During the Halloween season it is important to keep your child’s safety in mind when planning costumes, decorations, treats and activities. Make sure that Halloween is a safe and happy experience for the whole family by preparing ahead of time.
Choose the right costume
Look for costumes and accessories such as beards, wigs, wings and tails that are labelled flame-resistant. Flowing skirts and capes, baggy sleeves and over-sized costumes can all be hazards around candles or flames.
Pick brightly coloured costumes that can be clearly seen by motorists. Add reflective tape to the costume to increase visibility.
Use make-up or face paint instead of masks – improperly fitted masks can interfere with your child’s vision or breathing. If you do choose a mask, make sure it fits properly and allows them to see and breathe easily.
Do not use contact lenses that change eye colour or create special effects because they can cause injury to a child’s eyes.
Avoid danger when decorating
To avoid injuries, let children draw a face or design on the pumpkin and then have an adult carve it.
Candles, jack-o-lanterns, lighters and matches are all fire hazards. Place lighted candles and jack-o-lanterns away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave them unattended. Instead of candles, consider using a small flashlight or battery candle to light your jack-o-lantern.
Keep candles, matches, lighters and other fire hazards in a place that children cannot reach.
Check indoor and outdoor decorative lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Do not overload extension cords.
Stay secure while trick or treating
Go trick or treating with your children each year until they are old enough to go with a friend.
Give each child a flashlight to carry, to make them more visible to motorists and others.
Tell your children to stay in well-lit areas and only visit homes that have their outside lights turned on.
Make sure they know never to go inside homes or cars.
Teach your children to be careful when crossing the street. Make sure they look both ways and only cross when no cars are coming. Cross streets at the corner, and never cross between parked cars.
I’ve always said there is a fine line between being smart and being a smart-ass, and as parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our kids stay on the smart side as much as possible because children usually do not have capability to determine if their smart-ass comment was actually funny, or if it is offensive.
Case in point:
Grandfather to child who has just returned from 2 weeks away at sleepover camp: “How was camp?”
Grandfather: “Did you have a good time?”
Grandfather: “Will you go back next year?”
Grandfather: “How was bus ride home?”
Grandfather: “How long?”
Grandfather: “Oh, did you make any stops along the way?”
Child: “Yes. At stop signs and all red traffic lights…”
On the weekend our children get up nice and early. 6am, usually, but 5am is not out of the question.
I believe we have convinced them not to come wake us (or each other) at that time, but I could be very wrong about that since they may not come and wake us up, but they certainly wake us through playing, talking and laughing.
Aside: Parents – How many of you also have become light sleepers as a result of your kids walking, talking, crying, calling, etc., in the middle of the night?
So after a 5:30am wake-up and plenty of playing around the house, my daughter Boo decided that she HAD to go visit our neighbour 2-doors down for a playdate. These girls have become best friends, they go to the same school, were in the same class and we would walk to school together in the mornings.
But at 8am, it’s not nice to knock on someone’s door and invite yourself in.
“After lunch.” We told her.
“You can have a playdate with the neighbour, but after lunch.”
What she and her brother Stewie heard is a completely different story…
10 minutes later, the front door opened and by the time I got to the door, I saw Stewie entering the neighbours house, with no sign of Boo.
“Stewie!” I called out. “Where is Boo?”
“Inside” he yelled back.
“Absolutely not!” I replied. “It’s 8 o’clock in the morning and I said you had to wait until after lunch! Get Boo and come back home!”
Both kids came back home and were greeted at the door by myself and my wife.
“What are you doing?” I asked. “We said you could not go until after lunch. It is only 8 o’clock in the morning!”
“We just finished lunch” was Boo’s reply. “We ate breakfast at 6am, and were hungry again, so we just ate lunch. You said we could go after lunch.”
How this situation came to be is a long story which I am going to skip, but if you can picture this scene, it’s myself, my youngest child and my middle child sitting in my living room around a stranger (to them) who had come to visit.
This kind stranger had volunteered to read books to my kids thus becoming their best friend and of course, my kids wanted to show off to this stranger how smart they are.
My middle child threw out some facts about the speed of light or the speed of sound. Something their mother the science teacher told them, or they read in a book.
My daughter in turn decided she was going to impress this stranger with her superior knowledge of mathematics. It went like this;
“1+1 is 2”
“2+2 is 4”
“infinity plus infinity is infinity”
“That’s great!” said the stranger. “Do you know what 5+5 is?”
Without hesitation my daughter said, “10”.
“Wow” said the stranger. “You just turned 4-years-old?”
“Yes” said my daughter… “I know all this math because I’m a genie!”
“Did you mean genius?” I asked.
“No!” my daughter replied.
“I’m a GENIE! That is someone who is super smart!”
My daughter is a genie.
I’ll let everyone know if she is able to grant me 3 wishes. Once will certainly be helping her learn the meaning of the word “genius”. LOL
Often, I see lists, like the one I am posting today, about things we want our children to know, learn, remember and respect, and these lists are often quite to the point if not a little on the comedic side. My Thursday Thirteen, however, is a little different from the norm as I have provided thirteen things that I need my children – Linus, Stewie and Boo – to remember as they grow up. On the bright side, if they ever forget (and I have not completely embarrassed them by the time I cease blogging), they can always find it here.
As parents it is our job to teach and shape our children so that one day when they begin to develop their own opinions they will be able to use what they learned from us to shape their thoughts on things they didn’t know – so they won’t hurt anyone (especially themselves) along the way. To do otherwise by your children, would – in my opinion – be considered failure as a parent.
Here are the thirteen things I need my kids to remember as they grow up;
13. To my boys: Pink is a colour, much as red, blue, black and green. Liking pink doesn’t mean anything except that you like the colour. If someone tells you otherwise you have to remember that it’s their problem, not yours. At some point in their life, someone tied to colour pink to a negative stereotype which simply does not exist. It’s okay to buy pink items, pink clothes and paint a room pink.
12. All (My 2 boys and my girl): Your nose is NOT an appropriate place to stick your finger – and this rule always stands, whether you are 3, 7, 8 or 38. If you do visit there, in the solitude of your own room, or home, it is NOT okay to them put that finger in your mouth, on your bed, or on your clothes. If, however, you choose to pick your nose, then you must have either a kleenex or square of toilet paper for when you are finished and wash your hands after. Remember that if your hands are dirty and you place a finger in your nose (or mouth) you are putting germs in your body. You will get sick. In addition, people think it’s yucky. Don’t be that yucky kid that turns into the yucky teen, then the creepy booger-eating adult. Please.
11. All: Respect others’ personal space and belongings. There are written rules which need to obeyed when you are in a home and there are some unwritten rules which you must follow so that you will . You need to respect others and their possessions. I know children will be children, but taking, breaking, hiding or damaging something that does not belong to you is not at all what I have in mind when it comes to creating art or playful fun. Neither is it fun to touch, push, trip or get in the face of someone for any reason. In fact, this is a lesson in doing it all WRONG! If you did this to my belongings or got in my face, I would not be happy.
10. Accept others for who they really are. In an age where bullying has taken centre stage among our youth, I hope I have taught you to see the value in differences. Race, religion, colour, accents, or dress, interests, hair style or colour, ability or disability… It doesn’t matter. See past it all and realize that we are all humans on this planet.
9. It is okay to cry. Crying is a natural emotional response to feelings. We all do it. Men cry. Women cry. Children cry. If you begin to cry and someone calls you a baby just remember that they learned this at home and they are being taught to hold in their emotions. Feel sorry for them but don’t allow them to change how you act or how you feel.
8. Always be proud of who YOU are. You may not be the tallest kid, or the fastest, or have the best hair, but really now, who cares? As long as you stay true to who you are, everything else will fall into place.
7. Find your passion. Keep looking and searching. Never ever stop.
6. Love this planet we live on called “Earth”. Recycle, reduce, reuse. Go as “green” as you can by being aware of how you live, shop, and of what you consume (and where that comes from). Now go join your mother and I hug a tree.
5. Be a brother / sister. Be a friend. Be a protector. Always be good to your family, even when there is conflict. Always remember that you are all that you have. Spouses and friends are great but at the end of the day you should know and have the support of your brother/sister when you need it. Just don’t take advantage.
4. Smart is cool. Never be ashamed of being smart or nerdy, having freckles or glasses, or loving science and math (or tax). Smart never goes out of style, it stays with you as you grow, and it will lead you down the most successful paths you can imagine.
3. All: Your body is just that, it’s your body. You can keep your hair any way or colour that you want and you can dress any way that you want, but you must remember that others will judge you and it will impact how others treat you. So long as you understand that, you may continue. Don’t let pop culture define you. I don’t know why, but today we let pop culture manipulate our youth and it’s killing them emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. From the early on fascination with princesses, to the ‘need’ for a boyfriend and big boobs, popularity, teen moms, and all the other garbage being thrown in their face – be confident going against the grain or you’ll risk selling yourself out.
2. Maintain your health. It’s life’s greatest asset. Without good health you have nothing. A positive approach to health encompasses physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Healthy lifestyle choices we taught you in your youth have already helped to lay a strong foundation for continued wellness throughout your adult life. In addition, a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, stress management, self-motivation, and remaining positive will have a huge impact on your quality of life, health, and happiness. Honourable mention: Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. Laughter is humbling. It inspires and motivates. It keeps you real.
1. Wherever you are in life, you can come home. I will be here – always. ♥ Daddy. Remember children that you will all be my favourite children forever (and equally for your own strengths and inspirations). If you don’t believe me, ask Mummy. She will tell you the same thing.