Selecting and Preparing a Good Sitter

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Humorous sitter stories abound in our home: There’s the evening the infant cried for an hour, and we returned mid-date, to find a very pale sitter with a screaming child still in her arms…she never came back. (She never wanted to.) Then there’s the story where the tornado was clearly in the back yard, and the sitter couldn’t get the baby gate open to descend to the basement, so she picks up both boys and carries them over the gate…(not certain which scenario was more dangerous, the tornado or the possible tripping down the flight of stairs!) But the last story had the most repercussions, where the sitter chose to watch a scary movie with the kids, and my then 3 year old couldn’t sleep alone for a year and a half, and still doesn’t like scary movies. (She didn’t come back either, but not because she didn’t want to…) FOR PARENTS, worrying about how to select a good sitter begins even before you become a parent! It’s just another of the endless questions parents must tackle. Here is a solid list of pointers from the American Academy of Pediatrics…plus a few added from me. PARENTS SHOULD: 1. Meet the sitter and check references and training in advance. 2. Be certain the sitter has had first aid training and knows CPR. 3. Be sure the babysitter is at least 13 years old AND mature enough to handle your kids and common emergencies. The age may need to be reconsidered if you have older children. 4. Have the sitter spend time with you before babysitting to meet the children and learn their routines. 5. Show the sitter the house. It’s important they know where fire escapes, basement or inside rooms for tornado warnings. 6. Discuss feeding, allergies, bathing and sleeping arrangements. (With our teenage sitters, when our boys were not infants anymore, we always gave the sitter a “pass” on the bathing situation, especially if we could bathe them prior to our leaving or the next day was an option.) 7. Have emergency supplies available, including flashlight, first aid chart, and first aid supplies and make certain to show the sitter where they are in your house. 8. Tell the sitter where you’re going, and when you plan on returning. Leave your phone numbers and 911 emergency number, and 211 general helpline number BY the phone. 9. Be sure guns, alcohol and other drugs are locked away. 10. Discuss expectations regarding the sitter’s friends visiting; how to handle callers and other visitors. Safe Sitter, Inc. program has excellent tips for sitters, and website to check: Blog written by Carol Cochard Pool, MSW Prevention Educator, Prevent Child Abuse IN

Happy Holidaze**What Messages Do You Send?

Monday, December 19, 2011

We all have hopes and expectations during the holidays, and learning how to manage all those hopes and expectations can be life-affirming! Perhaps we should start with our overall values and goals for the holidays? What “messages” do we really want to send to our children, neighbors, other family members, about the TRUE MEANING of our holiday time? If we invest our time, energy in WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT, what does that look like? Is this the year we volunteer for a cause that really needs us? Do we take our kids and donate our time, energy, finances where we help them to see that helping others meets our needs as well? It’s validating to feel good that you really helped in even a small way; being a positive “solution” in a world with many negatives. Who knows where this small act of kindness could lead. Demonstrating kindness has been proven to elevate feelings of self worth and happiness. Volunteering could lead to life-long friendships. It could lead to future employment, and all sorts of other benefits. It could be as simple as baking a casserole or some cookies, or offering to do small chores for a senior in your neighborhood; or offering to babysit for parents while they shop or just enjoy time to themselves; or becoming a Big Brother/Sister for a young person who may not have a stable adult in their lives. Maybe the family “adopts” a family needing presents this year, or considers fostering or adopting one of the hundreds of children needing a more stable home. Maybe you could just write holiday cards to our servicemen and women. The options are great and varied. Ask your kids how they’d like to make a difference in our world. Remind them of what a GREAT GIFT they give to others by giving of themselves…no matter how small. Then ask them, “How good would that feel?” Feeling too overwhelmed during the holidays to attempt these ideas…that’s OK, just remember you can “sign up” your family now, and “donate” in January or whenever. There’s never a time-limit on giving. I hope you are able to fit some of these ideas into your 2012! The point is to send the important “gift” message to our kids, reminding them that our humanity is the best gift we could give! By: Carol Pool, PCAIN Education Specialist

There Are No Festivities in Jail - Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Monday, December 5, 2011

As you celebrate the holiday season enjoying traditions, food, family and fun, be reminded that local law enforcement will be out in force this holiday season from December 16, 2011, to January 2, 2012, to arrest anyone caught driving drunk behind the wheel.

The message is simple, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Drinking alcohol and driving do not mix. If you plan to consume alcohol, you should also plan not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle or ride a motorcycle.

Unfortunately millions of drivers on America’s highways still think they are invincible, and they choose to jeopardize their safety and the safety of others on our roads.

There will be no spreading holiday cheer behind the bars of a jail cell. Don’t let your 2011 holiday season end in an arrest or worse, death. Remember, whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk.

In December 2009, there were 753 people killed in crashes that involved drivers or motorcycle riders with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

Prevent Child Abuse Indiana recommends these simple tips for a safe holiday season:
 Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
 Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your car keys at home;
 If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
 Use your community’s sober ride program;
 If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
 If you provide child care for parents who are going to a party, make sure the parents know in advance that you will not release the kids to parents who appear to be impaired. If an impaired parent shows up to take their kids home, do everything you can to dissuade them from getting behind the wheel. Offer to call a cab or drive the family home yourself. Call law enforcement if necessary. Yes, a confrontation may be unpleasant at the time, but it’s not nearly as tragic as what may happen if you don’t intervene.
 And remember, Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take that person’s keys and help him or her make other arrangements to get home safely.

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