7 Activities to Keep Your Kids Safe and Happy This Summer

School’s out for summer, but this summer break is shaping up to be very different from what you and your kids are used to because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many childcare centers, summer camps, and entertainment venues are closed, leaving a lot of parents feeling stressed over the idea of keeping their kids busy and happy all summer long.

Kid Friendly Summer

Every suggestion in our list below is designed to happen at home or at a local park (while social distancing, of course!). Here are some ideas:

Backyard Camping
Camping in the backyard has become a surprisingly popular activity since the start of the pandemic. Even if local campgrounds are closed because of the pandemic, you can still have fun setting up the tent in your backyard. No sleeping bags? Don’t worry about it—just bring out some blankets and pillows from the house. And of course, be sure not to forget the most important part: s’mores supplies!

Embark on a Summer Reading Challenge
Check with your local library or school district to see if they’re hosting a summer reading challenge. If not, start one yourself, or find one online. For a bit of friendly competition, invite your kids’ friends to participate, too.

Start a Garden
Planting a flower or vegetable garden with the kids is a great way to teach them about the life cycle and environmental sustainability. Plus, you may even help them develop a green thumb that they can use throughout life. One great thing about gardening is that it isn’t a single-day activity—this one will keep you all busy all summer long, as long as you get the kids involved in the whole process, from planning to planting, weeding, harvesting, and beyond.

Lay Out a Blanket for a Picnic
If you feel like you’ve been spending too much time indoors, head out into the backyard or to a local park for a picnic. Ask the kids to help pack supplies or maybe even prepare a snack for the picnic spread.

Hold a Movie Marathon
Set up a fort indoors, prepare some of your favorite snacks, and get cozy for a movie marathon. This one is great for hot afternoons or rainy weekends.

Head Out for a Scavenger Hunt
For a fairly simple activity that doesn’t take much prep work, kids love scavenger hunts. You can even add an educational twist by making the activity nature themed. Start by making a list of natural objects that can be found either in your backyard, your neighborhood, or at a local park or beach. Then print a list for everyone and head out to see what you can find.

Tip: For little kids, consider making your scavenger hunt color themed, where you ask your little ones to find an object to match each color of the rainbow.

Have a Dance Party
Most kids love dancing, especially when they see their parents getting involved. Whether you’re all dancing it out to an upbeat playlist or learning a dance routine that you’ve found online, this is an excellent way to get some exercise while having fun together. Don’t forget to film some of your best moves to share with friends.

Staying Safe
Safety is important all the time, but especially these days. If you’re heading to a public space for any of these activities, make sure to bring some hand sanitizer, wear masks, and follow social distancing guidelines. Find more safety recommendations from the CDC here.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Leading Baby Names to Consider in 2020

Pregnancy can be difficult in many ways, including the seemingly simple task of settling on a baby name. If you’re planning on using a family name, or if you’ve always thought about using a particular name, you may have an easy time naming your baby. But for others, choosing a name turns out to be a surprisingly challenging and daunting task—there may be stress in knowing that your baby will carry this chosen name for a lifetime, so you want to choose something you’ll all love.

Baby Names

To help all the soon to be parents out there, we’re rounding up some of the most popular baby names in recent years. Here are some favorites across different categories:

Throwbacks to a Different Era
Maybe it’s all the turmoil going on in the world these days, but this year a lot of people are going for vintage-inspired baby names. Among other names that harken back to another time, you can expect to see:

Female: Alice, Margaret, Hazel, Catherine, Pearl, Opal, Violet, Gladys, Adele, Darlene, Diana, Annabelle, Greta, Glenda, Betsy, Judith, Leona, Olive, Ophelia, Ruth, Harriet, and Eve.

Male: Bernard, Leonard, Alexander, Calvin, Hugh, Theodore, Walter, Joe, Owen, James, Henry, Jeremiah, Everett, Silas, Sebastian, Frank, Alfred, Walter, Clarence, and Louis.

Top Favorites in Recent Years
The Social Security Administration is holding off on releasing its list of the most popular names in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but here are the leading names that were trending in 2018:

Female: Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Charlotte, Mia, Amelia, Harper, and Evelyn.

Male: Liam, Noah, William, James, Oliver, Benjamin, Elijah, Lucas, Mason, and Logan.

Gender Neutral
Up until the mid 1980’s, less than 10% of babies were given gender neutral names, but these names are growing in popularity as increasing numbers of parents seek out an option that doesn’t tie their baby to one gender or another. Here are some of the most popular:

Willie, Kelly, Terry, Jordan, Taylor, Alexis, Leslie, Logan, Jamie, Shannon, Shawn, Robin, Angel, Francis, Tracy, Cameron, Dale, Lee, Courtney, and Jessie.

Arizona’s Leading Names
With many similarities to the most popular names across the United States, here are the leading baby names in Arizona in 2018, starting with the most popular. Check out the whole list to find out what other names rounded out the top 100.

Female: Emma, Olivia, Mia, Isabella, Sophia, Mila, Camila, Charlotte, Amelia, Evelyn, Emily, Luna, Ava, Victoria, Penelope, Abigail, Harper, Sofia, Aria, Elizabeth.

Male: Liam, Noah, Sebastian, Benjamin, Oliver, Mateo, Alexander, Daniel, Elijah, Julian, Ethan, James, Michael, Mason, Jacob, Logan, Santiago, David, Adrian, Angel.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Hormones: The Headache Trigger You May Not Know About

Headaches are the worst, especially when they seem to strike out of nowhere and last for hours. A throbbing headache can make it hard to work, concentrate, exercise, engage in hobbies, complete fairly simple tasks, and spend time with the ones you love. While headaches can have many causes, a big one people sometimes don’t know about is hormones.

Hormones and Headaches

You may already know that estrogen is a hormone that plays a large role in the female reproductive system. Interestingly, changing estrogen levels can set off headaches—this is particularly common when estrogen levels drop. Estrogen levels can change for many reasons, including pregnancy, varying phases of your menstrual cycle, menopause, lactation, hysterectomy, and when you’re taking oral contraceptives. In any of these situations, a hormonal headache can occur.

Treating Hormonal Headaches
Doctors use a number of different treatments to address headaches that are caused by changing hormone levels. If your headaches are related to your menstrual cycle, your doctor may prescribe medication that can stop your menstrual cycle or reduce your pain, or they may suggest you take oral contraceptives in attempt to reduce the severity or frequency of your headaches (though sometimes oral contraceptives can contribute to hormonal headaches or make them worse). Some commonly prescribed medications and supplements include:

  • Triptans: Often used to treat migraines, triptans calm overactive pain nerves and block pain signals in the brain. They don’t prevent headaches but can be used to address pain fairly quickly when headaches arise.
  • Pain relievers (NSAIDS): Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain medications relieve pain for many who are suffering from headaches.
  • NSAID / Triptan combination medications: These combine non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and triptans into one medication and are often prescribed for women who experience menstrual-related migraines.
  • Magnesium supplements: Some women find relief from menstrual headaches by taking magnesium supplements from the 15th day of their cycle until menstruation begins.

Medication and supplements aren’t your only option for treating hormone-related headaches. Other methods include biofeedback therapy, relaxation and breathing exercises, ice packs on your head or neck, massage, and acupuncture. Lifestyle changes can also be helpful. This would include limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption, minimizing stress, increasing hydration so you’re drinking at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water each day, and getting a healthy amount of sleep and rest each day.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.