Raising children is an adventure in chaos, spilled milk, wet diapers, skinned knees, and later broken hearts. It is astounding for some to learn that children crave routines and stability. Yet, with all that happens in the wider world, even if it remains unexpressed, the knowledge that they have a place where comfort, food, and rest can be found offers much reassurance. A healthy amount of sleep is vital to a growing child; to encourage this children need a bedtime routine. Insufficient sleep has been linked to: ADHD symptoms, a weakened immune system, obesity, anxiety, depression, and may increase the risk for developing diabetes. An adequate amount of rest is a vital element in physical and emotional well being. Encouraging a child to develop healthy sleep habits needs to be a priority and involving yourself in the routine certainly counts as quality time.

What is short, loud, messy, comes in many varieties and contrary to popular belief actually doesn’t sweat? If your answer is “a pig” you’re correct! However that is not the answer I am looking for. Children would be the appropriate response.

Yes it’s true, children do not sweat and therefore are at greater risk for dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Their temperature regulation systems are still immature and that can be dangerous when playing or exercising outdoors. Whether we are looking forward to it or not, Summer is on its way which means increased temperatures (outside and body), no school and a lot more free time to spend outdoors. Here are a few tips to help you keep your children safe from heat related ailments.

How many children do you know who spend countless hours in front of a TV, video games, or computer screen? Today many of the toys and games that children play with are “plugged in” entertainment. Kids look to be entertained instead of to entertain themselves. Gone are the days when a rock and a piece of chalk will turn into a game of hopscotch that will last for hours.  

Because of this trend in the toys of today, kids are far less likely to imagine or pretend.  When given a stick some may hit something with it, but when I was a kid that simple stick could transform from a horse to a walking stick for exploring, to a flag in a castle, into a snake, and then a tightrope in a circus…All in one day!  The limits on an imagination are endless, but there are limits of time, scheduling, ratings, age appropriateness, and educational content in the “plugged in” forms of entertainment. So what kind of toys and entertainment can we give our kids that will stimulate their imaginations as well as educate them, but not bore them?  My answer is Story Time Felts.  These felt products focus on multi-sensory stimulation so that children who learn and play in different ways can each find something to love.

Where does America stand these days in its fight for the prevention of school violence?  Is youth violence even a big deal anymore?  Living in the cosmopolitan town of Chapel Hill, where a few months ago we experienced our first homicide in two years, it is easy to become desensitized to violence - specifically in our schools – that has caused so many young people to be seriously hurt or killed.

April 2013 marked the four-year anniversary of the tragic shootings at Columbine High School.  Soon after Columbine, we witnessed a snowball of violent acts, such as Buell Elementary School and Santana High School, in which students seemed to have caught on to the "joy" of bringing havoc to their student bodies.  Many of us feared that little Columbines were going to sprout throughout the nation.  However, little Columbines have been occurring for years, but only the "most severe" make headlines.