EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for January 2011

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Many years ago I was given this lovely poem by a family who had just adopted a little girl.  They had been given the poem by another family who had also adopted a child.  Both families cherished the poem and I have kept it close.

Children come in all shapes and sizes.  They run the range of quiet and focused to riotous and rambunctious.  They have siblings and large extended families and they are “onlies”.  Children have health and worries, they are highly gifted and they struggle.  They are dreamers and lovers and they are sullen and cautious. 

But they have one thing in common: the need to belong.  Family first.  Natural families, adopted families, foster families, extended families, single parent families, two parent families, nuclear families – whatever the label is, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that a child belongs to you and you to them.

If you were adopted as a child or you have adopted a child this poem will ring in your heart. Keep it close.   But it is for all families with children.

Legacy of an Adopted Child. 

Author Unknown

Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives shaped to make your one.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions; the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.
One gave you up – it was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me through your tears,
The age-old questions through the years;
Heredity or environment – which are you the product of?
Neither, my darling, neither
Just two different kinds of love

“We came from mommy’s tummy.  But Joseph is adopted, so he came from his mommy’s heart.”   Dolly, The Family Circus

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

We all know that flu season is among us.  Noses are drippy, we hear coughing everywhere and many of us have been “doctoring” our own aches and pains as well as our children’s.  Schools are busy sending home art projects of children’s traced and cut out hands pasted on paper with a Kleenex stuck in between.  The caption “Catch that sneeze, please!” is a favorite.

Elbows become “wellbows” for sneezing. Winter hats, mittens, snowsuits and boots are being sorted and washed…again, and again.  

Ahhhh, another season preparing to fight the flu:

  • Dress for the weather.
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  • Eat plenty of good foods and drink plenty of water.
  • Get a flu vaccine – it isn’t too late!
    Prevent the spread of germs by: 
  •  Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue away after use.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.  If water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way!
  • Change toothbrushes.  Use small tubes of toothpaste – (big ones last through coughs and colds & kids scrape their toothbrushes.)

I know, even when you try your hardest to avoid colds and flu, inevitably your little one ends up on the couch wrapped in a blanket and feeling yucky…. 

Now what:

  • Make sure you are taking care of yourself so that you can take care of your family.
  • Change pillow cases.
  • A favorite movie or music can be restful and make the time go by.
  • Paper and crayons – a new coloring book or game to perk up for is welcome.
  • Tea and Toast, hot soup, and snicker doodles always made my children better. 

The CDC has free downloadable resources available at

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

I don’t really consider myself a winter person.  I prefer sandals and t-shirts to boots and turtlenecks.  Out of necessity I help shovel the driveway but insist I get the parking space in the garage.  The only reason I like winter at all is because I have an excuse to drink hot chocolate with sprinkles and whipped cream and not feel guilty!

When my children were little, I used to love the snow.  I have photos to prove it. I have grandchildren now that absolutely love to run and jump into snow hills and just play in the snowy yard.  So when I join them, I can’t help but find magic in this sparkly cold powder that drifts to the ground.  (Even if I know I will eventually have to shovel it.)

Have you watched (I mean really watched) your children in the snow outside?  They are wonderful with bright cheeks and misty breath.  They move with steady grace (even toddlers once they get the hang of it) and they run with reckless abandon.  Children find magic in falling snow.  They see wonder in snow-covered playgrounds and they howl and scream when they slip, slide, and sled.  Half the time they don’t care if their hat is missing or their gloves are soaked. 

You have the real privilege of being able to enjoy winter with children in your own back yard.  I know it takes time to dress little ones and help dress “big” ones in all of their outside gear.  But..                                                                                                                                               

*Plan ahead in hallways and closets – be sure there is space for everything.  Consider where all of that wet, cold gear will go when everyone comes in.  Are there dry clothes to change into?   Boots in the garage or hall?  Set your children up for successful play transitions.

*Have extra gear on hooks and in bags.  Consider assignment and thrift shops for extras.                           

 *Winter fun is learning about weather, animals, plants and clouds. It is a chance for friendship, fun, lessons in balance & motion and taking aim or ducking for cover in a snowball fight!  Your snowy yard and slushy street is an exciting classroom (ssh… don’t tell the kids).

 *Consider taking outside what children enjoy inside. Scoops, shovels, bowls, trucks, balls, plastic toys, blocks & people… Invite friends to climb and dig out snowhills.

*Make sure you have winter gear to play outside with your children. Take an evening winter walk – the world looks different.  Everything is peaceful and glittery.

So GET OUT and make time for winter fun!

Then COME IN and share hot chocolate with whipped cream & sprinkles.

You won’t feel guilty at all!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Children are curious at any age and we have to help them choose what is safe and teach them to stay away from what is not. This is a life lesson.  Our homes are our “safe base” yet there are thousands of calls  made to the Poison Control Hot Line each year by panicked adults who need help for children who have ingested, inhaled or have touched a dangerous substance in their homes.

Common products are labeled toxic yet are on our shelves and in our cupboards; i.e. shaving cream, cleaning products, shampoos, animal products,etc.   I picked up a bottle of common liquid dish soap on my sink.  It reads “keep out of the reach of children”. There is specific information on what to do if swallowed or if the product comes in contact with eyes.  Every common cleaner in my cupboard has the same warning and instruction.  Children have access to these products all the time in most homes.  We don’t think anything of it…until we are making the call to the Poison Control Hot Line.

Medicines are clearly the biggest threat.  Many Poison Prevention Programs ask families to consider these common “look-alikes”:

  •  Tums / Sweet Tarts 
  • Sudafed / Red Hots 
  • Tylenol / Good & Plenty              
  • Parmesan Cheese / Comet 
  • Apple Juice / Pine Sol 
  • water / clear alcohol   (this is just to name a few, there are many others)

To help children take their medicine without a big struggle, children’s liquid medicines now smell and taste like common candy, bubble gum, watermelon, cherries or grape cool-aid.  Sick children and often their well siblings ask to take this medicine because they like the way it tastes!  This can be very confusing to children.  Medicine is not candy!

Adult prescriptions as well as over the counter medicines are life threatening when not taken exactly as prescribed.  They are often on reachable shelves, dressers, countertops and in pockets and purses.  Keep all medicine out of reach of children – preferable in locked cabinets.

Children’s vitamins come in all popular characters, attractive colors and have favorite flavors and smells.  Their packaging is attractive. They are sealed with “child proof” (there is no such thing!) lids.  Too many vitamins can quickly become too much of a good thing.  Use as directed only.

Animal vitamins and products can be potentially life threatening to children yet many of them are in kitchen cupboards and hallway closets.  Older children are often asked to help give animals their vitamins and medicines.  Any kind of animal healthcare products should only be handled by adults!

At the beginning of 2011 take a walk through your house and open cupboards and cabinets.  Replace cabinet closers if needed.  Read labels.  Discard (as directed) “old” medicines and vitamins.  Make children’s medicines and vitamins functional – Their function is to promote health only!  Talk to your children about always asking before touching and never eating or drinking anything without checking with you or their caregiver first.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Toll free poison control # 1-800-222-1222

For more information visit

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


 The New Year looms.  Panic sets in. 

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


I find this to be a typical layer of the beginning of January:    


1. Sentimental and meaningful memories filter in and we are happy and grateful to recall and talk about wonderful events in the year passed.  We share laughs and stories of successes and challenges.  Maybe a new baby was born, a child entered kindergarten or college, a worrisome malady has passed, a new home settled, a job secured, friendships are strong and a partnership is joyful.


2. In the middle of all this giddiness, you realize that your new holiday pants don’t fit.  You chastise yourself for diving into the leftover dips and eggnog.  The kids all have dental appointments and the dog has a skin boil that has to be taken care of over the Christmas break.  Your charge card bill is not delayed because of the 8” of snow in your un-shoveled driveway and you forgot to book a babysitter for the Ring in the New Year extravaganza that you bought expensive tickets for in November.

3. You make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight by joining the gym at an “unbelievable low membership rate”.  You put up a new kitchen calendar with the glaring title    ” If it’s not on this calendar, it doesn’t exist in my life!”  You swear to yourself you are not going to beg the kid down the street to babysit at the last-minute ever again, as you agree to the added charge and pizza treat.

4.  Life begins again.  With all of its ups and downs.  With all of its joys and worries.  With all of its excitement at new beginnings and gratitude for what is sturdy and stable. You make a vow, once again, to be the very best person, parent, partner, colleague, friend and member of the family.  You look around your life in this New Year, and you commit to what is good and you find ways to change what is not.

At the beginning of 2011 hug and kiss each person you love. Say the words “I love you.”  Play with your children.  Get in the car and visit a friend or relative you’ve been meaning to get in touch with.  Call your friends and go for tea.  Laugh at the crazy dog, throw snowballs with your kids in the driveway, dance, eat popcorn and wear p.j.s when you can. 

Smile at yourself in the mirror. 

Happy New Year!  I hope 2011 is filled with health, happiness and good fortune!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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