I'm a Seattle parent on the brink of a career change.
Strong Personality is my place to share tips & tools that make my busy life easier!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Adventures in germ non-proliferation

Maybe it was the mild winter or just bad luck. Seems like this cold & flu season is dragging on and on- how many announcements have you seen about sick kids staying home? I feel for those adults trying to nurture the kiddos back to health while staying creative and managing their own sanity.

It can be really tough to stay indoors, especially when the weather is starting to warm up. You can't stand another minute in your house, even with a battalion of DVDs or On Demand options. I have a few suggestions that get you out of the house without sharing the germs. Would love to hear about your favorite tricks in the comments!

Olympic Game Farm, Sequim WA, http://www.olygamefarm.com/

This is far and above the most exciting for the kids, and yet not a quick option most of us. I couldn't resist including it. For those folks within an easy drive of Sequim, nothing could beat the excitement of a zebra, rhinocerous, or bison eyeing you through the window. Bet your kids forget to sneeze!

Construction sites

Even in this economy, there are plenty of sites buzzing with large trucks, cranes, and new loads of concrete. Pull up across the street and gawk a bit.

Coffee drive through

Yes, this is mostly to relieve you. The kids can enjoy a steamed milk with honey for their throats, you get whatever legal quantity of coffee you need to get through the day.

Let the kids "drive"

I started this little game with my 3 year old. I let her be my backseat driver and take her instructions at every intersection: left, right, or straight ahead. She thinks it's hilarious and adventurous. I bet older kids would like following a map to a new location or an oddly-named street that catches their eye.

Geocaching, http://www.geocaching.com/

The prior suggestion led to another idea. I don't know the first thing about geocaching, except that it's an outdoor adventure mixing brainpower and a little mystery. Could it be that some of the caches can be sighted from the comfort of your car? Perhaps that suggestion is completely at odds with the values of true geocachers. Maybe someone should invent car-based geocaching, and tell us about it. Or, you could make up your own treasure hunt (find the Fremont troll!).

Update 5/12/2010: Drive through a car wash! The ones where you hop out & do your own scrubbing take longer (in my experience) and that's a good thing when you have time to kill. Both of my kids are fascinated with the water coursing over the windows- induces happiness in one girl, a bit of fear in the other. I think the fear comes from not knowing what a clean car looks like.

Did I provide at least one hour's distraction for you and your kids? Success!

Take care everyone,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Caregiver Brochure

Image from beaglepaws.com

Here’s the situation: my in-laws live in a small town near the Canadian border. Sometimes my husband and I leave our young children with their grandparents while we buzz around. Everyone has a great time and there are almost never any problems. Of course, sometimes there are problems, and we were recently unprepared.

There are limited medical services in this small town. The nearest ER is across the border, in Canada. On one recent visit, while we were away, one of the kids did a faceplant into the floor and needed her lip stitched. Luckily we hadn't gotten very far, but we had no idea where to take here for care. Not only do we have to do this research whenever we travel in the future (no more lazy parents!), we need to provide a lot more information to the caregivers, in case we aren't able to return to the kids quickly. This time we were just across the border on our way to the Vancouver Olympics, but next time we could be flying to Europe or cruising South America! (Hey, it could happen.)

Here’s a link to the easy form I created to hand over to the grandparents along with the kids' overnight bags. The form is meant to be printed on a single page, front & back, and folded in half into a brochure. I included everything my super-organized parent friends could think of. Most people will find this overdone, but it's just a Word Doc and can easily be pared down as needed. If you feel moved to make your own form, this list of the elements in my brochure might be handy:

1. Medical Release to allow caregivers to make medical decisions in my absence
2. Recent photo, height, weight
3. Allergies
4. Immunizations
5. Consent to transport over borders
6. Photocopy of Nexus card
7. Photocopy of passport
8. Location and hours of nearest walk-in-clinic
9. Location of nearest emergency room
10. Contact information for parents
11. Contact information for children’s pediatrician and dentist

I hope this information will help your family too. Update the information at least once a year. I’m going to review it on the kids birthdays as an easy way to remember.

If you have ideas for improvement, please leave a comment!

Good health to all,