Samara Tilkens Postuma is raising five kids from infant to teen in the St. Michael area with her husband, Jeff. When not found driving kids to and from activities, helping with homework or at the park or pool, you can find her sharing her life online where she does some freelance writing and social media work and also writes at her own blog, www.simplicityinthesuburbs.com.

Posts about Society

Summer Safety with Children's: Sun Smarts

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: July 14, 2014 - 10:02 PM

Who doesn't love a nice warm sunny day? After the longest winter ever Minnesotans are determined to soak up each and every moment of sunshine we can. Vitamin D, right?

It's all good as long as you're protecting yourself from the sun. July is UV Protection Month and Dr. Pamela Gigi Chawla, senior medical director of Primary Care for Children's Hospital, has a lot of tips for families who are trying to make the most of the sun.

-Be proactive and preventitve. Wear sunscreen from the beginning, don't wait until you start seeing color.

-Speaking of color, if you are seeing red, it's time to go in. "Your skin is giving you a warning sign," Dr. Chawla said noting it's important to just head in at that point, not to start reapplication.

-Reapply. "You can't assume you're covered for hours upon hours, you must reapply," Dr. Chawla said.

-Rashguards, protective clothing and sun hats. If your child is going to be swimming or at the beach, this is a simple way to help protect them from the sun without having to constantly reapply sunscreen to their arms and torso.

-If you or your child get burnt, stay hydrated and use a topical soothing agent {like aloe or coconut oil} and over the counter pain relief. "Your skin is the largest organ of your body, so take care of it," Dr. Chawla said.

-It's especially important that if your baby gets sunburnt you stay on top of it as babies can lose a lot of heat and water and sunburns can cause fluid issues. 

-Dr. Chawla said that while aerosol sunscreens are convenient, it's difficult to see where the product is. "Using a cream sunscreen creates a thick, visible barrier," she said though noting sunscreen use of any kind is better than none.

How do you keep yourself and your kids safe in the sunshine? Do you have a certain brand of sunscreen you swear by? Rules for reapplication?

Summer Bucket List: Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: July 10, 2014 - 8:23 AM

Today's summer bucket list post is from Anne of Shoreview. She's adding some Stillwater sites to the Summer Bucket List. 

***

 

For our family, summer seems incomplete without at least one visit to Stillwater. Getting there is half the fun if you take the lushly-green back route into town via Highway 96 east off Highway 61. There is so much to do, and the main attraction for families with young kids is Teddy Bear Park, located just up the hill from downtown at the corner of South 2nd Street and Nelson Street.

 

This charming playground is free and open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Strollers beware – it’s a steep climb from the main drag of Stillwater, but worth the trek. There is a free public parking lot adjacent to the park where you might find a spot. Clean bathrooms are located within the park, along with a drinking fountain, plenty of benches, and a small gazebo for picnics.

 

It can get very hot at midday, so plan your time accordingly to enjoy all the features.  Our favorites are the multi-level climbing tree and slide, the multi-compartment train with smaller slides for little ones, and the rock wall with large sandbox for freeplay. There is also a rope web for those Spiderman-wannabees. The park is dotted with its namesake “teddy bears” – darling stone sculptures perfect for family posing and pictures. 

 

After the park, your kids will scream for the monstrous cones at Nelson’s Ice Cream, located at 920 Olive Street West, also “uphill” from downtown Stillwater. Nelson’s offers more than 30 flavors which you can mix and match if you can’t decide. A kid’s size cone was more than our kids could manage on their own, so consider sharing.

 

Venture back downtown for a leisurely stroll by the St. Croix, where you can watch the boats cruise along. Lay out your blanket in the large grassy field and enjoy throwing a ball around or just relaxing. If you venture into any of the charming shops along Main Street, be sure to visit Valley Bookseller, where the kids’ section is large and full of unique books and toys.

 

Plan ahead: Stillwater hosts its annual town fair, Stillwater Log Jam (formerly Lumberjack Days) July 18-20, 2014. Expect a ton of activities (and traffic!) that weekend. 

 

Guest post by Anne of Shoreview, mom to 7-year-old boy/girl twins. She and her husband Jeff enjoy finding new, fun outdoor things to do as a family.

 

Summer Safety with Children's: Screen Time in the Summer

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: July 7, 2014 - 9:06 PM

I'm pretty sure that 9 out of 10 arguments in every household with children of "screen time use age" are about screen time limits. Am I right?

Screen time is a tough one. Even as an adult. I find myself mindlessly scrolling through my phone or editing a photo when I really have a long list of to-do's. It's easy, it's mostly mindless and it's a really important topic.

Dr. Pamela Gigi Chawla, senior director of Primary Care at Children's Hospitals and Clinics, says screen time limits are not only important, they are critical to a balanced life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends absolutely NO screen time for children under the age of 2 and children under the age of 2 are recommended to ahve 2 hours or less each day.

That two hours is to include computer, TV, video games, iPads, iPods, anything electronic with a screen. Just two hours? Some days we've hit that limit before breakfast.

"It's definitely easier [to manage] during the school year," Dr. Chawla said noting that summer schedules create challenges with work schedules and childcare arrangements and a lot of juggling for some families. "But it's important to find alterantive ways to have fun in the summer."

Dr. Chawla suggests kids spend more time outside, get creative, try new activities or even to just allow kids to be.

"It's important to embrace just being without having the stimulation of a screen," she said noting that parents need to model this by not constantly being in front of a screen with with their kids.

Some families do currency or charts or require their kids to "earn" their screen time, still others only allow sunscreen in the car or while traveling and some allow their kids to self regulate. Whatever works best for your family while trying to use two hours or less a day of screen time works.

What works for your family when it comes to screen time?

Summer Bucket List: Linden Hills Neighborhood in Minneapolis

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: July 3, 2014 - 10:18 AM

If you live out in the suburbs and aren't familiar with Minneapolis or St. Paul, it can seem overwhelming to bring your kids for a city adventure but it doesn't have to be.

The Linden Hills Neighborhood in Minneapolis is a whimsical, fun place to visit any time of year but especially the summer. With Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun both just a stones throw away you really can choose your own adventure whether that is walking around the lake, playing at the playground, catching a concert at the bandshell or fishing off one of the docks. 

In the summer, Lake Harriet has free nightly concerts and various movie nights and other activities at the bandshell. {Schedule.}

Once you're done visiting either Lake Harriet or Lake Calhoun you can take a short walk down the way to 43rd and Upton Avenue and visit the infamous Wild Rumpus bookstore. Known for it's whimsical nature and the miscellaneous animals who take residence inside the store, readers of all ages will love this little book store. With a kids door and an adult door, creaky wood floors in the back and children's art work covering the back walls of the store, thanking Wild Rumpus for the fun. They specialize in children's books and have a wide variety. They also host various special author events, teen book club and even a couple pj's and trolley parties each year.

Once you've found some reading material, head on over to Sebastian Joe's where you will enjoy the most delicious ice cream on their back patio. My favorite is Pavoratti! Be prepared for a line and even a wait for a table on warm weekends and even some busier weeknights.

There's a Creative Kidstuff next door that my kids love looking and playing in before we wander down the way to the Linden Hills park where your kids can cool off for a dip in the wading pool or play at the park.

You can make it as full or as light of a day as you'd like.

Are you familiar with Linden Hills? If you live out in the suburbs, what are some of your favorite activities in Minneapolis or St. Paul?

Summer Safety with Children's: Bike Helmets

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: July 1, 2014 - 1:54 PM

It's not unusual to see neighborhoods full of little kids wearing helmets while they bike and scooter around these days but as those little kids get older, so do their opinions on whether they need to wear that bike helmet.

Can you ever be too old for a bike helmet?

Dr. David Hirschman, co-medical director of Children's Hospital Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, says no. You're never too old or too secure of a bike rider for a bike helmet. And that includes adults.

"You can not predict when you might fall or get injured, which is why always having a helmet on your head is important," Dr. Hirshman said noting that none of the kids he's seen for bike related injuries were planning on falling.

Even in a minor fall, concussions, memory loss and nausea can occur and in some serious cases Dr. Hirschman said even significant behavior changes can take place.

"It can take a long time to fully recover from a fall on one's head," Dr. Hirshman said.

Dr. Hirschman said it's important that parents encourage helmets for their kids by modeling the behavior and also just talking about the risks. "The risk is too great, messed up hair is worth it," he said.

Helmets should be replaced anytime a fall occurs that results in impact because they are really designed for one fall. It's also important that a helmet fits correctly, the strap is snug under one's chin and the helmet is covering both the front and back of one's head.

Throughout each summer, various clinics and organizations do bike helmet giveaways and the Injury Prevention Team at Children's Hospital is always happy to provide helmets to those who need them.

In 2013, there were 410 bicycle related injuries to the Emergency Room at Children's Hospital in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. So far in 2014, there have been just 74 visits. Wearing a helmet won't prevent falls or accidents from happening but it will help prevent a life changing head injury.

Do you and your kids wear bike helmets? How do you encourage your children to wear helmets even if neighbors or friends aren't?

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