Archive | April, 2012

Natural Lice Prevention

I discovered recently that my kids’ school has been experiencing regular outbreaks of lice over the past few months. My family hasn’t experienced lice, even though it seems to be regular occurrence in all schools, so after I checked all four kid’s hair and sighed with relief that we didn’t have it, I started thinking about prevention. From talking to many parents, it seems like chemical treatments and natural lice treatments both take a long time to remove lice 100%, so if that’s the case …why use the extra chemicals on children? And let’s think of some tips for prevention. As most readers know, since I have a daughter that has dry skin outbreaks from eczema flare ups, I only shampoo all of my kid’s hair once a month. Funny, because barbers, parents, and family look surprised when I mention that. And my children (I think) have gorgeous hair – everyone always wants to touch my older son’s hair because it’s thick and beautiful (see below). So only occasional washing is working well for our family. And when I do wash their hair, I use a teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a cup or warm water instead of store bought shampoo. On my sons especially, their hair feels amazing after it’s washed this way. But technically their hair is on the dirty side most days rather than the squeaky clean and funny enough, Jennifer from The Smart Mama confirmed for me that lice prefer clean hair! So one more bonus of not over washing children’s hair is it’s a deterrent for lice. Hooray for the hippies!

The most popular methods of DIY lice prevention include tea tree oil. This oil is natural antiseptic and can be a preventative tool against lice. Add 12 drops to ¼ pint water and put in a spray bottle. Mist hair each morning with this solution. A Mommy Footprint Facebook fan reported success with daily use of tree tea oil to prevent lice by using this method: “I put a couple of drops of tea tree oil on my hand and they get a hair rub-down (especially at nape of neck and behind ears) before we go to school (I leave the tea tree oil in a cupboard at our front door). Other Mom’s at the school put the tea tree oil with some H2O in a spray bottle and spritz their kids’ heads (and I can report that their kids have not had lice either)”. Hang onto that tea tree oil because if you do experience lice, you can add multiple drops into your wash along with detergent for bedding, blankets and clothes. Also use tea tree oil to rub around the interior of hats & helmets – kill the lice on the hat and it will rub off onto your child’s head!

Tiffany from Nature Moms Blog recently went through lice treatment with a child and had some great tips. Her full article is here, and her all natural lice shampoo treatment recipe is:

1 Quart size ball jar
1 Tablespoon (1 squirt) Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap
8-10 Drops tea tree oil (we use Trader Joe’s brand)
Fill jar to top with water, shake before each use.
Rinse with vinegar and let sit in hair for 5 minutes. Plastic wrap is optional
Comb hair with flea comb or lice comb

This recipe sounds much easier than the mayo or coconut oil treatments recommended to work. With these treatments you basically coat hair with a natural oil (coconut, olive, or mayonnaise) and try to smother the lice. Most treatments call for wrapping in plastic wrap and sleeping, then repeating 12-14 times. Wow – the more research I did on all natural lice treatments, the more determined I am to prevent it from happening. We’ve got the occasional hair washing already happening, next I will start daily tea tree oil squirts. With base ball season and ball caps, outbreaks at school, and Spring time being the season for lice, it was a timely discussion and I thank Tiffany and Jennifer for their advice!

And here’s the picture I snapped of my oldest son’s hair – I think it’s just gorgeous. He’s only 10 years old, but I hope he keeps the easy, no-poo hair care remedies and doesn’t start using gel or spray. When any of my kid’s ends feel dry we just use a bit of coconut oil to moisturize & for styling.

Related Posts:

No Poo Anyone?

All Natural Hair DIY Deep Conditioner

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The Easter Bunny & Random Kindness

There is one part to setting up Easter egg hunts on Easter morning that I always miss – the fact my kids can’t help me set up. When planning fairy walks or party activities my kids are always right by my side planning and then executing – they love it!  So today while my kids where all home we came up with the idea to leave Easter eggs filled with sustainable goodie along the Inlet trail and park in our community. We used 8 plastic eggs we’ve been reusing for years and filled them with a felt pirate eye patch, finger puppets, basil seeds, felted jewelry, and a fairy leaf bed/pilllow set. We used plastic for the outside to hold the treasures because we hoped the eggs would be safe for a few days out in our rainy West Coast climate. I highly recommend this activity for kids with the excitement building up to Easter hunts, activities, etc.  but strongly petition you to please not fill them with junk!  Even a couple of pennies or treasures from the forest would be fun: acorns, gem stones, etc.  Just the magic of finding an egg in a playground with a note and goodie inside would be amazing for kids. Funny enough we talked with two adults that found one of our eggs under a park bench and they were beaming. Not just little smiles, you could tell their day had been made!  They turned out to be kindred spirits of the Peter Pan syndrome I have “never wanting to grow up and believing in fairies”.

Here is how we planned our random act of kindness egg hunt!

Egg setup. We selected plastic eggs to reduce moisture for the goodies inside. I let the kids select Eco-friendly presents to put inside based on their personalities. I didn’t want them to put candy inside because most parents would want their kids eating candy left by strangers…so we selected handcrafted, mostly felt or plantable treasures. I used new items from Green Planet Parties and included the logo in the note we left, not for marketing purposes, but so that parents would know that these items are new and safe to play with. The note simply read: “You are receiving a random gift of kindness. Enjoy your Easter treat and consider leaving one for someone else to find!”

Egg planting. We decided to walk through the forest in our local inlet that leads to a park and pier. The kids were very exited to leave the eggs in tricky spots for other children to find in the perimeter of the park. The boys watched a pair of kids find one of their eggs and loved listening to the shriek of finding a treasure and having them rush off to show their mom.

Here is a picture of the first egg we planted in the forest. The rest of the eggs that were planted along the trail looked beautiful too!

 

We don’t know who found those eggs we left in the forest (walking back along the trail we noticed most of the eggs had been picked up already).  But the best reaction of the day was from hiding this egg under a bench along the pier:

We had tied the egg under bench and then ambled down the pier. We took our time looking in the water, checking out a boat anchored and when we got to the end of the pier there were two lovely ladies and they looked tickled…but I didn’t assume they found the egg because we had just left it under the bench. They watched my kids play and showed them the felt eye patch they had found in the egg..my kids smiled and said they were the ones that put it there!  These two adults just loved the experience and they had already paid it forward and left some change in the egg and re-hidden it. So much fun!  I think it’s adults that need a bit of magic in their lives. We are always knocking ourselves out to insert magic whenever we can for our kids…but adults need to see magic too. The adults seemed to have the best reaction to this idea and it’s something that is really fun. This time of year is a great time to leave random acts of kindness and the best part is you can use eggs!

An important point here is that egg fillers do not have to be a plastic, crappy, toxic affair. Here are some earth friendly ideas that actually fit inside standard eggs!

Felt Finger Puppets

Pirate Eye Patches

Felted Rings

Felted Ponytail Holders

Seeds – we left basil seeds

Wooden eggs

Felt Moustache

Pocket Doll

Fairy Leaf Bed and Pillow

Fair Trade Worry Dolls

Wooden Decoder

Felted Toadstool

Bird Call

Felt Dressup Watch

Remember to have fun and tailor the act of kindness to something close to your family’s heart! Let us know about the stories you discover with leaving random acts of kindness on the Mommy Footprin fan page!

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