Beaumont’s Certified Sitter Class

image credit: Lina Kivaka, Pexels

Beaumont’s Certified Sitter course is designed for boys and girls 10 years of age and older who are interested in babysitting or responsible for younger siblings at home.

This fun-filled course is taught by emergency room staff/American Heart Association instructors.

Over the course of two afternoons, students learn the basics of babysitting, how to advertise safely, and appropriate fees to charge clients. They will also receive five of their own business cards!

We discuss topics include babysitting as a business, growth and development, what to do in case of an emergency, and tips for playtime. 

Students learn that every child is different, and we talk about the needs and likes/dislikes of children from birth to six years of age. Topics include bottle feeding, diaper changing, common illnesses, and basic injuries. Calm and quick reactions to these situations are emphasized and tools to achieve them are discussed.

Playtime is a fun time and we discuss and demonstrate age appropriate toys for all age groups.  Meals and snacks ideas are discussed as well.

This course includes snacks for the students on both days, a starter survival bag, a certificate of completion, and the confidence to get started.

Enroll your child in a Certified Sitter class today.

– Cindy Miller, American Heart Association instructor, is the Training Center secretary with Beaumont Health Royal Oak.

Our favorite summer traditions

Our family’s favorite summer tradition is a trip to Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights. It has a wave pool, three water slides, a lazy river, and a kid-friendly play area. (Bonus: Oakland County residents get discounted admission.) Our favorite time to go is during the Twilight hours from 4 – 7 p.m. Twilight admission is only $8 for Oakland County residents. We bring a picnic dinner and have lots of fun. I do recommend wearing water shoes as the bottom of the wave pool can be prickly on sensitive feet. Red Oaks also has a River Walk for adults on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, where you can walk against the current in the lazy river from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. for $8. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m hoping to go this summer. – Emily Swan

Summer traditions … They’re the best and so many to choose from! My kids love traditions, big and small. Some of ours include a trip to northern Michigan with my parents, two sisters and their families. There are 16 of us total: eight adults and eight kids. The cousins just love to be together, playing in the water, running wild, and eating lots of ice cream. It is chaotic and wonderful. There is something special that happens when you get that vacation time away with family. I love planning meals, cooking and eating together, and my favorite is getting the early-morning and after-nap snuggles from my nieces and nephews (sweet bed head, the smell of fresh lakeside air and sunscreen). My immediate family of four also does a weekend in South Haven every summer. My husband and I met at WMU, so the west side of the state is special to us and we love sharing it with the kids. And lastly, before school starts back each year, we do a day at Rolling Hills Water Park in Ypsilanti with our neighbors; the moms even do the slides! So fun! – Kelly Ryan

When our kids were little, one of our favorite summer traditions included exploring the many amazing cities and lakes right here in Michigan. Whether we ventured north, south, east or west, it was all about discovering new and exciting sights that our beautiful state has to offer. Favorite activities involved swimming, biking, mini golf, volleyball and playing cards. Lazy days seemed to center around big scoops of ice cream, while a nighttime favorite included campfire gatherings and eating s’mores. The tradition continues once more! Last summer, we had a blast introducing our grandchildren to the beautiful beaches in the thumb area. – Deanna Robb

Our summer tradition when our kids were little was to visit Kelleys Island in Ohio. My husband’s great grandfather bought a cottage there around the turn of the century and it remains one of the oldest buildings on the island. Our kids loved it because the only rule was “no rules!” – Lori Polakowski

Summertime traditions with our family evolved over the years as the kids got older. But one tradition is we always seem to celebrate is the 4th of July together in our hometown. The big, all-day celebration starts with a parade, then a family fair and craft show, along with hot dog eating contests, and all-star baseball games at the city park. Then of course the big fireworks display tops off the night. It’s always great to have family and friends come over for the day. We have yard games going and the pool is open all day. There’s always lots of great food for grilling as everyone brings a dish. It’s a great tradition that we still enjoy as a family even as the kids have grown into adults! – Lucy Hill

No matter the summer vacation plans, we always make time for a visit to an amusement park! Each summer we visit Michigan’s Adventure or Cedar Point, and to be honest, most summers it’s both! Both are about a 3-hour drive for us, which is totally worth all the fun we have. Michigan’s Adventure has a fantastic water park, which is included with the price of admission and perfect for a midday cool down. Cedar Point has the absolute best roller coasters in the world, my favorite is Steel Vengeance. If you like to plan ahead, both parks offer deep discounts on admission throughout the year. I like to grab their Black Friday Deals! – Nichole Enerson

As my kids have gotten older and busier, it’s gotten harder to get everyone together. But one thing we still do every summer is take a trip to Cedar Point. We are amusement park junkies; we will go anywhere within driving distance to ride the latest coaster, but Cedar Point is our home turf. Everyone has their favorite ride that we make sure to hit. Because we have season passes and visit often, we never wait in long lines since we know we can ride another time. My youngest and I always look forward to the new stage show (Cedar Point has the best in-park entertainment outside of Disney!), and the rest of the family humors us and goes with us as well. Every trip to Cedar Point includes french fries at the back of the park at the Happy Friar. Don’t forget that you can get free courtesy water at every concession stand, which is especially important on hot days. Finally, the trip home will always include a stop at the Dairy Depot on Route 2. After all, it’s not a summer tradition if there’s not ice cream involved! – Nicole Capozello

I am not a tent camper but a few summers ago, my family discovered yurts at a county park. Since then, we’ve gone every year. My son takes his fishing gear and could spend hours at the dock trying to catch something. There are kayaks to rent, arts and crafts, hiking trails, and entertainment. We take our bikes and some board games, too. We love making a campfire, cooking foil dinners and having s’mores. There’s a tractor/wagon ride that goes all through the camp and we look to see which critters we’ll see on the ride. Another highlight is when we see the mounted Oakland County sheriff deputies. It’s a relaxing weekend away for sure! – Becky Bibbs

Two of our favorite summer traditions are family reunions and camping trips. We typically combine the two for a “family hoedown” every year in July and camp for a long weekend to spend time with family from across the United States. The weekend typically includes a fishing tournament on the property’s lake, bingo, treasure hunt, swimming, campfires, and a float down the river. It is such a fun time! – Stephanie Babcock

Did someone say ice cream?

July 1 marked the beginning of National Ice Cream month. In metro Detroit, we’re lucky to have a vast number of places to get ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato and frozen custard. To help you celebrate all month long, here are our staff’s favorite ice cream shops.

  • Birmingham area: The Dairy Mat on Woodward is like a small hometown DQ.  My kids always liked sprinkles! – Lori Polakowski
  • Birmingham area: Who says you need to wait until it’s warm out for ice cream?  Dairy Deluxe is always the first place to open up for the season, usually February 1! The menu is huge and they have options you can’t get anywhere else. I love the “Crazy for Cookies” sundae (vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and three homemade chocolate chip cookies) and my son likes the cherry Pop Tarts flurry. They have a good Sanders bumpy cake sundae, too. – Becky Bibbs
  • Clarkston area: We love going to Cook’s Farm Dairy in Ortonville! My husband grew up next to the farm and their ice cream is the absolute best! It’s also fun to wander around seeing the farm animals, especially the new calves! – Nichole Enerson
  • Grosse Pointe area: Alinosi’s ice cream, originally located in the neighborhood where I grew up in Detroit, and the place to get it is at the Chocolate Bar Café on Mack Avenue. Alinosi’s ice cream is sooo rich and the hot fudge is to die for. The place is decorated with pictures from the old store, which are like a scrapbook of my childhood. As a kid, I loved the clown and circus sundaes (that one had animal crackers marching around the edge), and in my adolescence, it was strawberry ice cream with strawberry sauce.  Now, I love an old-fashioned hot fudge sundae. My mom used to ask my dad to bring her a double scoop cone (in the middle of the winter because in the summer we walked there): pineapple orange on the bottom and chocolate on the top.  She said it had to be in that order so the chocolate dripped down onto the other flavor.  When my youngest didn’t remember the name “Alinosi’s,” she said, “Ali-what-now?” That’s been its name ever since. – Nicole Capozello
  • Marine City area: Our favorite place is The Sweet Tooth of Marine City. It’s an entire candy store featuring a 30 lb. gummy bear, old fashioned candy, bulk candy where you can buy by the pound, hand-dipped chocolate items (like chocolate covered pretzels), chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate chips, etc. They also have Michigan-flavored ice creams such as “Michigan Pothole” and more. We like to get ice cream and then walk the streets downtown or sit by the pier and watch the ferry go by! – Stephanie Babcock
  • Novi area: Guernsey Farms Dairy is a family dairy; the incredible ice cream is made on-site and is incredible. In addition to the scoop shop, you can buy their milk and chocolate products, and there is a full-service family restaurant there. There are so many delicious flavors, but our family favorites are: Crème de Novi (their take on mint chocolate chip), Fudge Whip (French vanilla ice cream with the famous Guernsey milk chocolate fudge topping swirled throughout), and Black Cherry (my husband says it’s the best he has ever had!). Outside, there are a few benches and rocks to sit on, a huge oak tree for shade, and a “famous” big rock which is the go-to for pictures for all the families who love it there! – Kelly Ryan
  • Royal Oak area: My favorite ice cream place to go is Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Store. Usually on a Sunday after washing and cleaning my convertible, I enjoy a cruise down Woodward and stopping in at Oberweis for a hot fudge sundae (always vanilla, no nuts, but love the whip cream and cherry on top). I’m always with my husband or son and we hang outside and watch the cars cruising down Woodward and enjoy our ice cream. It’s the best! – Lucy Hill
  • Royal Oak area: You can’t list good ice cream places and not mention Ray’s Ice Cream, a classic ice cream shop that’s been around since 1958! They make their ice cream right on-site, employ local high school kids, and you know they have good eats because there’s always a huge line when it’s a beautiful day. My favorite flavor is the Black Raspberry Chip, but they rotate flavors seasonally, so I look forward to when Peach is back on the menu. If you’re super hungry or willing to share with a friend, try the banana split; it’s enormous! – Becky Bibbs
  • Around the United States: It’s part of a chain, but Culver’s is my favorite place for a frozen treat. Their custard is rich and delicious. I like to get vanilla custard with salted caramel and cookie dough. Bonus: A kid’s meal comes with a free scoop of frozen custard. They have a daily special flavor if you’re feeling adventurous. – Emily Swan

Raising awareness about bullying

schoolyard bully kicking a ball at 3 boys

Cropped image. Thomas Ricker, Flickr. CC license.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This is the time when we—as parents, schools, communities and states—need to come together to spread the word about bullying and what we can do to prevent it. Messages about kindness, inclusion and acceptance need to be part of our conversations and actions.

What exactly is bullying?

The Center for Disease Control and the Department of Education define bullying as “unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition.

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that happens via electronic communication and often takes place on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, messaging apps or texts. It includes sending false, negative, hurtful or mean content about another person leading to humiliation and embarrassment of the victim. At times, cyberbullying may be criminal in behavior or unlawful. In 2015, The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that 21 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 are being cyberbullied.

What do the numbers show?

  • More than 1 in every 3 or 4 children report being bullied.
  • Bullying occurs most often in middle school, although it occurs at any age.
  • More than 160,000 students miss school each day in fear of being bullied.
  • According to the National Center for Educational Statistics:
    • 13 percent of victims were made fun of, called names, or insulted
    • 12 percent were victims of rumors
    • 5 percent report being pushed or shoved
    • 5 percent were intentionally excluded from activities
  • A slightly higher number of female students were bullied at school (23 percent vs 19 percent) but more male students were physically bullied (6 percent vs 4 percent).
  • Bullying occurs in the halls, stairwells, in the classroom and cafeteria, outside on school grounds and on the bus.
  • The most commonly reported reasons for being bullied include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion and sexual orientation.
  • School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25 percent. (McCallion & Feder, 2013)
  • More than half of the bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. (Hawkins, Pepler & Craig, 2001)

What are some effects of bullying?

  • Bullied students have an increased risk for poor school adjustment, grades, anxiety and depression. They also report frequent headaches and stomachaches.
  • These students are at a greater risk for behavior and mental health problems.
  • Bullied students have a poor self-concept, often blame themselves and show maladjustment as they develop.
  • Bullying affects their relationships with family and peers.

Laws in Michigan schools

The laws require Michigan school districts to adopt policies to prevent bullying in the schools. All pupils are protected, and bullying is prohibited under this policy. School districts must:

  • have a written plan that includes notifying the parent/guardian of a victim of bullying and the parent/guardian or the perpetrator.
  • investigate the incident, report the findings and include the consequences, such as discipline or referrals. This must be done confidentially.
  • Have personnel trained to prevent, identify, respond to and report incidents of bullying that they encounter.

There is much more to this law; the complete law can be found here.

What schools can do

 Research shows that bullying can be stopped and even prevented when adults immediately respond to bullying and the students know that this behavior will not be tolerated. When a school enforces the laws and policies set by the school districts, students have clear expectations of their behavior and the consequences.

Schools can also provide school-wide activities around bullying. Activities can be done in the classroom so all students can feel safe to prevent bullying. Finally, creating a warm, safe atmosphere that fosters acceptance can prevent bullying.

What parents can do

  • Explore, a one-stop shop website that covers bullying, cyberbullying, prevention and resources. Another resource is
  • Help our children understand bullying. Talk about what it is and empower each child to stand up to it. Make sure a child understands that bullying is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Educating them to know what to do about it.
  • Empower your child so they know what to do if someone tries to bully them or what they should do if they witness a bullying situation.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Talk with your child each day, but most importantly, listen to what they are saying, either implicitly or explicitly.
  • Encourage kids to do the things they love. Students who are involved in their special interests and activities generally display a higher level of confidence.
  • Model how to treat others. When children see you treating others with kindness and respect, they may also display those same behaviors.
  • Check out one of the many apps that are available. One of the popular apps is “Sit with Us” that kids can use to find a lunch buddy.
  • If your child is being bullied, Beaumont Children’s Hospital offers the NoBLE program (No bullying, live empowered). NoBLE provides guidance, support and strategies to help resolve bullying issues.

Books as resources

There are many children’s books available for children to understand what bullying is and how to empower themselves when confronted by a bully. As always, reading together and talking about the books you read together gives valuable insight to the topic and your child’s feelings.

Let’s rally together and stop this hurtful behavior. Let’s strive to make all environments a safe place for our children.

– Lori Irwin, M.Ed., is a Parenting Program volunteer. She’s a former teacher of children with severe disabilities in reading, a consultant with a leading educational book publisher, and a mother of two adult children.


Breastfeeding Lifestyle class

mom nursing baby in mother's room

U.S. Air Force photo, Airman 1st Class Haley A. Stevens.

As you prepare for your baby’s birth, you may find yourself thinking about what life will be like after baby is here. Mothers who are planning to breastfeed may be concerned about continuing breastfeeding while going back to work, school, or returning to “life.” Beaumont’s Prenatal and Family Education department has the perfect class to answer some of these questions and concerns: Breastfeeding Lifestyle.

This one-time class is taught by a Beaumont nurse educator and welcomes expectant or new moms. There is no wrong time to take this class. Some expectant families want to make sure they gain all the knowledge they need before the new baby’s arrival. Other families may want to gain knowledge when they need it.

There are benefits to taking this class after your new baby has arrived though. In the beginning of your breastfeeding experience, you focus on getting started and making sure baby is getting what he or she needs nutritionally. After a few weeks, you may discover that breastfeeding has gotten easier and you may start thinking about “life” and your “new normal” with your baby.

Regardless of when you take the class, we encourage your support person to attend as well. Your support person may have his or her own questions about breastfeeding an infant.

Topics discussed in this class include:

  • Adjustments you will make as a breastfeeding parent
  • Learning to use a breast pump
  • How to store your breastmilk
  • Going back to work or school
  • Baby’s growth spurts and your milk supply
  • Teething

Enroll in a breastfeeding class today.

– Maribeth Baker, RN HBCE LCCE, is a program coordinator with the Beaumont Community Health and Prenatal and Family Education department.