We’ll be having our second annual Cycle Parade on Saturday, September 21 at 10 am in conjunction with the farmers’ market and the Fall Festival. Registration forms and more information will be coming soon!
Kids in the U.S. typically experience something referred to as the summer slide or summer knowledge loss. This happens over the long summer break when knowledge is lost. It is basically the academic version of “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. The effects are measurable in students of all ages, but the loss seems to be greater in higher grades. According to the Brookings Institute, math skills see greater decline than reading, but the amount of decline varies by geographic region, income, and grade level.
One way to stem the loss of knowledge for your student is through summer school programs (although quality of programs vary greatly) and reading programs. Having kids read, even for a short period of time each day, helps to stem the loss of knowledge and skills. This can be accomplished by making sure your student has access to books during the summer break. You might also consider signing them up for a summer reading program. The DeSoto Public Library has a program with lots of books and prizes. This year, the theme is A Universe of Stories and covers all sorts of cosmic books, story time, crafts, and movies about space.
Other libraries have summer programs as well, so you might check out one near you to see what they offer. It’s not just something for the kids to do. It’s good for maintaining skills during the long summer months when kids are tempted to slack on their academics. It’s also good for teachers and schools since it means less time is spent in August and September on remedial learning.
I have a bit of patriotism that runs through me. It is probably that way for many people. I’m a third generation American, and the number of my family members with military service is in the double digits. Not surprisingly, I have daughters with the middle names of Independence and Rebel. (Don’t worry. They have normal first names.)
Although I grew up with bottle rocket wars that made me have a dislike for fireworks, I loved the Fourth of July. My family would gather, make ice cream, grill some hot dogs, allow unsupervised children to shoot bottle rockets at one another, play horseshoes…My mother in particular always seemed grateful for the military service of her brother and cousins. It has always stuck with me that celebrating our freedoms is part of honoring those who helped us have them. On this Independence Day, may you remember your past while celebrating the future.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered pool and water safety and backyard barbecue safety. There are some other things to consider during the summer too.
Heat and Sun Exposure
Bugs and Other Itchy Items
First, this is Missouri. It will be hot! We might enjoy a mild winter or temperate spring, but August will be hot…and probably humid. Ward off heat exhaustion by getting a drink of water every 20 minutes. If you’re summer activities take you outside for over an hour, consider Pedialyte or some other drink that will replenish electrolytes as well as hydrate your body.
In addition to the heat, sunburns can be very painful. Wear a hat that protects your head, face, neck, and ears if possible. A long-sleeved cotton shirt helps too. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF of 15 or higher) will add another layer of protection. UV rays are most intense between 10 am and 4 pm, so avoid prolonged sun exposure during this time. Sunscreen is recommended during this time even when it isn’t sunny.
Ticks, chiggers, poison ivy, Oh My! Avoiding itchy items will help make your summer more enjoyable. Much like protecting from the sun, a long-sleeved cotton shirt will help you avoid the itch of poison ivy. Not sure what poison ivy looks like? The Missouri Department of Conservation can show you.
Clothing worn while walking through wooded or brushy areas can be shed when returning indoors to avoid prolonged exposure to ticks as well. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, so avoiding areas where they live is recommended whenever possible. The same is true for mosquitoes. Removing their breeding habitat by emptying containers of standing water and treating outdoor ponds can help decrease their population. The carriers of West Nile Virus also cause an incredibly itchy sensation that is particularly rough on little kids.
Traveling during the summer months can be a wonderful experience. Whether you’re taking a long weekend trip to Branson or doing a month-long trip to Brazil, there are some good things to remember. Make sure a trusted friend or family member knows where you’ll be and when you should return. Pack a first aid kit for small mishaps and assess your physical strength before and during your trip. Knowing your personal limits is important when traveling. Assess your surroundings as well. This can be as simple as checking the playground equipment when you take the kids to Walther Park, but also includes awareness on trips to watch the Cardinals play, airport safety when flying, and storing personal belongs out of sight while on roadtrips.
You can learn more about these items and other useful tips here that will help you have a good time while staying safe. Happy Trails!
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), July is the leading month for grill fires. It’s time to review some safety tips to ensure you’re staying safe. Here are some good guidelines:
- Grill outside and away from any structures. Remember, grills are for outdoor use only, and you need to be mindful of overhanging tree branches, porticoes, and railings.
- Make sure your grill is stable.
- Keep your grill clean. Remove grease buildup from the grill, and be sure to allow charcoal and ash to cool completely before disposing of them.
- Check for propane leaks on your gas grill. Not sure how? Check this out.
- If the flame goes out, wait to re-light. A good rule of thumb is to turn the gas off and wait 5 minutes before attempting to re-light it.
- Take care around the grill, especially with children. Don’t allow kids or pets to play near the grill. Never try to move a lit or hot grill, and remember the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use.
- Be careful with charcoal starter fluid. A chimney starter might take longer, but it is much safer.
- Wear the right stuff. “King of the Grill” aprons are very nice, especially if you just received it from your favorite daughter for Father’s Day. However, tuck in those strings, along with loose shirttails, sleeves, and your fancy lanyard that holds your instant-read thermometer.
- Be ready to put out any fire. Baking soda is handy to control grease fires and a fire extinguisher is a good idea too. A bucket of sand can be substituted as well. Just don’t use water on a grease fire. You’ll ruin your fancy apron!
Remember: keep you and your family safe this summer by following these simple guidelines. According to the NFPA, an average of 10,200 house fires are started each year by grills, so stay safe.
(Tips courtesy of Nationwide Insurance.)
Click here for more safety tips.