No. 7, Tuesday, June 7, 2020

Dear <<First Name>>:

Each child matters and deserves every opportunity for success!  This edition discusses exercise and healthy pregnancies, ways to keep newborn babies safe, and stimulating activities for toddlers during the summer months.  It also discusses ways to nurture young children during the COVID pandemic, as well as racism and young children. These are important discussions in these times.  

 Stay safe and be well.

Wil Blechman, MD
Past President, Kiwanis International  

Co-Chair, World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade

Diana Ragbeer Murray, Child Advocate
Chair, Early Childhood Cmte, Kiwanis NEMD 
Co-Chair, World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade

Healthy Pregnancies

Pregnancy Fitness:  Your Best Moves Before Baby Arrives 

For some time now, it has been reported that exercise during pregnancy is not only safe in most cases, but beneficial. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) states that for uncomplicated pregnancies, regular physical activity does not cause miscarriage, poor fetal growth, muscle and bone injury, or premature birth, as was previously believed by both doctors and expectant people (and is still sometimes believed, though inaccurate).

 Benefits of exercise for you and your baby before, during, and after pregnancy include:
  • Reduces back pain
  • Helps digestive system
  • Decreases risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
  • Decreases unhealthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Improves overall general fitness and strengthens heart and blood vessels (which also improves stamina for needed activities after the baby is born)
  • Helps with the loss of weight after baby is born
In addition, in a new study published in Nature Metabolism, researchers say moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound (3’SL) in breast milk that can lower a child’s lifelong risks for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other conditions. See more at

Recommended exercises include walking, swimming, stationary bicycling, stretching, modified yoga/pilates and moderate weight training (consult with your health care provider first).  Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise, and avoid contact sports, off road cycling, and other sports that can cause falls or injury. See more at and

Remember in addition to exercise, to maintain a healthy diet, no alcohol, no smoking, no drugs unless prescribed by your doctor, and maintain follow ups with your doctor.

Source: American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Web MD and Health News – Nature Metabolism, June 2020.

Healthy Children

Summer Safety Tips for Newborns 


It’s summer, and fresh air, moderate ultraviolet light and new experiences can have health benefits for babies. However, newborns need extra care and protection to enjoy the warm weather without the hazards of heat and sun exposure.

Here are 5 summer safety tips for infants:

1.  Keep infants under six months of age out of the direct sun.

The skin on new babies doesn’t have enough pigment to protect itself from sun damage. This means that even sunscreen can’t keep your newborn safe from direct sunlight  Some brief exposure is fine, but too much sunlight could result in severe sunburn.

2.  Dress your newborn in loose clothing to prevent overheating.

Newborns have a higher natural body temperature than adults, so they should be lightly clothed during the summer without fear of them getting cold, unless you move indoors and have them around air conditioning. If you’re outside and temperatures are high, light, breathable layers are all your child needs.

 “Pay attention to signs that your baby may be overheating. Sweating is a classic sign—if they’re sweating, they need to be cooled off,” says Pediatric Associates Regional Medical Director Barbara Alexander, D.O.  “An overheated child may also be irritable, crying, have red cheeks, or have a heat rash on their body.”

3.  Learn the signs of dehydration in a newborn.  

Your newborn may become dehydrated, especially if they’re sweating to cool their bodies in hot weather. Pay attention to possible signs of dehydration, including decreased saliva, a lack of tears when crying, lethargy, and a lack of wet diapers. In some cases, the soft spots on your newborn’s skull may also sink in due to dehydration. If you notice these symptoms, it’s important to hydrate your infant quickly.

4.  Don’t use water to keep a baby hydrated.

For older children and adults, water is an excellent source of hydration. But water isn’t the only nutrient needed to hydrate newborns, as water is missing too many nutrients and electrolytes. “Infants should only be hydrated with breast milk and/or an infant formula,” says Dr. Alexander. “These sources of nutrition offer everything an infant needs to re-hydrate.”

5.  Don’t assume your child is safe in their car seat.

One of the biggest rules of parenting a newborn is to never leave them alone in a car during the summer. Direct sunlight and warm, humid weather can create a life-threatening environment in just minutes. Even if you’re in the car, check your child to make sure they’re not being exposed to prolonged direct sunlight in their car seat. The sun’s rays can give them a sunburn and/or raise their body temperature to an unsafe level. Consider using sun-blocking covers on your windows to keep your infant protected at all times.

Source: Pediatric Associates at

Race and Young Children - Overcoming Racial Bias 

Children learn about racial differences and racial bias from an early age, and learn from their first teachers—their parents—how to deal with and react to these differences.

The process of learning racial bias is a lot like learning a new language (e.g., a child raised bilingual vs. a child who starts learning Spanish in junior high). Brain development during the early years determines a rapid early learning period.
  • As early as 6 months, a baby's brain can notice race-based differences.
  • By ages 2 to 4, children can internalize racial bias.
  • By age 12, many children become set in their beliefs—giving parents a decade to mold the learning process, so that it decreases racial bias and improves cultural understanding.
Children exposed to societal influences may still develop racial bias even if their parents do nothing.

Strategies to Help Children Deal with Racial Bias 

There are three strategies that parents can use to help their children deal with racial bias:
  • Talk to your children and acknowledge that racial differences and bias exist.
  • Confront your own bias and model how you want your children to respond to others who may be different than them.
  • Encourage your children to challenge racial stereotypes and racial bias by being kind and compassionate when interacting with people of all racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.
See this heartwarming video at:

Source:, Embrace and CBS News

Stress and Young Children During the COVID Pandemic 

This is a stressful time for adults with schools being canceled and children more often seeing their parents’ current struggles first hand.  It is no wonder they’re experiencing the effects of that stress, as well.

“Kids of all ages are having a tough time,” said clinical and developmental psychologist Nancy S. Molitor, PhD. “Every adult has anxiety right now. And the children are feeling it.”

Kids process stress and anxiety differently at different ages. How parents help children cope should be tailored to a child’s needs and age.
  • Younger children may be regressing and are in need of age-appropriate explanations about what is going on.
Healthline spoke with experts who’ve shared their recommendations on the best ways parents can help their young children cope with stress and anxiety during the COVID Pandemic.

It is critically important in this unprecedented time to find ways for parents and caregivers to stay connected with support networks. While children younger than three aren't going to understand what is happening on television, they will be able to pick up on the fear, urgency, or anger in people's voices and behaviors. Parents should read, listen to or watch the news when the baby isn't physically there.

For older children able to express themselves, encourage children to talk about how they are feeling.

     • Tell children they can ask you any questions and make yourself available to talk and listen.
     • Be calm and reassuring; be careful not only about what you say but how you say it.
     • Speak in a calm manner and be a source of comfort, including extra hugs and smiles.
     • Listen for underlying fears or concerns.
     • Ask questions to find out what a concerned child knows about COVID-19.
     • Let children know that fear is a normal and acceptable reaction.
     • Provide only honest and accurate information.
     • Keep schedules and routines. Children like predictability.
     • Provide positive distractions – read a book or watch a movie together.
     • Stay hopeful and plan things to look forward to together.

The goal is to try to reduce the level of stress so that it does not become frequent and intense, as well as provide buffering actions to offset it.  Left unchecked, stress can cause the release of harmful chemicals in the baby/young child’s brain which are damaging to child development and growth. This condition is called toxic stress, and can cause fussiness and irritability, as well as an inability to cooperate and concentrate. These normal reactions are frequently interpreted as misbehavior, increasing parental stress even more, and sometimes leading to harsh punishment and treatment that may even become abusive.

See Books to Help Children Find Hope and Strength in Stressful Times for kids ages 3-12 that can help kids stay hopeful and happy.

Summer Fun Activities 

Making Ice Cream in a Bag 


This toddler activity is an easy winner - part science, part gross motor skills, and all delicious.
  • Take a sandwich sized bag and fill it with 1/2 cup cream or cows/almond milk, chocolate or vanilla syrup for flavor.
  • Seal tight.
  • Place that bag inside another sandwich bag so it is double bagged.
  • Put that double bagged mixture inside a gallon bag.
  • Fill the gallon bag with a lot of ice.
  • Add 1/4 cup salt to the ice.
  • Seal it tight.
  • Place inside a plastic grocery bag.
Shake, Toss and Roll - Have a Toddler-Mom/Dad dance party. Shake the bag vigorously for 8 minutes or about 2 dance songs. Serve and enjoy!

Red-Blue-Red-Blue - Recognizing Simple Patterns

5 small blocks of 1 color and 5 small blocks of a different color, or five 2-inch squares of brown grocery bag paper and five 2-inch squares of white paper

Using the blocks, make a pattern of alternating colors. As you put the blocks down, say the pattern. For example, “Red-blue-red-blue. That’s the pattern.”

Ask your child, “Can you say the pattern now?” Encourage him/her to point to each object while she says its color. If she has trouble saying the pattern, point to each block again and say: “Here’s the pattern: Red-blue-red-blue.”

Now take the pattern apart and encourage your child to make it.

Tell him/her to put 1 of the blocks down and ask, “What color was that one? What color comes next?”

Help him/her continue the pattern and name it. Say, “Look, you made a pattern! Red-blue-red-blue.”

(Small blocks should not be left near infants who can choke on them).

Making the Most of This Activity
Look for opportunities to make patterns with different objects throughout the day. When dressing, create a pattern of “sock-underpants-sock-underpants” on the bed. At mealtime, create a pattern of “cheese-cracker-cheese-cracker.”

For Spanish translations of the activities, click here.

Source: Math4Littles is a collaboration between American Institutes of Research and ZERO TO THREE.


The Children's Trust Book Club - Free Books for Kids 

The Children's Trust Book Club - Meet amazing friends! If you have a child from birth through their 5th birthday, register now and they will receive a free book every month. JOIN NOW! Miami-Dade County residents only. Restrictions may apply.

World's Greatest Babies - Listen/Watch Us!
The World’s Greatest Babies radio/video shows help parents gain important information on healthy pregnancies, child birth, breastfeeding, babies’ brain and socio-emotional development, early education and care, father involvement, parenting and more.
World's Greatest Baby Shower - Baby Talk with Supa Cindy 

The 99 JAMZ World's Greatest Baby Shower - Baby Talk month long mini-series presented by Kiwanis of Northeast Miami-Dade concluded this past Saturday with its last show in 3 segments: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and Safe with Dr. Audrey Ofir, Jackson Health System; The Children's Trust Parent Club; and Father Involvement with the Fatherhood Task Force.
The video may be found at:
You Tube
Episode 6 - Fatherhood Involvement
Episode 7 - Baby's Health and Safety
Episode 8 - The Children's Trust Parent Club

Earlier shows include:
Episodes 1 and 2 - Introduction, Brain and Socio-emotional Development; Child Care and Early Education
Episodes 3 and 4 - Healthy Pregnancies and Breastfeeding; Early Literacy
Episodes 5  - Child Birth and Breastfeeding
World's Greatest Baby Shower - Show on Gospel 1490 AM - WMBM 

Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida

Zoom with Expectant & New Dads with kids 0-3 years
Saturday,  July 11, 2020
10:00 am – 11:30 am (Eastern Time)

*   Connect with Other Dads.  
             *   Build a strong Fatherhood Network Together to benefit the future of your children.

Facilitated by Corey Patterson, a Dedicated Dad

Meeting ID: 532 786 2785
Password: 8gZLz8

Teachable Moments for Busy Parents 


For more teachable moments, go to The Children’s Movement of Florida at:



Contact us
World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade at


The information in these newsletters is brought to you by members of the Planning Committee of The World’s Greatest Baby Shower in Miami-Dade 2020 which has since evolved into The World’s Greatest Babies in Miami-Dade.  The Planning Committee is comprised of the following organizations making a difference in the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County. Click on the logos below to go to each organization’s websites to find ways they can provide resources for you and your family. 





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