they do it. But rest assured that later it will become their habit. Once they are to go to a college, they will be ready to live alone with no one to help them clean the apartment.

Exercising and healthy food

These two will help everyone become self-confident. If we feel good and healthy, then there is nothing to stop us and it boosts our ego. You can start by explaining how important is to eat healthy food and have some exercising. Also, if you do it, everyone else will in the family. Besides, children always seek for their role models. You can be theirs.

If you start implementing these things, your children will grow up into self-reliable people, and sometimes that is actually what we all want. They will be thankful, rest assured. 

 

About the Author:

Healthy living and wellbeing have always been Harris’s main occupation. He’s a certified yoga instructor and in the last ten years, he’s taken up hiking and trekking as a way of taking care of his physical fitness and inner peace. He shares his experiences and advice on http://www.prosurvivalist.com/ as one of its revered writers.

 

15 Summer Activities to Help Your Kids Appreciate Nature

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

What are your kids doing this summer? For many of us, summer time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine, and if you’re lucky the ocean!

As much as kids love summertime, keeping them busy can be a real chore! If you don’t have the luxury of sending the kids to camp, then it’s up to you as parent to find things for the youngsters to keep busy with.

Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen.  Research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of children.

Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental ill-health and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental ill health and it’s on the rise. Prescription medication of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health and social care commissioners are examining and commissioning different options for cost effective services for mental health and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. We need to learn from the past when kids got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building dens rather than spending hours inside.

Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic on 15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature.

This is what it looks like:

15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature

From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there’s plenty for the youngsters to get up to. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids out and about enjoying nature.

An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to get. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure.
Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.

Save Money with Green Home Upgrades

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

Green home improvement is a hot topic these days. With the cost of water rising throughout much of the country and energy policies facing an uncertain future, more homeowners than ever before are showing an interest in energy-saving remodeling projects and upgrades. The following infographic explains energy saving upgrades that will put money back into your pocket within two years.

 

Natural Bathroom Cleaning Tips

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

More than 150 chemicals found in your home are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and physiological disorders. The majority of these chemicals are used in routine bathroom cleaning. There are many DIY “recipes” that combine household ingredients to create a natural cleaning solution, and eliminate harsh chemicals. For example, you can combine baking soda and vinegar to create a tile cleaner. The following slideshow displays different recipes and methods for cleaning your bathroom without using harmful chemicals. Try these solutions to help clean your house safely.

How to Clean Your Bathroom…Naturally by Modern Bathroom, a company that offers sinks, faucets, and wall-mounted vanities.

 

How to Find Safer Cleaning Products for Your Home

The following is a guest post from Hannah at Wild Mint.  No compensation was received. 

Hello, The Practically Green Mom readers! My name is Hannah Helsabeck and I reached out to Allie recently after finding her blog and falling in love with her “green(ish)” attitude and advice. I couldn’t agree more with her motto of doing the best you can and trying new things when it comes to green living, which really aligns with the inspiration behind my company Wild Mint. I’m obsessed with researching all the ways to live a more toxin-free life and sharing what I learn with others. On Wildmintshop.com, I provide all the information and products that I use to do just that.

Today, Allie was gracious enough to let me share my knowledge about green and natural cleaning products, a big topic for anyone else who is a clean-freak like me! Harmful, chemical-based cleaning products have been the norm for so long that even the most dedicated toxin-free individual can have trouble finding the best types of solutions to use at home. The unfortunate practice of companies “greenwashing” products only adds to this confusion. If you haven’t heard this term before, greenwashing refers to companies claiming to be environmentally friendly by marketing products with misleading information.  These companies can mislead consumers by falsifying claims, using vague terms, and exaggerating green practices, just to name a few.

My team and I at Wild Mint strongly believe in the importance of transparency, awareness, and education so you can make your own informed decisions.  Alongside awareness, we suggest the following tips when looking for safer cleaning products:

  • Be a Label Checker – A good line of defense is to buy products from brands that list all of their ingredients on their label and are transparent both on their website and in their product offerings. A product should clearly state what is and is not used in its production in a way that is easily understood. You should also look out for and avoid products with the following terms listed on the label or packaging:
    • Fatal if inhaled
    • Fatal if swallowed
    • Watch out for terms like “poison,” “danger,” or “fatal”
    • Vague terms like surfactant or solvent
    • Skip phosphate additives
  • Be a Certification Critic – Some companies go above and beyond to certify their products and make their brand even more reputable, with certifications such as USDA Organic, Fair Trade, Cruelty Free (PETA), Energy Star, Green Seal Certified, and so on. Take a look at the certification on a label, and do a quick search on your phone or at home to see if the certification is valid.
  • Vague Terms – A prevalent greenwashing tactic to look out for is “vagueness”. Some common phrases to look out for include Eco Friendly, Environmentally Friendly, Earth Friendly, Environment Safe, Harnessing Nature, and Eco Chemistry. Remember, transparency is key; a company should be able to prove their products are indeed safe.

So what brands can you trust? Well, some of my favorites include Better Life, Dr. Bronners, and Eco-Me, which you can find here.  I use this all purpose cleaner and this multi-area scrubber cleanser by Better Life regularly.  I love that the Better Life products never leave a toxic smell after cleaning (like some chemical cleaners do!), are plant-based, and made without the use of harmful chemicals, making them safe for people, pets, the surfaces in your home, and the environment.

hannah Wild Mint - guest

You can also try your hand at making natural cleaning solutions yourself! Try Allie’s homemade air freshener made with essential oils or a combination of vinegar-based solutions.

Thank you to Allie for letting me guest post today and feel free to send me any of your questions about toxin-free living at hello@wildmintshop.com!

~ Hannah Helsabeck

President, Wild Mint Shop

Hannah Helsabeck is President and Co-Founder of Wild Mint, an online shop dedicated to helping families find toxin-free and eco-friendly products for healthier lifestyles.  She is passionate about educating others on the benefits of healthy living and the importance of taking small steps towards eliminating exposure to toxins in people’s daily lives.  She also enjoys finding new ways to be eco-conscious and is often found in the kitchen cooking up simple meals with real, whole foods. Hannah is the oldest of six kids, has amazing parents as role models in business as well as life, and currently lives in South Florida with her incredibly supportive husband.

Silicone Chewelry Necklace {Sensory/ASD} Review

** The following is a guest post from my friend and co-worker, Theresa. She is reviewing the Silicone Chewelry Necklace from iPuke on Etsy. She received a complimentary necklace in exchange for her honest review of this product.

Hi, my name is Theresa and I’m a Mommy of 2! My son who’s 6 is Autistic (ASD), and he has a huge oral fixation. He puts anything and everything in his mouth. I have tried silicone bracelets, but those seem to make his whole arm wet. We’ve tried teething rings, but they aren’t really chewy enough for him, and they are too big.

My wonderful co-worker and The Practically Green Mom blogger asked me to try out the Silicone Chewelry Necklace from iPuke, and we absolutely love it! This necklace gives him an appropriate way to handle his oral fixation, rather than chewing on his clothing or other objects.

IMAG0295

The only thing I would have done differently is get the 24 or 26 inch, as opposed to the 22 inch, because my son likes to pull on it. Then, the clasp comes undone and he drops it…and he goes back to chewing on his shirt.

My son has worn it at school, and his teacher has noticed a big change in his behavior, because he’s not always looking for things to chew on! She’s even asked me for the website for other ASD parents. When I asked him if he liked the necklace, his response was “My big boy necklace is green and it’s chewy!” I would totally buy more, and at only $4.50 each, I can afford to get more than one and keep spares in my purse and car.

photo

{My guest reviewer received a free necklace in exchange for her honest review of this product. The Practically Green Mom received no compensation. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.}

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