happy-cute-girl-sleeping-in-bed-peacefully

Acupuncture for kids

About 20 million children in the United States suffer from at least one chronic health problem, which refers to an illness that lasts over a period of months or years.

 

Chronic illnesses can last a lifetime. Certain illnesses, however, are temporary conditions. For example, babies born with lung disease often outgrow their illness. Children with scoliosis sometimes only need a brace until they finish growing.

 

Asthma is the most common chronic illness, affecting about 5 million children in the country. Each illness affects the body differently. Therefore, treatments vary. Many children with chronic illnesses endure frequent doctor visits and tests.

 

Acupuncture is an ancient Oriental medical practice. It mostly consists of the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points shown to be effective in the treatment of specific health problems. There are more than 1,000 known acupuncture points.

 

Proponents said electromagnetic research has confirmed the existence and location of these points. However, modern Western medicine cannot explain how acupuncture works. The practice is based on ancient Chinese theories involving the flow of the qi, which is a fine, essential substance that nourishes and constructs the body.

 

Acupuncture centers around the idea of restoring the harmonious balance of the body and its parts. Acupuncture needles are typically not much thicker than a hair, and practitioners say it is virtually painless. They add most people find acupuncture very relaxing and do not even realize the needles are in place.

 

Oded Herbsman, M.D., of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, uses acupuncture to treat kids with chronic illnesses. He said the practice helps children’s bodies more quickly return to balance and says it boosts their immune systems. Herbsman said acupuncture is safe and does not pose any serious side effects.

 

He uses acupuncture to treat children for problems such as migraines and also nausea resulting from chemotherapy and operations.

 

He has used it on children who have had stomach flu and are consequently having problems with their intestinal tract. Herbsman said acupuncture is good for general immunity and can be used to treat things like colic and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Herbsman treated one toddler with cystic fibrosis.

 

The child’s mother says following his first treatment, he was happier, didn’t take as many naps, began breathing better, and put on some necessary weight. The mother says although the treatment is painless, her son cries and howls.

 

However, she hopes that will end when he becomes accustomed to it. Herbsman does say that acupuncture does not necessarily work for all patients, and in some cases, standard antibiotic medications can more effectively treat an illness.

 

If you want less pain, more energy, better sleep, better digestion & better immune function, naturally, then visit AB Acupuncture to cure the pains that you’re encountering.

 

baking-pizza-in-a-stone-pizza-oven

Making homemade pizza for your kids? Know what’s the best pizza stone size

This is one of the most important factors to consider. First of all you need to think of the practicalities – measure your Californo pizza oven and ensure that the pizza stone you are buying will actually fit inside, with enough room to spare to allow it to be manoeuvred. Remember, your pizza stone will be very hot and quite heavy when in use so you want to make it as user friendly as possible.

Larger pizza stones are generally the best as they give you more flexibility – you can cook everything from small individual pizza’s and breads up to large family size pizzas. It is also easier to transfer your uncooked pizza from your pizza peel or cookie sheet to the pizza stone if it is big – with small pizza stones you need to be more accurate and it doing this can be hard enough as it is. Similarly, a square or rectangle pizza stone gives a bit more room than a circular stone.

The Best Pizza Stone Weight

A primary function of a pizza stone is to retain heat, and heavier pizza stones are more effective at doing this than lighter stones. However, as with size there is no point having a pizza stone that is too heavy to easily manoeuvre.

Also, the heavier your pizza stone is, the longer it takes to reach optimum temperature. A good compromise sits somewhere in between – heavy enough to retain good heat but light enough to heat up relatively quickly and be easy to lift.

The Best Pizza Stone Material – Ceramic vs. Cement

Cement pizza stones are less prone to cracking than ceramic/ clay stones and they hold their temperature well however they are generally heavier and more expensive than ceramic stones.

Most people agree that ceramic/ clay pizza stones provide better results and more consistent crust than the various cement pizza stones on the market, and cement pizza stones can emit noxious fumes due to their composition. For these reasons a ceramic pizza stone is the best option.

Cheap pizza stones vs. expensive – is there much difference?

When buying kitchen equipment you do tend to get what you pay for – i.e. more expensive products are usually better then inexpensive ones……but not always.

The primary failure in a pizza stone is cracking. This can happen due to the stone moving from a hot environment to a cold one or vice versa. It can also occur when a pizza stone is allowed to absorb a lot of moisture and is then heated quickly. Some pizza stones also crack for no apparent reason.

The more expensive pizza stones tend to be made from a finer material than most of the cheaper models and the feedback I have heard suggest that they are less prone to cracking. However, if a more expensive pizza stone does crack you have a lost a greater amount of money. Thankfully, even the more expensive ceramic pizza stones aren’t too expensive and with a bit of care and luck you can get decades of use of out it.

What about a pizza stone with a metal rack?

Some pizza stones come with a metal rack on which you can rest the pizza stone when serving it. In my opinion they are not much use.

Firstly, you should avoid cutting the pizza on your pizza stone – this blunts your knife or pizza wheel but also creates grooves in the stone which can make your pizza dough stick. Also, if you serve your pizza from the pizza stone just remember that the pizza stone is designed to retain as much heat as possible and your pizza will keep on cooking on the stone long after it has been taken from the oven.

More importantly, a scalding hot pizza stone can also be a safety risk so it is much better to remove your pizza from the pizza stone and transfer it to a wooden board or similar when serving.

 

kids-eating-pizza-on-breakfast

Breakfast Pizza Recipe

What family doesn’t love pizza? Our family also gets a kick out of having breakfast for dinner. Breakfast pizza is the perfect solution. The pizza crust is made from crescent rolls. It is topped with traditional breakfast ingredients including your choice of sausage, bacon or ham (or all three!), hash brown potatoes, and roasted red peppers. Eggs take the place of pizza sauce, and of course, it is topped with cheese. If you serve this with a generous portion of fresh fruit, you can stretch the recipe to feed 6.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can crescent rolls (see Notes)
  • 1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage, bacon, ham or a combination
  • 1 cup shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 4 large eggs (about 1 scant cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup diced roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (scallions), green tops included
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups fine-shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the shelf-stable stuff in the can)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 F. You will need a 12-inch pizza pan (larger will also work) or a heavy rimmed baking sheet at least 12 inches long and 12 inches wide.

Brown the sausage in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring to create large crumbles. When no pink remains, remove sausage crumbles with a slotted spoon to a bowl to cool. Drain off any excess oil. (If using, the bacon should be cooked and chopped. The ham should be cut into 1/2-inch dice.)

In the same skillet, cook the hash browns until golden brown. Let cool while you prepare the crust.

To make the crust, open the can of crescent rolls and separate the dough into triangles. Arrange the triangles in a circle with the points to the center, slightly overlapping the long edges. Use your fingertips to seal the long sides and pat into an even circular shape. Roll the outer edge up about 1/2-inch to form a rim to contain the eggs. Distribute hash browns and meat evenly over crust.

Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk with the onion powder to combine. Pour the eggs over the potatoes and meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with roasted red peppers and green onions over the eggs. Finish with the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until crust is browned and eggs are set. Cut into wedges to serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Notes:

  • Egg substitutes are easily used in place of whole eggs.
  • Mozzarella, Swiss, Gruyere, or cheese blends may be substituted for the Cheddar.
  • Pre-cooked sausage patties or links may be used in place of the raw breakfast sausage, eliminating a cooking step. Simply chop them into small pieces. Chicken/turkey sausage or vegetarian sausage will also work, as will chopped ham lunchmeat. Many people even like to use a pre-cooked spiced ham.
  • This recipe begs for so many variations. Think of it like a traditional pizza and add whatever fresh or leftover vegetables that appeal to you. For more ideas of delicious pizzas, check out BC Pizza.

 

pizza-on-table

A Guide to Different Types of Pizza

How many types of pizza are there? The answer is that there are probably thousands of combinations. There are different pizza crusts, different pizza sauces, and a vast array of toppings to choose from.

 

Here is a closer look at some of the more common types of pizza:

 

BRICK OVEN PIZZA – a wood fired brick oven gives a special flavor to pizza. Brick ovens are for baking Neapolitan style pizzas. Brick oven pizzas are only about ten inches in diameter, thin and light on toppings since they are meant to bake in just a minute or two.

 

CHICAGO STYLE PIZZA – this is a deep-dish pizza, which was invented in Chicago. An authentic Chicago pizza will have a buttery crust, plenty of tomato sauce and generous cheese. Some Chicago style pizzas have stuffed crusts.

 

DEEP DISH PIZZA – this was invented in 1943 in Chicago and features a thick bread crust, which can be an inch or more deep.

 

FRENCH BREAD PIZZA – this is French bread cut in half and topped with pizza toppings as an alternative to using a dough pizza crust.

 

GREEK PIZZA – Greek pizza features an herby base and tasty toppings including mushrooms, broccoli, onion, tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, manouri cheese, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.

 

GRILLED PIZZA – pizza cooked on the grill. Usually the dough is rolled out to the right shape and baked first, then it is flipped over, the toppings are added and it finishes cooking in a closed grill.

 

ITALIAN PIZZA – an oven baked, flat, round bread covered with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Other toppings can be added, depending on the region.

 

NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA – this pizza is known for its thin, wide slices. Traditional toppings include mozzarella and tomato and this pizza is light on sauce. The thin, crispy, hand tossed crust is made from high gluten flour and it is common to fold the pizza slices to eat them. New York pizza is made in a coal burning oven which is cooler than a brick oven so the pizza takes longer to cook and can be much bigger.

 

PAN PIZZA – pan pizza has a much thicker crust than many other kinds of pizza and comes with a variety of toppings.

 

SICILIAN PIZZA – Sicilian thick crust pizza is one of the most popular pizza varieties. This pizza originates from Palermo in Sicily. Pecorino cheese and anchovies are used on a traditional Sicilian pizza. In the United States, a Sicilian pizza is square and has a very thick crust.

 

STUFFED CRUST PIZZA – a relatively new invention, stuffed crust pizza means that the outer rim of the crust is stuffed with cheese.

 

THICK CRUST PIZZA – some pizzas feature a thick crust. Usually the dough is left to rise for an hour or more in the baking process to result in this type of bread-like crust.

 

THIN CRUST PIZZA – a thin crust pizza might or might not contain yeast. Thin crust pizza has a crispy, crunchy crust.

 

VEGETARIAN PIZZA – most pizza dough recipes are vegetarian and there are many different vegetarian pizza toppings to choose from. Vegetarian pizza is available from all major pizza outlets.

 

WHITE PIZZA – no tomato sauce is used on a white pizza. Instead, pesto or dairy products such as sour cream are used. The toppings on a white pizza are often just cheeses and the pizza can be drizzled with olive oil, fresh basil, and garlic.

pizza-dough

Technique: Shaping Dough Balls

One of the burning questions that probably keep you up at night is: why do pizza bakers shape their dough into balls prior to stretching, topping and baking?

 

Above all, it’s much easier to fashion a round crust from a round ball of dough than from anything else. But even apart from that, it makes sense to have a point in your process where you measure out the exact amount of dough you want to use, and “package” it for the final stretching / baking step. This step is a transition from the dough making phase to the baking phase. You can clean up the dough mess, put away the dough making tools, and start prepping the oven and toppings. And if you are making pizza for guests, or are guest at someone else’s house where you bake (always preferable to bringing already-baked pies and use a Californo mobile pizza oven), this is a good place to stop before you let your guests arrive or before you travel. Make the balls, store them in a container, and stretch/top/bake later.

 

It is during this step that you decide how big you want your pizza to be (not during stretching), by measuring out the appropriate amount of dough. And yes, it absolutely makes sense to accurately measure the dough by weight, instead of eyeballing it. If you want, you can skip the weighing, but your crusts might end up varying more than you will like. Weighing will ensure you can turn out crusts of a consistent size and thickness (and consequently, baking qualities for a perfect crust). Baking constant size pies is also nice because you can make them fit exactly to your baking pans / screens and serveware (for instance, everything I own is made for 14″ pies).

 

I suppose there are many ways to shape a dough ball, and I’m showing here just one way to do it. I use a combination of pulling & folding movements to make the dough come together in a round ball shape. At first the ball will be on its back, but around halfway through I flip it over, then finish up by folding / tucking under more dough to get the shape really nice and round. Be firm and swift, but work with the dough, not against it. You want to try and handle it gently, so you don’t knock all the air out of it.

 

1 kg of room temperature dough, enough for two pizzas (which is why I cut it in two pieces first). This is not fridge dough but a faster, non-refrigerated dough (you’ll have to watch the full video to see the exact recipe :), but when I do use fridge dough (and I do most of the time), I usually use 500-540 grams of it for a 14″ pizza. I use scissors and a scale to measure out the amount I need from my dough bucket:

 

When the dough balls are done, they are allowed to rest again before baking. If you will bake soon (say, within 15 minutes to an hour), you can do the same as I do in the video, and wrap the balls in a well floured kitchen towel. If you don’t plan on baking them very soon, you can keep them in an oiled container in the fridge, so you can bake at a later time (this is what pizzerias usually do). Ideally, you should let refrigerated dough come fully to room temperature prior to shaping (ie. wait 1 – 2 hours), but this is not strictly necessary. Just keep in mind that the cooler the dough, the harder it will push back against your shaping efforts. A room temperature dough, on the other hand, will be supple and easy to shape.

Jewelry Gift Ideas for Her Birthday, Anniversary and Other Days

Jewelry Gift Ideas for Her Birthday, Anniversary and Other Days

There has always been a fascinating relationship between women and jewelry. Across time spans, across geographies, and across cultures, this fascination has remained unchanged. Jewelry for women is one of the finest, time-tested gift ideas that can almost never go wrong.

These gifts are available in all kinds of price range to suit anyone’s budget. From funky fashion jewelry to exotic and rare diamonds, pearls, and gemstones, there are countless jewelry gift ideas for her.

Pre-Engagement Ring and Bridal Jewelry

One of the most wonderful gifts for a longtime girlfriend can be a pre-engagement ring. This is a symbol of the man’s unwavering commitment to marriage, and an expression of his pure love for the woman.

As the wedding nears, the lady will need bridal jewelry, the most special gift that a woman can expect to receive from her fiancé. The value of the jewelry may depend on the affordability of the person, but the sentiment behind it is very special. A wedding ring, for instance, is probably the most precious gift that any woman can ever expect to receive from her man.

Jewelry Gifts for Bridesmaids

An absolutely thoughtful and gracious gesture can be to buy a special piece of jewelry for the bridesmaid as well. It can not only honor the bridesmaid, but it can also touch the bride’s heart, and add a wonderful feeling to the whole occasion.

Jewelry Gift for Her Birthday

It is difficult to go wrong with the choice of a birthday gift for her when it comes to jewelry. It could be jewelry for the wife, girlfriend, sister, mother or daughter, but in every case it makes for an equally special birthday gift. 

 

Teen Jewelry Gifts

Pierced and non-pierced earrings, anklets, toe rings, bracelets, or junk jewelry make a wonderful gift for teenage girls and daughters. Sometimes parents also like to gift a promise ring to their daughter on a special day, such as her 16th birthday.

A promise ring symbolizes a personal bonding between the parents and the daughter, and usually extracts a promise from the daughter to uphold their values and advice. Jewelry for prom is also a great gift idea for a teenage girl.

Popular Jewelry Gifts for Women

Some of the most popular jewelry gift ideas for women include gold chains, diamond pendants, earrings in diamonds or gemstones, pretty baubles, bracelets, and hair accessories. Jewelry gift boxes are also quite popular presents for women. Whether it is jewelry gifts for a girlfriend or a Thanksgiving or Mother’s Day jewelry gift, the idea gets appreciated for all women in all age groups.

Jewelry Gifts for Anniversary, Graduation Day, Valentine’s Day

Certain days are very special in a woman’s life. Her wedding anniversary, graduation day, and the Valentine’s Day mean a lot to her. A gift of jewelry can be the best way to make her occasion very special and memorable for the rest of her life. 

 

If you want to check more options for a perfect romantic gift, click here.

Teeth whitening: the best way to get a better smile

Teeth whitening: the best way to get a better smile

Tooth whitening can have a few side effects and may be limited in its effectiveness. Sensitive teeth and gum irritation are the most common side effects from tooth whitening treatments. If you have a mouth tray that does not fit the right way, then that could be why your gums are irritated. At the start of your whitening procedure is when your teeth are the most sensitive.

 

If you are dealing with these side effects, you can get rid of them if you do these things.

– If you are utilizing a tray, you might want to use it less frequently or reduce the amount of time it is used. The outcome will be the same, just not as fast. – Stop using it for a couple of days and then restart the treatments. – A toothpaste intended for teeth that are sensitive is another option you can try. Potassium nitrate works to soothe the tooth’s nerve endings and is added to these types of toothpastes. – Your dentist can give you products which contain fluoride to protect your teeth and replace the minerals. The product needs to be used both before and after the whitening treatments. You can learn more about this from your dentist or consulting Whitening Station. – Irritation of the gums can be helped with over the counter products.

 

Some individuals’ mouths are more sensitive than others. Minor tooth sensitivity and gum irritation is experienced by roughly half the people who try teeth whitening products.

 

Composite Fillings, Crowns and Veneers

Teeth whitening is not recommended for people with crowns, veneers or composite fillings. In truth, unless you get a new crown or veneer, you could find yourself having teeth that are different colors. It is suggested that you get all composite work done on your teeth before any whitening work commences. Otherwise you will have to have it redone.

 

Gum Disease, Cavities or Worn Tooth Enamel

 Teeth whitening bleach is not recommended for those who have any of these conditions.

 

Tetracycline Staining

If you have quite a bit of staining on your teeth from tetracycline, it’s possible you won’t see a major difference after using teeth bleaching. However, you will see some improvement after an extended period of time.

 

Age

 It is suggested that children under 16 years of age not try tooth whitening procedures. At this age, the nerves are enlarged and teeth are still growing. It’s possible that teeth whitening can cause sensitivity and damage.

 

Pregnancy

Tooth whitening is not recommended for pregnant women or those who are lactating. If a pregnant woman swallows even a tiny amount of whitening bleach, her fetus may be harmed.

 

Allergies

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use a tooth whitening product if you have an allergy to peroxide.

 

There are people who expect that their teeth will be glowingly white after just one whitening treatment. They may be in for a disappointment. The whitening method used, the condition of the teeth, and the person’s genetics will factor into the results. Also, remember that the whitening is only temporary. With some luck, you may not need another treatment for at least a year. To know more about healthy teeth whitening, click here.

How Parents Can Help Their Special Needs Children

How Parents Can Help Their Special Needs ChildrenWhen parents first learn their children have special needs or fall under the category of Special Education, it can be devastating. Once reality has settled in and parents have had time to grieve and accept the situation, it’s important they known their rights.

Under state and federal laws special education students are guaranteed certain in-school services. Parents should served as advocates for their children, being proactive and taking needed steps for ensuring their special needs kids receive the appropriate services.

Parents and Their Special Needs Children’s IEEs

Parents have the right to receive an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) for their special needs children for determining the type of special education program best suited for them. Typically, an IEE is done outside of a school system. Although parents can’t decide if a child qualifies for an IEP (Individual Educational Program), they can participate in the development of such as program.

Tips for Helping Special Needs Kids With Homework

Helping Special Needs Kids With HomeworkHomework can be even more challenging for special needs kids, as well as for their parents.

  • Help children with organizational skills. In addition to having an assignment notebook, parents of special education students need to help their kids organize their backpacks, books, notebooks and school supplies.
  • Designate a homework zone. Don’t allow children to do homework in a different spot each day. Instead, set aside a space that’s designed only for doing homework and studying.
  • Minimize distractions. Children with special needs are usually more unfocused than other kids so it’s important to get rid of distractions. Take the phone off the hook, turn off the television and eliminate other factors that are likely to interrupt a child’s attention.
  • Work with teachers. Don’t depend solely on the child to know assignments, but regularly check with teachers and any internet information regarding the child’s daily homework. It’s also important parents are on the same page as teachers and not go overboard in overindulging them as sometimes parents of special needs children make too many allowances for inappropriate behavior.
  • Be adaptable. Although getting homework done is important, sometimes it’s necessary to take into consideration outside factors that may hinder the child from doing his assignments. Also, ensure the homework is adjusted to the child’s needs. Usually, adjustments are made by special education teachers, but if it isn’t done, parents need to stand up for their kids.

Diet, Sleep, and Exercise for Special Needs Kidshealthy diet for special needs kids

A well balanced diet is vital for any child and is especially important for a special needs kid. Start teaching the child how to make healthy food choices by avoiding foods loaded with sugar, starch and salt early.

Sleep is imperative for academic success because when a child is tired it’s even harder to focus and learn. Sleep schedules, including bedtimes and wake-up times should be reasonable and consistent.

Exercise is important. Often exercise is an excellent prescription for children with learning disabilities as it helps them unwind and focus better in class. Besides ensuring the child gets plenty of exercise at home, parents should also check with the child’s teacher to make sure he’s included in an exercise program adapted to his needs.

Most of all, school success is important, but what’s more important is a child living a full and happy life. A parent’s continual encouragement, love and support can make all the different in a special needs child feeling confident enough to tackle new challenges and overcome each roadblock standing in the way of continued success.

Introduction to Farsightedness – Hyperopia

Longsightedness is a Fairly Common and Treatable Condition

Farsightedness is a vision problem caused by a short eyeball or a lens that is not flexible enough to maintain a stretched shape under natural conditions of focusing.

It has been estimated that up to a quarter of the United States population is hyperopic.

The scientific term for the condition is hyperopia. With hyperopia, the focusing mechanism results in an image of a near object that lies beyond the retina instead of on it. As an object comes nearer, the power of the cornea and lens are not enough to keep the image focused on the retina and the image appears blurred. Children can commonly be born with the condition yet eventually outgrow it as their eyeballs lengthen.

Hyperopia

The Experience of Farsightedness

Farsighted individuals may experience headaches and fatigue easily when performing close range work. There is difficulty concentrating and focusing on near objects. The eye is easily strained in such situations and may be exacerbated by the compensatory mechanism of squinting. Wearing contact lenses with hydrogel material at reasonable prices can help in preventing the eye strain.

The condition is difficult to detect during common vision screenings in school and is often only diagnosed by an ophthalmologist through an optometric examination. In detecting hyperopia, a wet refraction test may be used whereby the pupils of the eyes are dilated so that the eyes’ accommodative reflex cannot hide the condition.

Classifying the Condition

An ophthalmologist may term the condition by clinical appearance as being simple, pathological or functional. The condition is often categorized according to the amount of an element known as refractive error. This term quantifies the inability of the eye’s focusing mechanism to bend light to a suitable extent and is commonly measured in diopters. Low hyperopia involves a refractive error of around +2 diopters or less. Moderate hyperopia involves a refractive error of between +2.25 and +5 diopters while severe hyperopia involves a refractive error of around +5.25 diopters or more. In relation to the focusing mechanism of the eye, hyperopia can be further classified into several subtypes.

Treating the Condition

The type of treatment used can depend on factors that include age, lifestyle, and occupation. Accommodation, whereby the lens shape is altered to help focus the image onto the retina, in younger patients can compensate for farsightedness and children with the condition have a good chance of outgrowing it. Minor or low hyperopia can often be left uncorrected without any significant vision problems or complications. With increasing severity of hyperopia, there may be a need to correct with the use of convex lenses in eyeglasses or weekly contact lenses with multiple colors blending for having a natural depth to the eyes at the same time. Refractive surgery like that involved in LASIK surgery is often an effective solution to correcting specific types of hyperopia.

Babysitting Children with Special Needs

Child with special needs

How to find that one special person to take care of your child with special needs.

Do you need to get out of the house? Never mind that, do you want to get out of the house? Are your kids screaming right now as you are reading this, or are you one of the lucky ones that still get a nap time and are walking around your house like a mouse so as to not wake them up?

Having children is hard. Throw in a child with special needs and your life might as well be a circus. Sure you love them with all your heart, but you need a break. You deserve a break. So just get a babysitter. Yeah, right. I know that it is not that easy. There are so many more worries when you have a child with special needs and to trust a babysitter, for even just a couple hours, would be one more worry you don’t want to deal with right now.

So how do you choose? How do you make it easier on yourself? How do you find that special someone that will enrich your child’s life while you get to go to the movies for the first time in eight years? As a babysitter for eight years of two boys that have autism I have gained some knowledge I would love to share with you.

Change is hard. Change is hard for most people. However, for your child, change might be the worst thing in the world. Any kind of transition can trigger emotions you were not expecting. You already know this, I know.

Finding a babysitter

Step 1:

What should you do about it? Introduce the change slowly. Or in your case, introduce the babysitter slowly. Please do not call someone out of the phone book at 4pm and ask them to be at your house by 6.

If you have a recommendation of someone great in your area start there. Call that person; see what kind of vibe you get. You should know within a couple of minutes of talking if this person will be a good fit for your child(ren). If you don’t have any recommendations, try the internet. I know it’s scary, but there are many services that prescreen candidates for babysitting. Most even do background checks! But again, start with a phone call.

Step 2:

If the phone call goes well, invite this person over to meet with you and your child. Don’t force any interaction, but let your child know what is going on and if possible to be present for most of the meeting. Ask your child after the meeting what he or she thought. If they are non-verbal, try to pick up on as many signs as you can gather. After all, you know your child; you know how to distinguish the good signs from the bad signs. If all went well schedule another meeting.

This time make it more about the child and their caregiver interacting. Maybe do a load of laundry. Wash the car. Lock yourself in your bedroom with your ear to the door. Whatever you choose to do with your semi free time you must be present, but not overbearing. See if these guys can get along without you. See if a relationship could develop. Watch the interaction from afar and imagine yourself not there… Do you like that picture? If you do you have probably started a good thing. If not, try, try again.

Finalize your choice

babysitter for special needs children

Everything seems to be a good fit, but how can you know for sure? How can you tell that the minute after you leave your child will still be in good hands? First, I would say listen to your gut. You all have one and it will probably give you more insight than anything. Trust it. If you want something more concrete to put your faith in here are some traits that every good babysitter should have:

Patience. You know, that feeling you have at 8am, but somehow disappears by 1pm. Your babysitter should exude patience. You would pray this would never happen, but should your child be at his or her absolute worst you would want someone with enough patience to run a daycare alone.

Energy. This person is going to be with your child for the next few hours, and my guess is that you don’t want someone who will only get up to get the remote. Make sure your new babysitter shows you that he or she is energetic and willing to have a tea party or be Darth Vader for a while.

Common Sense. You want someone with a good head on their shoulders. If your child is on a special diet make sure this person could figure out that butter is also dairy, and there is gluten in crackers. Especially if you have a separate stash of goodies hidden for yourself!

Positive. You want someone happy. Someone that will smile and focus on all of the wonderful things your child does when they are together. Your child might be reaching milestone after milestone, or it might have been three years since they reached their last goal, but you need someone who will give lots of praise and encouragement.

Love. Lastly, you need someone who is warm and loving. They don’t have to be in love with your child the second they meet him or her, but to avoid 20 different babysitters (and transitions), you will want someone that could have a long term relationship with your child. It may take your child months to really become comfortable with their new babysitter and you will want someone willing to stick it out… for both of you.

There. Now you have everything I can give you. Start doing your homework so that someday soon you can get out of the house… and know that everything back home is under control.