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| Brandie Heiseler

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Get Your Preschooler Excited About Summer Reading! Do It the Fun Way in 5 Easy Reading Tips

| Brandie Heiseler

Are you looking for some easy and fun reading tips to get your preschool student excited about reading? Do you think that summer enrichment should be exciting? Are you wanting to spend more meaningful time with your preschooler?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then we have the summer project for you and your child to do together–reading! In fact, read on to get our top five tips for incorporating preschool reading books into your summer lifestyle:

Tip #1: Go to the Library Together

A free and fun activity that promotes reading during the summer — and prevents boredom — is making a weekly or twice-weekly trip to the library together. You can set one day of the week as “Library Day” and make a big deal out of it so that your child feels that it is special and looks forward to the trip.

At the library, your child should choose about three special books to take home. Limiting the amount helps them to make choices about their interests — and it creates anticipation and excitement around returning the next week for more! (It also helps to ensure you don’t misplace too many books at a time!)

Tip #2: Start a Family Book Club

preschool enrichment | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Endourage all family members to read

You can start a family book club with children of many ages in your family. Simply choose the book and buy one for every family member. From there, you can read the book as a family at bedtime or at the dinner table.

You can talk about the book’s characters and how they face or resolved conflict while you are running errands. You can ask every member of the book club to say what they liked the most or disliked the most about the book.

Creating opportunities for conversation around the book will help to teach your preschooler the importance of reading. Show them how fun it can be to think about a story and to enjoy it with other people around you.

Tip #3: Read Aloud and Perform

Reading a book aloud together and then performing it helps young readers not only learn words — but remember them through action and performance. Once you have read a favorite book several times — move the story into production. Assign roles and make homemade costumes. Invite guests and let the story loose on the stage!

Tip #4: Give Your Child Choices

One of the main ways you can help your child stay engaged is to give him or her choice when selecting a summer book. You want your child to be excited and interested in the characters and the conflict.

So give your child time to peruse the book aisles at the book store or the library. If your child makes the selection, she will probably be happy with the result and want to read it over and over again. And, you know what they say about practice!

Tip #5: Reward with New Books

Once your child is fully engaged in reading books during the summer and sees how fun they can be — the books become a worthy reward and have value. Begin using new books as rewards for tasks your preschooler completes or for good behavior. This is an easy way to continue promoting the value of books and to shape your child’s behavior all at the same time!

Ready to Read?

preschool student | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Get your child hooked on reading

You don’t have to be bored this summer — and neither does your child. Summer reading is the perfect activity for getting ahead when your child doesn’t have the structure of school.

Attending a reputable preschool in Las Vegas can be a goal you meet this year — if you spend your summer reading with your children. Preschool enrichment can be fun, exciting and rewarding when it comes in the form of summer books. Keep our five expert tips handy as you navigate reading with your preschooler this summer season! Boredom will be gone with these reading tips!

June is National Great Outdoors Month! Tips on How to Celebrate it with Your Children

| Brandie Heiseler

June is National Great Outdoors Month, and what better way to create great summer memories with your family than by experiencing the beauty of nature together? But how can you, with little ones in tow, take advantage of all that June has to offer? Here are five fun suggestions to engage even the smallest of outdoor adventurers.

  1. Take Advantage of Your State Park’s Programming!

National Great Outdoors Month | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Playing outdoors is great fun

Your local state park is a treasure trove of fun, family-friendly activities. Consider going to a Firefly Walk! June is a particularly active season for fireflies, known for dancing through the night air with their magical twinkling. If your family plans to go firefly-spotting, plan ahead! Some parks, such as the Smokey Mountain National Park, are in such high demand that you must enter a lottery for admission to the perfect viewing ground. If parks strike your fancy, be sure to pick up a “Park Passport” from the park gift shop. Your child will not only be able to keep memories from your trip, but will delight in collecting unique stamps in their passport from all the parks you visit.

  1. Find Treasure….Go Geocaching!

Any child can tell you that there is a thrill in searching for buried treasure, but who would have thought that it could be educational experience? Geocaching is the perfect fusion of technology and nature. Using a downloadable phone app or GPS-supported device, your task is to navigate your way to a hidden box containing a “treasure” left by the last Geocacher. If you decide to take the treasure you find home, you must leave something of equal value for the next group to discover. And who knows where your hunt may lead you? Cache boxes may be hidden anywhere from a friendly suburb to a mountain summit! When home, you and your little adventurer can log your finds on together.

  1. Unplug with a Creative Camping Experience Your Kids Will Love.

Throwing the good ‘ole tent and cooler into the back of the car can be the start to the perfect family weekend. There is a reason that traditions like eating s’mores with sticky fingers are passed on through generations — they’re too good to let go of! There’s plenty of variety in the camping scene that can add color to this classic summer staple. For starters, think about trading out the tent! If your family become guests at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia, for example, you have the option to stay in a cozy furnished yurt. Yurts typically accommodate up to six guests and include access to your own personal fire ring and a shared bath house. Or if riverside is more your fancy, stay in a family-sized “treehouse” over the Edisto river in South Carolina.

  1. Teach Your Child Your Favorite Outdoor Pastime.

Nothing beats seeing your child enjoy something that, as a child yourself, used to create dirt under your nails and laughter for days. Were you an avid kayaker in your youth? Rent a two-person kayak and teach your novice paddler under the safety of your gaze. Are you keen to hit a forested trail? Have fun building your own personalized trail mix with your little ones, then strap on your hiking boots together. What could be better way to foster a love of nature in your kids than by introducing them to your favorite way to get out there and play?

  1. Start in Your Own Backyard.

National Great Outdoors Month | Local Child Care Marketing

Backyard play is awesome

Though this commemorated time comes but once a year, you can feed your child’s love of outside play all year long. Even if you don’t have much space to create a garden, buy a few washtubs or large planters. Tomatoes, cucumber, and squash are great starter plants you and your child can grow, even in confined space. And as a bonus, you can break out the paint and decorate the planter pots together for a sweet memory that will last well after summertime.

There you have it, five ways that you and your children can soak up the sun and build appreciation of Mother Nature this June. May this fuel your inspiration to get out and go! Whether you enjoy PB&J sandwiches on the front lawn or drive hours to explore a new-to-you state park, you won’t regret embracing National Great Outdoors Month with your great kids.

5 Summer Enrichment Ideas for Your Preschooler in Las Vegas

| Admin

Preschoolers don’t stop learning when school is out for the summer. A great way to ensure that they retain all they learned during the school year is with summer enrichment . Following is a list of five summer enrichment ideas for your young child. These ideas and activities can be done at home in your backyard. These ideas are great for children with or without disabilities. Children vary in individual abilities, disposition, and learning styles. Due to genetics and environmental factors, developing children will hit physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional milestones at their own pace. It’s important to vary enrichment activities. Include physical activities like running. Add some cognitive activities like looking at age-appropriate books to prepare them for the upcoming academic year.

Cognitive Development

summer enrichment | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Outside activities are fun

  1. The beginning step in learning to read is to identify letter shapes. A great way to study this as part of summer enrichment activities is to give your child a small tray with some sand in it and ask him to trace letter shapes with his finger. This activity originates from Montessori teaching methods. This activity can be done using various materials in place of the sand. Read about the 11 habits you can do to help your child love books from Reader’s Digest.
  2. Another cognitive activity inspired by Marie Montessori is growing a garden. The Montessori methods base age-appropriate activities and teaching opportunities on real-world activities, like planting and maintaining a garden. Read more about this teaching method from the American Montessori Society. Let your preschool student plant seeds in an egg carton to start seedlings. They can transfer the seedlings to a bigger planter or right into the garden.

Socio-emotional Development

The preschool years are an important time for your child to begin developing a strong sense of self that will lead them into the school years. The Nevada Department of Education also provides guidelines and standards that successful preschool programs and activities should meet to benefit the children. Take a look at the Nevada Pre-K Standards and Early Education Guidelines before planning summer enrichment activities for your child.


  1. One of the goals of summer camp for young children is to help preschoolers develop a positive sense of self. Making things with their hands and being praised for their finished product accomplishes this goal. Give your children fine motor abilities stringing beads of different shapes, colors, sizes, and texture to make necklaces or doorknob hangers.


  1. Your preschooler loves to play with different materials and doing science experiments. Help them make volcanoes in the sand. Make a small, 5-inch, sand hill with a well in the center, or bury a 16-oz empty water bottle like the example in the link. Add 3, tablespoons of baking soda in the well and a few drops of dish soap to 12 ounces of warm water. Help your child pour in about a cup of vinegar and watch the fun erupt.

Motor Skills Development

preschool student | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Physical activity is great for summer

Summer enrichment programs and activities should include fine motor and gross motor skill development. This category of physical development can be used in the summer through preschool enrichment and summer enrichment programs. There are many activities that kids can do with their hands. Other activities involve large muscle movement like running, jumping, and throwing that are fun and educational.

  1. Summer enrichment programs aim to provide preschool students with as many opportunities to move around as possible. What can be more fun in the Nevada summer than water play? Add a twist to traditional water balloon fights by incorporating it into a relay race. Kids can race to a bin with water balloons then throw them at a target. This may be a more fun option because the water from the water balloons will splash on the kid or into another bucket before they are able to continue the relay race.

Enrolling your child in summer enrichment for your preschooler in Las Vegas is a great way to keep them active and learning throughout the summer break. It can ensure that they get off to a good start when school begins. Summer camp in Las Vegas combines standards for cognitive, socio-emotional, and motor skills development. This will keep your child learning while having fun. Reserve their spot in a Las Vegas summer enrichment program today.

May is National Foster Care Month

| Brandie Heiseler

May is National Foster Care Month. This month is set aside to recognize the individuals and families who give their time, their resources and their homes to children who are going through the most difficult times of their life.

Foster Parents

foster care | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Open your home to foster children

Most people would have a difficult time letting a stranger in their home to shower, sleep and eat. It would be the equivalent of picking up a homeless person and taking them home. You know nothing about this person except what you can see and perhaps what they have told you.

For foster parents, the person is a child. This child may have severe mental or physical trauma that is not apparent to the naked eye. Emotional damage may be hidden under layers of disdain, hatred and aloofness. Now imagine that you open your home, your family and your heart to this child. Is that hard to imagine? That is what foster families do every day. It is all about placing your fears and doubts aside to meet the needs of a child who has nobody else to turn to.

National Foster Care Month

May is the time to bring awareness to foster care. Foster parents are honored during this month. The need for more families to volunteer is brought to the forefront of the public eye. The needs of the foster care families are recognized. Resources are introduced to help meet the needs. After all, foster care is more than just opening your home up to a child in need. Foster care awareness is critical to help families and communities meet the needs of the children and the families that care for them.

Where to Find Help

Many people caring for children do not know that there are resources available to help them. Respite babysitting services, community clothing closets, support groups and even activities and sports programs for the children are all in place to help families foster these children. However, the problem is that not all families know about the resources available. During May, resources of all kinds are brought to the forefront in an attempt to help families caring for foster children.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles are often kinship caregivers. This means that they have assumed the role of caregiver since the parents of the child are not an option. Often, this causes a change in family dynamics. An adult child may resent the grandparent becoming the primary caregiver of their child. Maybe a grandparent does not know what to do about things like medical care, legal issues with the school, etc. Resources like

The Grandkin Guide can help grandparents to navigate the legal system, family issues and the new role of caregiver.

Such resources are critical to helping foster care families cope with the changes that come from having a new child in the home. Online resources, support groups, financial aid and more can all be beneficial for the care of foster children. Whether kinship care is decided between family members or set up by child welfare services, there is no reason to feel alone and adrift in this new circumstance. Help is available.

Why is Public Awareness so Important?

National foster care Month | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Get educated on foster care

Foster care is often shown in a negative light. News stories of tragedies, rumors of greed and horror stories from former foster children get the spotlight, while great foster successes go unheralded.

Care of these children must be brought to the public in a positive light. People will remember success stories of foster children who went on to college and beyond. Foster parents who go above and beyond to help children find their passions, like painting or horseback riding, should be highlighted and commended. The children should have their success stories shared, just like in a traditional family. These children can thrive if the parents have the resources available to help them. Even severe mental and physical abuse of the past can be overcome with love and support from foster parents who really care.

Foster care takes a whole community to be successful. Outreach groups, support groups, legal and financial help, respite caregivers, teachers, child welfare advocates – everyone must work hand-in-hand with the foster caregivers to ensure these children are protected, loved and given the chance for a successful, happy life.

Use May as the month to educate yourself about the foster care system and how you and your community can help these families. A community picnic, a toy or clothing drive, volunteering your time or even offering your talents (like free piano lessons) – there are plenty of ways you can help with foster care. The keyword is ‘care’.

Nine Qualities of a Great Summer Camp

| Brandie Heiseler

When you are looking at North Las Vegas child care options, summer camp may not be at the top of your list. However, camp is an excellent way to provide your child with a fun, safe learning experience during the warm summer months. If the thought of coming up with arts and crafts activities for your child to do or running all over town to try new activities overwhelms you, camp may be a great option for your preschool age child.

Summer camp statistics show that more than 6,000 children attend summer camp in the United States each summer. There are many benefits of summer camp that range from academic and social to lifelong fitness.

1. Social Experiences

Summer Camp Statistics

Kids meet and have fun together

One of the biggest benefits of summer camp for preschool children is the social interaction they have with one another. Through these interactions, preschool children learn skills necessary for teamwork, conflict resolution, and problem solving. Our children today need opportunities for free and unstructured play in a safe environment. This will build the social skills they need to be successful adults. These experiences can also increase your preschool child’s self esteem.


2. Fine Motor Skills and Large Motor Skills

Another important benefit of camp for preschool children is improvement in fine motor and large motor development. Whether it is learning to hold a pair of safety scissors or understanding how to kick the ball in the goal during a game of soccer, your preschool child will continue to develop into a blossoming adolescent.

3. Academic Success

The importance of summer camp for academic success cannot be overstated. The “summer slide” that occurs between May and August accounts for most of the loss of learning from one grade level to the next. Choosing a camp that has an academic component in addition to games and exercise will ensure that your child starts school in the fall ready to succeed.

4. Physical Fitness

Children do not get as much exercise at home as they need to be considered physically active. Enrolling your child in camp ensures that they will have all the exercise they need through both free play and organized games and sports. Establishing physical fitness routines in early childhood can help promote lifelong physical fitness and prevent childhood obesity.

5. Structure

Your preschool child is used to a certain routine and camp can help them stay on that routine. This will ensure that your child stays on a consistent sleep and eating schedule. We know that young children on a routine experience more stable moods, which makes everyone at home much happier.

6. Less Screen Time

Our children today are always plugged into something. Televisions, tablets, and video games prevent our children from exercising their minds and bodies. Sending your child to a quality camp will allow them to take a break from the screens and use their creativity in a whole new way.

7. Have new experiences

Benefits of Summer Camp

Summer Camp give kids new experiences

Most camps provide field trips either off campus or in-house that provide children with new and amazing experiences from engaging with insects to roller skating. Many of these experiences are not something you may do on a regular basis. Your child is sure to have all sorts of new adventures to talk about with you over dinner each evening.



8. Independence

Camp provides preschool children with the opportunity to learn and do things for themselves which increases their sense of independence and self confidence. In addition, persevering at these tasks during camp will teach them that persistence pays off when they face challenging situations later in life

9. It’s fun!

Probably the most important reason to send your child to camp this summer is that it is fun! You won’t have to hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored”, from your child because their days will be filled with endless hours of fun and exciting activities with their new friends. Your child will wake up excited to see what the day has in store!

As you search for a North Las Vegas child care center, remember to keep in mind summer camp options for your child. The benefits of summer camp are so numerous that it has become an essential part of quality child care. During your search, make sure to check out your provider’s certification and accreditation, and ask about additional safety features they provide. Then prepare to give your child an amazing experience they will never forget

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Take Action!

| Brandie Heiseler

What is NCAPM All About?

April of 2017 marks the 34th year of National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM), a time dedicated to raising awareness of this devastating social issue and ending child abuse once and for all.

Since 1983, this month has been a time for communities to have a dialogue about the ways to not only stop the abuse of children, but providing education and resources for families and young adults to make sure that the abuse and neglect of children doesn’t carry on for even one more generation.

What the Statistics Say (And What they Don’t Say)

child abuse

Cases of abuse are still high

Are the numbers of abuse victims still high enough to warrant a month of awareness and advocacy? Sadly, the answer remains an absolute “yes”.

Despite what you might think, America still has a huge abuse and neglect problem. Current statistics report a staggering 3 million children a year who deal with some form of abuse. Sadly, these are just the cases that are reported; we will likely never know the true statistics.

This is one of the worst rates of abuse in any industrialized nation. The time has come to say, “Enough!” We can do better, which is why each April we renew our promise to the children of America.

Time Can’t Heal All Wounds: Ongoing Symptoms of Abuse

Abuse would be bad enough if the hurting ended with sores and bruises, but abuse creates many scars that do not manifest until later in life (often manifesting in dangerously rebellious teenage or young adult behavior).

Over time, the young victims of abuse may also be affected by the following issues:

  • Increased tendency towards drug and alcohol abuse
  • Serious depression, including suicide attempts
  • Higher instances of “risk-seeking” behavior, such as multiple sexual partners, and other unsafe sexual practices
  • An almost 80% instance of some type of psychological disorder

The list of effects is startling, but what is most unacceptable are the nearly 1,600 children who died as a result of abuse last year. Until that number reaches zero, the NCAPM will advocate and raise awareness of these issues affecting countless American families.

History of the NCAPM

Did you know that the first specific laws regarding child abuse were only signed in 1974? While we’ve certainly come a long way since then, there is still a social stigma and problem of reportage and awareness that we need to deal with as a nation.

What started as a single week of awareness in 1982 became a full-fledged month of action starting in 1983, and the events and actions have inspired the creation of new laws and statutes that aim to eliminate harm to innocent and vulnerable children.

Whether in your own community, online, or by joining a larger march or event somewhere near you, you can become part of the NCAPM’s history this April–don’t wait until next year.

Ideas to Get Involved

child abuse

Participate in abuse prevention

There are many ways you can participate in this nationwide awareness month. Activities can be simple:

  • Organizing a block party or “meet and greet” with your neighbors
  • Attending parent meetings at your children’s school
  • Finding city or government-organized events for NCAPM

Or, you can organize with other parents and local families to put on bigger events, such as:

  • Running for local office or a PTA board
  • Attending and speaking at local government meetings (such as city council)
  • Organizing letter-writing campaigns and petitions

Keep in mind, these are just a few ideas. Be creative and think about new and interesting ways that you can help children and families who have been affected by neglect and/or abuse.

Moving Our Communities and Families Forward

Whether you visit the official NCAPM website (provided by the government’s Child Welfare Agency) or you find local events to raise awareness, the important thing is to get involved. It’s also important to remember that April is only the beginning–staying vigilant and engaged in your family and community throughout the year is the best defense we have against future abuse and neglect.

For too long, the victims and families who have suffered from abuse and neglect have been silent. April is a time for these voices to be heard, loud and clear. Now is the time–take a stand against abuse and neglect!

11 Reasons Why Dance is Important for Children!

| Brandie Heiseler

Benefits of Dance in Child Development

benefits of dance in child development | Watch Me Grow in Las Vegas

Plenty of benefits & it’s fun too!

There are many benefits of health education that give younger children an advantage. Dance is one of the activities that, when practiced regularly, can help a person develop physically as well as mentally.

In order to optimize the benefits of dance for youths, young children should enroll in a dance education program as early as possible. The North Las Vegas child care education program highlights the importance of having parents as active team members in their child’s development by keeping them informed.

An increasing number of research studies proves that dance instruction during the first five years of a child’s life helps the child’s physical, social/emotional, cognitive, and psychological development.

The following list of 11 fitness benefits of dance for youth will show you how and why!

  1. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains that regular exercise builds strength and endurance and is essential for building healthy bones and muscles. There are wonderful physical rewards to dance!
  2. Preschoolers, like older children, need daily exercise and have a lot of energy. The dance education program combines these two facts to ensure that your children get the exercise they through fun movement, engaging dance, and beats and lets them reap the benefits of dance education.
  3. Children’s motor skill abilities, such as running, jumping, walking, balancing, and throwing develop most during the early years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains that regular exercise builds strength and endurance and is essential for building healthy bones and muscles.
  4. You have probably heard that play is a child’s work. Well, this is absolutely true. The need to play and move and try new things is what drives child development. Dance education helps your young child develop healthy habits. A supportive environment helps to make children feel more comfortable about trying new dance moves.
  5. Expectations are reasonable. Each child is encouraged to try and is praised for the effort alone. This makes children feel secure enough to move with the music and enjoy themselves.
  6. These classes take place in a group environment with all children encouraged to participate. This makes all children feel included. A Teacher watches all children closely to make sure that the environment stays positive and welcoming. All children are encouraged to participate in easy, age-appropriate dance routines to make each child feel successful.
  7. Like the positive effects on the brain that adults experience after exercise, the young child’s brain releases dopamine (also known as the happy hormone). Also similar to adults, physical activity helps alleviate stress in children by teaching muscle relaxation techniques and body movement.
  8. The same Edutopia article discusses that as children get older they have fewer opportunities to exercise regularly and their physical education requirement decreases making early childhood dance education important for showing children how enjoyable exercise can be and for encouraging some to adopt this as a hobby in the future.Edutopia explains that physical activity (including dancing) aids in cognitive development. The A Fit Body Means a Fit Body article states that regular physical activity can improve focus, increase attention span, and improve memory and learning.
  9. Anyone can participate in the dance activity regardless of physical ability. Besides the above fitness benefits of dance, children with or without a disability can take part in the program and gain socio-emotional benefits. Children with disabilities enjoy music and can move to the beat gaining all the rewards of dance education as children without disabilities.
  10. The same Edutopia article discusses that as children get older they have fewer opportunities to exercise regularly and their physical education requirement decreases making early childhood dance education important for showing children how enjoyable exercise can be and for encouraging some to adopt this as a hobby in the future.
  11. In October 2016, Oregon State University published an article about early childhood development in relation to school readiness explaining that motor skill development in the early years is important for a child’s school readiness. The article also states that these skills are essential for lifelong health and quality of life.
Feeling the music

Feel the beat and just dance!

Our North Las Vegas child care has competent educators who have years of experience teaching children each with a different personality and preferences.

Your child can get all the fitness benefits of dance education at one location. Help him or her develop and learn every day by doing something they’ll enjoy in a supervised setting.

Throughout the years, our dedicated staff and teachers have worked with parents to make sure their young children get the most out of dance education from the physical and social benefits to the psychological. Visit the website and contact us.

It’s National Kidney Disease Month. Read These Tips for Better Kidney Health

| Brandie Heiseler

Your kidneys are very important organs in your body. Taking proper care of them will help you live better and longer. Many people don’t understand kidney disease or how to prevent it. For National Kidney Disease Month, you can learn how to better care for your kidneys and prevent disease.

Get Tested

kidney Kidney failure is a slow and progressive disease that usually has no noticeable symptoms. Kidney disease awareness is important. Unless your kidneys have been injured in an accident, you may not know you have kidney disease without medical testing. Your doctor can perform a few types of tests to determine kidney function. These are usually blood tests or urine tests.

The blood test for kidney function is called glomular filtration rate or GFR. This measures the amount of creatine in your blood. Creatine is a waste product produced by working muscles. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering this waste from the blood. If the kidneys are not working properly, this acid will build up to unsafe levels in the blood stream.

The urine test for kidney function is called albumin-to-creatine ratio or ACR. The urine is tested for the protein albumin. This protein that should not be found in urine. If the test is positive, it indicates your kidneys are not functioning as well as they should.
There are five stages of disease that lead to kidney failure. There is no way to correct full kidney failure, so it is a life-threatening disease. The best option for a person in the advanced stages is a kidney transplant. Health can be maintained with dialysis, but this does not heal the kidneys.

Diabetes and Sugar

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. When you have diabetes, your body has trouble maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering your blood, so when you have high blood sugar your kidneys are under a lot of pressure to balance your system. They eventually become overloaded and begin to fail.

There are many things that may contribute to developing diabetes. Sometimes the disease is genetic, and there isn’t much you can do about that. Most diabetes, however, is brought on by a poor diet. Excess sugar in the diet is one of the leading causes of diabetes. It is important to avoid excess sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day. This is also a good rule for adults to follow. Diabetes can affect a person of any age. The sooner you take steps to avoid it, the healthier your kidneys will be.

Salt and Blood Pressure

Blood pressure also has a major impact on kidney function. When blood pressure is high, more blood is forced through the sensitive tissues of the kidney faster. Over time, this may damage the kidney tissue that filters the blood. This tissue is very difficult to heal once damaged.

Too much sodium in the diet contributes to high blood pressure. Salt may also pose a danger to the kidneys directly. Sometimes minerals like sodium will harden in the kidneys. The result is a kidney stone. The kidney eventually forces the stone through the kidney tissue. The process is very painful. It may also damage the kidney tissue, which reduces function. The damage caused by passing a kidney stone often does not heal. A scar will form that is never able to filter any blood.
You do not have to eliminate all salt from your diet, but you should keep it to a healthy level. This means not adding salt to most foods and avoiding processed foods already high in salt. You can help balance sodium levels by also getting plenty of potassium from food and drinking plenty of water each day.

Drinking Too Much

too much alcohol Your kidneys are responsible for getting toxic substances out of your blood stream. Alcohol is highly toxic to the body, so your kidneys work extra hard to get rid of it. When you drink too much, you put strain on your kidneys and may damage them.

Alcohol also dehydrates you. Your kidneys’ other job is to maintain the right balance of water in your body. Consuming alcohol can make this job much more difficult. Over time, this may result in lost kidney function.
It is important to know how much is too much. Three drinks or less per day is considered safe for your body and is unlikely to cause serious problems.

Your diet has a lot to do with your kidney health. By maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking and choosing healthy foods most of the time, you can keep both your kidneys functioning for your entire life. Many of the conditions that lead to kidney disease are preventable.

Good Nutrition Made Simple: What to Remember During National Nutrition Month

| Brandie Heiseler

If you feel like you’ve fallen off the healthy habit bandwagon, you’re in luck. March is National Nutrition Month, so it is the perfect time to tackle that health commitment you made at the beginning of the year with renewed energy.

You may be wondering why we celebrate nutrition month and how it can help you get back on track. It’s simple really. Nutrition Month is a time set aside to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and exercise habits.

This year the National Nutrition Month theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” So instead of feeling like you have to change everything at once, you can start small, with just one fork at a time. Whether your eating habits involve preparing meals at home or making choices while eating out, it’s important to develop a way of eating that is sustainable.

Are you ready to join the movement? Then here are a few effective ways you can start putting your best fork forward.

  1. Eat a balanced, varied diet.

    balanced diet Eating a variety of nutrient dense foods across all of the food groups reduces your risk of many preventable and primarily lifestyle-based chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Work to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your daily diet.

  2. Choose lighter options while dining out.

    Finding healthy options at restaurants is now easier than it ever has been. Most restaurant chains offer lighter, healthier choices. As you peruse the menu, look for options that are steamed or roasted. Likewise, ask for sauces, dressing, and cheese on the side, and control your own portions by asking for a to-go box and putting half of your meal in the box.

  3. Set a good example for children.

If you have children, you know how quickly they pick up on things. That is why it is especially important to model good eating habits for children. This modeling begins in the kitchen. Inviting your child into the kitchen to participate in age-appropriate cooking tasks is a fun way to get young ones involved. Serving balanced meals and making the time to enjoy dinner together is also important to help your family build healthy, mindful eating habits.

  1. Eat breakfast every day.

Breakfast is one of the most frequently skipped meals by everyone, but it’s also one of the most important. Breakfast helps get your metabolism going and sets the tone for your eating all day long. If you really don’t have time for breakfast, then at least grab a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts to give you a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

  1. Drink more water.

drinking water Water is another essential to a healthy lifestyle. Your body uses water for nearly ever metabolic process it completes. If you have a hard time drinking enough water, try keeping a water bottle with you all day, using a simple tracking system, or flavoring your water with a few pieces of fresh fruit. Try to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water each day.

  1. Adopt the “one more” mentality.

It can be tough to completely overhaul the way you eat all at once. Instead of trying to do it that way, focus on getting in just “one more” healthy food choice each day. If you struggle with veggies the most, work on fitting in one more serving each day. Then once you have that mastered, move on to another healthy habit. Doing a little at a time will make the process much easier and help you stick with it.

If you really want to make your celebration of this month fun, then consider getting involved or organizing some nutrition month activities, such as

  • A cooking demonstration or nutrition event
  • A presentation at your local park or senior center
  • A food donation campaign for your local food pantry or shelter
  • A commitment to try one new healthy recipe as a family each week
  • A visit to a local farmers market or farm
  • A “lunch and learn” on healthy eating
  • A scavenger hunt for healthy foods or recipe ingredients

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to refocus on the healthy habits you started in January or to invite others to join you in your efforts. Use these tips and remember that it’s about starting small and making simple changes every day that you can stick to long term.