Wildlife inspectors check shipments at airports and at our borders with Mexico and Canada. They commonly find smuggled pets. But many animals still make it past their security. The people who sell the animals are willing to risk a fine or even some jail time because it is a big business. While the poacher may make pennies, smugglers typically sell wildlife at a much higher price.

Smugglers are sneaky. They put animals in false compartments in suitcases and cars. They put illegal birds into cages that also hold legal birds. Some will even try to mail reptiles.

These are criminals who do a great deal of damage. When a poacher catches and removes animals from the wild, the population of that species will drop. It can be harder for the remaining animals to find mates or to keep away predators.

So what is a pet lover to do? Stick with a common type of critter. It is better for the animals. And it is better for you.

Here are some Power Words for you to learn:

Poacher (po-cher): A person who hunts animals unlawfully

Smuggler : A person who carries things into or out of a country unlawfully.

Learn some information on unfair trade here. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your friends. Remember to always praise your children.

Smugglers and poachers

Smuggling in suitcases.

The U.S. is one of the leading buyers of illegal turtles, snakes, birds, apes and monkeys. People who want to own these animals make the world’s wild animal trade possible. It is a cruel business. Captive creatures often die during the transport. They may be too hot or cold. Or the containers they are transported in may be too small. Sometimes they are not given any food or water.

Bringing wild animals into the country can also spread diseases. Wild birds can carry germs. Tiny turtles can carry a dangerous bacteria. Exotic wildlide can make you and other people sick even when you never touch or see the animal.

See more on Pet Problems in the US. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends.

An Unfair Trade Practice

This is not the ocean.

Wild animals are being illegally caught and taken out of their natural habitats. The animals are then sold as pets. It is a dangerous business.

Tourist often bring back snacks to share with their friends and family. But when a couple of foreign smugglers landed at an airport in the US, they were hoping the U.S. Fish & Wildlife agents would think that they were tourist. However, the agents thought that the 2 were carrying more than just tasty treats. The agents then found around 50 live turtles and tortoises stuffed inside snack food boxes in their suitcases. Among the reptiles found were Indian star tortoises and rare turtles. The agents had been working on an a project called “Operation Flying Turtle” for over a year.

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Smuggling Turtles

Pet Problems

This is a delicious and healthy snack that is great for the kids after school or for a late night snack for parents. Get creative and use different nut butters and toppings. Have fun together and enjoy!

Supplies

  • Cutting board
  • Apple slicer
  • Small spatula
  • Apples
  • Granola
  • Raisins
  • Nuts

Steps

  • Core and slice apples.
  • Spread peanut butter on top of apples.
  • Sprinkle toppings over the peanut butter.

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Apple Sundaes

Healthy Snack

When your outgoing tweener turns inward

If your excitable kid has suddenly changed into a shy tween, do not freak out. This type of personality change is common for this age group and will usually pass. In the meantime, you can take steps to help your child find their voice and confidence again.

The toning down you now see is often self imposed, adopted as a protection against the hurtful tactics of classmates and your child’s own self-doubt. The tween years can be difficult as children begin to notice and judge themselves and others on matters such as school success, looks, possessions and athletic ability. Coping at the same time with changing expectations and uncertainties about friendship, some tweens follow the “safe” option and hold back, becoming more risk averse to try to avoid making a mistake that could lead to teasing.

The best way to help you tween return to full power is to rebuild their confidence and self belief. At home, encourage them to join in and express their views during family conversations. Listen respectfully so they can speak up confidently and comfortably.

3 Tips to help your child

  • Make New Friends. Try a club with kids from outside their school. They will be more likely to let loose around people they do not see every day, as there is less at stake if they make a mistake.
  • Boost Confidence. Praise your child for their good ideas and actions to help them feel good.
  • Personalize It. Share a story about a time you have felt shy and how you dealt with it.

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Shy

Shy Kid

Be Supportive. Encourage your child to give up sucking their thumb by praising their efforts. Be nonjudgmental and respectful if they slip. Try using a rewards system with a sticker chart to monitor your child’s progress.

Prevent It. Identify the times (tired, hungry) and places (car, TV room) that your child sucks their thumb rather than concentrating on the physical action. Try to anticipate their comfort needs ahead of time and give them extra attention.

Distract Them. Provide an interesting activity that requires their attention and keeps their hands busy. Play a board game with them. Have them turn the pages in a book instead of sucking their thumb while you read to them. Involve them in manipulative activities like coloring or squeezing play dough.

See more posts on taking comfort. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Praise your child often.

Taking Comfort

Taking Comfort

React Quickly. Calmly remove them from the situation immediately, saying “I can not let you hurt your friends” or “Gentle hands only.” This helps them learn that hitting does not solve problems.

Use Your Words. Model how to ask and then wait for a turn. Encourage your child to “use their words” rather than physical force.

Offer Independence. Let your child choose their own clothes or decide where to go first at the park. Giving them this freedom can diminish their need to exert control in other situations.

Try Signing. Research shows children communicate sooner and more effectively with signs than with words. Learn a few common signs such as “stop.” Check out resources at SigningSmart.com

Here you can also take a look at tips for biting. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your friends. Remember to always praise your child.

Kids Hitting

That is Mine!

Why threes and fours love to suck their thumbs

Everyone has ways to help them relax. For you, it might be a warm bath, meditation or reading. Young children, too, adopt personal habits or rituals that make them feel more comfortable when they are stressed or upset. Some children stroke a security blanket or twist strands of hair, but many choose to suck their thumbs.

The thumb is really a perfect security tool for threes and fours, as it goes everywhere they do and never gets lost. Whether a child is dealing with mom leaving them with a caregiver or sitting through a long car ride, a good thumb suck can cure boredom or help them relax.

Once preschool begins, however, many parents become concerned if their child is still sucking their thumb. It may bother you that your daughter is not giving up “babyish” habits and you may fear that she is putting germs in her mouth. You may also wonder if the habit will affect incoming teeth or her speech development. This is not a big concern in children under the age of 4 and most children outgrow thumb sucking by the age of 5.

However, a child should cease thumb sucking by the time their permanent teeth come in, around 4 or 5 years of age. If the intensity of the sucking is aggressive, this could affect the development of the child’s teeth and roof of the mouth. Passive sucking is less likely to cause problems, but this situation should be discussed with your family dentist.

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Taking Comfort

Taking Comfort

It is part of normal toddler aggression, as is hitting and scratching.

The bloodcurdling scream of a child who has just been bitten by another gets our attention in a hurry. It feels so disturbing. Animalistic, even.

Toddler aggression comes in many forms: the 1-year-old chomping down on a new friend they just met at the park, an 18-month-old scratching their best buddy in the sandbox, a 2-year-old hitting their sister in the playroom. These acts, while seemingly cruel, are rarely rooted in a desire to inflict harm purely for harms sake. In fact, they are normal and often a sign of social and cognitive developments.

The issue typically begins after age 1. They not only start to notice other children as peers to play alongside, they see them as obstacles to getting what they want. They will seek more independence and spend more time experimenting with way to assert themselves and get their needs met.

When these advancements outpace their limited language skills, they are unable to verbalize their desires or get the results they are seeking. It is no surprise, then, that so many 1 and 2-year-old kids interact with peers through physical means. For example, your child will notice another child playing with the truck they want. They will try to assert their desire by first stating, “Mine,” and then grabbing for the toy. If that does not work, they may next resort to biting or pushing.

Sometimes aggression goes too far; if your child is hitting most of the time, if other children are afraid of them or if you have not been able to help them make changes to their behavior, talk to your pediatrician. The doctor might recommend a child psychologist who can help you work through it. But keep in mind that your child will likely outgrow their aggressive tendencies.

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What Is With The Biting

Bloodcurdling Scream

When spending special time with a son, dads can try activities based on the child’s interests, not just his own. This allows the son to be the expert who can explain a new skill to an eager audience. The sense of power, competence and confidence a child feels when helping a parent learn something is immense. It also lets the child see his father strive. In watching Dad learn, your son is learning how to face struggle or failure, how to practice something new and how to demonstrate the fortitude and perseverance necessary for success. See our post on Follow His Lead.

Offer Support. When your son knows you are truly interested in learning his passion, he will open up in new ways. Use the opportunity to talk about his friends, school struggles or other worries.

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Follow His Lead

Father and Son

Most dads look forward to raising a son-they imagine a time when they can play baseball or build a go-kart together, for example. Indeed, fathers play a crucial role in kids’ lives. They tend to engage in more active play than mothers, which helps kids learn to regulate their emotions and resist the urge to act aggressively. Fathers typically encourage their child’s independence and achievement, balancing out the mother’s emphasis on nurturance and protection.

Fostering the father-son bond is important for 7- and 8-year-olds. It has been shown that boys who have strong attachments to their fathers make stronger connections with peers, express more confidence and emotional security and get better grades.

Join The Fun. Follow these steps: Notice your child’s interests; while sitting nearby, watch how he extends his own activity; participate in the activity without taking over; and follow the inclinations and interests of your son.

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Follow His Lead

Father and Son

Make a paper model to help orient your child to the clock. Show them the minute and hour hands and explain that there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. Help your child “feel” how long a minute lasts by counting out loud together while clapping your hands for each second. Next, teach them to tell time on the hour. Then, move on to the half hour, quarter hour and minutes.

Learning to read a clock can be difficult. If your child is not ready to tell time, focus on games and try clock lessons again later. Do not worry if it takes a while for them to fully comprehend; that is expected since there are a lot of complex components involved.

Explain In Context. To foster their understanding of the concept of time, use a stopwatch to time how long it takes to sing their favorite song or do ten jumping jacks. Or explain that their favorite show is half an hour in length.

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Tick Tock

Tell Time!

In today’s world of touch screens and cell phones, teaching your child to tell time the “old fashioned” way with an analog clock might seem so last century. But knowing how to read a clock can help your child develop math skills and a sense of independence. Before you begin teaching, they should be able to recognize the numbers 1 to 12, count to 60 and count by 5’s. They will also need to grasp the basic concept of time.

Combine Tools.

Kids learn best with a combination of teaching tools. Games, books and online resources are fin and effective ways to reinforce lessons on time.

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Tick Tock

Tell Time!

Double leg hop. Place five throw pillows or for younger kids, empty paper towel rolls in a row, with space between each. Have your child hop over the objects, keeping their legs shoulder width apart.

Frog leap. Have your child squat down (like a frog) with their bottom toward the ground and knees out. Then have him leap up into the air and land in the crouched position. Do this up to 10 times.

Single leg hop to the side. Stand with both legs shoulder width apart. Lift the left leg (so only the right leg is touching the floor) and hop to the right side. Reverse legs. Complete five reps on each side. You can even set up a hopscotch board for this so they can do side jumps and forward jumps.

See more bone building exercises for young children.

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Bone Building Bonanza

Child’s Workout

Yes, dietary calcium is essential to bone growth for kids. But so is weight bearing exercise. These workout ideas are well suited to a child’s sense of play.

Start strong. First, fuel up with bone building foods. String cheese, cottage cheese, pudding or even smoothies made with frozen yogurt are great ways to add calcium to your child’s diet. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli are also high in the nutrient. Once the kids have digested their snack, clear a spot in your playroom for this fun workout circuit.

Jumping jacks. These will get your child’s heart rate up while providing some light impact on the bones, making it a good way to start a workout. Have younger kids count aloud to 20 jumping jacks; challenge kids older than 10 to do as many as they can in a minute.

Drop hop. Have your child stand on a bottom stair and keeping legs shoulder width apart, hop down to the ground. Both feet should land at the same time and make sure they bend their knees as she hits the ground to absorb the impact. Do this 10 times.

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Bone Building Bonanza

Child’s Workout

Agree on a think it over period. Most children go through a phase when they don’t want to do something. If your child says she is serious about quitting, tell her that she can as long as she agrees to think about it for a month or so before making a final decision.

Who is really benefiting? Is it you or your child? It is often difficult for parents to let their children quit an activity in which they have personally invested time and money or to which they have a nostalgic connection. Resist pointing out that you played the clarinet through college or how much you enjoy socializing with other parents on the sidelines. Help your child make her own decision.

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Time To Move On

I don’t wanna!

At some point she may want to quit a once loved activity, like soccer or piano. Should you say yes or no?

Get to the root. If your child claims not to like the activity anymore, watch her practice and then talk about what part of the activity she does not like. She may still enjoy the activity itself but need a smaller instrument or more time to relax between school and lessons.

Beat boredom. Consider whether your child is improving if he tells you he is bored. Are his skills growing? Is he tackling new challenges? A different instructor or higher level may help him get the satisfaction he needs without switching activities.

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Time To Move On

I don’t wanna!

Choose a freshwater fish. Though ocean dwellers tend to be more colorful, their saltwater tanks require much more maintenance.

Want more than one? Guppies are great; they are small, beautiful, inexpensive and friendly. Goldfish are also a popular choice, but they are a bit messier and can grow too big for a starter tank.

Buy a 10-gallon plastic starter tank with a filter. It will hold a few fish and the filter processes waste; clean water is essential for proper breathing.

Consider a Betta. Also known as Siamese fighting fish, they are stunning and do not need much care. You don’t even need a tank with a filter. But Bettas will fight, so only one per bowl!

Don’t overfeed your fish. It is very important to know exactly how much and how often your fish should be eating. Improper feeding can cause serious health problems.

Talk to an aquarium store employee if you have any questions. They tend to be more knowledgeable about fish than the average person working at a regular pet store.

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Starter Fish Tank

Fish Tales

Set up a meeting with your child’s teacher. Provide her with an idea of what you would like to discuss so that she has time to prepare.

Be polite. Just like you, the teacher want the best for your child. It will be easier to communicate clearly if everyone is calm.

Explain the issue and what you have already tried. For example, “My child has trouble seeing the blackboard or whiteboard. She wears glasses, but it is not enough.”

Focus on solutions, not problems. Come with a few ideas of your own (“A seat closer to the front of the room might help.”). With the teacher, create an action plan that you can both set in motion when the meeting is over.

Approach the principal if you feel that the teacher is not hearing your concerns. If you know other parents with similar concerns, you might approach the teacher again together. You have the right to make sure that your child is getting what she needs at school.

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I am here for you

Let’s work together.

Pediatric dentist know that all children are not alike. Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen may not be effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. Your pediatric dentist will check your child’s medical history, level of anxiety and dental treatment needs and tell you if nitrous oxide/oxygen is recommended for your child. Pediatric dentists have comprehensive specialty training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child. Looking for more posts about nitrous oxide?

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Nitrous Oxide

Pediatric Dentist