Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Supporting Diversity through Children's Books



Have you ever thought about the color of Band-Aids? 


At a recent meeting that I attended, this was brought to my attention and I realized that I never once in my entire life had to think about the color of a Band-Aid matching my skin.  Also, I never had to question why my baby dolls didn't look like me - they always did. 

After this meeting I went away deep in thought.  How can I help my children understand diversity?  I'm not talking skin color 
alone, but also the diverse cultures, languages, developmental abilities, AND ethnicities that embrace our country. I want my children to understand the Band-Aid concept and the deeper meaning within it.


I have found in my parenting years that books provide a great way to explore tricky topics.   It can be hard to bring up certain subjects while at the same time keeping your child's attention.  I have found that with books, I can still get my point across and they are entertained!

The great thing about books is that while the words support literacy, build vocabulary, and introduce new ideas; the stories and illustrations within can heighten a child's self esteem about their own cultural background and teach other children to understand and respect the unique diversity that is entwined in our country and across the entire world.


When searching for books that explore diversity, keep an eye out for a few things within the story line by looking at the characters, their roles, relationships, and lifestyles.  Are they depicted in a positive light, without stereotypes? Check out the books listed - all great examples!







Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September is Safe Sleep Month!



SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn't have a known cause even after a complete investigation.  SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.  

It is tempting to bring baby to bed with you - especially when breastfeeding, but the fact is that a baby dies every three days in Michigan and these deaths are 100% preventable. Of course parents want to avoid this from happening to their babies, but with so much advice out there, how do we know which practices are best?  According to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Safe to Sleep Public Education Campaign, the tips below offer the safest advice for both nap and night-time routines: 



  • Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack-n-play for every sleep time.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free – no pillows, blankets or toys.
  • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating.  Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleep sack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
  • Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.





The following video, Safe Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know, with Introduction by Sue Snyder, first lady of Michigan, gives a overview of 3 different families who've lost young children to unsafe sleep environments. Advice from medical professionals is also examined on ways to keep your child safe.


I have a baby shower coming up for a friend.  What are good gift ideas that are safe for baby?  A sleep sack is a great idea!  It is the preferred sleepwear for an infant under one and is recommended in place of covering the infant with a blanket.  Fitted sheets, bassinets, cribs, portable cribs, or firm mattresses to fit cribs or bassinets also make great gifts for the new family!