5 Best Holiday Volunteer Opportunities in Minnesota for Families

Family volunteers at local soup kitchen

For many of us, the holidays are a busy time of year, especially when it comes to gift giving. As you check off presents on your shopping list, make time to volunteer with your family, and give a gift that impacts those around you. It’s a great way to teach your children about the spirit of giving, as well as encourage a more empathetic mindset. Here’s where to find holiday volunteer opportunities in Minnesota.

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5 Simple DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids for Under $25

October is coming to a close, which means Halloween is upon us. For some people, the scariest part of this spooky holiday is coming up with a good costume idea.

You want something fun and original, but you don’t want to break the bank doing it. You also shudder at the thought of buying a $50 costume for one night. This is why many people opt for a homemade costume.

The idea of a homemade costume can be daunting to many, but it doesn’t have to be a scary task. DIY costumes can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Need some inspiration? Here are 5 simple homemade Halloween costume ideas for kids that you can pull off for under $25.

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10 Candy Alternatives for Halloween That Won’t Give Kids Cavities

Four trick-or-treaters leaving a house with non-candy options for HalloweenOctober is in full swing, which means we’re on a countdown to the spookiest night of the year. And while Halloween is still a few weeks away, people are already starting to prepare: Decorations are coming out, costumes are getting bought, and candy can be found in every store.

If you’re a homeowner, you’re probably expecting an influx of kids ringing your doorbell with their pillowcases opened up. Halloween is definitely fun, but it can be a little sickening to think about the amount of candy kids will be receiving. If you want to hand out something that won’t make a dentist shudder, you do have other options. Read on for 10 of the best non-candy alternatives for Halloween.

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Fall Family Craft Ideas That Everyone Will Love

With the crisp fall weather approaching, there are guaranteed to be some days with less than ideal weather. If you find yourself at home with the kiddos on a cold, rainy fall day, there are plenty of fun fall craft ideas that are easy to make and perfect as decorations around the house!

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Fun Fall Activities in Minnesota for the Whole Family!

Apples floating in water

The seasons are a’changing! While many people mourn the warmer summer days, plenty are wrapping up in their cozy scarves and hiking boots to start fall off right. From football games to apple picking, pumpkin patches and the beautiful fall colors, there are plenty of fall activities in Minnesota for the whole family to enjoy!

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What to Know about OTC Medicine for Kids

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When you’re searching for a medication for your child, you might wonder how to choose from the many over-the-counter options. The drug aisle can feel overwhelming, with shelf after shelf filled with brightly colored packaging claiming to work wonders. It is important that parents understand the drugs they give their children so that they can recover from an illness as quickly, painlessly and safely as possible. When it comes to medicine you can buy without a visit to a provider, here are some things to look out for:
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How to Protect Your Baby From Whooping Cough

Whooping cough, or Pertussis, is a potentially deadly respiratory tract infection. Though there is a vaccine to protect against this infection, it is only fully effective when three shots have been administered, one a two months, one at four months, and one at six months. This means that infants under six months are most likely to contract the disease – though young adults who miss their booster shots are also at a higher risk.

How To Protect Your Child

During the third trimester of pregnancy, it is extremely important that mothers receive a dose of the vaccine. By doing so, you not only give your infant some short-term protection, but it also ensures that the mother will not pass Pertussis to her child after birth. Because Pertussis is spread by the cough or sneeze of an infected person, this is also true for anyone who will be in close contact with the baby – the father, grandparents, other relatives, siblings, etc. – anyone who will be around the child need to ensure that they are up to date on their vaccines. If they are not, they need to wait two weeks after getting an updated vaccine for it to take full effect.

As an infant and young child, it is recommended that your baby receives a total of five Pertussis vaccines at the following times:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15-18 months
  • 4-6 years

This is due to the fact that the vaccine decreases in strength overtime. It is also recommended that your child receive booster shots when they are between 11 and 18 years of age, as well as one when they are 19 or older.*

When To Head To The Doctor

Whooping cough mimics the symptoms of the common cold at first, but will continue for weeks. If your child has experienced sneezing, a running or stuffy nose, and a mild fever with coughing that has increased after a week or two, it’s time to consider a visit to your provider.

This disease differs from the common cold in that after the first few weeks, it can develop into severe coughing fits that are violent and rapid, causing the loud “whooping” sound as one inhales quickly. With that said, it is extremely important to note that in many cases of whooping cough, infants do not cough at all. Instead, the disease causes them to have difficulty, or stop breathing all together.

If you are concerned that your child may have whooping cough, don’t hesitate to visit your provider right away.

* http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis/

My Child Has An Earache – What Should I Do?

One of the most common reasons children are brought in for medical appointments is to deal with an ear infection. The most common form of ear infection is “acute otitis media,” a bacterial or viral infection that affects the middle ear. The discomfort your child might feel from a middle ear infection is the result of fluid build up behind the eardrum.

Earache

How Did My Child Get an Ear Infection?

Children are more likely to get an ear infection than adults for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is because children’s middle ears are a different size and shape than adults. In fact, the National Institute of Health states that five out of six children will have at least one ear infection before they turn three years old. Ear infections don’t always manifest by themselves, either. They often appear with the common cold, the flu, strep throat, and sinus infections.

What Kinds of Symptoms Should I Look For?

If your child is old enough, he or she will probably let you know his or her ear hurts. If your child doesn’t tell you his or her symptoms, or isn’t able to communicate that information yet, you may notice a fever or drainage of fluid from the ear. You might also see the child tugging at his or her ears or notice that your child is more irritable, sleeping less easily, acting less balanced, or crying more than usual. You can help your child feel a bit better in the mean time by placing a warm, moist washcloth over the ear – or ears – that hurt.

When Should I See A Provider?

If the symptoms and discomfort continue for more than 24-hours, you should bring your child in for an exam. Your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics or recommend OTC medicines like acetaminophen or eardrops – but these treatments vary with the age of your child.

The best action to take when you suspect your child has an ear infection is by keeping an eye on his or her symptoms and to make an appointment with your provider if the discomfort persists.

 

 

Fall Family Fun: Outdoor Activities to Enjoy Together

Fall Fun | Family-friendly Outdoor Activities for fall

One of the greatest benefits of fall is the beautiful weather it provides for healthy family-friendly outdoor activities. Whether you have young children or teens, there are tons of fun outdoor activities that promote health and well-being while providing you with quality time together. You can use this bonding time to build new skills or expand your family’s horizons by exploring new parts of your city or state. Here are a few of our favorite fun activities for fall:

Raking

Who says yard work has to be work? Turn raking from a chore into a fun family activity that gets everyone outside and moving! Make a game out of raking by seeing who can rake the biggest pile in a set amount of time or, if your kids are younger, have a leaf-pile jumping competition. Check out some more family-friendly raking games here. Your yard will be looking great in no time and, better yet, you’ll enjoy the process!

Walking or Hiking

Walking and hiking are both fun outdoor activities for fall that allow you to enjoy the vibrant foliage and get some exercise at the same time. It’s never too early to get your little one outside with you! Check out family-friendly resources like Hike it Baby to help you plan your adventure, or consider joining them on one of their new parent walks. You can also keep young children engaged with a fall-themed scavenger hunt. This is a creative way to keep kids’ energy focused and to encourage them to interact with nature. Consider bringing along a magnifying glass to look at their finds and a small bag to keep treasures in! Start your adventure by looking at planning resources like maps and trail reviews through Explore Minnesota or trails.com.

Biking

Get your family moving and grooving this fall by hopping on your bikes and checking out some local trails. Whether everyone is old enough to ride or you’re toting a youngster behind you, biking is a fun way to enjoy the crisp air in a way that promotes health and wellness. You can even consider planning a day trip with scenic stops along the way that you can all enjoy together. Before you go, explore the state’s best kid-friendly trails and don’t forget to pack some healthy snacks!

No matter what outdoor activity you choose to enjoy this fall, you’re sure to form lasting memories with your family while promoting health and wellness in a fun way.