Halloween – Tips for Parents

It’s time, tomorrow is Halloween and we as parents need to make sure our kids all stay safe while they are out trick-or-treating. Let’s go over some general safety tips that everyone should be following this year:

Safety

  1. Always accompany your kids during trick-or-treating, especially if they are 12 years old or younger.
  2. Make sure you practice crossing all roads safely. Look both ways and keep an eye out for any traffic as you cross.
  3. Don’t walk looking at cell phones, games, etc. Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.
  4. Keep to sidewalks and lighted paths whenever possible.
  5. Make sure your children’s costumes are safe. They should have reflective elements on their costumes to ensure cars can see them.
  6. Children and/or parents should carry flashlights or glow sticks with them to increase their visibility.
  7. For younger children, go out early to avoid larger crowds of older children.
  8. Only go to houses that have their lights on and are obviously participating in trick-or-treating.

The Treats

  1. Make sure you look over all of the candy or food that your children receive prior to your kids eating it.
  2. Don’t take or eat anything that is not pre-packaged or homemade.
  3. Make sure all packaging is not damaged or opened.
  4. Get your treats examined via x-ray if any of the medical providers in your area offer it to avoid ingesting foreign objects.

More Resources

  1. FDA – Halloween Food Safety Tips for Parents
  2. CDC – Halloween Health and Safety Tips
  3. Kids.gov – Five Tips to Make Your Halloween Safe
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics – Halloween Safety Tips 2016
  5. Parents.com – Halloween Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know
  6. Safekids.org – Halloween Safety Tips

Stay safe out there everyone and have fun!

The Politics of Parenting

presidential-1311753_960_720As we get closer to one of the nastiest and worst elections that I have lived through, I think it is important that parents consider what the candidates mean for you and your kids. I am not going to take a side on this one but I want to provide all of you with some news resources to learn more about where the candidates all stand on matters that concern us.

Those are just a few links to get you started. If that gets you interested then just start googling and you will find many more resources for you to make sure you are informed before voting.

Baby Names, Just Pick Something Traditional

This one is going to be controversial but I have a firm belief that the name you choose for your child can be a predictor of future success and happiness. There have been studies that show that this is the case but I am going based more on personal experience than anything else.

Let’s start by looking at the top baby names of 2016 from the site Mom365.com. The top 10 list is pretty safe. Names like Noah, Liam, Olivia and Sophia are good, traditional names and indicate a certain amount of traditional adherence to their parents’ upbringing. It’s when you start getting into the rank of 20 and below that we start seeing some trouble popup. Number 23 is Jayden, not particularly traditional, not particularly associated with families with a strong socio-economic status. Of course there are counter examples but again, I am going based on observation of what I see around me.

Next up on the list, Jaxon, with that spelling in particular. Non traditional spellings of names are a big red flag. If you can’t be bothered to spell it correctly then you probably are not thinking your choice through all that well and that might say something about you and your frame of reference. Then as we continue to push down into the list we find Skylar, Layla, Brooklyn, Brayden, and Savannah. While Skylar could be Ok, the others are not looking so hot. These are trendy names that indicate the parent is more interested in the hot name of the moment rather than sticking with something tried and true. If you base your names off what you see on TV and in the gossip pages, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that maybe that wasn’t the best choice and maybe you may not be as classy as you think.

Now that I have surely ticked some of you off, let us end with some links out to sites more reputable than mine who have confirmed what I am saying above. There is a great article in the New Yorker about why names matter and I would encourage you all to read it.

A second article, from the BBC has one of the better quotes in it that I have found:

But for the main part, he says, the effect of a name on its bearer rarely amounts to more than the effect of being raised by parents who would choose such a name.

This about sums it up for me. It is not the name that causes the issue itself but the parents that chose the to name their child in a manner that would openly expose them to teasing, ridicule or some other form of harassment. And from the same article, the socio-economic point that I make above is reiterated:

However, there is no evidence that it’s the names causing such a marked discrepancy, rather than other factors they represent, Clark says. Different names are popular among different social classes, and these groups have different opportunities and goals.

I think this point is the most important one. People in different socio-economic classes tend to name their children different. In turn, this establishes a group identity within that class. While the name does not prevent the child from moving beyond that group, it certainly makes it harder as it helps to cement their identity within a particular class of people.

So the moral of the story? Don’t name your kids based on the latest trends, don’t name them something because that is what all your friends are doing, name them based on where you want to see them go. While it can’t predict their success, it certainly can’t hurt and it will only improve their odds.

 

Night Terrors, They Suck.

halloween-pumpkin-carving-face-largeNight terrors are probably the worst thing that I have to deal with on a regular basis at bedtime. The generally occur about 2 hours after I put my oldest daughter to bed and they last about 10 minutes. The most common time they occur is when she has a cold or is too hot for some reason. Thank fully this is only about once every couple of months, not once per night like some kids.

The worst part about them is that there is literally nothing you can do about it other than try and keep them confortable until the episode passes. In some cases the child can thrash about so much that they can hurt themselves so I routinely try and keep her from moving too much while not restricting movement completely as that can actually make things worse.

As a father you have to come to terms with these and it takes time because you will hear your child scream your name because they have an overwhelming sense of pure fear yet you cannot stop it. It is terrible to stand by your child and know that they are experiencing this feeling without any way to help them other than wait it out. For me, it took about four of these episodes until I finally came to terms with it. What helped me get to that point is when I would ask my daughter after the episode and she truthfully had no recollection of what had just happened. Once I knew she didn’t remember whatever that paralyzing fear was she experienced it made me feel a little better.

The last time this happened my daughter screamed for my wife instead and that was the first time she had experienced this so personally. She has not really come to terms of how to deal with it yet but I suspect it will come in time.

I would be curious to know how others deal with this type of issue when raising children. It is important that we share information about this ugly part of childhood that some kids need to go through.

Gah, the Site Was Hacked

Who would hack Dad Is Tired? Seriously, don’t you think I have lost enough sleep as it is? Apparently not. Rather than some nice fatherly content my site was replaced with some key code crasking site. So I decided to pack my bags and move my site to something that is a little more secure and now that is done. More posts to come in the coming days now that I have a new home.